THE letter “Why some motorists break the law” by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (Views, The Star, Jan 24; online at bit.ly/star_motorists) refers. I would like to relate my experience which might expose the root of the problem.
It was only recently that I was made to understand how powerful the word pau (bribe) is. I was at a driving centre where there was a long queue of candidates waiting to take the driving test handled by the authority concerned. A conversation caught my attention: “Did you pau? If you didn’t, you will fail for sure. I got my agent pau for me, confirmed pass already.” I later learnt that candidates with agents who pau got through the test easily while those without agents or had agents that didn’t pau failed, even though they thought they had not made any mistakes.
I heard one young man asking the officer in charge why he had 10 marks deducted when he hadn’t made a mistake and to my surprise, the answer rudely given by the officer was “Even with minus one you have already failed!” The frustration on the boy’s face was beyond words.
I further discovered later that some of the candidates there had sat for the test as many as six or seven times without passing – presumably because they did not pau.
My question is, with this kind of conduct being the practice, how can we NOT have motorists breaking the law? If this happens at multiple locations, there are probably thousands of people who got their licences this way and don’t know the law. The country’s terrible accident rates can also be explained by this.
While I do agree with Tan Sri that it is important for the authorities to enforce the law, I think that improvement should start with cleaning up this pau culture so that the authorities and the law will be obeyed with respect and appreciation, not fear.
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur