GEORGE TOWN, April 17 — Thirty people, including 24 Road Transport Department (RTD) officers, will be in the custody of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) from today till April 23 to assist in graft investigations involving a syndicate offering “protection” to lorry drivers who flouted traffic regulations.
Senior Assistant Registrar Nurfadrina Zulkhairi at the Penang Court Complex granted the remand order which starts today to all 30 dressed in the orange lock-up attire when they were brought to the courthouse this morning.
The 24 RTD enforcement officers were arrested along with nine other individuals yesterday for their alleged involvement in a syndicate offering “protection” to lorry drivers who had committed various traffic offences such as driving overweight lorries in Penang.
Three of those arrested yesterday were women and were released while 30 were brought to court this morning for the remand order.
The bus ferrying the 30 detainees to the courthouse caught fire this morning along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
They were later transported to the Penang High Court buildings in 10 cars and arrived at the courthouse at about 10.40am.
No one was injured in the incident.
The detainees, aged between 31 and 54, were detained between 10am and 4pm yesterday.
Other than the RTD officers, the six were believed to have acted as proxies, touts which are colloquially known as “tontos” and some were company owners.
The RTD enforcement officers detained were based at the Penang RTD office here and were believed to have accepted monthly payments as inducement not to take action against lorry drivers who had committed traffic offences.
The officers, who were between Grades 19 and 32, were believed to have accepted between RM10,000 and RM32,000 each month.
“We believed they had also leaked information on RTD operations to the lorry companies,” a MACC source said.
The source added that the money paid was for the senior RTD officers’ “entertainment use”.
It is estimated that more than 75 RTD enforcement officers were involved in accepting bribes from the lorry companies.
The MACC source also said that the modus operandi used by the syndicate was to provide special stickers to the lorries under their “protection”.
“The tontos will provide these special stickers to the lorry drivers so that their vehicles will escape any enforcement actions by the RTD enforcement officers,” he said.
MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki confirmed that Penang MACC together with a team from Putrajaya conducted a joint operation to uncover this syndicate.
“This is a result of several months of investigations including tip-offs from the public,” he said.
He said many others may be called in to assist in investigations into the case.
The case is being investigated under Section 17(a) of the MACC Act 2009.