Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 179

Of Veterans and Losing Faith

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Editorial

By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Of veterans and losing faith - editor's desk

If the 2009 Australian eavesdropping episode on its Asean neighbours is anything but deliberate then I stand by my conviction that their dithering is for a reason. Insofar as Malaysia is concerned, I feel it is not for reasons of security per se, but more to do with the prevailing political climate then following the two vociferous Bersih demonstrations clamouring for a free and independent election.

Despite the demand for an unconditional apology from Tony Abbott, the newly-minted Prime Minister of Australia, the response has been lukewarm, to say the least. I wonder why Tony has not brushed aside the Indonesian President’s insistence with a mere, “I wasn’t the Prime Minister then, Kevin Rudd was” reply typical of how politicians in a quandary would have reacted.

Or resort to elegant silence, as a golden rule of thumb for someone in the pits. But in a Western society, of which Australia is one, such behaviour is deemed unethical and will earn the wrath of the nation and the international community.

My rambling is not aimed at placing Australia in the spotlight for its wrongdoings. Far from it, my allusion is merely an opener for a matter of lesser significance than what is ongoing in the Oceanic region. Politics, however, is not the issue here.

I respect the Aussies for one innate quality which we Malaysians find wanting. It has much to do with their attitude towards military veterans, especially their own. Australians, since the Second Boer War (1899 to 1902), have been fighting wars not in their backyards but on foreign soils.

The only time they were forced to do the inevitable was when Japanese planes bombed Darwin and their midget submarines sneaked into Sydney Harbour in an attempt to sink Allied warships at the onset of the Second World War in 1942. Otherwise, Australian troops were in harness for duties abroad all of the time.

An Australian infantry division was in Malaya propping the weak British defensive perimeter before the Japanese invasion in December 1941. They were here again during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960) providing ground and air support for counter-insurgency operations. Their troops were recalled when President Sukarno of Indonesia decided to confront newly formed Malaysia, claiming it to be a British colonial stooge in 1962.

Those who died in these conflicts were being interred in a number of cemeteries located throughout the length and breadth of the country, including Sabah and Sarawak. And remembering their dearly departed has become an obsession with those who had served in the same outfits as the dead and the maimed.

These war-weary veterans and their families make annual pilgrimages to Taiping, Batu Gajah, Terendak, Sandakan, Labuan and Kuching to honour their kinsmen who had made the ultimate sacrifice, not for their country but the country that they had the misfortune to serve. Nothing can be more honourable than to remember these brave soldiers who died in the prime of their youth while fighting a war in a far-flung country whose affiliation they were never certain.

I had the privilege to attend one such service on Sunday, November 24 at the Esplanade in Penang. The Penang Veterans’ Association organised the morning service dedicated to fallen heroes of the Great War (1914 to 1918), Second World War (1939 to 1945), Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960), Indonesian Confrontation (1962 to 1966) and the Re-Insurgency Period (1968 to 1990).

The association, under the presidency of Major Sivarajan KM Ramathan (Retired), has been doing so without fail for the last 12 years. Quite unexpectedly, I was honoured with the responsibility of laying a wreath on behalf of retired Royal Ranger Regiment officers and men. I was touched by the gesture, which I thought strange considering my abhorrence for officialdom.

Feelings aside, I was somewhat perplexed by the conspicuous absence of serving officers from Headquarters 2nd Infantry Division, which is stationed on the island. The state government and the Police were well represented and so were the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand and the Nepalese Embassy, including the Thai Consulate-General in Penang.

If these foreign dignitaries could make an appearance I see no reason why the local army commander could not. He could at least send a senior officer to represent the division. After all, wasn’t this an occasion to honour military personnel?

The reason is obvious. It has to do with religious belief. Since the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, which led to the ouster of Shah Pahlavi and his decadent royal entourage by Ayatollah Khomeini, the country has been overwhelmed by religious fervour that is second to none. Today paying homage to a cenotaph is considered taboo as the action would, in the words of the learned clerics, cause one to lose faith in Islam or more succinctly, hilang akidah.

