MPR asks govt to review transportation policy

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) has asked the government to review the countrys national transportation policy, particularly with regard to administration, worthiness and safety.

"The Zahro Express ferry fire is not a good new year gift. After all, the government is willing to increase foreign tourists but it seems that it is not prepared for the safety aspect (of transportation), MPR Deputy Chairman Hidayat Nurwahid said here on Tuesday.

He made the statement while referring to incidents such as the Zahro Express fire that killed 23 passengers on Sunday, and the Citilink airplane pilot who came drunk to the airport and was stopped from flying the plane only due to protests by alert passengers.

The Zahro Express boat fire incident, according to Hidayat, reminded him of the drunk pilot Captain Tekad Purna, who tried to fly the Qg 800 Citilink airplane from Surabaya to Jakarta in an inebriated condition.

"If the condition is like this, will foreign tourists come to Indonesia, after seeing a drunken pilot, a plane crash and a boat fire? They will be frightened. The government must be serious in improving safety and convenience in the transportation sector," Hidayat said.

The government should guarantee the safety of passengers by checking all modes of transportation and ensuring that everything is in good condition.

He called for improvement in all modes transportation, be it air, land or sea.

The ferry Zahro Express was sailing from Muara Angke to Pulau Tidung Island in North Jakarta when it caught fire on Sunday morning.

It left Muara Angke at 8:45 am local time and caught fire in the waters off Pulau Bidadari, Seribu Islands, at 9 am Western Indonesia Standard Time.

The incident caused the deaths of 23 passengers, injured 17 and left 17 others missing, while 194 were saved by rescue workers.

A few days before the boat mishap, Captain Tekad Purna of Citilink was relieved of his duties on Wednesday (Dec 23) after passengers claimed he spoke incoherently during a flight announcement before takeoff.

Many passengers decided to disembark from the plane soon after as they were suspicious that the pilot was drunk.

The incident occurred as the Citilink flight prepared to depart from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, to Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.(*)