More severe punishments for M’sian drivers

The new regulation could eventually result in drivers unable to renew their road taxes and driving licences

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

ERRANT motorists can expect more severe punishments should they flout traffic rules following the takeover of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) by the Road Transportation Department (JPJ).

Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the new regulation would include compound and demerit system that could eventually result in drivers unable to renew their road taxes and driving licences.

The new rules, introduced under the AES, also known as the Automated Awareness Safety System (AWAS) takes effect on Sept 1.

Loke said drivers who committed speeding and beating traffic light offences can expect heavier jail terms and heftier fines.

He said in a statement that no exemption or deduction of compound payments will be entertained for summonses that are issued under the new system.

For instance, traffic offenders will be given a compound term for 60 days and with a compound rate of RM300, while being imposed demerit points when the fine is paid.

For traffic light offences, drivers of regular vehicles would face a deduction of four points, while commercial and bus operators would get a sixpoint deduction.

Repeat offenders who are blacklisted will be prevented from obtaining their road tax, as well as renewing their licences.

Apart from the stricter new rules, the AES also encompasses the enforcement of operations on 45 AWAS cameras, including 29 cameras for speeding offences and 16 cameras that are placed at traffic lights.

Loke said two additional locations will be installed with cameras and the ministry is in the process of obtaining approval from the local authorities.

“I would also like to emphasise that the main purpose of the installations and enforcements of these AWAS cameras are to educate and safeguard drivers especially when they drive in the AWAS camera operation zones,” Loke said.

He added that the identified locations are accident prone areas and the government is looking at more locations should the need arises in the future.

To date, a total of 1,268 summonses have been issued since the operations took effect on Saturday.

Two weeks ago, Loke announced the cancellation of all summonses issued under the AES believed to be worth RM535 million before Sept 1 this year.

The decision is made based on the biased deal in the collection of summons by two private companies that did not bring any revenue back to the government.

There were some 3.1 million unpaid summonses, out of the 3.76 million summonses issued after 2012.

The takeover by JPJ drew some criticism, as it was deemed unfair for those who had paid their fines.

The two companies — ATES Sdn Bhd and Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd — which operated the system were paid RM16 for every summons issued, and were limited to 10 million summonses per year based on the agreement signed by the previous government in December 2011.

Ates and Beta Tegap were reported to have collected more than RM129 million.

Loke also revealed that in 2015, the previous government had instructed Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), through its subsidiary Irat Properties Sdn Bhd, to take over the two companies. LTAT paid RM555 million as compensation to the two companies.

LTAT since then said the government should repay the LTAT for all the money it used to take over the AES project from the two companies.