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.