64 cases of vehicle fires reported this year

Aziz Idris

Sixty-four cases of vehicle fires were reported since January this year, which triggered a response from the Land Transport Department (JPD), Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications to re-evaluate the current policies and regulations for approval procedures at vehicle workshops and Vehicle Inspection Station (VIS) centres in the country.

Due to the alarming number of cases, JPD will issue instruction notice to 16 certified VIS centres in the country to improve the technical aspect for inspections on personal vehicles that are seven-years-old and above which include additional check on the vehicle’s under-carriage, wiring and batteries.

This was highlighted by Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof during a press conference at the ministry’s building yesterday.

MTIC along with relevant agencies is conducting an extensive study on the causes of frequent incidents of vehicle fires, the minister said, adding that the process will include investigative interviews with victims.

In an internal probe conducted by MTIC, the initial findings revealed that the majority of vehicle fires were caused by maintenance issues, not so much on the engine. However, the report was based on vehicle fires of this year only.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof at the press conference. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS

The minister said JPD along with enforcement agencies from the Royal Brunei Police Force, Fire and Rescue Department, Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry (ABCi) and Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA) will continuously observe all registered vehicle workshops and VIS centres as well as monitor all cases of vehicle fires.

“Efforts will be made to conduct random inspections to the companies and premises of the workshops by the agencies to ensure that safety rules and standards are always complied with,” he said.

The minister also gave a stern warning to owners of vehicle workshops that are already operating, but have yet to register with JPD, to apply for accreditation as soon as possible.

“The enforcement agencies will not hesitate to take stern action against any individual or workshops violating the new rules and regulations.”

The public can contact Darussalam hotline 123, WhatsApp +6738333123 or browse the website www.123.gov.bn by including pictures of the workshops that violate the guidelines.