Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buy Malaysia Products Campaign Helps Traders

April 30, 2009 14:49 PM

Buy Malaysia Products Campaign Helps Traders

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 30 (Bernama) -- For entrepreneurs and traders of small medium enterprises (SMEs), the Buy Malaysian Campaign 2009 which took place here recently, provided an opportunity for them to introduce their respective products.

Generally, the campaign brought many new changes; in particular, encouraging consumers to buy local products, whose quality matched that of overseas brands.

Apart from hoping to dispel consumer prejudice towards local products, the campaign among others, is also aimed at boosting the local economy.

All the entrepreneurs met during the campaign, which ended on April 27, welcomed it, and hoped it could be held from time to time to enable consumers to better view local products, which are also priced more cheaply.

The five-day campaign from April 23 saw 109 booths selling various products including foodstuff, health products, clothes and stationery.

Global Factor Sdn Bhd director Nor'aini Rusmin said through the campaign, she was not only able to introduce her products but also save on costs from the aspect of advertising.

"We cannot aford to take out big advertisments and an expo such as this, helps introduce our products," she said of her company which produces stationery under the brand, Kedidi.

Nor'Aini, who runs the business with her husband Ab Razak Azhari, said they established a factory 13 years ago to produce their products.

She said the idea of opening the stationery company started when her husband realised that there were no Bumiputera traders as yet in this line of business.

She said the factory produces various products such as markers, pens, and files and these were sold by the company itself while being also distributed to suppliers.

"We began the business in Selangor. Then, we purchased about a hectare of land at Kampong Soi in Kuantan and built the factory. We have been there ever since," she explained.

According to Nor'Aini, her company frequently participates in expos held throughout the country if invited, such as at the Amanah Saham Week in Johor recently.

The public who came for the expo in Terengganu was attracted to the health products such as the first herbal health mattress in the world, produced by a local entrepreneur.

Durjaa Health Care manager, S.Siva, said his company based in Selama, Perak began producing the herbal mattress two years ago.

He said what is interesting about the mattress is that, it is made from noni, inai, betel leaves, pandan and senduduk, which helps overcome stress, internal body aches, back pain and such.

"Sleep is a time of rest and very important for a human being. So, using the herbal mattress, helps overcome the feeling of discomfort and restores a weak body to health," he said.

He said the expo had helped introduce his company's product to the people of Terengganu and the east coast in general.

"The people of Terengganu and Kelantan had previously known about the herbal mattress. So, with this expo, they were able to get to know the product better. Many visited our booth from the time we opened," he said.

Siva said his company had no branch here but those who wished to place an order for the herbal mattress can do so by contacting 016-5160400 or 1-800-88-5858.

ABB Jaya Enterprise, a company manufacturing various types of clothing and t-shirts, also participated in the programme here. The company expressed satisfaction with the response of the people towards its products.

ABB Jaya Enterprise manager, Anuar Bidin said the company was based in Taman Safiah Murni, Bukit Payong, Marang. It had a sales centre in Simpang Tok Ku here and in Kampung Durian Penjara, Marang.

He said the company, which started operations eight years ago, was prepared to receive orders for stitching and embroidery as well as fabric based products.

Anuar said that the expo held was very good as it exposed his products, which previously were not that well, known by the public.

"I am happy that the people were interested in the embroidery exhibition staged by us while viewing the corporate attire on display," he said.

Meanwhile, the director of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Terengganu, Mohd Hilmi Mohd Noor said the response to the expo was very encouraging.

"We only provided for 100 booths in the beginning, but with the good response from entrepreneurs and retailers, we increased it to 109," he said.

He also stated that the participants at the expo were not just from Terengganu but also all over the country, with no fee being imposed.

About 50,000 people thronged the expo throughout the five days it was staged and the sale of products displayed was also encouraging.

The Buy Malaysia Campaign should therefore not be ended as it is hoped that consumers would purchase local products.

While encouraging the consumers, the government should also try and find a way to enhance the patriotic spirit among entrepreneurs.

