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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

THE METROPOLIS OF KL, KLANG, SEREMBAN & MELAKA

In my opinion, we will see the cities of Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Seremban, Port Dickson and historical Melaka merged into one large metropolis where people and visitors can enjoy the different attractions of each city.

Melaka is already the World Heritage City where history lurks and has flourishing cultures living together for the past 600 years. She is a living heritage in her own right.

For Kuala Lumpur, the modern city with numerous restaurants and entertainment centres offer a different experience to locals and visitors alike. The Petronas Twin Towers are the international icon and symbol which people recognise as KL, Malaysia. Food and different cultures prevail.

For Klang and Shah Alam, we have the main port to Malaysia and near to Port Dickson, we have the KLIA and LCCT Terminal. Soon, we will have a newer LCCT complex at Labu, Negeri Sembilan. All these airports are located within the cities of KL, Klang, Seremban and Melaka which visitors can reach within 1 hour's drive.

For visitors who want to enjoy the sun and sea, they can either go to Port Dickson and Pantai Puteri/Pantai Bidara in Melaka.

Signs are there as we see development along the North-South Highway at Bangi, Nilai, Seremban and Port Dickson. Maybe in the next 25 years, we will see more development at Labu, Alor Gajah and surrounding areas towards Melaka. Time will be our witness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A BRIDGE FROM MELAKA TO DUMAI, INDONESIA?


2008/12/24


A Bridge from Melaka to Dumai, Indonesia in the future?

It will be nice that we can drive across the Malacca Straits in our own car to Sumatra, Indonesia. We can have a relaxing weekend in Indonesia while Indonesians can travel over for their medical check-ups in Melaka.
From the engineering & civil construction of point of view, the bridge can be built as there are many high span bridges built around the world eg. in Japan, China and other countries. The only constraints will be the financial burden and political consideration between Malaysia and Indonesia. Being a mega project, a lot of details have to be worked out before construction can start. No point having an uncompleted bridge hanging over the Straits of Malacca if the works grind to a halt.
It is certainly an idea worth exploring for the future of Malaysia and Indonesia in fostering neighbourly ties and the coming together of the ASEAN countries into one trade grouping in the future.
Webmaster

Feasibility study first for bridge to Sumatra

MALACCA: The government will conduct a feasibility study on the suggested 52km bridge linking Malacca to Dumai in Sumatra, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
He said the study would determine the viability of the bridge, taking into consideration the cost, expected revenue and present economic situation."It may become a reality in the near future. But for now, I think the ferry service is sufficient.

"The Malacca government had earlier suggested the construction of the bridge which was estimated to cost US$11 billion (RM38 billion).Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam had said that the bridge would have great economic potential, considering the population in Sumatra had reached 70 million compared with Singapore with only four million.

He said the idea of the bridge had been raised in 1995, but was put on hold a few years later due to the financial crisis then affecting both countries."There are numerous factors to consider before we can embark on such a huge project. We will decide after a feasibility study is done." Najib was speaking at the opening of the Ninth Malay and Islamic World (DMDI) Convention here yesterday.

In his speech, he urged Malays in the region not to forget their roots and play their part in helping the community grow stronger and more united in facing challenges."Despite the changes around us, we must never forget our roots and should take all relevant steps to foster greater unity, understanding and cooperation among each other." In urging the community to master as many languages as possible, Najib reminded them not to neglect the use of their mother tongue, Bahasa Malaysia.

He also called on the Malays to reject all forms of extremism and the use of militant force to achieve political goals.Later, Najib launched the DMDI Finance House, which he said would begin with an initial investment of RM10 million and an authorised capital of RM1 billion.Ali, who is also DMDI president, said he hoped that if the bridge project was approved, it would be financed by the private sector."

I hope the idea will become a reality because the Malacca-Dumai bridge can not only boost economic development, but also strengthen ties between both countries."

