Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Show me the land,' KL mayor urges MP Segambut

Source: (By Abdul Rahim Sabri, 27/3/2012)
Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail has refused to entertain allegations that KL City Hall had used provisions under the KL City Plan 2020, within the Pudu area, to acquire land at below the market price. Ahmad (top) instead asked a reporter to state the land’s lot number and be more specific about the claim.
The reporter had raised the question based on information from Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng who said he received complaints that KL City Hall had issued an acquisition notice, and an order to vacate a portion of commercial land on Jalan Pudu, to its owner.
“Can you be specific (over the land) in Jalan Pudu as to where is it? I cannot respond to your question as this is not specific,” Ahmad Fuad said. "You have to tell me where the land is. In Pudu, there is a lot of land, including the old Pudu prison. So you have to tell me as I am not certain. “This being so, I have to discuss with my officers as to where (the land is). "You did not name the lot, and how can I answer... it may be a different land,” Ahmad Fuad added at a press conference at the KL City Hall Training Institute today, apparently referring to Lim who was also present.
Lim had claimed that the KL City Hall had been implementing provisions under the KL City Plan 2020 to acquire land at below market prices, even though the plan was still in the draft stage.
When reporters asked why City Hall was taking over the land, Ahmad did not respond directly to the question. He would only say that the land was needed for a green lung.
Also with Lim at the press conference were Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Batu MP Tian Chua.
The Segambut MP when met by Malaysiakini later for details on the land City Hall was acquiring pointed to the documents he had handed over earlier on his allegation. “The land in Pudu is stipulated for road construction and not to increase the greenery,” he said, adding he maintained his charge that KL City Hall's action in grabbing the land was wrong. Lim, a lawyer by profession, said would advise the landowner to file a suit against KL City Hall for the losses he has claimed to have suffered following the City Hall's actions.
KL City Hall is scheduled to gazette the KL City Plan 2020 on July 1.
Related news: Hold second objection hearing as Draft KL Plan has major changes, DBKL told

15,200 join police force to meet targets

Source: (28/3/2012)
POLICE have signed up 15,200 recruits to meet its National Key Results Area target. In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), the Home Ministry said of the number, 11,819 were Malays, 495 Indians, 193 Chinese and 2,693 from other races. It also said in 2009, more than RM10.6 million had been spent to purchase new service equipment, including guns and rifles from the United States. Under the NKRA, reduction of crime index is part of the police targets. It also said redeployment of personnel had been carried out to reduce crime since 2009.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Provisions in KL City Plan 2020 cannot be used as it is still in the draft stage

Source: (By S.PUSPADEVI, 27/3/2012)
THE Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has been accused of enforcing provisions in the KL City Plan 2020 to acquire land below market value, despite it being only in a draft stage.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said DBKL’s City Planning Department had regarded the draft plan as a policy in its bid to acquire land.
Lim was citing a complaint that DBKL had issued an acquisition notice to a landowner in Jalan Pudu to vacate his land for the purpose of building public infrastructure. “The notice had stated that the City Planning Department has reduced the plot ratio from an initial 5.2 to 2.0, which means that the private landowner would only be compensated based on the plot ratio of 2.0. “Although the draft plan was conceived in 2008, how can DBKL regard it as a policy for land acquisition when it has yet to be gazetted?” Lim asked.
“I received an invitation letter from DBKL on March 9 to attend a final public consultation seminar on the draft plan and this clearly indicates that the plan had yet to be gazetted,” said Lim, adding that under the Land Acquisition Act 1960, private landowners should be compensated with a price based on the current market value. Lim said he had so far received five similar complaints.
“I believe the landowners in Jalan Sultan, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Bukit Bintang also went through the same situation as they were offered compensation below the market price, causing them to object to the MRT project. “Why should one sell their land below the market price, more so when the draft plan has not been gazetted?” he asked.
Lim urged landowners who had sufferred the same fate to attend the final public consultation seminar today to voice their grouses and highlight their issues to DBKL. The seminar is scheduled to be held from 9am to 5pm at the Perdana Mestika Hall at DBKL’s Training Institute in Jalan Yaakob Latif (Jalan Tenteram), Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

