Dashcams: Another Source for Enforcement


Let’s start with some interesting videos



The above videos, whilst may seemed impressive demonstrates how some morons rather endanger other road users so that they can have cheap thrills on the road. Why they can’t book the racing track for a day and burn rubbers to their heart’s content?

While the country may be buzzing with the findings by the PAC on 1MDB, the Citizen Declaration and now the “admission” from the Saudi Foreign Minister (is it?). For me, it is a foregone conclusion. It is rather pointless to talk about accountability, transparency and responsibility at this point of time. After all, it is now argued that putting signature on a formal document does not mean you know what is happening and as such you are not liable. Didn’t I say that the whole affair is a foregone conclusion? Now the focus would be on the upcoming Sarawak Elections and one hopes that the voters would be able to see beyond the sweet promises to do this and that and look at what is best for the nation in the long run.

Anyway if you have not been busy keeping up with the local political circus, you would have heard that the Government is fine tuning the enforcement of traffic laws in the country. Finally something worth the taxpayers money and time. Firstly as many of the “good things” that they have done in the past, they looked what they had in their pockets and decided to merge and RENAME them (effectiveness comes much later):-

The Automated Enforcement System (AES) will be merged with the Kejara demerit system and renamed as AWAS (Awareness Automated Safety System).

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic), who disclosed this, said this was to ensure a more holistic approach to reduce the number of road accidents.

“Whether you pay your fines or not, your marks will still be deducted if you are found to have committed a traffic offence,” he said during an interview on TV3 last night.

(Source)

Hmmm, that sounded fair enough but it only addresses the punishment aspect of the traffic law and not the enforcement. Still, it is a start. If you are caught, you will be slapped with both fine and demerit points but you need to be caught in the first place. No word on increasing the number of AES cameras in this country – just 14 of them and I know for sure that most motorists well behave before they pass the AES camera and become a speed demon once they have passed it. What about drivers who are driving dangerously, abuse the emergency lanes, changing lanes without any indicators and use vehicles are not safe to be on the road (I even saw a police car last night without any rear nights on).

Then there was more news on the traffic law fines (which did not go well with the police’s earlier plans to increase the fine):-

The Ministry of Transport is proposing to reduce the rate of traffic summons from RM300 to RM150 for certain traffic offences, said its Deputy Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi.

He said, however the proposal must be approved by the Cabinet and amendments to the Road Transport Act 1987 must be made before implementing it.

“It is still a proposal between the ministry and the government for certain offences with a certain time period given, for instance RM150 must be paid within six months, if they fail to do so, the amount would be increased, you delay, you pay more,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby here today.

(Source)

Seriously I don’t get the rationale to go soft on traffic law offenders by giving huge discounts, cooling off period, close of one eyes and reduction of the fine for some traffic laws? Didn’t they break the law in the first place? Didn’t they cause inconvenience to others (imagine the idiots who double parked and blocked the roads? We don’t have huge trucks to plough our way through) or those had posed serious danger to other road users (and themselves)?

One ex-IGP even went on to say this:-

Given the gloomy economic outlook with many Malaysians struggling with higher living costs and the threat of layoffs loom for many job sectors, the IGP’s threat to hit motorists where it hurts most – their wallets, seem like an inspired approach to tackle the perennial problem of traffic accidents and fatalities.

This move, as expected are not well received by the public saying that it is a burden with the current economy situation.

In a phone interview with Malaysian Digest, former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan expressed his opinion that the move is untimely.“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.” – Former IGP Tan Sri
Musa Hassan

“I think with the current high cost of living the suggestion is not relevant. Imposing higher fines now is like pouring fuel on a fire.

“Because it will cause resentment from the people,” he pointed out.

(Source)

Sorry to say this but the traffic fines are not taxes. It is not GST. It is imposed on people who break the traffic laws. If they feel that it is going to be a burden in this current economy situation then they should abide by the traffic laws, follow the speed limit, they should use the indicators when changing lane, they should drive responsively, blah, blah. No one forces the traffic fines down their throat. The opposition morons used to say the same thing.

The problem in Malaysia have always been enforcement, enforcement and enforcement.

