Saturday, June 30, 2012

From July 1, food outlets without Jakim halal logo risk fine, jail

From The Star..

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting July 1, all food outlet operators who are still using and displaying halal logo not issued by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) or State Religious Council (MAIN), will be liable to a fine and imprisonment.

Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said a corporate organisation still using the halal logo from other sources could be fined with an amount not exceeding RM200,000 for the first offence and not exceeding RM500,000 for the second or subsequent offence.

For a non-organisation, a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or a maximum jail term of three years, or both, can be imposed upon conviction, he said in a statement here Friday.

He said for a second or subsequent offence, they could be fined an amount not exceeding RM250,000 or maximum jail term of five years, or both, upon conviction.

"Starting Sunday, Jakim will not hesitate to take action against food outlets and premises which do not have Jakim or MAIN halal logo," he said.

Othman also reminded the food outlet operators that the usage of halal logo or words like 'ditanggung halal' (halal assured), 'Muslim food', 'Ramadan buffet', as well as symbols that could confuse the Muslims, was prohibited as stipulated under the Trade Descriptions (Definition of Halal) Order 2011, which had taken effect since Jan 1, this year.

He also called on members of the public with information about the abuse of halal logo to lodge a report to Jakim to enable further action be taken. - Bernama

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Raise in traffic fines

Vehicle-drivers may want to take note of the amendment to the Road Transport Act 1987 that was tabled for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

From The Star:

The maximum fines for three traffic offences were proposed to be increased because such violations caused many road deaths, said the Road Transport Department (JPJ).

JPJ deputy director-general Datuk Ismail Ahmad said Tuesday the three traffic offences - driving without a licence, exceeding the speed limit and ignoring traffic signals - also resulted in many cases of injuries and damage to public property.

The traffic violations were compoundable. The offender can either pay the compound or go to court. If he chooses to pay the compound, the total fine cannot be above RM300, according to Datuk Ismail.

He added that the payment of the compound was based on the principle of "the more you delay, the more you pay."

"For example, if a person does not display his vehicle registration number according to requirements, he only spends RM100 if he pays within 15 days after the summons is issued. If he pays within 15 to 30 days, then he needs to fork out RM150," Ismail said.

By encouraging traffic offenders to pay compounds, Ismail said the congestion and backlog of cases in court can be reduced.

Source: JPJ: Increase in fines proposed as violations caused many road deaths

Related articles:
- Proposal to double maximum fine to RM2,000 for those who drive without licence
- Kong: RM2,000 fine for traffic offence not excessive

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plenitude Penang International Dragon Boat Festival 2012

If you happen to be visiting Penang this weekend, an event not to be missed is the annual Dragon Boat Festival at Teluk Bahang Dam from 9am to 6pm. Yes, this popular and exciting event, The Plenitude Penang International Dragon Boat Festival, is back again in Penang, for the 33rd time.

Scheduled for June 30 and July 1, this year's event will see 14 international teams competing. Teams from South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and New Zealand have confirmed their participation, as well as 13 Malaysian teams.

The public is welcome to witness the race at the beautiful Teluk Bahang Dam.

As for public transportation, Rapid Penang busses travelling to Batu Feringgi will extend their route up to the dam from 8.00am to 6.00pm during these two days.

If you are visiting, no worry about food as you will be able to purchase meals at the site using food-coupons which will be sold by the organiser during the event. A purchase of a minimum of RM10 worth of coupons will entitle you to enter in the lucky draw and stand you a chance to win a Grand Prize of a cruise to Phuket worth RM 4500, hotel stays, 50 Swork sunglasses worth RM799 and other great prizes!

That's not all. In conjunction with the festival, a photography competition will also be held for shutterbugs. Those with the best photos of the race will be awarded RM800 for first prize, RM500 for second prize and RM300 for third prize. Photo submission date is to be by 15 July 2012.

A workshop will be held for participants of the race on 29 June, from 10am to 6pm at Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel and later at Teluk Bahang Dam. An expert coach from The Philippines will be conducting the workshop covering rowing techniques, followed by a Water Safety Awareness Course by a qualified trainer. Each participant team can send two representatives to the workshop.

