Ahad, 31 Mac 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Kabir Bhatia is back with new TV series Tanah Merah

Posted: 01 Apr 2013 12:44 AM PDT

New TV series Tanah Merah aims to strike a chord with the masses with its realism.

FIVE years ago, director/producer Kabir Bhatia introduced us to FRONTPAGE, a 13-episode drama series that chronicled the adventures of journalists working in a newspaper. The series had a unique edge with stories inspired by events that made the headlines in Malaysian papers throughout our history.

Now, Khabir is back with Tanah Merah, and it looks like journalism is also a part of this brand new 13-episode series. In Tanah Merah, which is produced by Kabir, viewers can look ahead and follow the journey of a journalist who is looking for a break-out article and by pure fate, stumbles across a murder mystery.

Directed by Joeza Rasidi, Tanah Merah tells about Johanna (Aishah Hoo), an inquisitive journalist who seeks to uncover the truth behind this mystery by dwelling on the town's past.

Johanna meets Maryam (Nazeera Sardi) – a young lady whose father was killed 10 years ago in a place called Tanah Merah. Although the court has ruled that his death was a suicide, Maryam is convinced that her father was murdered and that his death was a cover-up for an undisclosed incident.

It is produced by Kabir's production company Filmscape and filmed mostly on location at Ayer Keroh Country Resort in Malacca. If the trailer is anything to go by, Tanah Merah is not your typical run-of-the-mill Malay TV series.

Apart from Aishah and Nazeera, other names featured in the series are Norman Hakim, Wan Raja, Hakim Yazid and Zara Zya.

Even though he was not directing the series, Khabir was on hand to ensure the smooth running of the filming of the new series.

"As for the viewers, Tanah Merah will keep them on the edge of their seats. They are certainly going to enjoy this series as there is always a secret to be discovered or a dead body found," said Khabir, who is clearly anticipating positive ratings for the series which starts this Thursday on Ntv7.

"This is a high quality show, so they most certainly won't be disappointed. Writing a mystery is always tricky. We spent a lot of time on the script, and our entire creative crew shared their input in this series. The entire series is set in a resort town to specifically create a realism effect while keeping a strong visual look to further enhance the mystery element. It was very challenging, but it was all worth it in the end," he added.

He also said that he and his scriptwriter wife Mira Mustaffa have been tweaking and improving the idea behind the Tanah Merah series for six to seven years.

"You know, this series is not typical mainstream fare. We were thinking along the lines of an Agatha Christie-like story and it was a big challenge for us to get the pieces right.

"We did cast new faces on purpose. For instance, Aishah Hoo who plays Johanna is a smart, everyday woman."

"And Joeza directed this series as we know he is very capable of handling this kind of storytelling. I'm very happy with everything," said Kabir.

On the surface, it may seem that Tanah Merah's theme centres around homicide and betrayal, but the producer did not fail to include elements of romance to cater to a wider demographic. For instance, in a quest to seek out information from the locals, Johanna meets Shah Amran (Hakim Yazid), who is the son of one of the top people in town, Amran Johari (Norman Hakim).

As the story goes, 30 years ago, Amran Johari and his friend Datuk Iskandar turned the secluded town around by capitalising on the real estate potential that was naturally associated with Tanah Merah.

Unfortunately, their friendship failed the test of time as the years went by. They are now rivals and will do anything to ensure the other won't acquire sole control of the town.

Datuk Iskandar's son, Ibrahim (Wan Raja) spent most of his adulthood resenting Amran and his own father because he believed that they were both conspiring against him to see him fall.

When Johanna decides to visit Ibrahim's side of Tanah Merah, his mature demeanour and good looks stirs something up in Johanna.

She falls head over heels in love with him. She finds herself in a more confusing state of mind now that she's fallen for two men.

Newcomer Hoo, who plays Johanna, gave her all to play the young and idealistic journalist in the series.

" I decided to take up the role because it really challenged me in every way. Furthermore, I couldn't possibly say no and pass up the opportunity to work with a renowned director like Joeza.

"Personally, my role as Johanna was more like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Johanna is naive.

"I really hope the viewers will support the series until the finale," she said.

Tanah Merah airs on Ntv7 on Thursdays at 8.30pm beginning April 4.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Ahmad Sarji steps down as MLBF president

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 04:01 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid has stepped down as president of the Malaysian Lawn Bowls Federation (MLBF) after 17 years at the helm.

Newly-elected president Wan Nawawi Wan Ismail said Ahmad Sarji had decided to pave the way during the 17th annual general meeting (AGM) at the Lawn Bowls Complex in Bukit Kiara on Saturday.

"I thank Tun Ahmad Sarji for his excellent commitment and leadership of the MLBF. It is an honour for me to be given the task to continue bringing progress to the association," said Wan Nawawi.

He also thanked Nik Mustapha Nik Mohamed, Ramble Dallan Rice-Oxley and Norcigi Ismail who also relinquished their positions as treasurer, secretary-general and assistant secretary respectively.

Ahmad Sarji was the pioneer behind the success of the national team at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games when Malaysia won a silver and two bronze medals.

Malaysia became a powerhouse of the sport, winning numerous accolades at the SEA Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Champ­ionships.

Malaysian even produced a world champion in Safuan Said, who was ranked world No.1 in 2008.

New MLBF office bearers

President: Wan Nawawi Wan Ismail (Ter).

Deputy president: Tengku Datin Seri Noor Hazah Alhaj (Prk).

Vice-presidents: Supt Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Zin (Pol), Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad (Swk).

Secretary general: Capt (rtd) Ahmad Shah Kazi Mohd (Lab).

Assistant secretary: Ahmad Hisham Hassan (Ter).

Committee members: Datuk Shukrie Mohd Ali Ahmad (Ked), Zakaria Ahmad (Pen), Kamarudin Nordin (Joh), Roslan Ismail (Mal), Mejar Zainol Awang (TUDM), Kamis Harun (Per), Meskam Salimi (Sel).

(Note: The treasurer's post and three appointed committee members to be named later)

Massaro sends Waters packing, Darwish claims men’s title

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 05:55 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: World No.3 Laura Massaro won her first-ever CIMB KL Open title after a superb display to beat Alison Waters in the women's final at the Berjaya Times Square yesterday.

In a repeat of the British national championship final last month, Massaro, who lost to Waters then, exacted sweet revenge by winning 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 in an All-English showdown.

It was also her first KL title and Massaro simply proved that Saturday's win over world No. 1 Nicol David was no fluke.

After getting her tactics right against Nicol, the 29-year-old Massaro once again worked her game plan to perfection against Waters, whom she shared a long history, dating back to their junior days.

It was tight in the first set with both players trading blows like hea­vy­weights from a boxing match.

Waters, however, stole ahead to lead 9-8 at one point, only for Mas­saro to score three points in succession to take the first set 11-9.

It was all Massaro from then on as she asserted her control in the match, giving Waters no breathing space, easily taking the second and third sets to win her 11th Women's Squash Association (WSA) title.

It was also her second WSA World Series title, following her US Open triumph back in 2011.

"I'm really happy to have won because I have never done so well in Malaysia in the past. I've only had one prior semi-final appearance here (in 2009) and was initially just looking to get past the quarter-finals," said Massaro.

"In fact, I don't really know where my form came from, considering I was struggling with a few injuries before this tournament. Right now I'm just proud of myself for doing so well the whole week," added Massaro.

In the men's final, world No. 6 Karim Darwish won his second KL Open title after a commanding performance in beating compatriot Mohamed El Shorbagy 11-9, 12-10, 11-7 in 54 minutes.

