Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New postal tariff effective tomorrow

Pos Malaysia will impose a new postal tariff effective tomorrow.

In a statement today, Pos Malaysia said the tariff increase was to adjust the salary structure of the postmen and counter clerks, to be at least at par with the level obtained by government servants.

Its managing director/chief executive officer, Datuk Syed Faisal Albar, said currently, the postman's salary was 19 per cent lower than that of a government worker at the same level.

"The restructuring of the salaries will be a positive morale boost for the operations staff, improving their productivity and commitment towards providing better quality of service," he said.

Domestic postal tariff for standard mail of up to 20 gram (gm) will be at 60 sen, while those above 20 gm to 50 gm will be priced at 70 sen.

The non-standard mail pricing starts from 80 sen for up to 50 gm to RM5.50 for above one kg and two kg.

Periodical charges will start from 50 sen (up to 20 gm) to 90 sen (above 100 gm - 250 gm).

PosDokumen's tariff will be between RM1.80 for up to 500 gm and RM4.50 for those one kg to two kg.

Meanwhile, RM4 will be charged for small packet of up to one kg, while those above one kg will cost RM5.50.

For parcel of up to two kg, RM7 will be charged.

Domestic registered post will cost RM2.20, while international will cost RM4.10.

For bulk mailers, Pos Malaysia said customers will continue to enjoy the existing operational rebate, which is a maximum 13 per cent of standard mail and a maximum of 10 per cent for non-standard mail as well s PosDokumen.

A new volume-based-incentives for end-clients who contribute to the higher mail volume will also be introduced.

To enjoy the incentives, the end-clients must open an imprest account (Bulk Mail account) with Pos Malaysia and the discount will be credited to the imprest account on the second week of the following month (therefore, July’s discount will be credited on second week of August).

End-clients who are using Bulk Mailers’ imprest account to lodge their mail must ensure that their bulk mailer registers their name with Pos Malaysia and always identifies their items in the posting docket, it said.

This incentive is effective from the first day of the implementation of the new postal tariff until Dec 31, 2010.

The incentive is applicable to all products except the following: Non-Standard Mail 100g to 250g, Non-Standard Mail 250g to 500g, Non-Standard Mail 500g to 1kg and Non-Standard Mail 1kg to 2kg. - Bernama

An observatory for Penang Free School

THE Penang Free School is embarking on a five-year project to build an observatory at the school.

Its project director Stefan Dawson said fund-raising activities would be conducted to collect at least RM300,000 needed for the observatory.

He said the school was hopeful that the funds could be raised in the next two years in order to start construction.

“About two years ago, the PFS foundation raised RM30,000 for the observatory, but at the time we did not consult the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Astronomy Club.
“Later when we consulted them we learnt that the amount was not sufficient to build an observatory.

“So we are going to use the money to buy astronomy equipment and train teachers and students on the usage of the equipment and so on,” he said on Thursday.

Dawson, a former PFS student, said the idea to construct the observatory was mooted when the then director of Malaysia’s National Space Agency Datuk Mazlan Othman visited the school and made the suggestion.

“The school was excited about the idea and we suggested raising funds since then. The RM30,000 was donated to us by UEM Builders.

“We hope this dream of ours will be achieved by 2016 when the school turns 200 years old,” he added.

Dawson said the foundation would launch water rockets tomorrow to initiate the PFS Astronomy project.

Asked where the observatory would be built, he said they were hoping to do so on the rooftop of the school’s building.

He said through the foundation, several projects had been carried out including inviting famous people to give talks.

The funds from the foundation is to encourage excellence projects including conducting research with USM and other institutions.

USM Astronomy Club academic adviser Assoc Prof Dr Chong Hon Yew said once the observatory was constructed, teachers and students from other schools could go to PFS instead of USM going from one school to another.

“This is a good initiative and I hope the project will take off soon,” he added.

Oh my Alta Mater :)

Holiday not compulsary on 7/7

THE state government will leave it to the private sector to decide if they want to recognise July 7 as a public holiday as it is not compulsory for them to do so, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said only four public holidays — National Day, Labour Day, the Yang di-Pertua Negri’s official birthday and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s official birthday — were mandated by law to be compulsory in Penang.

The rest are left to the respective employers to decide, including the new state public holiday on July 7 which Penang has declared as Heritage Day in commemorating the anniversary of the inscription of George Town as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2008, he said.

“The minimum number of public holidays (in the private sector), is 10 days in a year,” he said after presenting appreciation medals and cash rewards to 47 Penang Municipal Council workers yesterday for their role in maintaining cleanliness in the state. holiday on my special day :(

Octopus prediction for Germany quarter final clash with mighty Argentina?

A two year-old octopus Paul, the so-called "octopus oracle" predicts Germany's victory in their 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina by choosing a mussel, from a glass box with the German flag instead of a glass box with the Argentinian flag, at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen. Paul has so far rightly predicted Germany's first and second round victories over Ghana, Australia and England plus Germany's defeat against Serbia. Photo by Reuters.

How true it is? Do you believe it? As far as I know, I'm not sure who will win the clash, maybe it will go to extra time or even penalty kicks, but it sure will be a tight match :)

UNESCO World Heritage Celebration : 1st to 31st July 2010

George Town is celebrating its 2nd anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7th July 2010. A month-long "George Town Festival" is inaugurated in conjunction with this year's celebration, featuring over 80 programs throughout the month of July! This is a concerted effort to promote ARTS and HERITAGE in Penang by the Penang State Government, Municipal Council of Penang Island, George Town World Heritage Incorporated and Penang Global Tourism.
Scheduled to be an annual event, George Town Festival opens as a feast of theatre, music, dance, film, arts, food, fashion, photography, inspirational talk and visual spectacle on the streets. By bringing together different artistic communities from local and abroad-schools, amateur groups, cultural groups, professional performers-George Town Festival thus becomes the stage for local and international artistic exchange. It is a guarantee to treat the audiences with both traditional and contemporary artistic trends from around George Town.
George Town Festival also offers creative practitioners and educators and business operators opportunities to create new works and dialogues within the context of heritage George Town. With an approximate reach-out of 200,000 people, the festival will help to promote your works to a big pool of local and international audiences.
George Town Festival promises a fiesta of ARTS and HERITAGE!


Date: 7th July 2010
Type: Street Celebrations
Venue: George Town Heritage Core zone

To commemorate the 2nd anniversary of George Town inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, indulge yourself in a whole day street celebration by the local multi ethnic communities of Penang - International performers, Malay, Indian, Chinese, Burmese, Eurasian, Thai, Punjabi and many more.
• • • •
traditional games, food and crafts cultural dances and musical performances featuring Ghaffar Pourazar and Chie Morimura, from BEIJING OPERA (CHINA) Special show from Medan, Indonesia

World renowned Director of Beijing Opera Ghaffar Pourazar will be performing excerpts from his repertoire of “the MONKEY GOD” with Chie Morimura.

Heritage “Trea-Shaw” Hunt (8am-1pm)
Hop on a trishaw! Experience this fun and exciting way of searching and scouting for our rich heritage treasures ranging from foods, costumes, trades, to local personalities and heritage buildings.

Open House
Public and Private Heritage Buildings (9am-5pm)
Welcome to the built jewels of George Town! Free entrance to more than heritage buildings which are restricted to visitors on normal days such as Town Hall, City Hall and many more.
George Town Shophouse Trail (9am-1pm)
12 well-maintained and restored heritage shophouses open for viewing! Register to be one of the privileged participants to enjoy this rare guided heritage shophouse trail. Visit some of the finest residential and commercial shophouses in town and learn more about this unique built heritage of Penang.

2. Special screening of films SHOT IN PENANG
Date: 31 July 2010
Type: Film Screening
Venue: Wawasan Open University

With special appearance by director Glen Goei
Directed by Oliver Knott, Ramli Hassan as main actor

3.Other highlights
Date: 1, 2, 4th July 2010
Type: Theatre
Venue: Town Hall
Malaysia’s foremost film director Saw Teong Hin (Puteri Gunung Ledang) directing Emily of Emerald Hill with Neo Swee Lin, Pearlly Chua and Leow Puay Tin. This production will be the first time of the part of Emily is played by 3 actresses on the same stage. This dinner theatre will be at our historically elegant Town Hall and for that evening will be totally transformed to a grand dining room by Malaysian artist and set designer, Liew Kung Yu.

