Clogged drainS CauSe of floodS

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Student power

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January 7, – 9, 2011/ issue 7

Volunteer fire fighters of Taman Sri Serdang strike a pose before their training session. The multi-racial group has members ranging from ages 18-56. – Picture by Victor Chong

• Story on page 8

By Chong Loo Wah and Gan Pei Ling

SHaH alaM: Leaking and peeling ceilings, among other problems, have delayed the Petaling District Land Office’s move to its new building  at Section U5, Shah Alam. “We’re very dissatisfied with the new building’s condition,” said Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim, who inspected it recently. The building, which was completed in 2009, is also ill-equipped with lack of security facilities and inadequate furniture and parking spaces. Ng said the storeroom which would be used to store important documents like land titles did not have sufficient protection against fires and floods. “The state would be at risk of suffering great losses in the event of an accident. The building’s warranty period ends this month so we’ve asked the contractor to fix the problems soonest,” said Ng. To add insult to injury, the lop-sided land transaction for the office has already cost the state millions. The building’s problem was highlighted by civil servants to the special select committee on land and district offices headed by Ng. He added that the contractor was ap-

Move delayed
pointed without open tender in 2004 to construct the new home for the Petaling District Land Office and other local departments by the previous administration. “We still don’t understand why the previous administration wanted to move the Petaling Land District Office from its strategic location in Subang Jaya to a remote suburb in Shah Alam,” said Ng. He said the move was likely to inconvenience the public as the new office is not easily accessible compared to the current office which is near KTM and bus stations. In 2006, the Barisan Nasional-led Government swapped 1.68ha of land the Petaling Land District Office is currently occupying in Subang Jaya for the new office in Shah Alam. Gapurna Builders bore the construction cost of RM24.6 million for the new office and its adjacent four housing quarters for senior district officials in 4.51ha of state land. In return, the developer obtained 1.23ha of land at Jalan Kemajuan SS16/1 and 0.45ha of Land District Office quarters along Jalan SS19/2 estimated to be worth more than RM100 million now.  Ng said even though the lands were worth less in 2004, the manner in which the developer was appointed and the land swap lacked transparency and smacked of cronyism. He added that the select committee on the district and land offices would continue to probe and report their findings to the State Assembly. The controversial deal was first reported by English daily theSun in 2006 and raised again in the State Assembly in 2009. Former Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo had refused to comment on the issue when contacted by Selangor Times. The Social Welfare Department has moved into the new building but the Petaling Land District Office, Irrigation and Drainage Department, and Public Works Department will only start to move in this month. They are expected to start operating in the new office in March. The state may provide buses for taxpayers to reach the new office until the public are familiar with the new location.

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Morning

January 7 — 9, 2011

Selangor WeaTHer
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MB, Exco attend ceremony; appointment still disputed

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Constitutional experts to advise State
By Alvin Yap

The Sultan reading his speech at the swearing-in.

By Rahmah Ghazali and Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin

SHAH ALAM: Two experts will be roped in to help Selangor’s legal advisor draft changes to the State Constitution on the appointment of top state civil servants. Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari and Datuk Param Cumaraswamy will help advise on proposals to amend the constitution to enable the palace to appoint the State Secretary, Treasurer and State Legal Advisor,”. Abdul Aziz is a law lecturer at the International Islamic University while Param was the chairman of the Malaysian Bar Council from 1986 to 1988 and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers by the UN Commission on Human Rights from 1994 to 2003. The move follows the ongoing dispute between Shah Alam and Putrajaya over the appointment of Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as state secretary. In a statement to the press on Wednesday, the office of the Selangor menteri besar said the move would be carried out legally and according to procedures. It also said that the palace would be notified of the proposed amendments before they are deliberated in the upcoming State Assembly sitting. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, at Wednesday’s state executive council meeting, said Selangor speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim had also been notified.

SHAH ALAM: Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has maintained that his administration will not recognise the appointment of the new state secretary despite attending Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi’s swearing-in yesterday. In a statement issued before the ceremony, Khalid said he had informed Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah that the State Government was seeking a resolution with the Public Services Commission (PSC) as advised by the Sultan. “The state has sent a letter to the PSC informing them of our displeasure with the appointment of the new state secretary. We stress that their actions have gone against the spirit of the Constitution. “The attendance of the whole state

exco at today’s ceremony is to show our affection and loyalty towards His High Royal Highness, the Sultan of Selangor, as well as His Highness, the Selangor Regent. “...(but), it does not mean that we are willing to accept PSC’s arbitrary actions against our administration. We stand by our argument that the state secretary appointment is not final and needs a proper solution,” said Khalid. He further added that the state would convene a state assembly session by the end of the month to amend the  State Constitution which will return the power of the state to the ruler and menteri besar in appointing the three executive officers – state secretary, finance officer and legal advisor. Meanwhile, the Sultan maintained that Khusrin’s appointment is lawful under the State Constitution, saying it should not be politicised and sensationalised as it could confuse the peo-

ple. Speaking at Khusrin’s swearing-in at Istana Kayangan, the Sultan stressed that he remained apolitical, while maintaining a good relationship with the menteri besar. “Selangor menteri besar always has an audience with me at least once a week where we would exchange views for the benefit of this state,” he said. Later at a press conference, the Sultan’s private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, refuted Khalid’s remark that his defence of Khusrin’s appointment did not reflect the Sultan’s views. He asserted he was just acting under the instruction of the Sultan who had consented to all press releases written by him. Despite the disagreement with the state, Munir said as a civil servant he would remain non-partisan and maintained that the Palace will not interfere in any political issues.

State makes RM9b offer
By Alvin Yap

phone (603) 5523 2288 fax (603) 5523 1188 email editor@selangortimes.com

EDITORIAL
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR WRITERS

KL Chan

Neville Spykerman

Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Alvin Chin, Lee Choon Fai, William Tan, Alvin Yap, Rahmah Ghazali, Basil Foo, Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin COPY EDITORS James Ang, Deborah Loh
DESIGNER

Jimmy CS Lim Victor Chong

PHOTOGRAPHER ADVERTISING ADVISORS

Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi

Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz

SHAH ALAM: A fresh offer has been laid on the table by the State to four companies in a bid to end the impasse over the restructuring of the water services industry in the Selangor. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state was offering to assume 100 percent of the assets and liabilities of Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd. The offer price per share is at RM64.62, RM20.78, RM5.95 and RM9.39 respectively and will cover the debts incurred by the concessionaires’ bonds. The total offer is RM9 billion. Khalid reiterated his stand to both the federal government and the water concessionaires that international arbitrators be given the power to decide how much Selangor should pay to take over the water industry. The rationale of having international arbitrators, he added,

is because they do not have a stake in the deal, and would be fair to both parties, “We only ask that these concessionaires cooperate with the state government even if they disagree on the share price. We ask them to have this brought to the court of arbitration,” Khalid said. He added that Selangor would agree to the decision of the arbitrator.  ‘We nonetheless feel that the price we’re offering for the shares of each concessionaire is fair,” said Khalid, explaining that he was optimistic that the arbitrator would find Selangor’s offer as being “more than reasonable”. He stressed that shareholders would not incur a loss in the returns to their investment as a result of the share price offer for the takeover. “The shareholders will get a fair return to their share investment,” he added. At the same press conference, Khalid ‘unveiled’ a redrafted “Document of Offer” that lists the offer price for the shares. “We will make this document available to anyone in the public who wants to check the details,” Khalid said.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 7 – 9, 2011 ⁄ 3

Unveiling a brand new look @ a new location
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BrAnCHeS: Kuala Lumpur Pavilion Shah Alam Klang Johor Bahru BureAu de CHAnge: Kuala Lumpur International Airport KL Sentral Station

Penang Kuching Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT)

Pavilion

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January 7 — 9, 2011

Clogged underground drains cause floods
By Basil Foo

KLANG: Poorly designed monsoon drains may be the cause of flash floods which have plagued Taman Palm Grove residents for over a decade. Roads and parking lots have been built over the length of some 200 metres of monsoon drain in the area, state executive councillor for housing Iskandar Samad said during a site visit to Taman Palm Grove and Harbour Palace on Tuesday. The design of the monsoon drain, which has several right-angle turns, may also be a factor in affecting water flow.   “Majlis Perbandaran Klang and their consultants would have to check again to see if the right-angle is the cause of the water not being able to flow directly and causing backflow upstream,” Iskandar said.   “There was another suggestion that we take over an adjacent land and reroute the drain to straighten it. But it is private land and the land price would amount to more than RM1 million,” he added. Straightening the monsoon drains could only be a long term plan for the local government. Keeping the drains clear of debris and rubbish remains the only immediate solution to the floods. “There is also the possibility that one of the causes of flooding is the clogging up of the monsoon drain beneath the roads,” said Iskandar. “We have also seen some manholes here that have been shut by building owners probably to avoid rubbish or debris falling into the monsoon drain,” he added.   During the site visit, local council workers were brought along for a cleaning operation but that was postponed as Iskandar said they did not come equipped with special gear. “It might be too dangerous at this time to clean without special equipment in case there are poisonous gases underground.”   Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago said the housing

Iskandar

estate had experienced floods for the past 12 years. “I am told that due to the flooding, the prices of houses here have dropped,” said Santiago.   “Palm Grove alone has about 200 affected houses and adjacent housing estates have an additional 3,000 houses which are also affected,” he added.

Residents handing over a memorandum to Santiago over their flood woes.

Address parking problem, Selayang Hospital urged
By Tang Hui Koon

No 1Malaysia billboard ban
By Basil Foo

SELAYANG: The Selayang Hospital has been urged to address its parking shortage for the sake of patients who need immediate medical attention. “If the situation continues to worsen, it would affect ambulances from entering and leaving the hospital in time, thus delaying rescue work,” said Selayang MCA Public Complaint Bureau chief Johnson Ooi. Ooi said although there were already over 1,000 parking lots available, traffic would begin to be congested as early as 8am and would reach its peak at 10am.

Double and even triple parking have become a common sight at the hospital. Ooi submitted a memorandum to the hospital’s assistant director Venothini Retnam on Monday. They urged the hospital to build a multi-storey car park on the vacant land between the hospital building and staff quarters.   Ooi added that the public had also suggested to the hospital to remove the 14 boundary embankments in its open-air car park and turn them into parking spaces. Patients are advised to get a family member or friend to drive them to the hospital whenever possible.

SHAH ALAM: The state has expressed disappointment with the results of the Teoh Beng Hock inquest and called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be established. “The open verdict points to the fact that the death was not investigated thoroughly and the State leaves it to the police and the Attorney-General to continue further investigation,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in a statement on Wednesday. Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas on Wednesday ruled out suicide. He also said that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the political aide’s death was due to homicide. He added that the coroner’s findings also reflect the failure of the Malaysian Anti-

State calls for RCI to get truth over Teoh’s death
Corruption Commission (MACC) to carry out their responsibility to ensure the safety of detainees and witnesses during investigations. The political secretary to executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was found dead at Plaza Masalam on July 16, 2009 after being questioned overnight by the MACC. The Selangor MACC was previously based on the 14th floor of the building. “This decision that Teoh Beng Hock did not kill himself means that the parties responsible for his death have still not been identified,” said the Selangor Menteri Besar. Selangor said that an RCI was needed in order to determine the truth and restore public confidence. “We are not surprised at the decline of the people’s confidence in the integrity of the MACC,” he said. He added that his government was committed to helping Teoh’s family in their pursuit for justice.

