Tuesday, September 05, 2006

MORE RUKUN TETANGGA-RELATED NEWS FROM THE STAR ARCHIVE
News Central - 02/09/06

Reviving up PJ folks’ love for the country - By JADE CHAN

THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) held its Kempen Semarak Merdeka at its headquarters last Tuesday as part of its line-up of celebrations in conjunction with the nation’s 49th National Day. The event was launched by state exco member Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Ahmad Dahlan. Also present were new Petaling Jaya mayor Mohamad Roslan Sakiman, Damansara Utama assemblyman Datuk Lim Choon Kin, MBPJ councillors, as well as representatives from residents association (RA) and Rukun Tetangga (RT). The campaign was organised as one of MBPJ’s initiatives to increase the patriotic spirit and love for the country among the PJ community. Merdeka-themed boot lid stickers were presented to 1,000 PJ taxi drivers at the event. The sponsors for the campaign were Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Puspel), Mobile Money International Sdn Bhd, Air Asia Berhad and Airocom Technology Berhad.

“The Selangor state government feels that people of all races and ages should celebrate Merdeka as a special occasion,” said Mokhtar.

“We need to instil the spirit of love and pride for our country, and to celebrate everyone’s contribution to the country’s success.”

“Everyone – corporate companies, government agencies, NGOs, schools, local communities, and other organisations – all worked together as a team to contribute to the country, and we are on the road to achieving Vision 2020,” he said.

On the city’s new mayor, Mokhtar said he had known Roslan for quite some time as they had working together before in the state government.

“Roslan is a very approachable person and I’m sure he’ll lead the city (PJ) to success,” he said.

Meanwhile, the campaign was the first programme that Roslan attended in his new role as Petaling Jaya mayor.

“I plan to visit the areas in PJ and get to know the community. The Selangor Menteri Besar has advised me to go down to the grassroots and listen to the people.”

“I will try my best to bring about changes and foster closer rapport with residents,” he said.

“We are looking into the possibility of creating more RA, RT and Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) associations in PJ to organise more community-related activities and reduce the crime rate in the area,” he added.


News-Opinion - 01/09/06

RT may stop bikers from terrorising our streets

THE despicable act of the thugs on motorcycles, who vandalised and damaged windscreens of vehicles along the affluent streets in Bangsar, is a cause for security concern, “Bikers on smashing rampage” (The Star, Aug 31). While we may be celebrating our 49th National Day, the thought that thuggery by misfits of society, which continues unabated, does dampen our mood to rejoice on this happy occasion. Our men in blue are too far and few in between to keep our streets and neighbourhoods safe. It is, therefore, about time for our citizens to re-organise our Rukun Tetangga to help reduce the crime rate. We should stop these hoodlums from terrorising our streets. The RT scheme is also a good way to promote good neighbourliness and goodwill among the various races. HAMDAN IBRAHIM, Kuala Lumpur

News - North - 31/08/06

Malaysian-Thais show their Merdeka spirit

ABOUT 300 enthusiastic Malaysian-Thais from six villages in Kedah could not wait to usher in National Day. The villagers from Kampung Baru Naka Siam, Kampung Chandeng, Kampung Lubuk Rambai, Kmpung Padang and Kampung Bendang Pit started their festivities on Aug 29. The events were jointly organised by Pekan Naka Rukun Tetangga and Kampung Naka Umno division.

Kampung Baru Naka Siam Village Security and Development Committee chairman Khoo Ah Chai, 58, said: “We want to show how grateful we are to be born Malaysians.”

The celebrations started with 10 youngsters beating the traditional long drums at 3pm.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid’s political secretary Ali Yahya opened the celebrations. Khoo said it had become a tradition for them to celebrate National Day with sports events. A nine-a-side football match will be held today at Kampung Chandeng. Traditional masseuse Asaw Khoon Dinplum, 70, from Kampung Naka Baru Siam, shed tears when recounting the hardships faced by leaders to gain independence. She said that she was blessed to live in a peaceful country.

“Even though my children are far away, I never feel alone as I have many friends from all races near me,” she said.


