Pelancongan di Pulau Pinang merudum?

Kalau sebut saja “Pulau Pinang” atau “Penang”, apa yang terus menerjah di minda kebanyakan orang ialah negeri di utara Semenanjung Malaysia sebagai destinasi pelancongan yang agak menarik, dan untuk yang pernah datang atau tinggal di situ, sebagai lokasi yang dirindui, baik oleh orang tempatan di Malaysia mahupun orang dari luar negara.

Perkara ini jelas disokong oleh analisa melalui Google Insight, biarpun media-media tempatan lewat ini lebih banyak mengutarakan topik-topik berkisar politik mahupun perniagaan atau industri tertentu yang mana tak dapat juga dipisahkan jauh dari ekonomi berdasarkan pelancongan atau imigrasi kumpulan orang-orang dari beberapa negara – sama ada untuk berkerja, berniaga ataupun sekadar bersiar-siar yang mana topik-topik carian utama adalah didominasikan hal-hal perhotelan, peta dan restoran serta Jambatan Pulau Pinang yang terkenal.


(Ini berbeza misalnya dengan negeri-negeri lain di utara Semenanjung – Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan dan Terengganu yang mana carian-carian tertumpu berkisar politik dan kerajaan, keagamaan, pekerjaan, pendidikan, hiburan dan sukan, dan sebagainya, yakni isu-isu setempat).

Malah, orang Pulau Pinang sendiri amat gemar melancong (selain orang Kedah, Sabah dan Melaka):

Bagaimanapun, tahukah anda bahawa Pulau Pinang semakin kehilangan pelancong asing, mahupun minat ramai orang sebagai destinasi percutian pilihan? Google Insight misalnya menunjukkan tahap carian yang amendatar selama enam tahun sejak tahun 2004


Begitu juga dengan laporan yang diwartakan di laman rasmi Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang yang mana jelas menunjukkan penurunan ketara pelancong asing, berjumlah lebih 750,000 orang setahun atau lebih sepertiga bagi tempoh enam tahun dari 2001 hingga 2006. Jumlah ketibaan pelawat luar di Pelabuhan Swettenham dan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Bayan Lepas juga merosot lebih 150,000 orang ataupun lebih 20% dalam tempoh yang sama:

Malah kebanyakan orang di Malaysia sendiri lebih gemar melancong ke destinasi luar negara seperti Macau dan Taiwan. Destinasi tempatan pula seperti Melaka, Terengganu dan Sabah/Borneo juga lebih menjadi pilihan berbanding Pulau Pinang:


Untuk orang tempatan, pastinya kehadiran orang luar dari Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, China dan negara-negara Arab lebih disedari walaupun, secara tradisinya kita seolah-olah diberi gambaran bahawa lebih banyak pelancong asing dari Eropah, Australia atau Jepun yang meminati Pulau Pinang sebagai destinasi percutian.

Kurangkah memberangsangkan?

Apa perlu hanya menuding jadi meletakkan tanggungjawab kepada pihak kerajaan atau mana-mana pihak tertentu termasuk penduduk Pulau Pinang sendiri? Atau mungkin kita hanya perlu merubah tumpuan kepada perkembangan terkini, khususnya untuk pengusaha-pengusaha tempatan?

Pertama, kita tahu tentang ketibaan ramai pekerja asing, yakni, industri-industri yang memerlukan pekerja murah akan terus berkembang khasnya di bidang pembuatan dan khidmat hospitaliti – makanan dan penginapan.

Kedua, laporan terkini juga menyerlahkan perkembangan positif di bidang pelancongan perubatan (medical tourism) atau mungkin juga di bidang pendidikan. Laporan The Star misalnya menyatakan bidang pelancongan perubatan di Malaysia meningkat tiga kali ganda sejak 2003 kepada 341,288 orang menyumbang kepada kutipan lebih RM300 juta dan catatan peningkatan 16% pada tahun 2008. Lebih dua pertiga ‘pelancong’ terbabit adalah dari Indonesia, dan selebihnya ramai dari Singapura (10%), Jepun (5%) dan Eropah (3%). Laporan tersebut juga menyatakan Pulau Pinang, Melaka dan Johor sebagai destinasi pilihan, (The Star: Malaysian medical tourism growing, http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/2/14/business/3245091&sec=business ) yang mana Pulau Pinang mencatatkan lebih 50,000 pelancong perubatan pada tahun terbaru. Untuk senarai hospital berkaitan, rujuk http://www.tourismpenang.gov.my/medical_tourism.html

Ketiga, berdasarkan carian di Google, pengusaha tempatan perlu menumpukan hospitaliti lebih khususnya untuk pelancong domestik dari Lembah Kelang (Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor) serta Johor. Ini supaya lebih ramai pelancong ‘cuti-cuti Malaysia’ orang tempatan datang menjenguk Pulau Pinang. Kalaupun penumpuan adalah untuk menarik pelancong dari negara luar, lebihkan untuk orang dari Singapura, Australia, Hong Kong dan Thailand.

FAKTA BIASA? Macam mana tu?

Tumpukan penginapan bajet, tarikan pelancongan keindahan alam khususnya pantai, taman dan trek hutan, dan makanan yang sedap tapi tidak terlalu mahal! Tak perlu terlalu lebih berbelanja untuk pertunjukan budaya kononnya untuk pelancong luar!!

Kalaupun nak dibuat pertujukan kebudayaan dan keseniaan, fikir tentang orang Malaysia sendiri, yakni budaya dan seni tempatan yang boleh disertai sekali ataupun, seni/kebudayaan luar supaya pelancong tempatan tak perlu berbelanja besar ke luar negara, tapi menikmati hiburan seakan-akan luar dalam negara sendiri!

FOKUS di Pulau Pinang:

1. PANTAI:

  • Batu Feringgi
  • Pantai Monyet
  • Pantai Kerachut
  • Tanjong Bungah
  • Pantai Pasir Panjang

2. BUKIT:

  • Bukit Bendera
  • Bukit Jambul
  • Bukit Relau (Anjung Indah)
  • Bukit Mertajam

3. HUTAN LIPUR

  • Hutan Lipur Cherok To’Kun
  • Hutan Lipur Bukit Panchor
  • Taman Negara Teluk Bahang

4. PULAU PERANGINAN/RIADAH:

  • Pulau Aman
  • Pulau Rimau
  • Pulau Jerejak


5. LAIN-LAIN (WARISAN/KEBUDAYAAN):

  • Kota Cornwallis
  • Meriam Sri Rambai
  • Menara Jam Peringatan Victoria
  • Rumah Kongsi Suku Khoo
  • Kuil Taoist Dewa Mercy, Pulau Pinang
  • Gereja St George, Anglican, Pulau Pinang
  • Kuil Hindu Maha Mariamman
  • Masjid Kapitan Kling
  • Kuil Kek Lok Si
  • Menara KOMTAR
  • Kuil Kek Lok Si
  • Kuil Ular
  • Empangan Mengkuang
  • Air Hitam Dalam
  • Ampang Jajar Sungai Krian
  • Taman Rekreasi Taman Robina
  • Taman Bandar, Ampang Jajar
  • Taman Burung
  • Perkampungan Tradisional di Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau, Nibong Tebal, Tasek Gelugor dan sebagainya.

SEKALI LAGI, fikirkan tentang pelancong Malaysia, bukan pelancong asing! Misalnya, perbanyakkan kempen dan iklan dalam bahasa Melayu, Cina dan Tamil misalnya, bukan sentiasa asyik dalam bahasa Inggeris sahaja.

Kalau tak mau dengar cadangan orang tempatan sendiri, cuba dengar apa penulis New York Times kata semasa memilih Pulau Pinang sebagai destinasi kedua mesti-lawat tahun 2009. (The Star: NY Times readers choose Penang as No 2 must-visit destination for 2009) – Jangan nak roboh saja kalau tak ada perlaksanaan segera untuk gerai-gerai yang betul akan mengambil hati dan minat pelancong Malaysia! (Kalau asyik nak cantik saja kononnya untuk menarik pelancong negara luar, makanan semua nanti naik harga – sebab kos gerai termasuk gerai MPPP/MPSP naik lebih lima kali dalam masa dua dekad ini, justeru harga makanan pun, dan pelancong Malaysia pun bakal makin kurang drastik tak mai!!)

Setuju? Tak Setuju? Nyatakan pendapat anda…

10 Questions with Chief Minister of Penang State

1. Administering the state must be a steep learning curve. How has the journey been so far and what is the biggest challenge? – Johnny Wong, Kepong

Administering an entire government with nearly 10,000 personnel, including both local government councils, definitely has been a steep learning curve. But as long as we are clear on our vision, mission and the governing strategy, we can fulfil the yearning for change and reforms. Our vision is to transform Penang into an international city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists, and a habitat of choice for those who desire sustainable living. Our mission is establishing a people-centric government that does the three Es – enables the people with education and knowledge, empowers them with rights, freedoms and opportunities, and enriches them with a share in the economic fruits of success. Our governing strategy is to realise both our vision and mission through governance based on CAT (competency, accountability and transparency). An efficient, clean and world-class civil service is a prerequisite to transforming Penang into a high-income economy.

The biggest challenge is changing the mindset in the civil service to accept CAT as our core governing strategy, which emphasises education over propaganda, competency over political background, and excellence over indoctrination. We have to prove that a clean government can perform better than a corrupt one. Everyone is evaluated not on his skin colour, religion, gender or political background, but on performance. The public must be served fairly and treated equally.

2. How do you juggle your many roles in government, party and family? – Sarah Ibrahim, Muar

Multi-tasking works when there is teamwork with congruent goals, excellent back-up from my colleagues and staff, problem resolution gleaned from experience and trust, as well as good time management. But I must admit that I do not spend enough quantity and quality time with my growing children.

3. The Penang government is fighting hard for financial autonomy. How does that limit your aspirations for the state? – Angie, Malacca

Penang never had financial autonomy. From 2001 to 2008, Penang paid to the Federal Government RM25.67bil in the form of taxes and customs duties, but only received RM794mil in federal grants. In other words, Penang got back only 3% of what it contributed between 2001 and 2008.

We have no choice but to go back to basics. Penang’s past successes was grounded in developing our human resources and talents, relying on the private sector and private investments to drive economic growth and development, and providing good governance. That is why we have set up a 200-acre Education Hub in Balik Pulau, supported the expansion of an incubator doing R&D in Penang Skills & Development Corp, and focused on CAT governance. I have tremendous faith in the energy, expertise and entrepreneurship of Penangites.

4. Penang is still filthy due to lack of stringent monitoring and enforcement by local councils. Can Penang sustain its tourism industry given the polluted sea water and indiscriminate land clearing along Batu Ferringhi? – Josephine, Penang

We are continuing the efforts to clean up Penang, and these have gained the recognition of a Minister, who commented that Penang is now cleaner. But it is not easy to clean up the excesses or change the mindset of the past 51 years in a single stroke. Such efforts are complicated by past approvals for hillside development. Understanding the concerns of the local community, my government has not given a single approval for hillside development at Batu Ferringhi despite pressure from developers.

5. Do you feel it’s fair that Khazanah Nasional Bhd is managing the funds allocated by the Federal Government to conserve Penang’s heritage sites?Oh, Malacca

This has been a sore point as George Town and Malacca were jointly listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites and should be accorded fair and equal treatment as promised by the previous prime minister. But what we have seen is the Heritage Department getting RM30mil for Malacca whereas Khazanah gets RM20mil for Penang, despite George Town being 50% larger and having 250% more heritage shophouses. Khazanah’s RM20mil has nothing to do with heritage and was submitted before the conferment of World Heritage status. We should not discriminate against George Town and must take cognisance that a World Heritage status is an honour that must be preserved, protected and promoted.

6. The Indian community was disappointed with your handling of the Lorong Buah Pala issue and there are concerns that you washed your hands off before exhausting all legal avenues to help the residents. As it was the last traditional Indian village in Penang, are there plans to set up an “Indian heritage village” as some Penangites have suggested? – Jimmei Morinae, Prai

The Penang government has never washed its hands off the issue. That is why Lorong Buah Pala will remain on the same piece of land when the 24 double-storey terrace houses for the affected residents are completed. Unfortunately, there are several residents who have placed their trust in people who are offering a RM75,000 apartment instead of my government’s RM600,000 double-storey house. We are willing to consider all proposals, provided they comply with the law and Federal Court rulings.

7. You have adopted CAT in running the state. Do you agree that the monitoring should start from procurement of contracts through open tender system and evaluating the qualified bidders with proven track records? To what extent is this being done? – Sheng, Batu Pahat

Penang is the first government to implement not only an electronic open tender system but also a two-week objection period to allow a review if there are valid complaints from competitors. To further reduce financial temptations, we have cut out the “middle men” by disbursing the money into the accounts.

Previously, one may need “political cables” to win contracts. Now all we need is a simple computer cable.

To protect and encourage whistleblowers, an Integrity Award of RM10,000 was introduced for civil servants.