Awareness, as to the importance of the Buy Malaysia campaign, should be inculcated in them.

Don't allow consumers who have spiritedly embraced the government's call, to become victims of entrepreneurs in search of profits, by any means.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pahang Allocated RM808.4 Mil Under 2nd Stimulus Package - Adnan

Pahang Allocated RM808.4 Mil Under 2nd Stimulus Package - Adnan

KUANTAN, April 23 (Bernama) -- Pahang has been allocated RM808.4 million under the RM60 billion second stimulus package to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis, the state legislative assembly was told today.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the state government received RM256.3 million under the RM7 billion first stimulus package for the same purpose.

With the allocations, all the projects planned have been implemented, he said when replying to Ibrahim Awang Ismail (BN-Peramu Jaya) who queried the state government on pre-emptive measures taken to mitigate effects of the economic downturn.

Earlier, State Executive Councillor for Information, Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Sharkar Shamsudin said the state government was committed to develop infrastructure facilities to woo private sector participation in biotechnology development in the state.

A 248.6-hectare site has been identified in Gambang to develop "Gambang Science Park" he said, adding the state government had also drawn up the Pahang Biodiversity-Biotechnology Masterplan.

The masterplan spells out several strategies that should be implemented by the public and private sectors to ensure success of the plan, he said when replying to Datuk Pang Tsu Ming (BN-Semambu) who asked on biotechnology development in the state.

To a supplementary question from Pang on initiatives to develop a Bio-Informatic Data Centre, Sharkar said the state government also planned to establish a database that would gather all information on research and development to be used as reference.


Rid Loyalty To Foreign Products, Says Ismail Sabry

April 25, 2009 20:00 PM

Rid Loyalty To Foreign Products, Says Ismail Sabry

KUALA TERENGGANU, April 25 (Bernama) -- Malaysians were today urged to stop being too loyal to foreign goods, but buy local products instead which have found acceptance throughout the world.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob said they should rid of their prejudice against local products as the quality was about the same as foreign goods.

He regretted the preception that imported goods were always better than locally-produced goods as this could cause problems for the country.

"We must get rid of the thinking that we've got more class if we wear imported branded items," he said after launching the trade expo in conjunction with the state-level "Buy Malaysian" campaign at the Terengganu Trade Centre, here, Saturday.

Ismail Sabri said Malaysians must have a nationalistic spirit like the Japanese and Koreans have towards their own products.

He said as Malaysians, they should be proud of local products as many Malaysian-made products had penetrated the international market and gained recognition for their quality.

"In South Korea, it's a shame for the people if one were to own a foreign-made car.

"Japan and the United States have instilled nationalistic values in their people so that they favour local products. This spirit should also be inculcated among Malaysians in support of the 'Buy Malaysian' campaign," he said.

On another development, Ismail Sabri said the government would launch a customer-friendly campaign for traders if there was a need for it.

"There have been complaints about unfriendly traders and we will discuss the matter with the traders associations whether such a campaign is necessary."

On the Buy Malaysian Campaign 2009, he said the campaign would continue nationwide to create public awareness on the importance of buying local products to spur the domestic economy.

The campaign in Terengganu from April 23 to 27 is the eighth in the series which will end in Sarawak in October.


ECER Push For Tourism Through Malaysia's Largest Pheasant Sanctuary

ECER Push For Tourism Through Malaysia's Largest Pheasant Sanctuary

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) is host to the largest pheasant sanctuary in Malaysia, as part of its efforts to promote tourism.

The 1.7-acre Ajil Pheasant Park has been certified by the Malaysian Book of Records as the country's largest pheasant sanctuary and breeding farm. It is located along the road to Kuala Berang and the Kenyir Lake.

The park has 38 pheasant species out of a known 49 in the world, including the endangered Green Peafowl, which was last spotted on the Besut coast in 1958.

The ECER secretariat said in a statement Thursday that Oh Siong Lai, the park operator, started the venture as a hobby.

