KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The home ministry told Parliament today that teaching policemen here how to use two models of speed trap cameras accounted for the huge difference of over RM200,000 per unit paid for by Malaysia compared with prices in the United States.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said the suppliers had provided training to policemen here as well as for maintenance of the cameras used to catch speeding motorists.
Earlier today, an opposition lawmaker demanded Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein explain the stiff price discrepancy of over RM200,000 per unit in two models of speed trap cameras for the police it had purchased 17 years ago.
According to market prices then, the Laser Trucam model would have cost only US$5,000 (RM15,300) a unit while the Laser Digicam model would only be US$1,000 more, at US$6,000, Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar said.
These prices are reported to have been paid for by police departments in the United States to the suppliers.
In his answer to Parliament, the deputy minister did not provide a detailed breakdown of the training costs.
While he said that the contracts for the cameras were awarded through an open tender he did not reveal the name of the supplier.
“The difference in price between ours and the ones in the US is because they are manufacturers while we import the cameras in.
“There is an element of training provided by the supplier to the police, maintenance and also a two year warranty,” said Abu Seman.
On Monday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the police had a total of 124 speed trap cameras worth RM23.5 million, which was first bought in 1995.
“The price for each unit is as follows: a) Laser Digicam model at a total of 85 units with the price of RM173,925 per unit; and b) Laser Trucam model at a total of 39 units with the price of RM223,500 per unit,” Hishammuddin said in a written reply to Jerai MP Mohd Firdaus Jaafar’s question in Parliament on the total number of speed trap cameras owned by the police force and the price of each unit.
The federal government recently proposed the Automated Enforcement System (AES), a controversial scheme with cameras to catch speeding motorists and those who beat the traffic lights.
The 831 AES cameras will be installed by two private companies and the management of the operation system will passed over to the Road Transport Department within five years.
Earlier this month, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop was reported telling Parliament that police would continue to use their mobile speed trap cameras despite the introduction of the AES.
The AES cameras, which have received much opposition from the public, are in their pilot phase, with 14 installed in Perak and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya as well as Selangor despite the latter state’s Pakatan Rakyat government saying it is opposed to the privatised fine system.