We need A Better System — ABS and not AES

One of the reasons why I started blogging is because of a deterioration of certain social behaviour among Malaysians.

I remember that a magazine, I think it was Reader’s Digest but correct me if I am wrong, categorised Malaysians as the third rudest country in Asia some years back.

This is especially obvious on the road. Many Malaysians drive as if they own the roads, not only ignoring traffic rules but also common courtesy as well.

Dashing across red lights, double or triple parking, going into a one way street against road direction, ‘stealing’ parking spaces from motorists who have patiently waited for the spaces to be vacated…. there are just too many instances of rude behaviour on the road. Some time back, someone bumped into my stationary car waiting at a traffic light junction, because the driver was too engrossed looking down at his hand phone. Luckily there were only some scratches which can be polished off with a good polish.

I have now made it a habit that whenever I see (via my rear-view mirror) some drivers behind my car speaking or  messaging on their phones ,  I will take the earliest opportunity  to change to another lane to avoid the real possibility of being banged from behind.

All these are of course multi-factorial — upbringing, lack of moral education, peer pressure, parental behaviour etc. But as shown in some countries, stricter enforcement does show good result in curtailing this sort of road madness. And with strict enforcement, behaviour slowly changes and a proper driving culture can slowly evolve.

But while I am all for the stricter enforcement for road offences, and I think the government may have good intention behind the recent implementation of the AES, I have grave reservation on how things are being done under the new system.

For one , I do not agree with the outsourcing of enforcement to private companies. While the reason for the stricter enforcement is to tackle the  bad driving attitude and to encourage the evolution  of a good driving culture, it should never be outsourced to outside companies. This is because companies are commercial entities the sole aim of which is profit, and profit only.

While the intention of the government is not to punish but to educate through stricter enforcement, the profit oriented goal of the private companies would be to try to ‘trap’ more unaware drivers so that more profits can be generated through fines.

This results in all the anomalies as reported so far: failure to place eye-catching warning notices of monitoring devices, location of AES in ridiculous locations, drivers getting summons for offences they have not committed, ridiculous snail-paced speed limit for certain stretches  and so on.

So while we should have stricter enforcement, it should be done by our police and maybe JPJ officers. What is needed is to raise the productivity and professionalism of such enforcement units.

If enforcement can be outsourced, I dread to think of what would happen next? Would security be outsourced too to mercenary units, who are loyal to only the highest bidders for their services? Just a thought.

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29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Simple Sense
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 14:04:26

    If we are convinced the current administration has become incompetent, we need to use our votes correctly in GE13.
    It may be all too much biased negative news about the current administration, it sounds like a run away administration, like a run away train.

  2. Wilson Ribut
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 16:24:27

    We have bloated civil service and outsourcing the AES only prove that our civil service is inefficient and lazy. By outsourcing the AES, it gives the impression that cronyism is at work. AES must be managed by JPJ or PDRM. I concur with your view.

  3. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 22:54:35

    Doctor, you know how rude and reckless Malaysian drivers are. Do you see any other better ways other than STRICT enforcement such as AES to change this?

    Education? It doesn’t work. Many people already believe that “speed does not kill but the lack of driving skill does”. Smart. Even F1 drivers get into accidents. Are they not as skilled as Malaysia drivers?

    Enforcement? You can choose any road in PJ/KL area see people beating the red light and speed limit. With the joke discounts given on summons, this will only get worse.

    Honestly this AES thing shouldn’t be politicised. If there is any system which can teach our rude drivers to follow the law, I don’t care who gets rich off the system. I will be happy for once to see civilized people on the road again. This is not too much to ask for. Most people only want safer roads and at the current state, strict enforcement is the only way to forward.

    Read the comments of the people who are against the AES. Why are they worried of enriching the cronies if they drive within the speed limit?

    Our speed limits too low? Other countries have lower. So these lawmakers in these develop countries are not as smart as ours?

    Please think of what you are supporting here and the long terms effects.

  4. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 23:47:10

    And just to comment about outsourcing this job to these two companies. We have issued thousands of fines amounting to billions of ringgit. Does anyone bother to pay? And the police gave discounts to beg the law breakers to pay fines? What kind of joke is this? And let’s not even go into the extensions to these discounts.

    Obviously, the collection of fine is not being taken seriously before.

