Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 120

MBI’s Response to “Eyesores” In the City


All “decrepit and dilapidated” buildings throughout the city have been identified, especially those along Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah.

Ipoh city council’s director of corporate affairs, Hj Musa bin Dun, said this in a statement responding to a column “Eyesores in the City” published in the Ipoh Echo on April 16.

The status of these buildings is being classified under three categories: Bangunan Hampir Roboh (Near-dilapidated Building), Bangunan Telah Roboh Sebahagian (Partially-dilapidated building) and Bangunan Kerosakan Minor (Slightly-damaged Building).

“The Council will notify the owners to repair their properties and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to the public and passers-by.

Actions to fence-up the buildings and to remove weeds and plants that have taken root on the buildings will be taken by the Council. “They are aimed at ensuring public safety,” he added.

In his regular column, Jerry Francis had written that there are many condemned and dilapidated business premises which have become “eyesores” in the city centre. The city council appears to be helpless, except for putting flimsy partitions around such buildings. Others, though occupied, are seen with their roof tiles and wooden window frames hanging loosely and precariously, just waiting to fall. Wild plants are growing on the walls and roofs giving the impression of a dilapidated “hanging garden.”

“I dread the day that debris or parts of the buildings will fall and cause casualties among motorists and pedestrians,” he said.

MBI Requested To Review Traffic Flow


Residents in Taman Kaya and Taman Perak, which are  located at Ipoh Garden East, want the city council to review the traffic flow going in their respective neighborhoods: specifically into Persiaran Perajurit 5 and Persiaran Perajurit 3.

At a meeting organized by State Assemblyman for Canning Wong Kah Woh , they claimed that road improvement work completed under the flyover joining Jalan Belibis going into Jalan Perajurit earlier this year has caused much inconvenience to the residents there.

They complained of traffic jams at peak hours and delays turning into their respective Taman since not being able to turn into Persiaran Perajurit 3 due to the island erected there this year.

Residents’ representative Lee Chee Seng said 150 signatures have been obtained from the affected residents and would be forwarded to the Mayor.

Wong stated that he would meet with the Mayor for a review of the traffic flow. He is of the opinion that the PLUS underpass should be widened as it is the cause for the bottleneck and traffic congestion during peak hours. He gave the example of the widened under pass at Tambun Road before Tambun town. “Due to the growing property development eastward such as Bandar Baru Tambun, Sunway and also the Haven, expanding the underpass is a long-term solution which will benefit all residents,” said Wong.


Men Against Violence


Tranquil Kampung Baru Chenderong was bustling with activity during the Kampar District “Men Against Violence” road show recently. Jointly organised by Wanita UMNO and the Kampar Parliamentary Committee, the show saw the involvement of 13 non-governmental organisations such as the Perak Women for Women Society, Buddies and Majlis Kanser Nasional. The theme was “Stop, Restrain, Think” which was aimed at creating awareness among men about violence against women. It was also to educate women on their rights and protection. Students from SMK Dato’ Bendahara CM Yusuf, SMK Malim Nawar, SMK Sultan Yussuf, SMJK Yuk Kwan, SMK St Bernadette’s Convent and SMK Toh Indera Wangsa Ahmad were present as well.

“By supporting this cause, men can contribute to harmonious family living,” said the organising chairperson, Datin Norma Hanum. According to her, the programme is the first of its kind in Malaysia. It was launched by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir last year. Adun for Tualang Sekah, Nolee Ashilin, vouched for the establishment of a shelter home for battered women.

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, a prominent women’s rights advocate, was the guest of honour. In her opening remarks, she said that of the 3,600 abuse cases reported nationwide, 261 were from Perak. “Changes can happen if we change our perception. When violence against women is reduced, crime rate will automatically drop,” she remarked.



Slippery Entrance to Special Traffic Court


The entrance to the Special Traffic Court along Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab here is sloping upwards to the door. The slope is steep and the surface is of smooth cement, creating a slipping hazard.

Social worker, Hamid Lee Abdullah, said that he had seen a number of people; especially senior citizens slip and fall. During rainy days the situation becomes more dangerous. He had informed the court officials of the problem, but no action has been taken.

The surface of the entrance must be replaced with relatively smooth but slip resistant material to prevent people from slipping. The slope must be made gradual or construct steps to make it user friendly.

The authorities must not wait for a serious accident to happen before taking action.



SeeFoon Gets Souped Up


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

I don’t know how my friend Ginla Foo finds all these little tucked away eating places but find them she does. And naturally she’ll call me excitedly to give me the ‘low-down’.

So her recent discovery of a coffee shop specialising in home-made soups brought five of us to Kedai Makanan Wong Ngok Far in Jalan Theatre. It is tucked away behind the now extinct Yau Tet Shin market which has become a car park, next to a well-known hair salon Team Florence but the big sign emblazoned across the front is difficult to miss once you’re on Jalan Theatre (see pic).

