Monthly Archives: July 2010

Mr. Peter Chan – Talk – Revival of Kinta Valley


Peter Chan, CEO of The Haven Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Superboom Projects Sdn. Bhd, which is developing the Lakeside Residences in Ipoh, will be giving a talk on ‘The Revival of Kinta Valley in its Hospitality & Tourism Industry’

Date: Sunday 1st August 2010
Time: Noon – 1:00p
Venue: EXPO Luxury Collection 2010 Seminar Area 1, Hall 1 Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre MALAYSIA.

Real Estate Malaysia

Perak’s Home-Grown Talent


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Ipoh Echo’s 100th Issue Anniversary Party promises to be a festive evening showcasing local talents to make Perak proud. A line-up of dance, music and song to be performed by home-grown, born and bred Perakeans, will see the 400-strong supporters who bought tables for the gala evening tapping their feet, and swaying to the exciting programme in store for them. In this issue, we are introducing our team of performers for the evening in order for Ipohites to acquaint themselves with the veritable treasure trove of talent waiting to be appreciated by a wider audience.

Dance and Musical Troupe

The Department of Culture, Arts and Heritage Perak’s dance troupe consists of 13 dancers and five musicians. The troupe was formed in April 2007 with an initial strength of 21 which was eventually trimmed to its current size. It became fully operational in June 2007 and is the department’s official “mascot” of sorts.

To date, the team has performed at over 40 state and departmental functions, in and outside of Ipoh. Its primary objective is to showcase the cultural diversity of the various races in the country through dance and music. Team members, ranging in age from 18 to 30, are led by Pn Shaliza Azlin, an accomplished dancer. Shaliza choreographs the troupe’s dance routines.

The musical group, a recent addition, was formed last February. The team of five plays a mixed bag of traditional musical instruments which forms an integral part of the show. Besides playing music they also sing.

“Talents borne out of necessity”, said Depart-ment Director, Abdul Mutalib Abdul Rahman. Since stepping into the driver’s seat in June, Mutalib has been actively promoting cultural programmes to meet the needs of Perakeans.

Wern Sze Gill
Ipoh-born Wern Sze Gill has been singing and performing in choral groups since the age of 12. While at school, she directed and produced school plays in MGS Ipoh and also conducted the school band. She had her first experience in musical theatre when she was invited to play the lead role ‘Luisa’ in the ACS production of The Fantastics while waiting to leave for Australia to further her studies. While in university, Wern Sze joined her university choir, and was even invited to represent her college at an inter-college musical soiree. After completing her Masters degree in Australia five years later, she enrolled in a musical theatre programme at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, and rediscovered her passion for singing and acting in musical theatre. Upon returning to Ipoh in 1997, she joined the Perak Society of Performing Arts (PSPA) and was soon cast in principal roles such as ‘Maria’ in West Side Story, ‘Tzietel’ in Fiddler on the Roof, and ‘Fiona’ in Brigadoon.

A marketing com-munications practitioner by profession, Wern Sze currently manages Media Masters Publishing, a Media and Publications Company based in Ipoh, and is also a busy mum to a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. Married to Hospital Fatimah’s Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S.S. Gill, Wern Sze Gill also leads and conducts the Canning Garden Methodist Church Choir.

Gavin Tang
Gavin started singing late, around the age of 23 when he completed his studies in the UK and returned to Ipoh. His father, in an effort to prevent him from bumming around, introduced him to the Perak Society of Performing Arts who was coincidentally producing a musical at the time called “Bursting Out”. Gavin had some background in theatre as an actor but had never sung in any of his roles and when he auditioned for the musical, he was selected primarily for his acting ability. Subsequently, there was an opening for a solo piece in the musical and he was encouraged to audition for it and was surprised to be selected to sing the solo. That initial exposure to singing awakened his love for singing.

Gavin Tang is a lawyer by profession and has been in practice for 9 years. He is married to Evelyn Chen. Music is a passion of his which dates back to his childhood when his mom bought him his first cassette at age 9 which was “Hunting High and Low” by A-Ha. For Gavin, music is the one constant in his life which has seen him through times of joy, sadness, angst, celebration, anger and euphoria.

Iqwal Hafiz (featured in Anak Perak IE101)
The journey of success into the world of show business of this young talent began when he was only four years old. The dramatic rise of this super young talent has been breathtaking.

