Tuesday, 26 July 2016

(The Star) Disneyfied enclave losing appeal, says heritage lover

A Disneyfield George Town could put off travellers who want to experience its living culture, old trades and heritage.
George Town Heritage Action co-founder Joann Khaw, who described the boom in high-end cafes, souvenir shops and hotels within the Unesco world heritage enclave as a ‘disneyfication’, said cultural travellers traditionally want to stay longer, thus contributing to the local economy.
“They also make it a point to return after their experience, compared to excursionists who are here only for a day of sight- seeing,” she said at a press conference on the development of tourism in George Town in Jalan Masjid on Thursday.
Khaw, a tour guide for over 25 years, said she had lost about 50% of her cultural travellers in recent years, as some had lost their enthusiasm to return due to commercialisation of tourism.
She pointed out that figures by Penang Global Tourism showed that Penang recorded an increase of 270,000 passengers from 6.03mil in 2014 to 6.3mil in 2015.
However, she emphasised quality over quantity to keep the cultural travellers coming in.
“Despite the increase in tourist arrivals, tourism spending might not increase without the cultural travellers.
“Feedback from those in the industry including the roadside souvenir stall owners, trishaw peddlers and tour guides shows that tourism spending has decreased and their business has been slow for months,” she said.
Khaw urged for a limit to be imposed on the number of souvenir shops, cafes and hotels along each street in the enclave.
As a counter measure, she suggested that the clans or kongsi keep their long-term tenants.
“The houses should be zoned as residential to help the low- income group and protect the intangible cultural heritage.
“Evictions are also an ongoing issue in the city centre.
“The heritage zone faces other problems such as rising rents, illegal guest houses, bad traffic and pollution from buses.
“Tourism has been all about increasing tourist arrivals. While most stakeholders agree that ‘more is better’, there should be a balance so Penang doesn’t lose the cultural tourists.

“Locals’ needs should be a priority as what is good for locals is good for tourists who are here for the cultural appeal,” she said.

(The Star) 6,800 new jobs on the horizon

More than 280 locals have registered with SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd for jobs related to the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), its deputy project director Azmi Mohamad said.
“We already have eight people working for us and two are former fishermen.
“If the plan does go ahead, there will be over 6,800 job opportunities created for Penangites,” he said at the company’s Hari Raya open house at a community hall in Teluk Kumbar on Saturday.
SRS Consortium is the plan’s project delivery partner.
Azmi said the open house was the first held by the company for fishermen and locals in Teluk Kumbar, Sungai Batu, Gertak Sanggul and Permatang Damar Laut.
The company treated more than 1,000 guests to scrumptious local dishes likelaksabubur kacang and Hokkien mee.
The guests were also entertained with lively Raya music.
Many also flocked to an exhibition booth informing locals of the jobs available under PTMP.
Present were state exco members Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and Danny Law Heng Kiang, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, former state assembly Speaker Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain and Penang Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers chairman Datuk Ooi Eng Hock.
It was reported previously that two islands would be reclaimed off the south coast of Penang island near Permatang Damar Laut to fund the proposed RM27bil PTMP.

Fishermen and villagers from the affected areas were, however, concerned that the reclamation project would affect their livelihood as it is located in their fishing ground.

(The Star) Launch of guide to longest night market

Looking for simple bites with a quirky edge to them in the Taman Connaught night market is no longer a secret with the launch of the “Pasar Malam Taman Connaught Food Guide”.
Known as the longest night market in Malaysia with around 700 stalls on a 2km stretch along Jalan Cerdas, the booklet highlights what Malaysians love best about the place. The highlight is, of course, its street food.
The guide booklet, a collaboration between the Hawkers Welfare and Development Association of Malaysia (PKKPM) and Bandar Tun Razak MCA division chairman Datuk Chew Yin Keen, took three months to complete and was launched on July 20.
Narrowing it down to 48 unique foods, the recommendations include local comfort food such as curry noodles as well as Taiwanese and Korean delicacies such as creatively shaped marshmallow cotton candy and bingsu.
Chew said they would be supplementing the guide booklet with an e-brochure on Facebook, with plans to launch a mobile app in the near future.
“It is the first guide book on a night market in Malaysia which the traders themselves compiled as a way of promoting the Taman Connaught night market to the world at large.
Tan (right) and Chew (second from right) handing out the booklets to the night market’s visitors.
Tan (right) and Chew (second from right) handing out the booklets to the night market’s visitors.
“Our main aim is to make the market a visible part of the Kuala Lumpur travel destination, so you have not experienced Kuala Lumpur fully if you have not paid a visit to this market,” he said.
Written in Chinese and English, 10,000 copies of the guide was distributed to night market patrons, who in turn, will hand them to visitors.
PKKPM chairman Tan Thiam Ooi added that the booklet was published to introduce the night market’s specialities, and in recognition of the effort put in by small businesses to popularise their wares but still earned little.
“Among the challenges we had in producing the booklet was the lack of funds,” said Tan.
“The Government also needs to pay more attention to exposing or promoting small businesses such as those in night markets.”
Tan hoped the night market, which catered to locals, would be able to attract tourists, as well.

