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March 4 — 6, 2011/ issue 14
Kajang residents looking through the Mrt plans during a meeting at the Kajang Local Council office on tuesday. – Picture by
By Gan Pei Ling
shah alaM: Register your pet turtles, birds, frogs, spiders or any species regulated under the new Wildlife Conservation Act by June or risk being fined or imprisoned. Many pets, including certain terrapins, sparrows and toads, are now listed as “protected wildlife” under the new wildlife act that came into force on Dec 28, 2010. Owners have been given a grace period of six months to apply for licences from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan). After the grace period, individuals possessing protected wildlife listed under the new act without a licence may be charged and fined up to RM50,000, or face two years in jail or both if convicted. Highly endangered species such as tigers, leopards and Sumatran rhinoceros are listed as “totally protected wildlife”, and a special permit is required to keep, display or conduct research on such animals. Convicted individuals may be fined up to RM100,000 or sentenced to three years’ jail or both. While some acknowledge that the tougher law will help curb ram-
Register your exotic pets
pant wildlife trafficking, other pet owners and traders are highly concerned by its implications. Anxious owners and business operators showered Perhilitan with questions during a public briefing in Shah Alam on Monday. Tarantulas and amphibians now listed as “protected” Owners of tarantulas are required to apply for licences as 11 species of the spiders are now listed as protected wildlife under the new act. “We didn’t need a licence previously…Spiders breed by the thousands; does this mean I have to apply for thousands of licences?” asked
• Story on page 6
other pet owners were worried whether perhilitan would approve their applications if they declared the wildlife they owned, and if their pets would be confiscated if their applications were rejected.”
Darren Chow from the Malaysian Tarantula Society. As one licence usually costs RM10, Chow was concerned that he would have to fork out a large amount of money to acquire the licences. Many other members from the Malaysian Tarantula Society were present at the briefing. Dayalen Mathavan, 23, said Perhilitan should have held a public consultation before enacting the law. The biotechnology undergraduate owns 12 tarantulas and a red mountain racer. “It’s a very common local snake and can be found in any pet shop, but now it’s listed as a protected species. How did they decide which species should be ‘protected’?” Dayalen asked. Other pet owners were worried whether Perhilitan would approve their applications if they declared
the wildlife they owned, and if their pets would be confiscated if their applications were rejected. Selangor senior assistance wildlife officer Abdul Rahim Abdul Hamid assured the public that Perhilitan would usually approve the applications. “It’s not a problem,” he said. The state department issues around 3,000 licences a year for keeping of wildlife, and around 300 permits for trading. The number of licences is expected to soar as many other species, including amphibians, are now protected under the new wildlife act. Religious practices and Chinese medicine Traders who sell turtles and sparrows to the public for certain religious purposes were also worried • turn to page 6
March 4 — 6, 2011
Follow rules to avoid tragedy
By Gan Pei Ling
Desperate plea for water
By Neville Spykerman
SHAH ALAM: Gated communities must comply with all guidelines to avoid a recurrence of the recent tragedy in Kepong where a locked barrier delayed firefighters from reaching a fire. “Although the incident happened in Kuala Lumpur, it serves as a lesson to all Resident Associations (RA) and local governments in Selangor that regulations must be followed,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu. Last week, 33-year-old Annie Ong Yen and her two-year-old daughter Artina Loke Xin Yu died in a blaze in Taman Sri Sinar when firefighters had to cut a lock on a barrier before they could reach them. Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, listed five rules that needed to be followed and enforced with immediate effect: • All RA must apply and get approval from their respective local government before putting up any barriers. • A minimum of 85% consensus is needed from all residents before it can be implemented. • No permanent structures will be allowed, and roads cannot be sealed permanently. • The barriers or boom gates must be manned at all times. • Roads must be accessible to emergency and utility services vehicles. Liu said the issue was turning contentious because these rules were being ignored. “I will be meeting the heads of local authorities soon to seek their views, and a forum will be held with communities to allow them to voice their concerns,” he said.
SHAH ALAM: Desperate residents of Ruvena Villa Apartment in Taman Putra Perdana are resorting to alternative measures to get water since their supply was cut a week ago. Hundreds of family take showers at highway rest stops and wash their laundry at petrol stations while others get water from fire hydrants. “We go wherever we can find water,” Hayati Hussain, 39, said yesterday. The housewife had come to Selangor Times’ office with three other anxious residents to seek help. Hayati said this was the third time their water supply had been cut. Last November, they approached their management company, LT Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and the Sepang District Council when their supply was cut for three days. LT, a subsidiary of Talam Corporation, did not attend the meeting although they were invited. However, Syabas restored their water supply after the residents collected about RM30,000 to settle part of their arrears of RM50,000 with LT, which then paid the amount to Syabas. “We don’t know who else we can turn to this time,” said resident Alice Nurulzila, 35.
(From left) Azizah Mohd, 40, with her child, Hayati, and Kamisah Saidin, 42, at Selangor Times’ office to relate their woes.
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metre by LT, with bills going as high as RM200 a month for some families. They said other apartments in the same area included Kiambang Apartment, Siantan Apartment and Kenanga Apartment. “We try to be patient, but some of the residents, including pregnant women, have had to walk up five floors to transport their water,” Alice added. Selangor Times could not reach LT at press time. Meanwhile, Syabas corporate affairs executive director Halem Mat Som said Syabas was prepared to meet the management company to resolve the problem. “The management company can come forward to discuss with Syabas ways to settle this problem,” said Halem.
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The insurance agent said it was unfair that those who paid their water bills also suffered from the water cut. “We have individual meters. The management company should punish Selangor WeaTHer only those who Friday Saturday Sunday don’t pay their bills,” said Alice. She said even Morning though they are Selangor residents, the apartment units’ occupants do afternoon not enjoy the 20 cubic metre free water from the Selangor government. night She said they were being charged RM1.38 a cubic
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 4 – 6, 2011 ⁄ 3
March 4 — 6, 2011
Kingdom City Church is organising a Women’s Conference in September. “United For Such A Time As This” is an inter-church women’s conference which will be held at Sunway Convention Centre on Sept 9-10. Guest speakers include Pastor Sam Evans, Pastor Debbie Prescott from Planetshakers Church in Melbourne and Irene Fernandez from Tenanganita. Tickets are priced at RM99 for super early bird (Jan 1–Mar 31), RM119 for early bird (Apr 1–Jun 30) and full price RM139 (Jul 1–Sept 10). Walk-in delegates will be charged full fees. To register visit www.kingdomwomenconference.com.
By Gan Pei Ling
Tribute to John Williams
Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, with Richard Kaufman as conductor, welcomes back movie music maestro Richard Kaufman in a programme celebrating John Williams, the most famous and popular film music composer of our day and the man credited with bringing symphonic music back to the big screen. Hear music from Star Wars, Superman, Jurassic Park, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and many more. The concert will be held today and tomorrow at 8.30pm and on Sunday at 3pm. Admission today and tomorrow is RM95, RM75, RM55, RM25. On Sunday, it’s RM85, RM65, RM40, RM20. Dress code today and tomorrow is long-sleeved batik or lounge suit and on Sunday, smart casual. Venue: Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, Level 2, Tower 2, Petronas Twin Towers, KLCC, K. Lumpur.
Jay Chou (The Era) 2011 World Tour Live
With more than 350 music awards under his belt, Jay’s songs fuse R & B, rock and pop genres covering issues such as domestic violence, war and urbanisation to subjects such as tender love. This world tour named “The Era World Tour” continues to earn rave reviews as the most impressive concert production ever launched in Asia. The unprecedented stage design uses more than 2000 strips LED screens, complete with sophisticated 3D animations and stunning lighting and action effects. The concert is today and tomorrow at 8.30 pm. Admission prices from RM130 to RM760. Venue: Putra Indoor Stadium Bukit Jalil, KL
An antenatal class will be held tomorrow at Pantai Hospital Ampang from 10.30am to 5pm. Admission is free for expecting parents while registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The class will provide couples with basic information about pregnancy, self-help measures, advice and treatment before and after delivery. For registration, call Racheal at 03-4289 2877.
Family Health and Wellness Day
An intense two hour free seminar on how you can improve your health, protect your wealth and some parenting tips will be held tomorrow at 2pm. All areas are covered by experts in their fields. Among the attractions are free goody bags, cash vouchers and an opportunity to enter the special bring-alonga-friend lucky draw. There are limited seats and is on a first-come-first-served basis. Venue: Canteen Caf, Putra World Trade Centre.
BESTARI JAYA: Environmentalists have much to cheer for as Selangor has rejected a controversial proposal to de-gazette a 6,908ha forest reserve in Kuala Langat to plant oil palm. Selangor will also, by amending a state enactment, become the first state t o m a ke p u b l i c c o n s u l t a t i o n compulsory before de-gazetting a forest reserve for any development. In another effort to protect its forests, the state will be producing a blueprint to conserve all its peat swamps and mangrove forests, totaling around 99,000ha, in Selangor. The three announcements were made by executive councillor for environment Elizabeth Wong last Saturday in conjunction with Word Wetlands Day. “The state has decided to shelve the proposal [by the Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation] to degazette the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve [to plant oil palm],” said Wong to loud applause from 300 volunteers at a tree-planting event at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve. She said endangered species like tapirs were found in the forest reserve during a biodiversity audit conducted in December 2010. Wong added that her office will be producing an amendment to the National Forestr y Act Selangor Enactment. “If any forest reserve were to be degazetted, [we will] inform the public and hold public consultation…This is to avoid backdoor deals [where] suddenly a large part of forest is gone,” she said. Wong said the amendment is part of the state’s effort to uphold the public’s right to information. They hope to table the amendment, which is also recommended by the National Land Council, at the state assembly sitting this month. On top of that, Wong said her office had been instructed by the Menteri Besar to come up with a “workable blueprint” to conserve wetland forests in Selangor. “[This is to protect] the very little that we have left in the state,” she said. Currently, Selangor has around 81,000ha of peat swamps and 18,000ha of mangroves forests, but these wetland forests are frequently under threat from
No to de-gazetting of forest reserve
Wong planting a red palm at Raja Musa Forest Reserve last Saturday in conjunction with World Wetlands Day.
encroachment and degradation. For example, more than 1,000ha of the Raja Musa Forest Reserve has been encroached upon and has suffered from degradation. “Forest reserve lands were sold by unscrupulous people to unsuspecting buyers…Drains and roads were built into the forest reserve,” said Wong. With limited human resources, Wong said the Selangor Forestry Department needs the public to be their eyes and ears and alert them of forest encroachment. She added that the wetlands conservation blueprint was still in conceptual stage, and the state would rope in nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and related experts to help draw it up in the next three months. Wong said the blueprint would likely include the formation of a public trust fund, where the public may become shareholders of the forest reserves and contribute funds for conservation. In addition, the state would be exploring international funding opportunities via a new United Nations mechanism called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
“We also need to get local communities involved [so that they realise there is] more value in keeping the forests than cutting them down to plant oil palm,” said Wong. Although Selangor still has 30.5% forest cover, Wong noted that the forests are always under stress from development. For instance, the proposed Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road is expected to cut through the S elang or State Park gazetted in 2005. “ We need to have more protection mechanisms in place to protect the green spaces,” she said, adding that 30% forest cover is the bare minimum to maintain the stability of ecosystems. The national target for forest cover is 50%. In 2008, Selangor had announced a 25-year moratorium on logging to conserve its remaining forests. Selangor Forestry Department director Borhanudin Arshad and environmental NGO Global Environment Centre director Faizal Parish were also present at Saturday’s event. Over 300 volunteers, including students and working adults, planted 800 seedlings in an ongoing effort to rehabilitate the 1,000 degraded areas in the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, the largest peat swamp in Selangor and second largest in Peninsular Malaysia. Since December 2008, the Selangor Forestry Department has been working together with the Global Environment Centre, an NGO, to rehabilitate the peat swamp. The two signed a memorandum of understanding in December last year to continue the community-based forest rehabilitation programme in Raja Musa and expand it to other wetland forests in Selangor.
