In 1965, as a young lad of 20 years old, I received my first ‘warrant’. If you were me, would you have felt worried or excited about it? I’m sure you would. Those who are familiar with the Driving School Blog, would most probably jump to the conclusion that I have been served with a ‘traffic warrant’.
Have I contravened one of the many sections of the infamous Road Transport Ordinance 1987? Maybe. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even own a driving licence then. How was it possible for me to be served with a warrant of arrest then?
The above ‘warrant’ being referred to was in reality a ‘train warrant’. It was issued to successful candidates selected for a teacher training course to be conducted by the Malayan Government. To provide trainees transportation to its training centres, the Malayan Government had to depend on K.T.M. or the Malayan Railways.
The Malayan Railways locomotive train, if I remember well, departed from Johor Baru, in the south, ferrying trainees all along the way, passing through towns like Batu Pahat, Gemas, Seremban and then finally to the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
It was at Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, that this 21 years old youngster, lugging along 2 or 3 canvas bags, boarded the ‘kereta api’ Tanah Melayu, one eventful morning way back in 1965. And where do you think was I headed for? I was then heading towards Jitra, a small and remote town in Kedah. If I recollect clearly, I was being sent to a fairly large and well-known secondary school, the Sultan Abdul Halim Secondary School, Alor Akar, Jitra, Kedah.
Allow me to tell you about the K.T.M. train which was about to take us through the entire Malayan Peninsula. It was scheduled to pass through Ipoh, then proceed downwards north to Alor Star, Kedah. Eventually, chartered buses were to transport us to our final destination of Alor Akar, Kedah.
The K.T.M. or Keretapi Tanah Melayu’ in those days were unlike our present day trains which we have today. The train those days, in 1965 to be exact, were fueled by diesel. As a result, it emitted a lot of smoke and dust. To be expected, the train was only equipped with ordinary ceiling fans. In our local, hot and humid weather and with thousands of passengers packed like sardines, the condition was most unbearable, believe me.
As I said earlier, I boarded the K.T.M. locomotive at the Railway Station of Kuala Lumpure. I remember the train was so crowded that morning. I could not even find a seat. Can you imagine travelling north, a journey of about 180-200 kilometres in such conditions? It was the beginning of a miserable and unforgettable journey, which was to remain etched in my memory the rest of my entire life. To tell you the truth, nearly 50 years have since gone by, and I’m still relating about it today!
I still recollect sitting on the floor with a few of my close friends, huddled together. We were in fact very near a toilet. But we couldn’t move, not even an inch, so to say. And so, we were unable to go to the toilet to ease ourselves, all the way from Kuala Lumpur to the north. It was something which I would rather not remember at all.
But in spite of the deplorable conditions which existed in the K.T.M. train, some things nice did happen. Destiny had it that I was to meet and make friends in the likes of a Wong C.K., Hakimuddin, Lee K.P, Arul, and a Mr Tan Tung. I have not seen them for years now. But it is my contention, that they are well and still alive today. Albeit, they must be either in their sixties and some may even be in their seventies today.
K.T.M. train services today however has undergone a tremendous change. It boasts of modern, air-conditioned coaches, unlike the trains I’ve mentioned, nearly half a century ago. I dare say, ‘Keretapi Tanah Melayu’ trains are even comparable to the L.R.T. (light transit trains) run by RAPID, which operates from Kelana Jaya to Terminal Putra Gombak.
Permit me to tell readers about the K.T.M. trains that are available today. Just recently , I was opportune to board a K.T.M. train travelling from Klang to K.L. Sentral, and what do I feel about the journey? Before I give you my opinions, let me first of all enlighten you how I came about the be settling foot on a K.T.M. train, of all things!
Well, my close buddy, a fellow driving school instructor of Rakan IKSAN Driving Institute, Meru, Selangor, a Mr. Chin, 73, suggested that I try the K.T.M. train service available today. As so, on Thursday, the 20th February 2014, the two of us parked my driving school (a Kancil 600 c.c. vehicle) at the Bukit Badak halt nerby Taman Connaught, Klang, intending to board a K.T.M. train to Kuala Lumpur.
To tell you a little bit more about K.T.M. trains, let it be known their trains amongst other things:-
i) have special coaches for ladies.
ii) are fully air-conditioned.
iii) the trains follow quite a reliable time-table.
iv) K.T.M. trains, from Port Klang to K.L. Sentral, passes through approximately 13 to 14 sub-stations or ‘halts’.
v) the K.T.M. trains stop at each sub-station for not more than a minute or two only.
vi) all in all, the journey which this writer and his buddy took that morning, took roughly 45 minutes or so. Compare this to bus services provided by City Liner buses and Searanas Bus Services along the Federal Highway, this is indeed ‘fast’.
vii) most attractive of all, senior citizens or warga emas , citizens like your faithfully and his compatriat Mr Chin, we pay a sum of only RM1.80 discounted rate, as compared to bus tickets of RM3.00.
To end this article on K.T.M. latest train services, I wish to applaud it for providing the public a wonderful and enjoyable train service to the city of Kuala Lumpur. On top of that, train commuters can park their vehicles at K.T.M.’s ample parking lot at Jalan Station in Klang for a fee of RM3-4 per day. Readers who have yet to experience travelling in a K.T.M. train, why not attempt to travel from Port Klang to Kuala Lumpur the soonest possible. You will then be able to decide for yourselves whether what I’ve revealed in this article the truth or otherwise!
I read somewhere, that ‘trains’ in fact ‘stops’ for no one. Even the Queen of England, it is said, has to stop for it to pass through!
