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Illegal hostels irk Sunway residents
CNY road safetY CampaigN
National heritage status?
By Gan Pei Ling
January 28 — 30, 2011/ issue 10
suNgai BuLoh: The long awaited promise to preserve the leprosy settlement here looks close to being fulfilled but its residents are sceptical about their future. A spokesperson from the National Heritage Department confirmed that the government was in the midst of gazetting the 81-yearold leprosarium. Once the world’s second largest, the settlement is likely to be recognised as a national heritage this year. “We are still checking with the Health Ministry and Gombak Land Office to make sure there are no developments planned in the area we want to gazette,” he said in a phone interview with Selangor Times on Wednesday. However, residents who are still in the dark said they will not celebrate until the authorities disclose how much of the settlement will be preserved. “There shouldn’t be anymore development, we want the remaining 78 hectares to be preserved entirely. Otherwise, residents might be required to move again,” said Lee Chor Seng, who has lived in the settlement since 1958. He is also a settlement council member. Lee said the best Chinese New Year gift to the residents would be for the entire 78ha were to be gazetted. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had verbally promised the residents that the settlement would be gazetted as a national heritage last Chinese New Year.
Residents of the settlement in Sg Buloh are hopeful their home will be recognised as a national heritage soon. – Picture by Victor Chong
Over the past two decades, the original 230ha leprosy settlement has been subdivided to build the Sungai Buloh Hospital and medical faculty of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). The oldest resident, Lee Saw Cheng, 89, pointed out that the
settlement is the only home she knows. She has lived there since 1936. Still housing 230 leprosy survivors like Lee, the settlement is now a living testament to humanity’s triumph over the once incurable and fearful disease.
The National Heritage Department officer said they do intend to conserve as much of the remaining area as possible. “The leprosarium has historical significance, especially to our medical history,” he said, adding that his department is currently compiling
an inventory list of the important structures to be conserved. The officer added that once they have settled land issues with the Health Ministry, it would take around four to six months to officially gazette the site barring any • Turn To page 2
January 28 — 30, 2011
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21 January — 23, 2011 / issue 9
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JPJ to focus on killer stretches in Selangor
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
public objections. A world-renowned centre for leprosy treatment and research, the Sungai Buloh leprosarium housed over 2,400 patients of various ethnicities and nationalities at its peak in the 1940s. Its size was only second to the leper colony at Culion Island in the Philippines. It was also one of the first leprosaria to be modeled after a “garden city” concept rather than a prison. The more humane approach was later emulated by other countries. Its residents and heritage activists have been lobbying the federal government to gazette it as a national heritage for years. There was a public outcry in 2007 when some structures were demolished to make way for UiTM’s medical faculty. The Sungai Buloh Settlement Council president Tan Him also hoped all of the remaining 78ha would be preserved a historical heritage. He said that it is vital to conserve the settlement as few young Malaysians today know about its history. Although it used to be shunned by outside world, the Sungai Buloh leper colony has always been a self-sustaining community. It had its own school, community
hall, bank, houses of worshi, social club, prison, and even its own currency for a time. Heritage activist Teoh Chee Keong said the settlement used to be a potential world heritage site. “Unfortunately, they demolished some of the original structures in 2007 so it would be difficult to apply for world heritage status now. “But the site should definitely be recognised as a national heritage for its contribution to our c o u n t r y ’s m e d i c a l history,” said the USCI University lecturer. The once isolated settlement is now nicknamed the Valley of Hope and is a haven for gardeners with its abundant nurseries. Many of the nurseries were once owned by Lee Chor Seng h e a l e d l ep er s , w h o cultivated the flowers and plants by been taken over by outsiders in recent themselves to earn a livelihood. years as the original owners retired or However, some of the nurseries have passed away.
SHAH ALAM: Three “killer stretches” in Selangor will be patrolled by the Road Transport Department ( JPJ) in a bid to reduce fatalities this Chinese New Year. The stretches which will be closely monitored are KM54 Jalan Klang-Sabak Bernam (near Kg Belimbing), KM394 North South Expressway near the Selangor-Perak border and KM1.6 and 2.6 of the Elite Highway near the Ebor toll plaza. Selangor JPJ director Yusoff Ayob said 24 hour patrolling would be carried out on these roads during the festive period, He added that plainclothed JPJ officers on express buses will monitor and catch errant express bus drivers besides conducting inspections of buses at depots and terminals.
History of leprosy
LEPRoSY is one of the oldest recorded diseases in human history. References to it can be found in Egyptian papyri, Hindu Vedas and the Hebrew Bible. Before a cure was discovered, leprosy patients were generally feared, stigmatised and isolated by society due to the misunderstandings surrounding the infectious disease. Leprosy does not always directly cause deformities. Rather, it attacks the nervous system of the patient’s face and limbs. Due to the loss of sensation, patients can injure themselves without realising it. In other instances, leprosy may cause small tumours in the patients’ bodies. It was not until 1873 that scientist Dr Gerhard Hansen discovered the bacteria (Mycobacterium leprea) that caused leprosy. Since then, it was also known as the Hansen’s disease. Although contagious, the bacteria is difficult to transmit and only prolonged contact with untreated patients would result in infection. In the 1940s, a cure – Dapsone – was invented but patients had to undergo treatment for 20 years or more to avoid any relapse. The most effective treatment for leprosy – a multi-drug therapy (Dapsone, Rifampicin and Clofazimine) – was discovered in the 1980s. From then on, leprosy has been eradicated from most countries globally and patients are no longer admitted to the Sungai Buloh leprosarium. The remaining 230 survivors at the settlement, aged from 60 to 89, are the last batch of patients admitted.
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Selangor against online controls
SHAH ALAM: Selangor has joined the chorus of protests against any move by Putrajaya to censor online media. “It is a highly regressive move with the sole purpose of denying Malaysians their basic right to information,” said Elizabeth Wong in a statement to the press yesterday. The state executive councillor pointed out that it was another attempt by the Federal Government to renege on the MSC Malaysian 10 Point Bill of Guarantees, which stipulates in no uncertain terms that there will be no censorship of the Internet. Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam caused a stir on Wednesday when he said that the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) will have its scope widened to include online media content. Wong said previous attempts by the Information, communication and culture ministry to introduce an internet filter a year ago was greeted with anger but this has not discouraged the new plan. She added that the move to amend the PPPA was an attempt to silence critics. She said the Internet allowed Malaysian space to openly discuss important issues.
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New conditions imposed on developer
SUBANG JAYA: A developer has been asked to contribute to alleviating the traffic congestion at Jalan Kewajipan here before authorities approve another new development. Revenue Concept has submitted a proposal to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to build service apartments and shoplots at a 1.6 hectare site next to the Summit shopping centre. MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan said the council had approved the project in principle but the developer must agree to conditions. He explained that traffic congestion was a longstanding problem in the area and the developer must comply with what he described as a “win-win” solution. The developer is expected to contribute funds to widen the road from three-lanes to five besides upgrading and synchronise the traffic lights along the stretch. The developer will also be required to build a pedestrian bridge to the neighbouring Light Rail Transit station. Adnan said the developer had yet to respond to their request.
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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 28 – 30, 2011 ⁄ 3
January 28 —30, 2011
Tun Mahathir The Musical
Played by an outstanding local cast, this musical depicts the life of Malaysia’s longest standing Prime Minister Tun Mahathir. The musical will shed light on Tun’s childhood days, his friends and family, his life journey as a doctor, his successes and dilemmas during his tenure as the premier and much more. The show started on Jan 21 will end on Sunday at 8pm. Admission is from RM32 to RM302. Venue: Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak, KL
Lion dance in Mines
Catch the Lion Dance performance at the Mines Shopping Fair at the stage area at Level 3 (in front of Best Denki). An acrobatic show featuring young professional acrobats from China will also be staged till Feb 1 at the mall. Shoppers can also expect to see the God of Prosperity, who will be giving out goodies. For details, call 03-8949 6333.
Pay Less Books’ Warehouse Sale
Feel like browsing through or even buying cheap books? This warehouse sale is definitely for you. It will be held from today till Sunday at 10am to 7pm. Venue: Ground Floor, Dataran Millennium Square, Jalan SS 14/1, Petaling Jaya.
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra will be featuring Kees Bakels as conductor and Jean-Guihen Queyras on cello. Writing of the Canadian-born French cellist’s Proms debut, the Daily Telegraph observed; “Hearing Jean-Guihen Queyras is always a treat”. There is even more of treat in store at this concert, for he is performing one of the greatest of all cello concertos, full of Dvowák’s nostalgic thoughts for his homeland. The concert will begin tomorrow at 8.30 pm and end on Sunday at 3pm. Admission for tomorrow’s show is RM 95, RM 75, RM 55, RM 25 and on Sunday it is RM85, RM 65, RM 40, RM 20. Venue: Dewan Filharmonik PETRONAS, Level 2, Tower 2, PETRONAS Twin Towers.
By Tang Hui Koon
The group protesting at the fishing village in Sungai Lima.
SUngai liMa: More than 100 fishermen staged a protest here against the Fisheries and Marine Departments for curtailing the hiring of foreign workers on their vessels. The group, led by Kapar MCA chairman Datuk Song Kee Chai, gathered at the fishing village on Sungai Lima, an island next to Pulau Ketam, to urge
Kuala Lumpur Scooter Night 2011
This inaugural event is planned to gather all scooter owners in Klang Valley to get to know each other. It is a fun and meaningful event as you are going to experienced the brotherhood of riding on two wheels and showcasing your machine. There will be live band playing to accompany this event. The event is on Sunday at 7pm. Admission is RM 35. Venue: Hotel Wentworth KL, Jalan Yew.
Councillors slam Alam Flora
By Alvin Yap
authorities to ease the restrictions. Song said the fishermen had little choice but to hire foreign labour because of the labour intensive work which few locals were willing to do. He said they had been hit hard by strict enforcement of the ruling against foreign labour, with about 10 fishermen arrested recently for hiring illegal immigrants, besides being fined between RM3,000 and RM10,000.
This has deterred them from going to sea for the past week, Song added. It has also caused a shortage in the supply of downstream products such as dried prawns and belacan, and was taking a toll on the fishing industry, Song said. A memorandum has been sent to the Government calling for a solution. One proposal is that each fishing boat be allowed to hire two foreign workers.
Comply with rules, EC told
SHaH alaM: Datuk Teng Chang Khim has reminded the Election Commission (EC) to fix a date for the Port Klang by-election without further delay. “The EC should not be seen to be in collusion with any political party or any individual to delay or avoid the due process of election or it would be abdicating its constitutional duty,” said the Selangor State Assembly Speaker. In a statement to the press, Teng noted that the EC had fixed Jan 27 to discuss the byelection of Merlimau state constituency in Malacca with no mention about Port Klang. “I am puzzled why the EC does not want to fix the same date to discuss the by-election for the Port Klang state constituency,” he said. The seat was declared vacant on Jan 19 after its former assemblyperson Badrul Hisham Abdullah was allegedly absent for six months. Teng pointed out the declaration was made by virtue of the Selangor Constitution and the EC was notified on Jan 21. Teng reminded the EC that the state constitution also provides that “a casual vacancy shall be filled within 60 days from the date on which it occurs.” He said any delay would raise the public’s suspicions over the independence and neutrality of the EC . Teng added that Badrul’s law suit against the decision was just an attempt to delay the by-election.
The Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan Hainan Association will usher in the Year of the Rabbit with thousands of red lanterns hanging over the Thean Hou Temple as well as the following events: Winners of the 2009 World Magic Championship will entertain the audience with performances such as “silk hanging teen beauties in the air”, “double power”, “soft bone skill” and “umbrella changing”. There will also be other activities such as a lion dance and a calligraphy contest. The event will be on Feb 2 at 11.30pm and Feb 3–6 at 11am, 3pm and 8pm. Admission is free. Venue: Thean Hou Temple, Jalan Syed Putra.
Francissca Peter treat
With 20 No 1 hit songs and voted five years running as “Best Female Vocal”; this concert coincides with the release of Fran’s latest compilation album “Keunggulan Francissca Peter”. This concert will feature special appearances by Royston Sta Maria and Imran Ajmain. The concert will be held on Feb 5 and 6 at 8.30pm. Admission is from RM 99 to RM 299. Venue: Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak.
The Very Strong Old People’s Club of Rumah Charis is organising a Chinese New Year Charity Luncheon on Feb 7 at 11.30am at Golden Dragon City in Paramount Garden. Tickets are for sale at RM50 per person. Call Kong at 03-7873 0486 or 016-378 9920.
petaling jaya: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillors are unhappy with Alam Flora Sdn Bhd’s inability to account for the work they have done in keeping Petaling Jaya clean of rubbish. At a full-board meeting on Wednesday, councillors wanted the solid-waste management company’s annual contract to be terminated because Alam Flora was not covering all the areas it is supposed to, according to councillor Mak Khuin Weng. “Since November, we’ve been sending notices to Alam Flora asking them to explain why they aren’t collecting all the rubbish from houses and from public areas,” Mak told Selangor Times. He said the company, which has a RM60 million contract from MBPJ to carry out waste disposal, has not lived up to the terms in the contract. The contract had ballooned from RM45 million the year before. MBPJ, Mak said, wanted to know how the money was spent, adding that he wanted the com-
pany to account for every house, every drain and every rubbish bin they carried out their work on. Alam Flora has been asked to provide an “inventory list” of the services they have provided to MBPJ, which they did in November 2010. The list, however, did not state the complete amount of work done and was not up-todate, Mak said. At the meeting, Mayor Roslan Sakiman decided to give Alam Flora another week to submit a new inventory list. Mak, however, disagreed with this move, saying the council should terminate the company’s contract. Mak said he had raised grouses from rate-payers who have questioned MBPJ’s awarding of a costly contract to a company that was not performing. The issue was first brought to him in September 2010, he said. “It’s a headache for MBPJ and we should be rid of it,” said Mak, adding that MBPJ should find other contractors to conduct solid waste removal and disposal for Petaling Jaya.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 28 – 30, 2011 ⁄ 5
January 28 — 30, 2011
Subsidy cut not needed, says economist
By Rahmah Ghazali
Roadworks to alleviate congestion
By Basil Foo
MIER executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid.
SHAH ALAM: An economist from the Malaysia Institute of Economic Research (MIER) has argued against removing subsidies because there is no concrete evidence to show that doing so would distort the economy. MIER executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said he disagreed with the World Bank’s view that maintaining subsidies would distort the equilibrium of supply and demand. “This is not the reality we are facing now,” he said at a luncheon organised by the State Economic Advisor’s Office on Tuesday. “It is uncertain that removing subsidies would distort the economy. By removing subsidies, it also doesn’t necessarily mean we will increase or improve our social welfare,” he said. Any removal should not be done in one go, he added. “We need to have subsidy rationalisation to reduce the govenrnment’s financial burden,” he said. Zakariah, however, stressed that the government should not consider giving subsidies as a burden as it was its responsibility to improve social welfare.
He further said that subsidies should be reallocated and used to improve consumer welfare and living standards. Rationalisation of subsidies would also increase market efficiency. Meanwhile, state economic adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was also at the luncheon, said that subsidies only benefited the rich who could afford to pay more. “They would not care about the people, especially those who earn less than RM1,500 per month. At the end of the day, the poor barely survive after spending so much money on daily necessities,” Anwar said. Anwar said the nation was struggling financially after recording a 53.1 per cent deficit in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “And this was not even caused by subsidies to the people. This deficit trend has been going on for 12 years and this is certainly not a positive sign,” he said. The Federal Government last year increased the prices of petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and sugar following a slash in subsidies, while promising the subsidy adjustment would have minimal impact on the public.
PETALING JAYA: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has agreed to widen sections of Jalan PJS 3/22 to alleviate traffic congestion in the area. The decision was made following a dialogue between city officials, residents and PJ Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian on Wednesday night at the Sri Manja community hall. “The road will be widened from a single lane to two as soon as possible, depending on our budget,” said MBPJ councillor Mahharul Ismail, who also attended the meeting. The longstanding problem affects 4000 residents in housing estates around the area. Heavy traffic has inconvenienced residents of the apartments, terrace houses and shoplots along PJS 3/22 who have to contend with the noise and danger of moving vehicles. The discussions included the road exit from Kesas highway to Petaling Jaya. “As there is no main road, traffic has been passing through housing and school areas,” said Mahharul. The plan is to build a main road from the Kesas highway directly onto the New Pantai Expressway which is currently in the planning stages. “Consultants have surveyed the area and depending on the engineering department, it will take about six months to a year for the plan to be carried out,” he said. He said a more efficient traffic light system was needed and MBPJ will also look into implementing it. Also present at the meeting were officers from MBPJ’s engineering and planning department along with 100 residents.
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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 28 – 30, 2010 ⁄ 7
Illegally renovated hostels irk Sunway residents
By Rahmah Ghazali
SUBANG: Being one of the biggest education hubs in the country, Bandar Sunway never shies away from criticism from the residents over its poor accommodation to cater to the increasing number of students. This time around, the residents of PJS 9 could not contain their anger any longer when some of their neighbours have “turned” their homes into hostels. Worse yet, some of the owners have renovated their homes to 15 to 16-bedroom hostels, a resident revealed during a town hall meeting with Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh on Wednesday. “What are the guidelines for these houses to turn into hostels? Can they turn Abdul Jalil Ali into more than 10 rooms? This is definitely tions that are being drafted by the local aunot safe,” said Mohamad Noor Ahmad, thority are looking at bedrooms with a deputy chairman of the resident’s associa- maximum of two persons each. tion. “If a house has 10 bedrooms, that is alAnother resident James Chang con- ready very wrong and MPSJ can come in and curred, saying that the local authority should summon them for illegal renovations,” she come out with a clearer guideline when it said. comes to turning residential homes into Meanwhile, another resident expressed hostels. his concern over the presence of African “This would could cause fire hazards be- people who have started flocking to Bandar cause there are too many bedrooms in one Sunway of late. small house…but it is not like we do not “These people sometimes get drunk and welcome these students,” he said. get into fights at a kopitiam nearby and However, Subang Jaya Municipal Coun- disturb the safety of the public,” said Abdul cil (MPSJ) councillor Edward Ling ex- Jalil Ali, 44. plained that there are still no guidelines yet He said their action was usually encourto be enforced. aged by a nearby kopitiam which has its “There is a draft but the general guidelines premises open beyond operating hours. state that if it is a modern house of 1,000 sq “And it is sad to say that the kopitiam is ft with three to four rooms, it should be for only a few steps away from a police beat,” he about 10 people,” he said. said. According to him, there have been two Bandar Sunway police station chief incases reported previously, where summonses spector R Muniandy, who was also present have been issued against them. at the meeting, told the residents that it is “But we couldn’t take any further action MPSJ’s responsibility to check if the prembecause the guidelines were not in place. As ises operate beyond business hours. soon as the guidelines are passed, we will “As for the police, it is our responsibility investigate them from an illegal renovation to take care of public safety. But we cannot point of view,” he said. act if there are no complaints from the pubYeoh also revealed that the recommenda- lic,” he said.
Know Your Councillor: Dr Daroyah Alwi
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
SHAH ALAM: Dividing her time between her dental practice and helping the community is no easy task for Dr Daroyah Alwi. But the three-term councillor with the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) is taking the challenge in her stride. The 49-year-old mother of four says helping those in need is part and parcel of being a councillor. “I like it when I get to meet the community, get to know them and help them whenever possible. When you meet the people you will learn their conditions, whether they are well off or in need of help,”says Dr Daroyah. A member of the Zone 5 Residents’ Representative Council (MPP), her
area of responsibility includes Sections 15, 16, and stretches to parts of Sungai Rasa, Padang Jawa and Rimba Jawa. Bringing relief to victims of natural disasters is among the challenges she faces. Dr Daroyah says she often calls MBSA’s Disaster Operations Centre where she coordinates flood relief operations. She also visits other areas under her charge with MBSA officers and elected representatives to meet ratepayers and attend to the concerns. Dr Daroyah can be reached at her service centre in Section 16 near Dewan Jati in front of the PKNS flats. Between her career, family and and responsibility as a councillor, Dr Daroyah says she has time for little else.
99 Speedmart donates RM30,000 from campaign
their customers to bring their own recyclable shopping bags by charging 20 sen for each plastic bag given. Retailers then channel the collection to their corporate social responsibility programmes or to charities and non-governmental organisations (NGO). Quek Teng Hiong, general manager of 99 Speedmart Sdn Bhd, said that their participation in the “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign was their way to show the public the importance of protecting the environment by reducing plastic bag usage. GEC management Chee Tong Yiew who represented the NGO at the cheque presentation said, “We are very honored to be the recipient of the funds and commend 99 Speedmart for supporting the ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign.” “Not only has the campaign reduced the number of plastic bags used, but it has also benefited the protection of the environment indirectly, for example, via this donation.” added Chee. Chee said the funds will be used by GEC to support its environmental awareness activities such as the ongoing river care programme for schools, the facilitation of River Rangers water monitoring and recycling activities, as well as the community mangrove rehabilitation and protection in Klang.
January 28 — 30, 2011
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
SUNGAI BULOH: Thanks to money collected through the state’s “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign, 99 Speedmart Sdn Bhd was able to donate RM30,000 to the Global Environment Centre (GEC) last Friday. “I would like to congratulate all retailers participating in the state’s ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign for making it a success,” said state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong at the event. “We have managed to reduce at least four million bags last year while increasing awareness about environmental issues among Selangor consumers. Today, thanks to 99 Speedmart and GEC, we see another benefit to the campaign with the funds collected being put to good use,” added Wong, who is the exco in charge of the environment. With over 200 outlets throughout the Klang Valley, 99 Speedmart was a key participant and supporter of the “No Plastic Bag Day” campaign when it was first launched at the beginning of 2010. The state’s initiative aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in the state via a voluntarily campaign. To date, over 80 retailers are participating in the campaign. Every Saturday, these retailers encourage
Wong (centre) with the 99 Speedmart staff during the cheque presentation ceremony last Friday.