SHAH ALAM: Selangor has clarified that only state government linked companies (GLCs) are barred from displaying 1Malaysia logos while restaurants and business premises would not be stopped from displaying them. “There has been confusion here. We only bar GLCs from using state money for promoting 1Malaysia. There is no 1Malaysia billboard ban,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. On Wednesday, Khalid said Selangor GLCs were only supposed to promote state policies. The state has maintained that 1Malaysia logo was a political symbol of the Federal Government and state funds cannot be used to promote it. Instead, they want to promote their “Merakyakkan Ekonomi Selangor” policies. Khalid added the state would not have any problem if private premises displayed the 1Malaysia symbol but they could only do so with conditions. “Local authorities have the rights to approve the symbol for use on private premises as long as they use it for business reasons, not political purposes,” he said. Several business owners were previously issued with notices to remove the logo from their signboards by local governments which considered the symbol as political advertising.

January 7 — 9, 2011

news

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Power to Orang Asli village
By Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: A remote Temuan village in Hulu Langat will soon get regular electricity after a micro-hydro project funded by the state and Shell Malaysia is completed. “We are now at the last stage of the project – the wiring of the 16 houses,” said Colin Nicholas from the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns(COAS). The village, accessible by road, is located about an hour from Kuala Lumpur and 25 families currently have to rely on oil lamps or generators, if they can afford it. Nicholas said the Tanjung Rambai community had successfully built the small embankment in the river and installed the pipes leading to the turbine. “The villagers were involved in all stages of construction. This will make them  competent enough to do their own repairs,” he added. The first of its kind in Selangor, the project was launched in September 2010 and funded by the state and Shell Malaysia. A renewable energy source, microhydro systems are increasingly popular in rural areas in Malaysia.

The system is environmentallyfriendly as it does not need construction of dams that would submerge large areas. It merely converts the kinetic energy of river water flow into mechanical power via a turbine. Nicholas said technician Adrian Lasimbang, from Jaringan Orang Asal Semalaysia-Tonibung, provided the technical expertise. However, progress and speed of the project is dependent on the availability of the Sabah-based expert. “The villagers are enthusiastic and want to see the light in their houses soon,” said Nicholas. Fortunately, they found a local electrician to assist the villagers with the wiring of their homes recently.  In fact, he visited the village on Wednesday and wired up the first house. “The villagers are enthusiastic and want to see the light in their  houses soon,” said Nicholas. They hope to complete the project by the end of January. Kampung Songkok, also in Hulu Langat,  is the next village in Selangor to benefit from the micro-hydro system.

A competitor busy writing her essay.

By Alvin Yap

HULU KELANG: A vision of free education as a gift for students in Selangor won 17-year-old Nabihah Ahmad Rosdi first prize at an essaywriting contest last Saturday. “I hope the State Government will be an administration that educates the youth, so that we bloom like flowers,“ she wrote. The contest, held at Surau Al-Ehsan, was organised by executive councillor for education Dr Halimah Ali and Hulu Kelang assemblyman Saari Sungib. Saari said the state always welcomed views and opinions of the public. Penning the essays was a chance for people to make their views known to the leaders. “That is the pulse of the people. We want to know what people think, their dreams for Selangor, welfare and their rights,” said Saari. He added the state would adopt these aspirations while shaping policies for the welfare of the people.

The young express hopes for Selangor
Abdul Kodir Shaharudin won the 13-15 yearold category. “We hear so much about Malaysia affected by natural disasters. I want our citizens to make Selangor an advanced, yet caring state,” wrote the 15-year-old. The adult category was won by Norsaidah Zakaria. “Selangor has achieved low deficit, and I ask the State Government to use the money to fight corruption,” wrote the 24-year-old. Among the prizes were children’s bicycles, electrical appliances and boxes of confectionaries.

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January 7 — 9, 2011

EvEnts
City Golf American Pool & Darts Tourney
Join the monthly contest hosted at City Golf and win exclusive prizes. This month’s competition includes “Nearest the Pin” for Golf, American Pool and Darts. Prizes include exclusive RM150 dinner vouchers from the Pressroom Bangsar Shopping Centre! Event is on Jan 15 from 6pm to 10pm. Admission is free. Venue:4th Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur

Tourism synergy
By Gan Pei Ling

Book sale
Book distributor and publisher GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn Bhd is organising a new year sale this weekend at its office. The sale, held from 10am to 7pm, offers books on arts and literature, current affairs, economics, environment, globalisation, labour and migrant workers, politics and international relations, religion and culture, social science, and women and gender studies, with discounts from 30% to 100%. For details, call 03-7957 8342/ 43 or visit gerakbudaya. com. Venue: Gerakbudaya Enterprise, No. 11, Lorong 11/4E, Petaling Jaya (opposite Restoran Banana Leaf Cuisine Grand City and Sri Pandi PJ).

Visual forum
Pantai Hospital Ampang (PHA) is organising a public forum entitled Visual Correction for All Ages – What’s New? tomorrow at 1.30pm at the hospital’s auditorium. PHA ophthalmologist Dr Khaw Hoon Hoon will touch on the causes of visual impairment and the latest reflective correction options available. Admission is free. For registration and details, call 03-4289 2877 (Racheal)/ 2900 (Adrian). Venue: Pantai Hospital Ampang, Jalan Perubatan 1, Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur.

Fighting diabetes
The Ti-Ratana Penchala Community Centre is hosting a Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days documentary screening, followed by a mini raw food demonstration tomorrow at 10am at its premises at 21, Jalan Penchala, Petaling Jaya. The programme is aimed at those fighting diabetes or want to prevent getting diabetes. Proceeds from the event will go towards charity. For details, call 03-7784 9002 (Honey/ Irene) or visit www.ti-ratana-penchala.com.my.

Viva La Inpendencia
A concert by Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra lead by Marques Young and featuring the distinctive style of Latin music. Join Young as he pays tribute to Latin America – in particular, the nations of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Argentina as they proudly commemorate their bicentenary of independence. The concert will on Jan 12 at 6.30 pm. Tickets are sold at RM85, RM65, RM40 and RM20. Dress code is smart casual. Venue: Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, Level 2, Tower 2, PETRONAS Twin Towers, KLCC, K. Lumpur.

SHAH ALAM:: Pakatan Rakyat (PR)led states will join forces officially to promote tourism in their states starting this year, said Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong. “We’ll organise tourism activities that cover the four states (Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan),” Wong told Selangor Times. She added that the four states had agreed in principle on the cooperation during the PR Menteri Besar Summit last December and would be signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Penang this month. Wong said Selangor would team up with budget airline Firefly and the Kelantan Government to offer joint tourism packages. “Selangor’s strengths are in ecotourism and shopping. So for example, tourists can stay one night in Selangor to experience the urban lifestyle and fly to Kelantan the next day to experience its traditional culture,” she explained. In addition, interested tourists may opt for Muslim travel packages to experience for instance, different Hari Raya celebrations in Selangor and Kelantan. Tourism Selangor promotions and public relations manager Md Saad Mahsah said both states have been working together to promote tourism since last year. “It’s a win-win situation,” he said. As of October 2010, Selangor has received close to five million visitors. The state has allocated RM6 million from its 2011 budget to boost the industry. Besides Selangor and Kelantan, travel agencies in Penang and Kedah have also been offering joint packages. “The Penang and Kedah state government haven’t work together on tourism officially, but it’s common for travel

Wong ... tourism activities to cover four states.

Release of audit reports put off
By Basil Foo

agencies to offer joint packages to Penang and Langkawi,” said Penang state tourism bureau Penang Global Tourism managing director Ooi Geok Ling. Ooi added that the MoU is expected to strengthen the alliance between the four states but further details of the collaboration have yet to be ironed out as they have different strengths in tourism. “It’s not clear yet if Penang would cooperate with the other three states

equally, or on separate capacities,” she said. Apart from offering joint packages, Kedah executive councillor on tourism Manikumar Subramaniam said he expected the four states to cooperate on advertising and promotional activities. “We can further advertise each other’s destinations,” he said, adding that tourism is the second largest industry in Kedah. The state receives three millions tourists annually.

Don Quixote & International Ballet Gala
The Istana Budaya will hold these two separate events from Jan 14-16. The full length classical ballet “Don Quixote” will be performed on Jan 14 at 8.30pm and Jan 16 (Sunday matinee) at 3pm while the “International Ballet Gala” will be on the Jan 15 (Saturday) at 8.30 pm. These two programmes will showcase 25 international dancers (including international award winners) from the US, Australia, Japan, Thailand and Germany as well as more than 30 Malaysians. Tickets are priced at RM220, RM180, RM140, RM100, and RM50 and is purchaseable at the venue. Venue: Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.

SHAH ALAM: The public disclosure of audit reports on the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) and Yayasan Selangor has been delayed to give the subsidiaries a chance to explain themselves. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said both entities requested more time due to “insufficient information in the reports”. “We will only release the audit reports after the state executive councillors are done discussing the explanations by

both bodies at our meeting next week,” he said on Wednesday. Both reports were originally scheduled to be released this week. Both state subsidiaries had come under fire over allegations of exorbitant spending in two separate events which had triggered the State Government to order a full probe. PKNS is alleged to have sponsored RM520,000 for the wedding dinner of astronaut Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a claim they have vehemently denied. Yayasan Selangor is accused of spending RM300,000 on a luncheon to cele-

brate its 40th anniversary. Khalid said the state would implement an integrity pact together with their subsidiary companies under the guidance of Transparency International. “We will invite several accountants who have no ties with the state to form an audit panel for PKNS and Yayasan Selangor. The panel will comprise partners from accounting firms,” he said. “This way we will have a panel that is free and professional to help the State Government ensure that the administration of both subsidiaries followed the outlines of the integrity pact,” he said.

Hawkers reassured over licence renewal fees
  pucHong: Renewal of hawker licences in Subang Jaya will be halted until the state standardises fees for all 12 local governments. “The council is issuing a circular to inform traders to pay a three-month fee first,” said Subang Jaya councillor Pooi Weng Keong. Subang Jaya Municipal Council
By Chong Loo Wah

Baby & Junior Fair 2011
Baby & Junior Fair offers extensive selection of exhibitors on latest products and services for expectant parents and families with young children. There will be activities and contest held daily for the visiting parents, parents-to-be and their young children. The fair will be held on Jan 14-16 from 11am to 9pm. Admission is free. Venue: Hall 3, Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur .

(MBSJ) president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan will meet representatives of hawkers from morning and night markets soon to explain the adjustment. Taman Kinrara 1 Morning Market Traders Association complained to MCA recently that MBSJ had refused to renew their licences without any reason. The association’s chief, Tee Huat Hock, said the vendors were worried

they would be penalised by enforcement officers for trading “illegally” as their licences had expired on Dec 31 last year. Pooi assured traders that MBSJ would not act against them for the next three months, or until the new fees are standardised. Selangor first standardised fees for all local councils at RM4 a day in March 2010 but the plan was shelved due to public objections.

