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					        Faculty of Communications, Health & Science




                            MALAYSIA

                  BRIEFING NOTES




The Faculty Office of the Faculty of Computing, Health & Science is pleased to provide
    you with this information. Comments or changes may be advised to 6304 3453
                                   INFORMATION SOURCES


The following Background, Historical, Political, Economic and General Information has
been sourced and combined, from the following Web Sites:




Reference:         Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au
                   Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au
                   www.worldinformation.com
                   www.business-in-asia.com
                   www.countryreports.org
                   www.asiatravel.com




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BACKGROUND

Both West, or Peninsular Malaysia (area 131,794sq km) and East Malaysia (198 000 sq
km) consist of rugged forested mountainous interiors descending to coastal plains. The
total area is about half that of New South Wales. According to the Department of
Statistics Malaysia, Malaysia‟s population was 27.3 million as of October 2007. Constant
ethnic, political and cultural change has been a feature of Malaysia‟s history since
various pre-Malay peoples began filtering down through the peninsula and the south-east
Asian archipelago at least 40000 years ago.

Race and religion underpin the entire fabric of Malaysian society and domestic politics is
strongly influenced by communal factors. This is particularly so in Peninsular Malaysia
where Malays form about 66%, Chinese 25% and Indians 7.5% of the population. In
Sabah and Sarawak, where the indigenous people account for some 70% of the
population (the remainder being mostly Chinese), communal divisions are also politically
important but less acute. Notwithstanding periods of tension, the communal problem is
generally well managed.


POLITICS

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy with a bicameral federal legislature
consisting of a non-elected upper house, an elected lower house and unicameral state
legislatures. Malaysia comprises of 13 states and three federal territories. Nine of the
states in Peninsular Malaysia have hereditary rulers. The Supreme Head of State is the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) who is elected every five years from among the nine
rulers.

Malaysia entered a new political era in November 2003 with the retirement of long
serving Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir has been succeeded by his
former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who has stamped
his first 100 days as prime minister with a very active campaign on corruption and
cronyism in government. He has also moved quickly to improve bilateral relations with
ASEAN neighbours.

The prime minister must be a member of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)
or Parliament. The Parliament comprises of two Houses: the Dewan Rakyat, which is
fully elective, and the Dewan Negara (Senate), where members are nominated by H.M.
the King from among citizens who have rendered distinguished public service, achieved
distinction in the professions, or are representatives of racial minorities. A General
Election is held every five years. The next federal election is due to be held in 2009.

The 13 states of Malaysia also have their own Chief Ministers or Mentri Besar, who is
also elected to office, and have their own (elected) State Assemblies. Barisan Nasional
(National Front) is the governing coalition and consists of the United Malays National
Organisation (UNMO), the Malaysian Chinese Association, Gerakan (a Chinese-based
party), the Malaysian Indian Congress plus a number of other parties including some
based in Sabah and Sarawak. The current government has been in power since 1955.




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ECONOMICS

Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has been transformed from a commodity-based
economy, focusing on rubber and tin, to one of the world‟s largest producers of
electronic and electrical products. Malaysia is a significant trading nation as measured by
trade as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), with its total trade in goods and
services amounting to more than 200 per cent of GDP. Manufactured goods make up a
large portion of Malaysia‟s exports, including electronic and electrical products – which
comprise over 40 per cent of the value of total exports. Malaysia is the world‟s leading
exporter of palm oil and is one of the region‟s major oil and gas exporters.

According to key development indicators, Malaysia is now a high middle-income,
export-oriented economy, with GDP per capita of $US5718 in 2006, life expectancy of
73 years and gross primary school enrolment of 93 per cent of the school age population.
Malaysian statistics suggest poverty has fallen from 49 per cent of households in 1970 to
5.7 per cent in 2004.

In 1991 the Malaysian Government launched Vision 2020 – a plan for Malaysia to
achieve developed economy status by the year 2020. Specific targets include increasing
real GDP eightfold between 1990 and 2020 – translating to average annual growth of
seven per cent – and increasing per capita income by a factor of four.

The National Mission provides a framework for Malaysia to achieve Vision 2020. It
builds on previous policies including the National Vision Policy (introduced in 2001), the
National Development Policy (introduced in 1991) and the New Economic Policy
(introduced in 1970). These policies were designed to eradicate poverty and advance the
economic position of Bumiputeras („sons of the soil‟ – mainly Malays but also other
indigenous groups). While the Government‟s target of 30 per cent Bumiputera ownership
of capital has not been achieved (and the timeline extended to 2020), there has been a
significant shift in the balance of ownership, coinciding with the emergence of an
influential new class of Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

The Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) is the Malaysian Government‟s current economic
blueprint. The plan places an emphasis on building a sustainable economy and
developing human capital. Areas of high priority in the Ninth Malaysia Plan include
education, public infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing.

