Ever since I was in Form 3, in my upper secondary days, I had always been interested in things involving politics.
Way back in the 1960s, when appearing for the Higher School Certificate (H.S.C.) exam, which in those days was conducted by the University of London Examination Syndicate, I sat for the paper British Constitution, while doing the subject entitled Economics and Public Affairs paper.
My interest or love for this subject was the result of being an ardent history student while I was in school.
For all this ardour for the subject of politics,
I have for it, should go to the encouragement given by my history teachers, especially Mr. S.P. Subramaniam who incidentally I remember was my History teacher from Form 1 to Form 5.
Thanks to Mr. S.P. Subramaniam, I eventually got an A1 in History for the Overseas School Certificate way back in 1962.
My affairs with politics above did not end there.
While attached to the Humanities Department at one local centre of learning in Pulau Pinang way back in 1980s, I took up International Relations (I.R.).
I was indeed honoured to be under the good hands of Professor Chandra Mustaffar, the well renowned one time Malaysian opposition leader.
For your info, the above personality started the Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia political party way back in 1960s.
As I remember, though rather vaguely, while at Pulau Pinang, one of the elective subjects which I was offered was the subject of local government.
Malaysian political scenario does not only involve Parliament, state government, but also local councils as well.
Examples of local councils include of course, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (D.B.K.L.), Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (M.B.P.J.), Majlis Perbandran Subang Jaya (M.P.S.J.), Majlis Perbandaran Klang (M.P.K.) etc.
For readers’ information, there are a total of about 150 local councils in our country.
Local council authorities, such as the above, were actually set up under the Local Council Act.
Unfortunately, I have forgotten when it was started.
The Director of the Road Transport Department, Datuk Sureet Singh, revealed recently, the authorities comprising Road Transport Department (J.P.J.) the Police, and the local council people, today, faces a colossal problem.
It is said to be facing the problem of being unable to collect RM16 million traffic summonses.
Before proceeding any further with the subject, summons can be issued by namely 3 authorities to drivers or motorists.
Those responsible for issuing such summons are the R.T.D, the Police and local council officials.
J.P.J. issue summons for using hand phones while driving, beating red traffic lights and not wearing seat belts.
The police issue summons for illegal parking and speeding offences, amongst others.
Under the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s jurisdiction, it can summon drivers who commit illegal parking.
Traffic offenders can be given summonses amounting to RM80.
Motorists are normally given a grace period.
Motorists can be given the opportunity to request for a discount.
The fines can be lowered, if paid early.
However, most motorists choose to ignore traffic summonses issued by local councils.
Why does this happen?
Simple because, summonses by such councils does not affect road tax renewals.
The M.P.S.J. says it issued some 17,000 traffic summonses monthly.
Only 17% is paid up by motorists.
The only way to solve this problem is to haul these offenders to court.
But, as you know, this is a big hassle.
There are limitations in terms of time and resources.
However, motorists beware!
In a recent proposal, a briefing recently held with the J.P.J. authorities, it has been decided to make local council summonses online with J.P.J.
If an amendment is made to Section 17 (1) (d) of the Road Transport Act 1987, is passed at the next Parliament session in June 2010, local councils would be able to link up with the J.P.J.
What happens when all this happens?
This simply means motorists will have their license blacklisted.
They will have to pay up outstanding summonses before their road taxes can be issued by the Road Transport Authorities.
Regarding the non-payment of summonses to motorists, urban or town councils face the most problem.
Parking issues are said to be extremely rampant.
The brakes on repeat traffic offenders by local councils seems to be coming to an end soon.
Drivers and motorists beware!
Your days as they say, are numbered.
You cannot ignore summonses by local councils anymore.
You have to regard summonses issued by local authorities the same way as summonses by the J.P.J. and the Police.
To end this article on local council summonses, I would like to enlighten readers about one thing.
Being rather well versed with local councils and their rights.
I have always made it a point to settle all summonses and parking tickets issued by local councils.
My last encounter with the local council was with the M.B.P.J. authorities.
In or around 2008, I visited the M.B.P.J. headquarters in Petaling Jaya to setting 4 or 5 outstanding parking summonses.
The Legal Adviser of M.B.P.J. has threatened to institute legal proceedings against me.
I appealed and received discounted amounts for fines imposed.
Today, I still have receipts paid for parking fines in my files!
As a lecturer for the 5 Hours course for new drivers at my institute every week, it is my opinion that I should set a good example for all my students to follow.
I cannot do what they say in Bahasa Malaysia, “seperti ketam menyuruh anaknya jalan betul”.
Colloquially translated into English, this proverb literally means, “like a crab advising its young not to walk side ways”.