He had recently made Malaysia proud by winning four gold medals, one silver medal and one Hollywood Industry Award in the World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Los Angeles in five vocal categories which includes Pop, Rock, Contemporary, Open Style, and Original Work.

This young talent, not only can dance well, but also sings in 14 languages: Italian, Spanish, Mexican Latin, Tagalog, Arabic, Hindi, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tamil, Malay and English.

Rosli Mansor
Rosli Mansor is Ipoh Echo’s own hidden talent. Rosli who by day works in the Ipoh Echo as its graphic designer, photographer and occasional reporter, at night and on weekends transforms into a crooner, winning local talentimes and entertaining spontaneously on request.

Perak born and raised in Malim Nawar, Rosli is the second of six children and has a Diploma/Degree in Multimedia Animation and Programming from Cosmopoint International University College. For a time, Rosli was a reporter at Sinar Harian Perak and has been singing since he was a child.

Sunway Idol 2010 Runner-Ups

Jerry Chan Git Leong, the first runner-up Idol, is doing a Diploma in Business Information System (DBIS). He is currently in his first year in Sunway College Ipoh. Jerry, who enjoys singing, has been singing since secondary school.

Stephy Leow Pui Kei, Second runner-up, describes herself as an ordinary girl who loves singing. Stephy who is a student at Sunway College took part in the Sunway Idol competition to gain some experience. As a result, we’ll be seeing a lot of Stephy in the years to come.

Mrs Irene Lim

Ipoh Echo supporters will have a real treat on August 6 when Irene Lim will sing some very old Chinese classics. With her forte which is her high soprano voice, she has been singing since the age of two. During her teen years she represented her school in singing competitions up to state level and had enjoyed podium finishes. Currently, Irene sings with the Gospel Evangelism Team and the Cantonese Opera Troupe.

Irene is a lawyer by profession with her own legal practice and is married to Dr. Andy Lim Boon Kheng and they have two children.

ISH’s Hidden Talents
Nineteen-year old Eunice Phuah See Yen has been singing since she was eight. Another linguistic talent, Eunice sings in more than 10 languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, English, Hindi, Arab, Japanese, Korean, Hokkien and Thai. She was awarded Top 5 in the Malaysian Anti-Smoking singing competition, Ren Jian Yin Yuan Top 20 (Astro AEC) both in 2009 and represented Perak State for BIMA (Bintang Irama Malaysia) RTM2 Top 10 in 2010. Eunice currently works in Ipoh Specialist Hospital’s PR/Marketing Services and performs at the hospital lobby every Saturday.

Thirty-four year old Kamarul Bin Abd Razak has played musical instruments since the age of 16. Instruments included keyboard & bass. Additionally, Kamarul sings English and Malay songs having performed in hotels and pubs for 8 years. Like Eunice, Kamarul is also currently attached to Ipoh Specialist Hospital’s PR/Marketing Services and performs at the hospital lobby every Saturday.

Mudslide Affecting Sikh Temple


Gurdwara Sahib, the Sikh temple in Tambun, faces a bleak future as it is under threat. No, not from humans or animals but something less sinister: mudslide. The temple, which is located adjacent to Masjid Jamik Tambun, was built in 1919 and has been a focal point for devotees for many years.

“We’ve raised the matter with the relevant authorities,” said Harder Singh, the chairman of the temple committee, to Ipoh Echo recently. MP and State Assemblyman for Tambun, Dato’ Rosnah Kassim, had referred the matter to the Ipoh City Council and the state government but there were no words of comfort for those concerned. “It’s getting worse by the day”, Harder added. “Anything that affects the temple will also affect the mosque nearby.”

In spite of the looming danger, the faithful continue to flock to the temple. It serves over 600 devotees from the Sikh community, in and around Tambun. Harder hoped the authorities would respond soonest as the current rainy spell would further aggravate the situation. “A retaining wall costing about RM150,000 is all that’s needed to overcome the problem. Is it too much to ask?” he said.

Realising a Dream


Nothing comes easy, as the saying goes. For Kumaravelu (Velu), 50, and Rohn Mani (Ron), 43, their careers have been one roller coaster ride, moving from one job to another. There were times when they had to face insurmountable obstacles which befuddled the mind and numbed the nerves. They served bosses who did not give two hoots for their suggestions, how well-meaning they were. Lesser mortals would have backed down and drifted into obscurity. But not Velu and Ron, the hardships they encountered only helped to strengthen their resolve. Both share the same dream – to be their own bosses and not having to take orders from others. This was the motivating factor that drove the pair to do the inevitable – to strike out on their own in the hospitality industry where rewards are minimal and heartbreaks aplenty.

