Friday, October 30, 2009

Penang - Phuket

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Phuket Trip - Part 1. Getting There and Accommodation

Recently planned a trip to Phuket. First time into Thailand. Yes, the irony, we've been across the oceans but not to our northern neighbours. Well there's always a first time.

Bought the tickets in advance. Firefly was the choice. Or only choice. Initially when Firefly started off, they had a number of destinations from Penang, but alas, now down to only 5 destinations at time of writing, namely Phuket, Langkawi, Banda Acheh, Medan and Subang. You can quickly summarize that the Penang - Subang route is the highest demand route, just by looking at the frequency of flights, 7 flights daily! (at time of this entry). I did a Marketing Study on Firefly last year, and now finally I'm flying on Firefly!

No shocker, as many people I've talked to specifically staying in KL areas, PJ, Subang, find flying in and out from Subang a better option then going all the way to KLIA.

Back to our Phuket trip. Ironic. Overall the flight was good. It took off early, so we arrived early, but alas our pickup was late. Yes we arranged for pickup instead of taking a taxi as my next day Phi2 Island tour was arranged with the same company, so I wanted to meet them.

For your transportation options from Airport to Hotel the check out the TripAdvisor discussion forum. There are many helpful tips and hints. Also check out Phuket : Taxis and Rental Car.

For hotels, there is always a balance between preference and budget. Some friends stayed on some of the islands of Phuket, the benefit is you're probably closer to the smaller islands, get there first in the mornings, the negatives is definitely it'll cost more.

We chose to stay at the Aspery Hotel. We chose Aspery hotel based on comments by travellers at TripAdvisor. It is highly recommended with a popularity index of 13 out of 149 hotels in Phuket. I used the 'check rates' options from Trip Advisor and found that www.booking.com offered the best price relatively. I even went the extra step to email the hotel and ask them their rates and they suggested to use booking.com for best negotiated rates. We paid around RM100 per night for off-peak rates. Anyway try a couple of online sites and compare.

Aspery hotel was around 7 minutes walk from the Patong Beach, once u step out of the hotel you can see the sea. Opposite it is Andaman club.
The frontier was clean and welcoming. Staff were friendly especially once you get to know them. They've got around 6-8 PCs with flat screen offering complementary internet. The rooms were cosy, roomy, and nicely designed. The bed was hard and pillows too soft for my personal preference. They had the standard amenities, lent beach towels at the counter, had a fridge, no iron though. The kitchen staff were very helpful and offered to heat up our food.

During our stay the construction was on-going at the neighbouring building, so you will need to note that, and try to request for rooms away from the construction site.

Get the detail address of any hotel you plan to stay at and try to get close-by landmarks in case the driver doesn't know where is the hotel. It takes around 45mins during normal hours from Airport to Patong beach I'd say.

You can also opt to say at the other beaches, Karon, Katong etc.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Harvard Business School to study 'Najibnomics'

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An interesting article on New Straits Times (NST), Harvard Business School to study 'Najibnomics' .



Among mentioned in the Najib Economics study:





  • The Harvard Business School in Boston will undertake a case study, highlighting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's courageous and bold initiatives to tackle financial crisis.

  • The previous case study on Malaysia published in April 2002, entitled "Malaysia — Capital and Control” written by Rawi Abdelai and Laura Alfaro, has been one of Harvard’s most successful case studies.




The study by Rawi Abdelai and Laura Alfaro is very interesting and consists of critical observations. I found it useful in my previous write-up Malaysian Banks and the Current Meltdown.

I wrote it early 2009 for my class submission coinciding with the meltdown hitting Malaysia. I too will be looking forward to the new publication and see how my own write up tallies with it.



If you are looking for other journals and reference on the 1997 Financial Crisis that hit Malaysia and other South East Asian Countries, you scroll down to the last portion of Malaysian Banks and the Current Meltdown & can read the write up and read through the Referencing Section at the bottom.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Energizer Battery Leak

1 comments
Updated :
On around 4th June 2009 I had passed the leaked batteries to Energizer for evaluation and requested an update on the issue, besides getting replacement batteries. For the time being, pending the investigations, I volunteered to remove this posting, however as till now, 13 Sept 2009, I have no received a reply, therefore I am reposting this entry.
Energizer AAA Alkaline Battery Leak!

Yes, believe it or not, the Energizer AAA Alkaline Battery I bought leaked even before I un-packed them. I bought the batteries early 2009 I believe, and when I took them out of my drawer, still packed in the standard Energizer packing, my was I surprised. It had leaked real bad. Once I took it out from my drawer, the leak was apparent. You can see in the below photo that some of the batteries leaked, up to the extent of the plastic packaging itself shows the 'rust' like contamination. Are this leaks dangerous?


This actually happened to me in March 2009, but never got around to blogging or complaining about it. And how do I remember it happened in March 2009? Well easy, just look at your pictures, RClick, Summary Tab, then click Advanced>>. Or just hover your mouse over the photo in your PC and it should show you.

Anyway, the expiry date (Use By) shows 2011 as you can see above. So it is 2009 now, so it has gone 'bad' TWO years before its expiry date. It is interesting to note, that not all out of the 4 pieces leaked. And yes, I being Malaysian salvaged the one good battery and used it. Threw away the rest.





Here's a close-up of the leak. Actually when I physically looked at the batteries, I never took the effort to closely 'inspect' the leak. Looks like some rusty coloured liquid surrounded by snow leaking out, doesn't it?


Here's a picture of the back cover. Looks ugly doesn't it. Well so much for the energizer power guy that's on the packing. Looks like it's leaked out of power.



So now what? Well, learn from experience. Here's what experience (and advice from learned friends) has thought me. Sometimes the not so famous brands are actually better and longer lasting. They might sometimes come with a premium though.


If given a choice, for normal Alkaline Batteries, I'd go for Toshiba. And for re-chargeable batteries, I'd go for Sanyo Enelope. Yes, a not so famous brand in Malaysia. I believe the brand itself is actually famous, it's just that they don't market it here. You can buy if from Singapore, Mustafa and other electronic stores.


Referring to my other blog, http://everythingalsocan.blogspot.com/2008/12/mustafa-24-hour-shopping-in-singapore.html, I bought the Enelope re-chargeable batteries somewhere in November or December 2008. Charged them once (or didn' t charge them at all, can't remember as they come pre-charged), and now May 2009, my Phillips Electric Razor is still working. Yes with one charge only till date. To be fair, I am not a heavy user, but could say use it 4 times per month. But the fact that the charge in it is still there, is surprising for a re-chargeable batteries. Yes Sanyo claims the charge holds up to 1 year I believe!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Charcoal Dehumidifier

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Arang Charcoal Dehumidifier

I've written quick a bit previously on humidity, de-humidity, relative to Malaysian weather, among others at Wood Fungus, Mould, Kulat Kayu and Fungus Mold.

