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Millions of ringgit in fines unpaid as offenders mock the law

Millions of ringgit in fines unpaid as offenders mock the law

BY Y S CHAN

GOING by the backlog of unpaid traffic summonses between 2013 and last year, the driving public is mocking the authorities and getting away with it.

According to official figures, Kuala Lumpur’s City Hall alone issued more than a million traffic summonses each year between 2013-15.

Just 16.9 percent of the summonses were settled in 2013. The percentage dropped to 12.7 percent
the following year and 10.5 percent last year.

City Hall has not announced any plan on how to deal with the estimated three million unpaid summonses for the past three years.

Will they be forgotten and swept aside? What about the unpaid summonses accumulated over the previous years? These must amount to tens of millions of ringgit while the authorities sit on their hands.

No surprise then that the driving culture in the capital is found wanting in several areas such as illegal parking to the extent of blocking motorway exits and using slots for the handicapped , non-regulation number plates, speeding and illegal tinting of windows.

Apart from the local authorities, other enforcement agencies are the police, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

While SPAD is restricted to commercial vehicles, JPJ can also act against private vehicles, such as heavily tinted windscreen or fancy registration plate, but seldom do.

From September 2012 to August 2015, the Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras installed at 14 locations captured evidence for 1.91 million summonses to be issued.

But only 13.9 percent of these summonses were settled. If the maximum fine of RM300 is collected
from the balance, it would amount to almost half a billion ringgit.

In October 2012, I pointed out that if AES cameras are deployed in 830 locations, they would capture 171,772,650 offences in a year, based on the record of 14 cameras in their first eight days of operations.

At the rate of RM300 per summons, it would work out to a whopping RM51,531,795,000. There was a huge public outcry as the two AES concessionaires will get the lion’s share.

It was recently reported that a proposal will be made to the Cabinet to offer an amnesty of 50 percent for six months from February to clear the backlog of unpaid summonses. The second phase of the AES is scheduled to be launched in March.

The amnesty will certainly encourage many motorists to come forward and settle their summonses. The police had used this approach several times in the past.

But this is an unfair practice when defaulters are rewarded while those who settled promptly paid their fines in full. The reverse would be fair.

The amnesty will also backfire as motorists will wait for discounts and is one of the reasons why
millions of summonses remain unpaid.

This catch-22 situation can be overcome by developing a mechanism which issues credit notes to those who have paid in full in the event discounts are offered later.

It will not require the authorities to hand out cash refunds as the non-transferable electronic credit notes will automatically offset future summonses.

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