RELIGION

The official religion is Islam (55 per cent). Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Ancestor
Worship, Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism are also practised. The constitution
guarantees freedom of religion, but in response to electoral gains by fundamentalist
Islamists, the government has denied that Malaysia is a secular state. Malays are
generally Muslim. Most of the Chinese are Buddhist or Taoist, a few are Christian. The
majority of Indians are Hindu, but some arr Muslim, Christian or Sikh. Eurasians are
predominantly Christian.

Ethnic Make-up
Malaysia is a multi-racial country, including Malay (66%), Chinese (25%) and Indian
(7.5%). The political dominance of Malays, the 'bumiputeras' prominent in the civil


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service, military, and education, is accepted by the Chinese and Indian communities in
exchange for relative freedom in the private sector. The Kadazans are the principal
ethnic group in the state of Sabah, while the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Melanaus predominate
in the state of Sarawak.


VISITOR INFORMATION

Visa Information
Australian passport holders do not need a visa to enter Malaysia. However, they must
possess a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into Malaysia.
Visit passes are required by all business travellers and are normally issued to temporary
visitors on entry. Visit passes issued for entry into peninsular Malaysia, are not valid for
entry into Sabah and Sarawak.

Visa rules are complex. Commonwealth citizens (except Indian nationals), British
protected persons and citizens of the US, Japan, Republic of Korea and most west
European nations do not require a visa for visits of up to three months. Citizens of
ASEAN countries do not need a visa for visits of up to one month, while for most east
European countries, the visa free period is one week. Visas (when required) and
permission for permanent residence or employment must be obtained before arrival.
Nationals of Israel and South Africa must apply for a visa prior to arrival in Malaysia.
Entry is refused to holders of passports issued by Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Serbia, Montenegro).

Airport - International
The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is located at Sepang, about 75km south
of Kuala Lumpur. Taxi services from the KLIA Airport are operated by Airport
Limousine Services. Visitors should purchase taxi travel coupons from the service
counters after passing through immigration and customs clearance. Taxi fares depend on
the distance and time of travel – a trip from the airport to the city centre will normally
cost about RM90 (around A$40).

International departure tax is RM40 (around A$16) and must be paid when checking in,
prior to immigration clearance. Departure tax sometimes will be included in your
international ticket price. Check in time for international flights is two hours prior to
departure.

Airport - Domestic
For travel to the other states within Malaysia, the national carrier, Malaysian Airlines
(MAS) provides air services to the major cities. Two private local air carriers, Pelangi
and Air Asia – usually provide services to resort islands. These carriers operate from the
Sultan Abdul Shah Airport, which is at least a 30 minute drive from the city, depending
on traffic. This airport was the previous international airport until the KLIA opened in
Sepang in l998. Please note that some MAS flights are also operated in/out of SAS
Airport, so it is advisable to check which airport your flight is arriving at/departing from.

Ground Transport
Most business visitors to Kuala Lumpur use taxis for ground transportation. Fares are
inexpensive by Australian Standards and cars are in reasonable condition. Travel


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vouchers for airport taxis are available at the airport counters at fixed rates. Between
midnight and 0600, an extra surcharge of 50 per cent applies. There is an extra charge
for telephone bookings. Taxi coupons at fixed prices to various destinations in the city
and its vicinity are available at Platform 4 of the Kuala Lumpur railway station.

For busy visit programmes where time is critical, the use of hire car with driver is
recommended and can be arranged through any of the reputable hotels.

Several hire-car services are available in Malaysia, including Avis, Budget Car Rental
etc. There is also rail transport provided by KTM or the Malaysian Railway, running all
the way to Singapore in the south and to Padang Besar in the north.

Kuala Lumpur is the hub of the national railway system, which is modern, comfortable
and economical. Day and night services to major cities in Peninsula Malaysia. There are
express and ordinary trains. Express trains are air-conditioned and are generally first and
second class only. Rail passes are available to foreigners and can be purchased at a
number of main railway stations.

Climate
Malaysia is a tropical country, hot and humid throughout the year with temperatures
ranging from 21C to 35C. Rainy periods are usually between April and August and then
between October and December. The east coast of Peninsular Malaysia goes through a
monsoon season between November and March each year, so many holiday resorts close
during these periods.