"At the farm, we are breeding the Green Peafowl and currently working with the Terengganu state government, to re-introduce the birds back into their natural habitat," Oh said.

According to Oh, the pheasants which are among the most beautiful birds in the world, are attracting local and foreign tourists alike.

He explained that most of the pheasants at the park were imported from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

A school teacher, he said plans are afoot to expand the park to house several small mammals like foxes and porcupines, to complement the deer and several species of monkeys.

He also intends to create a herb garden within the park for study and research.

"However, these plans are still very preliminary as the current cost of maintaining the park, exceeds the collection from entrance fees," he said.


Call For Systematic Approach To Community-based Tourism

April 20, 2009 13:25 PM

Call For Systematic Approach To Community-based Tourism

SANDAKAN, April 20 (Bernama) -- Community-based tourism, said to be an effective poverty reduction and wealth distribution tool, requires systematic and sustainable approaches instead of ad hoc methods, Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Ong Hong Peng said today.

He said the long-term viability of community-based tourism projects, which required careful planning, commitment and perseverance, was a prime concern.

"Appropriate policy interventions and physical infrastructure should be in place to ensure community-based tourism is developed in a sustainable manner.

"Community capacity building should also be initiated and a collective vision of what the community aspires to be and how it will progress and supports itself are some of the issues that need to be resolved," he said when opening the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Conference on Community-based Tourism, here.

The four-day conference is being attended by 65 delegates, 12 of them from Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Dr Ong said community-based tourism was gradually becoming a mainstream development tool and was extensively being used in the planning and development of Malaysia's new economic corridors such as the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), Iskandar Malaysia and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

He said community-based tourism brought direct economic benefits to local communities and helped in poverty reduction, apart from empowering local women and youths.

"Moreover, the experiential nature of community-based tourism, which contains a high level of educational elements, is becoming increasingly popular with both foreign and domestic tourists," he added.

Dr Ong said the homestay programme in Malaysia was a form of community-based tourism which aimed to encourage tourists to experience the village way of life.

He said that due to the potential of homestay programmes in providing additional income and employment, the number of providers in Malaysia had increased and, up to 2008, there were 138 homestay facilities nationwide involving 3,183 participants since the programme was launched in 1995.

"This programme has lately been given special emphasis by the Ministry of Tourism and, under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, a total of RM40 million has been allocated to the ministry for upgrading infrastructure and facilities in participating villages," he added.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

RM15 Million For Hulu Kelantan From Stimulus Package

April 19, 2009 23:12 PM

RM15 Million For Hulu Kelantan From Stimulus Package

KUALA KRAI, April 19 (Bernama) -- The government has allocated RM15 million from the economic stimulus package for the South Kelantan Development Authority (Kesedar) to carry out development projects in three regions in the state.

Kesedar chairman Datuk Ramzi Ab Rahman said 62 small development projects were for the Kuala Krai region, 53 for Jeli and 14 for Gua Musang.

He said some of the projects like the construction of farm and village roads, madrasah and surau in the three areas had already begun, while Kesedar was also carrying out several projects under the People's Prosperity Development Scheme.

Ramzi was met by reporters after launching an inter-department aerobics programme and sports event here today, organised by Kesedar, Federal Development Office and the district's Youth and Sports Department, involving about 800 civil servants.

He said the Kuala Krai Kesedar Region was allocated more than RM150,000 in the form of educational grants for 56 schools, including eight state-run religious schools.


Unease over wealth funds

April 20, 2009
Unease over wealth funds

Terengganu investment fund to be set up using borrowed money, not existing capital
By Leslie Lopez, Senior Regional Correspondent

Oil-rich Terengganu is planning to establish a multibillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, but it is causing unease among businessmen and government officials as Malaysia's economic crisis deepens.

KUALA LUMPUR - OIL-rich Terengganu is planning to establish a multibillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund, but it is causing unease among businessmen and government officials as Malaysia's economic crisis deepens.

