Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 124

Manjung Trains Perak’s Boys’ Brigade


Manjung played host to Perak’s first joint Boys’ Brigade Basic and Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Training School. Unlike previous years where members were sent to Penang for training, more than 100 members and officers from Ipoh, Manjung, Teluk Intan and even as far as Kulai, Johor gathered at the Ayer Tawar Chinese Methodist Church for the course recently. Over a period of three days, the participants underwent gruelling training activities to equip them with good leadership skills and guide them spiritually as well. Chong Chi Wei, 16, from Ipoh said of the tough nature of the camp, “I knew that this was not going to be easy when we were greeted with a ‘welcoming gift’ of 40 push-ups for being late.” Other than drill, they attended classes on topics such as communication, planning, and presentation. At the end of the camp, all opined that they had gained invaluable experience and were proud to have completed the training. Perak State Commissioner, Tan Wee Tion, was present at the opening ceremony.


YBU Gets New CEO


The Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU), Khairul Azwan Haron (pic left) handed over duties to Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar (pic right) effective July 4. The handing over ceremony was conducted at the foundation’s Greentown Square office and was witnessed by Dato’ Saarani Mohamad, Chairman of YBU.

The appointment of Dato’ Zainal Abidin, according to Dato’ Saarani, was based on recommendations made by the foundation’s board of trustees. “Zainal has the experience and the capacity to helm the foundation,” said Saarani in his opening remarks. He hoped that staff of YBU would give him the same support like what they had given to Khairul.  “There is bound to be differences in the style of leadership of the new CEO as this is only to be expected,” said the Chairman. “There won’t be any major changes as the mission and objectives of YBU remain the same. The achievement of these goals is our primary concern,” he added.

Khairul urged his former staff to continue with their responsibilities of helping the poor, the needy and the marginalised in tandem with the foundation’s mission statement. He dismissed speculations that his untimely departure was attributable to some internal conflicts, imagined or otherwise. “I’ve no bone to pick with the MB or members of the board of directors,” he stressed. “I am leaving so I can concentrate my time and energy on politics.” Khairul, incidentally, is the Perak UMNO Youth cum Perak BN Youth chief. With the next general election drawing close, his political responsibilities take centre stage. “However, I am still a trustee of the foundation and will play my role, as required,” he added.

The new CEO made his intentions clear. “I’ll continue propagating YBU’s mission and objectives making them achievable in the long-term,” he said. In pursuing these definitive goals he is mindful of the Key Performance Index set in place by his bosses.

Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar was formerly the State Development Director. He is married to Datin Hajjah Nor Ainon Baharuddin. The couple has ten children.

The gathering then witnessed the unveiling of a coffee table book detailing the origin and growth of YBU to what it is today.


East Meets East


History was made at the Gurduwara Sahib, Sitiawan recently when an Australian guy took a lady from a well-known Sikh family in Sitiawan as his lawful wedded wife. Kawaljit Kaur Sandhu, 32, daughter of Dr. Manjit Singh  met Hayden W. Clark, 37, in Kota Kinabalu in 2006 when she was working with a power plant there.

Hayden works with a company dealing in industrial chemicals. His Kuala Lumpur-based company has branches in Sabah and Australia.  Kawaljit Kaur is currently employed as a project manager in Kuala Lumpur.

“We had enough time to understand each other. It’s only lately that we decided to get married. Hayden had embraced Sikhism and underwent the wedding ceremony according to Sikh customs,” said the bride when met.

The couple got engaged in March this year after Hayden was converted at the same Sitiawan temple. He took the name, Inderraj Singh.

Inderraj Singh enjoyed every moment of the wedding ceremony and was so taken aback to see Kawaljit in her traditional wedding dress. “She looked gorgeous. I am lucky to to have her as my wife,” he exclaimed.

Hayden’s parents, Mr and Mrs George Clark from Australia and the bride’s relatives from India, Singapore and Australia were present to bless the newly-married couple.


Khairul Resigns


Khairul Azwan Haron resigned as Perak football team manager effective July 5 citing the poor showing of the state team in the Super League as his reason for doing so. “One must be responsible for the team’s failure,” he said in a statement released to the press. “I am happy that Perak is placed sixth in the current standing. However, it’s a little off the mark I’ve set for myself.”

