Klang Marathon Said to Be Unlicensed, Illegal

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Probe into paperwork of marathon while police investigate accident as reckless driving.

  • Sports commission says marathon unlicensed, to lodge report
  • Organiser denies event illegal, to face legal action
  • Khairy says participants should demand a refund
  • Check if sporting events have proper permits from Youth & Sports Ministry website
  • Klang Heritage Marathon 2018 cancelled
  • Runners claim lack of safety measure
  • Severely injured runner underwent high-risk surgery

Police are investigating the Klang City International Marathon incident where three people were hit by a car under Section 43 (1) Road Transport Act 1987 for careless and inconsiderate driving.

The 27-year-old driver of a Proton Iswara had allegedly lost control of his vehicle and rammed into the runners from behind.

PDRM

The driver, who was arrested after the incident, had his urine tested for drugs and it came back negative.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIGP) Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim confirmed that a police report has been lodged over the accident and police have already begun their investigations.

“We are looking into the accident. We are investigating how it happened. Was due care and attention given (by the organiser) to safety, to all the pedestrian and those involved in the race and drivers as well,” Noor Rashid told the Malay Mail.

Reuters

Avid runner Evelyn Ang, 44, who was among three participants hit by a car during the marathon, suffered severe head injuries, including a cranial fracture and bleeding in the brain, in the crash.

ET Tay/Facebook

Ang was transferred to Hospital Sungai Buloh for a high-risk surgery after initially being rushed to Klang hospital for treatment.

Amiruddin Hamid, 37, and Ahmad Hadafi Jus, 42, were the two others also hit in the crash. They suffered head and ankle injuries, and their conditions are reported to be stable.

The three were hit at around 4.30am on Sunday around Jalan Kapar Batu 2, just as they were at the 14km mark of the marathon.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Sports Commissioner’s Office will lodge a police report against the organiser of the marathon for failing to obtain proper licences to hold the event.

He said the organiser should have obtained the green light from the office before seeking approval from the police and local councils, as stated under the Sports Development Act 1997.

Khairy and sports commissioner Datuk Zaiton Othman visited Ang yesterday, who was still unconscious but stable after undergoing an operation to remove a blood clot in her head.

“We are still waiting for the prognosis on her follow-up treatment. 

“I met her husband Dennis Loo and told him we will expedite the investigation,” Khairy said.

He revealed that his ministry will also administratively blacklist the organiser, Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, for failure to submit an application to hold the event.

He said Klang City International Marathon 2017 runners should demand a refund and sue the organiser if a refund was refused, as it was clear that the organiser had held an illegal sporting event.

“Failure to get a licence from the Sports Commissioner’s Office is a breach of Section 36 of the Sports Development Act 1997. 

Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali

“It is only right for the organiser to be investigated by the police and charged in court for breaking the law.

“Participants of the marathon should demand a refund and sue the organiser if it refuses to do so, as they (the organisers) had made false representation,” he said.

He said an amendment to the Section 36 of the Sports Development Act 1997 will be submitted for review to the Attorney General’s Chamber to impose a heavier fine of RM500,000 and to extend the imprisonment term, as well as to make it compulsory for organisers to apply for a license 90 days prior to the event date.

The existing Act imposes a fine not more than RM5,000, imprisonment not more than six months or both upon conviction.

“We want a heavier fine of RM500,000 and for the prison term to be extended.

“It should also be made compulsory for organisers to apply for a licence 90 days prior to an event,” he told reporters.

He added that sporting events sanctioned by the Sports Commissioner’s Office can be viewed on the Youth and Sports Ministry’s website from Tuesday. This, he said, is being done to protect participants from enlisting in sporting events which do not have proper permits.

Zaiton told the Malay Mail that Earth Runners International Group Sdn Bhd, which organised the marathon, did not submit an application to her office to hold the event.

“Based on our checks, the organiser did not apply for a permit for the run with our office,” she said.

Zaiton said under Section 36 of the Sports Development Act 1997, no company can be involved in organising any sporting activity or any other activity related to sports in accordance to the regulations set by the minister, unless licensed by the commissioner.

“No application was made to my office as required under the Act. They should have done so as they are a company and not a sporting body,” she said.

Confirming that the run was illegal, she said action will be taken against the organiser for contravening the Act.

“We’re monitoring all the organisers of marathon races held here. They need to get a licence to hold the races,” Zaiton added.

She also said following the incident on Sunday, the upcoming Klang Heritage Marathon 2018, formerly known as the Selangor Marathon 2017 has been cancelled.

“We received an application from the organisers but decided to disapprove them in order to conduct further security checks on the planned event,” she was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Earlier, participants of the marathon criticised the lack of effort to ensure runners’ safety, with one saying he was glad simply to have survived.

Participant Barley Wong alleged that organisers did not take sufficient measures to avoid any mishaps during the run.

Wong said the first thing that struck him was that there were only a few cones separating the runners’ lanes from oncoming traffic.

“And the cones were spaced really far apart.

“There was no mobile toilet and some water stations didn’t even have water,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.

One of the three runners injured, Ahmad Hadafi, 42, recounted the shock of the incident in which he was carried on the roof of the car for nearly a kilometre after it ran over the participants.

“One minute I was running, the next I was on the roof of the car. 

Klang City International Marathon/Facebook

“I have no idea how I ended up on the roof. I kept pounding on the roof and window but I don’t know why the driver didn’t stop,” he told reporters.

Fellow runner Nurdina Kasim, 25, said she too was almost hit by a car during the run.

“There was an alley near a construction site which I felt was the most dangerous I’ve ever run in.

“The road was bumpy and it was dark. There were also three men standing beside a van with its engine running watching us run,” she was quoted as saying.

She claimed that when she quickened her pace to go past the men, a car zoomed so close to her that she was lucky she wasn’t hit.

She added that she noticed that cars drove into the runners’ lanes because of the wide spacing of the cones. A lack of signage along the route compounded things, she said.

“There were no signs as to where one should go; so you just had to trust your gut feeling.”

Participant Noorfaridah Mohd Nor, 34, said the numerous dark stretches made it seem especially dangerous for women runners and she wondered if the organiser had properly researched the route.

She also said that traffic control was poor.

“Runners had to cross (roads) on their own, and we had to watch out for speeding vehicles,” she was quoted as saying.

In a separate report by The Star, the race organisers denied that the event was illegal, and insisted that it obtained all the necessary approvals.

“No company in the world will dare go on with such a big event without going through the relevant authorities because this concerns the safety of all participants,” a spokesman was quoted as saying.

The spokesman, identified only as Tay, said the organising team submitted the applications to the police and Klang Municipal Council (MPK) in June and received the approvals in August.

When asked why the event was held in the wee hours, Tay told the daily that it was because of safety considerations.

He said the seven-hour event was conducted on a busy main road and it would pose more danger to participants during the day when there would be more traffic.

North Klang OCPD Asst Comm Mazelan Paijan said police received a letter from the organiser in July, requesting for traffic control.

“We responded and told the organiser to adhere to traffic regulations,” said Mazelan.

A police source from the South Klang district police HQ confirmed receiving a similar letter.

The source also said a reply was given to the organiser regarding the scope of traffic control.

It is learnt that police performed background checks on any event organiser as standard procedure, and the company did not raise any “red flag”.

According to the organiser, there were 65 police officers, 40 Rela personnel, 35 road marshals and five ambulances at the event.

The spokesman said paramedics attended to the injured runners within five minutes of the accident and the victims were rushed to hospital using the ambulance that was on standby.