A safer Millennium Park
By Basil Foo
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman is offering a Korean language short course at its Centre for Extension Education, Petaling Jaya, campus. The course starts every Monday and Wednesday from 6.30pm to 9pm. Registration is now open. For details, call 03-7957 2818/7955 5181/016-223 3563 (Fui Mee/ Eileen).
Sign language course
The new intake for a basic sign language course organised by Pusat Majudiri ‘Y’ For the Deaf spanning eight weeks will start on Monday and Wednesday from 7.30pm to 9pm as well as on Saturday from 10.30am to 1.30pm. For enquiries or registration, call Chee Huay Woon at 03-2274 1439 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBANG JAYA: Residents of SS13 and its surrounding areas can now look forward to better lighting and an increase in exercise programmes at the refurbished Millennium Park. “I came here for the exercise programmes with some friends, and through word-of-mouth, more of them are interested in joining,” said Evelyn Low, 60. A resident of nearby housing area SS14, she said this was her first time here as previously the park had no attractions. Millennium Park has undergone several refurbishing efforts, with the Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ) planting trees in 2009 and installing floodlights last year. “The two floodlights were installed last October and cost RM23,000,” said MPSJ engineering director Ismail Shafie. Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh said for six months last year, the exercise programme was held from 7.30am to 8am on Saturday mornings. This year, the programme will be extended to include Wednesday nights from 8pm to 830pm. “It is a bit hard for young people to wake up on Saturday mornings, especially those who are working, so Wednesday
nights are to cater for working people also,” she said. She thanked MPSJ for the lights, which made the park a safer place and provided residents with a walking area as the park is mostly surrounded by highways. “We used to find handbags left here, probably after snatch thefts. But once the lights were installed, we didn’t face that problem any more,” Yeoh added. Exercise instructor Noel Chelliah explained that the exercise routines comprise regular aerobic workouts, which is mainly for people to have fun. “Even if you have knee problems or any other injuries, this exercise routine is still acceptable as it is not very intense,” he said. The trainers work in health clubs around town and have been contracted by Yeoh for the whole year. “Many of the trainers have seven to eight years’ experience and are all certified lifesavers. In the event that someone has chest pains or injuries, we are always prepared with first aid,” said Noel. “Many people think exercise is hard and boring, but by incorporating music and making it friendly for all ages, it can be fun and easy,” he added.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 4 – 6, 2011 ⁄ 5
March 4 — 6, 2011
Shop owners against MRT in Kajang
By Gan Pei Ling
KAJANG: Shop owners in Kajang old town are against the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) proposed line that will cut through their town. They have urged the developer to change the alignment to protect businesses and preserve the old town’s heritage. “We welcome the MRT, but the current alignment will cut through our town and a long row of shophouses on Jalan Besar will have to make way for it,” said Kong Hock Monk at a meeting with Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin and Prasarana representatives on Tuesday. The proposed Bandar Kajang station with park and ride facilities is the second last station along the MRT first line before the line ends at Kajang’s KTM commuter station. More than 80 concerned shop owners along Jalan Besar and neighbouring streets of Jalan Tengah and Jalan Sulaiman attended the meeting. “The three main streets are where the township originated; you destroy them, you destroy the history of Kajang,” said Kong Hock Yew, who has a retail business on Jalan Besar. Shop owners are also worried about noise pollution and traffic congestion during and after construction, which would affect business. The existing four-lane section of Jalan Semenyih approaching Jalan
most shop owners raise their hands when asked if they object to the current mrT alignment which will displaced them.
Lee: Current alignment will cut through town.
Besar junction will be reduced to two lanes during construction according to the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) released on Feb 14. “This will significantly reduce the capacity of this junction … It is essential not to reduce the capacity of this junction as all major arterials of Kajang town intersect at this junction,” the DEIA stressed. “ Why do they have to cut through our town? There are a lot of vacant lands along the river near the stadium,” said Kong Hock Monk, who suggested a change of alignment. He said the developer could change the current alignment which is along the road to go along Sungai Langat instead. The two Prasarana representatives who attended the meeting said
they could not respond to the residents’ concerns immediately, but they would submit the complaints and suggestions to their superiors. Prasarana, owned by the Finance Ministry, is the owner of the MRT project. However, the project is also supervised by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD). Lee suggested that shop owners form a working group to compile all their feedback and suggestions to be submitted to Prasarana and SPAD. Lee also said he had discussed the MRT plan with Kajang councillors and they “strongly object” to the rail line cutting through Kajang town.
He said the Kajang Municipal Council might consider giving up the town hall for the MRT station to be built there. “That way it wouldn’t affect local shop owners but would bring in more business. Accessibility to the station will not be a problem either,” said Lee. He also feels that one of the shop owner’s suggestions to change the rail line alignment to go along Sungai Langat instead of along the roads could be further explored. He said MPKj would be submitting feedback, taking into account local residents’ complaints and sug-
gestions, to Prasarana and SPAD. The railway scheme for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line, the first of three MRT lines, is currently displayed in seven locations for public feedback from Feb 14-May 14. Construction is scheduled to begin in July and end in 2016. Another public briefing will be held on March 10 at Dewan MPKj at 8pm. All residents affected by the MRT under the Kajang municipality are encouraged to attend the session. Prasarana and MRT project delivery partner MMC-Gamuda representatives have been invited as well.
• From page one
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that they would now have to apply for licences for their clients. “They usually release the animals back into the wild after a few hours of buying them,” said one of the traders, who only wanted to be known as Lee. She said it was impractical for the clients to acquire licences to as they did not intend to keep the animals. “A receipt should be sufficient,” she said. However, Selangor Perhilitan senior assistant director Khairi Ahmad said the clients should apply for licences as well. He explained to Selangor Times that Perhilitan “needs to monitor” the locations and numbers of animals being released to ensure that they did not disturb the ecosystem. Chinese-medicine business owners also expressed concern over the new species now listed under “protected wildlife” as many Chinese medicines include wildlife ingredients. Products involving any parts of wildlife, including meat, bones, blood or venom, are regulated under the Wildlife Conservation Act. Nurul Nabiah Tan Abdullah from a Chinese medicine retailer wanted to know if her company would need to apply for new permits. She said birds’ nest, deer horns and python powder were some of the common wildlife ingredients used in Chinese medicine. “Many manufacturers or retailers get into trouble because they think they don’t need a permit as long as they are using the ingredients for medical purposes,” she said. When asked by Selangor Times, she said she has had no trouble dealing with Perhilitan over the years. Although Perhilitan has yet to iron out many licensing details, Khairi assured the
Perhilitan “needs to monitor”
public that the procedure would be practical. He also said no action would be taken as long as owners and traders registered with Perhilitan for the licences by June 27. Selangor Perhilitan is currently on a road tour to alert the public on the implications of the new wildlife act. Apart from Monday’s briefing in Shah Alam, they will be going to Hulu Langat, Sabak Bernam and Hulu Selangor. The public can contact Selangor Perhilitan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03-5519 3915 / 03-5510 1830 for any enquiries. The full list of protected wildlife can be found in the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which can be downloaded at www. wildlife.gov.my.
Ray of hope for addicts
By William Tan
march 4 — 6, 2011
petaling jaya: The Breakthrough house, located at 568, Jalan 17/18, held a party last Sunday for its residents, volunteers and staff, past and present. The home is a place of refuge and restoration for people thought lost to drugs. Currently housing 18 residents, all of whom arrived on referral, the home is a better alternative to prison or a public rehabilitation centre as the residents do not risk obtaining a criminal record. “The centre is particularly inviting for parents of young drug addicts, who don’t want their children charged with a record of drug abuse,” said Pastor Samuel Krishnan, who manages the home. He believes the service they provide is vital in saving and restoring the youths. Often, he said, he has found that the fault lies in parents who are neglectful and absent. The home therefore acts as a bridge between parents and children to restore their relationship. A 17-year-old resident said although the role of his parents was a major factor, it was not what led him to drugs. “[It] was peer pressure. I was 14 when I was pressured into trying cigarettes. From then on, it slowly upgraded to drugs,” said the teen, who is not named for his protection. He said once he got into drugs, it was hard to stop. Nothing gave him greater joy, or put an end to his boredom or frustration, than the drugs, he said. The resident said before entering the home, he would wake up wondering how he was going to get high that day – a scary thought now that he is on the road to recovery, having completed two months of a twoyear rehabilitation and restoration programme. What is scarier is how quickly drug use is becoming a trend among the young, and how easy it is to get hold of the more popular drugs such as Ketamine, he added. The rehabilitation programme is compulsory for all residents. Other requirements are that the potential resident has to be between the ages of 17 and 45, and must not have any serious criminal charges such as murder or robbery. Residents live a communal life, helping one another with household tasks such as cooking, cleaning , plumbing and gardening , which teaches them self-sufficiency. Some of them are now skilled enough to take on small jobs for
Know Your Councillor: Cheah Sang Soon
Top: A party held for staff, volunteers and residents, past and present. Right: Pastor Samuel Krishnan. Far right: Charan Jeep Singh, 42, a graduate of the home’s drug rehabilitation programme.
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
neighbours, under supervision. “We are taught how to live without drugs, to be at peace without them,” said Chandra Darshanan, 33. “Eventually, we become like family as we sleep, eat and play sports with [one another].” Chandra got into drugs because it was the norm back home. He has been in the programme for two months. The residents follow a very strict schedule, with no access to television or newspapers. They do their laundry by hand to build character and discipline, and to avoid idleness which could tempt them back to drugs. The largest part of their life in the home is the study and practice of virtues to adopt seven key characteristics: forgiveness, obedience or respect for authority, sincerity, self control, truthfulness, patience and responsibility.
This is physically symbolised by upgrading through four rooms that represent the different traits. Their studies are also combined with a focus on faith in God. After two years, it is hoped that each resident will be restored to being a contributing member of society, and to set an example for all. The time spent at the centre stays with those who have graduated. “Here we are at peace, a family, protected and well loved. It is such a contrast to the rest of the world out there,” said Charan Jeep Singh, 42. Charan got into drug addiction by experimenting with “soft” drugs before getting into harder substances, which led him into a downward spiral. He was in the home from 2007 to 2009, and is an example of someone who has
achieved a 100% recovery rate through the programme. Charan, who is now a delivery person, credits his time in the home for giving him a strong foundation, and said he doesn’t think of or desire drugs anymore. Six people have graduated from the programme since the home was established in 2004. It is mainly funded by Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), and works closely with and receives contributions from Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan (AADK). It is hoped that the home will expand to have a separate house for female residents. Currently it is only able to offer consultation, due to the close quarters and male population of the home. For more information on the Breakthrough house, call 037954 2027 or email Samuel.k@ ces.org.my
Klang council raids entertainment outlets
By Brenda Ch’ng
klang: A suspected sex worker and two drug addicts were among those arrested during ongoing operations to curb vice activities at entertainment centres here last week. “This raid will not be the last but the first of many more. In fact, several other possible
locations for illegal drugs and prostitution have already been identified,” said Andry Aman. The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) enforcement director headed the joint operations with officers from the National AntiDrug Agency. The suspected sex worker was arrested in a
massage parlour, while the men, who tested positive for drug use, were picked up at entertainment outlets. MPK said on Tuesday the raids were carried out to curtail vice activities among youths in the town. Urine tests were also carried out on both staff and patrons of the outlets that were raided.
SUBang jaya: Although he lives in Shah Alam, Cheah Sang Soon (pix) serves as a Subang Jaya Municipal (MPSJ) councillor because his office is located there. “I help people in two ways. One as a policymaker, making sure I help create policies which will benefit the residents. And on the administrative side, I act as an intermediary between the people and the council,” said the third-term councillor. In charge of Zone 18, which covers Bandar Kinrara, Taman Bukit Kinrara, Taman Puncak Kinrara and Taman Perindustrian Bukit Kinrara, the common complaints in his area are garbage collection, unrepaired roads and licensing issues. “For immediate problems which I can handle myself, such as garbage collection, I will contact the contractor, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, to deal with the matter. “However, for problems which require a bigger budget, such as road repairs or creation of parks, I will have to apply for the budget from MPSJ,” said Cheah. Another common issue for Cheah is licensing of illegal hawkers. As far as possible, he tries to get them licensed if they fulfill the conditions, such as if the site they are situated on is convenient and not in the way. Cheah said the most challenging aspect of his job is dealing with unhappy ratepayers over policies or decisions the council has made. According to him, there will always be a small group who will be unhappy no matter what policy or decision is made. “An example would be if we issued a licence to a kindergarten operator so they can open their kindergarten in a residential area. Some residents don’t like this, but we cannot do anything about it because the by-laws allow for kindergartens to operate in corner lots in residential areas,” said Cheah. Despite the grouses, he still finds it satisfying to serve as a councillor as he feels that he is contributing to the development of the township in the MPSJ area. When not busy with his own engineering company, spending time with his wife and three children and his job as councillor, Cheah enjoys reading, playing badminton and football, and travelling.
Newgate back on track
giran Setia in 2006. The property developer won the open tender that was facilitated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Advisory Services, who was appointed by creditor RHB Bank in December 2008 to resolve the situation. In December 2010, almost all the buyers voted to allow Sumbangan Lagenda to rehabilitate the project. State executive councillor Teresa Kok congratulated the owners as their hard work of searching for a new developer has paid off. “I hope the house buyers will now fulfil their responsibility of paying a top-up of 25% of the original price of their units to cover the escalated cost of the construction,” she said. House buyers who choose to surrender their units will receive an 80% refund of their total payment made to date. The serviced apartment units were originally sold at RM70,000 to RM150,000. Sumbangan Lagenda managing director Jason Yam assured the house buyers at the press conference that the same architect would be employed in order to uphold the
march 4 — 6, 2011
By Alicia Mun
Expect garbage collection glitches, residents told
Subang jaya: Residents here have been warned to expect some disruption during the transition period when new sub-contractors take over garbage collection services this month. “Please bear with us, the transition period shouldn’t take too long,” Rajiv Rishyakaran told Selangor Times. The councillor, from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), said some existing contractors, unhappy at not being selected via the new open tender system, had already stopped providing services in February. At the USJ 11/3 Residents Association’s third anniversary celebration recently, Rajiv said residents in USJ 2 and USJ 6 had complained that their rubbish had not been collected for a week. He urged those facing similar problems to alert MPSJ or its councillors so they could help resolve it. Rajiv added that MPSJ is likely to extend the service of existing subcontractors until the new ones selected via open tender could take over. The state had suspended the council’s open tender exercise on Feb 17 after allegations surfaced that certain council members with links to bidders might attempt to abuse
By Gan Pei Ling
Subang jaya: White Knight property developer Sumbangan Lagenda has secured a court order to resume construction of Newgate Avenue USJ 21, which has been abandoned for a decade. The news was announced to owners of the serviced apartments by their committee chairperson Pritpal Singh at a press conference at the site of the project last Sunday. “We appreciate the support of all the parties who have helped us to revive this project, including the state as well as the house buyers,” said Pritpal, who added that more than 1,300 house buyers were affected when the project stalled, and many are still servicing bank loans for their units. Pritpal also urged authorities to widen the access road at Jalan Aman from two lanes to four as increased traffic is expected in the area. Sumbangan Lagenda is the third developer to take over the four blocks of 24-storey apartments and three-storey retail podium. The project was initially abandoned by Solarglow in 2000 and then by Ping-
credibility and integrity of the structure. However, he added that the design of the apartment would be upgraded as the project had been
abandoned for 10 years. Also at the press conference were Puchong Member of Parliament Gobind Singh Deo and Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh.
Pritpal Singh briefing house buyers at the press conference.
the system. To ensure fairness, concerned parliamentarians like Dr Siti Mariah Mahmood (Kota Raja) and Khalid Samad (Shah Alam) suggested a lottery system for MPSJ to select shortlisted companies with the same pricing. Rajiv expressed hope that Subang Jaya residents would be patient while the state and the council attempted to resolve the issue as soon as possible. MPSJ is the first local council to carry out an open tender exercise for its waste disposal services in Selangor. The council initiated the exercise after consulting the state and solid waste management company Alam Flora, as it estimated that it could save them RM3.5 million a year. Previously, Alam Flora appointed the sub-contractors at its own discretion. MPSJ was spending RM70 million out of its RM200 million annual budget to pay Alam Flora. Although MPSJ now selects the sub-contractors, Alam Flora will continue to manage the sub-contractors and receive commission for its services. The local council received more than 7,800 applications from 1,124 companies for 241 contracts, in which 61 are for rubbish collection and the rest for cleaning jobs. All tenders are now closed.
Restaurant owners receiving their rubbish bins.
Zone Bersih launched in Kota Damansara
petaling jaya: In a bid to promote cleanliness, Kota Damansara has become the newest township to be earmarked as Zone Bersih by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ). “Cleanliness must not only be enforced by the local authorities, but it must also garner the support and commitment of all the residents and restaurant owners in the area,” said Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman. The MBPJ mayor opened the programme at Dataran Sunway last Saturday. Earlier this year, SS2 was also designated as Zone Bersih in the city. Roslan said he was proud of the initiative by property developer Sunway City Berhad to keep the city clean. The aim of the programme is to create awareness and educate the community on the importance of cleanliness. According to Roslan, selection of the clean zones is based on several criteria issued by the Selangor state government, including cleanliness observation, infrastructure maintenance, landscape maintenance, public facilities maintenance, complaints management, and community involvement. There are 368 units of shop lots, including 115 restaurants, in Dataran Sunway. “Restaurant owners must realise that cleanliness is important. Opening a restaurant is not just about making profits,” he said. Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim, Petaling Jaya city councillor Kandeah Subramaniam and Sunway City Berhad (Property Development, Malaysia) managing director Ho Hon Sang were present at the launch.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Living in fear on Jalan Kastam
By Yasleh Rita Ayu Mat Yassin and Alvin Yap
Santiago (right) during the meeting with the residents
PORT KLANG: Claims of 40 break-ins on Jalan Kastam within two months, including a recent incident where two residents were injured, have the community living in fear. Last Sunday, Klang MP Charles Santiago and two local councillors met with residents who made the claims and who wanted better protection. One resident, Charles Benedict, related his experience of being held off with a machete when his sister’s house was broken into last month. The robbers threatened him and locked him in a room before ransacking the house and making off with RM16,000 in jewellery and RM4,000 cash. Santiago also visited the home of the two residents who had been injured. One of them, who only wanted to be known as Joanne, described how she was hit unconscious with a crowbar when she went to investigate a noise she heard upstairs at around 4.15am on Feb 15. She woke up to see one of her sisters bleeding from being hit on the head with a baseball bat, and her brother tied up. She managed to called a neighbour for help, and the police arrived 20 minutes later. Joanne ended up with four stitches on her forehead and five on the back of her head. A resident who refused to be identified at the dialogue claimed there was an average of seven robberies every week. Tired of living in fear, the resi-
dents have formed an ad hoc committee to tackle the problem. Santiago said he would be contacting the Klang District Police Chief to ask for an increase in police patrols and for a temporary police beat base to be set up in the area. He also promised to arrange a dialogue between the police and the residents as soon as possible. Santiago said only with the cooperation of everyone – community, police and government bodies – could the problem be addressed. “The residents have to take control of the problem and the solution as well,” said Santiago. When contacted, Klang police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop denied the residents’ claim that there have been 40 house break-ins in the last two months on Jalan Kastam. “From our records, there were two cases of break-ins from January to February,” he told Selangor Times over the phone. He, however, said that there had been five other cases in the last two months, comprising snatch theft and car break-ins, among others. The figure, he explained, was not only for Jalan Kastam but included the surrounding areas. There were 38 cases of break-ins for the whole of last year, he said. “I will want to meet the residents to see the situation there for myself,” he said, adding that he wanted to allay the public’s worry about the crime rate as reported in the media.
Staggering stories of abuse Authorities keep close eye on market
By Yasleh Hasni Mat Yassin
SELAYANG: The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has joined forces with police and immigration officers to patrol the Selayang Utama wet market round-the-clock to catch illegal traders. So far 60 illegal traders have been arrested, including 25 illegal immigrants, and 100kg of vegetables were confiscated during their first raid last Sunday. Selangor Times previously reported that the local council has not been able to catch these illegal traders, who are competing with locals, as they usually operate “after hours” when MPS enforcement officers are offduty. In addition, MPS only has the power to seize their stalls and goods but not arrest them. By teaming with the police force and immigration department from this month, MPS acting president Jaid Ehsan believes they will finally be able to effectively address the problem of illegal traders at the wet market. Up to 150 illegal stalls, mostly set up by Burmese and Bangladeshis, can usually be found from 8pm to 8am the next day. These hawkers have been undercutting local traders as well as causing traffic congestion as their stalls are set up along five foot ways and even on the road. The problem has persisted for more than two years, and the Selayang Hawkers and Traders Association has lodged many complaints with the authorities. Jaid noted that Rela members have not joined their 24-hour patrolling operations as Rela has asked for a RM16,000 allowance. “The amount is too high. We hope they can reduce it,” said Jaid, who added that the matter would be discussed in a local committee meeting before they brought it up again at the next full board meeting. Meanwhile, MPS is still facing problems in recovering government lands that have been used by political party members of the previous administration to build multipurpose halls. MPS has been liaising with the Gombak land office to recover the lands and halls. The council has recovered two but is still facing problems with six others, five of which are being used by MCA and the other by MIC.
Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse, which ran from Feb 22-27 at the Actors Studio in Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur, highlighted the issue of abuse in Malaysia. Directed by Datuk Faridah Merican, it featured brave individuals such as Amelia Tan, Dave Avran, Malik Taufiq, Nitia, Nooreen Preusser, Rosheen Fatima, Shirin Jauhari, Susan Lankester, Tria Aziz, Veronica Ng and Will Quah, who willingly stepped forward to share personal or secondhand accounts of abuse. The show opened with the cast introducing themselves while stating that they were against abuse of any kind. Preusser then talked about her work with Protect and Save the Children, an organisation promoting and protecting the rights of children to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation. The show progressed with each cast member sharing their stories of abuse – mental, physical, sexual and emotional. The accounts were staggering, demonstrating the nature of certain kinds of people whose actions are far removed from humanity: incest, "creative" forms of parental punishment, and even abuse of power where a rape case was made to be as if it never was. These anecdotes, both shocking
and moving, were interspersed with songs by local singer-songwriters Ian Chow and Khairil M. Bahar, three of which were commissioned for this show, and one of which featured dancer Stephanie Chantelle Lim. These provided a welcome relief from what could otherwise have been an exhausting progression of stories. The show ended on a lighter note with Avran portraying his dog Dawn, who shared "her" story of being rescued from a pound a day before she was due to be put to sleep. The tale
of how she found her human caretakers was really amusing despite the fact that she had been abandoned; it left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Avran even brought Dawn out on stage at the end of the narrative. All in all, the show left a great impact on me. It took great courage for the survivors of abuse to come out and share their experiences for the enlightenment of others and to raise the awareness on the issue, which Life Sdn Bhd 6: Abuse succeeded in doing.
march 4 — 6, 2011
MPK eyes parking concession takeover
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: Local councillors who are seeing red over a lopsided parking concession say the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) should collect its own parking fees. A proposal to take over the concession was raised again at a MPK full board meeting by councillors who opposed the contract, which allows Suasa Efektif Sdn Bhd to take 70 sen to the ringgit for every parking fee collected in the municipality. “We have to pay our enforcement officers to go around giving parking summonses and collecting coins, while Suasa Efektif takes 70% of the parking fees,” said councillor Lim Lip Suan. The proposal was first suggested two years ago. Lim said MPK’s Financial and Infrastructure Department was studying the move. The council, he said, would have to spend RM7million to take over the concession. MPK press relations officer Norfiza Mahfiz said the council would make a detailed study of the proposal. She said it could cost the council more than the quoted RM7 million to take over the management of parking in the Klang municipal area. The additional cost, she said, might come from having to replace faulty parking machines. “That is why MPK president (Datuk Mislan Tugiu) directed the respective committees to make a study. We don’t want to waste money if it doesn’t benefit the council and ratepayers,” said Norfiza.
Caption Lim spoke to reporters after the full board meeting.
She said the council had to study whether it was more efficient to let Suasa Efektif continue managing the concession. She also said the Legal Department would study the contract with Suasa Efektif, adding that the company had not breached any contractual terms. MPK councillor Ivan Ho, a lawyer, said MPK had to establish if it has the legal provision to terminate the contract with Suasa Efektif. He said it was unfair of the company to collect 70 sen for every parking fee. According to an MPK official on Wednesday, the period of agreement between MPK and Suasa allows the concessionaire to collect parking fees for 20 years.
The Section 17 wet market houses some 100 hawkers and traders, and has been in operation since mid-70s.
Work with us to keep Klang clean, says MPK
KLANG: The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) is urging the community to work with them to clean up the town. "The issue with trash in Royal Town is nothing new. [It] has become [part of the town's] identity which is hard to erase from the public eye, especially those setting foot here for the first time," said MPK communications and public complaints director Norfiza Mahfiz. She said ratepayers should not be quick to "point fingers" at the authorities as the community, too, has a role in addressing the problem. She said the public's attitude and civic awareness are fundamental for this matter to be dealt with effectively, and that public perception on the issue, especially with regard to the habit of littering, needs to change. “The garbage problem is a community issue," Norfiza stressed. "As the local authority, MPK has done its best to ensure that this area is as clean as other areas." She added that public complaints are being addressed by both MPK and Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, and that the council welcomes information on sites that have been turned into illegal garbage dumps so that immediate action can be taken.
Wet market to be improved
Lee speaking to hawkers and traders on plans to refurbish the wet market last Thursday.
PETALING JAYA: A long overdue refurbishment of the Section 17 market here will be carried out soon. Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee said funding would come from the RM1 million allocated by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to improve wet markets in the city. Lee, who visited the market on Jalan 17/38 yesterday morning, said work would be carried out in stages. “No doubt the upgrading works will inconvenience the
traders, but in the long run it’s better for everyone,” he said. MBPJ engineering director Cheremi Tarman said work was expected to take up to three months to complete. However, he said MBPJ would try to speed up the work to cause minimum disruption. The traders were informed that they would have to relocate to the adjacent parking lot once work started but most were receptive. Section 17 Wet Market Hawkers’ Association chairperson Lim Keh Seng said they welcomed the move.
New pro-chancellor for Unisel
SHAH ALAM: Former Malaysia Public Service Director Tan Sri Ismail Adam has been appointed as Pro-Chancellor of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) effective Feb 21. He replaces Raja Tan Sri Arshad Tun Raja Uda, who was previously selected as Unisel chancellor. “The appointment of Ismail was decided by Unisel’s Board of Directors and was approved by the Selangor Ruler,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The Menteri Besar said Ismail was chosen because of his wide experience in the public services sector, and has held various key positions until his last appointment as Director of Malaysia Public Service.
he old saying goes that you get what you pay for. Or there’s the other one that says when you pay peanuts you will get monkeys, although at today’s prices that may not altogether be true anymore. Do we really get what we pay for these days? I have been thinking about this the past couple of days. Why did my thoughts suddenly go to this topic when there are obviously more earth-shattering (sorry) For years and years we’ve been paying or not things happening elsewhere in the paying by not wanting to get involved. Not wanting world, like the New Zealand earthto vote. Not wanting to fork out more than a cursory quake and the toppling of governacknowledgement that we need to ‘pay’ for good ments in the Middle East? Well, it started last Sunday. My ‘services’ and get it. And so for all those years of family and I went for lunch at a ‘not’ paying we get MPs who disappear from view Japanese fast-food restaurant. You once the elections are over.” know, one of those in a shopping mall with the revolving belt bearing little plates of sushi inside clear to say the least, sloppy. ingly it has become the rule in life this I read that the proposed MRT plastic domes. A good Japanese sushi chef would in Bolehland. is doomed to fail before it even The meal for the four of us came gladly have put a knife to his belly How many times have you called starts. The Association for the Imto RM107 something. This may and committed hara-kiri rather than for a) people to come and repair a provement of Mass Transit claims seem like a lot to some, but it is serve what we were given as Japanese faulty air-con unit? Did the guy/s that it is impossible for the MRT to quite the norm for those discerning cuisine. The staff were all grumpy ask you for a ladder? Or b) have achieve its passenger-load targets or foolish enough to eat at such and less than welcoming. people come to deliver and assem- based on its fleet size and passenger places. Looking at their faces I could ble a knock-down wardrobe, and capacity. No, toro (tuna belly, the most believe that they were made to work then ask you if you had a screwWow! How much are we paying expensive sashimi) was not on the late the night before. It would have driver? Or c) service your fish tank, for that? RM36-plus billion!!! Now menu. With a 10% service charge been Saturday, and the place would and then ask to borrow a bucket or that’s not peanuts! and government tax, the total bill have been busy. The same crew were a piece of rag to clean the aquariGet what we’re willing to pay for? came up to RM122 something. For probably up early that morning to um? Hardly. lunch. prepare for the Sunday rush. All these people expect to be paid Well, except when it comes to Okay, so we knew it was going to Whatever the reasons, I felt we good money for their “services”. And politicians, that is. For that particube pricey. Eating Japanese is pleasur- didn’t get what we paid for. And the it’s not even a case of paying peanuts lar bunch of “service providers” you able to the palate but never cheap. 10% “service charge” was just to slap and getting monkeys. These days it’s do get what you pay for. Really. So we paid good money. But did we us in the face one more time before like paying cashews and getting siThink about it. For the last 50get good value? Well, the fish was we left the premises. mians. plus years we’ve been getting the fresh. But the sushi presented was, Is this an exception? No. IncreasAnd guess what? While writing government we deserve or “paid” for.
Do we get what we pay for?
March 4 — 6, 2011
For years and years we’ve been paying or not paying by not wanting to get involved. Not wanting to vote. Not wanting to fork out more than a cursory acknowledgement that we need to “pay” for good “services” and get it. And so for all those years of “not” paying we get MPs who disappear from view once the elections are over. We get roads repaired, electricity connected, schools built only when an MP dies and by-elections are held. Or, as it is more popular these days, for an elected representative to hop over to the other side. But as 2008’s tsunami proved, we actually can get what we pay for. If we pay the right price. Of involvement. Of caring. Of acting. So what are you going to do? Pay or not? And please remember, peanuts still get monkeys one ah. More peanuts get you more monkeys. And more monkeys mean they will one day come into your peanut store and steal all your peanuts. And then they will only give you some peanuts during election time. And then YOU will be the monkey lor. Get it?
Tracking the pulse of Penang
jan 20 10
jan 20 11
Penang Economic Monthly is a monthly magazine dedicated to socio-economic issues in Penang, oﬀering reliable socio-economic data as well as informative articles on the arts,the industry, culture and social issues that are relevant to today’s generation of Malaysians. Available nationwide at bookshops and newsstands. www.penangeconomicmonthly.com
12 March 4 — 6, 2011
By Alvin Yap
urning underprivileged youths into a proficient and skilled workforce may not sound like the best method to instill character formation in an age where paper qualifications are prized, but Montfort Boys Town (MBT) has been successful in transforming them into graduates who are in high demand. For over 50 years, the welfare home in Shah Alam has taken in youths who might not have benefited from a more academic course of study, or might have missed out on a chance for higher education due to financial problems. Started as an orphan welfare home in 1957, Montfort’s youths come from dysfunctional families and economically challenged households who might not be able to afford private education for their children. The enrolment also includes youths from Orang Asli tribes. “They are the youths at risk,” said Montfort Boys Town director Brother John Albert. Brother John Albert Receiving these youths has inadvertently given Montfort a reputation for taking in “naughty boys”. ance”. The programme, “Montfort has a stigma, that it’s a added Brother John, is The youths are referred to as naughty boys’ school,” said Brother John, “stressful.” adding that he does not deny that the 16- ‘diamonds in the rough’, and while Through tasks and to 18-year-olds who arrive at Montfort’s the students may have disciplinary on-the-job -training gate have disciplinary problems. (Montfort, after all, is a issues, they are capable of The youths are referred to as “diamonds mastering trade skills.” technical higher educain the rough”, and while the students may tion centre of learning) have disciplinary issues, they are capable being turned into a skilled, licensed and that feature heavily in the course, trainees of mastering trade skills. highly sought tradesperson. are constantly monitored and evaluated by Some have become millionaires, and To this end, youths who enrol every peers and staff. are key players in the engineering and May receive a regimented life of rules, but They also “own the community”, as manufacturing industries. more importantly, they have the place and Montfort is indeed a self-sufficient townYouths are trained physically, academi- space to grow by taking on ever-increasing ship. cally and – most importantly – technically responsibilities. It is not a private or even public campus in the two-year Montfort course. Brother upon graduation, the disadvantaged where maids or staff are on hand to serve John refers to it as “character formation”. background will be something of the past the needs of the trainees. Indeed, the 33The core of the Montfort Boys pro- for many graduates. They move on, said acre compound is maintained mostly by gramme in Malaysia is its Residential and Brother John. the youths. There is hardly a need to call Vocational Skills Training course, a twoThe programme moulds the trainee in a a plumber, electrician and welder as the year stint that sees a fresh school-leaver holistic way and is geared towards “endur- trainees apply their skills for the upkeep
A turning point in life for youths
of their campus. Being a welfare home and skillstraining “academic centre”, Montfort is governed by the Ministry of Welfare and its legislation, and the Human Resource Ministry. The former is responsible for giving food subsidies worth over RM400,000 a year to feed 362 trainees. Montfort lays claim to being one of the oldest accredited technical training centres in Malaysia. “We hold the national Vocational Training Council (MLVK) licence no MLVK L0002,” said Brother John. The instructors are themselves technically proficient licence holders in addition to holding Vocational Training Officer qualifications. Competent in theory and practical knowledge, the staff are given the important responsibility of preparing trainees for the workforce. Through a series of on-the-job-training and appraisals, the trainees move up the difficult path of mastering increasingly harder skills. This is because the instructors at Montfort prepare the students for practical skills competency, and not paper qualifications. “The trainees are not going into the real world with a certificate that one gets to hang on a wall,” said Brother John. The instructors know that their students are not “dream students”, said Brother John. The instructors, he added, teach and impart knowledge to students who have various difficulties in their studies due to their “emotional brokenness”, or self-esteem problems. Currently, Montfort offers Electrical, Machining, Motor Mechanics, Welding, Printing, Computer Maintenance, Graphic Design & Multimedia, Bakery and Pastry and Hospitality. The industrial-based skills take place in factory floors in fully fledged workshops. Alarms bells, klaxon horns together with the din of tools and machines underscore the fact that the trainees are on their way to being tradespeople. In the Electrical faculty, each batch of trainees is allotted a makeshift cemented room complete with fuse box, electrical sockets and wiring to hone their electrician’s skills. They draw and design wiring circuits in the room. Graduates enter the workforce at apprenticeship level or higher. This is due to the exposure the trainees are given at Montfort. For example, in the welding department, trainees master their skills up to the technical category called Special Quality Welding, where professional welders from the oil and gas industry will verify the welding quality. “Our students can actually join as welders in the shipyard industry. They are not your normal welders, but professionals
History of Montfort Boys Town
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
The history of Montfort Boys Town begins with St Louis Marie de Montfort, who was born in France in 1673 and died in 1716. He founded three religious congregations of which the Brothers of Saint Gabriel is one of them. The Brothers of Saint Gabriel is a religious congregation in the Catholic Church dedicated to the education and welfare of children and youth, especially those abandoned by society. In light of this, de Montfort founded a free school for poor boys and girls on the streets in 1711 in the town La Rochelle. It was his love for the poor that moved him to inscribe the saying that is found in every Montfort town in the world: “Those whom the world rejects must move you the most!” “Their mission was to take care of boys and girls on the streets, and for three centuries now, their work has been in education,” said Montfort Boys Town director Brother John Albert. The Montfort mission came to Malaya through schools set up in Batu Pahat, Muar and Segamat. On Oct 1, 1959, Brothers Henry, Roberge, Evariste and Fernand from The Brothers of Saint Gabriel established Montfort Boys Town by buying a tract of land in an abandoned rubber estate located at Batu Tiga in Shah Alam. The four Brothers had a special dream of setting up a home that would take care of the welfare of boys, mostly orphans. “It was the post-World War period, and a lot of boys were made orphans,” said Brother John. The cost was RM50,000. Apart from the funds provided by the local business community, the four founding Brothers also contributed with savings from their salaries as teachers. The Brothers’ mission was to equip poor boys with living skills so that they would be independent, provide for their families, and become useful citizens. The initial batch took up vegetable farming, livestock keeping, fish farming and also tapped rubber. Later, the Brothers set up classes, training the initial batch with technical skills. “The Brothers were technically proficient. For example, Brother Roberge was a machinist,” said Brother John. Montfort took in boys from 1959 until 2001 when it expanded its doors to include girls. The request came from families that had seen their sons gain from the programme. “The families saw that their sons were benefiting from the course, and they wanted their daughters to be given the same opportunities to learn technical skills,” he said. An initial batch of 12 girls was followed by another 22 in 2003.
