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KOTA KINABALU, Oct 24 (Bernama) — The tourism ministry has given the state tourism sector a year to provide Korean language training to tour guides as there was a shortage of tour guides well versed in the language.
Assistant minister Datuk Ellron Angin said the move was a result of discussion involving the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry, Sabah Tourist Guides Association, Malaysian Tourism Operators Association and relevant agencies.
“After this period, the ministry will study whether we still need to license foreigners as Korean tour guides,” he said in reply to a question from Datuk Ramlee Marahaban (Umno-Bugaya) at the state assembly here Wednesday.
MORE tourists are expected to visit Sabah next year, with the establishment of additional new flights and routes.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun in expressing his confidence, said that they had targeted at least 3.105 million tourists would pick Sabah as their holiday destination. Of the figure, 2,175,000 are domestic visitors, while 930,000 are from abroad.
“We believe this will generate revenue amounting to some RM5.510 billion to the state,” he said in his winding up speech during the State Legislative Assembly sitting, yesterday, adding that the additional routes and flights were timely, especially with the launch of the Visit Malaysia Year for 2013 and 2014.
He said the new routes were Davao-Kota Kinabalu, which would be operated by AirAsia effective November 1, and also Cebu-Kota Kinabalu the following month.
Masidi said Silk Air had also voiced its intention to increase its Singapore-Kota Kinabalu flight frequency from seven to 10 flights weekly beginning October 31, while MASwings would be launching its thrice weekly Puerto Princessa-Kota Kinabalu flight soon.
“Malaysia Airlines System (MAS) will be launching its once weekly Perth-Kota Kinabalu flight on December 9, twice weekly Osaka-Kota Kinabalu on December 20, and two additional flights for its Hong Kong-Kota Kinabalu route, making it nine flights weekly beginning December 1,” said Masidi.
According to Masidi, the state had recorded positive growth in the number of tourist arrivals this year, where in the first eight months, they recorded 1,873,507 visitors, contributing a revenue of RM3.39 billion.
“The number showed a 1.1 per cent increase compared to similar period last year with a total of 1,852,899 arrivals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Masidi told the House that although he had been given the responsibility to handle matters concerning education in Sabah, he explained that he had no executive power to make any decision on education-related issues.
“While I am grateful that the Yang Berhormats (YBs) have shown their concerns over issues related to education in the state, I have no executive power to make any decision on the matter. All I can do is to bring the matter to the Education Ministry for their consideration,” he said.
At this juncture, many assistant ministers and Barisan Nasional backbenchers stood up to give suggestions such as to appoint a special minister to handle matters related to education in the state, as well as to give the State Education Department director the power to make decisions.
Masidi, however, disclosed that to date, the Education Ministry was currently reviewing the teachers’ allowance rates to allow them to prepare allowance facility and increment for all teachers, regardless of their location.
Several assistant ministers had also voiced out the teachers’ grouses to allow them to receive the transfer allowance, which is enjoyed by teachers posted in West Malaysia.
(Source: Borneo Post Online, 24 October 2012, Wednesday)
SEPANG: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which net profit fell 3.5% to RM113mil in the third quarter ended Sept 30, expected a stronger financial performance in the fourth quarter.
Chief financial officer Faizal Mansor said the management’s optimistic outlook was underpinned by the stronger performances of AirAsia Bhd and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) as well as new airlines commencing operations at MAHB airports.
“We expect things to pick up a bit in the fourth quarter as there will be new airlines flying in and also AirAsia reporting strong numbers. MAS has also added capacity with the delivery of its A380s and introduced new routes.
“These are positive indications. We hope to see positive numbers in the fourth quarter. The region is also performing well,” he said at a press briefing to announce the group’s third quarter results.
Faizal said KLIA’s year-to-date passenger movement growth of 4.2% was slower than those of other airports in the region and other international airports.
“Despite the eurozone debt crisis and the slowing growth in China and India, airports in the region are still maintaining a high growth rate of passenger movements, with some charting double-digit growth,” he said.
Asked on the reason for the lag, he said factors including the not-so-great tourism sector growth in Malaysia, and the fact that MAS had cut 10% to 12% of its capacity had contained KLIA’s growth in passenger movements this year.
