Sunday, 30 September 2012

(NST) '4.5pc target growth is achievable'

CONFIDENT: Research house projects stronger economic growth of 5.8pc

KUALA LUMPUR: MIDF Research is confident that the targeted economic growth of 4.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent as well as the budget deficit of four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, is achievable.

The figures were announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak while presenting next year's budget in Parliament on Friday.

"In fact we have projected a stronger economic growth of 5.8 per cent in 2013, while looking at a budget deficit of four per cent to 4.3 per cent, with room to dipping below the four per cent threshold mark," it said in a research note yesterday.

MIDF said domestic demand will still be the main driver of economic growth with private consumption at the helm.

Among the factors lending support to private consumption are a healthy labour market, better income growth from the domestic and export sectors as well as commodities, strong real disposable income on the back of low inflation and financial assistance to lower income households.

On the equity market, MIDF said despite no material surprise from the recent budget, it expects the market to retain its upward momentum, supported by the still rising tide of external liquidity as attested by the continued inflow of foreign funds.

The research house said the construction sector will see double-digit growth again next year to 11.2 per cent, compared with 15.5 per cent this year, despite no surprises in the form of new project announcements in Budget 2013.

Going forward, MIDF believes the government will continue to focus on awarding and executing big-ticket projects, to meet its double-digit growth target.

Among the projects are the West Coast Expressway, the Mass Rapid Transit 2 and 3 lines, Southern Double Tracking, Prai Power plant, and the Langat 2 treatment plant.

The property sector, it said, may see demand shift to the affordable segment.

"We foresee higher demand for properties priced below RM400,000 due to a further extension of stamp duty exemption on the instrument of transfer agreements and loan agreements for the purchase of the first residential property as well as a higher income limit for My First Home Scheme,"

The research house was not surprised with the revision to the real property gains tax as it had been widely speculated, and was crucial for the long-term sustainability of the property sector, with uncontrolled property speculation activities leading to a property bubble.

MIDF said various goodies given by the government in an effort to tackle the rising cost of living via an increase in the rakyat's disposable income would have a positive impact on the consumer sector.

However, as the "handouts" are done in small pockets across the economy, it is unlikely to significantly improve the people's wealth or consumer confidence to the extent of creating significant growth in the sector, it added.

The research house has kept a "positive" outlook on the construction sector as well as oil and gas, and healthcare.

The research house also maintained a "neutral" view on the property, consumer, building material as well as healthcare, banking, plantation, aviation, tobacco, telecommunication and automotive sectors. Bernama


(NST) House owners get good bargain

LIFESTYLE HOMES: Prima Houses comparable to high-end projects

SEREMBAN: Middle-income earners from around the state who made a beeline for the unveiling of the 1Malaysia Public Housing (PR1MA) Seremban are counting the days to when the houses go on sale next year.

Their enthusiasm is understandable as not only will they be offered the homes at a price much lower than what's available in the open market, the designs of the houses will be comparable to high-end projects that would normally be beyond their financial capability.

This observation was in tandem with PR1MA's claim that their units would be comparable in quality with "private developers' lifestyle homes".

PR1MA Seremban, a maiden affordable housing project established by the government to promote home ownership among Malaysians in that income bracket, was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday in conjunction with the Jelajah Janji Ditepati roadshow held here.

The houses, which will be located in Seremban2, Senawang, Rasah and Northern Seremban, are aimed at middle-income earners living and working in Seremban and the surrounding areas.

Offering 5,700 units, comprising double-storey terraced houses and high-rise residential blocks, work on Phase One will begin in the first quarter of next year.

The houses are expected to be completed and ready for occupancy by 2015.

PR1MA chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said the Industrialised Building System would be applied for the project, adding that he expected that the project would be completed earlier than scheduled.

"PR1MA is mandated with making home ownership more affordable for middle-income earners, and today, we are moving closer to fulfilling those aspirations. If need be, we have land to build up to 10,000 units of PR1MA homes in Seremban," he said, adding that the project would be the first to be designed, developed and managed by PR1MA.

Najib also took a tour of the show house which featured a green back lane concept with a communal garden.

Mutalib said PR1MA homes would be gated communities and the communal gardens were to foster better interaction between neighbours and encourage more community-related activities.

He said PR1MA was also in the midst of addressing several issues concerning the affordable housing programme, including that of end-financing for those eligible.

Applicants are eligible to take part in the PR1MA programme if they are Malaysian, aged 21 and above, and have a gross household income of between RM2,500 and RM7,500 per month.

They should also work or live in the area where the project would be developed and not own more than one other home in the country.

Meanwhile, PR1MA chairman Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis, when asked about similar projects being carried out in prime areas of the Klang Valley, said while the government was focused on providing public housing, it could not build such homes in "prime" areas, including in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle.

However, he added, this was balanced by ensuring that the houses that are built in "four-star" areas were provided with sound connectivity.

"They will be able to enjoy the quality of life through housing units of this kind," he said, adding that those under the PR1MA programme could expect to live in a self-sufficient, self-contained neighbourhood where societal infrastructure and facilities like the 1Malaysia Clinic are readily available. They could also expect their quit rent to be subsidised, although this is not a guarantee.

Jamaludin also said the PR1MA system allows mobility for the buyers as those who had purchased smaller units and would later want to upgrade to larger homes, could resell the property to PR1MA and opt for another unit.

However, units purchased cannot be sold in the open market as underlined in a 10-year moratorium clause.

The government, in acknowledging that comfortable and affordable housing was one of the most important basic necessities for the rakyat, announced in the 2013 Budget on Friday that it would allocate RM1.9 billion to build 123,000 affordable housing units in strategic locations next year.

The initiatives will be implemented by PR1MA, Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Bhd (SPNB) and Jabatan Perumahan Negara.

Najib, in tabling the Budget, said a total of RM500 million would be spent by PR1MA to build 80,000 houses in major locations nationwide, sold at between RM100,000 and RM400,000 per unit.

Among the locations are Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Johor Baru, Seremban and Kuantan.

In addition, PR1MA will provide the Housing Facilitation Fund, totaling RM500 million, to build houses in collaboration with private developers.


(NST) SPNB to build 1,850 affordable houses next year

MELAKA -- Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) will be building 1,850 units of affordable houses throughout the country next year.

Its chairman, Datuk Idris Haron said this was possible due to the RM320 million allocation provided by the government to SPNB when the tabling the 2013 Budget was done by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday.

"The announcement shows the Prime Minister listens to the grouses of the young and middle income group who wish to own houses," he told reporters after closing a Leadership Seminar of the Society of the Blind in Malaysia (SBM) here today.

