Thursday, 30 August 2012

One day left to vote for your favourite Malaysian icon built from LEGO®

Brainiest Kids Team - The Brainiest Kids Team from Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Universiti 1 (Cat C) 

Johor, 30 August 2012 – After a whole month of building creatively with LEGO® bricks, fifteen teams from schools across Malaysia and Singapore were selected as finalists in Round 2 of the Schools LEGO Building contest. The successful teams were announced online on the official contest website. More than 66 teams took part in Malaysia alone ( The contest was organised by LEGOLAND® Malaysia and the Park will be the first of its kind in Asia when it opens to the public on 15 September.

The contest had students in both Malaysia and Singapore participating in two rounds. In Round 1, students were asked to build what they felt were national icons of their country. Students then registered their teams through their schools to participate. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges from LEGOLAND® consisting of master model builders and senior management. According to the judges, the judging criteria included show of skill, creativity, imagination, observation techniques and complexity. In Round 2, a public vote will decide the winning teams for each contest category.

“We wanted the kids to have fun while developing their vital skills. This is a good way of promoting creativity in children. At LEGOLAND® we believe strongly in the concept of Play as an important education tool and imagination, fun, learning, care and quality are pillars of our brand,” said Siegfried Boerst, General Manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia.

He added, “Our judging panel was extremely impressed with the creativity and designs submitted by the participants. We’re always looking for the next generation of LEGOLAND® model builders and by the look of things, there are a few strong contenders in Malaysia. We wish all the teams best of luck while the online voting takes place.”

Voting for winners started officially on the 19 August, when finalist teams and their designs were uploaded to a dedicated section on the Park’s official website. With three contest categories, a winner will be selected for each category. The three categories are: Category A: 4-5 years old; Category B: 6-10 years old; and Category C: 11-14 years old.

The winning teams will be picked based on the designs with the highest number of votes per contest category. The winners will be announced on 3rd September. This will be followed by an official prize-giving ceremony where the winning teams will receive free passes to visit LEGOLAND®Malaysia. As part of the contest, the first 25 schools that registered for the contest in Malaysia also received three sets of LEGO® Education Sets. Two lucky schools also received invites to the Park for a sneak preview.

LEGOLAND® has seven unique themed areas developed especially for children. Each area promotes fun in learning and combines the experience with interactive features. For further information on the contest and the Park, please click here:
-Legoland Malaysia.

Ambang Merdeka Celebration @ Resort World Genting

Date: 30 August 2012
Time: 7.30 PM onwards  
Venue: Genting Outdoor Theme Park, Merdeka Stage

One of the chief events of the year, the Ambang Merdeka Celebration, will be held at Genting Outdoor Theme Park on 30/08/2012 to commemorate the 55th year of our nation's independence from the British colonial empire.

The festivities will begin on the eve of National Day with a school marching band and wacky clowns pumped up to entertain all night long. A myriad of other entertaining performances will also be held at the Merdeka Stage such as Cultural Dance, Magician Performance, Singing Performance, Brass Band etc. To top it all off, locally-renowned comedian – Helmi the Gimmick – will be the host for the event.

The excitement will culminate in the highlight of the night that will literally explode! Joyous revelers will be treated to a spectacular fireworks display, lighting up the sky with intricate swirls and starbursts of multi-coloured sparks in what can only be described as a magnificent feat of pyrotechnics.

So, let us come together to commemorate our nation's independance with a night of wholesome fun and non-stop entertainment!

Free entrance to the Outdoor Theme Park will be available from 7pm onwards.

Fireworks planned for this occasion are subject to weather conditions. If postponement takes place, the event will commence at 8pm on the following day.

