It was a memorable morning for the ten police sergeants from the Ipoh Police District who were recently promoted from the rank of corporal. They were presented with their stripes and congratulatory letters by the Ipoh police chief, ACP Sum Chang Keong during a parade held at the Ipoh police transport depot.
Twenty one police personnel also received letters of commendation for their exemplary work performance. Sum congratulated the newly promoted sergeants and reminded those who were unsuccessful to not give up.
He called upon all to give their utmost and be committed in their job. With a strong team, the image of Ipoh police district will be enhanced and be a shining example for the rest to follow in the country.
The brief parade was attended by Ipoh district deputy police chief, Supt Anuar, department heads, station chiefs, officers and the rank and file.
A gathering of the who’s who in the state tourism industry was held at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh on Wednesday, May 22. The get-together was organised by the Perak Tourism Association (PTA) with the concurrence of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Perak) and Tourism Malaysia (Perak).
The primary objective of the meeting, according to Hj Odzman Abd Kadir, President of PTA, was to plan ahead following the appointment of a new executive councillor for tourism after the conclusion of the 13th General Election.
Puan Nolee Ashilin bt Mohd Radzi, state assemblywoman for Tualang Sekah, has been appointed to the hot seat on Saturday, May 18. Nolee, 38, has the advantage of youth on her side. And coming from a family of politicians she definitely has the edge over the rest.
Tourism is the third highest income generator after petroleum and raw commodities. For 2012, the nation collected a staggering sum of RM60.6 billion from tourism. Potential for growth in the tourism sector in Perak is great. However, planning and a lack of dynamism are holding things back. And unless these problems are addressed, the likelihood of a slump becomes apparent.
Most of the points raised by participants were the same. High on the list are poor maintenance of tourist spots, lack of signage and information. These points will be presented to Nolee by PTA as a curtain raiser.
Odzman announced the association-organised activities in the pipeline. The much awaited Ipoh International Waiters Race has now been rescheduled to Sunday, June 29. Of equal importance is the Tourism Appreciation Dinner planned for Friday July 5 to be held at Lost World of Tambun. The dinner is to honour those who have performed well in their respective establishments.
To promote healthy lungs and to launch the asthma-friendly school programme on Perak Lung Health Day, the Perak Chest Society organised a walkathon at Polo Ground, Ipoh recently.
It saw the participation of some 400 people which included hospital staff, students and the public. They had to walk three rounds around the recreational park.
Free health screening focusing on lung health and functioning was provided by private hospitals.
As this was not only an exercise but a learning event, participants had to answer a questionnaire on asthma, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and nicotine addiction. Posters were placed around the park for reference.
Three participants with the best time and scored top marks in the questionnaire won a foldable bicycle each while the following seven received hampers. All participants also received goodie bags and certificates of participation.
The “Walk for Your Lungs” walkathon was flagged-off by Mdm Soot Mooy Ching, principal of SM Methodist (ACS) Ipoh. The Walk was also used as a platform to raise funds to run the asthma-friendly school programme. Currently, there are two pilot schools: SM Methodist (ACS) Ipoh and SMK Ave Maria Convent, while SMK St Michael is a sponsored school.
Participating schools will have their students, teachers, school staff and first aid providers trained to administer first aid to those who have an asthma attack while at school.
The Perak Chest Society, which runs awareness programmes and free health screenings biennially, plans to add more schools to its asthma-friendly school programme and expand beyond Ipoh.
Asthma is a very common lung disease and it affects 10 to 13 per cent of the population. One in ten children in Malaysia has asthma. While some children outgrow the illness, some require medication into adulthood. Thus, the Perak Chest Society decided to run the asthma-friendly school programme to improve the well-being of affected children.
For more information on the Perak Chest Society, call 05-255 6302.
A Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] between Perak Entrepreneur & Skills Development Centre [PESDC] and SIRIM Berhad was signed recently in Pulau Pangkor witnessed by YAB Menteri Besar. The two organisations form a strategic partnership in skills training and research & development to fulfil industry needs. The purpose of the MoU is to train technical experts and have a competent workforce.
