Malaysian drivers and the tigers inside us

RTD director was reported to have expressed surprise that  many road users were flouting the laws during the CNY holidays season. He personally photographed 93 motorists cutting Qs, overtaking at double lines, using road shoulders and so on….

I was surprised too. But for a different reason. I was surprised that he had managed to get so few of the motorists on such a long drive. Every minute on  Malaysian roads,  there would be traffic rule breakers.  Anyway, it is good for him to be on the lookout even during his holidays, and for that he should be commended.

Anyone driving in Kuala Lumpur would have noticed the lawlessnes of our drivers. I have blogged so many times on this.

ANyone who drives in KL at any one time would have no trouble noticing at least some motorists flouting traffic rules. Cutting Qs are common and it has become a habit to many motorists. For these people, their time is so much more precious than others that they can gain time at the expense of the others.

If you have a chance to drive round a roundabout during rush hour, you would have noticed the dare-devilness inside Malaysian Drivers. Everyone would try to ramp through. There is no  such thing as  ‘the right side car has the right of way to pass first’ rule anymore.

Nevermind that risking your car and your life would only save you a few seconds of time. Nevermind that it would be faster for everyone to move if they observe the decency to let  cars from the right side pass first… Malaysians like to show that they are tigers on the roads, so what that in the end, everyone is late because of their behaviours in negotiating roundabouts? So what if their actions result in a gridlock when all sides cannot move and thus, everyone loses time? So what it has become a habit that is the cause of the jams that they experience on their way home from work? It is more important to let the tiger inside them out..

Like everything in this country, it is each for himself (or more recently herself).

When a culture has set in,  how is it going to be changed? It is easier to change from a strictly law abiding nation to one of lawlessness, but to change back would be a herculean task. This is because of human nature that dislikes being controlled , and human nature of kiasu-ness and selfishness.

Just to relate one recent incident before the CNY. I was travelling in Jalan San Peng which is a 4 lane city road divided by a central divider. In other words, there are 2 lanes to and 2 lanes fro. I was travelling in the slow lane on my side of the road, and suddenly I saw a car coming right stright at me, even though not at a high speed. I was shocked and shone my lights at the oncoming car-truck. The car-truck (it might be a Hilux, but I was too surprised to note the make of the car) just went straight at me, and I had no choice but to swerve to the fast lane to avoid a collision. The driver grinned at me and then passed into one of the side turning to the row of shop houses there.

This was the worse case of rule-breaking by a driver that I had come across, and mind you, I thought I had seen everything in KL.

How not to get depressed in KL, having to endure the endless and worsening traffic jams, and having to tolerate all sorts of nonsense in road driving?

Malaysians, it seems , would let the tigers inside them to rule once they get into the driver seats of their cars.


Someone told this to me just for laugh:

If you have a headache reading all these, apply some tiger balm

If you are thirsty for a beer, drink a tiger beer.

If you want to drive a car, Go Es*o and put a tiger in your tank.

But for your wife ‘s sake, please do not behave like Tiger W**d.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ahoo
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 12:12:54

    Dr Hsu, agree with you that many drivers are driving like mad dogs. Note those taxi drivers too that can change lane without any thought for others. Also some bus drivers along the federal highway driving faster than 90km and on the right lane. Probably they thought the right way to drive is on the right lane.

    The old word of wisdom from our parents never fades : To learn good requires three years but to learn bad just needed three days. Maybe in today’s era, it requires less than three hours !

    Have a joyous day !


  2. Richard Loh
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 14:15:25

    A Very Happy Chinese New Year to you, DR.Hsu & Family.

    What happen to the point system, if there is any. If hundreds and thousands of the police force can be used to monitor opposition ceramahs, by-elections and elections, why you cannot see a single police patrol to monitor the crazy drivers along our roads. I think if they spend 1 full year to instill driving safety along major roads and get rid of reckless drivers by imposing stiff penalty for traffic offences, a vast improvement would be seen. Sad but through, our institutions are not here to perform their rightful duty but something else.


  3. klm
    Feb 19, 2010 @ 14:29:28

    Have a happy holiday!

    Since there are no more rule of law in the country, why bother with rules on the road. Let the bravest or is it fool hardiness go first. This is a sign the country is going down the drain.

    So let us have fun.


  4. Trackback: Malaysian drivers and the tigers inside us | Dump Blog
  5. disgusted
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 00:18:40

    Given the state of behavior on the roads, it is a matter of time, the incidence of road rage will escalate.

    I would say, out of 10 cars along the road, you can notice the bad driving manners and lack of courtesy is very common. Especially young drivers regardless of gender and race, all the same in reckless driving. And those with big cars like the one you (Dr) mentioned, the ugly and kurang ajar drivers. And don’t forget the motorcyclists, mat rempit type. Every traffic light now, flouting red lights. So many now.

    Welcome to KL Hell driving zone! And by the way, it has affected diplomatic cars too. Well, likely local drivers driving the cars.


  6. asiseesit
    Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:00:17

    1. start with education at primary level. instill in them the necessary to obey traffic rules from young even as a pedestrian. while the young is slowly moulded to have this mindset, a slow phasing of hardcore motorist will gradually diminish.

    2. we cant change the current generation of motorist. only enforcement can. and enforcement here is CORRUPTED. another seriously grave issue here.

    3. existing laws are sufficient here, year long campaign or even years, must be implemented to drive in (no punt intended) the seriousness of our driving culture here.

    4. in NZ, Aussie, UK, USA and all of europe, the rights of pedestrian, under any circumstances, is the priority. afterall, everyone starts on the road by being a pedestrian first.

    5. our ministry must tackle problems on mindset and attitude rather than introducing new rules, here, rules are meant to be broken, to each motorist who breaks them is like a mental trophy.

    6. refresher classes on traffic rules obediences, courtesy and its consequences for all licensed drivers every 5 years till the new generation of youngster reached eligible age. this is a very very long term policy.


  7. sammy
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 05:10:01

    Worse in towns like JB and Penang where the roads are narrower and drivers have the kiasuim mentality. Biggest offenders in KL are sometimes the out of towners and a fraction of them Singapore plates.

    On highways, Sgp plated cars/big bikers are the worst lot, as they are so repressed in their own country that they need to let go in a neighbouring country. Oh they are quite well behaved up north, maybe becos’ the locals carry firearms?

    Children learn driving traits from parents and I am no exception, so my parents used to drive fast..and my siblings have the same style, fortunately we still have common courtesy to let others pass if possible…unfortunately not many return this gesture..

    JPJ have not been serious to enforce the law, wasting valuable time with roadblocks in KLIA, factories, etc. How many cars do you see with heavy tinted windows, overly bright headlights, mufflers that would not look out of place at Kennedy Space center with wings and attachments on cars that would be more suited to an F1 car instead. Not to be outdone is the occasional roadblocks by our boys in blue to make extra income.


  8. ong
    Feb 22, 2010 @ 19:41:13

    Like Dr. Hsu, I was also surprised. But for yet a different reason from Dr. Hsu’s. I was surprised that a JPJ chief can be surprised by all the blatant infringements of traffic rules on Malaysian roads. I have always assume that everyone, including even the partially blind, who have been on our roads are fully aware of all the blatant and dangerous infringements of traffic rules on Malaysian roads.

    Looks like here’s another civil servant who has been sleeping on the job, or to use our local slang, “makan gaji buta”. However I am glad he has awaken from his slumber.


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