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April 1 — 3, 2011/ issue 18
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and Sultan of Selangor Sharafuddin Idris Shah at the opening of the Selangor state assembly sitting on Monday.
By Alvin Yap
PeTaLing Jaya: Lakes in this city are slowly dying because no measures are in place to tackle widespread pollution. “These lakes are in danger of becoming stagnant pools of water where no life can grow, choked with pollution,” said city councillor Chan Chee Keong. The lakes at Taman Jaya, Taman Alam and Kelana Jaya (which has four) cost the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) RM1.8 million annually to maintain. While the costs are steadily rising, the lakes remain heavily polluted because there are no water treatment systems to treat solid waste from entering the lakes. Chan and his colleagues, who are members of the MBPJ sanitation committee, said it costs the city RM300,000 to hire contractors to clean each lake. However, this measure only addresses the “symptoms”, not the root cause. Dealing with the pollution level means having to tackle the “source”, where the grease and food particles come from, he said. Chan blamed several restaurants operating on Jalan Gasing for dis-
charging dirty water into drains that eventually flow into the Taman Jaya lake. This, he said, was depriving the lake of oxygen, causing algae to grow and the water to stagnate. While some restaurants have installed grease traps in the plumbing system, it is not 100% effective in stopping oil from being discharged into the drainage system. Chan said the restaurants needed a separate and specially built sewer system that had to include a treatment pond and filtration system to treat the water. The councillor had approached Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) on this matter in October last year, but was told they could not build a sewerage system large enough to handle the amount of liquid and solid waste from the restaurants on Jalan Gasing. Chan said MBPJ might also compel restaurant owners to contribute to the construction as a condition for their licence renewal. During a walkabout with Selangor Times reporters earlier this week, a worker from a restaurant was seen throwing unwanted chicken parts into the drain. Of all the lakes, Kelana Jaya is the most polluted. In January last year,
Environmental tragedy in the making
MBPJ engineers detected “backflow” from an adjacent IWK sewerage treatment plant which leaked sewage water into the lake next to the Kelana Jaya Stadium. A circular was issued to IWK to resolve the issue and to meet MBPJ’s stringent environmental standards. Councillor Cynthia Gabriel said waste water from high-density commercial plots opposite the park was also flowing into the Kelana Jaya lakes. MBPJ is considering making these companies share the cost of treating the water. When contacted, a senior IWK treatment plant engineer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the company did not have the provision to build a new sewerage system. “We manage the sewerage system, [but] we do not actually build them,” he said. He said older areas in Petaling Jaya did not have separate systems for restaurants, and IWK could not build them. Rather, the restaurants would have to construct the system on their own. However, he said the area in question, Jalan Gasing, would not be able to support infrastructure to accommodate water and solid waste. “As far as I know, that area does not have enough land to build a new treatment plant,” he said. He said a feasibility study would have to be carried out, with the construction costing “millions”. He said IWK had been pushing local governments to enforce environmental by-laws. “We tell municipalities and councils to ensure that these restaurants have high-quality oil and grease traps, and that they regularly maintain [them],” he explained.
April 1 — 3, 2011
Friday Morning Saturday Sunday
State takes hard line on developers
By Basil Foo
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
State denies bias in squatter relocation
By Alvin Yap
SHAH ALAM: Executive Councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad has denied claims of racial bias in the relocation of residents of a longhouse in PJS 1 to Lembah Subang. Iskandar was responding to allegations that the state was only assisting Indian families staying in Taman Petaling Utama. “Ironically, the accusation is that we are only helping Indians to move, but people are also accusing us of evicting them,” said Iskandar, whose portfolio includes housing. He said each family, regardless of race, was offered a lump sum of RM14,285 to pay for rental and costs of moving to a new transit home in Lembah Subang. The state, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and developer had allocated the money for the families to move. An initial offer of RM10,000 was rejected by the residents, but the state later increased the amount to RM14,000. However, only nine families have taken up the offer. The state wanted the land to build a school, but residents objected to the school’s location. The state even postponed construction so that the residents could continue to stay there. “The state government has done all it can to assist the [longhouse] residents,” he said. He said the residents should not listen to allegations made by “certain parties with political interests”. He added that the PJS1 longhouse in Taman Petaling Utama had always been a temporary “transit” accommodation for urban settlers until their low-cost homes at PJS 1/51 are completed. The move to Lembah Subang affects some 29 families, mostly Indians. He said the state wanted the residents to move as the longhouse was too run-down for habitation. The residents have been waiting since 2004 for their low-cost homes. In 2004, residents went to court to obtain an injunction to stop work on the low-cost homes. Iskandar said the Pakatan Rakyat government had managed to convince the developer to shift the construction to a new site, now opposite the longhouses. “We convinced the developer to change the location which the previous [state government] had failed to do so,” he said.
AMPANG: Developers tasked with b u i l d i n g h o m e s f o r K a m p un g Berembang settlers have been warned to complete work without further delay or face state sanctions. Iskandar Abdul Samad said the lowcost flats for residents, who were evicted from their homes in 2007, should have been completed two years ago. “Having discussed this issue in [the] executive councillors’ meeting a few weeks ago, the state has decided to put its foot down,” said the state executive councillor. Iskandar, whose portfolio includes housing, visited the site for the new homes on Monday, and told the developers to buck up. He warned that a stop-work order would be issued to Perspektif Masa Sdn Bhd’s high-end condominium nearby if there were further delays in work for the low-cost homes. “The developers should take this project seriously and not just focus on their other costly projects,” he said. During the visit, he was told by the developers that bricklaying would be done by April 6 and plastering by June, with the project to be completed by September. He called on the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) and developers Permodalan Negeri Selangor Berhad (PNSB) to provide weekly reports on the project. “The Menteri Besar has also asked for the progress [of the project] to be reported at every exco meeting,” he said. There are 694 units in the low-cost flats at 653 square feet per unit, which the developer say is 71% complete. “The two-year delay was because nobody was working here as the developers complained about financial problems,” he added. The 21-storey flats include shoplots and recreational facilities covering 2.3 acres.
Iskandar (centre) being briefed by representatives from the developers on the Kampung Berembang housing project.
Since their village was demolished, settlers have been living in makeshift homes and tents under power lines in Kampung Berembang while waiting for their permanent homes to be completed. “There were originally [more than] 1,000 residents here, half of whom have moved to temporary settlement areas in Puchong and Jinjang owned by PNSB,” said Kampung Berembang residents’ chairperson Nor Alizan Ali, 48. He said the other half had moved to Lembah Jaya, while some opted to find their own places to live.
Nor Alizan Ali.
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PKNS fights graft with integrity pact
SHAH ALAM: Senior executives from the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) have pledged and signed an integrity pact to ensure proper corporate governance in the state subsidiary. Held at PKNS’s headquarters here on March 23, the pact is to bring PKNS to greater levels of transparency to prevent graft and misconduct. The event was an extension of the memorandum of understanding signed with Transparency International Malaysia on Jan 3 to carry out an integrated integrity system. PKNS general manager Othman Omar, senior managers and 34 department heads were present. To prevent dishonest practices like bribery among employees, the pact includes comprehensive monitoring in dealings with private companies and joint ventures involving the corporation. In a statement, PKNS declared its commitment to run a clean administration as a wholly owned subsidiary of the state, in accordance with Selangor’s practice of transparency and accountability.
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PKNS executives singing the integrity pact.
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Strengthening efforts to improve transparency in government procurement, the Ministry of Finance also issued a circular on Dec 6 last year to inform staff of the implementation of the pact. The staff also retook oaths to safeguard the corporation’s secrets and to comply with the Official Secrets Act. The oath was to remind them to be responsible with company information.
Temple mulls options EvEnts
By Basil Foo
April 1 — 3, 2011
SUBANG JAYA: The Sri Veera Sangili Karuppan Temple, which is being forced to relocate for the second time since 2002, is appealing to stay at its present location. The Subang Heights temple, which moved 100m to its present location to make way for a housing project, is now located 10ft from a power transmission tower. “We were asked to move out after Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) built a pylon next to our temple two years ago,” said temple adviser Suthantaran Saminathan. He said the temple, situated on Persiaran Teknologi Subang, was then ser ved a demolition order by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) at the end of last year, and its premises were sealed. The temple was allowed to reopen after a month, but it still faces safety issues because of its proximity to the pylon. TNB regulations require a 20ft buffer.
The Sri Veera Sangili Karuppan temple and power pylon built 10ft from it.
Hands Percussion at KLPac
After two weekends of successful fundraising at Pavilion for Japan, RM19,533.25 was collected from generous Malaysians. As a continuing effort, Hands Percussion will take their fundraising efforts to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s (KLPac) Pentas 1 tomorrow at 2pm and 7pm. Joining Hands, Wadaiko Syo, Tugu Drum Circle and Dhol Federation are Mokaba Art Groups, Aseana Percussion Unit, Batteryheadz Percussions, No Noise Percussion, Steve Thornton, Wakaka Crew and Dance Style. Tickets are priced at RM50, RM80, RM100 and RM150 will be sold to raise funds for the earthquake and tsunami victims. For more details, contact KLPac at 03-40479000 or Eric Ch’ng at 012-2772091.
“Ideally we would like to Earlier at the meeting, stay where we are as only our he pointed out that there larger building is too close to was a nearby lot earmarked the pylon, while our smaller for a surau, and suggested building is within a safe that the temple be relodistance,” said temple trustee cated there. Velasanmugam. A third option was to He said they agreed to relocate 300m away to move the temple further away land reser ved for the from the pylon if that is what Department of Drainage Velasanmugam it took for them and Irrigation (DID). to be allowed to Committee members stay. said they would consider the options, The landowners, Berjaya but reiterated that they preferred to Corporation Bhd, said they stay put. would have to look into the Mohd Noor said he would meet feasibility of the proposal officials from MPSJ and DID to resolve with the MPSJ. the issue. Berjaya project manager Kelana Jaya Member of Parliament Mohd Noor Hisham, who Loh Gwo Burne, who also attended the met the temple committee meeting, said the temple was important on Wednesday, said he because it was the only one in a 10km would see whether it was radius, but it did not have a land title. possible to apply to gazette He said he would ensure the temple, Loh discussing alternative sites with Mohd Noor the current land and which caters to 1,000 devotees, received legalise the temple. a title. (left) and Suthantaran (right).
The Buddhist Gem Fellowship Counselling Unit (BGFCU) will hold its 12th Marriage Education Programme on May 28-29 at the BGF Centre, 60A, Jalan 19/3 Petaling Jaya. Among the topics to be covered include importance of family units, discovering our expectations, effective communications, resolving conflicts and many more. The programme is open to all non-Muslims and is fully sponsored with lunch and tea breaks. Couples will need to pay RM50 per couple for the SmartStart Programme manual. For more details, contact Hooi Eng at 016-2930684 or Iris Goh at 016-3025792.
The Philharmonic Society of Selangor’s first workshop for 2011 will be conducted by accomplished singer, vocal coach and 2008 BOH Cameronian Arts Award winner for Best Actress, Ms Gabrielle Maes, who is visiting from the US. The workshop will be conducted in two parts: master classes for both newcomers as well as experienced singers, followed by a group singing workshop. The workshop will be held this Saturday, April 2, from 3pm to 5.30pm at Global Business Park, Block A, 1st Floor, 8 Jalan 19/1, Petaling Jaya. Registration begins at 2.30pm. Cost is RM20 for Philharmonic Society of Selangor members and Ann Perreau students; RM30 for non-members. For enquiries, email email@example.com or contact/sms 0162102281.
Council appalled by dirty kitchens
KLANG: Enforcement officers from the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) are dumbstruck by the poor cleanliness of some eateries around town. “I have asked myself, is this a garage or a kitchen?” said Zulkifli Abbas. The MPK health director, who was describing a visit to a restaurant, said during the council’s full board meeting on Wednesday that some premises were being used for dual purposes. Zulkifli said his team have chanced upon kitchens that were more like storage spaces for car spare parts, tyres, wheels and tools. A total of 44 eateries were sealed for various offences during inspections by the Health Department last month. Zulkifli added that most of these eateries were found to be storing their raw and cooked food improperly. He said one restaurant served cold drinks with ice from a “contaminated” container. Most of the staff did not have typhoid injections and were not properly attired to work as food handlers. Some of the restaurants had leaking roofs or broken sewer pipes in the kitchen. Zulkifli said most of the restaurants in question were Class C eateries, located in shop lots and not in shopping malls or food courts in the municipality. “I’m losing my appetite. This is disgusting,” council president Datuk Mislan Tugiu said in response to Zulkifli’s report. Mislan told the health director to come down hard on these errant eateries, explaining that the health risk was unacceptable. “I do not want to hear that tens of people in a restaurant are down with diarrheoa after a meal,” he said.
Shelter Home for Children is organising its annual Climb of Hope to Mount Kinabalu to rase RM100,000 to help abused and refugee’s children, healthcare and protection. The climb will be held from July 1316. Those interested are required to register before May 29 by contacting Edwin at 03-79550663, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www. shelterhome.org.
A health talk on Nutigenomics: The future of personalised health, nutrition and healthy aging is being organised by the Malaysian Wellness Society on Saturday from 2-4pm. Australian Exercise Professional of the Year 2008 Matt Patti will be speaking at the Wijaya International Medical Centre, 1 Jalan 215, Section 51, Petaling Jaya. For registration, call 03-79572230.
