Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eyeing the support for Car Free Morning in Kuala Lumpur

Thumbs up for car-free move

LAUDABLE: City Hall’s ‘Go Green Car Free Morning’ programme encourages the people to use public transport, besides reducing the carbon footprints in the city

KUALA LUMPUR: CITY folk welcome the "Go Green Car Free Morning" programme announced by  City Hall recently.
In the proposal, a 6km loop, starting from Jalan Dang Wangi to the Golden Triangle area via Jalan Ampang, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Imbi, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, will be closed to motorised traffic between 7.30am and 9.30am every first Sunday of the month.
Sharifah Nur Fasihah Syed Omar, 25, a food outlet manager, said she supports City Hall for introducing the campaign which can help to reduce the carbon emission in the city.
Sharifah Nur Fasihah said she has been driving for the past seven years and the increasing volume of vehicles in the city has worsened the traffic congestion.
"With this initiative, it would at least reduce the road congestion here and also the pollution in the city.
"The Golden Triangle area is one of the busiest in the city and now with the construction of the Mass Rapid Transit, it has only aggravated the traffic congestion.
"However, the car-free duration may be too short to have an impact. The council should at least extend it to a day and if it is successful, City Hall should implement this campaign on a weekly basis," she said.
Sharifah Nur Fasihah said although it may be just a trial run, she hoped City Hall will introduce the initiative in other areas like Central Market and Petaling Street.
Nurfardilla Sukeman, a senior human resource officer from Putrajaya who works in a recruitment company, said this is the first time she has come across such a campaign.
She said it is a good move by the authority which will help keep the environment clean.
Nurfardilla said City Hall should have introduced such a campaign earlier as it would reduce the traffic congestion.
"This campaign may encourage more people to use public transport. It would be great if they can do this every week and with longer hours.
"I have been driving for six years and it is exasperating having to face the traffic crawl almost every day, and sometimes on a weekend, too," she said.
Nurfardilla hoped that the campaign can be expanded to other places like Puduraya and Wangsa Maju.
Architect, Foo Man Jack, 35, from Bukit Tinggi, Klang, said the effort taken by the City Hall was good.
He was happy to know that the authority has taken effective measures to reduce the carbon footprints in the city.
"We had introduced many environmental campaigns but many did not turn out well.
"The reason is because of our lackadaisical attitude towards environmental conservation.
"I believe this is the only way to marshal public support to help reduce the carbon emission in the country.
"This campaign should also be introduced to other cities and towns, especially where there is easy access to public transport," he said.
K. Thanavathi, who works in an accounting firm in Puchong, said although the move to reduce pollution is laudable, closing the roads for a few hours might, however, affect the business in the area.
She said the authority should discuss with the business operators there before implementing the move.
"However, it is certainly a good move to encourage the people to use public transport," she added.

