Monthly Archives: October 2010

One Wife and Three Breakfasts


A rich businessman named Thong has been married to his wife, Trisha since 1970 in the traditional Chinese way. They have three children who are now aged 33, 35 and 37. He then married again, Jessica, in 1983 and has 2 children now aged 23 and 25. Subsequently, in 2002, he took Evon as his third wife who bore him a child who is now aged 8. Thong always begins his day by having his breakfast with Trisha first and then moves on to Jessica’s house for his second breakfast. Thereafter, he will end his breakfast in Evon’s house. The three women are not on good terms. His daily routine with all these breakfasts has made him obese and his health is affected. Recently, when asked by a close friend if he has planned for his family in terms of wealth distribution should he pass away, his reply was this never crossed his mind. He now feels that it is time to quickly take action on it. But the question is would a will be sufficient for his predicament?

In the case of Thong, one has to determine who the legal wife is. Since Thong married Trisha in 1970, Trisha is considered the legal wife because under the Malaysian law for non-Muslims, traditional marriages before March 1, 1982 are recognised and the woman is the legal wife. Therefore in Thong’s case, any marriage after March 1, 1982 is void which means that Jessica and Evon are not considered legal wives. That being the case, Jessica, Evon and their children shall have no right of succession or inheritance to Thong’s estate if Thong passes away without a will or a trust.

First Thong will have to list down his movable and immovable assets. With that in place, he can then specify in detail in his will for the distribution to his first family. Then it is best that he specifies the other assets to be transferred or assigned to two separate Private Trusts for the second and third family. The first most important matter Thong has to do is to appoint Executors and Trustee for his will and trust. Due to the poor relationship between the women, it is crucial that Thong appoints a Trustee Company like Rockwills Trustee Bhd. to be the Executors and Trustee for his Estate. This is because Rockwills Trustee Bhd. ensures expertise in this field of work, impartiality, professionalism and perpetual existence. If individuals from any one of the families are chosen to be Executors and Trustee then it can raise questions of impartiality and trustworthiness. In addition, the problem can turn ugly if members of one family are appointed as Executors/Trustee and members of another family are holding the Death Certificate because the original Death Certificate is the first key to unlocking Thong’s entire estate.

Appointment of guardian for children over 21 years is not required but essential for the child who is 8 years old if Thong and Evon were to pass away together. In setting up the Private Trust for the second and third family, Thong is named the “Settlor”. He appoints Rockwills Trustee Bhd. as the “Trustee” and a family member to be the “Protector”. A “Protector” acts as the watchdog on the Trustee. Then he has to name all his respective “Beneficiaries”. All these key players will be stated together with the instructions and conditions of distribution to the beneficiaries in a legal document called the “Trust Deed”.

Peter Lee is an Associate Estate Planning Practitioner (Wills & Trust) with Rockwills International Group. He is also an Islamic Estate Planner providing Wills & Trust services for Muslims. He is based in Ipoh and can be reached at: 012-5078825/05-2554853 or

The Amazing Walk


Pak Peter

“This is an amazing walk not the amazing race”, said Pak Peter, the Marshal for the day; and what was amazing about it was that 100 people, from all walks of life and different social concerns, walked approximately 6½ km for mental health awareness. In conjunction with Mental Health Day on October 10, KAMI (Kinta Action on Mental Health Issues Society Perak) and Nomad Adventure organised this awareness walk. The Walk from Gopeng through Kg Jahang and Kg Chulek and ending at Nomad Adventure, was also an eco awareness experience. Participants were encouraged to “interact, respond and make a difference”. Simultaneous walks were also organised in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor. Among the walkers were visitors from Singapore, Austria and Holland. Participation was limited to reduce the impact on the environment.

…and off we go!

Laughter warmup with Yuen-li

The Walk was led by KAMI vice-chairman, Mr Lau Yew Kee and representatives from different groups. There could not have been a better day for the Walk. The morning was slightly overcast with an occasional cool breeze under the canopy of trees, the tarred road meandered through oil palm estates and kampongs, made it a very pleasant walk indeed. Chan Yuen-li, director of Nomad, did warm-up laughter exercises with the group before the start; drumming and lunch were also included in the programme, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed. Director of KAMI, Ong Su-ming acknowledged and thanked sponsors, donors, NGOs and all the participants.

