Thursday, December 29, 2011


PERAK is expecting about five million tourists during Visit Perak Year 2012. How they will monitor this number is everyone's guess.

Senior state executive councillor Datuk Hamidah Osman said this would generate massive economic benefits for Perak, both for the state coffers and its people. Hamidah, who is in charge of the state's tourism portfolio, said Visit Perak Year 2012 was expected to generate about RM5 billion from tourist spending. The projection is made on the basis of each visitor spending about RM1,000 during a visit.

"The state government has spent a lot of money to promote the Visit Perak Year 2012 and the allocation for the promotion will be increased to promote the campaign vigorously," she said after meeting a group of about 20 hoteliers and travel and tour operators here recently.

It is learnt that the state government had spent up to RM7.5 million this year for the promotions and expected to spend RM18 million next year.

Thirty-six core activities have been planned for Visit Perak Year 2012 including the Asian Junior Golf Team Championship from Jan 8 to 10, Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament (Feb 2-12), "Larian Bendang" (Half Marathon) "Menara Condong" (March 11), Pangkor Sea Fest (April 27-May 3), Spinning Top Open Championship (May 5), Perak 4x4 International Challenge (June 2 and 3), Perak Iron Bound Challenge (July 7 and 8), Royal Belum International Rainforest Adventure (Oct1-7) and Powerman Malakoff Perak (Nov 11).

Beside these, Hamidah said the state Culture and Arts Department would also be organising cultural events including traditional dances on a weekly basis to showcase Perak's sublime attractions. She said to attract hoteliers to take a more active part in promoting the Visit Perak Year, a competition would be held to judge the best hotel lobby in Perak.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Fancy exploring Malaysia's third largest state on big bikes? Pahang Tourism Malaysia aims to promote new packages where visitors will travel around the state on powerful two-wheelers next year.

“We want to try new and interesting things so that there is diversity in the state's tourism industry. Travelling by big bikes presents something fresh,” said its director Amran Abd Rahman. It would be a niche area but the agency already has cooperation from a travel and tour company which specialises in that particular transportation mode, he said.

“Travelling by car is already an established way of getting around and the business has generated good earnings,” he said during a media appreciation gathering here on Monday.

Amran said another riding activity that was already popular was cycling and this could be promoted as a sports tourism product. The agency, he said, would work with local authorities to have designated lanes for cycling around town to ensure the safety of cyclists. “Sightseeing should be done at a leisurely pace,” he said.

Amran also said at least four events would be highlighted at the national level next year. They are the 1Malaysia Fabulous Food (1Fab Food), 1Malaysia Contemporary Art (1MCAT), 1Malaysia Green 1Malaysia Clean (1MG1MC) and “Fly and Drive” campaigns, he added.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has launched what is called the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) service to the East Coast using 14 coaches contributed by the Japanese government.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the return service between Johor Baharu and Tumpat was scheduled to make 26 stops throughout the journey.

"The 14 coaches arrived from Japan on Dec 9 and we had been carrying out refurbishment since then so that operations could begin on Dec 16," he said during the launch of the MTT at the JB Sentral station, here, Monday.

He said the introduction of the MTT would boost tourism in the East Coast and attract more local and international tourists, especially from Japan.

Kong said the train was in good working condition despite being over 30 years old, following stringent maintenance carried out by the Japanese.

He hoped Malaysia and Japan could forge closer relationships in the field of train maintenance and in new technologies in the transportation sector.

Kong said Japan had also agreed to sponsor eight engineers from KTMB for training on maintenance of the train in Hokkaido.

Also at the ceremony were the Japanese ambassador to Malaysia, Shigeru Nakamura and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representative, Nagae Tsutomo.

KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Atan who was also present, said the MTT service would increase the number of passengers in the East Coast sector by 17 per cent.

"The MTT service is expected to reap RM6.5 million in profits per year," he said, adding that KTMB was ready to increase the frequency of trips if the service was well received.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The Melaka government has been urged to continue to develop iconic tourism products to enable the state to be a destination of choice for tourists.

The prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said among measures that could be carried out by the state included stepping up the maintenance and promotion of tourist spots. These efforts would go a long way in making Malaysia among the world's top ten tourism earners," she said at a dinner in conjunction with the International Baba Nyonya Festival 2011 here Sunday night.

On the festival, she said it was one of the ways to promote Melaka's tourism products through cultural diversity while creating awareness among tourists on the Baba Nyonya culture in Malaysia. Calling on the festival to be included in the state's tourism calendar, Rosmah said it would be a platform to assail Malaysian arts and cultures to the global stage while inculcating the younger generation to appreciate them.

Among events arrayed for the three-day festival, which started on Friday, were a seminar, a cooking demonstration by chef Florence Tan, and demonstrations on how to stitch Kebaya Nyonya (traditional dress) embroidery flowers, bake onde-onde (cake), sew beads, tie hair bun and wear a kebaya Nyonya.

Visitors were also entertained to a concert featuring the Baba Nyonya wedding, rendition of dondang sayang and keroncong songs, Kebaya Nyonya fashion show and Kebaya Nyonya beauty pageant at Jonker Walk.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Extremely preoccupied with shopping, shoes and art exhibitions we have almost ignored the most lucrative part of the industry.

Playing Golf Around Malaysia offers a program of scheduled golf tours. The scheduled tours are designed for individuals and couples who wish to join a group and are suitable for golfers of all abilities.

Malaysia also welcome non-golfing partners and supply a sightseeing and activity program during the tours. Group members will stay in excellent four star rated hotels and resorts.

Each property has been carefully selected for its style, service and location. We offer something a bit different to usual coach tours. Using the latest minivans and Malaysian best tour guide/drivers a maximum of 16 guests to the finest golf courses that Malaysia has to offer and provide the flexibility and service which would normally be enjoyed during a private tour.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The Peranakan heritage is being promoted as a tourism product in Melaka. Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam is scheduled to launch the three-day Baba Nyonya International Festival at the Jonker Walk World Heritage Park here on Friday.

State Women, Family Development and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Norpipah Abdol said today this second such festival was aimed at promoting tourism based on the diversity of communities and culture.

"It will create awareness in the world community on the existence of the Baba Nyonya identity as a platform to enrich Malaysian culture and the arts," she said in a statement.

The activities at the festival would include a cooking demonstration by chef Florence Tan as well as demonstrations on weaving flower embroidery, making the "onde-onde" traditional cake, sewing beaded shoes and wearing the "kebaya nyonya" attire.

Norpipah said the highlight of the festival would be a dinner on Sunday which would be attended by the prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Malaysians accounted for 44,000 visitors to the United States of America (USA) for the period January to October this year, placing Malaysia as the second highest after China, said United States Embassy Consul General Timothy Scherer.

​Scherer said the number was a 20 percent increase compared with last year.

"This situation showed to the world that there is no prejudice on Malaysian tourists, especially Muslims, to visit US," he said at a talk on ''Travel USA-All You Need To Know'' at the National Press Club (NPC) here, today.

He said the application procedure for visa was not complicated even though there is a myth about it.

"One of the myth is regarding interview sessions which people believed comprised a though question session.

"It is actually a quick interview session which is short and easy, such as the purpose of visit, the place to visit and so on... it need to be answered by the applicants and convince the officer in-charge," he said.

Furthermore, there are no different procedures to apply visa and applicants from any religion will follows the same criteria.

"US Embassy does not discriminate tourists with a Muslim name because surname is very common and we have our own database to determine the profile of applicants.

"For example currently there are 20,000 students from Saudi Arabia studying in the US," he said.

He also added that the US visa validity period also resulted in an increasing number of tourist arrivals to the US who return.

"The validity period is 10 years compared with other countries that give approval for only a year," he said.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Every state with a foreign neighbour should be looking for direct connectivity. This is to ensure tourists arrive into their state first.

As an example Sarawak will be looking at air connectivity with Australia, as it is an important factor for closer economical and cultural ties with South Australia.

According to Housing and Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, air connectivity between the state and Australia is an important factor proven previously when the state had direct flights to Perth and from Sydney. The flights, which were provided by Malaysian Airlines, were withdrawn during the financial crisis.

Abang Johari said this during a dinner held to welcome Australia’s Multicultural Affairs, Police, Correctional, Emergency and Road Safety Minister Jennifer Rankine on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Rankine in her speech invited Abang Johari and in particular his ministry to visit Adelaide to promote Sarawak, its unique culture as well as its indigenous arts and craft during the AusAsia Festival to be held in 2013. The AusAsia Festival 2013 will have a theme and country focus on Malaysia.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Something we should be proud of. The World Travel Market 2011 Industry Report identified Malaysia together with Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico and Argentina as tourism’s most important new emerging economies.

The five SLIMMA nations were pinpointed as the rival to the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Sri Lanka has inbound potential as the nation invests in its infrastructure as it emerges from decades of civil strife.

Indonesia could provide a significant outbound market. The population is young and the growth of a generation with a relatively high disposable income will provide openings for outbound operators.

Malaysia is seen as a typical Asian destination with a more ‘Westernised’ feel. The government has identified tourism as an important part of its economic development, and has launched aggressive marketing campaigns.

Mexico has an established tourism industry driven by its proximity to the US. Both inbound and outbound tourism potential is helped by a generally low tax regime for investors, visitors and its population.

