The blogger claims that the inappropriate manner in which a company was appointed to refurbish Kelab Syabas started the ball rolling.
PETALING JAYA: Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has claimed that the inappropriate manner in which Sepang Mekar Sdn Bhd was appointed to take over and redevelop the former Kelab Syabas swimming pool in Section 8 here was the reason behind PKR member Latheefa Koya’s resignation as a MBPJ councillor.
Kelab Syabas is now known as PJ Palm Sports Centre.
The agreement between Sepang Mekar and MBPJ was inked by Mayor Roslan Sakiman, MBPJ secretary Puasa Md Taib and Latheefa two years ago.
Among others, the agreement stated: “The tenant (Sepang Mekar) has agreed to renovate and/or reconstruct and complete at its sole cost and expense the swimming pool and the buildings and structures erected on the premises and to manage the same in accordance with the business plan…”
Raja Petra said that Latheefa’s questionable conduct was raised by the late Bukit Gasing state assemblyman (DAP) Edward Lee last year.
Lee, who had managed to procure a copy of the agreement, pointed out that Sepang Mekar was paying MBPJ a monthly rental of RM15,000.
“The total area of Kelab Syabas is 136,500sq ft (12,681sq m), including the shops and swimming pool… which after a quick calculation means that they are paying 11 sen per sq ft.
“However, Sepang Mekar is charging sub-tenants like Waikiki Bar and Joe’s Salon RM4.50 per sq ft, while the other sub-tenants are charged RM5.20 per sq ft.
“It appears that the main tenant is buying time (by cutting off the electricity) to force the sub-tenants to sign the new agreement,” he had said in a Star report following complaints from the sub- tenants about the hikes in rental and soaring electricity bills.
Raised the issue with MB
Commenting on this, Raja Petra said Lee was unhappy about the issue and wanted the Selangor select committee on competency, accountability and transparency (SELCAT) to investigate what he alleged was abuse of power and corruption on the part of Latheefa.
“But Lee died and SELCAT did nothing and now this matter has exploded. This was one of the reasons why Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim wanted Latheefa removed,” he alleged in an article entitled “The reason for Latheefa Koya’s downfall” published in Malaysia Today.
Raja Petra said Lee had at first approached the mayor who “acknowledged that something was not right but that the agreement had to be complied with”.
According to the blogger, Lee had raised the issue with Khalid and the menteri besar requested that the matter be raised at the Selangor Economic Action Council meeting. However, the untimely death of Lee prevented the issue from being raised.
Another councillor implicated
In another article entitled “Again, which part is not true?”, Raja Petra implicated MBPJ councillor and lawyer Derek Fernandez in MBPJ’s legal work being given to the firm Daim & Gamany headed by PKR Subang MP R Sivarasa.
Latheefa, who is a lawyer by profession, also works for Daim & Gamany.
Raja Petra claimed that documents published in Malaysia Today proved that Fernandez had influenced Roslan to award the legal work to Daim & Gamany despite claiming otherwise.
“The letters published confirm that Fernandez spoke to the mayor to instruct them to award the legal work to Sivarasa’s legal firm contrary to what Fernandez said in a Jan 7, 2012 (letter to FMT) that ‘I have never influenced MBPJ in assigning work to any law firm or to any lawyer’.
“And see how much they made from this deal,” he added.
Two documents published in Malaysia Today showed that Daim & Gamany earned RM77,400 from just one case.
In another article entitled “RM102,800 in 2009 and RM83,900 in 2010”, Raja Petra disclosed how Sivarasa allegedly made a U-Turn in the case of MBPJ vs Sri Aman Development Sdn Bhd.
“When Sivarasa was in the opposition, he represented Sri Aman Development against MBPJ. Once Pakatan Rakyat took over the Selangor state government, Sivarasa did a U-turn. He changed sides.
“He represented MBPJ against Sri Aman Development,” he said.
“What was it again? PKR lawyers did not scam legal work from the Selangor state government?” he added in reference to the total of RM186,700 in legal fees paid by MBPJ to Daim & Gamany.
Raja Petra also reminded his readers of the initial allegations of corrupt practices that he had made against all three of the above mentioned lawyers – Sivarasa, Fernandez and Latheefa – previously.