Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Clear skies expected over Raya

Clear skies expected over Raya

It will likely be a sunny Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year in most parts of Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

The date for sighting the Syawal new moon to determine when Aidilfitri falls has been set for June 24, and many expect Hari Raya to start the next day.

Malaysian Meteorological De­­part­­ment director-general Alui Bahari said a detailed forecast for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri period will only be released today but added that the weather is generally expected to be dry due to the current south-west monsoon.

The south-west monsoon started on May 17, and will continue until September, typically associated with lower rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

“There is always heavy traffic on the highways during the Raya pe­­riod, but good weather conditions will hopefully help to make journeys safer as the roads are dry and visibility is better,” said Alui.

The volume of vehicles that will hit the roads starting this week as families make their way back to their hometowns is expected to grow.

PLUS Malaysia Bhd said traffic plying the North-South Expressway during peak days starting Wednes­day to July 3 is set to hit 1.7 million vehicles per day.

The figure is an increase of 30% from the reported 1.2 million vehicles during the Raya peak period two years ago.

Another highway concessionaire, Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak), expects a 10% increase in the number of vehicles on the Sprint and Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) highways in Selangor as the Hari Raya celebration draws closer.

The LDP, which is normally used by more than 470,000 vehicles each week, may see an increase of about 10,000 vehicles this week.

Association of Highway Con­cessionaires Malaysia said in a statement that the volume of traffic is expected to increase by between 30% and 40% during the coming Raya period compared to normal times.

“The Kuala Lumpur-Karak Express­­way, East Coast Expressway (LPT1) and East Coast Highway 2 (LPT2) is expected to see an increase of 50% in traffic volume,” the statement said.

To cope with the traffic volume, PLUS has issued a travel time advisory to help the public plan their journey and to distribute traffic between June 21 and July 3.

Those planning to travel from the Klang Valley to their hometowns in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, northern Perak and Johor are advised to enter the highway before 10am.

Those heading towards nearer destinations such as in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, southern Perak and central Perak, are advised to start their journey and enter the North-South Expressway after 10am on designated days.

Meanwhile, Penang is expecting an influx of visitors who are set to take advantage of the four-day Aidilfitri holiday.

“Last year, the traffic was not so bad, but it is too early to predict the congestion this year,” said state traffic police enforcement chief Supt Roslan Ali.

He added that traffic police would be out daily under Ops Selamat from now until July 2.

Malaysian Hoteliers Association Penang Chapter chairman Khoo Boo Lim said most hotels in the state were almost full.

“Penang is a top choice for local tourists and many are definitely coming here during the break,” he added.

~News courtesy of The Star~

Thursday, June 15, 2017

DPM: Tourism tax will be imposed

DPM: Tourism tax will be imposed

The Government is going ahead with its tourism tax to be imposed from July 1.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who disclosed this yesterday, said more funds were needed to support tourism promotion activities.

“At present, some states receive little (funds), some get more,” he said. Under the new tax, hotel guests will be charged between RM2.50 and RM20 for every night’s stay, depending on the classification of the hotel.

Dr Ahmad Zahid disclosed that the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday directed that the tourism tax spat involving Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and the Sarawak and Sabah governments be put to an end.

“The Prime Minister chaired the Cabinet meeting and I have personally met with the Chief Ministers of Sarawak and Sabah.

“So the chapter is closed,’’ he told reporters after closing an Islamic education workshop here yesterday.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had called on the Government to defer the implementation of the tourism tax in Sarawak and Sabah. This invited criticism from Nazri.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said RM10mil will be given to the Advisory Board for the Coordination of Islamic Education for the enhancement of Islamic educational institutions.

The workshop approved several resolutions, including one on a special mechanism to strengthen Federal-state cooperation in Islamic educational development.

~News courtesy of The Star~

More trains and buses for Raya

More trains and buses for Raya

The Transport Ministry hopes to add more trains and express buses to serve the balik kampung crowds during the coming festive season.

Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he had already directed KTM Berhad to increase its services for the period.

“Most of the demand is from Kuala Lumpur to the northern states. So, they will be providing 27 trips daily to the northern states, some up to Padang Besar.

“There is a limit to how much we can increase for the time being, however, because we do not have enough train coaches,” he told reporters after launching the Hari Raya integrated operations and road safety campaign here yesterday.

The ministry, said Liow, was also working with express bus operators to try and increase the number of buses during the Hari Raya period.

However, he said there was a lack of bus drivers due to more stringent selection criteria.

Promoting safe trips: Liow talking to a passenger after launching the Hari Raya integrated operations and road safety campaign.

“(For some routes) we will need two drivers to take turns because of the long distance.

“These are among the shortcomings we have during the Raya season but we will work towards overcoming them,” he said.

On the road accident statistics for last year, Liow said the numbers had increased, especially for fatalities.

“Last year, we had 521,466 road accidents compared to 489,606 previously.

“The number of fatalities from road accidents showed a sudden increase – going up to 7,152 deaths last year compared to 6,706 in 2015.

“During the two-week road safety campaign last year, police recorded 20,982 accidents, with 299 deaths,” he said.

As over 60% of the fatalities involved motorcyclists, Liow said this year’s campaign would focus on raising awareness among this group of road users.

“None of these statistics mean that the previous campaign have failed. If you look at the ratio of accidents to registered vehicles, that has actually gone down.

“We went from four deaths for every 10,000 vehicles in 2010 to 2.59 deaths for every 10,000 vehicles last year.

“In developed countries, the ratio is two deaths for every 10,000 vehicles and we aim to reach this by 2020,” he said.

This year's road safety campaign, with the theme “Pandu Cermat Sampai Selamat” will run for two weeks and includes advocacy as well as enforcement of road safety rules and regulations.

~News courtesy of The Star~

Friday, June 9, 2017

Matta supports tourism tax

Matta supports tourism tax, but ...



The Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (Matta) is urging the Government to delay the rollout of the impending Tourism Tax (TTx), or at least parts of it.

While saying the association is behind the tax, its president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said the Aug 1 implementation date may not be an ideal time.

The TTx will not only affect domestic tourists, but also Malaysians who have to travel for other purposes such as studies, medical treatments or family obligations.

"Those people who have to travel will have to travel, and they will be forced to pay for it. It doesn’t just affect tourists," he said on Wednesday.

Hamzah suggests the TTx be imposed on 4-star and 5-star hotels first, but be deferred on lower-rated hotels, hostels and accommodation premises to a later date.

“I’m not saying that this tax shouldn't be imposed at all, but now is not the time for it,” he said.

Hamzah added that domestic travel is currently picking up due to the high cost of overseas travel, and he was concerned that an additional tax would deter Malaysians from travelling domestically.

The Penang, Langkawi and Malacca state governments are already charging RM2 to RM9 depending on the type of hotel the guest is staying in.

Passed as part of the Tourism Tax Bill 2017, TTx will see local and international tourists paying a levy to the operators of accommodation premises.

The tax rate is fixed and charged on a per-room, per-night basis.

The rates are RM20 for five-star accommodations, RM10 for four-star accommodations, RM5 for one- to three-star accommodations, and RM2.50 for non-rated accommodations, including budget hotels.

Engineer Lim Chze Hong, 33, who travels twice a month for work, said the TTx would be an unnecessary burden for Malaysians and should only be imposed on foreign tourists.

"It is an extra burden on top of the funds we need to spend to travel outstation for work, regardless if the rooms are paid for by the company or not.

“If this is a ‘tourism tax’, then they should not impose the tax on anyone who books a room using their MyKad,” he said.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old writer Vivan Chong said that she wouldn't mind paying the tax if the revenue was used to develop the local tourism industry.

She however asked if there are solid plans in place regarding the funding.

"The rates are not a burden money-wise, but I think the real question is, who is this supposed to benefit in the first place and why are we being taxed for already contributing to the economy by travelling locally," she added.

Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had said that the tax revenue would be spent mainly on tourism and infrastructure development throughout the country.

He said the tax was necessary because the Government needed to mitigate uncertainties in the oil-and-gas industry, adding that the Government was expected to collect about RM800mil annually through the new tax.

~News courtesy of The Star~

Thursday, June 8, 2017

所有酒店8月起 向房客征旅游税

所有酒店8月起 向房客征旅游税

马来西亚政府宣布,从8月1日起,所有酒店将向房客征收每晚介于2.5令吉至20令吉的旅游税。

征税介于2.5至20令吉 视酒店级别而定

据关税局发表的公告,业者可从7月1日起向关税局登记。该局也列出不同酒店应征收的旅游税:五星级酒店20令吉;四星级酒店10令吉;一、二及三星级酒店5令吉;一、二及三胡姬花级酒店2.5令吉;无级别住宿2.5令吉。

无论如何,五种酒店及民宿可豁免登记及征收旅游税,分别为向旅游部民宿(Homestay)计划、甘榜住宿(Kampungstay)计划民宿、宗教团体所创办及注册的非商业用途住宿、少过10间客房的住宿及国州政府机构所经营的非商业用途住宿。

