Outrage over Rental rates not cleaning high services
Take a walk in historical Klang p
12 – 13
June 24 — 26, 2011/ issue 30
FIRE-FIGHTING TRAINING: A Petaling Jaya SS2 resident learns how to put out a fire during their neighbourhood Health and Safety Day last Saturday as members of the Fire and Rescue Department keep a close eye nearby.
• Story on page 16
By Alvin Yap
Selangor to battle Alam Flora in court
SHAH ALAM: Alam Flora Sdn Bhd's application for a judicial review on Selangor's decision to end their cleaning concession contract and return operations to local government will be challenged in court. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said he regretted the move by the company to stop the state and local authorities from continuing to hold open tenders for the cleaning contracts. "We are considering filing a counter suit as we feel that Alam Flora's actions have ulterior motives, and was done to sabotage the state and local councils' efforts to increase efficiency and quality of service to ratepayers," said the Menteri Besar on Wednesday. The waste management concessionaire had filed the judicial review Speaking after an executive counat the Shah Alam High Court on June 10 and had obtained a stay cil meeting, Khalid said Selangor has appointed its own lawyers to order pending their application. Selangor has already consulted represent the state and local governits State Legal Advisor and lawyers ments to ask the High Court to who gave an opinion that the waste challenge Alam Flora's application management company does not for a judicial review. Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) and Shah have legal grounds for a judicial reAlam city councils (MBSA) as well view and will seek to set it aside.
as the municipalities of Subang Jaya (MPSJ), Klang (MPK), Kajang (MPKj) and Selayang (MPS) received stay notices last week. Alam Flora is attempting to stop the Selangor government from handing over cleaning services to local councils, as was the practice prior to 1998. Prior to a federal privatisation exercise, local councils handled their own cleanliness and maintenance tasks. The state's decision to hand back the tasks to local governments to handle their own cleaning services is expected to save up to RM20 million on commission fees.
MPK made history this year when it announced a RM10 million surplus in its 2010 budget after taking over garbage management from Alam Flora last year. Khalid pointed out that Selangor was committed to providing the most efficient and transparent cleaning services to ratepayers. A MBPJ councillor, who asked to remain anonymous, said local government should not be dictated by a private company. “Councils and municipalities constantly get the rap from ratepayers over shoddy cleaning and garbage collection,” the councillor said. "But we have little control over the
company that is handling these services." The councillor also said local governments are responsible towards ratepayers as the former collect assessments to provide crucial local services. Meanwhile, several local councils in Selangor are continuing to shortlist new contractors to handle street cleaning services to ensure that there is no disruption of service. Alam Flora, however, had declined to comment on the matter. “As you know, a judicial review was filed in court. We will leave it to the court to decide,” the Alam Flora official told Selangor Times.
news June 24 — 26, 2011
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Wong: Water disruption not due to shortage SHAH ALAM: Water levels at all dams remain high as the state maintains Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) only have themselves to blame for the supply disruption affecting millions. “I want to stress to residents in affected areas that the disruption is because of maintenance work by Syabas and not because of inadequate water supply,” said Elizabeth Wong on Wednesday. The water concessionaire had claimed that ongoing negotiations on the restructuring of Selangor’s water services industry had made itdifficult for the company to redistribute supply from other plants to areas affected by the cuts. But this has also been refuted by Wong, whose portfolio includes consumer affairs. “The statement made by Syabas blaming the water restructuring negotiations is not accurate since the privatisation of water began in 1997. Syabas has not carried out upgrading works of water treatment plants since that time.” Syabas announced the cut on Tuesday which affected parts of Kuala Lumpur, Gombak, with Petaling and Hulu Selangor districts mostly affected. It told residents to stock up on water to last the 48-hour cut that began Wednesday morning and is projected to last until this morning. Wong is urging the Ministry of Energ y, Water and Green Technology to review Syabas’s ability and efficiency in managing the state’s water supply. Shah Alam and Putrajaya are deadlocked over the restructuring of the fragmented water services industry, which was privatised in the 1990s.
Selangor WEATHER Friday
Source: Malaysian meteorological department
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Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Basil Foo, Alvin Yap, Gho Chee Yuan, Brenda Ch’ng COPY EDITORS Nick Choo, James Ang
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Open burning culprits to face legal action SHAH ALAM: Anyone who continues to conduct open burning in Johan Setia and other parts of Selangor will have to face the full brunt of the law. Elizabeth Wong said under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, culprits can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to RM500,000. The executive councillor said Selangor Department of Environment (Doe) has been instructed to strictly enforce the law. “The state will not tolerate those who conduct open burning as the activities
destroy our quality of life,” said Wong. Wong said the firm stand is needed to combat the reccurring problem. She pointed out that the agricultural sector was taking advantage of the dry period to practise open burning to clear vegetation or fertilise the soil. Three locations in the state have been identified as hotspots. Two are located in Klang - Johan Setia and Bandar Puteri Klang. The other is on federal land which has been leased out to an agricultural company for farming.
Doe has been reminding the public against conducting open burning in the wake of the haze problem. In mid-May, the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading carried out by Doe around Selangor had reached “moderate” to “unhealthy” levels. At one point, Port Klang recorded an “unhealthy” level with its API reaching 104. Doe head Datin Paduka Che Asmah Ibrahim recently said the public should not conduct open burning during dry spells as it would worsen the haze.
Councils urged to make Selangor more disabled-friendly By Brenda Ch’ng
PETALING JAYA: All local governments have been ordered to set up technical committees to make Selangor more disabled-friendly. To date, only the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has formed a technical working committee to oversee disabled facilities. “We will make sure all councils adopt the barrier-free zone initiatives for the disabled community by year’s end,” said Ronnie Liu. The executive councillor for local government said it was also important for all councils to start building more disabled-friendly facilities that could also be used by senior citizens. Among improvements being suggested are ramps for buildings, toilets for handicaps, disabled facilities at banks, tack-tiles as guiding blocks for the blind on streets and easy to access public transportation. “It is crucial that these improvements be carried out with urgency, especially improvements in public transportation,” said Liu. He also urged councils to provide free transportortation for the disabled. At present, MBPJ has two vans to transport the disabled around the city during weekdays. A seminar titled “Creating a Barrier Free City: Challenges and Approaches in Selangor” was organised by MBPJ yesterday ( June 23) to spur councils to move forward. Representatives from other councils, non-government organisations (NGOs), members of the disabled society and the public attended the seminar. Liu launched the seminar with MBPJ mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman and local councillor Anthony Siva Balan. “It is time the public and government did more for the disabled,” said Roslan. Roslan also introduced a communication aid book filled with useful signages to help the disabled get around the city. The book will be given free to disabled people in Petaling Jaya.
Anthony (left) and Roslan presenting a token of appreciation to Liu.
Free travel on Latar Expressway for now KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor (Latar) Expressway was officially opened yesterday, and will remain toll-free until Aug 31. Motorists from towns like Puncak Alam, Shah Alam, Bukit Jelutong, Sungai Buloh, Kundang, Rawang and Selayang are expected to benefit from the new highway. Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor opened the highway. The highway’s toll booths at Templer’s Park, Kuang East/Kuang West and Ijok will start charging rates on Sept 1. Class I or private vehicles will be charged RM2, Class II vehicles (with two axles and five to six wheels; excluding buses) RM4, Class III vehicles (with three or more axles; excluding buses) RM6, Class IV vehicles (Taxis) RM1 and Class V vehicles (Buses) RM4. The newly-completed 33km dual-carriageway starts near Templer’s Park, Gombak, and ends in Ijok, Kuala Selangor. KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway Berhad (KLSEB) has received a 40-year concession to operate Latar. KLSEB chairperson Datuk Mohamad Razali Othman said the idea to build Latar was mooted 15 years ago. However, the project was halted due to the 1997 financial crisis. It was resumed in 2007. “In providing the north-west region its own road network and interchanges, commuters will experience faster travel,” said
KLSEB chief executive officer Amran Amir. Latar will provide an alternative to congested roads like the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) and the FT54 (Jalan Sungai Buloh-Kuala Selangor). The expressway will also provide access to Guthrie Expressway, Plus North-South Highway and the future West Coast Highway. The Templer’s Park interchange at Exit 2508 will enable motorists from KL, Rawang and Selayang to arrive at the other end of the expressway in only 18 minutes. Those travelling from Sungai Buloh, South Rawang, Damansara and Kuang can enter Latar through the Kuang interchange at Exit 2506. Latar also provides easy access to Puncak Alam, Alam Jaya, Kota Puteri, Desa Coalfields and other towns in Kuala Selangor through the Puncak Alam interchange at Exit 2503. The Ijok interchange at Exit 2501 along Latar also provides easy access to Ijok, Assam Jawa, Kuala Selangor, Kampung Baru and Bestari Jaya. Two rest stops have been built on both sides of the expressway with facilities like toilets, surau, eateries, picnic spots and playgrounds. Latar is also equipped with CCTVs, traffic control devices, emergency telephones every two kilometres and a 24/7 traffic control centre, apart from having a 24-hour patrol team.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ June 24 – 26, 2011 ⁄ 3
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News June 24 — 26, 2011
Kelab Syabas: Rental rates not high By Alvin Yap
PETALING JAYA: The private operator of PJ Palms Sports Centre has refuted claims it charges high rental rates. The new management of former Kelab Syabas said the rental is to recoup the RM4.2 million investment that was spent to refurbish the iconic club. “We created a new look for the place to make it more family-oriented. We’ve placed new signages, installed new canopies and laid new flooring for our tenants,” said codirector David Solomon. Solomon was clearing the air over allegations that his company, Sepang Mekar, is charging his tenants high rental since it took over PJ Palms early this year. Solomon pointed out that he had offered to renegotiate a lower amount after hearing their complaints. Two tenants, Waikiki Bar, a pub, and a barbershop called Barber Joe, have complained that the new management’s policy to charge RM4.50 per sq ft rental space has caused a threefold increase in rental. Waikiki Bar has to pay over
RM19,000 instead of the usual RM5,000, and Joe, which used to pay RM500 monthly rent, now has to pay RM1,800. They brought up the matter to Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee, who says rental at PJ Palms is too high. Lee also claimed that MBPJ was leasing the 30-year-old club to Sepang Mekar at 11 sen per sq foot. Solomon said he had offered to lower Barber Joe’s rental to RM1,500 a month. “He asked for 24 hours to consider it. But he never responded to the offer after that,” said Solomon. He said Waikiki currently occupies the largest floor space in PJ Palms, and after consideration, was given a discount over non-rent generating space. Solomon said he did not charge rent for some 1,000 sq ft as a result. “I measured the storage room area and other utility spaces and did not charge them for the area,” he said. Solomon said he still wants to extend the olive branch to Waikiki and Barber Joe by offering instalment plans for them to pay their rental.
“We can still sit down and discuss terms,” he said. Me a nwh i l e , M B P J councillor Richard Yeoh said Sepang Mekar is guaranteed a tenancy of 12 years made up of four three-year terms based on the council’s appraisal of Sepang Mekar’s performance. Yeoh also said the rent was based on a set figure of RM15,000 per month and not at “11 sen per sq ft” as The swimming pool that was upgraded by Sepang Mekar at a cost of RM1.2 alleged. million. He also said Sepang Mekar investors had to recoup the Mekar was chosen as it capital investment of RM4.2 mil- offered to turn the club lion. into a “family-friendly” Yeoh explained that MBPJ would club. get to keep the upgraded facilities “The tender process consisting of a swimming pool, was carried out in an squash courts, indoor cricket hall open and transparent and other amenities at the end of the process. It was also vettenancy agreement period. ted by councillors durHe said it is not feasible for the ing the full board sub-tenants to pay the same rental m e e t i n g s h e r e a t as it had done in the past as rental MBPJ,” he said. prices in the city had increased. He said previous He further said that the terms operators had failed to and conditions of the tenancy agree- maintain the eightments had been recommended by lane Olympic-size the city council’s committee on swimming pool, and privatisation and investment. also turned the premHe pointed out that out of six ises into a gambling Solomon describing the swimming pool pump and filter as “state of the art”. bids for the open tender, Sepang den.
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ June 24 – 26, 2011 ⁄ 5
Open For Sale
Dahlia Residence No. Lesen Pemaju :9062-68/05-2014/678. Tempoh Sah : 31/05/2011 hingga 30/05/2014. No Permit Pengiklanan:9062-68/1150/2012(05) . Tempoh Sah : 31/05/2011 hingga 30/05/2012. Pihak Berkuasa Yang Meluluskan Pelan Bangunan : Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor. No. Kelulusan Pelan Bangunan : (10) dlm MHDS.431/13/H/09/001-B Bertarikh : 1/4/2009. Status Hak milik : Pajakan 99 Tahun. Tarikh Tamat : 10 Februari 2103. Bebanan tanah : Tiada . Tarikh Dijangka Siap : Disember 2011. Jumlah unit : 64 Unit. Harga Jualan: RM 307,066.00 (minimum) RM378,000.00 (maksimum). Sekatan Kepentingan: Tanah yang diberi milik ini tidak boleh di pindah milik di pajak atau di gadai melainkan dengan kebenaran Pihak Berkuasa Negeri
News June 24 — 26, 2011
Events Organic fair The Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) will hold their Hari Organik 2011 tomorrow (June 25). The event, sponsored by Tesco, will feature environmental talks, demonstrations and games at Tesco Kepong Village Mall. The fair will start at 8.30am and end at 2pm. Entry is free. For more details, call 016-219 5826.
