Monday, December 26, 2005

New RM2m attraction at Penang Kek Lok Si

PENANG: The 115-year-old Kek Lok Si Temple in Air Itam here now boasts a new attraction – the RM2mil Chun Thee Bodhisattva Hall.

Situated next to the Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) statue com- plex, the hall was opened yester-day. More than 1,000 devotees and about 80 monks from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia attended the cere-mony.

The hall features a wooden Chun Thee Bodhisattva (18-arm Buddha Bhagavati) statue carved in China.

Read more: New RM2m attraction at Penang Kek Lok Si...The Star>

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Easy step to amend religion in MyKad

If you are one of those affected by the predicament of having
your religion wrongly stated on your My Kad, it is now an easy
step to amend it.

Just fill up a Form A.

Find out more: Easy step to amend religion in MyKad...The Star

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sex education in schools

Guidelines on sex education finalised

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Contraception, HIV/AIDS, abortion, masturbation and sexually-transmitted diseases are just some of the issues addressed in the national guidelines on sexuality education.

The guidelines have been finalised and will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval by next month.

Covering six components – human development, relationships, marriage and family, interpersonal skills, sexual health and behaviour, and society and culture – the guidelines are age specific and meant for preschoolers to adults.

Read more: Guidelines on sex education finalised...The Star

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Flood fury

The yearly monsoon season is anticipated with much fearful
apprehension as it normally comes with hardship and loss to
man and property as a result of flooding. This year, it is
no different.

From news reports today, the flood situation in the northern states seems to be worsening.

Hope the situation improves fast so that people can get back
to their normal life with Christmas barely a week away, school
reopening in two weeks and the Chinese New Year fast approaching
in late January. The cleanup will take much effort. Be strong, people.

UNDER WATER: Aerial view of a partially submerged Jitra and its surrounding areas in Kedah on Monday. - Bernamapic

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mandarin-speaking Immigration Officers

HELPING HAND: Tan’im helping a Chinese tourist fill up a form at the KLIA on Tuesday. He is one of nine Mandarin-speaking officers placed at immigration counters in the airport.

In a bid to improve tourism and to make it easier for Chinese tourists, the government had decided to station Immigration officers who are able to speak Mandarin. This is in effect and has proven to be effective.

A survey of the counters on Tuesday showed traffic to be smooth, with many tourists approaching Li Han Wei who started work as an immigration officer.

According to a Chinese tourist, the officers are a great help, especially so for first-time travellers to Malaysia like him. The Mandarin-speaking officers were able to clarify certain things.

Read story: Helping Chinese tourists
The Star

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ipoh set to become budget carrier hub

The under-used Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh would soon be a low-cost carrier hub with AirAsia introducing flights from Senai to here in February.

According to AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandez, the airline would begin operations on Feb 1, with four Senai-Ipoh flights a week increasing to a daily flight frequency when AirAsia takes delivery of their A320 Airbus by the end of March. The Boeing 737 aircraft would initially be used for the sector.

Fernandez said flights to the airport would boost economic development in the city and its surrounding areas and the airport can be developed into a northern low-cost hub complementing the KL International Airport. The flights would also attract more tourists to the city.

Answering a question, Fernandez said AirAsia may fly to Indonesia, Thailand, Sabah and Sarawak from Ipoh.

Read article: The Star...Ipoh set to become budget carrier hub

AirAsia offers two million free tickets

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia will give away a whopping two million free seats to mark its fourth anniversary.

The offer is for all domestic and regional flights departing from its four hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Senai (Johor), Bangkok and Jakarta.

In a statement here the low-fare airline, which operates over 100 domestic and regional flights in Asia, said it would launch an aggressive advertising campaign simultaneously in eight countries from today.

The countries are Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, China (including Macau), Vietnam, Philippines and Cambodia.

To be eligible for the free seats, bookings must be done online at or via (available on GPRS, 3G, EDGE mobile phone or wireless device) from today until Dec 28, for travel from Feb 7 to Oct 10, 2006.

Read story: AirAsia offers two million free tickets...The Star

Online visa for Chinese nationals

MAKING A POINT: Azmi speaking to reporters in Beijing yesterday with Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi beside him. — APpic

The Star

BEIJING: Chinese nationals wishing to visit Malaysia can make online visa applications and pay the visa fee using credit cards when the system is up in two months, Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said.

He told a packed media conference that this was the latest measure to encourage more Chinese to visit Malaysia. Currently, they would have to submit their applications at consulates located here, in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Kunming.

Azmi said an applicant could expect a response within 24 hours. The successful applicant would be given a number to be presented together with the passport on arrival at KL International Airport.

Those without credit card or online facilities could go through authorised travel agents in their areas.

Azmi led a 14-member delegation to China to assuage Chinese concerns arising from a recent spate of bad press involving Chinese nationals.

