Friday, 30 November 2012

(The Edge) Construction of Tg Tokong apartment phase 1 to begin next year

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 29) Construction of phase 1 of the Tanjong Tokong apartments in Penang is expected to begin early next year with completion by end-2014, said UDA Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Tan Sri Mohamed.

"It will involve the construction of nine apartment blocks eight to 10 storeys high with a total of 550 residential units which will be given to the area's original residents," he told reporters here today.

Nur Jazlan said the company is evaluating the tenders to choose the eligible developer for the project, adding: "Over 20 companies are vying for the project tender, we hope the selection process goes smoothly, and we will announce the decision in two or three weeks."

The redevelopment of the Tajung Tokong area, at an estimated cost of RM165 million, involves the construction in two phases of 1,000 residential units for its original residents.

"Construction of phase two, comprising 650 residential units, will begin after phase one is fully completed," he said.

The residential units, costing an average RM120,000 each, will be given free to the area's original residents, while the extra 200 units will be sold at a discount to residents who have been renting houses for over 10 years, he said.

Nur Jazlan said the settlement agreement with the Tanjung Tokong residents signed earlier this year would end the stand-off with the residents since four decades ago, when UDA Holdings was entrusted in 1972 by the second Prime Minister, Tun Razak Hussein, to redevelop the area.

UDA Holdings will hold a "Mai Gempaq" UDA community carnival in conjunction with the ground-breaking ceremony for the residents' resettlement, to be officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Dec 8, he said.

Meanwhile, he said UDA Holdings also plans to upgrade the old apartments in the area.

"We expect to begin the upgrading project after the completion of phases one and two of the apartment project," he said.

In another development, Nur Jazlan said UDA Holdings has rejected a recent proposal paper from the Finance Ministry for the redevelopment of the former Pudu Prison, saying the ministry's plan involves dividing high-value land in central Kuala Lumpur into three parcels.

"This proposal will not benefit UDA Holdings, as supported by two appointed consultant agencies.

"The consultants' report clearly states the ministry's plan is not viable," he said.

However, all decisions will rest on the ministry, which fully owns UDA Holdings, he added.

(The Edge) GE perfect match to "light up" Tune hotels

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- Tune Hotels will enjoy estimated savings of 30-40 per cent in terms of energy and maintenance costs with GE Lighting's new lighting solutions.

GE Lighting has recently partnered the Tune Hotels chain to jointly explore and implement green solutions across the latter's portfolio of hotels.

"GE is a perfect match. As we embark on an aggressive expansion plan to open 30 new hotels from 2012 across Asia and the United Kingdom, we look forward to having GE support our lighting needs," Tune Hotels' Chief Executive Officer Mark Lankester said in a statement Thursday.

Under the initial phase of the partnership, GE Lighting has to date implemented its energy-efficient solutions across three Tune Hotels in Malaysia.

A total of 2,876 light points for both exterior and interior environments have been replaced at Tune Hotels Ipoh and Tune Hotels Kuala Lumpur.

(The Edge) Penang BN to discuss with developer on project at Taman Manggis

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 29 (Bernama) -- The Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) will discuss with the responsible quarters at Taman Manggis Fasa 2 Development Sdn Bhd on whether the site at Jalan Zainal Abidin here will used to build the People's Housing project or affordable homes.

State BN Youth Chief Oh Tong Keong said the decision on the matter would be announced soon.

He said this in response to an allegation that the company director, Khoo Boo Soon, had proposed to build affordable homes on the 0.45ha site.

"It is just a proposal. The paper has not been submitted to any parties yet. We'll have a meeting and discuss the matter, to see what is suitable," he added.

In the working paper, Khoo said the houses would be sold for RM400 per sq ft.


(The Edge) Spanking new look for Yayasan Selangor building

KUALA LUMPUR: Kenanga Wholesale City Sdn Bhd won the bid to refurbish and operate state education fund Yayasan Selangor’s Bangunan Bukit Bintang commercial property here.

Yayasan Selangor general manager Ilham Marzuki said the foundation has sent a letter of award to Kenanga Wholesale City.

“The building will be transformed into a commercial centre with a boutique hotel,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

Kenanga Wholesale City was awarded a concession to build, operate and transfer the property for 30 years with an average rental of RM1 million a month, he said.

The building has already been shut down to pave the way for the renovation works but work is only scheduled to begin in the middle of next year.

Upon completion in 18 months, the building will feature 144,000 sq ft of space while its basement level will be connected to the proposed Bukit Bintang Central MRT station.

Yayasan Selangor had earlier this year put out tenders for the redevelopment of their assets to maximise their value and income generation.

The foundation has another property in the city — a 7.17-acre tract along Jalan Kampung Pandan, 300m away from the Tun Razak Exchange financial centre.

A mixed development comprising commercial properties, SoHos, a high-end hotel and serviced apartments worth RM1 billion has been proposed for the site, according to the tender notice.

(The Edge) Gita Bayu gains distinction for The Quintet

KUALA LUMPUR: Gita Bayu’s latest premium designed bungalows, The Quintet, in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, has received top points in terms of Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC), which is a method set by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) to evaluate the quality of workmanship of construction work based on the relevant approved standard.

The Quintet received 88 points, which is the highest awarded by CIDB so far, according to its press release on Nov 27. The development scored 88% for architectural work, 100% for external work and 96% for mechanical and electrical work.

Andre Keller, CEO of Yee Seng Heights Sdn Bhd, developer of Gita Bayu, said they were thrilled to be awarded the highest marks as it proved that the developer truly places the quality, safety and functionality of its projects as top priority without compromising on the details.

“We will also make a submission to Singapore’s Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) soon,” he said, adding, “We are confident that The Quintet will again pass with flying colours in their assessment.”