From the broom to the stick
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: After failing with the broom, the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) will be using the “stick” on litterbugs to shed the Royal Town’s unclean image. Datuk Mislan Tugiu did not mince words when he told MPK’s Enforcement and Health Department directors to issue on-the-spot fines to those caught littering. “I do not want any appeal, any compromise,” said the MPK president. Speaking at the council’s full board meeting on Wednesday, Mislan said people had the impression that it was MPK’s responsibility to pick up after them and to organise gotongroyong to clean up areas when rubbish piled up. He said there was no excuse for people to litter as MPK
has installed some 230 trash cans in the town centre for the last three months. Mislan said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, at a recent meeting, had ordered all local governments to take hygiene and cleanliness issues seriously. He said illegal dumping and littering by night- and morning-market traders were the main cause of illegal dumpsites. The enforcement unit should work overtime and carry a stake-out after 2am to catch traders in the act, he said. Earlier, a councillor suggested that MPK install “hundreds” of closed-circuit television (CCTV) to monitor hotspots for illegal dumpsites. He called it “MPK is watching you,” and urged the municipality to adopt a “see, record and summons” programme.
Briefing for landowners
Gombak Land Office officers will be meeting residents of Taman Ehsan and Desa Jaya to brief house owners on the status of their land. The meetings, organised by Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong, will address a longstanding issue relating to their Qualified Title with the intention of converting it to the Final Title. The first meeting will be held at Dewan Serbaguna Taman Ehsan tomorrow (3-5pm), while the second meeting with Desa Jaya residents will be held at Dewan Jalan 19, Desa Jaya on Sunday (3-5pm). For more information, contact Lee Khai Loon (0122250687).
April 1 — 3, 2011
Air surveillance used to curb illegal logging
Selangor spends RM150,000 to RM200,000 a year to reduce illegal logging cases by using helicopters to monitor its forests, the state assembly was told on Tuesday. Elizabeth Wong, who is the executive councillor in charge of the environment, said the funds are channelled to the state forestry department via Projek Pembalakan Haram Sifar. Wong was responding to Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin’s question on illegal logging She added that 38 illegal logging cases were reported last year, all in mangrove forests. Eight people were charged. Five were sentenced to 11 months’ jail, while the rest received 10 months. Selangor has imposed a moratorium on logging since 2008. Wong said the state is also producing a conservation blueprint to protect its existing forest reserves from encroachment, especially from oil palm or rubber plantations.
State mulls OA history, culture modules
By Gan Pei Ling
Constant vigilance against spying device
Security sweeps have been conducted at the Menteri Besar and executive councillors’ offices from time to time after a spy cam was discovered in Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s office last August. Khalid said the state had hired security consultants Akhbar Associates to conduct searches at the state secretariat for any spying devices such as recorders or video cameras. The state assembly was told on Tuesday that a comprehensive search was conducted from Dec 27-29 last year. However, the state has yet to find out the culprits and their intention of installing a spy cam in the Menteri Besar’s office. Khalid found a spy cam hidden behind the curtains in his office on Aug 10 last year when the device started beeping as it was running low on battery. Responding to Taman Templer assemblyperson Datuk Subahan Kamal’s question, Khalid said investigations are ongoing and the findings would be made public once the probe is completed.
State-sponsored health programmes for people
Executive councillor in charge of health Dr Xavier Jayakumar reported to the state legislature on Tuesday that the state has spent close to RM179,000 to help needy patients as of March 2011. Selangor patients whose income is lower than RM1,500 per month can apply for financial aid to treat their eye cataract, undergo small-scale surgery or dialysis. The breakdown is as below: Aid Dialysis Eye cataract Small-scale surgery TOTAl No. of patients 48 23 32 103 Amount (rM) 79,430 6,354 53,529 178,813
SHAH ALAM: To help the Orang Asli (OA) community learn about their history and reduce the dropout rate among school-going children, Selangor is contemplating introducing a special curriculum for the indigenous people. Elizabeth Wong told the state assembly yesterday, the state is developing a special module for the OA in an attempt to reduce school dropout rates among teenagers. “This alternative curriculum will be based on their unique history and cultures as it is not integrated into mainstream education currently.” Wong said OA village chiefs have often complained that their children are not interested to go to school as they cannot relate to the subjects taught there. “Malay, Chinese, and Indian history are taught in school and the OA want their childen to have the opportunity to learn their own unique culture and history in schools too,” said the state executive councillor in charge of tourism, consumer affairs and environment yesterday. She said the state would try to introduce the special curriculum in a few schools once the syllabus is fully developed. Dusun Tua assemblyperson Ismail Sani asked Wong if education fell under the federal government’s jurisdiction and whether it was right for the state to intervene. However, Wong said that the special curriculum’s purpose is not meant to replace the existing syllabus, but will serve as an alternative for the OA. In a heated exchange with Ismail, Wong also said the state has been providing electricity, water and roads for OA villages although this is under the federal government’s jurisdiction. She said the state has had to step in as the federal government and the former Orang Asli Affairs Depart-
Selangor lawmakers listening to the Sultan’s speech at the opening of the state assembly sitting on Monday.
ment, now renamed Orang Asli Development Department, have not been doing their job. Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin suggested that the state could offer the special curriculum as home or community education. Wong said the state would take his suggestion into consideration. Meanwhile, Selangor has saved 296 acres OA customary land and resolved the indigenous people’s land conflict with developers thanks to its mapping project. The state has been using the Global Positioning System to map out OA customary land boundaries since mid2010. Wong that that three development projects in 296 acres of land in Sepang have been cancelled after it was confirmed that the lands belonged to the OA community. A hundred families from three OA villages were saved from being evicted from their own lands.
In addition, Wong said the state will be gazetting OA customary lands as OA reserves under the Aboriginal Peoples’ Act. “This is the government’s initiative to recognise their land rights so that they no longer have to live in fear or being called squatters in their own land,” said Wong. She told the press later that the plots of land were approved for mixed development in 1999 and another for commercial agriculture in 2006. The developers have not been able to start work as they were unable to resolve the issue of resettling the OA. She was responding to Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim’s question on the state’s policy for the Orang Asli and the progress of the mapping project. However, Wong said the progress of mapping out the lands has been hindered by the lack of human resource and the state is looking for more people to help with the project.
RM16 million for schools
SHAH ALAM: The state provides RM16 million in financial aid to religious, Chinese and Tamil schools every year. Executive councillor in charge of education Dr Halimah Ali said RM6 million is given to religious schools, RM6 million to Chinese schools and RM4 million to Tamil schools. She said at the state assembly on Wednesday that all applications for financial aid from vernacular schools were approved as they were officially registered with the Education Ministry. She said some applications from religious schools were rejected as they were not officially registered with Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor or the Education Ministry. The state also sponsored school bags for students in 2009 and exercise books in 2010. It also subsidised bus fees for children from poor families and estate workers. Halimah said the state also provided scholarships for poor students through its foundation, Yayasan Selangor. In addition, since 2009, the state provides free tuition for SPM students from families with monthly incomes of less than RM1,500 through its Program Tuisyen Rakyat Selangor. Only students with average or weak grades are selected for free tuition classes for four core subjects – Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mathematics and History. More than 8,800 students have benefited from the classes in the past two years. Halimah, who is also Selat Klang assemblyperson, was responding to questions from Teratai assemblyperson Lee Ying Ha and Balakong assemblyperson Yap Lum Chin.
Dr Xavier was replying to a question posted by Tanjung Sepat assemblyperson Datuk Dr Karim Mansor. Apart from the above financial aid, the state also offers free mammograms for women above the age of 35. Executive councillor in charge of women’s affairs Rodziah Ismail said more than 4,300 women have benefited from the free breast cancer screening programme since 2010.
April 1 — 3, 2011
Stiff penalty for Fairy Park
By Gan Pei Ling
State maintains Bumi housing quota and discount
Selangor does not plan to abolish its 30% housing quota and discount for Bumiputeras, said executive councillor Iskandar Samad. Iskandar had lashed out at TV3 last month for wrongly reporting that Selangor intended to end its Bumiputera housing quota. He told the state assembly on Wednesday that state-owned companies’ real estate quota is as high as 70%. “So far, state-owned companies have managed to achieve their quota and sell 70% of their housing units to Bumiputeras,” said Iskandar, who is also the Cempaka assemblyperson. Developers are only allowed to release Bumiputerareserved units if they are unable to sell the units after a certain period. Bumiputeras are also given 7% discount when purchasing residential properties and 10% discount for commercial and industrial properties. “The discounts are given to encourage potential Bumiputera buyers and indirectly increase Bumiputera property ownership in the housing industry,” said Iskandar, who is in charge of housing, building development and squatters affairs. He was responding to a question by Dengkil assemblyperson Datuk Marsum Paing.
SHAH ALAM: The Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) has recommended hefty fines be imposed on Fairy Park Cemetery and its owners blacklisted. The recommendations, to the state assembly this week, were based on public inquiries into Fairy Park’s operations last year. “Heavy penalties should be imposed on Fair y Park [and its operator Premivest] to serve as a deterrent to future operators,” said Selcat chairman Datuk Teng Chang Khim on Tuesday. Teng, who is also speaker of the state legislature, said the company’s shareholders should not be allowed to operate private cemeteries in Selangor. The state watchdog also advised Selangor to regulate commercial cemeteries in the wake of the Fairy Park fiasco. Fairy Park had admitted to having illegally converted 55.04 hectares of agricultural land into a cemetery at a public inquiry on Sept 1, 2010. It was also found to have charged as high as RM316,000 for a 48ft x 80ft plot.
Auxiliary police still on hold
Teng had pointed out that at over RM82 per square metrem, the price was more expensive than some houses. “Just imposing a penalty is insufficient, there must be law to [regulate] those running such businesses,” said Teng. Selcat had proposed to the state to establish a new law to standardise the size and price of cemetery plots and ban pre-booking of plots. “Otherwise, [the prices of the cemetery plots] would be subject to speculation … It has become a booming business,” said Teng. When asked if disallowing pre-purchasing of plots would upset the Chinese community, Teng said Chinese in Hong Kong and Singapore did not usually pre-purchase their plots. Selcat also recommended that developers be required to apply for licences to operate private cemeteries. Currently, there are no state or by-laws regulating the industry. In addition, Selcat also proposed to the state to set up a task force to monitor private cemeteries and take tough action against errant operators. Selangor Times reported last Decem-
ber that the state would allow Fairy Park to continue operating as long as its operator converted the 55.04 hectares into commercial land and settled all fines, fees and arrears it owed the authorities. Executive councillor Ronnie Liu had said the state had to take into account that people were already buried at the site in Meru, and that the company had sold other lots. More than 20,000 people are buried at Fairy Park, but only 20 acres in use have been approved for commercial use. The Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) and the Klang and Petaling land office have also been criticised by Selcat for not taking tougher action against Fairy Park in the past. Shah Alam mayor Datuk Mazalan Md Nor admitted during the public inquiry that the council lacked experience in dealing with private cemetery operators. Apart from Mazalan, four other witnesses were called to testify in front of Selcat, including representatives from Premivest, Klang Land Office and MBSA.
Selangor tops investment race
Selangor attracted the most investment, totalling RM29.3 billion, for the period 2008 to 2010. Second was Sarawak with RM27.6 billion followed by Penang at RM24.6 billion. Executive councillor Teresa Kok said in a statement on Wednesday that the investors were from the United States (RM4.7 billion), Germany (RM3.5 billion), Japan (RM3.4 billion) and Singapore (RM1.8 billion). Consequently, Selangor also had the most number of industrial projects – 905 projects during the past three years and created 80,000 job opportunities for the people in the process. Kok also told the state assembly on Wednesday that Selangor encouraged investors to invest in hightech, knowledge-based and eco-friendly industries. She said the state welcomes all investors especially those from electrical and electronic industry, renewable energy industry, life sciences industry, and services industry, among others. However, Selangor does not offer any financial incentives to investors as such incentives can only be given by the International Trade and Industry Ministry and Malaysian Industrial Development Authority. The Selangor State Investment Centre, however, provides free assistance to investors to obtain approval from state and local authorities for their projects, said Kok.
SHAH ALAM: Selangor cannot set up an auxiliary police force without the Home Ministry’s approval, the Menteri Besar told the state assembly on Wednesday. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was responding to Bangi assemblyperson Dr Shafie Abu Bakar’s proposal that the state pass a new law to carry out its plan to reduce crime in Selangor. Khalid explained that national security is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Shafie urged the state to replace the term “auxiliary police” with night patroller (Peronda Malam) and security monitor (Pemantau Keselamatan). However, Khalid said the auxiliary police force is regulated under federal laws. Like normal police officers, they need to undergo training and are provided with uniform and equipment, hence the term, “auxiliary police”, could not be changed at will. The Home Ministry had rejected the state’s pioneer project to train Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) enforcement officers as auxiliary police in 2009. MBPJ had already allocated RM4.2 million for the programme.
From left: Selangor deputy speaker Haniza Talha (Taman Medan), assemblypersons Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan), Rodziah Ismail (Batu Tiga), Hannah Yeoh (Subang Jaya), Jenice Lee (Teratai), Gan Pei Nei (Rawang) and Dr Halimah Ali (Selat Klang) after the opening of the assembly on Monday.
FOI debate on Friday
The much-anticipated Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill is likely be debated today (Friday, April 1), said Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim. The select committee tabled its findings and recommendations to the legislature on Wednesday. “The amendments will see better transparency and efficiency in local governance,” Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib said on March 20. “We expect people to request and receive information at local councils and land offices in their area,” explained Saari, who is the chairperson of the select committee. Under the beefed-up amendments, civil servants will not be able get away with restricting information by citing secrecy. Rights groups and other nongovernmental organisations are hoping that the bill will be passed in the current sitting. Selangor made history when it became the first state to table the FOI bill in July 2010.
Khalid said the local council had even used a method called “crime base mapping” to identify high crime areas in Petaling Jaya in order to plan effective strategies to assist the police. Seri Setia assemblyperson Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad asked if the Home Ministry’s rejection of the proposal was due to political reasons. “If auxiliary police units [can be set up] in Felda settlements, airport and by developers in places like Bandar Sunway, [why not by MBPJ in Petaling Jaya]?”
asked Nik Nazmi. The Menteri Besar said he had written an appeal letter to the Home Ministry last July, but had yet to receive a reply. Meanwhile, sparks flew at the usually calm state assembly proceedings in the afternoon when Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional engaged in a heated debate on 1Malaysia. Speaker Teng Chang Khim had to turn off the microphones at one point and issued a warning to some of them.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
Councils urged to start committee for disabled
By Basil Foo
SHAH ALAM: All local councils have been urged to set up a technical committee to oversee the implementation of disabledfriendly initiatives in their constituencies. “By the end of this year, we must have set up the committees in all of our 12 local councils,” said Ronnie Liu during a meeting at the state secretariat on March 25. The state executive councillor said a committee has started in the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ), which offered two free vans for the disabled and upgraded the sidewalks along Jalan Gasing. He hoped other local councils would follow suit, and said he would follow up with letters to ask them to start up the committees. However, he noted that it would depend on their financial capability to employ disabled-friendly facilities. “For the vans, I think MPSJ (Subang Jaya Municipal Council) can afford; maybe Sabak Bernam (Sabak Bernam District Council) cannot, but Ampang (Ampang Jaya Municipal Council) can,” he said. To lend assistance to the councils that may not have the expertise or experience to set up the technical committees, Liu said a statelevel committee will be formed. Members for the state-level committee will include the disabled themselves, who
have the experience in and knowledge of facilities that their community would need. Also at the meeting was MBPJ councillor Anthony Thanasayan, who said the state-level committee will have people from various types of disabled groups. “We can’t have too big a group for working purposes. We will have 10 to 12 people in the committee from the blind, deaf, learning disabled, physically disabled, Parkinson’s, stroke, and others,” said Anthony. He added that they currently have more than half a dozen members earmarked for the committee, but will continue looking for more. For the state-level committee, Liu said he would start with an allocation of RM10,000. He added that the cost for committees in local The meeting between the state, local authorities, and representatives from various disabled councils will be borne by the groups. Liu is at the head of the table. councils themselves. A forum is being planned for bled and hosted by MBPJ. people who have an interest in helping the June this year, which will be organised by the “We will do a national forum and invite all government create a barrier-free society for state-level technical committee for the disa- the experts, including the stakeholders and the disabled,” said Liu.
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Walking tall for women
By Alicia Mun
april 1 — 3, 2011
Why Walk and Rawk for Change?
• Every day, 10 women report physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. • 9,575 statutory rape cases were reported over the past five years. • Every day, four women are raped in Malaysia. • Migrant workers are increasingly abused, tortured, and enslaved. • Basic, decent minimum wages do not yet exist for all Malaysians. • Women in the plantation and informal sectors earn well below the poverty line. • Amendments to the Employment Act remove work security and erode the rights women gained at work. • The Federal Constitution has clauses that continue to discriminate against women. • Amendments to the Islamic Family Law Act have diminished the rights of Muslim women. • Representation of women in politics has been less than 10% for the past 20 years. • Women labour force participation has stagnated at 47% for the past 20 years. • Foreign wives with more than 10 years of residency are still denied permanent residence. Source: Walk and Rawk for Change
kuala lumpur: More than 300 people gathered at Central Market last Saturday morning in support of the Walk and Rawk for Change event. The hot weather during the early hours of the weekend did not deter the participants from marching proudly over 1.3km from Petaling Street to the final destination at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. People from all walks of life donned purple scarves and joined the walk to advocate for women’s rights. Many youngsters and foreigners also came prepared with their own colourful signs bearing statements to show their support. Empower (Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor) executive director Maria Chin Abdullah inspired the crowd with her speech at the end of the walk. “We walk for all women who remain hidden, silenced, and discriminated,” she said. Walk and Rawk for Change was organised by Empower, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Sisters in Islam, Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas ( Jerit), Suara Rakyat (Suaram), Tenaganita, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Malaysia Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (Dema), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, and All Women’s Action Society. The event, which was held in commemoration of International Women’s Day, aims to highlight the issue of 100 years of women’s struggles and call upon parliamentarians, state assemblypersons, government representatives, and Malaysians to improve women’s rights. WAO president Meera Samanther said, “The objective of this event is to inform the state and educate the public as well as create awareness of the need for women’s representation at all levels of decision making.” She explained that the organisers believe that all women have the right to be seen, heard, and respected as equals. “It has been 54 years since Merdeka, yet the women of Malaysia still don’t have what we are all claiming for, especially in terms of minimum wage,” she added. “For example, women in the lower bracket
All set and ready to go at the starting point at Central Market. Inset: American student Crystal Corman (left) and her friend joined the public march.
of income who are working in the plantation and industrial fields are struggling to earn a living.” Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez agreed with Meera on the issue of minimum wage. “Women must be visible with what they want and not be silenced because of public fears,” she said. Tenaganita is a non-profit organisation that focuses on promoting and protecting the rights of women workers and migrant workers especially women in free trade zones. Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu was also present at the event to show his support. Liu said, “As a man, we must show our appreciation to women, and husbands must share half of whatever they have with their wives.”
He added that women had already occupied half of Parliament in Sweden 20 years ago. American student Crystal Corman, 31, said that it was encouraging to see women in Malaysia being so vocal. She was also impressed with how well the different organisations worked together in the event. However, she also felt that there was room for improvement to highlight the issue of women’s rights in Malaysia. Low Ngai Yuen, a mother of three who brought her children to join the event, echoed Corman’s sentiments. “It is very sad that we still have to do an event like this in 2011 to create awareness of women’s rights,” she said.
A venue for all events
By Basil Foo
SHaH alam: The Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC) showcased its latest promotions, food and event options for public functions at a dinner on March 25. “These are our latest offerings as we continue to explore opportunities to reinvent our products and meet market demand,” said SACC chief executive officer Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad. The dinner saw several showcases on display, including wedding set-pieces filled with flowers, candlelight, and nuances of GrecoRoman design and its accompanying food. With a helicopter, antique cars, superbikes, and a yacht for a cruise at the nearby Shah Alam Lake, wedding couples can look to SACC for unique outdoor wedding concepts. Another set-piece displayed decorative birthday cakes, accompanied by mascots of local cartoon characters Upin dan Ipin, which are meant for children’s birthday parties. “We aim to be a venue that serves all segments of the market, like leisure, lifestyle and business for all ages,” said Zulkifli. Zulkifli also announced the launch of their newly refurbished Westside Bistro,
which will host performances like live music and magic shows. To give the audience a preview of what to expect, singer Zainal Abidin, magician Kabir Khan, Teh Tarik King contest winner Fakir Mohamad, the APE drum crew and a choir highlighted the night’s performances. Also in the audience were members of the Puchong Bikers Club, who were invited by Zulkifli to make the Westside Bistro their regular haunt. Also offered by SACC are meetings, conventions and exhibition facilities, including nine function rooms of various sizes, two ballrooms, and a three-level plenary hall. Recent events held at SACC included the Selangor Lifestyle and Property Expo, Malaysian Film Festival and a live broadcast of Astro Raja Lawak. Upcoming events include a Secretaries’ Week show themed Divas Las Vegas, which features singers Anita Sarawak and Noryn Aziz, on April 6. “With these packages, clients can opt for the best solution that complements their event and budget while ensuring a quality experience for their guests,” said Zulkifli.
Members of the Puchong Bikers Club with cartoon characters Upin dan Ipin. Inset: Teh Tarik King Fakir Mohamad showing his stuff.
April 1 — 3, 2011
Amnesty fast expiring
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: Unlicensed factories that fail to submit building plans after the June 30 deadline are courting trouble with the Klang Municipal Council (MPK). An amnesty was offered to these factories four years ago, but MPK said in a statement to the press that there has been poor re- Mislan: Making their sponse to a series of dia- business legal. logues between the owners and the municipality. “Only the factories in Telok Gong have committed to regulating and making their business legal by stating that their premises is being used as factories and getting a Certificate of Fitness,” said Datuk Mislan Tugiu. The MPK president said only 120 of the 396 unlicensed factories in the municipality have applied for business and operating permits, while only 90 have submitted building plans. “The rest have failed to respond to our requirements,” he said. MPK has offered incentives to get the factories to legalise their operations. These include a waiver in fines and landscaping requirements, among others, but to no avail. Some of these factories are a problem in terms of safety and health because they are poorly designed and built. Hygiene and cleanliness are other major concerns for the municipality. “But they are not cooperating with us,” Mislan said. Mislan said MPK will not compromise with the owners once the deadline is over. The council will issue circulars at the end of the month as a final reminder to these factories to submit the necessary paperwork and documents. Factories that continue to defy the council will face hefty fines.
Unlicensed factories advised to legalise
By Basil Foo
PUCHONG: Illegal factories in the Taman Kinrara Section 2 Industrial Park have until June to switch from agricultural to industrial lots and apply for their permits. “They should convert while the state is still offering a 50% discount on the premiums,” said Ean Yong Hian Wah. The executive councillor, whose portfolio includes managing the issue of illegal factories, said owners could opt for terrace, bungalow, or semi-detached industrial lots. They would also have to hire a consultant to prepare a master plan listing spaces for roads, drain reserves and other technical requirements in their permit applications. “The master plan has to be prepared before building approval,” Ean Yong said. He met the owners on March 24. The Kinrara Section 2 Industrial Park Owners and Tenants Association secretary said 31 of its members have switched to industrial lots but 17 others have yet to do so. He said the industrial lots now are made up of mostly car workshops and furniture manufacturers. “Some of them don’t want to convert because they are scared of being cheated or worried about being charged additional fees,” said Lau Boon Laing. The association secretary said they would try to persuade the other dissenting factories to join them and convert their lots in order to submit the building plans together. If the rest still rejected the move to apply
Ean Yong (third from left) at the meeting with Lau (second from left) and representatives from MPSJ and the land office.
for permits, the association and its existing members would submit the building plans and request for permits themselves. “We will submit the building plans as soon as possible – within the next three months – and once the premiums are paid, we hope to get the permits within six months,” said Lau. Also at the meeting were representatives from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and the District and Land Office Selangor, as well as state executive councillor Teresa Kok. Kok pointed out that while some of the factories were modern, they remained illegal
until they got approval from authorities. “The state has given a lot of leeway through this factory-upgrading programme, like the discount on premiums and technical requirements,” she said. The programme’s technical requirements include a 20ft parking lot reserve for each factory lot, which is a reduction from 40ft normally required by MPSJ. She said the discounts and looser requirements would end in June. “If they delay in entering this programme, the premiums may be more expensive and they may not be able to sell their land,” Kok added.
From left: Dr Halimah, a new couple, and Hasan at the wedding ceremony last Saturday. A mass kenduri (above) was held after the event.
44 couples wed in mass ceremony
By Brenda Ch’ng
KLANG: A state-sponsored mass wedding enabled 44 couples to tie the knot together at Masjid Nurul Amin Klang last Saturday. “I’m extremely happy to give my blessing to these 44 couples here today,” said Dr Halimah Ali. The executive councillor said the newlyweds were a shining example for
others involved in the state’s Generasi Idaman Selangor (GeMS) youth programme. She added that the couples were off to a good start, and that it was important for the new brides to know their rights as wives, mothers and women. Dr Halimah, whose portfolio includes education, was accompanied by her colleague Datuk Dr Hasan Ali, who is in charge of Islamic Affairs.
The couples made a prayer vow to be forever true and just in their marriages. Hasan also reminded them of their roles and duties towards their religion and spouses. Both state executive councillors also encouraged other youths who are facing troubles to seek help by joining the GeMS programme. The state is considering hosting bigger mass weddings in the future.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
Little Mermaid steals the show
Finalists, organisers, sponsors, Yeoh and Loh posing for a picture at the Subang Jaya Talent Quest 2011.
of Most Talented Dancer in the Little Miss Santarina pageant last December, and first SUBANG JAYA: Four-year-old “mermaid” runner-up of the Miss Little Qi Pao (cheongAmelia Lee Zi Yuen beat six other finalists to sam) competition during Chinese New Year emerge grand champion and win RM3,000 at earlier this year. the Subang Jaya Talent Quest here last Sunday. Multiracial dance group Resurrection Lee, who performed a cute self-taught walked away with the title of first runner-up dance routine to the song Under the Sea from and received RM2,000 cash. The Little Mermaid, won the hearts of both Comprising seven girls aged between 12 judges and the audience during the finals at and 17, the group did extremely well despite Sunway Pyramid’s main concourse. differences in race, age, and dance style. She also blew the judges away when she The girls, who are also ballet dancers, performed the popular dance routine of the worked hard and practised their routine for a song Nobody by Korean group Wondergirls. month to perfect their performance. Her mother, May Lim, said her daughter’s Dressed in white outfits with make-up reother achievements include winning the title sembling zombies, they managed to pull off stunning choreography with dramatic effects. Resurrection leader Siti Amelia said, “The idea of our performance is actually based on Michael Jackson’s Thriller as we wanted to do something similar to that concept.” Madeline Ashlee Lok, 16, bagged the second runner-up title with a cash prize of RM1,000 with her exciting instrumental performance on the Chinese zither or gu zheng. Despite only learning how to play the instrument Judges (front row, from left) Fahmi Fadzil, Juwita Suwito five years ago, she has aland John Oommen; (second row) Loh Gwo-Burne and ready performed at the MaYeoh enjoying the performances
By Alicia Mun
laysian Philharmonic Orchestra concert hall. She also plays in Chinese-instrument orchestra Yi Ler Xiang. Lok finished eighth in the 2nd International Zheng Qualification Contest Open recently. Among the other finalists were Sharifah Zamaera, 17, who played the keyboard and sang her rendition of Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri; dance duo Hijau with their routine using the song Hijau by Zainal Abidin; Aiza Jasmin, 14, who performed the song Ben by Michael Jackson; and Nehemiah Ting, 17, who played the drums. Local celebrity Liang was the emcee of the grand finale, while the judges of the talent quest were singer-songwriter Juwita Suwito, writer and performer Fahmi Fadzil, and local band Paperplane Pursuit frontperson John Oommen. Beatboxer Shawn Lee, who also performed at the event, did a great job entertaining the crowd with his incredible sound effects. The talent quest was open to residents here aged 17 and below, and was organised by the service centre of Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh to provide a platform for young people to shine and explore their talents. “I wholeheartedly believe that we need to help them channel their energy and passion in the right direction and spur them more in healthy activities because they are the hope of this nation,” said Yeoh. She also explained how she decided to add
an extra requirement for the participants of the talent quest. “If they want to participate in any group entry, they must have a multiracial composition. This is to ensure that the young will learn to work together with people of other races,” she said. Also present at the event was Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo-Burne.
Winner Amelia Lee Zi Yuen with her mother, May Lim
Funds for Tamil school students
By Alvin Yap
SUBANG JAYA: SJK Tun Sambanthan Tamil school here received a RM8,000 donation from Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh on Sunday. “I hope the money will further increase students’ performance in UPSR exams,” she said during the cheque presentation to Parents-Teachers Association (PIBG) committee members. The donation, funded by Hannah’s state allocation, will be used to run the school’s UPSR Excellence Achievement Awards programme for 2011. This is the third year Hannah’s office has provided funding for the Tamil-language school, which is part of a vision school located in USJ 15. “The PIBG committee members will use
the money to provide for the welfare of less fortunate students, and to ensure all the students get study materials for their exams,” said PIBG chairperson S Murali. Earlier, Hannah told residents to approach her office to register for the state’s welfare programme, including the RM2,500 allocation for senior citizens. Hannah also spoke on the state’s poverty eradication programme and urged single mothers to register for Mimbar, a microcredit financing scheme. She said single mothers earning RM1,500 or RM2,000, with two or more children, should apply for the funds to set up their own small businesses. “If you want to be independent and run your own small-scale business, please come and apply for the scheme at my office,” she told the participants at the event.
Yeoh with SJK Tamil Tun Sambanthan PIBG commitee members. Chairperson S Murali is on her right.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
LRT extension? Not in our backyards
Assemblyperson for Sri Muda Shuhaimi Shafiei (fifth from left) and residents of Taman Subang Alam protesting the building of an LRT line in their backyards.
By William Tan
SHAH ALAM: Fearful for their health and safety, residents of Taman Subang Alam and Putra Heights here said they are against the extension of the Kelana Jaya LRT through their backyards. Last Saturday, the residents voiced their objections during a press conference held with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) professor Dr Tajul Anuar Jamaluddin. The protest was organised by Sri Muda assemblyperson Shuhaimi Shafiei. The coordinator of the university’s geological disasters programme explained the potential dangers of building the tracks in the area. “Why do they even want to build it here? There are so many other better places,” he said. Tajul Anuar said he was expressing his personal opinion, and that he is not biased as he is not even a resident of the area. He explained that the soil in the area was improper for such construction as it is mainly made up of clay and is similar to the type found in Bukit Antarabangsa, which experienced massive landslides in 2008 and 1999. A nearby hill is also made up of the same soil, which makes it all the more dangerous. He added that even the granite found in the area was cracked, which would make putting down rails an expensive and dangerous process.
The nearby man-made lake is also a danger zone. “If you drained it without a thought, the whole area will probably collapse in because of the weak soil,” he said. Inadequate safety measures may cause a rush of water to flow down to nearby schools, which are built on lower ground than the surrounding areas. Jamaluddin said the cost of building the track would be phenomenal. He also claimed that even if the developers succeeded in extending the LRT line, it would require constant and detailed maintenance, and runs the risk of possible collapse within 20 or 30 years. Furthermore, the plans indicate that the tracks are going to be some seven metres away from a row of houses. This implies that some families are expected to put up with nearly 300 trains passing by daily, just a stone’s throw away from their homes. “No one even asked my opinion. It is not just the noise pollution; I worry for the safety of the children, what would happen if they accidentally climbed onto the tracks,” said Ahmad Shukri Mohammad Lazim, whose house is about seven metres away from the proposed tracks. Ahmad Shukri, who has lived in the area with his family for two years, said they were offered compensation in the form of free insurance from the Menteri Besar of Selangor, but
it only applied to people who lived between five and seven metres away from the tracks. “Honestly, what use is insurance? Money can’t replace a lost life. Who is going to collect if we all were to die from a major accident, like a derailed train?” he said. He also believes that students of the nearby schools are going to find it very difficult to study because of the noise. Ng Wai Ming, a businessperson who has been living in the area for the last four years, agreed, saying it escapes him how no-one seems to have conducted a feasibility study before deciding on the extension project. The lives of 156 families in the area and over 600 from nearby estates are at risk or are going to be directly impacted. Ng said the most the authorities had done was to conduct a survey with all residents of Seksyen 27, which found that only 49% opposed the proposed line. However, Ng believes that the 51% who voted yes have no clue of the dangers the line will bring. “I don’t think our feedback was even seriously considered by them,” he said. Mohan Krishnan, a pilot and a resident of the area for the last three years, has been conducting personal studies on the health effects of building the LRT rails so near to residences. Beyond noise pollution, he found through records and interviews with the Subang Jaya
Medical Centre, Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) that residents close to the LRT were 45-60% more likely to develop cancer. He based this on the results of the number of people diagnosed with cancer in Kelana Jaya before and after an LRT line was built near to them. He argues that the electromagnetic discharge from the rails would beat that of a transmission tower. At the moment, all residents are petitioning the state to relocate the line to an alternative route suggested by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA). Prem Kaur, who is in charge of the resident task force on the matter, said that the alternative route would cost RM500 million more, but it would mean no risks of a major disaster, and the alternative route would allow three times the current proposed number of passengers. “To be fair, the current allocated budget for this stretch is undervalued at RM7 million. It has grown to RM40 million, and I believe in the end it will be in the billions,” she said. In two weeks, they will be bringing the matter up to the Selangor Economic Action Council in hopes that a final decision will be made to halt construction.
Know your councillor: Chan Chee Keong
CONVINCING Petaling Jaya ratepayers to become stakeholders in making the city a better place is Chan Chee Keong’s priority. Chan, 48, does not adopt a “sit and wait” approach as he is always walking the “beat” in search of problems before they turn into complaints. “I do not think as councillors we can sit and wait for complaints. We have to deliver what the local government promises to carry out by being proactive,” the Petaling Jaya City councillor (MBPJ) said. Chan said the challenge is in meeting the high expectations of residents who want better conditions and surroundings where they work and live. He wants ratepayers to work together with the city council to improve the delivery system. To this end, Chan said ratepayers in his zone comprising Bandar Utama, Pelangi Utama and Kayu Ara should make full use of MBPJ’s Online Complaints website to lodge their complaints. He said the city council, through its respective sub-committees, is trying its best to solve issues, big or small. Chan works as a videographer and produces reports for MediaRakyat, a “citizen journalism” initiative that was set up in 2006. He supports freedom to information and education programmes on how to be responsible citizens. “I want more public education in environmental matters like recycling of cooking oil or harvesting rain water,” he said. One of Chan’s most cherished memories was his part in organising the MBPJ Symphony Orchestra Concert in 2009 and 2010. “There is a lack of cultural events such as musicals and orchestras in Petaling Jaya,” he said. He said there was a gap between the infrastructure and cultural development in the city, and hopes there will be more cultural events.
April 1 — 3, 2011
The Malaysian resistance
Why are these Taman Tun residents so selfish ah?” / “Ya, they’re so rich is it, don’t need MRT is it?” / “But we all need it kan, petrol price getting so much higher, how to afford driving around in KL?” / “Nak buat macam mana...”
actually be financed, or who will really reap the rewards of the largest infrastructural roll-out the country has ever seen. I don’t want to bring up in full the arguments that have been posited by various parties – on how the project may or may not benefit certain mega joint ventures; on the increasing pile of debt that certain public bodies will have to sustain without them having any clear way of earning more income to pay off said debts; on the lack of transport services integration being potentially the greatest flaw of the entire project. Instead I’d like to take a look at how residents have come together when faced with something as colossal as the MRT. In particular, I’d like to take a look at how residents in the leafy neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) responded. The TTDI residents have held a number of public meetings since the idea of the MRT was first broached. These meetings – which I’m told were mainly self-organised – were initially aimed at clarifying the perimeters of the mega project and which areas would be affected most. At these meetings, the recurring
hese are “artistic impressions” of thoughts circumambulating the increasingly controversial Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project. I chose to say “increasingly controversial” because we all know we need this infrastructure and thus any opposition to it appears to reject a very public need. Yet at the same time we don’t entirely know how it will all go. As I write this, many residents are still unsure if their homes will be bought or not, or how this mega project will
sentiment was evident: residents were in principle supportive of the MRT, but the main point of contention was how the entire project had been foisted onto their lives. Slowly, the magnitude of the mega roll-out began to be felt. First, it was the debate on station locations. Were the stations going to be near the TTDI wet market? Or would the trains completely bypass the entire middle-class enclave and head straight for One Utama shopping centre? Was there anywhere else these stations could be located? How would traffic flow increase or decrease during construction and once the stations were operational? And how would this impact on the homes nearby? Then it was the question of the train tracks. Would they be aboveground or below-? How close would these tracks be to residents’ homes? Once operational, how much noise
would residents living in close proximity to the tracks have to endure on a daily basis? And if noise barriers were erected, how would it impact the visual landscape for the affected homeowners? Next came the discussion on land. Some of these tracks, according to unfinalised alignment records, appear to be running over privately owned land. Would these be acquired by the federal government? How would such a massive “buying” project actually be financed? Would residents have to relocate from where they’ve been living for decades? In a way, the straw that not only broke but pulped, mushed, and regurgitated the camel’s back into a pile of anger was the manner in which the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) personnel had pasted the notices on trees and lamp posts about how residents’ land may be acquired for purposes of the project. The residents went from bewildered to berserker mode. It was not only the uncertainty of losing their homes, but it was the manner in which the notice was given to them.
As one politician put it, “[SPAD] was like the Sheriff of Nottingham”. In under a day, word went straight to the top about the intense displeasure of the residents, thanks in no small part to the very vocal and receptive online media. In fact, a very hasty meeting was arranged between the residents and Datuk Seri Idris Jala, so that some of their sentiments and anxieties could be relayed to the head of Pemandu. And what came of said meeting? Back-pedalling: SPAD said no such acquisition of land was to take place, and essentially blamed it on obscure legislation. So, to date, the MRT project in TTDI appears set to continue, despite the very public displeasure of residents. And from the looks of http://kvmrt.blogspot.com, the resistance to blanket acceptance of the project is not just limited to TTDI anymore. It appears that more and more residents are wanting the MRT to go underground. Which only means that the cost would go even higher... It makes me wonder, yet again: Why oh why didn’t we build the MRT system 20 years ago?
Lee Lian Kong
We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!” Sean Parker, The Social Network.
A refuge for the young ones
age teenager thinks, I’d rather have them with like-minded people and gain solidarity. mute.” With support comes strength, no? They certainly aren’t mute. The internet is If Rebecca and the Azwan Ismail fiascos a thriving avenue for youth expression, both are anything to go by, hatred seems to come good and bad. Like honey to bee (or twee- more easily than help. Says Khairul, “People nyboppers to Justin Bieber), teenagers flock are now famous for being the object of so to the internet to express themselves. It offers much hate. It’s like we’re parasites who feed a wall for the shy or timid to say what they on hate, jumping from one target to another.” want. There is now even a special category for Being so, it becomes a double-edged sword. suicides induced by internet, like the case of Girls like Rebecca and a g irl who was Marie Digby get their tricked into thinkbig break, thanks to the Whether or not there ing she had a love internet. Friday is now is a direct correlation interest when it was No 19 on the iTunes between the internet all a prank . She chart, just behind Enhanged herself in rique Iglesias and just offering a place for solace her bedroom. ahead of Grammy-win- and expression, and Surprisingly thus decreasing youth ner Zac Brown Band. enoug h, suicide. Conversely, many suicides, remains yet to org, a suicide awarehave committed sui- be confirmed. What is ness and prevention cide because of cybernon-governmental bullying. There is no definite is that the young organisation, noted escaping bullies even are turning to the internet that youth suicide on the internet. Re- to articulate their angst or in the United States member the “Saya gay, sadness.” started to decrease Saya OK” (“I’m gay, from 1990 onI ’m OK”) YouTube wards. The 90s was video by a 33-year-old engineer last year? He when the internet began to be used publicly. was humiliated, chastised, and had even reWhether or not there is a direct correlation ceived death threats. between the internet offering a place for solace One would think that with the internet and expression, and thus decreasing youth comes a platform for expression not possible suicides, remains yet to be confirmed. What within the confines of school, universities, is definite is that the young are turning to the workplace and families. On the internet there internet to articulate their angst or sadness. are blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TumThis may not exactly prove to be enough to blr, etc. to vent. These are also places to bond stop them from killing themselves, though. Jeremy was the title of a song by grunge band Pearl Jam about a 15-year-old boy who shot himself in front of his class. Using this song as an analogy, Yench, 21, hypothesised: “If Jeremy had the internet, he’d write an emo blog post or rage on Youtube and still commit suicide afterwards anyway”. It will be a bold and unwise move to tackle this problem by erasing its source. Teenagers will always be angsty. They will always have unlimited sources of rage. Malaysia’s usual reactionary way in handling problems (remember the Valentine’s Day crackdowns?) may potentially bring more harm than good. The effects of the internet are starting to show, and the sight is not very pretty. It is a good indication of what our humanity is like, issuing death threats to innocent 13-yearolds or forcing homosexuals to die. The Malay saying goes: “Kalau melentur buluh, biarlah dari rebungnya (To bend a reed, start from the shoots).” There is a solution to this. Teenage angst can be channelled elsewhere other than death. Imagine what an artistic world it would be if all this raging angst were channelled into learning to play guitar, to write, to draw? If we are serious about this, the time is ripe to start looking for and paying attention to our youths. And the internet would be a good place to start.
