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selaNgor 3rd aNNiversary supplemeNt
Councillors want JKR to act
No eNd to water woes?
March 11 — 13, 2011/ issue 15
ACP Mohamad: Will increase car patrols between 2am and 5am.
By Basil Foo
port KlaNg: Police will step up patrols in neighbourhoods here following requests from residents who have been living in fear. “We will increase car patrols between 2am and 5am because breakins often occur around 4am,” said Police Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop. Last week, Selangor Times reported the community’s claim that there were 40 break-ins in the vicinity of Jalan Kastam. These included an incident where two residents were injured. The South Klang police chief met residents last Saturday to allay their fears and promised to beef up police presence in the neighbourhood of about 1,000 households. At a dialogue organised by Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago, police assured residents that more officers would be stationed there in shifts. The beat bases would consist of umbrella stands, as these could be easily packed up once the police officers complete their shifts. “We don’t want to use permanent structures as beat bases despite requests because they can be defaced and vandalised when officers leave,” he said. Additional efforts to galvanise residents include the promotion of the “Rakan Cop” programme and the formation of a residents’ committee to liaise with police. “The formation of the committee should reduce crimes as previously, a high crime area in Seri Perantau improved after we focused our efforts there,” said Mohamad. “Usually when we focus on one area, another area will flare up. That’s probably what happens with this area, which had fewer complaints two months ago,” he added.
Residents at the dialogue with police.
Police step up patrols in Klang
About 200 residents attended the dialogue with several victims relating their experiences. John Aruldass reported an increase in crime over the past several months at his home on Jalan Tengku Badar, with his neighbours’ houses being broken into daily. “I faced an attempted break-in myself, along with an attempt to steal my car, and an assault by several people armed with metal rods,” said the 46-year-old secretarial officer. “My neighbours and I have also been harassed by two flashers in the area,” he said. Aruldass said he did not report the incidents due to insufficient evidence. A resident who only wanted to be known as Joanne faced a traumatic experience in which she fell unconscious after being hit with a crowbar. She woke up to find her sister’s head bleeding after being hit with a baseball bat, and her brother tied up. “Police called me to identify the robbers from a lineup, but I could not recognise them,” said the clerk, who lives on Jalan Damar Minyak. A resident who lives behind the nearby Tshing Nian school was at work when her neighbour called to report knocking and sawing noises from the roof of her house. “I drove home with my two daughters and though we were afraid, we went into the house with some sticks but found no one,” said Li Choo, 39. The flight attendant still worries for her safety as she suspects the criminals could have covered up a hole in her roof and might return at night to enter her house. Residents from the affected areas, including Jalan Kastam, Jalan Tengku Badar and Jalan Gelam, will form a committee to liaise with police. Residents’ committee pro-tem chairperson Francis Cruz plans to share ideas with police on how residents can help prevent crime. “We also have received RM1,000 from Klang councillors Robert Choo and S. Selvadurai to kick-start activities,” he said. Santiago commended police for responding immediately after the issue was highlighted in the press. “I was told that policemen came to the neighbourhood soon after the story was published and distributed contact numbers to residents,” he said. He urged residents to co-operate with police and foster better ties with their neighbours. “People have to be more vigilant and call or SMS each other when they see any suspicious activity or hear noises,” he said. He said the committee would follow up commitments made by police and communicate with them daily. “The committee will meet police under Inspector Shukri monthly and the police chief every three months,” he added.
March 11 — 13, 2011
Friday Saturday Sunday
Third reading of FOI bill tabled in March sitting
By Gan Pei Ling
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
No plans to ban gambling in Selangor
SHAH ALAM: Selangor does not plan to impose a blanket ban on gambling, said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday. “We’ve not discuss anything on the subject, neither do we plan to introduce anything new,” Khalid told the press after chairing the executive council meeting. Hotline Khalid had made the comment in the wake of the recent controversy MBSA surrounding Kelantan’s 2003-5510 5133 year gambling ban. MPSJ Kelantan’s statewide no03-8026 3131 g ambling polic y came under fire from political MPK parties from both sides of 03-3375 5555 the divide after it was MBPJ reported that the Kota 03-7956 3544 Bharu Municipal Council had raided two bookshops MDHS and summoned the premise 03-6064 1331 owners who were selling MDKL lottery tickets illegally. 03-3187 2732 MCA had described the gambling ban as an MDKS infring ement on non03-3289 1439 / 6311 Muslims’ “right” to gamble MDSB while DAP chairperson 03-3224 1655 / 1000 Karpal Singh had urged Kelantan to lift its 20-year MPAJ ban. 03-4296 8000 Pas has defended its MPKj blanket ban on gambling on 03-8737 0112 the grounds that not just Islam, but all major religions MPS oppose gambling. 03-6120 3127 / 2126 Pakatan Rakyat leaders MPSepang are expected to meet to 03-8319 0200 / 0300 lo o k for an am icable solution on the issue.
SHAH ALAM: Selangor will table the final draft of its Freedom of Information (FOI) bill at the upcoming state assembly sitting from March 28 to April 5. When asked about possible amendments to the FOI bill on Wednesday, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said he has yet to see the final draft. Selangor made history last July when it became the first state to table the FOI enactment, which is expected to strengthen the public’s right to access information held by the state and its agencies. The implementation of the bill is also supposed to promote transparency and accountability among the state’s institutions. However, civil societies have criti-
cised the bill as lacking in substance and creating unnecessary red tape for the public to access information. For example, the public is required to pay a fee to seek information, but the FOI bill did not stipulate the amount. In addition, the public must provide a reason for accessing information. They could be fined up to RM50,000 if they were to use the information for other reasons. One of the clauses in the bill also states that the application for information is deemed rejected if there is no response to the application within 30 days, or seven days for matters of life and death. Khalid acknowledged that the FOI bill has been “watered down” to prevent potential conflict over information which the state and the federal government both have control over.
Under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the federal government can classify any documents as “secret”. Concerns have been raised that the state’s FOI bill would clash with the OSA. “But we’ve been very open,” said Khalid, adding that the FOI select committee has invited interested parties to provide their feedback on the bill. Chaired by Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib, other FOI select committee members include Hannah Yeoh (Subang Jaya), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Seri Setia), Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (Sijangkang) and Amirudin Shari (Batu Caves). “Most likely, if it’s for the best of the bill, it will be amended accordingly,” assured Khalid. He said he was very eager to see the new changes that have been made to the final draft.
Free insurance coverage for village chiefs
Village chiefs such as those from Pandamaran new village stand to get free insurance cover soon.
By Basil Foo
phone (603) 5523 2288 fax (603) 5523 1188 email firstname.lastname@example.org
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR WRITERS
Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil Foo, Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin, Alvin Yap COPY EDITORS Nick Choo, James Ang
Jimmy C. S. Lim Victor Chong Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi
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SHAH ALAM: The state is providing free Takaful insurance coverage of up to RM30,000 for all village chiefs in Selangor in recognition of their contribution. Village heads from traditional Malay kampongs, Chinese new villages, Indian communities as well as Orang Asli villages are expected to benefit from the scheme. “The duties and commitments of village chiefs have increased these day. “So this is a sign of appreciation from the state for the sacrifices and contribution they’ve made,” said executive councillor Dr Yaakob Sapari on Wednesday. Compensation will be provided to the village chiefs in the event of death, accidental death, permanent disability,
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disability due to accident, and critical illness. The scheme also covers the funeral costs of the village chiefs’ families, including their wives and children.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 3
Two-decade wait for CFs over
RAWANG: After a wait of almost 20 years, homeowners at Taman Kanching Jaya were all smiles after receiving their Certificates of Fitness (CFs) from the local council last Saturday, March 5. The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) had refused to issue the CFs because the developer, Pembangunan Serendah Sdn Bhd, had not built a playground in the housing estate as specified in the original development plan. Ramanujam Naidu Velood, 53, who was among those who first bought the houses, said although the playground had yet to be fully upgraded, the residents were glad they had finally received their certificates. The 98 homeowners had moved in despite the lack of CFs. “Without [it], we would have trouble claiming insurance if anything were to happen to our house,” said Ramanujam. Selayang MP William Leong, Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei, Sepang councillor Sabri Mohd Taib, and representatives from MPS were also present at the event. Leong and Gan said they were working with residents and the land office to resolve other long-standing land issues in the constituency, particularly in Batu Arang, Kundang and Kampung Sg Bakau. Leong added that the state aims to issue around 100,000 land titles to deserving settlers in Selangor in the next two years. They also took note of complaints about potholes, faulty streetlights, and other concerns raised by residents’ associations from nearby areas who were also invited to the event to have a dialogue with the authorities.
March 11 — 13, 2011
Gan has been working with residents and the land office.
Ramanujam (left) receiving his CF from Gan.
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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 5
march 11 — 13, 2011
Councillors urge JKR to act
From left: Loka Ng Sai Kai, Tai Chin Heng, Ng and Keshminder showing the complaint letters to the media on Wednesday.
By Alvin Yap
SUBANG JAYA: Local municipal councillors here are urging the Public Works Department ( JKR) to improve roads in Serdang Raya for the sake of public safety. Councillor Ng Sze Han said JKR should act without further delay before accidents occur. The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has bore the brunt of public complaints – 20 in the last three years – but their hands remain tied because the roads, including Jalan Utama, Serdang, is under JKR’s jurisdiction. “We can’t use MPSJ’s funds to maintain the road,” Ng said during the press conference. Ng alleged on Wednesday that among the main complaints were missing manhole covers and potholes. He also denied claims by former Serdang Member of Parliament Datuk Yap Pian Hon that MPSJ councillors were neglecting their responsibilities with regard to the road condition of Jalan Utama. Ng said JKR was the one “not taking responsibility” for the maintenance of the road and streetlights on Jalan Utama. Councillor Keshminder Singh
also said he was “frustrated” over the public works department’s lack of response over complaints concerning the road conditions. “They ( JKR) always say that they don’t have the budget,” said Keshminder, who added that the agency should have applied for allocation
for the upcoming year to make repairs. “As councillors, we want lights to be installed, we want the roads to be maintained for people’s safety and security,” he said. “Why is the federal government holding back the money? If the
funding is not coming, why? And who is it that is cutting the money off ?” he asked, saying that the condition of Jalan Utama could cause “unnecessary” accidents. The councillors said the public could not differentiate whether the road was under JKR or MPSJ re-
sponsibility, but said they would pass the complaints on to the relevant federal authorities. The councillors, Keshminder added, want to meet JKR officials to get a briefing on the situation and also to forward the complaints from Serdang residents.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2010 ⁄ 7
Move to keep Taman Melawati clean
MPAJ vice-president Hamid Hussain (left) and Saari signing on a banner to launch the campaign while Yazid (centre) looks on.
By Basil Foo
KUALA LUMPUR: Residents and shop owners of Taman Melawati must start using private rubbish bins by March 21 or risk being fined. “Although a provision in the law requires them to have rubbish bins, many residents do not have one,” said Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) councillor Yazid Alias. This has led to more litter in drains and makeshift dumps under trees, made worse by patrons to the three bazaars in the area. He said MPAJ planned to close rubbish collection facilities, or “rumah sampan”, due to their failure to stop outsiders from dumping their rubbish there. “ We used to find industrial and construction waste dumped at the facilities which were only meant to hold rubbish from the bazaars and food stalls,” said Yazid, who was launching a cleanliness campaign
at a bazaar along Jalan Negara last week. “Through this three-week-long campaign, we aim to increase the public’s awareness with flyers and banners, and change their attitude with community programmes,” he said. Alam Flora also sponsored 10 bins at the event, which will be put at locations deemed to be hotspots for rubbish dumping. “Enforcement by MPAJ will ensure the campaign’s success. We will start issuing compounds after March 21,” Yazid added. The event was also attended by Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib, who gave away prizes for children’s colouring contests and awards for the cleanest food stalls. “Gotong-royong activities will be held through surau committees and residential associations, along with concerts, futsal, and paintball for the youngsters,” said Saari. Rahmat Mad Dom, a winner of the clean stall award, agreed with the council’s move to shut down rubbish collection facilities.
Financial education the way forward for women
By Brenda Ch’ng
SHAH ALAM: The state government is prioritising educating women on financial security, in light of the alarming increase in abuse and divorce cases victimising women. “The problem we face with single mothers is that they do not know how to survive by themselves because they are shielded from the financial world and are clueless about financial security,” said Rodziah Ismail at a ceremony commemorating the 100th International Women’s Day on Tuesday. According to the executive councillor for welfare, women’s affairs, science, technology and innovation, the number of single moth-
ers registered in the Single Mother’s Portal Selangor rose from 4,000 to 26,000 entries as of last year. “All these single mothers in the system are confirmed by Jakim to be either a victim of abuse, divorce or death,” she said. According to Rodziah, empowering women to ensure their financial security is a big challenge as the lack of education has prevented women from becoming more aware of the importance of money and their rights as wives. As such, Selangor has launched schemes like Mikro Kredit (MiMBAR) and gender budgeting, which includes not only women but also disabled groups and children.
Councillor denies targeting illegal factory
By Alvin Yap
March 11 — 13, 2011
PETALING JAYA: A Petaling Jaya c ouncil lor ha s ref ute d allegations that an illegal factory in Kampung Cempaka was being singled out for demolition. On Tuesday, factor y owner Lam Chen Yon, 61, accuse d councillor Cynthia Gabriel of “selectively” targeting his factory,
and dramatically threatened to set himself on fire in front of police and Petaling Jaya City Council enforcement officers in a bid to stop his four-storey commercial building in Kampung Chempaka Chinese new village from being demolished. The council has issued three stopwork orders in the past three years to the furniture factory, and even
offered to compromise with the owner to have only one of its four floors demolished, after which the council would help “regulate” the business operations. “This family and their factory wasn’t targeted selectively. It’s MBPJ ’s job to control illegal buildings from sprouting up,” said councillor Cynthia Gabriel (pix) on Wednesday.
Aid for Malay entrepreneurs
SHAH ALAM: Selangor will continue to render assistance to Malay entrepreneurs in all sectors in the state. “The state has channelled RM3 million in allocation to entrepreneurs in the small and medium industry from the Small Industry Fund,” said Dr Yaakob Sapari. The state executive councillor for entrepreneur development said the fund was created to help them purchase equipment or machinery to increase
WD_SATA6_SelangorTimes_r2.ai 1 3/9/11 5:44 PM
their productivity. However, Yaakob said the funds are only awarded to those who qualify and who have been in business for at least two years. “Almost 350 entrepreneurs have succeeded in expanding their businesses and increase their sales revenue since this policy was introduced,” he said in a statement. He said the ultimate aim of the programme is to help entrepreneurs be competitive.
Lam’s son, Chee Hoong, also made the same accusation. At the stand-off on Tuesday, Lam tried to set himself on fire after dousing himself with kerosene. Policeman managed to snatch the kerosene-filled container before Lam could pour more kerosene on himself. Cynthia said the owner had not submitted design and architectural plans to the council and had ignored their orders as he continued to expand the size of the factory. MBPJ Building Control Department deput y director Ismathinoon Abdul Rahman and MBPJ legal assistant Mohd Yusof Che Aziz were also present at the scene. Cynthia said thugs were hurling insults at her. “I was a bit worried for my safety,” she said, adding that the thugs unfurled banners which described her as “incompassionate and mean”. The college lecturer and former non-governmental organisation leader said she “regretted” that the owner had resorted to harming
himself to stop the demolition. Many of the building s in Kampung Cempaka, Cynthia added, had illegal extensions and were run as factories. She said residents in the new village had forwarded complaints to the council as the building in question was operating in the midst of residential lots. The illegal extensions have also blocked the drains and road shoulders to the anger of residents there. “The owner is being cited under Act 133 on the illegal construction and usage of his premises,” Cynthia said. She said MBPJ would meet Lam in two weeks’ time, adding that the council was willing to reach a compromise to settle the matter amicably.
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No end to water woes
By Gan Pei Ling
march 11 — 13, 2011
puchong: Residents of Ruvena Villa Apartment entered their second week without water as a group attempts to solve the problem with another group suspicious of its motives. Clerk Sani Awang, 44, has recruited volunteers to help collect outstanding arrears, but some residents of the 22 blocks of apartments at Taman Putra Perdana are questioning the legitimacy of collecting such a huge sum of money. “We are just trying to solve the problem,” Sani told Selangor Times, adding that the apartment’s management company, LT Sdn Bhd, owed Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) more than RM300,000. Bypassing LT, Sani said they had reached an agreement directly with Syabas to reconnect their water supply if residents could pay half of the outstanding amount and settle the remainder in instalments. Syabas corporate affairs executive director Halem Mat Som confirmed that his company had reached such an agreement with Ruvena Villa residents. However, some residents are sceptical of Sani’s intention. One of them lodged a police report on Tuesday, alleging that some residents had been harassed into paying their overdue bills.
“Who appointed Sani and his group of people to collect money? ... How do we know for sure if the money will go to Syabas?” asked Alice Nurulzila, 35. Alice, who was among four residents who highlighted their plight to Selangor Times last week, pointed out that the receipts issued did not have an official stamp from Syabas. The insurance agent also claimed some of the “volunteers” had been knocking on the residents’ doors, asking them to pay up. “Some of them are acting like gangsters,” she alleged, adding that residents were living in fear. Alice said she had gone to the state government’s office on Tuesday to seek help to intervene as an independent third party. This is not the first time water supply at Ruvena Villa, with around 800 occupied units, has been cut. In November 2010, Syabas reconnected their supply after the residents collected about RM30,000 and agreed to pay the remaining arrears in instalments. However, Syabas cut off the supply two weeks ago when monthly instalments were not serviced as agreed. Sani claimed they had obtained from LT the list of people and the amount they owed, and that they were taking the initiative to collect the outstanding amount to pay Syabas so that the residents could get
Desperate residents getting water from a fire hydrant. Inset: Receipts without Syabas’ official stamp or letterhead.
their water back soon. He said they had collected about RM20,000 from 153 people since last Thursday. He said there were around 100 units with outstanding arrears of over RM500, with some as high as RM4,800, and that the combined arrears of these 100 units was
about RM120,000. He further said they were trying to initiative similar initiatives in neighbouring apartments that were facing similar problems. Meanwhile, desperate apartment residents of Taman Putra Perdana will have to continue resorting to various measures to get water, in-
cluding taking showers at highway rest stops and drawing supply from fire hydrants and petrol stations. Despite staying in Selangor, these residents do not enjoy the 20 cubic metre free water from the state and are being charged RM1.38 per cubic metre by LT, which then pays the lump sum collected to Syabas.
Know Your Councillor: Lee Khai Loon
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
Automatic release does not infringe Bumiputera interest
shah alam: The automatic release of Bumiputera real estate quota, announced by the state recently, will not negate the interest of the Bumiputera community. Executive councillor for housing Iskandar Samad issued this statement following criticism of the implementation of this mechanism. “According to this new rules, automatic release of the Bumiputera quota can be given once the development of the project at the site has reached 50%, 75% and 100% completion,” he said. Even though it is automatic, the developers have to apply to the Selangor Housing and Real Estate Board (LPHS). “However, if the developers do not receive a reply within the set time, they will get automatic release for the allowed percentage,” Iskandar explained. LPHS has to reply within seven working days for each application. “For 50% completion, the release is 20% from the balance amount of the quota. For 75% completion, it is 30% from the balance amount of the quota; and for 100% completion, it is also 30% from the balance amount of the quota,” he added. If the developers find they are still unable to sell the Bumiputera quota six months after receiving the certificate of fitness, they can apply for release of all their Bumiputera quota from a special committee. “This committee will be chaired by myself as the executive councillor for housing, and we will make the decision within 14 working days from the date of application,” said Iskandar. With this measure in place, the developers cannot sell the Bumiputera quota as they see fit because they still have to refer to the state. Release is only automatic if the state fails to respond within the specified time. In preparing this release mechanism, the Menteri Besar and state executive councillors have frequently met with the developers’ representative, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda). This has drawn questions from certain parties on why the state only negotiated with Rehda when this mechanism also affects the Bumiputera community such as non-governmental organisations and respected individuals. “As a matter of fact, the state always had an engagement with these people. Their views are not ignored. This mechanism took into account every party’s views,” Iskandar clarified.
selayang: The most recent complaint received by second-term Selayang Municipal councillor Lee Khai Loon (pix) concerns the traffic congestion near SKJ(C) Desa Jaya. “SKJ(C) Desa Jaya is the biggest Chinese vernacular school in Malaysia with over 4,000 students. The amount of traffic during school hours due to parents dropping off or picking up their children is staggering,” he says. Residents near the school have been complaining about the traffic congestion, and the solution Lee and MPS have reached is to come up with one-way roads and new traffic arrangements. Apart from this, other common problems he faces are potholes in the roads, issues with street lights, and garbage collection. “For these, I will contact the contractor and enquire why the problems have not been taken care of, and I make sure the contractors comply and handle the complaints,” he says. Lee adds that he is able to help ratepayers in three ways. “The first is by making policies that will benefit the residents. The second is by solving their problems when they come to complain.
Lastly, by organising community programmes to help strengthen the relationship between the community and council.” Lee is in charge of Desa Jaya, Desa Aman Puri, Bukit Desa, Usaha Jaya, Sri Ehsan, Ehsan Jaya, Taman Perindustrian Tago and Puncak Desa. A political activist, he hopes there will be a local council election so that the community will get more involved with their local council. Lee, who is single, says despite his work in his political party and as a councillor, he still has some free time for his hobbies, which are jogging and travelling.
March 11 — 13, 2011
Subang Jaya Buddhist Association is conducting an introduction to Buddhism course every Friday from 8.30pm to 10pm at the temple at Lot 12593, Jalan Kewajipan SS 13, Subang Jaya. The course will run for nine consecutive weeks. The course started on Feb 25 and will end on April 22. Everyone is welcome to attend. For details, contact Lily at 03-56348181.
Residents worried about traffic snarls
By Gan Pei Ling
Youth baking classes
The House of Bread offers baking courses for youths who seek skills training. The training also includes Moral and English classes. For details, call 0163178778 or 016-3435478.
Create your own bonsai masterpiece by attending the Malaysia Bonsai and Suiseki Society’s series of Sunday workshops at the society’s clubhouse at 95, Jalan Rukun 5, Taman Gembira (Happy Garden) 58200 Kuala Lumpur. Lessons will be conducted by experienced bonsai masters at 10am every Sunday for eight weeks. Call Ms Lim at 012-6140379 for registration.
In conjunction with the Malaysian Grand Prix, Metrojaya will kick off its Mega Sale at all Metrojaya departments today till April 15. Men will enjoy discounts of 50%-70% on Ashworth and Renoma Polo tee shirts and 50% on office wear by Daniel Hechter, Orlando, Charles Monsier and many more. There will also be RM40 gift vouchers with purchases of RM150 from participating brands. Similarly ladies can enjoy good discounts on beauty products from brands such as Estee Lauder, Lancome, Dior, Clarins, Clinique, Channel and lots more. For more details check out wwwmetrojaya.com.my
The Department of Extra-Mural Studies, Malaysian Institute of Arts (MIA), is having a series of workshops in the coming school holidays. They are Intensive Clay Workshop for Instructors (March 14-18), Super Memory and Study Skills Workshop for Secondary Students (March 15), Creative Designer Animal Plush Sewing Workshop (March 19), Batik Workshop for Beginners (March 20-April10), and Bead Jewellery Workshop (March 26). The workshops will be held at the MIA Art Centre on Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur (near KLCC). For registration, contact MIA Art Centre at 03-21632337, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to MIA’s website at www.mia.edu.my.
kota damansara: About 30 residents’ associations leaders from around Kota Damansara have expressed concern that traffic congestion in their areas will worsen once the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project kicks off in July. They are supporting a joint petition, spearheaded mainly by the Bandar Utama RA and Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) RA, for the MRT stations affecting their areas to be built underground. The residents made their point at a meeting last Saturday, claiming that traffic conditions in Kota Damansara, especially along Persiaran Surian, are already bad enough without any construction going on. While the leaders welcomed the public transport project, they wanted to find out the steps the authorities would take to mitigate congestion during and after construction. The proposed Sg Buloh-Kajang line starts at the existing KTM commuter station in Sg Buloh, and passes through Kampung Baru Sg Buloh and the Rubber Research Institute Malaysia’s land before arriving in Kota Damansara. After the Kota Damansara and Taman Industri Sg Buloh stations, the MRT line will run along Persiaran Surian until The Curve. Three stations – PJU5, Dataran Sunway and The Curve – will be built along the already congested Persiaran Surian. The line will continue along the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and cross over to TTDI. Apart from traffic congestion, residents who will be living near the MRT line are also concerned about noise and dust pollution. Many residents say while property prices near the MRT are expected to increase, prices of property too close to the rail line are likely to depreciate. “This is just the first dialogue on the
Residents at the dialogue last Saturday.
