Thursday, 30 April 2015

(The Star) Rebranding exercise for hotel

NUSAJAYA: Travellers can anticipate more from the newly rebranded Hotel Jen by Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd as the hotel chain is planning to grow the brand aggressively worldwide.
Hotel Jen chief operations officer Lothar W Nessmann said that the company has been in advanced discussions to expand the brand in Kuala Lumpur as well as countries like Cambodia, South Korea, China, and the Middle East.
“We are hoping to grow this brand and possibly build some new Hotel Jen in the next two to three years.
“Although we are not planning to build any new Hotel Jen this year, we will be carrying out more rebranding exercises including in the Middle East,” he said when met at the rebranding ceremony here recently.
The Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour is the 10th Traders Hotel to adopt the new hotel brand in the Asia-Pacific region.
Nessmann said that the brand was inspired by a virtual persona Jen, a professional hotelier who loves life, travel and adventure, which will not only appeal to the younger generation but also to the young-at-heart.
“We want our guests to feel like they are staying at a good friend’s home, as we speak and behave with them as a friend but with full respect,” he said, adding that the difference between Traders and Jen varied from hotel to hotel.
Stressing that their current existing market was equally important, Nessmann said that the new brand offers customers hotel services that go beyond the norm, as more thought has been given to customers’ comfort.
Meanwhile, Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour general manager Sigi Bierbaumer said that guests would receive additional features
including free wireless Internet service throughout the premises as well as access to PressReader app offering over 2,500 online publications.
“It is a revolution and all about changing our approach, starting at the very heart of our hotel -- the staff -- as the first thing guests will notice as they enter the hotel is the less-formal uniforms.
“The friendly service style continues by allowing guests to discover the best of where they are staying through unique recommendations, from theme park experiences and attractions to bars and restaurants in town,” he said.
Other new features include laundry wash-and-fold service for unlimited items in a laundry bag at one price, complimentary fruit-infused juice and signature iced teas as well as free coffee and snack-box-to-go options after breakfast.
Visitors can also take a bicycle ride using the rental-free bicycle service or purchase essential items any time of the day at affordable prices from vending machines, Bierbaumer.

(The Star) Pasir Gudang to have hospital

JOHOR BARU: There is good news for residents of Pasir Gudang and nearby areas as they will finally get a full-fledged district hospital after waiting for many years.
Pasir Gudang MP Normala Abdul Samad said the project had received approval from the Federal Government under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
She said a 20.23ha land in Jalan Gunung in Bandar Seri Alam township in Pasir Gudang has been identified as the site for the Pasir Gudang public hospital.
“We will push for the project to start as soon as possible when the 11MP start rolling probably in the early 2016,” Normala told a press conference on Tuesday.
She said this after opening the occupational safety health seminar organised by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Southern Region Office in Senai.
Normala hoped phase one of the 100 beds hospital costing between RM100mil and RM150mil would be ready after two years of construction.
She said the number of beds would be increased to 300 under its future expansion and also related facilities to cater to the surge of population here and the surrounding areas.
“The hospital will cater to the medical needs of about 400,000 residents from Pasir Gudang and nearby areas such as Masai, Plentong and Kong Kong,” said Normala.
Presently, Pasir Gudang residents seeking treatment at public hospitals would have to go to the Sultan Ismail Hopsital in Pandan or the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru.
Separately, she said phase one of the upgrading work of the Pasir Gudang Highway covering 8km stretch from Taman Daya to Plentong costing RM140mil would be completed this September.
Normala said work on phase two of the highway from Plentong to Bandar Seri Alam also stretching 8km and costing RM160mil is expected to start either by the end of the year or early 2016.
“Once fully completed, it will help to reduce congestion and travelling time as presently there are more than 30,000 vehicles using the highway daily,” she said.