We have reaped benefits from our reforms by having surplus budgets for 2008 and 2009 despite projected deficits of RM35mil and RM39mil respectively. For 2008, we recorded a surplus of RM88mil.

8. The number of Malaysians migrating in 2008 has more than doubled from that in 2007. Do you think this will get worst, and why? What ought to be done? – Karen Yeoh, Kuala Lumpur

The brain drain is our country’s most acute problem and it must be resolved if we are to transit ourselves into a high-income economy. The brain drain will only worsen if the country continues to treat our best and brightest with indifference bordering on disdain. To arrest the decline, we have to focus on merit and higher productivity.

Then only should Malaysia offer higher pay to not only retain but also attract human talent. By imposing glass ceilings unrelated to performance, we are inflicting damage to ourselves and serving as a recruiting pool for neighbouring countries such as Singapore. There must also be greater diversity of views as a source of strength and sustainable development.

9. Apart from your family members, who stood by you in the most difficult times of your political career? – Yap Koon Roy, Malacca

My family members, especially my wife and parents, have been as solid as a rock in terms of emotional support. But I have also being sustained by my fervent belief in justice, freedom and truth, and nourished by my faith in God. When we walk the talk, we never walk alone because God is always there. Suffering is unfortunately at times a necessary path to understanding the pearls of wisdom that allows us to treasure the “free” air we breathe and the simple joys of being with our loved ones that we take for granted.

10. Your administration aims to transform Penang into an international city. How are you going to achieve that when the officers in your administration don’t have the “international city mindset”? – Penangite & ex-Singapore civil servant

Training a world-class civil service cannot be achieved overnight. To inculcate a culture of excellence will not be easy after 18 years of mediocrity and inertia. I have faith in the capabilities of my civil service if it is allowed to realise its potential. To succeed, government leaders must lead by example through prudent budgeting, integrity in leadership, and a thirst for learning and mastering English and new knowledge. Everyone realises that not only do we have to be the best, but that those who perform will rise speedily through the ranks.

The Penang government will commit to promotions based not on skin colour, gender or political affiliation, but on performance and integrity. Let the word go forth that Penang has not only the best Malay, Chinese and Indian male and female professionals, but also welcomes our best Iban and Kadazan brothers and sisters.

SOURCE: The Star – Your 10 questions

Biggest TALK on Blogs & Web 3.0 in Penang!

For more information and registration, register by or before Friday, 20 MAR 2009 at the official website for Social Entrepreneurs’ Club of Balik Pulau (KUSBP).

YB Sr. Hj Muhamad Farid bin Hj Saad is scheduled officiate the event, starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, 22 MAR 2009, at Dewan Balora (next to K-Kommunity/JKKK Kongsi Building), Balik Pulau, Penang.

Panels for Forum on “Role of (New) Mass Media for Local Socio-economic Development include experts from all four sectors of the community – policy makers, academic, industry and social NGO.

Learn how the new media is not just for “goBlogs“, but for Trillion Ringgits worth of economy within the next few years – How not be left asleep, passed by the wave of Globalization!

This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Council for Entrepreneur Development – Southwest District of Penang (MPUD-DBD), Technopreneur Development Division of the Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (TeDD-MDeC) and Penang Association of ICT Entrepreneurs (ICT Penang).

This event is a Prelude to MSC Malaysia/NEF Netbash & Innotech 2009, scheduled for 25 MAR 2009 @ PDC Bayan Baru.


Use your Barcode Reader (also available on selected mobile phones) to transfer the event details to your mobile devices. Learn more about above QR code at WikiPedia.

WORKSHOP IS LIMITED TO ONLY 50 FIRST REGISTRANTS! Just RM10/participant. REGISTER TODAY!

Penang Last Week (Ending 21 FEB 2009)


AsiaOne
Gerakan Calls For Security Measures For Karpal
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 21, 2009
Karpal has lodged a report at the Penang police headquarters over a letter containing two live bullets which he received in his postbox at 144A,
Karpal gets death threat and live bullets in mail Malaysia Star
Karpal gets death threat and live bullets in mail The Malaysian Insider
Malaysian Indian leader gets bullets in mail SINDH TODAY
New Straits TimesTimes of India
all 25 news articles »

Malaysia Star
Toppled crane causes traffic nightmare in Penang
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 19, 2009
By TUNKU SHAHARIAH, K. KASTURI DEWI and WINNIE YEOH GEORGE TOWN: A 30-tonne hydraulic crane toppled over at the 3rd kilometre of the Penang Bridge,
Huge jams after crane on bridge topples over New Straits Times
all 4 news articles »
Penang wages war on beach bistros
New Straits Times, Malaysia – Feb 19, 2009
Penang Island Municipal Council secretary Tan Cheng Chui said the action was necessary as most of the structures had been built on state land without
Penang To Reintroduce Barter Trade To Diversify Economic Activities
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 18, 2009
PULAU PINANG, Feb 19 (Bernama) — The Penang government wants to reintroduce the barter trade system to diversify economic activities in the state as a step

Inquirer.net
All aboard a royal ride
Inquirer.net, Philippines – Feb 21, 2009
A typical three to five-night cruise would take passengers to Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Phuket in Thailand.

Sun2Surf
Intel To Continue Operations In Penang
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 19, 2009
PENANG, Feb 19 (Bernama) — Leading US chip manufacturer Intel Corporation will continue to operate in Penang, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
Penang Proposes Retrenchment Scheme For Workers Sin Chew Jit Poh
19-02-2009: Penang CM: Another US$12b stimulus needed The Edge Daily
RM800-Per-Month Proposal for Axed Workers istockAnalyst.com (press release)
Malaysia StarThe Sun Daily
all 19 news articles »

Overturned Crane Causes Massive Traffic Jam In Penang Bridge
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 18, 2009
PENANG, Feb 19 (Bernama) — Traffic along the Penang bridge, heading towards the mainland, came to a standstill when a crane, used in the widening works,
Toppled crane causes massive jam on Penang Bridge Malaysia Star
Fretting over job losses The Sun Daily
all 4 news articles »

Poser over state footballer’s death
New Straits Times, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
KUCHING: The death of an 18-year-old Sarawak Under-19 football player in Penang last year is still a mystery, with no conclusive proof of how he died.
Sarawak player’s death due to bike accident Malaysia Star
Sarawak thrown a lifeline New Straits Times
all 3 news articles »
Penang Youth Council gets RM150,000
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 17, 2009
THE Penang Youth Council has received a RM150,000 allocation from the state government to support its activities for the year. State Youth, Sports, Women,
Accord Penang Free School heritage status too
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 17, 2009
Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest school in South-East Asia. Secondly, I would also like to take this opportunity to seek clarification
Guan Eng: We’ll help developers speed up projects
The Sun Daily, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
GEORGE TOWN (Feb 20, 2009): The Penang government is looking into new measures to help developers speed up implementation of their projects here so as to
Guan Eng’s proposal just not realistic New Straits Times
all 7 news articles »

