Tuesday, 30 September 2014

(NST) Tan & Tan, Japan’s MJR unit team up for RM617m condo job

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan & Tan Developments Bhd has teamed up with Mitsubishi Jisho Residence Co Ltd ’s unit, MJR Investments Pte Ltd (MJRI), to develop an upscale residential project in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre with a gross development value of RM617 million.

Tan & Tan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IGB Corp Bhd, yesterday signed a joint venture agreement with MJRI to develop Stonor 3 on 0.6ha in Lorong Stonor. The 41-storey project comprises 400 units of serviced apartments.

The deal sees the company taking part in the joint venture via an equity participation in Cipta Klasik (M) Sdn Bhd, a special-purpose vehicle set up for the development, said Tan & Tan chief executive officer Tan Boon Lee.

Tan & Tan holds a 70 per cent stake in Cipta Klasik while MJRI owns the remaining.

Tan said the project will commence in the middle of next year.

“In terms of cost, we will adjust our prices to follow the taxes and take advice from the upcoming 2015 Budget,” he said after the signing of the agreement.

The Stonor 3 project is expected to be completed within four years.

Tan said they expected 30 per cent of the buyers to be foreigners.

The prices will start from RM1.1 million and average about RM1.45 million.

MJR senior executive office Katsuaki Mori said the project was Mitsubishi Estate Asia’s first foray into Malaysia as part of its longer term plan to accelerate growth in one of Asia’s fast-growing markets.

“In light of the stable economic growth, demographic of many young people and the future expansion of public transportation in Malaysia, we feel that the country is a promising market,” he said.

(NST) Properties should be zero-rated, says Rehda

THE Malaysian Developers’ Association has called on the government to consider zero-rating residential property purchases rather than exempting it from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to ensure price would not increase post-GST.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) patron Datuk Ng Seing Liong said when goods or services are GST-exempted, the developer will still have to absorb all GST charged on the construction materials to develop a property.

If the property is zero-rated, the developer may reclaim any GST paid on the construction materials and there would be no embedded GST in the final price of the property as it could be refunded.

“If the residential properties are zero-rated, we can expect no increase in properties priced at RM400,000 and below.

“Comparatively, if properties are GST-exempted, we expect about two to three per cent increase in property prices as the GST levied on the construction material would somehow be transferred to the total building cost,” he said at the preview ceremony of Mapex 2014.

“We would also like for affordable housing construction material tax to be reduced to between one and three per cent,” Ng said.

He added that the government should also abolish stamp duty on house purchases as it could result in double taxation to landowners and property developers.

“On top of the GST charged, stamp duties will also be charged, which will result in double taxation in some cases.

“A property priced at RM1.5 million will incur RM90,000 GST and RM33,000 of stamp duty in total, which is quite a sizeable amount to pay for taxes.”

Stamp duties for properties are payable at one per cent for the first RM100,000, two per cent for the next RM400,000 and three per cent for any sum exceeding RM500,000.

Selangor Rehda chairman Datuk Khor Chap Jen also urged the government to have the Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS) for homes of RM400,000 and below be reinstated.

“The DIBS, while it has helped reduce property speculation, has hindered first-time home buyers in owning their first homes.

“Banks should also play their role together with the government and developers as a macro entity to provide affordable housing solutions to first-time buyers.

“In addition to affordable housing, government should also make public transportation efficient as it would free up the disposable income from buying a car for the younger generation,” he said.

(The Star) Doubletree by Hilton Hotel launched in JB

JOHOR BARU: The second DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Malaysia has been officially launched to fulfil the demand for an up-scale accommodation in the city centre here.

The hotel hosted a red theme cocktail reception for members of the local and international media as well as stakeholders in celebration of the launch of the brand’s second property in the country.

The cocktail reception was held at the hotel’s Tosca Italian restaurant and guests were greeted with the hotel’s signature warm chocolate chip cookie upon their arrival.

The guests were treated to some hors d’oeuvres such as goat’s cheese, onion omelette and bruschetta before munching on some grilled lamb chops, pasta, sushi and mini burgers.

Its general manager Simon McGrath said that the hotel believed that it was the little things they did that create the biggest impact and impression on their guests.

He said that the hotel chain has been baking the signature chocolate chip cookies for travellers all over the world for the past 25 years.

“Since DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Baru’s operations began in July, more than 10,000 of these cookies have been given out to our guests,” he said, adding that the hotel had an average occupancy rate of 45% weekly before the launch.

