Monthly Archives: November 2011

PayPal Opens Regional Support Center in Malaysia

PayPal announced it will open a new regional customer support center in Malaysia. The site opens with 200 employees and they may hire up to 300 more employees over the next 3 years. PayPal’s new facility will offer service and support for customers across Southeast Asia as well as provide operational support for PayPal’s global payment service.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, PayPal’s new customer support center is currently hiring for a wide range of positions including customer service, merchant support and other operational support roles. PayPal is now accepting resumes from experienced applicants (I had added a link to apply but their job site is so lame I removed it – hopefully Paypal isn’t as backward as their job site makes it appear, or those jobs might not last long).

“PayPal is experiencing phenomenal growth in the Asia Pacific region and this new support center demonstrates our commitment to offering a safe, secure online payment platform to millions of customers across the region, especially in Southeast Asia,” said John McCabe, senior vice president of global customer service and operations, PayPal. “We chose Malaysia because of its highly-skilled, globally competitive and multilingual workforce, in addition to a world-class business environment and technology infrastructure.”

“We believe their decision to put up a major regional facility here is a strong endorsement of Malaysia as a vibrant hub for the high-technology industry. As an MSC Malaysia-status company, PayPal is an important and strategic partner to us, as we move towards realising our nation’s goal of becoming an innovative digital economy,” said Datuk Ghazali, CEO of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

Kuala Lumpur joins the other customer support locations for Paypal: Shanghai, China; Chandler, Arizona, USA; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Berlin, Germany.

Adding jobs such as these in the key growth areas of technology and financial services is important for Malaysia’s economic plan. Attracting these companies to locate here is important. And keeping them here and having them add jobs will be a big factor in the future of the Malaysian economy.

It is also important to build the economy in multiple areas, targeting: Johor, Penang, Sarawak and Kuala Lumpor makes sense to me. And given the success in Kuala Lumpor already, I would really try and focus on adding jobs elsewhere whenever possible. Still, gains in Kuala Lumpor are a very positive sign. And targeting several industries is also wise, good targets for Malaysia: internet technology, finance (especially in the areas of back office support for Singapore and Islamic finance), energy, manufacturing, health care and education. Advancing the progress on the residence pass for talented expats would be a big help for Malaysia’s economic future.

Related: Penang’s Economic GainsThe Investment Potential for Iskandar is Attracting Interest from Great BritainPenang Condo Market

Growing Your Own Food With a Balcony Vegetable Garden

A few years ago I starting growing my own vegetables and I found it incredible convient. You can save money too, but my main purpose is to eat food that taste better and is better for me. I have started a vegetable garden on the balcony of my condo in Johor Bahru.

photo of the Nursery near KSL Mall

Front of the nursery by John Hunter.

First I needed to buy some supplies. I was referred to a great nursery two blocks from KSL mall: Skyt Perniagaan Ming.

The planting boxes they have are especially nice. Very light but made of strong plastic. They also have a divider to leave a bit of room at the bottom of the planter for water to drain and the ability to let the water drain out the bottom by removing plugs (if you use it outside). If you use the boxes indoors you can leave the plugs in and it won’t drain out the bottom. They have 2 sizes, I got the smaller ones, which are about 25 cm by 75 cm by 20 cm (deep). They actually suggested the larger size for growing vegetables so we will see if I made a mistake.

photo of the plants inside the nursery

Plants inside the nursery

I never used fertilizer when I grew in my yard. I just used some compost and regular dirt. I am using some long release fertilizer at their suggestion for these containers. I barely need to water them as it rains nearly every day heavily enough to water the plants (Since there is a balcony right above mine, there has to be a fair amount of wind and rain for nature to take care of the watering for me).

I didn’t buy enough seed packets at first (the packets don’t have a large number of seeds – many of the types don’t). I have bought more seeds now but in the interim I also just planted some seeds from some peppers and tomates I ate from the grocery store. Those tomato plants seem to be doing great (though I am not sure they will work in these small containers (they are the large, regular, tomatoes).

Related: The Science of GardeningMee Bandung at JB Station KopitiamEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.condos for rent to expats in Johor Bahru

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KSL Mall in Downtown Johor Bahru

KSL Mall is one of 5 fairly large malls in downtown Johor Bahru. The others are Danga City Mall, Plaza Pelangi, City Square (right next to CIQ) and Holiday Plaza Mall. The S1 bus will take you between all the malls and runs about every 20 minutes between 10 AM and 8 PM (and less frequently earlier and later in the day).

photo of KSL Mall in Johor Bahru, Malaysia

KSL Mall in Johor Bahru

KSL mall is the newest and has luxury condo towers still under construction. The photo also shows that the area surrounding the mall all has some shops.

Inside the mall there are many choices for clothing, food, and beauty salons. The tenants include Tesco, MBO Cinemas and Sleep to Live. MBO Cinemas is one of the better options for watching movies in Johor Bahru. I would estimate there are over 60 stores (not including restaurants).

Some of the restaurants I like: Sushi King, The Manhattan Fish Market (my one order so far was great and seemed more Malaysian than Manhattan to me) and BreadTalk (bakery). I would guess there are over 40 places to eat.

For the downtown malls I believe City Square is the most used by visitors from Singapore (it is so close to CIQ that it is very convenient). KSL Mall and Danga City Mall (especially for computer and electronic equipment) are the others with the largest amount of Singapore visitors. Though the majority of Singapore visitors go to several of the larger malls outside of downtown, I believe. The malls get very busy on the weekends, with lots of visitors from Singapore, and also others who are off work for the weekend. During the week the traffic in the malls is often very light. The sales staff seems to spend more time using their cell phones (to I am guessing IM with friends) than anything else, during the week.

As with all of the malls I have visited here they have space to let out for daily or multi-day events that usually include incredibly loud speakers. The speakers are often blasting out more than enough decibels to damage your ears anytime you need to get by that area of the mall. I would imagine this helps explain why loud noises don’t seem to bother people so much (once you lose hearing from exposure to lots of excessively loud noise you don’t notice it – because of hearing loss).

Related: JB Station Kopitiam at Danga City MallBus to Jusco Mall in Permas JayaUsed Bookstore in Danga City Mall