Monday, 23 April 2018

(The Star) Three-storey carpark to solve parking problems

A new three-storey carpark for Phase 4B government quarters in Precinct 8, Putrajaya, is set to put an end to residents’ parking woes.

Existing facilities such as a futsal court and gazebo will have to make way for the RM5mil carpark project which will be built with funds allocated under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

The carpark will have 122 bays, including parking bays for the disabled.

This is in addition to the existing bays around the government quarters.

Resident Fadzilah Ismail, 50, a nurse, said it was a pity the recreational space would have to go.

Nordin says it is good for the authorities to implement security measures like an access card system once the multi-level carpark is completed.

“This is where residents would hold Hari Raya parties, weddings and get-togethers.

“But the inconveniences of double-parking has become increasingly stressful of late.

“So the loss of our recreational space is a necessary sacrifice,” she said.

Another resident Wan Noor Azila Zulkifli, 47, a housewife, said she looked forward to the carpark but was worried about the scramble for parking space during the construction period which was estimated to take up to 18 months.

Wan Noor Azila said currently, residents parked their vehicles by the roadside and grass patches in a haphazard manner.

She was concerned that the situation would worsen once construction work begins.

“I hope a traffic impact assessment can be made and a temporary solution found for those who will have to vacate their bays when construction starts,” she said.

Putrajaya Resident Council (MPPP) Datuk Nordin Hasan said taking into account residents’ complaints that government quarters were being occupied by outsiders, it was worthwhile for the authorities to implement security measures like an access card system once the facility was completed.

“In the past, residents have complained of abandoned vehicles occupying their parking bays. Outsiders (from the shops nearby) are also known to park here,” he said.

However, he hoped residents would also be mindful of their neighbours when it came to vehicle ownership.

In modern households, it is not uncommon for a unit to have three vehicles when the children reached adulthood.

However, in the quarters’ original planning, parking allocation was one vehicle per unit plus another 20% allowance for visitor parking.

In a statement issued by Putrajaya Corporation, the main contractor for the project would be appointed via tender which was expected to be finalised by July.

(The Star) Matrix Concepts to complete project by next year

SEREMBAN: Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd expects to complete the development of its Ara Sendayan project here, comprising 1,400 double-storey link houses, by next year.

Managing director Datuk Lee Tian Hock said the residential project sprawled over 78 ha was being developed in four phases.

"We have launched two phases comprising more than 800 units, and the 400 units in the first phase have been fully taken up,” he told reporters after launching the company's sales gallery, Matrix Galleria @ Ara Sendayan, yesterday.

Lee said the opening of the gallery would enable potential buyers to choose their dream houses in a comfortable environment.

"I am confident that the houses in Ara Sendayan will be fully taken up due to its higher-ground location and reasonable prices, which begin at RM609,888,” he added. — Bernama

(The Star) Possible M’sia-S'pore ‘Shinkansen’ bullet train excites world rail body

KUALA LUMPUR: The possibility of Japan’s world-famous Shinkansen bullet train system making its debut in Malaysia and Singapore has created some excitement within the International High Speed Rail Association (IHRA) with a senior official making a strong pitch for its adoption.

IHRA vice-chairman Torkel Patterson said countries that previously had zero high-speed rail (HSR) working experience had proven that they could achieve the same level of success as Japan in operating the system despite initial scepticisms.

He cited Taiwan and New Delhi as examples.

Shinkansen’s Total System Approach to HSR seamlessly integrates technology with the infrastructure and signalling system, with its key advantage being the approach to training and maintenance and the way of performing among the employees.

“The hardware and software technology embedded in the total system provides the outcome Shinkansen is famous for - safe, fast, reliable, on-time and frequent service,” he told Bernama via an email interview.

He said the “most fascinating” thing happened with the Delhi Metro, and despite many sceptics, the subway is clean, runs on time, safe, reliable and frequent and later it became desired by every large city in India.

“The factors that made the Delhi Metro a success are the same that made Taiwan HSR a success and that will make the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR a success,” said Patterson when asked to comment on Japan’s bid to win international tenders to be called soon for the proposed two-city bullet train link, billed as South-East Asia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

American-born Patterson listed three characteristics that led to the success of the Shinkansen system when exported out of Japan – training, great local leadership and public support and encouragement.

“The secret sauce in Japan’s training methods is treating every employee with respect and valuing their opinion during the intense and repetitive training process. Through this process, ordinary men and women become ‘railway men and women’ in the highest sense.”

For years now, Taiwan had a 100% Taiwanese run and operated railway with world-class safety, reliability, on-time performance and service with its ridership exceeding even many of Shinkansen’s lines in Japan itself, he said when asked how the Shinkansen system would step up to the challenge given the distance between Japan and Malaysia-Singapore where the personnel to be hired would have zero HSR working experience.

