Rivers in Bayan Lepas are severely polluted

Rivers in Bayan Lepas are severely polluted

Rivers in Bayan Lepas are severely polluted

SM Mohamed Idris | 16 March 2017
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) to take urgent action to address the pollution of the Keluang and Nipah Rivers near Bayan Lepas.

The pollution of these two rivers for the past 10 years has caused the water of both the rivers to become black and muddy. The rivers are not only an eyesore and revolting, but also emit a nauseating stench.

The pollution problem arises from the discharge of waste from industrial plants, residential area, business premises, workshops, animal waste and human excrement. Subsequently, downstream of both these rivers are likely dead without any living being in it.

CAP’s survey found the river water to be greasy and its surface filled with garbage and other waste that had settled. CAP was surprised to find that people living near the Keluang River jetty had built toilets and defecate into the river.

CAP is concerned that if the problem is not addressed now, the pollution of the rivers will worsen in the future and may affect public health and threaten marine life in the nearby sea.

CAP also urges the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Health Department to investigate this pollution and conduct frequent monitoring visits to ensure that manufacturers comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and its regulations and that the public do not dump rubbish and excrement into the river.

CAP is appalled by this incident and hopes that the state government, local authorities, departments, and agencies play a more effective role, including enforcing the relevant laws to ascertain that the rivers in the state are pollution-free.

SM MOHAMED IDRIS is president, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).

Common causes of domestic violence

Common causes of domestic violence

Common causes of domestic violence

Praise Maukazuva, 23 February 2017

There are many abusive relationships, and the only question to ask is: why?

The main answer is ‘control’.

The controlling characteristic that males attribute to their masculinity is the cause to these abusive relationships. When males don’t have control they feel their masculinity is threatened and they need to do something about it.

Here are some of the causes that can lead to domestic violence and abusive relationship.

1. Disagreement between a married couple.

The husband might be too controlling and might be making decisions of the family that only suit himself. Financial problems are the main causes of disagreements between a married couple.

2. Jealousy.

Some men are very jealous and envious that they end up making up suspicions and wrongly accusing their wives for infidelity. They probably do not want to see them talking to any man, even a family member except them.

3. Some men have grown up witnessing Domestic Violence between their parents.

This can affect them in two ways. Either psychologically resulting in a mental disorder and anger issues or they start to think it’s the only way they can solve their problems.

4. Alcohol and Drug abuse.

The influence of alcohol can enable violence because there will be no control of what you are doing and your behaviour changes. 61% of domestics violence has alcohol involved. Some men use alcohol as an excuse for abusing their wives.

5. Some societies do not have strong laws to support women against abuse.

The issue is often tolerated and seen as a normal thing and is justified. Low level of education contributes also as beating wives is still seen as a way of having control over your family. Which is wrong.

Domestic Violence should never be justified or excused. However it can be prevented. The key to prevention on the other hand is keeping it from happening in the first place.

So below are some key steps you can follow:

1. Be alert and take note of his behaviour changes.

Signs that show your partner can resort to Domestic Violence. These include mood swings that are unpredictable, Jealousy as mentioned earlier on, a controlling behaviour or explosive behaviour and lastly when he is making threats such as, I will kill you or beat you up. You can pick up these signs even before marriage. I have seen it even amongst teenage relationships. They are often short tempered, lack of respect and even alcohol abuse. You should not feel like you need to stay in a abusive relationship. You need to cut ties as soon as possible.

2. Try to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner.

If you have any concerns or problems, you need to help yourselves through counselling or to ask help from friends or family members. Not dealing with these issues will only make it difficult down the road. You need to be able to address your issues together and in a civilized manner. But this is only when there is a disagreement not after he has abused you.

3. You need to be aware of Association that are specifically for women in your community.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) opened Malaysia’s first refuge to abused women in 1982. They provide shelter, counseling and social work for victims of Domestic Violence. Most of these Organizations educate both women and young girls on abuse, its impacts and how to be safe.

Training for volunteers // image via WAO Official Website


WAO Hotline: 03 7956 3488

WhatsApp/SMS TINA: 018 988 8058

WAO Hotline: 03 7956 3488

WhatsApp/SMS TINA: 018 988 8058

1 in 4 women experience Domestic Violence during her lifetime and more than half of these women have children that watch them helplessly as they are abused.

Transgender models make more than a fashion statement

Transgender models make more than a fashion statement

Transgender models make more than a fashion statement

by Alyaa Azhar | Feb 20, 2017

It was a normal day for Fariesha Adnan who works as a supervisor at a department store in Kuala Lumpur – that is until a stranger approached her and asked her if she would like to be a fashion model.

