The late YB Edward Lee, the Adun for Bukit Gasing, was most unhappy about this issue below and he wanted SELCAT to investigate what he alleged was abuse of power and corruption on the part of Latheefa Koya. But Edward Lee died and SELCAT did nothing and now this matter has exploded. This was one of the reasons why Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim wanted Latheefa removed. Hidup Khalid!
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
RM4.2mil facelift for PJ pool
(The Star, May 2010) - The 50m-long Kelab Syabas swimming pool, which had been the pride of Petaling Jaya residents since the 1960s, will undergo major renovations costing RM4.2mil soon.
Upgrading work on the pool, scheduled to take six months, will be undertaken by Sepang Mekar Sdn Bhd.
“It will be equipped with a new filtration system from Australia together with four pumps to maintain its high usage at all times,” said Sepang Mekar Sdn Bhd managing director David Solomon after the signing ceremony of the project agreement between his company and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) yesterday.
Solomon said the new pool would be tiled with two tones of blue on a flat edge surrounded by pebble wash as it provided a better grip and deterred swimmers from slipping when they are near the pool.
He suggested that Kelab Syabas be renamed PJ Palm Sports Centre in line with its resort-style concept.
He also said that the eight-lane pool would have trained lifeguards at all times.
Fees for using the pool will be set by MBPJ and will range between RM3 and RM5.
Discounts will also be given to groups, students, senior citizens and the disabled.
The project also hopes to turn the popular spot in Lorong Sultan in Petaling Jaya New Town into a sporting hub.
In December, the public can also look forward to playing futsal at the 9,000sq ft court and visiting a few of its food and beverage outlets.
When the whole project is completed in September next year, Petaling Jaya residents will be able to enjoy other sports such as squash, basketball, indoor golf and a boutique gymnasium.
“Two security guards will be patrolling the club round the clock while CCTV cameras will be placed at strategic spots,” said Solomon.
The tenants at the new club will be Waikiki Bar, Out Of Africa and Joe’s Barber.
Councillor Latheefa Koya, who is in the special committee for the Section 8 swimming pool project, said the council had held several meetings with other companies before deciding on Sepang Mekar a few weeks ago.
She added that the delay in starting the work was due to problems in evicting the previous club management.
Pool to be ready in 6 months
(The Star, May 2011) - It is time to get to work as Sepang Mekar Sdn Bhd has signed the tenancy agreement to take over and redevelop the former Kelab Syabas swimming pool in Section 8.
The three-year agreement was signed by Sepang Mekar managing director David Solomon, Sepang Mekar director Jini Seelan and mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman at the council headquarters in Jalan Yong Shook Lin yesterday.
Solomon's business partner, Seelan S. Chelliah, was also present at the ceremony.
Solomon said the company was excited about the venture and was looking forward to reviving the swimming pool, located in Lorong Sultan, to cater to the community's needs.
Investing more than RM4 million in the project, Solomon announced that the place would be renamed PJ Palms Sports Centre.
He said it would move away from the club concept adopted by the former Kelab Syabas.
"After numerous meetings and discussions, I am glad the day has finally come.
"Our priority is to get the swimming pool up and running within six months. Our plan is start work as soon as possible, hopefully by June.
"Once the swimming pool and common area are ready by December, the public can use it straight away.
"We will then focus on other aspects. The whole place will be fully completed and operational by 2011," he said.
In a briefing, Solomon said PJ Palms, with the tagline "Its a Lifestyle", would be a hive of sports activities for the public.
Designed to give the public a comfortable resort feel when they walk in, there will be palm trees at the entrance and within the premises, with benches for visitors to sit and relax.
Solomon said the 50-metre deep eight-lane swimming pool would be covered with two-toned blue tiles. There would also be a non-slippery pebble wash path around the pool.
Three to four high-technology pump filtration systems from Australia will be installed.
The Stingray Swimming Club, an association of volunteers, which teaches children to swim. They will be conducting classes at the sports centre. Scuba diving classes will also be offered.
Over at the kiddies pool, shade sails will be installed to provide shelter.
Solomon said professional lifeguards would be on duty and there would be 24-hour security with a closed-circuit television system and security guards.
Visitors will be able to update themselves on the latest internet news with the complimentary wi-fi services.
He said there would be safari golf, a community hall, pizza kiosk, cricket club, dive shop, gymnasium, food and beverage outlets and surau. The two existing squash courts will also be upgraded.
On the first floor of the sports centre, 836 square metres will be set aside for three sky futsal courts and a badminton court that overlooks the swimming pool. Players can also relax, have drinks and watch TV to keep up with the latest happenings in the sports scene.
A bridge will be built on the first floor to connect visitors seamlessly to the Complex C carpark, located adjacent to the sports centre.
Membership fees will not be charged. The public can pay between RM3 and RM5 per entry to use the swimming pool.
Senior citizens, the disabled and school groups will be given discounts. The council is looking into the matter.
Solomon said Out of Africa and Kudu Bar, which he has been operating for 15 years, will remain alongside Joe's Barber and Waikiki Bar.
Kelab Syabas will move out in a few weeks time, he added.
