Wednesday, August 23, 2017

AirAsia introduces Johor Baru as hub for first route to India

AirAsia today introduced Johor Baru as its hub for its first route to Kolkata, India. (File Pix)

SEPANG: AirAsia today introduced Johor Baru as its hub for its first route to Kolkata, India.

The new Johor Baru-Kolkata route is set to commence operations on November 28, with 5 times weekly direct flights.

The unique route, which will further expand the connectivity from the airline’s southern hub, will be the airline’s 15th route from Johor Baru and sixth international destination from the hub.

AirAsia Berhad’s, Head of Commercial, Spencer Lee said since 2010, AirAsia has flown about 11 million guests into Senai International Airport and today they are proud to introduce the first route to Kolkata, India.

“Senai International Airport has been a great partner to AirAsia, and we are pleased to introduce more international routes from Johor Baru hub as part of our commitment to provide better connectivity to our guests and further grow the Southern hub.

“Besides the new international route, we have also added two domestic routes this year; Johor Baru-Kuala Terengganu and Johor Baru-Langkawi - as we believe Johor Baru has so much to offer from business, leisure, education, sports to medical tourism.”

“We are also thrilled to be the only airline in the country to offer this direct flight, linking southern Malaysia to the capital of West Bengal directly – and we hope that the announcement of this new connectivity will benefit both cities in many ways, in addition to strengthening the ties between Malaysia and India,” he added.

To commemorate the announcement of the new route, theleading low cost airlines is offering all-in-fares from RM99 one way on from now to September 3 for the travel period between November 28 2017 and August 28, 2018.

AirAsia currently operates 150 weekly flights one way to Johor Baru’s Senai International Airport. In addition to Kolkata, AirAsia also flies to five other international routes from Johor Baru; Bangkok, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, and Surabaya as well as nine other domestic routes from Johor Baru; Kuala Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Kuching, Miri, Tawau, Sibu, and Kota Kinabalu.

Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal state and India’s second biggest city, is also known as the ‘Cultural Capital of India’. The metropolitan city is rich with attractions such as the Victoria Memorial, a majestic architecture which echoes the design of the Taj Mahal; Belur Math, a temple which stands as an icon of the unity of all religions and many more. In addition, the world’s-famous Darjeeling tea plantation is just a train or bus ride away from Kolkata.

Also known as ‘City of Joy’, Kolkata is also well-known for its silk fabric; Tussar and Vishnupuri Silk besides delicious street food such as Jhal Muri, one of the most popular Bengali street snacks of puffed rice and other condiments; Pani Puri, a hollow chip filled with spiced potatoes, dunked into tamarind water; and Ghugni Chaat; a mix of hot yellow peas with vegetables.

-nst online.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bantu kerajaan angkat martabat warisan baba, nyonya

MELAKA 22 Ogos - Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan memberi jaminan akan terus berusaha mengangkat budaya dan sejarah pelbagai masyarakat di negara ini termasuk baba dan nyonya agar ia tidak akan dilupakan oleh generasi muda akan datang.

Menterinya, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz berkata, walaupun tahap kesedaran tentang peninggalan budaya baba dan nyonya dalam kalangan generasi muda kini kian terhakis namun pelbagai usaha akan dilakukan bagi memastikan budaya dan warisan masyarakat Cina Peranakan itu tidak dilupakan.

“Saya yakin ramai termasuk generasi seangkatan dengan saya tidak mengenali budaya baba dan nyonya apatah lagi golongan muda. Untuk itu kita perlu timbulkan kesedaran tentang warisan baba dan nyonya ini.

“Bukan hanya kerajaan sahaja yang perlu mengangkat sejarah mereka malah semua pihak termasuk pihak swasta dan orang persendirian juga perlu memainkan peranan,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian dalam sidang akhbar selepas melancarkan dua buku berkaitan budaya baba dan nyonya di Muzium Straits Chinese Jewellery di Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock di sini sebentar tadi.

Buku `Straits Chinese Embroidery & Beadwork’ hasil nukilan Presiden Persatuan Baba dan Nyonya Pulau Pinang, Lilian Thong dan buku `A Baba Album’ karya Presiden Persatuan Baba dan Nyonya Singapura, Peter Wee itu mula dijual di muzium tersebut bermula hari ini masing-masing pada harga RM125 dan RM180.