The best place to learn practical skills
K S I VA Ku M A R ( p i x ) left Penang island in 1986 to atten d Montf o r t Boys Town through a recommendation by a relative who graduated a few years before him. He wanted to join the motor mechanics department but instead was streamed into printing. The mastery of the technical skills stayed with him, and in 1994, he started his own printing press. Montfort, he said, is the best place to learn practical skills. Industries using machinery, he added, will always need skilled workers who can operate them. A technically competent printer is not only able to print large quantities of high-quality work, but should have the capability to carry out maintenance work on the press, he said. Sivakumar graduated in 1989, and after working for four years, started his own printing company. The machines in his factory such as Heidelberg are well known in the printing world. Montfort boasts four Heidelbergs, which are manufactured in the united States. They are “monstrously” huge printing machines and might be considered old, but Sivakumar swears the 32-year-old machines are the best out there. That’s why Sivakumar knows he can rely on Montfort graduates, for apart from the right attitude, any graduate he employs is already adept in operating a press. “Any employer wants a worker who can hit the ground running, that is he can start working with little or no training. That is why Montfort will always be the organisation many employers will look to when hiring new staff,” he said.
who can carry out ship welding,” said Brother John. In the same way, the Graphic Design & Multimedia department invites external speakers to deliver courses on the current industry software for computer graphics manipulation. This is done to ensure that trainees are marketable. Similarly, the Motor Mechanics department collaborates with Bosch automotive engineering to provide additional study modules. In this case, Bosch operates a Diesel Fuel injection engineering course. Trainees learn to service and overhaul parts of a diesel engine. not many people know this, but Montfort receives vehicles for servicing, giving the students a chance to hone their skills while under their instructors’ supervision. The level of training the trainees receive ensures that they are snapped up by the industry. “We receive calls from companies asking if Montfort has trainees who are are ready to graduate. After all, these are skilled trainees,” said Montfort public affairs and fundraising manager Jamie Loo.
The trainees are so highly sought that budget of RM6 million. also meant the sacrifices of its staff are a few months before graduation in May, Parents who enrol their children all the more treasured. some 70 companies will set up booths at contribute with a minimum donation Due to the nature of charitable fundMontfort’s lobby to interview them, he of RM150 on top of admission fees ing, the staff give up an opportunity to said. The trainees have the pick of which that cover safety gear like boots, gloves, earn yearly bonuses and overtime pay. industry they want to enter. goggles and ear plugs. “We’re not certain how much money On students who drop out, he said But true to its founding figure’s vi- we will get next year and beyond,” he some 10-20% opt to quit for various sion, Montfort waives both admission said. But the staff are unfazed because reasons. fees and donations for poor students. they come to the gates to realise the However, the staff strive to minimise Students must demonstrate that vision of the Brothers – that Montfort the number of students who quit mostly they qualify for assistance provided by Boys Town be dedicated to the developdue to academic reasons. Montfort. Trainees are not bonded but ment of youths. For those who cannot keep up with are made to sign commitment theory and academic studies, instructors letters. will motivate them to make up with He said financial problems practical skills. “The industry is ever willing to accept people who can weld, operate a machine. They might not read or write reports, but can get the work done as skilled technicians,” said Bro John. The major struggle for the administrators of Montfort Boys Town has been finance. The centre depends on public funding for almost up to 85% Acquiring practical skills in the motor workshop. of its yearly operating Students in the computer class.
Montfort taught me discipline, says Tan
In 1981, then 16-year-old Francis Tan (pix) left his family in Gemas, negeri Sembilan to attend Montfort Boys Town. Tan decided to attend Montfort to receive training in technical skills as he was not academically inclined, and his family had limited financial means. “My Form 3 result wasn’t good and my family wasn’t wellto-do,” said the founder and managing director of TOPSPEED, an established chain of 14 motor vehicle maintenance centres in the Klang Valley. Church workers counselled him on his plans after Form 3, and together with his older brother, Francis decided on Montfort. “A friend in church told me that Montfort assisted students
Students are taught how to operate lathes. Girls also get a chance to learn new skills.
who were poor, and that they would help me,” Tan said. He credits Montfort with instilling in him discipline and, of course, teaching him technical skills. At Montfort, he excelled in Motor Mechanics as he was a natural at tinkering with car engines. He graduated Montfort with a Malaysia Skill Certificate (SKM) Level 3 in Automotive Engineering. In 1986, he set up his first car maintenance centre, and grew it to a chain of 14 workshops. Tan recognised the potential in school leavers as technicians, and in 2002, he set up TOPSPEED Academy to teach mechanics in line with the ever increasing need for automotive workers in the country.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Of Crime, Statistics,
and Silly PeOPle
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!
hen will we be able to take a walk in our own country without having the fear of being robbed, mugged, etc? @kennethwpl, via Twitter If you were to believe the statistics that have been bandied about by the official channels over the past few months, you would think the crime rate in Malaysia has gone down tremendously. If you were to believe the statistics that have been bandied about by the official channels over the past few months, you would be very silly indeed. It is undeniable that crime is a major problem in Malaysia. Some say that crime is prevalent because the police and the prosecution are largely incompetent and corrupt. Any discussion about the competency or otherwise of the police force will inevitably distill down to the underlying issues of low remuneration, poor training, and major systemic flaws that are not the fault of the individual officers.
But the public perception of the police force is very, very low. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the average man-inthe-street is only slightly less fearful and suspicious of the police than he is of criminals. This is hardly surprising. The priorities of the police force seem to be the following, from highest to lowest: 1. To provide outrider service to an unbelievably long list of ministers, officials, and anyone with a vague semblance of a link to these so-called “VIPs”. It is of national importance that these individuals do not get stuck in traffic, obviously. 2. To obstruct citizens from exercising their constitutional right to express themselves and to freely assemble by clamping down on peaceful and legitimate protests against the policies and actions of the Federal Government, the latest example of which is the Hindraf march on Feb 27. 3. Dealing with crime. When we say “dealing with” we obviously mean manning the computers at police stations and
Speedy processing of land grant applications
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
GOMBAK: Selangor will ensure that 100,000 outstanding applications for land grants are processed quickly. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said his administration is targeting to settle between 700 and 800 cases each week. How-
Khalid handing out approval for land grants to a resident from Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang.
ever, the emphasis of the exercise will be on the districts of Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor. "We have instructed all staff at the land offices to go to the ground to help residents fill in application forms," said the Selangor Menteri Besar. The staff will explain the procedures involved, he said, adding that applicants would not need to travel to and from the land office. Khalid made the announcement on Sunday, Feb 27, after handing out letters of approval to 164 villagers of Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang to receive their land grants. He urged these residents and others in the process of applying for grants to cooperate with the authorities. The provision of land grants in Kampung Melayu Sri Kundang started in 1999 with more than 700 applicants, of which 571 have received ownership. The rest were delayed due to technical issues that needed to be resolved, Khalid said.
acting as processing clerks to key in those police reports. 4. REALLY dealing with crime. As in prevention. Or investigation and crime-solving. But this obviously only takes place if there is any free time leftover from the three main functions above. After all, they’re not paid very well. What of the prosecution then? The biggest priority of the prosecution is currently the anus of a former political aide, which recent evidence has suggested to be polygamous. The mass of corruption allegations against senior police officers and the Attorney General himself over the internet is a matter of public record. However, no serious effort to investigate those allegations has been made, adding to the public perception that the police and the AG’s Chambers are covering each other’s backs (no link to the aforementioned political aide), and calling into question the integrity of both institutions. In the meantime, the prosecution of high-profile cases has consistently been unsuccessful, which inevitably leads many to conclude that — contrary to what Hollywood tells us perhaps crime does pay. We need to inject professionalism and integrity into the police force and the AG’s Chambers. The key measures to be taken towards this end must be to make both institutions more accountable to the people, and not merely have them answer to the Government of the day. Two solutions come to mind — set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission, and make the AG’s Chambers answerable to Parliament. Unfortunately, the present Federal Government is unwilling to do either. On the other side of the coin, the level of unemployment must be reduced. There is a direct correlation between rising unemployment and petty crime. To reduce unemployment, the Government has to teach people how to fish, and create jobs. To teach, there has to be a revamp of the education system, and abolition of the many laws that restrict thought and expression. To create jobs, there must first exist a proper environment that nurtures business and entrepreneurship. In order to carry out both successfully, there must be meritocracy, equality, non-discrimination on the basis of race or religion, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. Apart from being the hallmarks of any progressive society, those values are necessary and indispensable. Unfortunately, the present Federal Government does not think so. To answer your question then — we do not know. What we do know is that it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, immediately. 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 email@example.com, stating your full name, and a pseudonym if you wish the question to be published anonymously (and a good reason for anonymity). • tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive LoyarBurok’s ONLY merchandise you ever need (worth a lot for humankind) courtesy of Selangor Times. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!
