The Iskandarian Dec 2013 Issue

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KDN : PP17797/06/2012(032765) | MICA : MCI(P) 099/06/2013

Official Newspaper

The Iskandarian is a public-private collaborative product of IMSF Roundtable by IRDA’s Social Development Division


Following the success of Karnival Nusajaya, ISKARNIVAL plans to attract more than 70,000 visitors pg 10

The Iskandarian Monthly Drill

We get in touch with CEOs and Chairmen of organisations and drill them with questions pg 9


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2014: Friday - Saturday Rest Days Headline: Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has declared the change of the state’s rest days to Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday effective from January 2014


ohor’s official rest days will be on Friday and Saturday starting January, reinstating a practice prior to 1994 when the state used to observe similar rest days. Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who made the announcement during his 55th birthday

celebration, said the decision was appropriate to uphold the significance of Friday as the week’s most blessed day. Speculation has been rife about the change after a state government document was leaked on the Internet. Presently, states such as Kedah, Kelantan, and

Terengganu have Friday and Saturday as their off days. “The decision was made following feedback from various quarters to allow Muslims to perform their religious obligation on Friday in a more peaceful manner,” the Sultan said in his speech.

Deepavali Celebrations with the Prime Minister >>PAGE 12

“I don’t think in this current rapid technological development, a switch in weekends will bring huge effect on the state’s economy,” said Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin. Continued on page 10

>>PAGE 3



The Iskandarian


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Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign 2013

Pickup points Highlight: Columbia Asia Hospital Nusajaya organised a breast cancer

INFORMATION COUNTERS: • Senai Airport • Columbia Asia Hospital • Regency Specialist Hospital • KFCH • Raffles University Iskandar OFFICE LOBBIES: • City Plaza Tower • Menara Pelangi • Bangunan Pelangi • UDA Angsana Sdn. Bhd. • Menara Landmark • Leisure Farm • KCC The Senai Garden • JBCCCI • IMCCCI • Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) • Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) • Iskandar Waterfront (iwh) EATERIES (F&B): • Annalakshmi • 8Lido • Tutti Frutti • BierHaus HOTELS: • Renaissance Johor Bahru Hotel • Thistle Johor Bahru Hotel • The ZON Regency Hotel • Hotel Granada • Traders Hotel • Pariss Hotel Many other participating hotels Gated & Guarded Communities and Others:


he month of October 2013 was the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Month. In support of the cause, all Columbia Asia hospitals in Malaysia including Nusajaya sold a specially designed Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) 2013 key chain and t-shirts with a glitter theme to help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA). BCWA provides information and support to cancer survivors and their families as well as conducting training on breast selfexamination and clinical check-ups for early detection via its mobile clinic better known as MURNI (Mobile Unit Reaching Nationwide with Information). On 23rd October 2013, MURNI arrived at Columbia Asia Hospital, Nusajaya, and provided FREE clinical breast examination and self-examination performed by experienced and qualified nurses. More than 100 women came for the screening. At the same time, FREE health checks (Blood pressure, body mass index & glucose test) and FREE bone mass check were provided at the hospital. Apart from fundraising and screening activities, Columbia Asia Hospital and the Breast Cancer Support Group JB also jointly organised an Interactive Breast

Cancer Survivor Sharing session together with Consultant Surgeon, General, Breast & Endocrine – Dr Rohana Ahmad who provided information, psychosocial support and practical advice to breast cancer survivors and their families and helped them adjust and cope with the disease and its complications, if any.

General Manager, Pn Rahani Yaacob said, “We hope to garner response from the community where we operate in defeating the breast cancer stigma, increasing awareness and promoting early detection while raising funds for the association. We want to help spread the message to the community that early detection save lives.”


O ur P artners

TOURISM CENTRES: • Johor Tourist Information Centre @ JOTIC • Kiosk Pelancongan MBJB @ Jln Tun Sri Lanang • Tourism Malaysia Tourist Information Centre @ JB CIQ COMPLEX & JB SENTRAL

awareness campaign alongside the Breast Cancer Welfare Association and Breast Cancer Support Group JB

• Taman Molek Zone 3, • Tmn Impian Emas Jln 60-70 • Yong Ming Motors (Tampoi) SINGAPORE: • Tourism Malaysia • Raffles Also available for pick-up at Selected Taxis & Busses And at various Associations Want to become a distribution point? Email us today at:

Renaissance Hotel Wedding Showcase displayed a myriad of ideas and wedding essentials. (Pic by Nicholas Vincent)

Hotlines Johor Police HQ 07-221 2999 / 07-225 4499

JB North Police IPD 07-556 3122

Ministry of Tourism (Johor) 07-223 3171

Tourism Malaysia Johor 07-222 3590 / 91

Immigration 07-224 4233

JB South Police IPD 07-2218 999

Nusajaya Police IPD 07-511 4222

Tourism Malaysia Hotline 1300 88 5050

Johor Tourism 07-223 4935 / 224 9960

Senai International Airport 07-599 4500

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) 07-233 3000

Please recycle this newspaper after reading. Thank you Published by True Soul Entertainment [14, Jln. Selasih 10, Taman Kemas, 81200, Johor Bahru] Printed by Percetakan Gemilang Sinar/Gan Seng Printing(M) Sdn.Bhd. [No.100, Jalan Tampoi, 81200, Johor Bahru] Copyright of articles, contributions and photos which are published by The Iskandarian is the property of True Soul Entertainment. The Iskandarian does its best to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of its contents, the publisher cannot accept any responsibilities for errors, mistakes and inaccuracies. The publisher reserves the rights of this product and no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the permission of the publisher.





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The Iskandarian

Do’s & Don’ts With Iskandar Malaysia aspiring to reach greater heights, The Iskandarian citizens are key players in helping Iskandar Malaysia reach greater heights, and can do so by first making the change within ourselves. A first class mentality has to be instilled where we accept nothing less than top notch performance in all things. To prepare ourselves for that, here is a quick recommended guideline on the Do’s and Don’ts. This will be a monthly column to showcase the good, the bad and the ugly of fellow Iskandarians.


Iskandar Malaysia

The Iskandarian speaks to everyday teens to derive their suggestions and opinions about Iskandar Malaysia. The Iskandarian also invites all youths to share your thoughts with us via email at: What kind of entertainment do you prefer? Leisure activities especially water based (example: Water World or Water Park). What kind of family holiday destination do you usually look forward to? I do not venture much except going to the malls during the holidays. LEGOLAND Malaysia here in Iskandar Malaysia is the first LEGOLAND in Asia. As a consumer and member of the public, what are your feelings about this? Definitely proud and it would be fun if I could win a voucher to enter LEGOLAND Malaysia (laughs)!

An inconsiderate driver spotted at the turn in to Taman Kolam Air -Submitted by Gibran Ilram (Nong Chik)

Snap your thoughts and send in pictures to our Do’s & Don’ts segment today: download :

How do you see Johor before and now (with the development of Iskandar Malaysia)? Johor is much more developed now, so Iskandar Malaysia has done a great job so far and I hope they would continue to do so with more developments. As a youth, how do you see yourself contributing to the growth of the leisure and tourism sector in Iskandar Malaysia? Maybe they could hire us to work part-time or select us to act as tourism ambassadors at the airport. This way we are also contributing economically especially when a person visits any of the holiday destinations in the region due to our recommendations.

What other kinds of leisure projects and developments would you like to see in future? I want to see more quality shopping complexes near the city. What does it mean for the youth in Iskandar Malaysia to see so many leisure and tourism products coming up? I feel really glad as it would create more job opportunities for the youth when we enter the working world.

