Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Selangor not violating flower growers’ rights, says Wong

Selangor state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong has denied claims that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)government had trampled the rights of flower nursery operators in Sungai Buloh by rejecting their temporary occupation licence (TOL) applications, saying today there are no licence holders there.

State Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have used the issue to put pressure on the state government ahead of the next general election.

“We have not violated the rights of any TOL holders because in the first place they were never given the TOL,” Wong (picture) told The Malaysian Insider today.

“As far as I know, we didn’t make any decision to evict any of the tenants,” she said.

She stressed that the state government was merely handing over the TOLs from state-owned Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation to state education foundation Yayasan Selangor.

“The state chose to continue to give (the TOLs) to GLCs (government-linked corporations),” she said.

Wong pointed out that there were underground water pipes in the area.

“It’s also a safety issue. There must be uniformity in terms of design,” said the Selangor Tourism, Consumerism and Environment Committee chairman.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said in a statement recently that the TOLs were given to Yayasan Selangor to ensure that the land would be properly managed.

Khalid’s decision to award the TOLs to the education foundation has blown up into a controversy, with BN accusing his administration of orchestrating a “land grab”.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek reportedly accused the state government of breaking its promises to resolve the land issue involving the nursery operators.

Selangor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Noh Omar also claimed that the TOLs were given to Yayasan Selangor to save the foundation from financial trouble.

An audit on the education foundation revealed last March that financial mismanagement had caused Yayasan Selangor to chalk up a RM7.41 million deficit from January till November last year.

English daily The Star reported today that the Sungai Buloh nursery operators had rejected Yayasan Selangor’s proposed design revamp of the area, calling it unsuitable and unfair.

Yayasan Selangor’s long-term plans reportedly involved building an expo area to hold flower shows, a police kiosk, as well as hiring 24-hour security and upgrading other infrastructure such as lighting.

Wong said the nursery operators will meet Khalid today.
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