Bandar Malaysia a catalyst for future economic growth

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bandar Malaysia project, which will be developed under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with an estimated cumulative gross development value of RM150bil, has the potential to be a catalyst for future economic growth, said master developer TRX City Sdn Bhd.

Chief executive officer Datuk Azmar Talib said this development offered many business and investment opportunities including in the commercial sector, creative services and tourism and hospitality industries, such as MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) and theme parks.

“We foresee Bandar Malaysia will also generate skilled employment opportunities, for example, one of the early activation components for Bandar Malaysia is the Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC), which is designed as the primary digital hub for the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ),” he told Bernama in an email interview.

The world”s first DFTZ was jointly launched 40 days ago in the city centre by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak together with Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

The DFTZ, which has two key aspects – Alibaba”s regional logistics hub in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and KLIC, which is set to become the Silicon Valley of South-East Asia – will be situated on a 4.05ha spot in Bandar Malaysia.

The DFTZ, as reported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation or MDEC, is expected to double the growth rate of Malaysian small and medium enterprises, increase overall goods export by US$25bil and create 60,000 jobs by 2025.

Bandar Malaysia is located on the old airport site of the Kuala Lumpur Air Base in Sungai Besi, just 7km from the Kuala Lumpur city centre, which is now under relocation progress to replace the facilities which was no longer suitable and efficient as an air force operation base.

“We are currently focusing on completing the relocation of the Kuala Lumpur Air Base to eight different sites around the country by the end of this year.

“Meanwhile, we have obtained the approval-in-principle for the development order from Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) works for line two – Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya, are in progress on site,” said Azmar.

Azmar said Bandar Malaysia would become a transit oriented development, anchored on the maximum use of public transport with the government setting it as a terminus for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project. – Bernama

The integrated development is set to be a central transport hub, connecting the MRT lines, KTM Komuter, Express Rail Link and 12 other highways.

“With all these, the project can become the future nucleus of Kuala Lumpur.

“The areas surrounding this development too will be able to benefit from the modernisation of the infrastructure brought about by Bandar Malaysia,” he said, adding the development”s primary goal is to be one of the main catalysts for the economic development of Greater Kuala Lumpur.

Bandar Malaysia is envisioned as a world-class city-within-a city that offers seamless connectivity, being the first integrated transit-oriented mixed-used cluster that will also have retail and lifestyle components, diverse types of city housing and a hub for international business, as well as for creative industries.

TRX City Sdn Bhd, formerly known as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd, stated in its factsheet that the long-term project is expected to be completed over the next 30 years.


M’sia wins best medical travel award for three years in a row

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia again won the Health and Medical Tourism Destination of the Year award for three consecutive years.

The International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Awards 2017 was presented to Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), Sherene Azli, in a ceremony in Opatija, Croatia on Wednesday night.

The awards ceremony was hosted in conjunction with the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit, which took place in Opatija on Tuesday and Wednesday (April 25 and 26).

The award, judged by a team of 23 judges from around the world, has further cemented the country’s position as the top leading medical tourism destination that provides top-notch and innovative healthcare services.

Sherene, when contacted, said they are humbled to be given this recognition once again.

“With the three years (consecutively receiving the) award, the expectations have grown since then and we really have to up our games in terms of delivering the best of quality care for our medical travellers and giving them the peace of mind.

“Having created awareness that Malaysia is a viable option as a medical tourism destination, we must now raise that awareness to an unprecedented level. We have much work to do,” she said.

Adding icing on the cake, she said MHTC also received for the first time, the “Health and Medical Tourism Cluster of the Year” award.

Sherene said the award recognised efforts by a health or medical tourism cluster or association that demonstrated unparalleled qualities in organising, managing and stewarding medical or health tourism organisations and enterprises under its umbrella.

“So the whole idea is that when we go out and we promote Malaysia as medical travel destination, we want them to come to Malaysia, experience Malaysia healthcare and embrace Malaysia hospitality,” she said, adding that the country’s healthcare was also of world class quality, accessible and affordable.

In the inaugural IMTJ Awards 2017, the country’s private hospitals also won four awards – for International Hospital of the Year (Sunway Medical Centre), Best Marketing Initiative (Sunway Medical Centre), International Fertility Clinic of the Year (TMC Fertility Centre) and Best Quality Initiative – Highly Commendable (Sunway Medical Centre).

The annual IMTJ Medical Travel Awards recognise innovation, excellence and best practices in the medical travel and medical tourism sector.


Living legacy of Murut embroidery

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

AT 72, Dainsing Darum, a master embroiderer from Sabah, is a picture of contentment.