Lima didakwa atas tuduhan tampal poster pemimpin pembangkang

Sumber: (2012/03/26)
Lima individu didakwa di Mahkamah Majistret di sini, atas tuduhan menampal poster yang mengandungi gambar dan perkataan seperti Lim Guan Eng Racist, Lim Guan Eng Anti Melayu, lesbian gay bixesual trans, undi Ambiga undi seks bebas di tempat awam, Jalan Wan Kadir, Taman Tun Dr Ismail jam 3.40 pagi, Februari lalu.
Mereka yang berusia antara 24 dan 36 tahun mengaku tidak bersalah melakukan kesalahan itu bersama lima yang masih bebas.
Kesemua tertuduh didakwa mengikut Seksyen 15(1)(a) Akta Kesalahan Kecil 1955 yang membawa hukuman penjara maksimum setahun atau denda RM1,000 atau kedua-duanya jika sabit kesalahan.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'DBKL citing draft laws to undervalue land acquisition'

Source: (By Leven Woon, 24/3/2012)
KL City Hall (DBKL) has been accused of enforcing provisions in the KL City Plan 2020 to acquire land below market value, despite the plan still being at a draft stage.
At a press conference today, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng claimed that the council's City Planning Department had cited the draft plan, conceived in 2008, as legal policy for its implementation for land acquisition. He cited a complaint he has received, from an owner who said DBKL has issued him an acquisition notice to vacate his piece of commercial land in Jalann Pudu.
"However, the planning department has scaled down the plot ratio of the land from the original 5.2 to 2, citing a provision under the KL City Draft Plan. "They only give compensation based on the plot ratio of 2.0, causing the owner to lose hundreds of thousands in ringgit.
"I don't know whether the official is too clever or too naïve. Shouldn't they know that a draft plan cannot be implemented until it is fully gazetted?" said Lim.
He said an invitation letter he received last week also confirmed that DBKL has yet to garzetta the plan, as a final public consultation seminar will be held next Tuesday.
"So far I have received five similar complaints on DBKL implementing the draft plan," he said.
'DBKL undervalued Jalan Sultan lots'
DBKL’s development plans need to be gazetted as a draft, and undergo public consultation before it can finally be gazetted and come to effect as law.
Meanwhile, Lim believed that DBKL had given the same treatment to Jalan Sultan shopowners, which is part of the reason why some shopowners had refused to sell their shops to make way for the construction of the MRT. He said some owners, who had bought the shops for investment, note that DBKL has tremendously undervalued their properties.
"I hereby call on those who have suffered the same fate to come forward and pursue legal action against DBKL. "This can be done even if they have sold their properties, because whatever done illegally cannot be deemed as legal (and can be challenged)," he said.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Alam Flora will maintain public toilets in KL from next month

Public facility: Each AST cost RM400,000 and is fully automated
Source: (By BAVANI M, 23/3/2012)
STARTING next month, waste concessionaire Alam Flora Sdn Bhd will take over the maintenance and cleaning of public toilets in Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spends more than RM1mil annually to maintain the 44 public toilets in the city, including 20 Automatic Street Toilets (AST), each costing RM400,000. Alam Flora will now be answerable directly to the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation under the Housing and Local Government Ministry. The corporation will take on a regulatory and management role from DBKL. Apart from collecting garbage, Alam Flora has also taken over the grass-cutting contract and road-sweeping and drain-cleaning work which was previously undertaken by DBKL’s Landscape and Recreation Department.
Alam Flora chief executive officer Mohd Zain Hassan said they had received the grass-cutting contract recently and were now streamlining the operations. Mohd Zain said the move to manage toilets was done to standardise cleaning services and provide better service. He said the company’s main challenges in the city was keeping commercial areas like Bukit Bintang and Imbi clean. “This is where you have a high concentration of foreign workers. “They throw rubbish into drains and from apartments,’’ he said.
Mohd Zain said hawkers also throw food and rubbish into drains and block the pathway by placing chairs and tables. He said Alam Flora was spending RM802mil over the next four years to buy equipment and improve technology in line with the privatisation exercise.
Alam Flora and two other concessionaires had signed a 22-year concession agreement for the privatisation of solid waste management with the federal government on Sept 19. DBKL spends a whopping RM160mil annually for waste management.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DBKL attends to complaints on Automatic Street Toilets