    But these two outsourced private companies will do their best to collect the fine. Because they are a business and they need money to support business. They will find ways other than discounts to make people pay and this is good to the country is because for once, people actually have to pay fines and they will actually have a expensive lesson to learn.

    As long as these companies are audited to make sure they have the evidence and that the system is not manipulated to fine law abiding drivers, I don’t see how it is a problem to outsource to them.

    Better off to enrich the cronies then to be dead on the road because some idiot didn’t know how to stop on red.

  5. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 00:30:45

    And finally, this is why AES as a tool for enforcement is needed.

    http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/7/25/nation/11724314&sec=nation

  6. Steven Tan
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 14:16:25

    The issue should be studied upon holistically. AES, etc are all cosmetic fixes. The problem itself is the utter failure of our institutions. It is a structural failure of the Malaysian government. When people who have committed crimes are not punished, it will lead to more people committing the crimes. Good people indirectly bear the burden, while the offenders get rewarded. The society will take this as a lesson and the whole system will come to a halt. This is what is happening.

    Our public infrastructures are way past due; it’s not our citizens fault as we are left with no other choices.

    Taking road usage as an example, our fines are in the stratosphere region when comparing to our GDP.

    It has nothing to do with the ‘rudeness’ or ‘recklessness’ of our drivers. The ordinary folks are just trying to live an ordinary life. It’s the system which as been corrupted and on the verge of an outburst!

    P.S. We do not need AES. We have enough traffic police to monitor reckless driving if that’s the true intent.

  7. steven
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 14:59:27

    AES…the govt must only pay to the company / contractor after they manage to collect the $ in full if discounted then pay them discounted rate., NOT to pay the contractor based on numbers of Photo the Company “Produce” We know OUR Enforcement unit fail to collect $$ ,it is easy to issue “ticket” but collection…?

  8. JinoSan
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 23:14:35

    Dr.Hsu,

    Lately we read and see gross pictures of smashed up cars (frontal collisions) that have unfortunately claimed many lives. In some cases, some were expensive cars. Rakyats are paying for ABS, Air-bags, and many other so called features. The question in my mind when I see these accidents is: Did the air-bags trigger? Wonder whether the road safety or transport dept folks have a study on this. Very sad case of lives lost indeed.

  9. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 13:18:02

    @Steven Tan.

    Our drivers are one of the worst and rudest, read the star link above for evidence.

    Just because our people are not earning enough to pay fines, it doesn’t mean the can break the law and then not be penalized for it. If you can’t afford to pay the fine, then don’t break it in the first place.

    Ok the institutions. Yes they are the root cause. Many say that this will change when you change the government but unfortunately I don’t think so. If PR starts enforcing traffic laws after taking over, it is going to be an unpopular move only a stupid but maybe righteous and brave leader would do so. And the people may even start saying “We voted you PR and this is what you give us? I know what to do in the next GE!”.

    I agree that the long term solution will be to fix the institutions and to make sure the police do their job, maybe also also to provide better education etc etc

    But know this, these will take TIME.

    You think over a year Malaysians can change from the way they are to be more civilized? The way I see it, it will take at least 20 years. But with a system, AES that is, we can tracks law offenders 24/7 with evidence and fine them. I think with this within 3 years you can see a major shift in driver behavior. Enforcement proves to work well in changing people’s behaviour, you can see this clearly in Singapore.

    It is easy for you to say that the fines are expensive, blame the government for our reckless drivers etc etc, but if you are a victim of a road bully, fatal accident, you will see it differently.

  10. Li Li Fa
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 22:45:57

    I can’t help but to take a closer look into this roadside camera.

    In the first place, these gadgets are installed by the thousands throughout the country, costing millions of ringgit if not billions, not withstanding the cost of maintenance 24/7.

    Why are they installed? To curb traffice offences? or to boost the income of fines?

    If road users run foul of the law, let the traffic policemen take care of them. Throw the book at them.

    Why should these gadgets be outsourced in the first place? Civil servants or traffic policemen are short in coming? Then import them from other government department. At lease they are fully utilised.
    Who pays for these gadgets? Of course, the rakyat will have to pay for the offences, on top of the many tolls charges they have to pay when they use the highways.

    Are these gadgets only aim is to snap traffice offenders or is there any ulterior motive? Like keeping a close watch on who goes where, when and why? Big brother’s watching, you know?

    In any case AES can turn out to be another extravagant scheme.