Beliau memberitahu, sebagai langkah mengangkat budaya warisan baba dan nyonya, beliau akan meminta supaya kedua-dua buku yang dilancarkan hari ini dipamerkan di Perpustakaan Negara serta semua cawangan bagi memastikan masyarakat tidak lupa warisan tinggalan itu.

-utusan online.

Malaysia bookings lunge ahead during SEA Games

The 29th SEA Games, which is taking place in Kuala Lumpur from August 19 to 31, has boosted regional traffic into the capital city and its surrounding destinations, said inbound agents in Malaysia.

S Jayakumar, operations manager at Dayangti Transport & Tours, observed an increase of 15 to 20 per cent in regional inbound demand during the SEA Games period, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines.
He said: “We are getting bookings from family members and supporters of foreign athletes. There are also requests for sightseeing tours around the city, Resorts World Genting and visits to Sunway Lagoon theme park in Selangor.”

Syed Mohd Razif Al Yahya, group managing director of Sutra Group of Companies, added: “We have seen a 20 per cent spike in bookings made from ASEAN nations through our online booking engine,, during the SEA Games. Bookings are for hotel rooms within the city and surrounding areas, as well as for tours in Langkawi.”

Another inbound operator, Arokia Das, senior manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia, said inbound business from Indonesia this month climbed 12 per cent. He said the uptick in business started a few days before the games until the first week of September. Besides transport services to the competition venues, the company is also seeing demand for city tours, as well as trips to Melaka, Genting and Sunway Lagoon.

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture expects a 50 per cent spike in tourist arrivals from ASEAN countries this month over the 1.7 million visitors in the corresponding 2016 period due to the SEA Games, reported Bernama.

-TTG Asia.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Najib launches AirAsia's Langkawi-Shenzhen flight

Fernandes (second from left) presenting a souvenir to Najib in Langkawi

LANGKAWI: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched AirAsia's direct flight from here to Shenzhen, China.

The new route is expected to further develop Langkawi as a world-class tourist destination.

AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes thanked Najib for officiating the direct flight on Saturday.

"Last year, the Prime Minister launched our direct flight from Guangzhou to Langkawi.

"Leadership takes courage and it is courageous leadership shown by the Prime Minister to support AirAsia in reducing the airport tax which for years Malaysia Airports had resisted.

"Today, we see that value of his brave leadership. Direct international tourists have increased from 83,754 in 2015 to 187,433 in 2016 – an increase of 120 per cent.

"This represents a contribution of RM300mil to GDP, based on the 12 times multiplier effect," Fernandes said in his speech.

He said 2016 was the first time when international tourists outnumbered domestic tourists.

"We are driven by this and already this year we have flown over a million tourists to Langkawi with our 238 weekly flights from Langkawi.

"But we want to get to the three million mark and contribute a large part to the Langkawi Development Authority’s (LADA) target of RM9bil revenue.

"Our vision is that we will make Langkawi as connected as Phuket, if not greater."

-thestar online.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

KL International Jazz Festival 2017 @ Kuala Lumpur ( 14 ~ 17 September 2017 )

Now into its 6th year, the KL International Jazz & Arts Festival 2017, will showcase a stellar line up of international and local artists performing a wide genre of Jazz from 14th -17th September at multiple venues.

Beginning on 14th September at the French restaurant, at Rendez-Vous, Bangsar, main festival with 10 performances will be held at the Experimental Theatre, University Malaya on 15th & 16th September. The closing day on 17th September features 2 performances at the newly opened Commune, Sunway Velocity Mall.

The KL International Jazz & Festival is The BrandLaureate Country Branding Award winner 2011-2012 and over the years, it has built a good standing among the jazz fraternity, for providing top notch international acts from all over the world. It is the only Jazz Festival where music surrounds art and art surrounds music.

Having presented the likes of NEA Jazz Master, Ahmad Jamal, David Sanborn, incognito, Lee Ritenour, John Beasley, Hiromi, Ernie Watts, Lao Tizer, Chieli Minucci and numerous others from New York, USA, South Africa, Europe, UK, Japan, Australia and ASEAN, this year promises another a line up of stellar artists.

Head lining the festival this year is Tenor Man, Eric Watt from Brooklyn, New York. Eric is the God son of the legendary Sonny Rollins and is expected to carry Sonny's legacy to the next generation of Jazz Lovers.

