Friday, August 28, 2015

Yellow

Updated




People gathered at the Dataran Bandaraya, Johor Baru in spite of earlier news reports that the FB posting of a Bersih gathering there was a hoax.

Thank God, everyone was safe even though the Bersih crowd was massive in various parts of Malaysia.


Original Post

And the streets turned yellow today.  All these photos are sourced from Facebook.  Many FB walls and profile pics have turned yellow or show a hint of the colour.  Bersih 4.0 has the largest turnout compared to previous gatherings.

Here are some of the things I found on FB, which made me wonder what they were thinking.



At first glance, I thought Wah Chai was also there. Then someone pointed out that the picture was a fake.


 

Why bring children and pets to a rally? This is not some fun outing.  Even if the owners claim they know what they're doing and the dogs are well-trained, anything can happen where there is a large crowd. 






And this is another lie.  Even the Bersih steering committee is unaware of this.  What is the motive of this hoax?



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Red Versus Yellow

I slept early, and so have woken early.

I initially decided not to write about the horrible experience I had at IPGKTI but I'm still not so happy about it.  So, I guess I'll just pen a few words here.  There's been a lot of angst in the air, I know, probably due to the haze.

In all my experience covering big scale events, I will rate the one organised by MPTI the WORSE.  It tops my list as the No. 1 most poorly organised event that I have ever covered.

I guess the organisers had the intention to give and do their best.  That's why they invited us at 8.30am when the event started at 10am.  I'm ok with that because it's good to be early.  Easy to find parking, and you can enjoy the scenery ... no rush.

I went before 8.30am. But they didn't want me to park near the hall where the event was taking place, nor at the VVIP parking area, which was slightly further.

Instead, they directed me to the "VIP parking space", which was very far away but they assured me there would be a shuttle bus.  I think they meant shuttle service, but they said shuttle bus.  Well, there was no SHUTTLE BUS.  One of their lecturers came to ferry guests to the hall.

In case you don't already know, IPGKTI is a place where they train people to become teachers (people who are going to inspire future leaders)  Apologies, I am very anti-IPGKTI now.

The VIP area is an open space, there were no parking lots so I just found myself a spot to park.  Someone came up to me: "Miss, you can't park here.  It's blocking the exit." So, I moved my car to another spot. Someone else came up: "Reverse a bit, please" so that other cars can park in front.   Hello, it's an open space!  When I went back to get my car, the car park wasn't even used up half. And it was a friend who drove me back to the car.  Where was the shuttle bus?

And no one stopped me from getting into the car.  As I was about to drive off, someone said I can't use the exit.  Yes, the one that they said I was blocking earlier if I had parked my car there.   I'm not here to play silly little games, ok.  I'm here on duty.

We respect the house rules and regulations, but you guys need to treat invited guests better.

Inside the hall, the crowd were also told that  "anyone who do not ensure the smooth running of the programme will be dealt with".  That was one of the 8 rules which were read out on the stage.  

When it came to serving lunch, there were no forks and spoons in sight.  I'm ok with using hands to eat, but not everyone is familiar with that culture.  The fork and spoons only came out midway through lunch.

It was just chaotic and a very unpleasant experience from start to finish, and it was all due to poor organisational skills.

You cannot blame the guests when things go wrong.  If there were better signages, better guidance given to the guests, then EVERYONE will be happier.

Ok, enough venting.

Oh dear, today my assignment also concerns teachers.  I hope it's going to be pleasant.  Oh, I've covered plenty of memorable school functions.   I mustn't let this one horrible experience affect my perception and faith of teachers and school administrators.



Now I wanna talk a little bit about the yellow shirts (BERSIH) and the "new sensation" the red shirts.(anti-BERSIH). In the past I don't really think much about Yellow.  I don't see street protests as a way to solve issues.  It only disrupts peace and unity.  Then I saw the Red shirts yesterday, and I immediately want to cheer for Yellow.

Because Red looks menacing and intimidating.  Yellow loves Malaysia, and that's the only only way they know how to save her.  That's all they want, really.  It was not to topple the government or to create trouble for others.  They just want equality and fairness.  It's a human right.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Attractions

Hari Merdeka is just around the corner.  There are a few upcoming events that I am looking forward to. 