SIRIM will assist PESDC to upgrade the technical know-how with focus on tooling and machining, robotic automation and welding which were funded through the Industries Skills Enhancement Programme [INSEP] for graduates. Trainees will undergo 6 to 12 months hands-on training whereby additional knowledge and industrial skills will be added to generate a knowledge-based workforce.
PESDC has trained more than 1000 graduates since 2009. The next INSEP intake will be on July 1. Four new courses will be introduced this year, that is, Contemporary Broadband Communication Specialist, Modern Computer System and Network Specialist, Electronic Design and Embedded System Technologist in Manufacturing Industry and Optics and Opto-electronics Technologist in Manufacturing Industry.
Successful trainees will undergo three months full-time ‘hands-on’ training in PESDC and three months ‘on-the-job’ training with approved organisations. Trainees will receive an internationally recognised certificate upon passing the examination at the end of the training.
The smiles on the faces of 150 children from seven orphanages and children’s homes in Ipoh were priceless. Not only did they get to enjoy a sumptuous lunch at Healy Mac’s Irish Bar & Restaurant hosted by the outlet’s management, they were also entertained by an army pipes and drums band and got to pose for photographs holding M4 assault rifles with an army Humvee in the background. The army’s multi-purpose vehicle was one of the highlights of the afternoon.
The day out for the children, dubbed Orphans’ Day by Healy Mac’s, was held in conjunction with Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12. The homes, namely, Praise Emmanuel Children’s Home, Hope for Autism Society, Precious Gift Home, Praise Home, Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-anak Yatim Jaz, Good Shepherd Home and Vision Home received RM1000 each from the management of the restaurant.
The idea to treat these underprivileged children between 5 to 12 years old came from senior patrons of the restaurant.
According to outlet manager, Jerry Galvin, it was amazing that a little outreach event like this could elicit so much joy from the children. “Of course, it wouldn’t have been successful without the sponsorships of regular diners,” he reasoned.
Healy Mac’s thanked the Commander of the Ipoh-based 2nd Malaysian Infantry Brigade, Brig-Gen Dato’ Md Dzahir Abdul Rashid for his assistance. The show by the brigade’s pipes and drums platoon and the emplacement of a Humvee for the benefit of the children were coordinated by HQ 2 Brigade’s Chief of Staff, Lt-Col Johnny Lim. The soldiers’ presence was a big hit with the kids.
The management of Healy Mac’s Ipoh plans to hold a similar event for an even larger group of children come Christmas time, with a different line up of programmes. This Ipoh restaurant’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative will be a bi-annual event, where the management strives to give back to the local community, particularly underprivileged children.
Galvin concluded, “Anyone in the position should make that little effort to reach out to these children. It means a lot to them.”
A whopping 4000 bikers participated in Ipoh’s first ‘Ipoh Nite Ride’ that took place last Saturday May 25 at Dataran MBI. The participants came from all over the country and consisted of all age groups.
Retired Hospital Assistant, Badli Shah, 84, from Kampung Kepayang, couple Tony and Jackie Wong from KL and riding groups Orinz from Ipoh and Raintown Cycling Club from Taiping all took part just “for the fun of it”.
Organised by Malaysia Interaction Culture Association (MICA) in cooperation with MBI, the ride was kicked off by Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim slightly after 8pm. Before the kick off, the whole area in front of Ipoh City Council was a carnival atmosphere with participants taking photos and pretty models posing beside their bicycles.
Escorted by policethe ride went through Jalan Raja Dihilir, passed through town and made brief stops at the Railway Station and Kinta Riverfront Hotel before ending at Dataran MBI.
MICA Chairman Adam Chooi had attempted to garner 3000 participants to put the event in the Malaysia Book of Records. However, at the start of the event only 2500 participants had registered.
Nevertheless as the Ride moved through Town it was joined by smaller groups of riders and eventually stretched over 3km. According to Chooi, based on this stretch of riders the estimated participants for the ride should be a tally of over 4000 bikers.
For those who missed the ride please be ready for next year as Mayor Roshidi has declared that ‘Ipoh Nite Ride’ will be an annual event from this year onward as part of the City Day celebrations.
Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about CORNEAL ABRASIONS.
A corneal abrasion is a scratch injury to the cornea. The cornea is the clear dome-shaped transparent, outermost part of the eye. You can liken this part of the eye to the windscreen of your car. Injuries to this part of the eye occur commonly in both kids and adults. It usually occurs when some sand or dust enters the eye.
