Isnin, 31 Mac 2014

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Najib hopes MH370 tragedy won't impact tourist arrivals

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

LANGKAWI: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hopes the tragedy of missing flight MH370 carrying 239 passengers and crew members will not significantly impact tourist arrivals.

The Prime Minister added that 28.8 million people are expected to visit Malaysia this year, an increase of 12% compared to last year.

"Hopefully, the tragic loss of MH370 will not significantly impact our Visit Malaysia Year target.

"We are now the second-most visited destination in all of South-East Asia," said Najib in his speech during the official unveiling of Perdana Quay masterplan and ground-breaking ceremony of The Burau Langkawi at the site formerly known as Mutiara Burau Bay Resort.

The Perdana Quay masterplan, to be undertaken by Tradewinds Corporation Bhd, is a massive 97ha mixed development with a gross development value of RM4bil over the next decade.

Najib said Malaysia is expected to receive 36 million tourists in 2020, and revenue of RM168bil or more than RM3bil per week.

He added that tourists were also spending more while vacationing here. Last year, each tourist spent an average of more than RM2,500 during their stay – an increase of 5.2% compared to 2012.

"This did not happen by chance. Over the years, we've focused our efforts on attracting high-end tourists, improving our attractions and services, and enhancing connectivity to priority markets.

"It is an ambitious target and we are well on the way of reaching it," he said.

Najib said tourism is a key element of the Economic Transforma-tion Programme to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020.

"Tourism contributes an ever-growing share of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, a share that is expected to reach 12.5% this year. And when the nation's economy expands, all Malaysians will benefit."

He said that in 2011, he launched the Langkawi Tourism Blueprint, a five-year plan to make the resort island as popular as the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives.

Also present were Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

Present as well were Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, the Albukhary Group owner Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, Tradewinds International Sdn Bhd chairman Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, Langkawi Development Authority chief executive officer Tan Sri Khalid Ramli as well as Tradewinds Corporation Bhd group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan.

Kin to be flown to Perth if debris is found

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airlines will fly affected family members to Perth only after any physical wreckage found is officially confirmed to be that of MH370.

MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (pic) said arrangements would be made as soon as the relevant government agencies provide MAS the clearance to bring family members to the site where the aircraft wreckage would be kept.

"A Family Assistance Centre (FAC) will be established in Perth. The FAC will become the focal point for all activities that have been planned for the families including briefings, religious and prayer services," he said in a statement yesterday.

Ahmad Jauhari also reiterated the airline's commitment and support of efforts by the relevant foreign governments to continue searching for the aircraft.

In addition to its continued cooperation with all authorities involved in the investigation, the national carrier has also been providing support to the families concerned.

Rick Astley was never gonna give up visiting Malaysia

Posted: 30 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SEPANG: Eighties pop icon Rick Astley's first time in Malaysia and he is having a blast.

"I have never had the chance to visit many countries here or in South America, so when the opportunity came for me to come to Malaysia, I took it.

"The Sepang International Circuit is simply amazing and you can see that it was designed to accommodate the prestigious Formula One race," he said when met at the Mercedes Petronas Formula One pit garage yesterday before the Petronas Formula One Grand Prix was held.

Astley, who is currently enjoying a revival of his iconic status, said the circumstances under which the race was taking place, however, was unusual due to the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crisis.

"I believe that the race is a good thing as it will help the people take their minds off the incident," said Astley, who is a die-hard Formula One fan.

Astley also said that he was looking forward to watching this season because his favourite team, the Mercedes Petronas Formula One team, was demonstrating good results.

"I hope Lewis Hamilton does well this time but Nico Rosberg is one of the drivers to look out for as well," he added.

The 48-year-old singer, who is well-known for his hit Never Gonna Give You Up, also said that Ma­lay­sians were friendly and welcoming.

Astley was supposed to perform at the 2014 Twin Towers Alive Concert scheduled for March 29 in conjunction with Earth Hour.

The concert, however, was cancelled in view of the MH370 tragedy.

One minute of silence was ob­ser­ved before the race began yesterday as a mark of respect for those affected by the crisis.

It was led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone when the drivers lined up at the starting gird.

Also in attendance at the event were Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Sepang Inter­national Circuit (SIC) chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir as well as SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali.


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