“We know that it is through our actions that we have to stand apart and our values like attentive, cheerful, flexible, thoughtful and honest inspire the entire hotel team to go beyond expected standards and provide individual touches that delight our guests,” he said.

The hotel offers 335 guest rooms and suites, including 22 apartment-style suites.

For additional information and reservations, visit

(The Star) Opulent feast for the eyes

Valiram Group celebrated the 1st anniversary of its 12 stores in Gurney Paragon Mall, Penang, with an exclusive soiree themed ‘A Night of Style and Luxury’.

Guests, numbering several hundred, were treated to a glamourous fashion show featuring the Fall/Winter 2014 collections of Canali, Tumi, Pedro, La Martina, and Charles and Keith.

Besides luxurious men and women apparels, models also paraded bags, footwear, travel gear and other accessories as they sashayed along a staggered platform runway at the mall’s first floor Galleria.

In addition to the five featured labels, Valiram also manages international names like Godiva, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, TWG Tea, as well as Victoria’s Secret Beauty and Accessories, in Malaysia.

The Rolex Boutique, along with the multi-brand Swiss Watch Gallery, complete the lineup of brands under their stable, currently offered at Gurney Paragon.

The 12 outlets, totalling some 19,031sq ft of retail space, make the group the largest tenant at the mall located between Gurney Drive and Kelawei Road.

In his speech, executive director Sharan Valiram said Penang held a very special place in their hearts, with links dating back to 2001 and the opening of Swiss Watch Gallery at the Penang International Airport.

“We are excited to have brought in, first-to-market international brands here, which have seen a positive response from Penangites.

“Together with the mall, we hope to debut more brands and continue to create a buzz in the local shopping landscape.

“From individuals seeking the latest fashion, timepieces and accessories, to satisfying refined palates, we have the brands to complement your lifestyles,” he added.

Guests at the event were also feted to a sumptuous buffet, with musical accompaniment provided by Kuala Lumpur-based band Douche Manouche.

The crowd later adjourned to participating stores, where various exciting offers, activities and shopping privileges awaited.

Established in Kuala Lumpur in 1935, the Valiram Group originally specialised in textiles, but has since grown into Southeast Asia’s leading luxury goods and specialist retailer.

Today, it operates over 250 stores representing some 150 brands, in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong and China.

(The Star) Hunting for dream homes

Some 20,000 visitors made their way to the Malaysia Property Exhibition (Mapex) 2014 at the Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SPICE) in Relau, Penang, in search of their dream home.

From landed properties to high-rise units, the Mapex City 2014 showcased projects by reliable developers with prices which ranged from RM346,000 to RM15mil.

Event organising chairman Ng Chin-U said the three-day exhibition held from last Friday to Sunday saw developers generating RM48mil worth of sales.

It was the second Mapex this year. The first, which was held during Chinese New Year in February at the G Hotel Penang, saw about 30,000 visitors and a total sales of RM130mil recorded.

Ng said buyers might be adopting the wait-and-see approach as the Budget 2015 was just around the corner.

“The cooling-off measures on the property market may be one of the factors as well, as generally buyers are more careful,” he said.

Cooling-off measures include 70% loan policy for third property purchases, requiring the housing loan limits calculated based on net income instead of gross and loan tenure reduced from 45 years to 35 years.

Ng added that those who missed the exhibition this time around could look forward to next year’s Mapex, which is scheduled to be held during Chinese New Year in February.

Organised by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) and Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang), the exhibition was participated by a total of 16 exhibitors who took up 30 booths.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who opened the exhibition on Saturday, urged Bank Negara to reinstate the developers interest-bearing scheme (DIBS) for first-time buyers as well as increase and extend the scheme by Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Perumahan (SJKP) to buyers of affordable homes costing from RM72,500 up to RM400,000.

“Ever since DIBS was abolished, many first-time buyers of affordable housing could not obtain bank loans to buy their own homes.

“Up to 70% of the housing loan applications for low-cost and low medium-cost homes have been rejected by private banks,” he said.

He added that legal fees should be part of the DIBS package and stamp duty should be waived to lower the initial entry cost for first-time home buyers.

Rehda Penang chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said the exhibition was largely focused on Penang properties.

He said Rehda Penang had been trying to help first-time house buyers.

Besides that, Chan said that during the recent Mapex, organisers donated RM50,000 to six charitable organisations namely DHome Mental Health Association, The Salvation Army Penang Children’s Home, Grace Harmony Home, Children Protection Society , Penang Cheshire Home and St Nicholas Home Penang.

