Good cheer as Malaysians usher in Xmas


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 25 Dec 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: There's magic in the air and revelry all around as Malaysians celebrate Christmas the last of the major festive celebrations before the New Year.

The festivity in multi-racial Malaysia is marked with gift-giving, music, church celebrations and special family meals.

Christian homes are a-glitter with festive decorations that include Christmas trees, lights, nativity scenes, garlands and figurines of Santa Claus.

The season has brought a buzz of economic activities in every city and town from Perlis to Sabah with retailers and businesses drawing an endless stream of visitors to malls, restaurants and cinemas.

More than 600,000 people are expected to gather at i-City in Shah Alam for a four-day countdown bash that starts on Wednesday, which will include outdoor games, free haircuts as well as manicure and pedicure treatments, a band contest, a futsal competition and a Road Transport Department summons discount counter.

Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia are bursting at the seams with holiday makers going to destinations within the country and abroad.

AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman-Rani said 95% of flights were already filled until the end of the year, with Australia, Japan and South Korea the top picks this year.

Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya also said most routes were fully booked throughout the holiday season.

PLUS Expressways confirmed that traffic leading out and into the city had been heavy since Friday evening.

In MALACCA, the cool weather due to the year-end rainy season and the state's historic city reputation have drawn visitors from far and wide, with hotels reporting full occupancy right up to the New Year.

Malacca Tourism Association president Madelina W.L. Kuah said the number of holidaymakers in Malacca has been “crazy”.

Most hotels reported almost 100% occupancy, she added.

In PENANG, hotels, cinemas and recreational spots are packed with local and foreign visitors descending on the island.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter president Marco Battistoti said the island had recorded an increase of 8% to 9% of tourists compared to last year.

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