The mayor said he hoped that Sepang Mekar's plans would become reality.
"We have gone into detail for this project and I hope Sepang Mekar will make it a reality and be successful.
"We have given them six months to revive the swimming pool and I hope by December, the public can start using the facility at reasonable prices. They can also enjoy the other sports programmes."
Councillor Latheefa Koya, who oversees the zone where the sports centre is located, was equally excited. She said the project was long overdue.
"This is a dream come true for Petaling Jaya residents. Now they don't need to pay high fees and go far to engage in healthy sports activities. One of the challenges was finding the right people to be involved in this as we wanted a party which would guarantee low prices for the community.
"Good financial standing was one of the criteria too. This is a step towards more sports facilities in Petaling Jaya. For example, the hockey stadium is located near Assunta Hospital," she said.
Latheefa added that the next step for Sepang Mekar would be to submit its plans to the council building department.
"The council will help to speed up the process for Sepang Mekar so that they can start their work as soon as possible," she said.
Proprietors cry foul over higher rent under new agreement
(The Star, June 2011) - The proprietors of Joe’s Unisex Salon and Waikiki Bar are being harassed by the building’s main tenant to sign a new tenancy agreement or leave the premises.
Salon owner M. Inthirasa (better known as Barber Joe) and bar proprietor Tony Siew whose outlets are in the former Kelab Syabas, now known as PJ Palms Sports Centre, said there appeared to be a force in asking them to sign the tenancy agreement and a testament to this was the intermittent disruption of power supply at their premises over the past three months.
“Sepang Mekar Sdn Bhd, the building’s main tenant, has been forcing us to sign a new tenancy agreement. This means we have to pay higher rent,” said Siew, who has signed the new agreement but yet to pay the deposit.
Joe said he had yet to sign the contract, as under the new agreement he would have to pay four times more than his rent now.
“Under the new agreement, I will have to pay a monthly rental of RM1,700, as opposed to the current RM500 per month,” said the 61-year-old who has been operating his business for two decades.
“I have had no problems with the previous management, Bina Syabas, who managed the building for 18 years until their contract ended. The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) ran the place until Sepang Mekar won the contract last year.”
Siew, whose has been operating his business for 15 years, said under the new agreement, the rent for his premises soared to RM18,900 from the present RM5,000.
“I had to lodge a police report last Thursday when my premises was padlocked without my knowledge. I had to reconnect the electricity supply on my own when it was cut off as I needed it restored to run my business,” he said.
Joe and Siew also complained about their inflated electricity bills, which they said were above Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s (TNB) commercial rates.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee said managed to get a copy of the agreement, which was signed between the MBPJ and Sepang Mekar, who are the landlord and main tenant respectively.
“The total area of Kelab Syabas is 136,500sq ft (12,681sq m), including the shops and swimming pool,” said Lee.
“Sepang Mekar is paying the MBPJ a monthly rental RM15,000 for the entire club, which after a quick calculation means that they are paying 11 sen per sq ft.
“However, Sepang Mekar is charging sub-tenants like Waikiki Bar and Joe’s Salon RM4.50 per sq ft, while the other sub-tenants are charged RM5.20 per sq ft.
“It appears that the main tenant is buying time (by cutting off the electricity) to force the sub-tenants to sign the new agreement.”
Lee said he met PJ mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman two months ago and he promised to look into the matter.
“Roslan later acknowledged that something was not right, but that the agreement had to be complied with as the councillors had already agreed to it,” he said.
“When nothing happened at the council level, I brought the matter up to the state government.
“Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has requested for the matter to be tabled at the MTES (Selangor Economic Action Council).”
Lee said the issue was now with the state government and he hoped that the MTES would discuss the matter this week.
When contacted, Sepang Mekar managing director David Solomon expressed his disappointment and frustration, saying that both Waikiki Bar and Joe’s Salon had been difficult to sort out.
“We are not here to evict anybody. The agreement is still under negotiation with Joe’s Salon. Waikiki Bar has signed the agreement but have not honoured it,” he said.
“These two businesses have not paid their rental since March 2011. Their utility bills have not been paid on time either.
“The other 10 sub-tenants at the centre have been cooperative and paying their dues regularly.”
Even with the new agreement, Solomon said Joe’s Salon and Waikiki Bar would be paying lower than the average rental rate.
“The average rental for a basic commercial premises in PJ is RM6 per sq ft,” he said.
“We want to help these two businesses and tried hard to work with them and the MBPJ. We have a number of upgrades planned if they had come to an agreement on the tenancy details.”
Solomon said Sepang Mekar signed the agreement with MBPJ in May 2010, but only received access to the building in August 2010.
“We began refurbishment work in September 2010, and the new pool was completed within six months for its re-opening in March 2011,” he said.
“The delays have put a damper on the official launch of PJ Palms Sports Centre’s new look.
“The initial stage of its re-opening was scheduled for July 2011, with the new look to be fully unveiled by the end of this year.”
Solomon clarified that Sepang Mekar is the main tenant and was given the agreement to upgrade and refurbish the centre, while PJ Palms Sdn Bhd is the management company assigned by Sepang Mekar to manage and run the premises.