Lee Lian is not a Belieber. She welcomes all feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least the young ones are. They should be the ones who know about one Rebecca Black, the most talked- (or Facebooked- or Tweeted-) about 13-year-old these last couple of days. Her music video Friday went viral with more than 17 million hits on YouTube. The reactions to her video are powerful but also painful. At best, the lyrics are inane, the music unremarkable and the video forced. It starts with her singing about waking up for school, having cereal, deciding whether to sit in front or back, excited about Friday and the weekend. Maybe a little too excited about the weekend when she sings: “Yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, we so excited, we gonna have a ball today, tomorrow is Saturday, Sunday comes afterwards.” Comments range from Hypervocal.com’s “Truly, undeniably awful” to SF Gate’s “… the ultimate combination of horrible lyrics, horrible songwriting, horrible auto-tuning (apparently to hide horrible singing) ... horrible dancing and horrible horribleness…” They are also personal, like: “I hope you get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty, and I hope you go cut and die.” The most-liked comment is how she makes Justin Bieber look good. Why so much hate? Singing about school and parties sounds like pretty standard 13-year-old material. Zapa, 32, a journalist, says, “What do you expect? Can’t have her talking about Nato’s strike on Libya, innit?” On the other hand, Khairul, 23, a law student, expects more. “If this is how the aver-
12 April 1 — 3, 2011
ECONOMiCAl AND EASiEr BUSi
Starting a new business can be a very daunting and intimidating affair as first-time entrepreneurs have many factors to consider. Besides financial concerns matters such as capital, offices, staffing and the right premises are fundamental to the success of a new start up. Entrepreneurs need to take into account the costs needed to meet all these demands. However, in the globalised and borderless world that we live in today, those planning to start their businesses have alternatives. the days of saving up to purchase offices, which run up to hundreds of thousands of ringgit and high start up costs, are over. there is no need to wait months to hunt high and low for good locations to set up an office and even more time and costs needed to furnish and get it operational. With broadband and advances in technology, offices can even be run without stepping into the office. new entrepreneurs also do not need to fret about the exorbitant costs involved in setting up shop. now, with very low start up costs, entrepreneurs can “own” an operational office at a exclusive business address almost immediately. With a prestigious address, the image of the company will be boosted automatically too. the way forward is to lease a virtual office that provides a business address and at the same time obtain all the benefits and facilities. From stationery to office management, all these facilities are now offered in a virtual office environment. this not only saves the cost of owning your own physical premises and staff cost but makes business management more effective. the possibility of using virtual offices, which began in Europe, is now available in Malaysia. apart from virtual offices, fully furnished business suites are also available at a much lower cost compared to setting up your own offices. through its Entrepreneur Development Programme, which was started in 1998, Selangor State Development Corporation (PKnS) now offers the chance to entrepreneurs to set up their business via Virtual Offices (ViO by PKnS) service. ViO is a business centre that offers fully furnished office suites and meeting facilities for entrepreneurs who want to work smart. Entrepreneurs can also subscribe to a corporate office address only under ViO.
IO by PKNS, which commenced earlier this y fully operational at PKNS BizPoint, No 67B, Jalan Plumbum P7/P, Section 7, Shah Alam. Entrepreneur Development Programme manager Mohd Sanif describes VIO by PKNS as the best pl new entrepreneurs looking to start their buisnesses. M of services and facilities are available at attractive pric up companies. “If the take-up rate for VIO services are encouragin even consider expanding this facility to other PKNS de centres,” said Zaharudin. Besides services and facilities, VIO offers the chanc preneurs to run their companies at a fraction of the c than virtual office services, VIO also leases out executi reasonable cost. VIO by PKNS also provides support services an receptionist to answer your calls and maintain contac clientele to make the management of companies more The main advantage of opting for VIO by PKNS is in in capital outlay when starting a business. The amount sa new office start up can be reinvested into the business, e
Conventional Office as compared with VIO by PKNS
Basic Office infrastructure For New Office Set Up Rental + Deposit (1) + (3) Lease Period / Risk Office Renovation & Furniture Office equipment (printer, fax & copier machine) PABX / Keyphone system Fixed line registration & Deposit Internet access & Registration Staffing / Manpower salaries: Receptionist / Administrator salaries, Secretary Utility bills deposits Security / Alarm system with Card access & CCTV Stock & Stationery Operational expenses TOTAl STArT Up & MONTHlY OVErHEAD COST Minimum Start Up Cost (rM) 8,000 – 30,000 3,000 5,000 800 300 – Monthly Overhead Cost (rM) 2,000 2-3 years – 300 – 200 200 1,500 + 1,800
Start up + nthly Overhead Cost Mo With VIO by PKNS Start RM300 + 2 months Deposit Min 4 months Inclusive Pay per Use basic Inclusive Inclusive Inclusive Inclusive
BENEFiTS & ADVANTAGES WiTH ViO BY pKNS Prestigious address, Prime business location & credible business image Flexible term & immediate usage Fully furnished, instant ready office No maintenance & Depreciation value Available for immediate use No deposits & Monthly commitment required No deposits & Monthly commitment required Save Time & Money on recruitment, training, EPF, SOCSO & medical coverage es Security & Safety at all tim No hold on cost No monthly overheads set-up cost for office
1,500 3,000 2,000 – 53,600
1,500 – 500 2,000 10,000
Inclusive Inclusive Inclusive Minimum
* Save a mininum of approximately RM60,000 on start up fee by using VIO by PKNS This table proves that VIO by PKNS is definitely the solution for a hassle free, cost saving new office start up. The concept of VIO by PKNS also gives you the flexibility of relocating your business anytime you desire as there are no long term contracts or commitments.
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INESS WITH BENEFITS & ADVANTAGES OF VIO OFFICES
• Prestigious business address, prime business location • Your own private phone number • Attractive short term occupancy available • Fully furnished, instant ready office • No maintenance & depreciation value for office equipment • Save time & cost on manpower • No utility expenses • High-tech telephone system
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EXECUTIVE SUITE Package includes: • Dedicated office suite, fully furnished with quality furniture • Includes air conditioning, electricity, water, office cleaning service & maintenance • Card access system & CCTV for added security and safety CORPORATE VIRTUAL OFFICE • Prestigious business address for your Package includes: name cards, letterheads, website & • Prestigious business address for your name cards, letterheads, other company materials website & other company material • Private mailbox, phone • Business address as your official registered & mailing address and fax number • Private mailbox, phone and fax number • Manag ement of your • Management of mail, faxes & couriers for all correspondence mails, faxes & couriers for all correspondence • Professional call answering by our receptionist for all your in- • Professional call answering by our receptionist for coming calls all your incoming calls • Messages received by our receptionist are forwarded to you • Messages received by our receptionist are forwarded immediately via email or SMS to you immediately via email or SMS (minimal charge) (minimal charge) • All incoming fax received will be • All incoming fax received will be sent sent to your email to your email • FREE 10 hours usage of Boardroom, Meeting room, Work- • FREE 10 hours usage of Boardroom, Meeting room, Workstation, Discusstation, Discussion rooms & sion rooms & Lounge Lounge • FREE unlimited High Speed • FREE unlimited High Speed Wireless Internet Access (WiFi) Wireless Internet Access (WiFi) • FREE unlimited self-service • FREE unlimited self-service beverages. (tea, coffee, water) beverages (tea, coffee, water).
entrepreneur to grow and expand at an even faster rate. Conventionally, renovating an office, rental and deposit, furnishing, office equipment, staffing and even security costs can come up to RM60,000 during the setting up of an office. But with VIO by PKNS, the costs of setting up of a virtual office can be as low as RM900 (1 month’s rent and 2 months’ deposit). VIO by PKNS offers a variety of attractive and cost-saving take up to 300 phone numbers at any given time. Each call will be options, whether it’s for the starting of a virtual office displayed on the terminals indicating the name of the company or business suite. to enable the receptionists to answer each call professionally With the many different services such as manin your company’s name. NS agement of mail and telephone services and Clients also do not need to fear about missing calls ERATIOOM OP professional receptionist facilities offered, or faxes as VIO by PKNS will ensure that the inforSTART IATELY FR charges begin at RM300 per month only. mation will be sent via SMS to the business owner. IMMED PER MONTH Other services given include free 10 Apart from the professional services offered by M300 tegic Location R hours usage of board room, meeting room, VIO by PKNS, clients are not bound by long lease n tra •S ditio -in Con workstation and discussion room, unlimited contracts when using Virtual Offices or Execu• Move ipment Ready high-speed wireless internet access, and tive Suites as the minimum contract is only four ce Equ ternet Ready • Offi In unlimited self-service beverages (tea, coffee months. This will give clients the flexibility to e, Fax, tion Support • Phon , Recep and water). move their businesses anywhere anytime without • Admin Telephonist VIO by PKNS currently has three meetthe encumbrances of a long term contract. & & ing rooms, two discussion rooms, two lounges VIO by PKNS can also be a platform for clients to rd Roomcilities • Boa a and one board room. build strong networks with each other while operating Room F Meeting Apart from this, the high-tech telephone here. Starting a ready-made business can be as easy as services given by VIO by PKNS enable clients to VIO by PKNS.
1 / 013-343 7542 Fax: 03-5511 2614
April 1 — 3, 2011
Blacklisting gutter politics
hat do you think about our country’s current situation, and where it is heading? @abbyshahrin, via Twitter.
There is never a dull moment in this country. In the midst of so much suffering and injustice, here we are, obsessed with a sex video. It’s like we are a country of pubescent teenagers. Unfortunately, as the mainstream media is controlled by the ruling government coalition; they get to choose was is published and what is not. For days, we were bombarded with news on who the mysterious man in the video was, as only “high-ranking media representatives” were allowed to watch this video at a private screening hosted by the elusive “Datuk T”. You can’t make this stuff up. It was finally revealed that “Datuk T” was in fact a trio – Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik, Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Datuk Shuaib Lazim. As expected, the video became the centre of attention for supporters of both the government and the opposition. Everyone was so busy elbowing each other out of the way as they attempted to get on their soapbox having mounted their moral high horse, that the Have a banana, courtesy questions of how, why, and who were forgotten. of LoyarBurok’s rakyat Hidden camera? Nevermind lah. Political ploy? centre It’s okay lah. Is it even who they say it is? Doesn’t matter lah! Unfortunately, gutter politics seems to be the norm in Malaysia. This is not to say that it laysia!, is about voter eduis not normal elsewhere – even the cation, and making the US and British elections are almost rakyat aware of what issues always affected by some sensational to discuss when it comes issue or other, be it some old photo to politics, and exercising being dug up, a candidate being their right to vote. Say no caught slagging off a group of people, to gutter politics, don’t let or someone forgetting to turn off his yourself be distracted from mic and making damaging statethe real issues that politiments. We all love a good scandal, cians should be addressing. and a nice juicy piece of news. To find out more, turn But while the sensationalist gutto page 16 of this issue of ter politics are a part of election Selangor Times. Join the campaigns worldwide, most develarmy. There may be free oped nations (and societies) do fobananas. And hey, we may Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by cus on other, real, issues too. In be politically nonpartiLoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) Malaysia, gutter politics seems to be san, but we sure love a where all your profound, just about the only kind of politics party, son! abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, everyone gets excited about. sagacious, and other thesauruss it lawful for the But hey, let’s not be too depressed described queries are answered! government to about Malaysia’s current state. It is, blacklist a driver and after all, still peaceful and harmonious with no mass civil unrest. Lord centre” in Bangsar Utama. The centre prevent him from renewing his Bobo is all about channelling posi- was set up as a place to gather, mobi- road tax just because he has an tive vibes everywhere. lise and empower more people to join outstanding traffic summons, if he has not been convicted of the And this is where the Pusat Raky- the LoyarBurok army. at LoyarBurok comes in – that aweWhat does this “army” fight for? alleged traffic offence? @Boleh some brand spanking new “rakyat Well, our current initiative, UndiMa- Settle?, via email
Many people do not understand their rights as citizens of Malaysia. The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the state. It guarantees the right of all Malaysians, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, and political affiliation. All citizens are guaranteed equal rights. One of the rights guaranteed by the constitution is the people’s right to property. Article 13 provides that (1) no person shall be deprived of property except in accordance with law; and (2) no law shall make provision for the taking or use of property by force, without adequate compensation. Article 13 is often used in land acquisition cases. However, Article 13 actually does not only encompass immovable property such as land, but includes movable property such as vehicles. Therefore, if the Road Transport Department (RTD) prevents someone from renewing his or her road tax, the RTD is denying that person’s constitutionally granted right to property.
Based on the constitution then, if this denial is without any legally justifiable reason, the RTD should compensate the vehicle owner. This is not some theoretical legal argument dreamt up in a haze of purple banana shakes; the courts have actually ruled that the RTD cannot blacklist vehicles because of an offence that has not been proven in court, and that any such action is contrary to Article 13. In fact, the RTD has been directed to pay compensation to a successful applicant because he had to rent another vehicle. Hence, vehicle-owners please note: your rights are protected by the constitution, and the authorities cannot arbitrarily deny your right to renew your road tax. If you are prevented from renewing your road tax without a valid reason you should ask the RTD for a written reason for the prevention. And remember, there is always the possibility of you suing the RTD for damages, including for the loss of use of your vehicle.
