Wednesday, 28 January 2015

(The Star) Kidex report made public

The final report on the “Independent Review of Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) Proposal in Petaling Jaya” can be viewed online.

This follows a presentation of the report at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) headquarters yesterday.

The closed-door meeting was attended by Petaling Jaya deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib, MBPJ councillors, Bukit Gasing and Kampung Tunku assemblymen, the Subang MP a well as a representative from the Kelana Jaya MP’s office.

The expressway concessionaire, Kidex Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nor Idrus was seen outside the council’s meeting room.

In its executive summary, the report, prepared by MDS Traffic Planners and Consultants and commissioned by MBPJ, called into question the assumption that Petaling Jaya would be facing a future gridlock and also the need to channel “through traffic” (non-PJ traffic) towards PJ New Town.

The independent consultant explained its scope of work in the report’s first appendix, stating its tasks were to review Kidex’s studies, the traffic data and forecasts on Petaling Jaya’s local roads as well as alternative alignments.

Section 4.2 of the report, for instance, utilises traffic numbers compiled by the highway concessionaire’s traffic consultants which show 13 main roads chiefly operating between A (free-flow) and D (approaching unstable flow) levels of service.

The report also gives another option — realigning the expressway to avoid PJ New Town by going over Sungai Penchala, through the industrial areas of Jalan Templer and Jalan Penchala, stating it was beneficial to both Petaling Jaya residents and the concessionaire.

However, it was highlighted that the Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS) had opposed this, reasoning that the expressway would have a negative effect on river life.

The report also criticised the Social Impact Assessment conducted while noting that the 13m setback rule was not highlighted.

About 700 residents from various parts of Petaling Jaya had rallied in protest at Padang Timur over Kidex as well as the Damansara-Shah Alam Expressway (DASH) on Sunday.

MBPJ is expected to publish the report on its website.

(The Star) Clear picture of expressway plans

Members of the media were taken on a bus tour to familiarise them with the Kinrara Damansara Expressway (Kidex) route.

The elevated highway will have several tiers, ranging from 8m to 24m. It will start above the existing NKVE toll plaza near Lebuh Bandar Utama on tier three (24m).

At pit stop 1, toll plaza A1 and A2 will be built.

The journey will continue above the Sprint Highway and would pass landmarks such as Fella Design.

No land acquisition will take place here.

At pit stop 2, the route will go towards the right at the Tropicana business park area into Section 17. The highway would be on tier two (16m) above the Sprint Highway.

Several business and residential units in Section 17 will be affected along this stretch.

There would be ramps at Damansara Kim to connect to Kidex.

Those coming from LDP can use an interchange at Taman Tun Dr Ismail which will connect to Kidex.

Those coming from Kepong could get onto the highway via the Damansara interchange.

At pit stop 3, Kidex’s toll plaza B will be on top of a piece of land close to the SStwo Mall at Jalan Harapan. It will be on tier one (8m) at KM3 of the highway.

The route will continue along Jalan Semangat on tier three (8m). Here it will pass Masjid Tun Abdul Aziz. No land acquisition will take place here.

After passing Plaza 33 (on the left) and Jaya Shopping Centre (on the right) the highway would follow the one-way loop system.

No houses will be acquired along the loop except for a small stretch at Section 14. The highway buffer may encroach up to the fence of several houses.

The existing overhead bridge near SK Sri Petaling and SMK (L) Bukit Bintang may be removed so that the highway can remain elevated.

The highway will be on tier two (16m) at certain sections along this loop. A ramp leading down will connect Kidex to Jalan Utara and the Federal Highway.

Another ramp leading up will connect from Federal Highway to Kidex via Jalan Timur. The highway will pass Jalan Sultan, the PKNS building and Jalan Penchala at Section 8. It would pass the PJ Traffic Police Station.

Nine residential units will be affected along this route. The highway will be at tier one here (8m).

Kidex will go over the KTMB track and the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) after Pusat Perkembangan Minda Kanak-kanak MBPJ and towards Taman Dato’ Harun.

At pit stop 4, at KM10 of Kidex, will be the Kinrara Toll Plaza. At present, the land is being used as an illegal waste dumping ground.

The highway will pass Taman Medan Baru and there will be a ramp leading up and down from Kidex to the Kesas highway.

