if the offence didn't bore those people in authority, her boring superlong winded letter will definitely proves fatal to the unlucky offier who read it! LOL!
Rights As A Resident To Purchase A Season Parking Ticket Was Denied By HDB / URA
I have a story to tell. This story is about the arrogance, high-handedness and incompetence of the civil service administration in the form of two government bodies: the URA and HDB.
I am a housewife but I have a business registered under my name. Under the business is registered a van. One of my drivers incurred a parking fine and failed to report / settle it. To make things worse, the letters of reminder sent by URA to the office were misplaced.
I only found out when a letter was finally sent to my home stating that a warrant of arrest had been issued against me for failing to attend a court summons from the parking offence. The letter stated that I had to attend at the Warrant Enforcement Unit to execute the warrant of arrest and then see the URA officer to review my case.
I then attended at the police station and executed the warrant. I was given a new court mention date and after that I went to the URA officer to appeal. The appeal in short was as follows:
1. I am a housewife and I am not at the office premises.
2. I never had notice of the matter until the warrant of arrest which was sent to my home.
3. Due to the fact that the offence happened some time ago, long delay from the offence till issuance of the court summons, failure to attend the court date and issuance of the warrant of arrest, it is no longer possible to identify the culprit in the company as there are 3 drivers in total and I would have to bear the amount.
4. This was unfair as I have paid many fines on time and I had never allowed any parking offence to escalate to such a stage in the past. . This particular parking offence had been escalated because of pure oversight by the staff at the office and I was not present there. As a result the S$30/- fine became a S$400/- figure.
The meeting with the URA officer was most disappointing. She never had the intention to listen to the appeal at all. She rejected my reasons stating that
1. one of the reminders which was a registered letter was claimed.
2. the only ground for an appeal is if the company has moved and changed address the registered letters were sent to the previous address.
3. the URA checks for latest ACRA registered address before the A. R. registered 2nd reminder is sent.
4. in any event, all A R Registered letters once sent out are deemed received whether or not anyone signed for the article.
5. The URA does not consider past records of fines settlement at all.
I was flabbergasted by her positions / assertions bearing in mind the following:-
1. It was URAâ€™s own letter informing me of the warrant of arrest that expressly invited me to attend at the URA to review the case. The letter did not state the supposed strict and narrow scope of appeal which was used by the officer.
2. I am a mother with 2 young children. I had to find time for others to babysit my children before I could come to the URA. I went to substantial trouble before I managed to do so only to be met with a brickwall on attending before the URA officer.
3. their refusal to exercise their minds and not addressing or considering the points does not give fair consideration for an appeal.
4. If I had known of the criteria set by the URA, I would not have wasted my time to even bother to arrange to attend before the investigating officer.
I then wrote to feedback the poor workflow, poor case management by the URA. I stated my clear intention to bring the matter up to higher authorities of what the URA was doing in accordance with the officerâ€™s words:-:
1. they had set a narrow scope of appeal yet not making it clear.
2. they wasted peopleâ€™s time to attend before the URA only to be rejected.
3. In essence, the URA deliberately creates the illusion of hope of a successful appeal to patronize citizens.
4. If appeals were only granted on the narrow scope change of addresses, there was nothing to consider at all.
5. they were wasting a lot of taxpayerâ€™s money having so many officers hearing false appeals.
Out of fairness, I stated my intention to criticize the URAâ€™s management of such cases and offered the URA the right of reply before I bring the matter up further.
In supposed reply, the URA claimed that it had to consider facts and information available before granting an appeal but URA refused to reply to the other points.
However the URA appeals officer had clearly stated that there was only one ground on which the URA would entertain an appeal: There was a change in address with proof of such change in address.
The representation of the URA officer was not disputed by the URA. Therefore, there can only be two possibilities. Either:
1. the appeals officer had conveniently and irresponsibly and dishonestly abused her position and authority to misrepresent the URAâ€™s position when she decided to summarily reject my reasons for the appeal; or
2. the appeals officer was telling the truth and there was indeed a narrow scope set for the appeal.
The scenario begets the question of what would suffice to move URA to grant an appeal bearing in mind that it was URAâ€™s letter that urged me to take time to attend to present my case to the URA in the first place. This would have to be clarified.
However, the second scenario would inevitably lead us to the following questions:-
1. If the URA was indeed adopting a narrow scope of appeal and its investigating officers were acting as instructed. The URA could have simply expressly stated its criterion for successful review in its letters to avoid wasting peopleâ€™s time.
2. But the URA did not make clear its strict scope for appeal. What does the URA hope to achieve when obviously it would be inviting many people to attend to review their cases only to be rejected by the narrow scope of appeal set by their officers?
3. Is the URA deliberately by creating the illusion of hope to the persons receiving the summonses? What is the URA trying to achieve here?
4. Is the URA intent on patronizing our citizens by asking them to take time to attend at the URA with the illusion that an appeal / review channel was available with some chance of success?
5. Is the URA wasting taxpayersâ€™ money by employing so many investigation officers to review cases when in actual fact its scope for appeals is so narrow that the bulk of appeals would be eliminated had the appeals / review policy been clearly stated to begin with?
The URAâ€™s reply did not answer the above questions.
Subsequently, I received notice from HDB on 12th February 2008 stating that URA had requested the HDB to refuse renewal of my season parking ticket for my personal vehicle (a totally unrelated vehicle and a vehicle which had no outstanding fines with any authority) until my parking offence with URA was settled.
This is made worse by the fact that the carpark that I use would be going ERP type of electronic per minute parking charges in a matter of less than a month.
This is clearly deliberately making things difficult for me and putting me in the position of incurring exorbitant per minute parking charges when I am denied my season parking ticket and when my car park is going electronic parking on 4th March 2008 .
I am surprised and disappointed to discover that the URA practices strong-arm tactics on Singapore citizens in such situations. Is the URA is acting in accordance with the law in doing so? Even if the URA finds justification in the law, does it think it morally right to do so?
Given the above aggravation, I do not have any choice but to take this matter up accordingly. The URAâ€™s actions and refusal to address pertinent questions will only put it in bad light.