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February 10 — 12, 2012/ issue 60
Reprieve for cyber cafes
By Alvin Yap
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh having her blood pressure tested by Dr Rosena Abdullah at the USJ 9 Al-Falah mosque Waqaf An-Nur clinic yesterday. Looking on are KPJ Healthcare Bhd CSR and Education group general manager Yusof Ismail (second from left) and Al-Falah mosque community bureau chairperson Khazali Mohd Zin. StORY ON PAgE 2
shAh AlAm: A six-year ban on licences for new cyber cafes is being lifted but operators must comply with firm guidelines to prevent gambling and pornography while protecting minors. Operators will risk having their licences withdrawn if they fail to adhere to regulations set out by local authorities in consultation with the Association of Cyber Cafe Operators. “We’re viewing this very seriously. If we slack off on our part, it will mean that cyber cafes might take advantage and become cyber gambling dens,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu on Wednesday. The guidelines are part of Selangor’s bid to address the issue of illegal cyber cafes, notably those that are used for cyber gambling. The rules under the "Healthy Cyber Cafe" programme is aimed at regulating cyber cafes and making them family friendly. Among the requirements is that operators must install software to prevent underaged patrons from using the services there past 10pm. “Computers utilised by underaged users will automatically shut down at 10pm,” he said. Each user will be required to log on at the counter with their MyKad and their details will be recorded in a database that can be vetted by local government enforcement officers. Cyber cafes must also install firewalls or filtering software to block access to gambling and pornographic websites. They must also have a minimum of 40 computers to qualify for the licence as illegal gambling dens stand to lose very little if their computers are seized. “Most cyber gambling dens have only five computers. They can afford to have those units seized, and start all over again,” he explained. • Turn To page 2
February 10 — 12, 2012
By Basil Foo
SUBANG JAYA: The Al-Falah mosque in USJ 9 is raising funds for the construction of a permanent Waqaf An-Nur clinic – a charity clinic offering affordable healthcare to all. “The construction cost will come up to over RM500,000, not including medical equipment,” said Al-Falah mosque community bureau chairperson Khazali Mohd Zin.
The clinic has been operating out of a temporary steel container in the mosque’s premises from 9am to 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays since its inception last April. Charging a nominal fee of RM5 per patient, over 500 patients with common ailments like flu and fever have been treated so far. “With a permanent building, there will be more space to add other equipment like 12 beds for dialysis and extending opening hours to six days per week,” said
Charity clinic needs a shot in the arm
Khazali. He was speaking at the clinic during a cheque presentation by Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh who donated RM17,000 yesterday. Apart from Yeoh’s donation, the mosque has so far raised RM41,000 from its congregation and has received a pledge by a private corporation for RM200,000. “As the cost for running this clinic is high, we hope more corporations will step forward to help, or even the government through the Health Ministry,” said Yeoh. This clinic is a community service initiative by KPJ Healthcare Bhd which allocates doctors to each of its 16 Waqaf An-Nur clinics throughout the country. As there was a need for affordable healthcare here, they contacted the Al-Falah mosque as it had sufficient space within its grounds for a clinic. “There are Subang and Puchong residents who cannot afford private clinics, so they come here,” said KPJ Healthcare Bhd CSR and Education group general manager Yusof Ismail. He said the lack of public or 1Malaysia clinics in Subang, the nearest being in Kelana Jaya, left a great need for affordable healthcare here. Yusof added that in-line with the Waqaf concept, the clinic is open to all – from those arriving in luxury cars, to foreign workers who earn a pittance. “With the doctor’s consultation, patients may get three days of medication. Only school children get medical certificates as we don’t want to compete with, but complement, nearby private clinics,” he said. Yusof said they plan to increase the amount of Waqaf An-Nur clinics nationwide to 19 by year’s end. He added that the six clinics they operate in Selangor treated 34,000 patients in 2011, out of which 3,000 were non-Muslim. “Mosques are not only places for religious activities but also for community services to be carried out,” he said.
Dr rosena abdullah treating a patient in the USJ 9 al-Falah mosque Waqaf an-nur clinic.
Khazali (third from left), Yeoh (fourth from left), and Yusof (third from right) during the cheque presentation yesterday.
‘Healthy cyber cafes’ in one year
• From page one
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
phone (603) 5510 4566 fax (603) 5523 1188 email email@example.com
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR
KL Chan C Gunasegaran
PRODUCTION EDITOR WRITERS
Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan, Brenda Ch’ng COPY EDITOR James Ang
Jimmy C. S. Lim, Chin Man Yen
Timothy Loh, Samantha Sim, Ivan Looi, Tony Kee, Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz
Liu said existing cyber cafes will be given one year to renovate their premises, including changing the front facade to transparent glass as well as lighting up the interior. “This is to make it easier for the public and especially enforcement officers to look into the premises.” He said cyber cafe operators will have their licences withdrawn if they flout the law more than three times a year. He said that some guidelines have been amended as a concession to cyber cafe operators. Initially, the guidelines specified that cyber cafe owners had to pay a monthly fee of RM50 per computer. But the amount was later reduced after committee members of the cy-
ber cafe association complained that the amount was too high. However, the Pandamaran assemblyperson didn’t disclose the final amount that would be included in the guidelines. Cyber cafe owners had also wanted operation hours extended until 1am, but the state rejected that request and stipulated closing hours at midnight, for now. Liu said the state would reconsider the 1am closing time after one year. The rules, Liu said, would be sent to all local governments in the state in the coming weeks. Selangor would also facilitate a meeting between local authorities and cyber cafe operators and brief both parties on the guidelines. “Only then will the guidelines be
in force. The grace period for existing cyber cafes to become a ‘Healthy Cyber Cafe’ is one year,” he said. He said the guidelines would likely kick in by mid March. On a related matter, Liu said he had met with Selangor deputy police chief Datuk A Thaiveegan recently and the latter had promised that police would work closely with local governments on raids. He said the police would charge illegal cyber cafe workers and also go after the proprietors. “Local governments can only seize the assets of cyber cafes but only the police can charge people under the law,” he said. He lauded the police for their efforts in bringing to book operators of illegal cyber cafes and said the situation was under control.
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Sacrifice, giving thanks to Lord Murugan
By Basil Foo
february 10 — 12, 2012
GOMBAK: A multitude of Hindu devotees converged at Batu Caves, the limestone edifice housing a shrine to Lord Murugan, for Thaipusam on Tuesday. They walked for miles, some shaven, clothed in deep saffron, and carrying milk pots and kavadis – steel structures bearing an image or idol of a deity. For Prem Kumar, it was the fulfillment of a vow he and his father made last year which was for financial security for their family. “We asked for a stable financial income. As it has been fulfilled, my father carried the kavadi up the steps, while I carried it down,” said the 27-year-old engineer. It took him five hours to prepare to shoulder the rented kavadi and he will be climbing up the 272 concrete steps for the third time next year too, to complete the vow. While a long line of devotees and camera-toting tourists could be seen going up the steps at the foot of the caves, eight-year-old K Ganeshvarma was seen climbing down. “ We decided that he should do this for blessings for his education and future,” said his 57-year-old father E Karunakaran. Ganeshvarma, who is in Year Two in SK Taman Sri Andalas, Klang, walked up and down the steps bearing a milk kavadi – a steel strucView of the main entrance to Batu Caves, the steps up the cave, and a statue of Hindu deity ture with a pot of milk on Lord Murugan. top. In place of his 48-year“This is very strange for me as it is very old mother who is suffering different from the culture in my country,” from diabetes, D Ganeshasaid Argentinian Emiliano Garcia. nal travelled from Taman Visiting Batu Caves for the first time Bukit Subang to the caves to and climbing up and down the steps, he pray for her healing. said it was a welcome experience as the “She can’t make it here sights, sounds, and warmth of the people because she can’t walk propmade it enjoyable. erly due to the disease,” said He and his friend, Valeria Gelman his brother, D Vikram. from Russia, were mesmerised by the While carrying a huge swarm of people in all shades of colours kavadi on his own, Ganethat he said he could not stop taking shanal was flanked by his pictures. brother, who fed him water “As I have been to India before, I know intermittently, and a group there’s bound to be a lot of people gathof friends who played the Ganeshvarma carrying his milk kavadi. ering during Indian festivals. But this is drums. impressive,” said Italian Raul Farnea. Curious tourists wanderThe 36-year-old was taken aback by ing about the scene, snapping photos and observing kavadi- the waves of crowds surrounding the area and said he would A man with limes hooked onto the skin of his back carriers entering into a trance were also present. not mind coming back again if it were not for the heat. walking towards the cave steps.
Disabled feel let down over unfulfilled promise
By Alvin Yap
SELAYANG: Disabled Hindu devotees are sore that a promised cable car to the summit of Batu Caves has been shelved to 2013, preventing them from fully taking part in Thaipusam celebrations this year. “There have been thousands of disabled Hindu devotees who have missed going to the top (of the cave) for prayers and devotions,” said Damai Disabled Person’s Association president V Murugeswaran in a press statement last Saturday. He pointed out that the temple committee operated a cable car service to the top of the limestone cave some 20 years ago, but it was abandoned after it proved too costly to repair and maintain. Murugeswaran is calling on Putrajaya to keep to the revised 2013 schedule after it was announced that the initial deadline this year could not be met.
In early 2011, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple management and Damodar Ropeways and Constructions Pty Ltd inked a Memorandum of Understanding to set up the 250-metre cable car service at a cost of RM10 million. The MoU signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then. Murugeswaran said devotees had waited in vain for the cable to be started this year. “Looks like 2012 was an empty promise,” he said. However, he said devotees had not given up hope that next year will see the cable car project completed. “We will wait. We want the cable car for 2013,” the wheelchair bound non-governmental leader said in a telephone interview. He added that Thaipusam looked bleak for the handicapped as they could not fully take part in the religious festival due to the lack of disabled facilities in Batu Caves.
He took the temple committee to task for failing to heed the recommendations from disabled groups when major renovations were undertaken in January last year. “We wrote in with engineering plans to ask for ramps, wider toilet cubicles and other things to be incorporated in the renovations,” he said. Murugeswaran also claimed to have received the brushoff from committee members when he requested for a site visit in the middle of 2011. He said Damai had successfully engaged various ministries and local governments in providing input on constructing disabled friendly facilities. He added that it was not too late for the temple committee to seek the advice of Damai and build disabled friendly facilities in Batu Caves. “Imagine being left out of the chance to carry out religious obligations due to these needless barriers,” he said.
