Saturday, July 12, 2014

Marina ParkCity Set to Transform Miri City into a Lively Cosmopolitan City

MIRI: Spanning 550 acres with a 1.25-mile frontage to the South China Sea, Marina ParkCity master plan envisions a new and exciting business district that will double the size of the existing Miri City Centre.

Streetscape, parks, shady tree-lined walkways and civic anchors will be introduced to create a vibrant, thriving and compelling commercial hub that will redefine Miri’s urbanity.

“Our aspiration is to expand and transform Miri into an atmospheric city that puts people first. It will be a visionary model of liveability, vitality, sustainability and community with an enviable quality of life and flourishing businesses,” said Loh Poh Khim, deputy sales director of Pantai Bayu Indah, the master developer of Marina ParkCity.

In striving for excellence in city planning and design, the developer is collaborating with forward thinking international consultants from the US and Denmark renowned for their understanding and experience in shaping cities. Their collective contributions will shape Marina ParkCity into a humane and safe destination where people can shop, work, live, relax and walk from place to place.

Its tree-lined streets, lively squares and verdant parks will provide the stage for these activities.

“Miri deserves a waterfront so our response is a picturesque, active waterfront along the sea edge, transforming it into a picture-perfect postcard tourist destination,” Loh said.
Conceived as an inviting and charming promenade, the waterfront boasts of a kilometre long boardwalk, a central park and strings of linear parks where people can enjoy a leisurely walk or cycle or dine at restaurants while enjoying the views, the breeze and the sound of the sea.

Arcadia Square, fronting Jalan Kubu, is in the heart of Miri City Centre. It will be an appealing commercial venue with first class shops and offices. It is designed to be the top address for work, shopping, dining and entertainment, delighting visitors with its open-air environment that is safe for walking.

Here, imagination spurs innovation in the design of the first class arcade-fronting high street shops and elevated courtyard shops that connect patrons to public places and spaces.
Sited on a 19.2-acre plot, Arcadia Square comprises four distinct components: Brooke Gateway, Victoria Plaza, Kenyalang Corner and Tanjung Court.

Fronting Jalan Kubu, Brooke Gateway will feature shops and offices lining the main entrance of Arcadia Square. Victoria Plaza, forming its central core, consists of four- and five-storey shop/office buildings grouped into three sections: The Central Court, South Wing and North Wing. The Central Court will feature an attractive plaza and a business hotel with up to 200 keys.

A major international hotel chain based in Singapore has expressed keen interest to operate the proposed hotel. Negotiations are at an advanced stage and the company will make an official announcement when formalities are completed.

Kenyalang Corner will comprise a supermarket and 100 units of SOHOs.
Loh said: “We expect to be in the position to offer them for sale in the third quarter of this year. Tanjung Court, fashioned after the American strip mall, consists of shop/office buildings harbouring a parking lot.

“Furthermore, two leading Malaysian banks are planning to relocate their regional office to Arcadia Square. Full details shall be disclosed in due course.“

Ground floor shops come with 22-foot frontages, double-volume space and mezzanine floors. They are designed to exceed the quality and proportions of traditional shops.
First floor shops with double-volume space and large window openings are highly visible from the streets. This unique feature give retailers valuable display advantage that traditional first floor shops can never offer. Offices located above the shops are ideal for businesses that want an address to impress clients.

Access to the first floor shops and offices will be facilitated by 23 lifts and 10 sets of escalators placed at strategic locations. It can be said that accessibility to the upper floors of Arcadia Square is as good as, if not better, than that for any modern shopping mall.
To overcome the city’s perennial parking problems and traffic congestion, a total of 1,753 parking bays will be provided in a multi-storey parking facility and motor courts. Motorists will find entering and exiting Arcadia Square a breeze.

In a nutshell, the visionary Arcadia Square project is extraordinary. Investing in Arcadia Square shops and offices means giving your business or your tenant’s a powerful platform for a commanding advantage over competitors.

Distinguished by a fusion of exquisite architecture and evocative place-making concepts, Arcadia Square will attract and fascinate visitors and draw them back time after time, effortlessly.

The Arcadia Square Show Gallery is located at ParkCity Everly Hotel, Miri.
For further information call 085-423099 or visit its official website at Or you can attend the Exclusive Brunei Sales Event at The Empire Hotel & Country Club, Conference Room from 9am to 7 pm, March 8 and 9, 2014. For enquiries, call Brunei Sole Agents, Primeland Estate Agency on + 673 2424738 / 39 /40.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Miri boosts tourism infrastructure to get more MICE

SARAWAK is banking on a new international standard hotel and ties with Brunei to promote northern Sarawak, particularly Miri City, as a MICE destination for the Asia-Pacific.

Leveraging Miri’s proximity to Brunei, Sarawak’s tourism minister Abang Johari Openg said the state will collaborate with Royal Brunei Airlines to promote packages to Northern Sarawak, using Bandar Seri Begawan as the main gateway.

