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Governance 101: Seriously, It’s Only Common Sense, Right?

Common Sense

(It is common sense that petrol stations have plenty of flammable fuel, so imagine seeing a fire at the petrol station. Now imagine if you are next to it or worst, you and your love ones in the inferno. Image source:

You probably have seen the above sign at your nearest petrol station but you probably acted like an idiot and ignored it anyway.

I was driving back from an appointment late one night. I looked over at my fuel indicator, as I was about to pass my usual petrol station near my house and decided that I needed a top-up – I always keep about RM10 of fuel in reserve just in case there is an emergency (imagine if one need to rush to the hospital at the wrong time of the day and the fuel gauge shows at “E”). I put up my indicators and slowly turned in to the petrol station.

It must have a slow night – there were not many cars at the pumping stations but there was more than enough at the parking lots (I saw a long queue at the ATM machine). I drove in slowly and parked just right for an easy fill up (where the fuel lid is on the same side as the pump). I switched off the engine, went in, smiled at the cute lady at the counter, paid for the fuel and came out to pump fuel. As I was doing that, I saw a large MPV turning into the petrol station as well and parked not far from me.

With the engine still running, the driver casually got out (he was well dressed and he looked educated too) and went in to pay for fuel. I also noticed that there were small children at the back seat and they were busy watching a cartoon on the MPV’s DVD screen. The driver came back and still with the engine running, he casually opened the fuel lid and started to pumping fuel.

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(Some idiots seems to misunderstand the precautions needed when fueling at petrol stations. Fire can start and spread in split seconds)

For a moment, I did not know what to say – I was speechless. Hasn’t the driver read the big notice asking drivers to switch off their engine before pumping petrol? I mean it is only common sense that one does not smoke, use the mobile phone or let the engine running when fueling. Unless you are dressed up in a fire-retardant suit (like those in F1), you are simply asking for trouble.

Still remember this:-

Speaking at a press conference at the office of lawyer Karpal Singh yesterday, the boy’s father, Ahmad Nizam Abd Rahman, said he did not expect a normal stop at the petrol station in Batang Kali on Oct 12 to turn awry.

Nizam said he and his family were going back to their hometown to celebrate Hari Raya when the incident happened.”I was pumping petrol when the pump nozzle caught fire. Everything happened so fast. The next thing I knew Ikmal was on fire.”

Nizam said he and his two other sons were also burnt by the flames but Ikmal was the most seriously injured. He said he tried to put out the fire but there were no fire extinguishers.


Think of the case scenarios – the MPV catching fire and since the driver standing next to it, catching himself on fire as well and soon the fire spreading to other areas of the petrol station, causing panic and traffic as others tried to drive out from the fiery inferno and the children who moments ago, watching cartoon trapped in a wall of fire.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have seen idiots pumping fuel whilst leaving the engine running. And I am amazed and shocked at the same time. It is not like they are too stupid to understand the consequences – maybe they are but stupidity does not give them the right to endanger others. As much as I was anticipating fire, I did not stay long to find out.

I quietly drove out, hoping that gross stupidity and ignorance did not kill anyone one of these days.

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