Contractors, suppliers lodge reports over alleged swindle by high-end restaurant

shanghai-conmenKUALA LUMPUR: Frustrated over a high-end restaurateur’s refusal to pay them, several contractors and suppliers have lodged reports with the police over the matter.

Fifteen former employees also lodged reports at the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) office at Jalan Raja Chulan, here, today following non-remittance of almost 36 months of salary deductions to the pension fund.

Seafood supplier Tan Won Lin told reporters that the company owed her more than RM34,000 as she had not been paid for four months since January this year.

She said she had been paid RM5,000 by cheque once, but that the payment was subsequently stopped by the company without valid reason, causing her to suffer several major losses.

Due to this, she said, she had no choice but to pawn some of her jewellery and withdraw from her EPF savings to make the necessary payments, which had caused her extreme stress and depression.

Tan, who had been supplying seafood to two of the restaurant’s chains since January 2016, said she had received delayed payments the whole of last year.

When she approached the management about the issue, she said, she was told to wait.

“‘You wait, you wait’. Every time I went there, they asked me to wait, and I went there every month.

“I went and sat in the restaurant for a few hours. When I met the accountants, they would ask me to go home and wait. They said there was no point in me sitting and waiting there.

“But until now, there has been nothing,” she told reporters.

A contractor named Leong Mei Kuan also claimed she was owed RM300,000 for partial completion of renovation works on a new premises.

She said the renovation began in March, and whenever the owner was approached for his signature on payment documents for the work, he would give all sorts of excuses.

“Once we were halfway to completing the renovation, we came to realise that he and his management have lots of problems, which was when we stopped all operations.

“When we approached him to ask him to pay for all the work that had already been done, which amounted to almost RM300,000, he agreed to pay us, but until now he has not,” she said, adding that she would be lodging a police report tomorrow.

A former restaurant manager who only wanted to be known as Ho, said she had worked for the company for five years and had been one of its longest-serving staff.

However, there had not been any remittance to her EPF account although the sums were deducted from her salary.

She said when she approached her boss on the matter, he had given her and other staff members false promises that he would eventually remit the money to EPF.

When asked why she had continued working there despite the delays in payment, Ho said her boss was always very nice and that she had trusted him.

Other employees from various branches said they had experienced the same treatment as Ho, believing the false promises made by their former employer.

DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who was also present today, said he had met with the EPF branch manager and was told that there were at least four existing reports lodged against the company.

He said the branch manager had told him that they were in the midst of filing a civil suit against the company directors.

“I told him that civil action is not enough, and I urged EPF to file a criminal suit as well.

“However, he told me that civil action is the best way to recover the money for the workers, and that a criminal suit would only be a punishment on them.

“So we have urged them to take both actions against the company,” he told reporters.