Kelab Bakti Gunong Kledang, an Ipoh-based Malay social club has set its sights on helping the state government promote the much-touted Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012. The club’s new president, Dato’ Megat Shahrani Megat Shahruddin told Ipoh Echo when met after his inauguration ceremony at Crystal Ballroom, Impiana Hotel, Ipoh recently. “We’ll complement Tourism Perak’s efforts by all available means to propagate VPY 2012 to our counterparts abroad.”
Megat felt that a clean Ipoh would go a long way in attracting visitors to Perak, as the city is an entry point of choice. “Keeping Ipoh clean will be the other objective our members will pursue in earnest,” he added. The club will work closely with City Council in ensuring that cleanliness is maintained at a high level. “At this juncture, the only solution I can think of is conducting awareness programmes and gotong royong involving members and their families. Incidentally, the club consists of about 60 members, which includes some of the scions of the local Malay aristocracy and the Who’s Who in Perak.
The club’s major contribution in 2011 was the establishment of two welfare homes, Pusat Jagaan Rumah Ihsan and Rumah Anak Yatim Darussalam. “This was made possible with assistance from members and corporate bodies,” said out-going president, Dato’ Mohamad Razali Khalid. “Hopefully, with the existence of these two centres, social problems affecting the marginalised and the poor in the state will be reduced,” Razali remarked.
DYTM Raja Muda Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah and DYTM Raja Puan Besar Perak were the guests of honour at the inauguration dinner.
Hospital Fatimah, Ipoh, conducted an hour-long major disaster drill within its complex recently. The scenario was of an accident involving an oil tanker and eight cars inside the Menora tunnel, Jelapang along the North-South Expressway. The “collision” resulted in a fire with at least 20 casualties.
The drill, part of the hospital’s safety and health staff training exercise, was held during office hours. The primary objective was to test the response time of the hospital staff during a major disaster. It was also aimed at testing staffs’ knowledge and implementation of emergency procedures, and to check the serviceability of equipments and facilities.
Those involved in the exercise were from the admission and emergency department, the supply, procurement and distribution department, engineers, doctors and nurses. Students from Hospital Fatimah School of Nursing and SMK St Michael, Ipoh, took on the roles of ‘accident victims’.
This was the 11th major disaster drill organised by the hospital. It is an annual affair with a different scenario enacted each time.
When a project wins four international awards and is continually bringing attention to Ipoh on the world stage, even Ipohites start to sit up and take notice.
The Haven has been putting Perak in the limelight for five-star luxury condo-living since its launch in March last year. Winning four international awards including the prestigious Diamond Eye Award, Geneva, Switzerland and the Arch of Europe Award, Frankfurt, Germany, earlier this year and being selected by New Straits Times’ veteran property journalist S.C. Cheah for his choice award in August this year, has cemented its burgeoning reputation as the development of choice for buyers looking for quality and excellence.
The Haven Lakeside Residences is located in Tambun and is being developed by Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd, whose two earlier projects, the nearby 576-unit Permai Lake View apartments and the 175-unit Subang Galaxy link houses in Subang 2, Selangor have appreciated by 100% in two years.
The Haven project with a GDV of RM270 million comes with quality finishing and eco-features like solar energy and rainwater harvesting. It comprises three 26-storey blocks on a 5.44 ha site which includes a 1.6 ha lake with a 280 million-year-old limestone formation aptly named Rockhaven, surrounded by 4 ha of hill slope bordering a virgin forest.
Ten-Year Lease Back Scheme By BWI
Sales have been encouraging with 85% of the first tower, 70% and 50% of the second and third blocks having been sold; 55% to Ipohites, 25% from Kuala Lumpur and Penang and the rest from overseas. The additional incentive of a 10-year lease-back scheme with guaranteed returns of 6% for the first three years and 7% for the next two with the further 5 years to be renegotiated, to be run as a condo-tel by Best Western International (BWI), the world’s largest hotel chain, has understandably added to its popularity.
Having passed the half-way mark in sales and with the first tower of 23 floors completed, while work on the second block has reached the 6th level, CEO of Superboom Projects Peter Chan is not resting on his laurels yet.
“I still have a long way to go,” he told Ipoh Echo recently. “I will continue to keep up the marketing pace while keeping an eye on the building works but with top contractors like the Bina Puri group (Malaysia’s second largest construction company) and Beijing Construction Engineering of China (the largest in Beijing and the world’s top 250 contractors) going full steam ahead, buyers and myself are rest assured that the final quality will be top notch,” he added.
