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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

(The Star) Cosmetic consumption

Company sees growth for smaller make-up brands

ESPLANADE Avenue Sdn Bhd is confident that the sales of cosmetics in Malaysia will experience positive growth next year.

Esplanade Avenue’s chief executive officer Ken Lim said niche brands have the capacity for doing well as consumers are generally more savvy now and are brave enough to try out new products.

“The market has evolved over time and people are no longer conservative, which is why we have plans to bring in more niche brands to increase variety and options for customers,” said Lim after launching the sixth Laura Mercier standalone store at Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya recently. Other Laura Mercier standalone stores are located in major KL malls Bangsar Village, The Gardens in Midvalley, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall, Pavilion and 1 Utama Shopping Centre.

Esplanade Avenue also manages the Kens Apothecary outlets that carry 10 brands under its wing.

The company is the sole distributor of Laurier Mercier in Malaysia.

Lim said, last year the company’s revenue hit RM17mil and it is targeting RM20mil for this year.

For 2014, the company is projecting 5% to 10% growth.

“We will be focusing on niche brands that are affordable and popular.

“As next year is also Visit Malaysia Year 2014, we will definitely see progression in the retail sector,” said Lim after launching Laura Mercier’s Spring and Summer Collection at Empire Shopping Gallery recently.

Lim said a total of RM260,000 was pumped in to set up the standalone store in Empire. This includes the stock for the outlet.

He said that what sets these brands apart from the other mass-market brands is the care that goes into the making of the products.

“Consumers want a brand that is made with natural ingredients and Kens Apothecary can offer the range required

Lim opened the sixth Laura mercier standalone store at empire shopping Gallery in subang Jaya. by the market,” he added.

The company currently has two Ken Apothecary outlet in Empire Shopping Gallery and Bangsar Village II and is looking at opening two more outlets at The Gardens and Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur next year, depending on the availability of space.

The brands carried by Kens Apothecary include Dr Brandt, Dyptique, Annick Goutal, Creed, Dr Sebagh, Jack Black, Laura Mercier and By Terry.

(The Star) 15 million tourists to visit KL

Kuala Lumpur is expected to welcome 15 million tourists for Visit Malaysia Year 2014.


Among the attractions that await them, as announced by mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, are the Kampung Baru Heritage Trail, GT City Race, horse carriage rides around Dataran Merdeka, a night cycling event and a helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of the city from Taman Titiwangsa.

“We want to make our foreign guests feel at home. Our aim is to present a city and people that have high standards of hospitality,” he said in a press conference recently.

About 10.1 million foreign tourists are expected, while the rest will be domestic travellers.

Ahmad Phesal said about RM24.9bil in revenue was expected from international tourists and RM9.7mil from domestic tourists.

In 2012, Kuala Lumpur ranked 10th in the “10 most visited cities in the world” by Global Destination Cities Index published by Mastercard. It moved up two spots to eighth place last year.

The police have also set up an International Liaison Unit and according to KL Police Management Office chief SAC Datuk Aidi Ismail, all the members are able to speak English.

The unit was officially launched on Dec 5.


Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/31/15-million-tourists-to-visit-KL/

(The Star) Road link in Puchong ready for use

The road linking Kampung Tengah, Puchong to Kampung Kenangan has finally been resurfaced.

The Economic Planning Unit had completed 1.6km but work came to a halt until the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) stepped in with RM167,000 for the remaining 200m, said Kinrara assemblyman Ng Sze Han.

“This is actually one of the major access roads which links the five lanes of Kampung Tengah,” said Ng.

Kampung Batu 13 village head Ruslan Mat @ Md Shah expressed relief the resurfacing of the road connecting the two villages had been completed by Dec 24.

“This is the main road out of the village,” said Ruslan.

MPSJ Zone 8 Residents Committee (JKP) councillor Azizan Jamaludin said they would cooperate with the Drainage and Irrigation Department to complete other projects.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who was also present, brought up the toll hike issue.

“Traffic has increased 10-fold in the last 10 years, especially along the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP).

“We understand the cost to build a road is not cheap but as traffic volumes rises, the toll rates should also reflect this.

“We want toll rates to be reviewed, reduced and subsequently cancelled altogether after recouping all construction costs with a reasonable collection rate,” he said.


Ng also took the opportunity to provide RM500 worth of Tesco vouchers to the family of Zulkaflee Namat who lives in the village with his eight children and elderly father.


Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/31/Road-link-in-Puchong-ready-for-use/

(The Star) Set up tourist help centres

Tonight, we will bid adieu to 2013 and move into the new year, the much-awaited Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

Surely many man-hours have been put forth and millions of ringgit in promotional activities invested to achieve the 28 million in tourist arrivals and RM76bil in tourist receipts.

However, as much as we are excited to be a great host, we must also ensure that our visitors upon reaching our shores, know how to seek help when they encounter problems during their stay.

This is important because, recently on my way to George Town, Penang, I stopped at the Rest and Relax area at Sungai Perak where I was approached by an elderly couple from a Middle-eastern country, who were in distress because they were left behind by their tour coach bound for Penang. Malaysians to be a great host and that everyone of us have a role to play in ensuring the success of this national agenda.

One of the most vital things to do when receiving a large number of tourists is to engage with them. If we can spend millions of ringgit wooing them to our shores, we must also complement by finding ways on how we can assist them when they encounter problems during their stay here.

It would be good to set up tourist help centres at major tourist spots in the country.

There should also be a dedicated 24-hour helpline for tourists. Arrangements should be made to receive feedback and complaints via social media.

This operation centre should be an on-going thing during the course of the year-long event. The Tourism Ministry could do a study based on the feedback and complaints from tourists.

Some tour agencies have created official websites or blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide information for their customers.

However, what is lacking is follow-up action to address the feedback and complaints

Not everyone is well-versed with modern tools and some will still rely on the traditional way of going to a counter or making a call to articulate their problems.

This vital component of playing host to visitors aimed at improving the efficiency of our frontliners and providing tourists with an avenue to lodge complaints and suggestions, will surely pave the way for a successful Visit Malaysia Year 2014. ZARI MALAYSIANA Petaling Jaya

Source: 
http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Letters/2013/12/31/Set-up-tourist-help-centres/ 

(The Edge) Daiman grows landbank through RM33m purchase of firm

KUALA LUMPUR: Johor-based property developer Daiman Development Bhd has acquired 100% stake in Sin Yue Holdings Sdn Bhd, a company that owns 128.8ha of agricultural land in the state, for RM33.1 million cash.

The acquisition is motivated by the group’s plans to increase its landbank in Johor.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Daiman said the price was arrived at based on the market value of the land held in perpetuity and the audited net assets of Sin Yue as at July 31, 2012 of RM1.19 million and its unaudited net assets as at Dec 24, 2013 of RM1.09 million.

The transaction is equivalent to RM2.39 per sq ft.

Daiman said the purchase would be financed through internally generated funds and bank borrowings. The group does not expect it to have a significant impact on its gearing or the risk profile of its business.

“The acquisition will not have any material effect on the net assets and earnings of Daiman for the financial year ending June 30, 2014. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the acquisition is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings of Daiman through the development of the land in the future,” it said.