It was the 31-year-old Darwish's eighth win over the 23-year-old Shorbagy in 10 meetings and it was a repeat of the 2011 final which Darwish won too.

"I had to be at my best today because Shorbagy is very good and he beat me in three sets the last time we met," said Darwish, who had his wife Engy Kheirallah and 10-month-old son Omar cheering him on from the stands.

"This is my second title in KL and I'm really happy with the result and I enjoyed the match too. But I really had to be 100% focused today because it was hot in the court and I could have lost my concentration easily."

Darwish also added that having his son at courtside was like a lucky charm for him.

"It's great to have my family here because now I can play without worrying. Maybe I'll bring Omar for more tournaments now because he's like a lucky charm," quipped Darwish.

Final results

Men: Karim Darwish (Egy) bt Mohamed El Shorbagy (Egy) 11-9, 12-10, 11-7. Women: Laura Massaro (Eng) bt Alison Waters (Eng) 11-9, 11-7, 11-6.

Sonia sparks Malaysia to victory

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 05:56 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's youngster Sonia Cheah screamed in delight and jumped in sheer joy yesterday.

Indeed, it was a memorable day for the 19-year-old Sonia at the Axiata Cup when she stunned world No. 9 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan 21-18, 19-21, 22-20 in an explosive match to hand Malaysia a brilliant start in the tie against Asia All Stars at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium.

It was Sonia's first win over a top 10 player in the world. And it was also probably one of Malaysia's best wins in the women's singles event since the days of former top player Wong Mew Choo. The 2007 China Open champion Mew Choo retired from the game in 2011.

With Sonia's exploit yesterday, Malaysia went on to beat Asia All Stars 3-1 to confirm their place in the semi-finals on April 13 as the second-placed team.

A draw will be conducted on April 12 to determine Malaysia's semi-final opponents — either Thailand or Asia All Stars.

Yesterday, Sonia's breakthrough however failed to inspire Liew Daren when he went down 27-25, 13-21, 18-21 to South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-il.

Still recovering from a bout of flu, Daren was slower than usual and could not take the punishing and clever play by the Korean, and said: "I think I gave a decent performance after being down with illness and without training for two days. I took it easy after taking a lead (in the third game) and did some mistakes as well. Overall, we are happy to make the semi-finals."

Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying and Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong restored order for Malaysia when they won their matches in contrasting fashion.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying dropped a game before charging back for a 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win over Tarun Kona-Ashwini Ponnappa while Thien How-Wee Kiong stamped their class with a 21-19, 21-10 win over Bao Chunlai-Zheng Bo.

The day however, certainly belonged to Sonia.

"I am proud of myself. This is my first win against a top 10 player. It will surely give me the confidence to go far in my career," said Sonia.

The match was tight from the start as both kept snapping at each other's heels but Sonia marched confidently to a 21-19 win.

The second match resumed with the same tempo before Sonia pulled away 17-14. It all looked good for the Malaysian when the Taiwanese teenage sensation resurrected her game in style to bulldoze past Sonia with a 21-19 win.

It was even closer in the third game but this time, a determined Sonia came from behind at 18-20 to nail her famous win.

She said that the win would be a catalyst for greater things.

"One victory does not mean everything. There is much more to be achieved but it is a good start," said Sonia with a smile.

Sonia will take part in the Australian Open Grand Prix Gold starting this Wednesday and has promised to give another good account of herself.

Meanwhile, in Surabaya, Indonesia crushed the hopes of Europe All Stars to make the top four when they sent them out of the elimination round with a 3-1 win.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

MRO sector ready for driver’s role, expected to spearhead aerospace industry with 10% revenue growth

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 06:27 PM PDT

LANGKAWI: Malaysia's maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry revenue is projected to grow at 10% this year from about US$900mil (RM2.79bil) in 2012, serving as a key growth driver of the country's aerospace industry.

Frost & Sullivan (Asia Pacific) director Subhranshu Sekhar Das said fuel and maintenance cost took up about 50% of the operating cost of an airline.

"MRO expenses are difficult to control, while it is impossible to check fuel cost. This is why MRO expenditure will always be on the rise," he told StarBiz at the Asean Commercial Aviation Conference held at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) 2013.

(Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan provides customer-dependent market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training services.)

Das said Malaysia currently was one of the top three countries in Asia Pacific for airlines to obtain MRO services, after Singapore and Hong Kong.

"Malaysia is known for its MRO services for engines and airframes, and modification of airframes. It has been able to stay competitive because it has an edge in human resources, which is still cheaper to source than elsewhere.

"Singapore's edge is that its shared aerospace facilities and infrastructure reduce the cost of operations," he said.

Das said the demand for engine services in the Asia-Pacific region was growing at 8.5% per annum, while services for airframes and airframe modification were increasing at 5.5% and 6.6% per annum respectively. The MRO industry revenue for the region is around US$15bil (RM46.5bil) per annum.

Frost & Sullivan global vice -president Chris De Lavigne said the growth of airline passengers in the Asia-Pacific region would also spur the growth of the aerospace industry in Malaysia.

While international routes and the full service carriers are impacted by the global slowdown, intra-Asian routes and low-cost carriers serving the region are growing.

"The high cost of fuel and competition from Middle Eastern airlines are some of the challenges that full service carriers have to face.

"As a result, we are seeing growth of passengers of airlines in Asia Pacific at 7%-8% per annum.

"More passengers means that airlines would order more aircraft, requiring more MRO services that would spur the MRO industries of Malaysia and the region," De Lavigne said.

The key MRO service companies in Malaysia are Malaysia Aerospace Engineering (MAE), Airod (Aircraft Inspection, Repair, & Overhaul Depot), Sepang Aviation Engineering, GE Engine Services Malaysia, Eurocopter Malaysia , Honeywell Aerospace Services, Hamilton Sundstrand Malaysia, Agusta Westland, Airfoil Services, and AAR Landing Gear Services.

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) deputy chief executive officer Datuk Phang Ah Tong said the country's MRO had proven itself as a reliable pillar of support for the country's economy.

"The aerospace sector is still drawing investments into the country, despite the global slowdown, unlike the electronics segment.

"Products in the aerospace industry have a longer life cycle, unlike those in the consumer electronics sector where the life cycle gets shorter and shorter," he said.

Meanwhile, Honeywell Aerospace (Asia Pacific) president Briand Greer said the company would be putting a business leader in Malaysia in the next quarter to handle aerospace military and defence deals in the Asia-Pacific region.

"The market for aerospace military and defence in Asia Pacific is growing at 6% to 7% per annum. Malaysia is strategically located for us to use as a platform to tap into the aerospace industry for the region," he said.

At its 13-acre site in Seberang Prai, Greer said the manufacturing facility manufactured the control display system for the cockpit of aircraft.

"The product is called Primus Epic CDS/R and is used in a wide range of aircraft. One of its features is the ability to predict weather conditions 482 km away," he added.

Honeywell Aerospace's global revenue from the aerospace defence segment is about US$5bil (RM15.5bil) per annum, of which 25% are generated from the international market. Its aerospace business globally generates US$12bil (RM37.2bil) per annum.

UPECA Aerotech Sdn Bhd's recent RM763mil contract award from the US-based UTC Aerospace System would generate about RM50mil worth of jobs to the local supply chain over the next 10 years.

"We will also invest more than RM30mil over the next three years and increase our workforce to more than 100 personnel in Shah Alam," UPECA chief executive officer Simon Yew said.

UPECA chief operating officer Eugene Ang said the company would make fan cowl or the shell that housed the engine of an aircraft for UTC.

The contract awarded to UPECA at Lima 2013 is the company's biggest to date, covering all aspects of manufacturing, development, design, and fabrication of jigs and fixtures, procurement of raw material, machining, testing, treatment, and assembly of the machine components.