Uphill Climb Initially
But it was an uphill climb for him initially. When the project was first launched, other developers and Ipohites scoffed at the grandiose scale of the development. “They’re crazy. People in Ipoh don’t buy condominiums, they want landed property. It is doomed to failure.” Rumour mongers began circulating malicious stories about banks’ reluctance to give high loans; that the project was under-capitalised; that the company was bankrupt; outcries of destruction of the environment were heard; that the lake would be covered up after all three blocks are completed and a fourth block put in including the possibility of a cement plant; that the company never paid its bills and even ludicrous tales of the Haven eventually being a place to keep concubines (actual quote from a buyer who pulled out) and nay sayers from as far afield as Kuala Lumpur were condemning the project before it even got off the ground.
Undaunted by the criticism, Peter Chan went on a mission to tell the world about Ipoh and to change the mind-set of Malaysians in general and Ipohites in particular.
“I have never uttered a single critical word about my competitors. With all the infrastructure that is already here, I saw only the potential for Ipoh and wish to work with other business leaders to bring back the vibrancy to this city and to re-capture some of the glitz and glamour that Ipoh once had when tin was king. I have had to dispel the perception that to live in Ipoh is to “fatt moh” or turn mouldy; that it is nothing but a toilet break on the way to or from another destination.” said Peter.
“My mission is to bring wealth back to Ipoh. I cannot do it alone. I need the support and collaboration of all the movers and shakers in this city to achieve this,” he declared.
And slowly but surely, Peter Chan is achieving his mission. He has dispelled most of the rumours and quietened the nay sayers. He has done more to put Ipoh on the world map and achieve recognition for Ipoh’s hitherto under-rated qualities of a laid back life-style, lower cost of living, its scenic wonders of the Karst formations, and the general favourable conditions for vacation and lifestyle than any other developer in the city. He works tirelessly and zealously, travelling the globe, giving talks and lectures, to make potential investors aware of Ipoh as an attractive option for investment.
Leads and Lags
According to Peter, Ipoh is becoming the number 1 investment destination particularly under turbulent times such as the current investment climate. Prices have already risen in Ipoh and because of the trend of ‘leads and lags’ and the catching-up phenomenon, they are expected to move faster than KL and Penang. And when times stabilize, the prices will jump.
“The Haven is a catalyst for this change. Right now the time is ripe to take advantage of this trend. Let’s not wait another 15 years for this to happen,” said Peter emphatically.
Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) sponsored blood-donation drive in Batu Gajah was a roaring success. Held at the town’s premier TJ Supermarket recently, the response from the public was overwhelming. Over 300 people who patronised the supermarket took time off to donate a pint of their blood for a worthy cause. The blood was aimed at restocking depleted supply at Hospital Raja Bainun Ipoh (Ipoh General Hospital).
The campaign was launched by YBU’s Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Zainal Abdin Omar. Staffs of the hospital were there to offer a helping hand. Also present were Dato’ Jamri Suria, District Officer of Batu Gajah and UMNO Batu Gajah Division Chief and Patron of Silat Serimau Hitam Perak, Dato’ Yusoff Kassim.
Dato’ Zainal thanked the public for their support. “This is YBU’s first attempt at conducting a blood donation drive,” he remarked. “I am touched by your generosity.”
The state government’s allocation of RM2 million in its 2011 Budget is proof enough of its desire to help the marginalised, the abused and the needy from among the fairer sex. A large sum of the money has been given to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist them in implementing programmes for the benefit of women. Besides money for deserving NGOs, part of the allocation was also used for state-sponsored programmes and campaigns with similar objectives. This was revealed to the media by Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Executive Councillor for Women Affairs, at a ceremony to disburse money to 53 women-linked NGOs recently. Only organisations registered with the State Welfare Department were considered.
The presentation ceremony was held at the State Secretariat Building Ipoh. Each NGO received RM1,000. “RM968,750 or 48.4 per cent of the allocated sum has been disbursed to 272 organisations,” said Hamidah. “Besides addressing social problems, funding is also earmarked for combating AIDS and diabetes which afflict the general public,” she added.
Dr Faizah Nordin, manager of Chemor-based orphanage, Yayasan Amal Annur Maisarah, thanked the state government for its empathy. “The donation, though small, is indicative of the authority’s sincerity in helping privately-managed institutions like ours,” she said. “The money will go some way in easing our financial woes.”
Liew Piang Tshoong of Persatuan Kebajikan Orang-Orang Kurang Upaya Ipoh, a society caring for the physically disabled, was more explicit. “The money is timely but I wish for a larger sum as the cost of maintaining the centre escalates yearly,” she lamented.
Two widowed sisters, A. Sellaimah, 69, and A. Ganggamah, 88, are at wit’s end. The house they live in is in dire straits. The floor of the house is in danger of caving in due to structural collapse. The ground is sinking and will soon bring the whole house down.