Win cash, car in Fishing GP
SHaH aLaM: Anglers who compete in Selangor’s first Fishing Grand Prix stand to win lucrative cash prizes of up to RM30,000 each round, and the Grand Slam champion will bring home a Proton Saga. The first of nine competitions will kick off on Sunday at Tasik Kota Komuning, Shah Alam, and will be opened by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. “Contestants are encouraged to bring their families along,” executive councillor Yaakob Sapari said on Monday after releasing one tonne of fish into the lake. “There will be a colouring contest for kids,” he added. Jointly organised by local councils and the state, Yaakob said the Grand Prix is an effort to centralise annual fishing competitions to prevent them from clashing as they have previously. The competition is open to all, and the organisers are expecting around 2,000 participants. The contestant with the heaviest catch within the fastest time will win each round. The first prize winner will be awarded RM30,000, second prize R M 1 2 , 0 0 0 a n d th i rd p ri z e RM6,000. Fourth to 20th place winners will also receive consolation prizes. For each round’s winners, points will be awarded according to their placement from first to 100th. The contestant with the most points at the end of the ninth round will become the Grand Slam champion and win a Proton Saga. The runnerup will receive RM10,000, and the second runner-up RM5,000. In addition, there will be a lucky draw for a Modenas Kriss motorcycle and 20 other lucky prizes in each of the nine rounds. The registration counter will open at 12pm tomorrow and the first 600 participants will get a free shirt. Registration fee is RM80. The Fishing Grand Prix will be held Tasik Kuis, Bukit Mahkota in Bangi next in April. For more information, call 0162937741, 013-3838655 or 0133588206.
march 4 — 6, 2011
Yaakob (second from right) and MBSA officers releasing fish into Tasik Kota Kemuning.
Non-Muslim places of worship need more help
IT is time the Selangor state government gave more financial allocations and assistance to non-Muslim places of worship. Pre-sently, the annual allocation of about RM3 million for roughly 9,000 houses of worship is simply not enough to go around considering the number of applications for aid. Selangor is the most religiously diverse state in the country, with large numbers of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Taoists and other denominations apart from the majority Muslims. Being the nation’s richest state with a first-world socioeconomic development status, the state needs to be more generous with regard to requests for financial assistance. A sum of RM10 million would be more in keeping with today’s needs. In the past two years, the state government has commendably gone on a registration drive and issued land titles for most of these places of worship. The people now feel more secure about their religious premises, and many have applied for planning permission from municipal authorites to extend the premises to cater to an increasing number of worshippers. This is an area where the state can help, especially in speeding up planning approvals. The issue of cemeteries for non-Muslims needs to be addressed urgently. Most of the existing cemeteries are closer to the maximum allowed, and some are already experiencing “full house”, which means only re-burials in previous graves are allowed. Needless to say there is a dire need for an extension of existing cemeteries or the opening of new burial grounds. Additionally, there is a need for a separate fund for charitable and social institutions in Selangor catering for the aged, single mothers, orphans, the handicapped, the hardcore poor, etc. The state needs to be more generous in contributing to the fund. Presently, much of the operational and other costs are covered through public donations and contributions from philanthropists. During the current pressing times, the state can help ease the financial burden of these institutions through numerous ways. V Thomas Sungai Buloh
Executive councillors with committee members of the USJ 16 Residents Association at the function.
Festive joy for residents
By Alice Mun
Subang jaya: More than 1,000 residents attended the Lunar New Year celebration of Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ)’s Zone 6, comprising USJ 16 to USJ 29, at the USJ 16 Residents Association gazebo last Sunday. USJ 16 Residents Association committee chairperson Bob Goh said the open house was organised for all residents of MPSJ’s Zone 6 in conjunction with the festive season. Despite the hot weather, the residents gathered at the gazebo with their families and friends to enjoy a buffet lunch while being entertained by a lion dance performance, and to catch up with their neighbours. At the celebration, Puchong Member of Parliament Gobind Singh Deo said his team was looking into the traffic issue plaguing USJ 16 as well as the whole of Puchong. “What we require in Selangor and Puchong to resolve our traffic congestion is a master plan, especially in terms of the many tolls surrounding the area of Puchong,” he said. He also congratulated the residents on their successful protest against the proposal for the construction of
a five-storey commercial complex on a 0.16ha site between Jalan USJ 16/2F and USJ 16/2D. The residents were also informed that MPSJ has allocated RM200,000 to build a futsal court in the area. Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu announced that a property developer has agreed to fund the other half of the cost of the new futsal court. “It is the responsibility of MPSJ to provide a futsal court for the residents,” he said. Liu also said that MPSJ has decided to use RM100,000 to repair and refurbish the 15-year-old basketball court in USJ 16, and that a tender for this project would be closed soon. Selangor state executive councillor Teresa Kok expressed her concern over recent proposals for the development of open spaces in Subang Jaya into commercial lots. “Subang Jaya is now a precious area for commercial development, but the Selangor government is not encouraging any moves to transform open spaces into commercial lots because in the end, the people who would suffer are the residents of these areas,” she said. Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and MPSJ councillor of JKP Zone 6 Ismail Kamal Abdul Rahman were also present at the event.
March 4 — 6, 2011
By Edwin Yapp
n my last column, we considered what are the fundamental differences between plasma, LCD and LED-backlight TVs. All these new generation TVs are able to present brilliant images and moving pictures primarily because of the pixel detail they are able to process and display. For the most part, most of the programmes and video available on terrestrial and satellite TV are confined to what is known as standard definition TV (SDTV). So really, buying these new generation TVs would only be meaningful if you have high definition (HDTV ) content to go along with it. This is where there seems to be a lot of confusion over what HDTV is, and we shall attempt to unravel the mystery behind HDTV. Back to basics To appreciate HDTV, we need to learn about the basics of how TVs display their images. TV images are made up of lines that appear on a screen. Logically speaking, the more lines that appear, the more details your eye can perceive. Conventional TVs or SDTV content have 480 lines per screen (vertically measured). This is where HDTV trumps SD as HDTV has at least 720 lines per screen. The next two terms that confuse
The only other source of HDTV is through Bluray discs, which are currently limited and expensive (RM80RM160 per movie), and must be played over a Bluray disc player (RM800RM1500).”
buyers are “HD Ready” and “Full HD.” In a nutshell, the term HD Ready refers to a minimum standard for high definition content but is not necessarily the top-end specification. A HD Ready TV has 720 lines (vertical), while Full HD comprises 1080 lines (vertical) per screen. Also related to this is the term 1080i or 1080p. The “i” refers to “interlaced” and the “p” refers to “progressive.” The two terms refer to how the TV draws the lines on the screen. Interlaced scanning means the lines are drawn alternatively between even and odd line numbers, while progressive means that the lines are drawn line by line in sequence with each other. Progressive scanning essentially gives better picture quality over interlaced scanning but in reality, not many buyers
can differentiate between the two. Size and type of TV As a general rule of thumb here are the guidelines: If you’re planning to put your TV between five to eight feet from you, then aim for a 40-42 inch screen. If you have the space for 1012 feet, you can aim for 50-inch upwards. So which should you buy ? Plasma , LCD, or LED-backlight? If you’re planning to buy a TV for a small room, say a bedroom, an LCD TV is currently the m o st e c o n o m i c a l as you can get HD Ready ones for less than RM2,000. If you’re equipping a hall
or a dining room, you may want to consider something larger, either an LCD, or plasma. Personally, I’m rather partial to plasma TVs as the ideal image I look for in a TV is that it must reflect real life and I find that LCD and LED-backlight TVs are too bright for my taste. Of the three types of technology, plasmas have the most natural looking visuals. Final words In Malaysia, HDTV is currently only available through Astro, which began broadcasting through its new Astro Byond packages last March. Telekom Malaysia also has a limited number of HDTV channels through its recently launched Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) but they are only available to subscribers via specially installed fibre optics into your home.
The only other source of HDTV is through Bluray discs, which are currently limited and expensive (RM80-RM160 per movie), and must be played over a Bluray disc player (RM800-RM1500). LED T Vs today are priced between RM4,000 and RM8,500 depending on sizes as compared to conventional LCD TVs which are between RM3,000 and RM7,000. Plasmas can range between RM2,500 and RM6,000. In the final analysis, whether you choose an LED-backlight TV or a conventional LCD TV or even a Plasma TV depends on your budget and how comfortable you feel about the images you’re watching. Remember one person’s preference is not the same as another’s, so it’s important to compare all technologies and take your time in making your decision.
Subang Jaya Talent Quest
SUBANG JAYA: Subang Jaya is set to get its first entertainment idol this month. The Subang Jaya Talent Quest, organised by Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh’s office, will showcase creative performances from youth aged 17 and below. Participants can choose to sing, dance, play a musical instrument, juggle, perform magic tricks, impersonate a celebrity or perform any other talent they have to win the contest. “Audition is on March 12 and the final showdown will be on March 27 at Sunway Pyramid,” announced Yeoh last Saturday during USJ11/3 residents’ association gathering. Yeoh added that talented young singer Juwita Suwito will be the competition’s judge. The winner will win RM3,000 cash. Contestants must be residents within Yeoh’s constituency and amateurs in their talent field. The talent quest is open to individual and group performers but group performers must be multi-racial, with a mix of two or more races. Interested participants must send in their registration forms by March 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www. facebook.com/sjtalentquest.
March 4 — 6, 2011
Chicken Chicken Bang Bang
Fiction by Zen Cho
ileen knew she shouldn’t have listened to her brother. Confucius should have included a get-out clause in the Analects, she thought. Respect your elders – except when they are idiots. “Come, I drive you to work,” Ko had said in the morning. “I fixed the Proton last weekend. Want to see whether it works or not.” Eileen had demurred: “No, it’s OK. I’ll take the LRT.” “Come lah,” said Ko. “No point you drive to the LRT station and then have to wait for the train. Might as well I drive you all the way.” “But you know I hate the jam,” said Eileen. “Don’t worry. We’ll go by highway,” said Ko. “I know a special way to get there. Very fast one! I tell you, you won’t even notice the jam.” Now here they were, stuck in an unmoving car, in a sea of unmoving cars. They hadn’t even got to the toll. The toll booths wavered in the
distance like a mirage. Eileen pressed her face against the window and stared out at the world. The cars rumbled unpeaceably. Exhaust smoke clouded over the fragile sweetness of the morning air. In every car each driver sat in impressive solitude, like a man keeping watch in a lighthouse, or a regicide on a stolen throne. “Do you realise,” Eileen said to her brother, “I know the streets of London so much better than the streets of PJ? Even though I was born here, and I study in UK three years only. But all I see of this city is through this pane of glass. Not like the glass is very clean also.” Her brother was not much of a philosopher. He said, “ You remember that show we used to watch when we were small? British movie. There was a car that can fly, you remember? When you pressed the button, suddenly got wing and propellor come out.” “Hah! Yes,” said Eileen. “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, right?”
“Whenever I’m stuck in a jam, I always think, wah, nice if our car can do that hor,” said Ko. He lifted a flap next to the radio, revealing a large red button. Eileen had never seen it before. Ko slammed the button with the butt of his palm. “That’s why I did this!” He had to yell to be heard over the huge tearing noise that shook the car. The Proton juddered and rose into the air. The heads in all the other cars turned to look at them. Eyes went round. Jaws dropped. “What did you do?” screamed Eileen. She looked out of the window and regretted it. Their distance from the ground was dizzying. Legs extended from the bottom of their car: yellow, scaly legs, with sharp witch’s talons on the ends of their thin curving toes. “I pimped my ride,” said Ko exultantly. “I call it Chicken Chicken Bang Bang!” The car crushed a Mercedes under its foot.
