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GEORGE TOWN, Jan 16 (Bernama) — A new service for Langkawi Ferry Service Sdn Bhd (LFS) which offers a trip from Kuala Langsa in Acheh, Indonesia to Penang will serve as a catalyst to increase medical tourism in the state.
Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar said Penang was a popular destination for the people of Acheh to seek treatment in most hospitals in the state.
“This new service is a good start to the next stage. Initially, we will provide ferry for passengers and maybe, in future, we may provide transport facilities for export and import purposes.
“Penang has been the focus of the Acehnese, not only for medical tourism but they also come here for education,” he told reporters, prior to a visit to the Swettenham Pier International Cruise Terminal here.
Earlier, Ahmad and the Acheh delegation led by Mayor of Langsa, Usman Abdullah, were briefed by Thong Yow Chuan, executive director of TYC Resources Sdn Bhd, the management behind the Penang-Kuala Langsa ferry service, while the course from Kuala Langsa to Penang would be managed by Sumber Juwita.
Ahmad said, besides promoting medical tourism in the state, the ferry service would also provide accessibility for Penangites to visit relatives in Acheh.
“If the people from Acheh came here for medical tourism and education, al purposes, the purpose of those heading to Acheh from Penang is more for trade and looking up relatives as many of those here hail from Aceh,” he said.
He said the ferry service would begin its maiden voyage on Feb 21 from Penang, with a special price offer for a month.
A return trip from Penang to Kuala Langsa would cost RM180 for adults and RM120 for children under 12. A return trip from Kuala Langsa to Penang will cost RM156.27 (adult) and RM101.578 (children under 12).
Ahmad noted the three to four hour-trip on the modified Kenanga Tiga ferry could accommodate up to 192 passengers at a time, as compared to only 138 passengers previously.
Initially, Ahmad said the service would be provided twice a week, of which, a trip from Penang to Kuala Langsa was set to be on Monday and Wednesday, while from Kuala Langsa to Penang, Tuesday and Thursday.
Tickets are available online for a trip from Penang to Kuala Langsa but for the journey from Kuala Langsa and Medan, tickets must be purchased manually.
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Come Saturday, free Ampang line LRT services to Bukit Jalil would be provided to those attending the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY 2014) promotional campaign carnival, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
She said the free services would begin from 6pm until midnight to encourage the public to create awareness on the importance of VMY 2014.
RapidKL would also provide shuttle services from Technology Park Malaysia to Bukit Jalil on the launch day, she told a press conference here today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will launch the three-day, VMY 2014 promotional campaign at 8pm, at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and draw the winning grand prize.
Dr Ng said, among the largest prize sponsors for the lucky draw was Naza Two Wheels Sdn Bhd which contributed the Naza Blade 250cc motorcycle worth RM18,000. Other sponsors offer bicycles, holiday packages, airline tickets and so on.
Among the highlights of the tourism carnival include the display of 60 different lanternsand lights, exhibition on 1Malaysia Chopper Bikes and Bicycles, fruit and food bazaar and a series of performances by local artistes.
The theme song for VMY 2014, performed by Ella, will also be launched at the event.
MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) recently launched its new airport hotel brand, Sama-Sama, at the KL International Airport hotel.
The launch last week of the Sama-Sama brand marks Malaysia Airports’ entry into the airport hotel sector.
With this, Malaysia Airports will not only own but also operate the five-star full-service Sama-Sama KL International Airport hotel adjacent to KLIA as well as the existing transit hotel located at the Satellite building of KLIA.
The transit hotel will be rebranded as Sama-Sama Express KLIA. With the completion of klia2, Malaysia Airports will also operate its transit hotel which will be called Sama-Sama Express klia2.
At the launch, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said in his speech, which was delivered on his behalf by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, “It is heartening to note that Malaysia Airports is expanding on its repertoire of airport services to include hospitality with its Sama-Sama brand.”
“Sama-Sama is a vital component in the overall Malaysian blueprint of exporting world-class Malaysian services. With its entry into airport hotel operations, Malaysia Airports is definitely on the runway to success to achieving this key objective,” the prime minister added.
MAHB chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah said, “Not content with just providing world-class, award-winning airport services, Malaysia Airports had the vision to offer every passenger who lands at KLIA a seamless travel experience, from the aircraft to the airport and to the hotel room. We will provide the connectivity, the convenience, the facilities and our unique Malaysian hospitality to welcome them.