Jetline International (M) Sdn Bhd, a local jet aircraft component manufacturer, is also expanding its business in Malaysia, following the takeover of a RM1.1bil US-based jet manufacturing company in 2012.

Jetline will invest RM1bil in a manufacturing facility that will start initial production at Subang and move to Sepang at a later date.

The company aims to generate RM13bil in turnover for five years starting from 2016.

Meanwhile, Mida chief executive officer Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said it was in the advanced stages of negotiating with six big aerospace companies to invest in Malaysia.

"The companies are from the United States, Europe, UK and Japan. The multi-billion-ringgit investments would be in the area of manufacturing aero-structures and aero-components," he said.

This year Mida aimed to double the investment for the aerospace industry from 2012, Noharuddin said, adding: "Last year, we roped in about RM2.4bil for the aerospace industry in the country."

About RM920mil of the RM2.4bil comprises foreign investments.

International Trade and Industry (Miti) Deputy Minister Dauk Paduka Mukhriz Mahathir said recently the Federal Government was keen to develop Changlun in northern Kedah as an aerospace centre.

"There is presently an international joint-venture company making structures for commercial aircraft operating in Changlun," he added.

More than 40 companies have invested a total of RM3.2bil in the aerospace sector in Malaysia, of which 17 are in the MRO industry, 21 in manufacturing, and two in research and development and design.



We need numbers to set targets and measure achievement

Posted: 31 Mar 2013 06:25 PM PDT

I BELIEVE in numbers always have, always will. Properly used and measured they do not lie. And when you rely on them and interpret them correctly, you can separate the wheat from the chaff quite easily.

This is why we use numbers all the time in both government and economic transformation programmes. Yes, we argue qualitatively about what we want but we must have some way to translate it into numbers. Otherwise there is no measurable target and no measurable achievement there is no progress.

As those who have read this column before will know, we have a true north in our transformation programmes that is to achieve developed status by 2020. The target for that narrow as it may seem is to achieve a gross national income per capita of US$15,000 by 2020.

Yes, we are aware that development needs to be balanced, inclusive and sustainable but nevertheless we want to achieve that US$15,000 by 2020 along with our other goals.

But yes, there are other goals too if we want to achieve that major goal. And so we want to achieve those too so as to be able to meet our overall target. If we meet or exceed most of our sub-targets, then we are on target to achieve developed status.

As our Prime Minister pointed out eloquently when we launched our transformation annual reports recently, that overall we have achieved 108% of targets for government transformation and 118% of our targets for economic transformation.

What that means is we are on target to achieve developed status by 2020 and if achievements continue at the current pace, we could reach that by as early as 2018. This is not something plucked from the air it is what the figures show.

To round off some points in the annual reports for the transformation programmes, let me list down clearly and unambiguously 12 clear signs of success.

1. When the ETP roadmap was released in October 2010, the official gross national income (GNI) per capita for 2009 was US$6,700. Using this 2009 baseline, GNI per capita in US dollars has risen 49% in three years, a good measure by any standards. In early 2012, due to the adoption of the United Nation's System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) by many countries in the world, all our historical figures from 2005 onwards had to be changed. This explains why the 2009 GNI per capita was changed in 2012. No one in the Government did this to deliberately mislead anybody as alleged by some parties. As a general principle, in assessing performance against set key performance indicator (KPI), it is important not to change the goal post. That is why we kept to the baseline KPI of US$6,700 per capita in our ETP annual report. Even if we are to take the revised 2009 GNI per capita of US$7,059, the improvement of 41% is still very good.

Even if we take out the effects of US dollar appreciation, income shows a growth of an excellent 24% over the period. At this rate, we can achieve developed status by 2018.

2. Our targets for GNI, private investment and employment for last year have all been met. We, as a nation, employed an additional 438,800 people, 113% of target. Private investment at RM139.5bil, exceeded the target by 9% while GNI at RM903.8bil was 102% of target. The 2012 GNI per capita was US$9,970.

3. Our economic growth in 2012 was 5.6%, up from 5.1% for the previous year. This achievement was all the more remarkable because it happened during a global economic slowdown. Singapore for the same year grew just 1.3%, South Korea by 2%, Japan 1.9% and the United States 2.2%. The UK and the euro region contracted by 0.1% and 0.5% respectively. In comparison to countries in the upper-middle income bracket as per World Bank's classification, Malaysia also performed better than Russia (3.4%), Turkey (2.6%) and Mexico (3.8%), to name a few.

4. We have had two consecutive years of record government revenue. Last year it grew 12% to RM207bil, enabling us to carry out our various programmes to help the poor and carry out infrastructure projects.

5. We have made great strides in reducing the budget deficit from 6.6% of gross domestic product (GDP goods and services produced in a year) to 4.5% in 2012. The target for this year is 4% and we are on target to reduce it further to 3% by 2015 and a surplus by 2020.

6. Private investment growth has more than tripled since the start of economic transformation from a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2005 and 2010, to 17% between 2011 and 2012. Last year, it grew 22% on top of a 12.2% growth in 2011 impressive numbers by any standards and important because of their impact on the economy in future years when production starts.

7. Private investments hit a record RM139.5bil last year, exceeding the targeted RM127.9bil and exceeding the previous year's RM94bil by a hefty 48%. That really is something.

8. The stock market hit a high of 1692.65 points on Jan 4, 2013. In terms of market capitalisation, it increased 30% or RM340bil to RM1.46 trillion as of that date from RM1.12 trillion in August 2010.

9. Trade increased to reach record highs in the past three years. It increased 8.7% to hit RM1.47 trillion in 2011 and increased again by 4.1% to RM1.53 trillion last year, despite difficult global conditions.

10. We have received international recognition. In 2012, our position in the World Bank ranking in terms of ease of doing business improved to 12 from 18. In AT Kearney's Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index our position improved to 10 from 21.

11. Let's look at how these have touched people's lives. Under the GTP, we have positively impacted the lives of many people. For example, under our Rural infrastructure NKRA, over the last three years, it is estimated that 4.3 million rural people have benefited. We built 3,349 km of rural roads (equivalent distance from Johor to Myanmar). Thousands of rural people benefited from our electrification, water and housing programme. We estimate that 2.8 million people have experienced the improved service of the new 37 KTM and 35 LRT trains, 470 new RapidKL buses, the free service of GoKL buses, the new terminal in Bandar Tasik Selatan and the refurbished Pudu Raya terminal and the 6,800 new parking bays within the KL rail network. Some 2.4 million students and teachers have benefited from our Education NKRA initiatives. Under the Low income household NKRA, 505,600 people has benefited, with 109,050 moving out of poverty. This is done purely on needs, regardless of race and ethnic background. When our minimum wage initiative reaches full implementation, it will lift the incomes of about 3.2 million people out of poverty. BR1M 1 and 2 have been received by over 4 million households. Since 2009, the average household income has increased from RM4,025 to RM5,000. Bumiputra incomes have increased by 6.9% to RM4,457, Chinese by 8% to RM6,366 and Indians by 9% to RM5,233.

12. It is clear that our transformation journey is going according to plan. As we continue to grow and transform the economy, government revenue rises. This allows the Government to spend on programmes to benefit the rakyat. This includes GTP and other initiatives. With a robust economy and healthy government revenue, we are able to pay the billions of money spent on providing subsidies, such as fuel, electricity, public medical health services, public transport, etc. This is evidence that a lot of things in the country are going right and we are progressing as a nation. Take heart that we have done well and believe we can do it. The figures show it, and, believe me, they don't lie.

