Sunday, 31 March 2013

(NST) PR1MA eyes links with developers

TEAMWORK: 'Cooperation needed to fast-track programme'

KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia People's Housing Programme (PR1MA) was borne under the PR1MA Act 2012 with several key delivery models underlined in its implementation, one of which was an effective public-private partnership.

"When PR1MA was formed, the prime minister told me personally that we needed to get private developers on board," said PR1MA Bhd's chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias.

"This was reflected in the first mandate we received from the government under the 2013 Budget, which was for PR1MA to build 50,000 homes by sourcing land from the Federal or state governments, government agencies, and government-linked companies, while 30,000 more units would be built by private developers.

"The 80,000 units is equivalent to the total industry output for a year, which is not easy. We need further cooperation with private developers to fast-track the programme."

The partnership would involve private developers allocating a portion of land identified for development to PRIMA, which would then provide facilitation funds to the developers and sell the homes at 20 per cent below market prices.

Private developers would also be involved in concept designs for the homes, as is the case for ongoing PR1MA developments in areas like Setapak (Kuala Lumpur), Nusajaya and Larkin both in Johor.

PR1MA Bhd operates on a non-profit basis with the sole aim of delivering affordable homes to the rakyat in strategic urban areas with a heavy demand, Mutalib said.

He said the group suffering most from the hike in property prices was middle income earners, as there was a huge gap in assistance for this "sandwich group".

"The housing needs of low income earners has been addressed over the years by government-aided housing programmes such as Skim Pinjaman Perumahan and Rumah Mesra Rakyat, while the high income group are able to afford high-end properties determined by market forces.

"In between, there is a 50 per cent segment of the population who require more government-backed initiatives to close their housing affordability gap.

"This is where PR1MA comes in," he said during a recent talk on "Affordable Housing" for Business Times' Insight Series.

Mutalib said PR1MA was prepared to facilitate a process where some of the conditions imposed on private developers were flushed out in return for jointly developed projects.

"We can negotiate waivers or exemptions for the compliance costs faced by private developers, besides helping with expediting approvals for these projects."

This comes after calls from private developers for a more "level playing field", as the heavy costs were proving a major hindrance for them to build more low cost and affordable homes.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association president Datuk Michael Yam Kong Choy said private developers had to navigate the rough waters between fulfilling the cost conditions imposed upon them by the authorities and ensuring a healthy return of investment for their shareholders.

"The low-cost housing requirement of 30 per cent is a standard prescription for all development approvals in Malaysia today.

"Just like SMEs and other companies, we understand the need for corporate social responsibility, but the agenda for housing should be borne largely by the nation."

He commended the role of PR1MA and welcomed a sit-down to discuss how best both parties could proceed.

Glomac Bhd's group managing director Datuk Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said private developers needed to consider three elements when committing to a development project, namely the rising cost of land, high construction costs, and contribution costs owed to utilities companies and most recently, state governments.

"In Selangor, for example, there is a new Akta Kemajuan 2010 which requires developers to pay a difference of 30 per cent from the day a land is purchased until it is completed.

"These are some of the main reasons property prices are rising. The assumption that property developers make a lot of profit is mere perception," he said.

Fateh commended the Federal government for setting up PR1MA, but said it would not be able to achieve its targets on its own, especially not when there was a need for one million new homes in Greater KL alone within the next seven years to address the increasing urban population.

FIABCI Asia-Pacific chairman Datuk Alan Tong Kok Mau said a better public transport system would allow developers to focus on localities beyond urban centres.

"If we can reduce the travelling from home to work, there are many localities to build affordable homes in.

"People would also be willing to live there as the cost of living would be lower."


Saturday, 30 March 2013

(BUSINESS TIMES) Public-private collaboration key to scheme’s success

KUALA LUMPUR: The ambitious Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) will involve a public-private partnership to ensure its successful implementation.

PR1MA Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said there has already been collaboration at the newly-launched Nusantara Prima project in Bandar Nusajaya in Johor.

"We are ready to negotiate for waivers for private developers who jointly develop projects with PR1MA. That is a value-add that we can provide for the industry," he said when sharing his views at the inaugural Business Times Insight series yesterday.

The Nusantara Prima project is a collaborative effort between developer Denia Development Sdn Bhd and land owner UEM Land Bhd. PR1MA will administer the open balloting process.

"The target is to price the property 20 per cent below similar properties located in the same area," Abdul Mutalib said.

Property developers are, however, appealing for a level playing field and the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association is vocal about the sustainability of the housing sector in the long run.

Its president Datuk Seri Michael Yam Kong Choy said industry players are now at a crossroads as they continue to confront increasing costs in development ranging from land, utilities, raw materials and what he called the compliance cost involving state governments.

Glomac Bhd group managing director Datuk FD Iskandar said there is a pressing need to build one million houses in Greater KL over the next seven years to meet the needs of the urban population, which will bulge to 10 million by 2020 from the present six million.

"Obviously, more demands for affordable homes priced between RM100,000 and RM400,000 will have to be met," he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Mutalib explained that some aspects of the PR1MA housing scheme are still being studied, including financing constraints.

Discussions are also ongoing with commercial banks to craft out a financing structure that will ensure that these owners do not default in payments, which will later burden the financial system.

"We are also suggesting that non-conventional financing be extended to property buyers via rent-to-own or equity-sharing," Abdul Mutalib said.

Prof Datuk Abang Abdullah Abang Ali, who heads the Housing Research Centre at Universiti Putra Malaysia's Department of Civil Engineering, cautioned that low-cost housing still remains an issue in terms of pricing.

Over the years since the government took a strong interest in providing homes for the lower income groups in the 1970s, the prices of these units have steadily risen, rendering it unaffordable to most in that bracket.

Addressing the affordability aspect, the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations' Datuk Marimuthu Nadason suggested that a "housing bank" be set up, dedicated to assist graduates fresh in the jobs market.

By setting aside a certain percentage of their savings, these graduates will be able to amass a tidy sum to pay the 20 per cent downpayment for ownership of a property.

Time is also of the essence, he said, adding that delays in the implementation of housing projects will only run up costs for both the developers and house buyers.

The property panellists also lamented about shrinking profit margins due to rising costs.

Banks are doing better and draw a more handsome bottomline versus property developers, they said.

FD Iskandar said the margins have shrunk from 30 per cent in the past to the level of teens.

Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd group chairman Datuk Alan Tong Kok Mau, a veteran in the property scene, said fledgling developers will not have a fighting chance to survive if prices of low-cost units are not priced right.

He also pointed out that more land for affordable housing developments will open up if the issue of transportation is resolved.

"It is not just about building a mass rapid transportation system... the bus and taxi services must also be upgraded so that the public can shorten the time from home to office," he said.


(BUSINESS TIMES) PR1MA takes centre stage

THE government's solution to the plight of the middle class - a group that needs affordable housing in urban areas - was the perfect launch pad for Business Times' Insight series, which kicked off with an inaugural talk titled "Affordable Housing". 

In welcoming guests to the event, NSTP group managing editor Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid rightly pointed out, "One of the most talked about subjects in the country - besides talk about the elections - is housing. When housing is unaffordable, it can lead to financial and emotional stress on the population."

Abdul Jalil explained that "Affordable Housing" was chosen as the topic for the inaugural talk as it is central to the government's policy.

"Our objective is not to try and persuade the readers to take a stand on this issue, but to try and present both sides of the issue to better educate the public," he said.

In a well-received keynote address, Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias shed light on the germination of the PR1MA programme.

"The idea was mooted in 2009 after the 2008 general election. The government studied the results with a keen eye to grasp why the urban Chinese, Indians and even Malays expressed dissatisfaction," Abdul Mutalib candidly explained to the audience comprising industry insiders and scholars.

The answer was financial distress. The cost of living and the cost of homes were spiralling out of the reach of ordinary citizens, especially in urban areas.

He said data showed that in 2009, 4.6 million people were in financial distress and these were those earning RM3,000 per month.

Realising that migration, especially of the younger generation, to urban areas proved a financial burden, the government swiftly realigned its policies to assist and safeguard the well-being of this seemingly disenfranchised group.

Hence, PR1MA was established under the PR1MA Act 2012.

Its role is to plan, develop, construct and maintain affordable lifestyle housing for middle-income households in key urban centres. Households earning between RM2,500 and RM7,500 fall into this middle-income group.

Abdul Mutalib explained that the re-gearing of government policies to help make the lives of every Malaysian better is something very close to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's heart.

Najib sees it as a sublime continuation of the legacy of his latefather Tun Abdul Razak who undertook many policies and programmes to better the lives of rural Malaysians during his tenure as prime minister.

Another key point raised by Abdul Mutalib wass that PR1MA will be the arbiter of the sale and allocation of housing units to buyers.

"There is a 10-year moratorium in restricting secondary market sales," he said.

PR1MA is also geared towards pre-empting any possibility of an overhang in the supply and demand of its projects by undertaking a national online registration exercise.


(BUSINESS TIMES) RM900m facelift for Kompleks Dayabumi

UPGRADING WORKS: Retail podium to be demolished for high-rise office-cum-residential tower, says source

KOMPLEKS Dayabumi, one of the oldest skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, will get a RM900 million upgrade, with its retail podium demolished to make way for a high-rise office-cum-residential tower.

KLCC Property Holdings Bhd (KLCCPH), a member of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) Group via its wholly-owned unit Kompleks Dayabumi Sdn Bhd, is refurbishing the 35-storey Menara Dayabumi for around RM50 million to RM70 million while its annexed six-storey retail podium, City Point, will make way for the new tower block.

The upgrading plan, which started last year, is slated to be completed in 2015 or 2016.

KLCCPH chief executive officer Hashim Wahir did not respond to Business Times queries.

Menara Dayabumi, a landmark in Kuala Lumpur, was the site of Malayan Railway workshops and depots from 1900s to 1981.
The General Post Office, a company controlled by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary and located adjacent to the complex, however, is not up for redevelopment.

Business Times understands that KLCCPH is expected to raise the rental rates by more than 50 per cent and, thereby affect majority of its tenants.

"KLCCPH is looking at growing its recurring income base and the upgrading of the complex is crucial to meet certain targets," said a source.

For fiscal year 2010, KLCCPH increased its office rental rate for Kompleks Dayabumi from RM4 per sq ft to RM5 psf through internal upgrades.

According to KLCCPH's 2011 annual report, the complex managed to yield rental growth with higher rates with refurbishment to the lift lobbies.

That had boosted its revenue by 13 per cent year-on-year.

The source said the audited net book value of the complex, which was RM330 million at March 31 2008, would be surpassing the RM700 million mark once renovations are completed.

Construction on the complex began in 1982 and was completed in 1984. The Urban Development Authority was the owner then until KLCCPH took over in 2005.

Menara Dayabumi was the former headquarters of Petronas before the Petronas Twin Towers were built.

Current tenants include several Petronas subsidiaries, CIMB, Maybank, BSN, Mercy Malaysia, Malaysian Economic Research and retailers.


(NST) Penang’s proposed fourth link affected by tunnel vision

Penang will need a series of underground tunnels to fix its traffic problems, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) man said this with a hint of sarcasm in his voice.

The tunnel idea came about two years ago. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Penang and China for the project and three other highways in April 2011.

Last month, following Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's announcement that a Malaysian-Chinese joint venture had won the tender to build the mega structures costing RM6.3 billion, the proposed projects became a serious issue in Penang.

There have been discussions, criticisms and questions about the projects.

Where are the studies showing that Penang needs a fourth link?

Is the tunnel economically and environmentally viable?

Studies have not been done. They will only be done "after this".

So what is there to talk or consult the public about?

The state government had recently called for a few public "consultation" sessions on the projects but as an NGO leader said earlier this week, the dialogues were more "informative" than "consultative".

The sessions explained the state's decision rather than seek public views, said Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohamed Idris.

During the sessions, NGO representatives and the public were shown slide presentations which introduced the projects.

These were followed by speeches to justify the projects by Lim and a representative of the company that had won the tender and a Q&A session.

At a session at the Town Hall in George Town earlier this month, there were quite a number of objections against the tunnel.

However, it appeared that the objections were not given serious consideration.

After all, the tender had been awarded.

If Penangites are not in favour of the projects, what can they do?

They campaigned and prevented a developer from touching Penang Hill in 1990 with CAP in the forefront.

A few years ago, they stood up against the controversial RM25 billion Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project on turf club land, which eventually led the development to be scrapped.

Both campaigns saw how powerful ordinary people can be if they stood united to champion a noble cause.

The two unfavourable proposed developments also cost the state government of the time votes in the 1990 and 2008 general elections.

Will the people now choose to replicate the two successful campaigns with the tunnel protest?

Idris had already declared that CAP would organise one along the lines of its Save Penang Hill campaign if gets the public's backing and support.

(NST) Eagerly awaiting highland road expansion

BATED BREATH: PWD’s latest attempt to upgrade Jalan Sungai Palas is welcome news

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: BOH Plantations Sdn Bhd managing director Caroline Russell said that she looked forward towards the expansion of Jalan Sungai Palas leading to the Boh Tea Centre in Sungai Palas.

Russell, who was informed of Public Works Department's (PWD) response to Streets' article, said that it was heartening to note that PWD Cameron Highlands would be reapplying for funds under the Tenth Malaysia Plan for the road to be widened.

"Boh welcomes this move as it will greatly improve road safety and relieve the traffic congestion," she said. "However, there are no promises yet that the upgrade will be done as it will depend on the allocation of funds."

In a response to an enquiry addressed to PWD director-general Datuk Seri Mohd Noor Yaacob, the PWD head office confirmed that application for funds had been submitted since the Seventh Malaysia Plan.

When the concern was raised by Streets last year, PWD Cameron Highlands had again submitted another application on Sept 7 last year asking for funds to upgrade Jalan Sungai Palas. Due to lack of funds, the project could not proceed.

Following up on this, PWD Road Division in Kuala Lumpur had re-submitted the road expansion proposal on Oct 15 last year under the Fourth Rolling Plan of Tenth Malaysia Plan, which will begin in early 2015. Budget is subject to approval from the Ministry of Finance, the statement said.

Streets had earlier highlighted that the narrow road leading to the tea centre in Sungai Palas is used by about 500 to 800 visitors on weekdays. On weekends, as many as 3,000 visitors ply the 2.2km stretch in Jalan Sungai Palas.

Following complaints by the public, Boh Plantation had spent over RM1 million to expand the road within its jurisdiction.

However, the remaining section of the road comes under the purview of PWD. The upgrading project is estimated to cost RM6 million.


(NST) Plans to expand PR1MA

AFFORDABLE HOMES: There is a rise in demand among middle-income earners

KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia People's Housing Programme (PR1MA) will widen the scope of eligibility beyond the RM2,500 to RM7,500 household income bracket to benefit more middle-income Malaysians.

Its chief executive officer, Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias, said a study conducted recently by PR1MA revealed an increasing demand for affordable housing among middle-income earners.

The findings will be presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak soon.

"To meet the demand, we are in talks with the prime minister to increase the supply of PR1MA homes within the next few years by identifying new areas for development," Mutalib said in his keynote address during the Business Times' Insight series titled "affordable Housing" yesterday.

The areas that have been identified and are under various stages of development include Seremban Utara (Negri Sembilan), Kuantan (Pahang), Nusajaya (Johor), Bukit Gelugor (Penang) and Alam Damai (Cheras), which was recently launched by Najib.

Mutalib said the company was in the midst of land negotiations to build PR1MA homes in Sungai Besi besides having put forth an ambitious plan to develop a PR1MA neighbourhood around the innovative Seremban Sentral project, linking the area to accessible public transportation.

Mutalib also said an estimated 4.6 million Malaysians were in financial distress because they lived in urban areas but were earning less than RM3,000 a month.

"PR1MA was established with the sole intention of tackling the rising cost of living in urban areas.

"The concept of 'urban poor', referred to many times by the prime minister, is a serious issue for a developing nation like ours, mainly because of the rise in migration from rural to urban areas."

In two decades, the country's urban demographic had more than doubled, from 34 per cent in 1980 to 72 per cent in 2010.

"With property prices also increasing, the government felt that a mechanism was needed to not only build affordable homes but also quality and sustainable ones as well," said Mutalib.

He admitted that PR1MA would not succeed on its own without engaging the private developers.

"Public-private partnerships are being undertaken, where private developers build the homes and allow us to sell them under PR1MA."

He said the company was also working on the end-financing aspect of homes bought under PR1MA.

"We have had cases where applicants selected through the balloting process are subsequently ineligible for a bank loan. We are looking into this issue and are considering possible solutions, such as rent-to-own and equity sharing."

A discussion was held later with industry experts, including Glomac Bhd group managing director Datuk Fateh Iskandar Mohamed Mansor, Real Estate and Housing Developers Association president Datuk Seri Michael Yam, FIABCI Asia-Pacific chairman Datuk Alan Tong Kok Mau, Universiti Putra Malaysia Housing Research Centre head Datuk Abang Abdullah Abang Ali and Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason.

Key among the issues discussed were how private developers could be roped in to participate in affordable housing projects while ensuring a healthy return of profits.


Friday, 29 March 2013

(BUSINESS TIMES) Shoe-making industry churns out RM1b in sales

KUALA LUMPUR: The shoe-making industry has contributed significantly to the country's economy, churning out a staggering RM1 billion in sales last year, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said yesterday.

She said the figure included Malaysia's RM621 million footwear exports to international markets such as Brazil, Britain, Mexico and other Asean countries, as well as RM300 million in the domestic market.

"It shows that we have succeeded in developing the footwear industry and will continue to make Malaysia Asia's leading shoe manufacturer, the next step forward into the world stage," she said after launching the Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2013 yesterday.

In addition to improving entrepreneurs' income and producing locally-designed shoes, Dr Ng said this year's festival, the fourth edition, is expected to place Malaysia as a centre for high fashion in the global fashion arena as well as in becoming the "Shoe Capital of Asia".

Dr Ng said the footwear manufacturing industry in Malaysia is a century-old industry and ranked 19th worldwide in terms of shoe exports, with Ipoh as the main footwear production centre for the country.

The highlight of the shoe festival is an exhibition by Datuk Jimmy Choo entitled "Mahkota Capsule Couture Collection", which pays tribute to the use of local ethnic fabrics such as Pua Kumbu, Pua Sungkit, Dastar, Tekat and Songket.

Earlier, the minister witnessed the "Biggest Sculpture Made By Shoelaces" making an entry into the Malaysia Book of Records as the largest sculpture made from shoelaces. Bernama


(BUSINESS TIMES) 'Manufacturing continues to offer most jobs', the number one job site in Malaysia, expects the manufacturing sector to continue to offer the most job opportunities for Malaysian jobseekers this year.

