Sunday, August 31, 2008

New directive on open spaces - Star

Aug 31,2008 - JADE CHAN at the MBPJ full board meeting

THE Selangor government has issued several new directives to the local authorities recently, including those related to gazetting open spaces and the constructing of billboards.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman announced this at Wednesday’s full board meeting of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

“So far, most local councils have gazetted about 30% of their open spaces, but the MBPJ has gazetted about 50%, covering about 200 areas,” Roslan said.

“The state government has urged all the local councils to expedite the gazetting before the end of this year,” he said.

According to Roslan, the state government has imposed a new policy on the construction of new billboards in all local council areas.

Under the policy, the land office can only approve TOL (temporary occupational licences) applications for the construction of billboards for the local councils and not to private individuals or companies.

“The local councils can then lease out the approved pieces of land to billboard operators at a rate of 30% of gross income revenue from the billboards,” Roslan said.

“For the existing billboards built on government reserve land without the TOLs but are allowed to remain, a local council must apply for the TOLs and then lease them to existing billboard operators or other operators,” he said.

“The land office has been told to help the local councils in expediting the TOL applications for the billboard sites,” he said.

Roslan estimated that the council could earn a conservative figure of RM5mil annually from the lease of billboards.

He said the local councils had been instructed by the state government to remove all Mesra Rakyat and old Merdeka campaign billboards featuring photos of leaders from the previous state government.

The directive also reminded all local councils to practise a transparent concept in their administration and that a test of trust is a test of character.

Councillor Kamarudin Suhaimi suggested that the MBPJ look into the issue of Muslim cemeteries in anticipation of future problems.

Among his suggestions were standardising the size of the graves and the “reusing” of graves by collecting bones and relocating them to other sites.

Roslan said the issue would be brought up with the state fatwa committee to seek their views.

On complaints to the MBPJ, Roslan said the council had several working committees like the Road and Traffic Gang under the Engineering Department and the Waste Buster to attend to public complaints.

“The Road and Traffic Gang handles issues like patching potholes and repairing damaged signages,” he said.

“The Waste Busters are contractors appointed by Alam Flora to collect rubbish according to various zones in Petaling Jaya.

Each lorry is paid about RM250 for a full load of rubbish taken to the landfills,” Roslan said.

Councillor asked to explain action - Star


COUNCILLOR Keshminder Singh, who had questioned the presence of Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh at the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) full board on Thursday will have to submit a written explanation.

State Local Government Committee chairman Ronnie Liu, who described the incident as uncalled for, said this was necessary to prevent such incidents repeating in the future.

The lull before the storm: Yeoh seen here with her laptop seated at the councillors’ table.

Saying Yeoh had every right to be at the full board meeting, Liu said PKR’s Keshminder would be asked to explain his action.

He said he spoke to Keshminder on Thursday and felt that it was only fair that a written explanation was obtained from him.

“I have been hearing several versions of the story and that is why the written explanation is important before we decide on the next course of action,” he told StarMetro

As the people’s elected representative, Liu said, the Subang Jaya assemblyman was only doing her job, by being at the council meeting.

Furthermore, he said, findings also revealed that she had obtained the permission of the MPSJ president to be there.

Meanwhile, several DAP councillors of the MPSJ have submitted a petition declaring their dissatisfaction over Keshminder’s objection to the attendance of Yeoh.

Eight DAP councillors submitted their signatures to the MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan yesterday at the council to voice their displeasure over the remark Keshminder made.

Under the Local Government Act, there is a clause that states that state assemblymen and even MPs can attend full board meetings as observers.

Also present at the petition handing over in MPSJ were Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo-Burne, Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San and Yeoh.

Councillor Tan Jo Hann, who was quoted earlier as concurring to Keshminder’s remark, clarified his statement.

“I agree with Keshminder in principle that not anyone can sit at the council’s table, but in this case, the YDP and Hannah have given sufficient explanation about the technical part.

“So it’s definitely a non-issue,’’ said Tan.

Yeoh, in her blog, said she had not occupied any councillor’s seat and was only sitting at the end of the table on an extra chair.

“I did not speak at all (as an observer) and was only at the table to use the plug point, with no intention of pushing my way through as an assemblyman,

“This incident would not affect me and I will continue to be present in future full board meetings,” said Yeoh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Village heads barred from using Selangor facilities - Star


Selangor village heads appointed by the federal government three months ago have been barred from using state-owned public facilities that include multipurpose and community halls.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said that the state government has barred the 362 federal government village head appointees from using the public facilities to hold festive gatherings or to meet the people.

“Our reason is simple, we do not recognise the federal government appointees under the Village Safety and Development Committee - Federal (JKKKP) as we have our own appointees under the Village Safety and Development Committee (JKKK),” he said.

On Saturday, Khalid handed 366 appointment letters to village heads, mostly graduates chosen by the state Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government to represent the Klang, Petaling, Kuala Langat, Hulu Langat, Sepang, Gombak, Kuala Selangor, Sabak Bernam and Hulu Selangor districts.

He added: “We expect our appointed village heads to outperform the JKKKP in providing efficient community service to all irrespective of political affiliation, race or religion thus the JKKKP will become irrelevant.

“The appointment of village heads by the federal government through the Rural and Regional Development Ministry is against the state’s administration regulations as the appointment of village heads comes under the purview of the state government.”

JKKKP was only implemented in the PR government run-states after the village heads gave up their positions so as not to serve under a non-Barisan Nasional coalition.

All of the village heads were then placed under the JKKKP in four states (Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor) to ensure effectiveness in the implementation of federal government projects at the village level. Khalid said that the state decided to appoint its own village heads for a six-month probation period before confirming them because it wanted representatives who would conduct themselves without bias.

“We can’t afford to have 362 village heads who are adamant to serve members from one party only due to their affiliations. One point that I would like to make clear is that the 362 federal appointees were given a choice to continue but they were adamant to quit,” he said. He added that the current appointed state village heads have a social obligation to serve the villagers irrespective of their political standing and their RM450 allowance is from the public’s purse. Khalid said Kampung Seri Jambu and Kampung Sungai Batu in Hulu Langat are the only two villages that still don’t have a village head as the state government is in the process of getting committed candidates.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crackdown on open burning after environs laws are amended - Star

Aug 27, 2008 By LIM CHIA YING

THE Selangor government will start cracking down on the culprits responsible for open burning and illegal dumping as soon as the environmental laws are amended to provide for heavier penalties.

While the amendments are being drafted by the state authorities, lawyer Derek Fernandez, an expert on local government and environmental matters, has submitted some proposals to state environmental committee chairman Elizabeth Wong.

The amendments, once in force, should be able to effectively deal with the problems of open burning and illegal dumping of waste.

Fernandez said pending an amendment to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to put more substantial and specific provisions with effective penalties and enforcement power, he had proposed various methods for the state to effectively deal with the problem.

“First, I’ve proposed that the state evoke the National Land Code to forfeit the land, even if it’s a private land, because illegal dumping constitutes a breach of condition of land,” he said.

“For example, if an agriculture land is used as a dumping ground instead of farming, the state could evoke the procedure of forfeiture and serve notice on the landowner,” Fernandez said.

Secondly, he said, the local authorities could also execute powers in relation to public nuisance and protection of health under the Local Government Act 1976 Section 72.

“The local council’s power includes sealing the land, barring access to the land and imposing fines and other enforcement actions on the owner,” he said.

“The local authorities must also have full power to deal with health threat and to take necessary steps to preserve and promote public health and prevent or remedy any nuisance or condition likely to be dangerous to public health,” Fernandez said.

He said the proposed forfeiture was an effective method to seal off the scene of environmental violation and legally seize the land.

“Residents who experience asthma attack can take legal action against the landowners by filing a suit for public or private nuisance in court for compensation,” Fernandez said.

Recently, the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) closed an illegal dumpsite in Bukit Lanchong near Putra Heights and will be sealing the road leading into the site.

For years, the Putra Heights residents had been putting up with hazardous smoke from the burning activities and foul stench at the site as a result of the garbage burning.

The MPSJ finally sealed the vacant land, and will be taking action soon against its three owners for illegal dumping activities. So far, the owners have been fined RM25,000 each.

Fernandez said the environmental laws pertaining to open burning had been in the books since 1965, but no stern action had been taken against such culprits, some of whom deliberately burn openly.

“There has been a lack of use of existing laws to combat serious threat against public health,” he said.

Fernandez said an effective solution would be for the Federal Government to arm the Department of Environment (DoE) with sufficient legislative powers by way of effective amendment of the environmental laws to deal with dumping and burning.

“One way is to make an offender of open burning and illegal dumping a strict liability offender, which means that the landowner has to be liable unless he or she can show they have taken reasonable steps to prevent their land from being misused,” he said.

“If the offence is strict liability, then the owner should be accorded a defence if he had no knowledge of the activities and has taken reasonable steps like cutting grass, fencing up the site, yet unable to prevent trespassing from happening,” Fernandez said.

“In cases where burning is done with intention, then mandatory jail terms must be imposed on top of fines together with compensation for affected residents,” he said.

Fernandez added that to avoid the issue of locating owners, service of documents of last known address or by way of advertisement in the newspapers should be made legally sufficient based on particulars of the land title.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No reason for PKR supporters to attack journos: Selangor MB - Star


SHAH ALAM: Aug 18, 2008

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has voiced his doubts that PKR members were involved in Saturday’s incident where two journalists were attacked outside the nomination centre in Permatang Pauh.

