Tag Archives: iSpeak

Need for a Second Hospital



By A. Jeyaraj


Considering the hardship Ipohites face to access Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh’s General Hospital, it is about time that a second hospital be built. Roads leading to and out of the hospital are virtually clogged up daily.

The tempo builds up and around mid-day, getting to the hospital is an exercise in futility. This is being exacerbated by inconsiderate motorists who park their cars by the sides of the main road. The situation becomes ugly on Fridays when Muslims flock to the nearby mosque for prayers. The hospital’s car park is simply too small to accommodate even the minimum number of vehicles.

Need for a second hospital

Space is definitely a problem and unless this is adequately addressed, there is little prospect of it being resolved.

Under the Tenth Malaysian Plan two new hospitals were built, one in Kampar and the other the upgrading of the Kerian District Hospital in Parit Buntar. These additions may help overcome problems in the state but not in Ipoh, per se.

Ipoh, with a population of over 670,000, needs another hospital to meet growing demands. The present hospital with its existing structure and facilities cannot cater for the city’s residents. It was okay during the colonial period, as conditions then were not as complicated as they are today.

Seeing is believing and all one needs to do is to take a ride along Jalan Hospital during noon hours to see the mayhem. It becomes more acute on Fridays when Muslims perform their obligatory Friday prayers.

The state government should consider the implication of a delay. The state may not have the funds to build another hospital on its own. But rather than waste money on unnecessary projects, it is prudent to build a second hospital for the benefit of Ipohites.

Expanding Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, as a stopgap measure, is impractical as space is a major constraint. Therefore, the reasons for a second general hospital are valid. Turning to the Federal Government for funding is one possible option the state government needs to consider seriously.

Retention Pond in Merdeka Garden – a Failed Design


A. JeyarajiSpeak

By A. Jeyaraj

When I first saw clean filtered water flowing through the holes in the retaining wall into the new retention pond in Merdeka Garden, I thought it was an ingenious design. However, a few days later when I visited the site after rain, I noticed that the water from the drain was overflowing the retaining wall and garbage flowed into the retention pond. The pond was littered with floating garbage. When I visited the place during the dry season recently, the water level in the drain was low and hardly flowing. The entrance to the filters was clogged with garbage. Since the site is fenced I was not able to take a closer look. The system seems to be a failure.

Water overflowing retaining wall

The Drainage & Irrigation Department (DID) has to look into the design because this is a mechanical system and needs frequent maintenance.

Silting is already taking place and weeds are growing at the far end of the pond which serves as a nesting ground for birds.

The grass inside the fenced area has been cut, but the garbage sticking to the sides of the pond has not been removed. Empty plastic bottles are lying around and the guardhouse is closed. In case of flooding must the residents call the guard?

Front of filter clogged with garbage

The contractor has not cleared the site. Interestingly, a creeper is growing on top of one of the lamp posts. (A bird must have dropped a seed and it has taken root.) The workers’ shed has not been dismantled and plenty of rubbish is lying around. There is a pond with stagnant water which is a good place for mosquitoes to breed.

Many healthy trees which were nesting places for birds were cut for this project. The trees should be replanted so that birds and reptiles can return to their habitat.

Constructing the retention pond to prevent flooding during the rainy season is good, but it must be maintained; if not it would become an eyesore.

Palong Tin Museum in State of Neglect


A. JeyarajiSpeak

The Palong Tin Museum in Kinta River Walk was opened about a year ago. It is one of the initiatives of the Morubina Group as part of their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) project. However, many residents in Ipoh are not aware of its existence.

The notice board on the door of the building states that the museum is open daily from 6pm to 11pm, entrance fee is RM2 for adults and show times are at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. When I went there at 8pm, the only person around was the Nepali security guard who said there is no entrance fee and there are no shows. They were supposed to show a video on ‘Operational Palong’. There were a few other visitors.


There are only a few exhibits inside the building, a tin ingot, samples of tin ore and other items. The main attraction is the large size aerial photograph of Old Town. There is a detailed write-up of the tin industry from the early 1800s to the present. During the official opening it was stated that there will be a guide to brief visitors on the history of tin mining, but there was no guide.

There is a spiral staircase to the basement and there are a couple of exhibits and a TV with three benches in front. The exit doors are closed and in case of emergency one cannot get out.

There are more exhibits outside the building; a half-century old palong is on display. Various other equipment and machinery used in the mining industry are on display. There are also huts with thatched roofs with machinery inside. The huts are not maintained and weeds and creepers are growing. There is no write-up about the exhibits and visitors do not know the function of the equipment.

A visit to the museum is supposed to be an educational outing, where visitors can learn about tin mining history in Kinta Valley. With no explanation or guide it does not serve its purpose. Lighting is not adequate and the place is dark at night when the museum is officially open.

Kong Cheok Loon, Admin Manager who is in charge of the museum agreed that the museum is not well known and attempts are being made to procure more exhibits. He said publicity is needed to promote the museum to local residents and outstation tourists.

The museum is supposed to be a tourist attraction; however opening hours may not be attractive for tour operators to bring tourists. During late evenings, tour operators would be taking tourists to night markets and food courts.