In the third quarter ended Sept 30, MAHB’s earnings fell to RM113mil from RM117.2mil a year ago, although its revenue increased by 14.1% to RM754.2mil from RM661.2mil.
For the first nine months, MAHB net profit improved to RM316.4mil versus RM304.4mil in the corresponding period last year. Revenue was up 14.3% to RM2.21bil against RM1.94bil previously.
Faizal noted that costs such as salaries, maintenance and utilities have weighed down its profitability and margins. He said MAHB had recently revised upwards 25% of its non-executives’ salaries in line with Government’s call to raise minimum wages.
MAHB’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin has eroded to 29.2% in the first nine months to Sept 30 compared with 32.5% a year ago.
Faizal said MAHB had maintained that its EBITDA margin should be around 40%, which was within a comfortable range. He added that the margin should be able to recover on the completion of KLIA2.
Despite the lower earnings, Faizal said MAHB was still “on track” to achieve its headline key performance indicators.
The airport operator targeted to achieve RM822mil in EBITDA and 10.42% in return on equity (ROE). In the nine months to Sept 30, its EBITDA stood at RM617.1mil and ROE at 7.5%.
On KLIA2, Faizal said the new terminal for low-cost carriers was 65% completed and was progressing within its timeline and budget of RM4bil.
By LEONG HUNG YEE
（Source: The Star, 24 October 2012, Wednesday）
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has been ranked the 12th most businessfriendly country globally and is first in terms of ease of getting credit, said a World Bank report.
This is the highest standing that Malaysia has achieved since the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation began compiling the annual ranking in 2005.
According to the Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises report released yesterday, Malaysia was fourth in the world for protecting investors.
Malaysia’s position had risen steadily from 23rd in 2010 to the 18th spot this year.
The latest ranking puts Malaysia ahead of other highly regarded economies such as Sweden (13th), Taiwan (16th), Germany (20th), Japan (24th) and Switzerland (28th).
World Bank Country Director for Malaysia Annette Dixon commended the country for “its ongoing efforts to reduce the costs of doing business”.
“This will help the private sector drive growth, especially if Malaysia can build on its success by continuing to tackle long-term challenges, such as improving the quality of education,” she said in a statement.
World Bank Senior Economist for Malaysia Frederico Gil Sander praised the country for continuing to improve “the quality of domestic regulations”.
“This has great potential to energise the private sector when combined with stepped-up implementation of strategic reform initiatives especially the liberalisation of the services sector and the enforcement of Malaysia’s new competition law,” Sander said.
The report covers the period from June 2011 to June 2012, and the ranking is based on assessment of regulations in key areas of business as well as the efficiency of tax administration and the ease of trading across borders, among others.
The report lauded Malaysia for establishing the Pemudah inter-ministerial level committee to reform business regulations and procedures, and acknowledged the country as being among the top 10 economic reformers in the APEC region.
Past president of the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Datuk Nicholas Zefferys said the ranking was a “wonderful accomplishment” that reflected the country’s persistent efforts to be among the best in the world.
“The competition gets ever tougher as that goal (of being the best) is nearly achieved but Malaysia Boleh!” Zefferys added.
By RAZAK AHMAD
(Source: The Star – 24 October 2012, Wednesday)
65PC COMPLETE: New terminal is set to cater to 30 million passengers a year
THE highly talked about low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), klia2, will commence operations on May 1 next year, says Malay-sia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) chief financial officer Faizal Mansor.
klia2, which is designed to cater to 30 million passengers a year with a provision to expand to 45 million passengers, is currently 65 per cent complete.
In terms of the new terminal’s cost, which currently stands at RM4 billion, Faizal said there would not be any increase if there are no changes in the scope of work.
“We are working very hard in making sure that it remains below our budgeted cost of RM4 billion. As at this stage, as long as the scope remains as per the requirements, we don’t see it going above RM4 billion,” he said at a media briefing to announce MAHB’s third-quarter financial results yesterday.
Meanwhile, commenting on Air-Asia group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes’ decision to move the budget carrier from the current LCCT to klia2, Faizal said it is good news and MAHB wants to be able to work very well with the budget carrier.
