Entertaining Criminals

Still want to give a dim hope to criminals on the road to continue their crime?

(Traffic offenders are not only a major nuisance on the road but they are also dangerous to others. I don’t see the point of giving leniency towards repeated offenders. Image source: http://www.cartoonstock.com)

From theStar:-

The Cabinet has decided to lift from now until Feb 28 next year, the blacklisting system which bans traffic offenders who fail to pay their summonses from renewing their licences and road tax, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

He said, however, traffic offenders would still have to clear their existing summonses either by installment or full payment.

When I was in overseas, traveling from the hotel to the customer’s office was a frightening experience – 2 lanes of cars would soon turn into 3 lanes with queue jumpers trying to force their way through, many of speeding cars cut lanes without any indication whatsoever, stopping at the red light is almost non-existence, cars continue to speed on despite heavy traffic ahead, motorcyclist not wearing helmet cutting in and out of traffic and pedestrians crossing major highways and expecting the cars to stop.

Each day, traveling was akin to a suicide mission – we did not know whether we will be involved in an accident or we will run over someone. We have the same in Malaysia but the occurrence of people breaking traffic rules is much smaller than the one I saw when I was in overseas. This in fact, I hate to say this, makes Malaysian drivers coming out looking like angels. But should we be happy that we fared better than some drivers in some backward 3rd world countries? Shouldn’t we be striving to be better?

Since this issue came into the limelight, the call for lenience against the (repeated) offenders has been, unfortunately, spearheaded by the oppositions. But recently the Government also seems to be getting soft too but thankfully they did not go down in the same dirt road as the oppositions. They still insist the road traffic offending buggers to pay up. This is good and it is in the right direction too. This is what the rest of the traffic law abiding citizen wants to see – making the road traffic offenders pay for their offences.

For those who been calling for leniency, they seem to have failed to ask this simple question – why the drivers are blacklisted in the first place?

What is the number of genuine mistakes in issuing the summons against the number of actual drivers breaking traffic rules? I can safely bet that the number of mistakes in issuing the summons would be very small compared to the idiots who make breaking traffic rules and being a pain in the neck for the rest on a regular basis. So, if you broke the traffic laws, you must be made to pay.

And when you find some buggers still roaming the roads with plenty of unpaid summons, don’t you feel that they are laughing aloud at the law and the enforcement agencies? How do you force them to pay? Blacklisting them from renewing their license and road tax is one way. Nabbing at the middle of the night and throwing them into prison is another. For now, the government have decided to give some breathing space for these criminals to pay up on their offences.

When it comes to February 28 and when the blacklisting system is enforced again, the government should relook into the list of the offenders and see how many of them are repeated offenders and still having unpaid summons. And if they find that there are still stubborn ones in the list, they should look at the next course of action – something more “persuasive” than just blacklisting them. The last thing we need is traffic offenders still on the road, causing problem for others.

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6 thoughts on “Entertaining Criminals

  1. http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?col=questiontime&file=/2010/8/11/columnists/questiontime/6833309&sec=Question%20Time

    Wednesday August 11, 2010

    Three cheers for saman ekor
    QUESTION TIME
    By P. GUNASEGARAM

    Sort the problems out and cherish this life-saving deterrence to road accidents.

    IN one month, the exodus out of the cities will start as millions go back to their hometowns to celebrate Hari Raya. The roads will be filled to the brim, the users will break traffic rules, there will be many who will flout the law and drive at breakneck speed, endangering their lives and those of others.

    For the unfortunate few, relatively speaking that is, there will be grief at Hari Raya. Statistics show that over 200 lives will be lost during the festivities and many more injured. Thousands, who should be celebrating the end of Ramadan, the fasting month, will instead go into mourning.

    Politicians at this time will exhort their constituents to be extra careful on the roads and reduce the fatalities, as if their exhortations will bear fruit. But at the same time, some of them endorse relaxing traffic rules and their enforcement, the only thing that offers deterrence to those who endanger lives on the roads.

    It is a horrifying shock to me that there are quarters who are opposed to the imposition of traffic summonses via the post (the celebrated saman ekor) and that the Government is actually considering doing away with them. If they are caught on camera for an offence, what other evidence is needed?

    When the rates of accident and fatalities on the roads in Malaysia are among the highest in the world, it is terribly, terribly difficult to understand how one can justify turning back a 10-year-old practice that has been successful in identifying 10 million offences!

    I can understand that some of the offenders are peeved that the first time they know about the summonses is when they attempt to pay their road tax. Then they discover they have been blacklisted for not paying up for the past traffic offences.

    But that must not imply that the process – and a very effective one at that – for catching traffic offenders be scrapped in favour of one that requires a summons to be issued on the spot by police and enforcement officers.

    Strangely, the solution proposed by Umno Youth, whose leader Khairy Jamaluddin described saman ekor as unfair and did not give the right to motorists to defend themselves in court, was to scrap it.

    Scrapping it means that the motorist or traffic offender has to be caught red-handed committing an offence by an officer who is in a position to stop or apprehend the offender and then issue a summons.

    That is not only impossible most of the time, it is open to substantial abuses such as corruption. It causes traffic jams and poses a danger to motorists and other road users.

    The effect of human intervention is also to favour some people and come down hard on others while there will be no such thing under an automatic, automated system which will catch all offenders irrespective of who they are – from the mighty politician to the lowly rakyat.

    We must keep the existing saman ekor. If there are administrative deficiencies, we can easily sort them out by other means rather than scrapping them.

    Countries throughout the world rely on this system to keep their road users on the straight and narrow. It is particularly useful in nabbing unsuspecting speeding offenders and speeding is one of the major killers on our roads. We must not compromise safety standards.

    Complaints that offenders did not know about their offences are valid but the majority of them are likely to be excuses. It is incumbent upon vehicle owners to provide the right address on their registration cards. If they have, they would have received the summonses.

    The police should only have to prove that they have posted and delivered the summonses to the addresses on the registration cards within a specified time period, say three months. This can be in the form of registered letters or courier services. If this is done, the public has little or nothing to complain about and must pay up.

    For road safety to improve, there must be enormous deterrence for bad behaviour. Road users must be severely, fairly and uniformly penalised for traffic offences and there is really nothing better than saman ekor.

    To do away with saman ekor is to contribute to the high rate of deaths on Malaysian roads and hobble the already overloaded police and other enforcement officers. It will set the clock back many years and deal a deadly blow to our efforts to reduce road kill.

    It will be an insult to those who have died and will die on the roads during festive times, coming at this time when many make their way back to their kampung for Hari Raya.

    Instead of cheering the saman ekor system, which has brought to book millions of traffic offenders and offered a real deterrent to road offences, we are now at the ludicrous crossroad of deciding whether to continue with the system.

    It is testimony to the effectiveness of saman ekor that so many people are complaining about it – it is really beginning to hurt. Isn’t that what deterrence is about?

    Three cheers for saman ekor!

    Managing editor P. Gunasegaram says public feedback should not always be sought. If they were asked, no one will want to pay tax. He has been caught by saman ekor before.

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    1. Well said – the one that is shouting for the removal saman ekor (the one caught red-handed by solid evidence) is just opening the floodgate for more abuse of the system. When they have someone close to them died due to action of some irresponsible traffic rule breaking driver, perhaps they will regret the day the asked for leniency for those blacklisted under the law.

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