I was quoted by a Chinese daily few days ago as saying I would not pay any AES (Automated Enforcement System) summonses. The statement has drawn criticism from the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha himself, by referring me as an irresponsible elected representative. He has also slammed me for disregarding the law and setting bad example to the people.
On a different occasion, I was “challenged” by Gopeng MCA to reveal the details of all my seven summonses, including offences, date and location.
I am not going to entertain this ludicrous challenge by Gopeng MCA, because it has totally gone off on a tangent. Details of my summonses serve no purpose in public interest. I am of the opinion that this is merely a tactic to deviate the real issue. The crux of the issue is whether the implementation of the AES is appropriate, and refusal to pay the AES summonses a responsible or irresponsible deed?
Debate or shut up
Despite drawing strong criticism from the minister, I would like to hereby reiterate my stand that I would not pay any AES summonses. This is the mildest way to register my strongest protest against a system that enriches cronies at the expense of the rakyat. By paying the AES summonses, I would be deemed an accomplice of this lopsided system.
Rather than calling me an irresponsible elected rep in the media, I would like to invite Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha to engage in an open debate with me on the AES issue. He can have free hand to decide on the title, language medium, date and venue of the debate. If he fails to accept this invitation, he should stop belittling me in the public.
Benefiting Cronies or the Rakyat?
The Barisan Nasional Government has awarded the AES Project to Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and ATES Sdn Bhd, whereby the two private companies in return for installing cameras at 831 locations will be entitled to a share of fines.
These two companies will receive a share of the fines on three levels. At the first level each of the companies firstly will receive RM16 for each traffic summons for the first 5 million summonses issued, for summons issued after 5 million the companies receive as the second level payment 50% of the balance of the summonses up to RM270 million per year and after RM270 million they receive further payments at the third level of 7.5% of the balance of the summonses.
By virtue of revenue being tied to the number of summonses issued, private companies would try their level best to issue as many summonses to maximize their profit. Hence, it is not difficult to comprehend how 63,558 offences were captured by 14 cameras over the first 8 days of the implementation of AES. The government has turned traffic enforcement into a lucrative business for private companies, while its duty to promote road safety has been derogated.
Revoke or resign
Therefore, I urge the Barisan National government to immediately revoke the AES, or the Minister of Transport should resign promptly.
Until and unless the ministry revokes the AES, or removes the profit element in it, as a responsible and concerned citizen, I feel obliged to defy any AES summonses. This is not disregarding law, but civil disobedience to resist an unjust law.
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
CHANG LIH KANG
Teja State Assemblyman
Vice Chairman (KeADILan Perak)