However, he said, there are still some outstanding issues between them, particularly on AirAsia’s office and check-in counters, adding that MAHB will find ways to solve the issues as long as they do not compromise passengers’ comfort and safety.
“We’ve got 100 requests to meet the requirements and 97, (or) 98 of those requirements have been met,” he said.
On the formulation of a service-level agreement (SLA) between AirAsia and MAHB at klia2, Faizal said: “We have conditions of use but some airlines, in particular, domestic airlines AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) have requested for a separate SLA. So we are working on finalising the SLA”.
Apart from AirAsia, Faizal said, Tiger Airways, Mandala Air and Cebu Pacific, which currently operate from the current LCCT, may also move to klia2.
Other low-cost carriers operating from KLIA’s main terminal have not, however, given confirmation if they would do the same.
Meanwhile, on MAHB’s retail arm Eraman Malaysia selling its stake in Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), Faizal said the airport operator’s position in the company has not changed at this stage.
He added that it is not uncommon for a company to explore opportunities to realise its investments when the time is right.
Eraman holds a 10 per cent stake in DIAL.
For the fourth quarter this year, MAHB expects to record stronger financial performance compared to the third quarter.
Faizal said the positive outlook is underpinned by expected stronger performances of MAS and AirAsia, as well as new airlines operating at its airports.
For the third quarter of this year, the airport operator posted revenue of RM754.2 million compared with RM661.1 million in the same period last year. However, its profit slipped to RM113.0 million from RM117.1 million a year ago.
MAHB posted revenue of RM2.2 billion for the nine months ended September 30, representing growth of 14.3 per cent compared with RM1.9 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year.
Its net profit rose 3.9 per cent to RM316.4 million compared with RM304.4 million previously.
For the period under review, the international and domestic passenger movements increased by 4.5 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
(SOURCE: BUSINESS TIMES – 24 OCT 2012, WEDNESDAY)
KUALA LUMPUR – Keindahan panorama di Malaysia bukan hanya menggamit pelancong luar datang ke negara ini untuk melawat tempat-tempat menarik, namun ada yang memilih ia sebagai destinasi menarik bagi menjalankan aktiviti kegemaran mereka.
Surabaya Road Bike Community (SRBC) misalnya, sebuah kelab berbasikal dari Indonesia baru-baru ini datang ke Malaysia untuk mengadakan aktiviti jelajah berbasikal dari Bagan Lalang ke Genting Highlands.
Aktiviti ini disertai oleh 60 ahli kelab terbabit yang rata-ratanya tidak pernah berkunjung ke negara ini.
Menurut salah seorang ahli SRBC, yang juga Pengarah Operasi Kumpulan Jawa Pos, Azrul Ananda, ini adalah kali pertama beliau datang ke Malaysia dan mengagumi keindahannya.
“Tujuan aktiviti berbasikal secara santai ini adalah menyambut ulang tahun pertama penubuhan komuniti ini. Jadi kami memilih Malaysia sebagai destinasi untuk meraikannya,” kata Azrul kepada Sinar Harian Online.
Menurutnya lagi, pengalaman berkayuh di Malaysia akan menjadi memori yang sangat indah kerana bukan hanya memiliki keindahan alam semulajadinya malah struktur jalan raya juga sangat baik.
“Kami sangat senang berbasikal di sini bukan sahaja disebabkan oleh pemandangan sekelilingnya, malah struktur jalan yang cantik dan tiada banyak lubang melicinkan kayuhan kami sepanjang berbasikal,” tambah beliau.
Azrul dan rakan-rakannya ditemui dalam satu majlis makan malam di Saloma Bistro anjuran Kementerian Pelancongan Malaysia.
SRBC tiba di Malaysia minggu lalu dan melakukan kayuhan pertama pada 19 Oktober dari Bagan Lalang, Sepang dan menuju ke Pantai Morib yang meliputi jarak 38 kilometer. Sementara keesokan harinya pula, mereka berbasikal dari lokasi sama menuju ke Genting Highland dengan jarak kayuhan 134 kilometer.
Mengulas lanjut, Azrul berkata, sukan berbasikal ini menjadi kegemaran rakyat Indonesia khususnya masyarakat di Surabaya.
“Sukan berbazikal ini sebenarnya sukan yang sangat popular di Indonesia kerana ia sebagai satu aktiviti riadah yang berkesan untuk kesihatan.
“Sebelum ini juga saya bermula dengan fixed biked yang lebih santai dan mengikut trend semasa ketika itu, namun saya mula meminati sukan ini dan mahu pergi lebih serius saya mula berjinak – jinak dengan “road bike”,” tambah beliau.
Katanya, secara purata beliau akan meluangkan masa tiga jam sehari untuk berbasikal jika berada di Surabaya.
“Saya akan mula pada jam lima hingga tujuh setengah pagi sebelum meneruskan aktiviti seterusnya iaitu ke pejabat. Kebiasaannya saya akan berkayuh di sekitar kawasan rumah memandangkan jaraknya ke pejabat hanya mengambil masa 15 minit sahaja,” katanya lagi.
Menurut beliau, tidak dinafikan sukan yang diceburinya ini agak mahal berbanding sukan-sukan lain, namun kerana keseronokan menyelusuri jalan raya dengan berbasikal, beliau tekad meneruskan minatnya itu.
“Harga sebuah basikal boleh mencecah sehingga RM 50,000, tetapi saya merasakan makin mahal basikal tersebut, kualitinya adalah setimpal dengan harganya. Tetapi harus diingat, penjagaan yang rapi mesti diberikan kerana kita tidak boleh berkompromi dari aspek keselamatan,” ujar Azrul.
OLEH WARTAWAN SINAR HARIAN
(Sumber：Sinar Harian, 23 October 2012, Selasa)
Mines Marketing recently signed a joint-venture agreement with leading South Korean travel agency, JaU Tour, to form Mines Global Holidays Sdn Bhd.
The venture will boost South Korean and foreign tourist arrivals to Malaysia and in particular, the Country Heights hospitality properties.
It will see the two companies working in close collaboration to promote golf and medical tourism and leisure packages to South Korean and other foreign tourists.
JaU Tour CEO Bhang Gwang Sik signed the joint venture on behalf of his company while Mines Marketing was represented by its director and general manager Ricky Yip.
The 50/50 joint venture to form Mines Global Holidays will have a paid-up capital of RM600,000 and share capital of RM1mil.
JaU Tour is a Kosdaq-listed company, and handles 350,000 tourists a year with sales turnover of US$50mil (RM153.7mil).
Mines Marketing Sdn Bhd was established in January 1999, as a marketing agency under Country Heights Holdings Bhd for five business divisions: Palace Vacation Club, Golden Horses Health Sanctuary, Country Heights Growers Scheme, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) and Mines Global Holidays, with annual sales turnover of RM50mil.
Following the joint venture, both parties will study the types of collaborative efforts that can be made for inbound tours directly to Mines Resort City and Borneo Highlands Resort-Kuching, among others.
“This collaborative effort is timely and in line with the Government’s efforts to boost tourist arrivals through Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014,” said Yip.
“We believe that the collaboration with a market leader such as JaU Tour will contribute to the Government’s target of 26.8 million tourist arrivals for 2013,” he added.
Bhang said South Korean tourists were attracted to Malaysia, especially for golf as it is a very expensive sport back home.
“Malaysia’s congenial climate, the safe and secure environment, as well as its intrinsic natural beauty has made Malaysia an appealing tourist destination for South Koreans. With this collaborative effort, JaU Tour will be able to increase the tourist handling numbers beyond the current 350,000” he said.
LOCAL folk who have never set foot in Putrajaya are more than welcome to visit the federal administrative capital under the newly introduced Alami 1Putrajaya (Experience 1Putrajaya, or AL1P) programme.
The first batch of AL1P participants, made up of 440 multi-racial residents of Lembah Pantai, were taken on a tour of Putrajaya on Putra Nadi buses last Sunday.
Among the places they visited were Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Dataran Putra, Monumen Alaf Baru, Seri Perdana complex and various parks in Putrajaya.
Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, who launched the programme at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, said AL1P was a great initiative to showcase Putrajaya.
He noted that tourists only stop briefly at Putrajaya before they were ferried off to other destinations.
“In fact, many locals have never been to Putrajaya. AL1P participants can help promote Putrajaya after today’s visit,” said Nong Chik.