He said Malaysia valued Chinese tourists, and incentives, including a US$1mil (RM3.78mil) “Ang Pau” contest, had been announced.

Azmi advised Chinese nationals to go through authorised travel agents so that they would not be cheated or be trapped by human trafficking syndicates.

He said only four job areas in Malaysia were open to Chinese nationals at the moment.

They are: highly-skilled furniture makers; construction workers engaged by Chinese companies doing projects in Malaysia; professionals such as engineers and computers experts under the expatriate group; and students, who are now allowed to work part-time.

“Any other employment is illegal. Do not believe anything else that people may say,” Azmi said.

Azmi said he had apologised for the incidences of rape, robbery and murders involving Chinese nationals, which were committed by criminals.

The cases had been dealt with in accordance with the law, he added.

To a question, Azmi said Malaysian laws did not allow the police to check tourists, unless on suspicion of drug offences.

On the case of a fair skinned woman asked to do ear squats, he said: “This lady could have been suspected of carrying drugs and the squatting was to make her eject any drug hidden inside the body.”

“We still do not know whether she is a Malaysian or foreigner.

“Even if she is an illegal, I will give her a pass to stay in Malaysia so that she can be a witness,” he added.

Source: The Star...Online visa for Chinese nationals

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Third pay TV station to go on air on Dec 26

Yes!! This should give Astro a run for their money. It's healthy
as Astro is like having full monopoly (well almost) and they're
getting so distant as in very difficult to get access to a human.
It's always a recording talking to you when you call.

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: After Astro and MiTV, Malaysians can now opt for a third pay TV station called Fine TV which will begin transmission on Dec 26 in the Klang Valley.

It is offering 18 channels initially. They include SeriAnda (which shows telenovelas bought from around the world), MovieBuff, MusicU and Toon Tuff.

There is also a channel dedicated to karaoke lovers called KTV which offers 2,000 tunes.

Subscribers will have to pay for the programmes they want to watch; the charges begin at 20 sen and rise to RM5.

Full story: Third pay TV station to go on air on Dec 26

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Retirees can take out EPF dividend

An interesting letter I found in The Star on the EPF dividend
is reproduced below:

Retiress can take out EPF dividend
We refer to the letter, "Allow retirees to withdraw annual
dividend" (Sunday Star, Oct 30).

The Employees Provident Fund would like to clarify that there
is already an existing scheme that allows retirees to draw
only their annual dividends and leave the principal amount
with the EPF.

This scheme was introduced in 1982 and is open to all members
who have reached 55 years.

V.K.Chin's Comment article "Don't treat the EPF like savings
account, (The Star, Oct 26) reflects a greater concern for
Malaysians to become more aware of their individual
responsibility to play a role in planning for their retirement

EPF members who want to know more about the organisation, its
benefits and services can visit the website at
or contact our call centre at 03-8732 6000.

Senior Manager, Public Relations,
Employees Provident Fund.
Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, October 30, 2005

MAS raises ticket fares due to higher fuel prices

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will revise its fuel surcharge effective Nov 15 due to the current high fuel prices.

The national carrier said in a statement here that the revised rates for tickets sold in Malaysia had been approved by the Government.

The revised rates are for:

Travel from Malaysia to Europe, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America, West Asia and Africa from US$36 (RM137) to US$50 (RM190) per sector.

Travel from Malaysia to Asia, including Singapore and Brunei, unchanged at US$18 (RM69) per sector.
For tickets sold outside Malaysia, the rates are:

Travel from Europe, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America, West and Africa into Malaysia from US$45 (RM170) to US$50 (RM190) per sector.

Travel from Asia, including Singapore and Brunei, into Malaysia unchanged at US$20 (RM75) per sector.
“The revised surcharge is applicable for tickets issued on or after Nov 15 for travel on or after Nov 15. The surcharge will be collected at the point of ticketing,” the statement said.

However, MAS said, domestic surcharge rates remained unchanged at RM15 for travel between Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak as well as RM7.50 for travel within Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, including the rural air services. – Bernama

Source: The Star...MAS raises ticket fares due to higher fuel prices

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A new 24-hour Park in Ipoh

Ipoh will never be the same again with the new 24-hour outlet,
the Kinta Riverfront Park.

Children enjoying themselves at the playground of the Kinta Riverfront Park

Kinta Riverfront Park has fountains, arches topped with mosque-like domes, a children’s playground and a recreational pool.

The RM4.4mil park is mainly visited by city folk at night after dinner.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Five-year limit for driving licences

PUTRAJAYA: Effective today, the maximum renewal period for driving licences will be five years instead of 10, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said the move was to enable the authorities to act quickly against those who flouted traffic rules and also reduce road accidents.

“It has been a problem for the police and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) to take action against those holding 10-year licences because after flouting the laws, the people are still on the road causing mischief,” he said after a briefing at the JPJ headquarters here yesterday.

Abdullah said more stringent rules have been introduced for learner drivers.

Their temporary licences would be revoked if they break traffic rules.

“Those issued driving licences can renew them annually only if they have one traffic offence while those with a clean slate could renew their licences for two years.

“If their record continues to be clean, they can renew their licences for up to five years,” he said, adding that the stringent measures were not to burden the people but to nurture more responsible drivers.

Source: The Star...Five-year limit for driving licences

Thursday, October 27, 2005

VIP buses to Tasik Kenyir

Good news for tourists and locals alike.

The Star

MORE tourists are expected to visit Tasik Kenyir in Hulu Terengganu following the launch of two bus services from the lake to Johor Baru and Kuala Perlis.

Four super VIP buses costing RM1.6mil have been bought for the purpose by Central Terengganu Development Authority (Ketengah).

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said he hoped the services would get a good response from the public.

“We hope more people from Johor, Singapore, Kedah and Langkawi will visit the scenic man-made lake,” he said after inspecting the buses at Bandar Al Muktafi Billah Shah in Dungun on Sunday.

He said that Express Kenyir had been operating seven buses plying daily from Tasik Kenyir to Kuala Lumpur since 1997.

Ketengah general manager Abdul Ghani Che Man said that more tourists were expected to visit the lake following the Government’s move to declare two off days per week for civil servants.

The service to the two destinations begins today.

The bus from Tasik Kenyir will head to Johor Baru via Kuala Berang, Kuala Terengganu, Dungun and Mersing. The fare is RM39.10 per adult.

The fare from Kuala Terengganu to Johor Baru is RM33.90 per adult.

The second service from Tasik Kenyir to Kuala Perlis will pass through Kuala Berang, Kuala Terengganu, Jerteh, Sungai Petani, Kangar and Kuala Perlis. The fare is RM42.55 per adult.

The fare from Kuala Terengganu to Kuala Perlis is M37.35 per adult.

Source: The Star

The Millennium Monument in Putrajaya

Nation’s history set in stone

The Star

AFTER a two-year wait, the Millennium Monument (Monumen Alaf Baru) in Putrajaya is finally open to the public.

The 68m tall, amber-coloured historical monument in Precinct 2 is uniquely shaped like an obelisk with etchings denoting important periods and milestones in the nation’s history.

Visitors and tourists, eager to get a glimpse of the nation’s history, can now visit the monument via land or via cruise boats operated by Cruise Tasik Putrajaya. The first Millennium Monument stopover cruise begins on Saturday.

Cruise passengers will disembark at the monument, situated by the edge of the Putrajaya Lake, for about 15 minutes. There will be ample photo opportunities as the landmark sits on the Core Island with good view of the Seri Wawasan and Seri Saujana bridges.

Future plans for the waterfront promenade include a cafe, information kiosk and souvenir outlet.

At night, the monument serves as a beacon with strong light projected at 360 degrees and sweeping lights visible from various locations in Putrajaya. The lights also guide the cruise boats.

Source: The Star...Nation’s history set in stone

Pangkor Island

The Foo Lin Kong temple, at the foothill of Sungai Pinang Besar, is a must-see for tourists

Workers at Hai Seng Hin Enterprise Sdn Bhd arranging fish for grilling

The fishing village at Sungai Pinang, Pangkor

FOR centuries, the beauty of Pangkor Island in Perak had enthralled visitors and seamen sailing through the Straits of Malacca who sought refuge there.

Today, the island's natural wonders remain unscarred.

Pulau Pangkor is now a thriving tourist destination where visitors will be charmed by the serenity of her fishing villages and towns.

Read article: Sun and sea, and a little history, too...The Star

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR)

New features are being added to Jalan TAR, like this area dedicated to art

If you are in Kuala Lumpur, do make a trip to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman or popularly referred to by locals as Jalan TAR. Jalan TAR, or Batu Road, as it was known in the 1960s, is still very much the city's shopping destination.

It is a colourful place that is popular for its mix of textiles, fabrics and carpets.

Added to these are the sounds of street musicians playing oldies at its sidewalks.

Old “stalwarts'' like Central Shoe, P. Lal Store, Coliseum, Lee Wong Kee and Tang Ling still make their presence felt as they did years ago.

Central Shoe Sdn Bhd, for instance, on 1.98km is a place to go to for shoppers in search of footwear.

Another familiar name in Jalan TAR is Coliseum, a restaurant that has stood the test of time since 1921. It is busy during lunch hour and is popular for its palatable Western selection.

Another old and familiar outlet is the A&W restaurant, the first fast food chain that opened in 1963.

Coliseum Cinema is a prominent building in Jalan TAR

Picture source: The Star

No points for card payment

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: There is good news for motorists. They can now continue paying for fuel at petrol stations with their credit cards.

The “not so good” news is that they will no longer be eligible for bonus points when they use their credit cards for fuel purchases.

The move was taken to overcome the credit card stalemate between the banks and petrol station owners.

The Petrol Dealers' Association had earlier threatened to stop accepting payment via credit cards if banks refused to reduce high charges that were eating into their profits.

Read article: No points for card payment...The Star

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Prime Minister's wife dies

This is a rare moment of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to the public's eyes as seen here kissing his wife Datin Seri Endon Mahmood upon arriving home from work two days before becoming the Prime Minister. Abdullah sworn in as the 5th Prime Minister on 31 October 2003.

Today is a sad day for Malaysians. A sadder day for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

PM's wife dies after bout with breast cancer

From The Star Newsdesk

PUTRAJAYA: The Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Endon Mahmood died at 7.55 am today at the Prime Minister's official residence here after fighting a long battle with cancer.

Endon, 64, breathed her last about 18 days after returning from treatment for breast cancer in Los Angeles, United States.

She is survived by two children.

Read full story: PM's wife dies after bout with breast cancer...The Star

A place connected to the first British Resident of Perak, J.W.W. Birch

A diorama at the Time Tunnel on the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 when Raja Muda Abdullah(shown here with songkok)and Governor Andrew Clark(seated,right)met onboard the steamship Pluto

A kampung steeped in history

The Star

MENTION Pasir Salak and one will associate this little village, at a remote corner of Perak, as a pivotal piece of the state’s past.

This is where the first British Resident of Perak, J.W.W. Birch, was assassinated – an act which sparked off the war between the British colonial administration and the Malays.

It remains significant in history as the first area where a rebellion was staged against the British rule.

Read full story: A kampung steeped in history...The Star

How to get there

VISITORS can reach Pasir Salak, about 80km from Ipoh, by road.

It takes about 80 minutes via the Ipoh-Lumut Road and visitors will pass through several villages in Bota Kiri.

For a shorter route, visitors can take the Batu Gajah Road and head towards Tanjung Tualang and Kampung Gajah before reaching Pasir Salak in about an hour.

Travelling along this route is also interesting as visitors get to enjoy the scenic view of traditional wooden Perak-styled houses, the padi fields and buffaloes.

Driving is also a breeze on this road as there are fewer vehicles especially lorries, unlike the Ipoh-Lumut Road.

Source: The Star

Friday, October 14, 2005

Greening KL with an orchard park

Another tourist attraction - a new green lung right here in Kuala Lumpur. Not quite like New York's Central Park but no less welcome. Kudos to the Mayor for mooting this idea of an orchard park here in Kuala Lumpur.

Story and photos by CHOW HOW BAN
The Star

INSTEAD of losing greenery to concrete, an unusual development is taking place that will add a new green lung to Kuala Lumpur.

In a recent edition of City Hall's newsletter, City News, Datuk Bandar Datuk Ruslin Hasan said the new green lung, to be created at the site of the former Kampung Delima squatter colony in Jalan Bellamy, Kuala Lumpur, would be called City Orchard Park.

City Hall has erected a signboard to inform the public of the City Orchard Park project

Full story: Greening KL with an orchard park...The Star

Honda counts on new City

By Goh Ee Koon and Keith Hiew
The Star

HONDA Malaysia Sdn Bhd, after introducing its third generation models of City i-DSI and City VTEC cars at a launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, has set a combined sales target of 1,000 a month.

Senior sales and marketing manager Zainuddin Taib told StarBiz the target was achievable within the first month as sales for present i-DSI and VTEC models were 870 units per month, with a ratio of six to four.

Managing director and CEO Yasuhide Mizuno unveiled the prices of the two models, with the 1.5-litre i-DSI at RM84,300 compared with the present model's RM81,888, and the 1.5-litre VTEC at RM89,300 compared with RM84,500.

The price increase is generally due to addition of up-to-date safety and emission-control devices.

Full story: Honda counts on new City...The Star

Mandatory inspections of private cars studied

THE Government is seriously considering enacting laws to make it mandatory for private cars to be sent for regular inspections.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the move by financial institutions to require used cars to undergo inspection at Puspakom before approving loans for them had allowed many cut-and-join cars to be discovered.

“I’m sure with mandatory inspection, we will be able to find more such cars,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

He said mandatory car inspection was a common practice in developed countries and many NGOs had proposed that it be carried out in Malaysia, too.

Cut-and-join vehicles, where two halves are welded together to make a whole vehicle, are not allowed by the Road Transport Department because they are not roadworthy.

Chan said those who bought used vehicles should send them for inspection even if they were not taking loans.

“This will protect them from buying cut-and-join vehicles.”

Earlier, Chan told the Dewan that the number of cut-and-join vehicles discovered by Puspakom rose from 82 in 2000 to 1,502 between January and August this year.

