Tag Archives: visit perak year 2012

Orang Asli Carnival


visit perak year 2012, kuala koh tapahA carnival to showcase Orang Asli’s cultural heritage and delights was held at the TNB Padang in Kuala Woh, Tapah recently. The event’s significance became more meaningful as it was held in conjunction with Visit Perak Year 2012. The Perak State Government, through Tourism Perak, approved a sum of RM150,000, which was given to the Batang Padang District Office, the organiser of the carnival.

Dubbed “Karnival Kebudayaan Orang Asli 2012” (Orang Asli Cultural Carnival 2012), the one-day festival began in earnest and ended well past midnight the same day. Some of the highlights were a blow-pipe competition, handicrafts and photo exhibitions, sales of jungle products and a futsal tournament. At night  entertainment programmes were held to keep the 3,000-odd visitors occupied.

The main attraction of the carnival, however, was the two-waterfall expedition which saw some 200 participants trekking from a start point near Lata Kinjang to Lata Iskandar. They traversed a thickly wooded jungle track leading to the asli settlement at Sungai Lerek, where they spent a night before proceeding to Lata Iskandar, along the Tapah-Cameron Highlands road, the following morning.

Dato’ Hamidah flagged off the trekkers prior to making an appearance at Kuala Woh. It was a groundbreaking moment, as a carnival of such magnitude has yet to be held in Tapah.


The Federal Connection

visit perak year 2012
Datuk AC Mizal (r) with a fan

Perak Tourism recently held a dinner with the various directors of federal departments in conjunction with Visit Perak Year 2012. The dinner was officiated by State Exco for Tourism Dato’ Hamidah Osman.

In her address to the guests Hamidah again reiterated that what has been done to promote VPY 2012 so far is not enough. “Tonight I want to ‘lobby’ you, the department directors of the Federal Government to also play your part to promote VPY2012 by holding your department activities, where possible, in Ipoh. Perak is rich with products. Your commitment is necessary to make VPY 2012 a success. Holding activities here will help promote the ‘feel tourism, act tourism’ environment.”

The dinner was held at the newly-opened Riverfront Hotel and guests were treated to cultural dances by Selendang Perak as well as being entertained by VPY 2012 Tourism Ambassador Datuk AC Mizal.


Launch of VPY 2012


Launch of Visit Perak Year 2012Launch of Visit Perak Year 2012Visit Perak Year 2012 was officially launched on Saturday, February 11 at the Dataran MBI, Ipoh. Over a thousand people thronged the square to witness the ceremony which was graced by Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Executive Councillor for Tourism and Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim.

“We hope to attract more tourists to Perak. Ipoh has its own uniqueness. Heritage buildings in the city are a huge attraction. They’re maintained and continuously upgraded, in the hope that more people would come and see them,” she said.

Thirty one programmes are planned throughout the year. Among the highlights are the recently concluded Royal Belum Drums Festival, the Ipoh International Run in July and the International Youth Rainforest Exploration in November.

MBI Launches Its VPY 2012 Programmes


Visit Perak Year 2012Ipoh City Council has announced that it has 12 programmes for Visit Perak Year 2012.

The programme which was launched by the State Exco for Tourism and Industry Dato’ Hamidah Osman, includes: a photography competition, currently on going till March 18, an exhibition and futsal and football competitions.

The annual Ipoh Star Walk and Ipoh International Run are part of the scheduled programmes. There will be two international programmes, the International Eco-Tourism Familiarization Tour (September) involving foreign media to promote the state’s attractions, and the International Youth Rainforest Exploration (November).

Dato’ Hamidah in her address praised Ipoh City Council for ridding Ipoh town of its ‘Ghost Town image’ with more lively centres spread out around town where residents can lepak (to hang out) at the end of the day.

Other issues highlighted by Hamidah included:

The 360 traders at Memory Lane/Horley Street will be provided a standard umbrella canopy to improve the image of the Sunday flea market. Currently the image is haphazard due to traders using a variety of umbrellas or no umbrellas at all.

Certificates of Appreciation will be handed to shop-house owners who have upgraded their premises whether by renovation or touch ups with a new coat of paint and still maintaining their identity. According to Hamidah, “although Ipoh has beautiful caves and hills the buildings in town are ‘assets’ that reflect the image of Ipoh of a time gone by.”

More billboards are needed to bring about the ‘Wow factor’ for VPY 2012. “Although promotions have been done, that ‘welcoming’ feeling is still missing.”

