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Logging firm’s reps walk to PM’s office

 | September 7, 2012

The four men resorted to an exhausting walk to send a letter to Najib to seek his help in getting the RM70 million, which the Pahang state allegedly owes them

PUTRAJAYA: A group of shareholders of a logging company completed a two-day walk totalling some 80km to reach the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya today.

Four men, aged between 56 and 73, from Seruan Gemilang Makmur Sdn Bhd hoped that their effort would spur Najib Tun Razak to help them in getting the Pahang state government to honour a court award of more than RM70 million to their company.

Spokesperson for Seruan Gemilang, Lee Sin, told reporters after they reached Perdana Putra at 3pm and passed a letter to Najib’s political secretary Wong Nai Chee.

[Najib was not in his office today as he had left for Vladivostok in Russia this morning to attend the 20th APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Economic Leaders Meeting.]

“Dear sir, we’re helpless,” wrote Lee in the letter.

He said that such drastic methods were necessary as the group had exhausted almost every other measure to force the state to pay up.

“We ask the help from the Prime Minister of Malaysia because we’ve gone all the way to the Federal Court but the state government continues to go against the court ruling.

“It’s not right to dishonour a court award,” he added.

Lee said that he hoped that Najib would take notice of his plight and agree to meet him soon.

“Next week, I will camp in Putrajaya to wait for the good news. If the PM wants to see me, I’ll be there in 15 minutes,” he said.

Yesterday, Lee and three others walked 40km from Bentong to Gombak. This morning, they continued to walk from the Seri Kembangan R&R along the Maju Expressway (MEX) to Putrajaya.

Lee revealed that the men took turns when they got tired and was ferried by a car at certain points.

The Kuantan-based Seruan Gemilang had in 2002 sued the state for breaching a logging contract in which Seruan Gemilang claimed it was issued a permit to clear 8,000 acres of forest in Pekan, said to be owned by Pahang Umno.

In 2007, the Kuantan High Court awarded RM37,127,471.60 in damages with 8% interest per annum backdated to Dec 31, 2000. In total, the amount due to the company was now over RM70 million.

Menteri Besar must follow law

The award was retained as the Federal Court denied the state government’s application for leave to appeal against the May 2007 decision.

Since then, Seruan Gemilang had repeatedly attempted in vain to compel the state to pay up, including resorting to holding demonstrations, appealing to the prime minister and even a staging hunger strike.

One of the shareholders, Tan Ee Seng, who was present for the walk today, had also threatened to self-immolate at one point. He was later dissuaded by the group and the police.

Lee said that the court order to pay up, the latest being on Aug 28, was issued to the Pahang state on three separate ocassions but the menteri besar never responded.

“Please menteri besar. Follow the law,” he said.

Asked about news reports that Seruan Gemilang was ordered by the court to pay at least RM70 million in damages to Pahang Umno as revenue it accrued from logging, Lee said the matter was wrongly reported.

“That is not correct, what happened was Umno had asked the court to decide that they were the ones who are supposed to get the money instead. That matter is still proceeding and not decided. It is not correct that we lost that,” he said.

Lee insisted that these separate court cases were mere smokescreens for the Pahang government to delay a legitimate payment to them.


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