News - Opinion - 31/08/06

Dept promoting RT schemes for residents

THE Department of National Unity and Integration would like to thank Citizen 13 from Puchong for his letter, “Bring back Rukun Tetangga to check crime” (The Star, Aug 5). To date, there are 3,228 Rukun Tetangga centres throughout the country. There are also 498 RT voluntary patrolling schemes which are part of the RT activities. We are actively promoting and encouraging residents to set up voluntary patrolling schemes by promoting various facilities in RT areas for the participants.Those interested in setting up such schemes, can contact the Director of Community Development Division at: Tel: 03-88888489 at The Department of National Unity and Integration.

M.NAGARAJAN MARIMUTHU, For Director-General, Department of National Unity and Integration, Putrajaya.


News-Nation 30/08/06

Kueh stall bookings down

TAIPING: Every fasting month, stalls selling traditional kueh sprout up everywhere, but this may not happen this year. According to the Rukun Tetangga (RT) sector that manages the stalls in Simpang here, the number of bookings is down compared with last year. It is not that such seasonal traders are not interested in making some extra cash for the coming Hari Raya. Instead, the current shortage of sugar has been blamed or the poor response.

“How are they going to run their kueh stalls when sugar is not available?” asked Kampung Dew Barat RT chairman C. Shanmugam.

“Even if there is sugar, the coarse type that is used in kueh making is being sold at RM1.70 a kg while refined sugar costs more than RM2 a kg. This will inevitably make the kueh costlier to the public.”

He was speaking to The Star after receiving a complaint from Raja Badrol Hisham, a resident here who bought coarse sugar at RM1.70 a kg from a mini market in Simpang. Shanmugam said his Kampung Dew Barat RT sector manages a Pasar Ramadan site at Jalan Kota Jaya, Simpang, every fasting month and bookings had been open to the public since early this month.

“But only 10 people have turned up so far, unlike in previous years when we received more than 100 bookings by this time,” said Shanmugam.

He expects the situation to worsen unless the enforcement division of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry acts fast. He has directed his RT officials to identify shops selling coarse sugar above the permitted price of RM1.40. Shanmugam said a similar situation occurred about five years ago but the RT sector managed to get the help of state exco member Datuk G. Rajoo, who was in charge of consumer affairs then, to supply sugar directly to houses here.

“We used our RT funds to buy sugar directly from a wholesaler and went door-to-door selling sugar to residents. There is no reason why this can't be done now,” said Shanmugam.

Meanwhile, Federation of Sundry Goods Merchants Associations of Malaysia president Lean Hing Chuan said the situation might improve if the Government allowed more sugar manufacturing factories to be set up. As present, there are only four sugar manufacturers in the country.


News-North 30/08/06

Line dancing at launch

SUNSHINE Square in Penang played host to several associations when they turned up for the launch of the Bandar Bayan Baru Merdeka Month celebration. After receiving the Jalur Gemilang from Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Wong Mun Hoe, the evening's entertainment kicked off with a performance by the Honey Bees line dancers. In accordance with the muhibbah spirit, they danced to English, Chinese and Malay songs, displaying a truly Malaysian performance. The event was jointly organised by the Bayan Baru Lions Club, Bayan Baru Rukun Tetangga and Sunshine Square. In his welcoming speech, club president and Bayan Baru Rukun Tetangga chairman Chai Tsing Boo said the community must not allow extremism and violence to divide the nation.

“Malaysia is our birthplace, home, workplace and final resting place so we must all commemorate her independence with pride,” he said.

He said that the principles of the Rukunegara must be inculcated in the younger generation because it unites the various races. In his speech, Wong reminded citizens of all ages to join in the national Merdeka celebration because it is the only event that is observed by everyone regardless of race, colour or creed.

“Even if you were born after the war, you can still appreciate the significance of Merdeka by understanding the struggles of our forefathers,” he said.


News-Nation - 29/08/06

Make Rukun Tetangga patrols a must - BY TEH ENG HOCK

JOHOR BARU: Night patrols must be made compulsory for all Rukun Tetangga (RT) units as only 30 out of the 415 registered RTs in the state carry out such patrols. State unity, domestic trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Datuk K.S.Balakrishnan said if patrolling was made compulsory, some 70,000 members could be roped in to fight crime in the state.

“Right now, patrolling is voluntary. I hope the Government will make it compulsory,” he told The Star.