Read more: Thumbs up for car-free move - Central - New Straits Times

Monday, December 16, 2013

Eyeing three years of the ETP implementation


Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I received the mandate as Prime Minister in 2009, I was faced with the challenging, if not daunting task to deliver on Vision 2020.  Since 2000, Malaysia was mired in economic uncertainty as the country struggled to recover from three successive waves of global economic crises. On the home front, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 adversely affected the economy as GDP growth contracted by 1.5 percent.
Caught between this tough scenario and the collective national aspiration to become a high income advanced nation by 2020, the only way forward was to transform the economy through bold and radical change, speedy decision-making and swift execution.
Hence, the Economic Transformation Programme. Designed with a very specific objective of bringing Malaysia to high-income status by 2020, our true north goals are clear, that is, to attain a GNI per capita of USD15,000, create 3.3 million additional jobs and attract USD444 billion worth of investments.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ETP has dual objectives. It leverages on 12 targeted economic growth sectors. These 12 National Key Economic Areas or NKEAs have been earmarked to boost awareness of the most attractive economic prospects for potential investors in our economy. Through the six Strategic Reform Initiatives, policies and procedures have been put in place for businesses to compete and flourish.
The last three years have been a watershed period for the government. We have battled global headwinds and searing competition from ASEAN and the emerging markets. We have ramped up efforts to deliver our promises to the country and I must say we have been successful in bringing together the government and private sector to deliver results.
Let me give you some details. GNI per capita from 2009 to 2012 has steadily increased hitting USD9, 928 in 2012. Barring major unforeseen disruptions and based on the current growth trajectory, we are on track to achieve high-income status by 2020 if not earlier.
Despite the challenge of a slower global economic recovery, Malaysia’s real GDP grew from RM676.7 billion in 2010 to RM751.5 billion in 2012. This represents a significant increase of 11 percent. As of quarter three this year, GDP recorded a five percent increase year-on-year, outstripping forecasts. It is projected to hit 4.5 to five percent by year-end.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am especially pleased to say that the country is officially at full employment, with declining unemployment rates from 3.7 percent in 2009 to three percent in 2012. During my tenure, employment has increased by 1.8 million, as population growth held steady at 1.7 percent.
Meanwhile, we have tripled the annual growth rate of private investment since the start of the economic transformation in 2010. The baseline average of five percent a year from 2008 to 2010 has been lifted three-fold to 16 percent for the period 2010 to 2012. This year, private investment is forecast to grow at 16.2 percent, hitting RM135.8 billion.
This upward trend is testament to growing private sector confidence in our transformation initiatives, as evidenced by the widening gap between private and public investments. Private investment accounted for 65 percent of total investment in the first nine months of this year.
In addition, moving toward the revenue structure of a developed economy, we are not only becoming more efficient in our tax collection but are also broadening the tax base. This is important because strengthened revenue puts us in a better position to sustainably administer socioeconomic programmes geared towards narrowing income disparity. The results as you can see are an increase in government revenue of 14 percent for the period of 2010 to 2012, growing from RM160 billion to RM207 billion. We project to hit RM220 billion in revenue this year.
One aspect that gives me great satisfaction is our performance in reducing fiscal deficit. Where many governments fail to deliver, Malaysia by contrast, is strongly on track to a balanced budget by 2020. We continue to slash back our fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP. From 6.6 percent in 2009, we will reach four percent this year, and further reduce the deficit to three percent in 2015.
Private consumption is spurred by growing consumer confidence, supported by stable employment and higher wage growth especially in the domestic sector. Private consumption held steady since 2010, growing from six percent to 7.7 percent in 2012. In the first nine months alone this year, we grew at 7.7 percent.
Investors showed confidence in the Malaysian stock market, as can be seen by the FTSE-KLCI’s upward trend, hitting 66 historical highs in the last three years. On 10 December 2013, the market scaled another record high at 1,843.85 points.
Independent global agencies have also recognized the improvements we have made. In the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index we have climbed steadily from the 18th position, to 12th and we recently catapulted to sixth position in 2014, surpassing the UK for the first time. This reflects real improvement to the business environment, and my commendation goes out to the dedicated efforts of Pemudah, Pemandu, MITI and MIDA.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year alone, significant investments have been committed by businesses and facilitated by the various agencies. MIDA’s first nine months saw RM137 billion worth of investments from 3,908 projects, creating 127,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the Corridors as drivers of regional growth have launched new projects, with committed investments of RM53.4 billion. These are impressive numbers thanks to the tireless work from the various teams driving investments and growth and kudos to all!
Among the many projects that come to my attention, I am particularly moved when private and public sectors collaborate to bring real results to the very heart of local communities. As an example, local dairy farmers in Johor, with the help of private companies and government agencies, successfully increased their productivity levels by 50 percent. Consequently, they have upped their selling price by 50 percent from RM1.70 per litre of milk to RM2.40, contributing directly to their household income.
We also see a similar improvement for our ‘rice bowl’ in Muda, covering 15,000 hectares in the northern region of Kedah and Perlis. The farmers are now enjoying a 12 percent increase in their overall income from paddy farming activities, as a result of centralized management, improved irrigation infrastructure and farming techniques.
In urban development, we will see Malaysian wholesale and retail operations catching up to the trend of integrated mega-retail, which is characteristic of the developed consumer markets.  Known as the “Big Box Boulevard” projects, an example is the upcoming connected multi-theme retail components in Ara Damansara. Developed by Sime Darby Brunsfield Group to meet Malaysia’s growing demand for large-scale retail experience, this project is expected to exceed RM 1.5 billion in investment, creating 2,409 jobs.
On a larger front, Petronas has recently awarded RM10 billion worth of service contracts to six local service providers, recognizing the capabilities of local service providers including Bumiputera companies.
I have asked MIDA, MITI, Pemandu and the Corridor Authorities to work together to drive and monitor investments in Malaysia. MIDA was re-designated from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, to be the first port of call for investments into Malaysia.
In order to secure a strong investment portfolio for the country, it is imperative that the various agencies collaborate together. I have asked Dato’ Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Dato' Sri Idris Jala and the Corridor Authorities to work together, to institute a discipline of action by placing these projects – where relevant – directly under their monthly Steering Committees. These projects will be rigorously monitored to ensure successful implementation and results.
Ladies and Gentlement,

