Monthly Archives: November 2010

Holy Cow!… Did I Just Hit A Buffalo?


The ‘City that Tin Built’ will soon be known as “cattle city” if no action is taken soon by the relevant authorities. Although it was accorded city status 22 years ago, cows and buffaloes still roam freely on its roads, commercial areas and housing estates. Judging from the amount of complaints and police reports lodged by residents about stray cattle, the situation is becoming serious…

Stray cattle are sighted daily in various parts of the city, particularly in the Lahat, Menglembu, Silibin, Jelapang, and in the Jalan Kuala Kangsar areas. These stray cattle are not just a nuisance, but also a threat as they have been known to attack and gore people while grazing in parks, children’s playgrounds, commercial and residential areas.

They also obstruct traffic, destroy plants and rummage in dust-bins in the housing estates, leaving trails of dung and urine with their accompanying foul smells in front of houses and along roads.

At night buffaloes lie down as well as cross the roads in this area

Fatal Accident
Motorists in particular, are exposed to danger on the roads, especially at night. Early last month, the problem culminated in a fatal road accident. A van driver was killed when his vehicle knocked down two buffaloes at 3.45 a.m. near Falim. The buffaloes were also killed. According to a police statement the fatal accident occurred when the buffaloes suddenly crossed into the path of the van.

There have been other reports of accidents caused by stray cattle including cases where motorists were  trying to avoid running over cow dung on the roads. Such accidents are unheard of in a progressive city, but is Ipoh a progressive city?

State Government Directive No Longer Effective?
Over two decades ago, the state government had directed that no cattle or goat rearing be allowed within the city centre. Judging from the existing stray cattle problem, this directive appears to be no longer effective, or the cattle farmers have not been relocated.

Owners of herds would release their animals at night to avoid detection by the city council, which had set up a unit to round up stray cattle in 1987. Under the city’s by-law on stray animals, owners could be fined not more than RM250 for each stray or if the offence was committed repeatedly, the animal could be sent to the abattoir for slaughter.

Banana trees eaten by cows

No Solution in Sight
Frustrated by the frequency of cattle marauders, residents of affected housing estates have even resorted to setting off fire-crackers to chase them away from damaging fruit and flower plants but to no avail.

As there is currently no lasting solution in sight, the city council should at least ensure that herd owners not let their buffaloes and cows roam freely (or, perhaps it may be a good idea to put reflectors on the cows and buffaloes to alert motorists along dark stretches of roads at night).

Cows grazing in padang in front of houses

Long List of Complaints
Our reporter, A. Jeyaraj, who carried out an investigation of the stray cattle problem in the city, said he was shown a long list of complaints received by the city council. Additionally, online complaints are common. The council’s officer said that every complaint received is recorded and a copy is sent to the operations section for action. When action has been taken it is recorded in the registry.

“I had the opportunity to speak to a few people in Menglembu, Falim, Taman Mas and the surrounding areas as well as Kuala Kangsar Road, where the situation is really bad,” added Jeyaraj. “Personally, I see cattle in the following areas which I travel regularly; Maxwell Road, First Garden, Jalan Sungai Pari, Sungai Pari bund, Merdeka Garden, Jalan Lang, Lim Garden and Lorong Pari.”

Buffalo’s Territory
One of the worst affected areas is Taman Mas which is known as “Buffalo Territory”.  Residents say that buffaloes sleep on the roads at night and their colour blends well with that of the road and it is difficult to see them in the dark.

The stretch of Sungai Pari bund between the bridges in Silibin Road and Jalan Merdeka is littered with cow dung and contaminated with cow urine. Residents living near the river bank used to jog/walk on the bund, but due to the mess very few people use the bund nowadays.

Yip Ah Choo of Lim Garden said that he had been complaining since 2006 and for a few days after each complaint the cows do not come. A couple of years ago he was threatened by a cowherd who claimed that he was working in the city council and Yip made a police report.

Retiree N. Selvarajah of Pari Garden described the cattle problem as a new phenomenon. He had not experienced this in the past; the cowherds at the time brought their cows in the evening to graze and ensured that they did not stray near the houses. Nowadays, the cows come after 2.00 a.m. and eat up everything. The sound of barking dogs wakes every one up in the vicinity.

Lost Faith with City Council
Hamid Lee Abdullah of Taman Samarak said the residents have lost faith in the city council and have not bothered to complain. M. Bala of Merdeka Garden said that he had written a few times to the Mayor about the menace of stray cattle in his housing estate and has not received any reply.