(The Star) Clinic being built at Kg Terian to serve 1,400 villagers

KOTA KINABALU: A health clinic is being constructed at a remote village on the mountainous Crocker Range thanks to the state’s first resort.
The double storey clinic at Kampung Terian, some 25kms from the city, was being built by the ShangriLa Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa.
Resort general manager Andrew den Oudsten said the health facility that would serve the 1,400 people living in the vicinity of the village was due to be completed in July this year.
“Once the clinic is completed the villagers in the area can finally get easy access to medical advice and health-care,” he said during visit to the project site last week.
“They have had to endure hours of walking just to get basic health care in the past,” den Oudsten noted in adding that he was happy with the progress of the construction.
The construction of Kampung Terian’s clinic was one of the resort’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, which it had been undertaking every year to assist the local communities.
“We are working closely with MERCY Malaysia to build and equip this health clinic for the villagers,” he said.
The clinic comprises a consultation room downstairs and living quarters for the nurses and visiting doctors upstairs.
The resort is also working closely with its business partners and friends to provide these villages with basic medical facilities.
Once completed, the clinic will be handed over to the Ministry of Health.
Den Oudsten and his team distributed bars of soap made in the hotel, under another CSR initiative “Soap For Hope”.

(The Star) University to use Mardi premise while campus being built

BERA: The Agro Industry University will have its first intake of 100 students in August and September although its campus is expected to be in operation next year.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said as a start the students would temporarily have their classes in the Malaysian Agriculture Research Developmment Institute (Mardi) premise and they will be moved to the university campus once it is ready.
Ismail Sabri said the university would cooperate with University Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and a few other agencies under the MInistry."The Agro Industry University will not compete with University Putra Malaysia (UPM) as we have different concept and approach."We will be more on vocational and practical approach while in UPM it is more on theories," Ismaill Sabri said after he officiated the healthy food of "From the Farm to the Table" campaign, held in Laman Kerayong recently.He said the intake could also be from Mardi as it only offers the Diploma level and if they wished to pursue their studies for a degree the Agro Industry University could be their right choice.In another matter, Ismail Sabri said the campaign for the farmers not to use the chemical-based fertilizer for their crops have to be widely conducted to ensure the healthy food products from the farm.
He said it was important for healthy food to be monitored as the Government is concerned on the people's health.
"In this matter, we have to start from the beginning in ensuring the products of foods either from the farm or during its ongoing processes are high quality and healthy to be consumed.
"Our food products too are for the export market and definitely it has to be in good handling all the time," he said.

(The Star) 16 projects to improve health infrastructure in Johor

LEDANG: A total of 16 health infrastructure improvement projects across the state will be implemented under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11th MP) involving an allocation of RM2.3 billion.
State Health and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said the proposal for the projects including the construction of the new Pasir Gudang hospital and Sultanah Aminah 2 hospital in Tampoi had been submitted to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for consideration.
“Of the 21 overall projects planned, we have been given permission to submit 16 projects to the EPU involving an allocation of RM2.3 billion,” he told reporters after the closing of the assistant medical officers’ training course for the 2/14 session here recently.
Ayub said that the construction of new hospitals and health clinics under the 11th MP would be implemented through collaboration between the state government and the Health Ministry.
He said, the state government was also proposing to upgrade Segamat hopital to a specialist hospital and building health clinics in Rengit, Segamat, Parit Raja and Batu Pahat in order to meet the current needs.
“As for now, we have received an allocation of RM50 million for upgrading the Segamat Hospital facilities,” he said.
“It includes the provision of RM450 million in order to upgrade the hospital to a specialist hospital and we expect to receive the remaining RM400 million under the 11th MP without any problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ayub said up to the 15th week, Johor recorded 105 dengue cases, a decrease by 15 cases compared to the previous week. - Bernama

(The Star) Freeze on flats

KULAIJAYA: The Kulaijaya Municipal Council hopes to freeze the construction of affordable strata homes in the district, as it has sufficient land areas for landed residential properties.
Some 24 councillors have voiced their concerns for the proposed development of flats in Kulaijaya under the Johor Affordable Homes programme, citing high-rise dwelling were normally unkept with bad maintenance record.
Councillor Shen Poh Kuan said that some 3,900 units of affordable homes are expected to be built within Kulaijaya by 2018 but many of the developers had proposed for high-rise projects instead of landed.
“We find that strata homes are not suitable for the local community as many are struggling with paying the maintenance fees imposed by the Joint Management Committee,” he said during his speech at the MPKu full council meeting here on April 28.
Shen added that only 30% to 40% of the residents keep up with such payments and due to the lack of funds for upgrading and repairing, the council is forced to fork out a high amount of money for the maintenance of the flats.
He cited examples of the Temenggong Kulai Flats and Taman Desa Idaman Flats, as the areas had countless cleanliness and repair issues, which remained unsolvable despite the high-cost repairs incurred by MPKu.
“We suggest to freeze all applications for the development of strata homes in the district and urge developers to construct landed properties instead, as they are easier to maintain,” he added.
MPKu Whip chief Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said that many of the flat buildings were poorly maintained causing health and social problems to the community.
“We are urging the developers to build the landed affordable properties since they have been allocated vast land under the state affordable homes programme here,” he said adding that flats were also identified a hotspot for dengue.
Abdul Rahman accepted the letter and said that it would be forwarded to the State Housing and Local Government exco Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi to seek approval on the suggestion.