Coming back to the ETP, our overall KPI results for NKEAs are on track with 89 percent achieved on average, while the Strategic Reform Initiatives recorded 85 percent of KPI achieved. This demonstrates that both projects and initiatives are tracking well and I am confident of meeting our targets this year.
The NKEAs continue to play a significant role in the national economy, contributing 68.3 percent of total GNI for the first nine months of this year, or RM474 billion.
The NKEAs have also contributed to employment, with 1.3 million in new employments recorded from 2010 to 2013 year-to-date. Currently total employment sits at 13.66 million.
While our committed investment figures are optimistic, the real challenge is in realizing these investments. It is heartening to see that 69 percent of the amount committed for 2013 has been realized as of the third quarter. The NKEAs are on target to mirror their achievements of the previous two years.
As we conclude 2013 and take stock of the three years of the country’s economic transformation, I am happy to announce that 195 projects have been launched under the NKEAs since 2010. Their total committed investments of RM220 billion are projected to contribute RM144 billion to GNI, create 435,000 new jobs, and generate a knock-on effect that will catalyse the larger universe of economic activity in the country.
The global outlook continues to be uncertain as developed markets grapple with their challenges. Despite this, Malaysia is targeted to achieve between five to 5.5 percent GDP growth for 2014, with private investment expected to grow 12.7 percent to RM153 billion.
For 2014, Malaysia will see exciting developments in the pipeline, in support of our pursuit to become the center for global operations, services and trading. We have set our sights on attracting 13 large multinationals to base their operations here in Kuala Lumpur. Six international trading companies, with a projected minimum of total turnover of USD600 million, will potentially establish their trading operations in the country. In the financial markets, we are set to see an increased value in new listings, with a targeted market capitalization of RM18 billion.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very glad to see all of you here, representing the business and investment community. We welcome your continued support as we move into 2014. It is my wish that everyone, rich or poor, rural or urban, regardless of race, can participate in the journey to transform the economy and take the country to high-income.

I wish all of you Seasons Greetings and a very happy New Year. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Eyeing the unification and collaboration between Hamas and Fatah in Palestine

 Datuk Naim with Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mishal (centre)

Datuk Naim with H E Abdullah, Deputy Commissioner General
of Fatah International Relations

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eyeing the GOOD NEWS: City Hall will be holding dialogue sessions with residents and business owners in 11 parliamentary constituencies in the city from January to March

KUALA LUMPUR: CITY Hall will be organising dialogue sessions with residents and business owners in 11 parliamentary constituencies in the city on the assessment rate hike for next year.
The sessions, which are expected to take place from January to March next year will be chaired by City Hall's advisory board and its valuers. The sessions will be organised by City Hall's branch offices in all 11 constituencies.
A City Hall spokesman said that the new rates will only be revised in the second assessment bill (July to December 2014).
Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said the sessions will take place after City Hall has received all the objections from ratepayers.
"We are still in the midst of collecting the objections. We have also asked the members of parliament to inform their constituents on the proposed assessment rate hike," he said after launching the route of the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 yesterday.
According to City Hall's recent revaluation of properties, ratepayers who have received their notices have until Dec 17 to submit their objections.
Phesal reiterated that the proposed assessment rate hike is crucial for the development of the city.
He said that fees collected will be used for city maintenance such as cleanliness, road and river infrastructure maintenance, pedestrian facilities, green areas, public health, security, house renovation application process, public housing maintenance, affordable housing and petty traders development.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng welcomed the move by City Hall to engage the ratepayers on the rate hike.
"We are glad to hear that City Hall will be having a dialogue session with the ratepayers. This indicates that the new rates will not be implemented in January," he said.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents' Association president Datuk Mumtaz Ali praised City Hall for their proactive measure. "We are grateful to hear that City Hall is organising a dialogue session. We hope that they will listen to our grouses and take into consideration our feedback on the rate hike," he said.
Bangsar Baru Residents Association secretary Prem Kumar Nair said that it was a good move by City Hall to organise dialogue sessions with the ratepayers. "This shows that City Hall is transparent. We also hope that City Hall will address the ratepayers concern on the valuation notice," he said.
Prem also said that it was fair for City Hall to raise the fees provided that the percentage is reasonable.
The city council came under fire recently when it sent out the proposed valuation notices to property owners in the city.
Residents around the city were upset with City Hall for proposing to raise the rates drastically.
Meanwhile, Phesal welcomed the OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 event, which is being held for the third consecutive year. "We are delighted to host this event for the third time. Now, Malaysians can appreciate our iconic landmarks on their bicycles. The routes will show the world what a beautiful city KL is and hopefully be a catalyst to encourage more locals to use alternative modes of transport," he said.
The route, which spans 12.1km, will start at Dataran Merdeka and pass through Jalan Parliamen, Jalan Tun Ismail, KL Tower, Golden Triangle and back to Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad.
Phesal said that 6,200 cyclists from all over the country are expected to take part in the event. "There are still slots open for the event, which will take place from Jan 17 to 19. There will be a night ride on third day of the event. We hope that more people will come out to ride with us," he said.

Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib (centre) and Spectrum Worldwide managing director Chris Robb (second from right) at the launch of the OCBC Cycle Malaysia. Pic by Salhani Ibrahim

Read more: Ratepayers look forward to talks - Central - New Straits Times

Eyeing Arnaz M Khairul's Nostalgia for Subang Jaya of a bygone era

UNLIKE others, scenes of my glorious childhood can never be revisited, although they were at the doorstep of where I still live.

There were two glorious football fields where we were free to play and even got to watch Selangor Dunhill League matches that featured the likes of legends such as Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Khan Hung Meng, Datuk R. Arumugam, Razali Alias and many others, are long gone, replaced by the MPSJ 3K Complex, which houses tennis, badminton and squash courts, along with a swimming pool and a downsized mini-football stadium, all of which are available for rent.
The challenging off-road tracks which used to border miles upon miles of oil palm, rubber and cocoa plantations just up the road from SS14 in Subang Jaya were where I sought my thrills and polished my BMX skills, sometimes escaping broken limbs as I watched friends crash into trees on downhill stretches.
In the 1980s we'd also be feted by rows of rally cars lining up to enter the estates which became famous as a special stage for the annual Rally of Malaysia.
I remember when my friends and I discovered several streams in which ice-cold and crystal-clear water flowed. They became our R&R spots while we explored the "interior" of our neighbourhood.
One day, one of our explorations led us to a little town in what was considered rural Selangor. It was Puchong. After that, we would go there on our bicycles, sometimes to play friendly matches against some Puchong boys who went to school in Subang Jaya.
What an adventure that was.
Gone are those places of my memories. They have been replaced by the mammoth Summit USJ Shopping Complex and the entire USJ metropolitan area.
When I was growing up, there were vast plots of sand hills and tin mines which doubled up as swimming pools and fishing ponds. Parents warned us about the mines and what laid beyond -- the notorious squatter settlements of Kampung Lindungan and Medan. We went ahead and had our fun anyway. Today, even the couple of hills there have disappeared and in their stead, you will find Sunway Pyramid and Bandar Sunway.
Most of us who grew up in Subang Jaya in the 1980s remember fondly how peaceful and laid back it was. I could walk out the door, and ride my bicycle all over Subang Jaya. I could cross the road from SS14 to the sundry shops in SS13 to meet the KPI which was my mother's list of sundries.
I could count in 10 fingers the number of vehicles using the road between SS14 and 13 in an hour. Today, the Kesas highway intersection and a three-storey flyover have have made them a distant memory.
We could ride our bicycles at night to the mosque during Ramadan for terawikh prayers, which was the only chance in a year when we had the freedom to roam the streets at night. And it was never dangerous.
Everybody in Subang Jaya probably knew each other.
It was a real neighbourhood, a close knit one, and the friends we grew up with are still friends today.
This is still Subang Jaya, but in a way we could never have imagined all those years ago.

Read more: Nostalgic for Subang Jaya of a bygone era - Central - New Straits Times

Eyeing Y Bhg Datuk Seri Hj Ahmad Phesal Bin Hj. Talib, Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur's launching of OCBC Cycle Malaysia route

1.    Firstly, I would like to congratulate Spectrum Worldwide and OCBC Bank Malaysia on the successful launch of OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014; and for once again selecting Kuala Lumpur to host the ride next year.