If I were to go strictly by this dictate I would have been a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Taoist many times over, as I had stood in reverence to an obelisk, not once but several times in my lifetime. In spite of all this my faith in my religion has never once fluttered.

Malay Muslims should be more circumspect about ceremonies to honour fallen heroes than to submit selflessly to fatwas which are man-made. I rest my case.

Thyroid Eye Disease

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

Eye Health

By Dr S.S. Gill

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

The Thyroid gland is an organ that is found in the front of the neck. Thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream as “chemical messengers” which are essential for managing the metabolism in our bodies. As with most organs in the body, when the thyroid gland functions well, it goes unnoticed but when it starts producing too much or too little hormones, it causes a lot of problems to the body. The eyes get affected when the gland becomes hyperactive. When this happens, it is termed as either Thyroid Eye Disease or Thyroid Orbitopathy, Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, Ophthalmic Graves’ Disease or Thyroid Ophthalmopathy.

Who Gets Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thankfully this is not a very common condition. In every 100,000 people, approximately 15 women and 3 men are affected by Thyroid Eye Disease. Most of the time it affects the middle age group. There is a genetic link, making those in some families to be more predisposed to suffering from Thyroid Eye Disease.

What Happens To The Eyes In Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid eye disease - S.S. GillIn Thyroid Eye Disease, the eye muscles and fat that surrounds the eyeball gets inflamed (swollen). The two eyeballs may or may not be affected equally, giving rise to the following symptoms in the eyes:

  • Eyes protrude or bulge out of its sockets – an appearance that the person is staring! Thyroid Eye disease is the most common cause of protruding eyes (proptosis).
  • More of the cornea (transparent part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (white of the eye) get exposed because the eyelids may not fully close over the eyes well enough (eyelid retraction).
  • The eyes may ache, with intermittent sharp pain when the cornea dries out especially   when the person is concentrating on something for long as in reading.
  • Some people get diplopia (double vision) because the eye muscles are unable to move properly due to the swelling of the eye muscles.
  • Blurring vision in some patients.

This may happen along with other features such as irritability or nervousness (mood disturbances), preference for cold environments, increased sweating, insomnia (sleeping difficulty), palpitations (a rapid heartbeat), tremor of the hands, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, unexplained fatigue or weakness of muscle, difficulty in conception and irregular menstruation.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a doctor suspects that you may be having Thyroid Eye Disease, the following tests are usually done:

  • Thyroid Function Test (blood test): This will measure hormone levels in your body which includes TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T4 which is the principal thyroid hormone and another thyroid hormone T3, plus Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin Test (TSI). The other blood test that may be done is the RAIU test             (Radioactive Iodine Uptake) – which helps to evaluate the Thyroid gland and to find out the cause of increased production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).
  • Thyroid Scan – to determine the shape and size of the thyroid gland and to pick up any thyroid nodules that may be benign or cancerous.
  • MRI Scan of the Orbits – to determine the amount of proptosis (bulging forward of eyes) and the amount of inflammation of the eye muscles within the eyeball sockets.

More on Thyroid Eye Disease prognosis and treatment in the next issue.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

SeeFoon goes from North to South in her Foodie quest

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Musings of Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

The one lament I have about being introduced to ‘Tai Chau’ (literally translated to mean ‘big fry’) restaurants is that the dishes in each are, as the Americans would put it…‘same old, same old’. Meaning that they all serve the same dishes and have similar items on their menus. The only variations are in the preparation styles and the skill of the ‘wok’ person in the kitchen and the flavours he/she coaxes out of the food. And that is what separates the wheat from the chafe. And what brings in the customers like myself and my foodie friends.

For eat we must and daily. And while our eager group will check out any small nook and corner with any new opening bringing one or two of our curious ones to check it out, on the whole, we end up returning to some perennial favourites or adopting some new ones that we discover. While some of these may have been operating for years, like Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant which is in the north of Ipoh close to Jelapang, serving folks from Silibin, First Garden and Taman Rishah, some others like Restoran Likarli are relatively new, catering to up-and-coming communities like the burgeoning one in Seri Botani in the south, close to the Simpang Pulai toll.

