Pressure from Pakatan and public doesn’t stop AES

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PETALING JAYA  –   Putrajaya will continue operating the controversial Automated Enforcement System (AES) speed trap cameras despite the freeze on summons hearing by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) last week, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said.

Kong told The Malaysian Insider  that the authorities will keep on issuing AES summons despite increasing resistance from the public and opposition leaders from Pakatan Rakyat.

“The government will not stop AES summons as it is already been decided in the last Cabinet meeting,” Kong said, referring to the approval of his ministry’s estimated expenditure under Budget 2013 last month.

The MCA secretary-general also finally cleared the issue regarding AGC’s order to halt all court proceedings related to AES summons to study legal issues that have been raised, after a week of uneasy silence.

“The summons are still valid and we will keep issuing them. It is up to the AGC to decide on the freeze,” Kong said, explaining that the ministry will keep its hands off the matter.

But Kong also appeared to admit that the AES summons themselves have legal issues, and the ministry was in the process of solving the complication.

“It is almost done… I think this problem will be solved by the ministry soon,” he pointed out.

According to the minister, the AGC also has started discussing with the Royal Malaysian Police and Road Transport Department (RTD) to put an end to the problem as soon as possible.

The freeze by AGC came last week after an outcry over the AES which has issued nearly 300,000 summonses since it began last September 23.

In the aftermath, PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar declared the ongoing row on the traffic enforcement system a “political game”, and dared the government to suspend its implementation.

The opposition lawmaker accused Putrajaya of being less than transparent in the deal with the two companies — Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd dan ATES Sdn Bhd — contracted to install and run the speed-trap camera system that has sparked public anger over what is seen to be a privatization of traffic law enforcement.

Mahfuz, who is the chairman of anti-AES pressure group Kumpulan Anti Saman Ekor, also demanded the RTD to refund traffic offenders who have paid their fines.

The Malaysian Insider had reported last week that Putrajaya was considering holding off the implementation of the system as it appeared to duplicate police speed traps along the highways.

The privatized RM700 million project began in September with a pilot phase of 14 cameras but the RTD has pledged to roll out a total of 831 cameras by end-2013 to catch speeding motorists and prevent more road deaths.

The police, who enforce the speeding laws, have said they will continue enforcement and put up mobile speed traps near the AES cameras, raising the prospect of dual fines for errant motorists.