Out of use: A file picture of the toilet in Pudu Sentral station closed for maintenance work.
Source: (20/3/2012)
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) said many of the damage to the Automatic Street Toilets (AST) were caused by vandalism and misuse. There are 15 that DBKL are operating at one time. DBKL is working with the suppliers to resolve problems related to the use of the new coins and improving the coin box system. At present the janitors will assist the public with the coin usage.
According to a statement by DBKL, the AST Lot 10 was closed and fenced up since October 2011 until February 2012 for monorail upgrading works by Syarikat Prasarana Nasional Bhd. The fence has been removed but some of the toilets are damaged. DBKL is fixing the problems and work will be finished in two weeks time.
For the AST McDonald’s Bukit Bintang, in February alone, the door and coin box have been damaged four times. The damage have been repaired since Feb 16. Based on their records, only one cubicle was faulty at one time while the rest were operating as normal.
Meanwhile, the AST Pudu Sentral/Puduraya had a damaged door and was closed in February. The door was repaired by the contractor on March 2. As for the AST Jalan Conlay, a vandalised door caused one of the cubicles to be closed for a week. It was repaired on Feb 16.
This statement came in response to the StarMetro article published on March 6, where the ASTs were said to be breaking down due to vandalism and bad management.
The toilets made their first appearance along Bintang Walk, Kuala Lumpur, in 2006, costing RM400,000 each. According to stakeholders living and working in the Bukit Bintang district, the toilets in front of the McDonald’s and Lot 10 have not been functioning or are constantly under maintenance. The same situation was reported regarding the public toilets in Pudu Sentral, Chulan Square behind Pavilion and Hang Tuah Monorail station.

Legal aid for criminal cases except involving death sentence

KUALA LUMPUR (March 19, 2012): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said the National Legal Aid Foundation (NLAF) will provide legal aid for all types of crimes except those which warrant the death penalty.
He said this is because the court provides legal services to the accused by an assigned council for such cases.
"Legal aid and counseling on criminal matters will be given to Malaysians who need it during arrest, remand/detainment and application for bail without income limit. "However, a capability test will be conducted to determine the recipient's eligibility for the hearing and appeal in court," he said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) in Parliament today.
Najib said NLAF services will be given to Malaysian citizens who meet the requirements after undergoing the capability test. Those with an annual income of not more than RM25,000 will be given free legal aid, while those earning more than RM25,000 a year but less than RM36,000 will be imposed a RM300 fee.
The foundation was corporatised on Jan 25 last year as a charitable company under the Companies Act (Act 125) and is expected to begin operations by month-end.
Najib said when a citizen is arrested for a criminal offence, the enforcement agency will contact the State Legal Aid Centre under the Bar Council, Sabah Law Association and the Advocates' Association of Sarawak to obtain legal services registered with the foundation.
NLAF lawyers will be paid according to the service they render based on a payment scale set by the foundation. The payment scale can be obtained from NLAF's website – Bernama
Related news: Means test for legal aid service

Cop: Duo who let drunk driver get away not policemen

Source: (20/3/2012)
The two men accused of allowing an alleged drunk driver to flee the scene are not from the police force. One was an auxiliary policeman and the other was his friend, said Ampang OCPD Asst Comm Amiruddin Jamaluddin. He said they stopped to help when they saw the accident, but left the place after a few minutes.
During the 3.10am incident on Friday, motorist Cheah Kok Hong, 29, asked compensation from another motorist, who he claimed was drunk, after their cars collided.
It was claimed that the auxiliary policeman had a “little talk” with the driver and asked him to leave the scene. ACP Amiruddin said Cheah then called up three friends.
“When a patrol car arrived, the victim and his friends showed their dissatisfaction by humiliating my men and hitting the patrol car,” he told reporters yesterday.
Two of Cheah’s friends were arrested when they punched the policemen, added ACP Amiruddin. The two, aged 26 and 23, are being remanded for further questioning. The case is being investigated under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing policemen from carrying out their duties.
At a press conference on Sunday, Cheah had alleged that the other driver had punched him in the face. Also present was Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
Cheah said his friends denied obstructing the police from carrying out their duties and attacking the police officer.
Lim called on the police to investigate the driver of the other car and check out the damage on the car to verify the police report made by Cheah.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Car accident victim cries foul over police abuse

