(Un)Popular Opinion

Why Should M’sians Enjoy 50% Discount On Traffic Fines If Accidents Keep Rising?

Forgive us (not) our debts.
(Un)Popular Opinion | We Malaysians love all kinds of discounts. Shopping, food, electronics…you name it and you’ll be sure to see hordes of Malaysians nearly trampling over each other to enjoy the promotion.

Aside from those discounts, there’s also another kind of discount that will never fail to attract Malaysians at any time of the year — traffic fines discounts.

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M'sians waiting to pay traffic fines
Photo by WeirdKaya

Recently, it was announced that those with outstanding traffic fines will be able to enjoy a 50% discount from Dec 8 to Dec 10 in conjunction with celebrations to commemorate Anwar’s government being in power for a year.

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Unsurprisingly, thousands of Malaysians turned up at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium to pay off their summons at a reduced rate, where a whopping 37,242 traffic summonses were settled during the event.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with paying off your fines at a discounted rate, I couldn’t help but to wonder: what good does it actually do for Malaysian drivers aside from making it less financially painful?

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50% discount on traffic fines, but at what cost?

To show you how absurd it is for the government to uphold a system that essentially lets offenders off the hook, let’s take a look at some statistics regarding the number of road accidents in Malaysia.

Scratches on a car following an accident
For illustration purposes only. Photo via WeirdKaya

According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, there were 545,588 road accidents in 2022, out of which 6,080 were fatalities. This means that an accident takes place per minute and a death occurs every 86 minutes.

If that isn’t enough to send chills down your spine, a survey carried out by FINN showed that Malaysia was ranked third under its ‘Countries Where You Are Most Likely To Die On The Road’ category, where Malaysia recorded 22.48 road deaths per 100,000 people.

'countries where you are most likely to die on the road' survey by finn
Photo via FINN

Lest we dismiss these numbers as mere figures, let’s not forget that these are actually human lives that were senselessly lost to reckless and selfish behavior — victims who could’ve lived out their best lives possible.

So, when the government actually makes a public announcement on giving discounts for traffic fines, it’s actually making a mockery of the traffic laws which were designed to protect drivers and motorists!

How so? By allowing offenders to not face the full force of the law and pay off their ‘debts’ at a discounted rate, it gives them the message that while, yes, there are consequences to their actions, it can all be settled with money and everything’s right with the world again.

M'sian traffic police giving out a summon
For illustration purposes only. Photo via Bikes Republic

Furthermore, it also encourages errant drivers to be less mindful of the safety of others as they know for a fact that they will not be duly punished.

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As for the part of law enforcement officers, they will gradually become more complacent in carrying out their duties in punishing those caught flouting the law because they also know that the summon means nothing but a useless piece of paper.

This farcical arrangement is summed up perfectly by a road safety expert, who said:

No one is going to respect the law if they know that, at the end of the day, the government will give a discount.”

What should be done?

In my humble opinion, the government needs to have the political will to stand firm in not giving out discounts to those with outstanding summons.

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If they want to recoup the money, they can consider instructing traffic cops to contact and remind those who have yet to pay. If the offender refuses to listen and fails to pay on time, then prison time or heavy fines should be levied in order to let him know that actions have consequences.

M'sian police car on the road
For illustration purposes only. Photo via WeirdKaya

We cannot, as a society, be looking forward to enjoy discounted rates for the mistakes we have made at the expense of individuals who were left maimed or dead as a result.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.

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