Malaysia has cancelled RM435 million (S$146 million) worth of unpaid traffic summonses issued under its controversial Automated Enforcement System (AES) introduced in 2012.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said yesterday that no new summonses will be issued until Sept 1, which is when the Road Transport Department takes over the traffic camera system.
"I was informed... that next week is Hari Raya Korban (the Muslim festival of sacrifice). So all summonses issued to date are cancelled in the spirit of sacrifice," he told reporters yesterday. He said the AES deal, which was awarded in 2012 to private companies Beta Tegap and Ates, was "lopsided" as the companies received RM16 for each summons issued as well as 50 per cent of the fines collected.
After the concession fuelled public backlash, the then Barisan Nasional government took over the two firms in 2015, using RM555 million from the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT).
"They had no assets besides 40-odd cameras," Mr Loke said, referring to the companies.
A total of 3.1 million AES summonses have not been settled as of May, each compoundable with a fine of RM150.
"I want to take this opportunity to apologise to those who have paid. About 18 per cent of the 3.76 million summonses have been settled since 2012. I ask that in the spirit of sacrifice, they also sacrifice as the government is unable to refund (them)," he said.
But he warned that the cancellation was a one-off and there will be no further "exclusions or discounts" in the future, as traffic laws will be strictly enforced.
Mr Loke also announced that the Cabinet has agreed to refund LTAT, which manages pensions for servicemen, the RM555 million paid to take over Beta Tegap and Ates.
Although no AES summonses will be issued in the next two weeks, the Seremban MP asked the public "not to speed and treat our highways like a Formula One racing track".