A lot has been said about the impending full-scale deployment of 831 Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras in the country and predictably, most of it has focussed on the negative aspects it brings. Terms like 'police state', 'big-brother' and 'cash cow + cronyism' have been bandied about and there is definitely a populist movement to reject the system.
To their credit, the authorities have been very open about where the cameras will be placed with ample signage and even an online published location list giving fair warning to motorists. The argument goes that AES is used to reduce the number of accidents and road fatalities and is not a revenue-raising project, though of course, someone will have to pay for the cameras.
Someone means you and me but it's not necessarily a bad thing when we have every chance to avoid getting caught. Half of the cameras are placed at traffic lights anyway so if you never 'run a red' that eliminates the chance of getting caught by 50 per cent. With the other half clearly signposted and placed in accident spots, it shouldn't be too hard to keep a clean slate.
Of course, there will be cameras placed in variable speed limit zones, meaning you could get caught for doing 110km/h on an empty road with a 90km/h limit, but again you would need to be blind to not notice the warning signs. There should be warning boards placed well before the monitoring zone and even if you miss those, there is always the tell tale sign of flashing lights from cars coming the other way.
Even with the effort to play fair by the authorities, there are still a large number of disenchanted motorists who spout nonsense about civil liberties. Some have cited European nations and how they have a very liberal view towards higher speeds. To these people, I would say be careful what you wish for.
Yes, a country like Germany has derestricted sections of the Autobahn but drivers are better trained there and the cars are newer and more capable of high-speed travel. Conversely, the use of radar or speed camera detectors is banned in most EU nations and if you're caught using them, it's an on-the-spot fine with the police more than happy to accompany you to the ATM if you don't have enough cash on hand. Not having enough money in your account means a stay in the 'facilities' until you can cough up the rest so be thankful we only have dreaded envelopes and pictures to worry about.
Ultimately, the use of AES should be seen as a positive development towards reducing the number of road deaths in Malaysia, which is still worryingly high. It's only one branch of enforcement and needs to be backed up by education and the building of safer roads, but it's a step in the right direction. Sure, you have to be more vigilant when driving but look at it this way. Follow the rules and you won't get in to any trouble.