Perkhidmatan LRT dilanjutkan bersempena sambutan Hari Kemerdekaan

Bersempena Hari Kemerdekaan ke 55 pada Jumaat ini, RapidKL, pengendali perkhidmatan LRT dan monorel di Lembah Klang, akan melanjutkan operasi untuk dua malam berturut-turut mulai Khamis ini bagi memberi kemudahan kepada wargakota meraikan kemeriahan sambutan hari bersejarah itu.
RapidKL juga akan memberikan perkhidmatan LRT dan monorel percuma kepada para peserta yang bertugas dan orang ramai yang menghadiri acara ‘Perhimpunan 55 Tahun Merdeka, Janji Ditepati’ yang akan diadakan di Kompleks Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil pada Jumaat ini.
 “Seperti jutaan rakyat Malaysia lain, kami di RapidKL turut berbangga dengan kejayaan negara meraikan Hari Kemerdekaan yang ke 55 tahun ini. Ini adalah sebahagian daripada sumbangan kami kepada negara bagi meraikan hari bersejarah ini,” kata jurucakap RapidKL, Puan Masnizam Hisham dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.
Bersempena dengan sambutan Ambang Merdeka pada 30 Ogos ini, perkhidmatan LRT di stesen terpilih dan semua stesen monorel akan dilanjutkan sehingga jam 1.00 pagi keesokan harinya. Stesen LRT Ampang yang terlibat adalah Bandaraya, Masjid Jamek, Hang Tuah dan Titiwangsa. Sementara Stesen LRT Kelana Jaya adalah KL Sentral, KLCC, Masjid Jamek dan Dang Wangi. 
“Stesen-stesen lain akan tutup mengikut jadual biasa. Bagaimanapun, tren akan berhenti untuk menurunkan penumpang dan mereka ada akses untuk keluar stesen. Kami menjangkakan ramai wargakota akan turun ke Dataran Merdeka untuk sambutan Ambang Merdeka.
 “Kami juga difahamkan terdapat banyak acara-acara sambutan lain di sekitar bandaraya termasuk sambutan besar-besaran di KLCC yang menghidangkan persembahan artis-artis hebat dan pertunjukan bunga api sempena Ambang Merdeka.
 “Berdasarkan kepada pengalaman, kami menjangkakan jumlah penumpang yang besar. Jadi, nasihat saya kepada para penumpang adalah supaya mereka menggunakan Kad MyRapid supaya mereka tidak perlu beratur di mesin-mesin jualan tiket,” kata Masnizam.
Untuk operasi pada 31 Ogos bersempena Perhimpunan 55 Tahun Merdeka, Janji Ditepati, beliau berkata operasi LRT akan dilanjutkan sehingga 1 pagi untuk Stesen Bukit Jalil, manakala stesen-stesen LRT dan monorel lain dibuka untuk para penumpang keluar sahaja. Sehubungan dengan itu juga, masa terakhir perlepasan bas RapidKL  di stesen-stesen terlibat adalah jam 1.30 pagi. 
Selain amanat Perdana Menteri, acara berkenaan akan turut menghidangkan persembahan artis remaja tanah air, seni mempertahankan diri, penganugerahan sijil Pencapaian Cemerlang kepada 10 ikon generasi muda, flashmob, cabutan bertuah dan pertunjukan bunga api.
 “Kita akan memantau keperluan tren untuk membawa pulang pengunjung dan sekiranya perlu, operasi ini akan dilanjutkan,” katanya.
Untuk perkhidmatan percuma ke Bukit Jalil pada hari Jumaat, Masnizam berkata orang ramai boleh mendapatkan token-token khas untuk perjalanan percuma pergi ke Bukit Jalil  mulai pukul 4.00 petang yang akan disediakan di semua stesen-stesen LRT dan monorel.
 “Token-token ini diprogramkan khas dan hanya membenarkan para penumpang keluar di stesen LRT Bukit Jalil. Mereka yang inginkan token ini perlu mengambil sendiri di kaunter-kaunter tiket di stesen-stesen LRT dan monorel pada hari Jumaat.
 “Untuk pulang, mereka perlu mengambil token pulang di Stesen LRT Bukit Jalil. Kita akan mempunyai notis-notis khas untuk membantu penumpang dan para petugas di semua stesen,” tambah beliau.

LEGOLAND® Mascot Kicks Off National Day Celebrations With Special Appearance At KLCC

Happy National Day from Ollie the Dragon

KUALA LUMPUR, 29th August 2012 – As the nation prepares to celebrate its 55th National Day, a huge crowd turned out today to meet the LEGOLAND® Malaysia mascot Ollie the Dragon, who made a special appearance at KLCC. 