Argentina has the benefit of being a new destination on the global tourism map. It is one of the few major economies in the world to be seeing strong economic growth, meaning more flexibility on pricing than many destinations.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry hopes to upgrade the Mardi Cameron Highlands Station, here into an Agro-Tourism Centre to attract local and foreign tourists.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Noh Omar said, the station, located two kilometres away from Tanah Rata, spans across 40 hectares of land suitable for cultivating flowers and fruits.

"We will request help from the Tourism Ministry to obtain funds for this purpose. Most of the trees here are evergreen like those in Europe because of the weather," he told reporters after launching Mardi's Meet-The-Customer Day at the Mardi Station, here Saturday.

He said the station received about 180,000 visitors each year and generates and income of RM1.3 million through various attractions offered including a strawberry farm, vegetables, flowers, tea museum, English garden, Information Technology Centre and reasonably priced English Cottage-style accommodation.

Earlier in his speech, Noh stated that fertigation technology should be widened in order to cultivate high value crops for the local and export market.

He said Mardi was currently active in promoting the technology to create a communications network between producers of technology and its users.

"This modern technology is necessary due to insufficient land and this way planting can be done surrounding the house. The agriculture sector is facing various challenges such as disease, labour and global climate change which affects the country's food production," he said.

He added that the technology was vital as the world was expected to experience a food crisis by 2050 following population growth.

Monday, December 12, 2011



The tourism attractions of Sarawak and Sabah combined has great potential in boosting the tourism industry in not just the two states but also in the country.

“Sabah has her pristine beaches and seas, while Sarawak has dense rainforests and scenic highlands. By taking advantage of these potential we will be able to give not only both states, but also the Malaysian tourism industry a great boost,” said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari. “Collaboration between the two states would signify a marked increase in the size of the target market and at present, both states are safe destinations and are positioned strategically to attract tourists,” he added.

“But first of all, there must be change and transformation, especially in the aviation sector if we are to welcome more visitors and tourists to Sarawak,” he said at a dinner to welcome delegates from Sabah to the 4th Sabah-Sarawak Joint Tourism Co-operation and Collaboration Meeting on board Sarawak River Cruise on Wednesday night. The meeting was held here yesterday.

Johari said Sarawak and Sabah were popular tourist destinations in the region where they shared many common resources that provided quality cultural, adventure and nature (CAN) tourism - the market niche for both states. He called for greater efforts by both states to share strategies and also improve the market for the tourism industry.

He said in keeping with Vision 2020, the country was expecting at least 36mil tourists visiting the country every year. He believed Sarawak could contribute to a majority of that number, “but only if we have the right connectivity in terms of travel and transportation between our state and other parts of Malaysia.”

Also present were Assistant Ministers of Tourism Datuk Gramong Juna and Datuk Talib Zulpilip, permanent secretary of the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry Datuk Michael Emban and Sabah Tourism general manager Datuk Irene Charuruks. It was the first time for many of the delegates including Michael Emban and Irene to travel along the Sarawak River on board the Sarawak River Cruise.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


It is the concern of everyone in the industry to see that MAS be turned around as soon as possible so that the national flag carrier can continue to roam the skies. So there is a need to continue various options especially in the way the airline is managed.

Meanwhile MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya yesterday said the airline expects to start generating positive operating cash flow next year, but is still likely to post a net loss of RM165 million. The airline reported a loss of RM1.2 billion for the first three quarters of 2011 and does not expect to make a profit for the full year.

“We firmly believe all is not lost,” Ahmad Jauhari said in his first meeting with the media since his appointment more than three months ago. Also present was group deputy chief execuB4tive officer Mohammed Rashdan Yusof.

Ahmad Jauhari said the airline would explore all options in handling the issue of its 20,000 staff strength, adding that a separation scheme would be a last resort.

“First, we will have to spin off our businesses as separate entities, then we’ll see about relocating staff so that we operate at optimum level,” he said. MAS also has an engineering division, a pilot training and safety academy, ground handling division and a cargo arm.

According to the recovery plan, MAS is looking to generate between RM1.2 billion and RM1.5 billion in cash through a combination of a smaller network, improved revenue management and sales and marketing efforts, re-negotiation of contracts and spinning off of its subsidiaries. Ahmad Jauhari does not rule out the possibility of disposing of its other businesses such as cargo and engineering entirely if the price is right.

However, he maintained that the idea of bringing in strategic partners is to allow it to grow to its full potential and help reduce its own costs.

The national carrier plans to shrink its network by 12 per cent in 2012 by suspending routes to South Africa, Argentina and Dubai, among others. According to MAS, 40 per cent of its long-haul routes are losing money. MAS will operate only 88 aircraft in 2012, with plans to end operating leases for 36 aircraft.

Despite cuts, there are plans to increase frequencies to destinations such as Manila, Jakarta and Narita in Japan. Ahmad Jauhari said MAS was in talks with not only Australian carrier Qantas Airways but also other carriers on potential partnerships.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Singapore has only five million population and how did Malaysia received 13 million Singaporean tourist arrivals ?

On the average, at least one Singaporean goes to Malaysia 2.5 times. After two or three times, where do they go, that's why we have to expose new places for them.

"Our strategy now is to open new places and new products for them," said Zulizam, Tourism Malaysia Director in Singapore. Citing east coast states (Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang), Perak, Sabah and Sarawak as well as the rest of Malaysia are popular but were getting less visitors.

He said Tourism Malaysia Singapore was aggressively working with various state governments to woo Singaporeans to these places. Zalizam said Tourism Malaysia Singapore initiated this seminar and travel market last year by focusing on region by region.

"We started with the east coast last year and today we are organising the event to promote the central region comprising Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya," he said recently . He said the seminar and the travel market served as a fitting platform for tourism players from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya to meet Singapore travel and tour agents.

"The objective of organising this session is to allow the states to update their latest tourism development happenings and to introduce these new products and packages in their future travel itineraries," he added.

Friday, December 9, 2011


A total of 143 life-sized painted bears are in town to spread the message of tolerance and international understanding through art via the United Buddy Bears World Tour exhibition.

Among them is the Malaysia Bear, painted by renowned Malaysian artist Imuda, which was unveiled at the launching of the exhibition by Kuala Lumpur Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, here, Thursday.

He said Kuala Lumpur was proud to be the host for the eight-day exhibition under the patronage of the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, as it would bring more visitors to the city.

"Kuala Lumpur is very proud to support the United Buddy Bears, the ambassadors of international unity," he said.

The United Buddy Bears, which also aims to raise funds for needy children worldwide, was first launched in Berlin, Germany in 2002. Since then, it has travelled to more than 15 countries, and Malaysia is the first Southeast Asian country to be chosen for its tour.

With the theme, "The Art of Tolerance", the United Buddy Bears World Tour hopes to raise funds with the auctioning of the two-metre tall bears and the proceeds to be channelled to children's charities in Malaysia.

Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee said the exhibition would further enhance Malaysia as an outstanding tourist destination with myriad activities to suit the preferences of different visitors. He said the exhibition would also add to the vibrancy of the Bukit Bintang-Kuala Lumpur City Centre area, which has been designated as Malaysia's premier shopping precinct.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


LEGOLAND Malaysia has made public the pricing structure for tickets and annual passes to its theme park in Nusajaya, Johor, which is on schedule to open by end-2012.

Gate prices will be RM140 (US$47) for an adult and RM110 for a child, while an annual pass – offering unlimited access for a calendar year – will cost RM275 for an adult and RM210 for a child. Special pricing will be offered to groups and schools, while Malaysian nationals will receive a RM30 rebate on gate prices.

An additional feature is the pre-opening annual pass available at the discounted price of RM195 for an adult and RM 110 for a child. Valid from the park’s opening date right through to 2013, the discounted passes will go on sale within the next dew days for a limited period.

Legoland Malaysia general manager Siegfried Boerst said the discounted passes were being launched as a result of the high volume of enquiries over the past few months. He added: “Travel experts will be entitled to a commission for the day ticket. But if there is demand from them for the annual pass, we will look at it.”

With construction having passed the 40 per cent mark, Legoland Malaysia will begin to aggressively market the park globally in the new year.

“We will participate in international travel trade shows and conduct road shows in Singapore, East Asia, the Middle East and India,” said Boerst.

With a development cost of RM720 million, Legoland Malaysia will offer seven themed areas – The Beginning, Lego City, Miniland, Land of Adventure, Imagination, Lego Kingdom and Lego Technic (a roller coaster ride).

One million visitors are targeted in the park’s first year of operations.

Well folks, what are you waiting for.....??

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


By Ann Bagel Storck

Corporate travel appears poised to have a healthy year ahead, as many Millennials and Generation X professionals expect to take to the road more often in 2012, according to an online survey of 1,000 U.S. business travelers commissioned by Deloitte conducted in late September.

Specifically, 85% of business travelers surveyed expect to take more or the same number of trips next year, with 27% of 18- to 44-year-olds expecting to take more trips in 2012. Sixteen percent of business travelers 45 years old and above are planning to take more trips next year.

Hotel preferences

The majority of business travelers surveyed feel experiences at hotels operating under the same brand name differ depending on location, with 60% noting that facilities and service quality vary widely.

When considering loyalty, 46% of the 18- to 29-year-olds say they prefer to stay at their favorite hotel brand even if it is not conveniently located, whereas 37% of those 30 and older do the same.

Two-thirds of respondents say they often work in their hotel room, with younger business travelers enjoying working in more social spaces, such as executive/business lounges and the lobby or common area. Nearly two-fifths (36%) of the 18- to 44-year-olds surveyed say they often work in the lobby or common area, while only 17% of those 45 and older do the same.