We're all quite familiar with brands like Thirsty Hyppo or Tesco's alternative version. So today I was reading the TheStar and Guardian had a full page advertisement on Charcoal Dehumidifiers. Yes, Charcoal, aka Arang. Interesting isn't it.



Guardian Charcoal De-humidifier

Isn't Charcoal prescribed for food poisoning as well? So I tried google'ing it and there seems to be many Charcoal products available. Yes and you'd have probably noticed some water and air filtration systems also employ Charcoal.

So googling led me to this CNN article. The article states that charcoal has a vast array of cavities creating a huge surface area, i.e. Luas Permukaan.

So well it's sounds like a worth try. Baking soda, now charcoal. Cool!

Enjoy dehumidifying.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Flyover to Jln Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim - accident trap and queue cutting

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Coming from the Gelugor Round-About thru Green Lane, there is a 1 lane flyover going to Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim. This ramp is pretty tricky and also some times vehicles try to swerve into the middle lane last minute to continue on GreenLane. That's why if you notice, the middle lane usually jams up here, and in this case the left lane is now usually the faster lane during peak hours.

So what do we do about this type of concerns. Or maybe other ideas and feedback we have, be it adding a left turn signal option since there is a separate left turn (e.g. the road turning into Tmn Tun Sardon/Brown Garden from Gelugor)?

Well for Penangites, you have the option of submitted a feedback, complain and / or suggestion thru penang gov's website, http://epintas.penang.gov.my/.

E-Pintas is Penang Complaints and Information System. Syabas to Penang.

For the Jln Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim, below is my f/back to the website as below

Maklumat Aduan
Tarikh Aduan : 15-06-2009
No Aduan : 0906-3596
Perkara : Flyover to Jln Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim - accident trap and queue cuttingAduan : From the Gelugor round-about thru Green Lane, the most right lane ramps to the \'overpass\'. And the other two lanes (middle and most left) continue towards Masjid Negeri. The problem is alot of motorist from the most right lane, last minute after passing the last traffic light before the overpass/flyover, try to cut lane into the middle lane to go towards Masjid Negeri instead of using the overpass. This creates a very accident prone area, and queue cutting. I\'d suggest, put up a \'Pastikan Lorong Anda\' Signboard indicating the right lane goes up to the ramp, and the other 2 lanes head straight. Also make it a double line once you cross the last traffic light before the ramp to Jln Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim overpass to avoid queue cutting. The area I\'m referring to is http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=penang+green+lane&ie=UTF8&ll=5.392702,100.303717&spn=0.013373,0.022659&t=h&z=16


Maklumat Tindakan
Dimaklumkan garisan berkembar untuk melarang kenderaan memotong, lorong dan tanda anah panah di muka jalan akan dibuat pada malam 29.06.2009. Sekian, terima kasih Bahagian Perhubungan Awam Jabatan Khidmat Pengurusan Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What to do in a car accident

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I've always asked myself, "What to do in a car accident?"


Here's some info, catered more towards smaller accidents.


First of all, don't panic. Second remain calm. Accidents are something we try to avoid, it could be dangerous, takes up a lot of time and requires a lot of running around. So why do we still drive like hooligans or Formula 1 drivers? I don't know...


I think if it is not a bad accident, i.e. no major damage, it would probably be best to move your car carefully away from the main road and to the road shoulder. Indicate to the other party also to do the same. Try to memorize the other person's license plate number, just in case they decide to drive away, even jot it down on a paper. Having a paper and pen in your car is a good practice.


Carefully alight from your car. So now it would come to 2 possible solutions. First is settlement, i.e. the person responsible for knocking to settle based on an estimate for knocking, repairs and paint. If you do agree for a settlement it would be best if you know a car workshop and get a quotation based on the accident, usually the panel workshops of insurance charge rather high. (even higher if they claim from the insurance, even up to 2x??). Remember though if you decide to claim insurance, you'll need to make a police report in 24 hours.


So for the person who's 'guilty' , usually the one who knocks from the back, probably would need to consider a couple of things before deciding going for settlement. I guess if the accident is severe, probably best to claim insurance. However if it is minor, maybe consider the 'cost' of claiming insurance.
1. Police compound, which is RM300 or RM350 I think.
2. Lost of NCD / NCB, i.e No Claim Bonus. So if your insurance policy is more then a few years, once you claim insurance you'll loose this 'rebate' upon your next renewal.
3. Whether your own car's insurance is comprehensive or just third party. If your own car is badly damaged and you have comprehensive, then it's probably best to claim insurance as otherwise you'll need to pay the person you knocked, and also for your own car - that's a Double Whammy.
4. Time running around.


So if you decide to claim insurance, first you'll have to make a police report. Even if you're the guilty party, I think it's better to make a report, not sure if the fine is more or not if you don't. For Georgetown area, the Police Office to make a report is the Patani Road police station. Yes this is another good question, how do you know, which police station to report to for car accidents, as they go by district. Even more if you're traveling outstation.
--> Anyone got a complete list of which stations cover which areas?




At the police station (Balai) to to the trafik / traffic police counter, they will give you a form (report) to fill up. An example of the report is usually posted on a wall. This does make reporting easier and more user friendly. Once you've filled up the report, go back to the counter, and they will assign a queue number. Once your turn is called, they'll set up they PC (computer) to file your report. If you're familiar with the keyboard they'll let you type it out, otherwise just tell them don't know how to use computer if you don't know. Once done, you'll be assigned an investigating officer. Wait your turn and meet the police officer. Another point to remember is to always have your car grant (geran kereta) and insurance cover letter and a copy of it at least since you'll need it in this situation and maybe during road-block inspections? The officer will record your statement and ask you to confirm it again. Then the officer will ask you (or accompany you) to your car with a police officer with a camera to take a picture of the damage.


And you're done for now. You'll be given a receipt and if it's during office hours you can purchase the report. Otherwise you'll have to come back next time. Anyway you'll have to come back to get a copy of the investigation result report (keputusan siasatan) for you insurance claim. In your receipt usually it'll have the investigating officer's name, if not, ask or write it down as it'll be easier to follow up for the 'keputusan siasatan'.


Ok now for getting your car fixed (based on someone knocking you) . Not sure what's the difference if you're on the other side. The car knock company will usually ask you to provide copies of your driver's license, IC, car grant (geran kereta), 2x copies of police report of the each car involved in the accident (i.e. the knocker and the knockee :) ), 2x copies of the investigation report, insurance cover note. If someone else was driving your car, then the persons Identity Card and Driver's license.