Life And Style: New Portal To Promote Penang
Sin Chew Jit Poh, Malaysia – Feb 18, 2009
iGeorgeTown Penang has launched iGT Connect, its free e-newsletter which is published twice a month. Linking readers to current items published on the
18-02-2009: iGeorgeTown Penang e-newsletter launched The Edge Daily
all 2 news articles »


Malaysia Star
Choosing the road less travelled
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
“I grew up in Penang in a different time. When I was in Penang Free School in the mid-1960s, I did things which gave me a sense of the cultural and social

Penang shift venue of coming home games
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 16, 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Super League side Penang are forced to shift the venue of their upcoming home matches to the State Stadium in Batu Kawan.
Hockey: Coach Rajan to rope in players who shine in MHL
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
The Juniors are not involved in the MHL and are currently in Penang on a nine-day training stint. They will move to Johor Baru on March 3.
Penang Curry at Cafe de Laos
Philadelphia Citypaper, PA – Feb 18, 2009
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what’s simmering. -Lew Bryson of Seen Through a Glass pushes back at Gov.
Penang Library Must Pay Compensation – Cuepacs
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 16, 2009
PENANG, Feb 16 (Bernama) — The Penang Public Library Commission has been urged to pay compensation to contract employees whose contracts were not renewed
SP Setia confident of achieving targeted revenue from Penang
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 15, 2009
“The group is confident of achieving its target of RM180mil in revenue from the sale of its properties in Penang for the fiscal year ending October 2009,”
Former Test stars Akhtar, Rizwan shine for Pakistan side
Bangkok Post, Thailand – Feb 20, 2009
The other teams which shone yesterday were: Penang SC , Malviya CC, Chandigarh, Chittagong, Tamil Nadu, Angad CC and RBSC. RBSC gave the tournament an
Bahrain post tough win in Sri Lanka friendly Gulf Daily News
all 2 news articles »
Ramdan moves into last eight
New Straits Times, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
Ramdan, who wants to emulate his father Misbun as an established international, defeated H’ng Ken Wai of Penang 21-16, 21-15 and will play Sunny Gnow Chee

Malaysia Star
Penang Hawker Food – Window Sherbet (Ais Tingkap)
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – Feb 16, 2009
In Penang we always go for ice kacang and cendol as our desert. Recently, I have posted coconut jelly in my blog and it created awareness among my readers.

Malaysia Star
Aussie Tourist Numbers To Malaysia On The Increase
Bernama, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
Carlton club executives and players who recently spent a few days in Penang are most impressed with Malaysia. “The club’s website features glowing reports
Finding the right strategies Malaysia Star
Branding Malaysia Malaysia Star
all 9 news articles »

Peranakan pleasures
New Straits Times, Malaysia – Feb 20, 2009
There’sa distinct difference between the Nyonya food of Penang and that of Malacca and Singapore due to the proximity of the latter to Indonesia and Penang

Rock Tune for 2009

Now that Penang is in the top lists for tourist stops in 2009 (following the top rank in New York Times 44 Places to Go in 2009, and the UNESCO’s Heritage Site inclusion in 2008) , it’s only natural that there will be more hotels opening very soon in Penang’s hotspots. And while Penang is a definite next target for the Tony Fernandes & co for new airport and hotel off his Air Asia & Tune ventures, with the already completed Tune Hotel at Jalan Burmah to open as early as 1st of April 2009, the first Malaysia’s Hard Rock Hotel (HRH, minus the casino) on the island will surely resonate a deep vibe for Penang’s locals and visitors.

When this Hard Rock Penang (Hard Rock’s 10th hotel worldwide) opens in Batu Feringhi by mid 2009, Penang will join only two hosts in AsiaBali (Indonesia) and Pattaya (Thailand), to host these Seminole Tribe of Florida-owned (the 1971-established Hard Rock brand, since March 2007) popular hotels, first popularized in the United States destinations of Las Vegas (first to open, in 1995), Biloxi, Kansas City (pending), Tampa and Hollywood (Florida).

Besides Penang, another HRH is planned to open in Macau this year, with Palm Springs, Atlanta and Panama to follow, scheduled for 2010; Dubai, scheduled to open in 2011; and Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open in 2012.

Read on the press releases on Hard Rock Penang (since 2007):-

HPL HOTELS & RESORTS
50 Cuscaden Road
#05-02 HPL House
Singapore 249724
Tel: (65) 6735 2811
Fax: (65) 6235 3216
Email: corporate@hplhotels.com
Website: www.hplhotels.com
Member of the HPL Group
CO. REG. NO. 199704528Z

Hard Rock International and HPL Hotels & Resorts Announce Development of Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Innovators In Hotel Property Development To Deliver Unprecedented Four-Star, Luxury To Exotic Malaysian Resort Setting

Orlando, FL – October 27, 2007 – Hard Rock International and Hotel Properties Limited (HPL) announced
today their plans to develop a Hard Rock Hotel in Penang, Malaysia. Hard Rock Hotel Penang will be a luxury
resort situated along the famous beaches of Batu Ferringhi, hailed as the Pearl of the Orient. The property,
which aims to infuse new excitement and energy into the market, underscores resurgence in tourism and
reflects Hard Rock’s strategy to accelerate expansion of the brand worldwide.

The resort is situated on nearly five acres of land with approximately two miles of magnificent beachfront on
one of Asia’s most popular island destinations. Coupled with Hard Rock’s tradition of providing luxury,
quality service and amenities with a unique rock ‘n’ roll edge, this destination resort will bring a unique
entertainment element the island has yet to offer.

“We plan to continue our Asian expansion of the Hard Rock brand with unique, new properties – including
urban hotel and destination resorts and cafes,” commented Hamish Dodds, President and CEO, Hard Rock
International. “We have a long standing and successful partnership with HPL Hotels & Resorts through the
Hard Rock Hotel properties in Bali and Pattaya.”

Through a major renovation of the existing property, HPL Hotels & Resorts will completely revamp the
existing five-story main building, add additional rooms and maintain one of the two current beachfront
bungalows, converting it into a full service luxury spa. The renovation and expansion will increase
guestroom keys from 180 to 255, configured as mostly deluxe rooms with hill, sea, garden or lagoon views.
There will also be nine studio suites and one Kings’ suite. Four food and beverage outlets are planned for the
resort, which will include a Hard Rock Cafe, an all-day dining restaurant and a bar/lounge. The resort’s main
ballroom and three function rooms offer a total of 5,700 square feet for private events and the meetings,
incentives, corporate and exhibitions clientele. Additionally, there will be a fully equipped gym and a
specialized kids’ club.

