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LATest e-bulletin May '24

In this issue: ① Quote of the month ② Who’s Polluting Southeast Asia ③ LAT New Centralized Customer Service ④ A Jewel of Malaysian Heritage ⑤ So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT ⑥ Malaysia-Singapore Highspeed Railway ⑦ Best Time to Visit Bali ⑧ Malaysia vs WTO ⑨ Sensorial Singapore


"Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds"

Franklin D. Roosevelt


Who’s Polluting Southeast Asia

The ASEAN countries, despite being home to less than 9% of the world's population, have received a disproportionate 17% of the world's plastic waste imports from 2017 to 2021, according to United Nations data. This influx of plastic waste, often illicitly imported, has exacerbated the region's already significant plastic pollution problem. Weak environmental regulations and management, coupled with the region's extensive river systems and coastlines, have made Southeast Asia the largest contributor to oceanic plastic waste globally.

A study by Lourens J.J. Meijer identified six Southeast Asian countries—Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand—as the world's top contributors to oceanic plastic pollution in 2021. These countries alone were responsible for more than half of the global total, with the Philippines generating a third of the total annually. Asia overall generates over 80% of global oceanic plastic waste, despite being home to only about 60% of the world's population.

The practice of exporting plastic waste from rich countries to Southeast Asia has been criticized for burdening developing countries with unmanageable trash. Despite recycling being promoted as a solution to plastic waste, critics argue that much of the imported plastic waste is not recycled effectively and ends up being dumped, further exacerbating pollution problems.

The transportation of waste from rich to poor countries via ships burning greenhouse and bunker fuels has also raised environmental concerns. While exporting trash to Southeast Asia may save money for rich countries, it outsources the disposal problem and contributes to environmental degradation in receiving countries.

The co-option of terms like "recycling" and "circular economy" has allowed the waste trade to continue largely unchecked. While some countries have announced plans to ban exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, such as the European Union's forthcoming ban in 2025, the issue remains a significant challenge that requires international cooperation and sustainable waste management solutions.

LAT is committed to leading responsible behavior and combatting plastic pollution by completely eliminating its use in all operations. We strongly discourage visitors from requesting plastic water bottles in our vehicles and have long provided alternative solutions. We believe that by taking proactive steps to reduce plastic waste, we can contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment for future generations. More information on the responsibility page on our website.


LAT New Centralized Customer Service

We would like to remind of our new Customer Assistance Service which revolves around a single, easily accessible number for all our destinations introducing a Multilingual IVR Telephone System, a cutting-edge Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone system, now available in four languages to guide passengers through inquiries, ensuring language is never a barrier.

The new number for IVR Service, effective April 1, 2024, is: +62 21 508 896 86.

The new number for Text-Based IVR Service, which will be effective April 1, 2024, is: +62 811 390 390 88.

Be reminded that all other existing numbers were disabled on April 30, 2024.

Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are dedicated to continuing our partnership and serving you with excellence.

Cordially,

The LAT Team



A Jewel of Malaysian Heritage


In the heart of Alor Star, Kedah, the Zahir Mosque stands as a testament to Malaysia's rich architectural and historical heritage. Constructed in 1912, this mosque not only ranks among the oldest in Malaysia but also holds the distinction of being one of the world's top 10 most beautiful mosques. Its significance transcends architectural beauty, serving as a cultural landmark of the state and a central venue for the annual state Quran reading competition.

The Zahir Mosque's roots are steeped in history, as it was built on the sacred ground where Kedah warriors, who fell during the Siamese invasion of 1821, were laid to rest. This transformation of the site into a place of worship symbolizes peace and reverence for the brave souls. Drawing inspiration from the Azizi Mosque in North Sumatera, the mosque's design features strikingly similar domes and intricately ornamented facades.

The mosque boasts five black domes, with the main dome encircled by five smaller ones, symbolizing the Five Pillars of Islam and blending spiritual symbolism with architectural mastery.

Adorned with double columns, arches, and Islamic calligraphy, the mosque's facade narrates tales of devotion and artistic brilliance.

Visitors are welcomed into a praying hall that epitomizes symmetry, measuring an exact square of 62 feet by 62 feet. The dome overhead showcases exquisite Quranic verses, inviting contemplation. An 8-foot-wide veranda surrounding the main hall provides a tranquil setting for reflection, enhancing the mosque's spiritual ambiance.

Despite the passage of time, Zahir Mosque has preserved its original grandeur, undergoing significant renovations only in 1960 and 1975. This underscores the community's commitment to preserving its historical and cultural heritage. The mosque welcomes all visitors, with respectful attire being a requirement. Modesty is encouraged, with guidelines stipulating covered shoulders and knees. Women are advised to wear headscarves in accordance with Islamic traditions.

Located adjacent to Alor Star Tower and near Aman Central Mall, the mosque's accessibility makes it a must-visit destination for anyone in Alor Setar.