“The creation of the Sama-Sama brand was only realised after comprehensive consultation with key internal and external stakeholders such as employees, travel industry partners and customers which include our long-term airline clients. During this process, we received positive feedback from these stakeholders who pledged to support our new brand and endeavour.
“It is Malaysia Airports’ aim to take the Sama-Sama brand to other markets where we intend to brand and operate more airport hotels. The launch of the Sama-Sama brand marks a step towards that vision,” added Wan Abdul Aziz.
Sama-Sama, meaning “togetherness” and “you’re welcome”.
The logo depicts two hands locked in an embrace, symbolising the essence of the brand.
（SOURCES；THE STAR, 16 JANUARY 2013, WEDNESDAY）
SEPANG: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is spending about RM90 million to refurbish its landside and airside hotels under the “Sama-Sama” brand name.
MAHB chief financial officer Faizal Mansor said the company has allocated RM60 million for the refurbishment of Sama-Sama KL International Airport Hotel, which was formerly known as Pan Pacific KLIA Hotel; and RM5 million for the refurbishment of its existing transit hotel located at the satellite building of KLIA, called Sama-Sama Express.
The airport operator will spend between RM20 million and RM25 million for a new transit hotel at the new low-cost carrier terminal, klia2.
“The hotel will be called Sama-Sama Express klia2. It will be opened in conjunction with the official opening of klia2 (scheduled for June 28 this year),” Faizal told reporters prior to the official launch of Sama-Sama brand here, on Thursday night.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen represented Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the launch, which was also attended by, among others, MAHB chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah, MAHB managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad Abdul Majid and Sama-Sama Hospitality Management president Hans Winsnes.
The Sama-sama brand, which translates into “togetherness”, comprises two distinct airport hotel products, namely Sama-Sama landside airport hotels and Sama-Sama Express airside transit hotels.
Faizal said MAHB expects the three Sama-Sama hotels will help the group increase the contribution from non-aeronautical revenue to 60 per cent by 2014, from the current 52 per cent.
In the last fiscal year, hotel operations – which is part of the non-aeronautical segment – contributed about RM100 million to MAHB’s RM2 billion revenue. Other sources of non-aeronautical revenue include retail and rental.
MAHB is optimistic of its hotel business as the hotels cater to air travellers, cabin crews and flight captains as well as those attending motorsports events held at the nearby Sepang International Circuit.
Faizal said the occupancy rate of Sama-Sama KLIA is anticipated to increase to more than 70 per cent, from the current 65 per cent.
The room tariff for the hotel, according to him, is typically among the top 15 hotels in Kuala Lumpur city centre and Klang Valley.
It ranges between RM350 to RM400 per night. During the peak season, such as major motorsports events, the room tariff is expected to be higher.
Faizal said there are plans to open more Sam-Sama hotels in the future, but currently, MAHB will focus on the three hotels at the KLIA and klia2.
Bursa Malaysia-listed MAHB currently manages and operates 39 airports in Malaysia. It also has operations in India and Turkey.
(Sources: Business Times, 12 January 2013, Saturday)
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) — London-based magazine, Euromoney, has named AirAsia Bhd the overall best managed company in Malaysia and the best managed company in Asia in the Airline/Aviation sector.
The Asia poll 2013 undertaken by the magazine is based on replies received from a total of 130 leading equity analysts at the largest investments banks and research houses in the Asia Pacific region, nominating a total of 207 different companies.
“We are very proud of the acknowledgement that Euromoney has given us,” said AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes in a statement here Thursday.
Analysts were asked to name which companies were the most impressive across a number of factors including management accessibility, accounting transparency and corporate governance procedures amongst others.
No sweat: Syed Mohamed (left) and Raffles Education chairman and CEO Chew Hua Seng digging the spades into a pail of earth to symbolise the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday
NUSAJAYA: US-based theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment Corp is planning to invest between RM1.2bil and RM1.5bil to set up a theme park in Iskandar Malaysia.
Sources told StarBiz that the theme park, which will be double the size of Legoland Malaysia and the company’s first theme park in Asia, would offer more than 40 rides.