He said the number of tourist arrivals from Indonesia had increased from 1.2 million in 2006 to 1.8 million last year.The number of Indonesian tourists who visited the Unesco World Heritage site here increased from 105,986 in 2006 to 128,057 last year, he added

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NEW LCCT AT LABU, NEGERI SEMBILAN




It is heartening to read that the Malaysian cabinet has given approval to a private sector initiative by Sime Darby Berhad, AirAsia Bhd. and private investors, to set up a new LCCT terminal at Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

Covering 2,800 hectares, the LCCT terminal will be the hub to develop 5 townships for various industries. Moreover, the Express Rail Link and KTM Komuter, will be extended to the new LCCT when completed.

Located about 7 km from the North-South Highway near to Nilai/Labu, the new LCCT will be nearer to Melaka than currently. On the long term, with projection that AirAsia will bring in 30 million passengers by 2014, this figure can only benefit Melaka - World Heritage City. If we can get 2% of this projected traffic to visit Melaka, it will translate to 600,000 new visitors!!!

It is important that tour operators, bus companies and taxis that ply Melaka-KL and KL-Melaka routes, be creative in their routings. Long distance buses can use the LCCT terminal as a stop when travelling from Melaka or KL. For passengers who want to LCCT, they can also board on these buses at reduced fares. The key is that we provide accessibility to intending passengers, locals or foreigners, who want to visit Melaka.

In the future, we can certainly see the region of Kuala Lumpur,Klang, Seremban, Port Dickson and Melaka City becoming one large Metropolis whereby visitors can enjoy history, entertainment, shopping, beaches and food.

Friday, November 14, 2008

SHOP SIGNAGES SHOULD HAVE THEIR ADDRESSES LISTED




In order for us to make Melaka and Malaysia "friendly" to local and foreign visitors, the Melaka Historical City Council should implement shop sign boards with the shop addresses listed. Now, most sign boards are allowed to be displayed WITHOUT the addresses. Years ago in the 1960s and 1970s, our shop sign boards have their addresses listed. They are convenient and easy to be seen.




Shop front signboards without address.

By not implementing the sign boards with addresses, it makes it difficult to find a location or shop. Moreover, most of our road signs are either not prominent or have been stolen and not replaced. However, if the sign boards must indicate the address on it, it becomes a "directional finder". We can now see clearly which road we are in, the postcode and contact telephone number of the premises. If anyone is lost due to lack of road signs, we can still rely on the shop front sign boards.

When I was in Bandung over the last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have shop front signboards with their addresses listed. At least, they indicate to us the name of the road and we cannot get lost. Finding the right road can now be determined by viewing the shop front sign boards.

I do not understand why we took away this simple yet effective shop front sign boards. We do not need expensive Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to get us around. What we need is to re-implement back the simple signages with addresses on them. They will prove to be effective and useful to visitors and locals alike in finding the correct roads and shops. Incidentally, we should also implement these changes ALL over Malaysia again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SAVE PANTAI KUNDUR (PANTAI PUTERI) BEACHES

Serious erosion has occurred along the Pantai Kundur (Pantai Puteri) beaches at Klebang. If nothing or remedial works are carried out immediately, a portion of the road facing the beach front will collapse into the sea. This observation and fears have been highlighted by kampung folks who live at Pantai Kundur.

Authorities must act immediately to prevent this from happening. With the land reclaimation works at Klebang, there is no beautiful beach other than Pantai Kundur. With casuarina trees grown on the beaches, they give ample shade to visitors to relax and enjoy the sea breezes especially in the evenings.

If I correctly recall, Pantai Kundur beach was beset with erosion in late 1980s and beach rehabilitation works were done to rectify the erosion. Now, after 20 years, this problem has surfaced again.

Can this be due to the reclaimation works at Klebang Besar which is being undertaken now? By changing the coastline by reclaiming land from the sea, it will definitely change the wave patterns, strength and velocity of the waves. Maybe, we are seeing the results now at Pantai Kundur.

