Isnin, 31 Disember 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Top Afghan negotiator cautiously optimistic on peace prospects

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 07:54 PM PST

KABUL (Reuters) - One of Afghanistan's top peace negotiators said he was cautiously optimistic about prospects for reconciliation with the Taliban and that all sides now realised a military solution to the war was not possible.

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai also told Reuters that the Kabul government hoped to transform the Afghan Taliban into a political movement. He predicted the highly lethal Haqqani militant network would join the peace process if the Afghan Taliban started formal talks.

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview in Kabul December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview in Kabul December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Signs are emerging that the Afghan government is gaining momentum in its drive to persuade the Taliban to lay down their arms before most NATO combat troops pull out by the end of 2014, a timeline that makes many Afghans nervous.

Pakistan, long accused of supporting Afghan insurgents such as the Taliban, has sent the strongest signals yet that it will deliver on promises of helping the Kabul government and the United States bring stability to its neighbour.

Stanekzai, also a close aide to President Hamid Karzai, expressed cautious optimism about prospects for peace.

Members of the Afghan government, the Taliban and some of its old enemies in the Northern Alliance discussed ways of easing the conflict during a recent meeting in France.

"I think one consensus was that everybody acknowledged that nobody will win by military (means). Everybody acknowledged that we have to enter into a meaningful negotiation," he said in a rare interview.

(Reporting by Michael Georgy and Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Top Afghan negotiator cautiously optimistic on peace prospects

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 07:39 PM PST

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview in Kabul December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai speaks during an interview in Kabul December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

KABUL (Reuters) - One of Afghanistan's top peace negotiators said he was cautiously optimistic about prospects for reconciliation with the Taliban and that all sides now realised a military solution to the war was not possible.

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai also told Reuters that the Kabul government hoped to transform the Afghan Taliban into a political movement. He predicted the highly lethal Haqqani militant network would join the peace process if the Afghan Taliban started formal peace talks.

(Reporting by Michael Georgy and Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

U.N. chief names East Timor's Ramos-Horta envoy to Guinea-Bissau

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 06:51 PM PST

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday named Nobel Peace prize laureate and former president of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, as his special representative to Guinea-Bissau, a West African nation that has become a narcotics hub.

Ramos-Horta will assume the post once the current envoy in Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba of Rwanda, completes his term on January 31, 2013, the United Nations said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers his speech during a session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva September 10, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Cocaine trafficking through drug hub Guinea-Bissau is spreading unabated amid turmoil sparked by an April military coup that has slashed the country's key cashew crop and almost halved its economic growth, the United Nations said in a report to the U.N. Security Council earlier this year.

Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt in 2008. He shared the Nobel prize in 1996 for working toward a peaceful solution to the East Timor conflict and his key role in the country's movement for independence from Indonesia.

Ramos-Horta was president of East Timor from 2007 to 2012. He lost a re-election bid earlier this year.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Todd Eastham)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'Blessed' Kardashian announces baby with Kanye West

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 04:34 PM PST

LOS ANGELES - US reality television star Kim Kardashian is expecting a baby with her boyfriend rapper Kanye West, she announced Monday, saying she was "blessed."

"It's true!! Kanye and I are expecting a baby," she wrote in a blog post entitled "New Year, New Beginnings," as global celebrations were under way to ring in 2013.

"We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us," added the 32-year-old.

"Looking forward to great new beginnings in 2013 and to starting a family. Happy New Year!!! Xo," wrote Kardashian, who announced in March that she and West were dating.

The news was first reported by the website E! News, which said 35-year-old West announced it at a show in Atlantic City on Sunday night.

The rapper was singing "Runaway" when he broke into a freestyle ballad with the words "and now she's having my baby," according to People magazine, which said the crowd of 5,000 broke into cheers.

On the last song of the show, "Lost in the World," he cut the music and asked his fans to applaud for his baby mama, said the celebrity bible.

Kardashian's family took to Twitter to welcome the news.

"Oh BABY BABY BABY!!" wrote her mother Kris Jenner, while sister Kourtney added: "Been wanting to shout from the rooftops with joy and now I can!

Another angel to welcome to our family. Overwhelmed with excitement!"

Kardashian married professional basketball player Kris Humphries in August 2011, but they split shortly afterward, although their divorce has not been finalized. - AFP

A fabulous start

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 02:46 AM PST

Look gorgeous and feel great this January with Li.

WANT a fresh look for the new year? Li (Astro Ch 728) has some exciting new programmes this month to help you look better than ever.

Beginning with Anatomy Of A Closet, this all-new series helps viewers understand the history behind our simple, everyday apparels, and perhaps, ease our daily dilemma: What to wear?

Once you're looking good, Emily Henderson from Secrets From A Stylist makes sure your homes look just as good, too, teaching viewers to incorporate their personal style into their home decor.

Of course, when it comes to redecorating homes, none can compare to design expert Nate Berkus. Learn new tips and tricks to better your home in the returning season of The Nate Berkus Show.

So what are you waiting for? Mark your calendars, get your notepads ready and say goodbye to the old you!

El Bulli: The Last Waltz (Jan 1, 9pm): One of the most iconic restaurants in the world – El Bulli – is the focus of this one-hour documentary.

It chronicles the last dinner served at the small yet famous three-Michelin-star restaurant in Spain before it closed its doors on July 30, 2011.

With 30 years of culinary experience, El Bulli's head chef Ferran Adria leads a group of top chefs, all of whom had worked at El Bulli at some point in their careers, to serve a spectacular final serving of dinner at the restaurant.

The Nate Berkus Show (Jan 2, 10.30pm): Who doesn't love Nate Berkus? The quirky and charming design expert is back with brand new episodes filled with the best design tips while keeping audiences upbeat with entertaining topics.

Secrets From A Stylist (Jan 5, 9.30pm): Getting confused looking for the best suit decorations and design concepts? Worry no more as Secrets From A Stylist makes its debut in Asia!

