IT firm says no links to Ku Nan in KL billboard deal

AN IT firm under investigation over allegations it was “handpicked” by a former minister to oversee billboard licence applications in Kuala Lumpur claims it had bid for the contract through a tender process.

Anjung Akar Sdn Bhd director Kamal Fikri Kamal Suhaimi insists his company used the proper channel to get the contract from City Hall in August last year.

“There was an open tender and we bid for it. We have no links with anyone and we acted upon it ourselves,” he said.

Twentytwo13 yesterday reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had launched an investigation against former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor following allegations he had handpicked the company without going through a tender process.

 

Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor

Sources also told Twentytwo13 that Anjung Akar “enjoyed a special relationship and acted as an agent for Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan” in the application for billboards in the city.

“Up to 80 per cent of billboards were illegally put up between 2007 and 2017 – before we were appointed. We had data to prove that,” said Kamal, who was unaware of the MACC probe.

“Since we had the database, we saw this as an opportunity to offer our services to City Hall as we have expertise in this field.

“We approached City Hall’s licensing department and they brought it to the FT Ministry and we were granted the contract via an open tender process.”

Kamal said his company had helped City Hall collect more revenue by providing information to the council’s enforcement team to ensure companies paid the licensing fee.

He admitted that while his company provided “assistance” to companies in the application of billboard licences to City Hall, the final approval came from City Hall.

He added this was the first local council it was offering its services to.

“Upon receiving an application from a private company, we carry out site visits to ensure it is suitable and safe. We take pictures and we also have our panel of engineers to ensure the particular structure is safe.”

He said his company managed applications for non-free standing billboards at overhead bridges and buildings belonging to City Hall and private companies. It also provides a database on billboards in the city to the local council.

“We pay City Hall rental in advance for platforms belonging to the council and we collect a fee from private companies. This fee comprises the registration, processing and inspection for the billboards,” said Kamal.

Kamal added the fee was “affordable” but declined to reveal the amount.

The firm also said City Hall’s revenue collection increased after the firm took over the management of non-free standing billboards.

A search at the Companies Commission of Malaysia website revealed the company’s nature of business is “retailing of computer hardware and software, research and development of software, providing IT consultancy and system integration services”.

The search also revealed the company was set up in 2012 and one of its previous directors was Mohamed Nedim Mohamed Nazri, son of former Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. Nedim was a director from Aug 28, 2012 to Nov 8, 2013.

Kamal said he has no knowledge of Nedim’s involvement in the firm, adding he has “never heard of that name”.

In 2016, City Hall had privatised the management of free-standing billboard contracts to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan. The foundation, which is the welfare arm of the Federal Territories Ministry,  had come under the spotlight in recent weeks following allegations of land grabs in the city.

Those sitting in the foundation’s board of trustees include Tengku Adnan, his then deputy minister Datuk J. Loga Bala Mohan, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan Md Ikshan and Kuala Lumpur Mayor Tan Sri Mhd Nordin Abd Aziz.