Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 174

‘Change Starts with You’ Workshops


Change starts with youTwo interesting Workshops are coming to Ipoh for the very first time. The first one, on September 22, 2-6pm, named Step Out of the Past will enable participants to let go of the limiting beliefs they carry, where these beliefs came from and how they are affecting their present life.

They will then be taught how to programme themselves with positive thoughts, create a new vision of themselves and treasure their own uniqueness.

Jaz Goven
Jaz Goven

Workshop 2 on September 29, 2-6pm, called Step into Your Full Potential will enable participants to learn the power of positive affirmations and how to use them for maximum effectiveness. They will also take home the powerful tool of Tapping or EFT for fast and effective release of physical and emotional trauma.

Leader of the workshops is Jaz Goven, a Brit living and practising in Chiangmai who is the founder of the Fast Track Freedom technique for the release of physical and emotional trauma.

These workshops promise to give attendees a set of tools to use at home for living life at full potential. The organizers assure timid ones that personal information need not be shared at these forums.

For more information, contact

Anne Huxtable 012-552 9233.

Email: anne@golfshaftsasiaor Jaz Goven: jaz@fasttracktechnique.com

Workshop on Domestic Violence


Workshop on domestic violence-2

Workshop on domestic violence-1Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), in collaboration with the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), organised a workshop on Domestic Violence (DV) on Saturday, September 7 at Impiana Hotel Ipoh. This workshop, which was fully funded by KL Sogo, was aimed at bringing greater awareness on the issues of domestic violence to the public, and to better understand its impact on Muslim women especially.

The first speaker, Halida Mohd Ali, Vice President of PWW, spoke on the occurrence and prevalence of DV, why it happens, and the challenges faced when handling victims. This was followed by a presentation by Mangaleswary, President-Elect and Legal Adviser of PWW, on Domestic Violence Act 1994 and the legal protection accorded for victims of domestic violence.

A panel discussion, consisting of speakers from the various service providers, was next. Dr Azmir Anuar, physician of the Emergency and Trauma Department of Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh spoke on the One Stop Crisis Centre at the hospital and how it treats those suffering from injuries caused by domestic violence. DSP Siti Azzah of D11 of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysia Police related the roles of her department in issuing Interim Protection Orders (IPO) for victims of domestic violence.

Department of Social Welfare Perak’s Prakash Kumar described the various services provided by the department. Kartina from Sisters in Islam quoted verses from the Koran relating to the treatment of women. Finally, Associate Professor Dr Mohammad Abdul Rahman, a consultant psychiatrist and Deputy Dean of Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Royal College of Medicine, Perak, enlightened the 100-odd participants on how victims of domestic violence undergo trauma, feel helpless and trapped and go into depression.

A legal clinic was set up by the Perak Legal Aid Department offering free legal advice and information on laws to protect victims of DV.

Mrs Malaysia Universe, Mrs Carol Lee, who represented KL Sogo, in her opening remarks, asked that all work together to stop the carnage from spreading. Carol Lee is currently on a nationwide campaign against domestic violence with KL Sogo and AWAM.

It was an informative forum for all.


Is This Possible?


Thinking Allowed

By Mariam Mokhtar


State assemblyAt the first, post-General Election 13, state assembly sitting last month, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abd Kadir, announced that Perak would become a developed state by 2015.

The optimists on the bench nodded in agreement, a number were less sanguine while some expressed their doubts. Can Perak become a developed state by 2015?

We can still recall the confusion when former Malacca Chief Minister, Ali Rustam, declared that Malacca was a developed state a few years ago. Sometime later this declaration was retracted.

Jon Hall of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said, “The OECD did not endorse the Malacca declaration, mainly because we’re not in a position to do so.” Neither the UN nor the OECD has a definition of a developed state.

Hall also remarked that the press conference and proceedings were in Malay and, therefore, he had no way of interpreting it.