Also present was SBM president Mohammed Nazari Othman. -- BERNAMA


Saturday, 29 September 2012

(The Star) 2013 opening for Sungei Lembing tunnel

KUANTAN: Visitors to Sungei Lembing will be able to experience tin mining activities of yesteryears with the completion of the refurbishment of a 580m-long tunnel next month.
However, Kuantan Municipal Council president Datuk Zulkifli Yaacob said the tunnel would only be opened to the public by early next year after several trial runs.
He said all safety aspects would be scrutinised to ensure no untoward incidents or major glitches so that visitors could enjoy the site visit thoroughly.
Site visit: Zulkifli (left) and Ng (right) visiting the tunnel site to check on the work progress.
Site visit: Zulkifli (left) and Ng (right) visiting the tunnel site to check on the work progress.
“We have yet to decide on the price of the entrance fees but locals would definitely pay a lower amount compared to foreign tourists.
”The whole visit is expected to take about one hour including a train ride with proper lightings and audio,” he said during a site visit recently.
Also present was Paya Besar MCA division chief Datuk Ng Fook Heng.
Zulkifli said the RM8mil allocation for the refurbishment was provided for by the Federal Government and work had started since last year.
He said visitors would also be able to witness 12 replica of tin mining workers in various stages of work inside the tunnel.
“Besides, they would get an opportunity to take a short walk along the path used by former mine workers.
“It is like a time tunnel in which visitors are transported back to the olden days,” he said, adding that those interested could also try their hand in panning for tin with a dulang.
Zulkifli said he was confident the site would be able to attract more visitors to Sungei Lembing during weekends, school and public holidays.
He said many people were already flocking to the former mining town to visit the rainbow waterfall, museum, hanging bridge among others, every year.
”Once completed, we would carry out aggressive promotions and publicise the site in addition to offering special prizes for the 100,000th or 500,000th visitor,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ng said the site would be able boost economic activities for the locals and promote Sungei Lembing as a must visit attraction.
”I am sure visitors to Kuantan will not miss the opportunity to visit Sungei Lembing and hope all travel agencies would help in promotional efforts,” he said.

(The Star) Allocation to refurbish Batu Pahat market held back

BATU PAHAT: The long-awaited rebuilding of the Batu Pahat market may be delayed again.
Batu Pahat Municipal Council whip Kang Beng Kuan said the council was supposed to receive an allocation of RM2.5mil from Housing and Local Government for the first phase of the project this year.
“However, the allocation has been held back so the project cannot begin this year.
Longer wait: The Batu Pahat market that will be torn down and rebuilt after the completion of the new wholesale market.
Longer wait: The Batu Pahat market that will be torn down and rebuilt after the completion of the new wholesale market.
“We are also afraid that the council may have problems in getting the allocation for the project next year because they have failed to get the project started this year,” he said after Batu Pahat Municipal Council’s fullboard meeting recently.
Kang also slammed those spreading rumours that project could not take off because the councillors had “shared” the allocations among themselves.
“All councils have their key performance index to follow and we are worried that the failure of implementing the project this year will affect our application for the next allocation,” he reiterated.
The council has had to change its plans to construct a new wholesale market and rebuild the existing 40-year-old Batu Pahat market simultaneously, after a number of traders were against a proposal for both projects to take place at the same time.
The construction of the new wholesale market, located five kilometres away from the old market started in June.
However, the demolition of the old market in Jalan Pasar will only take place after the new wholesale market was completed.
Kang also expressed his concern that several events including the impending general election that might take place early next year could also further delay the project.
“The council may face a breach of contract if the project is delayed after May 2, 2013. Tis means they have to compensate the contractors 30% of the construction cost, which is RM1.8mil,” he said.
Kang also said the construction of the new wholesale market at Taman Kota Murni, which started in June, is slightly behind schedule.
He said the project is supposed to be 30% completed by now, but is only 27% done so far.
He added that the construction was delayed due to inconsistent of number of stalls for fish and vegetable wholesalers and last minute amendment.
“The council has fixed 36 lots for fish section and 28 lots for vegetable section. However, the wholesalers’ associations presented us a list with a different number of units.
“Their latest request is 41 units for fish and 64 units for vegetables, therefore, the construction works including wiring and piping are forced to stop for the adjustment.
“We hope to reach an agreement with the associations within this week in order for the project to continue,” he said.
Kang said the new wholesale market would receive no more new traders, as the space was limited.
He said the council hopes there would be no further delays as it could affect the rebuilding of the Batu Pahat market.
It was announced in May by council president Abdul Rashid Ismail that both projects would commence at the same time but due to objections from the traders, the plan is for the wholesale market to be completed before the old market is torn down and rebuilt.
The market traders will be allowed to trade at temporary parking lots while the rebuilding of the old market takes place.
The Federal Government allocated RM9mil to rebuild the market and upgrade existing facilities.
The new venue for wholesalers, built on a 0.95ha land, would cost RM3mil to construct four buildings with loading bays and storage areas and was estimated to be completed by February.

(The Star) Positive housing measures

THE emphasis on affordable housing has been lauded by consultants and developers alike.
MKH Bhd (formerly Metro Kajang Holdings Bhd) group managing director Datuk Eddy Chen Lok Loi said as high as 80% of the houses built by MKH were in the affordable range of between RM300,000 and RM400,000 as outlined by the Government.
Chan says extending the 50% stamp duty exemption will benefit buyers.
Chan says extending the 50% stamp duty exemption will benefit buyers.
“The Government’s proposal to extend the 50% stamp duty exemption for the purchase of the first residential property of up to RM350,000 to 2014 will benefit our buyers,” said Chen.
He said the increase in income limit for individual loans from RM3,000 to RM5,000 per year, or joint loans between husband and wife of up to RM10,000 per month, was another positive move as this was the segment they were catering to.
On PR1MA providing the Housing Facilitation Fund totalling RM500mil to build houses in collaboration with private housing developers, Chen said this provision would help to reduce the property prices as this fund could be used for infrastructures which constituted 25% to 30% of the cost.
“If this facilitation fund can go towards the payment of infrastructures, it would certainly help to bring down the cost of housing,” he said, adding that developers should be exempted from having to build low-medium-cost housing priced at RM42,000 because the costs of building such houses were actually between RM120,000 and RM150,000.
Chen said this was a cost subsidy that every developer who built low-medium housing had to bear and this ultimately resulted in house prices being bumped up.
Hua Yang Bhd chief executive officer Ho Wen Yan said up to 90% of its housing were priced less than RM400,000 and the measures outlined fell smack into its category of buyers.
“We have been able to keep our prices down because we practise strict cost control. We also build in secondary areas like Selayang, Skudai and parts of Johor Baru and Ipoh. These are not prime areas, but are up and coming areas,” said Ho.
Another developer, Mah Sing Group Bhd, lauds the Government’s efforts in increasing housing affordability and reducing the cost of property ownership.
Managing director Tan Sri Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said raising the My First Home scheme income limit from RM3,000 to RM5,000 for individuals, and for married couples of up to RM10,000 was practical for the middle-income group.
Concerning the Government’s plans to allocate RM1.9bil to build 123,000 affordable housing units in strategic locations in 2013, property consultancy CB Richard Ellis (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Paul Khong said it was a good move because many more citizens could now be proud owners of their first homes.
“However, the open balloting process must be done well and it has to be fair to all who qualify,” he said.
Valuer Elvin Fernandez from Khong & Jaafar group of companies said the country had already a low-cost housing system in place and the current emphasis on affordable housing would help to fill the gap.
Another analyst said the measures were people-friendly, as they would help a lot of people, especially first-time home buyers.
“The PR1MA initiative is commendable, as it would increase the supply of houses priced below RM400,000 per unit. Right now, it is tough to buy such houses unless they in the outskirts of the Klang Valley,” he said.