A main trademark of the Hard Rock Hotel experience, Hard Rock Hotel Penang will feature an incredible
oversized free-form pool, totaling 25,833 square feet, replete with sand islands and luxurious poolside
cabanas.

“Penang has eagerly anticipated the entry of an energetic and adventurous hotel brand such as Hard Rock,”
says Stephen Lau, Chairman of HPL Hotels & Resorts. “Our company’s projected growth strategy is to
continue to open more resorts and hotels in key Asia-Pacific cities that, in partnership with like-minded
associates, will assure our guests a satisfying level of comfort backed by personalized service. Hard Rock
Hotel Penang could not be more perfect.”

“The Seminole Tribe of Florida is thrilled about further Hard Rock development in Southeast Asia,” notes Max
Osceola Jr., Member of the Seminole Tribal Council, “It’s a testament to the brand that we have such
incredible strategic partners and ample opportunity for global growth in such interesting locations. We are
looking forward to this groundbreaking new property.”
Declared as “Visit Malaysia Year” by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Malaysia is
expecting an increase in the number of tourist arrivals to reach approximately 20 million in 2007; up from
17.5 million in 2006. With the “Visit Malaysia Year” 2007 campaign and the State’s efforts to bring back the
glory days of tourism to Penang, the island is expected to see a major resurgence in leisure, transient and
business travel with robust gains in overall occupancy and average rates.

~ The End ~

About Hard Rock International
With 122 high-energy Hard Rock Cafes and eight Hotels/Casinos in 47 countries, Hard Rock International is
one of the world’s most globally recognized brands. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns
the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.
Hard Rock is also known for its collectible fashion and music-related merchandise, Hard Rock Live
performance venues and an award-winning website. In addition to the two flagship Seminole Hard Rock
Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., Hard Rock Hotels/Casinos are located in Las Vegas, Biloxi,
Orlando, Chicago, Pattaya and Bali, with San Diego scheduled to open later in 2007. Additional hotel and
casino projects have been announced in Macau, scheduled to open in 2009, and Palm Springs, scheduled to
open in 2010. Hard Rock International, Inc. is owned by Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, Inc. For more
information on Hard Rock, visit www.hardrock.com.

About HPL Hotels & Resorts
Headquartered in Singapore, HPL Hotels & Resorts currently manages the activities of eight hotels and
resorts in the Asia-Pacific region. These include Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Concorde Hotel Shah Alam,
Concorde Inn Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Hard Rock Hotels in Bali – Indonesia and Pattaya –
Thailand, Casa del Mar in Langkawi – Malaysia, The Lakehouse in Cameron Highlands – Malaysia and Rihiveli
Beach Resort in Maldives.

Contacts:

Dan Klores Communications

Marissa Mastellone
212-981-5210 (office)
Marissa_mastellone@dkcnews.com
HPL Hotels & Resorts

Karen Chan
(65) 6731 4902
karen.chan@hplhotels.com

Penang Gets Ready to Rock with the Opening of Malaysia’s 1st Hard Rock Hotel

22nd January 2008, Singapore – Come 2009, the tropical island of Penang will be rocking and rolling
with vibes when Malaysia’s first Hard Rock Hotel throws opens its doors. The property, which is
currently undergoing construction, will deliver a unique product which aims to infuse new excitement and
energy into the popular holiday destination.

HPL Hotels & Resorts currently manages eight properties in Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean. These
include Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Concorde Hotel Shah Alam, Concorde Inn Kuala Lumpur
International Airport, Hard Rock Hotel Bali, Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, Casa del Mar – Langkawi, The
Lakehouse – Cameron Highlands and Rihiveli Beach Resort – Maldives and Kandooma – Maldives,
which is due to open in mid 2008. Hard Rock Hotel Penang is the third Hard Rock Hotel in Asia and also
the third to be managed by HPL Hotels & Resorts, with the other two being Bali, Indonesia and Pattaya,
Thailand.

Fronting the beautiful beaches of Batu Ferringhi, Hard Rock Hotel Penang will offer 252 musically-
themed guestrooms, with most configured as deluxe rooms with sea, hill, and garden views; the lagoon
view rooms come with direct pool access. There will also be nine studio suites and one Kings’ suite.

Four food and beverage outlets are planned for the resort, which will include a Hard Rock Cafe, an all-
day dining restaurant and a bar/lounge. Facilities include a full service luxury spa, a fully equipped gym, a
specialized Lil’ Rock Kids Club, and a Hard Rock merchandise store. Hard Rock Hotel Penang will also
offer guests a main trademark of the Hard Rock Hotel experience, that is, an incredible oversized free-
form pool totaling 2,400 square metres, complete with sand islands, water slides and poolside cabanas.

According to Ms Karen Chan, Marketing Communications Manager for HPL Hotels & Resorts, Hard
Rock Hotel Penang will add a new entertainment dimension to the holiday destination. She said: “The
Hard Rock culture is about being irreverent and living for the moment, so you can expect Hard Rock
Hotel Penang to offer an experience that abounds with limitless energy, unparalleled creativity and
quality service … very different from the typical sun, sand and sea vacation.”

The resort will not only to appeal to both leisure and family travel, but also to corporate meetings. With a
variety of indoor and outdoor function spaces housed in a marquee garden ballroom, pre-function garden
area, and three meeting rooms, this rock ’n’ roll sanctuary will no doubt be popular with many corporate
planners.

Penang is served by many international airlines and is easily accessible from major cities in the world.
Situated about 45 minutes away by road from the Penang International Airport, Hard Rock Hotel Penang
is also just 30 minutes from Georgetown, the capital city of Penang. The island can also be reached by
road via the Penang Bridge which links it to the mainland of Peninsular Malaysia.

~ End ~

About HPL Hotels & Resorts

Headquartered in Singapore, HPL Hotels & Resorts is a hospitality management company, operated and
wholly owned by a Singapore main-board listed, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL). HPL Hotels & Resorts
currently manages eight properties in Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean, with another two new properties
scheduled to open in the next two years. With more than 2,127 rooms, the brands include city hotels,
beach resorts, boutique properties and hillside retreat, each with its own unique style and character,
offering distinct experiences ranging from lifestyle and themed concepts to adventure and eco-tourism.
For more information, visit www.hplhotels.com.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Karen Chan – Marketing Communications Manager
T: (65) 6731 4902

HPL Hotels & Resorts appoints General Manager to open Hard Rock Hotel Penang

12 January 2009, Singapore – HPL Hotels & Resorts is pleased to announce the
appointment of John Primmer as General Manager for Hard Rock Hotel Penang.
A New Zealand national, Primmer has 27 years of hospitality experience, having held senior
management positions in Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom for the past
17 years. He was previously the General Manager of James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor
Wellington New Zealand.