MRT as there are other RAs who couldn’t make it,” said Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim, who organised the meeting. He said the RAs would have to deliberate further before they could come out with a joint position on the matter. Bandar Utama RA president Lim See Meng was also at the meeting to rally the Kota Damansara RAs to support their joint petition for underground MRT stations. With 35 stations along the estimated 51km line, the MRT line has been opposed by residents in TTDI and Kajang. Residents and shopowners are concerned that their houses and shops will be acquired for the project. According to the detailed environ-
mental impact assessment (DEIA) released in February, owners of 473 lots of land are expected to make way for the MRT project. The railway scheme for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line, the first of three MRT lines, is currently on display in seven locations for public feedback from Feb 14-May 14, and also on www.kvmrt. com.my. Residents can also assess the DEIA for more information on the social and environmental impact of the project at www.doe.gov.my. Land acquisition for the project is expected to take place in May and June, with open tenders for construction work to be called in April. Construction will begin in July and end in 2016.
Korean food fair
A Korean food fair will be held at Sungei Wang Lower Ground Main Stage from today until March 20. The event, organised by KMT Trading Sdn Bhd and the Street Cafe, also features the “On Fire Ramen Challenge”, where shoppers will have to compete to finish spicy and hot Korean ramen. The contest will be held tomorrow, Sunday, and on March 20 at 5pm.
Consultant fails to justify traffic study
sHaH aLam: A consultant representing the developer of a proposed building in USJ 6 was hard-pressed on Friday to justify his claims that the project would have little traffic impact on surrounding residential areas. “In my experience, generally [consultants] feel pressured by their clients to come to a certain conclusion [favourable to the clients] … have you ever, in any case, recommended no development [to your clients]?” questioned one of the Selangor Appeals Board members, Ho Khong Ming, at the appeal hearing. Consultancy representative Amir Ramlan Abdullah said he had not felt “any pressure” from the developer to compromise on their traffic impact assessment (TIA) of the proposed ninestorey commercial tower on Telecoms reserve land. He said other clients had tried to put pressure on and influence their assessment results in the past, but to no avail. However, he failed to provide a satisfactory answer when asked by the Appeals Board how the developer would deal with traffic congestion spillover to nearby residential areas as a result of the development. Datuk Abu Bakar Awang, who was chairing the appeal hearing, had to repeatedly ask him the question. At one point, Abu Bakar even left his seat to explain the question by tracing USJ 6 roads on a map. A traffic expert engaged by USJ 6 residents had earlier told the Appeals Board at the hearing that the commercial tower should not be allowed. Prof Dr Leong Choon Heng from Malaysia University of Science and Technology said the commercial tower would worsen traffic congestion in the area, which would spill over to nearby residential areas. USJ 6 residents have been demanding an independent traffic study of the ninestorey commercial tower, a joint venture between TM Facilities and Pujangga Budiman, since 2008, but their request has not been met. Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh said the larger issue at stake is the approval of a development project on Telecoms reserve land. “It’s a serious concern to Selangor if such a precedent was set,” said Yeoh after the hearing, which was adjourned to March 30. The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) rejected applications to subdivide the 0.35ha reserve land for development in its full board meetings in November 2005 and February 2006. The council gave conditional approval to the project in 2008 but revoked its order in 2009. It cancelled the revoke, which was not endorsed by the State Planning Committee, last year.
Learn more about German Shepherds at the first German Shepherd speciality show on Sunday from 8am to 2pm at SJK (T) Vivekananda, Jalan Templer. It is organised by the German Shepherd Dog Club of Malaysia.
The KLPac Symphonic Band will be having auditions for its 2011 season. The auditions are open to anyone 18 and above who share a passion for music and want to continue playing after leaving their high school band. To book an audition slot, e-mail Gan at gan@ klpac.org, and include your instrument, full name, telephone and e-mail contact details. The audition will be held on March 19 from 9am-1pm and from 2pm5pm. Venue: Indicine, 2nd floor, KLPac.
2 ⁄ march 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES
By Neville Spykerman & Brenda Ch’ng
A thousand days in office
subsidiary, is targeting profits of RM40 million. This is an example of state intervention to resolve a problem. Some people argue that the state shouldn’t get involved in business operations, but I think this has to be done to create a standard of discipline in the industry. Secondly, we collected Talam’s sizable debts to the state amounting to RM390 million by translating the debts into the state’s consolidated fund but the “spin” was that we were bailing out the company. That was never the case and people now realise this. The move of “round tripping” the debt is a regular excercise in the corporate world. But by recognising Talam’s debts in the consolidated fund, the state could legally move for compulsory acquisition of the company’s assets, if they defaulted in repaying their debts. In addition, the state has now reacquired 3000 acres of land from Talam. The state is using RM50 million of the money recovered to fund two micro-credit schemes and to set up a web-based land title registry which will be available for public viewing in April.
fter being in office for 1,000 days, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim spoke frankly to Selangor Times on March 8 about what his administration has achieved, the challenges and what’s to come. Has your administration achieve what it set out to do in the first three years in office? I believe excellence is continuous improvement but are we satisfied so far? Yes, there is something we can look back with satisfaction but others, we need to improve our delivery system. Some of our programmes need to be designed in a much more simpler mode. Overall, the concept of “Merakyatkan Economi Selangor” (MES) seems to take off well. Firstly, people understand that is not a brand or political ploy but a mechanism to translate a vision. It’s clear and people don’t laugh at it. People may laugh at 1Malaysia but not at MES. Secondly, it’s also been translated into a Malaysian manner, for example when we give free water it goes to everybody, irrespective of race, religion which is not relevant in the programme. Similarly our other welfare programmes for the elderly or the young are open to everyone. There is widespread acceptance without reservations, and it is satisfying. Can we have both examples of these reforms and the challenges you have faced so far? Channeling the resources (profits) from sand to benefit the people resulted in one and a half years of irritating noises, which got on our nerves. But now people realise that the sand mining industry was carried out (previously) in a haphazard manner with enormous stealing going on, and that a proper system is now in place. No consideration was given to the environmental impact, but now under Kumpulan Semensta Sdn Bhd (KSSB), there are regulations. Under the previous administration, the state only managed to collect no more than RM4 million a year in royalty, but today, the numbers have increased to at least RM10 million while KSSB, a state
The state will soon launch the Selangor’s People Agenda (Arus). Can you outline the plan and tell us how it will benefit the public? A series of town hall meetings was held at all 12 local governments last year to listen to the people’s wish lists, criticisms, grievances and expectations. There were 200-300 people from all walks of life at each meeting and the conclusion of the meeting has now been summarised and translated into a broader (reform) programme named the Agenda Rakyat Selangor (Arus). Arus has given us an insight into the expectations of the people and will be launched next month. We will go back to the town hall meetings to tell the public “these are the programmes for you” to get their reactions. We understand there is a proposal (under Arus) to set up community buses? Yes, each local government may have up to three buses to supplement current public bus services. The additional buses will be used to open up routes at new housing estates and to show private companies that the routes are commercially viable.
Khalid: Still need to improve on delivery system.
In other words, we are creating a catalyst for private companies to come in and provide the service in the long run. Is the plan feasible and how will it be funded? The local governments have the resources and we may also charge a fee to cover petrol costs as well as drivers’ salaries. There is talk of a minimum wage for Selangor. There will be a paper to be presented in the Pakatan Rakyat economic conference this month. The idea is possible with all state government-linked companies (GLC) taking the lead. It can be carried out with a certain understanding of productivity measured. There has to be a certain stand-
ard. If minimum wage is given, a certain outputs are to be expected with the working hours. So the idea is preliminary? The idea will be presented and debated at the state assembly on March 28. Selangor has planned for elections to be held for village heads in three new villages. Can the public expect a move towards the restoration of local government elections? On a selected basis. The Election Commission does not recognise local government elections, so we will have a selection of leaders representing people in local government. We are looking to have a test case either at the Petaling Jaya City
Council (MBPJ) or at the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ). Under the plan, 30% of councillors will be nominated and elected by referendum at town hall meetings. The mechanisms have yet to be worked out but the move is expected to take off after June. Anyone can stand, regardless of political affiliation, but it would be better if they are not politicians because they have to serve all. There has been little news about the Klang River Rehabilitation Project. Has there been any concrete development? The state has pulled back the project a bit because Putrajaya has come up with programmes for the develop• Turn To page 7
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 3
4 ⁄ march 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 5
Towards the citizen’s agenda
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (in orange) with fellow Pakatan Rakyat members at the launch of Buku Jingga on March 5.
By Ben Suffian
bdul Hamid, 48, works as an operations manager in a large clothing retail chain. He lives in a typical, neatly arranged suburban housing area in Batu Tiga, 10 minutes from the state secretariat building in Shah Alam. I ask him how he feels things have changed since the general election in 2008. “Some things are different now, but many things are still the same,” he says. “Many of my friends who run their own small businesses say it is now much easier to register and apply for licences. The level of ‘sharks’ asking for ‘coffee money’ has dropped significantly. I also think the local council is a little more responsive in handling public complaints about cleanliness or patching up potholes.” But he sighs: “Despite some of the good things we’ve seen, I am worried about the politicking that goes on. While these politicians argue and fight to topple each other, who’s going to solve our problems?” Hamid talks about the crime rate, rising inflation, and how his pay rises never seem to catch up with his household expenses. He’s concerned over how Malays in the state will fare, and if in the end “we will go under” – a coded phrase that highlights his latent fear that Malay political position will end up being eroded, because “both sides seem keen about pandering to voters that they end up selling ‘us’ out”. Conversations like this are fairly common, especially among working voters in the key belt of suburban seats such as Batu Tiga, Batang Kali, Sri Serdang and Bukit Antarabangsa. From the results of the 2008 elections, the swing of voters towards Pakatan Rakyat was most pronounced, where more than 10% voted on the back of resentment over poor local government services, rapid inflation, and the perceived weakness of the previous national and state leadership. Much of the sentiment in these parts then was “anything but Umno (and Barisan Nasional)”. It was further compounded by the emotional angst of the Indian community, whose
momentum intensified after the crackdown on Hindraf activists in late November 2007. The very mixed ethnic composition of these constituencies, the combined effect of inflation and the protest against leadership, along with ethnic Indian unhappiness brought down many long-serving BN assemblypersons and took in many unsuspecting PR candidates – the so-called “tsunami representatives”.