When it comes to interacting with hotel staff for check-in, 36% of the 18- to 44-year-old respondents favor automated kiosks rather than checking in with a hotel employee at the front desk, whereas only 19% of the 45-and-older survey participants say they prefer automated kiosks.

Amenities continue to play a key role in the overall hotel experience, with 61% expecting more from hotels with regards to amenities and services. As a whole, 77% of business travelers surveyed indicated complimentary internet is important to them, and 63% are satisfied with the availability of free Wi-Fi in hotels.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


From a local blogger.

The budget entrusted to the tourism ministry for tourism facilities enhancement in Melaka and Penang are being poorly utilised by both states.

The frequent breakdowns of Melaka’s unreliable monorail and Penang Hill’s unsafe and poorly designed car park are signs of poor financial management.

The tourism ministry and its minister, Ng Yen Yen, have failed miserably in ensuring funds are properly managed and utilised by both governments, who have world heritage sites.

Delegating project development tasks to respective states does not mean the tourism ministry has no responsibility and accountability for the budgets.

The minister has to make sure the projects follow every statutory and engineering requirements before her ministry and the Treasury release the funds.

Ng chiding Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng for the Kancil car park failure (she selectively forgets Melaka Chief Minister, Mohd Ali Rustam, also screwed up the monorail project) is an uncalled for, low taste and immature response.

We rakyat are asking for full accountability from her ministry because the fund was allocated to her ministry. Delegating a job to others without follow-up is called abandonment, that is what has happened in the tourism ministry.

On another note, Ng banned me from posting any comments in her facebook although the facebook is paid by taxpayer’s money, legally and technically, I’m also a co-owner for her facebook!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Despite the many global upheavals, Malaysia expects 24 million foreign tourists this year,

In the past year, Japan was hit by an earthquake and tsunami, Europe saw an economic crisis, while political unrest and massive floods were the order of the day in the Middle East and Thailand, respectively.

Obsessed bu these numbers, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the ministry was multiplying efforts to ensure the number of tourists to the country remained stable in the coming years.

The efforts included focusing on potential countries to lure tourists and discussions with foreign airlines to have direct flights into the country, in addition to the MAS service.

"If MAS stopped its direct flight service from many cities like Dubai and Tokyo, we will have problems. It (direct flight service) is important because tourists do not like changing flights.

"We have discussed with the relevant parties in Russia to set up charter flights from the country to Malaysia. We welcome all direct flights to Malaysia.

"For example, there is no direct flight from Moscow. We need more flights to the KL International Airport, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi. That is vital," she told reporters after attending the ministry's first monthly assembly at its new building here Friday.

In 2009, Malaysia saw 23 million foreign tourists. Last year, there were 24.6 million tourists, ringing the cash register to the tune of RM56.4 billion.

Dr Ng said, despite the floods in several states, domestic tourism was unaffected and stable.

She said 36 million foreign tourists were expected to visit the country by 2020, with an estimated tourism income of RM168 billion.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The idea of building low cost terminals is getting out of hand. So this idea was shot down in Sarawak recently.

Building a low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in the state capital is a waste of money as the present international airport is under-utilised, says Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

According to him, what is more important is for airline companies to improve air connectivity in Sarawak and make full use of the present facilities. “The present facility (Kuching International Airport) can be shared and if it is not enough we can extend it,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Johari who was asked to comment on AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandez’s recent statement that Sarawak should build an LCCT instead of criticising the MAS-AirAsia swap deal that had resulted in the discontinuity of Firefly, said: “The state will not push for an LCCT to be built in Kuching because it’s a waste of money and resources. If we build one in Kuching, we’ll have to build another in Sibu and other main towns and these are very costly. So it’s not necessary. We should utilise our present resources to the maximum.”

Johari said he would try his best to bid for the World Airline Conference 2014 to be held in Sarawak as he believed this would help to improve air connectivity and further boost the tourism and hospitality industry in the state.

Earlier in his speech to officiate at the Independent Management Team appreciation cocktail reception at Sarawak Tourism Complex, the minister said he would try his best to get MASwings as a regional airline to service routes outside the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) as well.

“MASwings can’t just fly in BIMP-EAGA. We have to be connected with Bangkok, Bali, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia,” he said. “When I attend tourism conferences overseas, I can’t promote Sarawak by telling people come by swimming,” he jibed.

He said the tourism and hospitality industry in Sarawak was a key contributor to the state’s economy and therefore, it required long term plans to remain sustainable amid challenges and global crisis. The plans included revamping government policies and introducing new approaches for players in the industry, he said.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is projecting a 12 per cent growth or 37 million passenger movement this year from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT). The bulk of the growth will come from the LCCT which will see about 15 per cent jump in passenger movement to 17 million as compared with KLIA, which is expecting between six and seven per cent growth or 20 million passengers this year.

“The good numbers are coming from LCCT as we see an increase in airlines frequency and demand for inbound and outbound destinations,” MAHB senior general manager Datuk Azmi Murad said yesterday. Next year, he expects to see between six and eight per cent growth from both airports collectively as the LCCT introduces new destinations and KLIA expects to sign-up at least two new airlines.

Another positive indicator to the airport operator is Emirates Airline A380’s daily transit at KLIA beginning January next year.

Murad said the decision to cease Firefly’s operations next month will inevitably see a dip in KLIA passenger movement. Since January this year, Firefly has based its jets operations at the main terminal building, KLIA.

This year, the group aims to handle more than 60 million passengers at all its 39 airports in Malaysia. Its long term plan is to hit a 72 million passengers per year by 2014. Last year, MAHB handled a total of 57.8 million passengers in all its airports. For the third quarter ended September 30, its net profit jumped 74 per cent to RM108.2 million from a year ago, boosted by a RM22 million dividend income from a joint venture and positive contribution from associates overseas. Revenue climbed 4.7 per cent to RM652.8 million on rising passenger traffic.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


MAHB’s plans to increase airport tax for international passengers at the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) to RM32 from RM25 previously has been opposed by Air Asia.

A check on AirAsia’s Facebook fan page showed that the airline will continue to lobby for no hike in airport tax at the LCCT, with the public’s support. “Look at the queue at the immigration, space for check-in counters, quality of toilets, cleanliness of the facilities – is it really worth the increase?” AirAsia’s head of commercial Jasmine Lee asked in the post.

Not adhering to the airport tax hike at this stage, when it has been approved by the Government,would mean that AirAsia needs to apply to the Ministry of Transport to stop collecting airport tax on behalf of airport operator MAHB.

Tony Fernandes has publicly criticised both MAHB and the Ministry of Transport for the increase. Last week, AirAsia’s co-founder took to twitter to vent his frustration.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Something good is cooking at the Putra World Trade Centre this weekend! Starting from today, the Restaurant Food Festival & Cooking Competition opens its doors to the public.

Food lovers can enjoy the taste of some colourful local delicacies at the 35 street food stalls set up at Tun Razak Hall II, PWTC.

The variety of food on sale at the stalls, which includes fried kuey teow, nasi biryani and rojak pasembor, is sure to whet your appetite.

One particular stall stood out from the rest. Jas Corner Kuey Teow Goreng adds a special ingredient to the original version of fried kuey teow– a duck egg, an important ingredient in the owner’s very own special recipe.

Priced at RM6 a plate, the duck egg adds a certain thickness to the kuey teow. This is Jas’ second time at the festival and he expects a better reception this year due to the wider variety of food on sale.

“Last year’s festival was good but the logistics issue still persists,” said Jas, who has a stall in Kelana Jaya.
Another stall which is making its second appearance at the festival is the Golden Restaurant Penang Char Kuey Teow stall managed by its operator, who only wanted to be known as Yong.

“Even though food prices are increasing, we’ve maintained our prices and serve only dishes which are free from artificial flavouring,” said Yong proudly.

The dishes served at the stall aren’t, however, certified halal but Mr Yong assures us that all the food he prepared while working at the Golden Sands Hotel in Penang, is.

If you miss the festival this weekend, check out The Golden Restaurant on Jalan Nagore, Penang and drop by Yong’s restaurant.

Penang Street Rojak Pasembor & Cendol is another successful stall. This is the fifth year that its owner, Chandru, has been participating in the festival. Having a food enterprise has been part of his family for 20 years- his father started selling cendol in Penang before the business relocated to Petaling Jaya. Now, Chandru has six food vans around Petaling Jaya in Taman Mayang, Bandar Utama, USJ and Sunway Pyramid.

​This whole concept will be good for tourism.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Subang SkyPark Sdn Bhd, operator of the Skypark Terminal (formerly Terminal 3) of the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, has been tipped to win the concession to redevelop Terminal 2.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is expected to award the concession to redevelop Terminal 2 early next month.

It is understood that Firefly and Malaysia Airlines have also expressed interest in the redevelopment of the terminal, but no proposal has been submitted to the airport operator to date, apart from Subang SkyPark.

According to sources, MAHB is expected to grant Subang Skypark the concession as it is already managing the Skypark Terminal.

"We are the logical partner for this project, given that we have already successfully completed the transformation of the former Terminal 3," said Subang Skypark, but declined to reveal the developments proposed by the company.

"Primarily, Terminal 2 forms an extension towards meeting the needs of the airlines at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport. As an adjunct, it will allow Subang SkyPark to expand the offerings to passengers, visitors as well as to the working and residential populace within the vicinity of the airport.

