On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Driven round the bend

Malaysian motorists are very good at multi-tasking.

Malaysian motorists are very good at multi-tasking.

Malaysian drivers have been rated as the worst in the region and we enjoy killing ourselves on the roads, with fatalities of up to 7,000 a year.

IF you think Malaysian politicians are untrustworthy, unreliable and dangerous, then you haven’t met Malaysian motorists.

Talking to me? Yes! We have been rated as the worst in the region and we enjoy killing ourselves on the roads, with fatalities of up to 7,000 a year.

We are not sure if this is the result of driving schools simply churning out inadequately trained drivers or the authorities dishing out kopi lesen for the right price. But for sure, Malaysian drivers are pretty peculiar, so to speak. Here are 10 offences you must know about us.

Offence No 1: Foreigners – especially the high-income ones who call themselves expatriates to distinguish themselves from the low-paying foreigners – must understand that mamak restaurant owners are the kings of parking lots.

Yes, you read it right. No one can park their vehicle outside their restaurants. It’s only reserved for their tables and stools, especially in the evenings.

So please do not think that because you are an expat, wah, you can complain about Malaysia. Even we Malaysians keep quiet.

Don’t ask why municipal council enforcement officers are not acting. You think they’ve got no work to do, ah? Tearing down “rocket and volcano massage” posters already take up all their time, okay?

Offence No 2: When we drive into a shopping mall, we fight to park near the entrance. That’s because most of us are too lazy to walk. We may insist on the need to exercise daily to keep ourselves fit but when it comes to parking at the mall, it must always be at the spot nearest to the lift! Can’t you just park right in front of the entrance? Ah Boy, we need to walk very far if we park too far.

Not only that. Now, Malaysia is not safe any more. I don’t want to be robbed or raped while walking to the car, okay Ah Boy. These foreign security guards all useless ones, ask them where is the toilet also they don’t know. You trust them, ah, all so skinny ones, how to protect us? Come, come, park near the entrance. Pusing a few rounds lah, if don’t have!

Offence No 3: Malaysia must be the only country in the world where, after spending millions of ringgit to build stretches of beautiful roads, we immediately build humps every few metres away from each other! This is absolutely mind boggling but, hey, this is Malaysia. We do things our way, okay? Why ask so much, jealous of our success in humping, ah? Sorry, I mean, we love humps.

Offence No 4: Malaysian motorists are very good at multi-tasking. We can do many job functions at one time while driving. We can text, SMS or whatsapp while driving or even while riding our bikes. This is already an acceptable thing. No longer a skill, okay?

Of course, yakking away and driving at 20kph, ignoring the honking behind us, is also already an entrenched culture: Itu sudah jadi biasa lah bro, bukan news lagi lah. (That’s already normal, no longer news.)

While on the wheel, some of us play with the baby or pet dog, too. I told you what, Malaysians can do anything one.

Offence No 5: If you have seen how human beings can turn into super heroes in the movies, such Transformer actions also happen in Malaysia. A simple, mild-mannered, friendly and helpful person whom you think you’ve known all your life can turn into a reckless, bad-mouthing road devil once he or she takes control of the wheel.

Seriously, Malaysian drivers can be the subject of a doctoral thesis. Just look at the changing mood of Malaysian drivers when they push the pedal. From honking at the vehicles in front of them for no apparent reason to giving ugly stares as they pass by another motorist, their behaviour is such that no one is safe on the road in Malaysia.

Offence No 6: The red light at traffic junctions is only meant for cars, not for motor bikes. Nope, we are not kidding. Come on, lah macha (brother in Tamil). Where do you find motorcylists stopping at junctions? Who taught you to stop? Your driving instructors, who offered you the “guaranteed pass kopi duit” package, ah?

Stop arguing, okay? Red lights are not for motorcyclists. It’s for Malaysians who can afford to buy cars. Yes, that was an election pledge – if that makes you happy.

Offence No 7: Demerit points? I don’t think any of us have come across any Malaysian who has been penalised for breaking traffic rules and collecting demerit points that could lead to our licences being suspended. Got, meh?

In fact, most of us probably do not even recall the much publicised but fully dormant Kejara demerit system.

Before the Automated Enforcement System (AES) could even be implemented – that would have ensured the points could automatically be deducted – the system itself was prematurely suspended.

The Road Transport Department said last December that the AES would be revived in January. Well, we are already in March now.

And in the best Malaysian tradition of “announce first, then call for review and then scrap it”, which our Malaysian leaders are well known for, this one is also going for a record – the Kejara demerit system was introduced in 1984 and 30 years later, we are still at the kami sedang mengkaji (we are still studying) stage.

Offence No 8: According to statistics, traffic fines paid by motorists in Malaysia come up to RM10mil every year! That’s amazing. That’s almost the gross domestic product (GDP) of some African nation! Malaysia Memang Boleh.

The RM10mil does not even include the “So, macam mana selesai? (So, how do we settle?)” penalties involving crooked traffic cops.

Bernama reported that according to the Kuala Lumpur Police, 22,054 traffic summonses were issued between January and September of 2012. A total of 33,836 traffic summonses were issued in 2010, amounting to RM10.5mil! We are really a “fine” country!

Offence No 9: No wonder all the betting shops are doing well. It has become almost an automatic reaction that the minute we see an accident, all of us whip out our cameraphones – the first picture goes to Instagram and Facebook, a video that must go viral if the motorists are fighting each other. If it’s of different races, better still, it’s got a racial twist, even if the feuding motorists don’t think that way. And for the uncle: Oi, Ah Boy, you saw the number plate of the car or not? Sure you got the right number, ah? Okay, call Robert fast. Place the bets! Yes, big and small!

Offence No 10: And finally, on behalf of the confused and dangerous Malaysian motorists, we wish to extend our deepest appreciation to Polis DiRaja Malaysia for continuously understanding all of us, despite our many traffic offences.

We will continue not to pay our traffic summons until the yearly discounts are given, as PDRM has continuously done so year in and year out.

We are proud that this is the only country in the world where discounts and rewards are given for late payment of traffic summonses.

Please do not let the jealous foreigners and international media stop you from conducting this yearly discount scheme. Yes, we will continue scheming … oops, we mean we will continue supporting this discount scheme.

Salam 1Malaysia!