PETALING JAYA - While car manufacturers will generally recall vehicles to fix defects, consumers too need to take the initiative to ensure their safety.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general, Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon, car owners need to be vigilant of any recalls issued by vehicle manufacturers.
He was commenting on the death of Law Suk Leh, 43, on July 27 this year in Sibu that was linked to an airbag inflator made by Japan's Takata Corporation.
Law, who was more than eight months pregnant, died after the airbag inflator in her Honda City ejected a metal fragment into her neck when her car was involved in a collision.
Wong said the United States was taking the initiative to deal with the issue by asking Takata to issue recalls for vehicles fitted with the airbag.
"Car owners in Malaysia need to know what the affected models are, and whether their car is on the list," he explained.
However, Wong noted that the recall system in Malaysia is not as refined as in developed countries, such as the United States, as there is at present no system in the country to alert all affected car owners.
Wong added that there needs to be a better system to alert car owners here when recalls are issued.
Law's death is the fifth such fatality linked to Takata, and the spate of airbag-related deaths has already sparked recalls by automobile manufacturers around the world.
An AFP report said Honda was recalling up to six million vehicles in the United States alone over the Takata air bag issue.
As for Honda Malaysia, it is set to recall 15,734 Honda City and Honda Jazz cars here.
According to CEO of Malaysia Automotive Institute Madani Sahari, his organisation has had discussions with Honda regarding the Sibu incident, where it was identified that the Takata airbags in question were fitted in Honda City (2003-2004) and Honda Jazz (2004) models.
Madani advised Honda customers to contact the manufacturer to check whether their cars are affected.
A spokesperson from UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd said that while there is a recall of several Toyota models sold in Japan, none of the models sold in Malaysia were affected by the exercise.
BMW Malaysia Sdn Bhd said it would replace the passenger-side airbags of all BMW3 Series produced between 2001 and 2003 with the model code E46.
The vehicle maker's press statement quoted Takata Safety Systems, saying that some of the airbags manufactured were in danger of rupturing or not inflating properly when activated.
BMW added it is working together with the Road Transport Department to contact all affected owners.
The CEO of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh assured customers that Perodua was unaffected as it was using a different airbag supplier. Proton too uses a different supplier.