"Our initial estimates show that the overall redevelopment cost would be in the region of RM20-25 million," it added.

Subang Skypark had spent some RM40 million to refurbish the terminal back in 2008, which can handle up to 2.5 million passengers per year.

The terminal also boasts of a business aviation centre (BAC) which hosts a fixed base operation (FBO) — SkyPark FBO Malaysia, which is currently used by business jets and private jet charter giant VistaJet.

Subang SkyPark has a 59-year lease of the SkyPark Terminal, starting in 2007.

Firefly and Berjaya Air currently fly out of the terminal, operating the ATR 72-500s and DeHavilland Dash 7 turboprops.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the full study on the proposed high speed train linking Malaysia and Singapore is expected to be completed in eight to nine months time.

He said a pre-feasibility study had been done and the results were positive, and now they were moving into the next stage.

"By that time we will know which way we are going. But certainly it is a necessity (to have the train). I think it is a question of numbers, cost and benefits," he told a press conference after the Malaysia-Singapore Business Forum here today.

The forum themed, "Enhancing Strategic Partnership", was also attended by Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

He said the train would be something that the country would need to further promote growth between Singapore and Malaysia and "what more when we are talking about connectivity within Asean, this is going to be an important link in this connectivity."

Meanwhile, Malaysians and Singaporeans have expressed high hopes on the proposed rail link between the two countries.

Earlier reports have said that the benefit of travelling between 110 mph and 220 mph will mean better connectivity, shorter travel time and new development around train stations.

The changes are also expected to create 150,000 new jobs and some US$19 billion in new businesses by 2035.

The rail network is also expected to spur tourism, give businesses a wider pool of workers to choose from and help grow technology clusters in cities.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


There is no misunderstandings involving the issue of sky bridge facility at the new low cost carrier terminal (KLIA2) with the airport being termed as not being friendly to the disabled or senior citizens.

Even at the present MTB you need to walk at least one kilometer to get to your aircraft from you car. As a services provider, MAHB must have sky bridges at the airport in line with the concept of safe and convenient service.

There should not be any issue about returns on investment.

As a service provider, MAHB must be prepared to provide the bridge not only for Air Asia.

Malaysia Airports Holdings, known as one of the largest private sector companies in the world, manages 39 airports in Malaysia including the KL International Airport (KLIA).

It has also established its position in several other countries such as with the Delhi Airport and Hyderabad International Airport in India, as well as with the airports in Turkey and Maldives. The company is also the leading airport operator company in Asia and the sixth in the world and is listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


In Vietnam they have done away with the need to fill up Immigration cards. But in Malaysia we are strugling to cope with card distribution issues.

Therefore travellers crossing the causeway into Malaysia will not need to fill up the white immigration cards, for now. This is a temporary measure due to the shortage of cards.

A sign at the Tourism Malaysia office showed that the white cards have not been distributed since June this year. A spokesperson said new stock should arrive in about two weeks.

In the meantime, travellers have been assured that they need not fill up the immigration forms.

Malaysian authorities said that should speed up clearance at customs with the surge in visitor numbers expected during the year-end school holiday and festive period.

Zalizam Zakaria, director at Tourism Malaysia's Singapore office, said: "Whenever you go through the second link or the causeway, you can pass through without filling up the white card. The immigration officer will do the necessary procedures."

Friday, November 25, 2011


The federal government's decision to allow MASwings to launch its first phase of operations into the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is a forward looking move long awaited by the people of Sabah and Sarawak, says Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri.

He said the move by the airline, which serviced Sabah and Sarawak, would transform the Kota Kinabalu and Kuching international airports as transporation hubs and regional entry point for international destinations.

Abdul Rahim said MASwings' foray into the growth areas would also propel tourism in the states. With the extension of services and business, MASwings will remain committed to provide the best service domestically especially in rural areas.

"This is in line with MASwings's objective to provide subsidised air service in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak which are not accessible by road," he told Bernama Wednesday.

Abdul Rahim said each year, the government spent about RM150 million to subsidise MASwings' operations to provide travel convenience to the rural folks of Sabah and Sarawak.

On Monday, chief executive officer Datuk Capt Mohd Nawawi Awang said the foray into international destinations, would be another milestone in the airlines' history. He said MASwings, expected to receive the long-awaited approval to operate into the BIMP-EAGA soon, hoped to launch the first phase of its operations by early next year.

The BIMP-EAGA was launched in 1994 as a cooperation initiative by Brunei. Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, all of which are member-countries of ASEAN.

In a joint statement after the conclusion of the BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting in Cagayan De Oro, in the Philippines recently, all four countries agreed to discuss ways to improve air connectivity in the region. This included the initiative to expand the Memorandum of Understanding on the expansion of air linkages with possible additional points outside of the BIMP-EAGA for co-terminalisation operation.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Speculation is rife that the cost of KLIA2 has increased significantly from the initial estimates of between RM2 billion and RM2.5 billion.

Officials from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) declined to comment on the cost of the project, emphasing that even if there was an increase in expenditure in constructing the KLIA2, it would not affect the passengers nor the airlines. “The only avenue for us to recoup the costs is from non-aeronautical revenue such as the retail segment,” said an official.

The official was commenting on speculation that the cost of completing the KLIA2, the new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), has escalated to more than RM4 billion and a costlier airport would mean MAHB has to increase its charges — including airline parking and landing fees and airport taxes — to recoup its investment. The MAHB official said these concerns are unfounded because aeronautical charges are regulated.

“It’s already set in stone and subject to review every five years. It should not matter if the cost is above RM2.5 billion because MAHB will account for all costs. It is not the government or any airline’s concern as we can’t simply raise charges. Be mindful that aeronautical charges, particularly PSC (passenger service charge), are never based on the cost of building MAHB’s airports. Airports are never built on ROI (return on investment). It’s very unlike the models they have in the UK ... the ROI for MAHB on KLIA2 is only based on non-aeronautical income,” said the official.

It has been reported recently that the KLIA2 retail space, which takes up about 20% of the terminal area, will generate some RM1.2 billion in revenue.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


China, India and South Africa have emerged as the top tourism source markets for affluent travellers considering visiting Malaysia in the next two years, according to the Visa Global Travel Intentions Survey 2011.

In a statement today, Visa Inc said according to the survey, 30 per cent of the travelers would be from China, 26 per cent from India and eight per cent from South Africa.

The survey also revealed that the travellers are most likely to engage in outdoor activities, go on a food tour to sample local cuisines and take part in water sports.

Apart from that, they would also be attracted to experience the nightlife, music events and take up beauty, health and wellness as well as relaxation treatments that the country has to offer.

Visa Malaysia country manager Stuart Tomlinson said: "The fact that these affluent travellers would consider visiting Malaysia, marks a bright spot for the industry.

"Malaysia is blessed with some of the best natural sceneries in the world, great food and dining, vibrant nightlife, and is definitely in a great position to provide everything that affluent travellers seek in a holiday."

He also said the survey findings highlight the Ministry of Tourism's fine work in promoting the country as a unique travel destination. "Visa is committed to drawing more affluent travellers into Malaysia," he added.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The revision in the passenger service charges (PSC) for international departures from the country's airports means that the Government no longer has to fork out RM180mil a year to compensate Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the Cabinet had approved the increase in the charges in February 2009. However, because of the delay in imposing the new rates, the Government had been absorbing the difference until recently. MAHB announced the implementation of the new PSC, aircraft landing and parking charges effective from Nov 15. The PSC for departing international passengers was hiked from RM25 to RM32 at the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Sepang and Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and from RM51 to RM65 at the country's international airports.

“Taxpayers had been paying the difference (between the old and new rates) as a result of the PSC adjustment since February 2009. I think it's time for the taxpayers to stop subsidising international travellers that use our airports,” said Kong.

He was commenting on reports regarding AirAsia Bhd CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes voicing his dissatisfaction, through social media, on the PSC increase. “There have been a lot of other increases done by airlines quietly and nobody is making noise about that,” Kong told the press after a ceremony to mark the re-activation of scheduled flight services into Pangkor Island by Berjaya Air Sdn Bhd later this month.

Asked whether a company controlled by Fernandes has applied to operate a super-premium airline that will fly out of Subang Airport, Kong said his Ministry had yet to receive any such application.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Complaints from tourists have shot up by 15% in the first 10 months of this year compared with last year, Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said. He said the ministry received 337 complaints this year compared with 292 last year.

“Most were on tour operators and agents who short-change tourists, poor service and services at hotels that are not up to mark,” he said after a dialogue session with tour operators here yesterday. He said the majority of the complaints were from locals, with only 50 from foreigners.

“We take all complaints seriously and investigate them,” he said, adding that there were also cases of fraud, especially over membership cards and timeshare packages.

He said new strategies were needed to attract Singaporeans who visited Malaysia mainly for grocery shopping and food.

“So far, 55% (13 million) of our tourist arrivals are from Singapore. With events like international concerts in Johor, we can attract more Singaporeans,” he said, adding that a high-speed bullet train could also improve travel between Malaysia and Singapore.

The tour operators highlighted issues like traffic snarls at the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex as the staff parked their cars on emergency lanes, no proper signages to tourism products in Desaru, narrow roads leading to congestion, and regulations and policy reviews involving tour bus operators.

They also brought up the issue of tourists being sexually harassed by immigration personnel.