(The Star) Largest landscaped project in Perak has Tambun Hills as a backdrop

There is a view to behold from every corner of the house.
This makes Manor Born in The Dales at Tambun Road an exclusive guarded community and a special place for the entire family to call home.
Nestled amid lush greenery — The Dales — the largest landscaped project in Perak, has the 250 million years old Tambun Hills as a backdrop.
The sight of mountain mist, rolling green landscape, chirping birds and butterflies is a great way to start our day. This type of setting is indeed priceless.
“You can build a house with the same design and with the same interior decoration elsewhere, but it will never be the same as what you get in Manor Born,” said Team Keris Bhd (TKB) group executive chairman Datuk Lee Seng Hee.
Beaming with pride, he went on to highlight the exquisite beauty of Manor Born during different times of the day, saying that developing the project was more than a business to him.
Spacious: (Top) The dining and living hall of the Manor Born, The Dales at Tambun Road.
Spacious: (Top) The dining and living hall of the Manor Born, The Dales at Tambun Road.

“I want to leave a legacy,” he said.
Manor Born comprises 18 units of three-storey basement concept bungalows in a gated and guarded community.
It boasts a six-tier security system and good connectivity which are important features of modern living.
The Dales is located at the entry and exit way access to the North-South Highway.
It is also nearby to important amenities, less than 10-minutes drive to Pantai Hospital and Kinta City shopping centre, banks and food outlets.
The owners of Manor Born also have access to the existing facilities in The Dales such as the club house, tennis courts, basketball court, playground, jungle trek, jogging/cycling track, reflexology path, BBQ pit, wild fish pond, Dales orchard and outdoor exercise stations.
Manor Born, meanwhile, has its own swimming pool and gymn.
Being the final parcel of development in The Dales, Manor Born residents have the privilege to enjoy a mature neighbourhood, surrounded by lush green surroundings and beautiful houses the moment they move in.
There are a total of 117 houses in The Dales, including the 18 units in Manor Born.
Construction for the first phase of The Dales started in the year 2000.
Looking back, Lee said he first set foot on the site — a jungle — 20 years ago.
For recreation: (Top) A playground in the area.
For recreation: A playground in the area.

Despite being swarmed by mosquitoes all over his face, he literally did not lose sight of the beauty of the natural setting, and most of all, its vast potential for development and preserving its origins at the same time.
Besides taking every step to preserve the natural terrain during development, Lee said about 3,000 carefully selected trees were also planted in the open space over the years to further boost the already beautiful natural setting.
It is about the art and ability to bring out the best in the natural environment for the enjoyment of those living in its midst.
It is also about a clever blend of nature with the community setting; using creativity, fine taste and architectural skills to put together a picture perfect environment any time of the day.
Stepping into a unit of Manor Born recently, I could feel how the well thought out designs, coupled with the high ceiling and many glass panels, are able to create the seamless beauty.
Team Keris Berhad Group Executive Chairman Datuk Lee Seng Hee and wife Datin Irene Lee infront of the Manor Born, The Dales at Tambun Road.
Lovely couple: Lee and his wife Irene in front of the Manor Born, The Dales at Tambun Road.

The living spaces within the residence also wraps around a central courtyard garden that brings natural lighting and the beauty of greenery into your house.
You can enjoy the beauty of your garden any time of the day, and with privacy assured.
Each bungalow, priced from RM2.5mil, has eight rooms to meet the needs of every family member.
During a tour of the showhouse on Monday, Lee’s wife, Datin Irene Lee and her team, provided an insight into the significance of the designs which are not only beautiful but also take into account the needs and comfort of all its occupants.
Known for her flair in interior design and an eye for details, Irene’s involvement and influence in the luxurious home project, and how she puts her mind and heart into it to turn it into a dream home of many people is most obvious.
The Aerial view of the The Dales where Manor Born is located, next to the North South highway in Tambun.
Bird’s eye view: An aerial view of The Dales where Manor Born is located, next to the North- South Highway in Tambun.

