Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 135

MB Hails Perakeans


New Year 2012 countdown celebrationOver 10,000 Perakeans filled the grounds of Stadium Indera Mulia to usher in the New Year. While they waited anxiously for the countdown to midnight and the approaching New Year, they were entertained to live music and songs performed by some of the country’s top musical and singing talents. The line-up included popular singers such as Saleem of Iklim, Adam of the Akademi Fantasia genre, Ramli ‘Papa Rock’ Sarip and some home-grown talents. TV host and presenter, Dato’ AC Mizal emceed the show, which helped keep the restless crowd at bay and on their feet.

The New Year signalled the start of the much-touted and talked about event of the state – Visit Perak Year (VPY) 2012. And there to do the honours was Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abd Kadir. Accompanying the MB under the specially erected VIP tent were his wife, Datin Seri DiRaja Sharipah Zulkifli, Executive Councillor for Tourism, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, members of the state executive committees, invited guests and senior government officials. Their singular objective was to celebrate the dawn of the New Year along with other Perakeans.

In his keynote New Year address, Zambry thanked Perakeans for their support and confidence in his administration in spite of the many complaints. “Together we’ll develop the state and ensure that its economy will prosper with the rest of the country,” he enthused. “This can be achieved if the people work hard and maintain peace and stability.”

The MB was certain that VPY 2012 would succeed considering the prevalent mood engulfing the state. “With the support of Perakeans I am certain our target of attracting five million visitors will be achieved,” he remarked. “We don’t want Perak to be known for its many touristic destinations alone. We want to be known for our warmth, friendliness and hospitality too.”

The occasion also marked the launching of the Perak Tourist Police, a dedicated police unit to help ensure tourists’ safety while they are in the state. The unit consists of a mobile and a foot-patrolling team which will be deployed to areas frequented by tourists.

At 12 midnight the sky was lit by a brilliant display of fireworks much to the delight of the excited onlookers. It signified the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012.

An earlier event held in conjunction with the launching of VPY 2012 was Perak Tourism Idol, a karaoke competition pitting winners from the various districts. Fifteen finalists were on stage vying for the coveted title. Fendy Shah Nayan, 32, representing Ipoh, was adjudged the winner. Second placing went to Nina Pelez, 19, from Teluk Intan. Primary school student, Shahrul Izlan, 12, was placed third.


Nur Sofiera’s Condition


We refer to the letter “Nur’s Parents Seek Justice “(Ipoh Echo Issue 134, December 16, 2011).

We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Nur Sofiera’s parents for their child’s condition. Nur Sofiera was initially admitted to the Paediatrics Ward at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun Ipoh on March 11, 2009 for fever and fits. She was treated and discharged. She was again admitted on April 5, 2009 with similar problems and developed other complications which were treated. As she was noted to have hypocalcaemia, a slow injection of Calcium Gluconate was given for hypocalcaemia. Unfortunately, the Calcium Gluconate extravasated and caused tissue necrosis of the right hand, which healed with permanent scarring and deformity of the said hand. This is a known complication of Calcium Gluconate injection.

Nur Sofiera also has cerebral palsy due to the exposure to cytomegalovirus while she was still in her mother’s womb. As a result, she had neurological deficit and developmental delay. This had been verified by blood tests and MRI brain scanning of the child. This information was repeatedly explained to the parents by Paediatric doctors during consultations as well as during home visits by the hospital team with the state health director.

We have provided the best possible medical care and referral to appropriate departments for the rehabilitation of Nur Sofiera in order to improve her neurological and functional outcome.

To resolve the parent’s anxiety and dissatisfaction, we have, to date, initiated an Independent Inquiry on this issue.

Dato’ Dr Hj Ahmad Razin Bin Dato’ Hj Ahmad Mahir
Perak State Health Director


Subsidised Housing Scheme


Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU)Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) will soon introduce a funding scheme to allow the less fortunate an opportunity to own a house. The foundation’s proposed subsidised-housing scheme is estimated to cost RM5 million. For a start, a pilot project will be built near Taman Kaya in Taiping on a 50-acre former mining land site. Application for funding has been forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Department for approval, said Dato’ Zainal Abidin Omar, CEO of YBU. “I expect it to be approved sometime this year,” he said.

The foundation-initiated programme is targeted at those earning RM3,000 and less a month. “There are plenty in this category. Due to their financial standing they can’t commit themselves to a housing loan primarily because they neither have the means nor the resources to service bank loans,” he told Ipoh Echo after handing over keys to three recipients of houses under YBU’s Housing Infra Aid Programme (Bantuan Perumahan Infra) recently. The proposed project in Taiping will take the form of low-cost housing with each unit costing between RM35,000 to RM 55,000.

