Friday, August 31, 2012

Malaysia celebrates 55 years of Independence today

Today, August 31, Malaysia celebrates her 55th Merdeka (Independence) Day. This year, the celebration is here in Kuala Lumpur. In the image above, you see Malaysians proudly waving the Jalur Gemilang (the Malaysian flag) as they celebrate the nation's 55th Merdeka Day at Dataran Merdeka. (Image is courtesy of IBRAHIM MOHTAR/The Star)

In the background, is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Topped with its copper domes and a 40m high clock tower, it is a major landmark in the city. It serves as the backdrop for important events such as the National Day Parade on August 31 and the ushering in of the New Year.

In the picture, dignitaries and invited guests are seated in front of the building under makeshift canopies.

The Merdeka Day parade, in which 13,000 people participated..

Last night, a large crowd of Malaysians gathered at KLCC to celebrate the country's 55th Independence Day.

The party, which was organised by Petronas KLCC Holdings, showcased performances by local singers Datuk David Arumugam, Soo Wincci and Hafiz, as well as live music, fancy fountain displays and a colourful display of fireworks to mark the celebration.
More from.The Star: Performances and fireworks to usher in Merdeka Day

Google Malaysia even has a Google doodle for this milestone. It depicts the Hibiscus flower, Malaysia's national flower.

(Images, except for the last one. are all from The Star)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Greetings from Malaysia

Best wishes for a Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to friends and readers..

It's often said that KL is the best place to be during a major festival such as Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. This is so because most city-folks are actually migrant workers from smaller towns across the country. During either of these two festivals, the exodus begins a few days ahead of the festival leaving the city quite deserted and relaxed. Roads in and around the city are so much less congested providing a great drive for those still in the city.

If you are planning a visit to KL during these festivals, you would be relieved to know that food is still readily available. Fastfood outlets (McDonald's, PizzaHut, BurgerKing, KFC, et al) are open throughout the festival. Malls and shopping complexes stay open, supermarkets, restaurants too are open for business.

As for hotel accommodations and flights, it is wise to make your reservations ahead of the intended time of travel.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Fair in Kuala Lumpur - Aug 18 to 26, KLCC

If you are a book-lover and are visiting Kuala Lumpur this week, here is an activity you will enjoy, visiting a Book Fair or officially known as BookFest @ Malaysia.

- Publishers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Singapore and Malaysia.
- Millions of books from the latest and best collection of Chinese, English and Malay titles.
- Many fun-filled and exciting activities organised throughout BookFest @ Malaysia.

BookFest @ Malaysia is open from 10am to 10pm daily from 18 - 26 August 2012. Admission is RM 2.50 per ticket. FREE admission is given for students 18 years & below and senior citizens 60 years & above.

For more information, visit Book Fair / BookFest @ Malaysia is back!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Rules for Cigarettes

Source: The Star

Come Sept 1, all discounts in the sale of cigarettes will be banned and only 20-stick cigarette packs will be allowed for sale in Malaysia.

This is part of a new directive issued by the Health Ministry to standardize cigarette pack sizes with RM7 as the minimum retail price.

“All (cigarette) manufacturers will only be allowed to sell cigarettes in a 20-stick pack and every carton of cigarettes may only contain 10 packs each.

More..New rules for cigarettes

Age 60 EPF withdrawal option

PUTRAJAYA: Starting next year, private sector employees who work until the extended retirement age of 60 will have the option to withdraw their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings at the same age.

Under the amendment, the EPF will also compel those who work until the age of 60 to continue to contribute to their EPF savings throughout their term of employment.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said:

"The EPF, after deliberations with the ministry, has decided that a 30% EPF withdrawal can be made at age 50 and the remaining at 55 years old.

"But those who don't take out their savings at 55 can make the full withdrawal at 60 years of age."

Source: The Star..Age 60 withdrawal option after EPF Act amended next year

Monday, August 13, 2012

Smoking ban in Jonker Walk and Jalan Kota

Jonker Walk and Jalan Kota, major tourist attractions in Malacca, have been gazetted smoke-free zones.

Smoking indoors or outdoors including entertainment outlets at the two locations are strictly prohibited.

Smokers risk being fined RM5,000 if caught puffing along the streets in the historic city.

