I’ve heard many stories of people handing out “Kopi-O” (local expression of bribery) to traffic polices in Malaysia. There’s one extreme case which goes like this. A friend of mine I call Superman was caught over-speeding, by a mere 3km/hour. And then of course, the traffic police who lazily shed under the trees started to pursue and Superman, on hearing the siren, pulled aside.
Superman wind down the window. Expecting to bribe the police, the policeman went,
“Berapa mau bagi?” (How much do you wanna give?)
Now that’s a first-party direct request from the policeman himself. No need of shitty conversations and never-ending excuses, just show me the money! How cool is that?
Superman: “Aku ada sepuluh saja, mau ah?” (I’ve only RM10, do you want it?)
He had actually taken out all the cash in his wallet and hid them under the seat, leaving only RM10. Now if you wanna bribe, that’s an effective way to con the policeman showing that you had not much or no money left on you, and you make the call, “Take it or Leave it”. Please note that some lansi policeman might turn down the Kopi-O if it’s too small an amount and issue you the saman (fine) instead.
The police raised his eyebrows a bit and said: “Ok lah, bagi saja” (Oh whatever, just give it to me).
Superman handed over the 10 dollar notes and the case is closed. Superman continued his journey and the police went to have Kopi-O with his friends.
The problem with Malaysian police force is that they’re sort of underpaid. Unlike other developed nations where security personnel are quite heftily paid due to the dangerous nature of the career.
With a cause of living and family burden on their shoulders, money is their top motivator. Unless there’s a dramatic change in the waging structure in Malaysia for the better, bribery will forever remain, the inevitable.
Original photo courtesy of TheStar.com