I have wrote on enforcement in the past (no point repeating them again in detail here) and you can read them here:-

Some of the hardcore traffic offenders know that the enforcement is seriously lacking and it takes months or even years before the law comes to collect the unpaid summonses (by then, there will be a huge discount waiting for them). Some politicians will capitalise on the situation and argue that the fines / punishment are burdensome to the people and the whole strict enforcement would be on hold until further studies are made. This is the wrong way to do it.

Strict enforcement is the only way to do it.

Start off with AES cameras – so far it has been very effective and operates 24 x 7, rain or shine and it had done a good job to date (almost 2 million summonses issued). The present 14 AES cameras are simply not enough. Then the enforcement on the ground need to be revamped as well – if you break the law, you have to pay for the consequences.

In addition to AES, there is another source for enforcement – dash cams (either from law abiding road users or from the traffic offenders themselves). Look at the videos in the beginning post again. Don’t you think there is enough video evidence to book some of the thrill seekers who treat the public road as their own personal race track, oblivious of the danger posed to other road users? Start looking into this angle as well as another mean to identify traffic offenders and coming hard, very hard on them.

Don’t give discounts, don’t treat these traffic fines like some mandatory tax that is burdening some poor souls out there – it will not help to reduce number of traffic laws broken but instead will only encourage them. Besides, some of these traffic offenders are driving cars that costs more than what an average Joe earns the whole year.

AES: Why We Really Need Them?


(Another fucking moron on the highway, the fact the idiot is getting too excited whenever he sees a high powered car is beside the point but with speeds in excess of 200 km/h with no cops in sight is clearly endangering other road users. This is where AES can come in very effectively – catching such idiots on camera 24 hours a day and in all weathers. Source: Youtube)

I don’t understand why some people failed to see that it is not an issue of profit but rather an issue of enforcement & road safety.

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government and the concessionaires stand to collect RM51 billion from traffic summonses should all 831 Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras are installed nationwide, said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today.

He also criticised the system for enriching certain individuals at the expense of sorry traffic offenders, saying that no government would try to gauge profits from traffic summonses. “If we did something wrong, you summon us, no problem. But why when issuing summonses, certain individuals are getting profits…” he said.

(Source)

And in response to the above allegation, we have this reply:-

Abdul Rahim in denying allegations that AES operators, Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and Ates Sdn Bhd were capturing images of traffic offenders for profiteering purposes said RTD had the authority to issue summons, not the operators.

He said the government had made certain provisions to control the profits of the AES operators. Abdul Rahim said the operators bore all the cost of supply, installation and maintenance of AES system as well as its upgrade, if necessary. He said the operators were willing to accept losses in the event of less summons issued due to positive changes in the behavior of road users or vandalism risks on their equipment and cameras.

(Source)

But before we go further, we also have this complaint in the papers:-

It was reported that 63,558 offences were captured by 14 cameras over eight days under the Automated Enforcement System (AES). Therefore, on average, each camera recorded 567 offences a day or one in every two and a half minutes. At this rate, a staggering 171,772,650 offences will be captured in a year when all 830 cameras are used.

Can the Road Transport Department issue such a huge number of summonses and are motorists willing to pay? Laws and rules are meant to protect the majority. If a huge number is penalised, then something must be wrong and ought to be changed.

Super cars are treated the same as jalopies as the cameras cannot discriminate between vehicles. Yet in most instances, it would be no more dangerous for a German car to cruise at 160kph than a 660cc car floating at 110kph.

(Source)

When it comes to enforcement, road safety and adherence to traffic rules & ethics, one have to wake up to 2 stark realities in Malaysia

One – we have a serious case of enforcement of traffic rules and this is largely attributed to the shortage of enforcement personals and higher priority and allocation of limited resources on more serious crime. It is a fact that the police cannot be everywhere at the same time and they have better things to do than to waste time and resource to chase someone who has been speeding. Something more effective is needed to address this and the Government has been trying to address this in recent times under its various measures in its NKRA for crime but it is clear that there is still plenty of work to be done before the general public perception of reduction in crime improves.

Two – we have a load of morons who are on the road on daily basis causing inconvenience and posing serious danger to other road users. Don’t get me wrong – they could be the best husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker, buddies, etc, very charitable, religious and helpful but when they are on the road, they can be a fucking idiot and a pain in the neck to others. And not surprisingly, a large number of them ride a motorcycle. And it does not take long for them to kick a big fuss (with the usual misplaced & lame excuses and often in collusion with opposition politicians who some are waiting to politicize anything under the sun when it comes to Government policies) whenever the Government announces stronger measures to enforce the traffic laws. Still remember when the RM1,000 fine was proposed and then cancelled? It is not an issue of education but rather care-less attitude.