Ridha Izzuddin Roslan Age:19

Chellam is an everyday Joe encountering the trials and tribulations of everyday folks. Chellam’s encounters aren’t merely for comic relief but more to instigate mindset change. Email us if you have any suggestions:

news 15,000 Tickets For Underprivileged FREE COPY ISSUE 16 | DEC 2013



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Community: LEGOLAND launches joint initiative to give away free tickets

Menteri Besar’s wife Datin Seri Rosni Omar (second from left), Datuk Tee Siew Kiong, Siegfried Boerst and Nusajaya DUN Dr. Hj.Zaini Bin Abu Bakar officiate the CSR event (pic by Zarakay)


EGOLAND Malaysia pledged their commitment to give thousands of underprivileged children an unforgettable day at Asia’s first Lego themed park. The initiative was jointly organised with Johor Tourism Department and Johor Corporation (JCorp), UDA Holdings/ UDA Angsana Johor Bahru, UEM Sunrise, PIJ Holdings Sdn Bhd and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). The ticket donation amounting to 15,000 tickets was presented to more than 25 organisations throughout the state by Johor Executive Councillor of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Datuk Y.B Siew Tee Kiong and Menteri Besar YAB Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin’s wife Datin Seri Rosnah Omar. The Corporate Social Responsibility

(CSR) programme is being deployed over two phases. The first phase was initiated in October to celebrate Children’s Day and the second phase will begin in February 2014 and will run in conjunction with the nation’s biggest tourism celebration, Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY2014) “Children are the heart of everything we do at LEGOLAND Malaysia. We want to make sure children in the local community, as well as underprivileged families who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy the LEGOLAND experience, are given the opportunity to do so. We are committed to playing a long-term role in society and intend to make this an annual CSR initiative. We hope more companies will join in next year,” said Siegfried Boerst, General Manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort. download :

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PKIIJB 126 Fund Raiser

Interest: now provides food delivery service to residents of Johor Bahru

Community: Pertubuhan Kebajikan Insan Istimewa Johor Bahru, Johor (PKIIJB) –‘Want to Seek’

he largest food delivery service provider in Malaysia just got larger. Foodpanda has just expanded its delivery service to Johor Bahru; making this the fifth city with Foodpanda’s footprint here in Malaysia. During a recent soft launch, Foodpanda received very encouraging feedback from residents of JB. “This app has potential in making life easy for working people and students,” said Shalin Tan, a local JB resident and Foodpanda customer. “I am the poster child for your customers - I would probably use it multiple times a week. I have been encouraging people in JB to provide delivery”, said John Hunter, an expat living in JB. Hunter added that, “There is a need for decent delivery of food in JB. I have told several people that it would be a good business to get into and I want to see entrepreneurial efforts like this succeed in JB”. “We are very happy to add Johor Bahru to our list of cities that we provide delivery services for,” said Claudio Abitante, Managing Director of “We believe that JB is an underserved market with lots of potential. We are already seeing encouraging feedback from both restaurants and customers. We intend to bring our

Formed in 2008, PKIIJB have been actively doing charitable works and providing welfare assistance for those in need. 126 is the homonym for ‘Want to Seek’, a motto that PKIIJB is using for this year’s charity drive. The PKIIJB centre provides therapy, activities and care for the children like physiotherapy, music


experience in food delivery with strong partnership restaurants to the residents of JB,” he added. Starting with big names such as Chatime, Kenny Rogers Roasters, Vivo Pizza as well as local favorites like Season’s Café and Chakra Restaurant, residents of Johor Bahru can expect to see other heavyweight Foodpanda partners such as Chicken Rice Shop, Old Town White Coffee and other restaurants soon. Currently orders are taken via their website and mobile application on iOS and Google Play.

therapy, life and work skills training, special classes, medical care and many others. On the 6th of December, PKIIJB will be having their 2013 Charity Dinner at Pekin Restaurant Johor Jaya. Interested donors can get in touch with PKIIJB at 016-7620123(Sammi Yeo) or 016-7885988(Cynthia Tai)

Special Mouth-watering Christmas delicacies at Thistle Johor Bahru from 24th to 25th December 2013. For more details, contact Thistle Johor Bahru at +607 222 9234 or email them at

‘Sail Malaysia Passage to the Langkawi’ delegates enjoying dinner at Danga Bay Convention Centre hosted by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin’s office and Johor Tourism (pic by Zarakay)

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The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement





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The Iskandarian Monthly Drill The Iskandarian aspires to be the voice of the rakyat and with that in mind, Mr. Ed Cheong our Singapore Liason Officer is touching base with CEOs and Chairmen of organisations to Drill them with questions to hear their perspective.

What is Charter of Outsourcing Malaysia (OM) all about and describe your role as its Chairman? Outsourcing Malaysia (OM) is an initiative from the outsourcing industry and a chapter of PIKOM - the country’s national ICT industry association. We envision to promote and develop Malaysia’s outsourcing services industry as a global hub for high-value outsourcing. Supported by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and spearheaded by a group of prominent industry leaders from the global services industry, OM focuses on enabling both buyers and providers to work together on addressing service needs within the aegis of global best practices and competencies. OM was officiated by the Prime Minister in 2006, and it represents Malaysian outsourcing providers and aims to collectively build a vibrant and strong industry through collaboration and partnership. Our members are acknowledged as world-class service providers and are recognised by leading industry publications and listings and it represents the local outsourcing industry to the government and private sectors both locally and globally. In line with this, OM’s Charter includes:• Global Trade Development - Providing the platform to its member companies to participate in local and global conference where the members are able to showcase their capabilities and brand themselves in the global market space. • Government Link Initiatives – OM’s strong relationship with many government agencies in Malaysia has helped provide numerous opportunities to its members. One major initiative is our involvement in the Economic Transformation Programme under the NKEA Business Services, where OM together with its founder partners coowned two Entry Point Projects; i.e EPP 2 – Building Globally competitive Outsourcers and EPP 3 – Positioning Malaysia as a World-class Data Centre hub. • Research & Publications – Publication of reports which provides reference and guidance to the outsourcing industry both locally and globally. • Talent & Workforce Development - OM provides a platform for its members and the industry with various certification programmes such as COP and COS, working in collaboration with our strategic partners to address talent issues in the likes

of MDeC, Talent Corp, Ministry of Human Resources and etc. My role as the Chairman is to ensure the full function of OM by leading and setting the direction of the industry through proper policy initiations with the secretariat and the committee, ensuring conventional stakeholder engagements, and strategic partnerships.

Business Services is a ‘New Key Economic Area’ (NKEA) for Malaysia. How has OM facilitated its member base in enhancing the business community opportunities across Malaysia?

Under the NKEA Business Services and EPP 2, OM was mandated to build global awareness by creating brand awareness and assessing the value of buyers by establishing annual outsourcing awards to recognise high performance and raise the industry’s profile. The government’s aspiration was to increase brand awareness of Malaysian outsourcing companies by 50 per cent by 2015. OM has provided various avenues for its members by participating in conferences, workshops and exchange programmes both locally and globally. Since 2011, we have moved around the globe in the likes of the US, Europe and Asia exposing our members to actively participate in the events mentioned above. This has given some of our members high potential leads and also branding themselves in the global market. In addition to this, the Outsourcing Malaysia Excellence Awards are being presented to companies in Malaysia for creating compelling value and thereby enhancing Malaysia’s position in the global marketplace. Furthermore, OM also organises local and international conferences to bring in thoughtful leadership and industry’s best practices which is important for the growth of the outsourcing industry.

How large is the current outsourcing services industry in Malaysia? Please share some insights of the recent reports produced by OM.

The current outsourcing industry in Malaysia as at 2012 stands at the revenue of USD1.7 billion and is expected to double to USD3.4 billion in the year 2017 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 per cent, per annum. In our second industry report titled

David Wong Chairman of Outsourcing Malaysia and CEO of SnT Global

‘Malaysia’s Global Services Outlook’ in conjunction with the four days international Asia-Pacific Outsourcing Summit (APOS) in Iskandar Malaysia (IM), we commissioned a leading B2B market researcher Valuenotes to provide the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) insights of the industry in Malaysia. One of the major insights is; the key advantage that Malaysia was ranked 6th out of 189 countries by the World Bank for the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ category. This ranking is also the highest among all the countries that are considered as ‘outsourcing countries.’ A simple illustration of this is that; a potential investor can start doing business in Malaysia in mere 6 days, while it takes an average of 36 days to do the same in other APAC countries. Malaysia has the highest ‘infrastructure availability’ worldwide ranking at 32nd spot amongst all outsourcing countries compared to India which ranked 84 – with connectivity, electricity supply and internet penetration per population at the highest scores. With the Malaysian government’s continued initiatives to set up new business cities (for example in IM) that are fully equipped with infrastructure facilities such as transportation, electricity, water supplies and telecommunications, it will further increase our appeal to investors who are looking at Asia to outsource their business processes. The strong and diverse language capabilities, strategic geographic location, stable business and economic environment as well as strong government and industry association(s) support and initiatives were also listed as the some of the other key factors that makes Malaysia as a viable outsourcing destination.

India and the Philippines are leaders in business services. China too is coming fast with Shenzhen as the capital of outsourcing services. In your view, what edges have Malaysian companies over these locations? Malaysia will have to move away from playing the number’s game in outsourcing and from the entry-level outsourcing sector. Currently, the largest Malaysian outsourcing company only manages to employ 5,000 people as compared to over 100,000 employees in some of the larger firms in India and China. This illustrates the average size of outsourcing centers in Malaysia - which limits our capability in taking on volume-driven type of outsourcing projects.

This is why we have to focus on providing more highly specialised end-toend services in niche markets such as a) Business Financial Services Industry (BFSI) b) Healthcare c) Logistics and d) Oil and Gas in order to remain globally competitive. BFSI currently accounts for 30 per cent of the market share and is expected to escalate further especially in Islamic banking with the potential to offer off-shoring services. The fastest growth will be seen in the Healthcare (CAGR 10 per cent), Government (CAGR 9 per cent) and Travel and Logistics (CAGR 8 per cent) sectors. Infrastructure management and payment processing are some of the services that are being predominantly outsourced by businesses in the sector. Some of the most popular ITO projects are Generic Office Enrolment (GOE), Electronic Procurement (eP) and Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS). Oil and Gas is another critical sector where there is high growth potential. Malaysia’s strategic location, good port quality and road infrastructure is contributing to the growth of the Logistics sector.

For Singapore-based companies to relocate its operations into Iskandar Malaysia, what can OM do for them? OM will be able to facilitate discussions and engagements with the relevant government agencies in Malaysia through its relationship with the respective government agencies in the likes of MDeC and i2m Ventures Sdn. Bhd.

Tells us more about your company SnT and what are its plans in Iskandar Malaysia? SnT is a Lead Logistic Provider providing consulting, fulfillment, warehousing, transportation and freight forwarding services. We have a network of offices and partners in Asia which provides end-to-end supply chain services for customers worldwide. In addition, we also provide warehouse facilities on lease or on an outsource basis. SnT services are enabled by a state of the art technology platform named Hosted eLogistic Platform. SnT established its presence in IM 3 years ago and has an extensive logistic experience and expertise in handling cross border logistic services for Singapore and regional companies. We are also in the midst of expanding our footprint in IM with additional bonded hubs in Nusajaya area which has close proximity to Singapore via the 2nd link.





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Tasek Maju Group and Rotary Club of Johor held a Charity Gala Dinner to raise funds for the construction and operation of the Rotary Children’s Home. The gala was graced by Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah (pic by Zarakay)

ISKARNIVAL 2013 to Promote Successes and Opportunities Interest: Carnival to promote Iskandar Malaysia by providing a platform for locals


n a continued effort to promote the inclusion of local Johoreans in the rapid development of Iskandar Malaysia, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, UEM Sunrise Berhad and Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) have joined hands to organise ISKARNIVAL 2013. The free admission carnival will be held on the weekend of 7th and 8th December 2013 at Dataran Mahkota, Nusajaya. In support of the event is also Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and the state government. ISKARNIVAL follows the footsteps of Karnival Nusajaya held in Spetember last year attracting over 70000 visitors. The carnival will showcase talks on public interests issues such as ‘The impact on real estate in Iskandar Malaysia following the recent 2014 Budget announcement’, property showcases, affordable living, Career Fair which will highlight the increasing employment and training opportunities available. Over 1500 jobs were offered at last year’s career fair. Part of Dataran Mahkota will also be transformed into a giant playground featuring giant inflatables allowing children to play in a safe and supervised

environment. Artists such as Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Search, Black, Najwa Latiff, One Nation Emcees and Hyperact will take centre stage to keep the evenings entertained. “There will be various programmes which will benefit visitors, among them being the career fair, real estate exhibition and food fair,” said IIB President/ Chief Executive Officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim. Free shuttle busses will be provided from Larkin, Gelang Patah and Johor Bahru Central to the carnival. “It gives us great pride to assist in organising ISKARNIVAL for the public. As children are in the midst of their year-end school holidays, we anticipate more children will be visiting the grounds of ISKARNIVAL. On another note, by showcasing affordable homes and the growing number of local job opportunities, we also want to share the message that Iskandar Malaysia is here for the reakyat to benefit and enjoy because the success of Iskandar Malaysia is ultimately for the rakyat,” said Tan Sri Dato Azman Mokhtar, Managing Director of Khazanah. For further information, visit www.

into turning the state into an international metropolitan. skandar Regional Development However Menteri Besar Datuk Authority (IRDA) Chief Executive Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he is Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said investments confident that the switch of the state’s rest in the area would continue as usual days, from Saturday and Sunday to Friday and IRDA would improve its system to and Saturday, effective next year, will not accommodate the needs of investors. have huge effect on the state’s economy. “We will certainly take necessary This, he said, was because those actions to coordinate all agencies at having Sunday as their rest day could still the federal level and also the business make dealings with the state government community.” as Sunday would be a S u l t a n normal working day Ibrahim urged for state government the state Religious employees. “The private Department to C h a n n e l sector has the intensify efforts to NewsAsia reported option to either promote activities that The Singapore related to Islamic Business Federation follow the state teachings by (SBF), whose members government or providing a platform have business ventures for people to and investments across observe Saturday seek reference on the Causeway and in and Sunday as religious matters. He the Iskandar Malaysia suggested an online region, said the decision rest days” portal on Islamic by the Johor state comes reference be set up. at a bad time, when What links are increasing was surprising however was that the between Malaysia and Singapore. announcement was made by the Sultan If you have a Singapore instead of Menteri Besar as this is a state company with a Johor subsidiary, there policy matter. Some commentators are will now be only four working days which saying that the announcement is a political are aligned. So if you are going to transfer move to demonstrate the Islamic influence goods and services between the HQ and the in the southern state. subsidiary, you could only do it on four days Analysts are speculative of the (Mondays to Thursdays). timing as the Iskandar region has been The Menteri Besar has said that the seeing steady developments with foreign private sector has the option to either follow investments spilling into Johor and the the state government or observe Saturday announcement might be an impediment and Sunday as rest days.


