Friday, August 29, 2008

Now you can change service provider and retain existing mobile phone number

The Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service has been talked about in Malaysia since 2005, and finally it is materialized by today!

With the MNP in place, mobile phone users, be it prepaid or postpaid, and regardless consumer plan or corporate plan, can now port from one mobile service provider to another, for example from Maxis to Digi, or Digi to Celcom, or Celcom to Maxis, and so on... but retaining the same mobile phone number as before, including the prefix number.

This is a good news to all of us, because with this MNP service, we can freely change to the mobile service provider that provides the best service, the best price, and/or the most features & benefits, without worrying about the change in mobile phone number anymore. Our relatives , friends, colleagues, customers, ... can still use the same mobile number to contact us, and the same number being used for banking services, online services, etc. can still be used.

Prepaid consumer plan users in Klang Valley can start porting from today (29 August 2008) onwards, while postpaid consumer plan users in Klang Valley can start enjoying the MNP service from 15 September 2008 onwards. A Nationwide Launch to cover the whole country and including business plan users as well, is planned to commence in October 2008.

To perform the porting, you need to apply with the new service provider, a maximum service fee of RM25 will be charged, and your service with existing service provider will be automatically terminated upon successful porting. All supplementary lines must port together with the principal account. Supplementary line that doesn't intend to port to new service provider must detach and register as primary line with the old service provider.

During the porting process, you can still enjoy the same mobile services as before. Only the International Roaming Service will be affected as this service will be suspended upon your porting request.

Click here for the FAQ document about the MNP service.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

FundSuperMart present in Malaysia

Good news to unit trust investors in Malaysia. FundSuperMart, the renoun and largest online unit trust distributor in Singapore has now come to the country.

The FundSuperMart in Malaysia is operated by iFAST-OSK Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Malaysia’s OSK Investment Bank Bhd and Singapore's iFAST Corp. Investors are able to perform online unit trusts buy/sell transaction, as well as make use of their online tools to check portfolio and calculate return. There are also research articles and fund selection tools to help you select for suitable funds based on your investment strategy.

One of the attraction of FundSuperMart is that it has a comparatively low fund sales charges of 2% only. Currently, unit trusts of the following fund managers are available:

  • Alliance Investment Management Bhd
  • AmInvestment Services Berhad
  • OSK-UOB Unit Trust Management Berhad
  • Pheim Unit Trusts Bhd
  • Prudential Fund Management Berhad
  • RHB Investment Management Sdn Bhd

Meanwhile Tune Money, the online financial service portal of Dato' Tony Fernandes is also planned to sell unit trusts on their portal soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The mooncake economy

Mooncake (月饼) is a very special product. This round shape Chinese pastry only appears during the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节), which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of every lunar year. It will appear in the market about 2 months before the Mid-Autumn Festival, and will disappear after that.

When the time arrives, you will see its advertisement and promotion all over the media, be it radio, television, newspaper, magazine, flyers, ... Special booths will be setup in shopping complex to sell this product. The market is dominated by restaurants and baker houses, with involvement of some other smaller players. Brand names such as Oversea Restaurant (海外天), Kam Lun Tai Restaurant (锦伦泰 ), Jade Pot Tea House (玉壶轩), Tong Kee Brothers Confectionery (棠记兄弟), The Baker’s Cottage (麦可思 ), Hei Yue Tong (喜月堂), Lavender (紫馨), Foh San Restaurant (富山), Six Happiness Restaurant (六福), Tai Thong Restaurant (大同)... are easily tied up with mooncake. Nowadays even Purple Cane (紫藤), Lo Hong Ka (老行家), Baskin Robbins, Haagen Dazs also joint in the mooncake market warfare, and yet to mention those high-class restaurant in hotels such as Shangri-La, Equatorial, Ritz-Calton, Concorde, Hilton, Dynasty, Park Royal, Renaissance, etc.

Mooncake has a very short shelf life and need to be consumed within 1-2 weeks. Frankly speaking, it is not a healthy food as well, as it comes with high sugar, high cholesterol and high calorie. You might wonder why there are so many players so keen in this festive product? It is simply because the profit margin is very high. They can easily make at least 400% profit by selling mooncake within that 1 month period, which the net profit figure is probably equivalent to their one year normal restaurant business.