  11. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 00:14:52

    @Li Li Fa,

    Do you see the policemen taking care of traffic offenders? In fact, it seems to happen the other way round, only for a small sum of RM 50.

  12. Taikohtai
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 07:35:36

    Doc Hsu,
    Greetings again from Queensland. Trust you are well. My apologies for this diversion but you may remember some time back when I wrote about old guards of Pakatan taking on the BN bigwigs in the fight to the death.
    Looks like Hadi is the first to take up the cudgels, and with open support from TGNA. Care to share more of your thoughts on this plus other possible engagements and likely outcomes?
    Take care.

  13. Wave33
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 11:21:22

    I think (DM) has some personal issue on traffic at large. Some of the opinions or suggestions could be weight in for a discussion.

    DM quote: “Education? It doesn’t work. Many people already believe that “speed does not kill but the lack of driving skill does”. Smart. Even F1 drivers get into accidents. Are they not as skilled as Malaysia drivers?”

    What Malaysian lacks is EDUCATION. Education in a total aspect, not only limited to driving skills and politicking skills. We have to look into our roots cause, not the symptoms.

    Let’s takes corruption as a case study, it is so common now that even those whom pray five times a day and goes to church every Sunday says it is a commission business deal, other says it is a rezeki from God. It gets innovative by having multilevel of sourcing and multilevel of sub-contracting. It all look legitimate, only God knows your heart whether you will get virgins or meet the saint when you are answerable later when you leave your body.

    If anti-corruption is taught in school, we will have less corruption instead of enforcing MACC to work on their limp leg. Even MACC has lost its direction.

    Can these be done on road user? Yes, it could.

    I remember, I was taught at school about traffic signs and laws. The impact was there, even it was just one lesson. How about those whom “ponteng” classes? Is it still being taught in school? How many lesson was given to it or hours spend teaching? Did we set our priority right?

    I remember, those days when television was black and white, RTM have regular (nearly everyday) education on TV about traffic laws and good ethics on road. I remember, I enjoy watching it even repeatedly and even mimic the action with my playmates. Children are learners.

    They have also learn from Alvin and Vivian.

    They definitely learn how to spell s.o.d.o.m.y. or l.i.w.a.t. too.

    Continue…

  14. Dr Hsu
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 11:49:09

    taikohtai
    How are you? Not blogging as much as before because whatever needed to say has been said. Notice also how cybertroopers (10,000 of them from Big Brother alone) work. whenever someone posted a post, there will be immediate effort to ‘distort’ logic. When one trooper is banned from the blog, another takes over.

    Opposition leaders standing against the important leaders draw from the strategy of olden day warfare of trying to caputre the top general in a battle. When the top is toppled, the rest will lose morale and thus becomes easy meat, so to speak. So in a way, for Hadi to stand against Najib will be good. It will also tied the PM done for he has now to spend more time in his area than campaigning elsewhere. It would also be good for the morale of the opposition.

    Only one caveat here. In 1990, LKS went to Penang and stand again Dr Lim Chong Eu. At that time, DAP wanted to try to wrest the state from Gerakan. Dr Lim Chong Eu lost the seat, but gerakan won overall. Gerakan selected a new CM without much epereince. Penang people suffered from lack of Dr LIm Cong Eu’s leadership and vision because of that battle.

  15. Wave33
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 11:50:46

    Continue…

    There are still unforgiven hatred towards Japanese while they occupy Malaysia without invitation. The hatred is slowly dissipated when new generation takes over Malaysia. Soon, it will be forgotten. But the same cannot be said about the racist bigot and religious extremist from UMNO, it increases with every new generation. How did it happen? Education from ajaran sesat?

    When the tsunami strike Japan, not long ago, it caught the world attention. It disgrace the might of United States of America and further embarrassment from a failed system in Katrina. In Japan, there was no looting! How come? It is a culture that came from soldiers that rapes women in Asia? Was it the education that mole the society.

    There is a saying, when you do it frequently enough, it becomes a habit and habits accidentally will be become a culture. It is an education process.

    I have my greatest respect to the Japanese for every single virtue that mankind can think of, actually materialize in the tsunami. There was even “kamikazi” heroes in Fukushima incident to save the nation.

    Was it the years of education or laws enforced unto them, to come together when disaster strikes?

