Recently, the road transport department (JPJ) revealed that it will suspend or revoke the permits of driving schools if many of their former students are found to have committed traffic offences or cause traffic accidents.

According to a report by FMT, the move has attracted criticism, with CT Balan, operations director of Safety Driving Centre, saying JPJ had no right to do so since its officers were the final examiners of the students.

“How can JPJ penalise driving schools when we follow its syllabus? In fact, the examiners for the final exam to judge a driver’s competence and adherence to all road regulations are from JPJ itself,” he said.

Balan added that JPJ and other relevant authorities shouldn’t blame driving schools road accidents and offences, and instead focus on improving enforcement. “Enforcement is very loose and road offenders can easily get away with little to no punishment. The authorities must be stricter and more consistent in enforcing the law,” he commented.

He also suggested introducing a mandatory defensive driving course for all drivers to take after the two-year probationary licence period as a way to address the high number of road accidents and offences. “If drivers are required to go back for a defensive driving course, they could refresh their knowledge on road regulations and leave with more confidence in handling their vehicles and knowledge on road safety,” Balan explained.

Meanwhile, Law Teik Hua, head of Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Road Safety Research Centre, said it would be unfair for driving schools to be penalised by JPJ, and that existing measures to address the issue needed to be better implemented instead.

“We need to think about the Demerit Points System for Traffic Offences (Kejara), which is still around but seems to be ineffective. The tools are there. Why not improve them and make them highly visible to the public?” he questioned.