(The basic flow of AES in Malaysia but it is not a perfect system – there is still room for improvement. Image source: http://www.skyscrapercity.com / TheStar)

AES or Automated Enforcement System is not something new. Seeing policemen with speed cameras / radars by the side of the highway has been a norm for many years now and we also had CCTV cameras in certain area of the traffic for monitoring and enforcement purposes. The old method of having a policeman manning the speeding camera has its weaknesses – one obvious weakness is that the policeman cannot man the speeding camera 24 hours and in all weathers (I personally have seen them “closing shop” when it started to rain and things get more dangerous for others). And it is a wrong allocation of resources –  why sit under the umbrella manning speed cameras for hours when the same policeman can be allocated to do street policing work or work on serious crime investigations?

So the mindless oppositions to the implementation of AES has really dumb-struck me. And the fact that opposition politicians joining in road offenders (hmmm, habitual offenders must really be feeling the bite now) in calling for the AES to be on hold is greatly missing the point. Yes, I agree that there may be an issue in awarding the AES contract to a selected few and perhaps there may just be an issue on the computation of the payments to the AES operators but that has nothing to do with the urgent need to have AES in place for enforcement of traffic rules. Politicians (from all sides) should stress the need for better and effective enforcement methods – one that will take out the man in blue from mundane enforcement work and into more important effective policing work.

They can still voice their concern on the implementation of AES but it has to be with the right focus and questions.

Enriching the Few Allegations

Lim Guan Eng’s contention that the system is enriching certain individuals at the expense of sorry traffic offenders is sorely misplaced. Firstly the system only works if there are traffic offenders. If no one breaks the law (existing laws and not one that was created out of the blue), no summons would be issued and no “individuals” would be enriched “unnecessarily”. It’s dumb to say that the system is designed to enrich only certain individuals (and not for enforcement of traffic laws). Secondly what he meant by “sorry” traffic offenders? If you break the law, you can utter all the sorry you want but at end of the day, you need to pay for the offence.

Rocky’s Bru in his post rightfully call some people including Guan Eng a moron and in this case, they are. Some people simply don’t just get it – AES burdens the traffic offenders, not the taxpayers (same case as the RM1,000 fine but then it was politicized and wrongly portrayed as burdening the tax-payers).

There is a proper place and time to politicize certain issues but not on the measures that actually enforces the traffic laws and one have proven to reduce accidents in a positive way. If these politicians who are opposing AES have a better way to improve the enforcement of traffic laws and reduce the number of fatalities, they should come forward with their ideas. Unfortunately there has been none to date except complaints and allegations on AES.

Educate, Not Punish?

Elsewhere some argues that AES is simply the wrong method deployed to educate the drivers who flaunt on traffic rules. They are arguing that educating drivers must be the priority of the authorities and the authorities should not be focusing on the punishment of the said drivers.

But this is where I don’t understand on why there is a need to “re-educate” the traffic offenders. Unless there some element of “duit kopi“, didn’t they go to driving school and sat for driving test? Have they now become way too stupid to understand that red light means stop or driving more than 110 km/h means the car is driven more than the regulated speed limit? Have they now become way too stupid to read the various warning posted by the authorities by the side of the road and continued to ignore them? If they are, then they should not be allowed to handle a vehicle in the first place (you did not see “Forrest Gump” driving a car, did you?)

You can focus on all the re-education that you want and until the fat lady sings perhaps but I can tell you now that nothing whatsoever will change. This is because the issue at hand is not due to lack of education (people are not that dumb) but rather it is due to attitude problem. These people know that due to lack of enforcement, they can get away with it. There is a clear lack of the perception of being caught and this is why some of the traffic offenders are repeated offenders and that is why AES caught 63,558 offences within one week. Imagine the number of offences committed in areas where the police are not around or AES is not in operation.

At end of the day, if nothing changes, alternative methods must be deployed especially when dealing with habitual offenders. Don’t bother to waste time with calls for education. Some morons will only change their ways when you hit them where it pains them the most – on their wallet, when their driving license is cancelled and when they are banned from driving. For some, punishment can be a powerful form of education too.