It seems insurance companies usually charge 'excess' for
1. New drivers, usually below 2 years experience (P drivers I guess) So if you have 'graduated' to full, it's best to keep a copy of your P license to prove your number of years driving.
2.Not named driver. So if the person is not named in your insurace policy, there would be excess as well I believe.
3. Also most insurance company have a policy like for claims, you will have to pay e.g. first RM200 of the claim. For my Takaful Malaysia, since I took the additional wind-screen coverage, they do not apply this excess to me.


So for the person knocked (non guilty party) according to the workshop, if you meet any of the above criteria, you will have to pay first and them claim back from the third part (knocker) insurance party.


For your geran, if your car is still under hire purchase, you probably would not have the latest copy. So you'll have to call the hirer purchase company and request them to fax it to you (or your claim workshop) however they usually required a written authorization from you, which you could send by fax.


Few things to note, it is best to negotiate and clarify your expectations with the workshop BEFORE you commit to give them the car for claims. ( I guess this depends also how bad your car is hit, i.e whether you can drive away or have to leave your car at the workshop I guess, or negotiate before authorizing the tow??). Among items
1. If a replacement / temporary car is provided. Any charges ?
2. How many days you need to leave your car. Better try to talk to both the person in charge 'outside' and the 'clerk' in charge in-side.
3. Whether you need to pay any charges?
4. Whether you need to leave the car for the adjuster to come over. It seems for minor claims, they can just snap photos and submit online. Not bad!


Also if you are the 'knockee' (yg kena langgar), you can claim 'Lost of Use', which the workshop told me is RM30 per day, i.e for your taxi charges etc. Don't know if this covers weekends. Best to keep all your receipts until you get the payment. Not sure if you are the knocker (yg melanggar) you can still claim or not.


So as precaution, here's a summary
1. Keep a pen and paper around in the car.
2. Keep a copy of your geran (Car Registration / Pendaftaran Kereta, i.e.the JPJ geran) and cover note (or the original I guess)
3. Keep a copy of authorized workshops that your insuran has published (usually available from their websites). I'm not sure what's the difference or additional difference if you go thru a non-panel, or even if you're allowed to do it. For Takaful Malaysia, they even have a 1800 number you can call during emergencies for support and towing, Takaful Malaysia's 1800 is 1800-888-788. Seems like a 'lucky number.
5. Don't Panic
6. Call someone if you're worried.
7. Be aware of where to make your police report.


And most importantly, DRIVE SAFELY. I remember what my cousin Samir says, BETTER LATE then MR LATE!.


Ok take care. This is just my understanding of the procedure, might have someerrors.


p.s I know knockee and knocker probably aren't correct English, but it gets the message thru. And well if Google can become a work, why not knockee and knocker. But maybe for another meaning?? See, here BM would be nicer, Si Pelanggar and Si Kena Langgar. haha.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Giant Bayan Baru - Resolved

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Syabas to Giant.

On February 2009, I had blogged about a potential accident trap at the entrance/exit of Giant Bayan Baru. I had also sent a copy to Giant thru email of the concerns hilited on the blog. Giant has since then, replied to me and taken corrective action.

In this entry, I would like to extend my congratulations to Giant for being very responsive, looking into the matter seriously and coming to a resolution. I had actually updated my February 2009 entry to include that the matter has been resolved. However I think it's best to share with you how the issue has been resolved.

Basically when you entered or exist Giant for one of the entrance, there were a lot of cars and bikes parked very close to the should of the road. So it creates a very tight area to manoeuvre between cars parked, entering and exiting. As well as creating some blind spots.

Based on below pictures I recently took, you can see that Giant has placed barriers to discourage people from parking dangerously.

So basically they have cordoned off the shoulders of the road by the entrance. Avoiding the possible chocking of that area during peak times.

Finally, SYABAS to Giant Hypermarket for a superb Customer Relations Management (CRM) and also taking their customers seriously.

ps- If you like to shop at Giant, you might want to consider the Giant Citibank Credit Card. You can find me review by clicking here.


Monday, May 25, 2009

English to Malay Translations

2 comments
Malay Language

I recently read an article in the Newspaper, you can read the online version by clicking here. The Firefox Mozilla people were saying that they were hoping more Malaysians put in the effort to help out the effort to translate Firefox to Malay (Bahasa Melayu / Bahasa Malaysia) however response to help out in this effort was luke warm. If I remember correctly efforts for translations into Thai, Indonesian etc have already been completed for some time now. He urged Malaysians to contribute.

Yes, so true, if you go to Firefox's website and choose Other Systems/Languages, you can browse through the many languages it is available in. In the article someone argued that possibly one of the reasons why there isn't any huge concerted effort to translate it is because most Malaysians are well versed in English (or other available languages for that matter) so they can easily manage without a localized version. And I quite agreed. But what the Firefox guy answered moved me. Yes, possibly most Malaysians who are on the net, know English pretty well and can manage easily. But the purpose of having a local Malay Language Version is for the Malaysians that are not yet online, and probably one of the factors stopping these Malaysians to go online is (besides other factors like not having internet access apparently) is that they just don't know how, find the English version difficult and so. And regardless, why not right? If you go thru the list of already available languages, it'll be nice to have a local one.


Here's the excerpt



"Additionally, feedback that he received also suggested that most Malaysians do not think there is a need for a localised Firefox since they understand the English language well.


However Kanai begged to differ.


According to him, what these English-proficient users fail to see is that there are plenty of other people who are not yet part of the Internet community because they do not understand the language used in the browser.


With this initiative, Mozilla aims to overcome the language barrier which is a key obstacle in bridging the digital-divide, he said."




Imagine this - Mozilla Musang Berapi. (Fire-Fox). Just joking on that one. Hmm, is Musang Fox or is it Serigala or Keluang (what's Keluang?). Or Rubah? Yes now this brings me to another point. The lack of online English to Malay (vice versa) dictionary or translation tools.

Surf you favourite translation website, say Google Translator , and nope, the pull-down for language does not have Malay.

Google the word Kamus, and the top results are all Kamus Indonesia. So how? What I wanted to share in this post, is the interesting answer. There is a very nice person who has taken the effort to make available a simple Malay - English Dictionary online through Scribd. However it states not to hotlink the url. So I won't put the link here. But you could easily go to http://www.scribd.com/ and search for Malay Dictionary.

And yes, Dewan Bahasa Pustaka (DBP) has made available a pretty decent dictionary. I just discovered this. I was going to suggest they should but yes, they've already done it!.

Go to http://prpm.dbp.gov.my/and the just type in a word you want to translate, make sure you have PRPM (Pusat Rujukan Persuratan Melayu) selected and tadaa!. Interestingly it works both ways.

Note- you need to select which tab you want to display, e.g. Kamus BM, Kamus BI by clicking on it. The results are pretty good!