“They only need to pay YBU a monthly instalment of about RM150 for a fixed number of years to repay the soft loan,” said Zainal Abidin. “We’ll simplify the application procedures to reduce bureaucracy and red tape,” he remarked. The availability of this new scheme will be announced once the green light is received.

Last year YBU spent RM4 million to build and repair houses under its Housing Infra Aid programme. “A total of 60 new houses were constructed while 710 houses were repaired. Another RM4 million will be set aside for a similar programme this year,” said the CEO. Those in dire need to repair their dilapidated houses will, however, get a reprieve, as the state has allocated an additional RM1.3 million for the said purpose.

Eligibility for such privilege is contingent upon the applicants’ disposition. Application for the housing-aid programme must be supported by proof, preferably by the applicants’ political representatives (Aduns) or their village heads.

This is part of the state government’s strategy to eradicate poverty and to assist the poor and the marginalised, regardless of ethnicity and beliefs. A number of public and private agencies are involved in the programme. Among them are CIMB Bank and Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Perak.

Those keen on applying can enquire with YBU at 05-255 5945/46 or visit the foundation’s office at Greentown Square, Jalan Dato’ Seri Ahmad Said, Ipoh (near Restoran Simpang Tiga).

The handing-over ceremony (pic) was done at the finished house belonging to Puan Robaiyah Abdullah, 48, in Kampong Kepayang.


Impiana New Year Celebrations with Julian Mokhtar


Impiana New Year Celebrations with Julian MokhtarBidding farewell to 2011 and welcoming 2012, Impiana Hotel Ipoh rang in the New Year not with fireworks but with Julian Mokhtar in the house, dishing out his all-time favourite blues tracks into the New Year with his band, Soul Doctors. Julian Mokhtar, Malaysia’s very own home-grown living blues legend, was brought in to play at The Bistro to spark up the night. Definitely an overwhelming experience for everyone who was present.

Haven Fetes Its Customers

The Haven - Peter Chan
Peter Chan, CEO of Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd

Tambun’s Haven Lakeside Residences, developed by Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd, held a dinner to fete its customers recently. Contractors, suppliers, bankers, valuers, consultants, and purchasers were invited to view completed units and to enjoy some merriment, courtesy of the developer.

On track to be completed by middle of next year, the structure of all three towers compromising 26 floors, with 497 units, has been completed. Works on the jogging track is near completion and the swimming pool will start after Chinese New Year. Peter Chan, CEO of Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd remarked that the Haven has passed the half-way mark in sales with almost 70% of the condominiums sold. The condos are said to have the lowest selling price per square feet in the country for luxury condos. Sales to locals are in excess of 50%. The current prices are a bargain, as it is not yet reflective of its status as a resort condo. This is confirmed by Chris Boyd, Malaysia’s Executive Chairman of CBRE, the world’s largest realtor. The Haven won the Best Resort Condo Award in the country last year.

Guests visited the different kinds of units available at the site. Surrounded by a 4-ha hilly terrain fringed by pristine tropical forest, the Haven comes with high quality finishing and eco-features like solar energy and rainwater harvesting. Every inch of each unit is put to good use, as the design is meticulous. There is no need for renovation, unless the owner requests. Buyers present at the function were overjoyed with their purchases and voiced their appreciation openly.

Incidentally, the purchasers have contributed a congratulatory ad to show their appreciation to the developer (see page 7). This is probably the first time ever a developer is appreciated in public by his customers.


Misleading Information


On my way home recently, I chanced upon a billboard, outside of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang, extolling the virtues of Visit Perak Year 2012. What puzzles me is the depiction of Istana Kenangan in Kuala Kangsar as the primary image associated with the occasion. Istana Kenangan, incidentally, is under renovation and is closed to the public. Its portrayal, therefore, is not appropriate at this moment in time.

At the Medan Mega Fair recently the Mayor was seen showing an Indonesian official a map of Ipoh. The map is a folded brochure detailing historical landmarks within the city, places to eat, to shop and to recreate and a list of private hospitals. Obviously, it is meant for Medan folks who wish to seek an alternative location for their medical needs.

The English-language brochure has many factual errors, including grammatical mistakes which I had raised with the council staff. The continued use of this brochure may not be in the best interest of Ipoh City Council, as the information available is misleading. Hopefully, remedial measures are taken before it is too late.


A Badly Conceived Election Budget Allocation


Recently, the leading state newspaper in Perak carried an article which contained details of the Perak State Government’s budget for 2012 which was tabled before the State Assembly on November 21, 2011 (Ipoh Echo, Issue 133, 1-15 December 2011).

Among the key items of planned allocation in what is clearly a pre-election budget aimed at buying votes for the present state government in the coming elections, the most problematic is the RM60 million fund set up to assist first time house buyers by providing the 10% deposit as required by banks to purchase a new house.

