Monday, October 19, 2009

Islamic Banking

Islamic banking is a banking system that is based on the principles of Islamic law (also known as Sharia, or Shariah) and guided by Islamic economics. Two basic principles behind Islamic banking are the sharing of profit and loss and, significantly, the prohibition of the collection and payment of interest. Collecting interest is not permitted under Islamic law.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Five Pillars of Islam

As we have also seen, Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last of a series of prophets that God sent to earth. While respecting the teachings of all earlier prophets, Muslims believe that Allah sent his final message to Muhammad in order to correct the corruption of the previous messages. As with the other Abrahamic religions, Satan also exists in Islamic theology, but Islam's strict monotheism maintains that God is the most important figure. Satan is not nearly as important in Islam as he is in Christianity, for example. Also unlike Christianity, Muslims do not believe in original sin. They believe that God pardoned Adam's sin in order for human beings to begin life without sin. Muslims who have sinned in their lives, and who sincerely repent and submit to God, can be forgiven for their sins. Muslims also believe in a Judgement Day, when the world will end and the dead will rise to be judged.

There are Five Pillars of Islam, which are the most important practices for a Muslim to observe:

  1. Creed (Shahada): The statement of Shahada in Arabic is: "Ashhadu al-la ilaha illa-llah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadar rasulu-llah." An English translation would be: "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger." This declaration of the faith must be uttered publicly at least once in a Muslim's lifetime, although most Muslims recite it daily. 
  2.  Prayers (Salate): The Muslim holy day is Friday, when congregations gather just past noon in a masjid, or mosque in English, the Muslim place of worship. The three holiest places of worship in the Islamic world are the Mosque of the Ka'ba in Mecca, the Mosque of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, and the Masjid Aqsa, adjacent to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. An Imam, or religious leader, gives a sermon and leads the congregation in prayer. Muslims do not need to be in a mosque in order to pray, however; they may do it anywhere - a house, office, school, or even outside. They must observe the qibla in all cases though, by facing towards the Ka'ba in Mecca when praying. Prayers must be performed five times daily - at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset, and nightfall. The prayers always contain verses from the Qur'an, and must be said in Arabic. Muslims believe that prayer provides a direct link between the worshipper and God.
  3.  Purifying Tax (Zakat): Muslims believe that all things belong to God, and that humans hold wealth in trust for him. For that reason, it is believed that wealth should be distributed throughout the community of believers, or umma, through a purifying tax. The usual payment is 2.5 per cent of a person's wealth every year, the proceeds of which are distributed to the less fortunate. Additional charity work is also encouraged. 
  4.  Fasting (Saum): During the month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims fast between dawn and dusk. They must abstain from food, liquid, and intimate contact during those hours of the day, in order to commemorate the Muslim belief that Ramadan was the month in which the Qur'an descended from the highest heaven to the lowest, from which it was then revealed to Muhammad in pieces over 22 years. Fasting is seen as a method of self-purification, by cutting oneself off from worldly comforts. The sick, elderly, travellers, and nursing or pregnant women are permitted to break the fast during Ramadan, provided they make up for it during an equal number of days later in the year. Children begin the ritual at puberty. The end of Ramadan is celebrated by the Eid al-Fitr, one of the major festivals on the Muslim calendar. 
  5. Pilgrimage (Hajj): All Muslims are required to make one pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetimes, provided they are physically and financially able to do so. The Hajj begins in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar which means, like Ramadan, it does not correspond to a specific month in the solar calendar. Modern transportation methods, particularly the airplane, have made it possible for many more Muslims to make the Hajj today than 1400 years ago. Like Ramadan, the end of the Hajj is also celebrated with a festival, the Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated by all Muslims, whether or not they made the pilgrimage. These two festivals are the highlight of the Islamic year. 