(BUSINESS TIMES) RM1.5b Sky Park project will enhance city's appeal

CYBERJAYA: Cyberview Sdn Bhd managing director Hafidz Hashim believes the RM1.5 billion Sky Park project in Cyberjaya will further enhance the progress and growth of the intelligent city.

"Cyberjaya has the right scale and mass and most importantly the proven track record in helping companies to grow and prosper. That is ultimately what we believe matters to property developers when choosing Cyberjaya for their next project," he said.

Cyberjaya has been identified as a pioneer green city by the government and its development aims to reflect that.

"We are aspired to develop Cyberjaya as a green model city and are working closely with private developers to create a low carbon city. We believe this is an added incentive for home buyers and business operators who want to live and work in a clean environment," Hafidz told Business Times in an interview.

Some 16 major developers are expected to invest up to RM20 billion in Cyberjaya over the next five years.

They include SP Setia Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Nadayu Bhd, UEM Land Holdings Bhd, Glomac Bhd, OSK Property Bhd and MCT Consortium.

The Sky Park project is being developed by MCT Consortium and consists of six towers of between 12 and 42 storeys.

The project will have an office tower, strata office, a 390-room business hotel, serviced apartments, studio small-office-flexible-office (SOFO) and duplex SOFO.

MCT managing director Danny Goh said the development has many unique features, one of which is the roof-top podium featuring sophisticated ambience with choices of stylish brands.

Five of the blocks (excluding the serviced apartments) will be linked by a spacious, elongated sky park on the roof top, reflecting the fine hallmark of the Sky Park project.

Goh said the SOFO units are also uniquely brilliant-built art of work and play, surrounded with elegant, contemporary designs


(BUSINESS TIMES) Tourist arrivals goal hinges on KLIA2

KUALA LUMPUR: The government's target in the 2013 Budget to bring in 26.8 million tourist arrivals next year is highly dependent on the progress of the new low-cost terminal, KLIA2.

An analyst with Maybank Investment Bank Bhd said should the new terminal is ready on time with no operational issues, there will be a strong surge in passenger traffic demand since it will prompt many airlines to inject new flights to Malaysia.

"It is very difficult to say now because currently there is two school of thoughts: AirAsia (Bhd) said KLIA2 will not be ready on time, while Malaysia Airports (Holdings Bhd) said it will be ready on time. Who is right and who is wrong we don't know. So that is the issue," he told Business Times.

According to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), KLIA2 will be completed in April 2013 as planned at a cost of RM4 billion.

The analyst also said the bulk of the targeted 26.8 million tourists would be low-cost travellers although the total number will be a combination of low-cost and premium travellers.

"Low-cost carrier is definitely the engine for new growth. It is a known fact that low-cost travel has been growing much more faster than full-service carriers by a factor of two to three times," he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, when tabling 2013 Budget, said in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2013/2014, RM358 million will be set aside to Ministry of Tourism to hit 26.8 million tourist arrivals.

In addition, the government proposed the income tax exemption be extended for three years to tour operators who bring in at least 750 foreign tourists or handle 1,500 local tourists a year.

The analyst said the tax exemption will not impact low-cost carrier, AirAsia and national carrier, Malaysia Airlines since both airlines already enjoy tax exemptions.

AirAsia chief executive Aireen Omar said the 26.8 million target is possible provided that there is continued support and encouragement from the government to make air travel affordable with Kuala Lumpur as low-cost hub in Asean.

"We at AirAsia are doing our part and this year we are looking at carrying about 35 million passengers as a group and we should be able to facilitate that target," she said.

MAHB managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad also said that the target is achievable looking at the growth in tourist numbers over the last three years.

This is also taking into account the promotional programmes planned by Tourism Malaysia as well as the increased capacity announced by airlines.

"Visit Malaysia Year 2013/2014 will provide the additional boost," Bashir said.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Transportboost for Cyberjaya

BETTER LINKS: Cyberview wants light rail transit and MyRapid Transit to serve the intelligent city
NEW developments are set to take place in Cyberjaya, such as a railway network, which may include a brand new light rail transit (LRT) line and the MyRapid Transit (MRT) system.

Currently, the only rail network serving Cyberjaya is the Express Rail Link, connected via Putrajaya to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang and the KL Sentral transport hub in Kuala Lumpur.

Cyberjaya, which was conceptualised and designed some 15 years ago as the nucleus of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, needs a better public transport system to serve its growing population. Today, the intelligent city is home to 600 companies, with 35 multinational and nine educational institutions, and about 53,000 people.

"The huge leap is due to the concerted efforts that we at Cyberview, together with our stakeholders, have initiated, which include the creation of an eco-system for companies to thrive in Cyberjaya.

"We've also launched various initiatives that make operating businesses in Cyberjaya easy and appealing," said Cyberview Sdn Bhd managing director Hafidz Hashim.

He said the company is in talks with the local authorities to extend the MRT and LRT lines to Cyberjaya.

"We are soliciting with them for a LRT and MRT line to serve the population growth. We are working closely to see which is the most cost- effective," he said in an interview.

Cyberview, a federal government company, is the land owner and the Cybercity Manager of 2,800ha Cyberjaya in Selangor, deemed to be Malaysia's version of the US' Silicon Valley.

As the information technology (IT) city of the country, its goal is to attract world-class multimedia and IT firms to set up businesses there.

So far, 27 per cent of Cyberjaya has been developed, while over 40 per cent of the landbank is under development and in planning stage.

Hafidz said as the city grows to greater heights, the demand for transport, residential and commercial development and other needs will increase significantly.

He also hopes there will be better connectivity to Cyberjaya by road.

Currently, Cyberjaya is linked via the Maju Expressway, Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong, the South Klang Valley Expressway and the New Klang Valley Expressway.


(BUSINESS TIMES) First phase of the Mall of Medini welcomes visitors

NUSAJAYA Lifestyle Sdn Bhd, a joint venture company between UEM Land Holdings Bhd and Iskandar Harta Holdings Sdn Bhd, has opened the first phase of the Mall of Medini in Johor to the public.

