For unknown reasons, the police have again allowed unsettled summonses to accumulate to more than two million over the past ten years. The summonses for traffic law violations such as speeding and overtaking on double lines have a total ‘value’ of hundreds of millions of ringgit in fines and the police are now determined to get motorists to pay up.
Serious action in the form of warrants of arrest are now being issued and the police will start hunting down motorists at the end of this month. According to a senior police officer, the action is being taken to firmly address the problem of growing unsettled summonses. It also comes over a year after the Home Minister asked the police to explain why some RM500 million in traffic compound fines remained uncollected.
It is odd that such a huge number of summonses can go unsettled in view of the existence of a computerised system which links the traffic police with the JPJ. Motorists who have not settled any summonses are unable to renew their roadtax or driving licence. The system, at one time, came under fire when poor interfacing resulted in records not being updated frequently and motorists who had settled their summonses were required to run around to sort the matter out.
For the coming exercise, the police plan to visit the last known address of the offenders and arrest them. Mindful of the controversy in 1992 when a similar operation saw some offenders being handcuffed, the police have given assurance that all actions taken will be ‘within the law’.
It is well known that the police have often faced difficulties in tracking down offenders as they have managed to give false addresses or even if their identity card details are used, the information on the IC is not updated. This has obviously made it very hard to resolve the cases although it still does not answer the question as to why the offenders can still renew their driving licence – unless they are driving around with unrenewed licences.
Counters have been set up in a number of shopping centres for motorists to find out if they have any summonses outstanding. These counters access the Computerised Online Payment (COP) system set up by the traffic police in the early 1990s and enable motorists to get early warning of summonses they may not be aware of. This would allow them to sort the matter out instead of finding out only when they try to renew their driving licence or roadtax.
The counters can be found at Suria KLCC (Kuala Lumpur), Mahkota Parade (Melaka), Berjaya Mall (Kuantan), Terminal One (Seremban), Giant (Johor Bahru), MegaMall (Seberang Perai), 1 Utama (Petaling Jaya), Jaya Jusco (Klang), Centre Square (Sg Petani), Jaya Jusco (Ipoh), and Midland (Penang). The police also offer Polis Infoline (600-857-999) for the same queries.