Source: (By Leven Woon, 18/3/2012)
The victim of a car accident is crying foul over the police letting off the offender, and rounding up his friends instead for criticising the latter’s inaction. 30-year-old Cheah Kok Hong said he was driving home in the early hours of Friday morning when a drunk driver allegedly scraped the side of his car.
At a press conference today held by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Cheah recounted the incident that took place near the Esso petrol station in Pandan Perdana on the MRR 2 highway, Kuala Lumpur. According to him, the offender was intoxicated and punched him as they negotiated a settlement over the accident. Cheah then flagged down a passing car for help, from a driver claiming to be a criminal investigation department (CID) official.
“The (self-proclaimed) CID officer took the offender to one side and talked. Then he came back to me and said he wants to let the guy to go,” said Cheah, whose car was left severely scratched from the accident. “I protested strongly against the move. Then he suddenly wrung my neck and threatened to handcuff me if I didn’t listen to him,” he claimed further, adding that the CID official was in plain clothes. The offender, who drove a Perodua vehicle then left the scene.
Friends arrested for obstruction
Cheah recounted how two of his friends arrived shortly after, along with five police patrol cars. He said roughly 10 police officer on the scene spoke to the CID officer and then proceeded to let him go without getting further details from Cheah. Upset over the unfair treatment, his two friends got emotional and confronted the police, calling them “useless” and saying they “never help the victim and never uphold justice”. “But we only shouted at them. We never touched them one bit, ” Cheah said.
The police, he said, responded by rounding up the two friends for allegedly obstructing police duties and attacking the police, and remanded them for four days at the Ampang Jaya police headquarters.
Cheah has since lodged a police report over the arrests, and says the police have to date denied him a chance to see his friends. The investigating officer (IO) for the case, he added, has claimed the police’s statements can be trusted because they had ten witnesses.
Police tight lipped
Commenting on the case at the press conference, Lim decried the police for yet another case of alleged foul play, for victimising the public instead of arresting the culprit. “Upon receiving the report, the IO should have immediately summoned the offender to see whether he was intoxicated. Now the offender would have covered up everything,” said the Segambut MP.
“I urged the police to immediately replace the IO with a new one,” said Lim. He also slammed the IO’s claim that the number of their witness would determine justice. “If his theory is right, then I can call 10 friends of mine to be a witness, and I can go commit crime everywhere,” he said.
Lim added that he has made two inquiries with the police through Twitter and a SMS to Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah.
Tun Hisan, when contacted, refused to comment the issue on the record, stressing that investigations is going on.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ownership of the old Istana Negara would remain under the Government

Source: (16/3/2012)
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said ownership of the old Istana Negara – the official residence of 13 Yang di-Pertuan Agong – would remain under the Government.
He said the main building would be a national heritage site highlighting the Malaysian monarchy.
In a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), Rais said Istana Negara was handed over to his ministry on Feb 21.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Parliament skirts questions on Tajudin Ramli settlement