In this review, I shall cover both outlets in one go as the menu items are similar and I will highlight only those items that impressed me.

Restoran Likarli 1Restoran Likarli

This is a two-shoplot restaurant with well spaced out tables and one side fully air conditioned. The service is brisk and friendly and they are happy to make recommendations.

One of their specialties here that they recommend to everyone is their Mun Cheong chicken, a 90-day old (most market chickens are slaughtered at around 40-45 days) bird of the Wu So Kai or ‘whiskered’ chicken variety. This is steamed and served with a ginger/scallion paste. As the chicken has had sufficient time to grow, the meat is more hearty and voluptuous without descending into stringy toughness which some old birds are prone to do. At an average size of 3kg and above, the serving is huge and it’s advisable to request for half portions if the group is smaller.

Restoran Likarli 5

The homemade pumpkin tofu served with tung fun or bean thread noodles and garlic had a velvety texture and was scrumptious, as were the green peppers and black beans, the peppers still crisp on the bite with the black beans lending its smoky saltiness to the dish.Restoran Likarli 3

Venison Kway Teow or flat rice noodles was delicious, the venison well seasoned and tender, imbuing its gamey flavour to the bland white noodles and raising it to culinary heights. Similarly, the salted egg yolk added to the batter of the fried sotong or fresh squid, lifted this ubiquitous denizen of the depths to another  dimension.

Restoran Likarli 4

Restoran Lo Tian 1Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant

This is another one of my foodie friend, Ginla Chew’s peripatetic finds and considering that its so close to where I live I will be eternally grateful. Apparently, this is a coffee shop that has been open for quite some time specialising in river fish and white pomfret which is always available. As white pomfret is one of my favourite fish, I shall certainly consider making it my local ‘canteen’.

The night we went, we had the wild river fish head which came in a claypot and was absolutely mouth-watering fresh and certainly a dish I would recommend. Next came the soft shell crabs fried with salted egg yolk-crispy and umami morsels that just melt in the mouth.

Restoran Lo Tian 3

Restoran Lo Tian 4

The Dong Por Yoke or pork belly braised in dark soya sauce was wobblingly delectable albeit a tad too sweet for my palate. However, the next dish of Ikan Bilis Szechuan style made up for it with its sizzling spiciness tempered by the tofu cubes, long beans and onions.

The Salt Baked Kampung Chicken was average with the smokiness overpowering the subtle flavouring but the wonton noodles fried with chunks of roasted pork was tasty and excellent value at RM10. As was the Tom Yam Fried Rice. For a finishing touch we had fried Umeji mushrooms and pea pods or ‘mange tout’ embellished with crispy bits of dried sotong or squid. One dish that we didn’t get to try was their Hot Plate Har Gao or dumplings on a hot plate which I promised to return to sample on another day.

All in all, Lo Tian with its very friendly lady proprietor Choong Poh Foong, is one place I shall frequent.

Restoran Lo Tian 2

Restoran Likarli
44 Jalan Lapangan Siber 10, Bandar Cyber, 31350 Ipoh.
Tel:  016 529 0298
Business Hours:  noon-2.30pm; 5.30-10.30pm
GPS:  N 04° 32.528’ E 101° 06.543’

Restoran Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant
11, Jalan Raja Perempuan Mazwin, Taman Rishah, 30100 Ipoh.
Tel:  05 528 3575
Madam Choong:  012 556 6557
Business Hours:  5pm-midnight
Closed every fortnight Wednesdays
GPS:  N 04° 36.6’ E 101° 03.32’

Why would you eat in a dirty restaurant?

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Thinking Allowed

By Mariam Mokhtar

mariam mokhtarDo Malaysians really care about dirty restaurants or are they more interested in the taste of the food? We complain about dirty restaurants but some of us continue to patronise these places. Perhaps, Malaysians don’t care about hygiene as long as they can eat the food they are used to.

If you sit beside the smelly monsoon drain, which is blocked with rubbish, you don’t think about the drain and your proximity to it. You just want to be served quickly and savour the food.