Pada akhir tahun 2014, Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) Malaysia telah memperkenalkan beberapa kaedah baru untuk mendapatkan lesen memandu Malaysia. Umpamanya, ujian untuk mendapatkan lesen memandu dengan menggunakan kereta transmisi automatik.
Dengan kaedah baru yang di perkenalkan JPJ, e-book kami, Jom Belajar Memandu, juga mengemukakan kontent baru yang di karang khas oleh Cikgu Yap. Kandungan baru yang di tambah di dalam e-buku adalah:
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2) Kursus Teori Kod Jalanraya atau Undang-Undang 01
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6) Mendaki Dan Menuruni Bukit
7) Side Parking Atau Memakir Secara Tepi
8) Elemen Pergerakan 3 Penjuru
9) Pergerakan Di Selekoh “S”
10) Pergerakan Di Selekoh “Z”
11) Tanjakan (Ramp) Untuk Kereta Transmisi Automatik
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Some 20 years ago, an immediate neighbor of mine, Ah Choy, a mechanic, lost his one and only son, a 16 year old boy, in a motorcycle accident, which took place along Jalan Watson, Pelabuhan Klang.
In another motorcycle accident which I can still vividly recall, my wife’s 3rd uncle, took to riding a Vespa scooter oneday. As luck had it, a friend had borrowed the above mentioned person’s vehicle, to carry out an errand that fateful day. My wife’s 3rd uncle possesses valid motorcycle license. But in reality, he had not ridden a motorcycle for quite some time. Which ascending down a road near Jalan Kota, or Fort Road, a bus Mara crashed into him. He was unfortunately killed instantly.
Way back in the 1980’s, I still recall, the elder brother of a colleague, a Miss Chong, who hails from nearby Eng Ann Housing Estate in Klang, was said to have been riding a large 500c.c. “superbike” down south from Singapore. A large Petronas oil tanker graced the above rider’s handle bars near Gemas town in Johore. This incident caused the superbike to fall onto the ground and into the path of the oncoming large tanker. He suffered massive injuries and he died instantly.
There are many accidents involving motorcyclists which this writer can relate. In fact, the stories of such incidences would be endless if I were to relate them.
As a driving instructor who has been involved in the driving school business for well over 40 years now, I have time and again implored that the authorities take immediate steps to raise the minimum age of securing a motorcycle license, from 16 to a minimum age of at least 18. With such steps, hopefully a few young lives could be saved. But unfortunately, the above call has fallen upon deaf ears. The authorities, for reasons unknown, have chosen to ignore such pleas.
JPJ Director-General, Datuk Solah Mat Hassan, announced the authorities will from hence forth take stern actions upon motorcyclists. It seems that the authorities are said to be very concerned with the high number of total accidents involving motorcyclists and their pillion riders.
According to Datuk Solah, the JPJ Director-general, in the past 3 years, some 12,000 motorcyclists and pillion riders have died in road accidents so far.
The government’s directive to all driving institutes made nearly a year ago, which lowered the cost of securing a B2 (below 250c.c.) motorcycle driving license from approximately RM 350- RM 400, to a mandatory RM 205, can very likely be said to be a cause for the 12,000 deaths which the motorcyclists sustained.
Would it not be a wiser move, for the government to allow the cost of securing a B2 motorcycle driving license, be pegged at RM 350- RM 400. By lowering the cost of getting a B2 motorcycle to RM 205, it has led to more and more youths being able to secure a riding license at such a tender age. Hence, the 12,000 road deaths suffered by motorcyclists can be said to contribute as a result of the authorities unwise decision.
Before we continue to investigate in more detail why motorcyclists in Malaysia sustain such a high rate of fatalities, as compared to other road users, it should be reiterated that as it is, motorcyclists are currently posing the authorities, namely the police, and the Road Transport Authorities, with a massive headache, which up to now the government has failed to overcome. The problem is none other that of “merempit motor” or “illegal motorcycle racing”.
Section 81 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (RTO) 1987, clearly spells out that “illegal motorcycle” racing is indeed a serious offence. Stern punishments such as a RM 2000 fine, withdraw of licenses and even confiscation of machines, have all failed to deter mat rempit enthusiast from participating in illegal races so far.
Amongst other things, what “wrongs” have motorcycle riders of Malaysia contravened?
Permit me to disclose to readers the “sins” that motorcyclists have thus committed so far:
1) Motorcyclists and their pillion riders fail to wear safety helmets. It is said that many of them have since died in accidents. The authorities say, a safety helmet costs only RM 50. There is no reason or excuse for motorcyclists and their pillion riders not to wear one and put their lives at risk.
2) Motorcyclists are also reported to be using “mobile phones” or “hand phones” whilst riding too.
3) Overtaking on the left, which is indeed very dangerous offence indeed.
4) Tail gating other motorists.
5) And of cause, “speeding”.
6) Motorcyclists are also very fond of making illegal “U” turns.
7) Failing to stop at “pedestrian” crossings.
8) Parking their machines at “fire hydrants” and “bus stops”.
9) “Hogging” the right lane.
10) The failure to produce their licenses for inspection when asked to do so by the authorities, that is the police and the Road Transport authorities.
With the latest announcement, the new regulations will be met by stern and high fines. Furthermore, many of the offences which are contravened by motorcyclists, will no longer be accorded discounts or rebates. Previously, motorcyclists were given discounts ranging from RM 70 – RM 100. This will no longer be the case when the new rules and regulations are implemented in the very near future.
The decision by the authorities to improve the maximum fine of RM 300 on errant motorcyclists, hopefully will go on to reduce the high rate of accidents and deaths amongst our motorcycle riding youths of our nation.
The authorities thus far has been too lenient in dealing with motorcyclists. It is about time some “serious” actions be taken against them! I applaud the government’s serious decision this time around!