What is AES?
The Automated Enforcement System (AES), which was implemented in 2012, never really took off and only a handful of traffic offenders actually paid the fine.
Here is a list of Malaysian AES and speed traps location, courtesy of rojakPOT. You will find this handy to expect emergency braking and/or heavy traffic congestion kilometres away from these locations. Do not say that I did not warn you.
AES Causes Traffic Jams
This claim is no joke, but AES (or any kinds of speed cameras) are. Drivers tend to slow down or even braking hard when they are approaching a speed trap. This causes traffic to back up. Traffic congestion during festive seasons is a nightmare for all the “perantau” in Malaysia. Personally I expect one to two hours of jam every time approaching Slim River. Any slight changes in the traffic flow is going to trigger the butterfly effect and even disrupt the productivity of the country. I initially took the logical approach to this matter, but mathematical models proved the validity. Read more here and here.
Due to the real life impact, there are multiple studies have been done, including this research paper in Spain. In Netherlands, speed traps are disabled due to worsening traffic jams, but Malaysian government still buy the old idea of “lower speed, safer roads”. While I wish the new government elected in May 9th, 2018 will be better and futuristic, unfortunately I see no hope in this matter. In fact, the recent announcement of waiving previous summons and start reinforcing at September 1st, 2018 disappoint me even further.
Speed is Not the Problem
In my opinion, speed is never the main factor in a vehicular accident. I recommend you to read more about how Germans drive on the Authobahn. If Malaysian drivers are as disciplined in obeying rules and dedicated in knowing their vehicles well as the Germans, we can see a decline in accident rate. In contrast with German drivers, we often seen cars cut into the right lane (passing lane) without indicating, then block the lane by going at 70kph (while the legal speed limit is 110kph).
The fact is, Malaysia recorded the third highest death rate globally on the roads. While we have speed limits virtually everywhere, they seem failed in curbing the issue of high fatality. There are a number of other contributing factors including driving under influence of substance and devices, changing lanes without indicating, ill-maintained vehicles, stupid pedestrians, or simply bad judgement. Tonnes of efforts are required to tackle a random combination of those few factors, and I think education is the first step forward. Regarding Malaysian education, it deserves tonnes of posts discussing it.
Besides the AES, the announcement by Transport Minister, Anthony Loke of waiving the old summons and reinforcing the new is another joke. The link to the announcement is available below. The announcement clearly goes against Pakatan Harapan’s initial declaration of “rule of law“. This waiver is clearly unfair for the handful of ‘law-abiding citizens’ who paid for their offenses. In return, they are complimented by Minister Loke, “Sorry and thank you.” The waiver denies government of three million ringgit ‘sin tax‘, that can be used to fill up all the pot holes and/or flood mitigation. Besides, this is no difference from the Barisan Nasional’s rule – people are waiting for the government to ‘discount’ on their sin tax. With the notorious weak in enforcement, who will willingly pay for any fines? Not even including me.
Actually, on top of that, Minister Loke claimed that this waiver is the last one of such grace, but how can I trust him anymore? Not that I want the fine to be imposed and enforced (I am actually secretly saying hallelujah), but how can I believe in any words that came out from any politicians mouths?
I will personally wait to see more jokes from Minister Loke. If there is no credibility and enforcement from the authority, I will wait if there is any fines coming in my way. Probably I will have to wait another six decades before any significant changes appear in Malaysian politics. Perhaps it will worth my wait, perhaps it will not.