Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In Loving Memory...

On Sunday evening, I received a phone call that my aunty, Suet Fung has suddenly passed away. She was 47. 

Photo taken in 1983 : When I was a child, this aunty of mine loved to dress us up (my sister and I) and we spent a lot of time with her.

My aunty and I in Tasik Titiwangsa in August 1983

Happier times, photo taken at my wedding in 2008 : 25 years later, she never really aged.

She was always bubbly and genuinely happy to see me at our annual family reunion. She was always keen to listen to my updates in school, college, university, work, marriage and politics. I knew I could always count on her to share my joys!

Aunty Suet Fung worked her entire life for her parents and siblings. She left us very suddenly. This morning, we bid farewell to her. I have lost one of my great supporters in life and this simple tribute is done in memory of her. She will be missed dearly...

Friday, August 20, 2010

On BFM 89.9

The podcast of my interview on BFM 89.9 in conjunction with Merdeka & Malaysia Day 2010. This is my first radio interview. Hope you enjoy listening to my thoughts.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Finally... some direction from the Cabinet on gated & guarded

Below is the article featured in The Star yesterday:

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved a proposal to streamline guidelines for gated communities and guarded neighbourhoods that have become increasingly popular among the security conscious.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said, however, that the guidelines would only be implemented after they had been considered by the National Council for Local Government (MNKT).

He said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was scheduled to chair a meeting of the council on Aug 26 that would be attended also by the mentris besar and chief ministers.

"The Cabinet recently approved the guidelines prepared by my ministry. But we need to bring them to the MNKT. Once the MNKT approves it, I will reveal the details," he told Bernama in an interview.

Gated communities and guarded neighbourhoods have sprung up in recent years as residents, especially in the urban areas, launched their own initiatives to protect themselves and their properties by employing private security firms to guard their housing estates. However, criticism has been levelled at these firms as they often install security booths at strategic entrances and exits of the housing estates, with some even having booms that prevent easy access and exit.

Chor said there were about 480 such guarded neighbourhoods in Selangor alone, and added that not all of the residents agreed with the move to establish a gated community while some had even refused to pay the monthly subscription fee for the service.

He said that currently there were no standard guidelines for gated communities and guarded neighbourhoods, but some states had come out with their own guidelines.

In Selangor, the local authorities have allowed a guarded community to be implemented if 85% of the population in an area agrees to it.

"The local authorities allow guardhouses to be built as long as the application is made through the residents associations, with the consent of at least 85% of the residents," Chor said. The residents associations must also agree that the guardhouse did not put up a barrier and its location posed no obstruction to traffic, meaning it must only be sited on the road shoulder, he said.

This was to avoid complications with existing laws as once the infrastructure was handed over to the local council, the roads, drains, parks and playgrounds should be open to the public unless it was a private property, he added.

"We hope that the ministry's proposed guidelines can be accepted by the various states so that they can be streamlined.

"For gated communities, it is not much of an issue as they already have a legal management body set up under the strata title and most of the apartments and condominiums fall under this category," said Chor. -Bernama

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More on Freedom of Information

Below is the article featured in the Sun:

SHAH ALAM (Aug 12, 2010): The right to information in concession agreements signed between the Selangor government and companies was one of the issues deliberated by several organizations and the state select committee at the first discussion today on the Freedom of Information enactment.

Hannah Yeoh

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad
The enactment was tabled at the state legislative assembly on July 14.

"Currently the right to information in the enactment only covers government departments and we want to widen this to include local authorities, state agencies, government-linked companies, federal-linked departments and companies that have state-related concessions such as Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas)," said committee member and Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, who is also a select committee member, said this was an important area for the state government to explore to ensure that concession agreements benefit the people.

"There must not be confidentiality clauses included in the agreements signed with these companies to ensure the public have the right to information on matters that affect them," she said.

However, this will depend a lot on the cooperation from federal authorities and the willingness of concessionaires to divulge information.

In-depth studies need to be done on this matter, and on the type of information that should be made accessible, as companies involved may be reluctant to disclose their trade information.