The highway will pass the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) land in Bandar Kinrara 2. A portion of the government land will be acquired for the highway project. There will be a ramp leading up and one going down at the TUDM base connecting to Jalan Kinrara 1, providing connection to Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil and Jalan Puchong.

Jalan Kinrara 1 will be widened from two yo four lanes. The highway will stop in front of Giant Kinrara after crossing at Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil where two additional ramps leading up and down will be provided.

Kidex is expected to connect to another planned highway called SKIP (Serdang-Kinrara-Putrajaya Expressway (SKIP).

(The Star) Only partial acquisitions to be made, says Kidex

Some house and business owners may not have to part with their buildings to make way for the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex).

“In some cases only a portion of their land will be acquired,” said Kinrara Damansara Expressway Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Dr Shaharizuan Shafiei said during a Kidex alignment road tour with the media recently.

“If we need 3m of land outside a house, only the area up to the fence of the house may be acquired.

“The entire house will not be acquired,” he added.

Dr Shaharizuan added there would be no houses acquired along the one-way loop (OWL) in Section 52 as well as along Jalan Semangat as the existing road reserve was sufficient.

“The mosque in Jalan Semangat will not be affected. We have enough road reserve there,” he said.

Dr Shaharizuan explained that in special circumstances, the Malaysian Highway Authority has allowed a reserve space of less than 13m from the carriageway.

“In the case of Flamingo Hotel in Ampang, it is just 10m from the carriageway,” he said.

Dr Shaharizuan added houses along Jalan Semangat in Section 14 will also not be acquired, neither will those on Jalan Utara.

However, SMK (L) Bukit Bintang as well as SK Sri Petaling may be affected.

“The land encroachment will be minimal and we have discussed with the school authorities for a sound barrier to be erected,” he said.

Kidex Sdn Bhd representative Anand Subramaniam rebutted an environmental impact assessment by certain groups which claimed the highway will lead to increased pollution.

“When vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam, the pollution is higher. However, on a highway, traffic flows well.

“The report was done in the United States,” he noted.

Anand urged public to not blindly accept such reports and questioned their applicability in the Klang Valley and Malaysia.

He added that Kidex’s environment report was based on the requirement set by the Petaling Jaya City Council, as well as the state and federal government.

(The Star) Smooth transition of house prices post-GST

PETALING JAYA: MKH Bhd managing director Tan Sri Eddy Chen expects a smooth transition in terms of property pricing upon the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) this April, as some developers are gradually pricing-in the consumption tax into their products.

“There will not be a big jump in (house) prices post-GST … there will not be a 15% jump like what some people are saying to make you buy their properties as soon as possible,” he said at the third session of the 17th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference 2015.

Another panelist, REI Group of Companies chief executive officer Dr Daniel Gambero, however, observed an unfair profiteering upon the introduction of consumption taxes in various countries and opined that the same might happen in Malaysia.

Daniel opined that the market would adjust to the new environment by next year.

As for the sectoral outlook, Chen expects a challenging year ahead for the sector and the subdued outlook could potentially continue into 2016.

As an example, he said crude oil prices had plunged 60% but transportation costs were still sustaining at previous levels.

There will be a competition for consumers’ money after the implementation of the GST and amid the weakening ringgit, as consumers’ purchasing power would be affected. It does not help when developers’ cost of building houses does not come down.

Chen said land prices were holding up well despite the softening market. “Land prices won’t come down soon no matter what people say about a slowdown in the market,’ he said, adding that recent transactions like Greenland Holdings Group Ltd’s acquisition of a 128-acre parcel for RM2.4bil or RM430 per sq ft in the Iskandar Malaysia region showed that land prices would not be cheap.

The transaction has set a benchmark for property prices in the southern economic zone because there had not been any deal of that quantum in that area previously.

(The Star) Benalec: Detailed EIA for Tanjung Piai project gets DOE nod

KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Environment (DOE) has approved the detailed environment impact assessment study (DEIA) for a reclamation project at Tanjung Piai submitted by Benalec Holdings Bhd’s subsidiary and the Johor state government

Benalec said on Tuesday the DOE had approved the study which was submitted by its 70% owned Spektrum Kukuh Sdn Bhd and Perbadanan Setiausaha Kerajaan Johor.