Mr Greg Lee, Vice President – Operations of HPL Hotels & Resorts notes, “Primmer has a
wealth of experience in managing hotels. His experience and strong track record will be vital
in delivering the Hard Rock brand in Malaysia.”
Scheduled to open in mid-2009, Hard Rock Penang will be the first musically themed resort
in Malaysia, which aims to infuse new excitement and energy into the popular holiday
destination. Most of the 249 guestrooms are configured as deluxe rooms with sea views;
while the lagoon deluxe rooms come with direct pool access off the guest balconies.

Five food and beverage establishments are planned for the resort, which will include a Hard
Rock Café, an all-day dining restaurant, pizzeria, poolside bar and lounge. Facilities include
a full service luxury spa, a fully equipped gym, a specialised Lil’ Rock Kids Club, Teens club,
Hard Rock merchandise stores, and a 26,000 sq ft free-form swimming pool – the largest
pool in Penang.

The resort will appeal to both leisure / family travel, as well as to corporate meetings. With a
variety of indoor and outdoor function facilities including a marquee garden ballroom, pre-
function garden area, and three meeting rooms, this rock n’ roll sanctuary will be a popular
preference among many corporate meeting planners.

~ End ~

John Primmer, the newly appointed general manager at Hard Rock Hotel Penang.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Angeline Loh | Marketing Communications Manager | HPL Hotels & Resorts
Email: angeline.loh@hplhotels.com | Tel: (65) 6731 4902 | Fax: (65) 6235 3216

OR

Betty Lim | Director of Sales & Marketing | Hard Rock Hotel Penang
Email: betty.lim@hardrockhotels.net | Tel: 6 (04) 881 1711 | Fax: 6 (04) 881 2155

ABOUT HPL HOTELS & RESORTS
Headquartered in Singapore, HPL Hotels & Resorts is a hospitality management company,
operated and wholly-owned by a Singapore main-board listed, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL).
HPL Hotels & Resorts currently manages the activities of 11 hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific
and the Indian Ocean. These include Concorde Hotel Singapore, Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
Concorde Hotel Shah Alam, Concorde Inn Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Hard Rock Hotel
Bali, Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, Hard Rock Hotel Penang, Casa del Mar, Langkawi, The
Lakehouse, Cameron Highlands, Rihiveli Beach Resort, Maldives and Kandooma~Maldives.
For more information, please visit www.hplhotels.com.

What Hot in Penang This Week (11-17 JAN 2009)

100 Employees In Penang May Lose Jobs
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Penang is feeling the impact of the global economic meltdown, with the state government expecting about 100 employees in various …
16-01-2009: Penang has no intention of boycotting US goods The Edge Daily
16-01-2009: MNCs in Penang pledge not to lay off workers The Edge Daily
We Don’t Practise Double Standards – Guan Eng Bernama
all 5 news articles »
‘Penang won’t boycott American goods’
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Penang will not boycott goods from the United States over its support of the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng …
16-01-2009: Tenaga allocates RM81m to upgrade cables in Penang
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Tenaga is also working with the state government’s investment arm Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to put up a RM100 million transmission main intake …
RM100m Power Boost for Batu Kawan Industries istockAnalyst.com (press release)
all 2 news articles »
Activist Makes Forum Political
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Penang Umno today slammed political activist, Hishammudin Rais, for misusing a forum on Israeli atrocities in Palestine on Jan …

Malaysia Star
They stretched their dollars for a good cause
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
As leader of the Penang-based Hai San Secret Society during the tin mining era of 1800-1900 in British Malaya, the Chinese towkay was a renowned millionaire …
Gerakan: Put up road signs immediately
The Sun Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG (Jan 16, 2009): Penang Gerakan wants the state government to immediately put up multi-lingual road signs in Georgetown, especially at the heritage …
AirAsia lobbies Penang for LCCT
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
By Marina Emmanuelmarinae@nst.com.my PENANG: Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd is looking at Penang as a potential hub for a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT). …
MAIPP Dismisses Claim Najib Failed On Promise
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
BUTTERWORTH, Jan 16 (Bernama) — The Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAIPP) today dismissed a claim in a political organ that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk …
Permatang Pauh’s mosques, suraus to get RM4.18mil next week Malaysia Star
all 2 news articles »
Penang’s new growth engine — Tourism
The Malaysian Insider, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By Lee Wei Lian KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — With economic prospects looking gloomier by the day, Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has turned to tourism to be …
15-01-2009: No point having majestic building if services in shambles The Edge Daily
Guan Eng warns subversive civil servants The Sun Daily
MPSP Given Two Months To Buck Up Bernama
Sun2Surf
all 8 news articles »
16-01-2009: A landslide victory for PAS in KT?
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
For the 2008 general election, I told him there was so much electricity in the air in Penang, it feels like DAP could actually win the state. …

Penang gets 10 free lawyers to defend suit on multi-lingual roadsigns
The Sun Daily, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN (Jan 14, 2009) : The Penang government has appointed 10 lawyers, headed by Karpal Singh, to defend it against a legal attempt by a Pahang-based …
Penang Engages 10 Lawyers To Defend Suit Over Road Signs Bernama
all 4 news articles »
28000 porn discs seized
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Penang police seized almost 28000 pornographic and more than 320000 pirated optical discs worth about RM2.1 million last year. …
Famous Australian football club coming to Penang
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
Malaysia will get a huge tourism publicity boost when the famous Carlton Football Club officials and players make a three-day leisure visit to Penang from …
‘Ditch polystyrene boxes on Thaipusam’
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang yesterday called on the public to stop using polystyrene containers, especially during Thaipusam, …
Metro Watch
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
For details, contact Penang NUTP chairman Lim Ming Tzong at 019-4806723. The second animal in the Chinese horoscope, the Cow, will ‘moo’ into Midlands Park …
‘Many still forget to buckle up’
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
It was organised by the university’s Security Depart-ment and Penang Road Safety Department (JKJR). The officials handed out leaflets and car stickers at …
Tenaga plans RM200 mil investment in Penang
The Nut Graph, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
PENANG, 15 Jan 2009: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (Tenaga) plans to invest about RM200 million to upgrade electricty supply to Penang to meet the power needs of …
Stop-Work Order Can Only Make Things Worse – IEM
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Its Penang chairman Lim Kok Khong said the project sites should instead be monitored even more closely, especially its temporary facilities. …
14-01-2009: Penang activates employment and retraining scheme
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
by Regina William GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has activated the employment and retraining mechanism with an initial allocation of RM10 million …
No govt funds for open house New Straits Times
14-01-2009: No funds for Penang CNY bash The Edge Daily
all 3 news articles »
Johara, Kim Clinch Gold For Penang
Bernama, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
PETALING JAYA, Jan 13 (Bernama) — The pair of Johara Johari and Kim Eun Jung knocked down 2469 pinfalls in the women’s doubles event to give Penang their …

