Yesterday, the traffic police lowered fines for traffic offences by amounts between 15% to 75%, to help with the rakyat’s rising cost of living due to rising oil prices. The reduction in rates applied to most offences except dangerous cases like fatal accidents, driving without a license and illegal racing. The rates were reduced in accordance to the seriousness of the offence, with minor offences having the most reduction of 75%, which could be as much as a RM200 reduction.
Another rationale given was to make fines affordable enough for public to choose to pay the fines instead of bribing policemen. However, with the reduction of fines there would no longer be the option of appealing for a reduced settlement.
Today, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy (also MCA Deputy President) expressed suprise on the move by the traffic police, saying they were not consulted by the police before the implementation of the discounts, instead having to find out about it via the media. The Ministry of Transport feels A reduction would reduce the deterrent effect of the fines, and could possibly affect the Ministry’s road safey campaigns.
Naturally, Datuk Seri Chan proceeded to bring this matter up with the Cabinet to discuss it with the Prime Minister. After today’s Cabinet meeting, it was decided that the reduction of fines would be postponed until the police, Road Transport and Road Safety Department officials, and Internal Security Ministry officials have sat down and discussed this issue as well as numerous other issues.
The move to reduce fines comes off as pretty awkward to me, if the cost of living is high enough to hurt us, the solution is easy – just don’t break the rules and you won’t get fined. Uh, most of the time anyway!