Seafield Hindu temple riots: The “who’s who” behind the scenes

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

One City Development Sdn Bhd (One City) is the property developer at the center of the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam Hindu temple issue. A news report dated the 28th of November 2018 attempted to put the spotlight onto Ayala Corporation, Philippines’ oldest and largest conglomerate known to date. Ayala has diverse business interests that include packaging as well as food and beverage (F&B). The company is linked to San Miguel Corp via Purefoods Corp and several of the latter’s subsidiaries. On the 15th of December 2010, San Miguel excercised a share option that gave it a 68.3 percent stake in Petron Corporation, the largest oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines.

A press release by Petron Malaysia dated the 5th of June 2013 confirmed that one of San Miguel’s shareholders was none other than Mirzan Mahathir, sone of Malaysian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. According to documents I sighted, Mirzan was elected to the Board of Directors at Petron Corporation on the 13th of August 2010. Several quarters from the DAP attempted to link Mirzan and Mahathir to the temple melee by leaking to media that Ayala’s property arm, Ayala Land, owned 66.25 percent of the Bursa Malaysia-listed MCT Berhad, One City’s parent concern. The attempt was to link the Monday riots to Mahathir in a bid to shift the spotlight from the true perpetrator, a Chinese lawyer.

Question is, who’s the lawyer?

Let’s kick things off by asking ourselves who Tan Sri Barry Ming Choon Goh is. Aged 54, Barry has been in the civil construction business since 1997 and, together with Dato’ Sri Tong Seech Wi and Dato’ Goh Meng Keong, co-founded Modular Construction Technology Sdn Bhd. In 1994, Barry incorporated APT Focus Sdn Bhd to trade electronic and electrical components across Southeast Asia and several other parts of the world. APT eventually changed its name to B&G Capital Resources Sdn Bhd before being consolidated with Modular under MCT Consortium Sdn Bhd in 2004. Barry gradually renamed the umbrella company MCT Consortium Berhad. He is currently the Chairman and Executive Director of the Subang Jaya based BGMC International Limited, a company that got listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on the 9th of August 2017.

Enter Ariffin bin Mohd Ariff.

Ariffin joined BGMC on the 21st of June 2007 and currently serves as the company’s Vice Chairman and Executive Director. He has been linked to several failed development projects, including the abandoned Kampung Koskan Tambahan project in Sungai Choh, Rawang. The project involved the construction of 43 single-storey bungalows by developer Ehsanibu Sdn Bhd, a company Ariffin himself served as director of prior to his association with BGMC. A check with several quarters revealed that Ehsanibu wrapped operations up some months after it ran into trouble, with some insisting that the company was involved in a scam together with the now defunct Chief Park Sdn Bhd, a property investment company Ariffin also served as the director of.

Ask anyone in the construction industry, and he (or she) will tell you that when we talk about BGMC, we’re talking about MCT, and by extension, One City. The two are heavily involved with one another and have key personnel listed either as common shareholders or associates. It is a wonder that BGMC still has Ariffin on board given his track record of project failures. A check by my team revealed that his closest associates include Azham Malik bin Mohd Hashim, Kok Lee Teh, Boon Tuck Chua, Siu Man Kuok, Yuk Yeung Ng, May May Chan, Cho Ha Kong and Scott Schouenberger. Kok Lee Teh happens to be a co-owner of many business concerns together with Barry, including Oasis Island Properties Limited, a privately owned investment vehicle.

May May Chan, on the other hand, was appointed Non-Executive Director at Pentamaster International Ltd on the 19th of December 2017 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of ZICOInsource Inc, a dedicated resource and advisory services company. In July 2017, she joined BGMC as Non-Executive Director and assists the company with legal matters. She was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in March 1991 and has vast experience in human resource and corporate management related matters. She is said to have associated herself with land disputes in an advisory position since joining BGMC in July 2017.

Question is, was she among those who advised One City and Barry on how to handle the Seafield temple issue? Why is the DAP and even Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin so focused on the so-called Malay lawyers who’re said to be linked to Ayala when both MCT and BGMC are known to associate and even employ Chinese members of the Bar Council? Several sources indicated to me that these members, May May included, are associated with the DAP one way or the other. Question is, could one of them have hired thugs to threaten the temple’s committee members?


To be continued…

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