Source: (S Pathmawathy, 13/3/2012)
Four questions related to the out-of-court settlement between former Malaysia Airlines chairperson Tajudin Ramli and government-linked corporations (GLCs) were rejected by the Dewan Rakyat today on grounds that these are sub judice. The questions were turned down on the reasoning that the matter could have an implication on other ongoing legal battles in the Court of Appeal and pending cases in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
The questions were submitted by DAP MPs Lim Guan Eng (Bagan), Lim Lip Eng (Segambut), Jeff Ooi (Jelutong) and Tony Pua (Petaling Jaya Utara), and were interrelated to the government’s instructions in ordering the GLCs to end the long-drawn battle.
“These questions are important... we want to know the rationale and benefit to the rakyat by settling out of court the multi-million ringgit that Tajudin was ordered to pay by the High Court,” Guan Eng told a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.
Last month, Tajudin came to a settlement with Pengurusan Danaharta Bhd (Danaharta) putting an end to a six-year dispute over millions of ringgit that Tajudin owed to the national asset management firm.
A settlement shrouded in secrecy
Guan Eng's questions also demanded that the government reveals the claims before the court involving the two parties and losses incurred by Danaharta and MAS.
Meanwhile, Lip Eng called on the prime minister to explain in detail the savings or the losses to the government as a result of the out-of-court settlement.
The opposition, anti-graft watchdog Transparency International Malaysia and minority shareholders have hit out at the deal for being shrouded in secrecy.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court had on Dec 7, 2009, ordered Tajudin to pay RM589.14 million plus two percent interest a year to Danaharta, which manages Tajudin's unpaid loans, backdated to Jan 1, 2006. The same court had earlier dismissed Tajudin’s RM13.46 billion counter-claim. However, Tajudin withdrew his lawsuit against Danaharta as well as numerous other litigants, including Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Naluri Corporation, Celcom (M) Bhd, Atlan Holding Bhd and CIMB Group. Tajudin’s settlement resulted from a directive issued by the government in August last year, “advising” all related GLCs, including MAS, to drop their suits against him.
Related news: No questions on settlement of Tajudin-Danaharta

Seri Duta 1 and Seri Duta 2 residents puzzled by felling of trees

Crowded: Indian nationals and agents seen loitering in Jalan Taman Duta while waiting for their visa to be processed at the Indian High Commission.
Source: (By S. PUSPADEVI & Photo by LIM CHENG KIAT, 14/3/2012)
Residents of Seri Duta 1 and Seri Duta 2 in Jalan Gallagher, Kuala Lumpur are puzzled why several trees have been felled in a jungle near their housing area. Seri Duta 1 Management Corporation chairman Annie George Livesey said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) informed the residents that the matter was being handled Public Works Department (JKR) because of erosion in the area.
“Why should they chop off the trees if there is erosion? There are many places where erosion is taking place but nothing has been done for years,” said Livesey. “Soon after this, we noticed people surveying the land around the perimeter fence (in the jungle area) and upon enquiry, found that DBKL was doing a survey for a park.
“We are puzzled why should a park be built in a quiet residential area,” she said at a meeting with the residents organised by Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng on March 3. Livesey also wondered why resurfacing work on the road leading to the condominium were only partly completed by DBKL.
Another resident Lim Lek Yan said the access road to Jalan Ledang from Jalan Duta had been blocked and this caused inconvenience to residents who used Jalan Ledang to get home. “A notice was put up on the road closure of Jalan Ledang and a contact number was given for enquiries, but when we called the number, no one picked our calls.
“We have not been able to get any reason for this closure and it has affected us badly. We are forced to use Jalan Taman Duta, where the Indian High Commission is located and this area is congested in the morning,” said Lim, adding that he hoped the authorities would act in tackling the traffic congestion in Jalan Taman Duta.
Seri Duta 2 Management Corporation chairman Alice Goh said the authorities should act on the traffic congestion in Jalan Taman Duta. “Since Jalan Ledang is now closed, we have no choice, but to use Jalan Taman Duta. Some vehicles double park along the road and this causes congestion, especially in the morning,” she said. “The embassy should relocate the visa application department to a central area in Kuala Lumpur instead of processing it in a residential area,” said Goh.
The residents also highlighted that a monsoon drain was covered by undergrowth and had not been maintained by DBKL. They also complained about the condition of drains which had collapsed causing water to be stagnant, therefore allowing mosquitoes to breed.