(The use of ANPR or Automatic Number Plate Recognition in the UK to detect and remove serious criminals, unsafe vehicles and unsafe drivers from our roads. Yes, they actually seize the car in addition to giving the driver the summons. In Malaysia, we are still being soft on criminals on the road – we don’t seize the unsafe or uninsured vehicles on the spot. Source: Youtube)

Big Car, Small Car Distinction

“Super cars are treated the same as jalopies as the cameras cannot discriminate between vehicles. Yet in most instances, it would be no more dangerous for a German car to cruise at 160kph than a 660cc car floating at 110kph”.

So what? What is the writer’s contention? That the fat rich guy in the big car can break every traffic rules in the book but the poor guy in the small car must strictly adhere by the rules?

When the authorities set the speed limit on a certain length of the road, it is meant for all vehicles – small, big, expensive, cheap, etc. A German car that flies on the fast lane at 160kph kills the same and causes the same bloody mess as the 660cc car floating at 110kph. Technology makes a big difference in terms of safety and comfort to the occupant of the car but it should not make any difference in the eyes of the law. So stop making this big car, small car distinction – it does not any make sense as it does not make things safer for other road users. The treatment of the law must be equal on all.

Talking about speed limit, it is imperative that we need to have a comprehensive study whether the existing speed limits is reasonable given the current status of traffic, road condition and the types of cars that uses the road. If one stretch of road allows you to drive up to 110 km/h but at the very next corner, the speed goes down drastically to say 60 km/h, one need to study whether enough time, notice and room have been given for the driver to slow down to 60 km/h.

What Need to Focus on AES Instead?

We need the AES but in the same case of highways (we need them too), we do not want it to be turned out an economical burden.

We do not want the Government to end up paying millions of ringgit in compensation due to reduced number of summons collected or issued. It happened for highways too – we welcomed the construction of the highways and even know why we pay toll but what we question is the substantial increase in toll charges and the huge compensations paid especially when it is clear that there is also a substantial increase of vehicles using the highway. We question the toll concessionaires’ agreement which is shrouded in secrecy and attempts to view them are met with unbelievable opposition and threats.

We want the politicians to vet the AES contract with greater scrutiny and to ensure that the slip-ups that happened in highway concessionaires’ agreement do not appear in AES agreements. We do not want to end up paying higher summons rates or pay millions of compensation even with high number of summons issued. And this is what the politicians should be focusing on. Keep the implementation of AES intact but ensure that tax-payers money is well protected from any future compensation or bail-outs.

Then we have this:-

The two local contractors handling the Automated Enforcement System (AES) may have paid RM404 million more for the speed cameras.

Anti-Saman Ekor Campaign (KASE) legal adviser Zulhazmi Shariff said today that a Transport Ministry parliamentary reply indicated that the private companies implementing the project for the government, namely Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and A.T.E.S. Sdn Bhd, had invested RM717 million in the nationwide project.

“From what we found from a filing to the Australian Security Exchange dated Dec 19, 2011, Redflex had announced that it has obtained a contract worth more than USD50 million (RM151 million) to install 450 fixed cameras and 140 mobile cameras for Beta Tegap,” he said, showing copies of the filings of both companies which he obtained online. For Jenoptik Robot, he said the company had announced that it was receiving USD53 million (RM160 million) to install 550 cameras for A.T.E.S. He said the price included implementation and comprehensive support for five years.

Zulhazmi, who is also a PAS member, said this totalled to about RM312 million spent, which was RM404 million less than the RM717 the local companies had invested. “That would make the difference of RM404 million. Why such a high mark up price? “This is pure earning for these companies. Why didn’t the government buy these technologies directly?” he asked.

(Source)

The Government is saying that they or the taxpayers are not paying anything for the hardware and the implementation as it is outsourced to the 2 private companies (who will also bear the costs). So who cares if the companies paying more than what is needed – it is not our money in the first place but is there any implications on the computation of payments to the 2 private companies from the summons collected? Or worse, what happens if the Government is going to “reimburse” the companies at a later point of time for the same hardware? What is the amount we going to pay in the end? We are interested to know this.

