KUALA TERENGGANU - It is high time that the Government started looking into having professional independent bodies to audit the Malaysian highways, which have seen many fatalities, said road expert Dr Muhammad Marizwan Abdul Manan.
He said the audit should cover Lebuhraya Pantai Timur 2 (LPT2), where there had been 85 deaths and 1,991 accidents since it opened in 2011.
Dr Muhammad questioned why there hadn't been any audit by independent bodies despite the high fatal accidents on highways.
"Statistics show that 70% are single accidents (accidents without involving other vehicles) and about 30% are due to faulty roads.
"But do the highways have features or barriers that could save lives?
"It's a basic thing. Everything should and must be audited. If audits can be done in departments, why can't they be done on our Malaysian highways?" asked the senior researcher with Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).
He noted that with the lives of the toll-paying public at stake, it was highly important and necessary to have independent parties carrying out frequent audits on the highways.
Dr Muhammad, who was involved in the designing of the LPT2 some 10 years ago, said highway designers would never compromise on safety but he questioned if the contractors had fully complied with the design or if the construction was done to specifications.
"Many will tell us that the highways are built according to international designs. I agree with that.
"But were the design specifications followed through during the construction? Independent auditors will be able to tell us that," he said.
He pointed out that certain stretches of highways were bumpy and created "water ponds" when there was heavy rain.
Meanwhile, Gerakan Anak Terengganu Insaf (Ganti) president Wan Mohd Faizul Wan Abas said they had observed that the LPT2 highway, from the Gemuruh to the Kijal exit, had weaknesses.
Among them were the bumpy road surface due to unequal settlement, lack of lights at most of the stretch, short acceleration and deceleration lanes from an exit that abruptly joins the highway.