Sudoku tournament The Malaysian Sudoku Society is calling senior citizens to join its monthly sudoku session, 1Sudoku. Sudoku, a stimulating mental arithmetic jigsaw puzzle, will be a challenge for all. The session will be held at the Senior Citizens Association clubhouse at Bangunan Secita, 4A, Jalan SS5D/6, Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya on Monday (June 27) from 9am-10.30am. Admission is free. For more information, contact 019-311 8147 (Lim) or 012-234 1492 (Lee).
Fundraising carnival The National Stroke Association of Malaysia (Nasam) will hold a fundraiser carnival called “Carnival at the Park” on Sunday (June 26) at Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya. The proceeds will help fund Nasam’s operational costs. From 9am-3pm, there will be a wide variety of food and games. For details, call 03-7956 4840 (Nancy).
Free health congress Basic Health & Beauty Sdn Bhd is organising a health congress on July 3 from 9am-5pm. They will be giving away 36 free tickets for the Ultimate Life & True Health Mastery Congress. Two renowned coaches, Dr Udo Erasmus and Volker Kutscher, will talk about health secrets. Tickets are on a first-come-first-served basis. The event will be held at Level 4, Dewan Wawasan, Menara PGRM, 8 Jalan Pudu Ulu, Kuala Lumpur. Call 03-6272 9316 for free tickets.
Parent talk Parenting2u will hold a talk titled ‘Smart Parents’ on Sunday (June 26) at Columbia Asia Hospital Cheras from 9am-1pm. Parents will be taught skills and given tips on how to handle their child during emergencies. For more information, call 03-9086 9999.
Hockey match Cheer for in-line hockey teams as they compete at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) In-Line Hockey tournament today (June 24) and tomorrow from 8am. The tournament will take place at Kompleks Rakan Muda Arena in Jalan Selangor, Petaling Jaya.
Dogathon 2011 The Students’ Society of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Veternak) and Zoologico Club University Putra Malaysia (UPM) will hold their 15th annual Dogathon on Oct 2. Proceeds will go to a welfare project called “Pro-Kasih” to raise awareness of neglected animals. The event will be held at Bukit Ekspo UPM from 7am-2pm. Activities include a 2.5 kilometre dog and master run, catch and fetch, hide and seek for owners and dogs and much more. For more details, contact 013-3792124 (Nur Afiqah) or 012-3205065 (Ms Lee) or email dogathonpublicity@ gmail.com.
Cycling for health The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) is promoting healthy lifestyle through their monthly 10-15 km cycling race on Sunday (June 26). The event is held on the last Sunday of every month. The route begins on the MPSJ field and passes through Persiaran Kewajipan, Persiaran Kemajuan and Persatuan Tujuan before ending at MPSJ. Everyone aged 12 and above is encouraged to participate. For more information, call MPSJ’s public relations department at 03-80264469.
Decentralise to spur economic growth By Basil Foo
KAJANG: Decentralising power from the federal level will enable the states to create their own fiscal policies and hence spur growth and turn the economy around. “There should be an independent Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPIs) in the various states in Malaysia,” said economics professor Dr Woo Wing Thye. Economic competition between the states will enhance policy making, said Woo during a dinner talk entitled “The Global Economy in 2012: What Implications For Malaysia” on Wednesday. He told the 500-strong crowd, which included councillors from local governments, that states could improve by learning from each other. “Each state should come up with its own method of solving problems like traffic jams and industrialization. When there is a successful method, other states will follow,” he said. Woo said the competition of ideas
Woo: Each state should come up with its own method of solving problems.
among states through fiscal decentralization was being practiced in China which is experiencing staggering growth. Woo, who has advised the US Trea-
sury Department, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, said Chinese provincial governors were motivated to perform. “Provincial governors in China were promoted according to the development level and successes that their provinces achieved,” he said. He stressed that policymakers could not carry out “business as usual” if they seek a return to the high growth that Malaysia enjoyed in the 90s. Woo called upon policymakers to learn from the successes of other countries within South-East Asia. He said while other countries are adapting to the current challenges, Malaysia still maintained age-old policies on the pretext of social stability. Woo said the idea of following old policies was not rational. “Any business that does that would by now would be bankrupt,” he noted. Also at the talk was Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) president Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abdul Rahman.
Night walk in aid of special children PETALING JAYA: Moved by the plight of children with total number of disabled learning disabilities, a team of volunteers is organising a in Malaysia, which is also candlelight walk to spread awareness of their condition. the highest percentage in “The event is to help children with learning disabilities who most countries,” said face a lot of stigma in society,” said organiser Rebecca Jane Mary Chen. Thomas. The editor of Chal The educator, who works with children with learning dis- lenges, a cross-disability abilities, said the 60-minute candlelight walk, dubbed “A Silent national magazine, said Walk In The Night”, would be held at the mall’s Central Park this group needed emon July 2. powerment through in“We want to tell the parents out there that there is still hope,” creased advocacy work. she said at a press conference in One Utama on Wednesday Registration fee for Central Park will be infused with a carnival-like atmosphere the event is RM10. with band performances, games, face paintings, magicians, kids Singer Reshmonu will Rebecca: Promoting advocacy dance activities, and an autistic children’s choir. also take part in the canAlso performing will be recording artiste Brian John Yim, dlelight walk. who was a trainer for the nation’s first autistic children’s choir. Prizes will be awarded to those with the most creative lights. “It was a very rewarding experience, although I had to repeat Participants are encouraged to bring their own candles, my instructions several times to teach them. Every time I watch torches or lanterns. their performance video, I still cry,” he said. Organiser Neena Raina, whose son attends vocal training under Yim, said she had seen parents who were embarrassed about having children with learning disabilities. “To educate [these] parents, we will have consultants to give guidance,” said Neena. Booths will be manned by speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and other specialists in the various conditions marked under learning disabilities. Some of the disabilities include dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down’s syndrome, and autism. “People with learning dis- (Seated L-R) Chen, Rebecca, Yim, and Neena (right) with other organisers and abilities make up 45% of the volunteers of “A Silent Walk In The Night”.
NEWS JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
Taman Gembira appeals for better security By Brenda Ch’ng
KLANG: Hourly police patrols have been suggested to address complaints from Taman Gembira residents here who want a safer neighbourhood. “Tighter safety measures need to be taken immediately because residents are complaining about daily snatch thefts and house break-ins,” said M Manoharan. The Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson made the proposal after listening to pleas from residents on Saturday. He said police need to be more active in patrolling the neighbourhood because residents no longer feel safe in their homes. Residents had also raised fears of motorcyclists who attack residents walking around the neighbourhood. “Almost everyday residents tell me about crimes happening. It’s sad to see the absence of Manoharan joining in at the gotong-royong police officers despite the daily reports on attacks here,” said Tony Ahmad, chairman of Taman Gembira Apart from crimes, these youths prowl the streets at night Residents Association and litter the area with bottles, cigarettes and rubbish. The 63-year-old resident hopes police will help keep residents To help turn the neighbourhood into a more conducive ensafe and reduce the increasing crime rate in the neighbourhood. vironment, a “gotong-royong” was held before the dialogue. Apart from snatch thefts, residents also complained about Over 100 volunteers from the Nichiren Shoshu Malaysia hooliganism and rowdy behaviour of youths. Buddhist Association took part in the cleanup. “Every night, these youths will come into the neighbourhood Also present were the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and cause a racket. They also speed and ride dangerously during representatives and local councillor Robert Choo. the day,” said Tony. On Monday, Manoharan wrote to the Klang Selatan police He hopes the police will take this matter more seriously and chief to request hourly patrols and “Ops Payung”, where policemake it their priority to keep the residents here safe. men are stationed at hotspots in the area.
TI backs Bersih 2.0 SHAH ALAM: Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has come out to support civil society organisation Bersih 2.0 and their call for clean, free and fair elections. “TM-I strongly supports the call... as should all members of the public and civil society, regardless of political affiliation, “Election results must truly reflect the wishes of the people.” The statement was issued by TI-M president Dr Paul Low and secretary-general Josie Fernandez The transparency watchdog also called for swift action against all allegations of vote-buying and called for campaign offences to be spelt out clearly to assist the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in carrying out their responsibilities. “It is imperative for the Elections Commission (EC), as the first step, to define clearly what’s illegal and what’s not.” Since 2009, TI-M has been conducting research and organising workshops on reforming political financing in Malaysia. As a result, 22 recommendations for reforms in political financing were compiled and submitted to the Prime Minister on May 5. Their recommendations included enhancement of the autonomy and independence of the EC, establishment of a neutral caretaker government after elections are called and equal and fair access to media for all political parties.
NEWS JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
Outraged over cleaning services, but divided over barriers By Alvin Yap
PETALING JAYA: Sea Park residents are split over security barriers in their neighborhood, but unanimous in their discontentment with Alam Flora contractors. The community raised their ire over both issues at a town hall meeting here last Sunday. On hand to listen to their grouses were Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San, PJ Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua and Petaling Jaya City Councillor (MBPJ) Anthony Jeyaseelen. Resident Michael Cheang, 55, said residents at Sections 20 and 21 were inconvenienced because the streets in the neighbourhood were closed to traffic. “Does the law allow boom gates, oil drums and other structures to close public roads?” asked Cheang. Homemaker Ivy Soon said foot traffic was also restricted because the side lanes are blocked by security barriers. She said residents had to walk a complete block to get to the next street instead of using side lanes before the barriers were erected. However, some residents at Section 21 said the authorities are not doing enough to ensure ratepayers’ safety. Resident Jasmine Ng dismissed her neighbours’ claim that barriers inconvenience the residents, saying safety and security were more important. Ng wants the Section 21 Residents Association (RA) to consider creating a guarded and gated community there. She claimed that she did not feel secure in the neighbourhood as there were more migrant workers residing in the area. “From midnight to around 3am, I hear the wailing of police sirens in the area. I also hear people walking the streets around that time,” she said. Similarly, Tan Ah Heng said people used the side lanes to travel around the housing area before barriers were erected. He pointed out that there were many cases of snatch thefts in the alleys and side lanes, but the situation has improved since barriers were erected to block off foot traffic. Tan said residents who complained about the inconvenience due to these barriers refused the accept the reality that safety and security were more important.
(from left) Section 21 Sea Park RA chairperson Gan Keng, Pua, Lau and Anthony fielding questions from residents.
Pua said if residents can obtain 75 per cent approval from residents over the plan, the city council should approve it. “However, the plan should be reasonable. Do not close roads at 3pm, for example,” he said. On Alam Flora’s performance, residents were unanimous in expressing their disappointment with street cleaning and garbage collection in their area. Mary Lau, a 30-year resident at SS21, expressed her frustration with street cleaning services in her area. “Alam Flora has not done a good job at garbage collection and street cleaning over the past 14 years,” the homemaker said. Lau said she had to lodge numerous reports with the waste management concessionaire to get their contractor to clean the streets thoroughly. Similarly, 52-year-old managing executive Denis Cheang said the trucks belonging to Alam Flora contractors are badly
Campaign to help farmers improve their yields By Tang Hui Koon
TANJUNG KARANG: Easy-tofollow guidelines by the Selangor Agriculture Department are being distributed to paddy farmers to help improve their harvest and their livelihoods. The state is targeting to increase rice production from an average of 5.5 tonnes per hectare to 7.5 tonnes per hectare by 2013. “The increase [in yield] will raise the farmers’ income to over RM1,500 a month,” said executive councillor Yaakob handing over a calendar to farmers on Tuesday. Yaakob Sapari on Tuesday. Yaakob, whose portfolio includes agriculture, said up to 9,000 farmers in Selangor would Agriculture Department director Ahmad Zakaria benefit from the campaign to raise awareness of the Mohamad Sidek to improve paddy yields. importance of pest and disease control. Ahmad Zakaria said the department would organ“Attacks by pests such as rats, snails, bugs and dis- ise programmes, including hands-on training, gotongeases can reduce the yield to only three to four tonnes royong, pesticide usage and safety course, for farmers. per hectare,” said Yaakob. The department will also focus on training younger He said farmers who have followed the guidelines, farmers to take over from their elders. which include cultivating their lands according to a Yaakob said agricultural initiative is one of the six recommended planting calendar, have improved main projects under the Selangor economic stimulatheir yield. tion package from 2009 to 2013. Sowing, fertilizing and using pesticides according He also encouraged farmers to apply for land titles. to the specialised calendar have resulted in farmers With the state’s new RM1,000 premium relief increasing their production to between 11 and 14 scheme, those who qualify for land titles but could tonnes per hectare. not afford the hefty premium can now secure a title Yaakob was launching a campaign with Selangor by just paying RM1,000.
maintained with waste water leaking from the vehicles. “It leaves a trail of smelly water through our neighbourhoods every time they come to our area,” he said. Lau said cleaning and garbage collection contractors are not appointed by the state or local councils. He pointed out that the authorities are powerless to act against the contractors as only Alam Flora as the management company could only do so. Lau said MBPJ could only forward ratepayers’ complaints to Alam Flora. “What my office can do is to collect and compile the arguments to be forwarded to MBPJ or direct to Alam Flora,” he said. Jeyaseelen said residents should cooperate with MBPJ by detailing their grouses against the cleaning and garbage collection contractors. “Note the time and date as well as the licence plate of the truck and operator,” he said.
