Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 165

Can Cosmetic Changes Improve Character?


By Mariam Mokhtar

At one time, the Kinta Heights tower block, built in 1982 was also known as “The 20 Storeys”. When it was commissioned, it became the highest building in Ipoh surpassing the Sungai Pari flats, a low-cost housing initiative built in 1963, which was affectionately called “The 15 storeys”.

Kinta HeightsBesides being an Ipoh landmark, Kinta Heights plays an important role in housing low-income families. With 280 units accommodating around 1500 to 2000 residents, its prime location in the city-centre, close to Little India in Ipoh’s ‘Old Town’, meant that its occupants have easy access to shops, schools, banks and various public departments and amenities.

The high-rise unit which is owned by the Ipoh city council, recently underwent a major cosmetic change. This was part of a beautification project by the Housing and Local Government Ministry to spruce up the image of public housing areas and improve the living conditions of its council tenants.

From its upper floors, visitors can take in breathtaking views of Ipoh, the changing city skyline, the spread of the city, the limestone hills in the background and the river meandering through the city.

Despite its towering presence, Kinta Heights has been besieged by problems which commonly affect public housing projects. Residents often complain about the lack of maintenance of the units, vandalism, the poor general upkeep of the communal facilities, mouldy growth on the walls, litter, poor security and a failure to upgrade the facilities.

During the ‘80s and ‘90s, Kinta Heights, and a few other high-rise buildings in Ipoh, became a Mecca for suicides. In 1995, after public concern about the building’s increasing suicide rate, the authorities erected metal grilles on all windows from the third floor upwards.

Residents were angry that the lifts were continually breaking down, but the council pointed out that some people had been using the lifts as toilets or pressing all the buttons simultaneously to inconvenience other users.

In 2008, two lifts were upgraded and the council erected a guard house to improve security as well as monitor the movements of people entering Kinta Heights. A police beat-base in the grounds of the block and CCTV cameras in adjoining streets acted as effective deterrents to crime.

Complaints about leaks from the water tanks, situated on the roof of the block, triggered an investigation which revealed that the tank had not been replaced since the flats were built in 1982. The residents also complained that vandalism and theft had rendered the fire-fighting system in the block useless.

As a result of the residents’ complaints, it was announced that the block would receive a new fibreglass reinforced polyester water tank costing around RM66k as well as a fire-fighting system costing around RM100k including installation and maintenance.

Despite the various upgrades, the council is concerned that the attitude of some irresponsible residents towards cleanliness, vandalism and theft, has not changed.

Councillors have complained about council property being damaged and the effect this has on maintenance and replacement costs. They also criticised unscrupulous residents who would chuck plastic bags of rubbish from their flats onto the ground below, which meant that workers had to be delegated to clear the area of garbage, every day.

The authorities also urged residents to cooperate and keep their block of flats clean and treat it like their own home. Residents were told that Kinta Heights will have regular visits from enforcement officers to curb anti-social activities and that the officers have the power to issue compound fines and blacklist tenants from renting council property, if they were found guilty of vandalism or littering.

In mid-April, Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir officiated at the completion ceremony of the Kinta Heights beautification project and said, “Whether the people support the government or not, the government will still implement development projects in the area for the benefit of the people.”

Zambry is right. Housing, like other developments, should not be politicised as it is the responsibility of the government to look after its citizens and provide for those from the lower-income bracket.

One observer who witnessed the ceremony said, “The brown and dirty yellow of the old Kinta Heights is thankfully gone, but the new colour scheme makes the building look like a set of child’s building blocks. It is a major improvement from the previous shabby look, but did the council have to litter the tower with those blue party flags?”

Another person said, “We were told that this was part of the ‘My Beautiful Neighbourhood’ programme of Ipoh Old Town. Is someone trying to give out a subtle message of “My BN”? Is there also an attempt to make a party political broadcast with residents wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with party logos?”

These observers are naïve to think that a politician can control his urge to politicise anything, even housing.

Doh Family Matriarch becomes Nonagenarian


It is always a joyous occasion when someone celebrates a birthday, and even more so when the celebrant is the matriarch of the Doh family who reached 90 years of age! The Doh family, inclusive of the three grandsons, Dato’ Doh Jee Chai, Dato’ Marcus Doh and Dato’ Jimmy Doh, held a grand celebration for their grandmother, Madam Ling Chong Ing to commemorate this special occasion together with the community at Bei King Restaurant in Sitiawan, Perak, recently.

Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong escorting his mother, Madam Ling Chong Ing during her grand birthday celebration
Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong escorting his mother, Madam Ling Chong Ing during her grand birthday celebration

The mammoth celebration was attended by approximately 1200 people, out of which over 100 relatives spanning four generations were present, the youngest ones being twins who are just 2 months old. Other notable attendees also included Members of Parliament Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha who is also the Minister of Transport, Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham and Tuan Nga Kor Ming, all of whom extended their well-wishes to the nonagenarian.

In conjunction with the celebration, donations were given to 10 selected charities and organisations including Rumah Wawasan, Pusat Heamodialisis Manjung and Pioneer Church Kampung Koh, to name a few. Thirty less fortunate individuals also received ang pows during the dinner.

Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong presenting a cheque to a representative from Rumah Wawasan. Looking on are the DOH brothers, Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport (4th from right) and Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham (5th from left)
Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong presenting a cheque to a representative from Rumah Wawasan. Looking on are the DOH brothers, Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport (4th from right) and Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham (5th from left)

“We are incredibly fortunate to have our grandmother with us over these 90 years! This is truly an auspicious day for our family and we want to share our joy with those around us so that they too will have much cause for celebration,” said Dato’ Doh Jee Chai.

The Doh family is well-known among the community in Sitiawan, Perak. The family has played a large part in shaping and developing the property sector in the fast-growing township, starting with Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong who founded the family’s companies – Yik Wang Development and Setia Awan in the 1980s. Since his retirement in 2005, Setia Awan is now helmed by Dato’ Doh’s three sons.

Happy birthday! - The DOH brothers, (standing, from left), Dato’ Doh Jee Chai,  Dato’ Jimmy Doh and Dato’ Marcus Doh with their father, Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong (seated, 1st from left), grandmother, Madam Ling Chong Ing and Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport (4th from left, standing)
Happy birthday! – The DOH brothers, (standing, from left), Dato’ Doh Jee Chai, Dato’ Jimmy Doh and Dato’ Marcus Doh with their father, Dato’ Doh Neng Chiong (seated, 1st from left), grandmother, Madam Ling Chong Ing and Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha, Minister of Transport (4th from left, standing)

Sitiawan’s residential property landscape has undergone significant changes under the three brothers’ direction, as they offer the community and investors different and innovative property options to choose from. Instead of the conventional terrace houses that were very common a few decades ago, buyers can now opt for landed or high rise properties, multiple storey bungalows, cluster homes and apartments among others, that are complete with adequate security and amenities.

“There are still a lot of potential for growth in the property sector within Sitiawan as well as in the surrounding townships. We want to offer the community with much more than just bricks and mortar. We want them to enjoy the homes they live in and to take advantage of the modern lifestyle available to them,” commented Dato’ Jimmy Doh.

For further information on Setia Awan log on to www.setiaawan.com.

Kinta Heights Upgraded


MBI’s flats at Kinta Height and the neighbouring flats at Jalan Silang and Jalan Bijeh Timah were recently upgraded under the government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy My Beautiful Neighbourhood programme.

Kinta HeightsDato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir officiated at the handing over ceremony after the completion of the project. Zambry was accompanied by Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim.

Kinta HeightsThe scope of the upgrading work was major and covered infrastructure maintenance throughout the building. It also included road pavement and drainage repairs, rewiring of lights in the corridors, plumbing and painting the whole building. The total cost of the upgrade is RM4.4 million.

In his address Zambry described the goal of the government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy as its way to effect change or transformation. Zambry gave the example of the recently refurbished Super Kinta complex into the now Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) which houses 50 government departments and is now a popular 1-Stop Centre providing a convenient service for the rakyat.

Zambry also indicated that the low-cost flats at Ashby Road and other old units such as Waller Court will be given similar upgrades in time and will be done gradually.

During the event the residents made a pledge to look after and maintain their premises.


Dr S.S. Gill

Drooping Eyelid in Old Age

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about DERMATOCHALASIS.  

A common kind of droopy eyelid seen in old age is called dermatochalasis. If you look carefully, you will find that no one is really spared from this as they age. It does happen to almost everyone to a lesser or greater degree as they move onwards into their seventies and eighties. In dermatochalasis the eyelids appear to sag with excess “baggy” skin surrounding them that contributes to the typical droopy eyelid in old age.

