Friday, December 31, 2010

Countdown to 2011 in Penang

Revellers ringing in the new year have a variety of places to chose from as a number of venues in Penang will be holding New Year’s Eve and countdown parties tonight.

The state’s official New Year’s Eve celebration will be held at the Esplanade from 7pm with a fireworks display scheduled at the stroke of midnight.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law said there would be a mega concert featuring international and local singers as well as band performances.

Three Blackberry Curve 9300 smartphones are up for grabs in a lucky draw during the event. The entry form, which was published on the cover of StarMetro on Dec 29, has to be submitted at The Star’s Penang offices in Bayan Lepas, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling and Prai by noon today.

Queensbay Mall will hold its New Year’s Eve programme from as early as 12.30pm, with exhibition booths from sponsors and an auto show.

General manager Selina Ng said an outdoor concert from 8pm will feature, among others, Yip Sai Wing of popular Hong Kong group Beyond, Asian Beat band 2010 winner Shift Machine, local rap artistes Caprice and deejay Gimix.

She said there would also be a fireworks display to welcome 2011.

“We’re expecting no less than 15,000 people to join in the fun,” Ng said.

The public can also join in the New Year countdown party at the Penang Times Square in George Town which will start at 8.30pm.

Ron Loh, the executive director of Ivory Properties that manages Penang Times Square, said about 10,000 people were expected at the event.

There will be performances by Howard Wang who is also known as Bangkok ‘LeeHom’ and Mickey and Mikey from Soju’s resident band Crush.

The main highlight will be a hip hop street dance competition which has attracted 10 groups.

For a countdown by the sea, head over to Straits Quay in Tanjong Tokong for its New Year Eve’s extravaganza which will start at 6pm today and go on past midnight.

Buskers will entertain visitors with games and performances. The High Society Band and a percussion group will put on a show while a fireworks display will thrill all.

Other venues which are holding parties include Gurney Plaza and Juru Auto-City.

The Gurney Plaza event will, among others, feature breakdance and stage performances. Finishing it all off with a bang will be a fireworks display.

Hmm...plenty of place if you want to celebrate the arrival of 2011...

Double ban tomorrow onwards...

It’s all systems go for Penang’s rulings on ‘No Free Plastic Bags’ and ‘No Polystyrene at Local Council Hawker Centres’ which come into force tomorrow.

The Penang Consumer Watch Group in all the 40 state constituencies will monitor the ‘no plastic bag’ rule through random checks at shopping centres, hypermarkets, departmental stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, nasi kandar outlets and convenience stores.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said they would report back to the state on whether the operators adhered to the ruling as well as the consumers’ response.

“Last year was spent educating the public on the ruling. It’s time for full implementation now,” he said.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will launch both rulings at Sunway Carnival in Seberang Prai tomorrow.

Shoppers who don’t bring their own reusable bags will be charged 20 sen for each plastic bag when making purchases.

Money collected from the sale of plastic bags are for the ‘Partners Against Poverty’ Special Fund to help the state’s hardcore poor.

Mini markets and sole proprietorship businesses will have to adhere to the plastic ruling on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in order to ensure the renewal of their licences.

I'm not sure how we are going to cope with the new ruling. No plastic is good, but how are we going to throw our rubbish?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Road closure for George Town City Day on Jan 1

Several roads will be closed in conjunction with the George Town City Day celebration on Jan 1.

A statement by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) engineering department stated that there will also be traffic diversion on the day.

The road closure and traffic diversion is due to several activities lined up at Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah, Lebuh Light and Jalan Padang Kota Lama.

Part of Jalan Tun Syed Sheh Barakbah between the Lebuh Light/Pengkalan Weld and Lebuh Duke roundabout will be closed from 7am to midnight.

Lebuh Light between Lebuh Pantai up to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, the junction of Lebuh King/Lebuh Light, Lebuh Penang/Lebuh Light and Lebuh Pantai/Lebuh Downing will be closed from 4pm to midnight.

During the duration of the closure between Lebuh Light, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lebuh Pantai from 4pm to midnight, the Central Area Transit (CAT) city shuttle buses and other buses will take a diverted route.

The buses from Pengkalan Weld to Komtar using Lebuh Light, will pass through Gat Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Chulia and Jalan Penang instead.

Buses from Komtar to Pengkalan Weld that pass through Lebuh Chulia, will ply Lebuh Chulia, Gat Lebuh Chulia to Pengkalan Weld.

