Some items from the press relating to caves
Perak Tong rockfall
Lenggong had early humans 1.8m years ago
Batu Caves in Indian paper
Ancient stone axes found
Crystals at Gunung Keriang Kedah
'Caveman' waits for citizenship
Dhamma Piti Meditation Monastery at Gunung Lang
Perak Tong rockfall
On 11 January 2009 there was a rockfall at the Perak Tong cave temple in Ipoh. This was well covered in the media, although the reports were vague and confusing, some suggesting the outcrop had collapsed, others that boulders fell in the cave etc. It seems there was a rockfall on the hill above the cave and large car sized boulders fell into the cave. The caretaker was killed, buried under boulders inside the cave. They located his body by sniffer dogs on 12th, and on 13th prepared to blast the boulders trapping him, but only recovered the body late on 14th.
The cave is currently closed.
After the rescue, there was a lot of talk about the safety of other cave temples, and one minister suggested twice early checks on all cave temples! Also to check for cracks in the temples.
Monday January 12, 2009
Hillside drama at cave temple
By IVAN LOH
IPOH: Seventeen people were rescued from the Perak Cave Temple when a rockfall destroyed the staircase that leads to the peak of the limestone hill. A temple guard is still believed to be trapped on the hilltop following the 3.10pm incident yesterday.
Two people were said to be seriously injured.
Fire and Rescue Department personnel took three hours to bring the trapped victims to safety.
S. Wignesvaran (pic) said he was halfway down the staircase when the whole place began to shake.
“There were loud sounds of a boulder crashing down,” said the 23-year-old technician from Sungai Siput. “As the falling boulders destroyed the path, we were forced to make our way back up and wait for rescue.”
Wignesvaran said he also heard screams of pain coming from the other side of the boulder.
“A young woman had injured her left arm while her boyfriend’s leg was stuck beneath the rocks. He was bleeding profusely,” said Wignesvaran.
The couple were later sent to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital here.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who was at the scene, said a temple guard could be trapped inside. “According to temple committee chairman Chong Yin Chat, the guard’s motorcycle was still parked at the premises,” he said.
Nizar said rescue operations had been halted due to instability of the limestone. “There are cracks on the wall and we will wait for the police’s canine unit to determine if there is anyone still trapped inside,” he said, adding that the temple would be closed indefinitely.
To safety: Fire and Rescue Department personnel rescuing one of the victims at the Perak Cave Temple in Ipoh yesterday. They had to use ropes to lower them down from the back of the hill.
Each year, tens of thousands of visitors come to see the 200-odd paintings and calligraphy on the cave walls of the 5ha temple.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who was also at the site last night, urged the authorities to conduct checks on limestone hills at least twice a year.
NST Online » Local News
2 injured in rockfall at Perak Cave Temple
By : P. Chandra Sagaran
A woman trapped in the rockfall being rescued by Fire and Rescue Department personnel in Ipoh yesterday.
IPOH: A man and a woman were injured when a rockfall occurred at the Perak Cave Temple in Jalan Kuala Kangsar yesterday.
Rescuers are looking for the temple's security guard who is listed as missing. The rockfall smashed the staircase at the top of the temple, referred to by residents as Perak Tong.
Besides the trio, 16 people were trapped by the rockfall and it took police and firemen three hours to rescue them after the 3.15pm incident.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who visited the scene, said rescue work had been stopped temporarily as the situation was too risky.
The guard's motorcycle was found at the temple's compound.
"We are waiting for search dogs to be brought in to locate survivors in the cave," said Nizar.
Of the two injured, the man suffered heavier injuries. His leg was broken and he had bled to such an extent that when rescuers got to him, his body felt "cold".
He was admitted to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.
The woman sustained light body injuries. Both were in their 20s.
The cave temple, built in 1926, is a popular tourist destination. It has been ordered to close until further instructions.
Among those rescued were a Nepalese and a Chinese national, both of whom are working here but had gone sightseeing.
