PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia announced on Friday (Aug 17) that it will cancel about RM435 million (US$105.9 million) worth of traffic summons issued under its Automated Enforcement System (AES), in what Transport Minister Anthony Loke said was a one-off exercise.
In addition, no new summons will be issued until Sep 1.
This is because the government has decided not to renew the contracts of the two companies operating the traffic camera system.
From Sep 1, all AES operations will be managed by Malaysia’s Road Transport Department.
Out of the 3.1 million summonses issued under the system, only 18 per cent of offenders have paid up, totalling not more than RM700,000 in fines, said Loke.
However those who have already paid up will not get a refund, local media reported.
“I know those who have paid will feel it is unfair that we are cancelling unpaid summons," The Star Online reported Loke as saying.
“To those who have paid, I would like to say thank you and sorry at the same time."
The system, introduced in 2012, captures motorists speeding and running the red light.
Loke said that the government decided to take over the system as the concession agreement between the previous government and the two companies that operated the AES – ATES and Beta Tegap – appeared "lopsided".
"In the agreement, RM16 is paid to the two companies for every AES summons issued. Furthermore, 50 per cent of the summons payments is given to them as well,” The Edge Markets reported Loke as saying.
AES summonses were initially set at RM300 per summon but this was later halved to RM150 by the Cabinet, and this sum then went entirely to the concession operators, the report added.
Even if all the outstanding fines were to be collected, this would not be considered government revenue but would go to the two companies instead, he said.
"We have to remember that, after this (the government’s taking over of AES operations), all summons payments will go into the government’s account compared to previously when the concessionaire was operating it,” he said.
GOVERNMENT TO REFUND ARMED FORCES FUND BOARD
After the "lopsided" concessions fuelled public backlash, Loke said the then-Barisan Nasional government bought over the AES assets from the two firms in 2015, at a cost of RM555 million.
The money was taken from the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), which manages retirement benefits for servicemen.
However this did not involve "taking over a large number of assets", but only 40 AES cameras, said the minister. He added that the new government will refund the RM555 million to LTAT in phases.
The transport minister also announced that the government will postpone the eCall system which had been made mandatory for all new vehicles by the previous government last year.
Under the eCall system, motorists involved in serious accidents could send an emergency signal and get help.
However Loke said that the government was worried the cost of installing the system would be "passed on to the consumer".