Monthly Archives: March 2011

Hindu Temple to be Demolished


Sri Muneswaran Temple

The century-old Sri Muneswaran Temple at Jalan Dato’ Tawil Azhar, Ipoh will be demolished to make way for development. A court order made in favour of Litar Murni Sdn Bhd, the new owner of the land where the temple sits, was passed in 2010. The temple committee was duly warned to vacate the land failing which the structure would be destroyed.

Demolition crew moved in on Tuesday, March 29 but was stopped by Hindu followers led by the temple committee president, Paramsivam Supiya. According to Paramasivam, an application was made to the Menteri Besar in January 2011 for an alternative site.

Committee President, Paramsivam Supiya

The vacant lot nearby, where a toddy shop once stood, was suggested. The land belongs to MBI and is most suitable for the temple given its proximity and appeal. Since no decision was forthcoming, Litar Murni Sdn Bhd set about to demolish the temple on the appointed date.

Dato’ S. Veerasingam, advisor to the Menteri Besar, was present at the site. “The state government has agreed to allow the use of the former toddy shop land for relocation. Litar Murni Sdn Bhd will bear the full cost of rebuilding the temple,” said Veerasingam to Ipoh Echo.
Demolition work is on hold till the adjacent land is cleared. “It’ll be done in about two months’ time,” said Velu, a member of the temple committee.



Ar-Rahnu Making an Impact


Thirty Ar-Rahnu branches will be established in Perak by end 2014. This is the projected figure the Malaysian Islamic Development Foundation or Yayasan Pembangun Ekonomi Islam Malaysia (YaPEIM) has in mind for the state.

The syriah-compliant pawn-broking scheme was introduced by the foundation in 1993. Since then over 4.6 million people nation-wide have benefited from it. A collective sum of about RM6.6 billion has been disbursed so far.

There are presently 11 Ar-Rahnu branches in Perak. “Three more branches will be built this year, one each in Lenggong, Manjoi and Lumut,” said YaPEIM Group Chief Executive Officer, Abdul Malek Awang Kechik to reporters after the MOU-signing ceremony between YaPEIM and Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) at Tasik Raban Resort, Lenggong on Wednesday, March 23.

The pawn-broking scheme is most beneficial for small-time businessmen who require capital to start their businesses. They pawn their treasured belongings for cash and redeem them based on syriah principles.
The signing ceremony was observed by Menteri Besar Perak, Dato’ Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir. The signatories were Haji Mokhtar Abdul Razak, Deputy Director of YaPEIM and Hairul Anwar Mohamed Noor, Chief Corporate Services of YBU. The Al-Mudarabah Agreement between the two parties was signed by Wan Johan Wan Ismail, Chairman of Koperasi YaPEIM and Hairul Anwar of YBU.

Yayasan Bina Upaya will be the fund provider for YaPEIM’s Ar-Rahnu scheme in Perak while Koperasi YaPEIM, the administrator. Revenue generated from the deal will be shared between the two entities.


Futsal Tournament



The Junior finalists – in yellow, Team St Michael's Church & Team Servers FC OMPH in blue

Senior Champions OMPH, Insidious with Fr Masang

Our Mother of Perpetual Help (OMPH) Church held their second Futsal Tournament on the first weekend of the first-term school holidays. Held at Taman DR the competition saw 12 teams from the 3 Ipoh parishes, OMPH, St Michael’s and Our Lady of Lourdes, participating in the event which was divided into junior and senior categories.

The Champions in the senior’s category was Insidious from OMPH’s St Mary’s Chapel while the junior’s champion was Team St Michael’s Church.
Rev Fr Patrick Masang, CSsR, handed out the medals to the winning teams.


Unbearable Stench


The stench emanating from a sewage pond in Persiaran Cempaka Sari 55, Taman Cempaka is driving residents up the wall, literally. A malfunctioning pump is the cause of the discomfort, which is beginning to affect the more than 50 households in the neighbourhood. When it rains, effluent from the pond overflows into the storm drains, further aggravating the situation.

Liew Ni Pai

Several complaints have been made to the local Indah Water Konsortium office but to no avail. “I am at my wits’ end,” said Liew Ni Pai, 69, a Taman Cempaka resident for over 20 years. The emergence of this smelly problem is giving him and his neighbours many sleepless nights, especially during this rainy spell.

Michelle Woo

The problem has been hounding the residents for over two years, yet nothing has been done to address it. “I phoned IWK but my calls went unanswered,” lamented Michelle Woo, 50. “They don’t seem to care about our predicament,” she protested. “The service provider’s attitude is perplexing,” said another.

On Saturday, March 19, Mohd Rawi Abdullah, the Perak BN Services and Complaints Bureau Chief, was on hand to handle the residents’ woe. “I’ll have a word with IWK officers and find ways to resolve this lingering problem for good,” he told Ipoh Echo.


Sukan Perak in Progress


The 6th edition of the biennial Sukan Perak was declared open by His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah on March 15 at Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh. The state-level championship is organised by the Perak Sports Council in collaboration with the state sports associations and government agencies. Besides the 10 participating districts, contingents from UiTM Seri Iskandar, Politeknik Ungku Omar, Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, were invited to participate. Some 3,000 athletes compete for 829 medals in 11 sports from March 11 to 19.

Josephine Mary, a former national athlete, was given the honour to light the games’ torch while Perak triple jump champion, Mohd Hakimi Ismail led in the oath-taking ceremony.

To add fanfare to the night, Adam of the Akademi Fantasia fame, belted several songs while a 70-strong dance troupe performed traditional dances to the delight of the many on-lookers.

“Each district will host one sport in the form of a carnival,” said Dato’ Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin, the executive councillor for Culture, Youth and Sports. “This new format is in accordance with the Malaysian Games format.” Previously, the championship was hosted by a single district. This is an effort by the sports council to improve sports facilities in the districts.

The primary objective of the games is to uncover new talents to represent Perak at the June Malaysian Games in Kuala Lumpur. Dato’ Zainol Fadzi encouraged the young athletes to be committed in their sport of choice. He hoped sports will be a medium to unite the people of Perak in tandem with the 1Malaysia concept.


New GM for Impiana Hotel Ipoh


By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Carl Isaac

He is fun, he is affable and Carl Isaac is all set to once and for all get Ipohites to recognise the Impiana name. “People I meet in Ipoh still ask me where the Impiana Hotel is! Then when I explain, they’ll burst out with ‘Oh you mean the Casuarina?’”.

Since the hotel was acquired slightly more than a year ago by the Impiana Group which has hotels in Malaysia (KL, Ipoh and Cherating) and in Thailand (Phuket and Koh Samui), it has been a daunting task for the management to educate the Ipoh public on the name change.

When a name has been so embedded into the collective Ipoh psyche, it looks like a Herculean task ahead for Carl but this does not faze this seasoned hotelier who has had other equally challenging tasks in his previous assignments which has taken him to many S.E. Asian countries.

Carl holds a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University in Western Australia and it was during his university years that his interest in the hospitality industry developed. Working his way through, first as bartender and subsequently in restaurant management, he worked for the Sofitel group after graduation, first in Australia, followed by Vietnam and Thailand.

A hankering to return to his home and family in Malaysia saw him arrive during a downturn in the economy and he found himself ‘playing mah-jong for 3 months’ with no prospect of a job. Through sheer persistence and constant hounding of the HR manager, he landed the job of Wedding Co-ordinator at the then newly-opened Palace of Golden Horses in Sungai Besi. He was responsible for setting up the Wedding Co-ordination department while learning the ropes which soon saw him land himself the position of Sales Manager at Cyberview Lodge. He has since moved up the corporate ladder and became General Manager seven years ago, the first time at the Sedona Menado in Indonesia.