Having no other source of income other than Sellaimah’s late husband’s monthly pension, the sisters have run out of ideas as to how to salvage their sinking abode. “I’ve approached the welfare department and some other government agencies for help. But they could offer little other than some encouraging words,” said Sellaimah to Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar, Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) when he and his staff dropped by their Buntong house recently. Sellaimah hopes YBU can do something to alleviate her problem. “Hopefully, the foundation can help build us a new house,” she quipped. “My late husband’s RM700 pension is barely sufficient to see us through.”
The foundation will find a suitable solution to the sisters’ woes. Dato’ Zainal handed over food parcels to the siblings before departing.
I refer to the article ‘Hassle over a Crematorium’ (IE Issue 132, Nov 16-30, 2011). A few politicians were trying to mislead the Indians in Buntong and create an impression that the crematorium is a Hindu issue and must be dealt with immediately, in spite of the state government sitting on it for years.
The fact is Hindus are a minority and they practice both burial and cremation. Therefore, the majority of the users of the crematorium would be Christians, Buddhists and others. If the state government was serious, they would have built one long ago.
Instead of depending on politicians, Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, State Executive Councillor for non-Muslim Affairs, must discuss with the Perak Branch of Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) who are the official representatives of non-Muslims.
I read about the Mobile Crematorium on the internet which is being used in India. The state government can study this option where no land is required and the crematorium goes to the funeral house. This would be convenient for the people.
Perak’s media fraternity had a merry time during the Media Night bash thrown by the Member of Parliment for Tambun, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadziah. Unfortunately, Ahmad Husni was not in attendance as he had to attend the banquet of YDP Agong Tuanku Mizan in Kuala Lumpur.
Ahmad Husni’s speech was read by his special officer, Encik Saifuddin Din, who said that the Finance Minister II wished all the media members a happy evening. Also present at the function was State Assemblyman for Manjoi Dato’ Nadzri Ismail.
The event, held at the Lost World of Tambun, was a night of good relaxing fun with a lot of lucky draws.
In the karaoke contest, Ikhwan from Berita Harian took first place winning RM1,000, while Rosli Mansor from Ipoh Echo was second with a cash prize of RM800.
It was a very special night for The Impiana Hotel Ipoh as they launched their Christmas Celebrations as well as kick-starting the “From the Heart” – Christmas Charity Drive. Invited for this auspicious evening were corporate guests of the Hotel, who have championed and supported them throughout the year.
The Christmas Celebrations – themed White Christmas – was initiated with the light up of the grandest of Christmas trees sitting 20 feet above the lobby area. The St Michael’s Youth Group Choir and Santa got everyone in the mood as they sang in a sing along of popular Christmas Carols in the Hotel Lobby.
This year The Impiana Ipoh is donating proceeds from the sale of their very own “Impiana Teddy Bears” to the Yayasan Orang Asli in Perak. These 15-inch cuddly little bears will be on display at the Donation booth at the Deli area for the duration of Christmas and New Year. In addition to these cute bears, they have tied up with a professional photographer who is an Orang Asli himself. “We are promoting amazing photographs of the Orang Asli Community here in Ipoh, Perak and these will be on display in the Coffee House. These photographs are on sale and all proceeds will go to the said charity,” commented Mr Mark Rummery (pic), General Manager of Impiana Hotel Ipoh.
Every outlet in the hotel is having Christmas and New Year promotions! Call the Festive Desk in The Deli or call the Hotel at 05-2555555ext 8010 for bookings.
A luncheon talk co-sponsored by Tourism Malaysia Perak and the Perak Information Department was held at Hillcity Hotel, Ipoh recently to detail the roles and responsibilities of these two government agencies to participants. Over 70 participants took part in the half-day seminar. They consisted of government officials and members of the local media. Information Department Director, Hj Muhamad Aszahari Abdul Rahman started the ball rolling with an introduction on the responsibilities of his department.
“The days of yore when the Information Department was closely identified with movies are long gone. Disseminating information today is a lot harder than in the old days,” he said. The singular role of the department is to impart information on government policies to the public. However, the advent of Information and Communication Technology has somewhat blurred the line between what is seen and what is done.
Puan Norshamshidar Abdul Rahman, Director of Tourism Malaysia Perak was next on the podium briefing the participants on tourism potentials in Perak in view of Visit Perak Year 2012. Tourism, according to Nor Shamshidar, generated almost RM37 billion in 2009, the third biggest contributor to the country’s earnings after petroleum and raw commodities. Dato’ Saarani Mohamad, Executive Councillor for Information, Farming and Rural Development closed the luncheon talk.