There's been a lot of uproar since our transport minister Anthony Loke made the announcement that all outstanding AES summonses up until August 31st, 2018, would be waived. While many of us are understandably a little upset, given that we've paid for our speeding fines, there's a secondary argument to be had that the government shouldn't be waiving these summonses when we are in such dire need of money as a country.
But hold on a minute. Let's just make something very clear: paying these summonses doesn't mean that any money goes to the government. In 2016, the government slashed the price of an AES summons from RM 300 down to RM 150, which is a good way to encourage payment. What wasn't mentioned was that this slashing meant that none of the money paid for the summons would go to the government.
This comes on from a deal that was struck way back before AES summons were handed out. The first flaw in the contract, as pointed out by Loke, was that the government was to pay RM 16 to the AES concessionaires on every AES summons produced - regardless of whether a motorist has paid or not. This is already a huge burden as there are millions of summonses that were recorded from 2012 until now. The second part of the deal that is even more disadvantageous to the government is that 50% of the summons value would go to the concessionaire while 50% would go to the government.
Since the price slashing, the RM 150 that was cut out of the summons was essentially the government's cut. Since the deal was struck back in 2012, the government has paid these concessionaires RM 129 million - a hefty sum indeed. The actual cost of installing the 47 cameras, 38 of which are actually operational, was just RM 10 million. To make matters worse, the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) was instructed by the former government to put in RM 555 million into the takeover and management of the AES system - a sum that will need to be repaid as the funds used were meant for pensions and welfare for armed forces veterans.
So while we may be a little salty over the summonses that have been waived, it's important to note that a lot of money was wasted by the previous government on merely running the system and paying concessionaires according to terms on a ridiculous agreement. A total revamp is necessary in order to get the system working properly and to ensure the money is going to the right places.