       Dermatochalasis will almost definitely affect a person’s appearance, making a person look “sleepy”. Droopy eyelids are generally referred to as Ptosis (pronounced “toe-sis”) which is the general term for a droopy eyelid (discussed in the last issue).

Why does it happen?

In general, a person’s skin tends to sag with age, losing it’s’ elasticity. Skin is made up of components called elastin and collagen. The COLLAGEN is a structural protein that functions by giving the skin turgor, support or form. The ELASTIN works by allowing the skin to stretch and contract to its original state. This stretching and contracting of eyelid skin occurs every time you blink your eyes. With aging there is an overall loss in amount and quality of this collagen and elastin in the eyelids, making them sag or droop. Gravity of course does not help and hastens the process of eyelid sagging along with genetics, weight changes, and exposure to the sun.

Dr S.S. Gill
Upper pic shows what dermatochalasia will look like when compared to normal (lower pic) after blepharoplasty

Dr S.S. GillSymptoms

Apart from the cosmetic appearance of a person looking tired that results from dermatochalasis, a patient may complain of some visual difficulties. These visual difficulties may present as loss of vision in the upper part of the field of vision, reading difficulties and loss of peripheral vision when driving if the sagging eyelids overhang the side of the eyes. When the vision compromise occurs, the condition should be treated. Some patients compensate unconsciously by using the muscles of the eyebrows to lift the affected eyelids up. This effort may cause frequent headaches.


May be divided into SURGICAL and NON-SURGICAL. Surgical treatment is of course a more permanent solution to the problem.

Non-surgical options
The non-surgical options are of course great for patients who would like to address this problem but aren’t quite ready for surgery. Some of the common non-surgical options are:

The age old remedy of avoiding salty food, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep still holds good to this day. A good moisturizer may help in hydrating the eyelid skin to reduce the sagging effect.

Over the counter Vitamin A skin creams have also been known to give some benefit but you do not have to spend an arm and a leg to get any of those super expensive creams having the same ingredients in them.

BOTOX® injections can be injected into the eyebrows which will elevate them and therefore relax the eyebrow depressors, so that the unopposed muscles in the forehead will raise the position of the eyebrows,

Surgical option

This is the gold standard in the treatment of dermatochalasis. The surgery is called blepharoplasty.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah

(05-5455582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Perak Derby Race 2013


The Perak Derby Race 2013 took place on a hot and sunny day at the Perak Turf Club recently. The race has a colourful history dating back to 1950 when it was inaugurated at the same turf club. According to records, the Perak Derby Race was first held at the Batu Gajah race course in 1896. A princely sum of RM1000 in prize money was offered then. It was not known whether the derby continued to be run after that.

Perak Turf ClubHowever, racing from Batu Gajah moved to Taiping until the Perak Turf Club came into existence in 1926. This year sees the staging of the 64th edition of the Perak Derby Race with a winning purse of RM500,000 and a challenge trophy to boot.

This race is run over a gruelling distance of 2400 metres where the fitness, endurance and stamina of the horses are tested to the limits. In the early years, the Perak Derby Race was dominated by expatriate jockeys but the trend was broken when a local boy, Subian Dalwee, came in first in 1962.

This year’s Perak Derby Race was won by Littlebitofjoy. Chairman of the Perak Turf Club, Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam gave away the prizes to the winners.

SH Ong

Avoidable Blindness Seminar

Dr S.S. Gill
Dr S.S. Gill

The Rotary Club of Kinta’s recent “Avoidable Blindness Seminar and Workshop 2013” was an overwhelming success, said its Organising Chairman Dr Michael Chong.

According to Chong this was the 3rd phase of the project organised in collaboration with CIMB Foundation. The seminar targeted school teachers to enable them to identify the symptoms to detect early blindness or eye-related problems among students.

This event was also the first time it was opened to the public and saw an overall attendance of 300 participants, 70 of whom were teachers.

Prominent ophthalmologists speaking at the event included Dr S.S. Gill, Dato’ S. Subramaniam and Dr Lee Mun Wai.

Rotary Club of Kinta Chairman Zulkarnain Abdul similarly described the seminar as successful, adding that the questions posed during the Q & A were intelligent and objective.

The Avoidable Blindness Project is a Rotary International initiative and the District Task Force Chairman for the project Dato’ S. Kulasegaran described this event as the best ever organised by a Rotary Chapter.


2013 Inter-School Debates


The Finals of the 48th Rotary Inter-School Debates 2013 were held at the Royal Ipoh Club Dewan Sultan Azlan Shah, Ipoh, recently. The hall was filled to maximum capacity by students, parents and guests before 7.30pm.