Let me close with a quote from Alexander Graham Bell: "When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us".

Our Prime Minister has opened the transformation door for Malaysia and we have since been pursuing this journey. Let us all rejoice that there is hope for us a nation. If we all join hands, we can build it together into a great nation.

  • Datuk Seri Idris Jala is CEO of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department. All fair and reasonable comments are welcome at idrisjala@pemandu.gov.my

    KLCI starts April on cautious note

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 06:19 PM PDT

    Published: Monday April 1, 2013 MYT 9:20:00 AM

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's blue chips slipped in early trade on Monday, kicking off the new month on April on a cautious note, with BAT, KL Kepong and IHH Healthcare among the decliners.

    At 9.03am, the FBM KLCI fell 0.82 of a point to 1,670.81. There were 17.70 million shares traded valued at RM10.71mil. There were 59 gainers, 30 losers and 81 stocks unchanged.

    BAT fell the most, down 94 sen to RM61.22 with 100 shares done. KL Kepong fell 24 sen to 24 sen to RM20.68, IHH was down four sen to RM3.70 and Tenaga two sen to RM7.20 and DiGi also two sen down to RM4.61.

    Selangor state related counters KHSB fell 3.5 sen to 59 sen and KPS was down two sen to 99 sen.

    Sapura Resources rose five sen to 72 sen after it declared a net special dividend of 5.0 sen per share translating to a net dividend yield of 7.5% based on its last done price of 67 sen.

    Carlsberg was the top gainer, rising 14 sen to RM13.94 with 100 shares done. KLCCP also gained 14 sen to RM6.72 and UMW four sen to RM13.38.


    Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

    The Star Online: Nation

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    The Star Online: Nation

    Prasarana visits family members of accident victim

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 08:11 AM PDT

    KUALA LUMPUR: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) senior officials on Sunday visited the family members of an accident victim, Vijayasingam Adimulam, 34, who was crushed to death by construction equipment, at their home in Kampung Pandan here.

    Vijayasingam died in an incident at an LRT extension site near Subang Airport on Friday after construction equipment hoisted by a crane fell on his vehicle as well as another car, injuring its driver, Arifpuddin Mansoruddin, 42.

    Prasarana group director for infrastructure services Masnizam Hisham said the group expressed its deep regret over the incident.

    "We visited the family to offer our condolences," she said in a statement.

    Also present was Prasarana head of group communications and strategic marketing Lim Jin Aun.

    Later, they visited Arifpuddin, who is currently recuperating from his injuries in a hospital in Seremban, Negri Sembilan and is expected to be discharged in a day or two.

    "Arifpuddin suffered bruises and scratches on his forehead and right arm and is scheduled to undergo a physiotherapy treatment," she said. - Bernama

    GE13: PKR to field Lawyer Gooi, again, for Alor Setar parliamentary seat

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 07:34 AM PDT

    Published: Sunday March 31, 2013 MYT 10:34:00 PM

    ALOR SETAR: Lawyer Gooi Hsiao Leung will again be fielded by PKR for Alor Setar parliamentary seat.

    PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the name at a dinner with Chinese community in Kampung Berjaya here Sunday night.

    Gooi who contested the seat in 2008 General Election lost to MCA candidate Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung with a slim majority of 84 votes.

    Hindraf chief calls off 21-day hunger strike after he collapses

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 07:06 AM PDT

    KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy called off his hunger strike after he collapsed at a Rawang temple at 4pm Sunday and had to be hospitalised. His strike lasted 21 days.

    Hindraf deputy chairman W. Sumbalingan said that Waytha Moorthy, who was seeking treatment at the Damai Specialist Hospital, was discharged by doctors for an hour so he could return to the Arulmigu Agora Veerabathirar Sanggili Karuppar Temple, to greet "thousands of supporters who gathered to see him".

    "But now he has gone back to the hospital and he has called off his hunger strike," Sumbalingan told The Star.

    Waytha Moorthy was on a hunger strike seeking better conditions and opportunities for Malaysia Indians.

    Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

    The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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    The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

    Codename Verity: A tale of friendship

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 01:40 AM PDT

    The amazing friendship between two girls in this young adult thriller will keep you turning the pages, desperate to find out what happens next.

    I USUALLY have to speed-read books I'm reviewing because I'm too busy to savour every sentence. Sometimes this is a blessing because not all books I review are enjoyable reads. (I usually re-read the good ones later, at a more leisurely pace.)

    I knew Elizabeth Wein's Codename Verity was one of the good ones from its first paragraph, though, and I actually read the first two thirds of the book fairly slowly despite never having been busier in my life. I think, despite it being a rather harrowing read, I decided that it would serve as welcome respite at the end of the day, when I'd given up on all the writing and editing, when I was dead tired and would have knocked back a gin or two if I actually drank, when I was forced to stop working because the mosquitoes were biting despite the heavily-smoking moon tigers and layers of organic repellent covering every inch of exposed skin.

    This morning, despite not having to be up early on account of it being the school holidays, I woke up at 7am anyway so I could finish the book and write this review. I'm afraid I rushed through the final third of the book so I could send this column in. I also couldn't bear any more suspense.

    This is one of the many books that I didn't get around to reading last year and so, did not include in my best of 2012 list. Otherwise, it would certainly have won the top spot. It's even more glorious than Seraphina, which was my pick for the best of the best of 2012.

    Codename Verity is the sort of book that's so exciting that it sometimes makes me forget to breathe. This is not because it's full of life-or-death action, heart-stopping cliff-hangers and plot twists-and-turns. It's not all shock-horror-suspense-despair ... well, it's not just shock-horror-suspense-despair. There's a bit of that, but it's mostly the wonderful – wonderful! – story of two girls and the friendship that grows between them – blossoms is actually the word I should use, because, despite being a cliché, it's an appropriate one for this friendship, which is anything but a cliché.

    The friendship is the core of the book, and the way Wein delves into it, and into the characters' hearts and souls, is breath-taking and moving.

    I'm putting off giving you actual details about Codename Verity because I don't want to give anything away and it's hard to figure out how much would be too much. I think I shall err on the side of caution and just be sketchy about it. The book is set during World War II. As I've mentioned, it's about two girls. One of them is a pilot. The other is a wireless operator. They both narrate, one after the other, and one of them is thoroughly unreliable, which you may or may not realise (despite the clues) given how compelling and convincing she is. Hmm ... I think I may have given something away so I shall stop now. Yes, it's that sort of book.

    After you finish, you will want to read it again, right away – because it's so damn painful and beautiful, and also because you will want to get the story straight.

    Maddie and Queenie, a sensational team. There, I think I've said quite enough.

    Daphne Lee is a writer, editor, book reviewer and teacher. She runs a Facebook group, called The Places You Will Go, for lovers of all kinds of literature. Write to her at star2@thestar.com.my.

    Analysing the Malaysian Constitution

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 01:36 AM PDT

    His book analysing the Malaysian Constitution has been creating quite the buzz. And that's because, says Prof Andrew Harding, citizens are more engaged than ever in discussing this country's laws.

    MALAYSIA is often referred to as an experiment. And like all such experiments, it can so easily go wrong if the Constitutional framework for the experiment is ignored.

    This year, it will be 54 years since Malaya achieved independence and 50 years since Malaysia came into being.

    Are the people's aspirations today the same as those in 1957 or 1963? Or is it time for a new framework to chart a new destiny?

    Before Malaysians can make an informed a decision, they should be better informed – many arguments heard these days are based on little knowledge of the social contract or the Constitution or a skewed version of the people's contributions to the country.

    A framework for the harmonious existence of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society was set out first in the Federal Constitution of 1957 and later, of 1963. And yet, it's only in the last two decades that the rakyat have awakened and begun claiming the Constitution as theirs.

