Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chinese mega-incentive an indicator of returning confidence

Perfect China will send a total of 4,000 of its high-performing delegates to Malaysia for an incentive-cum-conference trip next month.

The leading health and personal care direct selling company’s delegates will visit Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Penang between August 2 and 10, said Mint Leong, director of Sunflower Holidays, which is the appointed local destination management company for the event.

She said: “This group of Chinese arrivals is very important for Malaysia as it shows that the Chinese corporate sector is supporting Malaysia in light of the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8, which was on its way to Beijing with 153 Chinese nationals on board.

“Perfect China has not given up on Malaysia. More than half of the delegates have booked seats on Malaysia Airlines. We hope their decision to choose Malaysia will give confidence to other business and leisure travellers from China to do the same,” Leong added.

Sunflower Holidays also handles leisure group tours from China and saw a 90 per cent drop from this market since April due to the MH370 incident.

Leong said: “At this point of time, we cannot tell what impact the MH17 air disaster will have on China. We thought we would see the market recover in October but now we are not sure.”  
-TTG Asia.

Penang's Blue Mansion gets new lease of life

Hospitality and restaurant group Samadhi Retreats has signed a long-term management agreement to brand and manage The Blue Mansion, A Cheong Fatt Tze Legacy.

The boutique hotel is one of three heritage buildings in Penang to have won awards from UNESCO. It was built by renowned Chinese tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze just before the turn of the 20th century.

Under the helm of Samadhi Retreats, The Blue Mansion’s 18 rooms have been restored to reflect the tycoon’s opulent lifestyle. Each room is individually themed and furnished with luxurious amenities alongside precious heirlooms from the family’s private collection.

A new addition to The Blue Mansion is the Cheong Fatt Tze Restaurant, serving modern Cantonese cuisine. Other facilities include a swimming pool surrounded by Chinese gardens, and a Samadhi Spa.

The Blue Mansion will be the group’s third property in Malaysia after Japamala Resort Tioman Island, a 13-chalet jungle-luxe resort that opened in 2004, and Villa Samadhi, a 21-room urban retreat in Kuala Lumpur that opened in 2011.

Samadhi Retreats is poised to open a fourth hotel, a 22-room colonial escape in Singapore's Labrador Park, at the end of 2014. This will be the company’s first hospitality foray outside Malaysia.

Federico Asaro, founder and owner of Samadhi Retreats, said in a press release: “Samadhi Retreats is thrilled to be associated with The Blue Mansion, which holds great cultural value and is such an integral piece of Penang’s historical fabric. Its iconic status makes it a perfect match with Samadhi Retreats properties, which are identified by their unique locations that are true to its strong sense of place.”
-TTG Asia.

MH17 Black Boxes: Statement by Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport, Malaysia - Wednesday, July 23, 09:30 AM GMT +0800

"Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis.

The international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, has decided to pass the black boxes to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for forensic analysis. It is normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorised by the International Civil Aviation Association.

The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, UK, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team."

Media Statement 11 : MH17 Incident - Tuesday, July 22, 10:05 PM GMT +0800

The current general enquiry number +60378841234 for the MH17 incident will be deactivated effective Wednesday, 23 July 2014 at 12.00midnight.
Families of passengers and crew of MH17 may still contact the airline’s Family Support Centre hotline.
For media queries, kindly contact +603 8777 5698/ +603 8787 1276.
For latest updates, please also visit our website at
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the passengers and our colleagues on board MH17 as well as their families and loved ones.

Response to the Arrival of Bodies at Kharkiv by Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport - Tuesday, July 22, 08:49 PM GMT +0800

1. We are relieved that the train has safely arrived at Kharkiv about 11am local time.
2. This is an important milestone in relation to the MH17 tragedy.
3. Malaysia sent 18 DVI personnel to Kharkiv to assist in the tagging and transfer of bodies to the plane,  I have been briefed that the forensics team and relevant support teams will now have to undergo a process that will take a few hours prior to the remains being flown off to Amsterdam.
4. We still need to get to the truth of what has happened and we hope for the investigators to commence their work at the crash site to determine this.
5. Families are suffering across the world and once the remains are with the respective families, I am sure they will demand for justice to be served on those who have caused this horrific crime.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prime Minister Najib Razak Welcomes Progress on MH17 Agreement - Tuesday, July 22, 06:45 PM GMT +0800

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has today welcomed progress in the agreement Malaysia brokered with rebel leaders, and praised the Malaysian team for their work in securing the return of the remains of the victims, and taking custody of the black boxes.
Speaking today, Prime Minister Najib Razak said:

“Last night, I reached an agreement with Alexander Borodai to bring an end to the standoff over the MH17 crash site. Our agreement rested on three conditions:

the return of the remains of those who lost their lives;
the handover of the black boxes;
and full access to the crash site so that the investigation may begin.