Penang Govt Will Emphasise Thrift, Says Lim
Bernama, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 13 (Bernama) — The Penang government will not provide allocations to associations to organise activities, including certain festivities, …
Penang poised to gain more investments Business Times – Malaysia
Penang Seeks RM500-million Aid From Federal Govt Bernama
all 8 news articles »

Malaysia Star
OCBC gives Penang branch a new look
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd recently unveiled the new look to their Beach Street branch in Penang — the first of its branches in the northern region to sport …
16-01-2009: Just one good package will do, says Razaleigh
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told the conference that as the state was not expecting large investments this year, it would focus on certain …

Malaysia Star
Sweet, confusing Penang island
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 9 Jan 2009
No sooner was it said than done, my wife and I were motoring up the highway, past Ipoh, and heading for Penang bridge, and the seven ringgit toll. …
Eun Jung and Johara strike gold for Penang
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
The Penang pair were second and 25 pins behind leaders Cheryl Cheong-Sharon Koh of Kuala Lumpur after five games, but Johara and Eun Jung then shot a …

Voice of America
Prabakaran no more in Vanni
Asian Tribune, Thailand – 17 Jan 2009
They speculated that he might be either in some coastal area in between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, or else in Penang, Malaysia. When asked why Malaysia, …
‘Don’t forget Sri Lanka, other conflicts’ Malaysia Star
Save Sri Lankan Tamils from Genocides – Deputy Premier in … TamilEelamNews.com
all 1,105 news articles »
Serving up prosperity delights
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By HELEN ONG ALTHOUGH the Four Seasons Tea House in Jalan Terengganu, Penang, began (and indeed is still referred to) as a tea house which served food, …
Chinese neighbours join in Ponggal festivities
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By K.KASTURI DEWI OCTOGENARIAN M. Karuppiah and his family who own cattle at Kampung Buah Pala in Bukit Gelugor, Penang, celebrated Mattu Ponggal yesterday …
New kidney dialysis centre for the poor
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
During his presentation on kidney care, NFK (Penang branch) chairman Dr Ong Yoke Meng identified diabetes as the main cause of kidney failure. …
No Further Action Against 3000 NS Dodgers
Bernama, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 15 (Bernama) — The National Service Training Programme (PLKN) Department has decided not to take any action against about 3000 dodgers who …

Another airport terminal soon…

PENANG: Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd is looking at Penang as a potential hub for a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT).

It is learnt that group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes made a case to the Penang government to build the terminal and the authorities are keen on his proposal.

Sources said the proposed LCCT in Penang would be independent from the budget air terminal that AirAsia wants to build in Labu, Negri Sembilan.

The proposed Penang terminal has been priced at RM120 million, excluding the cost of land, said sources.

At a presentation made on Tuesday to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, elected representatives, industrialists along with selected government and quasi-government agencies in Penang, Fernandes did not indicate how much land was needed for the LCCT.
However, he proposed two sites which are aligned with the Penang International Airport at Bayan Lepas. The land, however, does not belong to the state government.

During the briefing at Lim’s office at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak in George Town, Fernandes stressed the need for AirAsia to find sufficient parking bays at night for his aircraft and the fact that there would be a problem soon when the airline took delivery of additional planes.

“By offering point-to-point flights from various hubs, AirAsia will be able to solve its parking issue while Penang will benefit via the coverage of direct flights serviced by AirAsia,” said a source.

Apart from Malaysia Airlines, which offers direct international flights from Penang to selected destinations, other carriers using the airport include AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Lion Air, Singapore Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Airlines, Firefly, Kartika Airlines and Sriwijaya Air.

AirAsia began flying into Penang in 2002 and offers direct flights to cities in Thailand and Indonesia.

Fernandes declined to comment on the matter, while Lim could not be reached.

In 2007, the Penang government gave conditional approval to LC Airfields Sdn Bhd to set up a low-cost carrier terminal on the island.

Business Times had reported that the proposed LCCT would likely be sited north of the passenger terminal building in Bayan Lepas, and that AirAsia had asked for rights to be the licensed operator of the new terminal in order to keep costs low.

The Penang International Airport was expanded in 2001 to accommodate an annual capacity of five million passengers.

In reality, the airport can accommodate only slightly more than three million passengers a year because space meant for transit passengers has been leased to duty-free shops.

SOURCE: NST Online – AirAsia lobbies Penang for LCCT

Locals First

by Regina William

GEORGE TOWN: All contractors awarded projects by the Penang state government will from now be required to hire only locals, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said. Those who flout this condition will be blacklisted, he told a press conference yesterday.

The ruling, which applies to the two municipal councils in the state, and the land and district offices, comes in the wake of numerous complaints from local workers that they had been unable to find employment recently, said Lim.

The state government’s current contractors would also be advised to hire only locals, he said.

“There have been complaints at various levels by locals that they have not been able to secure jobs which are now being given to foreign workers,” said Lim. “Most of these are for labourers or cleaning services.

“Contractors seem to be inclined to hire foreign workers, whom they have to pay less wages, than hire locals to do the job,” he said.

The new condition will be included as a clause in the state government’s contracts, said Lim.

“The contractors will have to justify why they are unable to hire local workers before they hire foreigners,” he said.

“If they defy this condition, they will be blacklisted and will not be awarded any contracts in future,” said Lim.

He urged those seeking employment to register with the nearest labour department.

“Contractors will be given the list and asked to hire those who have registered with the department.

“We must instill the ‘Malaysians First’ policy among employers,” Lim said.

He said priority should be given to locals, especially in view of the economic downturn.

Lim criticised Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam who recently signed an MoU with Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi for a bilateral labour mobility agreement for orderly recruitment of workers from both countries. “This is fantastic, especially when retrenchments are anticipated,” Lim said.

Noting that the 2.2 million foreign workers in the country make up 27% of the workforce, Lim said the agreement was untimely since the ministry had set a target of bringing the number down to 1.5 million.