The Qur'an

  The Qur'an

It is significant that Muslims believe that what Gabriel told Muhammad came directly from God, and that Muhammad was simply God's messenger. Muslims do not believe that Muhammad himself was divine in any way, an important distinction that sets Islam apart from Christianity, which does believe in the divinity of Jesus. Muslims believe that Gabriel continued to send Muhammad messages from God until the prophet's death. Muhammad immediately began preaching the message he had received; his wife, Khadija, was his first convert, soon followed by his cousin and future successor, Ali. Islam says that the message was similar to those received by the early Hebrew prophets: that God is one, he is all-powerful, he is the creator of the universe, and that there will be a Judgement Day when those who have carried out God's commands will enjoy paradise in heaven, and those who have not will be condemned to hell. As we have seen, these ideas were also part of the Zoroastrian religion.

By 615, Muhammad had gained several converts. These early Muslims were persecuted in Mecca, mainly by wealthy merchants who controlled the city and feared that the new faith would challenge their economic monopoly. That year, about 80 Muslims fled from Mecca to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia) to take refuge with Christians there, who were enemies of the polytheistic Meccans. Muhammad's daughter, Ruqayya, and her husband, Uthman, were among those who fled, although Muhammad himself stayed in Mecca. The Abyssinian Christians treated the Muslims well, helping to form Muhammad's positive view of Christians. He labelled both Jews and Christians "People of the Book," because their religion had a holy scripture. For this reason, Muhammad considered Judaism and Christianity to be superior to the polytheistic, humanist Arab religions. Islam also had several beliefs in common with the two older religions, and today calls itself the third "Abrahamic" religion because of what it sees as common roots between the three.

Muhammad, Massenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)

Muhammad Title

Muhammad, whose name means "worthy of praise," was born about 570 in Mecca. His father, Abdullah, died before Muhammad was born, and his mother, Amina, died when he was six years old. His paternal grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, then cared for him until his own death two years later, after which time Muhammad spent the rest of his childhood in the care of his uncle, Abu Talib. Little is known about his early life, but he was not wealthy, and it is believed he was a shepherd. When he was 25 he married Khadija, a wealthy widow about 15 years his senior.

Despite her age, Khadija would bear Muhammad six children, four of whom survived to adulthood - daughters Zaynab, Ruqayya, Fatima, and Umm Kulthum. Ruqayya later married Uthman, and Fatima married Ali, men who became the third and fourth caliphs, respectively, of the Islamic world after Muhammad's death. It is said that Khadija and Muhammad were truly in love, and that although polygamy was common in Arabia, she was his only wife until her death in 619.

Muhammad frequently retreated to Mount Hira, a place of privacy and contemplation near Mecca, to meditate and consider his spirituality. Islamic tradition relates that it was during one such trip, in 610, when he was 40 years old, that Muhammad first heard the voice of the angel Gabriel, who recited to him the word of God, today written down in the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an, meaning "recitation."


  Islam is a religion that began in the 7th century in the Arabian Peninsula. In the Arabic language, islam means "submission," which in a religious context means submission to God. A person who submits is called a muslim, which is also the word for a follower of the religion of Islam. Western writers in the past have sometimes referred to Islam as "Mohammedism." This word can be offensive to many Muslims, because it insinuates the worship of the prophet Muhammad as a deity, which is not a component of Islam the way the worship of Christ is a component of Christianity.
 With approximately 1.2 billion Muslims in the world - 22 per cent of the world's population - Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity. In the recent past Christians have generally seen less population growth than Muslims, however, and some estimates show that the number of Muslims in the world is increasing at a faster rate than the world population as a whole. Understanding the origins and history of this major world religion is key to understanding its present and future role in the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Malaysian Sports Tourism

irst included in the Formula One World Championship in 1999, the current Malaysian Grand Prix is held at the hyper-modern Sepang International Circuit at Sepang, Malaysia. FIA-sanctioned racing in Malaysia has existed since the 1960s. The nine World Championship Malaysian Grand Prix have seen a good deal of action on and off the track, while the weather – furnace heat one minute, tropical storm the next – adds extra spice. The most notable Grand Prix at Sepang to date was the inaugural event in 1999. It saw Michael Schumacher return to the sport after his absence due to a broken leg sustained at that year's British Grand Prix, dominating the race and handing the victory to title-hopeful team-mate Eddie Irvine, only for both Ferraris to be disqualified due to a technical irregularity, handing the title – until the steward's decision was over-ruled – to Mika Häkkinen.