I snapped this picture with my iPad, so I hope you can spot the man in green flying in mid air. This was taken at the launch of a media preview of "Ninjago and the Realm of Shadows", a new live show at Legoland Malaysia Resort that will premiere on Aug 28.


I enjoyed the show very much, especially the meaningful storyline. It is about a young dragon named Bandit that is destined to be a Light Dragon, and with positivity, encouragement and  motivation it will glow, but the light within can also go out if plagued with negativity and discouragement. Basically it's about one's life journey, to empower the light within in our quest before we go home. A classic tale of the World of Light versus the World of Shadows.

Besides the entertaining story, the brilliant special effects and amazing puppetry makes this new attraction something that should be a thrill for children and adults.



On Aug 30 and Aug 31, the residents of Batu 26 Kelapa Sawit in Kulaijaya is celebrating Hari Merdeka with a food fest, performances and a host of activities. The fun is set to begin in the afternoon of Aug 30 at around 2 to 3 until the countdown, and on Aug 31 from 9.30am to 11pm.

Most of the residents of this village which has a 63 year history are of the Hakka origin.  Their biggest concerns is that the rapid development of Iskandar Malaysia will one day rob them of this simple life, and thus they want to celebrate it for as long as they can.  This is the 2nd time the residents are celebrating the nation's birthday in a big way. Last year's event attract a crowd of about 10,000.

In the past, the residents only gathered for the countdown but things changed after a little encourage and motivation from a local property developer, Scientex Berhad, and Nippon Paint Malaysia sponsored paint for the residents to have murals in the alley.


Resident Wong Yun Hoo, 50, seen here with one of the murals.  One can also visit Batu 26 Kelapa Sawit on any day and walk through this unique alley.


No, these two lioness are not in the alley. This shot was snapped at the Johor Zoo in Jalan Gertak Merah, Johor Baru.  We couldn't photograph Sharif, the old lion with a "thorn in its flesh" as he had been quarantined.

I know the admission fee to the Zoo is very affordable and currently records about 800,000 visitors a year.  But the way we treat animals reflects who we are.  I hope the state government will spruce up the Johor Zoo. Being caged up is no fun but if the environment is made to resemble their natural habitat, maybe the animals will be happier and the visitor number also may even rise three-fold. (Shrug) I don't know, just a thought. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sea Of Rubbish: Close To A Year Later

Picture taken on Sept 23, 2014
I visited this place and did a story,  Sea of Rubbish.  It came out on Sept 24 last year.


Picture taken today (Aug 24)

It is nearly 1 year since I visited Kg Pendas Baru in Tanjung Kupang.

The situation hasn't changed much.  There are still no rubbish trucks to collect the household wastes.

The residents, as well as those from Kg Ladang, located near Kg Pendas, also do not have rubbish collection services.  But the residents are resigned to their fate.

"We burn our household wastes.  As for the rubbish that are brought to the coastline from the sea, we can't do much about it.

"Every two months or so, some villagers may organise gotong-royong sessions to help reduce the rubbish," said the ketua kampung of both Kg Ladang and Kg Pendas, Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid.

The rubbish pile-up, comprising polystyrene and plastics, filled the riverbank of Sungai Pendas.  Not only was it a striking eyesore, the rubbish in the mangrove area was posing a threat to the marine habitat in the river.





This is one good reason why we must keep the seas and rivers clean. 

I saw lorries and buses coming into the village on the tarred roads.  I also saw some tourists and people buying fish, and  a group of monkeys running across the road.  They were so adorable (the monkeys).

Imagine a day when the Johor Straits has no more fish, and we need to rely on supplies from the East Coast or the Malacca Straits, or just frozen fish from overseas.

Will such a day come?  I don't know.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Midori



((((EVENT OVER))))))


The team that is bringing you Bon Odori Festival this year.

JOHOR BARU: The Bon Odori Festival returns this year on Sept 19 with a difference.

The annual event, into its 17th year now, and touted to be the second biggest after the Chingay Parade, will be held for the first time at the Eco Botanic Show Village in Nusajaya from 3pm to 10pm.

The event is organised by Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (Jagam) Southern branch, with the support of the Phographic Society of Johor (PSJ) and sponsored by property developer Eco World Bhd.

Jagam chairman Datuk Siow Kuang Ling said at a Press conference here that the organisers are expecting a turnout of more than 10,000 people.

