LETTER | During a townhall discussion last Saturday at Subang Jaya, the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) proposed for a national policy on CCTVs.
MCPF vice-chair Ayub Yaakob pointed out that billions of ringgit had been spent on CCTV installations without any regulation to ensure their effectiveness in combating crime and drug abuse.
Selangor police chief Mazlan Mansor said a policy would also help in facilitating crime investigation, as it was common to find CCTVs not working or the quality of recorded footage too poor for identification or evidence.
As the MCPF would be forwarding the proposal to the government soon, I wish to put forward another approach, which does not require the authorities to spend a single sen on CCTV, and also get to collect millions of ringgit while enhancing safety and security.
Since 2003, I had been advocating that enforcement agencies such as the police, local town and city councils, Environment Department, Road Transport Department and Land Public Transport Commission to appoint concessionaires to help with surveillance.
There are numerous organisations representing those who used to serve in one of the many uniformed services in the country, and some could be appointed as concessionaires so that its members could work as camera crews to supplement their pensions, if any.
These camera crews are to be stationed at strategic spots such as traffic lights and expressways. They are to don bright uniforms to deter motorists and motorcyclists from committing traffic offences, such as jumping red lights, reckless driving or speeding.
Those who are indifferent would have their offences recorded by high-definition video cameras. If the police finds the recordings can be used as evidence, saman ekor or notification of traffic offence should be sent to the registered owners demanding for driver’s particulars.
The concessionaires would be paid based on the number of saman ekor issued by the various enforcement agencies after investing in high-definition video cameras, training and uniforms, while the enforcement agencies issue summonses and collect compound fines.
The presence of camera crews are bound to reduce street crimes, as motorcyclists including those looking for opportunity to snatch or rob, would know that they would be recorded if not stopping at red lights.
The camera crews could also be deployed occasionally at steep roads to record heavy vehicles belching out excessive black smoke, or in isolated areas where illegal dumping are rampant. In return, they could be assigned to cover easy tasks such as illegal parking, as hundreds of offending vehicles could easily be recorded within a few hours.
Instead of waiting indefinitely for existing CCTVs to measure up to the requirements of a national policy and additional billions of ringgit for more installations, the authorities could easily appoint concessionaires for surveillance, without relinquishing any enforcement power.
Instead, they would gain the salute of law-abiding citizens who have to suffer the inconvenience of complying with the laws, while large number of offenders seem to get away with impunity.
My 2003 proposal was published full-page in a broadsheet newspaper, long before the Automated Enforcement System (AES) was introduced in 2012. With large number of traffic offences captured by these static cameras, the AES was only effective in recording but not deterring violations.
Likewise, the installation of more CCTV would only have a limited effect, as petty robbers and thieves appeared oblivious to their presence. However, the presence of camera crews in bright uniforms are bound to be noticed.
In 2015, I proposed that the laws be amended to allow recordings by high-definition dashboard cameras be used as evidence against traffic offenders. If so, thousands of civic-minded motorists, including commercial vehicle drivers, would volunteer to make our roads a much safer place.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.