The period succeeding the 2008 election can be broadly categorised into three phases: euphoria, consolidation, and re-contest. The days following PR’s unexpected victory in Selangor was marked by theatrics such as the burning of documents by officials of the former state administration, the unseen drama of backroom dealings in selecting the chief minister, and the subsequent formation of the state executive committee. Citizens were treated to long lines of hopeful applicants for local councillors’ positions in their respective municipalities and districts – a welcome improvement from the previous practice, but still short of the much-hoped-for local elections. This period was also marked by the disclosure of shortcomings of the previous administration, which included junkets to Disney World, expensive watches, and property sold to insiders at ridiculously low prices. The public had begun to think it possible to imagine an alternative to the BN that has ruled the country since Independence. Our survey for the period ending December 2008 showed that at least half of the voters in Peninsular Malaysia felt that PR would do as well as, if not better than, the BN in running the country. However, running a government is a much more complex task than being in opposition. By the end of 2008, the heady days of victory gave way to the grinding process of learning statecraft and managing a bureaucracy. As PR attempted to consolidate its hold over Selangor and put into motion the platform that brought them to power, so did their opponents.
Starting from sporadic protests over the proposed integrated pig farm in Sepang, the opposition began coalesce and gain structure. What emerged was a remarkable transformation for BN in Selangor. Having been in power for more than five decades, the federal ruling coalition had to learn to become the opposition in the state. This transformation appeared to take place on two levels. On the surface, the public began to see the formation of numerous non-government organisations, ostensibly to represent citizens’ interests over anything capable of demonstrating the inability of the new state government to deliver improved services and make good its electoral pledges. On another, deeper level, one began to notice a more systematic exploitation of the weaknesses among PR’s many “accidental MPs and assemblypersons”. These included media exploitation of issues brought forth by PR representatives that brought them into conflict with the new state government, typically over attempts to undo unpopular commercial or developmental decisions of the previous administration: the bus terminal in Klang, a hypermarket in Kota Damansara, or development in Petaling Jaya – unpopular with some segments of citizens but contract-bound to be honoured by the state government. These issues clashed with popular imaginings of what the PR government should deliver, and its public image was further undermined by mainstream media exploitation of internal disagreements over such matters as sand mining and the administration of the chief minister. True to the cliché that in politics “perception is reality”, the less-than-favourable image of PR in power has stymied its attempts to consolidate and solidify public support. In spite of its popular policy to “merakyatkan ekonomi Selangor”, which provides households with free 20 cubic meters of water each month, death benefits, contributions to young people who gain entry to tertiary education, and assistance to plantation workers and low-income
households, public opinion was more shaped by perceptions of ineptitude and disunity. Disagreements over the leadership style of the chief minister from among his own party members leaked to the media and precipitated a decline in public approval, from more than 60% in 2009 to around 50% in late 2010. At the same time, PR national leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim continues to be mired in the second sodomy trial. Public attention on him has diverted from his core struggle to that of his defence against allegations made by his former aide, a process that has distracted and taken precious time from other pressing matters. Correspondingly, controversy has surrounded the acts of more than 10 of its representatives crossing the floor in both Selangor and other states, along with adverse reporting of real and imagined discrepancies within Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s party election process. This has degraded public trust in PR being able to run the country, dipping significantly from 50% in 2008 to just 30% in 2010.
Making up for lost time
Three years on, PR in Selangor is still in consolidation mode and is putting great effort to make up for lost time. While no measurements have yet been done, the level of internal issues has significantly reduced. PR has now introduced the Buku Jingga, outlining the coalition’s initial platform of pledges to the Malaysian public should it be in power. In Selangor, the administration is set to unveil its Agenda Rakyat Untuk Selangor, a blueprint for its public service delivery for the coming three years, which, among others, commits the state to delivering on local democracy, improved local government services, housing, as well as initiatives to address local public safety issues. How these positive and people-centric initiatives can turn public opinion will depend on the vigour with which its publicity is carried out to reduce dissonance with realities on the ground. The next election will be a contest like no other. In reaction to public
6 ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES
Investment, Industry and Trade
tinue promoting the development of 1,500 acres of international zone in Bernam Jaya. I want to attract FDI to this international zone as it will help spur economic activity by creating more business and job opportunities.” She also intends to keep improving Selangor’s public service delivery for investors, both domestic and foreign. The state investment arm, SSIC Berhad, will continue to be proactive in interacting with industrialists through Industrial Park Management Committee meetings and seminars that provide a platform for manufacturers to raise issues with the state. In 2010: Selangor has achieved 325 new industrial investment projects with a total investment capital of RM10.6 billion, creating 28,000 jobs in the process – the highest job count of all states. A total of 111 programmes have been carried out over the past three years, both locally and overseas, to attract more investors. She says 146 factory-related issues were resolved after conducting 151 site visits and 135 meeting sessions with factory owners.
DATUK HASSAN ALI
Chairperson of the Standing Committee of Islamic Affairs, Malay Customs, Infrastructure and Public Utilities For 2011: “To bring Islam to the heart of the people, for it to be understood and practised according to its teachings. We believe many problems we are facing today like corruption, illegal abortion, selfish leadership, administrative inefficiency and so on can be solved if the values promoted by Islam are being practised. And we always believe that the people are mature enough to understand what the teaching is all about – justice, tolerance and patience. We also want to uphold Malay customs as we enter the new decade, as urbanised Selangor is in danger of falling prey to negative cultural values. In 2010: We established the Yayasan Dar Al Qard Al Hasan Selangor on July 8 to manage the micro-credit scheme in the state. Rural residents with incomes of less than RM1,500 applied for the loans to start businesses. They were also guided on entrepreneurial skills in order to effectively run their businesses. Allocations were given to infrastructural projects, and monitored closely for accountability and transparency. The allocations are for new projects and maintaining existing infrastructure. We continued with the open tender system for contracts to ensure fairness, accountability and transparency.”
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Entrepreneurial Development
For 2011: “I want to con-
For 2011: The state will
be promoting organic farming this year to help farmers lower production costs, produce better quality food, and adopt more environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Yaakob hopes to increase the state’s sand-mining royalty, estimated at RM10 million in 2010, by continuing to crack down on illegal sand mining. He also wants to attract more people to the state’s entrepreneurship seminars. In 2010: The state provided RM1 million in loans to 95 small and medium enterprises in Selangor. “We have increased farmers’ incomes through a programme to increase their padi yields. We have also resolved the problem of illegal cattle in the Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya municipalities by moving them to Hulu Selangor.”
DR HALIMAH ALI
Education, Higher Education and Moral Character Development For 2011: “We’ll be focusing on organising healthy programmes like concerts this year to prevent youths from getting involved in bad activities.” The state has also increased the monthly allowances of Quran and Fardhu Ain teachers serving in religious schools from RM1,000 to RM1,300 starting this year. In 2010: The state allocated RM6 million for Chinese schools and RM4 million for Tamil schools last year. The state also provided free tuition classes for SPM students through state assemblypersons’ offices.
Welfare, Women’s affairs, Science and Technology
For 2011: “One of the ongoing issues I will be tackling this year is to translate the welfare policy into concrete action. For example, I want to help single mothers and the poor achieve financial security. I want to fight for their rights. To this end, the Mikro Kredit Miskin Bandar (MiMBAR) scheme will help boost the earnings of the poor. To complement the already existing 700 Wi-Fi towers already put up last year, there will be more this year to ensure free Wi-Fi service around Selangor. In 2010: We have managed to track down 26,000 single mothers in Selangor and launched the free mammogram Satu Juta Wanita Sihat programme, and also to educate them on their rights and help them earn a living. The One Stop Crisis Centre, which was launched two years ago, has helped numerous victims of gender violence and abuse in Selangor. On social ills, issues regulating cybercafes have been resolved with new guidelines to ensure that licences will be issued after stringent vetting.”
DR XAVIER JAYAKUMAR
Health, Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Committee Chairperson For 2011: “We will focus on overcoming poverty by identifying and addressing people’s needs. Poor estate workers will be trained to start small-scale businesses. To this end, Selangor will give micro-credit loans to the urban and rural poor.” In 2010: He says Selangor has one of the lowest dengue cases. Selangor has embarked on providing subsidies on housing and scholarships for estate workers to attend vocational training courses. Selangor has also started pre-school classes, and funding for educational books and computer labs for the Indian community. The state has earmarked 100 plots of land for places of worship.
Local Government and Research For 2011: “This year, we plan to make municipalities and communities cleaner, greener and safer. This includes our Zone Bersih programmes, and clear regulations on gated and guarded communities to improve security.” The state has imposed guidelines on new townships, which must set aside 10% of their land for green lungs and public amenities. In 2010: Five out of the 11 local councils which received the Ministry of Housing and Local Government four-star awards last year were from Selangor. Eleven out of 12 local councils also recorded budget surpluses.
ISKANDAR ABDUL SAMAD
Housing, Building Management and Squatters
Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment
For 2011: The state will launch an affordable housing programme this year. Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) is building 800 low- and medium-cost homes in Bandar Baru Bangi, Shah Alam and Gombak for the first phase. The homes are targeted at young couples with a combined monthly income of between RM3,000 and RM5,000. In 2010: “We have revived and completed 23 abandoned projects since 2008. Another seven abandoned projects have also been taken over by new developers and are currently being revived.” The state also resolved the long-standing problem with Bukit Botak settlers by offering the 1,400 settlers discounts to buy houses worth RM170,000 at RM99,000. The state also lowered the peoples’ housing project monthly rent from RM250 to RM124.
For 2011: “In line with the United Nations International Year of the Forest, we will further address problems affecting forest conservation. We will also promote our public parks as tourist destinations. In 2010: Our ‘No Plastic Bag Day’ campaign was a success. We also tabled the Freedom of Information bill in the state assembly. As for environmental care, we gazetted significant forest reserves, including Kota Damansara and Ayer Hitam. We also launched Selangor Shines campaign to attract more tourists. We received 5.8 million visitors last year. The promotion of composting, rainwater harvesting and renewable energy is also on our agenda this year. We have attracted six millions visitors yearly. We aim to break the mark.”
EAN YONG HIAN WAH
New Village Development and Illegal Factory Task Force For 2011: This year, more
people can apply for land titles and leasehold titles in new villages. Other plans include the building of infrastructure for 78 new villages. The state currently allocates funds of RM5.5 million, as compared with only RM200,000 three years ago. In 2010: More than 500 applications for new land and lease hold titles have been approved and given out. “We have also successfully reinstated direct elections for village chiefs.”
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 7
continued from page 5 dissatisfaction, the federal ruling party is rolling out an aggressive plan to address public transportation issues by embarking on the Mass Rapid Transit project, the country’s most expensive public infrastructure endeavour to date. It has initiated a slew of other projects ranging from entrepreneur assistance to foreign direct investment drives under the banner of its Economic Transformation Programme. Premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak has rebuilt his image and is now seen to be a competent and dynamic leader. On the seamier side of politics, actions by right-wing Malay organisations are firing up the community’s feelings of insecurity and imagination of losing political power. Meanwhile, the rush to deliver on development projects means that a number of the good practices in transparency and prudent governance will have to take a backseat to expediency. The issues landscape, too, has seen some changes. Food and fuel prices continue to increase, though the federal government continues to cushion some of its impact with subsidies. This will probably go on until the next election, but some sectors of the public are already affected by this, notably those in the key suburban battleground seats. The rural voter – few in industrialised Selangor – are reaping the benefits of the current boom of commodity prices, and will most likely keep to their previous mode of voting. All these point to the ongoing dichotomy between rural and urban seats. The outcome of the contest between PR and BN in Selangor will, among others, be determined by the degree to which ethnic politics will shape the electoral debate; the ability of governments, both state and federal, in cushioning the impact of inflation on urban voters; and, most importantly, the persuasive power of competing leaders in articulating their vision and reshaping voters’ imaginations to their advantage. It is difficult to say where things will lead.
Time to solve water impasse
continued from page 2 -ment of greater Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley, which includes cleaning up Klang River. Rather than push alone, we want to combine our efforts and tap into federal funds to clean up the river. Crime and security: Putrajaya has rejected the state initiative to fund and establish an auxiliary police force, besides funding CCTVs. What else is being done? We still continue to show our dissatisfaction with the rejection but the Federal Government says police have been successful in reducing crime rates by up to 15-20%. But we still feel there is a shortage of police for patrols in streets. In the long term, the state is promoting programmes to bring communities together so that the public themselves will work together and keep their neighbourhoods safe. Can the public expect a resolution in the deadlock between Shah Alam and Putrajaya over the restructuring of the water services industry soon? We hope the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water will come up with a proactive proposal after considering the state offer to the concessionaires, which they rejected. The state still feels that the offer is genuine and commercially fair. Therefore if the federal government wants to be seen to be fair, they should use the power under the law to compel the companies to accept the offer. But these companies can still exercise the right to request international arbitration to determine the price for extra payments. That is our stand. It is time to come up with a solution. Every side seems to be resorting to court action but the biggest “aggressor”, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (which is suing everyone), will find that in the long run that they will be the losers in court. I think everybody wants to resolve the problem this year. What other new initiatives will be launched this year? Preferential treatment, or affirmative action, will soon be given to “owner operator entrepreneurs” in awarding contracts by the state and local governments. Previously, contracts were handed out to companies but we are looking at using “owner operators” as a basis of selection. We will give them priority and grants.
As the light of the afternoon gives way and the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer, Hamid says, “I am not so sure who to vote for. I don’t want to go back to the old days where friends and insiders of politicians rule the place, but I can’t tolerate politicians who bumble and fight one another, especially from within the same party. “We are just small people looking to make a living and get our family along. If our leaders spend more time looking after their own interests instead of ours, who will be left to fight for us?”
8 ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2010 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES
By Rafizi Ramli
olicy announcements are a conundrum. It takes a lot of effort and time to research and develop new policies that contrast the existing ones by the Barisan Nasional. And more often than not, such policy announcements come and go without much impact on the public. As such, the staying power of Buku Jingga thus far is a source of minor pride for those of us in the Pakatan Rakyat secretariat, who not expect it to stay in the news for this long. I joined the cogs and wheels of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and by extension the coalition, almost two years ago, armed with the idealistic aim of contributing to the emergence of a two-party system in Malaysia so that our fledgling democracy could make leaps and bounds into the future. I remember the early days of questioning and criticising the policy weaknesses of PR. Sometimes I grumbled that we did not unveil new policies; sometimes I complained that we spent too much time engaging in non-productive political rhetoric. “People want to evaluate our policies,” I said repeatedly to the younger party leaders. As I was given more tasks, I realised that the bigger challenge for PR was not the formulation of policies – we are never short of policy ideas, as there are many things to fix after the 54-year rule of Umno/BN – but rather how to promote new policies so that the public could make informed choices. And also how to maintain attention on the new policies long enough for them to reach the public in a media environment that was generally hostile to PR. I remember working with representatives from DAP (Tony Pua and Liew Chin Tong) and Pas (Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad) on PR’s response to the New Economic Model (NEM). We spent weeks producing a thick document that set out our core criticisms of the model. In the end, in spite of its unveiling in Dewan Rakyat, it only lasted in the news for a day. To this day, PR is accused of not responding to the NEM. I became quite cynical towards the middle-class’s assertion that to function as a national opposition coalition, PR must constantly unveil policies. I took comfort that there were enough people volunteering behind the scenes to focus on policies and provide the right input to the top leadership of PR. Until the media in Malaysia is liberated, too much focus on policy developments is akin to training our guns on a wrong target, as elections are not won purely on the merits of policies – at least, not in Malaysia. Buku Jingga was developed with this reality check, knowing that it might not gain traction. But the team was determined to expand the Common Policy Framework into a decent document as a basis for future policy discussion. It was important to articulate the common principles spelt out in the framework endorsed by PR in 2009, not just because it would boost our policy credentials, but because it would be an important test of cohesion among the three parties in the coalition. The idea to come up with a pocketbook that could be easily memorised originated from Khalid Jaafar, who, along with Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Tian Chua and Datuk Chua Jui Meng, represented PKR. Pas’s representatives – Salehuddin Ayob, Dr Hatta Ramli, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Dr Mujahid Yusuf – vetted the text and made changes throughout the book. Anthony Loke, Tony Pua, Liew Chin Tong and Theresa PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at the launch of Buku Jingga on March 5. Kok from DAP insisted on a summary of programmes that the public would and potent achievement than our ability to matter what challenges lie ahead. remember each time they talked about present the rakyat with a set of alternative This pocketbook is a manifestation of the Buku Jingga. policies. political maturity in PR. The jury is still out If there is one memorable achieveOur political enemies may try to drive a as to whether Buku Jingga has the staying ment of Buku Jingga, it is that the process wedge and use the full media force at their power to capture the public’s imagination to produce it – the ease with which the disposal to break this political union, know- and make a difference in the next general representatives discussed and worked ing full well that a united PR is the surest sign election, but one can only be optimistic. towards a common solution for each issue that BN’s reign will come to an end soon. But After all, we did not expect it to last one – has proven that the parties within PR our single-mindedness goes beyond mere po- week in the news! have passed the stage of nascent political litical expediency; it binds individual leaders cooperation. This, to me, is a much bigger and activists in PR to stay on this path, no Rafizi Ramli is PKR’s director of strategy.
Buku Jingga: A testament to political communion
Buku Jingga was developed with this reality check, knowing that it might not gain traction. But the team was determined to expand the Common Policy Framework into a decent document as a basis for future policy discussion.”
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 9
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10 ⁄ March 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES
By Arfa’eza A. Aziz
uring a visit to Batang Berjuntai just before the Chinese New Year celebration recently, I met an elderly Chinese trader who ran a small sundry shop in the middle of town. He had earlier accepted mandarin oranges from Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, who had been making his rounds around Ijok to share the festive atmosphere with his constituents. “We want to live cordially with everyone. We are not rich. Those who are in need and poor should be helped, too – irrespective of anyone,” the elderly man said with a smile. He, like millions of Malaysians, realised how important it was for the country to move beyond racial politics in order to address poverty. Indeed, it is upsetting that after 54 years of Merdeka, some political leaders continue to discuss poverty in terms of race instead of class. One need only Google it to see the array of discussions on the New Economic Policy (NEP). Its goal was to eradicate poverty and restructure the economy to eliminate the identification of ethnicity with economic function; to move the ratio of economic ownership from a 2.4:33:63 ratio of Bumiputera, other Malaysian, and foreigner ownership to a 30:40:30 ratio. But as affirmative action, does it work? According to Forbes maga-
Affirmative action wages war against rentier class
Robert Kuok Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary
zine, Sugar King Robert Kuok and Maxis’s Ananda Krishnan are the top two of Malaysia’s rich. The richest Malay is Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, who is in eighth place with US$2.5 billion. And the Malay race hasn’t fared stupendously, either. What is worrying is that the NEP allows one to be given business opportunity because of race instead of capability. Subsequently Malay cronies to the ruling government are awarded business contracts, but sub-contract it to others. This gives rise to a “rentier class” among the Malays, who get their cuts from the real operators. This is one of the
reasons why Malay entrepreneurs have failed to catch up. Khalid has said repeatedly that the current affirmative action policy will further jeapordise the future of the Malays as it hinders the empowering process that would allow them to compete with the Chinese in Malaysia, and even on an international level. As such, Selangor is trying its best to provide recognition to the “owner operator” to reduce the rentier class that has caused leakages of public funds. “The state gives preferential treatment to the poor,” Khalid often
tells the media. “The state provides assistance to the operators, and not the agents who lobby for the business projects. We help the real players.” This applies to land and home ownership. Now those who live on TOL (temporary occupation licence) land need not apply to the Land Office for titles, as the current system allows the office to recognise, through public enquiries and personal interviews, the owners and subsequently offer them the titles. Elsewhere, the formation of Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd ensures that only owner operators can take part in the sand-mining industry, thus increasing state revenue as there are no intermediaries to muddy the transactions. Since 2008, PR has introduced at least 15 new welfare and social programmes under the Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor (MES) agenda. This term was specifically chosen by Khalid to reflect the state’s intention to return the state’s economic wealth back to its rakyat. “It’s the people’s economic programme, not the state’s,” he often
reminds his officers. Half of the programmes were launched within a 100 days of PR’s administration. They include Skim Mesra Usia Emas, Tabung Warisan Anak Selangor, Hadiah Masuk Universiti, and Program Tuisyen Rakyat, to name a few. To Selangor, MES is affirmative action. Unlike the NEP, MES does not cater to a certain race. All its programmes are for the poor and low-income irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Pakatan is a relatively new government that has been severely criticised for many things. But those who have seen how the MES agenda has helped thousands of poor people – characterised as those who earn RM1,500 or less per household – have little to criticise. To date, RM500 million has been spent to benefit poor Selangor residents. This is no small feat, by any means. In a recent interview, the Menteri Besar was asked on his policy over the past three years. Khalid’s answer, again, was to “merakyatkan ekonomi Selangor”. I don’t think many would disagree with him.
PKPS Oil Palm Estates
Selangor Fruits Valley
Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation
PKPS Red Talapia Farm
Wisma PKPS, Tingkat 10 – 11, Persiaran Perbandaran, Seksyen 14, 40675 Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Tel: 03-5519 2621 / 2 / 3 Fax: 03-5519 2625 Website: www.pkps.gov.my
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 11
Why does Selangor “underperform”?
By Wong Chin Huat
elangor is among the most shining of PR-held states, and has introduced many reforms. Among them, household consumers have 20m3 of free water; university students get RM 1,000 upon entry; newborn babies will get RM 1,500 upon reaching 18 years old; and the families of senior citizens will get RM 2,500 to aid funeral expenses. Selangor has set up the powerful select committee, Selcat, which can call politicians and bureaucrats to explain allegations of misconduct. And the state is on the way to enact Malaysia’s first Freedom of Information (FOI) law. However, three years after the 2008 political tsunami, many are disillusioned. They don’t see much change. Crime rates are still high. Traffic jams still haunt the roads. Potholes remain unfilled. School quality continuously declines, while red tape has not improved much. “So tell me, why should I care to come out to vote in the next general election?” cynics ask. The answer lies in our overly concentrated federalism. Most roads are under the federal Public Works Department, while public transportation is under the Land Public Transport Commission. Schools, of course, are under the Education Ministry. Policing is under the Home Ministry – so while the Sunway Group can have its own auxiliary force in Bandar Sunway, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)’s application for the same has been turned down. Even state bureaucracy is not spared. As part of the federal civil service, employees can therefore be more loyal to Putrajaya than to Shah Alam. Federalism means that sovereignty and substantial power are
shared between the federation and its constituent states. Unitary states, on the other hand, treat states or provinces as branches rather than partners, and hence with substantially less power. Under our constitution, the jurisdiction of state governments is limited to matters like Islam, land, agriculture, local government, state government machinery, and state public works. They share control with the federal government on matters like social welfare, scholarship, animal husbandry, town planning, fire measures and housing. Important matters such as foreign relations, defence, internal security, administration of justice, citizenship, federal government machinery, finance, trade, shipping, fisheries, communication, transport, education, health, labour, and publications are all in the federal hand. This is in sharp contrast with other countries. In Australia, states
have not only substantial control on education, health and transport, but also their own police units alongside the federal police, which is more specifically tasked for cross-border crimes. In Canada, the provinces have exclusive rights to make laws on property and civil rights. Even in the UK, a unitary country, the county (the second tier government in England) controls matters like education, transport planning and passenger transport. Most opposition would blame Barisan Nasional for mismanaging the country. The fact is, any party would not be effective and efficient as long as the federal government is biting off more than it can chew. And this is a largely unknown secret behind the dysfunction or underperformance of local governments, and the reluctance of both BN and PR to introduce local elections: with so little power vested in the hand of the states, functioning
and effective local governments would make the state governments hollow, especially smaller states like Perlis, Malacca and even Penang. Under the current federal-state power-sharing arrangement, Malaysia might be better run with only two-tiered elected governments. But the larger states would have to be cut into a few smaller ones, which is politically impracticable, considering the state-based monarchies are the backbone of our political system. In other words, if we want thorough reform, we can’t just change the state governments. We can’t even just change the federal government. We need to create a real federal country where more power will be transferred from the federal government to the states, and from the states to the municipalities and districts. The fight by Selangor for control of water and the power to enact an
FOI bill has far-reaching implications to better the health of our political system. Even the PR states’ successful opposition of sport gambling through local governments, which some may not agree on, is rewriting the power equation. By empowering the states, we are making both the federal and state governments more accountable. Unfortunately, there is not a concrete and clear agenda for federalism, despite demands by states like Selangor, Kelantan and Penang for greater share of public finance. As we celebrate the third anniversary of March 8, let us not be trapped in the past by lamenting how little change the tsunami has brought. Let us be forward-looking by imagining elected local governments; and a police force, a public transport system, water, and perhaps even schools run by the state governments, upon whom we would have greater control.
Not Indian, just Malaysian
By Lingswaran Singh
n my opinion, the politically motivated struggle of Hindraf not only goes against Hindu dharma but is also contrary to the teachings of Lord Krishna. The Bhagavad Gita’s knowledge does not postulate any sectarian ideology or secular view. Hinduism conceives the whole world as a single family, and therefore accepts all forms of beliefs and dismisses division of identity. Thus, if we want to be acknowledged as Malaysians, then we should start acting as one. Instead of looking as itself as being sidelined, the Indian community should realise that Malay, Chinese and other Malaysians face the same problems. Recently, Hindraf organised a demonstration in Kuala Lumpur protesting against the government’s decision to include the Malaylanguage novel Interlok in the school curriculum. They alleged that Interlok contains disparaging remarks against Indians and is deemed racist. This, too, has weakened us as
Malaysians, as it has kept us with a racial mindset. Our economic woes today are due to acute economic and political mismanagement, not racial discrimination. Malaysians share a culturally rich heritage, but today, this shared heritage is in demise due to race-based politics. It is time we put a stop to racial politics, and we should start with ourselves. Stop believing that we are different, stop behaving like second-class citizens, and start speaking out against injustice not only towards our own ethnic group but towards anybody anywhere. The reason we face socioeconomic woes is because we have allowed it to happen. We are responsible for who we vote into the Dewan Rakyat. So let’s stop victimising ourselves. When the PR came into power in Selangor in 2008, it focused its policies on clean, green, sustainable and livable environments for its citizens. It recognised that economic growth and development require comforta-
ble urban living, which would in turn attract investment. So Selangor has been handling crime and public transport, even though it is not necessarily the responsibility of the state government. It introduced a Freedom of Information enactment to ensure greater transparency and accountability in awarding of state government contracts. It initiated the Integrity Pact for some of its state companies, and policies aimed at assisting the elderly, vernacular schools, religious schools, the disabled, and mosques. And it has welfare benefits for victims of domestic abuse and children of estate workers, a fund for all children born in the state, and a policy of free water for the first 20m3 used per household. Note that in all this, there is no mention of Indians or any ethnic group. Why? Because there is something larger going on – namely, that the PR’s policies are aimed at resolving the issues faced by all Malaysians. Collectively, we all need to do our part come the next elections to ensure the eradica-
tion of race-based politics. And while things have generally improved in areas where PR is in power, the lack of quality on the opposition bench of the Dewan Undangan Negeri is worrying. We need better opposition to ensure that PR itself is well behaved. Perhaps in the next state elections, we could consider candidates from the alternatives like the Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) or the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM). We need to engineer a credible opposition front, and it would be good if that opposition front consisted of young visionary Malaysians of various ethnic origins. All Malaysians regardless of race and religion are working together for a better tomorrow. If we can unite Tamils, Malayam, Telenggu, and Punjabi as Indians in Malaysia, what is stopping us from uniting Malays, Chinese, Indians and others as Malaysians? All of us want a brighter future, and we can make it happen – but not by being exclusively Indian.
Electronic quit rent bills for Selayang
Tun Hisan (left) holding a recovered gold bar as Mohammad looks on.
March 11 — 13, 2011
Gold ransom recovered
By Basil Foo
KLANG: RM1.4 million in gold bars was recovered from suspects who were arrested for kidnapping a security company owner on Monday. “Three of the suspects were caught at 1am along Jalan Pos Baru and another two at 7am in Taman Sentosa on Wednesday,” said Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah. The 64-year-old victim, who was ill when he was abducted, was released at 12.45am after his family paid 10 1kg gold bars as ransom. Police also confiscated a black pickup truck, a highpowered motorcycle, a stun gun, and five handphones used by the suspects. The truck was emblazoned with logos and words
like ‘K-9 Unit’, which the suspects used as cover as dog trainers. “Those remanded are a Malaysian man and four Nepalese men in their 30s,” said Tun Hisan. The Nepalese suspects were found to have entered the country illegally, while the 33-year-old Malaysian was previously an air steward with no prior criminal record. “The success of solving the case within 48 hours is due to the teamwork between the Selangor police and Bukit Aman,” Tun Hisan said. Also at the press conference South Klang police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop and Selangor Crime Investigation Department chief Mohd Adnan Abdullah. The suspects face the gallows or life imprisonment if convicted for kidnapping.
SELAYANG: Selayang residents can choose to receive electronic quit rent bills starting next year instead of the traditional printed copies via snail mail. The move will help to save ratepayers’ money as the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) currently spends around RM213,000 annually for postage to send the bills to some 178,000 property owners. The savings is greater once printing and paper costs are included. MPS public relations director Zin Masoad said 3,000 landowners have already expressed support for the cost-saving measure. The local council had sent out notices seeking public feedback along with quit rent bills late last year. “ We hop e more S elayang residents will accept and support this cost-saving measure,” Zin told Selangor Times. Some landowners still prefer to receive their quit rent bills through
the mail as they are not confident with electronic bills. Zin said MPS cannot force people to adopt the measure, but they hope to garner at least 50% support from Selayang landowners. They will send out notices to seek public feedback again along with the quit rent bills due this August. Those who opt to receive electronic quit rent bills will no longer receive the print copy via post. They can pay their quit rent at MPS after downloading and printing out the electronic bill themselves. The state and other local councils have supported MPS’s move to adopt modern technology to save cost and improve efficiency. Other local councils are also considering adopting the measure. MPS received RM81.5 million in quit rent last year and aims to collect RM87 million this year.
march 11 — 13, 2011
By Tang Hui Koon
Wong wants public holiday for women
SHAH ALAM: Declare International Women’s Day a public holiday in Selangor to recognise women’s positive contribution to society, executive councillor Elizabeth Wong suggested on Tuesday. “I hope to get Rodziah’s (Ismail, executive councillor in charge of women’s affairs) support to propose the idea to the state executive council,” Wong said. She said at least 30 countries worldwide have recognised March 8, International Women’s Day, as a public holiday. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the celebration. Wong said although women’s lives have improved significantly compared with a century ago, the political and business fields today are still dominated by males. She pointed out that Malaysia still has a significant gender gap, and is ranked at 98th place out of 134 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2010. Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Norway and Finland are the most gender-equal countries in the world, according to the report. Countries are ranked based on their women’s economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival compared with different countries. Wong also highlighted that Malaysia lags behind all other Southeast Asian neighbours except Myanmar with its low representation of women, only 10%, in Parliament. She called on political parties to enforce a 30% quota for women candidates in future elections. Currently, only two out of the 30 cabinet ministers and 22 of the 222 elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat are women. “I hope one day Malaysia will have a woman prime minister and 100 women in Parliament,” said Wong in a statement.
Wong celebrating International Women’s Day at the Desa Jaya morning market in Kepong on Tuesday.
march 11 — 13, 2011
Rawang celebrates Women’s Day
By Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
SELAYANG: In conjunction with the celebration of the 100th International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Gan Pei Nei handed a flower to each woman present at the main market. The flower giving was done out of appreciation to the women for having helped and supported Gan as state assemblyperson for Rawang. The Rawang service centre is also organising two events in conjunction with International Woman’s Day: a free pap smear screening, as well as the Women-Friendly Programme, which will see the handing over of contributions to single mothers. The main aim of this programme is to show appreciation for Rawang women and to provide aid, especially to single mothers living in poverty. The free pap smear screening will be held on Sunday, March 20, from 11am to 3pm, specifically for Rawang women aged 40 to 60. Pap smear screenings are vital in preventing cervical cancer, the leading cause of death in women today. The Women-Friendly Programme and handing over of contributions will be held on Sunday, March 27, from 2pm to 4pm at Kampung Kuala Garing. Contributions will be given to single mothers whose monthly family income is less than RM1,000. Participants for either event will need to register at the service centre office. For inquiries, contact Givitha at 03-60937033.
Gan handing out flowers at the main market in Rawang.
Lawyer to monitor trial in alleged molest case
By Alvin Yap
3rd Year Anniversary Of The Selangor State Government Under The Rt. Hon. Chief Minister of Selangor
Y.A.B. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Bin Ibrahim
With Best Compliments
AMPANG: Sunkai assemblyperson A Sivanesan has been appointed to hold a watching brief for 11 students whose teacher is due to go on trial for allegedly molesting them. The lawyer, who was approached by Teratai assemblyperson Jenice Lee to represent the teenaged girls, told their concerned parents “to let the law take its course”. “This is a case of concern to these parents whose children are affected and traumatised,” said Sivanesan at Lee’s service centre here on Tuesday. He explained the court procedures to the parents and told them that he would cooperate fully with the deputy public prosecutor in the trial. He added that the accused had the right to find a lawyer to represent him. On March 4, chief discipline teacher Ismazi @ Megat Ismazi Ismail, 49, pleaded not guilty in the Magistrate’s Court to molesting 11 female students of a secondary school, aged 15 and 16, in Pandan Indah last month. The students alleged that the teacher had touched their chests, backs and cleavage on the pretext of checking their pulse before
he caned them. Some of the students also claimed that he touched their thighs as he patted them down to check if they were carrying handphones. They also claimed that he took photos of them with his handphone. The students had been caught for skipping morning assembly by a teacher who brought them to the accused’s office for disciplinary action. There was no female teacher in the room at that time, the students said. The accused has been charged under Section 354 of the Penal Code, which provides for jail up to 10 years or fine or whipping or any of the two, if convicted. The trial will be mentioned in court on March 25, when a date will be set for the trial proper to begin. “The chief judge has promised me that a hearing date will be set as soon as possible, and similarly a decision will be made as soon as the hearing ends,” said Sivanesan. He praised the police for wrapping up its investigations quickly. He, however, said the Education Department should have suspended the accused and not transferred him to a desk job. “The teacher is charged in court. If he’s found not guilty, then he can be reinstated with full back pay,” he said.
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March 11 — 13, 2011
Selangor vows better resource management
He said the recent Freedom of Information enactment would give them the opportunity to become stakeholders. Khalid further said Selangor was the first state to implement town hall meetings at local government level to hear public feedback on various issues. The public’s views, he said, have been included in the Selangor Three-Year Plan, which will be unveiled this March 26 at a location to be announced. Khalid dismissed the federal government’s claim that implementing the programmes listed in the Buku Jingga would cause the state to become bankrupt. He said that monies lost through corruption and wastage was enough to fund Buku Jingga reforms at federal and state levels. “Imagine the cost overrun at Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) of RM4.6 billion. The money wasted is enough to pay for the socioeconomic programmes we have set out to accomplish,” Khalid said. He added that the state had registered a surplus in its budget for 2010, and had balanced the books for 2011. SUNGAI BULOH: A decade-old slip road is being upgraded to provide a smoother ride for residents here who have come to rely on it. Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr nasir Hashim, who is using his RM1million allocation for the roadworks, said the upgrade could be completed by the end of the year. He said the current muddy and potholed road led to main entry points into Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh. “We have the money. We will talk to Public Works Department ( JKR) officials and local council engineers to ensure the road can take the weight of trailers and lorries,” said nasir. The upgrade will also reduce traffic congestion as heavy vehicles can bypass the town centre. Residents who met nasir yesterday said they welcomed the move as it would reduce rush-hour traffic jams.
By Alvin Yap
Nasir (in red) meeting with residents.
SHAH ALAM: Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s administration has vowed to continue to address graft and wastage in order to better manage public resources. Th e Menteri B e s ar s a i d th e state would be accountable in managing its budget while collecting debts incurred in deals and projects by the previous administration. So far, Selangor has collected RM392 million in debts. “Of that, we have used RM50 million and RM20 million to fund microcredit loans for the rural and urban poor respectively,” said Khalid. Speaking during the state’s threeyear anniversary celebrations at Stadium Malawati on March 5, Khalid also announced a series of incentives, including moves to increase the pay and allowance of religious teachers, and to give away a one-off amount of RM1,500 to senior citizens. Most importantly, Khalid said, ongoing reforms would give the people the right to know what the state administration was doing.
Smoother traffic for Sg Buloh
“The jam in the morning starts as early as 7am, and people have to wait for up to 90 minutes to get in and out of the village,” said Chong Fatt. The 46-year-old village affairs coordinator said Jalan Welfare, the main road to the area, was too narrow to accommodate big vehicles. He added that traffic sometimes came to a standstill when lorries trailers stalled on the road. The residents also urged authorities to reopen another entry point on Jalan Kebun Teh to reduce congestion. It was closed more than two years ago because of fast-moving traffic when Jalan Sungai Buloh was upgraded to a highway. nasir said local councils should look for contractors in his constituency for the project. “Funds will come from both Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya municipal councils as Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh comes under both municipalities,” he said.
In a latest attempt to get Malaysian heads bopping and to fill the minds inside them, the MyConstitution campaign released their inaug ural album titled Radio Demokratika. Chock-full of local musicians, the fullfledged album includes 12 tracks by acts like Azmyl Yunor, Carburetor Dung and The Panda Head Curry?. The third track in the album, Azmyl’s Low Of The Land, brings to mind the final scene in an old Western movie in which the protagonist rides off into the sunset. Morose and full of thought, the former street musician’s lyrics betray the attitude of a world-weary traveller in lines like, “The same land you bled on… the same land you’ll be laid down.” After a hiatus and personnel changes from their original lineup, five-piece band Carburetor Dung continues their foray into the scene with their contribution Ugly, Ugly, Ugly. The melodic rock tune starts off with an extensive bass and drums build-up which sounds like how the band would probably play it live. Lead singer Merde’s rasping vocals when he yells on the track, “This world you’re selling, you know I won’t be buying” characterises the band’s defiant attitude. Satirical band The Panda Head Curry?, well known for their thinly veiled jabs at the absurdities of topical personas, wraps up the album with their Joget Melayu Liberal. The melody is an apparent spoof of patriotic songs from the past, and the lyrics attempt to weave points about the Constitution and voting in between listing
Music to drive campaign on
various animals. If there is a need for just one reason to get this album, this song would be it, with ridiculous lines like: “Kalau kita tiada perlembagaan, kita akan hidup sama macam haiwan, seperti arnab, rusa, landak dan angsa, harimau bintang, dan ikan kelisa.” A lawyer involved with MyConstitution and singing for the band Lord Bobo’s Minions, Fahri Azzat provides vocals for the track Better Than This. He said the song is about how something simple as a love between two people can be made complicated, if not prohibitive, by religion, culture, and the political environment. “This should serve as a showcase that Malaysian lawyers’ talent doesn’t only lie in the law. We just practise law because it pays better than making music!” he said. Other acts featured on the album include barcode, Thin Izzy, Temporary, The Sounders, An Honest Mistake, MC Stiff, the maharajah commission, and Rule of Rock. The CD sleeve comes with messages from the non-profit outfit: “Music is an assertion of democracy ... We could think of no better way to demonstrate the fundamental rights we are all guaranteed under the Federal Constitution than to make an album about it.”
Fiction by Julya Oui
She’s one of them,” Mrs Govindasamy said to her neighbour, who was craning her neck across the fence to get a conversation going. “How do you know?” Mrs Chiang asked. “She told you ah?” “Of course not! I wouldn’t even speak to her if I could help it.” Mrs Govindasamy was perturbed by the notion. “I’d rather befriend a monkey than that ... that kind of woman.” “Ya, but that’s her problem la.” “Not when she’s in our neighbourhood.” Mrs Govindasamy raised a finger to the heavens, partly to proclaim the truth, partly to shade the rising sun from blinding her eyes. “Ya, can be quite an embarrassment hoh.” The gold of Mrs Chiang’s earrings and necklace outshone the colour of her skin. “What to do – people like that.” “If I had the right mind I would report her to the authorities. For being a bad influence to our children,” Mrs Govindasamy said. “She’s always coming back with strange people. You know, people like her. Urgh!” “But that doesn’t make it wrong wat, right?”
One of them
“Maybe not for her, but it is for me,” Mrs Govindasamy said. “Aiya, Mrs Govinda, get so upset for what leh?” “Hello – the two of you, what are you gossiping about?” Puan Kusnah approached them after driving her Waja to the shaded side of the road adjacent to her heavily renovated house. “Eh, Puan Kusnah, you just come back from marketing ah?” Mrs Chiang asked. “Of course not, the maid already buy earlier. I go and have breakfast at the hotel with my husband.” “You are so lucky to have a husband who still eats with you. The only time I see my husband is when he is home watching something ridiculous on TV.” “That’s why I every time make sure he do that.” Puan Kasnah shifted her Louis Vuitton handbag from one arm to the other. “Wah, he work so hard hoh.” “Of course, men must do that.” Puan Kusnah patted the two women’s arms to get them to agree with her. “Men make money we spend la!” She broke out in a shrill laughter. The other two women joined in. The cool morning air suddenly heated up from the warmth of the sun as the rays streaked upon their faces to expose their aging skin. For a moment they could see each other’s flaws and furrows under the expensive foundation and makeup they padded onto their faces to cheat the ravages of time. Awkward upon seeing each other’s topographic formations, they averted their eyes to focus on something less tragic. “Er, what two of you talking just now?” Puan Kusnah stepped away from the light that gradually peeled away the top layer of her makeup to allow droplets of perspiration to pop up. “Oh we talk about the woman la, that house one.” Mrs Chiang used her nose to point in the direction. “Mrs Govinda say she’s one of them.” “I know,” Puan Kusnah said. “Terrible kan?” “I wish I could do something about it,” Mrs Govindasamy said. “I don’t like the idea of someone like that living in our neighbourhood.” “What do you want to do?” Mrs Govindasamy leaned closer to her neighbour’s ears, which were cocked to receive what was about to germinate from the dirt. “Ma! Ma!” A boisterous call shook them up from their curious communion. “What is it!” Mrs Govindasamy shouted back. “Ma! Ma!” It repeated like an old vinyl on skip. “Ma! Ma!” “Sorry ladies, I have to go.” Mrs Govindasamy hurried off without turning back. “Boy, I’m coming boy.” She fluttered away with the sweep of her feet and the jangle of her accessories. The two ladies shook their heads and continued, “Her son getting married soon hoh?” Puan Kusnah’s handphone rang. She put her neighbour on hold while she answered it. “Yes, bang? What? Again? But this is too much.
March 11 — 13, 2011
I wish I could do something about it. I don’t like the idea of someone like that living in our neighbourhood.”
Can’t you tell your boss you cannot? Okay la. Ya la. Emm.” She dropped the phone back into the handbag she was bearing on her arm. “My husband cannot come back for dinner again. Always like that. Got meeting la, got work la. Eh, I better tell the maid not to prepare too much food.” She hurried off as she waved. “See you ya, Mrs Chiang. I go inside first.” “Bye.” Mrs Chiang waved lightly and felt the humidity lining her neck and armpits. She trudged back to the majestic semi-detached double-storey structure, listening to the vacuum cleaner heightened only by the sound of distant laughter. She wondered if it had come from the woman who wasn’t one of them, and what there was to laugh so heartily about in the first place.
Jasmine wreaths for Women’s Day
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Selangor sends students back to Egypt
SHAH ALAM: The state will ensure that no students from this state will be left out in its mission to send back the students to Egypt starting tomorrow. “Each student will be treated fairly to enable them to return to Eg ypt and to continue their deferred studies due to the political unrest there,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The Menteri Besar said the cost of sending the students back to Egypt will be borne entirely by the state irrespective of whether the students were on state or private scholarships. “It is the state’s responsibility and duty to help these students. Financially we have nothing to worry about because Selangor has enough savings thanks to our thrifty spending habits,” said Khalid. According to Khalid, the state has sent officers to Eg ypt to ensure the process of sending the students back there will proceed without any hitches while Tourism Selangor arranges for the flight back for these students. Khalid explained that all of the students will be placed in one centre to ease the process of sending them to the airport. “We will also be managing the arrangement with the Malaysian Royal Customs and Immigration,” said Khalid. Five flights have been slotted to send these students back to Egypt starting from tomorrow to March 16. All students have to register at Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque, Shah Alam from today to March 15.
Kok (right) talking to a flower vendor about International Women’s Day.
By Basil Foo
PUCHONG: In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok gave out 500 jasmine flower wreaths to women here. “We gave out roses and carnations [in the past], but the idea for giving out jasmine flowers this time came from the revolutions in Egypt,” said Kok. Initial protests in Tunisia were dubbed the Jasmine Revolution, which led to similar uprisings in Egypt and other countries including China. “We need to have a revolution of ideas for the bet-
terment of our country; only then can we see progress,” Kok said. She said women played an important part in the country as they had a big role in determining the outcome of elections. The flower-giving exercise, which is usually carried out in markets, was held during a walkabout at the Taman Kinrara 1 morning market on Jalan TK1/1. Also present were Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya councillors Norhesni Ismail and Robert Tan Siang Chiok, who assisted with the flower giving.
March 11 — 13, 2011
Celebs to wow during Secretary’s Week
event puts a twist on Secretary’s Week with the theme Divas Las Vegas. Every secretary in attendance will be treated like a “diva”, and guests with the most eye-catching attire will be crowned “Best Dressed”. “To show appreciation to the hardworking assistants and secretaries, i believe the price is justified by the quality of entertainment and food prepared,” he said. prices to attend Secretary’s Week with Anita Sarawak and noryn Aziz are rM550, rM490 and rM420 per person. For booking s, contact 0355118858 or 03-55118814, 0193053858 (rawi), 019-3073858 (Aizat), 019-3963858 (Hidayah), 019-3952858 (Sarah), or 0193582858 (Syaiful). Guests can also make bookings through the Ticket charge hotline at 03-92228811, or via their website at ticketcharge.com.my. Tickets are also on sale at over 50 outlets in shopping malls around town, including Speedy Video, rock corner, chambers Music, and TelVenture.
By Basil Foo
E xpEriEncE the revelry of Secretary’s Week at the Shah Alam convention centre (SAcc) this April 6 with artistes Anita Sarawak and noryn Aziz, who will present a special showcase with guest hosts Zizan razak and Juliana Evans from 12pm to 3pm. There will be surprise performances, with different arrangements of crowd favorites. Guests will bring home attractive souvenirs while standing a chance to win outstanding lucky-draw prizes worth almost rM100,000. These will include jewelry pieces, luxury furniture sets and other enticing items. “As a gift to my fans, i will also give out almost rM40,000 worth of gifts, but i won’t be giving them outright,” Anita said. “The audience will need to participate.” She said this during the Secretary’s Week pre-launch ceremony on Tuesday, March 1. SAcc chief executive officer Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad said the
Anita (second from right) and Noryn signing their autographs while Zulkifli looks on.
Chee solves TRON puzzle
SHAH ALAM: TGV cinemas’ quest for a TRON Saviour finally came to a thrilling conclusion after an action-packed month-long search, when 39-year-old chee Wei Hook from Setapak Jaya solved The Case of the Missing Keys to the TRON Show Reels. TGV cinemas launched Malaysia’s first Alternate reality Game (ArG) in the movie industry with The Case of the Missing Keys to the TRON Show Reels, in conjunction with the release of TRON: Legacy. The new game platform enabled players to go through real-life as well as online challenges which then allowed them to experience realworld interactions with a fictional storyline. The contest attracted over 2,800 entries and chee was one of the first to sign up for this contest which he discovered through TGV cinemas’ Facebook page. As the winner of the grand prize worth rM20,000, chee received a brand new panasonic 50-inch 3D HDTV complete with a 3D Bluray DVD player and a 3D combo Kit. He also received an entire TGV cinema movie hall for an evening of entertainment with free popcorn and coca-cola combos for up to 200 guests, a reward he has decided to donate to charity. Winners of the contest were selected in January by a panel comprising representatives from both TGV cinemas and panasonic based on the best answers and the most inventive TRON signature submitted in the entry forms. Other winners of the contest were peter carmen, who won the se cond prize of a WiM Axready Lenovo ideapad V360 with free broadband. nor Syairah Abdullah, Mark ng Ti chien, and Ma Lam Fatt were the third-prize winners. They received a p14G W1GGY prepaid Starter Kit and a special razer Gift pack. consolation prizes of 10 limitededition TRON gift packs were also given out.
Metrojaya Sale in conjunction with GP
n conjunction with the Malaysia Gp sale, Metrojaya Mega sale kicks off at all Metrojaya Department stores from today till April 15 with a host of great value offers and special buys across a wide range of family fashion and home lifestyle needs. Men will be happy to see discounts of 50%-70% on Ashworth and renoma polo tee shirts and 50% on office wear by Daniel Hechter, Orlando, charles Monsieur and many more. customers can get a free rM10 gift vouchers with purchases of every rM150 from the participating brands. Ladies can also enjoy beauty therapy on skin and scent products from international brands such as Estee Lauder, Lancome, Dior, clarins, clinique, channel and lots more in store. Throughout the sale, customers will receive free rM10 cash vouchers for every purchase of rM100 from the cosmetics and fragrances department. There is a galore of great buys with discount up to 70% from the shoes/handbags section as well as fashion wear such as the UK-based Laura Ashley collections. There is also an exclusive weekend cosmetics and Fragrance promotion at Metrojaya store in plaza Bukit Bintang! customers will be rewarded with rM30 cash vouchers with every purchase of rM200 nett from cosmetics and Fragrances department. With the school holiday starting from today, there is a Metrojaya Toy Fairs at East Atrium, Mid Valley Megamall and centre court , The curve. For more details visit the Metrojaya website (www.metrojaya.com.my) or call 1800 888 865.
Grand prize winner Chee (left) and Panasonic (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Jeff Lee trying out the 3D glasses. Chee received a Panasonic 50-inch 3D HDTV, a 3D BluRay DVD player and a 3D Combo Kit as part of the grand prize from TGV Cinemas.
hen conducting FIDE (World Chess Federation) seminars for coaches as the junior lecturer assisting some world famous world champion grandmaster trainer, I am often assigned the easier but certainly no less important topics. And when teaching what one of my students termed as “our daily chess hygiene”, I always refer to the following extract taken from the writings of Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh: During the course of a game a player repeatedly has to find answers to two questions – what to do, and how to do it. The answer to the first question is given by chess strategy, and to the second by tactics. It is well known that, in warfare, strategy is assigned the leading role,
and tactics a subordinate one. But on the chess board everything is different. Although here too tactics are largely subordinate to strategy, their role is extremely important. After all, on the chess board, except when a pawn is promoted, there are no reserves, and this means there can be no addition to the existing forces, which themselves are very limited. Therefore it is not surprising that
Tactics, tactics and more tactics
even one tactical mistake, oversight or blunder may lead to defeat. On the contrary, a successful tactical operation may immediately decide the outcome of a game. Remember that, however successful your strategical plan, a tactical mistake can completely ruin it. Not without reason is it said that, to win a game, forty moves or more may be required, but to lose it is sufficient to make one bad one!
Get smart! Play chess!
By Peter Long email@example.com
March 11 — 13, 2011
As master of the past Richard Teichmann once aptly put it: “Chess is 90% tactics!” Every player, from beginner to World Champion, has experienced this at first hand himself. Chess hygiene With the national chess calendar kicking off with the National Age Groups Championship to be immediately followed by the Na-
tional Closed Championships during the school term break starting tomorrow, I think it is appropriate to offer a series of exercises to help our aspiring national champions warm up. These examples are taken from World Championship Matches played by the first official World Champion William Steinitz. Do try and solve them before looking at the answers given.
Steinitz-Chigorin (8) World Championship Match 1889 1.Rxe5 fxe5 2.Bxe5 g5 3.Bg6+ Kf8 4.Qxd7 Qa7 5.Qf5+ Kg8 6.d7 1:0
Chigorin-Steinitz (15) World Championship Match 1889 1...Rxd6! 2.Qf3 Rd3 3.Qg4 Re4 0:1
Steinitz-Gunsberg (7) World Championship Match 1890 1.Rxf6! gxf6 2.d7 Rg8 3.dxe5 Rg5 4.Qxa8 Qxa8 5.Rc8 Rg8 6.Rxa8 Rxa8 7.e6 1:0
March 11 — 13, 2011
Donor Gan Liam Chor strikes a gong to launch a dinner to commemorate the International Women’s Day celebrations in Jenjarom on Tuesday. Looking on (from left) is executive councillor Teresa Kok, Jenjarom village chief Tan Ching Han, Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew, Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng and Teluk Datok assemblyperson Phillip Tan.
A contestant focusing hard on decorating her cake during a baking competition held on the sidelines of Pakatan Rakyat’s launch of the Buku Jingga in Shah Alam on Saturday.
Ladies checking out the literature on sale during the International Women’s Day celebrations held in the Selangor state government building in Shah Alam on Tuesday.
Worldwide Holdings Bhd human resource and public relations division manager Ami Nardin (standing) sharing his experience with blood donors Siti Badriah (left) and Shahriza during the company’s blood donation campaign at their headquarters on Monday.
Children hard at work during a drawing contest held on the sidelines of Pakatan Rakyat’s launch of the Buku Jingga in Shah Alam on Saturday.
From left: State Exco Rodziah Ismail, Selagor Menteri Besar’s wife Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut and Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei admiring some of the items sold during the International Women’s Day celebrations held in the Selangor state government office in Shah Alam on Tuesday.
march 11 — 13, 2011
❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW
Of greed and power in the ring
ain Said is probably most widely known to Malaysians for making a film that we never got to see. In 2006, he directed Dukun, a horror/courtroomdrama flick loosely based on the grisly murder of Datuk Mazlan Idris by celebrity bomoh Mona Fandey. Execs from Astro Shaw axed the movie’s release after complaints by Mona Fandey’s family and fears that it would be “too controversial”. Hopefully, the filmmaker’s sophomore feature effort, Bunohan (previously known as Bunga Lalang), won’t suffer the same fate. Set on the lawless Malaysia-Thailand border, featuring tomoi (Muay Thai), contract killings via lawi ayam (a wicked traditional weapon), and thick Kelantanese accents, the film’s looking swell. So are its prospects. Bunohan has already been picked up by US-based Arclight Films for sales abroad. At the launch of its trailer last week, Astro Shaw’s Gayatri Su-lin Pillai revealed that her company was on board for regional distribution – to “tebus dosa”, as it were. I talked to Dain about what Bunohan, which he also wrote, is about, why he loves the topography of the East Coast, and where he thinks Malaysian film is going today. What’s Bunohan about? The film is about three brothers – Ilham (Faizal Hussein), an assassin; Bakar (Pekin Ibrahim), a schoolteacher and businessman from out of town; and Adil (Zahiril Adzim), Between the urban and rural; the old and the new; the oral histories and contemporary life. Who are you planning to reach with the film? The Malaysian mass audience. When I was working on it, I just wrote without thinking about a target audience. And it is getting an international release. But I do want to aim for local success. It’s important that a film does well in its home ground – particularly a film like Bunohan, because it is so grounded in its context. What are your thoughts on the direction Malaysian film is taking? Are we doing well? Malaysian film is one of the fastest-growing movie industries in the world right now. We’re in a great place. There’s so much diversity. You’ve got the independent filmmakers who are contributing to the growth of the Malaysian film scene. You have the very commercial films, and sometimes these are copies of Hollywood – but that’s okay. And between those two ends of the spectrum you have a lot of people doing different things. Bunohan, produced by Apparat, is directed by Dain Said and stars Faizal Hussein, Zahiril Adzim, Pekin Ibrahim, Bront Palarae, Namron, Amerul Affendi, Tengku Azura, and more. It is slated for a wide Malaysian release by the end of 2011. Watch the trailer online.
a kickboxer – and the relationships between them. They are a pretty dysfunctional family: Ilham doesn’t know Adil is his brother, and is sent to kill him. It deals with the idea that if you make a mistake – their father taking on a second wife, for example – your mistake will affect everyone. The past comes back to haunt you. It’s also about greed and the lust for power: in the boxing ring, in Bakar’s engineering events to gain control of the family property. And, with all the pain and regret in the land, it’s about healing. Bunohan seems to have a brooding, dark
atmosphere – East Coast Gothic, in a way. You shot in Kelantan and Terengganu; did the locations themselves lend that air to your film? It is dark and gritty, and I think its setting externalises the emotions. Visually, we set Bunohan in the mangroves, the swamps, the lagoons of the East Coast – places that communicate the idea of things shifting. In those places, some of the islets that today exist may have disappeared by next year. That sort of confluence became a metaphor for the one of the biggest themes of the movie: the clash of different value systems.
KL Performing Arts Centre; March 10-20; RM35; 03-4047 9000; www.klpac.com
The Celebrities Club, Solaris Mont Kiara; weekends, March 11-April 2; free admission; www.kakiseni.com
The LasT Five Years
Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown’s work incorporates a contemporary, pop-rock sensibility. The Last Five Years, which Brown staged in 2001 to critical acclaim, was based on his own failed marriage. It chronicles the history of a relationship from the perspectives of its two participants, with a nifty chronological twist: you see Jamie’s story from the first day the couple meet; Cathy’s side is told from their break-up, and proceeds backwards. “Funny and uplifting, the show captures some of the most heartbreaking and universally felt moments of modern romance.” The Kuala Lumpur iteration of The Last Five Years features Tabitha Kong and Jon Chew, with musical direction by Stephen Tok. Directed by KLPac’s resident director Christopher Ling.
Muzik ku, Muzik Mu
With its absence often bemoaned in the scene for the past year, online arts journal Kakiseni has returned – albeit under different management, with a reduced focus on content but renewed resolve to help get people to experience art. It kicks off its resurrection with the Women:100 festival, held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and touting “100 hours of performing arts”. One of the fest’s main events is Muzik Ku: Muzik Mu, a month-long music platform with an all-women line-up. This weekend, watch people like pop stars Mizz Nina and Nikki Palaikat; singer-songwriter Diandra Arjunaidi; bands Fluffy and Star Sally; as well as drag-queen extraordinaire Shelah!!!. Catch artistes like Elvira Arul, Liyana Fizi, Izlyn Ramli, and Melina William on other nights, too. Free admission through online booking only.
Pentas Project; The Annexe Gallery, Central Market; March 17-19; free admission; www.kakiseni.com
a Modern WoMan CaLLed ang Tau Mui
Yes, there are two separate productions of A Modern Woman Called Ang Tau Mui – itself one of Malaysia’s most often-restaged plays – this month. Unlike Five Art Centre’s offering, experimental theatre group Pentas Project focuses on a single aspect of Leow’s
text, namely her character’s love of cinema, and her propensity for embarking on flights of fancy. “She runs away from reality whenever she can and acts and imagines herself as someone else, hoping reality will be what her dreams are.” Directed by Loh Kok Man, featuring Pearlly Chua, with a video otherworld created by Au Sow Yee. Part of Kakiseni’s Women:100 festival. Free admission through online booking only.
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.