He has been recording and traveling the world as both leader and sideman and continues to build an impressive, solid resume. Having released a number of albums, Eric has a unique sound that while it straddles the sounds of Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Frank Foster and Sonny Rollins overall, it transcends beyond into a high energy and heavy driven sounds for a jazz quartet.

Supported by Benito Gonzales on piano, Christy Smith on Acoustic Bass and up coming youngster David Hodek on Drums. Eric is scheduled to perform 2 shows at the festival. On Friday he will play songs from his latest album and on Saturday, he pays attribute to the music of Sonny Rollins.

Please log on to our website at for a full list of the artist line up, details of the program and for ticketing or email to for further information.

Friday, August 18, 2017

MATTA Fair Melaka 2017 sasar kehadiran 30,000 pengunjung

Datuk Seri Idris Haron memalu gong ketika merasmikan MATTA Fair Melaka 2017 yang berlangsung selama tiga hari di Pusat Dagangan Antarabangsa Melaka (MITC) Ayer Keroh mulai hari ini. Turut kelihatan, Datuk Tan Kok Liang (kiri); Timbalan Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Pelancongan, Pembangunan Sungai, Pantai dan Pulau-Pulau negeri, Datuk Ghazale Muhamad (kanan) dan Pegawai Kewangan Negeri, Datuk Roslan Ibrahim (dua dari kanan).

MELAKA 18 Ogos - Persatuan Ejen-Ejen Pelancongan dan Pengembaraan Malaysia (MATTA) menyasarkan kehadiran sejumlah 30,000 pengunjung sepanjang MATTA Fair Melaka 2017 yang berlangsung selama tiga hari mulai hari ini sehingga Ahad ini.

Presiden MATTA, Datuk Tan Kok Liang berkata, jumlah kehadiran pengunjung itu dijangka meningkat berbanding 27,000 pengunjung yang datang ke MATTA Melaka dianjurkan dua tahun lalu dan berjaya mencatatkan nilai jualan sebanyak RM18 juta.

“Melaka mempunyai produk-produk pelancongan yang menarik serta terurus dengan baik malah MATTA juga sedang mengkaji kemungkinan untuk mengadakan rundingan untuk menambah jumlah penerbangan terus ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Melaka (LTAM) di Batu Berendam bagi menarik lebih ramai pelancong.

“Sekiranya mendapat sambutan yang baik pihak kami juga tidak mempunyai masalah untuk mengadakan acara MATTA Fair ini dua kali setahun, tahun lalu kita tidak dapat mengadakannya di Melaka kerana kekurangan tenaga dan berharap sambutan lebih baik tahun ini,” katanya selepas majlis pelancaran MATTA Fair Melaka 2017 oleh Ketua Menteri, Datuk Seri Idris Haron di Pusat Dagangan Antarabangsa Melaka (MITC) Ayer Keroh.

Menurut Kok Liang, pihaknya turut menyasarkan jumlah kutipan jualan sebanyak RM20 juta menerusi pameran kali ini dengan penyertaan sejumlah 104 pempamer termasuk satu agensi pelancongan antarabangsa dari Taiwan dan tiga agensi pelancongan negeri iaitu Melaka, Johor dan Kelantan. 

-utusan online.

Promoting rural tourism in Sabah

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Chairman, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (three from left)
showed mulberry leaves based tea products produced by Enactus UMS team
at a media conference in Kota Kinabalu. (Pix By NAZLLIE ZAINUL)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is optimistic that rural tourism will gain popularity and benefit locals in the long run.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said the recent Rural Tourism roadshow held at a shopping mall was a success.

"The two-day inaugural roadshow attracted 10,000 visitors and the number of people visting the four promoted places-Tambunan, Kiulu, Ranau, Kadamaian-is also increasing.

"Most districts in the state have also activated their committees to develop rural tourism at their places," he said during a press conference on Universiti Malaysia Sabah's (UMS) Mulberry project with the people of Kampung Tudan.

Joniston added rural tourism products would not only benefit the industry but also help to generate income among villagers.

On the mulberry project at Kampung Tudan, which is about 50 kilometers from here, he said the villagers should consider setting up homestays.

"Now that the village has become UMS' pilot project on mulberry cultivation with its leaves processed into tea, lotion and other items, it can be developed in eco and agrotourism," he said, adding the village is also producing stingless bee honey.

Joniston, who is also Kiulu state assemblyman, added the road infrastructure to the village would soon be upgraded.

