Friday, September 8, 2017


Monday, 4 September 2017

Others would do well to emulate Melaka

A POST 60th Merdeka visit to Melaka was an eye-opener. Credit and praise must be garlanded upon the leadership and citizens here for the great success story brought alive by their united and trusted efforts.
When one sees this sprawling, spanking and thriving tourist centre, one cannot deny the hard and determined spirit of the state government and the business community in Melaka.
What was once a stinking, choking river snaking through ancient dilapidated buildings is today thriving with local and foreign tourists.
A striking difference is the clean, debris-free river with affordable, popular boating rides (pic).
Jonker Street, for example, is clean and free of litter despite the overflow of local and foreign visitors taking advantage of the bumper holidays. 
The ancient shoplots have been painstakingly restored and bring alive hundreds of years of history to be experienced.
As you walk through the milling crowds, you also cannot deny that feeling of somehow being safe out in the streets in the day and late at night. There is an unusual absence of migrant workers as every eatery is being serviced by either young or aging Malaysians – Chinese, Malay, Indian and even from Sabah and Sarawak.
Even the cops on duty are friendly, smiling yet keeping their eyes on the job. In fact, even local tourists find it cool to snap photos with our law enforcers here.
Despite the heavy inflow of traffic, nobody hoots and somehow the traffic flows in an orderly way and there is no indiscriminate parking.
Another feature that cannot be dismissed is the pricing of food and drinks. Nothing appears to be over-priced. Getting a hearty and authentic local or Western meal is comparatively and surprisingly most affordable despite Melaka being a tourist hub. No small wonder that so many Malaysians are flocking here this holiday season.
And even hotels, manned by locals and kept clean on the outside and inside, are not over-priced despite the long holiday period.
Here is a living, thriving testimony that good and determined governance can yield results for the benefit of all Malaysians.
Even a local selling rambutans on the wayside is not driven out and deprived of an honest living.
It is time we put politicking aside and got other states and local governments – including city halls and local business communities – to copy Melaka’s example.
If Melaka can do it, there is no excuse why other places like Malaysia’s now infamous China Towns (like Petaling Street) or Indian and Malay trading clusters (like Tun Sambanthan and Masjid India) cannot emulate such progress.
The day-and-night presence of roaches and rodents, uncollected garbage and street litter, unnecessary honking, overwhelming number of migrant labourers at eateries, stagnant traffic due to disregard for parking rules, street beggars at every bus stop and public transport terminal, dilapidated, unsightly rows of stalls, and ridiculous rip-offs by traders can be seen in Kuala Lumpur, for example, but not in Melaka.
Syabas to the “Do not mess with Melaka” efforts. The leadership and people have done well for themselves.
Kuala Lumpur


Tuesday, September 5, 2017



MELAKA: Traders and hawkers at the heart of the historical city enjoyed brisk sales as domestic tourists flocked to the state to enjoy the five-day long holiday break.
While most local tourists have left Melaka and returned to their respective states since Sunday, there are some who have stayed on to enjoy the extra holiday.
Many local tourists and tourism players were revelling in the additional holiday on Monday, after Prime Minister Najib Razak declared Sept 4 as a public holiday in appreciation of the outstanding achievements of the Malaysian contingent at the 29th Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
Renowned Clock Tower cendol operator Muhammad Kassim Ali, 35 said on usual Mondays, his business would be very quiet but today, he had worked hard shaving ice non-stop since 11am.
"Usually, I get about 200 customers on Mondays who consist of foreign tourists. I don't get a lot of local tourists on Mondays because it is a working day.
"But today, I'm seeing an increase of 100 customers and I'm very glad to be able to earn extra income from the additional crowd.
"I estimate to get an increase in sales by at least 10 percent," he said.
Kassim said his business, strategically located opposite the Clock Tower here, was passed on to him by his grandfather and he has been operating for 60 years.
He also hoped for more holidays like this as this would help boost his sales even on weekdays.
Trishaw rider Hidier Abdul Muttalib, 30 said the extra public holiday meant additional income to what would have been a slow day.
"On a normal weekend, I can earn up between RM70 and RM100 while for weekdays, its difficult to even get a passenger.
"But since Monday was announced as a public holiday, I am happy that I am getting more customers and passengers," he said.
State Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA) chairman Goh Hock Gin said there was no stark increase in occupancy rates on Monday as most local tourists have gone back to their respective states on Sunday.
"However, we have been enjoying good business with occupancy rates reaching almost 90 percent over the weekend.
"Although not many domestic tourists are extending their stay, but we do get a minimal amount of increase in check-ins, by 10 percent," said Goh, who spoke on behalf of 150 budget hotel operators.
State MCA advisor Datuk Gan Tian Loo said in view of the five-day long holiday, a special permit through the Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB) for a special tourist night market last Thursday has benefitted some 300 hawkers and traders in Jonker Walk.
"The usual night market session in Jonker Walk is on every Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6pm till 12am.
"But for the first time, we applied with MBMB for an additional day for a special tourist night market to add to the tourism activitiy for visitors and to help increase business opportunities," he said.
Gan said the public's response was encouraging with traders expressing their delight over the extra income they earned through the six-hour night market sales from 6pm till 12am on Aug 31.
"We also recorded more than a million visitors to Jonker Walk over the five days from Thursday till Monday," Gan said.
Entrepreneur Asyraf Azmi, 30 and girlfriend Camelia Dandan Satia, 20 from Kuala Lumpur were also seen enjoying the historical city before taking a rest and quenching their thirst with cendol and watermelon juice.
"Although being self-employed and working according to my own hours, I am happy with the public holiday given because I get to spend the time sight-seeing in Melaka with my girlfriend.
"I first went to back to my hometown in Johor from Damansara on Thursday (Aug 31) and spent the Raya with my family until Sunday.
"I then went to Cheras to pick her up before we spent a night here in Melaka yesterday and toured around the city including Jonker Walk, A'Famosa (Porta de Santiago), Samudera Museum and Dataran Pahlawan," he said.
Asyraf said he easily spent RM300 on food, a
ccommodation and transportation.
"My girlfriend and I never miss a chance to savour Melaka's famous asam pedas besides taking the trishaw tour. It may be a little expensive, but we don't always spend like this," he said.