Ong Su-ming

The objectives of the Walk was not only to create better public awareness on mental health but also to “de-stigmatise mental illness and to advocate for the rights, well-being and public support for the mentally ill”. This is all the more pertinent when “WHO (World Health Organisation) predicts that within 20 years more people will be affected by depression than any other health problem”.

If this Walk gave us a better understanding of mental health and illness, and nature awareness, than it would have achieved its purpose.

KAMI is an affiliate member of MINDA (Movement to Incorporate the New Developments & Actions for the mentally ill) Malaysia. KAMI Community Wellness Centre is at: 4 & 4A Lebuh Perajurit 3/2, Ipoh. Contact: Su – 016-5468003.


Orang Asli Activist is Admitted to the Bar


Hunt with his wife and peers

Amani Williams-Hunt bin Abdullah was accepted as an Advocate and Solicitor to the High Court of Malaya recently.

Williams-Hunt, 57, a Semai Orang Asli from Tapah and fondly known as Bah Tony amongst the Orang Asli communities throughout the country, is very active in Orang Asli (OA) advocacy and was President of Persatuan Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia from 1987 to 1991.

Bah Tony who worked as a Banker for 26 years, resigned his job in 2006 to do his Certificate in Legal Practice. He began studying law part time since 1999 saying that “becoming a lawyer enabled him to seek justice and help for his community”.

Hunt with his wife Khatimatul Huzna

Currently he is a Member of the National Advisory Council for the Development of the Orang Asli Community a think-tank established under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development and also a Committee Member for Orang Asli Rights under the Malaysian Bar Council.

Williams-Hunt is married to Puan Khatimatul Husna and has 6 children, 2 boys and 4 girls from ages 10 till 30.


Action Committees to Combat Diseases


Sixteen government agencies, including local authorities and orang asli department, have been roped in to assist in  combating dengue and leptospirosis in Perak. They are to be part of the district action committees for carrying out diseases’ preventive measures and their progress will be  monitored weekly. State chairman for health Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon stated this after a meeting with health officials in Ipoh recently.

Dato' Dr. Mah Hang Soon

Additionally, he said, seven COMBI (Communication Behavioural Impact) Teams have initially been set up. COMBI Teams are a World Health Organization recommended programme towards tackling communicable diseases by getting communities to influence individuals and families and create public awareness on the importance of a healthy environment. The state has targeted to set up 60 COMBI Teams.

However, Mah added, the only way to control the spread of communicable diseases is by the practice of good hygiene by everyone. The cooperation of the community in keeping a clean and healthy environment will ensure not just the control of dengue and leptospirosis but a host of other illnesses.

Dato' Mah with Dato' Dr Ahmad Razin, Director of the State Health Dept

The most effective way to prevent and control dengue was to keep ones premises clean and tidy and apply the search and destroy method of eliminating mosquito breeding grounds.

Similarly for leptospirosis, keeping the surrounding environment tidy and hygienically clean will help to prevent and control the leptospira virus. Personal hygiene such as wearing shoes or plastering open wounds when visiting water spots such as streams, ponds, etc. is another preventive measure. The common host for the virus is the rat.

For this year the number of deaths in Perak from dengue is five compared to three last year while the current number of deaths due to leptospirosis is 15.


Leo Clubs M.A.D Celebrations


The Leo Clubs in Malaysia recently celebrated their 40 years of Community Service in Malaysia by  hosting Eco-based projects such as tree planting or collecting recyclable items throughout the country (from Johore to Perlis) describing their effort as the M.A.D (Making A Difference) Celebration.

In Ipoh, District 308B2, the Leo Club of SMK Anderson, formed 40 years ago in 1970, invited its own Andersonian Old Boy, Y. Bhg Dato’ Abdul Rahim  Md Ariff, MBI’s Secretary to grace the tree-planting ceremony at the school grounds.