The Quintet is Gita Bayu’s first component of its second phase which comprises five bungalows built on one acre of freehold land with a gross development value (GDV) of RM40 million. Each unit has a built-up of between 6,724 and 7,350 sq ft, with the price ranging from RM7.5 million to RM8.9 million. 

Each of the three-storey bungalows has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Security has always been an important feature for Gita Bayu and The Quintet is no different. A metal shutter is used to separate the ground floor and first floor where the bedrooms are located while the roof is reinforced concrete with slate tiles.

Keller disclosed that the developer currently has parties interested in purchasing the bungalows.

The Quintet was designed with the expertise of Gregory Dall, an architect from Pentago Studios Sdn Bhd as well as Nic Proud from RDM Design Sdn Bhd.

Existing residents of Gita Bayu managed to get a sneak preview of the show unit on Sept 11, while another preview was held on Sept 22 for members of the public.

Developed on 118 acres of freehold land, Gita Bayu’s first phase offers a mix of individual and cluster bungalows, low-rise apartments and villas, and a fully functioning clubhouse dubbed Kebun Mimpi. Its facilities include a swimming pool, tennis court, barbecue pits, dining pavilion, gymnasium, reading room and children’s playground.

Gita Bayu was first launched in 1996, with 200 bungalow lots on offer. The final component of its first phase, comprising 54 units of two- and three-storey bungalows, was launched in 2005.

The development has gained prestigious real estate awards over the years, including the Fiabci Award for Best Residential Development in 2003, and the Best Landscaping Award for Hotel/Resort/Tourism Complex Category in 2003. It was also nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (Residential Category) in 2004.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Sentoria shines in first year as listed firm

KUALA LUMPUR: Sentoria Group Bhd, property developer and operator of Bukit Gambang Resort City (BGRC), capped its first year as a listed entity with a 24 per cent growth in net profit to RM47.8 million.

Group revenue for the year ended September 30 2012 (FY2012) rose 10.4 per cent to RM179.3 million from RM162.4 million previously, Sentoria announced yesterday.

About 66 per cent or RM118.4 million of revenue was derived from the property development segment, up from RM114.0 million sales in the previous year, on the back of positive take-up from its property projects primarily in Kuantan, Pahang.

Its leisure and hospitality segment fared well, with revenue increasing 14.2 per cent to RM55.3 million from RM48.4 million previously, on the back of higher patronage to BGRC.

Group basic earnings per share stood at 12.8 sen.For the fourth quarter alone, Sentoria posted a revenue of RM43.9 million while group net profit was RM16.8 million.

"FY2012 has been a successful year for Sentoria. On one hand, we witnessed increased buyer acceptance for our property projects, including Desa Hijauan, Taman Bukit Rangin, as well as Arabian Bay Resort in BGRC under the sale-and-leaseback basis," Sentoria head of public and investor relations Nasiruddin Nasrun said.

The group's raised profile through its listing, bolstered by marketing efforts, helped to improve patronage to BGRC to 610,000 visitors, a commendable growth from 522,000 in the corresponding period last year.

A final single tier dividend of one sen a share was declared. Together with the interim dividend of one sen a share paid on June 28 2012, this translates to total dividend payout of RM8 million for FY2012.


(BUSINESS TIMES) World Bank optimistic on Malaysia's economy

VIGOROUS: Investment boom, domestic demand will keep growth momentum going

THE World Bank is upbeat about Malaysia's growth momentum, projecting growth in the five per cent clip in 2012 as well as the next two years.

"We expect to see the momentum from the domestic demand, especially an investment boom, since the fourth quarter of last year, to be sustained."

Senior economist for Malaysia Dr Frederico Gil Sander said domestic demand helped Malaysia weather a weak global environment and will likely grow by 5.1 per cent this year, five per cent next year and 5.1 per cent in 2014.

It is the second revision for the Malaysian economy this year, after April where it announced its outlook at 4.6 per cent, before it revised it to 4.8 per cent in early October.

The World Bank noted that the Malaysian economy maintained a vigorous pace in the first nine months of 2012 with a 5.3 per cent growth, despite external headwinds and exceeded the World Bank's earlier estimate of 4.4 per cent.

"Many of the investment projects that were launched have a long gestation period. Unless there is another external shock, there are no reasons for these projects to stop," he said in an interview.

The investment growth today will help prepare Malaysia well in terms of its future exports portfolio, he added.

Investment from both public and private sources were key drivers of growth in 2012. Gross fixed capital formation surged in the first three quarters of 2012, taking the share of investment in GDP to the highest level since 1997 - mostly in oil and gas, real estate and infrastructure.

Private and public consumption also remained robust, with private spending propped by cash transfers, a tight job market and higher civil service wages.

Sander said external trade would start to see an improvement, albeit "subdued" in the last few quarters of 2013.

This was because tail risks have reduced greatly in Europe which has been swamped with sovereign debt issues since the last crisis.

Meanwhile, Sander who also led a research report "Unlocking Women's Potential" said Malaysia, despite its impressive growth, faced significant challenges to fully leverage women's talent as at least half a million women are "absent" from the labour market.

The women participation rate remains low at 47.9 per cent in 2011.

Minister in the PM's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who launched the report, said the government is working towards improving the participation rate.

Apart from the Part Time Regulation 2010 to enable them to have part-time working arrangements, qualified and affordable child care centres for working mothers are being set up apart from customised training to enable women to re-enter the workforce.

"With all these measures in place, our target is to increase the participation rate to 55 per cent or an additional 686,000 females by 2015," he said, adding that incentives will be extended to the private sector.

Significant achievements have been made in the public sector, where more than 30 per cent of women are present in decision-making positions.

A study showed that Malaysia could experience a 23 per cent increase in output per capita if more women joined the labour makret or become entrepreneurs.


(BUSINESS TIMES) SP Setia inks Bangsar land swap deal with govt

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd has inked a land swap agreement with the government to build a new integrated health and research institute (1NIH complex) in Setia Alam, Selangor, in exchange for 21.2ha of land in Bangsar.

The privatisation agreement was signed between SP Setia's 50 per cent unit, Sentosa Jitra Sdn Bhd, the goverment and Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd.

As part of the swap deal, SP Setia will build the 1NIH complex on a 16.6ha land in Setia Alam and 24 apartment units as well as a polyclinic and dental clinic in Bangsar.

The total contract value for the 1NIH project is RM845 million.

In addition to carrying out the 1NIH project, SP Setia will pay the government RM217.1 million as minimum guaranteed profit (MGP) for the planned mixed development at the Bangsar land.

"In the event 20 per cent of the actual profit before tax for the relevant phase of the development is higher than the MGP, SJSB shall pay the government the sum representing the difference thereof," the company said.

SP Setia said it plans to develop luxury residential apartments and integrated commercial products such as boutique and strata offices, which will appeal to buyers seeking upmarket properties within the affluent Bangsar and Federal Hill areas.

SP Setia is confident that the proposed development will be well received.


(The Edge) Seven units of Casa del Rio presold

KUALA LUMPUR: Casa del Rio (M) Sdn Bhd sold — prior to the launch — seven of its 32 luxury Casa del Rio Residences in Melaka, said group executive director Noorusa’adah Othman.

The luxury apartments, launched yesterday, are part of an integrated development overlooking the Melaka River that includes a boutique hotel.

“It is the first residential development to share the name and pedigree of The Boutique Collection by HPL Hotels & Resorts, bringing with it the high level of hospitality that is synonymous with the luxury brand,” said Noorusa’adah.

HPL Hotels & Resorts is a hospitality management company owned by Hotel Properties Ltd led by Datuk Ong Beng Seng, who partnered with Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir and Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor to form Casa del Rio.

The fully-furnished luxury apartments come with two or three bedrooms and are from 1,421 to 2,745 sq ft.

Prices range from RM1.84 million to RM4.11 million, bringing its gross development value to around RM60 million.

Furnishings include custom-made furniture, built-in air conditioners, a fully-equipped kitchen with microwave oven and refrigerator, hot water system and glass shower screens in the bathrooms, a home entertainment system, washing machine and dryer, as well as soft furnishings and linen.

Other facilities include 24-hour security services, covered car park, three types of pools — an outdoor infinity swimming pool, children’s pool and outdoor Jacuzzi — two guest lifts and a multi-purpose meeting room.

Residents will also be able to use Casa del Rio Hotel’s facilities and services, such as the gymnasium, Satkara Spa, River Café, The River Grill and Bar Rio.

Casa del Rio is located within Melaka’s World Heritage Site, a stone’s throw from other tourist destinations such as Jonker Walk, The Stadthuys, Menara Taming Sari, A Famosa and Porte de Santiago.

(NST) RM1 million for dialysis centre

THE state government has allocated RM1 million to build a haemodialysis centre here by 2013.

SEGAMAT: Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the fund was given to the Muhibbah Haemodialysis Centre to build the facility which costs RM8 million.

He said the centre would help Bandar Putra residents who are suffering from complications due to kidney failure.

"There is an increase in the number of haemodialysis patients. The centre would help reduce the number of those waiting for this service at government hospitals.

"The centre would also provide job opportunities for the locals as well as training for nurses," said Ghani at the groundbreaking ceremony of the centre recently.

Ghani encouraged the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent diabetes and hypertension cases which were among the causes of kidney failure.

The centre chairman Tan Sri Tan Beng Tong said the centre was established in 1984 with only a few machines.

"In total, there are only 45 machines at the dialysis centres in Labis, Jalan Buloh Kasap, Segamat Baru and Bukit Siput.

"They cannot cater to the over 100 patients who come there daily," said Tan.

Also present was state Women and Family Development, Welfare and Health Committee chairman Dr Robia Kosai.


(The Edge) You One SoHo 30% taken up

PETALING JAYA: PJ Development Holdings Bhd (PJD) has sold 30% of its recently launched You One SoHo in its You One @Subang USJ development.

You One SoHo, which comprises 48 small office/home office (SoHo) suites and six duplex lofts, is the second component to be launched following two blocks of apartments named Residenz.

You One @Subang USJ, with a total gross development value of RM250 million, comprises Residenz, one block of SoHo and nine levels of retail outlets (Broadway).

The first block of the Residenz, is fully sold and the second has seen a take-up of 70%. You One @Subang USJ, launched in June, is a Green Building Index compliant development and is set to benefit from the neighbouring upcoming MRT station.

According to PJD, the layouts of the SoHo suites were designed to create a live-work environment and it’s aimed at young professionals seeking a flexible and convenient living and working lifestyle. The units come in two sizes — 650 sq ft with a choice of one or two bedrooms and 1,300 sq ft lofts. Prices start from RM398,000 onwards.

The freehold low-rise SoHo is specifically designed with parking lots fronting the units on every level to offer direct access.

You One @Subang USJ is the developer’s first project under the You brand.

You, which means good in Mandarin, is premised on five pillars — living, connectivity, leisure, design and value.

“It is truly a unique customer experience that is defined, differentiated and delivered by You,” said PJD chief operating officer Lim Lian Seng.

The second development under the You brand is the 8.33ha You City in Taman Cheras, which was open for sale in the middle of this year. With an estimated gross development value of RM1 billion, the integrated development will offer a mix of residences and retail, and will be developed in four phases.

Its first launch is the 370-unit apartment suites You Residencia.

According to Lim, You Residencia has a take-up rate of 86% with only the bumiputera units remaining.

PJD is currently sourcing for land in the Klang Valley with criteria based on the five pillars of the You brand. As at August 2012, PJD had an undeveloped landbank of 448ha.


