Did Not! Did Too! Don’t Really Care

After experiencing a road accident, I was led to ponder on how each and every one of us needs to get on the road to responsibility – to take accountability for the current state of affairs. To the many who say “nothing to do with me wat” because they are of the opinion that issues such as judicial rot and governmental failure are of ‘lofty proportions’ to the average man-on-the-street, I implore you.

The new Malaysian?

The new Malaysian?

I had decided to take a leisurely drive to the flea market at TTDI Plaza. I stopped at the traffic lights created specially for TTDI Plaza residents and patrons and was dawdling when the light turned green. I was impatiently honked by the driver behind me for my less than lightning speed response. Unperturbed (yet), I proceeded to turn into Jalan Wan Kadir. In the next instant, I saw a white Kelisa and the shocked look of a girl’s face as she tried, to no avail, to stop from ramming full on into my car.

My life didn’t quite flash before my eyes, but I did see two bright flashes and heard several explosions. Next thing I knew, my car was facing towards KL and the airbag deployment emitted a strange smelling gas which was starting to suffocate me. Pain was searing through my forearms and my chest throbbing – like what I imagine taking a Muhammad Ali jab would be like while being grabbed on the forearms with burning hot gloves.
I later realised that the car that had honked at me had simply driven off after witnessing the accident right in front of him. Another man in a nearby car waiting at the very same lights gallantly came to my assist me out of my car. In the next hour, we sorted out the tow truck and I went for a checkup at the Damansara Specialist Centre. The driver of the white Kelisa, a visibly upset young looking Chinese girl, looked like she had been crying. She refused to speak to any of us. I left her alone as I thought it would be a clear cut case, i.e.: she ran a red light therefore her insurance would cover all damages. Boy, was I naive.
My car had to be towed to the police station. There, I submitted the report and was then told to see the inspector to explain what happened. Apparently his job is to make a judgement or keputusan on who was at fault and be the one the one to get a fine.
The inspector told me to describe what happened using a drawing. He then asked if the other driver is a Chinese girl as well – which I thought was a strange question. I said yes. The inspector called her in and asked us, “What’s the truth? Both of you say the light was green, so who’s telling the truth?” Furious and frustrated, I pointed to the drawing and said “Why would I be so stupid as to run a red light to cross a three-lane highway?” What are the chances that I ran the light at the three-lane turn versus the chances of a car on a long straight road, whose a driver who was sitting there with an arrogant look on her face and not uttering a single word? The inspector said “I can’t make any judgment. If neither of you want to admit fault, you can take it to court. The alternative is to take individual blame, whereby neither party gets to claim on the other party’s insurance, and neither gets a fine.” He then asked us to talk it over and left us alone.
While I can appreciate that without eye witnesses, it was a case of her word versus mine and did not expect the police inspector to ‘just’ decide who was at fault, I was appalled at his disinterest. I merely expected the inspector to sit down one-on-one with the other driver and question her with a little more interest and seriousness. Perhaps he just ‘can’t read her poker face’.
I tried reasoning with her and even tried calling her bluff by saying that I’ll bring this matter to court, but like a seasoned ‘pro’ she stood by her lie – that the light was green on her side. I’m starting to think see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil has a fourth sibling- admit no evil.
My options were limited. If I took the matter to court, the mechanics couldn’t fix my car until the case was well under way or settled. While in principle bringing the matter to court was what I really wanted to do, unfortunately in this country it is not a desirable option as our justice system and its implements leaves a lot to be desired – and I say this from personal experience. A family member had tried to sue a neighbour for causing damage to his property, and the case had dragged on for 7 years, which finally resulted in the court ruling in favor of the defendant, despite the fact that their lawyers were unprepared and requested postponement due to not having all their documents ready.
Gordon, the chap from the tow truck company I hired also mentioned that because he is based in PJ, he doesn’t have ‘strong connections’ here, whereas the tow truck people that the Kelisa driver hired were very ‘friendly’ with the police there. Another police officer came over to advise us to settle it amicably and started lecturing us on how we should be honest, because if we don’t tell the truth we would not only be lying to the police but also lying to God and to ourselves – ‘A’ for effort I say. I finally had no choice but to sign the statement saying I accept responsibility on my part and would not claim the other party’s insurance. Though it’s only a matter of losing my NCB, it was more the principle of it that I couldn’t stomach.
The view that issues in the news are of ‘lofty proportions’ and does not affect the average joe is one that is myopic. It may not involve everyone directly but its resulting repercussions – inefficiencies, cronyism, and injustice, ripples out to every walk of life – it will have something to do with you. Just as it happened to me. Just as it happened to my relative with the court case. Just as you probably heard happened to a friend who didn’t get his due justice because somebody else has ‘strong connections’.
While many are no longer apathetic, shame-faced social awareness just isn’t cutting it either. Time to add-value and it has to start by not being an ugly Malaysian in our everyday life.