Balakrishnan also suggested that RT members receive training from Rela or the police to be better prepared to face criminals. He also proposed for more equipment, like torches and batons, to be provided to RTs involved in patrolling. Safety is becoming a major concern of residents doing neighbourhood patrols, as they believe criminals are becoming more aggressive. As such, many would think twice about chasing after a robber for fear of getting hurt. Lawyer Yap Siong Cheng, 48, who is a member of neighbourhood ad-hoc committee that patrols the Taman Abad area here, said they acted as deterrent to crime.

“We always remind our members not to be heroes. Our purpose is to make our presence felt so people will think twice about committing crimes,” he said.
Yap added they had been fortunate that, since they started patrolling seven years ago, no one had been hurt in the line of duty.

“We’ve not met violent or parang-wielding men. At most, they had crowbars or screwdrivers to be used for breaking into houses,” he said.
Yap added that for neighbourhood watches to be effective in combating crime, cooperation with the police was vital.

“Police support and backup must be quick. If the police arrive 45 minutes after we catch someone, then the programme is bound to fail,” he said, adding that the police had cooperated well with his committee so far.

About three to five members patrol the streets every night, and this has resulted in bringing down the crime rate in the area. Kampung Bendahara Rukun Tetangga chairman Karim Wagiman, 55, was also concerned that his members might get hurt if they confronted armed criminals.

“I always advise my members to be not overly aggressive when trying to apprehend a suspect.

“We don’t dare (give chase). Nowadays, you don’t know what weapons criminals have.

“Police have also briefed us on what to do and what not to do. We pass information on details of individuals or vehicles we have doubts about,” he said.


NATION 28-Aug-2006

PM: Revive Rukun Tetangga

KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister wants the Rukun Tetangga to be quickly revived to fight increasing crime in the country. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the people had been voicing how uneasy or unsafe they felt.

“We do not want crime to rise further and make the country unsafe for our people and tourists,” he added.

Of late, there had been a lot of concern over reports of violent crime and the rise in snatch thefts that resulted in serious injuries and even death. Abdullah, who is also Internal Security Minister, said while the Government had been doing all it could to beef up the police force, the responsibility should not be solely on the police.

“People should not keep quiet and not do anything. It's not only the police's responsibility. We want people to show they hate crime. We should have an active role in moving together and harnessing the strength of the rakyat.

“We should revive the Rukun Tetangga concept. Let us, the rakyat of Malaysia, act to reduce crime and make it safe for us,” he said yesterday at the 53rd MCA annual general assembly.

Abdullah said the Rakan Cop programme had been introduced and the Rukun Tetangga, which was a neighbourhood patrol group, had long been in existence.

“Rukun Tetangga is still around. So let's widen it now and make it active again. Everyone is saying that crime is bad (these days) and this makes us feel unsafe.

“With the rakyat acting together in safeguarding their areas and kampungs, we can bring down the crime rate.”

He pointed out that this could be done, citing MCA's experience under former leader Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in combating the Ecstasy scourge nationwide. Speaking to reporters later at another function, Abdullah said it was his view that if the Rukun Tetangga was reactivated and people power mobilised in a big way to fight crime, the rate would go down drastically.

“Even if we can't totally eradicate crime, we can at least reduce the number,” he stressed.

Abdullah said that Rukun Tetangga regulations were already in existence and could be used.

“If there is anything that need to be amended, I will ask (Datuk) Dr Maximus Ongkili, the minister in charge, to act,” he said.

At the MCA function earlier, Abdullah reiterated his directive to all quarters to stop raising sensitive issues, particularly those on religion and race. He said even in advanced countries like the United States, there were sensitivities when it came to race or religious matters.

“This is the nature of man. When you touch on religious or race issues, it can get out of hand,” he added.

The Government recently called on all parties to refrain from discussing sensitive issues such as Article 11 and Article 121 of the Federal Constitution which are related to race and religion.


News - Central 25/08/06

Residents celebrate with themed events - By VIVIENNE PAL

RESIDENTS of SEA Park, Taman Len Seng and SS3 had a festive pre-National Day celebration last Saturday, complete with thematic events, a motorcade and dances, among others.