Nizar said a team would be set up to investigate the cause of the incident.
He said the team would be headed by the director of the Geoscience and Mineral Department, and would include police, firemen and temple committee representatives.
Rescuers were alerted by S. Wigneswaran, 23, of Sungai Siput, who had been walking down the stairs with a friend when the rockfall occurred.
"We heard screams from people and, thinking they were in trouble, I called the Fire and Rescue Department on my handphone."
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, who visited the site of the rockfall, recommended that the cave temple management committee cooperate with the Geoscience and Mineral Department to allow officers to inspect the cave at least twice a year.
"The management committee should also look for loose stones or cracks in the caves and alert the authorities immediately to take remedial measures," he said.
One Dead After Rock Fall At Buddhist Cave
News Headline 2009-01-12
KUALA LUMPUR: A rock slide at a Buddhist temple built into a cave killed one person and trapped more than a dozen others for hours in central Malaysia, police said Monday (12 Jan). Two were injured.
A group of tourists, including a Nepali and a Chinese national, were on a staircase to the peak of the limestone mountain when boulders came crashing down, destroying the path, local media reported.
Eighteen people trapped for three hours at the Perak Cave Temple were freed by rescuers after the rock fall Sunday (11 Jan), said Azisman Alias, a district police chief in Perak state.
Azisman said a woman suffered light injuries, while one man was hospitalized with a fractured leg.
He said a temple security guard remained missing and rescue dogs detected what was believed to be his body crushed under boulders. The body could not immediately be freed. Search operations were continuing, said Azisman.
Local media said Perak Chief Minister Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin ordered the popular cave temple closed indefinitely.
Tens of thousands of people visit the temple each year to see some 200 paintings and calligraphy adorning the cave walls. (AP)
Published: Monday January 12, 2009 MYT 5:37:00 PM
Security guard believed crushed after Perak Tong rockfall
By CHRISTINA KOH
IPOH: Security guard Yip Lum Choon, who was reportedly missing after a
rockfall at the Perak Cave Temple here on Sunday, is believed dead.
State chief Deputy Comm Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said a canine unit
from the Fire and Rescue Department detected the scent of a corpse at
about 9.50am yesterday.
“His motorcycle was been left behind (at the temple) and we have
confirmed that he has not turned up at home.
“Therefore, we believe he is the victim buried under the rocks,” DCP
Zulkifli told reporters after a briefing at the scene on Monday.
Yip, 55, was among 18 people trapped after a rockfall destroyed the
staircase within the temple popularly known as Perak Tong, leading to
the peak of the limestone hill.
Fire and Rescue Department personnel managed to rescue 17 of the
victims, including two seriously injured, at the summit.
However, the temple’s security guard remained unaccounted for.
DCP Zulkifli said a Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue
Team (Smart) taskforce was now digging through the rubble in an
attempt to locate the body.
Some of the fallen boulders, he said, were the size of a 4WD vehicle
scattered over a rockfall area measuring some 10m wide.
He added that if rescuers were unable to make progress, controlled
explosives would be used on Tuesday to break up some of the larger
Explosives will be the last resort. We believe this is the best way
after taking in the views of all the concerned departments.
“We have to be careful because the ground is still loose and we are
afraid there might be more rockfalls from above,” he said.
DCP Zulkifli also urged Yip’s next of kin to contact the police as the
victim apparently lived alone at his home in Kampung Baru Papan,
At about 4.30pm, traces of clothing and a helmet, believed to belong
to the victim, along with a temple donation box, were found within the
Search efforts halted at 5.20pm on Monday and will resume Tuesday.
Each year, tens of thousands of visitors come to see the unique 200-
odd paintings and calligraphy on the cave walls that made the 5ha
Perak Chief Minister Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has ordered the popular
cave temple closed indefinitely.
January 12, 2009 21:41 PM
SMART Assists Search Operations In Cave Collapse
IPOH, Jan 12 (Bernama) -- The Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) is lending a helping hand to locate a security guard, believed trapped underneath a rubble of limestone at the Perak Tong cave temple here.
