Friday, 17 May 2019

(The Star) Largest fully automated IBS plant

GELANG PATAH: FOREST City Industrialised Building System (IBS) Plant was recently honoured by the Malaysia Book of Records (MBR) for being the largest fully automated IBS factory in the country.

With a total investment of RM 2.6bil, the IBS plant features technologies from Germany, Italy and China was launched in August 2017 in Gelang Patah, Johor.

This initiative is in line with the government’s call for more adoption of IBS technology in the private sector.

CGPV Industrial Building Systems (CIBS) Sdn Bhd executive general manager Jerry Wang received the recognition from MBR adjudicator Edwin Yeoh.

The 18-acre plant comprises eight production lines, a concrete batching plant and storage yard.

Coupled with the in-house Building Information Technology (BIM) design, the plant has the capability of churning out 13 types of building components with a planned capacity to produce 260,000 cubic metres of materials.

The output capacity is enough to cover one million square metres of built area which is equivalent to 9,000 apartment units per annum.

The IBS construction method hopes to change the 3D (dirty, dangerous and difficult) image of the construction industry but such new technology will need economics of scale to achieve cost savings as the initial capital expenditure is a big hurdle for most construction companies in Malaysia.

The Country Garden Malaysia and Forest City strategy director Ng Zhu Hann said that they are aware of the government’s call for more affordable housing to be built across Malaysia through the National Housing Policy 2.0.

“As a contribution to this National Housing Policy 2.0, we are always ready to supply and instal IBS components for both the government and the private developers’ affordable housing projects,” he said at the event where Works Minister Baru Bian was the guest-of -honour.

Also present was the CGPV executive general manager Hugo Wu, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) chief executive Datuk Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

Ismail said that CGPV chose to set up a plant in Gelang Patah instead of Klang Valley due to its strategic location.

“CGPV finds Gelang Patah to be the most strategic location in attracting those Malaysian talents who are working in the Singapore construction industry to come back and share their experience and knowledge with the local staff.

“As a result, the plant’s workforce currently has more than 80% of Malaysians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Baru said he was impressed with the IBS operations.

“After seeing the factory and the technology, I believe that this is a very good idea and our ministry would definitely support the efforts made by Forest City.

“This is the way forward for the construction industry,” he added.

(The Star) Popular brand opens new outlet

JOHOR BARU: New York design house and lifestyle brand Coach is now at Mid Valley Southkey Mall in Johor Baru here.

The store’s outlet showcases the brand’s distinctive Modern Luxury concept and features a craftsmanship bar to provide leather and monogramming services.

This new outlet was developed by Coach’s executive creative director Stuart Vevers.

Drawing from a wide range of influences, the concept places a premium on contrasting textures and luxe materials.

This store has a well-decorated entrance with warm lighting and inviting interior which creates a sense of discovery specially for the visitors.

Just like its heritage, it showcases library-inspired design elements with authentic details inspired by Coach’s New York City roots.

The store offers both men’s and women’s collection housing a wide assortment of bags, small leather goods, footwear, accessories and a selection of ready-to-wear collection.

Putting heritage and craft as its main focus, Coach Craftsmanship Bar will also be launched.

It aims to provide the finest leather services such as leather care and restoration, cleaning and monogramming exclusively to elevate its customers’ unique experience with Coach.

It is located at G-071, Ground Floor in The Mall, Mid Valley SouthKey which is strategically located in the down town area of Johor Baru and it is open from 10am to 10pm everyday.

For more details, call 07-336 4088.

(The Star) Construction cost for Sibu projects could be lower

SIBU: Two new roads and a bridge proposed for this town can be constructed at a lower cost of between RM70mil and RM100mil instead of the projected RM400mil.

Pelawan assemblyman David Wong said the roads concerned are from Jalan Wong King Hoe to Road Transport Department office at Jalan Ulu Oya Lama and Jalan Teku to Kemuyang, while the proposed bridge is to link Jalan Ulu Sungai Merah to Permai.

