Friday, 31 October 2014

Angry Birds Park opens in Johor

JOHOR BARU: South-East Asia’s first ever Angry Birds Activity Park opened its doors to the public on Friday.
Excited fans of the game could be seen queuing as doors opened at 10am to visit be the first to visit the park located on Level 3 of Komtar JBCC shopping mall here.
Kids and adults alike sweated it out a the variety of educational and interactive games at the park such as the Lazer Bird Shoot, Red Bird Goal, Piggy Shooting Gallery and Captain Black Bird Ship. The park is a joint venture with the game’s founder Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Ltd.
Park tickets are priced at RM75 per entry but for MyKad or MyKid holders, the tickets are priced at RM60. A variety of tickets from a single pass, family passes to unlimited annual passes are available.
The park is open between 10am and 10pm daily. Children below the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

-thestar online.

Malaysia Year End Sale! coming soon ( 15 November 2014 ~ 4 January 2015 )

-Shopping Malaysia Secretariat.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

More than 130,000 embrace the world of two-wheel racing at Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2014

SEPANG More than 130,000 local and international motorsports fans attended the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix and Mega MotoGP Carnival at the Sepang Circuit from 24 to 26 October 2014, with local attendance making up 75% of all race spectators, despite the event falling on the same week as Deepavali and Awal Muharram.

The 3-day event, cumulating with 81,000 fans catching the final MotoGP race on 26 October, was a celebration of everything related to two-wheel motorsports. Apart from the viewing the thrilling races and qualifying sessions live, visitors also thronged the Mega MotoGP Carnival – which offered everything under the sun relevant to the world of two-wheel racing. 

“With an increase in ticket sales for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix this year and continuous success for the Mega MotoGP Carnival, plus other exciting announcements during race week such as our registration of entrants for the 2015 World Championship and the upcoming Kedah Circuit, we are confident that the two-wheel motorsports ecosystem in Malaysia is currently riding on a high. Beyond merely being spectators, there are many ways all of Malaysia can benefit, from job opportunities to inflow of investment to business opportunities – which we also highlighted with the Southeast Asia Motorcycle Business Forum. I call upon Malaysians from all walks of life to examine the opportunities and potential in motorsports,” said Dato’ RazlanRazali, Chief Executive Officer of Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

During the carnival, there were many opportunities for fans to meet their favouriteMotoGP riders, such as Niklas Ajo, Karel Hanika, Danny Kent, Hafiq Azmi, Zulfahmi Khairuddin and many more. They were also able to see professional motorcycle stunt rider Aaron Twite in action, and later meet the multipleXDL World Championship Circle Challenge and Drift Champion.

With more than 80 booths run by 65 vendors at the carnival, the motorsports fans and their family and friends – some of whom were first time visitors, enjoyed special promotions, exclusive offers and great discounts up to 70%. One of the eye-catching stalls was Autographed Collectables, brought in by owner Miguel Ramos all the way from Australia. He offered authentic signed collectables of popular MotoGP heroes - from helmets and knee sliders to framed autographed pictures, for sale to visitors. Other activities at the carnival included live bands, fun games and quizzes, face painting and photo booths.

Early bird offers
Sepang International Circuit (SIC) has launched 2015 tickets for its three international racing events - the Formula 1 PETRONAS Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 (27 to 29 March 2015), the eni FIM Superbike World Championship 2015 (31 July to 2 August 2015) and the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2015 (23 to 25 October 2015). Currently, tickets for all three events are being offered at Early Bird prices. 

“We urge fans to get their tickets for our international racing events for next year now. This will not only guarantee their preferred seats for 2015, but they can enjoy two-prong savings – Early Bird discounts and avoid GST, as tickets will be subject to GST once the tax is implemented in April 2015,” added Dato’ Razlan.

For the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 taking place from 27 to 29 March 2015, Early Bird tickets will be sold at a 50% discount from 27 October to 31 December 2014, starting from RM41 for a Hillstand ticket to RM886 for a Main Grandstand North Sapphire Class ticket. 