Friday, November 18, 2011


AirAsia has been fighting to make them cheaper for the common man. Airport taxes are paid by Malaysians and passengers. The money doesn't go to AirAsia but MAHB.'' He added on Twitter that “MAHB doesn't help improve guest handling facilities like signage, boarding area at gate and PA system. Why charge more PSC.''

His idea of baring it all is to tell passengers that the airline collects the PSC for MAHB and no part of the PSC goes to the airline. PSC is the payment for the use of a respective airport by a traveller.

He also lashed out at both MAHB and the Transport Ministry, asking who the ministry was defending? He claimed in his twits: “Are they defending the people to make sure they get good value for the RM25 airport tax. They are the regulators ...”

Apparently he had told his decision to pass the buck back to MAHB on Sunday to some parties, but when asked, Fernandes declined to elaborate.

Airlines in this country collect the PSC for the airport operator and this decision was made by the Government way back in the 1980s. That was decided with the consumer in mind as the Government did not want to inconvenient the traveller. The PSC charges are paid when purchasing the ticket.

If indeed AirAsia does not want to collect the PSC for MAHB, then any decision made by the Government will have to take into consideration the views of other airlines which are now collecting the PSC for MAHB. “That's the norm here and if you change the rule for one you have to change for all,'' said a source. But in some airports such as in Jakarta and Tokyo, the airports collect their own charges by having their own counters or vending machines. That model can be replicated here.

There are “pros and cons to the airport operator collecting the PSC. The good thing is that passengers need not worry about refunds of PSC if they cancel their flight as they only pay for the PSC on the day they travel and not when they purchase the ticket. “Under the current system, the airport operator is only paid the PSC 45 days after travel but that will not be the case if the airport operator collects it. It would also save the MAHB 1.25% in clearing fee if it collects the PSC directly from the passengers,'' said a source.

Fernandes also said there were too many empty promises made by MAHB and the airlines were blamed for its poor performance.

He also questioned the need for a third runway at the KL International Airport (KLIA). “Why is KLIA building a third runway when they don't use dual mode on two runways? Heathrow has 60 million passengers with two runways. Fixing the air traffic system would have been cheaper than building another runway,” he said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Many people think that it is a done deal and nothing can be done about it. The government reiterated its stand that the Comprehensive Collaboration Framework signed between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia which brought about the exchange of shares between the two, was part of the plan to recover MAS.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the move has given a new lease of life to MAS to carry on with its operations after having suffered major losses.

MAS recorded a loss of RM769 million for the first half of this year; RM242 million for the first quarter and RM527 million in the second quarter of 2011, brought on by the rising price of fuel globally.

"MAS is a national treasure and its impact on the country's economy will be significant. Whatever the action taken, the government's intention is to enable MAS to continue to operate and prevent a bankruptcy," he said when wrapping up a debate at the Dewan Rakyat.

The government could take an easier way of injecting more funds to help MAS but that would not be a good commercial decision, Abdul Rahim said.

"We hope the CCF, although not a popular move, would be able to give new life to MAS and prevent it from falling," he said.

Earlier during the debate, several BN and Opposition parliament members hurled criticisms at the upper management of AirAsia, alleging the low cost airline of having taken advantage of the government and the people. They also claimed that the government and MAS were forced to give in to the demands of the airline.

Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) also suggested that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission be called in to investigate those involved in the decision to undertake the shares exchange including Managing Director of Khazanah Nasional, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

He also wanted the government to provide the guarantee that the deal would not fall into the hands of foreign parties in the future.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


THE MALAYSIAN Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) launched on Friday the MATTA Academy, with the aim of providing skills-based and vocational training for members and their employees, as well as for the tourism industry as a whole. “This is in line with the government’s aim to increase the skill sets of its population and become a high-income nation,” said MATTA Academy board of directors’ chairman, Ngiam Foon.

The new academy, with an investment of RM1.5 million (US$0.5 million) in the building and facilities, is a rebranding and restructuring of the MATTA School of Hospitality.

MATTA president Khalid Harun said: “There have been numerous occasions where the training and courses provided by tourism institutions do not meet the requirements of the travel consultants and tour operators. MATTA knows what is needed by the industry and is well placed to provide the courses suitable for them,” Ngiam said. “The trainers will be practitioners from industry with the expertise and a willingness to share their knowledge.”

One of the training programmes the academy will offer is the Travel & Tours Enhancement Course (TTEC), a yet-to-be-implemented compulsory two-day training stint introduced by the country’s Tourism Ministry for staff of all travel consultancies and tour operators, as a condition for license renewal. “The TTEC is part of the government’s efforts to ensure quality in the industry,” said Ngiam, adding that the TTEC would be rolled out in December or January.

Going forward, the academy will work with industry members to determine which other training topics are relevant. Topics already highlighted included e-commerce and the use of social networking for business. Courses will be open to any interested party at market rates. “MATTA members will enjoy a special rate, making it affordable for them,” said Ngiam.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Spirituality is to be Asia's best wellness tourism asset, according to Research Report based in LONDON.

Spiritual & Holistic products and services are set to be the most important assets and demand components of the health and wellness sector in the Far East and South East Asia by 2020. The research report was distributed at the World Travel Market 2011 here last week.

Published by Wellness Tourism Worldwide (WTW), a newly formed alliance of wellness and tourism related businesses, organizations and institutions, the research also forecasts that private health insurance will play a more important role in providing policies that cover wellness travel

Saturday, November 12, 2011


A possible new super-premium full-service carrier (FSC) by AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes coming into operation would add another layer of competition to the domestic airline industry, which may in turn cause the market to become more fragmented, say analysts.

As it stands, the share-swap deal signed last August saw national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and its unit Fiaffiliate refly focusing on premium travel while low-cost carrier AirAsia and its long-haul AirAsia X compete in the low-cost sector.

"A new super-premium FSC would only add a new layer of competition, which may lead to too much fragmentation and I am not sure how that is going to go well in Malaysia," said UOB Kay Hian Research regional aviation analyst K. Ajith from Singapore today.

He said while Malaysia seemed keen to develop Kuala Lumpur into a premium hub for air travel, it should be the goal of the national carrier to do that, "especially so when the whole idea of the recent MAS-AirAsia collaborative framework was for MAS to rationalise its routes and focus on the premium segment. Thus, it does not make sense for Fernandes to start a new super-premium airline. And even though the proposed airline will operate out of Subang, it nonetheless will add competition to the market," Ajith added.

SunBiz reported yesterday that Fernandes, who already has interest in four airlines, is set to expand his empire further locally as he moves to start a new super-premium FSC that is likely to be called Caterham Jet, next year. The new airline has yet to be granted an air operator's certificate (AOC) by the government, but is understood to have already secured several Bombardier CRJs.

Ajith doesn't see the new airline having a problem obtaining an AOC, but "the question now is whether there will be room for one more airline in Malaysia? It is also perplexing how everybody (MAS, Firefly, AirAsia, AirAsia X and the proposed Caterham Jet) can be part of a happy family, with Fernandes' various stakes in them," he added.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The state government targets 11 million tourists to visit this World Heritage City by the year-end despite several issues pertaining to heritage tax and only three flights a week to Batu Berendam airport.

Tourism Malaysia director Jeffri Munir said various promotional activities were being carried out in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia, the Melaka Tourism Office and the Promotions Division of the Chief Minister's Department

"So far, we have recorded 7.65 million tourist arrivals in Melaka and we will continue to make Melaka a major tourist destination for locals and foreigners."

He said this after the launching of the 1Malaysia Clean and Beautiful Students' Tourism Programme 2011 at Melaka Zoo today.

He added that they would also continue working with 44 Tourism Malaysia offices around the world to achieve the goals.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


MASholidays, the travel and tour arm of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), has embarked on promoting Malaysia as a premier tourist destination through a first-of-its-kind 3D Virtual Social Game World (VSGW) outreach and a series of rebranded holiday package offers. They were unveiled today at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

MASholidays chairman Datuk Dr Amin Khan said MAS was the first airline in the world to use the VSGW to promote its destinations. "We're very excited about the new horizons it will open up for us as we interact with Gen X and Gen Y travelers for whom using social media is as routine as having a meal," he said in a statement issued by the Malaysian national carrier.

The VSGW specially developed for the airline is known as "The Lost Treasure of Malaysia" that allows internet users to experience Malaysia in a way that has never been done before since they get to enjoy a fascinating world of adventure, hidden treasure and mythology.

VSGW viewers will be immersed in a rich 3D virtual world as they browse to explore an ancient Malaysian kingdom and compete in search of treasure chests, relics and items which have been stolen from the royalty, to gain points and emerge as the "Hero of Malaysia" to win real MASholidays packages and related merchandise. The statement said certain items in the VSGW adventure would also unlock access to special areas such as MASholidays lounges where travelers could access more destinations, items and content.

Although the "The Lost Treasure of Malaysia" is only due for public release in 2012, the launch demo was premiered in London by Dr Amin Khan and Tourism Malaysia acting director-general Datuk Azizan Noordin. The VSGW platform also allows MASholidays to sell real world products, packages, flights, tickets, promotions and other value-added products and services through a single convergent web portal, the statement said.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


ABOUT 200 disabled people will form a convoy to promote Accessible Tourism with the starting and finishing points at Sunway Pyramid on Nov 27. Beautiful Gate Foundation executive director Sia Siew Chin said apart from creating disability awareness, the convoy was aimed at promoting Accessible Tourism for the elderly and disabled.

