Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 172

Sultan Abdul Aziz Park



I am one of the regular joggers at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Park (also known as the Polo Ground), in Ipoh. As such, allow me to give a few suggestions for further improvement. It would be  good to widen the present track to at least 2-3 feet. Planting more trees along the track gives more shade to the users as well as those who wish to relax along the benches.

While I am grateful for this service provided by the Municipal Council, I would also like to highlight some inconveniences which have cropped up lately. These things may be minor yet in the long run it will cause more harm than good to those who frequent the park.

The tiled jogging track has of late been used by motorcyclists and this is very dangerous for the joggers/runners, and especially dangerous to children who also play around the area. It is not just random members of the public who do this but also policemen, enforcement officers and DBI workers. They seem to use this track as a shortcut to their pondok. Another issue is the mowing of grass during peak hours (when there is a fairly large crowd using the grounds).

However, what bothers me most are the many vendors around the grounds. It seems that this place is no longer a scenic exercise ground but more like a market. These vendors not only sell drinks and cooked food, but also sell vegetables, clothes, bakery goods and others. I have no qualms against these vendors but I am just wondering how these vendors have multiplied over time.

I do hope the enforcement officers and those responsible for the maintenance of this park will look into this matter, and perhaps take the necessary actions. I am sure many others, like myself, would want to preserve this beautiful park for many more years to come as this is one of the better jogging grounds in Ipoh City.

Lourd Nathan

Tourism Appreciation Nite


Tourism Appreciation NiteTourism players in Perak were entertained to a dinner-cum-beach party at the Lost World of Tambun recently.

Besides the need to celebrate, the occasion was also to recognise the exemplary services rendered by their employees with the prestigious, “Pride of Workmanship Award” which made its debut that evening.

The 21 winners, selected on merits, received their certificates from the Executive Councillor for Tourism, the Honourable Puan Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohd Radzi.

It was indeed a proud moment for them as some, like those in the hospitality industry have been on the frontline for over two decades. They had never expected to be given such recognition considering the job they performed.

“I am simply over the moon,” said one recipient who has been a doorman at one top-notch hotel in Ipoh.

The event was organised by the Perak Tourism Association (PTA). Association President, Hj Mohd Odzman Abdul Kadir, concluded that the participation of major tourism players meant that they were willing to promote the state and to enhance the productivity of the tourism industry.

“PTA is willing to be the liaison and coordinator towards achieving this goal,” he said in his opening remarks. “The association plans to organise two promotional trips this year; one to Singapore and the other to Fukuoka, Japan.”

The two promotional trips were given the green light by Nolee who, in her return speech, pledged financial aid for the association from the state.

Nolee thanked those who had helped organise the recent Ipoh International Waiters’ Race and the organising committee of the Tourism Appreciation Nite. “You’re simply wonderful,” she exclaimed.

The party ended with the crowning of the best dressed male and female guests.


Quarry’s Response to Complaints



Quarry's response to compaints-1Lafarge Malaysia’s Kanthan plant in Chemor has taken a number of steps to protect biodiversity within its quarry, which has received adverse publicity the last few months.

 After a sudden increase in the number of people visiting the quarry, and Kanthan Cave (or Cathedral Cave) in particular, the plant has restricted public access to the area to protect the biodiversity within the cave until the findings of external experts have been completed.

Kanthan plant manager, Sekar Kaliannan, in a press statement explains:

“Preliminary studies by the University of Malaya’s Institute of Biological Sciences, who is working with us on this project, have indicated that Kanthan Cave could contain ‘sensitive biodiversity’, which we have a responsibility to manage and protect, as part of our development programme.”

Quarry's response to compaints-2

Quarry's response to compaints-3 “Unfortunately, inaccurate publicity about our plans has also encouraged a big increase in visitors to the cave whose presence and activities could upset this sensitive biodiversity.”

 “Therefore, we are taking steps to erect signage and restrict access to the cave whilst the university completes its studies alongside members of Lafarge’s International Biodiversity Panel.”

 The Kanthan Cave appears to be home to, amongst others, an endemic trapdoor spider, which is listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Further work will be undertaken in understanding its presence, along with the development of measures to fully protect any endangered species.

 “Our quarry development programme,” said Sekar “has identified two areas for development. They are Area C and Area D. With Kanthan Cave’s presence in Area D, our focus is on managing this biodiversity-rich area appropriately.”

 “However, initial studies of Area C which is on the other side of the southern part of Kanthan Hill, indicate that it does not contain sensitive biodiversity, and a number of caves in this area have been used in recent years without permission. In fact, this activity may have disturbed the presence of biodiversity in these caves.”

 In view of this, the company has erected signage to warn visitors. The plant will also liaise with interested parties, including the state government, on understanding the use of these caves. Preliminary biodiversity screening of Area C to determine its sensitivity will be done before the launch of the 18-month preparatory work prior to accessing raw materials from the said area.

 Kanthan plant maintains an ‘open-door policy’ and anyone who is keen to know more about the plant’s quarry development programme is encouraged to email: info@my.lafarge.com.