Last year, the event was held for two days and the turnout was 50,000 people. 


"This is the third year that the event is being organised by Jagam. Before that, the events were organised by the Japan Club of Johor.

"In the last two years, the Bon Odori were staged at the car park area of a shopping mall.  This year, it will be a green and natural setting and that is why we have themed the event "Midori" meaning Green," he said.

Like in previous years, there will be the "Mochi Tsuki", where visitors can enjoy the "mochi", a Japanese rice cake.  There will the Bon Odori, where visitors can don their Yukata and participate in one of the most renowed Japanese dance.

"There will also be a photography competition where the first prize is RM1,000 and an open date return ticket from Johor Baru to Tokyo.

"Photographs taken of past Bon Odori events will also be on display at this year's event," he said.

Other highlights are the drum performances and a food galore which features a selection of Japanese and local delights.  More than 40 booths have been allocated and are waiting to be snapped up.

Another highlight of the event is the special appearance of the "3 Gaga Heads", featuring Tony Atsushi, Keizo Shogen and Par Mari Masaharu.

The trio have performed in 24 countries so far since 2005, and will be in Johor Baru for the second time.




Also present were Eco World Bhd divisional general manager Hoe Mee Ling and PSJ president Tang King Huat.

Hoe said that there should be more such activities in Iskandar Malaysia, which now has many international residents. 

"This annual event will bring the local and foreign community together, and the foreigners will get to experience a different cultural heritage and traditional customs," Hoe said.

She also added that Eco World will provide free shuttle bus service from Aeon Permas Jaya and Aeon Bukit Indah to the Eco Show Village on the day of the event.

However, the time of the bus services is yet to be finalised.

It will be announced later in the Eco World facebook page.

Admission to the event is free of charge.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Johor: Highest Inflation Rate


I went out to buy the New Straits Times, but couldn't walk away without getting a copy of the Star as well.  It's so sad. The incident reminds us how transient and precious life is.

I bought the newspapers at a pasar pagi where I also bought a "kampung chicken" at RM24 and fish RM10.80 (I don't know what fish it is ... the fishmonger told me it's called Hua Pan).

Johor has the highest inflation rate compared to that of the country's and all the other states, since the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on April 1.

State Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman, Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said Johor's inflation rate was 3.3 per cent according to data compiled by the Department of Statistics (DOSM) in June.

In the same data, Malaysia's inflation rate was 2.5 per cent while the other states were Penang, Selangor, Putrajaya (2.7%), Malacca (2.5%), Kedah, Perlis (2.4%), Kelantan (2.3%), Perak (2.2%), Pahang (2%), Terengganu (1.9%), Sarawak (1.8%) and Sabah (1.4%).

Alcohol and tobacco registered a 11.9% increase, services and products (6.6%), health (6%), food and beverage (4.8%).

So how?

I mean, what can a consumer do to enjoy more savings? No point whining. We need to find solutions.

Datuk Tee's advice: "Spend only on essential items and necessities, and buy local products."

He also mentioned the pasar tani, and programmes to help the poor such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia, Klinik 1Malaysia and affordable housing programmes like the PR1MA.

"The state government has since last August introduced the free bus service from Larkin to JB Sentral-Jalan Wong Ah Fook-Larkin, at a cost of RM2.19 million."

Datuk Tee did not deny that the state's proximity to Singapore had something to do with Johor having the highest inflation rate.

"On the one hand, Singaporeans contribute to the thriving economy in Johor.  On the other hand, it also contributes to high inflation," he said.

Another contributing factor in the spike in inflation, according to Tee, could be due to the the fact that some wholesalers and suppliers still had the remaining old stocks which were subjected to the sales and service tax (SST).

"When the GST was implemented in April, the traders and shopkeepers added GST on top of the SST. The new stocks are not subject to SST, and therefore I hope to see a positive change in the data compiled by the DOSM in September."

Datuk Tee said this at a Press conference after officiating the opening of the "Transformation statistics with the community seminar" attended by 120 participants. DOSM deputy senior statistician Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, who was also present, said he would not know the outcome of the findings in September, when asked to comment if he supported Tee's views.

Meanwhile, the state government is awaiting feedback from tour-related agencies to find solutions 
on how to ease the traffic congestion at the two main entry points to the state.

