Friday, 28 February 2014

(The Star) Treasures from the cave

Malaysians and foreign tourists can now marvel at the largest private natural crystal collection at the MY Natural Crystal Gallery on the third floor of Penang Times Square in Jalan Datuk Keramat.

The gallery covers an area of over 1,300 sqm and features more than 1,000 unique and exquisite crystal formations.

Gallery founder S.H. Ong led the press on a guided tour of the gallery on Wednesday.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang, Penang Times Square general manager C.C. Yeap and Tourism Malaysia director Harun Pilus were also present for the tour.

Speaking to the press after the tour, Ong said he took over 10 years to amass the various crystals seen in his collection.

“Every crystal piece takes thousands of years to form and even then their beauty is not immediately seen.

“This is because when we enter into the caves, we only see the stalactites and stalagmites, while the crystal is inside. In order to marvel at the formations, harvesters face a tough job going through the muddy caves and hacking away the stone to reveal the inner beauty,” he said.

Ong said he started the gallery in order to encourage visitors to appreciate the natural beauties, especially since the crystals in his collection were all bought from the northern region of peninsula Malaysia.

“Malaysian crystal formations are quite brittle, therefore they are not suitable to be carved into decorative items and usually displayed as such, while those carved into decorative items are imported.”

Yeap said Penang Times Square was proud that Ong chose the mall to set up the gallery.

“Apart from this gallery, we will also be designating the third floor as a tourism centre where there will be a pewter centre, a batik house and even shops selling various native arts and crafts.

“This is part of our effort to promote Penang’s tourism products to our visitors,” he said.

Harun lauded the initiative taken by Ong to set up the gallery as this could become another iconic attraction for Penang.

“This gallery not only helps to encourage more visitors to the island, but also more repeat visitors as it is a fresh new attraction.

“As part of our support for the gallery, we will be promoting it through our agency’s various channels. This includes distributing its brochure in our nationwide or overseas tourist information centres and putting it up on our websites,” he said.

Harun also praised Times Square for dedicating the special floor for tourism products, stating that this measure was in line with the agency’s efforts to rebrand various tourism products on the island.

“We are in the midst of rebranding the Museum Trail and Gallery Trail to offer a new package to visitors. We have to be innovative in order to keep things vibrant,” he said.

The gallery ticket prices for Malaysians are RM25 (adult) and RM15 (children) while foreign tourists are charged RM50 (adult) and RM25 (children).

The gallery will be open from 11am to 9pm daily and the last entry time is 7.30pm.

For details, e-mail or call 04-2265682.


(The Star) Road to smooth traffic flow

Three road expansion projects in Batu Maung to help ease and disperse traffic after the second Penang bridge is open to the public, are expected to be completed within three years.

The projects include the construction of an elevated road from the bridge’s interchange to Queensbay Mall, the building of a flyover and widening of an existing road from Jalan Permatang Damar Laut to Kampung Seronok from two to four lanes, as well as the building of an elevated highway from Pekan Bayan Lepas to Teluk Kumbar.

The total cost of the projects is expected to be about RM1bil.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the projects should have been done by the Federal Government simultaneously with the construction of the second bridge as they were supposed to make up a traffic dispersal project for Penang Bridge.

Chow also said as a temporary measure to help ease traffic at the interchange to Queensbay Mall, the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) would be lifting the ‘no right turn’ at the industrial area along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway when the second bridge is open to the public.

“The no right turn was initially imposed from 5pm to 7pm daily, so that the traffic along the area could flow smoothly but after the (second) bridge is open, we have to remove this ban for the convenience of factory workers who have to use the second Penang bridge,” said Chow.

He was speaking at a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

He added that traffic lights in the area would also be coordinated to ensure a smooth traffic flow.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will open the bridge at 8pm tomorrow. The 24km bridge, which spans 16.9km over the sea, is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia.

It is expected to be opened to the public at 7am on Sunday.

The bridge, which links Batu Kawan on the mainland to Batu Maung on the island, has two car lanes and a motorcycle lane on each side.

It will take about 30 minutes to cross the bridge, which is 10.5km longer than the first bridge, at a speed of 80kph.

It was previously reported that the bridge can cater up to 100,000 vehicles per hour and is also expected to help reduce traffic congestion along the Penang Bridge by 25% to 30%.


(The Star) Fabulous achievement

The green technology used for the second Penang bridge toll plaza complex in Batu Kawan has earned the building a Platinum Green Building Index Certification award.

“The complex is also the first building in Penang to be awarded platinum,” said Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib.

Apart from using the Industrialised Building Systems (IBS), the building incorporates passive architecture to reduce energy requirements, a rain water harvesting system for internal use, application of renewable energy source such as the wind turbines and solar panels on top of its building to generate electricity.

The second Penang bridge project was presented the Green Apple Award in June 2013 and appointed Green World Ambassador by The Green Organisation, UK, for its green efforts.

“It is the most auspicious time for JKSB to be awarded the prestigious certificate for its green efforts just before the official opening ceremony of the second Penang bridge tomorrow,” he said.


(BUSINESS TIMES) PavREIT value may double in 5 years

KUALA LUMPUR: Pavilion Real Estate Investment Trust (PavREIT) may double by value in five years as it injects more properties here, which could include the RM330 million Royale Pavilion Hotel.

PavREIT is currently the largest retail REIT and the second biggest Malaysian REIT by asset size, at around RM4.1 billion.

Datuk Lee Tuck Fook, the director of Harmoni Perkasa Sdn Bhd, the developer of the Royale Pavilion Hotel, did not confirm or deny if the hotel will be injected into PavREIT.

"We will see how it goes. We may expand our REIT with this addition, but at the moment, it really is too early to tell," he said after the unveiling of the Royale Pavilion Hotel, here, yesterday.

Harmoni Perkasa, a unit of Urusharta Cemerlang (KL) Sdn Bhd, is developing the Royale Pavilion Hotel, a 13-storey hotel with 319 rooms. Works will start next month.

The hotel, sitting above Pavilion KL Mall, will be completed by June 2016 at a cost of RM330 million.

PavREIT comprises two properties, which are Pavilion KL Mall and Pavilion Tower (office).

These properties form part of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, an integrated urban development by Urusharta Cemerlang, which also includes Pavilion Residences and the five-star hotel.

Pavilion REIT Management Sdn Bhd, the manager for PavREIT, acquired the mall and office tower from Urusharta Cemerlang at RM3.19 billion and RM123.5 million, respectively.

Urusharta Cemerlang is controlled by Datuk Desmond Lim Siew Choon, while Qatar Investment Authority has a 49 per cent stake in the company. Lim is behind the development of Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion residences and Harrods Hotel.

Sources said the REIT manager is looking at two types of growth strategies for PavREIT, which are organic growth by providing value-added property-related services in pursue of higher yields and returns, as well as acquisition.

"Both ways will enhance the REIT performance. From time to time, the REIT manager will review the tenant mix and space configuration to maximise rental income. It will also work on ways to optimise retention, and pursue new leases," said a source.

The source said the REIT manager may also look at acquiring assets that provide attractive cash flows and yields relative to PavREIT's weighted average cost of capital.

The REIT manager has identified three retail malls to acquire in the future, which are worth a combined RM1.5 billion. They are Farenheit88, the Pavilion KL Mall extension, and a six-storey sub-urban mall in USJ, Subang.

(The Edge) Former concessionaire warns of high-rise glut in Iskandar Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A former master concessionaire warns of a potential glut of high-rise properties in Iskandar Malaysia. These properties are being built without factoring in the necessary population, iPac Group chief executive officer Keith Martin told the audience at a conference on Wednesday.

Martin was previously chief executive officer of Global Capital & Development, the master concessionaire tasked with developing and selling 900ha of land at Medini Iskandar, which falls under Flagship B of the growth area.

“I see a lot of high-rise buildings in Iskandar, and land being reclaimed from the sea in a place with lots of affordable land,” Martin said. “I don’t understand how that happens. Where in the world do reclaimed land and high-rises work? [It took] Tokyo, Manhattan, Hong Kong ... centuries to be that way. [High] commerce [pressured] people to spend money to reclaim land and live in boxes.

“Reclamation and high-rise homes — are we really thinking them through? I mean, three years from now, when all these buildings are completed, who will live in them? The Johor families? They spend their savings buying those and then expect high rental to help them pay off mortgages — and I am really concerned about that,” he said.

Martin said Iskandar Malaysia was in its “wayward teenager” stage of its life.

“It had a good start to life, with a lot of government funding and attention, and high-level publicity. But then little Iskandar forgets to tidy away its toys ... what about the gap sites, the abandoned projects in Johor Baru? The developers are coming in and ignoring these things.”

He was speaking at the Township Development Conference. The two-day event featured 17 speakers from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and Hong Kong.

Issues discussed included how to make affordable housing viable. Case studies on successful master plans of cities and regional economic corridors were also presented.

(The Edge) Malaysia’s top banks post record profits, unfazed by property curbs

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s two biggest banks notched up record annual profits and see further strong growth in the year ahead, confident that a raft of government curbs on the property sector will not have a major impact on overall loan demand.

Malayan Banking Bhd put in its best earnings for a second straight year, with fourth quarter profit jumping 19% on robust loan growth and strength in Islamic banking. CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, reporting earlier in the week, logged a fifth consecutive year of record profit.

The lenders have benefited from a domestic property boom and move to diversify into fast-growing Southeast Asian economies such as Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

Robust regional economic growth will continue to work in their favour as will an expansion in business financing expected from a slew of big projects. These include a government-led rail project in Kuala Lumpur and a US$19 billion (RM62 billion) petrochemicals complex in Johor led by state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd.

These factors will offset softer consumer loan growth as the government moves to take some of the froth out of the country’s property market, banking executives said.

“Property in Malaysia has been lagging others in the region, in terms of growth in value. We will focus on more targeted lending,” Maybank Group chief executive officer Abdul Farid Alias told reporters after the bank reported a 16% rise in annual profit to RM6.6 billion.

Both Maybank and CIMB said they expect overall loan growth in Malaysia will slow to 9% to 10% this year from an industry average of 10.6% in 2013.

Providing domestic home loans has been the backbone of Maybank and CIMB’s earnings. But the combination of robust demand and easy credit have prompted Malaysia’s financial authorities, such as those in Singapore and China, to embark on a series of curbs to keep prices in check and head off criticism that the country might be in the midst of a property bubble.

Malaysia has more at stake than some. Soaring demand for mortgages has given it the highest household debt level in Southeast Asia — equal to 86% of gross domestic product.

Lending to households accounts for 57% of outstanding bank loans — a potentially worrying level should the economy come off its current robust growth track.

While these levels have stoked some concern, economists like Nor Zahidi Alias of Malaysia Rating Corp Bhd say long-term prospects for the real estate market are supported by the country’s rather young population.

“And so far, statistics on borrowers’ debt service ability remain stable and household debt is mitigated by household financial assets which are still relatively stable,” he said.

(The Star) Luxury development rapidly taking shape in Kuala Lumpur

The interior for one of the show units for The Horizon. - Photos by AZLINA ABDULLAH
The interior for one of the show units for The Horizon. - Photos by AZLINA ABDULLAH

A new luxury residential tower will soon grace Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur.

The Horizon Residences, developed by Hap Seng Land Sdn Bhd, will feature serviced apartments in two 27-storey towers that sit on 1.35 acres of freehold land.

With a prices from RM1,300 psf, the development offers units with built-up areas ranging between 549sq ft to 2,551sq ft for its typical units, and 3,552sq ft to 4,316sq ft for the penthouses.

Once completed, the 335 units that are semi-furnished, will have easy access to embassies nearby, the Prince Court Medical Centre, an international school, and malls .

According to a news report, Japanese department store operator Takashimaya Co Ltd is said to beconsidering setting up an outlet at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Kuala Lumpur’s upcoming international financial district, which is a stone’s throw from The Horizon Residences development.

Some of the main features of the project include panoramic views of either the Royal Selangor Golf Club, the Kuala Lumpur city skyline or Petronas Twin Towers.

David Khor, Hap Seng Land’s chief operating officer, says, currently the apartments have been attracting the interest of both local and foreign buyers.

“The profile of local buyers are aged 40 and up, while smaller units are mostly taken up by young professionals in their 30s.