Bearing a huge sign reading "Happy National Day" the mascot mingled with the guests and gave away some goodies during the festivities. Spotted at KLCC Symphony Lake Fountain, Ollie also invited excited fans to have their photos taken with him by the official LEGOLAND photographer.

Beginning tomorrow, 30th August 2012 until 3rd September 2012, these pictures will be posted on the Official LEGOLAND® Malaysia Facebook page. If your picture appears on the page get in touch with LEGOLAND at: and there could be a very exciting surprise coming your way!

LEGOLAND® Malaysia opens on 15th September 2012 in Nusajaya, the Park will be the first of its kind in Asia.
-Legoland Malaysia.

Special buses for TPO delegates

Delegates to the Tourism Promotion Organisation (TPO) for Asia-Pacific Forum 2012 will be ferried in style around George Town in specially designed Rapid Penang buses during the event.
Eight buses with the words ‘George Town hosts the TPO Forum 2012’ specially handwritten by Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail and printed on the buses will be set aside for the delegates exclusive use. The buses are part of the promotion programme for the four- day TPO Forum which will take place from September 17 at the Bayview Beach Resort in Batu Ferringhi. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who officiated the event, said that 27 member cities of TPO would participate in the forum.
Eager to board: Some special chldren about to board the specially designed buses to be used for TPO for Asia-Pacific Forum. Eager to board: Some special chldren about to board the specially designed buses to be used for TPO for Asia-Pacific Forum.
“The delegates will include South Korea, Vietnam, China, Russia, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan. “The council has drawn up a host of programmes for the delegates to participate such as the TPO Festival in Upper Penang Road and the launch of the TPO sculpture at the Friend-ship Park (in front of City Bayview Hotel).
“There will also be the launch of the Graffiti Park at the Penang Municipal Park and the ‘Declaration of the Green Initiatives in the World Heritage Sites’ at the Friendship Park,” he said in his speech yesterday. Special children from several homes were later taken for a ride in the buses after the launching ceremony.
-thestar online.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Lights to add spark to Golden Triangle

The lights will be switched on tonight from the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Pic by Muhd Asyraf Sawal

Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle will get another shot in the arm as the nation’s premier tourist destination when decorative streets lights are switched on tonight during its launch.
The lights around the mall belt is expected to be switched on at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. The lights will be switched on at an arch near the mall’s Hermès outlet with the “BBKLCC” tag to denote the re branded Bukit Bintang-KLCC shopping hub. Another arch bearing the same tag at Suria KLCC’s Ramlee mall will be switched on at the same time.
More decorative lights along the 1.5km "spine" stretching between KLCC and Pavilion's walkways and near other malls in the area will also be switched on simultaneously. The lights that adorn arches, poles, trees and sidewalks include tree-shaped and chandelier-shaped lights. The lights also come in a variety of effects such as glowing fairy lights, cascading tear drops, chasing lights, festoons and meteor lights.

The BBKLCC Tourism Association's organising head for the illumination project K.K Lim said Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen would  attend the ceremony. "The government has pumped in RM5 million for various projects carried out by the Bukit Bintang-KLCC (BBKLCC) Tourism Association to promote the area as an international shopping hub. "Of that, about RM2 million has been allocated for the project this year with RM1.3 million spent on this initial phase," he said, adding that RM700,000 would be spent during Christmas and Deepavali.

Association committee member Kung Suan Ai said the decorative lights would cover the five popular tourist hotspots in the Golden Triangle. "We have some lighting fixtures up and we hope to enhance them as time goes by,"  said Kung. She said   the key spots for the lights include stretches of Jalan Raja Chulan to Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Bukit Bintang to Jalan Pudu, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Imbi to the Jalan Pudu monorail station, and from Jalan Ampang to Jalan Pinang.

Kung said the lights was to get the newly branded BBKLCC shopping hub into the same league as Orchard Road in Singapore. It also hopes to emulate Orchard Road in the upcoming Deepavali and Christmas festivities by decorating the entire hub with large scale thematic decorations on its streets.

   The newly formed BBKLCC tourism association was entrusted by the government to brand and bring the shopping hub on par with international shopping districts besides putting Malaysia on the map as a shopping paradise.

  The association's strategy includes putting together world class attractions and events besides working with the authorities to enhance the infrastructure and facilities in the area.

