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Monday, October 18, 2010

Your MP is concerned - and will get to the bottom of this

41 Selayang traders see red

by Llew-Ann Phang

PETALING JAYA (Oct 17, 2010): The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has "outsourced" the management of an industrial park in Desa Aman Puri to a private company, raising the ire of traders who find that their monthly rentals have increased by 120%.

The livelihoods of 41 petty traders are now at the mercy of Property Development T&L Sdn Bhd, which is the beneficiary of the privatisation agreement.

In late August, the traders were given a notice from the company's lawyers stating that Property Development T&L would be taking over the management of the Bukit Desa Industrial Park from Oct 1, under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) scheme.

On Oct 2, the traders received a set of to-dos, which included an increase in their monthly rental from RM450 to RM1,000.

They were also told the deposit needed to be paid by last Friday, failing which they would have to vacate their units.

"If I lose this spot, I have nowhere else to go and this is my bread and butter we’re talking about," said trader Farid Ahmad, 36 who alerted theSun. He has been operating there for four years.

"We cannot afford to fork out so much money because we’re only small-time operators."

The traders have written to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Selangor executive councilor for local government Ronnie Liu, Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah and MPS president Datuk Zainal Abidin Azim to highlight their plight.

An MPS official said the BOT agreement which allowed Property Development T&L to take over was brought up at a Privatisation Committee meeting on June 23.

"The matter was agreed upon at the council’s full board meeting on June 29 and as a result, the company has authority over rent, the management of the premise and its conditions," a spokesman said.

All’s not lost, however, as Liu has fixed a meeting among all the parties on Friday.

"The meeting will involve the tenants, MPS, the company and councillor Lee Khai Loon and it will also discuss the rate to be charged," Liu said.

He said the privatisation agreement for the stretch of stalls and workshops was signed before the 2008 general election.

"It was under (former mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohammad) Khir Toyo and has nothing to do with Ronnie Liu," he said.

"The agreement states that the company would be able to take over the operations of the development. However, I was told by the MPS president that there is a clause in the agreement that allows him to have a say in the rental rates and he is now stepping in to help the traders." -- theSun

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