Petagas: A businessman who is married to a native and holds a Mykad (490615-12-5219) is desperate as he claims to have been denied the right to conduct business on the basis that he is an "outsider".
As a result, the 63-year-old, who is also an Umno and Rela member, claimed he is saddled with mounting debts incurred throughout the span that his sundry shop was forced to close in Petagas.
He estimated losses in the region of RM100,000 ever since instructed by the Penampang District Council (now under Putatan District Council) to close shop in 1995. He said he had been forced to do odd jobs to meet his family's needs and pay up his debts since.
He does not have any children following his 1990 marriage but his Dusun wife's four children from her previous marriage are all teachers living on their own.
When questioned, Kassim claimed his father was from India, but that he was born in Kg. Inanam Laut.
"Until today I haven't been told why I have been denied from carrying out a legitimate business.
I heard rumours that I was chased out solely because I was not from that village," said Kassim.
His troubles started in 1995, when a top government officer lodged a complaint with the Council.
"The basis of the complaint must have been that I'm an orang luar' (outsider) and I was directed by their enforcement personnel to close shop because of their biased decision," he said.
He said his trading licence, which he obtained that year, was meaningless to the authority.
"At that time, although not satisfied by their injustice, I just followed their instructions thinking it will blow over. Unfortunately, I still cannot open my shop until now," he said.
He said the piece of land under Country Lease title where his shop is standing was purchased by him with his name on the grant duly endorsed.
"But the Pakistani running a similar business less than 100 metres from my shop has not done the same but not only was he allowed to continue but also expand his business by opening two more stores nearby.
"The law must apply to everybody and not side certain parties only," he stressed and said he referred his predicament to various government agencies, local and Federal politicians including Sabah MIC, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Kassim said what he could not accept nor understand was the "biasness of the authorities" in denying him the right to operate a sundry shop on CL land belonging to him but closing an eye to the Pakistanis.
"In the case of the Pakistanis I am told they were using their spouses names and the land not endorsed."
Kassim showed letters of complaint he had written to the Prime Minister, who in turn directed the relevant Sabah parties to resolve the matter.
He is contemplating legal action but feared he may not be able to afford the legal fees.
When contacted, the Putatan District Council said it would have to investigate before commenting.--Courtesy of The Daily Express