Ipoh cyclist wins case against Perak state govt – state held liable for improper maintenance of road

Ernest Balasingam (left) and counsel Kalai Selvam Arunachalam outside the Sungai Siput Magistrate’s Court

An Ipoh cyclist won his case against the Perak State government, the Perak Public Works Department and the Perak District and Land Office, for negligence in road construction and maintenance. Plaintiff Ernest Balasingam, an Industrial Relations lawyer, in a suit filed in the Sungai Siput Magistrate’s Court, sued for damage and injuries sustained when he crashed while cycling over an unmarked speed hump in the road.

In his suit, Ernest filed claim against the Sungai Siput Town Council, the Perak District and Land Office, the Public Works Department, the Perak State government as well as the Federal government. Ernest sustained injuries when he was cycling downhill and encountered an unmarked speed bump near the Kampung Kening secondary school on the Kampung Pisang to Jalong Tinggi road which caused him to crash.

Ernest’s initial suit named the Federal and State governments and the local council as all parties refused to assume responsibility for signage and markings for the speed bump. After investigation, it was determined jurisdiction for the road fell under the state government with the suit against the Federal government and local council thus withdrawn.

In the location in the suit, the speed bump was constructed by an unknown party. During the initial issue of the Notice of Demand, no party responded in respect of liability with the plaintiff, resulting in all parties mentioned.

Speaking to paultan.org Ernest said roads not maintained is a breach of statutory duty on the part of the authorities. “There is legal provision to hold them (authorities) liable for breach of statutory duty, in this case, a lack of proper signage and markings,” said Ernest.

Edit: Article has been edited to accurately identify defendants involved in the suit.