Posts Tagged ‘Tourism’

Cable car not feasible for Batu Caves Temple

July 10th, 2014
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So looks like no go for the Cable Car project. Safety is important. No point saying God will take care if we ourselves purposely ignore safety issues.

The committee should look at other alternatives. Lifts maybe? Rail car? Or alternative route specifically for the elderly, infirmed and disabled? Or get litter/palanquins with enough manpower to serve these folks?

 

THE RM10mil Batu Caves Cable Car project will most likely be scrapped as soil studies carried out by experts failed to confirm its feasibility.

According to the detailed soil stability report, the upper parts of the limestone karsts of the hilltop caves have been zoned as “high risk”, putting a stop to any possibility of development on the 400mil-year-old limestone caves.

A reliable source from the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam committee has accepted the fact that the cable car project may not be feasible and will no longer push for it.

This was further confirmed when StarMetro visited the project site recently and found it to be cleared of construction equipment. The area had been resurfaced with tar and is now a carpark.

 The 130-page report was prepared by two academicians from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). It proved that parts of the area were unstable and highly vulnerable to damage, especially to the fragile karst.

Construction of Batu Caves cable car came to a halt as structures within the temple has allegedly been built without necessary documents.

A file photo showing the cable car project site.

The report was divided into two parts — Parcel 1 covered the Batu Caves reserve and Parcel 2 the Gombak Indah area. It presents the findings in a map format and highlights areas as low, medium and high risk.

Last year, a team of state-appointed experts presented the first phase of the findings following a soil stability study for the Batu Caves reserve area to the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES).

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) president Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said the academicians report confirmed the team’s initial findings that the upper parts of Batu Caves, where the Sri Subramaniar Temple is, were unfit to support the cable car project.

The Sri Subramaniar Temple is also a national heritage site.

“While the lower part poses no risk, the upper part poses ‘extreme’ risk, offering little or no possibility of development being carried out at the hill top area,”

“The temple committee was informed of the risks involved and we even asked them to sign a declaration undertaking responsibility for any future incident, thus indemnifying MPS against liability.”

Since then, the area has been tiled over to function again as a carpark, with nary a trace of the former hoardings and cleared ground visible.

Now, the area has been tiled over to serve as a carpark.

“Mitigating the risk is not going to be easy even if they want to have a cable car service, and I seriously doubt their engineers would want to take that kind of risk anyway,” he added.

He also added that the temple management had to ensure that all 10 structures in the temple were legalised, including obtaining safety certifications from the Fire and Rescue Department.

Mohd Azizi reiterated that safety was, and would always be, the council’s top priority, outweighing any other consideration.

Proponents of the cable car line argued that the system would benefit the disabled, senior citiziens, and people with health problems. The temple management have, for decades, been trying to build a cable car service at the iconic landmark.

Attempts were made in 1997, 1999 and 2007 but the project did not materialise.

In 2012, the temple management signed a deal with a company from India, to build a cable car system.

The cars would run from the cave temple complex to the carpark using a 150m cable.

The cable car line was to comprise a lower station near the foot of the temple staircase and an upper station near the hilltop temple. The project was supposed to be completed in 2014.

The development order for the cable-car project was approved by MPS in late 2011, but a stop-work order was issued in 2013 to compel the temple management to submit their documents to legalise the other existing structures on the premises.

MPS also asked the state government to allow for the soil study in the Batu Caves temple site to be completed to ensure the project was safe.

But, in July of the same year, the temple committee defied the local authority’s order and proceeded with soil piling work resulting in enforcement officers sealing off the project site after being tipped off that construction work that had resumed.

The Batu Caves temple management was also slapped with two compound notices totalling RM26,000.

Batu Caves, touted as a national treasure, draws millions of people from all over the world each year especially during the annual Thaipusam festival.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/07/10/No-go-for-cable-car-Parts-of-Batu-Caves-vulnerable-to-damage-say-academicians/

Malaysian passport 9th in the world for visaless travel according to Henley and Partners Visa Restriction Index

April 24th, 2014
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Our Malaysian passport is able to take us to 163 countries without the need for a visa. Quite an accomplishment, putting us into 9th place based on The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index. You need to register (for free) to download the index (but you can also download it here [pdf format] since they have a poor of enforcing the registration process). Or if you are lazy, just refer to images below 🙂

 

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013 page 1

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013 page 1

 

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013 page 2

The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2013 page 2

 

We are tied with Malta for 9th place. Out of the 28 countries occupying top ten places, 20 are in Europe, and 6 in Asia+Australia+NZ. The remaining two are US and Canada. The worst 4 countries are Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan which are accepted in between 28 and 36 countries only.

small caveat, this is based on data up to 2013 July 1st regulations.

It will be interesting to see an index of countries allowing visitors without visa. Wonder where we will stand.

 

 

Nostalgia Klang

December 10th, 2012
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The video below were taken by a group of Taylor University students for their project.  I had assisted them in a way, providing some limited insight into Jalan Tengku Kelana (or Little India area). The video brought back memories and I can recall some of the people they had interviewed.

 

Community mapping project at Brickfields

October 18th, 2012
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 This is an interesting project by Projek Rumah Ibadat Kita and Kota Kita. I was surprised (or was I?) to read that “based on a survey they carried out among the participants, the majority had not entered places of worship other than their own”.  How true is this? I’ve been inside most places of worship except mosques. Had climbed the stairs inside the minaret of a mosque though…

I think there’s no genuine initiative to expose or teach about the various cultures to others. Mostly its one-sided only.

 

THE founders of Projek Rumah Ibadat Kita and volunteers took to the streets of Brickfields last weekend to carry out a community-mapping project to promote religious understanding between different faiths using the arts.

The project involved 17 volunteer-participants aged from 18 to 30 years old from different ethnicities and faiths. There were also four facilitators and two project coordinators project.

“For three months, from August to October, we explored the Brickfields community through a series of different workshops comprising research, photography and video. Through these workshops, we learned and discovered the many treasure troves and stories this small community has to offer,” co-founder and project manager Lew Pik-Svonn said.

They also produced educational materials such as Have a Holy-Day — a colourful booklet for self-guided walking tours to the places of worship in Brickfields.

Interesting sight: The participants stopping at a temple during the walking tour.
Interesting sight: The participants stopping at a temple during the walking tour.

“We felt it was important for people to know and understand different religions. Many cultures are also intertwined with religion. Misunderstandings happen when there is a shallow perception of other religions. We want to fill in this gap,” Lew said.

She said the community-mapping project in Brickfields was the first in a series of three. Their next destination is Tuaran in Sabah.

The organisers are from Kota Kita, non-profit arts collective with a mission to empower community members and enrich their relationship with the community. Their most notable project is Projek Chow Kit Kita, which was a similar community-mapping effort in Chow Kit.

The event also saw cultural performances from the Malaysian Indian Arts and Culture Association and a choir from the Tamil Methodist Church. Along the way, the participants had opportunities to sample food and observe photo and video exhibitions. In collaboration with Projek Rumah Ibadat Kita, Lew said they have also launched BrickfieldsEats (www.BrickfieldsEats.wordpress.com) which is a project to map the food found in Brickfields and their stories.

Welcome: Performers from the Malaysian Indian Arts and Culture Association.Welcome: Performers from the Malaysian Indian Arts and Culture Association.

Fahmi Reza, who is the co-founder and project designer of Projek Rumah Ibadat Kita, said based on a survey they carried out among the participants, the majority had not entered places of worship other than their own.

“What is worse is that they do not even ask questions. We wanted to approach this serious subject on a lighter note where they can ask questions and learn from community members. If you observe the situation in our schools nowadays, there is so much segregation. How does one know the other person’s culture and faith without communication? ” he asked.

Projek Rumah Ibadat Kita consists of 24 people from different ethnicities and faiths who want to promote their belief in a society that embraces diversity.

The community-mapping tour started outside YMCA along Jalan Tun Sambathan 4 with more than 100 people attended the three-hour walking tour which covered visits to places of worship that included the Orthodox Syrian Church, Church of Our Lady Fatima, Madrasathul Gouthiyyah Surau, Tamil Methodist Church, Seng Hong Temple, Sri Sakthi Vinayagar Temple, Buddhist Maha Vihara, Sri Krishna Temple, Sri Maha Muneswarar Temple, Sri Kandaswamy Kovil and Sree Veera Hanuman Temple.