“Many firms still refuse to provide disabled-friendly facilities because they view this as unnecessary and an additional cost to the company. Malaysia is moving towards an ageing population and by 2020, the number of old people is expected to increase by 3.4 million. As such, we have to create awareness. Catering to the needs of the disabled also means helping the ageing society overcome obstacles faced in the environment,” Sia told reporters at RMCafe in Sunway Pyramid, Bandar Sunway recently.

This is the second time the event is being held. Held in conjunction with the International Day for the Disabled Persons 2011, Sia said this time, the foundation was taking a step further by organising a Pro-International Conference on Accessible Tourism from Nov 25 to 28 at Sunway Pyramid.

“About 200 international and local participants will attend the conference, out of which 30 are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and India. The conference allows participants to understand the latest improvements and best practices as well as provide insight into the future development of tourism,” she added.

Other events to be held include an exhibition, Asia Pacific photo contest, talent time for the disabled, performance by local artistes and a children’s colouring contest.

Researchers, students and tourism-related organisations have been urged to take part in the conference. PJ Utara MP Tony Pua said since Malaysia was a developing nation, it was crucial to look into the needs of the disabled as they were part of the society.

“The conference is a great opportunity for the corporate sector to grasp their knowledge in Accessible Tourism. Malaysia will gain an edge by being an Accessible Tourism destination for the elderly since there has been an increase in the number of elderly tourists visiting the country,” said Pua.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Despite all that controversy about Singapore arrival figures which Johor State Assembly feel that 50% can be discounted,Singapore remains Malaysia's largest tourism generating market, says Tourism Malaysia chairman Datuk Dr Victor Wee.

He said from January to June this year, "we welcomed 6.12 million Singaporean tourists to Malaysia.

"In 2010, Malaysia recorded more than 13 million Singapore tourist arrivals, up 2.4 per cent from 2009. "This constituted 53 per cent of our total tourist arrivals, contributing RM28.4 billion in receipts," he said at the launch of the 8th Travel Malaysia Tourism Fair 2011.

The three-day event, held at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre, is organised by Express Bus Agencies Association (EBAA).

Dr Wee said Malaysia registerd a total of 24.6 million tourist arrivals last year, which marked a 3.9 per cent increase over the 2009 figure.

For hassle-free entry into Malaysia, he urged Singaporeans to apply for the Malaysia Automated Clearance System (MACS) card. He said the Malaysian Immigration Department has set up temporary counters for MACS card applications in Johor Baharu comprising City Square Shopping Centre, Jusco Bukit Indah, Jusco Tebrau City, Holiday Plaza Shopping Mall and Giant Hypemarket in Tampoi from Oct 15 to Nov 15. The operating hours are from 10am to 10pm daily.

With the year-end holiday season approaching, Dr Wee said, the Tourism Ministry and Tourism Malaysia are looking forward to Singaporeans visiting Malaysia for the annual 1Malaysia Year End Sales (MEYS) on Nov 15 until January 2012.

On new attractions, he said Johor Premium Outlet (JPO), Southeast Asia's first premium outlet centre, is set to open on Dec 11 with more than 80 stores.

On another note, Dr Wee said the Tourism Minister and Tourism Malaysia will also continue to carry out various aggressive promotional efforts to attract more participants to the homestay programme. Last year, the programme attracted close to 196,500 participants, including 49,126 foreigners, generating RM124.4 million in earnings. Singaporeans made up 52.5 per cent of the total foreign homestay tourists.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Every year millions of Muslims journey to the holy land of Mecca to perform the hajj, and this is one of basic tenets of Islam. Also one of biggest tourism event to take place where more than 2.5 million Muslims are gathered in Mecca and Medinah

Hari Raya Aidil Adha is celebrated by Muslims all over the world on the 10th of Zulhijjah (the last month of the Islamic calendar) every year, to mark the end of the hajj pilgrimage.In Malaysia, it is commonly known as Hari Raya Haji or Hari Raya Korban. The word “Korban” means sacrifice and this is significant to the celebration as it also commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to sacrifice his son Prophet Ismail (PBUH)as an act of obedience to Allah S.W.T.

According the Holy Quran, as Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) was about to strike his son Prophet Ismail (PBUH), when God intervened and replaced his son with a ram. It was merely a test of faith after all.

Therefore, during Hari Raya Aidil Adha, it is customary for families or local communities to slaughter animals such as lambs, goats, cows, bulls or camels. The meat of the animal will be divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the other third is given to the poor and needy

We wish all Muslims Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha and have a joyous celebration.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Sarawak is the only state so far having excellent networking arrangement amongst all tourism stake holders. A good example is that the Tourism Ministry, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Federation of Sarawak Tourism (STF) will be working together to promote interesting local products through attractive documentations and promotions.

Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talib Zulpilip said the state had the potential to contribute to the expected 36 million tourists arrival to the country by year 2020. "We have a lot of natural attractions that are potentially tourist destinations. Sarawak also has its own unique natural settings that are suitable for activities like kayaking, mountain climbing, and jungle trekking, which are still unknown to foreigners,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

He was responding to Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen’s statement on the 36 million foreign tourists expected to arrive here in 2020 with estimated RM168 billion revenue. However, he said air transportation issues that the state is currently facing should be adressed immediately as they would affect the state government’s efforts to reach that figure.

STF’s president Audry Wan Ullok said they would cooperate with STB and Tourism Ministry to identify new tourism products that had the potential to attract international toursits. She explained that tourists from peninsular Malaysia were the main contributors to the state’s tourists arrival and as such, there was an urgent need to resolve the air accessibility issues. “To increase foreign tourists arrival to the state, Kuching International Airport (KIA) should be the hub for international flights in the region especially to enable direct flights from Singapore,” she said.

STB’s chief executive officer Dato Rashid Khan stressed they were on the right path based on an overwhelming tourists arrival of 16.5 per cent. “Our role is to promote and market Sarawak tourism products, not only focus on luxury tourism but also eco-tourism because it have been identified to improve the income of local community,” he said.

According to him, from January to August this year, there was an increase of 26.09 per cent tourists arrival, which was about 1.84 million, compared to 1.49 millon in the same period last year. As for tourists from peninsular Malaysia, he said the state recorded 4.2 per cent which was 918,747 this year compared to 882,285 last year. “Over all, the number of foreign and domestic tourists arrival to the state is 2.41 million from January to August this year, compared to 2.06 million last year,” he said.

Friday, November 4, 2011


THE MALAYSIA Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has embraced a new brand identity, Asia’s Business Events Hub, which will position the country as an entry point for international organisations wanting to engage with Asian businesses and professionals through events. A revamped standalone website showcasing MyCEB’s new branding, as well as a Quick Response (QR) code which directs smartphone users to the website when scanned with a QR reader, were unveiled at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Ho Yoke Ping, general manager-sales & marketing, MyCEB, said that the new branding and website would enable the bureau to clearly demarcate its role, and distinguish its efforts from Malaysia’s broader tourism promotion initiatives. “The focus of this major branding exercise is to communicate our value proposition to the market, and to give MyCEB and Malaysia a competitive edge," she said. "Our ultimate goal is to position Malaysia as one of the top five destinations in Asia-Pacific for international meetings, and to hit a target of 2.9 million business arrivals by 2020.”

Ho added that the website would be constantly updated to inform meeting planners of Malaysia’s latest MICE-related service and facility offerings, and would be linked to a customer relationship management (CRM) system developed in partnership with Simpleview, a US-based CRM solutions provider.

Other MICE initiatives due to be rolled out include an Association Ambassador Programme, which will enable MyCEB to identify and train potential local hosts for international conventions, and a certification programme for Malaysia’s MICE industry stakeholders, which is still under development.

MyCEB will also be increasing its sales representation in Europe, followed by North America, Australia and key markets in Asia. The move will strengthen MyCEB’s bidding activities, promotions, lead generation process and marketing programmes in these markets.

The Ministry of Tourism has allocated a budget of RM50 million (US$16 million) to MyCEB for 2012, half of which will be channelled into the bureau’s existing subvention programme.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Melaka Air will operate domestic services from Malacca to Penang and Kota Baru by year end, the Dewan Rakyat was told after questions about Batu Berendam Airport turining into a white elephant. The government has spent more than RM 200 million to upgrade the airport and presently having only three flights a week to Pekan Baru, Indonesia.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the flights, operated with cooperation of Firefly, will boost Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam.

"The only airline using the airport is Wings Air which operates three weekly flights from Pekan Baru, Indonesia to Malacca since last year," he told Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka) who wanted to know of efforts to enhance the airport and the traffic volume.

Abdul Rahim said the airport handled 21,687 passengers until December last year.

Malacca signed agreements with Asean airlines allowing Melaka Air to operate flights to Asean destinations with unlimited frequency.

"The airport also gives Passenger Service Charge discount of RM26 to international passengers," he added.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


MALAYSIA’s Transport Ministry has finally approved the implementation of increased airport taxes for passengers travelling to international destinations, originally slated to begin on September 15.

Starting November 15, passengers departing from the country’s international airports will pay RM65 (US$23) as passenger service charge – an increase of RM14 (28 per cent).

Passengers leaving from the low-cost carrier terminals in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu will pay RM32, a rise of RM7 (28 per cent).

Airport taxes for passengers on domestic flights remain unchanged.