Learn from stylist Emily Henderson as she conducts her very own "style diagnostic" with homeowners to discover the secrets to designing and creating the perfect home.

Anatomy of A Closet (Jan 5, 11pm): Think the garments you stuffed in your wardrobe are just simple and common? Well, look again.

Anatomy Of A Closet explores the history of 10 iconic fashion items that can be found in our closets. Learn the unbelievable discovery of the short history of modern fashion hidden in your wardrobe!

Future shows

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 02:27 AM PST

Here are five of the most anticipated TV shows for 2013.

For television junkies like me, 2012 has been a year of hits and misses.

Ringer, supposedly Sarah Michelle Gellar's highly-anticipated small-screen comeback, reminded me of the reason I never warmed up to Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the first place.

To make things worse, we had to say goodbye to the lovely ladies of Desperate Housewives and everyone's favourite obnoxious physician, Dr Gregory House, of the medical series House — both well-loved, long-running shows that ended after eight seasons.

Fortunately, we struck TV gold with fantasy-drama Once Upon A Time, about the town of Storybrooke whose inhabitants are really characters from fairy tales who have been banished there by the Evil Queen, with their memories wiped clean.

We had our share of thrillers, too, but no one played the guessing game better than psychological thriller Homeland, while the Glee-inspired musical Smash was, well, a smash hit.

The programme line-up for 2013 isn't looking too bad either. Here are my top five picks that are set to hit TV-land.

1 Arrow (Warner TV/HyppTV Ch 162 & Ntv7/Astro Ch 107)

The lowdown: Based on the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow, it's about wealthy, self-centred playboy Oliver Queen who decides to turn over a new leaf after being stranded on an island for five years.

Upon returning to civilisation, he vows to rid the city of crime and corruption with – you guessed it – bow and arrow.

The hook: It was my colleagues Indra and Mumtaj who recommended (to put it mildly) that I put this show on the list. But it's not hard to see why. There haven't been many comic superheroes adapted to the small screen since Smallville. Plus, it's fun to see Queen fight the bad guys of the modern world with his old-fashion weapon.

The who: Stephen Amell (Queen) will have tonnes of female fans (besides Indra and Mumtaj) after this, as he just oozes sex appeal with his signature green hoodie.

2 Nashville (beTV/Astro Ch 720)

The lowdown: Legendary country singer Rayna James is going through a career slump. Her record label suggests that she embarks on a tour with a young, spunky, bubble-gum smacking Juliette Barnes.

The hook: I have to admit, I'm biased with this choice. Being a huge fan of country music, I think watching Nashville will make one feel like a kid in a candy store. Each episode features original or cover songs that's jam-packed with all that country goodness!

The who: Hayden Panettiere can sing! And, perhaps owing to her role as a cheerleader in Heroes, she cranks the b**** dial so high up, it breaks the knob.

3 The Carrie Diaries (8TV/Astro Ch 708)

The lowdown: Based on Candace Bushnell's novel of the same name, The Carrie Diaries is a prequel to the highly successful Sex And The City. Young Carrie Bradshaw is in her final year of high school, dreaming of starting a writing career in New York.

The hook: We all know Carrie Bradshaw as the strong, sassy and fashionable career woman (thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker's portrayal). But it's nice to see her stripped of all that glamour and sophistication, leaving us with a down-to-earth, small-town girl trying to face the harsh realities of high school life.

The who: Fresh-faced Anna Sophia Robb looks too sweet for the role of the strong-willed Bradshaw. But then again, she packs a punch in Bridge To Terabithia.

4 The Apprentice Asia (AXN/Astro Ch 701)

The lowdown: Contestants from all over Asia compete in a series of challenges to vie for a chance to work with AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

The hook: Watching Asians at work, of course!

The who: Hosting the show is father of Malaysia's budget airline industry Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. It remains to be seen whether Fernandes can pull off Donald Trump's trademark line, "You're fired!"

5 A Gentleman's Dignity (Ntv7/Astro Ch 107)

The lowdown: Dubbed the male version of Sex And The City, this South Korean series explores the personal and professional lives of four forty-something friends.

The hook: It's going to be fun watching four guys gush about their love interests or have a heart-to-heart session about problems at work.

The who: "Jang Dong-gun!" I can almost hear fans screaming. Jang will play the Casanova character Dennis Kim in his long-awaited return to television drama.


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

NHL star Ovechkin and WTA's Kirilenko engaged

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 04:32 PM PST

LOS ANGELES - NHL star Alex Ovechkin used Twitter to trumpet his engagement to tennis star Maria Kirilenko on Monday, posting a picture of the Russian sports power couple.

"We are engaged!!!!!!" tweeted 27-year-old Ovechkin, a star for the NHL's Washington Capitals who is playing in his home country during the lockout that has idled the North American league and threatens to wipe out the entire season.

The accompanying photo showed the pair, both wearing skates, posing arm in arm on a patch of outdoor ice.

Kirilenko, who will turn 26 in January, is a five-time winner on the WTA Tour who has been ranked as high as 12th in the world.

The two have been dating since late last year, and Ovechkin was on hand in July at the All England Club when she reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time. - AFP

Mexican Olympic medalist shot in head

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 04:25 PM PST

MEXICO CITY: Noe Hernandez, a Mexican who won the silver medal in race walking at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, lost his left eye and was in serious condition Monday after being shot in the head in a bar, reports said.

Carlos Castillo Rangel, the surgeon who treated Hernandez, was quoted as saying that the 34-year-old ex-athlete was in "very serious" but stable condition after being hit in the left, frontal area of his head.

Hernandez was at the "Queen of Kings" nightclub in the central state of Mexico on Sunday when three gunmen burst in and shot at customers, killing two people and seriously wounding two others, the prosecutor's office said.

Hernandez, who serves as sports secretary for the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico state, underwent three surgeries after being struck by a 9mm bullet.

"The surgeries were successful, without any complications. We must wait and see his progress in intensive care," Castillo Rangel said.

