Saturday, November 28, 2015

Take Care Of Your Heart

JOHOR BARU: Religious school teacher Sali Nafi, 53, has had numbness on the left arm for a while and underwent a electrocardiogram (ECG) for the first time yesterday.

  Sali was referred for a more thorough check-up at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital here after his ECG result came out.

  Sali, from Larkin, was glad he came for the free screening as early detection of heart disease could prevent more severe damage to the heart.

  Seventeen people out of 230 who registered for a free health screening at Kempas here yesterday, were referred to the SAH as of 1.15pm.

  The annual programme, which was into its fourth year, had started at 8am.  It was jointly organised by Briged Sukarelawan Media Prima-NSTP and the National Heart Institute (IJN).

  Yesterday's programme saw the participation of 20 staff from Balai Berita Kuala Lumpur and the Senai printing plant and 45 nurses, paramedics and paediatricians from IJN.

  Besides ECG, there was also blood glucose test, blood cholestrol test, blood pressure test, 2D-Echo (echocardiography) and body mass index.

Datuk Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Tengku Hamid Jumat went for the health screening

  Also at the health screening was an 18-year-old woman who was a IJN patient but she has not been going for further treatment due to financial constraints for the past two years.

  When Kempas assemblyman Datuk Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Tengku Hamid Jumat, who also came for the health screening, heard about her plight, Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid immediately agreed to bear 
her transportation costs to IJN.

  "I will also source for funds from the state government via Baitulmal to help the patient's medical costs," he said, adding that Baitulmal helps the poor on a case to case basis.

  He commended the medical outreach programme themed "Sayang jantung anda" and urged the public not to fear the outcome as he believed some stayed away from such events because they do not wish to know about their own health condition.

  Also there to lend his support was State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

   IJN senior manager Aina Jamil advised the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle by sticking to a simple but regular exercise regime.

  "Heart disease is still the number one killer among men and women.  If there is any numbness on the left side or you feel chest pains, do go to the nearest clinic for a check-up," Aina said.

  She said some patients will brush it off as "wind" when they feel any discomfort.

  "Ignoring the problem will damage the arteries over time which can result in heart failure. 

  However, Aina cautioned patients not to over-exert themselves either.

  "You have to know your own body.  Some people exercise too excessively until their hearts couldn't take it," she added.

  The two-day programme will end today with the volunteers going to Masjid Jamek Ungku Muhamad in Tampoi to give the mosque a fresh coat of paint.

Friday, November 27, 2015

What Do You Think Of MySikap?

Updated (2nd Dec, 2015)

The Road Transport Department implemented MySikap, an online system, on November 1, 2013

After the initial hiccups, MySikap should be operating at full capacity by now.  The RM282 million system, which was launched in November 2013, offers a myriad of transactions ranging from road tax renewals to checking summons, blacklist status, changing of vehicle ownership, appealing for expired driving licences, checking expiry date of motor vehicle and driving licences and checking permits of driving school and driving test results.

Summons enquiry to date is over 4 million, while 15,560 appeals were made for expired driving licence.  There were also 11,651 driving licence enquiries.  I got all the info from the Road Transport Department website at

According to the webpage, Johor, Penang and Selangor branches are currently running without a director.  Johor state director Johari Yusof retired on October 13. 

 Kompleks JPJ in Taman Daya, Johor Bahru

Most of the people I spoke to (ages range from 25 to 45) say they prefer to go to Kompleks JPJ or the Post Office or the Urban Transformation Centre (opened in mid 2014 at the Galleria@Kotaraya) to renew their driving licences.   

They've heard of MySikap but just weren't keen on online transactions.  One friend even said MySikap which offers a MySikap ID for four categories of users --- public, business associates such as car sales executives and suppliers, staff and academies --- was a waste of taxpayers' money as there's already MyEG and the other options.

However, Mohamad Amin Abd Ghafar, 42, a car salesman uses MySikap and he finds it easier now to renew a road tax, unlike the past where it would take days. 

"You can get your road tax renewed on the same day," Amin said.

Meanwhile, Jing Ping, 29, is wondering if applications for vehicle modification and e-bidding for vehicle registration plates can also be done online

Several attempts were made to help Jing Ping with her query over the week, but to no avail.  Finally, today an official who declined to be named told me that both e-bidding for vehicle registration and applications for vehicle modification are yet to be available online.

