Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 144

Cutting Trees in the Name Of Development


A. JeyarajBy A. Jeyaraj

Many residents get upset when they see trees being cut down indiscriminately in the name of development in their neighbourhood. I am describing three projects within a small area where I think more trees than necessary have been cut.

The first project is for shop lots and houses along Labrooy Road. One evening while I was taking photos of the trunks of trees that were cut, the boss of AK Nasi Kandar was passing by and said “Murattu marathai vettitaanga” which means “Tough trees have been cut”. I was surprised that a layman knows the value of trees, whereas the engineers who approved the project were ignorant of it.

tree felling in Ipoh

In the United Kingdom there is a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) which is part of town and country planning. Trees on development sites are protected by TPO attached to a planning permission to protect specific trees. TPO’s can prevent felling or uprooting of trees without permission. Local council can make an emergency TPO within a day. TPO was introduced in 1947 and is still relevant.

The British Standard Trees in Relation to Construction Recommendations” (BS 5837) (2005) details the steps that should be taken to ensure that trees are appropriately and successfully retained when a development takes place. BS5837 requires that this decision is made by a “competent arborist”.  This means that where there are trees either on a potential development site or within close proximity to the site the District Council will take them into consideration.

If Malaysia wants to be a developed country then it must adopt these types of laws. If MBI engineers were aware of these laws and applied them, the project could have been scaled down and a number of mature trees could have been saved. Can the engineers replace these trees which may be more than 100 years old?

I worked for Brunei Shell in Brunei for many years and when land was cleared for major housing projects, all the trees were not cut. They have a template of the housing plan and do not cut trees between blocks of houses. Trees and a small plot of land would be separating blocks of houses. Bungalow houses do not have fences and are separated by trees. This makes the housing site beautiful.

The second project is the construction of the retention pond in Merdeka Garden. All the trees in a large area have been cut and there are no trees in the vicinity. There were fruit and coconut trees. Birds used to nest in the trees and now have been stripped of their habitat. Where I used to see iguanas and wild fowl, the construction has decimated them. Was it necessary to cut all the trees? If the engineers had been discriminating, many of them could have been saved. I have seen mature trees being dug up and replanted using cranes. I understand that if the trees were not cut, it would be difficult for movement of machinery. This has to be done to preserve nature.

The third project is the construction of the Esso filling station along Jalan Raja Musa Aziz (Anderson Road). When the trees were cut, a number of readers phoned Ipoh Echo to complain. There was no explanation from MBI. Was it really necessary to cut that many mature trees? In fact the trunks of the trees were tall and would not have obstructed the view of the filling station. Is this a suitable place for a filling station?

Do we really need all these developments at a cost to Mother Nature? It is our duty to preserve the earth for our future generations. We must not allow a few people to make quick money.

Has man the right to destroy the flora and fauna. We must have a holistic approach in approving projects and think of the long term impact and not of making a quick profit. Let us replant our beautiful trees and restore Ipoh to its former beauty.

Nasi Kerabu

Ipoh hawker food
Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is lovely blue rice mixed with raw vegetables and herbs, and kerisik, which is grated coconut pan-fried and mixed with other ingredients sometimes fish, tamarind and seasoning. The blue colour of the rice comes from the butterfly pea flower. A gamut of raw greens are finely julienned and mixed together: string beans, cucumber, cabbage, bunga kantan (torch ginger), lemongrass, daun kesum (Vietnamese coriander), bean sprouts, daun sup (celery leaves) and some others. Eaten with salted egg, turmeric-coated fried fish, fish crackers, nasi kerabu is basically a healthy meal. Some stalls will give a spicy sambal or watery chilli sauce and budu [ikan bilis (anchovies) sauce)] and keropok ikan (fish crackers) too.

Places to try:

Stall at Jalan Teoh Kim Swee, Taman Hillview, Rapat Setia.With fried chicken – RM3.50

Stall at Jalan Putera, Taman Putera Permai, Bandar Baru Putra, Bercham. With fried chicken and a small slice of salted egg – RM2.50

Stall at No. 92 Jalan Permai 5, Bandar Baru Putra, Bercham.
Value for money – good amount of rice with plenty of keropok. If you like spicy food, try the chicken curry – not much raw vegetable, mainly cabbage – RM3.50.

Terengganu Corner (05-5272055; Mohammad Zarilan 017-5751889).      Jalan Jelapang (opp. the Klinik Kesihatan). RM2.50 with salted egg; RM3.50 with fried fish. Opens 6.30am-4.30pm except Tuesdays.

Allongs Restaurant, 24 Pesara Ipoh 1, Ipoh Garden. Comes pre-wrapped with brown paper (just like nasi lemak) with either chicken or fish – RM3.50. This is made by someone else, the restaurant. Go early, it finishes fast.

