MetroPerak looks back on the major events in the silver state


Fireworks lit up near Menara Condong Teluk Intan to mark the final day of the National Level Chinese New Year celebration in February.

THE year 2015 has been memorable for Perakians, especially since many witnessed the enthronement of Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah as the 35th Sultan of Perak.

Not only that, Bagan Datoh MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister during a cabinet reshuffle, becoming the first Perakian to take on the post.

While there were happy moments, there were also sad and tragic incidents – here we look back at some of the notable events that occurred throughout the year.

JANUARY

> The year did not start well for Perakian farmers, as many of their futures were in limbo when they received eviction notices. However, the pomelo growers in the Ampang area resolved to bring the issue to the attention of Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, whom they believed would do his best to help the growers.

> Seven bus passengers and their driver were killed after the bus hit a lorry tyre that was left on the fast lane of the North-South Expressway at KM326.3. The passengers from Kuala Kurau and Kuala Gula in the Kerian district were on their way to Genting Highlands for a one-day trip.

> In Lumut, police found a charred body of a man, who was later identified as a Datuk Seri abducted from Penang.

FEBRUARY

> A Chinese national living in Malaysia was first robbed earlier in the month before she was murdered by an intruder three weeks later. The 67-year-old was working alone in her shop in Bercham when she was hit in the head with a blunt object, causing her death.

> Motorists were stunned to see a woman stumbling out of a stopped car in the middle of the road on the North-South Expressway with blood oozing from her neck. A man emerged from the same car and hauled the motionless woman to the side of the road before escaping into a nearby jungle. Police believed the man was her boyfriend and that an argument triggered the incident.

> Thousands gathered at the Leaning Tower in Teluk Intan for the lively national Chinese New Year open house. Among its guests of honour were then Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife Puan Sri Hajah Noorainee Abdul Rahman, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Teluk Intan MP Datuk Mah Siew Keong. The same night, Muhyiddin declared the tower as a national heritage site, adding that the historical building was also being submitted for consideration as a Unesco World Heritage Site.

MARCH

> Controversy rocked Lumut when five “super rich” Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) officers, including a female officer, were arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission at the naval base. They were being investigated for alleged corrupt practices involving naval procurement. Nine civilians including a woman were also held. They were officials of companies supplying items to the navy. The suspects were picked up following intelligence reports they were involved in fixing procurement details.

> The month saw a number of deaths, starting with Gopeng MCA vice-chairman Phang Tzu Pin, who had passed away at the age of 44 after complaining about dizziness before collapsing at his company in Simpang Pulai. As his family and friends mourned his death, many could not accept his sudden departure at such a young age.

> A three-year-old girl, Nor Saraniya Abdullah, died after being allegedly abused by her caretakers at their home in Klebang Jaya. Another 34-year-old man was found brutally hacked to death by five men in Ayer Tawar, near Manjung.

> A 31-year-old man was jailed for 10 years for beating his grandmother to death with a frying pan back in 2013.

> Perak added one more feather to its cap after 16 coffeeshops from the state were included in the second edition of Malaysia’s 100 Best Coffee Shop. According to the 247-page book published by the Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association, the silver state has the second highest number of best coffeeshops in the country, two shops behind the champion state Johor.

> During the opening of the state assembly sitting, 26 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen turned up in black attire in protest over several issues including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s five-year jail sentence. The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, who opened the sitting for the first time as Ruler of Perak, left without taking a customary group photograph with all of the state assemblymen. The Perak Royal Council then directed the state government to set a dress code for elected representatives when attending state assembly sittings.

APRIL

> The Malaysia Games (Sukma) Supreme Council announced Perak will play host for the Games in 2018. About 600 athletes have been selected to represent Perak then.

> Latipah Sehibi became the first woman in Perak history to be appointed a district officer. The 58-year-old was appointed as the Kampar district officer, replacing Ismail Hassan who retired.

> A 48-second video showing a teen mother repeatedly slapping and kicking a five-month-old baby went viral on social media. Police later detained the mother and said that she was going through a divorce with the husband and had an argument, resulting with the girl taking out her anger on the baby.

MAY

> It was a proud month for all Perakians as Sultan Nazrin was enthroned as the 35th Sultan of Perak. Sultan Nazrin ascends to the throne following the death of Sultan Azlan Shah in 2014.

A series of programmes were held to celebrate the Sultan’s enthronement. In conjunction with his enthronement ceremony, he launched a set of new stamps with its crest and words painted specially in gold ink – the first of its kind in Pos Malaysia Bhd’s history. The stamps, that were also personally designed by Sultan Nazrin, featured pictures of him and Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim. After 30 years, the military tattoo show returned to Stadium Perak – also held in conjunction with Sultan Nazrin’s enthronement – attracting a 20,000-strong crowd.

> Menglembu OCS Asst Supt Chen Ah Kooy became an overnight sensation after a video clip of his outburst towards loan sharks had gone viral on social media. Dressed in his uniform and sunglasses, ASP Chen lashed out and threatened to kill any ah longs that comes and posts posters in his area.

> Another woman joins the state government with the appointment of Nurdiana Puaadi, 36, as the Batu Gajah District Council president. She is the first woman district council president in Perak, replacing Tarmidzi Abdul Manap.

> In Taiping, a factory worker died of severe burn injuries after an unknown attacker threw a petrol bomb into his car. Hasfarizal Fahim, 29, was getting into his Perodua Myvi outside a factory making stainless steel products.

> Thousands of cockles bred for consumption were reported to be dying in Kuala Sepetang, causing a severe shortage of the shellfish nationwide. The Fisheries Department is still clueless about cause of death.

JUNE

> This year’s Ipoh Starwalk 2015 was a wet affair as 15,000 of its participants who gathered at Stadium Indera Mulia were drenched in a downpour. However, they were still determined to complete the 7km walk with raincoats and umbrellas prepared. There were also others who walked in the rain.

> History was made in Taiping when school military bands from around Malaysia performed on the streets with their instruments in celebration of St George’s Institution’s 100th anniversary. The national parade, which saw more than 1,800 participants in the parade from La Sallian schools, was also dedicated to the Agong’s birthday on the same day.

> Meanwhile, SMJK Sam Tet made its way into the Malaysia Book of Records again this year for the record of “Largest participation in a glutinous rice dumpling and ketupat making event.” About 2,000 students and ex-students, teachers and parents gathered at the school to wrap 2,015 bak chang (rice dumplings) and ketupat within 30 minutes.

> A 12-year-old girl survived after falling from the third floor of her school building in Khantan. The girl was taken to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for treatment after a security guard found her still conscious but in a lot of pain.

> The assessment rate hike caused an uproar among ratepayers in Ipoh after they received notices from the Ipoh City Council. The new assessment rates were fixed after an exercise to revaluate properties was carried out. Many found the hike a hard pill to swallow and voiced their objections in public protests.

> Also finding themselves in a tough spot in the same month was Tanjung Malim District Council, when it introduced its One Dog RM10 campaign to tackle the problem of stray dogs. The campaign was called off following the intervention of the Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPA) and state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.

JULY

> The month saw a milestone achieved for the state when Bagan Datoh MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister. Ahmad Zahid is the first Perakian to become a Deputy Prime Minister, replacing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after a cabinet reshuffle. He also retains his post as the Home Minister.

> Former Manjung Municipal Council president Datuk Zamri Man was appointed as the 10th Ipoh Datuk Bandar. Zamri takes over from Datuk Harun Rawi, who had held the post for a year and six months before retiring on July 1.

AUGUST

> Kacang puteh seller S. Selvajanaki made the news when pictures of her looking dejected while her goods were strewn on the ground outside the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, purportedly after an argument with Ipoh City Council enforcement officers, went viral. The student who posted the photo on social media later clarified that Selvajanaki had thrown the kacang puteh on the road. Selvajanaki was later granted a licence to sell her kacang puteh in Kampung Simee and Fair Park areas, but not outside the hospital.

> SMK St Michael Ipoh Brother Director Datuk Brother Vincent J. Corkery celebrated his 70th year as a La Sallian brother at the school.

> Ipoh City Council and the state Health Department personnel were forced to break into several premises in Taman Cempaka under the “Ops X-Aedes Pecah Masuk Rumah Kosong” to destroy Aedes mosquito breeding grounds. There had been 119 dengue cases there in the first eight months, making it the area with the highest number of dengue cases in the country. Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon also said that abandoned properties could be confiscated if their places are found to be potential breeding grounds.

SEPTEMBER

> Deputy public prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais was murdered and his body was found inside a concrete-filled oil drum in Subang after being abducted by four men near Jalan Dutamas while heading to work. A memorial service was held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Ipoh for him.

> Some 64 Indonesians were killed when the boat they were on sunk off the coast near Sabak Bernam-Bagan Datoh state borders. The boat, which departed from Kuala Sungai Bernam for Tanjung Balai, Indonesia, had sprung a leak.

> Rusiah Suar, 56, from Sungkai, Perak, was killed when a crane crashed down at Mecca’s Grand Mosque. She was amongst five Malaysian pilgrims who lost their lives during the tragic incident, which also saw over 100 deaths. About 200 people were reported to be injured in the crash, which was triggered by a heavy sandstorm.

OCTOBER

> Ipoh city held its first ever Car Free Day. The event was held along Jalan Raja Dihilir, Jalan Watson, Jalan Dato Seri Shaari (Jalan Garland) and Jalan Tun Suffian, with roads being partly closed to allow people to jog, walk, cycle and take part in family activities.