On the subject of homestay programmes in Ipoh which is currently non-existent, Hamidah has proposed to set up a programme for Ipoh. A homestay programme must consist of a choice of 10 participating homes to be recognised as such.

KTMB has approved a location at Ipoh Railway Station to be a Tourist Information Centre (TIC). The TIC is anticipated to be operational by the end of March.


Misleading Information


On my way home recently, I chanced upon a billboard, outside of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Sepang, extolling the virtues of Visit Perak Year 2012. What puzzles me is the depiction of Istana Kenangan in Kuala Kangsar as the primary image associated with the occasion. Istana Kenangan, incidentally, is under renovation and is closed to the public. Its portrayal, therefore, is not appropriate at this moment in time.

At the Medan Mega Fair recently the Mayor was seen showing an Indonesian official a map of Ipoh. The map is a folded brochure detailing historical landmarks within the city, places to eat, to shop and to recreate and a list of private hospitals. Obviously, it is meant for Medan folks who wish to seek an alternative location for their medical needs.

The English-language brochure has many factual errors, including grammatical mistakes which I had raised with the council staff. The continued use of this brochure may not be in the best interest of Ipoh City Council, as the information available is misleading. Hopefully, remedial measures are taken before it is too late.


Getting Ready For VPY 2012


By Mariam Mokhtar

My exposé on the Perak Tourist Information Centre, Ipoh, which is managed by Ipoh City Council, in Ipoh Echo (Issue 129) did not go down well with the authorities. The messenger is normally shot, so the question is: “Why won’t the management work on the problems mentioned and rectify the situation?” How often does top management pay surprise visits to their own departments? Do they ever conduct self-audits?

If a visit is announced, it allows the people being inspected to put on a good show for the boss. The same effect is seen during ministerial visits when instant gardens appear, the place is given a new coat of paint, repairs are hastily made and everyone is warned to be on their best behaviour. All is perfect for a couple of hours, after which it is business as usual.

Return to Basics

Tourism, like charity, begins at home. Perakeans want the authorities to return to basics and tackle the problems of crime, public transport, amenities, safety on the roads and on our rivers, lakes and waterways, and the lack of cleanliness and hygiene.

Public transport

Every time a person boards an express bus, or taxi, he wonders if this will be his last journey. The seat belts, like the meters in Ipoh’s taxis, rarely function, whilst stage buses appear to be driven by drivers who are clueless of the Highway Code.

Not every visitor tours with his own car. Many tourists, local and foreign, rely heavily on public transport. What has Ipoh to offer in the way of cheap, reliable and efficient public transport?

Tourists who drive are dismayed by poor signage. Try leaving the Taiping zoo after the night safari and navigating your way home. There are no signboards to direct you back onto the motorway. The roads are dimly lit making signboards invisible.


Public Toilets

Of increasing notoriety are our public toilets. Washroom facilities are a continuing bane. Perhaps we have to reach out further to get the message to the general public. How much interaction is there between tourist site operators and the government departments representing education, information, health and public works?

Learn From Our Neighbours

Communication and work ethics are areas in which we are weak. One does not have to travel far to see how excellence can be achieved. The tourism industry of Thailand brings in repeat customers. In Singapore everything works like clockwork. Why can’t we be the same?

On recent visits to see fireflies in Kampung Dew and to explore Gua Tempurung, I specifically requested an English-speaking guide for my foreign visitors. I did not receive this and ended up translating for my guests. On another trip, my Japanese friends were fortunate to be able to understand Malay, but what about the thousands of foreigners who do not speak the language? If the Balinese and Thai can converse well in other languages, besides English, why can’t we train our tour guides to speak other languages?

Language Lessons

I spoke to a few tour guides and they said they were willing to learn other languages, if their companies would help them acquire this knowledge. None had been offered financial assistance or time off to learn another language. Many felt that their managers had not asked them for ideas and contributions to improve the facilities. So should these employees have been more pro-active and told management of their ideas?

Perhaps these employees, who are paid a minimal wage, felt that they were unable to share any of the extra profits these companies would inevitably make. What system of rewards do these companies have for their staff, if any?

Communication Lacking

Was anyone aware that the boardwalk in the Kuala Sepetang, Matang Mangrove Reserve is under repair? Work started two months ago and should have been finished by now. However, a shortage of raw materials to upgrade the boardwalk means that it will probably be out of use till the end of 2011.

