Friday, July 27, 2012

Opening Ceremony of London Olympics - Watch it LIVE

The day has finally arrived! It's the day of the 2012 London Olympics. One billion people around the world will be watching the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics live. Check out the many channels available you can watch the spectacular 3-hour show live.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics is at 9pm, i.e., approximately 3am Malaysian time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

10 Foods to Try Before You Die

You've heard of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die or 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
.. and many others. Here is a list of 10 Foods to Try Before You Die as compiled by Viator Travel Blog.

Malaysian seafood curry laksa is one of 10 foods ‘to try before you die’ says Viator. This is what the dish looks like, image courtesy of Viator.

Hailed as Malaysia‘s king of soups, this laksa is a spicy, tangy, coconut-creamy soup packed full of noodles, seafood, fish sticks, puffed tofu, vegetables, a hard-boiled egg, coriander and chilli sambal.

The Chinese-Malay dish is a classic of Peranakan cuisine, merging elements from Malaysia and Singapore. There are heaps of regional variances, and some seafood laksas also include chicken. If you come across assam laksa, you’ll find it has a fish rather than coconut broth.

The general rule is the simpler the surroundings, the tastier the curry laksa, so pull up a stool at a streetside stall in a Penang backstreet or Singapore food court and tuck in. A curry laksa really is to die for!
- Viator's 10 Foods to Try Before You Die

The other dishes that made the list include:

- Masala Dosa, the popular Indian crepe-like pancake with a filling made of potatoes, lentils and spices is also widely available in many restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
- Peking duck from China
- BBQ ribs from the United States
- Teppanyaki from Japan
- France's escargots, which are actually snails served in shells and cooked in a delicious melange of garlicky parsley butter, before being served as appetisers.
- Moussaka finds a mention on the list - described as the Greek answer to the Italian lasagne. "The dish is made by smothering layers of ingredients in a cheese bechamel sauce, and baking until creamily melted and golden," the website describes.
- Zucchini flowers from Italy
- Thai dish Som tam or green papaya salad
- Pavlova from Australia-New Zealand.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Penang's new tourist attraction - steel rod sculptures

If you have been to Penang in the last two years, you would have noticed some street art in the form of steel sculptures. These steel rod sculptures featuring caricatures are Georgetown UNESCO World Heritage Site's latest tourist attraction.

Located in various parts of the city of Georgetown, these 24 witty sculptures have been attracting both foreign and local tourists alike. People have been flocking to photograph these steel sculptures that have a story behind every one of them. They each denote a trade or way of life from a past era. A short description accompanies every sculpture. A lot of research has been put in to ensure that the sculptures are based on historical facts.

Yes, there is even a sculpture for Jimmy Choo, the world-renowned shoe designer who started his apprenticeship in shoe making at the shoe store, Hong Kong Shoe Store, located at Munstri Street. Thus the Jimmy Choo steel rod sculpture is installed here on Munstri Street.

Sculpture At Work is the brainchild of this project and contributors include local talented artists including Baba Chuah, Lefty Julian Kam, Reggie Lee and Tan Mun Kian.

Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, launched the sculpture project yesterday. Lim appealed to the public and tourists posing for pictures by these artworks not to touch or vandalise the sculptures.

The following are the steel sculptures installed since October 2010 under phases one, two, three and four. This is an ongoing project, so there will more being installed around the island.

01. Narrowest Five Foot Way (Stewart Lane)
02. Win-Win Situation (Muntri Street)
03. Kopi ‘O’ (Kimberly Street)
04. No Plastic Bag (Prangin Lane)
05. Property (Victoria Street)
06. Untrained Parakeet (King Street)
07. Mr Five Foot Way (Transfer Road)
08. Wrong Tree (Market Lane)
09. Cheating Husband (Love Lane)
10. Limousine (Carnarvon Street/Carnarvon Lane)
11. Waterway (Prangin Road Ghaut)
12. Escape (Acheh Street)
13. Bullock Cart Wheel (Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling)
14. Cow and Fish (Malay Street/Fish Lane)
15. Labourer to Trader (Jalan Kuala Kangsar)
16. One Leg Kicks All (Muntri Street)
17. Too Hot (Weld Quay)
18. Jimmy Choo (Muntri Street/Leith Street)
19. Three Generations (Kimberley Street/Sungai Ujong Road)
20. Ting Ting Thong (Seck Chuan Lane)
21. Tok Tok Mee (China Street/Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling)
22. Too Narrow (Soo Hong Lane)
23. Procession (Armenian Street)
24. Rope Style (Rope Walk)

