Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Zone control for businesses on Batu Ferringhi beach

This is a very good move and proposal. It will help towards cleaner beaches, better managements and more tourist appeal. After all, it's for the good of Penang tourism :)

The famous Batu Ferringhi beach is set to undergo a transformation with the state government planning to zone the sandy stretch for beach operators to run their businesses.

The move is to address outstanding issues of illegal businesses targeting tourists.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Environment Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state government was in the final stages of zoning the stretch of beach for businesses like foot reflexology, and horse and beach buggy riding.

He said there were also plans to demarcate safe swimming zones from jet-skiing and parasailing areas.

"Canopies and platforms would be set up at the business zones.

"The operators will also be legalised but it will take some time, as the Penang Island Municipal Council will first have to obtain a temporary occupancy licence for the beach, which is state-owned," he said yesterday.

Chow was responding to questions regarding complaints emailed to him by a hotelier last week about the problems on the beach.

It was reported that hoteliers in Batu Ferringhi were at their wits' end as beach operators had set up makeshift huts and signboards on the public beach bordering their premises to solicit for clients.

The close proximity between the operators and hotel guests was deemed a privacy violation; guests were often intimidated and harassed by the operators, who lingered on the beach all day.

There were also complaints that the operators were using four-wheel drives on the beach and of dogs roaming freely in the area.

A five-star resort recently reported that an Australian guest was bitten by a dog during his morning walk on the beach.

Such problems have given many tourists a bad impression of Penang.

NST Online

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Big clean-up of Gurney Drive next month

This is a super good activity. If only people are more educated with rubbish handling, we wouldn't have to come up with this campaign...sigh...

Gurney Drive Clean-Up
Date : 18th April 2010 (Sunday)T
Time : 6:45am - 11:00am

GURNEY Drive in George Town will undergo a major clean-up on April 18 with some 1,500 people expected to participate in the event.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai said the roadside and seaside would be cleaned from 6.45am to 11am.

“All rubbish collected will be weighed and recorded. We will compile the data to see which type of things is thrown away the most.

“This will enable us to come up with ways to curb the rubbish dumping problem,” he said.

The event will be organised by Koay’s service centre and Junior Chamber Inter-national Bayan.

“The main objectives of the programme are to create awareness on the importance of environment protection and to create a benchmark of cleanliness for the rest of the island.

“We want Gurney Drive to regain its shine,” he said.

Those who sign up for the event will get a free T-shirt, certificate of participation, goodie bag and breakfast.

For details, call Tan (016-4118227) or Esther (012-4883227). You can also e-mail

Malaysia is 6th in R&D among Asian countries

Malaysia still lags behind developed countries in gross expenditure in research and development (GERD).
According to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2009, Malaysia was ranked 39th in terms of research and development (R&D) expenditure at US$1.06 billion (RM3.47 billion) or 0.64% of gross domestic product (GDP), said Science, Technology and Innovation Deputy Minister Fadilah Yusof (Petra Jaya-BN).

The yearbook said that the US had the highest R&D expenditure at US$368.8 billion (2.67% of GDP) followed by Japan at US$148.4 billion (3.4% of GDP) and Germany at US$83.8 billion (2.53% of GDP).

"The total R&D allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan is RM5.253 billion (US$1.43 billion). Of this, public sector allocation stands at RM3.4 billion while the private sector has budgeted RM1.8 billion for R&D expenditure," said Fadilah in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

"Among Asian countries, Malaysia is ranked sixth behind Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

"However, Malaysia is ahead of Thailand which is ranked 44th in the world at US$498 million (0.2% of GDP) and the Philippines which is at 54th with R&D expenditure at US$123 million (0.1% of GDP)," said Fadilah.

Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak-BN) had asked the government to state the allocation for R&D in public and private sectors.

According to Fadilah, R&D spending by private sector in Malaysia was highest at 85% of overall R&D spending compared to the US at 72%, and Japan and South Korea at 77%.


In short, we need to work more on R&D, and I mean real R&D, not just being themed with the same thing but yet doing the routine work or work with only a small fraction of R&D, so that our nation can really grow!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bike Friendly City Project Phase II

Now you can see more and more people are doing cycling especially over the weekend. At least that's what I do noticed :)

The project to make Penang a safer place for cyclists has entered the second phase.

The first phase which involved the putting up of signboards and drawing of bicycle emblems from Gurney Drive to Teluk Bahang and the George Town heritage enclave was completed almost two months ago.

G Club Penang Cyclist chairman Dr Lim Seh Guan, who initiated the road safety project, said the team was now looking for sponsors to carry out Phase Two which covers the stretch from Teluk Bahang to Balik Pulau. The phase is expected to cost RM70,000.