Semarak Ramadan with Nolee


Semarak Ramadan with Nolee

Perak Tourism organised the annual pre-Hari Raya Puasa programme Semarak Ramadan on Sunday, July 28 at Taulang Sekah. Berita Harian, Adabi and Tualang Sekah Community Service Centre were the co-organisers.

At the gotong royong style event, six cauldrons of bubur lambuk, a traditional breaking-fast dish, were cooked and distributed to the public at the nearby Ramadan bazaars.

Tualang Sekah assemblywoman cum State Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Puan Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi said the objective of the event was to help foster good relationship with the local community.

She too hoped that the people would use the local mosque as a one-stop centre for social and religious activities in the future.

Sixty orphans and nearly 160 poor folks received duit raya from Nolee at the end of the function.


In Memory of Teresa Teng



In Memory of Teresa Teng-1

In Memory of Teresa Teng-3In Memory of Teresa Teng-2Late Teresa Teng’s songs are still among the favourites of many today. At an upcoming charity dinner in her honour, themed ‘Unforgettable Teresa Teng’ and organised by Shekinah Community Centre, songs by the legendary songbird will be brought back to life by Chinese singer Tong Yao.

Tong is dubbed “Little Teresa Teng” for resembling Teresa in appearance and voice. She sang to a full house at her concert in Genting recently. HT Long, also known as the “Elvis Presley of Malaysia”, will make an appearance.

The purpose of the dinner is to source funds for the expansion and renovation of a multi-purpose hall belonging to the Shekinah Centre. The hall will be used for community-based services such as medical screening and consultation for the needy.

It will also be utilised for income-generating activities like weddings, conferences and seminars. The projected amount required is estimated to be about RM350,000.

The dinner will be held at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel on Thursday, September 12, beginning at 7.30pm.

Tables are priced between RM1500 to RM5000 each. For reservations or enquiries call Maggie at 012-473 7262 or Ruby at 012-512 2817.


MTC Engages Environmental Ambassadors


The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) was recently invited by Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) to participate in the 6th Malay College Youth Development Summit 2013 (MCYDS 2013), aptly themed “Grooming Green Societies”, in recognition of the Council’s commitment to promoting Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in the country.

MTC Engages Environmental Ambassadors

Hosted by MCKK, MCYDS 2013 saw some 100 students, aged 16 to 17 from 22 high-performing schools in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand and India taking part in the Summit which was held recently.

MTC is a strong advocate of leveraging education in engaging and equipping youth with the right knowledge to become future champions of environmental conservation. The Council’s participation in this year’s MCYDS is part of its public awareness initiative to imbue in students the importance of conserving the environment and its natural resources through SFM as well as promoting timber as a natural, recyclable, energy efficient, sustainable, carbon-locking and environmentally friendly material.

At the Summit, MTC Senior Director of Communications & Investments Division, Suria Zainal explained that the carbon absorbed by growing trees will return to the atmosphere when those trees die or rot. Harvesting trees before they die will prevent the carbon from returning to the atmosphere. Hence, the more wood we use, the more carbon we can lock up. This helps to address climate change.

MCKK Second Student Chairman, Mohamad Safwan bin Abdul Rahman, 17, said the talk gave him a clearer picture of managing the forest more responsibly and how timber is a sustainable and eco-friendly natural resource.

“I’ve always thought that felling trees was bad. I never knew how harvesting older trees allows sunlight to reach younger trees at the lower level of the forest, enabling them to grow and absorb more carbon. Now I understand why sustainable forest management is vital to ensure that timber can be produced forever,” he said.

Meanwhile, MCKK Principal, Anand Baharuddin commended MTC’s participation at the Summit as such education enables the youth to be responsible stewards of the environment and learn to inter-relate this with their society’s well-being and their nation’s economic needs.

About MTC

The Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) was established in January 1992 to promote the development and growth of the Malaysian timber industry. MTC was formed on the initiative of the timber industry and governed by a Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Minister of Plantation Industries & Commodities.

MTC’s main objectives are to promote the Malaysian timber trade and develop the market for timber products globally, to promote the development of the industry by upgrading the industry’s manufacturing technology base, to augment the supply of raw materials, to provide information services and to safeguard and promote the Malaysian timber industry’s global image. Further information on the Council’s activities can be obtained from www.mtc.com.my.

Sara Amelia Bernard

Beauty, Brains and Courage


Thinking Allowed

By Mariam Mokhtar

Sara Amelia BernardSara Amelia BernardIpoh is famous for its limestone hills, pomelos, groundnuts and beauties like Amber Chia, Anna Lim and Michelle Yeoh.

When Ipoh-born Sara Amelia Bernard entered the Miss Malaysia World 2013 contest, she hoped to win the coveted Miss Malaysia World 2013 title and represent Malaysia in the Miss World finals, in Bali.

In the sixteen years that have passed since this writer first met her, the pretty four-year old, with doe eyes and porcelain skin, has blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

 Melia, as we used to call her, has had her dreams shattered. Following a controversial intervention by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi), she and three other Muslim girls were threatened with a fine and possible jail sentence.

 Their crime? They were deemed to be insulting Muslims by entering the beauty contest and to have committed a sin. The hysteria against these four girls grew, and even after their disqualification, they were barred from attending the final of the Miss Malaysia World contest as invited guests.

