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November 11 — 13, 2011/ issue 48

Cattle challenge accepted
By alvin yap

shah alaM: Datuk Seri Noh Omar’s challenge to the federal opposition to take over the lossmaking National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) has been accepted by the Selangor government. Yaakob Sapari said the Selangor  Menteri Besar has given him the green light to accept the challenge by the  minister for agriculture and agro-based industry. Noh had on Wednesday issued a challenge to the Pakatan Rakyat to operate one of the 30 satellite farms under the NFC, and prove they could produce 600 heads of cattle as currently done by the corporation. “The state and livestock breeders in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan are ready at any time to take over,” said the state executive councillor for agriculture during a press conference on the sidelines of the Selangor state assembly yesterday.  Yaakob said he will contact Putrajaya and assume control of the NFC in Negeri Sembilan. Operating on a 5,000-acre plot in the neighbouring state, the
• Turn To page 2

Sultan of Selangor Sharafuddin Idris Shah with Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim during a ceremony to hand out awards to residents of the Petaling Jaya Spastic Centre who successfully climbed Mount Kinabalu on Oct 16. Also present were president of the Spastic Children's Association of Selangor Datuk Dr Lam Peng Chong, Rotary International District Governor Dr S Raveendra Kumar, and Rotary Club USJ chairperson Datuk Jimmy Lim. Story on Page 2.

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New building for spastic association
is up,” said Lam. Construction will start as soon as the necessary approvals are obtained from the authorities. The association currently accommodates 150 spastic children, free of charge. The centre offers therapy, vocational classes, computer lessons, and a library for the children to study from 8am to 1pm. “This is a non-profit organisation, and we are thankful to all the donors, fundraisers and events which helped us fund the association,” said Lam. Meanwhile, 18 disabled people, three from the spastic centre, were brought on a climb up Mount Kinabalu on Oct 16. “The climb was titled ‘Climb Beyond Disabilities’, and we wanted to show the world that the disabled can still achieve extraordinary goals,” said Rotary Club USJ chairperson Datuk Jimmy Lim. Jointly organised by Rotary

November 11 — 13, 2011

By Brenda Ch’ng

SHAH ALAM: The Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor and Federal Territory will be able to accommodate more children with better facilities once their new building is completed in 2015. State ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah was present yesterday for the groundbreaking of the new nine-storey building, located next to their current centre on Lorong Utara A.  “This new centre, which will cost RM18 million, will be part of our Spastic Redevelopment Programme,” said association president Datuk Dr Lam Peng Chong. The programme includes providing better services and facilities for children with cerebral palsy, who face difficulties coordinating movement and suffer from speech impediments. “We hope to extend our services to other disabled people in the community after the building

Pua: Kedai Rakyat not cheap
KUALA LUMPUR: Claims by Putrajaya that goods at Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M) are cheaper by 30-50% have been proven untrue by Tony Pua. The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said on Wednesday  that although some goods at KR1M are cheaper, the difference in price is not significant. “For example, KR1M claims to sell a 425g can of sardines for RM2.99, ‘saving’ the customer a whopping 51%. However, a check at Carrefour showed that a 425g can of sardines sells for RM2.49, or 20% less than KR1M,” said Pua. He also compared the price of a one-litre bottle of bleach, which cost RM1.29 at Tesco and RM1.90 at KR1M. Based on 23 household items he picked up from Carrefour, Pua said consumers would save at least 8% there compared with shopping at KR1M. Among the household items he purchased were rice, minced meat, chilli sauce, detergent, toilet paper and dishwashing liquid. 
ov 26, Come N Times will r Selango ng its first brati r be cele invite ou ar y. We ith annivers write in w readers to suggestions and Give us ws eir ideas, d k on our vie , thonstructive feeldbliac their y c ke e Good how theyitwopuaper to be. – th nd commun yr thoughts to u e Bad a th Email yo @ Ugly newsdeskimes.com. the rt selango

Club Bandar Utama, the climb cost them RM200,000, which was used to fund the disabled participants, volunteers and trainers. Three representatives from the centre – Mohd Irwan Hakeem, Mohd Asman and Janice Yim Kam Choo – each received a certificate of achievement from the Sultan.  

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah in the driver’s seat during the groundbreaking ceremony.

phone (603) 5510 4566 fax (603) 5523 1188 email

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EDITORIAL
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR WRITERS

He urged Putrajaya to stop claiming that KR1M can help cut living expenses when other hypermarkets are offering much lower prices. Pua said KR1M and federal ministers s h o u l d b e i nve s ti g at e d f o r th e i r “irresponsible and misleading” claims. He said their misrepresentation has bre a c h e d th e Ma lay s i an C o d e o f Advertising Practice (MCAP). “In fact, it is the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry which is responsible for regulating the industry and ensuring consumers are not cheated by misleading claims. “However, when the ministry itself is guilty of such offences as a result of the BN government’s vested interest in KR1M, it becomes a gross breach of its responsibility to the people,” he said. Pua said it is good for KR1M to sell products at a cheaper price, but they should also allow other companies that are capable of delivering low prices to do the same.

KL Chan

Neville Spykerman

Selangor WeaTHer
Friday Morning Saturday Sunday

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
DESIGNERS ADVERTISING ADVISORS

Jimmy C. S. Lim, Chin Man Yen Timothy Loh, Ivan Looi, Tony Kee

Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz

afternoon

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Source: Malaysian meteorological department

• From page one

NFC has been criticised by the Auditor General for not meeting production targets. The AG reports single out the runners of the business venture for mismanagement, inefficiency and incompetence. It said a field study of the farm showed that only 3,289 cattle were roaming the land, which was overgrown with prickly shrubs. “Whatever funds are left, give it to a group of livestock breeders and we will manage the NFC,” said Yaakob, who is in charge of farming and modernisation in Selangor. Yaakob said he could muster up 300 farmers from Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca to take over the project.

State to support farmers taking over the project
He explained that the farm could be divided up into 15-acre lots for the farmers to breed the cattle. The remaining funds, he said, should be given to the Department of Veterinary Service to disburse to the would-be farmers. He said the massive undertaking would be easier to manage if the land was partitioned, adding that each farmer would set a target of raising 1,000 to 1,500 heads of cattle. The Kota Anggerik assemblyperson said the project should have been managed by farmers or livestock operators to begin with. “It’s easier to handle, and better to benefit so many of our farmers and livestock breeders than just one private company,” he said. The initiative, which started in 2008 under the Ninth Malaysian Plan with a soft loan of RM250 million, has been linked to Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. Yaakob reiterated that the challenge was not to the Selangor government but to the Pakatan Rakyat. “But I’m sure the state will support farmers taking over the project,” he concluded.

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Land titles at last for 800 families
RAWANG: A three-decade-long wait for titles is drawing to a close for residents of a Chinese New village here as their applications are finally being processed. Some 800 families from Kundang Tambahan, Pekan Kundang and Selayang Tin have been trying to get titles to legally own the land that they have settled on and developed since the early 1970s. “Our family has applied many times to the Land Office, paying a processing fee of RM700, but we never received news of our application,” said Yap Yin Lan, 56. Yap and other villagers in the area submitted their details and relevant documents to state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, who visited the area on Tuesday. Ean Yong was leading a taskforce to look into the plight of the villagers near Rawang. The Seri Kembangan assemblyperson in charge of New Village develop
Ean Yong checking details of villagers who have waited 30 years for titles.

November 11 — 13, 2011

EvEnts
Heritage Park Fun
Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd (TrEES) will organise a community event to celebrate heritage parks in Selangor on Saturday (Nov 19). Come join in the fun and participate in the heritage eco-treasure hunt, a race, family fun games, jungle trekking and picnic by the riverside. Attractive cash prizes are up for grabs. The event will start from 9.30am-1.30pm at Ampang Recreational Forest, Jalan Ampang. To register, email treateveryenvironmentspecial@gmail.com or visit www.trees. org.my.

Deepavali open house
The office of Parliament Subang will hold a Deepavali open house at Pusat Komersial TSB Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh on Sunday (Nov 13) from noon to 3pm. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim will head the guest list. Call the office at 03-61571842, 012-2583797 (Bala) or 012-9059948 (Peter) for details.

ment said his team was also checking applicants’ details to verify their settlement on the land. He said it would take up to two weeks to verify the records. Staff from the Land Office are on hand to help speed up the applications. Barring any discrepancy or other delays, villagers will be issued forms to support their ownership, and they

can pay the premiums at the Land Office. In a related matter, Ean Yong said Land Office records show that a group of unknown individuals had applied and received a master title for the area. He said the priority was to investigate the matter and check the identity of the group that had performed a “land grab” on the location.

Meditation retreat
The Petaling Jaya Chempaka Buddhist Lodge will hold a five-day Vipassana meditation retreat from Nov 19-23 from 6.30pm-9pm at the Chempaka Buddhist Lodge. Guided by Ajahn Suthep Chinawaro from Thailand, the retreat is open to beginners and meditation practitioners. Admission is free, but contributions are welcome. Call 03-78803936 or email info@ chempaka.org.my for details.

Fundraising dinner for school, suraus
By Brenda Ch’ng

Youth leadership programme
Extol Toastmasters Subang Jaya will hold their annual youth leadership programme for students aged between 12-18 from Dec 16-18 at 2, Jalan SS19/1G, Subang Jaya. Call 019-2319800 (Kwa Ngan Eng), 012-2323578 (SK Ratnam), 016-2160632 (Patricia Tan) or email nganeng@gmail.com or skratnam2011@gmail.com for details

PUCHONG: Two suraus and an Islamic school will soon have new roofs, thanks to a fundraising dinner here on Wednesday night. Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok, who organised the dinner, said the money would be used to repair dilapidated roofs at the suraus and build a roof over the school’s open assembly area . “They came to me for help, but I couldn’t give them any money due to insufficient funds. I then decided to hold a fundraiser for them,” she said. Proceeds from the dinner, which was attended by more than 400 guests of all races, will be given to Sekolah Rendah Agama Batu 13 Puchong, Surau As-Sidek, and Surau Ar Rahman. Kok said with over 48% Muslims in Puchong, the amount of money allocated to her by the state annually isn’t enough to help all suraus and mosques in her area.

However, she will strive to help them by organising more fundraising dinners. Joining her at the dinner were Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu, and Shah Alam MP Khalid Ghazali: School will upgrade computer lab. Samad. “I’m so glad we are finally getting some financial help to build a roof for the children, which costs RM150,000,” said Parent-Teacher Association chairperson Ghazali Abu Hanifah. After building a shade for the assembly area, Ghazali said the school will upgrade their computer lab and buy more books for the library. “We have many other infrastructure maintenance to do but lack the funds. I appreciate the good effort from all races who are here tonight,” he said.

Cultural festival
In conjunction with the 84th birthday of the late actor Sivaji Ganesan, the Sivaji Ganesan Cultural Society of Malaysia will hold a cultural event on Nov 17 at 7pm at the Tan Sri KR Soma Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur. The highlight will be the presentation of the Sijavi Ganesan Awards to two local artistes. The guest of honour is prominent philanthropist Ratnavali Vijayaraj. For more information, call 012-3728081, 016-6880455 or 016-3310288.

Writing courses
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman will offer a course on effective business writing skills next Tuesday (Nov 15) at its Centre for Extension Education, Petaling Jaya campus, 9, Jalan Bersaru 13/4 from 7.30pm-9.30pm. They will also be offering Thai and Japanese language classes on Monday (Nov 14) from 7pm9pm. Call 03-79572818, 016-2233563 (Eileen/Swee Leng), email cee@utar.edu.my or visit www.facebook.com/UTARCEE for details.

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Sign-language course
Young Men’s Christian Association of Kuala Lumpur will hold a sign-language course on Nov 14 or Nov 30. The course will be divided into basic and express levels. For more information, call 03-22741439 (Eeyong), 017-2320833 or email eeyong@ ymcakl.com.

3 Hours inspiring talk on how you can walk tall.

As a Real Estate Negotiator

Dinner for charity
SMK Perempuan Pudu will hold a dinner at SJK (c) Naam Kheung on Saturday (Nov 12) at 8pm to raise funds for the maintenance and upgrading of the school. Call 03-92212584 for details.

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Citizen empowerment

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Everyone is invited to attend a two-day workshop from Nov 19-20 that will equip you with the necessary information and knowledge to empower you as a Malaysian citizen. The workshop will be held at Rumah Anak Bangsa Malaysia, 66, Lorong Setiabistari 1, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. To register, log on to https://sites.google.com/site/ citizenempowersch/tests. Call 03-7982 7101 or email ces@ mclm.org.uk for details.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ November 11 – 13, 2011 ⁄ 5

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Kok rebuts naysayers on school land
By Chong Loo Wah

P U C H O N G : A local MCA leader is being urged to lobby Putrajaya to appro ve and b u i l d thre e schools on land approved by Selangor, rather than make baseless allegations against the state. “MCA Puchong cha ir[ p erson] (Datu k) Wong Hock Aun is barking up the wrong tree by falsely accusing the state of not having approved the land … but merely ‘supporting’ the schools,” said Teresa Kok. The Kinrara assemblyperson said the Subang Jaya Municipal Council had gazetted the land allocated for SJK (C) Yak Chee, SMJK Katholik, and the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) as school reserves. “As MCA Puchong chair[person], he should know better that education is on the federal list, thus the construction of schools must be approved by the federal government, not the state… “He should be chasing after the Education Ministry to approve the construction of the schools,” said Kok. Kok, who held a press conference with the chairperson of SJKC Yak Chee, and

said Kok. She pointed out that the state has done their part in approving the reserve land for the construction of those schools. In September, Selangor’s executive council approved in principle the two vernacular schools’ application for 11 acres of land, provided that the schools received the green light from the Education Ministry to build their branches. Another 2.5 acres were approved for Nasom to set up a school for autistic students. Kok added that the developer has also informed the National Land and Mines Department that the two plots of land have been reserved for schools.

president and two vicepresidents of the Yak Chee board of directors last Friday, pointed out that both schools had already applied for branches to set up in Puchong. “SJKC Yak Chee wrote to the education minister on June 20 requesting to set up their branch school. SMJK Catholic have written to Muhyiddin on March 2 requesting to set up their branch school. “Both have received no positive response to date,”

Iskandar: Don’t be fooled by low-cost home ‘agents’
ing and Property Board (LPHS). SHAH ALAM: House “We want our housbuyers are being urged to be es... Otherwise, the state wary of agents,  including should return the depoliticians, who claim to be posit to us,” he said. able to secure low-cost However, Iskandar housing for them. said he had never heard “The state has never apof anyone by the name pointed any agent or [interprovided by the victims. mediary] to facilitate the In addition, political purchase of low-cost [flat secretary to the Menteri units or houses],” said IskaBesar Faekah Husin said dar Samad. the state has lodged The state executive counthree police reports cillor for housing issued the against this individual, warning after  20 people and confirmed that there staged a protest in front of the Iskadar Samad: State has was no such person state secretariat yesterday af- never appointed any agent. working for the Menteri ternoon. Besar and in LPHS. The protesters claimed to represent 686 She said the LPHS letterhead had been house buyers at Taman Botanik Klang, Ta- forged by the individual to mislead the man Selayang Mulia, Taman Harmoni victims. Balakong and Taman Intan Cheras who In a separate case, 32 people were each have been cheated by the state. cheated of RM2,500 by a politician who Their representative, Durrany Izam, al- claimed to be able to help them secure leged that a PKR politician had promised housing at Impian Seri Setia Apartments to help them secure low-cost housing from in Sungai Way. “political quota”, and they had each paid Iskandar said LPHS had lodged four him a RM2,100 deposit. police reports against this politician in the Durrany said the “Datuk” had claimed past six months. to be a special assistant to the Menteri Besar “Don’t believe anyone claiming to be and a board member of the Selangor Hous- an agent from LPHS or the state,” he said.
By Gan Pei Ling

Iskadar Samad: State has never appointed any agent

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November 11 — 13, 2011

Third Sitting

State GLC profits to fund social programmes
By Alvin Yap

SHAH ALAM: Prudent financial management and an increase in revenue have raised the state’s budget from RM1.4 billion in 2011 to RM1.9 billion in 2012, enabling Selangor to fund more social programmes. The Menteri Besar announced that RM300 million from dividends paid by state government-linked corporations (GLCs), royalty from sand mining and other revenues would be used to fund Selangorku social initiatives. “We are using the revenue to
Revenue
Tax Revenue Non Tax Revenue Other Receipts Total

fund social programmes,” Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said when tabling the 2012 budget on Wednesday. He attributed the balanced budget of RM1.9 billion in part to the infusion of RM300 million from the GLCs, adding that profits were due to the state firms’ adherence to strict financial management. Khalid said the dividends would fund some 17 initiatives under the Geran Selangorku programme next year for the benefit of Selangor residents. “The profit is for the people, and not cronies or the elite,” he said, adding that the state would spend

State Budget 2012
2011 (RM 000) 530,980 467,164 431,856 1,430,000 2012 (RM 000) 574,674 654,604 370,722 1,600,000 % 8.23 40.12 -14.16 11.89

Expenditure
Operating Expenditure Emolument Supplies and Services Assets Payments Other Expenses Total Development Expenditure Infrastructure Social Development Economy Urban Development Total 2012 (RM 000) 323,085 371,387 8,080 284,183 13,265 1,000,000 2012 (RM 000) 411,092 100,060 84,240 4,608 600,000 % 32.3 37.1 0.8 28.4 1.5 100 % 68 17 14 1 100

the allocations under the Selangorku programmes with accountability. Khalid also said part of the RM300 million grant is also funded by debts collected from Talam Corp Bhd which were owed to the state. The Ijok assemblyperson said the funds would be controlled by Menteri Besar Inc, which is the parent organisation of state subsidiaries. Tax revenue for 2012 increased by RM43.69 million to RM574.67 million, compared to RM530.98 million in 2011. Non-tax revenue increased by 40% from RM467.16 million in 2011 to RM654.60 million for 2012. Selangor’s actual budget for 2012 stands at RM1.6 billion, of which RM1 billion is used for operating expenditure and the remaining RM600 million for development. Infrastructure projects will receive the largest allocation of RM411 million for road and drainage maintenance. In comparison, the social sector will get RM100 million to fund the Selangor Children Heritage Fund (Tawas) as well as the Golden Age Friendly Scheme (SMUE). The environment will also get a boost with RM8.5 million allocated to rehabilitate former dumpsites in Selangor. Among the areas targeted for clean-up and maintenance are former landfills in Sungai Kembong, Sungai Kertas and Kubang Badak. These areas are near vital rivers that supply water to major water treatment plants in the state. Khalid also said RM4 million would be allocated for purchasing and installing closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) in crime hotspots.

State’s RM300 million grant
Grant Minimum Wage Eradication of Corruption and Fraud Programmes Empowering Women From Welfare to Work Young Entrepreneurship Programme Education Support Programmes Infrastructure Sports Infrastructure Construction Preservation and Conservation of the Environment Urban Life Bring services to the people Cultural Strengthening Programmes Democracy Strengthening Programmes Disseminating State Information Programme to Increase Quality of Life Upgrading Public Office Skills Rural Development RM (Million) 10 15 Proposed programme Competency and re-skilling courses Non governmental organisations (NGO) yet to submit proposals Training and entrepreneurship courses Vocational training Business trainings and platforms to do business Computers, tuition lessons, libraries, educational tools Road upgrades, drains and repairing ditches Adding of sports infrastructure like futsal courts and others Conducting researches and conservation programmes Free Wifi Upgrading the state’s information system online Art programmes Improving voter registration system Billboards and Phamplets Study and improve the health sector Training, courses and workshops Infrastructure and economic development

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RM1,500 minimum wage from next year
SHAH ALAM: Starting next year, employees of Selangor-owned companies will be the first to enjoy a minimum wage of RM1,500 per month, the Menteri Besar announced at the tabling of the state budget on Wednesday. “The minimum wage increase is to deal with the rise in cost of living,” Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said while unveiling the 2012 budget, which has increased to RM1.6 billion from 2011’s RM1.43 billion. Khalid said financially stable companies like Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and Worldwide Holdings Bhd would be able to fund their own minimum wage increase without assistance from the state. Companies unable to absorb the costs will be able to utilise a RM10 million allocation the state will set up to fund the wage rise. He also revealed that state civil servants will receive a half-month bonus or at least RM500 paid out in December.

November 11 — 13, 2011

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New social welfare schemes in the pipeline
SHAH ALAM: Dividends amounting to RM300 million from state-linked companies will fund 17 welfare programmes under the Selangorku initiative next year. “Three years after we formed the state government, we are at another phase of our social initiatives,” Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said when unveiling the 2012 budget here on Wednesday. The Selangorku Grant will fund a host of programmes, from minimum wage for workers of stateowned firms, to working with corruption watchdog Transparency International to combat graft. Among the initiatives that will receive the largest allocations from the funding are infrastructure-maintenance projects, used to build and upkeep roads and drainage systems. RM50 million has been earmarked to fund the building of roads, drains and ditches in Selangor. State-linked educational institutes such as schools, colleges and universities will receive RM30 million to upgrade computer labs, libraries and other equipment. Khalid said the money will also be used to fund free tuition for the needy and lower-income group at all education levels under the Education Support Programme. The money will also be used to make centres of learning disabled-friendly, by building ramps or other facilities to aid the blind and deaf. The Menteri Besar said the youth would not be left out of entrepreneurial programmes, such as those from the urban microcredit scheme. He revealed that the Young Entrepreneur Scheme will receive RM30 million to run business programmes and other commercial-related initiatives. For sports and recreations, RM30 million will be allocated to increase the number of futsal and basketball courts in the state. “We want to promote healthy living among the youth and also older residents,” he said. Khalid said the state was looking to address gender equality by running part-time vocational classes for women from the lower-income group, by allocating another RM30 million to fund the training programmes. “There will be classes for people to learn and master trade skills and other kinds of training so that people will be less dependent on welfare,” he said. Similarly, the Welfare-to-Work programme will receive RM20 million to run vocational training under the Selangor Welfare Department. Among some of the initiatives to improve the delivery system is the setting up of online infrastructure for ratepayers to check the status of the land premiums and titles. The Information Technology (IT) equipment will also allow residents to pay their bills online. Khalid also said the Land Office and Land and Mines Office will be able to purchase vans to be converted into mobile counters with the RM20 million fund. Furthermore, RM22 million will be set aside to fund infrastructure projects such as maintaining jetties for fisherfolk and running marketing programmes for farmers. He also announced that RM15 million would be earmarked to set up an anti-corruption programme with Transparency International.

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November 11 — 13, 2011

Third Sitting
By Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: The state admitted that it has failed to monitor the results of needy Form Five students under its free tuition programme. “We haven’t been able to keep track of the students’ SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) results,” executive councillor on education and human capital development Dr Halimah Ali said at the state assembly yesterday. She said this in response to a question from Amirudin Shari (Batu Caves-PKR). Amirudin had remarked that students’ results is one of the key measurements of the effectiveness of Program Tuisyen Rakyat Selangor, which offers free tuition class-

Better evaluation of free tuition needed
Dr Halimah: Appoint an efficient and capable programme coordinator.

es in 56 state constituencies for 100 SPM students whose families’ income is lower than RM1,500 per month. Priority is supposed to be given

to students with average grades to help them improve via free tuition in four subjects – Malay, English, Mathematics and History. In defence, Dr Halimah urged the state assemblypersons to appoint an efficient and capable programme coordinator in their constituencies to implement and record the students’ achievements.

“We rely on your coordinators to track the students’ progress throughout and after the programme,” said Dr Halimah. Established in 2009, the state allocates RM3.45 million for the programme and targets to recruit 5,600 students annually. Students are taught by experienced school teachers recruited by

programme coordinators. The free tuition programme is particularly well-received in semirural and rural constituencies such as Sungai Panjang, where over 190 students have registered this year. Dr Halimah said the state would look into developing a more effective mechanism to evaluate the programme’s effectiveness.

Councils still owe Alam Flora RM40 mil
SHAH ALAM: Local governments in the state have repaid more than half of some RM90 million owed to Alam Flora Sdn Bhd. “As of Oct 30, the local governments have settled RM50 million they owe to Alam Flora,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu (pic) during a supplementary question at the state sitting here on Wednesday. He said the initial amount owed might actually be lower as Alam Flora also owes monies to local authorities, having received assets and equipment from them in 1998. Liu, responding to a question from Yap Ee Wah (MCA-Sungai Pelek), said Alam Flora received equipment and other assets from the municipalities when it took over garbage collection 13 years ago. Liu, who portfolio includes local government, said the amount owed by local authorities would be lower if the assets surrendered in 1998 was contra with the debt. The arrears is due to disputes between the work carried out by the company and local authorities. On a related matter, Liu refuted Yap’s allegations that tenders have been awarded to contractors without suitable equipment such as trash compactors. “There are two categories. One is public cleaning and the other garbage collection,” said Liu, explaining that contractors who failed to get solid-waste collection contracts were successful bidders for publiccleaning tasks. Liu, who is also Pandamaran assemblyperson, said the state has been coping well since the Oct 16 handover when local governments took over garbage collection from Alam Flora.

RM3.54 bil highway in the works
SHAH ALAM: A mega highway connecting the state to the north of Perak is expected to cost some RM3.54 billion. “The project is still under the planning stage The Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) is determining the locations of tolls in the state,” said state executive councillor Datuk Hassan Mohd Ali. He was responding to a supplementary question at the state assembly here yesterday. To a question from Ng Swee Lim (DAP-Sekinchan), Hassan Ali said the connection will be from Banting to Sabak Bernam, and nine toll booths are expected to be built. The cost in Selangor includes the acquisition of some 77 acres of government land and 1,523 acres of private land. Hassan Ali said the project under the 10th Malaysia Plan is expected to cost RM6.5 billion, and the LLM is working closely with the state to ensure that the highway does not encroach upon rivers and forest reserve land. Upon completion, the highway is expected to be a catalyst for the northern part of the state, namely Sekinchan, Sabak Bernam and Tanjung Karang. The cost of construction of the 288km-long major arter y would be borne by concessiona ire Kons or ti um L e b u hraya Pantai Barat.

Rising tourism spots in S’gor
SHAH ALAM: The swiftlet ecology park Kuan Wellness in Tanjung Sepat, Strawberry Leisure Farm, and tubing and white water rafting in Hulu Selangor are among the growing tourist attractions in the state. Agro-tourism in Sekinchan, Gold Coast Morib, and petting zoo Rabbit Fun Land in Semenyih are also attracting an increasing number of visitors, executive councillor on tourism Elizabeth Wong told the state assembly yesterday. Responding to a question from Gan Pei Nei (RawangPKR), Wong said Selangor had 13.5 million domestic tourists from 2007 to April 2011. The bulk of domestic travellers were from Kuala Lumpur (3.69 million), followed by Selangor (2.74 million), Johor (2.0 million) and Penang (1.21 million). Wong, who is also Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson, said the 11 locations below remain the top tourism spots in Selangor: 1. Blue Mosque, Shah Alam 2. Bukit Melawati, Kuala Selangor 3. Galeri DiRaja Sultan Abdul Aziz, Klang 4. Sunway Lagoon 5. Firefly Park, Kuala Selangor 6. Dong Zen Monastery, Jenjarom 7. Sepang Gold Coast 8. Batu Caves, Gombak 9. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Kepong 10. Kanching Recreational Forest, Rawang 11. I-City, Shah Alam Wong said the state had also developed the Heritage Walk in Klang to promote its historical and heritage sites. “Little India (in Klang), which is part of the Heritage Walk, has become a main competitor to Brickfields’ Little India,” she said. Wong added that Tourism Selangor is actively promoting various unique products in the state, including the handicraft of Orang Asli Mahmeri from Carey Island, Indian pottery of Kuala Selangor, as well as songket and batik of Shah Alam and Sepang.

Council accounts open to public scrutiny
SHAH ALAM: The  financial statements of all 12 local governments in Selangor are open to public scrutiny. “The financial records are made available at state departments like the Land Office, state agencies, in community libraries and even school libraries,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu. Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, said the accounts are also available on the websites of each local authority. He said this in response to a question from Wong Koon Mun (MCA-Kuala Kubu Bharu) Liu, however, explained that not all the local authorities could supply ratepayers with a copy of financial statements free-of-charge as this would incur “unnecessary costs”. He singled out Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) as the only council that gives out its financial statements for free to ratepayers. He said local governments follow a set of procedures and processes to ensure that the financial accounting is above board. Liu explained that local government departments follow strict guidelines according to ISO standards, which are verified by an audit committee and also by accrediting bodies. He said local government staff follow the National Integrity Plan to ensure that their work adheres to guidelines. Liu added that councils and municipalities also carry out surprise checks on its departments to ensure that the work is according to standard.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ NOVEMBER 11 – 13,2010 ⁄ 9

news

MBPJ budget: RAs seek more participation
agement and public cleanliness. “When Alam Flora was handling it [last year and this year], they had a larger allocation. I don’t think you should cut back,” he said. MBPJ and other local governments have taken over garbage collection from concessionaire Alam Flora Sdn Bhd since Oct 16. On the whole, Tung said, MBPJ’s policies are on the right track. “The city council is doing a good job, but more can be done to ensure that PJ is sustainable,” he said on Monday in a telephone interview. SS2B (Selatan) RA treasurer Betty Chuah expressed hope that her area will receive a portion of the RM3.4 million allocation to upgrade and build new car parks in the city. She said the lack of parking bays in the neighbourhood is causing inconvenience to shoppers in the area. Chuah also took to task MBPJ for its “paltry” allocation of RM400,000 to maintain the parks in the city, adding that her area alone has two large parks and four smaller ones. “We don’t have green lungs here, and parks are all the more important for ratepayers to jog and exercise,” she said, adding that MBPJ should allocate more funds to build jogging paths and other amenities. She also said MBPJ is “finally willing” to build a roof over the SS2/63 basketball court, referring to a RM200,000 allocation for the location that attracts teenagers every afternoon and evening in eight-aside matches. “It’s about time,” she said, adding that residents there had petitioned the city council since 2006 for a covered basketball court. PJS 10 RA chairperson V Pulevendran zeroed in on RM700,000 to upgrade food stalls and hawkers in neighbouring PJS 1, but asked if his area had been sidelined in the annual budget. He said PJS 10 also has problems with illegal hawkers, who are causing clogged drains and traffic snarls in the area. Pulevendran is asking MBPJ to consider building a food court for vendors to operate in. Taman Datuk Harun RA president Zainudin Abdul Junid said MBPJ should not limit the free LED light installation to houses, as his area in PJS 1 consists of low-cost flats. He said the LED bulbs will help deter crime in the neighbourhood by lighting up the alleys behinds the flats. Zainudin also expressed disappointment that MBPJ did not seek feedback from ratepayers in his area before tabling and passing the 2012 budget. He said infrastructure development in parts of Petaling Jaya is not consistent throughout, as some are places are more or less developed than others. “The best way is to have a comprehensive discussion where we can offer feedback,” he said.

By Alvin Yap

PETALING JAYA: Residents Associations (RA) here are asking for bigger roles in making the initiatives unveiled recently in the Petaling Jaya City Council’s 2012 Budget a success. Among the initiatives the RAs have given a thumbs-up to are free parking for hybrid cars, free installation of LightEmitting Diode (LED) bulbs, and the move to landscape parks in the city. However, they lamented that the city council (MBPJ) had not sought their feedback in implementing the policies. “We could have participated more in the policy discussion on how to implement the projects,” said Jeffrey Phang of Friends of Kota Damansara, a community group that won the battle to re-gazette the nearby 340-hectare Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve. He said MBPJ’s initiatives to address both security and the environment with the installation of LED bulbs in back lanes are steps in the right direction to combat crime and lower carbon emissions. But Phang said the RM100,000 allocated for the project is not enough, owing to the fact that the initiative might be hugely successful. The academic and community activist lauded the council’s efforts at reducing carbon emissions through its one-off free three months’ parking for hybrid cars in the city. Section 5 RA chairperson Johan Tung concurred that ratepayers should be consulted on the city council budget. “The unveiling was a ‘done deal’, there was no [opportunity for] feedback,” said the former All Petaling Jaya, Selangor Residents Association Coalition president. Tung gave thumbs-up to the initiatives, but said MBPJ did not allocate enough funding to the programmes. For example, he said, RAs would have pressed the city council for more money to fund the free LED lighting. He roundly criticised MBPJ for setting aside RM57 million for garbage and street cleaning services, saying the city council should have allocated a bigger amount to ensure no disruption to solid waste man-

news 10

Residents fume over irregular buses
By Basil Foo

november 11 — 13, 2011

CHERAS: Residents irked by irregular bus services have carried out a signature campaign to highlight their problem after claiming their complaints were ignored by RapidKL. “We have to endure a one- to two-hour wait at the bus stop. It’s very inconvenient for the 30,000 residents of over 20 residential areas here,” said Praba Ganesan. The Cuepac Cheras Community Centre (4C) pro-tem chairperson has collected more than 700 signatures over the past few weeks. The petition demanded a reduced interval between trips and an increase in number of buses. Residents also want RapidKL to monitor the frequency of trips. A protest was also held at the bus stop on Jalan Alam Jaya 15, on Thursday (Nov 3). “We have written letters and hand-delivered them to the RapidKL office, but we have yet to get a reply or seen any action taken,” said the 39-year-old media practitioner.

Ramakrishnan (left) and Joseph.

Praba, who has been living in Taman Cuepac for the past three decades, said there were three buses serving the area in the 1980s, which has been reduced to one  for the past few years. Taman Cuepac Phase Two Residents Association chairperson A Ramakrishan said the absence of regular buses had caused much inconvenience. “It takes us about an hour to wait for a bus to take us to the Bandar Tasik Selatan LRT, which is just 5km away,” he said. The 66-year-old, who has lived here for 25 years, said he had even seen drivers taking naps in buses parked nearby. “The inefficient service is caused by the lack of competition for RapidKL,” said Joseph Doraisamy, 63. The Taman Cuepac Phase One Residents Association chairperson said the company’s monopoly was forcing residents to use taxis. He said residents have to fork out RM20 for a single trip to the city centre, an amount many cannot afford. “If I start waiting at the bus stop at 6.45am, I would only reach my college in KL at 8.30am,” said Sharanya Gangatharan. The 18-year-old student said it would take even longer to wait for a bus for her afternoon classes – about two to three hours. When contacted, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana), the parent company of RapidKL, said allocation of buses of each route was always based on demand. “We will increase buses and their frequencies if there is demand. Route T405 buses (Taman

Cheras residents protesting irregular bus services at the Jalan Alam Jaya 15 bus stop on Thursday.

Cuepacs to Bandar Tasik Selatan) are scheduled at 30-minute intervals,” said Prasarana media affairs manager Azhar Ghazali. He said another bus for this route had been added early this month to meet increased demand. But he said there are occasions when the services are affected by traffic snarls at MRR2 and drivers having to make a turn on Jalan Sg Besi to reach Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS). However, Praba was not convinced, Sharanya signing the petition. saying that residents have always been telling us, the poorer people of Selangor, not to told that there will be buses every 30 minutes. live in this area if we wanted jobs outside these “There is no excuse to let anyone wait taman?” he asked. longer than an hour for a bus. Would executives He added that demand for buses is there in RapidKL survive going to work in Bangsar because it is a middle-class area with a larger everyday under these conditions? Are they number of students and retirees.

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Sewerage privatisation once again?
Just selangor
Tricia Yeoh

november 11 — 13, 2011

views 11

yberspace was on fire last week after the Auditor-General’s 2010 annual report revealed a host of financial irreg ularities perpetrated by several government agencies and government-linked companies. Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) was among six GLCs reported to have paid up to two months’ bonus despite having suffered RM354.91 million in losses in 2009. IWK suffered losses amounting to RM33.35 million that year (The Malaysian Insider, Oct 24, 2011). It isn’t too difficult to understand why people are angered each year when these scandals are unveiled. As taxpayers, they feel indignant that their hard-earned money is being thrown about – and worse, to line the pockets of those they feel are undeserving. But this is the epitome of everything that went wrong with the country’s privatisation scheme. Sewage treatment was privatised in 1994, taking over the functions of local government authorities to improve service efficiency and effectiveness. Again, the argument that under a privatised company, things would be better managed. But in 2000, the government had to dish out RM200 million to nationalise IWK because it was debt-ridden, and today it is

C

wholly owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated. Just last month, the Finance Ministry said the government had spent RM1.2 billion to cover its operational deficit. In fact, its total liability (up to June 2011) is made up mostly of “government support loans”, which means that it operates at a loss and could not possibly survive without such grants. This seems to be the same story for so many of our country’s public utility GLCs. Over the years, we have observed the same drama unfolding within water services and solid waste management as well: privatising and taking over services from the state authorities with the intention of better management, but failing and eventually requiring government assistance. So, it is most strange that recent reports indicate that the government, after nationalising IWK in 2000, is reverting to the solution of privatising it all over again. 1MDB, a strategic development company wholly owned by the government, has stated that it plans to form a consortium to take over the national sewerage company for a nominal fee. The consortium would secure RM800 million from 1MDB as seed capital and help to clear IWK’s debts, which stand at RM1.5 billion (Business Times, Sept 9, 2011). Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, dominant player in Selangor’s water services industry, is also reported to be involved in the consortium. Although details of the takeover seem to be unconfirmed, it is certain that the sewerage industry is undergoing major restructuring. This is something all Malaysians should pay

careful attention to, for several reasons. One, as ratepayers, we would be directly impacted by any changes made to the sewage management tariff and payment system, not to mention the service quality itself. Secondly, any debts that are paid off by government in acquiring IWK would consist of taxpayers’ funds. Finally, this is a crucial mega deal that

should not be hidden away from the public eye. In light of the furore sparked off by the Auditor General’s report, anyone in public service ought to realise by now that transparency and accountability are key in winning the hearts of the many. It is of great concern that these important negotiations are taking place without any participation from parties external to the deal. A monitoring body or watchdog group like Transparency International could possibly be invited to ensure transactions take place in an open, transparent manner. The fact that year after year, billions of public funds seem to disappear in an instant – poof ! – is truly astounding. The clarion calls repeat themselves in vain, to improve the system of governance and monitoring. And these deals that seem to be opaque and obscure really do not help public perception of the administration. One would imagine that we would have learnt from past mistakes on several counts, namely that privatising public utilities does not work in this country. If and when these deals are made, they must ultimately be watertight to protect consumers’ interests. Before the deal is signed, it is hoped that the officials representing all Malaysians (read: government) are carefully scrutinising every line of the concession agreement, making sure the terms and conditions of the document are favourable to the people. It would be a ridiculous affair if, several years down the line, the same pattern of being financially unviable and the need for public funds arises yet again.

Teohlogy
patrick teoh

Time to take the wheel
sponsible. We know what the rules are. We just don’t give a crap. Why? I guess it’s because we’ve learnt that we can get away with not giving a crap. About almost everything. Take a look at the latest “hot” topic. Our teaching the kids Math and Science in English and/or Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil or whatever. The whole big mess started years ago when some wiseguy in his infinite wisdom decided to tell everybody that the English language is a colonial shackle that we must shake off, and that Malay was our national language and therefore must be protected and blah… blah… blah. And so we threw out a system that was working just fine and pretended that we were all nationalistic and proud of our national language a n d that that alone would be enough to prop el Ba ha sa Malaysia to the status of a global language of communication. Well, some of us didn’t believe that at all, but we all kept quiet. We didn’t really give a crap la. Either children all grown up and done with school and universities. Or children not born yet so no need to worry yet. Then suddenly it came crashing down. Huh? Our school children can’t speak the international language of communication? Our university graduates are unemployable? What happened? Who is responsible for this mess? Must be the government la. The ministry of education. Or is it anybody’s responsibility to take charge of our lives and our future except us? As the PPSMI issue has proven beyond what Bersih 2.0 and others started, things start to happen when we take charge as the only element that really matters in the final equation. We collectively told the authorities that we weren’t happy about how things were being done. And suddenly the dingdonging swung things our way. Now, if this carries on, I think we might just be able to do our part in determining the kind of future we want for ourselves, our families, our children and our country come the next general elections. Wouldn’t that be cool? For once. Who is responsible for the policing of the traffic rules on our roads? Us. Who is responsible for the education that we deserve for our children? Us. Who is responsible for the kind of country we want to live in? Us. I guess, as in the past, goodies will still be thrown at us. As if to say, “Nah! Don’t worry. We’ll take care of things for you. Just let us do things our way!” And it will be tempting. But I think it will be fun to test out just how far we can go in taking the reins ourselves and steering things the way we think we should be going.

F

or a very long time now there has been almost complete anarchy on Malaysian roads. There appear to be no laws governing traffic, nor does there appear to be anyone bothered to obey them if there were. I am sure you see, as I do, on a daily basis motorcycles and motorcars ignoring red lights, double lines and stop signs. Most times right before the eyes of traffic police who seem to always be looking the other way. Okay, let’s play some blame games regarding this chaos on Malaysian roads. Who is to blame for the sad state of traffic disobedience? Who is responsible for implementing and enforcing some semblance of law and order for Malaysian motorists? I can almost hear some of you shouting, “The police la! Useless baargers! It’s their job what!” True or not? That would be the initial reaction from most people I think. After all, they are the police and they are supposed to enforce the law. And that includes traffic laws. But they don’t seem to be doing too great a job. A drive around the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur and/or Petaling Jaya and its surroundings will attest to that. And of course we all know about their limp attempts at controlling and enforcing parking rules at the airports. KLIA as well as LCCT. So are the police alone responsible for our traffic woes? Maybe it is the responsibility of the driving schools to give better training before they approve and pass out to Malaysian roads indisciplined and poorly tutored drivers. Or is it the responsibility of the ministry of transport to make sure that the criteria for being approved to drive/ride on public roads is up to some mark, which can erase our dubious reputation of having one of the highest road death scores in the world? Who is responsible? I guess in the final analysis we are re-

12 November 11 — 13, 2011

InsIght
Tan at a recycling session with local residents leaders in Taman Wawasan.

Santiago with participants of a dumpling-wrapping competition held in conjunction with the Chinese dumpling festival in June this year.

Santiago (w listening t

By Brenda Ch’ng

ightning strikes during a heavy thunderstorm, causing trees to fall onto the road, obstructing cars driving through and almost injuring residents living in houses nearby. A phone call is then made to the first person that comes to the complainant’s mind – a face they elected two years ago, their Member of Parliament (MP) or assemblyperson. Regardless of what the complaint is – be it uncollected trash, neighbourhood squabbles or potholes – most residents usually file complaints to politicians, hoping it will be resolved with a snap of the finger. These residents tend to be unaware that such complaints should be directed to local councillors, they who represent the people’s voice at local councils.  “There is often a misconception of roles by residents on what a councillor should do and what a Member of Parliament should do,” says Klang MP Charles Santiago. Being an MP, he is expected to prepare for debates in Parliament, be up to date on parliamentary issues, and make laws on a federal level. However, over the years, MPs have become the person expected to handle anything and everything a resident comes to them with. “About 50-60% of my daily tasks are handling local council issues like garbage collection and flood woes,” says Santiago. He even received a threatening note Derek: New policies have allowed from a resident requesting him to solve residents to be more involved in council-related matters. crime problems in an area because they voted for him. (MPSJ) Tan Jo Hann. “The thing is, I can’t solve that as it’s The three-term councillor since 2008 a police matter, and I can only highlight explains that the responsibility of a it to the respective authorities,” he says. councillor is to act as the bridge or faciliEven so, he never turns a complain- tator between residents and the council. ant away, but tries to help them by “We organise dialogue sessions with redirecting straightforward complaints residents and officers to discuss issues to councillors and intervening where it and ensure residents get a fair hearing, comes to the more complicated matters. especially when it is an issue concerning “I usually only step in when residents powerful developers,” Tan says. are finding it hard to negotiate certain Councillors are also expected to draw matters with authorities, or when both up policies on a local-government level. parties can’t see eye to eye on things,” “Our role is to act as the highest body says Santiago. For example, matters like in the local council to set new policies hawker relocations or major infrastruc- and help implement them in the comture problems. munity,” Tan says. However, there is a limit to how far In addition, councillors are placed he can help, as MPs have no control in different committees within the over the council’s budget, councillors’ council to tackle different issues such decision-making, or the councils’ operat- as infrastructure, finance, environment ing systems. and audit. Tan, who sits in the audit committee, Bridging the gap environment committee and infrastrucMeanwhile, councillors who have ture committee, also chairs the cleanlithe power to get matters solved are ness sub-committee and abandonedoften not recognised or acknowledged building sub-committee. by residents, some of whom don’t even It is crucial that councillors are placed know they exist. in different committees so that they can “Being part of the local council has come up with policies to help solve longmade me realise how some issues could term issues like project development, be resolved because we have the power traffic congestion, and development on to do so. But many residents are still slopes.  unfamiliar with the roles of a councillor,” Motions are made in the respective says Subang Jaya Municipal Councillor committees and brought into the coun-

L

MPs and counc Distinguishing the
cil’s monthly full board meeting for the resolution to be passed and approved by the board. Once approved, the council will move to implement them in the community in a bid to create a more conducive living environment for the people. Examples of policies set by councillors over the year are a new hostel guideline for houses in MPSJ; one-hour timed parking system at Taipan, USJ; and green-building policies by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ). signage with details about a particular development will be put up at a construction site, and residents can write in to MBPJ with their concerns for the council to try to solve. Policies can also be made to help earn more revenue for the council, like implementing a rental fee for billboard advertisers, or forming an independent audit committee to monitor council spendings. “These two policies actually helped the council earn over RM7 million with the billboards, and saved us a few million each year on contract malpractices,” says Derek. Though the councillors have a handful of policies to draw up and implement, their daily duties don’t end there.  Ever y day, councillors will be swamped with complaints ranging from general ones like rubbish, drains and

Green buildings, policies and other duties “We are the first council to manifest the mandatory green-building certification if developers want to get a higher plot ratio,” says MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez. The three-term councillor said policies are made by councilAT A GLANCE: Similarities and difference lors to benefit all parties, especially residents. Member of State assemblyperson Loc Parliament (MP) (Adun) (in S Recently, MBPJ ap proved a policy to invite Level Federal government State government Loca residents to hear and disNo. in Selangor 22 56 24 x cuss the council’s budget.  coun It was the first open Enter office via Election Election Stat budget session that allowed residents to sit in Term Max 5 years Max 5 years Prev now renewed annually and listen, and voice out their comments or objec- Commitment Full-time Full-time Part tions regarding the Budget Responsibilities National lawmaker – State lawmaker – Loca 2012. parliamentary actsenactments by-la Apart from that, MBPJ • Education  • Land  • Ur councillors approved a  Areas  • Healthcare  • Agriculture    an policy allowing all resi-     • Defence and   • Natural resources    inf dents to object or voice     internal security  • Local governments  • Lo out concerns over develop-   • Tourism and others     and others (as provided  • So ments in their neighbour-     (as provided under     under the State and    ma hood.     the Federal and     Concurrent list in  • Cle “Previously, only direct     Concurrent List in     Ninth Schedule of the  • (as   Ninth Schedule of the     Federal Constitution)    un neighbours can make an     Federal Constitution)        Go objection, but now we   overwrote the bylaw and Basic salary   RM6,580 / month  RM6,000  RM1 extended the opportunity (excluding   (proposed raise  (raised from  mon RM4,113 in  mun to all residents to have a other allowances)  in Oct shelved)      April 2011)  RM750 for district say,” Derek says. councillors With the new policy,

floods to sensitive o disputes, house-ren and licensing issues Residents would cillor to personally set up a meeting to se for fear their problem ears otherwise. “They have this m ter to complain pers lor in order for the addressed and solve trust the system,” s District Councillo Yee Ling. The two-term c system, which the c 50 years ago, has giv perception that thei left unattended.  “I don’t blame the system that’s at fault

with sunglasses) and councillor Yew Boon Lye (on his left) to complaints over traffic caused by the construction of a kindergarten in Klang.

cillors: eir roles
a particular way of doing things that it’s hard to change,” she said. Chua added that local governments and councillors should think of new approaches and creative means to replace the old ways. Money matters However, Chua is unhappy about the small allowance councillors get, which doesn’t justify their huge job scope. “How can you pay a councillor RM750 and expect them to do their job properly when they have to earn a living and pay bills at the same time?” she asks. She says with the many issues a councillor needs to focus on and tackle, that amount of money isn’t enough for a full-time councillor. Before this, Chua and her fellow district councillors were paid RM250 per month. This figure was increased this year by RM500. The small pay rise raised eyebrows of Selangor MCA deputy chairperson Datuk Teh Kim Poo. “The raise given to councillors is too quick. Less than two and a half years and the councillors are getting a second increase... it is absurd as the number of them throughout Selangor are inefficient and not service-oriented,” he said. Agreeing with him was Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Theng Book, who said the allowance was not meant to cover their living expenses. “A councillor is appointed to serve the people, it is not a full-time job. If you think you cannot survive with the allowance you receive, I advise you not to take the post,” he said. However, Monash University’s political scientist Wong Chin Huat thinks that councillors should be paid what they deserve, judging on the work they do. “They should be paid like a middlelevel manager but less than an MP and assemblyperson,” Wong says. He says those paid a higher amount

The third vote
By Gan Pei Ling
Malaysians used to be able to vote for their own local councillors. in fact, Malaysia had been holding local government elections way before it achieved independence in 1957. The first local election was held in Georgetown in 1857, and was abolished in 1913 and reintroduced in 1951. Kuala lumpur follow suit in 1952. By 1958, there were elections in several city, municipal and district councils in Malaya. However, local government elections were suspended in March 1965 due to the Confrontation with indonesia. local councillors have since been appointed by the state. Consequently, local councillors became political appointees as they were selected mostly based on political affiliation rather than merit. in the past few decades, despite having to continuously pay taxes to local governments, Malaysians have been effectively denied their right to elect representatives to look after their interests in local councils.

ones like neighbour novation problems, . rather call the counaddress the issue or ee them individually, ms would fall on deaf

mindset that it’s betsonally to a councileir complaints to be ed faster. They don’t said Hulu Selangor or (MDHS) Chua

councillor said the ouncil adopted over ven the residents the ir complaints will be

as a result, members of the public have come to rely on their federal and state elected representatives – Members of Parliaments and state assemblypersons – to resolve their daily problems. Pakatan Rakyat-led selangor and Penang have been intending to restore local government elections to fulfill their election promise, and commissioned studies on its possibility in 2009. Made up of 49 civil society groups and established in 2008, the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) conducted the study for selangor and has lobbied hard for the state to restore the third vote for the people. Due to legal restrictions under the local Government act, states are unable to restore local government elections, but selangor has held three test-case village head elections for the people this year. Election watchdogs, including the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) and CGG, have lauded selangor’s initiative and encouraged the state to implement village chief elections in selangor.

e staff because it’s the t. They are so used to

es

cal councillors Selangor only)

al government

x 12 local ncils = 288

te-appointment

viously 3 years,

t-time

al lawmakers – aws

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1,000 /  nth for city & nicipal councillors;

should be a full-time councillor responsible for taking care of daily complaints, supervising site visits and following up on grievances. Part-time councillors can be paid less and are only expected to do half of what full-time councillors do. “With one zone in the urban area having a population of about 10,000 to 20,000 people, it is impossible for one councillor to handle the whole lot,” Wong says.

Chua: Ratepayers have this mindset that it’s better to complain personally.

Tan monitoring roadworks with Residents Association leaders.

views 14

Missing Bobo, and the UKM4
I
was shocked and aghast that the weekly Ask Lord Bobo column was not in my trusty Selangor Times last week! What happened to the Lord? Traumatised, by email TRAUMATISED – you need to get out more. But anyway, if you must know, the Lord was busy averting an intergalactic catastrophe that would have reduced Earth to the size of a marble. And no, you don’t need to thank the Lord. We’re quite used to your ungrateful ways.
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!

november 11 — 13, 2011

L

ord Bobo. I’ve been reading a lot about this UUCA UKM4 thing. What’s the big deal? Is my life as a university student going to get better? Will I pass my exams more easily? Salahuddin, by email

YOU will recall that the UKM4 consists of four political science students studying at the National University of Malaysia who were disciplined for, well, taking part in politics! Muhammad Hilman bin Idham, Woon King Chai, Muhammad Ismail bin Aminuddin and Azlin Shafina binti Mohamad Adza, had been found in the constituency of Hulu Selangor during the campaign period for the parliamentary by-election there. Disciplinary charges were brought against them by UKM because of this. UKM accused them of infringing section 15(5) (a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971. That section provides that no student “shall express or do anything which may reasonably be construed as expressing support for or sympathy with or opposition to any political party, wheth

er in or outside Malaysia”. The UKM4 argued that this provision was unconstitutional since Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution provides that “every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression”. However, this right is subject to Article 10(2)(a) which provides that Parliament may by law impose “such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence”. The Court of Appeal in a 2-1 majority decision held that s. 15(5)(a) was unconstitutional. One of the majority judges, Hishamuddin Yunos JCA, pointed out the incongruity that these students could vote and enter into contracts, but could not express support for a political party. The other judge in the majority, Linton Albert JCA, pointed out the manifest “absurdity” in the section by the very facts of the case, where the four were subjected to disciplinary proceedings merely for being present in a place where a byelection was being held. Court decisions nullifying provisions of law because the law is unconstitutional are very rare in Malaysia, and the Court decision in this case was a huge success for student activists throughout Malaysia. His Supreme Eminenceness would also like to humbly point out that the most awesome blawg LoyarBurok was the first to highlight the UKM4’s predicament and bring their case to prominence. The ridiculous nature of section 15(5)(a) can be seen in the discrimination it metes out against students in Malaysia – Malaysian students studying abroad are not prohibited from taking part in the various Kelab Umno, MCA and MIC overseas. Will your life as a student get any better? Well, you prob-

ably won’t feel any d ifferenc e. As Professor Azmi Sharom pointed out in his column in another, inferior, periodical – only a political nerd would get excited about this decision. But if you embrace the spirit of this judgment by the Court of Appeal – which celebrates freedom of expression as a means to achieve a holistic development of Malaysians as participants in our civil society – then you would be well advised to get more involved in politics, now that you are able to. There’s no need to join a political party – just come join the wonderful friendly people at UndiMsia! who are seeking to empower Malaysians with the tools to hold politicians to account. What fun! was most impressed with the majority of the judges in the UKM4 case. I think this means our judiciary has now proved itself to be independent, and a lot the criticism of judges (including by you, most revered Lord Bobo) are unwarranted. Will you be apologising and retracting your criticism? Chong, via email AS my good friend and pupil Aristotle is famously supposed to have said, “One swallow does not a summer make, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.” A few weeks ago, the judiciary Michael Jeyakumar also denied MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj permission to bring judicial review to question the Special Constituency Allocation, which is apparently only being given to Barisan Nasional MPs to distribute. These same courts also ratified the “coup” in Perak, which saw the democratically elected government unceremoniously replaced by the State opposition in dubious circumstances. (Read LoyarBurok’s first book, Perak: A State of Crisis, for the full low-down). And yes, Lord Bobo does indeed claim to be the inspiration for much of Aristotle’s ideas and words. Disbelieve it at your peril.
p

I

may 13 recoll: reconcections & 12 & iliation

13

TI-M he ad disputes Christia state cl n aim p

4

Wesak a time Day: giving for
p

Where to get your
LRT Stations (Distribution by hand) – Morning Ampang – Sentul Timur Ampang Cahaya Cempaka Pandan Indah Pandan Jaya Sentul Timur Sentul Kelana Jaya – Terminal Putra Kelana Jaya Taman Bahagia Taman Paramount Asia Jaya Taman Jaya Universiti Sri Rampai Wangsa Maju Taman Melati Sri Petaling – Sentul Timur Taman Melati Sri Petaling Bukit Jalil Bandar Tasik Selatan Salak Selatan Shopping Malls (From Saturday noon) 1 UTAMA Tropicana Mall Sunway Pyramid The Curve IOI Mall Plaza Damas Ikano Power Centre Empire Subang MetroPoint Centro Mall, Klang Bangsar Shopping Complex Hypermarkets (From Saturday noon) Giant (Puchong, Kajang, Bandar Kinrara, Klang, Pandamaran, Bandar Selayang, Kota Damansara, Taman Setiawangsa, Putra Heights, Taman Connaught, Kelana Jaya, Bukit Antarabangsa, Subang Jaya, Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Kota Kemuning) Sentul – Port Klang Port Klang Bukit Badak Shah Alam Subang Jaya Jalan Templer Petaling Rawang – Seremban Kuala Kubu Baru Sungai Buloh Kepong Sentral Kepong Morning Wet Markets (Saturday morning) Jalan SS2/62 Taman Medan Jalan 17/27 SS15 Subang Jaya Taman Kuchai Lama Taman OUG Pasar Taman Megah Pasar Jalan Othman Pasar Jalan 17/2 Pasar Sek 14

commun

15

ity

May 20

— 22, 2011

/ issue

25

By Will iam Tan Petal ed low- ing Jaya: cost Dila angor may flats through pidata pilot progget a new lease out Selsuch hom ramme to rehaof life if es is succ The amb essfu bilitate kind proj itious and l. first the Peta ect is being carr -of-itsKeeping (MBPJ) ling Jaya City ied out by in collabora Council safe: Faizabandoned tas Design tion bab demons ah Mohd Tahi ies pan y, and Group, a privwith Veritrati baby hatc ng the use r (left) commun Rum ah Air ate comof the Datin Sofi h as local ity-b Pan as, celebrity a The sing ased charity. a • STory Jane looks on. Maju Jaya le block at on pag the  houses 59 apartments here Taman e 10 fam , which to und ergo ilies, will be which inclu the tran sfor the first furb ishm des renovatio mation, ns physical ents whi le keep and reaspe ing the "All wor cts intact. sions mad ks are based on social active by the resid the decients," said ist Won Wong, g Hay pointed who mooted Cheong. out dents were that many the idea , of flats whe forced to mov the resie demolishn squatter settleme into the facilities ed, but the buil nts were were hard dings and ly adeq “The Gro up, entr y of Veritasuate. RM100 whi ch has con Design ,000 and architect the skill trib uted Wong said change,” s], means that s [of their ryin the priv is going said to Cor g out the proj ate firm is carAs many Wong. ect as part porate as 50,000 Their relocate Social of its fam (CS d technolo architects, usin 2000 and to low-cost flats ilies were last R) programme, Resp onsibilit g the gies y teri Besa 2008 under formbetween for two years layin having spent the rem ode l the and techniqu latest arch itect Iska g the grou es, the proj Squatter r Dr Khi r Toy er Menndwork budget, whic buil ding on a will Iskandar ndar Razak. policy whic The comect. o's Zer o tight than RM h is estimated  added that icised for LB_246391_Sun_m pany has 500 to be less difficult to creating h has been crit- with the fam obta 14.ai been liais “It is very ,000. high-rise 1 from vario obta in comit was very busi in what they ilies regu 5/12/ feedback 11 ghettos. need from ness cont larly to ing ever ything challeng ing; 9:56 on the proj us parties at mitments them deci PM their need get acts.   their need ect, with the “De s and help wiring is horr s to be redo almost ous de on prac funding start of port spite it all, issue. ne. ible, tical solu this is still a seriant proj tions. and the septic the roof is leak The The that a city ect for us as a very imtank emit ing, spon success of stench,” the project should not we believe said Ver s an awfu sorships by the itas Des ign Gro l nents, such for the various rests on strat wealthy only be inhabited up part a of , but as the supp compos, and the juvenati society. In a way, by ever y ng the compan ly of metal we y hopes If the pilo city,” said Iska are reto t is successfu ndar. l, the com • Turn To pag e2

Facelift for old

flats

Carrefour (Bukit Rimau, Subang Jaya, Wangsa Maju, Sri Petaling, Kepong, Puchong, Ampang, Jalan Peel, Jalan Kapar, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, S23 Shah Alam) Jusco (Bukit Tinggi, Tmn Maluri, Wangsa Maju, Bandar Baru Klang, Mahkota Cheras) Commuter Stations (Distribution by hand) – Morning

Pasar Seri Setia SS9A/1 Pasar Kg Chempaka Taman Tun Dr Ismail Hospital Forrest Medical Centre Colleges Help Institute College Bandar Utama (KBU) Universiti Kebangsan Malaysia

Tesco (Puchong, Kajang, Mutiara Damansara, Rawang, Bukit Tinggi, Setia Alam, Ampang, Extra Shah Alam, Kepong)

By Gan Pei Ling

KLANG: Chung Hua Independent High School, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last Saturday, will receive RM500,000 from the state for its multipurpose hall. “Thanks to the state, we’ve reached our RM5.5 million fundraising target,” said Chung Hua’s Board of Directors chairperson Datuk Chua Chon Wee during a press conference at Saturday’s celebration. Apart from the state’s grant, the public collectively donated RM2 million, while its alumni, board of directors and Parents and Teachers Association raised RM3 million. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim made the surprise announcement during the event at the school. “The state will underwrite the remaining RM500,000… The funds may come from state-owned companies as well,” said Khalid. Applications for the construction of the multipurpose hall have been approved by the relevant authorities, and the school can begin construction soon. Khalid’s administration has consistently allocated state funding for vernacular and Chinese independent high schools, which often rely on public donations to sustain operations. “We believe everyone in Selangor should have equal opportunity to have an education of their choice,” he said. He added that the 2011 Selangor budget would continue to allocate funding for vernacular and Chinese independent high schools as it has in previous years. Chung Hua is one of the oldest schools in Klang. Founded on Nov 1, 1911, the school weathered through the Japanese occupation (1942-1945) and Emergency period (1948-1960).

Half-million grant for century-old school
It split into three separate schools after Independence. In 1959, its primary section was nationalised and became SJK (C) Chung Hua. The secondary school was nationalised in 1962 and renamed SMJK Chung Hua. A minority of the school population that refused to be nationalised then set up Chung Hua Independent High School. The three schools still share the same compound, and their students performed jointly during Saturday’s celebration. Also present were Selangor Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim, executive councillor Ronnie Liu, Klang Municipal Council (MPK) acting president Ikhsan Mukri, and MPK councillors Robert Choo, Yeo Boon Lye and Tan Heng Kim.

November 11 — 13, 2011

News 15

Students from the three schools presenting a drum performance during the celebration on Saturday.

Speaker Teng, Khalid, school director Chua, executive councillor Liu and invited guests at the groundbreaking ceremony.

By Brenda Ch’ng

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Agrofest (SAF 2011), which provides a platform to boost the local agriculture industry, will be held from Nov 28 to Dec 4 at Stadium Malawati. “This is a chance for the farmers, business[persons] and traders to sell their products directly to the public during this one-week SAF carnival,” said executive councillor Dr Yaakob Sapari last Friday. The executive councillor for agriculture, speaking during a press conference, said farmers and traders will get an opportunity sell fresh produce and products directly to the public. The annual event has been held since 2008 to create awareness and promote local agriculture. Previously known as the Selangor Ria Programme, the SAF carnival this year will bring together farmers, producers and traders involved in the agriculture industry. “We hope this opportunity will enable everyone to create business ties with one another to help improve the agricultural industry,” said Yaakob.

Agricultural fest to promote local produce
The event is also open to non-agricultural persons to learn about new farming technologies, and to be kept updated on the status of our farming economy. There will also be awards given out to local businesses that have succeeded in expanding their agricultural sales. Agricultural exhibitions, seminars, funfairs and demonstrations to entertain all participants will be held, in addition to petting zoos, paintball, futsal matches, drawing and dodolcooking competitions, and a marathon run. Admittance is free. For more information, log on to www.saf2011. Yaakob checking out the Selangor Agrofest website. com.

news 16

Feedback on dangerous intersection sought
Chan

november 11 — 13, 2011

By Gan Pei Ling

BUKIT LANJAN: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is seeking public feedback for its proposal to close an accidentprone intersection at Persiaran Perdana that allows entry to Jalan Cempaka SD 12/1. City councillors Chan Chee Kong and Syed Abdul Malik A Hamid Al Jafree told the press that MBPJ had received several public complaints on accidents in front of the two petrol stations and McDonald’s outlet at the intersection. “There have been a few fatal accidents and several minor ones over the years,” said Chan last Saturday. MBPJ’s engineering department has surveyed the road and proposed to close the intersection in view of public safety. “This is a main road with fast ongoing traffic, and motorists are using the intersection to make u-turns from both sides of the road, and as a point of entry to and exit from Jalan Cempaka SD 12/1. It’s dangerous,” said Chan. He said motorists could still make u-turn further ahead at the traffic lights if the intersection was closed. Bukit Lanjan assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong, who was also present at the press conference, said installing speed bumps to slow down traffic is not an option as Persiaran Perdana is a main road. “Unless there’s a school or worship place along the road,

speed bumps cannot be installed on a main road,” said the executive councillor. However, Wong encouraged residents to suggest other alternative routes if they do not want the intersection to Motorists at Persiaran Perdana intersection attempting to u-turn and cross the main be closed. road to enter Jalan Cempaka SD 12/1. Resident Abdul Razak Idris, 57, who lost his aunt in an accident here three years ago, council must act to prevent further accidents. supported the proposal to close the intersection. The public can provide their suggestions and feedback to “Our safety should always come first,” he said. the city council’s engineering department at 03-79552243 / Another resident, Tan Chin Hang, 75, agreed that the city 79584221 by Nov 30.

Walking with the disabled Pupils plant saplings
By Brenda Ch’ng

for the environment
KLANG: Pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Unjur, Bukit Tinggi here got their hands dirty on Wednesday planting saplings as part of project to create environmental awareness. Primary children, teachers, representatives from the parent-teacher association (PIBG) and Klang Municipal Council (MPK) officers planted the 10 saplings. In less then an hour, five rubber clone trees – which do not produce latex – and five various kinds of forest trees were planted in the garden behind the school. “This programme is to help the urban young generation understand the importance of the environment, and teach them how to plant and look after trees,” said the school’s senior assistant, Rosnani Ibrahim. She said the majority of city children are clueless about how certain plants look like, and are even confused about where vegetables and fruits come from. Rosnani hopes this programme can teach children how to identify rare species, and encourage them to plant more trees for the environment.

SUBANG JAYA: A walk with the disabled over 7.1km around Sunway is being organised on Nov 27 to promote “accessible tourism” and raise awareness of the need for more disabled-friendly facilities. The Disability Awareness Campaign 2011 main organiser, Beautiful Gate Foundati on For th e D i s a b l e d (BGFFD), is also aiming to reduce architectural and transportation barriers that (From left) MPSJ councillor R Rajiv, Ng, Japan International hinder the disabled from be- Cooperation Agency Malaysia Officer Okubo Miho, Pua, MPSJ councillor Ng Sze Han, with representatives from disabled ing independent. organisations and Sia (receiving token from Pua). The event is co-organised by Heap Hope Angels and the Subang Jaya Mu- the benefits and services as everyone else, like watchnicipal Council (MPSJ). ing movies, dining out, taking public transport, and “By promoting accessible tourism for the elderly shopping. and disabled, we hope to change the perception of “This walk is a good move to getting people to providing disabled-friendly facilities from ‘extra become aware of how neglected the disabled and cost’ to ‘investment’,” said BGFFD executive direc- seniors are. We can also be known as the best destitor Sia Siew Chin. nation for disabled and senior travellers all around The convoy route will start at Sunway Pyramid the world,” he said. to Sri KL school, Taylors College, Monash UniverThe first-ever disabled conference will also be sity, Sunway Medical Centre, and Sunway Pyramid. held on Nov 26 to educate participants on accessible Sia said this event is crucial because many people tourism and allow them to better understand the still refuse to provide disabled-friendly facilities in latest in disabled facilities. their buildings as they see it as unnecessary extra cost. The conference will be participated by interna“We believe that this event will raise the aware- tional representatives from the disabled society, as ness of the importance of accessible tourism and well as foreign key speakers from Hong Kong, help bring about a tremendous impact to Malaysian Taiwan, Japan, India and the Philippines. tourism,” she said. MPSJ councillors Loka Ng, R Rajiv and Ng Sze According to Sia, Malaysia is moving towards an Han, and the Facilities for Disabled People Comaging society, with the number of seniors and disa- mittee will help in coordinating the events. bled expected to reach 3.4 billion by 2020. “We are happy to be part of this programme, and By 2013, the population of seniors aged 60 and it is such a good timing for [these events] to take place above will make up 20% of the society. just as our committee is formed,” said Loka Ng. “It is time we created an obstacle-free zone to The committee, which was formed two months adapt to the needs of seniors and disabled who want ago by MPSJ, oversees infrastructure and facilities to move about independently,” said PJ Utara MP for seniors and the disabled. Tony Pua. He said MPSJ will be present with officers who He said the disabled should be able to enjoy all will manage traffic during the walk on Nov 27.

The project is also a platform for children to learn about the world of agriculture, farming and plantation. “We will be teaching the children how to plant trees the proper way, look after them, fertilise and multiply the rare species so they do not go extinct,” she said. Joining the event was MPK Department of Management Services Director Zaireezal Ahmad Zainudin, who stood in for the council’s vice-president. “It’s important for schools to have lots of greenery, and it’s good that they are also taught how to plant and look after them,” he said. Zaireezal said this will be a good opportunity for the children to get hands-on experience in planting trees. This programme is also part of the council’s 2015 mission to create a sustainable development in the town. “We only have about three years left, and I hope more projects like this will be carried out to help us achieve our mission for a greener town,” he said. The council donated soil, fertiliser and educational planting courses for the children. Thirteen rare species of plants were donated by Klang’s Department of Agriculture; 23 forest trees from Klang’s Forestry Department; 13 rubber clone trees from the Malaysian Rubber Board; and 20 oil palm trees from the Malaysian Oil Palm Board. These trees will be planted by the children in phases from now until next year.
Zaireezal demonstrating how to plant a rubber clone tree.

Feast of Sacrifice for the needy
By Alvin Yap

november 11 — 13, 2011

news 17

SUBANG JAYA: Marking the end of the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, some 300 families from Pangsapuri Sri Tanjung received fresh cuts of beef from their neigbourhood surau on Sunday. “We are like a close-knit family here. Each recipient receives two kilogrammes of beef donated from the nearby mosque and Surau Nurul Ehsan,” said Hamzah Mohd Anwar, treasurer of the surau serving the community of the USJ 16 low-cost flat here. This year, the surau committee members decided to buy two cows in addition to two donated by the state and Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok, to accommodate the increased number of people who have moved into the flats. Hamzah said the community congregated in the morning to perfom Eid prayers, after which the men stayed on to slaughter the cows. This is practised during Hari Raya Aidiladha, also known

as Eid al-Adha or “Feast of Sacrifice”. Kok and the surau committee members handed out the packets of beef to the community. “This is an important thing for us, to provide for all in our community. All who come receive the donated beef,” Hamzah said, adding that single mothers and the poor are given priority at the queue. The leftover bones are used to cook sup tulang, which is served to the poor and needy. On Sunday, a huge pot of the soup was boiling, Kok handing out the beef to orphans, single mothers and the elderly. tended by the committee members and their wives as they tasted and remember the trials of the Prophet Ibrahim. added seasoning to the stock. Kok said the celebration was meaningful as it brought During Hari Raya Aidiladha, Muslims commemorate and Muslim communities together and provided for the needy.

Deepavali joy at state open house
SELAYANG: Over 3,000 residents in Rawang attended the Selangor Deepavali open house on Jalan Maxwell here on Monday night. “Thank you for letting us celebrate the festival of lights with you here in Rawang,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in his opening speech. He later handed over two mock cheques for RM15,000 to an orphanage and a disabled home in Rawang. The event was jointly organised by the state and the Selayang Municipal Guests at the celebration included residents from the Council (MPS), and was attended by Independent Living & Training Centre (above). Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim and executive councillors Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jayakumar. Rawang and Batu Caves assemblypersons Gan Pei Nei and Amirudin Shari were also present at the celebration, which was marked by a fireworks display. The open house was also attended by MPS President Datuk Zainal Abidin Aala and his senior staff. Organisers set up food stalls serving Indian and Malaysian favourites such as roti canai, nasi briyani, curry chicken and cendol.

Know Your Councillor: Low Tek Lem
By Basil Foo

Lease extension campaign in Shah Alam
SHAH ALAM: Residents are invited to apply for lease extension at a special counter set up for their convenience from Nov 22 to 24 at Dewan Jejarum, Section 11 Shah Alam. “We’re setting up a counter here so that residents don’t have to go all the way to Section U5 (where the Petaling Land Office has been relocated) to submit their applications,” said Kota Anggerik assemblyperson Yaakob Sapari. The executive councillor said the campaign is targeted at private residential owners from Sections 2 to 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11, whose 99-year leases are expected to end in a few decades. The counter is jointly set up by the Petaling Land Office and Yaakob’s service centre. Selangor’s Private Residential Ownership Scheme, implemented since June 1, allows property owners to extend their leases by paying RM1,000 up front, while the remaining land premium only needs to be paid when they sell their houses. The public can get the application form from Yaakob’s service centre at 3A, Jalan Tengku Ampuan Zabedah 9/B, Seksyen 9 Shah Alam (tel: 03-55117781), or the Petaling Land Office in Section U5, Shah Alam. Documents that need to be presented for the lease

Yaakob (right) distributing application forms.

extension application are: 1. Official search (record of leasehold title at the Selangor Land and Minerals Office); 2. Original title; 3. Two copies of location plan certified by Petaling District Office’s surveyor; 4. Photocopy of applicant’s identity card; 5. Photocopy of payment receipt of latest quit rent; 6. Photocopy of payment receipt of latest assessment tax; 7. Bank’s letter of authorisation (if the property is mortgaged).

SABAK BERNAM: Addressing people’s complaints directly is one of the ways Sabak Bernam District Council (MDSB) councillor Low Tek Lem touches base with the grassroots. “Because this is a small area, most residents know my number and will call me directly if they have any complaints,” says the first-term councillor. He manages an area encompassing Taman Sekinchan Jaya, Taman Sri Sekinchan, Taman Harmoni, Taman Sekinchan Damai and Bagan Sekinchan. The usual complaints concern rubbish collection, poor road conditions and faulty streetlights. “After receiving a call, I usually inform the council and the responsible departments to take action,” he explains. He gives an example of a dumpsite in Bagan Sekinchan recently, which, after persistent complaints, was cleared by rubbish contractors Alam Flora Sdn Bhd. The council then erected signage at the site to warn against further dumping. Among the problems he faces are delays by departments in carrying out tasks like rubbish collection, which he says should only take a day but usually takes three. “Excuses like insufficient manpower or unavailable staff members are normal. But this isn’t that big of a problem to me,” he says. He says the council plans to keep the existing rubbish contractors for the time being despite Alam Flora’s withdrawal of its services. The part-time councillor, who also works in insurance, says Alam Flora contractors will continue to collect rubbish in the district for the next three months. “The council will use this time to find other contractors to take over rubbish collection,” says the 40-year-old. Low enjoys travelling in his spare time, having visited Sweden recently. He can be contacted at No 137, Site 3, Site A, 45400 Sekinchan, Selangor.

food 18

Mexican Christmas at Frontera
By Basil Foo

november 11 — 13, 2011

anting to address the lack of authentic Mexican food joints in town, a small group of friends started Frontera Sol of Mexico in Jaya One three years ago. “There weren’t many Mexican restaurants in town then. Those that were around were rather commercialised,” says Frontera restaurant manager Ramesh Vadiveloo. Meaning “border” in Mexican, Frontera has stuck to its guns by serving up traditional Mexican dishes alongside crowd favourites hailing from the Texas-Mexico border. Likewise, its newly launched Christmas set meal contains traditional festive Mexican dishes and original creations sure to tantalise the tastebuds. The set meal presents a choice of two starter courses, which are the traditional tamales or the roasted butternut squash soup. The tamales begins with a dough made from corn, called masa in Mexican, which is steamed in cornhusks or banana leaves, depending on the region it comes from. “It is usually prepared by a communal cooking method, combining the efforts of friends and family during tamalemaking parties called tamalada,” explains Ramesh. Savoury and smokey, pieces of the Frontera tamales crumble easily in the mouth, releasing a sweet aroma given to it by the banana leaf wrapping. It has a slight peppery tinge, which adds to the whole Mexican charm of spice-infused food, but not overwhelming as to turn off those with tender palates. The tamales comes with a choice of added chicken or beef. A typical Christmas dish, the butternut soup is rich and made of a melon similar to the pumpkin, but which produces a thicker soup. It is creamy, sweet, and topped with drops of sage pesto – a paste made of blended sage herbs, which lend a slightly sour tinge to the concoction. Thicker than the usual soups served in restaurants, the butternut soup is perfect for dinner celebrations. Frontera’s Christmas set comprises four main courses, which include the mesquite smoked turkey with four side dishes. The turkey itself is tender and not too juicy, with a slight spiciness that probably comes from the mesquite wood used in the barbeque. Served with the turkey is a cranberry chipotle relish made predominantly of cranberries, onions and parsley, giving the relish a sweet taste and crunchy texture. Another side dish is the jalapeno cornbread dressing: chunks of crumbly cornbread, filling to the stomach and packing a punch in the spice department. The candied sweet potatoes and broccoli florets topped with chili con queso (chili with cheese) were two side dishes with opposing flavours and textures. The sweet potatoes were firm and tasty as they were well sweetened, while the broccoli florets were crunchy and savoury thanks to the cheese drizzled on them. Another main course dish is the Veracruz-style fillet of red snapper with Mexican rice and Sonora vegetables. With a cooking style hailing from the Eastern Mexican city of Veracruz, the fish is tender, juicy, and breaks away easily when prodded. It is cooked in foil and placed skin-down to protect the white meat, which is covered in capers, olives, onions, raisins, tomatoes and jalapenos. This dish outperforms the others in terms of spiciness, and is well recommended for those looking forward to a satisfying kick. The Mexican rice that accompanies the fish is made from chicken stock, tomato, onion, and garlic. Taste-wise, the rice does not fare as well as the other dishes on the menu, but provides a wholesome grain addition to the meal. The Sonora vegetables are not unlike our own mixed veggies, but contains a smattering of sweetcorn, the ever prevalent Mexican staple, which proved to be a tasty addition. Other main courses featured in the Christmas

W

Frontera Sol of Mexico, Jaya One

Mesquite smoked turkey

set are the homemade Puebla-style turkey mole, and Frontera menu staple BBQ beef ribs. For desserts, the set serves up a peach tres leches cake and key lime pie. The pie is a traditional South American dessert that is slightly sour but mostly creamy and sweet. It is refreshing and is highly recommended. Included in the set are drinks 1919 Sangria and watermelon agua fresca, the former being an alcoholic beverage. The Sangria, which is made of red wine, rum, cranberry and apple juice, and fruit slices, is pleasantly strong and not overly sweet – a fruity cocktail to please the palate. The watermelon beverage is a simple Mexican street drink with chopped fruit and sugared Evian water. After the rich food, this was light and refreshing. The Frontera Christmas set is available for dinner on Christmas Eve, and lunch and dinner on Christmas Day.

Roasted butternut squash soup

Veracruz-style fillet of red snapper

1919 Sangria and watermelon agua fresca

food/fiction 19
november 11 — 13, 2011

Key lime pie Traditional tamales

Christmas Eve & Day Set Dinner

Starter Traditional tamales steamed in banana leaf wrapping (choice of chicken or beef) or Butternut squash soup with sage pesto Mains Homemade Puebla-style turkey mole with herb roasted potatos and grilled vegetables or Mesquite smoked turkey with cranberry chipotle relish, jalapeno cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes and broccoli florets topped with chili con queso or Veracruz-style baked fish with Mexican rice, Sonora vegetables with epazote or BBQ beef ribs (additional RM15++) with mashed potatoes and Sonora vegetables Dessert Peach tres leches cake or Key lime pie Drinks Sangria or Watermelon agua fresca (non-alcoholic) Prices Three-course meal (without ribs) with watermelon agua fresca: RM55++ Three-course meal (without ribs) with Sangria: RM 65++ Please add RM15++ for beef ribs
Ala carte items will be on the menu from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve, based on availability.

The Disappeared
Fiction by How Han Ming

T

Public urged to boycott dirty eateries
By Brenda Ch’ng

KLANG: The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) has called on the public to boycott unhygienic or ‘Category C’ restaurants.  Restaurants that fail to meet the required standards are classified under Category C, while those that fall under Category D will be shut down by the council. “Avoid eating at these restaurants because there is always a possibility of going down with food poisoning,” said MPK councillor Azmizam Zaman Huri (pic). During a recent operation before Deepavali, 24 restaurants in Little India were issued warnings and compounds in addition to earning a C grade. The restaurants are located on Jalan Tengku Kelana, Jalan Dato Hamzah, Jalan Station and Jalan Besar. During the operation on Oct 18, MPK enforcement officers found that many eateries were using dirty cooking utensils besides having unsanitary kitchens. “The council has zero tolerance for unhy-

gienic restaurants,” said Azmizam. “The cleanliness of restaurants here is getting from bad to worse. We will be shutting down those that fail to clean up after warnings,” said MPK councillor Yew Boon Lye.  Joining Yew in the Little India operation were fellow councillors Robert Choo, Wendy Ong, and Tan Heng Kim. Meanwhile, MPK has an ongoing competition to find the cleanest restaurant.  The competition, which began in January this year, will end in December, and winners will be given cash incentives. 

lent. So, here I am. Alone in a cold cell. Waiting for the moment when I can hold he bars stand strong. Unyielding… and my wife’s hands again.   cold. They refuse to bend to my will. Yes. I have a family. A glimpse of the sun I can hear their mocking laughter as I shines through the bars of the cell window gripped my calloused hands around them. and lands on an old photograph in my hand. The ghostly mist crawls in – wrapping A lovely-looking lady wearing a white-laced those icy arms around me, comforting me. dress flashes her gentle smile – oh, I miss you But even the densest fog can’t shield me so much, dear Ai Ling. I can still remember from the cruel reality. There’s no bending the day when we walked down the aisle; the of the authority. There’s no breaking away wedding bells were ringing, and you were from this hell.   the most beautiful bride I have ever seen in I wait in the rain and listen to the whisper- my entire life, and ever will. ing rain drops… Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. It hurts me to think that the last thing I Tiny droplets amalgamate into larger have said to you is, “You don’t understand.” tears that run down my face. The bars are You told me not to go. You told me to stay crying for me. I can taste the sweet relish in for the sake of our child. Our child who my mouth: a tinge of freedom – but then, sleeps in your womb. You wished that we it’s gone. Gone, just like me. could live a simpler life; you have given up I no longer exist; I have disappeared. Just fighting, you have given up hope. like the once lively droplets from the sky – But there is still hope, my dear. I am gowith the limitless freedom to grace the earth; ing to fight for you. I am going to fight for to exist. But my liberty has been stripped our child. I am going to fight for our comaway from me; I am a nonexistent prisoner munity. I will speak up against oppression; wasting away in a God-forsaken cell. I will defend the rights of the people; I will What has happened to the passionate protest against the brutal dictate.   speaker of fairness and democracy? What The raindrops on the prison wall remind has happened to the fighter of justice in me? me of your tears, Ai Ling, when I left our Justice? What is justice? That word seems home to join the street protest. Oh dear… strange yet familiar to me. It has disappeared.   After all these years… you must have thought How ironic. I have always thought that I have disappeared, just like everyone else. they were guardians sent from heaven to However, I am still alive, darling. I am still protect us, to ensure our justice. here. In this prison cell. But I was wrong. We were all wrong. They Where are you now, Ai Ling? Are you turned out to be evil, corrupted beings that sleeping soundly with our baby at home? sow the seeds of silent destruction and Are you still looking for me? Or have you prejudice in society.   forgotten me? I was a young man then, albeit a vocal I hope you have not obliterated me from and observant one. The greedy goblins dug your life, for I persist to live for you. I persist their gold deep in the taxpayers’ pockets to live for our family – our daughter. Is she and kept it in their secret vaults. There growing healthily? I’m sorry for having to came a time when we finally decided to miss all those precious years of watching remind the goblins that it was we who el- our baby grow up. But she will understand evated them to their throne. why I did what I did. Why I sacrificed my So we started to speak out loud. We went liberty. I hope our child will understand I on a strike. We campaigned. We protested. was trying to build a better world for her. We demonstrated. All in the name of de- A world where all families reunite. A world, mocracy. But the goblins were ruthless and where justice prevails.  firm in their rule; people began to disappear. I still wait in the rain. Waiting to savour One by one, vanishing without a trace. And the taste of freedom and reunion. As the cold then it was me. They were adept at their fog floats into my dark prison cell, I think: vanishing tricks – they wanted me to be si- Someday, I’ll be free. Someday. Someday…

food 20

Culinary adventure at Pin Xiang
It is common for restaurants to set up base in residential areas these days. LIN ZHENYUAN checks out one of the newer ones during a dark and stormy evening
t was an evening the Thai people could understand. It took almost an hour to crawl by car from Taman Tun Dr Ismail to SS2 and back. The sky opened up and the torrential rainfall created puddles of water everywhere and little streams by the roadside. Despite my in-depth knowledge of all the backroads and light-traffic detour lanes, long lines of congestion greeted me at every turn. The only positive consequence of the slow journey home was ample time in Googling for a restaurant of fine repute. But first, certain conditions must be met. The restaurant must not be located in a place that would further exacerbate the problem of travelling on congested PJ roads. And it must allow easy passage from home to the targeted dining destination. After almost 30 minutes of anxious internet search, one name surfaced with some fine pictures. It was Restaurant Pin Xiang in Aman Suria. My co-navigator and I quickly came to an agreement that this restaurant seemed to have everything we desired. It was 10 minutes by car from our place, and the chef ’s dishes were most appealing. It didn’t take much persuasion for the family to agree to dine at Pin Xiang Restaurant. When we arrived at the place, with some help from the GPS, it was infatuation at first sight. Pin Xiang was impressive. It was brightly lit and its ambience gave us a slight tingly feeling as we walked in. There were about 25 tables. The crowd wasn’t there; it had been raining practically the entire afternoon and evening. Since we had done some research on the restaurant, we ordered foo chuk yee mai, or beancurd sheet with lotus seeds and boiled barley. The waiter agreed wholeheartedly with our choice. He even gave us the thumbs-up. Our next order was the signature vegetable dish of eight varieties. One of its main ingredients was the crunchy sliced lotus root. A member of our group was a bit obsessed with anything that had yam, so her choice was the yam basket with a mixture of sweet and sour pork with veggies. The yam basket turned out to be one of the more popular items at  Pin Xiang. Pin Xiang only opened for business in March this year. For newcomers like us, it was a revelation to learn that this eatery is owned by one of the more familiar faces in the Malaysian film industry, Alan Yun, who made a name for himself in the late director Yasmin Ahmad’s movie Gubra. It seemed that Yun has dipped his toes in the pool of culinary interests. Expectant guests like us couldn’t help scanning the horizon for the handsome boss. But we were disappointed. He had obviously other engagements that evening. The champagne spare ribs added to our growing list of dishes because it sounded so exotic. Of course, I had serious doubts that real champagne was added to the

november 11 — 13, 2011

I

spare ribs. To round off the evening’s orders, we swiftly added braised tendon with fish maw and a bowl of seaweed soup. Since five out of the seven of us were “small eaters”, we decided not to order the restaurant’s signature shark’s fin soup and its signature Aman Suria is well insulated from the bigger and busier roads that surround the housing crab. The special promo- area. tion was a single crab would cost only a ringgit if the bill totalled a minimum of RM100. But we had to forgo the offer because nobody was keen on crabs. Of the all the dishes we tasted, the three outstanding ones were the champagne spare ribs with iced water melon balls, the fish maw with braised tendon, and the yam basket. At least three in our group weren’t altogether pleased with what they had sampled. They had reservations with the seaweed soup, which they concluded was ordinary; and the eight-vegetable dish was less than satisfactory because of the way it came out of the hot wok. A keen observer noticed that portions served were smaller than expected. For a bill that amounted to about RM163, inclusive of drinks, we had expected bigger servings. Malaysians like to be surprised by an establishment’s generosity if it The yam basket is something that makes diners remember goes that extra mile to please its customers. It is not that local Pin Xiang. diners are fastidious with their selections, but when the food portions do not match the numbers on the bill, somebody is critics, but like all hungry and sometimes greedy folks from going to wear a frown. PJ, we like to be pampered by Chinese restaurants that go out My personal assessment of Pin Xiang was that we had not of their way to please customers on a rainy night. done the restaurant justice by ordering some of its lesser-known dishes. There were the signature tau fu that we had left out, A bowl of hot and the marmite crab that we overlooked. seaweed soup Other items not on our list were the Pin Xiang fried is always a tilapia and the prawns with vermicelli in claypot. welcome item. We would consider a second visit – if not out of respect for Alan Yun, then definitely out of a sense of culinary adventure that we felt was not completely fulfilled. Nevertheless, Pin Xiang has 36 choice items on its main menu for all discerning diners. The address is H-18-G, Jalan PJU 1/45, Aman Suria, Damansara. Tel: 03-78040798. We can’t be regarded as true professional food
Fish maw and braised tendon for discerning diners.

The restaurant can easily accommodate more than 150 diners.

Champagne spare ribs with ice water melon balls.

ISO 9001 for Sunway Pyramid
SHAH ALAM: Sunway Pyramid shopping mall recently obtained two ISO certificates to represent its fine business practices and international quality standards. The International Standardisation for Organisational standards are technical agreements designed to be globally relevant, useful everywhere in the world. While the certification is not new, Sunway Pyramid’s achievement of ISO 9001:2008 for both Standards Malaysia and the more prestigious United Kingdom Accreditation Service (Ukas) is another milestone for the mall, in addition to their FIABCI Prix d’Excellence award win this year. “The objective of the ISO 9001 is to ensure an organisation meets customer requirements and to enhance customer satisfaction. Customers of Sunway Pyramid includes our shoppers, tenants, retailers and various other business associates, which we have always held in high regard. “Hence it’s only natural for us to obtain the certifications as proof of our professional business ethics, conducts and services nationally and internationally,” said Sunway Shopping Malls chief executive officer HC Chan in a statement. Sunway Pyramid emerged as Malaysia’s first themed shopping and entertainment in 1997, and expanded in 2007 to boast four million square feet of retail variety today. Plans are underway for further expansions of Sunway Pyramid, as well as Sunway Velocity in Cheras, and the newly acquired Sunway Putra Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

november 11 — 13, 2011

media 21

Societe Generale de Serveillance General Manager Kenny Looi presenting the ISO certs to Kevin Tan (far left), Datuk Ngeow (second right) and HC Chan.

Chic, crafty and tasty at Markets @ Jaya One
PETALING JAYA: The third installment of Markets @ Jaya One saw shoppers from all over the Klang Valley crowding the site at as early as 10am, eagerly on the lookout for exciting deals, cool items and fun activities. One of the interesting activities this time around was the SWAP Meet. Guests were encouraged to bring in unwanted items that are still in good condition, and organisers would then determine the value of the items, with “swap tokens” were issued for each. These tokens enabled shoppers to barter their goods for other items from the swap pile. Markets @ Jaya One consists of three different sections, namely the Chic POP Street Market, Crafty Art Market and Bettr Weekends. It offers visitors a variety of goods, from fashionable clothing and accessories to artwork, handicraft and health products.   The Chic POP Street Market celebrates style, shopping and fun, with exciting fashion- and beauty-related giveaways, while the Crafty Art Market features unique and interesting handcrafted items by members Wide selection at the Markets. of EtsyMalaysia, the Malaysian chapter of Etsy, an international online marketplace for all things handThe third installment also saw new food vendors Taste of made, vintage, and arty. Heaven, Chef Tony’s Gourmet Popcorn, and That Last Slice Bettr Weekends is an organic market that focuses on bet- – the latter a hit among marketgoers with its variety of ter living. mouth-watering macarons.

A vendor with her wares.

Domino’s unveils new pizzas
SHAH ALAM: Pizza delivery experts Domino’s Pizz, has added two new flavours with the recent unveiling of Meatasaurus and Ultimate Hawaiian. Following the success of its First Class pizza range, Domino’s has widened its selection with two new creations inspired by Beef Pepperoni and Aloha Chicken. Meatasaurus, Domino’s meatiest pizza ever, boasts 50% more beef pepperoni, double portions of tasty ground beef, and triple portions of fresh garden mushrooms on a new smoky blended BBQ sauce. Meanwhile, Ultimate Hawaiian will come with triple the amount of chicken by adding roasted chicken breast, shredded chicken, juicy pineapples and fresh mushrooms. Combined with a tomato-based sauce and sprinkled with Italian herbs, these are the new additions to Domino’s First Class range of premium pizzas. “We are pleased to present customers with a new take on Domino’s two all-time favourite pizzas. “We’ve taken our bestselling pizzas and given them a First Class touch, giving customers more value and providing tastier pizzas than ever,” said Domino’s Pizza Malaysia and Singapore chief operating officer Ba U Shan-Ting. The Passion Meal is priced at RM55.00 and comes with one regular First Class pizza, one regular Specialty pizza, one Crazy Chicken Crunchies original or tom yam flavour, one Garlic Twisty Bread and Garlic Cheese Onion Rings. All First Class pizzas are available as an ala carte order with a surcharge of RM3.50 for regular pizzas, RM5.00 for large pizzas and RM7.00 for x-tra large pizzas. For more information, call Domino’s at 1-300-888-333 or log on to www.dominos. com.my.

Ba U and two Domino’s Pizza managers unveiling the new Meatasaurus and Ultimate Hawaiian.

Gallery 22
November 11 — 13, 2011 Selangor Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim (fourth left), MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and executive councillor Ronnie Liu (far right) with school directors launching Chung Hua Independent High School’s 100th anniversary celebration in Klang last Saturday.

Some 106 seniors aged 60 and above were treated to a day of shopping at Giant Setia Alam in conjunction with the Deepavali celebrations. They were given a RM100 cash voucher each to spend on household necessities. Joining them were Kapar MP S Manikavasagam and Indian community leader Veerasingam Suppiah.

Residents of Sri Tanjung flats at Surau Nurul Ehsan cooking sup tulang for the poor and needy last Sunday.

Volunteers from Pusat Komunity Wanita Hulu Selangor taking part in a used cooking oil recycling campaign at Surau Al-Hidayah Keramat Permai AU1B last Tuesday.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim greeting students during Chung Hua Independent High School’s 100th anniversary celebration last Saturday.

Interview by

INOSAURS are attacking Selangor this November, as US performers Jim West and Jeremy Wingle (above left) come to town with their unique brand of theatre driven by puppetry! Classical music, dino-puppet-making ideas and fun facts about these giant creatures of eons past feature in an engaging and funny performance for children. Selangor Times speaks with these New York performers on their return visit to Malaysia on what we can expect, what’s unique about the art form, and what they think of puppetry in other cultures. What can we expect to see and experience in Dinosaurs? Jim: We have a blue, host puppet, Fossil the dinosaur, who teaches the audience Dino-Factoids. These factoids introduce stories about different types of dinosaurs, including meat eaters and plant eaters. Jeremy: One of my favorite stories is a shadow puppet story about the Oviraptor, whose name means “egg thief” in Latin. This show includes brightly coloured puppets and lots of demonstrations on how to make puppets at home! How did you get involved in puppetry, and why does the art form personally appeal to you? Jim: I responded to a call for an audition in 1978 and was hired to be an assistant to a professional puppeteer. I continued to work with other puppeteers for the next 10 years, and then started my own company around 1990. I’ve very much enjoyed the opportunity to create shows and scripts. The art form of puppetry has allowed me to be a director, performer, writer and producer all at once! I really enjoy performing for children. I had performed in children’s theatre productions in college, and had found children to be an especially engaging audience. People have described theatre as “the willing suspension of disbelief”, and this is particularly true of children.

D

Nick Choo

Jeremy: After I graduated from drama school at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I moved to New York City, where I began auditioning as an actor. I never would have expected to become a puppeteer but had auditioned for other types of children’s theatre. When I auditioned for Jim West, he handed me a puppet to manipulate, we hit it off, and the rest is history! I was eager to learn and the entirety of my training as a puppeteer came from working with Jim West. We started working together in the spring of 2008, and this is our second trip to Malaysia together. The art form appeals to me personally because it is an opportunity to be creative. There are stories that you can easily tell with puppets in an imaginative way that would be quite challenging to tell with actors alone. One example would be that we can make puppets fly by simply throwing them in the air. Watching a puppet fly in the air is always very exciting for children to see in a theatrical setting! Nothing is more rewarding than hearing an audience roar with laughter or shriek with excitement. Would you agree that puppetry has a significant role to play in education, especially for children? Why do you think this art form appeals to them? Jim: Puppetry is live storytelling, bringing characters and stories to life while engaging children’s intelligence and imagination. Making puppets is a particularly important exercise for children because it involves creativity, self

Grrr!! Arrrgh!!

culture 23
november 11 — 13, 2011

EDITOR’S PICK

expression and task completion, enabling them to bring a character or story to life themselves. In our show, the subject matter is condensed into short segments involving various puppet techniques, such as rod puppetry, shadow puppetry and mouth puppets to expand their experience. Jeremy: I think puppetry is very useful in education because it allows children to use their imagination to think outside the box. Puppetry is very easily accessible to children, and that is exactly what our main goal is: to teach them skills they can take home with them. We present puppets on a stage with lights, but they can recreate most of these puppets at home with an old shoebox or yesterday’s newspaper! Which cultures have puppetry traditions that you find most fascinating, and why? Jim: I have always been fascinated by the Malaysian and Indonesian tradition of wayang kulit shadow puppets and would to see a local performance during this visit. I also admire the Bunraku puppet tradition of Japan. These puppet traditions intrigue me because they represent art forms from other cultures. Jeremy: One of the shows I am most fascinated with involving puppetry is War Horse, which is currently playing in New York at Lincoln Center but originated at The National Theatre of Great Britain. They have created lifesize horse puppets strong enough for men to ride. Along with music and drama they are telling a compelling story about the outbreak of World War I. It is quite a sight to see and goes to show that puppetry is not just for children!

Jim West Puppets’ Dinosaurs

23 Nov-11 Dec; PJ Live Arts @ Jaya One, www.pjla.com. my, www.gardnerandwife.com; RM48-RM78 WATCH as Jim and Jeremy help Fossil, the Dinosaur Detective, search for his identity and unearth new and exciting dino facts. The show is broken down into four parts: building a Tyrannosaurus Rex; a shadow tale about the Overaptor; a story about a little Brachiosaurus; and the finale, the construction of a huge Apatorsaurus – all performed with a rich musical score by Mozart, Beethozen, Mahler, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. There will also be two performances in Malacca on 20 & 21 Nov, which is Universal Children’s Day, at Cheng Ho Cultural Museum. Presented by Garder & Wife Theatre.

CALenDAr
Send your events to nick@selangortimes.com

Irresistible Wear
Exhibition; until 27 Nov; Galeri Petronas, Suria KLCC; galeripetronas.com.my, 0320517770; free admission
Showcasing 48 new artwear pieces designed by Malaysian artists and fahion designers, namely Datuk Radzuan Radziwill, Datin Sharifah Kirana, Edric Ong, Faizal Abdul Hamid, Adnan Hassan, Akma Suriati, Asliza Aris, Zainol Salleh, Eddie Yap, Fion Poon, Associate Professor Hasnul Jamal Saidon and Abdul Hamid Hassan. “A form of expressing art about clothing the human body; the notion of ‘wearing art’ instead of just looking at it.”

Badai Semalam
Theatre; 11-20 Nov; Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur; 0341498600, www.ticket2u.biz; RM30-RM300
Mazni, the daughter of a household maid who works for a rich family, attracts the attention of her rich employer’s son, the flamboyant Karim, who sets out to woo her despite resentment from his family. The theatre production follows the young couple in the twists and turns of their ill-fated love story, as they deal with discrimination from their families, gossip from neighbours, and relationship complications. Starring Erra Fazira, Aaron Aziz and Fizz Fairuz.

Double Bill: What’ll Break You and Apoca-Lips
Theatre; 3-13 Nov; KLPac; www.klpac.org, 03-40479000; RM45 (matinee), RM70 (evening shows) What’ll Break You – Marcus Whitacre has killed someone. He’s not denying it. He’s lost a lot. He’s going to lose more. We can only watch it happen. An interrogation, dressed as a play. Starring Gavin Yap and Zahim Albakri. Apoca-Lips – This New Year’s eve will be a blast. As soon as the clock rings in the New Year, anyone who kisses will blow each other up. Only two people in the city know this, but they’re arguing right now. A play about three just-aboutto-fail relationships on the eve of a New Year, with a slight amount of Armageddon. Starring Vince Chong, Stephanie Van Dreisen, Ash Nair, Gavin Yap and Zahim Albakri, and introducing Tania Khan.

The Drive
Theatre; 16-19 Nov; The Actors Studio @ Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2142 2009, www.theactorsstudio.com.my; RM30 / RM15
Three friends went up to visit an old asylum – the perfect spot for the horror-fanatic fans of their blog. For Mo, Stevie and Jerry, a good ghost story on a night’s drive would be expected. But on this drive, the stories come to life. And death. Directed by Ashraf Zain, written by Jude James. Featuring Ariff Faisal Abdullah, Branavan Aruljothi, Omar Ali, Sharon Lam, Ng Boon Ping and Redza Minhat.

Together As One
Music; 4-13 Nov; The Actors Studio @ Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2142 2009, www. theactorsstudio.com.my; RM40 / RM30 / RM20 (preview night)
Inspired by the Festival Musica Sacra International, The Young KL Singers will be presenting songs composed to express the faith of each respective religion in harmonious manner. Besides being part of their choral music education process, the concert will also serves as a way to honour all faiths through music without any form of discrimination. The concert will be witnessing members of all religions, races, age groups and backgrounds singing under one roof to promote a sense of openness and understanding towards other religions as well as celebrate our cultural diversity. Songs will be in various languages including Sanskrit, Latin, Arabic, Mandarin and English.

Dummyland Take 2
Theatre; 17-19 Nov; PJ Live Arts @ Jaya One; 0379600439, 012-6832099, www.pjla.com.my; RM29
Monti and Logi have done a DNA analysis on the citizens of Dummyland (formerly known as Bolehland). They have come to the irrefutable conclusions that the citizens of Dummyland must have in their DN, a dummy gene. It is the only logical explanation when everything is successfully bulldozed past the dumb citizen. Monti and Logi’s social comedy will take you on a journey of situations through the eyes of the citizen of Dummyland.

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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