ALSO BY

By Lau Bing

Court order a must to clamp a car in a home

There is a universal law that says entry into a private home or property without a court order, that is, by force or abuse of power, is an act of trespassing which is punishable by law.

In fact, my hair stood on end when reading what the president of the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) said in a report which was published in a local daily yesterday, June 11, 2013.

Indeed, I am startled to find someone in his capacity and office, a person like the president of MPS, to openly make a press statement that he will send out his enforcement officers on June 30, 2013 to clamp up cars inside private homes of car owners who have not yet paid up the parking summonses, even when nobody is home.

This is outrageous and clearly demonstrated that someone had abused his powers as the head of department by giving instructions to his men to do something which is unlawful and is a threat of sorts.

In fact, no one has the right or power to clamp a car on the road for parking indiscriminately or without a parking ticket because the car is private property, so anyone who does something like
that to the car is committing a violation and an invasion of privacy and, so is sticking bills on walls of private buildings, shops or houses.

Here is a question for the president of MPS, that is, will the Selayang Municipal Council foot the bill to repair or to make good any scratches and dents incurred to the car during the clamping
procedures?

You see, today, it is a costly affair to repaint a part of the car or to repair a dent. And, since accidents are rather inevitable during the clamping procedures, the president of MPS should give a word of guarantee to the car owner that MPS will make good all damages should any occur.

In actual fact, to save motorists getting their cars damaged and the municipal council incurring payments to repair them, it will be a win-win situation to just stick to the issuance of summonses and taking photos of the particular car and, then give them to the car owner to demand that they pay up, instead of having to go through the tedious process of clamping the car wheel and taking unnecessary risks of getting the car scratched and dented.

Of course, there is a law to allow the local government or municipal council to issue a compound summons and also to take a photo of the car to get the owner to pay the fine, failing which the law enforcers can get the court to send out a letter to summon the owner to the court to fight the case and to pay up if found and proven guilty.

Obviously, seeing too many cars clamped in the city and town centres are really eyesores to motorists as these are seen as a kind of “threat” or scenario to instill fear to drivers on the road.
This in a way or in itself will drive away people going out to shop or eat in such places where wheel clamping is rampant and especially when there is a shortage of parking lots in the area.

Nothing different from an Ah Long’s methods


Right now, what these enforcers from Selayang Municipal Council intend to do is nothing different from an Ah Long’s methods to recover loans from the public.

Yes, jumping over the front gate into the house or cutting the gate lock to gain entry to the house to clamp a car is illegal and, also such forced entry is trespassing/housebreaking and so the house owner or owners can make a police report for trespassing, housebreaking, embarrassment and inconveniences caused.

Now you know no enforcement officer including the president of MPS has the right to march straight into a private house or home to clamp cars whose owners have outstanding parking fines, let alone (regardless of) whether the owner is at home or not.

So, the president of MPS and his enforcement officers should abort the plan and exercise to clamp cars inside owners’ homes (houses) when they have outstanding parking summonses; to avoid embarrassment and a public outcry about their Ah Long-like actions.

The president of MPS, Mohd Azizi Mohd Zaib, is urged to do some serious homework or to take a refresher course on law and public order so that he would not go overboard in carrying out his duties or make similar public statements in future.

The bottom line is that the public, too, should also learn to know their rights so that they are not taken for granted or bullied by “law enforcers” from municipal councils, especially in this case, to save their cars from being clamped at their homes.

By the way, car owners can if they wanted to, counter-sue the officer or officers in charge who had actually climbed over the front gate of the house or had the lock cut off to gain entry to
the house, to clamp the car inside the house proper. Even if they had a court order, this action is a clear-cut case of trespassing and housebreaking.

How about the Consumers Association Penang (CAP) coming in to elaborate further on this matter to enlighten and update the public of their rights? And, furthermore, how do they look at this?


LAU BING is a community activist and writer.