The dirty rag which the waiter used to wipe a mess on the floor is then used to clean the table, and you think nothing of resting your hands and cutlery on the table. Very few of us request fresh cutlery, if the one we were given are encrusted with bits of hardened food. Others who find lipstick stains on the rim of the glass simply turn it around 180 degrees.

Diners who see a fly hovering over food, may find on closer scrutiny, that the fly has laid eggs – tiny clusters of pearly white lozenges, almost invisible to the naked eye. Have you ever wondered how many times the garnish adorning a dish has been used? You might wonder if the bread has been on parade in the bread basket.

I have seen rats scurrying up the curtain in a restaurant in Ipoh, but the patrons merely laughed at the “playful” rats, and carried on eating. Produce, like vegetables, is stored on the wet floor, next to the toilets but you shrug your shoulders and wait patiently for your meal. We have seen some hawker stalls in which dishwashing involves dunking dishes into a bowl of murky water, before being stacked up for re-use.

If the parts of a restaurant that you can see are dirty, what about the bits you cannot see? As a rough guide to the standards of hygiene, try and check the toilets. If the customer toilets are dirty, just imagine what the kitchens are like, where only members of staff are allowed.

Are government statistics available which tell us how many people fall ill through food poisoning every year, and in which establishments – school or staff canteens, stalls, restaurants or takeaways? How many people were admitted to hospital and how many died?

Out of all the cases of food poisoning, how many people actually file an official complaint? What was the outcome of the complaint? Is an apology sufficient? Should one be paid compensation as well? When does the Health Ministry get involved? Do the health inspectors ever perform surprise checks?

Does the Health Ministry inspect the premises following a complaint and verify that the restaurant kitchen is unhygienic, as was claimed? We know that bacteria are dangerous, but vindictive and spiteful people can spread rumours that are just as poisonous.

On 15 November, Ipohites were shocked to learn that their popular nasi kandar restaurant, Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, on Jalan Yang Kalsom, famed for its “Nasi Ganja” had its operating licence revoked by the Ipoh City Council.

According to Mayor Roshidi Hashim, the joint raid was “part of a scheduled raid” and the operator “had scored insufficient points” and had been ordered to close for 14 days, by the health authorities. The raid was done at 5pm on Thursday November 14 and the order to shut immediately was issued then.

The allegations which prompted the closure were stated on Facebook by a woman, who called herself Ze Aida. She blogged that a nasi kandar outlet had put faeces in the food.

On Friday November 15, an outraged manager of Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, Mohd Nihmathullah Syed Mustaffa, convened a press conference and denied the allegations of faeces in the food. His business has been operating since 1955 and he challenged the media and the woman who started the furore to provide evidence instead of making defamatory remarks.

By Saturday November 16, Ze Aida had retracted her allegation and issued a public apology. The authorities had also inspected the premises and had no objections to the store re-opening. On Monday, November 17, the restaurant was back in business to the delight of its customers, who said that they had not believed the allegations.

Why did Ze Aida start malicious rumours and begin three days of hell, for the ‘nasi ganja’ owner?

The manager, Mohd Nihmathullah should demand compensation from the authorities for acting in an unprofessional manner. Ze Aida’s allegation almost ruined his business and the livelihoods of the people he employs. The Health Ministry must learn to investigate allegations and not make knee-jerk reactions.

 

Closing of The Year of Faith

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Bishop Sebastian Francis closing the Year of Faith

Perak’s Deanery which is made up of twelve parishes in the state congregated on the grounds of OMPH Church Ipoh Garden to celebrate the Closing of the Year of Faith on Sunday November 24, the last Sunday of the catholic calendar before advent, the Christmas season.

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Priests (above) and Altar Servers from the various Parishes

Bishop Sebastian Francis con-celebrated the mass together with priests and 5000 parishioners from the twelve parishes. During the celebration 230 children received their first Holy Communion.

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The Closing of the Year of Faith which was celebrated globally was started on October 11, 2012. It is a call to Catholics to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

Bishop Francis in his homily announced that the year of faith for his diocese was a success as the number of catechumens being baptized had doubled compared to previous years.

faith 1a

Francis, read the message from the Pope which said that “upon entering the door of faith take the next step into The Light of Faith which is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” He added that the theme for 2014 is “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.

