Friday, March 28, 2008

'Karpal's statement smacks of arrogance'

New Straits Times
by David Yeow

KUALA LUMPUR, Thurs: The Penang and Perak governments do not have the power to waive summonses for parking offences, a senior lawyer said, describing Karpal Singh’s statement to the contrary as "arrogance".

“Karpal's statement smacks of arrogance,” Roger Tan said in a statement yesterday.

Tan was referring to the DAP chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor’s criticism on Wednesday that lawyers objecting to Penang and Perak governments' waiver of summonses “do not have within their grasp elementary principles of law”.

“Now that the DAP is in power in some states, they should practise what they preach, which is to be always tolerant and respectful of opposing views,” he said.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Perak Menteri Besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin waived payment for previous summonses as a token of appreciation to the electorate for voting them in.

“Even a first-year law student understands the elementary principle of law that you can only grant an amnesty if you have the legal authority to do so,” Tan said, adding that the two states are subject to the Local Government Act 1976 which does not provide powers for chief ministers to waive summonses.

“At most, they can only reduce the compound amount but they have no power to waive it under section 120 of the Road Transport Act 1987 and the Road Transport (Compounding of Offences) Rules 2003,” said Tan.

“By directing the local authorities to waive the summonses, the two state governments are acting unlawfully. They are using their non-existent administrative powers to compel the mayor or president of the local authorities not to take any action on the outstanding summonses.

“This is a clear interference with a local government by a state government.”

Tan said all elected representatives were required to take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution”.

“There cannot be equality of law if law-breakers are rewarded, unless a refund is also given to the law-abiding citizens who have settled the summonses.”

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