2.    We are delighted that OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 has returned once again to Dataran Merdeka because now Malaysians and visitors can appreciate our iconic landmarks on their bicycles. These routes will show the world what a beautiful city Kuala Lumpur is and hopefully be a catalyst to encourage more locals and tourists to cycle as an alternative mode of transport.

3.    Over the past year, the DBKL team has been working hard to raise awareness of the merits of cycling through several programmes. In February, we launched “Kuala Lumpur by Cycle” to encourage tourists to use bicycles to get around KL. We also supported “World Car Free Day” with over 600 participants just last September. In fact, I also had to personally cycle to work when 50 buildings in KL turned off their lights for Earth Hour. I will gladly do it again.

4.    Cycling is growing more popular, and as I have often said, the implementation plan to have more bicycle lanes is underway, and hopefully, we will be able to welcome more cyclists on the roads soon.

5.    As we all know, Malaysia has positioned itself as a diverse tourist attraction that offers world class attractions such as culture & heritage, ecotourism, shopping, international events and health tourism, which offers visitors from all over the world a plethora of choices to enjoy. Tourism plays an important role in the city’s service-driven economy and I’m proud to say that according to World Tourism Organization, Kuala Lumpur is the top 10 most visited city in 2012 in the world, with 8.9 million tourists per year.

6.    Since the 1990s, the city has played host to many international sporting and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Malaysian Open. With cycling fast gaining prominence as a sport and hobby worldwide, I do believe that OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 will draw the attention of thousands to visit Malaysia as well as to promote Kuala Lumpur as a desirable tourist destination for both local and foreign tourists – the perfect curtain-raiser to kick-start Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign next year.

7.    Aptly themed Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”, it reflects the diversity in unity of all Malaysians. I cannot think of a better way than to showcase the diversity of our cultural heritage and modernism, all in one city. With that, I’m proud to declare that OCBC Cycle Malaysia has the full endorsement and support of Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Ladies & gentlemen,

8.    From humble beginnings, during the inaugural OCBC Cycle Malaysia, which took place in October 2011 at Dataran Merdeka, I understand that more than 3,500 riders comprising individuals, families, and cycling communities participated across the various categories and in its three years has forged strong collaborative partnerships between the government, the sporting associations, the private sector and the society in establishing a united platform for the benefit of the people.

     9.    This year, I understand that the target is to hit over 6,200 riders which I believe is most definitely achievable as over 5,000 participants have already signed up. It is also very encouraging to hear that many comprise of some of our youngest riders, as we know that cycling can improve a child’s self-confidence and independence.

10. More importantly, as Chris mentioned earlier, OCBC Cycle Malaysia will be a fantastic opportunity for families to spend time together in a healthy and meaningful way. Family bonding time is important, and so I urge as many parents as possible to register themselves and their children.

11. As such, it gives me great pleasure to announce that this year’s route for OCBC Cycle Malaysia will take each rider through some of our city’s breath-taking national landmarks. Thanks to OCBC Cycle Malaysia, cycling as an activity will gain further popularity not only amongst locals but for our foreign friends – no matter young or old.

12. The route, which spans 12.1km in its entirety, will start at Dataran Merdeka which will take them to Jalan Parlimen towards Jalan Tun Ismail giving riders a chance to pass by Kuala Lumpur’s oldest road as well as to enjoy the greenness the stretch has to offer. From there cyclists will head towards the road leading them to Putra World Trade Centre.

13. They will then cycle to Jalan Sultan Ismail used to be known as Treacher Road now part of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle where you will find many of the city’s shopping malls and five-star hotels. Riders will then take a straight road to Jalan Dang Wangi towards Jalan Ampang where the iconic Petronas Twin Towers welcomes cyclists with its shiny golden blanket of shimmers. Riders will then take the home stretch along Jalan P. Ramlee giving them a view of the towering KL Tower to Jalan Raja Chulan then cut across Masjid Jamek and Menara OCBC taking them to the lap point at Bangunan Abdul Samad.

    14.   As the length of the route is 12.1km, the longer routes would then require   cyclists to take the lap point back to Bangunan Abdul Samad where they would repeat the route course.

     15. To accomplish this is no mean feat, as ensuring the safety of over 6,000 cyclists which includes children, families, senior citizens and professional cyclists across 12.1 kms of public roads requires utmost cooperation and planning.