“Phases Three and Four will cover Balik Pulau to Queenbay Mall and Queensbay to Gurney Drive,” he said when contacted recently.

He said the project would have to be done in stages due to lack of funds.

“The state helps by organising cycling events to raise funds for the project but we rely mainly on corporate sponsors,” he said.

Citing Phase One as a success in raising awareness among other road users of the rights of cyclists, he said eventually the state should have dedicated bicycle lanes covering the entire island.

“To create bicycle lanes would require widening and tarring of roads — it will be a long and expensive process.

“That is our goal eventually. For now, we are focusing on creating awareness among all motorists so that they will learn to share the road with cyclists,” he said.

For details, visit

The Star

"328' MCA Election 2010 New LineUp

Here's the result of the new MCA election held yesterday. It's a blend of team from all fraction. Wondering if they can really work together...hmm...

I think much have been said over the last one year of this internal MCA problems. Everybody is losing their patience when talking about MCA. Let's see how they sit down and start doing their work...

NST Online

Malakoff 26km Penang 2010 - 30th May 2010 (Sunday)

Event : Malakoff 26km Penang 2010
Date : Sunday 30 May
Venue : Start/Finish @ Youth Park, Penang
Distance : 26km starts at 5:30am
: 6km starts at 6:30 am
Organised by : Pacesetters Athletic Club, Malaysia (PACM)

It was certainly a tough race for me last year given that I didn't prepared well and also the distance is 5km longer than the half marathons (21km) that I have participated...

But this should be a good run for those who are eager for some running competition after being lying low for the past few months due of the quiet running calendar at the beginning of the year.

So you have 2 months from today, start training !!!

For more information, please click

Button wins Australian GP

I wouldn't term this as a great Button drive, it's the superb tactical call by his team of mechanics :)

FORMULA One world champion Jenson Button timed his pitstop to perfection to chalk up his first win for McLaren in a rain-affected and entertaining Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Briton, a winner in Melbourne with Brawn GP last year, took the lead when Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, starting on pole position, was pitched into the gravel mid-race by a brake failure.

'It feels so good ... Guys, amazing job, I think we got that pitstop pretty much perfect,' Button, who went for an early change to slicks that proved crucial, shouted over the team radio after beating Renault's Robert Kubica by 12.034 seconds.

'It was the right time. Fantastic job, this is a great way to start the year.' Poland's Kubica was comfortably clear of Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, who nosed out Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso for third.

Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher finished 10th for Mercedes after being effectively ruled out of the running at the first corner.

Button's left front tyre hit Alonso's right at the first turn, causing the Spaniard to spin and collide with Schumacher and break the Mercedes' front wing. Both then had to fight back from the rear.

They said the majority of the Australian GP winners will go on and win the Drivers' Title for that season. Whoever it is, I surely hope for better fights and more exciting races come our way!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chances to witness the glimpse of Mars

MARS MARS, wait for me to view you !!!

For the next two months Malaysians can catch a glimpse of Mars which to the naked eye would resemble a bright orange star in the sky.

The sight of the red planet would not be visible to the naked eye again until March 2012.

USM Astronomy Club academic adviser Assoc Prof Dr Chong Hon Yew said Mars could be seen only with a telescope after May.

He said Mars could be seen clearly from Monday at 9pm, when the moon and the planet converge for a bright conjunction while the red planet is directly opposite the sun.

Dr Chong said Mars would “disappear” from the naked eye in May when the planet would be in the constellation of Leo in the south-western sky.

“It would then be smaller than it would be in April. It would be visible only with a telescope until the next opposition on March 4, 2012,” he said.

Dr Chong said every two years, Earth and Mars would come close together when the latter appeared 14 arcseconds in diameter or 1/120 the diameter of the moon.

“Every two years or so the sun, Earth and Mars line up. This is called an opposition.

“The planet’s 14 arcsecond diameter will remain essentially unchanged for about a week, setting the stage for some good observing.”

He said the last time Mars was the closest it had been to Earth in 60,000 years was when the planet was 34.65mil miles away on August 27, 2003.

“Mars was then face-on to Earth and opposite the sun on the 28th (opposition). It was the closest to the sun in its orbit on Aug 30.