from cover page

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Deepavali with the Prime Minister download :

Social: PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak attended the State Government organised Deepavali celebrations at Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. By Maisarah & Nicholas Vincent


inistry of Tourism and Culture alongside the Johor State Government organised a Deepavali National Open House celebration at Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru. The celebration was graced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib and his wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and his wife Datin Seri Rosni Omar, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment who is also the MIC President Datuk Seri G. Palanivel as well as the Minister of Tourism

and Culture Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Abdul Aziz. Thousands thronged the event to get a glimpse of the premier and to partake in the festivities. “Hosting of National Open Houses like Deepavali further strengthens the 1Malaysia spirit amongst the rakyat besides bonding unity and understanding as well as appreciating the rich arts and heritage among Malaysians,” said Datuk Seri Mohamad Nazri Aziz. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak assured the Indian community in Johor at the national Deepavali Open House 2013 that Budget 2014 will bring further

improvement to their lives with the RM50 mil allocation. The Prime Minister stressed on the importance of unity among the different races and for the richness of the multicultural community to be celebrated in a grand scale. Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said he was confident that Malaysia could achieve its target of more than 26.8 million tourists this year. He attributed this to the creation of high profile and international standard tourism products. “Malaysia has been ranked as among the top ten tourism destinations in the world to visit in 2014, by the popular travel guide, Lonely Planet. Malaysia is the only Asian

country to have made the list. Lonely planet described Malaysia as ‘rolling out an array of new attractions’, highlighting several new destinations such as LEGOLAND Malaysia and Hello Kitty Land in Johor,” said Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz. He also lauded the efforts of local agencies promoting local heritage sites and culture to attract tourist. “I am positive that we will reach the goal of attracting 17million tourists. Singaporeans make up 94% of the states visitors followed by China, Indonesia, East Timur, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Brunei, Philippines, India and so on,” he added.

Tour guides a key in promoting the Johor state as Visit Malaysia 2014 nears Tourism: Datuk Y.B Siew Tee Kiong, the Johor Executive Councillor of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs recently officiated a tour guides’ course at Sultan Ismail’s auditorium at Kota Iskandar.


his course is one of the state government’s efforts through the Johor State Tourism Department and the Ministry of Tourism & Culture to help tour guides in Johor improve their knowledge and delivery of services to the tourists who visits the state. “I believe that this type of course is necessary, as tour guides are considered as front-liners in the tourism industry. The job of a tour guide is not only as an escort officer but he or she also serves as an ambassador and projects the image of

a country or state,” said Datuk Siew. “There are 865 tour guides in Johor where 815 of them act as city guides, while 50 are nature guides. Therefore, I urge all Johor guides to provide the best service to tourists and deliver the right information about the state of Johor, especially in promoting tourist attractions in Johor”, he added. Datuk Siew stressed that the Year 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year and he anticipates many tourists to visit Johor in the coming year. He hopes everyone

including Johorians to play their role as a true citizen in promoting Johor as a ‘tourist -friendly ‘ destination by adopting positive values such as smiling, being helpful and courteous towards tourists. Today, by looking at the various tourism products in Johor, Datuk Siew is confident that the landscape and direction of Johor’s tourism industry is changing for the better. With all the latest attractions, Johor can be dubbed as a major tourist destination in 2014 and can achieve high standards regionally

and internationally by 2020. Therefore, it is vital for all parties, especially the government and private agencies to play a more aggressive role and work closely with each other to jointly realise this objective. Datuk Siew also showed his appreciation to the organising committee, particularly the Johor Tourism Department, Ministry of Tourism & Culture Johor, Cahaya Jauhar, IPPJ and the participants for successfully organising this course.

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement


Calendar of Events >> pg4

dec 2013

scan to visit website

Destination: Ho Chi Minh City Things You Should Do Before December Ends ART Through Your Lens Mastering art photography with John Lee on >>pg4

Dec 2013 | Page 2

The Iskandarian | WAVES Lifestyle

Editor ’s FAM TRIP Note HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM By Priya Manikam & Mithil Tawde

Priya Manikam


t is already December and the time has come to bid the past goodbye. However, before you do that; our motivation columnist, Rose Osman has given you some pointers as to what you should do before December ends! Heed her advice and seek closures in your life before embracing the New Year.


e were recently invited by Mr. Dent Tran of Footsteps Indochina Travel (FIT) to attend a Familiarisation Trip (FAM Trip) to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or better known as Saigon to many. When speaking of South East Asian holidays, popular countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia often gets recommended but after attending this FAM trip, we feel this place should get its due recognition. The trip lasted for four days and three nights and we’d like to give you a breakdown as to what this marvelous city has in store for you.

In this issue, our Personality and Music columns take a short hiatus as we bring you a double-page-spread special on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Popularly known as Saigon to many, do read on as to what this charming city has in store for all you travelling enthusiasts. Under the Play section of the paper, we bring you not one but two mouth watering food reviews of Guangxi Chicken Rice from Sam Kong Restaurant and a Chinese course dinner at Qing Palace, Pulai Springs Resort. We hope these two reviews would whet your appetite and you are good to go until the year ends! As always, for those wishing to share their clothing line or travel tales or like us to review your restaurant/property, drop us a mail at admin@ today and be featured. Merry Christmas readers and see you in 2014!

Day One Having picked up from the airport, we then checked into Elios Hotel which is located within walking distance of the popular tourist attraction; Ben Thanh Market. The hotel itself is pleasant with all modern amenities and it overlooks a lovely park. We then proceeded for a board meeting in the evening chaired by the host, Mr. Dent Tran and Ms. Anna of FIT who gave us an introduction and overview of Vietnam. The evening ended with a lovely Vietnamese welcome dinner at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant. Check out the reasonable room rates inclusive breakfast offered by Elios Hotel via Day Two: Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral – Central Post Office – Reunification Palace – War Remnants Museum – Chu Chi Tunnels After having a sumptuous buffet spread, we gathered at the lobby for our city tour and trip to Chu Chi Tunnels. Our first stop was to Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica located at the town area of HCMC. Built by the French colonists during their occupation in Saigon (then), the Roman Catholic Church established a community and a religious service for the colonists. A beautiful statue of Virgin