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Posted on 28 February 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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9 Responses to Did Not! Did Too! Don’t Really Care

  1. jimmy

    The writer should stand up for the truth and what she believes in. Yet she took the easy way out. This is the Malaysian way and the point of this article.

  2. mut

    The point that I got from the story is that a basic function of a civilised society in Malaysia (ie the functions of the law and order apparatus)is fucked up beyond all recognition. The conclusions arrived at by the cases mentioned above border on imbecility, and yet these people are given a uniform and tasked to enforce law and order.

    Looking at the bigger picture, this police approach squares with the news that no fault insurance is on the way in. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-fault_insurance

    Seems the big boys in insurance and their minions in government are about to pull in some bucks!

  3. I think if you read the article again, you will find the point of the article, and the writer's perspective of this issue. Not every story ends the way we want it to end, yet there is always a point.

    My reading of this is that the writer is trying to show people that not caring about "major issues" in the news (such as cronyism, corruption and maladministration) has an impact on our daily lives.

    Not everyone can be a crusading hero, not everyone may have the funds to pay for their car damage whilst waiting for litigation to resolve the matter and not everyone can stand up to a traffic policeman wearing a handgun.

    But then again .. why should you have to stand up? The system should work – you should not have to stand up for your "rights" just for all this ordinary day to day mundane stuff. Basic services should be provided without resorting to "connections" and without having to be at the mercy of lazy government servants.

    That's the real point.

  4. Wang Yik Ling

    If the average joe, man on the street can lie through their teeth after causing harm to another person and watch a driver get hit in front of their eyes and not stop to help, imagine if they came into money/power. It's no wonder the people 'up there' are rotten -admit no evil-

  5. Avvy

    I feel bad for the crap you had to go through.

    You were curious as to why the policeman asked you if the other driver was Chinese?

    If you had told him it was a Malay, its likely the accident would have been deemed your fault.


  6. Piqued

    Last year, whilst waiting to turn right at a junction, I was rear-ended.

    Well not quite. In trying to avoid rear-ending me, the young female driver in a Kelisa, tried to come to a stop by squeezing into the space between my car and the curb separating the dual carriage-way. She succeded in coming to a stop only after her car dented the area between the the right rear-wheel arch and the rear door of my car. I believe the curb did a great job of declearating her car.

    The passenger in my car had the foresight to take pictures of the accident before we both headed to the police station to make our reports.

    As in the case above the IO could not make a decision on who was at fault and suggested that the file be closed as inconclusive ie the insurance companies would decide who is at fault and whose NCB would be deducted. This decision was conveyed to me 3 weeks after the accident(I was told the official report takes a minimum 2 weeks to compile.)

    I was furious and demanded to see his superior. I was then directed to come back in 2 days time.

    By the next meeting the table had turned. The IO, after consultation with his superior, had decided to lay the blame on me. The reason canvased was that if the other car had managed to squeeze between my car and the curb, it meant that I had not been as close to the curb as possible when waiting to make the right turn. I had opened the door, so to speak, for the driver to squeeze in.

    I insisted on seeing a superior and was told to come the next day.

    The superior, a sargent, confirmed the IO's decision and then chose to explain why he had come to such a decision. It seems that the girls story is that I had swung suddenly into her lane and she had no recourse but to hit my car. The evidence favoured her. It was not a direct hit on the back of my car but one from the left rear back wheel arch to the left rear door. Hence they believed her version.

    I smelled a rat.

    I told him that when you are stationary and about to make a right turn your car is partially in the area where the divider would be and the car is usually turned slightly to the right. There is space between the gap in the divider and this is where the young girl tried to stop her car. Between the devider and the rear turned end of my car. Hence no flush rear end collision.

    I told him that I had photographs of the accident. Besides, I was at the scene when the IO and the police photographer had filmed the scene. There was broken glass on the road, clear evidence as to who knocked whom and the position of the cars when the accident occured.

    He started to back track. Insisting that photographs don't tell the true picture in an accident, only video can. Photographs were useless. He wanted to know if I had a video of the incident.

    I stood my ground and told him that I will see him in court and enlighten the judge on his views about the usefullness of photographs in an accident investigation.