Clothing
Light clothing is recommended. The dress code tends to be conservative and although
jackets are not usually worn in offices, a tie and long-sleeved shirt are normal. For
formal meetings, a full suit is required. Government officials often wear a safari-style
short sleeved suit. In deference to the Islamic culture, western business women should
dress modestly at all times.

Language
Malay is the national language and official language of the country, but English is
common in commerce and industry. Malay is almost identical to Bahasa Indonesia, the
official language of its neighbour. Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin and Hokkien)
are widely used in Malaysia, and Tamil and Punjabi among Indians. Other languages
include Itan Dusan and Bajau.

The official language is Bahasa Malaysia.

Health
Mandatory precautions
Valid certificate of vaccination against yellow fever if travelling from infected areas.

Advisable precautions
Vaccinations are advisable for diptheria, tuberculosis, typhoid, hepatitis 'A' & 'B',
Japanese 'B' encephalitis, tetanus and polio. Tap water is boiled by many people before
drinking, although it is generally regarded as safe. There is a malaria risk in Sabah and
the deep interior. There is a rabies risk.


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The Kuala Lumpur area is generally free of tropical diseases such as malaria, typhoid and
cholera. Some areas of Kuala Lumpur have been declared Dengue areas for both Dengue
and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fevers. The Kuala Lumpur City authorities often carry out a
“street fogging” programme to eliminate the mosquitoes which carry these diseases. Use
of a personal insect repellent is recommended.

Hepatitis A and B is more prevalent than in Australia and there is a high rate of carriers
among the population. Hepatitis A and B inoculations are recommended. AIDS also
exists in Malaysia.

Visitors should maintain an adequate fluid intake, as the humidity and temperature
experienced in Malaysia are usually higher than Australia. Seek medical advice and
treatment for any persistent stomach disorders such as diarrhoea.

Tipping
Tipping is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent. Most hotels and large
restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge in addition to the 5% government tax
to the bill (indicated by a ++ sign on menus and rate cards).

Restaurants: 10% service charge added automatically. Additional tipping is unnecessary,
unless service is excellent.

Porters: Tip porters about M$1 per bag. Any tip less than 50 sen would be considered
insulting.

Hotel maids: Service charge added automatically. Additional tipping is unnecessary,
unless to acknowledge excellent service.

Taxis: Most taxis are fitted with meters. Taxi rates are currently RM 2 for the first 2km
and 10 sen for every 200 meters thereon. A surcharge of 50% is levied between midnight
and 6.00am.

Time Zone
There is only one time zone in Malaysia, which is the same as Perth.

Business Hours
Government offices are open from 8.00am to 12.45pm and 2.00pm to 4.15pm Monday
to Thursday and 8.00am to 12.15pm and 2.45 to 4.15pm on Fridays. Malaysian
Government offices are open on most Saturday mornings from 8.00am to 12.45pm.
However, they are usually closed on the first Saturday of the month.

Other business, Mon to Thursday 7.30am to 4.45pm, Friday 7.30am to 12.15pm and 2.45
to 4.45pm, Saturday 7.30am to 1.15pm. Some variation in Sabah and Sarawak.

Banks
Banking hours are from 10.00am to 3.00pm on weekdays and from 9.30am to 12.00pm
on most Saturdays in most states (usually closed on first Saturday of the month). A few
states, like Kelantan and Terengganu will observe Friday as their day off and thus have
different hours of banking.


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Currency
The local currency is the Ringgit Malaysia (RM), made up of 100sen. Currency notes are
in denominations of two, five, 10, 20,50 and 100 ringgit.

Major credit cards are freely used and accepted in many parts of the country. Travellers
cheques can be exchanged for Malaysian ringgit at commercial banks, hotels and at
authorised money changers.

Electricity
The power supply throughout the country is 220V AC, 50Hz. Three pin square plug
fittings and bayonet-type light fittings are generally used.

Samples/Give Aways
When samples on which customs duty has been paid are re-exported within three months
from the date of import, the Malaysian Custom Department may allow a drawback of
custom duty.

Exemptions on import duties or sales tax may be granted on samples of no commercial
value if supported by documents or invoices to that effect.

Videos
VHS and NTSC format is the most common type of video used in Malaysia. Customs
inspection/clearance procedures for videos that are brought into the country are at the
discretion of duty officers. Sometimes the officers may request that the videos be
screened at the airport terminals before allowing the visitor to clear customs.

