Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teluk Chempedak tidak pernah 'tidur'



WALAUPUN sudah dinihari, pantai Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan masih dikunjungi oleh orang ramai yang ingin menyaksikan aktiviti tengah malam di kawasan itu termasuk gerai jualan, bermain papan luncur dan juga pameran lukisan.


BAGI mereka yang masih tercari-cari tempat bersantai pada waktu malam, pantai Teluk Chempedak merupakan antara destinasi terbaik untuk dikunjungi di bandar Kuantan.

Berbanding pantai lain, Teluk Chempedak paling menjadi tumpuan sebagai destinasi riadah bersama keluarga mahupun teman-teman sejak siang hingga ke lewat malam.

Setiap hari, pantai itu sentiasa dipenuhi pengunjung, tidak kira pada hari bekerja mahupun musim cuti kerana selain menikmati keindahan pantai dan menghirup udara segar, pelbagai aktiviti dan kemudahan disediakan di situ.

Meskipun jam menunjukkan pukul 1 pagi namun kebanyakan pengunjung masih tidak berganjak malah semakin ramai yang datang ke pantai itu, seolah-olah beranggapan malam masih muda.

Di setiap kawasan hingga ke kawasan tempat meletak kenderaan, kelihatan deretan gerai menjual pelbagai barangan termasuk makanan, pakaian, aksesori dan cenderamata.

Dengan deretan restoran makanan Melayu, Barat dan makanan segera yang dibuka 24 jam sehari, membuatkan Teluk Chempedak seolah-olah tidak pernah 'tidur'.

Bukan itu sahaja, penyediaan kemudahan taman permainan kanak-kanak yang mesra pengunjung juga memberi kelebihan kepada Teluk Chempedak sebagai destinasi pilihan utama orang ramai pada waktu tengah malam.

Mereka yang ingin mengabadikan potret diri sebagai kenang-kenangan, boleh berbuat demikian melalui khidmat pelukis profesional yang setia menunggu di pantai itu.

Di satu sudut lain, kelihatan anak-anak muda berkumpul bersama rakan-rakan sambil mempamerkan kehebatan modifikasi kenderaan masing-masing seolah-olah seperti ada satu pertandingan.

Ada antara mereka yang mengambil kesempatan mempamerkan kemahiran bermain papan luncur dan tidak kurang juga yang membawa haiwan peliharaan mereka termasuk spesies ular sebagai tontonan pengunjung.

Selain landskap yang cantik, kemudahan Wi-fi turut menjadi sebab utama lokasi itu menjadi tumpuan ramai terutama pelajar yang menggunakan perkhidmatan tersebut untuk tujuan tugasan dan sebagainya.

Dengan cahaya lampu neon melimpahi sekitar kawasan itu, ia benar-benar menghidupkan lagi suasana malah pengunjung tidak perlu bimbang mengenai keselamatan anak-anak selain bertujuan mengelakkan daripada berlaku gejala negatif seperti perbuatan sumbang.

Bagi mereka yang memilih untuk bersantai di pesisiran pantai, terdapat beberapa bangku disediakan bagi kemudahan pengunjung.

Mereka juga boleh melakukan aktiviti waktu malam seperti barbeku, berkhemah dan aktiviti sukan bermain bola tampar.

Seorang peniaga yang ditemui, Mohd. Rushidi Jaafar, 33, berkata, setiap hari pantai Teluk Chempedak tidak pernah sunyi malah sentiasa dipenuhi warga tempatan dan pelancong terutama waktu malam hingga awal pagi.

Dia yang juga seorang pelukis berkata, selain melihat telatah dan ragam manusia, permintaan pengunjung untuk melakar wajah mereka juga meningkat ketika musim cuti.

"Kebanjiran pengunjung hingga lewat malam membuatkan pantai Teluk Chempedak tidak pernah sunyi apatah lagi pelbagai aktiviti menarik disediakan oleh beberapa pihak berkenaan menambahkan lagi kemeriahan di sini," katanya ketika ditemui di sini baru-baru ini.

Seorang bapa, Farikh Abdul Manaf, 39, berkata, suasana menarik dengan pelbagai kemudahan seperti taman permainan menjadi penyebab utama mereka sekeluarga memilik lokasi tersebut.

Katanya, kerana kesibukan bekerja di siang hari, waktu malam atau hujung minggu menjadi pilihan sekeluarga untuk beriadah di pantai itu.

"Suasana di sini lebih tenang dan jauh daripada kesibukan di bandar tambahan pula, aktiviti dan kemudahan yang disediakan bersesuaian dengan semua peringkat umur.