SOURCE: The Edge Daily – Lim: Penang govt contractors must hire only locals (06-01-2009)

Penang Buang Duit (Ayaq)!

“No point giving water rebates…” – exactly what I thought when I first heard of this other big stunt from Lim Guan Eng’s state government, many months ago! How twisted can a plan from this “kalut”/clueless no-a-real-Penangite Chief Minister can be after another stunt of all waiving MPPP fines immediately after a sudden office takeover back in March this year? And of course, his most recent useless activities that revolve around multi-language road signs that wasted countless of his paid working hours up to touring Bukit Bintang area in Kuala Lumpur etc. – more and more talk, but lacks real usable actions after nearly seven months in office…

As a Penang-born citizen who still live in and love this state of Malaysia, I can give 10s of reason why this rebate idea is an utmost STUPIDITY and VERY DECEIVING… For a start, why giving cash to supposedly “low cost homes” owners/residents (many of whom can afford luxury cars up to even a a Benz!) when there are tens of thousands Penang residents who don’t even posses his or her own house!

Bravo to Datuk Azhar for speaking out, LOUDLY, finally… I now know that these senses I’ve been having about YAB Lim Guan Eng (whom I’ve stumbled upon quite a few times including watching him personally in action at the Parliament Building), despite the rather strong support from the man’s obsesses supporters during the past couple days event at Traders Hotel, are not unique to just me.

Read The Star Online’s piece published yesterday:

NIBONG TEBAL: The state government has been accused of using the wrong approach to eradicate poverty in the state.

Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) chairman Datuk Azhar Ibrahim said instead of helping the 2,000-odd hardcore poor and poor families, the state government would waste RM17mil in water rebates to some 170,000 families in the state.

“I do not see the logic of giving water rebates to 170,000 families in Penang as part of the state measures to help poor families.

“Based on the latest statistics, there are only 494 hardcore poor families and 1,500 poor families of all races in Penang.

“So why is the state government wasting RM17mil of the state’s money to 170,000 families who are not poor. Where is the logic?” he asked.

Azhar who is also Opposition leader told this to reporters Friday after launching a catfish-rearing project at Kampung Indera Timbalan in Simpang Ampat, here.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Lim had said that the state government was making efforts to ensure that Penang would be free of hardcore poor and poor families by March next year.

Azhar said ever since Pakatan Rakyat took over the state government, the state had not moved forward as its leaders were busy politicking and finding fault with the previous state government.

He said the state government should prepare to brace of the worse next year when the economic recession set in.

Azhar said the catfish-rearing project was one of the four core programmes introduced by Perda to help poor people earn extra income.

( “No point giving water rebates, Penang told” – ZULKIFLY MOHAMAD, The Star Onlne, 5 DEC 2008)

p/s: Yes I know that Guan Eng can be right on certain things, but the question is: Is Lim Guan Eng the Chief Minister of Penang (and its State Assemblyman) first, or is he just leveraging this lucky post as a stepping stone for his dream on Prime Ministership at the burdens of Penangites – just as previous top men of Federal government from the northern region like Tun Mahathir, Pak Lah and Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim? What have these clowns really done to average Penangites and Kedahans respectively? Used them again, and again?

And if Mr CM insists on being an MP or PM-aspirant first, perhaps he should consider working real hard NOW to bring back a fully-recognized city status for Bandaraya (Pulau) Pinang (Pinang/Tanjong City, inclusive of the George Town UNESCO heritage city), to be administrated by a fully-able and more dedicated Datuk Bandar (mayor), and while he’s busy with multi-language road names, try working to rename Seberang Perai (consisting of three of the five Penang districts SPU, SPT & SPS) into Seberang Pinang to reduce the ages of confusion for the locals and visitors alike — Then only can Penangites be proud again to be at the place to be in Malaysia!

Dinner and Romance…

It was a festive nite in the normally-quiet fishing village of Teluk Tempoyak for over a hundred delegates including dozens from neighboring countries of Indonesia and Thailand — all are in Penang for a two-day gathering in conjunction with the 26th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Joint Business Council (JBC) Meeting.

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

Guests, many of whom were brought to the venue in four police-escorted buses from their respective hotels in George Town (Tanjung), were treated with Malay traditional delicacies including fresh grilled fish, prawns and other seafood served with hot and sour sauce, chicken sate (grilled meat) with nut sauce, roti jala with curry, rice etc. and fruity juices.

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

Among the distinguished guests include YB Tuan Abdul Malik Kassim (Penang State Executive Councillor chairing Domestic Trade Consumer Affairs, and also the local State Assemblyman for Batu Maung) representing the YAB Chief Minister of Penang, Tuan Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kader (President of the Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce – DPMMPP) and representatives from other chamber of commerces, Federation of Malaysian Manufactureds (FMM), PERDASAMA, Penang Association of ICT Entrepreneurs (ICT Penang), Penang Bumiputera Petty Traders Association, head of various government agencies, and head of delegates from Indonesia and Thailand.

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

Joint Business Council for the IMT-GT initiative is chaired by YBhg Dato’ Haji Faudzi Naim Haji Noh, who is also presently the Vice President of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM). The two-day annual meeting for JBC is currently held at the Gurney Resort Hotel & Residences from today until tomorrow, 4-5 DEC 2008, and is to be closed by a another dinner event for delegates and invited guests at Medusa Restaurant, Gurney Drive.

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

And what would a dining experience be at Restoran Seri Idaman, one of the popular eating spots in southern Penang island for those opting for seafood, without good live performance and music? Troupes from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Sumatera and Southern Thailand entertained the audience with lively dance and traditional music, closed with a modern Puteri Gunung Ledang rendition, the “Asmaradana” (literally, casual romance).

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

Besides for relaxing and re-filling of everyone’s daily nutritional needs, business events like this are good networking platforms for entrepreneurs and businessmen, and this wall of name cards situated next to the cashier’s counter of Restoran Seri Idaman is a soft testament to its hosting of so many connections and deals made at the venue.

From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)
From Dinner & Romance @ Teluk Tempoyak (4dec08)

The dinner event was hosted by the State Government of Penang.

More IMT-GT JBC event to follow tomorrow (5th December 2008) including working group meetings, a plenary session and “trail by trishaw to UNESCO Heritage Site” activity. For more information contact the Event Secretariat: Mazniza/Sueinan @+604 250-3015 or visit 12th Floor, Bangunan Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia, 1 Lebuh Pantai, 10300 Pulau Pinang.

More updates will be posted online at http://facebook.com/event.php?eid=42455960835, http://ictpenang.com and http://dpmmpp.com