In my 5 hour grueling Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu (K.P.P.) or Highway Code lecture every week, I faithfully check students’ attire and shoes that they wear.

Besides this, students are reminded again and again, handphones should be switched off.

As a matter of fact, why are such stringent rules enforced at driving institutes’ premises when the K.P.P. is being conducted?

Because the J.P.J. authorities have a list of rules and regulations which all driving institutes should abide with. Even wearing non collared T-shirts by male participants are disallowed.

Ladies who choose to wear slippers are often pulled up and action taken against them. It is not that I, who is also a K.P.P. lecturer for many years now, is inconsiderate at all for such small or unimportant things.

The fact is, when J.P.J. officials make their official rounds to the institutes to check upon how the above courses are conducted, lecturers will be the very first to receive the salvos of the J.P.J. authorities.

As a result, this lecturer has often been strict with students attending my K.P.P. class. So much so, to be frank with you, there are quite a few of my comrades or colleagues who do not like me very much.

In short, I have become a rather unpopular figure in the institute where I am at present conducting the 5 hour K.P.P. lectures.

But being the person that I am, to me, rules are rules. No matter what, they have to be abided with, not matter at what cost. Furthermore, I am not out on a popularity contest anyway.

A young J.P.J official approximately 35 years of age, was asked recently by me, why is it that J.P.J. authorities pay so much attention to clothes, shoes and other requirements?

And you know what, the answer given by the officer would most certainly surprise you. It surprised me, nevertheless!

He was reported to have answered, “you know, if at this early stage, when one is beginning to become a potential driver, he or she has no discipline and cannot even follow simple rules and regulations pertaining to our lectures, how are they to follow and abide with traffic rules and regulations later on.”

In short, he continued, “how are they expected to be good and competent drivers eventually.”

How wise and right the young official who came to inspect me was.

That’s why, when reading the headlines which appeared in the Star newspaper of the 28th April 2010 edition entitled “religious bodies to be roped in for stop at red lights” campaign, organized jointly by The Sun newspaper and the Ministry of Transport at Putrajaya recently, I just smile and was not surprised at all with the move made by the Transport Minister, Datuk Ong Tee Kiat.

Datuk Ong reiterated further, “religious bodies and social groups will soon be enlisted to help educate the public on the importance of road safety and stopping at red lights”.

In fact, Datuk Ong further added, the Transport Ministry is willing even to work with any party, including the NGOs and the media to drive home this important message.

“Religious bodies, which includes I suppose, the churches, mosque officials and temple authorities can assist the Transport authorities to in calculate the public to be more responsible and ethical, especially on the road”.

There are many ways that can promote road safety among Malaysian drivers. Datuk Ong Tee Kiat, said this at the launch of a “Red Means Stop” campaign which The Sun and the Road Safety Department organized.

Drivers may think or assume that stopping at red lights might have no meaning at all. But if proper consideration is provided, to this simple act of stopping at red lights, could prevent a catastrophe and even death.

According to Datuk Ong, between January and April this year alone, a total of 4,749 cases beating red traffic lights were recorded. This figure exceeded the 4,452 such cases recorded throughout 2009. This evidently shows lack of civic consciousness amongst Malaysian motorists.

Talking about the Automated Enforcement System (A.E.S.), which incidentally, I have been following quite closely, Datuk Ong said that it would be enforced soon in October 2010.

It is hoped that with it, the number of accidents will be brought down as motorist will relies that they can be caught anytime of the day for traffic violations.

In view of the recent decision to table a bill in Parliament to raise the RM300 fine to RM1000, and which unfortunately had to be aborted due to much hue and cry from the general public, I earnestly hoped, the A.E.S. which as initially scheduled for introduction in May 2010 will be launched without further delay.

Signing off, Datuk Ong, the Minister of Transport said, “the number of accidents has been reduced over the years due to stricter enforcement and further safety campaigns. The figure will further be reduced!”

In the meantime, I hope all drivers will cooperate fully with the Transport Ministry’s current campaign on Red Means Stop and make it a roaring success.

Malaysia Boleh!