Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sungai Way Deepavali Bazaar – Not right to ask villagers to tolerate while Mr Samithan and his friends did nothing to improve the situation

Media statement by DAP ADUN for Kampung Tunku Lau Weng San on 20th October 2015 in Petaling Jaya:

1.    I have the benefit of reading statements issued by my colleague in DAP, ie. Sdr Tony Pua, MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, Sdr Sean Oon, Petaling Jaya Councillor for Zone 20 (which includes SS 9A) and Sdr Rajiv, ADUN for Bukit Gasing. I have also read statement from Mr. Sivarasa Rasiah, PKR MP for Subang. I also have the opportunity to read most of the postings by my colleagues in the DAP on their social media websites as well as the accompanying comments. Since my name is mentioned in Mr. Sivarasa’s statement, therefore I should also respond to the various suggestions he had put up.

2.    Mr Sivarasa had said the following and I quote: “My advice to both YB Lau and YB Pua is that such matters are best left to the best judgment of the Datuk Bandar of Petaling Jaya and his councillors. We should not interfere unless the decisions made at MBPJ are clearly unreasonable or obviously wrong or against stated policies of the Pakatan coalition.”

3.    Although MP and ADUNs seldom interfere in the decision-making process of the council, we are however answerable to the people and are held responsible to any decisions made by the council. MPs and ADUNs in Selangor have from time to time participated in the decision-making process too. 

4.    Mr Sivarasa himself had also requested the council to revoke proposed amendments in RTPJ, approximately one year ago in which Sdr Tony Pua and I were also joining Mr Sivarasa in signing off the press statement[i]. Therefore, it is not necessary true that MP and ADUN cannot interfere in the decision-making process, in fact we can so long so it is done with merits and is justified.

5.    Mr Sivarasa’s statement also draw my attention when he said that "Keadilan is not aware of any specific complaints to MBPJ or police reports made by traders in the Sg Way Deepavali bazaar in the years since Pakatan took over in 2008..."

6.    I wish to remind him, that it 2014, we had a very lengthy telephone conversation over the same matter in which I took the pain and explained to him the background information and the various solutions that had been considered. I am not duty bound to do that as the issue is a local issue and priority should be given to the views and stands of the local elected representatives.

7.    I was similarly attracted to Mr Sivarasa’s statement that "when one insistently waves the proverbial red flag at an angry bull, it is naive to expect the bull to sit patiently and watch." I wish to inform Mr Sivarasa that event on 15th October was an evening walkabout around the new site. Mr Saminathan, who has been insisting to retain at the old place, and his friends are not invited to this event.

8.    My final point to raise is about a statement from Mr Sivarasa which says that "DAP is now again in a formal coalition with Keadilan and Amanah...we must therefore manage complaints about one another's members in the spirit of coalition building." I find this most amusing as until today, following the open remarks by the Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali a few weeks ago that Pakatan Harapan does not operate in Selangor, many members of the public and I are unable to figure out if Pakatan Harapan is officially formed or not. Therefore, I would like to suggest to Mr Sivarasa that until and unless PKR is putting up a strong stand on this matter, his sentence carries no weight.

9.    For outsiders who are interested and have commented on this issue, I wish they could also take the pain to read all the documents posted in our social media and iron out the details for themselves.

10. Mr Saminathan had attended the first meeting in 2010 and was informed of the proposal to relocate to Jalan SS 9A/12. He disagreed and the council gave in. In return, he agreed to sign an Akujanji. The terms and conditions were laid out clearly. He failed to follow since then until 2014 when the amount of complaints accumulated. Throughout the months of September and October 2014, various meeting had been held to discuss the problems caused by the traders of the Deepavali Bazaar in Jalan SS 9A/13. A second technical meeting was subsequently called by the council in which it has decided to relocate the bazaar.

11. Interestingly, the meeting was chaired by one councilor named Suriase a/l Gengiah from PKR, who serves as councilor in charge of PJU 8 (Damansara Perdana), PJU 9 (Bandar Sri Damansara) and PJU 10 (Damansara Damai) (These are located under DUN Bukit Lanjan and Parliament Subang – both seats were held by PKR). Therefore the proximate relation between Mr Suriase and Mr Sivarasa is established.

12. The second councilor who attended the meeting in 2014 is Azri Mohamed Arish from PAS, also a councilor serving for SS 8, SS 9 and SS 10 (These are also located under two PKR-held seats: DUN Seri Setia and Parliament Kelana Jaya). Based on the minutes of meeting, Mr Azri proposed the relocation. Mr Suriase as the chairman of the technical meeting did not object to it.

13. The results of the meeting was subsequently brought to the attention of the council’s Committee of Business and Health Control in its meetings in March and April 2015. The meetings were attended by councilor from PAS, PKR and DAP. Mr Sean Oon was the one who raised the needs to inform Mr Saminathan as early as possible for them to prepare for the necessaries. Based on the record, all councilors had unianimously agreed to the relocation despite objection from Mr Saminathan. The fact remains that Mr Saminathan had already been informed at least six months before Deepavali, not to mention the countless official and unofficial meetings held in 2010 and 2014 on the matter. Therefore the question of inadequate notice to Mr Saminathan does not arise.

14. Some are advocating a win-win solution, ie maintaining two Deepavali Bazaars in Sungai Way and only relocate in 2016. I wish to inform that such win-win solution was already proposed before but was never heeded by Mr Saminathan with good faith. MBPJ had given in by allowing them to occupy the place every year until 2014. The Akujanji signed by Mr Saminathan is just a piece of meaningless paper when they do not give meaning to it by following the terms and conditions as laid out in the Akujanji.

15. There are also those who question the suitability of the new site at Jalan SS 9A/12 when the management of Sri Sakti Easwary Temple also objected to the relocation. The bulk of the complaint actually is not the Deepavali Bazaar, but the weekly night market, which is much bigger than the Deepavali Bazaar. If the temple has problems with the Deepavali Bazaar, I am sure that they will have a bigger problem with the weekly night market. Will MBPJ relocate the night market? I believe this is the last resort if all other solutions have failed to overcome or mitigate the problem.

16. For those who criticize us by bringing examples in SS 2 morning market, durian stalls and market in Section 17 in which each of these markets have different characteristics and solutions. Let’s compare an apple with an apple. Traffic congestion in SS 2 and Section 17 markets were largely caused by two reasons: double-parked vehicles and the lack of a permanent structure to house a morning market.

17. The good thing about SS 2 and Section 17 is these are part of the modern Petaling Jaya with proper planning and infrastructure in place. Sungai Way New Village does not have such luxury. Durian stalls in SS 2 were originally squatting at road side and private lands. Relocation to Section 19 is unavoidable. Stall owners initially refused to follow rules and regulations and MBPJ even went ahead temporarily suspended their licenses. Again, the issue of racial biasness when comes to enforcing law and orders does not arise.

18. For those who sympathize the fate of Mr Saminathan and his friends, I urge them to also sympathise the residents, villagers and traders from the area. I also urge them to see the facts that MBPJ and the local community has been tolerating the inconveniences for years.

19. It cannot be right when on one hand we keep asking them to continue to tolerate and on the other hand Mr Samithan and his friends have done barely nothing to improve the situation. This is not how a win-win solution should work. We must strike a balance. The council was right in relocating the bazaar, something which can be avoided have Mr Saminathan and his friends cooperate with the council right from the beginning.

Lau Weng San
ADUN Kampung Tunku

[i] http://sivarasa.blogspot.my/2014/10/press-statement-re-rtpj-ammendments.html

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