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Pahang's Menara Teruntum set for 2020 opening- September 23, 2019

KUANTAN: Menara Teruntum, the country’s second-tallest tower, will be opened to visitors early next year. Kuantan Municipal Council (MPK) public relations officer Norkamawati Kamal said since the state capital will obtain city status next year, the opening of the tower will probably be held at the same time. She said work on the 180m tower has been completed and is in the process of obtaining the certificate of completion and compliance (CCC)."Work has been completed and now we are waiting for the CCC. Mercu Teruntum will be the newest and tallest landmark in town and will be operational when Kuantan is announced as a city next year. "MPK is scrutinizing a list of potential operators and once everything is sorted out, the price of entrance tickets will be finalized," she said when contacted.

Norkamawati said Menara Teruntum will provide visitors a unique experience and offers a beautiful view of the town. Visitors to the tower would also be able to enjoy thrilling rides up to two glass elevator shafts to the 104m high observation deck for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the state capital. A restaurant located 98m above ground level would also offer fantastic views of Kuantan and Sungai Kuantan. Meanwhile, State Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said Menara Teruntum could emerge as one of the country’s top tourist attractions. He said images of Menara Teruntum would be printed on gifts and souvenirs to boost promotional activities.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who recently described the tower as the new landmark in the state capital in his website,, had said visitors could take the opportunity to dine at the restaurant while enjoying the town’s skyline. Menara Teruntum will be ranked second after Kuala Lumpur Tower (421m) which is the tallest tower in the country.

Pahang attracts RM1.3bil investment from China - 20 September 2019

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (2nd left), who witnessed the signing ceremony, described the signing as a huge achievement which will contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of the state and its people. NSTP/courtesy of Pahang MB Press Secretary's office

KUANTAN: Pahang is set to receive investments worth RM1.386 billion from China after the east coast state inked six memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Chinese companies in Nanning, China today. In a statement, the Pahang Menteri Besar's press secretary office said these investments include an RM522.2 million project by ND Paper (M) Bhd to set up a plant in Bentong to produce paper and pulp. "TNP Power Sdn Bhd has set aside RM341.74 million to set up a factory at the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) 1 in Kuantan for combined heat and power generation, while China Travel Service Meizian Company Limited will invest RM200 million to establish an ‘Eco-Tourism City’ in Bukit Tinggi, Bentong.

"Zhongxin Resources Regeneration Technology Sdn Bhd is interested in investing RM122.48 million in a paper and plastic particles manufacturing project in MCKIP 1 while Wuxi Jinxie Industrial Company Limited will invest in an 800kw ultra-low speed wind turbine in Pulau Tioman, Rompin worth RM100 million," said the statement. The sixth company - Power China Construction Group - will invest RM100 million to build a factory that produces solar panels for homes at the Gebeng Industrial Plant in Kuantan. Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who witnessed the signing ceremony, described the signing as a huge achievement which will contribute significantly to the socio-economic growth of the state and its people.

"I hope the MoUs which were signed today would be turned into reality soon. This is similar to the 11 MoUs signed between the Pahang state government and several Singaporean firms in August, whereby eight of the projects are already in the final stages of being implemented," said Wan Rosdy. Earlier, Wan Rosdy paid a courtesy call to Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Governor Chen Wu. Both leaders discussed several issues including the proposal to establish direct flights between Kuantan-Nanning which would help reduce the traveling time between the two regions.

NST Leader: Sprucing up - 27 July 2019

A MUCH anticipated visit to one of Malaysia’s significant landmarks in the city left a family with a bitter taste in their mouths. It was not because of the breathtaking view of the city skyline as seen from the observation deck at a height of some 421m. Rather, it was the hospitality and service, or lack of it, that was accorded to them. Another scenario — the condition of public toilets at some popular tourist spots and parks leaves much to be desired. Sad. Visit Malaysia Year 2020 is just five months away. Are we ready to receive the 30 million foreigners touted to visit us next year? Ready is subjective, what matters is that we should be prepared for any eventuality.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urged Malaysians to make VMY 2020 a national mission and play a role in the tourism promotion campaign. “The famed Malaysian hospitality must not remain a mere slogan, but translated into action.” Indeed, to rake in the RM100 billion in tourist receipts, the focus should be on bringing in the big players and stakeholders. It is global marketing targeted at the richer and developed countries — trade commissions must be mobilized, VMY slogans and attractions plastered on billboards and tour buses, travel agencies the world over must sell Malaysian holiday packages before others. On the home front, hotels must be spruced up and equipped with multilingual customer relations people. Don’t forget the watering holes, entertainment venues for the young and happening and sarong party girls — the point is, the big spenders must be enticed. For backpackers and nature lovers, woo them with rustic and cozy homestays with breakfast thrown in.

