Saturday, November 3, 2012

Murky AES rollout puts banana peels in BN’s path — Lim Sue Goan

Murky AES rollout puts banana peels in BN’s path — Lim Sue Goan

November 02, 2012
Malaysian Insider--Side Views

NOV 2 — The Automated Enforcement System (AES) controversy has once again proven the necessity for the Barisan Nasional government to improve its public relations or it will remain in a disadvantaged situation.

After so many days of follow-up news stories and criticisms from the alternative coalition, many drawbacks and weaknesses of the AES have been exposed. The Transport Ministry, however, has not made a clear explanation for the doubts, while the minister has not answered the questioned in the Dewan Rakyat.

The doubts include why does the government outsource the AES to private companies? Why can’t the content of the contracts be made public? How much money is expected to be earned by the contracted companies in five years?

Is there a target for the amount of summon fines in the contract? Does the government need to compensate if the target is not achieved? Why are some AES cameras installed in 30km/h areas? Who decided the 831 locations for the cameras? Has the accuracy of the AES been verified by any independent agencies?

If the Transport Ministry answers all the questions instead of trying to divert attention or criticising the alternative coalition for politicising the AES, the controversy can be immediately eased.

The people are questioning the implementation of the AES, instead of the AES. The ministry has failed to recognise the crux of the problem.

In addition, there are contradictions between the words form the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha and the Road Transport Department (RTD). A mechanic in Johor Baru claimed that his car registration plate has been duplicated after receiving three AES summonses.

Based on Kong’s earlier statement, the car owner is not allowed to make appeal but should bring the case to court. The RTD, however, urged the car owner to bring along the pictures and summonses to the RTD for investigation.

The lack of good planning from the authorities will only trouble the public and lead to the waste of resources.
The doubts and questions have slowly fermented among members of the society and gradually evolved into grievances, causing pressure to some Umno MPs and Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

Therefore, they urged the government to shelve the plan. Eventually, Umno Youth also proposed that the implementation of the AES to be deferred and reviewed. Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Md Isa Sabu also urged the government to give a detailed explanation and recommended a trial period.

To make things worse, the Transport Ministry plans to send technical officials to explain to the Pakatan Rakyat state governments only after these governments decided to temporarily shelve the AES.

All these have harmed the BN government’s prestige. Who could they blame as they are the one who has failed to learn a lesson from so many previous experiences?

Many controversies are generated because of the lack of transparency. As a result, controversies evolve into a storm or a political disaster. Take, for instance, the National Feedlot Centre’s weaknesses exposed in the 2010 Auditor-General Report had been ignored by the authority, leaving an opportunity for the Pakatan Rakyat to dig out more and eventually, it became a scandal.

The Sabah Umno’s RM40 million political donation has also been mysteriously covered under a veil and the sum of money was proven to be legitimate donations only after four years. However, the authorities still tries to avoid answering the doubts.

And now, the PKR exposed that the family of Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz had directly benefitted from Sabah businessman Michael Chia. The AES controversy should be a lesson learned. If the authorities still refuse to make things clear, it could turn into another political disaster.

If the BN continues to disarray itself, the good feeling brought by transformation plans and money distribution will disappear and the Pakatan Rakyat will have more bullets to attack again.

How is the prime minister going to face the general election? —

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