Over the weekend, we were tasked to go to Rompin as a part of the plan to meet the people to explain MoE’s programmes. Rompin is a rural backwater town in Pahang bordering Johor and Negeri Sembilan. The place is the gateway to one of the world most beautiful island, Tioman. It is also famous for its abundance of kingd size prawns, not so much of the lobster type but river prawns.I had the opportunity to taste them that very night in open air by the seaside bbq.. Have not done such thing since my schooling days in Port Dickson beach. Wonderful experience. We took the route from KL to Kuala Pilah, Serting, Felda Keratong, Muadzam Shah and to Rompin – a four-hour journey with two toilet breaks.
The event was the usual meet the students, teachers, parents session. Nothing spectacular really.
The journey back I decided to take the alternative route of Mersing,Kluang and on to the PLUS highway. After another prawnful lunch (pardon the pun), we took off to Mersing around 2.30pm hoping to reach the PLUS highway by 4.00pm. After Mersing, it started to rain and it was pretty heavy by the time we reached Kahang. Most of us were fast asleep when it happenned. After negotiating a rather sharp corner, there was this junction and the lorry in front slowed down to turn right, all the cars in front of us screeched to a halt. We managed to stop just in time but in that split second there was a loud bang at the back. Somebody has banged us in the back. It was raining heavily, we had no umbrella but I knew I was not that bad, because we were not even thrown forward by the impact. We moved aside and used of the plastic bags to cover our head to check on the damages. The lady in the Alza who hit us was still the car, she was frantically calling somebody over the phone. Her car was very badly damaged. At the back was the real culprit, an old Jabatan Pertanian Pajero. The Pajero should not have been on the road at all. It was rusty, creaky and the aircond did not work. The driver was busy wiping his windscreen when it hit the Alza. The front head light was torn off and the car looked like it was going to fall apart. The worst was the Alza, it got hit on both ends, front and back. The front left side was totally crushed immobilising the car. Likewise the rear left portion was ripped off.
Fortunately our X Trail was not that badly damaged except for torn rear fender and bent exhaust tailpipe. But then the hassle really begin after that. We had to wait for a couple of hours for the traffic policeman to come. Sargeant Iswadi was efficient and businesslike.By then it was almost seven and we were told to go to the Kluang traffic police station to file a report and now hear this…being a government vehicle, we were told by one Inspector Safian that the car had to be impounded! He had to wait for JKR to come and assess the damage. Since it was already past office ours, JKR need a request memo from the police to its HQ in Johor Baharu and in turn the JB HQ would send the memo to JKR Kluang with instruction to do the job. How is that for efficiency huh.. We had to put up in a hotel in Kluang for the night. We had to inform our HQ to pick us up in the morning and the Police and JKR cannot even guarantee us whether they can the job done by today. Can’t they allow us to let JKR in KL to do the job. No sir you can’t, it has to be done within the jurisdiction of the police district where the incident happened. Can’t we simply mailed the photos of the damaged portion to JKR to do the assessment. No sir, it has to be done in real world. This is Government red tape at its best. I had this helplessness feeling. It was just a scratch to the car, but we need all the necessary report and assessment by the authority to justify the repair claim or else the audit would e breathing on our neck – exactly the words of the good inspector. As for now I must wait for another car to pick us up. Wonderful.