For the eni World Superbike Championship 2015 happening from 31 July to 2 August 2015, the Early Bird tickets will be on sale from 27 October 2014 to 29 March 2015, with discounts ranging from RM20 to RM30 and tickets ranging from RM60 to RM100.

For the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix2015, to be held from 23 to 25 October 2015, the Early Bird tickets will go on sale from 27 October 2014 to 30 June 2015, with discounts varying from RM30 to RM50, while the tickets will range from RM50 for a Hillstand F ticket to RM250 for a Premier Roving ticket.

For more information on the Mega MotoGP Carnival 2014, please visit www.sepang or follow the action at

Malaysia’s Tourism Highlights – NOVEMBER 2014

PUTRAJAYA, 30 October 2014 – Although the celebration of Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is coming to an end, there are still lots of exciting tourism events and activities for tourists to enjoy. Some of the highlights in November are:

Deepavali National Open House Celebration 2014
Joyous mood will fill the air at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Deepavali National Open House celebration at Dataran Pahlawan, Melaka!

The carnival activities included traditional games, musical and classical Indian dance performances, buskers show, handicrafts exhibition, demonstrations of malai floral arrangement, kolam, thoranum knot, henna and rangoli. Visitors will also be treated to traditional delicacies including masalavadei, laddu, murukku, and putu mayam.

Organiser: Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia
Date: 1 November 2014
Venue: Melaka
Contact: +6 03 8891 9000

The Year Is Not Complete Without The Year-End Sale!
Wrap up the Visit Malaysia Year 2013 with the best shopping and leisure experience from trendy malls to open-air markets during the 1Malaysia Year-End Sale 2014!

Hurry up, put your best foot forward and step into the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 with style and glamour. An interesting line-up of fashion-related events, entertainment and nationwide shopping discounts are ready to welcome you!

Organiser: Tourism Malaysia
Date: 15 November 2014 – 4 January 2015
Venue: Nationwide
Contact: +6 03 8891 9000

Labuan Remembrance Day 2014
Labuan Remembrance Day 2014, better known as “Poppy Day”, is a memorial service to honour and remember the sacrifices of the courageous armed forces’ members and civilians during World War II.

Held annually on the first Sunday closest to November 11, war veterans from the Commonwealth countries and visitors will gather to witness the Buglers, Bagpipers and Vigil Guards march and pay their tribute to the brave soldiers of yesteryears. 

Organiser: Labuan Corporation, Department Tourism, Culture & Arts
Date: 9 November 2014
Venue: Labuan World War II Memorial Park
Contact: +6 087 408 740

Put On The Sailing Spirit!
Organised by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club (RSYC) in association with the Britain-based Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the 25th Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta (RMSIR) 2014 is the oldest keel boat sailing event in Malaysia since its inception in 1989.

With three overnight passage races (Port Klang to Pangkor, Pangkor to Penang and Penang to Langkawi) covering 260 miles:, three days of inshore races in Penang and Langkawi, as well as one day of rickshaw races in Penang, the event attracts a melange of shiny yachts from top class IRC1 racers to slow classic cruisers from all over the world.

Organiser: The Royal Selangor Yacht Club (RSYC)
Date: 14 – 22 November 2014
Venue: Port Klang – Pangkor – Penang – Langkawi
Contact: +6 03 3168 6964

World’s Longest Bridge Marathon! 
Make sure you have enough training if you want to be fit for the world’s longest bridge marathon – the Penang Bridge International Marathon (PIBM) 2014! 

There are several categories for you to choose from: Full and Half Marathon for men and women, both open and veteran; 10km Run (for men and women, boys and girls); and 7km Fun Run (for men and women, 13 years and above).

This is the only time of the year when the national landmark is closed for several hours for the participants to run across the bridge, along a scenic coastal highway.

Organiser: Penang State Tourism Development
Date: 16 November 2014
Venue: Queensbay & Penang Bridge, Pulau Pinang
Contact: +6 04 650 5136

Malaysia International Performing Arts Festival (MIPAF) 2014
The Malaysia International Performing Arts Festival (MIPAF) 2014 is a showcase of arts and cultures from Malaysia and all around the world through presentations, gala performances, artistic expressions, competitions and workshops.

There will be three main categories, namely international public arts, contemporary modern arts competitions and children’s artistic presentation competition. It is definitely an event full of vibrant arts and diversity for everyone!

Organiser: Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia
Date: 22 – 26 November 2014
Venue: Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan Bukit Perdana, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6 03 2614 8200

The New Vrooom!! 
Malaysia is hosting the second leg of FIA Formula E Race 2014 – the Putrajaya ePrix after the first ever race in Beijing! Formula E is a new FIA championship featuring Formula cars powered exclusively by electric energy. 

Covering a distance of 2.56km and featuring 12 turns, the temporary street circuit in Putrajaya is designed with a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane. In addition, the race day will include fans enjoying on the various entertainment zones, autograph sessions, cultural village and activities driven by the E-concept.

Organiser: Formula E (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
Date: 22 November 2014
Venue: Persiaran Perdana, Precinct 2, Putrajaya
Contact: +6 03 2052 7222

Tamparuli Bamboo Music Festival 2014
The Sabahan of Malaysia will show you how the beautiful sounds are created by using the bamboo’s wind and percussion instrument, such as the sompoton (bamboo aerophone), bungkaw (jaw harp) and seruling (flute).

The Tamparuli Bamboo Music Festival 2014 is a festival to promote, preserve and develop traditional Sabah musical instruments that are made from bamboo. Highlights of the event include traditional music performances by the Bamboo Music Orchestra, traditional sports and bamboo product exhibits.

Organiser: Tamparuli District Office & 
Kinabalu Bamboo Music Orchestra Association (OMBAK)
Date: 26 November 2014
Venue: Dewan Tun Hamdan, Tamparuli, Sabah
Contact: +6 088 782 357 / +6 013 876 0358 (Jane Thing)

All information is correct at time of publication. Visitors are advised to contact the event organiser for the latest updates.
-Tourism Malaysia.

Forward bookings raise hope for Sabah

Sabah inbound operators, which have suffered softer demand this year due to numerous kidnapping cases, are breathing a sigh of relief as they start to see forward bookings climbing.

Borneo Eco Tours, assistant general manager, Susan Soong, saw an improvement in forward bookings for March to May 2015 from the European markets, mainly from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, to the wildlife attractions in Sukau and Sandakan.

Said Soong: “It shows that confidence is returning. This year, most bookings from the European market were last minute, with a two-week lead time. “I think 2015 will be better and with the government’s year-long tourism campaign promoting Malaysia Year of Festivals, it will create more awareness of the destination.”

Another tour operator from Sabah, Borneo Trails Tours & Travel sales manager, Yunus Sampeh, said European demand started to pick up again in July 2014 for Sandakan and Sukau, compared with a quiet first half of the year during which many European consultants stopped selling eastern Sabah. Yunus said: “These areas (Sandakan and Sukau) are very far from Lahad Datu, Semporna and Pom Pom Island where the kidnapping cases took place.”

The spate of abduction incidents involving tourists on the east coast of Sabah earlier this year nevertheless wreak havoc on tourism to the eastern Malaysian state, which took a plunge amid safety concerns at the destination.

In order to pave for the recovery of traffic from the international market, several buyers told TTG-ITB Asia Daily that stronger efforts are needed on the Malaysian government’s part to disseminate information on improved security measures on the east coast of Sabah to a global audience. Chinese buyers in particular advocate this action, saying their clients put safety first.

Joseph Sze, director of Shanghai Business Holiday International Travel Service, said: “Sabah is not as hot as it used to be due to numerous kidnapping cases. “To see a return in confidence, the Malaysian authorities have to emphasise the improved security on the east coast of Sabah. “We get enquiries from clients whether it is safe to go to Sabah, but this is something we cannot promise,” he added.