Forty Years in the Business

The lone stall serving in this coffee shop is operated by the eponymous proprietor Ah Yee whose Ah Yee Restaurant has moved around and been around for many years (40 to be exact) and has fans in many places in Ipoh. Originally located near the famous Nga Choi Kai shops around Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Ah Yee has been in operation for two years in these relatively new premises for this renowned eatery. Six months ago, he opened a new outlet on Jalan Raja Musa Azis (Anderson Road) which operates in the evening, run by his son, although Ah Yee is always around to supervise.

Large Choice of Soups

All of Ah Yee’s soups are made fresh daily and in fact the day I was there (we were there by noon) some of them were not ready and we had to wait for about an hour for some of them to be tasted.

The Chicken Soup with herbs consisting of Dong Kwai (Angelica sinensis), Tong Sum (codonopsis pilosula), Ge Ji (Goji Berries), Wei San (Pyrrosia Leaf) and red dates was well-rounded, clear (Tsing – as in the way Chinese judge their soups) and the Dong Kwai not too overbearing which it can be when the chef is heavy-handed – RM8.

The next soup may not be everyone’s cup of tea or soup but certainly one of my favourites; the Pig’s Stomach Soup, with another mixture of herbs and the addition of pork slices was scrumptious, the stomach having been simmered till tender – RM10.

Post Partum Favourite

We next had that favourite of post partum Chinese mothers, the Braised Pork Knuckle in black vinegar, tender morsels of knuckle braised to the right degree of doneness and unlike a lot of other places, not too sweet nor too sour – RM8. Following on this came the Tung Gu Mun Gai Geok (braised mushrooms with chicken feet), the chicken feet tender and redolent with the fragrance of the dried shitake mushrooms – RM8; and the Ham Yu Mun Tao Foo (bean curd braised with salted fish) the salted fish imparting their characteristic pungency to the bland tofu – RM5.

By this time, the Mutton Soup was ready to be savoured having spent sufficient time on the burner and we tucked into succulent chunks of mutton ribs in a rich thick broth flavoured with hints of star anise and cinnamon RM10.

For vegetables (all Chinese meals must be accompanied by the de rigueur greens), we settled for the bitter melon sautéed with roast pork. This was robustly tasty, the bitter melon at the right consistency and the roast pork with black beans lending the touch of richness to mask any after taste of bitterness in the melon – RM12. Not satisfied with one green, we then ordered a plate of Fried Kangkong (convolvulus) with belacan – RM6.

Our meal for 5 persons came to a total of RM70.

Ah Yee Restaurant

81 Jalan Theatre
11.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
H/P: 016-5607072

40 Jalan Anderson
5.30-9.00 p.m.

Should We Be Ashamed Of This Garden?


How can Ipoh City Council live up to its slogan “Bersih, Hijau Dan Membangun” (Clean, Green and Developing) when it cannot even keep up with the maintenance of a once beautiful garden in the city centre?

Upas tree

Described as a mini Taj Mahal, the garden – Medan Stesen surrounded by some of the city’s most famous iconic heritage buildings – Moorish architectural Railway Station, Colonial-style Town Hall and High Court buildings, has been the focal point for locals and visitors. It offers a postcard view of the city.

It is also smack in the path of those arriving by train, which has increased its trips between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh daily since the introduction of the electric train service. Just take a look at it. Is the city council doing enough to maintain the garden? I am ashamed as a resident to point this out, but it is necessary before the garden deteriorates further. What used to be appealing is now appalling.

The only Pokok “Upas” (Antiaris toxicarial), from which the city got its name, is in the centre of the garden. It was planted by the Rotary Club of Ipoh in January, 1980, and has grown into a healthy matured tree. A marble plaque under the tree, which contains some information about the tree, has lain smashed into pieces on the ground for months. Yet, no attempt has been made by city council to replace it. Only the plaque laid by the Rotary Club to commemorate the planting of the tree is still intact, but the words are fading.

The non-functioning fountain collects water and litter

The beautiful fountain with water spouting high and lit at night, stopped functioning years ago. All its magnificence has also faded. Some mosaic on the fountain walls and tiles around too, are breaking up. The rusted piping system of the fountain is exposed with a pool of water and litter inside. It appears to be an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes in which case, to whom is city council going to issue the summons?

The fountain is like an unwanted child. It is being left to whatever fate the city council may decide for it later. At one end of the fountain, the war memorial which commemorates Perak’s war dead of the First and Second World Wars, has been vandalised. The inter-crossing footpaths and rows of shrubs and trees are poorly maintained. Litter bins are toppled and litter often swept under the plants, which are not properly trimmed. Racks, brooms and dustpans are also left under the shrubs. For now it has to endure an existence in disgrace under the excruciating gaze of the hundreds of people crossing over to the railway station or strolling about in the garden.