Source: The Star..Bill tabled to make it compulsory for franchisors to register business

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bill tabled to make it compulsory for franchisors to register business

If you are a franchisor in Malaysia, this one is for you.

From The Star:

KUALA LUMPUR: An amendment to the Franchise Act 1998 was tabled to make it a requirement for franchisors to register their businesses before they can operate.

This move was proposed in the Franchise (Amendment) Bill 2012, tabled for the first reading by Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Rohani Abdul Karim (BN - Batang Lupar) at the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

Currently, the Act does not state that franchisors must register their business with the Registrar of Franchises before they can start operations.

It only states that franchisors must register their franchise with the Registrar before he can make an offer to sell the franchise to any person.

Continue reading..Bill tabled to make it compulsory for franchisors to register business

Air Asia X flights from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing

There is no denying that with Air Asia coming into the picture, Malaysians and Asean folk alike travel a lot more. Holiday travel has escalated to a whole new level with the advent of cheap tickets and increased flight frequencies.

For instance, flying to Beijing is now so convenient, Asia Asia X flies to Beijing four times a week from Kuala Lumpur and soon there will be daily flights as announced by Air Asia X CEO, Azran Osman Rani.

AirAsia Group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, announced recently the setting up of the airlines’s regional operations in Jakarta to help solidify the low-cost carrier’s position as an Asean airline in its future dealings with China, according to Azran.

Indonesia and China are two very huge markets with a 600 million and 1.3 billion population, respectively.

Source: The Star..CEO: AirAsia X made right move in stopping KL-Tianjin route

Monday, June 25, 2012

Companies to get 100% tax rebate on expenses for holding Family Day events

Good news for private sector companies which hold Family Day gatherings and events.

From The Star..

KUALA LUMPUR: Private sector companies will get a 100% tax rebate on expenses to hold their 1Malaysia Family Day celebrations in conjunction with the national-level celebration in November this year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib, who assumed the responsibility of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry in April, made the announcement in Parliament Monday, saying this was part of the ministry's move to further strengthen the family institution.

"I am glad to announce that November has been fixed for the national-level 1Malaysia Family Day celebration this year.

"Private companies that hold events to mark the celebrations would be given 100% rebate on expenses incurred to organise their respective events," he said, when answering a question raised by Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) in Parliament.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No change to EPF withdrawal rule in new retirement age Bill

Employees are still eligible to withdraw all their EPF savings upon turning 55 as the current rule is still in place.

Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, said no change had been made to that rule under the Minimum Retirement Age Bill tabled in Parliament last week.

The Minimum Retirement Age Bill raises the minimum retirement age for the private sector to 60 years, but the move has caused concern among contributors that the withdrawal age will similarly be raised.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lynas, rare earth plant, awarded temporary licence

Source: The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parliamentary Select Committee on the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant has given its approval for the company to be awarded a temporary operating licence (TOL) after finding that it has met all the requirements.

At the same time, the PSC made 31 recommendations that are concerned with the safe and transparent running of the plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Continue reading The Star..Lynas plant gets green light

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Haze situation in Malaysia - June 17

Red balloon: A boy playing in the late after noon with the sun clearly seen as a red ball near Sungai Buloh on Friday - The Star.

Read about Haze situation in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia - June 17

Friday, June 15, 2012

Malaysia allows qualifications of 820 institutes from China

Certainly a step in the right direction as currently, Malaysia does not recognise academic qualifications from institutions of higher learning in China..

The Star reported that:

The Government has agreed to recognise the academic qualifications of 820 institutions of higher learning in China.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung said the decision was based on the Malaysia-China Mutual Agreement inked last April 28.

He said under the agreement, Malaysia has submitted a list of 64 institutions for recognition by the Chinese government.

Haze is back in Malaysia

The haze is back over the city of Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas. Many parts of Peninsula Malaysia are also recording unhealthy air quality.

