Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 150

Public Transport – Has it Improved?


The Government Transformation Programme to improve public transport system in the country does not seem to meet the aspirations of the rakyat. For the past two years I have done some informal studies of my own on public transport system, especially on buses in Perak. One major flaw I find most wanting is the lack of bus stops along bus routes. Commuters are forced to fend for themselves in the event of inclement weather.

A year ago I approached the Teluk Intan Municipal Council to request for a bus stop in front of the district hospital. This is to enable visitors and the sick to take the bus outside of the hospital rather than walking over 300 metres to the present site. My pleas, however, fell on deaf ears.

The Perak Transit buses plying the Ipoh-Kuala Kangsar-Ipoh route are no better. The other day while waiting for the bus in front of the LaFarge Cement Factory Chemor to take me to Ipoh, two buses went past me without stopping. Luckily, the third bus stopped.

I lodged a complaint with the company the following day. After an inquiry the management said that the nonexistence of a bus stop was the reason why the drivers did not stop to pick me. I later found out that the existing bus stops are located at Ladang Dovenby and Kantan Baru – over 3 km apart. The drivers, therefore, have a good excuse not to stop to pick passengers although the cement factory employs many from outside of Chemor.

I hope the authorities acknowledge this deficiency and take remedial measures to resolve the problem. It is pointless to talk of transformation on a grand scale when nothing has transformed on the ground.

Chris Ng

PPO’s Superb Debut

PPO’s Superb Debut


The Perak Philharmonic Orchestra’s (PPO) recent inaugural performance titled ‘New World, New Beginnings’ was a superb performance which received positive accolades from not just the members of the audience but also the guest players.

PPO’s Superb DebutThe PPO is made up of 57 musicians half of whom were guest players who hailed from the National Symphony Orchestras of Taiwan and Malaysia, RTM Orchestra, Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) as well as from the promoted members of the Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra. Helming the PPO was its Music Director and Conductor Mr Eugene Pook.

The programme offering that night featured Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, The New World followed by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Violin Concerto by violin soloist Fung Chern Hwei and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture.

The programme selection was great and everyone loved the performance. Perak Society of Performing Arts (PSPA) President, Datin Rosalina Thong, described the performance as “excellent” and gave it a 5-star rating while music lover Dato’ Dr Majumder described violin soloist Fung’s rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as “excellent” which ‘brought tears’ to her eyes.

Violin Soloist Fung in turn praised the members of the PPO describing them as “a new and wonderful group who had lots of positive energy and was hard working”.

Fung was born and raised in KL but has established himself as a versatile violinist in New York, USA.

Despite rehearsing with the orchestra for just two days the performance was good which he attributed to the “positive energy exuded by the members of the orchestra”.

Similarly, young violin prodigy Verena Koay, who was a guest player, said it was “great playing with the PPO” adding that they played so well.

PPO’s Superb DebutHowever, PPO’s Music Director Pook shrugged off any praise about the performance and just said, “well, we had one year to prepare for this performance”.

Another good show by the PPO. Keep it up.


Kampar Residensi – A Sound Investment


Located just three minutes from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Kampar, Taman Mahsuri Impian or better known as Kampar Residensi, is a 25-acre modern integrated township connected to the North-South Expressway (PLUS).

Taman Mahsuri Impian, Benua Tegas Sdn BhdDeveloped by Benua Tegas Sdn. Bhd., this new residential development offers two-storey and three-storey terrace houses. The two-storey houses, with a built-up area of 1980 sq ft (22 x 45 ft) and land area 1540 sq ft, are priced from RM328,800 onwards. The three-storey houses, priced from RM458,800, have a built-up area of 1000 sq ft (20 x 50 ft) and land area of 1400 sq ft. Each unit has got thirteen (13) bedrooms and bathrooms attached.