Here is a news report published recently:-

October 14, 2008 14:06 PM

Pantai Puteri Faces Coastal Erosion

MELAKA, Oct 14 (Bernama)

Pantai Puteri in Tanjung Keling, near here, is facing serious coastal erosion which could destroy the beauty of the beach.The effects of the erosion along the approximately four-kilometre stretch of beach could be seen where many of the casuarina trees had been uprooted while many more are in danger of being uprooted.

A check by Bernama reveals that in some places, only a few metres separate the road from the sea.The residents claimed that about 50 metres of the beach had been eroded within the last 10 years, bringing down the casuarina trees which had been planted to provide shade to visitors to the beach.

A resident, Abdullah Yahya, said the coastal erosion had resulted in a large chunk of the beach being 'swallowed' by the Straits of Melaka.

"The erosion becomes more serious especially during the season of the westerly winds as well as the possibility of the effects from the ongoing reclamation works at Pantai Klebang," he told Bernama, here today.

Abdullah, who is also chairman of the Melaka Fishermen's Association, said the erosion also seemed to threaten several structures built at the beach.He feared that the coastal erosion could also destroy the road beside the beach if nothing was done to check the erosion.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the State Committee on Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Datuk Seet Har Cheow said the Melaka government had asked the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to take action to resolve the eroson problem along the beach.

He said Pantai Puteri, located 11 kilometres from the Melaka city centre, was a tourist destination and the DID should act immediately to save the beach.-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PICTORIAL EXHIBITION ON TUNKU

24th. September 2008

There will be an important photograph exhibition on Malaysia's founding father - Tunku Abdul Rahman in October 2008. Restored photos unseen will be exhibited for all Malaysians to view for free. As Malaysians, these photos are part of our Malaysian Heritage.

24th. September 2008 “TERIMA KASIH TUNKU!” PICTORIAL EXHIBITION OF TUNKU
From MALACCA HIGH & MAHSOPA PHOTOS



Come October 2008, be sure to view a fascinating exhibition on Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Al Marhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj at Gallery 2, Department of Museums Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

YB Datuk Seri Hj. Mohd Shafie bin Hj Apdal, Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage will officiate the opening on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 4.00pm.

This exhibition is organized by the Department of Museums Malaysia in collaboration with Canvas Art Sdn Bhd. On display are 222 pictures of the Tunku, including many from private collections. These rare pictures cover the period when he was a young schoolboy to a retired but active former Prime Minister.

A team of experts in Canvas Art painstakingly restored all the images. They took more than eight years to source the old photographs from private individuals and government institutions. Some have never been viewed in public before. The images have been carefully restored and reproduced on artist canvas or fine art paper of international archive standard and quality, with captions in Bahasa Malaysia and English.

The Tunku was like a father to all Malaysians. He knew our hearts and minds. Although his struggle to gain independence was not without sacrifice, he was able to free his beloved country from the yoke of colonialism without shedding a single drop of blood. This is the freedom we now cherish.

This pictorial presentation offers a glimpse of the Tunku’s long and historic journey along the path to Merdeka and beyond. It is important for the younger generation to appreciate the nation’s struggle for independence and the critical role played by great leaders who strived tirelessly to unite our multiracial society. It is only through harmony among the races that we can form a truly united and prosperous Malaysian nation.

In 1957, the Tunku said “Our great aim must be to make Malaya a haven of peace, harmony and happiness. We must strive for this with all our strength. We must be brave, we must be fair and we must be just, so that, come what may, we shall be ready as a united Malayan people to meet it.”

“ It is my daily prayer that all the different races in the country will continue to live together in friendship … Independence could never have been achieved without the unity of the various races” he said on his 80th birthday in 1983.

We hope Malaysians everywhere will have the opportunity to view this exclusive collection of photographs of the Tunku and his priceless legacy. Robert Lim Fung Wang Managing Director Canvas Art Sdn Bhd

NOTE - Reception is from 4pm to 6pm at Gallery 2 of the Department of Museums Malaysia, 7th October 2008. - Invitation list includes family and friends of Tunku, retired Ambassadors, Ambassadors of SEA countries and the United Kingdom.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

PERANAKAN CULTURE IN MELAKA


5th. September 2008

Do you know that the Peranakan ( Baba and Nyonya ) heritage and culture began in Melaka?

