sg Lima struggLes to survive

p

9

Yellow power back in actionp

12–13

Curious Case of ss
p

14

community

January 14 — 16, 2011/ issue 8

a bleak Chinese new Year awaits 52-year-old Tan Suan Ji after his poultry farm was demolished on Tuesday.

• STorY on page 4

Drug haven in new village

youths at the prime of their lives. Many families are going though sleepless BaNtiNg: Kampung Jenjarom has nights because of their children’s adturned into a battleground between diction.  an anguished community and drug Other village committee members pushers who are keeping its youths who met reporters from Selangor Times high and suicidal. said most of them either knew a relative “There have been three deaths and or neighbour whose son or daughter is four attempted suicides in the past four or was a former drug addict. years,” said village head Tan Ching Han.  Some families are facing the harsh All the cases involved young men in reality that they may have to send their their prime, between the ages of 23 and vocal cords due to the toxic herbicide.  sons and daughters to drug rehabilita30. “Some of them can’t even talk,” said tion, maybe for years away from home. The oldest victim was found hanged Tan. Tan said that it was the “last but in his room after his mother had reThe suicides, Tan said, are caused by unavoidable” recourse left to many turned from the morning market in the drug’s side effects. families if they wanted to see their child October last year.  He also claimed that some victims saved from addiction. Tan said the mother had refused to had suffered brain damage.  “One committee member received give her son money as she suspected he “It could be both brain damage and a call from her neighbour who was torn was using it to buy drugs.  “She said he depression that are driving the victims at having to ‘surrender’ her son to powas moody and angry before his death,” to  suicide,” he said. lice. The mother was crying while the added Tan. Tan said the widespread drug use in committee member was advising her to The other victims had consumed the village first reared its ugly head in give her son up to police, as his addicparaquat, a strong herbicide which is 2007 which also saw a rise in petty tion and criminal acts had got worse,” easily purchased in hardware and sun- crime with snatch thefts becoming said Tan. dry shops, owing to the fact that the common.  Tan recalled an incident where a surrounding area is agricultural land.  Residents are wary of walking family of four vacated their house on Some of the victims who survived around the village even during day time. the son’s release from prison. In this suicide attempts suffer severe and perThe village committee members are case, the mother had surrendered the manent damage to their throats and very worried because the criminals are • Turn To page 6

By Alvin Yap and Chong Loo Wah

2

news
Morning

January 14 — 16, 2011

Selangor WeaTHer
Friday Saturday Sunday

By Chong Loo Wah and Gan Pei Ling

afternoon

night

Source: Malaysian meteorological department
power Tourism in y –13 synerg line p 6 p 12 the pipe t Studen

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4
7, January – 9, 2011 / issue 7

community
Sri Taman ers of their fire fight before al Volunteer strike a pose multi-raci from Serdang session. The ranging training members by Victor Chong has . – Picture group 8 page ages 18-56 ry on

• Sto

By Chon

the Ling ittee on to Gan Pei nue select comm that the s would conti State ng ceilHe added office gs to the and peelidelayed ng Jaya district and land t their findin Leaking repor ted alaM: problems, have move to ying in Suba SHaH probe and first repor ntly occup Alam. . Office’s g other e is curre ruction Assembly. oversial deal was and raised Shah ings, amon District Land U5, Shah Alam 2006 the const to Offic new office in ing on and The contr theSun in in 2009.  at Secti with the new build the Petal r in 2004 ing for the rna Builders bore the new office r an sh daily bly Mobuilding for Petal open tende Gapu its new e very dissatisfied chan assemblym by Engli the State Assem Datuk Seri Dr on million ers for senio without home for the departRM24.6 housing quart land. ent in ted Sekin it recently. “We’r eri Besar cost of ent four the new e and other local in poin ition,” said cted a of state ned 1.23ha again er Ment had refused to commTimes. Form gor tion. ing’s condLim, who inspe was completed ity construct in 4.51h its adjac Toyo d by Selan Land Offic administra h officials developer obtai and 0.45ha previNg Suee hamad Khir contacted rtment has move ing, whic d with lack of secur ng District the previous rstand why the Petal- district n, the SS16/1 when Jalan Depa Petaling Land the The build In retur uippe and parki ments by don’t unde Kemajuan ers along to be the issue l Welfare to move strategic the also ill-eq furniture age De“We still tion wanted The Socia building but land at Jalan Office quart ated its 2009, is and inadequate and Drain t will nistra e from suburb in of Land District SS19/2 estim RM100 new d be te h woul facilities ous admi than of into the Office, Irrigation s Departmen ict Offic room whic s like land ing Land Distr ng Jaya to a remo ict worth more c Work spaces. ment now. the store h Distr ent, and Publi this month. st in Suba million Ng said important docu ction again in ting in the even thoug location ,” said Ng. partm prote store  Ng said worth less only start to moveted to start opera provide may used to not have sufficient Shah Alam the move was were expec ing great the lands the manner in He said venience the They are March. The statethe new office titles did floods. , in was risk of suffer buildis new incon reach at in 2004 developer fires and likely to new office yers to with the ent. The new office would be which the and the land buses for taxpa c are familiar “The state event of an accid month so we’ve public as the sible comacces this the appointed d transparency until the publi losses in nty period ends the problems soon- not easilythe current office swap lacke ked of crony- location. ing’s warracontractor to fix pared to KTM and and smac ided land which is near asked the Ng. the ns. y, the lop-s ism. est,” said insult to injur has already cost bus statio , the Barisan To add for the office In 2006 Government action ighted by Nasional-led of land trans ns. was highl 1.68ha ittee state millio ing’s problemal select comm swapped ing Land District The build to the speci headed by Ng. the Petal nts s was apcivil serva district office contractor and on land d that the He adde
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State unruffled by Syabas suit
By Rahmah Ghazali

SHAH ALAM: Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim says his administration is unperturbed and is considering counter suing Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas). The Menteri Besar , who was responding to Syabas’ RM400 million suit against the state for what they claim was a breach in the water concession agreement, said the state too had the right to sue the company for “not fulfilling their role”. “And we would be continuously suing each other. If they want to sue, we also have the right to counter sue,” he said. On  Tuesday, Syabas sued the state for not allowing the company to raise water tariffs from Jan 1 2009 to Dec 31, 2011 in accordance with the concession agreement. The state, in their reply, stated that Syabas did not have automatic rights to raise tariffs nor had it complied with all the terms and conditions of the concession agreement. Selangor has been mulling legal action against Syabas for its Tabung Budi programme which was launched in August last year. The programme allows consumers to waive their right to 20 cubic metros of free water worth RM11.40 monthly and return it to the company so that it can reconnect water supply for those who are less-fortunate.  The state maintains that Syabas is only authorised to supply water within the distribution area rather than launching a welfare programme for the people, a move which the state deem as a “breach of contract”. But Khalid gave an assurance that the suit by Syabas will not affect their bid to take over the water restructuring industry.

SHAH ALAM: Pandamaran New Village, Pulau Ketam and Jenjarom are set to be the first to hold direct elections for their own leaders since local elections were abolished more than 40 years ago. “If everything goes as planned, we will go ahead this March,” said state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah. He  told Selangor Times that the state   had agreed in principal to the decision at Wednesday’s executive council meeting.  “If the direct election could be carried out successfully in the three villages, the state will implement it gradually in all 78 Chinese new villages and fishing villages in Selangor. This will be our first step towards reviving local elections,” said Ean Yong, whose portfolio includes new village development, He will put forward a detailed proposal specifying the election procedures and estimated cost involved. The Seri Kembangan assemblyman explained that the direct election procedure would be similar to state and national elections. Eligible voters must be local residents based on the Election Commission’s latest electoral roll and their MyKad addresses. Candidates must be Selangor residents who must contest in their capacity as an ordinary citizen, not a political party candidate. Ean Yong said the directly-elected village chiefs will enjoy the same status as currently nominated chiefs but the person will be more representative of the people’s wishes. He said Pandamaran New Village

Direct elections for village chiefs

Pandamaran New Village set for direct election.

was selected because the state needed the support of the local assemblyperson to implement direct elections, and Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu had volunteered. As for Pulau Ketam, Ean Yong said its small population made it easier for them to manage a direct election for the first time. Local government elections were first suspended and later abolished by the then ruling Alliance party in 1965 due to Confrontation, an undeclared war between Malaysia and Indonesia over the future of Borneo from 1962 to 1966. However, local elections were not reinstated after Confrontation. During the 2008 general election, Pakatan Rakyat had promised to reinstate local

government elections if they were elected. Since then, the coalition has been lambasted by opposition and civil societies for dragging their feet in fulfilling their election promise of reviving local elections in PR-led states. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the Local Government Act 1976 specifically states that local councillors are to be appointed by the state government. Hence, due to current restrictions under the law, Ean Yong said it would be difficult for the state to reinstate local government elections fully, but the direct election of village chief demonstrated the state’s will to fulfil its election promises gradually.

Villagers welcome direct elections
By Basil Foo

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 C. S. Lim Victor Chong Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi

PHOTOGRAPHER ADVERTISING ADVISORS

Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz

“If the appointment is done by political parties, the candidate might not be well KLANG: Most residents at the Pandamaran known to the people,” he added. New Village yesterday welcomed the news However, many residents were not aware that their village will be one of three villages of the responsibilities of a village head and chosen to hold direct elections for the leaders thus were undecided about the direct elecin March. tions. “It is good that we can choose our own “It would be better if the residents knew leaders directly,” said a 70-year- old resident who the village head was,” said Tay, a 62 year who only wanted to be known as Wong. old yong tau foo seller. The coffee shop proprietor, who has been “We don’t know who the village head is living in the village for 66 years, said that or what kind of duties he does,” she added. direct elections will allow residents to choose Roti canai seller Raja, 43, admitted that someone who knows the needs of the there has not been any issues with the past community.  village heads but was ambivalent about the Other residents pointed out the pitfalls of plans for direct voting. a village head who pledges allegiance to po“Our business has run so far without Wong: Good to choose litical parties. much interruption by the authorities. Clean- own leader. Village resident Abdul Mohd Talib, 49, liness is not an issue as cleaners come every said: “If chosen by a political morning,” he said. party, the candidate may de“We have no issues with cide not to support prothe village head. I think votgrammes organised by opposing by the residents is okay,” ing parties.” he said. “But if he is chosen by the Direct elections for the people, help will be provided village heads of Pandamaran regardless of which party is New Village, Pulau Ketam involved in the project,” he and Jenjarom will he held in added. March. Newspaper and magazine Residents who wish to vendor Chong believes that vote must live within the elected village chiefs can funcconstituency according to tion better than appointed their MyKad as indicated by ones. the Election Commission. “The elected person will Candidates standing put more effort into his work,” Talib: Should be chosen by must also be residents of Raja: No issues with village head. people. said the 60-year-old. Selangor.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 14 – 16, 2011 ⁄ 3

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4

news

January 14 — 16, 2011

EvEnts
Dinos Alive 2010 Malaysia
Experience the prehistoric World of Dinosaurs right here in Kuala Lumpur. Walk among recreations of these magnificent beasts in the Jurassic era. Get up close and personal with 32 ‘life-size’ dinosaurs including a 16-feet Tyrannosaurus and a 23-feet Apatosaurus. This exhibition is on from now until 31 May 2011. Visiting hours are from 9am to 5pm. Venue: Pusat Sains Negara, Pesiaran Bukit Kiara, Bukit Kiara.

Wong slams ‘malicious’ reports
By Gan Pei Ling

Cancer forum
In conjunction with the Cervical Cancer Awareness month, Pantai Hospital Klang will be hosting a public forum on Cervical Cancer! What is New? at its premises tomorrow from 2-4pm. The event aims to raise awareness on the second most common cancer affecting women globally. The speaker will be consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist Dr S Jeevaretanam. Participants can look forward to onsite pap smear screening at a nominal cost, discount vouchers and special cervical cancer vaccination packages. Admission is free. For details, call 03-7843 3100.

Roman Festivals and Parisian Nights
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra is holding this concert tomorrow with Giancarlo Guerrero as conductor and Stella Doufexis mezzo-soprano. The performance will feature two scores celebrating life in Rome, the ancient capital of composer Ottorino Respighi’s native Italy,and a scintillating overture by a Russian composer inspired by a French novel. The concert is at 8.30pm. Dress code is smart casual. Tickets are priced at RM 85, RM 65, RM 40, and RM 20. Venue: Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, Level 2, Tower 2, PETRONAS Twin Towers, KLCC, K. Lumpur.