“The reason Mars was so close was that Earth was about the farthest away from the sun in its orbit at the time that Mars was nearing its closest point to the sun,” he said.
The Star

National Flair Bartending Championship 2010 : 29th March 2010

National Flair Bartending Championship 2010
Date: 29th March 2010
Time: 2pm onwards
Venue: Hard Rock Hotel, Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang

Organizer Malaysian Association of Hotelier Penang Chapter

A new star will bloom and will be harvest by the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Penang Chapter this coming 29th March 2010, 2.00pm at Hard Rock Hotel, Penang, in the form of “National Flair Bartending Championship Competition 2010”.

On Monday, 29th March 2010 19, 2.00pm more than 30 of our nation’s best bartenders / mixologists are expected from every state of Malaysia to make history. They'll be helping to establish a New Record by participating in the 2nd National Flair Bartending Championship 2010, where the eventual Champion and 1st Runner Up will secure a place in the prestigious upcoming 6th ASEAN Bartending Championship in Singapore on 21st April 2010, representing our country, Malaysia, against the finest bartenders of ASEAN.

This event will be a visual feast, with awe-inspiring flair techniques of tossing, balancing, mixing and flipping cocktails and bottles in the air before a judging panel which include amongst others, State & Federal representatives of the Tourism sector, VIP’s & past Asean Bartering Champions.

Earth Hour 8:30pm tonight 27th March 2010

Please help and remember to switch off your lights tonight as well as other electrical appliances :)

Penang will join the rest of the world to flick the switch for Earth Hour! 10,000 candles / lamps will be lit up at Esplanade during the Earth Hour program on 27th March from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Part of Penang will soon be going dark to help Mother Nature. On 27th of March 2010, Penangites are urge to participate in WWF movement known as "Earth Hour," to raise awareness regarding climate change and global warming.

The State Government will officiate this campaign at Komtar Walk by turning off the lights of Komtar, City Hall , Town Hall and more to show initiative and support to this movement in hope that the public as well as schools, shopping malls, factories and other organizations will follow suit."

A campaign by Futurize Global Community Foundation "Unifying Minds - Energizing Souls" will be held on March 27, 2010, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Where 10,000 candles and lamps will be light up at Esplanade during this earty hour.

Program at Esplanade
Tentative schedule:

7.30 - Pre Earth Hour Events (Inauguration, VIP arrivals, Talks & etc)
8.30 - Light up the lamps (create awareness to safeguard our planet)
8.40 - A Universal Thought (Unify all minds to globalize climate change)
8.50 - Minimal Breathing Technique (Help restore the balance on Earth)
9.00 - Sing along with us - We are the World (Feel your gratitude, love & care for nature)
9.10 - Personal commitment (Practice Earth Hour every hour from now on)
9.30 - End of Program

Save our Mother Nature by turning off your light for one hour.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Broadband boost - More community Internet centres and lower rates from Telekom

This better be true and really up to what is being said and reported...

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced six initiatives last night to encourage broadband usage among Malaysians, including a reduction in rates on broadband packages from Telekom Malaysia.

The initiatives will benefit some 17 million Internet users in the countryand boost broadband coverage. Najib said the measures would be implemented under the National Broadband Initiative (NBI), which he launched together with Telekom’s High Speed Broadband (HSBB) service at Dataran Merdeka here lastnight. The initiatives are:

• to set up community broadband centres to serve 615,000 people in 246 locations nationwide at a cost of RM60 million;

• to establish Internet centres at 138 offices of the Information Department to provide broadband access to 400,000 users;

• to have e-kiosks at community centres and sub-district (mukim) offices in 1,100 locations at a cost of RM4 million;

• expansion of cellular coverage by setting up 873 new telecommunication towers, including 278 in Sabah and 257 in Sarawak;

• an allocation of RM1 billion from the Universal Service Provision (USP)fund to be used with the consensus of service providers to distribute notebookcomputers to needy students; and,

• Telekom to make available broadband packages together with netbooks, with rates reduced from RM50 to RM38 a month, and in USP areas a further reduction of RM20 a month.

Najib said attention should be given to the development of worldclass infrastructure to transform the nation into a progressive and high-income country.

“The HSBB is a key enabler to transform the country from a medium-to-high-income nation and Malaysia into a 21st century country.”

He said it would also enhance the country’s competitiveness and provide confidence to local and foreign investors.

Under the NBI initiative, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has targeted a 50 per cent broadband penetration by the year-end to 3.2 million homes.


'Rare' fossil of new dinosaur species found in US - "Seitaad Ruessi"

Hmm, I'm just wondering how many more species of uncovered dinosaur or what else more can human discover....

A new species of dinosaur has emerged from the rocks of in the western state of Utah.

Buried by a collapsing sand dune, perhaps 185 million years ago, the new dinosaur was probably a plant eater and an early relative of the giant animals later known as sauropods, researchers report in Tuesday's edition of the journal PLoS One.