“The DEIA study pertains to the reclamation works for the Group’s Tanjung Piai Integrated Petroleum & Petrochemical Hub and Maritime Industrial Park project which comprises a man-made island to be sited off the south-western coast of Johor,” it said.

Benalec said Phase 1 of the proposed project is targeted to start in February 2015 and is expected to be a catalyst in stimulating growth and investment opportunities, as well as affording Benalec the springboard for generating recurring income streams. 

It said the DEIA approval was conditional if the reclamation works of Phase 1 of the proposed project would include construction of oil terminal, construction of jetty, bridge linking the island to the mainland and dredging. 

It added the DEIA approval was valid for two years from the date of the letter of approval. 

“This approval represents a major milestone for the Benalec Group and takes the group one significant step closer to the realisation of the group’s business plans, in sync with the country’s avowed objective of establishing itself as a storage and trading hub in the Asia Pacific region,” it added.

(The Star) Malaysia in on China’s Silk Road plan

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s recommendations for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road economic belt have been incorporated in China’s outline of the plan, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic).

Liow, who met his Chinese counterpart Yang Chuantang for a bilateral meeting in Beijing on Monday, said that Malaysia’s recommendations had been incorporated into the outline.

“China will be sharing the final version of the outline with Asian ministers, in particular those from Asean countries,” said Liow in a statement made available here yesterday.

Liow said that Malaysia’s proposal was made during the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 20th Asean Transport Ministers Meeting in Myanmar in November.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road would involve the cooperation of all countries along the route and more than 50 countries had expressed their support for the initiative, he said.

China’s proposal to build a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is aimed at exploring the unique values and concepts of the ancient road and actively developing economic partnerships with countries situated along the route.

It is a global initiative that pursues win-win results through cross-border cooperation.

Liow said that the Silk Road initiative would strengthen connectivity between China and the Asean nations and support economic growth and trade activities within the region.

The project will focus on building roads, railways, ports and airports across Central and South Asia.

An overland route will pass through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran en route to Vienna in Austria; and a maritime route will be from Chinese ports to Belgium’s Antwerp.

The initiative also serves as an opportunity for Asean countries to speed up the plan to establish the Asean Economic Community.

Liow said he also took the opportunity during the meeting to reiterate that the search for MAS Flight MH370 remained a top priority for Malaysia.

To date, four specialised vessels had been deployed for the underwater search, he said.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

(The Edge) ‘Most interested buyers are bumiputera’

KUALA LUMPUR: The state agency developing the Datum Jelatek condominium in Taman Keramat says that 1,097 bumiputera buyers have registered their interest to buy 674 units in the project, dispelling claims by some that the project would turn the area into a “Chinese district”.

“As of Jan 14, 2015, the project has received overwhelming support. So far a total of 1,097 bumiputera buyers have registered and it has exceeded 674 units available,” Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) general manager Azlan Md Alifiah said in a statement yesterday.

Datumcorp International Sdn Bhd (DCI), which is developing the project, has pegged the price of a unit at around RM700,000.

Some 100 residents protesting the development of the luxury project on Sunday turned aggressive and broke into the construction site to halt the project which they feared would turn the area into a “Chinese district”.

The residents began marching towards the site before proceeding to tear down the zinc barrier surrounding it, with several protesters trespassing on the site.

However, police managed to bring the situation under control and the crowd soon dispersed. Two police trucks were seen at the site.

The residents are opposing the Datum Jelatek project because they say it will transform the Malay-majority area into a “Chinese district”, as they believe only the Chinese can afford to purchase units at the luxury condominium.

Azlan said they would initiate legal action against those who had vandalised property on the project site and that DCI had lodged a police report.

He also refuted claims that PKNS and DCI had never met with the residents on the implementation of the project, saying that both the state subsidiary and DCI had met with Taman Keramat residents on several occasions.

“We have organised meetings and dialogues with the residents, and we even received positive feedback from all of them,” he said.

Yesterday morning, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali questioned whether the rowdy protesters who broke into the Datum Jelatek condominium construction site on Sunday were actual residents of the area.

“Who are they? Are you sure? Are you sure they are locals? Besides Salleh (Samad, chairman of the Datum Jelatek Action Committee), who else was there?” he asked reporters in Shah Alam.

Mohamed Azmin said he was not averse towards meeting the residents, adding that he was willing to hear out their objections over the project.