Hope for farmers
By Chong Loo Wah

BALAKONG: The state is considering finding alternative sites for the 125 farmers whose farms were demolished on Tuesday. State executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah said most of the farmers were Selangor residents even though their farms, located near the Sungai Besi military camp, were in Kuala Lumpur territory. A gloomy Chinese New Year looms as they have lost their source of livelihood for the past 40 years. Ean Yong said the State Government was considering relocating the farmers to Selangor so that they can continue farming. The farmers grew fruits and reared livestock before over 100 officers from the Federal Land Office, Defence Ministry, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and police demolished their farms. The farmers tried to form a human shield to protect their farms but failed. Only two farmers were given a three-day grace period to remove their belongings and leave the land after negotiations with the officers. The Defence Ministry owns the 40.5ha land and the farmers had received eviction notices since last November as the ministry wanted to reclaim the land. However, Serdang Member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching argued that on humanitarian grounds, the Federal Government should have compensated the farmers accordingly. The farmers had asked to be compensated RM1.6 million. Teo said the Selangor Menteri Besar had also written to the Federal Land Office and Defence Ministry on behalf of the farmers but neither replied. Meanwhile, Ean Yong and Teo lodged a police report on Wednesday as a DBKL enforcement officer had allegedly asked the farmers to “Balik China” during the demolition. Ean Yong said he had heard the racist remark too and had wanted to find out the officer’s identity on the spot but the officer had disappeared into the crowd after making the remark. Besides that, some farmers had alleged that some of the enforcement officers had stolen their chickens and plants as well.

SHAH ALAM: Selangor has denied a news report that it had approved a project to convert the Kuala Langat South Peat Swamp Forest into an oil palm estate. “No, we haven’t made any decision on that,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim after chairing a state executive councillor meeting on Wednesday. A Jan 11 report on Star Metro had claimed that the Selangor Government had approved a proposal by Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS) to develop the 6,908ha of forest reserve into a plantation. In addition, the front-page report accused the state of forcing the Forestry Department to issue logging licences for contractors to clear the peat swamp forest. In another follow-up report on Jan 12, the state was criticised by environmentalists for its “non-action on the matter”. Khalid said both reports were inaccurate. He said the state had imposed a 25-year moratarium on logging when it came to power in 2008. State executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, who is in charge of the environment portfolio, described the news articles as “false” and “malicious” in a text message to Selangor Times. In its first report on Jan 11, Star Metro also published a photo of an excavator with a misleading caption claiming that the excavator was clearing the forest reserve. “That excavator belongs to us – to bulldoze illegal oil palm (encroaching on the forest reserve)!” said an indignant Wong. Wong said she had asked the state legal advisor to examine the news articles. Meanwhile, Wong’s office is compiling the biodiversity audit report to be presented to Khalid in end January before the state decides to approve or reject PKPS’s proposal. The biodiversity assessment was jointly conducted last December by government departments and environmental non-governmental organisations. A Wildlife Department officer revealed to Selangor Times that they have found endangered species like tapirs, whitehanded gibbons and Malayan sun bears in the forest reserve. Furthermore, workers from illegal oil palm estate surrounding the forest reserve claimed they have spotted a tiger previously but the Forestry Department failed to find any sign of it. A Forestry Department officer said there were still a few hundred hectares of virgin peat swamp in the forest reserve. Malaysian Nature Society honorary secretary Lim Teck

Wong visiting the forest reserve with former Forestry Department director Rahmat Topani recently.

Wyn said the area is probably the only virgin peat swamp forest left in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Since PKPS’s plan to convert the forest reserve into oil palm plantation came to light, environmental groups like Malaysian Nature Society, Eco Warriors Malaysia and the Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network have spoken against it. They have launched signature and call-in campaigns to urge the state government to conserve the forest reserve and reject PKPS’s proposal.

MPSJ instructed to postpone controversial regulations
By Rahmah Ghazali

SHAH ALAM: The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has been asked to put on hold its stringent regulations on entertainment outlets, which are seen as impractical and unfair. The guidelines which were announced this month included prohibiting outlets serving alcohol from hiring Muslims. “If they were to ban Muslims from working in those outlets, it would mean a loss of jobs for Malays. Who is going to be responsible for this?” said Ronnie Liu yesterday. He said the new regulations could also have serious implications on businesses. The executive councillor for local government said he has asked MPSJ to postpone the rules until further consultation is held with the state. Under the new rules, outlets that

failed to follow the condition would not get their licences renewed. The Pandamaran lawmaker also said the guideline was “too general” and hard to implement. “If they say these outlets cannot hire Muslims, does this include the cleaners too? What about those who are hired to do the dishes? Are they not allowed to work?” he asked. Citing another example, Liu said the guideline also barred owners from allowing those intoxicated from being on their premises during operating hours. “How can you differentiate a drunk person from a sober one? You can’t simply go up to them and use a breath analyzer when they are enjoying their drinks. Sometimes drunk people do not admit they are drunk,” he argued. He added the state is in charge of standardising all by-laws in the local authorities and they are subject to con-

sultation with the state government first. “Under the law, the local authorities cannot impose their own conditions... because the implications are too serious,” he said. Meanwhile, Liu pointed out that there are certain by-laws that were passed during the previous state administration that has caused confusion. He said Chinese traditional doctors have been categorised as having the same status as reflexology and spa operators under the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council for their licencing purposes. Liu pointed out that traditional doctors are professionals who are required to have qualifications from universities and certificates unlike the other two. They are also recognised by the Health Ministry. “So I have asked MPAJ to withdraw the condition and will ask the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) to review these by-laws,” he said.

January 14 — 16, 2011

news

5

Khalid (centre) with the South Korean delegation.

Korean investors keen on Selangor

By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin

SHAH ALAM: A South Korean business delegation has expressed interest in investing in Selangor. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim received the delegation led by South Korean ambassador to Malaysia Lee Yong-joon at the state secretariat on Monday. “The Menteri Besar and the South Koreans discussed new opportunities given by the state to investors in the onehour meeting,” said a spokesman from the state.

They were also briefed on Selangor’s Klang River rehabilitation project which is part of the state’s economic stimulus package. Malaysia Samsung president Datuk Lee Sang Bai, who was also in the delegation, said a few South Korean companies had shown interest to cooperate with the state in the cleaning and conservation of the river. “These companies have experience and expertise because they were involved in the cleaning project of Cheonggyecheon River which has now become a public attraction and the most effective

development model for major cities around the world,” said Lee. Lee, who is also president of the Korea-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce, said Selangor was more competitive and investor-friendly compared to other states because of its infrastructure, transportation network and skilled workforce. The delegation also expressed support for the state’s efforts to attract more investors from South Korea. Khalid said Selangor welcomed additional investment, especially in green technology.

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6

news

January 14 — 16, 2011

• From Page one

son to the police as his threats had got worse along with his hardcore addiction. “The son was threatening to raze their house because the mother had refused him money and also surrendered him to the authorities. When he went out to buy a can of kerosene, the family left the house immediately,” said Tan. Some families have had to bear with the realisation of having more than one child who is a drug user.  One family was shocked to find out that their younger daughter was an addict following a positive urine test. She had been mistakenly hauled up by police alongside her older brother, a hardcore addict. Ketamine and heroin are two of the drugs that are sold by pushers. Ketamine is a “recreational” drug, which comes in the form of pills, which can be taken whole or crushed into fine powder and injected. He said that the heroin is ‘sniffed’ or injected. Some of the villagers feel that their children’s addiction has brought shame to the family and fear that their names would be disclosed in investigations.  Tan and the village committee are appealing to police to take action. “Monitor the drug pushers, the suppliers. Catch them and give them stiffer penalties. That will stop them; that will stop the supply,”  he said. They have also suggested that the authorities go after the drug pushers for information on supply routes and identities of their criminal bosses. Tan said the drugs are delivered to the homes or addicts’ haunts by

Children’s addiction brings shame to families
He added that the “new-style” cafes in Kg Jenjarom that are frequented by the young are in actual fact places where first-time users can sample drugs. “The first timer then tries the sample at a quiet corner of the cafe,” he said. The village committee has urged Bukit Aman to transfer back a former top police offer in the district to deal with the drug problem. An anti-narcotics officer in charge of the Klang-Banting district, he was transferred upon his promotion. “Our working relationship with the officer was very good, we complemented each other very well. We have asked for him to return to help us out,” said Tan. Tan also added that the officer had successfully detained one pusher at Simpang Renggam Detention Centre under the Emergency Ordinance Act, while another was banished to Sg Petani in Kedah under the Restricted Residence Act. When the officer was in charge, there were 200 arrests made from 2007-2008. Tan stressed that they included repeat offenders. He said this was an important issue: the village committee wants the addicts who are caught to be placed in rehabilitation, but not to be released on bail or let off for lack of evidence. Kg Jenjarom is not a “drug town” stressed Tan and the other village committee members. “We don’t deserve this reputation and we’re doing what we can to fight this addiction,” a committee member said. With the urgency of having to deal with this problem in the tightknit community, Tan said that it would be the ‘end’ of Kg Jenjarom if drug addiction p r o b l em s a r e n o t solved. The village commitee has set up a volunteer “support group” to listen to problems facing families. The number of calls the group receives from ang uishe d parents pouring their prob- Tan with Telok Datok assemblyman Philip lems out has over- Tan at a suspected drug haunt. whelmed them. cause of the children’s drug addic“My husband complains that my tion. volunteer work is a 24-hour thing. Kg Jenjarom is, however, not takThe calls can come while I’m busy ing the problem lying down. They preparing dinner,” said 27-year-old are fighting back by organising acLim Gweok Nee, adding that some tivities like karaoke sessions and calls came in after midnight. competitions in order to get the The housewife and mother of youth off the streets and away from two young children says the calls are the drugs. mostly from mothers. She says that Kuala Langat police declined to the mothers usually tell her that they comment when contacted by Selanare under emotional pressure be- gor Times.

Tan, chairman of the Kg Jarom village committee.

suppliers who can be contacted by handphone. Men on motorcycles would then come by, and after a brief exchange of money for drugs, the addict would get their ‘fix’ at a private and secluded place. “Imagine a drug user who stays at the back of his house. A motorcycle comes down the alley, and he just puts his hand out into the window, passes the money over in exchange for the drugs. It takes place in under a minute,” said Tan, adding that many in the community had seen these transactions take place daily, often in alleys behind their houses. Some of the abandoned houses in the village have been turned into drug haunts, Tan said. In the haunts were water stained mattresses, burned mosquito repellants, cigarette butts and discarded alcohol bottles. The traffickers offer free samples to first time users in order to entice them, he said.

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SHAH ALAM: Selangor is urged to chart a path towards becoming a high-income state by focusing on medical tourism and education. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state will also forge partnerships with countries that are active in trade. Khalid had chaired a meeting of the Selangor Business Council at i-City last Tuesday, during which University of California economics professor Datuk Prof Woo Wing Thye suggested the state create an East Asian hub for medical tourism and English-language education. Woo added that Selangor could mobilise its state-funded tertiary institutions to offer foreign languages as part of their courses, and enhance cooperation with foreign universities. Khalid, speaking after the meeting, agreed that services could be combined, such as tourism with medical treatments. Khalid added that the state would also continue to pursue investors through highvalue industries such as green technology which requires skilled and qualified workers. “With more skilled and experienced workers in the state, our infrastructure will improve and this in turn will become a reason why investors would choose Selangor,” he said. However, Woo pointed out that Selangor would need to cooperate with other states such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang in order to promote its industries. “Foreign investors will not come to Selangor alone for investments. They also have the choice of other states such as Kuala Lumpur and Penang, so it is vital for Selangor to get cooperation from these states,” said Woo during the meeting earlier. The business council meeting was attended by about 50 business leaders from various

Big ideas at Selangor business council
industries in Selangor. They included the Malay Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Klang Chambers of Commerce. Lecturers and vice-chancellors from various universities in Selangor also participated in the meeting.

