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SAPP sues Kota Kinabalu City Hall

 | July 22, 2011

An opposition party has served a summons on the Kota Kinabalu City Hall for attempting to dismantle its Sabahtv.net signage which bore the phrase "Bersih, Berani, Benar".

KOTA KINABALU: Opposition Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has sought legal redress over a signboard at its headquarters that the local authorities want dismantled.

The opposition party served a writ of summons on the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) for attempting to take down its Sabahtv.net signboard at the party’s headquarters here on the July 9 and again on July 11.

The writ of summons was served on the DBKK today by one of SAPP counsels, Peter Marajin. It was received on behalf of the mayor by an officer of DBKK legal department.

SAPP secretary-general Richard Yong said that among the main contentions in the writ is that the Kota Kinabalu Municipal Council (Advertisement) by-laws 1983 do not apply to non-commercial entities.

The Kota Kinabalu Municipal Council (Advertisement) by-laws 1983 applies to commercial entities, those involved in trade, business and profession.

The by-laws states: “Signboard” means any board which displays the name or the registered trade mark of any person, firm, corporation or organisation and the nature of the trade, business or profession carried on by such person, firm, corporation, organisation and which is visible from any street or public place and which is fixed to or painted on the façade or street frontage of or in the actual building where such trade, business or profession is carried on but not on side walls, fences or open spaces between the street and the said building.

“NGOs, societies registered under the Society Act, schools, government departments, religious bodies and political parties which are non-commercial or non-profitable organizations need not apply for licence from DBKK so long as long as their signboards are safe and contain no words that are prohibited by laws.

“Sabahtv.net is an on-line radio which is non-commercial and non-profitable.  Its signboard is safe and the words “Bersih, Berani dan Benar” are not prohibited by the laws of Malaysia,” Yong said.

Seeking a clear ruling

As the case is now before court, SAPP does not expect DBKK to act on its signboard before it is heard.

“The High Court has fixed a hearing on July 25 to hear the case.

“We are seeking a clear ruling from the court so that the people of Kota Kinabalu will no longer need to worry if one day a DBKK officer comes up to your office and tells you to dismantle your organisation’s signboard immediately,” he said.

He also maintained that the DBKK’s action on SAPP was very harsh, unexpected, totally uncalled for, and is being seen by many as a form of political harassment, oppression and selective persecution.

He reminded that similar aribitrary action in the past back in the 1970s had subsequently led to the downfall of the then Usno state government.

“The people know their rights and where they stand. We believe justice will prevail,” he said.


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