Smashed marble plaque under the tree

The garden is the first place that visitors to this “city that tin built” will see on their arrival by train. This is also the first image they will record with their cameras. It is also the starting point of the “Heritage Trail”. Therefore, it is important that the city council maintain a good “first impression” of the city.

Perhaps the majority of the city residents are paying very little attention to the garden nowadays. After all it is no longer attractive. But what will the tourists say when they decide to take a peep into the fountain. Needless to say, I will be ashamed.


The Fireflies of Kg Dew


Mother Nature is kind to Perak and has blessed her with many natural phenomena which some have taken for granted. One such occurrence is fireflies that are found in abundance in mangrove swamps along the coast of the state.

Kampong Dew, located to the west of Kamunting along the old trunk road, is essentially a fishing village which is also noted for its once thriving charcoal industry. Charcoal kilns are still found in the area but not as many as it was in the 1960s. Most of the charcoal produced here are for export, especially to Japan, where demand for this low-tech energy source prevails.

One other product closely associated with Kg Dew is freshwater lobsters. They thrive in the tepid waters of Sungei Sepetang, a major waterway running past the village. The crustaceans have long been an important source of income for the villagers.

The other product which has yet to evolve into a viable money spinner is eco-tourism. And the thing that will spearhead this economic activity is an insect that lives in the mangrove swamps.

Firefly or Lampyridae is a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged beetles and are commonly called fireflies for their conspicuous use of bioluminescence in their abdomens to attract mates or prey.

There are 2,000 species of firefly found in temperate and tropical environments. Many are in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where food is in abundance.

The Kg Dew fireflies are found on a species of mangrove tree called pokok berembang or Sonneratia Caseoraris, which is indigenous to the mangrove swamps of the tropics.

Getting to these firefly colonies is half the fun, as the traveller has to overcome a number of obstacles; the most exhilarating being the wobbling boat ride from Kampong Dew jetty. It takes about 15 minutes, in failing light and under the guidance of a seasoned boatman, to access the spot. The other half of the fun is on reaching the firefly colonies and seeing the insects glowing in the dark on the berembang trees. The flashing glow is the reason why the insects are known as kelip-kelip in the Malay language.

Tropical fireflies routinely synchronise their flashes when in large groups. The cause of this behaviour is linked to the insects’ diet, social interaction and altitude. Fireflies can live up to 30 days without food. The male fly dies after mating while the female dies after laying its eggs.

Realising the tourism potential these insects have to offer, some very enterprising individuals in the village formed the Kelab Chaya Alam Perak. Its objective is to promote the Kampong Dew fireflies to tourists as part of an eco-tourism package. However, facilities are still lacking and drawing tourists to the area may be problematic, considering the many shortcomings.

Dato’ Hamidah Osman, the executive councillor for tourism, dropped by the village recently to see the extent of the problem. She acknowledged that the club requires assistance and pledged RM50, 000 to upgrade facilities such as a covered walkway to the jetty, a waiting area, signage and a sturdier jetty.

Hamidah implored on the villagers to maintain the integrity of the area. “Destroying the insects’ natural habitats will drive them away,” she told members of the club. “The berembang trees are essential for the insects’ survival,’ she stressed.

Norshamshida Abdul Rahman, Director of Tourism Malaysia Perak, who was in the entourage, echoed Hamidah’s sentiments emphasising on the need for conservation. She assured the club that her office would initiate actions to promote Kg Dew in the run-up to Visit Perak Year 2012.

Besides fireflies, visitors can also fish for lobsters, see how charcoal is made and trek the jungles of Gunong Semanggol nearby. These are some of the activities that can be packaged for nature-loving tourists, local and foreign.

Readers keen on knowing more about Kampong Dew can call Khairul Salleh Ahmad on his mobile 012-5145023. They can also access his blog: http://fireflyzone.blogspot.com for details.


New Market for Buntong


The 50-year-old market in Buntong is to be relocated nearby. Two sites have been identified; one at the Hindu temple opposite the Police station along Jalan Sungai Pari and the other on land adjacent to Spooner Road.

The Ministry of Local Housing has allocated RM6 million for the project and if the market is built at the site of the temple, another RM500,000 would be required to relocate the temple.

The consultant is working on the plans and construction would commence next year. All the traders in the present market would be allocated a stall in the new market.

A random survey of the traders revealed that except for a few traders, the majority of them are not aware that a new market is to be built. They were not informed by city council of the plan.

The traders are not willing to move and the main reasons given are that they have been doing business in the present market for a long time and if they move, would lose regular customers. They want the existing market to be renovated.