January 7 — 9, 2011

news

7

Know Your Councillor: Kamarudzaman Sanusi
By Lee Choon Fai and William Tan

SHAH ALAM: A member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat since the day it was formed, Kamarudzaman Sanusi (pic) is a veteran in politics. “I have always been critical of the way the ruling g overnment [uses] the opposition as a punching bag ,” said Kamarudzaman. Born in Sungai Besar, he studied there

at an English school, Sekolah Rendah Inggeris Sungai Besar, before it became a national school. He then pursued a degree in communications engineering from University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in 1983. He worked as an engineer in Motorola (M) Sdn Bhd for 18 years until he resigned in 2001 as a senior manufacturing head. He took up work as an insurance broker, which he still does for a living while

CNY calligraphy competition at Seri Kembangan
By Basil Foo

SERI KEMBANGAN: The ancient art of calligraphy is celebrated this Chinese New Year with a competition that is open to all ethnic groups. The competition will be held at the Seri Kembangan Multipurpose Hall from 9am to 1pm on Jan 20.   Participants can choose to take part in the primary school, secondary school, or open categories with a limit of one category per participant. Participants should bring their own ink and calligraphy pen.   “Some students may feel that they are good enough to join the open category and

they are encouraged to do so because the prizes are more attractive,” said organising committee member Tong Chee Kuan.   As the date of the competition will held on Thaipusam, a public holiday, Tong hopes people of all ethnic groups will participate.   “It is open to people [of all races] who know calligraphy. They are welcome to join also, like Malay children who may have attended Chinese primary schools,” he added.   The competition is meant to showcase Chinese culture and to cultivate an interest in calligraphy among people.   “Traditionally, calligraphy was writing

well wishes vertically on pieces of paper in Mandarin,” Tong explained, “People would stick them on the front door of their house or office.   “ Nowa day s , l e ss p e o p l e kn ow calligraphy so they prefer to buy from calligraphy artists at markets. This is a chance for them to do some personal writing for themselves,” he said. Tong said that the competition was free for participants who register before the date of the event.   For registration or enquiries concerning the competition, contact Bryan at 0163239577, Tong at 016-2123950, or email adun.serikembangan@gmail.com.

serving as a councillor. “I have to juggle my work and my duties as a councillor. So much that I often don’t have time for myself!” said Kamarudzaman. As a councillor, Kamarudzaman has a tight schedule to keep. He tries to be present at all events but will appoint a representative in his stead for the times that he can’t. The councillor is in charge of Zone 10, a highly industrialised area that includes Section 26, 27, and 28. Common complaints in the area are about potholes, clogged drains, and illegal hawkers. Such problems are usually brought up at the full board meeting of the Majlis B a n d a r a y a S h a h A l a m ( M B S A) . Sometimes, however, not all roads and drains belong to the municipality and in those cases the MBSA will have their hands tied, Kamarudzaman said. His councillor’s office is located at the MBSA Pulai Hall, Jalan Sungai Gapis 27/71, Section 27, 40400 Shah Alam. Residents with queries and concerns can see him there. Although Kamarudzaman enjoys working for the people, he often finds himself missing the simple pleasures of life. “One thing I would like to do more is to participate in treasure hunts. I have missed them so much ever since I became a councillor,” he said.

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news

January 7 — 9, 2011

TRAINING HARD: Volunteers attaching a hose to a hydrant during an evening practice session recently.

By Basil Foo

SERI KEMBANGAN: A multiracial volunteer fire brigade in Taman Sri Serdang is selflessly serving as guardians to the neighborhood despite the risks involved. The unsung heroes, whose members include teenagers as young as 18 and senior citizens as old 56, work and train tirelessly to be ready to be the first to respond to emergencies. “Our role is to be first on the scene so that we can assist the Fire and Rescue Department and municipalities during emergencies,” said Lim Chee Keong, who has been a volunteer firefighter for 16 years. The deputy chairman of the volunteer fire brigade said the team comprises 40 Seri Kembangan residents, including six women. While the volunteers may all be from Seri Kembangan, they have responded to emergencies as far away as Puchong, Semenyih, Kajang and Desa Petaling. The volunteers usually get calls directly from residents or are told about incidents by the Fire and Rescue Department. “It usually takes us five to ten minutes from getting the call to arriving at the scene if the places are near us,” said Lim. Volunteers who live closest to the emergency are usually alerted and called to respond using their motorcycles or cars. Then, depending on the in-formation about the extent of the fire,

Risking life and limb for others
up to two more cars, with two volunteers each, will be sent out with equipment from the team’s makeshift headquarters in Taman Sri Serdang. Those first on the scene are responsible for clearing the way for the ensuing fire trucks and locating nearby fire hydrants and other sources of water like rivers. “This is so that the operations are more efficient and no time is wasted looking for a hydrant or moving vehicles which are blocking the hydrant,” he explained. Lim said chemical fires at factories are the most dangerous emergencies they have faced along with furniture factories where thinner is used. “The biggest fire we saw was at a Seri Kembangan furniture shop in 2009,” he said.

For beginners who have just joined our group, it would take them around five to six months of training once a week to be fully operational.”
He said the blaze was too big for the volunteers to handle and those who responded did not have the necessary specialised training. “We were not allowed to enter the area of operations. Otherwise, we would have assisted in retrieving people trapped inside the building,” he added. Shortage of funds is the main problem faced by the volunteers. Lim, who owns his own car repair shop, sometimes has to pay out of

LIM: Usually takes us 5-10 minutes to get to scene.

his own pocket to keep the volunteers operational. “We have a Proton Arena sponsored by the government and a Russian truck which is from me. I have also bought fire retardant jackets, helmets and air filter masks for the members,” he said. The full set of a firefighting uniform, which includes fire retardant jacket and pants, costs about RM2,000. A new helmet would cost RM600 but Lim got second hand

By Rahmah Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR: Developers and contractors spend hours to submit their applications to local authorities through their One Stop Centre (OSC) but fret no more - it is now conveniently at your fingertips. The online OSC, which was launched by Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Chor Chee Heung at Putrajaya International Convention Centre on Tuesday, kicked off its service in 10 local authorities nationwide. Interestingly, the launch was witnessed by all the 10 local authorities at different venues through online video conferencing, and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) was among the authorities chosen to be part of it. Speaking at Menara TM on Tuesday, MBPJ deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib said the online OSC could help the authorities go through hundreds of applications virtually, which used to be tedious and mired in weaknesses. “OSC MBPJ was launched in 2007 to im-

OSC at your fingertips
prove our service and administrative work, at the same time aiming to reduce the application process to three months, sometimes more. However, with the online service we have now, we are aiming to reduce it further to 40 days,” he said, adding that the contractors and developers would now have access to OSC system anytime, anywhere. A project architect from CY Foo Architect was among the first two developers who had successfully submitted their applications online. “Soon after we submitted our application, we received immediate response from MBPJ and the process was smooth compared to last time which was quite a hassle,” said Mastura Masri. Not only that, she said, the online application also helped the environment as it reduces the use of paper. “We used to submit our thick and huge plans but now we can just scan them and put them in PDF format. And submitting our application is only a click away,” she said. The other nine local authorities which have access to the new service are Shah Alam City Council, Johor Bahru City Council, Kuala Terengganu City Council, Kuantan Municipal Council, Alor Gajah Municipal Council, Sungai Petani Municipal Council, Sepang Municipal Council, Kuala Kangsar Muncipal Council and Nilai Municipal Council. The Federal Government aims to have the online OSC at all local authorities by year-end. “However, we are giving the local authorities one month to maximise the online service. After that, they are expected to receive and process the applications in real time,” said Chor.

helmets for the group to reduce costs. “We didn’t receive any contributions last year. In 2009 we received pumps, jackets and equipment from the government. But government grants can only cover for what we actually need,” he lamented. The Sri Serdang volunteers undergo volunteer firefighter training every Wednesday at their service centre. “We have permission to use only part of the centre for meetings and training because the hall is open for public use,” said Lim. While he spoke to Selangor Times, a line dancing group was practising in the hall. The volunteers are trained by firemen from the Seri Kembangan Fire and Rescue Department as well as those from Cyberjaya and Bangi. “For beginners who have just joined our group, it would take them around five to six months of training once a week to be fully operational,” he said. He said they hope the state would assist them in getting bigger fire trucks for the volunteers to make it easier for them to respond to emergencies. He added that public sponsors and more volunteers are always welcomed. Those wanting to contribute donations to the group, or make further enquiries, can call Lim at 013-3391414

By Tang Hui Koon

PETALING JAYA: Despite criticism from some parties, Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman will move into his RM1.5 million official residence once construction is completed in February. “Everything related to the rebuilding of the official residence was discussed and approved at a MBPJ (Petaling Jaya City Council) board meeting. “We’ve nothing to hide. I welcome any inquiry from the public. They can even visit and inspect the residence if they want to,” said Mohamad Roslan. He stressed that the six-room bungalow on the 10,000 square feet council land in Jalan Tinggi 6/12 was not his, but MBPJ’s property. MBPJ originally allocated RM900,000 to rebuild the termite-infested residence in 2008. Construction was supposed to be completed last year. However, work was delayed as the contractor wanted extra payments for higher building material costs, with the total cost ballooning to RM1.5 million. Some Rukun Tetangga members and resident associations have expressed concern that the increased costs would affect the MBPJ’s operating budget. Last month, Mohamad Roslan had to clarify the matter due to public pressure. He had said those who were still unhappy could propose to MBPJ to sell it, and he would continue to live in his double-storey terrace house in Shah Alam. Mohamad Roslan will be the first mayor to move into the official residence.

Mayor to move into RM1.5m residence

January 7 — 9, 2011

news

9

Learning from the Alcatel-Lucent case
The settlement of US$137 million (RM413 million) by Alcatel-Lucent SA (AL) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department of charges of bribery of government officials in Costa Rica, Honduras, Taiwan and Malaysia, is damaging to the image of Malaysia. There are many issues of governance and corruption to observe. It is alleged that AL had paid bribes to employees of Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), a GLC (government-linked corporation), to obtain confidential information relating to a public tender for a contract worth US$85 million that AL won. AL had paid US$200,000 and US$500,000 to two consultants but they “did not appear to render any legitimate services to Alcatel Malaysia in connection with these payments.” If these consultants did not provide legitimate services of value to AL then what type of “services” did they provide? The use of “consultants” or middlemen/facilitators, especially in closed or negotiated tenders, raises strong suspicion of corrupt practices. Many of them are RM2 companies with no relevant expertise or experience or even the resources to offer the services which they are supposed to provide. In addition to possibly being conduits for bribes, in some cases, there are several layers of consultants and/or sub-contractors. The actual contractor doing the work gets a fraction of the contract value and middlemen/ facilitators get significant portions for facilitating the contract. The consequences of such procurement practice are highly inflated prices, shoddy work, goods not delivered to specification in quantity and quality, etc. Although the regulators have espoused good governance, especially for public listed companies (PLC), and while many have published beautifully drafted statements of good governance in their annual reports, actual measures to implement good governance may still be lacking, especially in procurement. Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) advocates a set of integrity tools that are often missing from PLC compliance measures. These are: (1) Each PLC, GLC and governmentowned enterprise to make a public anti- corruption pledge similar to the pledge signed recently on Dec 9, 2010, by the heads of chambers of commerce and industry/trade associations. This pledge is a commitment to comply with a set of good business principles, including the implementation of an antibribery policy in accordance with global standards. Furthermore, the enterprise shall do a periodical self-assessment as to its level of compliance, preferably using an independent third-party assessor and the result of which should be made public. (2) Implementing a public and open tender system for procurement and a set of integrity compliance tools, especially the use of TI’s Integrity Pact (IP) and a whistle blowing policy. An IP is a legally enforceable agreement signed between both the buyer and the sellers with severe sanctions for defaults, such as termination of contract, black-listing, damages to the buyer and unsuccessful bidders. In IPs, the buyer commits not to solicit bribes and to put in place all possible measures to ensure its officials comply and the sellers commit to not paying bribes. All commissions and other payments paid directly or indirectly by the sellers must be disclosed to the buyer. The best practice of IP requires all stages of the procurement process, including tender specifications, prequalification, appointment of consultants, tender evaluation and award, contract performance and post-contract evaluation, especially for large projects, to be monitored by an independent external monitor with the requisite integrity and relevant expertise. For example, the upcoming MRT infrastructure project announced by the Government would be an ideal candidate to implement these important measures given its magnitude, costing RM36 billion, and will have a direct impact on the general public. Although regulations and governance measures may not completely eliminate fraud and corruption, TI’s experience is that the measures mentioned above together with top management setting the tone of integrity and zero tolerance of corruption, do mitigate the risk significantly. Recently, multi-billion losses of PLCs and government enterprises like those at Sime Darby Berhad and Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) highlight the urgent need for stronger good corporate governance. The regulators, boards of directors, CEOs, and political leaders must take heed. If not, there may be more scandals to come! Finally, in an article that appeared in our local media entitled “Getting corruption right”, Jagdish Bhagwati, professor of economics and law at Columbia University, said “but where substantial corruption can be unambiguously be found, as it often can, one must recognise that it is not a cultural given. On the contrary, it is the result of policies that have fed it.” Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan President Transparency International Malaysia

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news 10
January 7 — 9, 2011

Bandar Sri Damansara residents bag top prize
By Rahmah Ghazali

The Bandar Sri Damansara Residents Association receiving their award and prizes from Khalid.