He said the state was duty-bound to ensure any project or development would not create racial tension.

He also denied that there were racial elements in the project as said by participants of the protest.

“PKNS will produce a detailed report to prove the contrary, that an important development must not involve race,” he said.

He said there would be a town hall meeting between residents and state agencies to resolve the issue.

Salleh had reportedly warned of possible “bloodshed” if Selangor proceeded with the project, saying it was a threat to the Malays. — The Malaysian Insider

(The Edge) Protest against condo project turns rowdy

KUALA LUMPUR: Some 100 residents protesting the development of the Datum Jelatek luxury condominium in Taman Keramat, Selangor, yesterday turned aggressive and broke into the construction site to halt the project.

The residents first began marching peacefully towards the site, before they proceeded to tear down the zinc barrier surrounding it, with several protesters trespassing on the site.

However, police managed to bring the situation under control and the crowd soon dispersed. Two police trucks were seen at the site.

The residents oppose the Datum Jelatek project because they say it would transform the Malay-majority area into a “Chinese district”, as they believe only the Chinese can afford to purchase units at the luxury condominium.

The protest began at 11am, with the residents gathering at the home of one of the organisers near the construction site. Packets of nasi lemak and bottled mineral water were distributed before they started their demonstration.

Spirits were high as they marched towards the site, with many belting the Warisan song, or Anak Kecil Main Api — a song lamenting the loss of the land to outsiders, often played during the heavily-criticised Biro Tata Negara programmes.

The protesters wore bandannas around their head emblazoned with the words “Anak Keramat” (Children of Keramat) to signify they were residents of the area.

Members of the Selangor chapter of Perkasa, as well as the Datum Jelatik Action Committee (BBDJ) could be seen among the rowdy crowd.

BBDJ chairman Salleh Ahmad said the demonstration was organised to warn Selangor Menteri Mohamed Azmin Ali to stop the condominium project, saying that it would open the floodgates to other races entering the Malay-majority area.

“I challenge him to stop this project,” he said. 

One of the residents’ representatives, Ariffin Abu Bakar, urged Azmin to prioritise affordable housing for the locals over projects that would allegedly benefit outsiders.

“We are not anti-development, but we want affordable housing to be built and for the anak Keramat to be given priority,” he said.

The groups that gathered here yesterday said the Datum Jelatek project had ignored the Malays, and that the Malays are unable to afford the condominium units.

This is not their first demonstration against the project.

Last November, Salleh and the residents of Keramat organised a peaceful protest before the Selangor state secretariat building in Shah Alam to pressure the government into halting the condominium’s construction.

Azmin had, however, said recently that the issue was resolved and that he had arranged several meetings with the locals over the matter.

The project developers, DatumCorp, had previously said 1,097 bumiputeras had registered for the condomonium, which far exceeded the 674 units available.

The condominium is to be built on the former site of four blocks of PKNS flats, owned mostly by Malays, which were demolished in late 2010. — The Malaysian Insider

(The Edge) Furniweb eyeing JVs for property projects

PETALING JAYA: Furniweb Industrial Product Bhd (Furniweb) said it is now in talks with a few parties to jointly develop more projects within and outside Klang Valley but that it is selective in its choice of partners.

Furniweb (fundamental: 1.05; Valuation:1.2) chairman Datuk Lim Heen Peok said the company has been approached by many companies to establish a joint venture (JV).

“We have many suitors. [But] our approach is careful and selective, not only on location and type of development — we want to do something with quality and do it well,” Lim told reporters after the company’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) yesterday.

Lim said establishing JVs with other parties, such as landowners, is the company’s “prime strategy” in property development, which is the business model of its maiden residential project, Picasso.

Picasso is developed by Premier De Muara Sdn Bhd, a 60:40 JV between Premier Gesture Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned unit of Furniweb, and Almaharta Sdn Bhd.

Group executive director Datuk Seri Yeoh Soo Ann, who is mainly in charge of the company’s property development segment, said the company is expecting revenue from the sale of Picasso, with a gross development value of RM560 million, to come in by year-end.

Picasso comprises two 38-storey condominium blocks at Jalan Jelatek and will be launched by March 28. Should the sales do well, the company could enjoy revenue of RM72 million or 60% of the expected RM120 million sales.