Mary outside the church completes the ambience. Opposite the church lies an interesting looking Central Post Office which is worth going to because it gives you an impression of an old railway station and is flocked by tourists not to post letters but as an attraction to snap pictures and buy souvenirs! The post office was also built during the French Indochina occupancy in the early 20th century and its architecture is an absolute classic and a popular place for prewedding shoots. We then proceeded to the historical Reunification Palace formerly known as Independence Palace. This opulent palace is the very site that ended the Vietnamese War during the Fall of Saigon in 1975 when the Liberation Army tanks crashed through its gates. Opening Hours are from 7.30am-11.00 am and 1.00pm-4.00pm. Next stop led us to the War Remnants Museum and no trip to HCMC is complete without going here. Word of caution: it is not for the faint-hearted and young children! This museum opened in 1975 is specialised in research, and exhibiting proofs of Vietnam War crimes and its consequences. There are themed exhibition rooms right from the Historical Truths to the Aggressive War Crimes: “Agent Orange”, the aftermath of My Lai Massacre and etc. The photographic exhibits on “Agent Orange” were rather heart-breaking as it depicts the poisonous effects of this herbicide against humans. It was used by the U.S Military during the Vietnam War. Outside the museum, the artillery and armor collection and various aircraft collections were displayed. This museum will leave you speechless, emotional and somber due to its graphic images but nevertheless, do not give it a miss. Opening Hours are from 7.30am-12pm and 1.30pm-5.00pm (fee: 15,000 Dong (about RM2) or could be included in your tour package). We then proceeded to Viet Village Restaurant for some authentic local flavours before going for a long drive to Chu Chi Tunnels (pronounced Ku Ci). This labyrinth of tunnels running 120km long in the jungle is a must visit for all tourists as it gives you a feel of how life was during the war. The tunnels were built by the guerillas and were used as a clever network of hiding and combating coupled with various booby traps and punji stick pits! The American soldiers never liked these tunnels and considered them a nightmare. Life was not easy in the tunnels but it’s truly admirable to see these created during that era complete with air vents. Tourists are invited to crawl through these narrow tunnels but it’s not advisable for claustrophobics! Also on site, you can witness how rice papers are made and do buy back some for your spring rolls as well as some delicious banana candies. For shooting enthusiasts, you may get your hands on either an AK-47 or M16 rifle and shoot away at its shooting range for a fee. After the drive back to the city, we had a short walk around the scenic areas in the heart of the town where the Hotel Continental Saigon, Opera House and modern shopping complexes lie. We ended the evening at a nearby restaurant – Tandoor which serves delicious Indian food which is not to be missed. If you have the time and energy, head to the night market outside Ben Tanh Market for good bargains.

Dec 2013 | Page 3

The Iskandarian | WAVES Lifestyle

witnessed millions of motor bikers! This is another sight synonymous with Vietnam. As our trip neared its finale, we were treated to a farewell dinner on board Indochine Boat. Enjoy the night view of this dinner cruise along the Saigon River coupled with traditional folk music, dance and live music.

• • • • •

lettuce, noodles and fish rolled in rice paper) Crispy fried crab spring rolls /Cha Gio at Elios Hotel Chicken noodle soup or try Pho (noodle soup with herbs and meat) Vietnamese Salad with prawn crackers at Viet Village Restaurant Prawns in Coconut (acquired taste) Indian food with a fusion at Tandoor Restaurant

Guided Tour – a must especially for Chu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Those interested in discovering HCMC or other parts of Vietnam in the shortest or longest time with all arrangements, do contact Mr. Dent Tran of Footsteps Indochina Travel at +84 905895931 / dent@ for rates and more details and request Tony as your guide! (Note: Tipping the guide and boat drivers are common practices here). HCMC and its sights were truly an eye-opener and an unforgettable one. Therefore, do not give this city a miss on your next travel itinerary.

Day Three: Mekong Delta: My Tho – Saigon River Cruise Dubbed as the “rice basket” of Vietnam, this vast river looks muddy but it’s not dirty and just sit back in your motorboat and enjoy the idyllic view that it offers. For the people here, life pretty much revolves around the river but they also make a living using their natural resources. We disembarked at a village and were taken to see how coconut candies were made. You can also find other goodies and all sorts of things made from coconut trees here for reasonable prices. We then took an exciting ride on a horse cart to see around the village and rested for awhile eating local fruits at a restaurant whilst listening to some live traditional songs and relaxed on a hammock before going on a sampan (wooden boat) ride. The sampan ride was truly an unforgettable experience as you get a chance to admire the natural surroundings of the village. We finally halted at a local restaurant for lunch. Back to the jetty and on the way back to the city, we were stuck in a minor traffic snarl where we

Day Four: Ben Tanh Market – Saigon Square Departure Since we had time before our departure, we decided to head to Ben Tanh Market and Saigon Square for some light shopping. Things to buy: silk table runners, t-shirts, magnets, bags, straw hats, branded wear and etc. Finally, it was time to leave and we bade this wonderful city farewell. Food not to be missed: • Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (filled with mint,

The Iskandarian | WAVES Lifestyle Calendar of Events

Dec 2013 | Page 4

Things You Should Do Before December Ends

By Rose Osman Personal Motivator & Energy Coach yourpersonalmotivator Twitter:@BucketOfRoses

dec 2013 JB, 5th - 8th Dec The President Cup Shooting Competition @K.T

JB, 6th - 8th Dec Home Fair ’13 @Persada

JB, 7th - 8th Dec ISKARNIVAL Dataran Mahkota, Kota Iskandar

JB, 8th Fishing Competition @Mersing

JB, 13th - 15th Dec PC Expo @Persada

JB, 14th - 15th Dec Facon Education Fair @Persada

JB, 18th Dec “Kompang & Gendang Silat” Competition @Mersing

25th Dec

Merry Xmas 31st Dec New Year’s Eve

Spore, 31st Dec Siloso Beach Party @S’pore


efore you walk into the book store and look for a new diary, you might want to explore these activities first that would shift your energy into the right direction and help you detach from living the same pattern of life: Find Closure. The reason life feels the same every year is that we attach ourselves to non-beneficial energies and then accumulate them from year to year. These non-beneficial energies can be anything material and non-material like emotional burden of guilt, resentment and grief. The principle of closure is to get the energy transmuted and making space

for a new beneficial energy to fill in. Spend some time this December and list down all the non-beneficial energies that no longer serve you, and detach away from it and give yourself a closure. Reward Yourself. Close this year’s door by celebrating all the successes that you have achieved in this year. Read your successes in front of others who choose to celebrate it with you. This technique teaches you self-value and appreciation that no matter how much failures and obstacles that you have encountered, you have nevertheless made your journey balanced, successful and wonderful.

Get Your Goals Right. Go for the goal that is meant for you to achieve. Use this energy indicator to find out the answer. First feel it in your heart; a center of love. If you can feel love towards the goal, then it will resonate with you. Then feel it in your stomach; where your guts are. Lastly, feel it in your body especially your palms; where your strength to execute the goals lie. Do these exercises before you undertake on your goals and make its achievement mean a world to you. Enter the New Year feeling great and light and I’d like to wish you all a very Happy 2014!

Approaching ART Photography Event and Milestone Photography Today, functions are there to mainly prove the presence of the subject. However photography has also become more nimble on its own feet and it’s possible to work in any conditions. We may not worry so much about the camera settings but where exactly you should be to get the shots is what counts – One part lucky and one part planning. Instinct - In photography, instinct is what makes you first set out with your camera. It drives you to make the effort to reach a destination and trudge around for hours, carrying all the equipments, fuelled only by the feeling that today you will capture a great image. Instinct is what prompts you to walk further then you intended, or look up or around the corner. You can’t change the instinct that you were born with, but you can change how much attention you pay to it. A large part of photography is by listening to your instinct so often and be rewarded by it. Luck - Following your instinct is part of the process of being so prepared that luck favours you. Sometimes, you might feel like turning the camera and lifting it up to your eye when there is nothing to photograph. Don’t question it, and just do it. For example, when two people walk into a shot and kiss passionately but briefly, you have your picture not purely out of luck but also because you were prepared. Planning – There are practical steps you can take to help both your instinct and luck, of which planning is the most important. Before an event, try to scout the location to discover where is the best spot to position yourself. Bear in mind that this will usually be where every photographer would want to stand. So, explore other options if you don’t want to be with the crowd and still get your best shots.