Also present during the opening were state Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, state Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, state Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim and state Tourism Committee chairman Danny Law.

The developers who took part in the exhibition were Eco World Development Sdn Bhd, SP Setia Bhd Group, IJM Properties Sdn Bhd, Asas Mutiara Sdn Bhd, Chong Company Sdn Bhd, Sunway Grand Sdn Bhd, BSG Property, Ivory Properties Group Bhd, Ideal Property Group, Airmas Group, Tambun Indah Land Bhd, Tropicana Macalister Avenue (Penang) Sdn Bhd, MTT Properties & Development Sdn Bhd, Palmex Industries Sdn Bhd, Inspirasi Elit Sdn Bhd and Plenitude Bayu Sdn Bhd.

Kwong Wah Yit Poh and Property Guru were the Chinese media partner and online partner respectively.

(The Star) Building ready by 2016

Piling works on a 0.81ha plot of land in Jalan Bagan Jermal where the Indian Association (IA) Penang’s multi-purpose hall will be built, is expected to be completed in two weeks’ time.

Association secretary L. Naresh Kumar, 43, said the project, which will also include a four-storey administration and recreation centre, was scheduled for completion at the end of 2016.

The RM20mil project is an expansion of the IA’s present building in Jalan Bagan Jermal, Penang, which houses the association’s adminis-tration office and recreation facilities.

“The new building is next to the present building.

“Site clearance started early this month and a load test is being conducted on the land now.

“Once the load test is done, piling works will commence,” he said in an interview on Sunday.

Naresh said the design of the project took into account the Vasthu principles.

“The architecture depicts South Indian-style with tall columns and dome designs from North India.

“There will be a stage for international-level musical shows, theatre-style seating capacity for about 2,500 people, conference and meeting rooms and six badminton courts, among many other facilities.

“There will also be a car park for more than 200 cars,” he said.

Naresh added that the administration and recreation centre would house the association’s administration office, cafe outlet and eateries, gym and library, among others.

For details and to contribute towards the project, contact the association at 04-2269929 or 04-2284295.

(The Star) SBC and M'sian born tycoon Ong team up in Hard Rock venture

PETALING JAYA: SBC Corp Bhd said it will work with a firm linked to Malaysian-born, Singapore-based property tycoon Ong Beng Seng to develop a Hard Rock Hotel, believed to be located in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The group yesterday inked a heads of agreement (HOA) with hotel operator HPL Hotels & Resorts Pte Ltd, a wholly owned unit of Ong’s Singapore main board-listed Hotel Properties Ltd.

According to SBC, HPL Hotels & Resorts has expressed interest in purchasing the hotel directly or through its nominee for a sum of between RM180mil and RM200mil.

“The objective of the HOA is to set out the preliminary understanding of the parties regarding the principal terms of the sale and purchase agreement that will be entered into by all the parties in due course,” it said in a filing.

The HOA expires on Jan 31, 2015. Under the pact, SBC is to obtain the building approvals and see the hotel through to completion.

According to its website, HPL Hotels & Resorts currently manages 12 hotels and resorts, with a total of 2,934 rooms.

These include the Concorde chain of hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, the KL International Airport and Singapore.

It also manages Hard Rock Hotels in Bali, Pattaya and Penang, the luxury Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives, and boutique hotels Casa del Mar Langkawi, Casa del Rio Melaka and The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands.

Other hotel brands within the group are Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Hilton International and Le Meridien.

Ong, whose storied empire spans classy hotels, a securities firm and franchises for Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe in several Asian countries, is founder and managing director of Hotel Properties.

The HOA extends SBC’s reach in Kota Kinabalu, where it is currently developing the RM1.8bil seafronting Jesselton Quay project.

The 16-acre Jesselton Quay includes commercial suites, a mall, retail units, office towers and a hotel in three precincts.

(The Star) Securities Commission holds forum on crowdfunding in Malaysia

The pedestal for the Statue of Liberty was made possible with the funds donated by the when publisher Joseph Pulitzer put out an appeal in his newspaper The New York World in 1885.

The effort is an example of what can be accomplished with what is now often called “crowdfunding”.

“Crowdfunding has gained strong momentum in recent years, fuelling innovation and collaboration in research, business, and society alike,” said Securities Commission (SC) chairman Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh in his speech during the Securities Commission Synergy and Crowdfunding Forum.

The event, held on Sept 19 in the commission’s office in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, saw over 600 participants comprising angel investors, entrepreneurs, startup owners, academics and the public.