     16. Hence, I would like to thank the organizers, sponsors, traffic police, volunteers and all supporting parties for working together to prove that Kuala Lumpur has the capacity and capabilities to host one of Asia’s fastest-growing community ride event and the largest mass participation cycling event on public roads in Malaysia.

Ladies & gentlemen,

17. We at DBKL have been strongly advocating cycling as a healthy activity this past year. In the past few weeks, we have been working closely with the organisers of OCBC Cycle Malaysia on fresh ideas to encourage the sport further.  Today, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that we will have a new night ride during OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014. It will take place on Saturday, 19th January at 8.00pm following the Elite Criterium prize presentation.

18. We will be inviting approximately 200 cyclists to participate, including myself. We are introducing this new exciting ride to encourage more cyclists to ride at night, as well as to showcase a healthy and fun activity for all to do in KL. As you all know, KL is really beautiful at night and riding at night brings with it new challenges and a fresh enjoyment, whether cycling home from work or an additional route to consider when cycling for leisure, We certainly hope that it will create an excitement for more cyclists to consider cycling in KL at night.

19. Before I end, I also understand that OCBC Cycle Malaysia has The Corporate Charity Challenge category in support of The Budimas Charitable Foundation, The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM) and The National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM). This is a wonderful opportunity for many corporations to give back to those in need and I would like to encourage executives who enjoy cycling to consider signing up for a good cause.

     20. To end, thank you all for your time and let’s continue to spread the word to create excitement for OCBC Cycle Malaysia and the sport of cycling.

Encik Jeffrey Chew,
Pengarah & CEO, OCBC Bank Malaysia Berhad

Tuan Syed Abdull Aziz Syed Kechik,
Pengarah & CEO of OCBC Al-Amin Bank Bhd;

Encik Chris Robb,
Pengarah Urusan Spectrum Worldwide;

Datuk Haji Naim B. Datuk Haji Mohamad,
Timbaan Presiden Persekutuan Kebangsaan Berbasikal Malaysia ;

Dif-dif kehormat;

Ahli-ahli media;

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan;

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, salam sejahtera dan selamat pagi,

1.    Terutama sekali, saya ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada Spectrum Worldwide dan OCBC Bank Malaysia di atas kejayaan melancarkan OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014; dan sekali lagi memilih Kuala Lumpur sebagai tuan rumah untuk acara tahun depan.

2.      Kami berasa gembira dengan kembalinya OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 ke Dataran Merdeka kerana ia merupakan peluang terbaik untuk rakyat Malaysia dan pelawat menghayati mercu tanda ikonik tatkala mereka berkayuh. Laluan kali ini akan menonjolkan kepada dunia betapa indahnya bandaraya Kuala Lumpur dan diharapkan dapat menjadi mangkin untuk mendorong lebih ramai penduduk tempatan dan pelancong menggunakan basikal sebagai alternatif pengangkutan mereka.

3.    Sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini, pihak DBKL telah bekerja keras untuk meningkatkan kesedaran berhubung kebaikan berbasikal melalui beberapa program. Pada Februari, kami melancarkan "Kuala Lumpur by Cycle" untuk menggalakkan para pelancong supaya menggunakan basikal untuk bergerak di sekitar KL. Dan baru pada September lalu, kami juga menyokong "World Car Free Day", Hari Bebas Kereta Sedunia, dengan penyertaan lebih 600 peserta. Malah, saya sendiri juga berkayuh ke tempat kerja apabila 50 buah bangunan di KL bergelap sempena Earth Hour. Saya pasti tidak akan teragak-agak melakukannya sekali lagi.

4.    Kegiatan berbasikal kian hari kian popular, dan seperti yang sering saya nyatakan, pelaksanaan rancangan untuk membuka laluan basikal sedang berjalan, dan mudah-mudahan, kami akan dapat menerima lebih ramai pengayuh basikal di atas jalan raya kelak.

5.    Seperti yang kita sedia maklum, Malaysia sememangnya telah dikenali sebagai destinasi pelancongan yang menawarkan kepelbagaian tarikan bertaraf dunia seperti warisan dan kebudayaan, eko pelancongan, membeli-belah, acara antarabangsa dan pelancongan kesihatan. Sektor pelancongan memainkan peranan penting dalam bandaraya yang ekonominya bercirikan perkhidmatan dan saya berbangga untuk menyatakan bahawa menurut Pertubuhan Pelancongan Dunia (World Toursim Organization), Kuala Lumpur telah menempatkan dirinya sebagai 10 bandaraya paling kerap dilawati di dunia dengan kemasukan 8.9 juta pelancong setiap tahun.

