Monday, November 20, 2017

Deepavali get-together to be held in Ipoh - Star Metro Perak

10 Nov 2017

Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1Malaysia organising chairman Prof Dr Richarg Ng (centre, with coat) taking a group photograph with representatives of all 22 non-governmental organisations following a meeting.

A GROUP of 22 non-governmental organisations are collaborating to organise the “Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1Malaysia” event.
The gathering will be held at Ipoh Town Hall on Nov 18 from 1pm to 6pm and co-organised with the Perak police and state Health Department.
Participating NGOs include Ipoh City Watch, Persatuan Prihatin Wanita Perak, Perak Women for Women, Jelapang Rukun Tetangga, Jelapang Sports and Recreational Club, Lions Club of Perak Silver State, Malaysian Medical Association (Perak Branch), Kampar Education Foundation, Bercham Safety and Volunteers Association, Taman Rishah 1B Rukun Tetangga, Kohijau, iCYCLE Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Interaction Cultural Association, Kinta Athletic Association, Teduhan Kelana, Greentown Wellness, Perak Indian Muslim Association, Persatuan Pink Champion Perak, CARING, Persatuan Anti Jenayah Bersatu Cawangan Perak and Pemadam Kinta District.
Organising chairman Dr Richard Ng said the event is meant to celebrate Deepavali with the people, especially senior citizens in the Kinta district.
“This is the first time in Perak where NGOs are coming together to organise such an event for the people.
“The objective is to show that NGOs can collaborate effectively as a third force to assist the government in solving some of the social problems faced by the rakyat as well as fostering unity among the various ethnic groups,” hesaid.
Ng, who is also Ipoh City Watch president and Kohijau chairman, said the programme was open to the public and would have a host of activities.such as free health screenings and consultations on diabetes, blood pressure, heart, breast cancer and general fitness.
There will be talks on crime, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse by experts from the participating NGOs and the police.
Counters will be opened to those who are keen to be volunteers to fight crime, protectwomen and children, and practise recycling.
There will be a market where used clothes, bags and other household items that will be given out for free to the needy.
Ng said the first 100 children below 15 years old will be given Deepavali money packets.
About 100 food boxes will be distributed to selected senior citizens and poorfamiliesthey will be treated to a high tea.
“A lucky draw is scheduled at the end of the programme,” he said, adding that state Non-Governmental Organisation and Civil Societies Committee Chairman Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan is expected to grace the event.

