Monday, October 13, 2008

Councillors’ contact numbers to be put up - Star

Oct 13, 2008

THE Tapah District Council will put up the contact numbers of its council officers and councillors at government offices and public places in two weeks’ time.

Sungkai assemblyman A. Sivanesan said the district council was the first local authority in Perak to make public the contact numbers. He noted that 1,000 posters had been printed for the purpose.

“It will allow the people to easily get in touch with the officers and councillors to complain about matters such as uncut grass and uncollected rubbish,” he told reporters in Ipoh on Friday.

He said the Pakatan Rakyat state government had revamped the local authorities with 30% of councillors from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“Although the councillors have been sworn in, the people still don’t know who the councillors are and the areas under their jurisdiction,” he added.

Sivanesan said that the people could contact the councillors any time.

”If the people’s complaints are not attended to by the councillors, they can complain to the council officers or me,” added Sivanesan who is also Perak’s Health, Environment and Human Resource Committee chairman

15 councils to cover whole state - Star

Oct 13, 2008 By SYLVIA LOOI

THE whole of Perak will be put under the administration of 15 local councils.

State Education, Local Government, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said previously, the 15 councils were administering only 15% of the state’s 21,005 sq km area.

Nga: Previously, 85% of Perak was unattended, leading to problems “That left 85% of the area unattended, leading to problems such as lack of basic services like the cleaning of drains, rubbish collection and grass cutting,” he said recently.

The move to gazette the entire state under the local authorities, Nga added, would ensure the people of Perak received the much-needed services.

Perak, he added, was the fourth state to do so after Kedah, Penang and Malacca.

Nga said the move would also increase the council revenues.

“It will also be helpful in promoting the local councils from municipality to city council status or from district to municipality status,” he added.

Nga added the move was approved by the state executive council (exco) meeting held recently and would be submitted to the Cabinet for approval soon.

Previously, villages which do not come under the local authorities maintain the cleanliness of the villages themselves.

On another matter, Nga said the state had recently approved a 0.7ha plot of land to SJK (C) Eok Kwan in Pengkalan Hulu.

The school, said Nga, had been applying for land since 1966 but there had been no news.

He noted that the school had 267 pupils.

Nga also told temple committees to respect social norms when organising shows in conjunction with religious festivals.

Citing the recent Nine Emperor God festival recently, Nga said his Pantai Remis service centre had received five complaints against performers who dressed sexily and spoke provocatively.

”We will not hesitate to act against the temple committee if they allow the performers to continue with such antics,” he added.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Perak govt offers 80% discount for freehold titles - Star

IPOH: Oct 9, 2008 By CLARA CHOOI

The Perak government has announced an 80% discount on land premium for those keen to convert their leasehold titles to freehold titles in all planned and new villages in the state.

In making the much-awaited announcement Thursday, senior state exco Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said this meant that applicants only needed to pay 20% of the appreciated value of the land.

“We have finally developed the formula for the premium after the Valuation Department completed its assessment of the appreciated land value after it is converted from leasehold to freehold.

”The appreciated value was estimated based on the size and location of the land and it differs according to the remaining number of years on the land lease for each piece of land,” he said in a press conference at the State Secretariat here.

Ngeh added that the formula was for all 110,000 applicable titles in the state’s planned and new villages, which totalled to an appreciation value of RM1.5bil.

This meant that the people would only pay 20% of the RM1.5bil for the premium, amounting to RM300mil, he said.

”Of course, this is an option and is not compulsory. If there are those who feel they cannot afford to make the conversion now, they do not need to do so.

”However, we are sure that many people would not want to pass up this opportunity, which ultimately empowers them.

”At least by holding freehold titles, it would be easier for them to take bank loans to improve their homes,” he said.

Ngeh added that those interested in making the conversion could do so in two weeks time as the formula schedule has to be disseminated to all district land and mines offices statewide.

”Once they apply, it should take between one and two weeks for the freehold titles to be issued,” he said.

Ngeh added that those who paid for the extension of their land leases after the March 8 elections at a scale higher than the new formula stipulated would automatically be qualified to receive freehold titles without being charged further premium.

Citing an example of Kampung Baru Simee here, Ngeh said that if a 300sq metre piece of land still had a remaining land lease of more than 90 years, an applicant needed only to pay RM780 for the premium.

This amount, he said, was 20% of the appreciated value of the said land, which was RM3,900.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Giving an ear to orang asli - Star

Oct 6, 2008 By CHRISTINA KOH

THE orang asli of Perak are being given a chance to voice their views on projects affecting them.

The Perak government has invited several orang asli organisations to an inaugural meeting in Bidor to discuss projects and events affecting their land.

Senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham will chair the meeting at the State Secretariat tomorrow which will also involve heads of key departments such as forestry and environment.

Perak Network of Orang Asli Villages founder-adviser and secretary Tijah Yok Chopil hailed the move as a good sign for the community.

”We’re excited. This is the first time that we can sit at the discussion table and be part of the decision making process. This has never happened before.

“Of course we expect hurdles while we seek to defend our rights. But this is better than being left out,” she said.

State executive councillor A. Sivanesan said among the agenda was a proposal for a cluster oil palm farming scheme for the 3ha of land to be set aside for each orang asli family.