6.    Sejak tahun 1990-an,  bandaraya ini telah menjadi tuan rumah kepada banyak temasya sukan antarabangsa dan acara kebudayaan termasuk Sukan Komanwel 1998 dan Terbuka Malaysia. Memandangkan berbasikal semakin mendapat tumpuan di serata dunia saban hari sama ada sebagai sukan atau hobi, saya yakin bahawa OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 akan menarik kemasukan ribuan pelancong untuk melawat Malaysia di samping memperkenalkan Kuala Lumpur sebagai satu destinasi pelancongan yang ingin dilawati untuk orang tempatan mahupun pelancong asing - sekaligus menjadi pembuka tirai sempurna kepada kempen Lawat Malaysia 2014 tahun depan.

7.    Seiring dengan temanya "Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”, ia mencerminkan kekuatan semangat kekitaan rakyat Malaysia di sebalik kepelbagaian yang wujud dalam masyarakat di negara ini. Saya tidak dapat fikir cara yang lebih baik daripada mempamerkan warisan kebudayaan dan kemodenan kita, segalanya di satu bandaraya. Dengan itu, saya berbangga untuk mengumumkan bahawa OCBC Cycle Malaysia mendapat sokongan penuh Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

8.    Sewaktu OCBC Cycle Malaysia diadakan buat kali pertama pada Oktober 2011 di Dataran Merdeka, saya difahamkan acara ketika itu telah menarik penyertaan lebih 3,500 pengayuh yang terdiri daripada individu, keluarga dan komuniti berbasikal. Dan sepanjang tiga tahun ini, OCBC Cycle Malaysia telah menjalinkan hubungan kerjasama rapat bersama kerajaan, persatuan-persatuan sukan, sektor swasta dan masyarakat dalam menyediakan satu platform untuk memberi manfaat kepada semua.

9.    Tahun ini, saya difahamkan bahawa sasaran penyertaan yang hendak dicapai adalah lebih 6,200 peserta yang saya percaya angka itu tiada masalah untuk dicapai memandangkan sudah lebih 5,000 pengayuh telah mendaftar setakat ini. Sambutan daripada peserta-peserta termuda, difahamkan, cukup menggalakkan, dan kita tahu kegiatan berbasikal mampu meningkatkan keyakinan diri dan melatih kebolehan berdikari dalam seseorang kanak-kanak.

10. Lebih mustahak, seperti yang Chris nyatakan sebentar tadi,  OCBC Cycle Malaysia akan menjadi kesempatan terbaik bagi seisi keluarga menghabiskan masa bersama secara sihat dan bermakna. Meluangkan masa untuk mengeratkan ikatan kekeluargaan adalah penting, jadi saya menyeru kepada seramai mana ibu-bapa yang mungkin untuk mendaftar diri masing-masing bersama anak-anak mereka.

11. Oleh yang demikian, saya berbesar hati untuk mengumumkan bahawa laluan untuk OCBC Cycle Malaysia tahun depan akan membawa setiap pengayuh melalui beberapa mercu tanda kebangsaan yang mengkagumkan. Dengan adanya acara seperti OCBC Cycle Malaysia, maka aktiviti berbasikal akan meraih lebih populariti bukan sahaja dalam kalangan penduduk tempatan tetapi juga rakan-rakan kita daripada luar negara - tidak kira mahupun muda.

12. Laluan ini, yang berjarak 12.1km secara keseluruhannya, akan bermula di Dataran Merdeka dan membawa para peserta ke Jalan Parlimen sebelum menghala ke Jalan Tun Ismail. Ia memberi peluang kepada para peserta untuk merentasi jalan tertua Kuala Lumpu dan pada masa sama menikmati kehijaun di sepanjang laluan tersebut. Dari situ, mereka meneruskan kayuhan ke Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra.