“I have a lot to thank for,” she says. “Good health is one of them. Others are my eyesight, which has not deteriorated much despite my age, and my hands which remain steady.”

Dainsing, from Kampung Inarad, Tongod – a district located in the deep interior of Sabah – says that having good eyesight and steady hands have allowed her to remain active in pursuing her passion in embroidery, and in imparting the skills to the younger generation.

But underneath her chirpy nature, one cannot help but sense a hint of despair in her voice.

“Embroidery is something that I truly hold dear,” Dainsing told the participants of her embroidery masterclass at Galeri Petronas  in Kuala Lumpur recently. “It’s my soul; and I shudder to think what if someday this art is lost and forgotten. That’s why I’m here; I’m eager to impart this skill to anyone who wishes to learn.”

Her masterclass which consisted of embroidery, beadwork, and rattan weaving, took place from March 24 to 26 at Galeri Petronas  in Suria KLCC as part of the event line-up for the “MANAH: A Living Legacy” exhibition which ran from February 14 to April 16.

Manah is Galeri Petronas’ first exhibition for 2017. Curated by Associate Professor Dr Baharudin Arus from University Malaysia Sabah’s Faculty of Humanities, Art and Heritage, it features the artistic and creative expressions of Malaysia’s indigenous communities and their strong connection to the rainforest.

Manah, which means “ancient” or “old way” in the Temiar language, featured the unique aesthetics of the country’s indigenous people which remain intact despite the influences of modernity, to reflect their identity and origins which are strongly linked to the ecology of the land they inhabit.

Dainsing, who is from the Murut Tangala tribe, says she did not hesitate for a moment when Galeri Petronas invited her to conduct a masterclass during the exhibition.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to spread awareness about our craft. Right now, I’m the only one left in my village who knows about the Murut Tangala embroidery. I’ve been trying for some time to pass down this skill and will continue to do so for as long as I can,” says Dainsing, a mother of one.

In his speech at the launch of the exhibition in February, Petronas chairman Tan Sri Sidek Hassan said Manah sought to re-represent indigenous aesthetics in a new context, challenging the notion of indigenous culture as something that is mysterious, inferior or backwards.

“There is so much that we can learn from the values and practices of indigenous people when it comes to global issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable living. Their minimalist way of life is in itself a lesson in sustainability – a subject only recently given more prominence including by the corporate world. Petronas is proud to contribute towards enhancing traditional knowledge and a holistic culture,” he said.

Apart from Dainsing’s masterclass, other highlights of the exhibition were artworks from a new generation of young indigenous artists, namely Alena Ose’ Murang (Kelabit, Sarawak), Shaq Koyok (Temuan, Selangor), Kendy Mitot (Bidayuh, Sarawak) and Kaleb Anyie Udau (Kenyah, Sarawak). These contemporary art pieces are uniquely infused with their ancestral culture and heritage.

Dainsing says she started learning about embroidery when she was 12, first by observing her aunt and later on copying her aunt’s works using banana leaves.

“But once I mastered the techniques, I improvised on them. The key is knowing the pattern and calculation, and where the needle should go next. The calculation must be correct from the first stitch or else, the whole piece will end up wrong,” she says.

Her commitment in preserving and promoting the craft saw her take part in numerous art and craft exhibitions in Sabah and Sarawak.

In September 2011, she participated in the Collaborative Exhibition and Weaving Workshop between Sabah and Indigenous Australia Weavers at Koorie Heritage Trust in Melbourne, Australia.

“The skills and motifs of the Murut Tangala embroidery are passed down from one generation to the next. Legend has it that my ancestor first learned embroidery and weaving by observing spiders spinning their webs in the wild,” says Dainsing, who has mastered over 40 intricate patterns, each steeped in symbolisms.

Pointing to a piece of embroidered garment, she says, “For instance, this wavy line pattern here depicts a snake, which symbolises cheating hearts. There is another that symbolises wisdom, which is represented by this round pattern, depicting full moon,” says Dainsing, whose masterclass attracted scores of artisans in the Klang Valley.

“Follow your heart, let the fabric dance with the needle,” she tells the participants.


M’sia-EU FTA (Free Trade Agreement) negotiations to discuss EU resolution on palm oil

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Malaysia and the European Union (EU) will include a discussion on the recent resolution by the EU parliament to phase out the use of certain vegetable oils, including palm oil, by 2020.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Chua Tee Yong said although the resolution is non-binding on EU member states, the government viewed the recent development very seriously, as it involved a major export commodity and the livelihood of about 500,000 smallholders.

“With the resumption of the FTA negotiations, we will definitely put it up for discussion,” he told reporters after officiating the EU-Malaysia Trade and Investment Forum 2017 here today.