Datuk Tee said this when asked about his opinion on the implementation of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) on foreign-registered vehicles in October and whether that was going 
to affect tourist arrivals, especially Singaporeans.

He said the VEP was not the only thing that could deter tourists, but the massive congestion at the Causeway and the Second Link could also affect tourist arrivals.

He also called for the relevant authorities to ascertain the date before making an announcement and then changing the date, as this is confusing the tourists and projecting a bad image for Johor.

Datuk Tee also proposed for tour buses to be provided at the Second Link to bring tourists to and 
from Singapore to Johor, as this would ease the jam at the Second Link.

"Another alternative is to take the train from JB Sentral, which has increased its daily trips from Johor Baru to Singapore and back from five to seven.  This will eventually be increased to 13 trips a day.

"Taking a train takes only five minutes, and will ease the jam at the Causeway," he said.

Do you agree with Datuk Tee?



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Policy Makers, Decision Makers

this is a continuation of A Potpourri Of Stories

The latest reports on VEP and the Kim Teng Park issue reported in the local English dailies.


JOHOR BARU: Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, the member of parliament for Johor Baru has called on the state government to cancel any plan to acquire Kim Teng Park for the city's redevelopment plan.

Shahrir said there was no urgency for the state government to take over the housing estate, known to be one of the oldest here.

"Together with members of the Kim Teng Park Resident Association, we have met those in the Johor Economic Planning Unit last week to talk about the matter.

"If a deposit has been made by the developer, then return the deposit," he said here yesterday.

Shahrir said the approval for the land acquisition was made last October, but there had been no consultation with the residents.

He described the "takeover" as being too abrupt.

"There are procedures to follow even when it comes to getting squatters to leave their homes.  The residents of Kim Teng Park are homeowners, and the neighbourhood is not like a "ghetto" where homeowners transform their homes into hostels for foreign workers.

"Those who stay there care about the community and are concerned about their neighbourhood.

"He was referring to a case in the past of complaints from homeowners against other homeowners who had turned their homes into hostels.

Shahrir said the acquisition must be done in a rational manner and it be fair to the homeowners.

Shahrir said the details of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link should be finalised before plans to acquire Kim Teng Park were made.

"If the land acquisition is for the RTS project, then the state government has to decide on traffic increment, how the project is going to benefit the community and the impact of RTS on the city."

(source: NST)



PONTIAN: Online registration of foreign vehicles for the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) has to be extended beyond the stipulated two weeks in order to fix issues that have cropped up since registration started on Saturday (Aug 15).

Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said that while the VEP implementation on Oct 1 would still be maintained, the online registration must be extended beyond Aug 31.

He said based on feedback, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) needed to address some issues such as the registration forms being too complicated or ambiguous.

"The two weeks may not be enough.  There is no point in rushing to register everyone," he said at the Pontian Umno Hari Raya open house, adding that the government did not want to pile unnecessary pressure on Singaporeans.

(source: STAR)

A Potpourri Of Stories

An interesting Sunday.  

In the morning, I received news that a robbery suspect had run off with a police patrol car in Bandar Seri Alam at 9.35pm on Saturday.  

Luckily, the vehicle has been found, along with everything else in it, at 9.30am on Sunday.  The 22-year-old suspect later surrendered himself at the Seri Alam police station.

This is also a wake-up call for the men in blue to be more alert and mindful, even though this is an isolated case.  Not being mindful and alert can cause casualties, like the recent elevator and escalator incidents in China.

Read the NST online story here:  Stolen Police Patrol Car 

Over at Kim Teng Park,


Tan Sri Shahrir Samad at a Press conference on the intended acquisition of Kim Teng Park 

Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Samad has called on the state government to cancel the intended acquisition of Kim Teng Park, as he saw no urgency nor the rationale for that.  Plans for the RTS has also not been finalised yet, so why "drop the bomb" so early?

Tan Sri Shahrir's sincerity has certainly won the hearts and minds of the residents of  Kim Teng Park.


I don't know what I was trying to do when this shot was taken.  I only know the sand was pretty hot on the soles of my feet.

I was at the Lotus Desaru Beach Resort yesterday.  Read the NST story here:  South Korean Students Had A Taste Of Malaysian Culture



Finally, 

For foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Johor, the Transport Ministry says registration for the Vehicle Entry Permit can be done online at www.jpj.gov.my/vep or just click here  to get to the VEP website.

