The Ramadan Bazaar Row Takes A New Turn With Traders Now Defending The Prime Accused
The Ramadan bazaar row seems to be taking a new turn with a group of Jalan Masjid India traders now defending the accused
Bukit Bintang Bersatu Youth chief, Mohd Noorhisyam Abdul Karim, a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) division in Kuala Lumpur, who have been accused of using his political connections to secure permits for 80 bazaar lots from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for a total of RM6,238.40 and then selling each permit to Jalan Masjid India traders for up to RM5,000 per lot, has found some unlikely defenders.
The traders, who till last week were reportedly backing claims of rent-seeking by 'Pakatan' members, claiming that individuals wearing Bersatu's red shirts demanded inflated fees to ensure that lot allocations for a Ramadan bazaar were not revoked, are now saying that they did not pay a single sen to Mohd Noorhisyam.
A representative of the traders, Mohamad Azman Abdul Rahman, said the Bukit Bintang Bersatu Youth chief actually helped them get the lots to operate the business in the last few days of Ramadan
"We did not pay Sam a single sen. The accusations, reported in the media, are false," the traders' representative said, referring to Mohd Noorhisyam as "Sam".
"In fact, this is the first time we can operate legally with a city council licence, thanks to Sam and YB (Fong Kui Lun). The lots were given to us for free this year after we sought their assistance," he was quoted as saying by NST Online.
According to them, the person who collected hefty payments for lots was while a 'Noorhisyam', it's not Bersatu's Mohd Noorhisyam
"There was a confusion over Noorhisyam's name. We called him "Sam".
"There was another individual who also goes by the name "Sam". He was the one involved in the rent-seeking activity," the traders' representative claimed.
"There was another person with the same name who sold the bazaar lots. But Noorhisyam from Bukit Bintang Bersatu was the one who got slandered.
"Logically speaking, who would pay RM5,000 for a lot for five days? Even the tents were provided by me to help the traders.
"So there is no issue of collecting up to RM5,000 for a lot," Mohd Azman told a press conference where the bazaar was held, reported Malaysiakini.
He also claimed that only 40 lots were used, instead of the approved 80, as the area was already occupied by food trucks
"We gave the lots to traders in need. They didn't have to pay anything. Everything was paid for. So claims that Sam got RM400,000 is untrue. It's slander," he said.
According to a report in NST Online, the RM6,238 charged by DBKL was, in fact, sponsored by Selayang Market Malay Traders Association.
"There was no issue of rental because the traders ran their businesses for free. The association also sponsored about RM6,200. Maybe there was a misunderstanding among the traders," the association's secretary Saiful Kamal said.
Reports have been lodged with the police and MACC to investigate the matter. Read more about the alleged scandal on SAYS: