community

JuLy 15 — 17, 2011/ issue 33

II ⁄ July 15 – 17, 2011 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

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July 15 — 17, 2011/ issue 33

BUDGET ACCOMODATION: New regulations to govern budget hotels will be introduced soon to regulate the booming industry.

By Basil Foo

sHaH alam: A surge in budget hotels is raising eyebrows, and authorities are  laying down ground rules to ensure they don’t become prostitution dens. “We started drafting guidelines because of an increase in applications over the past two years,” said Klang Municipal Council (MPK) acting president Mohd Ehsan Mukri. He said the move is to ensure that the budget hotels do not end up as a catalyst for social ills. “They must install security cameras and only offer hotel services. No spas,” said Mohd Ehsan when met at the state assembly on Wednesday. Other requirements include having proper registration counters,  rental rates not exceeding RM150, and for these hotels to be located at corner lots for better parking capacity. The draft was made during a meeting with representatives from the 11 other local councils and the Tourism Ministry two months ago. The guidelines are also aimed at curbing oversupply. “If we have too many hotels but not enough demand, they (operators) will

New rules soon for budget hotels
convert [the hotels] into different kinds of businesses. So we need to control them,” Mohd Ehsan said. He added, however, that the guidelines are still being finalised and have yet to be approved by the state. MPK has sent out invitations to the other local councils for a second workshop, where representatives from all parties would meet to work on the guidelines. “MPK has been tasked with drawing up new guidelines ... If found feasible, it will be applied to all 12 local authorities in the state,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu.   Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, said the state evaluated MPK’s proposed guidelines last month but has asked the council to finetune them. Budget hotels are currently regulated by by-laws under each local authority. Liu said he was unsure of the extent of immoral activity at budget hotels, but the new guidelines will serve as a preventive measure. “The local councils are conducting frequent checks at budget hotels with the help of the police and religious bodies,” he explained. On Tuesday, Liu told the state assembly that there are 138 budget hotels in Selangor. He said this in reply to a question from Datuk Marsum Paing (BN-Dengkil). There are seven registered budget hotels in Shah Alam, 18 in Petaling Jaya, 17 in Klang, 13 in Ampang Jaya, 13 in Subang Jaya, 20 in Selayang, 17 in Kajang, 3 in Sepang, 19 in Kuala Selangor, 10 in Kuala Langat, and one in Sabak Bernam.

High Court upholds ban on books
The Home Ministry had on May 25, 2010 banned Zulkiflee Anwarul KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Haque, or Zunar’s, 1FunnyMalaysia Lumpur High Court yesterday and Perak Darul Kartun, published upheld the Home Ministry’s ban on respectively by MKINI Dotcom and cartoonist Zunar’s two books and Zunar’s own company Sepakat EfekKim Quek’s The March to Putrajaya. tif Sdn Bhd in November 2009. Both authors said they would The ministry prohibited the appeal against the decision. printing, production, sale, distri “Looking at the statement and bution or possession of the two affidavit by the (Home) Minister books because they were prejudiand balancing it against the position cial to public order under Section of the sensitivity issues in the coun- 7 of the Printing Presses and Pubtry, in my view there is sufficient lications Act. material before the minister to come T h e M a rc h t o Pu t ra j a y a to the ban. was  banned on Sept 27, 2010 under “I do not find the decisions to be the same act for the same reason, in defiance of logic, or that it is arbi- with 33 copies seized by the Home trarily made without proper facts,” Ministry. said Justice Datuk Rohana Yusuf Kim Quek, whose real name is when delivering the judgment. Yong Thye Chong, and his pubShe said having reviewed the lisher Oriengroup Sdn Bhd filed for Home Minister’s affidavit, she judicial review in November 2010, agreed that the three books raised while Zunar, MKINI Dotcom and sensitive issues such as Teoh Beng Sepakat Efektif Sdn Bhd sought juHock’s death, race and religion that dicial review last July. can be “potentially dangerous to Justice Rohana decided to deliver public order”. her judgment for the three books together as the Selangor WeaTHer “issues involved are the same”. Friday Saturday Sunday “In my view, there’s no irraMorning tionality involved [on the Home Minister’s decision], afternoon and because of this public order issue there is night therefore a need to restrict the fundamental Source: Malaysian meteorological department liberties proviBy Gan Pei Ling

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news
July 15 — 17, 2011

(From right) Zunar, Kim Quek and other cartoonists speaking to the press at the Kuala Lumpur High Court after the court upheld the Home Ministry’s ban on the three books.

Liow to probe conflicting accounts
SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has backtracked on his denial that police fired tear gas and turned their water cannons on Tung Shin Hospital in Saturday’s Bersih 2.0 rally. The move by the Health Minister comes in the wake of a signed statement by  11 doctors, who expressed  outrage at the actions of the police. The doctors said the police acted without regard for the safety of patients and doctors. “I would like to investigate this case. When I visited Tung Shin ... they didn’t tell me all this,” Liow said during a press conference yesterday. The senior doctors refuted Liow’s explanation that the hospital was not directly hit by tear gas, but that winds had blown the gas there. According to Liow, the water cannons only brushed the edge of the hospital walls, while police have denied firing tear gas canisters directly into the hospital compound after protesters had sought refuge there. “As the Minister of Health, we would like to protect the hospital from any assault or abuse,” said Liow. He said discrepancies in the story by the police and staff in the hospital had changed his mind. The doctors are ready to provide sworn affidavits to back up their claim.

sions guaranteed under the Federal Constitution,” she said. The court was mindful of the “social and cultural sentiments of respective communities in the country”, which have to be balanced against the need to protect fundamental liberties. She dismissed the three applications with no cost to the plaintiffs as the cases “are of public interest”. Edmund Bon, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, described the ruling as a setback for freedom of expression in the country. “We have always been arguing that the [ban] must be reasonable.

[But] the judge is saying the ban is reasonable because the minister said so [in his affidavit]. “The judge herself had said in the beginning that this must be an objective test. She herself must read the books and come to a reasonable conclusion,” said Bon. He added that the three books had been in circulation for a few months before the ban was imposed, and there were no reports of any threat to public order caused by the books. For instance, the cartoons in 1Funny Malaysia were published on news portal Malaysiakini for over

two years before they were compiled and published in book form in November 2009. Bon said that the court did not address this irrationality in the judgment. Both Zunar and Kim Quek said they would appeal against the decision. “Although I know the higher we go in the judiciary the chances of winning are lesser, I’ll still appeal,” Kim Quek told reporters. Zunar said he expected the judgment, but he would keep drawing despite the setback. “I’ll keep drawing, I’ll keep exposing corruption and government wrongdoing.”

phone (603) 5510 4566 fax (603) 5523 1188 email editor@selangortimes.com

EDITORIAL
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR WRITERS

KL Chan

Neville Spykerman

Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan, Brenda Ch’ng COPY EDITORS Nick Choo, James Ang
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Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will hold a public inquiry into alleged police brutality during and before last weekend’s rally. A gathering is also planned for tomorrow ( July 16) at Lotus State Restaurant in Petaling Jaya, organised by members of the Bersih 2.0 steering committee.   The “open invite” on Facebook hails “all friends who were there in central Kuala Lumpur defying water cannons, tear gas, police handcuffs and blockades for our beloved Malaysia”. Bersih supporters have been asked to wear yellow in support of the movement every Saturday.

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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ July 15 – 17, 2011 ⁄ 3

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News
July 15 — 17, 2011

Second Sitting
By Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: Selangor is mulling the legal viability of two rules to prevent profiteering from its affordable home schemes. They include restricting the transfer of ownership within the first five years and only allowing the homes to be resold to the state with a limited profit margin. “If the owner wants to sell his or her affordable home, he or she can only sell it back to the state government,” said executive councillor Iskandar Samad on Tuesday.   He added that the state’s affordable homes (Rumah Mampu Milik), priced below RM100,000 for an apartment unit of 750 to 850 sq feet, are targeted at middle-class

Rules against profiteering from affordable homes
buyers with a monthly income of between RM2,500 and RM5,000. Iskandar pointed out that affordable homes are different from lowcost houses as the latter are cheaper, usually priced at RM42,000, and smaller at 650 sq feet. But only those with who earn less than RM2,500 a month can buy low-cost houses. “Our affordable homes are also different from federal government projects, where houses are sold at RM100,000 to RM220,000 to those with a monthly income of between RM3,000 and RM6,000,” said Iskandar. He pointed out that first-time buyers are given priority to purchase Selangor’s affordable homes, with 40% of the units reserved for buyers under 35 years of age. Senior citizens and people with disabilities will be allocated specific ground-floor units as well. The Selangor Housing and Property Board (LHPS) will vet all applications to ensure only qualified applicants are accepted. Selangor Development Corporation’s (PKNS) first affordable apartment project comprising 124 units was launched in Bandar Baru Bangi last month. “PKNS plans to build 11,001 units of affordable homes in the next 10 years, but the state also encourages private developers to build such homes for the people in Selangor,” said Iskandar. The state investment arm will build another 480 apartment units in Kampung Seri Temenggong in Gombak and 242 units in Shah Alam this year. Five more similar projects totalling 1,056 units are also expected to be launched in Kota Puteri this year. Between 2012 and 2021, PKNS will be launching eight more projects in Shah Alam U12, Bukit Cerakah U10, Antara Gapi, Bernam Jaya and Selangor Science Park 2. As for private developers, Iskandar said two projects are ongoing: one in Sungai Long, Hulu Langat, is being constructed (136 units), while another in Shah Alam U10 (536 units) is in the midst of getting state approval to convert the lowcost houses to affordable homes. He urged other interested private developers to approach the state.

Selangor’s microcredit schemes well received
State assembly sitting in progress.

Factories seeking amnesty must move away from residential areas
By Basil Foo

SHAH ALAM: Illegal factories applying to legalise operations under the state’s amnesty programme are required to shift their operations away from residential areas. Some of the factories, which have existed before townships were built up around them, have become the bane of residents due to the air and noise pollution they create. State  executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah said the operations of an illegal cement- and limestoneprocessing factory in Sungai Long which applied for legalisation were halted. He said the factory has since been approved to be used as a storeroom, and will face fines from local authorities should their operations continue. Ean Yong, who spoke after the state assembly on Tuesday, said resi-

dents from the nearby Sungai Long and Mahkota Cheras townships had complained about dust from the factory. “There were also complaints of noise pollution from residents of Bandar Sunway Semenyih due to a furniture-manufacturing factory near their housing area,” he said. The factory was also found to be housing its foreign workforce within its compound. Ean Yong, whose portfolio includes legalisation of illegal factories, said the factory will have to relocate their workers’ hostel and include sound barriers for their machines. “The minimum distance of factories from residential areas will depend on their individual industries. The conditions have been set by the Department of Environment (DOE),” he added. He said during the legalisation process, federal agencies like the

DOE and Fire Department will be referred to. He was responding to a question by Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin, who pointed out the cases of illegal factories raising the ire of nearby residents. Meru assemblyperson Dr Abdul Rani Osman also posed a question of the factory legalisation process in his constituency. “The total number of illegal factories in Meru is 35, with one factory having their land conversion approved,” Ean Yong said. As of January, applications for 2,248 agricultural land lots have been submitted to the state government for land conversion, and 1,061 applications have been approved. The state received RM86.6 million through additional premiums collected from the approved applications, marking a 34.3% increase from collections in September 2009.

SHAH ALAM: Some 3,672 small and medium entrepreneurs have benefited from the state’s two microcredit schemes launched last September. In urban areas around Klang Valley, 1,048 entrepreneurs have received financial assistance via Skim Microcredit Miskin Bandar (Mimbar). Executive Councillor Rodziah Ismail told the state assembly on Monday that only one in five applications for the scheme was accepted. She said close to 90% of the successful applicants were MaEthnicity No. of Successful lay, more than 7% were Indian, applications applicants and only less than 3% were Malay 4,458 943 Chinese. Indian 744 79 “We’re taking steps to promote Mimbar to the Chinese Chinese 157 25 communities, including printOrang Asli 1 1 ing publicity materials in ManTOTAL 5,360 1,048 darin and organising public briefings in Chinese New Villages,” said Rodziah. Meanwhile, in rural districts, over RM7.27 million have been disbursed to 2,624 entrepreneurs via Skim Microcredit Selangor (Skimsel) as of June 2011. District Successful Amount Executive councilapplicants disbursed lor Dr Hasan Ali told (RM) the assembly that SaSabak Bernam 712 2,309,600 bak Bernam has the highest number of Hulu Selangor 456 1,257,000 successful applicants Kuala Langat 445 1,182,500 – 712 – among the six rural districts in SeKuala Selangor 431 1,072,100 langor. Hulu Langat 366 956,500 He said the state Sepang 205 492,500 only accept 30-40% of the applications TOTAL 2,624 7,270,200 submitted. Skimsel and Mimbar are separate microcredit schemes especially designed for rural and urban folks with a monthly income of less than RM1,500 and assets of not more than RM50,000. Interested applicants can find out more information at www.mimbarselangor.com or www.skimsel.com, or via their assemblypersons’ service centres.

NEWS
JULY 15 — 17, 2011

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Second Sitting

Additional funds approved by the House
  SHAH ALAM: A supplementary budget of RM114 million was approved by the state legislature on Tuesday. This is in addition to the original RM1.43 billion budget passed by the state assembly last November and RM49.3 million in April, bringing the state’s total expenditure for 2011 to RM1.59 billion. More than half of the additional budget – RM61.6 million – will be used to fund Selangor’s free water programme and to print free water coupons for residents in high-rise buildings that use bulk meters. This drew fire from opposition lawmakers such as Wong Koon Mun (MCA-Kuala Kubu Bharu), who said the state’s free water programme was financially unsustainable. But Wong’s remark was immediately retorted by Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR-Seri Setia), who said the Barisan Nasional-led federal government splurged more on military, which is not even a basic amenity. However, Azmin Ali (PKR-Bukit Antarabangsa) also urged the state to improve its free water programme so that only the needy benefit from it. “It doesn’t make sense to give RM11.50 (savings from the 20 cubic metre free water) to people like the
By Gan Pei Ling

Sand revenue expected to double by year end
SHAH ALAM: Selangor expects earnings from sand mining to exceed RM40 million this year, said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on Monday. The Menteri Besar told the state assembly on Monday that Selangor’s sand mining subsidiary, Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, has earned RM20 million from the sale of sand as of May. He was responding a question from Wong Koon Mun (BNKuala Kubu Bharu). Khalid said revenue from sand mining could go up to RM150 million if the state could effectively eliminate sand theft and better manage the industry. He added that when he visited Hulu Selangor recently, the district and land office reported that they previously only earned RM300,000 annually from sand mining. But after 2008 when the state begun to reform the sandmining industry, the Hulu Selangor district is now reaping in RM2.5 million annually. He said various local authorities will continue to monitor sand-mining activities around the state to prevent theft, and urged the public to report any suspicious activity to the authority. “The state is organising a few programmes, such as the Jom ke Supermarket [event] for senior citizens, so that we can channel the earnings [from sand] back to the people,” said Khalid. Launched this month, Jom ke Supermarket gives RM100 voucher to senior citizens registered under Selangor’s Skim Mesra Usia Emas to shop at hypermarkets.

Menteri Besar,” said Azmin. Apart from the free water programme, RM10 million was allocated to set up a Natural Disaster Relief Fund (Tabung Amanah Bencana Alam) in the wake of the Hulu Langat orphanage landslide that claimed 16 lives in May. The breakdown for the remaining RM42 million allocation is as follows: ·    RM20 million for the state’s development fund (Kumpulan Wang Pembangunan Negeri); ·    RM10 million for Selangor Works Department to replace old vehicles; ·  RM1.8 million for Selangor Irrigation and Drainage Department to replace old vehicles; ·  RM1.27 million to accommodate the increase in allowances for state lawmakers which was passed by the House on April 12; ·  RM8 million for the state’s padi programmes; and ·  RM1.36 million for the management fee of the Royal Theatre in Shah Alam. Apart from the supplementary supply bill, the state assembly also passed the Natural Disaster Relief Fund Enactment 2011 to allow for the setting up of the fund, and amended the Islam Administration Enactment (Selangor).

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news
juLY 15 — 17, 2011

EvEnts
Buddhist retreat
Ti-Ratana Buddhist Society will hold their Vassa Rains Retreat today (July 15) at 8pm. Devotees are invited to take part in chants led by monks. They are also invited to sponsor the monks’ breakfast and lunch. There will also be the offering of lights to Buddha and evening blessings. Devotees may bring labelled bottles of water, medicine oil and rosaries which will be blessed during the three months of Vassa. The event will be held at 99A 1st floor, Pusat Perniagaan Newcity Business Centre, off Jalan Meru, 41050 Klang. For more information, call 016-2787962 (Foo).

Hulu Selangor in dire financial trouble
By Tang Hui Koon

Free health seminar
The Senior Citizens’ Association Selangor (Secita) will hold a health awareness day on Sunday (July 17) from 10.30am-2.30pm. There will be free blood and pressure tests, besides free consultations with specialists (by appointment). The event will be held at 4A Jalan SS 5D/6, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, 47301 Selangor. For more information, call 012-2020998 (Wendy) or 012-2010163 (Agnes).

hulu selangor: The Hulu Selangor District Council (MDHS) is looking to the state for financial aid as its tax collection is insufficient to finance its operations and maintain public facilities. Hulu Selangor is the largest district in the state, and MDHS councillor Law Say Hin told Selangor Times that the council needs RM43 million. However, it is estimated to only be able to collect RM20 million from ratepayers this year.  “We managed to collect around RM8 million for the first half of the year. It was barely enough to cover the council’s

overheads,” said Law. Due to the lack of development projects in the rural district, the council has always had to rely on financial aid from the federal and state governments. Law said the council has had to slash its operating budget so that the limited funds could be used to repair its 508km of roads, drains, streetlights and other public facilities. To make matter worse, the council is also facing difficulty in recovering overdue taxes from developers, which amount to RM50 million. Law cited Talam Corporation, the developer for Bukit Beruntung, as one of the developers who owed the council at least RM5 million.

Law, who is part of the council’s tax recollection action unit, said the unit managed to collect around RM300,000 to RM400,000 in arrears from developers this year. He added that the district council received the most public complaints on the lack of maintenance of facilities in Bukit Sentosa and Bukit Beruntung, the two areas where most abandoned projects are located in. He said Hulu Selangor local councillors appealed to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to help the council when the Menteri Besar visited the district two weeks ago. Law added that Khalid had promised to meet the councillors to listen to their woes and look for appropriate solutions.

Mind competition
The Malaysia Mental Literacy Movement, together with Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) and Tunku Abdul Rahman College, will hold a mind competition on Aug 6. The competition, which will serve as a prelude to the Malaysia Festival of the Mind, will be held at Utar’s Petaling Jaya Campus 9, Jalan Bersatu 13/4, Petaling Jaya. Entries close on July 25. For more details, contact 03-79606191 or email mmlm@ utar.edu.my.

Basketball tourney a success
By Alvin Yap

Free prostate screening
The Malaysian Urological Association will hold free prostate screenings for men aged 50 and above this weekend (July 16-17). The programme include blood tests, urine examinations, bladder scans and consultations with urologists. The event will be held at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (Urology Clinic Level 1, Institute of Urology and Nephrology) and Hospital Sungai Buloh (Surgical Clinic, Level 2). For details, call 03-40251251.

Buddhist puja
Pertubuhan Penganut Samye Guan Yin Buddhist Centre will hold a two-day puja from July 3031. Admission is free and vegetarian food will be provided. The event will be held at KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at 1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur. For details, call 012-2689528 (Grace) or 016-3818122 (Noreen).

Career forum
Adelaide University Alumni (West Malaysia) Berhad will host a video conference on career prospects for Malaysian students at the University of Adelaide. The event will be held on July 30 from 10am to noon at 18th South Floor, Menara Telekom, Jalan Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur. For more information, contact 0122623575 (Peter) or email pjh@thomasphillip.com.my.

Fundraising carnival
The Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG) of SMK Seafield will hold a fundraising carnival on Sunday (July 17) from 9am-4pm. Proceeds will be used to build a new co-curricular centre and upgrade the school library. The carnival will be held in the school compound on Jalan USJ 2/5.

petaling jaya: A three-aside  basketball tournament by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) attracted 20 teams last Sunday. “It is a success, with so many teams signing up to compete with each other,” said MBPJ councillor A Jeyaseelan. Jeyaseelan organised the event as part of the state’s Local Youth Initiator programme.  The teams comprised youths from Sections 20, 21 and 22 in Sea Park. Kampung Tunku state assemblyperson Lau Weng San launched the event and also handed out prizes to the teams. The Local Youth Initiator programme is a state initiative to involve youths in sports activities and other events. It is run at local government level, and local councillors receive funding to organise sports events for youths in their area. “The Local Youth Initiator programme was created [for] community gatherings like this, so that youths can come together to compete in a healthy and wholesome manner,” Lau said.

Jeyaseelan congratulating the players.

Battling it out.

Clean Zone drive to go on
By Basil Foo

Allergy-testing forum
Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s consultant immunologist and consultant ENT surgeon will be speaking at a public forum titled “The Importance of AllergyTesting” on July 23. The talk will be from 10.30am1pm at Dewan Pantai, Ground Floor, Block C on Jalan Bukit Pantai, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free, and early birds will be given free IgE (food allergy) tests. To register, call 03-22960773 or 22960610.

shah alaM: The Clean Zone campaign, implemented by local councils to improve cleanliness, has so far cost the state government RM210,000 for the purchase of rubbish bins. “The highest expenditure was under the Selayang Municipal Council with RM39,000,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu. He was responding to a question by Sungai Pelek assemblyperson Yap Ee Wah at the state assembly on

Wednesday. Other local councils accounting for high expenditure were Petaling Jaya (R M33,000), Ampang Jaya (RM27,000), and Shah Alam (RM24,750). “ Th e Cl e a n Z o n e c a mp a i g n 2009/2010 term received an encouraging response from residents associations, non-governmental organisations, and other agencies,” Liu said. Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, urged local councils to maintain efforts in keeping rubbish

to a minimum. He said a new 2010/2011 session for the campaign was initiated last October and focuses on town areas. “Residents will be exposed to the importance of keeping the environment clean, in regard to dengue cases and recycling campaigns,” he explained. He added that the state government has so far allocated RM1.2 million to be distributed among the 12 local councils for carrying out the campaign.

news
July 15 — 17, 2011

State to impose maintenance fee guidelines
By Basil Foo

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PETALING JAYA: Guidelines to regulate maintenance charges in high-rise buildings will be rolled out by the state within a month to protect residents from being fleeced. “The guidelines are to prevent the Joint Management Bodies ( JMB) from overcharging residents,” said state executive councillor Iskandar Samad. Iskandar, whose portfolio includes Housing, said the guidelines will be out by Ramadan. Speaking at the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) Dream Home Awards 2011 on July 8, Iskandar said the state was checking on sanctions that could be imposed on management bodies that breach the guidelines. “The maintenance charges will be determined by the type of apartments – low-, medium-, or high-cost – and by the number of facilities they contain,” he said. He maintained that the guidelines were necessary as there are large discrepancies in the mainte-

nance fees for high-rise residences. Fees for low-cost flats in the state range from RM15 to RM70. During the event, Lee Wing Cheong from Casa Indah 1 received the Dream Home award and prize money of RM10,000 in the medium-high-cost apartment category on behalf of his JMB. “We are happy to receive this award as the management has worked very hard to receive a 99% collection of maintenance fees from the residents,” said Lee, whose apartment is located in Tropicana, Kota Damansara. Receiving the jury’s special award for the medium-low-cost category and RM3,000 in prize money for the Sri Damansara 2 JMB was its adviser, Kong Chee Seng. He said the achievement was a result of residents’ cooperation and the support of their building management company. “We have managed to boost security in our building by requiring the use of access cards and providing night lighting at our open car park,” Kong said.

