Tuesday, 21 October 2014

(The Star) i-City throws pre-launch event exclusively for Liberty Tower buyers

SHAH ALAM: i-Berhad, noted for its colossal 72-acre ultrapolis development i-City, is holding a pre-launch event for its latest New York-themed, high-rise residential tower - Liberty Tower @ i-City.

Held across two days at i-Gallery in i-City from Nov 1-2, the first part of the day on Nov 1 will be opened exclusively to registered customers where the selection of the units will take place.

The event will then be opened to the public from 11am.

Liberty Tower @ i-City has seen an overwhelming response from the public, due to the fact that the freehold residential tower is located adjacent to the 1.5 million sq ft Central Plaza Mall, and is connected via a dedicated pedestrian walk.

Residents will get direct access to over 450 retail, dining and entertainment outlets, giving them a true feel of New York City lifestyle.

Each unit is fully furnished and designed by a renowned interior design firm, tastefully decorating every aspect of the residential tower with a distinct modern New York twist.

Each unit will feature kitchen cabinets with hood and hob, wardrobes, air conditioners, TV sets and other interior furnishings.

Liberty Tower @ i-City is also linked to the i-City LRT Route 3 station which gives residents easy connectivity.

On top of that, the convenience of living in i-City keeps residents connected through various highway connections, such as the Federal Highway, NKVE, Guthrie Corridor Expressway and the proposed West Coast Highway.

Set to be completed in 2018, Liberty Tower presents a unique opportunity for residents to stay in a truly international hub, where i-City is MSC-certified and is set to be a self-sustaining ultrapolis with developments comprising of education, leisure, business and beyond are in the works - giving residents a true taste of metropolitan city life.

The event will be opened to the public on Nov 1 from 11am-6pm and on Nov 2 from 10am – 6pm.

This article is facilitated by i-Berhad.

(The Star) Rehda: GST will push up home prices by 2.6%

PETALING JAYA: Home prices will rise by about 2.6% once the goods and services tax (GST) comes into play, said the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda).

The chairman of the association’s task force on accounting and taxation, Datuk Ng Seing Liong, said that the calculation was based on its consultations with industry experts and member developers.

Rehda’s 2.6% estimate differs from that of the Customs Department, which expects the GST to have an impact of between 0.5% and 2% on house prices, assuming there’s no change in supply and demand conditions.

Ng said the association was in full support of the GST and concurred with Customs GST director Datuk Subromaniam Tholasy, who had said that land did not incur the 6% GST rate.

However, he said land was by no means the largest cost component in property development.

“As our calculation clearly spells out, the construction cost, which constitutes 46% of the total development, is not only the largest component but also the component which will attract the GST of 6%,” he said in a letter to StarBiz.

He said the GST on this component would inevitably lead to an increase in house prices.

Appending calculations for a housing unit originally priced at RM400,000, Ng said the price post-GST would be around RM410,560.

Under the 46% construction component, costs were broken down into non-service taxable and service taxable segments, representing 44%, or RM176,000, and 2%, or RM8,000, respectively.

Under the non-service taxable segment comes items such as cement/concrete, steel, bricks and sand, while the service taxable segment includes tiles and fittings/sanitary. Under the existing sales and service tax, no tax is imposed on the non-service taxable category, while the service taxable category has a tax of up to 10% imposed on it.

Post-GST, Rehda’s calculations showed that the non-service taxable cost had gone up to RM186,560, while the service taxable cost remained at RM8,000.

It maintained the same cost estimates for other items, including land (15% or RM60,000), infrastructure and pre-development works (10% or RM40,000), professional fees and marketing costs (6% or RM24,000), finance costs (6% or RM24,000) and profit (17% or RM68,000).

Ng said Rehda also disagreed with Subromaniam, who had said that developers could easily absorb cost increases as their margins were around 30%.

He said it was currently impossible for developers to earn up to a 30% profit, as most development costs were on the rise, along with various capital contributions and charges imposed on developers.

“On average, as tabulated in the calculation, developers, most of which are public-listed companies, are only making around 17% at best,” he said.

However, Ng said it was still too early to determine the actual house price increases post-GST, as Rehda was still in discussions with the Government and there appeared to be many more issues to be ironed out.

(The Start) WCT unit plans to buy land in Serendah

PETALING JAYA: WCT Holdings Bhd’s unit has proposed to acquire four pieces of vacant freehold land in Serendah, Selangor, for a total purchase consideration of RM115.38mil that would be satisfied entirely in cash via internally-generated funds.

