Tuesday, 31 March 2015

GST and the travel industry .. in a nutshell

I hope by sharing the below, it can shed some light on what is taxable and what is not in the travel and leisure industry.. 

This is in a very nutshell as it will affect all of us in a way or another.. 

Items that are bought, paid, finalised, completed pre-GST (aka today) that have GST = are deemed to be GST-inclusive.. Hence the operators, carriers, providers CANNOT ask for more money from you..

Tomorrow onwards, the below will take effect.. This applies to all human beings as the tax regime does not recognise your nationality, as long as the item is consumed in the country and is taxable, it is taxable.. 

'nuff said..

Disclaimer: this is as far as the industry and I know, I stand corrected if there is any error but this is not conclusive, but safe to say, final. 


1. GROUND ONLY PACKAGES
a) domestic (except Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman) = 6%
b) domestic* Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman = no GST
c) overseas = no GST

* includes car rental, excursion, hotel, restaurants, shopping etc CONSUMED WITHIN the boundaries of the duty-free islands BUT excluding ferry/flight into or out of the island. 
Items bought in these islands are already duty-free, hence it is TAX-FREE = NO GST! You can still bring these items out back home etc for personal consumption without duty or GST being taxed on you at the departing ports.. 


2) AIR TICKETS
a) domestic = 6% on everything (fare, airport tax, levy, taxes, fuel).
b) international = no GST for ALL airlines EXCEPT Malaysia airport tax = 6%.
c) domestic connecting to international = no GST on the condition the international flight is within 24 hours from the arrival of domestic flight into international hub EXCEPT Malaysia airport tax = 6%.
d) baggage/meal etc = to be treated the same as above in according to domestic, international or domestic-international connecting.

- Any flights originating from an international point into Malaysia = no GST. 
- International point to international point but ticket bought in Malaysia = no GST (except maybe the handling fee by agent, credit card fee eg airline website if the airline is GST registered, will have GST, else no).

3) VISA FEES
a) Actual visa fee charged by embassy = no GST
b) Handling fee charged by agent(s) = 6%

4) HANDLING/TRANSACTION FEES
Any type by any words which imply a service fee = 6%

5) TRAVEL INSURANCE
6%

6) ENTERTAINMENT/SPORTING TICKETS
a) within Malaysia = 6%
b) overseas = no GST




Sunday, 29 March 2015

As the sun sets


Your work is done now. Rest in peace Mr Lee Kuan Yew. 





Tuesday, 24 March 2015

IKEA to open 2nd outlet in Cheras


When I left IKEA in 2009, there has been talks already for "KL2" - the codename for the second IKEA store in Kuala Lumpur.. At the same time, IKEA Tebrau JB and IKEA in Penang were also in the cards - somehow the plans for Tebrau City store became silent.. IKEA Batu Kawan, Penang  will still be going, last I read it will be at the very least, another 3-4 years before it's open..

IKEA Cheras

But rejoice, finally IKEA Cheras, located in Jalan Cochrane, is opening before the end of 2015! It will be about 20% larger than IKEA Damansara - thank goodness they are finally speeding up the works, please take the jam and crowd away from IKEA Damansara!

This place is a nightmare especially on weekends and public holidays, as if Malaysians have no where else to go for the meatballs, fried chicken and whatnots..

And if transport is an issue, don't worry because Cochrane MRT Station is just.. well, right there!



Monday, 23 March 2015

What Singapore has given me

Today as we mourn the passing of the legendary Mr Lee Kuan Yew, let us reflect on his greatest achievements that brought Singapore to where she is today. Without his struggles, blood and sweat, Singapore would not have come this far to become a financial and economic superpower from a third to first world nation in under 50 years..

My thoughts and prayers are with the Singaporeans today as you have lost a great remarkable leader.. How do I wish we Malaysia have a leader of such integrity and stance as him..

---------------------

Being closely "attached" to Singapore gave me a sense of "attachment" to the great nation.. My many firsts are with Singapore actually.. After all, I spent many early years working for Singapore companies and went to a Singaporean college and earned my certificate..

My first overseas trip was to Singapore.. Being 18 and know nothing about travelling, I hopped on to a bus and headed down south anyway.. That was my first time away from Malaysia..

I started my first full time job with Diners Club International in Kuala Lumpur, the branch office reports to Singapore Diner's Club and in the course of my work, we often converse through the secure instant messaging and sometimes phone calls.. That's how I began to reach out to Singaporeans..