Pasar Tani (Farmers’ Market) at Stadium Perak (3 stalls). Fried fish & salted egg RM3.00; fried beef RM3.50; add other dishes for RM2 onwards.


Eye Chat – Eye injections for the treatment of retinal diseases

ipoh echo issue 140, Dr Lee Mun Wai, Lee Eye Centre, Stem Cells in Retinal Disease
Dr Lee Mun Wai

From a Retinal Surgeon’s Perspective

Intravitreal injections are a very effective way of delivering drugs for treatment of certain serious diseases in the eye and particularly the retina. This has been done for many years when used to treat severe infections or inflammation of the eye but it was not until recently that a ‘revolution’ in the treatment of age related macular degeneration (AMD) led to the very routine use of these injections and has now become a very important part of the armamentarium of a retinal surgeon.

What exactly is an intravitreal injection?

Lee Eye Centre Ipoh - Dr Lee Mun WaiAs shown in this image, it involves “sticking a needle” into the eye and releasing specific drugs into the vitreous cavity. It is used for the treatment of a variety of eye diseases but in recent years, it has revolutionized the management of retinal diseases and has a significant impact not just on affected patients but also on retinal surgeons’ lives!!

The “Revolution”

The rise of intravitreal injections started in 2004 when intravitreal Macugen was first used in the management of AMD. This drug was developed to inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) which is a growth factor involved in the development of blood vessels. This had modest effect on the disease but the following year when Avastin (another inhibitor of VEGF) was first used to treat AMD, the revolution truly took off!

This was the first time there was any treatment that could actually improve vision in people with wet AMD. From Avastin, another drug came into the market in 2006 – Lucentis. This was a designer drug specifically manufactured to treat VEGF driven eye diseases as compared to Avastin (which was a cancer drug for metastatic bowel cancer).

The impact of this ‘revolution’ extended beyond its positive effects on patients but also the increased workload for retinal surgeons as these injections had to be given every month in order to maintain its efficacy. There were also far reaching consequences for healthcare services in some countries as reimbursement for this very expensive drug burned very large holes in the healthcare budget!

What conditions are treated with intravitreal injections?

The anti-VEGF drugs (Avastin & Lucentis) were initially used to treat wet AMD. However, it’s use has extended to many other retinal diseases which all have a common association; i.e. the blockade of VEGF would result in a positive impact on the disease. Aside from wet AMD, other diseases would include diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions (or eye stroke), neovascular glaucoma and even retinopathy of prematurity.

So far, I have mentioned only anti-VEGF drugs which have resulted in an exponential increase in the number of intravitreal injections in recent years. In actual fact, this technique of drug delivery is not at all new. We have been giving antibiotics (in cases of severe eye infections), anti-virals (in patients with AIDS) and steroids (for inflammatory eye diseases) for a long time. This mode of drug delivery allows for a good amount of drug getting to the intended target without having large amounts in the body (when taken orally or through a vein) and giving unwanted side effects.

The Future of intravitreal injections?

More drugs are being developed to treat these retinal diseases – some which can last longer and would therefore, reduce the frequency of injection. Other techniques are being researched i.e. different ways of storing and releasing the active drug in a gradual and controlled manner could mean even less frequent injections. Safe to say however, intravitreal injections will continue to play a big role in the treatment of retinal diseases in the near future or until the next “revolution”. I leave you with a link to a nice video clip which describes the intravitreal injection process from a lay person’s point of view.


For more information about this topic or other eye health subjects, please visit my blog at:
www.lec.com.my/youcare-eyecare. Or call Lee Eye Centre: 05-254 0095.

Chicken Rendang


By Margarita Lee

Recipe by Margarita Lee
Chicken Rendang


2kg chicken – cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces

2 cups coconut milk

6 stalks lemongrass (serai) – bruised

1 inch piece young ginger – bruised

2 inch piece galangal (lengkuas) – bruised

4 young turmeric leaves – finely cut

4-5 pieces Kaffir lime leaves(daun limau perut) – crushed

½ cup kerisik (finely ground coconut, dry fried) – keep aside

3-4 pieces Tamarind peel (asam keping)

Salt and sugar to taste

Blended Ingredients:

30 dried chillies soaked in hot water and discard seeds

30 shallots

2 bulbs garlic

1 candlenut (buah keras)

½ cup kerisik

½ inch piece turmeric (kunyit)

2 Tbsp coriander seeds (ketumbar)


  1. Heat oil in wok and add blended ingredients, add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, young ginger and turmeric leaf, stir fry for 5 minutes or until paste separates from the oil.
  2. Add chicken and stir fry for 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and allow to simmer over medium heat for about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender, adding a bit more coconut milk as necessary to keep sauce from drying and burning.
  3. Add the Tamarind peel, coconut kerisik when the meat is tender, keep stirring frequently to avoid burning. When the meat is tender and the sauce is almost dry, remove from heat.
  4. Serve with rice.