4. Date: 28 July 2010
Types: Indian Classical Dance
Venue: Dewan Sri Pinang
Ramli Ibrahim and Sutra Dance Company bring to Penang the well acclaimed, part of World Tour dance production- Vision of Forever. ‘Vision of Forever’ is an Odissi production of the highest caliber exemplifying works of the late Odissi pioneer Guru—Deba Prasad Das. Artistic director Ramli Ibrahim is unapologetic in his forthcoming of the spiritual depth of the complex psyche of India. ‘Vision of Forever’ unleashes powerful images from the Shaivite and Tantric traditions.

5. Street Opera by Japanese soprano RANKO KURANO
Date: 29 & 30 July
Types: Street Opera
Venue: Stewart Lane, George Town
Winner of Japan singing competition for Wagner Voice and Special Prize International Singing Competition Wagner Voice (Bayreuth and Saarbrucken Germany). Ranko will be singing excerpt of famous Arias against the backdrop of inner city of George Town.

6. PUBLICARTInstallation
Date: 7th – 31st July
Type: Installation Art
Venue: streets in George Town
Internationally acclaimed homegrown artists will be bringing their masterpieces to the streets! See how their creations in different mediums bring new interpretation to the heritage environment of George Town.
Installation art by New York based Malaysian artist Leon Lim, “The Last Chairs” at Lebuh Union and
Penang based Glass installation artist - Fuan Wong “Dream Ficus” at Chulia Lane.

Date : 11th July
Type :Music
Venue: E&O Hotel
Italian heartthrob, new International sensation Patrizio Buanne will perform at the George Town Ball. Currently on a world tour to promote his latest release “PATRIZIO”.

Date: 7th -17 July 2010
Type: Exhibition
Venue: Town Hall
An exhibition on 200 years of Governors of Penang, from archive materials by Mr. Winson Saw showing the early history of first Superintendent - Captain Francis Light to the last Governor of Penang.

9. Showcase of MALAY CULTURE & ARTS
Date: 3 July 2010
Type: Cultural Events
Venue: Jawi Peranakan Museum at Hutton Lane
Showcase of Malay culture and arts including Bangsawan at Jawi Peranakan Museum organized by PEMENANG Penang.

Penang MATTA Fair : 2nd to 4th July 2010

MATTA Fair Penang
Date: 2nd ~ 4th July 2010
Time: 2rd July (5pm to 9pm), 3rd & 4th July (10am to 9pm)
Location: Penang International Sports Arena

Staged annually in Penang, MATTA (Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents) Fair is a vibrant must attend three day expo. It presents a diverse range of destinations for Penang consumers at fabulous discounts.Value added tour packages and other great travel incentives are offered at this tourism fair. Specialize travel agents will help you with flights, hotels, and ground transportation to any destinations in the world.

Total of 297 booths:

Taiwan Visitors Association Kuala Lumpur, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Macau Government Tourist Office, Korea Tourism Organization, Yogyakarta Tourism & Promotion Board, Tourism Malaysia - Penang, Lembaga Pembangunan Langkawi (LADA), Sabah Tourism Board, Perak Tourism, MAH Penang Chapter, Tourism Pahang, and Penang Global Tourism

and more than 30 travel agents are participating in this 2010 MATTA fair.

Good luck to all holiday bargain hunters out there especially my soon to be wedding couple friends !!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tragic during SCKLM2010 as marathon runner dies during race

A 25-year-old man collapsed and died while running a marathon here yesterday.

Police have classified the case as sudden death.Lim We Ji, who was taking part in the Standard Chartered Marathon, was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

It is learnt that he had completed six kilometres and only had four more to go when he collapsed. Sources said that he had a heart condition.

I first knew about the news yesterday evening while watching new on TV. Apparently the victim is an Malaysian studying overseas. At night yesterday, I asked one of my friends that participated in the event, he said he was aware of the news during the run.

This morning when I came to office, some of my friends posted a witness real story of what happened during the incident. According to the report, there were no help coming from the organizer even though countless call for helps from fellow runners. There wasn't any first aiders as promised, some DBKL workers just stood there without helping, and worse is that when the ambulance came after some 20 mins, basically there was 'nothing' in it to help the victim on the spot. The victim past away on his way to the hospital.

I felt sorry for the victim, may him rest in peace. At the same time, I'm sure the organizer will come under heavy criticism...for sure !!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Botanical Garden Arch In Penang To Be Demolished

The newly built arch at the Penang Botanical Garden will be demolished soon at the request of the public and following opposition from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who claim its construction was not environmental friendly.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the decision to demolish the RM150,000 arch was made after obtaining agreement from the cabinet.

