I refer to the above article by Jenny Yap and would like to relate my recent experience with the Malaysian traffic police who stopped my car on February 16 just as I made a turning at the "Tuas, Singapore" sign.
After filtering out from the main highway which was curved down a slope, I was driving at 60 kilometres per hour (km/h).
The traffic cop stationed some distance at the foot of the slope insisted that I was speeding at 120 km/h. I could not find a name tag on him. I asked him to show me the "gun" which indicated that I was speeding, but he said he did not have one.
I then asked him for a ticket so I could go to the police station to pay. He said, "Never mind."
He had taken down my car license plate number for speeding. I was worried that the summons will be issued when he goes back to the police station and on my next visit to Malaysia, I may be charged for not settling my "summons".
Its is his word against my word. So in the end, I had to ask "how much?". He said, "RM 50 (S$22)."
I told him I had to pay toll charges and then pump petrol, and I would not have enough money after paying him RM50. In the end he took RM30 (S$13).
I was reluctant to do this as it is like bribery. Before paying him I felt that I did no wrong. The public is held hostage by these corrupt officers.
Government officers think they can be cheeky, extort money or bully the public because they are in official uniform but cannot be easily identified.
This incident reflects badly on the country.
The only way to stamp out corruption of this kind is to publish a 24/7 hotline number to the public. Big posters showing the hotline number should appear at immigration checkpoints, airports under "Feedback and Complaints".
All police officers, inspectors, traffic police must wear a badge bearing their picture and TAG number. Spot checks are made on the officers to make sure that they wear their tag at all times when on duty.
In cases like the above, people can call the hotline number on the spot and be directed to the relevant government department for verification. We can quote the tag number and the officer can use their own handphone to call their headquarters and explain the situation.
There are thousands of 'officers' - immigration staff, police, and traffic police - going round the country at any one time. A small number of 'bad eggs' will sully the reputation of the government.
There is no way the HQ can know or control the situation except by education and by allowing the public to complain to the source.
Ms Tan L L