Another Chinese buyer, Laura Hu, MICE manager of Chongqing-based Private Tour Club, said: “Safety is always the first consideration that travellers make in choosing the destination. “The kidnapping cases in Sabah had affected demand for the whole destination as travellers are unsure if the country is safe. The media has to play a role in disseminating information on efforts taken to improve security in the east coast of Sabah.
-TTG Asia.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Putrajaya International Islamic Arts & Culture Festival 2014 ( 30 October - 2 November 2014 )

Komponen Putrajaya International Islamic Arts And Culture Festival (PIIACUF 2014)

Ø  Pavilion Antarabangsa;
Ø  Jabatan Muzium Malaysia dalam Pameran Artifak  (Nusantara, Keris, Al Quran);
Ø  Balai Seni Visual Negara dalam Pameran Al Aqsa Exhibition- Forms Of The Doa;
Ø  Demo Kraftangan Berciri Kesenian Islam;
Ø  Persatuan Seni Khat Kebangsaan yang akan menghasilkan lukisan khat 100 kaki panjang;
Ø  Forum Islam Antarabangsa (30 Okt dan 31 Okt dari 10 pagi);
Ø  Persembahan Kumpulan Kebudayaan;
Ø  Ekspo Buku Islam Antarabangsa (100 booth di mana  20 booth dari luar negara);
Ø  Zon Aulad (pelbagai aktiviti kanak-kanak hingga 15 tahun);
Ø  Pertunjukan Fesyen oleh pereka terkenal Radzuan Radziwill;
Ø  Konsert Muzik Islam (1 Nov – Sabtu 9 malam). Antara artis yang terlibat ialah Hafiz Hamidon, Nazrey Johani (Raihan), Mawi, dan Brotherz;
Ø  Forum Perdana Islam (30 Okt Khamis 9 malam);
Ø  Selawat Bersama Habib Syech Assegaf (31 Okt Jumaat 9 malam)

-Perbadanan Putrajaya.

Malaysia DMCs swallow GST in the face of soft demand

Inbound tour operators in Malaysia are not raising rates substantially for the new contracting period in 2015 despite the recent 10 per cent hike in fuel prices and the introduction of the six per cent Goods and Services (GST) tax beginning April 1 next year, both of which are expected to add to their costs.

Several Malaysian inbound consultants that TTG-ITB Asia Daily spoke to said they were willing to lower their profit margins by absorbing some of the tour package costs to remain competitive.

“The market has been very soft for us in 2014 due to the two airline tragedies and the numerous kidnapping cases reported in Sabah,” said Mona Abdul Manap, sales and marketing manager of Kuching-based Planet Borneo Tours. 
“Prices will be maintained for the next contracting period as we want to spur demand for existing packages as well as new packages we will introduce (next year).”

While KL Tan, general manager of Borneo Trails Tours & Travel in Sabah, will raise his contract rates by three to four per cent, they will be matched with value-added services such as the addition of more products in the tour itinerary.

Likewise, Ganneesh Ramaa, manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia, said his company “will not increase (rates) too drastically” for fear of losing business. 
“We will introduce new niche products next year so we do not compete with other (agencies). These will include photography tours, bicycle tours and tours targeted at disabled Europeans tourists (those on dialysis or the hearing impaired).”

Buyers at ITB Asia are also expecting next year’s rates from their Malaysian suppliers to hold steady and not dampen demand for the destination.

Angela Wong, Singapore-based global accounts director of Helmes Briscoe, said: “Many Malaysian (consultants) are maintaining ground rates. Some hotels are increasing rates slightly, but it is still at an acceptable level.”

M Raja Arunmozhi, proprietor of Bengaluru-based Spaceline World Travel, said: “Malaysian hoteliers and groundhandlers have maintained contract rates over the last two years to win business due to the depreciation of the Indian rupee against the US dollar.” vice president-international markets, Deepak Rawat, commented: “We are still negotiating rates with hoteliers – some hoteliers said they will maintain the same rates as 2014. A slight increase in rates will not have an impact on demand from the Indian market.”
-TTG Asia.

Billy Horschel arrives in Malaysia

photo: CIMB Classic facebook
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Much has changed for Billy Horschel since his last trip to Malaysia for the 2013 CIMB Classic – where he finished tied for 11th. 

His recent accolades include earning a runner-up finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship, won the BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in successive weeks to claim the FedExCup title. 

And on September 16, just two days after winning the PGA TOUR’s ultimate prize (and the USD14 million that came with it), Horschel and wife Brittany welcomed their priceless bundle of joy, Skylar Lillian. 

“It’s pretty crazy to think at 27 years old, I’ve experienced all of that in such a short time span. I may not do another great thing in my life but that is pretty cool,” said the threetime PGA TOUR winner. 

The reigning FedExCup champion is now in Malaysia for the CIMB Classic as part of his 2014-2015 campaign on the PGA TOUR. 

“The city (Kuala Lumpur) is unbelievable. The people are really nice. I love the food, it is really good,” Horschel said. “They offer a variety of cultures in their food selections and the golf course is beautiful, probably one of the top golf courses we play on TOUR. I’m happy to be back here and looking forward to another great year, hopefully we can make it a victory this year.” 

"As much as I wanted to sit back and enjoy what I did at the end of the season, at the same time I'm not one to look back and cherish stuff. I'm always thinking about the next level," Horschel said. 

"There’s a ton of stuff I want to achieve over the span of my career. I would love to win all four majors before my career is over. A short-term goal is to win a major this season and to defend the FedExCup title. I would like to do that because no one has done it yet. There has only been one guy to win two FedExCup’s. But I want to be the first guy to win it back-to-back.” 

With that ambition set, Horschel has been working on improving his game. Known on TOUR for being a perfectionist, he’s often noticed as the first and last one on the range. 

“I’m still a guy who wants to get better and improve, although I try to be a little less hard on myself, not to be nearly as much of a perfectionist that I sometimes fall back into. Also, the new PING G30 driver that I put in play at the PGA (Championship) has been a big help.” Horschel explained. “I’ve gained some yardage and with that have been able to hit some shorter clubs into greens.” 

While the technical changes pale in comparison to the biggest change of all, his first born child, they all go hand-in-hand as to why his life has turned around for the better. 

"The big thing that has changed has been patience. I'm getting more of it," Horschel said of becoming a father for the first time. "I'm not always on my schedule anymore. Sometimes she's going to cry, sometimes you're going to have to walk her around for 45 minutes to calm her down. I'm on her schedule and that's where I want to be.” 

With a life that is seemingly falling into place, the limits of the future know no bounds – now stamped as the one to beat heading in the 2014-2015 season. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Best Western takes luxury to Malaysia's Genting Highlands

Best Western International has reached into Malaysia further with the management of the Best Western Premier Ion Delemen, Genting Highlands, currently under construction and will open in 1Q2016.

The 500-room luxury property is nestled amidst jungle-clad hills, and will offer an array of facilities including the Sky Café, a rooftop deck, infinity-edged swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, sauna, multi-purpose events hall, restaurant and children’s playground.

Guests will also be able to enjoy golf and horse riding, as well as retail and entertainment offerings nearby, which will soon include the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park.

Best Western International currently operates four hotels in Malaysia, and expects to increase its portfolio to at least 16 hotels in the country in the next three years.
-TTG Asia.

Monday, 27 October 2014

MATTA urges visa waiver for Chinese tourists

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is lobbying the government to implement an immediate short-term visa exemption for Chinese visitors during next year's Lunar New Year period, in order to shore up arrivals from the market.

Hamzah Rahmat, president of MATTA, said in a statement: “Visa waivers and exemptions are an effective way of encouraging tourists to visit and spend time in a particular location.

“An immediate six-month visa exemption for China tourists, especially with the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, will help boost tourist arrivals and provide much needed stimulus to the local economy. We must not miss this opportunity.”