Putting forward of an early example of crowdfunding in Malaysia, Ranjit said in 1982, a local daily launched the People’s Live Telecast Fund (PLTF) to bring live World Cup football matches to the Malaysian public.

He added that over 600 crowdfunding platforms worldwide had raised about US$5bil (RM16.3bil) last year.

“The market potential is estimated to grow to between US$90bil and US$96bil by 2025 with China and East Asia leading the way, accounting for 57% of the growth rate,” he said.

On Aug 21 this year, SC invited feedback on its proposed regulatory framework for equity crowdfunding and issued a public response paper on Sept 22.

PitchIN Sdn Bhd co-founder Kashminder Singh told Metrobiz that the platform is a way for non-listed companies, which mainly comprised small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups to raise funds publicly.

The company, founded with Shamsul Jafni Shafie is one of the companies that expressed an interest to develop the platform,

“Despite being open to public investors, the SC requires that the issuers comply with the Companies Act 1965,” he said.

This, would mean that the business owners or the issuers of the company would be very selective of who they want as their shareholders, which the current act restricts the number of shareholders to 50.

Shamsul added that sometimes it is not just about the money as the business owners also want to tap on the experience of the investors which would help to grow the company further.

Unlike a live stock market exchange, he added that the platform is not a process of buying shares where the owner and investor does not meet prior to the transaction.

“There will be demo days and meet the founder days where investor get to understand the person and the business they are investing in,” Sam said.

To further protect investors, they both advocate that the shareholders also have additional terms in their shareholders agreement where money are disbursed on an achieved milestone basis.

“Such investments are inherently risky. Having said that, it is an avenue for high-net-worth individuals who felt they can take the risk, and of the few startups that they invest in, one could possible be a winner and make them some money in the process,” Kashminder concluded.

(The Star) Sports arena in a mall

Many Malaysians have turned over a new leaf and adopted a healthier lifestyle by taking part in fitness activities while others have made gyms their second home.

To cater to the current lifestyle of its consumers, Lot 10 shopping centre recently underwent a major transformation to make way for a host of leading international sporting and fitness brands.

Unveiled to the public on Sept 18 was the Lot 10 Sports Hub, where the entire third floor is now dedicated to sports and fitness enthusiasts and hosts world leading brands including Converse, Hoops Station, Hundred %, LFC, Nike Women’s, TFC and The Marathon Shop.

The Sports Hub, themed “Act the part, Look the part, Play the part”, aims to inspire the “athlete within” and to support and promote the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and encourage youth, working adults and professionals to be active in sports and fitness.

Present at the launch of the new Sports Hub were YTL Land and Development Bhd and YTL Hotels and Properties vice-president Joseph Yeoh, YTL Land Sdn Bhd executive director Eric Eoon, Nike Sales Malaysia country marketing manager Robin Kok, and national football icon Abbas Saad.

Lot 10 is well-known as one of Malaysia’s leading lifestyle malls at the forefront of setting trends.

The launch of the Sports Hub, provides a good shopping experience for sports enthusiasts who seek a greater variety of quality and trendy sporting merchandise with specialist products for football, basketball, running and even collectable needs.

The Lot 10 Sports Hub spans over 21,000 sq ft and is designed to simulate an actual sports arena complete with a scaled down futsal court, basketball half-court, and a running track.

At the launch, Eoon said the idea behind the Sports Hub was to create something in line with the current lifestyle.

“The Lot 10 Sports Hub is a lifestyle concept targeting the growing demand for high quality, sporting apparels and merchandise amongst both aspiring and seasoned athletes as well as the fashionably conscious,” said Eoon.

“Now that we have this Sports Hub, we hope to encourage people to leave behind their computers at work and any sort of gadgets, and spend time exercising.”

He added that the Sports Hub was a perfect spot for those who work close to the mall and want a place to exercise or keep fit by jogging, playing basketball or even play a game of futsal.

No fee will be charged to individuals or groups who want to use the court for the time being. The management is now in the process of setting a booking system for the courts.

Aside from the sports facilities provided, the Lot 10 Sports Hub will also play host for public events and in-store activities.

No one knows the importance of exercising and sports better than Abbas Saad, who said that the Sports Hub ‘will be a perfect place for people who want to participate in sports as the place gives you option.”

Sports, he said was particularly good for children as it taught them about teamwork and how to be disciplined.

In light of Lot 10’s long-standing commitment to corporate social responsibility, two orphanages — Rainbow Home and Rumah Juara Glad Tidings, were invited to the launch of the new Sports Hub where they were given the opportunity to play futsal with Abbas and get tips from a freestyle basketball player.

For enquiries on the Sports Hub or booking for the courts, email

(The Star) MP: Set up maintenance task force for flats

A suggestion to set up a new task force to address infrastructure issues at low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur, has been mooted by Batu MP Tian Chua.

The task force, Tian Chua said, would help residents of low-cost flats with dire infrastructure problems to finance large projects.

He said the task force should be a part of Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) Urban Renewal Scheme to upgrade the lives of people in low-cost housing units.

“There is no point working towards a world-class city status if the existing and older housing projects are in disrepair,” he added.

He said there were many housing projects in the city that were built by developers but managed by DBKL, that needed a lot of repair work.

“Most joint management bodies are unable to resolve the issues because of financial constraints.

“This is the time for the Government to step in and assist.

“I think the Federal Territories Ministry should allocate sufficient capital for the necessary work to be done,” he added.

Tian Chua said this after a site visit to the Sri Perak flats in Bandar Baru Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, which were deteriorating due to lack of maintenance.

The 25-year-old flats have become semi-private after units were sold, although DBKL continues to maintain the place.

Sri Perak residents are saddled with water woes in various forms — broken pipes, flooding and leaking water tanks.

Long-time resident Tan Tin Chai, 58, said a broken pipe near the parking lot of blocks 29, 30 and 31 had been leaking more than six months and nothing had been done.

“I have lodged four complaints at the DBKL office here in the flats, two at the DBKL headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut and another two with Syabas,” he said, clearly exasperated.

He said the residents were unhappy that water was wasted as they continued to pay a flat rate of RM25 every month for the water bill.

He added that although residents had individual meters, DBKL had been collecting the flat rate to pay off the large water bill they owed for more than two years.

Tan also highlighted the problem of drains overflowing during rainy days. He claimed that one of the drains was damaged during the construction work for a primary school nearby.

After that drain was damaged some three years ago, he said, the smaller drains were prone to overflowing.

“The constant flooding has caused drains on the opposite side of the road to be clogged as well,” he added.

Another resident V. Karthik, 55, said they also faced lift problems whenever there were power cuts.

“We used to have generators that would kick in when there was a power cut, but now the generators are no longer working,” he said.

Besides the water bill, residents pay RM45 for the monthly maintenance fee.

Residents urge City Hall to resolve the issues as soon as possible, while Tian Chua said he had raised the problem with Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib.

“I spoke about the problem in the last meeting with the mayor on Aug 29 and I was told there were several such problems in Kuala Lumpur.

“This is why I believe the task force to look into low-cost flats infrastructure is necessary,” said Tian Chua.

(The Star) Sg Bunus next on clean-up list

The River of Life Outreach Programme has entered the second phase, which will cover the Sungai Bunus river basin.

In the first phase, the programme focused on Sungai Kelang.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said that under the outreach programme, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would create awareness on cleaning and maintaining rivers in the Federal Territory.

Sungai Bunus, which stretches up to 17.5km, is considered a Class III river, which is polluted.

“We are aiming to change its condition and bring it up to Class IIb, which means the water will be suitable for recreational purposes and water life,” Ahmad Phesal said after launching the Sungai Bunus Carnival 2014 in conjunction with World River Day 2014 at Taman Kejiranan Ayer Panas.

He also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Local Agenda 21 Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and partners.

The partners include residents’ associations in the area such as Taman Bunga Raya Residents’ Association, the Armed Forces and higher learning institutions such as Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.

“They will work with DBKL and DID on community programmes, awareness campaigns and activities to spread the message about the importance of taking care of our rivers.

“They will also be part of the planning and execution of the programmes,” explained the mayor.

Ahmad Phesal said Sungai Bunus, located within Kuala Lumpur’s borders, was important as its upstream portion extended through Wangsa Maju and it joined up with Sungai Kelang at Jalan Munshi Abdullah.

It is within the areas of important landmarks such as Jalan Raja Bot (Chow Kit) Market, National Heart Institute, National Library, Pulapol and Taman Titiwangsa.

Ahmad Phesal said that under phase two of the River of Life Outreach Programme, four pioneer projects had been introduced with the slogan “River for your life”.

He said the catchphrase was to remind the public and other stakeholders that it was every citizen’s duty to take care of and appreciate the rivers.

The projects include a river carnival, an urban river awareness programme called “Hidden River” and an education centre on rivers.

Ahmad Phesal highlighted one of the findings from a survey conducted among people living near rivers.