New RELA squads
SERI KEMBANGAN: Two new People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) platoons were established on Jan 1 here to help community security and emergency responses. “They will assist the police and enforcement officers,” said RELA Petaling District assistant officer Mohd Kairol Jamil.    The leaders of the new platoons - 0080 and 0420 - Shan Ngan Fah and Lim Chee Keong, respectively, received the ranks of lieutenants and their RELA cards in ceremony to launch the platoons. The simple ceremony at the headquarters of the Taman Sri Serdang volunteer fire brigade was attended by state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah. Also at the ceremony was RELA Petaling District deputy officer Khalid Ibrahim.

By Gan Pei Ling

SUBANG JAYA: Kelana Jaya Member of Parliament Loh GwoBurne and Subang Jaya assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh will head the taskforce to negotiate with Sime Darby on acquiring Subang Ria Park. “They will work with representatives from resident associations,” Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced after chairing a state executive council meeting on Wednesday. Yeoh said she had suggested a list of representatives to the Menteri Besar, who expects the taskforce to have their first meeting by next week. Khalid had given the taskforce eight months to negotiate with park owner Sime Darby and settle on a price as well as raise funds to buy back the recreational park. The state had promised to pay for half of the total purchase price while residents would pay the other half. However, the plan will only go ahead if residents can raise one third of their share within the next eight months. Sime Darby had declared the park’s book value at RM3.6 million in its 2010 financial report. However, when taking into account the potential value of the 29.4ha park, valuation figures from state and private sector have ranged from RM15 million to RM165 million. Sime Darby faced strong public opposition when it first submitted

Loh and Yeoh to spearhead Subang Ria taskforce
a proposal in 2007 to develop the park into a commercial area. In 2009, it amended its plan to develop 7.7ha of the park into a low-density residential area and upgrade the remaining 21.7ha before handing the park back to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ). MPSJ had rejected Sime Darby’s proposal in May 2010 but the developer appealed and the case is now pending at the Appeals’ Board. The residents had applied to intervene in Sime Darby’s appeal hearing but lost. During the second dialogue with the residents last Saturday, Khalid reiterated that the state had frozen all development at the park for the next eight months Meanwhile, it was revealed during the Appeals’ Board’s hearing on Tuesday that the state executive council had approved the Subang Jaya draft local plan in March 2010 before the public hearing in April 2010. Khalid explained on Wednesday that the approval was conditional as the details in the draft local plan were not finalised yet. However, he did not further ex-

January 14 — 16, 2011

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plain the reason the draft local plan was approved by the state executive council even before the public hearing was held to seek public feedback on the plan. He merely said the state had conditionally approved the plan as the developer only wanted to develop 7.7ha of the park and spend

RM20 million to upgrade the remaining 21.7ha before returning it to the local council for free. After the residents made clear their objection to any sort of development in Subang Ria Park, Khalid said the state had listened to them and thus set up a taskforce to try to purchase the park from Sime Darby.

Khalid (centre) at a dialogue with residents over the recreational park proposed by Sime Darby. With him is Hannah Yeoh left) and Teresa Kok (second from right).

8

Family wants answers
but if you can tell our story that is enough. We want people to know that anyone can get Leptospirosis. “We also want people to know how difficult it is to deal with unresponsive government agencies.” On the morning of their departure for Pangkor island, she said, he was having severe coughs and running a high fever. “We told him we would get him some antibiotics or Panadol at the hotel we’re staying.” She said that on the second day at Pangkor island, he developed breathing difficulties. Suspected of having pneumonia, the in-house doctor referred him to Manjung hospital on the mainland. Her brother died from cardiac arrest while “his kidneys had shut down”. Back in Petaling Jaya, they surfed the Internet and found out that dogs were “rumoured” to spread Leptospirosis. “I told the Veterinary Department in Shah Alam that my brother had died from Leptospirosis and asked if they could take my dog for blood tests,” said Romina. She claimed that the veterinarian had refused to do so, and as a compromise, she had her dog’s blood drawn by a private animal clinic. Still, she said, they had refused to come down to Petaling Jaya to receive the blood sample. “I told the Veterinarian Department that my brother had died from Leptospirosis and wanted to make sure my dog was not a host or a carrier of the disease,” said Romina, adding that her family was worried for their own safety. Only later did the department send an orderly to get the blood samples from her. The sample, she said, had tested negative. “With our dog testing negative as a host and carrier of Leptospirosis, we want to know which animal infected my brother,” asked Romina. She had also approached the

news

January 14 — 16, 2011

By Alvin Yap

petaling jaya: How and where Leslie Francis Raj contracted  Leptospirosis before he succumbed to the disease on Aug 16 are answers his family is struggling to find.  But his younger sister, Romina Sundran, said efforts to obtain help from authorities had hit obstacles at every turn. “We faced red tape whenever we tried to find out how my brother contracted the disease in the first place,” said the housewife. Romina said while her 54-yearold engineer brother died at the Sri Manjung hospital in Perak, where he was warded for three days while on a family vacation, they suspect he contracted the disease here. The family lives in one of the most urbanised areas in Section 11 Petaling Jaya. “We are not important people,

What is Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a disease that spreads from animals to humans, and is caused by the germ Leptospira. It spreads among domestic and wild animals. Leptospirosis cannot spread from human to human. However, humans are infected when a person’s open wounds or sores come into contact with contaminated water. This can also happen if the water enters their mucus membrane (eyes, nose and mouth). Drinking contaminated Public Complaints Bureau in Putrajaya to lodge a complaint over Sri Manjung hospital’s ‘negligence’ in treating her brother while he was under their care. She has also lodged complaints against them for their “lack of conwater can also lead to infections. The symptoms of Leptospirosis are flu-like in the first phase. This includes coughing, fever, sore throat, muscle aches and headaches. Patients will also develop rashes, and experience vomiting and diarrhea. In the second, and critical, phase, patients suffer from internal bleeding, meningitis, liver failure, kidney and organ failure. The disease claimed 95 Malaysian lives from Jan to Aug last year. cern” over her request for her late brother’s medical records. “I know that the government is running a campaign on the dengue outbreak, but I feel people should know that Leptospirosis is on the rise,” said Romina.

Know Your Councillor: Wong Kai Pun

By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin

ampang jaya: Wong Kai Pun (pix), better known as Keppy Wong, is a three-term  Ampang Jaya Municipal (MPAJ) Councillor whose immediate goal is to make Ampang Jaya a more accommodating and user-friendly municipality. A resident of Pandan Indah, Wong is aware of the concerns of MPAJ ratepayers. “There must be more non-Malay language signs and information for the public because we must admit that a large section of the public are still unable to read or understand the language, but they are tax payers too,” he said. He added that more non-Malay staff should be hired in the licensing and enforcement department to accommodate and communicate with all races. “I am also ensuring that MPAJ expands its on-line facilities to minimise the need for the public to physically visit MPAJ to carry out transactions,” he said. Wong pointed out that many disliked going to the municipality

as they perceived MPAJ as being too bureaucratic. “Such a perception is particularly strong for those who are illiterate or unable to converse well in Malay. Some in the community prefer to bring their problems to the service centres of local councillors instead,” said Wong. In this respect, the 33-year-old practising lawyer said he tries as much as possible to accommodate those seeking his assistance at his two service centres in Pandan Indah and Taman Muda. He is at his Pandan Indah office from Monday to Friday while his assistant mans his Taman Muda office every Friday and Saturday. “Our address and even handphone numbers are on the MPAJ website and also displayed at public places,” he said. Wong is in charge of MPAJ’s disciplinary committee. He is also a member of the licensing and entrepreneurs’ development committee, the infrastructure and public facilities committee, and the financial and assessment committee.

An Alam Flora worker cleaning up the garbage dump beside the field

Poor response to cleanup
CHeRaS: A gotong-royong at Taman Muda, Ampang, last Sunday drew a disappointing turnout. Only four children and two adults showed up in what was the worst turnout of all gotong-royong organised in the area previously. Ampang Jaya Councillor Jennifer Tnew was disappointed after efforts to distribute over 1,000 flyers to residents a week before. A large banner had also been displayed to inform residents of the date and time of the neighbourhood cleanup. “We’ve organised a few gotong-royong at other neighbouring housing areas previously, this is the worst turnout so far,” said Tnew.   The gotong-royong was jointly organised by Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ), MPAJ Residents’ Committee and Alam Flora to clean up the area.   As the small crew worked, a few residents came to complain to Tnew about the garbage thrown at two sites near a field but did not stay on to help out.   Two sites near the field – one right beside the field and another one across the road from the field – have been treated as garbage dumps by residents.   A woman said she had witnessed people throwing rubbish there, but did not dare reprimand them for fear of retaliation.   Litterbugs can be fined up to RM1,000 if caught red-handed but Tnew said it was usually very difficult for enforcement officers to catch them in the act.   Tnew advised witnesses to take a photo of the culprits so that MPAJ could take action against the litterbugs.   The two sites were cleared during the gotong-royong but the culprits are likely to repeat their actions unless they are caught and reprimanded for their selfish act.   “These people never consider the feelings of the residents who stay near the garbage.   “I don’t understand why they can’t place their garbage in the bin in front of their own homes and wait for Alam Flora to collect them,” Tnew said.   Residents can also reduce their trash by practising the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) and composting organic waste.

Village struggles to survive
Tan

January 14 — 16, 2011

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Ugly sight: The sea is being treated as a garbage dump by villagers.

Lim

By Gan Pei Ling

pulau ketam: For Sungai Lima, a fishing village next to Pulau Ketam, going green is a matter of survival. No longer can villagers here depend on fishing for their livelihood. This year, they are on a quest to become an eco-friendly village to attract tourists. The 150-year-old village is turning to tourism in an attempt to reduce its reliance on the fishing industry.   Village chief Tan Chuee Cheng said they had started engaging primary schoolchildren in a recycling programme as their first step to carrying out environmentally-friendly practices in the village.   “The schoolchildren will collect recyclable items from their homes. Then volunteers from our committee will help to sort them out,” Tan said last Saturday.   He added that they would modify 20

Business owners demand action over illegal dumps
By Alvin Yap

garbage bins donated by the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and turn them into recycle bins.   Non-profit organisation Pertubuhan Amar Seri Sinar (PASS) will help to transport the recyclable items to the mainland. The organisation will bear the transportation cost.   Tan said that other recycling organisations have shied away due to the transportation costs. In addition, PASS will channel the proceeds from selling the recycled items to help poor students.   Apart from recycling, the students from SJK(C) Sin Bin will also be involved in a cleanup on Jan 22.   A student from each year will also be chosen as the environmental ambassador to help promote eco-friendly practices among their peers throughout the year.   Indeed, litter can be seen scattered across the sea floor below village houses during lowtide.

  “Our villagers are used to treating the sea as their garbage dump, it will be difficult to change their habit but we hope the children will be able to influence their parents.   “We need to clean up the village if we are to attract tourists,” said Tan.   Tan added that the village committee had stopped using polystyrene during their events and are trying to encourage other villagers to do the same.   Klang councillor Lim Lip Suan said if Sungai Lima could successfully clean up its village, it could offer eco-tourism packages or homestay programmes to attract tourists to experience life in a fishing village. With around 200 families or 1,000 villagers, the village depends on fishing and related industries for its income.   However, during the past two decades, youths from Sungai Lima have been moving out and remaining villagers have no choice but to turn to migrant workers to help out in their

work. Tan said his own children had moved to the Klang Valley.   Nevertheless, recent crackdowns by the authorities on illegal migrant workers have taken a toll on the villagers and many of them can no longer rely on illegal migrant labour.   Hence, the village is now trying to transform itself into a tourist destination by branding itself as the first eco-friendly village in Selangor.   Lim also revealed that the state government, not MPK, currently bears the garbage collection cost for Pulau Ketam and Sungai Lima. He explained that the islands only came under MPK’s authority in 2006. Hence, villagers have not been paying assessment tax to MPK and the local council was unwilling to bear its garbage collection cost. Before 2006, villagers had to take care of their trash themselves, and hence became used to throwing their garbage into the sea or burning it.