“Take that!” said Ko. The car rose and dropped like a ship riding the waves. Far below them horns blared; people were screaming. The Proton smashed another car underfoot. “That was just a Kancil!” Eileen protested. “The driver was probably an ass anyway,” said Ko. “What the hell did you do to our car?” said Eileen. “You know how Ma ordered chicken feet when we went for dim sum last week?” said Ko. “She didn’t finish because she’s dieting. Nobody else wanted them. I thought, so wasted to throw away. Why not use them?” “But how–?” “Jampi lah then,” said Ko. “You think this is science meh? “It’s very green, though,” he added. “Those legs don’t run on petrol, know! They’re powered by pure frustration. You know or not how much of the atmosphere is made up of frustration?” “On a Monday morning on the way to KL?” said Eileen.
“You guessed correct. 100%!” The car squashed a man on a motorcycle. Eileen closed her eyes, nausea rising in her throat. She had always known there was something crazy living inside her brother. This something was his brain. “Is it slowing down?” she said, swallowing. Ko looked annoyed. “We’re running out of frustration,” he said. He frowned down at the crowded road. “Only one person per car, means there’s not enough feelings in the air. People should carpool. But look,” he crowed, “we’re there already!” They had reached the toll booths. Chicken Chicken chose a lane and settled down with a happy cluck. “One more step, and we’re on the highway,” said Ko. “Good old ayam – wait! Basket!” Eileen somehow knew what was coming. Any girl with a brother knows what stupid looks like. “I forgot the Touch ‘n’ Go card,” said Ko.
Scuba diving in PJ
By Alicia Mun
PETALING JAYA: You do not need to go to the East Coast to learn how to be a diver. Over the weekend, three organisations – Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE), AsiaEvents Exsic (AEE) and the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) – jointly held a scuba-diving clinic to raise awareness, and to motivate and educate young Malaysians on what scuba diving is all about. “As part of the project, we will be having roadshows and scuba-diving clinics that are open to the public for free every first and third Sunday of the month, from now until the end of the year within the PJ vicinity,” said MIDE and AEE director Ness Puvanes. The first roadshow was conducted at the Arena PJ sports complex last Sunday. “ With over 28 million in population, Malaysia currently has approximately only 120,000 certified divers from the age of eight to
40 and above,” she said. She added that the project aimed at increasing the statistics of divers in the country by reaching out to 1% of the population, or over 280,000 citizens, to be certified divers by the year 2013. “We want to make a name for Malaysia as a diving hub since our country is blessed with so many beautiful islands such as Sipadan in Sabah, East Malaysia, which has been rated by many dive journals as one of the top dive destinations in the world.” Members of the public are welcome to join the upcoming roadshows and clinics to learn about the fundamentals of scuba diving. Participants will gain hands-on experience in the basics of diving , including breathing techniques, how to use the apparatus, knowledge of the underwater world, information on marine life, and much more, in a mobile pool under the guidance of certified diving instructors. Single mother Faridah Mahfodz, who
The mobile pool for participants to gain hands-on experience.
brought her son and two of his friends to the scuba-diving clinic, said she has always encouraged her son to try out new activities as she believes that children and teenagers should be given opportunities to learn different skills. This community project is supported by Tourism Selangor, Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and Scuba Schools International. For details on the upcoming events, log on to www.mide.com.my.
Brothers Muhd Ryzam bin Abdul Azis, 10 (left), and Muhd Raflis bin Abdul Azis, 11 (right), with their friend, Muhammad Faiz bin Ramle, 11 (centre), listening intently to their instructor.
The first roadshow and clinic of the year at Arena PJ.
Excited about their first lesson underwater.
March 4 — 6, 2011
The history, culture and traditions of the people in this country are seen in their traditional handicraft. LIN ZHENYUAN gains an insight into what is truly Malaysia at the current National Craft Day at Kompleks Kraf KL.
very year in March at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur, the National Craft Day or Hari Kraf Kebangsaan is held. It goes on for about 12 to 14 days. The halls of the venue are filled with dozens of stalls exhibiting some of the finest works of art by some of Malaysia’s most talented craftsmen in a variety of fields. Their special skills include batik printing , musical instruments, blade-making, cake-making, sculpture, wood-carving, ceramics, bamboo craft, basket weaving, handwoven textiles, etc. This annual affair is an extravaganza of the multi-cultural influences in Malaysia over the centuries. It provides a showcase of the different arts and crafts which exist in a long heritage trail that stretches from Perlis to Sabah. Malaysia is one of the luckiest nations in Southeast Asia. We have incorporated some of the best traditions and crafts from almost every country in the region. The beyond-our-shores influences can be seen in the way our different headgears are made. The agricultural tools we used have historical roots that can be traced to Thailand, Philippines and a few other countries. Our batik material and patterns reveal glimpses of an ancient past that go back to Indonesia and beyond. Even our wind musical instruments carry with them the rhythmic echoes of a heritage shared by so many people from faraway lands. These beautiful crafts and other cultural decorative items are presently on display at Kompleks Kraf in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur on the occasion of Hari Kebangsaan Kraf 2011. It is an opportunity not to be missed by those Malaysians who wish to get a deeper insight into our multi-layered culture and follow the trail that leads to different regions
Works of our master craftsmen
Keroncong music from traditional instruments fills the hall where fabric materials are sold.
that were homes of offered price if your some of our ancestors. smile is wider and Craftsmen, artisans and The theme of this masters of special trades from matches theirs. year’s Craft Day is Craftsmen, artisans “Craft Generates the Perak, Malacca, Johor, Pahang and and masters of special Economy”. From across Negri Sembilan have all assembled trades from Perak, Mathe South China Sea, at Kompleks Kraf to display their lacca, Johor, Pahang from the States of Sa- products. Their dexterity and and Negri Sembilan bah and Sarawak come expertise in using tools have resulted have all assembled at some finest craftsmen in handiworks of outstanding quality.” Kompleks Kraf to disexhibiting an amazing play their products. range of skills. hand-made crafts, we come to the Their dexterity and expertise in usFrom basket-weaving to the mak- realisation that sometimes we know ing tools have resulted in handiing of goloks, parangs and beads, so little about their generations-old works of outstanding quality. Sabahans and Sarawakians seem to handicraft skills. The fine art of making wau or have few equals. Their intricate I have a particular fondness from kites is in its full splendor at the baskets made from tree extracts from our brothers and sisters from across venue. There is even a craft museum the jungle are as elaborate as they are the seas. They are a gentle lot. Their for visitors who want a quick lesson functional. eyes shine with kindness and with in Malaysian crafts. Their blades with carvings on the an innate understanding of human When I was there recently, there sheaths and handles are astound- nature. was a cultural performance showcasingly beautiful. We in the Peninsula Some of them are shy but they are ing some memorable tunes from the share a common heritage with them, never unfriendly. They are given to fun-loving keroncong era. and yet when we see and feel their easy laughter but will lower their The traditional musical instru-
ments filled the hall with the sound of music from the unforgettable yesteryear. It made me recall the Malay weddings in my old neighbourhood which also had music and impromptu dancing. At Tent A where the forest-based products are on display, the artistry of craftsmen is evident in the home deco objects and the ornamental garden pieces. On the ground floor and at Tent F, traditional weapons and souvenirs are exhibited and are also for sale. Most men will gravitate towards these areas because of the latent “warrior spirit” embodied in their ancestors. In Tent C & D, including ground floor, fabrics are in their splendid and colourful excellence. Batik materials from the different states show that in a small country like Malaysia, the clothing materials are not only
An assortment of keris that demand a high level of skill to make.
Ceramic art objects for the home or office.
March 4 — 6, 2011
Take 5 minutes to fill this form up and drop it off at the nearest police station to have regular checks at your house while you are away. Ibu pejabat polIs Daerah subang jaya
A tableful of small blades and other wood art objects made in Sabah.
Tel: 03-5637 3722 Fax: 03-5631 9815
Borang maklumaT Memaklumkan tentang meningalkan rumah kediaman untuk bercuti. Kepada Kawasan pentadbiran balai polis .............................................................................................. BuTiran penduduk: nama: .................................................................................. alamat: ................................................................................. .............................................................................................. .............................................................................................. nombor telefon bimbit/kediaman: ........................................ nombor telefon yang boleh dihubungi: ................................ ..............................................................................................
Carved wood panels that can enhance the beauty of a home.
tarikh meninggalkan rumah: ................................................
varied, they are also breathtakingly beautiful. With strength of wallets and purses permitting, there are also wide selections of decorations, gifts and takeaways that you can purchase for friends, office colleagues and family members. You will never know when the
birthday of a relative will appear next on the calendar. Visitors who are more inclined towards traditional cakes and cookies can treat themselves to demonstrations of the making of these culinary items. Opening hours of the Craft Day are from 10am to 10pm. The exhibi-
tion started on Feb 23 and will end on March 7. It is a must-see trip for the entire family because of the multitude of crafts and art objects. It will take an entire day to see, feel, touch and purchase the items at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur. You will regret it if you miss the once-a-year opportunity.
tarikh dijangka balik ke rumah: ........................................... Kenderaan yang ditinggalkan (jenis model & nombor daftar kenderaan). 1. .......................................................................................... 2. .......................................................................................... 3. .......................................................................................... lain-lain maklumat: ..............................................................................................
Have you cHecked your electrical switcHes before leaving Home?
Before ieaving your home for a holoday, have you checked all your electrical switches and turned off your gas tanks?
Call the SS17 BomBa for advise at
Accessories consisted of beads for women, young and old.
A slice of Italiannies
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
March 4 — 6, 2011
tepping into Italiannies – located on the first floor of 1 Utama’s new wing – for the first time, I immediately felt as if I had been transported to a restaurant in Italy. The atmosphere was quintessentially Italian thanks to the decor. Impressed at face value, I couldn’t wait to see if the food was as Italian as the setting. However, having to rush for time, I only managed a cursory glance at its extensive menu. Even with that short perusal I could see that the menu really paid homage to ole Italia. Having placed our order, I took in my surroundings. The tables were covered with parchment paper, which I thought was practical Pan-fried fish served with a side of warm vegetable salad and covered with creamy Bechamel sauce. for the upkeep of the restaurant. Once the patrons left the table, the parchment dirtied with food stains could be removed and replaced with a fresh one, our order with the waitwhile the tablecloth remained pristine. er. Luckily, the main The fish was light and On each table were bottles of herb-infused dishes were spectacular olive oil, black vinegar, pepper and salt. The fluffy on the tongue, cooked and were worth the moment we settled into our seats, the waiter at the perfect temperature, wait. poured the olive oil and vinegar on a plate for and was a delight to eat.” The pan-fried fish us. While waiting for our appetisers, we nib(RM27.90, inclusive of bled on a complimentary serving of bread. with minced tomato topped with fresh aru- the pasta soup) was There were two types: a soft wholemeal bread gula and drizzled with olive oil. I found this to served with a side of and a rather crunchy white dinner bread. Dip- be really refreshing as the fresh ingredients and warm vegetable salad ping the bread in the olive oil and vinegar olive oil really invigorated the appetite. How- and covered with a mixture made for a really tasty beginning of ever, I found the bread to be toasted to a too- creamy Bechamel sauce. our Italiannies journey. tough consistency. The fish was light and Not long after, our appetisers arrived. The pasta soup was disappointing for it was fluffy on the tongue, Choosing from the regular menu instead of too watery and contained too little pasta. It cooked at the perfect the set two-course meal menu, I ordered Br- tasted like a watered-down version of minestro- temperature, and was a uschettona (RM17.90) while my friend had ne. I would not recommend this. delight to eat. The the pasta soup. The main course took quite a while to arrive, warm vegetable salad The Bruschettona is a toasted bread served so much so that I had to resort to checking on complemented the fish Shrimp linguine: Pasta with plump and juicy shrimps, mixed beautifully, making with marinara sauce. palatable what could have been – thanks to the sauce – too rich a It should be noted that the serving size of the dish. dessert meant it was made for sharing; it The shrimp linguine (RM24.90) really would be too much for one person to finish, highlighted the shellfish, as it was dotted with especially after a full meal. a lot of plump and juicy shrimps, which reItaliannies is the perfect place to go to if ally made the dish memorable. The marinara you want to experience an authentic Italian sauce also gave the dish a wow effect. dining experience without going all the way Feeling the full effect of the appetisers and to Italy. However, you should be warned that main courses, we almost regretted asking for it is on the pricier side, and the service is quite dessert. However, the deliciously warm raisin slow. Also, be prepared to feel really stuffed bread pudding (RM11.90) was just heavenly. after a visit there.