Malaccans had assembled at Stadium Hang Jebat, in Krubong Malacca and welcomed Premier Najib’s televised announcement on the evening of October 20, 2010. The occasion turned sour, as the OECD’s statement contradicted Ali Rustam’s pronouncement.

The Malacca state had declared a public holiday, and organised a fireworks display, but the U-turn caused much confusion and disappointment.

The Perak Maju Plan 2015 was launched alongside the Perak Amanjaya Development Plan in 2008. Their objective was to make Perak a developed state by 2015. The two plans were designed to transform three main aspects of development, namely socio-economic, sectoral and physical.

The Amanjaya Plan broadly followed the concepts of the federal government’s Vision 2020 and covered key result areas which included skills, knowledge, youth participation and environmentally-friendly practices.

The plan aimed to raise the five regions, Hulu Perak, Beriah Valley, Manjung, Ulu Bernam and the Kinta Valley, to an equal level of development.

In April 2011, Zambry announced that both the Perak Maju 2015 and Perak Amanjaya development plans had successfully expanded the state’s economy, reduced poverty and crime rates.

The Amanjaya Plan, according to Zambry, had increased average household income from RM2809 per month in 2009 to RM3548 in 2012. Hardcore poverty rate had been reduced from 0.5 per cent in 2009 to 0.2 per cent in 2012.

However, fluctuating Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow into Perak is worrying. In 2009, the FDI was RM399.5 million, it increased to RM1.6 billion in 2010, dipped to RM90 million in 2011 then rose again to RM1.5 billion in 2012. The trend may be the same this year.

Perakeans who were asked if Perak could become a developed state by 2015 appeared doubtful. One pessimistic Ipohite said, “Our wages are depressed and with the recent hike in petrol and diesel prices, cost of living is set to rise. What’s the use of being developed when the ringgit is shrinking!”

Notwithstanding the odds, we ought to give Zambry the thumbs-up for his optimism and conviction.


Physiotherapy Day 2013

Dr Alex Khoo
Dr Alex Khoo

On Friday, August 23, Bercham-based Sultan Azlan Shah Rehab Centre celebrated Physiotherapy Day 2013 by inviting Dr Alex Khoo Peng Chuan, Pediatric Neurologist and Dr Lee Chon Kit, Medical Officer of Rehabilitation, from Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh to talk on the subjects of epilepsy, orthosis and special seating, respectively.

Dr Alex Khoo provided caregivers and parents with a clearer understanding on epilepsy by showing video shots of a number of patients.  Dr Lee Chon Kit gave a slide presentation on the different types of orthoses and special seating available for different kinds of disabilities. The Question-and-Answer session that followed was actively participated by all present.

physio equipment

The audience was entertained to a skit on cerebral palsy by clinical placement students from Allianze University College of Medical Science, Kepala Batas and a slide presentation on the roles and services of physiotherapists by students from Winfield International College, Kuala Lumpur.

Both were very informative, as they reinforced the fact that tender loving care is the only way to alleviate the miseries of both caregivers and sufferers.


Invitational Darts Tournament


A total of 19 teams descended upon the Royal Ipoh Club on Saturday, September 7 for the club’s Invitational Darts Tournament 2013.


The players were from 11 affiliated clubs with some having two or more teams representing their side. Singapore Recreation Club was one of the few foreign teams in the competition. The host had four teams with five players to a team.

11 affiliated clubs participated. (clockwise) Penang Sports Club, PJ Club (Eagles), Selangor and Federal Territories Eurasian Association and Port Dickson Sports Club

Club President, Dr Selvakumar, started the ball rolling by bursting the balloon with a single dart.

Overall Champions PJ Club (Hawks). At extreme right is RIC Club President Dr Selvakumar

The tournament stretched over the weekend with the preliminaries beginning at 9.30am on Saturday, September 7 and the finals late in the evening of Sunday, September 8.

PJ Club (Hawks) was adjudged the overall champion for the tournament.

