Stone throwing: 'Public played crucial role in arrests'

ADIE SURI ZULKEFLI


THE arrests of four teenagers in Sungai Pe-tani for hurling stones at passing vehicles along the North-South Expressway (NSE) on Tuesday would not have been possible without the public’s cooperation.

In lauding the public’s role in curbing such acts of vandalism, PLUS Malaysia Bhd chief operating officer Mohammad Fuad Khusairi said public tip-offs and swift action by the authorities were what made the arrests possible.

He said the public played a crucial role in helping the authorities prevent such activities from causing harm to motorists plying Km847.7, which links Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, and Johor Baru.

He said throughout last year, PLUS received 11 complaints about stone-throwing activities along the NSE.

“In the first three months of this year, we received six complaints about stone-throwing activities on the mainline of the expressway.”

He said two accidents on the NSE last year were caused by such activities.

The cases occurred at Km39.5 (southbound) between Jitra and Hutan Kampung and Km40.6 (southbound) between Hutan Kampung and Alor Star Utara.

“This year, we recorded one accident caused by stone throwing at Km397.8 (northbound) between Tanjung Malim and Behrang,” Fuad said.

He said although the number of cases were small, PLUS viewed the matter seriously as it concerned the safety of 1.6 million NSE users.

“Besides collaborating with police, we have deployed 150 PLUSRonda teams to monitor and patrol the mainline 24 hours a day.

“We have installed almost 200 security cameras on the mainline to monitor traffic and to deal with vandalism issues along the expressway.”

He said PLUS installed warning signs and fencing on overhead bridges in the northern region, and carried out safety campaigns focusing on secondary schools to create safety awareness on the dangers of stone throwing.

He urged expressway users
to contact the toll-free PLUSLine
at 1800-88-0000 if they see
suspicious activity on the highway.

On Tuesday, a PLUS patrol team caught the boys, all aged 14, red-handed for hurling stones at passing vehicles at Km96.2 of the NSE near Sungai Petani.

Kuala Muda police chief Assistant Commissioner Md Zukir Md Isa said the boys were just having fun and were not being paid by a syndicate to cause accidents or damage vehicles.

The boys were released on police bail the next day, but Zukir said police were still probing the case under Section 427 of the Penal Code for causing mischief.

The offence carries a jail term of up to three months or a fine, or both, upon conviction.