The present market is in an ideal location. Traders are also not happy with a multi-storey building which is not popular with the shoppers.

Ah Fook who is running a drinks stall said that most of his customers are senior citizens who live nearby and the market is their meeting place. They would be reluctant to go elsewhere. All the chicken sellers are not in favour of moving.

N. Kalyani, a vegetable seller said that city council had informed her of the new market. She is happy to move after being in one place for so long.

The city council needs to hold a public hearing with the traders, NGOs and the public on the new market and explain the reason for the relocation. The suggestions proposed during the meeting which are relevant, must be incorporated into the new building.

The market is for the people and it must satisfy their needs. The traders know what is best for them and their input is important.

Last, but not least the location of the market must not cause traffic jams along Jalan Sungai Pari.



To Be or Not to Be . . . Glasses Free!! Lee Eye Centre Leads the Way

The Wavelight Refractive Suite

The Wavelight Refractive Suite from Alcon Laboratories Sdn Bhd is the first in Asia and the latest addition to Lee Eye Centre’s (LEC) collection of state of the art equipment. It is the only laser in the market which is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of USA for treatment of nearsightedness up to 1400 degrees, farsightedness up to 600 degrees and astigmatism up to 600 degrees thereby giving it the widest range of treatment.

Corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses are wonderful optical aids which some of us have come to be very dependent on. Myopia (near-sightedness) is increasing in prevalence and ongoing research into this “epidemic” has shown that the urban population, particularly of Chinese ethnicity, is more prone to developing myopia and this is occurring at a younger and younger age. Consequently, more and more children (and adults) are dependent on these corrective lenses for good vision.

However, this “crutch” that are the corrective lenses, has its drawbacks and nowadays, the option of laser vision correction is becoming more appealing as the technology improves by leaps and bounds to make the procedure extremely safe, fast and virtually painless.

Laser Vision Correction

There have been so many uses for laser in eye care but most people nowadays would associate laser treatment for the correction of near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. Surgery for the correction of these refractive errors is called refractive surgery and laser is the most commonly used method.


This stands for Laser-assisted In situ Keratomileusis which for the layman is the use of an excimer laser to re-shape the cornea. This change in shape of the cornea will focus the light rays entering the eye sharply onto the retina. Patients who have had LASIK will get to enjoy good vision without their glasses or contact lenses.

How does LASIK work?

Figure 1. A hinged flap is created and lifted up for the excimer laser to reshape the cornea

LASIK is an outpatient procedure that is fast, painless and very safe. An ultra-thin flap is first created on the corneal surface; this flap is partially lifted off to allow a highly specialised laser to reshape the cornea; the flap is then replaced and serves as a type of natural “bandage” (Figure 1).

Traditionally, this flap is created with an instrument called a microkeratome, which is essentially a metal blade used to cut the corneal surface. Technology has improved now and a special laser called the femtosecond laser is used to create this flap. This is even more precise and allows for even safer surgery and this “all laser” or “bladeless” LASIK is fast becoming the new standard of care for laser vision correction.

The Wave Light Refractive Suite was designed by Germans to integrate the 2 lasers not only with one another, but also with the pre-surgery machines which are used to assess the patients. This gives the advantage that all the treatment data recorded by the machines used to assess the patients, can be transferred by the click of a button to the lasers. This is called WaveNet and will reduce the chance of human error where the data has to be entered manually. All these features of the Wavelight Refractive Suite allow the surgeon to provide consistently excellent refractive and visual quality outcomes with an unparalleled level of safety when performing laser vision correction.

Who is suitable for LASIK?

It is important to remember that LASIK will only help to reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses; it is NOT A CURE for refractive errors. Not everyone is suitable to have LASIK and a very complete and thorough examination of the eye is necessary to assess each potential candidate.

Are there side effects?

LASIK is very safe but nevertheless still a surgical procedure and therefore, should not be trivialized.  Infection and inflammation is possible after any surgery and LASIK is no different but it happens very rarely. Serious complications are extremely rare and so far, there have been no reported cases of blindness from LASIK.

The Wavelight Refractive Suite being the first in Asia,  and FDA approved, will see eye care being elevated to world standards and Ipoh given prominence as a centre for superlative eye care.

The FDA is a regulatory body which controls the use of drugs and medical equipment in USA and they are world recognized as the “gold standard” because they have very stringent criteria of assessment before a new drug or machine is approved for treatment.

Lee Eye Centre Sdn Bhd
Main Office:  44-46 Persiaran Greenhill, 30450 Ipoh, Perak.  Tel: 05-2540095/2544951 Fax: 05-2540273
Branch Office:  30 Taman Setia, Jalan Raja Omar, 32000 Sitiawan, Perak.   Tel. /Fax: 05-6925155.
Website: http://www.lec.com.my