MPS: Migrants not our problem
By Rahmah Ghazali
By Basil Foo
SHAH ALAM: Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has disclaimed responsibility for immigrant traders who are alleged to have forced local hawkers out of business at Selayang Utama wet market. Its public relations officer, Mohd Zin Massaod, told Selangor Times the Immigration Department should instead take full responsibility. “It is not our responsibility to arrest the immigrants, we don’t even have a depot to house them,” he said. It was reported in Selangor Times last week that immigrant traders, who are mostly from Myanmar, were under-cutting local hawkers. The illegals were allegedly being “protected” from having their stalls and goods seized as they have been seen giving money to unidentified individuals. Although it was also reported that the incident has been going on since 2008, Mohd Zin said the local authority had yet to receive any official complaint from the public. “If there is any complaint from the public involving the immigrants, we will forward it to the Immigration Department,” he said. However, he said MPS was doing its part by monitoring the area from time to time. But this attempt was made difficult as the immigrant traders would run away every time the local authority inspected the area. “It would be hard for us to identify each of them. And every time we seize their stalls and goods, there will be a local bailing them out,” he said. Mohd Zin said the MPS wanted the Selayang Hawkers and Traders association to resolve the matter.
CHERAS: A statewide road safety campaign has been launched to reduce the number of road fatalities this Chinese New Year. “An 8.5% increase in fatal accidents was recorded during Chinese New Year with 978 deaths in 2009, and 1061 deaths in 2010,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. He said 44 of the fatalities during the festive period last year occurred in Selangor. Klang recorded the highest number followed by Hulu Selangor and Petaling Jaya. Khalid said the campaign was aimed at reminding road users to be courteous and to keep their vehicles in good condition. “Those with small children should buy child safety seats. There are locally made and used to cost more but are now only
Campaign to curb CNY road deaths
RM300. Quality is not an issue as they are SIRIM approved and have also been exported to other countries,” he explained. Selangor also recorded 189 deaths in road accidents during Aidilfitri last year, which was the highest, compared to Johor, second with 158, and Perak (120). Several accident-prone areas have recorded the highest number of deaths every festive season: Kuala Selangor, Sabak Bernam and Hulu Selangor. “Road users should be more cautious when travelling in those areas, but during this festive season, any area can
January 28 — 30, 2011
become accident-prone if caution is not taken,” he said. According to studies, motorcyclists were the most accident-prone with 3,898 deaths, or 60% in 2008 out of a total of 6527 fatalities. “That is why it is very important for every motorcyclist to wear a SIRIM approved helmet,” he said. They should also follow the speed limit of 60kmph and not turn the highway into a race track,” he added. He later distributed road safety instructions to motorists and new helmets and reflective jackets to motorcyclists at Plaza Toll Batu 11.
Selangor to protect Quartz Ridge
By Gan Pei Ling
SHAH ALAM: Preparations to apply for world heritage status for the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge - potentially the longest in the world - are expected to take around two years. A preliminary study is under way and is expected to take 18 months before a formal application is made by the state to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
“We’re engaging academics, scientists and other related experts to help us with the research,” said executive councillor for environment Elizabeth Wong. She said the application was expected to take an additional six months. The state executive council had approved the proposal to apply for world heritage status for the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge last November. The unique geological site was previously under threat as the Kuala Lumpur
Outer Ring Road was expected to cut through the ridge. Fortunately, the state successfully persuaded highway developer Ahmad Zaki Resources to dig a tunnel around the ridge to avoid damaging the site. The quartz ridge, also known as Bukit Tabur, is a popular hiking destination located next to the Klang Gates Dam and Gombak forest reserve. The ridge is also home to five plant species endemic to the area and mountain goats commonly known as serow.
January 28 — 30, 2011
Yeoh calls for end to traffic woes
subang jaya: Subang Jaya assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh has appealed to the Public Works Department ( JKR) to resolve worsening traffic congestion at Persiaran Kewajipan and the Kesas interchange. “We’ve proposed to JKR to change the four-phase traffic lights at the Kesas interchange to twophase traffic lights. “Motorists from Persiaran Kewajipan will only be able to go straight or turn left onto the Kesas highway. They won’t be able to turn right like now, but they can make a U-turn on the highway before the toll,” Yeoh said at her office on Tuesday. Yeoh said traffic was worst in the evenings as motorists heading back to Puchong, Kota Kemuning and Klang all used Persiaran Kewajipan to get to the Kesas interchange. She said cutting down the number of traffic lights would help reduce waiting time and ease traffic flow. However, JKR has yet to respond to or act on the proposal. Yeoh said the proposal had already been mooted when the tollfree Subang-Kelana link was opened in August 2009. The Subang-Kelana link connects the Subang airport
Yeoh: Still waiting for JKR to act on proposal.
road to Persiaran Kewajipan via a bridge across the Federal Highway. The link was supposed to reduce traffic congestion in Subang Jaya but the RM315 million project by the Federal Government had only wors-
ened traffic woes as it directed more traffic onto Persiaran Kewajipan. Yeoh said many development proposals to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council have been turned down because of objec-
tions related to traffic congestion. “We’re worried that the traffic condition will get worse when construction work for the LRT line begins as some roads are likely to be closed,” she added.
Drug abuse in Jenjarom an ‘old issue’
By Rahmah Ghazali
Speaker Teng (right) with a State Assembly official.
Selangor plan foiled by BN
shah alam: The Selangor State Government’s plan to amend the State Constitution so that it can pick its own topranking officers like state secretary, financial officer and legal adviser was foiled by Barisan Nasional at the State Assembly on Monday. Although all of the ruling Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons had voted for the amendment to Article 52 (1) of the State Constitution, it could not make the necessary changes as it could not obtain the necessary two-thirds majority. While 34 of the PR legislators voted for the amendment, all 20 of BN’s lawmakers voted against returning the power to appoint officers back to Selangor. There are 56 assemblypersons in the assembly. Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim did not exercise his vote while Umno’s Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah was not allowed in the assembly hall as his seat was declared vacant by Teng last week. “We are disappointed that BN rejected the amendment,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in a statement on Tuesday. “What is worse is that they failed to give concrete reasons for turning down the amendment. The rejection is proof that their loyalty is to Putrajaya instead of having the people’s interest at heart,” said Khalid. The amendment was aimed at returning the power of appointment back to the Palace and the Menteri Besar, instead of the Public Services Commission (PSC). The issue came into the limelight when the PSC, without consulting Khalid, appointed Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the new state secretary.
shah alam: Although the expose on a drug haven in Kampung Jenjarom, Banting has triggered shock among local community, Kuala Langat OCPD Supt Nordin Manan dismissed it as an “old issue”. “This is nonsense. We’ve had this sort of problem all over the country but it is played up in the media repeatedly for the past 10 years,” he told Selangor Times. The Jan 14-16, 2011 edition of Selangor Times reported the plight of the new village where youths had fallen into drug abuse, with some ending in suicide over the past four years. Parents, too, are at a loss as to how to stop the situation. Nordin said the police had done their part in tackling the matter, where last year alone, 127 drug offenders from the village were arrested. But this figure cannot be considered high, he said, compared to the total number of residents in the area. In view of this, he stressed that Kampung Jenjarom cannot be described as a “drug haven” as reported. “Kampung Jenjarom has 46,092 residents. If we capture about 100 drug offenders in the area, this doesn’t necessarily make it a drug town,” said Nordin. According to him, the police had done their best to ensure village safety but what hampered their objective to clean up the village was the repeat offenders. “The only thing we can do is to monitor the area. Besides, it is the National AntiDrug Agency’s responsibility to punish repeat offenders, not ours,” he said.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ January 28 – 30, 2010 ⁄ 11
PMN 2011: Road to Revolution?
Solidarity! Student Power! We want our rights back! There was plenty of slogan shouting at the Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negara Lee Lian Kong (PMN) held on the Jan 11 at the Kuala lumpur-Selangor Chinese assembly Hall. swanky five-star hotel nor sponsored by articulate or not, life-changing or not, greedy corporations seen by naïve youths those calls were the resounding grunts of as kind organisations helping to make the disapproval at the state of Malaysian youths world a better place. today. PMN 2011 may not be the most it is resonant in the type of resolutions exciting or the revolutionary spark that will passed. Unlike other student conferences resurrect the student movements of the where it is all talk and No action, PMN Hishamuddin rais wonder years. the 2011 was all talk and Some actionable participants burned neither flags nor resolutions. books. But a fire burned bright that day. it Most notable of all was the resolution was the fire of promise. passed to establish a Koperasi Mahasiswa For far too long, we youths have been to regain financial and creative autonomy. slapped around far too much. Shackled to free themselves of the financial depenunder the Universities and dency of corporations and University Colleges act Student affairs depart(aUKU) which bans stuments, the profits gathered For far too dent involvement in politics. will be channelled towards instructed to behave like long, we youths subsidising textbooks, adults, i.e. unquestioning have been funding student events and obedience to social confor- slapped around if possible, as dividend to mity. indoctrination after far too much. students. indoctrination. trained to be Shackled under Now the question that robotic consumers slaving remains is, where do we go the Universities from here? away to the fat cats of capitaland University ism. Surely, PMN 2011 canPMN 2011 showed that Colleges Act not be a one-off show. we have had enough of all (AUKU) which like bands, there has to these. There is still hope for bans student be progress. The music has youths of Malaysia. to evolve. one cannot coninvolvement yes, the venue was cold tinue playing the same type and the content was crush- in politics. of music lest we end up like ingly boring. The parliamen- Instructed to Coldplay. the mode of tary-style forum revealed a behave like discourse must be refined. lack of creativity in discourse. adults, i.e. PMN 2011 cannot conthe hall was only half full unquestioning tinue holding full-day and representations from the events in parliamentary obedience private universities were only style. it is far too inefficient a pitiful handful. The debates to social and impractical. may not have been engaging. conformity. youths have to dare to in fact, compared to the Indoctrination push the boundaries more, students of the French revo- after to think bigger. The conlution or the anti-Vietnam indoctrination. tent of discourse cannot War activist, Malaysian stujust be limited to campus dents at PMN seemed meek Trained to politics. that would be be robotic and afraid. wasting a great opportuB u t P M N 2 0 1 1 ’s consumers nity. PMN 2011 set the strengths lie not in the num- slaving away to stage; youths now have to bers or how radical they the fat cats of channel their rebellious were. streaks to take on bigger, capitalism.” it lies in the type of stunational issues such as redents who attended. they pealing the aUKU, and were not your Starbucks-swigging, iPhone- reforms in education, economics, and crazed middle class brats who have the more. privilege of migrating. Not the type who if there are great ideas, there must be takes part in human rights activities just to implementation and action. be seen as cool. if there is a willing army, there must be instead, those who attended were those a leader to bring them to victory. from rural, working class families whose PMN 2011 is proof that there is a growuniversity education is their only ticket out ing potential and promise in Malaysian of poverty. They represent the majority of youths. They have broken the deafening Malaysian youths, for whom the economic silence. Should they keep up the momenhardship and social injustice of their up- tum and fix the glitches, we can hope to see bringing drives their desire for a better them rise again to their grand name of Malaysia. “mahasiswa”; radical, spirited and inspired. it is reflected in PMN’s venue of a modest hall and plastic chairs. Unlike other Lee Lian is a law student who thinks AUKU conferences, PMN 2011 was not held in a is the silliest piece of legislation ever created.