PETALING JAYA: Being runner-up five years ago did not stop the Bandar Sri Damansara Residents Association from continuing their hard work to become the best neighbourhood at this year’s Petaling Jaya City Council’s Sustainable Community Awards. Shocked by the good news, the association’s president RK Ravindran did not expect that his committee would bag the first prize of the award, bringing home RM50,000, a trophy and certificates. “We certainly couldn’t believe that we had won. But we owe it all to the residents for their hard work and cooperation to make our neighbourhood the best place to live in,” he told reporters. Bandar Sri Damansara Residents Association defeated 16 other residents associations under the Petaling Jaya district at a grand ceremony in Petaling Jaya Civics Hall on Tuesday night. Each community was assessed by a panel of judges on, among others, cleanliness, administration, security and entrepreneurship. Ravindran said their win was not an individual achievement, as the association had cooperated with various authorities such as the local authorities, police, Alam Flora, Indah Water, Works Department and Road Transport Department. “With their help and cooperation, 60,000 residents in Bandar Sri Damansara feel peaceful and secure,” he said. When asked what they would do with the cash prize, Ravindran said the money would be used to upgrade computer systems to manage complaints by residents more effectively and efficiently. “And we will continue our hard work for the next year to come by inviting more residents to join a lot of interesting activities organised by the association,” he said. The ceremony was officiated by Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and also attended by Petaling Jaya City Council Mayor Mohamad Roslan Sakiman.

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to

Weiron Tan for winning the 2010 Yamaha SL International Challenge Championship Title
from

Committed to CSR

Views 11
January 7 — 9, 2011

T

wo key pillars of our political system are constitutional monarchy and federalism, both of which are at stake now in the on-going constitutional crisis in Selangor. They are at stake because some quarters through words and deeds make them seem contradictory, resulting in a trade-off. A democratic defence for Constitutional Monarchy More than being an ethnic champion, as some quarters in Malaysia like to stress, the principal role of constitutional monarchy is to be a political symbol for national unity. English constitutional theorist Walter Badeghot argued that the British-style constitutional monarchy is superior to a presidential republic ala America because the former allows a separation between “the dignified” and “the efficient” elements of government. “The dignified” refers to the head of state which gains authority, while “the efficient” means the government that uses the authority to govern. Put simply in our context, the Prime Minister, or Menteri Besar, often need to get his hands dirty to get things done while the King or Sultan will remain reverent by staying above the fray. This is not possible in American presidentialism. President George W Bush was both the head of state and head of government. If you hated him for his Iraq war, it would be emotionally challenging to be loyal opposition to such a highly divisive head of state. In UK, you, however, might hate PM Tony Blair for the Iraq War but still love Queen Elizabeth II who represents the country. Phrased otherwise, constitutional monarchy is relevant in the modern world because the monarchy can cover for and complement elected government, hence making democracy work better. And this is done by being a ceremonial leader, not in any way replacing or outsmarting the elected politicians. Technically, the role of a constitutional monarch can be replaced by a non-executive president like those in India and Singapore, but if you venerate history and traditions like Bagehot, constitutional monarchy would again be a superior alternative. In brief, a universal, democratic defence for constitutional monarchy is not only possible, but indeed the only valid one. Constitutional monarchy rests on its “protection” of elected government from disloyal opposition. Any ethno-nationalist justification for monarchy is not only antidemocratic but also anti-national, as it will both undermine the “dignified” role of the monarchy and tear apart Malaysia’s multicultural social fabric. A monarchical defence for federalism Unlike the United Kingdom which is a unitary state, the monarchical institutions have another important role in democracy, that is, to defend the states and federalism, or check the concentration of power at the Centre.

Daulat Tuanku! Long live Democracy! Hail Federalism!
When it comes to “check and balance” in democracy, many would only think of the horizontal “separation of power” between the three branches of government: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary, ignoring two very important contexts. One, in a parliamentary system, we actually have “fusion of power” rather than “separation of power” because the legislative (directly) and the executive (indirectly) are elected in one election. Second, the check and balance between the Parliament and the Executive actually lies on the possibility of the Government being overthrown by Parliament, and hence its non-existence in Malaysia. For a country which has never experienced party alternation at the Centre, the other option for “check and balance” mechanism is then the vertical “division of power” between

MAN IN BLACK
wong chin huat

the federal, state and local governments. It is greatly problematic if the State Secretary is to be appointed by the Federal Government. The underlying logic of federalism is that there can be conflicting interests between the Centre and the constituting states, hence the governments are meant to be rivals, in cooperation and competition at the same time. Unlike what advocates of authoritarianism would tell you, intergovernmental rivalry or even conflicts are good for democracy. It prevents emergence of absolute power and absolute corruption. It

allows the citizens to “divide and rule” politicians. We must be thankful for federalism and we should thank the Monarchy historically. Federalism was chosen over a unitary state in 1948 to preserve the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers. In brief, there would have been no federalism without the monarchy. Today, the opposite is also true. If the power of the states is eroded, then monarchies will inevitably be in decline. A monarchical defence – even only in intent – of state rights is therefore the only logical choice. The right equation The very core of the Malaysian political system is elected government (democracy), which is supreme subject only to the Constitution. Upon its rest the two key pillars: monarchy and federalism.

The three can and should be in blissful harmony. The Federal and State Constitutions must reflect this and be amended where this intent is not effectively expressed. Those who hope to pit the Monarchy against elected governments and federalism are undermining all three key elements of our political system. Through shouting out aloud “Daulat Tuanku”, these troublemakers do not mind scarifying constitutional monarchism in their zest to build a unitary dictatorship or oligarchy in Putrajaya. Just remember, Francisco Franco of Spain who called himself a monarchist too. Malaysians must show their will to chuck out trouble-makers into the dustbin of history. One Perak is too many. Daulat Tuanku! Long live democracy! Hail Federalism.

What’s missing in public transport planning
W
hat’s the greatest form of public transportation? Not the MRT, not the LRT, not trains, or even buses. It’s your legs. We all walk, or move around on wheelchairs. Anyone who’s taken a bus, train or taxi, stands or sits around waiting for the vehicle to arrive. Any effort to generate mass participation in public transport will falter unless we make our streets and stations safer and more comfortable for walking and waiting. Trouble is, we are mired in a mindset that development means owning more cars, then building more roads and lanes (shoulders and kerbs maybe, if there’s leftover space), then building some elevated or tunneled rail transit when roads become choked. And wait for the public to stream in. We make plans to spend RM36 billion or more to construct an MRT while driving past derelict bus stops, and don’t bat an eyelid at the contradiction. According to the Government Transformation Programme Roadmap, about 40 percent of bus stops in the Klang Valley have no shelter or signage. Building and refurbishing transit points offers a fairly simple and highly visible means for raising the profile of public transport. And it won’t hurt to raise the comfort of walking or waiting for those who currently bear with the heat, rain and other hostilities. Much opposition to the MRT points out the exorbitant cost, but even if it is much less expensive we undermine potential gains by not doing things in the right order. Is it not logically obvious that to expand public transport, we must first make it easier to get to transit points and improve the bus system, as the mode of transportation with the widest coverage? And then, figure out if we need mass transporting trains and if necessary, build them? Class mentalities pervade official, as well as popular, thinking and handling of transporta-

wIt pLeAsure
Lee hwok aun

tion issues. Policy is being made out of desire for other people to use it and free up the roads for the rest of us. Policy is written by people who drive or are driven from door to door, so the focus is always on the ride, not the shuffle in between rides. Transport woes are viewed from above, by people who seem to think that the MRT and LRT are for middle class folks who will drive or be driven to stations. Down the pyramid, walking and taking the bus are for people who are poor or young, who don’t mind the heat, grime and chaos. Plans were laid in early 2010 to increase the bus fleet, improve connectivity and upgrade bus stops, but since the MRT’s confirmation the common modes of walking and bussing have to compete for the remaining scraps of funds, not to mention being so out-glamourised. These days public transportation morning rush hour usage in the Klang Valley is around 12 percent. Eighty-eight percent of commuters drive private motorised vehicles. Current drivers are probably not going to abdicate easily, especially when it continues to be cheap to rule the roads. Petrol prices will go up, but we tolerate the squeeze and keep revving, unencumbered by congestion charges or single occupancy penalties. There’s also a treacherous possibility that success can undo itself here. If public transport usage increases, won’t this reduce congestion and make driving more appealing again? Consider too, how we get away with driving with utter disregard for pedestrians and public transport users. Zebra crossings are usually meaningless, sometimes dangerous for giving

a false sense of security. Drivers barge past with impunity. The steering wheel is a status symbol and power charm. I’m not sure how much of these realities factor into the grandiose target of increasing public transport usage to 50 percent by 2020. But I’m sure there is no escaping the prospect that many more people will have to walk and take the bus. The Brazilian city of Curitiba, paragon of green urban development, operates an enviably efficient and sleek bus-based public transport system and preserves abundant walkways and lush spaces. They’ve been at this for over 40 years – it takes time, patience and integrated planning. Surely various measures must be taken in the Klang Valley, in sequence or simultaneously, and customised to conditions here. Getting the bus system to operate smoothly and comfortably, though, is the best way to demonstrate that we can efficiently and reliably transform public transport. We have a long way to go. The Pan Malaysia Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) recently lamented the lack of coherent policy for their industry, and an exasperating array of government agencies they have to deal with. One of Malaysia’s pastimes is complaining about rude drivers. We cannot just wait for drivers to magically turn nice. We need some regulation that tilts the balance of road power from vehicles to pedestrians. If not congestion or other monetary charges, at least driving should cost more time. People who sit and press pedals should be made to slow down or stop more frequently to make way for people who walk. Then maybe we’ll stop thinking of walking as backward a means of getting around. Maybe we’ll even see it as a step forward.  Dr Lee Hwok Aun is a lecturer in the Faculty of Economics and Administration at the University of Malaya.

insight 12
january 7 — 9, 2010

Student Power:
Student movementS have been on the frontlineS of Social change. they were once a force for change in malaySia in the 1960s. what happened, and what’S being done to revive Student power.