According to Wikipedia, Six Flags Entertainment is the world’s largest amusement part corporation based on quantity of properties and the fifth most popular in terms of attendance.
The company maintains 19 properties throughout North America consisting of theme parks, thrills parks, water theme parks and family entertainment centres.
Iskandar Invesment Bhd (IIB) president and chief executive officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim, who spoke about Iskander Malaysia getting a theme park, which will be third in Iskandar Malaysia, said an announcement would be made by an investor within the next six months on the matter.
The other two theme parks are Legoland Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Family Theme Park.
“The new theme park caters to young adults unlike the existing two parks which are for children,” he told reporters yesterday after the ground-breaking ceremony of the RM250mil Raffles American School campus on an 18.21ha site at EduCity, offering pre-kindergarten to 12th grade education.
He declined to give more details when asked on the new theme park and its attractions, including whether it would be a water-theme park.
Syed Mohamed said the opening of Legoland Malaysia and Puteri Harbour Theme Park last year had created a new level of confidence among domestic and foreign investors that Iskandar Malaysia was moving in the right direction.
“Different theme parks cater to different segments of visitors and this will be better than just having one park in our development,” he added.
The US$200mil Legoland Malaysia on a 23ha site, which is a joint venture between Merlin Entertainment Groups and IIB, is the first Legoland park in Asia.
Other Legoland theme parks across the world are situated in Denmark, the UK, Germany and in Florida and California.
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 7 (Bernama) — Putrajaya is popular among cyclists these days, with more and more people riding their cycles on weekends in this city.
Added with facilities like bicycle lanes, bicycles for rent, a BMX circuit and an off-road cycling track, the administrative capital is an alluring destination for cycling enthusiasts.
Therefore, it is not surprising to see cyclists from Klang Valley and other parts of the country in Putrajaya. In fact, there are a number of cyclists from Singapore and Indonesia too.
Some of the popular cycling events in Putrajaya include the Putrajaya Inter-Park Ride, Putrajaya Critical Mass and MTB Jamboree @ Putrajaya. These events are well received by local and foreign cyclists.
During these events, Putrajaya appears as the bicycle capital of the country.
Thousands of riders with their colourful bicycles add to the picturesque landscape of Putrajaya.
To increase the number of cycling activities in Putrajaya, two more cycling activities were introduced in December 2012. The two activities are Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia Putrajaya Bike Ride (CC1MPBR) and Paya Indah Wetlands (PIW).
After launching the two cycling activities, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen said the Tourism Ministry will promote Putrajaya as a bicycle-friendly city and a green destination.
This is in line with the garden city concept promoted by the city’s administrator – Putrajaya Corporation.
“Now, the Bike Ride activity is present in almost every state in Malaysia,” she said.
Currently, about 38 cycling tour packages are available in Putrajaya, with one package extending to Paya Indah Wetlands in Banting, Selangor, about 25 km from Putrajaya.
The packages are tailored to meet the requirements of tourists, families and even big groups of visitors.
The prices of the packages are fixed for the year 2013. So, visitors can plan their cycling tours without worrying about additional charges during peak hours.
ATTRACTIONS AT PAYA INDAH
The Paya Indah Wetlands are rich in flora and fauna provide a unique experience for those visiting the place on the cycle.
Covering an area of 450,76 hectares, and they are home to many hippopotamuses, crocodiles, 226 species of birds, 63 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians and 14 species of fish.
Cycling is permitted on the 18 km off-road track in this nature park, which is part of the 60 km track that links Banting to Putrajaya.
Other activities that can be carried out in the Paya Indah Wetlands are bird watching, feeding hippopotamuses and crocodiles, kayaking, and a boat ride to Gibbon Island.
Tour agents are hopeful that cycling programmes will increase the number of tourists to Putrajaya. They also feel that Putrajaya will be known as a green city.
Saidinar Mohd Noor, owner of Dinar Holidays Sdn Bhd, said these cycling packages promote a healthy lifestyle.
Meanwhile, Haizan Mohd Nor, General Manager of IMG Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, said new attractions, including the Paya Indah Wetlands, appeal to the general public.
“We are coming up with affordable packages so that everyone can take park in cycling activities,” said Haizan, whose agency offers three cycling packages.