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12 January 28 — 30, 2011
A high-tension issue: Maybe it’s time for a simpler billing.
By Alvin Yap
he 65-year-old history of the Boys’ Brigade in Malaysia has its share of people who recall their time as members in the oldest uniformed organisation in the world. The Boys’ Brigade – or BB, as it is better known – is spoken of fondly by members who credit the youth organisation for giving them a headstart in honing their leadership and organisational skills. They also remember the camaraderie and the friendship with their fellow BB members as they spent the time in camps or organising fund-raising projects.
Yei was the only civilian without a military background to be given the task of running a camp with 1,000-odd participants. His BB captaincy saved the day when he advised the NS curriculum planners on how to draw up programmes that would appeal to youths. “The other commanders were ex-soldiers with the rank of colonel. They were wondering why some of their participants were not enthusiastic about the NS programmes,” said Yei. Yei said he explained to the other camp commanders that the participants were not recruits looking to start a career in the armed forces. “At the end of the day, I felt my BB training gave me the idea to design a curriculum for the NS participants,” said Yei.
Boys’ Brigade History
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
BB way to produce strong leaders
THe Boys’ Brigade Malaysia has its roots in Scotland. It was the first uniformed youth organisation in the world. Sir William Alexander Smith, an officer of the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers volunteered at a Sunday school in Glasgow where he took charge of undisciplined boys. Smith, who had no problems getting a hundred grown men to obey his every word of command on the battlefield, was at a loss as how to manage the unruly boys. He would turn the boys into a volunteer band or brigade, with the same military order, obedience, discipline and self-respect as the military volunteers. He introduced military-type drills to instill discipline. On Oct 4 1883, William Smith
planned a programme for this new idea with two friends, and the three leaders surprised the boys of the North Woodside Mission Sabbath School by inviting them to join a new organisation called The Boys’ Brigade (BB). In 1946 the BB arrived in Malaya with the founding of the 1st Penang Company by Robert Davis with Geh Hun Kheng, an educationist, as the Company Captain. From Penang, in 1954, the BB began to spread to other parts of Malaya beginning with the 1st Kuala Lumpur Company. The movement then began spreading rapidly to other towns and small rural areas of Malaya. The movement spread its wings to east Malaysia in 1961 with the formation of the 1st Kuching Company in Sarawak by Charles Henry Ingka. In 2007, there are 101 BB companies in Malaysia.
MICHAEL YEI Michael Yei, 55, is director of student sffairs and sports at Nilai University College. He said the BB’s programmes gave him the space and opportunity to lead his platoon in their weekly Saturday meetings at Kuala Lumpur Wesley Methodist church. The fit-looking educationalist said he received the best training anyone could get in the BB. “You can go to the best schools. But you can’t get to learn what the BB teaches you.” The educationalist said he has never forgotten the things he had learned in the BB. When he assumed the leadership of 1st Kuala Lumpur as the group’s captain, he endeavoured to teach new members what he had learned as a boy. Former Boys who were under his care have called Yei to tell him how thankful they were for the BB programmes. “I received a call from a former Boy who’s a sales manager now. He had just negotiated and closed a million-ringgit deal. “He said he got his interpersonal and delegation skills from his time in the Boys’ Brigade,” said Yei, adding the person had demonstrated good leadership skills in the BB. He said the space and opportunity for the students to make mistakes while leading, organising and delegating was provided for in organisations such as the BB. A fatal mistake, he said, would be to make the same errors in a real-world environment, meaning the workforce. “It could mean the promotion that you’re gunning for is gone,” said Yei. In 2003, Yei read news reports of then premier Tun Abdullah Badawi pleading for more Chinese volunteers in the National Service (NS) camps. Yei answered the call and volunteered to lead a course in the NS camps. The surprise, he said, was that he was picked as a camp commander in Camp Bina-Diri in Kuala Kubu Baru.
HERMEN SHASTRI Being a pastor is about leadership and communications, said Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri. A teenager’s time in secondary school is the “formative” years, he said. “It’s important to have activities that nurture the physical and spiritual side of a person’s life,” said the theologian, who has served in Rome, Germany and the United States. As a pastor who has served in various towns, Shastri said he always remembered the interaction in the BB between members of different races. There were no “racial boundaries”, recalled Shastri. He said his time as a BB member in Sentul was memorable, for the times spent laughing, marching and holding drills and physical training with friends from other races. The BB, he said, served a “public function”. The BB group he belonged to, the 2nd Company in Sentul, worked closely with the then Sentul municipality. In the early 70s, he said, there were no people’s volunteer groups like Rela. The BB volunteered to provide traffic control duties in functions. The Sentul municipality also called on the BB to carry out gotong-royong work, he said. The then Member of Parliament for Batu, Dr Tan Chee Koon, he said, called on his group to help clean the houses of the elderly. Shastri, who established a theological training for indigenous people in Kampar, said he first encountered the “marginalised community” while serving as a BB member in Sentul. “We had members who came from poorer families. We ran our own fund-raising events to get money so that some of our members could obtain the BB uniform and equipment,” recalled Shastri. Shastri said he supports the formation of uniformed organisations like the BB and Scouts. Shastri said his work as a pastor involved communicating with people the ideas of unity, of working together for the common good. The theologian is involved in initiatives to foster better dialogues between different faiths. Shastri said his BB training gave him the opportunity to hone his communication skills. “In a way, I wouldn’t be involved with the work I’m doing if I didn’t got the headstart in the BB,” said Shastri, who still accepts BB speaking engagements despite his busy schedule.
CHEONG SENG YOON It was in 1974 that Cheong Seng Yoon joined 1st Kuala Lumpur Boys’ Brigade. He was attracted to the brass-band, which took part in Merdeka parades all over Malaysia; it is the parade in Merdeka Square he remembers fondly. “I was attracted to the brass band as they marched past us at Dataran Merdeka, and also to the uniform the Boys wore,” said the 49-year-old entrepreneur, who is married with two teenage girls and a son. Cheong runs a company that makes and sources gift and souvenirs for corporate clients. He said it was unthinkable that he would be the businessman that he is today, saying that he was a shy and introverted teenager when he joined the BB. His officers, Cheong said, would approach him and tell him he had to assert himself in leading his members. Cheong said he was “thrown in at the deep end” on many occasions where he had to lead and delegate responsibility. At a camp organised by the Royal Malaysian Army, the then 17-year-old Cheong was selected to lead a group of teenagers who were led into the middle of the jungle. “It was a map reading and compass reading expedition,” said Cheong. The group would soon find out if the map and compass reading lessons the army trainers had given them the day before would get them out of the wild and back into civilisation, said Cheong. Apprehensive and elated to be chosen to lead the group, Cheong said he formulated a plan to follow a trail he had picked out. He recalled delegating the other members in the group to scout the surrounding area. The group was driven to the middle of the thick jungle in the morning and told to
navigate their way out by dusk. “Here I was, afraid that the boys would probably beat me up if we ended up spending the night in the jungle without camping equipment,” recalled Cheong. Cheong said he would not have been able to lead the group if not for the opportunity to develop his interpersonal skills in the BB. “Imagine, when I first joined the BB, I was a very reserved person who was quite bad at leading people. Over the years, I grew and managed to develop myself,” said Cheong. Cheong wants to reach out to parents and encourage them to send their children to the BB. He also said parents would have to let their children experience life in the BB and the wonderful programmes that he says is holistic and develops the teenager in his or her formative years.
JANUARY 28 — 30, 2011
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!
ahai Lord Bobo, bila saya nak kaya? (Oh Lord Bobo, when will I be rich?) @ dinazaman, via Twitter We are blessed to be Malaysians in today’s society, for if one’s goal is to be rich, one need not be hardworking or smart. Sure, those attributes matter in a competitive economy but in Malaysia, one can find many creative ways to chase the almighty ringgit (almighty as in, compared to the peso, not the dollar). One might argue that kickbacks from lucrative government contracts from well-connected political parties could be the way to go. Or so we hear. Oil palm ventures or large-scale development projects are an instant way to personal richness, if one goes through the right channels and kicks out thousands of indigenous peoples from their ancestral homelands. After all, they will understand, one absolutely needs a third luxury house in Canada to keep one’s stuff, or to throw a second extravagant wedding for one’s daughter (or yourself ). Or so we hear. If one desires not only wealth but also some infamy, one could always stand for election in a controversial seat, and wait to be bought off. Voters will understand, after all, you’re doing it for The People, and in order to help The People, you gotta have some cashflow. Or so we hear. What, you say that you have “principles”, and “ideals”? And that you would rather not sacrifice these in the pursuit of wealth? In that case, you’ll probably never be rich, unless you change your mindset on what it means to be rich. Look around you – do you have clean running water, a house above your head, car, internet, clothing, food? If so, this puts you in the upper bracket of Malaysian society. To many indigenous or rural peoples waiting to be displaced in the name of “development,” or to the badly-paid and badly-treated migrant workers that we tend to exploit, you are rich. The fact is, wealth will never be evenly distributed in any society which has rampant corruption. Income, and particularly “side income” is definitely not based on merit or hard work – it’s all about who you know. Of course, there are rare instances of people who have worked their way to being rich, but these are few and far between. We are not trying to depress you, or shame you (actually, maybe just a little bit), but the reality is that most middle-class Malaysians tend not to realise what they already have, and are always lacking for something in materialistic terms. Once we realise that what we need to truly live are the very basics that we already have, we can go further improving our lives and society. We can look beyond chasing a higher income, to chasing a more open democratic and caring society. This means having the courage to not only stand up for your rights, but for others, perhaps at the cost of losing your comfortable position. Perhaps if we had the courage to do so, individually and collectively as a society, we would then be richer than our wildest dreams. And oh, maybe skipping a Starbucks latte now and then, and putting that cash into your savings, property investments or other financial thingamajigs could also help. Or so we hear. Dear Lord Bobo, how would you like it if your mother
tonnes of hardcore discipline. Ah, but you see, homo sapiens are supposed to be complex higher beings with extremely sophisticated thought processes, and their behaviour still baffles even the most genius of all genius scientists every day! Each individual is supposed to be unique and therefore a one-size-fits-all theory or method of anything that relates to humans is laughable and the thought that there is only one, guaranteed, right way of raising children is ludicrous. All children need to have some form of discipline; some perhaps more than others but there is such a thing as child abuse disguised as discipline. Not allowing your child to pee on someone else is discipline. Not allowing your child to pee in between piano lessons is child abuse. It is hard to judge mothers (or anyone for that matter) unless you are put into their shoes. We all carry our own baggage and tend to externalise our hopes, dreams, fears and disappointments onto those we have close relationships with, including our children. We can only summarise that mothers like Amy Chua did the best they could with what they had, and no child can ask for more. If we have children or plan to have children, we ought to remember what it was like growing up, and be the parents we wished we had. We are sure that our parents had the same hopes when they had us, so fret not when we make the same mistakes as long as we are conscious enough to not repeat them. After all, a child needs more than food and opportunities, the child needs to feel loved, and be loved. As for Amy Chua, for an American Ivy League graduate and professor, unfortunately she doesn’t seem too bright. She has oversimplified parenting and we all know that it is by far one of the hardest jobs in the world! If it works for one child, it doesn’t mean it will work for all children. Just because she’s Asian, it doesn’t mean all Asian mothers discipline their children the way she does. After some media backlash, she has backed down a bit, and claims that she isn’t saying that her way is the best way at all, and was just telling her story. Whatever it is, surely the more relevant question should be who actually raised her children. Let’s get real, it almost definitely wasn’t her – her job seems like one which requires fulltime commitment. So instead of harping on about the Tiger Mother, perhaps someone should give a book deal to the Hispanic Nanny or Part-Time Babysitter instead. was like Amy Chua? Tiger Cub, via email This is a tough question for Lord Bobo, who was famously kidnapped in infancy and put through a gulag. Amy Chua is the now-famous “Tiger Mother” who is the subject of many forwarded emails lately. Chinese women seem to think that she somehow justifies their claim to be the best mothers in the world. What rubbish. That’s like saying that because Lee Chong Wei is one of the best badminton players in the world, all Malaysian Chinese men are good at badminton. But hey, what’s not to like about Amy Chua? She’d be the perfect Mom for the boy who cried wolf, Hansel and Gretel who nibbled into an old lady’s house, Goldilocks who trespassed into a furry animal’s property and broke Baby Bear’s chair and ahhh… not forgetting those boys and girls in Gossip Girls (don’t you just wanna slap them?). These children obviously need more than just good old fashion spanking but 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
Guarded entrances to stay, for now
By Alvin Yap
January 28 — 30, 2011
PETALING JAYA: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has postponed a directive for all Residence Associations (RA) to remove their gates and entr y barriers, likely an unpopular move with rate-payers concerned about security. Mayor Roslan Sakiman said he told the MBPJ full-board meeting that he wanted the city council to conduct further studies on the effects of using such barriers in residential areas. “The issue is complicated. On one hand, there is the law [against causing obstructions without local authority approval]. But I’ve heard from the police that in some residential areas, crime is down some 19 percent,” said Roslan, explaining the postponement. State assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong who was present at the meeting said she had received complaints about the directive from the Residence Associations of
Bandar Utama, Damasara Jaya and Sri Damansara. The representatives, Wong said, told her the residents felt safer and more secure with the security check points which they feel have reduced crimes such as rape, robbery and snatch theft. She added the residence associations told her they were not happy with the directive from MBPJ. Wong – also the state executive for tourism, consumer affairs and the environment – said MBPJ’s directive could contribute to a rise in the crime index. Rate-payers, she said, should be invited to an open forum or a town hall-style meeting to have their views heard. She called for the formation of a taskforce made up of state exco members, assemblypersons, councillors and representatives from RAs
Yeoh (extreme right) with the children as Loh (second from left) and Tiang look on.
