GEORGE TOWN: In a case that could have wide ramifications, the Magistrates’ Court today found the Penang Island City Council’s (MBPP) motor vehicle offences compound issued to a former assemblyman three years ago to be invalid.
This was due to a question of whether the driver was the actual owner of the vehicle. Today’s decision could throw the validity of similar tickets issued by the council over the years into question.
Magistrate Mohamad Amin Shahul Hamid said MBPP had failed to prove a prima facie case against PKR’s S Raveentharan, the Batu Uban assemblyman from 2008 to 2013.
Raveentharan was issued a RM30 parking compound by the then-Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) for parking outside a parking lot on Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, George Town, on March 11, 2014, at 10.38am.
He claimed trial on Sept 15 last year to the offence under Section 5(1) of the Road Transport Act and Rule 50 of the MPPP Road Transport Rules (Car Parks) By-Law 2014.
The offence carries a maximum fine of RM1,000 upon conviction.
MPPP was elevated to a city council on Jan 1, 2015, making it the Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang or MBPP to reflect city status.
When met by reporters outside court, Raveentharan’s lawyer, Baljit Singh said the decision by the Magistrates’ Court was historic, as it would effectively invalidate all the city council’s parking summonses issued before.
Baljit said one of the technicalities argued in court was over how the city council’s compound had been slapped on the vehicle’s owner, instead of the driver using the car.
He said in cases of speeding tickets issued by the police, a motorist might be given a grace period to explain if the driver of the car at the time of the offence was different from the owner of the vehicle itself.
Baljit said in the city council’s case, it would assume that the owner of the vehicle was guilty, instead of verifying if the actual driver at the time of the offence was indeed the owner of the vehicle.
“In short, the motor vehicle offences compound issued to thousands of Penang’s motorists is invalid.
“My client Raveentharan will continue to challenge other parking-related compounds as the council has indiscriminately fined Penang motorists over the years,” he said.
Baljit and Karnail Singh represented Raveentharan, while the city council was represented by Noorazrein Norazlan Ong.
Baljit is also national legal and human rights bureau chief for the Gerakan. -Mkini