Thursday, August 5, 2010

Residents and JMB lock horns


CLAIMS of misappropriation of funds and widespread cheating of foreign tenants by some Palm Court Condominium management staff are the latest twist in a long-running dispute between residents and the caretakers of the largest condominium in Brickfields.

In the latest development, Palm Court the pro tem action committee has issued an ultimatum to the Joint Management Body (JMB) to produce documents of financial transactions.

“We have furnished evidence of issuance of double receipts to mostly foreign residents and visitors for entry pass, fines for lifting clamps on cars and water meters but the money collected is not reflected in the JMB accounts,” action committee chairman and resident K. K. Supramaniyam told StarMetro yesterday.

The action committee has alleged that about RM144,000 has been collected by the staff without authorisation and not banked in.

“The JMB is dragging its feet on this matter and if they don’t get to the bottom of it, then we will call for an extraordinary general meeting to vote them out and refer the matter to the police,” he added.

Initially, the JMB has denied there were discrepancies but when evidence started pouring in, its committee members reluctantly agreed to take “appropriate measures”, but stopped short of agreeing to an independent audit as demanded by the action committee.

However, they removed the two female staff, who residents claim have been terrorising foreign nationals under specific orders from a couple of JMB committee members.

When contacted Chitra Devi said she did not pocket the money and that the money collected was handed over to the JMB committee.

The other employee, Nor Anna Majid, could not be reached for comment.

According to licensed real estate broker and long-time resident K. Vijay some JMB members are not happy that freelance brokers are making money out of unit rentals.

“I think they want to put pressure on the foreign nationals so that the brokers will have a tough time getting tenants and eventually take over the rental business,” he said.

Other residents who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals from JMB said it was not difficult for the two women to have carried out such a scam behind the back of JMB members.

There were several occasions when JMB members were spotted retrieving receipt books from the guardhouse early in the morning.

But when the issuance of double and unauthorised receipts were brought to the attention of the JMB the books disappeared from the guardhouse, said a woman tenant.

The books are placed with the guards to collect RM10 for visitors or relatives of tenants who come after office hours.

When contacted JMB chairman M. Ravichandar refused to be drawn into the controversy.

“Sorry this doesn’t concern you and I have nothing to say to you,” was all he had to say before putting down the phone.

Ever since the JMB came into existence two years ago there has been no short of controversies.

It has been accused of abuse of power in implementing house rules and blamed for trying to clamp down on foreign nationals renting there.

On one occasion two deputy ministers had to intervene to calm things in a showdown between JMB and the residents committee.

In the incident, JMB chained the front gate facing Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad to prevent outsiders from frequenting a restaurant in the premises.

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