The group did not state in the filing its development plans for the land.

Daiman has a landbank of 2,000 acres (809ha) in Iskandar Malaysia.

The acquisition is Daiman’s first since it purchased Menara Landmark in Iskandar Malaysia for RM100 million in 2011.

An attempt to buy two parcels measuring 85.85 acres and 93.64 acres in Tebrau, Johor Baru for RM64.46 million last year failed.

(BUSINESS TIMES) AirAsia to benefit from KL Sentral-KLIA2 rail link

UPSIDE YIELD: Premium air travellers may soon find flying with carrier more convenient

Premium air travellers, who previously may have been hesitant to fly via the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), could soon be enticed to use the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2), which is due to open on May 2 next year.

Premium travellers, who see departing from the present LCCT as being inconvenient and uncomfortable, could change their minds when klia2 opens, and this will be a boon for AirAsia Bhd.

"The rail link between the main KLIA terminal, klia2 and Kuala Lumpur's KL Sentral station will lure premium passengers to AirAsia, given the carrier's higher flight frequencies and punctuality," said RHB Research Institute Sdn Bhd.

"This will be positive in providing an upside to overall passenger yields. In fact, AirAsia has taken the opportunity to offer a 'Hi Flyer' scheme tailored to the needs of business and premium passengers, which provides the flexibility of flight timing and express boarding."

RHB Research added that the extra service offering has led to strong take-ups from the business community.

The firm said AirAsia has taken delivery of 11 aircraft, of which five were delivered this month alone, in line with its assumption of an average of six new aircraft for 2013.

RHB Research expects AirAsia to take delivery of four aircraft in 2014 and three in 2015. 

In total, the AirAsia group is expected to take delivery of 31 aircraft, although most would be deployed to its associates.

As such, AirAsia will reap the benefits of higher lease rental income.

RHB Research expects this will grow by 18 and 10 per cent for 2014 and 2015, respectively.

With loads expected to hover at 78 per cent for 2014-2015 (down by one percentage point from its 2013 assumption), AirAsia should see its revenue passenger kilometre grow by seven and five per cent, respectively.

On its yield outlook, RHB Research said while there may still be pressure on airfare yield, this will be mitigated by the higher ancillary revenue that AirAsia is expected to rake in, notably from the recent revision of its baggage weighing structure and new ancillary initiatives launched, such as "Hi Flyer".

AirAsia's baggage revision and stricter passenger inspection of cabin luggage have enabled the carrier to garner the highest baggage revenue per pax collected in third quarter 2013 of RM21.30 per passenger.

Monday, 30 December 2013

(The Star) Stricter requirements

Under a new state government policy, developers can only apply to release unsold Bumiputra lots after their projects are 70% complete.

THE Perak government has come up with a new policy that only allows developers to apply for the release of unsold bumiputra lots after 70% of construction is completed.

- filepic New policy: Developers can only release 50% of the unsold bumiputra lots after their application to sell them has been approved with the rest to follow suit when the Certificate of Completion and Compliance is obtained.

Should a developer’s application be approved, only 50% of the unsold Bumiputra lots can be released for sale with the rest to follow suit when the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) is obtained.

In a letter issued by the Perak Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) last week, developers were informed that the new policy would apply to all projects approved and carried out from Jan 1 next year.

Projects that have been completed or obtained CCC as well as projects currently under construction would would not be affected by the ruling.

Under the new policy, developers are also to make a contribution to the Bumiputra Property Trust Fund (AAHB) when release is permitted.

The contribution sum is 5% according to the discount rate given to bumiputra buyers on properties costing under RM350,000 and 7% for properties above the amount.

In addition, the State Development Corporation (SDC) will be appointed as the marketing and management agent for all bumiputra lots in the state. A grant of RM2mil will be put into the AAHB for the corporation to market and buy up any unsold bumiputra lots, for such purpose.


The corporation will also monitor the activities of developers to ensure they do not sell any bumiputra lots before obtaining release from the authorities.

It is learnt that the state had in August approved and set the contribution amount at 10% across the board while requiring the new policy to be imposed with immediate effect.

During a briefing for developers last month, the state set up a task force to re-look details of the policy due to objections raised.

Also at the briefing were representatives from the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

A developer, who wished to remain anonymous, said had the state not relented on imposing the policy only next year, many developers would have suffered loses as they would not have factored in the contribution amount as part of their cost.

“We had strongly objected to this and the 10% contribution amount, which is too steep.

“We objected because we would not have been able to factor it into our project costs if we were not given ample time.

“Our costing would have been entirely different.

Another developer felt that the present ruling makes more sense as the percentage of release is given based on the population of the area.

“At present, the Land and Mines Department allows developers to apply for release at 50% completion and it is not limited to the release of 50% unsold lots.

“If the majority of the population in the area are non-bumiputras, the department even allows the release of all bumiputra lots at one go,” he said.

Another developer said that he felt that the state government should build more public housing to help the people.

“This takes away the burden from the private sector, which is ultimately market driven,” he said.

According to him, the public housing scheme in Negri Sembilan offers the poor the opportunity to rent houses from the state government and eventually own the units.

“The state will rent out the units to them at a nominal fee and after a period of about 30 years, the tenants automatically become owners of the houses,” he said.

He added that the new policy would result in a surge in house prices in Perak.

“Developers will ultimately pass on the extra costs to buyers by increasing their house prices,” he said.

A fellow developer is of the view that the policy would not serve to make much of a difference.

“If the state really wants to help, I think a bigger discount be given to those buying houses costing less than RM350,000.

“Why are you giving a better discount to those who can afford to buy more expensive houses?” he asked.

(Thye Star) Stylish condo living in tranquil spot

Upcoming project at the heart of Sungai Ara

Skycube Residence is not a typical condominium. It is more luxurious. The location is also one of the best. — JACE CHENG

Set to be a landmark in the heart of Sungai Ara, Penang, Skycube Residence offers stylish living amidst a lush green environment.

Combining the benefits of urban living and the peace and quiet of nature, it offers residents the best of both worlds.

Developed by GSD Land, the project comprises two 30-storey condominium blocks and 20 threestorey terrace houses.

GSD Land (M) Sdn Bhd business development and strategic planning general manager Jace Cheng said the freehold condominiums received good response due to the pricing and contemporary designs.

“Only a limited number of units are available. With 205 units in each tower, the project offers refined comfort with a versatile mix of layout design choices,” she said during the preview of the condominium’s Block A at the GSD Sales Gallery in Persiaran Relau recently. In conjunction with the preview, Christmas in Fairy Wonderland

a event complete wth a Kids’ Fashion Show and Fairytale Dressing Competition was held.

The low-density condominium block has only eight units per floor, with each apartment having builtup areas of between 1,153sq ft and 2,151sq ft.

The units are selling from RM445 per sq ft.

Cheng said Skycube Residence was a high-end and improved version compared to GSD’s previous projects in Sungai Ara.

“Skycube Residence is not a typical condominium. It is more luxurious,” she said.

“It features resort-style facilities such as a beach-inspired swimming pool and a gym that faces the pool.

“The location is also one of the best you can get as the project is surrounded by a residential area.”