Meanwhile, new aircraft landing and parking charges imposed on airlines will be implemented in three stages, by nine per cent and 18 per cent a year respectively, in January 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The decision to raise airport fees – first made in 2009 – had not been implemented earlier because of the need for review and to gather feedback from stakeholders, said transport minister Kong Cho Ha, adding that the delay had cost the government RM100 million a year.

The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents, among other organisations, had protested the tax hike as an impediment to travel.

Meanwhile its former Secretary General also World Discovery Travel (M), business development manager, Joseph Xavier, said: “The tax hike is minimal and negligible. It is not a factor which is going to affect the decision to travel.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The Tourism Ministry has denied the Auditor-General's Report 2010 that it overspent on advertisements to a tune of RM270mil.

“Ministry of Tourism Malaysia did not spend more. The report says that the amount of direct buy is more but not the total amount of promotion is more, there's a difference,” Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

The report said the ministry had resorted to direct negotiations instead of open tenders which led to the overpayment of advertising fees.

Dr Ng said with direct negotiations, the ministry could do away with the middleman. She is avoiding the issue here. Direct negotiations means that there will be intermediaries as has been the practice in Malaysia for years and more so in MOT.

"The prices we paid are never above the market price,” she said. We cannot believe this.

"Our promotion budget was the lowest in 2009 and 2010, but the amount of direct [negotiations were] higher because we wanted to go right on and get as much value for money as possible,” she said at the launch of Art Expo Malaysia 2011 here. This is where she contradicts. It is very typical of her to say such things. We have heard it all. There is nothing new here. Same old jazz.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Christie's and Sotheby's hold their big autumn art sales in New York starting next week, with both houses looking to Pablo Picasso to excite a robust market.

The prominence of important works by Picasso, Matisse and other modern masters in the impressionist and modern art sales at Christie's on Tuesday and Sotheby's on Wednesday reflects the healthy appetite this year for big-ticket works, auctioneers said.

A strong market is also expected the following week when the two houses hold their contemporary art auctions.

Simon Shaw, head of the modern and impressionist department at Sotheby's, said the offerings are "slightly bigger in the number of lots, (which) reflects perhaps an increased confidence."

A low estimate of $185 million is expected for the Wednesday sale, led by Picasso's playful and erotic "L'Aubade," estimated at $18-25 million, and Henri Matissse's monumental bronze sculpture of a woman seen from the back, "Nu de dos," estimated at $20-30 million.

In Malaysia, the market has always been a non-starter even with the existence of the Balai Seni Lukis Negara, which is not an auction house. With the involvement of the Ministry of Tourism in the promotion of art tourism, this effort has become quite meaningless to say the least. If art cannot be widely promoted by BSLN what makes MOT think they can. The only difference would be that they have " a lot " of money to spend.

The next question to ask is that will people come to Malaysia to see and art show. The answer will certainly be no.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


To make the point that Formula One is not an elite sport, it's a sport for the whole world with six hundred million people enjoying it and many many thousands of people participate is one thing. But to have the event in India is another.

Formula One is known for its high entry costs and glamorous lifestyle, while seven-time champion Michael Schumacher is estimated as one of the world's richest sportsmen.

The sport's lavish image has prompted some discomfort before Sunday's Indian Grand Prix, held at a brand new, $400 million racetrack in Uttar Pradesh, a state rated as one of the world's poorest regions.

"You can't forget the poverty in India. It's difficult coming here for the first time, you realise there's a big divide between the wealthy people and the poor people," said British driver Jenson Button.

But Force India chief Vijay Mallya said India should not be "bogged down" by the fact that more than a third of its 1.2 billion population live on less than a dollar a day.

"In every country there are the privileged and under-privileged. We have under-privileged people in our country but that doesn't mean the country must be bogged down," Mallya said.

"We must move forward. The Commonwealth Games were held here in India, now it's Formula One. I'm sure there will be several other global events in our country because this is a world-class country in many ways," he added.

Remember the same issues were raised when the Sepang F1 Circuit were being planned and until today incurring heavy loses.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Malaysia and Singapore have expressed commitment to further enhance cooperation in the fields of tourism, education and environment. Both countries noted this during a meeting between Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singapore counterpart Teo Chee Hean at the republic's Ministry of Home Affairs here today.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press conference, both leaders expressed the importance of greater cooperation between the two countries.

Muhyiddin said that today's meeting with Teo was fruitful, very enlightening and significant, particularly in terms of further enhancing bilateral relations. "It is very important for us to ensure that those commitment should continue," he said.

On the Singapore Tourism Board's presentation which he attended earlier, Muhyiddin said: "Singapore has achieved great strides in terms of promoting itself as a very important tourist destination. Malaysia is promoting itself to the rest of the world as well and this is an area that we agreed that we should explore further," he said.

He also spoke of projects by Malaysian government's investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Singapore government's investment arm Temasek Holdings, in Singapore and Johor, saying there was also a need to look into other projects such as in Desaru.

On education, Muhyiddin said among areas of cooperation were in vocational and technical education. "There is a need for us to transform our vocational education system and bring it to much a higher level in terms of qualification, for example at diploma level rather than certificate level," he said.

Muhyiddin said Singapore had good experience in this field and that there were "some models which we believe we can use for our own purpose of enhancing our vocational education."

Meanwhile, Teo said they discussed several issues including measures to improve the inflow of the people between the two countries, covering immigration matters and rapid transit link, as well as projects developed by the the investment arms of the respective countries.

Teo said these projects sent signals "about our commitment between our two countries to strengthen and developed relations between us. There are many things that we can do together in the field of education and of course tourism, environment and many other areas that we can move forward," he added.

Friday, October 28, 2011


The state government is appealing to all hotel operators in the state to comply with the gazetting of the five per cent heritage charge on tourists spending the night in the historical state effective from Sept 1.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the charge imposed would be borne by the tourists and not the hotel operators.

"I appeal to them to give an opportunity to the state government by imposing the charge because I know there are some hotels that are not doing so."

He said this when asked to comment on the report that three hotel associations in the state would not impose the heritage charge because it gave a negative impact as a whole to the state tourism sector, besides being burdensome.

The three associations -- Malaysian Association of Hotels, Malaysian Budget Hotels Association and the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners -- claimed that the implementation of the charge was unreasonable.

"A charge of RM5 out of RM100 for each room is not a big burden because we know that tourists spend RM40 each to enjoy barbecued fish and RM10 at the Taming Sari Tower. They have no problem paying for those items."

The Chief Minister however said no action would be taken against hotels refusing to impose the charge at the moment and local authorities would hold negotiations with them on the matter. This is a kind gesture on the part of the CM and the industry association should consider allowing only hotels with daily room charge of over RM 100 impose this levy.

As we all know heritage charges are imposed in most part of the world designated as a heritage centre such as in China and Cambodia. Airport tax in Cambodia is the highest so far and most of it goes to pay for all the conseration work that are being carried out in Siem Reap and other places there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Like most tourism facilities, they are not friendly to the physically challenged people especially at the KLIA. At the LCCT for example a passenger need to walk at least one kilometer to undergo CIQ process and board their plane.

A group of disabled persons has insisted that the aerobridges were essential at the new KL International Airport 2 (KLIA 2). About 150 of them gathered at the Taman Jaya Park to make known their stand that the aerobridges were essential for safe boarding and disembarkation of passengers with special needs.

Last month, the Cabinet deferred its decision on the installation of aerobridges at KLIA 2 pending further studies on the matter.

Group spokesman V. Muruges­waran said the long walking distance and ramps leading to the planes were difficult to use and unsafe during bad weather, especially for children, pregnant women and the elderly.

“We are willing to pay if there is an additional charge for the aerobridges. What we are angry about is that MAHB (Malaysia Airports Hol­dings Bhd) is not even offering the option. As an international airport, KLIA 2 surely must have international standard facilities,” said Muruges­waran, who is the president of the Selangor and Federal Territory Da­­mai Handicapped Association.

Beauty consultant Cheong Li Wem, 27, said in line with budget airlines’ “pay for what you use” approach, there should be an option on the use of aerobridges. “While able-bodied people should be given the option to board with or without an aerobridge, this facility should be made available to the disabled,” she said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The number of tourists from China has risen from 516,160 during the first half of last year to more than 560,000 for the same period this year, Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit said. Parliamentarian however hoped the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry could conduct a study on the matter of Chinese tourists misusing their social visit and student visas.

Answering Datuk Mohamed Aziz's (BN-Seri Gading) supplementary question at the Dewan Rakyat here today, he said Malaysia's success in promoting its tourism sector in China was evident from the RM2 billion to RM3.1 billion increase in spending by Chinese tourists between January and June of 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Mohamed had wanted to know the figures for the inflow of Chinese tourists and the ministry's efforts in promoting the sector.

"The Ministry is collaborating with the private sector to carry out the 'Malaysia Truly Asia-Luxury Malaysia' campaign to maintain the country as a preferred destination for Chinese tourists by offering quality tour products," he said.

In a related question Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Independent-Pasir Mas) wanted to know the average expenditure of the tourists during their visit and brought up the issue of social problems caused by some of them.

Dawos informed him a Chinese tourist spent an average of RM3,000 during their visit, almost on par with European nationals who spent RM3,500 per person.

Friday, October 21, 2011


The CIMB Asia-Pacific Classic golf championship, to be held at Seri Kembangan's Mines and Golf and Country Resort next week, will help promote Malaysia and its golf courses to the world, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

She said the championship, which offers US$6.1 million (RM19.52 million) in prize money, would be broadcast over United States' golf channels and was expected to yield returns in terms of promotions and advertisements investments worth more than a hundred times more. She said the tournament was also expected to attract more than 30,000 spectators both regionally and globally, as it featured an impressive line-up of 48 world class golfers.