Selangor’s reserves rise to RM1.9b
By Gan Pei Ling
FEBRUARY 10 — 12, 2012
SHAH ALAM: Selangor’s cash reserves have risen from less than RM500 million in 2007 to RM1.9 billion as of last December. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the amount, equivalent to Selangor’s 2012 budget, is based on the state treasury’s report. “We’ll debate Selangor’s financial situation and put in place [more] development programmes during the March sitting of the state assembly,” said the Menteri Besar after chairing the executive council meeting on Wednesday. He also announced that the first state assembly sitting in 2012 would be held for four consecutive days from March 19. He said the executive council would also meet from Feb 17-19 to discuss the disbursement of the RM300 million in grants for socialprogrammes under Selangorku.
The money was allocated under Selangor’s 2012 budget. “We’ll disburse the funds efficiently and reduce bureaucracy to ensure that [everything] is value for money and the funds benefit the rakyat directly,” said Khalid. He cited a proposal to build a futsal court for the community as an example, saying that only the most cost-efficient proposal would be selected with the funds channelled directly to the local community. The RM300 million is from profits and dividends from statelinked companies, including royalty from sand mining. The funds are expected to fund 17 types of social programmes, including infrastructure projects (RM50 million), education (RM30 million), women empowerment (RM30 million) and youth entrepreunership (RM30 million), among others.
Entertainment outlets, cyber cafes raided
By Brenda Ch’ng
MPK enforcement officers removing some of the items confiscated during the raids
KLANG: Seventy-six computers along with karaoke equipment were confiscated from three cyber cafes and a restaurant for flouting regulations during raids by the Klang Municipal Council recently. The cyber cafes, one located at Jalan Keledang 6, Meru and two at Taman Sentosa, were found to be conducting illegal activities. Meanwhile, fines were also imposed on the restaurant at Jalan Young, Pandamaran Jaya, for converting its premises into a karaoke entertainment centre. “The owner of the restaurant operated the entertainment centre without getting a proper licence from us,”
said MPK’s enforcement department deputy director Shahrul Hazri Abd Majid. All four premises were not shut down by the council, but were issued summonses and given warnings. “These raids were done based on reports from the public, who are always aware of their surroundings. I hope this cooperation will continue in the future,” said Shahrul. He added that MPK will continue to monitor the area, conduct more checks and ensure these illegal activities are dealt with more seriously in future. MPK also urged parents to monitor their children’s activities more closely, especially during holidays and after school, to ensure they are not spending time at cyber cafes and entertainment centres.
No cover-up in bazaar failure
By Gan Pei Ling
February 10 — 12, 2011
SHAH ALAM: Selangor has refuted allegations that the state is turning a blind eye to mismanagement of a late night market on Jalan Jeletek, Ampang. The Menteri Besar’s political secretary, Faekah Husin, said the bazaar had been ordered to close immediately as it had failed to attract visitors. In addition, the bazaar’s management, Ampang Women’s Association, led by PKR
Ten strikes, and you’re out
Wanita exco member Salmah Ismail, was ordered to pay the RM16,160 deposit it owed to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ). “The state also issued a stern warning to MPAJ against awarding any association or non-governmental organisation (NGO) similar projects without first checking their capability,” said Faekah in a statement yesterday. She was responding to accusations by reader Hakim Joe in a letter published on
Malaysia Today on Wednesday. Hakim accused the Selangor Menteri Besar of bowing to party leaders to cover up the failed project. Rubbishing the claim, Faekah said the state had ordered MPAJ to collect all arrears owed by the Ampang Women’s Association, including via legal action if necessary. She added that the decision was made by the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) on Dec 21. She said the stern action against the
association proved that there is no abuse of power within the state to suppress the issue. “The state’s strict decision will also serve to remind all local councils in Selangor against trusting NGOs blindly to handle projects without first vetting their qualifications,” said Faekah. She said the state welcomed any information, substantiated by facts, from the public if they found any incidence of abuse of power.
Councillors to know fate next month
By Alvin Yap
Kok (in white) and Yeoh (floral baju kurung) with councillors and contractors yesterday.
By Brenda Ch’ng
SUBANG JAYA: Newly appointed cleaning contractors will be slapped with a RM100 fine for each complaint the Subang Jaya Municipal Council receives from residents, followed by termination after 10 complaints. “If the complaint is true, we will issue a notice of correction (Notis Tindakan Pembetulan) to the contractor accompanied by a summons,” said a MPSJ spokesperson at a press conference yesterday. The spokesman declined to be named. A total of 154 new cleaning contractors were appointed by MPSJ on Feb 1. “These contractors will answer directly to MPSJ and the council will have the authority to terminate them if necessary,” said Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok, who was present at the press conference together with contractors and MPSJ councillors. She expressed hope the 35
cleaning contractors assigned to clean Kinrara and Puchong will do their job well and follow their new schedule from MPSJ. Based on the schedule, grass will be cut twice a month, drains cleaned twice a month, roads swept every day and bulk rubbish collected e ver y Tuesday and Thursday. For playgrounds and parks, contractors will be raking leaves, collecting rubbish and sweeping the tracks everyday. However, cleaning and rubbish collection will be at 1pm for morning markets and midnight for night markets. Market traders are advised to dump waste into bins provided by the council to make it easier for contractors to collect them. New contractors for garbage collection will be appointed by MPSJ next month. MPSJ assured residents that all contractors who do not perform will be sacked. MPSJ received 584 complaints
last month, with 281 related to uncollected domestic waste as compared to January 2011 when total complaints added up to only 265. “With this new system in place and new contractors working, we hope the number of complaints will drop from April,” said the spokesperson.
The council expects the situation to start to improve in two months as new contractors still need time to familiarise themselves with their designated areas. Also present at the press conference was Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, who urged residents to complain against under-performing contractors.
SHAH ALAM: New and reappointments of local councillors in Selangor will be announced on March 1. Executive councillor Ronnie Liu said the state is finalising the list, which has been held up for two months due to last-minute nominations from Pakatan Rakyat component parties. “We finally have the list and have vetted it. We will announce the names shortly,” he said. Current councillors have been left in limbo after their appointments, which were supposed to end on Dec 31, were extended twice in two months. Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, said the state would monitor the performances of councillors in the 12 local authorities in Selangor, adding that they would be dismissed if they under-performed. In a related issue, the test case local government elections for 30 per cent of councillors at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) have been delayed due to the upcoming general election which is expected this year. Liu said the state was concerned that both the local and general election could clash. “It’s a matter of timing. We don’t know when the general election will be,” he said. PR had promised to bring back local council elections in its 2008 electoral manifesto.
KSSB refutes RPK allegations
SHAH ALAM: Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) yesterday disclosed that a company implicated in a sand-mining scandal was not involved in the industry in the state. “Double Dignity (M) Sdn Bhd is not registered under KSSB. It cannot be involved in either mining and sale of sand be it on private or government land,” said the state mining subsidiary in a statement on Thursday. Raja Petra Kamarudin, in an article in his Malaysia Today website, accuses two PKR elected representatives of colluding with contractor Double Dignity to secure a sand-mining contract. However, the duo – Sri Muda assemblyperson Shuhaimi Shafiei and Batu Caves assemblyperson Amirudin Shari – denied the allegations. Shuhaimi decried Raja Petra’s accusations as a “spin doctor’s work” while Amirudin said he has no executive powers to influence any state authority to approve anything. KSSB yesterday added that they had not received any application from Double Dignity to carry out any activities in the sand-mining industry. The company is prepared to assist the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and other authorities in any investigations on the company.
February 10 — 12, 2012
Water down the drain
By Lee Choon Fai
PETALING JAYA: Water is g ushing from a burst pipe in Section 12 much to the ire of a resident who has made numerous complaints to authorities. Tam Yeng Siang noticed water leaking from the pipe in front of a house in Jalan 12/7 while taking his evening walk six months ago. The problem has worsened. “So much water is being wasted, and it’s not muddy water too. It’s clean water, it’s even sparkling,” said Tam. He has contacted the relevant authorities and other newspapers but to no avail. Tam said the authorities have chosen to pass the buck instead of dealing with problem. “All this is just wasting time, everyday more water is being wasted, just ignore the red tape and do something,” said Tam. He said Syarikat Bekalan Air S elang or (Syabas)’s toll-fre e helpline Puspel had sent a team to
assess the situation, but subsequently told Tam that the house had been abandoned and that they would have to go through a lot of red tape to repair the leak. Then on Feb 2, Tam claimed that a reporter from an English daily called to inform him that the leak has been repaired after Syabas installed a ‘stop cork’ at the location. But he soon discovered that the leak had not been repaired at all. “Now it is even worse, it used to be only leaking water, now more water is flowing out,” said Tam. When contacted by Selangor Times, MBPJ councillor Richard Yeoh said MBPJ does not have the authority over water pipes as it is under Syabas’ jurisdiction. “We have brought this matter to the attention of Syabas Petaling Jaya, and we have been assured that the matter will be attended to. MBPJ cannot do other people’s work for them,” said Yeoh in an email to Selangor Times. He also commended Tam for his
Water leaking from the burst pipe on Wednesday.
Home owners to get CFs
SHAH ALAM: Six hundred low-cost home owners can finally move into their homes in Sungai Sering, Hulu Kelang, after nearly a decade when they receive the Certificate of Fitness (CF) today. “This will bring closure to this project which was abandoned for nine years,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on Wednesday. Khalid will present CFs to the home owners at the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council today. He said the CFs were issued after Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor ensured there was water supply to the homes.
civic-consciousness, stressing that people should complain against those who are not doing their job properly. Syabas Petaling Jaya Maintenance Department Super visor Mohd Azmi confirmed that they have received the report, but declined to comment further.
Water woes in Kampung Kerdas
GOMBAK: Residents of Kampung Kerdas want Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) to resolve their long-standing problem of low pressure and muddy water from their taps. “It looks like monkey piss for almost five years now. Every morning we have to turn on the tap and let the muddy water flow for a while, then only we can get clean water,” said 50-year-old Erliyant Jamaran. Erliyant said muddy water was an inconvenience as her children could not wash up before going to school while she could not clean their home properly. “The water is so muddy that we cannot use it at all. When we turn on the tap, the water that comes out is rust-coloured,” said Hashim Maon. The 56-year-old businessman said he had even tried calling Syabas executive chairman Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, but his phone calls were not returned. “I have complained to Syabas many times before, the only thing they said was that they would discuss the problems with me, but the [water] pressure is still the same, the water is still muddy,” said Hashim. He said the muddy water clogs his filter to the extent that he is forced to service it weekly. In response, officials from Syabas, the National Water Ser vice Commission (SPAN), and Minisitry of Health were present to run tests on both water pressure and cleanliness of the tap water during a press conference held by the villagers on Feb 3. Tests on the tap water using field kits found no irregularity in the water while chlorine and turbidity levels were within standards set by the Ministry of Heath, which is in turn based on World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. Clean water flowed from the tap of Hashim’s home during the test, but muddy water flowed out when the filter was used. Hashim said the filter was serviced only two days ago. He also questioned the sincerity of the officials. “I have complained many times over the past year, why are they only coming now?” he asked. He claimed that Syabas had sent him a letter dated July 11, 2011 saying that the water issues facing the community could not be addressed as Syabas was having financial difficulties. A Syabas official, who declined to be named, said the low water pressure could be due to several factors, including the installation of extra filters or water from one pipe directed to multiple houses. “There are two sets of water pressure, one for urban areas with higher pressure, another with pressure that can only reach 10 metres in height for rural areas,” said the official. He said this is because rural areas have few tall buildings. Therefore, the water pressure is more than enough for even two-storey houses, which average 7 to 8 metres in height. However, residents who were present at the press conference claimed that they were all having the same problems for the past few years.
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february 10 — 12, 2012
Universiti Tenaga Nasional’s Preparatory Programme for Excellent Students will hold a six-kilometre charity run on Feb 25 to raise funds for the Orang Asli community in Tapah, Perak. Register at http://marathon.ppes2012. dinstudio.com or call 012-4813335 (Pauline), 019-412 8364 (Siri) or 016-5447670 (Wai Hong).
State urges developer to come forward
By Gan Pei Ling
Stamp lovers can head on down to the PJ Community Library and participate in a stamp fair organised by the Philatelic Society of Malaysia (PSM) from March 3-4 from 9.30am5.30pm. You can browse through a display of award-winning philatelic exhibits and mingle with dealers and collectors. There will also be a colouring competition for children on March 3 and daily lucky draws. You can sign up for the PSM membership on the spot. Pos Malaysia will also be present for the event at Jalan Selangor, Seksyen 3, Petaling Jaya (near Assunta Hospital). Entrance is free.
A solo photography exhibition by avid photographer Melvin Tong titled Coast to Coast will be on display on Sunday (Feb 12) from 5pm-7pm at Leonardo’s Dining Room and Wine Loft at 61-1 & 61-2 Jalan Bangkung, Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur. Pictures on display depict geographical shots of mangrove swamps, lakes, rivers, beaches and wide open oceans. All 22 prints, printed and framed, at the restaurant will be available for sale for two months. Tong’s works and pictures on sale can also be viewed online at www. mudframes.com/project/coast-to-coast. Call 012-2771611 (Tong) or email him at melvin@ mudframes.com for details/
KAJANG: Selangor issued an ultimatum to developer TJ Plaza Sdn Bhd to attend discussions on rehabilitating its stalled project, Kelisa Ria Apartment, in Sungai Tangkas or risk losing the 9.7-acre land. “The developer hasn’t paid the quit rent (since 2006), the state can take over the land, but we hope they’ll come forward,” said executive councillor Iskandar Samad when visiting the abandoned site last Friday. Iskandar, whose portfolios include housing and building management, said the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) had called TJ Plaza representatives for meetings several times, but to no avail. Over 420 low-cost apartment unit buyers were left in a bind as the completion of their homes has been delayed for nearly six years. Construction of the 500 units, with only 80 unsold, began in 2002 and was expected to be wrapped up in 2006. However, it was officially declared as an abandoned project in 2011. Only 80 per cent of its construction work was completed. Iskandar said the developer needs an
MPKj officers showing the related documents and building plans to Iskandar (right). Second from left is MPKj planning and development director Juhari Ahmad.
estimated RM7 million to finish the project. “Last year, the developer had proposed to convert the ground floors at the five blocks of apartments into shops to (finance the cost) but MPKj hasn’t heard from them after that,” he said. The Cempaka assemblyperson said the local council was still waiting for the de-
veloper to submit its new building plan. Meanwhile, Bangi assemblyperson Dr Shafie Abu Bakar said the buyers have set up an action committee to lobby the developer and government to find solutions to complete the project. He said most buyers were still servicing the housing loan for their units.
Popular food court to stay put
By Alvin Yap
Huge turnout at MP’s open house
By Basil Foo
Shelter Home For Children, which cares for abused, abandoned and neglected children, will organise an adventure climb to Mount Kinabalu from April 25-28. The climb is only open to the first 30 people who register and is aimed at raising funds for the shelter. However, those who still wish to contribute can do so at the shelter. For more information, call 0122574305 (Edwin Jalleh), 03-79550663 (Brian), fax 03-79563940 or visit www.shelterhome. org.
The Subang Jaya Buddhist Association will organise an Introduction to Buddhism Course for beginners every Friday from 8.30pm to 10pm. The course will be conducted at their temple on Jalan Kewajipan SS13 Subang Jaya. It will run for eight consecutive weeks from Feb 17. Registration is not required. For details, call 03-56348181 (Lily).
Astro Media Sdn Bhd will hold free drawing classes for those interested in Japanese manga, comics drawings, digital cartoon animation, digital art, clay art craft and more. The class is open only to those aged between nine and 17 years of age. Sessions will be conducted from 10am-1pm on Saturdays. For details, call 03-7803 2054 or 03-7803 1336 or visit www.astromediastudio.com. You can also visit the studio from Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am-6pm.
KLANG: Fears that the new Uptown Food Court in Bukit Raja here is taking business away from hawkers are unfounded and the eatery will be allowed to operate. “Hawkers and traders said they’re losing business to Uptown but the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) has done its own studies and found the reasons raised as unfounded,” said Sungai Pinang assemblyperson Datuk Teng Chang Khim, on Sunday. Morning market traders and night hawkers in the surrounding area had voiced their objection last year to Uptown, a Teng reading out a poem to the lion food-court with live band enter- dancers as academy president Loh Boon Seng looks on. tainment. However, MPK responded came to dine there and also to watch during a meeting with hawkers and the live band entertainment. traders in December that Uptown Teng said Uptown’s concessionwould not affect businesses at wet aire will be bringing in additional markets in the area as it was only a performances such comedy acts as food court. well as sprucing up the premises. The municipal council had also He said he would organise a site explained that Uptown’s operating visit this month for the media to see hours were from 9pm to 2am. for themselves the crowd at the food Teng added that ratepayers in the court. surrounding area supported having Earlier, he attended a Chinese the food court in the current loca- New Year celebration at the Bukit tion. Kuda Lion Dance Academy at Ta“Residents said they like to have man Bukit Kuda here. a ‘hang-out’ location for the younger He presented graduation certificrowd in the area,” Teng said. cates to four members of the lion The food court started operations dance troupe after a 20-minute perlast Friday to a packed crowd which formance by the students.
SHAH ALAM: About 4,000 residents from Pekan Subang and its surrounding villages attended a Chinese New Year party at the Shah Alam City Council multipurpose hall last Saturday. Organised by Subang member of Parliament Sivarasa Rasiah, the open house treated guests to a feast, including mandarin oranges and cendol, from 10am to 1pm. Among the highlights was a musical performance by autistic children from the Rotary Club Music Dream Centre who sang Chinese New Year songs. There were also lion and dragon dances and a drum performance by children from Kota Damansara Section 8. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim gave out ang pow to children. A lucky draw was held and rice hampers were also given out to 20 poor families. Among those present were state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, Batu MP Tian Chua Chang and Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hashim.
Sivarasa (right) presenting a hamper to lucky draw winner Wong Koom Ying, 63, from Kg Subang on Saturday.
Council told to act fast to avert tragedy
By Lee Choon Fai
february 10 — 12, 2012
AMPANG: The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) is being urged to repair a partially collapsed bus stop in Taman Bukit Permai before someone gets hurt. The bus stop, situated in front of the Intan Flats, has partially collapsed on the left side, with the right side seemingly unstable and could collapse any time. MPAJ councillor S. Supiramany said MPAJ has been slow to act and should be more responsible as it concerns public safety. “I have already informed MPAJ more than a week ago....but still no action has been taken. They forced me to take matters to the press,” said Supiramany during a press conference on Tuesday. He said many people relied on the bus stop and still use it daily, despite the danger it posed as its the only bus stop in the area. He added that MPAJ should not use the long public holiday weekend as an excuse for not fulfilling their responsibility. He also took the initiative to cordon off
the structure with “caution” tapes that he bought himself to prevent people from using it. Teratai assemblyperson Jenice Lee, who was also present, said the cause of the collapse is not known but suspected that it could be due to errant contractors not building it according to specifications. She said the bus stop was constructed with thin metal that provides little structural integrity. Lee also pointed out that some of the joints in the beams were not welded tight. Instead, bolts and nuts were used to hold the structure together. She added that it was one of the newer bus stops in her constituency, built at the request of residents a little over a year ago. “It could be errant contractors, and I have requested that MPAJ inspect all newly built bus stops in the area to see if they were consulted properly.” said Lee. Similarly, she urged the public to stop using the bus stop as it posed a danger to their lives. She added that MPAJ had yet to respond to her request as well.
MPAJ councillor S. Supiramany (right) and Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee (centre) inspecting the collapsed bus stop along with residents of the area.
Downpour fails to dampen Chap Goh Meh celebration
SELAYANG: Over 10,000 people braved the rain to attend and mark the end of Chinese New Year at the state’s celebration in Rawang here on Monday. “The rain, during the auspicious year of the Water Dragon, is a sign of good fortune,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim during his speech at Jalan Maxwell here. The crowd, which had surrounded the stage for the cultural performances earlier, was forced to move back into the tent area some 100 metres behind because of the rain. The public was treated to street food and the turnout was mainly families who came out to enjoy the festivities. Earlier, Rawang assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei said she was proud that her constituency was again chosen to host a major festival. “I’m glad to see a big crowd this evening. I’m happy to see Rawang turn out in force to celebrate Chap Goh Meh.” Khalid and Gan presented cheques for RM6,000 and RM5,000 respectively to the Rawang Hokkien Association and the Chinese Orchestra and Cultural Group of Rawang. Monday night was the 15th day of Chinese New Year, and is also known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
The crowd intrigued by the lion dance performance by the Rawang Lion Dance Academy.
Traffic junction to replace PJ’s Old Town roundabout
By Gho Chee Yuan
PETALING JAYA: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has allocated RM3 million to convert the Jalan Othman roundabout to a four-way junction to ease traffic gridlock during peak hours, said Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian. Hee said MBPJ was expected to call for tenders by June and complete the project within the year. Located near the Universiti Teknologi Mara Jalan Othman campus, traffic at the Othman roundabout always comes to a standstill during peak hours. Citing the Rothmans roundabout as an example, Hee said traffic there was also congested before it was changed to a junction last year. “Now the traffic has improved significantly, where previously it may take motorists 45 minutes to an hour
to clear the roundabout (during peak hours), now it only takes minutes,” said Hee. He was speaking to the press when attending a Chap Goh Mei Buddhist celebration at Yuan Lin Xiao Zhot Buddhist Temple in Section 4 on Monday. He donated RM2,000 to the temple while executive councillor Ronnie Liu, who was also present, contributed RM10,000. Meanwhile, Liu said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is meeting the Public Works Department this week to discuss state allocations for federal roads maintenance. He said if the discussions went well, Selangor may become the first state to provide allocations to repair roads under federal jurisdiction. Petaling Jaya councillor Tang Fuie Koh was also present at the event.
Devotees against temple demolition
By Chong Loo Wah
february 10 — 12, 2012
AMPANG: Some 50 devotees gathered here on Monday to protest against the demolition of a century-old Buddhist temple here to make way for the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE). Ampang Jaya councillor Jean Lee urged the highway developer to consider a re-route as the popular Guan Yin temple, in Ampang New Village, has been the spiritual centre for generations of Buddhist families in the area. “We’re researching for documentation of the temple’s history and applying to the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry to list it as a heritage site,” said Lee. Abbot See Bee Gan, 67, said the historical temple predates even the Ampang New Village which has existed
since the Emergency (19481960). “We can trace the temple’s history to at least 105 years ago based on a stone tablet, but according to stories passed down by the elders, it was built by the Chinese miners 165 years ago,” Devotees making their voices heard. she said. See, who has served at the Bhd (Prolintas). temple for 38 years, said the temple With 12 interchanges, the RM4.75 committee holds the freehold title for billion highway will run from Sungai the 6,000 sq ft land. Besi, cut across Sri Petaling, Cheras, See said the highway developer ap- Ampang and end in Hulu Kelang. proached the temple committee two The public can find out more about months ago to initiate discussions on SUKE at a public display at Carrefour relocation or monetary compensation Ampang from Feb 18 to 24 (10am to for land acquisition. 7pm) and Menara MPAJ Level 4 lobby The 31.8km SUKE is expected to from Feb 15 to 22 (8.30am to 5pm). serve as an alternative route to the MidA public briefing will be held on Feb dle Ring Road Two and will be con- 18 at Auditorium, Level 5, Menara structed by Lintasan Shah Alam Sdn MPAJ from 10am to noon. Devotees praying at the historical temple.
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february 10 — 12, 2012
Tripping Zero 3
It was way back in 1956, at a time when the then Malaya was on the verge of gaining independence that the idea of building a sizable Buddhist temple close to the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur was first conceived. The temple was also to reflect the status of Buddhism as one of the major religions in the country, and also serve as a symbol of the long standing close relationship that existed between Thailand and Malaya.” And so was the introduction to the Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in its 50-year commemorative issue 2007. One forgets how old the temple is – its age concealed behind bright blue and red stones embellished in glittering gold, its colours danced amidst the sun’s rays, its Chor Fah rising majestically towards the heavens – also reparative works take place quite often I presume. During my visit there last weekend, construction materials littered the temple complex and handymen were painting green scales on the dragon ornament, Thai pop music blasting in the background. Although the idea of building the temple began in 1956 initiated by a Thai monk Phra Kru Palat Vieng, it was only until 1962 that the building of the temple commenced, starting with the most sacred structure – the Ubosot, where monks are ordained. The proposal was submitted in 1957 and the subsequent year saw the Selangor state government allocating two acres of land for the temple. Through donations, the temple grounds extended to four and a half acres and additional structures were built. Today, apart from the Ubosot, the temple complex consists of a meditation hall where a Sleeping Buddha resides, a bell tower to announce the commencement of religious ceremonies, the monks’ Kuti or living quarters, the Sala – a sort of rest area, the Brahma and the Kuan Yin pavilions and a columbarium. Two significant trees in the Buddhist doctrine were also planted in the complex – the Bodhi tree, under which Chinese deities encircled the trunk, and the Sala tree. Designed by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand and built by Thai craftsmen and local builders, the temple was opened by King Bhumiphol Adulyadej on June 26, 1962 with the raising of the Chor Fah – the temple roof. Prior to the construction of the temple, a fundraising rally was initiated and received wide support not just from Buddhists, but also the Government of Malaya which through Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj contributed a grant of RM100, 000. A further RM45, 000 was contributed by Dato’ T.H Tan, then secretary-general of the Alliance. As I was writing this, I was distracted and agitated by the midnight explosions of damaging decibels that threatened a deaf ear any time soon. I had originally intended to develop the story into celebrating multiculturalism until I stopped myself short, realising that I was cursing and wishing I hadn’t lived in such a predominantly Chinese community. Multiculturalism had a time cap. I was then overcome by this sudden guilt in the pits of my stomach, but then I thought, that’s the exact complexity of the Malaysian society. Many of us aspire to be so politically correct that we are cautious with the words that we use around each other. As a reaction towards racial supremacy and bigotry of a very loud minority, we tend to distinguish ourselves by avoiding ethnic labelling and promoting a ‘Bangsa Malaysia’. But there is
A Thai in our midst
The majestic Chetawan Temple in Petaling Jaya.
no way of getting out of it. Racial differences are so inherent in us that they dominate the temporal lobe of any Malaysian. And as much as I complain about the fireworks, others complain about double parking during Friday prayers. And while Malaysians rejoice at the luxury of public holidays, expats grumble because they just can’t get anything done. Without these racial stereotypes, there wouldn’t any good joke left for comedy nights. But while we are conscious of race and religion, its sensitivities and stereotypes, some are just pushing the boundaries. Just recently, another pig’s head was found on the grounds of a Rawang mosque on top of the other five that was found last year in Johor Bahru. And let’s not forget the cow head protest. Only the Christians were spared of heads but they received cocktails instead. When it comes to making a point, even holy grounds are not spared. And often, these cowardly acts are justified as ‘politically motivated’. If we start justifying these acts as part of dirty political tactics, somehow we’re dismissing it as ‘nothing serious’ because the GE must be around the corner. We must have gone wrong somewhere.
Being Malaysians, we have multiple identities; just because a person is an ethnic Chinese Christian, doesn’t mean he or she can’t pay respect to the ancestors, as has been with the Chinese custom. We’re always so fearful of confusions and conversions that we don’t trust ourselves. Chetawan also displayed multiplicity – the Kuan Yin pavilion and the Chinese deities surrounding the Bodhi tree are testament that the Temple is not exclusive to the Thais but also sacred to Chinese Buddhists. Chetawan reminds me of our many identities and cultural similarities. It teaches me that it’s okay to be a little bit conflicted.
12 February 10 — 12, 2012
Adam Adli from Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia
By Gan Pei Ling
ith “Dare to Document” as its tagline, the Freedom Film Fest (FFF) pushes the envelope and treads where others fear. From sex education and the cow-head incident to the Perak coup in 2009, the annual human rights film festival, organised by Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas), has never shied away from tackling thorny issues in the country. FFF award-winning filmmakers have also highlighted the plight of marginalised communities like the Orang Asli and refugee children in their short films. “Film is a powerful medium. We hope people can learn about local human rights and social issues through the videos,” Komas founder and executive director Tan Jo Hann told Selangor Times. Providing a platform for amateurs, FFF films have been screened in local towns and cities as well as to international audiences. Discussions are held after the screenings so that the audience can engage with each other to further explore the issues. Since its inception in 2003, Komas has called for film proposals in the beginning of the year and awards RM6,000 to winning ideas in May. “Many of them (the winners) were firsttime filmmakers, some don’t even know how to hold a camcorder in the beginning…But what’s important is that they have good ideas and are passionate [about what they’re doing],” said Tan. Komas holds workshops to train amateurs and provide them with technical support to make their films. He noted that some of the previous FFF winners were print journalists who had never been involved in broadcasting or film production. They included The Star journalist Hariati Azizan, who made The Invisible Children (2006) on refugee children, and former New Straits Times reporter Sheridan Mahavera Shakir, who co-directed Kisah Tauke Mancis & Minyak Tumpah (2010) on the cow-head incident. Sheridan is now the chief editor at Selangor state broadcast channel TV Selangor. “Another winner, Lydia Lubon, has become a prominent [documentary producer],” he said. Lubon, who made the 30-minute
Your rights through film
to Malaysia Vincent Piket during the launch of FFF 2012. The annual human rights film festival is funded by the European Union. Komas also invited representatives from the local students’ movement, Orang Asli and urban poor to speak at the launch at Station One café in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, on Monday night. Adam Adli, 22, from Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia said local varsity students, especially those who are eligible voters, continued to be marginalised as they are prohibited from participating in politics. “ There are hun(From left) Moderator Jerald Joseph, Adam, Selangor executive councillor Rodziah Ismail, Yusri dreds and thousands & Arumugam. of university students Sex education in Malaysia: Are we doing now. in this country, many of them are qualienough? with Ahmad Yazid, is now an In anticipation of the 13th general fied voters, but under AUKU (Universiinternational documentary producer and election, FFF intends to provoke Malay- ties and University Colleges Act), we has made documentaries for MediaCorp sians to think about the current political cannot speak up freely,” said Adam. and Al Jazeera English. climate in Malaysia with its theme DeHe noted that in the 1960s and 1970s, Her 2005 documentary, which high- mocracy: Who’s the Boss? local university students were some of lighted the lack of sex education in local “We know who should be the bosses the most vocal voices and many current schools and its impact on youths, was also [in a democracy], but who really are the political leaders came from that era. previously screened in India, Singapore bosses? That’s a question that every counPKR de facto leader and former deputy and Africa. try that practises democracy should be prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim Democracy: Who’s the Boss? concerned about,” said ambassador and was one of the prominent student leaders FFF is calling for new film proposals head of the European Union Delegation in the 1970s.
Organisers and participants at the launch of the fest.
Meanwhile, Yu pung Orang Asli out that many O their rights. “When makin to the Tok Batin ( boss in the village from Pahang. He said the p are increasingly a much more needs M Arumugan Selangor dan Wi which represents representatives w ought to be kicke He opined tha poor and margin months do not r of constituents. “No time to v elected to serve th Tan said the t Boss? is chosen to have been asking litical freedom, i reforms, in recent “Are the rakya try? Or only whe years?” he quippe Tan hopes FF that reflect on thi The deadline i For more info filmfest.org. Vide also available at t
usri Ahon from Jaringan KamSemanjung Malaysia pointed Orang Asli remain ignorant of
ng decisions, they always look (village chief ) because he’s the e,” said the indigenous activist
eninsular indigenous peoples aware of their land rights, but s to be done. n, from Persatuan Masyarakat ilayah Persekutuan (Permas), s the urban poor, said elected who ignored the people’s plight ed out. at those that do not visit the nalised communities every few really care about these groups
visit is a lame excuse…They’re he public,” said Arumugan. theme Democracy: Who’s the o reflect questions Malaysians each other, be it students’ poindigenous rights or electoral t years. at truly the bosses in this counen elections are held every five ed. FF will receive more proposals is theme this year. is April 1. ormation, visit www.freedomeos of past winning films are the site.
Yusri Ahon spoke on behalf of Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung while Arumugam from PERMAS speaks about the issues faced by the urban poor in Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur.
Heloise and Abelard in the train
February 10 — 12, 2012
By Derek Kok
This article is part of the #LoyarBerkasih series on love, which will run from Feb 7-14, only on the most awesome community blawg in the known universe, LoyarBurok.com. Selangor Times will publish another post from the series next week.
“In these deep solitudes and awful cells, Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells, And ever-musing melancholy reigns.” Eloisa to Abelard - Alexander Pope.
Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurusdescribed queries are answered!
he train beeped monotonously as it pulled up in front of them. ‘Finally’, they muttered under their breaths. The doors slid open. Eyes glazed and bodies limp after yet another monotonous 9-to-5 routine, they trudged into the train’s cavity. Footsteps like a programmed code, legs with minds of their own; they moved their bodies into the train as though in synchrony with the Pied Piper-like beeps. The doors slid shut. He was one of them. He breathed a sigh of relief as he took his seat. A plump makcik in floral baju kurung stood in front of him. But today was not her day. Today, the seat belonged to him and him alone. He very well deserved the grubby corner seat; isn’t it a human right for the newly unemployed to have a seat in a train? He suddenly remembered he had a convenient shield against the makcik’s stare. With his thumb, he rubbed the dog-eared cover of the book he was carrying all the while. ‘The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope’, it read. He flipped open the wrinkled cover. She gave it to him for his 20th birthday. piece of his char siu pao. To my best friend, “Someone who would drive me May we experience the love of around. The whole world knows I Abelard and Eloisa, can’t drive. There are only so many but never suffer their fate. A brown envelope surreptitiously places the the LRT can go.” She paused. “Isn’t that what I do peeked out between the chafed pages. He turned to the page that already? Drive you around?” He choked on his pao. the envelope bookmarked. “Stesen berikutnya, Sultan Is‘Eloisa to Abelard.’ Alexander Pope’s poem which was inspired by mail.” The pre-recorded announcement the tragic affair between the 12thcentury philosopher Pierre Abelard snapped him out of his reverie. The and his student, Heloise. After makcik, now seated across him, shot Abelard was brutally castrated by him a piercing stare. Running his fingers through his her family, Heloise entered a monastery; unwillingly taking a nun’s vow greasy hair, he returned to his book of silence upon Abelard’s insistence. to avoid her gaze. How happy is the blameless His eyes fell on the stanza before vestal’s lot! him. The world forgetting, by the Thou know’st how guiltless first world forgot. I met thy flame, Eternal sunshine of the spotless When Love approach’d me unmind! der Friendship’s name; Each pray’r accepted, and each My fancy form’d thee of angelic wish resign’d. kind, A spotless mind. How he wanted Some emanation of th’ allthat. He wanted to forget her. But beauteous Mind. every day, that thin paperback rests They were best friends since high in his hand as he makes the daily trip school. To strangers, friends and to work and home. O write it not, my hand — the family – they were the perfect couple. To him, she was the love of his name appears Already written — wash it out, life. To her, he was her best friend. At least, that was what he thought. my tears! His fingers toyed with the brown “What do you look for in a envelope as he read on. He never woman?” Her voice rose above the raucous told her of his feelings for her. The din at the neighbourhood kopitiam. letter in the envelope was to change He chuckled as he pinched off a that.
It has been eight years since he wrote that letter; that envelope still nestled between the pages of Alexander Pope’s Ovidian epistle. Like Heloise – unable to express love due to an unwilling vow of silence, but a vow that was taken nonetheless. But the truth is, he is afraid. “Best friends”. He would rather hide behind the safe confines of the term than to risk rejection. He sighed and stared forward. The train window framed an urban portrayal of van Gogh’s Willows at Sunset. As though god himself took a paintbrush and stirred the skies, clouds were strewn across the horizon. Tinted with faint streaks of sunlight, they retreated further into the horizon as the sun slowly crept to its earthly slumber. Beautiful, he whispered. He sighed and closed his eyes. The shrill of a B minor chord pierced the static silence of the train. Unannounced, the sound of piano keys burst into a familiar string of notes. He opened his eyes, startled. Her hands were in his. Sheathed in white satin gloves, they were a departure from their usual smoothness that he was accustomed to. He glanced upwards. Her hair was pinned up in a bun; a white veil extended down to her fingertips, partially covering her head. White
pearls framed her neckline, otherwise left bare by the strapless sheath dress she was wearing. Lace overlays lined the gown’s bodice, her dress flowing out into a cathedral-length train which swept across the aisle of their church chapel. “Beautiful”, he whispered as he stared unbelievingly at her. A familiar voice could be heard singing the opening verse of Gungor’s Beautiful Things, the soft trill of the violin framing the plucking of guitar strings. It was their favourite song. His heart jumped a beat. “Could this be”, he asked himself, “our wedding?” “Thank you so much for coming. You know how much it means to Peter and I.” That familiar lilt of her voice put a wedge in his train of thought. His arms stayed tight to his sides as she threw hers around him in an awkward embrace. Numb, he stared forward at the cross nailed on the wall. She withdrew her arms from him, turning to a tuxedo-clad man who placed his hands on her waist; smiles etched on their faces. It was her dream wedding but it
wasn’t his. She was not his bride. He wasn’t her groom. “You make beautiful things / You make beautiful things out of the dust / You make beautiful things out of us”, that familiar voice sang. *** The swaying of the train woke him up. Small beads of sweat bubbled on his palms. He wiped his hands against the polyester fabric of his black slacks; squinting his eyes to adjust to the glare of the train’s interior lights. “Stesen berikutnya, Pandan Jaya.” His stop was a good three stations away. His attention shifted down to the brown envelope in his hands. Clasping it with his left hand, he smoothed the folds and creases on the envelope with his right. He took a deep breath. The train beeped monotonously as it came to a momentary halt. The train doors slid open. People trudged in and out of the train’s cavity. Footsteps like a programmed code, legs with minds of their own; they moved their bodies as though in synchrony with the Pied Piper-like beeps. He was not one of them. There was something subtly different in his gait as he stepped out of the train; ‘The Poetical Works of Alexander Pope’ in one hand, a brown envelope in the other. “Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread? The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. Nature stands check’d; Religion disapproves; Ev’n thou art cold — yet Eloisa loves.” The train doors slid shut. Note: Derek is a leap-year baby who is currently reading law. He is single but not available because his mum thinks that he’s too young to date. Follow his frivolous, inane and meaningless tweets at @derekqiren.”.
Old habits causing a stink
By Brenda Ch’ng
February 10 — 12, 2012
If you help me, I can help you. You trust me, I trust you.” - Datuk Seri Najib Razak addressing Hindu devotees at the Thaipusam festival at the Batu Caves temple on Tuesday. The Prime Minister urged Malaysian Indians to trust him and help him improve their lives. This is not fraud but cheating by those who wanted to quickly (perform their haj) by jumping the queue, and my advice to pilgrims is to be patient.” - Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom on the illegal “haj express” service for Muslim pilgrims who are paying between RM1,000-RM2,000 to jump the queue on the haj waiting list.
CHERAS: A 120-metre stretch of road along Persiaran Awana here has been turned into a dumpsite to the dismay of residents at the Cheras Awana Apartments. The unsightly stretch of rubbish lines the fringes of the apartment, starting from the entrance right up to the end of the road and residents have had to bear the stench since early last year. “The rubbish isn’t even thrown by residents there. It’s brought here by outsiders thinking that this is a dumpsite,” said Kajang municipal councillor Eddie Ng Tien Chee. The junction of Persiaran Awana and Jalan Awana 23 used to be a legal dumpsite equipped with huge metal bins. However, people from nearby neighbourhoods took advantage of this facility and dumped a huge quantity of domestic, bulk and garden waste there everyday. “It was like a mountain of rubbish. The heap of rubbish was really huge and high too,” said Ng. Three years ago, the dumpsite was demolished and replaced with a car park to prevent unscrupulous rubbish dumping in the area. But people continued to dump household waste at the side of the road.
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Ng with his assistant Yew Kim Thong (right) at the unsightly site.
The loan from EPF (Employees Provident Fund) is not ‘subprime’ because it is made to the government of Malaysia, which has a good credit rating.” - Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin on the RM300 million loan EPF has agreed to give to the government to help fund the purchase of low-cost houses under the low-cost public housing scheme.
“We are spending a minimum of RM15,000 a month just to rid the area of rubbish, but somehow trash just keeps piling up,” said Ng. The culprits keep dumping the trash at night and this is overwhelming the council contractor assigned to clear out the illegal dump. “Everyday the contractor carries away two tons of rubbish from thesite but more rubbish just piles up again the next day,” he said. MPKj is considering appointing more contractors to clear up the rubbish but in the meantime is also
offering a RM200 reward to those who catch culprits on camera. “The photos must capture the person throwing rubbish illegally, along with their vehicle registration number,” said Ng. Culprits will then will face RM1,000 fines from MPKj. Ng urged residents living nearby to be on the lookout and report all cases of illegal dumping to the council immediately. “This is the only way we can think off for now and I hope the public will help the council put a stop to this.”
There is no reason for Najib to be opposed to a welfare state which will make nearly all Malaysians winners, especially the poor, unless he is concerned about the few capitalistic cronies who will be the real losers.” - Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in response to the Prime Minister’s claim that the Pakatan Rakyat’s welfare state concept would only lead to very serious economic problems. Are you brave enough to come forward to make public the income of your family....? If you can’t prove that your combined household income is half a million, then it was impossible to service those loans you took.” - PRK strategic director Rafizi Ramli in a question to Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil about National Feedlot Corporation’s (NFCorp) purchase of two more condos worth RM34 million in Singapore.
New coat of paint for Taman Cahaya
By Basil Foo
Aliah (second from left) and Iskandar (second from right) addressing residents at the flats.
AMPANG: The stained and cracked 22-yearold exterior of the Taman Cahaya low-cost flats here will soon have a fresh façade thanks to a state scheme. “As we have not repainted the flats since its construction in 1990, this new coat of paint is welcomed,” said Taman Cahaya flats Joint Management Body (JMB) chairperson Aliah Fazila. The new coat is part of the Joint Property Repair Aid Scheme for High-rises (Ceria Scheme) initiated by the state government to helpbrighten up old low-cost flats. Aliah said the flats, consisting of 240 units in three blocks, would greatly benefit from the facelift as they were located near public areas like the Taman Cahaya LRT station. “Since we took over management of the flats from the developer two years ago, we haven’t
had enough funds for repainting,” he said. The Ceria Scheme’s first phase began last year with focus on security and safety which saw mostly lift repairs being carried out. This year’s second phase will see 48 identified flats getting repainted. “This scheme came about after we received many requests for assistance with lift repairs, drain cleaning and new paint,” said state executive councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad. The Cempaka assemblyperson was speaking during the officiating ceremony for the Ceria Scheme at the Taman Cahaya flats on Feb 4. He said the state had allocated RM9.7 million for the scheme but more funds can be set aside if the need arises. To ensure residents take care of their newly painted buildings, they will be required to pay 20 per cent of the repainting cost which can be paid in instalments, while the state will bear the rest.
Land they can finally call their own
february 10 — 12, 2012
Know Your Councillor: Santokh Singh
By Basil Foo
Iskandar (in red) with MPS councillor Zaidy (second from right) and Abdul Rahman Kamis (right) waiting to address the crowd.
ny at their village, that 214 houses and six shop lots will get 99-year leasehold titles. GOMBAK: Villagers of Kampung Bendahara will soon be The approval was made two weeks ago, during the state legal owners of the land their homes stand on after the state executive council meeting. moved to end their two-decade wait for titles. Also present at the ceremony was Selayang municipal “We are thankful that all the struggles we’ve been through councillor Zaidy Abu Talib, who said the day was a historic the past 20 years have finally paid off,” said village action com- one for the village. mittee vice-chairman Abdul Rahman Kamis. “They’ve been waiting for this moment for so long. I hope He told his fellow villagers, during a thanksgiving ceremo- they will now feel safer living there knowing that they own the land,” he said. Echoing his sentiments was State Executive Councillor for Housing Iskandar Samad who attended the thanksgiving celebrations. “Titles have already been approved and the ownership forms will be issued in a month’s time,” said Iskandar. But he urged the villagers to pay up the necessary land premiums as soon as they receive the forms. Villagers will have to pay RM1 per square ft, plus an additional RM7,933 for infrastructure charges. Those who are unable to pay the full premium can opt to pay RM1,000 under the state’s leasehold policy. However, those who choose this mode of payment will have to settle the full premium before they can sell their home. “They can (still) pass it down to their children when they pass away. That is not a problem,” said Iskandar. He also pointed out that the state had rejected the Kampung Bendahara villagers at the thanksgiving ceremony application for titles for 20 plots of land at Kampung on Monday.
By Brenda Ch’ng
LISTENING attentively and attending to grouses are among the ways Sepang councillor Santokh Singh Perumal keeps residents in his area, Sierra Putri, happy. “I hold monthly or bi-monthly meetings with representatives from resident associations to listen to their complaints,” he says. He has been operating in his service centre at 9-1, Tingkat 1, Persiaran Suria Tropika for the past two years. The four-term councillor says the issue that has troubled residents for years is an abandoned single-storey terrace project in the area. “I have since held several meetings with the developers, buyers and other concerned parties,” he says. He says the abandoned project, which was due to be completed in 2006, affects many low-income earners who work in Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. While the project’s infrastructure was completed, problems between the developer and a utility company have further delayed the project. “After a meeting with both parties recently, work on the project will proceed as promised,” he adds. Santokh, who studied mechanical engineering and has his own business, says his area enjoys smooth garbage collection and cleaning services. Unlike other local authorities, there have been no complaints from the residents about garbage collection after the municipality took over solid waste management from concessionaire Alam Flora. Santokh, who turned 48 on Feb 6, wants to take his political career a step further by offering himself as a candidate in the next general election. “It is definitely my ambition ... maybe as a state assemblyperson,” adds the father of two. Bendahara. “There aren’t any houses there at the moment, and no one is living there. So we’ve decided to use the land for recreational facilities.” The state is considering building a multi purpose hall and sports facilities on the empty plots of land for the villagers.
Kindie fees aid soon for poor households
By Alvin Yap
KLANG: Subsidies to help needy families bear preschool or kindergarten costs are being ironed out by the state under the Selangorku programme. “We are finalising the details such as the amount to be given out for one, two or three children in a household,” said state executive councillor Ronnie Liu. The initiative, to help families provide early education for their children, is among financial welfare assistance under Selangorku which was unveiled during the state’s 2012 budget. Liu, who is also Pandamaran assemblyperson, declined to disclose the subsidy being considered for each household.
It was initially announced that the state would allocate RM1mil for the initiative. “We will allocate enough funding for the programme to make it a success,” he said during a press conference in Pandamaran. In addition, RM3 million had been finalised for the single mothers entrepreneurship programme. The initiative, which was announced by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, is meant to help set up tailoring and cooking classes for single mothers in each state constituency. Liu also handed out ang pow to 30 single mothers from the Pandamaran area at the village community hall. He said the money was allocated from the state.
(From left) Liu and his wife handing out ang pow to 45-year-old single mother Evelyn Tiah.
Highway’s impact assessment flawed
By Gan Pei Ling
february 10 — 12, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR: The Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report for the proposed East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) has come under fire from WWF-Malaysia. “There are major gaps in the report,” said the National Conservation Trust’s policy analyst, S Saradambal, at a public briefing at Universiti Malaya last Saturday. She said that the alignment chosen for the 35.5km-long highway was outdated as it was based on a study conducted in 1996. The DEIA had failed to take into account new developments since then, such as the gazetting of the Selangor State Park in 2007. The EKVE will destroy 214.7 hectares of forest in the Ampang, Hulu Gombak and Hulu Langat forest reserves which are part of the 108,000-hectare Selangor State Park. “In 1996, the Selangor State Park didn’t exist. The report also failed to mention that the Selangor State Park is classified as an EnvironmentallySensitive Area (Rank 1) under the National Physical Plan-2,” said Saradambal. She said that under the National Physical Plan-2, no development, except for eco-tourism, research and education purposes, is allowed in a Rank 1 EnvironmentallySensitive Area. “ Why weren’t these new developments (after 1996) taken into consideration in the DEIA?” she asked. “If a highway is S Saradambal allowed to cut through the Selangor State Park, it’ll set a dangerous precedent for other projects to encroach on other state or national parks like Taman Negara,” said Saradambal. She added that while the DEIA noted the Ampang and Hulu Gombak Forest Reserves as water catchment forests, it did not elaborate on the potential impacts of highway construction on water quality of the rivers that supply water to the Klang Gates Dam. Connecting the Karak Expressway to the Kajang Silk Highway, the EKVE is the eastern route of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR). It will allow motorists from Kepong, Selayang and Gombak to travel to Bangi, Kajang and Subang without passing through Kuala Lumpur and vice versa. It is also expected to ease traffic congestion along the Middle Ring Road Two. The DEIA recommended that the developer, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, align the highway close to or along the forest boundary, but did not examine the option as a serious alternative route. “We’re not necessarily against the highway, but it shouldn’t pass through the Selangor State Park,” said the analyst. Selangor Times reported last month that an equivalent of 300 football fields (each 0.7 hectares) of forest reserves would have to be destroyed for the proposed EKVE. The DEIA executive summary is available online at http://bit.ly/ ekve_deia.
N p W b in p K
Rejections of schools and autism training unacceptable
THE Ministry of Education’s decision to reject the applications SMJK Katholik and SJKC Yak Chee to set up branch schools and an autism training centre in Puchong is yet another example of the failure of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia agenda. It shows that while the Prime Minister has embarked upon measures which are highly populist in nature, he himself has no idea what the real issues are on the ground. It’s a known fact here that there is a severe shortage of space for Chinese school students in Puchong. Every year, many from Puchong have to be sent to schools outside the area due to a shortage of space. This problem will only become worse in the years to come. Likewise, an autism training centre will also be very beneficial to Puchong residents and its surrounding areas. Therefore, it’s somewhat stunning to hear that while Selangor has readily offered land in Tasik Prima Puchong to build schools, the deputy education minister, who ironically hails from MCA, chose to reject it outright. From complaints that I’ve received, it appears that the ministry did not even contact the applicants for their views before hastily rejecting the applications. This is clearly wrong. At the very least, the ministry should have sought views over the matter before rejecting it. As the Puchong member of Parliament, I demand that the Education Minister reconsider this decision. This is a matter which cannot be treated lightly. The people of Puchong are entitled to have this application approved. This decision has also reflected very poorly on MCA. I’ve seen the comments by the Education Ministry’s deputy minister on the matter. I also call upon Datuk Wee Ka Siong to wake up and come out of the woods to see the issue for what it really is. What is needed now is a solution to the problem. I call upon the Education Minister to revoke this decision and approve the applications to build SMJK Katholik and SJKC Yak Chee branch schools along with the autism training centre in Tasik Prima Puchong. If this matter is not resolved soon, campaigns will be launched in Puchong to bring this matter to the forefront, in particular to show that the reforms promised by the Prime Minister are merely slogans and lip service which translates into nothing, in respect of problems which matters most to the public. Gobind Singh Deo, Puchong member of Parliament
Green and modern living with Zircona
February 10 — 12, 2012
By Basil Foo
The turnout at the property preview for Zircona, TTDI Alam Impian’s fifth and latest phase, at the sales gallery in Alam Impian last Saturday.
Getting a Dragon baby
By Brenda Ch’ng
P E TA L I N G J AYA : Those longing to conceive a Dragon baby this year should consider attending a public forum at the Tropicana Medical Centre on Feb 18. Dragon babies are believed to be the strongest, smartest and the luckiest of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. The forum will be held from 10am-1pm and will include talks by consultant specialists on how to increase the chances of conceiving naturally. Participants will be taught about the various options of assisted reproductive techniques. “There will also be free fertility counselling for the first 10 couples who register,” said Tropicana Medical Centre (M) Sdn Bhd’s marketing and communications assistant manager Lee Ai Lin. Among other highlights are topics titled ‘Do’s and Don’ts Before Getting Pregnant, ‘Investigation for Infertility and the Advantages of L a p a r o s c o p i s S ur g e r y ’ a n d ‘Treatment Option for Infertility’. Call 018-211 6789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
SHAH ALAM: Lion dances and a Chinese New Year luncheon heralded the property preview for Zircona, a green township at TTDI Alam Impian’s fifth and latest phase last weekend. Guests were feted with food and entertainment while browsing through site plans of 123 link house units, with nine types ranging from 2,220 to 4,093 square feet. Being one of the first few Green Building Index (GBI) certified townships, buyers in the Zircona phase can rest easy knowing their homes have been sustainably developed. “We incorporated green building strategies like proper disposal of construction waste and sufficient percentage of greenery,” said Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd marketing senior manager Bernard Yong Chen Wei. They even had to ensure that toilet fittings would not waste water – a factor in ensuring G B I certification. The housing estate was also designed to ensure that all homes would surround two to three parks in the neighbourhood. These factors conform to the country’s GBI guidelines. “While other developments take the more traditional approach to design like brown pointed roofs, our buyers can expect modern designs,” said Yong. The Zircona homes feature clear lines, flat surfaces, and a white and grey colour scheme with slanted roofs designed to enrich the contemporary lifestyle of residents. The township will include a school, petrol station, kindergarten, community hall, surau, recreational parks, and other facilities. Its official launch is several week away but in the meantime interested buyers can find Zircona in TTDI Alam Impian along the KemuningShah Alam Highway (LKSA). The development is five-minutes away from Shah Alam, 10 minutes from Klang, and 30-minutes from Kuala Lumpur. LKSA is connected directly to the Federal Highway and the KESAS highway.
Loh sang dinner for elderly
SELAYANG: Residents from the Ampang Old Folks Home were treated by Sky Hotel Selayang to a Chinese New Year dinner featuring “yee sang” recently. “We organised the party to show our love, care and concern for the elderly,” said senior hotel manager Angeline Lim. The hotel presented ang pows, goody bags and mandarin oranges to the seniors apart from donating RM3,000 to the home. Ampang Old Folks Home was established in 1952 to house those in their golden years.
Regional cuisine at Botanic Cafe
February 10 — 12, 2012
Mongolian chicken with rice
Grilled chicken chop with black pepper
Ayam bengel with rice
By Brenda Ch’ng
f you’re out on a hunt to satisfy cravings for yummy Asian dishes, look no further as Botanic Cafe Sdn Bhd has the remedy you need to cure that hankering. Positioned at a strategic corner on Jalan Mahogani, Bandar Botanic Klang, this double-storey cafe serves a wide variety of dishes from Indonesia, China, Malaysia along with some fusion cuisines. Not surprising, the cafe is packed to the brim most nights with patrons of all ages. We meandered our way through the busy alfresco seating outside and got lucky by grabbing a table in the air-conditioned room inside. Service was prompt as one of the numerous waiters handed us their picturesque menu, recommended us some dishes and took our orders without a second to lose. First up was their best seller, Mongolian chicken served with rice and a small handful of pickled vegetables on the sides. This dish, which apparently sells out every night, consists of a piece of fried chicken breast, drizzled with the Mongolian sauce which tasted a little spicy, sweet and sour all at once. Originating from Northern China, the Mongolian chicken is usually seasoned and cooked with Chinese rice wine, ground bean sauce and a handful of spices. There were definitely hints of onions, dried chili, garlic and pepper tasted in the chicken, making it a well-seasoned piece of chicken breast. For those who are familiar with and love eating the infamous Mongolian beef, have a change of heart and give this dish a go. It is recommended to share the
Bak choy mango juice
dish among two people if you are not really hungry as the portion of chicken and rice might be too much for some. Next up was the all-time favourite Malaysian-style barbecued dish ayam percik, which is not hard to make but tricky to land the perfect seasoning. Percik, which means ‘sprinkle’ in English, got its name because in the olden days, chefs used to sprinkle additional seasoning onto the chicken while it was being cooked on the barbecue pit. Served with two sides, rice and pickled vegetables, we hurriedly cut into the moist chicken drumstick and thigh, eager to sample its taste. First, we sampled the chicken alone to get a taste of the thick curry like paste drenched on the meat. It isn’t as spicy as it looks, but it’s
recommended to be eaten with rice, so the tangy spice from the sauce would be soaked up by the rice and not overwhelm your palate. The flavour alone was aromatic, as we could taste some of the local herbs used like chili, ginger, lemongrass, onions and garlic. However, if you prefer an alternate sauce on the chicken, peanut sauce might be the next best choice. Third up was the ayam bengel, also served with a portion of rice, pickled vegetables and chili paste (sambal). First we ate the chicken alone before dipping it into the sambal, which came together with the dish. Cooked and marinated in local Malay spices as well, the chicken was drier compared to the previous dish, as it wasn’t topped with any
sauce. The chicken drumstick and thigh were cooked to tender perfection and the sauce was indeed something different. It is recommended not to dip the chicken into the sambal, as the piquancy of the chili paste might overwhelm the flavour of the already seasoned ayam bengel. It was hard to pin-point what exactly the seasoning was, but for Malay food lovers, it is a must-try. Before wiping our mouths and
getting the cheque, the home-made tiramisu cake which was being served at other tables caught our eye. Topped with a layer of chopped almonds, the moist coffee flavoured cake was lined with what tasted like mascarpone cream cheese. If it’s made softer, this version of the tiramisu can be filled into small desert glasses, which are usually served at high-end Italian restaurants. Another must-try is the bak choy mango juice, which is a healthy, refreshing drink blended with nothing but ice. Though the juice may look green in colour due to the vegetable, it tastes just like mango. Botanic Cafe is located at 2-0, 2-1, Jalan Mahogani, 1/KS7, Bandar Botanic, Klang.
Gadgets galore at CES
By Edwin Yapp
20 February 10 — 12, 2012
nce again, the world was treated to the world’s largest electronic and gadget show, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas, California, from Jan 10-13. Much has been reported about the show itself and no doubt, some of you dear readers would have kept up with the news at hand, so that you will know what are the many new electronic wares that are expected to come out later this year. Nonetheless, for those who may not have done so, here’s what I thought were big trends and products announced at this year’s CES. Nokia Windows Phone Also known as the Nokia Lumia 900, this much talked about and anticipated phone which debuted at the CES is the latest Windows phone [the first Nokia Windows phone was the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710] that Nokia has co-developed with Microsoft since they announced early last year about their planned collaboration. The Lumia boasts of being one of the first phones that supports Long Term Evolution (LTE), the next generation wireless broadband technology that can go up to five to 10 times faster than what is capable today. The Lumia uses a 1.4 GHz processor and a 4.3-inch super AMOLED (active matrix organic LED) clear black display, 8 megapixel (MP) rear camera and a 1MB front camera [Carl Zeiss lens] wrapped in a polycarbonate material, which first appeared in the Lumia 800 and the Nokia N9. It comes equipped with a 1830 mAh battery, but the 16GB of internal memory is not expandable due to the lack of a memory slot. However, this will likely be sufficient for most buyers with the included Windows SkyDrive cloud storage to which the Lumia 900 can connect . The Lumia runs Windows Phone’s latest Mango operating system and will be supported by AT&T in US initially. One can’t know how the Lumia 900 will stack against the competition, but initial responses to the latest 10-inch tablet, the Asus Transformer Prime 201. Little was said about the up-andcoming Windows 8 powered tablets except to note that it is expected to debut in the second half of this year. Other interesting gear One gadget that certainly caught my eye was Victorinox, the maker of the Swiss Army Knife line, which announced a knife that sports a whopping 1TB USB 3.0 SSD (solid state drive). But before you drool over this fantastic accessory, try looking at the price - US$3,000! Obviously just a marketing gimmick, Victorinox will also offer the device in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, though the company has not yet revealed the price of these models. Lastly, another interesting but his time affordable gadget that caught my eye was TPLink’s world’s smallest router measuring 2.5” x 2.5” x 0.7” [smaller than a credit card] that supports speeds of up to 150Mbps. The device is powered through a micro USB port by an external power adapter or USB connection to a computer. TPLink also unveiled its portable 3G/3.75G Battery Powered Wireless N Router (TL-MR3040) which provides up to 4.5 hours of networking, wire-free on a single charge. An external power adaptor or USB connection provides more juice as required. You can plug in a 3G modem to its micro-USB port, and you can share your mobile connection at 150 Mbps to 5 devices.
phone have been positive, as testified by Lumia 900 winning the best phone award at CES 2012 awarded by technology portal CNET. Some believe that Lumia 900 may be a success because it’s the first time Nokia and Microsoft have collaborated closely with a mobile operator, AT&T, to bring out a product that is integrated together tightly, akin to how Apple has done it over the years. Ultrabooks This is another very big theme that dominated CES 2012. Reports from some tech portals noted that there were as many as 20 ultrabook models announced at the event. Essentia l ly, u ltrabooks are lightweight, slim laptops backed by powerful hardware and extended battery life due to its their power-efficient chip designs and software management. The one that caught the eye of many is the Asus’ Zenbook. The Zenbook has sleek lines
that feature a concentric circle design, and boasts a thickness of just 8.9mm at the rear that tapers to 2.8mm at the front. It uses the latest Intel Core i7 processors, SATA Revision 3.0 solid state storage (S S D), Blueto oth V4.0 and
and thick at 20mm. It does, however, sport a great display, near field communication in the palm rest and an Intel Wireless Display and Beats Audio. Others that were showcased at CES were Acer’s S5 and Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. Tablets While tablet computers were the toast at CES 2011, excitement seemed to have dulled over these little computing machines. That said, there were some interesting tablets on display at CES 2012, the first of which must be Asus MeMO, powered by NVidia’s Tegra3, a quad-core chip. This 7-inch, US$250 tablet comes equipped with Google’s latest Android-powered operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, is touted to be the world’s first and most powerful 7-inch tablet. The announcement comes off the back of Asus introducing its
USB 3.0 with USB Charge. Asus claims that its patented Super Hybrid Engine II technology intelligently conserves battery life to give the Zenbook up to 25% more battery life than other ultrabooks. Other ultrabooks in the news were Dell’s XPS 13, the computer maker’s first ultrabook which tapers from 18 to 6mm and is made from aluminum and carbon fibre. The entry-level unit’s got a Core i5 CPU, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM and a backlit keyboard, but it doesn’t include an SD card slot, which is pretty standard these days on ultrabooks. HP’s Envy 14 Spectre was another ultrabook that debuted, but it’s kind of heavy at 1.7kgs
February 10 — 13, 2012
n a hot afternoon on the 8th day of the Lunar Year of the Water Dragon, some residents saw it fit to find respite in one of the most picturesque and restful sites in Selangor. The Batu Dam which is located near Batu Caves is one of the five Selangor dams. The other four are the Klang Gates Dam, Langat Dam, Semenyih Dam and Selangor River Dam. These five dams provide about 98 per cent of the water supply in the state. What is little known to people who live outside the boundaries of these dams is the beauty, ecological balance and the biodiversity of these places. In the forests of Hulu Gombak near Empangan Batu or the Batu Dam, there are around 460 macroinvertebrates (aquatic lifeforms without backbone) and 1,000 species of moths. The natural splendour of Batu Dam has not been given public acknowledgement for a long time. However, if you are travelling towards Ulu Yam Lama via the winding mountain road, you will catch a glimpse of the vast expanse of water and its lovely green tapestry. Images of serene and placid waters of the Batu Dam have often caught unsuspecting motorists by surprise. There are a few spots for those who want to re-acquaint themselves with Mother Nature at this dam. A word of caution: watch out for the speeding vehicles that travel on both sides of the road. Since the road is on an incline, vehicles coming up tend to rev their engines for the extra power. Vehicles travelling downwards naturally just go with the flow and that’s A perfect getaway for those who are familiar with natural assets of Empangan Batu. normally fast. For first timers and curious families on a leisurely cruise, there are benches and tiny chalet-like shelters for brief moments of quiet contemplation and an opportunity to absorb and gasp at the breathtaking view. Youths knee-deep in water fishing for the On the afternoon of my second elusive big one. visit, half a dozen Malay youths were spotted fishing down at the sandy edge of the waters. Their visible enthusiasm in one of Malaysia’s favourite pastimes quickly was clearly infectious. One of the older youths revealed A man sits under the shade that his friend had caught a Toman and amphibian species existing in enjoying the serenity of the which is also known as Giant the State park. environment. Snakehead or Giant Mudfish. ToBatu Dam is but one of the areas The baby man is considered to be quite a year, the Selangor State Govern- that help sustain and maintain the Snakehead which catch by some anglers. ment gazetted over 93,000 hectares ecological balance of these lifewas caught by The Malaysian Snakehead has of land as “State Park” or Taman forms, besides acting as an imporone of the boys. been known to reach one metre Warisan Negeri Selangor. tant source of clean water for the (adult size) in length and weigh scenic spots at the reservoir are dam compelled an unplanned walk Taman Warisan covers three State. within easy reach. Presently, the along some well-worn paths. A districts – Hulu Selangor, Hulu more than 20 kilos. But as one gazes at the tranquil However, the one which I was authorities have provided walking loud sound emanating from the Langat and Gombak – and four emerald landscape, Nature’s lifeshown turned out to be a baby To- and jogging tracks and public toi- deep undergrowth prompted a local councils. The 109,300 –hect- forms that thrive beneath the waslowing of steps. man of about 10 inches. The boys lets for visitors at the dam. are Taman Warisan has a direct ters, inside the bushes, on the trees There had been plans to introAs the bird-like call echoed bearing on the State’s reservoirs as and in the air keep a discreet disobviously came well prepared for long hours of fishing because their duce kayaking and accommodation across the waters, it met a similar it supplies water from the high- tance from walking and talking gear boxes and rods were placed like chalets at the Batu Dam. So it response from another bird or lands to the catchment areas. humans. haphazardly on the semi-dry sandy was not unusual to see a sign at the creature from a long distance away. The importance of Taman WarStill, it is reassuring to know that site advertising a resort located Hill hikers will tell you that in the isan in preserving the quality of we all are part of a grander scheme patch. One of the younger boys said further up the road which offered upper regions of little explored water and maintaining the biodi- of things where humans and creasometimes they would fish from facilities like fishing, hill trekking, areas, animal sounds are common. versity of the surrounding habitats tures must co-exist harmoniously These sounds, whether they are has been well documented. Its to achieve a perfect balance on this dawn till dusk. A visionary survey swimming, camping and eateries. However, the authorities have made by monkeys or large birds, other role as a rich ecological land- fragile planet. of the wide dam filled with greenish blue water provided ample also made it clear that certain ac- tend to act as some kind of com- scape for research and educational Empangan Batu or Batu Dam justification why these young peo- tivities are prohibited at the dam munication among inhabitants of purposes has also been safeguarded stands as a wonderful testament to ple could spend long hours at site. Hawker stalls, dogs, football, the animal kingdom. and enhanced. all things bright and beautiful cycling, throwing of rubbish, vanThe Batu Dam was built as a Empangan Batu. Researchers and scientists have when Mother Nature and her Batu Dam has proven its worth dalism and courting activities are catchment area to supply water for recorded that there are 114 mam- guests, we humans, share responsiSelangor. It does not have a role as mals, 104 freshwater fish species, bilities in maintaining order on this to residents of Selayang Baru, all disallowed. My hour-long stopover at the a power generator. In March last 355 bird species and 202 reptilian beautiful Third Rock from the Sun. Gombak and Batu Caves as some
Batu reservoir bares its soul
There are places in Selangor that lift the spirit and make hearts soar. LIN ZHENYUAN revisits a Zenlike environment and returns with a bounce in his steps.
Sunshine and shadows contribute to a magnificent and memorable landscape.
The steps and the beaten path leads to the edge of the water at the reservoir.
Reflections of the blue sky on the waters of the Batu Dam.
february 10 — 12, 2012
Klang municipal councillor Robert Choo (right), Sri Andalas assemblyperson Dr Xavier Jayakumar, councillors Lim Lip Suan (third from left) and Tan Heng Kim (second from left) and MPK staff giving out ang pow to senior citizens at MPK’s Chinese New Year event last Friday at Dewan Hamzah.
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (centre) helping distribute mandarin oranges to devotees at Batu Caves on Monday night. He is flanked by state executive councillors Ronnie Liu (in batik), Dr Xavier Jayakumar (second from right) and Kapar MP S Manikavasagam (right).
Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan handing out mini hampers and ang pow to a senior citizen at his constituency’s open house at Taman Chi Liung on Feb 4.
Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib (in orange Baju Melayu) walking in a Maulidur Rasul procession with a contingent from DarAlQuran Wal-AlHadith Taman Permata, at his constituency on Monday.
Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib with his constituents after watching a lion dance at Kuala Ampang New Village morning market on Monday.
february 10 — 12, 2012
A glimpse into ourselves
Comedy: Feb 8-11 (8.30pm), Feb 12 (3pm); PJ Live Arts Theatre, Jaya One, PJ; www. pjla.com.my; RM30-RM50.
Three And A Half Men
The Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians (MACC) is back with the Chinese New Year installment of “THREE and a half MEN”. The original run, which was staged in August, sold out two weeks in advance. The main draw are seasoned comedians Douglas Lim, Kuah Jenhan, Phoon Chi Ho and Dr Jason.
Thyagaraja Tansen Music Festival
Music: Feb 9-12 (10am); Shantanand Auditorium; 03-22743709; www.tfa.org.my; Free.
The Temple of Fine Arts International will hold a series of workshops and performances by artists to celebrate the diversity and beauty of Indian Classical Music. Among the events lined up are 3 Generations by Dr N Rajam, Jugalbandi Concert by Ravindra Parchure and Sveta Kilpady and others.
During my interview with Alfian in January, he said that his purpose of writing the play was not to send out a message or to teach any lessons. Rather, his intentions were to make people ask questions about their own experiences as Malaysians. I think that really did happen. At the end of the day, I was reminded that we should never negate the fact that every race is unique and has gone through different historical paths. What we should do is appreciate these things and celebrate the similarities that our races share.
Music: Feb 11 (8.30pm), Feb 12 (3pm); Dewan Filharmonik, KLCC; 03-20417007; www.mpo.com.my; RM40-RM150.
England-born maestro Nicolas McGegan will continue Beethoven’s solo concerto this weekend, conducting a series of well-loved pieces. The MPO will perform Beck’s “La Mort d’Orphee” Overture, Schubert’s “Die Verschworenen” Overture and Clementi’s Symphony No 4 in D. In addition the MPO will collaborate with piano virtuoso Benedetto Lupo to present Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4 in G.
A date with Beethoven
Lessons in Love
Music: Feb 11 (10am); The Annexe Gallery, Central Market, KL; 03-79552680; www.facebook.com/AIMalaysia; Free.
Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with a one-day programme of four movie screenings to discover love with human rights. This programme is organized by Amnesty International malaysia. Among the films on show are The Help (10am), The Kite Runner (12pm), Precious (2pm) and Son of Babylon (4pm).
By Dominic Luk
PARAH, which was staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre from Feb 1-6, tells the tale of four Form 5 students: Melur (Farah Rani), Kahoe (Gregory Sze), Mahesh (Branavan Aruljothi), and Hafiz (Iedil Putra). Produced by Instant Cafe Theatre Company and directed by Jo Kukathas, the two-hour play brought forth a whirlwind of emotions, questions, and a whole lot of laughter. For a fact, the overarching theme of racial identities in Malaysia is not a laughing matter. What this play successfully did was to show us our true Malaysian colours, like how we make fun of other races, and how we forget to appreciate our own. It is even more of a pleasant surprise that the playwright, Alfian Saat, is Singaporean. The story begins with Melur discovering that a page from a novel, ‘Interlok’, belonging to her mother has been torn out. As the four friends try to figure out why a page was missing, they discover the realities of living in a multiracial country. Based on Yasmin Ahmad’s film, ‘Talentime’ and Abdullah Hussein’s ‘Interlok’, the story showed us just how much our different races (and the stereotypes that come with them) control the way we think and live. During the first scene when the four students are hanging out in Melur’s living room, we see what looks like the perfect 1Malaysia image. This, however, melts slowly into an intriguing series of conflicts and misunderstandings. As the play progressed, I actually began to feel like I was no longer watching a story about four students. Instead, it reached a point where I felt like I was looking at my own life: how, in school, we used to laugh and joke about students from all sorts of races. One (among so many) memorable incident in the play is when Mahesh explains how he got into a taxi driven by an Indian uncle. When the driver asked Mahesh a question in Tamil, he found it difficult to explain that he could not understand the question and would prefer to speak in Malay.
After all, we ultimately belong to the human race, and we can never run away from that. Putting philosophical observations aside, the stage set was simply sufficient which made the storyline shine out more. The cast did a great job at portraying their different personalities and so nothing got stale throughout the whole play. I just wished that the actors had microphones on them, so that when the crowd burst into laughter, the dialogues could still be heard clearly (I was grateful, though, for the very accurate surtitles). Parah is a show every Malaysian should watch. It’s a glimpse into who we think we are not, when indeed, we are.
Music: Feb 14 (9pm); Alexis Bistro, Great Eastern Mall, KL; 0342602288; email@example.com; table bookings for diners only.
Looking for that perfect date on Valentine’s Day? Malaysia’s favourite soul queen Ning Baizura and pianist Aylwin Santiago will take you on a journey of love with songs dating as far back as the early 1900s.
Theatre: Feb 8-11 (8.30pm), Feb 12 (3pm); The Actors Studio @ Lot 10 Roof Top; www. theactorsstudio.com.my; RM28-RM48.
After a successful opening last year, where it played to full houses, Frank McGuinness’ highly acclaimed masterpiece is back! The play deals with an Englishman, an Irishman and an American who are taken hostage in a windowless cell in Beirut. As they fight to survive, they escape into their fantasy worlds by shooting films or reliving Wimbledon to comfort each other and just hang on until...
Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me
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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