Collapsed walkway in Taman Sri Sinar poses danger

Not safe: The walkway collapsed due to the downpour.
Source: (By S.PUSPADEVI, 13/3/2012)
Residents in Taman Sri Sinar, Segambut, are irked by Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) lack of response to their complaints on a collapsed walkway near a bus stop.
The pavement at the bus stop in Jalan 6/38A collapsed due to a downpour last week, posing a danger to schoolchildren and pedestrians.
Businessman Zulkifli Yusof, 45, said the residents had forwarded numerous complaints to DBKL but no action was taken. “We do not want any accidents to happen and DBKL should act fast,” said Zulkifli.
Another resident, Patrick Hoo, 30, said the collapsed pavement at a bus stop was dangerous, especially for schoolchildren and pedestrians. Hoo said DBKL should also do something about two signboard poles that had rusted and on the verge of collpase, “The signboards are near the bus stop and posed a danger to schoolchildren,” Hoo added.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said he had received numerous complaints from residents on the collapsed pavement. “I have told the resaidents to contact DBKL’s call centre or e-mail them. “We are disappointed with DBKL’s lack of action despite numerous complaints,” Lim said.
He added that the authority should also investigate the extent of soil erosion near the bus stop as there was a condominium nearby.

Hartamas Heights residents: We have the right to block access road

Source: (By JASTIN AHMAD TARMIZI, 13/3/2012)
Residents of Hartamas Heights said they had the right to block an access road due to an agreement between Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the developer of Hartamas Heights in 2003. They refuted claims made by UEM Land, the developer of Publika Shopping Gallery in Solaris Dutamas, that blocking Jalan Changkat Hartamas was illegal.
However, UEM Land said Jalan Changkat Hartamas was a public road and turning right after the Publika East exit had been approved by DBKL.
A representative of the residents, Ibrahim Harun, said since the agreement was in force, public liability insurance had been taken up by the developer of Hartamas Heights and all the cost for maintaining the streetlights and trees along the road had been borne by the residents. “The agreement states that the mayor allowed the residents to manage and maintain the road leading to Hartamas Heights,” he said during a press conference held by the residents to refute the claims made by the developer. “We acknowledge that it is a public road but with this agreement, they should at least consult the body that manages the road,” he said, adding that the residents were not consulted by UEM Land or DBKL before any modification was done to the road.
UEM Land had earlier said that the residents were responsible for blocking the access road by placing concrete slabs. Patrons of Publika use the access to exit at the East Gate and turn into Jalan Changkat Hartamas. As an immediate reaction, developer UEM Land diverted traffic from the shopping centre to the Solaris Dutamas inner roads to avoid congestion and confusion. Later, UEM Land, with the help of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) removed the barricade.
The residents also rebutted the developer’s allegations that the residents insisted on making the road a private stretch.
Another resident Desmond Yong said they had proposed to the developer many times to widen the road and only allow vehicles to enter Publika but not exit. “However, the developer refused,” he said. Yong said the access was also dangerous as there was a blind spot for vehicles exiting Publika as they had to make a U-turn out to the main road. “We demand an answer as to how such a dangerous traffic system was never discussed with the residents especially when Hartamas Heights is the custodian of the road,” he added.
“The case against DBKL is still pending as the residents have succeeded in getting an appeal by the court of appeal to restore the action against City Hall which is up for hearing in May. “There is also a separate legal case against the developer to be heard in the Federal Court in April,” said Ibrahim.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who was present at the press conference, said upon receiving complaints from the residents, he had arranged a meeting between the residents and the developer. However, the meeting did not end well. “Hopefully, the court will resolve this matter,” he said.
Also present was Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Toilet tribulations: Couples using the toilets for ‘quickies’

No entry: The toilet in front of the highly populated Pudu Sentral station is closed for maintenance work.
Out of action: The automated toilet in front of Lot 10 Bukit Bintang has been closed for months.