“I am pleased to confirm that the first two conditions have now been met. The train carrying the remains of those who lost their lives has arrived in Kharkhiv, where arrangements will be made to move them to Amsterdam.

“And the Malaysian team have taken custody of the black boxes, which appear to be in good condition. They will held securely in Malaysian custody while the international investigation team is being formalised. At that time, we will pass the black boxes to the international investigation team for further analysis.

“These were extraordinary circumstances which called for extraordinary measures. There were risks involved in pursuing this agreement. But we felt an obligation to explore all avenues to break the impasse, and secure the return of the remains and the black boxes. After meeting the families, I felt that we owed it to them to act.
“So far, the agreement has been honoured. Malaysia requests that this co-operation continue, and that investigators are granted the full access to the site which was agreed.

“I am relieved that we have been able to secure the breakthrough that has allowed us to move forward.

“I would like to thank the Malaysian team on the ground, who have worked hard to support this operation. Thanks to their efforts, we are closer to finding out what happened to aircraft, and fulfilling our shared responsibility to those who lost their lives.”

Prime Minister Najib Razak Statement on MH17 Agreement - Tuesday, July 22, 12:45 AM GMT +0800

In recent days, we have been working behind  the scenes to establish contact with those in charge of the MH17 crash site.
That contact has now been made. Under difficult and fluid circumstances, we have been discussing the problems that have occupied us all: securing vital evidence from the aircraft, launching an independent investigation, and above all recovering the remains of those who lost their lives.
Tonight, we have established the basis of an agreement to do just that.
Earlier this evening I spoke to Alexander Borodai, who is in command of the region where the tragedy occurred. We have agreed the following: 
Firstly, the remains of 282 people, currently in Torez, will be moved by train to Kharkiv, where they will be handed over to representatives from the Netherlands. The train will depart this evening Ukraine time, and will be accompanied by six Malaysian members of the recovery team. The remains will then be flown to Amsterdam on board a Dutch C130 Hercules, together with the Malaysian team. Following any necessary forensic work, the remains of Malaysian citizens will then be flown home to Malaysia.
Secondly, at approximately 9pm tonight Ukraine time, the two black boxes will be handed over to a Malaysian team in Donetsk, who will take custody of them.
Thirdly, independent international investigators will be guaranteed safe access to the crash site to begin a full investigation of the incident.
I must stress that although agreement has been reached, there remain a number of steps required before it is completed.
There is work still to be done, work which relies on continued communication in good faith. Mr Borodai and his people have so far given their co-operation.
I ask that all parties continue to work together to ensure that this agreement is honoured; that the remains of our people are returned, that the black box is handed over, and that the international team is granted full access to the site.
Only then can the investigation into MH17 truly begin; only then can the victims be afforded the respect they deserve. We need to know what caused the plane to crash, and who was responsible for it, so that justice may be done.
In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel. And that I feel. But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome.
I understand that for the families, nothing can undo this damage. The lives taken cannot be given back; the dignity lost cannot be regained.
My heart reaches out to those whose loved ones were lost on MH17. We hope and pray that the agreement reached tonight helps bring them a clear step towards closure.

Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race @ Sepang International Circuit ( 28~31 August 2014 )

-sepang circuit facebook.

Passengers Must Arrive At Airport 3 Hours Before Flight - AirAsia

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- AirAsia has advised its passengers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flights due to the possible congestion during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive period.

Guests are recommended to clear all travel formalities as early as possible and print out their boarding passes before arriving at the airport, as over 40 per cent additional passengers were expected to travel during this period.

"Guests are also advised to utilise the Web or Mobile Check-In services, which are available from 14 days and up to one hour prior to departure for all AirAsia flights, and up to four hours prior to departure for AirAsia X flights.