Adopting Islamic values in the arts By Brenda Ch’ng
SHAH ALAM: The Malaysian Islamic Scholars Association of Selangor (PUM) held a colloquium last Saturday to explore how the state’s art and culture sector can be improved. “The arts scene here should change to reflect Islamic cultures and traditions,” said Dr Mohd Roslan Mohd Noor. The PUM secretary-general said the Islamic way of life should be explored and incorporated into film, writing and song. He said the local arts scene has failed to portray Malaysia’s way of life with local artists adopting perspectives and cultures from foreign countries for their productions. “If we do not start incorporating Malaysian flair into our local art industry, we will soon forget our values and lifestyles and start adopting foreign cultures,” he said. He told the colloquium at the state secretariat that this change had to be done to help the Islamic
arts industry grow. Representatives from local councils also had an opportunity to share their ideas on how to improve the art industry. These ideas will be compiled and used as proposals on how the arts industry can be channelled towards Islamic culture and tradition.
news June 24 — 26, 2011
MBPJ rolls out mobile offices
More for low-cost flats By Alvin Yap
By Basil Foo
SHAH ALAM: The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has made it more convenient for residents to make payments to the local council with the launch of its mobile office. “Residents of Petaling Jaya are able to pay their assessment rates, parking fines, and renew their business licenses at the mobile office,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The Menteri Besar spoke to reporters during a press conference after the monthly meeting of government departments here on Monday. He said the mobile office would offer services which are similar to those already offered at counters in the local council’s offices. “The mobile office even has a numbered waiting system where visitors can press a button on a machine to receive a number indicating their place in line,” he said. Khalid, who was at the launch of the “Mr EZ Pay MBPJ” mobile office on Sunday, said the vehicles even came with free Wifi service, accessible by those around it. He added that the vehicle would be making its rounds in residential areas and markets throughout the city soon. “The vehicle was modified by the MB-
MBPJ’s new mobile office.
PJ’s mechanical and electrical unit using an existing lorry belonging to the council,” said MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria. Zainun said that the mobile unit has four counters, laptops, a television, CCTV, airconditioning, a water dispenser and generator.
She added that the vehicle will be manned by six MBPJ employees from the Treasury, Valuation and Property Management and Enforcement Departments. Having started its operations on Monday, the mobile office will hit the streets every weekday from 9am to 4.30pm, and will also be stationed at MBPJ functions.
SHAH ALAM: The state has approved a RM7.7 million supplementary allocation in addition to an existing RM2 million budget to improve lowcost flats in Selangor. “The amount is now RM9.7 million, and it gives us the means to refurbish and repair more low-cost projects in the state,” said Iskandar Samad on Wednesday.. The state housing executive councillor said the state will bear 80% of the maintenance costs of upkeeping the lifts, roofs, amenities and sewerage systems of low-cost flats. Owners need only pay the rest. The Cempaka assemblyperson said 70 lowcost developments will benefit from the funds. Low-cost developments must fulfil a list of criteria, including having a registered joint management body, to qualify for the scheme. Managements must also have good financial records for six months. As many as 50,000 families were relocated to low-cost flats from 2000 to 2008 under former Menteri Besar Dr Khir Toyo’s Zero Squatter policy. The state has embarked on giving a new lease of life to dilapidated low-cost flats in Selangor by partnering the private sector as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Recently, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) partnered a private company under a pilot programme to refurbish the Taman Maju Jaya flats at PJS 3.
MPAJ Councillor: Dorothy Cheong By Basil Foo
AMPANG: Preventing loss of lives or damage when trees collapse is among the many responsibilities of Dorothy Cheong. The two-term councillor with the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) says the problem with overgrown trees which are not maintained has raised the ire of residents. “MPAJ is making an inventory of overgrown trees so that tree trimming exercises can be carried out every three years,” she says. Cheong, who oversees Pandan Perdana, Taman Cheras Indah, Taman Maju Jaya and part of Taman Kenchana, says residents fear these trees can collapse any time due to strong winds. She points out that residents in Taman Cheras Indah have also complained that trees along roads there are too close to their homes. “Our last trimming exercise was in 2008, the next one will definitely be this year. We are just deciding on which month,” she says. Cheong has also received a lot of complaints on rubbish recently. She says the problem is mostly due to the people’s
attitude, especially in Taman Cheras Indah, where piles of rubbish can even be seen under signboards prohibiting littering. “The private rubbish contractors are fed up with having to see another pile of rubbish appear the following day after clearing up the area,” she laments. But she assures residents that the council will be hiring new contractors after taking over cleaning operations from Alam Flora next month. Cheong, who works as a district manager in her own insurance agency, says her councillor’s job, while fulfilling, comes with its own sacrifices.
Sand theft allegations refuted PUCHONG: The Petaling District Office has refuted allegations of illegal sand mining at Taman Kinrara 5 lake. “Following our investigations, we found there has been no sand theft, only activities of filling up the lake,” said Yahaya Hasan during a visit to the site yesterday ( June 16). The Petaling District Office chief assistant officer said the lake developers have a permit from the Federal Territory Land Office to fill up the lake.
He added that the project has also been approved by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ). “We are just covering up the lake to build low-cost houses and shoplots in the future. What people saw on television was [something else],” said Chin Loong Sang. The project site supervisor, who also visited the site, was referring to a TV3 report on June 14 which alleged that illegal sand mining was being carried out at the lake. He said it would take about five
years to convert the 24m deep lake into land. Work on the former mining pool started four months ago. “We got the title for this land 20 years ago. This is a private-owned lake that covers about 39 hectares, including the surrounding land,” he added. Kinrara assemblyperson Teresa Kok, who was at the site, said she had received many complaints from Taman Kinrara 5 residents about allegations of illegal sand mining.
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News 10 June 24 — 26, 2011
New lease of life for stalled development By Gan Pei Ling
Iskandar (left) and Jagjit visiting the abandoned apartments.
Appoint a neutral engineer Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim says Yayasan Selangor and the nursery operators need to hire their own engineers to assess whether the nursery operations pose a risk to the underground water pipelines. At first glance, it appears to be a conflict of interest. This could lead to problems later when the respective engineers of both sides submit their reports to the state government. If the reports contradict one another, it could lead to an impasse just like the Teoh Beng Hock episode. The engineer employed by Yayasan Selangor could slant a report favourable to the foundation, especially when Yayasan Selangor is keen to take over the Greenlane Horticultural Nurseries, a stand opposed by the nursery operators. Similarly, the engineer representing the nursery operators could
come up with the report that contradicts Yayasan Selangor’s report, especially when it is common knowledge that a favourable report will mean the green light for Yayasan Selangor to take over the place. As such it would be better for the state government to appoint a qualified independent engineer to look into this problem not only in Green Lane, but also other areas, and submit a comprehensive and neutral report to win the confidence of both parties. The pipelines are not facing any immediate danger as the nursery operators are mindful and careful about the risks involved, having utilised the place for the past 12 years. In various other pipeline reserves around Sungai Buloh, Selayang, Kepong, Subang and Shah Alam one can find used car businesses, parking lots and even small industrial factories operating there. It must be noted that railway lines, highways and major roads cross the pipelines without incident so far.
GOMBAK: Abandoned more than a decade ago, Gombak Villa will be revived by new developer Koperasi Penternak dan Pengimport Ternakan Malaysia Bhd (Koternak). Its chairperson Jagjit Singh said they will complete construction of the 222 apartment units within the next 12 months. “The three blocks of apartment were 80% completed, [we estimate that] it will take RM17 million to complete the remaining 20%,” said Jagjit on Tuesday. The project was started in 1997 but abandoned by the now defunct AGA Development Sdn Bhd in 1999. Jagjit said Koternak bought over the housing project from Maybank at RM17 million.
He said 110 out of the total 222 apartment units were already sold, at prices starting from RM140,000, in 1997. Jagjit said original purchasers will not be required to top-up but the remaining unsold units will be sold from RM260,000 per unit based on the current market prices to new buyers. There are two types of apartment units available: 1,300 square feet and 1,400 square feet. Four penthouses of 3,800 square feet and four shop houses will also be built. The penthouse will be sold at a starting price of RM600,000. Jagjit said Gombak Villa will come with various facilities such as 24-hour security, swimming pool and other sporting facilities, convenient shops, surau etc. He expects most of the residents to be staff and students from the
International Islamic University Malaysia as the campus is located less than 10 minutes drive away. Selangor executive councillor Iskandar Samad, who was also present at the site on Tuesday, said Koternak will have to get new approvals from the various authorities. “They have to make sure the buildings’ structure is still intact and stable…and comply with all the bylaws and building regulations,” he said. Iskandar, whose portfolio includes housing, said the developer must also ensure that the retaining wall is stable enough as the apartments are built on a hill slope. Iskandar added that the state will allow the new developer to pay the outstanding assessment rates amounting to more than RM100,000 accumulated over the years in installments.
Disabled still waiting for financial help I am an OKU (PH:/12/05/ 10/001638), and have been receiving financial assistance from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyaraka ( JKM) for the past two months. I was involved in a motor accident in Sabah on April 29, 1994 when a logging truck ran over the taxi I was in. My right forearm was badly injured. I have lost more than 70% use of my right forearm which caused me to lose my job. I have registered with JKM for assistance. I understand JKM pro vi d e s a b o ut R M 2 , 7 0 0 RM3,000 for people like me to start small businesses. I have submitted all the documents and started a RM500 initial investment on a mobile phone reload programme in March/April.
However, the long waiting period for JKM to disburse the money will affect my RM500 start-up investment. Where is the financial assistance when I really need it? Already suffering from poverty and needing money for my college-going children, I urgently need help, but it is not forthcoming from JKM. I cannot be relying on the government and JKM for RM150 a month in financial assistance indefinitely. I am getting very discouraged and depressed. Waiting any longer will not only kill my business plans, but the enthusiasm to excel in business as well. Bonaventure Philip Sungka
The abandoned apartments.
Loans for children of civil servants SHAH ALAM: Selangor is setting up a RM5 million education fund for children of its civil servants to pursue their studies. “We have found that many public servants have financial problems when it comes to financing their children’s education,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. The Menteri Besar said the fund is a token of appreciation from the state to civil servants who have
made sacrifices to ensure that the state administration remains efficient, transparent, prudent and effective. He announced this to 2,000 state employees during a monthly assembly at the state secretariat on Monday. Khalid said profits from the state’s sand-mining revenue, which amounted to RM24.47 million in 2010 and RM7.1 million as of this
year, will be used to set up the fund. “We want to return profits of the state’s resources to the people,” said Khalid. He said another scheme aimed at rewarding the public involved taking senior citizens over the age of 60 on free shopping sprees. “The groups will get a RM100 coupon each for their shopping,” he said. Buses will ferry them to and from the hypermarkets for free.
views 11 June 24 — 26, 2011
Can tax incentives do the trick? D
rains, by design, flow one way. So although I have never been enthused about the brain drain catchphrase, I find it fitting for this reason. It is hard to reverse the flow. And it gets harder when we get opinionated while possessing little information on this complex national dilemma. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe close to 1.5 million, of highly-educated Malaysians in Singapore, Australia, US, UK, Brunei, Canada and other higher salary countries. What really matter are the circumstances and views of this diaspora, but how do we find out? The World Bank’s recent Malaysia Economic Monitor makes a welcome and needed contribution. The report highlighted the increasing seriousness of brain drain and presented some findings from an online questionnaire. The number of respondents was low; the authors duly advise caution in interpreting the results based on a survey sample of around 200. The ethnic composition is similar to data on Malaysian immigrants compiled from receiving countries – predominantly Chinese, with a section of Malays and Indians. The young are also disproportionately represented, so the findings may be statistically biased toward their concerns. In the interest of nation building, though, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The thematic results are not surprising, mostly adding statistical
punch to our hunches. Brainy Malaysians are driven to live abroad to earn more money and pursue more fulfilling work, and are driven away by what they see as unfair policies. Respondents were asked their top three reasons: 66% ticked career prospects, 60% social injustice, and 54% compensation. More interesting, though less headlined in the media, are some other bits of information. These illustrate the complexities of the problem, and underscore the need for further analysis before we can confidently propose policies to reverse brain drain. Reactions to the report focused, as expected, on discriminatory policies. But the study obtains other results that suggest meritocracy and financial rewards are not sufficient, and maybe should not even be the main starting point. What might entice an immigrant back? To this question, 87% said a shift from race-based affirmative action to need-based affirmative action. I find this notion incoherent, and have not come across any credible programme of action by its proponents. The underlying egalitarian sentiments and the rejection of racebased policies are legitimate, but provide little basis for reform. Other answers give us more to
wit pleasure Lee Hwok Aun
chew on – 82% of respondents indicated that “evidence of fundamental and positive change in government or the public sector” might incline them towards returning to Malaysia, while 46% checked
“greater investment in public education”. The combination of surveyed opinion indicates that systemic change matters as much as personal gain, and that rhetoric must translate into reality. Altering regulations, like pronouncing meritocracy, is not enough – this country needs to find ways to widen meritocratic practices and demonstrate sincerity and courage in tackling our fundamental problems.