  16. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 00:14:50

    Dear Wave,

    It is not just me but many whom I speak to have issues with our drivers. Queue cutting, illegal parking at the inconvenience of others, all things that can go bad on the road happens in Malaysia. Read around in forums and other blogs even on twitter #AES, there are many non BN people supporting AES because we have enough of our drivers, really.

    I am not saying education is totally useless. Education is important and should still continue but lets look at the context here in Malaysia. We have TV ads telling people not to cut queue, radio ads telling people don’t drink and drive, many many other education campaigns to try to tell people the importance of having safer roads. Has it worked?

    My point is, we are at a state where the impact of education to the behaviors of our drivers is minimal if there is even an impact. When you are at this point where the carrot no longer works, you need to use the stick. If education is the solution to all problems then we need not prisons, and police and law.

    The behaviors of the Japanese is not something that happens overnight. It has probably seeded and cultivated for centuries. On our end, what we have seeded is to ignore the law and if you are caught by it, there is always a ‘way out’. Our parents do that, we do that, our kids will do that. Even our MPs do that!

    I have enough of this. I feel the worst when I am driving on the road. I talk to people and tell people what is wrong and what is right. But got shot down and called ‘stupid’ for being a law abiding citizen. Some say its fated if you get killed so why worry so much. This is how most Malaysians think. Just look at the comments on Paul Tan and you can see where this is heading.

    Unless anyone can suggest a better way to educate our drivers, I think we should stick to education using the stick.

  17. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 00:22:59

    By the way, Singapore has one of the best education in the world. But still their enforcement of the law is strict.

    Why do they need this? Because while most people can be educated, there is a small percentage 10% – 20% who are not born to respect the law. This group of people though only a fifth of the population is good enough to cause stress and havoc to the remaining 80% and the nation.

    This is also why even countries with the best education system still have jails and AES in them.

  18. kris
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 10:37:47

    Sir,
    Who isn’t fed up with queue jumpers, double parking and generally rude drivers? However I cannot see how the AES can ‘educate’ them. Wouldn’t we all like to see school buses, motorcyclists with young children riding pillion obey the lights?
    By all means stick the cameras at the lights, but let’s make sure the lights are working properly first; on the highways at appropriate places.
    What would a businessman do if they’re paid for every summon? A camera every 100metres, immediately when the speed limit drops, wouldn’t you?
    The 2 AES companies were because summons were not paid, meaning poor enforcement? Come on, we cannot possibly privatise the police force because the crime rate continue to go up despite all that management of ‘public perception’, can we? Really, can we? Let’s!
    Yes, the camera system works in Singapore, and very well too, because of enforcement! See the Singaporean speedsters on our highway?
    Cronies will solve all our problems?

    Donkeys Galore

  19. Disappointed Malaysian
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 22:28:40

    @kris,

    I have explained above that any system which allows for the enforcement of the law has my full support. However enforcement doesn’t seem to be working here. You can tell me all you want about changing the government and then things will change etc etc but the way I see it, with enforcement from the new government, you will still get the same reaction from the people. We are not even sure if there will ever be a new government.

    Yes I do agree that the idea of putting up AES signs is stupid. There should be no signs at all so that people are not aware when or where they break the law. So there is no chance for them to slow down in AES zone just for the sake of avoiding fines.

    We should evaluate AES as a system/technology and how it can benefit us rather than linking AES to BN and politicise it. I have said this also in other post, just because someone made bombs out of nuclear technology, does that mean nuclear technology is bad? Please continue questioning why AES being outsourced BUT do not stop or suspend AES itself. Question and propose transferring the collection of fines to JPJ or the Police, BUT do not stop the system altogether.

    Ok, let’s imagine that AES is suspended due to the crony issue. So what’s next? Do you see any other better ways that can be implemented within a short period to change the way Malaysians drive? If there is none, then we are back to square one again. So what if you stop AES now, they will start another project, costing 100 mil MYR to study an alternative for AES. In the end, cronies will win anyway but not only that, the law breakers win too. Those who abide the law and those who have lost family members on the road will be at the biggest loss. More will die on the road until maybe the next 10 – 20 years.

  20. Simple Sense
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 00:36:19

    AES is just the tool. Enforcement start with integrity, incorruptible officers, laws based on sound principles, and tools.
    Malaysia inclines to emphasize on the tool. This is where Singapore differs from us. Try to bribe a traffic cop in Singapore or USA,and you get arrested, and charged with bribery which is a serious offense!

