Driver 'sorry' for causing grief

Baling Umno division chief Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim bertanya asking Dr Fadlina Mohtar (right) about the condition of accident victim Mohd Adid Ramli ’s amputated legs at Kuala Lumpur Hospital yesterday. Adid’s legs were amputated from the knee onward.

The driver of the bus that crashed at a Genting slip road on Friday apologised unreservedly to the victims and their families for causing so much grief.
"I am so sorry and I wish I could undo what had happened," the 36-year-old said from his hospital bed in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.

Speaking to reporters with his 35-year-old wife by his side, the driver looked remorseful and became teary when relating the incident.

He said he had been a driver for the last five years despite having no driving licence.
He said he was blacklisted by the Road Transport Department (RTD) about 10 years ago for owning a lesen terbang (illegally obtained licence).

Desperation drove the father of three to continue driving, despite his wife's objections, when he failed to land a job after a motorcycle accident in 2006.

The man, who said he had not driven for a month prior to the accident, claimed that a friend persuaded him to take the job as the latter was too tired from his recent driving stint.

He was to be paid RM120 for the trip to Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur.

"Everyone in the bus started praying when the bus went out of control."

The driver broke the right leg and is due for surgery today. He also received 15 stitches on the forehead.

He has been remanded for four days, since Saturday, to facilitate investigations.

Putera 1Malaysia Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who visited the victims yesterday, said the tragedy could have been avoided if the bus company had been responsible.

Azeez said the company was at fault for using a bus that was not roadworthy and for hiring a driver without a driving licence.

"We want the authorities to take severe action against the company for allowing this to happen.

"We have engaged a lawyer to sue the company for negligence," said Azeez, who is also the Baling Umno division chief.

He also paid tribute to ustaz Mohd Zaidi Mohd Sufian, 28, who was also killed in the incident, saying he was "an active man who always thought of others".

"We heard he had asked rescuers to help others first before attending to him, even though both his legs were pinned under the body of the bus. That was how selfless he was."

The chartered bus was ferrying 43 youths, aged between 14 and 25, from several villages in Baling, Kedah, on an educational trip.

The youths were members of Pusat Belia 4B from Kampung Siong.

At 7pm on Friday, the entourage left Genting Highlands for Kampung Melayu Subang to participate in a homestay programme.

At 7.50pm, the bus skidded and hit a divider on the Genting slip road about 300m from the Karak Highway.

Seven people were killed while at least 17 others suffered severe injuries and were admitted to nearby hospitals. There were 46 people in the bus, including the driver and the co-driver

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