Bars are often raided by gang members in Mexico, a nation beset by a drug war that has left more than 60,000 people dead in the past six years. -AFP

Zheng and Kuznetsova make early exits in Auckland

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 03:20 PM PST

AUCKLAND: Defending champion Zheng Jie crashed out in the first round of the ASB Classic women's tennis tournament yesterday, falling to rising American star Jamie Hampton 7-5, 6-1.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova was also sent packing on the opening day, beaten in a three-set marathon by Kiki Bertens of Holland.

Zheng Jie, seeded fourth in the tournament that serves as a warm-up to next month's Australian Open, raced to an early 3-0 lead in the opening set before Hampton fought back to level at 5-5.

The German-born American, who has soared up the rankings from 137 to 70 over the past year, then broke Zheng Jie in a love game before taking out the set with an ace in the following game.

The second set was all Hampton, as she used her strong cross-court forehand to dominate the more experienced Chinese in one hour 20 minutes.

In blustery conditions, the 21-year-old Bertens fought back from a set down to beat former world No. 2 Kuznetsova 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5.

Bertens, who has risen in the rankings from 184 to 63 during 2012, grew in confidence despite serving 10 double faults in the strong wind.

After losing the opening set tie-break in the 2'33:00 marathon, she held her concentration against the 28-year-old Russian veteran, who is making a comeback after a first-round knee injury at Wimbledon ended her 2012 season.

American Christina McHale was the second ranked player dumped out on the opening day, with the seventh seed losing in straight sets to France's Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-1.

Tournament top seed Agnieszka Radwanska has her opening match today against 2011 winner Greta Arn, who had to rely on the luck of the draw to make the field this year. — AFP


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Sentoria inks deals with Seriemas to develop RM1.8b resort city in Morib

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 05:10 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Property development and civil engineering company Sentoria Group Bhd has signed agreements with another property developer, Seriemas Development Sdn Bhd, to develop a RM1.8bil integrated resort city in Morib, Selangor.

This confirms StarBiz's report on Monday, which quoted a source as saying that Sentoria was set to enter a joint venture with a government-linked fund to develop the resort city. Seriemas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PNB Development Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Bhd a state investment institution.

In a statement, Sentoria said the proposed resort city would encompass 354 acres of land, of which 150 acres would be developed into an integrated theme park resort, while the remainder would be used for a mixed development of commercial and residential units.

Sentoria signed two agreements with Seriemas for the proposed project - a development rights agreement for the development of the integrated resort, and a joint venture agreement for the development of commercial and residential properties. The integrated resort, which is targeted for completion within five years, will comprise a resort and convention centre, a boutique hotel, a water theme park and a safari park.

"The development cost of the integrated resort together with land purchase is estimated to be RM190.3mil," Sentoria said.

It added that the mixed property development project is estimated to have a gross development value of RM1.6bil, spanning over an eight-year period," it added.

Sentoria said it intended to fund the development via internally-generated funds and/or bank borrowings.

If organisations want growth leadership is a key factor

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 05:03 PM PST

HOW do you think most company leaders CEOs or boards would answer the question: "If you could have just one wish a major improvement for your company what would it be?"

The obvious answers are top-line growth, bottom-line growth, very satisfied and loyal customers, engaged and productive staff, and so on.

Everything on this list would be a great thing for any company or organisation to have - and everything can be obtained. All it takes is for you to have the right leaders for your organisation.

Sound simple is that too bold a claim? It is a bold claim; however, we have the data to back up the claim.

Over the last two years we have gathered information on leaders in Asia have and how they impact their organisation's performance.

We call the leadership requirements for winning over the next 12 years of difficult growth Smart Growth Leadership. Some of the countries that have been covered in our leadership research include India, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

But let's start with some macro-economics. Everyone knows that Asia, in particular, has had some spectacular growth over the previous 10 to 15 years - some countries, like China, have even managed double-digit growth.

Over the last 12 years average growth in Asia's economies was nearly 10%. For the same period, the developed economies managed an average growth of about 4%. However, the Conference Board Global Economic Outlook in 2012 predicts that the average growth in Asia over the next 12 years will be around 4%-5% and the average growth in the developed economies will be less than 2%.

So, if we didn't know before, we now know that business is not so easy at the moment and it is going to get tougher. Somehow it is not so difficult to lead' your organisation when the global economy and your country's economy are doing well. During that time, growing the top and bottom lines can be relatively' easy. If you haven't done as well as you should have over this period, then you need to think very carefully about how you will win' over the next decade.

By leadership' we normally refer to the CEO, their senior executive team and that team's direct reports.

Generally this group of around 40 people lead large teams within their organisation and can really influence how things are done. Of course, the leadership team' can be defined in many different ways according to the structure and needs of the organisation.

So, does leadership of the organisation' really make that much difference?

Well, let's look at some recent research that throws some light on this subject. According to the Global Leadership Forecast in 2011,organisations with the highest quality leaders are 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom line metrics such as financial performance, quality, employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

Here we can see that leadership is not just some nice-to-have, soft-stuff' - it is a key driver of organisational performance in the areas that really matter!

However, in their 2011 study, Bersin and Associates found that "more than half of organisations state that their business is being held back by a lack of leadership talent"

BCG reported in July 2012 that companies that are highly capable in 22 key HR topics consistently enjoy better economic performance than those less capable companies. The more capable companies enjoyed up to 3.5 times the revenue growth and as much as 2.1 times the average profit margin than the less capable companies.

Many of the 22 key HR topics' are directly related to leadership as you would expect.

Again, the leadership characteristics drive the major financial measures of both the top and bottom line!

In 2012, the Conference Board asked CEOs around the globe, what they thought their major challenges would be over the next few years. Interestingly, the top concern for CEOs was Innovation' with its emphasis on leaders' ability to inspire the creation of the new and different' keeping their companies ahead of the curve with the competition struggling to keep up.

This was followed closely by Human Capital' with its implications for leadership at the top and its impact on attracting, retaining, developing and inspiring performance of the talent of the organisation.