50

yearS on

Empowering and Uniting Students
With just a few days left, preparations for the Students’ Parliament at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Jan 11 are at fever pitch. More than 170 students from private and public institutes of higher learning have registered to participate in the assembly, organised by Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negara (PMN) or National Student Assembly. Each participating student will get three minutes to speak about campus administration issues. “There will be no unheard voices on that day. No issue is too small or too big, or too irrelevant for us to discuss,” said PMN media officer Dineshweri Puspanadan. Some of these issues might be about personal safety on campus, or the lack of transportation after night classes. “Students feel that they aren't able to reach the campus authorities over issues as small as a lack of parking,” said Dinesh. The Students’ Parliament is seen as a step towards uniting students from campuses around the country. “Students, unite!” is PMN’s rallying cry to those attending the assembly. PMN hopes that public and private university students can find common ground, and revive the idea of students as change agents in society, just like the Universiti Malaya student movement of the 1960s. “We've seen Fahmi Reza's documentary on the 60's Universiti Malaya student movement. They were united, and they were even able to mobilise the public over critical issues in their time,” said Dinesh. “The students who raised issues of poverty and defended farmers’ rights were united regardless of ethnicity,” said Dinesh. “That is the legacy of the ‘60s student movement that PMN wants to continue.” She outlines other positive consequences expected as a result of the Students’ Parliament. For one, it will be an exercise in participatory democracy. Not only will students get to speak but they will also decide on solutions to problems together and vote on them. Secondly, it is hoped that the event can help remove prejudices between private and public university students. “Public university students say that private university and college students are arrogant,” observed Dinesh. Through the assembly, she hopes that students from both types of institutions will find that they have common ground, and will learn to trust each others’ approach to solving problems. And perhaps most importantly, PMN hopes that students will learn how to think for themselves. “We [have been] taught what to think and what not to think, but not how to think,” she said. PMN is happy with the response from students nationwide. Thirty percent of those attending are from private institutes of higher learning. Dinesh is hopeful that the students who attend the assembly will return to their campuses and empower their fellow students.

By Alvin Yap

J

ust a few months ago, scenes of angry students protesting the British government’s plan to triple tuition fees became world headlines. In 1986, The People Power and its non-violent revolution in the Philippines saw students picketing at the gates outside Malacanang palace. That event restored democracy to the Phillipines, and led to the downfall of then President Ferdinand Marcos. In May 1998, Indonesia’s Suharto fell from power following daily student protests after he was re-elected for a fifth consecutive term by a rubber-stamp legislative. Another student power movement was the May 1968 student uprising in Paris. From May to July of that year, Paris and almost all of France was nearly shut down by students who stood with workers as they protested against the De Gaulle adminstration, to the point that it nearly fell. Is there student power of this kind in Malaysia? To begin with, documentary filmmaker and student movement historian Fahmi Reza says that the current generation of students do not realise that they are a “force to be reckoned” with. There are almost a million students in local public and private institutions of higher learning. Fahmi believes these students have the power to “mobilise” the rakyat in any civil society initiative given their sheer numbers alone. He stresses, Malaysian student power is not about violent protests or about overthrowing the government. Student power in the Malaysian context, Fahmi says, is about students being conscious about the lack of autonomy in campus affairs. He wants the students to regain their independence that was lost in 1971 due to the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA). The UUCA was enacted to curtail the autonomy and independence of campuses that flourished in the 1960s. Fahmi wants to show students that there has been a history of student activism in the 1960s– especially in Universiti Malaya – with his documentary lecture titled “Student Power”. He hopes that students will find inspiration in their predecessors and realise that “radicalism” in Malaysian campuses was mainstream.

But not all agree with Fahmi’s direction, and those who don’t are using the same Act he wants repealed to bar him from delivering his lecture on campuses. Fahmi says that he cannot quit pushing campus authorities to let him in. What is at stake is the student community, he explains, and the ability of the students themselves to think and act independently. “What is so threatening about my lecture”, he asks. It is, he says, about a part of Malaysian history. He smiles cryptically and asks, “Could it be that while the students themselves are ignorant about student activist history, the authorities are not?” He says that the government fears student radicalism and for that reason, UUCA was enacted. Education and critical thinking have always been a dangerous mix, he says.

Student power a part of hiStory
He points to the student activism of the 60s and the various initiatives that the Universiti Malaya Students’ Union (UMSU) set up; they published a paper, the Mahasiswa Negara, and also ran a bus service and canteen. He says that is a far cry from the current conditions in public institutes of learning. “Students don’t know that they have the right to organise, to start their own initiatives. If the campus authorities insist on controlling them with the UUCA, treating them like school-children, they will never mature and be able to make [good] decisions,” Fahmi says. Campus autonomy and independence should be encouraged and treasured, he says. A campus is the perfect place to test new ideas. He says that those ideas should deal with promoting democracy, good governance and help students deal with pressing issues. An autonomous and independent campus is beneficial to society, he adds. “A campus is just like a ‘mini’ country, it has its own constitution and populace where students should experiment with other forms of democracy,” Fahmi says. What form does he mean? “[One that] replaces political representation that is elitist and which takes power away from the people.” The political system inside campuses mirrors that of society, he continues. If students can successfully solve problems and organise themselves politically on campus, they will be able to contribute at national

level, Fahmi reasons. To that end, he says to student activists: “Design new democratic institutions. Popularise power and give sovereignty back to the students. “If it is successful, bring that model to the rakyat so that the decision making process is back in their hands,” he concludes. If such ideas sound alarming, Fahmi responds: “If the students’ experiments fail, it fails within the confines of campus and is contained inside it.” One problem student power in Malaysia faces is the lack of credibility – people today associate the idea of a student movement with student riots elsewhere, like the recent ones in London recently. Fahmi says that there will be a small number of student protestors who resort to violence to vent their anger. But the media is also to blame, and he believes the media’s fixation on violence is a method to discredit students’ grouses. “People who have risen up in history and spoken up are seen as troublemakers because they dared to question the status quo,” he notes.

Small Start
What should Malaysian students be addressing? Fahmi says some issues are not too different from what students in other countries face, such as the fee increase in Britain. University fees here are on the increase too, he observes, with government pushing the provision of education to the private sector. “Currently, there are already students graduating

A campus is just like a ‘mini’ country, it has its own constitution and populace where students should experiment with other forms of democracy,”

Fahmi Reza

from public universities saddled with study loans, some as much as RM15,000. Education, however, is a right, and not a privilege by economic status,” he says. What then is stopping students from being paragons of student power? Fahmi admits that there is a long way to go before students can even reach the goals of having unfettered public space on campuses to realise their potential. Not many students are even aware of the oppressive atmosphere in national campuses. “Most students do not ask hard-hitting questions,” he says. Besides the UUCA, students have been conditioned to think of education as a “commodity”, or as a pursuit for paper qualifications. “A wholesome education should be about developing the spiritual side of any student. It shouldn’t be [just] about getting a degree and a job after that.” But Fahmi still believes there is a growing momentum towards student power in Malaysia. There is a group that will be holding an assembly at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on the 11 January. The Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negara (PMN) or National Student Assembly will give each student who turns up at the meet a chance to talk about issues close to heart. Each student also gets to vote on resolutions to the issues raised. “[This] initiative gives hope for democracy in campuses and Malaysia,” Fahmi says.

VIews 14
January 7 — 9, 2011

S

hould governments be involved in business? Constipated Baboon, via email Of course! Governments which are not involved in business are not doing a good job of “governing” are they? Rules, regulations, licensing, budgeting all sorts of other governing-esque doo-dads need to be done. But the question is, to what degree should this involvement be? Governments can be part of the business market in two general ways – to participate in the market, or to protect the market. Both are commonplace, worldwide. Governments participate in the market via their investment arms, in which they hold substantial stakes, and have control over the what, where, which, who, why, and how of the investment considerations. Problems arise when governments, or these government-linked companies are seen to have an unfair advantage due to either privileged information, favouritism when it comes to licensing or infrastructure, or in the process by which tenders for government projects are awarded. Malaysians are, sadly, all too familiar with these issues. Some would argue that, in a capitalist market, it’s all about the survival of the fittest. On the surface level, one of the most publicly competitive businesses is the telecommunications industry. The major telcos wage price wars

The business of governing cakes
People eat cake all the time. How do you tell if they are eating to protest, or eating to enjoy the cake? What if it is both? This guerrillalike method must be very disturbing to the cake monitors, who make it their business to obstruct any public action questioning the status quo and the powers that be.”
and uncovers the murky depths of issues such as bandwith allocation, licences and tender process for all things telco-related. It is then that one realises that the government’s control over which companies have an easier ride than others makes it anything but a level playing field. bail out such corporations, they may go under, or be purchased by a foreign entity. The collapse or loss of control of such mega corporations would not only affect other companies in their industry, it would affect other industries as well, and cause a nationwide economic downturn. There is a balancing act to be achieved – companies cannot keep expecting governments to bail them out with taxpayers money, and decisions need to be made fairly, and properly. Yes, if companies do not take care of themselves, then they should be allowed to fail, but – and it’s a but which is bigger than that rainbow one on Lord Bobo’s Aunt Mildred – governments cannot be expected to simply let economies, markets and nations crumble because a company doesn’t deserve a handout. Here, it is only aposLoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) tasy from Islam that is unwhere all your profound, doubtedly the concern of abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, our intrepid questioner. sagacious, and other thesaurusArticle 11(1) of the described queries are answered! Federal Constitution enshrines the right of “every person” to profess and practice his or their identity cards between 2000 her religion. The 9th Schedule per- and 2005. Other sources confirm mits States to make Islamic law to be that the actual numbers are very applied only to “persons professing small, and more often than not the religion of Islam”. involve those who had converted Yet, the 2-1 majority Federal to Islam for reasons of a marriage, Court decision in Lina Joy (2007) and now wish to revert to their requires any person considered a former religion once their marriage “Muslim” by such State law to go had failed. to the Syariah authorities for perAll fa ithf ul are natura lly mission to “renounce” Islam. This concerned when one of their own exposes those wishing to convert chooses to renounce a religion out to criminal sanction. they believe to be perfect and In Melaka a few years ago, AlJa- true. But the disappointment felt zeera covered the story of a woman cannot be an excuse to subject that called Revathi who went to the other person to live trapped in an Syariah court in its civil jurisdiction unwanted official religious identity. to get an order to leave Islam, saying All should be concerned at the that she was now Hindu, had mar- government determining what ried a Hindu man and had a baby religion a person is. Why does cake-eating appear so threatening? @Adriene, via Twitter You must be referring to the g overnment monitoring Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) students who protested against the 1 0 0 - s t o r e y Wa r i s a n Merdeka project by eating cake at McDonald’s on Nov 16, 2010. E ating ca ke when upset is a well known p h en om en on . At an individual level, it is not an act of protest but more of finding comfort and escape from one’s troubles. This phenomenon has now been adapted by those creative students and applied in the political sphere. Eating cake as a sign of protest is a new form of dissent. People eat cake all the time. How do you tell if they are eating to protest, or eating to enjoy the cake? What if it is both? This g uerrilla-like method must be very disturbing to the cake monitors, who make it their business to obstruct any public action questioning the status quo and the powers that be. However, the students were only exercising their rights to freely associate and express themselves as guaranteed under Article 9 of the Federal Constitution. And by no stretch of the imagination can eating dessert be classified as a threat to public order. Among the many trivial pursuits of the PDRM, expending their limited resources by sending 14 officers to this event surely takes the cake.
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by

on a daily basis, in terms of their devices and voice and data packages. Consumers benefit from open, fair competition! Brilliant right? But that surface-level view becomes immeasurably muddied when one takes a look underwater,

Of course, government intervention is sometimes needed in times of crisis – which seem to be a dime a dozen these days – such as when major companies collapse, creating a domino effect on the market. If governments do not step in to

Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by – • emailing asklordbobo@loyarburok.com, stating your full name, and a pseudonym if you wish the question to be published anonymously (and a good reason for anonymity). • tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive LoyarBurok’s ONLY merchandise you ever need (worth a lot for humankind) courtesy of Selangor Times. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!