Iskandar (left) presenting a mock cheque to Lee.

Sri Ara apartments chairperson Shafrait Ezizi received RM10,000 and the Dream Home award on behalf of his JMB for the mediumlow-cost category. He s a i d r e s i d e nt s o f h i s apartments were looking forward to participating in the competition for the award every year.

“This has been a good experience as it allows us to work together for the betterment of our own homes,” he said. Dream Home Awards 2011 head judge Abdul Halim Suhor said there were 33 shortlisted high-rise buildings that were judged by category, including building design,

landscape, security, facilities, and implementation of green technology. He proposed for next year’s awards to include homes classified as conservation buildings. The jury who decided on the award winners were from MBPJ’s Building Control Department.

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News
July 15 — 17, 2011

Facelift for Little India
By Brenda Ch’ng

KLANG: Little India, which is synonymous with traffic snarls, crime and filth besides being prone to flash floods, is getting an upgrade to improve the image of the royal town. “Major infrastructure upgrades will be undertaken by the council to improve the street’s ( Jalan Tengku Kelana) appearance and to give it a new image,” said Datuk Abdul Ghani Pateh Akhir. The Klang Orang Besar, who is also a councillor at the Klang Municipal Council (MPK), said the upgrades would be carried out in stages under the council’s local draft plan. The improvements include replacing all streetlight bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) lights to provide brighter lighting, and installing  closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. The measures are to ensure the safety of shoppers. MPK will also propose a study to be carried out by the Public Works Department ( JKR) to resolve traffic woes. “Something major has to be done about traffic on the street because there have been numerous complaints about the congestion,” said Abdul Ghani.  He is also pushing for Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) to change existing electricity cables to prevent electrical fires from destroying the pre-war shoplots.   He added that MPK was also waiting for the shopowners to send in their own proposals before starting work to improve the facade of the popular tourist attraction.  To speed up the process, Abdul Ghani wants shopowners to share ideas and submit their proposals to the council quickly. Meanwhile, the council has al-

located RM3.5 million for flood mitigation works. The funds are being used to install new drainage systems throughout Jalan Tengku Kelana and to build three additional flood retention ponds. Three existing main water culverts will also be replaced, while back-alley drains and their small piping will be resized to wider ones to prevent blockage and leakage. The year-long project will start in November.  “I’m relieved that they are finally fixing the problem. I have been putting up with this problem for more than 50 years,” said shopowner Ng Chin Kheng. Despite the proposed plans and upgrades, shopowners are still worried about water and electricity supply and rubbish collection for the upcoming Deepavali festival period on Oct 26. “Every Deepavali, we face disruption of water and electricity. I have even seen sparks from the electricity cables outside my shop, and there were times I thought they were going to explode,” said Klang Indian Chamber of Commerce chairperson NP Raman. He added that there are no enforcement officers to oversee traffic congestion and heavy traffic flow during the festive month. To make matters worse, illegal double parking and illegal traders who conduct business along the roads disrupt traffic flow. “It is hard for us to do business when people cannot access our shops due to illegal traders who trade right outside our shops,” said Little India Business Association president Muthusamy Thirumeni. Despite numerous complaints, he said nothing has been done to resolve their problems. Now, the president and chairperson of the two committees want the

council to set up a response team to address issues that will arise during Deepavali. “A meeting will be held with all authorities at the end of the month to discuss the procedures to ensure that operations on the street run smoothly during the festival,” said Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago. He asked shopowners to list all problems before the next meeting. This list will then be sent to MPK, TNB, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Alam Flora. He urged police and MPK enforcement officers to patrol the streets during the festive month.

Shopowners listening to proposals brought up by Abdul Ghani and Santiago.

State honours dads with Father’s Day programme
By Alvin Yap

SHAH ALAM: Forty dads from various departments in Selangor were honoured during the state’s inaugural Father’s Day programme titled My Father, My Hero. “The   programmme  is to show our appreciation to fathers and the role they play in the family and so-

ciety,” said state executive councillor Rodziah Ismail. Rodziah, whose portfolio includes welfare, lauded the sacrifices of fathers for their families. She pointed out that fathers today face different challenges than those in the past, and must adapt to safeguard their families. Among them is the growing in-

fluence of the internet and its unhealthy content, which could destroy families. The event held at the state secretariat last Sunday ( July 10) and was jointly organised by Ikram, a Muslim non-profit welfare organisation.  Present at the event was Ikram cha irp erson Prof Dr  Hafidzi Mohd Noor.

State approval needed before demolition of houses of worship
SHAH ALAM: Authorities seeking to demolish any houses of worship must now obtain state approval, following a motion passed in the Selangor legislative assembly on Wednesday. The motion by M Manoharan (DAP-Kota Alam Shah) makes it a requirement for the state executive council to sanction any relocation and demolition of religious premises.  “The House urges the state government to retain the original location of mosques, surau, Hindu templea, Chinese temples, churches and non-Islamic relig ious homes,” he said. The state assembly also called on the state to issue a circular to all relevant authorities on the new requirement. The move is seen as a means to prevent overzealous officers from making arbitrary decisions on houses of worship, which in the past have resulted in racial tensions.   Manoharan said this new ruling is needed because rapid developments in the state has caused many religious homes to be displaced, especially prior to 2008. Lau Weng San (DAP-Kampung Tunku) supported the motion. “It is important for Selangor to develop both spiritually as well as economically,” he said. However, Gan Pei Nei (PKRRawang) pointed out that not every house of worship wants to stay in its current location. “What is important is that it is accessible to devotees,” said Gan. State executive councillor Xavier Jayakumar said the state has set up a committee of three exco members to look into applications for new religious places. “Generally we won’t relocate them, but we will look at it on a case-by-case basis as it is a sensitive issue,” he said. Where houses of worship need to be relocated, the committee will propose an alternative location and come up with a win-win situation.

Prof Dr Hafidzi Mohd Noor (left) and Rodziah (second right).

NEWS
JULY 15 — 17, 2011

9

Pulau Ketam elections to be held earlier
By Gan Pei Ling

State to register 60,000 babies for savings fund

SHAH ALAM: Elections for Pulau Ketam’s village security and development committee (JKKK) chief will be brought forward a week and held from July 24-31. The inaugural village election was initially scheduled on July 31 to Aug 7. “Nomination day is now set a week earlier on July 24 and polling day on July 31,” executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah. The move is to accommodate a request from the district office tasked with administering the elections. The office wanted it held earlier before the fasting month on Aug 1. Ean Yong, whose portfolio includes new village development, said election dates for Jenjarom and Pandamaran remain unchanged. Jenjarom’s village-chief election will kick off at the same time as Pulau Ketam’s, while Pandamaran’s will be held from Aug 7-14. Ean Yong said villagers from these three Chinese New Villages would be able to check their polling stations at their respective state assemblypersons’ service centres a week before the elections. However, villagers who only registered as voters with the Election Commission (EC) this year would not be included in the JKKK chief elections’ electoral roll. “We apologise to these voters as the latest electoral roll from the EC only includes registered voters as of Dec 31 last year,” Ean Yong said. The Seri Kembangan assemblyperson added that the village elections are test cases carried out without the EC’s assistance.

He appealed to villagers to bear with any minor glitches that may occur. Selangor is the first state to hold such elections, and if successful, the state is considering electing all JKKK chiefs rather than appointing them. Ean Yong It is hoped that the move to hold village elections will be a precursor to the restoration of local government elections in Selangor. Local government elections were suspended and later abolished by the Alliance in 1965 due to the Confrontation, an undeclared war between Malaysia and Indonesia over the future of Borneo from 1962 to 1966. Local elections were not reinstated after the Confrontation. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had promised to reinstate local government elections if they were elected during the 2008 general election. However, the Election Commission along with Putrajaya have rejected the move. The Local Government Act 1976 specifically states that local councillors are to be appointed by the state government. Despite the legal restriction, the direct election of village chiefs in Selangor is the state’s first step towards fulfilling its election promise. Ean Yong said the election of village chiefs will serve as a potential model for future local government elections.

Khalid and leaders at the state secretariat last Friday.

SHAH ALAM: A total of 49,704 babies have been registered under the Tabung Warisan Anak Selangor (Tawas) programme, and the state is targeting to increase the number to 60,000 by year end. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said among those registered, 61% are Malay, 23% Chinese, 14% Indian, and the remaining 2% from other ethnicities. “We’ve established a database to register the babies and their parents’ details,” said the Menteri Besar. Last Friday, he presented tokens of appreciation to 15 leaders who have helped register the number of newborns in their communities, in a simple ceremony at the state secretariat. Tawas is a savings fund that was

launched three years ago. Registered babies receive RM100 from the state as a starting fund and a further RM1,500 when they turn 18. Meanwhile, Khalid said the state is also mulling setting up Jom ke Sekolah or Jom ke Tadika, which would provide books for children, after its launch of Jom ke Supermarket earlier month. “We’re thinking of ways to channel the earnings we received from sand mining back to the rakyat,” said Khalid. Jom ke Supermarket gives RM100 vouchers to senior citizens registered under Selangor’s Skim Mesra Usia Emas to shop at hypermarkets. More information about Tawas is available at www.tawas.org.my.

Orphanage tragedy a result of hill cutting

The Hidayah Madrasah Al-Taqwa orphanage.

By Brenda Ch’ng

SHAH ALAM: The May 21 landslide at the  Hidayah Madrasah Al-Taqwa orphanage in Hulu Langat which claimed the lives of 16 people, many of whom were children, was caused by human activity. State executive councillor Elizabeth Wong said these activities included cutting the slope too steeply and failing to strengthen it.  “Moreover, there was no buffer zone and maintenance zone,” she said. Wong, whose portfolio includes environment, pointed out that although landslides are natural disasters, human interference compounds the problem, causing them to occur more frequently.  As a precaution the state will be monitoring and maintaining slopes more frequently, and at the same improve public awareness of

those living near hilly areas. A unit to monitor developments on hillslopes in Hulu Langat has been set up by the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) in the wake of the Elizabeth Wong tragedy. The state is also creating a database to manage hillside developments in Hulu Langat. Certain measures have also been taken by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council for Bukit Antarabangsa. They will be working with non-governmental organisations to raise public awareness and to identify all weak slopes in the area.

10 JULY 15 — 17, 2011

InsIght

Competitive need for
By Alvin Yap

J

CEFL provides English-language courses and examination for children from the age of four to working adults who undertake ames Woon’s career and business are on the rise. The soft- the study of English as a second language. ware developer recently started his own company to create Established in 2001, CEFL centres are spread over the length applications for the web. He has just closed a deal with a and breadth of Peninsular Malaysia as well as in Sabah. multinational company to provide them with customer service The textbook used by the centre is oriented towards the Britmanagement software. ish syllabus and includes geography, history and cultural studies However, the 29-year-old from Kepong gets anxious when he for students living in a globalised setting. meets his clients and business partners. Woon, who comes from The syllabus assumes students who have little exposure to the a vernacular school, is not confident of expressing himself in English language can follow the course. English. According to CEFL’s Keith Harris, parents who send their “There are ideas, concepts that I am unable to convey to my children to the centre lament that their children’s English is weak. audience if I speak in English,” he said in a mix of Cantonese and “The Cambridge English as a Second Language (ESOL) passable English. courses can be taken by anyone whose first language is not English. Woon’s predicament is the reason why many English-language “Furthermore, they are suitable for learners of all nationalities centres have been sprouting up in Malaysia. Enrolment into lan- and of almost any age. We offer specifically tailored courses that guage education centres is at an all-time high. prepare students for all the Cambridge English examinations,” The mushrooming of the language centres and the steady stream the academic head said. of students signing up to attend classes has an “unfortunate” efThe first category are for those who take up language courses, fect:  the debate on falling English standards in the country cannot comprising primary and secondary school students – most notabe swept under the carpet. bly those in Chinese vernacular schools. One startling The other revelation is that group are highnational schools school students are not teaching from Forms One English gramto Five who need mar, something to become profithat is needed for cient in English a “complicated” for their college language which entrance and edrequires an unucation. derstanding of Students in sentence strucChinese-lanture and rules. guage schools are “I went enrolled as early through my son’s as Primary One Eng lish text so that they can book. The syllabe exposed to bus is remarkasufficient English bly simple. I -language conthink it stresses versation and lit‘communicative’ Reading kiosk at the CEFL centre in Kelana Jaya. erature. English rather Harri s d e than a structured scribed the parstudy of grammar,” said Petaling Jaya resident Julie Tan, whose son ents’ request succinctly: “They hope their children will do well in Sean goes to a national public school. their school exams and that they will be proficient in English by “The result is that some students go to college still unsure of the time they leave school.” the difference between ‘pain’ and ‘painful’,” said Tan. He pointed out that Woon’s predicament as a working adult is One reason for the sinking grade across the board is that Eng- common but easily remedied with the right amount of exposure. lish is not a “compulsory pass” for “I have students who tell me that they are embarrassed to speak the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) English because they have poor skills,” he said. certificate – an ‘O’-level equivaIn this case, the Conversational English course provides learnlent examination taken at Fifth ers with opportunities to practise listening, speaking, reading and Form, or year 11. writing skills. In 2009, Deputy Prime MinPaired with vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation training, ister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin the course is taught at two levels. mooted to make English a “comEach course is conducted over 20 weeks and is aimed at helping pulsory pass” subject before stulearners develop oral fluency and grammatical accuracy, as well as dents can receive the gatekeeper knowledge of vocabulary, language forms and functions. high-school certificate. Harris said the intensive and comprehensive course builds the Nothing less than Malaysia’s foundation that will allow non-native English speakers to comcompetitiveness in the global municate effectively. arena was at stake, he said, citing Learners who want to improve their language skills for better the English language as the linqua job prospects can sign up for the more intensive Business English franca of the business world. Certificates (BEC). CEFL Chief Academic Muhyiddin, who is also Educa- Officer Keith Harris. Available at three levels − Preliminary, Vantage and Higher − tion Minister, has been criticised roundly for the idea – mainly by rural folks who say such a move will tilt the already slanted playing field. While urban settlers mostly agree with his idea, their rural counterparts say they do not have access to good English teachers and materials. The stalled policy has contributed to the rise of continuing education and English-language centres such as Cambridge English For Life (CEFL) and ELS Language Centre (ELS).

BEC is ideal for learners preparing for a career in business or commerce. It is also the entry for those who want to obtain the Cambridge ESOL examination qualification. The course duration is longer as it addresses the four cornerstones of language skills − reading, writing, speaking and listening. The errors and mistakes learners make are particular to their station in life, Harris pointed out. For xample, while working adults might tackle mispronunciation early or master vocabulary, they tend to make “bad habit” mistakes, ingrained from previous uncorrected learning. “They just have to unlearn those bad habits,” Harris said. On the other hand, some students might have a head start compared with adults in learning English, but they lack the opportunity to practise what they have learnt in the centre. “Both groups need to plough the commitment to be effective in the language,” said Harris, who has taught the English language for decades and now lives in Malaysia. Harris opined that language proficiency will decline among Malaysians until measures are taken by the government to enhance both the teaching of English and the quality of teachers. Students listening to Among the students who have graced the centre’s hall of learning is a 14-year-old Chines nacular student who arrived with below-average marks f English. Working hard to ach pass in the Cambridge C cate of Proficiency in E (CPE) examination, the st later scored top marks tertiary entrance examina ELS Language Centre 20-year presence in Ma with centres in urban Lumpur and suburban Pe Jaya as well as in Johor B “We have two groups dents who are motivated to English, namely for their s and the other for job pros said Robert Brander, EL erations vice-president. ELS Malaysia VP Robert He said English-lan Brander. centres like ELS recogni motivations in its student tailors the teaching of its syllabus to cater to learners. Senior high-school students or school leavers enrol, for ple, to pass the world-recognised  International English Lan Testing system or IELTS. It is widely used in the United Kingdom and Australia an by most American and Canadian universities to assess the En

centres

Doing it the English way
NG Mooi Heen, 48, and her husband John Tham have their son’s future plans laid out. Fifteen-year-old Jue Teck is articulate, smart and a whizz kid in mathematics and science. Trophies fill his room, accumulated from his years of scoring top positions in math quizzes and competitions. But Jue Teck has a deficiency: he is weak in English. This is Ng and Tham’s worry. Jue Teck attends a Chinese-language school where English is only taught as a subject. Ng points out that the English taught by his teachers is not intensive enough, that it is too basic. So, every Saturday for the past four months, while his friends attend music classes to learn the piano, guitar or drums, Jue Teck studies hard to improve his English. The English-language centre he attends was established 15 years ago, and is part of a chain of “conversational English class” found in mainly Chinese-speaking areas in the Klang Valley. Ng says the classes and students are the closest Jue Teck has to English conversational partners. Ng and Tham rue their lack of proficiency in English, which sadly precludes them from teaching Jue Teck. “What we want is for him to learn from experts, especially how to use the right words, grammar and intonation,” Ng, who is from Kluang, explains. Jue Teck describes the course as similar to those in public schools. He is classmates with only 14 other students; and the teacher, he says, constantly drums into them the rules of English that fluent speakers take for granted. As a native Cantonese and Mandarin speaker, Jue Teck knows he has to stop thinking in those dialects. “My teacher said I have to stop forming my sentences in Cantonese or Mandarin and start learning the rules by heart,” the Form One student says. He says his teacher patiently coaches the students with the basic building blocks of the English language. This week, he is learning his prepositions and sentence formation. Articulating the mood in his class, Jue Teck says: “In this classroom, nobody laughs at anyone, because we are all learning. I’m not afraid of mistakes, we try our best.” Ng, who herself enrolled in an Englishlanguage class in the early 1990s, says her son stands a greater chance to master the language with multimedia textbooks available nowadays. She wants her son to receive the best in life, and shared how the couple’s lack of proficiency in the language has cost them dearly. A decade ago, they applied for a permanent visa to emigrate to Australia, but were denied because they fared poorly with the Englishlanguage entrance requirements. “I’m not thinking so far ahead for Jue Teck, but he’ll need to master English when he goes to college or even find a job,” she says. Much as she wants him to learn the drums or dish out guitar riffs, Ng has to put her foot down: she wants him to acquire the skills at the earliest. That means, while Jue Teck’s friends are doing their scales or having fun with their mountain bikes, he is at home going through his grammar or learning to use the right preposition with the right noun.

o sample conversations in the ELS Language Lab.

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language ability of applicants. To this end, ELS structures its courses to take advantage of students’ motivation to learn. “Our syllabus is geared towards making the students proficient in everyday use of the English language,” Brander said. Brander, a Canadian, has taught widely across South East Asia and the Far East, and describes the lesson plans as event-outingoriented as much as it is about textbooks. Tests and examinations comprise the “fail and you repeat” system – that is, students who fail to meet the cut-off point for any level will have to repeat – as well as more relaxed quizzes and competitions. The centre comes equipped with a Language Technology Lab where students will further learn the practical side of the language. “They learn how to pronounce tenses, words and other sounds and intonations peculiar to the English language,” said Brander. The centre’s flagship programme is the intensive nine-week Certified Intensive English Programme (CIEP), where students are immersed into a world of intensive reading, writing and speaking. Brander said the programme is ideal for tertiary-bound students or working adult professionals who want to master business English in limited time. The teacher-to-student ratio is kept at 1:15, and the former are armed with teaching degrees,  notably Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). Even with a two-year teaching degree, teachers who join ESL are required to attend a full three-day training course. Brander said native Chinese-dialect speakers as well their Japanese and Korean counterparts have greater difficulty in master-

A teacher conducting a CEFL class in Kelana Jaya.

ing the language. Asian languages, notably those mentioned above, have different sentence structures than the English language, not to mention the lack of prepositions and other verbs, he said. “They think in Cantonese or Japanese, and have to translate that to English,” he explained. There are no shortcuts to overcome the problem, Brander added, apart from a structured study of the English language. Here, he agrees that working adults are more disadvantaged as they use the “translator” method to learn English. “They won’t know the structure or grammar behind that particular sentence. It’s a hurdle, to be sure,” he said. The quality of English is not uniform across Malaysia, as urban speakers have a better command of the language, with the opportunity to practise their speaking and listening skills as they mix with their peers. Semi-urban students, on the other hand, might lack the space and opportunity to practise the language regularly. Brander said the government should recognise that English-language proficiency is matter of “global competitiveness”. “The Malaysian worker should be someone who can communicate better, who can help the organisation or business compete in the global market and grow,” he concluded.

VIEWS 12
JULY 15 — 17, 2011

Twitter, silat and a certain July 9 rally
D
ear Lord Bobo, with all the news and noise coming out following July 9, how do I know who to believe? @Kon Fee Yusd, via email LORD Bobo feels you. One side says 5,000, the other 50,000, another 100,000. One side says they were gassed, the other says no such thing, tear gas was only fired in Pudu. One side says they were sprayed in a maternity hospital, another side says that the water cannons were never aimed there. One side says they want free and fair elections, another side says that it is an elaborate ploy to overthrow the government, and is funded by Jews, Christians, communists, and Lucifer himself. One side says tomato, the other side says to-mayh-to, and it’s actually a damn banana. Yes, His Supreme Eminenceness feels you, all right. The best thing that you can do is to read, listen, and engage with all views. Do not boycott the mainstream media simply because they treat BN more favourably. Similarly, do not unfollow certain Twitter folk who obviously biased one way or the other. We are privileged to live in era of unprecedented access to information. Take advantage of it. Read the numerous views that are coming out from all sides. Look at the photos. Watch the videos. Then digest what you’ve seen, heard, and read. Think. Come to your own conclusions. Add to the discussion. Just as important as the above is that ability to engage maturely. Lord Bobo does not mean indulging in 18-SX behaviour. What we mean is to not react adversely or emotionally to differing viewpoints. Give the benefit of doubt wherever possible. Be humble enough to learn. Be intelligent enough to discern. Be patient enough to engage and put across your own views. If all this happens, Malaysia will see society mature and develop into a true democracy. A true democracy is not about kicking out the government. It is about having several different viewpoints and parties which are allowed to operate on a level playing field. It is about check and balance. It is about reclaiming the power of the rakyat, taking it back from the ministers and politicians whom for too long have been treated as VVIPs when they should be serving the people. It starts with each and every single one of you – don’t let anyone take that power away from you. And if you find yourself confused over a specific matter despite doing all the above, hey, ask lah Lord Bobo.  “defend the palace”. Perhaps they got the dates wrong? Or maybe they tried to drive in and got stuck at one of the roadblocks? And, you know, they had to turn back because they aren’t law-breaking ruffians like that Bersih and Patriot mob? In all likelihood, they never intended to turn up anyway. Lots of people took advantage of the pre-Bersih hoopla to get into the news. Lord Bobo was half-jokingly chiding some of his minions that they should have said LoyarBurok would provide free bananas to everyone at the rally or something – that kinda stuff would certainly get you onto the first few pages of our mainstream papers! An opportunity wasted. 
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com), where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurusdescribed queries are answered!

D

ear Lord Bobo, I’ve been trying to convince my friends that Twitter is now the best source of news. Do you agree? 

L

ord Bobo, what happened to those silat fellas ? @FFK, via email

HIS Supreme Eminenceness didn’t really follow up on these silat practitioners who supposedly were going to turn up and

AH, interesting. It depends how you define “best”. In fact, it also depends how you define “news”. If by “best” you mean fastest, then yes it does seem to be. Following Twitter on July 9 was sheer madness – the tweets were coming thick and fast. Certainly a lot faster than any of the online news portals were updating their “breaking news” pages, and most definitely a lot faster than any television or radio channels were saying anything. However, if “best” also includes accuracy, then that very much depends on who you follow. After all, it is worth reminding ourselves that Twitter is about who you follow. If you follow all pro-government people, for example, you’d think that there was nothing wrong with the government and that anyone who criticises the ruling coalition is in a pact with the devil himself. On the other hand, if you follow only opposition members or sympathisers, you’d think the country was going to be bankrupt tomorrow or every police officer is out there to beat you up and throw you into jail for wearing yellow underwear. Taking July 9 as an example, someone actually set up a fake account just to tweet fake news about the rally – people being shot, buildings being burnt, chaos and crowd violence. It took a few hours before this account was outed as tweeting fake news. And as for “news” itself, well, there’s much more rubbish on Twitter than there is actual news really. His Supreme Eminenceness is of the view that people need to have much more discretion and be more vigilant of what they spend time reading. Between reading the newspapers, online media portals, international websites, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter – there’s hardly any time left for anything else. And what’s the point of keeping up to date with all this “news” – which by tomorrow would be mostly irrelevant anyway? Go for information that enriches your knowledge, and your experience of life. Seek out content that not only

makes you more knowledgeable, but also wiser and more attuned to the world around you. You know where this is going – read www.LoyarBurok.com lah! 

HAVE you tried reading the local newspapers or watching local news broadcasts? Not much Bersih there since two weeks ago. Though they have been mentioning some “illegal rally” organised by an unnamed “group” led by a bunch of evil folk trying to brainwash the rakyat into sacrificing their precious shopping time to overthrow their perfect government. Is that the same thing?    Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing asklordbobo@loyarburok.com, stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. The first 100 questions published will receive monkey-riffic LoyarBurok merTimes. What the chandise courtesy of Selangor hell are you waiting for?

I

want to take my mind off Bersih, but it’s everywhere! Any suggestions? 

Proham: Respect democratic traditions
P E R S AT UA N Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham) re c o g n i s e s that there is a maturing of democracy in Malaysia and that citizens are demanding greater democratic space for expression. In spite of the ban on public rallies, restrictions placed on 91 individuals, the numerous roadblocks and police presence, it is estimated by independent observers that between 10,000 and 15,000 people gathered to make a stand for clean and fair elections. We are able to draw a number of lessons from a human rights perspective, and call on all parties to continue to respect democratic traditions. The ordinary people must be commended for exercising their rights in a peaceful manner. While they broke the ban, wore yellow t-shirts and walked without a police permit, they were exercising their fundamental right to public assembly as provided for in the Federal Constitution. The July 9 march showed that Malaysians can and will act responsibly. The police were well prepared and operated efficiently. However, there were complaints of police abuse of power in dispersing the crowds and the use of water cannons and tear gas in executing arrests. The authorities must investigate the complaints and take appropriate action to restore confidence in the PDRM. Proham also calls on the federal government to review all the current laws which restrict the right of public assembly. The breakdown in political mediation between the government and Bersih rally organisers is regrettable. It requires some intermediary mechanism that will seek to secure a win-win resolution in a democratic society. The federal government should have instituted a fair and transparent mechanism in the light of the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s advice and the willingness of the Bersih organisers to compromise. The core matter of the Berish rally must also be addressed, namely the concerns about the electoral system and the call for free and fair elections. Proham urges the government to establish an independent mechanism to review these concerns, either through a royal commission or a parliamentary select committee. It is important that the federal government sits down with all parties to find an amicable solution. It is imperative that the Bersih organisers as a civil society movement maintain political neutrality and resist being linked to any political party. It is unfortunate that at some stages of the rally, this neutrality was compromised. This damages the long-term interest for electoral reforms and restricts its appeal to all sections of society. Tan Sri Simon Sipaun Tan Sri R Navaratnam Datuk Michael Yeoh Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia

Assimilation versus integration
L
ast weekend, I was invited to speak at a forum organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis). Forum Generasi Muda, a forum for youths aged between 18 and 40, was a positive sign. Panelists with views that were obviously not progovernment were invited to share opinions on a wide range of issues, including economics, culture and gender, and allowed to freely comment on Malaysia’s political situation. The theme of the three-day event was, of course, 1Malaysia (what else could it have been?), and how the concept should be developed further in numerous areas. Although such discussions are usually positive, there is a tendency for such events to end on a fluffy note, where participants and speakers call for unity in diversity, make a grand show of it, and end with a warm buzz. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s lunch dialogue was particularly provocative in that his analysis of race and politics in Malaysia seemed outdated. His reasoning: that it is because Malaysia has chosen the option of integration and not assimilation that we are as fragmented as we are today. He cited examples of foreign Muslims like Indonesians and Arabs who have no problems assimilating with the local Malay culture in all forms, including language, religion and way of life. They then become accepted as part of the “Malay” en-

views 13
July 15 — 17, 2011

The argument that a particular group has not adopted the culture of the majority race, thereby validating its lack of equal access to the nation’s resources, is flawed. Especially so in the case of Malaysia, where minority ethnic groups have existed for centuries, in many cases pre-dating the arrival of other nationalities that did assimilate into the Malay culture.”

Just selangor
Tricia Yeoh

tity, whereby original Malays themselves have no problems extending their privileges to them. This almost seems like an indictment of those who choose not to be assimilated, such as the Chinese and Indians, for by choosing to maintain distinct cultures, they do not therefore receive similar privileges granted to those who do assimilate. I wonder whether this is the sort of logic that can really be applied within a country that encourages “unity in diversity”. His assertion that “race relations are worse today than in the past” may be bolstered by the media hype in recent years, but my response is that there is a great deal more assimilation taking place than he would care to acknowledge. On the same weekend, I watched

a play titled Parah by Alfian Saat, based loosely on Yasmin Ahmad’s movie Talentime and the novel Interlok. The latter is a compulsory text for schoolchildren, and has been embroiled in controversy over the last year. The play depicted a multiethnic group of friends in Form Five whose friendship slowly deteriorates as they uncover their sentiments on race, brought upon by references in said novel. Although the play’s characters were stereotypical of characteristics of each ethnicity (Chinese badminton player, Indian insecurity), one of the points Alfian drives home is that there is a great deal more assimilation by non-Malay communities. The Indian boy cannot speak Tamil to save his life; the Chinese cannot speak Mandarin and feels extremely uncomfortable in China while on holiday – but all feel most at ease

with the Malay language. The key questions are therefore: One, what is the degree of assimilation? What have the trends been in the past and at present, and has this changed significantly? Two, how should a policymaker approach communities that do assimilate versus those who do not – and whether it is fair for such discrimination to take place based on this factor alone, given the call for diversity and encouraging a multitude of various cultural heritages to coexist in the country. The first question would require

some serious sociological research to quantify “assimilation”. To compare and contrast assimilation rates over the years, data dating from the last several decades would be needed. Some of the factors contributing to assimilation would be, I imagine, the ability to speak in the national language, the sense of national ownership, and subscribing to a certain set of values and so on, although the latter is probably nonexistent. However, in the absence of such methodological research, and acknowledging the different cultural and religious norms already in existence today, I would hope for policies to address citizenship issues. The argument that a particular group has not adopted the culture of the majority race, thereby validating its lack of equal access to the nation’s resources, is flawed. Especially so in the case of Malaysia, where minority ethnic groups have existed for centuries, in many cases pre-dating the arrival of other nationalities that did assimilate into the Malay culture. Far from being able to remove “race” from the national psyche, the forum showed that Malaysians have not yet cleansed ourselves of this theme. It is well and good to speak on it, to comprehend more deeply its impact on society, but at some point this discourse has to move on. This is the role individual citizens have to take up in encouraging ideological debate on class, economics, poverty eradication, income levels, equity and distribution.

First-class Malaysian sporting heroes
H
eroes. They’re everywhere! Flying, reading minds, attracting metals, smashing buildings into pulp. It’s hero-invasion season now. X-Men: First Class had barely ended before The Green Lantern swooped in, and soon, we will have Captain America. Heroes are being featured everywhere. They’re in our cinemas, DVDs, television and … billboards. But those on billboards aren’t the usual caped, crusading, costumed Hollywood creation – unfortunately, the only version of “hero” we know now. What’s slowly but surely taking over our billboards is our national football team.  Six months from their Suzuki Cup win, billboards now feature them, not their Western counterparts. It’s Safee Sali and K Gurusamy’s faces up there now, not Messi’s and Beckham’s. It is a true-born Malaysian, K Rajagopal, the visionary coach who overhauled the team, who was awarded a datukship. Not another Bollywood actor.  “Back then, we had [David] Beckham, [Tiger] Woods and all sorts of foreign superstars everywhere. Celcom actually sponsored Ryan Giggs … but now you have Maxis ads featuring Mokhtar Dahari, Santokh Singh, Arumugam, etc,” says 21-yearold football fan Jas Dhillon. “Nicole David used to have a massive advertisement at the side of a building near Jalan Dungun, Bangsar, sponsored by CIMB. Five years ago, it would have probably been Maria Sharapova.”  Colonial mentality be damned, these people we now call “heroes” are Malaysians. Cynics may dismiss My generation didn’t have such this as over-the-top idealism role models. The generation before and play down the effects of such actions. But advertising us had the Sidek brothers and tactics to generate sales aside, also lived through the glory days these sports billboards are sig- of Malaysian football where we nificantly affecting mindsets, actually qualified for the Olympics especially that of the young.   “Yes, sports icons are heroes, (before boycotting it because of massive heroes. Kids, boys espe- political reasons, unfortunately).” cially, are going to look up to sports stars. Every kid wants to be the next cess stories just from working hard. football/basketball/hockey/rugby star. It’s Most of all, in all they do, they display to the dream life,” says Jas Dhillon.  us passion, something sorely missed in our Sport isn’t just about balls and racquets. daily cycle of office blocks and rat races.  Football isn’t just about 22 men chasing a And to put these people on billboards, ball. Tennis isn’t just about portraying to us pride short skirts. Sports’ main and glory in a yellow contribution to society is and black Malaysian their stars. They are our jersey, is to show the 23 modern-day heroes. million and more young Lee Lian Kong We do not need to be people in this country able to read minds or attract metals or fly. that there are Malaysian heroes to look up to That’s fodder for movies, not real life. The now and be one someday.  beauty with sports is mankind’s maximisaMy generation didn’t have such role modtion of the human body to its full potential. els. The generation before us had the Sidek Using instinct, reflex and passion.   brothers and also lived through the glory days Be it First Division or Third Division, of Malaysian football where we actually World Cup or Tiger Cup, these athletes give qualified for the Olympics (before boycotus a twinge of something entirely different ting it because of political reasons, unfortufrom our mundane days of work, mortgage nately).  payments and inflation. They show us that it When we were growing up, everyone told is possible to be paid to do something you us that to focus in sports was a silly idea. Go enjoy. They prove to us that there exist suc- to your books, there lies your path to a successful life. Reach for that penthouse, that Beemer, those are the goals in your life. We were a generation that grew up idolising foreigners, who donned Manchester United jerseys in a game between the Red Devils and the Malaysian national team. By virtue of being a Malaysian, it is not your fate to succeed. Parents gave ultimatums: “Show me any Malaysian athlete who has made it and I’ll let you pursue sports.” We were lost for words.  We did not have a beaten and downtrodden, corruption-strife inexperienced football team go all the way and be Asian champions (and qualified for the Olympics after a twentyyear wait). We did not have a Malaysian as the world’s No. 1 female squash player. What if a kid had grown up seeing our sepak takraw team on billboards? What if we had grown up seeing Santokh Singh at some random wedding or mamak?  Well, it’s not a question of if now. For today’s youth, the faces adorning those glittering billboards are Malaysian. The yellow and black jerseys are being sold like hot cakes and worn with real pride. The atmosphere in stadiums, even when just seen through the television, is both infectious and electric. You don’t have to be a sports fan to see that this progress from being nothing to being one of the Top 12 teams in Asia is nothing short of remarkable. Forget X-Men: First Class – this is the return of the Malaysian sports heroes. Now that’s what you call first class.

YouthologY

NEWS 14
July 15 — 17, 2011

Residents living in fear, developers deny blame
walls and not wanting to fix [the problem],” said Kajang assemblyperson Lee Kim Sin. The two parties involved are the developer of Puncak Saujana and that of a new site located behind the housing area. According to Lee, the Puncak Saujana developer claims the other developer hadn’t properly maintained the new site, causing cracks to appear in houses during digging and piling works. Some of the cracks are as wide as 5cm. However, the other developer argued that Jalan Puncak Saujana 2/3 was built on a site where construction waste had been dumped during earlier phases of development. The Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) has asked both developers to conduct a soil test on their respective sites. The results from the test will be handed in to MPKj before a meeting will be held  with both developers, Lee, and the affected residents.  “We will try to find a solution at the meeting. The developer responsible, based on the soil test, will have to repair the houses,” said Lee. For now, residents will have to bear with the cracks while waiting for the results and the meeting. “I’m so worried because of the crack in my kitchen. It is not safe to live under such conditions,” said resident Mohd Saberi Ramli. The 42-year-old workshop supervisor said he had noticed three 5mm cracks in his wall on June 20, which widened 18 days later to 5cm. He hopes that the developer will repair the defects as soon as possible.

Lee showing a crack in the floor.

By Brenda Ch’ng

KAJANG: Construction work is being delayed while two developers point fingers at each other over who is to blame for cracks in 10 houses due to development on Jalan Puncak Saujana 2/3. “Two developers are pushing the responsibility onto one another, blaming each other for the cracked

Damaged wall in one of the houses.

Selangor to host international karate tourney
scorekeepers will be from July 25-27. “This is to ensure everyone is educated and well-versed with the rules and procedures adopted by the World Karate Federation (WKF),” he said. Amateur referees and marshals who pass the training will also be licensed to work with the WKF. The training will be carried out by experienced exponents from all over the world, and inexperienced participants stand to gain invaluable experience.  The event is open to children aged eight to veterans aged 40. Participants will be separated into categories according to their gender, age and kaMembers of KOI and MSN together with Loh (third from left) and rate style. Norzamri (fourth from left). The two category of styles are InSHAH ALAM: About 1,000 karate exponents from dividual or Team Kumite, which is sparring; and Indi16 countries are set to compete in the 20th Kobe vidual or Team Kata, the detailed form of patterns and Osaka International (KOI) Karate World Cup Tour- movement. nament here.  Among the participating countries are Scotland, KOI, a non-governmental organisation promoting Norway, Iran, Egypt, Australia, Holland, Singapore and karate locally and internationally, are organisers of the Malaysia. annual tournament. “We already have about 70 Malaysian participants KOI Sabah president Loh Beng Hoi said this is the registered, but we are definitely expecting more to come first time an international competition of this scale is in,” said Loh. being held here. Selangor’s Sports Council (MSN) has volunteered “We don’t see karate tournaments being organised to host the event. “We will never turn down an opporin our country at all, especially an international one tunity to both promote our state and sports,” said MSN which is open to participants as young as eight,” he said. president Norzamri Ishak. Loh, who is a representative for KOI Malaysia, has MSN will attend to logistics, medical and safety isbeen appointed chairperson for the seven-day tourna- sues, and marketing for the tournament. ment. The event will be held at Dewan Kompleks Belia dan He will also help amateur participants train and Kebudayaan in Seksyen 7, Shah Alam. prepare in the run-up to the event. This compulsory Admission for the competition, which runs from training for  all participants, marshals, referees and July 28-31, is free. 

Know your councillor: Loka Ng
SUBANG JAYA: Getting the municipality to set up a committee to address the needs of the disabled is one of the aims of Loka Ng Sai Kai. The first-term councillor of the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has been pushing for the approval of this proposal since he was appointed last July. “I hope I can gather enough support from all councillors to approve the forming of a disabled committee. I can’t do it alone,” says Ng. The 46-year-old social activist wants the community to realise that the disabled need special facilities to get around. Apart from championing the cause of the disabled, Ng aims to engage youths in nation building. He is also pushing for more places of worship for non-Muslims. “I’ve been invited to represent my Buddhist association to sit on the committee which deals with matters other than Islam,” he says. He sits on the committee together with government representatives and politicians who meet twice a month. Ng’s vast experience in dealing with the government helps him with his responsibilities as a councillor. He believes that his duties should be based on the 3Es he has set for himself, which are empowerment, engagement and enrolment. He says residents should be empowered to take on proactive roles in the community, and find ways to solve problems rather than wait for answers and solutions. He believes that the personal touch is the key to engaging residents. “Residents like to be treated with special attention, and we can make them happy by going to their neighbourhoods and listening to their problems,” he says. While meeting residents, Ng takes the opportunity to register them in various state welfare schemes. Right now, Ng is encouraging the use of scout whistles in homes in Seksyen 1-3, Seri Kembangan, to combat crime. The use of whistles in 1,000 households will help reduce the crime rate as one whistle is enough to alert neighbours, he says. Ng feels that residents must not be too reliant on the police for their security, and urges them to form community policing teams in their neighbourhoods.

Rymba Hills – at nature’s doorstep
By Brenda Ch’ng

Media 15
July 15 — 17, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Sunway City Berhad (SunCity) launched their first green development last Sunday, three-storey forest villas enclaved within a 6.5-acre private forest park, in Sunway Damansara. The development known as Sunway Rymba Hills is the only gated and guarded low-density residential development with a private forest park exclusively for residents. “As Malaysia’s pioneer in green buildings, we want to design a house which meets homebuyers’ desire for modern living set in natural surroundings,” said SunCity property development division managing director Ho Hon Sang. Discerning homebuyers can have it all with the new Sunway Rymba development, which comprises 60% green space with magnificent views of the park from their rooms.

Ho said the landscape is designed to integrate nature and architecture in a harmonious manner to enhance the beauty of the land. Selected units are also designed with a sky garden on the roof, which further enhances the development’s eco-friendly concept. Natural trails, meditation stations, herb gardens and a sculptured pathway will be accessible to all. The completed development will also have a clubhouse equipped with a gym, swimming pool, reading room, meditation area and jogging track. The development features eight distinct landscape garden themes like fruit orchard, kitchen garden walk, terrace nursery, recreation pond, linear garden and playground. With an approximate gross development value of RM270 million, the project consists of four different designs, with the build-up ranging

from 4,442 square feet to 4,650 square feet. There will be 80 units, divided into four units per acre so that residents will have sufficient personal space. This development is strategically located in Sunway Damansara, and is accessible via various highways in close proximity to shopping malls and amenities such as Sunway Giza, Dataran Sunway Commercial Centre, IKEA, Tesco, IPC, The Curve, Tropicana Medical Centre and golf clubs. All villas are designed to look towards the forest or landscaped gardens instead of highways and commercial centres. The proposed completion date for this project is June 2013. For more information, contact SunCity at 012-2096966, 019-2203103 or 03-61416888, or visit their website at www.suncity.com.

Cutting costs through mobile advertising
IN our previous article, we saw how the mobile market has overtaken the computer market. This week, we look at saving on marketing costs through mobile advertising. How much does mobile advertising really cost in emerging markets like Indonesia or Malaysia? It is much cheaper than any other advertising channel. John Gauntt, a senior analyst at digital ad tracker eMarketer, says the cost of advertising via mobile is less than half that of an internet-access-enabled PC. Mobile phones enable mobile solutions, which is especially favourable in the business world today as marketers are not bound to their office desks. Advertising is a fast-paced industry that requires quick decisions and solutions. Marketers can therefore log on to their mobile advertising account anytime, anywhere. The startup cost required for a mobile marketing campaign is flexible. Mobile marketing campaign revolves around CPC (Cost per Click), whereby an advertiser is only required to pay when mobile users click on your mobile ads. CPC starts as low as a few sen, and it correlates your targeted consumer with frequency of clicks received. You also pay what you use, compared with the traditional campaign where you are required to pay in full for a billboard advert regardless of the result. Furthermore, advertisers can easily track their campaign performance daily. Mobgold, one of the largest mobile advertising networks, ran a mobile campaign for Ozura in Indonesia for a month. The cost came up to less than RM2,000 to reach more than 22 million mobile users. The marketing budget for mobile advertising can start as low as RM50 for a campaign via Mobgold. Marketers can even amend the budget even after the campaign has been launched, making mobile marketing a more flexible option indeed. As for cost per customer, Derek Johnson’s study shows that the cost is incredibly low while attracting an increasing response from customers. This would prove useful if you are doing subscription-based marketing through mobile advertising. In our next article, we will cover how major brands like Coca-Cola and Adidas venture and succeed by advertising via mobile. In the meantime, for more information, contact Celeste, our Malaysia representative, via celeste@mobgold.com, or visit www.mobgold.com.

Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters tees off
SHAH ALAM: Once again, Worldwide Holdings Berhad has the honour of being the title sponsor for the Worldwide Selangor Masters, which will be held for the fifth time from July 20-23 at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club. The event, which is a state initiative to promote sports tourism in Selangor and is part of Worldwide Holdings’ corporate social responsibility efforts, is an annual programme in the state tourism calendar, and receives the royal patronage of the Sultan of Selangor. Besides local stars such as Danny Lim and 2008 champion Ben Leong, a host of Asian sensations are expected to compete in the tournament, for which Worldwide Holdings is a RM1.7 million sponsor. Former Asian Tour No. 1s Jyoti Randhawa of India and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand will join other Asian Tour regulars such as South African Jbe Kruger, Thai golfers Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chinnarat Phadungsil, and veteran Prayad Marksaeng. Asian Order of Merit winners Randhawa (2002) and Thaworn (2005), who share a total of 20 career titles, will be among the leading contenders. The move to the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club from Seri Selangor Golf Club this season may just be the right tonic for the two Asian stars, as both have won here before. For Randhawa, who has eight career titles, Kota Permai may just be the right course for him to pick up his ninth title and end his barren spell which dates back to 2009. In 2004, the 39-year-old held off a strong field to bag the Volvo Masters of Asia title in Kota Permai. Top 10 finishes this season in the Panasonic Open and Sail Open will no doubt give him the confidence to rise up again in the Selangor Masters. Randhawa also finished 16th in the recent Queen’s Cup in Thailand and is currently 29th in the Order of Merit. Despite challenges from newer Asian stars, Thai ace Thaworn continues to hold his ground as one of the region’s best golfers.  Having finished third in last

Tan Sri Datuk Khalid Ibrahim (second right) receiving a mock cheque from CEO of Worldwide Holdings Bhd Datin Paduka Norazlina Zakaria, while state secretary Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi (second left) looks on.

year ’s S elang or Masters, the 44-year-old will want to improve on his 16th position in this season’s Order of Merit. And like Randhawa, Thaworn has also previously won at Kota Permai. Other treats for Malaysian golf fans will be rising star Siddikur R ahman of Bang ladesh, who emerged as the top Asian golfer during April’s Malaysian Open. He

finished in joint eighth after taking his maiden title at the Brunei Open last year. Another golfer to look out for is Kruger, who is currently fourth in the Asian rankings. Having played bridesmaid three times last season, the South African will be eager to break into the top three in the Asian circuit after close misses two years in a row.

16 June 24 — 26, 2011
Fiction by Nick Choo

Fiction/news

T

ime is passing. The digits move, silently. You move, silently. I can see the sweat on your face. I can visibly see each bead of perspiration. I am afraid, too, but I smile. There’s no need to be frightened – we will not feel anything. And after, there will be no more pain whatsoever. You say, “I am going to miss the little things in life the most.” The smell of flowers. The sound of birds singing in the morning. The annoying bleep of your bedside clock. The taste of potato chips: sour cream and chives, your favourite. You cry as you speak. And you shudder as you cry. I’ll miss them too, I say. But you understand why – “Yes,” you say, “I understand.” And you ap-

Countdown
preciate it. And you start to wonder if our lives will flash before our eyes, seconds before it’s all over. I don’t know. I honestly do not know. But if it does – then I’ll be paying particular attention to the happy moments. My first pet; winning in school competition; my first car. And my first date – with you. The bad memories I shall rather try to forget. Like the day you told me about your illness. Like the tears I shed when I found out. Like the endless sleepless nights that we both endured, together. The digits move, silently. No tick-tocking. Just – silence. You say, “Promise me you will be there.” I promise. “Promise me the suffering will end.” I promise. Because I love you. Because I want to always be with you. Because we are destined to be together forever – even death will be conquered. The digits move, silently. Life would be so empty without you. I don’t And together, with the timer ticking think I’d be able to survive once you’re gone, not down – twenty seconds – we sit, and we for a moment. So this is the better choice: you shiver, and we laugh, and we hold each go, I go. We’ll go together. Because I love you, other, and we cry. and I’ll never leave you. Waiting to say goodbye. “Promise me.” I promise. Waiting. 

Recognition for founder of autistic children’s choir
By Basil Foo

SUBANG JAYA: The founder of Malaysia’s first autistic children’s choir was honoured by the Malaysian Book of Records here on July 3. “I feel happy and honoured,” said Brian John Yim, who was bestowed the award at the Autism Awareness Day held at Empire Mall. The 28-year-old local vocal trainer and recording artist, with three albums under his belt, has been credited with tapping the talents of 25 autistic children. The children, selected with help from the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom), trained for six months in 2009 before starting to perform. “When I wanted to form the choir, everyone told me I was crazy as autistic children do not stand still and to get them to sing together is a real challenge,” said Yim. However, he persisted with training the choir and presenting them at various concerts to create awareness among parents of children with

learning disabilities. He hoped that by training the choir, parents with autistic children would not have to feel helpless and could come forward to seek assistance. “In Malaysia, there are not enough facilities for these special children, and their parents don’t know where to go for help,” he said. The choir, led by Yim, performed several inspirational numbers like You Raise Me Up and We Are The World to a crowd of applauding onlookers in the mall. Clarence Kang, a 13-year-old member of the choir, wowed audiences by playing a self-composed song on the piano. “He started formal training a year and a half ago, but has since written his own compositions and played to his own style,” said Kang Kim Heng. He said his son was initially sent to a conventional school for Standard One but could not concentrate in class and was sent to Nasom. Kim Heng said that he was glad his son discovered his talents in music.

(From left) Nasom chairperson Teh Beng Choon, Kiwanis Malaysia governor Soo Ying Toh, Nasom president Datuk Danny Tan, Yim, SP Setia Foundation chairperson Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, MBR representative Leona Paul, Datin Rosalind Lee, and Autism Awareness Day organising chairperson Yap Yun Fatt.

By William Tan

Biodegradable products – looks can be deceiving

Thirteen-year-old Kang performing his original composition on the keyboard.

PETALING JAYA: Members of the public who are looking to make a difference by using environmentally friendly products should be war y of imitation biodegradable food containers in the market. Many of these items are just  polystyrene products disguised with  dyes and misleading labels. “They are taking advantage of the relative ignorance of the hawkers, playing off their trust in their dealers and wholesalers,” said Greatpac senior manager Douglas Tan. Tan said Malaysian-based Greatpac is currently the only supplier of local fully biodegradable food containers. The issue is particularly apparent in Penang, which has banned polystyrene food containers, where the market has been saturated with

imitation biodegradable containers. “I saw my sales [there] literally drop down to near zero,” said Tan. Wo r s e s t i l l , the  problem is brought to the landfill as containers that should degrade in two to five years may now sit there for up to 1,000 years. Fortunately, the authorities are now Greatpac senior manager Douglas Tan aware of the issue, telling the public to look out for the word ‘biodegradable’ and not to be conned by and many hawkers misleading labels. there are risking fines for using imitation products. what the  term ‘biodegradable’ Tan said all states must have means,” said Tan. strict guidelines and enforcement He hopes consumers won’t if they hope to address the issue.  continue to allow the smaller dif“If Selangor ever intends to ference in price and misleading i n i ti at e a G o G re en c a m- labels to cloud their judgment, and paign,  they’d best involve local instead look for proper certificacouncils and be very clear about tion.

food 17
July 15 — 17, 2011

A spicy meal under shady trees
The lean fried drumsticks for those who like chicken.

Having a meal under the shade and in open air.

Raju’s name stands out above all the others.

Uniformed waiters with name tags attend to your needs.

aju Restaurant has been a landmark in Jalan Chantek, Section 5 Petaling Jaya, for some time now, but I didn’t discover it until two months ago when I went to pick up a relative in that area. It happened to be a weekend, and I was taken aback by the size of the crowd inside Raju and around its premises. Jalan Chantek 5/13, where Raju is located, is a quiet neighbourhood. The roads are narrow, and parking can be a problem when Raju is enjoying brisk business. It seemed rather odd that I had not heard of this place. However, I did notice the Sri Paandi Restaurant next to it. The number of Indian restaurants in this section of Petaling Jaya is an eyebrow-raising phenomenon. Recently, I made a determined effort to have lunch at Raju. It was a weekday, and the crowd was pretty small. Many of the customers preferred to sit outside the restaurant, out in the open. I wasn’t quite sure what the place had to offer in terms of food. There were vadai, curry puffs, fried

R

Vadai, curry puffs and goreng pisang.

bananas and samosir on sale at the entrance, but banana leaf rice seemed to be its signature dish. Banana leaf rice often varies from place to place. It is actually the curries and the side dishes that complete the meal. Since it was my maiden visit, I decided to go the distance. I sauntered over to the hot wok and the glass container that had about 13 varieties of seafood. I picked my favourite fish, ikan bulus, and told the cook to fry two of them. Then I pointed at the fried chicken and ordered two drumsticks. Later, a uniformed waiter showed up with a larg e tray of other items while I was enjoying the slight breeze under the trees. The greed in me made me point to the fried fish roe. One was more than sufficient. Curries were in abundance and customers could pour as much A selection of ingredients for the frying. as they wanted

onto their rice. That was what I did, anyway. The fried ikan bulus was nice. I have always liked this fish. It was easy to chew and did not have that many unpleasant bones. The fried chicken drumstick was not any better than Kentucky Fried Chicken, even though it had a different flavour. The papadum was nice and crunchy, as it always is when it comes fresh from the frying pan. One grouse was that the veggies could be improved upon. The greens were a bit on the tough side. One a scale of one to 10, the banana leaf rice with all its mandatory salad pieces and curries was barely touching six. It made me wonder if I had missed anything. I would give the garden-like environment a rating of eight. I found the green setting agreeable and congenial. The shady trees in the compound gave the place a benign and breezy atmosphere. A large compound has its advantages. First, it creates a sanctuary in which diners can stretch their legs. Second, smokers can puff away without fear of offending the nonsmokers. The compound around Raju’s was fairly clean. That is important to people who come to eat and talk. The La Salle school adjacent to the eatery enhanced the residential

Ikan bulus complements a meal with lots of curry.

Somewhere near the La Salle Provincialate in Section 5 PJ is a restaurant that plays host to large crowds during weekends. LIN ZHENYUAN makes a stop to find out more
unexpected deposit on my head? Perhaps it means that the waiters may wilfully ignore me if they are rushing around attending to other more impatient customers. When I took the paper that listed my lunch items to the cashier, he quickly punched at the keyboard and it showed RM43.90. I was a little surprised, but not inconsolable. Earlier, a restaurant worker who saw me taking photographs of the seafood container lifted up a huge prawn in front of my camera for me to focus on. It looked like a mini lobster. I shudder to think about the price of that critter. I have had experiences with prices like that at other restaurants. I recalled a statement posted next to the five rules of the establishment. It said: “We have no quarrel with competitors who charge less, after all they know what their food is worth”. The statement has a touch of supreme confidence and pride. Raju obviously makes no apologies for its prices. I leave it to you to judge after you have sampled its food. But it is good to remember that the restaurant has and is still enjoying good business after so many years, so it must be doing something right.

vibe of the area. For some reason, I liked the sounds of students engaging in some activity in the nearby field. Perhaps it reminded me of my schooldays and some classmates I have not forgotten. Raju looks quite well organised. The uniformed staff wear name tags just like civil servants in government departments. So if you want to get personal with a waiter, you can address him by his name. Raju has five basic rules for customers. The first rule says no pets are allowed. The second prohibits outside food, which is fair enough. The third forbids “outside selling”. I guess that means no salespersons are permitted to harass the customers while they eat. The fourth rule strictly disallows bad language. I take that to mean profanity. I haven’t heard anyone swear or curse in restaurants for some time now, so that could either be unnerving or   interesting, depending on what language it is uttered in. The last rule states: “Sit at your own risk”. I was greatly puzzled by this. What exactly does it mean? Does it mean that the stability of the chairs is doubtful? Or that a crow perched on a branch may make an

Gallery 18
July 15 — 17, 2011

Dogs and their owners during a dog-training session at 1Utama Central Park, in conjunction with an event for special-needs children held on July 2.

Malaysia’s first autistic children’s choir performing at the Autism Awareness Day in Subang Jaya on July 3.

At a candlelight vigil at Bukit Aman on July 11, held in solidarity with the six members of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) detained under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 for their purported involvement in the Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections.

Dancers enthralling the crowd during the Petaling Jaya City Council’s Dream Home Awards 2011 ceremony last Friday.

Junior Chamber International (JCI) members after the JCI Petaling Jaya Fancy Hats Charity Walk on June 11, which was held to raise awareness on leukaemia and to raise funds for the JCIPJ Leukaemia Trust Fund.

Sixty residents gathered to help clean up the streets of Seksyen 22 in Petaling Jaya on Sunday (June 26), in a gotong-royong organised by Petaling Jaya City Councillor Anthony Jeyaseelen and the Rukun Tetangga of Seksyen 22. The event was launched by Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua.

CULTURE 19
JULy 15 — 17, 2011

By Terence Toh

INTERVIEW

EDITOR’S PICK
Heart & Soul
Charity concerts; July 21-24; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; attendance by invitation; www.thephil.org.my A series of concerts by the Choir of The Philharmonic Society of Selangor for selected locally based charities. This 120-strong community choir will take the audience on a musical voyage as they chart a course through a selection of crowd favorites in a two-hour long programme. Repertoire includes medleys of songs by Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and the Beatles, as well Uniquely You, written by Philharmonic Society of Selangor alumnae and composer of Chang & Eng, the late Ken Low. Selections will be presented by solo singers or in smaller groups of members, backed up by a five-piece band led by Nish Tham. Entry is by invitation only. Details to obtain invitations are as follows: · For shows on Friday, July 22, 8.30pm, Saturday, July 23, 8.30pm and Sunday, July 24, 3pm, call 012-2139333 (Kok Wing). · For show on Thursday, July 21, 8.30pm benefiting the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), call 03 78774221 (Bernie), email: awam@awam.org.my. · For show on Saturday, 23 July, 3pm benefiting the SIC-PIHD Children Learning Centre For the Poor, call 019-8554888 (Peter), email: peterac2ster@gmail.com. · For show on Sunday, 24 July, 8.30pm benefiting Hospis Malaysia, call 03-91333936 (Carol ext 207 / Li Ping ext 208). Probably the oldest music society in Malaysia, The Philharmonic Society of Selangor was incorporated in 1958. The choir is the most active arm of the society and to date has staged more than 50 productions ranging from classical to contemporary. A stand-out feature about this choir is that it’s made up entirely of volunteers who come from all walks of life, aspiring towards building a community in harmony.

THE Choir of the Philharmonic Society of Selangor (The Phil) comprises over 200 members, all volunteers from various walks of life. Known for their soaring harmonies and spirited singing, the choir’s previous productions include Christmas Dazzles Charity Concert and Music from Movies and Musicals 3. Their latest production, Heart & Soul, will feature them taking on songs by popular artistes such as Barry Manilow, Enya, and Bette Midler. Selangor Times sits down with The Phil’s choir director, Cheryl Teh (pic, front row in white), who gives us a sneak preview of Heart & Soul, and shares with us her thoughts on community building through choir.

Is there a story behind the name Heart & Soul? The first Heart & Soul concert was staged in 2003 as a charity concert in aid of three different charitable organisations. The songs we perform will touch the heart and uplift the soul, not just for the audience but the singers as well. Audiences will be head bopping and toe tapping, and I’m sure some will even be dancing with us right at the end. Through the two-hour musical journey they will feel a range of emotions, but will definitely leave with a smile on their faces. How do you decide which songs to use for your performances? Are there certain types of songs that are more suited for choirs than others? I take into account a few aspects – the likability of the songs, the educational aspects, and the ease of singing. First and foremost would be the audience, which would mostly be the choir’s family and friends – what would they like to listen to? What would put a smile on their face when they leave? As for the educational aspect – I like to choose songs which would educate the singers and public alike, introduce them to songs that they may not have heard before but have a message to share. Some songs are more suitable for choir in terms of melodic lines and arrangements, and I normally choose simpler arrangements. Group singing is a journey towards a harmonious society, and we want to make this journey as enjoyable as possible.

How has the experience been like, coordinating such a large and diverse choir? As a community choir which is inclusive – i.e. we accept anyone who can commit to our rehearsal schedule, no auditions, no other experience necessary – there are more challenges than if I were to direct an auditioned, perfect pitched, musicreading choir. Our choir today is very diverse, with singers aged between 11 and 79 years young. For me, it’s about building a community in harmony, and I strongly believe we shouldn’t reject people from this experience. In such a large group, it’s also about interpersonal skills and encouraging acceptance and building tolerance amongst the singers. For example, I encourage the stronger singers to help the newer singers learn their parts, to help them find their pitch. My reward in directing this group is obviously not monetary, but joy in seeing the singers grow in confidence, in finding their voices, in the happy smiles as they leave rehearsals. Last year, we had a very timid young teenager singing with us. You couldn’t hear her voice at all as she was so soft, but she diligently attended rehearsals, and we encouraged her to sing. She’s now overseas and I recently got an email from her telling me that she sang a solo in public! Her parents were so overjoyed, and they said it was being part of the choir that helped her with her confidence. What makes a good choir member? Is having musical knowledge or a good voice essential? For a community choir like ours, having musical knowledge is definitely an advantage, but having the right attitude is more important: attending rehearsals, being on time, practising at home and being tolerant and patient. A good voice is not essential because I believe we can help you “find” your voice. What can we look forward to seeing from the choir of the Selangor Philharmonic in future? About 50 members of the choir will be travelling to Perth at the end of August, proudly representing Selangor in the Perth-Bunbury International Choral Festival. We will also be performing in Perth on Aug 31 as part of the Merdeka Day celebration, supported by the Malaysian Consulate General. It’s a momentous occasion for us as it’s our first foray overseas and we will be performing in front of all these state-level invitees. All the members are very excited, and everyone has been saving up money to pay for the trip as we haven’t been able to get much sponsorship. We hope that Selangor-based organisations will help and contribute towards our trip as we make Selangor proud!

Compiled by Nick Choo Send your events to nick@selangortimes.com Musical; 14-24 July; Istana Budaya; RM48RM353; 03-87754666, www.airasiaredtix.com The Broadway musical that tells of an up-and-coming 1960s girl group, The Dreams, and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. Dreamgirls premiered in 1981 and was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won six. Twenty-five years later it was adapted into a major motion picture by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures. With music by Henry Krieger and book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, Dreamgirls is presented in Malaysia for the first time by Broadway Academy, and features the talents of Elvira Arul, Cheryl Samad and Tony Eusoff.

CALENDAR
Dreamgirls

Jom Improv! with AI:IA

Comedy; until 17 July; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; 03-40479000; www.klpac.org The Actors Studio Teater Rakyat presents Jom Improv! with improv squad AI:IA (pronounced Aiiiyahhh, also an expression of shock). With new members, crazier challenging games, minimusicals, and all of this with the help of the audience’s suggestions! Find yourself in stitches from the comedic antics of these young madcap performers. Completely unscripted, dangerous and heartfelt, anything and everything can happen!

Music / Theatre; 20-24 July; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; 03-40479000; www.klpac.org; RM73 / RM43 / RM412 (table booking for four) Following the success of her first-ever solo concert in 2010, jazz extraordinaire Junji Delfino returns to celebrate 51-derful years of her scintillatingly lush life, paying tribute to the geniuses of some of the world’s most prolific composers, lyricists and artistes. Part musical, part commentary, Junji will present interesting anecdotes about the writers, the singers, their songs and their struggles in their journey to be heard. Featuring the Michael Veerapen Trio and special guest stars.

Lush Life with Junji Delfino

Exhibition; until 17 July; Core Design Gallery; 012-6674348, anni@coredesigngallery. com; www.coredesigngallery.com “Physiological illusions utilise stimulation of contrast, angles, colors and even movement that changes the way our eyes and brain interpret information. Optical illusions play tricks on your mind, by using unconscious inferences to influence what you see. What your eyes visually perceive vastly differs from reality. Nothing is quite as it seems.” Featuring the works of 14 artists of diverse fine arts backgrounds as they challenge to capture these illusions in their own surrealist art style. “Mind-boggling works that would make you rethink your perception of dimensions.” Free admission.

Surreallusion

Images of Georgetown

Exhibition; 7-22 July; Sutra Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; 03-40211092, www.sutrafoundation.org.my An exhibition of photography by Eric Peris, highlighting the sights of the Penang capital in the 1970s and 1980s. Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm; weekends and public holidays by appointment only. Free admission.

International flavour to Vivaldi
N
amed after the 17th-century world-renowned composer antonio Vivaldi, Sunway Vivaldi is a high-end luxury condominium development in Mont Kiara which aims to bring an international flavour to discerning homeowners. Just like the Italian maestro’s timeless Four Seasons, Sunway Vivaldi owners can expect to enjoy a superior lifestyle in line with what the project was conceived to represent. whether from an architectural or construction perspective, Sunway’s project aims to raise owners’ appreciation and enjoyment of luxury. There are a total of 228 units built over 7.7 acres of prime freehold land, divided over six blocks of mid- and high-rise condominiums. The condominiums are aligned around the central Eco Deck, and units comprise single-floor and duplex designs. Size matters To ensure the sense of size, space and privacy, the first three nine-storey blocks only have 18 units each, while the remaining three 20-storey blocks house 58 units each. Privacy is preserved as Sunway Vivaldi has one of the lowest density of units over acreage, at 30 units per acre (228 units over 7.7 acres). Surrounding condominiums have an average density of 60 to 70 units per acre. The size of the Sky Bungalows begin at 2,573 sq ft all the way to 9,946 sq ft for the biggest unit, resembling sizes of landed properties. as such, the minimum size for single-floor units begin at 2,573 sq ft, while duplex units range from 3,466-3,983 sq ft each. For those who need more space, the Sky Villa is 5,490 sq ft each, while the Penthouse is between 9,085 and 9,946 sq ft. The size of our duplexes caters to the growing demand for large-size condos from residents of Damansara Heights, Bukit Tunku, Kenny Hills, Bangsar and Taman Tun Dr Ismail, who are increasingly moving out from their bungalows for security reasons. Besides the size, the duplex units will also have 21-feet-high doublevolume ceiling space to accentuate the feeling of spaciousness and grandeur. Strategic location For good quality properties, size and design alone are not sufficient. Location is what will ensure that there is a healthy appreciation of the unit. Sunway Vivaldi is well poised to ensure that buyers will see strong appreciation to their properties as it is located in Kuala Lumpur’s most sought-after address, Mont Kiara. Besides the vibrant community, Mont Kiara is highly populated

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ July 15 – 17, 2011 ⁄ III

by expatriates and high-net-worth individuals. Located just 12km away from Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Mont Kiara is also easily accessible via numerous expressways. Sunway Vivaldi is in good company, and owners can be comforted by knowing that Mont Kiara is a mature neighbourhood with three international schools, commercial centres, shopping malls, medical centres, and an array of lifestyle F&B outlets. Unique features Sunway Vivaldi has also taken great care to ensure that most units will enjoy a perpetually unobstructed view of the two-acre Eco Deck. The six blocks are aligned around the Eco Deck, which is the central park land, creating an oasis of intense greenery, pools and water

features. This unique design allows residents to “withdraw” from the outside world, leaving the hustle and bustle of the city outside Sunway Vivaldi’s walls. To promote a healthy lifestyle, the Eco Deck features a 50m-long swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, and an indoor games room. Other special features include private elevators to every unit, imported Mirari kitchen cabinets, wet and dry kitchens fully equipped with appliances from Bosch and Gaggenau, and Hansgrohe, Duravit & Catalano sanitaryware. There is also a rain shower and jacuzzi for the master bedrooms. The project is due for completion by the third quarter of 2011, enabling investors to generate immediate rental income. Owner-occupiers will also be able to move into their new homes by then.

Velocity service residence up for grabs
Sunway City Berhad (SunCity) stays true to its commitment of a being a leading integrated property developer with its latest Sunway Velocity service apartments - V residence launch. Strategically located within 3.8km from the highly prestigious and coveted Kuala Lumpur City Centre address, Sunway Velocity is set to breathe a whole new life and transform the city skyline.   Spread over 22 acres of prime freehold land, Sunway Velocity is another vibrant integrated development with well-planned features that complement today’s modern lifestyle. It will comprise of retail shops; office suites; service apartments and an over one million sq ft lifestyle shopping mall.  all the phases will be easily connected via an elevated pedestrian friendly environmental deck which is 550m long and 16m wide for a vibrant alfresco lifestyle.  Sunway Velocity was designed to allow residents to experience a contemporary lifestyle where they can live, work, shop and relax in one destination. This is made possible as retail and commercial spaces have been designed to integrate harmoniously.   Sunway, with its track record and management expertise, will be managing the shopping mall and the entire project.  The first launch for Sunway Velocity was Phase 1a, consisting of 112 units of office suites with 12 units of retail shops on the ground floor and environmenta l deck, which received good response. The takeup rate to date is 80% sold.  Sunway Velocity is now launching its 264 units of s er vi c e ap a r tments with seven units of retail shops on the environmental deck. The service apartments have a unique living concept with cluster and floating villa styles for selection. The layout is practical, designed with spacious two-, three- and fourroom apartments with sizes ranging from 915 to 2,368 sq ft. Owners and tenants will enjoy a convenient lifestyle thanks to the shopping mall, F&B outlets and business precinct within the development.  The ser vice apartments are also e qu ipp e d with lifestyle-oriented amenities such as a swimming pool, wading pool, floating meditation deck, gym, multipurpose hall, games room, reading corner, children’s playground, BBQ area, landscape garden and others.  The ser vice apartments achieved a significant milestone when it received the provisional green mark certification from Singapore’s Building and Construction authority. This is in line with the Group’s Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (Lohas) philosophy, whereby buildings are designed to be in harmony with nature for the benefit of residents to lead a balanced lifestyle in today’s urban living environment.  Accessibility and connectivity The development is conveniently accessible via various major roads such as Jalan Cheras, Jalan Peel, Jalan Pudu, Jalan Loke yew and Jalan Tun Razak as well as highways that include SMaRT, KL-Seremban, Maju Expressway and the nPE. Public transportation around the development are public buses, taxis and LRT stations which are five minutes away from Taman Maluri and 10 minutes away from Chan Show Lin stations. There are also two proposed MRT stations at Cochrane (two minutes away) and Maluri (five minutes away). additionally, there is a proposed tunnel with direct link from Jalan Cheras to the shopping mall basement car park, and a proposed underpass from Jalan Cheras to Jalan Peel.  Sunway Velocity will be surrounded by convenient and comprehensive amenities such as banks, commercial centres, shop offices, restaurants and cafes, embassies, schools and hospitals. all these great connections and amenities will place Sunway Velocity as the centrepoint of Kuala Lumpur City South. For enquiries, please call 03-92055500 or visit www.sunwayvelocity.com.

Published by Selangor State Government and printed by Dasar Cetak (M) Sdn Bhd No. 7, Persiaran Selangor, Seksyen 15, 40000, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

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