By John Lee Professional Photographer





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AFTER SPM, WHERE DO I GO? (part 4) Form 6/ STPM Form 6 or STPM is a preuniversity programme that is provided by the government. It is taught in selected secondary schools around Malaysia and is recognised worldwide because of its toughness. The duration of the programme is 2 years and the STPM is recognised by international universities, especially within the Commonwealth, and even in the US, and is considered by many to be equivalent to the GCE A-Levels. Previously, students had to sit for a major examination at the end of

the programme – the STPM. However, beginning year 2012, the Malaysian Examinations Council (MEC) changed the structure and introduced a more modular format for the STPM. The programme is still 1.5 years, but it is now divided into three semesters. Instead of having to sit for one big examination, students are evaluated after each semester, and both their final exams and their coursework or assignments are taken into account in the evaluation. Students are also allowed to re-sit for their semester examinations should they receive unsatisfactory results. This change of format

was done in order to better equip students to adapt to tertiary level studies when they enter the universities to do their degrees. The centralised assessment, which will be administered at the end of each term, consists of written examinations comprising essays, and both structured and multiple-choice questions. The schoolbased assessment is coursework consisting of project work, field work and practical work. The coursework will be conducted either over three terms or in a specific term, depending on the subject. A special feature of this system is that students will be allowed to retake

the first, second and third term written examinations if their performance is not satisfactory the first time around. The best result obtained will be the one taken into account, and the overall STPM results will be based on the best combined results of the three terms. The less examination-oriented approach means that the teaching and learning pedagogy caters to a range of learning approaches. It endeavours to prepare students for their further education and work life, and to encourage higherorder thinking skills, problem-solving skills, independence, team work and maturity. Follow this multiple part series next month

live Goodbye to Sunken Chest page


Dr. James Wong Woon Wai Consultant cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon Dr. James Wong practices as a consultant cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in Singapore, and he is now a visiting consultant at Regency Specialist Hospital.


hen children his age were playing on the beach, Jason would stand shyly on the sidelines. He was too embarrassed to take his shirt off in case he invited some curious stares or even laughs. When he was growing up, he also constantly felt out of breath and had to refrain from sports. Jason, now 18, had suffered from a congenital deformity known as Pectus Excavatum since birth. This made his chest look as if someone had punched it in. Also known as funnel chest or sunken chest, the defect is characterised by a deep depression of the sternum – or breastbone – usually involving the lower half or lower two-thirds of the sternum, with the deepest area at the junction of the chest and abdomen. The inward facing sternum can apply pressure to vital organs of the chest resulting in restricted organ growth and shortness of breath. The Pectus Excavatum

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is usually mildly present at birth but become more serious throughout childhood. Occurring in approximately one in every 1000 children, the condition is more common in males than females, in a ratio of roughly 4:1. Half or more need surgery because their lungs are compressed and their heart squeezed out of position. The ideal age for surgery is between 6-12 years of age. However, a fair number of patients have their operation done in their 20’s and 30’s adulthood with good results. My oldest patient is 40 years old. Previously, the only known technique to correct this deformity involved cutting the chest open, removing the deformed cartilage attached to the breastbone and cutting a portion of the breastbone to move it forward into a more normal position. The breastbone is then secured with a surrounding muscle or a short metal bar and sutured. However, it required long operating time, moderate amount of blood loss and long recovery period, and left a big scar on the chest. But a new minimally invasive surgical procedure has been developed by Dr. Donald Nuss to treat this problem. In the case of the Pectus Excavatum, a long curved metal bar shaped according to the patient’s chest could be inserted beneath the ribs and sternum, and then flipped over to pop the chest into the correct forward position and hold it for 2-3 years until the bones remodel themselves download :

pic from Regency Specialist Hospital


in this new configuration. Lengthy incision could be avoided because the bar could be pushed into the side of the chest under video guidance. The surgery can be completed within one hour and the procedure will only

leave two faint scars. The risks are minimal with less than 1% infection rate. Jason went through the operation 7 years ago and is now fully recovered. As for my patients, they normally feel a lot more confident and reassured after the procedure.





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Managing the Anxieties of Being a Leader

Management: Fear can criple any leader and a proper understanding can help us over come this predicament


ometimes, fear and anxiety can overwhelm us when we have to be a leader. Being a leader requires the ability to lead people in doing a certain task. This can sometimes be a little scary. Here is a list of ways on how to reduce the fear and anxiety of being a leader: • The first thing a person must understand is that you need to know what task that needs to be accomplished. Knowing what you must do is important and can save you a lot of time and stress. It would be a waste of time if you performed a task for a few weeks and realised that it was a waste of time. Know the task on hand and communicate this with your team members. • The next step is to develop a plan on how to accomplish the task. Get a piece of paper and write down the steps that your team needs to accomplish. This will save you a lot of time in the long run and reduce stress and anxiety. Once you write down the steps, follow each step one at a

time instead of rushing at the last minute to meet a deadline. • Communicate with your team members on a regular basis. It is important that everyone on the team is on the same wavelength. For instance, your company needs to develop a new advertising campaign and your team is to present the board on how to go about it. The last thing you want is to have your team members assume that they know what is needed and have them do their own thing. Meanwhile the other half of the team is going in another direction. This leads to wasted time and effort. Talk with your team members daily to be sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. • Prepare for unexpected surprises. Be flexible, and when unexpected things happen, learn to deal with them immediately. For example, some members of the team become sick and are unable to do the tasks and instead of getting all stressed out, just reassign some of the

tasks to other people. Another idea is to find someone to help out for a few days. Getting upset when things go wrong can cause a lot fear and anxiety. Being prepared for surprises is important when you are a leader. Finally, do what you can today. Do not put things off when you can do them today. As a leader, it is important to have your team members do what they can during the day. Don’t have them assume that they can do it next week. You never know when something may come up and being efficient on a daily basis can prevent future problems down the road. Being a leader can be stressful but there are ways to help manage that anxiety. Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” - an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: download :





ACCUMULATING WEALTH? ¬ Profiting from Sector Rotation


ecently, we’ve heard comments that the valuation of Malaysian stock market has gone too high, especially when the Composite Index (KLSE) has reached above 1800. However, I found this is more like a general statement, because there are only 30 companies that contribute to the ups-and-downs of KLSE. The interesting fact is; even if the market moves sideways, there are particular stocks or even a group of stocks (we call it ‘sector’) that bucks the trend. For example: 1. The Crude Palm Oil (CPO) had doubled its price from RM1900 to RM4000 per metric ton from 2007 to first quarter of 2008. That had led to a nearly 100% increase of share price for many plantation counters in that year. 2. In 2009, the SARS outbreak prompted the high demand of gloves usage worldwide. This has caused many gloves company’s share price to go up by at least 50% to 300% in a year! download :

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3. In March 2011, the Japan Earthquake led to the lumber stocks in Malaysia to take off 30-50% in three weeks due to the expected rising demand of wood related products being supplied to Japan to rebuild the country. 4. Beginning of 2013, the Property Index soared from 1100 to 1500 in merely half a year which led many property counters’ share price increase easily to 50% in 6 months. 5. After the General Election in May 2013, the Constructive Index performed remarkably well. This means that many construction companies are doing very well. And the list goes on. As you can see, good times or bad times, there are opportunities around. The question is that, how do we spot this kind of opportunities? The answer lies on the hints on different indices. Besides the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI), there are other indexes which track the stock movement

Tey Bin Yuen is the author of ‘Life beyond the Comfort Zone’. His books are available at major bookstores in Malaysia and Singapore. He’ll be conducting a seminar ‘Profit from Share Investment 6’ on 29 Dec 13. Reach him at

in different sectors, such as Plantation, Property, Construction, Industrial, Consumer and so forth. While the KLCI may go sideways, other indexes could go uptrend. To have a helicopter view of how each sector performs, you may look at a particular sector’s chart online. Just type in the sector’s name and you should find easily. Since the real cases above have become history, you might want to know which sectors have the potential to move right now. Here’s another trick: Observe the big economy indexes as well! For

instance, there are three main indexes in the United States, namely Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) Index, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index. Nasdaq Composite Index is an indicator of the Technology companies. Therefore, if you’ve seen this Index continues breaking new highs, there is a possibility that other country’s technology counters will follow, or have followed. In a nutshell, to form a more insightful view on the stock market, it’s recommended to zoom into the performance of respective sectors by looking at their indexes, from domestic to worldwide.