(The Edge) Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru undergoes RM40m refurbishment

JOHOR BARU, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- After over two decades in operation, the Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru hotel is undergoing a RM40 million major upgrading and refurbishment exercise.

Its general manager Mohamed Mazlan Ali said the upgrading, to be completed by next March, will enhance the hotels facilities and services to meet growing local and international demand. 

"The first stage of the refurbishment to be completed this month focuses on the Puteri Sky Lounge, guestrooms, the lobby, meeting rooms and the food and beverage outlets.

"The second stage will proceed with the upgrading of the remaining rooms and mechanical components, comprising the air conditioning and lifts system," he said in a statement today.

The Puteri Pacific, which started business in 1991, offers 425 guest rooms, including 19 suites and 21 villa-style rooms.

Mohamed Mazlan said the refurbishment is part of Puteri Pacific Johor Bahru's commitment to be the leading accommodation provider in the city and to transform it into the "Preferred Hotel". 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

(The Star) Residents to be allocated low-cost apartments

KAMPUNG Railway residents in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, will finally get their low-cost apartments as promised, said Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan.
“The developer, YTL Land & Development Bhd, has agreed to provide the residents with low-cost apartments and will be issuing the offer letters soon.
“Construction will take place once they have vacated the land and it is expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months from the start date,” Saravanan told a press conference at Kuala Lumpur City Hall headquarters.
He added that he has asked YTL to speed up the process of issuing the offer letters and hoped they would be issued within two weeks.
Earlier, Saravanan had met up with Kampung Railway Residents’ committee members at Menara DBKL 1.
With regard to the 31 residents who had requested for the land to be declared a heritage village, Saravanan said this had been rejected by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the ministry.
“However, these residents will be eligible to get the offer letters for the low-cost apartments,” he said, adding that the letter was valid for 14 days.
Meanwhile, Saravanan said 29 other residents (18 from Taman Wahyu in Selayang and 11 from the Jinjang Selatan longhouse) would also be allocated the low-cost apartments.
The 23-storey low-cost flats in Sentul Raya has 150 units, a four-storey podium for parking, one floor for motorcycle parking, a rubbish disposal area as well as other facilities.
Units will have three rooms and two bathrooms each.

(The Star) Entertainment spots out to reinvent themselves in line with Government’s ETP

Relaxing: Patrons at the 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge.
Relaxing: Patrons at the 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge.
The Malaysian nightlife industry has been through many ups and downs.
Not so long ago, clubs in Kuala Lumpur were buzzing and crowded till the wee hours of the morning. Patrons would only leave when the sun came up and were the frontrunners regionally when it came to nightlife.
However, tighter regulations and an increase in crime in or around clubs and pubs forced many outlets to bring the curtain down on what was once the beat of South-East Asia.
Singapore and Thailand are now front-runners in attracting foreign tourists through their nightlife and Malaysia is playing catch up, with the Government pushing this agenda through the Economic Transformation Program (ETP).
According to the ETP handbook from the Government’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), the tourism industry is an important contributor to our economy, generating RM36.9bil in gross national income (GNI) in 2009. This makes tourism the fifth largest industry in our economy after oil, gas and energy, financial services, wholesale and retail, and palm oil.
It is expected that, by 2020, the tourism industry will contribute RM103.6bil in GNI, with tourist arrivals increasing from 24 million in 2009 to 36 million in 2020.
“This means the industry will grow by three times and tourism will contribute RM3bil in receipts a week to the country in 2020.
“This strategic ambition will be achieved through the 12 initiatives proposed under the Tourism National Key Economic Area,” Tourism Minister Datuk Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen is quoted as saying in the handbook.
Under the ETP, the Government aims to enhance nightlight, as selected nightlife entertainment areas are expected to stimulate revenue growth from RM600mil to RM1.8bil by 2020.
“As Kuala Lumpur will attract more expatriates, a vibrant entertainment industry will be an integral part of its liveability. The existing entertainment zones are not sufficient to cater to the expected growth, given the average weekend occupancy rate of the city’s nightclubs is 85 to 90%,” the ETP handbook reveals.
Pleasant: The relaxed dining area in 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge.
Pleasant: The relaxed dining area in 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge.
Furthermore, six new night clubs, each with a capacity to cater to at least 900 club visitors per weekend night, are targeted to start operations by early 2012. Two night clubs will begin operations in 2013 and 2014 respectively. By 2014 there will be at least 10 nightclubs in a new entertainment zone. The expected impact of this will be RM0.7bil in GNI and approximately 5,614 jobs by 2020.
To spur growth and meet the Government’s target, it is important for clubs to reinvent themselves.
Queen of change
Joanna Chee, director of events for 360 Celsius is ahead of the curve when is comes rebranding popular hotspots.
Chee has been involved in the events and entertainment scene for the past 25 years and has successfully introduced new concepts for nightclubs looking to woo patrons.
“I was part of the house music era when it started in the United States back in the 1980s and I always wanted to create something similar here,” said Chee, who partnered Best Western Premier (BWP) KL to set up 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge @ Hugo on 6 in the latter’s newly built hotel.
“There’s a void in the entertainment scene in Malaysia with baby boomers having no place to relax and have decent conversation. Also, there are those in their mid-20s who have grown tired partying in clubs. That’s where we come in,” she explained.
360 Celsius Fashion Lounge provides patrons with a unique space to enjoy food, music and fashion at an affordable price. The lounge features an indoor and outdoor seating area that is complemented by a VIP gazebo.
“We expect this to be the future of nightlife,” Chee stressed, adding that it would cost an operator approximately RM1.5 mil to start a lounge similar to 360 Celsius Fashion Lounge @ Hugo on 6. We attract open-minded professionals who enjoy the finer things in life. This is also a place that will be frequented by expatriates given its unique concept,” she said. The space provider
Currently, the only four-star property in KL Sentral, BWF Dua Sentral was launched in July with 362 rooms and suites with the discerning traveller in mind and who is looking for “affordable luxury” at a time when value for money is a prerequisite.
General manager Karel Schrijvers said, “There are some who enjoy a more laid-back ambience with a drink in hand and good conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. This is the sophisticated customer that we are working to attract and keep with the help of 360 Celsius.”
He added: “In a competitive hotel market such as Kuala Lumpur, it is vital to be fresh and different, ahead of the curve and able to offer something new that creates a unique selling proposition that in turn creates a niche for us.
“Having created a niche market, it is then important for us together with our partner, 360 Celsius Fashion House, to constantly challenge ourselves in terms of reinventing the lifestyle proposition that we offer together. By doing so we take ownership of this segment and make it more difficult for our competition to muscle in on what we have created. As the old adage goes “if you snooze you lose” and the vibrancy that we have created definitely won’t allow our customers to fall asleep!”
As Pemandu points out in in its ETP handbook, Malaysia lags neighbours such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia in the magnitude and variety of events hosted, as well as in our nightlife offerings.
We have also not fully leveraged international events as key attractions for tourists, and more international events and promoting a vibrant nightlife in Malaysia is necessary to attract tourists and help boost the tourism industry.

(The Star) Argentine brand retailing the polo lifestyle

For every use: Simonetti (above) looks forward to fur ther developing local interest in polo by working with polo clubs.
For every use: Simonetti (above) looks forward to fur ther developing local interest in polo by working with polo clubs.
IF you are a fan of the sport of polo, then you will be delighted to know that legendary Argentine polo brand, La Martina, recently launched its first flagship boutique in Asia. The new La Martina boutique is located at Malaysia’s premier luxury fashion venue, Fashion Avenue in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
La Martina has long been distinguished for its exclusivity and prestige and is recognised internationally not only for producing the very best technical equipment for polo ponies, but also for producing stylish clothing for polo players.
“Every sport has a brand that is attached to it and we are known as the premiere polo house in the world. We produce everything for the sport from equipment for horses to equipment and clothing for players,” said La Martina founder Lando Simonetti.
La Martina was established some 30 years ago with a focus on the sport of polo and its elegant traditions. The company is now one of the leading brands in clothing and polo equipment worldwide.
Other than polo t-shirts, sports shirts, pants, leather shoes, leather jackets and knee-high boots, the brand also has a huge collection of designer polo accessories.
La Martina is present in 56 countries via an exclusive retail network of 80 boutiques.
Simonetti noted that its outlets are centred in cities known for their luxurious lifestyle including Dubai, Madrid, Palm Beach and Milan.
Through the window: La Martina’s boutique in Pavilion KL.
Through the window: La Martina’s boutique in Pavilion KL.
“We have been looking for new markets to expand to and Asia is our new focus, and we found that of all the Asian countries, Malaysia is the only country in the region that runs its polo events in every polo season,” Simonetti said.
The history of polo in Malaysia can be traced back to colonial days when the game was played for social glamour. The local royal families took to the game and are still active participants in the sport.
Simonetti looks forward to further develop local interest in polo by working with polo clubs and increasing activity and sponsorship in the game.
“The polo spectator market is a niche. Even spectators need to be dressed for matches,” he said.
But Simonetti is aware that his biggest group of clients are regular shoppers who may not be big fans of polo.
“So we want to produce good and stylish clothes for them too,” he said.
La Martina is the official supplier of more than 85 polo clubs around the world including the prestigious Guards Polo Club and the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst in the UK.

(The Star) Hypermarket opens second outlet in Puchong

Just opened: The Tesco Extra in Bandar Bukit Puchong.
Just opened: The Tesco Extra in Bandar Bukit Puchong.
RESIDENTS of Bandar Bukit Puchong and the greater Puchong area will have a new place to go with the recent opening of a Tesco Extra in the area.
The 6,000 sq m hypermarket is the second hypermarket Tesco Malaysia has opened in Puchong and is also the first to follow the hypermarket’s “Extra” format in the area.
“The Puchong community has always been very close to us as our first store in Malaysia was established there back in 2002. Therefore, we are pleased to provide Extra services and offerings to the Bandar Bukit Puchong area and further complement the growing customer demand in the area,” said Tesco chief executive officer SungHwan Do.
Do was present at the launch in Bandar Bukit Puchong along with other members of Tesco’s senior management team.
As part of the activities surrounding the store opening, Tesco gave out special promotions, vouchers, and double Clubcard points for Clubcard members.
The Bandar Bukit Puchong Extra hypermarket is the 47th Tesco store in Malaysia.
The mall’s tenants include Chatime, Ayamazz Roti Impit, Multicare Pharmacy, and several telecommunications and IT shops. Parking is free and operation hours are between 8am to 1am.
Source: The Star

(The Star) JCorp draws RM1.2bil investments to 11 industrial areas

KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Corp (Jcorp) has drawn domestic and foreign capital investments of RM1.2bil within a year, to its 11 industrial areas of 4,627.2ha, which are being developed to house factories for various industries.
The investments involve the industrial areas in Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, Taman Teknologi Johor, Tebrau (I and IV), Simpang Renggam II, Mengkibol, Pontian, Segamat II, Kluang and Senai.
“All the investments came in from November 2011 to the end of October this year,” said its president and chief executive Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim in a statement yesterday.
He also said Jcorp was actively promoting the Sedenak Industrial Area of 283.2ha, which was recently developed, and was slated to be an international small and medium industry hub.
Kamaruzzaman said investors were also focusing on the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex (TLIC) and using the logistics facilities at Tanjung Langsat Port (TLP) in the Flagship D corridor development area of Iskandar Malaysia.
“We have succeeded to date in bringing in 60 investors who have invested a total of RM16bil in the TLIC, involving 628ha,” he added.
He said from the 628ha, some 122ha would involve oilfield services and equipment.
Kamaruzzaman said the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Area was also expected to attract new investments, particularly in the oil and gas industry. “We have also identified the TLP as a dynamic and competitive port.” — Bernama