In an announcement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the construction and property development outfit said it had entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Matad Sdn Bhd for the proposed acquisition via Jubilant Courtyard Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WCT Land Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WCT.

The company said the proposed acquisition was due for completion within three months from the date of the SPA. “The acquisition enables WCT to increase its land bank to further establish its position in property development and to increase its investment property portfolio to provide long-term recurring rental income,” the group said in a statement.

WCT added that it had intentions to undertake a mix-commercial development project on the four pieces of lands, but said the plan was still at a preliminary stage.

“The management is confident of the prospect of the lands and is optimistic that the future development on the lands will contribute positively to the future earnings of the WCT Group.”

(The Star) Plan to wipe out squatters by 2020; Adenan outlines three resettlement strategies for 7,256 families

MIRI: The Sarawak state government has found itself in a “running battle” against squatters because new ones keep emerging everytime old ones are resettled, according to Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

In order to tackle this social problem once and for all, the state government had set a target of achieving “zero-squatter” status by 2020, he said.

This will be done by resettling all the existing 7,256 squatter families that had been identified throughout the state and making sure no new ones set up roots in the slums, he said yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference here after chairing a meeting on integrity among enforcement agencies in northern Sarawak, he said that the state task force on squatter resettlement had outlined three strategies to deal with the squatter issues.

“There are at present 7,256 squatter (families) that had been identified statewide living in squatter colonies.

“This figure is already a reduction as compared with several years ago where the squatters numbered more than 9,000 plus (families).

“We want to resolve all the squatter woes throughout the state before 2020 and we are confident we can achieve this through three main approaches, that is to resettle existing squatters in resettlement schemes, resettle them into low-cost homes and in-situ resettlement whereby we give them land titles in the place where they have been squatting for a long time,” he said.

Adenan, who is also State Minister for Planning and Resources Managament and State First Finance Minister, said he was looking at available state land to be opened up for more squatter resettlement schemes.

He stressed that the state government would have to prepare a budget for these resettlement efforts because there were so many families involved.

“We need better strategies to stop new squatters from coming. Everytime we managed to resettle some squatters, even more new ones come in and set up their roots.

“Dealing with the squatter problem is a running battle, but we must put an end to this problem before 2020 so that Sarawak will have zero squatters by then,” he said.

Heads of departments and senior officials of government departments and agencies attended the three-hour long meeting chaired by Adenan yesterday at a leading hotel.

Adenan wants to create a civil service that is sincere and honest, especially among the enforcement agencies.

He had also held similar meetings in Kuching and Sibu with the enforcers there.

(The Star) New clothes collection

JOHOR BARU: Adventure seekers and travel buffs will be pleased with the large collection of fashionable yet durable apparel which is part of a new collection called Carefree Tripper by Jeep Spirit.

Jordone Corporation Sdn Bhd branding and communications manager Niki Leng said that the collection was a balance of resilient and comfortable clothes which also looked good.

“The brand initially started off with the men’s collection and it was focused on those who liked outdoor, adventure and travel related activities.

“Back then we stuck to staple colours such as brown, white and other earthy tones which were easy to match and did not require much attention,” she said when speaking to StarMetro.

Leng however, explained that the brand has since expanded and now has a wide range of apparel for women and children as well.

“Our customers constantly evolve and we try and evolve with them too.

“Looking good has become an important factor even for adventure lovers as more and more of their experiences are documented through photographs or videos which are then uploaded on various social platforms online,” she said.

She added that the increase in personal visibility due to online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have sparked an interest to look good all the time.

“Due to this emerging trend, we have upgraded our collection to include different types of prints, patterns and even colours for our customers,” she said.

She added that while staple clothing items such as the chambray shirt had been retained, the design had been updated with quirky prints and even floral prints for the women’s collection.

“We noticed that prints are a major element this season and we also noticed that many of our male customers were also purchasing shirts and apparel which had additional details or prints on them,” she said.

Leng added that the creative team took about a year to conduct research and come up with the new collection, which is not only vibrant but still has the classic feel of the brand.

“The clothes are not only comfortable but are fun as well and it is the perfect balance for our customers,” she said.

Leng added that Jeep Spirit Malaysia also had a special collection of clothes, which incorporated ethnic prints, and other elements that were rooted in the local culture.

“We were provided with a general guideline but we then decided to incorporate some local elements as well to reflect the diversity and different cultures here,” she said.

Leng said that the new collection was available at all their stores nationwide.

“We are also in the midst of redesigning the concept of our stores itself and changes will be made to our outlets soon,” she said adding that the outlet in City Square here was the first to adopt the new concept.