“We have had Singaporeans, South Koreans and Japanese buying our units,” Khor said, adding that foreign buyers so far are from nine nationalities.

He said approximately 90% of the units have already been sold.

The project, which has a gross development value of RM412mil, features a floating gym, a 50m infinity edge lap pool, a bubble jet pond with stepping stones and a comprehensive three-tier security system.

Each unit is also equipped with double-glazed glass to cut out external noise from traffic.

“This is one of the luxury developmentsbeing worked on by the company. It’s not just a good location but it’s also filled with energy-saving fittings.”” said Khor.

According to Khor, the project is using the Construction Quality Assessment System for , a widely recognised and internationally accepted construction quality assessment system by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority to measure quality standards in building projects.

The project has also submitted a Green Building Index certification, which is a green rating tool for buildings.

Officially launched in January last year, the project is expected to be completed by March 2015.

For more information, visit

Khor says the project has been drawing the interest of foreign buyers.
Khor says the project has been drawing the interest of foreign buyers.


(The Star) Mall project in Johor attracts strong interest

An artist’s impression of Capital 21 development in Iskandar Malaysia.
An artist’s impression of Capital 21 development in Iskandar Malaysia.

Launched in December 2013, Capital 21 @ Capital City, a themed retail development located within Iskandar Malaysia development region in Johor has caught the attention of industry experts with its strong sales since its introduction into the Malaysian property market.

Two months after its official launch, Capital 21 has been drawing strong interest in Johor.

The new retail development comprising 1,200 retail units ranging from 120sq ft to 5,000sq ft, is said to be increasingly in demand among local and foreign investors.

As its name suggests, the themed floors of Capital 21 will feature 21 different “Capitals”. Some of which are country capitals, and others prominent and memorable cities or countries. The 21 capitals are Hawaii, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Washington DC, Madrid, Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Dubai, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Sydney.

Now, not only will shoppers have access to renowned fashion brands and international cuisine, they will also be able to experience the excitement of world cultures in one locale. The ambitious new retail model is the first of its kind in Malaysia.

For an introduction to the development’s concept, visitors can go to the Capital City Show Gallery located at 1132, Jalan Tampoi, Kawasan Perindustrian Tampoi, Johor Baru.

The gallery offers a glimpse into the actual 360° view and 3D layout of the mall with five featured capitals. Visitors can experience first-hand the lifestyle in Tokyo, the life-size windmill feature from Amsterdam, Hong Kong’s famous street markets, the ski slopes in Switzerland and the vibrancy of Madrid.

As part of a joint-venture initiative between developers, Hatten Group Sdn Bhd, Sunbuild Development Sdn Bhd and contractor, Gadang Holdings Bhd, Capital 21 is just the first phase of the RM2.2bil integrated project named Capital City.

Spread across 14 acres in the increasingly developed area of Iskandar Malaysia, the vast mixed-use development will also house two international hotel blocks and three SOHO towers nestled atop Capital 21’s massive mall platform which offers over 1 million sq ft of retail space.

The unconventional marketing approach to Capital City is also drawing attention.

Instead of introducing the residential phase first to establish a population and consumer base for the retail element, the partners have launched the shopping mall — Capital 21 . The move was initially questioned by critics but the result speaks for itself with high sales figures recorded in just two months. When asked about the sales response achieved for Capital 21, Colin Tan, group managing director of Hatten Group Sdn Bhd, attributed the success to the passion and experience of the joint venture partners.

“With our combined expertise in the property industry, we have worked together to design and conceptualise this project and we have the utmost faith in the success of Capital City. We are pleased that the sales figures are reflecting such outstanding public trust and support,” he said.

Siow Chien Fu, group managing director of Sunbuild Development Sdn Bhd, said, “Investors are tapping into the high-potential of Capital 21 not only for its unique, multi-capital mall concept, but also due to its strategic location, its fully-integrated development layout and the surety of a guaranteed 15% rental yield for the first two years.”

Capital 21 is slated to be complete in 2018.

For more information go to or call 017 309 1399.

The Capital 21 development is located in Zone A of Iskandar Malaysia.
The Capital 21 development is located in Zone A of Iskandar Malaysia.


(The Star) Spotlight on Malacca's food heritage

Famed Hong Kong food critic, columnist and television host Chua Lam has come on board as advisor cum ambassador of Impression Malacca Nanyang Gourmet Street in Malacca.

While the exact location of the street that will host this initiative is still kept a secret, the Nanyang Gourmet Street is expected to highlight the very best of South-East Asian cuisine.

The effort was set up in conjunction with the 10th production under acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s Impression series of outdoor musical shows.

During the signing ceremony in Wisma Apple Kuala Lumpur, which also welcomed Chua Lam as the ambassador, organisers said Gourmet Street would help preserve Malacca’s food heritage while showcasing the variety of South-East Asian street food.

“We will gather the very best food that South-East Asian countries have to offer and place them here.

“However, they must also maintain the quality of the food so that its name and reputation is not tarnished,” Zhang said.

The first of the Impression series was launched in 1998 in Guilin called Impression Lui Sanjie on a 2km-long setting along the Li River.

Founded by Zhang and his creative partners Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue, the Impression musical is expected to attract some 1.2 million tourists per year, generating RM179mil for Malaysia.

Impression Malacca is a project between PTS Impression Sdn Bhd and China Impression Wonders Art Development Co Ltd as a National Key Economic Area project under Pemandu.

Malacca will become the first city outside China to stage the show following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by PTS Impression CEO Boo Kuan Loon and China Impression Wonders Art Development Co’s co-founder and CEO Wang Chaoge in February, last year.

“All Impression shows are live outdoor performances involving huge casts, elaborate stages and amazing special effects.

“Some 150 Malaysian dancers will be performing with a core group who have started rehearsals in China,” Boo said.

PTS Impression director Datuk Sri Lee Ee Hoe said the musical would help boost Malacca as a tourist destination with an international standard performance.

Impression Malacca is scheduled to open in October, in conjunction with Malaysia-China Friendship Year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and in time for Visit Malaysia Year.


(The Star) KLIA2 will start operating on May 2, says MAHB

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has affirmed that the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) will start operating on May 2.

Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abd Rahman said MAHB had done tests through an independent company to ensure the strength of the runway.

“We have verified the report and it meets our requirement. Even on the runway itself, we have checked that there is no crack. We have done our final inspection at the runway and everything is satisfactory,” he said.

He assured that there was no safety issue as the cracks were superficial ones and not a structural defect. It is only depression at the taxiway.

“The department has discussed with MAHB regarding the depression and it has rectified whatever needs to be done before the operation of the airport so that the runway can be used on May 2.

“MAHB has done simulation using grown vehicle (heavy vehicle) to simulate load vehicles such as aircraft going to the apron. And the strength of the apron has met our requirement,” he said.

He added that the completed runway profile had fully complied with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards. Ground surveys carried out at the area showed there was no uneven settlement on the runway surface.

(The Star) Rock-blasting activities causing new cracks in apartments, say residents

Flora Damansara apartment residents, especially those in Block E, are worried over new cracks appearing in their building, which they claimed started showing after rock-blasting activities began at a nearby development project.

The residents are also worried about the steep slope their apartment block is built on, due to building works on the neighbouring land.

Bon Woo Ming, a resident at Block E, said the rock-blasting explosions were loud.

“Sometimes, when you are at home and they start blasting, you can feel the building shake,” said Bon, adding that there was presently no visible damage to his unit.

Neighbours Selvakumaree Jeyabalasingam and Salmah Shamsudin, who live on the eighth floor, said they felt similar tremors when the blasting took place.

“My television set actually moved, and we are worried whether the window panes are going to crack,” said Selvakumaree.

The apartment’s Joint Management Body (JMB) chairman Ho Fook Chuan alleged that there were several places, such as the building’s mailbox room, where new cracks had appeared.

“The previous JMB and JMC (Joint Management Committee) also dealt with the developer regarding the noise and issues related to their construction, but we are still being kept in the dark,” said Ho.

He produced an email printout, said to be from the developer’s authority liaison officer, which stated that the construction activities (including rock-blasting), would not affect the neighbouring residential buildings.

“We want to know what is going on, and if anything happens, who will be responsible?

“With the steep slope here, we worry about a landslide,” said Ho.

The developer’s statement contained several points to address the residents’ queries.

The release stated that prior to the commencement of the project, the developer had conducted a dilapidation survey to record pre-existing structural issues/defects in surrounding structures and infrastructure.

The statement indicated that it was not unusual to have cracks appear as the building settled, as well as from wear and tear over the years.

Additionally, the statement also said that the rock-blasting explosions were below permitted sound levels of 120 decibels (dB), while the explosions only measured between 68.7 and 89.7dB.

When contacted, the developer’s spokesman said the rock-blasting and clearance activities were to lay the ground work for a reservoir, which would be later handed over to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

“The final capacity is still being worked out between Syabas and the developer, but it is for the eastern catchment area and is meant to serve the Damansara Perdana area, including Flora Damansara,” said the spokesman.


(The Edge) The Treez’s growing capital appreciation

PETALING JAYA: Exsim Development Sdn Bhd’s first residential project The Treez, which was completed in November last year, is currently transacting in the secondary market at 36% to 42% higher than its launch price in 2010, said the developer.

The Treez in Bukit Jalil was launched at RM500 psf in 2010 and units were fully sold within three months.

According to Michael Yam, its head of property R&D (residential/commercial), units are currently transacting between RM680 and RM710 psf.

“Most of our buyers are [purchasing to stay]. [So] we expect the development to be fully occupied by end of this year,” said Yam, adding that to date more than 10 residents have moved in.

Exsim started handing over units since December. The 2.6 acre (1.05ha) freehold Green Building Index (GBI)-certified condominium project fronts the 80-acre Bukit Jalil International Park. It has a gross development value of RM190 million.

Yam said Exsim has thrown in extra fittings such as timber grills, air-conditioning and water heaters, which were not stated in the sale and purchase agreement.

The Treez, which has a Silver GBI rating, comprises 135 condominium units, 13 condo villas, 15 link villas and five penthouses. It is a low density development within walking distance from the upcoming Bukit Jalil light rail transit station.

Facilities include a resort-inspired main lobby with a sunken waiting lounge, 25m infinity pool, jacuzzi, fitness centre, sauna, spa cabana, yoga deck, extra parking bays for hybrid cars, herb garden and in-house refuse classification bin on every floor.

On the top floor residents can organise private gatherings and functions at the sky lounge or sky pool. The sky lounge, which has an unobstructed view of the KL city centre skyline, is fitted with a flat screen TV, pool table, dining area and fully-fitted kitchen.

Exsim’s residential projects include Twin Arkz in Bukit Jalil and The Leafz in Sungai Besi. Yam said Exsim will be handing over a project every year for the next three years, all of which are in KL South. They are The Leafz (early 2015), Twin Arkz (early 2016) and The Petalz (2017).

Exsim is set to launch its first development in the KL central business district named Expressionz in Jalan Tun Razak.

It also plans to launch 11 new residential and industrial developments in the Klang Valley covering some 90 acres within the next three years.

Exsim was involved in the timber business before venturing into property development.

(The Edge) Green tools for hotels, resorts

KUALA LUMPUR: The Green Building Index (GBI) and Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) have launched tools for hotels and resorts in Malaysia for a greener infrastructure in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2014.

The tools comprise the non-residential new construction (NRNC) hotel tool, non-residential existing building (NREB) hotel tool, NRNC resort tool and NREB resort tool.

At the launch of the tools yesterday, Arkitek MAA Sdn Bhd director and member of the GBI accreditation panel, Von Kok Leong, said the tools will enable hotels in the city centre to be energy efficient, while resorts will be able to improve ventilation to reduce air conditioning.

“About 60% of the energy used [in a building such as hotels and resorts is for] air conditioners,” he said. “But unlike ... buildings in ... city centres, resorts [in Malaysia] which are commonly found on ... coastlines can improve their ventilation by reducing heat penetration [and therefore the use] of air-conditioners,” said Leong.

The hotel and resort edition of the GBI tools will give practical guidelines to help hotel staff to better understand the strategies, investments and benefits involved in greening their properties.

Among the tools are energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and sustainable procurement, and healthy indoor environment by improving air quality and access to daylight.

