Saturday, May 21, 2016

Withering Food Security worries.

Since 2014, Malaysians arguably face what is surely the most challenging transition period yet on the aspect of  increasing cost of living in this fair nation.

One of the more disastrous effects of this higher cost of living comes in the form of unjustified Food price increases’. Food prices had risen to a level that is considered abnormal or 'excessive'. 

The percentage increase is much higher than what was ever seen previously.

Notionally, higher cost of living had dampened consumer demand as reflected by the consumer index which dropped to 63.80 in the fourth-quarter of 2015, the lowest in a decade.

Though we may have settled down with the Goods and Services Tax, with the ringgit starting to appreciate and crude oil prices on the rebound, the rising cost of living still remains a main challenge and the populace has no choice but to deal with it.

A cursory look at shopping mall car parks show them to be 100% occupied, but  inspecting the purchasing demand statistics shows that the buying power and purchase quantity has dropped as any visit to leading malls will show you.

Why is this?

The rise in living standard, the population increase (where more than two million are immigrants), the differing lifestyle between urban, semi urban & rural areas and their changing nutrition pattern had pushed up the needs and demand for all products and food items.  

On top of that Malaysians are fully aware that prices of imported food (price inflation) will be further increased near to the festival due to weak Ringgit strength, global El Nino weather affect, and increased market demand. (By the way, everything from Rice, Mutton to Beef & Fish is imported).

So what needs to be done?

Something that needs urgent attention from our leaders is the fact that Agriculture as a whole is seen as a sunset industry here in Malaysia. The marginalization of the food sector due to the emphasis on industrialization since the 1980' is very evident.

Just look at the statistics’ of each state’s income generation chart, and clearly you will notice that the contribution from the Agricultural industries / sectors are amongst the lowest.

In my personal opinion, the ever increasing rise in retail food prices is induced by the rise in prices of inputs such as fertilisers, chemicals, land, labour and machinery. 

Although the government protects the prices of petrol and diesel, the price of fertilizers had risen by 70 per cent within the last two years and wages had also gone up.

This being the case, with the upward levels of sectorial (retail) market- (demand increase), normal weather pattern disruption, low productivity and other natural calamities easily affecting the gross output of our agricultural industries…..these disruptions make consistent supply difficult for major retailers like Mydin, Aeon, Tesco, Giant et al to rely on. 

This forces them to rely on imports to overcome cyclical requirements from the ever increasing Malaysia population.

Thus, imported food now becomes a component of our daily life as a cost of convenience and industrialization of the nation.

This means high Ringgit fluctuations in the Foreign Exchange (or long term low ringgit value) makes thecost of living in Malaysia very much higher than Economists plan it to be. 

It doesn’t help that the government insists that a low ringgit value is necessary to help exporters make higher profits (thus increasing government revenue through Taxes) and lowers our Labour costs (as O&G, GLC & MNC’s hire more of the population than any other industry) .

So, in a nut shell, as a member of the hoi polloi, we’re screwed both ways to infinity … which only makes it more interesting to note that by extrapolating on these given facts above….in which direction this nation would be heading in the near term, should no changes happen to either our National Food Security Agenda or Agricultural Policy.

Ah so!

Friday, May 13, 2016

B Boy Battle & Street dance Showcase in Mahkota Parade,Melaka!


Mahkota Medical Centre promotions


For Limited Time, Hard Rock Cafe Melaka is showcasing the best from the south of border Taste of Mexico! 

We're serving up limited time offer dishes with Mexican inspired flavor! Now available at Hard Rock Cafe Melaka. 

Sky Deli Buffet Early Bird Promotion

- 50% discount for your family's sky view Sky Deli buffet feast  
from 9 June to 4 July 2016 by booking 
before 16th May 2016. 
Adult                          RM70++
Children (ages 5-12)     RM40++ 
With every purchase of an Adult* seat, there will be 1 Free child ticket for The Shore Oceanarium Melaka and 1 Free Adult ticket for The Shore Sky Tower Melaka.*Terms & Conditions apply. 

Each group of customers will get a "duit raya" packet (while stocks last).

Hurry and make your reservations now:
Sky Deli       +606 - 288 3833
Mr Anuar      +6017 - 349 6309
Mr Ben         +6013 - 207 2181
Ms Agnes     +6012 767 1655

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tahniah YAB Datuk Seri Ir.Hj.Idris Bin Hj.Haron

Sunday Musings

By : Gunabalan. 

More than ever these days, business men can be heard telling tales of how bad their business in Malacca is to anyone who cares to listen.  The local economy is not doing well now and this is exacerbating the problems business men are facing.

Recent comments(by expat professionals working in Melaka) during the Malacca Tourism Association AGM indicate poor maintenance and lack of branding and sustainability of interest amongst current tourism attractions in Melaka to be among the leading causes of people not spending or visiting these attractions.

Another is the lack of marketing towards Local Tourists and Repeat Customers (customer loyalty programmes). A senior marketer in the group commented that it is high time companies do cross marketing approach to garner better results from the marketing stand point.

One variable to take into consideration when approaching these "PERCEPTIONS about our local tourism industry" is that where local Tourism is concerned-tours and Tourist attraction outlets do not take into account the high costs related to group expenditure that local clients have to sustain in order to visit these low standard outlets (when compared to other tourist promotion attractions elsewhere in KL, Penang & Johor)

Analysing the customer spending data indicates that all of Malaysia's top tourism destinations recorded very low consumption and shopping expenses except KL. (I believe that is because in Kuala Lumpur, the maintenance aspect of their tourism products is still very "IMPRESSIVE" to the first time visitor -enough to make them become repeat customers)!

For example, in a recent visit to AFamosa Wild life show, we paid for 4 Adults and 2 Children in excess of RM 562/- (Inc. Fried rice, chic & one drink). With all the other expenses including photographs and souvenirs the total tally for our group was close to RM 1100/-.

I can tell you truthfully, what we saw did not impress us one bit. The whole area leading into the waiting area was run down and in particular the so called "TOURIST BUS" that helped transport us to the Tigers enclosure felt it was a pathetic attempt to just get our money and be done with us as the management just wasn't bothered with leaving good impressions on their paying customers.

With an average earning power of RM 1600/- per month for most Malaysians, how many local families can also afford to be repeat consumers to these types of Tourist Attractions?

In other situations, I've often heard of the father of the family complaining of paying upwards of RM 200/- just for the entrance to let their family members of 4-6 members enjoy some of our private tourists attractions.(also seen in the Upside-down House FB comment section,which makes that bit of information public knowledge! ) With the low level of Ringgit value, how many families can afford to spend this much on just entrance fees?

Tourist Attraction Operators need to spend more time giving consideration to lowering entrance or giving discounts fees for large families and groups, if they wish to tap the local tourist and enable returning customers.

It is high time we analyse our push towards creating a platform for higher Quality of Tourism Spending in assisting the Local & International Tourists to spend more to create Melaka as a profitable and sustainable Tourism state in Malaysia!!

Tourism Spending is pointed here in my writing,since tourism is seen by most, as part of service sector that is amongst the main contributor of our Malacca economy.

Holistically, In discussing Returns on Business Investment in Melaka, one must not exclude earnings from the other sectors, most importantly the Manufacturing and Oil & Gas downstream industries. 

In order to create a higher volume of middle class workers that can help sustain our local tourism industry (through repeat customer & loyalty programmes) the manufacturing base is highlighted as I feel it's a significant relation in creating newly empowered high income earners, which is mostly earned by locals (with the domination of workforce in industrial sector compared to service sector). In fact, industrial is growing and beneficial to more locals- I feel.

So holistically, we're basically discussing on how to attract high income citizens into the city centre and entrepreneurs to fill up all the empty retail shop lots, thus benefit locals with more jobs.

With the present turmoil in the world of finance, Now is the best time to plan into the future by planning to enhance the quality of living for city center citizens i.e. improving traffic infrastructure from Jalan Mata Kuching to Bandar Hilir and those heading towards Malacca Sentral.That route is horiible during any long holidays.

For goodness sake, after 15 years of being the most recognized touristic city in Malaysia, we still have uncovered drains along Jalan Mata Kuching heading into either Melaka Sentral or Melaka Raya. We are definitely not awalking friendly city!

The focus into the little, little things that makes this City better to the citizenry these days been very overlooked.  For example: Why has there been no attempt to introduce cheaper public travel facility into Malacca from the neighboring cities and towns? 

Trains are great at carrying these crowds into Malacca.

Specifically,targeting the amount of rich, bored youths and families in the surrounding smaller towns and cities (Gemas, Asahan,Muar, Tangkak, Batu Pahat,etc) are a basket treasure trove of opportunity for local business men to tap and market into!

We need to re-focus on the little things that will make this city into a thriving metropolis if we are to live up to the Chief Minister's call to raise the local citizenry into the 1 Million range. That will be the critical mass Malacca needs to break free from its current name of a “business only during the weekend city".

As a matter of fact, Malacca still does not have a straight forward link with KLIA in Sepang that is public friendly and cost friendly as it costs upwards of RM 100/- these days to travel to KLIA from Malacca in a cab.