The stranger, Sharmila Ramanathan (photo below), founder of e-commerce business initiative NativesMY, was looking for individuals from marginalised communities to model her Deepavali clothing collection last year, and the lanky Fariesha caught her eye.

Fariesha had harboured dreams of modelling, but as a transgender woman, she never thought it was possible.

“It was like a dream.”

But after the surprise and elation wore off, she said, doubt and scepticism started to seep in.

For starters, she wondered if this was a scam and Sharmila yet another con artist.

And then, after she was convinced that NativesMY is a genuine operation, she faced a bout of self-doubt.

Chuckling self-consciously during an interview with Malaysiakini, she said she had wondered if she could actually do the job. Prior to modeling for NativesMY, she only posed for selfies, she said.

“I suddenly found myself in front of (another person’s) camera. I needed to know how to pose as well as the correct angles.”

At 39, the youthful Fariesha (photo) did not only get to fulfill her dreams in a fashion shoot.

She also found herself walking down a catwalk thanks to coaching from former Miss World Malaysia, Thanuja Ananthan – an experience she believes has pushed her out of her shell.

“I was quite shy before this, now I can talk to people more openly. I’ve never had an opportunity like this, so I’m thankful to Sharmila,” she said with a smile.

The positive feedback, especially on social media, came as a second surprise for Fariesha who has had her share of negative remarks.

It has prompted Fariesha to consider modelling full-time but this is something she will need to mull further.

More than a fashion brand

She was among four transgender women and a refugee who participated in the fashion show in September.

The Deepavali campaign embodies NativesMY’s objective to be more than a fashion brand.

The socially-conscious brand features handmade accessories by artisans in India, Thailand and Tibet, which are then marketed online.

Underlying the e-commerce, however, is the aspiration to use the business to empower marginalised communities, Sharmila said.

When considering how to market her products, Sharmila said she looked at how other brands had hired professional models and celebrities to endorse the brand online and decided to put a new twist to the concept.

“I understand why companies are doing it but I wanted to do something more meaningful.”

“Actually, I was open to anyone from the marginalised community but when I looked for them, it so happened that I found more transgender women,” said Sharmila, who holds a degree in advertising and marketing.

In fact, the Deepavali line was also dubbed “Hope” and dedicated to marginalised communities in hopes for improvement in the lives of those in such communities.

The desire to push for social change had before this seen her leave a plum job at an advertising firm to work for an international NGO, but it was not until she found a way to meld both her interests that she found fulfilment.

But life has not been a bed roses since she founded NativesMY.

“Now, most of the time when I meet my models, I will be taking a cab and carrying most of the bags (of clothes) for them to change into. I have bruises on my arms because I carry these bags.

“But at the end of the day I ask myself – am I happy? I am.”

No restrictions

The venture is fully-funded by Sharmila using her savings, as she does not want NativesMY to be constrained by investor requirements.

For example, she said, she did not want an investor to tell the brand’s models they cannot dress as women.

A group of transgender women last year lost their bid to declare unconstitutional a syariah enactment that criminalises cross-dressing.

Muslim transgender women risk arrest and action when dressing as women, as their identity cards state they are male – the gender they are assigned at birth.

A transgender man recently also lost his bid to change his gender on his identity card, after going through gender affirmation surgery.

“I want Natives to be a platform where people can be who they are. If (the transgender women) want to keep long hair or wear make-up as most of the time they are told not to,” Sharmila said.

Sharmila hopes the experience will help the models conquer their self-doubt and improve their lives.

“At the end of the day, I feel that this fundamental skill is the most important thing in getting a job and living a better life.”

“Especially for individuals from the marginalised community because they are so discriminated, stigmatised that they do not have basic skills such as confidence,” she said.

One of the NativesMY models had a passion for doing make-up, for example, but never had the confidence or the opportunity to pursue it.

After participating in the Deepavali campaign, Sharmila said, the model started following her dreams by becoming the make-up artiste for a local pageant participant.

This is an experience Sharmila hopes to replicate with those from other communities who have had to live on the fringes to society stigma.

Among those she hopes to recruit for the next campaign are those living with HIV, she said.

Employment discrimination

She also hopes to partner with corporate bodies through corporate social responsibility projects, at least to raise awareness among employers of employment discrimination faced by these groups.

“When I was looking for transgender people, I literally went to all malls to find them. It was so hard to find them.

“I think it’s because they have not been given opportunities to get proper jobs.”

“The next step is to see more progress (on this front), in that I hope that more companies will be more open to hiring them and giving them a chance,” she said.

Sharmila believes there is some level of acceptance already out there, evident in the positive feedback to NativeMY’s campaign on social media.

But she hopes Malaysians can do more than just share positive messages on social media.

“Malaysians just share things but that’s just creating awareness. They should go to the nearest NGO and do something.”

Do you agree?

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