Wong said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister, Tan Sri James Masing, in his winding-up speech at the just-concluded State Legislative Assembly sitting, had tabled the projects under the Mid-term Review at a projected total cost of RM400mil.

“I believe the projects can be built at a much lower cost. The 7km Jalan Teku to Kemuyang road can be built for RM30mil, and 7km Jalan Wong King Hoe to JPJ office road at RM30mil while the bridge can be built at a cost of RM10mil. However, according to Masing, the three projects need RM400mil to be constructed,” he added.

Wong said he believed his projected cost was possible as the land on which the projects are situated belongs to the state, while the bridge should be built as a single lane instead of dual lane.

“If we can reduce the projects cost to between RM70mil and RM100mil, it can be quickly implemented with the RM1.9bil state budget for 2019. We would not have to wait a long time to get the RM400mil allocation,” he added.

The projects, he stressed, would benefit five state constituencies of Pelawan, Nangka, Dudong, Bukit Assek and Bawang Assan.

Wong also praised James Masing for putting politics aside for the people of the town.

“After I told James of my proposal, he immediately asked the Sibu Division Public Works Department engineer to see me. I will see James next week. I hope that after we have submitted our report, the projects can commence next year,” he added.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

(NST) OCBC expects 2019 GDP growth at 4.4pct

KUALA LUMPUR: OCBC Bank expects Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow 4.4 per cent this year.

OCBC economist Alan Lau said the current data print continued to indicate slow momentum in the Malaysian economy for the coming year amid the uncertain and weak global trade environment.

Lau said Bank Negara Malaysia’s rate cut last week may be viewed as a pre-emptive measure to this slowdown.

He said at this point, OCBC did not expect further cuts this year barring signs pointing to an even bigger downturn in growth.

The first quarter’s GDP growth of 4.5 per cent year-on-year was just slightly above the bank’s forecast at 4.4 per cent and the Bloomberg median consensus forecast at 4.3 per cent.

Lau said as economic concerns and government consolidation would likely continue for the rest of the year, the bank was still expecting investment to come out weaker.

“That said, the government did recently announce that the East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia projects would be carrying on and this may provide a boost to the economy but there is still no certain details on when it would actually restart,” he said.

Lau said mining and quarrying was the only sector to see a decline, at 2.1 per cent year-on-year amid production disruptions to the sector.

“There are also additional concerns going forward that the sector may still face a number challenges as recent news reports have highlighted that there will be maintenance works on fields offshore Sabah in addition to a temporary shutdown of the Sabah-Sarawak LNG pipelines.

The construction sector experienced a slowdown in growth at 0.3 per cent year-on-year.

The other sectors were broadly stable with the exception of agriculture, which saw a pick-up 5.6 per cent year-on-year, although this sector alone would not be able to sufficiently boost the country’s growth, he said.

On weaker trade volumes, Lau said this was unsurprising given the subdued global trade situation and production weaknesses in the mining sector.

“There are also rising risks to the external environment given the escalating trade tensions although Malaysia to some extent may still be able to benefit from substitution effects. Net exports though was a positive contributor to growth,” he said.

(NST) Ekovest opens Xin Dau Ji restaurant in EkoCheras Mall, first in Southeast Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Ekovest Bhd’s food and beverages (F&B) division and wholly-owned subsidiary Duke Dinings Sdn Bhd (DDSB), officially opened Xin Dau Ji (XDJ) restaurant, the first in South East Asia, in EkoCheras Mall today.

XDJ is one of Hong Kong’s most outstanding restaurant brands that specialises in seafood and traditional Chinese cuisine.

The launch of XDJ in EkoCheras Mall today also marks another major milestone for DDSB.

DDSB group director Jong Wei Wei the company is pleased to introduce the established brand to Malaysia.

"As Malaysia’s F&B sector is booming, it is our intention to fill the gap in the market for affordable lifestyle-driven dining concepts, and XDJ fits well to this objective.

"As a subsidiary of Ekovest, we hope to create synergistic benefits and complement the businesses of the Group. In this case, with the entry of XDJ to EkoCheras Mall, it will enhance the overall retail experience for our shoppers,” he said in a statement.

The opening ceremony was officiated by the Special Envoy of Malaysia to the People’s Republic of China Tan Kok Wai and the Member of Parliament of Malaysia for Kepong constituency Lim Lip Eng.

XDJ focuses on nostalgic Chinese dishes that are widely recognised by people from all walks of life.

In 2014, XDJ became the inflight caterer for Cathay Dragon, for flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

Furthermore, in 2016, XDJ cooperated with Royal Caribbean International Cruises to provide their signature dishes to the passengers.

“The appetite for quality dishes, especially those awarded based on the Michelin Guide, has been growing and become increasingly popular over the years.

"And as an F&B retailer, we wish to capitalise on this increasing demand. We are very confident this will be well-received by our customers,” Jong added.

XDJ representative Jonathan Chou said to be recognised by the prestigious Michelin Guide is a tremendous motivation and respected affirmation for the entire team in XDJ.

"My sincere gratitude for the hard work and passion of the culinary and service team at XDJ. It is our vision to make every dining experience at XDJ truly exceptional and memorable for our guests,” he said.

The Michelin Guide, established in 1900, awards restaurants based on a three-star model: the first star indicates a very good restaurant, a second star awarded would mean that it has 'excellent cooking, worth a detour', and the third star demonstrates that the food served has 'exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey'.

EkoCheras Mall, that has a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.11 billion is part of an integrated development with over 1,500 units of condominium and serviced apartments, hotels, and office building.

The 1 million sq ft of retail space will create a wealth of shopping, food, beverage, cineplexes, and entertainment outlets, which also provide job opportunities as well as improve the economic aspect of the surrounding area.

(NST) Malaysia's GDP expanded 4.5pc in Q1 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian economy grew 4.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year, driven mainly by the private sector activity and firm private consumption growth.

Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said private sector demand was expected to remain the main anchor of growth amid lower public sector spending.

"The external sector is likely to grow marginally in tandem with modest global demand. Overall, the baseline projection is for the Malaysian economy to grow between 4.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent this year.

"In 2019, headline inflation is expexted to average between 0.7 per cent and 1.7 per cent. Core inflation is expected to be stable supported by the continued expansion in economic activity and the absence of strong demand pressures," Shamsiah said at a press conference on the 1Q 2019 GDP growth today.

Also present at the briefing were Malaysia’s chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin and Bank Negara deputy governor Jessica Chew.

Shamsiah said the services, manufacturing and agriculture sectors were the main drivers of the economy. "The services recorded 6.4 per cent growth, manufacturing recorded 4.2 per cent while the agriculture sector recorded 5.6 per cent growth.

"All sectors posted a positive growth on the production except for mining and quarrying sectors," she added.

On the capital market performance, Shamsiah said the quarter had recorded a net inflow of RM2.1 billion.

The ringgit appreciated by 1.4 per cent against the US dollar, driven mainly by non-resident pprtfolio inflows which amounted to RM13.5 billion.

However, Shamsiah said since April, ringgit had depreciated by 2.2 per cent as at May 15, in line with most regional currencies, reflecting cautious investor sentiments in global financial markets.

(NST) Gen Rent still facing financing issues

ARE the Malaysian government’s housing initiatives, such as the national Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) and programmes under the National Affordable Housing Council, able to bridge the gap between home availability and pricing?

PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez feels that these initiatives are not enough to address the financing issues faced by the “Generation Rent” in purchasing properties.

Generation Rent are millennials who rent houses for long periods, mainly because they cannot afford to buy a house due to their income and lifestyle.