Organising Chairman, N. Sathivel of Royal Ipoh Club, described the event as one of its kind. He was overwhelmed by the response and the competitive spirit of the participants. “The camaraderie among darters is exceptional,” he told Ipoh Echo.



Community Rehab Programme


 Community Rehab Programme-1

A hi-tea to initiate a community-based programme was held at the banquet hall of the State Secretariat Building on Saturday, September 7. The event was officiated by the Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashikin Dato Mohd Radzi and organised by the Kampar Community Rehabilitation Centre led by its chairperson, Datin Normah Hanum Dato’ Hashim.

Community Rehab Programme-2

The Kampar Chapter will go on a fundraising campaign to collect funds to organise activities for the benefit of its members. Some of the on-going programmes are motivational courses, tuition classes and rehabilitation courses for the mentally and physically challenged. Twelve physically handicapped children have so far registered with the centre. The campaign began with the passing of the hat in the hall. A sum of over RM700 was collected that day.

These community-related programmes are part and parcel of the state government’s efforts to address social and health problems prevailing within the communities in Perak.


Merdeka Round-up


Ushering in Merdeka Day

Over 5000 people filled the stands of Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh on the night of Friday, August 30. They were there, along with state dignitaries, to usher in Merdeka Day which came at the stroke of midnight.

Ushering in Merdeka Day

The arrival of the 56th Merdeka Day was greeted with cheers, hoots and claps, as the night was brightened with fireworks and sparklers. There was something for everyone, as the revellers, outside of the stadium, feasted their eyes on the fireworks exploding in the night sky.

The VIPs, led by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, his wife Datin Seri DiRaja Saripah Zulkifli, Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture Nolee Ashikin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi, Executive Councillor for Sports, Communications and Multimedia Datuk Shahrul Zaman bin Datuk Yahaya and Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim were earlier entertained to music and dances by the cultural dance troupes of the state and City Hall.

A poetry declamation by Corporal Jafri Khairul of the Police Commando Battalion VAT 69 in Ulu Kinta was the main highlight prior to the presentation of mementos to eight former Police commandos by the Menteri Besar. Academy Fantasia 5 winner, Mila and rock band, Kopratasa provided the much awaited entertainment for the enthusiastic crowd.


KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital’s Merdeka Baby

KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital’s Merdeka Baby-2

KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital’s Merdeka Baby-1KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital celebrated the arrival of a Merdeka baby to hairstylist, Mdm Hen Pooi Yen, 38. An Ipoh resident, Hen naturally delivered her second child at 3.18am on Merdaka day weighting in at 2.81kg. Husband, Mr Low Woei Hing, a coffee shop owner, was extremely excited with the arrival of the new family member.

Lenggong Valley celebrates 1st anniversary as World Heritage Site


The first anniversary celebration of Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site was officiated by Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah. A five-day carnival was held which included an art exhibition, display of traditional dishes from 18 villages, cultural shows and performance by singer Jamal Abdillah who is known as Raja Pop Malaysia.

Lenggong Valley celebrates 1st anniversary as World Heritage Site

Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the carnival was to help promote Lenggong Valley and to create awareness among  people to appreciate the priceless heritage of the country.

The recognition by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)  on June 30, last year, meant that Lenggong Valley is listed on the world tourism map and is soon to become a popular tour destination for many.  This is the fifth site in Malaysia, in addition to George Town, Malacca, Mount Kinabalu and Niah Cave, to be recognised as world heritage site.

Zambry added that since the recognition, the number of tourist arrivals had increased from 2,000 to 5,000 per month. This  positive increase can be attributed to the recognition and has also opened the door wider for the state’s tourism industry, particularly in Hulu Perak where  development will take place.

The state government together with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and National Heritage Department are preparing and developing the tourist infrastructure in Lenggong Valley. However, this  may take some time to materialise. The opening ceremony ended with fireworks display.


Happy Malaysia Day?



