Johor Baru op nets $900k in unpaid fines from Singapore motorists

Malaysian traffic police, in a six-day operation, collected more than RM2.4 million (S$900,000) in outstanding traffic fines from Singapore motorists.

The operation, conducted from Dec 27 to Jan 1, caught 13,529 drivers with outstanding fines near and at Johor Baru immigration checkpoints.

Johor Traffic Police Chief Baharudin Mat Taib told The Straits Times that more than 15,470 fines were paid during this period, with almost $500,000 paid in cash.

The rest of the fines were settled by credit card.

He added that Malaysian officers will continue to conduct such sting operations regularly.

"We will do this regularly. I would say to all drivers: We are not targeting Singaporeans. We will (conduct these operations) against all errant motorists, including Malaysians," he said.

While Superintendent Baharudin would not confirm when the next sting operation would be, sources told The Straits Times that it would likely be conducted during the Chinese New Year period, when many Singapore vehicles head to Malaysia.

In total, Singapore vehicles account for 313,661 - or 37.4 per cent - of the unsettled traffic summonses issued to non-Malaysians from 2000 to 2013, according to the Malaysian police.

Many motorists with Singapore-registered cars who drive regularly into Malaysia told The Straits Times they were surprised when they were stopped at Malaysian police roadblocks.

Mr Steve Keh, 40, a Singapore permanent resident who lives in Taman Perling in Johor and drives into Singapore daily for work, found himself on New Year's Eve facing 17 outstanding fines amounting to RM2,550.

For him, the fines - which were for offences such as speeding - dated back to 2013.

"Of course, we have to pay; they take your passport and don't let you leave with your car if you don't pay," said Mr Keh, who works in the maritime industry.

Mr Francis Ng, a 55-year-old Singaporean who faced RM800 in fines, wanted a chance to explain himself and have a closer look at when and where the offences were committed.

Mr Ng, who lives in Bukit Indah in Johor and drives to Singapore three to four times a week, had five offences dating back to 2012.

"I don't even remember some of the earlier offences. How do I know if it's true?" he said.

Superintendent Baharudin rubbished allegations from motorists that some of these offences were bogus.

"We do not force people to pay their summonses without proof," he said.

"My advice to Singaporeans is to check whether they have summonses at the traffic police station and to please pay."

dansonc@sph.com.sg

limyihan@sph.com.sg