    They are breathing life into Constitutionalism by giving it its place as the supreme law of the land, by demanding their fundamental rights, and by insisting on the separation of powers. It's not surprising then that Prof Dr Andrew Harding's latest book, The Constitution Of Malaysia: A Contextual Analysis, is drawing attention.

    In it, he charts and analyses the key historical, political and legal events that have shaped Malaysia's Constitutional landscape and sets out how Constitutionalism has been interpreted, applied and developed.

    An interesting feature of the book are the Malay proverbs with translations that head each chapter and section, as on pages 82 and 160 respectively – Hujan mas perak negeri orang / hujan keris lembing negeri kita (Though it rains gold and silver there, it is still a foreign land / though it rains swords and daggers, it is still our land); Adakah pernah telaga yang keroh mengalir ayer-nya jerneh? (Will you ever get clear water from a dirty well?).

    The book is part of Britain-based Hart Publishing's "Constitutional Systems Of The World" series and was written for a foreign audience with no knowledge of Malaysia. Prof Harding, the co-founding editor of the series, is happy, though, that the book "has had so much resonance in Malaysia".

    Why are more citizens filing legal cases on Constitutional points?

    In the early 1990s, even feisty lawyers like Karpal Singh, eager to take up a Constitutional point in an appeal, would drop that ground if they could win on a non-Constitutional ground. From what he told me when I asked, it was a vicious cycle. Many judges were not interested in hearing Indian or Australian case law in support of a Constitutional argument. But local cases were few and far between because very few lawyers wanted to argue a Constitutional ground and gamble with their clients' future if they could win on another point.

    Are judges now more open to Constitutional arguments or is a new generation of litigants claiming their Constitutional rights in the courts?

    Prof Harding, who is no stranger to Malaysia, notes a psychological shift in Malaysians' ownership of the Constitution, reflected in how people have moved from calling it "the Constitution" to "our Constitution" and even "my Constitution".

    "The sense of ownership obviously comes through in the litigation."

    While acknowledging the increase in litigation "could be a generational change", he also credits the "revival of the judiciary, the lawyers Walk for Justice in 2007, and changes in 2009 to the appointment of judges".

    "The judiciary seems more willing to strike down government actions when they appear to be unlawful."

    Prof Harding, who is the director of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies at the National University of Singapore, reckons Malaysia is becoming a "very vibrant democracy".

    "It's always been vibrant but there hasn't always been room for as open a discussion as you get now," he says, referring to the one that took place after the launch of his book last month at the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights in Kuala Lumpur.

    What are Malaysia' challenges in the 21st century?

    A key one would be the changing nature of the state and of citizenship, says Prof Harding, in an interview after the launch. He says the state that emerged from the 1969 race riots, the New Economic Policy and the Rukunegara "became progressively a very authoritarian state".

    "Maybe I should qualify 'very authoritarian' because by global standards it might not be so," he says, smiling. "But now, there's a lifting of the apparatus. This is terribly interesting because not many countries are doing it."

    He welcomes the Government's announcement that it will replace the Sedition Act with a National Harmony Act. In any country, particularly a multi-ethnic, multi-religious one, there has to be some limits to speech, says Prof Harding.

    "My personal view is you shouldn't necessarily prevent speech just because some people might be offended because anything you might say, someone could be offended. I don't think we should be dictated to by minorities, by what they think is appropriate speech. On the other hand, you can't allow people to say things so hateful and incendiary that they incite people to violence.

    "That's my own benchmark. Apart from that, you should allow the maximum freedom of speech that is practically possible."

    Being a "fascinating experiment of how different communities can live together, under a Constitution, under the Rule of Law", he says, what happens in this country is very important not just for Malaysians but everyone because this is a Muslim majority country with large minorities of many religions and ethnic groups.

    "How can all this be made to fit together? These are issues we are confronting in Europe and North America, Australasia, Africa, all over the world."

    He adds even Japan, the most monolithic country in the world, is confronting multi-culturalism now.

    Prof Harding sees an emerging sense of common citizenship in Malaysia. "It's been present in theory but not quite in psychology because people have always tended to think of themselves as, first, a member of a particular group and only secondarily as Malaysian".

    He says the Bersih movement was probably the first time the rakyat stood up not as Malays, Chinese, and Indians, but as Malaysian citizens to air grievances about the electoral system.

    "The electoral system is one where everybody is equal, where everybody has the vote, or should have, and where everybody's vote should be counted and counted equally."

    While noting it would take more than one cycle to get the electoral system to be as accurate and as fair as possible, he is appalled only 10.7 million Malaysians voted in 2008 – "That's less than half the population!"

    He says the poor turnout could be due to apathy, disbelief that a vote makes a difference because everybody will be corrupt, geographical obstacles, or because people are not on the roll or unable to get on it.

    Is the Constitution holding up?

    The 1957 Constitution was good for its time, he replies. While he has made his complaints, Prof Harding says it was "an intelligent job and not an off-the-peg Constitution".

    While the Constitution is "still alive", he says many things are outdated – our fundamental rights are "very, very basic".

    He says that most modern Constitutions have three times the amount of detail as ours. "Gender equality is the only right that's been inserted since independence, all the other rights have been regressed.

    "It's all down to how judges interpret things like the right to life and personal liberty."

    In recent years, some Sabahans have been arguing that their status is one of three regions in the federation and not one of the 13 states and three federal territories that make up Malaysia.

    "My response is a yes and no," says Prof Harding.

    "Malaysia is an asymmetric federation. It is a federation of two elements, one of which is already a federation – Malaya. In a sense, they are right. They have special powers that were negotiated in the 20-point Agreement. Some argue the terms have not been honoured and they want to litigate, which would be very interesting."

    When Sabah (then North Borneo), Sarawak and Singapore joined Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963, they were given more powers than the 11 other states (Sabah and Sarawak had say over immigration and Singapore had autonomy in labour and education policies). The 20-point Agreement was a proposal of Sabah's terms for incorporation.

    Prof Harding says it is a "no" in the sense Sabah has to be seen as part of a federation of 13 states as well. "It's not as though you can divide the cake into three portions."

    Would it have been clearer if Singapore had remained in the federation in 1965? Prof Harding reckons Malaysia would have been much more federal; that is, there would be much more state powers, if that had happened.

    "Their (Sabah's) other argument is, 'we joined with Singapore and we had no say when it left. When one partner leaves, it alters the nature of the federation but we weren't consulted or given the opportunity to renegotiate the Malaysia Agreement'.

    "They do have a point there but at the same time they do have more powers than other states."

    A long-standing controversy is the subject of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI).

    "It's interesting that Sabah and Sarawak have powers over immigration, since the Federal Government has powers over citizenship. These things contradict each other," Prof Harding points out.

    "This is a fundamental issue in the Malaysia Agreement ... and, rightly or wrongly, they feel in Sabah that their autonomy is undermined because the Federal Government can grant citizenship; whether they have done so in a cavalier fashion is being looked at by the RCI.

    "They feel very strongly that they have a bad deal as a result of this, or maybe it's just the frustration of particular political parties that feel they can't make headway with the voters because of these issues with immigration.

    "I don't know, but it's something that needs to be addressed with a clear understanding of the conditions in the Malaysia Agreement."

    Other challenges are the position of religion and the jurisdiction of the syariah and civil courts.

    Referring to several cases, Prof Harding stresses the need to resolve the jurisdictional issue because people keep falling into the gap between the two systems.

    While noting the syariah courts have improved in terms of delivery of justice to Muslims, he says the issue is how it would apply to non-Muslims.

