Two authorities, the Police and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) represent those who are allowed to stop and check vehicles belonging to driving schools and driving institutes. In the 1960’s, and 70’s, driving institutes were not yet set up in Malaysia. In those days, the police used to stop and check driving schools vehicles too. Police personnel who ride motorcycles, police patrol cars and even at road blocks set up by them, used to take actions on driving school vehicles then.
But with the setting up of driving institutes all throughout the entire country later, the police department, I feel, has of late slackened its onslaught against vehicles which belong to the driving fraternity. One reason why the above appear to be so, is that, driving institutes, which were first set up in 1999, are today rather well run and organized according to the requirements of the Road Transport Department.
Another reason why the police have minimized their attention upon driving school vehicles these days is because most driving institutes nowadays operate legally. For the public’s information, driving institutes nowadays operate with:
i) Permits to instruct students via the S.M.I.
ii) All driving institutes’ vehicles undergo a compulsory 6 months inspection by the Puspkom authorities.
iii) Almost all driving school or institutes’ teaching staff or “instructors” are in possession of certificates to instruct or S.M.3.
iv) All driving institutes’ vehicles posses the S.M.1 certificate the S.M.2 certificate which allows the vehicles to be used to provide driving tuition to students.
With all the above certificates, the S.M.1 (permit to operate), the S.M.2 (permission to use a vehicle for instructing purposes) and the S.M.3 (certificate to instruct or teach), the police authorities in reality have hardly any fault at all to find with driving institute vehicles these days. Thus, their decision to abstain from harassing driving schools vehicles too much.
In the days before the setting up of driving institutes in Malaysia, there existed operators of driving schools which were termed as “illegal” or “haram” driving schools. Such driving schools did not posses the S.M.1 (permit to operate). Cars or vehicles used to teach students did not undergo “inspection”. Instructor also did not posses the required certificate to instruct or the S.M.3. This group of illegal driving school operators have gone into oblivion.
With the police authorities showing down its attention on driving schools or institutes those days, it now looks as if the duty to check upon vehicles being used by driving schools or institutes seems to have fallen into the hands of the Road Transport Department.
How does the JPJ keep a vigilance on driving school and institutes’ vehicles? JPJ has its team of enforcement officers and vehicles, especially Perdana and Pajero vehicles, making their rounds. The above vehicles seldom fail to stop driving school and institutes’ vehicles to check if they have the proper documents. Usually, documents such S.M.1, S.M.2 and S.M.3 are targeted. Besides these, Puspakom inspection discs and road tax are also checked thoroughly.
Most summonses, issued by the JPJ carry a fine compound of RM 300. Years ago, while I was using a Datsun 120Y to tutor my students at Taman Seri Andalas, Klang, I was stopped for a routine spot check by JPJ officers. When checked, the above vehicle was found to possess a few flaws such as:
i) Wipers not functioning properly.
ii) Not in possession of both the “side” mirrors.
iiii) Hand brakes were not in accordance with the authorities’ requirements.
All in all, 3 summonses were issued. No amount of appeals were entertained. I finally had to settle 3 summonses totaling RM 900 at the JPJ Pertaling Jaya headquarters within a span of one month.
Besides surveillance by the JPJ enforcement officers, their officers also conduct road blocks periodically at busy areas around town and housing estates. These are places frequently used by “haram” or “illegal” driving school operators to conduct their businesses.
I still remember, albeit very vaguely, being stopped by a JPJ road block team at the 3rd mile, Jalan Kapar, near the Bata Shoe Factory, one evening at approximately 7.30 p.m. My young, 17 year old female student and myself, had beaten the traffic lights at “amber”. We were instantly waved down by JPJ officers at a road block ahead. As usual, no amount of appeals seem to work. I had to fork out RM300 for the summons issued that day.
In my many years as driving school instructor, I have heard of many instances of my fellow instructors being stopped by JPJ enforcement teams. Among the offences they were pulled up for include:
i) Instructing pupils or students without the proper “L” license. In fact, this contravenes Section 26(1) of the Road Transport Act(R.T.O) 1987.
ii) Instructing more than one student in a single driving school or institute vehicle. According to rules and regulations laid down by the JPJ authorities, an instructor can only teach one student at a time. Having passengers at the rear while instructing a learner driver how to drive represents an offence.
iii) And of course, the usual offence is not having all the proper documents or papers essential to conduct a driving lesson on public roads.
Documents referred to include:
i. S.M.1 certificate(permit to run a driving school or institute business)
ii. S.M.2 certificate(which proves that driving school vehicles have undergone the proper inspection as required by Puspakom authorities.) This would include the proper “insurance” requirements in order to carry out instructions of new driving students.
iii. That students are properly attired. Slipper wearing and donning short skirts and shorts are unfortunately some of the mode of attire that are disallowed, likewise, instructors are also expected not to wear “slippers” while carrying out their duties. Lastly, instructors are also encouraged not to smoke while instructing as well.
Besides carrying out “road blocks” and “surveillance” on the roads, the JPJ often conduct “spot checks” by making visits to institutes’ premises from time to time. JPJ officers see to it that instructions given to students are conducted as per authorities’ regulations and rules.
Most important of all, driving instructors carrying out driving instructions to pupils are qualified and passes the S.M.3 certificate to teach or instruct. Even instructors, who from time to time leave their students while they are doing their parking maneuvers at the institute premises, to go to the “loo”, have been said to have been issued warning letters by JPJ officials.
In fact, one of my driving instructor colleagues, an Encik Rabani, was admonished for having stationed himself too far from his student while she was doing her parking steps. Encik Rabani, I heard, has been given a show cause letter by the JPJ, Selangor department for not carrying out his duties faithfully.
Stern actions by the JPJ authorities upon vehicles are never liked by driving schools or institutes. Nevertheless, if we were to ponder over it carefully, such actions by the authorities will infact bring about a world of good. With it, driving schools and institutes will be kept on their toes.
This augurs well, not only for the driving school industry as a whole, but also for the public as well. To the Road Transport Department (JPJ), keep up the good work!