Ahad, 4 Mei 2014

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The Star Online: Nation

LCCT in 'pandemonium', passengers forced into long queues

Posted: 04 May 2014 05:10 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Passengers arriving at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang had to deal with long queues in cramped and uncomfortable conditions, mainly due to a bottleneck at the immigration gates on Sunday.

"It was absolute chaos. I wasn't sure what lines were going where and which were the queues for foreign and Malaysian passports," said 27-year-old lawyer Tharishni Arumugam, who was one among a thousand stuck at the airport.

She also said passengers encountered out-of-order escalators, dim lighting and barely working air-conditioning.

"There was a massive amount of people going up towards immigration but the escalators were not working. Elderly people were forced to carry their heavy roller bags up," she said.

Tharishni said only a small number of immigration officers were at hand to cater to the enormous surge of people.

"I wasn't quite sure what was going on. There seemed to be no immigration officers when I landed at about 4pm," said Tharishni.

Tharishni, who had just returned from Bangkok, said the crowd finally started moving at 4.30pm as more immigration officers were deployed to the gates.

She added there were Rela officers around to ensure the situation remained under control.

She said a few tussles nearly broke out as tensions rose.

"People could be heard shouting aggressively. I figured it was because some were cutting lines," she said.

"I felt frustrated, angry and perplexed. The worst part is that we were not informed what was happening. The authorities should have explained what was going on and tried to manage the crowd better," she said.

Tharishni added that this was the first instance she had encountered difficulty at LCCT's immigration checkpoints, as she usually has a very easy time passing through the airport.

Another frequent traveller, 21-year-old Keana Reinu said even the elderly and families with young children had to wrestle through with their luggage.

"It was extremely stuffy and AirAsia staff had to push special needs passengers to the front of the crowd," she said, adding that some passengers also tried to barge their way through, sparking off a lot of shouting from others.

"There were no ground staff on hand to organise and control the crowd.

"Besides the three autogates for Malaysian passports, only two immigration officers were on hand to manually clear passengers while the several other counters remained unmanned and empty," she said, adding that the queue leading to immigration counters extended almost to the tarmac.

Claiming baggage and clearing customs was a similar nightmare, especially after more flights landed.

"Staff had to remove luggage from the conveyor belt to make way. People couldn't find their baggage as it was in a sea of unorganised bags on the floor.

"Clearing customs was just as bad because only one lane and one machine was open," she explained.

Altogether, Keana took more than an hour to pass through the airport. She added that she was fortunate and that others had to wait much longer before they could get out of the airport.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad operation services senior general manager Datuk Azmi Murad said that the congestion was due to the long weekend and stretched manpower resources.

"This evening, there was quite heavy traffic at LCCT because of the Thursday holiday and long weekend rush," he said, adding that the crowd congestion was mainly between 3-4pm.

"There was no issue with the immigration system but since immigration is manning all three places (KLIA, LCCT, KLIA2), we did not have full strength at LCCT," he added.

However, Azmi explained that crowding issues were settled in less than two hours.

"It would be unfair to blame immigration," said Azmi who explained that he did not expect a re-occurrence of the issue as the move to KLIA 2 is to be completed by Friday.

"The immigration staff were on hand but the crowd was exceptionally heavy in spite of KLIA2's operation," he said.

Kenyir Lake waterfall to be reserved for women only, says Terengganu MB

Posted: 04 May 2014 04:41 AM PDT

KUALA BERANG: One of the many waterfalls in Tasik Kenyir, which is being promoted by Terengganu as a major tourist attraction and duty-free area, is to be reserved for women only.

The people handling boats going to that waterfall as well as security personnel for the area would all be women, said state Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said.

This arrangement was being made in meeting a special request from women tourists from West Asia, he told reporters after launching the month-long Kenyir Festival 2014 which will be on until May 29 at Pengkalan Gawi at the lake.

Ahmad said the specially-designated area was one of the Terengganu government's efforts to promote the lake as a unique international tourist attraction.

From September next year, Tasik Kenyir will also be the first duty-free lake in the world.

Ahmad said the government had thus far spent about RM300 million to develop the lake into a tourism attraction and duty-free area.

He said projects already completed included providing electricity to the Pulau Bayas duty-free site by extending the cables a further 22km at a cost of RM33mil.

Several islands in the lake area had also been developed and work was now in progress to build the main jetty on Pulau Bayas at a cost of RM70mil.

He also said that construction of a network of shops, facilities for Indah Water Konsortium, a water tank and the Customs complex was about 75% completed.

Ahmad said work on a new four-lane bridge, which would become the main link between Pengkalan Gawi and Pulau Poh Besar would begin soon.

He said the island, which covers about 40 hectares, would also get two jetties, one for passengers and another for cargo.

"We will build a hotel, a water recreation park and a 1,000-bay car park as Pengkalan Gawi does not have a large space for parking," he said.

On the Kenyir Elephant Village, Ahmad said it would be managed by the private sector and was due to open to the public on May 9.

He said the village now had nine tame elephants while there were 14 wild elephants in the surrounding area.

Ahmad said the village would feature tree-top chalets, a suspension bridge and a perimeter lookout point.

He said the area would be very attractive with its waterfalls, and tourists who stayed in the chalets would get to see the elephants wandering in the area.

"I am confident that Tasik Kenyir can draw the tourists and become a choice tourist destination in the future," he said.

The Terengganu government, through Ketengah, is targeting about 500,000 tourists to the largest artificial lake in Southeast Asia, sprawled over 260 sq km, with 340 man-made islands.

Last year, the lake attracted about 400,000 tourists. 

Pakatan could split up due to disagreement over hudud, says Kit Siang

Posted: 04 May 2014 03:42 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang (pic) has hinted that Pakatan Rakyat may split up "if hudud becomes a major issue".

"But if hudud becomes a major issue, Pakatan may go the way of the previous Barisan Alternatif," Lim said in a statement on Sunday.

Barisan Alternatif was a group of Opposition parties formed to counter Barisan Nasional, which disbanded after the general election in 2004.

Lim, who is Gelang Patah MP, said should such a situation occur, then DAP, PKR and PAS would be the losers.

Lim said the "dire prospect of a break-up of Pakatan Rakyat" due to disagreement over the implementation of hudud law could not be taken lightly, adding that the issue had "only descended on the country like a political tornado in a matter of weeks".

He said the majority of voters who supported Pakatan in the last general election did so for a change of government and not for hudud.

"Pakatan would not have continued to deny Barisan's two-thirds majority in Parliament if hudud was our agenda in the 13th general election," he said, adding that the DAP, PKR and PAS would have suffered serious electoral losses if hudud had been an issue back then.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is expected to move a Private Member's Bill at the Dewan Rakyat next month to pave the way for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan.

The proposal has been strongly opposed by DAP, which is PAS' ally in Pakatan Rakyat, as well as several parties in Barisan Nasional including MCA, MIC and Gerakan.

On April 24, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Federal Government had never rejected the implementation of hudud but there were loopholes that needed to be addressed before it can be carried out.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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