(Traditional traffic law enforcement relies exclusively on the presence of an officer to observe violations and identify and cite offenders. Obviously, this limits the effectiveness of traffic law enforcement because police cannot be everywhere. An automated enforcement system fills this gap in enforcement. Source: Youtube)

But AES Still Needs Improvement

There are clear merits on implementing AES and issue of cost aside, AES on it’s own is not perfect and does not cover all aspect of traffic enforcement especially when it comes to enforcement on motorcyclists and heavy vehicles. At the moment, it only covers excessive speeding and running the red lights and it is a good start but it is not enough. A bulk of the fatality involves motorcyclists and a good number of them ride around without helmet, speeding off with any care for red lights, weaving in and out of lanes without any indicators and riding against traffic.

The truth is AES is not designed to work alone – that is very clear from the start. It is designed to work as part of a bigger, comprehensive enforcement system which involves the enforcement agencies and other sub-systems like speed camera, CCTVs and public information. We still need the police, RTD and the local authorities to do their share of the enforcement which includes mobile speed trap, road blocks and patrols. We also need to ensure the various databases from the various departments (police, RTD, National Registration Department, etc) are well integrated so that information is readily made available for all arms of the enforcement agencies any time, any place.

At end of the day, we just want to drive from A to B without the need to be fear or be inconvenient from other road users. As such, we need systems like the AES to be widely used to stem the abuse of traffic rules. And it was good to know that the Government are strict on implementing AES and will not back off from the unfounded oppositions to AES for the time being. That is what all traffic law abiding road users wants also, I am pretty sure.

Ops Sikap: Authorities Should Be Blamed Too


Update: I guess it is unfair to point the fingers at the police alone although they do handle the bulk of the enforcement since there are other agencies involved namely JPJ who handle licensing & training and JKJR who handle the overall coordination and road safety related activities

Back to the original post

(It looks like a plague, idiots on the road without helmet creating nuisance and endangering others – the worse ones even have young kids on the motorcycle. Image source: http://drhanie.blogspot.com/)

This was not a big surprise:-

The number of road accidents and deaths recorded under Ops Sikap 24 during the Hari Raya season was the highest since the operation was launched a decade ago.

A total of 289 people died in 19,606 road accidents during the 15-day operation which ended on Tuesday. Motorcyclists and pillion riders made up 179 or 62% of the fatalities.

There was an 18% jump in fatalities compared to 244 during last Hari Raya and a 16.5% rise in the number of accidents compared to 16,817 last year.

According to police who issued 133,808 summonses for various traffic offences during the operation, more accidents occurred on federal roads than on highways.

(Source)

Let me tell you about my experience when I was in the vicinity of the “lawless” Kampung Medan last week – it was a holiday, so we decided to visit someone here.

I was driving along the main road near Taman Sri Manja around lunch time – traffic was not so bad (due to the holidays) but I noticed something rather common on these roads – there are more motorcyclists riding rather dangerously (and oblivion to on-coming traffic) without helmets than those with helmets on. A large number of these motorcyclists, who been riding around without any helmets, are young. I am pretty sure a number of them are riding their father’s or uncle’s motorcycle possibly without any license or consent too (you still remember this idiot who was shot dead by the police last year?).

I encountered one idiot on the road – a lady with her brand new Hari Raya Baju Kurung with a lady friend as her pillion rider, both not wearing any helmet and busy chit-chatting while riding in the middle of the road, causing a mini traffic jam at the back. Such idiots without helmets whilst on the main road were not the first I encountered along the road. There were many more. Damn, what these idiots are thinking? That they are riding on some back lane in some remote village? That their soft skull is strong enough to withstand a strong impact on the hard pavement? That nothing will happen to them when they fall under wheels of a car?

I then exited the main street and cut into a smaller lane where I saw at the front, another motorcyclist, once again without helmet, weaving in an out of the two lanes. Even as I neared him, he was rather ignorant of the traffic around him and continued to weave in and out. Despite knowing all too well, I did something that often irked similar idiots on the road – I pressed my horns long and hard. It did the job – the idiot quickly moved over and I was able to overtake him safely. As I passing him, I saw him – another young kid (probably in Form 1 or 2) – no helmets, wearing a simple T-shirt and a short pants, flip-flops. He looked back at me, looking rather annoyed that his weaving in and out on public roads has been short-lived.

