On the 5th August 2010, the UMNO Youth Chief, Khairy Jamalludin, in his encounter with 14 bus and taxi operators, announced, “Saman ekor should be scrapped because it is unfair”.
Immediately one day later, the Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha however announced, “Scrapping saman ekor may invite corruption”.
With such diverse opinions coming from both leaders of the same party in power, what are Malaysian motorists to believe?
But according to the Minister of Transport, Datuk Seri Kong believes besides scrapping saman ekor, this action will lead to abuse of power. Government leaders such as Khairy and Kong are therefore undecided.
On a proposal whereby traffic officers issue on the spot summons to offenders, Datuk Kong said, this would require more man power. Through saman ekor or summonses which are issued for traffic offences such as speeding along highways in which offenders are caught on cameras and indiscriminate parking, there are actually solid evidences to prosecute an offender. After all, speeding offences are normally recorded by video cameras which are sophisticated equipment that are reputed to cost the authorities a lot of money.
In the above exercise, motorist who are caught speeding on a stretch of highway are immediately stopped by road blocks which are set up a mile or so ahead. A summons is thus issued to the offender.
In certain cases, video cameras are mounted on the sides of roads and these cameras record the speed of vehicles passing by. They also take photographs of offenders and their vehicles.
In such cases, these evidences are taken back to the department’s offices. Officers then look through the evidences and if found to have concrete proofs, summonses can then be issued. Normally, such summonses, according to the police, are sent out to offenders who violate the law through registered mail.
What motorists are advised to do when they receive such summonses? They should settle the said summonses immediately. Such saman ekor, I believe is either issued by the police authorities or the J.P.J.
However, should a motorist or driver wish to challenge the authenticity of the charge, he or she should then take the necessary steps to engage counsel to fight out the case in the courts of law. Non settlement of any summonses will eventually lead to the authorities filing a suit against you.
Assuming a driver does not attend a hearing scheduled, he or she is said to have lost the case for which he is charged. The police authorities, which filed the case against a driver can then request the authorities responsible for issuance of road tax or license to blacklist the driver concerned.
Still on the issue of saman ekor, the PAS Vice President, Datuk Mahfuz Omar in an article entitled “J.P.J Blacklisting Owners and Vehicles Illegal”, advised the public few things. Quoting Sabah and Sarawak High Court, Mahfuz said in a judgment in 2008, authorities cannot deny motorists the right to renew licenses and road taxes. Or for that matter prevent anyone from transferring ownership of vehicles over nonpayment of summonses.
This was because, the High Court has declared it was a violation of Article 13 of the Federal Constitution and against Section 17 of the Road Transport Act or Ordinance 1987.
Furthermore, Datuk Mahfuz advised that the authorities, nevertheless, had the powers, according to the law to blacklist a vehicle if a driver has violated the R.T.O. 1987 or the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board Act.
Continuing further, and quoting the case of Lim Yaw Ching against the Sarawak R.T.D., the Sabah and Sarawak High Court decided that a person should only be deemed to have contravened the R.T.O. and CVLB Acts if they have:
i) Failed to appear in Court.
ii) Or if they have been found guilty.
To compel motorists and vehicle owners to admit alleged offences and to pay up such summonses tantamount as wrong.
Finally, the public should also be informed that a memorandum has been handed to the Transport Ministry asking it to intervene and to stop the authorities from blacklisting vehicle owners.