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Guangxi Style Chicken Rice at Sam Kong Restaurant


r. Yong, the boss at Sam Kong restaurant recently invited me to try their “Guangxi Three Treasures” – namely the chicken rice, stuffed tofu and braised belly pork. Good chicken rice are available in JB especially the Hainanese or the Cantonese style but what is rare here is Guangxi styled chicken rice. Guangxi chicken is poached in the same way as Hainanese or Cantonese chicken preserving the same smoothness, tenderness, juiciness and natural sweet flavours of a fresh chicken. At Sam Kong, the chicken is chopped into small bite size pieces in the same way as any other chicken rice stalls in JB and Singapore. The chicken is then drizzled with soy and sesame oil based sauce. Mr. Yong

said that the traditional Guangxi way is to chop the chicken into just a few large pieces. What sets this chicken rice apart from the rest is the sauce which is called “Nam”.

The sauce is a complex blend of fried garlic and onions, parsley, chopped ginger, spring onions, Chinese chives, dark soy sauce, and sesame oil. The Nam sauce is savoury and fragrant, and it really enhances the natural sweetness of the poached chicken.

This is a unique and delicious way of eating tender poached chicken other than with the usual chili, ginger and soy sauce dips. Eating chicken with Nam sauce is a must try. Mr. Yong said that the traditional way is to drench and smother the chopped chicken with the Nam. The Guangxi Chicken Rice is sold at RM22 for half and RM40 for whole bird. For those of us who still wants the regular chicken rice’ chili sauce, Sam Kong’s fresh ground chili sauce is very good too. The dip tastes hot and tangy as it is made with fresh chili peppers, ginger, lime and lime peels. It’s also a great dip for the chicken. Guangxi chicken rice is served with plain steamed white rice and not the oily flavoured rice eaten with Hainanese or Cantonese chicken. However, do note that the Guangxi chicken rice is not served with a soup unlike the Hainanese or Cantonese style. In place of the soup, we can separately order the “Guangxi Tofu” which comes with a savoury soup made with anchovies and soy beans. This is priced at RM8.

Give Sam Kong’s Guangxi chicken rice a try for a change in style from the usual.

Restaurant name: Sam Kong Restaurant Address: 8-H, Jalan Ungku Mohsin, Kampung Ungku Mohsin, Johor Bahru Map: GPS: 1.514005,103.740173 Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm (closed on Mondays) Non Halal

Traditional & Fusion Chinese fare at Qing Palace – Pulai Springs Resort By Priya Manikam & Zarakay


oted consecutively from 1999 – 2010 as “one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurant” by Malaysian Tatler, as well as under Johor Tourism Awards 2012, Qing Palace Chinese Restaurant at Pulai Springs Resort is no stranger to the local community who wants that perfectly unique and authentic Szechuan flavours set against a grand imperial setting. At the friendly invitation of the hotel’s Marketing Communication Manager, Ms. Charlotte Monterio, we decided to check out this place and share its mouth-watering review with you. We were introduced to Master Chef Lim Ming Chong who is the face behind all the signature dishes of the restaurant and we couldn’t wait to begin our dinner course. We started off with “Szechuan Hot and Sour soup” which was a delicious broth consisting of shredded meat and topped with spring onions. The flavours were just right and a perfect starter especially on a cold night. We then had a unique duck dish served with mini Man Tao buns – “Camphor and Tea Smoked Duck”. It’s definitely not your regular Peking style duck that most people are accustomed to. The flavours were neither overpowering nor clashing and it worked perfectly well together and we couldn’t stop eating it! The duck was deliciously moist

and extremely tender. Do not give this signature dish a miss. We were then served “French Beans with minced chicken meat”, - a simple dish that goes well with your rice. Next, we had “Indonesian style fish curry”, and this is another winner after the duck! Delicious Seabass fried to a crisp and accompanied by a mildly spicy curry with eggplants and okra. It goes really well with rice or with Man Tao buns and you would definitely finish up every single bit of the curry off your plate. Just

when we thought we had quite a good spread, then came “Kung Pow Sautéed Prawns”. Usually this popular Szechuan dish with cashew nuts is cooked with chicken but here, the chef decided to treat us with prawns instead. It was also another delicious dish. Finally, with a full belly, we had to try and make room for some traditional Chinese deserts such as “Mua Ji” (peanut based cake), “Oni” (yam pudding), “Honeydew with Sago” and “Chilled ‘Guling’ Herbal Jelly”. The yam pudding

and herbal jelly may require an acquired taste for it, besides that it was a fantastic try especially the “Honeydew with Sago” which had a refreshing taste. Do take note that Qing Palace can accommodate up to 200 people including in its VIP room and they also have Vegetarian dishes. The restaurant also has individual set menus with an extensive array of dishes which starts off from RM 68 ++ per person (for an offer price or reservation, kindly contact the restaurant directly at 07-555 4715).

play KABULI PULAO...An Afghanistan Delight FREE COPY ISSUE 16 | DEC 2013



Chef Mohamad Noorazam Bin Zainal F&B & Event Management Department KFCH International College Johor Bahru mohamadnoorazamz@


abuli Pulao or Afghani Pulao, is the most famous speciality rice dish that originated from Afghanistan. Kabuli Pulao or Afghani Pulao is a savoury Central Asian dish that has many variations. It is often prepared with cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, raisins and various types of nuts. Traditionally cooked with large pieces of lamb, Kabuli Pulao is equally delicious when cooked with beef. There is even a vegetarian version that substitutes meat with stewstyled vegetables. This is a healthy and hearty dish that works well in the summer and winter. The combination of textures, colours and nutritional value makes this a popular dish that can be consumed as a complete meal. This savoury rice is difficult to find in Malaysia and only a few F&B establishments are offering this dish and sometimes they just offer it as a promotional or seasonal dish in the menu. Those who have tried this dish may feel that it is aromatic, fluffy, hearty, download :

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mild, sweet, spicy and chunky. Its hearty and chunky taste comes from the pure lamb stock and chunky cuts of meats; meanwhile the spiciness of the rice comes from Garam Masala, cardamom and cumin powder. Caramelised carrots and raisins give sweetness to the rice and also brownish colour to the dish. Basmati rice is commonly used for this dish due to its character that gives a nutty flavour and fluffy texture. A small amount of saffron is used for its wonderful aroma and as colour to this magnificent meal. Kabuli Pulao has its influence from South Asia and Middle Eastern cuisine cooking. It is because Afghanistan was once a Silky Road path where Middle East and South Asia merchants used to trade their goods to East Asian region centuries ago. Basmati rice and garam masala are often used in South Asian cooking, meanwhile saffron, carrots, cardamom and cumin powder are popular in Middle Eastern cooking. Kabuli Pulao is normally served at wedding ceremonies, special functions or occasions and religious celebrations. It can be served on a plate or on a big round tray and it is more enjoyable to be eaten using your fingers. As a complete meal, this dish is commonly accompanied with mint chutney and fresh lettuce salads.