Drawing inspiration from globally-successful theme park and lifestyle retail centres such as Americana, The Grove and Universal Citywalk, Medini mall is envisioned to become the lifestyle, entertainment and recreational epicentre of Nusajaya, one of the five key nodes of Iskandar Malaysia.

The mall is dedicated to serve as a gateway to Legoland Malaysia and cater to the needs of local and international visitors to the theme park.

Phase 1 of the Mall of Medini offers intimate high-street, colonnade-style retailing in a classy yet lively and festive environment, which encourages interaction between the internal and the external, a departure from the conventional box shopping mall.

The cool yet naturally-ventilated shopping environment celebrates the beauty of the tropical climate and complements the theme park setting of Legoland Malaysia.

Visitors will be delighted with the retail variety, from food and beverahes, snacks, desserts, confectionery, fashion, gifts and souvenir shops, as they soak in the sassy mix of big band/swing and jazz music flowing through the thoroughfare.

Nusajaya Lifestyle said at present, 90 per cent of the retail spaces had been taken up by household names such as KFC, Manhattan Fish Market, Royal Selangor, Penang Village, Kaki-Kaki Reflexology, Polo Haus, Al-Ikhsan, Tutti Frutti, 1901, and Blackball.

"We are excited to see the soft opening of Phase 1 of the Mall of Medini which is about 10 per cent of the overall 2 million sq ft of gross floor area mixed development.

"This is just the beginning of what will be developed in four phases for a period of eight years, with an expected gross development value of RM1 billion," UEM Land managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim said in a statement.


(NST) The Golden Palm Tree experience

DE-STRESS: The award-winning Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa offers luxurious rooms, scenic views and great food

SEPANG: Stretching out almost a kilometre into the sheltered waters of the Straits of Malacca, Golden Palm Tree Iconic Resort & Spa offers the warmth of local welcome, the fusion of tradition and modernity in its interior designs, and the sophistication of its services.

It also showcases the culinary arts with authentic local delicacies.

The resort has comfortable and stylish sea villas. The resort is "away from it all" and yet close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

Part of the Golden Palm Tree experience is enjoying its natural environment, including a mangrove sanctuary.

The resort also offers a wide range of sports and entertainment activities, and many food and beverage outlets.

Golden Palm Tree embodies the very best of Malaysia in a showcase of culture and rich history dating back to the early settlers of Peninsular Malaysia. In these pristine surroundings that have had minimal impact by development, guests are sure to find their very own corner of paradise.

Golden Palm Tree is a five-star haven of peace and tranquillity and only 35 minutes drive away from KLIA and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT).

Each of the 392 luxurious water villas from 52 sq m to 232 sq m in size are raised on stilts.

It has alang-alang roofing, and large, folding French doors opening out to a private deck.

The resort is a recipient of the CNBC Best Property Award and the Best Interior Award 2008.

The Travellers Palm Villa are one-bedroom sea villas spread across 52 sq m with natural light flooding through full-length windows.

They come with twin bedding, ceiling fans, air conditioning and five-star amenities.

The similarly sized Premier Travellers Palm Villa with exposed alang-alang roofing offers a warm ambience and features a romantic four-poster king-sized bed.

An outdoor private terrace provides a perfect vantage point for scenic views.

Measuring 82 sq m, the spacious Canary Palm Villa is raised on stilts and features a roomy living area.

It consists of a lounge with a queen-sized bed and a twin bed with two marble bathrooms.

The Ivory Palm Villa, the resort's 2008 CNBC Best Interior Award winner, spreads over 122 sq m with two bedrooms, a spacious marble bathroom with a sunken bathtub, walk-in wardrobe and lounge.

Its wide balcony offers a fabulous view of the sea.

Perched at the tip of the Golden Palm Tree are the regal Royale Palm Villas, measuring 232 sq m and featuring three bedrooms, a spacious terrace and an ocean-front view.

Dine amid wonderful settings in the resort's restaurants and bars offer the very best in Asian and continental cuisine.

Enjoy a variety of authentic Malay-styled barbecued-fish, Straits of Malacca dining reminiscent of colonial days, Chinese seafood fondue and Western cuisine.

Perahu serves a wide selection of Malay-styled barbecued and grilled seafood at the beach front with a sunset view.

Stimbot serves steamboat, which is the Chinese version of a seafood fondue. It also serves an array of authentic traditional Malay cuisine.

Bila Bila is a buffet restaurant at the Club House serving an extensive variety of cold starters, poolside food, and international and local cuisine, late into the night.

Hai Sang Lou is a fine-dining Chinese restaurant serving a variety of dim sum, Cantonese cuisine and popular piquant Sichuan dishes.

Buloh Bar is a poolside bar serving a wide range of snacks and beverages together with live entertainment every evening.

Sepoi Sepoi Cafe offers extensive a la carte menu, reminiscent of a traditional Chinese coffee shop with an impressive list of local coffee brews, a wide variety of Malaysian snacks and local favourites.

The Selat Bar along the beach offers a cosy environment in which to enjoy a variety of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.

Escapade Spa is for those who seek inner tranquillity and radiant beauty.

A soothing relief from frenetic lifestyles, Escapade Spa offers holistic signature therapies.

It carefully blends traditional treatments from the various ethnic cultures in Malaysia.

Escapade Spa exudes a carefree, natural sexiness against a white backdrop that blends with dark wood and bamboo to accentuate modern symmetries and sensuous curves in a liberating space.

The spa is located on the upper level of the Club House, with a vast pavilion to catch the sea breeze that will lull you into soothing sleep.

Overlooking the water villas from the shore, the resort's 840 sq m ballroom can accommodate up to 1,200 people for conferences, exhibitions and receptions.


(NST) Boost for first-time buyers

THUMBS UP: There’s ample opportunity for the younger generation to own homes

KUALA LUMPUR: The government's move to address Malaysians' housing needs, especially for first-time buyers, has been given a promising review.

Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) expressed its delight that the Budget for housing allowed all spectrums of society to enjoy comfortable living.

"The continuous improvement where housing needs are concerned is an indication of government accountability.

"The new Budget has made room for more people-friendly home programmes to be carried out, something the prime minister has been privy to after listening to the demands of the rakyat," said SPNB chairman Datuk Idris Harun.

He said key to this budget was the opportunity for the younger generation to own homes.

Idris said SPNB was also taking a step in the right direction after it was allocated medium-cost apartment projects in Shah Alam and Sungai Buloh.

"The prime minister has tasked us with two urban projects, which expand on our previous focus of suburban and rural areas."