Khairul handed over his managerial responsibilities to Assistant Manager, Ahmad Shahrul Azhar. “I believe Ahmad can bring the team to the level expected. He’s capable of preparing the team for the coming Malaysia Cup tournament,” he added.

Khairul is also the Perak Football Association’s honorary treasurer. “Although I am no longer involved in managing the team, I am still responsible for its finances. Therefore, I still have a role to play in the team’s development and the development of football in Perak,” he remarked.


CIMB Community Link Gives Hope To The Disabled


In an effort to improve the livelihood of disabled children, CIMB Bank, under the Community Link Programme funded by CIMB Foundation, handed over a grant of RM49,771 to Ray of Hope charity home here recently.

The grant will be used to assist the Home’s Sheltered Workshop Café Programme, to purchase electrical items, and furnish the kitchen with utensils that will help mass produce cookies and other food items to generate income for the Home.

Witnessed by CIMB Area Retail Manager, En. Harith Abdullah and Datuk Dr. Yeoh Beng San, the Home’s Director, a mock cheque was presented by CIMB Ipoh Garden Branch Manager En. Mohd Sani Abbas to the Home’s Chairman, Datin Mary Yeoh.

At the event, Dato’ Mohd Shukri Hashim, executive Director, CIMB Group and Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Foundation commented that the main objective of CIMB Community Link Programme is to empower CIMB Bank’s branch staff to work closely with the community in which they are located and make a meaningful contribution to society.

Shukri commented, “CIMB Foundation is non-profit organisation set up to implement CIMB Group’s corporate social responsibility and philanthropic initiatives aimed at empowering the community in a transparent, measurable and accountable way to enable them to stand on their own.”

“Since 2007, CIMB foundation has funded a total of 517 Community Link projects amounting to more than RM25 million that covers three main areas namely, community development, sports and education,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yeoh mentioned that the Ray of Hope is a non-profit multiracial home offering holistic, supplementary, vocational, educational and living skills to children with learning disabilities. With skills training the main criteria and with the support of their Community Link partner CIMB Bank, she hoped that the students will improve their survival skills further and set their sights for a brighter future.

Two Women, Two Countries, One Goal


By Mariam Mokhtar

Michelle Yeoh

Ipoh’s own Hollywood star, Bond-girl Michelle Yeoh, is tipped for an Oscar in the movie ‘The Lady’, about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese pro-democracy leader, to be screened at the Venice Film Festival this August.

Suu Kyi, who heads her party, The National League for Democracy (NLD), is also a Nobel Peace laureate. At the 1990 general elections, the NLD scored an outright landslide victory.

It was Suu Kyi’s personal sacrifice and her defence of human rights that has made her an iconic symbol for the Burmese people in their struggle for freedom.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Her father was Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947, when Suu Kyi was just two years old. Suu Kyi spent her early years studying in Burma and India, and it was during her student years in Oxford University, that she met her husband, Michael Aris, the Tibet Scholar.

Struggle for Democracy

When she came home to Burma in 1988 to nurse her sick mother, she became involved in her nation’s struggle for democracy. She witnessed the military regime quell the famous 8-8-88 uprising, by the Burmese people, when 5,000 demonstrators were killed.

The NLD was formed after the military coup in September 1988 and Suu Kyi was appointed its General Secretary. She travelled the country giving numerous speeches demanding freedom and democracy but attracted the attention of the authorities and her freedom was curtailed.

She spent over 15 years being incarcerated, most of it under house arrest under laws which allow for detention without charge or trial.

The NLD was triumphant in the general election of 1990 but victory was brushed aside by the military junta. The junta is still in power.

Mass Appeal Unabated

Last November, Suu Kyi was released from house arrest. The government-owned newspaper ‘The New Light of Burma’, which is published by the Ministry of Information, has said that the government’s Ministry of Home Affairs warned Suu Kyi that her political activities were tantamount to breaking the law.

A report said, “If they really want to accept and practise democracy effectively, they are to stop such acts that can harm peace and stability and the rule of law as well as the unity among the people including monks and service personnel.”

The military junta is fearful of the 66-year-old’s influence and her ability to sway the crowds. Even after years of detention, Suu Kyi’s mass appeal has not abated and international support for her is equally strong and popular.

Equally popular

Michelle Yeoh, our local heroine is no less popular in both Malaysian and international circles. Her action-thrillers, her Bond-girl role and her ability to perform the stunts in her movies have all added to her super-star status.

