Volunteer firefighters are given toll exemptions in Penang in recognition of their sacrifice in supporting the Fire and Rescue Department.
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A video showing several flood relief volunteers allegedly arguing with toll plaza workers had caught the attention of netizens.
Accordingly, the argument was because the volunteers insisted they should be exempted from paying tolls.
The reason: they were members of a non-governmental organization (NGO) on a mission to send aid to flood victims.
@andy8836 Datang memberi bantuan tanpa mahu bayar toll.pendapat anda?#fyp #fypdongggggggg #fypシ゚viral #foryou ♬ original sound – Andy 🔹
The toll plaza employee said there is no exemption on toll payment for each individual who passes through the highway.
The exemption is only given to designated government agencies, such as the fire and rescue department.
Auxiliary police, volunteers and other government agencies also have to pay toll, which can only be done with the Touch n Go card.Toll plaza employee on the
Dissatisfied with the explanation, the volunteers – from Persatuan Kebajikan Komuniti Tanjong Pulau Pinang (PKKT) – continue to dispute the matter.
We only come to help people. Alamak.The volunteers arguing why they should be exempted from paying tax.
It’s Easy To Judge, But More Difficult To Understand
Netizens were not amused by the antics of the volunteers and criticized them for their arrogance.
Netizens pointed that many people also volunteered to help flood victims without asking to be exempted from paying the toll.
Some chided that the volunteers should just ride motorcycles to avoid paying the toll.
Another TikTok user, Hari Sunther, said the volunteers could have genuinely mistaken that they are entitled to toll exemption.
Some called on the volunteers to learn from Abang Viva who is widely lauded for his selflessness in giving to flood victims.
Clearing The Air
Meanwhile, PKKT spokesperson Tang Heng Hoo told TRP that volunteer fire and rescue personnel are exempted from tolls in Penang, including the Penang Bridge.
Our volunteers had always been exempted from paying toll in Penang whenever they are out on volunteerism duty. Perhaps it has not been clearly outlined if the exemption applies to toll plazas nationwide. The Fire and Rescue Department had taken note of the matter, and will discuss it at the federal level in Putrajaya.PKKT spokesperson Tang Heng Hoo to TRP on the toll exemption for volunteers
He said the incident had been a misunderstanding, and the toll plaza allowed them to pass without having to pay toll after further verification on the spot.
Tang added that the incident happened at a toll plaza near Ipoh.
The volunteers were on their way back to Penang after assisting flood victims in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
Tang added that similar misunderstandings had also happened in the past, though few and far in between.
In Nov 2019, the volunteer firefighters of Taman Sri Serdang encountered a similar problem at the NPE Highway.
In July 2020, the director-general of the Fire and Rescue Department Mohammad Hamdan Wahid was quoted by Berita Harian as saying that volunteer firefighters will be empowered.
As of 2020, there are more than 14,800 volunteer firefighters nationwide who are actively helping the Fire and Rescue Department deal with fire incidents in rural and remote areas.