Monday, December 28, 2009

RM6m refurbishment, rebranding for Mint Hotel

Property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Mint Hotel, is now drafting a business plan to turn the hotel around

The three-star Mint Hotel along the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban highway will undergo a RM6 million refurbishment and rebranding programme and re-open by the first half of next year.

Property tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the owner of Mint Hotel, said he is now drafting a business plan to turn the hotel around, which had ceased operations since February 2005.

This follows the conclusion of Lee's acquisition of Mint Hotel from Ambank (M) Bhd for RM45 million, which Lee said was not voluntary.

A sales and purchase agreement was signed with the liquidator, Ernst & Young, in June this year, via his privately-held firm Lambang Raya Sdn Bhd.
"The hotel is not worth that much now. I am a victim. If i don't buy it, the bank will sue me. I will end up in a legal suit. I am caught because of the undertaking I had with the bank a few years ago," Lee, who is also the founder and executive chairman of Country Heights Holdings Bhd, told Business Times.

Property valuers have estimated Mint Hotel to be worth some RM23 million.

Ambank declined to comment.

The issue started when Jennico Associates Sdn Bhd, which is 50 per cent owned by Lee through Lambang Raya, was liquidated by a creditor in January 2000.

At that point, Jennico had already defaulted on a term loan of RM47 million granted by AmFinance Bhd in 1995, under the stewardship of Datuk Major (R) Zulkifli Abdul Mokti and KifliMokti Sdn Bhd, who owns the balance 50 per cent of the company.

Mint Hotel was then auctioned by Ernst & Young in 2005 and this attracted many bidders, including Lee, Lotus Family Group and Majestic Hotel.

They were keen to buy the 413-room hotel as it overlooks the Selangor Turf Club race course and is close to the Mines Exhibition Centre, Mines Wonderland, the Mines shopping mall and a golf course.

Business Times reported in August 2006 that Lotus won the bid to buy the hotel.

But a tussle broke as Lee claimed he was the rightful owner of the property.

According to Lee, he had submitted a bid for RM55 million for the hotel in October 2005 after being advised by AmBank, and a 5 per cent, or RM2.75 million, deposit was made to Ernst & Young.

Lee said his bid was based on a letter of undertaking he signed with Ambank in October 1995 stating that he will buy the hotel for RM55 million in the event of default of a loan taken by Jennico.

Source : BusinessTimes
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Naza plans 5 new hotels in KL

The Naza group plans to invest some RM780 million to open five new hotels in Kuala Lumpur over the next two to six years.

It is looking at opening three three-star category hotels under the Naza Talyya name in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle.

The remaining two will be five-star properties; one scheduled for opening at its Platinum Park development next to the Petronas Twin Towers and another near the proposed Matrade Centre on Jalan Kuching.

Naza Hotel Management Sdn Bhd director Nur Nadia SM Nasimuddin said that investment in each of the three-star properties could be between RM50 million and RM60 million.

She was speaking to reporters after the launch of Naza Talyya's newly-refurbished hotels in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd group managing director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin said the hotel to support the proposed exhibition centre could cost some RM300million.

"It will be ready at the same time as the Matrade Centre in 2014," he told Business Times.

As for the hotel building at Platinum Park, he estimates that it too could cost RM300 million for a 350-room hotel.

It is looking for a foreign operator to manage this hotel, which is slated for completion in 2014/2015.

It is open to foreign investors pumping money into the project.

The Naza group now operates three hotels in Penang, Johor and Malacca under its Naza Talyya brand name.

The name "Talyya" means bloom or blooming in Arabic.

Source : NST
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MAS bags best maintenance award

Malaysia Airlines Engineering & Maintenance (E&M) Division has been awarded the 2009 Best Asia-Pacific Airline MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) Operation Award by Aviation Week and Overhaul & Maintenance, two of the industry's leading magazines.

The MRO Asia Awards programme is intended to honour companies operating in the Asia-Pacific region for excellence in aviation and aerospace aftermarket operations.

This is the second award won this year, attesting to MAS E&M's creditable reputation in the marketplace. Earlier this year, MAS E&M was selected as the 2009 Asia-Pacific Airframe MRO of The Year by Frost & Sullivan, Singapore.

Malaysia Airlines senior general manager (E&M) Mohd Roslan Ismail said: “We are delighted to receive this award which is testament to the team's focus on quality, safety and timely deliverables."
"Our customers are important to us and we are turning ourselves into a one-stop shop MRO that will meet their needs. With six Hangars offering 24 maintenance bays that can accommodate even A380 aircraft, we are able to offer maintenance service support for all aircraft type and size," he said in a statement today.