Last question. So why didn't I myself blog this in Malay Language? Don't get angry, but I found it difficult to blog in Bahasa Baku (i.e. Proper Malay Language, by the book). I actually started a Malay Language Blog but well, see for yourself, by clicking here. Seldom updated. Honestly Malay is a very easy language to pick-up. Just see all the foreigners and how quickly they've picked it up. Spoken Malay usually is 'simpler' then written unless you use Bahasa Pasar (market Language) to write as well!

Well. Ikutlah....:)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rebate on Insurance

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Reading the Star today, at http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/18/nation/3924369&sec=nation it hilites positive news where consumers get rebates for the motor insurance. Excerpt from there

"Come July 1, car owners who buy motor insurance directly from insurance companies without using the services of an agent will qualify for mandatory rebates, a move that could render agents redundant.

The move would see new customers being given a 5% rebate on their insurance if they buy it via channels such as the Internet, telemarketing, direct mailing or by walking into the insurance company. These customers would also get a 10% rebate for renewals in the second year."


Interesting, and good news for the general public. Maybe not for the agents though.

Anyway, just a point to ponder, I blogged about Takaful Malaysia some time back, and I have been using them for my motor insurance for years plus. I have been enjoying mudharabah sharings of 10% & above on my premiums at the end of each renewal. They send it by cheque.

Definitely a welcome to the other insurance players. Mmm, our bike insurance with Kurnia expires end of June. What timing! Should I wait till July to renew?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Aerogramme

0 comments
Here's one more quick money saving tip. The Aerogramme

To those who still remember and use the postal mail, that has existed long before the email, here's a good tip for you. Why still use postal mail? Coz somehow it still exudes more of a personal feel rather then getting an email.

Did you know you can save at least 40% and above when you use an aerogramme for overseas letters. I guess some of you answered yes, and some no. When I went to purchase aerogrammes from the post office, the officer was rather surprised yet delighted. Why? He told me that sadly not many people know about the aerogramme and its benefits.

Typically you send a letter outside the country, it is considered as an internation Air Mail. (Par Avion sounds familar?)

International postal rates here in Malaysia are broken mainly into 5 Zones, e.g. ASEAN countries are referred to as Zone A and have the lowest rates. So if you go to the Post Malaysia website or office, you should be able to navigate your way thru to the postal rates.

So say for example to send anything below 20grams to Zone A (e.g. Singapore), it would cost you a flat rate of RM0.90. And to send the same thing to USA say, it would cost you RM1.80.

Now mostly, the letter we're sending is an envelope with a couple of sheets of paper with letters in it (pun intended). So here's where the aerogramme comes in, purchasing an aerogramme at the post office which only cost RM0.50, you get a fold-able sheet which has ample writing space and the 'stamp' pre-printed on it.

So basically looking at the above picture, you have the whole side of a page and 1/3 of the front page to write on. Becareful not to write too much on the edges. Once you're done, just fold the aerogramme per the fold lines, glue it and post it. Yes all that just for RM0.50.

Writing this entry, I've come to realize for the minimum weight, say you send a letter of 5grams, it is CHEAPER by Air Mail compared to Land / Sea Mail. But once you go heavier for parcels,Sea Mail is definitely cheaper.

p.s - Did you know that the stamps you purchase at the post office is self-adhesived, ie just apply water to it and it'll be sticky and you can just press it against the envelope and you're done. Look, no glue!.




Friday, May 1, 2009

Best Call Rates from Malaysia to India & Bangladesh

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The Best Call Back Rate to India & Bangladesh

Believe it or not, there is now a super value call back card for Malaysians, to call countries like India, Bangladesh, and even Nigeria. It is called Accha.
Achha in Hindi basically means good or ok. And this card seems to have a very good descriptive name of itself, as it is a good value for money.

(If you already know about the card, & would like to purchase it, just leave a comment with your contacts, fill up the form below otherwise keep-on reading or call/sms 017-5952524.)


As I have blogged before, we typically use iTALK to make calls locally from our house phone to mobile and national numbers in Malaysia. The rate is also pretty good for places like UK. However to call countries like India and Bangladesh, iTALK doesn't really offer the best deal. To read more about iTALK and maximising your savings, click here.

This is where Haja Call comes in, and offers great value for money, mainly calling to Indo-Pak (Bangladesh inclusive). If you're calling from your house phone, Haja Call is definitely the best value for money. You can read more on Haja Call by clicking here.

But as life has it, we're always on the go, we're in a rush, and need to make calls to family and friends while on the go, i.e. the advent of the mobile phone. Furthermore, there are many people especially foreign workers who wouldn't have access to a landline phone, and therefore need a call-back to their mobile phones to make a call (coz everyone knows making overseas calls direct from your mobile is just way too costly in most situations). And here is where Accha comes in.

The recently launched Accha - strictly a call back card. We've been using Achaa call back for a couple of times now. Call quality was good, it felt like calling from a home line to a home line. Didn't give a VOIP feel. It was pretty impressive for a call-back card.

What you need to do is just miss call (so you shouldn't be charged) and wait. Now the system calls-you-back, (i.e. where the term call-back comes from). Interestingly for my case, the call back number that shows on my mobile is my own number? Not sure how that works :)


Ok so for the first time you'll need to key-in your pin number which you can purchase by filling up the below form. Next it'll ask you to make a call. For future calls, just miss-call the call-back number and it'll recognize your number, so you can then call the number you want to call by just pressing the number on your mobile, followed by # of course.

Remember DO NOT press the Call/Send button on your mobile, otherwise you'll be actually calling the number using your mobile and not the call-back.

Another good thing about the call-back is you can top up your current account easily if and when you buy additional call back card.

The talk time of 48 true minutes to India for RM10 for a call back felt really worth it. They've now also changed the call back number to a 1800 number, which is more convenient and should offer a better call back sucess rate.

Basically Accha offers call-back to most of the countries around the world. Here's a comparison table between Accha Call-Back and iTALK. This rates should be true on date of this blog posts unless the reference I am using are outdated. iTALK rates sourced from http://www.i-talk.com.my/ and Acchaa rates sourced directly from the Accha people.


I have been selective in the below table, so as to indicate where you'd get the best call-back value using Accha.

Click table to enlarge for a clearer view

To read the table, if you want to know how many call-back minutes does Accha give you for your RM10 call-back card, refer to column B. Column D gives you how much it cost per minute. So then looking at column E & F, you can now directly compare how much cheaper it is relative to iTALK. Easily put, what you're looking for is the lowest number (i.e. how much does it cost per minute) when comparing column D,E & F.

For comparison sake, e.g for calling India, using Acchaa for every minute you call to India, you'd be paying RM0.208 compared to using iTalk you'd be paying RM0.50 for every minute to India.

In another perspective, for RM10, using Accha you get to call India for 48minutes, and for the same RM10 on i-Talk, you get only 20minutes. So you're getting more then double your value when using Accha.

