Have you driven in Kelantan recently? If you have, you will be constantly nodding in agreement with what I write below.
My hometown is in Besut and my in-laws are in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Since I’ve started working as a lecturer in 2001, I’ve been spending more than 90% of my year either in Perak where I work or in Kuala Lumpur where my own family lives. Fyi, I stay in Perak five days a week and the remaining two days I spend mostly in KL. I am a weekend husband and father. The remaining 10% of my year would either be in Kota Bharu or in Besut.
Since I’ve owned a car in 2001, I have received in total three traffic summonses. The first one was while I was traveling from Besut to Kota Bharu in 2001 or 2002, I can’t clearly remember. The second one while I was traveling along the national road from Slim River to Kuala Selangor. I just thought I could save some toll fees by not taking the PLUS highway. I ended up paying RM150 for it. This was in 2003.
The third and last traffic summon issued under my name was in June 2009 along the Tanah Merah – Jeli road when I was returning to Perak from Kota Bharu. All tickets were for speeding offences. The first summon was for driving at about 90 kph (kilometer per hour) at 70 kph zone. The second was exactly 81 kph also at 60 kph zone. I have the letter from police for this one. I don’t have the information for the third summon, but I am pretty sure the situation was the same. Well, that sucks! In all cases, I wasn’t aware that the speed limit was below 90 kph. Thanks to the confusing roadsigns.
I understand the need to designate certain areas under a speed limit…for safety of course. What I don’t get is the way the speed limit signs are put up and the locations where they are put up. If you travel from Jeli to Kota Bharu in Kelantan, regardless of which way you follow (i.e. either through Rantau Panjang, Tanah Merah or Machang), you will always have to keep a constant watch for the speed limit signs. Many times they are not that obvious…even outright missing. While I had been thinking the speed limit was 90 kph, I suddenly saw the white round sign with a black slash that indicates that the speed limit zone just ended. That meant I was driving at 95 kph in the less-than-90-kph zone while thinking it was a 90-kph zone.
Sometimes the speed limit changes from 60 to 90 and back to 70 before you can even blink twice. I might as well just drive at 60 kph all the way in order to avoid committing speeding violations. The problem with that strategy is that other vehicles would be tailgating so close that I almost cannot breathe. I always wonder how the JPJ (road transport department of Malaysia) approves such traffic signs. There are so many places where these happen. Do they even conduct surveys to ensure that there is no confusion in the road signs? What do you think?
To make things worse, the traffic police always put speed traps at these places. I really hate the idea punishing people who unknowingly committing traffic offenses.