“Our vision is to eventually create a better, cleaner environment for market visitors such as using proper power sources instead of a generator,” he said, giving Petaling Street and Taiwan’s Shihlin night market as examples.

(The Star) Skipping into niche market brings success

Mention a pizza laden with pork and Skippys comes to mind.
Although the restaurant’s menu offers a wide selection of homemade signature pizzas as well as burgers, pastas and ribs, the home-grown brand is synonymous for its porky pizzas.
The story began in 2011 when restaurant founder Fay Angela D’Cruz decided to venture into the untapped market of pork pizzas, which are her personal favourite.
“I started off with a pizza delivery service in a basement kitchen and at that time, we were the first in the market to offer pork pizza.
“We catered for deliveries only but when the demand heightened, we decided to open a restaurant specialising in pork pizza.
“It was an idea shared between my husband Marc Lippert and a friend, Mark Daley, who was nicknamed Skippys.
Skippys Pizzas Uptown outlet. GLENN GUAN/The Star
The lamb ribs (400 grams) is served with pesto mashed potatoes and a side of salad.
“Unfortunately, Daley had to leave for Indonesia so we decided to go ahead with the plan and named the restaurant Skippys,” she said.
In June the same year, Skippys started business in Phileo Damansara and the eatery in Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, opened in December last year.
Meeting D’Cruz at the new restaurant, we noticed the logo of a kangaroo in a hopping motion within a triangle.
The logo and restaurant’s design are close to D’Cruz’s heart as they rekindle fond memories.
“I spent most of my time growing up in Australia and I wanted to make this place feel like home,” she said.
To add a personal touch to it, two pizzas in particular bear connection to the Lipperts – Fay’s Special and Marc’s Special.
“Fay’s Special has pork ham, mushrooms, pineapples and minced pork, a combination that I like on my pizza while Marc’s Special has pork ham, baby spinach, mushrooms, garlic and egg.
The lamb ribs (400 grams) is served with pesto marsh potatoes and a side of salad.
The Dutch meatballs have a unique texture.
“Marc has something similar back in his country Germany and thought of recreating it here,” she said.
It is not only about pizza, here.
For starters, diners can opt for Creamy Cheesy Mussels or Dutch Meatballs.
The latter features beef tenderloin, imported from Australia, that goes through a six-hour cooking process before a special house herb sauce is mixed in and only after that is the mixture shaped into meatballs.
The blended meat packs a punch and its unique texture was nice and tasty.
The Ultimate Hawaiian topped with pork bacon, pork sausage, pulled pork and pineapple as well as mozzarella and cheddar cheese on Skippys hand-rolled dough is a crowd pleaser.
This hearty pizza is perfect for sharing and meat lovers will appreciate the generous splash of ingredients.
1 The Dutch meatballs have a unique texture.2 The Ultimate Hawaiian goes well with the homemade chilli and garlic combination.3 Skippys Glutton Pork Burger has Bacon, Egg and Mushroom as the patty.— Photos: GLENN GUAN/The Star
The Ultimate Hawaiian goes well with the homemade chilli and garlic combination.
D’Cruz also recommended their special garlic and chilli dipping to go with any of the dishes and having it with pizza makes it all the more appetising.
For something a little heavier, lamb ribs (400gm) served with pesto mashed potatoes and a side of salad is indeed sumptuous.
The succulent meat has a tangy pleasantness to it with barbecue sauce and curry sauce in the marinade.
Another dish not to be missed here is Skippys Glutton Pork Burger with bacon, egg and mushroom.
Skippys also has a selection of vegetarian pizza as well as something local such as the chi yuk fun (pork noodles) with a choice of yee mee and mee hoon for those who want a little local flavour while dining here.
SKIPPYS PIZZA RESTAURANT, 33, Jalan SS21/56B, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya (same row as The Ship). (Tel : 03-7733 0255 and Phileo Damansara 1, Block D, 107, Jalan 16/11, Petaling Jaya. (Tel : 03-7931 2555) Business hours: 11.30 am to 10.30pm (Sunday to Thursday) 11.30am to 11pm (Friday and Sunday), Phileo Damansara Branch closed on Sundays. Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

(The Star) ‘Hall upgrade necessary’

The Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) Social and Sports Club (SSC) has hit out at members who are against the refurbishment of Dewan Hamzah.
SSC deputy president Zaireezal Ahmad Zainuddin said they should come forward and put up their case on why Dewan Hamzah should not be refurbished.
“We view their action as a form of sabotage against the club’s top management,” he said.
On July 19, StarMetro reported that several SSC members were against the refurbishment of Dewan Hamzah, the 44-year-old multipurpose hall in the council’s headquarters that currently houses four badminton courts.
It was reported that the upgrade of the indoor sports facilities was aimed at making the venue suitable for conferences and wedding banquets.
The parquet floor and floodlights will be replaced with new flooring and chandelier lights.
Several members had called on Selangor executive councillor Amirudin Shari, who heads the state Young Generation Development, Sports, Culture and Entrepreneurship Development Committee, to ensure the sporting facilities remain intact.
“Our club is supportive of the refurbishment of Dewan Hamzah.
“We have other venues for badminton and sepak takraw such as Dewan Teluk Pulai and Dewan Sri Andalas, where no charges are imposed on club members.
“Both the multipurpose halls are a short driving distance from the council’s headquarters,” said Zaireezal.
On July 27 last year, StarMetro had highlighted the council’s plan for a major refurbishment of Dewan Hamzah into a banquet hall which was expected to cost RM5mil.
There were plans to have two levels, where the second floor would be a banquet hall while the ground floor would house a conference hall that could be turned into lecture theatres with soundproof moveable partitions.
However, then MPK president Datuk Mohamad Yacob shelved the idea after council staff objected to it.
“Our current council president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin wants the multipurpose hall refurbished so that it would be suitable as a wedding venue.

“We believe it will benefit the staff and public,” said Zaireezal, adding that SSC had 1,100 members.

(The Edge) PPESW-BPSB JV clinches Pan Borneo Highway job

KUALA LUMPUR: A joint venture (JV) between Bina Puri Holdings Bhd and Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd yesterday received and accepted a letter of award from Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd for the proposed development and upgrade of Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak for a contract sum of RM1.36 billion.

The award is for Phase 1 of the construction of roads and bridges from Sg Awik to Bintangor Junction in Sarawak.

According to Bina Puri’s announcement yesterday, the contract is for a duration of 47 months.

The 70:30 JV is between PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd (PPESW) and Bina Puri Sdn Bhd (BPSB).

The PPESW-BPSB JV was incorporated to undertake the contract as a condition imposed in the tender for the contract.

PPESW is the main construction arm of conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak, while BPSB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of civil and building construction group Bina Puri.

“With this award, the total projects secured by the group in 2016 are RM480.66 million. We are confident of more successful awards before year end,” said Bina Puri.

Packages worth up to RM10 billion are expected to be dished out for the 2,083km Pan Borneo Highway project connecting Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. The cost of the project was reported at RM16 billion.

So far, two packages have been awarded, to the Zecon-Kimlun JV involving Zecon Bhd and Kimlun Corp Bhd worth RM1.5 billion and the Hock Seng Lee-Daya Maju JV (between Hock Seng Lee Bhd and Dhaya Maju Infrastucture [Asia] Sdn Bhd) worth RM1.7 billion.

Expectations for more jobs to be announced for the project have pushed prices of infrastructure and construction-related counters up recently.

Cahya Mata Sarawak topped the list, rising by 8.62% in the last one month to yesterday’s close of RM3.78, with a market capitalisation of RM4.06 billion. Year to date, it has fallen 25.75%.

Steel fabricator KKB Engineering Bhd, construction company Hock Seng Lee, power and telecommunication cable manufacturer Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCable) and property developer Naim Holdings Bhd have also seen active trade.

KKB Engineering rose 17.02% in the last one month to close at RM1.65 yesterday.

Over the last one month, Hock Seng Lee gained 7.83% to close at RM1.79 yesterday; SCable added 5.4% to close at RM1.38, while Naim Holdings saw a gain of 6.52% to its last share price of RM1.96.

Bina Puri has risen 10.83% over the last month to close at 41 sen yesterday, with a market capitalisation of RM99.25 million.