Rahim, in his address, praised the Club’s members for selecting Eco-based projects for the their theme celebration as it helped create “awareness for the environment around us”. Their efforts complement similar MBI’s initiatives such as Ipoh Clean and Green City and Greening Greentown adding that to date MBI had planted over 15,000 trees around town.

Joining Rahim to plant a red palm tree at the school’s compound was the Malaysian Celebrities Go Green team of Baki Zainal, Azizi Zakaria and Soo Winci (Miss Malaysia World 2009 fame) amongst others.

According to Lion member and District 308B2 Chairperson (Selangor to Perlis) Alan Thoo the celebration had been endorsed by the Ministry of Education. A total of 15 Leo Clubs in Perak participated in the M.A.D celebrations.

The Leo club is the youth wing of the Lions Club International which creates opportunities for youth between the ages of 13-30 to create and develop their leadership and management skills.


No End to Housing Woes


I am one of the 26 unfortunate souls who are unable to realise our dreams of seeing our house in full view. Ten years ago my husband and I signed a sale and purchase agreement with the developer who undertook the Taman Perpaduan Permai housing project in Bercham. The house was in our son’s name. The agreement stipulated that the house we purchased and paid for with a bank loan would be ready within a fix period of time. However, this promise was not honoured, as the developer had problems fulfilling its financial obligations and finally winded down. The project was subsequently abandoned and we buyers were left in a lurch.

Jabatan Perumahan Negara took stock of the problem and a new developer was identified to continue with the project. Recently, I received a letter from the lawyers of the new developer stating that the stalled project would be revived post haste. The fact that the 26 houses in question would be completed was well received by us. Our happiness, however, was short-lived. In the same letter we were told to pay a sum of between RM10,000 to RM20,000 to the new developer as fees for infrastructure works, which was the cause for the project being abandoned. The said amount is over and above the balance 20 per cent of the purchase price owing to the former developer.

We are given three months to make good these payments – the 20 percent end-financing and money for infrastructure works. How am I to pay? I am a pensioner with no access to extra funding other than my meagre pension. Since the project was abandoned, I had to buy another property nearby to live. So now I am being burdened with two housing loans – one for the abandoned house and the other for the house I am now living.

Isn’t Jabatan Perumahan Negara formed to protect house buyers like me? It looks like our woes are not about to end. The only recourse left is to seek justice from the housing tribunal. But that will take time as the tribunal has too many cases to arbitrate. Where else shall I turn to?


Ipoh on its Knees


Will it ever stand Proud Again?
In the last issue of the Ipoh Echo, I was introduced as the man behind IpohWorld and its website Indeed, today, that is true, but the idea was not mine, but brought to me, in 2004, by a lady from a well-respected and longstanding Ipoh family. She felt that someone who cared about Ipoh should record the heritage and history before it was too late. I succumbed to her idea! Since then we have established a significant Internet-based archive on Ipoh and the Kinta Valley, an active blog, more than 6,000 individual readers a month and an ever increasing set of Facebook fans. But what has been happening to Ipoh City, its history and heritage, while we have been tied to our computers?

Continuing Deterioration
The story is sad as our city’s material state continues its deterioration unabated; mysterious fires, broken pavements, abandoned and collapsing buildings and what appears to be rampant demolition of the old structures, leading to more ugly buildings and untidy tracts of land being turned into car parks, or rubbish dumps.

Dressed up for movie

Lonely Planet’s ‘Indictment’
If you think my description is extreme then take a look at how, “TheLonely Planet”, the worldwide tourist publication, des-cribes Ipoh:

“… mainly a transit town, a place where you change buses; … chaotic traffic; … crumbling Chinese shophouses and ugly modern blocks”; and, specifically for New Town “…. generally dingy part of town, with a notorious prostitution problem and no real attractions.

The complete description may be found at Does that make you feel proud of your home town, the capital city of Perak?

