Friday, March 11, 2011

Police and computer system can’t cope with rush to settle summonses

This is from the Star. Naturally, this problem is not unexpected. It is well known that the government's system is always down, or insufficient to cater for the public's needs, or something or other. 
PETALING JAYA: The final deadline to settle traffic summonses was as chaotic as the last one on Feb 28 – hundreds thronged police stations frantic to settle by 10pm Thursday night.

Many went home disappointed as police stations informed them they had run out of queue numbers for traffic offenders to settle their summonses.

Supervisor Ayub Khan said he went on two consecutive days to the police station but could not get a queue number.

“The police told us to pay at the post office, but when I went to the post office they told me that their computer system was down due to the volume of transactions,” he said.

He added that the authorities should have improved the system so that it would not crash when the transaction volume increased. The Government had granted an extension on its Feb 28 deadline to March 10 after considering problems of long queues, lack of counters and a stalled computer system.

During the initial discount period, which began on Aug 12 last year, about 5.5 million summonses were paid, including the 1.5 million which were settled in the past week.

Some 17.3 million summonses remained unpaid when the last deadline expired on Feb 28.

From next month onwards, traffic offenders will be blacklisted and will not be able to renew their driving licences or road tax. A salesman, who wanted to be known as Choy, said he took a few days off to settle his summonses.

“I went to six different police stations and four post offices around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and finally managed to pay here. Maintenance officer Ahmad Zul Hussin said he queued for three days and hoped to settle his five traffic summonses before the deadline expired.

When contacted, a spokesman from Pos Malaysia said its online services were temporarily congested due to the massive number of users trying to pay their bills online.

In GEORGE TOWN, Penang police collected RM24mil in summons payment from traffic offenders from August last year to yesterday, state police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said.

Police also recorded a huge increase in the number of people wanting to pay their summonses during the period, with a daily average of 500 to 600, he told reporters at the Timur Laut district police headquarters.

Ayub said from 2001 until 2010, only 57% out of 3.7 million summonses issued by Penang police had been settled. 
So, now what? Another extension? This would become likely, now that the cat is out of the bag that while many tried to pay, they were unable to. It would be unfair if they were not given the 50% discount, and much less if they were put on a blacklist.

It's amazing how one of the guys went to SIX different police stations and FOUR post offices, and still couldn't pay his summons.

Personally, I think the big push comes from the fact that election season is near. Conspiracy theorists would likely to believe so, and if another extension is given, it would increase the likelihood of such an event, simply because of two reasons. One, the government would appear to be "generous" by giving traffic offenders 50% discount. Two, they need money for the election campaign.

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