MAS E&M is transforming into a subsidiary, Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn Bhd, in 2010.

Mohd Roslan said the company's vision is to be the preferred global MRO.

"To achieve this, we are developing new capabilities and diversifying our portfolio. We are also exploring strategic partnerships," he added.

To be at the forefront of new technologies, MAS E&M sealed two memoranda of understanding, one with Pratt & Whitney, USA, and the other, with KRAUSS GmbH Aviation Technologies, Germany, at the recent LIMA 2009.

It has also set up a JV MRO company with GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd in Hyderabad, India. Other partnerships include a JV company for the provision of MRO services for turboprop commercial aircraft with Alenia Aeronautica of Italy.

Source : NST
[tags : ] - New website for local delicacies

Tourists visiting Malaysia now have another source to check out popular and delectable local dishes.
Through the new website,, they will be able to find the
best outlets serving local cuisine.

Launching the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia website at PWTC yesterday, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the website was a platform for food recommendation.

She said the website would help tourists to savour the many rich and flavourful dishes in Malaysia.

By the end of January, a panel of judges from Tourism Malaysia will then choose 50 outlets for each of the chosen dishes and a commendation plaque will be awarded to those outlets.

The criteria to select the outlets will be based on taste, presentation, cleanliness, service and pricing of the food.

The chosen outlets from all over the country will be included in a Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Tracker which will be used to promote Malaysia globally.

Visit Now!

Source : NST
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

New MAS mobile booking system to bring RM2b savings

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) expects RM2 billion from both cost savings and and revenue over the 10-year period with the new Passenger Services System (PSS), which MH Mobile is a component of.
“With over RM480 million invested on the integrated platform over 10 years, MAS customers can enjoy seamless service delivery and a suit of new services,” managing director and chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin said.
The PSS component,, is the world’s most comprehensive mobile booking system.
Developed together with SITA Lab, it offers more choices and convenience for the airline’s 14 million passengers, allowing them to book, pay, check in and board flight using mobile phone.
It is also the first mobile airline application that connects bookings to Facebook, Triplt and Doppir, enabling friends and colleagues to be informed about each other’s travel plans.
Speaking to reporters after launching here, Azmil also said that MAS was projecting a 20-30 per cent participation in internet bookings compared with about four to five per cent before the PSS project started.
In terms of domestic bookings, about 50 per cent of customers presently used the internet to do so, he said.
In conjunction with the launch of, MAS will enter into a marketing partnership with Maxis Bhd as telco partner.
From Dec 8 to 31, customers who purchase a first class or business class ticket will receive a complimentary iPhone while economy class customers stand to win ten iPhones via lucky draw.

Source : TMI
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Sales At Shopping Complexes To Experience Growth This Year

Sales at all shopping complexes in Malaysia is expected to increase an average of seven to ten per cent this year from the three per cent recorded in 2008.

The president of the Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management, Joyce Yap said the reason behind the expectation, is the growth in consumer traffic flow nationwide which has seen an average of 12 to 15 per cent growth from last year.

Yap said the association was also aiming for a three to four per cent additional growth in sales, next year, from this year's figure.

She was speaking to reporters at the "Creativity Seminar", focusing on the five senses integral to keeping the shopping experience alive and exciting.

According to Yap, this year's sales forecast is based on the rise in promotions,campaigns and good co-ordination with the government, through the Ministry of Tourism.

She said no new openings of shopping complexes is planned for next year or by the end of this year.

Source : Bernama
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Dynasty Hotel goes through RM30mil upgrading work

AFTER 15 years in the service industry, Dynasty Hotel will be greeting its guests with a new look.
The hotel is undergoing a RM30mil upgrading work over three phases.
Under its executive director, Lim Soo Ka, the company has decided to refurbish the rooms, public areas and the food and beverage department.
“It has been a long time since we have had renovations.
“We want to attract new market segments especially from the Middle Eastern countries while maintaining our current India and China markets,” he added.
Lim said the management also saw this as an opportunity to add value to the customer’s stay in the hotel.
Welcome: Lim (left) and Tan are looking forward to rolling out the red carpet for guests.
Located in Jalan Ipoh, KL, the hotel is situated just a walking distance from the Putra World Trade Centre, LRT station and the monorail station.
The hotel has 788 rooms and the first phase of renovation began at 27 corporate floors and will end at the end of this month.
“We have removed the carpets and put tiles in its place and wooden flooring near the bed, the first floor involves 255 rooms in total,” added Lim.
The second phase is focused on the tower block and involves the same concept, however, there will be a difference between the corporate floors and the other markets.
As for the third phase, the management is looking at upgrading the hotel’s apartment suites, the two-bedroom and three-bedroom suites.
“We are planning to run a Home to Hotel Suites (H2HS) Programme where the suites will be offered to guests at a package price depending on the type of membership they choose to have,” added the recently appointed general manager Tan Jin Seng.
This package is aimed at frequent travellers who need accommodation while travelling.
A cosy place: The Executive Lounge serves tea and is a perfect place to enjoy a quiet afternoon.
This programme according to Lim would benefit clients as they will save on room rates.
Tourists and business travellers looking for a private and personalised experience can check in at the executive floors.
There is a private check-in counter and guests will receive a basket of fresh fruits and cookies.
The executive floors located at the 25, 26 and 27 also comes with a butler service and internet access coupled with a lounge serving afternoon cocktails and drinks.
The entire hotel will also have wi-fi service and each room will have environment-friendly merchandise.
“We have always been looking at energy-saving bulbs, we also have placed green messages inside the bathrooms to remind our guests to help save the environment,” added Lim.
The four food and beverage outlets will also see a revamp in menus with a concept called “preserving the traditional but know the new”.
He was also happy to add that Empress KL, an addition to the Empress Sepang, Grand Pacific and Dynasty Hotel both in KL, is set to be launched in the first quarter of next year.
It is a three-star, 20-storey hotel in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman is set to wow business travellers and budget travellers alike.

Source : STAR
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Health tourism generated RM299mil revenue in 2008

A total of 374,063 tourists visited Malaysia for health purposes last year which generated a revenue of RM299.1 mil, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.

She said in 1998, health tourists only numbered 39,114 and contributed RM14.1mil to the nation's coffers.
She said this when replying to questions from N.Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai) and Datuk Ismail Kassim (BNArau) in the Dewan Rakyat Wednesday.

Rosnah said some 35 private hospitals offered services in health tourism and that the Health Ministry was working together with the private sector to make Malaysia a centre of excellence for health tourism.

As to migration of health specialists from the government sector to the private sector because of the growing health tourism industry, she said it had been on a downward trend the last two years with the rate of health practitioners leaving at 2.4 percent compared to 5.1 percent in 2003.
She added that the ministry encouraged hospitals involved in the health tourism industry to obtain the needed accreditations, both local and international, among them from Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) and Joint Commission International (JCI).

Source : STAR
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World's Top 20 Business Hotels

World's top 20 business hotels
SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Hotels that combine service, technology and comfort have topped a list of the world's best business hotels with the winners offering their guests those added extras that can make all the difference to a trip.

Readers of travel magazine Travel + Leisure ranked hotels on a list of services and amenities to come up with their 20 top business hotels, part of the publication's annual World's Best survey.

Some offered free Internet access and a 24-hour business centre, some had rooftop pools, while one had an award-winning Gordon Ramsay restaurant. Free parking was also a plus.

Boston's The Eliot had touch-screen monitors for guests to order room service and print boarding passes. The Peninsula Hong Kong transported one guest in a Rolls Royce and treated her to tea upon arrival.

This list is not endorsed by Reuters. :

1. Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires (top photo)
2. Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei

3. St. Regis, Shanghai
4. XV Beacon, Boston
5. Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
6. The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood
7. Eliot Hotel, Boston
8. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
9. Sofitel Shanghai Jin Jiang Oriental Pudong, Shangai
10. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

11. Peninsula Hong Kong, Hong Kong
12. Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai

13. Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas, Dallas
14. Intercontinental Buckhead, Atlanta
15. St Regis, Beijing
16. Peninsula Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills
17. Mandarin Oriental, New York

18. Conrad Centennial, Singapore
19. Four Seasons Hotel, Buenos Aires
20. Ritz-Carlton Central Park, New York

Source : AsiaOne
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Malaysia Legoland to open in April 2012

A LEGOLAND theme park will open in Malaysia's south in 2012 at a cost of RM700 million (S$286 million), one year earlier than scheduled, developers said on Thursday.

Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) president and chief executive officer Arlida Ariff said the theme park covering 26 hectares in Johor state is now slated to open in April 2012.

'The selection of Legoland is very deliberate. The (planned) theme park in Singapore by Universal Studios is for young adults. Our is for families. It will be complementary rather than competition,' she told AFP.

The Malaysian attraction will be the first Legoland in Asia.

IIB is an investment holding company linked to the 17.7 billion ringgit Iskandar Development Region (IDR), a major infrastructure project in Johor. 

Source : NST
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More than two million visitors came into the country via the state in October this year, an increase of 14.35% compared to last year.

State Tourism and Domestic Trade Committee chairman Hoo Seong Chang said that 1.82 million people had entered the country last year.

“Johor receives more visitors from Singapore and Indonesia than any other state in the country,” he said.

Hoo said the state’s main advantage was its proximity to the two countries and its location as the southern gateway to Malaysia.
 “Despite challenges such as Influenza A (H1N1) and the economic downturn, tourism has not been affected much,” he said.
Hoo said that tourists from China were the third-largest group after the Singaporeans and Indonesian.
He was speaking at a press conference after launching the Malaysia Year End Sale here on Nov 22.
Hoo said the Tourism Ministry had always recognised the importance of shopping in developing the tourism industry and contributing to the country’s revenue.
“Shopping is the second-biggest source of revenue after accommodation, contributing RM13.3mil last year compared to RM12.3mil in 2007.
“The event is part of the Tourism Ministry and Tourism Malaysia’s marketing strategy to position Malaysia as an international shopping destination,” he said.
Hoo added that the event would increase tourist arrivals and boost revenue and urged retailers and tourist guides to co-operate with agencies such as Tourism Malaysia and Johor Tourism Action Council.

“There are more than 47 shopping complexes and hypermarkets in the city, proving that it is a shopping haven. The retail industry in Johor reflects what consumers expect in terms of standards, value for money and the shopping experience,” he said.

Hoo added that Singaporeans enjoyed paying 50% less compared to shopping in their own country due to the favourable exchange rate.

He said the state had organised and supported world-class activities in Johor to increase tourist arrivals. “These events include the International Kite Festival, Desaru Pengerang International Trai-thlon, Johor-Singapore Second Link Bridge Run, Johor Baru International Orchid Festival, FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the upcoming 10th World Scrabble Championship,” he said.

Source : STAR
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KLIA Ekspres, Amadeus Sign Partnership Deal

Travel and tourism firm, Amadeus, has signed a partnership deal with KLIA Ekspres to allow travel agencies to book the train service via its distribution solution.

KLIA Ekspres, a train service that connects the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with the city centre, would now be available to more than 102,000 travel agents in 219 markets through Amadeus Airport Express.

In a statement, Amadeus Asia Pacific president, David Brett, said the rail was an increasingly common mode of transportation in many countries in the region.

"High-speed rail services are also growing rapidly as a convenient option for business travel," he said.

He said offering travellers the ability to book rail transport in addition to their airline tickets would help rail providers increase passenger bookings and help travel agencies to add value.

The addition of KLIA Ekspres further expands Amadeus's service which already features Heathrow Express (London), Arlanda Express (Stockholm) and Friendly Airport Limousine service at Narita Airport (Tokyo).

Source : BERNAMA
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Malaysia Year-end Sale To Continue, Says Tourism Minister

The Malaysia Year-End Sale introduced by the Tourism Ministry to boost the country's tourism industry and economy will be continued in the coming years.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the programme was part of the government's initiative to make Malaysia a major international shopping destination.

"Realising the success of the nationwide mega sale carnivals previously which had boosted our retail trade and tourism industry, the government wants the Malaysia Year-End Sale to continue in the coming years," she said when launching the "Magnifique Christmas" programme at Sunway Pyramid in Bandar Sunway, near here, Monday.

Dr Ng said tourists should realise that "shopping in Malaysia is worth it because of the reasonable prices of goods compared to other places as many are duty-free".

In conjunction with Sunway Pyramid's Christmas-themed year-end sale this time, shoppers who spend at least RM250 (RM200 for American Express cardholders) in two receipts (maximum) can redeem two complimentary Sunway Lagoon Nite Park tickets.

The Malaysia Year-End Sale from Nov 23, 2009 to Jan 3, 2010 nationwide sees several shopping complexes like Pavilion, Suria KLCC and Mid Valley Mega Mall having special themes to attract shoppers.

Source : Bernama
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