Building big-hearted businesses - Star Metro Perak

20 Nov 2017

IT has been more than a year since Ipoh was declared a Social Business City by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir during the Pangkor International Development Dialogue in September last year.
Since then, the Ipoh City Council had been busy meeting and having town hall sessions with various organisations and individuals to plan and create the ideal Social Business City where people can solve various local and social issues.
Ipoh Datuk Bandar Datuk Zamri Man said the city council wanted everything to be in place before they went full steam ahead.
“The implementation of the Social Business City is still at its early stage.
“We are still having a series of town hall meetings and public engagements so they can have a better understanding of the concept,” he said.
“We are also planning to have collaborations with our twin sister city Fukuoka, to learn more from them on the implementation of the concept,” he added.
He said the city council was also discussing with Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) to help set up a Social Business Hub to attract more social entrepreneurs with calibre.
“The Social Business Hub is among our plan to allow start-up businesses to thrive.
“When in operation, it will become the centre to develop new and interested entrepreneurs,” he said.
Once implemented, Ipoh will be the first Social Business City in South-East Asia and the second in Asia, after Fukuoka and the fifth in the world.
The other Social Business Cities include Wiesbarden in Germany, Pistoia in Italy and Barcelona, Spain.
A social business is aimed at overcoming an issue for the benefit of needy and unfortunate persons and does not prioritise on generating profit.
It is an alternative to social welfare aid system for continuous and sustainable financial source.
Revenue from its investment capital will be reinvested for the purpose of achieving sustainable social impact.
Zamri said it was the state’s vision to have Ipoh emulate the existing Social Business Cities that had successfully resolved its social and environmental issues.
“In Ipoh, we hope to implement a social business model to address issues pertaining to poverty, drugs and safety.
“We also want to open up opportunities for youth to develop their potentials, talents and ensure equity development,” he said.
Zamri said the city council’s role was to encourage the development of social businesses through cooperation with the non-governmental organisations, dedicated folk, state government and private agencies to resolve certain issues.
“We will increase our efforts to promote this business concept to more entrepreneurs.
“We have identified several of these entrepreneurs that we can work together with to hold activities,” he said.
“Some of them are working closely with us during the monthly Car-Free Day programme,” he added.
Zamri said long before Dr Zambry made the announcement, there had been many social businesses operating in the city.
Among these, he said, were Daybreak, Ray of Hope, Salvation Army, Anning and several others.
Another example, Zamri said, was Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Bhd (Kohijau), which was set up to tackle the issue of solid waste management.
“They have introduced a merit system whereby participants would be rewarded by sending in their recyclable waste to special bins to be recycled.
“Another example is MBike, which prepares environmental-friendly electric trishaw services for tourists in the city,” he said, adding that MBike has about 30 trishaws and several bicycles to be rented out.
“It has received positive response from tourists visiting heritage sites in the city,” he added.
He said MBike was also planning to provide the bicycle-sharing service, known as Cycledios to several other towns in the state, pending approval from the respective local governments.
Zamri said he believed that social businesses would be the model for the future.
“Not only that it will be a main contributor to the country’s economy, it will also help resolve a lot of issues that cannot be handled by the Government alone without the involvement of other parties.
“Given ample training and support from the Government, social business will have a big positive impact on the state and country,” he said.

‘Kekuatan Perpaduan Antara Parti Komponen, Sebab Mengapa Rakyat Masih Memilih BN’ - Perak Today

18 Nov 2017

“Itu merupakan hak mereka dan yang penting, kita telah tunjukkan kepada rakyat bahawa segala usaha kerajaan negeri ini hanyalah untuk rakyat”
Demikian jawapan ADUN Ayer Kuning, merangkap Ketua UMNO Tapah, Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan ketika diminta mengulas kenyataan Timbalan Presiden PKR, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali yang yakin kononnya Perak akan jatuh ke tangan pembangkang, dengan strategi pengagihan kerusi antara mereka.
Tambah Samsudin, kekuatan dan perpaduan yang ada dalam parti-parti komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) ini adalah formula kenapa BN masih mendapat tempat dihati semua pengundi khususnya di Perak.

“(Berbanding dengan pembangkang) kesatuan kita, yang terbina sejak era merdeka sehingga kini ianya sangat konsisten.
“Pada masa sama, (di pihak BN) kita juga tidak mempunyai masalah besar khususnya dalam pengagihan kerusi,” katanya yang juga Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Usahawan dan Koperasi, Hal Ehwal Pengguna,NGO dan Masyarakat Sivil.
Beliau berkata demikian kepada media ketika ditemui di Pesta Cahaya Deepavali  1Malaysia di Dewan Bandaraya Ipoh, dekat sini, pada Sabtu.

Bajet Negeri 2018: Kerajaan Negeri Diharap Dapat Memperkasakan NGO Sebagai Kuasa Ketiga - Perak Today