"For guests with baggage to check-in, baggage counters close 60 minutes before flight departure for all AirAsia and AirAsia X flights," it said in a statement here today.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Media Statement 9 : MH17 Incident - Monday, July 21, 06:19 PM GMT +0800

Malaysia Airlines' primary focus is to care for the family members affected by MH17. The airline will be supporting the families during these trying times and will be providing them hotel accommodation, meals, and transport assistance. At  the same time, the airline has assigned caregivers (who are trained Malaysia Airlines’ staff) for each family member to provide emotional support and basic needs. To date, 79 caregivers and other support staff are in Amsterdam, whilst 43 are based in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines is very grateful to be working alongside KLM, who have been assisting it in supporting the family members from the outset.  
As goodwill, to ease the immediate families of the passengers with their economic needs, the airline is also offering a financial assistance of USD5,000 to the families of each passenger. Funds have already been made available for this purpose. Citibank has supported Malaysia Airlines with the logistical arrangements for the fund transfer. This financial assistance will not be offset against the final compensation nor affect the families’ legal rights to claim.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines will be organising a multi-faith prayer session for both staff and the public at large. Further details will be advised at a later date.
The airline requests the cooperation from members of the media to respect the privacy of the grieving families. Malaysia Airlines’ top priority remains to provide care and assistance to the families of the passengers and crew and any information with regard to their personal circumstances will not be made public.

No Cancellation Of Tour Packages From Tourists - Tourism Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 (Bernama) -- Tourism Malaysia has not received information on any immediate cancellation of tour packages from tourists in Europe, including from Russia, Scandinavian and Benelux countries.

However, Tourism Malaysia will monitor the market reaction closely as some tourists from the mentioned areas travel to Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) which also code share with Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM).

"This is the peak period as many tourists from these markets are currently on a long summer break and normally they will use MAS to fly not only to Kuala Lumpur but also to other tourist destinations in the Asean region," Tourism Malaysia said in a statement.

In the first four months of this year, Malaysia received 31,945 tourists from the Netherlands, an increase of 13.5 per cent over the figure in the same period of 2013.

The same period also saw an increase of tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe with 55,771 (25.1 per cent), Northern Europe 227,545 (8.9 per cent), Southern Europe 46,043 (29.9 per cent) and Western Europe 179,574 (15.9 per cent) as a result of the promotional efforts in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Last year, Malaysia received a total of 427,995 tourists from Western Europe with 83,955 tourists from the Netherlands, 107,541 from Eastern Europe, 548,729 (Northern Europe) and 109,447 (Southern Europe).

Meanwhile, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and Tourism Malaysia expressed their deepest condolences to the families and next of kin of the 298 passengers and crew members of MH17.

"Our sympathies, sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences go to each and everyone affected by this tragedy," he said.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Media Statement 8 : MH17 Incident - Sunday, July 20, 04:30 PM GMT +0800

In light of the recent incident, Malaysia Airlines’ Amsterdam (AMS) – Kuala Lumpur (KUL) service, MH17 flight number will be retired out of respect for our crew and passengers of the mentioned flight code. This will take into effect on25 July 2014.
There are no changes to the frequency of our services and we will continue to operate daily services between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.
The new flight number replacing MH17 will be:
Our thoughts and prayers remains with the families of our colleagues and passengers of MH 17.

Media Statement 7 : MH17 Incident - Saturday, July 19, 07:30 PM GMT +0800

Malaysia Airlines is appealing to the family members or friends of those onboard MH17 to contact the airline. Enclosed is the MH17 passenger manifest for reference.
In the past 45 hours, the airline together with various foreign embassies have made every effort to establish contact with the next-of-kin but is still unable to identify many more family members.
They are advised to contact Malaysia Airlines’ Family Support Centre at +603 7884 1234 (in Malaysia).
Alternatively the family or friends may call the numbers below in their respective countries:
Netherlands (Malaysia Airlines Amsterdam office)     +31 20 521 62 62
Australia (Malaysia Airlines Sydney office)                +61 2 9364 3526
Indonesia (Malaysia Airlines Jakarta office)              +62 2 1522 9705
New Zealand (Malaysia Airlines Auckland office)     +64 9 306 3930
United Kingdom (Malaysia Airlines London office)    +44 20 7341 2060
Germany (Malaysia Airlines Frankfurt office)            +49 69 1387 1980
Philippines (Malaysia Airlines Manila office)              + 63 2 889 1863