Bruschettona: Toasted bread with minced tomato topped with fresh arugula drizzled with olive oil.
Hasfahlinda Mohamed Hassan (right), marketing manager of Domino’s Pizza, presenting pizzas to M Selvarajan, warden of Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram, together with the children and lion dance troupe.
Pizza party for orphans
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
March 4 — 6, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Domino’s Pizza brought cheer to the residents of Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram when they organised a traditional Chinese lion dance and pizza party here recently. The children were captivated by the lion dance performance, which took place in different areas of the orphanage and featured intricate
Lifebuoy launches Little Doctors’ Challenge
KUALA LUMPUR: Lifebuoy, a brand of germ-protection soap, launched a unique nationwide inter-school competition on Monday with the aim of instilling good hygiene habits among the young. The competition, Lifebuoy Little Doctors’ Challenge, is part of the brand’s ongoing largescale social mission campaign centred on ensuring that all Malaysians make it a habit to wash with soap daily during five key occasions, namely when bathing, after using the toilet, and before breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lifebuoy Little Doctors’ Challenge is open to all primary schools nationwide under the Ministry of Education. Schools are invited to submit a contest entry form published in leading dailies. One school from each state as well as the three Federal Territories will be selected. Each of the 16 selected schools will then choose five pupils from Standard Four and Standard Five along with a teacher. These pupils will become Lifebuoy’s Little Doctors or health ambassadors for the respective schools. The Little Doctors, along with their teachers, will attend an exclusive three days/two nights interactive hygiene camp organised by Lifebuoy. At the camp, they will learn how to creatively and effectively encourage their fellow students to embrace good hygiene habits, particularly washing with soap during the five key occasions. Over a six-week period, each participating school will be evaluated on how well their entire student population is able to embrace good hygiene habits thanks to the efforts of their team of Little Doctors. The school with the most noticeable change in habits, judged on a pre-selected list of criteria, will see its toilets and hand-washing facilities renovated at the cost of up to RM20,000, as well as a oneyear supply of Lifebuoy soap for its toilets. In addition, two other schools will receive a oneyear supply of Lifebuoy soap for its toilets as a consolation prize. Lifebuoy Little Doctors’ Challenge is part of the brand’s Malaysia, Jom Lebih Sihat! campaign, which aims to promote a healthier Malaysia by affecting positive change in hygiene habits. Dating back to 1894, Lifebuoy soap continues to be widely available and affordable.
acrobatic moves. The children were also encouraged to play with the two multicolored “lions”. M Selvarajan, warden of the home, said, “It was wonderful to have Domino’s Pizza and the lion dance troupe visit us. The kids very much enjoyed both the performance and the delicious pizzas. For some, it was their first time experiencing both! “It was great to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as we usher in this Year of the Rabbit,” he concluded. An orphanage for children as well as a home for single mothers and old folks, the Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram cares for 65 individuals comprising 45 children, some as young as one year old, and 20 adults, with some approaching 70 years of age. Domino’s Pizza’s visit to the Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram was part of the brand’s annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) effort to bring cheer and joy to the less fortunate during Malaysia’s major festive celebrations. This CSR tradition has seen Domino’s Pizza organise pizza parties in more than 43 orphanages, touching the lives of more than 4,000 children.
YB Ronnie Liu & the family of the
Late Madam Lee Yon Moi wish to extend their heartfelt appreciation to all well-wishers during their recent bereavement
March 4 — 6, 2011
State executive councillor Yaakob Sapari (fifth from left) releases fish into Tasik Kota Kemuning on Monday in preparation for the first round of Selangor’s first Fishing Grand Prix on Sunday.
Residents of Jalan Kastam, Klang, holding up a banner to plead for more police patrols in their area. According to the residents, there were about 40 break-ins in the last two months. But police say there were only two reported break-ins from January to February and 38 cases for the whole of 2010.
Concerned residents watch as a fire breaks out at a neighbouring rubber glove factory last Saturday morning at Batu Belah, Klang. Three foreign workers were injured in the 9.30am fire while 200 to 300 workers were left homeless as their hostel was burnt down.
Klang residents registering at a voter registering exercise organised by the Intan Mutiara Residents Association last Sunday. Election Commission officials were on hand to assist the residents at the Bukit Tinggi housing estate.
Young volunteers from Ipoh planting trees to rehabilitate degraded areas in the Raja Musa Forest Reserve in northern Selangor last Saturday. In an effort to protect its forests, Selangor will produce a blueprint to conserve all its peat swamps and mangrove forests, totaling around 99,000ha.
MARCH 4 — 6, 2011
❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW
This Cannot, That Cannot
Theatre performance; KL Performing Arts Centre; 2 — 6 March 2011; admission by RM20 donation; 03-4047 9000; www.klpac.org The powers that be (politicians, religious authorities, your mom) keep telling us we can’t do certain things. “Don’t go for the street protest!” “Don’t have a date on Valentine’s Day, because it’s haram!” and so on. This collection of short plays — based on texts from the Kakiscripting Playwriting Competitions of 2007 and 2009 — promise to deal with “cannot” culture and the coping methods Malaysians resort to. “It’s bound to make you laugh, think, question.” Featuring Rosheen Fatima’s titular Ini Tak Boleh Ni; Ho Sui-Jim’s Bird Flu — A Love Story; Julya Ooi’s Breakfast With The Dogs; and Angeline Woon’s Panacea. With a brand new piece, Shamaine Othman’s I Am, You Are; and a restaging of Beautiful Mine by David Lim, who also directs.
Theatre performance Five Arts Centre The Annexe Gallery Central Market 10-13 March 2011 free admission www.kakiseni.com
A Modern WoMAn CAlled Ang TAu Mui
Leow Puay Tin is one of theatre’s funnest voices. Her coolest works explore randomisation and chance, and their capacity to shape texts onstage. Take, for example, Leow’s Tikam-Tikam series, which features short vignettes whose order is determined by the audience via a tikam-tikam board. But the playwright/academic is most well known for Ang Tau Mui, an earthy and incisive look at the lives, aspirations, and deaths of Chinese Malaysians. The titular Ang Tau Mui sold red bean soup at a dessert stall, got married at sixteen, washed toilets, loved Hong Kong actress Lin Dai, and is now dying. “She talks to us about what makes her happy and sad, who she sees herself as, what her favourite food is, and what her longings are. But in the end, does she find what she’s looking for?“ A Modern Woman Called Ang Tau Mui, part of the new Kakiseni’s Women: 100 mega-festival, is actually a double bill. This weekend’s performance, directed by Chee Sek Thim and featuring Ho Sheau Fung, is presented by Five Arts Centre; next weekend, experimental theatre group Pentas Project presents the same text with their very own interpretation. My advice? Catch both. Free admission through online booking only.
Pekan Frinjan 18
Street festival; Frinjan; Laman Menara Jam, Dataran Shah Alam; 5 March 2011; free admission; frinjan.blogspot.com Those busy bees from the Frinjan collective return! This month, the Shah Alam street-fest fixture presents a spectacular line-up of music, in conjunction with the soft-launch of Radio Demokratika, a compilation record about “the fundamental rights we are all guaranteed under the Federal Constitution”. Sound heavy? Have no fear. Just check out this list of performers: pop sensation An Honest Mistake; rocking shoe-gazers The Maharajah Commission; Thin Izzy; Lord Bobo’s Minions; and the appropriately named Barcode, a music outfit made out of lawyers. Also featuring music from Amirah Ali, The Casual Passengers and Moi Last Won; poetry and prose from writers Perewa Muda and Andenn Hassan, and much more! Accompanied by book stalls and a fashion bazaar by Bijou Bazaar.
12 Malay Movies
Film screening; Five Arts Centre, Taman Tun Dr Ismail; 26 & 27 February + 5 & 6 March 2011; free admission; 03-7725 4858; www.fiveartscentre.org The title of Amir Muhammad’s 2010 book, 120 Malay Movies, doesn’t lie: to write it, the writer sat down and watched 120 Malay-language films, all made between 1948 and 1972, in chronological order. To what end? To see what our past fantasies were like, and how they reverberate with us today. Now here’s an opportunity to experience (a fraction of) the movies Amir saw. This weekend’s screenings include Bayangan di Waktu Fajar (1963) a co-production with Indonesia; Kaki Kuda (1958), an entire film about horse-betting; and Nora Zain Agen Wanita 001 (1967), a fabulous James Bond clone. “This is a very girly action movie; there’s even a violent ambush on a beauty salon.”
eadings From Readings (RM29, at decent bookstores), a handsome volume of short fiction and poetry from Readings, one of the city’s oldest and most regular platforms for writers to share their work, was launched on Feb 25. You need to pick it up. The book is a solid piece of literature, with stories in both English and Malay — sometimes in the same story. Brian Gomez’s a/p has shining examples of this linguistic syncretism, which so accurately reflects the Creole we use today: Aishah didn’t blame Mama for being angry with [Ayah] or for saying the things that she didn’t mean. She also hated the kencing syaitan, because it made Ayah forget her name. Sometimes, he called her Asha. On the nights when he memang really-really had too much to drink, he called her Anusha. On her first day of school, Aishah discovers she is not Malay: “Mana ada Melayu hitam-legam macam tu?” She really is Asha, separated from her twin Anusha by her convert father — who, in a drunken flight from his first marriage, was seeing double, and thought he had already successfully abducted both his daughters. As dramatic portrayals of a contentious social issue (unilateral religious conversion, in this case) go, Gomez’s piece is one of the truest, most human I’ve read. A fair number of Readings From Readings stories are surreal fables. The best is Cat, by prolific BM writer Uthaya Sankar SB. In it, a cat named Cat, with impressive credentials, attends a job interview for a civil-servant managerial position: Anehnya keputusan temuduga menunjukkan Cat gagal. Kononnya semasa Cat bercakap bahasa Itali, Jerman, Perancis, Jepun dan Hindi, bunyinya sama sahaja: miew-miewmiew. Bodoh betul penemuduga itu. Bukankah kucing Itali berbunyi miew-miew-miew? Cat soon learns. He is dipped into a can of cat (paint), changing the colour of his fur; at the second interview he keeps quiet. He immediately gets the job. Heh. We all know that’s how things work in Malaysia. It’s not just the prose that’s excellent; Readings From Readings also presents a serving of the excellent poetry Malaysian writers are turning out today: by Jerome Kugan, Priya K, Azwan Ismail. Liyana Dizzy’s two-stanza Grand Parents is a heartbreaking portrait of her aging progenitors: if their love was a sentence / he is the comma, she / a period, waiting for it to end. This anthology’s editors are veterans of the scene. Sharon Bakar edited Silverfish Books’ fiction anthology, Collateral Damage; Bernice Chauly, a long-time writer and poet, had a story in the inaugural Silverfish New Writing volume — possibly the first anthology of contemporary Malaysian English-language fiction — back in 2000. One only needs to compare the relatively juvenile entries in those books to the great stuff in Readings From Readings to see how far we’ve come. If you need more convincing, attend Readings From Readings @ No Black Tie, a prose and poetry reading night by writers from the book. No Black Tie, Jalan Mesui, KL; 7 March 2011; RM20; 03-2142 3737; thebookaholic.blogspot.com
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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