By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Tunku Abdul RahmanCoincidentally, the date of print of this issue of Ipoh Echo falls on the 50th Anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, Monday, September 16, 2013. In order to appreciate the true feeling of this auspicious day it is only appropriate to recall history as it is written not as it is being propagated. Since the passage of time historical facts have been distorted to such an extent that it is no longer easy to separate truth from fiction.

The formation of Malaysia was mooted by the country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1961. It would consist of Malaya, Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, all of which were British colonies. The primary reason was to allow Kuala Lumpur to monitor, control and also combat communist activities, particularly in Singapore where the Chinese population was the largest.

Singapore’s population then was about 3 million while the combined population of Malaya, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak was about 7 million. To balance out the Chinese majority in Singapore, the merging of the states in Borneo with newly independent Malaya was deemed appropriate.

Singapore Chief Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, supported the proposal. However, his opponents resisted, arguing that this was a ploy by the British to continue its presence in the region. Most political parties in Sarawak were against the merger. Community representatives in Sabah were similarly opposed. Although the Sultan of Brunei backed the idea, the Parti Rakyat Brunei repudiated the merger and this led to the Brunei Rebellion of 1962 which was successfully quelled by the deployment of two Gurkha companies to Seria and one Royal Marine company to Limbang where the hostilities were centred.

Tunku Abdul Rahman explained his proposal at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in 1961. He finally got the agreement of the British government with a proviso that feedback be obtained from the communities involved.

This led to the formation of the Cobbold Commission. The Commission was tasked to conduct a study in the Borneo territories and to make recommendations. A substantial number of Bruneians were not in favour of a merger. Sabah drew up a list of points, referred to as the 20-point agreement, as a condition for its inclusion while Sarawak prepared a similar memorandum, known as the 18-point agreement.

These memoranda have often been quoted as the basis for discontentment between East and West Malaysians and it persists till today.

A referendum was conducted in Singapore to gauge public opinion; a large number of its population supported the merger provided some autonomous rights be given. Brunei withdrew due to opposition from certain quarters and disagreement over oil royalties and the status of the Sultan in the planned merger.

Upon reviewing the Cobbold Commission’s findings, the British government appointed another commission to draft a constitution for Malaysia. The eventual constitution was essentially the same as the 1957 Malayan Constitution.

After negotiations in July 1963, it was agreed that Malaysia would come into being on August 31, 1963 to coincide with the 7th Independence Day of Malaya. However, the Philippines and Indonesia objected to this development. Indonesia claimed that Malaysia represented a form of “neocolonialism” while the Philippines insisted that Sabah was part of its territory.

The opposition delayed the formation of Malaysia.  A United Nations team was then formed to re-ascertain whether Sabah and Sarawak truly wanted to join the coalition. Malaysia was formally declared on September 16, 1963. Lee Kuan Yew’s insistence on a Malaysian Malaysia led to Singapore’s ouster in August 1965. And the rest is history.

I was in my mid-teens when Malaysia was formed. It was definitely an occasion to celebrate, as the country had just obtained its independence. It was a double whammy, of sorts. However, in a provincial town like Parit Buntar we could only look up to Kuala Lumpur to take the lead.

The country was not yet free of communist insurgents. The Malayan Communist Party was still active, especially in the border regions. With the onset of Konfrontasi with Indonesia, a national call-up was initiated.

I can still recall volunteers marching in the town padang under the watchful eyes of one very serious-looking officer. Major Zainuddin was instrumental in me joining the army, which I did five years later in 1968. Some said it was foolhardy, some said it was premature. But I did what I had to do, romanticism aside. And I had never lived to regret it.

Fifty years down the road I can now appraise the situation more realistically. What have we achieved after half a century of existence? We are still as fractious as we were five decades ago. I still need a permit to enter Sabah and Sarawak and will not be allowed to work there if I choose to. If I am considered a threat, the state authorities can put me on the next plane to Kuala Lumpur. That is the sad truth.

Am I happy on this auspicious day?