Discuss, don’t ban Interlok, says Selangor MB
By Rahmah Ghazali

sri gombak: Business owners at a newly-opened commercial lot are caught between the Selayang City Council (MPS) and the developer over an illegal rubbish dump. Irresponsible citizens have turned the back alley of Jalan Prima SG 1 into a dumpsite and business owners have been contacting MPS to have the rubbish cleared – only to be told that it was the developer’s responsibility. “It has caused business owners sleepless nights as we wait for the authorities to solve the problem,” said Alvin Cheong, manager of a hair and beauty saloon. The alley and the ever growing pile of rubbish are at the back of his saloon. He has put notices outside, at the rear of his shop, warning people not to dump their rubbish there. “We’ve used up cans of insecticide spray to kill the swarm of mosquitoes that come from the dump,” the 24

year-old hair stylist said. He said that the developers had handed over the keys to the premises in August last year. The local council stopped clearing the dump since other businesses began moving in some four months ago, around October, he said. “We’ve made many complaints to the local council, but they say it’s the developer’s responsibility within the one year after they hand over the keys to us,” he added. Cheong said that the saloon owner had contacted the developer and even offered to provide lorries for the rubbish to be transported away “My boss told the developer to bring their workers,” he said. But no one from the developer’s office, nor their workers, showed up on the scheduled day. MPS councillor Lim Ching How acknowledged the complaints from businesses in the area. But he reiterated that rubbish collection was the responsibility of the property developer within a year of handing over the keys.

He said that only after the one year, would MPS assume responsibility for collecting the rubbish. Restaurant supervisor Zarifah Arinah Zakaria said she had brought the matter up to MPS but had been turned away for the same reason. Unscrupulous people have tried to take advantage of the situation, she added. Zarifah said a man who claimed to represent Alam Flora had approached her boss in October, offering to collect the cafe’s garbage for a payment of RM180. “He told him to pay him that amount and he would give us Alam Flora containers so that he or his team could collect our rubbish,” she said. When her boss paid and was about to request for a receipt, the man had left the café with the money. Councillor Lim said that MPS was talking to the developer and would keep the SelangorTimes notified of the outcome.

shah alam: Open discussion, instead of book-banning, is the way to resolve issues, the Selangor Menteri Besar said about the debate over a secondary school litera-

ture novel Interlok which has been criticised for the way it depicts Indians. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said a dialogue was better rather than banning the book, as making the book illegal would not help to calm down the situation because informa-

tion “nowadays is more transparent and accessible”. “We have to accept the fact that information and knowledge is open and [can’t be completely hidden],” he said after chairing a meeting of the Selangor State Investment

Centre and Business Council in I-City last Tuesday. The book, which was made the literature textbook for Form Five beginning this year, is alleged to have parts which the Indian community have found derogatory.

News 10
By Alvin Yap

January 14 — 16, 2011

SHAH ALAM: Selangor is set to combat human trafficking with a taskforce that will look at tightening local by-laws, while providing rescue and shelter to trafficked persons. The state has established the Selangor Anti-Trafficking in Persons Council (Mapmas) which will work with federal government law and enforcement agencies and also nongovernment organisations (NGOs), Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said. “Human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking in revenue, but both make use of people in a very ugly and undignified manner,” the Menteri Besar said in his speech when launching Mapmas at the Shah Alam State Secretariat on Monday. “We are sensitive to the dignity of every man, woman and child. We want to ensure that the sanctity of life is protected,” he added. The Menteri Besar said human trafficking was a lucrative trade owing to the fact that Malaysia – and Selangor in particular – was a destination for migrants and refugees alike.

State moves to fight human trafficking
Khalid said Selangor, as the most industrialised state in the country, had among the highest numbers in human trafficking cases. Victims of human trafficking in Selangor often ended up working in sweatshop conditions for long hours in return for low wages, among other scenarios. Khalid, who is the patron of Mapmas, estimated that Selangor was home to some two million migrant workers. The council will comprise state executive councillors and NGOs. “On the issue of legislation, we want to give more power to our local governments to monitor, and shut down premises that deal in human trafficking,” said Selangor executive councillor Rodziah Ismail. She said Mapmas will look into existing municipal by-laws and see if they need to be amended or if new ones should be tabled to deal with human trafficking hotspots in the state. She said the council, most importantly, would ensure that more offenders were brought to court for trial. The state is partnering migrant rights NGO Tenaganita to monitor human trafficking cases. Tenaganita also provided Mapmas the location of trafficking ‘hotspots’ in the state from its case files. According to Daniel Lo, who heads the Mapmas prosecution unit, there were 237 cases of human trafficking in Malaysia from 2008 till June 2010. “In those cases, there were 1,551 victims, 330 arrests and only nine convictions,” the human rights lawyer said. Lo, who is also the country manager of Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA) said his unit will also look into giving Selangor the legislative provisions to run shelters for human trafficking victims. This is important, he added, as he sees  the need for more shelters to house trafficked survivors, once Mapmas starts work full swing. In a separate interview on Mapmas’ anti-trafficking initiative, Malaysian Bar Council representative Andrew Khoo said that shelters for trafficked survivors are established under the provisions of the AntiTrafficking Act of 2007, which is a federal Act. He cautioned that parts of the

federal legislation could run into conflict with the state’s initiative in setting up the shelters. “What would be the status of the state-run shelters [in the federal government’s view]? Will they be only ‘half-way houses’ for the survivors to stay temporarily?” he asked. Khoo, who chairs the Bar Council’s human rights committee, stressed the importance of the state and federal governments working together on human trafficking issues. “If they work together, it’ll be of great benefit to everyone. If they don’t work together, or are at loggerheads with each other, then the trafficking victims will suffer,” he concluded. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates human trafficking to generate approximately USD45 billion in ill-gotten profits. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in people, is for the purposes of forced labour, child labour, forced prostitution, illegal adoptions, and the illegal harvesting of human organs for sale. Tenaganita director Dr Irene Fernandez, said she was happy that Selangor was taking steps to curb human trafficking. “This is Selangor saying no to commodifying people,” she said.

What is human trafficking?
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid pushing a button to open the Majlis Anti Pemerdagangan Manusia Negeri Selangor (MAPMAS) on Monday as Exco members Ronnie Liu, Rodziah Ismail, Teresa Kok and Dr Halimah Ali look on.

By Gan Pei Ling

SUBANG JAYA: Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh encouraged residents to join a voluntary patrol unit to help reduce street crimes in their area. “The unit patrol together with the police and MPSJ (Subang Jaya Municipal Council) during the day, so it’s safe for everyone to join,” said Yeoh when attending a new-year celebration at Indera Subang Condominium, USJ 6 last Saturday.   She was responding to concerns raised by the condominium residents, who were worried about safety outside their condominium.   One of the condominium’s management council member told SelangorTimes he had witnessed a snatch theft right before his eyes.   Yeoh said the voluntary patrol unit had helped to stop break-ins by patrolling Subang Jaya and USJ areas in two-hour shifts during weekdays.   In fact, the police awarded one of its volunteers a certificate last month in recognition

Volunteer patrols to keep neighbourhood safe
of having helped caught a snatch thief last September.   Those interested to volunteer with the unit can contact Subang Jaya councillor Ranjiv Rishyakaran at 012-3111585 or Mak Meng Chin at mcmak64@hotmail.com.   Indera Subang Condominium management council chair Edwin Nicholas estimated that at least 30 percent of their tenants are foreigners. From Australia, Jamaica to Iran, the condominium’s community is almost like a mini United Nations. The condominium’s new year gathering also celebrated Yeoh’s 31st birthday, which fell on the same day. She attended the gathering with her husband, and coucnillor Ranjiv.   The condominium management also organised a telematch for the children during the gathering. Yeoh pledged RM2,000 to the organisers. The trained lawyer also invited other Subang Jaya residents to write in to her to apply for funds for community events. Yeoh also highlighted other free community programmes funded by her state allocation, such as an exercise session at the Millinnium Park, SS13, twice a week at 7.30pm on Wednesdays and 7.30am on Saturdays.    She also reminded residents of the Selangor government’s scheme for senior citizens age 60 and above.   Under the “Mesra Usia Emas” programme, registered appointed beneficiaries will receive RM2,500 upon the senior citizen’s death for funeral and related expenses.

(Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) defines this crime as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” There three elements that define human trafficking, and these are: The Act (What is done) - Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons; The Means (How it is done) - Threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim; The Purpose (Why it is done) - For the purpose of exploitation, which includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

JANUARY 14 — 16, 2011

views 11

Community Support
ver a year and a half ago, a small community of about 400 houses around Jalan Rahim Kajai and Jalan Aminuddin Baki in Taman Tun Dr Ismail felt that they had enough of crime. At one point, on one street alone, “parang and motorcycle”-styled robberies were nearly a monthly occurrence. You could never guess who was going to be hit next. And so, one fiery afternoon after a residents meeting at the TTDI police station to get updates on crime statistics, these residents decided that they were going to do something about this perennial problem, if only because the police didn't have enough personnel to help them out. Thus, on street corners and junctions all throughout Taman Tun mushroomed barriers and private guards, but not without internal protests of course. Yet many residents were in favour (in the Rahim Kajai- Aminuddin Baki area some 300 households signed up to the scheme). You see, I am part of this community, and helped the commu-

O

nity to set up this security scheme even if my voice belonged to the cacophony of naysayers who believed this system was still too porous (in fact it is, because our city by-laws disable private guards from putting up permanent roadblocks and stopping cars without 100% of all households participating — so people could still move in and out even with the guards there). Yet what alternative was there? But does it make sense for an entire community to privatise their security? Or was the “gated and guarded” phenomenon even envisaged by the township developers of back then (the Taman Tun Dr Ismail area was completed in the early 80s)? Or, more importantly, could the “gated and guarded” model for communities be not only the option, but also the inevitable future for Malaysian urban and suburban communities? The TTDI community I mentioned above fork out RM15,000 a month for the privatised security apparatus, and I know of some others that have to pay upwards of RM20,000. It then goes without saying that the economy can be quite fertile for private security firms, if they're smart. But are Malaysians smart for signing up to this model? If the PDRM is under-resourced, could

these monies not in fact go out to neighbourhood. them to beef themselves up a little I recall that a remark from one bit more? of the neighbours when we were But then... why should Malay- setting up the scheme. It went sians be paying more to their local something like, “You know, if it police forces, when the entire po- wasn't for these crime incidents, I lice structure is centralised and probably wouldn't really know who receives its primary funding from lived down my street.” the Federal Government? Ok, so that's anDoes it make sense other conversation altogether. for an entire community Return to the comto privatise their security? munity. When I was Or was the “gated and younger, my family and guarded” phenomenon I were living in Damaneven envisaged by the sara Utama and I recall township developers of how my father used to be part of the Rukun back then (the Taman Te t a n g g a e v e n i n g Tun Dr Ismail area was watch. completed in the He had a big stick (a early 80s)?” thick bamboo staff, in fact) which he carried, To some extent, it is a shame. along with a torchlight. Him and some of the other But that's the reality – life in this neighbours used to patrol our short “Greater Klang Valley” is so faststreet of 40 houses in the evenings, paced and all-consuming that we although I can't remember if they rarely put in time to mingle and ever caught anyone. But it was good really nurture a relationship with our immediate community. for neighbourly rapport. Instead we farm out one aspect Maybe that's part of my hesitance, my trepidation for these of it — security — which also happrivate security schemes. That we pens to be the foundation of any were actually outsourcing not only sustainable community. Caveat: even with the security our security details but also some measure of taking ownership of our company running, there was still

about a handful of residents who took charge and met regularly to complain about late payments and the ineffectiveness of the security scheme... hehe. Going back to the analogy of the mushrooms blooming after the rain – yes, after the spate of robberies a year and a bit ago, the number of security checkpoints throughout TTDI exponentially appeared. And I think this is pretty much true for much of PJ and some areas of Selangor as well. But, like any field of mushrooms, they wither away after a while: true to the analogy, our very own security scheme fell apart suddenly last November. We could barely put together the RM15,000 to pay the guards (not that they were well-paid themselves, and again that's another conversation). A friend, who also happened to be a landscape architect, said to me: “Actually, why are we paying so much each month to have these guys just stand there? We could be putting all that money into a park!” I agree with him. I don't want to live my life in a “gated” community, cordoned off from the realities of urban and suburban Malaysia. I'd rather have a “parked” community. Yet one question looms large, ominously in the background: Where is the PDRM in all this?