The mulberry products, branded as Tudan Mulberry, will be marketed and sold via the board's subsidiary company Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd.
-nst online.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Malaysia to launch three-day festival in China promoting durians

PUTRAJAYA: A three-day festival promoting Malaysian durians will be held in China from Oct 19 to 21 in Nanning, said Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

The Agriculture and Agro-Industries Minister said on Wednesday that the event is aimed to give mainland Chinese a taste of fresh durians.

Ahmad Shabery added that 250 distinct, durian-derived products would be on display at the festival, with 50 booths for durian product manufacturers.

"If Thailand is known for its tom yam, the Koreans have their kimchi, and the Japanese with sushi, I hope that through events like this, Malaysia will one day be recognised for its durians," said Ahmad Shabery.

Ahmad Shabery said this when speaking to the media after a Road to Nanning meeting with durian industry players on Wednesday afternoon.

He said that he hopes the festival will speed up the approval process for Malaysia to export fresh durians to China.

For durian product sellers such as Aesos Lai who owns Sunshine Kingdom Sdn Bhd, the festival is a welcome chance to network with Chinese distributors.

His company markets a variety of products ranging from freeze-dried durians, chocolates and coffee containing durian, with a turnover of RM5mil a year.

"It's a good opportunity, especially since some of the Chinese distributors have very large networks. This means strong prospects for us," said Lai.

Meanwhile, Subang Bestari-based Rohazawati Mamat said she was looking to expand overseas with her durian crepes.

"We've been running for four years now, and we usually churn out about 4,000 packets a week to supply 150 retailers around the Klang Valley. But it's also good to expand. Increasing our production is not a problem," said Rohazawati.

Malaysia's durian products first gained access to China's market back in 2011, and RM1.57mil in products - frozen durian, pulp and derived products - were exported in 2012.

Since then, this number has risen 1,047% to RM18.02mil in 2016, with a total of 26 distinct products, and the number of exporting companies has grown from nine companies to 67 over the last five years.
-thestar online.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Enhanced KL TravelPass unveiled; offers KLIA transfer, 2-days' unlimited Rapid KL rail rides

Similar to London’s Oyster Card and Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, the KL TravelPass offers airport transfer using the KLIA Ekspres and two days of unlimited rides on Rapid KL rail services, namely the Light Rail Transit (LRT), the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and
the KL Monorail. Pix by Halim Salleh

KUALA LUMPUR: Prasarana Malaysia Bhd and Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) today unveiled the enhanced KL TravelPass, an integrated transport pass that offers seamless travel on the Klang Valley’s rail network system.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the card – which is a collaboration between ERL and Prasarana, through their subsidiaries Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd and Touch 'n Go Sdn Bhd – will increase public transport usage, particularly among tourists.

Similar to London’s Oyster Card and Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, the KL TravelPass offers airport transfer using the KLIA Ekspres and two days of unlimited rides on Rapid KL rail services, namely the Light Rail Transit (LRT), the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the KL Monorail.

"The KL TravelPass will further increase rail ridership as well as promote tourism via rail transport in the city and the greater Klang Valley.

"I believe this travel card will be a favourite among tourists, as they can enjoy unlimited rides on rail transport, without worrying about queuing or setting aside loose change to buy tokens for the train," Nancy told reporters after the launch of the card at KL Sentral here today.

She said the launch of the enhanced card is also timely, in view of the upcoming 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games.

"It is in time for the athletes, officials and visitors flying here for the games," Nancy said.

The card is priced at RM70 (single trip on the KLIA Ekspres) and RM115 (return trips on the KLIA Ekspres).

It can be purchased at KLIA Ekspres ticket counters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) and the Departure Hall of KL Sentral station.

Also present at the launch was ERL executive chairman Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, who said that the enhanced card will encourage cardholders to tour the city’s downtown and surrounding areas.

"Our existing (old) KL TravelPass allows cardholders to travel on the non-stop KLIA Ekspres service from KLIA and klia2 to the city, and continue their journey in the city on all trains and Rapid KL buses for up to RM10 in value.

"But the enhanced KL TravelPass upgrades this RM10 value to two days of unlimited rides on all Rapid KL LRT, MRT and monorail train lines," he said.

Mohd Nadzmi said the unlimited rides will also be extended to BRT and Rapid KL buses in the near future.