to develop proposed guidelines for guarded entry into townships. “If the guidelines are comprehensive, the state may adopt it as law. At the least, other town councils can benefit from Petaling Jaya’s effort to come out with the guidelines,” said Wong. Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee said the placement of the guard houses and barriers were “technical” issues which should be regulated. For example, he said gates which can be lowered and raised by guards or the residents themselves should be built. However, permanent structures like oil drums filled with concrete and used as barriers should not be used to block streets and roads. “This means, please don’t make the housing areas look like a fortress,” Lee said. Subang Jaya Member of Parliament Sivarasa Rasiah said ratepayers were worried that the directive would be carried out. “They think that an MBPJ bulldozer will come and tear down the guardhouse and the gate,” the human rights lawyer said. Councillors and state assemblypersons, he said, should visit the areas the MBPJ directive was targeted at to explain the postponement.
MP wants MBPJ to understand security concerns
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
SUBANG: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is being urged to address the security concerns of residents before insisting that security barriers be torn down. “Asking residents to dismantle barricades would be reasonable after measures to deal with the security issue are in place,” said R Sivarasa. The Subang MP was responding to an announcement last week by MBPJ’s Traffic Committee on the implementation of guidelines on security barricades in the city. The new guidelines may result in the removal of existing barricades put up by residents, which do not comply with conditions, and this has resulted in public outcry among resident associations . “I call upon MBPJ to put on hold any implementation of their new guidelines and maintain the status quo. The deadline of 31 March should also be removed immediately as it is causing much concern among affected PJ residents,” he said. MBPJ should have obtained
feedback from elected representatives before attempting to implement the measures, said Sivarasa. He added that the move should also have been endorsed by MPBJ’s full board meeting. MBPJ had set out to implement the guidelines after some communities reportedly went “overboard” in beefing up securities in their neighbourhoods. This included the usage of oil drums as barricades in addition to boom gates. Sivarasa, however, believes MBPJ should take into account that these barriers were placed because residents were concerned about security. In the meantime, Sivarasa said MBPJ should discuss with neighbourhoods whose roads are unreasonably blocked by security barricades to resolve such disputes. “I agree that barricades should not obstruct traffic especially for emergency services vehicles,” he said. However, he believes the concerns of residents must be given due consideration and that a blanket ban on permanent structures is too simplistic a solution.
By Rahmah Ghazali
SUBANG JAYA: Five lucky underpreviliged students beamed with joy as they were granted a golden opportunity to be part of the world-class Taiwanese-based Classical Mental Arithmetic (CMA) programme, which just extended its wings to SS19, Subang Jaya last Saturday. Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh presented the sponsorship, made possible by Goh Cher Wen and his wife of Rovski Group of Companies, to the children at a launch ceremony. The five children selected to receive the sponsorship for one year are M Gomaleshwari, Norfara’ain Azhar, S Tiviya, R Bavani and Arfaezan Noor Azrin Ahmad, who were picked based on their interest and potential. “I love mathematics and (being in this class) is so much fun!” said jovial eight-yearold Norfara’in, whose ambition is to be a “supermodel with brains”. Her father, Azhar Halim said that he could not be happier that out of the many students in Subang Jaya, his daughter was picked to join the arithmetic institute, which has gained worldwide recognition. “This will definitely develop her skills and unearth other talents that we have yet to see,” said the 38-year-old technician. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Arfarezan from USJ 8 said he was grateful and hoped this would be a stepping stone to achieving his ambition as a policeman. “I would like to study very hard in order to achieve my ambition,” said Arfaezan, who was also the only boy granted with the sponsorship among the five. For 12-year-old Bavani, her beaming smile showed that he could not contain her excitement to be part of CMA family.
Lucky 5 selected for world-class math programme
“I would like to come to class often...this is very fun. If I study harder, I could one day, become a teacher too,” said Bavani, who was accompanied by her monther P Magadevi, a hospital cleaner. Earlier at the launch, Yeoh said such initiatives should be lauded as this is an example other companies can follow. “Most companies would only initiate this type of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when they are established, but CMA are sponsoring students even before the company starts its operations,” she said. Malaysia CMA chief executive officer, Ivylina Tiang, said that the CMA programme is different as it includes right and left brain stimulation that will trigger better concentration, enhance memory and greater creativity. “CMA is the first in the world to use multimedia teaching and offers unlimited practice for faster progress. In addition, CMA is a pioneer of the ‘two-hand, four finger’ abacus system,” she said. She also added that CMA has produced a world champion in mathematics over the past few years. Meanwhile, CMA Subang Jaya principal, James Loh, said that the they opened the centre here due to requests from parents. CMA’s other branches are in the 1Utama Shopping Mall and Klang. CMA Subang Jaya is now offering four free classes to parents who register their children before January 31, 2011. For more information, please call James Loh at 019-3990128.
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By Rahmah Ghazali
Residents get thumbs-up
SUNGAI BULOH: The Kg Baru Sg Buloh residents’ association has been praised for giving out personal donations to the poor without being too dependent on elected representatives. Kota Damansara assemblyman Dr Nasir Hashim told Selangor Times: “We truly appreciate their efforts and contributions to the poor. We also encourage them to take the initiative rather than being too dependent on us,” he said. He said he would personally help the residents financially but he acknowledged the financial strain faced by lawmakers. “But we don’t usually give the full amount to residents. If they ask for RM5,000, we will usually give half of it,” he said. And this policy seems to be working like a charm as many residents’ associations are taking the lead, including an initiative by Ong Fook Koong Temple in the new village. Village development and safety committee member Chai Chee Ngem said many residents had come forward to give out personal donations to the poor for the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations. “The goodies comprise rice, sugar, noodles, biscuits, snacks and soy-sauce. We also give away ang pow,” said the 74-year-old assemblyman. One of the recipients, 41-yearold plastic furniture manufacturer Ong Yen Kim, said he had been very lucky to be receiving goodies yearly. “I am very happy and I can’t wait to share this with my wife and daughter at home,” said Ong, who has been suffering from polio since he was a baby. Subang Member of Parliament R Sivarasa and Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh village head Hoo Sook Wan were also present.
January 28 — 30, 2011
Sivarasa and Nasir with the Kg Baru Sg Buloh residents.
Wrong to label illegals
I write as a fan who is disappointed to see Selangor Times’ front page article on the problem of “illegal” Myanmar traders, which used the same mainstream approach of “us” vs “them”, quoting nothing from the other side and generally fanning the underlying xenophobia against foreigners who are driven to Malaysia due to desperate political and economic conditions at home. A few years ago, another newspaper did a similar thing, only on a worse scale – a whole series that lasted a few days; shallow reporting that did not look at the inhumanity that the illegals have had to put up with and continue to do so (“illegal”, too, is an easy label that casts an immediate aspersion against them, when the status of their legality is another a complex problem that also involves local authorities, local employers and corruption). Most reports just seek to point the finger at the illegals and do not look at the bigger picture of how they came about – i.e. the extreme poverty and political persecution that caused them to flee here and everywhere else is in part due to the world’s, including Malaysia’s, complicity in accepting and cooperating with an illegal Myanmar military junta (recently made legal by a sham of a general election, which again was accepted by other governments, including ours). Even so, migration is a human right, yet there is the same undercurrent of distaste against legal foreign workers. I understand it may be beyond the scope of Selangor Times to include these aspects in the report, but I hope they will be borne in mind so that the next time this issue is covered, it will be tempered with a less conflict-oriented approach against an already marginalised group. Siew Eng
Dr Xavier giving away a hamper to a recipient.
