Saturday, June 18, 2016

Forum on "The impact of Plastics on the Sustainability of Environment: Should Plastics be Banned?

June 18, 2016

The Perak State government has announced that plastics especially Polystyrene will be banned from 1st June 2017. But this will be done in stages starting from 1st June 2016 where the use of plastics will be banned on certain day of the week in all our government agencies and local council.

Ipoh City Council was among the very first local council to announce the banning of plastics at all its canteen on every Friday beginning 1st June 2016.

At Ipoh City Watch (ICW), we are concerned about the impact of plastics on our environment and wellness. Thus we welcome the move by the Perak State government. Johore and Penang are the other states in Malaysia that have taken such measures.

Plastics generally contributes about 15% of the total garbage that goes to the landfill. To reduce this, ICW has started the recycling campaign in Ipoh to encourage Ipohites to separate their garbage and to practice recycling.

However, the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (Perak Branch) committee members met with ICW and KOHIJAU as well representative of Perak SWCorp to provide their opinions about the banning of plastics.

Thus a forum has been mooted to give the public an opportunity to listen to the various views. 4 panel speakers have been invited to speak during the forum. They are;

a.       Prof. Madya Dr. Richard Ng, Pengerusi Ipoh City Watch
b.      Puan Hjh Fatimah Ahmad, Pengarah SWCorp Perak
c.       Datuk Lim Kok Boon, Presiden, Persatuan Pekilang Plastik Malaysia

d.      En. Zulqarnain Bin Mohamed, Pengarah Perancangan Bandar, MBI

Details of the forum are as follows:

Date: 21 June 2016
Time: 2pm to 5.30pm
Venue: Weil Hotel, Ipoh, Perak

The forum is open to public. Entrance is FOC. All environment lovers and stakeholders are invited to attend.

Perak, Johor to ban polystyrene - The Star

19 April 2016

IPOH: Perak and Johor, which are moving towards a ban on polystyrene containers, are encouraging people to use tiffin carriers or other biodegradable containers.
The Perak government has declared a total ban on the usage of polystyrene containers and plastic bags from June next year.
Residents here will have to use biodegradable containers or their own shopping bags then.

Perak Environment Committee chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria (BN-Batu Kurau) said the ban would be enforced in stages starting with state government buildings this June, citing that cafeterias there would have to use biodegradable containers every Friday.
“In the second stage, the ban will be extended from weekly to daily, starting January 2017.
“The third stage will take place during the same period at the premises of all local governments in the state.
“Finally, the fourth stage will start in June 2017 when the usage of polystyrene and plastic bags will be banned throughout the state, especially in supermarkets, hypermarkets and sundry stores,” he said at a press conference yesterday.
Muhammad Amin said the ban would be enforced by all local authorities in every district.
“Although the move may seem drastic, this is an issue that the state has been contemplating for a while now. We are indeed serious in eliminating polystyrene and plastic waste, so we decided to implement the ban in stages so that the people are given time to get used to the idea of using their own containers and shopping bags,” he said.
Muhammad Amin said the state would work with the Department of Environment to build more e-waste collection centres so that the waste could be handled in a safe manner.
In Iskandar Puteri, state Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said there would be an announcement on the ban by the end of the year.
For now, consumers in Johor should start bringing their own tiffin carriers or food containers for takeaways.
He said the state authorities were conducting a study before banning the use of plastic and polystyrene containers, acknowledging that this was a delicate issue.
Ayub said plastic and polystyrene containers had been clogging up drains and rivers and even becoming mosquito-breeding grounds.
Speaking to reporters, Ayub said that 80% of the 160 tonnes of the rubbish collected yearly in Sungai Skudai, one of the dirtiest rivers in Johor, was made up of polystyrene and plastic.
He also cautioned that the price of takeaway food should not increase once the ban was enforced.
“Customers may not be happy if they are charged an extra 50 sen for taking away food in biodegradable containers.”
Ayub said the state government wanted to encourage food operators to gradually switch to biodegradable containers.
Both Penang and Malacca have banned the use of polystyrene containers in their states.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bye bye plastic bags - The Star


FOLKS in Perak have lauded the state government’s decision to ban the usage of polystyrene containers and plastic bags beginning in June next year.
Perak Environment Committee Chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Amin Zakaria said the ban will be enforced in stages starting with state government buildings this June. Cafeterias in the state’s buildings have to use biodegradable containers every Friday.