(The Star) Breathing life into backlane

The backlane of Jalan Kenari 5, Puchong, has been spruced up and beautified with murals decorating walls along the walkway.
The murals are part of the Subang Jaya Municipal Council’s (MPSJ) plan to rejuvenate backlanes in the Jalan Kenari commercial area in Bandar Puchong Jaya.
One wall, along the walkway, is painted to reflect themamak culture and the other, highlights the attractions in Subang Jaya and its landmarks.
The artwork was done by 103 final year students from The One Academy, Subang Jaya.
The students from various design courses, spent six days and worked from 9am to 6pm to complete the murals, despite unpredictable weather conditions and minor painting-related accidentswhile undertaking the task.
The new look has even brought on a new name for Jalan Kenari 5 which is now known as Kenari Lane Puchong.
During the presentation of the murals, MPSJ president Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan said not all back lanes would have murals.
He said the success of this pilot project would be emulated in other areas in Subang Jaya under MPSJ’s rejuvenation project.
The project, was initiated last year with a Clean Up Drains Campaign followed by traffic flow changes and road upgrading works.
MPSJ had, so far, spent RM500,000 on the rejuvenation project.
Nor Hisham urged all business owners in the Jalan Kenari commercial area to keep their backlanes clean.
“Our enforcement officers will monitor the backlanes to ensure no one uses it to wash their dishes or equipment from their shops,” he said.
A RM1,000 fine will be issued to those who misuse and dirty the backlanes.
To ensure the initiative received positive impact, a campaign to award business owners for the best-kept premises is expected to take place in August.
“The focus on the campaign is on restaurants and we have identified 10 restaurants in the commercial area that will be asked to clean up their areas and follow set guidelines, so that they can set an example for the rest,” he said.
He added that restaurant owners would be given an incentive for their cooperation.
MPSJ will also move all illegal traders in the commercial area to Kenari Lane Puchong.
Ng said the idea was to place all traders in one location and legalise them by providing them with business licences.
The council will also upgrade the open air carpark in Jalan Kenari 10, for it to become a food truck venue after 6pm.
Thirteen food trucks are expected to start operations there in October.
Besides that, more parking spaces will be added to the commercial area, by utilising six backlanes – Jalan Kenari 12, 12A, 13A, 18, 18A and 19A.
In total, 143 new parking spaces will be added to the area to help deal with the double-parking issue there.
Currently, there are 400 parking bays there.
The council will also realign some parking spaces from a lateral position to 45 degrees to ease traffic movement.
Councillor George Yap said it was important to get all parties involved in keeping the Jalan Kenari commercial area clean as statistics on the number of rats caught, in the area, had not shown significant improvement, despite rat catching activities and calls to keep backlanes clean.
He said in the second half of 2015, 329 rats were caught while from January to July this year, 310 rats were caught.
To monitor the backlanes, Yap said JKP Zone 10 members had proposed the use of GPS cameras, which will be borne by residents.
JKP Zone 10 has also worked with some business owners to form a hawkers’ association to manage activities and disseminate information to all business owners easily.

Yap also suggested to have a photography competition to draw photographers to highlight the changes in Jalan Kenari,to attract attention to the work that is being done in the commercial area.

