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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 www.airasia.com or via mobile.airasia.com (available on GPRS, 3G, EDGE mobile phone or wireless device) from today until Dec 28, for travel from Feb 7 to Oct 10, 2006.
MAKING A POINT: Azmi speaking to reporters in Beijing yesterday with Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi beside him. — APpic
BY HOO BAN KHEE 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.
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.
By MUMTAJ BEGUM 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.