The picture you see here is one of Klang town, a town some 32km west of Kuala Lumpur. Currently, Kuala Lumpur is also shrouded in haze but on a clear day, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur would be a sight to behold.

More on The Haze is back in Kuala Lumpur - unhealthy air quality

Image source: The Star

KL among top five cheapest cities to visit

The iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

If you are a foreigner and planning to travel to Malaysia, have I got good news for you.

According to TripAdvisor's latest edition of its TripIndex published on Wednesday, Kuala Lumpur is among the top five cheapest cities in the world to visit.

A night out in the Malaysian capital that includes a four-star hotel room, taxi fare, a cocktail and dinner will set you back US$194.43 on average.

TripIndex found Hanoi ($84.89) to be the most affordable city, followed by Beijing ($159.05) and Bangkok ($161.90).

Budapest is the cheapest European destination on the list, where a night out in the Hungarian capital will set you back $193.78 on average, making it slightly cheaper Kuala Lumpur.

The TripIndex compares the price of a night out in the most popular tourist destinations around the world for the summer of 2012.

The average costs mentioned cover two cocktails, dinner for two at a restaurant, taxi fares and a night for two at a hotel.

European cities are the most expensive, with London coming in at $500 ($361.64 for accommodation and $82.61 for dinner), followed by Norwegian capital Oslo ($499.91), Zurich in Switzerland ($485.82) and Paris.

A night out in Paris, which this week MasterCard forecast as the second most popular city for tourists in the world after London, costs a total of $480.76, broken down in the following way: tourists shell out $306.71 on average for a room in a four-star hotel, $15.06 for a taxi fare (for a 1.8 mile ride), $57.44 for a cocktail for two in the bar of a five-star hotel and $101.55 for dinner (two main courses and one bottle of wine).

In North America, popular tourist destination New York is the most expensive city and sixth most expensive on the overall list at $456.50 ($341.63 for accommodation, $15 for a cab ride, $32 for two cocktails and $67.87 for dinner), while Las Vegas offers the best value at a total cost of $263.

Source: The Star..KL among top five cheapest cities to visit

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Minimum Retirement age Bill tabled for first reading

The Minimum Retirement Age Bill was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday paving the way for private sector employees to retire at the age of 60.

The Bill does not apply to employees under probation, foreigners, domestic servants or those who have already retired at 55 and are subsequently re-employed.

The Bill allows for punishment of employers who “prematurely retire” an employee before 60 with a fine of up to RM10,000.

The Bill also allows the Labour Department director-general to probe into complaints of “premature retirement” by staff and direct for reinstatement and compensation.

The order will be enforced six months after the date of gazette for private sector employees.

Source: The Star..Retirement age Bill tabled for first reading

Related article:
Donald Lim: EPF looking into concerns of those near retirement

Discount cards for foreign tourists

Good news for foreign tourists. Read on..

From The Star:

The Tourism Ministry, in collaboration with the Bukit Bintang-KLCC Tourism Association, is introducing a discount shopping card for foreign tourists in conjunction with the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2012 kicking off from tomorrow, June 15 for 7 whole weeks ending on Sept 2.

Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said they would need to show their passports at the customer service counter of participating shopping centres to obtain the discount cards which are valid for one week.

"If they stay longer than a week, they can renew the card to continue enjoying the discount facilities," she told reporters after launching the shopping carnival here Thursday.

Discounts are being offered at leading shopping malls like Lot 10, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Sungei Wang Plaza and others.

Earlier, in her speech, Ng said that airlines should increase the frequency of flights to Malaysia to enable more tourists to take advantage of the shopping carnival. - Bernama

While in Kuala Lumpur, you will want to shop at the Pavilion, one of KL's popular shopping complexes. Here is how the Pavilion Tourist Reward Card looks like:

How to apply?
Just head over to the Concierge Desk on Level 3 with your passport to apply.

Similar Tourist Reward Cards can be obtained from the respective mall's concierge. Your passport is required for application.

Illegal hobby

In Malaysia, it is illegal to make air rifles, even as a hobby.