He said the resolution, however, doesn’t ban entirely palm oil from being exported to the EU.

“It is more a concern about whether there will be additional tariff measures to be implemented,” he added..

Chua said the government would look into ways of resolving the matter to ensure the resolution did not disrupt trade between both sides.

Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez said she does not expect the resolution to affect bilateral relations between the EU and Malaysia.

“No change in EU trade and investments in Malaysia. We will continue to be the third largest trading partner with Malaysia,” she added.

Malaysia-EU total trade in 2016 rose 0.4 per cent to RM149.1 billion year-on-year, while in January 2017, it increased 9.7 per cent to RM12.9 billion from the corresponding month a year ago.

Meanwhile, organised by the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) and themed, “Innovation and Productivity to Drive Malaysia’s Economy”, the one-day Forum today is aimed at improving the productivity of the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as competitiveness, by encouraging the players to adapt and embrace innovation as well as diffusion of new technologies.

In conjunction with the Forum, Chua also launched the EUMCCI Trade Issues and Recommendations 2017 publication.

It summarises the work of the EUMCCI committees from nine different sectors in presenting the most pressing issues and recommendations to the Malaysian authorities.


Norway optimistic of establishing FTA with M’sia

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Norway is optimistic of establishing a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Malaysia through the European Free-Trade Association (EFTA) by 2018.

Ambassador of Norway to Malaysia Hans Ola Urstad (pix) said Norway had just adopted an FTA with the Philippines and was negotiating a similar one with Malaysia through the EFTA, consisting of Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

“The eighth round of negotiations were held just two weeks ago in Kuala Lumpur,” he said in his opening speech at an event celebrating the 180th anniversary of the Jordan’s dental and oral care brand.

“The FTA with Malaysia must be a win-win one for both sides,” he added.

Urstad said Norway’s exports to Malaysia amounted to about RM2 billion per year, while its imports were about RM1 billion.

“Part of our exports to Malaysia is natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The service sector is much larger and more important to us,” he said.

Norwegian investments in Malaysia to date amounted to about RM19 billion in some 200 businesses and companies, said Urstad, adding that Norway is Malaysia’s ninth largest investor.

“New companies like Scatec Solar are coming in with fresh investments to build three large solar energy plants in Malaysia,” he said.

Urstad said there were about 50 Norwegian companies in Malaysia currently, with Aker Solutions by far the largest Norwegian oil and gas company in the sector.

“Norway and Malaysia have extensive cooperation particularly in the oil and gas sector as both are producers of the commodity,” he added.

Urstad said In 2015, Norway was honoured by becoming Asean’s sectoral dialogue partner when Malaysia was the chair.

He said Norway had worked hard and consistently on widening cooperation with Asean and would be participating in the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Manila in August this year.

“We have appointed an ambassador to Asean (based in Jakarta) and our long-term goal is to become a full dialogue partner to Asean,” Urstad added.


SK Gentisan pupils get shot in the arm in UPSR preps

Posted on : 01-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: SK Gentisan primary six pupils, who are sitting for their UPSR (Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah) examination this year, have every reason to do well.

They are now better prepared for the exam thanks to the sponsorship of Suria Capital Holdings Bhd (SURIA) of New Sabah Times’ Score A programme, which is drawn up to help poor students to get tutorial exercises of the four core subjects – Bahasa Malaysia, English, Science, and Mathematics.

With the expensive materials, these students can ill-afford, the programme is designed so that these Primary 6 are able to prepare themselves better.

Yesterday, the school headmistress, Norhidayati Abdullah said that through the free access to tutorials exercises from New Sabah Times, the students, especially Primary 6, should be able to face the exam confidently.

“We are grateful for the educational aids. Now, our students are able to know more current updates,” Norhidayati during the launching of the programme at the school in Sepanggar near here, yesterday.

Through the programme, SURIA aims to help UPSR students to be able to excel in their academic by providing tutorial exercises of the four core subjects which will be published from Monday to Thursday every week.

The programme will be running in the publication a few months before the examination, and 115 of the primary 6 pupils will get a free copy everyday, which the tutorials may be able to be utilised in the teaching and learning process in the school.

SURIA indicated that the effort does not only aim at helping students in the preparation for the UPSR, but also to encourage the youngsters to foster newspaper reading habits.

It is SURIA’s hope to inculcate reading habits among young children.

“We also hope to provide this programme to the schools situated in rural areas as this is our corporate responsibility and also the engagement towards the communities in order to encourage them to excel in their education,” said SURIA Senior Manager, Datin Mariam Mahmun.

Also present were New Sabah Times marketing manager, Alex Chin and his assistant, Yanti Abbas.