I am surprised by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Subang, Sivarasa Rasiah’s media statement yesterday entitled “Some friendly advice for my friend YB Tony Pua”.
Together with Selangor State Executive Councillor (Exco), V Ganabathirao and state assemblyman (ADUN) for Kg Tunku, we visited the Sungai Way village Deepavali Bazaar at the proposed new site along Jalan SS9A/12 on Thursday evening. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I discovered that the traders who have obtained licenses from the local city council, MBPJ were threatened and not allowed to set up their stalls for business by a rowdy mob led by Mr Saminathan and Mr Murali.
I had proceeded to speak to the reporters to explain the City Council’s unanimous decision to shift the market from the adjacent SS9A/13 to the new location. The key reasons for the shift will be clear to anyone who visited the two sites. The old site is along a narrow lane which served as the main access road for a dense low-medium cost flat. The new site is spacious, has plenty of carparks and is near the very popular Sri Sakthi Easwari Temple. Better still, it can accommodate even more traders, allowing more to make a living during these tough times.
However, I was not even able to finish speaking to the reporters as Murali and his lot heckled, shouted and shoved us, as was recorded on video.
Why then, was there a protest? As the local councillor in-charge Sungai Way, Sean Oon can attest to, during the past years, the bazaar was effectively controlled and monopolised by certain parties who charged unauthorized middleman rentals to the traders. The shift to the new site denied such profiteering opportunities as licenses were issued directly by individual applications to MBPJ. The new location and system ensured that there was no corruption, no crony middleman and no room for abuse.
Unfortunately, Sivarasa did not have the courtesy to give my colleagues – Lau Weng San and Sean Oon, who have been working tirelessly to resolve this issue over the past 2 to 3 years, a call to clarify the situation. He didn’t even have the courtesy to give me a call to ask about what took place last Thursday before issuing his statement to lecture me how I should do my job as the Member of Parliament with his “friendly advice”.
He said “my advice to both Weng San and Tony is that such matters are best left to the best judgment of the Datuk Bandar of Petaling Jaya and his councillors.”
He tells me that I have “done sterling work on critical national issues such as 1MDB… We have far bigger battles to fight. We need to remove Prime Minister Najib and end the corrupt oppressive and inefficient rule of UNMO and BN.” Essentially, the MP for Subang was telling me to stick to 1MDB and butt out of my own local constituency affairs.
Firstly, I don’t want to know how he manages his own constituency affairs, but it is not my policy neglect the needs of my own constituents, even if it involves the local council.
Secondly, because Sivarasa didn’t even have the courtesy to speak to the councillor, the local ADUN or the local MP, he got his facts completely wrong and eggs on his face.
He claimed that “Tony and Weng San would also know that a majority of the MBPJ councillors have in fact already proposed to the Datuk Bandar a win-win solution where the Deepavali bazaar for Sg Way would be conducted, for this year anyway, at both the original site and the new site”.
After doing my fact checks, I can now correct Sivarasa that the above is a figment of his imagination, or of whoever who sold him the story. As far as the council is concerned, the new site was approved unanimously during the full board meeting on 27 March 2015. There has been no meeting since then by any councillor or official to reverse this decision. The Mayor himself has stated that he believed that there would be a better response for the Deepavali Bazaar at the new site. And if it is any consolation to the MP for Subang, I was never involved in any of these decision-making processes.
Hence, the State Exco, the MP, the ADUN and the councillor were not in any way challenging the decision of MBPJ but were in fact abiding by it. It was the group of thugs, most of whom do not even trade in the area who were challenging the decision of the Council.
Which leads me to my final point. The Council should not negotiate with and bow to thugs who use force and intimidation to get their way. It does not matter if these lot – which included a PKR division deputy chief, a PKR division secretary and various PKR councillors from other districts, they should not receive any preferential treatment just because of their party status.
I can give the Subang MP the assurance that if any DAP grassroot leader demands preferential treatment for licenses in his constituency, stern action will be taken against him or her. I will certain not defend their actions, whatever their justification. We can forget about ever replacing Barisan Nasional if we practise cronyism and thuggish politics just like them.