Offer family packages for eco-travel or a guided tour of Malaysia’s 130-million-year-old rainforests, Taman Negara (Pahang) or the Royal Belum Forest (Perak). For lovers of art, culturally, our Mak Yong, wayang kulit, Chinese opera, and Indian performances are not to be missed. But all these would mean naught if the hospitality and service industry do not pull their socks up. An efficient public transport system, with trains, buses and taxis (resolve the Grab issue) to run the entire length and breadth of Malaysia is a must.

Embrace tourism; as hosts, we are required to be courteous and friendly to our guests. But, we should also remember to keep our culture and pride intact — a manual on Malaysian etiquette of the do’s and don’ts would go a long way in educating our guests. A tall order, truly. Understandably, Tourism Malaysia (Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board) has its work cut out for it. Last year’s first nine months’ data only showed 19.4 million tourist arrivals and tourist receipts of RM61.9 billion. Cut down on the bickering and get to work. The ongoing brouhaha on logo and tagline should not cloud our common sense.

There needs to be a sense of urgency because time is of the essence here. Logo and taglines, while needing to be eye-catching, will not do the selling. Roll out previous VMY plans and see what can be improved or added. Time for a reboot, if we want to reach that target of 30 million foreigners and RM100 billion in receipts. Source - NST

Racing in Rimba Raid - 5 August 2019

IN a race, skill is one thing; luck is another.

A week before the 2019 Rimba Raid, which has grown to become Malaysia’s most anticipated Enduro race, KTM Factory Rider, Muhd Habibullah, 28, popularly known as Gabit, signed up for a GIVI crash course conducted by Jeremias Israel, an ex-factory rider for Honda Team Rally of Europe, in conjunction with the race. At the race last Sunday, Gabit ended up beating the Chilean pro to defend the title he had won in last year’s the Rimba Raid Mat Daling. The two - Gabit and Jeremias - started as hot favourites for the main Class A category (bikes above 800cc) of the Rimba Raid. Gabit, who is the 2016 FIM Asia Supermoto Champion, was racing on the KTM Adventure 1250 and Jeremias was astride the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE. Gabit remained humble in victory. He told Cars, Bikes and Trucks that the technical skills he learnt from the crash course conducted by Jeremias, an ex-Dakar racer, helped him greatly during the race.

“I learnt a lot from Jeremias at the GIVI crash course. Throughout the race, in fact, I was applying the hard-braking technique and high-speed cornering that I had just learnt from him during the crash course,” he said. Gabit explained that he was more of a motocross rather than an enduro rider. “The riding styles (motocross and enduro) are different so the techniques that I learnt from Jeremias were really helpful,” he added. Gabit said he hoped Jeremias would return for next year’s Rimba Raid. “Luck was not on his side. He had some technical issues after a crash. Otherwise, I have no doubt, the race would have been his,” he said. This year’s Rimba Raid was the 6th edition and the biggest in terms of participation. A total of 321 riders from 16 countries took part in the two-day event.

Apart from yours truly, three other women took part. There were two women riders for the Dual-Purpose category on Saturday and another two for the Enduro category on Sunday. Sunday’s race was the writer’s maiden Rimba Raid, where she raced in the Enduro Novice category with her regular riding partner Nur Liyana Fazlien Sha’are, both on the 2019 AJP PR5 250 Extreme machines. Unfortunately, Lyn had a technical problem that forced her out of the race. The man behind the Rimba Raid, former Malaysia Airlines pilot Datuk Nik Huzlan, who goes by the nickname Captain Nik, said this year’s race was by far the toughest: only 17 out of 70 riders finished in the main category A where Gabit and Jeremias competed. “Well, I overestimated the skills of some people and the trail that I designed was, I thought, not too difficult. In fact the night before the race I had a sleepless night thinking that it might be too easy for many people. But it turned out to be quite difficult. “Perhaps I was lulled by my familiarity (with the area) so I thought the trail was pretty easy because I did it myself!”