The friendly and polite official also said that the people who register for MySikap ID were mainly the department's business associates.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Q and A with Dr Boo

Dr Boo Cheng Hau

Q:  Why did you resign as state opposition leader?  Is it because you want to give the younger ones a chance to learn?  Or was it because you felt sidelined?

A: It  was a tough decision for me  to resign but  I think I did the right thing after I was voted out of the Johor DAP State Committee.  I decided to resign for the reason that I no longer have the party members' mandate to remain  as a state committee member, and the mandate  and back up needed from the party to continue as the opposition leader. 

I definitely had plans to groom the young leaders to take over the leadership one day including the State Opposition leader when the  time is right. 

It actually did not come as a surprise to me that I was voted out of the state committee even though it was for the very first time since 1995. Many in the party  tried to blame me and painted my ouster as something of my own doing. It has definitely been orchestrated since even before the last General Elections. I have been purportedly sidelined in my own home grounds, but for the sake of the party, my members and public interests, I have tolerated all the immature and naive politicking until recently when I thought I could no longer tolerate such dirty politics. 

During the GE-13,  I was immediately sidelined for attending functions in two parliamentary constituencies right after nomination day. As the State Chairman then,  I knew I had been played out, and Johor DAP would not be like before.

There was even a resolution passed by the State Committee reinforced by the central leader in 2014   that I could not take part in handling non-party matters in other constituencies than myself. It is obviously odd to have such a directive, and I think there was nothing more than an orchestrated effort to clip my wings and performance as the opposition leader. Some try to expand their own political popularity in Johor by smearing me and limiting my capacity to move around. It  is sad to say that they have seen me as a competitor and hindrance to their own political agenda and advancement.

The same forces have tried to portray me as someone who is difficult work with as a team, but the fact is I helped build up that team over a period of 20 years. 20 years is a long time and I never regretted the effort I have put in. Nonetheless, they hijacked the team and claimed to be their own, and they hijacked the vision for Johor too and claimed to be their own. 

I remained silent and tried to tolerate it in the purview of "party unity". Nonetheless, things have gotten even worse when some young state assemblymen ganged up and boycotted my events and refused to cooperate. It made it almost impossible to perform effectively as the Opposition leader like what it used to be. 

Since 2008 Johor has become a place where every opposition politician is expecting a juicy bite out of it as compared to the days of "zero opposition" in Johor. It is  where every oppositionist wants to have a share of it than truly work for the benefits of the Johoreans. I would say they are  opportunistic than sincere in concerning Johoreans' welfare.

Gan Peck Cheng
Q: Do you have any advice for the newly-appointed opposition leader?  Will you be her mentor of sort? What do you think are the qualities that a leader should have?

A: Gan Peck Cheng is a humble political worker. I have worked with her for more than 20 years.  I have openly supported her role as the new opposition leader. It is really exciting to have a woman first time in Johor history as our opposition leader. 

When the party did not pay much attention to set up the women's wing once upon a time, I insisted as the state chairman then to set up the women's wing throughout the state. Therefore, one could say that I am a democrat and feminist in many ways, and she has all my blessings to shoulder the new duty. 

Today I am glad to see a woman has taken over the post as the state opposition leader. Peck Cheng has openly admitted that she welcomes my advice and assistance. And I am ready to provide any assistance I could in my capacity. After all, we are a team.  However,  I hope she could stand up for truth and justice when under undue pressure form the top leaders. 

Q: You still get to sit in the front row of the state opposition row in the state assembly sitting? Are you happy about that?

A: I am not sure about the new seating arrangement will be. It is a convention that I have to move away from the first seat on the left wing of the Dewan which is conventionally seated by the opposition leader in the Westminster model. 

Q: Do you still keep in touch with your former deputy Norman Fernandez who has left the party? 

A: Norman Fernandez has been my solicitor for my defamation suit. We have been close friends and always debated on various issues even though he has left the party. We never agree on all the issues but we have been able to debate on a friendly basis.  He was written off by the party leadership too prematurely for some comments he made against the party leaders. 