Since 2001, the Malaysian Grand Prix has moved from the end of the schedule to the beginning, which has seen some topsy-turvy results as teams and drivers get to grips with their new equipment, with many races heavily influenced by the winners and losers of the scramble for position into the tight double hairpin bend at the first corner.
The Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is the venue used for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix, A1 Grand Prix as well as the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix. It is also used as a venue for many other major motorsport events.
Widely regarded as a benchmark for other Grand Prix venues, the Sepang circuit boasts superb pit garage and media facilities, as well as impressive grandstands and patron amenities. For 2009, the F1 season in Malaysia will be held from 3 to 5 April.

Le Tour de Langkawi.
sport tourism f1
The 2009 Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) will feature 20 teams from 9 to 15, starting in Putrajaya, the home of Malaysian government and finishing in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, with the traditional criterium at Dataran Merdeka.
According to LTdL 2009 Chief of Operations Datuk Naim Mohamad, the selection of the teams has been the hardest ever. “We have received almost 50 bids from different teams from all over the world. It means the seven-day race format suits more teams than before. With a more compact field, we expect an even more challenging race,” he says. As usual, the five continents will be competing in Malaysia for Asia’s biggest stage race.
Naim says they have composed a balanced field with the priority being given to most competitive teams from Europe and America as they are aware of the importance of the Hors-Category status of the event. “Although we are geographically far from the heart of cycling in Europe, we believe in the anti-doping policy put together by the UCI, the professional teams and the race organisers. We support the initiative of the biological passport. Therefore, we have selected nine teams that adhere to the biological passport program and are eligible for the Grand Tours.”
Among these nine teams, four come from the Pro Tour circuit: Garmin-Chipotle from the USA, Ag2r and Bouygues Telecom from France, as well as Fuji-Servetto from Spain. The five Pro Continental teams are Diquigiovanni (Venezuela), CSF (Ireland), Vorarlberg-Corratec (Austria), ISD (Italy) and the Swiss-based Cervélo Test Team of Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre.
“We are very happy to welcome newly born and extremely promising teams like Cervélo and ISD”, Naim quips. “Two years ago, we were the first organisers to invite Slipstream to a H.C. event because we thought this team had a fantastic future. We are also delighted to see them coming back as Garmin-Chipotle with the prestige of being one of the world’s most competitive teams for the Tour de France and the big classics.”
Oceania and Africa will be represented in Malaysia by the Australian and South African national teams respectively. Le Tour de Langkawi is organised by the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF). Other national teams from Asia will be Malaysia, China, Iran and Kazakhstan while Asian continental teams will complete the line up – MCF and LeTua from Malaysia, Meitan-GDR from Japan, Seoul Cycling from Korea and the Doha Team from Qatar for which it will be a first appearance at Le Tour de Langkawi.
The 20 participating teams are Garmin-Chipotle, Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Fuji-Servetto, Diquigiovanni, CSF, Vorarlberg-Corratec, ISD, Cervélo, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, MCF, LeTua, Meitan-GDR, Seoul Cyling and Doha Team.
More than 800 million viewers are expected to watch the telecast of Le Tour de Langkawi through sports channels all over the world. The race will be telecast via ESPN, Starsports, Supersports, Eurosports, Total Sports and more apart from the local broadcast stations.

The Monsoon Cup.
sport tourism f1
The Monsoon Cup was first initiated by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his fishing trip in Terengganu. The Prime Minister thought the monsoon season should be used as an advantage to the state and the people rather than being seen as a hurdle. (Monsoon season usually lasts a few months in a year in Terengganu, mainly between November and January).

The Monsoon Cup 2005 celebrated its inauguration and debut as the 50th official event of the Swedish Match Tour (now known as the World Match Racing Tour), and serves as the Malaysian leg for the prestigious international sailing event. Dubbed 'The Formula One of Sailing', this professional sailing series was formed in 2000 to unite the world's best match-race regattas under one banner.

The World Match Tour comprises 10 events in nine specially selected locations around the world. As the leading professional sailing series in the world, the Tour events are recognised as must-attend regattas on the match-race circuit.  The Monsoon Cup in 2008 offerred the second highest prize money in the world (RM1 million) for a match racing event. Richard Mille is also the official time keeper for the event.

The Monsoon Cup 2009 will be held at Pulau Duyong, Terengganu, from the 1st to 6th December 2009.

Malaysia As a Destination for Medical Tourism

Malaysia has gained reputation as one of the preferred locations for medical tourism and healthcare tours by virtue of its highly efficient medical staff and modern healthcare facilities.
Medical expertise in Malaysia is at par with the western countries and most private hospitals in the country have internationally recognized quality standards. All private medical centers are approved and licensed by the Ministry of Health and are required to maintain stringent quality standards.
People from around the world visit Malaysia for Medical Tourism and avail high quality medical treatment in some of the best healthcare facilities in the country. Medical Tourism in Malaysia has been patronized by tourists looking for critical medical treatment as well as by people in need of cosmetic and preventative care.
Malaysia offers several advantages in terms of being a medical tourism or healthcare tourism destination.

Medical Tourism Malaysia - Advantages at a glance

Medical Facilities at Competitive Price
Medical services and healthcare facilities are available at a very competitive price compared to countries like UK and US. Medical Tourism packages offer world-class medical facilities to medical tourists at affordable prices.
State of the Art Healthcare Facilities
Most private hospitals and healthcare facilities are well equipped with state of the art equipments and are well staffed with english speaking and internationally trained medical professionals. Medical centers have extensive diagnostic and therapeutic resources such as haemodialysis centers, endoscopic suites, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facilities, cardiac catheterisation and much more.
Highly Qualified Medical Professionals
Most hospitals and healthcare facilities are staffed by well-experienced and highly qualified English speaking medical professionals with extensive international qualifications and are supported by an equally efficient group of english speaking paramedic staff.
Affordable and Easy Accommodation
Most private hospitals in Malaysia offer accommodation for their patients ranging from comfortable rooms to luxurious suites with personal butlers and full time nurses. Sleep-in facility for patient’s traveling companion is also provided by some hospitals. The cost of accommodation is pretty reasonable that allows most foreign patients to avail luxurious suites and also arrange comfortable accommodation for their traveling partners.
  Tourism - The Best Part of Medical Tourism in Malaysia
Malaysia is a tourist’s heaven and its no exception for patients coming from medical tourism. Patients get ample opportunity to enjoy the beaches or go for sightseeing and participate in other tourist activities during their recuperation. While patients for less critical care cases can enjoy an exhilarating tourist experience, Malaysia also offers enough opportunity for critically-ill patients to take a leisurely vacation on the quiet beaches. An extensive tour of Malaysia not just works as an enriching experience but also actively contributes to the patient’s recovery.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Malay Phrases

When you decide to buy a ticket flight to Malaysia, you might want to learn a phrase or two to aid with your stay in Malaysia. Eventhough most of the Malaysian are able to speak fluently in English, you are advised to learn a few Malay phrases to get you out of any tricky situation when you stay in Malaysia.

English Greetings Malay Greetings:

Hi! Hi!

Good morning! Selamat Pagi

Good evening! Selamat Petang

Welcome! (to greet someone) Selamat Datang

How are you? Apa Khabar?

I'm fine, thanks! Khabar Baik, Terima Kasih

And you? Bagaimana Dengan Anda?

Good/ So-So. Khabar Baik Juga

Thank you (very much)! Terima Kasih Berbanyak-Banyak

You're welcome! (for "thank you") Sama-sama

Hey! Friend! Hi, Kawan!

I missed you so much! Saya Amat Merindui Anda

What's new? Khabar Terbaru?

Nothing much Sama Sahaja

Good night! Selamat Malam

See you later! Jumpa Lagi

Good bye! Selamat Jalan

Asking for Help and Directions :

I'm lost Saya Tersesat

Can I help you? Bolehkah Saya Membantu Anda?

Can you help me? Bolehkah Anda Membantu Saya?

Where is the (bathroom/ pharmacy)? Di manakah (bilik mandi/ farmasi)?

Go straight! then turn left/ right! Jalan Lurus/ Kemudian Pusing Kiri/ Kanan

I'm looking for john. Saya Sedang Mencari John.

One moment please! Sila Tunggu Sebentar.

Hold on please! (phone) Sila Tunggu Sebentar.

How much is this? Berapakah Harga Barang Ini?

Excuse me ...! (to ask for something) Encik? (for male) Cik? (for female) + request

Excuse me! ( to pass by) Maafkan Saya…

Taste the Fruits of Malaysia

"It smells like hell and tastes like heaven," is a common description of the durian, the national fruit. This large green fruit has a hard and spiny exterior containing several soft, edible segments. Because of its pungent smell, Malaysians also like to say that eating durian is "like eating ice cream in a toilet." Despite its smell, it is by far the most loved fruit in the country, and negotiations for a single fruit can easily last ten minutes. Durians are also reputed to be phenomenal aphrodisiacs.

This small purple-brown fruit (which is unrelated to the mango) has tasty white segments inside with a tart, sweet flavor. The cooling, juicy fruit was so loved by Britain's Queen Victoria that she offered a reward to anyone who could import fresh ones to England.

Though the rambutan's hair like spines can look intimidating, they are actually quite soft, and hide an incredibly sweet and succulent white fruit. The outside of the fruit is bright red, and it grows in small bunches from a tree.

Come and Dine in Malaysia!!

Because of its myriad cultural influences, Malaysia is a country renown for its creative, complex, and lovingly prepared original cuisine. Food is taken very seriously here, from the five-star restaurants right down to the hawker's booths.Excellent and inexpensive food can be obtained virtually anywhere in Malaysia, largely because of the strength and ubiquity of food stalls. Whether it be in villages, small towns, or big cities, visitors can find stalls offering mouth-watering treats. Dining at a cart or streetside stand may sound plain and piecemeal, but in Malaysia eating food at the roadside stalls is a much-loved practice.

The mainstay of every Malaysian meal is rice. At each meal, a generous helping accompanies a selection of dishes, including fish, seafood, vegetables, and poultry.

Here is a small sampling of Malaysian cuisine; many of these dishes are available at stalls. The stalls will come to you; if you see something that looks good, chances are it is. And you may not see that particular stall again for the rest of your stay--seize the day.

Satay: The most popular dish of Malaysia. Bite-sized pieces of beef, mutton or chicken are marinated in spices, then skewered through thin bamboo strips, and barbecued over charcoal fire. Satay is served with ketupat (rice cake) and a raw salad of cucumber, pineapple, and onions. Sweet, spicy peanut sauce accompanies the dish.

Nasi Lemak: A rice dish cooked in coconut milk. It is served with ikan bilis (anchovies), sambal, boiled egg, fried peanuts and cucumber slices. This is also a popular breakfast dish.

Roti Canai: The all-time breakfast favorite of Malaysians. Made from wheat-flour dough, roti canai sometimes incorporates beaten egg and diced onions for a crispier pancake.

Nasi Dagang: A popular breakfast dish in the country provinces of Kelantan and Trengganu. Brastari rice and fish curry are the simple but delicious elements of this dish.

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice): A complete dish in itself with bits of meat, prawns, egg and vegetables.

Rojak: A salad of pineapple, cucumber, bean curd, prawn fritters and boiled egg, is served with peanut sauce.

Char Kway Teow: Flat rice noodles stir-fried with minced garlic, fresh prawns, bean sprouts, cockles and eggs, seasoned with soy sauce and chili paste.

Chicken Rice: There are several variations of chicken rice, but the most popular is the Hainanese version. The chicken is served with rice which has been cooked in chicken stock. Garlic, chili sauce, cucumber slices and coriander leaves impart a fresh texture and irresistible flavor to this dish.

Curry Laksa: A noodle dish served in curry, blends boiled chicken, cockles, tofu and bean sprouts for a surprisingly good treat.

Rendang: A type of meat dish preparation which takes hours to prepare. Meat, coconut milk, chilies onions and spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander and nutmeg are cooked over low heat. The result is a moist, tender dish with subtle and complex flavors. Eaten with rice ketupat (rice cake) or lemang (glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk).

A Steamboat: An in-house dish. Diners sit round a table which has a soup tureen in the middle of the table. A fire below keeps it boiling hot. One then places prepared raw pieces of prawns, chicken, quails' eggs, sea cucumber and liver in the boiling soup.

Tantalizing meat-free dishes can be found in Buddhist vegetarian restaurants or in South Indian banana-leaf restaurants. Instead of plates and cutlery, you will be served your food on a banana leaf; use your hand to eat.

Diving in Some of the World's Best Diving Scuba Sites-in Malaysia!!

The tropical waters off both Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo offer some of the world's best scuba diving. This is a place endowed with some of the sport's best possibilities: you can dive with whale sharks, hover around immense coral gardens and walls, or dive on ominous and hulking WWII shipwrecks. In many places, you can get 100 + feet of visibility.

Malaysia's Rainforest

Compared to the rest of the world's rain forests, Malaysia's is a grandmother. During the Ice Ages, much of the Earth was covered by immense glaciers that kept the global climate cool. Consequently, many of the planet's tropical rain forests had to wait until the glaciers receded before they could evolve. Malaysia's forest, however, was blessed with a location far enough away from the ice that it developed 130 million years ago - far earlier than those of Africa and Latin America

Visit Malaysian rain forest!!

This is usually high on the list for anyone planning a trip to Malaysia, and it should be: the Malaysian rain forest is unique in the world, the oldest on the planet. A trip to one of the national parks, where you can take guided jungle treks both day and night, can be a profound experience. Nature has been infinitely inventive with life here, producing the world's largest flower, fantastically adapted insects and mammals, and trees that will make you gawk at their size. How thoroughly you experience it is up to you: most parks have resort-like headquarters where you can stay in comfort, or you can opt for a hard-core, guided trek deep into the jungle interior (which will of course require you to be in shape!).

The Wonders of Malaysia

It would be difficult to overstate the attraction of Malaysia for anyone who appreciates the natural world. Its primal forests, ranging from shoreline mangrove to mountaintop oak, are of the sort that most of the world now knows only in myth. Although Malaysia's size is similar to that of Norway, natural trees and forests cover almost three quarters of the land, an area equivalent to almost the entire United Kingdom. One can walk for hundreds of miles in Malaysia under a continuous canopy of green, marveling at an abundance of plant and animal species equaled by no other location in the entire world. A single half-kilometer plot of land in Borneo's lowland dipterocarp forest, for example, may well contain more than eight hundred different species of trees alone, a stunning degree of variety that pales, however, in comparison to the profusion and diversity of flowers, birds, ferns, and insects.
This endlessly varied environment also shelters a host of the world's rarest and most remarkable animals: the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Clouded Leopard and Malaysian Tiger, the Sun Bear, the Monitor Lizard, and the Orang Utan, or "man of the forest," are just a few examples. Malaysia's forests are also home to Southeast Asia's highest peak, as well as to the world's most extensive and capacious natural caverns. The forest itself is one of the most ancient on the planet, far older than the equatorial forests of the Amazon or the Congo. It has for tens of thousands of years been the home of nomadic forest peoples, and ancient civilizations have flourished as well as disappeared in its vastness. Legends abound, and archaeologists have only just begun their efforts here. Equally exciting discoveries are now being made by genetic biologists, who have begun searching the wealth of life in Malaysia's forests for new medicines with which to combat AIDS, cancer, and many other illnesses.