Mooncake is expensive. The normal one can easily cost above RM10 per cake. Its price is determined by factors such as taste, ingredient, packaging, and brand name. Normally the Chinese people buy mooncake as gift to friends, co-workers, relatives, neighbours, business partners during this Mid-Autumn Festival, more than buying for own consumption. The product has been so closely related to the season until nowadays Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as Mooncake Festival too.

The mooncake economy is an interesting business model which shows high risk (short period, short shelf life), high return (more than 400% profit). Perhaps for the businessmen, this product is even better than the Chinese mandarin sold during Chinese New Year.

Monday, August 25, 2008

About car engine oil

Whenever we bring our car to workshop for periodic maintenance service, the engine oil will be changed. Here are some of the essential knowledge about car engine oil that is practical to be known by every car owner.

The main function of the engine oil is to lubricate the piston movement, reduce direct contact between moving parts in the engine, and hence decrease the friction, wear & tear and heat produced. Some of its other functions are to clean up the engine, prevent oxidation and corrosion, etc.

There are 3 types of car engine oil available in the market:

  • Mineral oil: is the natural oil refined from petroleum. It needs to be changed every 5,000km.
  • Full-synthetic oil: is artificially synthesized (man-made) and consist of chemical compounds which were not originally present in natural petroleum. It has higher viscosity index than mineral oil, more expensive to produce and hence has a higher price tag too. It provides good protection to engine, able to enhances engine performance and power, and can help in fuel economy savings. It needs to be changed every 10,000km.
  • Semi-synthetic oil (synthetic formulation / synthetic blends): blends of mineral oil with no more than 30% of synthetic oil, to get some of the benefit from synthetic oil with a lower price tag. It provides better engine protection than mineral oil and performs better in reducing wear and tear. It needs to be changed every 7,500km.
The kinematic viscosity of car engine oil is graded with the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) gradings. The kinematic viscosity is measured at a reference temperature of 100°C. The higher the viscosity, the higher the SAE grade number is.

Nowadays a multi-grade SAE designation is normally used, which carries 2 numbers separated by a "W" in between. For example, here are the SAE gradings of engine oil used by the Toyota service centres in Malaysia:
  • Full-synthetic: 5W-40
  • Synthetic formulation: 10W-40
  • Premium mineral: 15W-50
The letter "W" denotes "Winter". The number before "W" indicates its cold crank performance. Lower number indicates the oil can be pumped by your engine even at a lower temperature. A 0W oil is well tested at -35°C, a 5W at -30°C, a 10W is tested at -25°C and a 15W is tested at -15°C. The number after "W" is the kinematic viscosity of the oil at high temperature. Oil with lower viscosity number is thiner.

It is advisable that you use the engine oil with the SAE rating as recommended by the car manufacturer. You can find this information in the car manual.

Bear in mind that the SAE grading does not state the quality of the oil. The quality of oil is determined by its API (American Petroleum Institute) rating.

For petrol engine using spark-plug ignition, the API listings start with letter "S" (meaning Service category), and for diesel engine using compression ignition, the API listings start with letter "C" (meaning Commercial category). Higher alphabet position of the 2nd letter denotes a better quality. For example, the SM rating has a better quality than SL. CJ-4 is better than CI-4.

Currently Toyota service centres in Malaysia use SM grade full synthetic oil, and SL grade for both synthetic formulation and premium mineral oil. Their diesel engine oil is CF grade.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bursa Malaysia to introduce new trading system soon

You might be awared from your remisier or securities firm about the news that Bursa Malaysia is going to deploy a new trading system called Bursa Trade Securities (BTS) soon, which is being developed with US-based Atos Euronext Market Solutions Ltd. This move is said to enhance the current equities and derivatives system to become a modern trading infrastructure.

The new system features a real-time matching compared to the current 10 second matching. It will has transparent pre-opening price, the best price limits info will be extended from the current 3 prices to 5. The closing price will also change from the current "last done price" to a "natural closing price".

This trading system upgrade will also initiate an upgrade to most of the online trading facilities provided by the securities firms, which require an upgrade to newer version of Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

You can click here to learn more about the new BTS system.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Petronas Win Free Petrol for 3 Years Contest

The Petronas "Win Free Petrol for 3 Years" Contest run from 18 August 2008 until 17 November 2008. It is opened to Malaysian citizen aged 18 and above who spend a minimum of RM30 in one transaction at any Petronas service stations with any Petronas affiliated Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card, ATM Bankcard, SmartPay or cash with Kad Mesra.