Much still remains murkily understood. How much does the decision to leave Malaysia and not return stem from ethnic quotas, how much from deteriorating quality of institutions? Unfortunately, we still know too little. The World Bank questionnaire did not ask whether respondents applied to public universities, or whether they would have enrolled in private tertiary education all along. It precludes asking a follow-up question to those who opted for private institutes, whether the spectre of the admissions quota or doubts over quality affected their decision. Attitudes toward government and the bureaucracy also feature in the brain drain discussion. However, it’s unclear whether the discontent is related to discrimination, inefficiency or corruption. Do Malaysians of the diaspora widely express negative views of government because they feel they are denied job opportunities in the civil service, or are they aggrieved at corruption and inefficiency associated with wayward practices in promoting officials and conducting government-business relations? My sense is that ill-feeling towards government and unequal employment opportunity derives
more from things that need not have immediate effect on peoples’ material lives, but impinge on their sense of justice, such as poor public services, corruption and inequality. In other words, more meritocracy in the civil service is good, but cleaner government is better. Another interesting note. Only 17% of survey respondents indicated that a “favourable tax structure” would carry weight in the decision to return to Malaysia. I’m not sure what to make of this. Perhaps they have experienced paying higher tax rates in advanced countries, but do not mind since they enjoy the benefits of decent government services and see transparency and accountability on public spending. Perhaps they accept that returning to Malaysia will entail financial sacrifice, so tax breaks will not do much to change their mind. Inferences aside, the World Bank’s finding, if reliable, does not bode well for the government’s offer of tax incentives to lubricate “brain gain”. Again, the question arises, would Malaysians abroad be attracted back by giving personal inducements? Or would their decision be tipped by making government more transparent and accountable, improving public education and services, and ridding corruption? Of course, all the above matter, but we are giving perilously inadequate attention to the second set of issues.
Why not automatic voter registration? O
ne wonders why Putrajaya is keen to give every Malaysian above 18 years of age a 1Malaysia Email account, but adamant in denying automatic voting rights to all Malaysians above 21. This leaves about 3.9 million citizens outside the electoral roll. The Election Commission (EC) was happy to announce in late April that 134,294 voters had been registered in the first quarter of 2011. Taking that pace, the EC should be able to register 537,176 in a year and register the remaining 3.9 million in some eight years. But with an increase of some 400,000 new voters every year, you would have 2.4 million more to be registered by 2019. Will the EC be ever able to register all eligible voters? Now, don’t blame it on those who refuse to register. The EC cannot even register all those who have come forward to be registered, with tens of thousands applications unapproved or unprocessed after months. The existing registration process indeed takes time as it must allow for any objection for new registrations and for hearings to be held if necessary. Why don’t we have automatic voter registration then? It just requires the synchronisation of the EC database and the National Registration Department (NRD) database. Once synchronised, all deceased citizens will cease to exist on electoral rolls once the NRD is informed of their deaths. Similarly, if a voter changes his/her address on the IC, his/ her constituency may be changed accordingly,
too. c u r r e n t l a w s a n d b y- l a w s w i l l b e The most uneducated objection to unconstitutional. automatic voter registration I have ever heard Now, if automatic voter registration is of is that it forces the voters to vote and hence good, why can’t we change a technical violates their freedom. provision in the Constitution? Will Pakatan This is mistaking automatic voter stand in the way of this constitutional registration for compulsory voting. While amendment? compulsory voting (as in Singapore) requires If there is no valid argument against automatic voter registration, the reverse is not automatic voter registration, what are the true. possible real motives behind Putrajaya’s Now, when you open a bank saving opposition to the idea? account, most banks would offer you an ATM Following Malaysia glorious tradition of card. Does that mean you conspiracy theories, allow are now forced to use the me to make two ATM machine? contributions. The second objection Conspiracy theory 1: raised is that automatic This is to keep the total wong chin huat voter registration will create number of voting-eligible chaos because many voters are currently citizens a top secret. registered in addresses different from that on Without automatic voter registration, we the NRD database and they may be changed have no idea how many new voters registered to other constituencies. are native Malaysians coming of age or If this is the genuine concern, the EC can naturalised new Malaysians. With automatic easily inform the affected voters before fully voter registration, we will have a total number implementing the new system so that the of new voters every year. voters can change their addresses legally to If the number far exceeds the natural keep their registration in their current growth of population, we will know that constituencies. perhaps some foreign labours have become The EC is worried that the chaos caused by our new brothers and sisters. You don’t need address discrepancies will be slammed by the a Royal Commission of Inquiry as demanded opposition parties and civil society. This is a by Pas to investigate the rumour of foreigners red herring because these two parties are the being given ICs and registered as voters. ones demanding automatic voter registration. Conspiracy theory 2: We have not found The last objection, on technical grounds, is the functional equivalent of Tricubes in that the Federal Constitution provides for automatic voter registration. In other words, voter registration, hence any changes of no economic value has been added to this
MAN IN BLACK
voter registration business. Tricubes’ 1Malaysia Email is so expensive that the government has to cut the subsidy of 2.5 litres of RON97 or 50 sen to send one email to one citizen (credit to some netizens for this illustrative line), but the government is willing to pay because it can be as expensive as RM2 per conventional mail via Pos Malaysia. We know it consumes a lot of resources on the EC’s part to register voters, but if there is no company like Tricubes to offer its national service, how can this administrative cost be transformed into profit for the private sector and part of the nation’s economic growth? Would Tricubes come forward and offer itself again? Now, of course, both my conspiracy theories could be wrong. There may be some good reasons why automatic registration is not implemented and the government may be keeping the reasons from us for our own good. If so, I want the government to tell us why it insists on 1Malaysia email and rejects automatic voter registration. I am a cat that rather gets killed by my curiousity. So, tell me the reasons please. I am happy to tweet 1,000 times that “I apologise over prejudging Putrajaya for opposing automatic voter registration.” Not enough? Ok, I will also tweet 1,000 times, “Don’t join Bersih 2.0 Rally on July 9. No automatic voter registration is good. Disenfranchising 3.9 million citizens is good.”?
12 June 24 — 26, 2011 By Basil Foo
A town filled w
ailed as a “Royal Town”, Klang has since evolved from a hotly-contested bastion of kings to a port town dependent on sea trade to spur its economic development. Before the arrival of modern man, however, there was evidence of the use of 2,000-year old prehistoric tools called “Tulang Mawas” found in the locality. While the tools were the oldest artifacts found, dating back to the earliest human settlements in the Iron Age, earlier annals state the town existed since the Majapahit era 600 years ago. Klang’s first Malay territorial chief, Tun Perak, was the Malacca Sultanate’s Bendahara, a rank comparable to today’s prime minister. He came to power in 1445. After Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, Klang remained in Malay Ehsan hands, under the Sultan of Johor-Riau, until the Selangor Sultanate was established in the 18th century. Klang Valley’s thriving tin mining industry in the 19th century caused a fight for control over its resources between territorial chief Raja Abdullah and challenger Raja Mahadi. Raja Mahadi fort. “Remains of Raja Mahadi’s fort can He said the area still be found around the Klang Muaround the buildnicipal Council (MPK) building,” said ing where the fort Ehsan Mukri. once stood is not The MPK secretary said their buildwalled off and is ing was actually sitting next to old battle open to the public sites from the Selangor Civil War, which Fazly because it is considlasted between 1867 and 1874. ered a heritage site. The solid white fort, situated between “The public is free to walk through our mounds of man-made earthen walls, was strategically placed to spy on enemy ships sailing grounds and visit the fort which sits under several old trees that have been gazetted as through the Klang River. “Enemies would come up from the west heritage trees,” said Ehsan. Five trees around the MPK building side of the river from the sea. They would come up to Pengkalan Batu, a port along the grounds worth RM1.5 million have been river, and battle at the fort’s entrance,” he said. gazetted by the National Landscape DepartThe civil war not only resulted in Raja Ma- ment. The ages of the trees have been determined hadi failing to win the state, but saw the dawn of British intervention and eventual control. to be between 40 and 60 years old, and consist
View from the MPK building. (left), the two-tiered Jambata (bottom right).
of breeds like Batai Laut and Nyatoh Putih. Ehsan’s office in the MPK building commands a picturesque view of the Klang River, the fort, and Kota Bridge where the river port once stood. The Kota Bridge was a bustling hub of commerce in the 70s and 80s and Ehsan remembers visiting the area with his family as a young boy from Sabak Bernam “We visited the wet markets at Kota Bridge which had a very bad smell because the hawkers would throw leftover chickens into the river,” he said. “Because of that, there were many crocodiles and all sorts of meat-eating wildlife in the Klang River those days,” he added. The Kota Bridge was opened for public use in 1957, and had an upper tier for use
by fast-moving vehicles, while the lower tier catered for bicycles and pedestrians. The double-tiered bridge was responsible for improving domestic traffic flow in town, with its lower tier remaining open for public use to this day. “It was the first double-decker bridge in Malaya back then, and measured about 200 metres long,” said Fazly Razally. The Tourism Selangor event and marketing manager said the Raja Mahadi Fort and the Kota Bridge were among the historical sites along its two-hour long “Heritage Walk”. He encourages not only foreign tourists, but even locals who are interested in the history of Klang, to take the walk along 18 heritage sites in Klang town. “Tourists can see the plaques we set up at
Fond memories of a byg D Pre-war shop lots on Jalan Raya Timur, some occupied, others abandoned after a fire.
Shoppers crossing the street on Jalan Tengku Kelana, also known as “Little India”.
espite the passage of time, traders here can still be found operating family-run businesses in pre-war shoplots and along a street known as “Little India”. Not wanting to leave their businesses which have passed down through generations, they also have strong roots with the town, many having studied and worked here their entire lives. “We have been running our advertising company here since 1972. The shoplots themselves were built in the 1940s,” said Jessie Chong. The store manager of Green Advertising says it has been decades since the heyday when good business was the norm rather than the
Mary (left) and Parisutham.
lock wh exception. Today, shoplots that armed f are still open cater mostly to reguCho lar customers. in a tyr Chong, who grew up on Jalan she was Nanas about a kilometre away, two wiv lamented the drop in business “All o over the years and the closure of still in many neighbouring shoplots. owned “Last time, there used to be The oth more business at nearby shops pliers o selling things like joss sticks and gunny sacks, but now most of the Chong: Drop in business she said Befo shopowners have died,” said the over the years. brother 51-year-old. Blaming the drop in customers on the in- pany, Chong studied in crease in crime, she said one could still walk Girls School and then openly even at midnight back then as the operator. She remembers hav streets were brightly lit. “Now there are fewer shops. It is Kota Bridge over the very dark after 7pm. Apart from school about 2km awa several workshops, there are no res- not afford to buy them “Bicycles were the m taurants or markets to draw people tation in town last tim here,” she griped. Chong was a robbery victim her- both to work and to self in 2004 when several men tailed fewer cars on the road, The bicycle shopow her as she returned to her shop from business on Jalan Teng a nearby bank. The unlocked entry door was an India”, said his shop en open invitation to the robbers. It was then as the streets were He said their month the first time the shop was robbed to run into the hundre since it opened four decades ago. “Since then we have installed a only sell about 50. “Nowadays bicycles lock on the front door,” she said, pointing to a magnetised security and people who are in
Klang IndianMuslim Mosque Situated on Jalan Tengku Kelana, which is also known as “Little India”, the Klang Indian-Muslim Mosque was built in 1910. The original structure catered to people who lived around the Klang town area for more than 60 years. The mosque, which acted as a religious and community centre, was opened by Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz in 1973 after it was renovated for the first time. Recently, it was renovated again to a c c o m m o d a t e m o re devotees.
Klang Convent School
. The Klang River flows from the inland (far right) out to the sea. Visible is the North Klang Royal Mosque an Kota, Jambatan Tengku Kelana which leads into Little India (far right), and the Raja Mahadi fort
each site on the walk detailing the history of the site and the stories behind it,” said Fazly. One of the stops along the Heritage Walk is Jalan Tengku Kelana, also called “Little India” by residents due to the convergence of many Indian shops along the road. The name of the town itself has several origins, one being derived from the name of the Klang River which flows through the area. Another theory suggests the name was derived from the Mon-Khmer word “Klong”, a language used by communities in Vietnam and Cambodia. A probable source of the town’s name could come from the old meaning of the Malay word “Kilang”, meaning warehouses, which were prevalent in the area in the old days.