At the moment, only online registration is available.  The VEP trial period will begin in September, but motorists will only be charged in October.  But all Singapore-registered vehicles have to register for the VEP before they can enter Johor.

For more information on this, please go to the Bernama story here.

Before I call it a day,  I want to wish Indonesia a "Happy National Day" as the nation celebrates the 70th anniversary of its independence on August 17. 

Good night.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Drive

Updated

How time flies and what a difference a year makes. Feeling totally exhausted after having driven more than 100km to Lotus Desaru Beach Resort from Johor Baru and back, in a day.

The resort, fronting the South China Sea, has pristine, sandy beach and offers a vast range of sea sports and activities like kayaking, jet-ski, volleyball, among others.
  
Pristine sandy beach
Doing my story on the beach

It's always healthy to add a little colour to a day's work.  No need to get all stressed up.  I was at the resort to cover an English camp event organised by Gabriel Recruitment Agency (GRA), an education management company that organises English and Robotics camps for children and youths during the school holidays.

I also covered the event last year Korean Kids Have A Perfect Holiday.


with Daniel Shim, one of the event coordinators.  He is from Korea.

Shella with Sophie Winton, one of the teachers at the English camp.  Sophie is from South Africa.



The group stayed at the resort for three weeks, and will be leaving for Singapore today which will see them visiting the Science Centre Singapore and Universal Studios, among others, during the week-long stay in the republic.

While the group of 100 Korean students and 14 teachers were in Desaru, they had visited the Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in JB, Firefly Valley Leisure Park in Kota Tinggi, the Desaru Fruit Farm nearby and the Felda Waha in Kota Tinggi where they enjoyed satay and an array of local spicy food delights during a Hari Raya gathering.

This is the 6th time GRA had organised outings to Johor where they stayed at the Lotus Desaru.

The programme was aimed at strengthening the children's command of the English language and exposing them to the different cultures and heritage in various parts of the world.  The lessons were interspersed with drama and music sessions and fun-filled outings.

Original Post

Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta, last year's National Day theme when Malaysia turned 57.

I was here last year in August, and I can't believe that I'm going there again today.  

Oh, I've changed the name of my "COME on a quality quest" blog to "DRIVE on a mission".  Woke up in the middle of the night, and felt like doing that.  Now I need to change all my previous links.  That would have to be later, as I need to set off for my trip early.

Happy Saturday everyone.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Good Policy, Bad Timing


Is the Johor Straits Development Corridor Masterplan 2025 going to scare away foreign investors?

A property consultant certainly thinks so.

KGV International Property Consultants executive director Samuel Tan thinks it is a good policy but the timing is off.

Tan said he understood the need for the state government to protect the interest of the locals and to ensure a sustainable environment.  However, the implementation of the plan would deter investors from coming to Iskandar Malaysia.

He believed the 99 year lease imposed on foreigners would drive investors to Medini, a premium waterfront urban development that has no restrictions on foreign ownership, no minimum price threshold for foreign property buyers, and investors are exempted from real property gains tax until Dec 31, 2025.

"The price threshold of RM2 million for landed properties and RM1 million for strata-title on foreign property owners will also spur developers to push up the prices of properties built for locals."

"And a foreign owner has to pay three times more for quit rent and assessment. This is actually a "small revenue increase that will create a big impact," he said.

Tan also highlighted the fact that a property developer has to put down a deposit of 2% instead of the current 1% of the gross development value (GDV) of the project.

"Another point is that local developers building projects outside the international zone has to reduce their 50% quota for foreign ownership," he said.

The master plan is still open for public viewing until Aug 19 from 9am to 4pm at the Johor Baru City Council, Johor Baru Central Municipal Council, Pasir Gudang Municipal Council, Pontian District Council, Iskandar Regional Development Authority and Dato' Abdul Rahman Andak building in Nusajaya.

Read more here

Monday, August 10, 2015

Johor Straits (Follow-Up)


A check with the Johor Economic Planning Unit revealed that there were some enquiries.  Am trying to get more info on this, like what are the major concerns about the development.

The masterplan displayed at the planning unit located on the 2nd floor of the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) An average of 20 people come to view the masterplan daily since it was put up on display.