2013 Inter-School DebatesInitiated by the Rotary Club of Ipoh to promote the use of the English Language among  students, help improve their proficiency in the language and to help develop their skills in public speaking, the event was organised by organising chairman, Rotarian Edwin Seibel.

Two topics were debated: ‘Video games are harmful to children’ with SMK Sam Tet emerging winner and Rayson Sim Wei Jian adjudged best speaker; and ‘Parents Should Be Punished For Their children’s Mistakes’ with the winner being Ipoh International School and best speaker, Looi Kian Siew.

Making Your Vote Count


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

We are into the final stretch of the race and whoever breasts the tape first wins. That happens in a 100-metre dash where a fraction of a second makes a difference, for it separates the winner from the loser. In this blue-ribbon event, physique alone is not the determinant. On a bad day even the best sprinter on the field will lose.

Editorial desk But what if that someone is being aided by performance-enhancement drugs that are outlawed in the sporting world? The fall from grace of seven-time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong is a case in point. The internationally acclaimed cyclist had admitted to taking drugs to improve his cycling prowess. And it took the international cycling fraternity awhile to condemn his actions.

Why do I allude to such an example in amplifying our upcoming 13th General Election? The answer is simple. Here we have opponents from two distinct camps (or three if we take into consideration the Independents) vying for control of the federal and state governments. And they are all using all the ‘enhancements’ they have access to, for a win at the polls.

All 222 parliamentary and 505 state seats are up for grabs. Incidentally, for reasons best known to all, the number of Independent candidates in the upcoming general election is the largest ever in the nation’s electoral history. At the close of Nomination Day on April 20 some 270 have registered themselves as Independent candidates. Out of this number, 79 are contesting for parliamentary seats while the remaining 191 are targeting state seats.

Interestingly, 61 or 22 per cent of these Independents are former UMNO members who have been expelled from the party. And that includes the former Wanita UMNO Deputy President, Kamilia Ibrahim who is contesting in the Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seat.

editorial desk 1Although party leaders have vehemently denied any discontentment within the party’s fold, the number speaks for itself. This phenomenon, however, is not confined to UMNO alone, it has also affected the Barisan Nasional coalition parties, to a lesser degree, and the Opposition Pakatan  Rakyat, as evidenced by the three-corner fight for the Jelapang state seat closer home.

The advantage of incumbency, coupled with a “limitless” supply of funds and a pro-establishment mainstream media, will make the task of dislodging Barisan Nasional from its perch difficult. But then again anything can happen, as in the game of football the ball is round not square.

In terms of preparedness I would say both sides are well prepared. It is the extent that really matters. On Pakatan Rakyat’s side the most vocal and prepared to my mind are PAS and DAP. This is not to discount PKR’s resolve in making an impression but its visibility is somewhat diminished. The Perak PAS youth wing and its liaison division, led by their respective leaders, went on the offensive from the word go. In fact, both have been active since last year organising ceramah and media conferences to highlight BN’s improprieties.

Accusations and counter-accusations are the staples of these organised gatherings. Whether this methodology will have an impact on voters’ choice is debatable. Opposition ceramah, however, draws the crowd. This is attributable to the one-sided views gleaned from the government-owned newspapers and television networks, Astro included. Online and social media have become the medium of choice for the Opposition to propagate their views. Those wishing to hear unbiased news have resorted to the alternative media instead. I find certain news items in the national dailies lopsided, exaggerated and also demeaning.

Manifestos were never the ‘in’ thing in previous elections. Somehow the trend has been bucked in GE 13, as proponents on both sides of the political divide try to outdo one another in coming up with the catchiest manifestos. It does not matter that they are a repeat of earlier promises so long as they are “original”, as one party stalwart insisted.

Both sides promise the rakyat plenty and high on the list is making life more pleasant for all. Makes me wonder what the incumbent government have been doing for the past 56 years? Why make all these promises when you have had over five decades to fulfil them?

Even BN candidate for the state seat of Pasir Pinji, Dato’ Thong Fah Chong has his own manifesto. Making cheap public transport available for his constituents is high on his agenda.

So what is in stock for Perakeans come Election Day on May 5? Do we wish to make a stand and make change a reality? Najib has said that there is no need for change as the party can change from within. Are these platitudes enough to convince us? I leave it to your better judgment to decide what is best.