And that is only the forest. Malaysia's offshore islands are of legendary beauty. For millenia, Pulau Langkawi and Pulau Tioman have been sought-after havens of peace from the turbulent outside world, a tradition that is evidenced today by their international status as holiday destinations. Pulau Sipadan, a small oceanic island off the eastern shore of Borneo, rises in a sheer column more than six hundred meters from the seabed. Completely encircled by sheer drop-offs and walls, Sipadan is one of the world's foremost dive sites.

In order to safeguard its precious natural heritage, Malaysia has set aside many areas as parks and wildlife reserves. Together with natural forest management, conservation of wildlife, birds and marine life, nature reserves have been established through a network of protected areas. Almost one and a half million hectares of conservation areas are protected by legislation.

Besides the many splendid sights in Malaysia's National Parks, visitors can enjoy an exhaustive tour of thrills and spills during their visit--boating through swirling rapids or between emerald green islands, stalking big game and fly-fishing for giant carp, bird-watching, mountain climbing, spelunking, swimming in placid river waters, or camping amidst giant tropical trees.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Get to Malaysia?

Just visiting Malaysia - seeing a few sights, meeting its people, and eating good food - is more than enough to make for an unforgettable trip. Your best memory might be a quiet day you spend wandering the colonial streets of Malacca, or breathing in the earthy air of a kampung. Usually, it will be the Malaysians themselves you remember most, their smiles and generosity. That said, Malaysia also offers some very special activities, and if you make room for one or two of them, they will enhance your trip immeasurably.


There are no services connecting the peninsula with Malaysian Borneo.


You can travel by sea between Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara Port), Brunei, and Pulau Labuan, Sabah. You can also travel by boat between Limbang in Sarawak and Brunei.


The main ferry routes between Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra are GeorgetownMedan and Melaka–Dumai.

The popular crossing between Georgetown (on Pulau Penang) and Medan has services most days of the week. The boats actually land in Belawan in Sumatra, and the journey to Medan is completed by bus (included in the price).

Twice-daily high-speed ferries run between Melaka and Dumai in Sumatra. Dumai is now a visa-free entry port into Indonesia for citizens of most countries.

You can also take a boat from the Bebas Cukai ferry terminal in JB direct to Pulau Batam and Pulau Bintan, both in the Riau Islands.

Boats head between Tawau in Sabah and Tarakan in Kalimantan daily except Sunday. There are also daily boats between Tawau and Nunukan in Kalimantan, most of which continue on to Tarakan.


Passenger ferries run twice weekly between Sandakan in Sabah and Zamboanga in the Philippines.


Regular daily boats run between Pulau Langkawi and Satun in Thailand. There are customs and immigration posts here, but it’s an expensive entry/exit point.

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You can catch buses and taxis between Miri in Sarawak and Kuala Belait in Brunei. Kuala Belait has easy bus connections with Bandar Seri Begawan; you can also cross from Lawas to Bangar (in Brunei), and then head on to Limbang.


In Borneo, regular buses run between Kuching and the Indonesian city of Pontianak via the Tebedu–Entikong crossing.


At the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia you can cross into Singapore via Johor Bahru by bus. Taking the train from JB is less convenient.


On the western side of Peninsular Malaysia, you can travel by bus from Alor Setar to the border crossing at Bukit Kayu Hitam. There are also two trains passing through Alor Setar to Padang Besar and then continuing north into Thailand; the first stops at Hat Yai, while the second terminates in Bangkok. Some visitors may not feel safe travelling through Hat Yai, which has been a hot spot for Muslim and Buddhist clashes in Thailand.

On the peninsula’s eastern side you can bus it from Kota Bharu to the border town of Rantau Panjang but at the time of writing this was not a safe place to cross due to violence in this area of southern Thailand.

There is also a border crossing between Keroh (Malaysia) and Betong (Thailand), but at the time of writing it was extremely inadvisable to travel here due to the violence in Yala Provinc, Thailand.

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The gateway to Peninsular Malaysia is the city of Kuala Lumpur, although Pulau Penang and Johor Bahru (JB) also have international connections. Singapore is a handy arrival/departure point, since it’s just a short trip across the Causeway from JB and has more international connections. Malaysia Airlines is the country’s main airline carrier although Air Asia flights are much cheaper. Air Asia's long-haul budget carrier Air Asia X flies regularly between Malaysia and the Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne (Australia); Hangzhou and Tianjin (China); as well London.