Source: The Star

Credit card issue at a crossroads

The Star

IN every story, there are always two sides to the coin. In the current furore over usage of credit cards at petrol stations, it is looking more like a clash of the titans – banks and petroleum companies – on who should bear more of the credit card charge or discount fee.

Both sides are looking at each other – who is making more money and, therefore, would be in a better position to bear more of the costs.

For a fact, the bankers are literally up in arms over this. Their main contention is they have invested heavily in the migration to chip cards and other related technology. They also pay for loyalty programmes and fund customers.

Both the banks and petroleum companies have shareholders to take care of. It would be equitable if both parties can come up with a compromise in the interest of corporate responsibility.

A follow-up meeting between all parties concerned is scheduled for next week with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. In response to a StarBiz query, the Shell Malaysia retail division said: “Shell would like to reassure the Malaysian motoring public that customer convenience and service standards at Shell retail stations nationwide remain optimum and will not be compromised.’’

The bankers said they were still committed in providing convenience to customers but just wanted to see some adequate returns.

Read full story: Credit card issue at a crossroads...The Star

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Deepavali, a Hindu festival, is just around the corner. It's on November 1 to be exact. So if you're looking to buy clothes and other good stuff, why not head over to Klang to Little India as it is called.

So crowded is Little India during this period that there is hardly enough room to walk easily

Little India abuzz again

Photos by K.K. SHAM
The Star

There are sarees, salwar kameez, kurta, ghara cholis, children’s clothing, jewellery, Indian food, sweets and handicraft of various kinds.

The street in Jalan Tengku Kelana is filled with the sound, aroma and colours of Deepavali.

The heady smell of curry powder permeates the street, mingling with that of incense sticks and flowers, especially Jasmine.

Read article: Little India abuzz again...The Star

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prepaid phone user registration begins

PENANG: The registration of prepaid cellphone users in the country has begun.

The exercise started here on Oct 1 and 2, with the registration of new prepaid account holders under a three-month pilot programme.

The programme kicked off with a two-day roadshow in Plaza Gurney here, hosted by the country’s three cellular service providers – Maxis Communications Bhd, Celcom (M) Bhd, and DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd.

A similar event will be held at the Mahkota Parade in Malacca on Oct 8 and 9.

Existing prepaid users in every state are encouraged to register now, although actual nationwide registrations will only begin in January, next year.

To register, go to any authorised service centre, agent or dealer with your phone and identity card – or some other official document of identification – and fill up a form.

The Government is making it compulsory for users to register in order to prevent abuse of prepaid cellphone accounts.
Source: The Star

Friday, September 30, 2005

Malaysia picked to host ‘Fear Factor’

DARING ATTEMPT: The South African production centre stunt director Francois Grobelaan replacing a Fear Factor flag with the Jalur Gemilang at the KL Tower on Thursday.The stunt was part of the launch of the Asian version of the reality show.

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been chosen to house the first Asian production centre for the popular stunt-challenge reality television programme Fear Factor.

The centre was set up this month by local media company Juita Viden to produce Fear Factor, which is licensed by Endemol, the world's largest format creator for television.

The centre will produce the Asian version of the show for Malaysia and other countries in the region.

Currently, it is shooting the first season for Malaysia, Indonesia and India.

Read full story: Malaysia picked to host ‘Fear Factor’

Good news for Petaling Jaya

Petaling Jaya will be declared a city next March
Read the good news from The Star:

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya will be made a city next March, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo said Friday.

Petaling Jaya will be the second municipal council in Selangor to be given the city status after Shah Alam.

Shah Alam was made a city on Oct 10, 2000.

The MPPJ made an application to the Federal government for Petaling Jaya to be upgraded into a city in August, he told reporters after launching a project to name tree species here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

700 turtle hatchlings freed

The Star

For decades, the beaches of Rantau Abang in Terengganu were famed for being the nesting sites of giant leatherback turtles.

However, the reptiles are in danger of disappearing forever from the beaches because of a significant fall in their population.

As part of efforts to halt the decline in numbers, some 700 green turtle hatchlings aged between one and two days were released on the beach recently in conjunction with National Day celebrations.

Read full story: 700 turtle hatchlings freed

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The buck stops here, Bank Negara tells traders

The Star

PETALING JAYA: “Don’t pass the buck,” Bank Negara has told petty traders, restaurants and retailers in a bid to collect the millions of RM1 coins in circulation before they cease to be legal tender on Dec 7.

Petty traders, restaurants and retailers have been “getting rid” of their RM1 coins by passing it off as change to the public.

Bank Negara, aware of this, held briefings for traders, hawkers and business associations telling them to stop the practice and bank in the coins to help the central bank mop up the coins by the deadline.

The central bank said that the public should refuse to accept RM1 coins as change.