Home ownership in Malaysia is increasingly becoming out of reach for young people—a situation aggravated by the challenging labour market for youth, rising student debt and higher cost of living. Millennials also tend to spend more on cars, smartphones, food and travel. These make it more difficult for them to leave the comfort of their nest and move on to have their own home.

“Housing availability and ownership concerns have taken centre stage in the national spotlight in recent years, hitting younger house buyers hard.

Millennials and subsequent groups such as Gen Z are eager to move out of their nest and into own home, but they cannot afford it,” said Fernandez.


Income and family background have a huge impact on millennials in the housing market.

“Young people with rich parents are more likely to own a house. Not only will they get financial assistance, their parents are also more likely to have housing wealth to pass on.

“When a girl or a boy turns 18 and as they move into their next stage in life, which is college, their parents will give them an apartment as a gift. Some children of wealthy parents get a house as a gift on their wedding day. As years go by, they themselves will start to buy properties as an investment and pass them down to their children, and this trend goes on,” said a senior market consultant.

On the converse, young people from low-income households cannot rely on their parents to buy a house, he said.

“They have to work hard and save enough over many years only to be able to afford a house that costs below RM300,000. By the time they are able to do that,they are in their late 30s or 40s, married with children and have a household income of RM6,000 and below. This is why many people still prefer to rent than buy.”

The consultant said purchasing power among most Malaysians is still generally low because of the rising cost of living.

“The problem in Malaysia is that the income level of the people is not in line with the rising cost of living. Malaysians are paid lower than those in benchmark countries, even after taking into account productivity differences.”

In an article “Are Malaysian Workers Paid Fairly?: An Assessment of Productivity and Equity” in Bank Negara Malaysia’s Annual Report 2018 released in March, it is stated that Malaysian workers receive lower compensations relative to their contribution to the national income, from productivity and equity perspectives.


Getting rejected after all the hard work that you have put in in applying for a housing loan can be disheartening.

Loans get rejected for a number of reasons such as not having a steady job, having too many loans (car/personal/home) and commitments, having a bad credit score, as well as failure to submit all the relevant documents and details.

Interestingly, a loan can also be rejected if a developer or a project is in the bank’s blacklist.

There are a few steps potential house buyers can take to get their loan approved.

Firstly, if the loan was rejected, get details from the bank on why the application was denied.

If the rejection was based on wrong submissions, then quickly organise the relevant documents and details required by the bank.

Apply for a new loan, but before that talk to the bank’s representative to see what you’re actually eligible for.

According to Fernandez, lack of knowledge about the home loan process is a concern among first-time and younger purchasers.

“Many Malaysians do not know how much home loan financing they are eligible for. They apply for loans they cannot afford and their applications are rejected, leaving them a black mark for future applications. This black mark is tracked by Bank Negara Malaysia’s Central Credit Reference Information System, which banks can access to months after a rejected application. During this time, other loan applications by the buyer are less likely to succeed,” he said.

Fernandez said the easiest way to understand the home loan financing situation in Malaysia is to refer to national statistics tracking the issue.

“The numbers reported by Bank Negara paint a rosy picture, with 70 per cent of loans approved by volume in 2018. This is supported by the recent PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Survey whereby 30 per cent of respondents found it increasingly difficult to get home loans.

“However, digging deeper into Bank Negara’s own data turns up a very different take-away… nearly 60 per cent of loans are rejected by value. This means that seven out of 10 Malaysians are getting their loans approved. However, the remaining three are applying for loans much higher than they can afford.

“Why is this important? The answer is that the large amount of rejected loans by value points towards significant demand for housing that remains unfulfilled,” he said.

Fernandez said to put something into perspective, Malaysians applied for RM239.5 billion in residential loans last year. Of the applications, 70 per cent were approved, with a total residential loan value of RM102.8 billion. This means that the remaining 30 per cent of applicants had tried to borrow RM136.7 billion.

“Some of these may have been existing owners who no longer qualify for high margins of financing for their next property purchase. The value of rejected loans in 2018 fits the profile of property investors targeting upscale projects,” he added.

