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Boost for tourism : November 23, 2020

KUANTAN: The Pahang government, through Tourism Pahang, is collaborating with motoring club Asia Brotherhood Centre (ABC) in an effort to promote the state as a destination of choice among motorsports enthusiasts. State tourism, culture, environment, plantations and commodities committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin said the collaboration was also aimed at reviving the state’s economy.

 He said it was badly affected when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. “Through this collaboration, ABC will help promote Pahang tourism products that will also be listed in the Malaysia Local Route (MLR) Pitstop that serves as a reference for motoring groups as well as tourists such as backpackers. “Apart from food premises, MLR Pitstop will also provide information about handicraft, homestays, agro-tourism spots as well arts and cultural activities available in Pahang, ” he said after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Tourism Pahang and ABC here.

Tourism Pahang was represented by its general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar while ABC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Razil Razak signed on behalf of the club. Azmi Razil said for a start, ABC planned to organise a three-day event called the Pahang Border Ride from Dec 25 that would see 60 riders touring all districts in Pahang. — Bernama

#JOM! GO: 5 reasons to take the train to the East Coast: November 17, 2020

THERE'S something undeniably romantic and nostalgic about taking a long train journey to frontier towns like Lipis in Pahang or Tumpat in Kelantan. Less than 25 years ago, rail transport was the only mode of transport for many living in rural areas of Malaysia. But with modern highways and better roads, the romantic railway journey has taken a back seat to more fast and efficient modes of transport.

Serviced by Keretapi Tanah Melayu ( KTM), there are two main train routes on the peninsular - the East and West Coast Main Lines that connect various towns throughout the country.

Most northern destinations on the West Coast Line have been progressively taken over by faster and modern electric trains that have cut travel time considerably. The East Coast Line that starts in Gemas in Johor and ends at Tumpat in Kelantan is, however, still serviced by the slower diesel-hauled intercity train, making for a more interesting travel experience, at least in my opinion. And with that, here are five reasons for you to go on a train journey to the east coast.

Unlike the cramped seats of airplanes, buses and cars, the open-plan sleeping berths of KTM's Intercity night train let you stretch out in comfort while looking out of the wide coach windows or enjoy a good night's sleep.

The Express Rakyat Timuran that starts from Johor Bahru and ends at Tumpat is a 17-hour journey, making the sleeping berths a wise choice.

NOSTALGIC CHARM

There's a certain charm having the train conductor in his blue KTM uniform asks for your train ticket as the train slowly rolls along the railway. The conductor may even wake you up when you reach your chosen stop along the railway line.

The train's cafeteria coach is not only the place for snacks and drinks but also the place for a bit of conversation with other friendly passengers.

FAMILY FRIENDLY

The open-plan sleeping berths are perfect for families since it has ample space for the children to bound about. Diapers can be easily changed and babies nursed at any time in private thanks to the privacy curtains of the sleeping berths. Children are naturally fascinated by the train as well, making it a memorable experience for them.

THE DESTINATIONS

Located along the East Coast Line that runs through the interior of Peninsular Malaysia are fascinating destinations to visit, such as the historic frontier tin-mining town of Kuala Lipis that was once the state capital of Pahang and also the gateway to Kenong Rimba State Park.

Remainders of its once prosperous status can be seen in the many historic colonial buildings that have been conserved. Other destinations include Jerantut which is Pahang's gateway to Malaysia's oldest national park Taman Negara.

HISTORIC ROUTE

Although officially called the East Coast Line, other passengers and travelers call it the Jungle Railway. The almost 500km line was completed in sections, first to Kuala Lipis in 1920 and then extended to Tumpat past the city of Kota Bahru, Kelantan in 1931.

Used exclusively at first to transport tin, rubber, and palm oil, the first passenger service for the line was introduced in 1938.

One of the best ways to really take in the scenery of the Jungle Railway is to take the overnight train to Kuala Lipis and then take the local shuttle trains during the day to Gua Musang or Tumpat, Kelantan.