Besides the SMART team, Fire and Rescue Department personnel, Rela and the police dog unit are also involved in the operation to rescue Yip Lum Choon.
The 55-year-old was among 18 people trapped when part of the roof of the cave collapsed suddenly about 3pm On Sunday.
Sixteen of the victims were rescued, one was critically injured but Yip was trapped in the rubble.
Perak police chief Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah said the operation continued today, using minor explosions to demolish the rocks and locate the victim.
He said Yip had begun working as a security guard at the temple, just 10 days ago.
The temple was a regular haunt for tourists.
NST Online » Local News
Perak Cave Temple rockfall: Blasting to find guard's body
By : Brenda Lim
IPOH: Rescue workers will use controlled blasting today at the site of Sunday's rockfall at the Perak Cave Temple to locate the body of the temple's security guard.
"If we are unable find the body, we will go ahead with the blasting.
"The vibration from the explosives will be minimal," Perak police chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah said at the site yesterday.
Yip Lum Choon, 55, of Kampung Baru Papan in Pusing, believed to be dead now, was one of 16 people trapped by the rockfall.
The others, including two who were injured, were rescued some three hours after the incident.
The canine unit of the Fire and Rescue Department had failed to detect signs of life at the rockfall, said Zulkifli, adding that the priority was to get Yip's body out.
Rescue efforts to locate Yip had been slow as the boulders were large and heavy machinery could not be brought into the narrow opening of the cave, he said.
The boulders fell from the cave ceiling and some of them were the size of a four-wheeler, he said, adding that the total area covered by rocks was about 6m wide and 6m long.
Yip, whose job was to ensure the safety of members of the public at the stairs of the cave temple, was the only one unaccounted for after the rockfall.
His motorcycle was found at the temple's compound.
Besides police and firemen, rescue workers also comprised members of the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART).
The area has been closed to the public.
A team from the Minerals and Geoscience Department is investigating the rockfall.
Published: Thursday January 15, 2009
Body found in cave rockfall incident
IPOH: The body of security guard, Yip Lum Choon, 55, who was crushed in the Perak Tong cave temple rockfall in Jalan Kuala Kangsar, was found Wednesday night.
Perak police chief, Datuk Zulkefli Abdullah, said Yip’s body was found at 10.15pm and sent to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for a postmortem.
The search operations resumed at 8pm Wednesday after rescuers used explosives to break up large boulders and drilling machines to get through, Zulkefli told reporters here.
He said the search operation was done with the help of the Fire and Rescue Services Department and the Special Malaysian Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart). Police found the four-day-old decomposed body under limestone rocks.
The search took so long because the area was unstable and searchers had to be careful, he added.
The cave temple has been closed to visitors and an investigation will be conducted by the Perak Minerals and Geoscience Department to ensure that the area is safe for visitors, he said.
In the incident on Jan 11 two visitors were injured and Yip was reported missing. At the time of the incident there were 16 temple visitors. -- Bernama
Lenggong finds dated at 1.8 myo
A report that USM Discovers Concrete Evidence That Can Chance The History Of Early Man
And The Star 29 Jan 2009 reported on the ancient finds at Lenggong.
Leggong had early humans 1.8m years ago
Evidence of human existence dating back 1.83 million years was uncovered
at Bukit Bunuh in Lenggong, Perak recently.
Universiti Sains Malaysia Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia director Assoc
Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin said hand-axes which were unearthed showed evidence of the early
existence of Homo erectus in the South-East Asia region.
He said the previous pre-historic hand-axes found in Africa dated back 1.6 million
“We found one of the hand-axes, made of quartzite rock, embedded in layers of suevite
caused by meteorite impact.
“We sent part of the suevite to the Japan Geochronology Lab in Tokyo for fission track
dating and the results showed that it dated about 1.83 million years,” he told a press
He said his team did not find any human remains.
“Our next step is to carry out more studies and mapping and we hope to find human
evidence,” he said.