Now, even some DAP members think  that Norman was right in condemning PAS during the last general elections for having a hidden agenda in pushing Islamic law while on the other hand  Lim Kit Siang wept at a press conference and pledged to use PAS logo if DAP was declared illegal by the Registrar of Society.

I was caught in between when Norman made that statement without consulting me. Both are my respected comrades in arms. But I paid a heavy price for it when rumours were spread within the party that I personally gave Norman the directive to issue the statement in public which was seen against the party discipline. I was victimised during the last party state elections for that.

Now, many  claimed that Norman as a hero who  was right about PAS hidden agenda even though it was issued at a bad time. The party should have genuine tolerance towards dissenting views  which could be given in an unpleasant manner and at an awfully bad time. It also proved that the party made a less foresighted view by declaring using PAS logo without checking the undercurrent underway.

Even though PAS is still a force to be reckoned with, unfortunately, some of its leaders prefer to work with  UMNO than DAP. It will be a grave danger to Malaysian politics where race-based parties like UMNO and religion-based PAS form a political pact while DAP, PKR and PAN formed a multiracial opposition pact. I believe it is only healthy for both political pacts to be non-racial and multicultural, and compete on an even ground. Or else, it will be a disaster for the country for being further polarised politically.

Q: What are your views about DAP contesting in PAS seats in Selangor?

A: It  was something out of my expectation as I thought the party top leaders would have stopped it from proceeding any  further.  The Malaccan State Chairman Goh Leong San,  Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Hing, DAP acting Chairman Tan Kok Wai  and I myself are the very first DAP leaders  being sued by our own comrades for defamation arising from none but our deliberation over the choice of candidacies during general elections.

Q: How many years have you been in politics?  How would you describe the political scene now?  How do you foresee the future?

A: I joined the DAP in 1994, and became active in 1995 when I left the  government service as a medical officer at Hospital Sultanah Aminah. The political scene now is far more complicated than before. There is more power struggle as there's plenty of  opportunities within the opposition parties. The future lies in more transparent, fair and clean opposition parties. I always believed that we have to walk the talk- leading by fulfilling our principles. 

Even though I am having an extremely tough time in my personal political career at the moment, I am optimistic about our country's future. However,  the optimism has to arise from a young generation who wants to see changes not only in the government but a new social contract whereby we need to instituitionlise positive values into our administrations and governments.

Q:  When you are not serving the community, how do you spend your time?  A game of golf? Movies? Reading?

A: I am still holding two full-time jobs. I usually work 7 hours a day  in the clinic, and spend another 10 hours on political and community works. When I'm at home, I will jog on the treadmill. I enjoy reading and hope to travel more.  I also love to write about current issues and I've been a moviegoer since my student days --- science fiction movies are my favourites.

Q: What are the common issues faced by the local community?  What changes would you like to see?

A: Over the years the common issues are better infrastructure and the upkeep of the community facilities. I am glad to see many concepts that I've raised in the Dewan have been taken note of by the local council, including building more walkways and overhead bridges for a pedestrian-friendly community, better leisure parks upkeep, setting up of nurseries, old folk homes, hospices and community centres in a more systematic way.

I hope to see more decentralisation of powers, for example,  GST should be collected by the local and state governments which should in turn be empowered to run nurseries, old folk homes and schools. More localised community participation is vital in the next phase of socio-economic development in Malaysia.

Monday, November 16, 2015


JOHOR BARU: Flash floods brought traffic to a standstill at Jalan Wong Ah Fook and its surrounding areas at noon today. 

A total of 20 vehicles were stranded in the major thoroughfare in the city when the area was inundated in 1.5m-deep water following the almost two-hour downpour. No injuries were reported.

Johor Baru Selatan police chief Assistant Commissioner Sulaiman Salleh said traffic police helped to divert motorists away from the city centre. He said all roads heading toward the Johor Baru City Square and the Komtar Johor Baru City Centre (Komtar JBCC) were also closed to traffic at the time.

 "The rain was exceptionally heavy from 12pm to 1.30pm. This led to flash floods that inundated the area in 1.5m-deep waters," Sulaiman said. 