Amenities include 24-hour security services and free daily shuttle service to UTAR, which has an enrolment of some 15,000 students. Tesco hypermarket and fast food outlets are located nearby. Some other landmarks are the Grand Kampar Hotel, Tin Mine Museum, the proposed new hospital and an international school. Incidentally, Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (KTAR) is within walking distance. The college boasts about 3000 students.

There are a total of 205 units of double-storey and 62 units of triple-storey terrace houses. While the 2-storey houses are suitable for purchasers looking for their first home, the 3-storey houses, with 13 bedrooms per unit, make good rental properties to capitalise on the huge, and still growing, student population in Kampar. The estimated rental income per unit will not be less than RM4550 per month.

Kampar Residensi will be officially launched on-site on Sunday, September 2 from 10am till 1pm. There will be a lion dance performance and a calligraphy competition. Refreshments will be served. All are welcome to the launching ceremony and to view the show houses thereafter.

For more information, contact: Benua Tegas Sdn Bhd, No. 32, Jalan Siswa, Kampar Siswa, 31900 Kampar, Perak.

Tel. no.: 05-4667788 or 05‑4662788.


Lack of Drain Maintenance


Residents of Jalan Sitiawan, Lim Garden invited the media to air their complaints. They said that the drains in their area are not cleaned regularly and are overgrown with grass preventing flow of water. During rain, the drains overflow and flood their compounds.

Lim Garden IpohA resident who did not want to be named said that she has lived in her house since it was built in the sixties and the damaged drains have never been repaired or upgraded. This is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a few cases of dengue have been reported.

M. Rani who has been staying there for more than 20 years said that MBI has no schedule for cleaning drains. The residents have to complain a few times before the men come to clean. The grass cutting contractor does not remove the grass that fall into the drain, saying it is not part of his job. Photos have been taken of mosquito larva breeding in the stagnant water of the drain. She does not know whether they are aedes mosquitoes. She added that enforcement officers inspect the house compounds for stagnant water and fine residents, but are not bothered about stagnant water in the drain.

The residents pay their assessment promptly and expect better service from MBI. The residents are of the opinion that if their problems are published in the papers, MBI would take action.


Crew Skills – Huge Demand for Hospitality Staff


New training facility to meet demand for hospitality staff

“The cruise lines are crying out for more hospitality staff and Malaysians are wanted,” says Crew Skills’s CEO, Mr O’Dee. “Malaysians looking for a career on an International Cruise Ship should contact us immediately.”

The demand for kitchen hands and junior cooks is extremely high on cruise ships.  They make over USD625 (RM1900) and USD675 (RM2050) per month, respectively on Royal Caribbean. If you have a qualification or have worked in a professional kitchen for more than 12 months then a career at sea could just be for you.

Royal Caribbean is bringing two new ships into Asia to service the Chinese market. Anyone who can speak fluent Mandarin and English and has experience in any “front” hospitality positions, like reception, housekeeping, waiting, bar tending, etc., should call Crew Skills now.  Most of these jobs get over USD1200 (RM3700) per month.

Working on cruise ships has many advantages. You get food, accommodation and medical cover. You also get to cruise to different parts of the world for free. “One Ipoh lad saved enough in a few years to buy his own house and at the same time got to see the world!” said Mr O’Dee.

Crew Skills is a vocational training company that offers a guaranteed job offer to all its graduates. Its latest facility in Bercham Light Industrial Estate, Ipoh was initially focused on training non-Malaysian candidates for jobs in the international hospitality industry. However, Crew Skills has now realised that a major resource was literally at its doorsteps.

“Malaysians are hard working; most have a desire to improve themselves professionally and possess a good command of English. If they want to work or improve their position within the hospitality industry, we can help them”, says Mr O’Dee.

In the past, Crew Skills was geared on training candidates for jobs outside of Malaysia. However, it has now decided to train Malaysians for local jobs, as well. For example, if you have 12 months experience in F&B you can join the Crew Skills Butler programme and you will go from making a salary of RM700 in F&B to as high as RM1500 a month as a butler!”