A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for making air rifles as a hobby. The air rifles sold for RM300 each are being used for hunting wild fowls.

The High Court judge told him that he was lucky not to receive the death sentence under the Firearms Act 1960.

Justice Mohd Sofian told the accused: "You said this is merely a hobby but this is a dangerous one. If you do get a royal pardon, don't do this again.

"Now that you are going to jail, do learn appropriate skills like shoe-making or sewing. Repent, and accept your takdir (fate)."

Source: The Star..Making air rifles as hobby lands trader in jail for life

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Attraction in Malaysia - Pandas from China

Very soon, Malaysians will get to see pandas in real life following an agreement to be signed between Malaysia and China Wildlife Conservation Association, in commemoration of the countries' 40th anniversary of diplomatic relationship. The agreement will be signed on June 15.

The pandas will be placed in a special exhibit in Taman Wetland, Putrajaya. Malaysians will also get the chance to name the pandas in a nationwide contest.

China news reports in April reported that Malaysia would spend a whopping RM20mil for the upkeep of the pandas.

The budget is expected to cover the construction of an air-conditioned sanctuary for the pandas, importing bamboos from China for their meals as well to train local handlers for the animals.

Source: The Star..Giant Pandas for Malaysia

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rare strong waves hit Penang, Kedah

Also read:
2013, June 14 - Penang freak storm havoc

It was reported that a rare occasion of strong waves with heights up to 3.5m hit the west coast of Penang and Kedah since 1pm Wednesday.

In Penang, not less than 11 houses in Kampung Tsunami Tanjung Bungah, here were reportedly inundated with sea water.

A man watches the waves at Esplanade in Penang - The Star

In Kedah, checks found that most of the fishermen in Kuala Kedah were unable to go to sea the last two days due to the phenomenon worried that the big waves would do damage to their boats.

According to Director of the Forecast Centre of the Meteorology Department, Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, he said the incident was a normal phenomenon and due to the shift of the northeast monsoon winds to southwest winds since May 4.

He said wind speed of up to 50 knots was expected to last until Friday.

Source: Rare strong waves hit Penang, Kedah

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Petrol price in Malaysia - RON97 - June 2012

Sep 2, 2013 Update: Diesel and RON95 petrol price increase
Sep 6 Update:Price of RON97 petrol is now RM3 per litre
July 4 Update: RON97 petrol price reduced by 20sen to RM2.60 from July 5 2012

If you are an owner of a vehicle using petrol RON97, there is good news for you.

The retail price of RON97 would cost 10 sen less at RM2.80 per litre from Thursday (tomorrow or rather after midnight tonight). The dip in price is in line with the dip in average global crude oil prices in May.

In Malaysia, the retail price of premium petrol RON97 is fixed based on a managed float whereby the monthly price is determined according to market forces. The last increase of 10 sen (to RM2.90) was on Apr 3, 2012.

RON95 is still at RM1.90 a litre while diesel is at RM1.80 a litre.

Transit of Venus - June 5 & 6

The above is an image of the Venus Transit seen in Kuala Lumpur through a solar filter at 10:10am on June 5. - Pix by GLENN GUAN/The Star

The National Space Agency (Angkasa) provided a live feed of the Venus Transit on its website until 12.50pm Wednesday.

This rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena could be viewed from many parts of the world on June 5 and 6. This was the last time this cosmic event occurred this century. The next transits of Venus will be in December 2117 and December 2125.

More..Transit of Venus - last this century (5 and 6 June)

A video from NASA

More images from NASA

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Indonesian Maids are back to Malaysia

Today must be a great day for employers or households who have been struggling at home without the much-needed domestic help. Indonesia has approved for maids to come to work in Malaysia again. The first 29 arrived four days ago and are have started work.

Among the conditions of maid employment include

- The employer is now obliged to open a special account for the maids to remit their salary, which will be monitored to ensure there is no manipulation. The bank book will be kept by the maid to assure that the wages are being banked in.

Continue reading..All smiles - The Maids are Here (Back)
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