Others are afraid to talk about it because the cowherds have connections with thugs. They accused the city council of favouring the cattle owners and the enforcement officers of closing one eye to the problem.

However, city council’s enforcement officer Ahmad Zaiyadi bin Sudin said that his department has particulars of the estimated 30 illegal cattle owners and the area where each of the herd roam. According to him the cattle travel between five and 20 km in search of food. His department can only catch cows that are out of the pen and in the open.

The enforcement team patrols different parts of the city based on the complaints received. The cattle caught are locked up in the pound in Buntong. He added that catching cows is not an easy task as they have to chase the cattle and, in the process, to ensure no one gets hurt or property damaged. He said a few of his staff were badly injured in the process of catching cattle.

Relocation Dilemma
In mitigation, owners of the illegal cattle farms claimed that they had been there long before Ipoh became a city and its boundary expanded. Rearing cattle is their livelihood and they have nowhere to be relocated.

Therefore, directing them not to release their cattle will not solve the problem as there is no alternative grazing ground. The city council and the state government need to look into relocating them outside the city if the problem is to be overcome.

Jerry Francis

A Haven Not Yet Lost


Peter Chen’s desire to see progress is being suppressed by bad publicity and back-stabbing. There is an attempt, subtle though, to undermine his project…

One impression that impacts those wanting to make Ipoh their home is its economy. Many are cowed by the city’s seemingly lack of drive and initiative – perceived or otherwise. And coupled with the many promotional glitches by the authorities, this perception tends to cling on in the deep recesses of our minds.  Removing it is no mean task given the suspicion or more succinctly, animosity, Ipohites have towards those who want to bring changes.

Since the demise of the tin industry in the mid-80s, Ipoh has undergone a reverse transformation from a bustling town to an almost sleepy hollow, devoid of life and identity. The city’s youths, sensing the futility of this whole charade, left in droves to seek their fortunes elsewhere; some never to return. The trend continues till the onset of the new millennium when the infusion of ideas and capital has arrested the city’s steady decline –somewhat. Suburbs like Greentown, Kinta City, Sunway City, Section 18 and a plethora of similar developments have sprouted like mushrooms after a downpour. 

Despite the enormity of these structural changes, the diehards remain unperturbed. To them these are mere cosmetic touches, done to lull the citizens into a false sense of pride. Their beloved city does not deserve such attention and affection, they reason. Not from those whom they suspect. Some accept the transformation grudgingly but others are adamant that development is anathema. They are caught in a time warp and freeing them is not going to be easy.

Although many may doubt the sincerity of developers, believing them to be nothing but greedy businessmen, is to deny the role they play in nation building. The good ones are few and far between. The bad ones, the fly-by-night type, are aplenty.

Since land fragmentation is rife in Ipoh. Instant landowners become easy prey for these shady businessmen. Once a piece of land is acquired, the crooked developer builds a show house with tasty finishing and fixtures and opens up his housing scheme for sale. Buyers pay a down payment. The developer collects payment and vanishes into thin air. Buyers are left in the lurch without recourse for legal redress or sufficient funds to repay their loans. Even public-listed companies have failed to meet their obligations, what more the illegal ones. But should we treat all developers the same? There are those with impeccable track records. They should not be lumped together with the tainted ones.

Peter Chan of Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd is one such developer. Peter’s love for Ipoh is second to none, in spite of his foreign affiliations. He foresees a demand in luxury condominium although many have reservations as to its viability. Peter’s pet project, The Haven, superimposed against a backdrop of limestone hills and pristine jungles, is set to place Ipoh on the international map.

Someone has come up with a brilliant idea to forestall the declining fortunes of Ipoh. And he does so in style by building high-end apartments for sale, at an affordable price, to discerning buyers, local and foreign alike. Peter optimises nature and fine architecture as his selling points. But his desire to see progress is being suppressed by bad publicity and back-stabbing. There is an attempt, subtle though, to undermine his project by all ways possible so it will not take off.

It seems strange that a good deed is being repudiated by some very unhealthy tactics designed to deter someone passionate about bringing Ipoh “out of the ruts”.

Peter is determined to push through his project, notwithstanding the opposition. To further prove his commitment, he commissioned two very reputable contractors to complete his condominiums by the 2013 deadline. He invested RM26 million to upgrade areas fronting Haven and that includes an all-weather access road complete with traffic lights. That is indicative enough of his desire in proving his detractors wrong.

Ipohites, let us give this guy a chance to prove his worth. Peter’s Haven is not yet lost. 