18 Nov 2017

Kerajaan Negeri diharap dapat memperkasakan institusi Badan Bukan Kerajaan (NGO) di Perak khususnya dalam usaha menjadikan ia sebagai kuasa ketiga dan penghubung antara kerajaan negeri dan rakyat.
Pengerusi NGO Ipoh City Watch dan Koperasi Alam Hijau Perak Berhad (KOHIJAU), Profesor Madya Dr Richard Ng, berkata beliau berharap melalui belanjawan negeri yang bakal dibentangkan pada minggu hadapan ini, dapat memberi penekanan khusus kepada 6,000 NGO di negeri ini.
“Dalam usaha hendak menjadikan NGO ini sebagai kuasa ketiga dan pada masa sama, sebagai mata dan telinga kerajaan negeri, kita memohon agar bajet kali ini, dapat diagihkan kepada semua NGO, berdasarkan impak, prestasi dan nilai sumbangan mereka kepada masyarakat,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada media ketika ditemui di Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1Malaysia di Dewan Bandaraya Ipoh, dekat sini, pada Sabtu.
Yang turut hadir, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Usahawan dan Koperasi, Hal Ehwal Pengguna,NGO dan Masyarakat Sivil, Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan, bersama-sama 500 orang yang terdiri daripada 25 NGO negeri serta tiga agensi kerajaan.
Dalam majlis tersebut Samsudin turut menyampaikan sijil penghargaan kepada wakil-wakil NGO dan 100 kotak sumbangan daripada Yayasan Bina Upaya (YBU) kepada golongan yang memerlukan.

Peruntukan NGO Perak Dalam Bajet 2018 - Suara Perak

18 Nov 2017

Kerajaan negeri Perak turut menyediakan peruntukan untuk memperkasakan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) di negeri ini dalam Bajet 2018 yang akan dibentangkan Selasa depan.
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pembangunan Usahawan dan Koperasi, Hal Ehwal Pengguna, NGO dan Masyarakat Sivil negeri, Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan berkata, Perak mungkin menjadi satu-satunya negeri di negara ini yang menyediakan peruntukan seumpama itu.

Bagaimanapun, kata beliau, ia bukanlah dalam jumlah yang banyak, sebaliknya sekadar untuk membantu meringankan beban kewangan NGO.
“Tidaklah banyak kerana kita mahu NGO juga berusaha sendiri, tanpa mengharapkan sepenuhnya daripada kerajaan,” katanya ketika berucap merasmikan Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1Malaysia di Dewan Bandaran Ipoh di sini, pada Sabtu.
Turut hadir Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Penganjur, Prof Madya Dr. Richard Ng yang juga Pengerusi Ipoh City Watch dan Kohijau dan Timbalan Pengerusi Penganjur, Datin Normah Hanum Ibrahim yang juga Pengerusi Persatuan Prihatin Wanita Perak.
Pesta Cahaya Deepavali 1 Malaysia dijayakan melalui Strategi Lautan Biru Kebangsaan (NBOS) oleh 25 NGO dan tiga agensi kerajaan.
Samsudin berharap, selain menjaga kepentingan ahli-ahli, NGO juga dapat memainkan peranan untuk menjelaskan mengenai dasar dan polisi kerajaan kepada rakyat.
Menurut beliau, usaha itu perlu bagi memastikan keamanan dan kesejahteraan negara berbilang kaum dan agama ini akan terus terpelihara.
Pada majlis itu, Samsudin turut menyampaikan sumbangan kotak makanan sumbangan Yayasan Bina Upaya (YBU) di samping menyaksikan persembahan daripada pelbagai kaum.
Sementara itu, Dr. Richard berkata, inilah pertama kali banyak NGO bergabung tenaga untuk menjayakan program seumpama itu, yang melibatkan semua kaum di negeri ini.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Making Ipoh a Walkable City

13 Sept 2017

The talk by guest speaker Mike Cornette, the mayor of Oklahoma City, USA, during Pangkor Dialogue recently on how he has successfully transformed  the city from the second highest number of obese people 4 years ago into one of the fittest city in USA today has triggered our memory about making Ipoh as one of the most liveable city in Malaysia. His “The city is going on diet” campaign has got the city with a population of over 600,000 to opt for walking instead of driving by providing making it more walkable.

When Ipoh Mayor, Dato Zamri Man was sworn in as the 10th mayor of Ipoh on 1st July 2015, he has pledged to make Ipoh the most liveable city in Malaysia as his first mission. That was exactly the same Vision Statement of Ipoh City Watch, an NGO that represents the voice, eyes and ears of Ipoh rate payers.

