Coach operator KKKL Travel and Tours has suspended a Malaysian driver who allegedly drove away with personal items belonging to a group of Singaporean travellers.
None of the affected passengers, who were returning home from Kuala Lumpur via the Second Link last Monday, have had their valuables returned. They were also left stranded at Malaysian immigration when their driver disappeared.
In response to queries, KKKL's lawyer Michael Wong said yesterday that the company is completing internal investigations and has suspended the bus driver.
Passengers have had no answers as to why their driver left or where he went.
One of them, Mr Sha Jahan, 41, told The Straits Times yesterday that the 20 passengers had got off the bus at about midnight last Tuesday with their passports, to be processed by Malaysian immigration.
This is the usual practice for travellers by bus. Afterwards, however, they could not find their transport.
About half of them had left their suitcases, handbags and backpacks containing valuables on board, said Mr Sha, an IT professional.
ACCOUNTABLE FOR ITEMS
We trusted KKKL but we have been terribly disappointed... Even after we were back in Singapore, they did not see us or call to discuss the incident. They may have not stolen our things, but they are accountable for them.
MR SHA JAHAN, a passenger.
"We waited and waited, but the bus never turned up. It was only about 45 minutes later when a second bus arrived that we came to know that the other one was gone."
The second bus was a replacement sent by KKKL, a travel operator with offices in Malaysia and Singapore. Neither bus had any logo indicating they were from KKKL.
Mr Sha, who was travelling alone, said he lost a new laptop worth $2,500, new clothes worth about $200, credit cards and about $800 in cash.
He added that he asked the second driver for the other driver's number and spoke to him.
The first driver at first promised to return with their belongings, but later said he was stuck in a traffic jam.
Some of Mr Sha's fellow travellers left on the replacement bus, but he and four others remained to lodge reports with the police post at the checkpoint.
After they were done in the wee hours of the morning, they had to find their own transport back to Singapore, asking other bus operators at the checkpoint if they had seats on their vehicles.
"We trusted KKKL but we have been terribly disappointed," Mr Sha said.
"Even after we were back in Singapore, they did not see us or call to discuss the incident. They may have not stolen our things, but they are accountable for them."
Although it has been a week without news, he still harbours hope that his belongings, especially the laptop that contains sensitive information, can be recovered.
"Otherwise, it's only fair that the company compensates me for the value of my items," he said.
He added that the passengers are finally meeting a KKKL representative at its office today, after asking repeatedly to do so.
A few passengers have also made police reports here.
KKKL is working with the affected passengers to "find the best solution", Mr Wong said.