My next stint saw me packing up my bags and moving to Singapore for greener pastures in 2003.. I began working for Wing Tai Asia but not for long before Bossini Singapore invited me over to join their expansion plans.. I stayed on with Bossini for the next 3 years with my first posting in Orchard Building and moving over to People's Park taking over the outlet..

My 3 years spent in Singapore saw me through college.. I have the support of the company to pursue part time studies and in the evening after work, I took a bus from the food centre behind People's Park headed to Queenstown where my campus is, every weekday for almost a year, whether is it to attend lectures, tutorials or simply to study..

I am a proud graduate of Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) with my certificate awarded by Oklahoma City University..

In 2006, I returned to KL when my condominium was ready for occupancy.. I joined IKEA-IKANO, whose regional office was, yep, in Singapore..

3 years gone by before I was offered another job with another Singaporean company - Home Fix, where I again spent the next 3 years helping to build the brand in Malaysia.. I left Home Fix in 2012 and marking the end of my "relationship" with Singaporean companies..

Somewhere in between, I also have a Singaporean boyfriend, but it's more sad story than anything else, one who betrayed my trusts in every way ever imagined.. I stopped believing in long-distance relationships learning from this..

The glory of Singapore didn't stop here, my stint inspired my brother to study in Singapore for 4 years in NTU and eventually obtained his permanent residence status last year is testament of what Singapore can give him, and how my family believe in Singapore is better than Malaysia.. I am a firm believer he should not come back to Malaysia..

Notwithstanding my not-so-glamorous career and failed relationship, nevertheless, I am glad to have know many, many nice and friendly (natural born) Singaporeans.. Friendships that lasted over the many years through the various stints, from work, from college, from gym and from friends of friends, from social media to social network, thank you for being you..

Thank you Singapore for being the nation that shaped half my life and my brother's in pursuit of better life..

Thank you to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Singaporeans for making Singapore what she is today..

I still joked about how I can chew gum as and when and wherever I liked, and used to smoke as and when and wherever I liked.. And the kind of feeling you get crossing the Johor Straits by road back into Malaysian soil (or departing off Changi)..

My thoughts and prayers goes out to all Singaporeans on your loss..




Friday, 20 March 2015

Opps... beyond boundary.

Someone asked me this question on Ask.fm, but I am so sorry I choose not to respond to this question..



I'll be happy to answer any other type of questions, actually this is the first question I'm declining to respond..

So ask away! The link is to the right on the desktop verson.. somehow my blog is not optimised for smartphone, I don't know why, it looks funny on my iPhone though..



Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spotlight. Eyes on you.

A new home furnishing outlet has opened on Level 2 of IPC Shopping Centre --> Spotlight, an Australian brand, opened their second outlet in Malaysia last week..

No wonder the name sound so familiar! I mean, I didn't know Spotlight have an outlet already in Ampang Point (maybe cos I don't go to that side of the world), but when I saw it in IPC, I was like "hmm.. this name is very familiar - where have I seen it"..

When I saw that it is from Australia, then only I remembered! Because I browsed around some Spotlight stores while I was in Australia! Mostly for their kitchen and craft selection! Gosh - you should see what they have!

The bathroom selection is a disappointment though as I was looking for things to makeover my bathroom.. If you have been to my house, my bathroom is overdue for a makeover (read: renovation).. I'm just beginning to look for things that I can install when I finally (FINALLY) get down to actually doing the renovation.. It will probably gonna cost me a couple of thousands to tear apart the whole bathroom and redo it again..

Anyway I began to spend some time in the store to browse around and to make a mental note of what they have in there..

Eventually I just bought a mug, a huge mug that is.. Then I remember if I were to have only a cup of whatever, I will use this huge mug! LOL..

It's only RM3.99.. Cheap..

I have been looking for such a huge mug because I am too lazy to get refills everytime I have something to drink and I wanted a huge mug that is sufficiently enough.. Finally found it in Spotlight! Even Ikea also don't have!

Spotlight membership card
Every new customer is given a membership card for free which you can activate online, and enter the competition to be in the running to win a trip to Gold Coast.. You see, I loved Australia a lot especially Gold Coast as the last trip I didn't have much time..

Hopefully I can win the trip! HAHA!

I also checked out their website for the online catalogue to see what other sales items they have.. More fabric and then linens and bedsheets and towels - most of the stuffs I don't need so yeah, I flipped through the pages just as quickly.. But at least when I was in the physical store, I made a mental note of the crafts section of creative beautiful little things that I can buy as gifts for all the artsy-fartsy people I know..

www.spotlight.com.my

I find the prices in Spotlight are okay - some are reasonable and some I would say are overpriced.. Not that I won't pay for beautiful things, it's just things that are not supposed to be priced at that level that puts me off..

On the staff attitude, some are attentive (at least they let you have space to browse and not follow you around and fixing every fucking thing you touch) but most are just in the world of their own, either grouping up chatting or having fun - I shall give the benefit of the doubt to them as I went to the store quite late in the evening and maybe the staff deserves some chill time.. I have worked in a front-line retail so I know how tiring it must be to stand all day and dealing with people, hopefully not fussy enough to bang head on the wall..

Visit their store at:
Level 2 IPC Shopping Centre (formerly Pet Safari outlet) beside Popular. 

_________________________________________________

DISCLAIMER: This post is solely my opinion and my experience shopping in Spotlight and is no way endorsed nor solicited by Spotlight. 






Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Flymojo - Malaysia's newest airline

A new airline owned by the Government of Malaysia has been announced in Langkawi today..

Called Flymojo, it will operate out of Senai and Kota Kinabalu International Airports as its hub with 20 Bombardier CS100 149, single-aisle aircraft.. It will serve ASEAN countries.. 

My take: another player, good! But let's see how Airasia, Firefly, Malindo, and of course Malaysia Airlines System - MAS - (soon to be renamed Malaysia Airlines Berhad, or MAB effective 1 July) will give this new kid a run for its money!

____________________________________________________


Impression of an Flymojo plane
KUALA LUMPUR (March 17): Fly Mojo Sdn Bhd is planning to start a new airline dubbed "flymojo" with Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru as it primary hub and Kota Kinabalu as its secondary base.

The latest airline targets travel within ASEAN and the regions bordering it using the CS100 aircraft which is specifically designed for the 100 to 149-seat, single-aisle market.
"Born of the desire to make air travel a much anticipated and longed for experience, flymojo is dedicated to providing value, and exceptional customer service that will focus on putting the human touch back into flying," said flymojo Chairman Datuk Seri Alies Anor Abdul in a statement today.
"We are confident that our model will resonate deeply with our passengers and that the use of the technologically advanced CSeries aircraft will transform the aviation industry in Malaysia and the region," he added.
Boarding Pass
Fly Mojo made the announcement at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibitions (LIMA) 2015.
According to the group, it has inked a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft for the sale and purchase of 20 CS100 aircraft with option for an additional 20 CS100 planes.
Upon execution of a firm purchase agreement, flymojo is expected to become the first customer and operator of the CS100 aircraft in the region, the statement read.
The statement said based on the list price of the CS100 aircraft, a firm order would be valued at approximately US$1.47 billion (approximately RM5.44 billion), and could increase to US$2.94 billion (RM10.87 billion), should flymojo exercise all its options.  
Commenting on the new launch, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said the airline would play a key role in improving connectivity between the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak, as well as other parts of the region
"In addition, as the only airline utilizing the Southern Corridor as its headquarters, flymojo will transform Senai into a key regional aviation and logistics hub, augmenting the government's initiatives in developing Iskandar Malaysia and the Southern Corridor," he added.
"Further strengthening Kota Kinabalu's standing as a gateway into Malaysia, flymojo will also boost tourism into Sabah and Sarawak," he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of International Trade of Canada Ed Fast said as the travel needs in the region increased, Canada is committed to supporting the growth of economic ties between the two countries.
Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Mike Arcamone said with its strategic market footing and unique operations, flymojo is an ideal match for the all-new CS100 jetliner.
"The CSeries family of aircraft will enable new airlines such as flymojo to cover markets efficiently, thanks to its exceptional economics, operational flexibility and widebody comfort, coupled with an unmatched environmental and noise footprint," headded.
"The CSeries family of aircraft's game-changing technology, and its two models - the CS100 and CS300 jetliners - provide airlines the capability for natural progression in terms of market coverage and passenger capacity," he added.
At the LOI signing ceremony, flymojo was represented by its managing director Datuk Janardhanan Gopala Krishnan while Bombardier Commercial Aircraft was represented by its regional vice president, (Sales,Asia-Pacific) Frank Baistrocchi.

Logo

Source: The Edge Markets / Bombardier C100 Aircraft

Saturday, 14 March 2015

"I Fine Thank You Love You"

Last night, on my boys' night out, we watched two movies back to back, impromptu decision but it was a good one.. Bought 1 movie in the evening just before knocking off from work, and bought another while at the cinema waiting for the first one to start..