Bring along this list when you visit Penang next. It might come in handy.

Source: The Star..Witty new attractions

Friday, July 20, 2012

Free lecture on Chinese imperial ceramics

If you are in Malaysia and is a collector of antique ceramics or simply just interested to learn more about imperial porcelain from China, the Bank Negara Museum in Kuala Lumpur is where you would want to head to tonight.

There will be a free public lecture on National Ceramic Treasures of the Beijing Palace Museum organised by the South-East Asian Ceramic Society, peninsular Malaysia Chapter, in collaboration with the Bank Negara Museum & Art Gallery.

The ground-breaking lecture will be given by guest speaker Wang Liying, secretary-general of the Beijing Palace Museum in China, a leading expert and scholar on ancient Chinese ceramics. She is a central figure on policy matters pertaining to Government museums in her country.

Wang examining a celadon shard from the Southern Song Dynasty during a visit to an ancient imperial kiln site near Longquan city in China.

Wang's presentation will be based on the most important ceramic artifacts on display at the Beijing Palace Museum, where they are originally found.

Given the nature of the museum’s collection, the ceramics to be highlighted will be extraordinary ceramics of imperial quality.

Explained Wang: “I will explain the course of development of ancient ceramic and pottery production in China. I will also include the appraisal system and appreciation of ancient Chinese ceramics. If time permits, there will be a brief analysis of the ancient Chinese ceramic arts in the auction market today.”

Bank Negara Museum & Art Gallery
is located at 2 Jalan Dato’ Onn, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 603-91792784 / 91794077. The lecture is from 7.30pm-9.30pm, tonight.

Source: The Star..Spotlight on imperial ceramics

First day of Ramadan on Saturday

Muslims will commence fasting on Saturday (which is tomorrow) to mark Ramadan, said Keeper of the Rulers' Seal Datuk Syed Danial Syed Ahmad on Thursday.

The announcement was telecast through Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM).

The Council of Rulers had agreed that the method of deciding the date of the commencement of fasting would be based on 'rukyah and hisab'.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you, Selamat Berpuasa!

Source: The Star

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New voluntary Private Retirement Scheme launched

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the voluntary Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) that will allow employees and self employed the opportunity to save for their retirement. To encourage savings under the scheme, individuals are granted tax relief of up to RM3,000 and employers are provided with tax deduction on contributions to the PRS on behalf of their employees above the statutory rate of 19%.

More..PM launches new voluntary Private Retirement Scheme

Related articles:
- Private pension plan launched
- More options to invest savings with new scheme

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Full EPF withdrawal only at 60

From The Star..

The age for full withdrawal from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) by contributors will be raised to 60 years and partial withdrawal to 55.

The planned amendment to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Act 1991 follows the passing of the Minimum Retirement Age Bill 2012 in Parliament last month which extends the minimum retirement age for private sector employees from 55 to 60.

“It is a consequential move. Once we raise the minimum retirement age, we have to raise the age of EPF withdrawal as well,” said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

He said the decision had been made and it was only a matter of time before the amendment would come into effect.

Currently, contributors can make partial EPF withdrawal at 50 and full withdrawal of their savings upon retirement at 55.

However, Lim said they were looking at providing a transition period for contributors who have already planned to withdraw their contributions within the next few years.

“We have not finalised the transition period, but it will be between three and five years,” he said adding that during this period, contributors who reached the age of 55 could still make full withdrawals.

