Traffic summons (saman). Little bits of paper that have the power to spoil your mood instantly on sight.
Getting a traffic summons is, from first and secondhand experience, probably one of the most annoying things that could happen in daily life. Before anyone says, “Serves you right! If you don’t want to kena saman then don’t do the thing!” we acknowledge that of course the fine is deserved but it doesn’t make it feel any less annoying.
According to the Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM), there are two types of summons issued:
- POL. 170A:
Summons that are issued via post or placed on the vehicle when the driver is not present or when the driver is not under arrest.
For example, if you are caught exceeding the speed limit by a speed trap (i.e. Red Light Camera, Laser Speed Detector).
- POL. 257:
Summons that are issued on the spot to the offending driver.
For example, if you are stopped by the police for not wearing your safety belt during a roadblock.
We did a little digging and compiled a chart comparing maximum compound fines of the commonly observed offenses listed last week. Some such as DUIs for alcohol involve court and a fine depending various factors such as conviction history, alcohol percentage etc. Others, such as illegal racing result in immediate arrest.
Thankfully, the JPJ and PDRM websites have digital tools like Sistem Semakan Online (SSO) to help you track your fines and make payments. Sometimes when you talk about traffic summons, some people get all misty eyed and reminisce about how much of a hassle it used to be to settle your fines before e-transactions were a thing.
Then they’ll conspiratorially whisper about getting discounts on their summons if they pay at the counter not long after it’s been issued but we don’t know if that’s true. A quick Google search immediately turned up a lot of shady looking links offering “pdrm saman discounts” and some warnings about the consequences of not settling their summons. It’s not really a discount though considering that compound fines are based on a timeline. The longer you put off settling your summons, the higher your fine will be. It’s important to note that if you put off settling them for too long, you’ll end up in court potentially with a warrant for your arrest if you fail to show.
Remember: Don’t forget to pay your traffic summons on time! They may be annoying but they’re there to keep drivers in check and encourage safe driving.