“Of the 1,059 people interviewed, 52% said they did not know the location of the river they were living near to,’’ he said.

DID River Basin Management Division director Datuk Hanapi Mohamad Noor said some of the initiatives that the department undertook to improve the quality of water in Sungai Bunus included installing 498 gross pollution traps, which will trap rubbish before it entered the river.

“We are also building five wastewater treatment plants near wet markets. Four of them are already in place,” he said.

(The Star) More facilities in Bukit Kerinchi

Stage - by- stage upgrade: The project was initiated in 2012 and is currently in Phase 2, which is expected to be completed by November this year .
Stage - by- stage upgrade: The project was initiated in 2012 and is currently in Phase 2, which is expected to be completed by November this year .

Over the past three months, frequent visitors to Bukit Gasing have seen concrete piling and light construction work taking place at their favourite hiking spot.

They raised their concerns with StarMetro and we hiked about 30 minutes up the Bukit Gasing Educational Forest to investigate.

We found some light construction work going on. It appeared that additional recreational facilities such as benches and paths were being built.

However, no signboards seemed to have been erected at the site to inform the public on the ongoing construction work. As such, it was unclear whether work was taking place in the Petaling Jaya or Kuala Lumpur side of the hill.

When contacted, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Landscape and Recreation Department director Mustafa Mohd Nor said the project was to upgrade public facilities at Taman Rimba Bukit Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur.

He clarified that the project was not taking place on the Petaling Jaya side.

“Facilities such as bridges and walkways are being built for the convenience of the public,” he said.

DBKL Landscape architect Mohamad Afez Abdullah said the project was being conducted on a 66ha piece of land on Bukit Kerinchi.

Parts of the land were previously occupied by squatters. However, they have been relocated and the recreational facilities were being put in place in stages.

The new facilities include toilets, camping sites, rest areas, a fish pond and walkways.

A hanging bridge and garden with edible plants are also in the pipeline.

The project was launched in 2012 by former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

Phase 1 of the project was completed in June 2012 and the current Phase 2 is expected to be ready by Nov 15.

Work in progress: A map showing the ongoing works for Phase 2, which is scheduled to be ready by Nov 15.
Work in progress: A map showing the ongoing works for Phase 2, which is scheduled to be ready by Nov 15.

Mohamad Afez said the necessary environmental impact studies had already been conducted by DBKL.

He said NGOs and the public were briefed about the project then.

“No machinery is allowed onto the hill. All work is being carried out using manual labour.

“We will try our best to minimise any impact on the environment while the facilities are being built,” he said.

Mohamad Afez reiterated that no large trees can be felled on the hill without the consent of DBKL. In addition, any tree that has to be removed must be replaced.

“If the conditions are not adhered to, the contractor will be fined,” he said.

Mohamad Afez added that the concrete structures were necessary to ensure the walkways and bridges were stable.

He said the wood plastic composite type of material was being used and it had been certified as green technology (techonology or material?).

“Once the whole project is ready, it will blend very well with nature. The material we are using will last longer as wood deteriorates faster,” he said.

He added that the concrete structure for the bridge was necessary to prevent soil erosion.

“We have studied the topography of the area and are confident the building materials and structures are the most suitable,” he said, adding that the site was inspected almost daily.

Mohamad Afez said the area would not be fenced up and separated from the Petaling Jaya side as DBKL wanted everyone to enjoy the facilities being built.

He added that signboards for the project had been erected on Jalan Kubur, Pantai Dalam and the scheduled day of completion was Nov 15.

Petaling Jaya Section 6 Residents Association chairman Rajesh Mansukhlal said the facilities were not needed and the hill should be left undisturbed.

“Why bring concrete into the jungle? Instead, DBKL should do some tree and plant tagging and provide more natural hiking trails.

“Installing lights is not a good idea either as it is tampering with nature.

“I hope DBKL has consulted organisations such as the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and other relevant organisations to ensure the flora and fauna will not be affected,” he added.

Work on Phase 3 is scheduled to begin at the end of 2015, although its completion date has not been ascertained by DBKL.

Monday, 29 September 2014

(NST) Green light for transport hub

MALAYSIAN Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) has received the nod from the Penang authorities to proceed with construction of the much-awaited transport terminal in the Penang Sentral project.

The RM230 million terminal forms the first phase of the RM2.3 billion integrated Penang Sentral project in Butterworth and is targeted for completion by the end of 2017.

The terminal will be sited on 2.83ha and will connect Penang’s ferry, bus, rail and taxi services, with infrastructure also in place for any other potential public transport service.