The chief bugbear is that the planned RM10 billion (S$4.1 billion) fund, which is to be managed by the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), will be created using borrowed money and not existing capital held by the Terengganu state, said bankers and government officials.

'To turn in a profit, the fund must ensure a return higher than the cost of its borrowing, and there will be the pressure to go into risky investments to get better returns,' said a chief executive of a state-controlled bank, who asked not to be named.

A senior TIA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Straits Times that governance issues and rules that will determine how the fund will invest its money are being hammered out ahead of the planned year-end launch.

'It (the fund) is still being cooked and we want to model (it) along the lines of Mudabala,' he said, referring to Abu Dhabi's highly reputable sovereign wealth fund.

Detractors of the proposed fund point out that the Mudabala investment model was not established on borrowed money.

The TIA is proposing to raise RM5 billion through a bond issue that will be guaranteed against future earnings the state will receive in royalties from national oil corporation Petronas for oil and gas extracted from Terengganu territory.

Another RM5 billion will be raised through a separate bond issue that will be guaranteed by the federal government.

'We are in the final stages of finalising the government guarantee and we are deciding on how to draw down on the facility,' said the TIA official.

Many analysts worry that the federal government's green light for TIA and its backing for the fund through financial guarantees could prompt other oil-producing states such as Sabah and Sarawak to demand funds of their own.

'With all the spending that the government has to undertake to stimulate the economy, funds like TIA's and others will only stretch the government's finances further,' said Mr Jason Chong of UOB-OSK Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur.

- Straits Times -

ECER Eyes European Core Mart

ECER Eyes European Core Mart

KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- The East Coast Economic Region (ECER) is looking to enhance trade and investment among European investors during its mission to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Led by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry ( MITI), the mission will focus on the region's core business of oil, gas and petrochemicals, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.

ECER in a statement said some noteworthy projects would be promoted by the investment mission from April 19-29.

Amongst the projects are the Kertih Plastics Park, the Gambang Halal Park, the Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park, the Pekan-Peramu Automotive Industrial Park, the Palm Oil Industry Park and the Intergrated Poultry Park.

According to ECER, Germany was an important source of Malaysia's foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2008, with investments of RM4.4 billion when compared with RM3.7 billion the previous year.

Meanwhile, Italy remained Malaysia's fifth largest trading partner within the European Union.Bilateral trade between both countries amounted to US$2.22 billion in the first 11 months of 2008.

The United Kingdom is also one of the largest investors in Malaysia, with over 20 billion in investments over the past 30 years.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Political storm looks to be brewing in Terengganu

Wednesday April 15, 2009
Political storm looks to be brewing in Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU: A political storm is brewing in Terengganu after 10 Barisan Nasional assemblymen stayed away from the second sitting of the State Assembly yesterday.

The official reason given was that they feared for their safety after three of them claimed to have received death threats via SMS.

Unoccupied: Backbencher Nawi Mohamad (BN – Hulu Besut) sitting among the empty chairs as 10 of his colleagues decided to stay away from the State Assembly sitting yesterday. On the right are exco members Rozi Mamat (front) and Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar.

However, there were also suggestions that they were staging a boycott in apparent protest against the leadership of Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said.

In the past week, talk had been rife that the Barisan assemblymen would move a motion of no-confidence against Ahmad when the assembly convened on Monday.

Ahmad had earlier warned the assemblymen not to table such a motion against him as this could taint the image of the state Barisan.

He also threatened to sack those who defied his order.

State Backbenchers Club chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid said the 10 assemblymen – all backbenchers – decided to stay away from the assembly because of “safety factors” after alleged death threats were received yesterday morning.

“We are not boycotting the assembly. We decided to gather at a hotel because we are very afraid,” he said at the hotel.

He claimed that all 10 had applied for leave.

The three who claimed to have received death threats, said to have originated from Ahmad’s private secretary Wan Ahamad Wan Muda, were Rosol, Paka assemblyman Zakaria Ariffin and Permaisuri assemblyman Halim Jusoh.