What are the causes?
The eye has natural barriers like the eyelashes to prevent particles or foreign bodies from entering the eyes. When a foreign particle enters the eye, the eye responds by producing a flood of tears to try and wash away the foreign particles.
The problem comes about when the foreign object remains in the eye and is in contact with the cornea in such a way that it scratches, cuts, or damages the surface. This is made worse when the person rubs the eye in an effort to get it out – which most often happens in kids! You can envision this simple action of rubbing the eye to have an effect of sandpaper on the cornea because of the trapped particle underneath the eyelid rubbing against the surface of the cornea.
Many things can enter the eye to damage or scratch the cornea. These include sand particles, dust, ceiling board flakes, wood shavings, insects, sparks from a fire, cooking oil pieces of paper or the edge of a sheet of paper and even a person’s own fingernails! Other things that may damage the cornea are chemicals, poor handling of contact lenses and eye make-up or facial cleansers used when a woman goes for a facial treatment.
Firstly, this will almost certainly be painful. Secondly, because of the way in which the cornea functions, it often causes vision disturbances. Often there will be a stinging or burning in the eye along with blurry vision in the affected eye.
Some of the other symptoms include the following:
Photophobia: the eye is hypersensitive to light.
Hyperaemia: the eye is bloodshot or red.
Lacrimation: tearing or watering from the eye is usually excessive and persistent.
Foreign body sensation in the eye: a sensation of a something stuck in the eye.
Eyelid oedema: swelling of the eyelids may occur.
How is it diagnosed?
Well, the history of something getting into the eye is quite classical. Should you or your child be exposed to something like this, DO NOT RUB THE EYE but flush the eye out with tap water or sterile normal saline if you have some of this at home. It is best to seek professional help if you are unsure of whether or not the foreign particle has come out of the eye or not, more so if you still have symptoms.
Your GP will look for any particles still present in the affected eye. Often, the doctor will flush out the eye with normal saline solution in an attempt to flush minute particles that may not be so easily visible with a torchlight examination. If the cornea is extensively abraded, often the GP will refer the patient to the eye doctor.
The eye doctor will be able to determine if the particle is still there and also determine the extent of the corneal abrasion. Often, the eye doctor will confirm the presence of the corneal abrasion by instilling a special stain called fluorescein into the eye. Then, using cobalt blue filtered light, any corneal abrasion will light up a bright green fluorescent colour – to reveal the extent of the corneal abrasion. (See adjacent picture)
How serious is this?
Corneal abrasions if treated properly heal completely and do not cause any trouble. Corneal abrasions only cause trouble if they get secondarily infected and end up as corneal ulcerations that may even lead to blindness. Rarely, corneal abrasions do not heal well and the layer of epithelium (outer layer of cornea) refuses to close up permanently, resulting in frequent breakdown known as persistent corneal epithelial defects. Should you suffer from any symptoms that are prolonged, do seek professional eye treatment.
For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email email@example.com.
Hotels in Ipoh before 2009, were very few. In our September 16, 2011, report under the topic ‘Ipoh City Council’s Plans for VPY 2012’, we reported that Ipoh had six 3 and 4-star hotels and 71 3-star-and-under hotels available with another two big hotels, MH Hotel and Kinta Riverfront and Suites, coming on stream at the end of that year. Fast forward to 2013 and a quick snapshot around town revealed a hotel in many corners all around town. Come 2015 and there will be a total of 98 hotels just for Ipoh.
Will Tourism Growth Sustain the Growth in Hotels?
With the proliferation of hotels all over Ipoh, the question that comes to mind is that of sustainability. Will occupancies keep up with the increased supply of rooms?
MBI’s Hotel Report
At Ipoh City Council’s monthly board meeting in March, Mayor Roshidi produced a report on the number of hotels (star rated and budget hotels) that had been approved by the Council’s One Stop Centre over the last two years. The data did not include the existing hotels opened earlier.
