THE government is not being lenient by extending the deadline to settle traffic summonses, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said the main reason for the extension until March 10 was the technical glitches faced by the police in handling the sudden surge in payments.
"Because of the congestion, the police faced some problems with the computer system and it would not be fair to those who actually turned up to pay before the Feb 28 deadline," he said during the Kinabatangan Juara Rakyat Programme in Simpang Entilibon, Tongod, Sabah, yesterday.
Muhyiddin, however, stressed there would be no more extensions after March 10.
In August last year, the cabinet warned that motorists who failed to settle their outstanding summonses by Feb 28 would be blacklisted and not allowed to renew their driving licences and road tax.
By December, authorities were offering errant motorists a 50 per cent discount to pay up early, but on Tuesday, police announced that only 65 per cent of the 49.4 million summonses issued since 2000 had been settled by Monday's deadline.
The police echoed Muhyiddin's statement, saying the extension was to "make up for lost time" due to erratic online payment systems and the last-minute rush which caused the systems to crash.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Hussin Ismail said people who have yet to pay up should appreciate the extension and pay up quickly.
"The crowds at police stations caused the computer systems to encounter problems as it could not handle the high volume effectively.
"This extension will also allow those who want to appeal to come forward," he said after signing an agreement between the police and Pos Malaysia Berhad to set up payment counters for traffic summonses in post offices nationwide.
He said the lackadaisical and procrastinating attitude of the public had contributed to the problems.
Hussin said there were "reasons" why the government decided to extend the deadline.
One of them was to be fair to those who faced trouble paying up when the systems failed.
On whether the online payment systems would fail again when people tried to meet the deadline, Hussin said: "God willing, we can cope."
Sociologist Prof Dr Abdul Hadi Zakaria, however, felt that the government was being lenient by extending the deadline while the errant motorists were simply procrastinating.
Malaysians are not willing to react to anything they do not like until they were required to do so by law, he said.
Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, meanwhile, felt that refusing to settle the fine was a reflection of the motorists' lack of respect for the law.
A check by the New Straits Times yesterday, however, found that people had been lining up at police stations and post offices from early morning to meet the deadline.
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