The basement concept homes is also designed with the elderly in mind as the basement has ample space to include a suite for the elderly, in particular.
There is the convenience of being driven into your own home with the private living area and bedroom just a few steps away.
Depending on the needs of the family, Manor Born’ basement carpark area has ample space for a movie room, games room, private garage and maid’s room as well.
The ground and first floor come with six en-suite bedrooms, three living halls, two kitchens, two powder rooms and two convertible rooms.
As TKB director Michael Tan said: “You get what you see.”

(The Star) A dazzling new design

Northern region folk can look forward to a new shopping experience when Design Village, a premium outlet mall, opens in Batu Kawan, Penang, by the end of 2016.

It will have 150 stores spread over 400,000 of nett leasable space, in a single-storey openair concept with weather-protected walkways and lush landscaping.

Stores will have sophisticated and creative aesthetics in line with current and projected future trends, typified by anchor stores set in distinctive “jewel boxes”.

The construction phase of the development, undertaken by PE Land (Penang) Sdn Bhd, has just started, and puts it on target to open in time for Christmas next year.

Speaking at an unveiling ceremony in the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in George Town, PE Land executive director Joanna Ling said the mall was being built on a 40-acre mixed-use site.

Besides the northern region’s 5.7 million population, it will also cater to an estimated 4.8 million visitors, mainly from Thailand, Indonesia, China, India and the Middle East.

Ling said Batu Kawan on the mainland, with its proximity to the second Penang bridge, was an ideal location offering easy accessibility.

She added that the Design Village would be supported by shuttle services to and from hotels and the airport, and would also have some 2,500 parking bays.

The stores will be a good mix of luxury and premium brands, along with food and beverage outlets serving various international cuisines.

Allan Soo, managing director of Savills Malaysia, the international leasing and retail development advisor for the project, said the mall was designed with the future in mind.

The premium outlet retail format, which has proven successful elsewhere, will deliver enhanced value for money while meeting increasingly sophisticated lifestyles and demand for quality and luxury.

“With the digital age, there is a global paradigm shift in shopping trends, moving towards experiential retail in unique environments.

“What we are building will suit what people will want in years to come,” he said in a brief presentation during the event recently.

In his speech, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the development was in line with the state’s vision to transform Batu Kawan into an international destination.

Underpinned by comprehensive infrastructure, it will have a balanced mix of commercial, leisure, retail, educational, hospitality and industrial components.

“When fully completed, the RM1bil development should have a total population of around 300,000, or one-sixth of the state’s current population.

“Design Village is estimated to create some 1,500 jobs directly, and a further 5,000 in support industries.

“We envisage that together with future neighbours such as KDU University and IKEA, there can be thousands of opportunities created in the near future.

“We hope that PE Land can bring the most creative minds to curate Design Village, and make it the catalyst that brands Penang as a world-class retail destination,” Lim added.

Following the unveiling, guests numbering several hundred were feted to a multi-course dinner.

(The Star) Double-storey housing project launched in Sepang

Local developer Khas Perkasa Sdn Bhd, which is slowly catching the eye of first-time homeowners and seasoned investors alike after the successful completion in 2014 of its Impian Sutera Gardens project close to Kota Kemuning, has unveiled its latest project — Salak Impian Gardens in Sepang.
A continuance of its Impian Home Series, Salak Impian Gardens is especially targeted at those working in the areas of Bangi, Nilai, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Dengkil and Kajang.
As it is located in a mature township with rising numbers of new commercial and residential developments, it is near to facilities such as shopping malls, schools and banks.
The development is accessible via the Elite and KLIA Highways.
The double-storey link houses here measure 20 feet x 70 feet with a built-up space of 2,100 sq ft and feature large glass-panel windows, high ceilings and cross ventilation engineering.
Similar to other products in the Impian series, it promises modern living concepts, well-thought-out living areas and intelligent space planning.
Khas Perkasa will also be expanding its reach in Shah Alam with at least three more launches this year. Salak Impian Gardens is already accepting bookings.
For details, can call 03-8948 2922 or visit