Read full story: The buck stops here, Bank Negara tells traders...The Star

Related story: Bank Negara to withdraw RM1 coin from Dec 7

Monday, September 12, 2005

Get ready to Stomp

Yeh, get ready to Stomp.

All eyes will be on Istana Budaya’s concert hall foundations tomorrow night as the West End musical Stomp’s makes its explosive debut in Malaysia. Stomp, regarded as the loudest musical on Earth, cranks up the volume at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 13 to 25 – and this wacky show has the rocking pedigree to shake any venue to the ground.

After a thrilling weeklong run of sold-out shows at Hong Kong’s Academy of Performing Arts – Lyric Theatre, which ended yesterday, it’s now the turn of local theatregoers to brace themselves for impact.

All eyes will be on Istana Budaya’s concert hall foundations tomorrow night as the West End musical Stomp’s makes its explosive debut in Malaysia. Stomp, regarded as the loudest musical on Earth, cranks up the volume at Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur from Sept 13 to 25 – and this wacky show has the rocking pedigree to shake any venue to the ground.

After a thrilling weeklong run of sold-out shows at Hong Kong’s Academy of Performing Arts – Lyric Theatre, which ended yesterday, it’s now the turn of local theatregoers to brace themselves for impact.

Source: The Star

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Whopping RM1.5b remains unclaimed


KUALA LUMPUR: A whopping RM1.5bil belonging to people who have forgotten about their money, lost their passbooks or died, is waiting to be claimed from the Registrar of Unclaimed Monies.

The money is mainly from savings accounts, fixed deposits and dividends that had been left dormant for seven years in financial institutions. These are submitted to the Accountant-General, who is also the Registrar of Unclaimed Monies.

Read full story: Whopping RM1.5b remains unclaimed...The Star

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Move to promote hibiscus flower

Yes! Finally, some action is being taken. I have often wondered why the authorities have not been promoting the growing of our national flower, the hibiscus. Being the national flower, shouldn't we see more of this flower? With the many varieties and colours, they would certainly brighten up the place.

Read article...The Star

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bank Negara to withdraw RM1 coin from Dec 7

A collector's item from Dec 7, 2005.

PETALING JAYA: The RM1 coin will be withdrawn from circulation from Dec 7.

A Bank Negara statement yesterday confirmed that the coin would cease to be legal tender from that date.

“The public can exchange the coins at face value without any charge at all commercial banks from Sept 7 to Dec 6.

“The main branches of Bank Simpanan Nasional and Bank Negara branches at Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu will also provide such services,” the central bank said in the statement, adding that the RM1 banknote would continue to be legal tender and remain in circulation.

Details are available at Bank Negara's website,, or by contacting the currency management and operations department at 03-2698 8044 ext 7442/7417.

Source: The Star

Monday, September 05, 2005

Fraser's Hill

One of Malaysia's popular hill resorts is Fraser's Hill. I have gathered below a few sites that will give you a better picture of the resort.

Fraser’s Hill, named after a Scottish trader, is a quiet and cool resort that retains colonial charm. Fraser's Hill offers visitors refreshing cool mountain air, an abundance of luxuriant vegetation, peace and tranquility.

About one and a half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, passing the town of Kuala Kubu Bharu, then drive along a winding stretch right up to the Gap, which is the base of the resort. From here it is 8 km drive to the top of Fraser's Hill by scenic road.

By Bus:
Regular bus services ply from Pudu Raya Bus Terminal, Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Kubu Bharu then to Fraser's Hill. From Kuala Kubu Bharu, the Fraser's Hill bus service operates twice daily -
Uphill at 8am and 12noon and Downhill at 10am and 2pm.

Taxi's are also available from Pudu Raya Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur.

Fraser's Hill nestles quietly at 1,524 meters above sea level, slightly to the north of the Genting Highlands and also in Pahang. The beauty of Fraser's Hill is based primarily on its cool mountain air, its abundance of luxuriant vegetation, and its peace and tranquility--all of which have made it a favored destination for birdwatchers.

While there are many other attractions to be found here, they are all pleasantly complementary to Fraser Hill's tranquil charms. There are jungle trails, waterfalls, and flower nurseries, a very pleasant 9-hole golf course, and a riding stable. Other facilities include a children's playground and a roller skating rink.

For accommodation, Fraser's Hill has a range of hotels, chalets and colonial bungalows to suit one's preferences and budget. The resort is about an hour and a half away from Kuala Lumpur. The road to the hill resort winds for about 35 km after the Gap. Source...

The architecture of the older buildings are essentially Georgian as it was meant to be a cool retreat from the humidity of the lowlands for the earlier British community when Malaysia was still a colony of the British empire.

Today, it is still a favoured destination for anyone wishing to escape from not only the humidity but also the hustle and bustle of city life. Fraser's Hill is truly an idyllic place for one to rest and to be away from it all.