Established in 1924 with only 19 students in some shophouses, the Klang Convent School’s main building was built from 1926 to 1928. Located on Jalan Tengku Kelana, it was opened on Jan 18, 1928 by former acting secretary to the Resident of Selangor Sir William Peel.
One of the gazetted trees on MPK grounds.
hich can only be disfrom the inside. ong’s father, a manager re factory, died when s three, leaving behind ves and eight children. of my other siblings are Klang. This shop is by one of my brothers. hers have become supof motor equipment,” d. ore working with her r in his advertising comn the nearby Methodist n worked as a factory
ving to walk across the e Klang River to her ay as her parents could m bicycles. main mode of transporme. People would cycle school as there were ,” said Lim Kum Loke. wner, who operates his gku Kelana, or “Little njoyed a roaring trade e safer for cyclists. hly sales of bicycles used eds, but they can now
only appeal to children nto fitness. We had to
include home appliances [years ago] to maintain our profits,” said Lim. The delivery service of the shop was also halted as it was decided it would be safer to focus their business operations nearer to town. This was decided after the May 13 riots in 1969 when, despite the curfew, two employees were sent to deliver bicycles to a customer in Rawang. “On that dark day, they were sent A street vendor selling jewelry along “Little India”. out, but they never came back,” said Lim, his voice wavering. the road. Only ladies were allowed out on Despite the grim experience, he remains certain hours to buy groceries,” he said. adamant that race relations in town remain the He said he never heard of any violence same since his schooldays when he freely inter- happening in Klang at that time. acted with friends from different cultures. There seems to be a new integration hurdle Optometrist Parisutham Sebastian, who to cross now as locals here have people of runs a shop along “Little India”, echoed the different nationalities to contend with. sentiment of being able to mix with friends “The majority of workers in this town are of different races without restraint. immigrants. The ratio can be as large as one “I had many Chinese friends when I was local boss to 100 foreign workers,” said Mary younger. We lived together in a big kampung Sebastian. at the back of the La Salle Klang boys’ school,” The 51-year-old, who helps her brother, said the 46-year-old. Parisutham, in his shop, blamed both the workAs his father was the school gardener, he ers and their paymasters for marring the town’s spent a large part of his childhood in the school image. She complained about household rubplayground, even during the curfew. bish and renovation debris clogging drains. Parisutham, who took over the 17-year-old “We all want more clients and would supshop from his father, said he enjoyed looking port any tourism initiatives by the governat the soldiers patrolling on the streets from ment, but we have to take care of cleanliness. the inside of his school during the curfew. Don’t just think about making money,” she “For about a month, there were no cars on added.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes
Completed about 80 years ago, one of the oldest religious buildings in Klang started off as a wooden house on a hillock close to Jalan Kota. Our Lady of Lourdes Church today stands as a rare example of masonry structure in the state. It is located along Jalan Tengku Kelana in Klang town.
Alam Shah Palace
The Alam Shah Palace replaced Mahkota Puri Palace, which was demolished in 1950 to make way for the former’s construction. This was during the time when Tengku Alam Shah was enthroned as the new Sultan after Sultan Alaeddin Suleiman Shah had passed away in 1938. The significance of the site could be traced all the way back when the first palace was built in 1889 to replace the Istana Alauddin in Jugra as the royal administration centre.
VIews 14 June 24 — 26, 2011
A titular lesson in pleasing your wife?
hy are elected reps addressed as Yang Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Berhormat? What’s the point of honorEminenceness by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, ific titles anyway? @adriene, via Twitter. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or “Yang Berhormat” means “The Honourable LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using One”, or one who is respected for being Honourable. where all your profound, the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Essentially, a person who is to be respected. Persons abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurusHear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional with such a title are commonly addressed as “YB”. described queries are answered! if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Conveniently, the term “YB” is pronounced as Have Freed My Spirit! “Why Be”. This is convenient because many Malaysians question the existence of some of these people all the time, particularly following the latest quote, rant, or inactivity of their elected representatives. Refusing to speak up against gross of titles of those in attendance.This ness has been amused by the response injustice – “why be?” indeed. can take several minutes, and even to the OWC, Lord Bobo is amazed Now, dear reader, find a comfy includes the names and titles of the that no one has thought about dereading chair or wall to lean against, parents of those attendees with a manding a similar club for husbands. for His Supreme Eminenceness After all, it takes two to… er… tango, distinguished lineage. is going to take you on a journey For administrative positions, and Lord Bobo has always been one through the various titles in Maother honorifics used are Tuan to look out for the ladies. laysia. Be warned, if you feel a The OWC emphasises good Yang Terutama (T.Y.T.) (literally tightening around your forehead “The Most Eminent Master”), Yang skills in bed, and the same must as you are reading the following Amat Berhormat (Y.A.B.) (literally apply to husbands. For the sake of paragraphs, that is a sign that your “The Most Honourable”) and Yang the younger readers of this column, brain is expanding quicker than Amat Arif (Y.A.A.) (literally “The we will leave out the graphic deyour skull from the sheer volume Most Learned”). Y.A.A. is the style tails. Suffice to say, if both are not of knowledge. Take a five-minute of the Chief Justice of Malaysia, screaming at the end of the session, break, then proceed. the President of the Malaysian seeing fireworks, and going JyeaH! There are two kinds of honCourt of Appeal, the Chief Judge (but saying “JyeaH! It’s finally orific titles. One is hereditary in of the High Court of Malaya and over!” doesn’t count), you’re doing nature, the second is either earned the Chief Judge of the High Court it wrong. or awarded. The point of honorific A happy relationship is when of Sabah and Sarawak. Yang Arif titles was tied closely with the sys(Y.A.) (literally “The Learned”) is both the husband and wife are happy tem of kings, nobility, commoners the style of a judge. Yang Berbahagia not only in the master bedroom, and the rest. (Y.Bhg.) (literally “The Felicitous”) but outside of it as well (shower, For the first category where you (and variants thereof ) are the styles guest bedroom, dining table, coffee inherit titles; you have the royal table, car backseat, public places). of persons with chivalrous titles. families; the Tengkus, Rajas, Putera- Permaisuris (Queen) per state with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is called Now, wasn’t that educational? Jokes aside, when you enter into a Puteris, etc (we have one for almost the exception of the states governed the Raja Permaisuri Agong. For those who still doubt that titles marriage, it is a promise. A promise every state, after all, and depending by Yang Di-Pertuan Besars (Great We must not forget the Syeds are necessary, or part of Malaysian to always communicate freely with on whether they are members of the Lord). There is only one Yang Di- and Syarifahs/Sharifahs, whose culture, take time to listen to the way each other, to cherish and stand ruling families or not, are referred to Pertuan Agong at any given time; entire bloodline is reported to be de- people interact in casual situations. hand in hand together through as Yang Teramat Mulia, Yang Amat which rotates every five years among scended from the Prophet Muham- Why else would we call people-who- both the good and the bad times. Mulia, Yang Mulia respectively), the state Kings/Sultans. mad himself through his grandsons are-older-than-us-but-not-blood- It is a commitment to not only and then you have the subsequent The full title is meant to be Hassan and Hussein. related “uncle” or “aunty”? Why do live together, but to share lifelong nobility for each depending on read as Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha The second type of honorific people at a mamak call each other memories and precious moments. state, the Wans, Megats, etc. Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang titles, the ones awarded are usually “boss” or “brother” when they are Wondering where Lord Bobo came There is only a pair of Sultans & di-Pertuan Agong. The consort of – theoretically – in recognition of neither employer-employee nor up with all that cheesiness in this paragraph? Wondering where you their personal achievements and sibling? can get the same stuff to say to please great contribution to the society; e a r L o rd B o b o , t h e your wife? That’s why husbands the Tuns, Dato’ Seri Utama, Tan Obedient Wives Club need the club! Sris, Dato’ Seri, Dato’s, Datuks, etc. is a good thing, no? The club will educate men on Each has an award cap, for example there can be only be 35 Tuns living hornypony@1Malaysia.com, via what makes women tick. As the sum of men’s knowledge of the inner at any single time, and Dato’s are email. workings of the female mind is said to be a blank book, women shall instruct men on the inner workings Jokes aside, when you enter of their mind. There shall be classes into a marriage, it is a promise. A on being considerate, loving and promise to always communicate helpful around the house. It includes diaper changing skills, parenting freely with each other, to cherish skills, pujuk bini ketika merajuk and stand hand in hand together skills, and conflict management through both the good and the bad skills. Family dynamics, family psytimes..” chology and role-playing scenarios shall be part of training and role playing sessions to encourage creaThis has been a very popular tive solutions to otherwise baffling limited by 50 per state. From the cultural and societal topic in the media (both online and day-to-day conundrums involving history of bestowing the above titles, offline), work lunches, and coffee wives and children. Obviously, 80% of the time in we therefore develop a need to issue breaks nationwide. Several minions other titles. Hence, elected officials wanted the honour of channelling this new club will be spent on the have Yang Berhormat, Yang Amat Lord Bobo’s thoughts for this, and most important skill in being a Berhormat, etc. Because of this, the privilege had to be decided by a husband – how to read your wife’s mind. Master that skill, and it’s satformal occasions also require emcees purple banana eating contest. Whilst His Supreme Eminence- isfaction guaranteed, for everyone. or speakers to run through the list
SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ JUNE 24 – 26, 2011 ⁄ 15
Royal help for war on dengue By Alvin Yap
PETALING JAYA: A “Stop Dengue” campaign by Yayasan Tunku Naquiyuddin (YTN) was kicked off at Taman Gasing Indah here last Sunday. The campaign, jointly organised with the Taman Petaling Rukun Tetangga and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is aimed at creating awareness and action to combat the spread of dengue. “Dengue is a threat and a serious public health concern,” said YTN founder Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Jaafar. He said dengue deaths are preventable if the proper care was taken. Taman Gasing Indah area was chosen for the campaign launch as the residents are proactive in tackling community issues. “The most important community issues are health and environmental concerns,” said Tunku Naquiyuddin. He added that YTN had sponsored the setting up of Stop Dengue webpage at SM (P) Taman Petaling website’s. YTN was established in 1995 by Tunku Naquiyiddin to carry out and promote Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Among its projects are providing educational assistance to the needy via scholarships to underprivileged children, from primary to university level. The foundation aims to create awareness of other mosquito borne diseases like malaria.
State executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar said Selangor had the highest number of dengue cases but the trend was falling due to monitoring and stringent enforcement from local councils. “From January to 11 June 2011, Selangor recorded 3,445 dengue cases with three fatalities as compared to 9,661 cases with 32 deaths for the same period in 2010,” he said. However the Sri Andalas assemblyperson said the state still has the highest ratio of cases to population. Dr Xavier, who holds the portfolio for Health and Caring, said that the urbanisation in the state has made the spread of dengue easier between people. He urged residents to clean and maintain their homes to prevent the Aedes mosquito larvae from breeding. Earlier, Rukun Tetangga chairperson Alfred Chuah said he was proud that his residents’ group had been chosen as the launch partner for the Stop Aedes campaign. “We have tackled security and safety issues. Now it is high time we tackled health and environment concerns,” he said. He added that the Rukun Tetangga group has 60 volunteers that can be mobilised to help gotong royong cleanups. Also present were PJ Selatan Member of Parliament Hee Loy Sian and Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee, MBPJ Deputy Health Director Dr V Chithradavi and councillor Chan Chee Kong.
RM100k of pirated DVDs seized By Brenda Ch’ng
SUBANG JAYA: Over RM100,000 worth of pirated movies were seized in a joint Home Ministry and municipality operation at th e Summ i t S h o p p ing Complex recently. “Although we raided seven premises, we only managed to catch three store operators. The others got tipped off and ran away before we reached the store,” MPSJ and Home Ministry officers checking the DVDs. said Subang Jaya Municipal Council deputy president Abdullah Marjunid. years if convicted for the multiple offences. Abdullah Marjunid spearheaded the raid on In addition, they could be charged by the June 16, leading 35 MPSJ officers and 12 min- Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs for ilistry officers from the Film Control and Enforce- legal distribution of DVD’s. ment Division. “Initially we only got complaints about two More than 10,000 DVD’s were confiscated DVD shops by residents, but when we went to from five shops and two hidden store rooms, confirm the allegations on Tuesday, we found which were also sealed by MPSJ. even more,” said MPSJ enforcement officer The three arrested were detained overnight Ahmad Hassan. before being produced in court the day after. He added that some shop operators came to “They will be charged for possession and MPSJ to apply for licenses to trade, but were distribution of unlicensed DVD’s and the rejected because they were unable to produce absence of the film censorship certificate,” proper certificates for DVD distribution. said Film Control and Enforcement Division “They are challenging the law and operating assistant enforcement officer Fazi Amar illegally despite already being told no,” he said. Ahmad Suhimi. MPSJ will be continuing their search for the Fazi Amar said the suspects could face up to real owners of the business and shop owners who RM30,000 in fines or a jail term of up to three rented their stores out to illegal traders.