Sharing robbery victims’ experience
I have been getting free copies of this paper from my FGA church every Sunday for the past month; and I find this paper very informative. I would like to suggest a column where victims of snatch thefts and robberies can share their traumatic experience, and at the same time help people to become more alert. When I was robbed in a hair saloon three months ago in Bukit Jalil, I became aware of the fact that most of the shops in the vicinity were also victims of robbers only after lodging a police report. As a matter of fact, shouldn’t police be more alert and try to catch the robbers rather than stay silent? Maybe there was no proper channel to highlight these incidents. So, I hope Selangor Times can make a difference and allow victims like myself to share our experience to alert the public. Tee Lai Ping
Gifts and ang pow for residents
kLANG: Chinese New Year arrived early for some residents of Taman Sentosa in the form of hampers and ang pow. For 67-year-old Tan King Hoo, who has been out of a job for the past month due to an injury he sustained in a road accident, it was the first time he had received such goodies. “I have never received anything for the past few years. But I am grateful to have been given this,” he said, showing off his hamper that came together with mandarin oranges. “I have two children, but they are rarely home because of work. However, I would like to share this hamper with them,” said Tan, who used to work as a door carpenter. The joyous occasion was not only shared by those who celebrate Chinese New Year, but by those who celebrate other religious festivals as well. Andy Vainamalai, 72, said he was grateful to be given an opportunity to share the auspicious event with others. “This is also my first time receiving such hampers. I can’t wait to share this with my grandchildren at home,” he said. The hampers were given out by Sri Andalas assemblyman Dr Xavier Jayakumar at a Chinese New Year bazaar. The recipients comprised mainly the elderly, the disabled and poor single mothers.
By Ooi Kee Beng
he passing of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu in November last year threw a challenge to all serious scholars of Malaysian history. Not much has so far been written about him. No doubt most books on the country’s political history do mention episodes such as his successful challenge against Tan Cheng Lock in 1958 for the presidency of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), his failed attempt to gain extra seat allocations from Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1959, the triumph of the Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan) in 1969, him leading the party into the Barisan Nasional (BN) in 1973, and the Penang economic miracle that he facilitated in the 1970s and 1980s. But further details are rare. Aside from the need to uncover details, a proper analysis into Lim’s life is required for several weighty reasons. His political life was, after all, impressively long – at least 40 hectic years; and through it all, he always played a major role. His struggles reflected in no uncertain terms major interrelated dimensions of Malaysian politics which are as relevant today as they had ever been. Hastened democracy For one thing, complications surrounding an electoral system that was put in place only when colonialism was no longer a viable option were all too evident. The electoral system had to evolve under great pressure from British haste to withdraw, and during inter-ethnic tensions and the communist insurgency. The immature democratic culture, along with the social diversity, saw the growth of a strong tendency towards consociationalism (power sharing) and coalition building. The need for Malayan leaders of that time to arrive at a quick solution that showed sufficient promise for political stability, inter-ethnic compromise and effective anti-communism, saw the innovation that was the Alliance Model being triumphant. The Jelutong Expressway which has been named after Lim. Lim was involved from the very the choice between participating at beginning in Malaya’s electoral the state or the national arena was development, when his Penang and is a perpetual quandary. The third Radical Party won the first ever Lim, for example, was asked dimension in municipal election ever held in the already in August 1957 to become Malaysian politics country. This was in George Town the first Chief Minister of Penang. evidenced in in 1951. He refused, giving the reason that Lim’s chequered By 1955, he had joined the his father had recently passed away, career was the MCA, and became its president by and as a good Confucian, he could 1958. The Alliance Model, connot as yet accept high office. struggle between structed for the purpose of gaining This was a valid enough reason, communal and independence, had the perpetual but critics suspected that he was non-communal problem of seat allocation among aiming for higher office at the naparty politics.” its members. tional level. This was clearly seen in Lim’s Dr Lim There is a basis for that latter attempt to increase the MCA’s This failed, and after Gerakan belief. The following year, he was share. He failed, and soon had to Democratic Party (UDP) and then did well in the 1969 elections, we already MCA president, and if his leave the party. the Gerakan after leaving the saw Lim leading it into the Alliance attempt to gain more seats for the Party politics in Malaysia was MCA. coalition to form the BN by 1973. party had not gone so horribly always a knotty affair. Just as Onn The need among small parties to Local versus national wrong, he would have been highly Jaafar formed the Independence of form coalitions was always strong, Secondly, the relationship be- influential in national politics after Malay Party and then Party Ne- and in 1965, the UDP joined the tween local and national politics the 1959 elections. gara after being forced out of the People’s Action Party (Pap), the was always a tricky issue. The trend Lim’s attempt at a comeback United Malays National Organisa- People’s Progressive Party (PPP) towards centralism was perhaps went via unsuccessful challenges tion (Umno) as new vehicles for his and the Sarawak United People’s unavoidable, given the many social through the UDP and the Malaypolitical career, Lim was instru- Party (Supp) to form the Malaysia schisms that existed in the new sian Solidarity Council (MSC). mental in forming the United Solidarity Convention. country. For prominent politicians, However, in the 1969 elections, benefited from the leftist poll boycott, Gerakan managed to secure the majority in Penang. Lim became Chief Minister of his home state, 12 years after he had first refused that position. The racial riots changed the country’s political equation seriously, and no alternative coalition was possible after 1969. Lim soon took Gerakan into the federal coalition, together with the PPP and the Islamist PanMalaysian Islamic Party (PAS). With that decision, his political role became concentrated at the state level. Twenty years in national politics ended with him being the top politician in his home state. Multiracialism versus communalism The third dimension in Malaysian politics evidenced in Lim’s chequered career was the struggle between communal and nonDr Lim and fellow-Gerakan leader Dr Syed Hussain Al-Atas after the 1969 election victory. communal party politics.
A Long Life Lived in Politics
January 28 — 30, 2011
The Alliance consociation and its queer brand of “multiracialism” had proved to be an electoral triumph, which put great pressure on non-communal politicians to convince a communally conscious population that non-communal principles were preferable in the long run. The multiracial route Lim sought before joining the Alliance and after leaving it ended up compromised under the umbrella of the BN. Whatever his reasons for taking that path, his political arena shrank from the national to the local, his popularity would slowly diminish, and the universalist principles of Gerakan became effectively subsumed under the communal politics of the BN. To be sure, in the decades after 1969, the federal government undertook serious measures to curb the power of the states. The central soon overpowered the local, the communal, the non-communal. Intra-group versus intergroup conflicts Finally, another truism revealed in Lim’s experiences was the divisions within communal groups. These tended to run as deep as those between the groups. The myth of intra-ethnic unity had the vital function of sustaining intergroup divisions to suit certain agendas. One could argue that it was this inability to unite on the part of small non-communal parties that convinced Lim in the end that if he wanted anything done, he had to compromise with the communal parties, and then hope for the best. To what extent this strategy actually worked in the long run is for future historians to ascertain. This article first appeared in the January 2011 issue of the Penang Economic Monthly. Reproduced with permission.
January 28 — 30, 2011
The beauty of fighting fish
By Basil Foo
reeding fighting fish has a varied history in Malaysia and has drawn many enthusiasts due to it being a real-life grown up version of Pokémon. Like the popular children’s game, fighting fish square off in duels and can be bred to accentuate their physical characteristics. “There are two types of hobbyists: those who like the fish’s appearance and those who like them for their fighting abilities,” said Betta Society of Malaysia committee member Michael Soon. Breeders who use the fish for shows and exhibitions are more concerned about the colour, finish, and form of Lee checking on the fishes to see if they are big enough to be kept the fish – its body, fins, and tail. These fishes are known as ‘show separately. betta’ with shape variations like the crowntails which originate from India, cietymalaysia.com.my and over 100 cause the fish there are usually dull colshort tails, and halfmoon tails. members who also engage in breeding oured and only become more attractive “The number of different tail shapes for species conservation. during the mating season. and colours nowadays is because people “We try to conserve some of the “This is also a self-defence mechaare able to modify them over time breeds because fighting fish species has nism because being colourful in the through breeding,” said Soon. an unknown number of types as new wild gets you eaten,” he added. For the fish that are used to fight, ones are still being found in the wild,” While people have different reasons more attention is paid to their strength said Soon. for liking the fish, Soon admires the and aggressiveness, and less to their Different types of fighting fish breeding process as it involves slowly colour. include the bettasplendens which origi- coaxing tiny hatchlings into bigger “However, the fish fighting activity nate from Thailand and a local version fishes. has become associated with illegal gam- called betta incillis. “Firstly the fishes would have two bling. And with fish fights, cruelty to “There are even different types ways to lay their eggs. One blows many animals also becomes an issue,” he said. which can be found in Sabah and bubbles to form a nest and then put “So while the fighting side is still Sarawak,” he said. their eggs into the bubbles, another there, they have mostly gone underNot many people know how to keeps the eggs in their mouth until they ground,” he added. appreciate those found in the wild be- hatch,” he said. One of the big events for The fish are mostly kept in the mainstream fighting-fish small tanks while breeding. As scene was last November in bettasplendens are more aggressive Mid Valley where hobbyists than other species, they require and breeders congregated en larger tanks to protect the female masse. from being attacked by the male. “That was the big one for “Once hatched, the fries are fed the year. Now we have smaller baby brine shrimp and infusoria meetings every month called which are tiny microscopic creabetta Sunday. We would show tures formed by putting plants in the fishes we have and buy old water,” he said. from each other,” he said. After a week, when the hatchFormed five years ago, the lings have grown bigger, Soon Betta Society of Malaysia has Upon seeing each other the fishes react feeds them with daphnia, fish an online presence at bettaso- aggressively. pellets, frozen and dried worms.
Last of a dying breed
PAST a pothole riddled dirt road and herds of goats living in Taman Utama, Klang one of the last remaining fightingfish farms hangs on to survival. “There used to be six other fighting-fish breeders in Klang who were friends of mine,” said retiree and fighting-fish breeder Lee Eg Ing. “Now most of them have moved on to do other things. One of them passed away recently,” he said. In his late 50s, Lee has been breeding fighting-fish here for the past 30 years and reminisced about the heyday of a forgotten pastime. “At the height of its popularity I was able to sell up to RM1,000 worth of fish per week, but now only friends buy from me,” he said. Not many people, he noted, are into fighting-fish anymore. The farm has 30 ponds with about 80 fish in each one. The normal ones retail for RM5-10 per fish while the “fiercer” and beautiful specimens can fetch RM15-20. Apart from selling to locals, he gets customers from overseas who contact him for his breeding skills and buy 10-20 fishes at a time. “I also export to customers in Thailand by bus and to Indonesia by ship. Sometimes I deliver through bulk buyers of vegetables who transport them for me,” he said. He related an occasion when a breeder, who had fighting fishes worth RM300 each, sought his expertise to spawn hatchlings. “I was asked to help because he saw I could breed about 100 at a time, whereas he could only manage to produce 10,” said Lee. “But I refused because if I only manage to spawn less than he asked for, he might blame me for selling the rest to other people. It is better to protect my reputation,” he added. His breeding process includes sourcing the males from fighting fish arenas in the vicinity where he chooses the ones which have won several battles for their fighting ability. The fishes are then paired with his own females and spawn in small plastic tubs which are sheltered from the elements. “Once the fries are bigger, they will be put into the ponds and fed with daphnia which many people call water fleas,” he said. “Spawning success is not guaranteed as it depends on many things like the temperature of the environment. During rainy seasons, more hatchlings will die due to the cold,” he added.
