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Palm Court operators to sue
09/02/2009 Malay Mail By Kharleez Zubin

Several business operators in Palm Court Condominium, who claim to have suffered heavy losses for more than a year since the new management committee put the lid on outsiders patronising the gated and guarded community, are suing the committee for damages and loss of income.

Some claim they have registered a 60 per cent drop in sales after the new Joint Management Body started implementing new house rules, including closing the main gate to outsiders.

Spokesman for the 10-odd business operators, N. Sugumaran, 41, who has been running a vegetarian restaurant in Palm Court for more than 15 years, said all the business operators are against the JMB for trying to keep outsiders from patronising their businesses.

“We have engaged Hakim Arabi and Associates to sue the JMB for the losses we have incurred and compel them through a court order to open the gate to outsiders who want to patronise the shops in Palm Court,” said Sugumaran.

“Outsiders used to frequent my restaurant for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. Now, there are so few customers,” he said, adding he was losing some RM15,000 every month. This compared poorly to the almost RM30,000 he was getting before the closure of the main gate to outsiders.

Following Malay Mail’s reports highlighting the plight of residents getting in and out of the gated community with the closure of the main gate by the JMB, two deputy ministers visited the place.

After an intervention by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T. Murugiah the JMB relented and a compromise was struck. The main gate was opened for residents, while outsiders were allowed in through another gate some 100m away.

“There is no point in the move as outsiders will not walk all the way through the second gate to come to my restaurant,” he said.

The JMB contends that the presence of Sugumaran’s restaurant and other businesses, like a hairdressing saloon and an Internet cafe in Palm Court, are drawing many outsiders to the place, which may may lead to security being compromised.

According to JMB members, Palm Court is a gated community. Unlike a mixed development, businesses within a gated community are meant to serve residents and not outsiders.

“In the first place, if we had known that the front gate facing the commercial area could be closed at the discretion of the JMB, then surely, we would not have rented this place,” said Sugumaran.

Beauty parlour operator Daisy Alphonse said she used to get clients from as far as Singapore but the closure of the front gate to outsiders have taken a toll on her business. “I am going through a really bad time after the JMB took over and started curbing outsiders from Palm Court.”

Owner of Raj Unisex Saloon, S. Rajasegaran, said he had laid off some workers after his business was hit due to JMB’s decision to close the Gate B to outsiders.

Meanwhile, the JMB in turn, is suing the developer, Ramal Properties, to recover the commercial lots.

JMB members claim that under building by-laws, the commercial units were supposed to be handed over to the JMB or the management committee by the developer.

While the developer, businesses and the JMB are engrossed in a tripate legal tussle, the residents are quietly lobbying to oust the JMB members at its next emergency general meeting which must be held within three months after its term expired on Jan 28


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