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The parishioners, consisting of Chinese, Indians, Orang  Asli and East Malaysians, made up the congregation and the mass was conducted in four languages. The offertory was led by the different ethnic groups who were dressed in their own cultural attire.

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Sign language

Interestingly, with all the different ethnic groups and languages, Bishop Francis added another language, sign language, when he led the congregation in prayer.

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The theme for 2014 “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.

JAG

Annual Coronation Gala Dinner

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Perak Turf Club

The annual Coronation Gala Dinner, one of the most glittering and glamorous functions organised by the Perak Turf Club (PTC) in conjunction with the Coronation Cup race meeting, was held at the Grand Ballroom of Syuen Hotel on Friday, November  22.

It was held in honour of HRH Sultan Azlan Shah,  on the occasion of the 28th anniversary celebration of his installation as the Sultan of Perak.

Some one thousand invited guests, from the diplomatic service, high court judges, heads of government departments, business entrepreneurs, and those from the racing fraternity,  such as officials, owners and jockeys from Malaysia and abroad attended the dinner.

Chairman of Perak Turf Club, Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam, in his speech, reminded guests of the Club’s tradition of donating for the betterment of the needy and the impoverished in Perak. “We’re quick to respond to national and world disasters and will donate generously as it’s part of our corporate social responsibility.”

Guests were entertained by a series of performances during the dinner. Wowing them were Malaysia’s very own Anita Mui who belted out popular Cantonese numbers from the 1980s, Bollywood talents Mast Millennium Dancers and top amateur Latin dance couple from Russia, Alexander Andreichev and Kristina Nikitorova, who kept the audience spell-bound.

Emily

Gas for Growth – An Urgent Call for Kinta Valley

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Cover Story

By James Gough

The availability of natural gas supply has been a hot topic in the Kinta Valley recently. The issue was raised twice in the past two months, the first in September at the FMM’ (Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers) dinner while the Malaysian International Chambers for Commerce and Industry (MICCI),  highlighted the same topic at its luncheon a month later. On both occasions, Dato’ Mohamed Zahir Abdul Khalid, State Exco for Investment, Industry and Corridor Development, represented MB Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir during which he described the natural gas supply issue as a “perennial topic” but reassured that the state government was committed to making the “project a reality”.

Natural gas

“Natural Gas Supply to Kinta valley will be my KPI” – Zahir

Gas for Growth 5
Dato’ Mohamed Zahir

Ipoh Echo met with Zahir a few weeks later to follow up on the subject. He intimated that the state government had already met the Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohammed and Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadziah. Both had agreed in principle to provide the “shortfall fund” of RM40.9 million.

His subsequent meeting with the Minister at the Economic Planning Units, Datuk Seri Wahid Omar revealed that EPU similarly supported the proposal and indicated that the state could use the federal government’s ‘facilitation fund’ to get the project started. However, no indicator was given when the fund would be released. Nevertheless, Zahir acknowledged that natural gas was a positive factor for the state. He would lobby for the funding and had now made this topic his personal ‘Key Performance Index’ (KPI).

History

Dato’ Gan Tak Kong
Dato’ Gan Tak Kong

According to FMM Perak Chairman, Dato’ Gan Tak Kong, of all the energy sources available, natural gas is the most cost-effective energy for industries. He added that although gas prices are reviewed every quarter, the switch to gas would provide savings to companies.

The request for natural gas was first made by Gan to the State Government and Gas Malaysia in 2004. The initial proposal envisioned a 150km pipeline stretching from Ayer Tawar to Chemor, estimated to cost RM160 million.  The proposal would have been realized in 2006 but due to the shortage of natural gas, Gas Malaysia Berhad was forced to shelve the project.

The scenario changed with the establishment of Petronas Receiving Terminals at Malacca and Pengerang, enabling natural gas to be imported and supplied to more industries throughout the country. Since 2012 , FMM together with the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) have held discussions with the Energy Commission and Gas Malaysia Berhad to make the Kinta Natural Distribution System a viable project.