The culture of the Peranakans is a community which began when Chinese traders in the 17th century moved to Malacca. They settled down in Malacca and adopted local customs and traditions.

The community of Peranakans subsequently moved on to Penang in the late 18th century and to Singapore in the early 1900s. Though Melaka has a vibrant Peranakan heritage and has a private museum to highlight the Peranakan heritage, Singapore has opened two impressive museums that feature the Peranakan heritage.

In April, the Asian Civilisations Museum steered the opening of the $12-million Peranakan Museum in Armenian Street and today, the National University of Singapore opens its $4-million Baba House in Neil Road. Both the museum and the house are stocked with artefacts, both tell the story of the Peranakans.

It is about time that the Baba and Nyonyas of Melaka pool their resources to preserve the uniqueness of the Peranakan culture.

It has been reported that the Melaka Peranakans will be hosting the "21st. Baba Convention" from 5th. to 7th. December 2008.

Peranakans from all over the world will converge into Melaka for this convention. It is expected Peranakans from Penang, Singapore, Phuket and overseas will meet up in Melaka for this historic event.

May we wish the organisers well for organising this event and wish them all the success in hosting this convention. As Melaka is now a World Heritage City, we need to preserve our unique cultures such as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Chitty, Portuguese and Dutch alive for generations to come.

Kamsiah.


NO BUS SERVICE FROM MELAKA TO KLIA


5th. September 2008

A traveller from Penang wrote to the newspapers complaining that there are no direct bus services from Melaka to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. We wonder why. There are buses travelling from Melaka Sentral to Kuala Lumpur but not one makes a detour to KLIA/LCCT at Sepang. This problem can be easily solved by having some bus services to call on KLIA/LCCT while enroute to Kuala Lumpur.

Also, some bus services while travelling from KL to Melaka can call on KLIA/LCCT as well.

We want to make Melaka, now a World Heritage City to be accessible to all visitors - locals and foreign travellers. A direct bus link will be good for the industry. We hope some bus companies will see this as a business opportunity not to be missed.

Below is the letter written to some national newspapers.

"While there are frequent services to Kuala Lumpur, other Klang Valley locations and Seremban, it appears to be quite inconvenient, especially for first-time visitors to Malaysia, to have to haul their entire luggage from bus to bus in order to reach Malacca.

This is exacerbated by the decentralisation of interstate bus services, most notably in Kuala Lumpur.

Further problems arise when one has to catch a flight from Malacca: having to change buses means that around twice the time of a direct journey, if not more, needs to be allocated in order not to miss one’s plane.

Interestingly, there are direct, albeit less frequent, bus services to Ipoh – a good 100km further away from KLIA compared to Malacca!

It would seem that only those who can afford a taxi or better can enjoy a direct ride to Malacca from the airport.

Given the promotion of Malacca as a premier tourist destination, it reflects poorly on this country that not enough seems to be done to facilitate the journey of both locals and foreigners to the recently-listed Unesco World Heritage Site.

The constant flow of tourists, not to mention locals, second-home owners and university students, should provide enough demand for a reasonably frequent direct bus service from Melaka Sentral to either KLIA, LCCT or both."

NEOH JOON KEE,
Penang.

Friday, August 29, 2008

RM 50 Million Fund for Heritage Buildings in 2009 Budget

Yesterday, Prime Minister Badawi allocated RM 50 million fund for conservation work for the World Heritage Cities of Melaka and Georgetown in his Budget 2009. Compared to an overall budget of RM 209 billion, this amount is certainly a drop in an ocean.

Moreover, the amount is to be divided with Melaka and Georgetown. Conservation work and renovating heritage buildings are not cheap and involves specialised expertise. Hopefully, this allocation is just the beginning for Malaysia in recognising the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations.

I remember once some VIP mentioned that preserving old buildings is not progressive. They should be demolished and newer buildings must be built to replace them. How wrong these comments are. These old buildings with their unique characters reflect the architectural designs of their times and should be preserved.