The CAT buses from Pengkalan Weld to Komtar using Lebuh Light will pass through Gat Lebuh Chulia, Lebuh Chulia, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and Lebuh Farquhar.

The bus from Komtar to Pengkalan Weld using Lebuh Light, will pass through Masjid Kapitan Keling, Lebih Bishop, Lebuh Pantai and Lebuh Downing instead.

MPPP will also put up road signs on the road closure.

The celebration is to mark the momentous occasion, set to be held at the Esplanade beginning 5pm, where everything that is unique about Penang from cultures and traditions to food, arts and sports will be on show to locals and visitors alike.

Themed ‘George Town 1111’, the event will start off with an estimated 100 stalls in a Food, Art and Craft Carnival highlighting a diverse range of cuisine and trades, as well as a Traditional Sports Carnival aimed at promoting cultural heritage.

Do pay attention, and try to avoid these roads or the area if possible, so that you wont get frustrated with the traffic :)

BEWARE!! Litterbugs pay HIGHER!

The Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) will increase the fine for littering from RM50 to RM250 beginning Feb 1.

MPPP financial management sub-committee alternate chairman Tan Hun Wooi said this was to “curb the menace” of people throwing rubbish everywhere and anywhere despite rubbish bins being provided in all areas.

He said even those who throw a cigarette butt or a tissue paper would be slapped with a RM250 fine.

“There will be no discounts offered.

“There are three divisions in the council that can issue compounds for littering.

They are the enforcement, licensing and municipality services divisions,” he said during a full council meeting yesterday.

Tan said the fine for those who did not properly dispose of rubbish after renovation works, rubbish from their kitchen or any form of rubbish would also be increased from RM50 to RM250 from Feb 1.

“We are letting the public know that we are serious about this matter and is giving them ample time to be aware of the new fine amount.

“This is also in line with the Cleaner, Greener Penang initiative to create awareness on the importance of protecting the environment,” he added.

Tan was, however, unable to say how many people were caught by the council for littering so far this year and last year.

He said the current fines of RM250 for those who discard unwanted stuff by the roadside and RM500 for dropping cement from lorries transporting the material would remain.

Good idea! But I'm wondering how are they gonna monitor the bug litters???

IRB To Impose Salary Deduction For PTPTN Loan Repayment In 2012

The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is expected to implement the automatic salary deduction on borrowers of loans from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) from Jan 1, 2012.

IRB director-general and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hasmah Abdullah said the board was jointly drafting the law, system and operation with the corporation to enable it to recover the loans more effectively.

"The draft, which is being fine-tuned, will be brought to Parliament the latest by June next year," she said at the closing of the IRB's electronic revenue accounting system (eRAS) project, on Monday.

Hasmah said the law was important to enable the IRB take appropriate action if borrowers failed to repay their PTPTN loans.

She said for the time being, the borrowers could voluntarily pay up their loans in instalments at the IRB offices since it was one of the repayment channels.

The IRB has been given the responsibility to be a collecting agency in order to overcome the problem of borrowers' loan arrears faced by the corporation.

Earlier, Hasmah said IRB would implement eRAS with six modules, namely e-Lejar, e-BayarBalik, e-Kutipan, e-Akaun, e-Penyata and EIS.

The system is made available by Century Software (M) Sdn Bhd, after the agreement to develop it was signed two years ago.

Hasmah said the system was aimed at improving service delivery to tax payers and assisting the board's officers carry out their tasks more efficiently.

"The e-Penyata is vital as it is able to issue statements of accounts to tax payers when the issue of supplementary assessment or less assessment is raised," she said.

The IRB has set up a call centre for any enquiry on eRAS at 1-300-88-3010.


Hmm...this was said for so long many years ago, wonders if they are really going to execute the action plan ???

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010 !

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Merry Christmas, have fun for the celebration and take care...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cencus 2010: M'sian population > 27 million, with males outnumbering females

The preliminary report of Census 2010 shows that Malaysia now has a population of 27,565,821 with a male-female ratio of 105 to 100.

The male population totalled 14,112,667 and the female 13,453,154, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said on Wednesday, Dec 22.

The average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010 was 2.17%, a drop from the 2.60% for 1991 to 2000, he told a press conference here, which was also attended by the director-general of the Statistics Department Datuk Wan Ramlah Wan Abdul Raof.

The census carried out from last July 6 to Aug 22 found 6,396,174 households and 7,380,865 housing units in the country, Nor Mohamed said.