These recent studies truly emphasize the importance of effective leadership in driving key financial measures of organisational performance. They take leadership out of the warm and fuzzy' arena and place it front and centre' as the key dimension that will differentiate the winners from the losers over the next decade as we grapple with Smart Leadership Growth!

Around the region, the question that on the minds of many CEOs at the moment is "How can I develop my leaders to be more Smart?"

The answer is both very easy and very difficult! First, organisations need to define what they mean by leadership. Given that there are more books written on the topic of leadership than there are on all other business topics combined this may not be as easy as it seems.

Every organisation should have a different view of leadership and what it means to them - some slight nuances, something that they particularly want to emphasise, an element that they believe will give them an edge in a competitive world.

Once defined, an organisation can then take stock' and see what it has on hand, it can determine who has the right stuff', who is never going to have the right stuff' and who can be developed to have the right stuff'! The organisation can also bring new people on-board who already have enough of the right stuff' by making sure that their recruitment practices emphasise their already-defined leadership competencies.

Lombardo and Eichinger make the point in The Leadership Machine' that organisations need to get rid of those who can't and will never perform in the desired way, recruit those who can and already do, and develop those who can be developed! Stated another way, Jim Collins said in Good to Great' - "get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus, get the right people in the right seats and then figure out where to dive the bus"

Leadership development programs can then be developed that will reflect the desired leadership competencies and characteristics of the organisation. Contextualising the nature of leadership for each organisation is the first and most important step in any successful leadership development program. Put simply, if the Leadership Development program doesn't reflect your own particular leadership requirements then you will never achieve what you want to achieve.

As the Cheshire cat said to Alice as she wandered through Wonderland "if you don't know where you want to go, then you can take any direction you like, because it won't make any difference..."

The leaders need to get good feedback about their performance against the organisation's requirements, have the ability to write meaningful development plans and then receive coaching that will enable them to develop and grow.

The feedback can come from a number of sources 360 degree reviews against the leadership requirements are a terrific source of actionable data, psychometrics can be targeted to the specific requirements, coach/mentor observations can be a powerful motivator for change, performance reviews might give some insights. Writing great development plans is an easily acquired skill.

Unfortunately the quality of internal coaching (from the individual's direct manager, for example) is often not at very high standard (that's why we like to start at the top!) and we find that we are building an element of external coaching into more of our leadership development programs these days.

Continual feedback and encouragement through effective coaching is a key to successful behaviour change! In sum, what does a great leadership development program look like? Well, let's leave that discussion for a future column. So, here's to a very happy and leadership-led - prosperous New Year!

  • Dr Graeme Field is a principal consultant and head of the leadership and talent consulting team, based in Korn/Ferry International's Kuala Lumpur office. He believes that managerial courage - taking bold and courageous decisions for the overall good of a business - will need much greater use in the future if businesses are to survive and be competitive.
  • Kuala Lumpur has grown to become one of the most dynamic financial centres in Asean

    Posted: 31 Dec 2012 05:01 PM PST

    MALAYSIA'S economic transformation to a high value-added, high-income economy depends on a more diversified, efficient, competitive and stable financial system.

    The good news is that the country is moving in the right direction. Our capital city Kuala Lumpur's financial maturity was ranked 10th out of 120 countries in The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s Hot Spots Benchmarking Global City Competitiveness report released in January last year. The city's financial maturity is ranked as second only to Singapore's in Asean. It is even deemed to be comparable with that of major cities like Paris, Washington and Boston; three cities that are ranked in the list of the Top-10 performing cities in the Hot Spots report. This is a commendable performance by all counts. The Hot Spots report is an EIU research programme commissioned by Citigroup, which ranks the competitiveness of 120 of the world's major cities. The index was devised and constructed by an EIU research team. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 city experts, mayors and corporate executives, to get their insights on city competitiveness.

    It is clear that from its humble beginnings as a tin-mining town, Kuala Lumpur has grown to become one of the most dynamic financial centres in this region. Today, Kuala Lumpur has developed and expanded into Greater Kuala Lumpur. Greater Kuala Lumpur, encompassing an area spanning 1,735.6 sq miles with a current population of about six million, is one of the identified 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) that is slated to propel the country's economic growth forward. It currently contributes about RM263bil to the nation's Gross National Income (GNI), which translates into 20% of the national population contributing 30% of the nation's GNI; underlining the area's importance as an engine of national growth. While there is great potential for Greater Kuala Lumpur to act as an even bigger driver of Malaysia's economic growth, much still needs to be done in order to unlock its potential particularly in the area of financial services. Many programmes have been initiated by Pemandu and also agencies like InvestKL to further Greater Kuala Lumpur's progress and contribution to the national economy; but this is only the beginning.

    It has been acknowledged that a capital city's financial maturity and progress depends on the strength of the country's overall financial services industry. In this context, Pemandu has noted that the importance of the financial services sector to the Malaysian economy has been growing over the past decade, with the financial services sector's share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing from an average of 9.9% of GDP between 2000 and 2005 to an average of 10.9% over the period 2006 to 2009. Despite these developments, it has been acknowledged that this sector is still facing critical challenges, including a lack of scale, a lack of liquidity and diversity in the capital markets, low levels of financial literacy and competition from regional financial centres such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and increasingly, Indonesia. However, Malaysia has big ambitions for its financial services sector. Malaysia wants to grow the sector to a scale needed to serve the needs of businesses and consumers in a high-income economy, and to increase its depth and regional and global market shares in select niches.