He added: “We hope to capitalise on Royal Brunei Airlines’ network in the Asia-Pacific region to attract more leisure and MICE tourists to Miri.”

Miri is a 2.5-hour drive from Brunei and there are currently no direct air connections between Miri and Brunei’s capital, Bandar Seri Begawan.

To attract more foreign airlines to fly to Miri Airport, Malaysia Airports Holdings is throwing in free landing and parking for the first six months. Abang Johari said: “We hope this will entice charter services and when volume picks up, it will evolve into scheduled services.”

He said Miri city can accommodate small- to medium-size MICE groups as there are currently 2,400 rooms, a number that will be boosted by 328 when Pullman Miri Waterfront opens in 4Q2015.

MICE facilities at Pullman Miri Waterfront will include a ballroom with seating capacity for 1,000 delegates and six state-of-the-art function rooms. The executive lounge on the 24th floor will offer panoramic views of Miri City and the South China Sea.

Gerard Guillouet, COO of Accor Malaysia-Indonesia-Singapore said he foresees the business mix will be a “good mix of business, leisure and pure MICE”.

He predicts that MICE business will predominently be from the domestic market, and from Brunei and Singapore. Miri will also be a good post-event tour option for meetings and incentives held in state capital Kuching.

Currently, the only other international hotel in Miri is Miri Marriott Resort & Spa.

(S Puvaneswary, Miri, June 19, 2014 TTG Asia)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Corals at diving sites off Miri among healthiest and most beautiful

WITH more than 30 dive sites currently and plenty more to be explored, Miri’s pristine underwater world is Sarawak’s hidden gem and a potential tourism gold mine.
For the moment, however, little is known about them. Most people here had an impression that Sarawak dive sites are nothing to shout about, that is, until they dive. Those who had seen them have been greatly and pleasantly surprised, said Co.Co.Dive owner Ian Kuek, 34, to The Star.
“I believe the underwater world can be a signature tourist attraction for this city,” said Kuek, who bought Co.Co.Dive from a local travel and tour agency about two years ago.
He was excited when he and diving instructor Ross Kelly, 30, discovered that Miri’s treasures — apart from oil and gas — are actually its pristine underwater jungles.
(photos credited to David Loh)

“They are beautiful and the corals are alive. A lot of the people had the initial impression that our sea is polluted due to the local heavy industries, but in reality it is not.
“Local fishermen do not carry out dynamite fishing. That’s one of the reasons why the more than 100 coral species are in pristine condition and alive,” said Kelly, who has been diving all over the world for 14 years.
He knew little about Miri before this, especially its dive sites. He came here because his girlfriend decided to return to her teaching profession and had accepted an offer from a local international school.
“I was in Vietnam before this, and then I was pretty surprised to discover the beauty of Miri dive sites. The nearest one is only about 15 minutes away.
“Visibility in the water is really good up to 10m to 30m,” said Kelly, adding that the best diving season here is from March to September, but it can stretch until November depending on the day-to-day weather condition.
He said during these months, divers could witness giant cuttlefish, whale sharks, and all kinds of rays mating.
Having found the amazing sites, Kuek saw the business potential of the underwater world. He is all out to promote diving among locals and tourists.
“We want to be the leading dive company in Miri. We currently have a one-stop centre that provides accommodation, cafe, diving gear shops, and we have two dive master trainees, three instructors and a dive master.”
They have dive packages of four days three nights ranging from RM615 to RM1,000 per person.
He said they also provided diving certification and caters for all kinds of divers, from novice to the serious ones.
Kelly said their team was also very serious about diver safety and conservation of the environment.
“We only allow 16 divers per day to minimise damage to the corals.”
Besides natural dive sites, Miri also have five wreck dive sites. The most beautiful is an artificial reef named “Kenyalang” developed by Shell and Petronas about seven years ago. It is about 26km from shore.
Among Ross’ favourite dive sites are Anemone Garden, Siwa Reef and Eve Paradise.
According to the editor-in-charge of Global Picture Desk for Reuters in Singapore, David ST Loh, who was here recently to experience the dive sites, Miri has one of the healthiest hard and soft coral patches in the world.
“The corals at the Anemone Garden is one of the best I have seen so far in my 20 years of diving.”
“And I’m fortunate to have dived at the best sites in the world, from Sulawesi to the Maldives, Andaman islands and Sipadan. Malaysia is truly blessed to have so many wonders in her waters,” he said.
When asked how he got to know about Miri’s dive sites, Loh said it was from a forum many years ago.
It was two years ago when he finally got in touch with Kuek to arrange a recent trip here.
“I’m now constantly encouraging my dive buddies to go to Miri if they want a quick short diving trip. Divers in Singapore and Malaysia usually go to the Tioman or Redang islands, but it’s just as cheap and easy to go to Miri.
“AirAsia flies direct to Miri from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Singapore. The dive sites in Miri are 20 to 50 minutes from the jetty,” said Loh.
(Article from The Star 21/7/2013, Diana Rose)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Makan Tahun - Kedayan's Cultural Festival

Driving along at the South China Sea coast (Miri – Bintulu Coastal Highway) will lead you to the district called Bekenu where are populated by the Kedayan’s people of Sarawak. Kedayan’s are one of the 26th subs ethnic in Miri that making the total of 37,000 populations over Sarawak. Like other ethnic in Sarawak, Kedayan’s people have their own unique traditional ceremony that shared with other communities in this region. “Makan Tahun” held annually by the Kedayan’s in northern parts of Sarawak is not only represents the unique traditions inherited but it also as a platform for their brotherly bonding.

 “Makan Tahun” is a thanksgiving festival held to indicate happiness and appreciation for a successful rice harvest and it’s also a symbolic of the unity of the Kedayan’s people, family and relatives alike. Thus, families, relative and friends from far and near get together during these celebrations. The Kedayan’s has the belief that if there is disunity among them, a curse from the ancestors will fall upon the living. Thus, they still have an active social obligation to these ancestors. Without this, they will lose the common cause of mutual respect among themselves. Now “Makan Tahun” is alike “Tahlil” or “Doa Tolak Bala” (Muslim prayer). Such cooperative activity is expressed when all assemble because of their social and familial ties, for the continuity of culture and safe keeping of tradition, the bond of union between the dead and living thus maintained”.  Even though rice planting is no longer the main activity among the Kedayan’s in Sarawak now, the “Makan Tahun” is still practiced and celebrate between the month of May and July every year. The origin, history and the processes the ritual “Makan Tahun” are still not fully understood by many. The unique about this ceremony is every villagers has their own duties and responsibilities to take care and  all the task given by the “Penghulu” or “Ketua Kampung” are done and normally these job will be involve all the entire villagers. Other unique things you can discover about this celebration are every inch of the locals will took some of their own foods from their house such as local rice, coconuts, coconuts shoots, or sugar and salt that will be given as a part as to make the sure all the food are enough for everybody. These practices are usually done by the older in the past, to helping and make sure all the ingredients are enough but now days these practices no longer practice anymore by the the younger generations.

Normally the first day the Kedayan’s people will do it on Friday where the first group of man and women will do the “Kelupis” and “Ngelupis” (rice that wrapping in the “nyirik” leaves) and steam it using the giant steal pot that cook using the fire wood. The man will setup a camp, a cultural place and get ready the fire wood as well as helping the women task. The activities on the second days are normally cooking and cultural entertainment. The second group of another man and women will be packaging the ”Kelupis” and other local cakes such as wajid and panyaram to be given as a gifts  to all visitors as well as villagers. At the night time, another group of man will cook all the foods using the firewood. The women only prepared all the spices and the ingredients. “Bermukun” or” Gendang Sarawak” will entertain the villagers and also the visitor that normally starts at 2100hrs. “Bermukun” or ” Gendang Sarawak” is a unique traditional entertainment of Sarawakian’s  where combines pair or group of dancer by the men in the tandem to dance follows the drum beat called “Nopeng”. Drum beaters are done by two or three women’s while exchanging poetry or “pantun” between the dancers and the drum beaters. Special place were prepared to be the dance floor and a spot for the drum beaters to sit. This cultural performer will ended until the wee hour of the morning. This traditional culture only can be practice in the big celebration and wedding ceremony.

The third days will be the peak celebrations for this ceremony. The elders pray for a successful celebration.  All rituals are followed closely especially in the preparations of making the kalupis, wajid and panyaram (also known as kelupis, wajik and penyaram among the Sarawak Malay community) so that each will turn out well for the occasion. The rituals of cooking the rice and other dishes for the guests are also attended to carefully. If the rituals are not observed, it is believed that many unwanted things could happen such as the rice in the pot will not cook properly or the dishes will turn bad or stale. It is also reported that reminders are passed down from one generation to the next about not mixing the religious element i.e. the “Tahlil” with entertainment. In addition, there is reminder about ensuring no wastage of food during the occasion. At 0900hrs the “Penghulu” or “Ketua Kampung” (headman) will start the ceremony with “Doa” and “Tahlil” (muslim prayer), after that prayer finish “Penghulu” will welcome all the villagers and the visitors to having meals together. The event will be finish by noon time and after that all the villagers will work together to clean up the area.

The Kedayan’s are now very much influenced by changes such as heterogeneous marriages, education and communication. Due to this, the “Makan Tahun” is celebrated in variations from one village to another. Still, the kalupis, wajid and panyaram remain vital to the celebration of the “Makan Tahun” tradition and culture and not forgetting the “Tahlil”. The communal spirit observed to be still very strong among this group. They still hold strong to the belief that they must remain united and have social obligation to their ancestors. Without this they will lose the common cause of mutual respect among themselves. Time and provision are among the challenges in organising the “Makan Tahun”. Yet, among the Kedayan’s in Bekenu and Bintulu, the sense of responsibility to their ancestors and their “adat” surpass those obstacles. It is hoped that the “Kedayan’s Makan Tahun” continues to carry on the tradition and the culture of the community in the future.