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Showing posts from August, 2015

Yellow

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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 …

Red Versus Yellow

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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 assu…

Attractions

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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 a…

Sea Of Rubbish: Close To A Year Later

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



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…

Midori

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


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 na…

Johor: Highest Inflation Rate

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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…

Policy Makers, Decision Makers

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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 squatter…

A Potpourri Of Stories

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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,



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…

Drive

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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.

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.



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 o…

Good Policy, Bad Timing

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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."
&…

Johor Straits (Follow-Up)

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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 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.

Eventful Weekend

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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).




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. 



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 th…

Who Is Going To Be The New PAC Chairman?

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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, ne…

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 N…

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.

Splitting Headache

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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 …

Protest Over Land Acquisition

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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 …