NEWS 16 JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
Free green products distributed at TTDI market By William Tan
KUALA LUMPUR: Samples of Malaysia’s first and only entirely biodegradable food containers, plates and utensil were handed out last Saturday at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail market to promote green living. The products were developed and manufactured by Greatpac under the brand name Jasa Eco. It was first introduced to the market in April last year. “We are here to offer an alternative solution to conventional styrofoam packaging, which can take up to 1,000 years to truly turn back into soil,” said Greatpac senior manager Douglas Tan. He added that his team had taken it upon themselves to go out and educate people on how to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, which will prove vital in ensuring our children will still have a planet to inherit. The company has gone to schools to give lectures and done road shows and campaigns at shopping malls to convince people to go green. However, he acknowledged that it has been an uphill battle. “Generally, people don’t seem to care and don’t take any real initiative to go green. Many only care about cost and profit,” said Tan. In his experience, people tend to be put off by the extra six sen on the price of their products in comparison to conventional styrofoam. The Jasa Eco brand, which is based on corn-starch, is also far cheaper than its closest oil palm or sugar cane based counterparts, which normally charge a premium of 25 sen. Tan added that his team has to constantly convince the public that their products are indeed the only brand in the Malaysian market which can claim to be 100% biodegradable, and therefore the preferred choice. “What people don’t understand is that there is a lot of misrepresentation in the market, almost anyone in Malaysia can claim something is eco-friendly or something similar, which spoils it for everyone else,” he said. This is because there are no laws in place to regulate the market or proper facilities to test and certify such products. Greatpac, as a result, had to get their certification from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to ensure their products are what they claim to be.
Tan (right) and Lim (left) handing out samples of the Jasa Eco brand to the public at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail market last Saturday.
The Jasa Eco brand has already received a strong following in Penang, where the use of conventional styrofoam food packaging has been banned as part of the Greener Penang campaign. “I believe the state government should implement similar initiatives to help more companies follow Greatpac’s example in creating environmental awareness,” said Lim Lip Eng. The Segambut Member of Parliament was present to hand out samples to the public. The company’s products are used by Starbucks, Kenny
Community building in SS2
Rogers, Hilton and numerous school cafeterias such as KDU University College, which only uses Jasa Eco for food packaging. Greatpac’s sales and marketing executive Terence Tong said the products have an infinite shelf life, and when placed in a landfill, will completely decompose within two to five years. He explained that the landfill is the only place with the right humidity, temperature and moisture to begin the process. For more information, call Greatpac at 03-6286 0990.
Statewide 15-minute reading break By Basil Foo
Lee Kwee Cheng, chairperson of the SS2B Residents Association.
was on fire safety, and there was booths from Corporate Progress, which supplies fire extinguishers. Sime Darby Medical Centre giving free health screenings and “ We also invited the Fire consultations as part of the residents’ Health and Safety Day. and R escue Depar tment to PETALING JAYA: A neighbourhood Health and demonstrate what one Safety Day was organised by the Residents’ Association should do in emergencies, ” said association chair(RA) of SS2B last Saturday to foster stronger ties person Lee Kwee Cheng. within the community. There was also a booth from Sime Darby Medical “Many of us don’t know our neighbours. There are Centre offering free health screenings and consultations. quite a number of elderly people who live alone and Local police officers were also on hand to get acwho would be lonely if not for events like this” said quainted with residents. committee member Susan Fong. The event was funded by residents and corporate The emphasis of the programme at the SS2/57 field sponsors.
KLANG: A 15-minute reading break will be held simultaneously in districts throughout the state on Sunday ( June 26) between 10.45am and 11am. “The reading break programme is in conjunction with Knowledge Day and the Selangor Reading Movement,” said Nor Haslinah Jaafar. The Klang Municipal Council (MPK) librarian said the programme was also a collaboration between the District Office, MPK, and the Klang District Public Library. The aim of this initiative is to develop and promote a culture of reading among Malaysians and create an awareness of the importance of knowledge. She added that the programme’s Klang district leg will be held at Pengkalan Batu on Jalan Tepi Sungai. “MPK has a planned a few side activities during the programme such as colouring contests for children and a crossword puzzle competitions for teenagers,” she said. While the former is open to children aged 7-9 years of age, the latter will be open to teenagers aged 13-17. Also in the works is a puzzle game for families, who can participate in groups of three. For more information, contact Nor Haslinah at 03-33758005.
Fiction 17 June 24 — 26, 2011
Fiction by Khairulnizam Bakeri
ida takes a deep breath. She’s been working here for a month and this is only the second time she’s been called to see the boss. The first was the job interview. She knocks on the door three times, making sure her ponytail is neat. “Come in.” She does. Fakarudin is busy typing. The pulse on his forehead throbs in rhythm with his fingers on the keyboard. “Tiya’s on emergency leave. So you have to replace her for an interview.” Aida frowns. She knows Tiya as the journalist from Siasat, the latest Karangkraf magazine, whose job scope is surely different from her own in Media Hiburan. “What sort of interview?” “Remember that Puchong murder case from last year? Abi Nazrel, who shot three women in a bus. And he was acquitted, on account of insanity. His lawyer said he had schizophrenia, that voices in his head told him to kill those women. I’ve emailed you all the details. Get the interview done quick. It was supposed to have been ready last week.” Aida nods in agreement. She goes back to her cubicle and reads the email. The details of the scheduled interview are put in the Notes app of her Blackberry Bold. She takes her camera case and MP3 player from the desk drawer. Aida’s Kancil then drives off from Shah Alam’s Section 15. When she arrives at Rumah Seri Memori, she checks the signboard in front. The big house on the right is the Old Folks’ Home. The one on the left is the Psychiatric Unit. At the lobby, Aida is greeted by a handsome man in his late 30s. His fine silver-framed glasses glint below his thick eyebrows. His complexion is smooth, save for a thin moustache.
The Replacement “Miss Aida?” “Yes.” “I’m Dr Faliq.” He offers his hand. They shake. “I got your boss’s email. For the Siasat magazine interview, yes?” “Yes.” “What sort of magazine is it?” He presses for the lift. “Oh, I’m actually in a different magazine. I’m replacing somebody else. Siasat is a Malaysian crime magazine. Like that 999 TV show.” The lift door opens. “We can do the interview in the lounge. Second floor.” “Dr Faliq, do you also work at the Old Folks’ Home?” “No. Dr Vivian is in charge of that. We’re a new unit, just started last year.” At the lounge, Aida takes her seat. The creaks from the chair and the ceiling fan accompany her increasingly rapid heartbeat. In front of her, a man in his early 50s sits straight in a plastic chair. His left hand is on his knee, but the fingers on his right hand keep twitching, as if he is doing a religious incantation. The left side of his forehead has a scar as wide as a thumb. “My name is Aida. May I call you Nazrel?” Aida presses the record button on her MP3 player. “Our names are labels, plainly printed on the bottled essence of our past behavior. Logan Pearsall Smith.” Abi Nazrel shifts his gaze to the floor. His fingers continue to twitch. Aida reads again the list of questions on her mobile phone. “Have you eaten?” she asks, as a starter.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food. George Bernard Shaw.” Abi Nazrel looks left and right, smiling slightly. The other man shakes his head. “Nazrel, behave. Aida’s doing her job. She just wants to have a chat. You can help her, can’t you?” Abi Nazrel sighs deeply. “We hear only those questions for which we are in a position to find answers. Friedrich Nietzsche.” “You must read a lot. That’s why you know so many quotes. Do you enjoy living here?” Aida asks. Abi Nazrel gives a small nod. He continues to fidgets in his chair. Aida isn’t sure what to do. She considers what to say. If she asks him about the killings, she worries that he might go berserk. But Dr Faliq told her in the lift that Abi Nazrel had been given a sedative pill. His schizophrenia would be under control. “What do you like most about this place?” “Reading books. Watching people.” “You have friends?” Abi Nazrel shakes his head. “How do you feel, here and now? Do you still think about what you did in the past?” Aida gulps. Abi Nazrel gives a big smile. And then bursts out laughing. Sitting straight, with his head flung back, his guffaws keep coming. When his laugher gradually recedes, he looks at Aida. This time, he looks deep into her eyes. “Aida, have you ever killed a mosquito?” “Uh, yes.” “How did you feel?” Silence. “You feel good, didn’t you?” Abi Nazrel stands. “Didn’t you?”
“Maybe.” “What did the mosquito ever do to you? The worst would be a bite. But why kill it? And then feel good? Mark Twain said that he’d been dead for billions and billions of years before he was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. I am just obeying what I hear.” He points to his forehead. The lounge door opens. A nurse rushes in. “Khairul, here you are! Can you go back to your room? Someone wants to see you.” Aida is surprised. The doctors here seem quite controlled by the nurses, judging by the meek way this man obeys the woman and shuffles out. “I’m Reena. That guy was Khairul. He’s our patient. He’s a bit naughty, always pretending to be a doctor. I was at Dr Faliq’s room earlier, it looked like someone had broken in. I saw the email about your visit on the computer screen. He must have just read it.” Aida is stunned. “Dr Faliq will be a bit late. He’s meeting Dr Vivian. Could you wait in the lobby?” Abi Nazrel gives his hand in a salam to Aida before Reena accompanies him out. Aida goes down to the lobby and waits on the sofa. She holds the crumpled paper that Abi Nazrel had passed her. She reads it again and again: IT’S NOT THE VOICES. IT’S JUST ME. Khairulnizam Bakeri travels frequently between Kelantan and Shah Alam. His blog is salahtaip.blogspot.com and he is active on Twitter (@nizambakeri). His debut novel Pecah was published by Fixi recently, and is available at MPH, Popular and Kinokuniya.
17-member China group at Hakka Cultural Show By Brenda Ch’ng
SERI KEMBANGAN: Five thousand people attended the Hakka Cultural Show at the New Village here recently to enjoy performances from Guandong, China. The 17-member cultural group lead by singer Huang Hong-ying serenaded the audience with folks songs with the hope of promoting Hakka culture to the next generation. Huang, who picked up tradi- FULFILLING HER MISSION.. Huang tional singing from her mother, keeping Hakka Culture alive. has made it her mission to keep the Hakka heritage alive through song. Jaya Municipal (MPSJ) councillors. “I want to promote Hakka folksongs “The Hakka dialect is widely spoken and make it a well-known music genre here and residents were very enthusiasnot only in Asia but internationally as tic as they started arriving for the event well,” said Huang. at 6.30pm,” said Loka Ng Sai Kai. Also present at the performance was The councillor said more cultural Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean event should be organised to help proYong Hian Wah, Serdang member of mote and educate future generations Parliament Teo Nie Ching and Subang on the Hakka culture.
Tun Hisan patrolling with Gasing Indah SRS members.
CPO urges residents to be more vigilant
PETALING JAYA: Policing is a joint effort and residents should be more civic-minded on the issue of tackling crime in their area, said the state’s top cop. During his visit to Taman Gasing Indah on June 14, Selangor chief police officer Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah said he also hoped that residents will contact the police directly rather than using the Emergency Response Centre’s 999 number “I hope this banner, with large police emergency numbers printed on it, will come in handy for all residents in times of need,” said Tun Hisan
during Taman Gasing Indah’s neighborhood community policing programme. An anti-crime “Cegah Jenayah” banner was installed during the function. He was accompanied by Petaling Jaya District deputy police chief Superintendent Meor Hamdan Mohamed. The police officers also joined the residents on their rounds as part of the joint community policing scheme or Skim Rondaan Sukarelawan (SRS). Tun Hisan added that he wanted residents to view the police as friend rather than the authorities.
Media 18 June 24 — 26, 2011
Rasa Nusantara at Westside Bistro
By Brenda Ch’ng
estled in the heart of this majestic city of Shah Alam is the Westside Bistro, the only place to satisfy ones hankering for traditional Malay Archipelago recipes during the upcoming Ramadhan season. Throughout the whole fasting month of August, the restaurant will be catering for a buffet spread of over 100 scrumptious selections from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Malaysia. These original recipes, passed down through the generations, are cooked by a line of skilful chefs who were brought in from the far reaches of Malay villages. With the unique food assortments lined up, families no longer need to travel far just for a taste of ‘ala kampung’ meals. For a start, one can indulge in a variety of village style ulam, like ‘Daun Celon’, ‘Ulam Raja’, ‘Petai’ and ‘Daun Pegaga’ which is served with an assortment of sambals on the side. Ulam is a raw vegetable which is believed to contain medicinal properties to treat diabetes or high blood pressure. The raw vegetable is usually eaten as a stand alone dish dipped in chili Deserts paste (sambal) before moving on to the main courses. prepared in different ways. If one does not crave for Ulam, However, the most unique dish there are other appetisers like at the buffet is ‘Lidah Lembu Bakar’, ‘Kerabu Nangka Muda’, ‘Tahu which is oven-baked cow’s tongue. Sumbat’, ‘Rojak Sotong’ and a This local favourite is marinated variety of Salads to choose from. with local spices, kunyit and From there, one will be pleased turmeric, and is baked in the oven to find a diverse range of meats at 100 degrees Celsius to get a which are cooked, marinated and tender medium rare texture.