(The Star) UEM Land earnings soar on higher sales, construction progress

Nusa Bayu in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, is one of the projects that have contributed to UEM Land’s performance in the third quarter.
Nusa Bayu in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, is one of the projects that have contributed to UEM Land’s performance in the third quarter.
KUALA LUMPUR: Good sales and progress in construction in some projects have lifted property developer UEM Land Bhd’s net profit by 56.2% to RM85.3mil in the third quarter ended Sept 30 from RM54.6mil a year ago.
Revenue rose to RM433.4mil from RM408.3mil in 2011 while earnings per share climbed to 1.97 sen from 1.31 sen.
“The higher profits for the current quarter as compared to last year are in line with higher revenue as well as higher contribution from our associates and joint ventures.
“This is primarily due to increase in sales and construction progress in developments in East Ledang, Imperia, Nusa Bayu, Nusa Idaman, Symphony Hills, Summer Suites, MK28 and Quintet,” the company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.
For the nine-month period, UEM Land’s net profit swelled 53.4% to RM247.1mil compared with the same period last year while revenue rose to RM1.24bil from RM1.1bil.
The group has launched several phases of residential units in Nusa Idaman, East Ledang and Nusa Bayu with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM594mil in the quarter under review.
It has also launched Arcoris Serviced Residence in Mont’ Kiara, Teega, a 35-storey condominium development in Puteri Harbour, Verdi Eco-dominiums at Cyberjaya and several more phases in Nusa Idaman, East Ledang and Nusa Bayu with a combined GDV of RM1.8bil
“These projects are in their early stages and are expected to contribute favourably to the group’s performance in the near future. Other ongoing projects are progressing well, with MK28 ready for vacant possession by end of the year.
“The group’s ongoing projects have an unbilled sales of RM1.9bil as at Sept 30 and we are optimistic that the group will be able to meet its profit target for the year,” it said.
Source: The Star

(BUSINESS TIMES) Brisk sales of KL Eco City first phase

KUALA LUMPUR: SP Setia Bhd recorded sales worth RM2.5 billion under the first phase of its RM6 billion KL Eco City integrated property development project here.

SP Setia president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the company has sold 90 per cent of its condominium and other residential units, strata offices (100 per cent) and eight out of 12 boutique offices.

"The buyers are mostly Malaysians and we expect to launch phase two by the end of next year ... we also expect to sell the remaining unsold 10 per cent within the next two to three months," Liew told reporters here yesterday at the launch of its Setia International Centre sales office.

KL Eco City, which is a joint venture between SP Setia and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, has a gross development value of RM6 billion and is spread over four phases with construction period spanning over 10 years.

Situated across the Mid Valley City behind the Kampung Abdullah Hukum light rail transit station, the 9ha green project comprises of three residential towers, three corporate office towers, serviced apartments, a retail mall, 12 boutique office blocks and strata offices.

The project is SP Setia's largest property project in Malaysia.

Malaysia's most valuable property company by stock value is also investing RM150 million to build four dedicated interchanges to directly link KL Eco City to all major expressways coupled with an internal two-tier road system as part of its efforts to solve traffic congestion.

On another note, Liew said SP Setia will hold a media briefing on December 12 to talk about its plans for next year.

Also present at the launch was Minister of Federal Territories & Urban Wellbeing Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.


(The Star) S P Setia chalks up RM2.5b sales for KL Eco City

<B>Big projects:</B> Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin (right) showing interest in the Battersea Power Station project while S P Setia Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin highlights the various key points about it. S P Setia chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi (third from right) looks on. They were at the official launch of Setia International Centre in Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur, a one-stop centre which showcases the developer’s projects.
Big projects: Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin (right) showing interest in the Battersea Power Station project while S P Setia Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin highlights the various key points about it. S P Setia chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi (third from right) looks on. They were at the official launch of Setia International Centre in Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur, a one-stop centre which showcases the developer’s projects.
KUALA LUMPUR: S P Setia Bhd has achieved total sales of RM2.5bil for its RM6bil Kuala Lumpur Eco City project which it launched a year ago with Kuala Lumpur's City Hall as joint venture partner.
The project will be another successful venture for S P Setia which will unveil its full year results on Dec 12.
S P Setia president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the results should be good and that next year's forecasts should be even better despite the global uncertainties and the general perception that the property market was showing signs of slowing down.
“Looking at the response from Malaysians, whether it is Kuala Lumpur Eco City or Battersea, London, Malaysians are very positive about the country's economy.
“But wait for Dec 12. We will provide the group's total sales and next year's forecast, which will also be positive,” said Liew at the launch of the Setia International Centre (SIC) in KL Eco City in Bangsar.
The centre allows buyers and investors to view the group's investment-grade products, both local and international, under one roof.
“We want to share the different dynamics and project features that are unique to our various overseas developments.
“This will be an opportunity for them to invest overseas with a home-based developer they are familiar with. SIC will be a local service centre for our overseas property investments,” said Liew.
<B>Grand launch:</B> (from left) S P Setia chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi, Liew and Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin at the launch of Setia International Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Grand launch: (from left) S P Setia chairman Tun Zaki Tun Azmi, Liew and Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin at the launch of Setia International Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
On the progress of its KL Eco City located strategically across from the Mid-Valley Mega Mall, Liew said sales have been good, with 90% of its Vogue Suites One comprising 708 units sold since its launch a year ago.
Eight out of 12 boutique office towers, which offer a floor space of between 60,000 and 70,000 sq ft per block and 100% of its strata office block have also been sold.
The company will retain a retail space of about 300,000 sq ft, a residence and hotel block and a 40-storey office tower with net lettable area (NLA) of about 750,000 sq ft for recurring income. City Hall, being the land owner will have a 38-storey office tower with NLA of 400,000 sq ft.
Phase 2 is tentatively scheduled for the end of next year after the road and transport infrastructures are completed. KL Eco City will have total net lettable/sellable space of 5.7 million sq ft when completed.
The company will invest about RM130mil in four ramps to improve access and connectivity and a further RM25mil in transport linkages for a Komuter station and underground space for a possible Circle Line station.
Besides KL Sentral in Brickfields, the KL Eco City project will be the only other to enjoy an integration of all three rail lines the light rail transit, My Rapid Transit and Komuter line.
On its Battersea Power Station project in London, the first 800 apartment units will be launched in the first quarter of next year with an international roadshow in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Middle East. It is expected to end in London by April/May.
Phase One, with a gross development value of £1bil, is an inverted S-shaped block when viewed from the front of the Power Station, was deliberately planned and designed this way to enable as many of the apartment units as possible to have a direct view of the iconic four towers which was built in the 1930s and 1950s. The 39-acre acre development is master-planned by Italian Rafael Vinoly.
Source: The Star