The tools for hotels and resorts show that hospitality venues have potential for greening opportunities and reducing carbon footprints.

Based on 210 projects certified by GBI, the total carbon emission reduction to date is 430,000 tonnes a year.

Leong said the reduction of carbon emissions exceeded the previous estimation. He expects about 40% carbon emission reduction by 2020 as more buildings embrace the green building concept.

On whether the new tools will be compulsory for buildings to adopt in future, Leong felt people will have greater motivation to go green when they do it voluntarily.

“[Currently, hotels and resorts opt] to have green building certification. However, whether [such certification] will be a required policy in future [is unknown].”

To further support greener living, GBI will launch two new tools this year that are currently being developed. These are the public health and office interior tools.

(The Edge) Veritas gives ‘leap of approval’

PETALING JAYA: Group president of Veritas Design Group David Mizan Hashim abseiled off a Glomac Damansara residential block in the final site inspection of buildings prior to its handover to its owners. The approval was given for Blocks B and C of the development.

David leapt 126m from the rooftop of Tower 1’s 25-storey Block B. According to Veritas, such a feat has never been undertaken by an architect.

“Upon completion, this development will be an icon for Damansara,” said David after his dramatic act at a press conference yesterday. He added that the one-kilometer long development will be in great demand because of its stategic location on the border between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

Blocks B and C comprise the residential component of the integrated Glomac Damansara development which consists of 356 units in two 25-storey towers.

The towers, which have a gross development value of RM288 million, have been fully taken up since their launch in February 2011.

Veritas is a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that provided integrated architectural and planning services for Glomac Damansara, which is a mixed development project spanning 6.83 acres (2.76ha). Nearby are the Desa Kiara Condominium and the SS20 Damansara Kim housing estate.

The project comprises four phases, with Phase 1 consisting of 5- and 8-storey shop offices; Phase 2 a 25-storey office tower; Phase 3 the retail heart of the development, comprising a 3-storey podium of a retail lot and two 9- and 10-storey office blocks on top of the podium; and Phase 4 its residential component comprising the two residential towers.

Glomac’s new headquarters will be within one of the development’s office blocks. Phase 2’s office tower was sold en-bloc to Lembaga Tabung Haji for RM171 million in 2010. The developer will be keeping its retail components for recurring income. 

David abseiling off the 25-storey, 126m tall building in a stunt never before attempted by an architect, according to Veritas.

(The Edge) JCorp sells hotel, office block for RM125m

JOHOR BARU: Damansara REIT Managers Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Johor Corp (JCorp), has disposed of Hotel Selesa Johor Baru and Menara Metropolis to Smartwheels Group, a Johor-based bumiputera company, for RM125 million.

“The agreement sees the takeover of all operations and businesses from the previous owner [Damansara REIT Managers] as well as all other interests,” Smartwheels Group adviser Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat told a media conference here yesterday.

“Smartwheels Group also has a short and long term corporate turnaround plan to improve and enhance the value of the new assets,” he said.

Khairul said Smartwheels will invest RM20 million to improve facilities at Hotel Selesa Johor Baru and RM10 million in Menara Metropolis, which will be enhanced to meet the Grade A standard for an office building. Khairul said Johor Baru at present faces a shortfall of 11,000 hotel rooms following the advent of a number of new attractions such as Legoland Malaysia, Hello Kitty and Johor Premium Outlets.

Hotel Selesa Johor Baru will be turned into a four-star hotel. 

(The Star) RapidKL gets 50 coaches for Ampang LRT route

The new coaches are expected to enter service in 2015.
The new coaches are expected to enter service in 2015.

New LRT trains that are disabled-friendly and with other features for better passenger comfort, are expected on the Ampang route by the end of 2015.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) announced that it would be introducing 50 new LRT coaches, which cost RM1bil.

Elaborating on the new trains, SPNB project development group director Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff said the user-friendly coach design was developed based on passengers’ feedback.

“We have incorporated several new features that are not found in the first-generation Ampang line trains.”

“These include the end-destination display in the coaches, with an integrated dynamic route map.”

He said this during a media visit to the CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd (CSR) train yard in Zhuzhou, China.

Members of the Malaysian media were given a preview of the new Ampang line train being assembled in Zhuzhou.

The new trains are part of SPNB’s Line Extension Programme (LEP). The Ampang line has 12 new stations on a route covering some 17.7km.

“We have conducted a feasibility study on refurbishing the existing trains and as a follow-up, also offered tenders to refurbish and acquire new trains.

“However, after we factored in the cost, it is much more practical to purchase new trains rather than refurbishing the ones we have,” said Zulkifli.

He added that the refurbishment costs were close to that of acquiring a completely new set of trains for the Ampang line.

Zulkifli said there was also the issue of procuring spare parts for the existing trains from the defunct company that produced them.

“The company that built the earlier trains has gone out of business and we cannot source for parts as the much-needed components are obsolete,” he said.

He added that to offset the cost of purchasing the new trains, CSR offered to buy the used Ampang line coaches.

According to Zulkifli, the new Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) has a lifespan of 30 years and needs to be refurbished once it reaches half its service life.

On why SPNB chose a Chinese company to manufacture its new fleet, he said CSR met the highest specifications “in terms of fire safety and crash worthiness.”

In addition to space for disabled passengers that is not found in the existing trains, the LRVs are equipped with CCTV cameras as additional safety measures.

The new China-made trains will be delivered by October 2105 and operates as a single train with six coaches.

Compared to the current Ampang line trains, the new LRVs have a walk-through gangway.

With the LEP, the RapidKL LRT service is expected to boom with passenger capacity increasing from 200,000 to one million per day.

“When the LEP is completed by early 2016, we expect a higher frequency of trains to cope with the rising number of commuters on both the Kelana Jaya and Ampang lines.

“The two lines will merge at our signature station in Putra Heights and the travel time from this station to KLCC will take about an hour,” said Zulkifli.

He added that the RapidKL LRT service would take delivery of the new trains late next year and would conduct trial runs after that.

Workers putting the finishing touches on one of the coaces.
Workers putting the finishing touches on one of the coaches.