Build newer buildings by all means BUT ensure that they are built outside the core heritage areas. Visitors to our heritage cities want to see unique buildings and cultures. They certainly do not want to see skyscrapers like theirs at home. If they want to see these skyscrapers,they can do so back in their own backyard.

Singapore has destroyed their heritage buildings during the building frenzy in 1970s and 1980s and they are regretting it. Bras Basah Road had elegant colonial buildings but they were bulldozed. Similarly, Hong Kong followed the same course on their buildings. Luckily, the Hong Kong authorities have maintained the Hong Kong Tram system.

The past can certainly co-exist with the present and we should preserve them for the future. Food for thought.

Monday, August 25, 2008

GETTING THE CRUISE LINERS TO BERTH INTO MELAKA



25th. August 2008

It was recently reported that a Malaysian Cruise Liner had to by-pass Melaka because Melaka had no proper disembarking and embarking facilities. The waterway into Melaka is shallow and cruise liners must anchor off-shore before passengers and crew can disembark into Melaka.



A cruise liner can bring in at least 2000 passengers or more into our shores at any one time. Should half of the passengers and crew decide to visit Melaka, more than 1,000 people of high nett worth can visit for a single day. That means we need to have shuttle boats to bring in the visitors and to bring them back to the ship. Moreover, on reaching our shores, we need to transport them to our historical sites and entertainment venues. We need at least 25 air-conditioned buses to ferry them around.

Do we have the necessary facilities and space to cater for such a crowd at any one time?

The Melaka State authorities should identify a suitable space to build a proper CIQ facilities so that our special guests can visit us without any hassle. The spin off is inmeasurable since the large entourage per visit will give direct economic benefits to locals. Local traders can sell their local souvenirs, offer our visitors our local cuisines and show them our friendly hospitality.

Imagine how many guests can visit us if we can receive at least 4 cruise ships or more per month.

Tourism Melaka would like to appeal to our Melaka State Government to undertake this infrastructure as early as possible. We should undertake this project on a fastrack basis so that Melaka can reap the rewards from our status as Melaka - World Heritage City and Everlasting Living Heritage.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MELAKA MUST ENSURE SECURITY & SAFETY TO MALACCANS AND VISITORS TO MELAKA






During my recent weekend visit my home town in Melaka, I had a very bad experience in a recently opened cineplex . Located on the 5th. floor of the shopping complex, it housed 10 cinema screens for customers to view different movies.

The first thing you will notice on the ticketing level of this new cineplex is the lack of sitting. The whole area was not designed to house a cinema and is not catered for families to see shows at all.

There are no chairs for the elderly to sit and there is ONLY ONE lift and 2 excalators. There is also one fire exit.

My worst fears about the safety and security of the cineplex were justified when the show I attended ended just after mid-night on Saturday, 19th. July 2008.

Patrons who have gone to see their favourite shows at the different cineplexes were not allowed to use the 2 excalators to go down to the ground floor by the security guards. All patrons, young and elderly, were forced to use the fire exit staircase and a small lift catered for 10 persons only. With a minimum of 1000 or more patrons coming out of their cineplexes at about the same time, meant that the safety and security of patrons are being taken for granted. Patrons have to walk at least 5 floors of stairs to go to the groundfloor.

What will happen if there is a fire on the fifth floor? With limited fire escapes and one small lift to cater for rushing patrons, we are just waiting for a disaster to occur. The questions raised here are :-
1. Has the Fire and Safety department done a safety check and who gave the approval for
these cineplexes to be opened? Are there any fire springkler systems installed?
2. Since there is clearly a lack of fire escape exits, has the cineplex owners been notified of these
short comings?
3. Who ordered the security guards to prevent patrons to use the escalators? In fact the
escalators should be changed to going down mode to ensure patrons leave the premises in an
orderly fashion instead of using fire exit only.

As Melaka City has just been given the status of Unesco World Heritage City together with Georgetown in Penang, the authorities in Melaka City must ensure the safety and security of Malaccans and guests to our heritage city.