    "I do believe, and I have argued, the civil courts have made some errors in denying freedom of religion."

    Currently, there is no way to address these issues except to litigate each one as it comes up in different cases, but then the question of which court to litigate in arises and you get into problems, says Prof Harding.

    Which branch of government has moved furthest from the original conception in 1957?

    "The executive! It was conceived in a liberal democratic framework subjected to legislative power and judicial power."

    He says the division of powers was distorted by the executive, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. But he notes the balance is being redressed somewhat and it is getting back into more of an equilibrium than previously.

    What may surprise some is his view that, from the 1957 perspective, the judiciary was intended to have a limited role. "But that's changed now and I think you can see that in the cases which go to court.

    "The role of the judiciary is very, very important. Every interpretation of Articles 3 (religion), 5 (liberty) and 8 (equality) is going to have an important effect."

    He gives the Malaysian Bar an A+.

    Prof Harding tells his intended foreign readers that one big lesson to be drawn from here is: if you want to preserve human rights, the rule of law, a democratic system of government, and Constitutionalism, you need a strong and independent legal profession. He says the Malaysian Bar has been "rock solid" in supporting the judiciary, criticising it when necessary as well as criticising the Government and maintaining a consistent line on Constitutionalism and the rule of law without any political alignment.

    "There aren't many countries where you can say that. They are a precious asset. Emerging countries can learn a lot from the Malaysian Bar."

    The Constitution Of Malaysia: A Contextual Analysis by Andrew Harding is available at major bookstores nationwide.

    Bestsellers for March 2013

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 01:29 AM PDT


    1.       Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography by Premilla Mohanlall

    2.       Unstoppable: The Incredible Power Of Faith In Action by Nick Vujicic

    3.       A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

    4.       Life Lessons From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

    5.       Only 13: The True Story Of Lon by Julia Manzanares & Derek Keng

    6.       WTF Are Men Thinking? by Christopher Brya & Miguel Almaraz

    7.       Physics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

    8.       1D: The One Direction Story: The Unauthorized Biography by Danny White

    9.       The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

    10.       100 Ways To Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever by Steve Chandler


    1.       Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

    2.       Safe Haven (movie tie-in) by Nicholas Sparks

    3.       The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

    4.       1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    5.       The Host (movie tie-in) by Stephenie Meyer

    6.       Warm Bodies (movie tie-in) by Isaac Marion

    7.       Les Misérables (movie tie-in) by Victor Hugo

    8.       Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

    9.       Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

    10.       Betrayal by Danielle Steel

    This month's list compiled by MPH Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; www.mphonline.com.

    Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

    The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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    An artist's journey through womanhood

    Posted: 31 Mar 2013 02:01 AM PDT

    A contemporary painter's second solo showing depicts her journey through womanhood.

    The body, particularly the female body, is a source of much rumination for local contemporary painter Yau Bee Ling. Her engagement and experiences with her body as she becomes older, including motherhood and rediscovering her femininity, very much informed her latest solo showing, titled The Women.

    The initial inspiration for the collection, she says, was sparked by the collection of free magazines she constantly received at her house, the kind that used images of women to advertise beauty and slimming treatments. These depictions contrasted sharply with the more personal and emotional experiences that she was going through with her own body.

    "When you live in an urban setting, you can see so many ways in which the female body is used, in ads and billboards, to create a certain image. Yet, here I am, breastfeeding my daughter, in the midst of understanding the ageing process, and reconnecting with my femininity after becoming a mother. The woman's body is also a vessel for the emotions and the journey associated with these experiences. These are the elements I wanted to explore in this collection," she explains.

    Known for her distinctive layered style, where she combines abstract mark-making with more figurative drawings, Yau is one of Malaysia's exciting contemporary painters.

    "In my paintings, my style is still primarily expressionist, but I transform the abstract the figurative by playing with ideas of concealing and revealing. You could call them contemporary paintings with a conventional understanding of the media used," she says.

    Yau's works have been exhibited in the 2002 Fukuoka Triennale, as well as the Hokkaido Museum of Contemporary Art in 2004, both in Japan. She has also been invited to show her works in Singapore, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Sweden and Bangladesh, and in 2005, she was selected for the Rimbun Dahan Malaysian-Australian Artist-in-Residence programme.

    In a career spanning 15 years, this is only her second exhibition; the first was Portraits Of Paradox in 2008.

    The evolution of her work between the two shows is interesting; Portraits, with its large faces and darker, deeper colours, had an air of intimidation, almost defiance, emanating a clear sense of conflict.

    The paintings in The Women, meanwhile, are dynamic pieces throbbing with vivid strokes of colour. In keeping with the theme, they depict women, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, occasionally with children – these pieces are clearly linked to Yau's personal experiences.

    Yet, for all the energy contained in the colour palette and vigorous mark-making, there is also a sense of openness and confidence, even sexuality, that emerges from the paintings.

    "Time to reflect is very important for me in my work," shares Yau. "My first show, for instance, was right after my son was born. It was a time when I had to take on new responsibilities, and I was at a place where I was questioning many things, making sense of people. Being alone at home with a baby, I was longing for a connection. All these aspects resulted in pieces that were impulsive and slightly provocative."

    The five years between then and now, she says, allowed her to nurture her thoughts and feelings. She also had her daughter during that time, which gave her more reason for reflection.

    "The body of work in The Women is my first step towards self-understanding. I feel more grounded in my life, and I feel the joy and possibilities of the next step of my journey. I suppose with this collection, I had a lot more to say because I have two children in my life now. At the same time, I also had the urge to look for spiritual understanding," she says.

    Despite the complexity of the pieces, Yau says her aim is for people to connect with her work without necessarily having to intellectualise it.

    "Art can nourish the soul, and provide a platform for us to appreciate beauty and give ourselves hope. My paintings may have many layers of meaning, but I also want there to be a simplicity that anyone can connect to within that complexity."

    The Women by Yau Bee Ling is showing daily, 10am to 9pm, until April 9 at Wei-Ling Contemporary (G212 and 213A, Ground Floor, The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur). For more information, call 03-2260 1106 / 03-2282 8323 or visit weiling-gallery.com.

    Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

    The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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    Keeping a healthy smile

    Posted: 30 Mar 2013 08:25 PM PDT

    Colgate, in partnership with the Malaysian Dental Association (MDA), is determined to rev up their efforts in promoting good oral health with the upcoming Let's Aim For Superior Oral Health campaign all throughout April.

    A HEALTHY smile is an added bonus at any age. Too often, people neglect the health of their mouth, teeth and gums, dismissing a twin row of beautiful pearly whites as nothing more than an aesthetic ideal.

    Many remain unaware that poor oral health resulting from inadequate care and poor hygiene may affect their overall health. If left unchecked, harmful bacteria in the mouth can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.

    More alarmingly, some experts claim there could be a correlation between oral health and heart health. While the link between oral health and heart health is not completely clear, some studies suggest that both diseases may be intertwined, due to the presence of inflammation in both cases.

    Unfortunately, the importance of maintaining good oral health still eludes many Malaysians. According to the 2010 National Oral Health Survey of Adults conducted by the Oral Health Division in the Health Ministry, while some 52.4% of Malaysians thought they had good oral health, in actuality, a staggering 98.3% of Malaysians were in need of some form of oral healthcare. An estimated 88.9% have dental caries; 94.0% have gum problems; and 7.3% have lost all their natural teeth

    The survey also found that 24.7% have dental prostheses, while 45.9% need them. Meanwhile, 32.9% thought of a dental visit as a "fearful experience" and only 27.4% consulted a dentist in the past year.