Country manager Chook Yuh Yng said the country's positive growth and stable economy were among the factors that drive the number of job openings.

"Malaysia is very much a manufacturing-driven country and this sector is very big. Naturally, it will offer more jobs," she told a press conference after opening the 15th Malaysia Career and Training Fair (MCTF) 2013 in Kuala Lumpur today.

After manufacturing, information communications and technology, banking, construction and retail and wholesale offer the most jobs, Chook said.

Looking ahead, she said the job outlook is expected to be positive on the back of bullish local fundamentals and eased worries over the US economy.

In conjunction with the event, also announced their milestone in reaching its two millionth Malaysian jobseeker member.

This year's event attracted more than 160 top companies including Petroliam National Bhd, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd, DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Philip Morris (M) Sdn Bhd and British American Tobacco.

Over 120,000 jobseekers are expected to visit the three-day career fair with thousands of quality jobs in various sectors on offer.

Chook noted will soon introduce some new and innovative products as well as features that will make the site easier for jobseekers to find the right job.-- Bernama


(NST) KLIA2 ready for launch on June 28

SEPANG: Construction of the new low-cost airline hub, KLIA2, is on track and on schedule for a June 28 launch, said Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

Chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Aziz Wan Abdullah said the new airport was 82 per cent complete, including works for air traffic control tower and paving the runway.

He said all efforts were taken to meet the target date, mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to coincide with the date of the launch of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 1998.

"MAHB is monitoring the work progress.

"Since the terminal operations involve multiple stakeholders, including airlines and agencies, it is important that all parties are ready before the terminal can be operational," Wan Aziz said after the company's annual general meeting here yesterday.

MAHB is also employing 1,102 new staff for KLIA2, of whom 746 are for aviation security, 86 for airport fire and rescue services, 98 for engineering and maintenance and 172 for operations services.

MAHB's chief financial officer Faizal Mansor said with the opening of KLIA2, the airport operator expected its retail revenue to increase to RM800 million from RM537 million last year.

The RM4 billion project, built to cater for the growth in low-cost travel, is capable of handling up to 45 million passengers per year. It will also have a 32,000 sq m retail space with 225 outlets. Bernama


(NST) RM56m facelift for iconic Pekan Rabu

SPACIOUS: Once completed in 2015, the building will have 2 extra floors and a car park

ALOR STAR: Kedah's most recognisable building, Kompleks Pekan Rabu in Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, will undergo a RM56 million facelift soon.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob said the facelift, to be carried out under the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department, was aimed at boosting trading activities at the iconic building.

He said the complex, synonymous with the development of Kedah Malay entrepreneurship, would have two additional floors and 13 extra outlets.

At present, the five-storey building, where the country's fourth prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tried his hand at business and sold banana fritters as a teenager, has 347 stalls.

Ismail said work on Pekan Rabu, founded in 1920, would be completed by 2015. He said it would have three floors for traders while the remaining would be turned into a car park.

"Although there will be fewer floors for trading after the renovation is completed, there will be space for more traders.

"We have decided to build the car park because Pekan Rabu is enjoying good business but the absence of a proper parking place is hindering the complex to achieve its full potential as a major trading centre for Malay entrepreneurs."

He said during the renovation, which was expected to start next month, traders would be temporarily housed at three places. However, the move to the temporary places was still being discussed with the local authorities.


(The Star) MBPJ plans to design all new public buildings from now on

In an attempt to improve the attractiveness and liveability of Petaling Jaya’s built environment, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has decided to design public buildings itself instead of outsourcing the projects.
Mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said it was important to have well-designed public amenities to uplift the standards of the urban environment and create value for Petaling Jaya residents.
“It is a paradigm shift for our planning department to come out with the concept and design functional spaces for the regeneration of urban areas.
“We want people to enjoy the highest-quality built environment.
“The amenities and buildings have to promote access and inclusion and must also be disabled-friendly,” she said.
She added that the department had the expertise and there was no need to outsource planning and design.
“Outsourcing to private town planners is expensive. All this while, it has been the norm to outsource the work but we need to be wiser.
“We want our employees to gather constructive feedback from residents and design functional buildings.
“We plan to start with a few council properties like the Jalan Othman wet market or a public library,” said Alinah.
She added that the council’s planners needed to consider locations before buildings.
“People come first, so the new buildings must contribute in a positive context.
“Once the concept and design is completed, then the council will offer the project through a tender process,” she said.
On another note, Alinah said the MBPJ would continue with its sub-committee and full-board meetings following the dissolution of Parliament and the state assembly as the councillors were appointed under the Local Government Act 1976 and are independent of the state.
“Councillors will continue with the One-Stop Centre meetings as allocations have been approved for the projects. We will have one meeting on April 19 to endorse all decisions made,” she said.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Taking G Hotel to greater heights

G HOTEL Penang’s new general manager, Michael Hanratty, hopes to lead the establishment to greater heights by enhancing its already well-received products and services.
The Australian, appointed earlier this year, said he would continue establishing the hotel while fine-tuning its funky cool character and lead the way in guest satisfaction.
“In the coming period, we will be adding a Senses Programme — where one can embrace the senses through specially designed smell, sound, taste, touch and sight elements throughout the property.
“We also wish to forge greater relationships within the community, and review our ecological footprint in Penang.
“Through better energy and sustainability initiatives, we hope to further contribute to the environment, whilst still giving the best possible service to our valued guests,” he said of his vision.
The hotel is working on a new property, located near its present block, which is set to open in the first quarter of 2014.
It would comprise 210 trendy and chic rooms, a rooftop infinity pool and bar area, two food and beverage outlets, gymnasium and meeting facilities.
He revealed for the first time that its name would be G2.
Once G2 is officially opened, G Hotel will undergo extensive renovation which will set new benchmarks in style and service, he added.
G Hotel was recently named among ‘Asia’s Top 20 Design Hotels’ in the Top of Asia 2012 Awards by NOW Travel Asia Magazine — in recognition of its contributions to the hospitality industry and excellent services.
The winners were voted by readers and sub-scribers of the magazine in an online poll last year.
Source: The Star