Even Gabit found Captain Nik’s trail tough. He told Cars Bikes and Trucks that he is looking forward to a more forgiving track next year. “I hope next year’s Rimba Raid would be less technical for the DP category so that the riders, including myself, could enjoy ourselves more and finish the race”, he said. This year’s Rimba Raid saw GIVI come in as the title sponsor for the second year in a row. For the first time, the race also caught the attention of the Pahang state tourism. “This is our first time working together with Rimba Raid and we hope that with this collaboration we could promote the state’s attractions, especially around Janda Baik,” said Datuk Idros Yahya, the Pahang Tourism Director. As for yours truly, just being one of the finishers (No 44 out of 44 finishers) was an achievement in itself. The unpredictable river crossings, jutting rocks, slippery ruts and branches dangling perilously overhead were new challenges to be dealt with. It is no wonder then that they call Rimba Raid, the “green hell”. Source-NST

A durian story: Gamble pays off for Felda settler - 21 July 2019

PEKAN: Uncertainty in oil palm prices in 1984 saw settler Ismail Sabri growing durian on his land in Felda Chini 3, near here. Ismail, 60, planted durian kampung on 0.8ha. The father of four has 65 durian trees and during each harvest, he can earn thousands of ringgit. He even has enough durian to give to his friends and relatives. “In the 1980s, the government had yet to mark the border for Felda plots. “Many settlers were worried that if they planted other crops other than oil palm, someone else would reap the benefits when the (oil palm) trees matured. “Since oil palm prices were unstable, I decided to take a risk and plant durian on a 0.8ha plot,” he said, adding that he started harvesting the fruits in 1991.

He said with guidance from elderly villagers, he managed to find a suitable fertilizer and cultivation formula so that the trees continued to produce high-quality fruits. He said sales from the fruits were enough to support his family, and they helped him these days when oil palm prices were uncertain. “It is a move that has paid off. Now, I have a stable income and my family can enjoy the fruits. “Sometimes friends will drop by my plantation. I will offer them four durians for RM20. But there are also people who enter the farm at night to steal the durian. My second son helps me keep watch.” Ismail said his concept (planting durian besides oil palm) was similar to the one proposed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the recent Felda Settlers Day celebration in Felda Selancar 3, Rompin.

“Durian is a suitable alternative crop as it is always high in demand. Proper guidance will enable more settlers to venture into durian farming... they will not regret it.” In Raub, the popularity of the orchard-grown Musang King durian over the last few years has taken the local tourism industry by storm, as visitors throng the town to get a taste of it. Gone are the days when durian orchard owners struggled to market the odorous and thorny fruits. These days, durian stalls are mushrooming in the district and nearby areas. The recent move by the Agriculture and Agro-based Ministry to export frozen whole durian to China has resulted in an increase in demand for the Musang King.

The sole company from Pahang — PHG Ever Fresh Food (M) Sdn Bhd — which is among five outfits in Malaysia given the green light to export the fruit to China, has its hands full meeting orders. One of the company’s partners, Lye Wee Tin, said the factory previously only exported frozen whole durian in the form of pulp and paste, but starting this year, the entire fruit was sent to China. “The people in China can buy the whole fruit and this is good in terms of hygiene and safety. “In future, more companies from Raub may be involved due to the growing demand.” He said the company had to date exported about 50 tonnes of durian to China through two methods — vacuum pack and frozen whole durian — in special boxes that were loaded into containers.

“Only Musang King durian from Malaysian Good Agricultural Practice-certified farms are processed for export. “Durian farmers attach wide nets from tree to tree to collect the falling fruits. There is a huge demand for this variety and the supply is insufficient. “We purchase the fruits for between RM26 and RM38 per kilogramme from farmers before cleaning, grading and sorting them for packing. Raub produces about 40 per cent of the fruits exported to China. We expect the season to end in October."

Lye said durian had a huge following in China, including in Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Nanning and Chongqing. It was reported that the Agriculture Department had registered 204 varieties of durian, 12 of which had good commercial value and strong demand. The six popular varieties are D24, D160 (Musang Queen), D168 (Hajah Hasmah), D197 (Musang King), D200 (Ochee) and D 9 9. The D197 and D24 are categorised as premium varieties.

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