“Many people wonder whether it is possible to deploy Shinkansen to other countries and whether those countries would be able to achieve the same level of success as in Japan. The answer is a resounding yes,” added Patterson.

On local leadership, he said the strong Malaysia-Singapore leadership of the system was imperative because, without commitment, vision and a positive outlook, nothing significant could be achieved while with it, everything was possible.

Alluding to public support, he said: “The public, once they have a chance to experience HSR, falls in love with it and clamours for more. This support will assuage politicians who may not feel they can make risky decisions in the beginning. Having popular transport also fans ridership and helps bring transit-oriented development (TOD) as well.

In Japan, TOD makes up a significant 20% to 40% of overall businesses, boosted by the fact that the railway companies own the land immediately around the stations and can develop it above, below and surrounding the stations.

Patterson reckoned that in Malaysia, the proposed terminal stations at Bandar Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar Puteri in Johor and Jurong East in Singapore would be successful from the very beginning, while other stations would grow with the growth in ridership.

“Almost all of the expertise for TOD already exists in Malaysia. The key is for their leadership and key employees to visit Japan and see the standards of construction, cleanliness and maintenance and make these high standards, Malaysian standard,” he said.

A former Raytheon International Inc President, Patterson previously also served in a variety of posts in the US government under three administrations, including special assistant to the President for Asia, Deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia and senior country director for Japan in the office of the secretary of defence. — Bernama

(The Star) Queensland International School to be set up in Nilai

NILAI: Australia’s Queensland International School is setting up a campus here that will be ready for intake within three years.

It will be built on 3.2ha of land and located next to GD Group’s Residensi Lili development project.

“The construction cost and facilities will be between RM250mil and RM300mil,” GD Group managing director Huan Woon Han told reporters after the statement of intent signing ceremony between GD QLD Education Group Sdn Bhd and the Department of Education and Training (DET) from Queens­land, Australia.

Huan said the company has obtained conditional approval from DET for the licence to build the international school.

It will be the company’s first venture into the education sector in Malaysia.

All smiles: Huan (centre) holding the statement of intent with Caruana at the event. Looking on are (from left) Eric, Yeat and Chong. 

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Chong Sin Woon, who was present at the ceremony, said the Govern­ment would build more facilities in Nilai and Seremban after the municipal councils merge to become Seremban city council.

“Nilai is an education hub. They have chosen the right place to start the school,” he said, adding that there are now three major universities in Nilai.

“We are expecting more to come.”

Chong said there was a trend for campuses to be built outside of Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley.

“People want to further their studies in a green environment. Nilai can offer that. The Government also wants a balanced development with greenery for residents here,” Chong said, adding that he hoped Nilai would become an international city soon.

Under the Malaysian Vision Valley project, there will be a new road system in Nilai and Seremban, linking Taman Semarak to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Port Dickson to KLIA.

Also present at the ceremony were Australian High Commission Counsellor (Education & Science) Bernadine Caruana, GD Group executive chairman Datuk Seri David Yeat and Branding Association of Malaysia president Datuk Eric Chong.

(The Star) PM: Pendang medical centre shows Barisan keeps promises

PENDANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak laid the foundation stone as a symbol for the commencement of construction work on the Pendang Hospital project in Kampung Manggol Pauh here.

Construction of the 9ha hospital will begin next month, some 10 years after the project was first mooted.

“We have appointed a contractor and work will begin on May 7, two days before polling day.

“To the residents of Pendang, after this much awaited announcement, I believe you can see with your own eyes that we will deliver what we have promised,” he said at a “Meet The Rakyat” event yesterday.

Najib denied that the announcement was a “political project”; rather it was one that was finalised after much thought for the benefit of the people of Kedah.

The four-storey, partially­-specialist hospital costs RM210mil and is due for completion in November 2021.

It will provide inpatient and outpatient services, including for accidents and emergencies, medical and surgical care on top of 13 specialist clinics and two operating theatres.

Seri Libana PPC JV Sdn Bhd is the contractor.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who was present at the event, said feedback from the people of Pendang had been taken into account before the project was finalised.

“We increased the proposed number of beds to 126, with the option to increase these up to 250 beds in the future.

“It will also help supplement the Alor Setar Hospital, which is about 30 minutes away,” he added.

Earlier, at the ground-breaking ceremony of Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia (PPA1M) Bukit Pinang, Najib said Barisan Nasional component parties were always “on the same page” when it came to implementing policies.

On the other hand, Pakatan Harapan had an unrealistic manifesto, he said.

“Talk is cheap. Days before they launched their manifesto, their leader admitted in a Singapore daily that not everything listed in their manifesto can be delivered.

“There is already a clash of ideologies between them, which will lead to their manifesto becoming a ‘paper’ promise, with no way to translate their own aspirations into reality,” he said.