    In response to the nation's state of oral health, Colgate, an oral hygiene product company, in partnership with the Malaysian Dental Association (MDA), are determined to rev up their efforts in promoting good oral health with the upcoming Let's Aim For Superior Oral Health campaign.

    The annual campaign, which enters its 10th instalment this year, is part of the Oral Health Month (OHM) in April. It aims to educate Malaysians on the importance of good oral care habits. Their efforts in promoting the cause are supported by the Malaysian Health Ministry.

    This year's campaign launch was officiated by Dr Khairiyah Abdul Muttalib, principal director of the Oral Health Division in the Health Ministry, and witnessed by John Hazlin, managing director of Colgate-Palmolive Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia, as well as Dr Haja Badrudeen Sirajudeen, president of the Malaysian Dental Health Association, at a shopping centre in Petaling Jaya last Wednesday.

    Poor oral health can have detrimental effects on one's psyche, Dr Haja points out.

    "Decades ago, tooth decay was the leading cause of tooth loss among the adult population, but now gum disease has overtaken it," he says.

    Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, begins with bacterial growth in the mouth. Over time, if left untreated, periodontal disease could result in tooth loss due to destruction of the tissue that surrounds your teeth.

    "The loss of natural teeth can be a traumatic experience and may affect a person's speech, self-esteem and overall quality of life. Imagine what this means for someone who has lost all their teeth," Dr Haja explains.

    He adds: "It is important to adopt preventive oral care through regular brushing, glossing, rinsing and most importantly, regular dental visits of at least twice a year."

    Dr Khairiyah agrees that regular dental check ups are key to preventing cavities and gum diseases. "Early detection or early intervention can shift the odds towards more favourable outcomes. It's not just about just getting teeth scaled and cavities filled, it is about having good oral health, which is part and parcel of good overall health," she says.

    Throughout the month of April, Malaysians of all ages are invited to go for free dental check-ups at participating dental clinics throughout the nation.

    Since the campaign's inception, an esimated 500,000 Malaysians have benefited from the services provided during the OHM. The number of participating clinics that will be offering free dental check-ups throughout the OHM has also increased from 300 to 805 since 2004.

    This year, Malaysians can pre-register for their free dental check-ups at Colgate Malaysia's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ColgateMY.

    The new initiative was introduced to allow the public to pre-book a time slot at any participating dental clinics.

    On top of that, Colgate is also organising the OHM dental check-up photo contest, which gives the public a chance to win exciting prizes by visiting participating dental clinics from now till April 28.

    Visit their Facebook page for a full list of other OHM activities, which will include a slew of nationwide roadshows.

    Three recipes from the award-winning book, Food For Your Eyes

    Posted: 30 Mar 2013 08:24 PM PDT

    Oat porridge with banana and passionfruit

    OATS are a great breakfast option that can be prepared sweet or savoury.

    Oats have a moderate glycaemic index, and keeps you full for longer.

    Adding fruit into the oat porridge is an easy way to increase your antioxidant intake.

    Here, I have included bananas and passionfruit. Feel free to substitute with your favourite fruits.

    Serves three

    Preparation & cooking time: 10 minutes


    375ml (1 ½ cups) skimmed or lowfat milk

    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    95gm (1 cup) wholegrain oats

    130gm (½ cup) mashed ripe bananas (about 1 large)

    130gm (1) banana, sliced

    18gm (1) passionfruit

    1 tablespoon coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

    To cook the oats:

    In a medium saucepan, bring milk and spice to a gentle boil.

    Stir in oats. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.

    Cook one minute for instant oats, five minutes for uncooked oats, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

    To serve:

    Remove oatmeal from heat. Stir in mashed bananas. Spoon oatmeal into three cereal bowls and top with some sliced bananas.

    Cut the passionfruit into half and scoop out the pulp, seeds and juice.

    Divide this over the three bowls of porridge. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and serve warm.

    THIS is my version of Vietnamese spring roll.

    I have substituted brown rice vermicelli for the normal rice vermicelli to take advantage of its lower glycaemic index.

    These spring rolls are packed with fresh salads and herbs to give it a lovely fresh taste and to retain most of its antioxidants.

    You can substitute the vegetables with your favourite ones. Try shredded guava, blanched choy sum or shredded courgettes!

    Prawns are a source of omega-3 fatty acid and zinc. Alternatively, you could use smoked salmon or canned tuna in place of prawns.

    Vietnamese spring rolls

    Serves four

    Preparation & cooking time: 35 minutes


    300 g prawns

    100 g (1 cup) brown rice vermicelli, soaked in water for 20 minutes

    40 g (8 sheets) rice paper

    80 g (8) fresh lettuce leaves, washed and drained dry

    100 g (1 cup) bean sprouts, blanched in boiling water

    110 g (1) carrot, shredded

    20 g (½ cup) mint leaves

    20 g (½ cup) coriander leaves

    20 g (2) spring onion, cut into slivers

    Nuoc Cham sauce:

    4 tablespoons (tbsp) fresh lime juice

    4 tbsp fish sauce

    4 tbsp water

    2 teaspoons sugar

    10 g (2 cloves) garlic, minced

    10 g (2) birds eye chilli, minced


    First, devein the prawns. With the shell intact, hold the prawn backside up. Run your knife down the length of the prawn to expose the vein. Use your finger or the tip of your knife to remove the vein.

    Repeat until all the prawns are deveined.

    Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the deveined prawns for one to two minutes, or until it floats to the top.

    Drain the prawns from the pot and leave to cool.

    Peel off the shell and slice the cooked prawns in half. Peeling the prawn shells is left until after the prawns are cooked to prevent them from shrinking too much.

    Bring the water to boil. Boil the rice vermicelli for three to five minutes, or until al dente, and drain.

    Dip the rice paper in a large bowl of warm water. It will become soft and pliable.

    Place the rice paper on a flat area and line with a lettuce leaf. Scoop a tablespoon each of rice vermicelli, sprouts, carrots, coriander, mint leaves, spring onion and prawn halves onto it.

    Roll the rice paper and fold over the ends to seal in the filling. Cover with a damp cloth and continue to make the rest of the rice paper rolls.

    Nuoc Cham sauce:

    In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

    Green peas, tuna and wolfberry rice

    PEAS are a good source of vitamin C, fibre, beta-carotene and contain some amount of omega-3. This is an excellent one-pot meal which is complete on its own and easy to prepare.

    Serves five

    Preparation and cooking time: 35 minutes


    180 g (1 cup) uncooked white rice

    180 g (1 cup) uncooked brown rice

    1 tbsp cooking oil

    20g (2 cloves) garlic, chopped

    50g dried shrimp, soaked in 200ml water, pounded, retain soaking liquid

    10g (6) dried Chinese mushroom, soaked in 200 ml water, sliced, retain soaking liquid

    1 tin (185g) canned tuna in water, drained and flaked

    3 tbsp dried wolfberries

    325ml (1½ cup) water

    320g (2 cups) frozen green peas, thaw in a bowl of water, drained


    2 tbsp chopped spring onions

    40g (4) shallots, sliced and fried


    Rinse the rice in a large bowl and drain. Heat the oil in the rice cooker. Add in the garlic, dried shrimp and fry till aromatic.

    Stir in the sliced mushroom, tuna flakes and dried wolfberries.

    Finally, stir in the washed rice. Add all the soaking liquid and water into the rice cooker.

    Cook the rice until all the liquid is absorbed or vaporised. This will take about 25 minutes.

    Switch off the rice cooker and stir in the green peas until it is well mixed. Leave the rice to sit for at least two minutes.

    Garnish with spring onions and fried shallots.