Velu’s and Ron’s forte is in managing hotels where they began at the bottom winding their way up to the top. Both have been in the business for over 25 years. They have served almost all hotels in Ipoh starting with Excelsior to Syuen to some budget outfits but always with mixed results. Their final posting were as managers of a Taiping hotel where they remained for about two years before leaving.

”Our bosses were more interested in what we do rather than how we performed. That’s was the last straw. We decided to quit and move on”, said Velu.

With the money that they saved, they began the arduous task of identifying a suitable site in Ipoh for a budget hotel. “We went about town trying to locate a good spot to plunk our investment and finally settled for this”, said Ron, pointing to the greenish-coloured double-storey building upfront.

Hotel Shanng was opened to the public in early July. “We don’t have the luxury of a grand opening like most hotels do”, Velu enjoined.

The modest hotel has 25 tastefully furnished rooms with fittings that rival that of a 4-star hotel. The rooms are large, carpeted and air-conditioned. Additional facilities include a 29-in colour TV with Astro connections, fridge and free wi-fi. Amenities that will suit the budget-conscious travellers and businessmen on the move. At RM75 a night, it is value for money.

Hotel Shanng is easily accessible as it is located at: 37, Jalan Long Boon Swee, in between Jalan Bendahara and Jalan Pasir Putih. It is close to restaurants and shopping outlets and, therefore, is most convenient for those wishing to taste Ipoh but prefer to stretch their ringgit. The famous Sun Yoon Loong Restaurant is just around the corner. There is ample parking space.

For inquiries please call Velu at 05-2558090.


Minimising Time


DCP Dato’ Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah

Perak Chief Police Officer, DCP Dato’ Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah assured the public that they would not be unnecessarily delayed when making reports at police stations. “A minimum time of 30 minutes will be allotted to take down a simple report,” he told reporters. “For cases which require detailed investigation, a longer time frame is required. It may take an hour or two”, he added. Zulkifli was addressing the media at a press conference following his monthly meeting with department and district chiefs at the contingent headquarters on Tuesday, July 20. Present at the briefing was the Criminal Investigation Department chief, SAC II Dato’ Dzuraidi Ibrahim. Earlier at the meeting, he revealed that the state crime index, up until July 15, had decreased by 17 per cent while street crime had reduced by 35 per cent. According to Zulkifli, the Police had managed to solve 46 criminal cases as at end of the first half of the year. Another plus point was the selection of the Sg Senam Police station as winner of the Category B award for the best kept station in a competition organised by Bukit Aman. “This is a positive sign indeed”, remarked the police chief.


Knowing More about Geriatrics


Admitting to seeing a Geriatrician is a big step for most, especially for women but explaining to someone what a Geriatrician is, is quite another matter altogether. So when I suggested to my friend Ella MacDonald that we go and see Dr. Dev Teo, the new Consultant Geriatrician at the Ipoh Specialist Hospital, she looked at me blankly and said, “A what?” I had the same blank look subsequently when speaking to some other friends and figuring that Ipoh had a higher proportion than usual of retirees and aging population, decided to interview Dr. Dev on his medical specialty.

“So why did you choose Geriatrics?” I asked of Dr. Dev Teo. “A geriatrician is a medical doctor who is specially trained to prevent and manage the unique and, oftentimes, multiple health concerns of older adults. Older persons may react to illness and disease differently than younger adults. Geriatricians are able to treat older patients, manage multiple disease symptoms, and develop care plans that address the special health care needs of older adults”, was his reply.

“At what age should a person come to see you?”, was my next question to which he responded with, “Anyone over the age of 50 who presents with multiple disease symptoms would do well to be managed by a Geriatrician. As we’re trained in multiple disciplines, we are familiar with most of the major medical issues connected with the aging process and by providing an ‘umbrella’ management, we can help minimise drug interactions and give referrals to other specialist disciplines when the need arises”.

And the training is certainly long and arduous. Dr. Dev completed his medical degree receiving his MRCP from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, followed by housemanship and medical rotation at the Beaumont Teaching Hospital. A stint in general medicine gave him the qualification of Registrar to be followed by post graduate exams which earned him a Diploma in Medicine for the elderly. Not one to rest on his laurels, Dr. Dev then spent 5 years training in Geriatric and General Medicine at the Oxford John Radcliff Teaching Hospital where today he is listed in the General Medical Council as a specialist in Geriatrics.