She said that residents would be able to enjoy the lovely environment and scenery.

She added that a total of 0.6ha (1.5 acres) of land would be used for the facilities that also included a children’s waterpark pool, kitchenette and barbecue area, foot reflexology paths, jogging trails and a treelined recreational garden.

Marketing and credit admin director Tan Chin Chua said the project had a gross development value of RM330mil.

“The prices of the units here are in the mid-range group, at an average of between RM500,000 and RM600,000.

“We want to make them affordable for people to buy,” he said, adding that 60% of the 205 units in Block A had been sold out.

He said the preview for Block B units would be held around the Chinese New Year period.

The construction of both blocks of the condominium is under way and completion is expected in 2017.

Previous projects by GSD include Summerton Bayan Indah as well as Sierra Residences and Gardens Ville in Sungai Ara.

For details, call 1700-818-932 or visit www.gsdland.com.my.

(The Star) Fashion label unveils new look

British India expands presence in Penang with renovated flagship store

After undergoing two months of renovation, the British India northern flagship store in Gurney Plaza, Penang, has reopened its doors.

Fresh appeal: Customers will be spoilt for choice with the wider range of clothing available at the British India store in Gurney Plaza.

Located on the ground floor, the outlet has a fresh new look and a wider range of clothing choices that should please customers.

British India, a home-grown label that offers a colonial era-inspired clothing line, had started its operations in the mall in 2001, covering an area of about 604 sq m.

Rhoda Yap, the chief executive officer of BTC Clothier Sdn Bhd, which owns the brand, said that British India, established in 1994, now had 40 stores not just in Malaysia but also in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

“It should come as no surprise that British India has chosen to expand our presence in the form of a renovated and better northern flagship store in Penang as the island is rich with history and known for its East meets West culture,” said Yap during the reopening ceremony of the outlet recently.

“This resonates deeply with our brand inspiration.

“In retail branding, location is paramount, and positioning our brands appropriately makes the statement that Malaysian brands are on par with international brands,” said Yap.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism minister Datuk Hasan Malek Hasan took part in the reopening ceremony.

He praised British India for being a competitive and reputable local brand.

“This is our Malaysian brand and it’s high in quality with reasonable prices, which makes it an attraction for tourists,” he said.

British India group chief executive officer and founder Pat Liew, who was present, shared her view that the apparel of British India was not high fashion but more a lifestyle concept suitable for all occasions.

“I noticed that during all the festive seasons, we have all types of clothing but none that suits our tropical climate.

“Here, our products suit customers of all ages and sizes,” she said.


She also stressed that British India always believed in good service and high quality control for all its products.

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/30/British-India-expands-presence-in-Penang-with-renovated-flagship-store/


(The Star) Affordable housing ready by 2018

Providing homes for the needy a top priority, says exco man

The state gives incentives to developers who build green buildings. — JAGDEEP SINGH DEO 


The 10 affordable housing projects by the state government and Penang Development Corporation are expected to start early next year and be completed in 2018.

A total of 20,000 units will be available under the projects.

Penang Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state government had always made the provision of affordable housing its top priority.

He said although the price of property in Penang might be high, it must be noted that homes were still comparatively affordable in the region.

Jagdeep Singh also called upon developers to spare no effort in ensuring top quality property is built.

 “At the same time, the state government too recognises and gives incentives to developers who build green buildings,” he said in his speech before launching the 13th edition of the PIP Property Expo at the Straits Quay Convention Centre on Saturday.

“I would like to commend developers who have ensured the production of top quality housing for the people.

“They have put Penang top of the list with their desirable and sought-after property,” said Jagdeep Singh.

In an unrelated development, he expressed his disappointment with the reply from Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan concerning the 1Malaysia People’s Housing project (PR1MA) in Penang.

He said the minister had replied to his (Jagdeep Singh’s) letter that he was not sure which department was in charge of the PR1MA project.

“I have written to the minister twice,” he said.

“In the first reply letter, his private secretary told us that we should correspond with Perumahan Rakyat 1 Malaysia Corporation Bhd.

“I then wrote to the corporation but unfortunately, on Dec 17, the private secretary, in his second letter, told us that PR1MA was not under the ministry and that it was under the Prime Minister’s Department instead. “This is really shocking.” Jagdeep Singh said the state government needed to know the number of housing units being allocated for locals and other necessary information.


Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/30/Affordable-housing-ready-by-2018/

(The Star) Gearing up for VMY 2014


Unique Penang tourism packages to be promoted


Penangites taking their evening stroll along the picturesque promenade outside Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas, Penang, were caught by surprise to see the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus as it made a short tour around the area.

The tour was part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014) Countdown Carnival in Penang by Tourism Malaysia to promote domestic travel and local tourist attractions among Malaysians and expatriates.

Launched by Tourism Malaysia deputy directorgeneral (planning) Datuk Azizan Noordin, the event over the weekend saw 13 exhibitors comprising tour agencies and tourism product operators from Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Perak offering Malaysian holiday packages at their booths at the mall.

Azizan said VMY 2014 was aimed at attracting 28 million tourists, with the Tourism and Culture Ministry targeting to rake in RM76bil in tourism receipts next year.

“Our focus is mostly on Asean countries as they are closest to us. Next on the list are tourists from China and India, followed by the Middle East, Australia and Europe,” he told a press conference during the tour on the open-air upper deck of the bus on Saturday.

Azizan said Malaysia registered 25 million tourists and RM60.6bil in tourist receipts in 2012, where 30% of the total revenue came from the retail and accommodation industries.

He said more than 200 events were in the pipeline for VMY 2014, including those scheduled to take place in Penang, such as the Penang Jazz Festival and other festive events.

“Penang has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and we are promoting its various attractions as part of VMY 2014,” said Azizan.

Among Tourism Malaysia’s unique tour packages are the Penang Sunset Cruise from RM739 per person and a Deep Sea Fishing Adventure from RM709 per person. For cultural, heritage and historical enthusiasts, there is also a Museum & Gallery Tour being offered.

“There is also the Spooky Tour packages where tourists can visit the War Museum By Night,” added Azizan.

Holidaymakers can also savour various types of durian during the peak season between June and August in the Durian Fest package.

“These packages are value for money for those who come from abroad as they get to experience good service from our industry players,” said Azizan.

Tourism Malaysia Penang deputy director Haryanty Abu Bakar said the state aimed to attract 5.5 million tourists to Penang next year.

“Tourism Malaysia Penang is offering 33 interesting tour packages under VMY 2014 next year and the focus will not only be on food and heritage but also on recreational activities such as angling,” she added.

The launch on Saturday also saw a performance by veteran dangdut singer Datuk M. Daud Kilau, much to the delight of shoppers, several multicultural dances, a flute solo by Pendekar Bambu and performances by Malaysian artistes One Nation Emcee, Alif Aziz, Daniel Lee and Reno.

(The Star) Gadang upbeat on Danga Bay land


JOHOR BARU: Gadang Holdings Bhd is looking at buying land along the Danga Bay waterfront area after missing the opportunity to do so a couple of years back when land prices in the area were much cheaper.

Managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Kok Onn believes that property prices in Johor, especially in Iskandar Malaysia, will continue to appreciate on strong demand from foreign investors.

“You can miss the boat once, but you should not miss it for the second time,’’ Kok said when met at the unveiling of Capital 21 project.

The project is a joint-venture by Gadang, Hatten Group Sdn Bhd and Sunbuild Development Sdn Bhd for a mixed development.

Kok said Gadang had missed the opportunity to acquire land in the sea-fronting area of Danga Bay years ago when prices were about RM150 per sq ft. He said now the average selling price for land in Danga Bay was RM1,000 per sq ft.

“We are upbeat on the prospects of the property market in Iskandar Malaysia within the next five years. Johor is like honey where bees come to taste its sweetness,’’ he said.

Kok said Danga Bay was the best place for waterfront development area in the southern region due to its close proximity with Singapore.

Kok is also looking at other parts of Johor for possible acquisition.

“Johor is the next growth centre in the country and we are confident that the state will progress in years to come and continue attracting domestic and foreign investors,’’ said Kok.

He said the upcoming Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex was expected to attract RM100bil in investments. This would further boost economic activities in South Johor.

Kok added that with Iskandar Malaysia progressing well and moving on the right track since its inception in November 4, 2006, it would create economic spills over to the property segment.

Asked on the influx of China-based developers in Iskandar Malaysia, he welcomed their presence as it would create healthy competition among developers in the region.

On Capital 21, Kok said the project would emerge as an iconic landmark in Iskandar Malaysia upon its completion in 2018, and become a new benchmark in property development in the southern region.

The project, with a gross development value of RM2.2bil on a 5.65ha site along Jalan Tampoi, entails the development of two hotel blocks, three SOHO loft residential blocks and a 92,000 sq m retail concept mall.


Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2013/12/30/Gadang-upbeat-on-Danga-Bay-land-Its-looking-to-buy-land-in-waterfront-area/

(The Star) New highways to KL International Airport

PETALING JAYA: UEM Group Bhd, which owns a 51% stake in toll concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Bhd, has submitted a plan to the Government to build a new 45km highway connecting Senawang and the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, offering road users coming from the south a direct link to the airport that bypassed the often congested stretch between Seremban and Nilai on the North-South Expressway (NSE).


The proposal also includes the construction of a 6km direct link from the Paroi exit on the Kajang-Seremban Expressway (LEKAS) to the Senawang interchange.


This section of the proposed new highway would be toll-free, sources said.

Construction cost for the Paroi-Senawang-KLIASalak Tinggi (SKLIA) highway was estimated at RM2.2bil, excluding land acquisitions that could add another RM500mil to the bill.

New highways need Government aid ThenewhighwaywouldrequireGovernment support to make it viable, sources said.

“Part of the toll-free connection between Paroi and Senawang will involve the construction of a new elevated highway on top of the existing road, while the remaining part of the bypass road will be build entirely on a new alignment,’’ a source said.

As it is, there are at least 11 traffic lights between Paroi and Senawang on a 10km stretch of road that snakes through several industrial areas and housing estates.

StarBiz on Dec 12 reported that PLUS wanted to build the Paroi-Senawang bypass road as part of its strategy to reduce the increasingly serious traffic congestion in the area, as well as on the NSE between Sungai Besi and Seremban.

The proposal to build an alternative route is designed to ensure a smoother traffic flow from LEKAS to its Senawang interchange.

PLUS will also be able to divert some of these traffic to its highways and minimise the potential loss of revenue should the project is taken up by its rivals.

Stretching from Kajang Selatan to Paroi, the LEKAS highway was opened in 2008. It is 50% owned by IJM Corp Bhd, which had a few years back made a proposal to extend the 44km highway from Paroi to Senawang.

That bid, however, was rejected by the Government.

Meanwhile, there is another proposal to enhance the connectivity for road users to KLIA.

Maju Expressway Sdn Bhd (MEX), which owns the concession for the KL-Putrajaya Highway (MEX) is undertaking a study to construct an 18km extension from its Putrajaya interchange to KLIA (MEX2 highway).

The phase two of the highway was projected to cost about RM1bil to build. If approved, MEX claimed that its highway will provide the fastest route to KLIA from the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

PLUS is the concession holder for the NSE, NSE Central Link (ELITE), North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), as well as the SerembanPort Dickson Highway. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) owns the remaining 49% stake in the concessionaire.

UEM group is a unit of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

The Government, under its Budget for 2011, had already announced that it will provide financial support under a RM1bil facilitation fund “as a tipping point” to private sector-led initiatives in the construction of infrastructure projects.

The highway from Paroi to KLIA was identified as one of the projects.

UEM’s proposal for the SKLIA called for the alignment to be extended from KLIA to Salak Tinggi, linking the proposed highway to its interchange on ELITE from Senawang on the NSE.

That would help improve traffic projection on the new highway, but it remained unclear whether it can attract enough traffic to make it viable without Government financial support.

Most highways in Malaysia received some form of compensation or soft loan from the Government that helped make these projects viable enough for the private sector to take up.

(The Edge) Axis REIT to dispose of Axis Plaza for RM34 million

Axis REIT
(Dec 27, RM2.91)
Maintain buy at RM2.91 with a revised price target of RM3.61 (from RM3.73):
Axis announced that its trustee, RHB Trustees Bhd, had on Dec 26, 2013 entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Collective Developers Sdn Bhd (an indirect subsidiary of Singapore Post) to dispose Axis Plaza in Shah Alam for a total cash consideration of RM34 million.

Axis Plaza is a five storey office/warehouse with a total net lettable area (NLA) of 117,000 sq ft. It was one of the first five properties acquired by Axis during its IPO in August 2005. The disposal has been anticipated, as management had guided its intention to sell one of its assets during a briefing for analysts in July. The disposal is expected to be completed by April 2014.

This is Axis REIT’s third disposal in Selangor, since the completion of its sale of Axis North Port in April 2011 and Kayangan Depot in December 2012.

At RM34 million, Axis Plaza’s disposal value is 6% higher than a recent valuation of RM32 million and 51% above its purchase price of RM22.5 million in August 2005. Axis REIT expects to recognise a net gain on disposal of RM11 million and intends to distribute the net capital gain to unitholders (approximately 2.35 sen per unit) in the second quarter of 2014, while the remaining proceeds will be used to pare down borrowings.

We are positive on the deal as Axis Plaza’s occupancy rate of around 89.3% has been lower than its portfolio’s average of around 95% since 2007. In addition, management feels that there is limited upside for future rental growth and the divestment will allow the group to redeploy the capital for more yield accretive properties.

Post-disposal, Axis REIT’s gearing will fall to 33%, which is slightly below management’s internal prudent limit of 35% and below the 50% gearing limit under the REIT guidelines.

We have tweaked our financial year 2013 ending Dec 31 (FY13) to FY15 realised net profit forecasts by -.9%, +0.7% and - 2.5% respectively after inputing the financial impact from the proposed disposal and pushing backward the completion timeline of new acquisitions in our forecast.

The REIT was relatively quiet on the acquisition front this year given the low cap rate environment. Nevertheless, we believe management is likely to acquire new properties in the first half of 2014 as Axis REIT had earlier indicated that a disposal will be timed together with an acquisition to ensure minimal impact to dividend per unit.