There are plans, among others, to build covered pedestrian walkways  linking Berjaya Times Square to Lot 10 and connecting  Lot 10 to Pavilion KL. There are also plans to improve public transport, enhance security and create a calendar of events to promote Malaysia to the world. The association's members are made up of  representatives of the shopping and hotel industries with the Tourism Ministry and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) as advisers to the association.

Among the members are  Bukit Bintang Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, Fahrenheit88, Federal Hotel KL, Lot 10, Piccolo Mondo, Plaza Low Yat, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Sungei Wang Plaza, Suria KLCC and Starhill Gallery.
-nst online.

AirAsia may order up to 100 Airbus planes

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd may order up to 100 planes from Airbus at the Berlin airshow next month, Bloomberg said.
In its report on Wednesday, it quoted newly-appointed chief executive officer Aireen Omar that negotiations with Airbus were going on quite well. The low-cost carrier would like to sign the deal in Berlin, she said. AirAsia already has outstanding orders for 272 single-aisle A320s, Bloomberg reported.
To recap, AirAsia Bhd posted a 3% drop in net operating profit to RM130.94mil for the second quarter ended June 30 compared with the quarter a year ago on a drop in ancillary income and a marginally lower seat-load factor of 80%. Revenue increased 9.22% to RM1.18bil in the quarter under review on the back of a 10% growth in passenger volume as well as higher average fare of RM177 compared with RM164 previously.
Aireen said despite the majority of airlines losing money or being severely behind in earnings amid higher fuel prices, AirAsia had continued to outperform each quarter by posting healthy profits.
-thestar online.

Two more airlines to fly into Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: At least two more airlines Ethiopian Airlines and Zest Air are expected to fly into Malaysia this year after four made their debut earlier this year.

The four are Bangkok Airways, Philippines' Airphil Express, Indonesia's Mandala Airlines and AirAsia Philippines, and with the latter three flew into the LCCT terminal while Bangkok Airways to KL International Airport. It is learnt that both the carriers Ethiopian Airlines and Zest Air are planning to commence flights sometime in October. Ethiopian is planning thrice-weekly flights to KL International Airport on Oct 31 via Bangkok while Zest is looking at flying in from Manila on Oct 22.

Ethiopian is planning thrice-weekly flights to KL International Airport on Oct 31 via Bangkok

A report quoting Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer Tewolde Gebremariam said that “as the fastest growing airline in Africa, Ethiopian is pleased to offer the opportunity to business people as well as tourists to explore KL. Ethiopian will be the first East African carrier to fly to KL, connecting Africa to the Asia region and in turn strengthening the tourism and trade ties between the peoples of Africa and Asia.

“The connectivity will be via its hub at Addis Ababa, which provides connections to and from major African cities such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Entebbe, Harare and Khartoum,” the report said. KL will be Ethiopian 70th international destination and 18th in the Middle East and Asia.

Zest Air on the other hand is the low-cost carrier from the Philippines and it has yet to decide whether it will fly into KLIA or LCCT. It will also be the second low-cost carrier after Airphill Express from the Philippines to fly into KLIA this year, although Cebu Pacific has been plying the KL-Manila route for sometime now.

Mandala Airlines is from Jakarta and began plying the Jakarta-KL route May this year. Airphil flies twice weekly to the LCCT. There are around 60 airlines currently operating in Malaysia and the airport operator's, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), target is to attract at least five new airlines to operate out of KLIA every year.

MAHB's passenger traffic grew 4.2%, with 32.5 million passing through its 39 airports nationwide, while both international and domestic passenger movement registered a moderate growth of 5% and 3.5% respectively. It expects a year-end passenger growth target of 6% to 7% and it is “cautiously optimistic” of meeting the target set.
-thestar online.

Iran travel specials at MATTA

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians can browse for holiday packages to several Iranian cities at the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair which will be held from Sept 7 to 9.

The event at Putra World Trade Centre would feature deals from Iran Tourism, which was a first for the fair, organising chairman Jeffri Sulaiman said.“Iran is fast becoming a tourism hotspot with cheaper packages and its exotic locale,” he said.