During this time he had the good fortune to train under Professor Buchan who is a world authority on strokes and stroke management. He also gained extensive experience in working with people with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and falls.

According to Dr. Dev, the major age-related afflictions to be aware of are strokes, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression, incontinence and for men, prostate problems. For stroke prevention, he recommends being very vigilant about monitoring one’s blood pressure especially if it leans on the high side and to take the blood pressure medication faithfully when prescribed.

On the issue of diabetes which appears to be rampant in Malaysia, Dr. Dev recommends a very stringent curbing on all sugars, white starch (white rice, noodles, white bread) and desserts, and also warns against most fast food which is laden with hidden sugar.

Depression in the elderly is very common and it is time for people to recognise that there is no stigma attached to being depressed. He trains carers on recognising the symptoms of depression and dementia in their elderly family members and urges early treatment for ease and comfort both for the patient and the carers. He is also very patient in explaining to carers and giving tips on how to cope with episodic tantrums and easing the trauma for the dementia patient.

Having worked in ‘Falls Clinics’ extensively, Dr. Dev recommends steps for families of the elderly to minimise the incident of accidental falls at home. As one of the highest causes of death amongst the elderly arises from falls, he has many tips for carers to prevent this. Concurrently he also recommends that people by the age of 60 should have a baseline bone scan done to eliminate the presence of osteoporosis or thinning bones which is prevalent particularly in older women.

Incontinence is a subject that is seldom discussed as there appears to a shroud of embarrassment over the topic. But Dr. Dev maintains that incontinence can be helped with specific pelvic floor exercises for both men and women. Men however should have their prostate checked by the time they reach 60 with both a manual examination as well as a PSA (Prostate Serum Antigen) blood test.

I first went to Dr. Dev as a patient and having experienced his professionalism and gentle yet deeply probing manner, I can certainly vouch for his expertise. Not for him, the I-am-God-the-doctor-and-you-do-as-I-tell-you approach but rather an exploration between equals about the ailments that afflict me and how best to treat them.

Having only been in Ipoh Specialist Hospital for 4 months, Dr. Dev has great plans to run clinics and forums on his favourite topics for the elderly as well as for the care and management of them. Timely ones would be Stroke Recognition, Prevention and Management, Diabetes Prevention and Management and just about any of the diseases that afflict the older person.

Ipoh Echo wishes Dr. Dev much success in the future and looks forward to his public forums.

Ipoh’s New Councillors


There are four new faces among the 22 city councillors, who were sworn in at the MBI’s Conference Hall on July 28. They were Mr. Choo Kean Seng, Mr. Chang Tat Guan and Mr. Loo Gar Yen from MCA and Encik Mat Zabidi bin Idris from UMNO.

The rest, whose appointment expired last June, were reappointed. Their term of office will be until Dec. 31, 2011.

State chairman of local government, Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon, explained that “the normal term of office is for one year beginning in January, but it was decided in this case to extend to the end of December, next year.

“This decision will apply to all the 351 councillors throughout the state,” he said after witnessing the swearing-in ceremony of the councilors.

His advice to the newly appointed councillors was to play their roles as representatives of the government.


Car-Stealing Syndicate Going Global


The high incidence of car theft is one major factor that contributes to the escalating crime index in the country. Cars stolen in Malaysia are not only sold in neighbouring countries but outside of the ASEAN region.

“It’s has gone global,” said Tan Sri Ismail Omar, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, to media representatives at the Perak Police Contingent Headquarters in Ipoh on July 29. Ismail was presiding a meeting of criminal investigation department chiefs of all states held from July 28 to 30.

“With the assistance of our foreign counterparts we’ve identified 80 stolen cars from Malaysia. Of this number, 46 are being sold within Asia while the remaining 36, outside of Asia.”

The car-stealing syndicate is well connected and its tentacles are spread all over the world. Cars stolen from the country are being spirited out through the many exit points, north and south of the Malaysian borders.

Ismail refuted claims that government officers were involved in the racket. “We don’t conduct our investigations based on rumours and hearsay”, he added. “The Police will not hesitate to take actions on those who flout the laws.”

The Deputy IGP’s statements came in the wake of the recent announcement by the General Insurance Association of Malaysia that it had to pay RM400 million in the form of claims relating to car theft last year. “We are closing in on the syndicate and will act once we’re ready”, he remarked.

