Asking UK travellers RM100 to “settle” summon on the spot, viral policeman may face up to 20-year jail & RM10k fine

A viral incident has caught the attention of Malaysians recently and put our country in a negative light among international travellers after a British couple travelling the world in a campervan shared on YouTube how they were stopped by a traffic policeman in Malaysia for allegedly going above the 60km/h speed limit. The policeman then asked for a bribe of RM100 from the couple to “settle” on the spot a summon of RM300 for the “offence”.

In the video, the couple, Marianne and Chris of the TREAD the globe YouTube channel were stopped by a traffic policeman while driving their campervan on the way to Ipoh. The officer then gave the travellers an option, either paying RM300 at the police station or “pay here” for just RM100.

Oblivious that the traffic policeman was actually asking for a bribe, the couple agreed and paid him RM100. The couple can even be heard saying, “I guess that we were (speeding) and having the opportunity to pay a lower cash rate and not drive to the police station and get points was a great option,”.

Excerpts from the 30-minute YouTube video was then reshared on social media by many concerned Malaysians, with a majority condemning the traffic policeman’s actions. It has since caught the attention of Bukit Aman’s Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Director (JSPT) Director Dato’ Mohd Azman bin Ahmad Sapri who released a statement addressing the viral video.

The Bukit Aman JSPT Director stressed that investigations into the incident are currently ongoing and that any misconduct among the department’s personnel will not be tolerated. Azman also urged for anyone with information on the incident to come forward and assist with the investigations.

So, what action may be taken against the traffic policeman in the viral video? Well, join us as we delve into the relevant laws below.

Sections 16 and 17 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009

Based on the video, it can be argued that the traffic policeman had corruptly solicited gratification in the form of money from the oblivious British couple for his own benefit. Hence, one relevant provision for this offence is Section 16 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 below:

As per the above provision, the traffic policeman in the video can be argued to have corruptly solicited RM100 from the foreigners to receive for himself as an inducement to forbear giving a summon of RM300 for allegedly driving above the speed limit. Hence, should this be established, the traffic policeman is considered to have committed an offence under Section 16 (a)(B) of the Act.

Besides that, the traffic policeman may also be charged under Section 17(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 below:

Should the police personnel be convicted under Section 16 (a)(B) or 17 (a) of the Act, the traffic policeman may face punishment under Section 24 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 below:

Accordingly, should he be convicted, the officer may face imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than 5 times the sum of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence or RM10,000, whichever is higher. Given that the gratification in the incident is RM100 and the 5 times amount is only RM500, the fine should he be convicted will automatically be RM10,000 as the latter is higher.

Besides that, as alluded to by the serious wording of the Bukit Aman JSPT Director’s statement, there will be no special treatment available to the police officer in the eyes of the law. As the saying goes, no one is above the law.

However, given the suspect is allegedly a civil servant, he may also face disciplinary proceedings as per the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993. Should this be the case, if a criminal proceeding has been instituted against a civil servant and is still pending, the aforementioned disciplinary proceedings couldn’t be initiated unless it is for a different issue.

This is in line with Section 30 of the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993 which prescribes:

“(1) Where criminal proceedings have been instituted against an officer and are still pending, no disciplinary action shall be taken against the officer based on the same grounds as the criminal charge in the criminal proceedings.

“(2) Nothing in subregulation (1) shall be construed so as to prevent disciplinary action from being taken against the officer during the pendency of such criminal proceedings if the action is based on any other ground arising out of his conduct in the performance of his duties”

Moving forward, let this incident be a reminder to all Malaysians that no one is above the law. To further showcase this, it is hoped that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would handle the case transparently and make an example out of the traffic policeman’s misconduct so that Malaysians and the international community would believe in the fairness of our legal system and the integrity of our uniformed body.

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