Director of Pesaka Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, Zakiah Yunus, when met noted that her company chose the concept of ‘hunt’ to promote learning while touring.
Cycling packages offered by this company are ideal for students.
“Students can learn and have fun at the same time,” explained Zakiah.
SUPPORT FROM INDONESIA
Last year, Tourism Malaysia Jakarta (TMJ) introduced the 3D/2N Special Package to encourage Indonesians to tour Putrajaya on bicycles. Close to 80 Indonesians took part in the programme. The package was developed by TMJ and Anditar Tour costing USD405 (about RM1,250) includes flight tickets, accommodation, tours and meals.
TMJ’s Director, Nor Aznan Sulaiman, said many Indonesians will take part in cycling activities as they love cycling.
“So, we approached a local tour agency to take the package to the next level,” he said.
Janto Hassan, 50, said he was impressed by the event.
“The Indonesian government encourages cycling. Certain roads in Jakarta cannot be used by motor vehicles on weekends. Only cyclists can use these roads. This way, the country can overcome energy crisis,” he said, adding that Malaysia should come up with similar activities.
By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin
KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 7, 2013): Property developer Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O), well known for its hotel services in Penang, has expanded its luxury hospitality brand to include the serviced apartment industry with the inauguration of its first serviced apartments here in December last year.
Dubbed “E&O Residences Kuala Lumpur”, the serviced apartments are sited within its high-end St Mary Residences development off Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, occupying one of the three towers.
E&O deputy managing director Eric Chan Kok Leong said the serviced apartments are an extension of the group’s expertise in hospitality management honed from its years of experience in running the heritage Eastern & Oriental Hotel and Lone Pine Hotel in Penang.
“The extension into serviced residence management represents yet another vital pillar in the cachet of lifestyle elements that collectively make E&O a true luxury lifestyle (property) developer,” he told SunBiz in an email interview.
Chan declined to disclose the contribution expected from its serviced apartment business to E&O Group’s revenue, saying it’s still early days for E&O Residences with its official opening only targeted for early this year.
“Once established in the market, we expect the E&O Residences to generate healthy revenue and boost the overall contribution of our hospitality segment.
“Notwithstanding this, E&O is at its core a lifestyle property developer. Our businesses like the E&O Residences showcase how we infuse complementary lifestyle elements and experiences into our portfolio of properties,” he added.
On other potential serviced apartment projects, Chan said the group will allow for the E&O Residences to take off first but remains “open to future opportunities in this area”.
“We anticipate that with the unfolding of the Economic Transformation Plan and the Greater Kuala Lumpur initiatives, there will be more opportunities in the city which will in turn attract more business professionals and expatriates to fuel the demand for serviced residences.
“We anticipate that this discerning crowd will want higher quality and more exclusive accommodation, a niche that the E&O’s five-star standard serviced residences is well prepared to cater for,” said Chan.
Targeting the global business or leisure traveller on an extended stay as well as short term stay in Kuala Lumpur,E&O Residences has 200 one- and two-bedroom apartments covering 250,000 sq ft of net lettable area, built with an investment of RM350 million.
“Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant city and based on the growing demand for five-star accommodation we are confident that this investment, which is long-term in nature, will provide returns consistent with the industry norm of 10-15 years,” said Chan.
Well aware of the existing competition in the market, E&O Residences sets itself apart from other serviced apartments in the area by its heritage.
“We are the first service residence to share the name and pedigree of the legendary Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang. You can expect to enjoy the same immaculate attention to detail and personal care afforded by E&O’s hospitality and concierge service,” said Chan.
“Our rates are in line with the current market leader with rack rates starting at RM980++ for the one-bedroom unit and RM1,580++ for the two-bedroom.”
In conjunction with its opening, the group is offering special introductory daily rates of RM490.00++ for the one-bedroom and RM790.00++ for the two-bedroom while the monthly rate is RM 11,688++ for the one-bedroom and RM14,688++ for the two-bedroom.
Meanwhile, adjoining the St Mary development is the St Mary Place retail annexe. Presently, the Delicious Café has begun operations there. Other confirmed tenants include an established coffee outlet, an art gallery cum café, a fine dining sushi bar, a laundry, beauty salon and a foot reflexology outlet.