Census 2010 is the fifth in Malaysia. Previous censuses were conducted in 1970, 1980, 1991 and 2000. — Bernama

Hmm, does this means it's getting harder and harder to find a suitable future wife??? Luckily I don't need to worry about this...muahahahaha :)

CapitaMalls buys Queensbay!

CapitalMalls Asia Ltd is buying Queensbay Mall in Penang for about RM658 million.

The acquisition will be made through CapitaMalls Asia's subsidiaries and an asset-backed securitisation structure.

CapitaMalls Asia will buy about 90.7 per cent of the mall's retail strata area and all its car park spaces, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Queensbay Mall is Penang's largest mall located at Bayan Lepas along the southeastern shorefront of Penang island and about 20 minutes' drive from Penang International Airport.

It is a family-lifestyle mall located at the heart of a 29.57ha prime waterfront integrated development which comprises a hotel, a wide range of residential homes and planned office towers.

It is easily accessible from the north of the island via the Jelutong Expressway and from the south via the Bayan Lepas Expressway.

This will be CapitaMalls Asia's second mall in Penang and fourth in Malaysia.

The other three malls - Gurney Plaza in Penang, an interest in Sungei Wang Plaza in Kuala Lumpur and The Mines in Selangor - are owned through CapitaMalls Asia's stake in CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust.

"Gurney Plaza, which we already own through CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust, and Queensbay Mall are the two best malls in Penang.

"The acquisition of Queensbay Mall, the largest shopping mall in Penang, will substantially strengthen CapitaMalls Asia's market leadership in the state.

"This acquisition signals our ongoing commitment to invest in Malaysia's retail sector for the long-term, following our listing of CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust in July this year," CapitaMalls Asia chief executive officer Lim Beng Chee said in the statement.

Hmm...not really good for shoppers given that both biggest malls in Penang are now own by them...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Invest Penang to focus on SME development and competitiveness next year :)

investPenang will give more emphasis to the development of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and enhancing their competitiveness next year.

investPenang chairman Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who chaired the annual general meeting of the board of directors of investPenang on Dec 16, said the SME Market Advisory, Resource and Training (SMART) Centre established under investPenang in May this year, would collaborate with the Penang Science Council to formulate small and medium industries strategies in providing shared services and business development services to local companies and entrepreneurs.

In the pipeline is the establishment of the SME Village with the aim of developing clusters of supply chain to meet industrial needs, particularly to support industries which the state is promoting. These include avionics/aerospace, light emitting diodes (LED), semiconductor and medical devices.

The cluster concept of development means the SMEs would be housed within the same premises, with shared facilities provided to help lower their cost of doing business.

Lim said in addition to the existing industry clusters, the SMART Centre would also support the growth and development of three major niche clusters comprising solid state lighting (SSL), precision electronics encompassing measurement equipment and radio frequency as well as medical devices.

As of September this year, Penang ranked third (after Selangor and Johor) in terms of investments approved. Between January and September this year, MIDA approved a total of RM2.7 billion in investments for the state, an increase of 25% from the RM2.2 billion in investments approved for the whole of 2009. Foreign direct investments accounted for 63% of the total.

Investments from the US headed the list, followed by Switzerland. The investments are mainly from the medical devices and electronics industries.

Lim said investPenang had been putting in a lot of effort to attract new investments. Since 2009, more new investments and projects were approved compared with reinvestments.

Over 60% of the approved investments in 2009 and this year were from new investments, compared with less than 35% in 2008.

However, Lim expressed concern whether the target of RM4.2 billion in investments this year could be achieved based on figures for the final three months of the year.

“The Penang state government hopes that both MIDA and investPenang can redouble efforts to nail down the many foreign and local investors who are awaiting grants and incentives to be approved by MIDA,” he said.

“Investments are closely related to industrial output and for the fourth quarter of this year, the industrial production indexes for Malaysia have declined.

“This will impact investment decisions and thus we expect that investments for 2011 will increase only by 12%,” Lim added.

He added that the slower pace in investment inflows would not deter the state government.

He also said investPenang would intensify efforts to promote investments through facilitating existing and potential investors, investment promotion missions, networking as well as hosting trade and investment delegations.

Need more effort to develop Penang for the better of everyone here ...

Federal Govt : Penang preferred regional hub ???

The Federal Government is to make Penang the preferred hub in the region, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said on Monday, Dec 20.

He said several development strategies designed to stimulate the state's economy and provide jobs were driving the federal government towards that goal.

The development in Penang would result in encouraging economic growth in the national interest, he said at the ground-breaking for an extension project at the Bayan Lepas International Airport here. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was present at the ceremony.