Named Seitaad ruessi, the species was 10-to-15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) long and 3-to-4 feet (0.91 meters to 1.2 meters) high. Its bones were found protruding from sandstone at the base of a cliff, directly below an ancient Anasazi cliff dwelling.

No humans were around at the time of the dinosaurs, but researchers say the bones could well have been visible when the early Indians lived there.

The name Seitaad comes from the word "Seit'aad," which was a sand monster that buried its victims in dunes in Navajo legend, according to the researchers. The newly-named skeleton had been swallowed by a sand dune.

So, might visible dinosaur remains have given rise to the ancient Indian monster legend?

"That's a lot of speculation, but anything's possible," said Mark Loewen, a paleontologist at the Utah Museum of Natural History and instructor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah.

One of the Anasazi dwellings included a stone with a dinosaur footprint in its center, he noted.The ruessi part of the name is in honor of poet and naturalist Everett Ruess who disappeared in southern Utah in 1934.

Understanding how dinosaurs lived in the past, how their environments changed and affected them, is important for understanding our changing world today, Loewen said.

The nearly complete skeleton is missing only its head, one toe and a lower shinbone, he said, noting erosion over the years probably accounts for the missing parts.

What the researchers have is similar to other sauropodomorphs found in South America and southern Africa, which were all vegetarians, he explained in a telephone interview. However, Seitaad did have a claw on its front limbs, which Loewen suggested was probably used for defense.

"We were absolutely shocked" by the discovery of this dinosaur, Loewen said. It was found in 2004 by a local artist studying rock paintings and the scientists went to the area immediately when they learned of it, he said. The bones were excavated the following year by Museum researchers.

While dinosaur remains have been found in other parts of Utah fossils are rare in the Navajo sandstone areas and generally have been from smaller creatures.

"This new find suggests that there may be more dinosaurs yet to be discovered in these rocks," said Joseph Sertich, co-author of the report and currently a doctoral student at New York's Stony Brook University.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6th Relay for Life 2010 : 5/6th June 2010

Relay for Life 2010
Date : 5/6th June 2010
Venue : Youth Park, Penang

Registration is now open for the ‘6th Relay for Life 2010’ which will be held on June 5 and June 6 at Youth Park. Teams of 10 are invited to register for the event organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (Penang Branch). Participation of cancer survivors is free but with prior registration. For more details, call the society at 04-2284140 or visit

PepsiCo looks for new, zero-calories, natural sweeteners

A race to develop natural, zero-calorie sweeteners is bubbling up in America's US$100 billion beverage industry.

PepsiCo, looking to revive itself in the declining soda industry, is boosting its development spending for this search and to mix up new drinks.

PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday at an investor meeting that it is putting "unprecedented resources" toward reformulating its beverages with natural, no-calorie sweeteners such as stevia, an herb grown in South America and Asia, and to find new ones.

Soft drink sales are falling as people look to cut calories and worry over other sweeteners such as high fructose corn syurp. Shopper thriftiness in the recession is also hurting sales.

So coming out with new, no-calorie drinks is a way to keep people buying.

The race gets even more pressing now that there's talk of a tax on sugary beverages.

PepsiCo has used a version of stevia in some of its Tropicana and SoBe Lifewater drinks, said Massimo d'Amore, CEO of PepsiCo's Americas Beverages unit, which overseas drinks in North and South America.

Having employed the technology in non-carbonated beverages, now PepsiCo wants to do the same for soda.

"The next barrier we have to break is to do the same with carbonated products," d'Amore said at the second day of an investor meeting Tuesday.

"The reason they're not out there yet is because there are some taste issues we are working on."

PepsiCo said it has a pipeline of zero calorie, natural sweeteners in the works, but it declined to say when they might be released, how much of its portfolio would have them or how much it's spending on research.

Rival Coca-Cola Co. is likewise looking for these sweetener alternatives, said UBS analyst Kaumil Gajrawala.

"I think the scramble is on to get the taste profile, and it seems like both companies are close to it," he said.

Coca-Cola has used a version of stevia in its Odwalla juices, Vitaminwater, and some carbonated beverages such as Sprite Green, among other products.

The company said in a statement Tuesday it is looking into using stevia-based sweeteners in several of its beverage categories.
The possibility of a tax on sugary beverages, which some health leaders and lawmakers are calling for to fight obesity, makes the search all the more important, d'Amore said.

He added PepsiCo has been working on the developments since before talk of the sugar tax surfaced.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Greener GeorgeTown?