Fixing the problem: A contractor seen repairing the automatic toilet in Chulan Square KL.
Source: & (Stories by BAVANI M & photos by P. NATHAN, 6/3/2012)
Twenty high-tech toilets bought by DBKL are in constant need of repair due to vandalism and bad management. StarMetro reports. The state-of-the art toilets, also known as the Automatic Street Toilets (AST), which made their first appearance along Bintang Walk, Kuala Lumpur in 2006 are continuously breaking down due to vandalism and bad management. The first of the high-tech toilets, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, are reported to be out of order. According to stakeholders living and working in the Bukit Bintang district, the toilets in front of the McDonald’s and Lot 10 have not been functioning or are constantly under maintenance. The same situation has been reported regarding the public toilets in Pudu Sentral, Chulan Square behind Pavilion and Hang Tuah Monorail station. Currently there are 20 ASTs located at strategic points in the city.
Each toilet cost RM400,000.
A check by StarMetro during a two-week period showed that at least half of the toilets were not working or were under maintenance.
A reader had called to complain that the toilets at the heart of Bukit Bintang had been closed for a long time. Tourist Maria Huer complained that once she wanted to use the toilet in front of McDonald’s but found to her dismay that it was closed. “I asked an officer at the police beat next to it how could I get in, the policeman answered ‘not working’,” the American tourist said. The policemen suggested that she use the one opposite the Lot 10 shopping centre. “So I crossed over and guess what? That toilet was closed too,’’ said the disgruntled tourist. According to Huer, the toilets were still down two days later when she visited the place again. “What is the point of having it when they serve no purpose,’’ she added.
Menaka Gosh, a tourist from India, queried why the toilet in front of Lot 10 was closed just because of construction at the site. “The construction is not obstructing anyone, so why close?” she asked.
“Why build when you cannot maintain,’’ asked Maya Ahmad, a clerk who works at Berjaya Times Square. “City Hall is spending taxpayers’ money to build the toilets and they should take care of the facility,’’ she said.
Bukit Bintang-KLCC Tourism Association (BBKLCC) chairman Joyce Yap said facilities like public toilets should be placed in the correct location to ensure that it was used by the right people. “If it is not in the right spot then perhaps City Hall should review its location,’’ she said. “We were not consulted about that (location), maybe the committee will take a look and see if it is relevant,’’ she said, adding that BBKLCC was commited in ensuring that the business district was elevated to be on par with a world-class city standard.
“There must be periodic maintenance of public properties like these toilets,’’ said Sungei Wang Plaza Merchants Association chairman Yee Man. “We are good at building grand projects and launching them. But the maintenance culture must be instilled as well,’’ he said.
There had also been complaints that the ASTs did not accept the new Malaysian coins.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said that Bank Negara had given the vending industry ample time to adjust to the new coins series. “However, if the new coins fail to work in vending machines, then millions of people using DBKL’s parking meters, train ticket vending machines and the automated public toilets will be inconvenienced. “It means replacing every vending machine. This is going to cost the vending industry and the local authorities a considerable amount, and who will ultimately pay for this? It will have to be the taxpayers.
Meanwhile, a spokesman from the DBKL’s building maintenance unit said the department was aware of the problem (AST toilets breaking down) and the situation was constantly monitored. “The toilets are very sensitive, especially the door — if you force it, it will jam up,’’ he said. “We have put up signage informing people how to use the toilets so they should be able to read and follow the instructions easily,’’ he said. When asked if the 20sen fee to use the toilets was too cheap and that was the reason why the public took the toilets for granted, the spokesman said: “I can only say that a large number of people who use the ASTs are foreign workers and labourers,’’ added the spokeman.
As for the new coins, the spokesman said City Hall was looking into modifying the system so that the new coins would be accepted. “For the time being, our janitors will assist them by providing them the change.’’
The automatic street toilets (ASTs) located in the city centre are being used by couples for sexual act, said a City Hall contractor. According to the contractor who spoke to StarMetro on condition of anonymity, the size and privacy (of the toilets) are ideal for couples looking for a “quickie”. “They come here in the late evenings when there are not many people around,’’ said the contractor who works as a janitor at one of the ASTs in the city.
The ASTs are air conditioned and quite spacious. Each unit measures 2.25m x 6.2m and is 2.6m high and weighs 3.5 tonnes. “It costs only 20sen to use and you have the entire toilet to yourself for 15 minutes,’’ she said. “Once the 14th minute is up, a recorded verbal warning will alert the couples. It is like the cheapest ‘hotel’,” she said.
There are 20 ASTs in Kuala Lumpur and the ones popular with couples are near Cahaya Suria in Pudu, Bangkok Bank, Medan Pasar, Chow Kit and Pasarama Kota.
A spokesman for Tetuan Goh Ban Huat (GBH), the company that provides the toilets to DBKL, said all its units were handed to City Hall with a warranty period. According to the contract, City Hall has ordered 20 of the ASTs for Kuala Lumpur and GBH has delivered all 20, but seven units are still under its warranty period which ends in 2013. “We have been repairing the units constantly and consistently as per our warranty agreement. However, we are not responsible for maintenance,’’ said the spokesman. He added that as of February this year, the company had received five reports of breakdown for toilets under warranty. According to the spokesman, vandalism was the main reason the toilets broke down frequently. “It is like operating a lift and like all gadgets with buttons, it will break down if you abuse it,” he said.
The toilets are programmed to operate between 7am and 7pm. After 7pm it shuts down. But there had been cases of drug addicts and vagrants trying to force the door open to get in after that, and this caused the motor to burn and spoil the door. “We once had to repair the roof of the AST toilet near the Hang Tuah Monorail station three times in one week,’’ he said.
Other problems include people stealing the coin slots, steel bars and screws which are said to be worth quite a bit. Leaking pipes and tanks had also been reported. A DBKL source attributed the vandalism to the toilet fee being too cheap. He said the fee was initially supposed to be RM1, but City Hall had reduced the rate to 20sen to enable more people to use it.
The toilets come with automatic sensors that trigger water, soap and the hand-dryer upon touch. The sensors also activate the flushing system after each use and the toilet seats are cleaned automatically as well. It is disabled and baby-friendly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Elderly man probed over Dr M's 'letter' to Israeli PM

