The Selangor government's latest unilateral decision to start "covering" two Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras is a needless provocation that is largely fuelled by Pakatan's Rakyat's political agenda in the lead up to the general election.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha pointed out this was nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt by the Pakatan-ruled state to garner votes.
"I will say that this is a very irresponsible (state) government, especially (done by state executive councillor in charge of local government) Ronnie Liu, who is getting cheap publicity daily, especially from the Chinese media," Kong said on Thursday.He said it was irresponsible as AES was installed to reduce the number of road accidents in Selangor which killed 1,070 people last year.
The PKR-led state government in Selangor has clearly decided that politics is far more important than saving people's lives. This is line with other Pakatan-ruled states blocking AES for political reasons, despite the results that show the system reduces fatalities and accidents on our roads.
Similar systems have been implemented in 90 countries across the world, such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, and the United States, and the results have been very satisfactory.
In France, for instance, the number of deaths on its roads dropped by 27 per cent within just three years of implementation. In Kuwait, the rate of traffic accidents reduced by 48 per cent, and in Germany, 80 per cent of road users are now complying with traffic laws in the designated AES locations.
A traffic camera ensures motorists stick to the speed limit and avoid jumping red lights, because they know they will be fined.
In its haste to criticise a measure by the Barisan Nasional government, Pakatan state governments shouldn't forget that there are certain issues that should not be politicised, such as saving people's lives.
Over two months have gone by since the AES was implemented at 14 locations in Perak, Selangor, Putrajaya and KL, and the number of drivers caught for traffic violations has already fallen by more than half.
This proves the success of the system in deterring violations. Yet Pakatan, instead of supporting this initiative, has turned it into a political circus, wasting much time and energy against what is clearly a life-saving measure.
The Selangor government has reportedly said it would shut down two AES cameras in the state from Friday – one located at Kilometre 6.6 on the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) and another located near Jalan Bangi towards Cyberjaya.
Road Transport Department (RTD) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan responded by saying that dismantling the cameras would be akin to an act of vandalism.
If the PKR-led government wished to bar the cameras from being installed in the state, it should first take the matter to court, he said.
"We (the RTD) are the people who enforce the law... why would we go against the law?
"But do not say, want to threaten, want to pull out... this is for the good of users, why threaten... what (is their) motive now?" Solah told Sinar Harian Online.
"AES that has been installed will not be pulled out," he insisted.
According to RTD figures, Selangor would have the most AES cameras – 112 out the nation's 831 – once the system is fully implemented.
By escalating its confrontation over AES, Pakatan is seeking to make this internationally recognised life-saving measure into an election issue.
Surrounded by squabbling Pakatan leaders, with an economy that is growing at 5.2 per cent, and faced by the hard truth that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak enjoys 64 per cent support across the country, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now clutching at straws in the lead up to GE 13.