(The Star) MK Land to sell RM200mil to RM300mil worth of land

<B>Lau:</B> ‘We are close to selling some of our land. We have identified the land for sale in Perak, in Damansara Damai and another plot of land in the Klang Valley.’
Lau: ‘We are close to selling some of our land. We have identified the land for sale in Perak, in Damansara Damai and another plot of land in the Klang Valley.’
PETALING JAYA: Property developer MK Land Holdings Bhd is planning to sell some RM200mil to RM300mil worth of land in Perak and the Klang Valley before the end of its June 30, 2013 financial year to pare down debts and for working capital purposes, said group chief executive officer Lau Shu Chuan.
“We are close to selling some of our land. We have identified the land for sale in Perak, in Damansara Damai and another plot of land in the Klang Valley.
“From the proceeds, we will use some for debt and some for working capital. From there, we can also increase dividends to our shareholders,” said Lau.
MK Land currently has some 2,023ha with a book value of RM1bil, with some 1,214ha of that in Perak.
As of Dec 31, 2012, MK Land had long-term borrowings of RM83.87mil and short-term borrowings of RM66.52mil. It has cash and cash equivalents of RM105.36mil.
Yesterday, Saujana Triangle Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MK Land, held a sneak preview of its three-storey semi-detached property known as The Rafflesia @ Hill.
Consisting of 106 units with a total gross development value of some RM350mil, it is located on a 7.28ha site with a central neighbourhood hill park and next to the 3.24ha landscaped Rafflesia Park.
“The first phase to be launched will have 36 units and piling works will begin next month. Once we commence works, the project should be completed within two years. So the entire development will probably take some three years, depending on when we launch the other two phases,” said MK Land head of development Charles Duncan.
MK Land senior general manager Krishnamoorthy said that the concept of The Rafflesia @ Hill would be something like Desa Parkcity in Kepong which was inspired by nature. The size of the semi-detached properties ranged from 4,500 to 5,010 sq ft, with prices starting from RM3.4mil.
Currently, MK Land still has some 101ha of undeveloped land in its flagship Damansara Perdana, where it plans to develop condominium villas, commercial developments and bungalow lots.
MK Land's developments have a revised net asset value of some RM2, and this is a huge discount to its share price of approximately 32 sen.
“It is more of a reputational issue we suffer from. We have been in the black and recording growth in the last few years. All our launches are completed ahead of schedule. In fact all our legacy issues have been resolved,” Lau said.
Back in 2008, MK Land was facing one of its most challenging periods. It was during that financial period that it posted its first-ever net loss of RM60.9mil.
The company suffered from serious cashflow problems and was not able to service its bonds on time. Work on its projects also came to a halt.
While the company has since cleaned up and posted profits every year since 2008, the issues of the past still persist.
For the second quarter to Dec 31, 2012, MK Land's net profit increased 33.62% to RM8.54mil on the back of a 14.2% jump in revenue to RM112.25mil.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Property launches, land deals renew interest in Iskandar

PETALING JAYA: The recent influx of property launches and land deals in Iskandar Malaysia has renewed investor interest in the region, said two research houses. But they had different views on the sustainability of the demand.
The more bullish view was expressed by Maybank IB Research analyst Wong Wei Sum. She expects the price momentum and demand for properties to remain strong, as foreign investments continue to rise, coupled with better connectivity by 2018 following the scheduled completion of the rapid transit system (RTS) link between Johor and Singapore.
Wong noted that Singaporean investors were impressed by the infrastructure development and visible incremental progress in the Iskandar region, from a year ago.
“Most of them are more bullish on Iskandar's long-term potential post site visit and believe that it would benefit from skyrocketing property prices in Singapore given its close proximity,” she said in a note after a recent visit to the region.
She said the focus was currently on lifestyle landed property projects in Nusajaya, including Medini, as Danga Bay was still undergoing massive reclamation works.
Wong pointed out that UEM Land Holdings Bhd's Teega @ Puteri Harbour, a high-end condominium project, was close to being fully taken up in just three months since its official launch. The average selling price for Teega @ Puteri Harbour is between RM850 and RM1,100 per sq ft.
Wong also highlighted that SP Setia Bhd's Sky Breeze at Bukit Indah, a condominium project priced at RM550 per sq ft, was fully sold in a month.
“Landed properties continue to do well in both the primary and secondary markets. In a private preview, all 24 semi-detached units priced between RM650 and RM700 per sq ft in East Ledang were snapped up in a day,” she said.
However, PublicInvest Research, in a note, questioned the sustainability of demand flowing into the region.
“Notwithstanding Iskandar's potential, we are of the view the sheer size of Iskandar Malaysia (measuring 2,217 sq m or three times the size of Singapore) would mean demand should normalise despite the recent brisk sales,” said PublicInvest Research analysts.
The research house added that the recent cooling measures in Singapore sparked the interest in Iskandar.
However, based on its estimates, the demand for Iskandar properties might take longer than expected to achieve the sales in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
“We note that currently for properties above RM500,000 per unit, Johor is selling circa 1,000 units (from 300 units in 2008) as compared with 18,000 units in Selangor and 10,000 in Kuala Lumpur,” it noted.
Should rental yields fail to meet the benchmark prices recorded in recent launches, eventually the fundamentals might prevail in the long run and hence, the strong price momentum might struggle to continue, PublicInvest said.
The key drivers that sparked investors' interest of late were the completion of attractions such as Legoland, Johor Premium Outlet, Puteri Harbour Family Indoor Theme Park, universities and other upcoming big profile projects such as Pinewood Studios.
In addition, warmer Malaysia-Singapore government ties may lead to possible collaboration, in particular high-impact infrastructure projects such as the high-speed rail linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, RTS connectivity linking Johor and Singapore and other highway projects.
Recent land deals from Singapore included established names such as Temasek, CapitaLand and Ascendas Land.
“Ultimately, we believe the key is still tapping the demand from Singapore,” PublicInvest analysts said.
Source: The Star

(The Edge) Cyberjaya property showcase aims for RM200m sales

CYBERJAYA: The upcoming 2013 Cyberjaya Premier Property Showcase aims to achieve sales exceeding RM200 million. To be held on April 13 and 14 at the Cyberview Resort & Spa, it is the second showcase featuring projects from major property developers in Cyberjaya.

Last year, developers participating in the first such property showcase sold RM120 million worth of properties. This year, eight developers will be participating, led by Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd, the master developer of Cyberjaya. The others are Mah Sing Properties Sdn Bhd, S P

Setia Bhd, UEM Land Holdings Bhd, Emkay Group, Paramount Property (Cjaya) Sdn Bhd, MCT Consortium Bhd and Glomac Bhd. Together they will be showcasing properties with a total gross development value of RM5.76 billion.