Apart from that, the proposed issuance of 90.8 million new units (19.7% of its existing fund size), which has already been approved by unitholders and Bursa Malaysia, to fund new acquisitions needs to be completed before April 3, 2014. Maintain “buy” with a lower target price of RM3.61 (from RM3.73), based on unchanged 7.7% cost of equity. We continue to like the REIT for its proactive management, both in enhancing its existing property portfolio and exploring new business opportunities. — Affin IB Research, Dec 27 


(The Edge) Sunway acquires four tracts in Penang for RM267.41m

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway City (Penang) Sdn Bhd (SCP), an indirect unit of Sunway Bhd, has signed a sale and purchase agreement with Luxor Precision Sdn Bhd to acquire four pieces of freehold land in Penang for RM267.41 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia last Friday, Sunway said SCP had successfully bid for the land, together with the existing buildings, plant nurseries and other structures, on Dec 17.

The proposed acquisition will provide Sunway with an estimated gross development value of RM1.5 billion when fully developed, it said in an earlier announcement to Bursa Malaysia.

“The proposed development for the land will consist of commercial shops, small office and home office, as well as high-rise residential units that will strengthen Sunway’s presence in the Penang property market,” it added.

Sunway said the land is strategically located within the vibrant centre of Penang Island, surrounded by tourism spots as well as mature residential townships.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Partnership to build Capital City

JOHOR BARU: Gadang Holdings Bhd has teamed up with two developers to build an integrated project in Iskandar Malaysia called Capital City, which has an expected gross development value of RM2.2 billion

The two developers are Hatten Group Sdn Bhd and Sunbuild Development Sdn Bhd.

The key feature of the development, spread over 5.6ha, is a retail-concept mall dubbed Capital 21. 

The five-storey mall will feature a "21 capital cities" concept, a hypermarket, a cineplex, an amusement park and a museum. The project will also include two hotels and three SOHO (small office/home office) blocks.

Hatten Group managing director Colin Tan said the three companies chose to invest in the economic region because of its enormous potential in Asia.

"Capital 21 is a new concept in Malaysia. We will go to 21 cities to bring in their brands and have them all under one roof."

Tan was speaking after the launch of the first phase of Capital City at its sales gallery, here, on Saturday.

Present were Sunbuild group managing director Siow Chien Fu and Gadang Holdings group managing director Tan Sri Kok Onn.

Meanwhile, Siow said the project is located at the centre of Iskandar Malaysia, which has a population of one million within a 5km radius. 

"We estimate the project to be completed by early 2018," he said.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

(The Star) Rollicking good fun at sea

Asia’s first open-sea waterpark set to be a major tourism boost for Penang

Splashing good times have arrived in Penang with the opening of Asia’s first open-sea waterpark, Wet World Wild.

Big plus for tourism: Lim (centre) looking at the wet suit given to him by Datuk Richard Koh (second from right) during the launch in Batu Ferringhi.

The first phase of the waterpark at Moonlight Bay, a protected bay off Batu Ferringhi, opened for business on Christmas Day.

After paying at the entrance, visitors fitted with life jackets need to walk about 50m on a floating ramp and then swim about 20m to an inflatable obstacle course built with German technology.

Creator of Wet World Wild Melvin Kuo said the obstacle course is a module of 27 components. These include towers, rollers, spinners, double rockers, trampolines, ponds, ramps and balance beams.

“Some of these components are connected, while others will require visitors to swim. This will be the first time that fun at sea is redefined in Asia,” said Kuo, who is also Theme Park Concepts and Services Sdn Bhd regional account director.

He said the original plan was to open the waterpark near Bayu Senja along the belt of beach resorts and hotels in Batu Ferringhi.

However, Kuo explained that after surveying the conditions at Moonlight Bay, the spot was found to be the most ideal.

“There are no Jet Skis or other motorised watersport operators here. Also, depending on the moon phase and the wind conditions, we found that the water clarity in the bay is so clear on certain days that we can see two metres into the water,” he added.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who launched the waterpark, said he was pleased that Wet World Wild had fulfilled all the safety conditions laid down by the state government.

“A jellyfish net barrier 300m-long and 5m-deep, now protects the bay. This will block nearly all jellyfish, allowing visitors to stop worrying about the nuisance,” Lim said.

He added that with two theme parks, Wet World Wild and ESCAPE Adventure play, Penang’s tourism industry could expect a major boost next year.

“There may be additional theme parks in the future and we are considering other proposals through the Penang Development Corporation,” he said.

Kuo said the obstacle course would be expanded to double its present size before Chinese New Year, and cafes and bistros are also being planned on the beach side.

The project would have five expansion phases throughout next year.

Wet World Wild opens from 9am to 7pm daily, though the park management can temporarily close the obstacle course if tide and weather conditions are unfavourable.

The admission fee is RM40 for adults and RM30 for children. Visitors need to be at least 110cm tall to play. On weekends and public holidays, play sessions are limited to two hours each.



Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/27/Rollicking-good-fun-at-sea/

(The Star) Positive growth in arrivals so far


Nevertheless, state tourism stakeholders must address some issues to ensure sustainability


The tourism industry in Sarawak continues to expand moderately this year. The state Tourism Ministry has estimated that about 4.1 million foreign arrivals to be recorded for the whole 12 months which in turn, would roughly translate to a 5% yearon-year growth.

Every month, more than 300,000 foreign arrivals — travellers and tourists alike — are recorded at the state’s Immigration check points.

The largest segment of visitors to Sarawak are the domestic travellers, namely those from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, comprising 1.35 million arrivals from January to October this year.

The second largest are those from Brunei at 1.34 million in the same period, followed by Indonesia (378,697), the Philippines (98,684) and Singapore (43,836). Statistics from the Immigration Department have shown that visitors to Sarawak are mostly regional travellers.

On the other hand, European visitors collectively numbered less than 100,000 throgh out the JanuaryOctober period, while those from the US accounted for just 11,129. From the Australasia region, 17,379 and 5,067 travellers came from Australia and New Zealand respectively.

The low number of visitors from further afield is largely due to the lack of international air connectivity to airports in Sarawak. The only international flights to Kuching International Airport are those from Singapore, Brunei and Pontianak, Kalimantan.

As a result, the state’s share of the global tourism trade is vastly different from its neighbour Sabah, which sees visitors from the north Asian countries of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan growing considerably this year.

Between January and August, the block of five countries accounted for 51.2% of Sabah’s foreign arrivals. Specifically visitors from China and Hong Kong grew by an astounding 86.8%, representing 33.7% of total international arrivals to the Land Below the Wind.

Foreign air links passing Kota Kinabalu International Airport include Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Seoul, Tokyo and Perth — just to name a few not available via Kuching.

Sarawak’s tourism industry

is indeed at a transition point. In terms of foreign arrivals, it actually grew at a much faster pace between the early and mid-1990s.

In 1992, the Land of the Hornbills received only 1.67 million foreign arrivals but by 1996, they had nearly doubled to 3.01 million. It was during this time when several new resorts were opened to much fanfare in the Santubong peninsula. It was also then that plans to turn Gunung Mulu National Park near Miri into a Unesco World Heritage were put into action.