First off was Cinderella at 10.20pm.. the movie does not deviate from the original "Cinderella" story we grew up to know and it was quite predictable.. However the graphics and effects were just good I think..

As soon as the lights came on, we ran out of the hall and into the next for our next movie, albeit a couple minutes late - I Fine Thank You Love You.. it is a Thai comedy about an English tutor who fell for her student while tutoring him.. the movie poked fun at the lingual-challenged Thais who cannot speak proper English..

Throughout the movie, it was all laughter and all, but at the back of my head, I thought about someone, because of the line in the movie..

"We write our own destiny"

"Sometimes some of us don't want a prince charming in our lives - we just want someone who happened to walk into our lives at the right time at the right moment".

... or something to that effect.. I cannot remember the exact words, wait till the download version is available, but for now, let me just take it as how I thought I remember it..

_________________________________


It's been a year already since my ex and I broke up, nevertheless I am on good terms with my ex and definitely no hard feelings between us, which definitely made it easier for us to get over it.. and in this one year, I was not interested nor keen in seeing (dating) anyone.

... yet
On one hand, I want to write my own destiny like how the storyline in "I Fine Thank You Love You", but on the other hand, it's also true that "not everyone wants a prince charming, but maybe a someone that is there all along.. we just don't know it"..


Am I?






Thursday, 12 March 2015

MATTA FAIR - CLUB MED ON SALE!!

As with previous MATTA Fairs - I will be selling Club Med!
And Club Med has given us target to hit.. so if you have been thinking of a Club Med holiday, come book with me and help me hit my target!

Drinks on me! :)

The incentive of hitting target = Club Med Maldives trip!



Booking Period by 15 March 2015
Travel Period by Oct 2015 (except Hokkaido & Yabuli by March 2016)
clubmed-cheena
from RM from RM
3N Guilin, China 2,587 1,468
3N Yabuli, China 2,650 1,630
2N Hokkaido, Japan 1,502 1,081
clubmed-asean
from RM from RM
3N Cherating, Malaysia 1,876 1,166
3N Bali, Indonesia 2,170 1,449
3N Phuket, Thailand 2,437 1,502
3N Bintan, Indonesia 2,360 1,568
clubmed-mau
from RM from RM
3N Kani, Maldives 3,956 2,479
3N Finolhu Villas, Maldives 9,333 6,828
3N La Pointe, Mauritius 2,618 1,911
clubmed-honeymoonpoof of marriage certificate must be provided and dated within 1 year from intended travel date.

Club Med Terms & Conditions:

• Price are based on 1 adult on twin sharing basis.
• Prices are subject to travel dates and availability based on Superior Rooms unless otherwise stated.
• Prices are inclusive of RM100 membership fees. Kani and Finolhu prices include return speedboat prices. Mauritius price includes return airport transfers.
• Strictly no amendments, cancellations or refunds for special offers.
• Blackout dates apply.
• Not valid for group and corporate bookings or with other promotions.
• Other terms & conditions apply. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Matta Fair - March Edition 2015

It's here people.. Matta Fair 2015 is dawning upon us this Friday, and maybe you want to ask me what are the better deals?

Well, apart from certain destinations on Malaysia Airlines, I also think that Club Med is actually quite affordable (in the sense that not only has the rates been revised, most resorts have a flat 35-45% discount, which is quiet a lot), except for Cherating whereby if you stay after April 1, there'll be GST imposed on your room and service charges, but will not have the government tax component..

Speaking of which, I am actually going to Club Med Cherating next month! Wooohoo!! My first ever Club Med vacay and it's free :p


Many places are really within my reach this year, if I can hold off not going anywhere for the entire year until Christmas..

I have initially planned to go to London for Christmas and New Year's countdown but recently people have been psycho-ing me into going Prague instead.. I have about 2 weeks to spare so I thought, really, why not!

Prague seems a lot more affordable but to get there is a bane since Malaysia Airlines does not fly to Prague, only to Frankfurt, thereafter I will need to go by rail or fly..

Weighing what could I do in Prague especially on Dec 24 when everything there is closed, I thought I could join a local Czech family for their Christmas dinner.. do I know any Czech? Well kind of, but on professional basis - not personal basis.. Unless I began to actively search on some gay dating site and get to know some locals first haha..

If Prague is to come true, it will be my first time celebrating Christmas in a western/European atmosphere.. I've celebrated Christmas in Seoul, Hong Kong and Taipei but it's not the same.. it's just not the same cos these cities are sooooo Asian.. lol..