Kerabu jantung pisang.
Fruits and pastries.
It is recommended to dip the tongue in sour and spicy ‘Asam Air’ to get a unique blend of flavours from the juicy meat and the dip. Next, dive into delicacies from the Island of Indonesia with their famous ‘Daging Dendeng Minang’ cooked mainly with chili, onions. It is advised to savour each curry
Malaysia’s World Class Media Awards Results on July 1 SHAH ALAM: Malaysia’s world class media campaigns showcasing creative and innovative works by media planners will be announced at the Malaysian Media Awards (MMA) 2011 Black and White Glam Night on July 1. About 40 judges spent an entire day last week judging the submissions for this competition organised by the Media Specialists Association (MSA), demonstrating how best last year’s media expenditure of about RM8 billion was spent on projecting brands of different products and services in Malaysia. Andy Miller, CEO Vizeum Malaysia and chairperson of the organizing committee said: “The judges have reached their verdict on how best media planners have placed their campaigns in the various media. The winners of the 12 categories will be made known on July 1.” The award is looking for the best use of the media under 12 categories including Best Use of Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Digital (online/inter-
active/mobile), Digital Search, Sponsorship, Out of Home Media, Point of Sale, Branded Content on TV, Small Budget (under RM100,000) and Integrated Media Campaign. Entries were submitted online and 42 judges vetted and shortlisted the finalists. “An independent auditor will tally the votes and the results will not be disclosed, even to me, prior to the event. “This year, the entries for the Malaysian Media Awards 2011 increased by 34% from 250 to 335, the highest yet in the seven years of MMA. “The 2011 awards pay tribute to the most strategically brilliant campaigns, not creative executions. It’s all about results achieved for the brands,” added Miller. The MMA is an annual competition held to celebrate brilliant, innovative and outstanding media campaigns. The Black and White Glam dinner will be held at the One World Hotel on July 1st. For more details on the awards, call tel. 03 7660 8535.
dish separately to ensure you get a good taste of all the different spices used in each dish. Among other meat dishes being served are ‘Daging Kurma’, “Ayam Goreng Kalasan’, Sotong Ayam Pedas’, ‘Ekkor Lembu Kerisik’, ‘Burung Puyuh Berlada’, and ‘Daging Masak Uengkep’. These meat dishes Lemang and ketupat. are best complimented with their recommended ‘Nasi RM65 nett for adults and children Kebuli’, its recipe brought here all below 12 years old eat at half price. the way from Pahang. Meanwhile, one can purchase This traditional rice is cooked in promotional Ramadhan buffet coconut oil and marinated with vouchers at RM55 nett per person clovers, olives and lemongrass to before June 30 and at RM60 nett give it an aromatic smell which is per person during the whole month pungent enough to be smelt from of July. afar. All senior citizens aged 60 and The rice usually has raisins and above get a special discount and only onions tossed in, resembling the pay RM35 nett. famous ‘Nasi Briyani’. The Westside Bistro is located on To end the hearty meal, pamper the Ground floor of the Shah Alam yourself with a wide display of Convention Centre (SACC), No 4, sweets which will leave your mouth Jalan Perbadanan Section 14/9, watering for more. 40000 Shah Alam. Among desserts served are an For reservations and enquiries assortment of Malay Kuih, ‘Pingat call the restaurant at 03-5511 8858 Pisang’, ‘Puding Gula Hangus’, ‘Ais or email enquiry@saccconventionKacang’, Chocolate Cakes, Cheese centre.com. Cakes, and Lemon Meringue Pies. Not forg etting the famous Turkish Ice-cream called Dondurma, which is made fresh for all to enjoy. Dondurma , which stands for ‘freezing’ is a unique blend of dessert due to its sticky texture and resistance to melting. Due to its stickiness, this ice-cream may need to be eaten with a knife and fork. Apart from local and traditional delicacies, the buffet also offers a separate spread of international flavours for all to enjoy. The buffet menu is rotated daily from eight different menus. Prices for the buffet are Traditional Malay kueh.
media 19 June 24 — 26, 2011
Eco-friendly paint purifies air By Basil Foo
KUALA LUMPUR: Global paint company AkzoNobel aims to capture the interest of a more environmentally discerning public with the launch of their new eco-friendly paint. “Nowadays customers are more discerning, they look at the back of the pack to see if the product has adverse effects on their health,” said Goh Cheok Weng. The ICI Paints Malaysia managing director said the newly launched Dulux PURE is a premium high quality paint which is specially formulated to purify interior air. After two years of research, the mould and fungus-resistant paint was launched on Tuesday and boasts the ability to neutralise indoor formaldehyde gas. “Formaldehyde has been proven by the World Health Organisation to be carcinogenic and is present in many products as a fundamental raw material,” said Pamela Phua. The AkzoNobel South East Asia and Pacific research, development, and innovation director said formaldehyde can come from curtains, parquet floors, cabinets and furniture. She added that to combat the leaking of the harmful gas into the air inside households and offices, Dulux PURE can function as an air purifier and absorb the formaldehyde. “The special formula in the paint would then convert the formaldehyde gas into harmless water vapour,” said Phua. During the short presentation at the launch, she said the formaldehyde-neutralising paint retained all the qualities that customers would expect from a premium high quality paint. Among those qualities are bacteria, mold, and fungus resistant, high opacity, excellent coverage and smooth texture. Also present during the launch were radio personalities from Mix FM and Era FM who contributed their voices to the Dulux PURE advertisements. Dulux PURE is now available at all major retailers and
Goh (standing second left), Phua, DesignCity creative director Eric Leong, radio personalities, and dancers at the Dulux PURE launch in DoubleTree Hilton on Tuesday.
is priced between RM25 to RM40 per liter. Customers can opt for the paint tinting choice which enables Dulux PURE to come in 2600 different colours.
Swiftlet ranching opened to investors By Basil Foo
KUALA LUMPUR: Swiftlet Ranching for Edible-Bird’s Nest (EBD) is a novel venture for investors who can expect a return on investment of 75 percent over 35 years. “According to independent consultant projections, each unit of the scheme would earn RM270,000 in 35 years,” said Datuk Seri Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan. The Swiftlet Eco Park Bhd Group executive chairperson said this is an average annual return of 75 percent based on the price of RM10,000 per Interest Scheme Unit. Dr Abdullah Fadzil, who spoke during the official launch of the scheme on June 16, said this is the first licensed Dr Abdullah Fadzil swiftlet ranching business in Malaysia. sumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob dur“The scheme has also been approved by the Companies ing the launch. Commission of Malaysia and is considered a low risk inThe launch also saw Swiftlet Eco Park Bhd signing vestment with expected high returns,” he added. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between Investors in the scheme will be given RM800 worth of Rockwills Trustee Bhd and Neucor Alliance Sdn Bhd. vouchers to redeem bird’s nest products in the first six years Rockwills has been appointed as trustee of the scheme of the investment. and will introduce Prosperity Trust, a tool to protect inBased on a RM10,000 investment, the RM800 vouch- vestments from being frozen should the investor pass on. er represents 8 percent return per annum, much higher Neucor Alliance will provide redemption services for than fixed deposit rates of 3-4 percent offered by banks, the scheme’s investors via online e-redemption methods he added. or walk-in services. After the construction of swiftlet ranches during the Swiftlet Eco Park Bhd plans to employ professionals scheme’s early years, the yearly return will be derived from and adopt a systematic approach to developing swiftlet the bird’s nest harvest from year four to 35. ranching and EBN industries on a large scale. “The scheme has met all stringent requirements, one The group’s first swiftlet project was in Manjung, of which is the feasibility in providing high returns to Perak and has since expanded to 14 swiftlet projects in investors,” said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Con- seven states.
AkzoNobel is a global paints and coatings company and producer of specialty chemicals which acquired ICI Paints in 2008.
MAH fundraiser on next month SHAH ALAM: The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), is once again organising its yearly Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, “The Charity Jam”. Jointly organized by Chefs Association of Malaysia (CAM) and Malaysian Association of Housekeepers (MAHIR), the event will once again be held at RP Entertainment Centre of The Saujana Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on July 2 (2pm-1am). There will be live band performances from top local performers such as Artstream, Bonfire, Carbolic SmokeBalls, Corn Cake Kings, Joe “Elvis” Rozario, Spellbound, SWV, Union and V Experiment. “For the last 12 years, MAH has been holding this event as part of its CSR activities. This year marks the final year MAH will be raising funds for the needy children of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of University Malaya Medical Centre,” said MAH chief executive officer Reginald T Pereira. “This year also marks a milestone for MAH as the Charity Jam which is the longest running charity event in the country. It has now been listed as one of the events in the Tourism Malaysia Website for 2011.” he added. PICU is dedicated to the care of critically ill children from newborns to 14 year olds. Each year an average of 400 children are admitted to the unit with the majority referred by government hospitals. Previous Charity Jam Sessions have successfully raised RM413,881.25 for PICU. This year, the organisers aim to raise RM 60,000. Tickets are sold via F & B coupons and are priced at only RM 10 per coupon (RM100 per book of 10 coupons). These coupons are pre-sold and also available on the day of the event. By supporting this worthy cause, guests can stand a chance to win complimentary hotel meal and accommodation vouchers, hampers as well as participate in Dutch auctions.
FOOD 20 JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
Nasi dagang and nasi kerabu treats Neighbourhood restaurants are a dime a dozen, but there are some special ones as LIN ZHENYUAN finds out. At Restoran Binjai, it is the people who make all the difference
uah binjai is common in Malaysia. Its roots can be traced back to Borneo. The people of Bali call it “wani” and the Thais know it as “yaa-lam”. Binjai is a flowering plant from the cashew family. Countries like Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei, Papua New Guinea and the state of Kerala in India are familiar with it. Not so common, however, is Restoran Binjai, which is located in the neighbourhood of BU 4, Bandar Utama. The unassuming and unpretentious restaurant has been in operation for four years. It opened in June 2008. Binjai was probably named after a place of the same name somewhere near Kota Baru in Kelantan. It is a family-owned business where the partners take turns to manage the establishment. The people who are in control of the kitchen and management are mostly women. One hails from Pokok Assam, Perak, and a few are from the east coast. The restaurant’s specialties are nasi dagang, nasi kerabu and nasi lemak. Nasi dagang takes pride of place naturally because the genuine stuff is hard to come by. Regulars normally make a beeline for this dish, and it finishes quickly as we found out when we strolled in at 2.45pm. However, there was still nasi kerabu and a number of trays of good old traditional Malay dishes. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the saying goes. After giving the 20-odd dishes a cursory glance, I selected the salads and the different ulam which the people of Kelantan and Terengganu are known for. On this occasion, I opted for plain white rice. If the traditional ulam is not up to standard, the first mouthful will indicate its quality. I was glad I was proven wrong. The traditional Malay salad dishes were excellent to the point of being outstanding. Later in a conversation with one of the senior partners who identified herself as “KY”, I found out that Binjai also has a catering service. However, the people who were the prime movers behind the eatery were actually from a film production house. The restaurant was the product of their entrepreneurial spirit. KY’s sister mooted the idea of opening a restaurant in 2008 or maybe 2007, but KY wasn’t so sure because she knew the food business wasn’t easy. It would be essential that the owners knew how to cook themselves because hired cooks and helpers tend to be a factor that couldn’t be controlled. As in many cases, sometimes the chefs or cooks just pack up and go home. KY helps out in the kitchen now and then. You can tell she is a good cook because of the way she describes the dishes in detail. After the idea of starting a restaurant was being bandied about, it began to make sense because of the family members’ involvement in the film production business They had to feed the workers regularly, so why not just open up an eatery where they could have a permanent place to chill
out. And so it began and the rest, as they say, is history. Not surprisingly, the dishes at Binjai are several notches above average. The cooks, I was told, are from Terengganu and Kelantan. There are about 26 dishes everyday and quite a few are changed daily. Earlier, I wanted the “promosi set makan tengah hari”, but I failed to communicate properly. In the end, I opted for the dishes that appealed to my culinary instincts. Binjai opens from 7am to 11pm daily. The promotion set lunch is good from 12pm to 3pm. If you are a latecomer, you still can pick your favourite items from the wide array of dishes available. The “maciks” in the kitchen look and operate like they have been there all their lives. Foodies tend to scrutinise kitchen helpers, especially the cooks, if they want to have a feel of the place. I did the same and found my instincts were spot on. The women were very friendly, and when they were told that A worker putting together an order of nasi dagang. Kelantan women are wonderfully enterprising, one of them quickly responded “yes, we Kelantan women are great!” Thankfully for us, the people behind that nasi dagang stall Who am I to dispute that? I was more than convinced by at KLCC are now at the corner of Jalan BU 4/4 in Tingkat the lunch I just had. The curries were great. The ulam had just Bandar Utama. Where Binjai is located, traffic is light in the the right touch of sourness and sweetness. late hours of the afternoon. The deep-fried chicken was soft on the inside and firm on This part of Bandar Utama has an excellent racial mix so, the outside. All the vegetables I had on my plate were most are the customers who eat at the restaurant. That says a lot appetitising. about the quality of food at the place. It is not surprising that This is the only restaurant I have visited for two consecutive some of the customers are local celebrities who are friends of days. On the second day, my wife and I showed up at noon its owners. because we wanted to sample the nasi dagang. Binjai has certainly garnered a loyal following. Parking may Since we were there before the lunchtime crowd, nasi da- be an issue at certain hours unless you don’t mind parking by gang was in ample supply. The ikan tonggol was excellent, so the roadside. was its curry. The nasi dagang has the right consistency that The restaurant has the bare essentials that make the place lives up to its reputation. people friendly. It has a kind of hospitality that endears it to Years ago, the owners of Binjai had a stall selling Kelantan Bandar Utama residents. There are other Malay restaurants dishes in the food court of KLCC. It closed after a while, and within driving distance of course, but those are either in Taman we were wondering what had happened to it because we re- Tun Dr Ismail or Kampung Sungai Penchala. ally liked the nasi dagang and nasi kerabu there. With the sunscreen blinds at the entrance and on its side KY cleared the air regarding her stall which was in operation adjoining residential homes separated only by a wall and a then. “We had problems finding the right cooks so it became road, Binjai has that homey ambience that makes its customimpossible to maintain the stall,” KY explained. ers reluctant to leave.