If GE 13 is to be the mother of all elections let us join the fray and make every vote counts. I am all ready for the big day. What about you?

J.E. Francis Memorial Trophy 2013


A friendly hockey match was played in memory of Joseph Emmanuel Francis on April 20 at Sekolah Menengah Dr Burhanuddin, Taiping, between Penang Veterans and Taiping Veterans. This match which was originally set to be played to celebrate his 90th birthday which fell on February 26 had to be turned into a memorial match when he passed away. Penang Veterans who won the match by a 2-1 margin to claim the Inaugural J.E. Francis Memorial Trophy was led by former Perak State Captain N. Dharmasegaran with Taiping being led by State Coach Manjit Singh. The goal scorers for Penang were Noel Rasan in the 24th minute and N. Dharmasegaran in the 48th minute whereas the Taiping goal was scored by Shukri Muslimin in the dying minutes of the match.

Joseph Emmanuel Francis, better known as Master Joe or just plain Joe, was born in Taiping to Herman Francis and Mary Boudville. He was the only brother to his three sisters, Marcellina, Eugene and Terese. He received both his primary and secondary education at the St George’s Institution, Taiping and completed his Senior Cambridge exam in 1939. Being a true Georgian, he returned to his alma mater in January 1947 as a trainee teacher and qualified in September 1949. He served in St George’s Institution from 1947 until his retirement in 1978 as Headmaster of the SGI Primary School.

Irene Francis presenting the Challenge Trophy to Noel Rasan
Irene Francis presenting the Challenge Trophy to Noel Rasan

His devotion to hockey could be seen both on and off the field. He was a Perak state hockey player and was involved as an administrator and official. He was the Hon. Secretary of the District Hockey Association for 25 years and the Chairman of the District Football Association for 10 years.

He was a member of the Perak Hockey Association and the Malaysian Hockey Federation and served faithfully as an umpire, umpires manager, technical official and trainer.

He became an International Class hockey Umpire and was also the Manager of Umpires at various national tournaments, including the inaugural Asian Champions Club Tournament in 1990. He was also the Umpires Manager at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trophy in New Delhi, India in 1984.

L-R: Amarjit Singh Jessy, Manjit Singh, Hamid Omar, Rahman Karim, H. Ravinderpal Singh, Ranjit Singh, S. Karunakaran, Ranmeet Singh
L-R: Amarjit Singh Jessy, Manjit Singh, Hamid Omar, Rahman Karim, H. Ravinderpal Singh, Ranjit Singh, S. Karunakaran, Ranmeet Singh

The inaugural match which will be held annually was witnessed by family members and friends. Irene Francis, the wife of Master Joe gave away the challenge trophy to the winners and presented prizes to both the participating teams. Later in the evening, there was a memorial service attended by more than 200 guests followed by a dinner hosted by the family. Irene’s parting words for her beloved husband was “Hockey was his life”.

Representing the umpiring fraternity was former World Cup and Olympic Umpire Amarjit Singh Jessy and International Umpire H. Ravinderpal Singh.

Said Amarjit, “Master Joe was a great man and well respected, who contributed immensely to the game in the country and the Umpiring world. A polished figure in his public speaking, Master Joe was an honest and a non political participant in sports and was very well appreciated by those who knew him. He was instrumental in many umpires being promoted and recognised internationally.”

“Thank you and adios my friend, as you will forever be remembered for your deeds.” he added.

Amarjit S. Jessy

Lim Kit Siang’s Whistle Stopover


Veteran politician Lim Kit Siang made a visit to his former constituency of Ipoh Timor on Tuesday April 23. Explaining that his return visit was part of his ‘700-km whistle stop campaign covering the four states of Johor, Melaka, Selangor and Perak”. Lim was punctually doing his walkabout at Pasir Pinji market at 7.30am, despite the fact that his last stop was Sitiawan which ended at 2am.

During his walkabout shoppers were seen smiling and warmly greeting Lim. Later standing atop a van Lim addressed the early morning shoppers and asked the residents of Ipoh Timor to forgive him for leaving his safe seat in this constituency to do battle in the MCA bastion of Gelang Patah Johor. “I do not know if I can win but I must finish the job started in 2008 for a change in government.”

Lim Kit Siang
Lim Kit Siang (left)

Lim then reminded the residents to give their full support to all PR candidates contesting in this election before chanting the election war cry “wu yue wu how, huan ching fu (change the government on May 5)”. Later after a short press conference Lim obliged the media by taking photographs with them.