You must be kidding.


Job Opportunities in Perak


Cover Story

By Emily Lowe

During the ‘60s and ‘70s when tin and rubber were the main contributors to Malaysia’s commodity-based economy, Perak was considered the second most prosperous state in the country, after Selangor, in terms of per capita income. Besides Ipoh, towns like Kampar, Bidor and Taiping were vibrant, often associated with millionaires and Mercedes Benzes. With the collapse of the world tin industry in the early 1980s, Perak saw a turn of fortune. The closure of tin mines affected livelihood and this forced many to migrate overseas to seek greener pastures. The trend has since continued, with most choosing to remain where they pursued tertiary education.

Job opportunities in Perak-1

Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment is always an option

While statistics are not available, Pusat Kerjaya Amanjaya (PeKA), a State job placement agency, through a press statement issued on July 30, 2013, has acknowledged that many college and university graduates are finding difficulty in looking for their dream jobs.

Although PeKA was incepted in March 2011, and has secured gainful employment for 9241 job seekers via its portal www.jobsperak.com, the perception remains that skilled workers and professionals in Perak cannot get jobs that meet their requirements.

It is also worth noting that most vacancies offered at career fairs are for lower positions, and do not necessarily appeal to those with at least a degree qualification.

Questions that need to be asked such as:

  • Are there enough jobs for college/university graduates?
  • Are the youths too choosy about the nature of the jobs and/or the pay?
  • Do they have the necessary skills needed by the employers?
  • Ipoh Echo spoke to stakeholders, namely aspiring employees, potential employers and Non-Governmental Organisations for their views.
Melvin Navin
Melvin Navin

Employee Perspectives

According to Melvin Navin a/l Edwin Williams, 22, who will graduate from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) this December with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, looking for a suitable job in Ipoh will be tough. He said, “Ipoh is a small city and positions are always quickly filled. It may not be a problem looking for an in-house PR job but at this point, I am all for venturing beyond Ipoh.”

Khoo Ebel
Khoo Ebel

Khoo Ebel, 22, who graduated from the same university in May, also with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, believes that fresh graduates should not be picky when it comes to their first job. Currently working as sales coordinator at Kinta Riverfront Hotel, it is not her principal field of study, but she is beginning to like her job.

Ebel said, “I have always liked the hotel environment, and took up public relations for its wider job scope. No doubt, there is a lack of opportunity in Ipoh, but I wish to gain as much experience as I can first.”

Employer Perspectives

Alan Tan Hock Lee (Unisem)
Alan Tan Hock Lee (Unisem)

Alan Tan Hock Lee, Human Resources Manager at Unisem (M) Bhd, a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Simpang Pulai, did not believe that the quality of jobs in Perak is lacking. He countered, “There are quite a number of opportunities open. On the contrary, it is a challenge to find the right candidate to fill a vacancy. The youth nowadays are unwilling to work hard. Besides, they are looking for jobs that offer flexi-time.”

Tan continued, “The only economically viable industry in the country is manufacturing. Definitely, more has to be done to attract investors to set up their plants here, with incentive packages attractive enough for them to commit their investments.”

General Manager of Casuarina @ Meru, Chow Mun Lan, concurred, “There are a lot of job opportunities open. It depends on whether one is ready to take up the challenge or not. Job seekers are quite selective these days, as you know.”

Casuarina @ Meru, with 150 guest rooms, has scheduled its soft opening for November. There are more than 100 vacancies available across the board.

Chow continued, “We’re open to those without experience because training is provided. It’ll be an on-going learning process. Even though they may leave us at some point in time, at least they’ll be equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills.

“Therefore, I believe there are plenty of job opportunities in Ipoh, especially for those in the hospitality industry. Besides, internal staff will have priority when it comes to promotion.”

NGO Perspectives

Dato’ Gan Tack Kong, Chairman of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Perak, believes that the perception given at career fairs is grossly incorrect as most employers in the manufacturing industry prefer to advertise their vacancies through other media such as newspaper, headhunting agencies and online.

