A few metres away, several pairs of eyes were watching the learner driver, and more intently, the woman instructor next to her.
Two men walked up to the car and asked the two women to step out of the vehicle, which was registered to the driving school.
The two officers with the Road Transport Department (RTD), who had been observing them, led them away separately.
Acting on a tip-off, the officers had done their homework, including surveillance and background checks.
And as they had suspected, the “instructor” was not certified and had no business teaching others how to drive.
The young learner driver had no idea that she had spent her time and hard-earned money to learn from someone who was not qualified, trained or certified to teach.
At the makeshift operations centre, the RTD officer who had taken the unlicensed instructor into “custody” was having a tough time talking with the defiant woman instructor, who insisted that she wasn’t teaching, but “only chaperoning” the learner driver.
There was no way out for her and she would have known this if she had attended the compulsory two-week Sijil Pengajar Institut Memandu (SPIM or driving school instructors’ certificate) course conducted by RTD for those wanting to be certified as driving instructors.
Under RTD’s regulations, no individual, without certification from the department, can sit in a moving vehicle and instruct a learner driver on the grounds of a driving school.
The officer later learnt from the student that she had been driving with her instructor on public roads “when they go for lunch”.
The instructor was slapped with a fine. So was the driving school, which was guilty of employing her.
The school got an extra ticket because it allowed her to abuse the learner’s car.
RTD is determined to rein in uncertified instructors, like the woman, who it knows were being employed to save time and money.
At the SPIM course conducted by RTD, prospective instructors are taught skills and knowledge to promote safe and defensive driving, which they will impart to students.
However, uncertified instructors skipped them to make a quick buck at the expense of the safety of road users.
That was the worry.
As the female instructor walked away with her RM300 fine, one of the members of the raiding team told this New Straits Times reporter, who had tagged along in the raid: “That was only a slap on the wrist. I can tell you, she will get right back into it... maybe elsewhere”.
The exasperation in his voice was evident.