Light moment: (From left) Jeffri, MATTA president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun and Lim reacting during the press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

There will also be holiday packages galore including special airfares, hotel accommodation, tour packages, domestic travel, travel-related products, ground transport and much more at the 1,000 booths. “In keeping with our theme of Making Dreams Come True', we aim to give people their dream vacation at the best prices possible,” said Sulaiman. Although previous year-end fairs recorded lower turnout compared with their annual March events, he said the upcoming fair had received overwhelming response from agencies and customers, with an estimated 80,000 visitors expected to turn up.

At a press conference yesterday, Sulaiman also announced the appointment of Etihad Airways as the fair's official airline. Etihad Airways' country manager Jeffrey Lim said the airline would be the first international carrier to be appointed as the official airline in these fairs. “We will be offering a range of special airfares, as low as RM1,200, to over 90 cities across Europe and the Middle East,” said Lim. He added that special airfares would also be offered by Etihad Airways' partner airlines, airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus at the fair.

Also present was KTMB Intercity Services marketing manager Noordin Kimi, who said the railway company would be offering bargains for customers at the MATTA Fair. “KTM Intercity line customers can enjoy a 25% discount rate on travel tickets with a minimum purchase for four passengers. “We will also be offering 25% discounts for passengers travelling to Kuala Lumpur to visit the MATTA Fair,” said Noordin.

The fair will feature a new smartphone application called eSales to enable shoppers to browse through the deals before visiting the fair. For more information, visit or book at
-thestar online. 

Firefly's Merdeka Specials!

Subang - Firefly launched a special flight promotion in conjunction with the upcoming national Independence Day celebration this year. Flight bookings can be done from now until September 2, for travel from 29 August 2012 to 30 November 2012.

Firefl's CEO, Ignatius Ong, said, "We are delighted to kick-off this exclusive promotion subsequent to our recently launched routes and destination. With the significant network growth, we certainly are in a very motivated spirit; hence we believe the Merdeka specials will be an ideal opportunity to express our appreciation and reward the Malaysian community for their continuous support. Not to also forget foreign tourists who make Firefly as their preferred airline choice when travelling within Malaysia and to the region it serves.

Ong also took the opportunity to reiterate that all passengers will enjoy a premium experience with Firefly's complimentary services which include 20kg checked baggage allowance, in-flight refreshments, allocated seating, a 30-minute check-in buffer, mobile booking facility and the convenience of flying into and from Subang, Kuala Lumpur's city airport.

During this promotion, domestic routes are priced from RM75, all-in, one way. Routes involved are:

From Subang to Penang, Kota Bharu, Johor Bahru, Alor Setar, Kuala Terengganu, and Langkawi

From Johor Bahru to Subang and Kota Bharu

From Penang to Subang, Kuantan, and Kota Bharu

Regional routes are priced from RM 99 to RM 299, all-in, one way. Routes involved are:

From Subang to Hat Yai, Singapore, Medan, Batam, Pekanbaru and Koh Samui;

From Singapore to Subang, Kuantan, Ipoh and Kota Bharu;

From Penang to Phuket, Medan, Banda Aceh and Koh Samui;

Customers are urged to book early to enjoy this exclusive and limited offer, as seats are subject to availability. Ticket purchases can be made from Firefly’s website, mobile application, airport and city ticketing offices, call-centre and through travel agents. For further information on Firefly’s routes and schedules, please visit

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Malaysia Airlines Celebrates 55th Merdeka with Fantastic Offers

Subang, 28 August 2012 : In conjunction of the 55 Years of Independence, Malaysia Airlines invites customers to take advantage of its ‘Merdeka Offer’ to 55 destinations with some of the selected fares significantly ending with the number 55.
This limited time-only offer ends midnight on 31 August 2012, for travel period from 2 September until 7 November 2012.
Malaysia Airlines Regional Senior Vice President for Malaysia & ASEAN, Encik Muzammil Mohamad said, “We are delighted to offer our customers great bargains for domestic and international travel in conjunction with the Merdeka celebrations.  For those who did not get to travel and be with their families for the recent Eid Mubarak holidays, we encourage them to take advantage of these offers and plan ahead for their holidays and balik kampung trips in conjunction with the forthcoming Malaysia Day and Eid Adha festive holidays.”
Among the attractive economy class round trip airfares offered are RM 255 for domestic travel from within Peninsular Malaysia, and RM455 for direct flight fares between East and West Malaysia.
Also up for grabs are fares to Asean destinations. Travel from KLIA to Jakarta starts from RM455 and to Phnom Penh starts from RM655.  Business class travel round trip airfares from KLIA start from as low as RM1055 to Medan, RM1355 to Singapore, RM1555 to Bangkok, RM1755 to Hanoi and RM1955 to Phnom Penh.
Economy class return travels to other selected destinations are also very affordable starting with RM855 to Hong Kong, RM1255 to Beijing and RM1455 to Perth. Similar attractive fares are also offered for Business Class travel, like RM3055 to Guangzhou, Xiamen, Kunming and Hong Kong, RM4655 to Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka and RM6555 to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
These offers are available to customers at all distribution channels mainly, Malaysia Airlines 24 hours toll free number 1 300 88 3000, MH Buddy in Malaysia Airlines Facebook, MHmobile, Malaysia Airlines ticket offices and appointed agents throughout Malaysia.
-Malaysia Airlines.

Legoland Malaysia - Directions

How To Get Here

From the North-South Highway / Senai Airport
- Take Tuas / Nusajaya / Pontian / Tanjung Pelepas EXIT 253 > Proceed to Nusajaya EXIT 312 > LEGOLAND® Malaysia signage will lead you to the destination!

From Johor Bahru / CIQ / Singapore via the Coastal Highway
- From Danga Bay, proceed straight via the Coastal Highway > Proceed all the way to Nusajaya > LEGOLAND Malaysia will be seen before reaching Kota Iskandar.

From Singapore via the Tuas Second Link
- Proceed until you see the Nusajaya EXIT 312 > You will see LEGOLAND Malaysia signage

GPS: 1º 26’ 14" N 103º 37’ 2" E

-Legoland Malaysia.

More turtles at Cherating

Abdul Karim Mohd Sham at the fenced-in ‘spawning sands’, where the turtle eggs are placed for hatching at the turtle sanctuary in Cherating.

KUANTAN: After a continuous drop in turtle landings at the  Cherating beach in Pahang in the past few years, there is a glimmer of hope as 163 of them have returned  and 15,465 eggs have been  collected in the first half of this year.
The last increase in turtle landings recorded in Cherating was in 2007 when 307 landings were documented compared with 259 in the previous year. However, the number of landings has steadily waned since then, when only the green turtle species returned to the beach.
In 2010, it came down to 189 landings with 16,175 turtle eggs collected before the number dropped further to 177 landings with 16,037 eggs collected last year. The steady decline has also reduced the number of eggs collected and hatched manually at the Fisheries Department's Turtle Sanctuary and Information Centre in Cherating, which was established to help conserve the creatures.
State Fisheries Department director Adnan Hussin said the department was optimistic that it could arrest the decline. "We are excited because 3,980 of the eggs collected this year were successfully hatched and since the landing period is mostly from April to September, a bigger number can be recorded this year."
Sanctuary manager Abdul Karim Mohd Sham, 54, said he had witnessed many green turtles laying eggs but had never encountered the penyu karah or hawksbill turtles in the area in previous years. Karim, who assumed the post six years ago, said the last he heard of hawksbill turtles coming to Cherating was almost 10 years ago.
"Turtles usually land on beaches to lay eggs between 10pm and 1am. They easily get annoyed by noises and also by camera's flashlights. "In many cases, frightened turtles will move to other locations. They will not lay eggs once the second or third diggings are disturbed," said Karim.
To deal with problem, the sanctuary has since last year restricted the number of tourists entering the 3.5km turtle-landing beach stretch from 7.30pm to 7.30am. The beach strip is manned by six rangers. Such a restriction unfortunately, has reduced the number of visitors from 60,912 in 2010 to 45,668 last year while as of June this year, only 26,303 people visited the sanctuary.
"To protect the turtles and safeguard their landing site, we need stricter rules for turtle-watching and steady funds. But if fewer people come, we get less revenue and that may also hamper our efforts to protect the habitat and educate the public," said Karim who is also responsible for a 14m by 6m fenced-in "spawning sands", where the turtle eggs are placed for hatching.
"The ideal temperature should be between 27oC and 34oC, and the fencing prevents predators, like birds and monitor lizards, from eating the eggs. "Just like the fussy turtle mother, we choose the best spot for her eggs and will relocate them if necessary," he said, adding that it would take from 45 to 60 days for the eggs to hatch.
-nst online.

