On Friday, Member of Parliament of the Ang Mo Kio GRC, Dr Intan Mokhtar published a status update on her facebook to address comments on her based on an article, "I am disappointed with PAP Muslim MP Dr Intan Azura”, that has been republished on two social media website.
Mr Zulkifli Jabal who is a resident at the Ang Mo Kio GRC constituency had written that his son was conned in 2012 back into signing for mobile phones and had telcos going after them for subscription fees.
His son had just turned 18 years old and was conned into signing for iPhones by signing up contracts with local telcos while the conman pretended to be a surveyor looking at how the counter personnel perform. The conman took the iPhones away from his son, saying that he will return the iPhones back but was never returned.
He added that although, the conman eventually got arrested by the police; the telcos did not want to waive the subscription and insist that his son pay them in full. Even though they have provided the police report of the arrest to the companies.
He went down to see Dr Intan at her Meet-the-People session (MPS) to seek help in their family's situation. He was offended by what she said to them and what followed in his follow-up attempts to solve the situation.
He remarked, "Intan did not lift a finger to help her constituents at all… So she is really a useless person in actual fact."
The post by Mr Zulkifli spurred Dr Intan to respond to his accusation, she wrote,
It is unfortunate that Mr Zulkifli stated that I had “literally refused to help” his son and that I had asked his son “to pay all the telcos in instalment so that this can be a lesson to him”. Mr Zulkifli further asserts that I did not “lift a finger to help”.
Given Mr Zulkifi has made these assertions, I feel it is important to state the facts to illustrate how I had helped his son on this specific issue not once but three times, and why each of Mr Zulkifli’s assertions is far from the truth.
The first time Mr Zulkifli and his son came to me regarding the telco charges was on 26 January 2012. So as to be of help to his son, I offered to write three letters – each of the three letters was addressed to a separate telco essentially seeking, on behalf of his son, that the telco contract be cancelled and charges to his telephone line be waived. The reason I gave was that his son was the unfortunate victim of a cheating scam.
On 8 March 2012, his son returned and informed me that the Police had caught the culprits who had cheated him. Therefore, I wrote to the Police to request that the Police meet up with Mr Zulkifli and his son to share more information about the investigation findings. I did so because I knew the findings would help Mr Zulkifli and his son in their bid to have the telco charges waived. I wrote that letter on the same evening, 8 March 2012.
So as to assist Mr Zulkifli and his son, I wrote another series of three letters to the telcos on 10 May 2012, enclosing the police letter indicating the culprits of the scam were caught, requesting each of the telcos to waive all charges against his son given he was a victim of a cheating scam. In fact, I had made a personal appeal in the series of 10 May 2012 letters citing his son’s young age and that he was still in school.
I am glad to learn from Mr Zulkifli that the telcos waived the charges.
I had, earlier this week, tried to arrange a meeting with Mr Zulkifli to show him the seven letters I had written on behalf of his son, and to explain the approach taken in each of the letters, but I learnt that Mr Zulkifli is not willing to meet.
Essentially, I hope the facts above will show why Mr Zulkifli’s assertions are uncalled for."
TOC spoke with Mr Zulkifli on this issue, and he clarified that he had indeed wrote the note that was first published as his facebook status update.
Mr Zulkifli said that he went down to the MPS for a total of three times.
He wrote, "The first time we went to see Dr Intan Azura, I needed to go somewhere else urgently, so my son got to meet her personally. Do you know what she said?"
Mr Zulkifli said that Dr Intan had asked his son to pay all the telcos in installment so that this can be a lesson to him and was shocked that a MP could say something like that.
He said to TOC that he was shocked to hear from Dr Intan that she feels his son should pay the telco in installment so that he could learn his lesson.
He pointed out that his son was totally devastated and wanted to quit school to pay the subscription owing to the Telcos.
He was gravely offended by what Dr Intan said to him and said in his blog post, "You see what kind of person this Intan is? She literally refused to help him…"
"She may not remember what she said to my son but the receiver of such statements will never forget.", said Mr Zulkifli.
The second time that he went to the MPS was to inform them that although the culprit was caught, but the telcos still insisted that his son should pay for the outstanding subscriptions.
The third time was to make sure the copywriter at the MPS wrote exactly what he hopes to be written in the letter and eventually got the waiver of the telcos.
Mr Zulkifli said that Dr Intan was only there for the first time he was there at the MPS, and he was not able to meet her during the 2nd and 3rd time.
He said, "You see it's not like she cares to follow up with me regarding this, but I had to continue going to the meet-the -people session to settle this."
He contested what Dr Intan said about writing for him, as the letters were written by the volunteers, and he was the one who gave the points that were written in the letter.
"The telcos sent several letters from their lawyers in order to make my son really worried... even after I went for the 2nd session. This made me determined to go for the 3rd time, and it was me who asked the copywriter to mention my son is still in school."
He added, "Hence, I feel that without my stubborn nature and persistence, she will not bother about us."
When asked why Mr Zulkifli is not willing to meet up with Dr Intan as offered by her,
"Never mind, I am not going to engage her direct... I, as a citizen has lost my hope for this party"