Basically you can see that Accha offers a very good call-back rate, namely for the following countries India,Bangladesh,Greece - Athens,Hong Kong, Ireland,Sweden,Thailand,Australia,Austria,New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria,Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates

Summary : Till date this is the best available call back card to India, Bangladesh and a number of other countries. In a few words, Accha Call-Back bahot Achaa hei. (Accha is really good).

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ps - If you call India often, you might want to consider planning a visit there as well, it is an amazing experience. For some info about India click here, or click here for a guide on travel options.

Monday, April 27, 2009

National Taekwando Championships 2009

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The 22nd Traditional Taekwon-Do Championship (Open) 2009

It's the time of the year again. National GTF Taekwando Championships.

As last year, the LMTC gave us the opportunity to be the team managers working with the LMTC instructor May Li to the championships, to be held in the Summit Plaza, Subang.
So on the 3rd of Aprill 2009, my dearest co-manager and I gathered at teacher's house in Tanjung Tokong. Both of us were excited. Last year was a nice and refreshing trip for us. The responsibility was huge, but the satisfaction was worth it. We arrived there around midnite. It was definitely refreshing to meet up with the team members and friends. They're all friendly and helpful.

1.30am the bus arrives. We put our stuff into the bus and board, all ready for the trip. A total of 31 of us. Quite a number of black belts this year.

I get a buddy as well to sit next too. She's great company I would say. Nice and relaxing to talk and chill with.

Both of us haven't had the chance to practice and grade up since have been busy with other stuff on the weekends. Sad.

We stop at Bukit Merah R&R. We use the word so often, R&R, but do we really know what it means? I think it's Rest and Recuperate. And look at the beauty of this acronym, in Malay, R&R also brings the same meaning! Yes, believe it or not. Rehat dan Rawat. Amazing.

Initially no one gets down. But the bus was really cold. And I mean really cold. So alot of people get down, and some go buy some hot drinks to dring along the ride.

I request the bus driver and co-driver to reduce the aircond. Now, how do I tell someone it's too cold. Should I say, can you lower the aircond? or Can you increase the aircond? Yes I could just say, can you increase the temperature of the aircond, but what if he thinks I'm saying increase the aircond. So finally what do I say? Pakcik, sejuklah! (Uncle, it's too cold here) Ha-ha.

He says ok "I'll make it less cold". He even shuts off the engine and aircond while waiting, so it doesn't get too cold. Allright. Now I'm going to enjoy the trip, and hopefully fall asleep. Usually I dooze off easily.

Now everyone's on the bus, and the pakcik starts off and drives, turns on the aircond. Guess what. Less cold seemed to be like just less by 0.5'C. Everyone's still shivering. I go to the uncle again and tell him it's still too cold. He says that he can't reduce the aircond (increase the temp) cause it'll make the engine stop. Now this I don't get. How can reducing the aircond do anything bad for the aircond? I'm confused to say the least. To be fair, I'm no mechanic and haven't driven a bus, but when I drive my car, I thought the cooler the temp, the more petrol it uses. In fact, if you turn OFF your air-cond, the pickup is better, i.e LESS strain on the engine? --->Anyone any idea??

Anyway, we reach Summit Hotel around 7.30am. The to the hotel and ask if we can check in early. Standard reply - sorry we're full and need to wait until people check out. Check-in time is 2pm...

So we head to the rest room to freshen up and then walk to Summit Plaza. This year the competition is held on the Ground Floor. Nice.

We're participating in a number of events from Individual Coloured Belts Pattern, Sparring to Black Belt Sparing and Patterns. (Coloured Belts just means which all belts except Black)...Now that I'm writing about Coloured belts. I guess it's scientifically true if I remember correctly. As Black is actually not a colour, but the absence of one. If when light shines on it, it absorbs all the light and does not reflect any color, so its black. Yellow belt color would reflect yellow color right?
Here's some of the pictures.
Warm up and practice before the tournament. We arrived early and had some time for practice.


















Free Sparring



It's interesting to note this year, even for the coloured belts, no body protector was allowed. Only head gear, and the gloves for hands and legs. Last year, head gear, body protector and no gloves. This year looks more 'aggressive' to say the least. Yes, it's pretty hard to do chopping kicks when you're wearing a body protector.



Round 1. Actually there's only 1 round here. 1 minute.




Most people like to jump and move around. Does it really keep you alert or just tire you? Guess depends on your fitness.

One of our team members getting his medal. (Most right)










The younger participants category lacks no action. They're usually more eager and all out sometimes. What's important is to be vigil, well prepared and wear proper protection.




A very interesting fight. Both were strong competitors and made the match a good watch.




Returning kicks. You usually want to be careful not to slam shins with each other unless you've been practicing some moi-tai or wearing a shin-guard.




Some like to keep their foot raised, to reach quickly when the opponent nears.






Whoops, a kick to the back. Actually that's not allowed and could lead to penalty points.




Here's an incoming back-kick.







Here comes a slapping kick, ready or not. Remember in Taekwando it is always wise to keep your hands up. But sometimes that leaves your stomach vulnerable.




You see the kid in blue is launching a kick, but has left himself open.






Somehow the kicks seem predictable looking at this snap shots, but when you're in the ring, nothing is slow motion. A blink and you might have a whopping headed your way.




Incoming flight. Look carefully, both feet are in the air. Watch out, he's kick might just land on you.




As you can see, most have different starting stance as well. But basically one arm protects the ribs and the other the head.




Wow, that's a pretty high chopping kick.




Ouch, that might have hurt.






Here's the referee breaking them up, either due to a fault or time-over.






Here's the individual pattern. It is also interesting to see besides the free sparring. The art, breathing, chi, and also how perfect the kicks and punches are among the things to look out for.







Closest to the camera is our contestant. He has a real fine pattern mastery and superb kicks and form.



A well done Red Belt Pattern by our contigent member.











Another of our proponents in the individual pattern.







Here as well. Our team did take part in a number of the sparring and patterns. Below is the red belt pattern.




The beginning of the pattern among blue belts.






Want more, here's a video snippet of the pattern.


















One for the team.







The official opening ceremony. Interestingly the 'opening' is done halfway through the tournament.










Saturday's event ends around 8.30pm. Some of the black belts are still waiting for their turns. We decide that the rest should go have dinner before the stalls / restaurants close. Most of the teenagers go along with their friends for dinner. We took some of the younger ones with us. Had dinner at some restaurant names Mandy's or something. Was on average.










We head back to the hotel. I'm ready to have a nice hot dip in the bath tub, to relax and relief all the sore muscles, especially my leg and back muscles. Nope, I didn't spare, but I was running around...And guess what, the bathroom was not vacant. One of the kids, or now was it 2 of them together, were enjoying themselves in the tub for some time. Even brushing their teeth in while soaking in the tub...:p










Anyway, I finally get to bath and my wasn't it relaxing and soothing. Yes a hot dip in hot tub really works for the aching muscles.