A Fire and Rescue Services Department spokesman said three people were trapped in their cars, but were later brought to safety. Firemen also searched a basement car park of a building in Jalan Wong Ah Fook, which was submerged in flood water to check for victims. 

The flash flood receded by 2pm. An office worker at Johor Baru City Square said the water began to rise about noon and she saw police blocking traffic to Jalan Wong Ah Fook. 

"Policemen blocked traffic at Jalan Stesen to prevent vehicles from entering Jalan Wong Ah Fook, which was flooded. 

"By 2pm, water receded and I could see cars using the road once again," said the worker, who did not want to be named. 

The last major flash flood to occur at the same area was on July 31. 

Meanwhile, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) said an immediate investigation was being conducted to determine the cause of the flash flood. 

"Initial investigations confirm that the floods were not caused by work on the Sungai Segget Rejuvenation Project implemented by IRDA," it said in a statement. 

"However, the floods were caused by a combination of two factors - the high tide flows into Johor Baru city centre coupled with the heavy flow of rainwater as a result of the prolonged rain over the past few days as well as the heavy downpour earlier today."

It said that the Sungai Segget Rejuvenation Project was aimed at developing a flood mitigation system in order to avoid such floods in the city centre. It said the Project's Package 2: Development of Flood Mitigation System and Beautification of Jalan Wong Ah Fook involves the installation of new high capacity pumps. 

The pumps were scheduled for installation upon the completion of the project in June 2016 "In the meantime, IRDA has taken immediate steps to install suction pumps as a temporary measure to alleviate the problem," it said.

source: NST online
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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Johor's Conservation Effort

Two hundred juvenile seahorses, bred in a hatchery, were released into the Sungai Pulai estuary, a RAMSAR site, in Kampung Pendas, Gelang Patah.

The seahorses, which were bred in captivity as part of a seahorse conservation project undertaken by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) since 2008 were released by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

The project had churned out 200 juvenile seahorses of the Hippocampus kuda species.  The eight-month-old seahorses were released into a natural habitat on November 4.

However, the survival rate for the seahorses is not more than 10 per cent in a natural habitat compared to 2 to 30 per cent in captivity, according to a study conducted by UMT. 

Seahorses are regarded as being directly threatened by human exploitation for the traditional medicinal and live aquarium trades.

There are a total of 32 known seahorse species in the world today. Of this, eight species are found in Malaysian waters, with three distinctly found in Johor --- Hippocampus kuda, Hippocampus trimaculatus and Hippocampus spinossismus.
The Sultan also launched a 133-page book titled 'Seahorses-Heritage of Pristine Johor Straits' written by UMT deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Mohd Effendy Abd Wahid and UMT science officer C. Thirukanthan, during the event held at the Southern Region Marine Department headquarters.

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, UMT vice-chancellor Prof Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar and Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech) chief executive officer Wan Amir Jeffery Wan Abdul Majid.

Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), the leading developer of Forest City in Gelang Patah, sponsored the event, which has also secured a place in the Malaysia Book of Records.

Meanwhile, J-Biotech will be spearheading the development of a biodiversity masterplan  to ensure that there is sustainable development in Johor, as well as ensuring conservation and of the eco-system. 

Wan Amir said the masterplan, a Johor state government initiative, will take up to two years to complete.  It will include the building of a eco-marine centre aimed at carrying out reseach work, collecting data, and for researchers to come together.

"It is also aimed at spreading awareness on the importance of sustainable development among the local and international community, and we will focus on research education," Wan Amir said.

Talks are currently being carried out with several parties, such as the State Economic Planning Unit
and private corporations on the matter.

"We have yet to determine the cost of the development of the centre but for a start, our concerns is not so much on the physical development but  whether the environment is suitable for the species. 

"The centre can be a meeting point for researchers to undertake research work on marine species, to focus on increasing marine species whether threatened or otherwise, understand the eco-system better and monitor the marine species.
"We need to prioritise pressing concerns, which at the moment is the seahorse.  Previously it was the dugong," he added.

Wan Amir said the eco-marine centre could be in Pulau Sibu or within the Forest City development.

Growing Fun

By Gladys Tay Guest Blogger Last August, I decided to work on a project on my bucket list, which is to have an edible garden of my ...