Organised by the respective residents association (RA) and Rukun Tetangga (RT) chairmen under the leadership of Kampung Tunku assemblyman Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hou, the event involved some 300 residents, the business community and NGOs.

“It was part of the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) LA 21 plan for a month-long celebration,” said Dr Wong after a sponsorship presentation on Monday.

“Our theme song was Let's Get Together, a song I personally chose because it is meaningful.”

The event began at 9am at SEA Park with activities revolving around the theme of “Malaya’s Independence (1957)” and included a walk around the area before the motorcade adjourned to Section 22, Taman Len Seng at 10am.

“We had a bus, two vans from Beautiful Gates, one van from the Malaysian Association of the Blind, 10 cars and about 20 motorcycles bearing the Malaysian flag in the motorcade,” he said.

The theme at Taman Len Seng centred on the “Formation of Malaysia (1963)”.

The motorcade's final stop was at SS3 where the celebration finale - themed “Keranamu Malaysia” - comprised a lion dance welcome at the MBPJ multipurpose hall, a fitness ball demonstration by the SS3 Aerobics Group and line and fan dancing by the Malaysian Cancer Society.

During the finale, the largest Malaysian flag made of 10,500 prepaid phone cards was raised, courtesy of students from Universiti Malaya.

“It was a very successful event because everyone, especially the children enjoyed themselves,” said Dr Wong.

At the event, a booklet entitled Keranamu Malaysia was circulated to residents and the business community.

Initiated by Dr Wong with the cooperation of the community, the booklet contained - among others - a directory of the business community, NGO offices and services located within the SEA Park, Taman Len Seng and SS3 areas.

“This booklet is aimed at bringing the community together, at the same time promoting the area to outsiders. We've included in the booklet, a chronology of significant events that occurred throughout the years beginning with 1957 so that the community will know the country's history.

“Next year, I plan to join forces with areas under the Damansara Utama area so that PJU will be able to hold the 50th National Day celebrations on a larger scale.

“Hopefully this book will make it easier for us to mobilise teams for that purpose,” said Dr Wong.


CENTRAL 22-Aug-2006

Hibiscus-planting campaign for PJ folk - By JADE CHAN jade@thestar.com.my

DAMANSARA Utama assemblyman Datuk Lim Choon Kin launched the SS2B hibiscus planting campaign in conjunction with the 49th National Day and the adoption of the SS2/32 field under the MBPJ/RT SS2B recently. Community spirit was high as residents from various areas in SS2B gathered at the SS2/32 field to witness the launch and kick-start the hibiscus-planting event.

“This is the fourth year that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is organising its month-long Merdeka celebrations with the support of 70 NGOs, schools, residents' associations, and several other organisations,” said Lim, adding that there will be 35 activities going on in various parts of the city from Aug 17 to Sept 16.

“Apart from expressing our love for the country, events like this help to gather people of all races and religious believes together, as well as achieve more interaction and unity in the community,” he said.

Lim added that the involvement of all parties in the Merdeka celebration is important and in line with MBPJ's Local Agenda 21's emphasis on smart partnership.

“MBPJ has agreed to allow the SS2/32 field to be adopted by the SS2B Rukun Tetangga (RT),” he said.

The RT and SS2B residents will help take care of the field and its facilities. This
partnership allows a maximum use of the field while minimising vandalism.

“This is the third field in PJ that has been adopted by its local RT this year,” said MBPJ landscape architect Badrulzaman Jaafar.

“Our target for this year is to get six fields adopted, and 10 the following year.

“The purpose of the adoption is to get the RT to take care of the fields and its facilities. MBPJ will help with the maintenance of the field and assist with activities that the RT would like to organise,” he said.

Also present at the launch were SS2B RT committee members, SRJK (C) Puay Chai students and Beautiful Gate Foundation residents.

“We will be planting 490 hibiscus plants to signify the country’s 49 years of independence,” said SS2B RT chairman Willie Tan.

“Over 30 plants will be planted in this field, 30 plants in the SS2/41 and SS2/43 field, and 30 in SRJK (C) Puay Chai,” said SS2B RT secretary Lee Kwee Cheng.

“The rest of the plants will be distributed among SS2B resi- dents for them to plant in their gardens and house. The SS2/32 field is especially popular among residents as it is one of the few with basketball courts in the SS2 area,” she said.