At the foot of Fraser's Hill is the Gap - a colonial resthouse and one of the remaining few in Malaysia. A short rest at the Gap Resthouse is a welcome relief..for those who suffer greatly from motion sickness.. A chance to stretch your legs, take big gulps of fresh air and smaller gulps of coffee at the restaurant does wonders. One of the last remaining Resthouses built during the heydays of good old fashioned, unhurried travelling, the Resthouse is a well preserved relic of colonial architecture. Source...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Perlis a paradise for budget shoppers

The Star

KANGAR: Perlis is a paradise for budget shoppers as it is the state where some of the cheapest food and products are found.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said goods, food and fruits were cheap in the state, especially those sold along the border with Thailand.

"....1kg of ikan bilis at Padang Besar is sold at RM7 compared to as much as RM50 in Kuala Lumpur,..."

The area has various attractions, including the state's harumanis mango farm, the 18-hole Putra Golf Club, a newly established vineyard, a herbal park, a paintball sports ground, and a snake park.

Read article: Perlis a paradise for budget shoppers...The Star

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Underwater World Langkawi (UWL)

Yet another attraction in Malaysia. It's the Underwater World Langkawi. Look Ma, penguins.

Read article: Penguins catch Merdeka mood...The Star

The Wondrous Cave - Gua Tempurong, Perak

The interior of Gua Tempurung is an awesome sight

One of the two unique formations found inside the cave

Malaysia has much to offer nature-lovers, one of the attractions is the caves. The pictures above are those of Gua Tempurong found in Perak, Gopeng to be exact.

PERAK is known for its relatively unexplored caves filled with magnificent formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

One such cave is the Gua Tempurung in Gopeng, about 25km south of Ipoh.

The place is popular with local and foreign tourists alike. More details from The Star...

New spot for Arab tourists

Dancers performing during the launch

TOURISTS and visitors from the Middle East can expect to be given the red carpet treatment and be greeted with open arms by Malaysians.

The latest effort to make them feel at home is the opening of Ain Arabia, an enclave in the middle of Bukit Bintang.

Read article: New spot for Arab tourists...The Star

48th National Day celebration

Malaysia's 48th birthday celebration at the Boulevard in Putrajaya and key towns across the country showcased the nation's rich cultural heritage and a promising future in the hands of its vibrant young people. In the federal administrative centre, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Prime Minister were among the hundreds of thousands of people who watched the grand parade of singers, marchers, floats and aerial acrobatics.

Related articles:
Celebrations impress foreigners

Most Malaysians flunk Tunku test

Much achieved since 1957, but young take things for granted

Source: The Star

‘Pledge love for nation’

This is a good message to all Malaysians.


Globalisation and the spiralling price of oil are among the greatest challenges Malaysia has faced, the Prime Minister said here today.
"The kinds of challenges we are facinGlobalisation and the spiralling price of oil are among the greatest challenges Malaysia has faced, the Prime Minister said here today.g today are entirely different and greater than what we faced 30, 40 or 50 years ago," Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a message published in the Merdeka Parade souvenir booklet.

"We have to be dynamic to withstand the challenges posed by globalisation, liberalisation as well as global pressure, like the increase in oil prices and environmental pollution."

He said it was crucial that the country’s unity and harmony be maintained.

"Let us renew our pledge to be citizens who truly love and care for the nation, not expecting to gain from it but willing to sacrifice for it," he said.

Source: NST

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Chelsea sport Malaysia brand

PETALING JAYA: Look for the Tourism Malaysia logo whenever you watch Chelsea play at its Stamford Bridge stadium, as England's top football club has endorsed Malaysia as the Official Travel Destination.

For the current English Premier League season, Tourism Malaysia will enjoy exclusive visibility at the stadium and in Chelsea Football Club's electronic and print media for all 19 home games.

The Malaysia Truly Asia logo will also be displayed on the press conference backdrop at the venue before and after each home match.

Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad said Chelsea has become one of the biggest football clubs in the world, with a growing worldwide fan base of some 20 million.

Chelsea serves as an attractive platform to market the Malaysia Truly Asia brand and the potential is vast,” he said in a statement.

The collaboration serves as good news to local Blues fans, especially the Chelsea Supporters Club Malaysia.

“It's absolutely brilliant. Simply fantastic, especially with their amazing run in the English Premier League,” said Tang Suet Nei, the club's secretary.

“The club will also be able to widen its fan base as we only have 300 odd members at the moment,” she added.

Source: The Star

All set for record turnout

MULTI-RACIAL FLAVOUR: Schoolchildren from various backgrounds waving the Jalur Gemilang during the rehearsal in Putrajaya.

PUTRAJAYA: The stage is set for the administrative capital to host tomorrow's National Day parade where more than 36,000 participants will fill every inch of the 4km Putrajaya Boulevard.

It should be the biggest procession ever held in the history of the annual parade.

This is the second time that the parade is being held here. Kuantan hosted last year's parade.

