The Road Transport Department and the Road Safety Department of Malaysia have jointly organised a competition for best picture of a traffic offender. In a bid to reduce traffic fatalities, especially during festive seasons, the public is invited to submit photographs of motorists committing traffic offences including speeding, jumping a red light, overtaking on double lines, and overloading by lorries or trucks. The daily first-prize winner will walk away with RM150, the second-prize winner RM100, and the third-prize winner RM50. These pictures will be displayed on the department’s “Hall of Shame” website (, and appropriate action will be taken against the errant motorists by the Road Transport Department. The competition starts on 9 Feb and ends on 25 Feb, in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations where highways and federal roads will be packed with road users in a mad rush for the hometown or “balik kampong” tradition.

Malaysia is probably the first country to organise a competition for the public to help nab traffic offenders with monetary rewards. This is however not the first instance of government agencies which like to reward the public for everything from settling tax payments early to reporting on adulterous couples. As a Malaysian, this is utterly insulting for it creates an impression of an immature public which has minimum civic-consciousness and will only do what is right when a carrot is left dangling for it to bite. It seems to makes donkeys out of the people. Besides, it creates a very unhealthy tendency to cast suspicious eyes at one’s fellow countrymen and neighbours, or report each other to the government for every little or big offence. And the government will take action. Isn’t this going back to the age of the communists and the deeds of dictator-ruled countries? In more civilised countries, the weight of public disapproval will deter the traffic offenders.