Ex-SMRT bus driver jailed and banned for causing 80-year-old pedestrian's death

Malaysian Mokhtar Bahrom was jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for five years for causing the death of an elderly pedestrian.
Malaysian Mokhtar Bahrom was jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for five years for causing the death of an elderly pedestrian. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An SMRT bus driver, who failed to keep a lookout for pedestrians, was making a right turn at a cross junction in Woodlands when he ran over an elderly man.

On Thursday (March 16) Malaysian Mokhtar Bahrom, 37, was jailed for 10 weeks and banned from driving for five years.

Mokhtar, who is no longer an employee of SMRT, admitted causing the death of Mr Choo Tian Hwa, 80, at the signalised cross junction of Woodlands Avenue 7 and Woodlands Avenue 2 through his negligence around 11pm on July 9 last year (2016).

The front ride side of the bus that Mokhtar was driving hit Mr Choo.

Mr Choo died in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital a week later from a head injury.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo, who sought a sentence of at least 10 weeks and a five-year driving ban, told District Judge Lim Tse Haw that Mokhtar was driving a heavy vehicle - a bus - and should have exercised a higher standard of care given the greater potential for hurt and damage in the event of an accident.

He said the extent of negligence was serious in this case.

Mokhtar had no excuse not to have noticed the 80-year-old pedestrian who was crossing from right to left and had already crossed beyond the centre divider when he was hit.

He added that the driver was familiar with the route and his view was unobstructed at the time.

Mokhtar, who was unrepresented, was arrested by the Malaysian police and handed over to the Singapore police on Feb 16 this year. The court heard that he left for Malaysia on Oct 1 after his work permit was cancelled.

Pleading for leniency, he said he has to support three school-going children and his wife is not employed. He had been working for SMRT for less than a year.

He could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death by doing a negligent act.