关税局说,业者必须在30天内向关税局注册,违例者可被判罚款不超过三万令吉或坐牢不超过一年,或两者兼施。

去年,旅游部长纳兹里坦承,由于国库收入减少,必须征收旅游税,作为推广马来西亚旅游业的经费。他预计这将为国家带来高达8.7亿令吉的税收。

由于马国目前落实消费税,加上马六甲、槟城及浮罗交怡的酒店早已征收文化遗产保护费、地方政府管理费及旅游推广费,因此酒店业者称这将进一步剥弱马来西亚旅游业的竞争力,因为一旦落实新的旅游税,国內酒店就会被征收双重或三重税务。

尽管旅游业者反对,但国会在4月通过了2017年旅游税法案。根据该法令,酒店业者必须向游客征收旅游税,游客若没有缴税,可被禁离境,直到还清旅游税为止,或给予一些能让关税局总监满意的抵押或保障。

~联合早报~

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

壁画花树拍拍拍!.美丽文冬游客爱

壁画花树拍拍拍!.美丽文冬游客爱

文冬市区的壁画至今绘了已1年多依然吸引游客竞相拍照,附近商家灵机一动美化店铺后巷,种植艳丽的花朵,形成一道美丽又浪漫的市景。



游客到文冬游玩,不忘在壁画前拍照留念。(图:星洲日报)

文冬市区的壁画至今绘了已1年多依然吸引游客竞相拍照,附近商家灵机一动美化店铺后巷,种植艳丽的花朵,形成一道美丽又浪漫的市景。

许多人经过该后巷,都会被美丽的景像吸引,甚至停下脚步拍照留念。

吴国华:老店重建改民宿引客

商家吴国华说,文冬旅游业正在起飞,尤其是周六和周日有许多游客到文冬游玩,除了品尝美食,购买土产,也喜欢在壁画前拍照。

该店距离壁画不远,于是他与家人决定把老店重建后,楼上改为民宿,楼下单位出租,并在后巷种植了一些花树,增添美感,没想到取得很好的效果,日前更有一对新人到来拍照。

他也说,文冬的民宿需求量大增,他的民宿就在文化街一带,附近有壁画和食档,为游客带来便利。

周广财:盼未来增更多壁画

另外,小食档东主周广财表示,许多游客到文冬一日游都会在壁画前拍照,可见壁画深受欢迎,希望在未来,文冬能增加更多有素质的壁画。

“游客的到来,使到我们经营熟食的生意量也增加不少,文冬也更热闹。”

薛翰才:商店美化带动经济民众薛翰才也说,实在没想到老店后巷经过美化后,把整条街道点缀得让人耳目一新,充满朝气。

他说,如果商家们配合旅游,主动和努力美化商店,肯定将为文冬市容带来不同的风貌,也带动经济繁荣。



果实累累的榴梿树壁画,最受游客欢迎。(图:星洲日报)



老店经过重建翻新,让人耳目一新,也增添市景的美感。(图:星洲日报)



一对甜蜜新人在后巷拍摄的效果别具一格,也让人感染喜悦。(图:星洲日报)

文章来源:
星洲日报‧东海岸‧2017.05.15

Hot, dry days until September

Hot, dry days until September

The southwest monsoon has brought with it hotter and drier weather to peninsular Ma­­laysia and Sarawak.

Malaysian Meteorological Depart­ment (MetMalaysia) director-general Alui Bahari said the monsoon season started yesterday.

He said the southwest monsoon came after the end of the inter-monsoon period which brought heavy rains to the peninsula last month.

The monsoon is expected to last until September.

“Generally, during the southwest monsoon, the country will experience lower rainfall in the peninsula and Sarawak,” Alui said in an email.

He said there would be more dry days ahead than wet ones in these two areas during this period.

“But Sabah will receive more rain than other states” he added.

According to the MetMalaysia website, there are four seasons in Malaysia - the southwest monsoon (May to September), northeast monsoon (early November to March), and two inter-monsoon seasons in between.

Rain is only expected to return in October during the next inter-monsoon period.

The northeast monsoon will bring heavy rain to the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, west Sarawak and the northeast of Sabah.

Meanwhile, to escape the hot weather, more people have been seeking shelter in shopping malls

Malaysia Shopping Malls Asso­ciation adviser HC Chan said families would spend more time in malls when the weather got hotter.

“They will have many options in­­clu­­ding going to the restaurants and shops to escape the heat,” he said.

Chan said since the hot spell began recently, there has been a 10% increase in the number of visitors to shopping malls in the Klang Valley.

~News courtesy of The Star~