Anthony Loke : All AES Summonses Cancelled

(17-08-2018)

PUTRAJAYA has cancelled all existing summonses issued under the controversial Automated Enforcement System (AES), said Anthony Loke. The government has forgiven all unpaid summonses for speeding motorists caught by the Automated Enforcement System (AES). However, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said this is a one-off goodwill gesture by the government and warned that there will no future cancellations of summonses or discounts.

The transport minister, Anthony Loke said from September 1, the Road Transport Department will take over operation of the AES which is managed by two private companies. “There are 3.1 million unpaid summonses up to May this year. If it is paid it would amount to RM430 million. But we stress that this is a one-off; in the next five years of our administration there will not be a second time. Starting Sept 1 we will enforce (traffic summonses) strictly. Any summon issued has to be paid by motorists and there will be no more discounts after this, so don’t wait for a discount to pay your summonses,” he said today at a press conference. Currently there are 10 fixed and four mobile AES cameras in 14 accident-prone spots in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Perak. Under AES, photographs and video images of vehicles flouting traffic rules are captured, before summonses are issued.

Meanwhile, economists remain confident with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who aims for a country which is corruption-free and economically vibrant despite delays in fulfilling its promises. As August 18 marks the first 100 days of PH ruling after winning the 14th General Election (GE14), they said that the time frame was too short to fulfil its election pledges, see changes and bring about significant reforms. Hence, they felt that the PH government should take the opportunity to plan for the country’s future direction and not only focusing on their promises made during the election. According to Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd Chief Economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, given the sheer size of economic uncertainties brought by external factors, it would be almost unrealistic to expect changes to happen immediately.

“Malaysian economy is very open to global conditions and at the moment, risk aversion has increasingly become more apparent. So this may impact markets and business sentiment as well as demand. The PH government needs to work around with the constraints that they have now such as the fiscal position and challenging economic prospects. However, the zero-rated Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the subsequent reintroduction of Sales and Services Tax (SST) in September suggest that the government is committed to implementing its election promises,” he told a local press. “In addition to the fuel subsidy whereby RON95 continues to remain stable, this move had also helped the people to contend with the rise in the cost of living. Obviously this is not easy especially when dealing with the credit rating agencies, and the risks of sovereign rating downgrade is something that the government needs to acknowledge,” he said.

“So we can see that the PH government is being pragmatic in implementing their election pledges as some of it are still pending,” he continued. Concurring with this view, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research Executive Director Emeritus Professor Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid opined that the price control on RON95 (RM2.20 a litre), RON97 (RM2.65) and diesel (RM2.18), would help reduce household burden on fuel expenditure. “It helps a bit to lower the cost of living but the long run solution is not in the policy of retaining the price of RON95 and diesel,” said Professor Dr Zakariah. Abolition of GST, stabilisation of fuel prices, postponement of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation’s (PTPTN) loans, investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd, and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions for housewives were among the immediate accomplishments under the PH’s manifesto of 10 promises.

“Perhaps, business practices are also the main contributing factor for the rise in the cost of living. This is especially true when the Malaysians tendency to spend is quite high, and to some extent, they are just price-takers. So this would allow businesses to maintain or even raise their prices. Therefore, the enforcement of the existing laws such as Price Control and Anti Profiteering Act holds the key to stabilising prices,” he added. On the government’s move to re-implement SST starting next month, Top Glove Corporation Bhd’s Executive Chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said it seemed positive for businesses as this would eliminate the outstanding input tax refundable issue. “SST is also more direct, simpler and easier to understand, compared with GST (for example: technical terminologies like blocked input tax, exempt supply and zero-rated supply). Furthermore, we understand there will be a “My SST” website where everything will be done online, which will result in more efficiency,” said Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai.

However, Dr Zakariah said the reinstitution of SST after a period of tax holiday would mean a fresh addition to cost. “Certainly, it will increase goods prices in the short term because of the additional cost as sellers maintain their mark-up pricing,” he pointed out.