For more information on Cruise Ship and Local Hospitality opportunities.

Website: www.crewskills.asia or call Crew Skills at 05-5459800.

State Corporation Record Profits


state agricultural development corporation, Perbadanan Pembangunan Pertanian Negeri Perak (PPPNP)Perbadanan Pembangunan Pertanian Negeri Perak (PPPNP), the state agricultural development corporation has acquired a record RM16.7 million in profits this fiscal year. The profits are from the management of estates and farms owned by Perakeans. The bountiful returns have prompted the agency to donate RM5.2 million in the form of zakat (tithe) to Majlis Agama Islam Perak (Perak Religious Council) this year.

“This is the largest amount of zakat the agency has ever paid to the religious council,” said Dato’ Saarani Mohamad, Chairman of Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) and Executive Councillor for Rural Development. He said this at a breaking of fast for participants of a basic agricultural course held at a community hall in Ladang Lambor, Bota Kiri recently.

After dinner, Saarani disbursed profits to 91 workers of the Lambor, Ladang Pulau Tiga and Kampung Gajah plantations which are managed by the corporation. He also gave duit raya to 91 orphans from three orphanages in the district and the 42 course participants.

The state-linked company donates a huge sum of money earned from its profits to Yayasan Perak and Yayasan Bina Upaya annually. This year the beneficiaries received RM10 million and RM20 million respectively to run their programmes.


Land for Temple and Cemetery


Representatives from four associations received letters of approval for land allocation for the purpose of building a Chinese temple and as burial grounds. The associations were Pertubuhan Faedah Bersama-sama Ampang Baru, Jawatankuasa Perkuburan Cina Tekka, Tokong Kuan Im Meow and Kuil Sri Maha Mariamman Kinta Valley.

Speaking after a simple hand-over ceremony, Executive Councillor for Local Government, Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon said that this exercise was a continuation of the state government’s efforts at improving the lives of the various communities in Perak. According to him, the state government has thus far approved a significant number of land applications.

As these associations had occupied these lands for many years, it was high time for the government to gazette and legalise their status. The size of land approved is between one to 15 acres.


Seladangs Share Spoils


Perak footballThe inability to convert clear-cut chances into goals was the apparent drawback of Jang Jung’s Perak, as they opened their Malaysia Cup campaign with an exciting 1-1 draw with FA Cup finalist, Sime Darby. Raingo’s goal gave the host the lead in the 64th minute but Fahrul Razi netted the equaliser for Perak in the 89th minute. Both teams ended the play with a point each.

The weight of expectations was definitely on Perak’s shoulders despite them being visitors for this opening game. Sime Darby’s reputation as a mere Premier League side barely justified them as favourites thus Perak went of the offensive right from the beginning.

Jang Jung’s men could have even taken the lead as early as the 5th minute. But Fazrul Hazli’s speculative shot was tipped away brilliantly by the Sime Darby goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Michal Kubala came within inches of drawing first blood but his well executed free-kick hit the bar instead.

The brand of football employed by Perak was definitely a sight to behold but their poor finishing was proving to be a menace. Nevertheless, Sime Darby had their fair share of chances as well and goalkeeper Kamarul Affendi had to be on his toes throughout the match.

Both sides fought hard on the pitch but it took until the 64th minute for one of them to break the deadlock. Sime Darby import, Raingo slammed in a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box to give his side the lead.

Jang Jung responded by bringing on experienced forward Akhmal Rizal Rakhli and President Cup sensation, Kenny Pallraj in a bid to induce a revival. The Seladangs fought hard and their efforts were rewarded when Fahrul Razi restored parity with a well-taken volley from outside the box.

The score remained tied until the end and both sides shared spoils. However, Perak will be disappointed to have not snatched a victory, for their domination was evident throughout the match. Their midfield in particular, showed tremendous grit and determination to contain the highly versatile Sime Darby attackers. Their poor finishing is a cause for concern. The problem needs to be addressed if they want to advance further in the tournament.