Drugs
The authorities have a very strict attitude to drug abuse and there can be a mandatory
death sentence for anyone, including foreigners, who are convicted of possession of even
a very small amount of narcotics. Other punishments include whipping, in addition to
any custodial sentence. Warning notices about drugs are prominently displayed at the
airport.

Emergency Numbers
Police: 999
Tourist Police:
        Johor Bahru: Tel (07) 232-222
        Kuala Lumpur: Tel (03) 241-5522 or (03) 243-5522
        Melaka: Tel (06) 222-222
        Fire and Ambulance: 999
Country Code: 60

Local Customs and Standards of Behaviour
General:
When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe local customs and practices. Some
common courtesies and customs are as follows:-

Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies
may acknowledge an introduction with a gentleman with a nod of her head and smile. A


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handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers her hand first. The traditional
greeting of "salam" resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The
man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, then brings his
hands to his chest to mean, " I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate
the "salam".
It is polite to call before visiting a home. Shoes must be removed when entering a
Malaysian home. It is also customary to do so upon entering a mosque or an Indian
temple.

The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or when giving and receiving
objects The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the
thumb of the right hand with the four fingers, folded under is preferred usage.

Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population
does not drink alcoholic beverages.

Business:
Malaysians tend to be late for appointments yet expect others to be on time. Your contact
will meet you at your hotel or at his or her office. Meetings are often held during lunch
or dinner.

Malaysians are usually called by their given names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss. The
Chinese use their family names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss.

A firm handshake and a "hello" are suitable as a greeting. Muslims bring their hand to
their chest after shaking hands, and you should follow suit.

Business cards are always exchanged and should be both given and received with both
hands at all times. Study the card for a few moments before placing it in your pocket.

A suit and tie is suitable business attire for men, with the jacket removed on warmer
days. Long-sleeved batik shirts are always acceptable. For women, a suit or blouse and
skirt are best for daytime appointments.

The many cultures and religions of Malaysia may make giving a suitable gift a
complicated issue. Never give liquor to a Muslim (alcoholic beverages are forbidden in
the Muslim religion), or clocks, watches, knives or white flowers to a Chinese person
(white flowers are associated with death in Chinese culture, and so are clocks, knives and
watches - the word for time and death sound similar). A pen or a similar object having a
company logo is probably the safest kind of gift.

In formal situations, it is considered improper to cross one‟s legs, even at the ankles. This
should never be done in front of royalty.

In the Malay community particularly, courtesy is very highly-prized and one should not
show irritation or impatience.

Chinese and Indian communities in Malaysia observe more Western-style practices and
the usual courtesies should be extended to them.



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Avoid the left hand. Care should be taken to avoid offering food, drink giving/receiving
articles or even business cards with the left hand.

It is considered impolite to point at people with an extended finger or foot. Use your
thumb to point to things.

Avoid touching the opposite sex (except to shake hands), especially when greeting a
Bumiputera (Malay) female. In these circumstances even handshakes should be
approached with caution. If the person does not extend her hand that means she does not
want any physical greeting contact. A mere verbal acknowledgement/introduction is
sufficient.

Refusal of offered refreshment is considered discourteous.

Do not make a fist and hit the palm of the opposite hand to emphasise a point.

The act of kissing (in greeting/farewell) between a foreigner and a Malaysian should be
approached with caution. Malaysians tend to shy away from such an action.

Do not place hands on hips.

Never touch the head of a Malay. Touching or playing with the head and hair is
considered rude.
It is customary to take off shoes upon entering Malaysian homes and mosques (for
religious and cleanliness reasons).

Only males are allowed to enter mosques. Females are prohibited from entering.

Care should be taken on the choice of food served to Malaysians. Malays are almost
always Muslims and therefore will only be allowed to eat food that is halal, which means
“permissible according to Muslim Law”. Food forbidden by Muslim religious law
includes pork (in any form) and alcohol. Never offer alcohol to Muslims unless it is
asked for. Chinese who are Buddhists do not eat beef.

To cater for different needs, serve a variety of foods that include lots of vegetables,
chicken, lamb and fish (in place of pork and beef).

Most of the international restaurants/hotels serve halal food.

Malays will fast for a duration of one month prior to Hari Raya Puasa (Malay New Year
which is on approximately 19 January). During the fasting month they are not to eat or
drink during the day and will break fast at a given time, usually late evening. Keep this in
mind during this period – for instance, avoid inviting Malays to luncheon meetings, and
avoid eating or drinking in front of Malay guests.