A full-dress rehearsal was held yesterday watched closely by Information Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

Read article: All set for record turnout

Also read:
Foreign students elated at being able to take part
Special treat for Genting visitors

Friday, August 26, 2005

RM100 a month childcare centres

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: For as little as RM100 a month, low-income parents can soon send their young children to community childcare centres while they go to work.

The Government has agreed to set up the centres via smart partnership with the private sector and local community.

The move is to make quality childcare accessible and affordable for the low-income group, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister said the Government would provide a launching grant to set up the centres and subsidise the fees for urban families earning below RM2,000 a month and rural families earning below RM1,200.

Abdullah said this in a speech read out by his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the opening of the Women Summit 2005 yesterday.

As a start, a grant of RM1.19mil will go towards the setting up of 10 childcare centres, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

Each centre can accommodate 30 children aged four and below.

The monthly fees per child is RM280 but part of the grant will be used to subsidise RM180 for each child.

This means eligible parents need to pay only RM100 per child.

Read rest of story...The Star

Friday, August 19, 2005

Royal Selangor Pewter

Royal Selangor Pewter is well-known worldwide for its
pewterware. Tourists to Malaysia are often taken by their
hosts to the factory to pick up gifts to bring home.
An organized tour of the production process gives visitors
and idea of how the items are made.

If you happen to be in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, you may
want to drop by the Royal Selangor Pewter factory for their
warehouse sale which is from August 19 thru 21, 10am to 5pm.
Discounts of up to 80%.

The factory is located at 4, Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya,
53300 Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pedu Lake drying up

CATCH OF THE DAY: Fisherman Din Ishak, using his 'serkap' to catch fish at Pedu lake recently. Several parts of the lake has dried up. The puddles of water left are
laden with fish.
NST Pix by Shahrizal Md Noor

There was the haze last week and now we're facing the possibility of a drought due to lack of rainfall. The Pedu Lake area is a tourist destination with hotel resorts circling it. The picture above does not project a welcoming sight.

Compare this picture with the one above. Pedu Lake is a 75sq km man-made lake.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Security update for Touch ’n Go users

From The New Straits Times
17 August 2005

Security update for Touch ’n Go users

Touch ’n Go users are required to update their cards for better
security features and to register their details beginning Thursday.

In a statement today, Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd said it would launch
"The Winning Touch" campaign, which involved the mandatory Touch
’n Go security update, a user registration exercise and a contest.

The campaign will run until Dec 8.

Rangkaian Segar chief operating officer Swinder Grewal said the
update involved changing the security key of the smartcard chip
embedded in Touch ’n Go cards.

Users are required to bring their cards to any Touch ’n Go counter.

For card security updates, purchases and user registration,
customers can visit Touch ’n Go counters located at all highway
toll plazas and selected Petronas stations.

Swinder said updates could also be done at "Tambah Nilai" lanes.

The company would also open mobile counters at major shopping
complexes and highway rest areas.

Registration forms can be obtained at these counters or through

Monday, August 15, 2005

Shopping in Johor Baru

Enough of news on Kuala Lumpur for now. Let's look at
other parts of Malaysia. How about Johor Baru and the
shopping there in view of this month being the month of
the Mega Sale throughout the nation.

Johor Baru is the second most developed city in Malaysia,
after Kuala Lumpur and it has the third most successful
shopping complex in Malaysia after Suria KLCC and
Mid Valley Megamall.

Read story JB City Square a pride of 2 nations
The Star

More on Johor, the Southern Gateway

Endau Rompin National Park

Kuda Kepang

Pulau Tinggi

Goodbye haze, welcome rain

Glad that the haze is gone. As the Beatles song goes "Here comes the sun" is so apt.

Dark Skies: Heavy rain fell in various parts of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya on Sunday afternoon. Many Malaysians finally had the chance to breathe fresh air after putting up with the severe haze the past week.

Goodbye haze, welcome rain
The Star

Dark Skies: Heavy rain fell in various parts of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya on Sunday afternoon. Many Malaysians finally had the chance to breathe fresh air after putting up with the severe haze the past week.

PETALING JAYA: Many Malaysians finally had the chance to breathe fresh air after putting up with the severe haze the past week.

Rain in several states helped wash away the smog and brought much-needed respite to the people who didn't mind setting aside their face masks for umbrellas.

Heavy rain fell in various parts of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in the afternoon, lasting two hours.

RAIN REVELRY: Syahmi Shaari, 7, and his younger sister Nur Sabrina Shaari, 5, having fun in the rain in Petaling Jaya at 2.30pm, yesterday.— Starpic JOEL CHAN

FLASH FLOOD: Cars moving along a section of Jalan Datuk Abu Bakar which was flooded at 3pm yesterday following a downpour in several parts of the Klang Valley. — STARpic by NG KOK LEONG
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