Now why do you, the people of Ipoh and Perak, allow this deterioration and destruction of our city and its built heritage to continue? You are not afraid to speak out when things affect your livelihood or income; an increase in petrol prices or taxation causes a storm of protest, but when it comes to the city and its multitude of problems, very little is said. Could it be lethargy – as long as you are living comfortably and making money you just don’t care about your surroundings? Surely not! That would be a damning indictment of the Malaysian mindset!

Lack of Understanding?
So what is the problem? I wish I could be certain, but perhaps you simply do not understand the importance of heritage in education, tourism and the enhancement of property values, that heritage conservation brings. In one way or another, these three increase the value of our surroundings and the quality of our life. If this was not the case there would be no UNESCO to support heri-tage across the world.

Outrage over Recent Demolition
Having said all that, the recent demolition of the complete row of houses in Jalan Chung On Siew, did cause a number of local people to register their disgust. This was surprising in a way, as these buildings did not genuinely stand as heritage, being comparatively young by world standards. However, there were reasons for this outburst: this was probably the only unspoilt row of such houses in the city; they had been used in the shooting of the Shanghai movie, “Lust, Caution”; and the Director, Ang Lee, had been quoted as saying that this was probably the only place left where he could make the movie. And now they are gone!

Blog Comments
It is not possible to show all the blog comments here as space is limited but they may be seen on the above link. Some extracts include:

Heritage vandalism; … hell bent on destroying buildings … money and greed rule supreme; … taxpayers, you own the place so make some noises please; … others are busy preserving heritage, we are tearing ours down; … Ipoh will become another hollow town with nothing to be proud of; … a loss to Ipoh’s past; … magnificent old trees chopped down; … hills blasted; … natural beauty robbed from us; Ipoh is losing its history and identity; former glory and rich heritage obliterated…

Pleas from the Heart
There is much more in the same vein across the 28 comments to date, but the most heartfelt ones are the ones that appeal to the Ipoh people, past and present that are far too long to reproduce here. Using phrases like “… please stand up and be counted, be a voice that can sound out to whom it may concern”, “… wherever you are now, I beseech you – stand up, take action and make your ancestors proud,” these are words from the heart, from people who really care about Ipoh and its future. They deserve your support – all of you. But will they get it? If recent history is anything to go by, I very much doubt it.

For as long as I have lived in Ipoh there has been dialogue at all levels about heritage tourism and the need to do something about it. Regular statements have been made about plans and policies being put in hand, these to bring about change for the better – but in parallel, more uncontrolled devastation takes place and the plans just fade away. I am sure that you don’t need me to remind you of these, but the destruction of Jalan Chung On Siew, presumably approved by the Town Planning Department, at almost the exactly the same time as YB Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Perak State Exco, announced that Ipoh City was to be proposed for UNESCO status, is a case in point.

Conflicting Messages
Rightly or wrongly, this passed the message that the two hands of government were not working together. Add to this the current demolition and development of Theatre Street, the infamous new toilet in Little India, and the projected replacement of “The Dramatists’ Hostel” and surrounding buildings by a 7-storey glass and stainless steel hotel, in the middle of Old Town, and you can see why, apart from a few stalwarts, the people of Ipoh have given up believing in the government’s claim of safeguarding heritage for tourism.

Ipohites: Stand Up and be Counted
I am absolutely positive that Dato’ Hamidah is doing her best to overcome the lack of planning and control over the past 30 years or so, which has driven Ipoh to its knees. However unless she is backed up by government and the people at all levels she has no chance of success. So now it is your turn, Perakeans, to follow those who have appealed for your support on our blog. Stand up and be counted. Voice your disapproval of the condition of your city, the rubbish dumps, decaying buildings, the stealing of our heritage and the consistent deterioration of our way of life. This may be your last chance to help Ipoh to stand proud again, leaving something worthwhile behind for your descendants. If you do nothing they will have to suffer the consequences of your inaction.

Ian Anderson

FOOD – Possibly Ipoh’s Last Hurrah?