Dr Mokhtar said it was possible that the findings challenged the prevailing “Out of
Africa” theory, which holds that anatomically modern man first arose from one point in
Africa and spread out around the globe.
He said the Bukit Bunuh archaeological site discovered in August 2000 covered about
four sq km, and the meteorite crater was about 4km in diameter.
USM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Prof Dzulkifli Abdul Razak described the discovery as
“important and pertinent”, which could change the understanding about the mobility of
early human beings in this region.
This was an amusing piece, thieves mistaking a bank for a birds' nest house!!
NST Online » NewsBreak
Thieves mistake bank for birds' nest building
KOTA BARU, Sun:
Two men admitted to mistakenly entering a bank in Jalan Kebun Sultan
here while attempting to enter a building which was used to breed
swiftlets for their nests on Jan 8.
Kota Baru police district chief, ACP Zaharuddin Abdullah said the men
were caught with the help of a bank security guard about 11.30pm and
had with them various equipment for breaking and entering a building.
“They admitted to wanting to steal the birds’ nests but mistakenly
entered the bank and were caught by a patrol unit,” he said.
He said the two men were being investigated under Section 448 of the
Penal Code for breaking into a bank. — BERNAMA
A scam selling birds' nest properties
Monday July 13, 2009
Lure of the birds and nest
Located in a new commercial precinct in the heart of Petaling Jaya is a company that invites people to invest in the bird’s nest business by asking them to cough up RM24,800 to purchase a “lot” but one has the option to buy more lots.
The company known as Golden Nest Properties International (M) Bhd has
been operating for 10 months from the second floor of a new office
A call to the Registrar of Companies showed that it was registered under registration number 838068-V.
Starprobe started an investigation following a complaint via e-mail from a member of the public who claimed that the returns promised were
He also claimed that he did not receive his refund of RM100 made as a
deposit against the lot as the company said it was made “too long ago”.
A reporter went undercover as a potential investor to the Golden Nest
office. There, he found half-dozen scantily dressed young girls “persuading”
potential investors or “assisting” them in filling up the application
According to a company official, the investment has a guaranteed return of RM200 per month per lot for the first two years. In subsequent years, there is a minimum guaranteed return of RM700 per month per lot coupled with an annual dividend of RM3,000.
She claimed there were only 600 lots left to be subscribed and that they were going fast.
Once the lots were fully subscribed the company planned to list, she said, adding that the lots would be worth much more post-listing. At the office, there was also a funkily dressed man addressed by the rest as “Datuk”.
He was there to answer any difficult questions posed by potential
Another reporter, who made a follow-up call to the company with the
allegations from the complainant, spoke to another company official who said that there was a 10-day cooling-off period for refunds of deposits.
“If it’s more than 10 days, a depositor will not get the refund,” he said.
The official also said the company was not offering the public shares but selling properties in which bird’s nests were being cultivated.
He said the company had properties or “farms” located in Klang and Sungai Petani and others in Johor and Malacca and was thinking of listing five years down the road.
“We spoke to the Securities Commission earlier in the year on our plans for listing and they said we need to come out with a prospectus. We cannot do that as the company is less than a year old,” he added.
He said if the company was approved for a listing, the lot owners would get share subscription forms.
Starprobe checked with the Securities Commission where a spokesman
said there was no formal application or approval given to Golden Nest
in its records.
The Golden Nest official said the properties owned by the company were
existing properties that were under renovation. “The RM200 returns promised in the first two years before the properties are operational will come from the proceeds of bird’s nest sales,” he said.
He said in subsequent years, the projected minimum income of RM560 per month per lot would come from harvesting the bird’s nests from the lots owned by the owners.
He said each farm had 1,260 lots of which only 48% or 600 lots were being sold to the public. The remainder would be owned by Golden Nest.
BATU CAVES IN AN INDIAN PAPER
Deccan Herald » Sunday Herald » Detailed Story
Adventure of the temple cave
Batu Caves are a group of limestone caves and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. Chitra Srikrishna explores.