"The cabinet unanimously agreed with the suggestion by the ministry to demolish the arch because we listen to the views and voice of the people," she told reporters, here Saturday.

She said the arch would be demolished after the agency concerned had held discussions with the contractor.

She said based on the survey carried out by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) on the construction of the arch, 71 percent of the 1,225 respondents agreed that it sould be demolished.


Finally, the arch will go. I believe this is a majority wish of Penang people wants, or at least that's what I felt logical !!!

Penang expects to add 40,000 new jobs

There will be 20,000 to 40,000 new jobs in Penang following the opportunities created by medical, renewable energy, electronics and tourism industries in the state.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was now negotiating with three medical companies from the United States to invest in Penang, which is fast becoming a medical device manufacturing hub.
“On top of new medical investments, established player B Braun is undertaking expansion plan costing RM1.75bil to increase its output by 50%.

“This exercise is expected to create 450 to 750 jobs for B Braun,” he said.

He added that the state government was in talks with a few foreign renewable-energy companies keen to invest in Penang.

Lim said US-based Symmetry Medical Malaysia was allocating US$5mil to US$10mil a year over the next five years to expand its facility in Bayan Lepas Industrial Estate.

St Jude Medical, another US company, is scheduled to start operations next year and can create over 1,000 jobs when it is fully operational.

In the electronics sector, Osram’s new light-emitting diode wafer fabrication facility in Bayan Lepas Industrial Park will create about 1,000 jobs, increasing its workforce in Penang to some 4,000 by the year-end.

“These 20,000 to 40,000 jobs comprise a fair balance of knowledge-based and operator-level positions. That is why we invite Malaysians from other states to come to Penang to work,” Lim said.

Meanwhile, B Braun vice-president Dr Juergen Schloesser said the company’s RM1.75bil allocation was to expand its needle, surgical instrument, and pharmaceutical solution manufacturing facilities.

“We will also expand our B Braun Business School to provide comprehensive training and development programme ranging from technical to management skills,” he said.

Since 1972, B Braun has invested over RM1bil into its operations in Penang, creating about 4,700 jobs.

This is an extreme good news to Penang, to job seekers here and to the whole of Penang tourism and economy :)

Lee Chong Wei wins Indonesia Open

OK...I guess I should have post this up. After the disappointment last week at the Singapore Open Super Series, LCW redeemed himself today at the Indonesia Open Super Series.

The photo shows Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia bites his gold medal after beating Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia 21-19, 21-8 in their men's final match at the Indonesia Open Badminton Super Series, Sunday at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

I mean he beat the home crowd favourite despite 2 clearly bad line calls. This shows he really deserved credit even though his great rival Lin Dan not competiting...till the next badminton tournament !

Dominant Lorenzo wins Dutch MotoGP

Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo has won the Dutch MotoGP for his fourth victory of the season and extended his overall lead in the championship standings.

The 23-year-old Yamaha rider eased home ahead of Honda-riding compatriot Dani Pedrosa while Australia's former world champion Casey Stoner recorded his and the Ducati team's first podium finish of the season as he took third.

Lorenzo - runner-up to his injured team-mate Valentino Rossi in the championship last year - leads Pedroso by 47 points after six races.

Lorenzo said that he had found this race more difficult than his win at Silverstone last weekend.
"This race has been a little bit more difficult than Silverstone," said Lorenzo.

"I was surprised by the times that Casey and Dani were posting and I had to up it a gear or two to stay out in front and win the race."

Pedrosa was pleasantly surprised to have even been in contention.

"I am surprised with the result as practice was a nightmare where we tried everything and nothing worked.

"I would like to thank the team as they worked a miracle to get me this result and let us just hope that it is easier in the Catalan MotoGP next weekend."

Stoner, the 2007 world champion, was delighted to be back on the podium.

"It is a nice result for us, although, it should have happened a lot earlier than this," said the 26-year-old who is seventh in the standings.

Lorenzo led early on from Pedrosa and Stoner, who were duelling for second place with the Australian appearing to be the big danger as he recorded faster times than the Spanish overall leader's pole position ride on Friday.

Lorenzo's closest title challenger before the race, Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso, was not in the mix and with 11 laps to go was over five seconds in arrears and in no position to reduce the gap of 37 points between himself and the Spaniard.