“MRCB obtained the development order and building plan approval last month,” said a source, adding that test piling works are being carried out at the project site.

It is learnt that a new temporary bus terminal will be ready by the end of next month to replace the existing one, which will be demolished to facilitate construction work.

Penang Sentral, launched in 2007, is designed to be a mixed-use commercial development and the largest integrated transport hub in the northern region.

It is being developed by MRCB arm Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd.

Subsequent phases will include residential and commercial units, including a hotel and shopping mall.

The terminal is expected to accommodate 180,000 commuters daily, although the first two years of its opening will likely only see about 80,000 commuters a day.

“MRCB will ensure that the transport terminal is completed before it proceeds with its commercial activities,” added the source.

(NST) ‘Property prices to rebound post-GST’

PROPERTY experts expect the market to decelerate between four and six months after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is implemented in the country, but expect it to stage a rebound later.

Property wealth adviser Milan Doshi said the spike in property sales could be seen in the months leading up to April 1 next year to compensate for the pre-GST market downturn.

“If property owners wish to sell their properties, it is wise to do so before the commencement of GST because it would take time for the market to absorb the initial impact of GST,” he said.

However, Doshi added that the property market will rebound because supply and demand play a bigger role where properties are concerned.

“More important now is how the government tackles the compliance costs incurred by the GST implementation,” he said at the Property Investment Summit & Expo (PRISM) 2014, here, yesterday.

Dr Dolf de Roos, the author of “Real Estate Riches” and “52 Homes in 52 Weeks”, said while property prices are expected to go up following the implementation of GST, it is a non-issue as the effect is actually minimal.

“The GST is a consumption tax. The good news is those who consume a lot pay proportionately more and there is an element of fairness there.

“When the government drops the income taxation rates, it would be compensated anyway. We will have to pay more in the form of GST but we will have our net incomes to pay for it.

“The market will keep on going despite the new tax while some developers may even choose to absorb the tax to compete with other developers,” said de Roos.

(NST) GUH: Land replanning will boost project GDV to RM650m

GEORGE TOWN: GUH Holdings Bhd expects the potential replanning of its 18.6ha land in Simpang Ampat, Penang, to generate a higher gross development value (GDV).

Group managing director Datuk Kenneth H’ng Bak Tee said the replanning was likely to generate a higher GDV of about RM650 million from RM238 million projected previously.

“The original plan was to launch a RM238 million project comprising 322 units of landed residential units. We are now looking at a higher value for the project with commercial, high-rise and affordable housing,” he said.

H’ng said this after GUH’s extraordinary general meeting to approve an aquisition by its wholly-owned unit, GUH Land Sdn Bhd, of a 99.46 per cent stake in Million Crest (M) Sdn Bhd, a firm holding the land, here, yesterday.

He said the project could take eight to 10 years to complete, adding that GUH expected its property division to contribute over 20 per cent to the group’s revenue next year.

He said the group was confident of the proposed development due to its strategic location at the South Seberang Perai district and growing demand for affordable housing in mainland Penang. Bernama

(NST) UMLand embarks on new township project in Masai

PASIR GUDANG: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) through its subsidiary Tentu Teguh Sdn Bhd (TTSB) has embarked on a new 140.43 ha. modern integrated township in Cahaya Baru, Jalan Kong Kong in Masai near here.

The fourth township developed by UMLand in Malaysia and its third in Johor, Taman Seri Albion comprises small industrial, commercial, retail and residential units.

UMLand chief executive officer Charlie Chia said the first phase of the project, Dover Business Park, consists of 89 units of terrace, cluster and semi-detached factories with built-up areas of 304.35 sq. m. to 1350.07 sq. m. with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM178 million.

"Dover Business Park is strategically located near the main access point and port, and offers gated security apart from being equipped with recreational facilities and lush landscape, abundant parking space and high-speed internet coverage," he said.

Speaking at the project's ground-breaking officiated by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin today, Chia said the development is expected to generate an investment of RM3.5 billion and indrectly create an estimated 12,000 jobs.

The company targets Malaysian and Singaporean small enterprises in food and beverage production, garment manufacturing, printing and packaging, electronics, storage and warehousing, services, information technology, machinery spare parts, carpentry and furniture production as well as automotive workshops.

Mohamed Khaled in his speech lauded the project, saying it will help reduce migration out of the Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency as it can offer conducive surroundings and comfortable livelihoods.

He said the development of the residential area at the end of next year will help meet the need for industrial workers in the area when completed.