By CIMB Research
Target price: RM6.64
WE change our valuation method from a 10% discount to revised net asset values to the dividend-discounted model, which lifts the target price as the company's commitment to pay out more than 90% of distributable income as dividends make it an attractive dividend stock.
But we cut earnings per share forecasts after factoring in dilution from new shares issued. KLCCP's nine-month FY12 core net profit of RM273mil made up 78% and 80% of our and consensus forecast due to better margins. It declared a dividend per share of 4 sen, bringing year-to-date DPS to 12 sen, in line with our 16 sen forecast.
KLCCP announced the formation of Malaysia's first-ever stapled securities structure. KLCCP Stapled Group has RM15.4bil in assets, 3.1 times the biggest REIT, and is committed to paying more than 90% of total distributable income as dividends.
We estimate that DPS will jump from 17 sen in FY11 to 32 sen in FY13, thanks to tax savings for the 70-80% of its earnings that are under the REIT structure, which would be tax-exempt so long as more than 90% of earnings are distributed as dividends. The stapled securities structure thus helps to unlock value.
We believe KLCCP Stapled Group deserves to trade at least in line with the bigger-cap retail REITs, such as IGB REIT and Pavilion REIT. This is due to its sheer asset size (RM15.4bil), largest market cap, most prime location in Kuala Lumpur city centre, best-in-class asset quality (the iconic Twin Towers), best tenant (Petronas), low risk profile.
We estimate that the new stapled securities structure will bring the following financial benefits: an increase in pro forma net asset value per share (as at December 2011) by 23% from RM4.99 to RM6.14, a drop in debt to equity ratio from 23% to 18% and a near doubling of DPS from 17 sen in FY11 to an estimated 32 sen in FY13.
About 70% of KLCCP Stapled Group's asset value will be from KLCC REIT while the balance 30% will come from KLCC Prop.
The stabilised assets (Petronas Twin Towers, Menara 3 Petronas and Menara ExxonMobil) will be injected into a REIT structure known as KLCC REIT while those assets that are not wholly-owned (Suria KLCC, Mandarin Oriental and Menara Maxis) as well as those with development potential (Menara Dayabumi, Lot D1 land) will remain in KLCC Prop.
These two separate companies will then be stapled together to form Malaysia's first stapled securities called the KLCCP Stapled Group.
An existing shareholder owning one share in KLCC Prop will also own one unit in KLCC REIT.
The resultant stapled securities will be quoted and traded as one security on the Main Market of Bursa securities and will not be able to be traded separately. KLCCP and KLCC REIT will share the same management and board of directors. This form of stapled securities structure is very popular in Australia.
The REIT manager for KLCC REIT will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of KLCC Prop while Maybank Trustees Berhad has been proposed as the trustee of KLCC REIT.
KLCCP adopts a low-risk developmental model that is non-speculative in nature. It is not its business practice to develop any new assets without first securing the right tenants.
This, we believe, is crucial as it eliminates the common development risk found in a typical developer. In any case, immature assets make up less than 10% of its RM15.4bil asset portfolio as the majority of assets is stabilised assets with little capital requirements.]
We believe there is still plenty of development potential in the KLCC vicinity. This could be injected into the REIT or the KLCCP Stapled Group in the mid-to-long term, in our opinion.
Source: The Star

(BUSINESS TIMES) KLCC Property shares gain on stapled REIT plan

KUALA LUMPUR: KLCC Property Holdings Bhd shares gained 2.15 per cent yesterday, as its plans to form a stapled real estate investment trust (REIT) got investors and analysts excited.

Its shares jumped as much as 7.5 per cent to RM6 - the biggest intra-day increase for over four months. It closed at RM5.70 sen with more than 4.9 million shares traded.

Hwang DBS Vickers Research upgraded its recommendation on KLCC Property to "Buy" (previously "Hold") with a higher target price of RM6.90 (previously: RM5.40). It also has a post-restructuring target price of RM5.55.

The restructuring exercise will involve the company acquiring the remaining 49.5 per cent stake in Midciti Resources Sdn Bhd which owns the Petronas Twin Towers from KLCC Holdings Bhd for RM2.86 billion.

After that, KLCC Property will inject three properties into its REIT vehicle, KLCC REIT. The properties are the Twin Towers, Menara ExxonMobile and Menara 3 Petronas.

Upon completion of the restructuring, KLCC Property shareholders will own shares and units in both KLCC Property and KLCC REIT.

"The move to a stapled group is attractive, as KLCC Property would be able to avoid the pitfalls of a holding company discount and 'cannibalisation', which had plagued previous sponsor companies that spun off REITs (such as Sunway Bhd, IGB Corp).