With members of Rukun Tetangga Gasing Indah
Appreciation night for men and women in blue
IN honor of the 204th National Police Day, Rukun Tetangga (RT) Gasing Indah organised an appreciation night with guests of honor ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed (OCPD Petaling Jaya), ACP Wan Abdul Bari (OCPD Brickfields), and unity officers from the Department of National Unity and Integration ( JPNIN) Daerah Petaling. Among other guests were representatives from various RT: Taman Carey, Section 3, PJS9, Mentari Block 7, SS23, SS4C, SS5D, Kelana Jaya and Paramount Garden. Police personnel from IPD (district
Arjunaidi (right) and Wan Bari cutting the “birthday” cake
police headquarters) Petaling Jaya, IPD Brickfields and various balai were treated to a nasi briyani buffet dinner at a Gasing Indah restaurant. The evening kicked off with the singing of the birthday song and cake-cutting ceremony. This was also followed by the giving of a token of appreciation by RT chair-
person Alfred Cheah to Arjunaidi and Wan Bari, who represented their districts, for their supp or t o f R u kun Tetangga and the neighbourhood’s voluntary patrol scheme, or SRS. Last year, RT Gasing Indah activated three SRS zones comprising 65 members: two in Petaling Jaya and one in Kuala Lumpur, as Taman Gasing Indah is separated by the boundary between Selangor and the Federal Territory. RT Gasing Indah also won the MBPJ prize in 2010 for Best Neighbourhood Security.
By Alvin Yap
PUCHONG: Creative art by design and graphic students will be used to beautif y parts of The Wharf, a lakefront commercial development here. Property developer Bolton Berorganised a Wharf Hoarding competition here on Sunday (March 27), which saw 14 teams apply their creative and artistic talents to win the chance to have their art displayed at the entrance of the project site. “The competition will provide a platform for the promotion of the arts and showcase young creative talents,” said executive director Chan Wing Kwong. He added that the organisers are planning to make the competition into an annual event. Chan said the talents shown by the students from various art and design faculties were “impressive”. The top spot went to team Design Ninja of art and design college One Academy. Each member won an iPad and a share of the RM5,000 cash prize. Second place went to Saito College’s team Warrior. A lakefront commercial hub offering business, retail and leisure blocks, The Wharf is situated on eight hectares of commercial land in Taman Tasik Prima, Puchong. State senior executive councillor Teresa Kok said she was impressed by the upscale develop-
Creative art to beautify up-market property
April 1 — 3, 2011
Arts and graphics students competed for the chance to have their artwork displayed.
ment in Puchong. “My memory of Puchong is that it was a tin-mining area, a backwater town. Now it is a bustling urban area,” she said. “It is now one of the sought-after places to live and work,” said the state assemblyperson for Kinrara. She commended Bolton’s corpo-
rate social responsibility programmes, and said the group was balancing its “profitability and responsibility” to the rakyat. “The state government is ever ready to lend a helping hand to all property developers to discharge their social responsibility,” she added.
One Academy’s team Design Ninja, who won first place.
New roof for school after fire
SEMENYIH: A school is seeking additional funds to repair part of its building which was damaged in a fire. Fire swept through Block B of SJK(C) Sin Ming on Nov 16, 2009, damaging the headmaster’s office and the wiring on the first-floor classrooms. The school’s board of directors chairperson, Lim Chin Kuan, said the damaged wiring rendered the classrooms unusable although they were not damaged in the fire. A roof for the two-storey block was built using RM150,000 in allocation from the state government, with one third of the amount received in 2009 and the rest last year. “We built the roof so that rain wouldn’t fall into the building’s second floor and damage the structure,” he said. As the school is considered to be fully funded by the federal government, Lim called for speedy assistance so that the classrooms were not left unutilised. He said while they had received RM300,000 in federal allocations over the past 20 years, they still had to rely on public donations to build three blocks, which cost RM35 million. During a visit to the school on March 23, Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin said the state allocated RM4 million for all SJK(C)s in Selangor. “The allocation for SJK(C) Sin Ming last year was RM400,000, which was the highest in Selangor,” said Lee. He also pledged an additional RM30,000 to the school for repairs of Block B’s wiring, with more to be allocated in the second half of the year. Lee also announced that the state would give RM360,000 to 10 SJK(C)s in Hulu Langat. “There are 11 SJK(C)s in Hulu Langat, but only 10 applied for allocations,” he said. The allocations will be disbursed by the Menteri Besar in April.
SJK(C) Sin Ming’s Block B with the newly installed roof after the fire in 2009.
Roving hawkers get permanent home
By Basil Foo
SERI KEMBANGAN: A permanent site for 11 roving hawkers has been found at the Selesa Jaya Industrial Park. The new site for the traders, who have been forced to move to different locations for the past five years, was found by Teo Nie Ching. “We moved them here because this is a better place for them to set up shop, and today marks their first day of business,” said the Serdang MP on March 23. During a visit to the site in Balakong, she said the hawkers would be issued licences to enable them to operate legally. However, she said the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) would not allow more hawkers to move to the site as it is not designated as market location. The hawkers previously set up their stalls
on private land but were forced to move due to works initiated by the developers. They were relocated by MPKj to a lane behind some shoplots as a temporary measure two weeks before the Chinese New Year. “Because this area doesn’t have reserve land Teo (in red) with Yap (fifth from right) and Cheong (sixth from for markets, these hawkers right) visiting the market on March 23. had to move twice before finally settling here,” said Balakong assemMPKj councillor Cheong Siow Foon, who blyperson Yap Lum Chin. also visited the site, thanked the Selesa Jaya Yap said the state government encourages Industrial Park Association for offering the private parties to build permanent markets for hawkers a place to run their businesses. hawkers, and that private contractors who “As this is the only market in Taming Jaya, were willing to come forth would have the residents here don’t want them to close or cooperation of their respective local councils. move again,” he said.
Lee (left) being shown the extent of the damage in SJK(C) Sin Ming by Lim (centre).
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
By Gan Pei Ling
Far from the madding crowd
Making activism fun
ired of personality-driven politics, lawyers, students and an orang utan conservationist are embarking on an ambitious plan to take matters into their own hands. “It’s always about (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) or (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim), who has sodomised whom … what about the people? “What about the issues [that directly impact on people’s lives]?” said human rights lawyer Edmund Bon during the unveiling of the tentative plan of voter-education project UndiMalaysia! last Saturday. UndiMalaysia! aims to redirect the people’s attention from personality-driven and partisan politics to issue-based politics. Whether human rights, women’s rights or environmental issues, Bon said they want to engage all relevant nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) onboard their votereducation project. Part of their plan is to highlight issues during elections and question the candidates on their stand over topics such as the environment or the Internal Security Act. Stressing that the initiative would be nonpartisan, Bon said they would be holding closed-door consultations with the NGOs in the coming months to gather their feedback on UndiMalaysia!. UndiMalaysia! will be the first project under LoyarBurok Rakyat Centre, also known as the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights.
A centre for the people
In a LoyarBurok article, Long Seh Lih, who will be managing the centre with another LoyarBurokker, Lim Ka Ea, said the centre would focus on mainstreaming human rights. A library, resource centre and a reading room will be set up in time. Based on an open-space concept, youths and NGOs are free to use the space to host discussions, training sessions or film screenings to promote their causes. “We welcome any group to use it as long as it fulfils a purpose … we want to be as inclusive as possible,” said Bon, adding that this was part of their efforts to promote more intellectual discussions.
Located near the Bangsar LRT station, the LoyarBurok Rakyat Bon Centre was officially opened on March 19. The centre is the brainchild of the LoyarBurok collective, which now has more than 200 volunteers. Despite its name, the collective is no longer made up of only lawyers, but students, environmentalists, concerned citizens, and anyone who has written for the blog www.loyarburok.com. The “blawg”, as they prefer to call it, was started in 2006 by Bon and five other lawyers: Fahri Azzat, Amer Hamzah Arshad, K Shanmuga, S Sharmila and Edward Saw. Last year, blog articles on the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009 were compiled and published as a book titled Perak: A State of Crisis. Bon claimed they were “mind-controlled” by a monkey called Lord Bobo Barnabus that exists solely in cyberspace to start the blawg and publish the book. “We’ve never met him before, but he’s the one who gives us the inspiration to do the things we do,” said Bon. Later, due to the increasing number of members in the LoyarBurok collective, some felt there was a need for a physical space to expand their activities. Hence a space was rented in Bangsar.
Despite the serious issues they are taking on, they try not to take themselves too seriously. The rakyat centre’s opening launch was called Ops Pisang, and aptly, the 200-odd visitors were given a free banana each. “Pisang stands for People’s Initiatives for Social Activation and New Governance, but honestly, that was just an excuse for us to use Pisang as the name,” said another LoyarBurokker, Pang Khee Teik. He said bananas fit Lord Bobo’s image. LoyarBurokker and lawyer Fahri Azzat performing The organisers also invited indie bands like the Sounders, at the launch. He is the only band member in Lord MC Stiff and Lord Bobo’s Minions to perform at the launch. Bobo’s Minions right now. There were also quizzes on politics and LoyarBurok history. LoyarBurok merchandise was given to those with the correct answers. foreign as well as local, to fund their projects. Bon said one of the problems with civil societies in MaThe collective is also looking for volunteers. Individuals laysia was that they had forgotten that activism could be fun. interested in UndiMalaysia! can email undimalaysia@gmail. “Many are just doing it for the sake of doing it. There’s no com, stating their name, contact details and expertise. more excitement,” he said. The lawyer-activist highlighted that one could b r i n g a b o ut p o s i ti ve changes in society while having fun. Through the rakyat centre and the UndiMalaysia! initiative, Bon said they hoped to unite civil societies and spark new ideas in local movements. However, he stressed that what was revealed during the launch last Saturday was only the “bare bones” of their master plan. “We still need to consult the NGOs [to finetune it and come out with a workable action plan],” said Bon. He added that they would be looking to foundations and corporations, The crowd with the free bananas at the LoyarBurok Rakyat Centre launch.
LoyarBurokker and orang utan conservationist June Rubis presenting a special wall at the rakyat centre for people to scribble their wishes for the country. She was one of the emcees at the launch.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
By Zed Adam Idris
he crash was a convenience. The door swung open. They were unconscious. I crawled out like a tripedal creature awkwardly manoeuvring its steps. They bound my hands but I managed to slide the blindfold down to my neck. I felt damp and sticky, a mixture of sweat and blood since the tears had dried up. I ran into a clearing, trudged through some bushes, and lost myself in the forest. My hands were still tied together. I couldn’t let myself free, they were very tight. I raised them closer. I eyed the bind and tracked the loops like I would a maze. My wrists were crossing each other on diagonal. I took my shoes and socks off, wriggled my toes. I turned my wrists and locked my palms together. It loosened slightly. I forced my big toes between the loops and pulled them away. Palms together like a Buddhist monk, I prayed it would loosen further. And it did. I unravelled the loops and buried the rope under a fallen trunk. My stomach had stopped bleeding but for drop or two. They
had stitched it well, fortunately. But the explosive device had to come out, and I was running out of time. I had forgotten to look for the detonator. It could be stuck somewhere in the wreckage. I had to keep moving. All I could do was to stay out of signal. That was my lifeline – out of reach. Finding a sharp tool in the middle of a rainforest was almost a fairytale. I tried looking for patches of bamboo. There wasn’t any, but I felt relieved. Instinct wanted it removed from my guts, but logic told me otherwise, that I would bleed to death if I couldn’t stitch the wound shut. So I stood there under a sky-scraping tree, numb and overwhelmed. I hadn’t done anything evil to deserve this. I was merely a journalist hired as an interpreter. They had made some business abroad and settled me a commission, but I’d thought it wasn’t enough. I was that ambitious. If they had a ten-ringgit deal, my cut was only a sen. I demanded half a ringgit, or else, I said. And I was that naive. I assumed I had the upper hand, that the secret I had known would quake the entire country into ruins and rubble.
Running and not knowing where to go was a feat. I rested on a moist spot where veins of a yellow fungus blossomed on the forest floor. It was soft and cool. For a moment, I thought I was home. I lay my ear on a vein, hoping it would divulge me its secret, that I would be its new keeper. The yellow fungus whispered, “Those men are on your trail. The blue fungus told us so.” Or it could be the lightheadedness talking. I got up to my feet, and a map of blood showed itself on my shirt. I closed my eyes. I could hear the crackling of dried leaves, and the furious footsteps stomping the ground. They were tracking me. I shut my eyes tighter and my ears took me back to the tumbled car. At some point before the crash, I heard the flicking of a lighter, the cracking of knuckles that reddened my cheek, and the nonchalant discussion of destroying the evidence – my body. A gibbon called. His voice swooped and wavered. He was calling to me, warning me that they were moving quicker than before, cattle-prodded by their master. He said to
take a right after a hollow tree, and so I did. As I ran I could feel the device inside me, like a ticking tumour with a push-button trigger. I ran faster and it wobbled harder. Endorphins nursed me well, lulling the pain when I moved. I reached a creek. I scooped some to drink. As the water settled in my palms, I could see the bruise on my cheek and the five-o-clock shadow poking through dried blood. It was getting dark and I was losing time. The leaves rustled behind me. And there they stood. I could smell their fury. We eyed each other. They had the detonator in one hand and guns in most of them, aimed at me. I knelt and closed my eyes. I saw everything. I could feel the swaying grass in my hands, and the gentle breeze on my cheek softened the pain. I lay on my arm on the grass, watching a family of foxes cuddled into a giant ball of fur. I could see the galloping of the Takhis down a subtle slope, and the horde of gazelles herding across the great steppe, moving with the wind. And there on the swaying grass, I saw myself. J’avais perdu ce jeu.