(The Star) Still heavy traffic on highways

Regular commuters say there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people taking the LRT following the extension of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines.
Conversely, however, there has been no appreciable improvement in the traffic situation since the new stations along both lines began operations on June 30.
Although some residents living in these areas say they have switched to public transport to get to work, those who continue to drive say they have not noticed a major change in rush hour traffic.
StarMetro took to the highways during the morning and evening rush hours to observe the traffic conditions that serve Subang Jaya and Puchong.
The Puchong-Damansara Expressway (LDP) has seen generally lighter traffic ever since the contra flow heading towards Bandar Sunway in the morning was made permanent last year.
For the Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas), most of the traffic congestion appears to be concentrated along Subang Jaya and Shah Alam, while traffic appears clearer to those heading to Kuala Lumpur.
1 Morning traffic along the LDP heading out of Puchong towards Sunway has been smoother in the past year thanks to the one-lane contraflow, and most of the congestion takes place up ahead at the Kesas interchange, Sunway toll, and Sunway cable bridge.
Morning traffic along the LDP from Puchong to Sunway has been smoother in the past year, thanks to the one-lane contra flow which was made permanent last year.
When StarMetro travelled from Subang Jaya to Petaling Jaya last Thursday morning via the Federal Highway and North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), traffic was smooth at 8am except for the bottleneck at the Damansara toll plaza.
Pharmacist Florence Chuah, 31, still drives from her home in USJ 2 to her workplace in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, as neither her home nor workplace is within walking distance to an LRT station.
“I would have to spend more time taking public transport compared to driving,” she said, adding she would still need to take a bus to get to the LRT stations.
Chuah normally takes the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) rather than the Federal Highway, and feels there is not much of a difference since the new LRT stations opened.
“Before and after Hari Raya, I have been leaving home at about the same time and reaching work at my usual time,” she added.
Subang Jaya resident David Oh, 30, who travels to Bandar Utama, cites cost and convenience as the main reasons he has not switched to the LRT.
“The fare is high too. For example, travelling from SS18 to IOI Puchong Jaya costs RM4.60 one-way. Imagine if you are travelling with your family on a return trip.
“I think most people will still drive instead of taking pubic transport.
From Subang Jaya to Federal Highway
Traffic from Subang towards Kuala Lumpur on the Federal Highway remains congested.
“If the Government is serious about reducing traffic congestion and encouraging public transport use, maybe they need to increase parking charges or adjust the petrol price and toll rates upwards.”
Oh added that the LRT was not as convenient as some would think.
“How do we travel to the stations from our homes?
“I still need to drive to the station and look for parking space.
“The distance between stations in Subang and USJ is also inconsistent; why aren’t there any stops near Summit USJ?”
Farah Hanan, 30, who travels from Subang Jaya to Kuala Lumpur daily using the NPE, also prefers to drive.
“The LRT fare is expensive and many who work in the city centre still need to switch to the monorail to reach their workplace.”
Office boy, Dylan Tan, 28, tried taking public transport for two weeks before realising that driving was a better option.
He said he would have to switch to the KTM Komuter to get to Mid Valley City where he works, and there is a long wait in between trains.
He said although it takes only about 20 minutes from SS18 to KL Sentral where he switches to KTM, the total travelling is an hour.
Driving takes him only 40 minutes, or up to an hour if the evening traffic is worse than usual.
“But I am still caught in a jam,” he said, agreeing there was no big change on the road since the new stations opened.
Sales and marketing executive Valerie Yee, 31, who takes the LDP to her workplace in Bandar Sri Damansara, still experiences traffic jam at the Puchong toll plaza.

“A lot of time is wasted there,” said the Puchong Utama resident.

(The Star) Bank Islam finances its first waqf land development projects

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd signed a financing agreement with developer Urus Maju Ehsan (M) Sdn Bhd (UME) on Monday for two waqf land development projects worth RM15.5mil.

The two projects, on 485.62ha in Selangor, are the bank’s first waqf land development projects the bank is financing, and are expected to begin this year and be completed in two or three years.

The first project comprises 164 condominium units and 12 shoplot units in Shah Alam covering 1,000 sq ft with a leasehold price of about RM350,000.

The second project involves the construction of 13 units of shop offices and 34 bazaar units in Klang.

The shop offices, covering 3,024 to 3,780 sq ft, have leasehold prices of between RM861,840 and RM1.1mil, while the 888 sq ft bazaar units are priced at RM250,000 each.

Speaking to the media on Monday, deputy chief executive officer Khairul Kamarudin said the financing agreement was the first collaboration between the bank and Urus Maju Ehsan.

“We hope to expand this relationship to partly finance the waqf land projects.

“In whatever projects the company is doing, the main focus is still on housing, and this is one of the ways for us to monetise the land and at the same time address the need for housing,” he said.

Bank Islam will provide project financing as well as end-financing for the purchase of the condominium, shop house and shop office units through its Al-Waqf Home Financing-i product.

This initiative is one of the bank’s contributions towards expanding the waqf industry in Malaysia and boosting Muslims’ asset holdings, he said.

Meanwhile, UME executive chairman Azli Md Yusof said the developer is also involved with agriculture and education projects.

“All these projects are in three phases, and will be completed within five to six years’ time, with a gross development value of RM300mil,” he said.

UME, a fully-owned unit of Perbadanan Wakaf Selangor, is entrusted with developing waqf land in the state. - Bernama

(The Star) Cahya Mata-Bina Puri JV wins RM1.36bil Pan Borneo Highway project

KUALA LUMPUR: PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd and Bina Puri Sdn Bhd joint venture (PPESW-BPSB JV) have secured a RM1.36bil contract from Lebuhraya Borneo Utara Sdn Bhd. 

Bina Puri Sdn Bhd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bina Puri Holdings Bhd while PPES Works is a 51% owned indirect subsidiary of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd. 

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Monday, Bina Puri Holdings said the contract was for the proposed development and upgrading of phase one of the Pan Borneo Highway, covering Sungai Awik Bridge to Bintangor Junction in Sarawak. 

“The contract is for duration of 47 months from the date of the letter of award,” Bina Puri said. 

PPESW-BPSB JV is a 70 (PPESW): 30 (BPSB) joint venture, and a joint-venture company would be incorporated to undertake the contract as a condition imposed in the tender for the contract, it said. - Bernama