On the issue of Sikh militants hiding in the country, he had this to say, “The Police is keeping a close watch on the situation and have sought the cooperation of the Indian Police.”

The national crime rate figure for the first half of 2010, according to Ismail, had decreased by 14 percentage points.


PC Fair 2010


The much anticipated computer fair slated for the month of August at Stadium Indera Mulia has much to offer for both computer buffs and casual visitors. Those wishing to dispose of their old computers can do so with convenience. They can exchange them for cash vouchers which can then be used to purchase ICT products on sale. “This is a good way to keep the environment safe and clean,” said Sugumaran, the President of Kelab Anak Malaysia, at the launch of a recycling campaign at the conference room of the State Economic Planning Unit, State Secretariat building recently. The fair, organised by PIKOM (National ICT Association of Malaysia), will last for three days, beginning on August 6 till 8. Opening hours are between 10 am to 10 pm daily.

Besides computers and gadgets, visitors get to participate in lucky draws held daily with high-end laptops as prizes. A colouring contest for kids will be the highlight of the 3-day fair to be held on the final day. For details on the contest please call: Puah Chun Sen at 012-5055173.


Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Ipohites, exercise your rights judiciously. Inspect the draft local plan and make your objections and representations known…

Local Plan
Based on the Town and Country Planning Act 1976, a local planning authority is allowed to prepare a local plan. However, it has to be integral to the state structural plan. This proviso is provided in Section 12(1) of the aforesaid Act. In complying with this requirement, Ipoh City Council (MBI) together with the Perak Town and Country Planning Department (Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa Perak), had crafted a draft local plan to cover a period of ten years (2010 to 2020). The Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020 is now available for inspection.

In drawing up the plan, city council had initiated actions to publicise its intent. A publicity exercise was conducted in 2007 at Heritage Hotel, Ipoh. Representatives from both the public and private sectors were invited to give their input. The meeting conformed to Section 12 A of the Act which categorically states, before commencing the preparation of a draft local plan, the local planning authority shall take steps to secure the following: (a) that publicity is given to the draft local plan that is being prepared (b) that those wishing to make representations are given an opportunity to do so.

And since I was a party to the discussion, I vouch for its relevance with reservations, of course. My one concern is I am unsure whether participants’ feedback was taken into consideration. No one could possibly know as there has been no communication between the interested parties and the planners since then. I had proposed low-impact and sustainable developments and the revamping of the city’s woeful public transport system.

Three years down the road and the draft local plan for Ipoh is now ready. The plan is contained in a 470-page book complete with maps, diagrams, statements and proposals for the improvement of traffic, transportation, road system, landscape, preservation of buildings etc pursuant to Section 12 of the Act. The book, which comes in 3 parts, costs RM150 while the condensed version costs RM15. They are available at the designated display centres.

Publicity and Inspection
The plan covers the 643 sq km of the city under the council’s jurisdiction. It is divided into eight “planning blocks”. Since nearly 31,000 hectare or 48 per cent of the city limits are forested, developments are only concentrated within the city and portions of the 10,040 hectare uninhabited areas, which consisted of abandoned and disused mining lands. The eight “planning blocks” radiate outwards, from inner city to industrial zones to tourist belts and eventually to the forested areas in the west and east (Bukit Keledang and Bukit Kinta forest reserves).

Before the draft plan is adopted, as provided for under Section 15 of the Act, the local planning authority is required under Section 13(1) to make copies of the draft local plan available for inspection at its office and at other places as it may determine; and each copy must be accompanied by a statement of the time within which objections or representations may be made to the local planning authority.

Insofar as publicity is concerned, Section 13 (2) states, the local planning authority shall publish in three issues of at least two local newspapers, one of which being in the national language, a notice stating the dates, time and places when the draft local plan is available for inspection. The time frame within which objections or representations may be made to the local planning authority in respect of the draft local plan is not less than four weeks from the date when copies of the draft local plan are available for inspection.

Although there is discrepancy in the manner the draft plan is being publicised, the fact that the launching by Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon, at Impiana Hotel on Friday, July 23, was carried in mainstream media, including Ipoh Echo, is proof of intent by MBI.

So, Ipohites exercise your rights judiciously. Inspect the Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020, which is on display from July 23 to August 22. Make your objections and representations known to the planners. Do you want to wake up one morning and see workers laying LRT tracks right across your lawns?

The plan can be viewed at the foyer of MBI and at Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa, 7th Floor, Bangunan Seri Perak, Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (working days only).