Eat, blog, win RM5k
By William Tan
WANGSA MAJU: Tourism Selangor is introducing the public to Selangorlicious!, a food campaign to boost food tourism in the state. The campaign kicks off with a food-blogging competition which was announced last Saturday at Shani Cafe here. It starts today until the end of the month, and is open to anybody. All you have to do is go to your favourite hang-out or new food venue in Selangor, take at least two pictures of the food you order, and write a review of between 400 and 800 words in either English or Bahasa Malaysia. Then visit the selangorlicious.com.my website, register and upload your reviews to be judged. The grand prize will be RM5,000, as well as a family holiday package. “There are two main categories in the competition, which is Best Overall Content and Best Food Photography,” said Amri Rohayat, managing director of Storm, the elected contractor for the event. Amri said the grand prize for Best Photograph will be RM1,000 and a digital SLR camera, with prizes available for second and third positions as well. He explained that the criteria for the competition include overall creativity, use of language, content, promotional efforts, and the uniqueness of the dishes. Fazly Razally, Tourism Selangor’s event manager for the
campaign, described “unique- Seni Budaya dan Warisan Keness” as such: “It is one thing bangsaan (Aswara), Rayza to [write about a] really good Mukmin. mee bandung no one knows Rayza, who is also known about. But then someone finds as Dark Ray at tanpabukti. us a mee ketam version – now blogspot.com, usually writes that is unique.” on humour, current issues and The judges for the competi- short stories, but is willing to tion include four professional take a detour and participate writers, Chuah Guat Eng , in the competition for a shot Bernice Chauly, Amir Hafizi, at the prize money. and Hafiz Hamzah, as well as For more infomation visit state executive committee selangorlicious.com.my or member Elizabeth Wong. search Selangorlicious on FaThe competition marks the cebook. beginning of a larger campaign launched by Tourism Selangor, which is to be carried out throughout the year. Fazly and Amri at Shani Cafe on March 26 to introduce Selangorlicious!. Fazly said Tourism Selangor will be using the entries to identify popular venues or must-try dishes, and then compile it all into a directory. “We will then send out groups of a random mix of bloggers or our Facebook and Twitter fans to check them out again, to make sure they are indeed the best of the best,” THE decision by the present Board of nancial scandal and allowing the perpehe said. Directors of Port Klang Authority not trators to keep the fruits of their unlawFazly added that this direc- Mutalib Uthman to sue the previous directors and to re- ful acts. tory would be useful as a trigcover losses incurred as a result of the As a consequence, PKA and ultiger for municipal councils to Port Klang Free Zone issue is a breach of mately the people of Malaysia will have check out the top spots, as well their fiduciary duties owed to Port Klang to bear the burden of the losses, which as to ensure that hygiene and Authority (PKA) and the government may amount to RM12 billion. food safety are enforced. of Malaysia. The present board owes a fiduciary Among the registered parBy not proceeding to sue within the duty to act honestly, diligently and in the ticipants are boutique owner limitation period, the previous directors best interest of the company. The decision Mutalib Uthman, who is who were involved in the financial scan- not to sue is a gross violation of this duty. known online as LucaDK. dal have now been released. I call upon the government to comA blogger at lucadeketiak. The present directors made the deci- mence action against the present board blogspot.com since June 2009, sion despite advice from two legal firms and to claim the losses from each and Mutalib loves to find food that PKA ought to commence the legal every one of them. stalls that look as if they have proceedings. no stars but nevertheless have This decision amounts to those pres- William Leong Jee Keen long queues. ently in charge of PKA burying the fi- Member of Parliament, Selayang Another participant is a theatre student of Akademi Rayza Mukmin
PKA board has duty to act
April 1 — 3, 2011 The Langat River separates the island and the mainland.
The entrance to the Mah Meri village in Sungai Bumbun.
Carey. It is not an island of great natural wonders. In fact, if you took a drive to Carey Island, you would be surprised by how little awaits you. But looks can be deceiving. Behind the veneer of an island that boasts nothing but Sime Darby oil palm plantations, there’s a peaceful sanctuary that is home to the Mah Meri, an aboriginal tribe famous for their carved ancestral masks and wooden artworks. The Mah Meri is just one of the 18 sub-ethnic groups of Orang Asli in Malaysia. There are three main Orang Asli communities comprising the Semang , Senoi and the Proto-Malays. The Proto-Malays are found mainly in the southern region of the peninsula, the Senoi in the central part of the country, and the Semang in the north. According to 2008 statistics, Orang Asli account for about 148,000 of the total population of 27 million. Carey Island is about 40km away from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Most visitors come only as far as the edge of the bridge over Langat River that divides the Selangor coast and the island. The short bridge joins the island from Chondoi and Teluk Panglima Garang. Those who have been there are mainly diners who are regular patrons of the Kang Guan Seafood Restaurant and the Seri
lmost everybody who stays in Klang Valley has heard of Carey Island, or Pulau
Island of tranquillity
Selangor folks will tell you that Crab Island (Pulau Ketam) is more exciting than Keroncong Carey Island. LIN ZHENYUANfrom music goes to Pulau Carey to get to traditional the truth of the matter. instruments fills the
hall where fabric materials are sold.
Langat Seafood Restaurant. century. He was born in Ceylon in From the 1880s, European planThe Seri Langat Seafood Restau- 1865. tations in Malaya were mainly rant looks like it has recently been His father was Arthur Edward growing coffee. After Edward came renovated, but residents around the Carey and his mother was Margaret to Malaya, he studied the global area say it has been in business for Maingay. Edward followed in his trend regarding coffee and decided about two decades. father’s footsteps and joined the to switch to rubber. Kang Guan, however, is pre- profession of coffee planters. Thus by 1905, rubber had outferred and appreciated for its oldThe young man spent 11 years in stripped coffee in importance. By style plank- and zinc-roof structure Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) learning then, Edward had been put in on stilts on the river edge. It is very all about planting coffee, tea and charge of three huge plantations popular among those who love cinchona, a plant that is known for covering more than 2,000 acres. seafood. its quinine properties. Later, Ed- Two companies, Carey United and By word of mouth, Kang Guan’s ward became manager of Liberian Jugra Land, were later set up to reputation for fine seafood cuisine Coffee, a company based in Selan- manage the plantations. and affordability has made it a gor. At the height of his career in popular choice among 1892, Edward was Chinese, Malays and made chairperson of Today, the Mah Meri are Indians. the Federated Malay Carey Island is named well-known for their wooden States Planters Assoafter Edward Valentine artworks and carvings which ciation. In recognition Carey, a senior British reflect their beliefs in ‘ari muyang’, of his significant conofficer who was in charge or mythological ancestors. The tributions, he was givof several rubber plantaen control of the island tions during colonial muyang are said to be supernatural that subsequently carMalaya in the late 19th beings who are called Orang Alus.” ried his name.
He retired in 1910, and four years later, died at the relatively young age of 49. The Mah Meri had settled on the 35,000-acre island long before Edward showed up. Their main livelihood was fishing, and they were found in large numbers along the river estuaries. The Temuan tribesmen on the mainland described the Mah Meri as “Hma Besise”, or people with fish scales. The description alluded to the fact that they were natural-born fisherfolk. Temuan villages are mostly found in Johor, Selangor, Malacca, Pahang and Negri Sembilan. The Mah Meri speak a language called Besise, which is a component of the Austro-Asiatic, Mon-Khmer language. These people were given a 1,000-acre reservation on Carey Island in 1966. With development of the island
The bridge (right) links Teluk Panglima Garang to Carey Island.
This long row of wired boulders acts as a wave breaker.
April 1 — 3, 2011
Nearby residents on Carey Island beach for a family picnic.
Take 5 minutes to fill this form up and drop it off at the nearest police station to have regular checks at your house while you are away. Ibu pejabat polIs Daerah subang jaya
Tel: 03-5637 3722 Fax: 03-5631 9815
Borang maklumaT Memaklumkan tentang meningalkan rumah kediaman untuk bercuti.
that spread from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Mah Meri were systematically alienated from the shoreline. Today, their three villages – Kampung Sungai Bumbun, Kampung Sungai Mata and Kampung Sungai Salang – are located within 320 acres of forest land. There are about 83 families in the three villages, with a total of 500 people, based on 2007 statistics. The villages are provided with clean water, tarred roads, electricity, a clinic and a school. Today, the Mah Meri are wellknown for their wooden artworks and carvings which reflect their beliefs in “ari muyang”, or mythological ancestors. The muyang are said to be supernatural beings who are called Orang Alus. The Mah Meri believe in the existence of the seven-layered dimension, in which humans occupy the sixth layer. They have their own shaman in their own villages, and honour the muyang on Ancestors’ Day, which is determined by the shaman who bases his calculation on the lunar movement. The length of Carey Island is about 12km. On a leisurely drive, it should not more than 15 minutes to get to the edge of the sandy beach on the far end. The two-lane straight road is relatively free of traffic except for the occasional car or a few passing motorcycles. There are long stretches of oil palm plantations. Somewhere on the island is the Carey Island Golf Club in the West Estate. At journey’s end on the
Kepada Kawasan pentadbiran balai polis
The narrow road inside the Mah Meri settlement.
.............................................................................................. BuTiran penduduk: nama: .................................................................................. alamat: ................................................................................. .............................................................................................. .............................................................................................. nombor telefon bimbit/kediaman: ........................................ nombor telefon yang boleh dihubungi: ................................ ..............................................................................................
sandy and slightly untidy stretch of shoreline, there is nothing but tiny pebbles and small heaps of debris, probably washed up by the waves. Ships can be seen sailing slowly across the horizon. Nobody swims here. The conditions are not suitable for such an activity. However, it is possible to collect shells. The rows of wired and stacked boulders along the upper reaches of the beach are there to break the waves Oil palm fruit ready for collection at a during high tides. plantation. The island has seen more than 150 years of slow changes, but indicate that something is brewing it has little to show for it. Recently, in terms of development. road projects from the direction of Perhaps Carey Island’s time has the bridge to the island seem to finally come.
tarikh meninggalkan rumah: ................................................ 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
The Mah Meri craft centre in Kampung Bumbun. A house half hidden by trees inside the aboriginal village.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
By Edwin Yapp
plenty of options for you to choose from. Arriving in Malaysia as recently as last week is the Taiwanese maker’s model called HTC Incredible S. The phone is equipped with a 1GHz processor, and 4-inch super LCD screen at 480 x 800 WVGA resolution, making it far clearer and brighter than its predecessors. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera with flash, and a 1.3-megapixel front camera 720p high-definition video recorder. The Incredible S has all the bells and whistles you could want from a smartphone. It is available for a limited time through a partnership with DiGi packages. As for the standalone handset, you’ll have to wait a little over a month more for it. The handset-only version of the Incredible S comes at a recommended retail price of RM1,999. Essentially a Google Nexus S, this smartphone has been brought in and is exclusively available through Maxis. The Nexus S is very similar to the Incredible S, but there are a few notable differences. The Nexus S does not sport high-definition video-recording capabilities; its front camera is only tagged at 5-megapixels, and it does not have a microSD expansion slot. However, the Nexus S has a feature known as NFC (near field communications), which is effectively a chip embedded within the device and used to support wireless micro payment in conjunction with payment operators such as Mastercard or Visa. The Nexus S can’t be officially found in Malaysia, though people have been known to go across the Causeway just to get one. Announced at the Consumer Electronic Show in January, the Arc is the Anglo-Japanese firm’s latest smartphone which should be available here sometime in April/May. Visually sleek and curvaceous to behold, the Arc boasts of being crafted from premium
Sony Ericsson Experia Arc Maxis (Google) Nexus S HTC Incredible S
here is no doubt that the world is embracing the smartphone more and more. Much of this successful adoption is due to the fact that smartphones are not only getting cheaper, but also because the number of models out in the market is growing at a furious pace. This phenomenon was first seen when Apple introduced the iPhone to the public in 2007. Since then, Apple has produced four iterations of the iPhone. Today, it’s a hugely popular phone. But the growth of smartphone adoption has also been driven by the rise of Google’s Android operating system. Just last month, Canalys, an analyst tracking the global smartphone market, reported that Android (33.3%) has now overtaken Symbian (31%) as the world’s bestselling platform in the last quarter of 2010, with Apple further back at 16% and BlackBerry at 14.6%. Here in Malaysia, this growth is being felt almost every quarter as mobile phone players begin introducing Android-based phones. This trend is expected to exacerbate as every major phone maker – HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung, Motorola – adopts Android as its core platform. Most of these phones come equipped with the Android version 2.2, also known as Froyo, with the exception of Google’s own phone, dubbed the Nexus S, which is equipped with Android version 2.3 codenamed Gingerbread. But for those of you contemplating buying an Android-based smartphone, don’t worry. Even if you opt for the 2.2 Froyo version, upgrades will become available later in the year. Android-based smartphones have come a long way since its introduction to the market two years ago, and I believe that it’s only going to get better as the days go by. In my next column, I will look further into two Android models that came out at the beginning of the year. For now, here’s a list of Android-based smartphones that arrived on our shores in the first quarter of the year, with
The HTC Incredible S.
materials and is only 8.7mm at the thinnest part of the phone. Coupled with a 4.2-inch multi-touch retina display (same as iPhone 4), 8.1-megapixel camera, and built-in HDMI connector, the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)-powered Arc is expected to be a hit. For those who are more cost-conscious but would still like to own an Android phone, try the LG Optimus One. At a recommended
LG Optimus One
retail price of just RM899, the Optimus sports a 3.2–inch HVGA LCD screen, 3-megapixel camera, 4GB of on board memory and expandable up to 32GB through a microSD card. Slightly older but still available on the market is Motorola’s Defy. Available via Maxis, the Defy has a 800MHz processor with 512MB of RAM and 2GB of on board storage. Memory can be upped to 32GB.
Hasan to remain MPKj president
CHERAS: Selangor has agreed to allow Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) president Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abd Rahman to continue his term. Executive councillor in charge of local government affairs Ronnie Liu said Hasan’s term officially ended last month. He said Hasan had reported to the Statistics Department of Malaysia on March 1, as instructed by the Public Services Commission. However, Liu said Hasan would like to continue working in MPKj to complete his plans such as the Kajang Square project, which is 30% complete. Selangor has asked Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan to reappoint Hasan. “He should be able to return to the local council once he receives the re-appointment letter from the Chief Secretary,” said
By Chong Loo Wah
Liu after launching Taman Suntex in Batu 9 Cheras as Zon Bersih on Sunday. Meanwhile, Liu expressed hope that the state’s 12 local councils would be strong contenders for a five-star rating in the annual national competition organised by the Housing and Local Government Ministry. He said five out of the 11 most outstanding councils chosen last year were from Selangor. Subang Jaya Municipal Council finished second, while Petaling Jaya City Council was placed third, with Kuala Lumpur City Hall taking top spot. However, all the 11 winners only received a four-star rating. They were rated for their service quality and efficiency, among others. “We hope they will continue to improve their performances, and at least one of them can achieve a five-star rating,” Liu said.