 Melia went to primary and secondary schools in Ipoh until she enrolled at Taylor’s College in Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. She comes from a competitive family which has produced victors. Her father Bernard Radin, is a martial arts champion and has represented Malaysia in Muay Thai, Wushu and Tae Kwon-do. Melia wanted to prove that a girl from Ipoh could be successful like Michelle Yeoh, who gained worldwide success as an actress. She wanted to put Ipoh on the map and in an interview with a Malaysian daily, said that joining a beauty contest was one way to expose true Malaysian beauty to the world.

 “A beauty queen is not merely a pretty face but is intelligent, cultured, well-spoken, kind hearted, warm and friendly. She uses her title to help others and participates in various charities worldwide.

 “In school, I had friends of every race and had the opportunity to learn about their customs and beliefs. I also love the variety of food in Malaysia, my favourites being popiah, banana leaf (rice) and ayam masak merah!

 It was during the audition that Melia met the pageant organiser, Anna Lim who presented her with a copy of her autobiography. On reading it, Melia found that Anna was also from Ipoh and was involved in charitable works. She was impressed that after she retired from competition, Anna had gone to London to study, became a stockbroker and later opened her own interior design company.

 “I dreamed of following in her footsteps… (Anna is a) true example of beauty with brains!”

 Melia said that she was motivated to work with underprivileged children and the less fortunate.

 “I saw it as an opportunity to promote intellectual women as well as participate in various charities worldwide and help the underprivileged.”

Melia knew that as a Muslim, she would not be wearing a bikini in the swimsuit round but said that current competition rules dictate that entrants would have to dress modestly, anyway.

 Ever since this controversy broke, Melia has had to cancel her Facebook account because “trolls” posed messages containing expletives and nasty comments.

 “It really opened your eyes to the number of extremists out there,” she said.

 Melia claimed that both she and 19 year-old Wafa Johanna De Korte, had been ridiculed and criticised as they were the most vocal of the four Muslim participants.

 When asked for her views, Yasmin Yusuff, who represented Malaysia at the 1978 Miss Universe pageant in Acapulco and who successfully launched her career as an actress, singer, radio presenter, event host and businesswoman, said “The pageant could be called ‘Miss Malaysia Non-Malays’”.

 The Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said said that the four Muslim girls shouldn’t have joined the beauty race in the first place because “…it is a sensitive environment right now especially during the fasting month”.

 Perhaps, Azalina should be reminded that even before the fasting month, Malaysians have been subjected to an extraordinarily sensitive environment, where both non-Malays and Malays must tread on egg-shells for fear of incurring the wrath of the authorities.

  Most people are not aware that a fatwa is just an opinion or guide to how one should lead one’s life as a good Muslim. Only under Shia rule can a fatwa become a law, without first being enacted by parliament.

 Melia is a beauty with brains. She and the other participants were not going to bare their bodies. They were prepared to dress modestly. They were going to compete on an intellectual footing with poise and an inner beauty, with the best that Malaysia and the world has to offer.

 This spat is not about religious values. The girls did not insult Islam or other Muslims. The girls stood up for their individual liberties, and for that we should commend them.

Preserving the Trees


I read from The Star (dated August 1) that the Ipoh City Council has appointed two companies for the Waller Court re-development project. The nearby clinic will be demolished for this project.

 My concern is for the fate of the beautiful trees that have been growing around the flats serenely for many years. Will they still be there when the project is completed or will they be sacrificed?

 Over the past few years, we in Ipoh have seen many majestic trees being cut  down for the sake of development. I sincerely hope that the Ipoh City Council  will try its best to maintain Ipoh’s charm and beauty by  preserving the few spots of greenery still found in the city.

 It is distressing to see only stumps and sawdust left on the ground after the chain-saws have done their work.

 Trees that have stood for decades should be treated as landmarks and allowed to keep their place in the city that they grew up with.

Robert Percival

Free Haircuts


free haircuts

The Bercham-based rehab centre, Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah was privileged with the presence of Sri Kopinath, a barber from Fair Park recently. Kopinath took time off from his busy schedule to provide free haircuts for clients of the centre.

It was no easy task trying to coax the more difficult ones to sit quietly and have their hair groomed. But with the advantage of experience on his side, Kopinanth managed to complete his work on time, with some help from the centre staff, of course. When it was finally over, Kopinath had cropped a total of 50 clients.

They were then treated to snacks as a reward for their compliance. Kopinanth received a letter of appreciation from Regina, Chief Executive Officer of the centre for his invaluable contribution.


Perak Bar Committee Charity Drive


Perak Bar Committee

The Perak Bar Committee, led by its Chairman Vivekanandan Periasamy, launched the Heart2Heart Charity 2013 programme recently. The primary objective of the initiative is to help orphans and handicapped children in the state.

In the month of July a food collection drive by lawyers from all over Perak was organised.

Food collected during the month-long effort were handed over to two orphanages on Friday, August 2. They were the Pertubuhan Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Setia, Silibin and Asrama Anak-Anak Yatim Dar’us Salam, Tambun.