So the mangrove forest and on-site amenities, like the museum/information centre, the meeting room, chalets and catering facilities, are unusable. Surely the Perak Forestry Department could have informed the media and the Taiping Municipal Council about the closure so visitors would not be inconvenienced.

Protect Natural Assets

Perak’s natural assets are a magnet for both locals and foreigners. We must halt the destruction of these sites, and prevent uncontrolled development, such as the encroachment of the oil palm plantations onto fragile ecosystems like the mangrove swamps, the bird sanctuary and the natural habitat of the fireflies.

We must check illegal practices, like the indiscriminate logging of the Belum forest or quarrying and building near limestone hills. Even the lake at Gunung Lang is at risk from pollution.

If we are not careful Perak won’t be able to boast of any attractions other than its fast vanishing pomelo orchards.                                                                                                         

Tap the People for a Successful Visit Perak Year 2012


By Mariam Mokhtar

It is now mid-September 2011 and January 2012 is just around the corner. For those who are unaware, 2012 is Visit Perak Year. Some people may believe that Perak is geared up for this very important year but are they being realistic? How many people are aware that 2012 is Visit Perak Year?

Questions, Questions and more Questions

Last July, the Ipoh Echo published a report which said that the calendar of events would be ready by September. Why have the authorities not engaged the general public to suggest ideas for events or venues? What do the Perakians know about the events planned for 2012? What has been the public’s participation in these?

How have the authorities presented the array of activities, venues or special exhibitions to showcase Perak to the whole world? The Ipoh Echo may be accessible locally and on-line but is this enough?

Who is the target audience for tourism Perak – the foreigners or local (Malaysian) tourists? Is the approach for each different?

Advance Planning

Everyone knows that the preparation and the promotional events for the Olympics are started well in advance and sponsorship obtained years before the site is ready.

In the schools our children attend, the school diary is prepared a year, or two, in advance; the schools know what events should be included in the academic year and it has a rough idea of who it plans to invite to give talks to the students.

Ideas from the People

Perak is not short of people who have interesting ideas. Why is their creativity not being tapped? Why do we shy away from engaging the wider public to participate in an event which will ultimately benefit them?

Our youth know what is fun and would be enjoyed by their peers. Perhaps competitions to create advertising slogans could be organised in schools to tap these young minds. Perhaps the winning entrant could be rewarded with a package holiday for him and a friend at a 5-star resort of his choice, in Perak. This might be the chance to promote the 3D2N package that was mentioned in the July 16 issue of Ipoh Echo.

People flying by MAS into KLIA are normally treated to a tourism Malaysia promotional advert on the monitors, prior to landing. Why are they not told that it is Visit Perak Year in 2012? Where are the flyers, or to save costs, a notice on their screens to inform them about the event?

Why are Tourism Malaysia offices overseas not promoting Perak at all? Many people book their holidays well in advance. Can’t we at least tempt them now, so they can include Perak as a possible destination?

We have a brilliant, direct bus service between KLIA and Ipoh, which very few people know about. There should be billboards as we arrive at KLIA showcasing Perak and telling them that they can go direct to Perak on this bus service. KLIA has nothing to tell the traveller about Perak.

Why can’t the authorities have adverts promoting Perak painted on the outside of buses and coaches outside of Perak? It is those people outside the state we need to entice.

In the run-up to the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the London Underground printed a photo of the royal couple on the reverse of the Oyster tickets. Millions of people bought these tickets, which would otherwise be free, to keep as souvenirs of the event. Perhaps transit passengers, who land in KLIA, on their way to Australia and beyond, could be given transit boarding passes with Visit Perak on the reverse?

In-House Preparation

The most important preparation we should make is in-house. It has to do with cleanliness, hygiene and communication. There is little headway with filth and litter. Our streets are dirty and our drains support more plant growth than is found in some of our gardens. The smells from rotting food waste and the vermin that thrive on waste, lie beside some of our best food stalls. Where are the health inspectors and why is there a lack of enforcement?

If we are really serious about welcoming these visitors, we need to improve our cleanliness. Impose a heavy fine on those who litter indiscriminately and close down the establishments which continually break the rules. Perhaps the people in charge have different standards of hygiene or have a higher tolerance of filth.

As always, our local government seems to do things in fits and starts, it shows enthusiasm only when a minister or exco member shows interest. Communication and education within our community is poor. It is time we addressed this common failing.