Bar Council Human Rights committee chairman Andrew Khoo said cutting edge legislation cannot shy away from this. 

"Information which is of public interest like toll concessions is classified as official secret, even though the contents are one-sided and suspect, but the public do not have access to them.

"A lot of information that does not fall under the category of official secrets is labelled as such, and after 50 years one cannot tell why these are a secret. We must ask why," he said.

He also said it should be made clear that the right to information should include information before a decision on a matter is made, because the public had a right to know about something that affects then before a final decision is made on it.

Today's session, which included representatives from the Centre for Independent Journalism, National Union of Journalists and the Malaysian Trade Union Congress, was the first of a series of joint discussions to be held with various organisations. 

Select committee chairman and Hulu Klang assemblyman Saari Sugib said forums, workshops and academic discussions will be held with academicians, lawyers, retired judges and government servants and other experts in the field before the legislative assembly sits early next year. -- theSun

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A new police beat base in SS15

In 2009, the police set up small temporary canvas police bases placed in crime hotspots in the Klang Valley and one of such police bases was placed in SS15 where the market is.

The Selangor Police Chief, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar has said in his letter published by The Star on 25 January 2010 : The pondok in the form of tents were rented by the police since August 2009 but had to be discontinued due to financial constraints. Since January this year, we had no choice but to stop renting them.
When the committee members of SJ Alert namely, Robert and Eileen first informed me that the temporary police pondok at SS15 had to be removed because of insufficient funds, I immediately agreed to use my state allocation to purchase a police beat for the community in SS15. This was done after we received commitment from Datuk Khalid that the police would commit to manpower for this pondok.

Even though the police force is an agency under the Federal Government, I am going out of my way as the State Assemblyman of Subang Jaya to combat crime by financing the purchase of this police beat for my residents. I believe in partnering with the police to fight crime.

Here is the article from NST on the handover of the new police pondok purchased by my office using the Selangor State Government allocation:

SUBANG JAYA: Fresh from building a police beat base at the SS15/1A modern market, Hannah Yeoh has set her sights on building another 23. The Subang Jaya assemblyman utilised almost RM7,000 of her annual allocation of RM500,000 to build the beat base at the market and plans to do the same for the other beat bases.

The problem, however, lies in staffing the beat bases and Yeoh said she hoped Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar can solve the issue.

"I have done a study on every section in Subang Jaya and decided we need to build 23 beat bases to reduce crime in these areas. I will be using RM160,000 from my RM500,000 annual allocation to build the beat bases provided the police chief agrees to provide the manpower," she said.

Yeoh said it would take about 120 policemen working in three shifts to man the 23 beat bases.

"With the presence of police personnel in these areas, we might not need to have many gated and guarded communities," she said.

Khalid said there were currently only 60 policemen attached to the USJ 8 police station.

"For now, it's going to be difficult. I have already requested for more police personnel for Selangor. However, we will look into Yeoh's request," he said.

Yeoh and Khalid jointly opened the single-storey beat base at the SS15 market yesterday.

Yeoh said she hoped that the presence of policemen at the beat base will help deter crime in the area.

"The police have identified this area as one of the hotspots in Subang Jaya. There are many students living here and there have been many incidents of snatch thefts here.

"We hope that regular patrolling and the presence of the beat base will help reduce crime in the area," she said. 

Meanwhile, Khalid said the crime index in Subang Jaya had dropped by 38 per cent in the first six months of this year.

"We have managed to control crime, thanks to the help and cooperation of the public. We hope that more people will come forward and provide information and report any suspicious activities in their area," he said.
On the issue of traffic congestion in Subang Jaya, Yeoh said she had requested Khalid to station his men in several congestion-prone hotspots in the area.

She said critical areas included the Summit interchange, Sri KL roundabout, Bandar Sunway, PJS 7 and the Motorola area.

"The traffic division is lacking in manpower, but we will look into her request," said Khalid.