"Pelbagai jenis gerai makan dan restoran segera yang dibuka 24 jam memudahkan kami sekeluarga untuk menikmati makanan pilihan walaupun sehingga lewat malam," jelasnya.

Bagi Rahayu Zainal Abidin, 32, dia mencadangkan kerajaan negeri memperbanyakkan aktiviti terutama pada waktu tengah malam di Teluk Chempedak bagi menggalakkan kehadiran pengunjung.

"Golongan muda dapat memanfaatkan aktiviti yang lebih sihat dan berfaedah daripada membuang masa begitu sahaja," ujarnya.

-Utusan Online.

Bawal goreng panas Alor Setar



JAGA KUALITI... Pekerja di Restoran 'Bawal Goreng Panas-Panas' di Jalan Putra, Alor Setar, Kedah ini sentiasa memastikan ikan yang ditempah oleh pelanggan, dibakar dan dicampur rencah secukupnya bagi menjamin kualiti serta rasanya.


JIKA anda mencari juadah istimewa ketika berada di Alor Setar, Kedah, maka hidangan nasi berlauk ikan bawal goreng panas yang cicah air asam pastinya boleh menjadi menu pilihan anda.

Salah satu restoran yang menyajikan hidangan ringkas itu sebagai menu utama ialah di Restoran Bawal Goreng Panas-Panas di Jalan Putra yang diusahakan seorang peniaga,Amna Abu Bakar, 29.

Restorannya dibuka pada pukul 10 pagi hingga 3 petang. Dari pukul 7 malam hingga 1 pagi pula restoran ini bertukar nama menjadi 'Ikan Bakar Perahu Besar' yang mana hidangan ikan bakar bersama masakan Thai disediakan.

Menurut Amna, hidangan utama yang sering dicari pelanggan ialah ikan bawal goreng panas dan ikan keli goreng panas yang dicicah dengan air asam istimewa.

"Selain itu, kari ikan nyok-nyok yang merupakan resipi warisan keluarga kami juga menjadi kegemaran pelanggan di sini dan memang apabila mereka kali pertama mencubanya mereka akan datang semula ke restoran ini," katanya kepada S2 di restorannya di sini baru-baru ini.

Kata Amna, hidangan lain ialah seperti ikan bakar, ayam bakar, ulam-ulaman, sambal belacan dan pelbagai lagi lauk-pauk yang dimasak sendiri olehnya.

"Harga di sini berpatutan. Hanya dengan RM7 pelanggan boleh menikmati nasi, ikan bawal serta air asam," jelasnya.

Amna memberitahu, di restorannya, segelas air teh O ais dan air teh O panas dijual hanya 50 sen sahaja.

"Saya sengaja jual 50 sen segelas supaya pelanggan ingat restoran saya," katanya.

Amna mengambil tempahan katering dan jamuan berbuka puasa sempena Ramadan. Bagi yang ingin menempah anda boleh menghubungi Amna di talian 012-5960054.

-Utusan Online.

Kek Hotel Abadi gamit pengunjung

Bagi sesebuah hotel tarikan utama yang menggamit kedatangan pengunjung adalah keselesaan bilik, fasiliti, landskap, spa dan kemudahan lain yang ditawarkan. Ciri-ciri itu menjadi kebanggaan yang mencuri hati pengunjung menginap untuk satu tempoh yang panjang. Bagi Hotel Abadi di tengah-tengah bandar raya Melaka iaitu di Jalan Melaka Raya 6, Banda Hilir, keunikannya adalah kek yang disajikan kepada pengunjung. Ini kerana, kek-kek yang disediakan bukan dibeli dari kedai kek sebaliknya ia dibuat sendiri oleh chef hotel itu.

Kek-kek yang dihasilkan menjadi pilihan dalam majlis-majlis resepsi perkahwinan, ulang tahun hari lahir, seminar dan sebagainya yang ingin diadakan di hotel tersebut. Ia boleh didapati di Indah Gelataria di lobi utama hotel itu. Pelbagai jenis kek disajikan antaranya kek marmar keju (marble cheese), pai epal, coklat basah, kek durian, kek lobak, baulu dan sebagainya. Kek adalah sumber inspirasi menjadi kebanggaan Hotel Abadi yang dimiliki sepenuhnya usahawan bumiputera.