(The Star) Airstrip extension will boost tourism, say Dr Zambry

The Perak Government has commissioned state Public Works Department (JKR) and Lands and Mines Office to conduct studies on extension of the airstrip in Grik, located some 132km from Ipoh.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said with the allocation of RM15mil from the Federal Government, the studies had commenced since the middle of the year to see if extension works were feasible.

“With an upgraded airstrip, we can look forward to ushering in more medium-haul flights and accommodating ATR aircraft but not larger aircraft yet.

“Even so, I believe this will cater best to Hulu Perak visitors coming in from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Subang airport, even Singapore and Indonesia, who wish to visit the Belum-Temenggor rainforest and Lenggong Valley archaeological site,” he told a press conference here recently.

He added that in the event that the extension plans were not achievable, they would have to opt for another area to build a longer airstrip within the Hulu Perak region.

In an unrelated matter, Dr Zambry said the state govern-ment had successfully replanted one million trees in the Aman-jaya Forest Reserve, thus fulfil-ling the state Barisan Nasional’s election pledge to do so last year.

“However, we will not stop there.

“The endeavour to rehabilitate the area will continue, and we hope to make it to two million trees soon,” he said.

All 18,886ha of the Amanjaya Forest Reserve, stretching about 1.5km from either side of the East-West highway, was gazetted in May last year.

It comprises two forests - the Royal Belum State Park to the north, and the Temenggor Forest Reserve to the south.

(The Star) Smooth ride for road users

After a more than four-year delay, the third and final phase of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway will finally be opened to the public on Nov 1.

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi said construction work on the project, known as the Jalan Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim Extension, was already 95% complete.

“The 800m road costing RM70mil is borne by the developer, IJM. It will be open to traffic from midnight onwards on Nov 1.

Initially, it was scheduled to be opened in August, but there were several factors which delayed it.

“Firstly, it was Indah Water Konsortium in relocating the sewage pipes. Then the Mutiara Idaman apartment residents insisted on having an entrance and exit next to the road, despite it being objected by the Public Works Department.

“We settled the issue with the residents by retaining the entrance and exit. The developer will also install safety measures such as guard rails,” he told reporters before a walkabout to inspect the progress along the road in George Town yesterday.

Ooi said the large amount of utility lines at the squatter area along the road’s intersection with Jalan Jelutong also caused the project to be delayed.

“Work could only be carried out at night to move the utility lines due to busy Jalan Jelutong.”

He said the state government would also announce a new name for the road.

The extension is expected to help alleviate traffic congestion in Jalan Perak and Jalan Jelutong.

(The Star) Conglomerate looks to grow presence in smart townships

Panasonic Malaysia Sdn Bhd and its building-technology arm PanaHome Malaysia, are banking on sustainable-home and township developments growing to become a significant part of the company’s business here.

During the International Greentech and Eco Products Exhibition and Conference Malaysia (IGEM) that ended recently, Panasonic showcased the framework and realistic execution of a smart sustainable township development.

“With 50 years of history in Malaysia, we have established a strong image and great success in working with entities such as town councils, and on big projects such as airports, among others.

“Today, we are stepping ahead faster, into housing and township developments,” said Panasonic Malaysia managing director Yosuke Matsunaga.

Among the things highlighted by Panasonic during the the event were the concept of smart sustainable township development (SST), home structures, and home interior and exterior concepts showcase.

The SST concept prioritises community and sustainable living built around advanced technology-based infrastructureand well designed space.

The showcase also featured successful projects by both Panasonic and PanaHome in Japan, China and some being planned in Malaysia, as part of its effort to demonstrate that green townships featuring harmonious design, revolutionary building structures, renewable energy systems, advanced mobility, embedded healthcare, security and emergency systems is no longer an imaginary concept.

“The first stage of the development plan in Malaysia will target the high-end market with bungalows and semi-detached units, while the second stage will focus on concepts to meet the middle- and low-income market,” said PanaHome Corporation president Yasuteru Fujii.

“The smart and sustainable township is not only meant for high-end market but also meant to be available to the mass market as well,” added Panasonic Malaysia eco-solutions department general manager Tan Chee Hon.

The company’s first project in Malaysia is in Kuantan. The small, mixed-residential development that caters to the high-end market is due to be completed by the end of next year.

“This project consists of five bungalow units, 10 semi-detached units and 15 clustered villa units, with a gross development value of RM70mil,” added Panasonic Malaysia deputy managing director Cheng Chee Chung.