Morubina put up the museum with good intention, but they may not have the expertise to operate it. They must team up with the right people to run it. More exhibits and publicity is needed. Videos about the mining industry can be screened. The opening hours must be reviewed.

A. Jeyaraj

Bring Back Boating in Taman D R Seenivasagam


A. JeyarajiSpeak

By A. Jeyaraj

Back in the old days many parents brought their children to Taman D R Seenivasagam for recreation. Boating in the scenic fish pond was one of the main attractions and was popular with children and adults. When I looked at the photos on the internet which were taken in those days, I noticed that the place looked very clean and beautiful. However, I did not come across photos with the boats.

Recently, when I visited the pond I realised that it has been neglected for quite some time and is not being maintained. The boating activity disappeared some time back. The water is dirty and filled with garbage. The trees which have fallen into the pond have not been removed. The sides of the pond are not properly maintained. There is no grill in the drain flowing into the pond to stop the garbage entering into the pond.

Taman D R SeenivasagamThe plants and flowers grown at the sides of the bridges crossing the pond are not maintained. Wild plants and trees are growing. The abandoned boat landing is still there and is an eyesore. The dustbins are not emptied and are overflowing. More dustbins are needed at strategic locations. There is no proper walkway along the perimeter of the pond.

There are a number of fallen trees and garbage around the pond which has not been removed. The bamboo shoots growing along the edge are not trimmed. Silting has occurred in certain places.

Taman D R SeenivasagamWhen I was there, an old man was catching small fishes from the pond. If small fishes are caught, how is the fish population going to be maintained?

The place is still popular and I saw many parents bringing their children to see and feed the fishes with bread. The children enjoy the sight of voracious freshwater fish shoving each other for a tiny bite of bread.

What Ipohites expect is the pond to be restored to the condition it was in the good old days. If it could be done then, I do not see any reason why it cannot be maintained now with new technology and the additional manpower that MBI has. This popular tourist attraction and landmark of Ipoh must not be neglected.

The public are not expecting too much from MBI. They want Ipoh to be maintained as it was during the Seenivasagam era. Ipoh used to be the trendsetter for the country.


Residents against Playground Conversion


A. JeyarajBy A. Jeyaraj

A notice-board erected by the Prime Minister’s Department on an open piece of land along Jalan Manjoi in Merdeka Garden is causing some concern to the residents. The signboard which lists the project as “RPT Setinggan Taman Merdeka” means it is slated for resettlement of squatters and under the law, this should only occur in outlying areas, not within city limits and definitely not in a parcel of land reserved as an open space.

They fear that they would be deprived of their recreation ground, which has been regularly maintained by Ipoh City Council for years. According to the notice-board, the project is for the upgrading of drains and road, but there were no drains and road at the site. Recently, new drains and a road have been constructed across it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResidents Against Playground Conversion 02Suspecting that some buildings would be constructed on the site, the residents sought the help of the Perak Consumers’ Association (PCA) to get details of the development. PCA wrote to the Mayor, Menteri Besar, Prime Minister and Kinta Land Office seeking for details and also to stop the project, stressing that the open space in Taman Merdeka has been part of the housing estate since it was developed over 30 years ago.

In their attempts to get details of the project, the PCA and representatives of the residents were made to “run around.”  This reporter visited the Engineering Department of the Ipoh City Council with Mr Paul Raj from PCA and was told that the City Council is not involved. So we went to the Prime Minister’s Department in Ipoh and were told that the department was only doing financial administration and that the Land Office in Batu Gajah was the place to get details. At the Land Office we were told to see Encik Mohd Hariri bin Ahmad, Assistant District Officer in Ipoh.

We met Encik Hariri. He told us that he had not received the letter from PCA upon which a copy of the letter was personally handed to him on December 5 of last year. Since then there has been no reply from him.

A search at the Land Office shows that the land belongs to three individuals; which begs the question of why the Prime Minister’s Department is developing private properties and without the knowledge of the local council? Does this mean that other open spaces designated for parks like Taman DR Seenivasagam can also be developed?

If this is the case, soon more vacant land in housing estates in the city will be gone, including those gazetted as playing fields.

MBI Does Listen


By A. Jeyaraj

iSpeak - A. JeyarajiSpeak - A. JeyarajEver since the last massive flooding of Lim Garden, residents have been having sleepless nights fearing when the next flooding would occur because the cause(s) of the flooding has not been identified. Dato’ Haji Abdul Rahim, Secretary MBI agreed to meet the residents to discuss their problems. The meeting was attended by Dato’ Daniel Tay, councillor for Lim Garden and staff from relevant departments of MBI and a representative from DID.

The main concern was installation of a new pump at the retention pond. Initially MBI informed that the pump would be installed in July, but now it has been postponed to March next year. The rainy season has started and residents are worried that the single pump installed will not be able to drain the water. They requested that at least two pumps be installed.

