Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 121

Obituary: 5 Pre-War Shophouses



Ipoh Echo has learnt with great sadness that these 5 pre-war shophouses Nos. 8/10/12/14/16 corner Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil and Jalan Lau Ek Ching are currently being demolished. The MBI Building Department advised that the owner HAS been granted demolition consent.

We shall mourn their passing as will our children, their children and all of posterity in Ipoh.

More For Children in Playground


MBI has installed additional equipment in the children’s playground in Merdeka Garden. Previously the field was rather empty but with the new equipment in the centre, it now looks colourful and inviting.

The new facilities should now bring children out from the confines of their homes, and provide an opportunity for the children and parents to make new friends. However, it may be advisable for  the Residents Committee to take the initiative of educating the people not to damage public property and for adults to leave the play facilities to children only.

A. Jeyaraj

Gotong-Royong With Mayor


Mayor Dato’ Rushidi Hashim participated in a gotong royong programme held at Taman Ampang, Ipoh recently. Over a hundred participants, comprising residents of Taman Ampang and staff of city council were involved in the clean-up operation around the housing estate.

The mayor was visibly pleased with the turnout. “The residents’ response is most encouraging,” he said.

Similar programmes will be held in other parts of the city in line with the council’s mission of keeping Ipoh clean, green and developed.



The Fireflies of Kg Dew


Thank you for a very good article and publicity about the Kg Dew firefly watching site.

Just a few facts that need to be clarified for the benefit of the readers:

“Tropical fireflies routinely synchronise…”
Well, the congregating fireflies in this region either synchronise their flashing or not depending on the species.

“The cause of this behaviour is linked to diet, social interaction and altitude…”
The congregation of this particular species of firefly, i.e., the Pteroptyx tener in this case (similar to the Sg Selangor firefly) is the mating behaviour of the male adult fireflies gathering together and synchronising their flashing to call for the adult female fireflies. It has nothing to do with their diet or altitude. Social interaction…mating that’s all.

“…some enterprising individuals in the village formed the Kelab Chaya Alam Perak…”
Kelip-Kelip Cahaya Alam Perak or KECAP was formed in February 2011 with the guidance of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) in a firefly ‘ecotourism-involving-local-community-project’.

“Its objective is to promote the Kg Dew fireflies…”
Not only that… KECAP also promotes the conservation and awareness of the fireflies and its mangrove habitat.

Sonny Wong
Project Coordinator
Malaysian Nature Society

Alfred’s Wesak Day


On Wesak day, while Buddhist devotees throng temples at dawn to meditate and provide offerings of charity to the needy and celebrate the birth , enlightenment and achievement of Nirvana by Lord Buddha, Alfred Perera and his band of volunteers are preparing lunch to feed over a thousand mouths as his way of “giving something back to the community”

Alfred is a Buddhist devotee who operates the Singhalese Bar at Old Town and this year is his 27th year providing free Wesak Day vegetarian lunch to all, irrespective of race or religion.

Lunch, consisting of rice and vegetables with thairu, payasam and a cup of ice cream, is regularly served at 1.00 p.m. after Alfred has said his prayers.

For Alfred, feeding a community is more “meaningful on a holy day” such as this.


Action Unwarranted Says Mayor


The action of a group of people, claiming to be residents of Kampong DBI, who brought a live 10-foot python to the State Secretariat Building on Thursday, May 19 was unwarranted, said Mayor Roshidi Hashim in a media statement released on Friday, May 20. The incident had gained much publicity in the local dallies.

“Foremost, there is no such Kampong DBI in existence. These so-called residents are squatting on a piece of land belonging to city council at Jalan Spooner in Buntong,” said Roshidi.

The claimants, according to the statement, have been squatting illegally on the council’s land since the 1970s and have refused to move out. MBI had offered in the 90s, low-cost houses worth RM12, 000 each in Taman Perpaduan, Tambun but the offer was rejected.

Their refusal to move out of the 38-acre site has derailed the council’s plans to develop the land. Being rarely maintained, the area is overgrown with thick undergrowth and has become a breeding ground for snakes and other creepy crawlies.

The residents’ objective in bringing the slithery reptile to the State Secretariat Building was to highlight the authorities’ indifference towards their well-being to the Menteri Besar. Their request for land titles had been ignored by the state government. Conditions in their settlement have gone from bad to worse.

“Out of humanitarian consideration, city council will initiate action to clean up the area” said Roshidi. The mayor bemoaned the squatters’ reaction to council workers who came to clean up the area in the past. “They’ve misconstrued the workers’ presence as an attempt to destroy their dwellings and to forcibly remove them.” They erected barriers to stop council staff from entering.

One long-term measure considered to overcome the problem is the building of low-cost houses. These houses will be offered to the squatters on a rent or a rent-and-purchase basis. Those who could not afford to rent or buy the houses will be given alternative accommodation in council flats within the city.

“I hope they’ll cooperate so the problem could be resolved amicably,” Roshidi added.

The squatters had demonstrated in front of the State Secretary Building during the opening session of the state assembly on April 12. Police had arrested a number of activists including members of a political party.



Running For Charity


Nearly 800 people were in Ipoh Padang recently to partake in the 2nd Ekiden Charity Run. Jointly organised by Ipoh City Council and the Ipoh Rotary Club, it was held in conjunction with Ipoh City Day.

The 4x4km race attracted Rotarians from Australia as well as three Japanese students who are studying at local universities. Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim and Japanese Honorary Consul General to Malaysia, Tomoko Takahashi were present. The aim of the run was to raise funds for the Rotarians’ charity programmes.