Lokasinya strategik tidak jauh dari kawasan tumpuan pelancong seperti Dataran Pahlawan, Jonker Walk, Menara Taming Sari, kota A'Famosa dan Memorial Pengisytiharan Kemerdekaan. Hotel Abadi yang dibuka pada 25 Disember 2010 menawarkan bilik selesa dengan katil besar dan mengikut kemampuan pelanggan. Penginapan ditawarkan kepada lima kategori iaitu standard dengan kadar harga RM130++ semalam, superior (RM150++), deluxe (RM180++), studio suite (RM300++) dan junior suite (RM350++).

Pengurus Sumber Manusia Hotel Abadi, Mohd. Azmir Md. Ali berkata, tiga restoran yang menawarkan pilihan masakan Melayu, Cina dan Barat iaitu D Oriental Chinese Cuisine, Indah Gelataria dan Rindu Bistro & Lounge. "Kesemua masakan itu disediakan oleh chef berpengalaman luas dengan menitikberatkan keenakan dan memilih hidangan yang segar serta berkhasiat untuk setiap hidangan," katanya.

Bagi mereka yang ingin mengadakan seminar atau kursus kata Mohd. Azmir, enam bilik disediakan. Katanya, bilik Kasih 1 hingga 3 mampu memuatkan antara 250 hingga 300 orang manakala Kasih 4 hingga 6 pula memuatkan 120 hingga 150 orang pada satu-satu masa. Dalam pada itu, sepanjang Ramadan, bufet berbuka puasa ditawarkan ialah RM42++ bagi dewasa dan RM24++ untuk kanak-kanak dan warga emas.

-Utusan Online.

www.hotelabadi.com.my

Umat Islam di Malaysia Mula Berpuasa Isnin, 1 Ogos

Kuala Lumpur, 31 Julai (Bernama) - Umat Islam di Malaysia akan mula berpuasa pada Isnin, 1 Ogos, umum Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-raja Datuk Syed Danial Syed Ahmad menerusi Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).
-Bernama.

Putting Malaysia on the global luxury tourism map

July has always been the peak season of the tourism industry not only for Malaysia but also for our neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand. In Malaysia, last year we recorded 24.6 million tourist arrivals surmounting both the official target of 19 million and the 23.6 million notched up in year 2009. However, in terms of yield from this sector, it was noted by the Tourism Minister that ours was still lower compared to Singapore's and Thailand's. About 75% of Malaysia's tourism growth has been due to the increase of tourist arrivals compared to only 25% growth from yield. In comparison, 65% of Singapore's growth was driven by tourist arrivals while 35% of growth was attributed to yield. Thailand had the reverse situation, where 42% of growth was due to tourist arrivals and 58% was due to yields, reflecting that it is attracting higher spending tourists.

If we look at our tourism products, we are still behind in attracting certain market segment due to limited or rather lack of variety in our tourism products. A notable trend in tourism now is a growing demand for private luxury villas at top resort destinations as an alternative to hotel accommodation as well as an investment portfolio. If one tries to Googlefor Asia's 20 top luxury villas in South-East Asia, the first few in the list appears to be luxury villas either in Bali, Indonesia or Thailand, two countries in this region which have been vigorously promoting luxury tourism leveraging primarily on their natural settings from beachfront to hills and forests as well as the wide paddy fields. This trend has also sparked Philippines and Vietnam to promote similar products capitalising on their natural assets.

South-East Asia Property Report (July 2011) named Karma Kandara, Bali (Indonesia), Six Senses Con Dao (Vietnam), W Samui Residences, Koh Samui (Thailand), Malaiwan Phuket (Thailand), The Village Coconut Island (Thailand), Banyan Tree Residences, Bintan (Indonesia), Nexus Residence Karambunai (Malaysia), Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali (Indonesia) and Andara Resort & Villas, Phuket (Thailand) as the top ten luxury villa resorts in South-East Asia. While prices range from US$300,000 to US$6mil, rates during non-peak season typically range from US$300 per night to US$4,000 per night.

Average price difference between high and low season varies about 50%, 30% and 20% in Bali, Samui and Phuket respectively. Karma Kandara in Bali is located at the striking sea-cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. It offers private luxury villas of three, four and five bedrooms with 5-star facilities and services. The 4-bedroom villa is tagged at US$1.25 million while the smallest one-bedroom villa is priced at US$350,000. Rates during peak season starts from US$1,120 per night for a one bedroom luxury pool villa to US8,000 per night for Grand Cliff Front Residence (5 bedrooms). Occupancy rates have been reported as very encouraging for most of these villas, at 70% during non-peak season and 95% during peak season. In Thailand, W Samui Residence in Koh Samui is located in secluded hillside island with 270 degree sea-view over the Gulf of Thailand.