> Police arrested a family of four, believed to be involved in the gruesome murder of four people in Tapah. Two people, including the father and his son, are still being remanded while the man’s wife and another son have been released.

> Former Perak Chief Police Officer and Sarawak Commissioner of Police Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng passed away at the age of 88 because of heart failure. Yuen played an instrumental role in the historic 1989 Haadyai Peace Accord that led to the end of communist insurgency in Malaysia.

> The Ipoh Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA) started a pilot project to encourage micro-chipping of pets and strays. The TNR-M (Trap, Neuter, Release-Microchip) programme started with three stray dogs being tagged with the microchip before being released.

> Four Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) officers, including a married couple, were charged with 15 counts of bribery and money laundering involving more than RM2mil.

> A truck operator, his son and nephew were killed with four others injured when a cement tanker ploughed into them as they were getting ready to tow a damaged car belonging to a doctor at the 283rd kilometre of the North-South Expressway in Simpang Pulai.

> Former Minerals and Geoscience Research Centre director Dzulkarnain Kamaruzzaman, his wife and daughter were also killed along the expressway near Tanjung Malim when an overhead sign fell onto his car. They were travelling to a relative’s wedding when the tragedy struck.

> Performing arts events promoter Kakiseni held the first-ever “The Other Festival 2015” at Ipoh Old Town to celebrate the city’s history, food and arts over three weekends. Themed “Mapping the City”, the festival focused on a series of trails curated by popular personalities who are either Ipoh natives or have close connections to the city.

> The age-old Mossy Forest at Gunung Brinchang, Cameron Highlands has been closed until the middle of 2016 because of excessive littering. Famed for its exotic flora and lush mossy carpets, the forest was closed off to allow maintenance works to be carried out while also allowing the regeneration of mossy undergrowth.

> The popular Perfect Livin’ 15 Home and Lifestyle Exhibition was held in Ipoh for the first time at the Indera Mulia Stadium.

> As the monsoon season kicked in, flash flood incidences occurred in several districts, including Teluk Intan, Lenggong, Pantai Remis, Sungai Siput and Perak Tengah. But, the number of victims displaced by the floods have reduced significantly compared to 2014.

NOVEMBER

> Sultan Nazrin Shah celebrated his first birthday as the Perak Sultan following his enthronement ceremony in May. In conjunction with the celebration, he awarded slain deputy public prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais posthumously with the Darjah Dato Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP), which carries the title Datuk during an investiture ceremony at Istana Iskandariah, Kuala Kangsar. Morais was among six notable public figures to be posthumously awarded.

> A 13-year-old boy danced himself into the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR) after successfully performing the highest Atta Kavadi dance on a 3.9m-high platform at Kampung Kacang Puteh in Buntong. V. Selvanayagam lifted and balanced a 3kg kavadi on his head, climbed ladders, danced and performed balancing acts on a platform.

> Perak State Assembly Speaker Datuk S. K. Devamany defeated Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan for the MIC deputy president post during the party election.

> Former Gopeng Umno Wanita chief Datuk Hamidah Osman was sacked from the party. Hamidah, a former state executive council member, is believed to have been sacked for inviting former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to a dialogue session here. She was also vocal in trying to get Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to step down as Prime Minister.

> A Piper 32 light aircraft crashed into the sea near Teluk Dalam shortly after it took off from the airstrip at Pangkor Island. Four people on board the plane were slightly injured and only needed outpatient treatment.

DECEMBER

> It was a proud moment for Malaysia as the Perak State Library Corporation and Imagika Sdn Bhd created history, successfully breaking the Guinness World Records for the Largest Book Pyramid. The structure was stacked up with 70,247 books at the Indera Mulia Stadium. The attempt was aimed at cultivating public interest in reading. The record was previously held by Luxembourg bookstore chain Ernster with 63,377 books.

> Perak was named “The Most Promising State for International Investment”’ during the 6th Middle East Business Leaders Awards in Dubai. The award, accepted by state Industry, Investments and Development Corridor Committee chairman Datuk Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid on behalf of the Mentri Besar, was a recognition by the international business community of the state government’s ability to manage and strategise for a balanced investment environment.

> Four gold traders were robbed of RM1.4mil at the Tapah rest stop along the North-South Expressway by five suspects. The traders from Penang were supposedly on their way to Kuala Lumpur to buy gold.

> A scrap metal worker was sentenced to death by the Ipoh High Court for killing an 18-month-old boy after his car crashed into a wedding ceremony in Gopeng two years ago.

> A suspended policeman was beaten to death by a mob in Sitiawan for trying to steal bird’s nests.

> Five hunters were found after getting lost in the jungles for about four days near Kampung Bongor in Gerik.

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