More: The Star..Full EPF withdrawal at 60

Related articles:
- EPF hassle-free withdrawal new ruling for MyKad holders
- Parliament passes minimum retirement age Bill for private sector

Monday, July 16, 2012

National Public holidays for 2012 and MAS extra flights for Hari Raya Puasa

This is seven months late but still good for until the rest of the year. The following are national public holidays observed this year, 2012:

1 Jan New Year's Day
23 Jan Chinese Lunar New Year's Day
24 Jan Second day of Chinese Lunar New Year
1 Feb Federal Territory Day
5 Feb The Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
7 Feb Thaipusam
1 May Labour Day
5 May Wesak Day
2 Jun The Yang di-Pertuan Agong's Birthday
19 Aug Hari Raya Puasa Day 1
20 Aug Hari Raya Puasa Day 2
31 Aug National Day
16 Sep Malaysia Day
26 Oct Hari Raya Haji
13 Nov Deepavali
15 Nov Awal Muharram/New Year
24 Dec Christmas Eve
25 Dec Christmas Day

The upcoming public holiday is the Hari Raya Puasa on Aug 19 and 20. This major festival will again see an exodus of people making their way back to their hometown to celebrate the happy occasion with their family.

Like previous years, MAS will have extra and upgraded flights for Hari Raya.

New Malaysian currency notes issued today

Source: The Star

Bank Negara issues into circulation the new currency notes today.

The new notes comprise RM100, RM20, RM10, RM5 and RM1 denominations, in bright colours and motifs depicting Malaysia's cultural heritage and nature.

More..Bank Negara issues new notes

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Petaling Jaya alternative transport system

Exciting times ahead for Petaling Jaya residents..

The Star reported that:

TRAMS, electric trishaws and water taxis along five rivers in Petaling Jaya are among the alternative modes of transportation proposed in the city’s plan to enable its people to travel in an efficient manner.

Under the plan, boats and hovercrafts would be used to transport commuters from piers built along Sungai Damansara, Sungai Kayu Ara, Sungai Penchala, Sungai Tambul and Sungai Payong by 2015.

Energy efficient: MBPJ has proposed several routes for electric trams such as the one used in Grenoble, France. (Pic from

Fast ride: Water taxis have been proposed by the city council for six rivers in PJ. (Pic from

Proposed tram route

Image source: The Star

New Harmony Act to replace The Sedition Act

Extract from the article in The Star:

The Sedition Act 1948 will be repealed and replaced with a new National Harmony Act in the latest measure under the country's political transformation plan, announced Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the decision to replace the Sedition Act was made to find a mechanism that could determine the best balance between guaranteeing every citizen's freedom of expression and the need to tackle the complex nature of the country's multi-racial and multi-religious society.

Under the proposed Act, he said any attempt by anyone to pit the community against each other would be considered a crime against the people of Malaysia.

Najib said provisions in the new Act would focus on inculcating and protecting harmony and respect within Malaysian society from the action of irresponsible people.

It would allow the Government to act against those who use sensitive issues to split national unity.

He said the new Act would, however, maintain the Government's powers to act against those inciting hatred in order to give rise to disloyalty to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any Malay Ruler; those who spread ill will and animosity between races; and those who question any right, special position, privileges and prerogatives enshrined and protected under Part 3 or Articles 152, 153 and 181 of the Federal Constitution.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Parliament passes minimum retirement age Bill for private sector

The private sector Minimum Retirement Age Bill 2012 was passed by the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday (today). The retirement age for private sector is now 60 from 55 years of age.

Social Security Organisation (Socso) members aged 55 and above would be eligible for invalidity pension, in line with the minimum retirement age of 60 from next year onwards.
- Source

As to the EPF withdrawal for people reaching 55 years, the Government will not make any amendment at this point in time to EPF withdrawal at age 55 even though the retirement age for private sector employees is extended to 60 years old. Refer to letter below from General Manager, Public Relations of the Employee Provident Fund.

