Better to be safe than sorry when heading out of town

PETALING JAYA: With the balik kampung exodus for the Chinese New Year starting this week, two road safety advocate groups are urging people to exercise caution on the road and to keep their properties and belongings safe from theft.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Datuk Seri Johny Ch’ng Ewe Gee said motorists should have enough rest and plan their journey accordingly, especially those travelling long distances.

“I hope motorists will service their vehicles beforehand and make sure they are roadworthy.

“They should also keep to the reduced speed limit as announced by the authorities.

“The adage ‘biar lambat asal selamat’ is apt, so that all can reach their hometowns safely to celebrate the festivities,” he said when contacted.

On Tuesday, the Works Ministry announced that the speed limit on federal and state roads nationwide will be reduced by 10kph in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration.

Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the temporary limit of 80kph on federal roads and 70kph on state roads will be in force until Jan 27.

Ch’ng also reminded road users to exercise patience and not break any traffic rules and regulations that could land them in trouble.

Jumping queues, overtaking on double lanes, beating traffic lights, speeding, using cellphones while driving, not wearing safety belts, and misusing emergency lanes are all non-compoundable offences that will result in a traffic stop.

Separately, Kuala Lumpur Crime Prevention Practitioners Association chairman Bok Siew Mun reminded house owners going outstation or back to their hometown to inform their neighbours so that they could help keep a lookout.

Bok said if they spot anyone unfamiliar loitering around the neighbourhood in a suspicious manner, they should call the police immediately.

“The festive season brings an increase in travelling, shopping and socialising, so it is also a peak period where crime rates escalate.

“Some prevalent crime risks during this period include house break-ins and theft, ATM and online fraud, robbery, snatch theft and even shoplifting.

“The public should be vigilant to protect their money, especially when shopping or withdrawing large sums of cash from banks, as criminals will be on the prowl looking for an opportunity to strike,” he said, adding that during the holidays, people tend to become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes.

On Monday, a school headmaster lost RM109,000 in financial aid for students at his school when the cash was stolen from his car.

According to the Kajang police, the headmaster withdrew the cash assistance at a bank counter and left it inside his parked car before going to get a drink in Semenyih.

He noticed the rear passenger window was broken and the money missing when he returned 10 minutes later.

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