Monday November 24, 2003

Dozens die on Malaysia roads ahead of holidays

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 23 Forty-eight people have died on Malaysian roads in three days ahead of this week's Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival, despite curbs on truck movements for what is traditionally a deadly period, police said on Monday.
Millions of Malaysians take to the roads to visit family during the two-day festival, Malaysia's main religious holiday that begins on Tuesday but unofficially stretches over a week.
''We already have 48 deaths in three days ahead of the festival and we hope motorists will be more careful,'' a spokesman for federal police said on Monday.
Police have also stopped road works and about 2,000 traffic police have been deployed. They will also use helicopters to monitor roads.
Eid al-Fitr, which comes at the close of the Ramadan fasting month, is celebrated by more than half of the 25 million people in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.
Last year, there were 12,239 road accidents and 285 deaths during the festival.