Monday, October 27, 2014

WS at the Star Property Fair 2014 (23-26/10/14)

This year, the fair was held at Queensbay Mall for a change. The decision of choosing this premier lifestyle mall as the venue was clear - the ever-present crowd even on weekdays.

As with all property fairs, the various booths of properties developers provide a wide choice for the crowd to visit and patronize. Despite the competition, Woodsbury Suites managed to hold up well against the rest of the exhibitors. The Urban X-scape concept was well-received and still drawing in the crowd.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

HP to invest RM1b in Penang

A man looking at HP computers in an electronics store in Tokyo. HP is expected to acquire a property estimated to be about 20.2ha in Batu Kawan, Penang, to set up its new plant. - EPA
A man looking at HP computers in an electronics store in Tokyo. HP is expected to acquire a property estimated to be about 20.2ha in Batu Kawan, Penang, to set up its new plant. - EPA

GEORGE TOWN: Hewlett-Packard (HP) will invest over RM1bil to set up a manufacturing facility to produce printer heads for high-speed inkjet printers. Sources in the electronic industry told StarBiz that HP would sign a deal with the state government by the end of this month to acquire a property estimated to be about 20.2ha in Batu Kawan, Penang, to set up the plant, which would produce the integrated circuit die – used in the head of high-speed inkjet printers – with imported wafer. 

It is learned that the plant would engage over 1,000 workers and generate outsourcing jobs particularly for the local small and medium enterprises involved in precision tooling and metal fabrication businesses. The plant is in line with HP’s plan to open a new graphics solution centre of excellence and expand its ink manufacturing facility in Singapore, which is scheduled to open next year. 

In June, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Penang could expect another wave of investments from HP and Seagate in the manufacturing sector soon. Lim had also said the multinational corporations (MNCs) would be enhancing their investments in the state.

In August, Lim said the US MNC Seagate would invest RM1.05bil in Penang. Seagate, which manufactures hard disks and provides data storage solutions, would purchase 40 acres (16.18ha) with the option to purchase another 30 acres (12.14ha) at the Batu Kawan Industrial Park. HP’s recent split into two companies will have no impact on the decision to set up a manufacturing facility in Batu Kawan, according to a source. HP recently confirmed its plans to split into two companies – one to focus on personal computer and printer business and the other on enterprise services, which is a faster growing segment.

The Star Online
Thursday, 9 October 2014 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

World's top 18 foodie cities

Square of the Bourse, Bordeaux. Picture: ThinkStock
Square of the Bourse, Bordeaux. Picture: ThinkStock Source: ThinkStock

IF you’re anything like me, part of the joy of travel is experiencing the food of other cultures. 
I’ll never forget touring Japan with a busload of Singaporeans — every single restaurant on the itinerary was Chinese. I kept wanting to wail “why???” But it wouldn’t have done me any good, as the tour guide only spoke Cantonese. The food and travel website Thrillist has released its guide to The World’s 18 Best Food cities. The criteria: “uniqueness of traditional food/drink style, quality of restaurants/bars, diversity of cuisines, and also, for the most part, a feeling that it is changing and improving.”
La Tupina restaurant in Bordeaux, France.
La Tupina restaurant in Bordeaux, France. Source: Supplied

Top of the list was Bordeaux, France, with Thrillist raving: “While Paris rested on its buttery laurels, Bordeaux, the place you always knew for its wines, silently rose to be the more interesting food destination for France and, we think, the world.”
Movida restaurant in Hositer Lane, Melbourne.
Moida restaurant in Hoster Lane, Melbourne. Source: News Corp Australia

The only Aussie city on the list is Melbourne, with the authors noting: “If Sydney is the New York City of Australia, Melbourne is basically a less hilly San Francisco: smaller, a little more Victorian in its stylings, with an impressive food scene to match. Though famous chefs from all over the world have opened outposts in Sydney (see: David Chang), Melbourne’s scene happened more organically with chefs that came up there, as evidenced by now-ultra-famous toques like Frank Camorra of the MoVida empire, and Andrew McConnell of Cumulus, who turned laneway (like alleys, but much cooler sounding) dining into something more hep, less sketchy. Their Italian immigrant population created a formidable cafe scene (check out Cafe Di Stasio, the old standby Caffe e Cucina, newer moves like Twenty & Six Espresso).”

1. Bordeaux, France
Must-try: duck confit at La Tupina; entrecote at Brasserie Bordelaise; fresh seafood at Bistro Le Petit Commerce; and the oyster and sausage plate at Chez Phillipe.
Duck confit at La Tupina.
Duck confit at La Tupina. Source: Facebook

2. Bologna, Italy
Must try: pasta at All’Osteria Bottega; mortadella and fresh cheeses in Mercato di Mezzo.
3. Mumbai, India
Must-try: the street chaat foods, like pani or bhelpuri; a mutton Frankie at Tibbs Frankie.
4. London, England
Must-try: Meat Fruit at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal; steak at Hawksmoor; any protein at St John; lunch at Borough Market; a tasting menu from Gordon Ramsay.
5. New York, United States
Must-try: a slice of pizza on the street; a Reuben at a Jewish deli.
6. Marrakesh, Morocco
Must try: good khobz; roast lamb Mechoui style; cod tagine at Bô-Zin.
7. Cartagena, Colombia
Must try: fritos; oysters and cholados on the beach; ceviche at the Malagana Cafe in Getsemani.
8. Istanbul, Turkey
Must-try: a sebzeli kebab at Zubeyir; baklava from Diyar Burma; a meal at Ciya Sofrasi.
9. Tokyo, Japan
Must-try: sushi at Tsukiji fish market; tsukemen (dipping noodles) at Rokurinsha
10. Barcelona, Spain
Must-try: Dos Palillos, which blends tapas with Asian influences; jamón Ibérica at La Boqueria; former elBulli wunderkinds’ Ferran and Alberto Adrià’s new ventures, Tickets and Bodega 1900.
11. Hong Kong, China
Must try: steamed flower crab at The Chairman; BBQ pork buns at Island Tang or Tim Ho Wan;
12. Copenhagen, Denmark
Must-try: smørrebrød from Aamanns; Døp’s hot dogs; Noma.
13. Montreal, Canada
Must try: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon; a bagel from St-Viateur or Fairmount; Schwartz’s Special at Schwartz’s Deli.
14. New Orleans, United States
Must-try: a po’boy at Domilise’s; a Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar; lunch at Galatoire’s.
15. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Must-try: parillas at Don Julio; empanadas at Peron Peron; choripan sandwiches from a street stall.
16. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Must-try: a breakfast banh mi with fried egg; bun that nuong; soft-shelled crab at Cųc Gąch Quán in District 1.
17. Melbourne, Australia
Must-try: Wagyu beef tartars at MoVida; chilli baked mussels at Cumulus.
18. Penang, Malaysia
Must-try: Ong Cheng Huat Seafood’s garlic steamed red snapper; “hawker foods” such as pan mee or assam laksa.

To get the full rundown on the World’s 18 Best Food cities, click here.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten on a holiday?
Friday, October 10 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Home sweet home for young couples

A NEW Youth Housing Scheme has been set up by the Government to help young couples, whose household income does not exceed RM10,000, buy their first home. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the maximum 35-year loan offered a funding limit not exceeding RM500,000 for married youth, aged between 25 and 40 years old.

“The Government will provide monthly financial assistance of RM200 to borrowers for the first two years to reduce the burden of monthly instalments,” he said. Najib described the scheme as a smart partnership between the Government, Bank Simpanan Nasional, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Cagamas. The Government will also give a 50% stamp duty exemption on the instrument of transfer and loan agreements, as well as 10% loan guarantee to enable borrowers to obtain full financing, including cost of insurance. Borrowers can also withdraw from their EPF Account 2 to top up their monthly instalment and other related costs.

“I urge the youth to grab this opportunity which is offered on first-come-first-served basis for 20,000 units only,” he said. To address the issue of home ow­­nership at affordable prices, RM1.3bil will be allocated to build 80,000 units under the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA). To enable more people to own houses, under the scheme, the cei­ling of household income has been raised from RM8,000 to RM10,000. “In addition, a Rent-To-Own Scheme will be introduced specifically for individuals who are unable to obtain bank financing,” he said. RM644mil will be allocated to the National Housing Department (JPN) to build 26,000 units under the People’s Housing Programme (PPR).

He said Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) would build 12,000 units of Rumah Mesra Rakyat, 5,000 units of Rumah Idaman Rakyat and 20,000 units of Rumah Aspirasi Rakyat on privately-owned land. For first-time house buyers, the Government has agreed to extend the 50% stamp duty exemption and increase the purchase limit from RM400,000 to RM500,000. Exemption will be given until Dec 31, 2016.
The minimum eligibility for hou­sing loans will be increased from RM80,000 to RM120,000 while the maximum eligibility limit will be increased from RM450,000 to RM600,000. The RM100 application processing fee for housing loan will be abo­lished.

The Government will improve the1Malaysia Civil Servants’ Housing (PPA1M) by reducing the minimum price of houses currently at RM150,000 to RM90,000 per unit. He added that the qualifying requirement of household income for this would be increased from RM8,000 to RM10,000 per month. 

The Star Online
Saturday, 11 October 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Green light for transport hub

MALAYSIAN Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) has received the nod from the Penang authorities to proceed with construction of the much-awaited transport terminal in the Penang Sentral project. The RM230 million terminal forms the first phase of the RM2.3 billion integrated Penang Sentral project in Butterworth and is targeted for completion by the end of 2017. 

The terminal will be sited on 2.83ha and will connect Penang’s ferry, bus, rail and taxi services, with infrastructure also in place for any other potential public transport service. “MRCB obtained the development order and building plan approval last month,” said a source, adding that test piling works are being carried out at the project site. It is learnt that a new temporary bus terminal will be ready by the end of next month to replace the existing one, which will be demolished to facilitate construction work.

Penang Sentral, launched in 2007, is designed to be a mixed-use commercial development and the largest integrated transport hub in the northern region. It is being developed by MRCB arm Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd. Subsequent phases will include residential and commercial units, including a hotel and shopping mall.

The terminal is expected to accommodate 180,000 commuters daily, although the first two years of its opening will likely only see about 80,000 commuters a day. “MRCB will ensure that the transport terminal is completed before it proceeds with its commercial activities,” added the source.

New Straits Times
29 September 2014