JB crash: Car driver out on police bail

PHOTO: Video screengrab

The car driver in­­volved in the accident which claimed the lives of eight teenage cyclists has been released on police bail.

Johor police chief Comm Datuk Seri Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said the 22-year-old woman was released yesterday after police recorded her statement on the accident in which eight other cyclists were badly hurt.

"We are completing the investigation paper and will submit it to the deputy public prosecutor for further action," he told reporters after attending a Chinese New Year celebration in Pulai.

He said police would be conducting night operations to pick up any underage children found loitering in city areas, including on weekends.

They would be handed back to their parents, he added.

"The time has come for police to use whatever laws or provisions and take a more drastic approach, including charging the parents in court," warned Comm Wan Ahmad.

Read also: Parents of dead cyclists: 'Stop saying hurtful things and let us grieve in peace'

He added that police have identified at least 60 children who were constantly loitering into the wee hours.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that so far there has been no indication the driver was speeding, drunk or using her mobile phone at the time of the crash.

He said he hoped that people will not speculate and turn the incident into something racial.

He reiterated the need for parents to be responsible enough to know the whereabouts of their children instead of putting that responsibility on the police.

"The state government can also have local councils take action against children loitering in the city at night," he said, adding that in the past there have been cases of parents getting upset with the police when their kids were brought home after being caught loitering.

He said this problem was not just in Johor Baru but also in the Klang Valley.

Johor Women and Family Affairs Committee chairman Asiah Md Ariff said discussions would be held at state level on the issue, including looking into a proposal that an area be set up for cyclists.

"We will work with NGOs to address this problem," she said.

Read also: It was a tragedy waiting to happen, say motorists

She was speaking to reporters af­ter visiting the families of Moham­mad Azrie Danish Zulkefli and Mu­­hammad Shahrul Nizam Marud­din yesterday. The boys, both 14, were killed in the accident.

During her visits, Asiah handed over financial aid of RM850(S$270) each to the two families from the Johor Wo­­men and Family Affairs Department and the Welfare Department.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the state government would also give RM1,000 each to eight of the injured teenagers.

State Islamic Religious Committee chairman Abd Mutalip Abd Rahim said the aid was on top of the assistance given to the next of kin in line with the state government's efforts to help the families.

"The RM1,000 will be given to the seriously injured victims who are undergoing treatment," he told re­­por­­ters after opening the Shariah-compliant Carnival at Polytechnic Metro Johor Baru.

In the tragedy on Saturday, the car ploughed into the group of teenagers at about 3.30am.

Six died on the spot while two others succumbed to injuries while on the way to Sultanah Aminah Hospital.

Two other teenagers are in critical condition at the intensive care unit of the hospital while six more have broken bones and head injuries.