On the other hand, Najib said Barisan’s policies were meticulously planned.

Last Thursday, Bursa Malaysia closed at an all-time high of 1,895.18 points.

“This happened not on its own, but through government policies that were implemented with full agreement among our component parties,” Najib said.

He added that the united front showed by the Barisan government was the reason why foreign investors had high confidence in Malaysia.

“It’s not easy to bring these investorgs in. They would do their own studies in advance and decide whether to invest or not.

“The fact that they do is a huge acknowledgement of our abilities and strengths,” Najib said.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

(NST) Bagan Datuk to have resort soon

BAGAN DATUK: Bagan Datuk will have a new landmark with the construction of a resort which is expected to be ready by 2020, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said Bagan Datuk would serve as the most advanced district in Perak as a tribute to the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah who had declared Bagan Datuk as the state’s 12th district in January 2017.

Zahid said the construction of Teedo Resort near the Bagan Datuk town at a cost of about RM75 million would not use the government’s money but it would be funded by a private company, Al-Falah Foundation and would be operated by Nour Hotel & Resorts.

“For your information, the construction of this hotel will be done without a single sen of the government money, even the land and infrastructure will be financed 100 per cent by the private sector.

“When the private sector is involved in the construction and management of the hotel with several commercial premises to be built, it is in line with the goal to making Bagan Datuk as a tourist destination,” he said at the ground-breaking ceremony for the resort.

Also present were Zahid’s wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis and their daughter, Datuk Nurulhidayah, who is Nour Hotel & Resorts managing director.

It is understood that the resort will house a commercial zone, shopping centre, restaurants, theme park and Maahad Tahfiz Al-Ridzuan, with a total gross development cost of about RM250 million on a 60ha piece of land.

Zahid, who is Bagan Datuk member of parliament, said public investment needed to be tied up with private investment to develop an area, as well as to support and spur the development that had been planned by the government.

“This is not just to develop the economy of Bagan Datuk but to welcome back the young people of Bagan Datuk, who are working outside the district, to come home and work here.

“So, I call on Bagan Datuk children, to please come back and help the parents, help the village and help develop Bagan Datuk,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nurulhidayah in her speech said the construction of the resort was the first of its kind in the Hilir Perak district and the Bagan Datuk parliamentary constituency.

She said the resort would have 150 rooms and 100 chalet pods, three seminar rooms, exclusive shops, a main hall that could seat 500 people, gymnasium and swimming pool.

“This resort will provide business and job opportunities to the Bagan Datuk residents,” she said. - BERNAMA

(NST) 5 major national corridors to translate county's development agenda: Zahid [NSTTV]

BAGAN DATUK: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants more organised and effective coordination in the five major national corridors to enable them translate the development agenda of the country.

He said former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had launched the five development corridors namely Iskandar Malaysia, Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), East Coast Economic Region (ECER), Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) to bridge the income gap between the people.

“All the corridors are agencies that coordinate development in every region since it was introduced by Pak Lah (Abdullah). So, we want a more organised coordination.

“We hope that all these regional corridors can translate the agenda to develop areas that have been left behind in the national development,” he said at the launch of the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority Agropreneur Community Programme in Bagan Datuk here today.

Under the leadership of Abdullah, the Iskandar Development Region was launched in 2008, NCER and ECER (2007), SDC and SCORE (2008). These initiatives involve the provision of infrastructure and utilisation of resources in rural areas to enhance the socio-economic status of the people.

Zahid wants the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) to spearhead NCER to continue driving development in the northern regions, especially in Bagan Datuk.

He said before this, the Bagan Datuk district was a remote area and somewhat marginalised as it was not part of the implementation of NCER in Perak.

“Once Bagan Datuk is included in the NCER, various programmes and initiatives have been implemented in this area which have benefited the people here,” he said.

On the Agropreneur Community programme here which was implemented through the National Blue Ocean Strategy approach, Zahid said the programme has produced 200 agropreneurs involved in cultivating chilies using the fertigation method with an average income of over RM1,000 per month.

“Now, some of Agropreneur Community programme participants are earning more than RM15,000 (per month). This programme proves that the people in remote areas like Bagan Datuk are also able to achieve success if they are given the opportunity,” he said.

He also suggested the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) established a contract farming system to assist the Agropreneur Community programme participants in downstream activities such as producing chilli sauce and powder.

Zahid wants the 380 applicants in the waiting list of the Agropreneur Community programme to be absorbed as participants to bring the total number of programme participants to 580.

“As NCIA deputy chairman, I will monitor this programme (Agropreneur Community) to ensure that all can benefit from it by earning lucrative incomes,” he said.

He also asked the NCIA to implement programmes for those in the bottom 40 per cent income group regardless of their race.

“Do not marginalise any races. We must provide opportunities to everyone,” he said.