A signboard has been put up next to the Tan Kim Seng bridge near the entrance of Jonker Walk to remind smokers. A bin has been placed below the signboard for disposal of cigarettes. More signboards will be put up along Jonker Walk.

The authorities are in the process of getting permission from the Heritage Department for Jalan Kota to be smoke-free as it is located in the heritage core zone.

Source: The Star..Malacca bans smoking in Jonker Walk and Jalan Kota

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games

In a few hours, the London 2012 Olympic Games will come to a close. The Closing Ceremony promises to be an extravaganza of singing, dancing and silliness - a spectacular party, the best ever the organizers assured.

The Closing Ceremony is scheduled for 9pm BST which works out to be at approximately 4am Malaysian time, August 13. I believe on Astro, ESPN Channel will be telecasting it live. You can also watch it live-streamed on the Official Olympic Channel.

More information here on the Olympics Closing Ceremony.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pandelela Rinong wins an Olympic medal for Malaysia

Malaysia has won a second Olympic medal through 10m platform diver, Pandelela Rinong. Pandelela won a bronze. The other medal, a silver, was won by Lee Chong Wei of badminton.

More on Pandelela Rinong.

Sybas, Pandalela!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Warm welcome home for Lee Chong Wei

Badminton hero, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia's silver medallist Olympian was warmly welcomed home at the KL International Airport yesterday.

Waving flags and banners, over 400 fans gathered at the airport as early as 4.30am to wait for his arrival to show their appreciation for putting up a good fight in Sunday's badminton final.

Among those at the airport were a delegation from the Youth and Sports Ministry, as well as students from Bukit Jalil Sports School who described Chong Wei as their "idol".

Chong Wei thanked everyone for their support "but I am disappointed not to bring home the gold."

More: The Star..Warm welcome home for Chong Wei

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Penang hit by flood

In Penang, thousands of residents in low-lying areas woke up early yesterday to find water had flowed into their homes.

A downpour which started at 3am caused parts of Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Sungai Pinang, Jalan Patani, Jalan Air Itam and Jalan Datuk Keramat to be submerged in water.

Source: The Star

The water rose to knee-deep levels in several areas, and a high tide made the situation worse.

At least 3,000 people, mainly those living in the flood-prone areas of Datuk Keramat and Jalan P. Ramlee, were affected by the flood.

- Flash flood in Penang
- A rude awakening

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cameras for traffic offences

Come September, more than 1,000 cameras will “keep watch” on roads across the country under the Automated Enforcement System (AES).

Eye on the road: A camera is seen in Putrajaya as part of the AES test in over 10 locations.

There will be 566 speed cameras, 265 traffic light cameras and 250 mobile cameras (for places with inadequate infrastructure for installing a camera).

The AES is able to detect those who drive above the speed limit or beat the red light. There will be a 12mb image to indicate the time, date and location of the offence. Once the AES is launched, errant road users will receive summonses within two weeks of the offence being committed “while it is still fresh in their minds,” according to Road Transport Department director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan.

He also said that the police would use the AES to track down criminals and to control traffic.

Source: The Star..Road users under AES watch

Thursday, August 02, 2012

MRT in KL Chinatown - no demolition of lots

MRT Corporation reassured Chinatown traders that it will make good on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s promise not to acquire or demolish any private properties along the iconic Jalan Sultan here for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

Amir Mahmood Razak, its strategic communications and public relations director, told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur that despite the many grouses raised by property owners along the iconic street, MRT Corp is still keen on engaging with them to strike mutual agreements (MA).

A group of Chinatown traders had last month demanded a signed undertaking from Putrajaya to ensure their properties would not be touched during construction of the multibillion ringgit rail line.

The traders complained that although the government had previously promised not to acquire their properties for the project, no one has since offered any confirmation.

As of June this year, the owners of 20 out of 24 properties on Jalan Sultan have agreed to sign Points of Agreement with MRT Corp, agreeing to vacate their premises for six months to facilitate the MRT’s underground works.

Amir added that the traders may not even have to move out of their properties during construction of the MRT underground, despite the initial proposal that they vacate their premises for six months.

A technical team is currently carrying out a survey on the condition of the buildings on Jalan Sultan to determine if they would remain structurally safe for occupation during construction works below.

Continue reading..MRT Corp insists no plans to acquire, demolish Chinatown lots

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