The fishes are stored in individual jars to prevent them from attacking each other.
By William Tan and Rahmah Ghazali
Hundreds rally against new SS appointment
olitics has always been harsh and Machiavellian. One moment you are in, and out the next. Expectations are high and occasionally met with harsh criticism. Especially, if one considers the political landscape in Malaysia. Yet, more and more youths are choosing to enter politics, tossing themselves willingly into the political machine with a common mindset. For some, it is to serve the nation and to learn first-hand the nature of the beast known as politics. First of all “I want to serve the nation, whatever it may because I got less become” said Michelle Ng Mei Sze, 20. pay and they didn’t She has completed a month-long internship see any future with Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament in it. And if there Tony Pua, and she has found out that the life of a politician is filled with sacrifice and requires was a change in utmost dedication. government, that There was a time where she had to wake up at would be it for me.” 5am for a 7am flight to Kuching. There she — Izhar. rushed from a press conference to a meeting on election strategies which she had to present her own research. She later joined the delegates for dinner before attending another meeting on various issues. She was finally placed on a flight late at night and reached home at 2am. The aspiring judge said she loved every moment of it and wishes that more youths would take up similar opportunities to learn more about politics. “I learn there is a severe lack of initiative in today’s generation towards politics. This attitude is detrimental to the nation” she said. Vivian Kuan Hui Xian, 20, shared the same Izhar applied to join Pemandu. sentiment, saying she brought it Hannah Yeoh. onto herself to be part of something If she believes She aided Hannah more anything ,youths are enbigger in life. and more by drafting letters, She went up to Subang Jaya astering politics because they no handling complaints semblyman, Hannah Yeoh at a town longer want to be denied the gathering and told her of her desire opportunity to be exposed to Tan Sze Ming and conducting to be just like her (Hannah). Hui the political world. research. She also Xian was later offered a two-month “With the growing popfollowed Hannah on She helped internship with Hannah. ularity of online media, her political rounds, an youths are becoming more organise numerous She aided Hannah by drafting invaluable experience letters, handling complaints and aware of what they have environmental for aspiring politicians..” been shielded from and campaigns such as the conducting research. She also followed Hannah on her political curiosity is what leads them rounds, an invaluable experience for in the country, in my short time with to intern with politicians; to Selangor No Plastic aspiring politicians. Elizabeth Wong, I learnt how to witness first-hand how the gov- day campaign but that The work proved to be varied communicate, and to have proper ernment works,” she said. was just the tip of the with something to learn every day. It is a different case for iceberg.” strategic meetings with party leadShe also found there was one crucial Vivian Kuan 26-year-old overseas architecture ers” she said. element that should be embodied by looked back since. However, her real passion is to go graduate Izhar Moslim. all politicians. “To always listen and for four months with state executive down to the grassroots and work He applied to become a special “I never regretted joining polibe sensitive towards the needs of the councillor for environment Eliza- with the people such as educating officer to Minister in the Prime tics, even for one second when the people. To always carry out your job beth Wong. them about their own rights, par- Minister’s Department Datuk Seri pay was low, and I have a daughter with integrity and fortitude.” she Idris Jala a year ago under the Per- whom I hardly spend time with and She helped organise numerous ticularly as voters. said. Hui Xian is on her way to environmental campaigns such as Interestingly, Breda Ch’ng, 22, formance Management Delivery also a supportive wife. When you completing her degree in law. the Selangor No Plastic day cam- said she never liked politics while Unit (Pemandu) despite parental are young, just make full use of it ... Tan Sze Ming, 23 found herself paign but that was just the tip of the growing up, finding it messy and objections. especially in this highly competitive deeply involved in environmental iceberg. They wanted him to work in an world when there are so many capadirty. She merely became an intern matters while working as an intern “Besides the environmental issues because of her association with architecture firm “which holds more ble youngsters,” he added. certainty”. But the pressure of working for a “First of all because I got less pay minister is overwhelming as “we are and they didn’t see any future in it. working to transform the country”. And if there was a change in govern“I think the pressure to deliver is ment, that would be it for me,” said very high,” said the former MelBy Rahmah Ghazali Fair Elections chairperson Datuk S Ambiga, who was Izhar, adding that he had never bourne Umno Club president. also at the rally, said the low turnout would not stop KELANA JAYA: About 200 people braved a heavy them from continuing their efforts to educate the downpour at the Kelana Jaya Stadium last Sunday to public. join a rally against the appointment of Datuk Mohamed “People cannot just register their views once in SUBANG JAYA: Subang Jaya the clinic in mid-2010, but to date, Khusrin Munawi as the new state secretary. five years [through elections]. They have to voice has long been without a public nothing has materialised. Yeoh Dubbed “Hormati Suara Rakyat Selangor” (Respect out whenever there is something affecting them,” she clinic, and its assemblyperson is said she had gone on a site visit the Voice of Selangor People), the rally was led by the said. now reminding the Health with ministry officials then. Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) and Also present were International Islamic University Ministry of its plan to build one organised by civil society groups. She also said her office had Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, Shah Alam Member of here. Although the number of those in attendance fell Parliament Khalid Samad, Subang MP R Sivarasa, state helped the ministry to look for “The nearest public clinics are suitable spots in existing shop lots short of the organising committee’s expectation of executive councillor Teresa Kok and political secretary in Puchong and Kelana Jaya, there as the land office had difficulty 10,000, MCLM’s Haris Ibrahim said this would not to the Selangor Menteri Besar, Faekah Hussin. should be one in Subang Jaya so the finding vacant land for the clinic. deter them from staging more rallies in the near The rally came in the wake of an on-going dispute poor can access it easily,” Hannah future. “It’s been months. I would like with the federal government which controversially Yeoh said. “We will continue to create platforms for the people appointed Muhammad Khusrin as the new state to remind them Subang Jaya She said the ministry had residents are taxpayers, too,” said to voice their unhappiness,” said the lawyer. secretary without consultation with the Selangor scouted for a suitable site to build Yeoh. Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0, or the Coalition for Free and government.
Youth learning politics first-hand
January 28 — 30, 2011
Long wait for a public clinic
January 28 — 30, 2011
Fiction by Lee Ee Leen
y grandfather stayed at the police station for five hours. Maybe the police had trouble believing him and prolonged his stay. Grandfather often told tall stories for my entertainment. His latest yarn was of an elderly Australian corporal hiding Grandfather’s drinking buddies swallowed hillside and assembled piles of steel rods and in the thick undergrowth near the neighbour- his stories along with their breakfast at Lee cement bags into low-rise, high-cost studio hood drainage pond. Hong, the neighbourhood coffee shop. It was apartments. Granddad frowned at the site as On Sundays, grandfather left packets of hard to predict who would turn up today; Lee if he were the foreman spotting a distant biscuits and cans of baked beans for the soldier Huat Hong was empty for a Sunday morning. infraction. by the wire. When the charity continued for Grandmother greeted granddad and I. He “You don’t know about the break-ins?” she a month I asked grandfather: “Does this ordered two soft boiled eggs. continued, “The couple three houses down Australian have a family?” “Only you today?” granddad asked her. from mine lost 10k in jewellery!” “He has no family. He told me.” “Who asked them to keep so “You speak to him?” much jewellery in the house?” “He’s not crazy.” countered grandmother as she Granddad waited for grandmother “He still thinks there’s a war!” I to walk away before he said to me “let’s shrugged to clean his saucer of said: “He needs to see a doctor. egg yolk. go.” We trudged uphill and passed the What if itrains? What about snakes “I bumped into the husband drainage pond. Grandfather read the and mosquitoes? What does he this morning. He told me he eat?” sign on the fence that warned in English, t h o u g h t t h i s w a s a s a f e “He lives off the land.” Malay, Chinese and Tamil, ‘Trespassers neighbourhood.” “What if he comes into our This stuff was great material Will Be Prosecuted.” garden to attack imaginary enemy for English class when we had to soldiers?” do reports. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” “ Yo ur f r i e n d s w o n’t c o m e o ut .” “How do they know it was the workers?” I “No we won’t because he would have blown Grandmother scratched the side of her nose asked and jotted down in my notebook, up the bridge. What if he comes into our house with her screwdriver, an untrimmed little N E I G H B O U R H O O D B R E A K-I N . and scares grandma while she’s taking a bath?” fingernail. CONTSTRUCTION WORKERS. “Anyone will surrender if they see your “Are they sick?” “The burglars climbed in through the grandmother naked!” Grandmother shook her head as she bathroom window and tried to pick the master Grandfather found this image so funny that cracked eggs into the saucer, “They are scared.” bedroom lock. When they couldn’t, they his tea shot out of his nose. After wiping away Grandmother lowered her voice. “Of those hacked it open.” the splashes of tea on the kitchen table he workers.” Grandmother said: “Who else has access closed our discussion: “The Australian is “What workers?” Grandfather choked on to such tools around here?” harmless. Let me handle him.” he reassured his tea. “Think of people who come to another me. “Don’t tell grandma and don’t go near the With her screwdriver, grandmother country to work...” grandfather let his sentence fence.” pointed to the construction site. trail off. He focused on the menu, as if the “Enough! Promise me!” Men and machinery had scoured the missing words were written there.
A Tall Fence Story
Grandmother snorted and drained her cup: “Don’t be naïve!” “You know I’m not!” snapped granddad. Grandmother raised her hand to signal her retraction of the last statement. “It’s different. Not like when you worked in restaurants in London.” Grandmother placed money on the table. Granddad pushed the notes and coins back to her, who then pushed them back. “It’s on me,” she said, “Since your friends aren’t here.” Granddad waited for grandmother to walk away before he said to me “let’s go.” We trudged uphill and passed the drainage pond. As grandfather read the sign on the fence that warned in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil, ‘Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted. Through the fence I spotted an empty can of beans among the lallang. Grandfather saw the can and strode back into the house. “Let me handle the soldier. Now go to your room!” grandfather commanded me before he picked up the phone. When grandfather returned from the police station, grandmother rebuked him as if the Australian had really interrupted her bath. Grandfather believed he was doing some good in leaving biscuits and beans by the fence for a group of men living around the pond. When I read out grandfather’s case in English class, my teacher told me reportwriting was about sticking to the facts and not telling “tall stories”.
Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year
There will be no publication on Feb 4 . We will be back on Feb 11.