Nasi dagang is deceptively simple but great in taste.
Fish, brinjal and lady’s fingers make a great meal.
Binjai is where customers come to taste Kelantan food.
The delectable choices of Malay traditional dishes.
TECHNOLOGY 21 JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
Where on the Net are your kids? By Edwin Yapp
n my last column, I talked about general security practices one should have when connecting to the Internet. This week, in my third and final part of dealing with internet security, we examine the options that you, especially parents and/or caregivers, have to control and restrict the kind of Internet content you want your kids to experience. Today, there are some good software programs available to help parents keep tabs on what their children do online. However, before we get into that, let’s address the basics first. The first thing you can do is to create two accounts in your PCs at home. One account is for the adults, the second is for children. If you’re using a Windows-based PC, you can set up two accounts under the User Category under the Control Panel. By doing this, you can limit what your children can do, as they would not be able to, for example, change system settings without the master password. Next up is to set your preferences on your search engine to “Strict” setting. All the popular browsers have this function. Setting them to strict means that the search engine will not return any results that are deemed offensive.
After taking these steps, you can consider employing some software tools that can help you control and restrict Internet content. There are many kinds of tools that can help you safeguard your children’s online activities. These software packages generally have the following functionalities or a combination of a few, namely: Blocking software; Filtering software; Monitoring software; Time-limiting tools; and Browsers for kids. Blocking software uses a “blacklist” to block out access to a list of known bad websites, which must be updated on a daily basis in order for it to work effectively. While this method is the first step to blocking unwanted websites, the number of bad websites on the net far outweighs what this blocking software can handle. So this kind of software feature is limited in its effectiveness. Blocking software should be used in conjunction with filtering software, which looks for keywords that have sexually explicit material, including graphic depictions of sexual acts, nudity, and sexually explicit text. While filtering and blocking software generally do work, they quite often also censor legitimate searches, which children, with permission, may be searching for on the net. For instance, words like “sex” may be construed to mean the sexual act, but in actuality, the searcher may be looking for information on the biological function of the human reproductive system. Monitoring software gives parents the ability to track what kind of website their children have been visiting. Monitoring tools inform adults about a child’s online activity without necessarily limiting access. Some of these tools simply record the addresses of websites that a child has visited. Others provide a warning message to a child if he/she visits an inappropri-
ate site. In connection with this, an important feature you should look out for is the monitoring of outgoing messages. The tool helps to track if your child is sending out personal information like name, age, address or phone number. These tools can help adults supervise behaviour in chat rooms, in e-mail, and also over the Web. Time limiting tools help regulate the amount of time spent on the internet, thereby giving parents the ability to stop children from going further after a pre-determined time lapse. Finally, kids’ browsers are specially designed to allow only wholesome sites to appear on them and automatically censor unwanted content. Also, do check with your Internet Service Provider to see if they have any online filtering tools, which they provide for free. Parents the key
At the end of the day, none of the aforementioned tools are foolproof, i.e. they should not be treated as the end all and be all of internet security in the home. Parents have to realise firstly that they can no longer not pay attention to technology and what their children do online. Parents should be proactive and learn about the potential dangers lurking out there on the net and take steps to minimise the exposure of their children to these elements. And they must also be willing to discuss openly about these issues. Also
do note, kids these days are very smart and can surf the net for ways to get around these filters, so do be aware of such maneuvres. There are many website for directions, but check out http:// kids.getnetwise.org/ for a fairly comprehensive look at online safety. The website also helps you pick an appropriate filtering software. Also since the majority of computers run Windows, it’s wise to check out Microsoft’s parental control features at http://windows.microsoft. com/en-US/windows7/products/features/parental-controls.
Popular online filtering tools NetNanny
NetNanny is one of the pioneers in online filtering software. It’s flexible, easy-to-use and configure, and it’s available for both Macs and PCs. You can purchase this online beginning from US$39. It also has products for mobile devices. www. netnanny.com K9 Webprotection
This is a free-to-download programme for Windowsbased machines. It filters via category settings, keywords, search engine restrictions and a user-modifiable blacklist of addresses. www.k9webprotection.com CyberPatrol
Another pioneer in the business, but supports only Window-based machines. For US$39, you can protect up to 3 PCs. www.cyberpatrol.com
Gallery 22 June 24 — 26, 2011
The women of SS2B entertain friends and guests with some fanciful fan dancing on June 18 at the resident association’s health and safety day.
(from left) MBPJ Deputy Health Director Dr V Chithradav, Petaling Jaya councillor Chan Chee Kong, PJ Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian, Bukit Gasing assemblyperson Edward Lee, Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Jaafar and Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar at the “Stop Dengue” campaign. The campaign was organised by Taman Petaling Rukun Tetangga and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ). Yayasan Tunku Naquiyuddin sponsored the setting up of the Stop Dengue webpage at SM (P) Taman Petaling website.
Multi-racial SRS Gasing Indah members getting ready for duty during a recent visit by Selangor top cop Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah during their neighbourhood policing programme recently.
State executive councillor Ronnie Liu handing over a mock cheque to the chairman and representatives of the Kuan Soon Teh Temple in Pandamaran recently. The RM50,000 is given by the state to refurbish its premises.
A traditional Hakka dance troupe performing during the Hakka Cultural Show at the Seri Kembangan New Village recently. The 17-member cultural group, which was led by singer Huang Hong-ying, was brought in from Guandong, China.
CULTURE 23 JUNE 24 — 26, 2011
By Terence Toh
Shakespeare Demystified: Julius Caesar
Theatre, June 29-July 3; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; 603-40479000, www.klpac.org; RM20 (entrance by donation)
“William Shakespeare was one of the best English writers ever. Seriously. Ever. The Shakespeare Demystified project aims to share the joy and genius of the Bard’s masterful storytelling and curious understanding of humanity. The play – Julius Caesar – is a searing tale of power and ambition; and of the ideals of the state and of society, with a sprinkle of violence and the odd bit of comedy. This 80-minute, no-frills show will feature scenes from the play in their original text, with modern-day narration to help iron out any Elizabethan wrinkles.” The performance will consist of an 80-minute performance (approximately 60 minutes of Shakespeare text interspersed with 20 minutes of narration), followed by a 10-minute break and 20-minute Q&A session. Featuring Marina Tan, Omar Ali, Alfred Loh, Nabihan Yaacob, Lim Soon Heng, Kien Lee, Qahar Aqilah and Sandee Chew. Honour, betrayal and ambition – these classic themes will come to the fore in the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s Shakespeare Demystified: Julius Caesar. Selangor Times sits down with some of the cast to hear their thoughts on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. Omar Ali (O) recently appeared as a zombie extra in Serangan Zombi Pertama di Malaysia and went to do his first speaking role in This Cannot, That Cannot earlier this year. Qahar Aqilah (Q) is a theatre veteran, having appeared in productions such as Life in The Theatre (2009), The Greatest Gift (2010), and Nightlife Creatures (2011) He is also Academy Facilitator for The Actor’s Studio@klpac. Kien Lee (KL) first discovered Shakespeare through the Shakespeare Unleashed Project, founded by Chris Jacobs in 2009. Since then, he has has played Iago in Masakini Theare’s production of Othello, and Theseus/Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. What distinguishes this production of Julius Caesar from other adaptations? KL: It’s not an adaptation. We are doing Shakespeare. Not the full play, but the highlights, using Shakespeare’s language. Besides presenting the story, we also share with the audience our understanding of Shakespeare’s devices. There is an actor-narrator throughout the play who points out some of the significant aspects of Shakespeare’s work. Why the choice to ‘demystify’ Shakespeare? Is the implication that Shakespeare is too difficult for modern Malaysian audiences to understand? KL: Many people find Shakespeare quite intimidating, not just Malaysians. It seems that his works belong to the academics, the cultured, the sophisticated. But after working on Shakespeare, we learnt that he actually writes for a wide range of audiences. If we could get past the antiquated references, we will find that Shakespeare is not so hard to understand and enjoy at all. So we are trying to achieve that in our production. O: I would say that Shakespeare is simply tricky in general. As for “demystifying” it, from my own experience, Shakespeare’s work has always seemed rather esoteric . And that’s the best thing about being part of this production: working on the text, I’ve learned that his works were never meant to be studied by a specific group of enthusiasts, but were written for everyone to enjoy. Q: One of our main goals is to alleviate as much of the fear in dealing with Shakespeare’s texts, to be able to say to oneself, “I am listening and I understand what I can understand, and it’s not a problem not understanding all of it”. This is because even the so called “experts” have trouble understanding all of it. Tell us about your characters, and what draws you to them. Are they anything like you in real life? KL: Brutus is a man of ideals. He thinks that everyone is rational and will bow before a great cause. At times he seems to be so naïve that he loses touch with reality and common sense. He has strong morals and is perhaps naively idealistic. For him, the end justifies the means. Usually he is regarded as an antagonist, but in Shakespeare’s
version, he is more like a flawed tragic hero. I like the complexity of this role. Do I resemble him in real life? I don’t know. No one ever attributes to me the characteristics I just mentioned. But as I dig deeper, I understand more and more where he is coming from. O: I play Casca and Decius Brutus. I’m particularly fond of Casca, who has this very interesting way of getting his point across. He has this “in your face” kind of demeanor; he is often unabashedly blunt, but not without purpose. Decius, on the other hand, is almost the opposite. So it’s fun to sort of stretch myself between these two extremes. Q: Admittedly I’m quite inarticulate when comes to talking about characters that I play, so I shall reserve my comments and let the audience discover Cassius for themselves.
Compiled by Nick Choo & Terence Toh Email: email@example.com
What is your favorite adaptation of a Shakespeare play? KL: First thing that comes to mind is West Side Story – based on Romeo and Juliet – or Throne of Blood, based on Macbeth. O: Mine would be Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet (1996). I liked how it’s given a contemporary setting, that edgy style and feeling to it, but still remaining (relatively) true to the original text. Q: Its between Othello (directed by Alan Parker, starring Laurence Fishbourne) and The Merchant of Venice (directed by Michael Radford, starring Al Pacino).
Fantastikal Strings Concert; June 24 & 25; The Actors Studio @ Lot 10; 03-21422009/ 03-21432009, www.theactorsstudio.com.my; RM10 (Entrance by donation) The KLPac String Ensemble, under the baton of Dr Takahisa Ota and trained by Mr Shigeki Saito, is back by popular demand. This time around, the repertoire includes Fantasy on Greensleeves, The Moon Represents My Heart, Can Can, Time to Say Goodbye, Postcard from Russia and Eine Kliene Nacht Musik, among others.
Nitya Sumangali – The Eternal Wife Dance drama; June 22-26; Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre; 603-40479000, www.klpac.org; RM15/RM25
The Sound of Music Musical; June 21-26; Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre; 03-22872727, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ticketspeople.com; RM190-RM590 In commemoration of its landmark 75th anniversary, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical The Sound of Music arrives in KL direct from the West End for a limited performance run.
Dewan Filharmonik Petronas Spotlight Series: Reza Salleh Concert; June 27; Dewan Filharmonik Petronas; 03-20517007, www.mpo.com.my, dfp_boxoffice@ petronas.com.my; RM48/RM38 Singer-songwriter Reza Salleh performs his personal brand of alternative acoustic folk rock, singing songs from his debut album Realize. Also featuring Az Samad, Liyana Fizi and Providence Brown. Dress code: smart casual.
A period dance drama about a devidasi who falls victim to a cruel fate as an eternal wife of God, following tradition – even in death. Directed and choreographed by Lex Lakshman Balakrishnan, resident choreographer at KLPAC.
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.