Gifts
Traditionally, gifts are not opened in front of the giver. Sometimes, however, if special
care has been taken in the choice of gifts, the giver invites the receiver to do so, or the
receiver asks permission.



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Useful Phrases
Yes - Ya
No - Teedak
Hello - apa kabar
Good bye - se la mat jalan
Thank you - Sa ma Sa ma
Excuse me - Ma fkan say-ya
Do you speak English? - Ta-hoo-kah ber -da ha sa Ingris?
I don't understand - Sa-ya tee dak fa-ham
Help! - To-long!
Please bring me the menu - To long bawa untuk say-ya me-noo
Please bring me the bill - To long bawa untuk say-ya bill

Hotels
A 10% service charge and 5% tax is added to all hotel bills and restaurant meals.

The following hotels are listed on the National University Travel Consortium web site
(www.nutc.com.au). University rates have been negotiated with these hotels and are
inclusive of all charges and taxes.

Name                              Rating        $         Min room       Approx       Location
                                                            rate         $AU
Dorsett Regency                   4             MY       120.00          48.00        Golden triangle, business &
                                                R                                     shopping
Holiday Villas (Subang)           4.5           MY       172.50          69.00        Subang & close to Monash
                                                R
Istana Hotel                      4.5           MY       230.00          92.00        Golden triangle central
                                                R                                     business district
Lanson Place Apartments           4.5           MY       195.00          78.00        Embassy district
                                                R
Mandarin Oriental                 5             MY       324.00          129.80       Adjacent to Petronas Twin
                                                R                                     Towers
Pan Pacific                       5             MY       180.00          72.00        Adjacent to Putra World
                                                R                                     Trade Centre
Sheraton *                        5             MY       287.50          115.00       Business area 1km from
                                                R                                     Golden Triangle

*FCHS I & C staff use the Sheraton or the Shangri-La (The Shangri-La often have special internet rates -
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL, Tel (60-3 20322388) Fax (603 20701514) www.shangri-la.com )




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                                                  PENANG
Penang lies off the north-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The State comprises the
island of Penang covering an area of about 285 sq.km and a narrow strip of
approximately 760 sq km on the mainland known as Seberang Perai (Province
Wellesley) separated by a channel 3km wide at the closest point. They are linked by the
Penang Bridge and a 24 hour ferry service. Its population of more than 1 million
represents a happy mix of the major races found in Malaysia with Malays making up
32%, the Chinese 59% and Indians 7%.

Georgetown, at the north-eastern tip of the island is the seat of administration and is also
the commercial hub of the state.

HISTORY

Penang today bears the mark of an early history of successive foreign influences, from
the early Indian Civilisation that took root in northern Malaysia, to that of the
Portuguese, Dutch and later the British who came to this part of the world in search of
spices and stayed to participate in the lucrative trade. In l786 Francis Light managed to
persuade the Sultan of kedah to cede “Pulau Pinang” to the British East India Company.
In 1800 the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the
channel. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Melaka and
Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for a lucrative trade in tea,
spices, china and cloth. For more than a hundred years it remained under British
Colonial rule until l957 when it gained independence and became one of the states of the
newly formed Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia in l963.

CULTURE

With a population of one million, Penang is a melting pot of culture. Apart from the three
main racial communities of Malaysia – Malay, Chinese and Indian – there are Arabs and
Eurasians, the latter being a result of inter-racial marriages. The visitor is exposed to a
variety of cultural experiences that give the island an added touch of colour.

Airport
Penang is easily accessible by air with daily flights from major capitals of the region. It
has direct links with Singapore, Bangkok, Nagoya, Medan, Xiamen (China) and Madras,
operated by Malaysia Airlines. The airline also operates more than 20 flights daily
between Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Ground Transport
The Penang International Airport is about 20km from the city centre. Taxis plying the
route follow the coupon system by which fares between the airport and various
destinations in Penang are fixed. Air-conditioned taxis and limousines charge higher
fares. Most taxis do not use the meter. You may either insist on the meter being turned on
or agree on the price before you move off. Taxis normally charge between RM3.00 –
RM6.00 for short distances within the city.

The Penang Yellow Bus Co. operates an hourly service between the airport and Weld
Quay in the city between 6.00am and 10.00pm daily. (Bus No.83).


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Penang‟s public transport system is efficient and moving around by taxis, buses or
trishaws is inexpensive. There is no standard fare for trishaws and it would be wise to
agree on the price before you depart.