    A fantastic win

    Posted: 30 Mar 2013 08:21 PM PDT

    A personal passion project claims first prize at the Oscars of the culinary publishing and broadcast world.

    IT all started with what dietitian and author Goo Chui Hoong thought was a spam email.

    Having launched Food for Your Eyes – a health-cum-recipe book co-written with her husband, consultant ophthalmologist Dr Kenneth Fong – locally just a couple of months prior, she was not expecting it to be noticed by the international culinary community.

    "It was very random. We had had the book launch at the At 19 Culinary Studio (in Kuala Lumpur). The Gourmand Awards Committee emailed the school – I run cooking sessions there occasionally – and the owner, Hellen Fong, forwarded it to me," she recalls, adding that at first, she thought it was spam.

    Considered the Oscars of the food and wine publishing and broadcast industry, the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards is an international annual event recognising the best of culinary books and television shows.

    Founded by Edouard Cointreau – scion of the Cointreau liquor, and Frapin and Remy Martin cognac families – in 1995, the awards aim to reward and honour those who "cook with words", and to help readers find the best of the tens of thousands of culinary books that come out every year.

    Having had no previous experience with publishing, the Fongs had no idea what the Awards were all about.

    "For us, because we are not in the industry, we didn't realise how important the Awards are," says Goo.

    In fact, she checked with Julie Wong, editor of both their book and Flavours magazine, to determine if the Awards were indeed legitimate.

    Wong quickly enlightened her about the event and encouraged the both of them to submit the book for consideration, even putting them in touch with Chef Wan and Toh Puan Rosita Abdullah, the two previous Malaysian winners at the Awards.

    "After looking at Toh Puan Rosita's book (the hardcover coffee table-cum-cookbook Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage) and the high quality, we thought that we wouldn't even get shortlisted," says Dr Fong.

    "So, we just posted off the three copies of the book they requested for judging to Madrid, Spain, and didn't really think much of it after that."

    When, to their surprise, they were indeed shortlisted, the Fongs then debated whether or not to attend the Awards, which were being held in Paris, France.

    Says Dr Fong: "There were five other books shortlisted in our category from all over the world, and they were of such good quality."

    In the end, they decided to go out of curiosity, just for the experience, and for the opportunity to visit Paris.

    Culinary focal point

    It was only when they were actually at the three-day long Paris Cookbook Fair last month – of which the Awards ceremony is the grand finale – that they realised how important and prestigious the Awards were in the culinary world.

    "It's only when you go there that you realise how seriously the authors and publishers take it. Some (winners) were in tears on stage; they really put their heart and soul into winning an awards," says Dr Fong.

    He adds: "One group from Sweden – two doctors and a chef, who wrote on food that can help prevent cancer – even had an entourage who were filming their every move!"

    Goo adds laughingly: "We felt a bit kampung (provincial) there."

    In addition to the Awards, the Fair serves as a meeting point for authors and publishers to discover or promote new titles and talents, or to discuss translation and foreign distribution rights.

    Goo shares that they met an author who had travelled all the way there just to meet a publisher in order to get his book published.

    Dr Fong adds: "For authors, they try to sell the distribution rights to other countries."

    One of the trends observed at this year's Awards was the increasing interest in health-related cookbooks.

    And this was reflected in the Lifestyle: Health subcategory, which had six shortlisted books, compared to the other subcategories, which mostly had only five finalists each.

    Aside from Food for Your Eyes, the other health-related cookbooks on the shortlist were Meals that Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk (Canada), Cookbook, Nutrition and Medical Advice for Retired People by Josko Kalilic (Croatia), Goodness Me! It's Gluten Free by Vanessa and Mary Hudson (New Zealand), Matfrisk by Lars Beckman, Lars Franzen and Fredric Andersson (Sweden), and Mi Lonchera by Armando Scannone (Venezuela).

    Winning passion

    With 66 subcategories in the food section alone and 25 in the wine section, the awards ceremony itself on Feb 24 was a long event.

    "It was a long night," says Dr Fong. "By the time our category was announced, we were quite tired."

    That added even more to their shock during the announcement. "Our jaws just dropped (when we heard our book called out)," shares Goo.

    "We really didn't expect it; we didn't prepare any speech at all," says Dr Fong, who adds that they ended up thanking Wong and her team, who helped them polish and edit the book, as well as photograph the dishes in it.

    "We were really happy that Julie was there (with us at the Awards), because she really deserves the credit," he says.

    "The raw data didn't look as nice before she helped polish it," Goo adds. "It was really a team effort."

    Dr Fong believes that while Food for Your Eyes was, in comparison to other books, was a smaller scale, lower budget project, the judges were able to see beyond the exterior presentation to the passion behind it.

    "Edward Cointreau, the chief judge, says that he gets thousands of books every year for the Awards, and that he can tell within the first few pages the passion of the authors."

    He adds: "We weren't thinking about money when we wrote this book; we were really passionate and interested in the topic, and I guess it showed."

    In fact, profits from the sales of Food For Your Eyes all go to the National Council for the Blind to help increase awareness and prevention of eye diseases.

    The second and third prizes in the sub-category went to Sweden's Matfrisk and the Kiwi Goodness Me! It's Gluten Free respectively.

    Dr Fong shares that they actually expected Matfrisk, which was written by two professors of oncology and a professional chef who owns his own restaurant, to take first place.

    Ironically, the Swedish team told them that they had predicted Food for Your Eyes' win.

    The two teams coincidentally ended up at the same French bistro for supper after the awards ceremony, where the Swedes sportingly shared a round of victory champagne with the Fongs.

    The couple also shared that they enjoyed meeting Chef Wan at the event. The celebrity chef also won first prize at the Awards for the Authors: TV-English subcategory with his book The Best of Chef Wan: A Taste of Malaysia, beating out Jamie Oliver's Jamie's 15 Minutes Meals, which came in second.

    Promoting eye health

    When asked about how their book has been received so far, Dr Fong says that many people have said that the recipes can be done easily within 30-45 minutes.

    "Credit has to go to the photographer and food stylist, who made the dishes look so good.

    "One of my patients said that you cannot read the book when you are hungry," he says with a smile.

    Goo adds: "I think what separates our book from others is that the first chapter has a lot of information about common eye diseases. There's even an eye chart at the back of the book."

    Dr Fong agrees: "A lot of people felt very educated by the first chapter.

    "We didn't want it to be a very lecturing type of book; we wanted it to be a gentle way of informing people about eye health."

    He adds: "We feel that for RM39.90, you really get value for money.

    "Julie made sure that the font was as small as reasonably possible, so that we could squeeze in all the information."

    Although the book is mainly available locally and in Singapore, Dr Fong shares that he has even had an email from an Australian who bought the book online, telling him how useful and helpful it is.

    He adds that some readers have even suggested that they do their own tv or radio show after their book came out, but they have no such plans.

    His next big project instead is organising the Malaysian Society of Ophthalmology's national public awareness campaign this May on age-related macular degeneration – one of the leading causes of blindness in those aged over 60 in the developed world.

    While this disease is not treatable, it can be slowed down by certain foods and nutritional supplements; so being aware of its symptoms is very important for adults, and forms a major part of the content in Food for Your Eyes.

    "We feel that we doctors need to reach out to the public before it is too late.

    "People tend to take sight for granted; we want to push the awareness of this disease as it can be terrible living with blindness," he says.

    > Food for Your Eyes is a bilingual (English/Mandarin) book that focuses on common eye diseases and homecooked recipes, which are alcohol, pork and beef-free, that help promote eye health. It is published by Star Publications (M) Bhd, and is available at all major bookstores in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as online at bookstore.thestar.com.my.

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    Three recipes from the award-winning book, Food For Your Eyes

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