Ingredients: Lamb or Beef – Preferably fresh rather than frozen Beef/Lamb broth Basmati rice – the older the best Onion – Yellow or Red Garam Masala (blended spices: ground peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom) Saffron strand Cumin powder Cardamom powder Brown sugar Carrots – julienned Yellow raisins Almonds or Pistachios or both Pistachios Cooking oil / Olive oil /Ghee Water

Mint Chutney Ingredients: • • • • • • •

½ of a cup of mint leaves, Optional: separated from stems ¼ of a cup of coriander leaves (Cilantro), Optionally: separated from stems 1 red or green chili pepper - chopped 1 ½ tablespoons of red onion - chopped 3 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice 5 teaspoons of water (or 2 teaspoons of water and 1 tbs of plain yogurt) Salt and pepper to taste


ISSUE 16 | DEC 2013













Cover Story Developments are surging forward in Iskandar Malaysia but will things be as favourable if there is a downturn? Ed Cheong gives you the insight >>page 28

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement





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Property Investment

¬ Keep Calm and Carry on Investing (not Speculating!) Ed Cheong is the Singapore founder of the Iskandar Malaysia Investors Forum and Rafflesland Group of Companies which provides platform for property investors to gain insights and world-class investment strategies. He is contactable at or +65 97111271


ow that we know what the national and Johor state budgets’ cooling measures can do to the market, investors have reasons to fear Iskandar Malaysia’s (IM) property prices. Or do they? Property developers in IM that we spoke to reported depressed sentiment among retail investors. Suddenly there is no more frenzied advertising in the Singapore press nor talk of what the next big launch is. Remnant investors rushed to conclude planned purchases so as to avoid the new rulings effective early next year but there is hardly any momentum beyond that. Surely, we are in a downturn. But how does it matter to long term real investors and home buyers? Pretty favourably actually! The most sanguine remarks I have come across, and these are few and far

between, lauded the measures as timely, appropriate and useful for a sustainable market. Developers who were lobbying against any cooling measures earlier have either kept their quiet or expressed dismay. I believe cooling measures are never popular with the sell side but absolutely needed to curb not further price increases but wholesale speculation. The IM market in particular which has been the star performer since February this year has seen the most speculation. Some operating companies have been buying up stacks of condos ironically speculating a trading profit, which is a questionable practice for listed companies. On the other hand, many retail investors have long been buying multiple units in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and later in IM in the hope of flipping for quick gains. Many of these are club deals where discounts are negotiated in a group. The new measures surely have caused these folks heartaches and maybe even heart attacks. Greed was what drove them to such practices exhorted by “gurus” who earn fees in courses and club deals. Property cycles are long and can wipe out a lifetime of opportunities, a point I also stressed on last month’s The Iskandarian’s Monthly Drill. Speculators should just simply google how “gurus” and “clubs” in

the United States have gone bust during the 2008 global financial crisis but it is now too late for that. The solution for this group is to disengage from self-delusion and start looking at risk management now. Risk profiling should start before even the first purchase but it is better late than never. As for real investors who are buying rentable assets and home buyers, this is the best period for them. Property is a very inelastic industry so developers will go ahead to launch and sell what they had planned before the measures. Prices and perks will be better now. So, to these people, I say “keep calm and carry on investing with big smiles”. Due to speculative activities before the measures, prices of primary developments (direct from developers) are generally high. So buyers should just start looking for secondary market units which usually offer better value and real liveability due to their bigger sizes. Also older developments can be better researched for rental potential and quality of built. Lastly, let the developers sort out their strategies and pricing before you embark on buying new projects. We have seen these cycles numerous times and now it is a buyers’ market. So take your time evaluating each development as you would choosing a life mate. Time is on your side! download :

The Iskandarian

Quick Reads

Levy on Foreign Buyers The Johor state government will levy a two per cent processing fee on foreigners who buy properties in the region from next year. Currently, foreign buyers pay only RM10,000 as processing fee. For instance, when a foreigner buys a property worth RM5 million, they have to pay only RM10,000 but under the new processing fee, it will be two per cent of the property value, enabling the state government to control the sale of properties to foreigners. An EXCO for Housing and Local Government had recently said that proceeds from the processing fee will be used for projects and programmes towards the people’s development. Despite the new measures, property analysts in Johor are optimistic that the change will not affect foreign buyers especially Singaporeans. At present, about seventy four per cent of Singaporeans have purchased various developments by UEM Sunrise at Iskandar Malaysia. UEM Sunrise is the master developer for Nusajaya, where it holds 10,400 acres in its land bank. The state government believes that the step is necessary despite Budget 2014’s stringent property-cooling measures such as a return to a real property gains tax of thirty per cent for disposals within the first five years levied on foreigners; this comes down to five per cent in the sixth and subsequent years.

Property Corner

¬ Property Financing Options A.Devadason CA(M), FCCA, MDRT Deva is a partner in the firm of Dason & Dason, Chartered Accountants who specialice in tax advisory and consultancy. He can be reached at


hen it comes to property financing, the banks are your best partners. However, this partnership is based on the agreed terms of the Offer Letter. Break the terms and your partner may not want to team up with you again in the future. Banks are in the business of deposit taking and subsequently, lending them out. They act as a marketplace where those with surplus funds meet those who are short of it. The bank thus becomes a middle ground and they profit from the variance between paying interest for deposits and charging interest on loans given out. Typically, for residential properties,

the margin of financing, especially for new units from developers, is 90% of the purchase price. For new commercial properties, the margin of financing can be expected to be at 85% of the purchase price. BLR (Base Lending Rate) and OPR (Overnight Policy Rate) The normal approach by purchasers is to take a term loan where the repayment and loan term is fixed. However, this may not be true if the interest rate is variable such as those that are dependent on the BLR (Base Lending Rate). • If the BLR fluctuates upwards, the repayment amount becomes higher or the duration of loan may be extended or in some cases, both. • When the BLR goes down, usually, the repayment instalment remains intact but the loan duration becomes shorter automatically. • So, how is the BLR determined? Well, we need to understand the OPR (Overnight Policy Rate) first. The OPR is the

interest rate at which a financial institution lends immediately available funds to another financial institution overnight. • Simply put, it is the rate banks charge for each day they borrow from each other. • As such, the BLR = OPR + Cost of Default + Other Admin Cost + Profit. • However, many banks are offering rates at BLR – X basis. One may wonder why? It just simply means that despite factoring for all the running costs and probability of default, the profit element is still very high. As such, due to stiff competition, the banks are willing to take a smaller profit percentage, hence the BLR minus basis. Overdraft Facility (OD) The other approach of property financing is either through an Overdraft Facility (OD) or a combination of OD and term loan. Generally, for OD, the interest rate is higher than term loan as technically, there is no repayment term. • The OD is given out with the property being the collateral and the borrower

merely has to service the interest only. No repayment of principal is needed unless there is a breach of agreement and the bank decides to recall the facility. • An OD is suitable when a large amount is expected in the near future so that a big chunk of the borrowing can be settled at one go without having a minimum lock-in period. For salary earners who earn a stable income, it’s best to stick to term loans unless they are expecting a big bonus that can be used to settle the OD. In a nutshell, take care of the relationship with the banks. Just like any lender, ultimately, they just want their original capital back and the interest that is due to them. Maintain this good relationship and they will be your best partner as you build your property portfolio. Once you have a bank of choice, make sure you choose the right mode of financing that matches your financial position. Although an OD may have a higher interest rate, but there is no lock-in period, while a term loan provides a steady plan of ultimately settling the outstanding debt.

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement

The Iskandarian Issue 16 | DEC 2013 Advertisement