Cardholders who spend a minimum of RM30 in one transaction at any Petronas service stations during the Contest Period are automatically eligible for one entry. Any additional RM30 spent in a single receipt shall be treated as another entry. For example, a transaction of RM60 will entitle the Cardholder to two entries.

During each month of the Contest Period, 1 winner will be selected to win the Grand Prize and 799 winners will be selected to win the Consolation Prizes. In addition, for every month, an additional 88 lucky Petronas Maybankard Visa winners will be selected to win the special consolation prize.

The prizes are as follow:

  • Grand Prize - Free fuel for 3 years for 1 winner per calendar month valued at RM28,800.
  • Consolation Prizes - 3X refill of value purchased at Petronas Service Station for 799 winners per month. The maximum 3X refill of value purchased is RM600 only.
  • Special Consolation Prizes - 8X refill of value purchased at Petronas Service Station for 88 Petronas Maybankard Visa winners per month. The maximum 8X refill of value purchased is RM1,600 only.

Potential winners will be notified via telephone calls for verification and the potential winners are required to answer one simple question to get the prize.

3% petrol rebate for Petronas CIMB Mastercard

Today when I pump petrol in the Petronas station, I noticed their advertisement of providing 3% rebate for Petronas CIMB Mastercard. Currently, petrol expenditure with Petronas CIMB Mastercard at Petronas stations will get 2% rebate only.

However, I noticed that this 3% rebate is a promotion, valid from 18 September 2008 until 17 November 2008 only. This will make Petronas CIMB Mastercard to be one of the credit cards providing the highest amount of petrol rebate, competitive to the Shell Citibank Gold Credit Card.

Beside that, the 5X TreatsPoints promotion of Petronas Maybankard Visa which just ended by 31 July 2008 is also extended from 1 August 2008 until 31 December 2008.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Invalidity Pension Scheme of SOCSO

The Invalidity Pension Scheme of SOCSO provides a 24-hours coverage to employees against invalidity and death due to any cause not connected with employment before the age of 55 years.

"Invalidity" means a serious disease or disablement of a permanent nature that is either incurable or not likely to be cured, as a result of which an employee is unable to earn at least 1/3 of what a normally able person could earn. Heart attack, kidney failure, cancer, mental illness, chronic asthma and other similar conditions are chronic ailments or diseases that could be considered for invalidity.

The benefits provided include:

  • Invalidity Pension - this is only eligible for SOCSO members who contributed for more than 24 months, subjected to additional terms and conditions.
  • Invalidity Grant - this is an outright payment paid to worker or employee who does not qualify for the Invalidity Pension but has made at least 12 monthly contributions to SOCSO.
  • Survivors Pension - where an employee dies while receiving Invalidity Pension irrespective of his age, or has not reached the age of 55 years and met the conditions for receiving Invalidity Pension, irrespective of the cause of death, the dependants will be paid Survivors Pension.
  • Funeral Benefit - this benefit is paid to the eligible next-of-kind if an employee dies while receiving Invalidity Pension, or has not reached the age of 55 years and met the conditions for receiving Invalidity Pension.
  • Rehabilitation Benefit - an employer who suffers invalidity is also entitled to receive Rehabilitation Benefit as provided under the Employment Insurance Injury Scheme.

The Employment Injury Insurance Scheme of SOCSO

The Employment Injury Insurance Scheme of SOCSO provides protection to employees who suffer from accidents arising from work.

Its coverage includes:

  • Commuting accident while travelling to and from work, and while travelling to and from place for taking meals during work, and also during business journey related to work.
  • Accident that happens while performing official duty.
  • Occupational diseases due to hazards by the nature of work and those listed in the Fifth Schedule of the Employees' Social Security Act 1969.
The benefits provided include:
  • Medical benefit - free treatment under the coverage at a SOCSO Panel Clinic or any government hospital or clinic. Reimbursement for medical expenditure incurred at a non SOCSO Panel Clinic may only be submitted for consideration.
  • Temporary Disablement Benefit - employee who has been certified by a doctor to be unfit for work for not less than 4 days including the day of the accident is eligible for this benefit. This benefit will be paid for the period the employee is on medical leave.
  • Permanent Disablement Benefit - employee who has been certified by a Medical Board or an Appellate Medical Board to be suffering from permanent disablement as a result of an employment injury is eligible for this benefit. The employee may continue to work while receiving this benefit.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance - this allowance is paid to an employee who is suffering from permanent total disablement or 100% loss of earnings capacity, and is so severely incapacitated that he constantly requires the personal attendance of another person.
  • Funeral Benefits - where an employee dies as a result of an employment injury or while receiving disablement benefit, an amount of RM1,500 will be paid to the eligible next-of-kin.
  • Rehabilitation Benefit - SOCSO provides facilities for vocational and physical rehabilitation free of charge to employee who suffers from permanent disablement.
  • Dependant's Benefit - Where an employee dies as a result of an employment injury, the dependants are entitled to this benefit.
  • Education Benefit - this benefit comes in the form of a loan or scholarship given to dependant children of an insured employee who is in receipt of a monthly benefit, provided that the dependent children fulfil the eligibility conditions set by SOCSO.

About SOCSO a.k.a. PERKESO

Most of us as employee in Malaysia contribute to SOCSO (Social Security Organisation) a.k.a. PERKESO (Pertubuhan Keselamatan Social) every month. SOCSO contribution is deducted from our salary by our employer in a similar way to EPF a.k.a. KWSP contribution. Also similar to EPF, our employer is also required to contribute to our SOCSO account in addition to our own contribution, and the employer's portion is larger than the employee's.

In fact, under the current Employee’s Security Act, SOCSO contribution is compulsory for all Malaysian employee with monthly salary less than RM3,000. It is optional for those with starting salary above RM3,000. Under the "once in always in" principal, once we become a SOCSO member and contributed to SOCSO, we will continue to be member even though our salary increased to above RM3,000 later.

This salary ceiling of RM3,000 for SOCSO contribution was revised from the previous ceiling of RM2,000 on 10 September 2003 by the Malaysian Cabinet with amendments made to Act.

Foreign workers are not covered by SOCSO. They are protected under a separate Workmen's Compensation Act 1952 instead.

Currently, our MyKad identity number is also used as our SOCSO membership number.

So what are the benefits of being a SOCSO member?

There are 2 types of protection scheme for SOCSO members, namely the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme and the Invalidity Pension Scheme.

The Employment Injury Insurance Scheme provides protection to employees who are involved in accidents arising from out of employment, occupational diseases and also commuting accident, while the Invalidity Pension Scheme provides 24 hours coverage for workers from invalidity or dies irrespective of the cause of death.

Employees with age below 55 are covered under both the 2 schemes, and those above 55 are covered under the Employment Injury Insurance Scheme.

A SOCSO member or dependants will be entitled to the following benefits :

  • Periodical payments in the case of invalidity.
  • Periodical payments in the case of disablement suffered as a result of an employment injury.
  • Periodical payments to the dependants of member who dies as a result of an employment injury.
  • Payments for funeral benefit or expense on the death of member as a result of an employment injury.
  • Periodical payments to member who is in receipt of invalidity pension or disablement benefit and is so severely incapacitated or disabled as to require the personal attendance of another person.
  • Medical treatments for the attendance on member suffering from disablement.
  • Periodical payments to dependants of member who dies while in receipt of invalidity pension.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PeaZip the powerful free and open source file archiver

Similar to 7-Zip which I introduced in the blog earlier, PeaZip is another free and open source file archiver licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). It is developed in FreePascal.

PeaZip can deploy fast compression in ZIP and TAR.GZ formats, or very efficient speed / high compression ratio tradeoff in 7Z, BZ or ARC formats, or even highest levels of compression using PAQ family algorithms. It can handle many archive and compression formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream TAR and ZIP formats to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ, including:

  • Full support: 7Z, 7Z-sfx, ARC/WRC, BZ2/TBZ2, GZ/TGZ, PAQ/LPAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, split, TAR, UPX, ZIP;
  • Open, browse, extract, test: ACE, ARJ, CAB, CHM, COMPOUND (MSI, DOC, XLS, PPT), CPIO, ISO, Java (JAR, EAR, WAR), Linux (DEB, PET/PUP, RPM, SLP), LHA/LZH, LZMA, NSIS, OOo, PAK/PK3/PK4, RAR, SMZIP, U3P, WIM, XPI, Z/TZ.
It also supports features such as robust file copy, split/join files, quick or secure file deletion, byte to byte file compare, checksum/hash files, system benchmark, generate random passwords and keyfiles.