The World Heritage Office is mulling over the idea of setting up a committee to look into landscaping George Town’s Unesco World Heritage enclave.

Its head Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the suggestion was discussed during a talk with several stake holders and department heads recently.

“Once we get all the relevant information and feedback then a comprehensive blueprint will be developed,” she said.

Penang Heritage Trust president Khoo Salma Nasution said it would be good to make George Town especially the inner city green as it would make a lot of difference in terms of environment quality.

“Having more trees and plants will help lower temperature which is hot currently.
“Nutmeg, clove, sugar cane, pepper are some agricultural plants associated with Penang. These plants were once important to the state’s economy, and I am sure that planting such trees will add additional heritage value to the enclave,” she said.

Khoo Salma said more community gardens should be created around the area, adding that more trees should also be planted along the roads, although this would require cars to share the road space.

“Neem trees and others plants can play an important role to create shade and make the heritage city a better place to visit,” she said.

My personal view : Being a nature lovers, I'll sure support this idea and program. More green is even better. Furthermore the idea is to plant those iconic plants that are associated to Penang, which makes it even much much more meaningful :) Love it !!!

Book on Penang economy on sale via online

A BOOK, entitled ‘Pilot Studies for a New Penang,’ is now on sale through

The book is a compilation of studies on Penang’s current economic condition and is jointly published by the Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (Seri) and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

The book is part of Seri’s Penang Studies Series which promotes the concept of Penang studies through publications, seminars and digital library.

Most of the chapters in this volume were first presented at the Penang Outlook Forum 2009, held on 1-2 June 2009 at the E&O Hotel in Penang. A few others have been added to complement those debated at the conference.

At present, comprehensive and authoritative studies on Penang's current economic conditions are a rarity. This book is thus an effort to correct that lack. Evidence does suggest that the state had not been doing well in the first half of the first decade of the new millennium.

Being a small state situated relatively far away from the administrative capital of Putrajaya, Penang has been economically innovative if it is to regain its place at the forefront of Malaysian development. The relationship between the state and the federal government remains a vital matter.

Table of Contents

Pilot Studies for a New Penang
Preliminary pages with Introduction
1. Moving Penang from Past to Future, by Lee Kah Choon Chan Huan Chiang
2. Asia's Shift towards Innovation and its Implications for Penang, by Wong Poh Kam Ho Yuen Ping
3. Shallow Pockets but Close to the Action: Industrial Policy at the Sub-national Level, by Francis Edward Hutchinson
4. Implementing Pro-Employment Policies at the Sub-national Level, by Liew Chin Tong Francis Edward Hutchinson
5. Re-thinking Health Care and the State, by Chan Chee Khoon
6. Social Justice and the Penang Housing Question, by Goh Ban Lee
7. Some Thoughts on Private Higher Education in Penang, by Sin I-Lin
8. Re-examining Penang State Finances and Governance, by Suresh Narayanan Lim Mah Hui Ong Wooi Leng
9. Tweaking the State's Delivery Mechanism: The Case of the MPPP, by Ooi Kee Beng Goh Ban Lee
10. Positioning Penang for Sustainable Growth, by Nungsari Ahmad Radhi Hamdan Abdul Majeed
11. The Wage-Productivity Question and Women in the Workforce: A Labour Statistics Approach for the Penang State Government , by Hwa Yue-Yi
12. Embodying Social Justice in Employment Legislation and HR Practices, by Ajit Singh Jessy
13. Epilogue: Social Dimensions of Economic Development, by P Ramasamy

Wanna know more, why not get yourself one copy, it's just yours for RM45 :)

6b AS1Malaysia units still available

Worth to buy? Still got so much allocations left. I think many are waiting to see how the dividend performs :)

SOME six billion units of Amanah Saham 1Malaysia (AS1M) are still available for public subscription.

Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said most of the available units are for Bumiputeras and Indians.

"Only eight per cent or 238 million units of the three billion units allocated for the Chinese community is still available," he said after announcing the income distribution for ASM.

The AS1M fixed price fund, with a size of 10 billion units, was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on July 31 2009. Half of the units were allocated for Bumiputeras, 30 per cent for the Chinese, 15 per cent for the Indians and 5 per cent for other races.

Hamad Kama Piah said the equity income fund enjoyed brisk sale among the Chinese community as not many funds offered by PNB are open to non-Bumiputeras.

For the Bumiputeras, they have more options such as Amanah Saham Bumiputera and Amanah Saham Didik.

"Many people are still waiting for the maiden dividend to be announced. They want to compare with other funds, under PNB, to determine if the returns from AS1M is as attractive as other unit trusts," he added.