I request for some additional pillows and covers so we can spread them on the floor. I let the kids sleep on the bed and I bunker on the sheets. Finally the 3 kids are asleep. Suddenly a mobile phone rings. One of the other kid picks it up and says it the other kid's mother calling. I tell him to tell the Aunty that her son is asleep. But she still insists to talk to him. OK, might be an emergency I think. We shale and shake the kid till he wakes up, and talks to his mum. He hangs up and I ask him what happened? He says his mum wanted to ask him whether he's asleep or not yet..HAHAA.






Sunday - kids in my room wake up a little later as their events were done yesterday. Today is for the open category and black belts mainly. And guess what, yup, the kids are hogging the bath tub again. Ok, let's wait again.




Teacher sends the other kids to my room as well to take care of. Wow, I've got a handful of kids now running wild in the room.




After everone's ready we head to the ring to support our team members.




This friend got a walk over victory.






Here's a time-keeper which might look familar.

Sometimes we try our best to take photos of the action but it is hard. However this fluke here sure gives real feel of what's happening in the ring.




I'm hungry for lunch. So is my dear. I decide to try something interesting in one of the stalls. Crispy Double Cheese & Onion. Wow, it was really nice. Just the crispy part and with the fillings. My co-manager loved it as well! A must try. Same floor as McD in Summit, opposite it and Mr Teppanyaki.




It's now 1pm, and we need to check out. The hotel is calling. I talk to the hotel personel and request late check out for some of the rooms and check out the rest.



The bus is here. Those that are done with their events gather and head towards Sunway Pyramid. We reach Pyramid at around 2.45pm and walk around in our own groups, with each group having at least one responsible person.








4.45pm, we gather at Sunway Pyramid's exit and board the bus and head towards Summit to pick up teacher and the remaining team members.
5.20pm, we leave for Penang. Teacher suggest we stop at one of the R&R that sells fruits. I say, ok, Sg Perak it is, and request the bus driver to do so. This time we're more prepared. We have hot soup and hot tea.




Also Sungai Perak R&R is a great place to get fruits, including Buah Salak. Fresh Buah Salak. Yes, you can get alot of Jeruk Salak from Penang but not fresh ones.





And around 11pm we reach home safely. Thank you God for the safe trip and journey.



Anyway, if you want to know more about Taekwando, Learning Teakwando and contacting LMTC for classes, you can read about it by clicking here.












Monday, April 13, 2009

FIREFLY - MARKETING ANALYSIS, DISCUSSION & RECOMMENDATIONS

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Hi folks,
Below is the essay I wrote for my Marketing Management Individual Assignment. I submitted it on the 4th of January 2009, so whatever data and reference, as well as info would be based on info I got till end of 2008.

FIREFLY

MARKETING ANALYSIS, DISCUSSION & RECOMMENDATIONS

TABLE OF CONTENTS :
Executive Summary
1. Introduction
1.1. Aim of Report
1.2. Overview of Low Cost Carriers (LCC)
2. Market Analysis
3. Current Product Analysis
4. Competitive Situation
5. Marketing Strategy – A comparison
6. Pricing Comparison with Air Asia
6.1. Perceptual Mapping of Comfort and Pricing
7. Analysis of External Factors
7.1. Political
7.2. Economic Trend:
7.2.1. Overall Decline in Air Traffic
7.2.2. Fluctuation of Fuel Prices
7.3. Socio Cultural
7.4. Technological Considerations
7.5. Legal factors
8. SWOT Analysis
8.1. Strengths
8.2. Weakness
8.3. Opportunities
8.4. Threats
9. Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis
10. Recommendation

TABLES
Table 1: A Comparison between Firefly & AirAsia’s Marketing Strategy
Table 2: Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis


FIGURES
Figure 1 : Passengers Carried by AirAsia (2008 vs. 2007 for first 3 quarters).
Figure 2: Perception Mapping of Comfort verses Pricing for the Sector’s Low Cost Carriers
Figure 3: Traffic Update for Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Member Airlines
Figure 4: ASEAN Roadmap for Open Skies


Executive Summary
Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System (MAS) Berhad is going into its second year of operation. The commercial air passenger market is segmented into Full Service Carriers and Low Cost Carriers, with Firefly targeting the latter. Even with the overall drop in air travelers, low cost air travel is still growing in this region. Firefly has positioned itself as a Community Airline; offering reasonable low fares while ensuring passenger comfort and convenience.

On the external front, Firefly will continue to face stiff competition from AirAsia, the Low Cost Carrier market leader in this region. AirAsia has many strengths including a powerful brand presence, high efficiency and strong online services. Also, Firefly’s hub, the Subang Airport has poor public transport services, causing inconvenience to customers.

Besides facing external competition, Firefly will need to continue improving itself internally. The main areas identified are in marketing and sales of tickets especially through the internet, strengthening its brand awareness and also its on-time arrivals and departures.

It is recommended Firefly re-position itself to be a clear choice for customers, by further improving passenger comfort and making its pricing comparable to AirAsia. To realize this, combined with the expected operational cost savings with its fleet upgrade, it is recommended that Firefly make on-time flights a performance indicator for employees, consequently improving on-time flights, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In addition Firefly should provide shuttle services to it’s hub in Subang Airport, providing convenience to passengers while generating ancillary income. Subsequently, it needs to improve its brand awareness to users, locking in customer loyalty. In short, this will fuel Firefly’s market share growth while maintaining profitability.

Finally, Firefly will need to be flexible and anticipate new regulations especially the ASEAN open-skies implementation for future growth opportunities.


1. Introduction
1.1. Aim of Report
This report will discuss and analyze the current positioning and product offered by Firefly. The key objectives are to identify the current market situation as well as analyze and evaluate the competition. Finally make recommendations to Firefly on sustaining and growing its market segment.
1.2. Overview of Low Cost Carriers (LCC)
There exists no specific definition for LCCs, with many airlines declaring themselves as LCCs, but employ different working models. Piga & Filippi (2002) state that an LCC is an airline that offers low fares but eliminates all unnecessary services.
Firefly, Malaysia’s community airline was launched in April 2007. It is operated under Firefly Sdn Bhd (Firefly) and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian Airline System (MAS) Berhad.
Segmenting the commercial passenger carrier market into two major segments; Full-Service Carrier (FSC) and LCC; Firefly is placed in the LCC segment based on their service and price offering.

2. Market Analysis
‘AAPA (Association of Asia Pacific Airlines) intra-Asia Pacific passenger numbers rose 5.9% to 93.7 million in 2007, with all sub-regions registering positive growth’ (AAPA 2008b, p. 1). This indicates air travel in the Asia Pacific rim is gaining acceptance with the exception from 2nd half of year 2008 onwards due to the economical crisis.
The budget travelers segment has been growing steadily, even in 2008 which saw an overall drop in air passengers. Specifically in Malaysia and South East Asian (SEA) countries, budget air travel continues to gain popularity with Air Asia registering more than 20% customer growth Year 2008 over Year 2007 till date (AirAsia 2008a)
With the current economic situation, more travelers will look for the best value for money in travel, which translates to a boom for LCC.