According to the Economist which ranked 140 cities throughout the world, a liveability ranking scores these cities based on 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. A liveable place has affordable and appropriate housing, with easy access to jobs, mobility options and adequate services.

Professor Rob Adams, Director of City Design for the City of Melbourne, says liveability is about choice and access. A city feels liveable if its citizens have choices – the choice to walk instead of drive for example. Thus “Walkability” is one of the basic indicators of a liveable city. Not surprising Melbourne is the most liveable city in the world for the seventh consecutive time because it is certainly walkable, with functioning hard infrastructure.

The Walk Score, which measures walkability, uses a tool that measure based on the distance to the closest amenity in each category. The highest Walk Score is given for amenities within 400m, and the score declines as the distance approaches 1.6km. No socre is given beyond this distance. The number of nearby amenities is the leading predictor of whether people walk. Relevant amenities include businesses, parks, theaters, schools and other common destinations.

While we have several parks within the city such as the D.R. Seenivasagam Park, the Polo Ground and Gunung Lang, many this parks are not within a walkable distance to most housing areas within Ipoh. Ipoh City is still lacking walkways and sidewalks within city that will encourage people to walk.

The Ipoh City Council has started planting trees and introduced Ipoh Car Free Day 2 years ago to promote a low net carbon emission city. Since its first launch on 18 October 2015, the Ipoh Car Free Day has attracted thousands of people to participate in various activities. This once in a month programme does help to create awareness among the participants.

However, this good effort must be followed with encouraging people to abandon their cars and opt for public transportation or take a walk to help further reduce carbon emission. Thus Mayor Mike Cornette’s talk was a timely reminder for Ipoh City Council to relook at its efforts in promoting walking by making the city more walkable.    

One big problem faced by Ipohites is the lack of parking space especially at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital where there are many visitors parked their cars by the roadside. Despite having sidewalks provided from the nearby parking space opposite the Greentown Health Clinics, many choose to ignore. The Ipoh City Council should do more to promote walking by providing covered walkways with pollard and enforce the use Zebra Crossing and overhead bridge due to the extreme weather conditions and safety concern. Trees can also be planted along these walkways within the city to provide shade for the users.

Existing walkways in most gardens are covered with grass which the Ipoh City Council should mobilise its staff to clear the grass on a fixed schedule. These sidewalks are also perceived to be not safe as there are many snatch theft cases as well as accidents happened in the past. Along these sidewalks, pollards should be erected and planted with plants to provide greenery.

According to Walk Score, walkability is a measure of how friendly an area is to walking. Walkability has health, environmental, and economic benefits. Factors influencing walkability include the presence or absence and quality of footpathssidewalks or other pedestrian rights-of-way, traffic and road conditions, land use patterns, building accessibility, and safety, among others. Walkability is an important concept in sustainable urban design which Pangkor Dialogue is all about.

Of course what Oklahoma City has done may not necessary mean it can be done the same in Ipoh. This is because the mayor was elected and that any proposal on spending must get the approval of the people. When majority of the people voted to make the city walkable it can then be implemented with the people’s support and participation.

One good question posted during the Leadership Forum at the Pangkor Dialogue chaired by our Menteri Besar was about what make a good and effective leader. The answer provided by Mike Cornette was: “A good leader must be a good listener of the people. A leader who is out of touch of the people will soon be out of the job.”

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ipoh, The Cleanest City? - Ipoh Echo

