While I was visiting relatives in Malaysia over the weekend, I noticed there were a lot of road notices worded in lengthy Bahasa Melayu. I wonder why there is a need for such lengthy notice if there is equivalent Highway Code that conveys the same message. It is not only taking away drivers' precious attention time, it is also wasting tax payers' money. Furthermore, Malaysia, sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore, has its fair share of daily cross-border drivers who would not be able to read these notices. If the Tourism Board can to tell the world it is "Truly Asia" in English, I don't understand why it can't adopt the same spirit in its road signs. Driving visitors are tourists too, you know. They bring in revenue by paying for goods and services during their stay here.Notices like…
Lebuhraya sedang di naik-taraf, sila pandu dengan berhati-hati (Upgrading work in progress, please drive with caution)
Kawasan zon sekolah sila kurangkan laju (School zone area, please reduce speed)
…are totally unnecessary and can be replaced with International Highway Code signs like
"MEN AT WORK" and
i saw this sign "Banji lalulintas sedang dijalankan, sila pandu dengan perlahan" (Traffic census is being conducted, please drive slowly) between Taiping and Gerik. I scratched my head over this. Isn't it peculiar to ask drivers to slow down for traffic count when you wanted to obtain actual traffic flow data for planning and design purposes?
Maybe this is the tip of an iceberg of what could be…. ahem… this is entirely burung pipit's wild "conspiracy theory"
Malaysia is conducting a feasibility study to tax all cross-border drivers. What bettter way to start than by counting the number of foreign-plate cars in Malaysia to establish a cost-benefit study of such a move. To be counted, you need to slow down enough for counter to read your license plate. This may explain why drivers need to slow down in a traffic census.
Malaysia government wants to certify all cross-border drivers to ensure familiarization with common Malay used in their highways and roads. Something like the undang undang (Highway Code) test drivers took before getting their "L" licenses in Malaysia.
…to ensure all kopi license drivers understand the hazard in front of them as these small and dwindling (I Presume?) group of drivers may not be too familiar with the Highway Code. Pak Lah's way of a more compassionate government?
Whatever it is, lenghty road notices are here to stay. For non-Malay readers, it is time to pick up a bi-lingual guide to Highway Code in Malaysia. One tip here…the ubiquituous blue colour "Jalan Sehala" is not the most common jalan (road) in Malaysia, it is the sign for "One-Way Street".