"Shareholders essentially will hold similar assets as before, except with better tax efficiencies and lesser leakages to minorities (RM42 million-RM100 million or 10-23 per cent boost to FY13-14 earnings), notwithstanding higher dividend payout due to regulations for REITs to distribute at least 90 per cent of their earnings to unitholders in order to qualify for tax exemption," Hwang DBS Vickers Research said.

"We estimate dividend per share (of KLCC Property and KLCC REIT) to rise by 42-88 per cent to 18 sen and 26 sen respectively, implying attractive dividend yield of 4 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively (based on theoretical post-restructuring share price of RM4.52).


(NST) Delicious food for diversified palates

The latest attraction in town has to be the food street at Johor Baru City Square, also known as the marketplace.

JOHOR BARU: Located opposite the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) complex via a bridge and also accessible from within the mall, this glorious path that is laden with food is open from 10am to 10pm daily.

Walking down the food haven, there are many delicious temptations that range from assorted kuih, takoyaki, finger foods, Taiwanese snacks, kaya balls, waffles, fried chicken and crepes to refreshing bubble tea, sugar cane drinks and fruit juices.

Some of these mouthwatering dishes are new to residents such as churros, a Spanish doughnut brought here by the Pate a Choux franchise.

The doughnut comes in 12 flavours including the original Churro which is made from cinnamon sugar.

There's also the Kimdo barbecue restaurant offering its signature dish of hot barbecue chicken wings served with a generous helping of homemade chilli sauce as well as lau shu fen noodles.

Other local treats include snacks from D' Bahulu Corner, such as the kuih bahulu which is prepared freshly every day, kuih kapit, kuih ros, kerepek and muruku.

For durian lovers, make your way to Duria which makes treats with a generous helping of durian. Their fried durian delights includes durian spring rolls, durian fire balls and crispy rolls.

In addition, another popular attraction here is the Subway restaurant which is famous for its foot-long sandwiches.

Aside from being the perfect place for takeaway food, it is also a suitable to dine with loved ones.

(NST) Low-cost units for 64 in Kampung Railway

YTL Land and Development Bhd (YTL) will be issuing offer letters for low-cost apartments to 64 families in Kampung Railway, Sentul Raya here.

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said that YTL will be handing out the letters within the next 14 days to those who are eligible for the units, although in total, 99 families have demanded for units.

"We had a discussion with City Hall, the residents of Kampung Railway and YTL, and the developer has agreed to issue the offer letter.

"Once the residents have accepted the offer, we will peform the ground-breaking ceremony in January next year," he said.

Saravanan said that the low-cost units will be ready in 18 months, from the date of the offer letter.

"The completion date will depend on how fast the residents accept the offer and vacate their homes," he said.

On a separate issue, Saravanan said City Hall had reached a decision on the proposal by 31 families who had demanded that their land in Kampung Railway be gazetted as an Indian heritage site.

"We will not be gazetting the area as a heritage site. However, we have asked YTL to give the 31 families letters of offer for low-cost units and YTL has also agreed. They have 14 days to accept the offer once they receive their letters," he said.

Saravanan also said that residents who had lost their court case against YTL and want to appeal against the decision will lose YTL's offer.

He said that those families who had been left out of the list for low-cost units can appeal to City Hall.

City Hall will investigate to see if the families had been inadvertently left out of the list.

Saravanan said that action will be taken against foreigners who are squatting in Kampung Railway.

"Once the offer letter is out, we will ask the Immigration department to carry out enforcement in the area," he said.

Kampung Railway Action Committee representative Darshan Singh, 57, said that the committee will continue to appeal against the court's decision. "There are 99 families who are demanding low-cost units at Kampung Railway. If the offer letters are given soon, we will withdraw the appeal," he said.

It was reported that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had on Oct 31 ordered the residents to vacate the land as they were unable to prove that they had permission to occupy the area.

However, residents of Kampung Railway claimed that their ancestors were railway workers and their families have lived in the area for over 100 years until the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) land was privatised under YTL Corporation.


(NST) Rep urges Selangor govt to cancel development on PKNS field

A Parti Keadilan Rakyat assemblyman yesterday suggested the Selangor government put an end to the controversial Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) sports complex by cancelling the project altogether.

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PKR-Seri Setia) said the state should cancel the development of the field and set a good example to the public instead of bringing the issue to the state appeals board for reconsideration.

"If possible, we should not bring up the matter to the appeals board, because it is clear that there is an element of fabrication in an official document.

"This is a matter between the state and its agency. So it is best if the state sets a good example and stop the development immediately," he said during the state assembly meeting yesterday.

He suggested that as an alternative PKNS could look into Section 37 of the Town and Country Planning Act (Act 172) as residents in the area have a legitimate claim for the project to be discontinued.

"Although PKNS argues that they were unaware of the land status, what's clear is that the development could not proceed.

"It doesn't matter if PKNS has problems with MBPJ or the Selangor Town and Country Planning Department (JPBD) as this is another thing."

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said he would be taking Nik Nazmi's suggestion into consideration during upcoming discussions with state executive councillors.

The Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat)'s inquiry which was issued to the public recently, discovered that there was "no strong evidence" of an element of fraud in the land zoning controversy in Petaling Jaya.

"We stated that although there is no strong evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, showing that there is an element of fraud in the amendment to the Petaling Jaya Local Plan Two (RTPJ 2) draft, it is very unfortunate and regrettable that professional and experienced planners can neglect the legal provisions," Selcat chairman Datuk Teng Chang Khim said in the report.

However, Teng added that it is correct that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) planning department officers were "reckless, incompetent and unprofessional" in preparing the RTPJ 2 draft.

MBPJ has been embroiled in the land fraud controversy involving a public field owned by PKNS which was originally zoned as a recreational area. It was converted into a commercial zone and its officers had been accused of altering the status of the recreational area.