Discounts For Outstanding Traffic Summons. But Doesn’t That Defeat The Purpose?

It’s not unusual for the transport department or municipal councils in Malaysia to offer discounts to those whom have been issued traffic fines and summons, so that the massive number of outstanding summons can be cleared, and the government bodies can finally collect some moolah. But Automologist LING thinks this is a stupid less-than-clever move. 

I feel a rant coming on.

If you have racked up summons under the Municipal Council of Subang Jaya (MPSJ), then you might have taken advantage of the flat rate discount offered recently, starting from February 1st to April 30th. For 10 ringgit only each, you can settle your outstanding summons—the original amount ranged from 30 to 100 ringgit, depending on the traffic offence.

You see, I am, for the most part, one of those traffic law-abiding citizens. On the rare occasions that I have, upon returning to my car, seen one of those longish narrow strips of paper flapping under my windshield wiper, I immediately feel undeserving of my driving license and promptly go online or drive myself to the municipal council office to pay the fine, in full, and vow to never commit the offence again. I thought that was what summons are supposed to do: encourage better driver behaviour. Well, I guess I was just silly.

Yup, I know EXACTLY where this is, and I’ve double parked here before…and got a ticket for it.

But you see, I was misled. If I do not pay off my credit card balance at the end of the month, the interest compounds and my debt grows. When the time comes to pay the assessment fee of my property, I pay a smaller amount if I do it before a certain deadline. If I don’t pay my income tax on time, I will be charged an interest, and if I don’t pay off the interest, there is an interest on the interest. So, you see, I have been deluded, thinking that I should pay what I owe early.

But wait. Aren’t traffic summons and the hefty fines supposed to discourage drivers from double parking, parking where they shouldn’t, and neglecting to buy a parking coupon for the correct amount of time they want to park? MPSJ said that the campaign is intended to prevent motorists from being prosecuted in court. How thoughtful. But wait (again). Isn’t the point of the courts to enforce the law so blatantly broken by these errant motorists. Now I’m confused.

I don’t suppose that if MPSJ were to adopt the same method as my credit card company and the tax departments—i.e. pay less if you pay early, pay more if you pay late—it would encourage bad drivers to clear their summonses in a timely manner. Or maybe, haul them off to court and drivers would actually take the law of the roads seriously, finally. Guess not.

Here’s what MPSJ has taught me to do: keep future summonses in a stack, in a dusty corner of my drawer, and ignore them until another one of these campaigns roll along. I might even start ignoring more traffic rules, since the only repercussion is losing 10 ringgit. I could live with that.

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