Malaysia's public transport boss sacked after 'kissing trains' joke about subway crash that injured 200
The head-on collision on Monday of two light rail metro trains in an underground tunnel near the center of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, caused severe injuries to 47 passengers, with 166 others sustaining minor wounds.
But the incident, the first major one in the 23 years since the metro system launched, seemingly wasn't enough to spoil the mood of the chairman of the Prasarana Malaysia public transport operator, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
When asked about the incident in a televised press conference on Tuesday, Tajuddin responded that it was "normal."
"Only the two cars are together. They kissed each other," the official added with a laugh.
News correspondent : What is the situation in the tunnel..?Chairman Prasarana : Normal..only the 2 cars together. They kiss each other (Ketawa).😶😶 haih tajudin pic.twitter.com/8zX8XKugCV— princesskl (@hudarahimm) May 25, 2021
Tajuddin's remarks at the press conference have been severely criticized, with Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) castigating them as "nothing short of rude and disgusting." In a statement, 4PAM also expressed anger with what it said was a slow response to the crash by the official, as well as the low level of compensation offered to the victims. The group urged the prime minister to swiftly remove the Prasarana Malaysia chairman from his position over his "clear disregard of passenger care."
The resignation call was backed by a swell of social media users, who blasted Tajuddin in numerous posts and comments, while an online petition calling for his dismissal gathered over 100,000 signatures in less than a day.
On Wednesday, a letter by Malaysia's Finance Minister, Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, began circulating on social media, saying that Tajuddin's services were being terminated, effective immediately.
A Finance Ministry spokesman later confirmed the authenticity of the letter to reporters, but didn't specify the reasons for the transport chairman's dismissal.Also on rt.com More than 200 people injured after 2 trains collide in subway tunnel in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur (VIDEO)
According to a preliminary investigation into the crash, the collision was the result of human error, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said earlier. One train, carrying 213 passengers, collided with a second, empty train because the driver of the latter "was driving in the wrong direction," the minister said.
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