The data revealed 46 approved and operating hotels, one 5-star, one 4-star, eighteen 1-3 star and 26 budgets; with those planned and under construction totalling 39. (One 5-star, three 3-4 star and 35 budgets). These include the Weil Hotel (300 rooms), Casuarina Meru Raya (150 rooms) and Cititel. Of those approved but not yet rated – 13. This includes the Ipoh Convention Centre (250 rooms) bringing the total of all these new establishments in the last two years, and those coming online in the next two years, to a total of 98 hotels just for Ipoh.
In terms of occupancies, it is surprising that despite the entry of new hotel players over the last two years, there has not been a dilution in occupancies and all operating hotels have reported to be doing well.
So what has contributed to this positive state of affairs?
VPY 2012 Promotions Contribute to Longer Stays
The promotions for Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012 may have started late (in the middle of 2011) but it nevertheless got the message through that Perak was a tourist destination that had yet to be fully discovered.
According to Vincent Ee, the President of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Perak Chapter, Perak’s three main active tourist destinations are: Taiping, (known for its heritage), Manjung, (and to a greater extent) the attraction of Pangkor Island, and Ipoh known for its delicious food and heritage. All three have shown an increase in visitors.
Although promotions have been going on for years, attractions such as Gua Tempurung and Kellie’s Castle have reflected improved visitor figures for the last two years. Ee attributed this to the good VPY 2012 promotion work that was carried out.
Ee stated that the promotion had contributed positively to better room night figures which translated to an approximate 12 to 15 per cent improvement of extra nights stayed at MAH member hotels.
Considering that there were more hotels opened in the last 18 months, the improved room occupancy reflected a positive and healthy tourism market.
According to Tourism Malaysia Perak’s hotel guests data, the number of visitors to Perak for 2012 amounted to 2.42 million.
Management and marketing
Ms Maggie Ong, the Director of Syuen Hotel, who is also the Deputy President of MAH reconfirmed that even though the room supply has gone up, its MAH member hotels were still healthy and recorded an average 60-65 per cent occupancy rate last year.
Undoubtedly, budget hotels do take away some room nights from the star-rated ones but different customers have different budgets and each hotel will attract their level of customers accordingly.
One strategy that the bigger hotels use to attract visitors is to organise seminars and conventions and introduce stay packages with local tours thrown in. This has opened up new markets and is bringing in new visitors to Ipoh. For example, during the recent school holidays, Impiana Hotel threw in a free entry to Lost World of Tambun as part of its holiday package.
A positive development adopted by several of the older hotels was the initiating of a network of information sharing and cooperation amongst MAH members to standardise prices and tourism activities and to recommend customers when there is a spillover from large events.
This network initiative ultimately benefits the customer in terms of seamless service while at the same time contributing towards a harmonious hotel industry environment. Currently, this team of network members are working on the “International Waiters Race” event, and meet punctually every month.
Tourism Products: Food, Heritage and Ipoh Town Itself
A main attraction for Ipoh has always been about its food, be it chicken and bean sprouts or a whole menu of local delicacies. Then, later came about the Heritage Trails of Old Town. While these two attractions continue to draw the visitor to Ipoh, Ipoh town itself is a popular draw for the adventurous visitor where all the attractions in Ipoh are within walking distance.
Occasionally, it is common to see visitors arriving by train, foregoing the taxi and preferring to walk 2 to 3km to their hotels instead, and in the process take in the sights of the Heritage Trail before arriving at their destination.
Similarly, due to the proximity of the hotels to the popular food outlets, most visitors prefer to walk compared to driving and having to look for a parking lot. Due to this fact, Syuen Director Ong has designed a poster-size map to be placed in the hotel identifying the popular food spots and attractions around town.
Future Challenges: Attract More Foreigners
Ipoh’s hotel industry may be healthy for now but with more hotels coming on stream over the next 12 months will it remain status quo?
According to Ong, the tourism market can still grow and gave the visitor composition which consists of 60 per cent domestic and 40 per cent foreigners as an indicator that the foreign visitor base has volumes of potential for growth.
“Foreigners visit for the Heritage Trail. However, they lament that there is insufficient product knowledge of the heritage products which leaves them dissatisfied,” added Ong.
Another lament the visitor has is the difficulty of access to tourism products, such as, the Lost World of Tambun, Gua Tempurung or even Kellie’s Castle. Sadly this issue was reported by Ipoh Echo two years ago but apparently it has not yet been addressed.