The project will make use of Panasonic’s energy-efficient and intelligent products and PanaHome’s pre-fabrication building technique for swift construction, PureTech ventilation system, self-cleaning KiraTech tiles, heat insulation and waterproofing.

A prototype showhouse will be built on the grounds of Panasonic air-conditioning factory in Shah Alam, by April next year.

“In line with our expansion strategy, we aim to build our presence in the residential market in Asean,” said Fujii.

Monday, 20 October 2014

(The Star) Proposal to set up Iban food village

SIBU: An Iban food village for this town? If this materialises, it would be the first of its kind in this town and the state.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh has proposed to members of Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) Sibu Branch at its deveopment seminar recently to seriously consider the project.

Speaking at the seminar which was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of SIDS, he said he got the inspiration for the project as each time he visited the 99 longhouses in his Bawang Assan constituency, he would be served with the traditional delicious Iban delicacies.

SIDS is an organisation for the Dayak women which is a platform to look after their interest.

“I was thinking that we can have Dayak food village in every towns in the state with Sibu to start off, as there are many skillful Ibans in cooking,” he said.

As the Local Government and Community Development minister, he said he would get Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) to set aside a place for the setting up of the food village if SIDS was also serious about it.

“If you can get 10 people who are very determined to set up such village, I will play my role to get SMC to come in to help. Let’s us start off with something very realistic. Who knows, this food village might turn up to be a busy one where everybody would like to go,” he added.

Wong said the setting up of the project would not only help the Dayak to generate good income as it could also draw foreign tourists.

Separately, he said women have managed to gain a foothold in the society by holding important position.

He said this was unlike women in the yesteryears who were confined to their home as housewife and mothers to their children.

Women now he said have been given equal opportunity to succeed in life.

Looking at education, he said there are now more women than men in institution of higher learning.

“In secondary school and university and in institutions of higher learning, the number of women not only outnumbered men but that women also do better than men in their studies. In the workforce, it depends on what sort of human endeavour but in the banking industry, there are also more female officers than men,” he added.

As there are also more women in the country population (52.7%), he said women also formed an important human capital for the development of the country.

Earlier, chairman of SIDS Sibu Datuk Alice Jawan said the seminar among other things was for them to deliberate on how women could play in the mainstream of development.

(The Star) SPAD will propose to Govt ‘spur line’ for MRT2

PETALING JAYA: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is proposing to the Government that the upcoming Mass Rapid Transit line 2 (MRT2) would need a spur line between Sungai Buloh and Selayang.

Last week, StarBiz highlighted the alignment issue of the MRT2 that has caused confusion among the officials and industry executives in the construction and transportation sector.

Responding to this matter, SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Nur Kamal toldStarBiz that the commission was putting forward to the Government that a spur line would be needed to connect Sungai Buloh and Selayang.

“This spur line plan is expected to be finalised in two weeks. A spur line is usually a shorter line attached to the main line of the MRT,” he said.

In the recent Budget 2015, it was announced that the MRT2 project, costing an estimated RM23bil, would be from Selayang to Putrajaya and work will start next year.

But according to the master plan, it was supposed to start in Sungai Buloh, where the MRT depot is being built, and end in Putrajaya.

The Sungai Buloh depot is regarded as possibly the largest in South-East Asia and designed at a cost to have the capacity and support the convergence of two MRT lines.

The Sungai Buloh depot is being constructed at a cost of RM459.9mil on 65ha at the Rubber Research Institute site.

The contract, which was awarded to Trans Resources Corp Sdn Bhd (TRC) in May 2012, is expected to be completed by first quarter of 2016.

Mohd Nur explained that a spur line would ensure a convergence of the two lines in Sungai Buloh.

“We wanted this issue to be finalised as soon as possible so that we can work on the rest of the alignment to carry on with the three-month public display to get responses from the public on the whole alignment of MRT2,” he said.

The timing of the MRT2 rollout is crucial to ensure seamless and uninterrupted continuity of the availability of contractors to deploy their workforce and machinery used in MRT Line 1 to Line 2.

The development of Line 2 should begin as soon as the civil works for Line 1 are completed. Completion of the civil works will take the whole of next year.

The 56km MRT2 project is expected to take five years to be completed.

The first MRT line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang is about 50% close to completion. Most of the civil works are expected to be completed during the course of next year.

The MRT Line 1 runs for 51km and, upon completion, will have 31 stations serving 1.2 million commuters .

The whole MRT project is proposed to include three lines where the last one is a circle alignment running around the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.