Aug 26 proposed as Truckers Day

Hidir Reduan

KUALA LUMPUR: Truckers and lorry groups are seeking for the government to fix Aug 26 as Truckers Day.

This move is to elevate and honour drivers in the industry said Pakatan Pemandu advisor Nor Aizam Abd Kadir.

He said the move would show appreciation to truck and lorry drivers over their contribution to the nation’s economy and would also help address society’s negative perception on the profession.

He hoped for the establishment of such a special day be followed up with rebranding of truckers and lorry drivers as land pilots, which would bring various benefits.

Nor Aizam noted that it is part of efforts to change youths’ perception of the profession as having no future and one beset with many issues.

“We need to see the issue affecting heavy vehicle drivers in a deeper way, hence the proposal for Aug 26 be declared as Truckers Day,” he said today.

Speaking at the sidelines of the launch of the #Pakatan Pemandu (Truckers’ Coalition) at Bukit Jalil Stadium here today, he said heavy vehicle drivers in Malaysia are among the most trained and highly-skilled.

The proposal for Truckers Day be celebrated on Aug 26 is among 20 proposals contained in a memorandum to be handed over to the Transport Ministry and the Federal Territories Ministry.

Nor Aizam said Aug 26 would also be an opportunity to raise awareness on the welfare of truck and lorry drivers and the various issues they faced.

“If this (Truckers’) Day is not established, then they would feel neglected,” he said, adding that if

the day could be declared a public holiday, it would be a boon to the public as well as truckers to have a day of rest.

“Truck and lorry drivers suffer from many issues such as unfixed salary scheme.

“We truckers, including some that came all the way from neighbouring countries Thailand and Singapore, hope that the new government would give a new light of hope to truckers,” he said.

He said that the various truckers association would send the proposal to the Transport Ministry and the Federal Territory Ministry.

The gathering saw the loud blasting of lorry and truck horns reverberate across the open-air parking lot at Bukit Jalil Stadium to celebrate the establishment of Pakatan Pemandu.

The event saw the participation of over 4,000 drivers and others involved in the industry, representing 132 truckers and lorry drivers’ clubs and associations nationwide, which registered a record in the Malaysia Book of Records.

Meanwhile, Nor Aizam expressed his disappointment with failure of representatives from the Transport Ministry to attend the gathering and listen to their grouses.

“We have 20 proposals gathered, which encompass issues like welfare, work hours, laws and salaries of drivers, which would be sent to the ministry soon.

“The proposal among others come under the jurisdiction of the Transport Ministry, Human Resources Ministry and Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry,” he said.

He said that the association found that nearly 80 percent of drivers in Malaysia were manipulated by freight companies that the drivers were compelled to work 27 hours and in turn contributes to accidents on the road.

Nor Aizam also expressed dissatisfaction with low pay which could be just RM500 a month and said drivers depend on commissions that is calculated based on trips taken.

He said that this is exacerbated by bureaucratic red tape at ports that slow down the process of transporting goods.

"Truckers and lorry drivers contribute to economic growth via the service sector.

"However, this profession seems to always be seen in a negative light when in fact they have families to care for," he said.

Present at the event was Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd