Pakatan Marks four Years in selangor

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March 16 – 18, 2012/ issue 65

Breaking deadlock over Puchong schools
By Gan Pei Ling

shah alaM: Selangor will appeal Putrajaya’s decision to ride roughshod over the state’s decision to allocate land for branch schools for SJK (C) Yak Chee , SMJK Katholik and for the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom). The Education Ministry, in a letter dated Nov 25, had informed the state that the 13-acre land in Taman Tasik Prima had instead been earmarked for new national primary and secondary schools. Selangor executive councillor Teresa Kok said the move to appeal the decision was made at the state exco meeting on Tuesday. Both Selangor and the Education Ministry are at loggerheads over the issue and the state will also be conducting a survey and public hearing to determine what the people of Puchong want and need, in a bid to break the deadlock. “Merdeka Centre will conduct the public survey as soon as possible. Once that’s done, we’ll hold a public hearing,” said Kok to Selangor Times yesterday. The Kinrara assemblyperson noted that there are already four primary and two secondary national schools as opposed to only one Chinese primary school – SJK (C) Han Ming – within a 3km radius of Taman Tasik Prima. However, Han Ming is already

packed with close to 4,000 students, and parents have had to send their children to SJK (C) Yak Chee, about 11km away from Taman Tasik Prima. But even Yak Chee is already filled to the brim. Its school board chairperson, Liong Yen Lam, said the vernacular school turned away 700 to 800 students a year. Liong said they have collected around 40,000 to 50,000 signatures from residents who support the move to build vernacular schools in Taman Tasik Prima. Chong Fah Loong, who sits on SMJK Katholik’s board of directors, said one-third of their students (1,000) came from Puchong. “We need more vernacular schools in Puchong. The parents want to send their children to Chinese schools to learn Mandarin. Why is the education ministry making life difficult for us?” said Chong. The schools aim to collect 100,000 signatures to be submitted to the ministry. The ministry in a written rely to a parliamentary question, raised by Kok, on the issue yesterday said the allocation of school land is the prerogative of the Federal Government and the land has been allocated to national schools in 2009. The reply also noted that the Education Act 1996 does not recognise or provide for the building of “branch” schools.

KEEPING WARM...Hulu Langat flood victims receiving much needed aid and financial assistance from the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia on Tuesday morning. Storms and heavy rains on March 7 affected six villages and 300 Malay and Chinese families received blankets and RM300 cash from the foundation. Story on page 4.

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Khalid: Water privatisation a failure
“But in Selangor, the private concession companies chosen to treat and distribute water were not skilled nor experienced in the water services industry. Without sufficient equity, the water distribution company began to compromise on its water quality and service delivery, forcing high tariffs on consumers.” He added that in 2008, half of the 13 water companies in the states in Malaysia had experienced financial deficits and water operations had a RM1 billion operating deficit. “There should have been specific and detailed clauses providing penalties for the companies’ failure to comply with conditions. In our case, the agreement was so flawed that when the distributor experienced financial difficulties, the government eventually underwrote the companies’ debts.” “The question for the state government now is whether privatisation can work, and if so, how? Malaysia is a case where water services were used by a rentier class, domestic drivers of privatisation and political kingmakers, through their well-oiled connections.” He said the solution lies in ensuring that water services are treated holistically and the state has made efforts to do so by adhering to the processes detailed in the Water Services Industry Act 2006 which sets out to consolidate the industry. The Act also provides for decentralisation of water services. Although this was passed at the federal level, the Barisan Nasional-led federal government was hesitant to implement it following a surprise win by the Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor following the 12th General Election in March 2008. “So when the time came for the state government to buy over the shares of private companies (as stipulated in the Act) they responded with a hostile attitude.” He explained that the state has had three rounds of negotiations and formal offers were presented but the concessionaires demanded higher compensation and to date the situation has not improved. He stressed that political interests is a major factor that is impeding reform. Instead of pushing for complete and wholesale buying of the water services industry, the federal government has extended the private operators’ leases. Khalid was among seven federated state leaders who spoke at the session – themed “Towards better water governance: Solution for Regional actors” –  which is hosted by Regions United (FOGAR) at the World Water Forum. This is the first time Selangor has raised the issue at an international forum, following more than two years of negotiations to take over the water services industry. Khalid is expected to speak further on the issue today (Friday) in London.

March 16 — 18, 2012

SHAH ALAM: Malaysia’s water services privatisation failure due to abuse was highlighted by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim at the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France on Wednesday (pic). ”(Water privatisation) has failed in Malaysia as it has been used to benefit the rentier class at the expense of consumers,” said the Menteri Besar, who was speaking at the session for local and regional authorities. Khalid said while there have been successful cases of privatised water operations at the international level, the Malaysian chapter is not the case. “This is a classic case of a country’s failed attempt at privatising a public utility, made worse by two factors: the inextricable nexus between political and business sectors where private individual profitability is prioritised, and conflicting political interests”. He stressed that privatisation in theory is not wrong as it is meant to address the government’s budgetary constraints and improve efficiency and competitiveness.

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Syabas says water cut legal
By Basil Foo

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SHAH ALAM: Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) is maintaining that it was well within its rights to cut supply to apartments at Pandan Utama 2 from Feb 14 to Feb 25. “ISome 160 walk-up apartment residents were left in a lurch for 12 days after supply was cut due to the actions of an errant developer found to be stealing and supplying water from a Syabas main since 2010. “Taking water illegally goes against the Water Services Industry Act 2006, Section 123 (1),” said  the water concessionaire in a statement in response to a Selangor Times article entitled “Residents lash out at Syabas” (Feb 24-Feb 26). Syabas pointed out that the law stipulates that no one, apart from the licence holders, can make any connections to a main public pipe or service pipe. The apartments and 20 shoplots were developed in 2008 but water supply infrastructure including tanks, pumps, and external suction tanks were supposed to be built by the developer earlier in order for water to be supplied.  As the permanent water supply system was never completed, Syabas could not supply water.  On May 5, 2009, the developer re-

quested temporary supply but Syabas could not consider the request.  In the meantime, residents started to move in despite the lack of water supply. Subsequently, Syabas found that residents living there were obtaining water through an illegal connection to an existing 300mm Syabas pipe along Jalan Cempaka 1 since 2010. On Feb 15, 2012, Syabas cut the illegal water connection by closing a sluice valve at the main pipe which channeled water into the area. After the water cut, Syabas held a meeting with residents and the developer on Feb 15, 2012 to find the best way to resolve the issue. From the meeting, the developer was asked to pay Syabas RM185,000 for 17 months of illegal water usage.  The developer was also advised to complete construction of the permanent water supply system to allow Syabas to channel water to the housing area. Concerning the issue of a RM1.94 million bank guarantee that had to be paid by the developer, Syabas  clarified that the amount was based on calculations which took into account the construction of a water pond which had not been built at the site which was occupied by squatters. According to Syabas the state has made

a  commitment to manage the relocation of these squatters. The State Economic Advisor’s Office will also call on three developers in the area to provide the bank guarantee and pay for construction works of the permanent water supply system.  Pandan Utama 2 Housing Area residents had their water supply reconnected by Syabas through a temporary water supply system at 1pm on Feb 25 after one of the developers installed a bulk meter in the area as was agreed upon on Feb 24. However, Syabas has also informed residents to make a request for individual meters and pay a deposit before they can be installed at their units.  “Hopefully with the explanation given, residents at the housing area will understand the water shortage problems in their area,” said Syabas. However it was reported that the residents were upset as they felt they were paying the price for the developer’s mistakes. Resident Mohd Azam Meor said the lack of water put children, pregnant women, and senior citizens at risk as they had to carry pails of water up flights of stairs. “Water is something basic. The supply should not have been disconnected over money and cheques.” .

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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 3

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March 16 — 18, 2012

No landslip in Bukit Gasing, says developer
By Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd is denying media reports that a landslip occurred at its construction site after heavy rains last week. “The photos (of exposed earth) were taken out of context. The contractor noticed some cracks on the slope the day before, so they removed the turf (of grass) to compact the earth,” Gasing Meridian executive director Leo Tan told Selangor Times on Tuesday. He added that he was upset that the media did not seek clarification from Gasing Meridian before publishing the stories. “As the landowner, we’ve every interest to ensure slope stability. We’re not going to do anything to jeopardise our own land,” said Tan in a phone interview. He added that the company has

appointed Ikram Engineering Services Sdn Bhd to monitor the construction of the low-density Sanctuary Ridge luxury project of 69 bungalows. When asked about the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report, Tan said a copy had been made available to residents. “We’ve provided all the information, and we did the EIA even though it wasn’t compulsory for our project which involves less than 40 acres of land.” Residents at Gasing Indah however remain concerned over what they described as “soil erosion” at the project site last week and after Chinese New Year. Joint Action Group for Bukit Gasing committee member Gary Yeoh was unconvinced with the developer’s explanation. “The photos speak for themselves. They only started removing

the earth after the landslip happened (after heavy rain last Wednesday night),” he said on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Joint Action Group for Bukit Gasing unanimously decided on Tuesday to appeal to the Federal Court for a public hearing on the project. “We still feel strongly about the case. We would have had a hearing if the project was in Petaling Jaya, but just because it’s in Kuala Lumpur, we are denied the right to a public hearing,” said Yeoh. The group, which has campaigned against the project since 2006, suffered a major blow when the Court of Appeal ruled against them on March 6. It decided that the public hearing was not required under the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 as the project did not involve a change in land use or an increase in population density.

Liu (second from left) listening to Roslan as Zainal Abidin and Asmawi look on.

Cleaning services improving after initial hiccups
By Alvin Yap

Some of the people who received the aid from the association.

Buddhist Association moves to aid flood victims
HULU LANGAT: Some 300 families affected by floods in the district last week received much needed assistance from the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-chi Foundation Malaysia, on Tuesday. The foundation handed out blankets and cash amounting to RM100,000 to the victims affected by the day-long downpour on March 7 at the Hulu Langat Batu 18 hall. “We gave each family RM300 and two blankets, to buy necessities and keep them warm at night,” said the foundation’s chief executive director Echo Chien. She said the 700 blankets were made by the foundation, from recycled plastic water bottles. Fibre found in the bottles was processed and used to make the environmentally friendly blankets. “Blankets were given because that was what the families asked for when we spoke to them last weekend.” A total of 170 volunteers from the foundation visited six villages in the area, all of which were affected by the floods. The villages are Kampung Semungkis, Kampung Sungai Sop, Kampung Jawa Batu 18, Taman Indah Jaya, Kampung Rantau Panjang and Kampung Sungai Serai. “Kampung Sungai Serai was the worst hit, with 120 families affected,” said a volunteer from the foundation, Ong Kian Giap. During their site visit, volunteers also visited a dilapidated grocery shop at Batu14, Jalan Besar, owned by an old couple and their autistic son. “Their shop was run down and dirty. We decided to help them by cleaning their shop and repairing whatever we could, last Sunday,” Ong said.

SHAH ALAM: Three local governments have acknowledged disruptions in cleaning and waste collection after new contractors were appointed early this month, but added that complaints had been falling. The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Selayang (MPS) and Subang Jaya (MPSJ) municipal councils (MPS) all registered exceptionally high number of complaints after March 1. “It cannot be denied that we have logged a lot of complaints beginning the first week of March. It’s getting better. We registered fewer complaints week after week,” said MPSJ president Datuk  Zainal Abidin Aala during a briefing at the state secretariat yesterday. MPS had moved to send in backup contractors to deal with areas that operators had missed. Among the areas under MPS jurisdiction, Batu Caves had the most complaints of missed garbage collection schedules, followed by Gombak and Kepong. Zainal admitted that the slack was also caused by a few domestic waste operators who had quit voluntarily as they could not keep up with their end of the contract. “They could not meet their schedules repeatedly. They opted to terminate mutually the contract with MPS,” he said. He did not disclose how many contractors had thrown in the towel, but pointed out the municipal council would re-tender the vacant positions by end of April. Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Roslan Sakiman also confirmed that areas in SS2, SS20, SS21, SS22, SS 23 as well as Section 17 had experienced irregular garbage collection schedules in the last two weeks. Likewise, he said the city council had registered a spike in complaints after new domestic waste and public cleaning contractors started duty on March 1. Roslan promised to tackle the problem within a week’s time, add-

ing that he would personally go on patrols with MBPJ’s Environmental Health monitoring teams to oversee the matter. “They are getting used to the roads in PJ. I am giving them one more week to get used to their routes and schedules,” he said. He added that the number of public complaints had been on the decline due to MBPJ back-up crews sent into the “problem areas”. MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi reported that its Public Complaints bureau had registered some 361 complaints in the first week of March. It reduced to 164 complaints by the second week, which Asmawi said was due to back-up contractors attending to the problem areas. Areas such as PJS 7 and PJS 11, as well as Wangsa Baiduri, SS 17, SS 18, USJ 9, USJ 10 and USJ 11 had reported cases of missed garbage collection schedules. State executive councillor Ronnie Liu, who was at the meeting, said he wanted any outstanding problems solved within a week. Liu, whose portfolio includes local government, added that the state is expecting an initial order of 50 garbage compactor trucks to arrive in April. He said that the trucks would be leased to contractors who are unable to afford buying the 18-ton vehicles. “We will appoint a state government-linked company to carry out the lease and provide maintenance for the trucks.” Liu said many would-be contractors could not afford to purchase the trucks. He pointed out that the leasing rates would be “much lower” than the amount offered by private companies. He added that the trucks would also be leased to local governments for their own in-house use. He announced that up to 15 per cent cleaning and waste collection can be done in-house by local authorities. “This is to take up the slack in case of emergencies or disruptions.”.

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 5

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march 16 — 18, 2012

Show of support for Chinese schools

Bazaar to liven up Port Klang
KLANG: Residents here can look forward to an esplanade bazaar which will be held at Tanjung Harapan in Port Klang every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from March 16. “This is an effort by the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) to develop the area which has potential to be a tourist destination,” said MPK acting president Ehsan Mukri. Apart from shopping at the bazaar’s 60 stalls, tourists can partake in recreational activities and enjoy scenic vistas which the beach there is famous for. The bazaar, a first step towards future development in the area, is planned to attract crowds of local and foreign tourists. “Items at the bazaar will be offered at attractive prices with all sorts of exciting offers fit for the whole family,” Ehsan said, adding that the public is invited to an officiating ceremony which will be conducted at the bazaar at 1pm on March 24. Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is slated to attend the programme which will contain several fun-filled activities and various souvenirs for guests. Tanjung Harapan, located near the North Port of Port Klang, has been renowned amongst locals for its seafood, served by restaurants on stilts which line its waterways.

A dinner to support the construction of school branches SMJK Katholik (2) and SJK(C) Yak Chee (2) in Taman Puchong Utama last Friday.

By Basil Foo

PUCHONG: About 6,000 people attended a dinner to support the construction of school branches for SMJK Katholik (2) and SJK(C) Yak Chee (2) last March 9. “We are asking the federal government to approve the schools in this area,” said Petaling District Chinese School Development working committee chairperson Lim Keh Kuan. He was speaking during the dinner, held at a field next to Carrefour Puchong Utama, to members of over 32 Chinese business and community organisations. He said the working committee noted an increase in students over the past 10 years with many of the district’s students coming from Puchong. “Puchong has been a high growth region. Over 1,000 students in our school come from this area,” said SMJK Katholik board chairperson Datuk Lim Hock San. SMJK Katholik and SJK(C) Yak Chee are facing space constraints due to years of high enrolment, with

an average of 3,400 and 4,000 students respectively.  Due to lack of space, both schools turn away hundreds of potential students every year. The schools turned to the Selangor government after their applications to build branches were rejected by the Education Ministry last year. The state then approved land for the schools to establish their branches in Taman Tasik Prima and resubmitted the application to the ministry on Sept 30. The ministry rejected the application again and stated, in a letter dated Nov 25, that the 5.26-hectare school reserve land would be retained for national schools. “The policy for construction of Chinese schools should reflect Malaysia’s multicultural and multilingual reality,” stressed Keh Kuan. He hoped both the federal and state governments would work together to build the school branches. Also at the dinner was Selangor state executive councillor and Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok and Puchong member of Parliament Gobind Singh Deo.

Use council’s hotline, residents urged
KLANG: Ratepayers here are being encouraged to bring complaints of poor rubbish collection to the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) following the appointment of new rubbish contractors. “There may be delays (in rubbish collection) due to the appointment of new contractors, causing a few cases of backlog,” said MPK acting president Ehsan Mukri. He said the complications that may arise were due to the contractors needing time to adjust to the new collection routes. The recent erratic weather was said to have also hampered rubbish collection efforts. “The council is working hard to ensure issues of rubbish collection are addressed thoroughly.” The appointment of new contractors by the council was to enhance rubbish collection especially in areas which received many complaints from residents. However, some of the complaints were found to be inaccurate or false. Ehsan warned against making false complaints and said the MPK was strict in implementing conditions for the newly-appointed contractors. The contractors needed to have their own trash compactors to carry out their own collections without having to subcontract the work to third parties. For rubbish complaints, the public can call the MPK Environmental Services Department at 016-2720406 (Kamachy) for North Klang and 016-2506796 (Razif ) for South Klang. For cleaning services, ratepayers can call 019-2245381 for North Klang, 016-3824471 for South Klang, or 03-33726781.

WanitaSuper to rally on Sunday
SHAH ALAM: The Women’s Aid Organisation housing, health, transportation, education, living (WAO) will take to the streets while wearing white wages and environmental protection. gloves during the Women’s Voices for Change rally “As the country prepares for the next general electhis coming Sunday. tions, we want our elected representatives to commit “The gloves represent clean hands (and) a clean to ensuring a clean government for Malaysia,” she government… we want our political leaders to accept stressed. and realise the demands of women,” said WAO exFor more details, visit facebook.com/wanitasuecutive director Ivy Josiah. perMY or twitter.com/wanitasuperMY or #wanitaThe organisation’s staff, members and volunteers super. will join thousands of women from across the counAttributes of a Clean Government try at 2pm at Padang Astaka, Petaling Jaya. Josiah, in a press release on Wednesday, said elected representatives should commit to a corruption-free 1. A clean government does not squander money government and introduce a decent living wage. 2. A clean government includes its citizens in She also called for an end to gender-based viodecision-making through genuine and open lence, the repeal of laws that restrict public assemblies consultation. and the establishment of free and fair elections. 3. A clean government ensures the impartiality and “Our demand for a corruption-free and accountefficacy of public institutions, including the able government is crucial, as women are particujudiciary, the anti-corruption watchdog and the larly vulnerable to the consequences of corruption,” police force. she added. 4. A clean government ensures the safety of its citizens The women’s rights activist said women suffer the from gender-based violence consequences of poor enforcement of laws relating 5. A clean government ensures that citizens can to personal safety and gender-based violence. exercise their right to assemble peacefully She claimed that the misuse of millions of ringgit 6. A clean government has a mandate to govern only has deprived women of funds needed for adequate when elections are free and fair

Clogged drains raising a stink in SS3
By Alvin Yap

Lau wants restaurant operators to stop dumping waste into the drains.

PETALING JAYA: Summonses and warnings have failed to deter restaurants in SS3 from clogging neighbourhood drains with waste and a state lawmaker is calling on the council to take firmer action.  “They have been slapped with s umm o n s e s a n d n o ti c e s t o

stop dumping food directly into the drains. They’ve paid the fines but still carry on,” said Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San. “They are responsible for the situation and have to stop dumping food waste into the drains.” Lau, who visited the site at SS3/31 on  Wednesday, said he

would be raising the issue with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).   He pointed out that the actions of the restaurants is raising the ire of other business owners as well as ratepayers in the area. There are four restaurants that operate from the shoplots which have been identified as the culprits.  Lau added that he has been re-

ceiving complaints of stench due to the stagnant water at the drains, which measure some 800 m from end to end. On another matter, Lau said waste collection and cleaning contractors serving the SS3 area still had a lot to do. “The (performance) of contractors is not up to par yet. They are still

missing their schedules once in a while,” he said He called on ratepayers to call the c i t y c o un c i l’s Pu b l i c C omplaints  Hotline number to lodge their grouses on domestic waste collection. On March 1, a new batch of 32 solid waste contractors started their rounds in MBPJ areas.

2 ⁄ March 16 – 18,2012 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

Restoring the House’s independence
C
an you share some of the legislative reforms PR has implemented since 2008? For a start, we’re the first state assembly to telecast our sittings live via the Internet. We publish a journal now after every sitting to inform the public about what laws and motions were passed. We’ve also increased the days of sitting from an average of six to 20 days a year so that members of the House have more time to debate bills before they’re passed. In 2008, we set up Selcat and three new select committees that specialised in scrutinising 1) state statutory bodies and governmentlinked companies (ABAS), 2) local governments (PBT), and 3) district and land offices (Padat). Previously the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which only has seven members, has to scrutinise everything the executive is doing. Now they can focus on state departments only. So instead of seven people, now we’ve 28 state lawmakers from four select committees – ABAS, PBT, Padat and PAC – to watch over the executive. We appointed two opposition members

The Special Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) has become a household name since it conducted the high-profile public inquiries into the Wives of Selangor Welfare and Assemblypersons and Members of Parliament Charity Organisation (Balkis) in 2009. In an exclusive interview with Selangor Times, Selcat chairperson and Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim spoke to GAN PEI LING about the steps PR has taken to strengthen the lawmaking branch of the state.
into each of the seven-member select committees to reflect the proportion in the House. We also appointed an opposition member to chair the PAC for the first time in Selangor. Finally, we’re also in the process of enacting a new law to establish a service commission for the House, so that our management and administration are independent of the executive.  Why did the Selangor State Assembly set up Selcat? And what’s the difference between Selcat and the three new select committees (ABAS, PBT and Padat)? It’s actually a common practice for house committees to conduct public hearings in advanced democracies like Canada, United Kingdom and Australia but this has never been done in Malaysia. We want to follow the Commonwealth benchmark. But our worry then was, holding public inquiries involves legal procedures and we didn’t have experienced lawyers among the select committees’ members, nor supporting staff with legal hearings should be carried out. expertise to back them up. So now the select committees will refer to Selcat if That’s why Selcat was formed. It’s meant to specialise in conducting public hearings. there are issues of public interest and we’ll call for a We got help from the US Senate, they gave public inquiry. us a two-day training, taught us how the • Turn to Page 4

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SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 3

Congratulations
To
To

Pakatan Rakyat
on its

YEARS

Administration ofSelangor State

From:

From President, Councillors, Management & Staff

MAJLIS PERBANDARAN KLANg

4 ⁄ March 16 – 18,2012 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

• From Page 2
For example, we called for a public inquiry on PK PS Ag ro Industries S dn Bhd (mismanagement of RM90.3 million of federal loans given out in 2005 and 2006) last week because ABAS felt the issues should be highlighted to the public. Selcat has become an icon now. We’ve increased the public’s expectations. Now people are asking why Parliament and other states haven’t set up a similar committee to hold public hearings. We’ve incorporated ABAS, PBT and Padat into the Standing Orders like the PAC. This is a very important institutional reform. If the next government wants to abolish these select committees, they would have to go through two assembly sittings and amend the laws.    But Selangor Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar has called Selcat a “kangaroo court” that only exposed things but never punished anybody. What’s your response to that? Selcat, like any other house committee worldwide, only has the power to summon and query. It does not and cannot have more power than the state assembly itself. The most Selcat can do (and has done) is to call for public inquiry and try to find out what’s happening by asking the state entities like Kumpulan Semesta (Sdn Bhd) to appear before us. We don’t have the power to seize their documents or search premises. That’s the job of the police, and where it involves corruption, the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). If the opposition has proof that there are criminal elements in sand-mining operations in Selangor, they should lodge a report with the police or MACC. In fact, the MACC has

More support for select committees
conducted investigations (in 2010) and didn’t find (any wrongdoings). I also read in Sinar Harian today (March 12) that Umno Youth Selangor wants Selcat to follow the Parliament’s PAC practice to appoint non-politicians into the committee. But the Parliament’s PAC is made up entirely of members of Parliament, all of whom are politicians. (Chuckles) I’m astonished by their ignorance in the running of a democracy. Either that or they’re trying to confuse the people.  You’ve been a state lawmaker in Selangor since 1995, you were also the opposition leader in the state assembly from 1995 to 1999 and 2004 to 2008. Comparing then and now, do you see an improvement in the quality of debates in the House? Definitely. When I was in the opposition, there were very few opposition members. The BN executive was only interested to get laws passed. They weren’t serious in debates. Whereas now, you can see that PR backbenchers are very active during debates. They give good suggestions and aren’t afraid to criticise their own government, it’s encouraging. To my surprise, the opposition, which has been making lots of noise outside, has been relatively dormant in the House. They’ve not tabled any good motions so far, 95 per cent of the motions have come from the Backbenchers’ Club.   But in Parliament, the opposition members are more active in tabling motions and submitting private member’s bill? They aren’t doing that here. The Backbenchers’ Club is more active in the Selangor State Assembly. They’re helping the opposition (to raise issues). You mentioned earlier that the House has limited resources to support its select committees. What other challenges do you face in implementing reforms? In a democracy, the three branches of government, legislature, executive and the judiciary, should check and balance each other. But the practice in Malaysia is that the legislature acts more like the rubber stamp of the executive. The Speaker is only a figurehead. The House’s administration comes under the executive. The members of the House have no say. In Selangor (and other states), the House secretary takes orders from the state secretary. The hiring and firing of the staff in the legislature is controlled by the executive. Imagine now, the House secretary can be transferred if the executive doesn’t like him or her. Our legislature isn’t independent from the executive. So we must go back to the Commonwealth practice, where the legislature has its own service commission to take care of the hiring and firing of staff. The House secretary will take orders from the service commission, not the executive. We’ve drafted the bill called SELESA (Selangor Legislative Assembly Service Commission Enactment) to set up this service commission, but the executive has yet to agree.   Why? Isn’t it a good thing to strengthen the House’s independence? The executive is hesitating because the bill will take their powers (to control the legislature’s administration) away from them. But they’ve forgotten that these powers belonged to the House. The House, as an independent branch of the government, should have full control of its own budget and staff. If PR is elected into government for another term and you’re appointed as Speaker again, what other reforms do you hope to implement? Firstly, we must get SELESA passed. Once the House has control of its own budget, we can set up departments specialising in law, accounting , corporate practices, public administration, town planning and more to support our select committees and members of the House. Once we’ve established the specialised departments, the departments will research the issues and advise the select committee on questions that should be raised in the meetings and public inquiries. Then the check and balance provided by the House on the executive will be more professional and effective. Besides that, I want to bring the House nearer to the people through public education. This has always been on my mind. We need to bring students here and educate them about the House and its history: Why is it important? How does it pass laws? Who were the important figures – Speakers and opposition leaders – that have stood in this House? Once we have control of our budget, then we can implement a structural education programme.

Congratulations
To
To From Pakatan Rakyat President, Councillors, Management & Staff
Majlis YEARSPerbandaran subang jaya

on its

Administration ofSelangor State

From:

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 5

Challenging and exciting times
  What are some of the challenges the House faced in bringing about the reforms? There were some parties who were uncomfortable with the transparency and accountability brought by the legislative reforms. Our house committees are now scrutinising the executive, including the GLCs (government-linked companies) and local governments. For example, there were some who had asked: How can you question the state secretary and the civil servants? There was an uproar when we held a public hearing on the spending of RM500,000 allocation to each Barisan Nasional assemblyperson before the 2008 elections. (Former Sungai Air Tawar assemblyperson Datuk Abdul Rahman Bakri was sentenced to a six-year jail term and RM400,000 fine by the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Feb 28 for making false claims between Jan 21 and Feb 4, 2008.) Abdul Rahman had made false claims to obtain the state allocation. We had questioned the civil servants - the district officers and assistant district officers - who disbursed the funds, and called then State Secretary Datuk Ramli (Mahmud) to appear before us. There were some people who questioned us then: How can you ask them to explain why they disbursed the funds? They were just taking orders. But should the civil servants have carried out the orders even though it was against the procedures? We want to drive home the message to the civil servants: Nobody is above the law. If you carry out the orders, you’re also responsible. As a public servant, you’ve a responsibility to
• Turn to Page 8

By Gan Pei Ling

H

aniza Talha, the PKR assemblyperson for Taman Medan, became Selangor’s first female deputy speaker in 2008. She is also the first woman to be appointed as a state assembly’s deputy chair in Malaysia. In an interview with Selangor Times, the first-term lawmaker spoke candidly about her experience four years down the road and challenges faced in reforming the State Assembly.   She also touched on female representation in the Selangor State Assembly and what else could be done to increase women’s participation in politics.   Can you share some of your memorable experiences being a deputy speaker since 2008? It’s a challenge. I was quite nervous in the beginning because I had no background in law. But the Speaker (Datuk Teng Chang Khim) showed me along the way how the legislature is run in other Commonwealth countries and advanced democracies. I’m more confident now. I also went to CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) training in Tanzania in 2009 and later, on my own funds, to Germany in 2011. I met a lot of young people and women involved in the highest level of decision-making. I think the legislative reforms we’ve done are quite commendable compared to other states. Due to the lack of political will, we haven’t seen much development in the separation of power between the legislature and executive in Selangor before 2008 and in other states. The executive pays the salary of the legislative staff. In Selangor, the House secretary also serves as the secretary for the executive council currently. But we’re moving towards the direction of separation of power. We’re in the process of pushing for the establishment of a service commission, so that the legislature can control its own staff and manage its budget. We’re also educating our lawmakers onthe rights and powers of the legislature. The legislature shouldn’t be a rubber-stamp of the executive. The assemblypersons are independent of the executive. The House is the place to raise and debate matters of the people. They have the right to question the executive council about the laws or amendments tabled. We’ve increased the days of sittings so that everyone gets to debate. The quality of debate is also better. It’s exciting to witness the positive changes being made.

6 ⁄ march 16 – 18,2012 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

Congratulations
To
To From Pakatan Rakyat President, Councillors, Management & Staff

on its

YEARS

Administration ofSelangor State

Majlis Daerah Kuala selangor

From:

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 7

8 ⁄ march 16 – 18,2012 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

Increasing women state reps
• From Page 5

safeguard the people’s funds. If you think something is wrong, even if it’s the menteri besar, you’ve to advise him accordingly, not follow orders blindly. There are also some parties who still hold on to the assumption that government cannot make mistakes and if it did, we’ve to cover it up. That’s wrong. No government is invincible but a responsible government will admit and rectify its mistakes. Take the government of the day to task. The House is the best place for the people’s representatives to question state policies and its implementation. If the policies are not working or not implemented properly, our assemblypersons should raise it in the House so that the state can improve.   Selangor’s women assemblypersons are dedicated and hardworking. What other changes in the legislature do you hope to understanding of the opposition and the roles they can play. see? We assume they would oppose everything the government has When I went to Germany for training, I was very surprised to say. How can they contribute to nation-building if they’re to learn that the opposition has a budget from the state. Like always suppressed and not given space to propose? the backbenchers, they’ve their own meeting rooms in the The opposition members are also elected by the people. House and they can sit down with the government of the day They are the people’s choices. We need to be more demoto discuss the budget. Both sides work together to develop the cratic and give everybody a chance to voice out. country. I hope more young people will join politics. They’re more I think we should emulate that. Here we’ve a very narrow receptive to reforms and new ideas. They’re not tied down by

old culture and history.   Only eight out of 56 assemblypersons in Selangor are women. All of them come from Pakatan Rakyat. As a female lawmaker, what do you think can be done to increase women representation in politics? Selangor may only have eight female assemblypersons in the House now, but all of them are very dedicated and hardworking representatives. They’ve shown their capabilities. And four out of the eight are executive councillors. It’s not accidental. We had pushed for it. It was the first time in Selangor’s history we’ve 40 per cent women representation in the executive council. One of the steps is to implement a 30 per cent quota to ensure political parties and governments achieve the target to have women in one-third of their decision-making positions as soon as possible. Besides that, let women join the mainstream party structure, don’t limit them to the women’s wing. We’ve many women in political parties, but some of our political parties still prefer male candidates. I joined politics because I believe I’m not just a mother and a wife, I can and should do more for the nation. My family is supportive. Don’t force women to choose between family and career. All of us, men or women, have a role to play in building the nation (through taking part in the political process).

Congratulations
To
To President, Councillors, Management & Staff

Pakatan Rakyat
on its

From

YEARS

Administration ofSelangor State

Majlis Perbandaran aMPang jaya

From:

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 9

Era of reform in Selangor
By Arfa’eza A Aziz

S

elangor has come a long way since Pakatan Rakyat took over the state government from Barisan Nasional on March 8, 2008. I had the chance to join the state government when it was just a few months old and the ride has been a rollercoaster which has never stopped. The focus on Selangor as a microcosm of what will be should there be a change in the federal government never ceases; we have been hit with a wide range of issues that include politics, statefederal relations and religion. The cowhead protest, water, temples, the sale of alcoholic drinks at convenience stores, the appointment of the state secretary, sand mining and the administration of PKNS are but a few of the unforgettable moments. Despite the bumpy journey, every decision, initiative and policy Selangor has made has been undertaken with one single goal in mind: reform. While others have relied solely on catchphrases or massive public relations budgets to trumpet their policies, Selangor under Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has lived by a simple but strong principle – actions speak louder than words. In terms of finance and investment, the numbers say it all. When Pakatan Rakyat took over in March 2008, it started with RM733.64 million in cash reserves. After prudent management the state increased this reserve to RM1.154 billion in October, 2011. The last unaudited report by the state showed that Selangor’s reserves have increased to a record of RM1.6 billion as of February 2012. The cash reserve will provide a solid base to respond to any emergency, and plays a strong part in attracting the confidence of investors. What the facts and figures show is that the ideal of reform has become a reality. In all its spending, Selangor’s first and foremost priority is to ensure that every allocated sen bypasses middlemen and goes directly to the rakyat. I remember a conversation between the Menteri Besar and hypermarket operators during discussions on the Jom Shopping programme, where RM100 shopping vouchers were given to the elderly registered under the state’s “Warga Usia Emas” initiative. One hypermarket operator mentioned that another political party had also approached them to do a similar programme; the difference was under their proposal, the cost of giving RM100 vouchers was double the amount. This meant that RM200 would have to be paid for every RM100 worth of vouchers. This is precisely the type of corruption and leakage that Selangor has worked so hard to eliminate. As the Menteri Besar said once in a talk: “Yes, I admit I am stingy. I have to be because this is not my money to spend. This is the rakyat’s money!” Our principles of reform were also applied stringently to state government-linked companies (GLCs), which have also come under close scrutiny under the “stingy minister”. From the start, Selangor announced an immediate end to lopsided “joint-ventures” that were obviously bleeding the state dry to feed “interested parties”. The era of JVs that “privatised profit and socialised losses” are now gone. State GLCs are now subjected to the best standards and practices of corporate management. At the heart of these standards are the principles of transparency and accountability as well as prudent financial management. Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor (PKPS) is a case in point. This company had been
• Turn to Page 10

Total State Revenue Cash Reserve (RM million) Consolidated State Revenue (RM million)

2005 415.63

2006 570.54

2007 776.44

2008 733.64

2009 617.2

2010 918.27

31 Oct 2011 1154.37

420.46

492.99

624.86

673.97

608.01

732.25

894.34

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• From Page 9

State firms showing profits

showing losses since its inception but last year PKPS posted a RM1.8 million profit and is now well in the black with RM20 million in cash reserves. Another example is Yayasan Selangor which now has RM50 million in cash reserves, a two-fold achievement since 2007. We were shocked to find that under the previous management, Yayasan Selangor had never kept proper financial accounts and reports. In 2010, it finally released its financial reports for the year 2005, 2006 and 2007. Meanwhile, those who have flouted the law have been identified and punished. The state government recently forfeited a piece of land belonging to one of its subsidiaries as it failed to use the land in accordance with the land’s proper status. “If the state GLC is stupid enough to flout the law, then the state will punish it, just as the state would punish any other private company. We cannot discriminate,” said Khalid. Efforts to reform state GLCs have also led to the full recovery of a RM391-million debt from Talam Corporation. The recovery translated into immediate, tangible benefits for the rakyat as it became the source of the RM300 million Selangorku grant, which covers 17 programmes that focus on aid to the rakyat. Among notable programmes under the Selangorku grant is RM50 million for infrastructure, RM30 million for women empowerment, RM5 million for democratic empowerment and RM30 million for youth skills development. These funds were sourced from dividends made by Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) and its subsidiaries – whose financial success is attributed to effective administration and its success in eliminating corruption from everyday business. In the investment sector, the state has successfully created

Selcat is empowered to conduct public inquiries and uphold accountability in areas such as GLC management.

a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to conduct their businesses in a bureaucracy-free environment.

• Turn to Page 12

Congratulations
To
To From Pakatan Rakyat President, Councillors, Management & Staff

on its

YEARS

Administration ofSelangor State

Majlis Perbandaran selayang

From:

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ March 2 – 4, 2012 ⁄ 3 SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ march 16 – 18, 2012 ⁄ 11

on tructi Cons 5% 9 ted omple c

12 ⁄ march 16 – 18,2012 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

Focus on people’s welfare
• From Page 10

In 2009, the state received RM6.76 billion in investments that created more than 20,000 jobs. In 2010, it attracted RM10.6 billion of investments and a further RM6.8 billion in 2011. In addition to sound financial management, the Pakatan Rakyat government has maintained a strong focus on welfare programmes and sustainable social development. The state has spent more than RM600 million on more than 1.6 million people for various programmes under the Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor (MES) programme. The uniqueness of MES lies in the way it directly channels profits from state operations such as sand mining into welfare programmes. We could not think of a more direct way to return the wealth of the state directly to the people, and without the interference of any middlemen. In education, the once-forgotten vernacular-type schools – Sekolah Agama Rakyat, Chinese and Tamil schools – get an annual allocation of RM16 million. This sum reflects our deep and abiding commitment to the investment of resources into what is, at the end of the day, our most precious investment of all – our children. In terms of ensuring transparency and empowering democracy, the Selangor government was the first to make available online the declaration of assets by its state executive council members. In its first year of administration, Selangor also introduced the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability or Selcat, which is empowered to conduct public inquiries and uphold accountability in areas such as GLC management. On April 1, 2011 the Selangor state assembly passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) Enactment 2011 – the first of

its kind. This law demonstrates Pakatan Rakyat’s commitment towards accountability and transparency that goes beyond mere lip service, and broke the stranglehold of politicians over information that the public should have access to. In 2011, the state successfully ran an election for three Chinese villages’ heads as an effort to promote local democracy. The selection of mosques and surau committees are now being conducted by an election process. The plan to hold local council elections by 2012 currently faces legal and technical obstacles, but the state is still vigorously pursuing ways to overcome these barriers. The list of what has been done in Selangor since 2008 goes on, but the core message is simple – reform. Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor has a long way to go but we are certainly encouraged by the progress and we are committed to seeing every reform through to the end. As the Menteri Besar often says to his officers: “We have to do things the right way. If we do it right, we have nothing to fear. So, let’s just do it!”

Vernacular schools have not been forgotten as additional funds are made available for them.

Congratulations
To To
From Staff,

Pakatan Rakyat
on its

Management & Board of Directors

YEARS

Administration ofSelangor State

Sungai Long Industries Sdn Bhd
Tel : 03-9021 2400 Fax: 03-9021 2425

From:

New owners urged to form JMB quickly
By Alvin Yap

news
march 16 — 18, 2012

7

SELAYANG: Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) will help owners of a new medium cost development here set up a Joint Management Body ( JMB) to ensure all problems at apartments are addressed promptly. “It’s important to form a JMB committee as soon as possible to channel complaints about repairs and maintenance from residents to us, the developer. We will assist in this,” said PKNS deputy general manager Noraida Mohd Yusof during a ceremony to hand over mock keys to nine selected Banjarai Court home owners, near Batu Caves, last Saturday. Almost all the units at the five-block high-rise have been sold and the owners are expected to move in shortly. Noraida advised the house owners  present – many of them first-time owners - to check their units for defects and to report their findings to the site office located on the ground floor at Block A. She added that PKNS was committed to building more homes to cater to demand in Selayang.

She said the 612-unit apartments, with built-up area between 1,012 to 1,245 sq ft, were sold for around RM270,000 to RM330,000 each. State executive councillor for housing Iskandar Samad lauded PKNS’ move to assist residents in setting up the JMB immediately. The Cempaka state lawmaker agreed with Noraida that a JMB should be set up as soon as possible. He also urged residents at Banjaria Court to be alert to acts of vandalism at Noraida (left), Iskandar (second from right) and PKNS technical manager their new premises. Abdul Ghani Hashim handing the mock keys to Mohd Abusaman Noor and “There’s no point having the best his wife Zuraidah Mohd Hisham at the event. amenities that money can buy if they are vandalised by irresponsible people,” he said. stand the units have appreciated by 30 per cent since they were Iskandar congratulated the 60 new house buyers who launched in 2009,” he said. turned up to view their units. The housing project was completed some eight months “It’s a good decision to have purchased a unit here. I under- ahead of schedule.

Contractor suspended after complaints
By Basil Foo

PETALING JAYA: A solid waste management contractor has been suspended for poor performance after a spike over rubbish complaints at the Seri Setia Market here. “The market hasn’t been very clean recently. Not only hawkers, but surrounding residents dump rubbish here too,” complained vegetable seller S Panjavaranam, 45. She said the volume of rubbish at the market has grown recently and placed the blame on the new contractor appointed by the local council on March 1. Fruit seller Wong Chuk Fong, 65, who has been working at the market for over 20 years, complained about insufficient rubbish bins

provided by the contractor. “Currently there is only one large bin at the rubbish collection area behind the market. We need at least two,” she said. Kampung Tunku state assemblyperson Lau Weng San, who visited the market on Monday said they have been receiving complaints for the past two weeks. He said a back-up contractor has since been appointed and it was up to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to choose which contractor they want to keep. “Since the start of March, the newly-appointed contractors are under a three-month probation. If they are not up to mark, they will be terminated.” Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Envi-

ronmental Health Department assistant officer Siti Fauziah Sharip, who was also present, said the new contractor was inexperienced. She said the volume of rubbish produced by the 280-lot market required at least a 12.23 cubic metre bin but the contractor only prepared a bin half the size.

She added that the Seri Setia market required daily rubbish collection but the contractor only came once in two to three days. “Normally new contractors need time to get used to the collection routes and the amount of rubbish to collect,” she explained.

Unit-unit

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Village election workers ready for polls
By Alvin Yap

KAJANG: A recent flood at their village did not deter some Orang Asal villagers, who have offered to serve as volunteer polling agents and counting agents (PACA) under a civil society initiative, from attending an election briefing on Saturday. The five, from the Temuan Village of Pekan Hulu Langat Batu 17, took time off from cleaning their homes, affected by heavy rains last Wednesday, to attend the programme by voter education group Undi Undi Malaysia on how to conduct ballots. “I’m glad I went for all four workshops that have been conducted since November last year,” said Kerial Lamjing, 46, a Temuan chief who volunteered last year. He is part of a group of villagers who will be ready to assist as electoral agents in the upcoming general election which might be called by the middle of this year. The training includes a briefing on issues affecting Malaysians as well as a crash course on the Federal Constitution. “I’m proud to say that I am an informed voter now,” said the father of two when met by Selangor Times. Kerial said he would be in charge of a voting booth at SMK Hulu Langat Bt 18 as he was trained as PACA by Undi Undi Malaysia volunteers.

Meanwhile, Bah Ujung, 33, will be responsible for providing translation between Bahasa Malaysia and the Temuan language to voters. The farmer said he would also be in charge of transporting voters from the village area to the polling centre on election day. Volunteers will also be busy for the entire campaign period in the run up to election as they might be called up to assist their respective candidates. Undi Undi Malaysia volunteer Eugene Png said he was glad to facilitate the workshops on electoral education, adding that informed voters were important in deciding the outcome of ballots in the area. “There’s always been too much attention paid to urban areas in terms of voter education. We aim to bring about programmes on electoral change to the rural areas,” the 25year old law graduate said. The briefing on Sunday was almost postponed as only a few volunteers could make it as the majority were still cleaning their floodhit homes after last Wednesday evening’s deluge which flooded portions of the Klang Valley. “We are now better at voicing our demands and requests to our member of Parliament and state lawmaker after the voter education exercise,” said Bah Usit Lajong, 54.

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No. 52B, Jalan SG 1/5, Taman Sri Gombak 68100 Batu Caves, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. Tel: 03-6189 3521/3/4/6 Fax: 03-6185 3543/6188 3315

8

Traders urged to stop at yellow

news
march 16 — 18, 2012

Water woes for Meru market traders
KLANG: Health and hygiene at the Meru market are in jeopardy due to frequent water disruptions which leave traders at a loss over how to clean their produce. The traders have been putting up with the on-off water crisis between 4am to 2pm for more than four years, with the longest disruption lasting a month. “It’s such a torture when there’s no water during business hours and it’s troublesome to source for water elsewhere,” said trader Ng Siew Lian. Ng: Paying for water but not Every stall has its own sink getting it. and faucet but the 52-year-old has had to fill buckets of water every morning from the public toilets just to keep her vegetables fresh. “It’s such an inconvenience now as carrying buckets of water to and from the toilet is tiring,” said Ng. Often, she has to bring bottles of water from home whenever the toilet pipes are faulty. “We pay the utility bills every month, and it’s RM30 just for water. Why aren’t we getting the water we pay for?” Klang municipal councillor Lim Lip Suan, who was on a site visit to the market on Monday morning, said he would raise the matter with the council. “The cause of the problem is low water pressure. Everyone is using water at the same time and the pressure is not strong enough,” he said. He added that he had highlighted the issue to MPK recently and called on the council to upgrade the water tank and piping system at the market. But he was informed that MPK did not have allocations to carry out the work. Besides the water crisis, the market was plunged into darkness for seven days last month due to electricity overload and a burnt fuse box. “Electricity was restored but the fix is only temporary. The council still needs to upgrade it to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he said. Lim, who is a member of MPK’s finance committee, said he would be highlighting the issue at the upcoming meeting and will urge the council to set aside funds for the upgrades.

(From left) councillors Chee Geap, Lim and Heng Kim listening as Chun highlights the traders’ problems.

tion has been taken until now. “We can’t even wheel our goods because the place KLANG: Errant traders displaying their goods be- is so congested. It’s hard for our customers to move yond the allocated yellow box at the Meru market were about as well,” said a fruit seller who only wanted to urged by the Klang Municipal Council to comply with be known as Lina. the rules or face the consequences. The 35-year-old, who has been trading at the mar“We’ll be issuing compounds next ket for a decade, said the situation is Monday to those who fail to trade getting worse day by day. within the eight by four box provided,” “Especially during the weekends, said Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) it’s so congested that only one or two licence department assistant Noordin people can squeeze through.” Hassan. Lina hopes MPK officers will Noordin, who is in charge of market monitor the errant traders and issue related matters, said all traders had summonses more often. been warned and were aware of the Meanwhile, the council will be rules set by MPK. re-drawing the yellow lines at the These errant hawkers display and wet market this week, and start issutrade their goods along walkways and ing compounds immediately after corridors instead of the allocated that. boxes, to the inconvenience of other “MPK couldn’t issue summonses traders and customers. in the past because the lines were “They don’t care about others and Lina: Very congested during missing. It was hard for them to display their produce anywhere they weekends. gauge how much each trader exwish,” said Meru Market Association ceeded his limit,” said MPK councilrepresentative Chun Kim Hock. lor Lim Lip Suan. Chun, a fishmonger, said he had received numerous Also present to listen to the traders’ grouses were complaints about the irresponsible traders since three councillors Tan Chee Geap and Tan Heng Khim who years ago. will be highlighting this issue in the upcoming LicensHe had even complained to the council but no ac- ing Committee meeting.
By Brenda Ch’ng

Let there be lights
SUBANG JAYA: Two sets of streetlights have been put up to brighten Persiaran Setia, a crimeprone area in Taman Perindustrian UEP, in a bid to better protect residents. In the last incident, a security guard was slashed by thieves at 3am on Feb 15 in the previously poorly-lit neighbourhood. On Monday, four streetlights on two lampposts were erected near the entrance and residents are hoping they will now be better protected. Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, who visited the site with members of the Taman Perindustrian UEP Residents’ Association (Tampura), provided RM12,640 from her allocations for the streetlights. The residents previously requested for lights from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) last December but were still waiting before Yeoh stepped in. Yeoh said she decided to use her allocations to hasten the process of installing the lights. Tampura secretary Razali Abd Rahman thanked Yeoh and the MPSJ for providing and approving the lights in their housing area. This was the third installation of lights initiated by Yeoh – the other two were at public parks in USJ 2 and SS15. A fourth area, Wangsa Baiduri, has been identified as the next spot for streetlights as the neighbourhood has also been languishing in darkness.
Yeoh (centre, in blue) with residents of Taman Perindustrian UEP who received two sets of streetlights recently.

News

Disabled want representative in councils

March 16 — 18, 2012

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(From left): Chong, Phang, Francis and Rina say that Selangor should appoint more disabled individuals as local government councillors.

SHAH ALAM: Members from four associations for the disabled are calling on Selangor to ensure the handicapped are represented in all 12 local governments to ensure their needs are looked after. The groups want at least one disabled councillor to be appointed to sit on Infrastructure Technical committees and One Stop Centres at each local authority. “On the issue of building disabledfriendly amenities, it’s not enough to engage handicapped groups for advice. We want our own to sit on the committees,” said Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) president Francis Siva. He said disabled persons could better represent the handicapped community as councillors by planning and approving projects that give better access for people with mobility issues. Chong Tuck Meng, 50, said only disabled councillors understood the need to design and construct public buildings from scratch to cater to the deaf, blind or people on wheelchairs. Chong, who leads a spinal cord injury rehabilitation group in Kuala Lumpur, said the Federal and state governments could not ignore the rights of the disabled. “We want the handicapped to be able to access public areas such as shopping malls, tourist attractions and even parks and forest reserves,” he said, during a press conference calling for the reinstatement of Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) councillor Anthony Thanasayan. His status is in limbo after his extension was put on hold. Last week, MBPJ called off the

swearing-in ceremony at the eleventh hour citing technical grounds for the postponement. Meanwhile, former Selayang municipal councillor (MPS) Rina Kaur, 50, said all local governments in the state should adopt a move to have at least one disabled person serving as a councillor. The wheelchair-bound non-governmental organisation leader served Selayang from 2009 to 2011 but did not get her term extended after that. “I could have done more to get parts of Selayang disabled-friendly with the right kind of access ramps installed at public areas,” she said. Friends of Kota Damansara (FOKD) co-chairman Jeffrey Phang concurs that disabled councillors should have their terms extended, especially if their performance has been “good”. “Don’t undermine the momentum by replacing disabled councillors if they are performing.” He said a local recreational attraction here at Kota Damansara Community Forest was more disabledfriendly and accessible due to the efforts of the handicapped community working with MBPJ on the matter. Phang cited Anthony for making the recreational park more accessible to disabled travellers and lauded the councillor’s efforts. He agreed with the others that the state should keep Anthony’s appointment as MBPJ councillor. They later handed over a memorandum to Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s office as well as state executive councillor for local government, Ronnie Liu.

Dr Nasir (left) meeting with former estate workers of Ladang Subang last Tuesday.

Estate workers cry for help
By Basil Foo

Ganesan (left) and his neighbours R Jayakumar and A Loganathan standing at the back of their homes which are prone to flash floods.

SHAH ALAM: A group of 46 former estate workers and their families are pleading with the state for a prompt solution to their dire living conditions in Ladang Subang. “Our houses are in bad shape. We have been suffering from flooding, leaky roofs, dirty tap water and irregular electric supply for years,” said A Ganesan. The 56-year-old retiree, who has worked on the estate for 38 years, said their homes were also prone to intrusion by wild animals as the grass surrounding their homes has not

been cut. He said a snake found its way into his home during last year’s Deepavali celebrations and was discovered by his daughter in the wee hours of the morning. Their problems were compounded when they were refused help by the landowner who failed to fulfill a promise of building low-cost homes for them. “We were promised low-cost houses 11 years ago but the houses are no where to be seen,” he added. Ganesan, who retired last September, said their utility bills were exorbitant as they previ-

ously only earned RM500 per month. He said their families had to pay RM6 per head for water every month. “Even small grandchildren are counted. This means in a family of five, they would be charged RM30 a month for water.” He also complained about exorbitant electricity tariffs which rose this month from 33 sen per unit to 42 sen from March onwards. Kota Damansara state assemblyperson Dr Nasir Hasim, who met the families at their homes on Tuesday, said the state should act quickly. “The people are suffering. The state needs

to sit down with the landowner and the National Union for Plantation Workers (NUPW) to discuss an action plan,” he said. He added that an offer made by NUPW to compensate the former estate workers with RM20,000 each was unacceptable as the amount was insufficient to buy a house. Dr Nasir said alternate housing was needed to lift these families out of their predicament. “Several generations of these workers have made the landowner rich but this is how they’ve been repaid. This is seperti kacang melupakan kulit.”.

media 10
march 16 — 18, 2012

Exclusive women’s gym
Cheah (first from left) with Bomhoff_Bos (second from right) exercising on five of the 24 stations together with other members at Curves Bukit Damansara.

caLENDar

EDITOR’S PICK
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark
Play: Mar 15-April 1; PJ Live Arts Theatre @ JayaOne; www.pjla. com.my; RM50-RM89.
Join Plop, the baby barn owl as he journeys into the night-time world of campfires, fireworks and moonlit adventures! Based on the bestselling children’s classic by Jill Tomlinson and performed by the Blunderbus Theatre Company (UK), this gentle, reassuring tale is brought to life with an irresistible blend of live music, puppetry and storytelling. Written especially for children aged 3 - 7, and grown-ups who still sleep with the lights on. Plop was a baby Barn Owl. He lived at the top of a tall tree, in a field. He was fat and fluffy. He had big round eyes. He had very knackety knees. Plop was exactly the same as every barn owl that has ever been – except for one thing. He was AFRAID of the DARK. “I don’t like it” said Plop. “I do not like it AT ALL!” One day, Mrs Barn Owl suggested that Plop fly down into the world and find out about the dark for himself. So, Plop climbed out of his nest-hole, peeped over the edge, wobbled a bit, and fell off his branch. And so, began Plop’s adventure...

By Brenda Ch’ng

BUKIT DAMANSARA: Women who want to be fitter and healthier but can’t due to time constraints, procrastinate no longer and join the Curves total body workout session. For 30 minutes, three times a week, this workout session, designed specially for women, is aimed at providing them with a complete cardiovascular, body strengthening and stretching exercise. Dubbed the world’s most popular fitness programme for women, members can expect to gain muscle strength, lose weight and reduce risk of chronic illnesses. “Paired with a healthy diet and a commitment to work out at least three times a week, results can be seen even within a month or two,” said Curves Malaysia and Singapore director Alison Chin. Chin said this workout was safer and more suitable for women as they use hydraulic engineered equipment rather then weights. Improper handling of weights machines may end up hurting women while exercising and cause them to sprain their backs or ankles. In addition, some women are intimidated by weights machines as they are unsure of how to operate them. “With hydraulic exercise machines and two trainers present at every session, women will now be motivated to work harder and also have fun while doing it,” said Chin. The exercises, comprising 12 hydraulic machines and 12 rest stations placed in a circle, aim to strengthen and tone the top, middle and lower part of the body. Originating from America, this exclusive workout regime for women was founded by a husband-and-wife team determined to come up with workouts for women

after losing their mum to a stroke. All they wanted was a place where women could get the proper exercise to stay fit and healthy. From their first Curves centre opened at Texas in 1995, word spread and they are now the largest fitness franchise with nearly 10,000 clubs in over 88 countries. “When I first started, most of the machines were too difficult for me. But after a year, my upper body strength slowly increased and I feel stronger now too,” said Curves Bukit Damansara member Alice Cheah. Cheah, 75, is the most senior member of that club and is finding the exercise regime an effective and enjoyable workout. Joining her is 65-year-old Janneke Bomhoff_Bos, who first joined the club with back pains, a frozen right shoulder and a numb finger. “I could hardly move my body and I couldn’t move my shoulder at first. But now, most of my pains are gone thanks to the Curves workout,” said the former sports teacher. For the future, Curves will be introducing a Curves Smart machine which will be fitted onto the hydraulic exercise equipment. The machine, which comes with a screen, will assist women and ensure they benefit fully from each workout they do. Get into the groove of Curves total body workout session at Ampang Avenue, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Bukit Damansara, Kota Damansara, Seksyen 13 Shah Alam, Taman Tun and USJ. For more information, call 03-2093 6988 (Curves Bukit Damansara), email alison.chin@curves.com.my, visit www.curves.com or their Facebook Page - Curves Malaysia.

Essence and Light
Photography: Mar 20-24 & Mar 27-31; Indian Cultural Center, CapSquare, KL; www.cheryljhoffmann.com; Free.
In this exhibition, photographer Cheryl J Hoffmann shares her images of the South Indian Community in Malaysia. With the eye of a cultural geographer, Cheryl explores connections to spirituality, inviting us into moments both commonplace and exceptional. ICCKL is the arts and culture center for the Indian High Commission in Malaysia. This event will support the efforts of the Public Health Clinic of the Temple of Fine Arts, Brickfields.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone
Comedy: Mar 14-24 (8.30pm); Mar 25 (4.30pm); Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, KL; 03-40479000; www.klpac. org; RM23-RM33.
Jean is sleepwalking through her life until she answers a dead man’s cell phone. It turns out to be a wake-up call that sends her on a date with the dead man’s brother, a drinking binge with his wife and a mysterious rendezvous with his mistress. Not to mention trips to the afterlife and the black market. In this quirky modern adventure, Jean re-connects to her own spirit and learns that life is for the living. Written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Christopher Ling this dark comedy also features Alexis Wong, Amir Yunos, Anrie Too, KT Lim, Payal Vashist and Sandee Chew

Film fest open for submissions
SHAH ALAM: Freedom Film Fest (FFF) is calling for film proposals for its annual human rights film festival which this year has the theme  “Democracy: Who’s The Boss?” Submissions stand a chance to win RM6,000 and technical support to produce the film, which can be in any language but must include English and Bahasa Malaysia subtitles. Some angles the proposals can take are practising the principles of democracy in daily life and meaningful ways the people can be consulted in decision-making. The film festival is open to Malaysians aged 18 and above but those younger can submit their entry under a guarantor. The proposals can be in the form of documentaries, docudramas, animations, or graphics and the required film duration is 20 minutes. Proposals should be sent to freedomfilmfest@komas. org by April 1. Three winning proposals will be made into films and will be premiered in September together with the screening of other international and local human rights films. FFF aims to promote and advocate for human rights and democracy using the popular media of films. The human rights film festival is a year-long programme including a film proposal competition, video workshops, community screenings and college roadshows.

Hunchback
Theatre: Mar 16-18 (8.30pm); Pentas Project, Cheras; www. pentasproject.org; RM20 (donation).
Pentas Emerging Theatre Artist Program, Pentas Project introduces a young director, Kathyn Tan with her latest creation, Hunchback to celebrate International Woman’s Day. Hunchback, a work based on the director’s grandmother’s past live as theme, interfaces the presentation of dance and theatre. Her grandmother experienced World War II, arranged marriage, the raising of ten children and did the entire menial work. She paid with her youth and most of her life in order to gain happiness and honour for the people around her. Her back gradually hunched as she grow older, as if her body wished to become an embryo again. The creation reflects on the point of view towards life in the contrast era, which hopes to agitate you for recollection and re-exploration of your own past era.

gallery 11
march 16 — 18, 2012

Vroom, vroom, seems the word for this child! A young resident of Taman Sungai Besi Indah gets a feel of a high-powered police bike during the launch of a Rukun Tetangga base there last March 11.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (right) sitting with families who were displaced by floods at Hulu Langat here on March 8, a day after heavy rainfall flooded parts of the Klang Valley.

The Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia showed that race nor religion was a consideration when handing out aid. On Tuesday morning, the foundation came forward with some much-needed assistance to help Hulu Langat flood victims who were badly affected by the March 7 storms that lashed the area. Some 300 families received RM300 and blankets from the foundation.

Hulu Kelang assemblyperson Saari Sungib being welcomed by children aged 6-12 at Surau Kg Taman Warisan, Taman Melawati during an event to distribute 1,000 school bags to his constituents there. The event on March 9 was organised by his service centre and saw him handing out the bags which were donated by the state.

Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nei Ching at a tree-planting ceremony at Taman Damai Pertama, Cheras, last Sunday.

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.