Her movies, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, the James Bond film ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, have achieved universal acclaim.

‘The Lady’

Michelle paid a visit to Suu Kyi last December for the film which is directed by Luc Besson. ‘The Lady’ is a portrayal of the romance between Michael Aris and Suu Kyi, which is also shaped by political turmoil, her personal sacrifice and the suffering of her people. Scenes were shot in UK and France with the main shoot conducted in Thailand. The movie is slated to be released in October 2011.

Touched by the tenderness in the film, Michelle added: “More important for me is that people should know her story because unfortunately I think a lot of people have forgotten or don’t really understand what was going on because it’s been 20 years”.

In the month of June, Malaysia saw turmoil: its own people have placed a demand for freedom of another kind; Freedom from dirty politics and dirty election practices.

Historic Irony

How ironic that Michelle Yeoh was banned from entering Burma and deported by the military junta. On her arrival in Burma on June 22, she was detained and despatched on the next flight out of Rangoon. A Burmese official was reported to have told Reuters that Michelle had been on the government blacklist.

Perhaps Malaysia and Burma have more in common than being ASEAN members; Two women, two countries, one type of struggle. One lives the life of hardship, the other portrays it. Make no mistake, there are other differences. It just depends how one looks at things.

Annual Assessment a Necessary Evil


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

There are instances where owners have to pay more than what is usually billed. This has caused much misunderstanding, especially among those who are unfamiliar with regulations pertaining to assessment…

One inherent problem faced by property owners in Ipoh (and world-wide) is paying bills. They come with varying degrees of priority. There are bills which have to be settled immediately and there are those that provide some flexibility in payment. You have to pay your utility bills before the expiry dates mentioned unless you are prepared to live in darkness and without water to bathe or cook. Worse still, you may have to forego your favourite TV programmes. You can still tune in to the radio, as it can work on dry batteries but how far can you go without the luxury of tweeting and chatting online continuously? Modern amenities have increased our dependence on electricity without which we are as good as gone. And this is one fact we can neither dismiss nor deny.

One other bill-related problem which affects property owners in Ipoh annually is assessment. The common grouse among rate-payers is the 16 percentage levy formulated by City Council as the basis for the calculation of assessment of properties. Most are of the view that Ipoh’s rate is the highest in the country. Residents of Petaling Jaya pay less, as their rate is not calculated at 16 per cent but 10 per cent! Why is Ipoh’s rate so high?

Before I answer that let us see the quantum fixed by MBI on properties within the city:

Mining land – 2 per cent.
Agricultural land – 6 per cent.
Properties on traditional kampong – 5 per cent.
Properties in new village and planned village – 8 per cent.
Industrial properties – 10 per cent.
Flats/apartments/condominiums – 10 per cent.
Properties in the city and housing estates – 16 per cent.

Most of us are in the 16 per cent bracket, less for the fortunate few who live in flats, apartments and condominiums. Their reason for a reduction, which was approved in 2010, is valid as they have to pay monthly maintenance fees to upkeep their properties.

The authority to fix the rate is with the state government, pursuant to Local Government Act 1976. The rates mentioned above, with the exception of those for flats/apartments/condominiums, have been in force since 1981. City Council has made several applications for an increase but was turned down each time.

The 16 per cent charged to house owners within city limits is 16 per cent of the annual rent obtainable from the property. Example, if the rent rate of your terrace house in Bercham is RM350 a month, the assessment rate you have to pay will be 16 per cent of RM350 x 12 months = RM672. The rate for empty land is calculated based on the market value of the land.

In spite of the foregoing, there are instances where owners have to pay more than what is usually billed. This has caused much misunderstanding, especially among those who are unfamiliar with regulations pertaining to assessment. When owners develop their empty land or extend their properties they have to pay a different rate than they have previously. This is to be expected, as the aggregate value of their properties has increased, exponentially.

Illegal extension is a bane of the council. Many house owners prefer to make unauthorised extensions so as to avoid paying the council. “This is not wise,” said Burhanuddin Maamor from the Department of Valuation and Property Management MBI at a media briefing recently. “The council adopts a conciliatory rather than a confrontational approach in dealing with the matter,” he added. So there is still recourse to resolve your problem should you, unwittingly, contravene the council’s by-laws. “Own up,” Burhanuddin advised. “Don’t hide.”

