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Enforcement 101: The High Price of Strict Enforcement

Car indicator signal driving skill enforcement

(Perhaps still angry with the laziness of people not using their indicators when they are on the road and the law is not doing any enforcement on it)

I caught some photos of queue jumpers over the weekend. The lane reserved for the bus lane becomes a short cut for the queue jumpers and ending up creating unnecessary bottlenecks at the front.

It is true that these queue-jumping bastards did not use the “emergency” lane to try to overtake the rest of the cars that have been patiently queuing up on the proper lane. So it would have been difficult to catch them on the act. But they were queue jumping nonetheless and that got me thinking about the quality of enforcement in Malaysia.

Let me tell another example.

On my way back home, I encounter a junction where there is a clear “No Entry” sign posted but yet, I would see a long line of cars queuing to exit from this junction so that they can avoid going through the traffic jam in the normal exit lanes. This is another case that I hoping for swift and strong enforcement.

Out of the many years passing by this road, I only saw once, a traffic policeman (who just happen to pass by) stopping the cars but instead of issuing ass-biting summons, he just ask the cars to reverse back and then left. Not surprisingly, soon after the policeman left, the queue at the ‘No Entry” junction was back. After this incident, many policemen have passed this road but often turn blind eyes to the long queue of cars on the wrong side of the road.

We have been talking about lack of enforcement for many, many moons for now. What is the exact problem?

Is it about the lack of enough personal to be running about enforcing the law?

Well, it could be true – after all, it is not easy to find a policeman when you really need one. Or is it about misguided and wrong targets of the enforcement agencies? I mean they could be letting the small offenders (unfortunately the bulk of the headache) go and only spent their time and money to catch the big-time offenders.

Well, it is possible.

Or is it due to too many corruption practices running loose in the system that any effort taken to enforce the law is not effective at the end of the day? We all know the story of the coffee money in Malaysia, don’t we?

Just how many summonses have been issued on motorcyclists who ride without helmets in small housing areas or riding against the flow of traffic? How many summonses have been issued on drivers who use the emergency lanes as their private speeding lanes whilst the rest of the motorists patiently queuing up in the proper lanes?

How many fines have been issued to people who throw rubbish on the ground just because the nearest dust-bin is not near them? What about booking developers who flout the safety regulations? What about those who do open burning and care less about the environment?

Ya, enforcement in Malaysia sucks big time but it is not too late for improvement as this piece of news rightfully demonstrates:-

In fact, the department director-general himself has caught 93 drivers flouting the law on his way back to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after spending the Chinese New Year holidays in his hometown in Kota Baru.

Armed with his camera phone, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan took photographs of drivers overtaking on double lines and using the emergency lanes and road shoulders.

“They will all get the maximum fine of RM300,” he said.

He even trailed two cars driven recklessly all the way to the nearest town before personally issuing summonses on the spot to the drivers.

“One of them was overtaking 10 cars on the double line,” he told a press conference at the department here yesterday. Since the start of Ops Sikap XXI on Feb 8, 200 undercover enforcement officers as well as RTD staff have identified 2,920 vehicles committing various offences.

People like Datuk Solah Mat Hassan should be respected for their no-nonsense stand against the road offenders but how many people in the enforcement agencies are able to do what is Datuk Solah Mat Hassan doing? Do we have enough people? Are our enforcement rules and procedures in place for an effective conviction?

Whilst we ask these questions and ponder on how enforcement in Malaysia can be improved for the well being of people who follow the rules and procedures, if the enforcement agencies don’t buck up on their act  (change of attitude is not easy) and the people failed to follow the rules, there will still be a cry for quality enforcement in this country.

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