Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lulu, The Concerned MBPJ Ratepayer

The very first novel I owned was Jeffrey Archer's "Kane and Abel". I was totally mesmerised with the brilliance of the plot. Two men, born on the same day, how their lives intertwined, and yet, ended up as bitter enemies. And the twist at the end, probably predictable to more matured readers, left me stunned and with the "if only... " feeling.

Thanks to PayLess Books, Lulu owns almost the entire collection of Jeffrey Archer books. Almost cos still pending the newer released which would probably take 1-2 years before it hits the 2nd hand circuit.

There is this short story, I can't recall the title cos the book is at home, about how 2 men, the best-est of friends, the sort who grew up together and became each other's children's godfather had a spat in their golf club, and exchanged verbal insults and blows in full view of the members. I can't remember what the damage was but the less successful friend sued his kononnya ex-best friend. Cerita-cerita-cerita, he won the law suit. Later, the two men were seen together in the club having drinks, best-est of friends once again, as if nothing had happened.
Turns out that they ganged up to create this lawsuit, and the successful friend had insurance coverage against lawsuits, and together, they successfully milked the insurance company of the money.
Or something like that....

Which brings us to Lulu's short story for the day.

A major billboard operator has threatened the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) with a lawsuit for the breach of contract of a deal worth RM379mil in total and is demanding unspecified damages.

The Star Metro, today
The background of it, as reported by the Star

Seni Jaya Sdn Bhd was revealed to have made a proposal to privatise billboard operations in Petaling Jaya but the documents, which were leaked out by unknown persons, drew public condemnation (The Star, June 8, 2006).
MBPJ had then declared that there were no plans to privatise billboard operations in PJ (The Star, June 30, 2006).
Metro's news leaves Lulu very disturbed.
To understand how much is at stake, how much it may have cost SeniJaya to own the billboards rights and how much they could have earned,
According to a memorandum opposing the privatisation of billboards submitted by the All PJ Pro Action Committee (APPAC) to MBPJ, the consortium offered a total sum of RM492,000 for a 15-year concession period to cover billboard advertising in the city.
For a standard billboard, the council charges an annual licensing fee of RM480 and an annual service charge of RM2,400.
For the larger unipole billboards, the council charges an annual licensing fee of RM11,200 and RM7,200 for services.
Advertisers are quoted RM30,000 on average to advertise on the standard billboards and RM580,000 for unipoles along the LDP Highway.
source : Citizen Nades 06/28/2006
If Lulu is reading this correctly, the rental of just one unipole would have covered the cost of of the entire 15 year monoploly.

Lulu is greatly concerned as there is no checks and accountability that MBPJ would put up her best defense in this lawsuit. Like the two gentleman who were in cahoots, who's to say that certain individuals in MBPJ may still want to see their "friends" not lose from this lucrative, non-benefitting the PJ ratepayer's deal? Who's going to scrutinice if they do an out of court settlement? Who's taking care of OUR money, cos Lulu definetly does not think that MBPJ will.

sorry, i've been busy. won't be getting any better the next 2-3 months. sigh..
updates Wed, Apr18

for more updates on the issue, read
Citizen Nades' When things fall apart discussed the Sports Club involvement in accepting contributions for the billboards
There is another article which appeared on Tuesday's Sun, but I can't find the link. "PJ Ratepayers Fight Back".
Along the same lines, from theStar, PJ residents want billboard company to provide them with info
APPAC pro tem chairman Edward Lee said APPAC would instead register its interest by way of seeking a watching brief by its panel of lawyers acting on behalf of ratepayers should the matter go to court.

I'm glad there are concerned citizen's keeping watch on this, but, I still think MBPJ is going to get off on this, together with their friends at SeniJaya. I guess it doesn't hurt to hope differently.

If you want to read the history of these billboards, MBPJ and the SportsClub, go the TheSun, and do a search on "billboard".


Anonymous said...

the only way to stop this un-accountablity is to have local council elections...dream on!

Tony P said...

"Twist in the Tale" is the book which is a compilation of short stories, you were looking for. Yes, a fan of Archer too. ;)

Anonymous said...

No local elections so as to assuredly reward political cronies under the counter for their party loyalty.

Shouldn't take much to conclude the obvious.


Anonymous said...

lulu lulu land it is.
good story.....


Anonymous said...

A birdie said there's no way this incredible-less government will consent to local council elections. And the spin is on that Blar Lah will announce "something" to soothe the highly dissatisfied Klang Valley residents before this coming general election. Just one of the few dozen "spins" coming along our way!! By the way MBPJ is not the only councils creating "hellish" feelings. Look at the MPAJ (Ampang) too. Last year, they (Legal dept) sent notices to all car operating repair shops (bengkal) and car washing operators informing them that their licenses would not be renewed. They have to move to a new industrial site (incredibly also suggesting the specific sites) built by certain developers. Fishy as it might be. Then the notices were withdrawn after the local MP intervened. Now this MPAJ has sent circulars out, forcing operators to buy-rent "car parking lots in front of their premises, a hefty payment of RM240 per month. Beyond calculations at 50 cents per hour for 8 hours only amount to RM4 per day multiply 26 days, totaled slightly more than a hundred. How come they charge RM240 under privatised services? So, should business community support BN ? Under bullying tactics and suspicions of corrupted practices?

Anonymous said...

where's the ACA? still sleeping like the big boss?