Escalator operator faces action over Malaysian toddler's genital injury

Officers from Malaysia's Emergency Rescue Service team working to free the boy from the escalator.
Officers from Malaysia's Emergency Rescue Service team working to free the boy from the escalator. PHOTOS: @BOMBJBPM/TWITTER

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian authorities will take court action against the operator of a Perak supermarket escalator, where a toddler's genitals were injured, after they found the machine had been fitted without a valid certificate of fitness (CF).

The operator, which was running the escalator despite not maintaining it or renewing its CF, could face up to a RM100,000 (S$33,439) fine or two years' jail if found guilty, said Department of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia (DOSH) director-general Datuk Mohtar Musri.

"We checked the safety devices they had on the escalator and the CF. Based on our investigations, they did not comply.

"We will send our investigation papers to the Attorney-General's Chambers for action to be taken," he said.

 

The escalator in question had been out of service since March when its CF expired but a new tenant prompted the management to switch it back on again, he said.

The three-year-old boy was not supervised at the time and was said to have sat on the escalator's steps while riding from the second floor to the third floor of the supermarket on Monday night.

It caught the fabric of his pants and the tip of his penis.

Fire and Rescue Department officers took about half-an-hour to dislodge the boy from the escalator using crowbars.

Mohtar said there was still a high chance the incident could have happened even if the unsupervised boy was on a certified safe equipment.

"He was sitting on the step, which is not a safe way to ride an escalator. You are not supposed to do that. If you notice, most of these incidents involve young children, and most of the time they are left alone to ride or play around escalators," he said.

"So, even if the escalator was fixed and the safety was valid; if the parents don't take care of their children and they don't use it properly, accidents are still bound to happen," he said.

The stepfather of the child said the boy was recovering well at the Taiping Hospital and was back to his cheerful self.

He said he was parking his motorcycle when his stepson ran into the supermarket alone.

He claimed he had only taken his eyes off the boy for a few seconds before he heard the boy's screams.