Despite a softening property market, Yeoh is optimistic as he believes that the demand for property is still strong. He is also hoping that Furniweb could capitalise on the weaker ringgit as foreigners are looking at purchasing properties in Malaysia.

Apart from the new venture, the company will continue to focus on its core business of manufacturing and marketing furniture webbing, industrial and safety webbing, covered elastic yarn, seat-belt webbing, rubber strips and sheets, and narrow elastic fabrics.

Group managing director Jimmy Cheah said the results of its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2014, which would be announced soon, is “better than last year”, but did not elaborate.

Cheah said the company will focus on its existing operations in Vietnam and Malaysia, and that Vietnam has a lot of potential.

Yeoh also said the company is in a good position as its stable income from its core business could buffer the effects of its venture into property, as property has a longer gestation period.

Earlier in the EGM, shareholders agreed to change the name of the company to PRG Holdings Bhd and establish a long-term incentive plan of up to 15% of the issued and paid-up share capital of Furniweb for eligible employees and directors of Furniweb and its subsidiary companies.

(The Edge) Kwasa Land names 21 pre-qualified developers

KUALA LUMPUR: Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and master developer of the 2,330-acre (942.91ha) iconic township development of Kwasa Damansara, said 21 Tier 2 developers have successfully pre-qualified for its next Request for Proposal (RFP) R2-1.

The 21 are Amcorp Properties Bhd (fundamental: 2.40; valuation: 2.40), Encorp Bhd (fundamental: 0.9; valuation: 2.40), Glomac Bhd (fundamental: 1.90; valuation: 1.80), Ivory Properties Group Bhd (fundamental: 1.10; valuation: 2.10),Johor Land Bhd, KSK Group Bhd, KSL Holdings Bhd (fundamental: 2.6; valuation: 0.6), Malton Bhd (fundamental: 1.15; valuation: 1.20), MKH Bhd (fundamental: 1.20; valuation: 1.20), Nadayu Properties Bhd, Naim Land Sdn Bhd,Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, OSK Property Holdings Bhd (fundamental: 1.65; valuation: 1.2),Paramount Corporation Bhd (fundamental: 1.60; valuation: 3.00), Perdana Parkcity Sdn Bhd, Plenitude Bhd (fundamental: 2.7; valuation: 1.8), Reliance Pacific Bhd (fundamental: 0.55; valuation: 1.2), TH Properties Sdn Bhd, Titijaya Group Sdn Bhd (Tenang Sempurna Sdn Bhd), United Malayan Land Bhd and Worldwide Holdings Bhd.

In a statement yesterday, Kwasa Land managing director Datuk Mohd Lotfy Mohd Noh (pic) said the RFP seeks a development partner for a proposed residential development of land measuring 12.7 acres that has been identified as Project R2-1.

“Invitations have been sent out to the 21 developers from the Tier 2 category who had successfully qualified in the pre-qualification exercise called earlier. They have met Kwasa Land’s stringent criteria, and have therefore been invited for this RFP exercise,” said Lotfy.

The letters of invitation to the 21 prospective tenderers have been delivered while the closing date for all RFP submissions is March 31, said Kwasa Land. The whole development within the R2-1 land must be fully completed within six years, it added.

All tenders will be evaluated on the qualitative and quantitative criteria spelt out in the RFP, it said.

Under the qualitative evaluation, Kwasa Land said tenderers are required to submit development concept and layout proposals for the R2-1 parcel based on approved density, development phasing and unique features of the proposal, complete with overall planning layout, 3-D massing and landscape plans.

Under the quantitative evaluation, tenderers are required to submit the tender price on a per square foot basis along with their financial feasibility analysis, it added.

Kwasa Land said the Kwasa Damansara township development over the next 20 years will see three categories of developers entering into partnerships with Kwasa Land.

The three tiers or categories are Tier 1 (for large scale companies with shareholders or paid up capital of RM1 billion and above), Tier 2 (for companies with shareholders’ funds or paid-up capital of RM300 million and above), and Tier 3 (for Bumiputera companies with shareholders funds or paid-up capital of RM 1 million and above), it added.

To date, Kwasa Land has called for three RFPs — the main town centre development (MX-1), the first bumiputera development (R3-2) and the R2-1. As for the bumiputera development, its selected partner is expected to be announced next month.