Holier-than-thou MPs ignoring traffic fines
As many as 18 ministers have been caught with unpaid traffic summonses dating as far back as 1999.
Ironically, some of the group, who together owe M$116,000 ($247,500) in fines, have often lectured motorists to pay up promptly to avoid arrest and an overnight stay in the police lock-up.
The defaulters were named yesterday by Malaysiakini.com, a news website that found the details on a website that lists fine defaulters. The site lists 18 ministers with 918 summonses - mostly for speeding - with four of them accounting for 472 summonses.
The expose is embarrassing because police are now running an operation to arrest 60,000 offenders who owe M$2.82 billion in fines going back to 2001. Those arrested are held overnight, before being brought before a magistrate and fined an extra M$1,000.
Opposition leaders and motorists are crying foul that no ministers were arrested, and that ministers are given a 50 per cent discount on fines. 'They preach but they never practice,' said parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang.
'Why they are not arrested ... nothing can be more unfair.'
Motorist Lina Meng said: 'In other countries they will be forced to resign but here they are offered a hefty discount. These same ministers lecture us daily on everything, and yet they break the law and get away with it.'
The top defaulter is Works Minister S. Samy Vellu, who has been a minister since 1979 and is known to lecture people. He manages the country's highways, on which he has been booked 143 times for speeding - owing M$17,460.
'We will pay up promptly,' a senior aide to Mr Samy Vellu said.
Other culprits include Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who has 121 summons, and Minister of Human Resources Fong Chan Onn, with 115.
Last month Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi was caught with 11 unpaid summonses for speeding and obstructing traffic, dating back to 2002. He apologised and promptly paid up, claiming he was unaware he had been booked.