Tag Archives: dato hamidah osman

All-Cargo Flight Flies into Snags

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By Jerry Francis

Dato' Hamidah: "Air cargo is a necessity for the State. We want the service"

Hardly two weeks after it was announced, the launching of the direct Ipoh-Singapore all-cargo flight was postponed “indefinitely” and, perhaps may even to be called off.

What a shame. Such a development which could bring some hope to the revival of the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport and would be welcomed by manufacturers and traders throughout Perak as of “great benefit” to them is now not likely to materialise.

The introduction of the direct cargo flight to Singapore would also be a step forward in the State Government’s efforts to make the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport a feeder airport.

Was the proposed launching on June 16 at the airport prematurely announced or were those involved labouring under a misconception and overlooked the conditions governing the approval by the Transport Ministry?

Why at this stage, when so much efforts have been made to the extent of getting an airline to participate, was it suddenly postponed and indefinitely at that.

According to a source, the Transport Ministry had issued the approval for the direct all-cargo flight, but the condition is that cargo can be brought in but no cargo can be flown out of Ipoh.

Under such a condition, the operator Asialink Cargo Express (ACE) may not find it viable to operate the all-cargo flight. The Indonesia-Singapore joint venture cargo airline operates its hub from Batam, Indonesia.

Certainly those in the aviation and freight sectors should have been aware of such a ruling that prohibits any other than MASKargo/MAS/Transmile/local carriers to carry goods/passengers out of the country.

Were all the requisites looked into before the approval from the Transport Ministry was sought and the announcement made?

Commenting on the news, a reader Norhisyam Yusuf said, “I believe the same situation goes for Penang at their Kompleks Kargo Kedua, where UPS, DHL and FedEx are prohibited to uplift cargo from Malaysia. This does not happen in any other country in the world (except Malaysia).”

He hopes that the Ministry of Transport could look into this matter and allow “equal” competition (or better, if there are no local carriers able to do it or interested in doing it) because most of the economies in the world compete equally and fairly (fair trade practices).

“Anyway, I laud the efforts made by MITI, MIDA and FMM. I hope more of these friendly, business-minded approaches will be introduced by them to increase Perak’s competitiveness in the Malaysian economy,” he said.

Another reader Izzy Delancy believes that having such services in Ipoh will benefit the exporters.

“It is better to be a spoke than a hub, since to be a hub, you have to be gazetted as an “international” airport that can cater at least to an Airbus A330 series aircraft. Nonetheless, this effort is sufficient enough for Perak to recover and “re-boost” its economy, and recover some of its past glory”, added Izzy.

Let us hope whatever problems confronting the introduction of the all-cargo flight could be resolved quickly. Especially when so many hopes were raised in certain segments of the business sector.

Meanwhile, the State Government will actively pursue the matter to make the “desired service” a reality. State chairman for Industry, Investment, Industrial Development and Tourism, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, said it was discussed at the recent state executive council meeting held in Kuala Lumpur.

“The government is still positive about the service and taking steps to identify the problem to ensure it becomes a reality,” she told our reporter James Gough after the meeting. “The air cargo is a necessity for the State. We want the service,” she added.

Tourism

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PERAK’S PROMISING ECONOMIC SECTOR

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Tourism in Perak has always been a promising sector. It has a multitude of premium products such as Pangkor Island, Cameron Highlands, Belum Rain Forest and a Food Haven that is Ipoh.

This year too saw the introduction of daily direct flights to Singapore operated by Firefly Airlines and recently a 3 times per week flight to Medan Indonesia. Let’s also not forget the 5 times per day KL-Ipoh train shuttle that takes 2 hours from KL Sentral to the centre of Ipoh.

Unlike bringing in new investors, no major investment is required for this industry as all infra structure is already in place. All that is required is a Vision, a Mission and the political will to galvanize the industry players and stakeholders to enable tourism to contribute towards the GDP of the state.