I sympathise with the plight of first-time low-income house buyers and agree on the need to assist them in helping with home ownership. I can also understand the populist intention of the programme. However, this programme – as it is currently designed – is not only likely to fall short of its noble goal but will result in grief to the Perak administration.

I can already foresee the following difficulties:

What will happen if the buyers cannot pay the monthly instalments to the banks? A Housing Loan Manager of one of the leading banks told me that the bank can issue the first letter of demand after the defaulter fails to pay up only after three months. Also that the bank is able to initiate legal action only after three letters of demand have been sent out. In all likelihood, the legal procedure to recover the property will take six months or more. Hence, it could take more than one year at least for the bank to evict a defaulter. By the time the house is repossessed, it would be in such a deplorable condition that the bank will not be able to recover its loan and administration costs in most of the cases. To sell a repossessed property, the bank also has to advertise to invite bids. In most cases, the bank will not be able to get

the reserved price in the first auction. If this happens, the bank will have to reduce the reserved price by 10%.  If the second auction is not successful, the reserved price will have to be reduced by another 10%.

What will happen when a buyer cannot pay back the 10% to the State Government? Does the Government have the necessary machinery to recover the debt? As you can see above, there are laws to protect the poor men. Even the commercial banks with all the rules and regulations in place, still have difficulties to recover their money, how can the Perak State Government expect to do better?
The administrative costs to recover the debt is not only likely to be considerable but could also exceed the 10% loan outlay. This will further impoverish the state by diverting resources to unproductive expenditure. What this means is that any recovery of loan funds will be much less than what has been dispensed, leading to a short life-span for the so-called “rolling” fund.

I hope all members of the Perak State Assembly will consider these comments seriously and delay the implementation of the scheme until a later date when all the design and operational kinks and problems are fully understood and accounted for.

A better planned and more stringent housing loan scheme is needed for the state if it is to be sustainable. The unseemly haste with which this poorly designed scheme is being pushed through for the coming elections will surely backfire on the state government and all Perak subjects.

Koon Yew Yin



 PUSPANITA Perak - AerobathonPUSPANITA Perak’s debut aerobics marathon, held at Stadium Indera Mulia recently, attracted a total of 200 aerobic enthusiasts some from faraway Kedah, Penang and Kelantan. Participants were grouped into three categories based on their age. Category A for those between 20 to 35 years old, Category B between 36 to 45 years old and Category C, 46 years old and above.

There were three aerobics instructors, each leading a set of aerobics exercise for approximately 40 minutes. The competition lasted for two hours, with only a couple of minutes break in between. Winners were selected based mainly on their fitness level and how well they could follow the instructors.

Category A title was won by Nurul Huda Abd Hadi from Taiping. Salina Omar from Kedah won the Category B title while Rokiah Abd Talib, the Category C top spot. Wong Kheng Chee and Faridah Daim received special awards for being the oldest participant at 65 years of age.


Table Tennis Championship 2011


The 48th Malaysia Table Tennis Championship 2011 was held over four days at Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh in December last year. It was organised by the Perak Table Tennis Association (PkTTA) with Dato’ Thong Fah Chong as its president.

A total of 130 players were entered in the championship, forming 15 teams, representing all states in Malaysia, including the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) participated with a contingent consisting of five players.

The men’s single title was won by Chan Koon Wah of MAF, Ng Sock Khim from Kedah won the women’s single crown, Mohd. Syakirin Ibrahim and Chan Koon Wah from MAF, the men’s doubles, Kueh Wan May and Wendy Lau Jun Zhen from Sarawak, the women’s doubles and Sarawak’s Chai Kiang Peng and Kueh Wan May, the mixed doubles. The overall team champion was MAF for men while Selangor wrested the women’s title.

Perak, being the host, was allowed to enter 20 players. The women’s team won third placing.

This was the fourth national-level tournament organised by PkTTA since inception in 1964. This year’s tournament will be hosted by Negeri Sembilan.


Treats for Special-Needs Children


St John Ambulance - Treats for special needs childrenAs part of their ‘Service to Mankind’ programme, St John Ambulance invited children with special needs from eight voluntary organisations for their annual celebration. The children and their parents were given a hearty meal and ang pow was presented by Dato’ S. Veerasingam, Special Advisor to the MB, who was the Guest of Honour. The guests were entertained by dances performed by children of the voluntary organisations.

Manin Singh, State Secretary of St John Ambulance said that in line with their motto to help the disadvantaged, children with special needs must be brought into the main stream of society.

This year children from the following organisations were invited: Perak Society for the Promotion of Mental Health, Precious Gift and Joyful Home, Persatuan Pemulihan Orang Cacat Perak, Persatuan Pemulihan Dalam Community Buntong, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Home, Persatuan Kebajikan Orang Upaya Ipoh and Network Need.