And this is where the good governments differ from the half-pastsix governments. Good governments formulate effective measures and sets of sensible rules and regulations in order to avert a major economic or financial catastrophe. Good governments create ministries staffed by responsible leaders who ensure that these measures, rules and regulations are actually enforced, and applied fairly. Dear Lord Bobo, what is with this apostasy law business? How will it affect us Muslims? @ladymissazira, via Twitter In common to many other species in the galaxy, humans too have a natural affection for their own religion. Most of Earth’s religions have persecuted those who wish to convert to another religion, calling it apostasy.

with her husband. The Melaka Syariah High Court exercised its criminal jurisdiction in that case and sent the woman to be detained at a rehabilitation centre in Ulu Yam, Selangor for six months. At the end of her rehabilitation period, she still maintained that she was a Hindu but the Syariah Court refused to allow her to renounce Islam and ordered her into the custody of her father (even though she was 28 years old). Negeri Sembilan is the only State with a procedure within its legislation permitting conversion out, which imposes mandatory counseling (but without any detention), but ultimately still leaves a discretion to the Syariah court to say no to the person who wants to leave. Lord Bobo has learnt that the National Registration Department received a total of 873 applications to remove the word ‘Islam’ from

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 7 – 9, 2011 ⁄ 15

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news 16

January 7 — 9, 2011

Hi-tech monitoring to go online in Selayang
By Alvin Yap

Students push for role in nation-building
PETALING JAYA: The absence of a police permit did not stop 450 undergraduates from gathering to demand for a greater political say at Padang Timur last Saturday. The Himpunan Mahasiswa Malaysia’s (Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement) gathering was held to support a series of declarations that would see students asking for a larger role in national politics. It was attended by pro-democracy student bodies. “In other countries, in Europe for example, students have been able to change government policies,”said Ahmad Syukri Abdul Razak, president of the Political Council of Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia, or Gamis. He said Malaysia’s student movement still “had some distance” to go before it could influence government policies. “There are more students now with greater political consciousness, more than before, but it’s still not enough,” he said. He said student movements must be given an opportunity to speak out against “unfair practices” in campus elections. He was referring to universities which favour proestablishment student bodies and their candidates. “Isn’t having dialogues and giving views and opinions a part of education?” asked Ahmad Syukri on the sidelines of the gathering which was held from 10am to noon. “But most of all we agree that the Universities and University Colleges Act must be abolished,” he said. He said the act dictates how students should participate in campus elections. He added that the act barred students from being involved in national politics, and hence, are prevented from contributing to nationbuilding. He said it was natural for students to be involve d in politics or mass political movements as they wanted to be critical of unjust state and federal government policies. In view of this, he said the movement would judge the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat fairly. “We are sensitive to the people’s plight, and we are ready to defend them by being critical of bad policies and governance. We will of course contribute to better policies that benefit the people,” he said. The student organising committee had applied for a police permit for the gathering two weeks ago, said Petaling Jaya City councillor Richard Yeoh. He said police did not approve the application but finally relented

SELAYANG: Twenty-four new closed circuit cameras have been installed at crime-prone hot spots in the municipality here in a bid to step up public security. “We want to ensure the safety of our citizens,” said Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) acting president Mohd Jaid Ehsan. He said MPS would start operating the CCTVs around Bandar Baru Selayang , Selayang Utama and Kepong within a month. “Each location has five CCTVs that are spread out in different areas,” said Mohd Jaid. He said the locations were strategically chosen to enable the authorities to monitor crime in a larger area. The Gombak district police headquarters selected the sites for the cameras. The CCTVs will be monitored by MPS officers at their office in Bandar Baru Selayang and police at their district headquarters. Three CCTVs are already operating 24-hours at the Municipal Council, Selayang Mall and   Selayang Capital shopping centre.

on one condition: no political speeches by the students. Yeoh said he disagreed with the condition. “Every speech, especially in matters relating to student elections and aspirations, is political. How can police say ‘no political speech’?” Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, who expressed support for the gathering, said there was a need for students’ voices to be heard, and that their role in nation-building was important. Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara Hee Loy Sian was also present.

Tracking the pulse of Penang

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Penang Economic Monthly is a monthly magazine dedicated to socio-economic issues in Penang, offering reliable socio-economic data as well as informative articles on the arts,the industry, culture and social issues that are relevant to today’s generation of Malaysians. Available nationwide at bookshops and newsstands. www.penangeconomicmonthly.com

By Alvin Chin

T

here’s no doubt   the Irish love their spuds but Ireland’s Potato offers bizarre or exotic (it depends who you ask) flavours for those looking for more than ordinary fries. While it would be impossible to taste all the flavours offered in Ireland’s Potato in one sitting, but for the readers’ benefit, I gathered a group of non-professional gluttons to put their taste buds to the test. Fortunately we managed to try 10 different flavours from the outlet. The “special cheddar cheese” flavour’s name says it all. Its cheesy cheese has a rich texture, causing it to be sticky. While consuming, let the cheesy fries melt in your mouth as the satisfaction can be very addictive. It is better to consume it while it is still warm as the cheese and fries will glue together when it turns cold. If you want to try spaghetti bolognese on fries, then order the “Ireland chicken meat sauce potato chips”. It definitely would not taste as good as the spaghetti but it is worth trying. Different people have different preferences but this flavour is not as appetising as it looks on the picture. Ever wondered how would Pringles taste like freshly baked from the oven? Then try the “sour cream potato chips” flavour. I promise you this flavour will not disappoint your expectations. Imagine biting a warm Pringles crisp and you will feel the urge to grab another piece. I can say that “honey mustard potato chips” might sound appetising but not everyone would fancy this flavour. I personally have tried this flavour twice and I find it good but my partners-inOur rating for your convenience of making a choice crime thought otherwise. They complained about the Special Cheddar Cheese 2.5/5 excessive amount of honey Ireland Chicken Meat Sauce Potato Chips 2/5 covering the mustard. If you Sour Cream Potato Chips 4/5 place an order for this flaHoney Mustard Potato Chips 2/5 vour, do tell them to be a Wasabi Mayonnaise Potato 2.5/5 little more generous with Pickle Mayonnaise Potato 2.5/5 their mustard. Garlic Powder Potato 5/5 The “wasabi mayonnaise Nori Powder Potato 3/5 potato” flavour is a great exPlum Pepper Powder Potato 2/5 ample of an east-meets-west Cinnamon Icing Potato 2/5 combination. Combining two of the countries’ oldest cultures can only mean one was perfect. There was not much grumbling thing; a very different, yet exotic flavour. The about this flavour as everyone agreed this was only catch is the lack of pungency from the the best of the night. wasabi. Perhaps it is caused by the thickness To be honest, we did not know what an of the mayonnaise. People who are afraid of ordinary nori taste like but while trying out the power of the wasabi can fear not as the the “nori powder potato”, we could only notice pungency is only very mild. the similarity with the garlic taste. Maybe we The flavoury “pickle mayonnaise potato” were not accustomed to the flavour but it was had a unique mixture. The mixture of salty still worth trying. and sour flavour lived up to its pickle comThe “plum pepper powder potato” flavour bination with the potato. lived up to its name as it falls under the crazy The champion of the night went to the flavour category. Who would have thought of “garlic powder potato” flavour. Although it including plum flavour in an ordinary looking looked ordinary with garlic powder sprinkled potato? Nonetheless, we could hardly taste the on the fries, the adjustment of garlic flavour plum flavour on this choice. Close your eyes and imagine eating a warm and sweet French fries. I know it sounds a little weird but you can try the “cinnamon icing potato” flavour. This is a bad combination as warm fries already carry a little salty taste in it and with the mixture of sweet cinnamon, it only makes it taste weirder. Some of the flavours have too complicated combinations, making it sound exotic but sometimes the taste can go bad. But then again, it’s up to an individual to decide his or her choice of flavour. Ireland Potato outlets are located at Sunway Pyramid, Berjaya Times Square and The Gardens, Midvalley.

The bizarre and the exotic

Review 17
January 7 — 9, 2011

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Features 18
January 7 — 9, 2011

Of tyres, helmets and pedalling away
two-year-old. But now budding cyclists can put their safety concerns behind. They can join the Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Hash (KLMBH) to challenge themselves and wander into the forest. A good opportunity to relive the adventurous spirit of our childhood. The KLMBH started in 1994 when a group of 20 riders got together and started venturing into forests. It has gained in popularity through the years, and it now has 230 members . “When I first started mountain biking about six years ago, there were only about 100 riders but the numbers have increased strongly over the years,” said Stanley Ng, who is president of KLMBH. Ng, 36, who is an IT technical manager, has been an active mountain biker for six years. He believes people should take up mountain biking regardless of their age, gender or occupation. The idea of a bunch of people (“bashers” or “hounds”) cycling around an area (typically an oil palm or rubber estate here in Malaysia) following bits of paper (the “paper trail”) laid earlier by the “hare” may sound crazy, but not to these adventurers. They just love it. To make things more exciting, the paper trail includes a system of checkpoints and false trails. A bit like treasure hunting and orienting. Part of the attraction of the bike hash is that it allows you access new trails, as no two hashes are ever the same. If the hare is particularly adventurous, you may even be biking in an area totally new to mountain bikes. Bike hashing is ideal for those who find racing on a closed loop antithetical to the mountain biking spirit of adventure. For those who have a bike that is kept in the store room, it is time to take it out, wipe away the dust and pump your tyres with air. Then join a bike hash on the

By Alvin Chin

ave you ever wanted to relive a childhood moment when you used to cycle around the neighbourhood? We watched mountain bikers manoeuvring around the jungle, dodging potholes and branches on television, and wondered why can’t we be like them. Cycling has been a part of every child’s life but the habit seems to die off as a child grows older. Safety issues and lack of places to cycle could be the reasons for the disinterest. “Back in my childhood days I used to cycle around my kampung, but now because of traffic concerns, I rather not be bothered to cycle at all,” said Koe Houi Yun, an accountancy graduate. According to Choo Shi Jin, the lack of place for him to cycle ended his cycling days. “It’s boring to cycle around the neighbourhood over and over again and there are also limited safe places to cycle in Petaling Jaya” said the twenty-

H

The idea of a bunch of people (“bashers” or “hounds”) cycling around an area (typically an oil palm or rubber estate here in Malaysia) following bits of paper (the “paper trail”) laid earlier by the “hare” may sound crazy, but not to these adventurers. They just love it.”
last Sunday of the month and prepare to Kuala Lumpur Mountain Bike Hash (KLMBH) member endure the adrenalin flow in your body. wandering into the forest. If you worry your body cannot handle the punishment of the trails set by KLMBH, have no fear. There are two categories in every bash. The beginners’ trail Bukit Kiara is fairly easy with no big hills in Brilliant network of technical trails smack in the middle of between and the length is only the KL-PJ conurbation. Certainly one of the most enjoyable 10 to 12 km. This is recomand demanding collection of trails that Speedy has ever mended for first time bikers. The wagged her tail at. All these trails require a minimum level intermediate trail varies from big of fitness to overcome the initial climbs, but those who hills, fast down hill and requires persevere are rewarded with such sweet and technical knowledge of technical riding. single-track that you will wonder why you would ever want Riders are expected to complete to ride elsewhere. 20 to 25km in the trail. Sungai Buloh/Rubber Research Institute (RRI) Do keep in mind that every Many veteran mountain bikers cut their teeth here when bash is not a race. There are no they were just starting out. Although slightly lacking in the competitions but the common back-to-nature department (being fodder for mosquitoes goal is to complete a course in doesn’t count), the RRI area has a sufficient variety of trails each bash. Every participant to cater for beginners and advanced/deranged riders alike. must work together to complete The site of many races, including the 2001 Sea Games a loop. MTB course. If you are tired of the same old FRIM routine, then try something new. The Forest Research Institute in Kepong has a number of Grab your old bike and start pedinteresting and scenic trails set in the forest reserve. The alling away. Forget about cycling tall canopies of dipterocarps (literally, “two-winged seed”, in parks or housing neighboura family of tropical hardwood forest trees) provide ample hoods, push yourself into cycling shade and ensure a pleasant, even if not hardcore, ride. in a new environment where you The main trail is the Rover Track, with other subsidiary will be surrounded by nature. (and sometimes overgrown) trails branching off it. Klang Park A little park in Klang, located off the Banting road, across the road from the main Klang hospital, has interesting and surprisingly technical singletrack trails. The trails will be worth the effort. From the infamous 7-way roundabout in Klang, head towards Banting. Look out for a yellow-domed mosque on your left, across the road from the hospital. A tarmac road just after the mosque (and just before a Petronas station) leads uphill to the park. The park is infested with joggers and hikers in the early morning and evenings.