Two Phases

The outcome of the discussion was to implement the project in two phases. Phase one of the pipeline will be from Ayer Tawar to Lahat, a distance of 85.822km costing RM102 million and benefiting 16 companies. The project duration is 24 months and a savings of RM40 million could be realized over a period of 3.5 years.

The capital contribution required for phase 1 is RM96 million which will be provided by Gas Malaysia Berhad and the industries. However, there is a shortfall of RM40.9 million from the contribution and this is where the government has been requested to assist.

The second phase of the project will continue from Lahat to Chemor where 35 customers have been identified.

Gas for Growth 4

Gas, Investors and Reinvestments

Should the supply of natural gas become a reality in Kinta Valley, potential investors will be attracted while existing industries will want to reinvest to expand their production lines.

Gan gave the example of Kamunting and Kamunting Raya Industrial Estate in Taiping where natural gas is available. Toyo Tyres has invested RM800 million while two glove manufacturers have pledged to invest RM1 billion to expand their existing production lines and possibly creating employment for 3000 local workers.

Similarly, in the Lahat area a multinational company has plans to reinvest RM50 million “if” natural gas is made available, while a glove manufacturer indicated it might want to revive its production operations.

Nihon Canpack Berhad provides services to canned-beverage drinks. Based in Bemban Industrial Estate, it has been requesting for natural gas since 2004. Its factory manager, En Rosdy Abdullah is full of support for natural gas supply providing multiple reasons of its benefit. “Converting the plant machinery to natural gas is a one-time cost factor which can be recovered in a short time,” he told Ipoh Echo. The factory started with 60 workers and one production line. It currently has two production lines and 200 workers. Rosdy forecasts that the savings derived from the conversion to gas will enable the factory to move into automation.

The reason for automation is due to the difficulty in getting labour. Skilled labour is difficult to get while unskilled labour, though available, is mobile and uncertain. The minimum wage while benefitting the worker does not correspond to improved productivity. Hence the introduction of natural gas provides industries more options to improve productivity, create a better working environment and hopefully, will attract workers.

And by extension, the Bemban Industrial Estate will attract more factories and create more job opportunities.

Revival of Industrial Estates

According to Gan, Perak has several industrial estates that are underutilised. He highlighted the Sri Iskandar High-Tech Park and the Pharmaceutical Park both at Sri Iskandar as well as the Ceramic Park at Chemor which was created around the availability of natural gas supply.

“These industrial parks are good for the state but they require gas to be cost competitive,” he reasoned.  “Investors are on the look-out for locations with cheap energy source. If they do come one can expect the Kinta Valley to grow and be vibrant,” he added.

Critical Mass and Catalyst

David Ho
David Ho

One individual who has experienced the benefits of switching to natural gas is David Ho, Managing Director of Hovid. Two years ago Ho converted to natural gas at his factory, Carotech at Kampong Acheh, Lumut and realized a savings of over 50 per cent from his energy bill.

Ho described gas as “a basic necessity and part of the infrastructure for the state. Manufacturers who use a lot of energy can have big savings and this is an attraction”. Speaking with much passion, Ho explained that providing gas will bring economic growth to the ‘corridor from Ayer Tawar to Chemor’.

Prolonged economic growth especially in the Kinta Valley will create a critical mass that will create jobs and employment and become a catalyst to attract Investors and workers to the state.  Every state needs a catalyst and the Kinta Valley can be to Perak what Klang Valley is to Selangor or Sri Iskandar to Johore.

“The growth of the Kinta valley will affect the whole of Perak. The longer we delay the introduction of gas, the more Ipoh will lose out from investment,” added Ho.

Natural gas - 2

Overwhelming Support for Gas Supply

All those interviewed had positive support for gas supply except possibly for glove manufacturer MAPA located at Meru Industrial Estate. Its General Manager Lim Kim Hock’s only lament was that he would have to wait for Phase 2 before he got his supply and he had been “kept waiting for many years”. A check with a spokesman from UPEN also indicated a positive response describing “if the gas supply is firm it would leapfrog industrial development in the state”.