Wan Ahamad later denied sending the SMS and lodged a police report at the state police headquarters.

One of the assemblymen, who declined to be named, however, said that there was a boycott of the assembly.

“The Mentri Besar should resign. We do not intend to table a motion of no-confidence against him at the assembly but he should get the message that he is not favoured by Barisan assemblymen,” he said.

Besides Rosol, Zakaria and Halim, the others who stayed away were Tepoh assemblyman Muhammad Ramli Noh, Mohd Zawawi Ismail (Kuala Berang), Datuk Din Adam (Bukit Besi), Alias Abdullah (Alor Limbat), Ramlan Ali (Jabi) and Mohd Pehimi Yusof (Kota Putera).

Muhammad Ramli later said that all 10 would attend the sitting today.

There are 13 backbenchers and 10 exco members, including Ahmad, in the assembly. The Opposition has eight members, all of them from PAS.

All Opposition members, including PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, were present.

Despite the boycott, the assembly, however, continued as usual.

Ahmad, when approached by reporters during a break, said he was shocked that the assemblymen had resorted to such action.

“I will contact them to find out why they did this. As Mentri Besar, it is my duty to find out the rationale of the 10 for doing this,” he said.

When asked about the death threats sent to three representatives via SMS, Ahmad said he had no knowledge of it.

Ahmad’s appointment as Mentri Besar after the 2008 general election was controversial from the beginning as it was not the original choice of the Barisan, which had chosen former mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

Ahmad was, however, sworn in and then prime minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi later said that the Barisan would accept him as Mentri Besar.


Terengganu plans direct flights to woo more Singaporeans

Wednesday April 15, 2009
Terengganu plans direct flights to woo more Singaporeans

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government is confident about starting direct flights between here and Singapore.

State Tourism, Culture, Art and Heritage Com­mittee chairman Datuk Zaabar Mohd Adib said talks between the Transport Ministry and its Singapore counterpart had been positive.

“It will certainly be a boom for our tourism industry as Singapore tourists are the most treasured group,” he told The Star.

He added that by having the route, Singa­poreans would not be burdened by making transit stops in Kuala Lumpur.

Zaabar said low-cost carrier FireFly was interested to service the route and the state government anticipated that Singapore operators would also start flights.

“Singaporeans make up the bulk of tourists to Terengganu and direct flights could increase their numbers three-fold,” he said.

“Singapore is our traditional market and we are now intensifying our promotion to woo more people to make Terengganu their favourite holiday destination.”

Zaabar said Terengganu Fest would be promoted in Singapore in the next few months and the new Terengganu Zoo in Kemaman, dubbed the largest recreational concept zoo in the country, would form part of the package.

He said facilities at islands off Terengganu would be enhanced to attract Singaporeans.

Kertih Park on track to be hub for Asia-Pacific market


Kertih Park on track to be hub for Asia-Pacific market

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Kertih Plastic Park is poised to become a global benchmark under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) initiative by 2015.

ECER chief executive officer Datuk Jebasingam Issace John told the New Straits Times that the country's first fully integrated plastics park, has the potential to emulate the success of the Dow Value Park in Germany.

KPP is expected to be fully operational in 2015, attracting RM2 billion worth of investments and creating more than 7,000 jobs.

An Internet search on the park states that in 1995, the Dow Chemical Company took over economic responsibility for several chemical sites that became the start of a restructuring process, which was unique in the history of the chemical industry.

The park in Germany which is a hub for the chemical, polymer and plastic industry is considered one of the world's best, in terms of industry practices, facilities, plant management, industry standards and its capacity in attracting investors.

"And that is the direction we want the KPP to head. In Germany, the park is a hub for the European market, but Kertih is well positioned to take care of the Asia-Pacific market which has two billion people.

"We are on the right track," he said after a briefing for Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said on ECER developments here.

Earlier, Ahmad had revealed that 31 projects under the initiative in the state have been approved while RM10.8 billion in investments have poured in.