    Pemandu's Financial Services NKEA is targeted to raise total GNI contribution by RM121bil to reach RM180bil by 2020. In addition, through this NKEA, an additional 275,000 jobs will be created, with 56% of them offering an average income of above RM4,000 per month. In order to achieve this vision, Pemandu has identified a portfolio of Entry Point Projects (EPPs) for the financial services sector along four strategic thrusts:

    ● Strengthening the core: We need to ensure all facets of the financial services industry remain healthy and vibrant and are able to effectively and efficiently support the needs of businesses and consumers. This means revitalising our capital markets, deepening and broadening our bond markets, transforming developmental finance institutions and creating an integrated payments ecosystem;

    ● Serving the needs of the high-income population: We need to evolve the products and services that financial institutions offer to serve the changing needs of our citizens and residents, as the nation migrates towards higher-income status. This means insuring our population, accelerating the growth of our private pensions industry and spurring the growth of our wealth management industry;

    ● Developing new growth sectors: We need to seed new sectors for growth, starting with accelerating and sustaining a significant asset management industry; and

    ● Going on the offensive: We need to encourage our financial institutions to go on the offensive and tap external markets for their continued growth. This means developing regional bank champions and becoming the indisputable global hub for Islamic finance.

    E-payments, in particular, will be an important area, as the general population and industries move up the value chain in Malaysia and look into greater technology adoption for daily transactions. It is not only a proven cheaper transaction method as compared to paper-based transactions like cheques and cash, but also largely more efficient and personal. As such, Bank Negara, together with private-sector organisations, has launched a series of initiatives over the past 10 years to migrate many systems towards e-payment, for example, introducing Internet banking, mobile banking, the RENTAS system, mobile remittance, prepaid contactless micro payment cards and ensuring government payment is non-cash whenever possible.

    However, Malaysia today is still very much a cash-based society, with 91% of transactions done using cash (compared with 60% in Hong Kong and the Netherlands). Cheques, e-money, credit cards and Internet banking account for another 1.3%, 4.7%, 1.8% and 0.6% of transactions (frequency), respectively. Other modes of payment, such as Interbank GIRO and debit cards, each account for less than 0.5% of transactions. By 2020, we aspire to become a cheque-less economy and reduce dependence on cash transactions to 63% of transaction frequency. E-payment transactions are estimated to increase 10-fold from 1.2 billion to 12.0 billion transactions per year. That said, underlying all of the initiatives in the financial services sector are industry-wide barriers that need to be addressed, some urgently and quite dramatically, in order to achieve the nation's aspirations. These include devising ways to create an attractive business environment for international and long-term capital, improving our ability to attract, develop and retain talent, organising a more seamless regulatory environment, improving tax competitiveness and improving Malaysia's reputation or brand in financial services.

    Achieving our growth targets of growing the financial services sector three-fold by 2020 will require cumulative funding of RM211bil over the next 10 years. The public sector is expected to provide 4% of this investment. It is clear that developing a financial sector that best serves the burgeoning Malaysian economy will take a concerted effort by not only the public sector, but also players in the dynamic private sector. Malaysia wants you to leverage on its financially mature markets but also needs your as well as your organisation's contribution in this area.


    The Star Online: Nation

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    The Star Online: Nation

    Police hunt 12 who killed 3 Myanmar nationals

    Posted: 31 Dec 2012 07:15 AM PST

    ALOR SETAR: The Kedah police are looking for 12 foreign men believed to have been involved in the murder of three Myanmar nationals in Bukit Cepar, Tanjung Piring, Kuala Nerang, on Friday.

    Kedah CID chief ACP Zakaria Ahmad said Monday the police believed the men were still in the vicinity of the murder scene.

    "Based on information we received, they live separately in several locations near Bukit Cepar forest. Police will endeavour to apprehend them," he told reporters at the Kedah Police Contingent headquarters, here.

    The victims' bodies were discovered in Bukit Cepar forest around 11.30pm Friday, after a survivor managed to escape and lodged a police report with help from the public at 1pm on Sunday.

    He said a machete believed to have been used by the murderers was found at the scene, while the murder motive was still being investigated.

    The survivor who was being treated at the Kuala Nerang Hospital was recovering, Zakaria said.

    Those killed were identified as Mgkhing Thaung, 38, Latinmaung, 21, and Mgthanshwe, 16, believed to be related to each other, who were from Kampung Arakan, Myanmar.

    They were here to work as rubber tappers in Tanjung Piring. - Bernama

    Terengganu, Pahang face second wave of floods; 900 evacuated

    Posted: 31 Dec 2012 06:17 AM PST

    KUALA LUMPUR: The second wave of floods which hit Terengganu and Pahang on Monday has forced more than 900 people to be evacuated.

    In TERENGGANU, 800 people had been evacuated by 6pm when floods hit several areas in the Kemaman, Hulu Terengganu and Dungun districts due to high tide and heavy rain since morning.

    So far, five relief centres have been opened in Hulu Terenganu to accommodate 599 people, while 162 people are at two relief centres in Kemaman and the remaining 39 people, at a flood relief centre in Dungun, according to the state's flood portal.

    Meanwhile, the State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) said the water level at several main rivers in Terengganu was reported to be rising following heavy rain.

    As such, the department advised residents staying along the rivers to exercise caution.

    In PAHANG, 152 people have been evacuated to three flood relief centres in Kuantan following incessant rain from Sunday night.

    According to the National Security Council (NSC) portal, 98 people from Kampung Galing, Galing Besar and Taman Sri Kuantan were being accommodated at the relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Galing.

    Nine people from Kampung Sungai Ular had been evacuated to SK Sungai Ular and 45 people from Kampung Seberang Balok had been sent to the Balok community hall, it said.

    It also said that a stretch of Jalan Bukit Penggorak-Cherating at Km24 and the Jalan Kuantan-Bypass (after the Gebeng Fire and Rescue Station) at Km18 were closed due to the floods. In KELANTAN, heavy rain since Sunday night has resulted in the water level of several main rivers in the state to rise, but still at the alert level.

    According to the state government's official portal, all the 25 victims from five families at the flood relief centre at SK Pengkalan Kubur 2, Tumpat, have been allowed to go home. - Bernama

    PM’s New Year message: “Stand by me”

    Posted: 31 Dec 2012 06:04 AM PST

    KUALA LUMPUR: In his New Year's message, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak urged Malaysians to stand by him, strengthen national unity and carve a successful future for all.

    In addressing the challenges ahead for 2013 and building a sustainable success, he said that Malaysians have to learn from past experiences, improve on the good and rectify all weaknesses.

    "We need to proceed with the national agenda to strengthen national unity, which is the core of the nation's perpetuity," he said.

    Efforts must continue to improve the well-being of the people through a sound social safety net system and increase the wealth of the nation by ensuring sustainable economic growth and fiscal health, he said.

    "We have to ensure that Malaysia will be the best place to build a life; the best place to have a family and raise children, a country that has a caring society, a strong family system, neighbourhoods and streets safe from crime, a sustainable environment, quality schools and educational institutions, as well as the best and affordable health care system.

    "Join me to make our dream a reality. Stand by my side for us to together determine success, move along and work with me to carve a great future for our country and our children.

    "Give us a clear mandate and we promise to use your trust to the best of our ability to build a Malaysia for all," he said.


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    'Skyfall' hits $1 billion at worldwide box office

    Posted: 31 Dec 2012 12:00 AM PST

    LOS ANGELES: "Skyfall," the 23rd James Bond adventure, has surpassed $1 billion at the worldwide box office. Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for Sony Pictures and Gary Barber, MGM's chairman and chief executive, made the announcement Sunday.

    The film, from Albert R. Broccoli's EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, is the most successful Bond film of all time.

    It is also the highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office in Sony Pictures history. "Skyfall," starring Daniel Craig as 007, took in $4.6 million this weekend in North America for a total of $289.6 million. Overseas, the film grossed $10.3 million for an international total to date of $710.6 million and a worldwide total exceeding $1 billion and growing. It has yet to play China, where it will open on Jan. 21.

    "Skyfall" is the 14th film in history to hit the $1 billion plateau. The list includes two movies from earlier this year, Warner Bros.' "Dark Knight Rises," which is No. 13 with $1.004 billion, and "Marvel's The Avengers,' which ranks No. 3 all-time with $1.5 billion. Two James Cameron films, "Avatar" with $2.7 billion, and "Titanic," with $2.1 billion, top the list.

    "To see a film connect with audiences is always gratifying but the success of this film is nothing short of extraordinary," Blake said in a statement.

    "We couldn't be more excited for (producers) Michael Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, (director) Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, and especially the fans who put James Bond in this very rare and very exclusive billion dollar box office club." "It is truly thrilling to reach this incredible milestone," said MGM's Barber.

    "With tremendous gratitude to Barbara and Michael, Sam, Daniel and our partner Sony, and to all of the dedicated distributors and fans across the globe, we are so proud of both Skyfall and our 50 year association with James Bond."- Reuters

    'The Hobbit' remains top dog at the box office for third week

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 08:12 PM PST

    REUTERS - The dwarfs and elves of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey prevailed at the North American box office again over the weekend, as its US$32.9 million in ticket sales topped both the star-packed musical Les Miserables and the western Django Unchained.

    Despite surging past The Hobbit on Christmas day with an US$18.1 million opening, Les Miz managed only third place in U.S. and Canadian sales with US$28 million as Christmas shoppers returned from the malls to boost Hollywood's box office, according to studio estimates.

    The Hobbit, in its third week of release, has now grossed US$222.7 million domestically, Warner Bros said.

    Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, a western starring Jamie Fox as a slave turned bounty hunter, took second with an impressive US$30.7 million.

    Tom Cruise's crime drama Jack Reacher, which features author Lee Child's former military investigator solving a fatal sniper attack, landed in fifth with US$14 million, outpaced by Parental Guidance, the Billy Crystal-Bette Midler as grandparents comedy which took in US$14.8 million to nab fourth.

    Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution for Fox, said the Parental Guidance performance was "just a tremendous result for our little engine that could."

    Backed by a musical score that made it a Broadway icon, Les Miz surged past The Hobbit on Christmas day, collecting US$18.1 million to pass High School Musical 3: Senior Year with the biggest midweek opening day by a musical.

    But it was not enough to conquer the Hobbit juggernaut, which scored its third straight box office weekend win.

    Universal's president for domestic distribution Nikki Rocco called the Les Miz US$28 million take "phenomenal, especially considering we went into the weekend with US$40 million," an unexpectedly strong figure for its first few days in release.

    "People really love this movie, which is even more rewarding and gratifying," Rocco said.

    Les Miserables, which stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, benefited from Oscar buzz and its star power, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of's box office division, who said he wouldn't be surprised to see the musical pass $200 million before it's done.

    That would put it among the Hollywood's Top 20 best-selling musicals. It would pass the 1972 film Cabaret, which grossed US$191 million in box office sales adjusted for higher ticket prices, and put it close to Camelot, which sold US$204.5 million in 1967, according to the web site

    The most successful musical is Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, which grossed more than US$6.3 billion but has been re-released by Walt Disney nine times since its 1937 premiere, according to the site.

    A rush of high-profile films in December is expected to push 2012 to a domestic box office record. The current record is US$10.6 billion, set in 2009.

    Jack Reacher debuted just days after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting sparked new debate about the impact of movie violence. Reacher begins with a sniper killing a handful of seemingly random victims. A red-carpet premiere and a screening to promote the US$60-million production were postponed after the 14 December Newtown tragedy.

    Adult comedy This Is 40 starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as a middle-aged couple was sixth with US$13.2 million. The Judd Apatow US$35 million film totaled US$37 million after two weeks. The seventh spot went to Steven Spielberg's historical film Lincoln, with US$7.5 million for a US$132 million domestic total.

    Comedy The Guilt Trip, starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen a a mother and son on a cross-country drive, pulled in US$6.7 million for eighth.

    Also this week the latest James Bond hit Skyfall topped $1 billion in worldwide sales, despite falling out of the week's top 10 films at the box office.

    The Hobbit was distributed by Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros studio. Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc released, Jack Reacher and The Guilt Trip. Comcast Corp's Universal Studios released Les Miserables and This Is 40. Django Unchained was released in the United States by the Weinstein Company.

