To me two of the major obstacles that deter us from moving forward in most aspects are our education system and corruption. The previous is about its quality where it relates to the latter. There must a strong political will to do so. Otherwise it will an uphill task to change the mindset of the 1.6 million civil servants.
Of late there are many fatal accidents involving buses, lorries, boats and even bicycles. It is reported yesterday that a trailer had caused the death of six innocent victims at Hulu Selangor due to its “tayar celup” or “botak” (recycled or bald tyres).
This is not something new. It is becoming a commonplace affair that because of these traffic accidents, resulting in fatalities and casualties, one is no more safe on the road regardless of how careful we are.
Each time I hear the news, I get seized with uncontrollable feelings of bitterness and anger. Every year, there are bound to have such related tragedy due to careless or ignored cause.
So far, we cannot find effective means with which to fight this battle and real law seems able get its teeth into the problem.
On the contrary, as laws combating traffic accidents are filling the books, the scale and severity of such accidents is increasing exponentially. It seems that these laws come to exist, in large parts, just to shift accountability to the unknown and to find no person to point the finger at.
Also quite often the authorities would take stern action once such an accident happens, but it’s back to square one after a while.
There seems to be no genuine will to enforce the related laws and empower them.
I believe a real solution to this problem is there, concealed in the existing gap between the law itself and what stands behind its effective implementation; corruption. Until this link is effectively broken, these laws will always be futile and may even result in the very real possibility of making the situation worse.
Circumventing laws the norm
Corruption is a major obstacle to law enforcement.
Certainly, it is an obstacle to achieving progress in lessening the number and severity of traffic accidents in the country and to which numerous social and economic problems are traced directly or indirectly.
However, either we fail to gain a higher vantage point from which we can see and understand the link between growth and corruption or, we intentionally turn a blind eye to avoid a serious debate about the major perpetrators who benefit from such a corrupt system.
Vehicles such as commercial buses and lorries are good examples. Owners may prefer to bribe the authorities to pass the inspection rather than spend a huge budget to ensure the vehicles are roadworthy.
Hence if we do not recognise and work out the real problem, we will forever remain trapped in a defective, corrupted system that manifests itself in every aspect of our lives and in the most basic ways.
Corruption is the hallmark of a self-destructive society that is befuddled by falsehood. It is not by chance that we have reached this alarming stage of traffic accidents; it is because circumventing laws has become the norm, aside from our tendency to opt for quick fixes and shortcuts.
Traffic rules are respected at the convenience of everyone and the concepts of incentive and punishment are no longer working because corruption opens the doors of impunity in every direction.
Even selective enforcement would indicate that the powerless and vulnerable citizens are at a big disadvantage in a country where all citizens are not treated equally before the law.