“This is the second time we are hosting the Cyberjaya Premier Property Showcase which goes to show that this initiative has proven to be an effective and resourceful event benefitting the participating developers and the public,” Setia Haruman head of sales and marketing YK Liew told a media briefing yesterday.

The properties for sale include both completed and on-going developments that will cater to a broad spectrum of buyers from owner-occupiers to investors.

“We are targeting everyone,” Liew said. “About 50% of the properties for sale during the showcase are residential properties with the remainder made up of products such as retail, SoHo and light industrial units. Currently, a majority of purchasers in Cyberjaya projects are investors.”

Among the projects that will be featured are Setia Haruman’s Gardenview Residence (high-rise residences), Apex Residence (bungalows and condominiums), and CBD Perdana 3 (SoHos); Mah Sing’s Aspen and Clover landed homes at Garden Residence as well as Garden Plaza

SoHo units; Emkay Group’s Autoville light industrial units; Paramount Property’s Sejati Residences landed homes; S P Setia’s Setia Eco Glades; UEM Land’s Symphony Hills; MCT Consortium’s serviced apartments; and Glomac’s shopoffices.

The public will be given a special viewing of 21 show units during the showcase, Liew said. United Overseas Bank will offer end-financing options to interested buyers during the event.

Cyberjaya is known as Malaysia’s Silicon Valley and spreads over 6,960 acres within the vicinity of Sepang. It is strategically located within a web of highways such as the Elite Highway and Maju Expressway, and is close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

There are more than 30 multinational corporations that have set up operations in Cyberjaya, as well as six universities and colleges, and four schools. Cyberjaya has numerous amenities and a population of 53,000 which is expected to increase to 100,000 by 2016. 

(The Edge) M Residence 2’s Alpine offer this weekend

PETALING JAYA: Mah Sing Group Bhd will be offering for sale 68 two-storey linked houses from its M Residence 2 @ Rawang, Selangor, in a public preview this weekend.

The public preview follows a private preview for registrants of the first phase of landed residential units in M Residence 2 dubbed Alpine, last weekend.

The developer said in a statement that more than 87% of the 77 units released for the private preview have been taken up.

The 145 Alpine linked homes are spread over 31.95 acres (12.9ha). The 20ft by 65ft houses with built-up areas of about 1,885 sq ft are priced from RM438,800.

“With a proposed direct link to the Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor Expressway [Latar] from Jalan Tasik Puteri, housing prices here are bound to appreciate in both M Residence and M Residence 2,” said James Bruyns, COO for M Residence and M Residence 2.

M Residence 2 is Mah Sing’s second township in the area after M Residence which was launched two years ago. M Residence 2 is located just 10 minutes from the North South Highway’s Rawang toll and Aeon Rawang Anggun while M Residence is next to the Bukit Bariong Forest Reserve 0.5km up the main road of Jalan Batu Arang.

Judging from the interest generated in the private preview, Bruyns said Mah Sing expects a good turnout during this weekend’s event. The group has started planning for its next launch which will feature semidee linked homes, also under Phase 1 of the township.

The 150-acre M Residence 2 is envisioned to be a fully self-sustaining township comprising residential and commercial components with an estimated gross development value of RM650 million. To be developed in six phases, it will boast a natural lotus lake and a residents-only clubhouse. According to the developer, the later phases are still being planned and will be developed over the next six to seven years.

This gated and guarded township will have security features that include 8ft perimeter fencing throughout, CCTV with motion detection sensors as well as guard houses and boom gates at every precinct. The township has a natural lake.

Mah Sing is offering an early bird special during the preview period as well as a range of financial packages including a one-year waiver on service charge. 

(The Edge) Kimlun Medini buys land for RM31.06 mil

KUALA LUMPUR:(March 28,2013): Kimlun Medini Sdn Bhd has entered into a lease purchase agreement with Medini Land Sdn Bhd to acquire two parcels of freehold land for RM31.06 million.

Kimlun Medini is wholly-owned by Kimlun Corp Bhd. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Kimlun Corp said the two parcels of land, totalling 2.149 hectare, is located adjacent to each other within the Nusajaya flagship zone in Johor Baru.

"Kimlun Medini plans to develop serviced apartments, offices and retail properties on the land. The development is expected to commence within 24 months and slated for completion within six years," it said.

Kimlun Corp is confident that the development would be well received given its strategic location.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

(The Star) Big drop in poverty rate

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia more than halved its poverty statistics over the past three years, with the number of poor people now standing at less than 110,000 nationwide, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.
He said the country’s overall poverty rate dropped to 1.7% in 2012, compared to 3.8% in 2009.
“With this achievement, the target under the 10th Malaysia Plan to reduce overall po­verty to 2% in 2015 has been achieved three years earlier.
“This is a result of rapid economic development and the effectiveness of poverty eradication programmes carried out by the Go­­vernment,” he said at a press conference to announce the findings of the 2012 National Household Income Study here.
He said the fall in incidences of poverty happened in both urban and rural areas, with urban poverty falling to just 1% last year compared to 1.7% in 2009, while rural areas registered a significant drop from 8.4% in 2009 to just 3.4% in 2012.
Sabah registered the biggest reduction in poverty from 19.7% of the population in 2009 to 8.1% three years later.
The minister said all states registered a reduction in poverty rates, with marked improvements in Penang, Selangor, Malacca and the federal territories – all of which ave­raged 0% hardcore poor in their areas as at 2012.
“This is proof that the Federal Government’s initiatives to eradicate poverty have succeeded and been of benefit to the rakyat regardless of differences in political ideology,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysians enjoyed an annual increase of 7.2% to their average household income over the 2009-2012 period, or a nearly a RM1,000 hike in their average monthly income from RM4,025 in 2009 to RM5,000 in 2012.
Despite similar growth rates, urban household income grew at 6.6% per annum from RM4,705 a month in 2009 to RM5,742 in 2012 while rural household income went up at a rate of 6.4% a year from a monthly average of RM2,545 in 2009 to RM3,080 in 2012.
Despite this, he added that Malaysia still improved on wealth distribution, having secured a lower score of 0.431 on its “Gini coefficient” (a system to measure inequality in wealth distribution) in 2012, compared to 0.441 in 2009.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Panasonic unveils 21 new smart TVs, eyes RM2bil total sales

