Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Never ignore the indicators !!!!

I started for a meeting yesterday morning about 9 am, since I had to be at West Port, near the harbour about 50+ kms from my office in my car - proton wira. I had seen the petrol indicator which was flashing earlier & now it appeared to be steady. I had expected that the fuel would suffice for me to reach the client place & on the way back I can fill up comfortably. I had to pick my colleague from the office and then we together head for the client place.

The journey to client location was peaceful & we made in time. We (office colleague) finished with the meeting & we were heading towards KL, when we came to point where we had to cross over a bridge which runs over the river. The car starts giving jolts and sort of turning off and on.. and that's where it hit me that the fuel level is gone too low for me to drive till the nearest petrol station. I still try to push it since I see a climb on the bridge which will then help me get down the slope. 

But no, it was not to happen & I was stuck halfway on the climb with no gas. My colleague got out & we decided that we will need to get petrol from the nearest petrol station and we started waving at any car going past us. I forgot to mention that this was a highway where we had gone dry & there were huge trailer trucks passing us by & making the car shake/vibrate as if some large crane was trying to move us. Well I start on the parking/emergency lights & open the luggauge trunk so as to make it clear for vehicles coming from behind that we are not moving & we have some problem.

In about 3-4 minutes we were able to get help from a passing car who welcomed my colleague to give a life till the nearest petrol station. So I was left alone by the car waiting for my colleague to return with the petrol. Well the place where we had visited was still in the making & so I could not use the toilet there and had planned for the same at the petrol station. So I was holding back!!! not a good idea!!

Lot of vehicles pass by & try to figure out what's wrong, but nobody except another car offers to give some help, which I let go, since we already were working on it. It is almost 12:45 pm almost 45 minutes & I wonder what happened to my colleague since he had not returned. I called him on his cell & got to know that he had returned with the petrol & was coming back taking a U turn since there was no way to cross over from the other side of the divider. Apparently my colleague had to walk a few distance since he didnot get any help while coming back where he was dropped. 

Finally he came & now we had to figure a way to pour the petrol into the tank, since the tank has a flap for avoiding spillover. I used the jack lever to push it aside & then poured all the 2 litre or so petrol into the tank. I went in to give the car a start.... it started and immediately died off. I thought maybe it had gone dry so it might take time to start, so we kept trying for another 5-10 minutes. Still the car was coming to life..

Then I gave up & decided to call the towing company Lonpac to provide me with the help to get my car towed to the nearest petrol station. I got thru the call & the lady there said, she shall ask their tow truck to get in touch with us. Apparently this was going to take time. So I thought of trying a few more times.. 

Then we happen to see towards the street & realise that we were at an incline & maybe if we can just push the car past the climb then we could get some slope to try and push the car & get it started.

I got out and my colleague sat at the wheel. It was difficult for both of us to push together since on the driver side, the vehicles were going past too close & it was scary choice. I started pushing the car & meanwhile my colleague tried starting the car but still no luck.. Well it was about 10 minsutes past 1 pm  & the day was quite hot & I trying to use my strength against pushing the car to make it climb was really making me exhausted. I started sweating like anything & my mouth was feeling dry. I was almost on the verge of giving up, when finally we just reached the pinnacle of the climb & we started climbing down & within 1-2 minutes the car gave in & started. 

By now I was panting and puffing & sweating.. and almost half of my shirt was wet & my back completely wet. I jumped into the car & we started towards the nearest petrol station. In about 10-15 minutes we came to the petrol pump. I called the towing truck to cancel my request & they did so, gladly!!!

I went to fill up using my credit card apparently they had their Credit card machines down and they were only accepting cash!!!!! what a day !!! So apparently my colleague had about RM 30 odd with him & so we filled up about 16+ litres and started towards the office. I used the restroom and was getting thirsty & feeling very drained from the afternoon workout.. :)) So my colleague helped me with a 100 plus 500 ml, which helped me get back to my senses.

We returned to office without any further drama and we straight away went for lunch..... 