This modern-vernacular architecture luxury villas offer guests rustic yet sophisticated feel that perfectly blends with the natural surroundings. Prices of the villas range from US$2.3mil to US$6.7mil with built up area from 10,700 sq ft to 29,500 sq ft for 3 to 5 bedrooms respectively. Over in Vietnam, Six Senses in Con Dao an archipelago 230km from Ho Chi Minh City has set a new benchmark of luxury villas lifestyle in the South-East-Asia region as illustrated in its overall development theme “Redefining Experience”.

These 50 private villas are the choice of wealthy escapes in need of genuine yet lavish retreat. Being relatively new in the luxury villa market, selling price for Six Senses ranges from a modest US$2mil to US$3mil. Meanwhile, average lead time for villa booking in Phuket is 180 days about 6 months before arrival. Market share of private luxury villas in Thailand and Bali is estimated to be about 10% of the hospitality sector.

These luxury villas are modelled after the sale and leaseback concept where majority of the buyers are Australians and Europeans. In Thailand and Indonesia, for example, because of restrictions on foreign ownership, the villas are sold to private investors on leasehold basis (30 years + 30 years + 30 years). Buyers will then be requested to join a rental programme, which will provide a certain level of net guaranteed return. Karma Kandara's rental programme offers a 5.0% net guaranteed return for three years, then investors will be eligible to participate in the Rental Pool scheme, where the expected gross return is typically higher.

Luxury villas

Most villas offer private usage of between 28 days to 30 days per annum. Luxury villas may range from the highest-end run by internationally recognised luxury hotel brands to small villas of three to six units owned and run by local villa operators. Rates and services offered by small luxury villa resorts offering only six units such as Kei Villas and Cicada in Seminyak, Bali are also comparable to the larger luxury villa resorts. Economy of scale is achieved in running limited number of units as their staff are trained to multi-task they are your concierge, housekeeper, electrician and butler.

All of the luxury villas identified as the top resorts in South-East Asia show that they mainly capitalise on their nature, local products and culture, and local architectural design using local materials and in some cases recycled materials, such as railway slippers.

One notable element from the South-East Asian villas is the adoption of truly sustainable development approach using principles of ecological sustainable design. Materials are mainly from local resources to preserve the integrity of the environment including the lava rocks and Javanese mahogany. It also applies strong local architectural ambience that allows natural ventilation and maximum natural lightings.

Recycled materials are often used as internal design features. These luxury villas are located within traditional village settlements and access is only via small and un-tarmac road. This way, guests will be able to experience local lifestyle within a true village environment and this kind of experience has attracted most of the tourists coming to these resorts.

Guests are invited to cultivate local crops and in some resorts cooking class on local dishes is also available. For example, at Thai Farm Cooking School, guests at resorts in Chieng Mai have the opportunity to learn about local ingredients and prepare Thai dishes. Classes also include a visit to the local market and an educational tour to the organic farm. Alila Manggis Resort in East Bali is famed for its cooking school specialising in East Balinese cuisine.

At Alila Manggis Cooking School, guests are taught not only to prepare Balinese food, but also to undertake a journey through the local villages, including visit to the local market and the villagers' kitchen. Most of these resorts also offer spa and wellness treatments using local resources.

Malaysians contributed 6.23% (155,239) of the total tourists to Bali in 2010, with the highest numbers in June (15,870) and December (18,707). However, we could not determine how many of these Malaysian tourists stayed in luxury villas. But this number could give an indication that there is demand among Malaysians seeking retreat in private villas rather than in cookie-cutter hotel rooms. In my opinion, Malaysia, a country blessed with rich natural environment, has not taken full advantage of the growing demand for luxury retreat villas though Pangkor Laut Resort, Nexus Karambunai, Leisure Farm Resort and A'Famosa Resort and The Villas at Sunway Resort Hotel fall under this category.

A brave move by local breed Philea Properties Sdn. Bhd. for the opening of Philea Resort & Spa in Ayer Keroh, Malacca deserves prudent admiration. This 12-acre resort is the only 5-star resort in Malaysia constructed primarily out of Russian pine logs. Opened in 2010, Philea Resort & Spa has managed to record 70% to 90% occupancy rate; capturing largely the luxury niche market.

Moving forward, the long-term prospect for Malaysian tourism remains bullish. Malaysian hospitality developers should take advantage of the surge in demand for private luxury villas in South-East-Asia, be it for investment purpose or holiday destination.