Jaimunah and her aerobic team put up a vigorous physical display before Roshidi flagged off the runners. Brooks Running Club Ipoh comprising Viswaram, Thineswaran, Kugan and Risitharan clinched first spot while two of their teams were among the top five. Panthus Club’s John Herbert and Kelab Roadrunners Ipoh’s Cheah Chang Fah teams claimed second and third placing, respectively.

Six-year-old R. Thiviyashini and a team of 9-year-old boys from Salvation Army were among the youngest competitors. Prizes were also given to the best dressed teams.

The mayor was pleased with the response. The council will make it an annual event.



National Track and Field Championship Ends


Perak ended the the 53rd Malaysian School Sports Council (MSSM) Track and Field Championships on May 24 in third place with  a medal tally of 9 gold, 10 silver and 16 bronze for a total of 35 medals.

The winner was Sarawak with 21 gold, 7 silver and 15 bronze. The runnerup was Sabah with 9 gold, 12 silver and 11 bronze.

The championship which took place at Stadium Perak from May 20-24 saw over 2,000 participants from 15 states which included the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.

A total of 90 events were contested which had been divided accordingly by male and female categories for ages under 18, 15 and 12 years.

Perak which had targeted for 26 gold only managed 9 gold medals. However, Perak State Education Director Dato’ Mohd Rauhi bin Mohd Isa “was satisfied” with the score explaining that “we always aim high but our total medal tally of 35 meant that we won at 35 of the 90 events. This is only the beginning.”

Perak’s darling of the event undoubtedly was athlete Nor Hazwani binti Abdul Harris who was voted the best female athlete award for the Championship. She bagged 2 gold medals, the 200 metre event and the 80 metre hurdles where she set a new record time of 12.87 seconds.

Nor Hazwani,11, studies at SK Tg Piandang Kerian. This is her second time participating in the championship, the first was at MSSM Johor 2010. Her ambition is to join the Police force.

The best male athlete went to Kedah’s Ku Amir Syazwan bin Ku Sharif for his record-breaking run in the 400-metre sprint.

The championship was officially closed by Deputy Education Minister Datuk IR Wee Ka Siong who likened the championship to being a “factory” for producing athletes and noted that 7 new records had been achieved during the 5-day event.

The venue for the next MSSM Championship will be held in Perlis next year.



Kampung DBI: High Expectations and Empty Promises


By Mariam Mokhtar

On April 13, several residents of Kampung DBI Buntong held a protest in Ipoh. They were protesting because they had not received titles to their land despite promises, by successive Menteri Besars.

Those arrested also included activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and the Human Rights Party (HRP).

According to Ipoh police chief Azisman Alias, the gathering was an “illegal assembly” under Section 27 of the Police Act. Amongst those arrested was HRP’s Perak chief A. Ramesh, who alleged that he had been manhandled and beaten by the cops and the Sungai Siput MP Dr D. Jeyakumar.

The residents’ disquiet has been festering for several decades.

R. Mohana Rani of PSM said that families in Kampung DBI had lived on what had been known as the Ipoh Municipal Council (IMC) land for the past 40 years, and that three generations of these residents had given their services to the council.

Representatives of the squatters had apparently sent countless memoranda and letters to the MB, but had received no acknowledgement.

The squatters, who once worked for the Ipoh City Council say that they had built their houses near the government quarters in Kampung DBI and that three MBs had promised to solve their longstanding housing problems.

Rani claimed that for the past 14 years, Ramli Ngah Talib and Tajol Rosli had promised them alternative housing, in the form of either a parcel of land or a terraced house.

The squatters also claimed that in 2009, the MIC state chief gave a similar pledge, which remains unfulfilled.

The squatters claim that in 2009, MB Zambry Abdul Kadir promised to give land titles to Perak squatters provided they had occupied government land for over 10 years. Zambry’s decision meant that squatters would only need to pay the quit rent.

Six weeks after the protest, in April, outside the Perak legislative assembly, the squatters returned to the MB’s office where they tried to deliver a memorandum to detail the villagers’ plight.

This time they came with a 10-foot python which had been captured outside a squatter’s home, as evidence that snakes had been invading their compounds because of a nearby development.

The residents claimed that the snakes had given them sleepless nights, and they had feared for their safety. Some residents said that one person had died after being bitten by a snake.

Perhaps the villagers are too naive in expecting politicians to fulfil their election pledges. Forty years ago, and possibly as recently as fourteen years ago, the grandparent or parents of the current batch of squatters occupied land that was probably considered worthless.

Today, their homes are probably sitting on prime land and it is understandable that the authorities would be reluctant to give the squatters ownership of this land.

According to one squatter, the workers were housed in cramped quarters along Jalan Sungai Pari in Buntong. After these workers retired they were given permission from the IMC (what is now the Ipoh City Council (DBI)) to build their houses beside the labour lines.

In 1997, their homes were about to be demolished by the DBI. The demolition was stopped by lawyer, G. Balasundram, who obtained an injunction from the Ipoh High Court. Balasundram was murdered, last year.

It is a sad fact of life in Malaysia that, time after time, politicians make pre-election promises that they have no intention of keeping.

The squatters are probably of limited education and means. What are they to do? When their local state representative, or the MB, makes them a promise, they have no reason to disbelieve him.

Perhaps, the squatters are experiencing the symptoms of a much wider problem.

We are informed that successive MBs have told these squatters that their housing problems would be resolved. Perhaps, now is the time to fulfil that pledge and if the land in Kampung DBI cannot be given to the squatters for one reason or another, a plot in another location and monetary compensation for their houses, could be given instead.

After all, Perak senior executive counsellor Hamidah Othman has said that the state government wanted Perak to be rid of squatters by 2012.