Favourite bashing spots in Selangor

Stanley Ng: president of KLMBH.

Exciting trails across palm oil estates.

Log on to www.klmbh.org Find out when and where the next bash is. Show up on that particular day with your bike and helmet. Sign up on the spot. When and where is the next bash? Jan 30, 2011 (Sunday) at Rubber Research Institute What does it take to be a member? Fill in an application form and submit on the next bash together with membership fees of RM70, or pay RM15 for a bash you are attending if you have not decided that you want to be a member yet. Who to contact? Stanley Ng @ 012-2937720

How to be a part of KLMBH?

technology 19
JANUARY 7 — 9, 2011

Storing data in the clouds
By Edwin Yapp

W

hat is your new year wish? I’m sure you have many, but how about a wish for more computing storage without having to carry around thumb or pen drives? After all, with the amount of data a typical consumer holds on to today, it’s no wonder many of us would have at least a few thumb drives and one portable hard drive to store our data in. But in recent times, the notion of having our valuable data with us anytime, anywhere, has become more appealing, and so has the idea of storing data in the so-called storage cloud. The advantages are obvious. The first is that you have your data with you everywhere you go. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer with a browser. Secondly, you can publish your data for those who want to access

it, which eliminates having to circulate your storage devices from one person to another. However, online storage services do come with some drawbacks. Because you’re depending on Internet connectivity to download and upload your files, your service is only as good as your Internet access. Security is another important thing to consider. Given the amount of breaches in security on the Internet these days, you may want to consider only uploading information that is not the most private. Still, storage services do have credible security protection protocols, so you’re not totally vulnerable. So if you’re able to live with some of these challenges, online storage today has become a viable option. Most of these online storage services have basic packages that are free to use and can be further upgraded should you need more space. Here’s a compilation of some storage ser-

vices that you may want to consider with various configurations and packages for different needs.
Windows Live SkyDrive

The world’s largest software company makes it easy for beginners to store data. All you need to kick start SkyDrive is a valid Windows Live ID, which you would already have if you have a Hotmail, Messenger, or Xbox LIVE account. SkyDrive’s biggest selling point is that it’s free and that it’s pretty generous with the free storage space provided — 25GB to be exact, which is more than any other equivalent free storage service. This service is easy to use and well laid out. From the get go, you already have four folders on your drive: documents, favourites, shared favourites, and public. These are default folders that you can’t delete. With SkyDrive, you can assign permission from your address book and authorise who can have access to view your folders. It also supports photo tagging, slideshows and you can easily share photos with your friends by sending them a link. Your guests can sign in without a Windows Live ID and still view your pictures. SkyDrive supports drag-and-drop file transfers from your desktop but only with the Internet Explorer browser. For more, check out http://explore.live. com/windows-live-skydrive
SugarSync

you have various plans to choose from. Plans start from US$49.99 per year for 30GB of storage. The best feature that SugarSync possesses is that it can synchronise your data across multiple PCs that you own. For example, once you’ve installed the SugarSync manager on your work and home PCs, any changes (edit, delete, rename) that you make to the files stored on one computer will be reflected in other PCs. You can also access your files using your friend’s computer via a browser and make changes there. These changes will also be reflected across all PCs. One neat feature that is that you can store your media files online and access them via applications on popular smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile. For more, surf www.sugarsync.com
Dropbox

If you’re looking for an online storage that synchronises your data to your PC, try SugarSync. It offers a 30-day free trial, after which

This service is gaining in popularity chiefly because it’s easy to use and it’s mostly free. It’s suitable for most people who do not have that much to store, and has simple interfaces. Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage, with up to 100GB for paying customers. Users of Windows, Mac or Linux platforms can use the application and it automatically syncs when new files or changes are detected. Like the other storage clouds on offer here, Dropbox lets you share folders, allows several people to collaborate on the same files, lets you see other people’s changes instantly, and allows your Public folder to link directly to files. For more, go to www.dropbox.com

Pothole hazard for m-cyclists
By Basil Foo

SERI KEMBANGAN: A pothole in Jalan Utama, Serdang Raya, has caused four accidents so far. A victim has called on the authorities to act before someone is killed. “The car in front of me swerved suddenly to avoid the pothole but I ended up hitting the hole and falling off my bike,” said Chong Voon Fei.

The 26-year-old photographer sustained injuries to his elbows and knees while the tyres and rims of his motorcycle were badly damaged in the accident on Dec 28. Petrol attendants from a nearby kiosk rushed to his aid and told him he was the fourth accident victim within a month. “The rest were also motorcyclists who suffered similar injuries,” he said. Chong suspects the pothole was caused by shoddy road works.

FICTION 20
January 7 — 9, 2011

The dance lesson
Fiction by Hazlan Zakaria


Take 5 minutes to fill this form up and drop it off at the nearest police station to have regular checks at your house while you are away. Ibu pejabat polIs Daerah subang jaya

Tel: 03-5637 3722 Fax: 03-5631 9815
Borang maklumaT Memaklumkan tentang meningalkan rumah kediaman untuk bercuti. Kepada Kawasan pentadbiran balai polis ............................................................................................. . BuTiran penduduk: nama: ................................................................................ .. alamat: ............................................................................... .. ............................................................................................. . ............................................................................................. . nombor telefon bimbit/kediaman: ..................................... ... nombor telefon yang boleh dihubungi: ............................ .... ............................................................................................. . tarikh meninggalkan rumah: ............................................. ... tarikh dijangka balik ke rumah: ........................................... Kenderaan yang ditinggalkan (jenis model & nombor daftar kenderaan). 1. ........................................................................................ .. ............................................. .. ....................................... tarikh

omething wonderful happens when unstoppable force meets immovable object. So I thought, lost in her embrace. Dancing away, awkward-stiff arms and two left feet, struggling to pace her languorous, seductive dance. Her eyes sought me, as mine tried looking away, for an excuse to run. The thick liquor-music drowned me in its beats, its caressing melody, intoxicating. Highly conscious of her reassuring hands and seductive body against mine. Her graceful gyrations exquisite, mine clumsily keeping time. It was stupid, bordering on insane. But we tire of the roles we play. Inducted since infancy into opposing philosophies, the Sanguine Stoics and the Clan of Dance. Paragons of our orders, I a dedicated Brother Stoic and she an unrestrained Sister of Dance, finding solace in each other. It was natural, for orders to come down that we contend to prove the ascendancy of our faiths. A fight to the death. We have contested many times. Members of my coterie and her entourage cut down in fierce battles, which left us yet unscathed. But something blossomed, as we met upon roof tops in lonely duels, wary of losing too many acolytes, developing into intimate chats, as we fall into a strange trap. I know not what it is, love, camaraderie or friendship. Something grew out of our opposites, echoing ancient rumours, a third option for our race. An in-between, she and I gleaned. But for warrior-philosophers that we are, our elders ordered a final and fatal confrontation, under threat of

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lethal excommunication. We met one last time, at the dance hall we observed from our rooftop hiatus. Where she danced as music drifted aloft, baring me her soul, as I struggled to show why silence and tranquility is mine. We made a pact, before the end, to teach each other what the other meant. My coterie and her entourage incognito, philosopher veterans trying to fit in the crowd of partying lessers. I couldn’t assemble any logic from this. Overwhelmed by something I am inexperienced with. She said, it’s okay, called it “feelings”. I was unsure, how can something be both so good and painful at once? Doubting myself, I wondered if the elders were right. Is there evil in this? One look into her eyes and the squeeze of her fingers on my shoulder and waist, answered me this. I wouldn’t want it undone. A buoyancy filled me, happy warmth flooding. The happiest I have ever been, encircled in the arms of my dancing queen. Life is not fair, bound by contradictions. I must show her true stoicism, the only way to ensure she and our child within, survive the day. She looked up as thoughts distracted me from her eyes. Steeling myself, I placed a kiss upon her forehead. Lips paused by her ear, I tightened my embrace and whispered. “Be well my love, for your lesson in steadfastness begins.” “Now?” her expression quizzical. “My love... I like the sound of that...” she said, caressing the words with her pronunciation. I closed my eyes and kept newly acquired emotions in check. “Soon my love. After the music ends,” I assured, forcing myself out of her embrace. As the music died

Unisel gets grant
SHAH ALAM: Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) has received a half million ringgit research grant from the state to develop green technology for Selangor. “As we are among the most polluted states in the country, a research on green technology will go a long way towards a cleaner environment,” said Unisel president and vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Rosti Saruwono. Green technology is an application of science and technology towards preserving natural resources and environment. Rosti received the cheque from state executive councillor Dr Halimah Ali on Tuesday.

my Katana slid out of its scabbard, her twin stilettos emerging from their sheaths. We took our places in the scheme of things, across that immutable line between those who chose not to live and those who pursued living to the fullest. The hiss of cruel metal resounded as my faithful coterie and her loyal entourage followed suit. Blades akimbo, we threw ourselves into the dance as musicians and patrons ran pell mell into the dark, away from the quickening onslaught. We were evenly matched, neither could prevail in a straight fight. But we both risk death, if we do not. I waited until she was caught up in the throes, her whirling stilettos surging in lightning fast stabs. Judging the moment right, I let down my guard and surrendered to her stilettos. Titanium tips punctured my chest in organ-shredding rush, as motorised blade ripped into unarmoured flesh. My chain mail undershirt deliberately not in its place. Time stopped as blinding pain exploded. I crumpled towards the floor in a bloody heap. Everything blurred, a compressed single moment. Lifeblood seeped out of me, as cold numbness followed. She cradled me in her lap, anguish coloured her face. I looked in her eyes and smiled. Her tears flowing as sobs wracked her. “It’s the only way. My lesson to you. Be steadfast... be stoic”, I gurgled in between gasps. “At our rooftop hideout, is a package. Travel papers for you and some cash. Flee, stay safe...remember me to our child,” I uttered at the last. Another blinding flash of pain followed and then... darkness.

Dr Halimah handing over the cheque to Rosti.

Have you cHecked your electrical switcHes before leaving Home?
Before ieaving your home for a holiday, have you checked all your electrical switches and turned off your gas tanks?

In addition to green technology, the grant will also be used to study integrated technology. He said Unisel would use the funds to research projects at lakes

and land on its campus in Bestari Jaya. He said Unisel would ensure the projects generate income and be self-sustaining .

MPK extends discount for parking fines
KLANG: Traffic offenders have until Jan 16 to settle their overdue parking fines at a discounted rate of RM20 at the Klang Municipal Council (MPK). Its president, Datuk Mislan Tugiu, said the council decided to extend the original Dec 31 deadline to Jan 16 due to overwhelming response. The council has collected more than RM600,000 from parking fines since the promotion began on Dec 1. A special counter has been set up at the MPK lobby. MPK said it will take court action against offenders who failed to settle their fines by Jan 16. The council is also setting up an additional counter at its office for business owners to renew their business licences by today.