Indeed Dovizioso, second at Silverstone last weekend, was being pushed all the way by American rookie Ben Spies, who confirmed that he is a fast rising star, overtaking the Italian with 10 laps remaining of the 26-lap race and ended up fourth.

Another who failed to fire was French rider Randy de Puniet, who having started alongside Lorenzo was left for dead at the start and never recovered enough to launch a challenge for the victory.

De Puniet, though, managed to get back into contention for fourth place and was involved in a thrilling three-way fight for it with Spies and Dovizioso, with him and the Italian sparring through the last lap for fifth spot which saw Dovizioso eventually prevail.

Lorenzo having dropped back almost within the clutches of the pursuing duo of Pedrosa and Stoner, then pressed the accelerator and was a comfortable two seconds ahead of his Spanish compatriot with just six laps remaining and coasted to victory.

Rossi not racing along, I may have predicted who is the champion this year :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Penang Tanjong Cup Varsity Basketball League 2010

All basketball fans out there, this is a must visit event for you!!!
Event : Penang Tanjong Cup Varsity Basketball League 2010
Date : 25th June until 5th July 2010
Time : 18:00 - 2230
Venue : Han Chiang Stadium, Penang

Penang Tanjong Cup Varsity Basketball League 2010 is the only basketball tournament for Colleges and Universities in Penang, Kulim and Nibong Tebal. The event is to be held at Han Chiang Indoor Stadium on 27th June 2010 to 5th July 2010. The main organizer of this event is the Penang State Legislative Members for Tanjong Area and it is endorsed by Majlis Sukan Negeri Pulau Pinang and Penang Basketball Association. A total of 10 teams from Universities/College have confirmed participation.

Penang Tanjong Cup Varsity Basketball League 2010 is to promote the basketball among colleges and universities as well as the teenagers. We believe the league will attract estimated of 500 paxs to attend the opening and closing ceremony and estimated of 200 paxs will be attending every single match. It is to create a healthy living atmosphere to the teenagers and encourage them to participate more in sports activities.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Swiftlet farming a threat to Penang World Heritage listing

The state government better do something, else it will do do us any good :)

A heritage activist has issued a "red alert", saying that George Town's listing as a Unesco World Heritage site is in jeopardy owing to swiftlet farming.

Penang Heritage Trust Council member Rebecca Duckett warned the Penang government that if action was not taken against swiftlet farming, George Town may be placed on the World Heritage in Danger list or have its current status revoked.

Duckett's wake-up call came at a time when George Town is about to celebrate its second anniversary as a joint Unesco World Heritage site with Malacca.

The listing as a World Heritage site occurred on July 7, 2008, and the state government had declared July 7 a state holiday effective this year.

"The assistant general manager of the George Town World Heritage office, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, had stated that the swiftlet industry posed a conflict to the World Heritage listing, and should be relocated.

"By condoning and allowing this (breeders to openly set up farms all over George Town) to happen, the state government and the Penang Island Municipal Council accept that they are responsible for any negative impact as well as health hazard that might arise," Duckett said yesterday.

Duckett said laws were being enforced by the state government on developers, residents and landlords who were trying to revitalise George Town as a residential, cultural, heritage and tourist hub.

"Yet, swiflet farms are being allowed to proliferate freely. The state government must act with a balanced hand."

NST Online

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jorge Lorenzo with runaway victory in the British MotoGP

Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo ran away with the British MotoGP race from pole position for Yamaha yesterday to extend his championship lead to 37 points.

The 23-year-old was in a class of his own, winning by a hefty 6.743 seconds for his third victory in five starts this season.

The absence of his injured world champion team-mate Valentino Rossi was keenly felt, with empty seats in the grandstands and Lorenzo so far ahead of the rest by the midpoint that the television cameras focused largely on the battle for second place.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso, last year’s race winner at Donington Park, took the runner-up slot for Honda ahead of American Ben Spies making his first MotoGP podium appearance for the non-works Yamaha Tech3 team.

Lorenzo now has 115 points to Dovizioso’s 78.

Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who had been second in the championship but crashed his Honda in qualifying, finished eighth and dropped to third overall with 73 points.

“It’s a very important day,” said the Majorcan rider, who celebrated his victory by donning a Sergeant Pepper style long coat and posing with three friends in Beatles wigs in a tribute to the Fab Four.