(The Edge) Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to have five-star hotel by 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: The integrated Pavilion Kuala Lumpur development will culminate with a RM330 million five-star hotel — the Royale Pavilion Hotel — that will begin construction next month and is expected to be completed in June 2016.

The 329-room hotel is the last of the four major components of Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, which opened for business in September 2007. The three other major completed components are a retail mall, a 20-storey office tower, and two blocks of condos.

Royale Pavilion Hotel is owned by Harmoni Perkasa Sdn Bhd (HPSB) and designed by KL Pavilion Design Club.

“This is the first hotel that we own and operate. Like any other developer, we obviously have ambitions,” said HPSB director Lee Tuck Foo at the unveiling of the hotel yesterday.

Lee said funding of the new hotel will come from HPSB’s internal funds as well as bank borrowings.

Room rates have yet to be determined, but Lee said they will be competitive within the Bukit Bintang vicinity.

According to KL Pavilion Design Studio design director Tan Ping Han, the company targets occupancy rates to be modest in the short term.

“Through our research and looking closely with consulting firms, we are expecting the [occupancy rate] in the first year to be between 40% and 50%.”

Tan expects the rate to improve to 80% when operations have stabilised within three to four years.

Royale Pavilion Hotel will feature a banquet hall that can cater to 450 people, meeting facilities, leisure lounge, swimming pool and a gym and is primarily targeted at business travellers.

It is believed  the development cost of the 329-room Royale Pavilion Hotel is comparable to The Westin Kuala Lumpur, which has a record of RM1 million per room, making it one of the most expensive hotel development projects in Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

(The Star) Going Irish for a day

Get out your green clothes and shamrocks and soak in the St Patrick’s Day spirit in Penang.

Don’t miss the first ever St Patrick’s Day Festival Parade in Malaysia on March 8 at the Straits Quay marina, Penang.

Organised by Penang Irish Association (PIA) and supported by the state government, the parade will feature floats by local businesses and marching bands.

PIA president Maggie Territt encouraged families to attend the parade.

“The children will love the face-painting activity and clowns and other family-oriented entertainment will keep everyone entertained.

“We will also have Colonel (R) Maximillian Albert Theseira and his wife Betty as the grand marshalls to lead the parade,” she said at a press conference at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel.

Maximillian is the country’s pioneer batch of pilots while his wife Betty is a Dublin native who has been in Malaysia since 1962.

Territt said the celebrations in Penang would be held a week earlier than the actual St Patrick’s Day on March 17 in order to encourage more tourists to join the festival.

“In Ireland, tour agencies will organise trips to various St Patrick’s Day celebrations all over the world.

“Tourists can come to Penang first before flying over to the other places such as Sydney to celebrate there,” she said.

Territt said the PIA also planned to put up green decorations including shamrocks in George Town for the festival.

Music lovers can enjoy a rock concert by the international Irish duo Heathers at Hard Rock Hotel on March 6 and at Straits Quay on March 8 at 7.30pm.

“This is the first time that Heathers — Irish twin sisters Louise and Ellie MacNamara — will be performing in Asia, so I encourage everyone to come to the free concert.

“On March 8 and March 9, we will also hold a mini expo at the Straits Quay foyer where there will be information on the various historical connections between Penang and Ireland,” Territt said, adding that admission to the expo would be free as well.

Other activities include a photography competition of the parade and booths selling shamrock motif items and St Patrick’s Day merchandise.

Penang Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang said the state was more than happy to support the festival.

“We hope that the event can be held annually and be included in our calendar list of events.

“This will attract more tourists in the South-East Asian region to come to Penang,” he said.

For further information, log on to the PIA website


(The Star) 80km speed limit for cars

Motorists may have to pay a RM8.50 toll when they use the second Penang bridge.

Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) managing director Datuk Dr Ismail Mohamed Taib said the amount was proposed by the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM).

“The LLM wants it at RM8.50 but the Government has yet to decide the toll,” he said this during a media tour of the second link at Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai.

Dr Ismail also explained the functions of the 28-booth integrated toll plaza in Bandar Cassia.

“The Bandar Cassia toll plaza has Plaza A and Plaza B. If you want to go to Batu Kawan, you take Plaza B.

“If you are going to Penang (island), then you take Plaza A.

“If you take the wrong toll plaza, then you will end up in Batu Maung. You then may have to pay RM8.50 before making a U-turn back to Batu Kawan,” he said yesterday.

Dr Ismail added that the contractors were still finishing several minor defects along the second link.

“We were given three months to finish the defects or be fined RM1,000 per defect per day if we can’t meet the deadline.

“The minor defects will not affect the road users,” he said.

Dr Ismail said the speed limit on the bridge for cars would be 80km per hour while for motorcycles, it was 60km per hour.

“We also have 25 CCTV cameras from the Batu Kawan intersection to Batu Maung on the island.

“The cameras are placed about a kilometre apart from one another,” he said.

Dr Ismail said the public could use the bridge from 12.01am on Sunday.

“Certificates will be issued to the first 1,000 bridge users on that day at the second Batu Kawan toll plaza,” he said.

Dr Ismail added that two R&Rs, one on each side of the road, would be built before the entrance to the second Penang bridge.

“We will call for tender in six months and the construction will be completed in three years.

“There will also be two petrol stations near each R&R,” he said, adding that each R&R would cost about RM30mil.


(The Star) KL and Selangor ink water assets pact

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Government and Selangor finally found common ground on terms that will facilitate the implementation of the Langat 2 water treatment plant project and the takeover of water assets in the state.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that effectively breaks a five-year impasse that has stalled the implementation of water projects in the country’s most industrialised state.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin witnessed the signing – a signal that the MoU has the blessing of the top leadership of the Federal Govern­ment.

Some PKR leaders were caught unawares by the signing of the MoU, and it is unclear if Khalid has the backing of the top Pakatan Rakyat leaders to agree on the terms.

The price tag offered to the four concessionaires in the state remains at RM9.65bil.

This is the first time that the state and federal governments have firmed up an agreement to work out the mechanics of the consolidation of the water assets in Selangor since the exercise started in 2009.

An integral part of the MoU is the Selangor Government giving an undertaking to facilitate the implementation of Langat 2.

The state has agreed to issue the Development Order and facilitate land acquisition for the construction of Langat 2 that has stalled since 2009.

