The first-ever regional Southeast Asian Scania Driver Competition finals attracted drivers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore.
Since 2003, more than 350,000 truck drivers in nearly 50 countries have participated in Scania Driver Competitions. Drivers across Europe have, for years, competed against one another in regional competitions and last year similar competitions were regionally organised in Latin America. Now, Southeast Asian drivers have also joined the movement.
Highly skilled drivers
The first-ever regional Southeast Asian Scania Driver Competition finals were recently held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with qualified contestants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore. All of the drivers had distinguished themselves as highly skilled truck and bus drivers in their respective country.
The objective of the Scania Driver Competitions is to elevate the status and prestige of heavy commercial vehicle drivers by recognising the true heroes – the drivers themselves. This inaugural Southeast Asian edition was more demanding for the 19 finalists than the local competitions previously held with tougher rules and scenarios.
Malaysian drivers excelled
After the challenging stages, two Malaysian drivers stood as winners, receiving a cash prize, a challenge trophy and certificate. The bus category was won by Law Cheok Gheen, who also trains drivers at the Zulco Sdn Bhd bus company where he is a manager.
“To have the proper mindset, I need to know the actual situations that the drivers face,” he says. “This win adds to my credibility and closes the gap for me both as a trainer and a manager when I advise them on how to drive safer and more cost efficiently.”
The truck category was won by Sarveswaren Srues A/L Ram, who described his win as a huge surprise. “What I learned from this competition is the importance of being focused on the road, to be aware of your surroundings and also plan or strategise your journey. It has definitely made me understand and appreciate the importance of safe driving.”
More than 1,000 participating drivers
Both runner-ups represented Singapore: Wong Yih Chien in the truck category and Rahman Khan bin Abdul Karim in the bus category. The truck drivers were tested using a Scania G 410 attached to a trailer carrying a 20-foot container, while the bus drivers manoeuvered a Scania Marcopolo coach.
Enrolment for the competition began in 2016 and more than 1,000 drivers from all over the region initially went through elimination rounds that tested their knowledge of road transport laws and regulations, alternative fuels, fuel-efficient and safe driving, load securing, occupational risks and health, and emergency procedures.
“We have seen an increasing interest in the Scania Driver Competition and that is a good indication that it has been a catalyst in getting heavy commercial vehicle drivers to upgrade their skills and that means safer drivers, safer conditions for all road users and better fuel economy for operators,” said Marie Sjödin Enström, Managing Director of Scania Southeast Asia.