Traditional fisherman village in Dungun, untouched hills in the East Coast or white sandy beach in Langkawi are some of the potential locations for these luxury villas. The appeal of privacy, exclusivity such as car driver, private butler will draw more high-profile niche market (international and local) to choose Malaysia as their luxury resort destination and subsequently put Malaysia on the global luxury tourism map. In addition, complementary wellness activities such as spas and massage parlours are some of the popular additional personalised services to the guests.

To be competitive in global luxury tourism market, strong support from the government and financial institutions is required. For example, most of these untouched hills and mountains typically are Malay Reserved Land (MRL), where most owners have limited means and knowledge to unlock the value of their land.

The only way to unlock the value of this MRL is to allow owners to develop the land into high-yielding tourism product, such as luxury villas, and allow the units to be sold to international market on leasehold basis as this is a niche product favoured and demanded by this market segment, with minimum restriction on the quota of international vs local buyers.

Until then, owners of MRL will only have to be satisfied with low yielding investment on their land. As a land owner put it, he will have to be happy with his sales from durian and rambutan as there is not much that he could do to develop his MRL.

Perhaps promoting the development of luxury villas in our kampung should be given due consideration, in addition to the 12 Entry Point Projects that have been identified under the Tourism National Key Economic Areas.

-thestar online/datuk abdul rahim rahman.

Najib: Explore new areas for tourism

PEKAN: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday advised the tourism industry to explore and promote new areas instead of merely focusing on the established attractions. New areas must be identified and promoted to further develop the industry, he said at the launch of the ground-breaking for a four-star resort here, an event also attended by Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and UDA Holdings Berhad chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Najib said the development of the resort in Pekan, for example, was likely to boost tourism in the royal town. He also said that a waterfront would be developed on a bank of the Pahang River flowing through the town to boost its tourism potential. The resort will be developed by UDA Holdings at a cost of RM80mil. It is expected to be completed in 2013.

The resort, boasting a "modern tropical" concept, will be built in the Peramu Jaya area, adjacent to the official residence of the prime minister in Pekan. Meanwhile, Nur Jazlan said the strategic location of the resort on a bank of the Pahang River would serve as an attraction for tourists. "I believe the 133-room resort will spur the tourism industry as it changes the landscape of development in Pekan and creates an economic spillover for the local people," he said. 

- Bernama

Saturday, July 30, 2011

G Hotel wins Asia Pacific property award


Peter Nast  with public relations manager Christina Tan with the Best Hotel Construction and Design award.
Peter Nast with public relations manager Christina Tan with the Best Hotel Construction and Design award.
GEORGE TOWN: The G Hotel was recently named "Best Hotel Construction and Design in Malaysia" at the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2011. The Asia Pacific Property Awards form part of the International Hotel Awards which is the world's most prestigious property competition. It was established 17 years ago and is associated with Bloomberg Television and Google.


The awards are separated into several regions -- America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, Arabia and United Kingdom -- and are open to commercial and residential properties.

G Hotel general manager Peter Nast said they are proud to receive the award for Malaysia. "We look forward to participating again next year and in the years to come," he added.


The judging panel is made up of over 50 experts, chaired by Lord Bates of Langbaurgh, who take into consideration every development aspect of the property business. The result of the finals will be announced at London's Savoy Hotel on Dec 12.

--NST Online.

Malaysian riders show they will be no pushovers

PETALING JAYA: The two Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia riders competing in the 8 Hours Suzuka Endurance Road Race showed their local rivals that they are not to be taken lightly after qualifying sessions at the Suzuka circuit yesterday. Competing in the in the 4-Hour ST600 class, Azlan Shah Kama ru zaman put up a strong ride to place himself as the second fastest among the first riders. He clocked 2:17.270 – 0.383 seconds off Ka zu hiro Kojima (2:16.887). Yoshinori Yamauchi was third fastest in 2:18.973.

Azlan’s team-mate, Mohd Emir Firdaus Hasan, recorded 2:21.096 to place himself sixth among the second riders. Yusuke Takeda emerged as the fastest rider in 2:19.115, followed by Yuta Tani (2:19.838) and Eitetsu Hashimoto (2:20.645). Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia will start from second on the grid alongside pole sitter Business Rariat & TSR, who have Kojima and Taiki Sato as their riders. “Today was great for both of us. I managed to clock a good lap time while Emir registered sixth, automatically placing us second on the grid,” said Azlan.