The water treatment plant is an integral part of the RM8.65bil Pahang-Selangor Raw Water Trans­fer project that entails the transfer of water from Pahang to the Klang Valley.

The Pahang portion of the project that has been awarded to a consortium led by Japanese companies is almost done. But the Selangor side of the job has yet to take off.

The treatment plant can process 1,130 million litres per day and is anticipated to meet the needs of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya until 2025.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili represented the Federal Government while Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim signed for the Selangor Government.

In return for facilitating the implementation of Langat 2, the Federal Government will allocate RM2bil to the state to be used in the acquisition of the four water concessionaires operating in Selangor.

The four are Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Sdn Bhd and Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd.

The Federal Government through the Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) has also allocated RM900mil for water mitigation initiatives in Selangor as an interim relief until Langat 2 is completed.

Khalid said the funds would be use to build a water catchment facility at Bestari Jaya in Kuala Selangor.

He also said the state government expected to complete the takeover of the four concessionaires within three months, including share acquisition.

He said the state’s offer of RM9.65bil as compensation to the four companies still stood and they had until March 10 to revert.

“A special purpose vehicle company will be set up under the state-owned Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad to manage the water supply industry.

“The compensation offer starts now and we hope to get the reply from the concessionaires in two weeks,” he said.

Khalid assured staff of the four companies that they would be retained, saying the takeover only involved the acquisition of their equities.

Dr Ongkili said tenders for various jobs in Langat 2 would be awarded soon.

“We think the construction work can begin within 30 days with the entire project taking three years to complete.”

Asked whether the current water crisis had prompted both parties to speed up the restructuring exercise, Dr Ongkili said they had been discussing the issue since last year.

“We have worked hard for more than seven months to reach a consensus and hope water concessionaires in the state will give full cooperation to ensure the success of the restructuring initiative,” he said.

(The Edge) UEM Sunrise CEO Wan Abdullah passes away

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim, whose stewardship had led the property development company’s revenue to grow from RM511.65 million in 2008 to RM2.43 billion last year, passed away yesterday after a short illness.

In a statement yesterday, UEM Sunrise said Wan Abdullah, 56, was an inspirational leader who oversaw the transformation of the company into a leading Malaysian and international property player.

“He was also a devoted husband and a father and he passed away peacefully with his family at his side,” it added.

Wan Abdullah, who relinquished his posts on Tuesday, had been on medical leave of absence since December last year.

“Though he had resigned as an executive director of UEM Sunrise on Feb 25, he was still part of the UEM family as his employment contract was transferred to UEM Group Bhd,” said UEM Sunrise.

In his absence, UEM Group MD and CEO Datuk Izzaddin Idris has been performing Wan Abdullah‘s duties and functions as executive director.

“Izzaddin will continue to perform this role and business will continue as usual,” said UEM Sunrise.

Wan Abdullah was appointed to the board of UEM Sunrise on Sept 15, 2008. He joined UEM Land Bhd on Jan 1, 2006 as the MD. He was part of the team who saw the listing of the company on Bursa Malaysia in November 2008 and the acquisition of Sunrise Bhd in 2010, which led to the rebranding of UEM Land to UEM Sunrise.

Prior to that, he was the group CEO of United Malayan Land Bhd.

From 1996 to 2004, he was attached to then Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd, where he last held the position of director of property division. In that capacity, he was tasked to lead the property development activities of the group, as well as subsidiaries, Highlands & Lowlands Bhd and Guthrie Ropel Bhd. He was also responsible for the conceptualisation and submission of plans for the Guthrie Corridor Planned Communities, which covered an area of 11,650 acres (4,713.59ha) linked and accessed by the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

Prior to that, Wan Abdullah spent 10 years with the Emkay group of companies, where he held several positions, including group executive director.

(The Star) CMSB registers RM295.27mil in pre-tax profit

KUCHING: Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMSB), the state’s leading infrastructure facilitator, continues with its record performance by registering RM295.27mil in pre-tax profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 (FY2013), a 30% increase from the corresponding year’s (FY2012) pre-tax profit of RM226.91mil.

The pre-tax profit reported for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2013 (4Q13) remained at RM109.12mil, a 75% increase from the preceding year’s corresponding quarter’s (4Q12) pre-tax profit of RM62.37mil and also the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2013 (2Q13) pre-tax profit of RM62.53mil.

Year-on-year, the group’s profit after tax and non-controlling interests (PATNCI) in FY2013 of RM175.45mil is 29% higher than the corresponding year’s (FY2012) PATNCI of RM135.74mil.

Earnings per share stood at 52.67 sen compared to 41.39 sen from 2012.

Following the payment of an interim dividend of 5 sen per share, less 25% taxation, a final dividend of 12 sen per share tax exempt (single-tier) has been proposed for FY2013, subjected to shareholders’ approval. This payout is in line with CMSB’s policy of paying out a minimum of 30% of its PATNCI as dividends.

Increase in pre-tax profit for FY2013 was attributable to higher earnings streams from its Cement Division which recorded 46% higher pre-tax profit of RM96.66mil over FY2012’s pre-tax profit of RM66.37mil, mainly due to the turnaround of CMS Clinker since March 2013 following the successful re-commissioning of its upgraded clinker plant.

The Construction Materials and Trading Division reported higher pre-tax profit of RM55.08mil for FY2013, which exceeded FY2012’s pre-tax profit (RM40.66mil) by 35% reflecting on continued government infrastructure spending and the division securing additional private sector projects.

The Construction and Road Maintenance Division reported a pre-tax profit of RM95.24mil in FY2013, it shows an increase of 18% over FY2012’s pre-tax profit of RM80.69mil due to more works undertaken and longer road lengths maintained.

The Property Development Division also reported higher revenue and pre-tax profit as compared to the corresponding 12-month period of 2013, due to strategic land sale undertaken to help catalyse development in its Bandar Samariang township.

The Samalaju Division recorded a 5% higher pre-tax profit of RM26.72mil over FY2012’s pre-tax profit of RM25.33mil.

“CMSB’s success in achieving four years of record revenue and profits growth in a challenging business environment is credited to both our business model and our board and staff for their vision and hard work.”

