'Council cannot take down AES'

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sepang Municipal Council has no power to issue notices for the removal of two Automated Enforcement System (AES) poles and cameras on two federal roads, a High Court heard.
Lead counsel Alex De Silva, who acted for Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd, one of two companies appointed by the Government to manage the AES, said the North-South Highway (PLUS) and South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) were declared federal roads.

“The council cannot use the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 to in­­­­­terfere on the construction of st­­­­ructures on the highways,” he added.

He argued that PLUS and SKVE were concession highways under the control and management of the Malaysian Highway Authority, which had given the approval to carry out the installation of poles and cameras.

De Silva said the company did not commit any offence under the said Act, as contended by the council in its notice, because poles and came­ras could not be considered as “buildings”.
He argued that the council did not intend to provide any opportunity for the company to be heard and had already made up its mind to tear down the AES poles.

“This is further evidenced by the stand taken by the Selangor Government that the structures are illegal and will not be allowed to be erected in the state.

“Thus, any application for planning permission, which in any event is not required, would have been an exercise in futility,” he said.

He submitted that the case was not about the efficiency of the AES system and asked the court to quash three decisions made by the council over the poles and cameras.
He applied to the court to grant a declaration that the council does not have jurisdiction over the PLUS and SKVE highways.

Senior Federal Counsel Amarjeet Singh, who acted for the Attorney-General’s Chambers as an interve­­nor, submitted that the proper authority – with jurisdiction to approve the applications to set up the AES on highways – was the Works Minister, pursuant to Section 85(1) of the Road Transport Act 1987.
He said both highways had been declared federal roads, while submitted that the notices ought to be quashed on grounds of “illegality”.

Lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo, who acted for the council, argued that his client had wide power in taking action on structures built without authority on state land and that the issuance of notices was in accordance with the law.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Zaleha Yusof set Feb 21 to deliver decision after hearing lengthy submissions by both parties on the merits of the judicial reviews.

Beta Tegap is seeking, among others, an order to quash the council’s Nov 19 decision that it needed to have planning permission to install the cameras at KM301.7 of the PLUS heading towards Kuala Lumpur and the other at KM6.6 of the SKVE heading towards Kajang.

Source From : The Star
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