Qualifying results

ST600

First rider: 1. Kazuhiro Kojima (Business Rariat & TSR) 2:16.887, 2. Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman (Boon Siew Honda Racing Malaysia) 2:17.270, 3. Yoshinori Yamauchi (ADF & Toyboy with Tane-Juku & Hie Racing) 2:18.973, 4. Shotaro Ogura (SP Tadao Racing) 2:19.587, 5. Takanori Nakai (Team Business Rariat) 2:19.849.

Second rider: 1. Yusuke Takeda (Moto Win Racing) 2:19.115, 2.Yuta Tani (Club MOTOLABEJ Special Agent) 2:19.838, 3. Eitetsu Hashimoto (Red Tricycle Racing Club & Black Sennard S.Point) 2:20.645, 4. Keiyu Sato (SP Tadao Racing) 2:21.085, 5. Tsutae Ouchida (Tokai AUTONR & Green Club Nozuka & B`Dash 106Snail Racing) 2:21.095

-thestar online.

Songket and batik personified

Stories of love, relationship and well-being take centre stage in the Pink Jambu Songtik Fables 2011 collection. From anticipation to trust, tales of life’s journey illustrate the 12 exclusive shawls that form the core of this innovative and exciting collection made possible by collaboration between Pink Jambu and Royal Terengganu Songket (RTS). Designers Tengku Marina Ibrahim and Dr June Ngo drew on these emotive experiences to showcase their technical innovation to merge the two techniques of batik-painting and songket-weaving on a single surface.

More to offer: Putrajaya Botanical Garden’s guide Suhana Hamsan and Putrajaya Challenge Park’s assistant manager Mohd Bazly Mohd Najib showing the various tour package deals available in Putrajaya to corporate travellers.

The result of their collaboration is the perfect union of the two ancient crafts to create unprecedented designs in the world of Asian heritage textiles. “From the beginning, we aimed to create pieces of textile art which are exclusive and embody the notion of personalised luxury. “We have to preserve the traditions of both crafts while making them appeal to the contemporary collector,” said Pink Jambu CEO and design director Tengku Marina. “The themes also have to be timeless so that the shawls become part of a family’s heritage.”

She said each Songtik shawl is a product of 10 months of intensive research and more than 1,000 hours of dedicated handwork. “All artisans involved in the creation of the Songtik shawls are also specially trained to undertake the unique technical challenges presented by this novel approach.” “The whole process required us to think outside the box. Batik-painting is usually done on a piece of fabric but we found a way to paint on threads using the canting tool,” said RTS’ director of textile design and production Dr Ngo.

“Then, we experimented with different weaving techniques to preserve the colours of the batik patterns while inserting the metallic threads to form the songket patterns. It was technically a very challenging process.” An added dimension of the collection is the bespoke service for those who seek an even more personal touch.

For the first time, Songtik can be used to illustrate a wide range of designs beyond geometric and structured patterns. Fabric weight may also be adjusted to accommodate different usages such as in apparel and interior design. Thus, collectors have the option of choosing individual themes and designs to capture their own special moments.

-thestar online.

Corporate travellers urged to explore domestic market

Corporations are encouraged to look at the domestic market when planning trips or team-building sessions for employees as it has so much to offer. To promote what the local market has to offer, Tourism Malaysia and Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia organised a Corporate Travel Bazaar at the Empire Hotel Subang recently. The event was participated by 120 tour providers and hoteliers, while interested buyers came in droves to check on the offers.

More to offer: Putrajaya Botanical Garden’s guide Suhana Hamsan and Putrajaya Challenge Park’s assistant manager Mohd Bazly Mohd Najib showing the various tour package deals available in Putrajaya to corporate travellers.

Tourism Malaysia’s state director for Selangor and Putrajaya Mohammad Nor Ismail said the segment of corporate travellers could be further explored to boost domestic tourism. “There is a huge market yet to be tapped,” he said, adding that the same event held in 2009 in Petaling Jaya had raked in RM1.4mil in sales.

“This year, we hope to achieve a sales target of RM1.7mil,” he said, adding that the organiser wanted creative and innovative package deals from the participants. He pointed out that the country could offer many interesting products for corporate travellers, citing Putrajaya as a place for them to explore.

“In addition to the mosques and bridges, Putrajaya also has wetland with a five-star campsite, extreme park, equestrian facility and even a stretch of beach,” he said. Participants were also brought on a tour to Putrajaya the next day to experience for themselves.

-thestar online.

Malaysia’s population at 28.3 million

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia's population stood at 28.3 million at the end of 2010 compared with 23.3 million in 2000, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census final report. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said an average annual population growth rate of 2.0% was registered between the two censuses. A census is conducted every 10 years.