The second stage will see the ban extended from weekly to daily, starting January 2017.
The third stage, also set for January 2017, will cover the premises of all municipal councils in the state.
The fourth stage, starting June 2017, will see the use of polystyrene and plastic bags banned throughout the state.
For S. Selvamani, 52, enforcing the ban in stages is a good move, as people will have time to adapt to it.
“It is not a sudden move, which is good. It gives the people some breathing space.
“The government certainly sees the need for a cleaner environment, hence the move. Many people these days throw rubbish everywhere especially plastics and polystyrene.”
Having already used recyclable bags and food containers to store or keep things for almost three years, engineer Johan Lau, 34, said it is about time the state government enforced such a move.
“Awareness is also important. The state government, with the help of the Health Ministry and Environment and Natural Resources Ministry should come up with plans to educate the people.
“Enforcement is not enough. Education is important too,” said Lau.
Nur Iwani Rohizat, 20, originally from Penang, feels that the move is right.
“When I was in Penang, the state government there had already imposed a ban on plastic and polystyrene. We got used to it and realised how important the move was.
“Since we had to pay 20 cents for a plastic bag as a part of the ban, we started using our own bags made fabric. It is environmentally friendly.”
Restaurant owner Hoor Chong Yang said rules are rules and they have to be followed when it is implemented
“It is pointless to oppose the ban as it will lead to a better environment and I could actually save some money too since I won’t need to buy plastic bags!” said the 35 year old who lives in Bercham.
However, a grocery store owner, who wished to be known as Thilagar, feels that the move is not going to benefit the community.
“Well, I do support the ban of polystyrenes for food packaging, but it is going to be very difficult if people are not allowed to use plastic bags.

“For example, some of my customers don’t bring their recyclable bags or baskets to shop.
“I will have to charge extra for bags made from recyclable materials and the customers will not be happy if I do that,” he said.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

‘Jatuh Cinta Dengan Bahasa Kebangsaan’ - Suara Perak

March 3, 2016

ASALNYA dari keluarga miskin, anak kampung di Tanjung Rambutan kini sudah berjaya mencipta nama sebagai seorang tokoh ilmuan dalam membantu membina masyarakat berilmu.

   Sekali pandang, tiada siapa menyangka Profesor Dr. Richard Ng bukan sahaja mampu menguasai bahasa Melayu dengan baik malah juga turut memahami adat resam orang Melayu.

   Beliau menyedari betapa penguasaan bahasa Melayu atau bahasa kebangsaan itu amat penting sebagai bahasa penghubung di kalangan rakyat Malaysia.

   “Saya adalah anak keempat dari enam beradik yang pernah hidup susah kerana keluarga miskin  dan kami ketika itu tinggal di kampung dan ladang bercampur gaul dengan orang Melayu.

   “Walaupun masih kecil  ketika itu tetapi pemikiran saya matang kerana memahami keadaan ibu bapa saya yang hidup susah sehinggalah saya berazam untuk membantu mereka,” ceritanya ketika ditemui wakil Suara Perak.

Sanggup Masuk Kelas Malam Demi Kuasai Bahasa Melayu
Langkah pertama yang diambilnya ialah memasuki kelas malam bahasa Melayu dan akhirnya dapat menguasai bahasa itu dengan baik, setanding dengan rakan sekampungnya yang terdiri dari anak-anak Melayu.

   “Semasa belajar di Sekolah Rendah Methodist Tanjung Rambutan alirannya adalah bahasa Inggeris dan apabila tamat darjah enam saya mempunyai dua pilihan ketika itu, sama ada sambung belajar di sekolah aliran Inggeris atau aliran Melayu.