The council charges a RM200 fee to process an extension application. A small sum to pay, considering the hefty fine imposed if you are caught breaking the law. The council is at liberty to destroy the extension and fine the owner for the infringement.

We ought to remember that over 70 per cent of the council’s income comes from assessment. MBI needs the money to develop the city. Therefore, it is important that we pay our dues on time.

For those with queries on your annual assessment please visit the Department of Valuation and Property Management on the 4th Floor of the MBI building. Burhanuddin can be contacted at 05-2083318. He is one affable officer unlike the impression most have of council’s officers, especially those in positions of authority.

Morning Enlightenment


The “Journey of Awakening” walk which started from Penang on May 22 reached Ipoh on the weekend of July 3.

The distance of the walk spans 850 km, from Penang to Johor Baru and is led by Rev Bema Doche Rinpoche the Abbot of Buddhist Johor Baru Centre and his two disciples. The walk is scheduled to end on December 31 at Johor.

The “Journey of Awakening” is initiated by Pure Karma Buddhist Centre and supported by Malaysian Interfaith Network (MIN), Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM) and Sri Sathya Sai Central Council of Malaysia (SAI).

The objective of the walk is to promote “Peace, Interfaith Harmony and A Sustainable Environment” among the multi-racial and multi-faith Malaysians by creating awareness in our daily lives and managing life’s challenges by embracing the Essence of Three Principles “Awakening, Realization and Enlightenment”.

The walk in Ipoh started at 4.00 a.m. from Petronas Station, Gunung Lang, Kuala Kangsar Road and was concluded by 8.00 a.m. at Taman D.R. Seenivasagam. Over 130 devotees joined Rev Bema for the walk during which they prostrated 740 times or bowed 1 time after every 7 steps.

The assembly after the walk was graciously attended by Dato’ Dr. Mah Hang Soon, State Exco for Non Islamic Affairs, En. Saidi Adnan from ABIM, Mr M. Krishnan (SAI Central Council of Malaysia) and Dr. John Gurusamy (MIN).

All of the speakers that morning spoke on promoting peace, harmony and preserving the environment for future generations.

The highlight of the program was the planting of 27 trees at ‘International Peace Park’ at a corner in Taman D.R. Seenivasagam to commemorate the event for sustainable environment. Earlier the organisers had released 108 birds.

Readers can follow the Journey updates by logging in to their page at: http://journeyawakening.wordpress.com.


Obituary: Kristine Hooi Peng Yen


Kristine Hooi Peng Yen passed away on July 6, 2011 in Singapore. She was 56 and had been battling with cancer for the last two years. Kristine was Dato’ Yap Lim Sen’s personal assistant. Born, bred and educated in Ipoh she was a true Ipohite.

I have known her for close to a decade. Gifted with a gentle nature, calm personality and a generous heart she was a fine human being.

Though not a political or social activist she was politically conscious and had a genuine feel for whatever that was wrong in society. I have often been surprised by her astute and down to earth perceptions.

Though not an active member of any of the social organisations in Ipoh she was an energetic supporter of every one of them. Rarely have I been to an event where I have not seen Kristine helping the organisers in some capacity or other.

Meeting her on occasions during her illness she never ceased to amaze me with her courage. Never a word of complaint and always in good spirits, her thoughts even then were not of herself but for others.

She will not only be missed by members of her family and friends but her passing is a loss to the various social circles that make Ipoh.

G. Sivapragasam

Enlightening The Rural Poor


A concerted effort to improve the living standard of the rural poor in Perak is being undertaken by BAIDURI (association of Perak Aduns’ wives) helmed by the Menteri Besar’s wife, Datin Seri Sharipah Zulkipli. The association’s focus is on the field of education since enlightenment can ensure the survivability of these poor folks in the new economic era.

“Education is the basis for advancement in a competitive environment,” said Sharipah at the launch of a student-adoption programme jointly organised by Yayasan Bina Upaya and BAIDURI at Sekolah Kebangsaan Suak Padi, Bota recently. The programme is targeted at children from poor rural backgrounds who will be sitting for their PMR and SPM examinations this year.

The method employed is in the form of motivational courses conducted for a period of three days each. Its objective is to provide the participants with the right frame of mind to face challenges head-on. Ten rural schools in each district have been identified and will stand to benefit from the programme which is funded by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad. The company has allocated RM150,000 for the project.

Sharipah hoped that parents of participants would be equally motivated seeing that their charges are being cared for by the state.