It’s probably an open secret that JPJ (Road Transport Dept) officers have allegedly been accepting bribes during your kids’ driving tests for years. But it may have gotten worse, as over the past week, there’s been news about groups of JPJ officers getting remanded one after another for allegedly accepting bribes from rule-breaking lorry drivers.
30 peeps were remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on 17th April to assist investigations into this issue. And then, on 21st April, 5 more officers were remanded (though some were released on bail). And then, 22 more… Then, 3 more. Aiyoyo!
It’s been called the “biggest blitz” MACC has made so far and it’s all thanks to the ex-wife of one of the suspects. According to news reports, she exposed the corruption after one of the suspects divorced her. When she couldn’t stop her hubby from leaving her for another woman, she reportedly contacted the MACC and handed over the transaction records (wah, this one also recorded).
“She was very upset that her husband was leaving her and tried to reconcile but failed. She asked for some money as a form of alimony, but the man refused to give a single sen despite making a killing from the racket.” – an unnamed source close to the investigations, as quoted by MSN.
Dei, what exactly did this woman tattletale about lah?
JPJ had a system of identifying bribe-giving drivers thanks to… special stickers?
Despite JPJ being the govt dept with the 4th highest revenue collection, the JPJ officers in question allegedly received monthly payments of RM10,000-RM32,000, which have totaled up to RM140,000! Perhaps some of us who remember the pengawas in school might be able to guess why these bribes were made…
Umm, still can’t? Okay nvm, we’ll just tell you. The JPJ officers were allegedly protecting lorry drivers and companies by not taking action against them when they commit offences and even leaking info on upcoming JPJ spot checks.
But not all lorries are members of this club. Apparently, they needed special stickers prepared by tontos (organised crime middlemen) as a way for the JPJ officers to identify who to protecc. It’s like having some fancy club sticker on your car’s windscreen to show that you’re a member of this club and should be allowed into the club’s premise automatically.
Tontos, which stands for “Tolong Orang Nak Tipu Orang” and have been around for decades, are the ones who facilitate this racket by tailing the movement of JPJ officers in teams and also passing the spot check alerts from the JPJ officers to the lorry drivers/companies. In the past, tontos have allegedly been aggressive towards some JPJ officers, so maybe the intimidation (and attractive payment scheme) pushed some JPJ officers to join this racket.
As for the offenders behind the lorry wheel, what offences are these lorry drivers committing anyway? According to JPJ director-general Shaharuddin Khalid, JPJ has started a crackdown on lorries for offences such as driving without a proper license, parking in the emergency lane and… overloading.
“Lorries carrying more than their weight limit is the most common offence with 20 cases at 35% over the limit. In the first three months of this year alone, there were 13,744 cases of lorries transporting over the weight limit, with around RM1.79mil worth of compounds collected.”- said the JPJ director-general.
Overloading by lorries, in particular, could perhaps be a bigger problem than the tontos.
Overloading is such a HUGE problem that it costs the govt SO MUCH MONEY
So first off, we should probably clarify what ‘overloading’ even is. It’s basically packing too much stuff into the vehicle that it exceeds the maximum permissible weight as a desperate attempt in maximising efficiency (maximising load while minimising transport costs).
As of 2017, the permissible weight restriction order for lorries were given for each category (rigid, articulated and special commercial vehicles) and vary depending on the number of axles and wheel sizes. For example, a rigid vehicle with 2 axles is only allowed to carry a max of 16-18 tonnes of load, while an articulated vehicle with 7 axles is allowed to carry a max of 34-51 tonnes.
Several reasons behind overloading include shortage of drivers, high demand for transport services, as well as the lorry operators’ needs to save on transport costs and the number of trips made led to the intense competition among the operators that pushed them to overload their lorries – leading to the bribing of JPJ officers.
“Lorry operators have to compete against each other in the midst of driver shortage and when the demand for transport is high. Operators who have shortage of drivers will resort to overloading, especially when they’re trying to meet cargo demands.” – said a former lorry operator who wished to remain anonymous.
Sadly, that only makes things worse as overloading is the 2nd main cause of road accidents (not stated whether in country or state tho) and can make retreaded tires burst (the 1st main cause of road accidents).
On top of that, overloading lorries, which has been an issue since 2006, have proven to damage roads too. In fact, the govt reportedly spent RM4million annually on repairing damaged roads in the East Coast, which would otherwise cause more accidents due to uneven stretches and potholes.
But in any case, as for the JPJ corruption scheme itself…
It might not make for good reading, but exposing these crimes should be welcomed
Ever since Pakatan Harapan took over, we’re seeing more and more corrupt practices being exposed such as Yayasan Akal Budi, Armed Forces Fund Board, the total amount Najib allegedly stole, National Immigration Control System, the former Datuk Seri charged in the Penang Tunnel scandal and… *gasps for air* lots more.
While many may not be pleased to find out that there’s been so much shady stuff going on, the revelations should be welcomed as a step to better transparency in Malaysia.
And to think, this JPJ thing only got exposed because someone decided to file a divorce, which could have been too much of a burden for this JPJ case’s whistleblower to handle.