Sunday, August 20, 2006

Malaysian Police

While Singapore police are stickler for rules and laws, I don't think dad can say the same about Malaysian police although he is a Malaysian. I'm sure there are good cops in Malaysia but there are also a lot of bad apples. He has told me a lot of horror stories about corrupted and trigger-happy cops.

My dad said the Malaysian government must do something fast and drastic to revamp the police and the civil service. Malaysian civil servants are better paid nowadays. So the old excuse that some of them resorted to bribery because of low wages may not be so valid. There must be greater enforcement of rules and laws on everyone, including those on policemen and civil servants themselves. Laws must be enforced, without fear or favour.

Even some members of the traffic police are not completely above board in the country although there are good ones who help manage the terrible traffic in Kuala Lumpur.

He told me countless times how he was stopped by policemen for speeding on the Malaysian highway. He used to accede to their blatant request for bribes in order to be let off the hook.

He stopped giving out bribes since the late 1990s. Call it moral awakening. Ironically, he has not been issued any speeding ticket since then.

Why and how? This is what my dad did whenever he was stopped for speeding. He asked the policeman what the speeding ticket would cost. The policeman would quote between RM150 and RM300. He would then ask about the "alternative". The cop would either quote RM50 or say "whatever" or "up to you".

My dad would then ask for the ticket, which would have cost more. He would rather pay a legitimate speeding ticket than bribe another policeman in Malaysia. I'm so proud of him. :-)

But the policemen allowed him to proceed without any speeding ticket instead each time!

Guilt on their part? That's what my dad thought initially. But he also reckoned that the policemen chickened out of issuing summonses after such bargaining out of fear of being accused of soliciting bribes from him.

Whatever the real motive or explanation is, I hope everyone stops giving out bribes, whether they are on or off the road. :-)

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