Others present at the launch included Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Zohari Sulaiman and ERL chief executive officer Noormah Mohd Noor.

-nst online.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Pasar Seni — the pulse of the city

There is a 50 per cent fare discount on LRT, MRT, Monorail and Sunway BRT
 until Aug 31, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak
during the Sungai Buloh Kajang MRT full launch. — Malay Mail pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Pasar Seni is undoubtedly one of the busiest LRT stations in Kuala Lumpur. 

Apart from being within walking distance to places of interest such as Central Market (Pasar Seni), Petaling Street (popularly known as Chinatown) and the Pos Malaysia headquarters, below the elevated station is a bustling bus terminal with services to many areas in the Klang Valley.

You can catch buses to areas as distant as Klang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Subang Mewah, Taman Medan, PJ Old Town and more from the terminal.
In the Kuala Lumpur area, the buses offer rides to Sentul, Jalan Raja Laut, Medan Mara, Jalan Duta, Kompleks Mahkamah, Publika, among others. 

Buses are available at 15-minute intervals at their designated platforms and tickets are priced according to the destination.

For a free ride in the city, hop on the Go KL City Bus which starts from the Pasar Seni hub with stops at Bangkok Bank, Muzium Telekom, Menara Olympia, KL Tower, The Weld, Wisma Lim Foo Yong, Wisma Cosway, Pavilion, Bukit Bintang, Wisma Boustead, Wisma MPL, Wisma Budiman, Menara Olympia and Kota Raya. The frequency of the Go KL City bus is between five and 10 minutes.

The concession card counter is located at the Pasar Seni Bus Hub just below the Pasar Seni LRT Station. The concession cards are for senior citizens, the disabled and students, each with a fare discount of 50 per cent.

The MyRapid Touch ‘n Go (TnG) cards, which can be used for LRT, MRT, Monorail, Sunway BRT and RapidKL bus services, can be purchased here as well.

Packages include the MyRapid Smart 7 Weekly and MyRapid Smart 30 Monthly, which sees a savings of between 18 per cent and 35 per cent respectively on cash fares when you travel by rail and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).
A nominal subscription fee of RM2.50 is charged for the former and RM10 for the latter. 

You may reload your TnG card with no reload fee charge at Touch N Go, MPH, Giant, and Watsons, among other merchants.

Additionally, there is a 50 per cent fare discount on LRT, MRT, Monorail and Sunway BRT until Aug 31, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Sungai Buloh Kajang MRT full launch. 

About 400m from the station is the Kuala Lumpur KTM Komuter station which is accessible via a pedestrian bridge over the Klang River. This is where you can hop on trains to Sungai Buloh, Kuala Kubu Baru, Rawang, Nilai, Seremban and Senawang, among others.

The most notable spot close to the LRT station is the historical Central Market. Constructed between 1888 and 1889, it was once a wet market which served the tin mining community in the area.

Currently a tourist hotspot, the building is home to stores selling arts and crafts as well as restaurants and cafes serving local and international delights.
Batik sarongs, wau (moon-kite) wooden flatware, bamboo mats, folding hand fans and wooden clogs are among the unique items you will find at Central Market. Prices start from as low as RM5.

For more bargains, head to Petaling Street. The shopping haven has been around since 1914 and is a great place to pick up quirky and colourful luggage tags at RM10 each, slogan T-shirts (also at RM10 each), coin purses (RM5 each), shoes (RM20 a pair) and more. Do remember that haggling is highly recommended.

Close by at 14A, Leboh Pudu is Sin Sze Si Ya, said to be the oldest Taoist temple in Kuala Lumpur. Founded in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, an important figure in the history of early Kuala Lumpur (he played a crucial role in developing the city as a business and mining hub in the 19th century), the temple is dedicated to the patron deities of Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. 

An inscription found on a golden plaque at the temple states that “the deities guided Kapitan Yap Ah Loy in defeating the enemies and defending Kuala Lumpur during the civil war (1870-1873)”.

Another important house of worship in the area is the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. 

Founded in 1873 by K. Thamboosamy Pillai, it was originally used as a private shrine by the Pillai family. It opened its doors to the public in the late 1920s. 
With a South Indian design, the temple has a distinctive five-tiered gopuram, a pyramid-shaped gate tower that stands at a soaring 22.9m high. The tower features depictions of Hindu gods painstakingly sculpted and carved by artisans from 
southern India.

-malaymail online.