He said, “In the first six days of August 2013, there were 24 management-level vacancies offered by the industry via JobStreet, in the areas of Engineering, Purchasing, Production and Accounts, just to name a few. On the other hand, some multinational companies indicated problems in recruiting engineers in the areas of Research & Development, product development and costing. These companies are prepared to offer apprenticeship, and yet still faced difficulties in sourcing for suitable candidates.”

According to Lee Chee Ming, Chairman of the Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Social and Economic Research Committee, the job situation is both a function and reflection of the economic activities in Perak. The higher the level of economic activity the more jobs will be created.

Lee Chee Ming
Lee Chee Ming

Lee opined, “For job opportunities, people and government need to invest in consumption and capital goods. A major problem lies with low capital expenditure. Perak has some 2.8 million people or approximately ten percent of the country’s population. The state, however, has been allocated less than two percent of the annual federal capital expenditure. We need a bigger allocation for infrastructure like roads, universities, gas pipelines, public housing, etc.

“Perak is in dire need of a gas pipeline to cater for the needs of industries in the Kinta Valley. The cost of laying such a line from Tronoh to Simpang Pulai is estimated at RM160 million. For over 10 years now we are still discussing  where the funding for this much needed pipeline will come from.

“The bulk of the capital expenditure and development under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) will go to Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley, Penang and Iskandar Johore. Most of the jobs created over the next seven years until 2020 will be in these three growth areas. If we have high speed trains that run at 300km/h connecting towns from the north to the south of Peninsular Malaysia, people can actually live in smaller towns and commute daily to work in larger cities. This will ensure a geographically more balanced development.

“Ipoh airport has recently been upgraded and the runway extended. We’ve yet to see the much needed direct flights to regional metropolitan cities like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Connectivity and easier accessibility will not only bring in more tourists but also foreign investments.

“To encourage private sector investment, domestic and foreign, we need a business-friendly public delivery system that is second to none. Relevant authorities should hold frequent dialogues with trade associations and help their members to grow, expand and be successful. Successful businesses are our best ambassadors to attract new investors. This has to be complemented with an efficient and transparent public delivery system.

“Currently, it is people-driven, very much dependant on the availability of the officers-in-charge. We should move towards a system-driven approach where the process of application for permits and licences has a specific timeline. Rejections should have reasons stated and suggestions for the applicants to meet compliance. This will go a long way towards attracting new investments.”

Fahimah Mohamad Farid
Fahimah Mohamad Farid (internet entrepreneur)
The Bargain Palace (young entrepreneurs)
The Bargain Palace (young entrepreneurs)

Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment

Suitable jobs may be difficult to come by, especially for those without work experience. However, thinking out of the box, is it set in stone that fresh graduates must seek employment? If opportunities are difficult to come by, why not create one yourself?

The world is our marketplace, thanks to the Internet. Fahimah Mohamad Farid, 26, who prefers to be called Emma, is a diploma holder in batik art craft from the National Craft Institute in Rawang, Selangor. Emma sews felt owl plushies for sale under her brand name, Felt Ville, not only through the Internet but also at local bazaars.

Brandon Choy is a 16-year-old student of SMJK Sam Tet, Ipoh. He and two friends started a T-shirt designing and printing business in November 2011, offering their services to student clubs. Brandon said, “The decision to start The Bargain Palace was easy as there was a void. Besides, communicating with my peers isn’t a problem. Business was very tough initially, as we had to gain our clients’ trust first.”

Brandon’s partner, Gerald Leong, a fourth former at the same school, said the idea to go into business came about because he is not academically-inclined. However, there is no denying about the importance of education and plans to pursue a degree in electrical and electronics in Taiwan, and thereafter, establish a career overseas.

When it comes to job hunting, Gerald said, “It is easier to land a job if one is skill-trained.” Wise words from a 17-year-old lad.