Lorry drivers stage protest against Loke, demand his resignation

Lorry drivers stage protest against Loke, demand his resignation

PUCHONG: About 200 lorry drivers gathered and launched a protest in Putrajaya today, alleging that the government is impinging on their rights and making a mockery of their plight.

The protest, which started at about 1pm, was led by former PKR leader turned Barisan Nasional supporter B Kalaivanar.

He shouted angrily at the government, followed by the protesters, primarily targeting Transport Minister, Anthony Loke.

“The government does not care about lorry drivers. They are suffering yet the government is looking the other way.

“Antony Loke, don’t just be a seat warmer. Come to the ground and help us. Don’t mock our plight,” thundered Kalaivanar to the cheers of his supporters.

Some of the protesters also called for Loke’s resignation for his apparent failure in understanding their plight.

“Don’t wait until we commit suicide. We are also Malaysians. Don’t let us down,” the protesters cried.

The protest also included women and children.

Speaking to The Leaders Online, a protester said that they had gathered today to criticise the government’s move to impose hefty fines on errant lorry drivers.

The fines can run up to between RM35,000 to RM40,000.

“Why impose such fines on us lorry drivers? Not only we suffer the consequences but also our family,” said one protester, who claimed anonymity.

Instead of targeting lorry drivers, the protester urged the government to throw the book at the companies which are making lorry drivers work too much, causing the latter to inadvertently break traffic rules.

“If the Road Transport Department does its job effectively, then lorry drivers like us will not be forced to break traffic rules to meet our employers’ target.

“We are forced by the companies to put more loads in our lorries, which is against the law. Now, with these hefty summonses, the companies get richer while we get penalised,” he said.

Later, some of the protesters started behaving aggressively, stopping lorries passing the road and calling them to exit their vehicles.

They even smashed windscreens of vehicles belonging to those who refuse to participate in the protest.

However, the police arrived at 1.30pm to control the situation and urged the protesters not to break the law while gathered there.

As of press time, the protest was still on-going.

By Hema Subramaniam and G Vinod