The overwhelming positive response was not just for its cost savings. Rosdy Abdullah stated that natural gas was clean and green and would reduce his maintenance time. As for Ho, he elaborated that once the gas pipeline was completed, the next beneficiaries would be the consumers and identified the hotels and shopping malls that used a lot of air-conditioning.

It is becoming apparent that the implementation of natural gas is an option we cannot ignore any longer. Gas is certainly an attraction for industry to invest and expand in Ipoh which would create better job opportunities. This in turn would encourage our children to come home to work and play and in doing so create that critical mass needed as the catalyst for more growth.

That being the case, delaying the introduction of natural gas will not be to our advantage.

National Horse Show

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National Horse Show2 National Horse Show1

The National Horse Show (NHS) is in town again this month and will be held on the grounds of the Perak Turf Club Equestrian Centre at Jalan Kelab Golf, Ipoh adjacent to the Perak Turf Club from December 5 to 8.  +

The four-day NHS event of equestrian sports will feature sports and farrier (person who shoes horses) competitions, exhibitions, carriage and pony rides as well as various fun programmes and activities for children. A trade expo (with individual booths) and local hawker food fair will also be available.

The main activity throughout the four-day event will be the equestrian sports competitions. These include show jumping, dressage (where the horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements) and derby events such as the cross country where participants will lead their horse through an obstacle course which includes water features.

According to Perak Turf Club General Manager Soo Lai Kwok, equestrian sports is a recognized Olympic event. As such this NHS is a government-sponsored event funded by the Totalisator Board of Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance.

The annual National Horse Show is organised in turn by the Turf Clubs of Penang, Selangor and Perak to encourage young Malaysians to participate in equestrian sports.

It is the biggest equestrian event on the equestrian sports calendar and draws competitors from all over Malaysia and abroad. The Singapore Turf Club and Bukit Kiara Equestrian Resort are participants in this year’s event. A total of 200 participants including officials will be participating this year.

Besides the pony and carriage rides, one of the fun activities this year will be the Man vs Horse Race. It is a 100-metre dash with the man given a handicap of 30 metres in front of the horse. According to Soo, there will be athlete sprinters taking part and should be a hilarious spectacle.

Another interesting equestrian activity this year is the rides for the disabled. Special saddles and harnesses will allow the disabled to sit atop a big horse which will provide a sense of achievement and confidence and be one of the main highlights for them.

The event will start on Thursday December 5 with the competitions. The official opening will be on Friday 6 December at 9.30am. Being the school holidays the weekends are anticipated to be busy. Entrance to the show and parking is all free, hence Ipohites are encouraged to visit the activities.

JAG

Ridding Streets of Vagrants

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Ridding Streets of Vagrants

Ridding Streets of Vagrants Ridding Streets of VagrantsSome 43 drifters were rounded up during an operation to rid the streets of Ipoh of vagrants on the night of Wednesday, November 20. Of the number, ten were tested positive for drug abuse.

The operation was mounted by Ipoh City Council Enforcement Division and aided by personnel from the Ipoh Police District, Immigration Department, National Registration Department, National Anti-Drug Agency and the State Welfare Department. In all, over a hundred personnel were involved.

Leading the joint-team was Dato’ Rusnah Kassim, the Executive Councillor for Women’s Development, Family, Welfare and National Integration. They combed the streets, back lanes and areas of the city which are havens for vagrants, the destitute, homeless beggars and drug addicts.

The drifters are mostly found in and around the wet market where Super Kinta is. Here, activities of illegal parking attendants are rife. Their other favourite haunts are Jalan Dato Tahwil Azhar where the night market (Gerbang Malam) is located, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, Jalan Theatre and the Kinta Height flats.

Ridding Streets of Vagrants

“Some of them make as much as RM150 a day collecting illegal parking fees from motorists. It’s a form of extortion, as motorists who don’t pay up may have their cars scratched,” said Rusnah to reporters who were covering the operation.

Part of the state government’s rehabilitation programme is to relocate these destitutes so they do not become a public menace. “The homeless will be sent to welfare homes while the able bodied will be sent to Mersing, Johor for skill training,” Rusnah added.

The operation ended at around 1.30 the following morning. It will be continued from time to time depending on the need.

RM