Moral : If you get your petrol indicator flashing for almost empty petrol tank don't take chances. Fill up petrol at the nearest petrol station & then you can continue peacefully. Indicators are meant to do their job...!!!! Acting on them is our job...!!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Trains in Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian capital has few metro system to connect different parts of the city

When you land in KL by air you can get into the country by a lovely train - called as KLIA express after the airport name and express since it takes you to the airport from city (Kl central) in 28 minutes. This will cost you RM 35 for one way journey. This is the best mode of travel when you travel during peak hours or specially if you are short of time. Although it works out to be expensive if you are more than 2 people since you could get a cab for the airport RM 90-100. This is one of the most admired train services which always is punctual for time. KLIA Ekspres air-conditioned carriages are equipped with comfortable contoured seats, a washroom, overhead racks for light luggage and tiered racks for large luggage. Special wheelchair seat compartments have been allocated on board for the disabled.  Secured containers are used to transport the check-in and check-out luggage.  Backed by Siemens technology, KLIA Ekspres promises to be fast, reliable and comfortable.  Your safety is further assured with the fail-safe. Automatic Train Protection System. Public commuters may also ride on KLIA Ekspres as long as they have a valid KLIA Ekspres ticket

Train frequency:

  • every 15 minutes during peak hours*

  • every 20 minutes during off peak hours

  • every 30 minutes after midnight

KLIA Transit is a rapid transit service designed specially for commuters and airport personnel. It makes 3 quick intermediate stops along key townships - Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya & Cyberjaya and Salak Tinggi.  KLIA Transit integrates with KTM Commuter and STAR LRT at Bandar Tasik Selatan and with Putrajaya Monorail at Putrajaya's Western Transport Terminal.  KLIA Transit departs every half-an-hour from KL Sentral and KLIA terminals. Total journey time is 36 minutes. Fares are based on distance traveled. Tickets can be purchased through ticket vending machines and ticket counters at the terminal and station. 

Feeder Bus Servicing KLIA Transit Putrajaya & Cyberjaya station.  The Nadiputra feeder service which currently covers Putrajaya city and Cyberjaya's Persiaran Multimedia is owned by Perbadanan Putrajaya. 

KELANA JAYA LINE (Formerly known as PUTRA Line)

Kelana Jaya Line uses the state-of-the-art driverless system by Advanced Rapid Transit Mark II technology from Canada. It has a proven record of very high performance specification in North America and Europe and is designed to meet the demands of a modern city of Kuala Lumpur.

The alignment starts from the Depot in Subang and ends at Gombak Station totaling to 29km in length with a total of 24 stations. Interestingly it passes thru KLCC & KL Central station which are two important stations. 

MPANG LINE (Formerly known as STAR line)

Adtranz German is the make of trains and system for these two lines. Phase I was opened in September 1998 between Sultan Ismail Station to Sri Petaling and Ampang Stations and in December 1998 from Sultan Ismail Station to Sentul Timur.

It has 25 stations throughout the 27 km, transporting passengers from the northern, north-eastern and south-western suburbs in the Klang Valley.

The KL Monorail system consists of a single dual-way line that serves a total of 11 stations located along the southeast and northeast regions of Kuala Lumpur that had previously receive insufficient access to rail transport, namely Brickfields, Bukit Bintang, Bukit Nanas, Chow Kit and Titiwangsa. Only the line's two terminus stations run along a single track. Of the 11 stations, 4 are designated as "integrated stations" that are used as interchanges to and from the Ampang Line, Kelana Jaya Line or other transit services provided at Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

The stations themselves are largely designed in the same fashion, as elevated structures with a ticketing facilities on either the ground level (as seen in the KL Sentral station), or the first level. The platforms are located on the top floor, separated from the monorail lines with fencing and covered with a large cream canvas roof. Certain stations are situated above roadways, or are slightly longer than others. Each station is also designated with a sponsor, with route maps associating each station with a particular company.

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) or Malayan Railways Limited is the main rail operator in Peninsular Malaysia. The 1,000 mm (3 ft 3⅜ in) gauge railway network in Peninsular Malaysia is controlled by KTM, consists of two main lines and several branch lines.

The West Coast line runs from Padang Besar on the Malaysia-Thailand Border in Perlis (where it connects with the State Railway of Thailand's network) to Singapore via Butterworth, Penang (for connections to Penang) and Kuala Lumpur. It is called the West Coast line because it serves the West Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia.

The East Coast line runs between Gemas in Negeri Sembilan and Tumpat with Rantau Panjang, both in Kelantan. Gemas is the rail junction between the West Coast and East Coast lines. Like the West Coast line, it is called the East Coast line because it serves two of Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast states, namely Pahang and Kelantan. In fact, it does not run along the coast at all and only meets the South China Sea when it terminates in Tumpat. It runs through the interior, often through deep jungle, thus earning the nickname "Jungle Railway". Terengganu is the only state in Peninsular Malaysia not served by the railway network, whereas Melaka is served by the Tampin Station in Pulau Sebang which is in the Malaccan side (Alor Gajah District) of Tampin town. Tampin is being cut through by the Melaka-Negeri Sembilan state boundary. The total length of the network is 1,699 km.