However, the state’s tourism growth slowed considerably after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia had tried to add more international flights to Sarawak, but all were short-lived. Destinations were introduced and then cancelled — some just within months — including the Perth, Macau and Bali routes.

It has taken Sarawak more than a decade for its foreign arrivals to grow by another million. It finally breached the four million mark last year.

On an optimistic note, signs of a return to the days of faster growth is on the horizon.

Sarawak’s meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) segment has grown from “zero to hero”, beating that of Sabah.

To date, Sarawak Convention Bureau has supported 276 event bids representing 122,047 delegates and 442,102 delegate days, contributing to an estimated direct delegate expenditure of about RM270mil to the state.

Next year, the bureau has secured the hosting of Routes Asia 2014 Routes Development Forum in March, followed by Asia Pacific Regional Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects in April, and Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the World Organisation of Family Doctors in May.

These large conferences aside, the state government has also fully embraced efforts to attract regional tourists, as reflected in its planning of public events for next year.


Just last week, Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip said the state would host large-scale bermukun (traditional dancing/singing) and bergendang (traditional drumming) as well as festivals like Chap Goh Mei.

All these programmes are set to raise interests and awareness of Sarawak, as well as to draw in tourists from Brunei, Kalimantan, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, Talip told reporters recently.

However much of the state’s renewed focus on regional tourism would depend heavily on the private sector. Shopping centres like The Summer Mall at Kota Samarahan will need to invest heavily in promoting its water theme park, which is scheduled to open by the middle of next year, for the foreign market.

Private hospitals and universities are also leading the way when it comes to attracting Indonesian clients cum visitors.

As for the joint Visit Malaysia-Visit Sarawak Year 2014 campaign, the state government has announced an ambitious target of a 10% growth in foreign arrivals next year.

However to sustain long-term growth, air links must improve to draw more tourists, just as local tourism products and packages need to be competitive enough to stand against the best ones in South East Asia, which is arguably the world’s fastest growing tourism hotspot.
Indeed, the competition will grow increasingly tougher and more challenging.

(The Star) KL rail and bus services extended to 2am on Wednesday

KUALA LUMPUR: The services of the city public transport, the RapidKL bus and rail services, will be extended to cater for New Year revellers this Tuesday.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (SPAD) executive vicepresident for group communications and strategic marketing Lim Jin Aun said the Kelana Jaya and Ampang Light Rail Transport (LRT) services would be extended until 2am on Wednesday.

“All LRT and mono rail stations will be open up to 1am with key stations – KL Sentral, KLCC, Masjid Jamek, Hang Tuah, Imbi, Bukit Bintang, Bukit Nanas and Titiwangsa extending their operations by an extra hour to 2am,” he said.

“Despite these announced schedules, we will monitor the ridership closely. If there is a need for further extension to clear the crowd at our stations, we will definitely look into extending the rail services further and add more trains,” he said in a statement yesterday.

RapidKL bus services would be extended for another half an hour after the rail service extension to provide transport convenience for city dwellers, he said.

Lim said the bus routes that would be extended were U64 (from Taman Seri Muda to Pasar Seni hub (PSH), U66 (Taman Medan to PSH), U68 (Sri Manja/Sentosa to PSH), U70 (Puchong Prima to PSH), U22 (Sri Nilam to Jalan Hang Lekiu), U40 (Terminal Kajang to Mydin Sinar Kota), U23 (Taman Melawati to Lebuh Ampang), U224 (Bandar Dato Senu to Kotaraya), U6 (Taman Jasa Utama to Medan Pasar) and U88 (Kota Damansara to PSH).

It would be best for commuters to travel with MyRapid cards to ensure smooth passage and to ensure that the cards were reloaded at the entry stations, he said. — Bernama


Saturday, 28 December 2013

(The Star) We will try to help

Roshidi: Grounding of flights has put a serious dent on local tourism industry

Whatever the issue, we will do what we can to assist them. — DATUK ROSHIDI HASHIM

THE Ipoh City Council will lend assistance to Flying Fox Airways, to enable the latter’s planes to be back on the runway after the airline was denied permission to operate at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport by the Transport Ministry and Department of Civil Aviation earlier this month.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim said the city council would do what it could within its capacity to resume the airline’s flights at the airport.

“I am deeply saddened by the news that the airline’s flight could not take off as expected.

“The grounding of the flights from Ipoh to Medan has put a serious dent on the local tourism industry,” Roshidi told journalists during the launch of the Golden Roof Hotel in Ampang on Christmas Day.

“Whatever the issue, we will do what we can to assist them,” he added.

Flying Fox Airways, which was scheduled to have its inaugural flight from Ipoh to Medan earlier this month, was called off after being denied permission to operate at the airport.

It is learned that there were some sinkholes on the side of the runway at the airport, which could endanger passengers on large aircrafts and the airport authority decided to put the flights on hold.

The airport is unable to accomodate Flying Fox’s Boeing 737-400 aircraft while the smaller ATR-72 operated by Firefly could land there.

Roshidi said the grounding of the airline’s flight between Ipoh and Medan had put a dent on the local tourism industry.

He also noted that the new Kuala Namu International Airport at Medan could bring in more foreign tourists to Ipoh.

“The new airport in Medan could be a transit point to bring in more tourists from around the world to visit our city,” he said, hoping that Flying Fox would also bring in smaller aircraft.

(The Star) All set for new parking system

Coupons and monthly passes selling well, says exco man

The Penang Municipal Council’s new parking system has been receiving good response from the public.

“The coupons and monthly passes are selling well,” said state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.

He said the council had collected RM381,372 from the sale of 69,273 coupon booklets as well as 169 monthly passes.

The new parking system for Penang island starts on Wednesday while the smart parking gadget (SPG) system will be implemented in May.

He said vehicles parked at council parking bays without valid parking coupons or monthly passes would be issued a RM30 summons.

Chow said three multi-storey MPPP parking complexes — in Union Street, Beach Street and Hutton Lane — do not come under the new system.

“Four MPPP clock-in-and-clock-out parking facilities in Fort Cornwallis, Batu Lanchang, Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal and Padang Brown are not under the new system as well,” he told a press conference during a publicity programme for the new system in Beach Street.

On the SPG, he said the council had received 576 applications which would be processed in February.

He said the company managing the new system — Alam Indah Facility Management Sdn Bhd — had absorbed 50 registered parking attendants to work for them.

“Alam Indah has appointed six official agents to form a consortium known as Creative Parking Resources to sell coupons and monthly passes to sub-agents as well as the public,” he said yesterday.

Chow said all the 2,400 parking meters on the island would be removed by Tuesday.

A list of where to buy the coupons can be viewed at http://www.mppp.gov.my/.

In a separate matter, Chow said the levy on hotels in Penang would most likely be implemented in June or July.

“The state is still working out the collection and payment mechanism with the hotels,” he said.

He added that most hotels had agreed to a lower levy and the amount had yet to be confirmed.

Source: 
http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/28/All-set-for-new-parking-system/

(The Star) Ekovest seeks more land in greater Klang Valley

Construction firm Ekovest Bhd plans to acquire more land in the greater Klang Valley as part of a strategy to boost the company’s property development business.