Mohamed Khaled expressed hope UMLand would join the state government in attracting more investors to the constituency to support the area's existing industries.

Also present were Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abd Latiff Bandi as well as UMLand executive chairman Tun Musa Hitam and executive director Datuk Ng Eng Tee.-- Bernama

(The Star) Initiatives to form Portland-Kota Kinabalu sister cities

KOTA KINABALU: An initiative to acquire tie ups between Malaysian and American cities appears to be gaining grounds.

US Ambassador Joseph Yun would accompany a delegation from Kota Kinabalu to visit Portland and Oregon between Sept 27 and Oct 4.

The Sabah delgation would be headed by State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

The visit is to follow-up on plans for Kota Kinabalu and Portland to become Sister Cities.

There will a signing of a memorandum of understanding between Kota Kinabalu City and the Portland-Kota Kinabalu Sister City Association (PKKSCA).

The group would also meet Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Metro Council chairman Tom Hughes as well as other business and governmental leaders.

“We hope that this visit and establishing the Sister City partnership between Kota Kinabalu and Portland will lead to stronger people-to-people ties and increased tourism, business activity, and academic exchanges between the people of the two cities,” Yun said.

The delegation would also meet Oregon business owners and university officials keen to explore ventures in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah.

Also anticipated in the programme, is a meeting with forestry and wildlife experts eager to assist Kota Kinabalu and Sabah with natural resource management and forest and wildlife conservation.

Apart from Masidi, the delegation would also comprise Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir and representatives of the Sabah Tourism Board, state Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department, the Universiti of Malaysia Sabah (UMS), the Danau Girang Field Centre, and the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu.

(The Star) Protecting buyer’s rights

KLUANG: House buyers’ rights are protected under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1996 said Deputy Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique.

The Act allows the ministry to take stern action against any developers who had abandoned housing projects.

Halimah added that house buyers are able to cancel their sales and purchase agreement with the developer within the first six months of signing if the developer did not make any progress.

The Government, said the Deputy minister, had also increased RM200,000 deposit rate charge to 3% and ensure they have the financial strength and commitment to carry out housing project.

“The Government is protecting house buyers rights under the Act and the public must know this before planning to buy a property to prevent unwanted problems.

“I urge house buyers to conduct checks on the developers whether the company is registered with the ministry,” she said, after handing out keys to Taman Mengkibol residents here.

The penalty for errant developers had also been raised to RM20,000 to RM50,000 where the ministry have blacklisted 113 developers with 3,672 board members for failing to complete a residential project.

Between 2009 and August this year, some 145 abandoned housing projects out of 212 were completed.

“In Johor alone, about 33 out of 42 abandoned housing projects have been completed.”

She added that within the next two years the remaining abandoned projects would be finalised.

(The Star) New mobile counter to ease payment of bills

The Seberang Prai Municipal Council will reach out to the public through its mobile counter to collect assessment and other fees.

MPSP president Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the mobile counter housed in a new vehicle costing RM271,550 would accept payments in cash and via credit cards and cheques.

“Among the services offered are payments of assessment fees, parking summonses, utility bills, council properties rental, and applications for various licences, properties ownership changes and public complaints.

“The vehicle will be stationed at the Taman Chai Leng public market on the second Saturday and the Bagan Ajam market on the second Sunday from 8.30am to 12.30pm starting next month,” she told reporters after chairing a full council meeting at the MPSP headquarters in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam.

Maimunah said the vehicle would be fitted with CCTV cameras for the safety of the council staff members and also the public, adding that the previous mobile counter, which was housed in a modified bus, managed to collect RM2.1mil between 2010 and August this year.

Meanwhile, Maimunah also reminded ratepayers to settle their outstanding assessment dues.

She said the council would be knocking on the doors of defaulters to collect assessment arrears.

She said the operation, which would begin from Oct 10, would see council officers issuing warrants of arrest to those who failed to pay up the money.

“I urge owners of premises to settle their dues to avoid their movable properties from being seized and auctioned to off-set their arrears,” she said.

Maimunah said the owners could come to the council’s office in Bandar Perda or call 04-5497470/ 471 for further enquiries on their arrears amounts.

On a different matter, Maimunah said as a safety measure, it had been made compulsory from Sept 16 for all council employees to adopt the reverse parking method while parking their vehicles in the council’s premises.

“We also urge all ratepayers coming to our offices to practise this.

“It is necessary to enable smoother flow of vehicles within the car park areas of the council’s premises,” she said.