 Some photos are courtesy of SJ Echo

You can also read about the event reported in Sin Chew.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Official launch of Toy Library and Resource Center

In 2008, I hosted a dialogue with friends with disabilities or Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) in DUN Subang Jaya. One of the requests made by the parents of children with special needs was to have a special toy library in Subang Jaya for these children. 

After a lot of planning and hard work put in by volunteers of Malaysian Care and CDPC, this toy library has become a reality! You may read about the soft launch in 2009 here

Recently, we had the official launch of the new center located at SG-13A-1 Concourse Subang Square, SS15/4. 

At the launch of the new center

Selection of toys for children with special needs

Greeting a special child

What is Makasih Toy Library and Resource Center?
Makasih is a support service for parents and caregivers of children with special needs in particular Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, ADD/ADHD and developmental delays. We feature a wide range of toys that encourage imaginative play, gross motor, fine motor and communication/language development as as well as children’s books and videos. We also have a collection of books and reference materials for parents to borrow.

At Makasih Toy Library and Resource Center we also hope to provide a place where parents and caregivers can feel free to share and talk about their struggles and difficulties in providing the best love and care for their children.

A special child playing with the toy available at the resource center

Available for Loan to Members
Infant/Sensory Stimulation
Gross Motor Skills
Jigsaws and Puzzles
Matching, Sorting, Grading
Eye-hand coordination
Speech Language Development
Imaginative Play
Games and Leisure
Reading, Writing and Spelling
Musical Instruments
Early Mathematics
Children’s books, Audio Visual
Reference Books for parents /caregivers

Operating Hours :
Currently 1st Saturday of every month between 11am to 3pm. We will increase the days and hours when we have organised sufficient volunteers.

Membership is open to all parents and caregivers with special needs at a nominal fee of RM30 per annum and a one time RM10 registration fee. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information call:
Yee Siew Meng 012-3885038
Tan Kwok Huey 012-3180110
Alicia Jackson 03-5621-2844

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beautification works at Sunway Tiara

Here are some photographs of the beautification works project done by the residents of Sunway Tiara at PJS 9, Bandar Sunway:

Representatives of the surau from nearby Lagoon Perdana apartments and Rukun Tetangga PJS 9 also joined the residents of Sunway Tiara that morning.

I did the launching together with a senior citizen of Sunway Tiara

Residents who came out that morning to beautify their neighbourhood

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Press Statement from MB's office on sand mining

11 OGOS 2010


SHAH ALAM: Kerajaan Selangor menjemput Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) untuk menempatkan pegawai di pejabat Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB).

Tawaran ini dibuat selaras dengan komitmen Kerajaan Negeri terhadap konsep pentadbiran yang telus serta bertujuan meningkatkan keyakinan orang ramai terhadap operasi KSSB berikutan kritikan dan dakwaan yang dilemparkan terhadap syarikat milik penuh Kerajaan Selangor ini.

Kakitangan SPRM ini boleh memantau operasi dan pentadbiran KSSB secara lebih dekat bagi memastikan salah guna kuasa atau rasuah tidak berlaku.

Bagi melengkapkan lagi prinsip pentadbiran telus dan terbuka, KSSB akan mengiklankan jawatan kosong di media bagi mengisi dua jawatan Pengarah yang bebas dari pengaruh politik tetapi berpengalaman dalam industri perlombongan pasir.

Mereka ini akan menjadi wakil Kerajaan Negeri untuk bersama-sama mentadbir dan menguruskan KSSB dalam menjalankan perlombongan pasir.

Kerajaan Negeri juga telah mengarahkan KSSB melantik juruaudit bebas bagi mengaudit setiap sen yang dibelanjakan supaya makumat kewangan KSSB dapat diketahui orang awam.

Kerajaan Selangor percaya masih belum ada syarikat yang menguruskan pasir di negeri-negeri lain yang telah mengambil langkah-langkah seperti yang dilakukan KSSB. Selangor yakin KSSB menjadi syarikat pasir pertama yang mengamalkan pentadbiran yang telus dan terbuka.

Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat di Selangor mencabar negeri-negeri di bawah BN supaya mengambil langkah yang sama terutama di Johor yang mana operasi perlombongan pasir amat diragui tetapi tidak diberi liputan oleh media arus perdana.

Selain itu, Kerajaan Negeri juga ingin mengumumkan perlantikan Wan Ab. Halim Wan Ismail, sebagai Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif KSSB berkuatkuasa 26 Julai lalu.

Wan Ab. Halim, 62, berkelulusan bidang Kejuruteraan Perlombongan dari London University, United Kingdom mempunyai pengalaman luas bidang perlombongan sumber galian termasuk pasir, batuan, timah, besi dan emas.


Settle land conversion premium, industrial lot owners urged

Recently, my office organised a dialogue session with the industrial lot owners of Sungai Penaga Industrial Park to discuss on the conversion of land issue affecting them. Exco YB Ean Yong Hian Wah accepted the invitation to come and meet those affected in USJ 1. MPSJ councillor for USJ 1, Roslan Shahir and ex-MPSJ councillor Ken Chia were also present.

Below is the article featured in The Star:

ALL industrial lot owners at the Sungai Penaga Industrial Park have been urged to pay up their land conversion premium before the Aug 24 deadline so that the industrial area can be legalised.

“Paying the premium to convert the land status from agricultural to industrial is the first step towards legalising the industrial park in USJ1, Subang Jaya,” said Selangor New Village Development and Illegal Factory Task Force Committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah.

Ean Yong and Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh were speaking after a meeting a group of industrial lot owners pertaining to the conversion.

Sungai Penaga Industrial Park Owners and Tenants Association chairman Phoo Sai Hoong said 408 owners were involved in the issue.

“There are 17 master titles for this industrial park and each master title covers 24 lots, hence the 408 owners,” he said.

“Almost all the owners have paid up, except for 15 who have not been cooperative and five who could not be contacted.”

Yeoh said the association’s committee members had sought her assistance to appeal to the state government for more time to pay the premium and for the 50% discount offer to be extended.

“The matter was referred to Ean Yong’s office. The state government subsequently approved the extension appeal and discount offer.

“The landowners have an additional three months from May 25 to settle the payment,” she said.

According to Phoo, the landowners had been given about a year to settle the premium in 2006, but the association has been having difficulty contacting and working with several owners.

“The premium for each master title costs RM1.1mil before the 50% discount offer.

“Landowners will have to pay about RM25,000 per lot after the discount,” he said.

“The entire industrial park measures 21.85ha while each subplot is about 4,000 sq ft.”

After the procedures are completed and once the industrial park is legalised, Ean Yong said it would be easier for the landowners and tenants to have their licences and relevant documents approved, their products and services recognised.

“The Selangor government has recorded an increase of RM29mil in land conversion premium within a year,” he said.

“Some RM64mil was collected between 2008 and May 2009, while RM93mil was collected between May last year and May this year.”

Phoo urged the remaining landowners to settle the premium before Aug 24 and to cooperate to prevent the matter from dragging on.

The landowners can contact association vice-chairman KG Tan Kee Soo at 012-331 0342 / 03-5635 5022.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Telekom land hearing set in October 2010

Below is the article from KomunitiKini:

The State Planning Committee (SPC) has finally admitted to going along with the decision of MPSJ to withdraw the revocation of TM’s commercial plans for USJ 6 utility land.

The SPC officer gave the information at the case’s first mention with the Selangor Appeal Board after being pressured by the residents’ lawyer Gobind Singh Deo on the status of endorsement.

According to Hannah Yeoh, SPC was passing the buck to the appeal board, claiming it would be up to the board to decide the faith of the 0.35ha TM utility land.

“At last they revealed that the development order stays, which means they have endorsed the MPSJ’s contentious minutes (at the meeting) on April 27 to cancel the revocation,” the Subang Jaya assemblyperson said.

The Selangor Appeal Board scheduled the next hearing on 20 and 21 October, the decision would then lay precedence for all cases involving TM utility land in the country.