Carl has not looked back since. A stint in the Sedona Mandalay saw him finally succumb to the charms of the then Director of Sales and marriage and children have finally brought Carl home to roost.

“It feels good to be back in Malaysia and work here. It’s a great opportunity to be able to work, live and enjoy the community and the quality of life that Ipoh offers. Now, my aim is to maintain Impiana Hotel Ipoh’s pride as the most efficient, effective and favourable for our clients. I will also uphold and upgrade our service commitments to provide the best possible customer support service in Ipoh,” says Carl when asked about his vision and goal for Impiana Hotel Ipoh.

And he hasn’t been cooling his heels either. Already in the three months since his arrival, he has renovated 97 rooms and turned 66 rooms into Club rooms on two designated floors. He has the distinction of being the first GM to open a Club Lounge both for the Impiana Group as well as for Ipoh. The Royal Suite has been upgraded as has the Kinta function room. A small fitness room has been put in, and all in all the Impiana is moving towards becoming a 5-Star hotel charging 4-Star rates to cater to the rate conscious market that exists in Ipoh.

Welcome to Ipoh Carl!

Calling On Volunteers


Yayasan Bina Upaya (YBU) plans on expanding its volunteer base from its current strength of a hundred to a thousand. Recounting this recently, Chief Executive Officer, Khairul Azwan Harun, said that the increase would enhance the foundation’s mission of spreading its wings state-wide in tandem with its mission of aiding the poor and the marginalised. “It’s not confined to helping the poor only but the stateless, as well,” he told Ipoh Echo. “Without documentation these people are deprived of many privileges offered to citizens.”

The volunteers, known by their designation Skuad Ikon Bina Upaya or Skuad IBU, will each carry a special pass as a form of identification. The pass bears the holder’s personal details and his photograph. “This is to facilitate identification should a need arise,” said Khairul.

Khairul asked that public and private agencies, political representatives, salutatory bodies and concerned parties be more empathetic of the volunteers’ needs and not to turn them away when approached. “Please help them to help the needy,” he implored.

Those keen on becoming a YBU volunteer can call Cik Isna Ezuana Ismail at the foundation’s office in Ipoh: 05-2555945/2555946 or access its website


Light Up Your Eyes


Dr. S.S. Gill, Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

By Dr. S.S. Gill

In our continuing series on Eye Health, Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S. S. Gill talks to us about how lighting may affect the health of our eyes.

Does reading in dim light do any harm to our eyes?

Reading in dim light does not change the function of our eyes in any permanent way but it does stress the eyes out!  The best lighting conditions for reading are ambient, rather than direct, and there should be no glare in a reading area.

Reading in dim light can cause eye strain which could make the reader uncomfortable, and therefore it is a good idea to set up a well lit reading space to make reading more enjoyable. The eye often finds it hard to focus in dimly lit conditions, which can be a cause of eye strain. People also tend to blink less while reading in dim light because they need to pay more attention to discern the details on the page, which can result in a dryness of the eye which feels unpleasant.

How do you feel after working in your office all day? Are you fatigued or tense? Are your eyes tired? Or do you feel relaxed and peaceful? Your physical comfort has a lot to do with the lighting in your office and your work station. Getting proper advice and understanding the principles of proper home and office lighting has an impact on the way people work in it. “Simply said, if you don’t feel good in a space because of its lighting, you won’t work as productively.”

Does the kind of lighting make a difference?

Warm white light gives off yellowish light that helps enrich the warm colours around us. They have a calming effect and help to relax an individual. You will find areas like bedrooms, lounges and hallways are better off with warm white light.

The cooler white light on the other hand is crisper under higher colour temperatures and appears more ‘normal’ in high lighting level situations. As a matter of fact, ‘cool white’ light gives off a bluer light that improves our ability to see contrasts making it good for work areas such as kitchens, laundries, workshops and offices.

However, although cool white light enables better contrast in vision, the output in the predominantly blue portion of the light spectrum does exacerbate glare. This is because light in the blue part of the spectrum and UV light have peaks which are very close together (approx 3500K), and this works the eye (photoreceptors) at a much higher rate than that of the warm white (2700K) light.  This means that your eyes may not be as relaxed in this environment if you are working long hours under this lighting.

In a natural sense, most people do tend to prefer ‘warm white’ light. In fact, we have been conditioned to find warm appearing lamps ‘normal’ at low lighting levels, since it mimics the colour of fire which we have used as a light source for thousands of years.

So, if you find that you are always having tired eyes, you may want to try changing your room or work space lighting to warm white and it should help make it less stressful for the eyes.

Based on scientific research, it is now known that excessive blue light damages the retina (back of the eye) contributing to diseases like age related macular degeneration. Yes, our eyes need light to work, but too much of the wrong kind of light and UV, and too little light can damage the eyes.

For more information on Eye Health, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: or visit

The Unseen Criminal


By Mariam Mokhtar

When Ipohite Puan Safura received an e-mail from her bank one morning, she thought nothing of it. The e-mail requested her to update her details on her bank profile, via the link that was given in that email.

“I thought it was a genuine email. The e-mail address looked similar to the one from my bank. The message stated that I needed to log in immediately to update my contact information for security purposes,” said Safura who unsuspectingly clicked on the link provided.

At noon, she received an SMS from her bank informing her that her account had just made a third-party transaction.

She immediately rushed to the nearest branch of her bank and found that her account had been emptied. All RM4,600 had been transferred out of her account. Sadly, she had just been paid that month and apart from her wages, it included what was set aside to take her children on their annual holiday.

Unresponsive Bank

Although she was quick to report the incident, her bank refused to disclose the details of whose account the money had gone to.

She was asked to complete a complaint form and lodge a police report, which she did. She was told that the bank’s ‘Fraud Management Team’ would contact her, but she never heard from them.

Instead, she received a letter from her bank a week later, to inform her that they could not compensate her for her losses.

Financial Mediation Bureau

She then wrote a letter to the Financial Mediation Bureau (FMB) or Biro Pengantaraan Kewangan to lodge a complaint against her bank. She was also told that investigations would take up to six months.

Six weeks later, when she contacted the FMB, they told her that her bank had not responded to their request and that they would wait a couple more weeks, in March 2011 before they would send the bank a reminder.

A dejected Safura told the Ipoh Echo: “I am new to online banking and I was not aware that such scams existed. I quickly contacted the bank so that they could help in the police investigations, but the bank seemed slow to act. It is likely that the person, who took my money illegally, has closed his account. Both the bank and the Biro do not seem to take my case urgently.

“To many people, RM4,600 may not seem like a huge sum. I am a single mother and the loss of this money means a lot to me.”

Beware of Internet Scams

Puan Safura is not alone, for she is one of the huge numbers of Malaysians who fall prey to Internet banking scams.

According to CyberSecurity Malaysia, a total of 1,426 reports were made in 2010, compared to 634 received in 2009.

Cyber criminals are on the prowl looking for account holders gullible enough to reveal the two most vital pieces of data – their username and password.

They use fake banking websites, known as “phishing” sites, to try and trap the account holders.


Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an e-mail or instant messaging.

Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. The e-mail or SMS often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.

If you have an Internet banking account, like many of us do in this modern IT era, take immediate notice. If you fall for the fake e-mail or SMS, your entire account will be wiped out in minutes, depending on the amount of money you have and the transfer limit set by the bank.

Banks will never contact you by e-mail to ask you to enter your password or any other sensitive information by clicking on a link and visiting a web site. The e-mails are sent out completely at random in the hope of reaching a live e-mail address of a customer with an account at the bank being targeted.

If you receive a suspicious e-mail, please inform your bank as directed on their website and forward the e-mail to their ‘report a scam e-mail’ address.