Driving school instructors or “pengajar-pengajar” must possess the certificate to teach. This certificate is normally known as the S.M.2 (Sijil Mengajar 2). This certificate has to be renewed annually.

Getting the necessary forms, the necessity to meet the Manager of the institute and other “red tape” procedures, makes renewing of this certificate quite a hassle.

But do you know what? Drivers on the other hand, can get their driving licenses renewed for a 3 year or even a 5 year period.

Such facilities accorded to drivers minimize the public’s problems in having to renew their driving license year in and year out.

Beside this, do not forget, the majority of drivers depend on “driving schools” or runners. And these people charge “services” for doing such jobs as renewing licenses for other people.

Even though the government’s decision to allow license renewal to be made for 5 years, the reality is this causes a lot of problems.

There are actually loopholes in the present method of renewing licenses which the government has recently announced.

Following the announcement, the Transport Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Keat reiterated the existing practice of allowing drivers to renew their licenses will therefore be reviewed shortly.

Why has a method that has been put into practice for so many years suddenly become necessary to be reviewed?

It seems, accordingly to the Minister concerned, there are a few weaknesses in the government’s allowing for a 5 year license renewals.

Drivers could not be found easily if they are involved in accidents. Until they renew their licenses.

Secondly, Datuk Ong said further, how many of those involved in accidents actually paid their “Fines”.

Thirdly, Datuk Ong went on to say, the government wanted to know what the general attitude was when they were served with summonses.

The purpose of fines or summonses is to:

1) Correct the drivers’ mistake and errors.

2) Make them feel remorseful that their mistakes will not recur again.

3) Ensure those at fault will pay up their fines and summonses.

Datuk Ong Tee Keat said the IRAP (International Road Assessment Programme) report indicated 3 cost-effective counter-measures with the biggest potential to save lives and reduce injuries.

Amongst the counter-measures are the removal of road side hazards, installing central hatching on undivided roads to separate high speed opposing flows and setting up exclusive and non exclusive motorcycle lanes.

The full IRAP programme for Malaysia has the capability to prevent some 32,000 death and injuries over 20 years.

However, as we ponder over the decision to review renewals of licenses for period of 5 years and beyond, we have also to remember the amount of money which would have been generated if this project were to be continued would now have be lost.

As the saying goes “We cannot have the cake and eat it”.

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