Malaysia gets its first-ever Grand Hyatt

The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, the inaugural Grand Hyatt in Malaysia, opened its doors last Friday.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the Grand Hyatt brand to the Malaysian community,” said Larry Tchou, managing director, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts – Asia-Pacific. “Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur’s opening echoes Hyatt’s development strategy, which is to focus on the gateway cities and markets where customers are travelling.”

Situated next to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and within walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers and the Golden Triangle shopping area, the 370-room, 42-suite Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur offers some of the largest rooms on the market, starting at 47m2. Boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, each guestroom comes equipped with high-speed wireless Internet connectivity and a docking station for MP3 players.

There are three F&B options at the hotel, including THIRTY8, an all-day dining restaurant serving international cuisine; JP teres, featuring Malaysian dishes; and Poolside, an alfresco outlet offering international and local favorites.

The Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur also offers more than 3,300m2 of meeting and events space with six venues to choose from, including the pillarless Grand Ballroom and Grand Salon.
-TTG Asia.

Malaysian creates history during Raya

PETALING JAYA: Missing this year’s Hari Raya celebrations at home was hard but proved worthwhile when Rizal Ashram Ramli became the first Malaysian to win two races in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia championship.

The racecar driver from Malaysia’s first homegrown team – Lambor­ghini Kuala Lumpur JH Italia – beat 18 other “raging bulls” from around Asia to win the races in Ordos, China, on Aug 18 and 19. “This is not the first time I’ve missed Hari Raya with my family,” Rizal said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Proud moment: Rizal lifting his trophy after winning two races at the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Asia championship in Ordos, China.

“However, this is the first time I do not feel so bad about being away from home.” Rizal, 36, who is married to actress Fasha Sandha, had often been away during the festivities when he was studying in England and the United States. “I called my family from Ordos immediately after winning,” he said. “They were even more delighted than me.”

The championship, a one-make series which debuted in Asia this year, made its first round in Sepang International Circuit in May. Despite not finishing the Sepang races, Rizal finished second in the second run at the Fuji Speedway in Japan last month.

All revved up: Rizal standing next to his specially-designed Lamborghini Super Trofeo racecar.

“Racing in Ordos was less stressful due to the cool weather. “In Sepang, it was so hot that the temperature rose to 64°C inside the car. Luckily I had a cooling suit!” For the championship, he drives the specially-designed Lamborghini Super Trofeo car – a lightweight version of the brand’s famed Gallardo LP560-4 model.

Rizal said Fasha “is my greatest supporter”, adding that she attended his first two races. “She had to remain in Malaysia for Raya, but if it were on any other day she would have been there for me,” he said.

The racer is now looking to maintain his performance for the remaining three rounds in Guangdong and Shanghai, China. The championship had a successful three-year run in Europe and its Asian debut has six runs, with the grand finale in November.
-thestar online.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Kota Kinabalu to host first HSBC A7s on Merdeka Day

Malaysia will be the first venue for the HSBC Asian Sevens Series (HSBC A7s) with the Borneo Sevens at Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu from Aug 31-Sept 2.
The Borneo Sevens will be followed by ranking events in Shanghai and Mumbai in September and October. The Series comes to a close with a new non-ranking event in Singapore, which will double as the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) Asian qualifier for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens. The Singapore Sevens will also be played in conjunction with the Singapore Cricket Club Sevens, the long-running event that will mark its 65th year in 2012.
The Borneo Sevens will feature 12 men’s teams including last year’s Borneo and HSBC A7s champions Japan, Borneo runners-up the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.
With three spots at stake for Asian men’s teams at next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Malaysia will be one of 10 core teams on the HSBC A7s competing at all four events this year. The other core teams this season are China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Malaysia’s overall results from the three ranking Series events will determine the team’s final tournament seeding going into the Singapore Sevens / Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 qualifier. If Malaysia finishes in the top three spots at the Singapore Sevens, it will qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow. Organising chairman Velayuthan Tan said they wished Malaysia all the best for the tournament.
“Malaysia will be up against the best in Asia. We are fortunate Malaysia will open their campaign on home ground. They can count on strong local support to help Malaysia start the Series on a winning note,’’ said Velayuthan.
For a third year, Borneo will showcase premier international women’s sevens alongside the men’s competition with the innovative 10-team Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens pitting premier women’s sevens nations from Asia against their elite counterparts from the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU). The eight teams from Asia are China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Asian women’s sevens champions Kazakhstan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
Reigning 2009 Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens champions Australia and defending Asia Pacific Women’s Sevens champion Papua New Guinea are confirmed from FORU with two additional teams to be included. The organisers have also initiated several activities.
The coaching clinics, which will be run by ex-Malaysia coach Deano Herewini, will be focused on introducing the game to local youth and working with existing rugby schools and clubs to develop their game in the hope of unearthing future players for Malaysia.
-thestar online.

