Friday February 22, 2013
Court: Council has no powers over structures on federal roads
By M. MAGESWARI
KUALA LUMPUR: The Sepang Muni-cipal Council has no power over the construction of structures, including those of the Automated Enforce-ment System (AES), on federal roads, the High Court said in a landmark judgment.
The court ruled that it was the Works Minister who had jurisdiction over structures on federal roads.
High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Zaleha Yusof said the local authority had no jurisdiction to issue notices to Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd for the removal of two AES poles and cameras on two federal roads.
The company had challenged the council’s Nov 19 decision requiring it to have permission to install the cameras along the North-South Expressway and the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE).
“I am of the opinion that the spots where these AES structures are located are within federal roads and does not fall within the jurisdiction of the respondent (the council),” Justice Zaleha said.
She quashed three notices issued by the council to demolish AES poles and cover its cameras besides requiring the company to apply for planning permission for construction of those structures.
She said approval for the AES cameras was to be obtained from the Works Minister under the Road Transport Act 1987.
She said Section 3 of the Federal Roads Act 1959 gave the minister power to declare any road to be federal after consultation with a state government.
“Even though the land is still state land but since the highways have been declared federal roads, the state government is under constitutional obligation to ensure compliance and not impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive authority of the federation,” she said.
She, however, said AES poles with attached cameras could be defined as a building, in a reference to a point argued by Beta Tegap lawyer Alex de Silva, who earlier said that no reasonable person would interpret the AES pole and camera to be a “building” when contending the validity of MPS notices.
De Silva was assisted by counsel Gavin Jayapal.
In SHAH ALAM, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state government would appeal the decision, saying the ruling denied it the right to conduct its duties in managing infrastructure in Selangor, reports A. RUBAN.
He also said that local councils in Selangor would be directed to review all activities related to privatisation of roads as well as activities that involved collaboration between the state and federal governments.
An earlier statement, which said that the state government had ordered a freeze on all federal projects in the state, including highway and light rail transit (LRT) projects pending the appeal, was, however, retracted.