Let us not forget too that Prague is one of the must-go cities for gays like us :)

Besides, I have never been to eastern Europe or UK, maybe I should!

Have you been to Prague?






Tuesday, 10 March 2015

My fund manager

In my early 20s, I began playing the stock market.. Nobody taught me how, nobody guided me how, I just dived in with some money and learn how to buy and sell.. I was with OSK Securities for a number of years before switching to Jupiter Securities, mainly for the brokerage fees were much lower with better customer service and assistance from the remisiers..

I withdrew when the economy slipped in the last couple of years and the market has been volatile ever since, kinda unpredictable.. Hence, I didn't transact much these days.. just some shares here and there..

Now in my early 30s, I began investing in funds.. Again, not knowing (initially) what growth fund is, what mutual fund is, what equity is bla bla bla (it should be taken with a pinch of salt that my financial knowledge were pretty bad), but I trusted myself, and more so, I trusted my fund manager and him making me understand simply what I needed to know to began investing..

He is someone I know from the gym.. I first heard his presentation on the funds more than a year ago, but I told myself I needed to educate myself and learn what is what before parting with my money.. I sat on it for more than a year - and thinking and considering hard my options and all..

Before CNY last month, I sat down with him again to go through all the investments that I can go into, and signed off some papers, officially investing my EPF money.. For me it was quite simple - to have a sizeable retirement fund.. With the projected returns, I hope the projection will not run very far.. I am planning on investing in a PRS next.. This will form the part of retirement fund that I so needed come retirement age..

At his company awards presentation recently, he won two coveted awards for his achievement.. And not only has he proven his calibre and ability with trusts from his clients, I believe I am on the right track..


Two top awards, Million Dollar Club and a promotion to Agency Manager for KEN Wealth Management Agency.

So friends - if you're mulling about wanting to invest but not sure how to begin or go about it, give him a call.. Ken Mun patiently explains to you what is your options after hearing what you want to achieve.. Get his contacts from me!

Also, don't you think he's quite handsome?




Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Staycation Review: Melia Kuala Lumpur

Melia Kuala Lumpur
With my visiting Singaporean friend, I booked out a room in Melia Kuala Lumpur with my Melia points and only top up a couple bucks cash to cover for the short..

I booked a Guestroom and emailed the hotel sales director to be upgraded - and was upgraded to the Premium Guestroom.. larger and more spacious with a sofa, on the 12th floor facing Berjaya Times Square..

Parking for hotel guests was RM3 per entry with ticket validation from the concierge counter.. In fact I think anyone can just park in the hotel and walk right up to the counter to validate the parking ticket since they don't check if you're a staying guests or just want some cheap parking in the shopping belt of Bukit Bintang, considering the malls charge you through the nose and ass for parking charges..

Conveniently located in front of Berjaya Times Square, the hotel is very tired and dated in the rooms and corridor, much untouched from the 80s-era..

- Wifi internet access is provided, and fast too, as there is a router in the room on the desk..
- King sized bed with fluffy pillows
- Lousy airconditioning.. It was so hot that both of us slept in just shorts.. could've been naked though..
- Tiny outdoor pool..
- Slow reception: 20 minutes to check in 2 guests at 2 counters.. Something I really cannot accept..




A crooked toilet seat and the water tank that looked as if it can fall off anytime...

The cupboard door reeks of dampness and bent.. I don't want to know what happened to it..

Overall, I don't think it's a good stay.. I won't have paid that kind of money to stay in such an old hotel, better spend your money elsewhere!







Monday, 2 March 2015

A Tourist in My City

Last week I took a day off and wander around Kuala Lumpur, doing some touristy things with my Singaporean friend..

I have not been up to KL Tower for a long while as a tourist (except the time in 2012 where I climbed the tower in the KL Towerthon Night Race).. So with my friend in tow, we went up the tower.. The entrance fee was god-damn fucking expensive, not to mention there's practically nothing much to do up there..

For Malaysian, it's a freaking RM69 while foreigners it's RM99 for the open deck level.. Such a god damn money making scam..

Warning: There's nothing much out there that you can see from the TH01 Observation level, in my humble opinion, so save yourself the extra bucks and spend it on the unique food Malaysia has to offer, instead...

The pro is you can take better pictures of the city..

Con is.. you'll feel as though you're conned.. Just that.. :)


Part KL skyline from above

Into the horizon we stared

How can one not have a selfie with the towers?
Not that I have not been up at the 88th floor of the Twin Towers..
Been up there in 2003 when I was visiting Accenture's office and decided to take the lift up anyway..


Hot right now!