Another challenge that bears consideration is that of direct air links. With the upgrade of Sultan Azlan Shah Airport completed, the relevant authorities should initiate direct air links with ASEAN cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila. Should a direct link with Guangzhou, Southern China be possible, Ipoh will see a consistent flow of visitors even though it will be for food visits initially.
Cleanliness and safety is another issue raised by visitors and is one of the challenges that needs addressing.
Ipoh City Convention Centre
Work on the Ipoh City Convention Centre (pic below) is just starting at the former Bougainvillea Garden in between Syuen Hotel and MBI. When completed in two years time it will consist of a 250-room hotel and have a seating capacity for 2500 convention participants.
Assuming that its first convention in the future is fully attended, it will be a windfall spillover for all the hotels in the immediate surrounding vicinity.
Considering the convention scenario and assuming the measures to attract more foreign visitors are initiated, Ipoh’s hotel industry can, not only grow but in all probability, thrive.
Two dogs, left unattended and starving to death were found in an empty house put up for sale at Mansion Park recently. Ipoh Echo received an SOS from an irate resident who could not stand the cruelty meted to the poor animals and pleaded for the paper to take action and show some humanity.
A staff reporter was promptly dispatched to investigate the matter upon receiving the distress message and was touched upon arrival at what he saw. A group of animal lovers had already gathered at the scene and trying to get food to the suffering dogs behind the locked gate. Just about the same time, the owner of the house appeared from nowhere and was immediately reprimanded by one of the angry residents for mistreating the dogs. He reluctantly opened the gate and the “rescue” operation commenced.
A hairless, stick-thin dog, a German Shepherd it seems, chained near the front door of the house was found trying to get some shelter from the scorching midday sun under an air-condition vent. It was coaxed out from its ‘shelter’ and was so weak that it could hardly stand on its own legs. It gobbled up whatever food it was given within minutes. The other dog, a Rottweiler, chained behind the house, fared much better under a shaded area but was nonetheless just as undernourished. It too gobbled up the food given. All this while the house owner claims that he feeds the dogs daily. Looking at the conditions of the dogs one wonders?
Apparently, this dastardly matter had already been reported to the relevant authorities but none have come forward to rescue the poor animals. The good Samaritans, one of whom owns a pet grooming salon in Bercham, then offered to take the German Shepherd away for rehabilitation. Negotiation is still going on for the owner to give up the Rottweiler for adoption as well. At time of writing, the poor German Shepherd is doing fine and on its way to recovery, probably in a few months’ time thanks to kind hearted souls like Judy, Irene and Aaron.
One just has to worry about the Rottweiler still under negotiation. And what about prosecuting the owner for cruelty to animals?
Monday May 27 was Ipoh’s 25th anniversary as a city. To kick off its Jubilee celebrations, MBI staff gathered at Ipoh’s City Hall in the morning for a special assembly and presentation of Distinguished Service Awards.
The auspicious occasion was graciously officiated by newly minted State Exco for Local Government Dato’ Saarani Mohammad together with Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim. Other VVIPs present for the celebration included Mr Rivai Nasution representing Walikota Medan (City of Medan) Indonesia and Datuk Yeoh Boo Hai, Director General of Kota Kinabalu Town Council.
Over 200 City Council staff were presented outstanding service awards. In his address Roshidi thanked his staff for their dedicated and excellent service which enabled MBI to achieve its vision of being a prosperous, dynamic and vibrant community.
Dato’ Saarani’s advice to the council staff was a sweet and short statement “provide service for the residents similarly as you would like others to service you”.
For Ms Ooi Bee Teck, currently with the Mayor’s office, this is her second time receiving MBI’s Distinguished Service Award. The first was in 2006 when she was with the Public Relations section. Considering she has been with MBI for 12 years, this second award was much noted.
An exceptional recipient of the awards was MBI’s Secretary Dato’ Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff who was presented his award from the State, the only MBI staff to enjoy the State’s recognition.
Rahim admitted that this was his first job, having started with the Council 30 years ago as a Legal Officer before assuming his current position as Secretary.
The awards presentation event was the start of six weeks of celebrations which includes the Ipoh International Run as well as the Ipoh International Waiters Race to name a few.