‘Just a few more to go, you’re almost here!” My husband encourages me as I gasp for breath on step 200! I can see that our two daughters, already at the top, are impatient to proceed into the caves. We are at the Batu caves just outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Finally, with only one more short stop for catching my breath, I make it over the last step and am at the top.
In front of me is the Cathedral or Temple Cave. The word cavernous takes a whole new meaning as I try to take in the sheer size of the natural cave. There’s a damp, pungent smell inside. Despite the early evening, the corners of the cave are already getting dark.
Long stalactites protruding from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the ground form bizarre patterns. Out of the corner of my eye I espy a huge bat heading for me straight at great speed. Instinctively I duck and it sails just past my head.
Monkeys with unusually long tails are running across the alcoves chattering like magpies all the time. I feel a little awed and stand staring at the surrealistic scene of a South Indian temple with its pyramidal roof painted in bright colours inside the cave’s Martian landscape.
My reverie is broken by my daughters pulling on my hands. They are anxious to explore further. As dusk hastens they want to make best of the light still coming through the natural openings in the cave’s distant roof. We hurry across to a short flight of stairs at the far end of the cave to get to the main shrine.
The Batu Caves are a group of limestone caves and cave temples and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. The name Batu comes from the name of the river that flows past the hill. The caves which are 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur are believed to have been discovered by an Indian trader, K Thamboosamy Pillai in the late 1800s.
The main draw of the Batu caves is a shrine of the Hindu God Murugan (Kartikeya or Subramanya). At the base of the caves a giant golden statue of Murugan, holding his weapon the vel (spear), greets visitors. The Batu caves also offer adventure to motivated spelunkers — prior permission is required to explore the Dark Cave (just below the Cathedral Cave), which is otherwise closed to the public.
As we stand in the temple watching a priest complete his rituals, I am struck by the rapid conversation he engages in Tamil with another family. I would have lingered on but my husband shepherds me towards the exit. “It’s going to rain; we need to head back.” Soon enough as we begin our descent down the long flight of steps, the torrential downpour takes us by surprise.
My husband and daughters being more agile quickly get to the bottom of the nearly 300 steps. Ever the careful one, I gingerly put my feet onto every step valiantly holding on to a temperamental umbrella. I remember the cab driver’s words on our way here from the hotel. “It can get slippery on the steps, especially when it rains — be careful!”
We quickly clamber into our waiting cab. I remark that there aren’t too many visitors now. “You’re lucky — it’s closing time. You must visit during thaipoosam, hardly any room to stand!” Our driver is in an expansive mood. He tells us that during the Thaipoosam festival in January the atmosphere reaches a frenzy as devotees carry milk offerings for Lord Murugan in containers or kavadis (carriers) on their shoulders and climb the steps watched by a million others.
Some of these carriers are extremely heavy and ornately decorated with peacock feathers and flowers. For the devotees, it’s a sacred mission. I cannot help admire them and the wondrous panorama that the Batu caves offers. If you see me on the Stairmaster machine, you know I’m preparing for my next trek up those 272 steps!
ANCIENT STONE AXES FOUND
At the end of January 2009 it was reported in the NST and Star that stone tools such as axes and chopping tools found in Perak had been dated at 1.83 million years old. The site, at Bukit Bunuh in Lenggong, Perak, was first excavated between 2001 and 2003, and revealed a Palaeolithic culture, dated at 40,000 years ago.
If the tools really are 1.83 myo, this would make them the oldest tools discovered in this part of the world, and could re-write the Out of Africa theory. The artefacts were found embedded in suevite rock, formed as a result of the impact of meteorite crashing down at Bukit Bunuh. Suevite rock is normally not found in SE Asia. Looking at the photos in the papers, the axes are huge.
The above info is as reported in the media, so may be treated with some scepticism until really proved!!!