  21. Wong Chee Mun
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 15:27:48

    Dear Dr,

    WOULD YOU BE KIND ENOUGH TO DO SOME WRITE-UPS ON THE ” GENNEVA GOLD RAID BY BNM ”. A LOT OF INNOCENT VICTIMS WERE DRAWN INTO THIS GOLD TRADING BECAUSE OF DR. MAHATHIR AS WELL AS DATIN ROSMAH WHO DID THE LAUNCHING AND HER PRESENT IN ONE OF THE GLAMOROUS FUNCTION DONE BY THE COMPANY. MOREOVER JUST LESS THAN A MONTH BEFORE THE RAID, THE SULTAN OF PAHANG’S DAUGHTER CAME IN AND HEAD THE CHAIRMAN POST. THIS COMPANY HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS WHICH GIVE US FULL CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY. I AM JUST DUMBFOUNDED WITH THIS RAID. MOST OF US ARE BEING CAUGHT WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT HAS GONE WRONG. PLEASE HELP TO US!
    MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS!

    REGARDS

  22. Dr Hsu
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 15:45:52

    Hi Mr Wong Chee Mun

    I really do not know about this company and how it was run. As such it is difficult for me to write anything.

    I have not invested in the company and none of those I know have invested too, so whatever I know is from news reports in the media.

  23. Wong Chee Mun
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 16:21:59

    Thanks, anyway. Fyi, you can read some infos from ” Genneva Malaysia Supporters Facebook”. It just that i wanted more SENSIBLE bloggers like you to help us out from this sad episode . Honestly they are alot of victims pleading for help including me. This is just a small part all i can do for Genneva victims. Yes, they are a lot of comments in the facebook who are giving negative comments and thinking that we are are the greedy lots. We are just the purchasers on gold and monthly the company will share their profits as a ”hibah” to us. As you know banks as usual only give us just a miserable 2% plus per annum where right now every essentials things have gone up. With these distinguise personalities in it we thought we are in safe hands until Bank Negara raided the premises. Until now they is not a single police report on this company.
    Sorry i have to post in here.

  24. kris
    Nov 08, 2012 @ 10:42:12

    Sir,

    We were on the highway recently and practically everyone was keeping to the speedlimit. Never seen it before. Now who’s saying the stick doesn’t work? Would one allow a known sadist to wield that stick though?
    The cashier’s been dipping in the till and bad, would we do nothing and be resigned to the fact that the next employee will be the same or would we ensure every bad cashier is got rid of? Fix a cctv, perhaps? Do something don’t just sit there.

    The AES is certainly a great system and we need it but no, its not politics, its the privatising of it that’s the argument. Privatise the men in blue? Now thats a money making venture. Aren’t they called licensed gangsters already? No the government is not directly responsible for the corrupted cops? Do we sit by and watch elder son bullying little brother all the time and say we’re not responsible?

    AES is suspended for now, back to square one? Can we put that cctv in the face of the cashier if one can’t get a new one just yet? No?, get rid of the manager.

    No it was’nt the opposition who put changing the government into our heads. No, we may not get to see it… yet.

    Every life is precious, AES saves lives.
    Can we save Malaysia at the same time?

  25. CYC
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 17:36:41

    Crux of the issue is not whether AES is good or bad. It is the faded trust of the public towards the corrupt regime. Perhaps our constitution should insert new definitions of “open corruption” and “unidentified corruption” to distinguish the difference between them. Probably open corruption is excusable due to the larger benefits accrued to the general public.

  26. Phua Kai Lit
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 10:31:34

    Hi Dr Hsu

    Recently there was a conference on health policy (along social democratic lines)
    in KL. I informed the organisers that they should have invited you too.
    I hope you will be invited to such conferences in the future.

    It is time to end the intellectual dominance of neoliberal market fundamentalism on health policy.

    Best regards

  27. Dr Hsu
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 12:04:17

    Prof Phua

    Thanks.

  28. apt pupil (@allthe5horizon)
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 03:14:57

    for your info.

    RM717 million reason about AES

    http://www.cbt.com.my/2012/11/14/exclusive-there-is-more-to-aes/

  29. Muhamad Abidin bin Abas
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 13:57:06

    IT WOULD BE A VERY GOOD IDEA TO OUTSOURCED OUR MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT TO CHINA

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