Managing director Lim Keng Cheng said the strategy was to acquire land with infrastructure potential such as highways and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).

“We currently have about 34 acres of land in the Klang Valley, another 25 acres in Johor and 12 acres in Pahang,” he said.

Ekovest recently launched its maiden mixed project, EkoCheras, with a gross development value (GDV) of over RM1.63bil located strategically along Jalan Cheras, next to the proposed Leisure Mall MRT station.

The company has property projects worth RM5.6bil in GDV that would last until 2023. Four out of six of these projects are located along Jalan Pahang – EB Titiwangsa, EB Quay, EB Park Place and EB Avenue.

Meanwhile, Lim said the company, which holds a 70% stake in the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke) concession via Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd, had not received any direction from the Government on increasing toll rates following speculation that toll rates of certain highways would be raised next year.

“We are still waiting for the Government’s response. I think we will know a decision soon as the deadline is Jan 1,” he said.

The company has seen toll revenue rising steadily from RM63mil in 2010 to RM81.9mil in 2012.

Lim, also a director of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), declined to comment on speculation that the company will be listed next year.

IWH on Thursday sold 15ha of seafront land in Danga Bay for RM1.6bil to a Singaporean firm, which plans an RM8bil development featuring, among others, Peninsular Malaysia’s tallest tower.

Ekovest has RM2.28bil of infrastructure contracts, including the RM1.18bil expansion of the Duke highway that would add two more links – Sri Damansara and Jalan Tun Razak – by 2016.

These project
would last until 2017.would last until 2017.

(The Star) Flashmobs to promote VMY 2014 in Countdown Journey


PUTRAJAYA: The countdown towards the grand celebration of the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014 on Jan 4 has begun in a unique publicity approach.

Tourism Malaysia sent off 50 flash mob dancers to Penang on a KL Hop On Hop Off bus yesterday to increase awareness of VMY 2014.

The dancers will perform a flash mob and energetic dance performance at the Tapah rest area along the North-South Expressway, KTM railway station in Ipoh and Padang Kota Lama in George Town.

They will also distribute flyers and promotional material in the awareness campaign called “Countdown Journey”.

The bus was flagged off by Tourism Malaysia deputy director-general Chong Yoke Har at the Tourism and Culture Ministry here.

The Countdown Journey is also part of efforts for the VMY 2014 Countdown Carnival at Penang’s Queensbay Mall today.

Tourism Malaysia director of domestic promotions Datuk Musa Yusof said the two-day carnival was an initiative to promote domestic travel among Malaysians and expatriates.


(BUSINESS TIMES) Ekovest focuses on Greater KL, Johor

RAPID GROWTH: Group has lined up 6 mega projects with gross development value of RM5.64b

Construction and infrastructure group Ekovest Bhd has lined up six mega projects within Greater Kuala Lumpur with a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM5.64 billion.

"We are focusing mainly on Greater Kuala Lumpur and Johor via Iskandar Malaysia because the government has injected these areas with infrastructure developments, such as mass rapid transit system, which has helped increased property prices," said its managing director Lim Keng Cheng after the company's annual general meeting, here, yesterday.

The company has launched the RM1.63 billion EkoCheras mixed development project and plans to unveil five more similar projects between now and 2019.

The projects are the EB Titiwangsa, with GDV of RM507 million, EB Gateway (RM2.79 billion), EB Quay (RM208 million), EB Park Place (RM323 million) and EB Avenue (RM186 million).

Ekovest has also set aside some RM200 million in capital expenditure for its fiscal year ending June 30 2014.

On the proposed hike in toll rates, Lim said there has been no news from the government.

Ekovest is the concessionaire of the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke).

"We are waiting for the government to make the announcement, which should come soon as the deadline is January 1," he said.

The company recently issued RM2.3 billion worth of sukuk to fund the development of the 16km Duke Phase 2, expected to be completed at end-2016 at a cost of RM1.18 billion.

"Ideally, we want to maintain the construction segment at about 40 per cent of our revenue, toll operation at between 20 and 30 per cent (of revenue) and the balance, from the property business," he said.

(BUSINESS TIMES) Sunway unit purchases Penang land for RM267m

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway City (Penang) Sdn Bhd (SCP), an indirect unit of Sunway Bhd, has signed a sale and purchase agreement with Luxor Precision Sdn Bhd to acquire four pieces of freehold land in Penang for RM267.41 million. 

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Sunway said SCP has successfully bid for the land on December 17, together with the existing buildings, plant nurseries, and other structures. 

The proposed acquisition will provide Sunway with an estimated gross development value of RM1.5 billion when fully developed, the developer said. 

"The proposed development for the land consists of commercial shops, small office and home offices, and high-rise residential units that will strengthen Sunway's presence in the Penang property market," it said.

Sunway said the plots are strategically located within the vibrant centre of Penang city and surrounded by tourism spots and matured residential townships.

Friday, 27 December 2013

(The Star) Affordable housing ready by 2018

Providing homes for the needy a top priority, says exco man

The state gives incentives to developers who build green buildings. — JAGDEEP SINGH DEO 


The 10 affordable housing projects by the state government and Penang Development Corporation are expected to start early next year and be completed in 2018.

A total of 20,000 units will be available under the projects.

Penang Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state government had always made the provision of affordable housing its top priority.

He said although the price of property in Penang might be high, it must be noted that homes were still comparatively affordable in the region.

Jagdeep Singh also called upon developers to spare no effort in ensuring top quality property is built.

“At the same time, the state government too recognises and gives incentives to developers who build green buildings,” he said in his speech before launching the 13th edition of the PIP Property Expo at the Straits Quay Convention Centre on Saturday.

“I would like to commend developers who have ensured the production of top quality housing for the people.

“They have put Penang top of the list with their desirable and sought-after property,” said Jagdeep Singh.

In an unrelated development, he expressed his disappointment with the reply from Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan concerning the 1Malaysia People’s Housing project (PR1MA) in Penang.

He said the minister had replied to his (Jagdeep Singh’s) letter that he was not sure which department was in charge of the PR1MA project.

“I have written to the minister twice,” he said.

“In the first reply letter, his private secretary told us that we should correspond with Perumahan Rakyat 1 Malaysia Corporation Bhd.

“I then wrote to the corporation but unfortunately, on Dec 17, the private secretary, in his second letter, told us that PR1MA was not under the ministry and that it was under the Prime Minister’s Department instead. “This is really shocking.” Jagdeep Singh said the state government needed to know the number of housing units being allocated for locals and other necessary information.


Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/12/30/Affordable-housing-ready-by-2018/

(The Star) Gearing up for VMY 2014


Unique Penang tourism packages to be promoted

Penangites taking their evening stroll along the picturesque promenade outside Queensbay Mall in Bayan Lepas, Penang, were caught by surprise to see the KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus as it made a short tour around the area.

The tour was part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY 2014) Countdown Carnival in Penang by Tourism Malaysia to promote domestic travel and local tourist attractions among Malaysians and expatriates.

Launched by Tourism Malaysia deputy directorgeneral (planning) Datuk Azizan Noordin, the event over the weekend saw 13 exhibitors comprising tour agencies and tourism product operators from Penang, Perlis, Kedah and Perak offering Malaysian holiday packages at their booths at the mall.