Fathol Zaman Bukhari

On The Shoulders Of Giants


Tenby Schools Ipoh recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a dinner held at the ballroom of the Syuen Hotel during which it paid tribute to its “giants past and present” who had served the school and helped build its well-known tradition of excellence.

The night saw the presentation of ‘Long Service Awards” by its Director Mrs Lai nee Madam Lee Yam Sei to four of its Golden Girls namely, Mrs Magdalene Dass, Mrs Jackie Foong, Mrs Yee and Mrs Judy Louis saying “they have all served from 20 to 40 years in the school and many of our parents and their children have been taught by them. They are good role models of loyalty and commitment to the school.”

Golden Girl Jackie Fong who was with the school for 35 years before she had to stop three years ago due to medical reasons, described the school as “her second home. I started as a kindergarten teacher and grew with the school; subsequently teaching art and PE and finally with administration. It was very fulfilling.”

Tenby Schools originally started as an expatriate kindergarten in 1960 and later became the Ipoh International School (IIS). It was later expanded to include a private Malaysian school, Sekolah Tenby.

Fifty years on Tenby Kindergarten has evolved into Tenby Schools. An educational institution offering teaching and learning opportunities from pre-school to pre-university. With the introduction of an A-Levels Centre this year, the school now has a “full school age range”.

Tenby currently has over 900 students with nationalities from 30 countries making it a “mini global village”. Future plans include a move to a purpose built school on a 13-acre site located at Meru “to provide a world class 21st century education for its students”.

As for the dinner it was a good and up-beat party with students and teachers taking to the stage and providing lively entertainment.


Redemptorist Community’s Double Celebration


The Redemptorist Community of Malaysia and Singapore held a double celebration on November 14 to commemorate its 50th year of being established in Ipoh and the 25th year that its Vice-Provincial Superior Fr Patrick Masang has been in the priesthood.

A sumptuous dinner held at the hall of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (OMPH) Ipoh saw a good turnout of its parishioners gracing the occasion. Also noted in the audience was Msgr Stephen Liew, the Parish Priest of St Michael’s Church who was transferred to Ipoh just last month and the family of Fr Masang.

Another notable figure present was Brother Bernard Michael Heaney more popularly known as Brother Bernard (82). Brother Bernard was present in Ipoh with the community when it first started as a monastery in the 60s. Its location then was at Tambun Road where the Heritage Hotel now stands.

The lively entertainment for the night was provided by the parishioners with ‘Singing Father’ Masang rendering the last song for the night.


Q-Dees Annual Concert And Graduation 2010


Young students

Q-Dees Pre-school Education Centre recently held its 13th Annual Concert and Graduation ceremony. Q-Dees Kindergarten prides itself on developing self confidence in its young students. The programme for the night featured a dance and a 30-minute play titled 1 Malaysia. As the title suggested, the young students were dressed accordingly in the colourful costumes of the various communities in the country. The night ended after the presentation of certificates and Graduation ceremony for its Newton class.


Coronation Cup Charity Weekend


Sixty-one charity organisations and NGO’s were presented donations by the Perak Turf Club on the fourth race day of the Coronation Cup/Gold Vase Meeting on November 21.

Among them are Yayasan Sultan Idris, Shah, St John’s Education Centre, Simee (CWS) Home for the Aged and Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Shelter. The distribution of cheques was made by Perak Turf Club Chairman Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam after the RM250,000 Astro Wah Lai Toi Charity Cup race.

Earlier saw the running of the annual Perak Coronation Cup over 1600 metres. The Malaysian thoroughbred horse race was inaugurated in 1985 to commemorate the installation of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah. The RM700,000 Coronation Cup was won by Australian gelding Speed Baby owned by Beh Chin Pheng.  It was trained by Kevin Coetzee and ridden by jockey Jacky Lim.

A day earlier saw the running of the RM300,000 Sultan Gold Vase. It was won by Handsome Nic ridden by Jackson Low and owned and trained by Hoy Kee Poh.


A Message Of Love And Inspiration


There was no better way of starting the Christmas season than with a “Message of Love and Inspiration” – a choral presentation by the Perak Society of Performing Arts (PSPA) held at the Chapel of Hospital Fatimah. This debut of PSPA’s charity performances was in association with Hospital Fatimah and the proceeds collected went to the welfare community of the hospital.