The post on the Johor Straits Development Corridor Masterplan 2025, which I posted on August 6, has generated some interest judging by the views.  It knocked the Stalking Shahrum post, which had held on to the number 1 spot over the last five months, down to number 2. 




These are just some of the snapshots that I have taken of the masterplan.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Eventful Weekend

I've had a most interesting and eventful weekend.  On Saturday, I went to Segamat, which is 178km from JB.  The bus ticket from Larkin, JB, to Segamat costs RM17.30 and the journey took nearly 3 hours.  Taking a taxi would have cost me RM62.50 (I enquired when I reached the Segamat bus and taxi terminal).



Welcome to Segamat

The bus journey took a 20-minute break at Yong Peng.  It was a pleasant trip because all the people I met were very friendly and helpful.  

And today, I went over to Singapore as the republic celebrates its 50th National Day. 



The Shangri-La

I was at the Shangri-La as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in the republic on a working visit.

The media was there hoping to get a snapshot of him.  However, the security team said we couldn't wait there with our cameras and all because there were other Ministers (I heard from 19 countries) at the hotel, and for security reasons, we could not be there.

It's ok.  They told us subtly and nicely, and we also understood that they were only doing their job, just like we were there to do our job.



A selfie at North Bridge Road

Went over to the Padang, but security was really tight. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), which organised the National Day Parade (NDP) only gave one official media permission to enter the venue to cover the event.


At North Bridge Road where one can only get through with an entry pass or ticket

The bus and MRT rides were all free today, but my colleagues and I took taxis because we didn't really know our way around. There were ushers at certain venues to offer assistance to the public. But when we asked one of them where we could find a big screen TV for a live streaming of the event, since we couldn't enter the venue of the NDP, he was just as puzzled as we were on where we could find one.  

So, we headed back to the Shangri-La again, hoping to catch Najib, but once again we missed the Prime Minister by a hair.


The Shangri-La

We were too busy running around to have lunch, so by evening, we made our way from the Shangri-La to the Victory Restaurant in North Bridge Road located opposite the Sultan Mosque, for nasi briyani.  



Chicken briyani at Victory Restaurant

It was a delightful meal.  Maybe next time, we will try Zam Zam, another well-known restaurant that serves the same dishes and located just next door to Victory.

Meanwhile, here are two clips of the NDP.  Stunning, huh? 





clips were sent to me by a dear friend of mine via WhatsApp.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Who Is Going To Be The New PAC Chairman?

Tan Sri Shahrir Samad

by Chuah Bee Kim


SEGAMAT: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been urged to hold a one-day parliamentary sitting before October to reconstitute the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and elect its new chairman. Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said this was important for the committee's work to continue.

 "There should be a one-day sitting to reconstitute the Public Accounts Committee and for a new chairman to be elected. The Prime Minister as the head of the house should do this and it should preferably be next month instead of waiting until October," said Shahrir referring to the next parliamentary session that starts Oct 19. 

 "To have (a complete line up) of committee members in the PAC is important and I have related this matter to the Prime Minister," he said. 

Shahrir, who is Johor Baru member or parliament, was speaking to reporters after opening the Segamat Umno Youth division meeting in Jementah, near here today. He said the selection of members into the PAC was conducted by two parliamentary committees, and due to the recent vacancies, a re-selection process has to be done. 

Datuk Nur Jazlan

Former PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed stepped down from his post after he was appointed as deputy home minister in a cabinet reshuffle on July 28. Apart from Nur Jazlan, other PAC members appointed into the cabinet include Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/95289

source: NST online

(note: I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this story.  When I got the assignment, I had no clue at all where was Laman Warisan Senin Khanipah in Kampung Bukit Tunggal, Jementah, Segamat. But met a lot of kind and friendly faces along the journey.  A big THANK YOU also to the NST Johor bureau chief Ahmad Othman Fairuz, KL editors and subs. Going to Singapore today. Happy 50th National Day, Singapore)
SEGAMAT: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been urged to hold a one-day parliamentary sitting before October to reconstitute the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and elect its new chairman. Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said this was important for the committee's work to continue. "There should be a one-day sitting to reconstitute the Public Accounts Committee and for a new chairman to be elected. The Prime Minister as the head of the house should do this and it should preferably be next month instead of waiting until October," said Shahrir referring to the next parliamentary session that starts Oct 19. "To have (a complete line up) of committee members in the PAC is important and I have related this matter to the Prime Minister," he said. Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad. Pix by Syarafiq Abd Samad Shahrir, who is Johor Baru member or parliament, was speaking to reporters after opening the Segamat Umno Youth division meeting in Jementah, near here today. He said the selection of members into the PAC was conducted by two parliamentary committees, and due to the recent vacancies, a re-selection process has to be done. Former PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed stepped down from his post after he was appointed as deputy home minister in a cabinet reshuffle on July 28. Apart from Nur Jazlan, other PAC members appointed into the cabinet include Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.

Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/node/95289

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Johor Straits Development Corridor Masterplan 2025

JOHOR BARU: The public will be able to view the Johor Straits Development Corridor Masterplan 2025 and provide their input for the development in the next two weeks.

  The masterplan will be displayed at the Johor Baru City Council, Johor Baru Central Municipal Council, Pasir Gudang Municipal Council, Pontian District Council, Iskandar Regional Development Authority office and Dato' Abdul Rahman Andak building in Nusajaya.


  Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman, Datuk Abd Latif Bandi issues concerning the International Zone for property development is one of the key focuses of the masterplan.


  "We have come up with guidelines such as properties owned by foreigners must be leasehold with prices pegged at RM2 million for landed property and RM1million for strata-titled ones.


   "We welcome input from property developers and all stakeholders during the fortnight-long public forum before the feedback is  handed to Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who will unveil the masterplan early next year," Latif told a press conference in Skudai Multipurpose hall on Wednesday (Aug 5).


  Among the developments that involved reclamation are in the Sungai Pulai estuary (96ha), Stulang waterway (243ha), Ramsar sites (2,023ha) and Sungai Johor estuary, near Pulau Juling, (pending approval.)
  

  He said the local authority would not grant approval for the development of new coastal projects situated on environmentally sensitive areas (ESA), without a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment report.
  

  The corridor for development stretches 98km from the Tanjung Piai in the west to Sungai Johor in the east, and covers areas that are expected to have a population of 1.5 million people by 2025.

  A total of nine nodes have been identified under the International Zone: Tanjung Bin (1138ha), Tanjung Pelepas coast (2,328ha) Nusajaya (2,204ha), Johor Baru City Centre (573ha), Pasir Gudang Industrial Port (1,390ha), Tanjung Piai (1,537ha), Forest City (1,624ha), Sungai Skudai (297ha) and Sungai Tebrau (429ha).


  The viewing period for the Johor Straits Development Corridor Masterplan is until Aug 19 at all the six venues. Viewing is from 9am to 4pm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sigh of Relief


"The Finance Ministry is confident that the ringgit will stabilise, despite its depreciation due to falling crude oil prices.

The ringgit depreciation was due to negative public sentiments rather than economic fundamentals.

The ringgit is also not expected to breach the RM4 level against the US dollar by year-end as it is backed by Malaysia's export numbers."

(source: NST)

The Finance Ministry has given its assurance that the ringgit will not be depreciating, so no more Splitting Headache .  Go ahead and indulge, and enjoy the 6 meals per day, if you can afford it.  But don't over-indulge.  Be mindful of obesity.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Splitting Headache

In June 1998, One Singapore Dollar = Ringgit Malaysia 2.45.

Today, it is SGD1 = RM2.80 

The local business community in Johor Baru is fearful that the ringgit may plunge further, and many are buying the green back and the Singapore Dollar.



Johor MCA government affairs coordination bureau chairman, Michael Tay, who is also involved in the property sector, urged the public to be more patriotic and have faith in the ringgit.

"By selling your currency, you are making it plunge further," he said, adding that the low currency rate of the ringgit will draw tourists but these are customers, not long-term investors.
"A Singaporean told me he was planning to invest but it is only lucrative if he stays in Johor.  If he changes the currency and brings it back to Singapore, it is not going to be a profitable business venture," he said.
Tay also urged banks to raise their interest rates for fixed deposits so as to lure more people to save their money.

"The new Cabinet should work toward curbing inflation so that the locals will have greater spending power," he said.

Kerine Ng, founder of the Two N Shop retail chain stores, said she may have to re-structure her business model now.
  
