Wednesday, November 9, 2011

MELAKA AIR MAIDEN FLIGHT ON 11.11AM ON 11.11.11

A milestone for humble airfield
2011/11/10

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After celebrating 500 years of Portuguese culture recently, Malacca is looking to create excitement on a new front tomorrow, at 11.11am, to be precise. JASON GERALD JOHN reports

11.11AM on 11-11 is the scheduled time and date of departure for Melaka Air’s maiden flight to Medan. The flight will depart for Medan via Penang from Melaka International Airport (MIA) where a RM131 million runway extension was completed last year.


Aligning numbers is just one component of a sound business strategy.


Around 70,000 foreigners seek medical treatment in Malacca annually, and the state economic planners are all for flying them into the state directly without having to go through Kuala Lumpur International Airport or the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang, Selangor.

And the number is just 0.1 per cent of the seven million middle-class population in Sumatra, Indonesia.


“With the new Melaka International Airport, we hope more patients from Sumatra will come here,” said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.


The airport was formerly known as Batu Berendam Airport.

Emphasising the Sumatra angle, four of the seven Melaka Air des - tinations are on the Indonesian island — Medan, Pekan Baru, Padang and Palembang.


The others are Penang and Kota Baru in Malaysia, and Hat Yai in Thailand.


Melaka Air is a joint-venture between Kuala Lumpur-based NN Flyers and the state-owned Melaka Foundation, with a paid-up capital of RM20 million.

The sole airline using the airport until now was Wings Air, which had been operating three weekly flights from Pekan Baru to Malacca since last year.


The airport handled 21,687 passengers last year. According to Wings Air representative Ridho Kosasih, around 80 per cent of the passengers travelling on his airline that year were Indonesians seeking medical treatment in the historical city.


Melaka Air will be using AT R - 7 2 turboprops, which are loaned from FireFly at a cost of US$190,000 (RM570,000).


Malacca, which is listed as a United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage City, saw the arrival of 10.4 million tourists last year. This figure is expected to jump to 11 million by year-end.


Tunku’s historic arrival THE airport in Malacca is wellknown for receiving histor ic flights.


Fifty-five years ago, on Feb 20, 1956, the Merdeka Mission led by Tunku Abdul Rahman landed at Batu Berendam Airport (now renamed Melaka International Airport).

They had just arrived from London via Singapore, and a teeming crowd had gathered at Banda Hilir to listen to Tunku’s historic announcement.


Tunku, travelling from the airport in a Morris Minor, later announced that the Merdeka Agreement had been signed on Feb 8, 1956, and that the country would achieve independence on Aug 31, 1957, to shouts of Merdeka from the crowd.

Read more: A milestone for humble airfield http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Amilestoneforhumbleairfield/Article#ixzz1dGqCZl00

CRUISING DOWN VENICE OF THE EAST

Go: Cruising down Venice of the East
2011/11/09
PHILIP LIM
traveltimes@nstp.com.my
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The history of Malacca is about 700 years, perhaps older. PHILIP LIM goes on a river cruise and enjoys vistas of the ancient and modern

IF you are new to Malacca, one of the most pleasant ways of getting acquainted with the Unesco World Heritage Site (since 2008) is to take a river cruise.

I have been an absentee local visitor for the past 11 years. So a revisit to the city was long overdue. A friend told me that one of the nicest attractions in Malacca at present is to board a boat from the Quayside Heritage Centre and take a 45-minute cruise of Malacca River.


Much has happened in the years between the time when the river was an eyesore and it’s in fairly pristine condition now.

It has been about six years since the Malacca River was given a makeover and its murky waters had been treated and rendered visually presentable. The river boat jetty took about two years to complete.

A la Venice

The time spent on the boat is equivalent to a cruise along any of the big rivers in Europe. It is not a coincidence that Malacca in its golden era was nicknamed the Venice of the East.

The only difference is the temperature. The Malaysian weather on the day of our river boat trip is almost perfect.

The sky is a clear blue with only traces of clouds drifting above. There’s a gentle wind which caresses our cheeks as the boat skims the surface of the calm waters.