The sentiment was equally shared by the community as Serdang parliamentarian Teo Nie Ching, Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD) co-chairman Jeffrey Phang, Subang Jaya RA chairman AC Gill, Bandar Utama 11 RA chairperson B.L Tan and Sunway RA were all present with the residents at the hearing.

Yeoh said if the ruling is in favour of TM, the next land affected will be the utility lot alienated at Serdang Raya.

“A developer has submitted plans to commercialise the 5.34 acre land, but MPSJ put it on hold to see the decision of the USJ 6 appeal;.”

Yeoh also said she is disappointed with the way SPC and MPSJ had conducted the matter.

“The revocation was done in October 2009 in MPSJ, but SPC has never endorsed it.

“It wasn’t until six months later that MPSJ hurriedly organised another meeting to cancel the revocation, which SPC responsively endorsed.”

Gobind meanwhile requested the documents to be furnished to him before he decides the next course of action.

“I asked for the MPSJ and SPC meeting minutes to get a picture of how they have tabled the decision,” he said.

TM Facilities and developer Bujang Budiman proposed to jointly develop the utility reserve at USJ 6 into a nine-storey commercial block, which the residents have been protesting due to the traffic impact it would bring.

In addition, it raises the question of whether utility land, which was earmarked and sold cheaply to utility companies, could be legally converted after the land price hikes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another ridiculous circular by Education Ministry

The articles below are from Malaysiakini in relation to the circular issued by Education Ministry allowing politicians and unelected representatives from UMNO, MCA and MIC only to attend school events:

Elected reps kept out of S'gor schools:

A circular that allows specified BN leaders to attend events organised by Selangor schools but keeps out those from Pakatan Rakyat, has been criticised as an example of double standards. NONE

The circular dated Feb 16, 2009 states that the education minister has appointed 57 leaders from Selangor Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan to represent him at these events in the state.

Signed by the principal secretary to the minister, the circular was sent to the director of the Selangor Education Department.

It also states that the BN representatives have each been issued a certificate of appointment, copies of which were attached to the circular with a full list of names and posts held in the respective political parties.

When contacted, Hannah Yeoh, the DAP state assemblyperson for Subang Jaya said that - by implication - school authorities have to get the minister's permission to invite Pakatan representatives.

“(When the schools ask for permission), it is never given,” she claimed. hannah yeoh interview 110608 02
Yeoh had recently mentioned this in a tweet, in which she questioned the contents of the circular and said she had managed to obtain the list of 'approved' BN leaders.

“I am not allowed to attend any function in the schools in my area. This is not right as it sends the message to the children that you have to receive whoever you are given. They cannot choose their own leaders,” she said.

She, however, said she was allowed to enter her alma mater - SMK Subang Utama - after the Parents-Teachers Association (PIBG) stepped in.

“In my case, because the PIBG insisted, I was able to attend. So it shows that PIBG plays an important role,” she added.

'Clearly unfair' policy

DAP's Teratai state assemblyperson Jenice Lee confirmed the situation. jenice lee
“Some schools had requested donations from me, but I was not allowed to go in and give a speech," she said.

There was one occasion where I had to hand over the cheque outside the school compound.”

“I know this has happened to many other Pakatan leaders, not just me and Hannah. And this is clearly unfair.”

Click on this to see the list of reps from UMNO, MCA and MIC : Education Ministry's list of 'approved visitors'

Read the reply from the Deputy Education Minister:

Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong has refused to comment on charges by elected representatives from Pakatan Rakyat that they are barred from functions held in schools in Selangor. NONE

"This is and old story... they dug out an old issue," Wee (left) said.

"I have already answered and clarified in Parliament about this. I don't want to repeat it. If it is a new thing, I will answer it." The MCA leader was referring to an earlier incident last year in which, he said, the opposition had already brought up the issue and questioned him in Parliament.

The deputy minister's answer then was that 57 leaders from Selangor Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan had been appointed by the Education Minister to represent him at official Education Ministry events at schools in the state. This, Wee had said in his answer then, did not mean that these were the only people who could visit schools.