The same features and look and feel is available to all Windows version and also on Linux. It is also available in standalone portable apps format which does not require installation to use.

PeaZip is focused on security and supports multiple encrypted archive formats:
  • 7Z, with AES256 encryption;
  • ARC, with AES256, Blowfish, Twofish256 and Serpent256 encryption;
  • PEA, with AES256 authenticated encryption (EAX mode);
  • ZIP with WinZip's AE encryption based on AES256.

PeaZip is powerful. You can click here to download and try it out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The 51th independence day of Malaysia

On the 31 August of every year, Malaysia will commemorate the independence of the Federation of Malaya since 1957 from British colonial rule. This day is the Independence Day a.k.a. Merdeka Day of Malaysia.

The Merdeka Theme for year 2008 will be "Perpaduan Teras Kejayaan" (Unity Is The Pillar of Success), and the logo will be as below:

This logo was chosen from a contest which saw some 800 entries, with the winner Anuar Dan walking away with RM10,000 for his entry.

To recall, the Federation of Malaysia, comprising the States of Malaya, North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore was also planned to be officially declared on the date of 31 August 1963, which is the 6th anniversary of Malayan independence. However, it was postponed to 16 September 1963 then, which was coincidently also the birthday of Lee Kuan Yew, former prime minister of Singapore. Singapore left the federation two years later. 16 September is Malaysia Day, which is not declared as public holiday.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hacker Halted Malaysia 2008

The Hacker Halted event, being one of the most prestigious worldwide IT Security event organized by EC-Council is going to be held for the 11th time in Malaysia. This is the third time it will be held in Malaysia, after the pioneer event in 2004 which was officiated by the Deputy Prime Minister.

There will be 2 days pre-conference workshops session by USA master trainers and another 2 days conference session by renowned speakers. This event also has a special bundling with IT security program.

Among some of the top speakers in Hacker Halted Malaysia 2008 are James Aquilina (Executive Managing Director, Stroz Friedberg LLC), Tom Bowers (Independent Security Evangelist), Mike Murray (Director, Neohapsis), Professor Lech Janczewski (Associate Professor, University of Auckland), Paul Wright (Head of Cyber Crime, City of London Police), Jay Bavisi (President, EC-Council), Larry Detar (Vice President, EC-Council), Haja Mohideen (Co-Founder, EC-Council).

Date: 3-6 November 2008
Venue: Sunway Convention Centre, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Click here for more information about Hacker Halted Malaysia 2008 and download of registration form.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Touch n Go Auto-reload Zing Card

If you carry a credit card issued by certain bank in Malaysia, you might aware from the bank's promotion about this Touch 'n Go card named as Zing Card that will auto-reload by itself.

With the auto-reload feature, you no longer have to worry about not enough balance in your Touch 'n Go card when you use it, and you no longer need to take the hassle to reload its balance. Furthermore, you have earn some reward points or get some cash rebate from your credit card every time it is auto-reloaded.

In fact, the innovation of the card has won the “Most Innovative Prepaid Card Award” from The European Financial Management & Marketing Association (EFMA). Its concept is simple: every time the card balance falls below RM50, it will trigger the auto-reload mechanism to reload RM100 into the card. The reload is done automatically in the system and you don't need to do anything. A service fee of RM2 will be charged every time it auto-reloads, which is more expensive than reloading your normal Touch 'n Go card at ATM machine and charged for RM0.50, but you can save on your time and petrol required to reach the ATM machine. For security reason, the auto-reload is limited to one time per day only.

You need to be a member of VISA or Master credit card issued by a participating institution offering the Touch 'n Go Zing Card as companion card to their credit cards. Those credit card issuers include:

  • Maybank
  • Hong Leong Bank
  • EON Bank
  • Affin Bank
  • MBf Card
  • AEON Credit Service
This Zing Card has no annual fee, but normally a RM10 is charged when the card is issued to you. Currently some of the issuers offer the Zing Card for free and waive the RM10 charge during promotion period.

This Zing Card is also covered under the CPP Card Protection Plan, so if you are also a CPP member, you may include your Zing Card into your protected card listings with CPP.

I have been using my Zing Card for years and find it really convenient. It also works with Smart Tag too. If you are a Touch 'n Go user, you'd probably want to switch over to Zing Card too.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.