Monday, September 27, 2010

Jaya Supermarket Tragedy : Is the Selangor Government still using OSA to hide the truth?

It has been pointed out by Malaysiakini and others that really the current Selangor government have sufficient power under the existing Official Secrets Act (OSA), even before we get it repealed, to declassify documents/information that have been marked 'secret' by previous governments, and not mark any new documents 'secret' in the interest of accountability, transparency and freedom of information but alas, they still behave like BN ....

Was there a report by the MBPJ on the Jaya Supermarket Tragedy that saw the death of 7 workers....? I have not seen any .... and if any person is aware of it, post it here under comments...or e-mail me at {For the record I searched the MBPJ website for the words 'Jaya Supermarket" - and there was nothing about the incident that caused 7 deaths...and then I looked at the Suara Keadilan, but they did not have any search function }

I recall a report in the Nut Graph in June 2009, which is pasted below:-

PETALING JAYA, 5 June 2009: The Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) has failed to disclose documents of public interest relating to a development project in Section 19, Petaling Jaya, even after residents' repeated requests.
"First they told us the documents were classified. Now they say that these documents belong to the developers, and that they would need the developers' consent to disclose them," Section 19 resident Ow Yew Teik told The Nut Graph.

"This is ridiculous," Ow said, adding that the information was in the public's interest.

Ow, along with other residents living along the Section 19/30 and 19/27 residential roads, have been requesting development orders, building plans, and other documents related to a development project in their neighbourhood. They have been petitioning MBPJ for the documents since June 2008.

In a letter sent to news organisations, the Section 19 residents group outlined their questions about the development project:

1. why a portion of the land adjoining Jalan 19/30 had been re-gazetted for commercial use, when it was previously gazetted as residential;

2. when the development project, which sits between Jalan 19/30, SS2/72, and Ken 3 Condominiums, was approved; and

3. why the residents of Section 19 were not consulted on the project before approval was given.

"The MBPJ claims they have an approval list from us. But no one gave them consent. Show us proof that they consulted with us," Ow said in a phone interview.

According to Ow, there were many particulars that were questionable about the development project, including the height and close proximity of the buildings.

"What we want is the council to show us the development plans," Ow said. "In the event that everything is legal, we will shut up."

However, if the documents revealed that there were irregularities in the development project, Ow said it was up to the MBPJ to rectify matters.

Councillors acting

Ow revealed that at the last MBPJ full-board meeting held on 28 May 2009, all 24 MBPJ local councillors agreed that the documents should be made available to the public.

"I have written a number of letters to the MBPJ Town Planning Department, instructing them to reveal to residents these documents," local councillor Mak Khuin Weng said in an interview.

Mak, who writes for The Nut Graph, pointed out that the Section 19 case was "not normal".

"In the case of other developments, residents are normally given access to the development plans, and documents such as traffic impact assessments," Mak explained.

"I have given the department a deadline," Mak said, adding that he had hoped the documents would be released without any conditions by 2 June.

"These documents should be released. Failing which, we will have to take the matter up with the menteri besar's office."

However, according to Ow, Section 19 residents still have not received the documents as of 4 June 2009.

The Nut Graph's attempts at contacting MBPJ's town planning department and the legal department since 2 June have not yielded any official explanations.

MBPJ's reticence is in contrast with the Selangor government's commitment to freedom of information. On 19 May, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-governed state would table a Freedom of Information Enactment (FOIE) bill by the end of 2009. - Nut Graph, 6/6/2009, MBPJ keeps mum on Section 19 project
Has things changed? MBPJ (and other local councils in Pakatan Rakyat's Selangor) has still has not disclosed their accounts for 2008, 2009 - Why are they hiding how much the MBPJ earned, and how did they spend it?

We demand transparency and accountability - no more secrets please...

I wonder whether the same contractors were still allowed to continue with the demolition exercise....and maybe even given other contracts in Selangor, etc... 


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