Khalid, who is also the Selangor PKR chairman, said he was worried over the consistency of the attacks on journalists and agreed that they should be protected and those identified should be stopped from repeating such incidents.

However, he said he felt that the party’s supporters in Permatang Pauh were generally well disciplined and had no rational reason to resort to attacking journalists as Pakatan Rakyat realised the need for media support in its fight against Barisan Nasional.

He said there was also no question of any ill feelings being harboured by party members as the media had been supportive of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who enjoyed a close rapport with pressmen.

“Press photographers have been vital in showing the public and the Federal Government the large crowds that turned out to support PKR at events including the Bersih Rally and the nomination of candidates in Permatang Pauh,” he told reporters Monday after the monthly meeting with state government officials here.

On Saturday Berita Harian’s Siren Hafiz and Halim Berber of France’s HBL press news were allegedly attacked outside the nomination centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teacher’s Training College in Jalan Penanti-Mengkuang Titi in Penang.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Khalid defends proposal to open UiTM's doors to others - Sun

SHAH ALAM (Aug 13, 2008)by Karen Arukesamy

The Selangor government's proposal for Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to open its doors to non-bumiputras is to help raise the standard of education in institutes of higher learning in the state.

"Opening a 10% admission quota will help raise standards via healthy competition among a multi-ethnic student population," said Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

"It is a holistic proposal. Neither is the proposal a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or Parti Keadilan Rakyat's policy, so there is no reason for it to be politicised," he added.

Speaking in his weekly post-exco meeting media briefing today, Khalid said he was saddened that certain quarters chose to politicise education for political mileage.

"My statement was made in the context to enhance UiTM's academic quality in this era of globalisation and to open up more opportunities for both Malay and non-Bumiputra students to have healthy academic competition.

"In fulfilling the Malay aspirations, UiTM should not just focus on quota matters but concentrate on lifting its standard and university facilities to a higher and more reputable level," he said.

Asked if the state government was going to apologise to UiTM, Khalid said: "There is no need to apologise on this issue. All it needs is a proper explanation on the statement."

He said the important matter is that all universities and institutes of higher learning in the state should cooperate with the (state) government in its effort to raise their status to be national and international recognition.

The protest led by UITM students yesterday.
"One of the ways to achieve is the openness and the students' active participation in open dialogues and sharing of ideas. The PR state government regrets that my statement was reported out of context and skewed into a racial issue instead," said Khalid.

He reiterated the state government's stand that it never meant to discuss the bumiputra's special rights.

"I am aware UiTM was set up to raise the status of bumiputra students and the state government still respects the Federal Constitution which includes Acticle 153 which speaks of Malays special rights," he said.

"Stop harping on and distorting the proposal. I urge UiTM students not to be influenced by certain quarters' propaganda," said Khalid.

Some 5,000 UiTM students marched to the Selangor State Secretariat in Bangunan Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah from Dataran Shah Alam to hand over a memorandum of protest over the MB's suggestion that 10% of UiTM quota be opened to non-bumiputras and foreigners.

The protest, led by UiTM student body president Luqmann Ulhakim Mohamad Idris, saw the students carrying banners and placards with various declarations - "Jangan Rampas Hak Kami" (Do not take away our rights), "Selamatkan UiTM"' (Save UiTM) and "UiTM di Hatiku"' (UiTM in our hearts).

The memorandum was received by Khalid's press officer Hazril Abu Hassan.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Selangor state comes to fruit growers’ aid - Star


FRUIT growers in Selangor are slowing switching to plant oil palm which fetch better profits.

The State Agriculture, Modernisation, Natural Resources and Entrepreneur Development committee chairman Yaakob Sapari said the state government was concerned that several fruit growers had reduced their acreage and had replaced it with oil palm trees.

“We need to have a fine balance of fruit orchards and oil palm plantations.

“Fruits from Selangor actually have a good demand if it is marketed direct from the farms,” he said.

He added that consumers shied away from local fruits as the price was not reasonable.

“Fruit growers had told me that the wholesalers who bought the fruits pushed up the prices forcing the retailers to further charge extra to make a profit.

“Our aim now is to help the orchard owners to market the fruits direct to the consumers,” he said.

Yaakob said the state would enlist the guidance of Selangor Agriculture Develop-ment Corporation (SADC) to guide the fruit growers on direct marketing, creating various products from the fruits and venture into innovative production practices.

“For the fruit growers to achieve a good profit, the state has plans to organise a Friday fruit bazaar where growers would be encouraged to bring their produce and sell it in Shah Alam,” he said.

Earlier, Yaakob, who organised a fruit fiesta for the 900-odd State Secretariat staff, said the fruit bazaar would begin in next month.