In his 2013 Budget speech yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that RM1.9 billion would be allocated to build 123,000 affordable houses in strategic locations across Malaysia. He said the 1Malaysia People's Housing Scheme (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Berhad and the National Housing Department would be responsible for building both low- and medium-cost houses, which would be sold at lower than the market value. The prime minister said it was the government's responsibility to ensure every citizen was given the opportunity to own a house.

Master Builders' Association Malaysia president Matthew Tee said first-time house buyers would be delighted that the income bracket for the My First Home Scheme was increased from RN3,000 to RM5,000 per month for singles and RM10,000 for married couples.

"The reduction of corporate tax of between one and seven per cent is also a positive move for members and other construction companies."

The emphasis on reviving more abandoned housing projects has been lauded by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Ministry abandoned projects rehabilitation division director M. Jana Santhiran said the government remained committed towards reviving these projects.

"In the last two budgets, we have been given a similar allocation to revive low- and medium-cost projects and so far, we have achieved our targets."

Najib had said RM100 million would be allocated to revive 30 abandoned housing projects, including a first this year in the form of tax incentives for the private sector and banks.

"The incentives will encourage more "white knights" to come in and rescue these projects, while banks would also be more keen to give out loans now that there's something in it for them."


Friday, 28 September 2012

(The Edge) Emkay Group launches Cyberjaya corporate park

CYBERJAYA (Sept 28): The Emkay Group has launched the first phase of Star Central, a mixed development with a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.8 billion in Cyberjaya.

The project will be on an 18-acre freehold commercial site to be developed in seven phases over seven to 10 years.

The first phase is known as the corporate park with a GDV of RM420 million. The corporate park offers 17 blocks of 8-storey semi-detached offices with a net floor area (NFA) of between 1,881 sq ft and 2,838 sq ft per floor. Each semi-detached office block allows naming rights for its tenants’ businesses.

The towers are linked at the rear by a car park podium and a rooftop garden terrace. The office space is priced from RM550 per sq ft (psf) to RM650 psf. Each block comes with 32 covered parking bays with an additional two VIP bays at ground level.

According to Peter Teh, CEO of Joyful Star Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Emkay Group, response to the office blocks has been encouraging.

“Five have already been signed and five of the units are booked, and we are talking to more agencies to take up the balance,” he said during the launch on Thursday.

The corporate park also has two other office buildings each with a net floor area of 4,823 sq ft to 6,008 sq ft per floor. Built-ups for each block are from 18,000 sq ft to 45,000 sq ft. Construction of the first phase will begin next month and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Phase 2A and 2B of Star Central @ Cyberjaya will offer a 25-storey SoHo Tower with a GDV of RM159.7 million each while phase 3A will offer a 10-storey shop office building with a GDV of RM80.8 million.

Phase 3B will be a 6-storey hypermarket with a GDV of RM277.7 million while phase 4A and 4B will be a 48-storey serviced apartment tower with a GDV of RM453.9 million and a 41-storey hotel with a GDV of 332.2 million.

Emkay group is expected to invest as much as RM3.7 billion in Cyberjaya over the next five years. This includes projects such as Star Central, Autoville (for automotive services) and MKN Embassy Techzone.

Emkay Group chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar said the group is planning to develop about 3,000 affordable homes in Cyberjaya as well. This is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2013.

Emkay Group has developed properties with an estimated GDV of RM10 billion comprising 50,000 units of residential and commercial units and five million sq ft of office space.

Its other developments include NeoCyber in Cyberjaya, Neo Damansara in Damansara Perdana and the Belum Rainforest Resort in Pulau Banding, Perak. 

(BUSINESS TIMES) Emkay plans Cyberjaya affordable housing project

PROPERTY developer Emkay Group expects to launch an affordable housing project in Cyberjaya by the second quarter of next year in an effort to enhance the middle-income group's accessibility to their own house.

"This is an ongoing effort by us in providing affordable housing to the people, in line with the government's desire to see more of the middle income group owning homes," said chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar.

He said although the project is still in the planning stage, the company expects it to include the development of about 3,000 units of medium cost houses with a selling price of below RM200,000 a unit.

Speaking to reporters after the launch of the Star Central @Cyberjaya project here yesterday, he said the affordable housing project will be part of the group's plan to transform Cyberjaya as Malaysia Silicon Valley in 2020.

Also present was Emkay chief executive Ahmad Khalif Mustapha Kamal.

The Star Central @Cyberjaya project, developed by its subsidiary, Joyful Star Sdn Bhd is a mixed-development project comprising 859,118 sq ft of office space, 814 units of shops and 1,900 residential units with a gross development value (GDV) RM1.8 million.

The construction is scheduled to start next month and is expected to be completed in five years. It will be developed in four phases, Mustapha Kamal said.

"So far, the project recorded a sales value of RM122 million, involving various types of development," he said.

Among the development in the Star Central @ Cyberjaya project are an eight-storey semi-detached office tower units with a GDV of RM420 million, two 25-storey residential studio and office (SOHO) towers (GDV of RM319.4 million), 10-storey shop office (GDV of RM80.8 million), six-storey hypermarket (GDV of RM277.7 million), 48-storey serviced apartments (GDV of RM453.9 million) and a 41-storey hotel (GDV of RM332.2 million).

The company will utilise the Industrialised Building System in order to reduce construction costs, Mustapha Kamal said, without revealing more details about the project.

"We do not want to be too dependent on foreign labour services to build affordable homes in Cyberjaya," he said.

Commenting on the proposed tax incentives for developers who use the IBS and green technology, he said if the government announces it in the Budget 2013 today, the company plans to build more affordable homes in Cyberjaya.

"It is possible (to build more affordable housing) based on Emkay track record so far," he said.

So far, Emkay has already built 22,920 units of affordable housing since 1990 with a GDV of RM1.37 billion. From the total, 11,118 units are located in Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya and 11,794 units in Taman Bunga Raya, Bukit Beruntung.


(The Edge) Budget 2013 Government proposes higher RPGT

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 28): The Government will raise the real property gains tax (RPGT) under the 2013 Budget to curb speculation in the domestic property market.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his Budget speech that the RPGT will be increased to 15% for properties held and sold within two years, while the tax rate will be increased to 10% for entities disposed of between two and five years from the date of purchase.

The will be no RPGT for properties sold after five years from the time of purchase, according to Najib.

Under the 2012 Budget, the RPGT is 10% for properties held and disposed of within two years, and 5% for entities sold between two and five years.

Real estate consulting firm VPC Alliance (M) Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong said the domestic real estate market is already seeing a slowdown, hence, an increase in the RPGT is deemed unnecessary.

Commenting further on the 15% RPGT, Wong also questioned the need to raise taxes because property developers’ have a policy of not allowing first time buyers of their properties to sell their units within the construction period.

As developers aim to sell as many new properties as possible, Wong who is a former president of the Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia, said allowing first time buyers to transfer their properties may affect the subsequent phases of property developers’ projects.

