In Johor Bahru recently, a storekeeper, N. Ganesh Kumar, 24, who lost his temper, was charged for using violence against a police officer.

He was handed a RM6500 fine.

The intention of this article highlighting the above incident is meant to remind drivers, be it motorists or motorcyclists, that you cannot take the law into your own hands. No matter how angry you are, you are advised to control your temper.

Using violence against a police officer, a J.P.J. official or even a local council employee, out to give you a ticket for a traffic offense is against the law.

Like Kumar above, you can be charged under Section 353 of the Penal Code.

In case drivers are unaware, permit me to inform you, you cannot assault another person irregardless of whether is person is a layman or a public official.

What if you tell the Magistrate presiding over your case that you were actually ignorance of the law? And you didn’t know that hitting or assaulting another person or public officer was something wrong. You will still not get away with what you did.

Why, you may well ask?

Because the law clearly reiterates, “Ignorant of the law is no excuse”. Hope you get the idea now!

Now, let’s come back to this rather interesting story or episode of our friend, Ganesh Kumar.

This story could have happened to anyone of us, and not necessarily to Mr. Kumar alone. That’s why it is important that you continue to read this article that I’m writing today.

Well, the story has it, Kumar, a storekeeper who stopped to check on a supposed road side commotion, told a Magistrates Court that if he had known the person whom he had assaulted was a traffic police Chief, he would not have done it.

Kumar was said to have hit the Johor Bahru South traffic police Chief, Deputy Supt. Ooi Kok Seong with his helmet. Mr. Ooi was at that time, when the incident happened, was in the process of issuing summons to some motorists who had committed some traffic offenses.

The story has it that Kumar, however apologized to the Court for the incident and pleaded guilty to assaulting DSP Ooi at Jalan Sin Chin about 5:30 pm on May 1st 2010.

Although the Court was told by Kumar that DSP Ooi was rude to him that day, Magistrate Sharifah Meleeha Syed Hussin advised Kumar that he was wrong. And he had no right whatsoever to hit the DSP officer who was then carrying out his duty.

How did this storekeeper who just happened to be passing by get into such a mess?

According to him, he saw a commotion and like any good citizen, he just wanted to know what had happened. He just wanted to find out what the problem was.

But unfortunately, one thing led to another. The Court was told that DSP Ooi was rude and that led Ganesh Kumar finally to hit DSP with his crash helmet, injuring the DSP in the eye.

DSP Ooi when contacted later said at the time of the incident, he was not in uniform. He was in fact in the process of issuing some summonses to a row of cars parked along a bus lane.

Does a public officer or police office in this case have the right to issue summons even though he is not in uniform?

The answer to this question is Yes!

A police officer even though he may off duty is still a police officer nonetheless. Mr. Ooi and also the Johor Bahru South traffic officer was only carrying out his duty duly.

I hope that with this short article, drivers and motorcyclists should always bear in mind, that we as drivers should always restrain our own hands, no matter what. Do not allow what happened to Ganesh Kumar ever happen to you.

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