“The rate was lower compared with that of 2.6% registered during 1991 to 2000,” he told reporters at a press conference here yesterday. Nor Mohamed said the country's fertility rate dropped to 2.3% compared with 3% in 2000. He said 67.3% of the total population were between 15 and 64 while 27.6% were between birth and 14. Those aged 65 and above make up 5.1% of the population.

“The country's population is not an ageing society, even by 2015. “Definition of ageing is when those aged 65 and above make up 10% of the population,” he added. Nor Mohamed said the mean age at first marriage for males was 28 while it was 25 for females. The nationwide census conduc-ted by the Statistics Department between July 6 and Aug 22 last year recorded 14,562,638 males and 13,771,497 females.

He said 91.8% of the population were Malaysian citizens. Bumiputras comprise 67.4%, Chinese 24.6%, Indians 7.3% and others 0.7%. Nor Mohamed said Selangor continued to be the most populated state, with 5.4 million or 19.3% of the country's population, followed by Johor with 3.3 million and Sabah at 3.2 million.

Putrajaya had the highest population growth during the 2000 to 2010 period, with 17.8%. He said males dominated in all states except in Putrajaya and Perlis. “In tandem with the country's rapid development, the proportion of urban population increased to 71% in 2010 compared to 62% in 2000. “Apart from Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, Selangor and Penang had high levels of urbanisation,” he added. The census report is available on the Statistics Department's website and the hard copy can be purchased at RM25.

-thestar online.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Malaysia’s air passenger traffic to grow 6.7% this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Air passenger traffic in Malaysia is expected to grow 6.7% in 2011 based on encouraging numbers for the first six months. In a statement yesterday, the Transport Ministry said the increase for the first half of 2011 was 12.6% or 3.6 million passengers to 31.9 million from 28.3 million in the same period last year.

Following tourism promotion missions and enhanced air traffic facilities to Malaysia, inbound international passengers grew 13.5% to 15.0 million from 13.3 million, it said. For domestic passengers, it grew 11.8% to 16.8 million from 15 million. Overall, June registered 5.7 million passengers the highest figure in six months.

The average number of passengers for the six months of 2011 was 5.3 million per month. The growth in air traffic passengers was due to higher demand for air travel and increased flight frequency in addition to introduction of new destinations.

– Bernama


Firefly mounts new flights from Malacca


MALACCA: FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd expects to fly 60,000 passengers yearly on its new air services out of the Malacca International Airport following the signing of a collaboration agreement with Melaka Air Sdn BhdIts managing director Datuk Eddy Leong said the agreement would pave the way for Firefly to station an ATR 72-500 aircraft here and mount new flights not only to Batam, Pekanbaru and Medan in Indonesia but also flights from Malacca to Penang and Kota Baru.

“We had intended to start our operations in Malacca earlier but we had to wait for the expansion of our aircraft fleet,” he said at the media briefing after the signing of the agreement with Melaka Air here yesterday. Leong said in November, Firefly would take delivery of its 11th and 12th ATR aircraft, of which one aircraft has been specifically designated to be stationed here.

“We will also set up a full operation support services in Malacca which will include aircraft maintenance, ground-handling and fuel services. Soon, there will also be an airport ticketing office here.” The community airline was targeting the health tourism and business event segments especially from Pekanbaru, Medan and Batam in Indonesia.

-Bernama

Photo: Pelancongan Kini

KLIA2 40% completed

SEPANG: Airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is more than 40% into the construction of KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2), its official said. MAHB chief financial officer Faizal Mansor said that road works linking KLIA2 were underway and building structures were being put in place.

More details on the progress of the permanent low-cost carrier terminal would be announced soon, he told reporters yesterday at the company's second-quarter results briefing. Faizal also said that the cost of development for KLIA2 remained at the estimated RM2bil “until an update was made otherwise” and it was working towards the October 2012 completion deadline.

A model of the KLIA2.

For its second quarter ended June 30, MAHB posted a net profit of RM81.8mil against RM59.6mil posted a year earlier. Its revenue for the quarter grew 25% to RM654.23mil from RM525.01mil made one year ago, mainly due to recognition of construction revenue for KLIA2 and Penang International Airport.

As of this financial year, MAHB has adopted the IC interpretation 12: service concession agreements (IC12), an accounting treatment that recognises construction revenue from airports being built or upgraded. Construction revenue for the quarter and six-month period were RM182mil and RM337.1mil respectively, with 95% of the revenue coming from KLIA2.