During Budget 2018, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the government had allocated RM1 billion to raise the country’s five major corridors in a bid to propel the private sector as the growth engine.--BERNAMA

(NST) PPA1M Bukit Pinang project to enable Kedah civil servants to own a home

POKOK SENA: Kedah civil servants regard the 1Malaysia Civil Servant Housing Scheme (PPA1M) Bukit Pinang project in Kampung Padang Tembak here as a blessing.

Alor Setar City Council employee Juliana Shuib, 32, said the project, which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Sunday would help to fulfil her dream of owning a home.

“I have yet to own a house and I am looking forward to the project. I am really thankful to the government for bringing the project to the locals here,” she said.

SMK Kepala Batas principal Asri Mansor, 53, said the best part of the PPA1M project is that the houses are offered at a cheaper price compared to the market value.

“The market price of a terrace house built by a private developer in this area is sold at about RM300,000 so we are grateful that the PPA1M homes will be sold at a cheaper cost.

“This project proved that the government really takes care of the civil servants,” he said.

SMK Dato’ Syed Omar principal, Mustaffa Ahmad, 54, was also all praise for the government’s RM35,000 subsidy to PPA1M buyers.

“This subsidy is a blessing for civil servants to own a home, especially those with young families,” he said.

The PPA1M project today involves three phases of mix housing schemes with prices ranging from RM173,560 to RM355,360.

The first phase will involve 183 units of double-storey terrace houses.

The second phase will consists of four 10-storey apartment blocks with 504 units, a two-storey community building with nine shop lots, cafetaria, kindergarten, multipurpose hall, library and a surau.

As for the third phase, it will see the construction of 172 units of double-storey terrace houses.

(NST) (Update) Long wait for Pendang Hospital finally over

PENDANG: The two decades wait by Pendang folks for a hospital in the district is set to end in two years following the project’s ground breaking ceremony by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.

The construction of the RM210 million four-storey building hospital, to be built on a four hectare land here, will begin next month and the project is scheduled to be completed in two and a half years.

In his briefing to Najib at the site, Public Works Department director-general Datuk Seri Ir Dr Roslan Md Taha said the hospital would be equipped with 126 beds and five wards, two operation theatres, eight labour rooms, an X-ray and ultrasound facility, dialysis and a rehabilitation unit.

Pendang Hospital will have specialist doctors in general treatment and psychiatrists and also surgical units.

The hospital will also provides paediatric and Obstetric and Gynecology health treatments.

Pendang Hospital will help to ease congestion at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star, which is located 24 kilometres away from here.

Present at the ground breaking ceremony were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya and Kedah Health Department director Datuk Dr Nor Hizan Ismail.

Meanwhile, Pendang folks expressed their gratitude to the Prime Minister for fulfilling their dream to have a hospital in this district.

Ghazali Othman, 58, from Kampung Gajah Mati here said he was grateful that the wait was finally going to be over in two and a half years.

“We now have to travel about 24 kilometres to get to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Star to get treatment for emergency cases and to get warded.

“All this while we have also depended on the Pendang Health Clinic for basic health check ups and the wait is quite long there because of the high number of patients,” he said.

Another Pendang resident, Hasnah Ibrahim, 47, said she hoped that the project would be completed according to schedule as they had been waiting for the hospital over the past 20 years.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

(NST) Malaysia's franchise industry is expected to grow five per cent this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s franchise industry is expected to grow five per cent this year due to its good prospects in the international markets.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the industry contributed RM27 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

“Malaysia is on track to be the regional hub in South East Asia for the franchise industry. The industry aims to contribute RM35 billion to the national GDP in the next two years."

He said the halal franchise business in Malaysia offers good prospects to be developed in the international markets.

‘Malaysia has developed expertise and the products have strong demand abroad.

‘We are also looking at potential business opportunities with 50 countries with the highest percentage of Muslims such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh,” he said here today at the launch of the Franchise International Malaysia 2018 (FIM 2018) exhibition.

He said although a country like Japan was initially very hard to penetrate, it was possible through the franchise industry.

‘We are looking at Korea and India next. We need to understand the culture before moving in,” he said.

To date, 851 national and international franchisors were registered with Registrar of Franchise under the ministry.

Among this, the food and beverage sector leads with 40 per cent followed by learning centre and nursery accounting 11 per cent out of the total registered franchises.

More than 120 booths were exhibited at the FIM 2018, with participation from over 12 countries.

At the same event, Marrybrown, the largest local halal QSR franchise company, announced the opening of its first outlet in Tokyo, Japan this year.

Famcorp Sdn Bhd and a Japanese logistic company was announced as the master franchisor for Marrybrown Japan with the signing and exchange of their memorandum of understanding.

Both the companies will team up to develop and open 50 outlets within the next five years.