“Today was a race where you could crash or make a mistake or win,” he added. “The rear tyre was sliding but I think it was a little bit worse for the other riders.”

Lorenzo and Pedrosa battled for the lead on the first lap, with the former twice retaking it before his rival began to fade back down the order.

The championship leader was five seconds clear of Dovizioso after seven of the 20 laps and stretched his advantage to 8.562 before easing back with nobody else in sight to apply any pressure.

Looks like we are very much have a predictable world champion this year :)

Toll rate hike to begin when Second Penang Bridge is ready

Toll rates for the Penang Bridge would be increased to be “in line” with the higher rates fixed for the Second Penang Bridge which is expected to be ready in 2013, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Najib said: “Toll will continue to be imposed on the Second Penang Bridge after the concession agreement for the first bridge ends because the total investment poured in was RM4.5 billion and the concession period is 45 years.”

Najib, who is also finance minister, outlined seven classes of toll rates which would come into effect upon the Second Penang Bridge’s completion.

Class 1 (motorcycles) — RM1.90
Class 2 (cars, taxis and vans, excluding multipurpose vehicles) — RM9.40
Class 3 (two-axle four-wheel vehicles, including pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles) — RM16.20
Class 4 (two-axle six-wheel lorries, vans and buses) — RM33.60
Class 5 (three-axle lorries) — RM60.60
Class 6 (four-axle lorries) — RM80.80
Class 7 (five-axle lorries) — RM100.90

Class 2 vehicles are currently paying RM7 for a return trip to Penang Island, a rate that has not changed since 1985. Car drivers who pay via Touch and Go cards purchased from the Penang Bridge, however, pay a discounted rate of RM5.60. bridge means new increase...another burden to the people :(

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Penang Botanic Garden Arch tilt getting worse

The controversial Penang Botanic Gardens arch has now tilted by about 38cm, an increase of 25cm since last month, according to several non-governmental organisations.

Penang Heritage Trust member and former consultant engineer Ahmad Chik claimed that the tilt had worsened after its first reading of about 13cm in May.

“I don’t know how the authorities can describe it as a cosmetic defect when it is now tilting from both the major and minor exists,” he told reporters after measuring the tilt with a plumb line yesterday.

PHT spokesman Loh-Lim Lin Lee said “even by observing with the naked eye, you can see that the outer edges of the two arches are not aligned,” adding that the tilting arch was unsafe and must be removed.

“The question now is not merely about whether the arches are beautiful or ugly. This is a serious safety issue,” she said.

Also present were Friends of the Penang Botanic Gardens Society vice-president Datuk Tengku Idaura Tengku Ibrahim and Malaysian Nature Society Penang branch chairman D. Kanda Kumar.

Kanda Kumar urged the Tourism Ministry to engage “an independent consultant” to prove that the arch was safe.

“We have heard that a technical report was presented to the ministry but who prepared the report? Is it an independent body or the contractors themselves?” he asked.

On Monday, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng told The Star that Universiti Sains Malaysia had been commissioned to conduct a “proper survey” on the two arches.

A check at the gardens revealed that the short survey questionnaire was mainly concerned with whether the structures were “unique” and “beautiful” and if they should be retained.

Last month, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen asked the contractor to give her a detailed technical report on the arches being built near the entrance to the Botanic Gardens.

She said the ministry would not compromise on the safety of the people.

Since then, the State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), which is in charge of implementing the project to expand the gardens, had been directed to stop work on both arches.

DID director Anuar Yahya has since claimed that the foundation and structure of the arches were safe based on checks carried out by consultants.

He described the tilt of one of the arches as a “cosmetic defect, and not a structural one.”
A DID spokesman, when contacted yesterday, said he was not aware of the latest tilt but would conduct an immediate investigation.


I was thinking, perhaps the ministry would really want to wait until something bad happens, then only they will take some real actions. Else they want to continue cover their mistakes and continue to fool the people?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

EPF covers 25 more critical illnesses

Employees Provident Fund members suffering from critical illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease can now make withdrawals from Account 2.

In a statement, the EPF said it had expanded its list of critical illnesses eligible under its health withdrawal scheme from 11 to 36 effective yesterday.

EPF chief executive officer Tan Sri Azlan Zainol said the expanded list took into consideration the significant costs required to treat these critical illnesses.