“We are also working with SADC to choose quality local fruits for the export market. Other countries like Thailand exports their mangoes while Singapore buys fruits from Selangor, cans it and sells it overseas. So, Selangor has to come up with innovative products and not be left behind,” he said.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who also attended the fruit fiesta, called upon the people to support the local fruit industry.

Friday, August 8, 2008

DOE takes landowner to court for open burning - Malaysiakini

A downpour helped quash much of a fire that had been ranging in Dengkil, Selangor, since early this month. However, that will not save the owner of a 658-hectare piece of land from being charged in court for open burning.

Selangor executive councillor in charge of tourism, consumer affairs and environment Elizabeth Wong said the state government had ordered that the owner of the land, Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Selangor (PPNS), be charged under Section 29(a) of the Environment Quality Act 1974.

If found guilty, PPNS directors face a fine of up to RM500,000 or five years jail, or both.

Wetlands set to re-open soon - Star


THE Paya Indah Wetlands Sanctuary in Selangor will re-open on Nov 25, Selangor Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said during a recent working visit to the wetlands.

The date has been sanctioned by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. Paya Indah has been closed since Feb 1, 2005 and was previously managed by the Malaysian Wetlands Foundation on behalf of the Federal Government.

Opening soon: Wong, Salman (centre) and Sepang Municipal Council deputy president Abdul Razak Jaafar admiring a bunting promoting the Paya Indah Wetlands.

Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) park superintendent Salman Saaban said the wetlands were located in the Kuala Langat district and covered 3,100ha, of which 450.67ha had been gazetted.

“Some of the threats faced by Paya Indah include the clearing of the forests nearby for housing and the dip in the water level within the water cells.

“The peat fires that occur are also keeping the birds away,” he said.

At a press conference later, Wong said the Selangor government had no intention of reviewing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the previous state government and the ministry on Aug 1 last year.

The memorandum gives the Wildlife Department the responsibility for conserving and managing the wetlands for 30 years.

“We will work closely with Perhilitan to manage the park and aid its conservation efforts. We need better water management techniques and must identify the right type of trees to attract birds,” she said.

Wong, who also visited the North Kuala Langat Peat Fire Operations Room, was told the fire in several areas had been put out with only 63ha still burning out of the initial 130ha.

The fire on Sunday started in the 658ha of agricultural land between the North Kuala Langat Forest Reserve and Paya Indah.

“It was deliberately set by the landowner who wanted to clear the land to plant fruits.

“He will be charged under Section 29A of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 that carries a maximum fine of RM500,000 or a five-year jail term, or both,” she said.

“It is a serious offence because the land is close to Paya Indah and the forest reserve. The water level in the wetlands has already dropped.

“From a macro management point of view, we hope to find a way to close the ecologically sensitive area,” Wong added.

More than 200 firemen and government agency staff have been deployed to fight the blaze.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No gifts please

Posted by Hannah Yeoh (

Ever since the election, I have been invited to numerous functions by my constituents. Malaysians love food. Each function I attended, I felt obliged to "eat a little" because the organiser would have gone to great extent in preparing food for us. Many would give souvenirs or a token of appreciation to me for attending their functions. May I say this? I want to be polite here and hopefully not offend anyone - please do not give me gifts. I am no great VIP but a mere people's representative and an ordinary person. Many people still find it hard to believe when I turn up at functions in my own little 4 year old Hyundai Getz. So in view of rising costs, I will just say this openly - don't have to prepare lavish meals and don't have to give me souvenirs, I am happy just attending the function without them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Portal a boost for single mothers - Star

Aug 4, 2008

THE Selangor government has launched an e-ibu portal as a platform to gather data on
single mothers in the state in order to provide aid to them.

The site,, enables single mothers to go online to register with the government as well as offer various aids and programmes offered by the government.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the portal would make it easier for the mothers to reach the government and vice-versa.

“Information gathered will help us in our efforts to provide aid and incentives to the single mothers,” he said.

Showing interest: Khalid visiting one of the booths at the Wanita Anggun 2008 carnival at Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam.

Khalid said this after launching the new portal and announcing Selangor Wo­­men’s Action Plans during the Wanita Anggun 2008 carnival at Stadium Melawati in Shah Alam.

Welfare, Women’s Affairs, Sciences, Technology and Innovation committee chairman Rodziah Ismail said the decision to set up the portal came after meetings with women’s non-governmental organisations.

“We feel that more has to be done in a bid to help the women and give them a better livelihood,” she said, adding that the portal was the commitment of the government to help as many single mothers as it could.

At present, some 12,000 single mothers had registered with the government, she said.

Information provided in the portal include various programmes planned for single mothers, entrepreneurship and online complaints.

Rodziah also said the state government was expected to distribute allowances for single mothers beginning next year.