"In order for the government to achieve its target of RM3 billion per week of revenue from the tourism industry by year 2020, the industry players have to move into new playing fields that offer higher yields and long-stay products. So golf naturally falls into that category. We have to let people know that Malaysia is the best place to play golf and that is why the ministry is in support of this championship as it involves the PGA, which is a world renowned brand in golf," she said during the championship's press conference here Thursday.

She said due to the tournament, 365 golf packages (to play golf in the country) had been sold by various operators in countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Australia. "It is RM1.2 million worth of packages sold and I am made to understand that the hotels nearby (the venue) are full," she said, adding that the tournament also gave an opportunity to local golfers to make their mark besides world class golf for local fans to savour .

Among the big names scheduled to compete in the event arer defending champion Ben Crane of the US, Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela), Camilo Villegas Spain), Vijay Singh (Fiji), Angel Cabrera (Argentina) and Stewart Cink (US). Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand and Jeev Milka Singh (India) are among the top Asians in the fray.

Malaysia's challenge will be shouldered Danny Chia and Shaaban Husin, both of whom currently play on the Asian Tour. The tournament will be held from Oct 27 to 30.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Malaysia shines in world tourism, said United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Dr Taleb Rifai.

“I say this without compliment but as a fact. It is now the eighth or ninth best receiving tourist destination in the world, and is likely to be in the top five as the largest and most important destinations by 2020,” he said after presenting Najib with an open letter for the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign yesterday.

The UNWTO is a specialised agency of the United Nations and the leading international organisation in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.

The body was impressed by the commitment shown by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak towards promoting and developing Malaysia's tourism sector.

He said the aim of UNWTO's campaign was to garner support and recognition of world leaders towards the proper growth of global tourism. He added that tourism was currently the third largest global industry responsible for one out of 12 jobs and revenue amounting to US$1.1tril (RM3.41tril) annually.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said UMWTO's initiative augured well in efforts to further develop and promote the nation's growing tourism sector. She added that Malaysia was chosen to chair the UNTWO Commission with regards to the East Asia and Pacific regions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


When a report says that Malaysia today generates 27,000 tonnes of solid waste a day, various questions arise. How bad is this for tourism ?

Is it possible that the initial estimate of 30,000 tonnes a day of solid waste generated in the country has to be revised based on the report?

Secondly, are there enough garbage disposal sites in the country to meet the increase in generated solid waste?

Some people may say this matter has no significant impact on the country's economy and tourism. To them, only activities that spur economic and technological growth deserve attention in the effort to achieve developed status for Malaysia.

However, the fact remains that every industrial activity -- and domestic ones -- contribute to the generation of solid waste.

The Malaysian population is reported to have reached 28.3 million (based on the Population and Housing Census in 2010), where more solid waste will be generated.

But there are still many who believe that the management of solid waste disposal has got nothing to do with them. We as tourism players know that if the country is not kept clean tourists will shy away to other cleaner environment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The Perak government will not demolish the traditional fish landing platforms in Pangkor but will turn them into a tourist attraction, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said today. ​

"The state government have no intention to demolish the platforms but to retain them as a tourist attraction," he told reporters after a meeting with the Pangkor Fishing Industry Association, here. Dr Zambry, who is the state assemblyman for Pangkor, said the meeting cleared the air over the misunderstanding and the platform owners welcomed the proposal.

He said he hoped that the local people would not be easily influenced by certain quarters which raised sensitive issues to find fault with the government.

Also at the meeting, Dr Zambry announced the state government's decision to write off the RM160,000 quit rent arrears of Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan (SRJK) Cina Hwa Lian Pangkor and impose a token sum of only RM10.

Association chairman Beh Cho Huat thanked the menteri besar for resolving the platform and quit rent issues immediately. On another matter, Dr Zambry asked the Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) in Perak to immediately resolve the delayed landing of fish at the Kampung Aceh LKIM complex in Sitiawan which he said had jeopardised the livelihood of about 1,000 Pangkor fishermen.

He said it was regrettable that LKIM gave priority to fishing vessels from Kedah, Penang and Hutan Melintang (Perak), resulting in the fish wholesalers buying the fish landed first at higher prices than that brought in by the Pangkor fishermen.

LKIM should give priority to the local fishermen instead of the vessels from Kedah, Penang and Hutan Melintang which move to Pangkor waters during the season when fish prices are high and use the LKIM complex there to land their catch, he said.
Our favourite Bollywood picks

Monday, October 17, 2011


Sarawak aims to be the ‘Top of Mind’ name for visitors to Malaysia one day. This is the smartest tourist idea so far.

Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said this meant that the state wanted tourists to automatically think of Sarawak when they thought of having a holiday in Malaysia or Borneo. He said this was why the state was constantly looking into new ways of making vacation places more interesting and more attractive to everybody.

To ensure the state achieve this aim, he called on the public and private tourism players to pool their resources and work together to start creating new and innovative ways to promote Sarawak, especially the facilities that it had, the uniqueness in culture, adventure and nature that the players all bank on.

Johari, who is also Housing Minister, said given more tourists were looking for eco-friendly recreation, there was a need for all parties concerned to constantly enhance the state’s offerings by promoting environmentally friendly business practices and activities.

“We have the natural resources in our national parks, beaches and wildlife. What we need to do is to find creative ways to promote and preserve these resources while promoting them to attract more people to visit Sarawak,” he said at the launch of the Easturia Vacation Club at Grand Margherita Hotel here yesterday.

Johari said there was also a need to look into and explore other potential areas to promote the state as a tourist destination. He noted that one key growth area was health and medical tourism, whereby those coming to the state for medical reasons could also take their holiday breaks at the same time.

He added that it also critical that tourism players in both public and private sectors constantly upgrade and enhance the products and services in order to remain competitive in view of the stiff competition from other established destinations such as Phuket, Bali and Singapore.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Message by
Y.B. Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen
The Honorable Minister of Tourism Malaysia

As Malaysians we have much to be proud of, and thankful for. We share a rich cultural heritage, a peaceful existence, and a stable political and economic climate. But more importantly, we live in a beautiful land, endowed with a wealth of remarkable natural wonders that has become the source of awe, admiration and inspiration of people from all over the world. This land is truly blessed.

It is imperative that we do not take our blessings for granted. It is vital that we play an essential role as custodians of this land not only for the benefit of all mankind, but also for our children and future generation. It is time for us to take action. This is not the job for one person or organisation. We all have to take equal responsibility as Malaysians, in an equal and One Malaysia.

My Ministry has established this site with the aim of highlighting and hopefully addressing this decline. It is important that we keep our tourist sites clean, litter free and ever enchanting not only for our visitors, but also for our children. I call on you to help us in our endeavour. Please bring to light the areas that need cleaning by posting photographs on this site. Let us now stand together, with one aim, as One Malaysia, to clean up the mess. Let us “Think Tourism, Act Tourism” towards a clean and green Malaysia.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Tourism players in Sabah want the government to also focus on "eco-lodges", and not just five-star hotels, to attract tourists.

Describing the incentives given to hotel operators to invest in new 4- and 5- star hotels as good news, Sabah Tourism Association (STA) intermediate past chairman Len P Liew said similar incentives should be given to operators of eco-lodges.

"This is good news, but we need more resorts and eco-lodges for nature and outdoors lovers. We need more variety in the market to create a healthy competition, and to capture a more meaningful share of global market."

In the 2012 Budget tabled last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government would continue to assist the private sector in providing more accommodation to attract high-spending tourists.

The government had proposed that hotel operators in Peninsular Malaysia invest in 4- and 5-star hotels. These hotels would be given pioneer status, with income tax exemption of 70 per cent or investment tax allowance of 60 per cent for five years. Similar tax incentives had also been given to hotel operators in Sabah and Sarawak.

STA chairman Tony Chiew said the incentives would encourage hotel operators to invest in new hotels. "Upgrading of basic infrastructure and roads leading to tourist destinations must not be left out."

Friday, October 14, 2011


Budget hotels are mushrooming in the country due to rising demand. But to call these hotels budget boutique hotels are not very correct. Never heard of a budget hotel being a boutique one. A budget hotel is a low cost budget hotel. A good example is Tune Hotels which offer rooms at RM 9 if you book one year in advance. But a boutique should cost us not less than RM 500 a night. These are hotels with rooms less than 100 and built from old conservation buildings.

Malaysian Budget Hotel Association president Datuk Dr Muhammad Nasir Hamzah said: "They are becoming popular among foreign tourists, especially backpackers and locals, and they are becoming the trend of the future. Besides this, green hotels and Islamic concept hotels are also coming up to cater to the niche market."

With rates ranging from RM100 to RM120 per night, they offer an attractive alternative to pricey hotels or budget hotels, popularly called rumah tumpangan (lodging houses), which have poor security and low hygiene level.

There are about 6,000 budget hotels in the country, but only about 1,600 are registered with the association.

He said many budget boutique hotel operators were not registered with the Tourism Ministry. "The operators should get themselves registered to be rated."

Malaysian Tourist Guides Council president Jimmy Leong said domestic travellers and foreign backpackers were in favour of budget boutique hotels. He said the development of such hotels should be encouraged and monitored to ensure that they adhered to safety and health requirements.