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

insight 12
JANUARY 14 — 16, 2011

General election is rumoured to be around the corner, while most are busy speculatinG its outcome, a Group of dedicated activists are workinG hard to ensure the elections are fair and free.
By Gan Pei Ling ith expectations that the 13th general election is around the corner, political parties from both sides of the divide are gearing up for an all-out war. While most people would be preoccupied with coffee shop chatter over the election results, a group of citizens are more concerned about ensuring that the election process is fair and clean. “Few bothered about the election process previously because for the past 50 years, the same coalition (Barisan Nasional) has been voted in again and again. “But after the 2008 political tsunami, I believe many voters have come to realise that their votes do make a difference,” says Datuk Ambiga Screenevasan, chairperson of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0). Launched in November 2010, Bersih 2.0 is a non-partisan alliance made up of about 60 non-governmental organisations. The earlier Bersih, which included political parties, had organised a 40,000-strong rally in November 2007 to demand for fair and free elections prior to the 2008 general election. Unfortunately, three years after the watershed election, the Election Commission (EC) still does not enjoy much public confidence as many continue to perceive the supposedly independent body as an extension of the government.

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The yellow wave:

Pushing for clean and fair elecTions

We’ve suggested the EC bring back indelible ink, a simple method to reduce election fraud. In fact, indelible ink was supposed to be used in the 2008 general election to prevent multiple voting but the EC scrapped the plan at the eleventh hour.”
Hence, Bersih 2.0 is continuing to push for electoral reforms to restore public confidence in the electoral process. They submitted a memorandum, outlining their immediate concerns and 15 demands, to the EC and also met the commission in December 2010. “We’ve suggested the EC bring back indelible ink, a simple method to reduce election fraud,” said Ambiga, a former Bar Council president. In fact, indelible ink was supposed to be used in the 2008 general election to prevent multiple voting but the EC scrapped the plan at the eleventh hour. Ambiga revealed that the EC is considering the use of a biometric system (working off the MyKad) to prevent election fraud. “But even if they were to implement that, it will take time, so if the elections are very close, the EC should look at indelible ink,” she reasoned. Another immediate concern of Bersih 2.0 is the short campaign period prior to voting day. Ambiga said a meaningful campaign period should not be less than

“We believe the principles have been breached in the past. For example, there are cases where a constituency crosses the boundaries of two local authorities, making it difficult for the assemblyperson to service the constituency,” she said. In addition, each constituency should have an equal number of voters, notwithstanding geographical reasons. “Now we have cases where parliamentary constituency like Kapar has more than 112,000 voters, but [a small seat like] Putrajaya only has slightly over 6,600. “As a result, your vote weighs a lot less if you’re voting in Kapar.” Ambiga explained, adding that ideally each vote should have the same weight. For certain, it is not easy to draw constituency boundaries so that each has an equal number of voters, but the difference should not be so wide. “Such situations must been minimised as far as possible. That’s why we want to highlight these problems to the public so they can feedback to the EC during the re-delineation exercise,” said Ambiga. The EC must publish a notice when they want to redraw the boundaries and allow for public objections within a month of the notice’s publication. Ambiga said the EC is duty-bound under the Federal Constitution to hold an enquiry if a state government, local authority, or a group of 100 people or more object to the redrawn boundaries. “Ultimately the EC will decide whether to take into account the public’s feedback, but the public can make a fuss if they do not listen to reasonable views.” It’s important for the public to act as watchdog so that the EC cannot make changes to boundaries that will benefit certain political parties, Ambiga adds. Bersih 2.0 is expected to publish a delimitation report in February and later kick start the voter education programme in Selangor before extending it to other states. The coalition is also highlighting other electoral issues including lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, and automatic voter registration at age 18. Ambiga said neighbouring countries like Thailand, Indonesia and even Myanmar have implemented both measures.Currently, there are more than

Bersih 2.0 to Empower Voters
Two large street demonstrations were held prior to the 2008 general elections: the Bersih rally on Nov 10, 2007 and Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf, rally on Nov 25, 2007. In fact, less than two weeks before the Bersih rally, 2,000 lawyers and members of the public had marched to Putrajaya due to the release of the VK Lingam videos that demonstrated meddling in a supposedly independent judiciary. To some degree, the rallies demonstrated the peoples’ frustration against the government and, in hindsight, foretold the political tsunami in the general election on March 3, 2008. Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah attended the Bersih rally with a few friends. “I’m proud to be part of the rally as it really showed the will of the people,” she said in an email interview. The organisers had targeted 10,000 people but Malaysiakini estimated around 40,000 people turned up to march with each other to demand for clean and fair elections. However, the peaceful demonstrators were greeted with tear gas and water-cannon from the police force. Then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s warning to citizens against taking part in the “illegal” gathering and police roadblocks failed to prevent determined citizens from joining the march. Mohammad Khairie wrote in We walked united in hope that he did not believe the rally would change anything but he attended the rally because he believed it was the right thing to do. “The streets were flooded with what has been termed the ‘yellow wave’ as people poured in from all over the country to join a protest against what they believe was an insult to democracy. ‘We demand a free and fair election,’ hearts chanted and banners read,” he described in his article published in March 8: The day Malaysia woke up. He thinks the demonstrators had turned up to show solidarity and to assure each other that they were not alone in thinking that the electoral process was flawed and needed reform. Bersih’s predecessor, the Joint Action Committee for Electoral Reform, was formed in July 2005. Then, it comprised opposition political parties who have said they suffered injustice due to a flawed electoral process. In November 2006, Bersih was born when civil societies joined the political parties in their fight for fair elections. The coalition was officially launched in Parliament, and the first Bersih rally was successfully organised one year later. More than two years after the March 2008 political tsunami, Bersih was re-launched as Bersih 2.0 and this time the coalition is made up entirely of non-political, civil society groups. Bersih 2.0 will continue the quest for fair and clean elections and it has been organising activities around the country, including in Penang, Terengganu and Sarawak. Its steering committee member Maria said they are in the midst of setting up a complaint section at their website (www.bersih.org) so that the public can alert them of any discrepancies or discriminatory practices during elections. They have also linked up with Sarawak nongovernmental organisations recently to document electoral violations that have happened in the state, she said. In addition, voters education programmes to make them aware about gerrymandering in delimitation exercises will run from February till July this year. “We need help to organise our voter education programmes on delineation, on how to do visual and written documentation of electoral violations, to write short papers on electoral issues, and to find creative ways of presenting the demands of Bersih 2.0 online and offline,” she said. Those interested to volunteer with Bersih 2.0 are urged to join a group called Friends of Bersih 2.0 at a meeting on Jan 23 from 3pm to 6pm at MBPJ Building, Jalan Yong Shook Lin, Petaling Jaya.

Ambiga

The coalition is also highlighting other other electoral issues including lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, and automatic voter registration at age 18. ”
four million unregistered eligible voters in Malaysia. “We can’t force people to vote, but we should at least make the registration process easy for them. We’ve received complaints

about delays in getting onto the electoral roll after registration, automatic voter registration will eliminate these problems,” Ambiga argues. Bersih 2.0 is also willing to work with political parties from both side of the divide on electoral reforms. “We’ve invited BN politicians to our events but they didn’t come. But we still hope to work together with them,” she said. There are plans for a meeting with Members of Parliament at the next parliamentary sitting. Bersih 2.0 is also using social media to spread their message and reach out to young people. “The young must start taking ownership of our political process. If they’re not interested to vote because they don’t think their votes can make a difference, then we’ve failed,” she said.

list of orGanisations in bersih 2.0
• Aliran • Anwar Ibrahim Club (AIC) • Amnesty International (Malaysia) • AWAM • Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) Youth • Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) • Child Development Initiative • DEMA • Dewan Perhimpunan Cina KL- Selangor (Jawatankuasa Hak Sivil) • Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation Malaysia • Empower • Friends in Conversation (FIC) • Federation of Indian Non- Governmental Organisations • Good Governance Penang • Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) • Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE) • Independence People Action Committee (IPAC) • Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) • Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT) • Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) • Klang Consumer Association • Komuniti Masyarakat (KOMAS) • Kumpulan Akhbar Independen (KAMI) • Labor Resource Centre (LRC) • LLG Cultural Development Centre • Majlis Kelab Bell Belia Tamil Malaysia • Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates • Malaysian Dravidian Association • Malaysian Hindu Youth Council • Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association • Malaysian Indian Historical Association • Malaysian Tamil Forum • Micah Mandate (The) • Movement For Change, Sarawak (MoCS) • Oriental Hearts and Minds Institute (OHMSI) • Penang Independent Schools Educataion Society. • Permas • Persahabatan Semparuthi • Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang, Malaysia. • Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang, Pulau Pinang. • Persatuan Hak Asasi Manusia (HAKAM) • Persatuan Pengguna & Sosial Daerah Petaling Jaya • Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM) • Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) • Rumah Anak Teater (RAT) • Sahabat Wanita • Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) • Sembang-sembang Forum • Sisters in Islam (SIS) • Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) • Southeast Asian Centre for e-Media • Students Reserve Unit (SERU) • Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) • Tamil Foundation Malaysia • Tenaganita • University Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY) • Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) • Women in Disability Association • Women Institute for Research Development and Advancement (WIRDA) • Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) • Youth for Change (Y4C)

21 days. This would allow voters more time to gather information about the candidates. Besides that, Ambiga believes the EC should take a stronger stand on electoral offences. “Vote-buying is openly done but the authorities are reluctant to investigate and press charges,” she alleged, citing the election goodies offered in recent by-elections as examples. The most infamous incident was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “You help me, I help you” line in the Sibu by-election in May 2010. The BN chief had not so subtly asked Sibu

voters to vote for BN after presenting a RM10 million cheque to 60 Chinese primary schools and a RM5 million cheque to five private Chinese schools. Ambiga noted that the EC does not possess prosecuting powers, but the Federal Constitution grants it authority to request assistance from other public authorities. “They can ask the police [or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission] to investigate the election offences,” she said. Indelible ink, a longer campaign period and investigating electoral offence are the three press-

ing issues that Bersih 2.0 wants the EC to address ahead of the impending general elections. Bersih 2.0 also has other long-term goals. One is to educate the public about the upcoming delimitation exercise, where the EC redraws constituency boundaries every eight to 10 years. “The last exercise was done in 2003 so we suspect they’re going to do it this year,” Ambiga speculates. There are certain principles the EC must follow when redrawing constituency boundary, Ambiga notes, which are important for voters to know.

The young must start taking ownership of our political process. If they’re not interested to vote because they don’t think their votes can make a difference, then we’ve failed.”

views 14

JANUARY 14 — 16, 2011

The Curious Case of the State Secretary
W
hat are the issues and underlying problems with this appointment of Khusrin as Selangor state secretary? Merah Kuning, via email. If you have been following the ONLY blawg you would know the answer by now. LoyarBurok.com was the first to bring you the accurate legal analysis of this crazy civil service appointment. No political rhetoric, no mess, no fuss. That’s why you should become a LoyarBurokker and help Lord Bobo dominate the world. Basically, there are three views: 1. The Federal Government, the Public Services Commission (PSC) and the Sultan of Selangor think that the PSC (i.e. federal level) is empowered to appoint the State Secretary (SS) and impose him on the State of Selangor. They say that in 1993 the power to appoint was taken away from the Sultan on the advice of the Menteri Besar and given to an “appropriate Service Commission”. They take this Service Commission to mean the PSC. 2. The Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) and his Executive Council disagree. They think that while PSC may appoint (or for a more technical term although PSC does not say it, “second”), the appointment is only valid if it is approved by the MB, or at least after consultation with him. The MB now wants to amend the Selangor State Constitution to restore the power of appointment to the Sultan on the advice of the MB. 3. On LoyarBurok, you will notice posts (if you have not read them, shame on you – stop here, read these posts before continuing) that have excavated the state constitution and the federal constitution to say that for Selangor, the PSC has no power to appoint the SS. Both the Constitutions read together say that it is the Selangor State Service Commission (State Commission) which is to appoint the SS. Since the State Commission has not appointed the SS, an appointment ought to be made. Khusrin is therefore a “trespasser” or “pretender SS” as termed by the People’s Judge, NH Chan. If the third view is correct, then Khusrin has no right to enter the office of the State Secretariat. He should be stopped, like how the Pakatan Rakyat Perak ADUNs were stopped from entering the Perak State Assembly at the height of the Perak Crisis. Or have you forgotten? It’s alright if you have – go and get “Perak: A State Of Crisis” at GerakBudaya, MPH, Times, Popular and Borders. As for the “underlying problems”? Well. You wake up everyday and read biased, inaccurate and sensational news about the issue. You see, politicians and the palace become excitable because the media shines on them. But life in your kampung, school, pasar malam and restaurant goes on as if nothing has happened. Are you affected? Do you ask why Teoh Beng Hock died? That’s probably more important. The chances of you being arrested by law enforcement officials are higher than bumping into any work of any State Government’s SS. Dear Lord Bobo, is there a difference between living and being? What do
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurusdescribed queries are answered!