As of 19 July 2014, 5:00pm, the table below shows the latest number of passengers and their nationalities:-


193 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)

43 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)


12 (including 1 infant)

United Kingdom
10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)





New Zealand


Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines deployed a ferry flight last night mobilizing 212 personnel from various government and media bodies and its staff to Kiev and Amsterdam in a special mission for MH17. A total of 85 Malaysia Airlines’ ‘Go Team’ members have been deployed, of which five members will join Malaysia’s Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart) in the search-and-recovery mission at the crash site in the Donetsk region, while 80 other members comprising care givers and the management team will be stationed in Amsterdam to assist the family members of the passengers.
MH5002 departed Kuala Lumpur at 9.30pm on 18 July 2014 and arrived in Kiev at 2.58am (local time) on 19 July 2014 with a two hour transit. The aircraft then continued its journey to Amsterdam at 4.50am (local time) on 19 July 2014 and arrived in Schipol Amsterdam Airport at 5.30am the same day.
The mission is also joined by Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, the National Security Council, Special Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Smart), Malaysia’s Department of Information, the Royal Malaysian Police, Malaysian Special Air Service, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Malaysian Armed Forces, Department of Civil Aviation, Chemistry Department, Department of Islamic Advancement of Malaysia and the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team as well as participating media.
Finally, Malaysia Airlines requests the cooperation of members of the media to respect the privacy of the grieving families. The airline’s top priority remains to provide care and assistance to the families of the passengers and crew and any information with regards to their movement will not be made public.

MH17 Press Briefing By Liow Tiong Lai, Minister of Transport, Malaysia - Saturday, July 19, 07:20 PM GMT +0800

Today Malaysia Airlines have released the final list of nationalities on board flight MH17. Each of the numbers represents a life lost, and a family in anguish. After this press conference, Malaysia Airlines will release the full passenger manifest.
Malaysia mourns the loss of all 298 passengers and crew. We feel for their families. And we promise to do all we can to ensure that the investigation is completed, and that justice is done.
Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site has not been properly secured. The  integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place.
Interfering with the scene of the crash risks undermining the investigation itself. Any actions that prevent us from learning the truth about what happened to MH17 cannot be tolerated. Failure to stop such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost.
Malaysia calls for all parties to protect the integrity of the crash site, and to allow the investigation to proceed. We urge all those involved to respect the families, and the nations who have lost their sons and daughters in this attack.
Yes, MH17 has become a geopolitical issue. But we must not forget that it is a human tragedy. Days after the plane went down, the remains of 298 people lie uncovered. 
Citizens of eleven nations – none of whom are involved in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine –cannot be laid to rest. Their lives were taken by violence; now violence stops them being accorded their final respect. This cannot continue. 
Earlier today, Malaysia’s special team arrived in Kiev. We ask for continued support from the Ukrainian government, and the other parties involved, as the team seeks to assist the Ukrainian authorities in recovering and identifying the remains of the passengers and crew, and with the wider investigation.
The world has a moral obligation to ensure that the remains of all victims are recovered and treated with respect. We will play our part in fulfilling this obligation. That is why, later today, I will join the Malaysian team in Kiev, where I will work with my counterpart in the Ukraine government, to support efforts to retrieve the remains, and to assist with the investigation.
I will be joined by the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation, the Malaysian investigator in charge, and the Chairman of Malaysia Airlines. The CEO of Malaysia Airlines is already in Kiev.
On the matter of MH17’s flight path, I would like to refer to recent reported comments by officials from Eurocontrol, the body which approves European flight paths under ICAO rules. 
According to the Wall Street Journal, the officials stated that some 400 commercial flights, including 150 international flights crossed eastern Ukraine daily before the crash. Officials from Eurocontrol also stated that in the two days before the incident, 75 different airlines flew the same route as MH17.
MH17’s flight path was a busy major airway, like a highway in the sky. It followed a route which was set out by the international aviation authorities, approved by Eurocontrol, and used by hundreds of other aircraft. It flew at an altitude set, and deemed safe, by the local air traffic control. And it never strayed into restricted airspace.
The flight and its operators followed the rules. But on the ground, the rules of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression, it appears that MH17 was shot down; its passengers and crew killed by a missile. 
This outrage cannot go unpunished. Once again, Malaysia condemns this brutal act of aggression, and calls for those responsible to be found, and to face the full force of justice without delay.