Thursday, March 24, 2011

RM38,000 for snooker centre licence?

KAJANG: A businessman is crying foul after being allegedly asked to fork out RM38,000 for a licence to operate a snooker centre here.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the vexed businessman told FMT that the licence cost more than the RM30,000 capital he had spent to open the centre.
Before opening the centre some four months ago, the businessman said he had met with several MPKJ (Kajang Municipal Council) officers regarding the licence.

However, the officers told him that MPKJ no longer issued licences for such premises.
“Snooker is an international game. I don’t have gambling machines and I don’t sell alcohol, so what is the problem with issuing a licence?” he asked.
Last month, the businessman said a MPKJ enforcement officer visited the centre and told him that the premises could qualify for a licence as it satisfied the stipulated conditions.
The officer had also introduced the businessman to a woman colleague who was purportedly in charge of licensing matters.
Secret society
According to the businessman, the woman then gave him the mobile number of a person called Tim Wong, whom she claimed was the person who oversaw gaming licences in MPKJ.
“When I called him, Wong told me that he represents a local snooker association but refused to state which one,” he said, adding that Wong had asked him to pay the RM38,000.
“He also told me there will be other charges, like RM2 per day for each snooker table. I am confused: is MPKJ a municipal council or a secret society collecting protection money from businessmen?” he asked.
A check later revealed that Wong operated a company called “Agensi Kampungku” which was not registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).
Wong, who was said to act as the middleman with regard to MPKJ licences, had refused to comment when contacted by FMT.
Meanwhile, the businessman said there were several snooker centres in Kajang operating illegally because MPKJ refused to grant them licence.
“Almost every month, I get a summons from MPKJ, saying that I don’t have a licence. The problem is, I am willing to take the licence, but they are the ones refusing to give it to me,” he added.
Furthermore, he claimed that some other snooker centre operators had informed him that the only way to get a licence from MPKJ was through Wong.
FMT could not reach MPKJ officials for comment.

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