He raised the examples of Japan and Thailand, which both saw tourism arrivals increase substantially after visa regulations were scrapped.

According to Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Malaysia’s minister of tourism and culture, arrivals from China shrank by 11.8 per cent from January to July following the loss of Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines MH370 and kidnappings in Sabah. Reactions from the trade to MATTA’s call have been mixed.

Yap Sook Ling, managing director, Asian Overland Services Tours & Travel welcomed the move and predicted it would stimulate the Chinese leisure market to Malaysia.

"Future bookings are soft, we cannot just wait and hope clients will come. This will entice Chinese travellers to come to Malaysia," she said.

However, Adam Kamal, deputy president 2, Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, said: "I don't know if this will make a big improvement in arrivals as many Chinese travellers would already have made their holiday plans for the Lunar New Year period."
-TTG Asia.

Kenyir is one of country’s top eco-aqua tourism spots

PETALING JAYA: The Kenyir Lake (pic), with a generating capacity of 400MW hydro electric power, is the biggest man-made lake in South-East Asia. With a catchment area of more than 36,900ha, it is bigger than Kuala Lumpur and Singapore combined.
Able to store 13,600 million cubic metres of water, the lake in Terengganu is one of the country’s top eco-aqua tourism spots. It also serves as a natural flood control system in the state and contributes to the socio-economic development of the area by generating jobs for the locals.
The lake will be expanded with the RM2bil Hulu Terengganu Hydro Electric Project. The Tenaga Nasional Berhad project involves the building of the Puah and Tembat plants and dams to generate 453GWh a year for the national grid.
In construction since January 2010, the Puah dam will generate 250MW when fully completed in December next year and Tembat dam another 15MW when it is completed in April 2016. Although the Puah plant covers only one-sixth of the Kenyir Lake, it can generate 250MW.

The new project complements the Sultan Mahmud Plant that has been operating since 1985 and generates 400MW using four turbines.
The lake system in Hulu Tereng­ganu comprises three levels. At the top is the Tembat dam where the water goes down to the Puah dam and then the Kenyir dam before flowing into the Terengganu River.
The Puah plant is equipped with the latest turbine technology that allows it to act as a “sprinter”, enabling the energy produced to be transmitted to the national grid within 10 seconds.
Due to efficient management of TNB in the building of the two plants, the benefits from the project will be enjoyed soon.
The storing of water at the Puah plant began on Oct 1. This will ensure that tests on the two turbines can be carried out in July next year. The impounding of the Puah reservoir has been implemented six weeks ahead of its schedule.
Its impoundment kicked off on Oct 1 during a visit by Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid to the site.
The process of water catchment begins with an increase of 0.5m every five minutes. It will take 14 months before it reaches its maximum height of 296m.
TNB has given grants to its subsidiary, TNB Research Sdn Bhd (TNBR), to conduct studies on how to preserve the environment there. Two programmes have been developed to save the fishes and wildlife in compliance with the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment Approval Condition by the Department of Environment.
One programme is to save the fishes trapped at the Puah dam construction area estuary with the cooperation of the Fisheries Department, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The fishes saved are profiled and the data recorded before they are released upstream, which is not affected by the project. The Mahseer fish caught are transferred to a special nursing pond at the TNBR’s Research and Rescue Centre built in the project area.
Another programme is being carried out by Perhilitan and UKM. The wildlife rescue programme is developed based on the data gathered from surveys, monthly monitoring and past reports of wildlife in Hulu Terengganu. The rescue operation was started in April when different types of traps were used to rescue the endangered wildlife trapped there.
All wildlife rescued are identified and treated where needed. Their data is recorded before they are released into the Sungai Deka Wild-life Forest Reserve.
Camera traps have been installed at Sungai Deka Wildlife Reserve and project site to monitor the progress of the existing and released animals within the areas. The movements of elephants within the project area are monitored using satellite GPS tracking device to determine if they are affected by the project.
The programmes will be the benchmark for sustainable growth in all TNB’s renewable energy pro­jects.
-thestar online.