Figure 1 : Passengers Carried by AirAsia (2008 vs. 2007 for first 3 quarters).
Source: AirAsia (2008a)

3. Current Product Analysis
Realizing the potential of LCC, Firefly was launched by MAS in 2007 (Leong 2007). This enables MAS to target a new segment with a suitable product model without diluting its own World Class Carrier brand. Previous attempts by MAS to fly unprofitable domestic routes with its larger planes and existing model made substantial losses (Gottfredson, Vestring & Maceda 2008).
Firefly is gaining acceptance and achieving good load factors, currently around 70% (Yen 2008). It operates on a low cost and short haul model. Firefly has made Penang and Subang it's hub (Yen 2008) and from Quarter 4 of 2008 provides connectivity to nine destinations from both hubs (Firefly 2008).

4. Competitive Situation
Most established carriers including Singapore Airlines and MAS are positioned towards targeting the FSC market segment.
The direct competition for Firefly is AirAsia; the pioneer LCC in this region. AirAsia has the world’s lowest unit cost of $0.023 per Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) (O'Connell & Williams 2005). This enables AirAsia to offer competitive prices combined with its strong brand presence.
AirAsia is a direct competition for two routes from Penang and six routes from Kuala Lumpur (KL). Although Air Asia flies to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) whilst Firefly flies to Subang, the airports can be considered to be in proximity and a competition for point-to-point passengers.
For the remaining Firefly routes, no direct competition exists and Firefly stands to fully benefit.


5. Marketing Strategy – A comparison
Table 1: A Comparison between Firefly & AirAsia’s Marketing StrategySource: Air Asia (2008b) and Firefly (2008)
Table 1 shows the marketing strategy applied by both carriers. Both have positioned themselves as LCC. AirAsia focuses on low fares with no frills and Firefly maintains a Community Airline tagline.

AirAsia’s free-seating with Xpress Boarding option, imposes on itself a negative perception, by inconveniencing passengers. Firefly’s allocated seating is a plus for travelers especially groups, with no rushing and queuing for preferred seats. Strengthening the Community Airline tag is Firefly’s higher baggage limit and no baggage check-in fees but again looses out on ancillary income. AirAsia goes with the No-Frills, has hidden cost, and is a turn off for international transit travelers who usually travel heavy and expect a higher baggage limit.
In short, Firefly is positioning itself using a differentiation strategy in customer convenience compared to the competition.

6. Pricing Comparison with Air Asia
With the pricing scheme of both airlines being dynamic, it is not possible to directly compare their pricing. Both airlines charge additional admin fees and airport tax.


A comparison of taking a return flight from Penang to Medan reveals; Firefly’s Admin Fee amounts to RM20 while AirAsia RM22.50. However AirAsia’s GoInsure Insurance Premium is RM18 for a return flight verses Firefly’s RM34.
AirAsia leads the market by being the first airline to remove fuel-surcharge, followed later on by Firefly on 18 Dec 08.

6.1. Perceptual Mapping of Comfort and Pricing
Based on the Skytrax forum, passenger experience on Firefly is commendable except for one issue; flight delays (Skytrax 2008).


Figure 2: Perception Mapping of Comfort verses Pricing for the Sector’s Low Cost Carriers

The perception would be AirAsia offers better bargains over an averaged period but sacrifices passenger comfort. By pricing comparably with AirAsia and increasing comfort, Firefly will be a clear choice for passengers.

7. Analysis of External Factors
Being in the passenger airline carrier business, Firefly is strongly impacted both positively and negatively in changes from external factors. Understanding and making the best of these external factors will assist Firefly to position and target its product better in these trying times and come out stronger.


7.1. Political
Government stability and decisions in destinations plied by Firefly impacts business. The Malaysian government policy to support and develop the Low Cost Travel sector (Bernama 2006) augurs well for Firefly.
Being a subsidiary of MAS which is under government influence, Firefly faces similar challenges where some state governments try to pressure the LCC to fly to non-lucrative states which either impact profits or relations. Recently the Perak state government has urged Firefly to do so (Star 2008b).

7.2. Economic Trend:
7.2.1. Overall Decline in Air Traffic


Figure 3: Traffic Update for Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) Member Airlines
Source: AAPA (2008a).

Figure 3 shows a significant decline in passengers by 9.8% for Nov 2008 compared to Nov 2007.

Mr. Herdman, AAPA Director-General commented the recent plunge in oil prices provides some relief, but market conditions are expected to remain extremely difficult moving into 2009, forcing airlines to adopt additional cost-saving measures, including capacity cutbacks and deferral of planned capital expenditures’ (AAPA 2008a).

7.2.2. Fluctuation of Fuel Prices
Fuel amounts to a significant percentage of the total operating cost and spikes can lead to significant losses. As world fuel prices fluctuate, costing for this variable is difficult. Many airlines including Firefly introduce fuel-surcharge on ticket prices when fuel prices rise. This method to a certain extent offloads the pressure of fuel fluctuations from airlines to end-users.

7.3. Socio Cultural
A growing budget conscious middle-class bodes well for Firefly's positioning.
More people plan their own tour trips, further enabling Firefly's Business to Customer (B2C) model.
The overall market in South East Asia is well spread and likely to frequent multiple destinations. Indeed with the Southeast Asian population becoming more educated, combined with easier and cheaper access within Asia, there should be a greater desire to travel to see the region either individually or with their families (Delfmann et al. 2005).

7.4. Technological Considerations
The standardization of Firefly’s fleet to the highly fuel efficient ATR72 airplanes not only leads to improvements in yield and revenue (Star 2008a), but also portrays a strong brand presence and an environmental friendly airline.
As Firefly’s service spreads across the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, specifically Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the technology used to conduct sales requires some specialized approaches.
With the internet penetration of 59% in Malaysia, 10.5% in Indonesia and 12.6% in Thailand (Miniwatts Marketing 2008), the distribution strategy through online sales and marketing is expected to be the major contributor for Malaysia, where-as for Indonesia and Thailand, sales offices within reach-able distance is necessary.

7.5. Legal factors
The liberalization of KL-Singapore air route in December 2008 and expected liberalization of ASEAN capital routes in 2009 will offer opportunities to Firefly.