“I believe the aim of the higher RPGT is more for the government’s revenue collection,” Wong told via telephone. 

(The Edge) Budget 2013 paves way for business trust IPOs in Malaysia from 2013

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 28): Malaysia is ready for the introduction of business trust IPOs from 2013, with taxation structure for the new asset class tabled with Budget 2013 on Friday.

"To encourage the development of business trusts, it is proposed that the transfer of any business, asset and real estate to a business trust be given stamp duty exemption and real property gains tax (RPGT) exemptions at the early stage of the establishment of a business trust," Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his speech.

These incentives takes effect from January 1, 2013.

"Being suitable for businesses which are capital incentive with stable cash flow, business trusts are able to distribute quicker returns. The introduction of business trusts will broaden the range of investment products and asset classes in the capital market," appendices to the Budget speech read.

Business trusts, like real estate income trusts (REITs), generally commit to pay regular dividends.

However, business trusts are free to pay any amount of dividends from its cash flow even if it does not make any profits and are generally of higher risk relative to REITs.

Business trusts, which are already available in Singapore and Hong Kong, usually dangle higher yields to be more palatable to investors.

REITs have to pay out over 90% of its profits as dividends to be exempted from tax.

Business trusts pay the same amount of tax as a regular corporation but may enjoy certain tax incentives. Malaysia's corporate tax rate is currently at 25%.

"Business operations through trust entities have certain advantages, particularly in enhancing their ability to obtain financial resources based on assets owned," Najib said in his speech.

Financial executives have said the setting up of the framework for business trusts provide entities with regular cash flow and sizeable capital needs like independent power producers (IPPs) an alternative structure for capital raising.

Malaysia's top two IPPs, Malakoff Bhd and 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), are both reportedly planning for an IPO. State-owned 1MDB is also the master developer of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), which the government wants to turn into an international financial hub.

Najib, in tabling Budget 2013, also announced  a 10-year income tax exemption for TRX-status companies as among incentives to encourage major international financial institutions to make Kuala Lumpur a preferred investment centre.

Other incentives include tax exemptions for property developers at the TRX.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Rehda ready to pitch in

Developers are very much supportive of the government plans to build more affordable housing and are eager to participate in the programme. 

Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda) deputy president Datuk FD Iskandar said there is a consumer demand for quality and affordable housing.

"Developers are very much in support of building more affordable housing as we can see the demand is there.

"PR1MA (the 1Malaysia Housing Programme established by the government) cannot do it alone and we are willing to cooperate with them," he told Business Times in a recent interview.

Rehda, he said, fully supports the good intention of the federal government to build more affordable homes.

Iskandar said affordable houses are not a new concept. When the Selangor State Economic Development Corporation was established in the 1970s, its goal was to build affordable houses.

"Sadly today, PKNS is selling houses that are priced more than RM1 million.

"Where is their social responsibility? They get cheap land while private developers pay market rate. On top of that, PKNS gets other benefits. Yet they are building expensive houses," he added.

Iskandar, who is also Glomac Bhd group managing director, said developers are willing to work with PR1MA in building these affordable homes.

"PR1MA can be a facilitator of projects to build affordable homes by private developers as it has the list of first-time home buyers," he added.

The federal and state governments could also identify pockets of land in their respective areas to be tasked to private developers to build affordable homes.

"The authorities can even stipulate that this developments must have as high as 50 per cent of affordable units," he said.

In this respect, Selangor has a crucial role to play as it still has plenty of land to be developed.

The state must do its part in solving the housing woes of the rakyat, especially the middle-income.

"The high-income earner has no problems buying houses. So too the lower-income earners who are entitled for low-cost houses.
"It is the middle-income group which is feeling the pinch," he said.

However, Iskandar said buyers must also change their mindset in choosing the location for their houses.

"You cannot expect to buy an affordable unit in Bangsar (Kuala Lumpur) at RM300,000. An affordable unit there might be RM1 million, while those in Shah Alam RM400,000 and Rawang RM300,000," he said.

Private developers are already building affordable houses but it may be a bit far from Kuala Lumpur where the land cost is cheaper.

That is where a better public transportation system will help make these places more accessible to buyers.

"In this respect, I salute the federal government for biting the bullet to build the multi-billion ringgit Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Mass Rail Transit (MRT).

"These projects will make more outlying areas accessible to home buyers whose travel time from home to office will be very much reduced.

"After saying this, feeder services should be enhanced so that the public can easily access the LRT or MRT stations," he added.
On rising prices of houses, Iskandar said it does not mean that developers are making bigger margins now.

In fact, he said, when he first entered the business 23 years ago the margin was 25 per cent. Now he is happy if he gets 15 per cent.

Among the main reasons for the reduced margins are the cost of land, building materials and labour.

Recently, the Selangor state government had imposed a 30 per cent development charge on all improvements that it has allowed on any development land in the state.

The Caj Pemajuan 2010 indicates that all approved planning permission and approved extra floor area or space would attract a development charge and local authorities in the state are allowed to charge a 30 per cent fee and a 20 per cent of the difference in value due the permission being granted.

These additional cost would certainly contribute to the rising house prices, he said.

Iskandar said the Selangor state government must also help to alleviate the housing problems, especially of the middle- income earners.

By 2020, it is projected that the population of the Greater Kuala Lumpur area will rise from 4.5 million people to 10 million.

Assuming that the average household has four persons, it would mean that there is a need to build 150,000 new houses a year as compared to 200,000 new and old homes sold nationwide last year.

(BUSINESS TIMES) PNB 'excited' over interest in Menara Warisan Merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) is encouraged by companies' interest to locate their offices at the proposed 100-storey Menara Warisan Merdeka.

"It's true that there has been positive response from the companies. Most of them have expressed their interest to open up offices within the building. It's very exciting to see the high interest shown," PNB president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said after announcing Amanah Saham 1Malaysia's income distribution yesterday.

Hamad Kama Piah was asked to update on the development of the proposed over 600m Menara Warisan Merdeka, touted to be the highest building in the country.

Last week, Business Times reported that the proposed Menara Warisan Merdeka had received pre-booking enquiries for over 60 per cent of its lettable space.

About 30 per cent of the space is being reserved for PNB and several government-link companies under its stable.

Hamad Kama Piah indicated that PNB group will occupy about 60 per cent of the building.

"Most of these companies are under PNB's group," he said, when asked to identify the companies that have shown interests to move into the building.

On the construction date of Menara Warisan Merdeka, Hamad Kama Piah said it had yet to be ascertained but "the preparation is almost there".

"Last month, I said that we have received the development order from City Hall, attached with several conditions.

"We are trying to fulfill these conditions as best as we can and as hopeful. We are also trying to make sure the launch will be in order," he said.

Scheduled to be officially launched by year-end, Menara Warisan Merdeka will cost between RM2.5 billion and RM3 billion.

