Time to take the wheel
Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 11 Nov 2011
For a very long time now there has been almost complete anarchy on Malaysian roads. There appear to be no laws governing traffic, nor does there appear to be anyone bothered to obey them if there were.
I am sure you see, as I do, on a daily basis motorcycles and motorcars ignoring red lights, double lines and stop signs.
Most times right before the eyes of traffic police who seem to always be looking the other way.
Okay, let’s play some blame games regarding this chaos on Malaysian roads. Who is to blame for the sad state of traffic disobedience? Who is responsible for implementing and enforcing some semblance of law and order for Malaysian motorists? I can almost hear some of you shouting, “The police la!
Useless baargers! It’s their job what!” True or not? That would be the initial reaction from most people I think. After all, they are the police and they are supposed to enforce the law. And that includes traffic laws.
But they don’t seem to be doing too great a job. A drive around the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur and/or Petaling Jaya and its surroundings will attest to that. And of course we all know about their limp attempts at controlling and enforcing parking rules at the airports. KLIA as well as LCCT.
So are the police alone responsible for our traffic woes? Maybe it is the responsibility of the driving schools to give better training before they approve and pass out to Malaysian roads indisciplined and poorly tutored drivers. Or is it the responsibility of the ministry of transport to make sure that the criteria for being approved to drive/ride on public roads is up to some mark, which can erase our dubious reputation of having one of the highest road death scores in the world?
Who is responsible? I guess in the final analysis we are responsible. We know what the rules are. We just don’t give a crap. Why? I guess it’s because we’ve learnt that we can get away with not giving a crap. About almost everything.
Take a look at the latest “hot” topic. Our teaching the kids Math and Science in English and/or Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil or whatever. The whole big mess started years ago when some wiseguy in his infinite wisdom decided to tell everybody that the English language is a colonial shackle that we must shake off, and that Malay was our national language and therefore must be protected and blah… blah… blah.
And so we threw out a system that was working just fine and pretended that we were all nationalistic and proud of our national language and that that alone would be enough to propel Bahasa Malaysia to the status of a global language of communication.
Well, some of us didn’t believe that at all, but we all kept quiet. We didn’t really give a crap la. Either children all grown up and done with school and universities. Or children not born yet so no need to worry yet. Then suddenly it came crashing down. Huh? Our school children can’t speak the international language of communication?
Our university graduates are unemployable? What happened? Who is responsible for this mess? Must be the government la. The ministry of education. Or is it anybody’s responsibility to take charge of our lives and our future except us?
As the PPSMI issue has proven beyond what Bersih 2.0 and others started, things start to happen when we take charge as the only element that really matters in the final equation.
We collectively told the authorities that we weren’t happy about how things were being done. And suddenly the dingdonging swung things our way. Now, if this carries on, I think we might just be able to do our part in determining the kind of future we want for ourselves, our families, our children and our country come the next general elections.
Wouldn’t that be cool? For once.
Who is responsible for the policing of the traffic rules on our roads? Us.
Who is responsible for the education that we deserve for our children? Us.
Who is responsible for the kind of country we want to live in? Us.
I guess, as in the past, goodies will still be thrown at us. As if to say, “Nah! Don’t worry. We’ll take care of things for you. Just let us do things our way!” And it will be tempting.
But I think it will be fun to test out just how far we can go in taking the reins ourselves and steering things the way we
think we should be going.