Figure 4: ASEAN Roadmap for Open Skies
Source : Sidhu (2008)

Sidhu (2008) expects LCCs to be the big beneficiaries mainly because the FSC have had more access to these routes previously. With the above events and existing no-visa requirements between most ASEAN countries (Association of South-East Asian Nations 2006), cross-border travel is set to further grow.
Analyzing this, Firefly’s option of the ATR-72 aircraft fleet was wise as it is well placed for short haul flights between ASEAN countries. Also not being a jet aircraft, the ATR72 can easily land in smaller airports (Maye 2008) which is common for tourist spots and islands like Langkawi.



8. SWOT Analysis


8.1. Strengths
Being a subsidiary of MAS, Firefly’s start-up cost and learning curve in the industry is significantly reduced.
Firefly has introduced an innovative product with new routes tapping into new markets. It has landing rights and is the sole carrier from Penang to world famous tourist destinations including Koh Samui & Langkawi.
Exclusive access to the Subang Airport enables it to fully capture travellers opting for this route. The Subang Airport is closer to main commercial and residential hotspots including KL and Petaling Jaya compared to KLIA.

8.2. Weakness
Undoubtedly Firefly is new in the business, especially online sales. Even it’s parent company MAS was late to introduce its online booking engine only in January 2004 (O'Connell & Williams 2005) . It lacks the experience in this field compared to Air Asia. Already in 2003, Air Asia was voted as the most popular website for online shopping in a survey conducted by AC Nielsen Consultancy (AirAsia 2003)
Subang Airport as a hub has its drawbacks though. Exclusive access to Subang eliminates possibilities of other airline passengers using Firefly in Subang for connectivity or during stopovers.
The other limiting factor of the Subang Airport is the lack of a systematic public transport to and fro the airport, compared to the KLIA which boast the ERL (Express Rail Link), shuttle buses to town and taxies. Subang Airport relies solely on taxis.

8.3. Opportunities
Connell (2006) comments that medical tourism has been a success in Asia especially and has prompted global interest. Penang itself has 13 private hospitals (APHM 2008) which Firefly can work with on promoting medical tourism
Firefly has many spokes out of Penang to popular destinations (Firefly 2008). With international airlines plying Penang Airport, Firefly can capture stopover passengers seeking to visit popular destinations.

8.4. Threats
AirAsia is the main threat to Firefly. The on-going price war between budget airlines is expected to continue cutting into profits.
With the overall drop in Asia Pacific air-traffic expected to continue (AAPA 2008a), FSCs will consider joining in the fight for the budget travellers segment directly or by launching a subsidiary LCC.
There also exists threats of substitute products namely the train services, bus services and car travel especially for routes on the Peninsular of Malaysia, for example the KL-Penang route. Aeroline, a Business Class like Bus Service charges RM55 for a KL-Penang trip, and takes approximately 5 hours (AEROLINE 2008) compared to 1 hour by flying (Firefly 2008).

9. Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis
Based on the analysis and discussion done, it can be concluded into Porters 5 Forces on the level of each of the forces.


Table 2: Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis

In short, the LCC business is viable provided Firefly continuously improves itself and is flexible in this challenging market.

10. Recommendation
Firefly needs to improve on on-time flights, and de-market this negative perception. On-time flights will not only improve Firefly’s branding and perception, it saves significant amount of money due to inefficiency and downtime, and reduces airport charges. It is recommended that achieving on-time flights be made an index in employee performance, and have a monthly incentive tied to this performance indicator. On-time flight information can then be displayed on Firefly’s website, indicating Firefly’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
Firefly should provide a shuttle bus service to and from the Subang Airport, leading to ancillary income and boosting its Community Airline image.
Consequently, with improvement in efficiency and passenger comfort, Firefly can realize the proposed re-positioning of its product per Figure 2, thus improve its market share while maintaining profitability.
Achieving the above, awareness campaigns need to be conducted, informing the mass that Firefly offers value travel, while maintaining comfort. Once a brand reputation of low fair airlines has become embedded into the minds of consumers, 65% of those passengers travelling on a LCC surveyed did not look at any other carrier when booking their travel (O'Connell & Williams 2005).
Firefly will need to actively study all routes and phase out non-lucrative ones. The analysis indicates that new lucrative destinations will be available in 2009. Firefly needs to wisely anticipate & penetrate these markets as soon the open skies in ASEAN are implemented.
Firefly has the opportunity tapping into medical tourism, working with tour operators and medical institutions to offer attractive packages.



REFERENCE
AAPA, AoAPA 2008a, 'AAPA November 2008 Traffic Results', AAPA Traffic Results, no. 2008:24, p. 2, viewed 28 December 2008, .
---- 2008b, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines 2008 Annual Report, Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), viewed 29 December 2008, .
AEROLINE 2008, A Convenient Way to Fly, Aeroline, viewed 29 December 2008, .
AirAsia 2003, Awards & Recognition, AirAsia, viewed 29 December 2008, .
---- 2008a, Air Asia July - September 2008 Quarter Results.
---- 2008b, Company Profile, AirAsia, viewed 30 December 2008, .
APHM, AoPHoM 2008, List of Member Hospitals, APHM, viewed 29 December 2008, .
Association of South-East Asian Nations, A 2006, ASEAN Framework Agreement on Visa Exemption, ASEAN, 25 July 2006.
Bernama 2006, 'PM Launches Biggest LCC Terminal', Bernama.
Connell, J 2006, 'Medical tourism: Sea, sun, sand and ... surgery', Tourism Management, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 1093-100.
Delfmann, W, Baum, H, Auerbach, S & Albers, S 2005, Strategic Management in the Aviation Industry, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Firefly 2008, Firefly, Firefly, viewed 29 December 2008, .
Gottfredson, M, Vestring, T & Maceda, M 2008, 'How Asian Companies Can Beat the Recession', Business Week, 28 October 2008.
Leong, D 2007, '26 Nov 2007: Corporate: Firefly keen to join LCC league', The Edge Daily, 26 November 2007.
Maye, S 2008, Bangkok Airways expands its ATR fleet with two more ATR 72-500s, ATR, viewed 29 December 2008, .
Miniwatts Marketing, G 2008, Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics, Internet World Stats, viewed 29 December 2009, .
O'Connell, JF & Williams, G 2005, 'Passengers' perceptions of low cost airlines and full service carriers: A case study involving Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines', Journal of Air Transport Management, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 259-72.
Piga, CA & Filippi, N 2002, 'Booking and flying with low-cost airlines.', The International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 4, no. No. 3, pp. 237-49.
Sidhu, BK 2008, 'Competition up, air fares down', The Star, 13 December 2008.
Skytrax 2008, Airline Quality Forum, viewed 29 December 2008, .
Star 2008a, 'New ATRs for Firefly', The Star Online, 22 December 2008.
---- 2008b, 'Perak wants Govt to keep promise and upgrade airport', The Star, 6 December 2008.
Yen, JLM 2008, 'Firefly already cash positive ', TheEdgeDaily, 17 December 2008.



 

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