    Hollywood tops Chinese film market in 2012

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 07:56 PM PST

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's 2012 box office was dominated by foreign films for the first time in four years as a deal cemented earlier this year saw more Hollywood film screened on the mainland, squeezing out domestic competition.

    China's box office receipts are expected to reach 16.8 billion yuan in 2012 and about 8 billion yuan, or slightly less than half the receipts, are from domestic films, the official People's Daily reported on Monday, quoting estimates from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

    It is the first time in four years that domestic film receipts totaled less than 50 percent of the market and signals that the February trade agreement to allow more Hollywood movies to be screened in China is having a significant impact on the country's movie industry.

    Last year, domestic films made up 54 percent of box office receipts, down slightly from 56 percent in 2010, local media reported. China agreed in February to open its market to more American movies, permitting 14 premium format films such as IMAX or 3D to be exempt from the annual 20 foreign film quota.

    Last month, Tian Jin, China's vice minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said the U.S. film industry was reaping massive profits due to the February concession while domestic producers were under pressure.

    However, the best-selling film this year is a low-budget, domestically-produced comedy called Lost In Thailand about two rival businessmen. The movie drew a bigger audience in China than James Cameron's Avatar, the People's Daily said.


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    Metro Watch

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 02:50 PM PST

    Album fundraiser

    Christian Schwanz will be launching his ambient album Gustav & Hannes to raise funds for the Institut Jantung Negara Foundation, specifically for infant heart surgeries. The album was made in memory of Schwanz's late son, Gustav, who died in surgery from congenital heart disease and to celebrate his twin, Hannes, who is healthy and happy. The launch will be held on Jan 6 from 5pm to 7pm at Palate Palette, 21 Jalan Mesui, Kuala Lumpur. For details, call 012-232 0515 (Haanim Bamadhaj) or email

    Road closure

    A temporary road closure along Jalan Kuching and Jalan Duta will be implemented by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to facilitate construction of three-tier extruded kerbs. Works in Jalan Kuching is ongoing until May 14, 2013, from 9.30am to 4pm (first stage) and 9pm to 5am (second stage) while works on Jalan Duta is ongoing until June 19, 2013, from 9.30am to 4pm (first stage) and 9pm to 5am (second stage). Motorists are advised to be careful and observe traffic signage at the site.

    Toastmasters meeting

    Open University Malaysia's new Toastmasters Club is organising a New Year Toastmasters meeting on Jan 5 at 3pm at Theatrette, Block B Area A, Open University Malaysia, Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. The public is invited to join and improve their public speaking skills, witness speeches and evaluations, and even deliver impromptu speeches. For details, call 012-210 2977 / 03-27732395 (Arnie) or 012-919 3190 / 03-27732760 (Nazrai).

    New school transfer

    SJK(C) Tun Tan Siew Sin in Putra Heights, will be taking in new pupils for Years One to Three. Parents who want to transfer their children to the new school should make the applications with their old school and visit SJK (C) Tun Tan Siew Sin on Dec 31 or Jan 2 to submit the necessary details. Orientation will be held from Jan 2 to 4. For details, call 019-292 6846 / 019-257 3248.

    Charity calendars

    Shelter Home for Children is having its annual sale of desktop calendars drawn by the Shelter's residents with the theme "Children — Leaders of Tomorrow". Each calendar will be sold at RM10. For details, call 03-7955 0663 (Roland/Edwin), email or visit

    Reunion dinner

    The Seremban Convent Girls' Class of 75 is holding a reunion dinner and fundraising event on Jan 12 at Spices Restaurant, Concorde Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. For details call 012-209 9751 / email (Bee Yong) or 012-227 2189 / email (Pat Leong).

    Blood donation

    Blood donors and the public are urged to head to the National Blood Bank or nearest blood donation mobile unit to replenish blood stock for the current festive season. The National Blood Bank, which is located at Jalan Tun Razak, will be open on New Year's Day from 8am to 4pm. For details, visit

    The Star gearing up for tourney with two friendlies

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 02:50 PM PST

    IN its preparation for the Datuk Theng Book Cup Malaysia Media Badminton Championship next year, The Star organised two friendly matches.

    In the first friendly match against Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad held at Menara Great Eastern in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur recently, Great Eastern edged The Star 3-2.

    It was a first for The Star badminton team players where they played in an air-conditioned environment on a rubberised badminton court.

    During the friendly, Great Eastern, headed by senior vice-president and also head of training and development Andy Ng Yen Heng, hosted a wonderful buffet spread with drinks for players and supporters who attended the match.

    Ng said the company placed emphasis on employees having balance of work and leisure.

    He said the company had a gymnasium and sports facilities for employees to lead a healthy lifestyle.

    "Besides this, we have organised events such as 1 Great Eastern Family Carnival, Live Great Run, Yoga For Life while sending our staff into buses for the Great Eastern Women's Run in Singapore for the last four years.

    "We hope to have more friendly matches such as futsal. bowling, table tennis and golf besides badminton,'' he said,

    In another friendly match, The Star lost 2-3 to MCA at Forum 19 badminton courts in Section 19, Petaling Jaya recently.

    Theng Book, who represented MCA, said this was the second time The Star organised a friendly with their team.

    "Our players play regularly about three to four times weekly and this is why they are consistent and reliable,'' he said.

    The Star badminton team captain Nelsen Ng said this was good exposure for the team to be prepared mentally and physically when competing in a tournament.

    In 2011 and this year, The Star finished third in Datuk Theng Book Cup Malaysia Media Badminton Cham-pionship and hope to improve on its result.

    "With more friendly matches, our players would become more exposed and lose the fear of playing in a competition and more importantly be physically fit and consistent,'' he said.


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    2012 was an eventful and momerable year for Johor

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 04:19 PM PST

    THE year 2012 was certainly an eventful year for Johor.

    Just a few days into the new year, news spread like wildfire that gold had been discovered at Jalan Mewah, Kampung Melayu in Johor Baru.

    Hundreds of people, including those beyond the Johor Baru district as well as Singaporeans rushed to the area, hoping to strike it rich.

    However, their hope was short-lived when the glittering stones were found to be worthless.

    Experts identified the shiny stones as "fool's gold", which glow in the dark and shine under the sunlight due to its iron sulphide or pyrite content.

    Over in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, the multi-billion development taking place there is all set to make southern Johor an international oil and gas (O&G) hub.

    Located along one of the busiest shipping routes in the world and blessed with a deep draft (harbour water's depth) and large tracts of land, Pengerang has all the makings to become the Rotterdam of South-East Asia.

    The launch of the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) complex in May marked the highly ambitious project which will eventually help transform the laidback Pengerang into a new O&G hub.

    The RM60bil complex and its proposed 300,000 barrels-per-day crude oil refinery capacity is larger than the combined capacity of Petronas' existing refineries in Malacca, Kertih and Gebeng.

    In September, Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia became the venue of Asia's first Legoland Theme Park.

    The US$200mil (RM612mil) theme park, built on a 30.75ha site, caters to families with children from two to 12 years old, boasting 40 rides, shows and other attractions.

    The state also bade farewell to a few personalities who passed away this year — MCA veteran member and former Pontian MP Law Lai Heng, who passed away at age 77, in July.

    In September, braveheart and spirited teenager Tee Hui Yi, who underwent a double heart transplant in 2007, passed away at her hometown in Batu Pahat.

    The 19-year old, who had survived a mechanical heart before the two transplants, died at the Batu Pahat Hospital at 10.02am, the day she was to start work as a kindergarten teacher.

    Philanthropist and prominent figure Tan Sri Kuek Ho Yao, who was also the cousin of billionaire Tan Sri Robert Kuok passed away in October at the age of 96.

    In November, Datin Paduka Prof Dr Jamilah Ariffin, the wife of Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman launched her latest book, Seorang Profesor Bersama NGO Juita: Perkongsian Bijak Dalam Kerja Amal Kebajikan Masyarakat.

    She hoped that associations, non-governmental organisations and youths would use the book as a benchmark and reference material for social work and volunteerism.

    In November, Muar was declared as Johor's royal town.

    The proclamation of Bandar Maharani (Empress Town) as a royal town was made by Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in conjunction with his birthday celebration which was held in the town.

    Johor Baru was chosen to host the 8th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in December — the first edition of the event held outside the capital of a host nation since it was launched in October 2005.

    Some 2,600 local as well as foreign delegates and speakers from 50 countries attended the event themed "Changing Trends, New Opportunities".

    50,000 Johoreans to usher in New Year at carnival

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 04:21 PM PST

    JOHOR BARU: Some 50,000 people are expected to participate in a four-day carnival here to usher in the New Year.

    Many activities are lined-up including a concert by local artists, extreme sports, street soccer, gathering of bikers and a blood donation drive.

    Some of the local artists include Mawi, Adi Putra and Wann Rahmat. There will also be a guest appearance by the country's first angkasawan Datuk Dr Sheikh Muzaphar Shukor.

    In conjunction with the New Year, there will be a countdown session followed by a five-minute long fireworks display at midnight.

    "The carnival is a great way for families to have a fun day out as there are many booths catering to the young and old," said policewoman Zaitun Matdan, 32.

    She added that such events was suitable for those who cannot afford to take their children for holidays due to work or financial constraints.

    "The most interesting booth for me is the donation booth for Gaza as I have always wanted to donate to the cause and finally got my chance," said lorry driver Mohd Nazri Khalid, 38.

    Housewife Fazlina Malik, 35, said the carnival was interesting as children could have fun at the activity booths while parents do some shopping.

    "It is nice that not all booths were selling items but instead, provided activities for kids," she said.

    The 'Fiesta Get2gather' carnival is jointly organised by Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and Johor Baru Bari­san National (BN) Youth at Dataran MBJB from Dec 28 until today.

    Johor Baru BN Youth chairman Khalid Mohamed said they would conduct the carnival annually if the response was good.

    "The carnival starts from 10am right up to 1am, so that members of the public may come and enjoy their time with their families till late," he said.

    Residents under MPJBT’s jurisdiction to collect new wheelie bins

    Posted: 30 Dec 2012 04:20 PM PST

    JOHOR BARU: SWM Environment Sdn Bhd is embarking on the second phase of its wheelie bin distribution campaign following the success of phase one launched a year ago.

    This time, the campaign will focus on areas under the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council (MPJBT) jurisdiction.

    SWM Environment Sdn Bhd corporate communications head Shahrul Amir Abdul Rahim said the notices on collection dates would be distributed to the MPJBT residents.

    "We will be working with the Johor Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (PPSPPA) and MPJBT to distribute the bins beginning Dec 29 at Taman Universiti, Johor Baru," he said.

    "Residents have to bring the notice along with the attached registration form, a photocopy of their MyKad, quit rent and utility bills to the designated collection centre to receive the bins.

    "We look forward to co-operating with the public," he said.

    Shahrul Amir added that in the first phase, a total of 98,576 units of wheelie bins were successfully distributed in the MBJB areas since the launch of the campaign in December last year.

    "We estimate that some 105,457 bins are needed for landed properties under the MBJB jurisdiction, of which 94,333 are for landed residential properties and the remaining units for shop lots," he said, adding that the campaign had achieved 93% of its target.

    He urged recipients to fully utilise the bins instead of putting them inside their houses.

    "Although the placing of the bins varies from the front and rear of houses, the usage of the bins will ease and make the collection of rubbish more effective and systematic."

    On a separate matter, SWM announced the relocation of its corporate office to No 6, Jalan Kangkar Tebrau, Kampung Sri Purnama, 81100, Johor Baru from its current premises in Permas Jaya effective Jan 1 2013.

    For details, complaints or suggestions, call the SWM hotline at 1800 88 7472 or send an e-mail to


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