CRYSTALS AT GUNUNG KERIANG, KEDAH
June 15, 2009
'Glow' Of Crystals Lure Tourists To Gunung Keriang
Oleh Khoshiahtun Fadzilah Ishak
ALOR STAR, June 15 (Bernama) -- Shimmering, glimmering and sparkling.
Those are the apt description on why admirers of crystals turned such stones into decorative items apart from making them accessories for women.
There is also a belief that the crystals posses certain healing powers that could rejuvenate the human body.
Realising that there is value in the crystals, some enterprising inhabitants who live near Gunung Keriang, located some 8.0 km from here, have converged on the mountain to look for these treasures.
According to the Kedah State Tourism Action Council (MTPNK) president, Datuk Othman Aziz, crystals that can be found on Gunung Keriang were unique in their own right and have high potential in the tourism industry.
"Gunung Keriang will be developed as a crystal cave due to its vicinity to the Muzium Padi and Traditional Village that are already tourist attractions.
"Lights and a lift would be installed to enable tourists to enter the bowels of the mountain and view the crystals in their natural condition," he told Bernama here.
Othman said the Gunung Keriang project would further woo tourists to Kedah.
"I hope development of the Crystal Cave at Gunung Keriang would improve the economy of residents in its vicinity," he said.
VARIOUS COLOURED CRYSTALS
Crystal stones have various colours like red, amber, yellow, black and yellow apart from being whitish. The coloured crystals are more expensive as compared to the whitish variety as they are more difficult to find.
A crystal collector, who wished to be identified as Pak Mud, 75, said the crystals could be graded according to its 'thorn, blossom and foliage'.
The thorns are actually crystal structures with tapering ends. As for the blossoms, they are actually crystalline patterns that appear like the small flowers on a carpet of fine grass while the foliage looks like the small vegetation that grow on mountains. Sometimes its shape is like that of a cauliflower.
There are also 'hammer' crystals, that are bigger than the other crystal stones and coloured white while the water crystals are reddish in colour and appears like running water on the walls of the cave.
There are also crystal "lattices' that appear as standing crystal stems. Usually each of these crystal stems has three colours that begin with light red at the bottom that transits into dark red at the top. CRYSTALS OF GUNUNG KERIANG
People who stay near Gunung Keriang believed that the crystals found there were among the world's best and are 'alive'.
They believed that when proper care was given, the crystals would grow and glow particularly when shone with lights.
"It takes years for the crystals to grow. The keeper should spray the living crystals with clean water at least twice a week to ensure the growth of the stones", said crystal seller Tijah Yaacob, 60.
She said the ideal water for this purpose was either the rainwater or mineral water, as it did not contain chlorine as in tap water.
Another crystal seller, Umi Kalsom, 45, advised buyers to place the crystals at cool places and avoid the stones from getting the dust as this might tarnish their colour.
Tourists can buy Gunung Keriang crystals from as low as RM4 and as high as RM12,000 depending on the size. SPECIAL FEATURES OF CRYSTALS
A crystal trader who set up shop at the foot of Gunung Keriang, Mohamed Bistie, 30, said many have sought the crystals as not only they could be used as decorative items but believed to posses positive energy and healing powers.
"Many have bought the crystals for health reasons. Some claimed if the crystals are soaked in water, the water can be used for bathing and helps hastens blood circulation and reduces air in the body," he said.
He said many tourists who came from Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand visited Gunung Keriang in order to buy the crystals.
Crystal trader Tan Soo Chaw, 47, said the Chinese believed crystals would bring good fortune to their owners as they have good 'feng shui'.
"But the crystals should be well cared for and regularly cleaned to maintain its shine and luster", he said.
The crystals are also believed to be a cure for, among others, migraine, he added. CRYSTAL SEEKERS
Looking for crystals is not an easy job.
The treasure hunters should be equipped with a hammer, chisel and gunny sack. They should also posses the skills and nerve to scale the mountain.
"We should also bring along two torch lamps as the cave is dark," said 28-year-old Zaidi Ahmad who had been a crystal seeker for 10 years.