On a more logistically related issue, (for the state), these are the perennial problems in Malacca:

  • The very bad traffic congestion in city center during Peak Holidays and weekends
  • lack of visible and available parking space within the city center.

Both are not good for tourist or investor

In the Long term, one way towards realizing solutions to these issues, my suggestion is that Malacca will need to be more industrialized on a larger scale.  We possibly need to create Malacca into an International Offshore Financial Centre for CBD modernization with modern attractions for tourists like more duty-free shopping paradise, invite brand name theme parks, & further assist the healthcare city concept to help increase tourism spending and arrest the currently declining (traditional) tourism industries.

I think Petronas & Honda is doing well in Malacca. Malacca can aim to be the latest GREEN TEAMED NEW FASHION, LOGISTICS and EDUCATIONAL HUB with Pulau Melaka as Malaysia's West Offshore Islamic and Financial center or perhaps assisting shopping mall developers turn their properties here into the largest duty-free shopping mall in the world.

Economic diversification is always good for long term growth.

We have noted that recently statistics from Statistic Department Malaysia shows Malacca FDI mostly went into manufacturing industries and not tourism sectors. As a result, Poor Maintenance is seen now by those in the tourism industry amongst the older attractions- as clearly, the service and lodging sectors contribution of GDP is not listed in the top of tourist spending stats.

So, for tourism growth to be on par with manufacturing sectors growth, some issues that need looking into include:

  • Attractions for high and middle class tourist (F.I.T)
  • Linking the use of our international airport to a Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT)-utilising the 3rd lane that is now being created along the Ayer Keroh Highway.
  • and linking the upcoming High Speed Rail stop to the BRT system into city centre,

I'm very supportive towards Malacca's development, especially when I read news that the government is going to develop a cruise industry(straits riviera), On a lighter note, I've always imagined in my mind big cruise ships stopping in Malacca before moving on to Penang as well as Langkawi etc.

These are some of what this writer thinks is necessary for Malacca to improve on before tourists would care to spend more with us.  In short, it is high time our planners change their Quantity over Quality outlook.

No point in bragging about number of visitors only if those numbers do not translate into sales.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

MTA's 33rd Annual General Meeting 2016

Today, we are proudly entering our thirty third Annual General Meeting of the Malacca Tourism Association. 
We recognize that tourism in Malacca is booming aggressively and look forward to playing a steering role in promoting our members ideals and business.
MTA is a representation that has the membership strength of more than 87 tourism
players, businesses and organizations in Malacca  which includes travel agents, hotels, theme parks, restaurants, and economic development agencies within the city’s 12 sub sectors that is involved in our Tourism Service and Industry. 

The 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Persatuan Pelancongan Negeri Melaka was held on Friday,  29th April, 2016 at 5.30 p.m. at Equatorial Hotel, Melaka

After another successful year, the Malacca Tourism Association (MTA)Executive Council members are again gearing up to continue their energetic support for the development of the state’s tourism industry in 2016/2018  
As the Malacca TA enters its early thirties, it is with much pride that we acknowledge the Malacca State government’s recognition of the association’s significant achievements in the promise of supporting & promoting our 753-year old historical city tourism efforts. 
At our 31st Annual General Meeting the keynote address given by Datuk Ghazale clearly stated the appreciation and recognition the Syaye has for our efforts .
The Tourism related and services sector business community in Melaka look forward to complementing our administrations plans and implementations for higher tourist numbers to visit our fair city.
We are geared towards a win –win situation in moving forward with the state in projecting Melaka as the key destination for tourism in Malaysia.” said Madelina Kuah, President Elect of MTA 2016/2018
The past, present and future efforts of our steering committee is always geared to assisting our members.

To enhance the Association’s professional and international image, MTA has established long term tourism cooperation relationship with many foreign tourism boards/ organizations in ASEAN  e.g  Thailand, Macao & Indonesia.
We submit our work relationship with the Ministry Of Tourism, Tourism Malaysia in the promotion and development of Melaka tourism is good and has helped our members at the association level.

Our association has also helped our members to participate in the state tourism departments travel fairs to create trading platform for the tourism industry peer’s and consumers to promote and enhance the association members business  in their respectively industries.

With the support and encouragements given to us so far & due supports from government agencies we, (through our members) shall further strengthen the influx of tourists to Melaka.  

The successful conduct of our 33rd AGM was followed by Dinner attended in full by all members.

Blog Archive



"Rojak " Video By The Suleiman Brothers

object width="425" height="344">

The Malacca Story (Chinese version)

with courtesy to asmaliana-BPP

The Malacca Story (part 2)

The Malacca Story (part 3)

With courtesy to Asmaliana-BPP