Azizan said VMY 2014 was aimed at attracting 28 million tourists, with the Tourism and Culture Ministry targeting to rake in RM76bil in tourism receipts next year.

“Our focus is mostly on Asean countries as they are closest to us. Next on the list are tourists from China and India, followed by the Middle East, Australia and Europe,” he told a press conference during the tour on the open-air upper deck of the bus on Saturday.

Azizan said Malaysia registered 25 million tourists and RM60.6bil in tourist receipts in 2012, where 30% of the total revenue came from the retail and accommodation industries.

He said more than 200 events were in the pipeline for VMY 2014, including those scheduled to take place in Penang, such as the Penang Jazz Festival and other festive events.

“Penang has a lot to offer in terms of tourism and we are promoting its various attractions as part of VMY 2014,” said Azizan.

Among Tourism Malaysia’s unique tour packages are the Penang Sunset Cruise from RM739 per person and a Deep Sea Fishing Adventure from RM709 per person. For cultural, heritage and historical enthusiasts, there is also a Museum & Gallery Tour being offered.

“There is also the Spooky Tour packages where tourists can visit the War Museum By Night,” added Azizan.

Holidaymakers can also savour various types of durian during the peak season between June and August in the Durian Fest package.

“These packages are value for money for those who come from abroad as they get to experience good service from our industry players,” said Azizan.

Tourism Malaysia Penang deputy director Haryanty Abu Bakar said the state aimed to attract 5.5 million tourists to Penang next year.

“Tourism Malaysia Penang is offering 33 interesting tour packages under VMY 2014 next year and the focus will not only be on food and heritage but also on recreational activities such as angling,” she added.

The launch on Saturday also saw a performance by veteran dangdut singer Datuk M. Daud Kilau, much to the delight of shoppers, several multicultural dances, a flute solo by Pendekar Bambu and performances by Malaysian artistes One Nation Emcee, Alif Aziz, Daniel Lee and Reno.

(The Star) Urban oasis on the cards


Living in the city certainly has its perks. All sorts of malls, restaurants and entertainment venue are nearby.



All the conveniences and amenities are just a stone’s throw away from your home.

But there is also a flip side to living such a lifestyle — the jams, the noise, and the fumes from traffic.

Not to mention the congestion, the high cost of homes and constant hustle and bustle.

What would be ideal is to be able to have the best of both worlds; to be within reach of all the conveniences and lifestyle that the city holds as well as the security and serenity that comes with living in the suburbs.

That is what i&P group Sdn Bhd, the developer of Eight Kinrara Serviced Apartments, is striving to achieve.

i&P says it is the first residential tower within the budding township of Bandar Kinrara and enjoys the full vantage of unobstructed views from all points of the compass.

Eight Kinrara comprises 236 private units of serviced apartments housed within a single low density block located at the heart of Bandar Kinrara’s commercial centre, next to existing giant hypermarket and facing Bukit Jalil Highway.

it has a total of 38 levels with 27 dedicated for serviced apartments, two levels for facilities, six for the multi-storey carpark, one level for lobby and retail space and two for basement parking.

The apartment footprint itself

The development will feature retail space adjoining the residential tower. is set in a linear form so that more number of units are oriented to face the view of a golf club or the direction of KLCC.

The other two blocks face the Kinrara Oval Cricket ground. i&P says wherever you look, you are greeted by lush verdant land and manicured landscapes.

Thanks to its height and location, Eight Kinrara is shielded from traffic noise and fumes from vehicles and all this is set within manicured landscapes.

The developer says Eight Kinrara offers an array of conveniences within the vicinity. Facilities include dining, shopping, entertainment and banking.

After a long day at work resident can de-stress by visiting the yoga deck for some well-needed stretching or to the swimming pool for a few laps.


Some may prefer something a bit more rigorous and they can find that at the in-house gym.

Children can have all the time to enjoy their energy in the wading pool or at the children’s playground.


There even is a nursery for toddlers, while their mothers can relax while keeping their eyes on junior. 


To build a sense of camaraderie among the neighbours, a multi-purpose hall is also available for any occasion, be it a small birthday celebration or simply for holding a line-dancing class.


Those who prefer not to cook can visit the cafe.

And of course there is a surau attached so it is convenient during prayer times.

All access in and out is secured using a card system and key areas are closely monitored by CCTV and security guards.

The residential units in Eight Kinrara are purposely planned to be practical, with a majority of units offering three bedrooms. There are five distinctive layouts remaining to choose from:

The S1 (Standard Corner) has a build-up area of 1,286sq ft while the S2 (Standard Intermediate) has 1,096sq ft.

The premium units range from the P1 (Premium Small Corner) at 1,851sq ft to P2 (Premium Intermediate) at 2,264sq ft and the P1 (Premium Corner) at 2,483sq ft.

The premium units’ generous space is comparable to houses found on landed properties.

All areas within the apartment units enjoy natural lighting and ventilation. These areas are enhanced by furnishings and fittings made of quality materials and sanitary ware.

Each unit comes equipped with air-conditioning points in all rooms and water heater points in all bathrooms, except the designated maid’s room.

Accessibility is via a direct link to Bandar Kinrara.

The LRT station will also become a major transportation hub for residents of Eight Kinrara as they can choose to simply park and drive to other areas in the Klang Valley.

The Eight Kinrara show unit is open for viewing at I&P’s Bandar Kinrara sales gallery located at 33, 35 and 37, Jalan BK5A/2, Bandar Kinrara, Selangor. To find out more about Eight Kinrara Serviced Apartments, call 03-8070 7800 / 7300.

(The Star) Abandoned projects dot hulu S’gor landscape

But council continues allowing new housing developments

Projects are still being approved by the Hulu Selangor District Council (MDHS) although more than a dozen abandoned ones have not been revived.

MDHS president Tukiman Nail justified this by saying that development was needed and the council would continue to approve other projects.

He said he did not want Hulu Selangor to be left behind compared to other districts and new developers would not be penalised because others had abandoned their projects.

Tukiman said new developers should be given a chance to prove themselves and the council had blacklisted developers of abandoned projects.

Among the notable abandoned projects in the district are Desa Beruntung housing project in Ulu Yam, Lembah Beringin housing project, Bandar Baru Serendah single-storey houses, a single-storey housing project in Bukit Sentosa, Kampung Desa Beringin expansion project, Kampung Melayu Rasa expansion project, Desa Bukit Bujang expansion project, Genting Valley bungalow lots, Kampung Koskan single-storey terrace houses, Serendah Perdana housing scheme, Erina Heights Ulu Yam, a housing project in Batang Kali and Taman Impiana housing project.

He cited the Bukit Beruntung project in Rawang as an example.

“We want the abandoned projects here to be revived but there are no ‘white knights’ willing to do this,” said Tukiman.

In response, Selangor Housing, Building and Urban Settlers Management Committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad said a catalyst was needed to bring more development into the area.

“There has to be mixed development, namely commercial, residential and industrial,’’ he added.

Granted, reviving abandoned projects is no easy task as many issues need to be ironed out between the purchasers and developers.