12 January 2012
New Straits Times
Memorable day out for 120 children
IT was a most memorable day for 120 underprivileged children from Pahang when they made their maiden visit to Petrosains and Aquaria KLCC recently.
The visit was organised by East Coast Economic Region's (ECER) Development Council in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) to spread some cheer to less privileged children.
The children, aged between six and 12 years, were the pupils of SK Lepar, Pekan, Pahang and also participants of the Sinar ECER programme.
The programme is targeted at helping underprivileged children with academic excellence, personal development, soft skills, a positive mindset and character-building.
ECER's general manager (social development division), Zulkifli Yaacob, said the educational excursion served to stimulate the children's interest in science and technology as well as in marine life.
"These kids are from hardcore poor families and that limits them from exposure to the outside world. We believe that they have potential to excel in academics, and it is our desire to help them develop skills," he said.
"We take them on such educational visits to inculcate knowledge that can benefit them in their studies. This is also an effort to help children from the ECER Agropolitan scheme."
The ECER Agropolitan scheme is a socioeconomic project to accelerate rural economic growth through agriculture activities while providing sustainable income for its participants.
The children couldn't hide their excitement when they were taken to Petrosains as they had a chance to play fun games and participate in interactive science-based activities.
They started their journey at Petrosains by taking a ride shaped as an oil drop called "The Dark Ride" and they were later brought to the various stations like Petrojaya, Geotime Diorama, Exploration, Sparkz, Oil Platform, Speed, Molecule and Music, and Arts and Science.
The main attractions at Petrosains were the singing Tyrannosaurus Rex at Geotime Diorama, the Formula One car at Speed and catchy music instruments at Music, Arts and Science. The children appeared to be dragging their feet as they reluctantly left each station.
Mohd Firdaus Mohd Saiful, 10, said he was delighted to be included on the field trip.
"I was so excited to see a giant dinosaur singing a welcome song... It was out of this world!" he said.
Sofia Sarah Mohd Taufiq, 9, said she had a great time at Petrosains.
"This is my first-ever visit to Petrosains. I love that it's a place where one can play and learn at the same time," she said.
From Petrosains, the children then made their way to Aquaria KLCC for their exciting ocean discovery.
They were visibly mesmerised by the numerous entrancing aquatic creatures from all parts of the world.
One of the most remarkable attractions in Aquaria is the Oceanarium, a 90-metre transparent underwater tunnel with a moving walkway, where the children came face-to-face with marine fauna like sand tiger sharks, giant stingrays and turtles.
Nur Umirah Ismail, 10, was overwhelmed by the visit to the ocean discovery centre.
"I am thrilled to see the piranhas, water rats and stingrays," she said.
All in all, the visit to the two places of fun and learning was time well-spent and a fulfilling day of enrichment for the delighted children.
Source : New Straits Times
11 January 2012
New Straits Times
Goodies for FT Day
CITY folk can look forward to enjoying a slew of goodies, in conjunction with the Federal Territories Day celebrations on Feb 1.
Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said this year the ministry will be giving out more goodies.
He said among the gifts they will enjoy are maintenance funds for low- and medium-cost housing, which will be given out from the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund (1MMF).
Raja Nong Chik said 90 per cent of the maintenance fund will come from the 1MMF, while the remaining 10 per cent will be borne by the respective Joint Management Body or Residents' Association.
"There is currently RM36 million in the 1MMF. Priority will be given to the low-cost housing schemes," he said after giving out flags to residents' associations in the city and business operators in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Also present were Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail, Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib and City Hall director- general Datuk Salleh Yusup.
Raja Nong Chik said City Hall and the FT Ministry will be distributing 50,000 FT flags to residents in Putrajaya, Labuan and the city.
"We urge all residents and business operators to fly the Federal Territory flag at their homes and business premises," he said.
Raja Nong Chik also announced that City Hall will be charging a flat rate on all traffic compounds that were issued before March 2011.
Motorists will be able to pay their compounds at any City Hall counter from Feb 1 to 29.
He added that residents will be able to use City Hall's community centres in their neighbourhoods for free on weekends for the month of February.
However, he said the centres can't be used for weddings.
Residents will also get to use the City Hall library, futsal courts, rugby fields and all public swimming pools for free next month.
There will also be free pony and boat rides at the Titiwangsa lake on the first week of February.
Visitors taking the Hop On Hop Off bus will be charged RM1 on Feb 1.
Children, who visit Petrosains, Bird Park and Butterfly Park will only have to pay RM1.
There will also be a flat rate of RM20 for adults and children, who visit the KL Tower and a 30 per cent discount on Aquaria tickets.
Raja Nong Chik said those who pay their quit rent online will get a five per cent discount and there will be a 50 per cent reduction on the fine for late payment of quit rent.
Source : New Straits Times