“For this financial year, significant achievements have been recorded amongst all the core divisions namely the Cement, Construction Materials & Trading, Construction & Road Maintenance, Property Deve–lopment and Samalaju Development Divisions, which saw robust rises year-on-year in pre-tax profit by 46%, 35%, 18%, 28% and 5% respectively,” said CMSB group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis.

“CMSB is clearly one of the best proxy listed investments for Sarawak’s accelerating economic growth. This is driven firstly by the state’s plan to promote energy intensive industries under Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (SCORE) and secondly from the infrastructure required across the state.

Curtis said the two drivers are set to propel the state’s economy and GDP to new heights.

CMSB’s 20% stake in the joint venture ferro silicon and manganese alloys smelter project with Australian listed OM Holdings Ltd and 40% stake in an integrated Phosphate Products complex with Malaysian Phosphate Additives Sdn Bhd and Arif Enigma Sdn Bhd, plus other investments in energy intensive industries being evaluated are poised to significantly drive up shareholder value.

“Our prudent financial policies, healthy balance sheet, professional management team and synergised portfolio of Sarawak based businesses allows us to maximise our participation in the Sarawak growth story and to position ourselves to ensure long-term sustainable growth,” said Curtis.


(The Star) Royal town gets new hospital

KPJ Healthcare Bhd (KPJ) officially launched its fifth hospital in Selangor, the KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital or KPJ Klang.

The hospital was launched by Tengku Panglima DiRaja Selangor, Tengku Sulaiman Shah, who represented the Sultan of Selangor.

KPJ chairman Datuk Kamaruzzaman Abu Kassim described KPJ Klang as a milestone in the history of the group.

“This has increased our presence in Selangor as KPJ Klang continues to showcase the same level of excellent care, comfort and privacy for patients in a state-of-the-art environment,” he said.

The eight-storey hospital is a multi- specialty “one-stop” institution providing care of international standard.

The 220-bed private medical facility is equipped with operating theatres.

The RM120mil KPJ Klang occupies an area of about 1ha and has more than 30 medical consultants of various disciplines, supported by a team of healthcare professionals.

KPJ president and managing director Amiruddin Abdul Satar said the hospital was designed to provide a welcoming environment.

“KPJ Klang is a reflection of the group’s enduring commitment to patients and the community,” he said.

The new KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital is located at Persiaran Rajawali/KUI, Bandar Baru Klang .- Bernamapic
The new KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital is located at Persiaran Rajawali/KUI, Bandar Baru Klang .- Bernamapic


(The Star) Concierge kiosk for tourists

The first one-stop Visit KL Concierge located at KL City Walk, off Jalan P. Ramlee, is a great way for tourists to find out more about popular destinations in the city.

The kiosk is located close to popular night spots in the area and is a short distance from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

The KL City Walk kiosk is the first of three to be built this year at a cost of RM500,000 each.

The other two are expected to be completed in May and August, and located in Petaling Street and the Bukit Bintang area.

Among the services provided are information on accommodation, transportation, attractions, weather forecast, upcoming events, printed materials such as maps and brochures, discount coupons as well as ticketing facilities for airlines, hotels and bus services.

Visitors can also purchase golfing and tour packages, mobile SIM cards, foreign currency, souvenirs as well as make car rental, taxi and limousine bookings.

“The Visit KL Concierge will be a very important contact point for tourists when they enter our city,” Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said after launching the kiosk at KL City Walk.

Ahmad Phesal hopes that aggressive promotion during Visit Malaysia Year 2014 can entice tourists to extend their stay in the capital.

“A recent study revealed that most foreign tourists who visit cities such as Jakarta or Bangkok, stay there for seven days on average.

“However, tourists only stay in Kuala Lumpur for about 2.6 days on average.

“We have to intensify our efforts in promoting the various tourist attraction spots in the city so tourists will spend more time in KL,” he said.

The kiosks will operate from 9am to 10pm daily, including public holidays and weekends.

Convenience for tourists: Ahmad Phesal (centre) inserting some cash into the souvenir vending machine after launching the Visit KL Concierge kiosk located at KL City Walk.
Convenience for tourists: Ahmad Phesal (centre) inserting some cash into the souvenir vending machine after launching the Visit KL Concierge kiosk located at KL City Walk.


(The Star) New transmission project on track, says SEB

KUCHING: Works on the new 500kV transmission project to strengthen the state’s electricity supply are progressing on track, Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) said.

It signed an agreement with the Sinohydro Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd-Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd joint venture for two packages of the project yesterday.

Sinohydro-Trenergy will construct two sections of the transmission line from Mapai to Lachau (Package B) and from Lachau to Tondong (Package C).

Works on the packages, which are worth a total of RM619mil, are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

SEB was represented by its chief executive officer Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit and corporate services chief Aisah Eden while Trenergy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Cable Bhd, was represented by chairman Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib and managing director Toh Chee Ching.

Sinohydro, a leading power industry player in China, was represented by director He Ting Fu and assistant managing director Gu Hong Liang.

Sjotveit said the project would secure power supply for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) as well as Kuching and southwestern Sarawak.

“This is the second backbone for Sarawak, going from Bintulu to Kuching and bringing another 500kV which is an extra-high voltage system across the state.

“It will bind the north to the south and west of Sarawak and ensure much higher reliability of the transmission system for power,” he said.

“The northern area of Sarawak has much more power than the western area. This second backbone will secure supply to Kuching as well as to Samalaju and industrial customers.”

He added that with the completion of this second grid, the state would be well protected against system blackouts.

On the award of the packages, Sjotveit said it was done in line with SEB’s procurement process to achieve the best value for the state and maximise participation of local businesses.

“Sinohydro-Trenergy was the lowest bidder for these packages and showcased a wealth of construction experience and technical know-how.

“In addition, they have demonstrated their depth of understanding and knowledge of the 500kV transmission project,” he said.

Toh said: “We are excited to contribute our experience and expertise in building one of Sarawak’s most ambitious infrastructure projects to date.

“With our track record and quality of delivery, we are confident that works will be completed within time and cost.”

Gu said Sinohydro had been working with Trenergy and Sarawak Cable since 2008 on the Bakun-Similajau and Murum Junction transmission line projects.

“We will continue our partnership and work closely with them as before for timely completion and delivery of this mega project,” he said.