Smart launch: (from left) Panasonic Malaysia deputy managing director Cheng Chee Chung, Panasonic AVC Networks MD Kuniyuki Matsui, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Asia-Pacific deputy MD Katsuhisa Sato and Lee at the event.
Smart launch: (from left) Panasonic Malaysia deputy managing director Cheng Chee Chung, Panasonic AVC Networks MD Kuniyuki Matsui, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Asia-Pacific deputy MD Katsuhisa Sato and Lee at the event.
SUBANG JAYA: Panasonic Malaysia Sdn Bhd targets to close its financial year ending March 2013 with RM1.9bil in total sales.
According to managing director Jeff Lee, Panasonic expects a 5% growth for the next financial year ending March 2014.
Speaking at the launch of Panasonic Smart VIERA 2013, he said the company hoped to increase the market share of the television segment to 15% this year with the launch of the new television models.
The group, Lee said, was allocating RM25mil on advertising and promotion expenditure for the smart TVs this year.
“Our aim is to be in the value-added zone's sales in the mid to high-end series, and to further promote our Smart VIERA televisions. We hope to achieve a sales growth of 3% in the smart TV category with this launch,” Lee said.
Panasonic introduced 21 new Smart VIERA television models at the launch, which consisted of five 50” to 65” plasma television models and 16 LED television 24” to 55” models. “We are the first in the industry to introduce the My Home Screen' function where a person can personalise his or her very own television screen. Panasonic Smart VIERA is able to recognise the user's face and automatically search for the user's customised home screen,” Lee said.
Currently, the television segment contributes almost 20% to 25% to the group total sales. Lee is targeting to sell about 30,000 smart TVs this year and about 240,000 units in total sales in the television segment.
Source: The Star

(The Star) New square to be central area for public use

Pangkor islanders will soon have their own ‘Eiffel Tower’, once a telecommunications tower near the jetty area is lit up by the Manjung Municipal Council.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said he had instructed the council to work together with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and put up LED lights on the tower.
“The telecommunication tower is the highest on the island and I have discussed with TM over a year ago to beautify the tower and make it resemble the Eiffel Tower, with lights trailing at the side from the top to the bottom.
“There is also an old unused building near the tower, which TM has previously consented for it to be demolished to make way for a square.
“Work is currently ongoing and it is my hope that islanders will gather at the square for various programmes.
“We are also considering setting up a large LED screen there,” he said after launching the “RTM Merentas Kampung dengan TM” programme at Arena Square, Pangkor on Saturday.
Later, Dr Zambry presented Yayasan Bina Upaya scholarships, Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga (Tekun) Nasional micro-credit loans, and 1Malaysia netbooks to various recipients.
RTM staff, led by state broadcasting director Khamsiah Hindon Md Said then surprised Dr Zambry by celebrating his birthday.
The group sang a birthday song and Khamsiah Hindon presented him with a large birthday card, signed by all its staff.
Also present at the programme was Dr Zambry’s wife, Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

(The Star) Bandar Tun Hussein Onn residents to get health clinic

RESIDENTS of Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Cheras, will soon be able to obtain healthcare services without having to travel far as a new health clinic will be built in the area.
A 1.17ha site had been identified in Jalan Suadamai, opposite the Bandar Tun Hussein Onn Rukun Tetangga office.
Clearing works had already begun.
Serdang parliamentary liaison officer Datuk Yap Pian Hon said the clinic was expected to benefit some 200,000 residents in 30 housing areas in and around Bandar Tun Hussein Onn.
“There is an urgent need for a clinic here as residents have to travel to the Kajang Hospital or the health clinic in Batu 9, Cheras for treatment,” he added.
Yap said the planning phase of the project would start soon.
“Once the design has been approved, a budget will be allocated and the tender process for its contruction will take place,” he said.
Yap hopes the clinic’s construction will begin later this year.
He added that the location was identified following a study on public healthcare facilities in the vicinity.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is scheduled to visit the site on Saturday to launch the project.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Road in Ara Damansara erodes further

Slip sliding away: Drain pipes and bridge foundation are slightly exposed as erosion gets worse at Jalan PJU 1A/20D.
Slip sliding away: Drain pipes and bridge foundation are slightly exposed as erosion gets worse at Jalan PJU 1A/20D.
The collapsed part of Jalan PJU 1A/20D in Ara Damansara has eroded further, causing nearby shopowners to worry about their buildings’ safety and the survival of their businesses.
Mohd Kamil Othman, who owns the shoplot closest to the site, said soil erosion had worsened and cracks had started forming around the base of his building.
“Every time it rains, more soil gets washed into the river.
“Business owners are worried that one day, the whole building may follow suit,” he said.
So far, Mohd Kamil said the contractor engaged by the Petaling Jaya City Council to perform remedial work, has fixed an entry road to the place and deposited some soil to mitigate erosion.
Stephen Loh, business manager for an interior design company in the same road, said business had dropped by about 50% for shops in the affected area.
“It used to be a busy area, but now that the road is partly collapsed, customers are forced to park outside.
“Water from the drain keeps carrying soil into the river.
“Rain over the past few days has also worsened the erosion.
“The problem should be resolved as soon as possible, because it is affecting business,” said Loh.
Fan Zhi Sheng, who runs the Chinese restaurant right next to the collapsed area, said he and his employees were worried about their safety as they were living above the restaurant.
“If it gets worse, we may have to move because cracks have started to appear around the building.
“Customers do not want to come here anymore because it is too troublesome to look for parking space,” said Fan.
To add to their worries, part of the bridge on Jalan PJU 1A/3 has its foundations exposed.
“The contractor has to fill up the eroded area. They stopped for a while because of technical issues,” said MBPJ councillor Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainudin.
He added that the contractor had resumed work when he spoke to them on Monday.
The collapse was caused by a landslide which happened in mid-February.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Nusajaya to enjoy boost from DRH

They are the Traders Hotel and Little Red Cube, a lifestyle and family entertainment complex in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya.

DRH was established by the government's investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Managing director Nadziruddin Basri said Little Red Cube and Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour are expected to create 1,000 jobs and contribute to the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 target of 500,000 visitors.

Nadziruddin said the developments will add to the leisure offerings in the region, stimulate economy in surrounding areas, create employment and develop a pool of hospitality professionals.

"DRH's portfolio is growing steadily," he said yesterday.