Admission was free and about a hundred were expected; instead, double that number turned up to listen to the 28-strong choir sing a choice of 16 familiar songs under the direction of Chin Yoong Kim. The first session were songs from famous films or musicals, like: Born Free, Climb Every Mountain, The Prayer, The Impossible Dream and others. The second session was more specific to the season with sacred numbers like: Panis Angelicus, Cantique de Noel, Silent Night and more. There were also readings from the works of Robert Frost, T.S. Elliot and a letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

The good thing was that there were no distractions like camera flashes or idle chatter as the audience were totally immersed in listening but had to refrain from applauding after each song, although they instinctively wanted to. The performance ended appropriately with ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ and it sounded like the angels did sing!

PSPA’s next charity performance will be on December 19 at the YMCA. For more information, call Sara at: 05-5487814.


Powerman Malaysia 2010


Start of the race – pros in front

Powerman Malaysia 9th Edition was held recently at Seri Manjung, Perak. Powerman Malaysia is the only Asian qualifier to the World Championship 2011 in Zofingan, Switzerland. Seri Manjung has been hosting this world-class event since 2006 with some of the world’s and region’s best dual-athletes participating. The local circuit has been dubbed the “hottest leg” in the world Powerman circuit with temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius – a real challenge for the participants.

Powerman or Duathlon, as it is commonly known, is the cousin to the Triathlon. Unlike a triathlon, which involves swimming, the duathlon is a run-bike-run format. Individuals have to run 11-km followed by a 64-km bike ride and a final 10-km run. For beginners there is the choice of opting for a shorter course which involves a 5.5-km run followed by a 32-km bike ride and a 5-km run or doing a relay with two other friends where each person is required to complete one of the three disciplines.

This year’s edition saw a large international contingent from 31 countries making up the 950 participants. They came from as far away as Bolivia, Norway and Slovakia. With a professional team from South Africa, United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark, it gave the local athletes an opportunity to compete alongside the best in the world. 

Joerie Vansteelant from Belgium took the podium in the Men’s Elite category with a time of 2 hours 40 mins 44 secs. In the Women’s Elite category, the honours went to Radka Vodickova from the Czech Republic with a time of 3 hours 1 min 57 secs.

Race Director, Melody Tan, thanked sponsor MALAKOFF Corporation Berhad, Majlis Perbandaran Manjung, Ministry of Tourism and the Police for making Powerman Malaysia 2010 a success. The growing number of participants is beginning to have an impact on the organisers. 

Ernest Balasingam, President of the Perak Triathlon Association, feels that the state government should promote the event and provide support for local participants. The event can be classified under sport tourism based on the huge number of out-of-town athletes who converge on Seri Manjung a few days before the start of the completion. They took up rooms and indulged themselves in gastronomic delights. “This is good for the local economy,” said Ernest.

Next year’s event is tentatively planned for a Sunday in November 2011.


CST’S Proton Inspira


CST Auto Sdn Bhd’s 20th Anniversary was celebrated with a bang with the launching of Proton’s latest saloon car, Inspira. The ceremony, held at CST’s Fairpark showroom, was graced by Raja DiHilir Perak, DYAM Raja Ja’afar bin Raja Muda Musa. Present at the launch were CST’s Executive Chairman, Datuk Seri Taalat Hussein, Proton Edar’s General Manager (Marketing), Kamsani Hj Ahmad and the Chief Executive Officer of CST Auto Sdn Bhd, P.R. Chandhran.

The Inspira comes in three models, 1.8 MT, 1.8 CVT and 2.0 CVT. They are priced between RM79,000 to RM95,000. “Very affordable for the motoring public,” Taalat told the media. The car, a variant of the popular Mitsubishi Lancer, has some modifications made by Proton to suit Malaysian drivers and roads. 

Proton Edar is confident it will be a hit with enthusiasts. “We’ve received over 4,000 orders since its announcement recently,” said Kamsani. Proton Edar’s confidence in CST Auto is another feather in the cap for this Ipoh-based auto dealer.


Armed Gang Busted


An armed gang, active in Ipoh and Manjong District since August, has been busted with the arrest of its members. The Chief Police Officer of Perak, DCP Dato’ Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah, revealed this to the media recently. “On the night of November 8 and 9, a police team from the contingent’s Criminal Investigation Department (D9), raided a house in Kg Rapat and Taman Seri Berjaya, Ipoh and apprehended two suspects. This led to another two arrests in Ayer Tawar and Sitiawan,” said the police chief. Police recovered a Remington Rand pistol, a loaded magazine filled with six 3.8mm bullets, 11 mobile phones, four laptops, two GPS, a Toyota Vios and some jewellery believed to be stolen. The four suspects, aged 31 to 42, are from Manjong District and Sungai Siput and have previous criminal records. They are being remanded for further investigation. Abdullah thanked the public for their cooperation.