Organised by Putrajaya Corporation (PPj), AL1P aimed at fostering a sense of belonging for Putrajaya among the people, besides boosting tourism industry and generating economic return for the locals.
The programme is expected to attract 100,000 people from all walks to life to enjoy the beauty of Putrajaya.
PPj president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat said it was a waste not to make the most out of the resources available at Putrajaya.
“Many facilities are under utilised. For instance, the Putra Nadi buses are always empty on the weekends, so we have enlisted them to fetch AL1P visitors,” he said.
PPj has also introduced a few other initiatives to make Putrajaya a lively place.
One of it is to train young PPj officers to be tourism ambassadors to provide information and quality service to visitors.
AL1P tours are held from Wednesdays to Sundays.
There are two slots a day, from 9.30am to 12.30pm or 2pm to 5pm.
(Sources: The Star, 23 October 2012, Tuesday)
HULU TERENGGANU, Oct 22 (Bernama) — Nine tourism programmes based on sports, photography and recreational activities have been planned by the Terengganu Tengah Development Authority (Ketengah) in conjunction with Visit Terengganu Year (TMT 2013) next year.
Its general manager, Wan Mat Amin Wan Daud said, most of the programmes will be held at Tasik Kenyir to promote the largest manmade lake in South-East Asia.
“We want the natural beauty of Tasik Kenyir to be fully explored throug TMT 2013 so that tourists not only take back new experiences, but also promote the lake to their country,” he told reporters after the Kenyir Motorcross Challenge here.
Ketengah begins its lineup of tourism programmes with the Jelajah Tasik Kenyir Fishing Competition, held in five series, beginning from Feb 10 to 11, March 8-9, April 12-13, Sept 13-14 and Nov 22-23 2013.
The Kenyir Lake International Triathlon will be held on March 10, Boat on the Road Fishing Competition in April and the Kenyir Festival from May 16 to 20.
PUTRAJAYA: PUTRAJAYA Corporation (PPj) has targeted five million domestic tourists to visit the federal administrative capital next year under its Experience Putrajaya Programme (AL1P).
The programme’s objective is to bring those who have never come here for a tour and to appreciate its beauty.
Launched yesterday by Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and PPj president Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat, the programme also involved about 440 people residing in the People’s Housing Project in Lembah Pantai being taken on a tour here in Nadi Putra buses.
Among the spots they visited were Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Seri Perdana Complex, Putra Boulevard and Botanical Gardens.
Raja Nong Chik said the programme not only promoted Putrajaya, but would also generate income for the traders here.
“Aside from promoting Putrajaya in the tourism sector, PPj can also help traders as there are not many visitors to the capital even during the weekends.
“It is hoped that the programme would enable the traders to earn extra income.”
He also said although two million tourists visited the capital here this year, it was not something to shout about.
“Putrajaya was only a passageway for them and they did not stay long.
“Hopefully, with AL1P, visitors will be encouraged to stay longer.”
Programme participant Tan Kuan Eia, 57, said it was his first time visiting here.
“I never had the opportunity to visit.
“But with the introduction of this programme, I am able to see Putrajaya with my own eyes.
“AL1P must be introduced to everyone because it showcases the beauty of the capital.”
The tour will be held every Wednesday to Sunday and the time slots available are from 9.30am to 12.30pm, or 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
In a related development, the Tourism Ministry is encouraging more domestic travels among Malaysians to further boost the sector.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos Mamit yesterday urged tour operators to come up with more packages to cater to local tourists.
“By coming up with more packages, tour operators will be able to attract more tourists — both locals and foreigners,” he said in his speech at the flagging off of the Cuti-Cuti 1Malaysia MotoGP Ride 2012 convoy here.
About 150 riders from various motorcycle clubs took part in the convoy travelling to the Sepang International Circuit for the Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) 2012 race.
The convoy was a collaboration between Malaysian Motorcycle Getaways and Tourism Malaysia.
Participants received MotoGP grandstand tickets, selected hotels and homestay discount vouchers, refreshments and merchandise.
Mamit said motor sports, such as the MotoGP, had the potential to generate income for the country.
He also said Malaysia recorded 131 million domestic tourist arrivals last year. They spent RM43.3 billion.
(Sources: New Straits Times, 22 October 2012, Monday)