SHAH Alam City Council (MBSA) will extend its full cooperation to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in its investigations following the release of viral videos alleging their officers were on the take.
Shah Alam mayor Datuk Haris Kasim said they would not protect officers if they were found to have committed any wrongdoing.
“We will also conduct our own internal investigation after MACC completes its probe, ” he said at a traders legalisation programme organised by MBSA in Dewan Meranti, Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh, Shah Alam.
He was commenting on the remand of MBSA’s enforcement department director and several enforcement officers in the probe into claims of corruption involving a syndicate providing protection for illegal businesses.
Ten people, comprising nine MBSA officers and a foreign trader, have been arrested so far by MACC as the graft agency investigates claims that certain enforcement authorities were on the take and protecting illegal businesses in Sungai Buloh.
The arrests came about following videos on alleged illegal gambling and the sale of contraband cigarettes by Hot Burger Malaysia founder Mohd Asri Hamid, also known as Asri Janggut.
Also present at the event’s opening were Selangor youth generation development, sports and human capital development committee chairman Mohd Khairuddin Othman, state local government, public transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han, Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa and Petaling district officer Johary Anuar.
Khairuddin, who is also Paya Jaras assemblyman, said the engagement programme was part of MBSA’s ongoing efforts to assist and legalise traders.
“It is not being held because of the viral videos. The focus is on educating traders who are worried about approaching MBSA to apply for the necessary permits and for them to get accurate information for their applications.”
He said MBSA would also identify suitable locations to relocate traders.
“MBSA has proposed several locations, but will need to discuss their suitability with traders and residents associations.
“For now, MBSA will issue temporary permits to Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh traders to allow them to continue their business, while looking for solutions to restructure and relocate the traders, ” said Khairuddin, adding that priority would be given to those residing in Sungai Buloh.
He said one solution was for the construction of a business arcade at the present Paya Jaras night market site.
“It will be a multi-level building to house between 200 and 300 traders. The suggestion was mooted in 2015 but the issue now is that the site needs to be gazetted, ” said Khairuddin.
“In an earlier dialogue I had with Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh traders, they disagreed with the action taken by Mohd Asri and felt what was said was his personal opinion.
“At the same dialogue session, I advised those present to form a traders association. It would serve as a unifying body to monitor and manage their issues and members.”
Khairuddin also reminded traders that only Malaysians were allowed to run businesses in Selangor; foreigners were not allowed to trade and could not be hired as assistants. The traders legalisation programme was held over the weekend to educate them on the do’s and don’ts of conducting business.
The two-day programme, which ended yesterday, included briefings on the applications and procedures required for temporary trading permits, additional structures such as awnings and partitions, planning permission for existing structures as well as health and food safety.
The event was attended by affected traders as well as those from other areas under MBSA’s administration who wanted to seek clarification to legalise their businesses.
“It’s a good effort and convenient, ” said Mohamad Shaipudin Basir, one of the traders who attended. He has been selling pyjamas along Jalan 1A/1, Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh for almost 10 years.
“While not all of us brought the right documents this morning, we can return in the afternoon or following day to submit our applications.
“All of us hope to be able to get permits and proper trading space. While we understand we will be relocated, we hope the space has good footfall.”
Mohamad Shaipudin is also pro-tem deputy chairman of Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh Traders’ Association, which was formed to represent some 80 traders in the area.
Plonxbox owner Naeem Zaidi was upset with MBSA for demolishing his shop’s temporary structure during a joint raid with several government agencies, less than 24 hours after the council issued a removal notice.
“We started running a food business six years ago, after our printing business of over 30 years wasn’t doing well. While the food business is licensed, we were unsuccessful in our application for temporary structures such as awnings and cabins.
“We had already booked vehicles and equipment to relocate our cabins after receiving MBSA’s removal notice.
“But MBSA demolished the structures despite our pleas for more time, ” he said.
Naeem said it was unfair that some traders were given less than 24 hours’ notice, while others were given up to 14 days to submit an application plan for the council’s approval or demolished the structures themselves.