THE Employees Provident Fund (EPF) refers to the letter titled “Let EPF contributors withdraw all funds at 55” (The Star, June 26).

The EPF is a retirement savings scheme designed for employees to ensure that they have sufficient savings for their old age. To ensure that each employee who retires at the age of 60 has enough funds to sustain them during their retirement years, certain provisions in the EPF Act 1991 and related regulations should be amended accordingly when the retirement age is extended.

However, after taking into consideration members’ feedback, the Government will not make any amendment at this point in time to EPF withdrawal at age 55 even though the retirement age for private sector employees is extended to 60 years old.

As Malaysia’s premier retirement savings fund, the members’ welfare remains our top priority and whatever decision we make will always have their best interest at heart.

General Manager, Public Relations
Employees Provident Fund

Source: The Star..EPF withdrawal stays at 55

Related articles:
- Full EPF Withdrawal at 60
- EPF hassle-free withdrawal new ruling for MyKad holders

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

RON97 petrol price reduced by 20sen to RM2.60 from July 5 2012

From The Star..
The pump price of RON97 petrol will be reduced by 20sen to RM2.60 per litre from Thursday (July 5). Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said in a statement that the reduction was due in line with the drop in the average global oil price.

The government had on June 7 lowered the price of RON97 petrol by 10sen to RM2.80 a litre.

The retail price of RON97 petrol is determined by a 'managed float' in which the price will be changed according to the market.

Petrol price of RON95 remains at RM1.90 a litre while diesel is at RM1.80 a litre.

Source: The Star..RON97 petrol price reduced by 20sen

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Clouded leopard caught on camera in Borneo

The Star reported that the clouded leopard, which is the biggest cat in the Borneo jungles, was captured by a camera trap set up by Cardiff University student, Penny Gardner. Ms Gardner was doing a study on wild cattle known as banteng or tembadau.

The rare shot of the elusive cat was caught on camera on June 22. The camera was set up next to a logging road in the Malua forest area close to the well-known Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Lahad Datu.

The clouded leopard population on Borneo island is estimated to be around 5,000.

For more pictures, visit the Danau Girang Field Centre’s Facebook page, where other wild animals including the bearded pig, Borneo pygmy elephant, crested fireback bird and orang utan in the wild around the Malua forest have also been uploaded.

Source: The Star..Clouded leopard caught on camera in Sabah forest

Monday, July 02, 2012

The People have a say on new laws from now

Government departments and agencies must now seek public opinion before proposing draft amendments to existing laws or introducing new Bills.

The mandatory requirement covers local council by-laws, policies and regulations by ministries and statutory bodies, irrespective of whether the laws needed to be tabled in Parliament.

Proposed changes to laws pertaining to national security and sovereignty of the country, however, are exempt from the requisite.

More: The Star..Rakyat have a say on new laws from now

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Malaysia's latest Heritage Site - Lenggong Valley

Malaysia has a new World Heritage Site when word was received from Unesco recognising the Lenggong Valley in Perak as a World Heritage Site.

Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim said that Unesco informed the government on Friday.

Unesco recognised Leggong following the completion of archeological excavation at the site that established that complete skeletons of Perak Man is more than 11,000 years old.

Unesco had earlier recognised George Town and Malacca as World Heritage Cities and Niah Caves in Sarawak and Mount Kinabalu in Sabah.

Lenggong Valley in upper Perak is where the earliest human skeletal remains in the peninsula, the 11,000 year-old Perak man, was found in 1991.

Source: The Star..Lenggong Valley, Perak, gets World Heritage Site status

IRB: No paying tax with credit card

Inland Revenue Board says No paying tax with credit card (yet).

The public will not be able to pay income tax with credit cards for now as the Finance Ministry has rejected the proposal to allow such a move.

According to IRB, this is because the ministry does not want people to take up a loan to pay off another debt.

Suggestions from the public are still pouring in via letters, email, feedback from seminars, urging the Government to allow taxes to be paid using credit cards.

More: The Star..No paying tax with credit card
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