They should also be brave enough to crawl through narrow tunnels and squeezed in between rocks with that have sharp and jagged edges.
"If we are fortunate, we can find the crystal stones easily due to the shine on the cave wall without too much effort. But usually we had to chisel away some 30 cm of the stone in the cave wall before finding the crystals," he said.
However the high price of these treasures have failed to dampen the determination of these treasure hunters.
The Star, Friday October 9, 2009
'Caveman’ waits for citizenship
By FOONG THIM LENG
IPOH: Odd-job worker Cheah See Seong has been living here on a social visit pass for the past 27 years because he could not produce evidence of his birth locally.
He has continually renewed his six-month pass 53 times.
The 69-year-old Cheah, who lives alone in a cave in Bercham after his wife died 10 years ago, said he was born in Tambun in 1940 but his parents did not report his birth and he never obtained a birth certificate.
photo - Home alone: Cheah sitting inside his cave home in Bercham, Ipoh yesterday.
His father died during the Japanese Occupation and he was separated from his mother when he was two, so he was brought up by his aunt.
Cheah said when he applied for an identity card he was given a red one because he did not have a birth certificate.
At 16, he left for Singapore and worked there for 15 years. His problem started when he was arrested in 1976 when he went to the Immigration Department to inquire about his passport, but could not account for his presence in the country. His red identity card was then confiscated.
Cheah was told to apply for permanent residency, but his application was not approved.
He was then detained in Taiping Prison for five years and nine months.
“The authorities said I have to wait for my country to send me home. It was ridiculous as Malaysia is my country,” he said in an interview.
Cheah said he went on a hunger strike in 1982 to demand his release from Taiping Prison.
After 13 days, his aunt approached Datuk Dr Song Yong Pheow, who was then Perak MCA public services bureau chief, to help get him out of prison. Dr Song also managed to obtain a social visit pass for him temporarily.
“I have made many attempts to prove my status as a citizen, but my applications were rejected despite producing letters from village heads, a school headmaster and even ministers.
“On several occasions, I was cheated of my money by people who claimed they had connections with politicians who could assist me,” he said.
Cheah hopes to get his MyKad to end his misery as a stateless person.
He is now being assisted by RT Bercham sector chairman Tan Swee Kong, in getting the National Registration Department to verify his status through old records.
Tan said: “Many people in Bercham knew he was a local-born.
“His name was even listed in a Regulations of Occupancy form during the Emergency in 1950.”
The Star 27 Oct 2009 reported that " ‘Caveman’ finally gets his MyPR card ".
There was no mention of whether he would continue to live in the cave.
Dhamma Piti Meditation Monastery at Gunung Lang
I first visited this cave at the back of Gunung Lang in Ipoh in 2008. The monastery looked new. The Star (North Metro edition) reported on 29 October 2009 that a festival was held in the cave.
Kathina fest in a cave
DEVOTEES came from as far as Singapore and Thailand for the Kathina festival at the Dhamma Piti Meditation Monastery in Ipoh.
The Buddhist festival was held recently at the end of vassa, the three-month rainy season retreat by monks from the Theravada tradition.
To hold a Kathina, a monastery must have had five monks in residence during the retreat.
Busloads of devotees, including those from Johor Baru, Penang, Singapore and Thailand, arrived at the cave monastery, located near Gunong Lang, as early as 7am.
Many brought along specially prepared food as offerings to the monks.
A pinapata (alms offering) was held at 9am outside the cave with devotees offering dry rations to the 46 monks who attended the Kathina.
Devotees who lined the path outside the cave also had a chance to touch the Kathina cloth shown to them by two helpers to acquire merits.
The function than moved back into the cave where the devotees chanted salutations to the Triple Gems ( Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha), asked for forgiveness and then presented the Kathina cloth which would later be cut and sewn into a robe for a nominated monk.
The monks then chanted to bless the 500-odd devotees who came.
Next on the programme was the offering of robes and daily requisites to the monks.
The function ended with the monks and devotees having lunch at the cave.