It was aimed at helping members settle fully the costs of treatment and ease their financial burden.

In addition to the 36 critical illnesses, members may now make withdrawals to treat family members under the age of 16 for another three critical illnesses, namely severe asthma, leukaemia and intellectual impairment because of accident or sickness.

Under the scheme, members are allowed to withdraw from Account 2 to pay for their own and family members' medical treatment.

Family members include spouse, children, stepchildren or legally adopted children, parents, parents-in-law, step-parents or legal foster parents and siblings.

Members can also make a joint withdrawal with other family members to cover the required medical expenses, subject to available balance in Account 2 and the total cost of the treatment.

All withdrawals are subject to the validity of medical report, bills and receipts, which must not exceed one year from the date the withdrawal application is submitted.

Bills and receipts must also be in the name of the patient or applicant.

A member is not eligible to apply for the withdrawal if the illness is other than those in the EPF's approved list of critical illnesses, or the cost of medical treatment is fully covered by the respective member's employer or the employer of his or her family members.

Additionally, the scheme does not cover members receiving fertility treatments or alternative treatments such as acupuncture or traditional medication.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hamilton wins Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team made all the right moves in the Canadian Grand Prix, leaving Red Bull behind at sunny Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Hamilton raced to his second straight Formula 1 victory and second Canadian victory in four years Sunday, holding off teammate Jenson Button to take the season points lead from Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"I don't know why I do well here," Hamilton said. "I love it here. It's a great track, great city, great food and great weather today. ... I'm just able to dial in my car here and have a better feel here than some other places."

Hamilton, the 25-year-old British star who raced to his first F1 victory in 2007 in Montreal, started from the pole en route to his 13th career victory after gambling on Bridgestone's super-soft compound tires in the qualifying finale. The top 10 starters are required to start the race on the tires they used in the final qualifying segment.

Webber qualified second on the more durable medium-compound tires, but was dropped from second to seventh on the starting grid because of a gearbox change.

The Australian took the lead after the other front-runners made their second and last stops, but gave up considerable time on his badly worn tires. He didn't pit until just after Hamilton took the lead on the 50th of 70 laps.

"Tires played a huge role in the race today and, in the end, we did the best we could," Webber said. "I was trying to keep my pace constant, but in the end the tires didn't want that pace and they go away from you. It's virtually impossible to keep the tires from degrading here, no matter how slow you drive."

Hamilton and McLaren managed their tires and pit stops perfectly.

"It was difficult to know how much to save your tires and how much to push," Hamilton said. "It was very, very challenging. It was the ultimate challenge."

Button, also second behind Hamilton two weeks ago in Turkey, finished 2.2 seconds back in the race run without a full-course caution on the demanding 2.71-mile track.

"It was a really fun race," said Button, a two-time winner for McLaren this season after winning the world title last year for Brawn GP. "It was very difficult to judge when to push with the tires. I think I kicked it in a bit early on the last stint, but it got me P2, so I'm very happy with that."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third, followed by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Webber, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, Renault's Robert Kubica — the 2008 winner in the last race in Montreal — and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, the seven-time F1 champion and also a seven-time Montreal winner, finished 11th after starting 13th.

"The first stop was perfectly timed, so it was looking quite promising," Schumacher said. "Then I had a puncture on the front right tire ... after I got together with Kubica, and that obviously decided my race. From there, I was stuck in traffic and there was nothing more to do because today our weapons were not very sharp."

After starting the race on the super-soft tires, Hamilton gave up the lead on the seventh lap to switch to the medium compound. "We felt comfortable with the fact we'd have to stop in the first 10 laps," Hamilton said.

Webber pitted for the first time on the 14th lap, electing to stay with the medium compound, and had little tread left when he hit the pits again on the 50th circuit — just after Hamilton zoomed past.

Hamilton made his final stop on the 26th lap, putting on another set of medium-compound tires. He rejoined the race in fifth place, quickly worked his way to second, and patiently reeled in Webber — more than 11 seconds ahead at one point.

"I really just tried to maintain the correct balance ... and get through traffic without losing too much time," Hamilton said. "It was very tricky, but we managed to deal with it."

Hamilton has 109 championship points through eight of 19 races, giving him a three-point lead over Button and six-point advantage over Webber. In the constructors' standings, McLaren has a 215-193 advantage over Red Bull.