Government seeks to write off fines for illegal parking

The parliament today accepted for consideration amendments to the 2009 land transport law to write off outstanding fines for illegal parking.

Earlier this month, President Abdulla Yameen pledged to write off fines accumulated for traffic violations and illegal parking.

Following a preliminary debate, the government-sponsored legislation was accepted unanimously with 67 votes in favour and sent to committee for further review.

During today’s debate, several MPs said illegal parking has become commonplace in the capital after the president’s announcement. Motorcycles are parked outside homes, mosques, and hospitals, the MPs said.

The traffic situation in Malè is out of control and extensive revisions should be made to the law to tackle the problem, MPs contended.

Opposition MP Ahmed ‘ADK’ Nashid suggested issuing ‘certificates of entitlement’ after assessing whether a vehicle owner has the parking capacity and introducing ‘pay parking’ services.

The amendments propose leaving it to the discretion of the police to impound vehicles from parking zones after a week and either destroy or auction vehicles if owners do not come forward in 15 days.

If passed, the amendments would also exempt disabled persons from paying traffic fines or annual fees for their vehicles.

The traffic police would still be authorised at their discretion to impose fines for illegal parking, impound vehicles, and dock points from driving licenses.

Speaking at a function with youth supporters on June 6, President Yameen observed that the fines for some motorcycles impounded at the tow yard has reached up to MVR80,000 (US$5,188), which most youth were unable to afford.

“We have submitted a bill to the People’s Majlis to write off debt or arrears built up like this. So from the day this bill passes, those youth will no longer be in debt,” he declared.

According to a 2011 report by the Environment Protection Agency, one in six residents of the capital own a motorcycle.