“The tai chi and line dancing groups that performed at today's launch also have their practice sessions here.”


News - Central - 22/08/06

Taking care as anxiety prevails - By CHOW HOW BAN hbchow@thestar.com.my Photos by SAMUEL ONG and CHOW HOW BAN

IT HAS been three weeks since Tunku Abdul Rahman College (KTAR) student Lee Kean Yip died, a victim of snatch theft in Desa Setapak. The police and volunteers’ presence in Desa Setapak, Taman Melati, Taman Bunga Raya and other Wangsa Maju areas is apparent. But, residents are hoping that this is not merely a show, but that the police are serious about ensuring everyone’s safety in the areas. The residents have been urged to make use of the Rakan Cop hotline to inform the police of a crime or if there is something suspicious in their area. Edward Ng, who has lived in Section 2 for more than 20 years, said the police should continue with its patrol of crime-prone areas.

“I have seen patrol cars rounding the area for a few days in a row. I have never seen this since I shifted here. I hope it is not a flash in the pan.

“I think the police have not done enough as there were one too many snatch thefts in our area. Hopefully, the Rakan Cop campaign works, but there should be a continuous effort to eradicate crime, not only after a tragedy has occurred and the heat is on to ensure something positive is done,” he said, adding that the public should also be supportive and not shy away from reporting a crime. SK Section 10 pupil Nurhalina Omar said she seldom came out of her house alone.

“I am worried that I will fall victim to snatch thieves,” she said.
KTAR student Jessica Chew said even though the culprits responsible for Lee’s death had been arrested, there were still other snatch thieves who still preyed on potential victims.

“The police must patrol the area at all times, no matter what, and the residents must cooperate with the authorities to fight crime,” she said.
Another student, Pang Lai Yuen, said: “The police and MCA members have been patrolling the area and some of the policemen even patrol on foot, but only in the mornings. At night, the light emitted from the patrol car could serve as an alarm to snatch thieves.”

She said she had become more alert when walking in the street these days. To Pauline Pang, who began her studies at the college only about a month ago, it was unpleasant to know that the area is notorious for snatch thefts and crime. Pang is from Sibu, Sarawak.

“Despite the arrest, I still fear for my safety,” she said. “Someone else can still commit the same crime.”

Another KTAR student Brandon Luke, who lives in Section 5, said the police only took action after a tragedy had occurred.

“They should have more personnel patrolling Taman Bunga Raya, which can be quiet at nights. I don’t know any martial arts. The college management gave us leaflets with police numbers on them and I have saved these numbers on my phone,” he said.
Tang Eu-Gin felt that security had been tightened and improved over the past week.
“I don’t think there is a real solution. These snatch thieves are mostly drug addicts who will do anything, even kill people to get what they want. Police patrols can only help to lessen the problem,” he said.

Desa Setapak Rukun Tetangga (RT) chairman Wong Chye said, despite the frequent patrolling by the police, snatch thefts had not stopped.

“We still need to be careful. The RT sector had requested the police to build a beat base in the area,” he said, adding that residents were told to inform the sector of any faulty streetlights and other security concerns.

A trader, who declined to be named, said a police beat base would help a lot. “The authorities could find a suitable place, such as near the roundabout in the Jalan 1/27B commercial area, for such a facility.”

Wangsa Maju MP Yew Teong Look had said that the site, which had been reserved for public use but converted into a food court-like restaurant, agreed. Yew had secured RM300,000 from his MP’s allocation to install about eight close-circuit television sets which would be controlled by the city police contingent.
“I hope to have them installed as soon as possible. I have written to city police chief (Deputy Comm Datuk Sulaiman Yusof) to reflect on the residents’ uproar and hope that he will take effective measures, such as building two police beat-bases in Desa Setapak and Prima Setapak, looking into police attitude and having more manpower for patrolling,” he said.

Over the last few weeks, City Hall had spruced up the area by cutting down overgrown trees and installing new streetlights to deter crime.

To inform Rakan Cop, call 03-2115 9999 (Kuala Lumpur) or 2052 9999 (Selangor) or send SMS by typing POLISKL (for KL) or POLISSL (for Selangor) and followed by the message before sending to 32728.

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