Hulu Selangor behind ‘surprise’ road law U-turn, says Kit Siang

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — This Sunday’s Hulu Selangor vote had forced the Barisan Nasional (BN) to withdraw amendments for traffic laws barely 48 hours after tabling it in parliament, claimed DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang today.
“It is an adverse reflection on the mediocrity of the BN Cabinet that the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill tabled in Parliament for the first reading on Monday will now be withdrawn after 48 hours because of pressures from the Hulu Selangor by-election on Sunday,” the Ipoh Timur MP said today.
He claimed the decision was a reaction to his talk in Batang Kali last night, where he had spoken against Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and the MCA for tabling amendments, among others, to increase compound fines for traffic offences by more than three-fold, from RM300 to RM1,000.
According to Lim, the crowd there had asked him to speak on their behalf for the amendment to withdrawn, failing which it “would be one reason why the Barisan Nasional should be taught a lesson on the by-election polling day on Sunday”.
“Clearly the public anger expressed at the PR ceramah in Batang Kali last night had reached the ears of the BN leaders and who have now realised that this will cost them dear in the Hulu Selangor by-election if the Road Transport (Amendment) Bill remains in its present form,” Lim continued.
He asserted that the hasty cancellation of the proposed amendment showed the power of public views in a pending by-election.
Lim also marvelled at the speed of the response, “where it is attended to even before I need to take it up in Parliament the next day!”
The DAP leader then stressed that the transport minister must still rationalise the proposed increase in compound fines for traffic offences.
“The other MCA leaders and the MCA national leadership should also explain [why] they allowed Tee Keat to proceed with such an objectionable amendment to the Road Transport Act,” he added.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz earlier revealed that the government had withdrawn three amendments for further revisions following objections by its backbenchers.
This is also the latest law being taken off from Parliament, with the first being the Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill on the eve of the current sitting.
The three amendments which have been dropped are:
1. Maximum compound fines for vehicles to be raised from RM300 to RM1,000
2. An increase in the minimum age for obtaining a vehicle licence, from 16 currently to 17.
3. To exclusively allow the Road Transport Department to issue number plates to any vehicle registered.
Parliament officials said the government has until tomorrow to remove the Bill, which was tabled for first reading yesterday and was to have been debated this week.