Thousands visit Legoland

JOHOR BARU: Thousands of excited and curious visitors have been visiting Legoland Malaysia to take photographs and admire the exterior although the park is only scheduled to open on Sept 15.
Some visitors were there to collect annual passes but the majority were only there to get a first glimpse of the much-talked-about theme park. Engineer Jesper Bruhn, 40, from Denmark, said he was pleasantly surprised to find that the theme park was very similar to the one in his home country.
Lego fan: A child posing for a photograph with a Lego lion at Legoland Malaysia in Johor Baru.Lego fan: A child posing for a photograph with a Lego lion at Legoland Malaysia in Johor Baru.
“It feels familiar, which is something I did not expect,” he said, adding that he had travelled to the theme park with his family to redeem their yearly passes and catch a glimpse of its interior. Bruhn added that he had to queue for about 90 minutes for the passes but it was worth the wait. “I cannot wait for the park to officially open,” he said.
Singaporean Tan Yan Fen, 24, said she made a special trip with five of her friends to get a closer look at the theme park. “I am not a major fan of Lego but this theme park is quite interesting,” said the public relations executive. Tan said it was exciting just to look at the exterior of the park. “This is different from Universal Studios Singapore,” she said.
Civil servant Rohaya Amir, 36, was on her way to Nusajaya with her family when she noticed a large crowd of people turning into Legoland. “We were curious and decided to stop over,” she said, adding that the park was beautiful. Rohaya said the queue for purchasing tickets was too long and she would return on another day to buy the passes.
Legoland Malaysia general manager Siegfried Boerst said park officials did not expect so many people to turn up before the official opening. “We initially opened up the main foyer, several F&B outlets and the souvenir shop for those who came to redeem their passes.
“Word got around that we were allowing people to enter. Suddenly, thousands of people started coming over to have a look,” he said, adding that the main foyer had been opened for about a week now and would be closed starting today.
-thestar online.

Malaysia gets vote as a top Muslim tourist spot

PUTRAJAYA: The Muslim tourist sector is booming and Malaysia has been hailed in an independent study as a top destination for the multi-billion dollar industry. 
“Based on the number of trips, the top destinations for Muslim tourists are Malaysia, Turkey and UAE. “The next six markets are Singapore, Russia, China, France, Thailand, and Italy,” stated the Global Muslim Lifestyle Travel Market: Landscape & Consumer Needs Study survey conducted by United States-based marketing research firm DinarStandard.
It estimated that the Muslim tourism market was worth US$126.1bil (RM390bil) last year, or 12.3% of the world's outbound tourism expenditure, surpassing Germany as the largest-spending tourist market and almost twice that of China's tourist spending last year.
The survey had 992 Muslim tourist respondents between May and June and was produced in partnership with the Singapore-based Crescentrating travel portal. In the report, Malaysia was highlighted for catering to Muslim tourists' needs. For 67% of the survey respondents, having halal food options was marked as the most important factor in choosing a travel destination.
According to the survey, a quarter of the international tourism expenditure growth between 2005 to 2010 was produced by mostly Muslim-majority nations who are also member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
In 2010, travellers originating from Asian countries made up 30% of the total global tourist source. “There is a multi-billion dollar customer base whose latent needs are yet to be met by the tourism industry. “Muslim tourists may very well be the largest untapped niche market of the tourism industry,” said the report.