I refer to the Malaysiakini report BMC fracas: Police beat up youth.
We share similar sentiments over this lopsided fracas which apparently runs foul of the law in terms of all parties concerned. We, too, are flabbergasted by the highhandedness of the police and the Grand Saga personnel by which the public can only deduce that they are collaborating and corroborating with one another.
There are a few questions that cannot evade any right-thinking layman. Yes, no doubt the court rulings were in favor of Grand Saga, but did the court permit GS to erect a barricade? Under Section 83 of the Road Transport Act 1987 it is clearly stated:
‘The appropriate authority, with the approval of the minister charged with the responsibility for works, in relation to a Federal road, may:
(a) for the purposes of protecting traffic along a road from danger, or of making the crossing of any road less dangerous to pedestrians, erect, light, maintain, alter and remove places of refuge in the road, construct, maintain, alter and remove road humps on the road and construct, light, maintain, alter, remove and temporarily close subways under the road or foot-bridges for the use of pedestrians;
(b) whenever it considers necessary or desirable for the safety or accommodation of pedestrians, provide proper and sufficient footpaths by the side of roads under its control; and
(c) whenever it considers necessary or desirable for the safety or accommodation of ridden horses and driven livestock, provide adequate grass or other margins by the side of the roads under its control.
Under this section, the powers to erect any barricade or refuges lies with the minister in this case the Transport Minister and not to any Tom Dick or Harry. No one other than this minister is empowered to erect these blockades.
Maybe Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat can enlighten us on this aspect. Our laws are adequately enforced to protect road users and in any event, the powers-that-be still need to show exemplary roles in resolving this unfortunate incident.
Was there a hidden ‘approval’ from the relevant minister which the public is unaware of?
Is Ong under undue influence to pave the way for GS to have its right of way? Furthermore, it was reported that, Grand Saga executive director Zainal Abidin Ali issued a statement, vowing to rebuild the barriers within a week. On whose approval rests this kind of distortion and total disregard for the Road Transport Act? He claims his intentions were 'noble" so as not to compromise the safety of road users, but at the same time he flouts the law.
What is the difference with Robin Hood robbing the rich and giving to the poor.? Robin's acts were noble too in that sense.
Whatever it is, this former police chief should know better the Road Transport Act than any of us yet he has the audacity to erect this barricade without following the rule of law. It is a shame and a real disgust that a private concessionaire can flout the laws without a blink of an eyelid and still maintain a stance that the actions are within the ‘indisputable right of way’.
To the new state government, please do not merely hold demos or protests without an agenda. You are now the state government, not in the opposition and surely it is within your prerogative and authority to remove this barricade within the law.
Demos are perceived to be the work of troublemakers and gangsters as can be seen by the hired thugs to cast fears into the residents. Do not allow perpetrators to intimidate you under the pretext of the law. Since it has been confirmed that the barricade is within state land, why not invoke your powers to remove?http://malaysiakini.com/letters/83644