During heavy rainfall the drains are full and the water overflows into the compound. The drains are not cleaned and overgrown with grass and prevent flow of water. Drains are also damaged. MBI informed that they are short of staff and cannot clean the drains every 21 days as mentioned by the Mayor in Issue 151 of Ipoh Echo. Drains are normally cleaned when complaints are received.

Residents voiced concern about dilapidated empty houses with their compounds overgrown with weeds. To their relief, the toe drain along the river bund was cleaned by MBI and DID workers and weeds in a few of the empty houses were cleared a few days after the meeting.

My opinion is that instead of only acting on residents’ complaints,  MBI/DID engineers must make their own studies and come up with solutions. During heavy rain engineers must visit the site and assess the flow of water.

The retention pond only handles about one third of the drainage system. The two pumps planned to be installed at Lorong Pari and Jalan Abdul Manap are outstanding. These are low-lying areas which have a separate drainage system and are prone to flooding after heavy rain.

What makes me wonder is that most of the issues raised are common to all housing estates. It was a good gesture of Dato’ Rahim to meet the residents, but if he is going to meet the residents in other housing estates; then when is he going to do his job?

Maybe, Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Exco for Local Councils should restructure MBI to enable it to function efficiently. Make it easier to hire and fire staff like private companies. It is no point having a bloated organisation if it cannot deliver.

Has Ipoh Lost its Ability to Learn?


Ipoh girlby Joanna Gough

Has anyone wondered why Ipoh is so Boring?

When I came home, I assumed that yeah, Ipoh has a Social Fabric. The type of social fabric built by an elite socialite society of doing things a certain way. That politeness and having people be comfortable around you opened all doors. That our conservative society is all about helping people and upholding moral values, being courteous, responsible, continuous, consistent – SOLID. And unless you’re exactly like that, and can socialise uberly well, Ipoh will be Boring.

But this Social Fabric is Old

It was like this in my grandmother’s time of the 1930s, also in my parents time of the 1960s, and now in my generation of the 21st Century. As the usual saying goes, IPOH: Nothing ever changes here.

It’s great that we focus our time on family, friends and the “littler things in life that matter” BUT we have been so preoccupied with our own socialising world of Family and Friends that we have made it the Most Important. It’s now So Important that we have built ourselves into an egocentric society.

Ego centrism is when one is overly pre-occupied with one’s own internal world. Egocentrics regard oneself and one’s own opinions or interests as most important or valid self relevant information (Windschiti, Rose, Stlkafleet & Smith 2005).

For most people, we have put ourselves into worlds where we generate the inability to fully understand or cope with facts and opinions beyond the fact that reality Can be different from what we are ready to accept.

This is where, for most of us, we have stopped thinking and being connected. And that is why Ipoh is Boring.

As the world moves forward, with the evolution of the Internet…. for IPOH : Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are the same throughout the year. If we’re lucky, our Saturdays are a little more exciting than our Sundays.

In organizations, we still have the hierarchical, my boss is right and has the right of say. Email is still not as important as face to face, no one has ever heard of the Productivity of Silent meetings being more productive than real live conferences and in these workplaces, democracy and listening and initiating employees’ ideas for a better working environment are still non existent.

The workplace, where we spend at least 20-30 years of our lives – should be the most connected. It should be where we experience the most wonderful times and the most intriguing moments of living and where we discover new ideas, and mature in skill and knowledge. This workplace  thus becomes a way of living, rather than just that place to go to, to make money.

As we all know, Ipoh is slow. Everything takes forever to get done. And this is always a human problem. There is no glitch in the system. There is never a glitch in the system, it’s always someone who has lost the connection and challenge to go on living.

Here’s a few HowTo’ tips to get you started:

Always believe that possibilities are at your fingertips. Google everything.

Get an idea, any idea that intrigues you. Do it…
(sorry, but there are no more original ideas anymore. Don’t worry about it not being original, just make it better than everything else).

Study the idea from similar cases around the world (Keep Googling, Google is a good teacher. Teaches you lots and lots from the world. STUDY!!! THINK!! LEARN!!!).

Innovate. The idea is just the idea – strategise the execution.

Connect with your community (find an interest group and hang out).

Pitch to your community leaders. (If you don’t know who they are? Email Ipoh Echo [today, not tomorrow] to get connected to people).

Grow. (Grab your boss – Bring your family and children along with you and learn together. Make them a part of your team.)

Never give up. (Challenges will pop up. But don’t fret; every time you get stuck, talk to someone emphathetic; or go back to number 6 and contact Ipoh Echo).

Figure out why communication levels in your company are so slow and inefficient.  Fix It. How to increase productivity levels with fewer people. Is there a better way to making that pasta dish in your restaurant? Why is Louis Vuitton so popular and the dress you just made is not known?

Figure out: Why is Ipoh so BORING?

You spend 8 to 10 hours a day working. For xxx days of the year, for 20 years of your life. Make something of work that is worth living for. Something that when you die, you’d be proud that you have lived the life you’re living now.

Joanna Gough is an Ipoh girl. She has ambitions to build the next generation of Thinkers. She plans to turn the city of Ipoh into a World of Possibilities’ by the year 2014.