Khusrin: Controversy surrounds his appointment.

cally be sent a postal ballot at the next General Election. The same also applies to Sabah/ Sarawak students in the Peninsula, and vice versa, as well as the spouse of any eligible student. Be aware that because of the registration timetable, any students registered now may only be able to vote provided that the General Election is after the first quarter of 2011. According to the Election Commission, Malaysians students overseas should contact the local Malaysian embassy or high commission to register. However, when you contact the embassy, be prepared to be told to go away and contact the Election Commission because the embassy is unable to register you. In particular, the High Commissions in London and Canberra have claimed that they have been asking the Election Commission for registration forms (in the case of Canberra, since before the 2008 elections), but have received nothing. Some students have reported that they have been able to register if they brought their own forms, which can currently only be obtained from Malaysia. If you face this problem, please contact the Registration section of the Election Commission at yusniati@spr.gov.my to complain. We would also appreciate it if you could describe your experiences to MyOverseasVote (myoverseasvote@gmail.com) for the benefit of other Malaysian students. In addition to encouraging Malaysians students overseas to register to vote, MyOverseasVote (www.myoverseasvote.org) is also planning to take the Election Commission to court to fight for the right of Malaysians working overseas to vote from abroad. Contact them for more information, or if you wish to support the campaign. 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!

you live for, immortal one? @plgan, via Twitter. Living and being are two different sides of the coin. Being is mere existence, brought upon us unwillingly and by sheer chance that our two parents had met and copulated, giving rise to a creation of a new entity which is our very unique DNA, and eventual psychological identity. One eats, one desires, one licks popsicles, one poops, one sleeps. One exists not of our choosing, but from random chance. We exist, breathing, aware, and with the ability to react to the stimulus from our surroundings, be it sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Living, on the other hand is the pleasure in existing awareness. It is a higher level of exploration of the existence we were born with. With the further application of what is in our brains, we choose how we live. We choose what to think. We choose how

to behave. We choose to pursue activities which bring us much pleasure. Those who love what they do work not a day in their life, and such is the pleasure in living! Lord Bobo likes to scratch its head, baffled by the stimulus generated by the political, judicial and administrative authorities in the nation. Unlike other simians, His Supreme Eminenceness chooses to spread the luuuuuuuuurve movement far and wide to share our joy and delight in things we are ‘forbidden’ to discuss and engage. You want to learn how to live – to truly live? Become a LoyarBurokker. Your life will never be the same again. I am a Malaysian studying overseas. Can I vote in the next General Elections? If so, how? Make It Count, via email. Any Malaysian student overseas who is over 21 is entitled to register as an “absent voter”, which means that he or she will automati-

Mixed reaction to relocation
By Basil Foo

January 14 — 16, 2011

news 15

seri kembangan: The planned relocation of the biggest and oldest night market here, at Jalan Pasar, drew mixed reaction from the over 200 hawkers who are mostly unlicensed. While some of the hawkers welcomed the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) move to relocate them to a more conducive site together with an offer of a licence, others are apprehensive. “I don’t want to move. No one wants to move,” said Alice Teh, who has been selling prawn noodles at the night market for the past five years. She and many other hawkers were hesitant because they feared a drop in business at the new location. However, Wong Poi Sei, who runs an accessories stall, thinks the move would not have much of an impact as the new location at the Seri Kembangan commercial area is just over 700 metres from the current site. “It is not so troublesome for me to move my stall because my home is nearby,” said Wong, who has been working at the night market for more than two years. Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching said

A hawker complaining to Ean Yong during his visit on Monday.

on Monday the new site had room for 300 stalls and the owners are expected to move after Chinese New Year. Teo also handed out relocation forms to the hawkers. “There are currently 200 hawkers in the current night market so there should be sufficient place at the new location,” said Teo.

She said over 90% of the hawkers were illegal but licences would be issued to them after they move. The relocation of the night market, which has been operating at the site for over 30 years, was due to massive traffic jams every Monday night, made worse by haphazard parking.

 “As you can see there are insufficient parking lots here and because of the double parking, the main road is congested,” Teo explained. When asked to respond to the hawker’s worries of a drop in customers, Teo said, “For the Serdang folk, if they want to go to pasar malam, the other location will be the

nearest one as well.” Selangor ewxecutive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, who visited the market on Monday night, said the date for the relocation will be announced after Chinese New Year but the morning market here will be allowed to remain at the same location.

Subang Ria dispute dominates dialogue
By Rahmah Ghazali

Undergrads Parliament says aye to co-op
By Alvin Yap

subang jaya: The controversy takeover of Subang Ria park dominated the Wangsa Baiduri town hall dialogue with Subang assemblywperson Hannah Yeoh on Wednesday, but already, some residents feel they are fighting a losing battle. A resident from Summer Villa, Teoh Weng Theong, said “something has truly gone wrong”, saying that raising funds to match the state’s offer to acquire the 72.63 acre land from Sime Darby Property Bhd was tantamount to nothingness. “Something is very fishy here... something has gone wrong somewhere. Our park may be lost and raising money to get back the land could be a waste of time,” said the 57-year-old who has been living there for the past 10 years. However, Yeoh said residents should use up all avenues through the action committee to derive an equitable value for acquisition over the next eight months, as given by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. “However, if you suspect any corrupt practice, lodge a complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),” she told the 150 residents who attended

Yeoh speaking to residents at the dialogue

the dialogue. Another resident, Neoh Ken Chai, argued that the residents should give Sime Darby a chance to see what they had to offer. “That is Sime Darby’s land. Unlike the majority of people here who are adamant in preserving the park, to be fair to Sime Darby, we should see what they can do for us here,” he said. The 60-year-old college teacher also said that the residents would benefit from the development project, as Sime Darby might build another access road to their township. “Besides, they could also clean up the Subang lake that has been dirty and smelly for the past 30 to 40 years, a job which Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya has failed to do. We should all agree to this (development project),” said Neoh, much to disapproval from residents. The debate became more intense, prompting Yeoh to end

the topic as this was a “sensitive issue”. Residents have been against any development in the park which they said was sold to them as part of their township and neighbourhood while Sime Darby applied to develop housing units in the site. Earlier, resident Richard Chang complained about cleanliness of eateries in Subang Jaya, where cockroaches and rats have become “unwanted frequent visitors”. “There is a coffeeshop which does not even have a place to wash your hands and the toilets are horrible. A mamak restaurant provides a better place to wash your hands, and their toilets are always clean,” said Chang. He also complained about potholes and damaged roads leading to the Summit complex. However, according to MPSJ councillor Dr Loi Kheng Min, who was present at the dia-

logue, the Health Department had done regular spot-checks on the eateries. He also told the residents that the council had declared war on rats and cockroaches in SS15, where they have revoked some eateries’ licences and closed them down for more than a week. Among other issues that were addressed were building another access road to the township as the current one could not cope with the increasing traffic, and how to tackle traffic jams in the area. Wangsa Baiduri comprises 485 town houses, 10 bungalows, 96 units of condominiums in Spring Villa, 122 units of condominiums in Summer Villa, and 396 units of condominiums in the Boulevard.  Also present at the dialogue were Kelana Jaya Member of Parliament Loh Gwo Burne and Subang police station chief Sulaiman Baputty.

sHaH aLam:   The  inaugural Students’ Parliament which met on Tuesday passed a motion  to set up a cooperative to help poor undergraduates in the country. “You could say that the proposal was unanimously accepted,” said Dineshweri Pushpanadan, the assembly’s media officer. A total of 194 out of 200 undergraduates who attended the National Students’ Assembly said ‘aye’ to the proposal.   The  Students’ Parliament, which was held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur, brought together undergraduates from both public and private higher institutions to debate as well as to vote on campus issues.  “The floor was open to anyone to bring up any issue, and one student said we had to take the initiative to run our own cooperative in order to provide services to fellow students,” said Dineshweri. Dineshweri, who is pursuing her degree in Education at Universiti Malaya, said students also spoke on the need to “gain financial independence. A majority, by a show of hands, voted that the issue of being financially independent was important if we wanted to run our own ventures.” She said the undergraduates saw the advantages of setting up a students’ cooperative, saying that one pressing issue was the lack of bursaries or financial assistance to poorer students. “The students said that they knew of friends who would benefit from micro-loans to purchase books, or even to sustain themselves when they don’t have enough money,” said Dineshweri. She said the next Students’ Parliament – which has not been decided yet – will see participants debating the mechanics of setting up the cooperative.

news 16

January 14 — 16, 2011

The construction’s dumping ground.

Joy for Eng Ann hawkers
By Choong Loo Wah

MPKJ to solve Saujana Impian flat woes
By Rahmah Ghazali

JMB secretary Rozman (second from right) discusses problems with Kajang assemblyman Lee Kim Sin (right).

KLANG: After waiting for almost three decades, hawkers at Taman Eng Ann’s morning market finally got their business licences. Sungai Pinang assemblyperson Datuk Teng Chang Kim said previously only 24 out of the 174 vendors were licensed to trade at the morning market. “MPK (Klang Municipal Council) had awarded licences to all 174 hawkers on Jan 1,” said Teng, dispelling rumours that the local council was planning to close down the morning market. He said the vendors were issued an identification card with their names and stall numbers printed on it, so they need not worry that their space will be occupied by others. In addition, vendors only have to pay RM4 for daily rental and only for the days they are operating instead of the flat RM1,000 every three months previously. The move is expected to reduce the financial burden of the hawkers. He added that MPK would crack down hard on foreign hawkers at the morning market and advised hawkers against renting their stalls to outsiders. Teng, who is also the State Assembly Speaker, visited the morning market last Saturday with MPK enforcement director Andry Arman Masrom and licensing director Azhar Samsudin. Meanwhile, Azhar said MPK will issue temporary licences for vendors to sell Chinese New Year goods two weeks before the festival. He reminded hawkers that the application deadline is today and the licensing fee is RM5 per day. As for shops wishing to sell Chinese New Year goods on the five-foot way, the fee is RM10 per day.

KAJANG: Saujana Impian flat residents can finally breathe a sigh of relief after the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKJ) vowed to resolve problems which have been plaguing them for months. Secretary to the flat’s Joint Management Body (JMB), Rozman Mat Hazin, said that he had been seeking answers from MPKJ regarding their woes – from non-working street lights to a damaged access road due to a nearby construction since last August. But their problems should come to an end soon as MPKJ, together with Kajang assemblyman Lee Kim Sin met the resident’s body to discuss the problems last Friday. After more than one hour of discussion, all the parties reached a consensus to hold a meeting with JMB and the residents to address the issues. “On behalf of JMB, I would like to thank MPKJ and Lee for their cooperation to help solve the residents’ problems,” he said. However, there was a slight disagreement between Rozman and MPKJ during the discussion, as the former argued that the non-working street lights should fall under the responsibility of MPKJ.

Taking a different stand, Lee said all the maintenance involving the flat, which includes street lights within its compound should instead fall under JMB’s purview. But there was an obstacle for JMB to carry out their duties as they only managed to collect less than 20 per cent of maintenance fees per month from each flat owner since it took over the office in 2009, argued Rozman. In view of this, Lim said he would propose to the state government to reduce the maintenance fees that have become a constant burden to the low-cost flat owners. It is understood that the residents have to pay RM40 a month in maintenance fees and RM120 in assessment tax per year. “With this amount, the residents pay more compared to landed property owners which average around RM200 per year in assessment tax without having to pay any maintenance fees,” said Lim. Lim also said that Commission of Building (COB) under MPKJ and himself would urge the constructors at the nearby construction site to repair the access road and ensure that it is in good condition. He also said he would monitor the situation to ensure that the constructors do not dump their waste in the residential compound.