(The Star) Sunway Montana show unit is open for viewing

Sunway Bhd has opened for viewing the townhouse show unit of its Sunway Montana project at Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
The townhouse show units, which come in two-storey and 1.5 storey configurations, boast a width of 32 feet each and are oriented according to the hill’s contours, looking out on either greenery or the KL cityscape. Each townhouse comes with a modern façade within a box villa concept.
The company said it would also be opening soon the private forest within the development for public viewing. The forest is 5.6ha in size and will boast pavilions overlooking Kuala Lumpur’s skyline, a 1km footpath and a 25m sky-bridge.
“As a master community developer, we always strive to provide the best for our communities,” said Ong Ghee Bin, executive director of Sunway’s property development division (central region).
Desirable: One of the show units for Sunway Montana.
Desirable: One of the show units for Sunway Montana.
“And in the case of Sunway Montana, we have worked with the natural terrain to preserve the greenery of the private forest and introduce green features in the development for the betterment for generations to come,” he added.
The low-density Sunway Montana sits on a 22.8ha piece of land, with only five units of housing per acre on average and has a gross development value of RM590mil. One of the key features of the project is its RM10mil Clubhouse, which measures 19,000 sq ft in size and comes with a function room, gourmet kitchen, swimming pool, yoga room, karaoke room, gym and a KLCC Twin Tower viewing deck.
The gated and guarded development is 60% green, with extensive landscape, and offers a quiet enclave within the city. It is accessible via MRR2, DUKE and AKLEH, and is a mere 12km from KLCC and 16km from Mont Kiara.
Sunway Montana won the best housing development (Central Malaysia) at last year’s SEAPA Awards in both the national and regional levels.
For details, call 017 964 0877.

(The Star) Calls for review

The five-year-old Selangor Development Guideline has been cited as a contributory factor to high property prices in the state.
Some quarters called for the review of the guideline by the Selangor’s Town and Country Planning Department (JPBD) although a review was done in 2010.
While some argued that the guideline on the setbacks for buildings had added to the cost of construction, others felt the requirements were a necessity to ensure sustainable living.
Rigid rules
Selangor Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) chairman Datuk Khor Chap Jen said the issue of high property cost had long been discussed among developers, both big and small.
Factors that need to be relooked, he said, included the rigid setbacks for buildings and the use of green space.
Under the current guideline, there was a need for a 10ft boundary and an additional 10ft of green space for bungalow units.
This, he said, forced the architects to push the green space to one side for maximum space use for bungalows and terrace houses.
“These days, it is difficult to find a parcel of land that is more than 0.8ha in urban areas.
“The lack of space is already limiting the number of developments, so green space guidelines should be relooked,” added Khor.
One of the options, he said, was to consider pockets of green spaces for homeowners.
“Why limit the space and tie the hands of the planners and architects to be creative?
“If there is a rule of allotting 10% of land, then it would be better to just leave it up to the ingenuity of the architects,” he added.