Kang Siew Li
IT’S ALL HERE: Friendly people, good food, low cost of living and lots of activities make expatriates call it home
KUALA LUMPUR: A SURVEY by International Living, a monthly newsletter covering topics including retiring overseas and living abroad, has ranked Malaysia in its top three retirement countries for this year.
Ranked closely behind Panama and Ecuador, the newsletter compiled 22 nations and interviewed expats on several areas, such as real estate, cost of living, integration, health, climate and special benefits, before making an assessment.
The list which was posted on its website last month saw respondents who lived abroad posting their feedback on living and integrating in a foreign country.
According to expat Keith Hockton, Malaysia is his new home.
“It has everything. Its weather is a tropical 82o Fahrenheit all year round and its beaches, islands and jungles are pristine.
“It has some of the region’s best street food, great restaurants, bars, shopping malls and movie theatres, which are all affordable,” said the 35-year-old, who lives with his wife Lisa in Penang.
Hockton said he enjoyed his rented sea-view apartment that was equipped with a swimming pool and gymnasium, kept a sailboat, ate out almost every night and yet his total monthly budget did not surpass US$1,719 (RM5,200).
On integration, Hockton said Malaysia was an easy place to make friends as English was widely spoken. Lots of expats lived here and there were numerous organisations that could get you settled, he said.
“For example, the International Women’s Association has more than 500 members who organise activities, such as jungle walks and sewing lessons on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.”
He said his friends, John and Lorna Taylor, also swore by Malaysia as Asia’s most desirable destination.
“They have decided to never return to their hometown in New York, and are currently enjoying their retirement by taking tennis lessons.”
Go Communications Sdn Bhd commercial director Bill Cooper said Malaysia should have topped the list.
“This country has everything I need. The people are lovely and food just wonderful,” he said when contacted by the New Sunday Times yesterday.
Cooper, the former sales director at The Expat Group (TEG Malaysia), said he never looked back to his home country after stepping foot in Malaysia almost five years ago.
“I would absolutely consider living here for the rest of my life.”
Expat Paula Gallegos echoed Cooper and said she was not surprised that Malaysia was in the top three.
“The apartments here are cheaper than in my country, Mexico, and I enjoy the fact that Malaysia caters to all nationalities.
“It even has different food sections in supermarkets so that I can shop for Mexican food,” said the 27-year-old student currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in World Literature at Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Gallegos, who followed her American husband to Malaysia after he secured a job here, said her experience here was more comfortable after getting to know the locals.
Countries that did not make it into the top 10 are Portugal, Nicaragua, Ireland, France, the Philippines, New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Belize and the Dominican Republic.
By PUNITHA KUMAR | firstname.lastname@example.org
(Source: New Straits Times, 7 January 2012, Monday)
SEPANG, Jan 5 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today announced that the new low-cost airport, dubbed KLIA2, will be launched on June 28 this year, co-inciding with the launch date of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in 1998.
The premier said the airport was scheduled to be ready by May this year, but the operations would not be rushed as there were some teething issues to be solved before its opening.
“We should go through some of the teething problems with the new terminal and once it is ready, then KLIA2 will be fully operational.
“As a target, I have decided that it should co-incide with the date of the opening of KLIA. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to open KLIA2 on June 28,” he said.
Najib said this at the launching of a specially designed 1Malaysia AirAsia aircraft livery to commemorate the start of 1Malaysia Integration Programme with AirAsia at the LCCT (Low-Cost Carrier Terminal) here today.
Also present were Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, AirAsia’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Managing Director of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad.
Bashir said MAHB welcomed the prime minister’s decision not to rush the opening of the KLIA2 and to coincide it with the opening date of KLIA.
He said all issues pertaining to the new airport were expected to be settled before the opening date to avoid even any minor glitches during operations.
“We do not want to rush. I think the prime minister has the same thought in mind. We have seen many airports worldwide failed because they were rushed into operations.
“It is something exciting also if the date coincides (KLIA & KLIA2), as it will be a double celebration for us at MAHB,” Bashir said.
The RM3.6 billion KLIA2, built to cater for the explosive growth expected in low-cost travel, is sprawled over 257,000 sq metres and is envisaged to handle a maximum of 45 million passengers a year.
The airport will have 60 gates, eight remote stands, 80 aerobridges, plus a retail space covering 32,000 sq metres to accommodate 225 retail outlets.