“They could earn RM3,000 from each harvest and we don’t want a third party to come in and suck their blood. The programme will go on if the orang asli are willing to venture into it.

“The decision is theirs. The ball is in their court,” he told reporters yesterday after meeting the orang asli at Kampung Chang Sungai Gepai in Bidor, about 70km from Ipoh.

Sivanesan added that the meeting was to address the main complaint of the orang asli that they were never consulted about up-coming projects.

However, Sivanesan hoped there would not be a repeat of the incident when some 100 orang asli staged a walkout out of frustration during a dialogue to thrash out problems about logging in Gopeng.

“The state government will always be ready to hear your problems. The doors of our offices, even the Mentri Besar’s, are always open to you,” he told them.

On a related matter, Sivanesan said the state had recently rejected a proposal by a company to extract mineral water on the 196ha site in Bidor previously earmarked for the National Arboretum project.

He said the company had made the application after the Fede- ral Government had scrapped the project due to financial constraints.

”But we strongly opposed the idea and the orang asli’s land will remain untouched,” he assu-red.

Last year, the botanical garden project caused a storm of pro-tests from orang asli who claimed that it would encroach into their land.

Open tender land sale in Perak - Star

IPOH: Oct 6, 2008

The first sale of state land to private individuals or companies through open tender will be made by the end of the year.

State Education, Local Govern-ment, Housing and Public Transport Committee chairman Nga Kor Ming said the government had identified more than 10 parcels of prime land in the Kinta Valley and Tronoh for sale.

“We expect the first batch of more than 10 parcels of prime land to be tendered out by year-end,” he said after the open house celebration of Seri Bahagia Old Folks Welfare Association in Jalan Gopeng here yesterday.

He said the size of the land identified for the sale would be different for each parcel, with the biggest being 8ha. A land survey would be conducted before the Valuation Department decides on the reserve price.

Nga said those interested in taking part in the open tenders should look out for the advertisements, adding that they would be in four languages.

The tender documents would be made available at the state Land and Mines Office after the advertisements appear in the newspapers.

In August, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin announced that the state would sell state land by open tender to enhance transparency in its administration and to increase revenue.

On the premium to be imposed for new villagers who are keen to apply for freehold titles, Nga said the state had approved the formula for the calculation of the premium.

He said Nizar and (senior state executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham) would make the announcement.

The issue of premium is the hurdle that the government has to clear before it can award freehold titles to the state’s 134 new villages and kampung tersusun (planned villages).

Perak government wants ISA camp moved out of Kamunting - Star

BIDOR: Oct 6, 2008

The Perak government wants the ISA detention camp, now in Kamunting, out of the state.

State executive councillor A. Sivanesan said he would look into the legal avenues and land legislation, in particular the Land Acquisition Act, to see how the Pakatan Rakyat-led state could reclaim the land alienated to the Federal Government for the camp.

Sivanesan suggested the detention centre be relocated to a Barisan Nasional stronghold such as Pahang or Johor.

“Pakatan is against the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the camp is in Kamunting, Taiping. If they (Barisan) are not going to abolish the ISA, then move the camp out and give us back the land,” he said yesterday after meeting orang asli at Kampung Chang Sungai Gepai, about 70km from Ipoh.

However, Sivanesan said he had yet to bring up the idea at the weekly state executive council meeting.

Big trouble in Little India: MIC vs Pakatan - Star


The city’s “Little India” is shaping out to be the scene of a battle for two political parties fighting for the right to hold their own grand Deepavali celebration.

One group is led by Perak executive councillor A. Sivanesan from Pakatan Rakyat, who is crossing swords with an equally determined Perak MIC chairman Datuk G. Rajoo over the matter.

Sivanesan, who is also state Health, Environment and Human Resource Committee chairman, said the state government had as of Monday rejected Rajoo’s application to hold the celebration at Little India.

Sivanesan said this was because Pakatan planned to have its own festival there with the feedback and participation of local hawkers, businessmen and organisations.

“In the past, Ipoh Barat MIC has never involved the public when the party organises the celebration. We’ve received complaints from the traders of Little India,” he claimed.

“This time however, the community will themselves decide with Pakatan how the celebration should be done,” he told reporters at the State Secretariat here on Monday.

Sivanesan also accused the MIC of having previous Deepavali celebrations to profit from the festival, such as through the sale of trading lots.

“But we (Pakatan) are not doing it to make money. As a veteran politician, Rajoo should understand that the final decision is in the hands of the state executive council,” he said.

“The council officers are mere civil servants who should take instruction from the state and perform accordingly,” he added.

A defiant Rajoo said Ipoh Barat MIC would carry on preparations for the Deepavali celebration, which it had been doing for the past 16 years.

Rajoo said the party had already received approval in May from the Ipoh City Council to have the week-long celebration in Little India.

“We paid RM2,600 (for the security deposit) and we were issued an official receipt. We’ve even received payment for 83 stalls from traders.

“Now all of a sudden, Sivanesan wants to have the celebration in the same place which is very unfair. We are not doing this illegally,” he said.

Rajoo argued that the council was an independent body and that Sivanesan should not have meddled in a lawfully approved event.

He also denied that the MIC never involved the public or held such events to make profit, adding that the party even subsidised the celebration so that the Indian traders and community could benefit.

“We are not money-minded. We are a non-profit body. We are running the celebration for the people,” he retorted.