As old buildings crumble or are torn down to make way for new development, Ipoh is rapidly losing any potential appeal it may have for tourism as the ‘historical city that tin built’. Only in one area does it hold its own in tourism potential and that is in its reputation for superlative food. As a foodie haven, tourists come in droves, whether it is by the bus loads from Singapore, or day trippers driving in from Kuala Lumpur and all over the Peninsula, to sample and buy back the food for which Ipoh is justifiably famous.

Visitors eagerly seek out ‘Hor Fun’ (noodles), ‘Nga Choi Kai’ (bean sprouts chicken), curry mee, Tanjung Tualang’s freshwater prawns or ‘Udang Gallah’, Mee Rebus, ‘Tau Foo Fah’ (soya bean curd), ‘Hiong Piah’ biscuits, white coffee, pomelo, groundnuts and jostle for seats for morning Dim Sum.

As a tourist attraction, Ipoh and its surroundings have failed as the city’s past glories are slowly fading away. Though Malaysia is now ranked ninth in the world for tourist arrivals, Ipoh benefits very little as it’s potential as a tourist attraction is still far from being developed, and those who come are just here for the food.

How Hygienic and Safe?
Fearing that its reputation as a food haven may one day be threatened, Ipoh Echo is examining the environment under which food is being prepared and cooked by hawkers and restaurants, and the effectiveness of health enforcement. Our concern is how hygienic and safe is the food in the restaurants, coffee-shops, food courts and roadside stalls, and are we doing enough to ensure that food consumed in the city are safe from disease and food poisoning?

Loh See Fun’s Mass Food Poisoning
The series of food poison-ing cases experienced in the city and it’s outskirts in October, 1988, must be remembered by all those responsible for health and operators of food outlets.

In the incident, 13 children between the ages of two to 11 died after consuming ‘Loh See Fun’ (rat’s tail shaped noodle) that was contaminated with boric acid and aflatoxin which came from one supplier.

The city cannot afford a similar outbreak of mass food poisoning, which will only damage its reputation as a food haven and scare away visitors. Food operators and health enforcement agencies need to stringently observe measures to ensure food prepared and consumed are hygienic and safe.

Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim showing thumbs-up to a A-Grade certificate given to a food outlet

City Council’s Strict Guidelines
A. Jeyaraj spoke to the city council’s health department chief Mohd Alias Kama-ruddin on the action taken to control leptospirosis (a disease associated with rat droppings) in Ipoh. He reports that all food handlers must take a Typhoid injection every three years and also attend a health course before being issued a licence. The food handlers also need to abide by the council’s strict guidelines which have been incorporated with directives from the Health Ministry and Ministry of Local Government.

Visual inspection of food outlets is done on a daily basis; however each hawker’s stall is inspected at least twice a year. A general inspection is done to ensure that the workers wear proper attire, personal hygiene of food handlers and general cleanliness of their stalls.

During evaluation inspection, the handling and storage of raw ingredients, preparation of food, cooking method, cooked food, display of cooked food, cleaning of utensils and method of disposal of waste are checked. Raw and cooked food samples are sent for laboratory analysis against contamination and potential source of food poisoning under the Food Act and Regulations..

Regular Inspection of Food Outlets
The enforcement officers from the Hawkers’ Unit have inspected about 2,000 stalls in food courts, pasar malam and hawker centres so far this year, and 733 compounds were issued and fines amounting to RM77,400 were collected and 152 warning letters were issued against those who had failed to comply with the regulations.

The Food Unit looks after the restaurants, food manufacturers, supermarkets, grocery stores selling food, convenient stores in commercial buildings and school canteens. There are about 3,500 premises to be inspected of which 1,500 are eating shops.

Food premises are inspected quarterly and other outlets at least once a year. Up until August, 510 compounds were issued and RM86,400 in fines were collected and 203 warning notices were issued.

Grading of eateries
Apart from the stringent inspections, the council’s health department also carries out evaluation of eateries for grading purposes every three months and for this year 891 premises were evaluated. Evaluation is also carried out on toilets, kitchen, storage, refrigeration, washing area, dining area and waste disposal. The premises must have a cleaning schedule.

The Vector Unit is specifically studying the rat problem in the wet markets and food courts. The study is in its final stages .

Food Outlet Operators
James Cough and Rosli Mansor set out to interview food outlet operators to find out how sincere they are about hygiene and safe food, as well as their knowledge and practice of safe food handling procedures.

Generally, those interviewed said they were aware of the need for cleanliness in their daily operation and with the frequent surprise checks by health officials, they cannot let their guard down and therefore must maintain cleanliness all the time.

The proprietor of Family Cafe located at Taman Permai, Christine Newton-Yee said, “Handling food in a hygienic manner and keeping one’s outlet clean is to be expected at any food outlet”. Christine had attended the MBI course before opening the Cafe and stated these basic requirements were impressed upon her during the briefing.

Employee at a food outlet Nor Ismawati Mat Isa said cleanliness is their top priority. “We’ve been told by our employer that we cannot compromise cleanliness as the health and safety of our customers are very important,” she said.

To Each His Own
While every effort have been taken to ensure that food is safe and served under hygienic conditions, political constraints have resulted in street food stalls which were once located in shops and food courts being allowed back on the roadsides at unsuitable rat-infested locations, with no running water for cleaning.

It is therefore left to those planning to eat out to make their own decisions as to whether to patronise food stalls in coffee-shops and food-courts or to eat at roadside stalls? However, knowing Malaysians’ eating habits, their choice is often not based on conducive environment but rather on following their taste buds at the sacrifice of hygiene factors.




The series of budget dialogues held at the State Secretariat building from September right through to October were well attended and participation was keen. Kudos to Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, for initiating it in the first place. This is unprecedented as in the past, deliberations on state budgets were done behind drawn curtains and under tight security. It was a closed-door affair and attended by the privileged few within the MB’s political and administrative circles.

News on the state’s incomes and expenditures can only be gleaned from the MB’s speeches and press statements or during his post-executive council meetings on Wednesdays. The information is sketchy and much is left to conjecture. Unless one is good at computing numbers, there is little to digest. So a budget speech in the state assembly by the MB becomes one boring affair that is often relegated to an obscure page in the mainstream media.

We are keen to hear what the Prime Minister has to declare in parliament. The national budget affects the public in general. Tax increases, reliefs, petrol price hike, prices of essential commodities and pay increases are some of the details we want to hear, as they affect the rakyat at large.

A state budget is a different kettle of fish. Since the effects are minimal we do not necessarily take it seriously unless there is something for us. Perak Budget 2010 made some provisions for the poor and the needy and the newly born. However, the ripple effect has yet to be felt. Be that as it may, the fact that the MB is prepared to share his thoughts with us is praiseworthy.

The dialogue was, in all honesty, an information brief with the state financial officer, Dato’ Jamaluddin Al Amini Ahmad in the lead. He enumerated on earnings, revenues, expenditures and the expected spending for Year 2011. The state has experienced six consecutive deficit budgets since 2005 and the coming year is no better. A shortfall of RM50 million is expected. Tightening the belt will be the most convenient way out. But can this be done when the dreaded OE (Operational Expenditure) expands at an alarming RM8.5 million a year since 2001? As always, personal emoluments top the bill.

The dialogue with village heads on September 11 and NGOs on September 25 witnessed some hilarious moments. What matters most to the ketua kampung was money. They clamoured for a larger pay check claiming that the allowance they received presently was insufficient. The NGOs fared no better. One silat group asked for RM1 million. Another suggested that the state sell sand and water to Selangor. It was obvious that the participants were ill-prepared for the dialogue. It would have been more meaningful had the right people been present.

There are many grey areas which the state government have failed to address. Since its revenue sources are limited to land, forest, water and tithes (fitrah), which are under its control, making the most out of these resources become imperative.

Ipoh Echo has several times highlighted the large number of illegal activities taking place on state land. Logging, sand-mining, fish-farming, vegetable and fruit cultivation continue unabated. Some take place right under the authorities’ noses. Had these illegal activities been regulated, Budget 2011 will not fall short by RM50 million. And Jamaluddin need not suggest that the government “tap into its RM600 million reserves” to make good the amount.