Monday, March 24, 2008

Lawyer: Parking summons waiver is wrong

New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Penang chief minister and Perak menteri besar are wrong to waive and cancel parking summonses issued in the two states prior to March 11 and March 18 respectively, according to senior lawyer and Bar Council member Roger Tan.

He said these summonses were issued pursuant to rules via local authority by-laws by virtue of Section 72 of the Road Transport Act 1987.

As such they were not issued under the Local Government Act 1976.

In this respect, neither the chief minister nor the menteri besar has any power to direct local authorities to waive any parking compounds.

Tan said: "This is not a local government matter but a traffic offence which comes under the jurisdiction of a federal law, namely the Road Transport Act.

"An offender could still be prosecuted (under federal law) if he does not settle his/her compounds within the stipulated time frame."

Tan said the law was silent on whether law-abiding motorists in both states could challenge the directive of the two state leaders in cancelling the outstanding summonses.

He said the move by the two state governments was not only unlawful under the Road Transport Act 1987 but went against the spirit of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, that is, all persons are equal before the law.

Section 72 of the act states that a local authority has the power to utilise any land acquired through lawful means for the creation of parking spaces within its area of jurisdiction.

Other provisions of Section 72 include a charge that may be imposed on those who used such parking places and the times during which vehicles may be parked in a parking place.

A notice stating the substance of the order and the charge prescribed should be erected and maintained by the appropriate authority at or near the parking place or stand.

The law also states that it is unlawful for the driver of any vehicle or any person employed in connection therewith to ply for hire or accept passengers for hire or reward while any vehicle is within a parking place.

If any person is found guilty of any offence under this section, he or she is liable to a fine not exceeding RM300.

Under Section 120, it allows for the offences committed under Section 72 to be compounded.

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