(NST) Puchong's rise as industry hotspot

PUCHONG has come a long way since the start of its development in the 1980s.

Rapid urbanisation has seen its rise as a commercial and industrial hotspot, not to mention its many retail malls, commercial shops, offices and also high-rise offices and hotel, such as the Four Points by Sheraton, part of the Puchong Financial Corporate Centre.

Puchong is under the jurisdiction of four local authorities, namely Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Sepang Municipal Council andKuala Langat District Council.

As such, it is within easy and convenient access to other townships — Putrajaya lies at its southeast; Serdang on theeast; Subang Jaya and Bandar Sunway on the north and east; and Petaling Jaya a short distance away.

Seeing as it is a vast area that has undergone rapid development, this article will focus solely on Puchong East.

In terms of location, Puchong East lies east of Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) and includes major areas, such as Bandar Puteri Puchong, Taman Perindustrian Pusat Bandar Puchong, with Saujana Puchong at the southern most end.

It is under the care of MPSJ given its proximity to USJ and Subang Jaya.


The development of Puchong East started with a handful of projects in the 1990s, mainly comprising apartments and flats. That trend continued throughout the 2000s, with apartments mushrooming during that period.

Later, there was a gradual shift towards building for buyers looking for the urban household, with the first few condominium projects completed in 2005, such as Casa Puteri.

Since then, condominiums have been the new standard in Puchong East, catering to a new discerning set of buyers and customers.

Properties in Puchong East offer a wide range of spaces. Most offerings by developers fall below the 1,000-sq-ft mark, the smallest being from The Heron Residency, a project built in the 2010s. Its smallest unit stands at 635sq ft, which, compared to today’s market, rivals Kuala Lumpur city centre’s serviced apartments and condos.

The initial projects during the 1990s and 2000s offered built-ups of between 650sqft (Seri Damai and Seri Sentosa in Saujana Puchong 1990’s)and 975 sq ft (Vista Prima, 2008).

However, as the preference and development trend shifted to condominiums, there has been an increase in total living space. For example, the Heron Residency has scaled up to 1,000 sq ft for certain quadrants of its units.

Most condominium projects in Puchong East have at least crossed that threshold, with built ups exceeding the1,000-sq-ftmark. The largest of the lot within Henry Butcher’s survey belongs to Puri Tower Condominium (built in 2014), with units at 2,239 sq ft, a significant lead over the second largest at Solace Serviced Apartment and Trigon, at 1,776 sq ft each.

(NST) Tangerine Suites—an affordable living lifestyle

SUNSURIA Bhd is launching its most attainable housing project, dubbed Tangerine Suites, at Sunsuria City — the company’s flagship master-planned township in Salak Tinggi, Selangor.

This is in support of the government’s initiative to promote higher home ownership rate among Malaysians.

Chief operating officer Simon Kwan said the apartments in Tangerine Suites are being offered at prices below RM300,000, thus making them affordable for many families.

“Property prices are getting higher because of land cost. Raw material prices are also higher. To make houses affordable for people, we are building smaller units and making sure they sell below RM500 psf (per square ft). The market needs this type of products currently.

“On psf basis, Tangerine Suites will be the most attainable housing project in Sunsuria City and without compromising on the lifestyle elements of this development, where residents enjoy access to a range of amenities,” Kwan told NSTProperty.

The developer has launched eight commercial and residential projects in Sunsuria City.

The first residential launch was The Olive, featuring 663 units of apartments spread across three blocks.

Next was Bell Suites, followed by Monet Lily, Monet Garden and Monet Springtime.

Kwan said the launch prices for The Olive, Bell Suites, Monet Lily, Monet Garden and Monet Spring time ranged between RM600 and RM800 psf.

“The gross selling price for The Olive started from RM500,000 each and today, we have sold close to 98 per cent of the number of units. Bell Suites and Monet Lily are also almost fully sold,” said Kwan.