January 28 — 30, 2011
There are small towns that are just like Tucson, Arizona, in the Wild, Wild West days. LIN ZHENYUAN “rides” into Ijok on his horse called Wira and takes a look.
here are more cowboy towns in the west coast of the Peninsula than there are cities, and Ijok is one of them. Ijok would have remained in the backwaters of Selangor for a while if not for a by-election that took place in 2007. Suddenly, almost everyone who reads a newspaper knows about Ijok. Today, the media attention has long left the town of about 20,000. Along the Ijok trunk road are several rows of new shophouses. The people here probably didn’t know what the big fuss was about then, and they probably still don’t. The Malays make up about half the population here. Many of them can trace their roots back to Java more than 100 years ago. Apparently, their forebears who found old Malaya a pleasant place to live settled down in sizeable numbers in Ijok. Thus, it is an unverified claim by the descendants of ancient Javanese that Ijok was “discovered” by their great-grandfathers. The Indians are the second largest racial community. They make up of 28 per cent of the 12,372 voting constituents, and the Chinese lock in about 21 per cent. The Indians in Ijok have bragging rights to having the largest percentage of Indian voters in any parliamentary constituency in the country. Thus, it is not surprising that rubber estates were once a very common sight around the district. In fact, there are still lots of rubber trees, if anyone cares to look. The Chinese have since branched out to other businesses from agricultural farming which was once their livelihood. There are only about a dozen eateries and coffee shops here. One of the more famous ones has a reputation for its beggar’s chicken which has crossed state boundary lines. Personally, I haven’t tried that specialty but anything that’s wrapped with lotus leaves and clay All kinds of running and walking sneakers are ingeniously displayed. and cooked over charcoal can’t be It would be a shame if that young food items like fresh fish, chicken, bad. man didn’t move on to bigger entre- onions, anchovies, etc seemed to be Today, Ijok is part of a trilogy preneurial ventures later in life be- the busiest among the hawkers. of settlements that make up the area. cause he was such a superb salesman. Housewives come to haggle, The other two are Batang Berjuntai, When I tried on the belt with chit-chat and buy limited amounts sometimes known as Bestari Jaya, the outrageous buckle, he put on an for their homes. Unlike their counand the Saujana Utama township. exaggerated expression and said: terparts in bigger towns and cities, Logging in at about 60 kilome- “Wow! Saya tak boleh lihat. Gaya there are no trolley loads of grocertres away from Petaling Jaya city, nya terlampau!” (I can’t look. It’s ies. Ijok also hosts about 5,000 students simply too stylish.) Here in Ijok, people buy only who are enrolled at the Universiti Both of us knew he was lying but what they can consume. There is no Industri Selangor in Bestari Jaya. he had such a congenial personality question of wastage or unnecessary Those who know abundance. Perhaps city this area called it an esfolks can learn a thing or Pasar malam are great outings two from these country tate town. Once you are here, you will under- in small towns like Ijok. The goods people. stand why. The signs are on sale are sometimes outdated but Since Kuala Selangor everywhere. and Teluk Intan are fishthe prices are always competitive. ing destinations, seafood At 4pm daily, part of Ijok comes alive when There’s probably just a nominal fee like crabs, squids, prawns the pasar malam site at imposed on these hawkers so their and a big variety of fish Simpang Tiga Ijok kicks overheads are pretty low.” are readily available. into high gear. Long The stalls which sell lines of hawker stalls selling just that we parted as friends, and I, a these aquatic edibles are ample proof about anything and everything cater small portion of my hard-earned that Ijok is definitely not lacking to the residents living far and near. cash. when it comes to fresh stocks of I was there one afternoon and Pasar malam are great outings seafood. came upon a belt buckle which I in small towns like Ijok. The goods It was brought to my attention fancied. The Malay youth made me on sale are sometimes outdated but that somewhere in Ijok there’s a an offer I couldn’t refuse. At RM20 the prices are always competitive. leech breeding farm. Since I am not per belt, my resistance broke down There’s probably just a nominal fee particularly fond of leeches, I decompletely. In KL, it costs about imposed on these hawkers so their cided to let this matter of interest RM30. overheads are pretty low. Sellers of slither pass me.
No parking space means the Ijok pasar malam is crowded.
Cowboy town Ijok sheds its boots
The young man who put on quite a show selling the fancy belts.
The breeding of leeches apparently is big business as far as cosmetics and medicine are concerned. How? Please refer to the experts. Ijok will continue to take its time to join the rest of the world. In this part of Selangor, it is perpetually summer and the living is somewhat easy. Since Unisel (Universiti Industri Selangor) came into being, cycling enthusiasts have mapped out a 64km (40 miles) route which encompasses Bestari Jaya, Kuala Selangor, Ijok, Batang Berjuntai. In a way, the terrain of Ijok offers adventurous loops for outsiders who are “rough riders”. Already there are signs that Ijok will continue to keep pace with its more developed sister towns. The town is still very much alive but the “cowboys” seem to have left for green- The dried stuff also finds ready buyers among villagers. er and wilder pastures.
JANUARY 28 — 30, 2011 WHERE’S MY SCHOOL? A child at a tree-planting function last Friday with a balloon bearing the message “Where is the Chinese primary school?” standing in front of a billboard with a similar message about the Sg Long Chinese Primary School, which the Federal Government pledged to build during the 2008 General Election.
Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim presents mandarin oranges to a resident of Kg Baru Sg Buloh last Sunday in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebrations next week.
Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim helps a motorcyclist wear a safety vest during the Road Safety Campaign at the 11th Mile Toll Booth in Cheras on Wednesday.
Tourists appreciating plants for sale as part of the Chinese New Year festivities at Sunway Pyramid on Monday.
Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong looks at potted plants during her visit to the Sg Buloh Leprosy Hospital last Friday.
JANUARY 28 — 30, 2011
❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW
Exhibition The Annexe Gallery Central Market Jan 25 — Feb 13 free admission 03-2070 1137 www.annexegallery.com
ReconSTRucTion: works by hilal mazlan, anniketyni madian and Syafiq hariz
Exhibition MAP KL, Publika, Dutamas Jan 18 — 30 free admission 03-6207 9732 www.mapkl.org This triple-bill show presents mixed media (paintings, sculpture, etc) works by Hilal Mazlan, Anniketyni Madian and Syafiq Hariz, sophomore artists in the midst of revising their preferred forms and techniques — hence “reconstruction”. The art looks competent enough. The accompanying curatorial essay is grandiloquent to the point of silliness. It says things like: “Art usually needs to be made in order for it to be recognised as art”. Does anyone need an art curator to tell us that?
RemembeRing a JouRneyman — TRibuTe To Teh Leong Kwee
Artist and academic Teh Leong Kwee passed away in 2008. He taught many design and art institutions in KL, like the Malaysian Institute of Art, The One Academy, and CENFAD; he was, by all accounts, an inspiring lecturer, sharing questions about music, travel, philosophy and typography in ways that would engage young minds. Teh left in his wake a body of students who today are at the reins of Malaysian creativity. He was a mentor to young artists, including the vital arts collective Lost Generation Space. This tribute exhibition presents Teh’s paintings, drawings and “a display of unorthodox musical instruments handcrafted by him”, and intends to provide an insight into the creative explorations of a man who helped many embark on their own artistic journeys. Includes Teh’s experiments in using rust as a painting medium, and Chinese-ink drawings of the Ouroboros.
Seksan Gallery 67, Jalan Tempinis Satu, Bangsar Jan 29 free admission 017-2644 956 (Sharon Bakar) The Readings@Seksan platform is perhaps the longest-running live writers’ platform in town; it’s a public afternoon where scribblers and readers gather to hear newish work being read by their authors. The thing has seen enough excellent stuff that its stewards — Sharon Bakar and Bernice Chauly — have seen fit to put together an anthology of short fiction by writers who’ve read at Readings. Said book — called, naturally, Readings from Readings — will be launched in late February. Meanwhile, January is Readings’ sixth anniversary, so go expecting cake. Also enjoy fun stuff by Nizam Zakaria, Fadli-Al-Akiti, Damyanti Ghosh, Jamal Raslan Abdul Jalil, and garrulous columnist Patrick Teoh — who, incidentally, also has a book out.
ingapore’s The Necessary Stage (TNS) is a very productive organisation, as befits a theatre company from our island-republic neighbour. It produces an average of two plays a year, invariably about pressing sociopolitical Issues. At a “Meet The Necessary Stage” event two weeks ago, TNS in-house playwright Haresh Sharma revealed a merciless work ethic: “If you are not producing work, any reason you might give for not doing work is an excuse.” Goodness knows that Malaysian English-language theatre, susceptible as it is to faffing about, could use that emphasis on output. But the TNS process, to me, is uncomfortably product-oriented, almost factory-floor-like: pick a topic, research it, workshop it with actors, write a play, stage, applause. Listening to Haresh, I couldn’t shake the feeling that his primary aim was to put together a production, and less the effective and human exploration of a headline subject. The two previous TNS productions I’ve seen, Good People and Gemuk Girls, appeared to suffer from this: funny, witty and spiced with powerful moments of humanity — but with characters who were all too prone to monologue about medical marijuana/the death penalty (in the former) or detention without trial (the latter), with the same depth of a newspaper op-ed. Model Citizens ( Jan 19 - 22 , KLPac; a restaging of its March 2010 debut in Singapore) is similarly un-gestated. It has an arresting premise: a Malay cleaner knifes an MP (PAP, of course; is there any other kind?) at a “Meet the People” session. But we never get to see that bit of action; the play cleverly decides to dwell on three characters: the attackers fiancée, Indonesian domestic maid Melly (Siti Khalijah); the stabbed MP’s Chinese-educated wife, Mrs Chua (Goh Guat Kian); Melly’s employer, a middle class Peranakan, Wendy (Karen Tan). The stabbing is a catalyst for all three to entertain their anxieties. Mrs Chua is galvanised by her husband’s absence: she starts speaking to the press and clearing up his work. An authoritarian, interventionist Singapore has made her bitter — here, Goh was movingly, convincingly angry: “You wanted me to stop having anymore children. You changed
the rules, and forced me to get sterilised. Now Karen Tan despairingly asked. “Why me?” was the If you are unsaid follow-up. you want more children,” — and in her newfound power she imagines vengeance on the Anglo- not producing The play was excellently acted, with all three centric status quo. “Mandarin will be compul- work, any performers (veterans of the Singaporean stage) doing sory for all Singaporeans!” she writes in a speech as well as their material allowed them to. But as acreason you for Parliament. tion began to centre on Wendy’s existential travails, Melly is the untrustworthy Indonesian maid might give I couldn’t help but read Model Citizens as an apolostereotype: she abuses her freedom by working as for not doing gia for the comfortable, English-educated, theatrea prostitute; her boyfriend, Zul, is a way to gain work is an going middle class. Wendy’s fault is entirely justifiSingaporean citizenship. But Zul’s arrest unmoors excuse.” able inaction; her tragedy is the result of an uncaring her and forces her to examine why she wants to society filled with Others: Chinese-ed politicians, live in Singapore. By the end, she decides that Indonesia is home, Indonesians. and is determined to return. Why us, the play asks its viewers. Why are we having probWendy is, presumably, Model Citizens’ audience-surrogate. lems with immigrants? Why are the mainland Chinese taking She has no obvious faults. She is forward-thinking in terms of over? Why are our children killing themselves? We did everyparenting and employment, espouses liberal views about race, thing right! But victimhood is not a helpful notion. It makes language, and politics. She is also persecuted by grief. First her it too easy for the sort-of liberal middle class (of any society) Aung San Suu Kyi-obsessed poet of a son commits suicide — to absolve itself of responsibility. Good art about the Big Issues now this stabbed-MP business. “But I did everything right!” is honest: to its subject, to its characters, to ourselves.
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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