Initially, 29 individuals were arrested by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for allegedly shielding lorry drivers from traffic laws in Penang. Yesterday, five more were arrested, bringing the total number of suspects to 35.
Reports indicate the Road Transport Department (JPJ) officers were paid between RM10,000 to RM32,000 monthly to pardon the drivers’ various offences, and the total amount is estimated at RM140,000.
The news was not overly blown out of proportion, but statements from influencers still bounced around news outlets.
MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations Datuk Seri Azam Baki stated they were in the midst of collecting evidence and recording statements from the suspects.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur JPJ director Datuk Ismail Mohd Zawawi added that the government department had reminded its officers to not be tempted by bribes and will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke acknowledged this as a longstanding issue within the country. He welcomes the MACC’s course of action and gave his full confidence to JPJ director-general Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid to handle the situation.
Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid tops the influencers list as he oversees the whole situation; he revealed that a task force is being set up to carry out analyses into the JPJ systems to eliminate corruption.
Shaharuddin said: “Some of the processes and procedures may be old or outdated and could have allowed corruption to happen. We are trying to rectify this.” Currently, they are conducting assessments and will make recommended changes in two weeks.
When it comes to media exposure, the arrested personnel evidently shoved JPJ into the spotlight, causing multiple spikes within a week in April.
The initial arrests contributed to the April 17 spike, whereas the sudden surge during April 20 & 21 is likely due to the announcement of the task force and second batch of arrests. The media outlet leading the topic is The Star Online, with the highest number of articles published on JPJ corruption.
Last week, the case literally caught more heat when the engine of the bus carrying the 24 suspects caught fire on its way to the Magistrate’s Court in Georgetown. Reports state all suspects were then transported by 10 traffic police cars to their designated location safely.