1 Sept 2017

By Mei Kuan, Ili Aqilah and Khaleeja Suhaimi
Ipoh was recently named Malaysia’s cleanest city in 2016 ahead of Penang and 2015’s cleanest city, Johor Bharu. Based on the ministerial rating system, Ipoh scored 97.45. This was announced by the Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government Minister on August 14.
“When the rating system was first introduced in 2008, Ipoh scored only 3 stars, a decade later, 5 stars and was ranked first in the country. Ipoh is definitely the model to emulate when it comes to handling waste management,” said Tan Sri Noh Omar, Minister of Urban Well Being, Housing and Local Government during a ceremony held at Ipoh Convention Centre (ICC) recently. The other town in Perak that made it to the top ten is Manjung with 94.75 points.
Ipoh Echo sent its team to get feedback from Ipoh City Council, NGOs and members of the public regarding the award and determine whether Ipoh is indeed the cleanest city in Malaysia.
The Role of Ipoh City Council
Mayor Dato’ Zamri Man is a man with a mission. He is determined to keep Ipoh clean. He does so by organising activities such as gotong royong, cleaning drains, clearing illegal dumps and encouraging Ipohites to recycle trash.
His other efforts include erecting lamp posts along Kinta River, lighting up trees along the streets and planting new trees within city limits.
“In order to maintain cleanliness, the public must work together with us. What’s the point of getting five stars if we don’t play a part in achieving a sustainable environment?” said Zamri.
In conjunction with the Perak Yang Bersih (Clean Perak) campaign launched by Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd. Kadir on March 31, the council has organised a dedicated cleaning campaign every third Friday of the month.
The campaign will be conducted throughout the year with different themes every month. The theme for August was Smart Partnership, September is on Green Run, October pertains to Car Free Day, November will be about clean rivers and landscaping while December is on recycled items.
A total of 74 gotong royong were held from the beginning of the year till August 12. A total of 10,876 illegal dumps were cleared.
Vandalism is a recurring problem in Ipoh. Those caught can be jailed for six months or fined RM1000.
In order to maintain the cleanliness, Ipohites should play their part. They should start by picking up rubbish they see on the ground. Most of us are of the impression that such simple acts amount to nothing.
We should start recycling instead of throwing away papers, plastics and aluminium. We do not realise how recycling can impact our lives.
The mayor has stressed a lot on going green and planting trees, in and around the city. In fact, every household is encouraged to have plants in their compound to increase the oxygen level in Ipoh.
Last year, Ipoh City Council in collaboration with Maybank planted 500 plants from Gunung Cheroh right to People’s Park.
“My gratitude and congratulations to Ipoh City Council for attaining this award. We’re very happy to achieve this and we hope to attain it every other year,” said Zamri at the August full-board meeting.
In order to maintain the 5-star status, Ipohites need to work hand-in-hand with the council. Upgrading the Kinta Riverwalk is imperative.
“We’ll improve the lighting and make things more conducive for tourists. The whole works will cost around RM4 million. My proposal is still being considered by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture,” Zamri remarked.
Role of Ipoh City Watch
Associate Professor Dr Richard Ng, President of Ipoh City Watch (ICW) cum Chairman of KOHIJAU shared his thoughts with Ipoh Echo on the matter, “The announcement caught Ipohites by surprise. Many accepted it with mixed feelings because there’s still a lot of illegal dumpsites in the city.”
“It’s not a surprise to me for many reasons. Firstly, Perak was declared the second cleanest state in Malaysia in 2016 by the Malaysian Tourism Board after Terengganu, based on certain criteria. Ipoh was also accredited by Lonely Planet as one the top 10 recommended destinations in Asia,” he added.
Among the criteria used include having strategic action plans, commitment to quality operations, innovations and creativity, use of ICT, integrity, good record keeping, handling of customers’ complaints and feedback, and media reports on activities of the council.  
Compared to the other local councils, Ipoh City Council has scored the highest points based on cleanliness. This includes environment-control activities with a maximum score of 3.25 points, solid waste management and disposal, and cleanliness of public places such as People’s Park and toilets which score 1.75 points, handling customers’ feedback and complaints with a score of 5.00 points, and community involvement, which include conduct of LA21 activities for a sustainable environment which score 10.00 points.