So Many Good Reasons to Work with LAT

Established in 1991

 

Independently owned and operated

 

Purely B2B with travel industry partners

 

Online booking engine with immediate

confirmation of hotels, tours and transfers

 

Skilful Contents Provider and Technology user

 

Knowledgeable and efficient reservations personnel

 

Long and proud association with the MICE industry in all Lotus destinations

 

Fully committed to Sustainability and CSR

 

Climate Contribution for all packages and services on offer

Extensive selection of scheduled group departures and innovative product lines

 

Direct access to a vast pool of local professional contributors

 

Owns small boutique island hotels strategically located

 

LAT Indochina subsidiary operating in Thailand and Vietnam

 

Multilingual guides in all destinations

 

Operations offices throughout its destinations

 

Centralised bookings and payments for multi destination tours

 

Assistance in language


TATTLER

Malaysia-Singapore Highspeed Railway


Malaysia is reviving plans to construct its first high-speed railway, connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, following the failure of earlier negotiations between the two governments.

Recently, the private sector submitted seven proposals for the project, including bids from consortiums led by state-owned China Railway Construction, South Korea's Hyundai Rotem (a unit of Hyundai Motor focusing on railways and defense), and local conglomerates such as MMC, Gamuda, YTL, WCT Holdings, and Berjaya.

MyHSR, the government-owned entity overseeing the project, has not disclosed the names of the interested companies. Notably, Japanese firms did not participate in the expression-of-interest process that concluded on January 15.

MyHSR aims to shortlist three to four consortiums for the next phase, the request for proposals round, as early as this month. Subsequently, it will present its bid review to the cabinet. The Malaysian government is expected to engage with Singapore in the coming months to determine the city-state's participation in the project.

Malysia wants to finalize the proposal as quickly as possible, hopefully over the next three to four months. Additionally, discussions are ongoing regarding the possibility of extending the line from Kuala Lumpur to the southern state of Johor if Singapore opts out of participation.


HIGHLIGHTS

Best Time to Visit Bali

The low season is what any traveller should aim for. Visit Bali in April, May, September or October, and the island can be appreciated at its best. Some of Bali's best hotels and villas can be snapped up at reduced rates, and of course, airfares are cheaper. And having fewer people around means you get the island to yourself – with less crowded beaches, temples and roads. Easy to get a sunbed at a beach club or a turmeric latte at a Canggu brunch shack; easy to get a spot on that Eat Pray Love-style yoga mat.


Malaysia vs WTO

Malaysia has achieved a favorable outcome in its case against the European Delegated Act, which was found to be discriminatory towards the country's palm oil biofuel. The WTO panel issued its final report on March 5, concluding that the EU's act restricting palm oil biofuels was indeed discriminatory. This ruling validates Malaysia's claims of discrimination and underscores the country's commitment to seeking justice for its biodiesel traders, companies, and employees. This statement directly contradicts an earlier report by dpa news, which suggested that Malaysia's complaint against the EU regarding the bloc's rules on the use of palm oil-based biofuels had largely failed at the WTO.


Sensorial Singapore

The latest attraction in Singapore, Sentosa Sensoryscape, has been unveiled to local and regional media from countries including Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, ahead of its public debut on March 14th. Spanning 30,000m², this "ridge-to-reef landmark" is divided into six zones: Lookout Loop, Tactile Trellis, Scented Sphere, Symphony Stream, Palate Playground, and Glow Garden. It offers an immersive multi-sensory experience that combines augmented reality (AR), design, nature, and music, connecting guests from Resorts World Sentosa in the north to the island’s beaches in the south.

Our whole product for free and independent travellers, groups and MICE are based on a Climate Contribution programme. This means that part of the greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated are offset by projects in collaboration with Climate Partner, one of the leading climate protection solution providers for companies. 

 

The arising emissions are being compensated by supporting a third-party certified geothermal energy project in Darajat, Java (Indonesia). ​The project helps to meet the growing demand for electricity in Indonesia. By increasing the share of renewable energy, the dependence on fossil fuel-based electricity decreases, and about 705,390 tonnes of CO2 emissions are saved per year.



For over thirty years, Lotus Asia Tours Group has provided services and assistance to travellers the world over, specialising in the design and implementation of corporate events, activities, incentive tours and motivational travel, targeted at FIT, GIT and MICE markets, in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indochina. The group also operates four boutique island hotels in Indonesia, in Lombok, Bali, Sulawesi and Papua.


To learn more about our brand please head to our website, or contact us directly; we look forward to hearing how we could help make your next trip, tour or event memorable and successful.

Corporate Office D-5-4 Megan Avenue 1, 189 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia T: +60 (0)3 21617075 · F: +60 (0)3 21617084 · E: latgroup@lotusasiatours.com


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