According to DRH, it has formed a strategic partnership with Shangri-La Group to operate Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour. It will be the first international hotel brand in Nusajaya and is set to open by the second quarter of this year.

Nadziruddin said DRH's success is largely attributed to its collaboration with key partners, such as the Shangri-La Group.

The two developments are also expected to help elevate Puteri Harbour as a new destination in Johor, he said.

"As a catalyst for the development of Malaysia's leisure and tourism sector, this is a very exciting time for DRH," he added.

Last November, DRH also announced its first integrated resort development in Desaru Coast.


(NST) Putatan road upgrade to ease traffic jam

PUTATAN: City dwellers will be relieved as the upgrading of Jalan Petagas-Lok Kawi, costing RM136.2 million, will ease traffic congestion here by October 2015.

State Deputy Chief Minister and Putatan state assemblyman Datuk Yahya Hussin said the federal project would add another lane to the two-way road and involved the building of an overhead bridge.

"The bridge will be built in front of the Putatan railway station for pedestrians to cross the road to get to the weekly market. This project shows that the Barisan Nasional government is concerned about the problems faced by the people," he said after a gathering here yesterday.

Yahya also said the government would build a new school, to be named SMK Petagas, in the near future.

"This facility is necessary as SMK Putatan and SMK Tan Sau are no longer able to accommodate the increasing number of students every year."

He urged the people to give their support to the ruling coalition so that they would continue to enjoy development.


(NST) New Ipoh bus terminal

RELOCATION: All bus firms to shift from Medan Gopeng bus station to Bandar Meru Raya

IPOH: THE curtain is finally coming down on the Medan Gopeng bus station after the remaining 25 bus companies operating in the state agreed to move to the new Amanjaya integrated bus terminal and complex in Bandar Meru Raya.

The companies have been given 30 days, beginning yesterday, to shift to the new terminal located about 15km from the city centre here. Altogether, there will be 50 bus companies operating from the new integrated terminal, built at a cost of RM140 million.

The existing Medan Gopeng bus station and its neighbouring Silvertage Galeria -- the whole component which will be known as Silvertage eventually -- will be refurbished to become another state tourism icon.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir expressed delight over the latest development after several delays.

"Both the management of Medan Gopeng bus station and the new Amanjaya integrated bus terminal have finally come to an agreement for the move and I am sure this is a win-win situation for all.

"We hope this will benefit everyone and the state only wants the best for the people," he said after the Amanjaya signing agreement for the shift in operations here yesterday.

The four signatories are the Combined Bus Services Sdn Bhd director Rozilawati Mohamad, Terminal Urus Sdn Bhd director Cheong Peak Sooi, Koperasi Pelancongan and Pengangkutan Bumiputera Perak chairman Abu Bakar Fadzin and Rhinoairiel Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd director Mohd Azuan Basir. The Medan Gopeng bus terminal had been besieged with numerous complaints due to its rundown state. Meanwhile, newly appointed Perak State Development Corporation chief executive Datuk Aminuddin Md Desa, when asked on how the agreement between all parties were reached after several delays, said: "The spirit of wanting to resolve the issue took precedence."

On his future plans for Silvertage, Aminuddin said "all about Perak" would be featured there, including food and batik craft.

It was reported that the new integrated terminal had ample facilities such as 400 parking bays, shops, a budget hotel and automated teller machines.


(The Star) PJ Section 12 residents object to proposed 22-storey apartment blocks

Project site: The proposed development at the site of the former F&N factory has been deferred until further notice.
Project site: The proposed development at the site of the former F&N factory has been deferred until further notice.
PROPOSED developments along Jalan Kemajuan in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, have been rejected by residents in neighbouring Section 12 during an objection hearing held at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) yesterday.
The proposed mixed development consisting of two 22-storey apartment blocks over a podium of nine floors with office units and shoplots came just after residents shot down another development at the site of former F&N factory in the same road.
Residents were sceptical about traffic management in the area if the developments took off, as they felt the current amenities would not be able to cope with the increased traffic.
The first development was deferred after Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian requested for time to allow residents to put in their objections.
The residents had sent in the objection letter for the eight blocks of 30-storey buildings on Jan 14.
“We sent the letter but received no response. However, in a subsequent meeting held at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre with state local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu, we were told that the matter has been submitted to the state land office,” said Section 12 residents’ association vice-president R. Rajasoorian.
Rajasoorian said since the letter for the first development had been sent over to the state land office, the same should be done for the second proposed development as well.
He said residents felt that the Special Area Draft Plan was rushed through and several key points were neglected in the process.
He added that these was a suggestion for a flyover to be built near Jalan Penchala that was supposed to alleviate the congestion near Section 13. However, it never took off.
Rajasoorian said since the flyover was never built, development should be halted until provisions were made for it to be built.
“From the beginning, the development of Section 13 did not adhere to the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 nor did it take into account requirements of the Selangor Structure Plan 2020,” he said.
Under Section 38(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act, once a local plan has been adopted for a special area, it should be declared to be a development area by notification in the gazette while Section 38(2) said it was the duty of the local planning authority to acquire by purchase or compulsory acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act 1960, all alienated lands within the area.
Under the Selangor Structure Plan, due consideration had to be given to the capacity of surrounding infrastructure facilities, whether the development is in harmony with the surrounding land and activities and if the development was able to improve the accessibility levels and that the development should not cause congestion.
“Presently, those working around the area are already using roads in Section 12 as shortcuts and access roads, the traffic will definitely increase if the second development takes off,” he said.
Residents believe that the local council should look at providing basic amenities such as roads, schools and religious sites before approving additional development in the area.
Source: The Star

(The Star) Destination Resorts and Hotels embarks on new developments in Nusajaya

KUALA LUMPUR: Destination Resorts and Hotels (DRH) has two new premier developments under its investment portfolio, the Traders Hotel and a lifestyle and family entertainment complex, Little Red Cube, to be located in Puteri Harbour, Nusajaya.
In a statement here yesterday, DRH said with a total investment of about RM400mil, both Little Red Cube and Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour are expected to create over 1,000 employment opportunities and help meet the 500,000 visitor target for the Visit Malaysia Year 2014.
Managing director Nadziruddin Basri said: “These developments will add to the leisure offerings in the region, stimulate the economy in the surrounding areas, create employment for our local talent as well as develop a pool of hospitality professionals.
“DRH's portfolio is growing steadily and we are eager to share our latest projects as they unveil,” he added. Bernama
Source: The Star