Thus criteria for cleanliness have a total score of 20.00/100.00 or 20% of the Local Government Star Rating system. Out of these 20 points, Ipoh City Council scored the highest among all the local councils making Ipoh the cleanest city in Malaysia.
“Credit goes to the mayor, Dato’ Zamri Man whose leadership got things moving to achieve the various key performance indicators set. Nevertheless, our Menteri Besar Dr Zambry Abd Kadir should also be thanked for this success. He was the man responsible for making Perak and Ipoh what they are today. Perak will soon be the cleanest state in Malaysia.”
According to Richard, many critics have tried to belittle our MB labelling him the garbage man not knowing that by going down with the mayor and the workers, he was setting an example to all local council staff to take cleanliness seriously. Zambry also launched the Clean Perak campaign on March 31 setting the stage for Perakeans to follow.
Ipoh Car Free Day, launched two years ago by the council, tree-planting campaign and tree tagging have also contributed towards making Ipoh the cleanest city.
“However, much still needs to be done by the council and the state government if we want to retain the cleanest city status. These include effective enforcement to ensure that perpetrators of illegal dumping are caught and prosecuted. The current fine of RM500 does not deter these litterbugs,” Richard pointed out.
“All business outlets must have a rubbish bin each before their business licenses are renewed. Cleaning must also be done twice daily by council workers, as practised in China and Japan. The workers must also be monitored and given key performance indicators as a form of motivation,” he added.
“The council must ensure its complaint and feedback system is people-friendly and can be assessed in different ways convenient for the people. The complaint system must be managed by staff who are people-friendly. They should receive complaints and channel them to the respective departments to handle within a certain timeframe. Those who complain and provide feedback regularly should be rewarded,” he said.
Last September, Ipoh was declared the 5th Social Business City in the world by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus during the Pangkor International Dialogue. The status requires Ipoh to practise the 17 sustainable development goals set by United Nations, one of which is related to sustainable environment. 
KOHIJAU-ICYCLE, for instance, has been playing a significant role in helping the government by educating the public through a reward-point-recycling system using the social business concept which enable participating NGOs, residence associations and schools and their members to keep 60% of the revenue earned from the sales of recyclables to assist in their activities.
To date, 18 of the 52 KOHIJAU-ICYCLE recycling bins, costing RM36,000, have been placed in various parts of Ipoh for the convenience of the public to recycle. This will help reduce at least 30% of the garbage from going to landfills and can help reduce illegal dumping. It too helps the local council to save cost on waste disposal.
“Since our launch in September last year, we’ve successfully signed up over 3000 recycling members contributing more than 30,000kg of recyclables. By end of 2017, we aim to instal about 100 bins and recruit a total of 10,000 members. Ipoh City Watch and KOHIJAU will collaborate with other NGOs as well as Rukun Tetangga to help Perak become the cleanest state in Malaysia,” Richard concluded.
Comments by Public
With a job that requires her to travel, Lim Bay Gie, 28, an Ipohite who is currently staying in Kuala Lumpur has mixed feelings when the news broke,
“Ipoh is definitely a clean city but certainly not the cleanest. There are certain areas in Ipoh with less waste but look at our public toilets, they’re still disgusting,” exclaimed Lim. Without the smelly toilets, Ipoh could be the cleanest, she reasoned.
We met poet Wani Ardy, 32, from Shah Alam who stays in Ipoh. He runs a bed and breakfast outlet named Rumah Ipoh.
“Ipoh is fairly clean but the cleanest in Malaysia? This means Malaysia isn’t clean. Take a look at Old Town. The streets are pretty narrow and narrow streets get dirty fairly easily. And what’s troubling is they’re not accessible by garbage trucks,” said Wani.
“People do recycle but most of them do it individually. We need to see more recycling bins at public places. The good thing about Ipoh is that the people are very careful with their money that’s why second-hand goods are in demand here. It’s great for sustainability as wastage is minimised,” added Wani.
For Goh Poh Ann, 19, a former Ipohite who is currently studying studio art in Pennsylvania was surprised when told.
“Although it’s been awhile, Ipoh seems to look cleaner than before. Perhaps the growing number tourists who visit the city has prompted the council to work harder to maintain the city’s image,” Goh reasoned.