All of the lines in the KTM network are single-track, except for the section of the main line between Ipoh and Seremban, and also the branch line Sentul-Kuala Lumpur-Port Klang, which is now double tracked and electrified to 25kV AC, to accommodate electric commuter trains.

Running: Knowing the Basics Goes a Long Way

If you think you are growing old or having problem coping with the daily chores due to tiredness or you have become sloppy... or simply for that matter you decide that you need to have a good routine to start to maintain good health.. then here is something you can look at before starting & specially if running is something you plan to do to keep your health good.

I am glad to have found this article and the good thing is that it is already proven and tested since it comes from none other than Dr. Michael Roizen & Dr. Mehmet Oz who right for Real Age.

one can get useful tips by subscribing to Real age as well.. 

Have a Healthy life!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Working in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)

This article should be good for expats (especially for Indians) looking at moving to Kuala Lumpur for Job opportunity. This is purely based on my personal experience and someone needing more detailed or specific information can always look up the information on the internet.

1.How much does one have to pay for a rental house in Kuala Lumpur ? And how much to buy a house...say a 2 BHK one?

Ans: A family of 3-4 people will preferably need to go for atleast a 2 bedroom apartment (Condominium) if available or will have to go in for a 3 bedroom unit. In KL a 2bedroom apartment is also referred to as 4 room apartment (2 bedroom+1 Kitchen+1 Hall) & similarly 5 room in case of 3 bedroom unit. Central KL, Damansara, Mont Kiara, Sri Hartamas, Ampang etc are posh areas in KL & demand high rentals mostly starting from 3K upwards. 
Bedroom - Rentals: RM 1400 - RM 1700 (higher being places closer to city or market)

3 Bedrooms - Rentals: RM 1600 - RM 2000+

I stay near Taman Seputeh or near the Mid-valley Mega Mall, which is a popular mall to hang around. Although our apartments are little off the main road & hence unless one drives,  it is tedious to get hold of taxis, unless you promise to pay them extra on top of the meter reading by RM 5 or so.

Buying House in Malaysia: One can buy house in Malaysia but the condition is that an expat can go for a house costing at least 250,000 and nothing lower than this to own a house. Usually a 2 bedroom house price will start from RM 200,000 or so depending on how old the place is, but the recently built condominiums would start at 350,000 or more.

2.Which are the good/decent residential areas(not very highly priced, though) 
Ans: Most of Indian expats have usually preferred to stay close to the public transport areas or where the Indian items for food, grocery & typical Indian needs are easily available. Based on these criteria, the reasonably decent & not so highly priced residential areas will be as follows:

In the order of preference based on rates:

KL Central Zone Area: 

Brickfields area - Palm Court, Pines Court are few of the condominiums popular (although I personally won't recommend these), Scott Villa Condo, Robson Condo, Robson Heights, Taman Seputeh, Sussana Condominium (high-end) etc.


Bangsar Area:

Araville, Bangsar Indah, Bayu Angkasa, Casa Vista, Cascadium,  Contessa, Desa Bangsaria, Jamnah View, Impian Emas, Pantai Hill Park (Hillpark), Park Rose, Sri Penaga, Sri Wangsaria, Sri Kasturina, Tivoli Villa, etc.




·         Ampang

·         Bandar Sunway

·         Balakong

·         Batu Caves

·         Batu 9 Cheras

·         Kajang

·         Cheras

·         Petaling Jaya

·         Klang

·         Putrajaya

·         Puchong

·         Sepang

·         Selayang

·         Sg. Buloh

·         Seri Kembangan

·         Subang Jaya

·         Shah Alam



Kuala Lumpur


·         Bangsar

·         Ampang

·         Bukit Jalil

·         Brickfields

·         Damansara

·         Cheras

·         Gombak

·         Desa Petaling

·         Jalan Klang Lama

·         Jalan Ipoh

·         Kepong

·         Jalan Kuching

·         Segambut

·         Keramat

·         Setapak

·         Mont' Kiara

·         Sri Petaling

·         Sentul

·         Taman Melawati

·         Sri Hartamas

·         Taman Tun Dr Ismail

·         Sungai Besi




3. How much does spend on an average on commuting ? How much would one spend if one were to buy a car there?

Ans: Public transport is not that great in KL and most comfortable and cheap mode of transport would be to look for buying your own car, wherein you could go in for a local make or foreign car based on your budget. Coming back to public transport the train network is spread across KL region & the network is in such a way that you can hop from one route to another at the intersections although there is no single common station for doing this and varies.