Stripping out the construction revenue, the consolidated revenue for the three months ended June 30 was higher by 8.4% at RM472.2mil. Revenue for the quarter under review improved owing to positive growth of 7.3% from airport operations, driven by an increase in non-aeronautical revenue of 14.9% which was mostly derived from the group's retail business. Passenger movement was 6.8% higher than the corresponding period last year, in which the international and domestic passenger movements increased 2.6% and 11% respectively.

For the six months ended June 30, MAHB made a net profit of RM170.1mil compared with RM132.8mil from a year ago. Revenue was up 24% to RM1.26bil from RM1.02bil for the first half of its financial year ending Dec 31. Stripping out the construction revenue, the consolidated revenue for the six months ended June 30 was higher by 6.4% at RM927.5mil. The group saw its airport operations business grow 5.4% as well as a 19.6% growth in the non-airport operations business. Positive growth in the airport operations was driven by a 16.3% improvement in the retail business.

Passenger movement for the six months under review were 12.6% higher than the year before, in which the growth for international passengers was 13.5% while domestic passenger growth was 11.8%. While MAHB has forecasted passenger growth of some 8% to 9% for this year, Faizal said the airport operator may achieve double-digit growth in passenger movement. “Another trend we used to see at KLIA and the low-cost carrier terminal was 60% of the passenger movement came from domestic flights while the balance was from international flights. But now, both domestic and international passengers account for 50% each, thus proving that KLIA is increasingly becoming an international hub,” he said.

MAHB expects another two to three new airlines to start flying into KLIA. Faizal added that with Malaysia Airlines now part of the Oneworld alliance, the airport operator had started talks with British Airways and Australia's Qantas Airways about both airlines possibly re-looking at flying into KLIA. “That will help us make KLIA a stronger hub but we will leave it to the airlines to make the relevant announcements,” he said, when asked if the airlines had given a timeframe in wanting to resume flights to Kuala Lumpur.

-thestar online.

AirAsia X eyes new Asia-Pacific routes

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia X will not fly to additional European destinations anytime soon as it is setting its sights on new Asia-Pacific routes, said chief executive officer Azran Osman RaniHe said an announcement would be made soon on which of the five approved routes it would be flying. The airline, which is the long-haul affiliate of budget airlines AirAsia, received approval the Transport Ministry’s approval in June to fly to Istanbul, Beijing, Shanghai, Osaka and Jeddah. The two European destinations it flies to are London and Paris.

Azran (left) and Kyles at the MoU signing.

“We are looking at two routes for now and will probably announce one next month. It also depends on the availability of planes,” said Azran. He was speaking to reporters yesterday after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the British High Commission to sponsor flights for 10 of the 15 Malaysian Chevening scholarship recipients who commence their studies this year.

Among the 15 recipients are The Star’s youth portal R.AGE editor Niki Cheong, who is pursuing his Masters in digital culture and society at King’s College, and former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who will be studying Islamic studies at the Oxford Centre for Islamic studies.

Azran said plans to move the airline’s British hub from Stanstead to Gatwick from Oct 24 were on schedule, and reiterated that AirAsia’s headquarters would remain in Malaysia despite its plans to open a small Asean office in Jakarta. Acting British High Commissioner Ray Kyles thanked AirAsia for their support and hoped their involvement could help increase the number of scholarships awarded in the future.

-thestar online.

Hotel included in development project

MALACCA: A commercial centre with a five-star hotel known as Best Western Premier Malacca amounting to RM300 million investment by property company Plentifield Marketing Sdn Bhd will be built within the Ayer Keroh Botanical Park. Plentifield managing director Dr Teoh Lian Hong said the nine-storey hotel and five commercial blocks at a 2.8ha site was expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and would adopt modern and green technology features.

“It will house, among others, entertainment centres, shoplots, halls, corporate offices and meeting venues equivalent to the standard of luxury hotels overseas,” he told reporters after the project’s groundbreaking ceremony on Monday. Teoh said the hotel, near the Malacca International Trade Centre and state zoo would boost 301 rooms, once completed.

The project is Plentifield’s first in the state and is anticipated to bring in enormous potential in view of its location within the tourist belt,” he said. The five commercial blocks would also have 506 business suites and 166 retail lots. Plentifield’s previous development includes a RM220 million project comprising a three-star hotel and commercial lots in Sandakan and RM300 million commercial lots in Shah Alam.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam who officiated the ceremony welcomed Plentifield’s investment and described it as timely in view of the shortage of five-star hotels in the state to cater to tourists. Plentifield, he noted had also agreed to build another five-star hotel on a four ha site near Kolej Yayasan Saad in Ayer Keroh.

-thestar online.