Regardless, the fans and management have definitely seen glimpses of this squad’s capabilities and due credit must be given to Jang Jung. His tactics and methods seem to be doing the trick. Hopefully, it will continue.


COGA (Convent Girls Alumni) Turns 55


They were school-girls again – the ceaseless chatter, the squeals of laughter, the bear hugs… That was the 55th Reunion of the Convent Girls Alumni held at the Royal Perak Golf Club recently. With girls (and women) coming home from across the globe, teachers who hailed from as far back as the ’60s, ex- Principals and Holy Infant Jesus nuns, the celebration took on a heightened spirit of camaraderie and connectivity.

A touch of glamour and elegance was added to the occasion with the presence of DYTM Raja Puan Besar Perak Darul Ridzuan Tuanku Zara Salim, Royal Patron of the Convent Girls Alumni and ex-student of Main Convent, Ipoh.

Also present were representatives from the Parents-Teachers’ Association, SMJK Sam Tet Alumni, SMJK Ave Maria Alumni, and Chairman of the S.M. Convent Board of Governors, Fr. Michael Cheah.

The evening’s gala was alive with superb performances from the highly acclaimed  singer, Estee Pok and her troupe of three nine-year-olds who captured the hearts of the diners. What finally did rock the dinner party was the captivating showmanship of “Helmi and the Gimmicks”. Guests arriving at the ballroom were greeted and ushered by “macho-men” dressed in dark suits. The multi-talented comedian, Helmi brought laughter and revelry, with his special flair for engaging the crowd in participation.

High on the agenda and on a serious note was the declared objective of the Annual Reunion – the raising of funds “for the love of the Main Convent”.  According to the President of COGA, Ms Terezinha Gonsalves, the Alma mater was in dire need of funds for the purpose of upgrading and refurbishing. The 105-year-old Grand Lady was determined to meet the challenge of the 21st century as long as her “children” young and old will respond generously.

The Committee thanked those who had forwarded donations and welcomed contributions at all times.

Empowering Women Through Education


Perak Women For Women Society (PWW)Some 50 participants at the Women’s Health and Wellness Seminar held at St Mike’s Bistro Restaurant, Ipoh took home some invaluable tips on ways to stay healthy and young. The seminar was organised by Perak Women For Women Society (PWW) as part of its effort to help and empower women through education.

The three topics covered were “Skin & Photo-Aging”, “Breast Cancer” and “Botox and Fillers”. President of PWW, Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar delivered the first and third topics while Dr Sumithra Sivasuntharam covered the second.

Dr Sharifah explained the functions of our skin, the largest organ in a human body. It was then followed by definition of Photo-Aging. It means to look older than one’s actual biological age. There are many causes which lead to this but in Malaysia the main culprit is the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Fortunately, most of these could be prevented, like using suitable skincare products, appropriate sunscreen and external sun block apparatus like a hat and an umbrella. Dr Sharifah also taught us the beneficial ingredients that we should look out for in skincare products available in the market.

Dr Sumithra shared her experience as a Consultant General Surgeon and the breast cancer cases that she has handled. Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures to take to stop breast cancer from afflicting us, but early detection is the key to surviving this debilitating disease. It is the most common form of cancer in women in Malaysia. It even affects men. However, the two major risks are age and being of the feminine gender.

Dr Sumithra stressed the importance of self examination and the need to see a doctor should physical changes happen to the breast. Breast cancer is a “silent killer” as sufferers do not experience pain or symptoms.

The third and final topic on Botox and Fillers by Dr Sharifah was just as interesting. In layman’s language, she unraveled the differences between Botox and Fillers commonly used in aesthetic medicine, and the uses of Botox or Fillers in the different parts of our face. In her slide show, she also presented ‘Before and After” photos of celebrities who underwent Botox treatments. She, however, cautioned that some people may experience complications which would worsen one’s looks.