‘Green’ day at Sunway for Earth Hour
PETALING JAYA: On March 26, millions of people across the globe switched off their lights for an hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, collectively taking a stand against climate change and demonstrating that every individual counts in altering the course of a warming planet. Sunway Pyramid participated in this worldwide initiative by organising a full “green” day leading up to Earth Hour. Outside the Orange Entrance, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia Bazaar added a splash of colour with four booths selling WWF t-shirts, reusable shopping bags, SMK Bandar Sunway’s handmade handicraft, and Sunway Pyramid’s newly launched Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) trolley bags. Throughout the mall, huge pledge boards were located on all levels urging shoppers to pledge to switch off all non-essential lights during Earth Hour and to take small actions towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Before Earth Hour began, there was a one-minute moment of silence in memory of the recent tsunami-quake in Japan where many lives were lost and properties destroyed. Earth Hour was officiated by Sunway Pyramid chief executive officer HC Chan, chief operating officer Kevin Tan, WWF Malaysia executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma, Rina Omar from 8tv Quickie, and RED.fm deejays Jeremy Teo, Mynn and Linora. The event was attended by the media and members of the public. During Earth Hour, candles were lit and members of the public joined in the “Dance in the Dark”, led by dancers from WWF Malaysia with support from local colleges. This was followed by a wayang kulit performance titled Empty Earth by the Tree Theatre Group, which incorporated the songs Tears of Trees and Heal the World. A reprise of the “Dance in the Dark” featured the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which was appropriate given Sunway Pyramid’s iconic lion. Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam, which consists of young percussionists aged 10 to 18, wrapped up Earth Hour with beats played using recycled items such as plastic bottles, pots, pans, basins and plastic bags.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
Leo the Lion with Earth Hour participants.
Other green initiatives by Sunway Pyramid besides Earth Hour and BYOB trolley bags include the Go Green with Leo programme running from March 29 to July 27, where Sunway Pyramid mascot Leo the Lion will visit five kindergartens to instill the value of green living by teaching children everyday green habits.
Lights off in Carrefour stores
Good turnout at I&P event
Low (kneeling, second from left) with other participants celebrating Earth Hour.
By Brenda Ch’ng
PETALING JAYA: Darkness swept through Tropicana City Mall as all non-essential lights in Carrefour and other stores were switched off to mark Earth Hour last Saturday. At 8.30pm, Carrefour Malaysia joined 377 world organisations in switching off 30% of all lights and electrical equipment, including public announcement systems, at all 25 Carrefour stores throughout the country for an hour. “Though Earth Hour is a yearly [event] which only happens once a year, Carrefour always makes it a priority to make customers aware of the impor- Children of Rumah Hope. tance of conserving energy,” said Low Ngai Yuen. refour Malaysia and Singapore. Low is the marketing and With the distribution of communications director of Car- pamphlets, announcements and
notices in all Carrefour stores, Low expressed hope that the concept of Earth Hour would be made known and instilled in the minds of customers who visit their stores daily. To add value to the Earth Day cause, Carrefour Malaysia held an hour-long sales special by giving discounts and exchanging energy-saving bulbs with customers’ old bulbs. The younger generation were also educated on the importance of conserving energy. Orphans of Rumah Hope made paraded around the shopping centre en route to Carrefour, carrying paper lanterns which they had decorated and coloured themselves. Low said Carrefour Malaysia would strive to make Earth Hour a major event for years to come.
SRI PETALING: Thousands of potential house buyers thronged Island and Peninsular Group Sdn Bhd’s (I&P) Mad About Homes 2011 launch here over the weekend. I&P, which put up almost RM340 million worth of properties for sale, saw brisk sales during the two-day event. Besides door gifts, prospective buyers were treated to a good spread of refreshments and food throughout the event. Besides residential property, the sales included three- and four-storey shop offices and deluxe apartments in
the Klang Valley. The I&P properties on sale were located in its Bandar Kinrara township, Alam Impian and Bandar Baru Seri Petaling. I&P is one of Malaysia’s leading developers with vast experience and a strong track record. It was formed in May 2009 following a merger and rationalisation exercise between Island & Peninsular Sdn Bhd, Petaling Garden Sdn Bhd and Pelangi Sdn Bhd. The group has won The Edge’s Top Property Developers awards for seven straight years since 2004.
Potential house buyers at the I&P launch.
APRIL 1 — 3, 2011
Madeline Ashlee Lok, 16, presenting an instrumental performance on the Chinese zither or gu zheng during the Subang Jaya Talent Quest last Sunday (March 27). She won second runnerup, which included a cash prize of RM1,000.
Young participants holding candles during Earth Hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on March 26 at Sunway Pyramid.
Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei (left) and Selayang Member of Parliament William Leong handing out contributions to single mothers during a function to celebrate International Women’s Day in Rawang last Sunday. About 80 single mothers received staple items such as cooking oil, rice and other household goods. Since Pakatan Rakyat took over Selangor in 2008, the number of single mothers who have registered with the state has increased from 1,500 to 26,000.
Ampang Member of Parliament Zuraida Kamaruddin checking out the rubbish problem during a visit to the Kampung Tasik Permai housing estate last Friday (March 25). During the three-hour visit, Zuraida identified issues raised during a dialogue session held on March 11, and said she would bring it up to local councillors at the next Ampang Jaya Municipal Council meeting.
Multiracial dance group Resurrection in a zombie-inspired performance á la Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The girls, aged between 12 and 17, bagged first runner-up in the Subang Jaya Talent Quest held at Sunway Pyramid’s main concourse last Sunday.
April 1 — 3, 2011
SINGAPOREAN Alfian Sa’at’s play Madu II was first staged in the island republic in 1998, and was presented in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 as part of the double-bill Bulan Madu with Anak Bulan di Kampung Wa’ Hassan, supported by the National Arts Council Singapore and Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka. Now theatergoers will again be able to catch the tale of two wives living under one roof when The Actors Studio Kuala Lumpur presents Madu II at Lot 10. In this email interview with Selangor Times, Alfian tells us more about the influences behind his polygamous tale, and what’s coming up next for this thirty-three year-old poet, playwright and author. What was the inspiration behind Madu II? When I first started writing Malay theatre, I wanted to document some of the losses faced by the Malay community in Singapore. As part of my research, I started watching films made during the Golden Age of Malay cinema, many of which were produced in Singapore. One of these was P Ramlee’s classic Madu Tiga, which was about a man who secretly marries other women without his first wife’s knowledge. The film was of course very funny, and the protagonist was served his comeuppance at the end. But I was also struck by how the film was told primarily through the men’s point of view, and indeed it’s every straight man’s fantasy to have all these lovely women bickering over him. I wondered how the story might have been different if I subtracted the man from the setup and told it from the perspective of two women married to the same man. Along the way, the play evolved into a critique of patriarchal practices. But in the spirit of the film, the play is still very much a comedy. I have to say this because some people think that feminism is rather grim and humourless! The play might use polygamy as its premise, but I’m quite certain that the issues that it deals with are pretty universal. One of these issues is of course that of women’s experiences under patriarchy. How much agency and autonomy do women have when laws are written by men? And how do they form bonds of solidarity and resist being manipulated into situations of rivalry? How have people responded to stagings of Madu II? I think it’s generated some interesting discussions, like for example, on P Ramlee’s legacy. Some people think that Madu Tiga should not be considered a sexist film, because it was a product of its time; Hollywood was hardly more enlightened back then in its treatment of the sexes. So I think that’s quite a productive debate, because one can also shift this same argument to the practice of polygamy – on whether it, too, is a “product of its time”. I’m not comfortable with the idea that certain practices should be preserved in perpetuity when it is very clear that society has changed. One of the more interesting responses to the play, I believe, was an SMS that was sent to the director. I don’t know who the sender was, but he (or she) said something to the effect of “don’t
Compiled by Nick Choo & Zedeck Siew
Theatre; The Actors Studio @ Lot 10; April 6-10, 2011; RM33 / RM23; 03-21422009 / 21432009; www.theactorsstudio. com.my
POLYGAMY. WE hear about it, we read about it, and sometimes we are told what to think about it, but too often we hear only the stories of men. What is it like to be a madu (co-wife) in a modern world where the rights of women are, at least in principle, the same as men? Writer U-En Ng, in his directorial debut, will be leading the audience to contemplate the extent of polygamy in Malaysia and the controversial issues that revolve around it. How does a madu live her life knowing that the man she loves exclusively does not love her in the same way? And what of two wives who live under the same roof, sharing only the love for the same man and little else? Are they empowered? Are they condemned? Or are they entirely something different, beyond our understanding? Alfian Sa’at’s Madu II is contains the quiet hopes, shattered dreams, compromised joys, and the honest humanity, of many women who live in polygamous households. “It is at once breathtaking as it is heartbreaking, uproarious in its humour, pathos, and outrage.” Featuring real-life sisters Elza Irdalynna and Inessa Irdayanty; in Malay with English surtitles.
Exhibition; House of Matahati, Ampang; March 19-April 9, 2011; free admission; 03-9285 6004; houseofmatahati.blogspot.com
Superstar painter Bayu Utomo Radjikin is best known for figurative work: portraits that channel the Malay warrior archetype. This latest show takes a slightly different track. CINTAKASIH is a series of 10 charcoal drawings and four paintings that take the classical Odissi dancer as its subject, “the artist’s first serious attempt at representing the fairer sex”. Also featuring the work of figurative painters Marvin Chan and Kow Leong Kiang, with curatorial essay by Anurendra Jegadeva.
THEATrE / DANCE
Dance; Sutra Dance Theatre; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; April 6-10, 2011; RM53 / RM33; 03-40479000; www.klpac.org
Featuring works from contemporary Odissi choreographers Sharmila Biswas (Kolkata), Madhavi Mudgal (New Delhi), and Ramli Ibrahim and Guna (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Comprising three dance performances – Evocations, Pallavan and Kamala – each drawing upon and and inspired by the Odissi tradition, one of the most dynamic Indian classical dance styles. “One takes us back to its folk and rural tradition of games and drums; another moves us beyond to the experimental, creating new works with compelling images and messages.”
example, and I think you’d find more differences between a Johorean Malay and a Kelantanese than that of a Johorean and Singaporean Malay. That said, what I’m most excited about when doing a Malay play in Kuala Lumpur is the potential of reaching out to non-Malays who can access the language. In Singapore, we’re so used to yoking language and ethnicity together that it’s always refreshing to see non-Malays understanding the language and bringing their own cultural perspectives into their engagement with the play. Of course we’ll also have English surtitles, but having an audience that knows the language makes the play less of some kind of ethnographic showcase. question Islam”. The Malay word was used, which is “mempertikaikan”. And we know that’s the favourite word of various kinds of rightwingers, so you’ll hear phrases like “jangan mempertikaikan ketuanan Melayu”, for example. I have to make it clear that it’s not possible to “question Islam”, or any religion for that matter. That’s just a rhetorical statement. What one questions is the interpretation of religious doctrine, and its implementation by fallible human beings. When Madu II was first staged in Malaysia, were you concerned about the potential reaction of certain quarters who might deem the subject too controversial for Malaysian, especially Malay, sensibilities? It’s always a fun cultural exercise to compare Malaysian and Singapore Malays, but sometimes I’m afraid it’s just that: an exercise, more theoretical than borne out in practice. I find very few differences, actually, between urban Malays on both sides of the Causeway. We consume the same kinds of pop culture, for What are you currently working on that audiences can look forward to? I’m working on a play, to be directed by Jo Kukathas, and to be performed later in Singapore in June. She’ll be rehearsing with an all-Malaysian cast, and the play is called Parah. It’s a kind of mash-up of Yasmin Ahmad’s final film, Talentime, as well as Abdullah Hussain’s novel Interlok. I thought it would make an interesting juxtaposition between Yasmin’s idealistic “cinema muhibbah” and a novel that is causing such a firestorm currently. The title is of course, an allusion to the P-word, and I’m fascinated by the kinds of contestations that can occur over this single word. It sounds ridiculous on paper to wrangle over, of all things, a word, but of course it’s not just an argument on semantics. It’s also about history, cultural stereotypes, the rights of the artist and the rights of minority communities to be protected from offence. I felt I just had to write the play, because I’ve always been, and still am, fascinated by the multiple realities that exist in a plural country like Malaysia.
Theatre; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; March 30-April 3, 2011; RM15 / RM23 / RM33; 03-40479000; www.klpac.org
“An urban comedy with over 30 characters that reflect the realities of city life.” Two construction workers are going about their business when they hear tapping sounds that turn out to be Morse code. They start searching for the source of the signal until they reach a strange apartment occupied by even stranger people: a mystery man, a lonely artist, a nightclub girl and more. Directed by KLPac resident director Kimmy Kiew, written by Japanese playwright Yoichi Kobiyama. Performed in Mandarin with English surtitles.
LAT Kampung Boy: Sebuah Musikal
Musical; Tall Order Productions; Istana Budaya; March 16-April 3, 2011; RM40; www.istanabudaya.gov.my
A star-studded musical-theatre take of cartoonist Lat’s beloved Kampung Boy and Town Boy – graphic novels about growing up in rural Perak and Ipoh in the national adolescence of the 1960s. This stage adaptation doesn’t really capture the tone of the books – simultaneously funny, optimistic and quietly filled with pathos – but still manages to be an entertaining romp. Final shows this weekend. Featuring Awie (as Lat), Atilia, Datuk Rahim Razali, Douglas Lim, and Sandra Sodhy. Music by Michael Veerapen and choreography by Pat Ibrahim.
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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