MASUM invites Muslim travellers
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin

SHAH ALAM: MASUM (MATTA International Fair Selangor Umrah & Muslim Travel) is back for the fourth time. The fair will feature great bargains, exciting Umrah and Muslim Travel Packages and out of this world destinations. MASUM is one of the travel fairs consumers can look forward to, especially those interested in umrah and travel packages that focus more on Islamic tastes such as halal food, ancient Islamic civilizations, unique mosques and other Islamic features. While the main focus of this fair is to cater for Muslim travelers, non-Muslims will also find great travel bargains here. MASUM 2011 has a strong participation from travel agencies, hoteliers, national tourist offices, airlines and many more. This means that visitors will have a lot on offer and will be spoilt for choice. Admission to the fair is free and there will be free limited MASUM bags for those who come early. This year’s event will be held at Shah

Alam Convention Center (SACC) from today till Sunday. The exhibition is open to the public from 10am and 9pm.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 14 – 16, 2011 ⁄ 17

Features 18
January 14 — 16, 2011

Paddle your way to adventure
four years. near the river. “Many people want to take a step back For those who also want to get to know ave you ever experienced a sudden from the busy city life to experience mother the Orang Asli better, they can hire them as drop while sitting on a raft paddling a nature in another way. They want to try guides for their rafting activities in Kuala fierce stream with nothing strapped on something different from trekking and hik- Kubu Baru. but your lifejacket, helmet and kayak paddle? ing,” said Omar. Khersonese hires Orang Asli as guides Just feel the excitement, the adrenalin rush Shafiq AL-Attas, who has been an out- because they are more familiar with the area and the frigid water splashing you from every door enthusiast since young, explained the apart from creating jobs for them. direction while trying to balance yourself on advantages of white water rafting to the a raft together with a group of people. human brain. White-water rafting may not be everyone’s “It improves people’s technical cup of tea but it is fast catching on among ur- aspects of their left brain as most are banites who want to get a feel of rollercoasting right-handed. It also enhances their treacherous waves, scenes you only probably senses as manoeuvring around the river see in movies. requires quick reflexes,” said Attas, who Water rafting was one of the earliest forms has been working for Khersonese for of transportation during the olden days, mov- three years. ing people and goods around. It only became On average, white-water rafting popular as a sport in the 1980s. in Sungai Selangor attracts about 60 The rubber river raft is believed to have people every month, and the number been invented in the early 1840s. Although is growing. the raft was invented in the mid-nineCorporate people, families and teenth century, it was young enthusiasts are not until the turn of among the adventure seekthe century that the ers. Many people first ever commercial Wilson Asada, who is want to take a white-water trip was from Oxbold Sports, said step back from undertaken. about 250 people compristhe busy city life According to Dr ing young professionals, to experience Yusof Omar, social experienced the thrill of mother nature entrepreneur and dirafting every month. rector of Khersonese However, Sungai Selanin another way. Expedition, more and gor is not only well known They want to try more people are fallrafting, but something different for white-waterAsli villages ing in love with the also for Orang from trekking and around the area. There are sport, with a rise of 25 hiking.” per cent for the last still a few villages situated Experience the thrill of conquering the rapids.
By Alvin Chin

H

No experience is needed to complete a course in Sungai Selangor because training will be provided. However, be prepared to test your endurance as rafting is no child’s play. A word of caution. It is not advisable to use your own raft. Safety is the main concern of all operators in Sungai Selangor, with their equipment certified by US coast guards.

By Lee Lian Kong

alaysians are spoilt. At every corner, food is abundant, good and cheap. It is our fortunate fate to be blessed with so much good food. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. However good that chicken rice on Jalan Satellite is, chicken rice is still rice with chicken. Perhaps because we are spoilt, we crave for something new, something different, something to excite the senses again. A restaurant up to that challenge is Serai Empire. Tucked into a corner in the Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya, this Serai outlet is only one of the three different concept stores under the Serai Group Sdn. Bhd. The other two are Serai Satay Bar and Serai Thai, at Pavilion and Shah Alam, respectively. The one at Empire focuses on Malaysian, Thai, fusion and continental cuisine. At first glance, Serai looks like just another Malay restaurant in a mall. But take a look closer, and things start getting a little more intriguing. The dessert counter is sagging with huge cheesecakes and even bigger pavlovas. The menu on display outside boasts a comprehensive list of not just old favourites with a twist or two, but daring new creations. If one is not tempted or hungry yet, you would surely enter just to disprove the capability of such audacious pairings! However, I am sorry to inform you that there will be no disproving, only many lip smacking ‘Mmms’ and burps of satisfaction. Serai is a restaurant of winning combinations. From drinks to main courses, they are adventurous and creative in playing with flavours. Be it combining western flavours to Asian favourites or old with new, their combinations are successful and delicious. Their pastas hit the innovative home run. Serai boldly took the potent spices of rendang and combined it with the cylindrical penne pasta, whose hollow centre holds the rich rendang sauce. Topped with a generous amount of tender and juicy beef, the Beef Rendang Penne (RM21.50) is a winner. Another splendid fusion pasta dish was the Smoked Salmon Pasta (RM23). Once again, it was generous with smoked salmon coated in Napoli sauce with a touch of cream and chilli flakes. Every bite of their fusion dishes is a delightful surprise, making you Berry Pavlova is rich in whipped cream & berries. wonder why others have not tried to do these fantastic combinations before. two sweet buns are surely the stuff meat lovers’ The Serai Iced Tea (RM10.50) is a clever dreams are made of. concoction. Made with lemongrass juice Avid bakers will know pavlovas are tricky with a scoop of lime sorbet, it will soothe desserts to make but here at Serai, they got it the spiciness from their beef rendang and just right, perfect, even. The meringue creates give you a tangy reprieve before diving back a chewy yet crunchy frame for the layers of into gluttony again. Another option is the whipped cream, berries and grapes. While they Milky Bandung (RM7), which is rose syrup say good things are best shared, and one porwith soda and a touch of pandan. Though tion of the Berry Pavloa (RM14.80) is cerslightly on the sweet side, it is creamy good- tainly huge enough for two, I would suggest ness in a glass. ordering one portion per person because you They don’t just stop at mixing the East just can’t get enough of it! and the West. Old favourites are revamped The atmosphere is loud and boisterous as and set against a modern backdrop, like their it is always full house during lunch, tea and Serai Platter (RM25) which arrived like a dinnertime. Be sure to make reservations for colourful medley set upon a large, white seats and for the pavlova. The two lady owners plate. At its centre is their very own Serai will even personally drop by your table to make rice, surrounded by little mounds of honey sure everything is alright. Service is attentive, squid, oxtail asam pedas, acar and ayam even with big crowds. goreng berempah. Hefty and hearty, thisAll in all, Serai is a success. There is hardly Serai specialty has just the right amount to anything wrong except for the fact that there satisfy your craving for Malay food. is only one such outlet at the moment. It feels While they do fusion with finesse, regu- unfair that only Subang Jaya folks get to enjoy lars aren’t left behind. Staples fare above having such good chow so close to them. Deaverage as well, even great for their Gourmet spite that, Serai was a joyful surprise. Kudos Lean Beef Burger (RM25). Such a thick to creative, home grown brands, and here’s to mound of juicy, beefy goodness in between more Serai outlets and heavenly pavlovas!

M

Serai @ Empire: Fusion with Finesse

REVIEW 19
January 14 — 16, 2011

Serai Platter comes with rice, surrounded by little mounds of honey squid, oxtail asam pedas, acar and ayam goreng berempah.

Fatty Crabs to the rescue
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin

I

t is the end of a long day. You are tired and in no mood to cook for your in-laws who want to have dinner at your place tonight. You are about to have a meltdown when you suddenly remember a similar situation and how you were bailed out by Fatty Crabs. You remembered the succulent Thermidor crab you had with your husband. The crème cheese on the crab works perfectly. The mea l wa s memorable. You remembered how your meal was delivered still hot like it had just came straight out of the kitchen and onto your table thanks to the temperature-controlled thermal bag they use to deliver the food. You begin to plan the menu and you wonder which of the 13 delicious cooking st y l e s y o u were going to pick for the fresh, live, meaty mud crabs that Fatty Crabs have on offer. You also begin to decide on the other menu choices available at Fatty

Ketam Masak Lemak Cili Api.

Crabs such as claypot crab rice, crab meehoon, soft shell crabs, prawns, squids, chicken wings, superior crab soup, mixed vegetables and “Loh Sang”. With your mind made up you dial 1-300-222-100 to place your order. As you wait to be connected, you reflect on how much easier life has become ever since you discovered Fatty Crabs. What you like best is their assurance that your meals are cooked in a hygenic kitchen, with the best quality oil, halal condiments and spices with no added MSG, food enhancers and colourings in a pork free environment.

FICTION 20
January 14 — 16, 2011

Going home at last
by John Ling


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. .......................................................................................... 2. .......................................................................................... 3. .......................................................................................... lain-lain maklumat: ..............................................................................................

Lee had been lying in the grass since the sun went down. Watching. Waiting. Sweating. But the hardest part wasn’t the prickly heat or the oppressively still air. It was the mosquitoes. For hours, they had swarmed him, buzzing, biting, and now his hands were bloody from all the ones he had killed. But still they kept on coming. Insatiable. Relentless. This is misery, he thought. Breathing through his teeth, he couldn’t help but yearn for home. How long had it been since he had left his village? Since he had last played with his dog? Since he had last tasted his mother’s porridge? Two years? No. It was closer to three. An eternity. The growl of thunder dashed his thoughts, and he blinked. The wind picked up, and around him, the vegetation rustled. Lighting streaked across. Slowly, surely, the first drops of rain plopped on his head before breaking into a drizzle. The mosquitoes stopped buzzing, and he felt better already. Cooler. Less raw. He adjusted his sub-machine gun, making sure it was beneath him, protected from the rain. That’s when lights appeared on the dirt road below, twinkling, followed by the drone of engines. Lee felt his throat tighten, and his fingers flexed around his gun. They were coming. Lee looked left and rig ht, checking on his men, and they peered back at him, only the whites of their eyes visible beneath camouflaged faces. “Stand by,” he said. “Stand by.” The lights got bigger and brighter. The droning got louder and closer. Lee raised his hand. Wait. Wait.

Wait. Now. Lee slashed his hand down. “engage.” The mortar squad behind him dropped a shell into their weapon, and it thumped, the shell arching overhead, hissing. Lee was conscious of his heart drumming in his chest. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. On the road below, a truck at the front of the convoy exploded, flattening like a pancake. Lee slashed his hand again. “engage.” The mortar thumped once more. This time, a jeep at the rear of the convoy exploded, snapping into two, flipping. Smoke and debris swirled, and the soldiers in the convoy leapt out, screaming as they jostled this way and that way into defensive positions. With fiery wreckage in front and fiery wreckage behind, they were now pinned down. They couldn’t go forward. They couldn’t go backward. No escape. “engage.” The machine-gun squad on Lee’s right opened up on the enemy, their rapid-fire parting the grass, their tracers painting ribbons in the night, and the enemy replied with dozens of muzzle flashes, their bullets snapping and cracking against the trees all around. “Banzai!” the enemy commander cried out. “Banzai!” the enemy soldiers shrieked in unison. They were preparing to charge up the hill, preparing to overrun Lee and his guerrillas, but he had already anticipated this. Rising from his position, keeping his head down, he led his shooters — those armed with rifles and sub-machine guns — to the left. He would orbit around. Catch the enemy in the middle in a pincer movement. Out-manoeuvre them with two criss-crossing fields of fire from the

front and the left. With his legs pumping , he skidded behind a tree, taking up position just as the enemy roared over the crest of the hill, their boots kicking up a dust storm and — yes — this was the moment of moments, the pincer picture-perfect as he sighted and tracked his targets and, with a long exhale, he opened up on them, spent casings spiralling from his weapon, his shoulder bucking from the recoil, his ears ringing, and it was a scene straight out of hell with men convulsing, flesh tearing, blood pluming. Dear God. It was over in seconds. Soon there was nothing left to shoot. Panting, shaking, Lee leaned against the tree, taking in the smell of cordite and sweat and death, the adrenalin still churning in his gut. Nothing moved except the bloody grass. He surveyed the carnage, the bodies, and he felt sick. Bile crawled up the back of his throat, and he wanted to vomit. Dear God. They had won. Yes, they had won. But how much longer would the killing have to continue? That’s when someone stepped up behind him. Jittery, Lee turned and raised his weapon, almost squeezing the trigger before he recognised the man as a messenger from base camp. He was laughing, dancing. ‘It’s over!’ Lee shook his head, confused. “What?” ‘The war, the occupation — it’s over! The Americans have dropped a ne w b omb on the enemy. Destroyed two entire cities if you can believe that. It’s over. It’s over!’ Lee froze, his lips quivering, his gun slipping from his grasp, not knowing what to think, how to feel. No more killing. No more killing. At long last, he was going home.
Lau (centre) and Jeyaseelan officiate the new badminton court in Section 22 Petaling Jaya last month.