    The sargent then suggested that the case was too complex and that I should concur with the original decision to leave it to the insurance companies to decide who was at fault. I refused this suggestion and told him that I would bring this matter to the attention of the OCPD.

    The OCPD fixed an appoitment for me to meet with the Chief of Traffic.

    After a further 2 weeks, I met the Chief. He valiantly tried to defend the conclusion of the IO. The IO stood by, ram-rod straight and mute throughout my discussion with the Chief. The Chief was helped by 2 other officers who came in whilst we were discussing the report. The previous sargent was not present.

    They had made their decision based on photographs submitted by the IO. Photographs that had no tyre marks, broken glass or cars in them. They were just photographs of the scene of the accident. Their drawing of the position of the cars were all wrong. They had my car turning in from the left lane into the right lane and knocking the car that was on the right lane.

    Preposterous I said. I showed them my photographs, taken immediately after the accident with the cars unmoved. I showed them the tyre marks on the road and the broken glass.

    Having failed to establish their reasoning as to why it was my fault they decided that the next course of action was to refer the matter to the AG.

    This was the instruction given to the mute IO. "Write up your report and submit to the AG to see what he decides." It was now out of their hands. The AG would contact me, can they keep my photographs.

    It is almost a year now. No word from the AG.

    I decided to fix my car as the damage was less than RM400. I did not lose my NCB.

  7. My2cen

    No Jason, the point of this article is it's so typical Malaysian. Complain, complain, complain – but don't take a principled stand and do something about it. THey will only take action if they got connection, but they don really fight their case. Someone to fight for them will be great, but they will not fight themselves. And being Chinese adds to the stereotype that All Chinese are like that, just cheer at the side and not taking action themselves.

    What would I do in this case? I'll do my own analysis and put it to the IO, if he don listen, I'll wait to see his commanding officer. I'll not retract my statement if I'm on the right side. I'll even help them form question for the other party who caused my so much grief if the officers don know how to ask the right question. I've been hit before, driving on the straight road from SS 2 to Rothman's round-about. An older woman tried to cross from the left side (housing lane) to my right side, ie tried to cut through the traffic flow. After she hit me, we both got out of the car and I tried to reason with her, but she said I was wrong and refused to pay for the wreck she caused! I went to make the police report straight-away, later found out she didn't even after 2 days! The IO called my and he drove me to the scene of accident, and I related to him what happened. The police did track down the car, belonging to a man, probably a relative. Not even sure she got driving license, they slapped the owner with a fine and I managed to claim against his insurance.

    Everyone has to fight his or her own case, if they're really on the right side (if you're wrong, just admit it la!). Stop complaining, and just act on it! Getting support is great help, esp for the morale. But don count on it.

  8. I'm a bit confused.

    The author does not believe the accident was her fault. But because of a bad experience a family member had litigating in court (delay), and her friend(?) Gordon not having 'strong connections', and (probably) she does not want to foot the repair bill for her car while her claim against the driver/owner of the white Kelisa the Court case is pending, she chose to sign a statement falsely stating "I accept responsibility on my part and would not claim the other party’s insurance".

    So why complain now about not being able to stomach it based on principles? She raises the issues of inefficiencies, cronyism, and injustice (and I also deduce a hint at corruption and laziness) but did not choose to take the 1st step of standing up and saying "No" – as in "No, I will not sign a false statement," and "No, I will pursue this case in Court and tell my story there and everywhere even if it takes a bit more money and a lot of my time."

    She didn't. It appears that she chose to simply make a claim from her own insurance, and complain about inefficiencies, cronyism, and injustice on loyarburok.com (while in a way, as I see it, lamenting that it is unfortunate her friend(?) Gordon could not help her for this case – I wonder: Was she willing to have received some benefit from Gordon's 'connections' had it been available?)

    I don't see the point of this article.

    But … if the author had ended it with, "But after writing this and pondering it, I WILL now pursue this case in Court, even if it means I will have to spend a few thousand ringgit up front to repair my car, a probably a year or more waiting for the Court to decide; but I will make sure the police conducts a proper investigation, and if they don't, I will complain. I will no longer let the perceived weakness of our system deter me from doing what is RIGHT. And because I am willing to do this for my own accident, I know that I can face the larger and more ARDUOUS task of tackling judicial rot and governmental failure – even if it means me losing my job, my money, and possibly my liberty at the end of the day." If she had ended with a paragraph like this, I would see the point of this article … and would stand up and applaud.


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