"Running a business always has its ups and downs, but over the past six months, things have been very challenging," said Ng, who started her business venture in 2002.
  
There are 150 outlets in Malaysia, but the company has yet to venture to the northern region.
"We plan to, but due to unpredictable times, we need to review our plans," she said, adding that her business is affected as most of her goods were imported.
"The exchange rate is forcing me to revise the prices of my goods and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, it is really tough to be an entrepreneur nowadays.

"With the Vehicle Entry Permit to be implemented in September, I am worried that this will cause a bigger dent to my business," she added.


Datuk Dr Siow Kuang Ling, a surgeon and inventor ( you can read more about the good doctor here ) said he was forced to discontinue some of the branded medicines which had been importing for many years.
"As it costs more to get the medicine, I had to increase the price but when I do that, it becomes a burden to my patients, especially those who are taking the medication on a long-term basis.
"I had to switch to generic medicine, which is more affordable for some patients," he said


MEANWHILE,


JOHOR BARU: Umno supreme council member Datuk Idris Haron recently urged party members to think about the people's economy.

The Malacca chief minister said in his speech at the 28th annual general meeting of UMNO Pulai division which has 514 delegates from 83 divisions, that  many are swayed by what is posted on social networking sites and web portals.

"Someone from Libya told me about his countrymen who have died from lack of food, and whether the same was happening in Malaysia.

"I told him in Malaysia people are more likely to die from over-eating than from starvation," he said.

Idris said there was an increase in the number of people having breaking of fast gatherings in five-star hotels, more bookings for new cars for Hari Raya, among other indulgences, in Malacca.
 

"Are we providing enough food at the end of the day?" he said, adding that some are enjoying six meals a day.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Protest Over Land Acquisition





JOHOR BARU:  About 200 residents of Kim Teng Park, among the oldest housing estate here,  protested the acquisition of their land by a company.

  The residents are unhappy that no prior discussion was held before the land was acquired.

  Kim Teng Park Resident Association pro tem committee chairman Velasamy S. Pillai said most residents would not have anywhere to go if their homes were taken away, as they had bought the houses when the housing estate opened in 1962.

  Velasamy said he wondered what project had been planned in the area.

  "There is a rumour that the land acquisition is for the building of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System link. But why should residents like me give up our homes for the convenience of those (Singaporeans, and Malaysians who work in Singapore) who don't even pay taxes to the government here?

  "The people acquiring this land are the ones who are going to benefit from it.

  "The residents, on the other hand, will be left limping or moving in our wheelchairs to the Welfare Department," said Velasamy, referring to the majority of homeowners who are senior citizens.

  He was speaking at a gathering to protest the land acquisition, which was attended by Johor Baru member of parliament Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.

  Kim Teng Park was built in 1962 by property developer Tay Soon Lee Realty.  it is a 12ha area comprising about 300 residential houses and shops.

  Velasamy said there were about 1,500 people living in the housing estate.

  He added that he came to know about the land acquisition when he spotted people carrying out a valuation on the site.

  "Upon checking with them, they showed me a notice under Section 8 of the Johor State Gazette Notification for the intended acquisition.

  "After doing checks, we found out that a company has been named the beneficiary in the land acquisition."

  Velasamy said the residents had not received any notification of the acquisition.  However, 
they submitted a letter of protest to Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin on July 29 to stop the acquistion.

  Shahrir said he would "stand with the residents" on the matter and would look into it to address their concerns.

   Velasamy said he stumbled upon the news recently when he spotted a group of surveyors carrying out valuation works on the site.
  

"Ah Kong's House"


  Resident Magdalene Er, 45, said her late father was one of the pioneer residents, having bought a corner lot in the 1960s at the price of RM18,000.

  "The value of the house is now more than RM1 million but this is "Ah Kong's house" (grandfather's house) to the family and home to four generations. 


  "The family, and the house, have a history of five funerals and eight weddings.  My elder sister, who is 57 and single, is staying in the house and planning to spend her twilight years there. 

  She no longer qualifies for a loan to buy a new property, even if she is getting a compensation for the acquisition," Er said, adding that the other members of the family still return to the house for reunions and gatherings.



Look the other way

The scale and beauty of the project was astounding, but I couldn't help feeling a little overwhelmed as I ventured into the site. Th...