The issue was raised again yesterday in a tweet by Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, who questioned a February 2009 circular informing schools of the matter. Yeoh also released to the media the list of "approved politicians" that she had obtained. Signed by the principal secretary to the Education Minister, the circular was sent to the director of the Selangor Education Department.

Requests to visit schools 'constantly turned down'

It also states that all the BN representatives on the list have been issued with certificates of appointment, copies of which were attached to the circular with a full list of names and the posts they held in their political parties.

Yeoh complained that this effectively meant that Pakatan elected representatives could not attend functions at schools in Selangor, and related her frustration at being constantly turned down when she made requests to visit schools in her constituency.

DAP's Teratai state assemblyperson Jenice Lee agreed with her. "I know this has happened to many other Pakatan leaders, not just to me and Hannah. And this is clearly unfair," Lee had said yesterday.

Read the reply from the Education Ministry:

The Education Ministry has clarified that its current minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, was not responsible for a circular listing 57 BN politicians who are allowed to visit schools in Selangor.

"At the time, the education minister was Hishammuddin Hussein, not Muhyiddin," said Muhyiddin's education ministry press secretary Hafiz Abdul Halim in a faxed statement today.

Hafiz was referring to an Aug 4 report in Malaysiakini's Bahasa Malaysia edition that referred to Muhyiddin as the education minister responsible for the circular. The circular is dated Feb 16, 2009. Muhyiddin took over from Hishammuddin on April 10 that year.

According to the circular, only the 57 politicians from Umno, MCA, MIC and Gerakan are allowed into school compounds in Selangor to represent the education minister at functions. This effectively bars Pakatan elected representatives from the schools and they have slammed this as smacking of the Barisan Nasional government's double standards.

Some even complained that their work as elected representatives, such as handing over donation cheques to the schools, had to be done outside the compounds.

Subang Jaya state assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh had lamented even though Pakatan ruled Selangor, she could not have access to her alma mater SMK Subang Utama, except through the Parents-Teachers Association, because she was from the DAP.

I have handed donations to 2 PIBGs of schools in USJ at the Town Hall meeting held for USJ 3 and 4 residents. Though the grant given came from the Selangor State Government, we were not allowed to present the cheques in these schools and had to do it outside of the schools. Compare this with the unelected MCA reps who can walk in and out of schools freely and launch events. Are we sending the right message to our children in schools?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gotong-royong at Police Station USJ 8

Committee members of Rukun Tetangga USJ 2 & 6 got together with police officers, MPSJ and SJ Echo to assist the police in beautifying their compound.

SJ Echo and MPSJ sponsored plants for the beautification works.

It was a good bonding time getting to know the policemen/women who serve in this neighbourhood.

I was able to participate in some of the cleaning and planting works that morning.

The new Chief Inspector of USJ 8, Insp Chia Bee Chuan took a keen interest in designing the concept of the beautification works at the compound.

Again, I believe in partnering with all stakeholders to make a community functional. Sometimes, the most simple gesture like cleaning up and planting a tree together can go a long way in building strong friendships, all for the benefit of the community.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Will parents please speak up?

While I was browsing through the Ministry of Education's website, I came across this circular issued recently : Pelaksanaan sistem pilihanraya ketua murid di sekolah-sekolah.

I feel very passionate about this issue. I grew up as a prefect in school and back then, we held elections to select our Head Prefects. Our peers were given the choice to select their own leader. Students worked hard to shine. They acquired leadership skills and were able to practice them in school.

However, with the issuance of this circular by the Ministry of Education, students in school can no longer have a say in choosing their own leader. The principals of the schools can now appoint anyone they wish to be Head Prefect/School Captain.

This is how the Barisan Nasional government wants to educate our students : to tell them at a very young age that they really do not have a choice and they must accept whoever is given to them to be their leader. Favoritism is being promoted here and this circular effectively robs students of the democratic experience and it retards their growth. It kills the chance for these students to know what choice is.

So if you are a parent and your child may have all the qualities which present him the opportunity to lead, this circular has just taken that opportunity away from your child. And will you remain silent?