After I overtook him, I noticed him speeding up to catch up with me (being in the vicinity of Kampung Medan, I was expecting for a gang fight on the street). He overtook me and sped up and then continued with the weaving in and out of the two lanes. But because he was a bit far from my car (and thus no risk of an accident), I decided to let go this idiot to continue with his folly, postponing the “inevitable” for another day.

Now, let’s come back to the statistics of the recent Ops Sikap 24 – the police say that 62% of the fatalities are motorcyclists and there are more fatal accidents on federal roads (the vicinity of Kampung Medan counts as a federal road) than on highways. So, who is to be blamed?

The IGP says that “the main factor which leads to such mishaps is attitude”. I agree that at the end of the day, attitude is the main (if not, the only) consideration when it comes to road safety. Surely if those idiots that I encountered last week had a better attitude, they would have been wearing helmets and abide to the road courtesy and traffic rules. However, there are only certain things you can do to call for a change of attitude before you decide that enough is enough and it is time to take out the thick cane and give one hard on their buttocks.

Seeing idiots on motorcycle without helmet is nothing new especially when it comes to lawless areas like Kampung Medan. But the question is what the authorities are doing about it? I am very certain that if the authorities launches a major operation in this area and nab a couple or two idiots by their neck and confiscate their motorcycles for good, there will be more idiots ending up “seeing the light” and will start wearing helmets and hopefully abide to traffic rules.

The point here is enforcement of traffic rules. We already know that these idiots have attitude problems and despite reminders, safety campaign and strong threats, nothing moved them. Are we just going to resign by saying that “I am saddened by what has happened” and hope for a miracle (that will never come) to happen in the next Ops Sikap 25? I am sure the authorities are much better than that!

It is not enough that we give out summons for a few that was caught in the “net” and even this, does not guarantee that these buggers will not repeat the abuse of traffic rules (remember when things was that bad that the Government even offered some discounts on the summons?). And are we going to only put extra care during the holidays and when we have “Ops Sikap”s? Certainly not!

So, stop pleading for a change of attitude and start enforcing the law. And start with places where the traffic rules are treated worse than dirt. After all, the Government and by extension, the authorities have been “talking” about it since 2005! We do not want the number of fatalities to remain high especially when it involves other law abiding road users.

I say enough of empty talks…it is high time to take out the thick cane. Otherwise, one need to admit that the authorities is also contributing to the statistics.

Quote of Week – Unsafe Cars


“The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards”

(Just how many of the locally made cars had even passed the basic crash test with flying colors? If you know the answer, then you will know that we been screwed with unsafe cars for a very long time now but question is whose’ fault is it? Image source: http://news.carlist.my)

At first, I thought of commenting on some politicians saying that warnings of violence against another community are now a Malaysian norm but I remembered – it is coming from a Malaysian politician. Ya, that is pretty norm these days to be hearing them to say warning of violence is a norm especially when they don’t seems to be doing anything to curtail it.

Then I read this:-

The lack of demand among Malaysians for safety features is the main reason why many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, said Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.

He said many Malaysians still did not bother wearing seat belts and helmets.

“There are also no regulations to ensure that vehicles sold in Malaysia must comply with international safety standards.

“This is why there are similar models of cars sold in Malaysia but their safety features are different from those in other countries like the United States,” he told a press conference after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s Research Institute of Highway here Thursday.

To prevent car manufacturers from practising such “double standards”, Dr Ahmad Farhan said the Government was constantly engaging in talks to convince them there was a growing demand for safer cars.

On why the Government did not take the initiative to make regulations that would ensure better safety features in vehicles, Dr Ahmad Farhan said: “It will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament. We believe it will be more effective if we talk to manufacturers directly.

“These days, we are getting more positive response from car manufacturers,” he said.

(Source)

Revelation by the MIROS DG is nothing new – we know for a long time now that many vehicles sold in the country do not meet international safety standards, not at the price that we can afford, of course – but the sad part is his reasoning – that we Malaysians have made suckers for a long time with cheap, unsafe cars in this country because we don’t DEMAND for safer cars (what he expects us to do? Street protest on the weekends?).

Ya, I had expected something “more intelligent” from head of the agency which looks into the safety aspect of the road users in this country but his reasonings does not hold water as well.