Realising its economic potential for the state, Ipoh Echo met with Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Perak Senior Executive Councillor for Tourism, to get her plans for this sector.

Q: Do you have a Vision for the state?

A: Tourism is a promising economic sector for the state. Currently we have identified 10 main packages to promote. These are Bukit Merah, Orang Utan, Taiping Zoo, Kuala Sepetang Mangrove forest, the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar, the limestone caves around Ipoh, the Herbal Park at Simpang Pulai, Gua Tempurung, Felda Klah at Sungkai and Pangkor Island.

Most of the products are nature based hence we have a new Vision in the tag line ‘Perak Land of Grace: A Gateway to Nature’.

Generally our mission is to have more 3-day 2-night packages.

Q: Is there a master Plan for the tourism industry in the state?

A: We will be calling for a series of round table discussions in November. The round table topics would include Medical and Health Tourism, the Kinta Valley, i.e., Ipoh to Kampar and Perak overall.

B: Besides the government agencies and EPU (Economic Planning Unit) the other participants would include the hoteliers, those involved with medical tourism, NGO’s and private players e.g., the resort operators at Gopeng, would be invited to share their views.

C: The discussions must have a short term and long term plan. The points raised would then be discussed at state level for approval before January 2010. The approved plan would be listed for the coming 10 Malaysia Plan which is to be implemented effective June 2010.

Q: What are the Goals, action plans and strategies?

The round table discussions will set the goals or KPI’s which all parties must work together to achieve. A new committee, JKTPNP or Jabatan Kuasa Tindakan Perlancungan Negeri Perak comprising Tourism Malaysia, Perak Tourism, MTPN (Majlis Tindakan Pelancungan Negeri or State Tourist Promotion Council), State bodies, PBT’s or Local Councils and the Hoteliers was set up in August to meet once a month to review progress.

There will be a revamp of the administrative procedure. Tourism Malaysia and Perak Tourism will focus on promotions and come out with the Calendar of Events while MTPN will be in charge of the infra-structure. Perak Tourism would also be tasked to audit and report on the infra-structure facilities such as roads, parking, toilets and the like.

Q: Clean towns with clean drains, tidy streets and outlets. Are the District Councils roped in to contribute towards the tourism effort?

The local District Councils will be responsible for all the products including cleanliness in their area. Their role is to work with their local hoteliers and product operators to maintain the quality of their products. They will be required to propose proper signage and factor the costs in the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Q: Despite annual promotions, tourist arrivals to Perak have been stagnant for several years. What are the plans to improve tourist arrivals?

Our plan is to sell more 3D2N packages, e.g., Taiping, Kuala Sepetang Mangrove forest and Bukit Merah. Currently promotions have been stopped to realign the strategies. It would be ideal if the local agents took the initiative and came out with better packages whereby tourists came in using local agencies. The products are available so there must be a short and long term plan. In future each product or package should have a specific owner who should follow along with the promotional fairs.

Q: Will there be an upgrade for our Tourist Information Counter (TIC)?

A: Currently we have 4 TIC’s in Perak at Ipoh, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar and Pangkor. Perak Tourism has been asked to initiate a standard procedure for all the 4 TIC’s to promote Perak products. The staff at these counters must speak at least English and be able to promote all of Perak’s products irrespective of their locations. Even the brochures on the shelves have to be standardised.

Q: Is there a plan to promote Ipoh Old Town from the Railway Station to the Kinta River as a heritage product.

A: We do not mind having the relevant parties attend our round table discussions to propose their plans. However the proposal must bring benefits to the people and must have strong support from the public. If there is the support we will have to support the proposal.

Q: Is it true that there is a shortage of tourist guides?

Yes. There is a shortage. Currently the community colleges at Sungai Siput and Grik are offering tourism courses. We plan to extend the courses to include the tourism products in the state and then issue them with a tour guides license. The scripts for the various products must be standardized and will be ready before the middle of November.