It will have gross floor space of 3 million sq ft and a net floor space of 2.2 million.

This will be followed by two subsequent phases comprising a shopping complex and condominiums.

The whole development, to be undertaken over a 10-year period, will cost RM5 billion.

To be located within the Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara heritage area, the concept of the 100-storey building, its retail portion and the condominiums was mooted in early 2004.

It took into account the need for enhancement of value and effective utilisation of the 7.6ha land adjacent to the two stadiums.

Once completed, Menara Warisan Merdeka will be over 600m tall compared with Petronas Twin Towers at 453m; Burj Khalifa at 829m; and Taipei 101 at 509m.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Pasdec sets RM18m property sales aim

KUANTAN: Pasdec Holdings Bhd is targeting RM18 million in property sales during its three-day sales carnival, which starts today.

The sales carnival at the East Coast Mall is held in conjunction with the group's month-long promotional campaign.

Its chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Abdul Manan said the carnival is a yearly event to promote the group's housing and commercial properties.

"The main focus is to strengthen the brand and increase awareness on our special offers."

The promotional period runs until October 27.

"The theme of this year's carnival is 'Go Nature', which is centred on the concept of healthy and safe living as well as taking care of the environment."

Citing an example, Khairuddin said the Pasdec project in Bandar Putra, Tanjung Lumpur, here, boasts of exclusive features that combine the elements of safety, tranquillity and green environment.

Pasdec sales and marketing manager Saniyah Mohamed said during the carnival, its bank partners will offer attractive interest rates for home loans.

She said among the new projects to be launched today are two residential areas, namely Pasdec Pesona at Paya Tiga Bukit Setongkol and Vista Verde at Batu 6, Jalan Gambang.

Pasdec Pesona, strategically located between Bukit Setongkol and Indera Mahkota, comprises 158 units of double-storey terrace and double-storey semi-detached houses.

She said a special discount of up to RM9,000 will be offered during the promotional period.

On Vista Verde, Saniyah said the free-hold units are located near Sultan Ahmad Shah Islamic College in Pahang while the designs are suitable for the modern families and "yuppies".

She said Pasdec will work with the Kuantan Municipal Council, the Department of Environment Malaysia and the Malaysian Nature Society to raise awareness among schoolchildren on nature.

State Tourism, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Shafik Fauzan Sharif is scheduled to launch the carnival.

Various activities will be held, including a blood donation drive, free health checks and a colouring contest for children.


(NST) PR1MA to help resolve housing woes

AFFORDABLE: Najib to launch programme in Negri Sembilan tomorrow

SEREMBAN: 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) homes are expected to solve the woes of the middle-income group which is finding it more difficult to buy homes due to rising costs.

The programme will be launched when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visits the state this weekend as part of the Jelajah Janji Ditepati programme.

The main objective of PR1MA is to promote greater home ownership, especially among the middle-income earners, by providing affordable residential properties in key urban centres.

PR1MA will be the sole authority to develop, manage and maintain PR1MA communities built under the programme to promote vibrant and active communities.

To participate in the programme, applicants must meet several key criteria, especially an income of RM2,500 to RM7,500 a month.

PR1MA chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said since the launch, PR1MA had continuously engaged with the relevant stakeholder groups within the government and industry to develop a blueprint for a sustainable solution to promote affordable housing for middle-income earners.

"These stakeholder sessions have been very beneficial to PR1MA as it has provided us an opportunity to share the prime minister's vision for the programme and in turn receive useful feedback from those within the industry."

He said applicants needed to be above 21 years old and should work or live in the area where the project would be developed.

"An applicant also cannot own more than one house in Malaysia."

He said PR1MA would embark on a nationwide registration by year-end to gauge the need for PR1MA homes and identify areas in each state where demand might be greatest.

For more details, visit


(NST) 'HKL parking woes will end next year'

KUALA LUMPUR: The parking woes at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) will be resolved with the creation of 1,500 lots by the end of next year.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said a multilevel car park was being planned.

He said 539 parking bays would be ready by year-end, while the remainder would be completed next year.

"This is part of our short-term solution to ease the congestion which is affecting both taff and the visitors," he said after a visit to the hospital yesterday.

Liow said 330 parking bays would be available at the new Specialist Complex & Ambulatory Care Centre while an open car park nearby with 209 lots would be built.

There are 2,364 bays in the hospital managed by a contractor but only 546 are available to the public while the rest are for staff.

The hospital received around 2,000 visitors daily and has up to 7,000 vehicles passing through.

Liow said the ministry was facing problems with the contractor which won a two-year contract from the ministry in January last year.

He said the contractor failed to station more than one parking attendant at the entry and exit points, control traffic flow which worsened the congestion and did not provide shuttle service from the open car park nearby to the hospital.

After the contract was terminated at the end of last year, he said the contractor filed for an injunction. The case is pending.


(NST) Cuepacs wants housing needs solved

PETALING JAYA: Cuepacs has urged the government to set up a national housing committee to tackle the problem of the people's inability to own a house.

Its president, Datuk Omar Osman, said the committee, among others, had to revamp the system for application of low and medium cost houses to ensure the units could only be purchased by low income earners and those who did not own any house.

He said the hike in property prices had prompted the rich to purchase houses for investment purposes.

"Low income earners will continue to rent a house. The housing issue can become critical if it is not addressed immediately, with more people being unable to own a house," he told reporters after launching the biennial general meeting of the Peninsular Malaysia Union of Public Service Office Assistants.

Omar said last week Cuepacs held a meeting with the Treasury Department, Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Berhad, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and a bank representative on the issue.

"They (the treasury), too, look at the matter seriously, but Cuepacs has emphasised that our members do not want housing to be located far away from the city as it would be meaningless."

On the 2013 Budget that would be tabled today by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Omar hoped that the government would agree to give civil servants a bonus of two-months salary for this year.

"We notice that the economy is strong and the government had been giving the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), and many other forms of aid to the people, even taxi drivers also get it (aid).

"So we are confident that the government can afford to give it (two months' bonus) to civil servants," Omar said.

Last August, the prime minister announced a half-month bonus for all civil servants.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

(The Star) Residents of Waller Court to have new place in future

Tenants of Waller Court will continue to pay RM124 per month after being relocated into their new units after it is redeveloped.

Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (BN-Chenderiang) said the state assured that they would not increase the rental of the tenants after the redevelopment project was completed.
Dr Mah, who is also Perak Local Government Committee chairman was answering a supplementary question by Thomas Su Keong Siong (DAP-Pasir Pinji) during the state assembly sitting on the rental fee to be paid by the tenants after they moved into their new lots.
Dr Mah said a 500-unit flat project was part of the redevelopment plan, which would also include another building block for commercial purposes.
He said there would be two buildings of 250-units where the 435 tenants would be relocated.
Dr Mah also said residents would be temporarily relocated to the empty lots in the same area first before their new units were completed.
“The empty lots will be repaired by the developer before they can be inhabited by the tenants,” he said, adding that the project would be built in phases.
Dr Mah also said the current clinic, located in front of Waller Court, would be demolished to make way to build the new block of flats.
“The Health Ministry has agreed to relocate the clinic to the Greentown Health Clinic,” he said.
Dr Mah also said the state had discussed with residents several times about the redevelopment project.
“At the same time, the Ipoh City Council is also trying to reclaim land near Jalan Lim Bo Seng for landscaping and to construct a new entry point into Waller Court,” he said.

(The Star) Exercise equipment maker undergoes rebranding exercise

AS THE health and fitness wave continues to sweep Malaysia, local exercise equipment manufacturer Takasima Fitness is undergoing a rebranding exercise for its outlets.
As part of the exercise, Takasima is launching its “Takasima Platinum” line of stores, which currently consists of nine such stores operating nationwide.
The latest store is located in Alamanda Putrajaya. It was officiated at by Takasima’s celebrity spokeperson Amy Mastura and company chief operations officer Jerry Lim earlier this month. The eighth outlet opened in Mesra Mall, Kerteh in Terengganu earlier.
The rebranding of existing Takasima outlets into “Platinum” concept stores has been an ongoing process since January this year, with the seven other outlets located in Paradigm Mall, Sunway Carnival (Prai), Central Square (Sungai Petani), Berjaya Megamall and Mentakab Star Mall (Pahang), Plaza Angsana (Johor Bahru) and Mydin Meru (Ipoh).
Star power: Amy Mastura and Lim posing together after the artiste signed her autograph to mark the launch of the Alamanda Putrajaya Platinum store.
Star power: Amy Mastura and Lim posing together after the artiste signed her autograph to mark the launch of the Alamanda Putrajaya Platinum store.
“Takasima Platinum stores are located only in shopping malls, whereas the other Takasima outlets are currently located in hypermarkets. There is also a difference in the products both stores retail,” said Lim.
The Platinum store will carry Takasima lifestyle products such as its home fitness and exercise equipment (including home gym sets), as well as the massage chairs and similar lifestyle equipment for customers.
However, the main difference is that customers will only find the European products carried by Takasima — Bremshey and Tunturi — in the Platinum stores. In addition, one can also find apparel, including specially designed treadmill-specific sports shoes being retailed at the stores.
“All in all, we are planning to expand to 140 outlets nationwide, and 80 out of that number will be Platinum stores,” said Lim.
This means that, in addition to opening new stores, Takasima has been busy renovating and refurbishing their existing stores located in such upscale shopping malls, with a much sleeker look as opposed to the current Takasima storefronts, which will remain for the normal stores.
For fitness buffs : A clever play on “F1”, the second iteration of the Fitness One Racing II treadmill machine was launched in the same occassion as the new Alamanda Putrajaya Takasima Platinum store earlier this month.
For fitness buffs : A clever play on “F1”, the second iteration of the Fitness One Racing II treadmill machine was launched in the same occassion as the new Alamanda Putrajaya Takasima Platinum store earlier this month.
Now into its 18th year in the fitness equipment and lifestyle industry, Takasima also unveiled the F1 (Fitness 1) Racing II motorised treadmill, which was launched together with the Alamanda “Platinum” by Amy Mastura and Lim.
As part of the celebrations, all Takasima outlets will be offering a promotion on its own brand products’ warranties. Rather than the usual 12 months, Takasima products purchased from now until Oct 31 will have an 18-month warranty instead.

(The Star) Tesco offers more for customers at refurbished store

TESCO Extra Mutiara Damansara, the flagship store for Tesco Stores Malaysia Sdn Bhd, unveiled its new look at a ceremony recently, after undergoing nearly half a year of refurbishment.
The refurbished store located in Petaling Jaya first opened for business in 2003. According to Tesco, it will provide customers “Extra Services, Extra Choice, and Extra Facilities”.
On the extra features, Tesco Stores Malaysia Sdn Bhd CEO Sunghwan Do said: “We have added extra services, with a new ‘shop-in-shop’ concept with an optical shop, pharmacy, one-stop phone shop and electrical services shop in the store.
“We are introducing extra choice with over 6,000 new products under sections like baby, toys, dining, kitchenware, home furnishing, bakery, confectionery and pet care. We are also launching the Tesco Finest range of quality products imported from the UK.
New look: (From left) Tesco Stores Malaysia regional director Brandon Sta Maria, Do and Tesco Stores Malaysia Advisory Board chairman Datuk Sri Mohamed Abid having a look at some of the fresh produce after the relaunch of Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
New look: (From left) Tesco Stores Malaysia regional director Brandon Sta Maria, Do and Tesco Stores Malaysia Advisory Board chairman Datuk Sri Mohamed Abid having a look at some of the fresh produce after the relaunch of Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
“We have also introduced extra facilities in the mall area with a food court, playland, additional ATMs, WiFi and improved car park system. Still under works are the education facilities, such as a music school, dance school, clinic and spa, which will be opened by the end of the year.”
Do said Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara now features a contemporary design and brighter look after a five month renovation exercise.
“We are happy with the relaunch of the store as we now have the chance to innovate a shopping experience according to our customers’ needs,” he said.
Do said Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara represents a new beginning for Tesco and there are plans to transform all Tesco Hypermarkets to the Extra format throughout the country.
“The transformation will not just be in terms of look and feel, but a variety of offerings as we continuously improve our fresh offers and strengthen our non-food range.
“We will be strategising the transformation and company’s plans for 2013 later this year,” said Do, adding that the transformation will be rolled out in stages.
Refurbished store: Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara unveiled its new look at a relaunch ceremony after undergoing a five-month refurbishment.
Refurbished store: Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara unveiled its new look at a relaunch ceremony after undergoing a five-month refurbishment.
“Our focus right now is on making Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara a success before extending the Extra format to all our stores.”
The relaunch included a Tesco Charity Hunt with four local personalities having to complete several tasks to win Tesco vouchers of up to RM10,000 for charities of their choice.
There are presently 47 Tesco stores in Malaysia, with the 48th store to be opened in Bandar Bukit Puchong in November.
According to Tesco Stores Malaysia, a total of RM70 million was invested for the opening of their two latest stores at Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and Bandar Bukit Puchong in Puchong.
Tesco Extra Mutiara Damansara, which measures an estimated 9,000sq m in size spanning two floors, will have 18 new tenants joining its present line-up of 44 tenants.
The additional tenants include Al-Ikhsan a sports goods retailer, Restyle by A Cut Above hair salon, and Turkey Kebab food outlet.
It is open daily from 8am to 1am.
For details on the store’s Extra features, activities and promotions, visit