Hire cars are available. Motorcycles and bicylces can also be hired from stores along the
hotel stretch at Batu Ferringhi and in the city.

There are also many tours by air-conditioned coaches to famous landmarks around the
island. Check with your hotel reception desk for details.

Hotels
A 10% service charge and 5% tax is added to all hotel bills and restaurant meals.

The following hotels are listed on the National University Travel Consortium web site
(www.nutc.com.au). University rates have been negotiated with these hotels and are
inclusive of all charges and taxes.

Name                              Rating        $             Min        Approx       Location
                                                             room        $AU
                                                              rate
Equatorial Penang                 5             MYR        170.00        68.00        Overlooking the bay

FCHS Int'l & Commercial staff also stay at the Shangri-La (special rates can often be
found on the web - www.shangri-la.com ) Magazine Road, 10300 Penang, Malaysia -
Tel: (04) 2622 622, Fax: (04) 2626 526




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                                                 KUCHING
HISTORY

Kuching in East Malaysia has been described as a riverine settlement, eight miles up the
Sarawak River. It was a trading post where commercial activities were concentrated
along Main Bazaar and Gambier Street areas on the south bank, with the Astana and
Malay villages around it on the north bank of the Sarawak River.

From 1840 up to about the mid l970‟s, the growth of Kuching had been a slow one. The
gradual incremental growth of the residential areas did not appear to give rise to any
serious congestion or pollution problem. Since then the picture has changed. Today,
Kuching has grown to a city with a population of approximately 252,000, covering an
area of around 431 sq km, reaching out right to the South China Sea in the north. Terrain
wise, the populated part of Kuching City is flat, with very limited areas that are subjected
to very difficult drainage problems. The present living environment of Kuching City can
be considered as pleasant even though the average daily temperature is around 32C with
an annual rainfall of around 160 inches and generally very high daily average humidity.

CULTURE

Kuching City is young (33.8% are in the 0-14 year old age group, 59.8% are in the 15-64
year old age group and 4.4% are 65 years and above. It is multiracial, multicultural and
multireligious. The population of Kuching District comprise Chinese (44%), Malay
(36%), Dayaks (17%) and others (3%). Most of its inhabitants have their own houses.
The city takes pride in its racial and religious harmony.

Kuching people are generally courteous, friendly and patient, both on and off the roads.
However, queuing up for services is not universally practised, unless they are forced to
do so, such as in banks.

Kuching is a relatively safe city and violent crimes are the exception rather than the rule.
The city is also relatively free of vagrants.

Almost all children of school-going age attend primary or lower secondary schools.
There are some colleges in the city and a new university (UNIMAS) has recently been
established just outside the city limits.

Airport
Kuching International Airport was officially opened on September 26, l950, but could
only cope with DC3 aircraft. Further improvements in l982 enabled the airport to handle
heavier aircraft such as the Airbus. Today the Kuching International Airport is the main
gateway to Sarawak and handles 84 daily scheduled aircraft movements and about 4,600
passengers.

Hotels
A 10% service charge and 5% tax is added to all hotel bills and restaurant meals.


Name                              Telephone                Fax


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Kuching Hilton                    6082 248200              6082 428984
Grand Continental                 6082 230399              6082 230339
Merdeka Palace Hotel              6082 258000              6082 425400
Holiday Inn Kuching               6082 423111              6082 426169
Crowne Plaza                      6082 247777              6082 425858

FCHS Int'l & Commercial staff stay at the Kuching Hilton


CONTACTS
Australian High Commission
No. 6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 246 5555 / Facsimile: (603) 241 5773

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)
Australian High Commission
No. 6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 246 5588 / Facsimile (603) 246 5680
Email: kuala.lumpur@austrade.gov.au

Malaysian Airlines Berhad (MAS)
33rd Floor, MAS Building
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 261 0555 (HQ)
(603) 746 3000 (Reservations) / (603) 746 4555 (Airport)
Website: http://www.mas.com.my

Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board
17th Floor, Menara Dato‟ Onn
PWTC, 45 Jalan Tun Ismail
50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 293 5188 / Facsimile: (603) 293 5884

Royal Customs & Excise Department
Ground Floor - 7th Floor, Block 11
Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan
Jalan Duta, 50596 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone: (603) 651 6088/9088 / Facsimile: (603) 651 2548
Website: http://www.customs.gov.my

Reference:         Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au
                   Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au
                   www.worldinformation.com
                   www.asiatravel.com/hkinfo.html
                   www.nutc.com.au/travelfix




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