   “Akhirnya saya mengambil keputusan memilih untuk belajar di Sekolah Menengah Raja Chulan dengan memasuki kelas peralihan  pada tahun 1970 sehingga ke tingkatan enam tahun 1978.

   “Memasuki sekolah aliran Melayu ini saya rasa semangat satu Malaysia tiada terpinggir langsung semua bangsa bercampur gaul dengan penggunaan bahasa pengantar bahasa Melayu,” katanya.

Beliau menceritakan, selepas tamat tingkatan enam tahun 1978 dengan mendapat sijil penuh tetapi tidak berpeluang melanjutkan pelajaran kerana ketika itu hanya terdapat lima institusi pengajian tinggi maka beliau bekerja sambilan sebagai guru tusyen.

   “Saya mengajar di sebuah madrasah di hospital Tanjung Rambutan kerana waktu itu orang kampung mencari guru matematik yang mahir.

   “Saya merasa amat bangga kerana kesemua anak didik saya berjaya mendapat keputusan cemerlang dalam matematik,” ujarnya.

Melanjutkan Pelajaran  

Memikirkan mengenai masa depannya kerana mengajar sambilan sebagai guru tuisyen tidak menjamin masa depan, Dr Richard mengambil keputusan untuk melanjutkan pelajarannya dalam bidang komputer sehingga akhir berjaya memperolehi diploma.

   Beliau kemudian ditawarkan bekerja sebagai pengurus di Institute Informatic sebelum dilantik sebagai Timbalah Pengarah di institut berkenaan pada tahun 1994 dan seterusnya dihantar bekerja di Singapura pada 1995 sebagai Pengarah Asia Tenggara.

   Pada 1996, beliau pulang semula ke Ipoh dengan memegang jawatan baru sebagai pengarah sebuah kolej perniagaan yang lebih menjurus kepada kursus-kursus perniagaan.

   Katanya, pada tahun 1998 beliau telah mendapat tawaran bekerja sebagai Ketua Eksekutif Kolej Utama Perak di Ipoh sebelum meletakkan jawatan dan menubuhkan kolej Teknologi PIE pada tahun 1999.

Dr Richard kemudian menyambung pelajarannya untuk mendapatkan ijazah di Ottawa Universiti, Amerika Syarikat sebelum pulang ke tanah air dan membuka sebuah kolej perniagaannya sendiri selama empat tahun dari 2000 hingga 2004.

   Kegawatan ekonomi pada waktu itu menyebabkan beliau mengambil keputusan untuk menjual kolejnya dan seterusnya menerima tawaran untuk bekerja sebagai Pengarah Wilayah Wawasan Open University.
   “Selepas setahun bekerja, saya ditawarkan oleh OUM pada 2007 dengan memegang jawatan sebagai Pengarah Wilayah Perak sehingga ke hari ini,” katanya.

   Dr Richard menambah kerana prestasi kerjanya, beliau mendapat biasiswa untuk menyambung pelajaran di peringkat Doktor Falsafah (PhD) dan seterusnya dinaikkan pangkat menjadi Profesor Madya pada 2011.

   Pada tahun 2014, beliau dinaikkan pangkat apabila dilantik sebagai Pengarah Pemasaran Pemasaran Kumpulan untuk menjaga 34 cawangan seluruh Malaysia.

 Aktif Dalam NGO 

 Walaupun kedudukannya kini stabil dan terkenal sebagai seorang tokoh ilmuan, namun  Dr Richard tetap bergerak aktif menerajui sebuah badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) diberi nama Ipoh City Watch (ICW) yang menjadi mata dan telinga kepada pembayar cukai pintu di Bandaraya Ipoh.

   Menurut beliau, ICW sebenarnya bukan NGO baharu, malah sudah wujud pada tahun 2002 tetapi telah dibubarkan oleh pihak pendaftar pertubuhan kerana menyimpang dari matlamat asal penubuhannya.

   “Sebaik mengambil alihnya selepas pembubaran pada tahun 2013, saya memfokuskan badan ini dalam pelbagai kegiatan sosial dan komuniti termasuk pemb ayar cukai pintu sehinggalah ke hari ini,” katanya.