There are weekly flights between Kuching and Pontianak in Kalimantan (Indonesia), and between Tawau in Sabah and Tarakan in Kalimantan.

The following are some airlines servicing Malaysia; numbers beginning with 03 are for Kuala Lumpur.

Aeroflot (code SU; 03-2161 0231; ­

Air Asia (code AK; 03-8775 4000;

Air India (code AI; 03-2142 0166;

British Airways (code BA; 1800 881 260;

Cathay Pacific Airways (code CX; 03-2035 2788;

China Airlines (code CI; 03-2142 7344;

Garuda Indonesian Airlines (code GA; 03-2162 2811;

Japan Airlines (code JL; 03-2161 1722;

Lufthansa (code LH; 03-2161 4666;

Malaysia Airlines (code MH; 1300 883 000, 03-2161 0555;

Qantas (code QF; 1800 881 260;

Royal Brunei Airlines (code BI; 03-2070 7166;

Singapore Airlines (code SQ; 03-2692 3122;

Thai Airways International (THAI, code TG; 03-2031 2900;

Vietnam Airlines (code VN;

Virgin Atlantic (code VS; 03-2143 0322;

The History of Malaysia

Early influences

The earliest evidence of human life in the region is a 40,000-year-old skull found in Sarawak’s Niah Caves. But it was only around 10,000 years ago that the aboriginal Malays, the Orang Asli, began moving down the peninsula from a probable starting point in southwestern China.
By the 2nd century AD, Europeans were familiar with Malaya, and Indian traders had made regular visits in their search for gold, tin and jungle woods. Within the next century Malaya was ruled by the Funan empire, centred in what’s now Cambodia, but more significant was the domination of the Sumatra-based Srivijayan empire between the 7th and 13th centuries.
In 1405 the Chinese admiral Cheng Ho arrived in Melaka with promises to the locals of protection from the Siamese encroaching from the north. With Chinese support, the power of Melaka extended to include most of the Malay Peninsula. Islam arrived in Melaka around this time and soon spread through Malaya.

European influence

Melaka’s wealth and prosperity attracted European interest and it was taken over by the Portuguese in 1511, then the Dutch in 1641 and the British in 1795.
In 1838 James Brooke, a British adventurer, arrived to find the Brunei sultanate fending off rebellion from inland tribes. Brooke quashed the rebellion and in reward was granted power over part of Sarawak. Appointing himself Raja Brooke, he founded a dynasty that lasted 100 years. By 1881 Sabah was controlled by the British government, which eventually acquired Sarawak after WWII when the third Raja Brooke realised he couldn’t afford the area’s up-keep. In the early 20th century the British brought in Chinese and Indians, which radically changed the country’s racial make-up.

Independence to the current day

Malaya achieved merdeka (independence) in 1957, but it was followed by a period of instability due to an internal Communist uprising and an external confrontation with neighbouring Indonesia. In 1963 the north Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, along with Singapore, joined Malaya to create Malaysia. In 1969 violent interracial riots broke out, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, and hundreds of people were killed. The government moved to dissipate the tensions, which existed mainly between the Malays and the Chinese. Present-day Malaysian society is relatively peaceful and cooperative.
Led from 1981 by outspoken Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s economy grew at a rate of over 8% per year until mid-1997, when a currency crisis in neighbouring Thailand plunged the whole of Southeast Asia into recession. After 22 momentous years, Dr Mahathir Mohamad retired on 31 October 2003. He handed power to his anointed successor, Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi, who went on to convincingly win a general election in March 2004. Since this win, the new prime minister has increasingly been criticised by Mahathir for degrading the freedom of the press and for scrapping projects such as a new bridge between Malaysia and Singapore that would have replaced the existing causeway.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hello Bloggers!!!

This is my 1st blog, so please bear with me... I may need some time to smarten up my blog

Air Gear

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