We want visitors and locals alike to enjoy our city and feel safe while visiting our historical sites, enjoy the shopping and being entertained in various entertainment outlets such as cineplexes and theatres.

Tourism Melaka strongly urge the authorities to audit all the public entertainment centres around our City so that immediate measures can be taken before any unforseen incident occurs.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MELAKA LISTED ON UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY LIST


9th. July 2008


Eight more sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

7 July 2008 – Eight new sites in places such as Malaysia and Croatia have joined the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it was announced today.

The additions mark the first time Papua New Guinea and San Marino have had sites inscribed on the List.

Melaka and George Town, cities on the Straits of Malacca in Malaysia, have been imbued with a multicultural heritage after more than five centuries of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West.


This was the official announcement by UNESCO on listing Melaka and Georgetown as Historic cities on the Straits of Malacca on 8th. July 2008. Indeed, it is a proud day for all Malaccans in Melaka and around the world.

As Malaccans, we have known all these years that Melaka is a unique place and steep in history. We have a tradition of long history, melting pot of cultures, harmonious living of different races, religion and creed over the centuries. History is and will continue to be our assets and we as Malaccans, wherever we are, should continue to preserve and enhance the historic sites, traditions, heritage such as food heritage, cultural values, languages, artform and skills of our uniqueness.

This listing in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites comes with commitment and responsibility for all Malaccans. We cannot just think of profits which we can gain from the influx of visitors from around the world. We need to extend our hospitality, grace, friendliness and be courteous to our guests, locals and foreigners, as they come to view our city, taste our food and enjoy our hospitality in our inns, hotels and guest houses. Let us tell our guests why Melaka is a place that is worth visiting and they are always welcomed over and over again.

For all Government agencies, non-government agencies, Melaka Government, professional bodies and inviduals including all Malaccans, who have done our small part in getting Melaka listed, Tourism Melaka want to extend our gratitude and a big THANK YOU for a job well done.

This listing is important to put Melaka on the world heritage list and is just a small step. We have many more challenges ahead. Let us strive to maintain our listing status, preserve our heritage, cultures, languages and food over the years.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

INTERESTING NEW OFFERINGS IN MELAKA IN 2008

Melaka has just celebrated Chinese New Year where major tourist spots were filled with tourists and locals alike. There were large crowds at Stadthuys, Dataran Pahlawan, Mahkota Parade,Jonkers' Walk and people were seen taking the open top Panorama buses and river cruises.


For shoppers, new kids on the block were Mydin Hypermarket at Melaka Bazaar located at Melaka Sentral (this hypermarket is opened 24 hours) and 3-floors Carrefour Melaka at Dataran Pahlawan.

Then, we have newly opened Aldy Hotel Chinatown at Jalan Bunga Raya and Jalan Munshi Abdullah junction at Melaka New Chinatown and Melaka's first boutique hotel, Majestic Hotel,Malacca at the end of Jalan Bunga Raya. Another boutique hotel has her ground breaking ceremony at the mouth of Melaka River recently and will be opened in end 2009.


For those interested to view and enjoy the Melaka River walk, you will be surprised to see that the Melaka River water is clean for once. You will not be able to see the muddy water of yesteryears. Maybe, it has been due to the new barrage at the river mouth which stops the sea water to move upstream when high tide occurs. Before, the sea water with the muddy silt travels up the Melaka River when there is high tide. Now, the barrage has stopped this occurrence and kept the river full all the day. Another benefit of this is that river cruises can now be operated daily,daytime and at night and they are getting popular with visitors.

To be opened soon will be the "Melaka Tower" which visitors can view Melaka City above 110 metres via a rotating cabin.

Melaka open top Panorama red double decker buses and the colourful "becas" are must try events and everyone is excited about riding these buses and becas.

So, if you want to visit Melaka, there are certainly various activities for everyone. Melaka has history, historical sites, museums, river walks and sea & sea cruises, food, shopping, cultures and friendly Malaccans to be your hosts.

Enjoy