The ECER team will be joining the International Trade and Industry Ministry on an investment trade mission to Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom later this month to promote among others the KPP, the Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park, the ECER handicraft industry and the Pahang Technology Park.

Pekan Sees Vast Economic Changes With Najib At Helm

April 03, 2009 20:50 PM

Pekan Sees Vast Economic Changes With Najib At Helm

PEKAN, April 3 (Bernama) -- Once a small town with its economic activities limited to agriculture and small industries, Pahang's royal town of Pekan today has a growing industrial sector as well.

The town today also recorded history for having two of its Members of Parliament as the prime ministers of the country -- the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the Pekan MP who became the second Prime Minister of Malaysia and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was sworn in as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia Friday morning.

The first time Pekan tasted fame was when Tun Abdul Razak was elected the country's prime minister in 1970.

More than three decades later, his eldest son, Najib, took oath for the same office, replacing Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Pekan, which in the past was relatively left behind in terms of development compared with other districts in Pahang, however has seen much changes in the recent years especially following the appointment of Najib as Deputy Prime Minister in 2004.

Currently, the economic activities in the fourth largest district of Pahang, with a size of 380,500 hectares and a population of 120,000, cover not only agriculture and cottage industries but also includes a growing industrial sector boosted by foreign investments.

In line with Najib's aim to establish Pekan as an automotive hub, he is said to have successfully attracted world renowned automobile assembly companies to invest in Pekan and these include the producers of Isuzu from Japan and Mercedes Benz from Germany.

The District Officer of Pekan, Datuk Mohd Basik Mohd. Ali said an industrial zone covering 1,000 hectares in size was created in Peramu Jaya here for the setting up of auto assembly plants which now provide more than 4,000 job opportunities for locals.

Mohd Basik said the existence of the factories in the zone have also helped to stop the migration of locals especially the younger generation to the urban areas.

What is something to be even more proud of is that the automobile companies have also acknowledged that the automobiles produced in Pekan are better than those produced in their own countries, he said.

"This proves that the companies involved are also acknowledging the work of the Pekan people directly involved in the production of the vehicles," he told Bernama in an interview.

Meanwhile, two automobile producers, namely Chevvy from China and Volkswagen from Germany have also expressed their interest to invest in Pekan and negotiations are now at the final stages, he said.

If these plans become a reality, they would create another 3,000 employment opportunities for the locals.

The idea to develop Pekan as an automotive hub was already on board before the launch of the East Coast Economic Region in October 2007, and under the ECER development plan, Pekan was categorised as an automotive hub in view of its vast growth in the area of vehicle assembling.

Another upcoming project in Pekan is the Oil, Gas and Maritime Industrial Park in Tanjong Agas. The project was recently launched in Kuala Lumpur by the Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Mohd Basik said the project successfully attracted an investment of RM6 billion with the majority of it coming from foreign investors.

"Several investors have signed the Memorandum of Understanding and they are expected to begin the project soon," he said.

The industrial park will involve an area of 1,639 hectares.

"Todate, a total of 640 hectares to 800 hectares of land have been handed over to the investors and the whole area is expected to be leased by the investors in two years time," he said.

The project is expected to be completed in three to four years and RM2 billion has been allocated for the provision of infrastructure facilities.

A local company, Tanjong Agas Supply Base & Marine Services Sdn Bhd (TASBMS) will be operating the park.

Mohd Basik said the industrial park will become the first such modern one-stop centre for the martime, oil and gas industry in Pahang and probably in Malaysia as well.

It will be divided into several sections and will have among others designated areas for recovery and maintenance of ships, fabrication, petroleum terminal, factory sites, town centre, residential as well as commercial centres.

"This project will start to generate income for Pahang state as soon as work on the infrastructure development starts including the provision of jobs for 4,000 people in the initial stage," he said.

The mega project is expected to transform Pekan in the next five years and certainly with the appointment of Najib as Prime Minister, more development can be expected in this district.