Call the SS17 BomBa for advise at

03-5634 9444

Feature 21
January 7 — 9, 2011

Some people do get hungry two hours after lunch. But if time is precious and you can’t afford to cruise around in search of snack food, let LIN ZHENYUAN point the way to the ‘yew char kueh” man in an older part of Petaling Jaya.

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lack coffee drinkers know that “yew char kueh” or crullers are like jam on toasted bread. There are vendors and stalls scattered all over Petaling Jaya selling this oily delicacy. SS2 has a crullers stall in Medan Selera that has proven its staying power over the years by selling just this one item. Section 17, near the market place, also has a mobile van that sells yew char kueh in the afternoons. And if you are in Selayang Baru, there’s a stall, just around the corner from the Selayang Baru Mall. That particular hawker who parks his mobile stall next to a big drain has an awesome reputation for yew char kueh, too. But my personal favourite is the guy who sells the fried pastries from his van in PJ Old Town. I speak only for myself when I say the yew char kueh in PJ Old Town is one of the best I have ever come across. Ultimately, it is up to the individual. This guy is a middle-aged man who normally comes after lunchtime and parks in front of the dim sum shop. Customers will drop by to pick up a bagful or two for their friends or families. Considering that there’s a very popular bak kut teh stall around the corner from where his van is stationed, it is not The varieties of yew char kueh and hum cheen penh on sale. surprising that some bak kut teh patrons will make the yew char kueh van their second stop after eating at the Heng Kee Bak Kut Teh Restaurant. Business is usually brisk immediately after the driver-cumseller starts to heat up the wok of oil and begins to pile up the yew char kueh. The types of yew char kueh for sale range from the yam-filled type to the five-spiced “hum cheen penh”. Depending on your preference or your wife’s liking, you could end up paying close to RM10 for two bagfuls. There’s really nothing like fresh yew char kueh straight out of the wok. I have been a true believer in this Chinese delicacy for decades. Our Malay friends apparently char kueh and ham have also taken a liking to this stuff cheen penh vary betas they, too, also have stalls spread ween 80 sen and RM1. For variety, length of time it takes for the crullers stalls that are fast vanishing from all over PJ peddling this snack food. there’s also the pandan lotus buns to sell out. Each time I have fre- our Malaysian streets. Among The Malay word for yew char and the coconut-filled buns. A quented the van, I’ve noticed that them is the “tong shui” or sweet kueh is “cha kueh” or something popular side-order is also “Mah business is brisk and the man has a soups, for want of a better descrithat’s phonetically similar. Keok” or “horse shoe”. It doesn’t hard time keeping up with demand ption. There are two tong shui stalls If you are curious as to the exact really look like a horse shoe but as people of all races walk up to his opposite the yew char kueh van. So whereabouts of this van that sells the somehow someone must have stall and start placing their orders. if your mum is tired of going to the crullers, it is about 100 metres along imagined that it looked like one, so PJ Old Town still has some food kitchen to come up with your the main road from the cross-road that description has traffic lights, coming from the stuck. Assunta Hospital. It faces the Yew char kueh is roadside stalls just outside some normally sold while restaurants. If you don’t like the yam it is being made. This crullers or the red bean type, there van is no exception. are other options like sweet corn, An indication of the lotus paste or glutinous rice. popularity of this Prices for the various types of yew mobile stall is the

One bite and you are hooked!
favourite tong shui, you can hop into your car and make a beeline for PJ Old Town. Anyway, be sure to pay the yew char kueh man here a visit if you happen to be in the vicinity of PJ Old Town. It will certainly bring a smile to your face.

Prices for the various types of yew char kueh and ham cheen penh vary between 80 sen and RM1. For variety, there’s also the pandan lotus buns and the coconutfilled buns. A popular side-order is also “Mah Keok” or “horse shoe”. It doesn’t really look like a horse shoe but somehow someone must have imagined that it looked like one, so that description has stuck.”
The vendor tries to keep up with demands of loyal and first time customers.

Gallery 22
January 7 — 9, 2011 GREETING THE NEW YEAR: Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (centre) and his wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut attending the i-City New Year celebrations on Dec 31.

Teratai assemblyperson Janice Lee (fifth from left) posing with the families who received free exercise books as part of a state initiative. School-going children from 12 families received the books in Cheras on Dec 30.

One of the bands performing ahead of the ‘Spiced up countdown’ at the Shah Alam Convention Centre on Dec 31. The maiden New Year event is a joint collaboration between Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam Music Academy and the Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan.

Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib and his wife Aliza Jaafar at an essay writing competition at the AU community centre on Jan 1. Writers were asked to write essays on their vision for Selangor.

Teoh Beng Hock’s family showing the “Justice for Beng Hock” banner before the Coroner’s Inquest on Wednesday. The Coroner announced an open verdict on the death of the former political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah.

culture 23
JANUARY 7 — 9, 2011

PLAYS
Someone who’ll watch over Me
Theatre The Actors Studio@Lot 10 5 -16 January 2011 RM48; 03-2142 2009 www.theactorsstudio.com. my In 1986, Irishman Brian Keenan was abducted while on his way to work. Part of the Lebanon Hostage Crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, his kidnapping would last four and a half years, birth an award-winning memoir, An Evil Cradling — and an award-winning piece of theatre, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, by playwright Frank McGuinness. Instead of dealing with the politics — Jihadists meeting the West, etc — this play focuses instead on the “remarkable resilience of the human spirit and humanity”, as played out between three characters — an Englishman, Irishman, and American, respectively — in a windowless cell in Beirut. The KL staging of Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me is directed by Joe Hasham, and features Charles Donnelly, Kingsley Judd and Gavin Yap. It will later tour to Singapore.

❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW

21 Immortals

REVIEW

Editor’s Pick
Sale GB GerakBudaya Enterprise, 11, Lorong 11/4E 46200 Petaling Jaya 7 - 9 January 2011 free admission 03-7957 8342 www.gerakbudaya.com

GB GerakBuDaya & SIrD 2011 New year Book Sale
Run out of a quaint PJ bungalow, book distributor GB GerakBudaya is one of the main channels for all that heavy thinking going on about Malaysia today. It peddles out tomes that “embody social awareness, critical and alternative perspectives, and hidden histories” from UKM, ISEAS and Institut Kajian Dasar. Its publishing arm, SIRD, puts out memoirs by Shamsiah Fakeh and James Puthucheary; titles like Social Roots of the Malay Left; and the awesome comic history Where Monsoons Meet. So if you’re interested in the Malaysian Condition at all, you won’t miss GerakBudaya’s new year sale. Get books on topics — ranging from fiction and the arts, to religion and gender studies — at discounts from 30% to 100%. Yes, they are giving stuff away for free.

Y

Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negara 11.1.11
Student Rally Chinese Assembly Hall 11 January 2011 free admission www.pmn2011.com University students in Malaysia are proverbial for being intellectually lacklustre and socially apathetic (blame that on the Universities and University Colleges Act). Even when they do get organised, said student organisations tend to act as stooges in partisan politics. This new initiative, sparked by documentarian Fahmi Reza and a loose coalition of undergrads, seeks to change all that, by providing a platform for uni students to voice their concerns about issues like tuition fees, academic autonomy, and social justice. Don’t think that Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negera is a spin-off from the student rallies happening elsewhere around the world, either. We usually forget that the UM student movement of the 1960s was so powerful that its road-show during the 1969 General Election attracted crowds in the tens of thousands. Hopefully, this new congress will see a return to youthful, intellectually rigorous ideals. This is history in the making; if you are a student at a public or private institution of higher learning, you have no excuse for not attending.

MUSIC
a Shameless Covers Night 2
Music Gig PJ Live Arts, Jaya One 7 & 8 January 2011 admission by RM35 donation 014-264 8457 shamelesscovers@gmail.com Groundbreaking innovation in music can be awfully ponderous. Sometimes, you just want to lean back, head-bob, and sing along to classic pop anthems. Not to say that A Shameless Covers Night 2 will be your bog-standard cover-band gig at the neighbourhood old-uncle club; this gig features Mia Palencia, Melina William, Reza Salleh and Zalila Lee — all luminaries in the KL live scene. Watch the quartet perform together as an acoustic band, swapping roles as the night progresses. “Expect good music, nostalgia and laughs as these singersongwriters cook up a tribute to the songs they grew up with.” Sweet indulgence!

ART
Dis-Chromatic
Exhibition Small Talk With The Moon 23 December 2010 - 8 January 2011 free admission; 03-7955 0800 www.smalltalkwiththemoon.com A little gallery in the heart of PJ run by a passionate husband-wife couple, Small Talk With The Moon is slowly gaining traction as a venue for new, interesting happenings. This group exhibition brings together paintings that take a minimalist approach to colour, to better emphasise the essence of their subject — hence the name. Featuring work by five fresh-faced artists: Najib Ahmad Bamadhaj, Mohd Hirzaq Harris, Khairul Arshad, Kahirul Izham and Anisa Abdullah. This show is in its last weekend, so don’t miss it!

ear-end parties and fireworks aside, the last week of 2010 saw a dearth of cultural experience, so I was stuck at home, catching up on reading. Roslan Mohd Noor’s 21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan and the Yee Sang Murders (Silverfish Books; RM35) isn’t new — it debuted last September — but it was one of the past year’s more interesting offerings, in terms of literature. And, as I finished it over the weekend, I found it to be revealingly timely. If you’re worried about the perennial bad press Polis Diraja MalayIt is not sia deservedly gets — what with robbing foreigners and beating up so much about crime, businessmenislike Chia Buang Hing — this a book for you. as it is a Don’t be fooled by the packagmeditation ing. Part of the new Silverfish Pulp imprint, this novel is decidabout the edly un-genre-like. Rather, 21 reaction Immortals falls squarely into the of official emerging subgenre of the pondersystems ous police procedural, which intowards cludes stuff like David Fincher’s 2007 film Zodiac and Corneliu crime.” Porumboiu’s Police, Adjective. It is not so much about crime, as it is a meditation about the reaction of official systems towards crime. The novel’s title is a reference to Petaling Street secret societies, but old-style triads drop out of the plot about halfway through. 21 Immortals’ central felony — the ghastly triple murder of a fashion tycoon and his family, whose bodies are then embalmed and posed around a dinner table, served with yee sang — is surrounded and obfuscated by endless nasi kandar lunches, daily briefings (or “morning prayer”, as the inspectors call it), and inter-departmental stone-walling. The book’s true conflict is between two camps: protagonist Mislan Latif and his investigative department; versus that of the press-conferenceloving Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigation, Burhanuddin Sidek, who prioritises screen time and kissing the asses of shady Higher-ups. At one point, Mislan’s boss, Samsiah, tells him: “If there’s to be a face-off between Major Crimes and other departments, please remember I’ll do the fighting. That’s my shit; yours is to solve crimes.” Of course, all this internal strife means that Mislan ultimately falters at getting the truth. The dénouement of 21 Immortals doesn’t disappoint - in that it does: the book’s conclusion is as disappointing, and as true to life, as the result of Teoh Beng Hock’s inquest. 21 Immortals has the mark of verite; author Rozlan Mohd Noor was a career cop for 11 years, and you can see his experience and frustrations with the system shining through.

Published by Selangor State Government and printed by Dasar Cetak (M) Sdn Bhd No. 7, Persiaran Selangor, Seksyen 15, 40000, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

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