13. Mereka akan kemudiannya menuju ke Jalan Sultan Ismail yang dahulunya dikenali sebagai Treacher Road, kini menjadi sebahagian daripada Segitiga Emas Kuala Lumpur di mana kamu boleh temui kebanyakan pusat membeli-belah dan hotel-hotel bertaraf lima bintang terletak di sekelilingnya. Pada pengayuh kemudiannya akan menghala ke Jalan Dang Wangi menuju ke Jalan Ampang di mana Menara Kembar Petronas yang ikonik menanti ketibaan pengayuh. Laluan bersambung di sepanjang Jalan P.Ramlee, kali ini berlatarbelakangkan pula Menara Kuala Lumpur apabila mereka merentasi Jalan Raja Chulan. Para peserta kemudiannya akan melalui Masjid Jamek dan Menara OCBC sebelum kembali ke titik mula di Bangunan Abdul Samad.

14. Memandangkan jarak laluan adalah 12.1km sahaja, maka para peserta dalam kategori jarak jauh perlulah berulang-alik ke titik mula di Bangunan Abdul Samad, dan mengulangi laluan yang sama beberapa kali mengikut jarak kategori yang disertai untuk melengkapkan kayuhan  masing-masing.

15. Untuk menganjurkan acara ini bukanlah sesuatu perkara yang mudah, kerana untuk memastikan keselamatan lebih 6,000 peserta yang merangkumi kanak-kanak, keluarga, warga emas dan pengayuh profesional di sepanjang laluan 12.1km jalan awam memerlukan kerjasama dan perancangan yang rapi.

16. Oleh itu, saya ingin berterima kasih kepada penganjur, penaja, polis trafik, sukaralewan dan kesemua pihak berkenaan lain yang terlibat sama dalam membuktikan bahawa Kuala Lumpur mempunyai kapasiti dan keupayaan untuk menjadi tuan rumah kepada salah satu acara kayuhan komuniti terbesar Asia dan menganjurkan acara berbasikal beramai-ramai di atas jalan awam di Malaysia.

Tuan-tuan dan puan-puan,

17. Kami di DBKL sentiasa menyokong kuat berbasikal sebagai kegiatan yang sihat dalam beberapa tahun ini. Dalam beberapa minggu ini kami telah bekerjasama rapat dengan pihak penganjur daripada OCBC Cycle Malaysia untuk memikirkan ilham segar bagi memberi kelainan kepada acara tahun depan. Jadi, hari ini saya berbesar hati untuk memaklumkan kepada semua bahawa kami juga akan mengadakan kayuhan malam ketika OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014. Ia akan bertempat pada Sabtu, 19 Januari pada 8.00 malam sebaik berakhir majlis penyampaian hadiah Elite Criterium.

18. Kami akan menjemput kira-kira 200 pengayuh untuk menyertainya, termasuk saya sendiri. Kami bakal memperkenalkan kayuhan baru yang mengasyikkan ini untuk menggalakkan lebih ramai penggemar basikal untuk berkayuh pada sebelah malam, di samping menunjukkan bahawa ia adalah aktiviti yang sihat dan menyeronokkan untuk dilakukan di KL. Kita semua sedia maklum, KL sememangnya tersergam indah pada sebelah malam dan berkayuh pada waktu tersebut membawa bersama cabaran dan kepuasan tidak terhingga, sama ada berbasikal pulang ke rumah dari tempat kerja mahupun dipertimbangkan untuk tujuan beriadah. Sudah tentu kami berharap ia akan mencetuskan keghairahan buat lebih ramai pengayuh basikal mempertimbang untuk menunggang di KL pada sebelah malam.

19. Sebelum mengakhiri ucapan, saya difahamkan bahawa OCBC Cycle Malaysia juga menampilkan kategori Cabaran Kebajikan Korporat yang bertujuan menyalurkan bantuan untuk Yayasan Kebajikan Budimas, Persatuan Kebangsaan Autisme Malaysia dan Persatuan Kanser Kebangsaan Malaysia. Ini merupakan peluang terbaik untuk syarikat-syarikat korporat tampil membantu mereka yang memerlukan dana saya ingin menggalakkan eksekutif-eksekutif yang gemar berbasikal supaya mempertimbang mendaftar untuk acara ini bagi tujuan yang baik.

20. Akhir kata, terima kasih kepada semua di atas kesudian meluangkan masa untuk acara pagi ini dan marilah kita terus menguar-uarkan acara ini untuk mencetuskan kemeriahan menjelang OCBC Cycle Malaysia dan minat terhadap sukan berbasikal.

21. Dengan itu, saya sudahi ucapan saya pagi ini dengan Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah, Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. Terima kasih.