Source: (By Lee Long Hui, 29/2/2012)
An elderly man who allegedly spread seditious emails is being probed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), after chief secretary to the government Sidek Hassan forwarded the emails to the commission and urged it to investigate.
Liew Khooi Cheng, 73, a former chairperson of the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Residents' Association, was called by the MCMC to the TTDI police station today for his statement to be recorded.
Liew was alleged to have spread two emails to members of the public that contained seditious elements:
- An email sent on Dec 3 last year called on the people to boycott Gardenia bread and to support Massimo bread.
- An email sent on Feb 16 this year had as an attachment a letter dated Aug 16, 1999, which allegedly was sent by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the prime minister of Israel to solicit funds for Umno for its general election campaign.
Liew was accompanied by two lawyers, DAP Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng and Tan Hui Chuan.
Tan said MCMC assistant director of enforcement and investigation, Mohamad Syukri Jamaluddin, recorded Liew’s statement.
Speaking to the press later, Lim said the officer told Liew that the commission had received a public complaint against these emails, and had successfully traced Liew's email account as the source. Lim claimed that the officer admitted that it was Sidek Hassan who forwarded the emails and urged the MCMC to investigate, but that Sidek was not the one who had lodged the complaint.
“I asked him (Syukri), who the complainant was, but he didn’t answer. Then I asked how many complainants there were and he said 'only one',” Lim added.
Liew said he had never seen the emails in question. However, Liew said that he had previously see similar contents somewhere else, but stressed that “I have never seen these emails before”. ‘I have nothing to do with Sidek Hassan’ He also clarified that he did not know Sidek personally, and had never sent any emails to him. “I have nothing to do with Sidek Hassan. I don’t know him, why must I send something to him?” he queried. Liew said he had told Syukri that his email account has been hacked before. He said he received many emails every day from friends on all kinds of subjects, from the environment, to health and politics.
He said that some of the contents of the emails were items copied from online news portals and blogs such as Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today and Malaysian Chronicle. “I am not able to look through everything, there are so many emails. I would glance through them and pass them on,” Liew said. Most of the time, he would delete such emails after reading and forwarding them to close friends.
Liew refused to comment on whether the investigation by the MCMC was uncalled-for, and said the commission should be allowed to carry out its investigation.
Related news: Senior citizen quizzed over ‘anti-establishment’ e-mails
Retiree under probe