The one-tower Tangerine Suites has followed the classic Peranakan architecture for design inspiration.

There are 663 units of apartments with 3 sizes ranging from 635 to 936 sq ft, and the gross price starts from RM285,000.

The estimated gross development value for Tangerine Suites is RM236 million.

“Despite the attainable price, we have designed Tangerine Suites to be a gated-and-guarded lifestyle project. There are many facilities for residents to enjoy when they are back from work. They can enjoy access to the swimming pool, playground and landscaped garden, to name a few,” he said. Sunsuria has developed a 5.7ha central park, known as Giverny Park, which is open to the public.

The park consist of 2.02ha of green space and a 3.72ha lake. its facilities include outdoor fitness, children playground, amphitheatre, event plaza, jogging and cycling track.

According to Kwan, the company spent over RM10 million to develop the park.

“We want residents and the public to come and experience the green space we have created. There is an easy walkway to the park from all the housing projects.”

Meanwhile, Kwan said he is bullish about the full take-up for Tangerine Suites.

He said Sunsuria City is a smart, liveable and sustainable township and the main catalyst is Xiamen University Malaysia, the first overseas campus of a Chinese university which spans 60.7ha and caters to about 10,000 students.

“Sunsuria City is like an education hub. We have Xiamen University and many schools nearby. Many investors look at the township as high yield potential. We are putting our prices low so that the purchasers can enjoy price appreciation and we want them to also enjoy the convenience,” said Kwan.

The Express Rail Link (ERL) transit hub is housed within Sunsuria City, and linked to KL Sentral in Brickfields andKuala Lumpur international Airport. People who work or live in Sunsuria City will be able to travel to the city in 28 minutes.

Sunsuria City is also accessible viamajor highways like the North-South Expressway and Maju Expressway. There is a direct link via an exit from the Putrajaya-Cyberjaya Expressway, which also

connects to the North-South Central Link Expressway.

The township is less than an hour’s drive to Kuala Lumpur and close to a number of neighbouring matured townships like Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kota

Warisan and Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi.

Other components of the 212.5ha township that makes it a liveable city in clude Horizon Village Outlets, Korean-French Provence Village, commercial hubs such as Jasper Square and Bell Avenue, schools and parks.

“The whole idea is to create a liveable township.

The township has lush recreational parks, dedicated cycling and pedestrian paths. We are placing emphasis on community living where residents can mix together and communicate,” he said.

Kwan said the RM10 billion township will take another six to eight years to complete.

“We will continue to raise the benchmark where township development is concerned, and ensure our Sunsuria City residents feel pride to call this place home,” he said.

(The Star) All you need for a fun wait

Penang's vision to be a smart city by 2025 took a big step forward with the launch of the first smart bus stop in Lengkok Tenggiri in Seberang Jaya.

The bus stop is equipped with closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) powered by solar panels, panic or emergency button, LED signboards, phone charger slots and a digital information board to indicate the arrival time of buses.

The CCTVs and alarm button are linked to a police station as a safety precaution.

Penang Housing, Town and Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the pilot project would encourage more people to use public transport.

“Penang is heading towards a smart city status by 2025 with the theme ‘Data Is King, Talent Is Everything’.

“The CCTVs and alarm at the bus stop will make the wait for buses safer at night,” he said after the launch on Monday.

The phone charger slots at the smart bus stop. 

The bus stop is managed by Edotco Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

Seberang Prai Municipal Council president Datuk Rozali Mohamud, who was also present, said the bus stop is among 1,129 bus stops on the mainland and it would benefit over 18,000 people living nearby.

“There are 18,685 residents within a 500m radius from the bus stop and 40,260 residents in Seberang Jaya.

“A total of 45 bus stops are rented out for advertising purposes in Seberang Prai and this is one of them,” he said.

The implementation is in line with the Chief Minister’s Penang 2030 vision of a family-focused, green and smart state to inspire the nation.

The CCTVs powered by solar panels aimed at making waiting safer for passengers.