For more information on KTM's Intercity services, visit www.ktmb.com.my

Source: NST

Confusion, protests over Taman Negara's 'unnecessary' closure : October 20, 2020

KUANTAN: The government's move to close Taman Negara in Jerantut has caused confusion and raised questions, as neither the national park nor Pahang is under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin has therefore urged the government to revoke its order and reopen Taman Negara, which has been closed since Oct 6. "I do not know why the government decided to shut down Taman Negara. Can you imagine how many people have cancelled their reservations, resulting in operators suffering losses amounting to thousands of ringgit?....The CMCO is enforced in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (so) why penalise people in other places?

"People from Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Johor or states not under the CMCO should be allowed to travel for holidays in Taman Negara. The federal government has to look at the bigger picture, as the national park is not affected by the CMCO," he said when contacted today. Sharkar said the tourism industry in Kuala Tahan was just getting back on its feet when the announcement was made to close Taman Negara. "I want them (the government) to reopen it. There is a time to close the park, which is during the monsoon season, and during that time (the rainy season), people seldom travel there," he said.

Sharkar was responding to a protest by tour operators in Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara, who had submitted a memorandum to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, urging the authorities to immediately revoke the closure notice. The Kuala Tahan operators describe the closure of the park, located in one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests, for the second time this year as harmful to their livelihoods and could lead to losses estimated at RM2 million. Meanwhile, Jerantut Member of Parliament Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris, who received the memorandum from Kuala Tahan Village Development and Safety Committee chairman, Abdul Jalil Abd Rahman today, said he sympathises with the tourism operators' plight.

"They (operators) are in the midst of recovering after the three-month closure due to the Movement Control Order, and now, they are put in a tough situation. They are certainly running out of time, as the monsoon season in December will force the park to be closed. "Since Taman Negara is not declared a red zone or under the CMCO, I hope the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry will review their decision and reopen the park," he said.

All smiles for tourism players as Taman Negara reopens its doors: October 22, 2020

JERANTUT: Tourism industry operators in Kuala Tahan believe that the much-awaited nod to reopen Taman Negara tomorrow will allow them to get their businesses back on track. The industry players had been offering low-rate packages since June 15 to attract visitors to Taman Negara. However, their plans were derailed when the park received an eleventh-hour notice on Oct 6 to close the park, citing Covid-19 fears. After a 17-day hiatus and following protests, the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) today announced that both Taman Negara in Kuala Tahan and Sungai Relau in Lipis will be open to the public as usual tomorrow.

The move to close the park on Oct 6 for the second time this year to curb the spread of Covid-19 sparked a backlash from tourism industry operators last week as they face losses amounting to an estimated RM2 million. Tour operators here submitted a memorandum to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry urging them to consider reopening the park which was not affected by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). On Tuesday, State Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin urged the government to revoke its order saying neither the national park nor Pahang was under the CMCO. Earlier today, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail urged the Federal Government, particularly Perhilitan to reopen the park immediately, describing the move to close it as "unnecessary".

Meanwhile, Kuala Tahan Village Development and Safety Committee chairman Abdul Jalil Abd Rahman said the move to reopen the park will allow tourism operators to slowly move on with their lives. He hoped that in the future, all stakeholders will be consulted before any decision to close the park is carried out. Jalil said records showed that 170 tour guides, 108 boat operators, 30 floating restaurants, 17 tour agencies, and 38 accommodation operators suffered a loss of income due to the park's closure during the MCO and on Oct 6. Source: NST

Fraser's Hill hiking trails remain open; Facebook posting fake : October 15, 2020

KUANTAN: Tourism Pahang has dismissed a social media post alleging that a trail in Fraser's Hill, Raub, has been ordered to close after several hikers tested positive for Covid-19. Its general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar described the Facebook posting as fake saying the Pine Tree Trail, which is popular among hikers and nature lovers, remains open for trekkers. "I have checked with the Pahang Forestry Department and the posting which has gone viral is untrue. The trail is opened to visitors," he said. The Facebook posting dated Oct 11 claimed that the Pine Tree Trail was ordered to close after five people tested positive for Covid-19.

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