Firstly, he says that Malaysians are blamed on poor quality of cars that is brought into this country. Why? Because they don’t bother wearing seat belts and helmets? If so, shouldn’t it be for the enforcement agencies in this country to enforce the law and hung them from the high pole? That should not be the sorry excuse for poor quality of cars in this country. Further, what about others who wear seat belts and helmets but had to content with unsafe cars because they cannot afford the more expensive but safer cars?

Secondly, he argues that it is “easier” to get the manufacturers to bring in safer cars, NOT by making strict laws that enforces minimum safety specifications of vehicles in this country but rather by “engaging in talks to convince them” that there was a growing demand for safer cars. Convince them? I could almost hear him saying that the Government is powerless against mighty & powerful car manufacturers and they have no choice but to wait and see if the car manufacturers will have change of heart to produce safer cars.

And even if the car manufacturers DO bring in safer cars, what would the cost be and how this is going to be translated to the car selling price. Already, we are paying big money unnecessarily for poor built cars in this country compared to others in the world. To add more safety features would surely means an increase of cost of research & development, manufacturing and production. Can we see cheaper but safer cars if the Government managed to convince car manufacturers that there is a demand for safer cars? You and I know that until we see the AP bullshit abolished in this country and perhaps a fairer treatment between locally made and imported cars, we are not going to see cheaper, safer cars.

And why “it will take a long time before such a law can be approved in Parliament”. Why when the issue at hand is safety and reduction of fatality of Malaysians on the road? Is it because we have too many mindless clowns roaming the Parliament, harping on wrong issues that is facing the country?

If there is lack of enforcement, then look on how the laws can be better enforced and if there is no relevant laws, then look at how the Parliament make the necessary laws. That should be the focus of MIROS in plugging the loopholes that causes Malaysians to continue to drive unsafe cars in this country (we yet to come to education, road conditions in this country, etc). Not by blaming Malaysians (who may not have a say on what kind of car they can afford with their salary range) and sucking up to car manufacturers (who bottom line dictates their business direction).

In the meantime, we probably should add “safe cars” into the list of things to be protested…

Open Letter to Datuk Suret Singh


(My usual rant of the irresponsible road users that I have encountered after coming back from a long holiday, so please bear with me)

(The face behind many road safety campaign – Datuk Suret Singh of Road Safety Department. Image source: http://protonexoraclub.blogspot.com)

Dear YB Datuk

I was not sure at first, who I should address this letter to since whenever we have major accidents on the road; too many people in high position open their mouth and want to be the champion for road safety in the country. There will be calls for stricter enforcement, others, to review the condition of the roads and vehicles but soon enough, such calls would die down and it will be back to business until the next tragedy.

Last week, I had a friend from overseas over at my house and we caught you in the news, making spot checks on express buses  – you looked unhappy and seemed to be pissed off with the conditions of the buses. My friend upon seeing you told me that you looked tough, just the right person to check on whether traffic laws are followed. So, I guess, you would be the right person for me to bring up this.

In the past few months, you have been in the limelight when it comes to improving the safety of users on the road. Early this year, you even said that drivers who stop their vehicles to gawk at accident scenes can be issued summonses and there were many of us, applauded such calls. It was high time; the enforcement part of the law is strongly enforced on road offenders.

But before I proceed further, it will good if you could take a look at the below video and couple of photos (I have more in my collection, all of which, will promptly be handed over to JPJ for their action in due course).

Have you ever seen an express bus that is not only speeding above the speed limit but also using the emergency lane rather dangerously? No? Yes? All the time? Here’s one for the record – BLB 6396.

You tell me if this is how things are handled despite the recent horrific 28 deaths and during on-going Ops Sikap (which incidentally means Operation Attitude), how do you expect to reduce accidents involving public buses? Why bother having undercover JPJ enforcement agents riding along the bus? When you have speed demons who not only endangering their life with such reckless act but also of their passengers, it will not be a big surprise to see another 28 bodies lies on the tarmac.

And to show how blatant and irresponsible people are in place of lack of enforcement, just count the number of vehicles (including one from another country) abusing the emergency lane? Where is the enforcement of the highway laws? And the video here only shows a small portion of the highway where emergency lane ended up as the “fast lane” where one probably would wonder when PLUS opened a new lane.