............................................... tandatangan

....................................... tarikh

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

New court for Section 22
PETALING JAYA: Budding badminton champions in Section 22 now have a court of their own to hone in their skills, thanks to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ). The RM16,000 badminton court built near the Section 22 Rukun Tetangga (RT) base was officially opened last month by MBPJ Councillor  Jeyaseelen Anthony and Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San. “The residents had asked for a court for the children and youths in the neighbourhood so we arranged for funds to be allocated for it to be built,” said Jeyaseelan. He said the empty plot of land which belonged to the RT was identified as the best site for the single badminton court. The simple opening ceremony was marked by a badminton match between  Lau and Jeyaseelan.  The event was attended by 100 residents.

Call the SS17 BomBa for advise at

03-5634 9444

There are a couple of ways to spend a long weekend. One is to watch TV, two is to catch up on your sleep and three, as LIN ZHENYUAN finds out, is to drive aimlessly and end up in a small town.

Jenjarom gears up for lunar new year

Feature 21
January 14 — 16, 2011

ost people head to Carey Island for its seafood restaurants. But not too far from here is the little town of Jenjarom. If you are game for an afternoon of driving around the outskirts, make a 3 o’clock turn at the roundabout, coming from the direction of Telok Panglima Garang. After a 10-minute drive, Jenjarom springs into view. There are many small settlements in the district of Kuala Langat, and Jenjarom is one of them. It has a population of about 25,000. Most people do not like to come out of their cocoons in Petaling Jaya or the Kuala Lumpur metropolis. But if you just want to drive just for the sheer joy of it, Jenjarom is about 55km west of KL. The Chinese residents here are predominantly Hokkien. The main landmark in Jenjarom is the Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Dong Zen Buddhist Temple. Every year, it attracts hundreds A replica of a religious site in China at the entrance of the Dong Zen Temple. of thousands of visitors to the town. Jenjarom folk, particularly the business community, welcome the influx of outsiders. The large Since its opening in 1994, the 22groups of tourists help keep the acre Dong Zen Temple has received assorted businesses in the pink of hundreds of thousands of local tourists. health, as far as their balance sheets With the new Lunar Year of the Rabbit are concerned. about four weeks away, once again There are signs that Jenjarom is slowly crawling out of its new village Dong Zen Temple is a hive of activity.” status. The place was created in the 1950s during the Emergency under in Kaoshiung, Taiwan where there Jalan Sungai Buaya, Sungai Jenjathe New Villages Master Plan to are 62 temple branches. Across the rom. Those who are interested in check the Communist influence globe, there are 98 more branches, learning more about this temple can among Chinese settlers. of which FGS Dong Zen in Jenja- call 03-3191-1593 or visit its webIn the 1990s, Jenjarom had rom is the Buddhist hub for South- site: www.fgs.org.my an unsavoury reputation for its east Asia.   Presently, Jenjarom is still very lion’s share of “pai kia” (bad hats). The statues of deities are strategically placed in the temple Since its opening in 1994, the much a laid-back town still playing The authorities and social workers grounds. 22-acre Dong Zen Temple has re- catch-up with the rest of Selangor. attributed the village’s ills to priority in the area. There are rows of grocery shops, ceived hundreds of thousands of If you are on your way to Morib or secret societies, gambling and According to residents born here, coffeeshops, a 7-Eleven and at least local tourists. With the new Lunar Tanjung Sepat and have nothing prostitution. there are two populated areas which one travel agency. Year of the Rabbit about four weeks much on your itinerary, you may In the mid-80s, Jenjarom suffered reveal the racial diversity of JenjaOne could say that without the away, once again Dong Zen Temple want to drop by at Jenjarom for a from a high unemployment rate. rom. Sungai Jenjarom is populated Dong Zen Temple, Jenjarom would is a hive of activity. quick bite, and perhaps a short visit Young and reckless men engaged in by mostly Hokkien-speaking people. be lesser known today. Dong Zen The temple which also acts as a to Dong Zen Temple. criminal activities to find an Kampung Jenjarom consists of Ma- comes under the umbrella of the cultural and educational centre is Jenjarom’s atmosphere is somealternative source of income. lays who live in traditional kampong worldwide Buddhist Order called presently making preparations to where in between its much busier Fortunately, in recent years the houses. Fo Guang Shan or the Mountain of celebrate the Chinese New Year in sister town, Klang, and its urban social face of Jenjarom has had a The more developed part of Jen- Light. its own unique and colourful way. cousin, Banting. One day in the major facelift. This is mainly due to jarom is along the road leading to The FGS was founded by Master Four years ago, in 2007, there distant future, it may end up like education which was given top the Dong Zen Buddhist Temple. Hsing Yun in 1967. Its head office is were an estimated 1.5 million visi- Subang Jaya but is currently in no tors comprising tourists and devo- immediate danger of heading in that tees during the Chinese New Year direction. The best time to get accelebrations at the temple. quainted with this laid-back town is Dong Zen Temple is located in now.

M

Jenjarom town along the main road leading to Morib.

Visitors will not go hungry in Jenjarom because there are plenty of restaurants and other eateries.

Gallery 22
January 14 — 16, 2011 ENVIROMENTALLY UNFRIENDLY: Children throwing unwanted CDs into a pile of rubbish in Sungai Lima on Jan 8.

A child watches a singer perform during a New Year’s gathering at Indera Subang Condominium on Jan 8.

A fishermen drying shrimps in Sungai Lima on Jan 8. The fishing island, located beside Pulau Ketam, is planning to turn the area into an eco-friendly village.

Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching handing out angpows to traders at the Sri Kembangan night market on Monday after infoming them that they would be relocated to a more conducive site.

Sri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah (second from left) watches the formation of two new Rela platoons at his constituency on Jan 1.

culture 23
JANUARY 14 — 16, 2011

❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW

A Shameless Covers Night 2

REVIEW

Editor’s Pick
Play The Necessary Stage & KLPac KL Performing Arts Centre 19 – 22 January 2011; RM33 03-4047 9000 www.klpac.com

Model Citizens
True to form, The Necessary Stage’s latest offering is also a fun piece of theatre that zeroes in on a topical subject. Just check out Model Citizens’ premise: a man stabs a Singaporean Member of Parliament at a “Meet the People” session. Three women are caught in the fallout: the attacker’s girlfriend, an Indonesian maid seeking marriage and citizenship in the island nation; said to be girlfriend’s employer, also coping with personal tragedy; the MP’s wife, who has to cope with the subsequent media attention. Immigration, such a Big Topic in Singapore at the moment, is sure to feature prominently. Model Citizens, which premiered in March 2010 will be performed in KL by Goh Guat Kian, Siti Khalijah and Karen Tan. Written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Alvin Tan.

A

someone Who’ll Watch over Me
Theatre The Actors Studio@Lot 10 5 -16 January 2011 RM48 03-2142 2009 www.theactorsstudio.com 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 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. 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’s been getting some rave reviews, so don’t miss the performance’s last week in KL!

BOOKS
Meet the necessary stage
Book Launch Theatre Reading & Talk The Necessary Stage & The Instant Café Theatre Company CHAI House 17 January 2011 free admission 03-7784 9792; www.instantcafetheatre.com Singapore-mari company The Necessary Stage (TNS) is a known name to theatre audiences on both sides of the Causeway. Its resident playwright, Haresh Sharma, is Singapore’s most prolific stage writer; he produces works that are invariably fun, moving, and sociallyconscious. Good People was a hospital drama dealing with religion and moral rightness of medical marijuana to relieve pain; Gemuk Girls examined how ISA detentions (fine old Singapore has them too!) wreck havoc both within and without the family. We saw those two plays in 2008, when they toured to KL. Now, Haresh and TNS director Alvin Tan visit PJ’s CHAI House to launch TRILOGY, a collection of Haresh’s plays. They will talk about the TNS process of making theatre, and oversee the performance of excerpts from five different plays: Good People, Gemuk Girls, Hope, Talk 1, and Still Building. With assistance from Singaporean performers Karen Tan and Siti Khalijah, and Malaysia’s own Sukania Venugopal.

the Path of life: leong Chee siong Retrospective
Exhibition The Annexe Gallery Central Market 12 - 16 January 2011 free admission 03-2070 1137 www.annexegallery.com Retrospective exhibitions are a unique pleasure: they allow gallery visitors the opportunity to chart, for themselves, the creative evolution of a particular artist. In this case, the artist in question is Leong Chee Siong, a painter

whose 30-year career has seen his works exhibited internationally, and a Phillip Morris Arts Award! “The artistic creation is the process of life exploration, the integration and reoccurrence of thought,” says Leong. “It is the condensation of culture and the motivated force of cultural growth.” Grand pronouncements aside, the artist’s works are more modest, being stylised and subtlycoloured explorations of pastoral/ agricultural life: sarong-ed women with babies, starfruit, etc. Still, quietly breathtaking.

bit into A Shameless Covers Night 2, (8 January 2011, PJ Live Arts) singer-songwriter Mia Palencia — engaging in between-song banter as her co-performers Reza Salleh, Zalila Lee and Melina William got ready — explained that their first iteration of the show, back in August 2009, didn’t include any Malay pop anthems. All four musicians thought this a deficiency. “So we decided to each choose one favourite Malay song to play tonight,” Mia said. That’s how we got to enjoy the spectacle of Reza Salleh dressed as Francissca Peter (complete with wig and earrings), performing “Demi Negara”. It’s a worthy sentiment, that. There’s a store of Malaylanguage music that’s universally well-loved, and their exclusion would have been a shame. Who doesn’t know Man Bai’s “Kau Ilham Ku” — incidentally Mia’s own choice for the evening. Behind all this, I suspect, is the eternal conundrum: what makes Malaysian music Malaysian? It’s an antiquated question, easily answered: all it takes is for There’s local musicians to use internaa store tional forms, and make them their of Malayown. We saw it in Pop Yeh Yeh language and its appropriation of 1960s music that’s psychedelic rock and roll; we see it in Azmyl Yunor and his comuniversally mandeering of the Bob Dylan well-loved, model. and their Likewise, the success of a covexclusion ers concert is determined by the would have following question: How able were its performers in applying been a their unique artistic sensibilities shame.” to the pop canon? In that, A Shameless Covers Night 2 was a rousing success — but let me qualify that. The show wasn’t particularly fresh in its interpretations: I think we’ve heard acoustic renditions of Blur’s “Girls & Boys” a few times before. Rather, Shameless’s singer-songwriter quartet succeed by plumbing the twin-linked elements of heart and history: in introducing “Princes Familiar”, Melina William apologised for playing Alanis Morrisette (considered somewhat frumpy these days), but her performance made it obvious that the music had touched her deeply — and we in the audience got to feel the same way. The night’s best bit was its encore: a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which had the four self-consciously parodying Queen’s famously bizarre music video. Kazoos and Guitar Hero peripherals stood in for real electric guitars. Amazing, laugh-until-sakit stuff. Two things prevented me from completely enjoying A Shameless Covers Night 2. Firstly, the PJ Live Arts theatre is notorious for lousy acoustics; that so many music shows happen there (eg: Nick Choo’s Follow The Light) is a mystery. Also, Shameless itself, being “shameless” and informal, would have been better suited somewhere that didn’t have a proscenium stage and sit-down audience seats: the venue forces formality. “Guess no one wants to dance,” one of the performers remarked, halfway through. Duh.

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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