Train: Frequency: peak hours: 3-5 minutes & off Peak Hours: 8 -12 minutes. Usually one will spend between 80 Cents to RM 2.5 for one way journey. I shall give details of the trains running across in my subsequent blog post – KL Train Network


Buses also do cover the KL area and are convenient if you have point to point buses available for your route. But again since the buses use roads they can be stuck in the traffic congestion and can’t be reliable for journeys which are to be completed in target timelines.


Buses: Frequency: peak hours: 10-15 minutes & off Peak Hours: 15-20 minutes. Usually one will spend between 80 Cents to RM 2.5 for one way journey.


Taxis: For emergencies or when traveling members exceed 2 pax then this is the most convenient & fastest mode unless one gets caught in traffic which too is possible only during peak hours or Friday evenings or public holidays depending on the areas one wants to visit. The fare starts at RM 2.00 for regular taxis and starts at RM 4.00 or RM 5.50 for premium taxis. Some special premium taxis charging flat rates like RM 70-100 for airport from the place where you start within KL limits, are also available. Recent times the cars used as taxis has also changed & you can get Hyundai matrix or Proton (National car maker) Waja or Perdana or Kia models as taxis. The normal budget taxi will appear to be small and little uncomfortable as compared to others. Nonetheless the taxis are best mode of travel if you want hassle free journey & want to get to places in shorter time. A word of caution is to make sure you clearly check with the driver that he knows the place you want to go & is not shady character. I personally have had bad experience with the Malaysian India taxi drivers and prefer any other driver.


4. How much does one spend on entertainment there?


This is very subjective although I shall try to give the general cost related to entertainment.



Eating out for 2 persons in an Indian restaurant (Anjappar/ Saravana Bhavan/ Gems) etc: RM 20-30 at least for Vegetarian meal & RM 20-30 more or higher for non-veg meal.

A can of coke: RM 1.20

Big Mac: RM 3.95 & meal: RM 9.95 ( although during current times McD has come up with value meals during lunch time for RM 5.95)

Cigarettes (20): RM 11.00 & above

Bottle of wine: At least RM 30 onwards for something decent, more if you order one at a restaurant

Loaf of bread: RM 2.00 (white) & RM 4.10 (brown)

Starbucks drink: RM 8 onwards

Movie ticket: RM 11 onwards on weekends and public holidays & weekdays at RM 8

One hour at an internet cafe: RM 2


Mobile phone: Deposit (RM 500) + RM 50/ 80/ 120 depending on the plan – one could also opt for prepaid phones which are available with top-ups in small amounts.

Home computer: RM 1700

Laptop: RM 2500

DVD player: RM 100 onwards

Plasma TV : RM 1800 onwards depending on make

5. Normally how much goes off in tax deduction, what is the computation?


Ans: Please check my blog under Country Guide - Individual Income Tax - Salaried Employee for Kuala Lumpur although just an important point to note - if you stay less than 183 days in a calendar year in Malaysia be ready to pay 28% flat as tax on your income. If you stay more than 183 days in a calendar year make sure you check all the benefits available for any type of insurance investments or any other purchases made on personal front.


6. If one goes on a spouse visa, can the spouse take up a job legally there?

Ans: Spouse is given a dependant Visa when he or she travels with the person on employment pass. This directly does not allow the spouse to work & is considered illegal. Spouse would need a working permit for working with any company in Malaysia. Advantage in getting job is good for spouses from IT industry. Other professionals like Sales, Doctors, Teachers, etc are usually hard to find a job but if you know some people & try smartly one could get job.

Malays who make up about 57% of the population, followed in order by the Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups.

Bahasa Malaysia is the national language which everyone speaks to a certain degree, but English is widely spoken. The Chinese and Indians are able to speak a variety of dialects while the ethnic groups have their own unique language.

Malaysians live in a multireligious society. Islam is the official religion but other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism are practised.

Malaysia has a tropical climate with warm weather all year round with consistent rainfall, more towards the year-end. Temperatures range from 21°C to 32°C. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm.

 I would welcome any specific queries & would appreciate if you could leave your comments or suggestions. Please do share this with someone in need of this kind of information around you.

All the best!!!!!