   Pendekatan yang diambil ketika ini ialah berdamping dengan masyarakat untuk mengesan permasalahan mereka.

   “Kita mengambil pendekatan tiga prinsip iaitu mendampingi masyarakat, memahami permasalahan mereka dan mengajar atau membimbing mereka bagi menangani masalah itu,” ujarnya.

   Beliau memberikan contoh tentang isu pembayaran cukai dimana masyarakat diajar supaya melaksanakan tanggungjawab membayar cukai dan jangan hanya pandai menyalahkan kerajaan.

   “Jangan hanya pandai menyalahkan kerajaan sahaja tetapi sebagai warga Ipoh, kita juga seharusnya memberikan idea dan cadangan untuk membangunkan Bandaraya Ipoh,” tambahnya.

   Menurut Dr Richard, antara pencapaian yang dibuat oleh ICW ialah mendapat tajaan membina papan tanda (billboard) dengan mesej yang jelas iaitu `Kebersihan Bandaraya Ipoh Tanggungjawab Kita Bersama’.

   Selain itu, katanya, ICW telah dikenali ramai apabila menjadi NGO yang menjalin kerjasama dengan Perbadanan Sisa Pepejal Perak (SWCORP) dalam melaksanakan Program Komuniti berupa projek Komuniti Kitar Semula pertama di Malaysia iaitu di Jelapang Tambahan yang dilancarkan oleh Exco kerajaan negeri, YB Dato’ Rusnah Kassim pada 4 April lalu.

   “Ramai orang bertanya kepada saya mengapa dibuat projek itu di kawasan pembangkang tetapi saya memberitahu mereka, sama ada kawasan pembangkang atau kawasan BN yang penting kita turun padang bersama dengan masyarakat bagi menjayakan program komuniti ini,” katanya.

   Beliau memberitahu, program tersebut yang dihadiri hampir 200 penduduk telah berjaya menghasilkan 1,376 bahan kitar semula daripada bahan longgokan sampah haram.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ICW participated in the 6th Ipoh Car Free Day to promote Recycling and Clean Environment

ICW was invited by Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh to participated in the 6th Car Free day on 27 March 2016. Over 3,000 people participated in the programme.

A summary of Ipoh City Watch activities in 2015

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

City council moves to clear congestion at Ipoh’s railway station - The Malaysian Insider

March 7, 2016

The Ipoh City Council's enforcement team stationed at Dataran KTMB. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Jerry Francis, March 7, 2016.

This is thanks to the Ipoh City Council for moving in to prevent vendors from attracting crowds with attractions such as roller-skates, skate-boards and battery powered mini-scooters and cars.
Such attractions had resulted in the square becoming a festival ground for the city folk at night, particularly during weekends and eves of public holidays.
The area would become congested, obstructing those entering the railway station, which has become busy with KTM increasing the frequency of its electric train services.

The carnival-like atmosphere was damaging this city’s main attraction, which is located in the centre of its famous heritage buildings.
Not only were the plants and grass damaged, some cracks had also appeared on the concrete floor around the fountain and the “Ipoh Tree.”
In the past one week, several enforcement officers had been stationed there at night-time to take action against such vendors.
A check with Ipoh Mayor Datuk Zamri Man confirmed the presence of enforcement personnel at the square.
Acknowledging that trading was not allowed at the square, he said a notification of the rule had been posted at the square some time ago.
“I have done spot checks at the railway station and noted the traffic congestion. It was manageable but not as comfortable as it should be,” said Zamri, adding that the traders contributed to the traffic congestion.
“The council has been doing enforcement. However to be effective, we will be monitoring the location more regularly for the benefit and comfort of all parties.”
Yahaya Long, 54, who was waiting to pick up his son, who was returning from Kuala Lumpur on the 11pm Electric Train Service last Saturday, gave the thumbs up to the presence of the enforcement personnel.
He described the traffic as “so much better” with their presence. – March 7, 2016.