And Datuk, considering the field that you are in, you would understand why I have been highlighting about these emergency lane offenders every time I came back from the holidays. Others may wonder why I take the trouble highlighting these “criminals” in emails, blogs, video blogs, etc. It is not like I am getting paid for it or getting some discounts or getting a kick for fun.

And I am pretty sure these offenders would have their day to answer for their inconsiderate act of “troubling” others and putting others in danger. It is rather easy to ignore the traffic that had formed on the emergency lane and just concentrate on the road ahead; hoping that the traffic jam that had formed without notice would just go away and one can be on their way without further delay, apprehension and waste of time and fuel.

I would have done the same if not for this:-

You see, in a 2 lane highway that passes by numerous exits and entries, a 3rd improvised lane is bound to create bottle necks at some point when those who using the new lane have to cut over and return back to the proper lane (often due to police block or broken down vehicle and not because they feeling guilty about it). And there is where the problem starts for other road users. who been patiently been treading the legal lanes.

The idiots (sorry to use this word but I am sure you will share our frustrations) at the emergency lane cut into the slow lane which causes the traffic on the slow lane to slow down even further. And when the slow lane becomes slow, some of us have to contend with moving into the fast lane which ends up as another slow lane.

Ok, never mind us – we still have the legal lane to contend to but what about the people who really need to use the emergency lane. With these traffic offenders speeding through the emergency lane at speeds exceeding 100 km/h, it has become too dangerous for anyone with a broken down vehicle to even park at the emergency lanes. Just imagine the scenario – you hear a weird sound from your car and the sound seems to get only louder. You decided that it is not safe to continue to drive, so you pull over and stop at the emergency lane. You walk behind the car to inspect on something and you suddenly hear a screeching noise and before you know it, a car slams you and pin you between the two cars.

And of course, I don’t need to highlight the use of the emergency lane for the fire & rescue and ambulance service when there is major accident on the highway. Just imagine the precious minutes wasted stuck behind these idiots who clog up the emergency lane for their own personal abuse. If someone dies due to delay of rescue vehicles, will these emergency lane offenders be charged with manslaughter?

So Datuk, as you can see, there is no point educating the general public on traffic rules – you only going to get traffic rules broken on a regular basis. There is no point making the necessary research on how to make the roads and vehicles safer. You are only going to waste time and money and given the conditions of the roads and vehicles in Malaysia, they are already above the condition of some countries with lower fatality rate than Malaysia.

The only way to ensure road users abide by the rules is to improve on the enforcement of the rules. As I watched the many traffic rules offenders abusing the emergency lane as I was traveling back, my only regret is that there was no enforcement officers on sight. There was no road blocks, there was no traffic policemen chasing and booking these traffic offenders – too bad, we could have made the killing in summons. There was nothing to stop the abuse. Perhaps summons have became too cheap for these frequent, hardcore traffic offenders. Perhaps getting home early was more important than being considerate and safe on the road.

Datuk, I am pretty sure you will share my concern here and I hope in the course of heading the Road Safety Department to be more efficient, you would look deeply into the area of enforcement and ways to tighten the loopholes. Change of attitude can also happen due to the thick, long stroke of the cane.

Thank you

Yours sincerely

(A frustrated highway user)

Mana Helmet, Bodoh?


They say a picture paints a thousand words….so does photographic evidence

(Lawless in Tenang or stupidity on the highest level? The fatso in the front seems very happy – I wonder how his parents will feel when this fatso is knocked down by a car and his unprotected head cracks open on the hard surface of the road, turning him into a living vegetable for rest of his life? Image source: NST, Rosdan Wahid – 29 Jan 2011)

Young but extremely stupid – on public roads without helmets and with pillion riders. Will the police take action on these morons or will they close one eyes since the morons are “flying” the BN flags? These idiots on the motorcycle are obviously students – so where did their common sense and education went once they sat on the motorcycle?

And what about their irresponsible parents? Still remember Aminulrasyid Amzah who sneaked from the house, stole his sister’s car, did a hit and run which caused the police to give chase and at the end, died in a hail of bullets? Most pointed their fingers at the police but what about the deceased and his parents?

I really wonder how these parents can allow their children to go off in a motorcycle without any helmets. They must be either stupid (they too don’t wear helmet), careless (don’t really care what happens to their kids) or simply ignorant (the usual “it is only nearby” excuse)

Still think increase of traffic summons unfair?

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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.