Thu, 12 Feb 2004

Hamzah says he'll stick to the (road) rules

Following the public furor after his convoy occupied the busway lane to escape traffic congestion on Monday, Vice President Hamzah Haz has decided to observe the existing traffic rules.

"I don't need other government officials reminding me of the regulations. From this day on, (my official motorcade) will stop at every red traffic light," he said after attending a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Hamzah was referring to Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso's remark over the incident, in which he said that use of the dedicated lane was a violation and that a high-ranking state official should have set a better example.

Hamzah was not the first state official to break traffic rules. Back in the 1980s, then minister/state secretary Sudharmono dispensed with the privilege but police tricked him by switching the lights to green along the routes he took.

Article 34 of Government Regulation No. 43/1993 on traffic and infrastructure entitles the police to stop traffic, while Article 65 of the same regulation states that road users must give priority -- in order of urgency -- to fire trucks, ambulances, traffic patrol vehicles, vehicles of the head of state or state visitors, hearses, convoys, parades, vehicles of people with disabilities or vehicles designed to transport specified loads. -- JP