Gov't urged to stop giving discounts for traffic saman –

“Aiya, don’t rush to pay for your traffic saman, wait for discount, sure got one lah.” You’ve likely heard the line countless times before, and for good reason, because that’s how it usually goes. No doubt, all of you should be familiar with the number of discount campaigns for traffic summonses that have come about over the years, the most recent being the one-month RM50 special payment rate announced last week.

Sure, one could argue that such campaigns generate revenue collection for the government that would otherwise be, well, lost or delayed, but the practice goes to show how most people don’t worry about the implications of committing a traffic offence, seeing that very few bother to pay up when they should.

The discount culture feeds this, and it’s something that needs to be stopped, according to a couple of road safety experts. As both put it, offering discounts on fines for such offences is counterintuitive and will simply make drivers disregard traffic laws further, as FMT reports.

One of them is Law Teik Hua of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s road safety research centre, who said that the approach of offering discounts for summonses dilutes the impact of law enforcement. “No one is going to respect the law if they know that, at the end of the day, the government will give a discount,” he told the publication.

Law said a traffic summonses were meant to be hard on offenders to deter them from breaking the law. However, the government viewed them as a way to earn revenue rather than as a penalty. He called on the government to enforce the Kejara demerit points system that was currently in place to discourage people from committing traffic offences, stating that the “pain” of having one’s driver’s licence suspended or even revoked would serve as a good deterrent.

Tengku Ahmad Marwan Tengku Mahmud, a road safety affiliate with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), agreed with Law that the demerit points system should be enforced, saying that it was lacking at the moment.

Pointing out that developed countries did not offer discounts on traffic summonses, he said that applying demerit points would work, but it had to be enforced in a thorough, consistent manner. It all comes down to authorities having the willpower to ensure that happens, he said.

“In the UK, people obey traffic rules because they know that even though they may be able to pay the summons, they will not be able to run away from the demerit points. So, even rich people over there are not willing to commit traffic violations because they know once enough points are taken off for the violations, their licence will be revoked or cancelled by the authorities,” he said.

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