Najib said 10 infrastructure projects had been identified for implementation, and they included the expansion of the airport, Penang Port and the Penang Bridge, construction of the second bridge and the creation of a multimedia super corridor in the state.

"These initiatives will not only facilitate economic activities but also support our nation's objective to increase tourism revenue from the RM53 billion in 2009 to RM168 billion by 2020," he said.

Najib said Penang had many unique advantages which positioned the state well to become a hub for the northern corridor and the growth triangle comprising Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand."

For example, Penang already offers the highest economic density and the shortest distance to market for a city in the growth triangle," he said.

The total development of the airport expansion project, targeted to be completed by 2012, costs RM250 million, which is provided for under the RM60 billion fiscal stimulus package announced by the federal government last year.

Najib said the project was yet another federal government initiative to enhance facilities and services as Penang was a catalyst for growth of the tourism industry.

From the commercial perspective, airports enjoyed a competitive advantage and a captive market and, today, the modern airport offered much more than just a place to catch a flight, he said.

He said that following the example of successful airline hubs around the world, Malaysia envisioned its airports as a platform to drive commercial business.

In today's interconnected world, the abilities to offer high quality reliable air travel services and facilities served as a catalyst to attract trade and investment into any country, he said, adding that this directly supported employment and wealth generation which in turn would help Malaysia's drive to become a high-income nation.

Najib said the Penang international airport had seen encouraging traffic growth, receiving more than 3.4 million passengers this year up to September, up by 30.5 per cent from the corresponding period last year."

As such, I am sure the expansion of the airport will enable Penang to achieve greater economic growth," he said. — Bernama

Hmm...plenty of sweets for the opposition led Penang...I can smell election coming really soon :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Penang Christmas Open House 19th Dec 2010

Penang Christmas Open House (Peace and Goodwill to All)
Date: 19th Dec 2010 (Sunday)
Time: 630pm - 10pm
Venue: Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown

The Penang Christmas Open House will be held on Sunday at Fort Cornwallis (Esplanade) from 6.30pm to 10pm.

Themed ‘Peace And Goodwill To All’, the event is organised for the fourth time by the Penang Combined Churches under the auspices of the Christian Federation of Malaysia.

Organising chairman Rev Andrew Phang said more than 6,000 visitors were expected to attend the event which is open to all.

“For this celebration, we have catered halal food comprising Chinese, Malay and Indian dishes as well as vegetarian food.

“There will be three hours of a Christmas concert presentation with special items from the local churches. Dance and song performances and a choir showcase will be the highlights of the evening.

“Clowns will also be in attendance to present Christmas gifts to the audience.

“We welcome fellow Malaysians to celebrate this special season together to instill a better understanding of the Christian faith and to foster peace, harmony, goodwill and acceptance of all peoples,” he said.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng will be present to open the event during which cash donations will be presented to six charity organisations.

Spread the joy of love, peace and festive mood !

Penang Floral Festival 11th - 19th Dec 2010

Penang Floral Festival
Date: 11th - 19th Dec 2010
Time: 9am - 7pm
Venue: Penang Botanical Gardens

Visit the Penang Floral Festival at the Penang Botanical Gardens from 11th till 19th December 2010, 9am - 7pm, to view gorgeous displays of flowers at this year's most attractive Penang Floral Festival. Not forgetting the available exciting activities!

Makes you wonder and eager to visit after viewing all the wonder so many people last weekend as I came down from my Penang Hill hike :)

George Town 1111 Grand Celebration

For Penang, New Year’s Day holds special significance. More than just the start of another calendar year, it’s also the day when its capital, George Town, was accorded city status some 54 years ago.

To mark that momentous occasion, a grand George Town City Day Celebration is set to be held at the Esplanade on Jan 1, 2011 beginning 5pm, where everything that is unique about Penang from cultures and traditions to food, arts and sports will be on show to locals and visitors alike.

Themed George Town 1111, the event will start off with an estimated 100 stalls in a Food, Art and Craft Carnival highlighting a diverse range of cuisine and trades, as well as a Traditional Sports Carnival aimed at promoting cultural heritage.

Visitors will be able to take part in traditional games such as batu seremban, congkak, dam aji and sepak raga, or watch artisans display their skills in rattan, bamboo and Nyonya beaded craft, wood engraving and much more.

Organised by the Penang Municipal Council, the events highlight will be the City Day Parade beginning 8.30pm, with an estimated 2,000 participants representing various local communities.

One of the most fast growing and advanced city in Malaysia - my beloved Penang!