At last count, there are 26 river boats cruising the Malacca River ferrying passengers across a distance of about nine kilometres. These fibreglass boats are capable of sailing beneath the numerous bridges even at high tides.

At its lowest, the tide is still 0.8 metres which is manageable by the river boats.

A visual count during the river cruise reveals the presence of eight bridges.

They are Tan Kim Seng, Chan Koon Cheng (Ghostbridge of Malacca), Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Kampung Jawa, Kampung Morten, Old Bus Station and Pasar.

The river route has been deliberately designed and engineered for visitors to catch glimpses of river bank flower gardens, a Malay kampung, a windmill, a fort and the Christ Church of Malacca.

Excited cruisers
With us on the boat tour is a family of 10 tourists. They are quite enthusiastic and animated vocally at the novelty of seeing so many unfamiliar scenes outside their country.

Their loud conversations in Cantonese only add to the merriment of the occasion. At one stage of the cruise, the boatman spots a 150cm long monitor lizard lazing on a mangrove branch near the water edge.

One woman loudly exclaims in Cantonese: “This is so big, not even a family of 10 can finish it on the dining table!”

Those of us who understand her can only smile nervously. There are two young Caucasian women on board the boat as well. It would have been interesting to watch their reaction if they had understood the comment.

As far as I am concerned, it is the monitor lizard’s lucky day. It could have been born in another country, lived on another river and might have suffered the unfortunate fate of being the main course on a distant family’s evening menu.

A therapy of sort
The last boat ride ends around 11.30pm. A night cruise along the river is an exhilarating experience altogether because passengers can soak in the sights and sounds of a nocturnal Malacca.

Many of the trees lining the river cruise route are decorated with lights and the old buildings and ancient structures exude an aura that tell of bygone days that once made the city one of the busiest trading ports for hundreds of years.

The human body is susceptible to the lull of lapping waves and the concrete attractions by the river side at every turn and corner give your entire being a sense of high.

The Malacca River cruise is scheduled at a 30-minute interval beginning from 9.30am. Adult fare is RM10 and for children below 12 years, it is RM5. If you are organising a group tour, the Malacca River Cruise office can make arrangements for RM100 per boat.

Call 06-281 7322.

Fast Facts
Before the 15th Century, Malacca was just an ordinary fishing village. It began to flourish under the reign of Iskandar Shah (Parameswara). Before long, Arab traders began to call on the port city.

In the mid-15th Century, Chinese Muslim Admiral Cheng Ho paid a courtesy call on Malacca. According to historical records, Malacca soon became a vassal State of Ming China.

In 1511, the Portuguese seized Malacca and brought it under their control. One hundred thirty years would pass before the Dutch mounted an attack on Malacca and ousted the Portuguese. The year 1641 marked the beginning of the Dutch rule.

For the next 150 years, the Dutch presence in Malacca was supreme. In 1795, Holland (Netherlands) was conquered by the French and consequently the Dutch lost control of Malacca.

The Dutch absence was soon replaced by the British who took over after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

Malacca was first governed by the British East India Company. It was only later that it became a British Crown Colony. Together with Singapore and Penang, Malacca became part of the British Straits Settlements.

Read more: Go: Cruising down Venice of the East http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Go_CruisingdownVeniceoftheEast/Article#ixzz1dGni1IT6

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

MelakaKAD LAUNCHED

Melaka launches MelakaKAD for tourist spots
Posted on November 8, 2011, Tuesday

MELAKA:  Melaka has launched the MelakaKAD, an electronic card that will enable residents and tourists to make payments at tourist spots in Ayer Keroh and Bandar Hilir.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said tourists, who use the facility, would enjoy a first class service.

He said the MelakaKAD could be obtained from a minimum deposit of RM10 up to RM2,000 by producing MyKad or passport at the Taming Sari Tower Tourist Information Centre, the Taming River Cruise office and the Melaka Planetarium.

“Cardholders could redeem the cash balance or top it up,” he told reporters after launching the MelakaKAD here recently.

The card, which used smart chip technology, would be accepted for payments of about 130 bills using the MEPCASH account through PosOnline at www.posonline.com.my. — Bernama