Friday, 22 January 2010

Road to Ayer Itam dam dangerous for cyclists

Ayer Itam Dam in Penang is the first dam to be built on Penang Island. It is located 700 feet above sea level in the watch catchment area surrounded by Penang Hill and Paya Terubong.

The best way to get to Ayer Itam dam is by car. Joggers and hikers walk up to it as well. To add to the list is to cycle your way up.

Many cyclists enjoy the steep climb and the breeze when they descend, but since a month or so, most of the road to the dam is covered with loose sand and tar from the excavation works done by a telecommunication company. This has caused the road condition to be unsafe for cyclists.

CJ Jimmy Leow investigates.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock, Citizen Journalist

Monday, 18 January 2010

G Hotel host to national blood donation campaign

G Hotel, Penang plays host to the National Blood Donation campaign organized by University Malaya, Lions Club and Koay Teng Hai, Adun Pulau Tikus. According to Koay, there is always a need for blood at the general hospital and has asked Penangites to donate as frequent as possible.

G Hotel reserved a comfortable area at the first floor to accommodate about 6 beds for donors to donate blood. Additional to this, G Hotel provided drinks and light snacks for donors.

Lions Club organizing person, Steven Ooi said that the target during this campaign is to obtain 250 packs of blood in which he felt to be an easy task to achieve as Penangites are caring and generous.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock, Citizen Journalist

Thaipusam : A festival misunderstood

The Penang branch of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam reminds Thaipusam devotees to practice caution during the coming festival as it is known that thieves on the prowl and looking for easy prey.

The chairman of the Penang Hindu Sangam, Dr Ravichandran Balasandorom spoke to CJ Jimmy Leow on the needs to be moderate during the Kavadi procession.

He added that there were Kavadis built with the logo of EPL clubs, namely Manchester United and Liverpool at the top of the Kavadis last year.

He also showed evidence of a beer brand logo making its way to the top of the Kavadi instead of Hindu deities. He urged devotees to stop using such "advertisement" and hold onto tradition for the sake of the future generation.

Thaipusam, is religious festival, flavoured with cultural extravaganzas, is a sacred occasion for the devotees to take time to fulfil their vows to Lord Muruga for wishes granted and also to pray for specific wishes with vows.

When preparing for Thaipusam, the devotees go through various stages of self-purification through prayers and self-abstinences in order to fulfil their vows on the holy day.

A more difficult vow will require a deeper self-purification through various abstinences such as being a vegetarian for weeks and abstaining from alcohol.

Most of the vows are personal in nature.

Some devotees may choose to offer prayers with a milk pot on the head.

Some others may carry the Kavadi or have a chariot hooked onto their bodies as they go into a trance and walk to the temple.

Others may just offer prayers and break coconuts as a symbol of laying off their egos to get divine blessings,

They are some who may choose to tonsure their head, which is also another common vow.

Some men, women and children sacrifice their crowning glory for various personal reasons such as good health, material wealth, doing well in studies or careers, and even for life partners.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock (Citizen Journalist)

LGE : Lets pray for peace, harmony and mutual understanding

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng asked Malaysians to pray for peace, harmony and mutual understanding and stay calm with regards to the church burning incident. He condemns the 4th incident which happened at Petaling Jaya, Selangor recently.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock (Citizen Journalist)

Aura empowering rakyat

Tanggal 3 Januari 2010 merupakan detik yang bersejarah bagi rakyat di Balik Pulau. Akademi Upaya Rakyat atau singkatannya AURA sebuah pusat penggerak aktiviti komuniti/masyarakat telah dirasmikan oleh Yang Berhormat Timbalan Ketua Menteri 1 Tuan Mansor Othman bertempat di Dewan Balora Mastika, Kongsi, Balik Pulau.

Majlis tersebut telah dihadiri kira-kira 300 orang pimpinan JKKK dan ahli masyarakat seluruh Balik Pulau.

Dalam ucapan perasmiannya YB TKM 1 berharap AURA menjadi penggerak masyarakat dan sentiasa mendampingi rakyat akar umbi bagi menangani segala isu dan masalah rakyat.

Di samping AURA sewajarnya menjalin hubungan baik dengan jabatan-jabatan kerajaan, NGOs/CSOs dan ADUN-ADUN bagi menambah kecekapan dalam perkhidmatan.

Video oleh Jimmy Leow (Wartawan Masyarakat)

PISA in a bad shape

PISA or Penang International Sports Arena, is an indoor sports area in Bayan Baru, Penang. Completed in the year 2000, the Main Arena (Arena Utama), the Aquatic Centre (Pusat Akuatik), and a multi-storey car park complex.

It is the largest indoor stadium in the northern Malaysia and has a capacity of 10000 spectators.

Once a pride of Penang, PISA has lost its shine and requires immediate attention. If Penang wants to organize international events, may it be sports or exhibitions, MPPP really needs to buck up and get their act together to restore PISA back to its original state.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock (Citizen Journalist)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Rate Penang state government's performance 2009

Citizen journalist Jimmy Leow asked people on the streets what they think of Penang state government's performance for 2009. In the scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate their performance?

George Town Day

On 31st Aug 1956, the Municipal Council resolved to submit the petition for the Queen to grant a Royal Charter raising the status of George Town to that a city. The motion to that effect was passed unanimously and formal petition to the Queen was submitted.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock

Hindu Sangam and Adun pledge to fight poverty

Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Penang did a survey and found out, single mothers and broken families stop their children from schooling due to high cost, parents cannot work due to illness.

Most of the children do odd jobs to support the family. Providing free education is not enough to encourage parents to educate their children. Education involves a lot of other expenses like books, uniforms, accessories, transportation etc which deter poor parents from sending their children to school.

Malaysia Hindu Sangam distributed about 30 sets of uniforms, stationery, shoes and bags to hardcore poor students around Rifle Range, Penang. Together to hand over the goodies for the poor was Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong.

He urged those who can afford to donate generously to charitable organization to help the poor.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock

CM to look into Tmn Kota Permai Issue

Several Tmn Kota Permai residents led by Bernard Cheen, the chairman of the committee handed over a memorandum to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng seeking his assistance to pursue further with Jabatan Perhimatan Pembentungan to reopen its files for structural damage compensation.

More tha a dozen houses are effected and certain facts gathered showed the damages may be contributed by the new sewage plant constructed too near to these houses at Tmn Kota Permai, Penang two years ago.

Despite all the help provided by Adun Tan Cheong Heng and MPSP President Mokhtar Mohd Jait, all their appeals were turned down by JPP. The residents now have no choice but to refer the matter the Chief Minister, hoping for a win win solution.

Video by Jimmy Leow Beng Hock (Citizen Journalist)

Back To School items for poor students

Back to school" items such as school bag, pencil box and uniform were distributed by Pantai Jerejak state assemblyman, Sim Tze Tzin, to nearly 200 poor students around Kampung Jawa and Sg Nibong area.

Sim said in 2010, the state government will be focusing on education. He said projects such as free English tuition and computer classes are in the pipeline to improve the knowledge of both subjects in these areas.

Video by Citizen Journalist Jimmy Leow Beng Hock

Rumah Hijau residents : We are not moving (part II)

Their long wait is over. After nearly a 40-year wait, the 236 families living in the slum of Rumah Hijau in Mak Mandin, Penang, can finally move into new three-room low-cost flats in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth.

Rumah Hijau consists of 25 longhouses which were built for residents who gave up their original squatter houses in 1972 to enable the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to develop the Mak Mandin Industrial Estate project.

About 170 families had accepted the 650 sq ft units in Ampang Jajar, Butterworth, but still, there are 66 families who wish to stay put at Rumah Hijau located about 3km away from the new low cost flats.

The low cost units which cost RM 42,000 will be given free to temporary occupational holders (TOL) from Rumah Hijau.

The state had entered into a privatization agreement with developer Silver Channel Sdn Bhd to build a 20-storey block comprising 304 low-cost units.

Despite the modern infra-structure and a cleaner environment, the remaining families in Rumah Hijau refused to move. They said that they will incur more expenses if they move to the new location.

Madam Tan, a mother of three said, There is a school nearby, it is just walking distance from here and at the same time, I can take care of my mother in law who is blind.

It is going to be very inconvenient for us if we move to the new place. she said.

Madam Tan makes paper shoes and runs a small economy rice stall in front of her house for a living.

In a recent press conference held at Rumah Hijau, UMNO Pemuda Shaik Hussein Mydin said, The Rumah Hijau issue is an old issue. In 2004, an agreement was drawn up by the previous government to build the low cost units at Ampang Jajar.

But after listening to the plight of the residents of Rumah Hijau, the previous state government considered and approved to build the flats at Rumah Hijau vicinity.

The state government should not victimize the poor, these are poor people that we are taking about here. he said.

Shaik also urged the PKR state government to consider alienating one of the nearby plots of land around Rumah Hijau at a favourable price to build a block of low cost flats for the remaining residents.

Resident Pavarthi 62, who owns a small sundry shop, said she sees less customers coming to her shop located at the main road of Rumah Hijau.

I have been doing business here for the past 25 years and the customers are getting less.

Since my customers are poor people, they tend to buy one kilo rice and we also sell one mosquito coil. If the residents move out from here, I have no customers, I have nothing left.

I have to sit at home as I am unable to do anything else at my age she said sadly.

Zainab, 63 who takes care of her bed ridden husband said she wants to stay put due to the condition of her husband who endured a major surgery recently.

My husband had a major surgery and moving him around is difficult. We rather stay here and I urge the government to provide us a suitable house. she said.

Many of the remaining residents are poor and have sick elderly to care for. Their hope is to get the state government to build some low cost units for them at Rumah Hijau.

Last October, Penang Town and Country Planning and Housing committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said that the state had entered a privatisation contract with Silver Channel to build 304 low-cost flat units in Ampang Jajar.

Under the agreement, he said, the developer had surrendered 200 units valued at RM8.4mil to the state for the resettlement of the Rumah Hijau residents. But, since there were 236 families to be relocated, Wong said the state had spend RM4.3mil to buy up the remaining 104 units to ensure there were ample units for the residents.

He hopes that the remaining residents would join their neighbours upon seeing them enjoying a better quality of life, they will move here as well.

Video by Regu G and Jimmy Leow
Article by Jimmy Leow