Malaysian ministers ask their drivers to slow down after fines blitz

KUALA LUMPUR, July 18, 2006 (AFP) – Malaysian ministers have asked their drivers to stick to the speed limit after several ministers, including Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, racked up numerous unpaid traffic fines. Deputy Transport Minister Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar told parliament the cabinet had resolved that ministers and deputy ministers were not exempt from paying the fines.

“As ministers and deputy ministers, we have to give an example that we cannot dodge the summonses, and we also have given memos to all our drivers not to drive fast,” Tengku Azlan was quoted as saying by the state Bernama news agency.

Reports last week said five ministers had accumulated hundreds of summonses and thousands of dollars in outstanding fines for traffic violations.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak alone clocked up 67 unpaid summonses issued over the past six years at a cost of 7,820 ringgit (2,142 dollars), although he denied being behind the wheel, reports said.

Abdullah too had a recent brush with the law over traffic fines, collecting some 1,000 ringgit worth of tickets for illegal parking and speeding. Abdullah has said he did not know who was driving the cars at the time but would pay the bill nonethel