 

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/10/17/central/12172660&sec=central

Apply for Know India Programme

February 10th, 2012
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This is a HIGHLY SUBSIDISED program to get to know India! Hard to believe, but yes its true 🙂

 

The Know India Programme (KIP) was earlier known as the Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth (IPDY). The KIP is organized in order to associate the younger generation of the widely spread out Indian Diaspora closely with India. Nineteen such KIPs have been organised till now by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Government of India (GOI), with a view to promote awareness on India, its socio-cultural diversity, its all round development, its emergence as an economic powerhouse, India being a centre of higher education and the ongoing developments in various fields including infrastructure, Information technology etc. The participants from countries having larger population of People of Indian Origin (PIO) are selected based on recommendations made by Indian Missions / Posts abroad. They are provided with full hospitality and are reimbursed 90% of the cheapest economy class airfare from their respective country to India and back. Each KIP is organized in partnership with the State Governments, and each KIP is of 3-weeks duration and has not more than 40 participants.

More Details:

The 20th, 21st, and 22nd KIPs will be held in partnership with the state governments of Goa, Uttaranchal, and Karnataka respectively.

The Know India Programme (KIP) is organized in order to associate the younger generation of the Indian Diaspora closely with India. Nineteen such KIPs have been organised till now. The KIP provides a unique forum for students and young professionals of Indian origin to share their views, expectations and experience to bond closely with contemporary India. Each KIP is of three weeks duration and not exceeding 40 participants. The programmes have been greatly appreciated by the past KIP participants.

2.             The 20th KIP is expected to commence in April 2012, in partnership with the State Government of Goa.

3.             The 21st KIP is expected to commence in August 2012, in partnership with the State Government of Uttaranchal.

4.             The 22nd KIP is expected to commence in December 2012, in partnership with the State Government of Karnataka.

5.             The KIP is open to youth of Indian origin [excluding Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)] in the age group of 18-26 years as on the first day of the month in which the programme is expected to commence.

6.             The contents of each KIP may include the following:

i.)      Presentations on the country, political process, developments in various sectors.

ii.)     Interaction with faculty and students at a prestigious University / College / Institute.

iii.)    Presentation on the industrial development and visits to some Industries / factories.

iv.)    Visit to a village to better understand the typical village life.

v.)     Exposure to Indian media.

vi.)    Interaction with NGOs and organisations dealing with women affairs.

vii.)   Visit to places of Historical Importance / Monuments.

viii.)  Taking part in Cultural Programmes.

ix.)    Call on High Dignitaries, which may include President of India, Chief Election Commissioner of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Ministers-in-charge of Overseas Indian Affairs, Youth Affairs and Sports, and other dignitaries.

7.             The candidates should either be holding a Graduate Degree or studying for graduation. They should be able to converse in English (they should have studied English as a subject at the High School level or should have English as a medium of instruction for under-graduate course).

8.             The applicant should not have participated in any previous KIP or Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth (IPDY). Students and those who have not visited India before are encouraged to apply.

9.             The applicant should also enclose a medical fitness certificate from a General Physician along with their application, stating that the participant is medically fit to take part in this 3-week KIP in India.

10.          If selected for the programme, the participants would take an overseas medical insurance to cover the duration of the visit, failing which they would not be issued visa to participate in the programme.

11.          The participants are provided the following hospitality / facilities in India:

i.)      Local hospitality e.g. boarding / lodging in State Guest Houses or budget hotels.

ii.)     Internal travel as per the Programme.

iii.)    Per diem allowance of Rs.100/- for out-of-pocket expenses.

iv.)    They may be granted Gratis Visa by Indian Mission / Posts abroad.

v.)     90% of the total cost of the air ticket for the cheapest economy class travel from the participant’s respective country to India and back is reimbursable to them by Indian Missions / Posts abroad after their successful participation in the KIP.

12.          Selected applicants are required to abide by the regulations of the KIP as conveyed to them by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) or an agency nominated by it for the conduct of the KIP. The participants are required to offer their full cooperation in the smooth conduct of the KIP, and they are not expected to leave the KIP mid-way.

13.          Nominations have to be forwarded through Indian Missions abroad and have to be endorsed by HOMs before being considered for selection. A copy of the nomination / registration forms and details of the KIP is available online at www.indianhighcommission.com.my/kip.php

14.          The duly filled-in applications should be submitted either by hand / by post to:

High Commission of India,
Education Section,
No. 2, Jalan Taman Duta, Off Jalan Duta,
50480 Kuala Lumpur.

15.          The last date for receipt of nominations for the 20th, 21st and 22nd KIPs should be sent by 05 March 2012, 25 June 2012, and 29 October 2102 respectively.

 

Forms:

Application Form (PDF or Ms Word)

Guideline: Guideline KIP

references:

http://www.indianhighcommission.com.my/kip.php

http://indianhighcommission.com.my/pressview.php?Id=119

Note: thanks to Novinthen for info.