Another rule that needed to be changed is the requirement for visitor carparks in apartments and condominiums.
He said the developers had to build 40% of visitor carparks of the total number of units. This is excessive.
“Based on our studies, there are usually not more than 10% of visitors at any one time.
“We end up giving up the space to the management committee who in turn rents it out or sells it to residents,” he added.
The loss of space to the structural carparks, he said, also added to the end cost.
Khor’s sentiments were echoed by a Selangor local councillor who received complaints from developers and small factory owners facing difficulties during the planning stages.
“Land, these days, are scarce and only pocket developments can be seen in town centres.
“Most factory developers, for example only have half an acre (0.2ha) and these extra fringes only reduce the building size,” he added.
Adding to the cost: There are several guidelines that require setbacks that developers feel are contributing to the building cost.
Adding to the cost: There are several guidelines that require setbacks that developers feel are contributing to the building cost.
A half an acre single factory would be 100ft x 100ft and required 40ft setback in front, 20ft each for the sides, and another 25ft for the back.
There is also a tree planting perimeter of 10ft for the sides and the back.
This leaves a floor space of 40ft x 30ft.
The councillor suggested including the tree planting perimeter in the setbacks to save space.
“Even link houses have set-backs in the back lanes of 15ft for the benefit of the Fire and Rescue Department, but the truck cannot access the area if residents fence up access to the backlane for fear of thieves and robbers,” he added.
The councillor said the problem should be discussed with the Fire and Rescue Department to see if the size of the backlane could be reduced while still adhering to the safety standards.
“If this can be done, the developer’s land cost can be reduced and this will bring down house prices,” he said.
Better living conditions
House Buyers Association legal advisor and planning law expert, Derek Fernandez agreed that the guideline needed a review but with more land allocated for the building setbacks as form of sustainable development.
“In fact they would have to revise to ensure more open space, and more carparks for owner and visitors at condominiums.
“The evidence on the ground clearly suggests parking spaces must be increased as households have more cars.
“The old formula of assuming one parking lot per unit is unrealistic,” he added.
On the setbacks for houses, Fernandez said they were vital as they helped reduce heat reflecting into neighbours’ houses and allow green area to absorb water and provide a fire break.
Fernandez said guidelines ensure that profits do not overide the sustainability and quality of life of home buyers and the surrounding environment they live in.
Cutting corners, he stressed was not the solution for lower price housing, citing low-cost housing as examples of how cost cutting had turned cheaper housing into urban slums with no proper amenities, parking or setbacks.
Green spaces are sometimes pushed to the side due to rigid green space rules in the guideline
Too strict: Green spaces are sometimes pushed to the side due to rigid green space rules in the guideline.
“Furthermore government land development bodies should not be competing with the private sector for the same market segment instead of concentrating on their core function to provide public and social housing.
“Passing these obligations on to the private sector will inevitably increase house prices.
“The guidelines should be revised to improve this rather than just increase saleable areas,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by a private developer who wished to remain anonymous,
“These setbacks are determined jointly by JPBD and by the Department of Environment for health and environmental considerations.
“This is less of a concern to us because as a responsible developer, we would not want to build residential units too close to industrial property as it will have a negative health effect,” he added.
Mutual Consensus
Despite the conflicting thoughts on the guidelines and its impact on the cost of houses, both Rehda and Fernandez agreed that the guideline imposed for lower ground floor units should be relooked as well.
The guideline says the ground floor should be reserved for the disabled community alone or to hold community activities.
While Khor suggested that the state consider allowing others such as senior citizens to buy the units, Fernandez said the rule should be abolished.

(NST) Sunway REIT Q3 revenue up 2.4pc

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) posted a higher gross revenue of RM110.7 million and net property income (NPI) of RM83.2 million for the third quarter ended March 31 2015, up 2.4 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively, from a year ago. 

Sunway REIT said the retail segment continued to drive growth for the trust’s asset portfolio despite an increasingly challenging operating environment. 

“The performance was, however, affected by lower contributions from the hotel and office segment,” it said in a statement yesterday. 

It proposed a distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.13 sen for the quarter, bringing the cumulative DPU to 6.68 sen. 

Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Jeffrey Ng said the trust had remained resilient despite an increasingly challenging operating environment. 

“Our tenancy mix in the malls comprise more non-discretionary offerings where demand is less elastic, which should help mitigate the impact of weaker consumer sentiment.” he said in the statement. 

For the nine months, Sunway REIT posted a 5.9 per cent increase in NPI to RM256.4 million and a 6.3 per cent increase in gross revenue of RM338.5 million from RM318.6 million a year ago.

(The Star) Realignment will increase ridership, says MRT Corp

PETALING JAYA: Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) contends that the route realignment for the MRT2 project was based solely on ridership, connectivity and environmental factors.

MRT Corp’s communications director Mahmood Abdul Razak clarified that the recent realignment of the line to make it pass through Bandar Malaysia (currently the Sungai Besi airfield) came after the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project came into the picture.

Denying claims that the realignment into Bandar Malaysia was a government directive, Mahmood said it was not about any instruction or about helping 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the developer of Bandar Malaysia.

“It was our own initiative and rerouting through Bandar Malaysia instead of the initially planned Pandan and Cheras corridor will result in higher ridership of up 11,000 additional passengers daily.

“Not only that, the realignment will allow the MRT2 or the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line to be connected to the HSR terminus, which is to be located in Bandar Malaysia,” he said during a press conference at the MRT information centre here yesterday.

He said that the realignment would enable better connectivity with other rail operators, and it would have been done even if it was another developer (other than 1MDB) that was developing Bandar Malaysia.

Previously, Petaling Jaya MP Tony Pua had questioned the decision to realign MRT2 to Bandar Malaysia instead of the “original” alignment that would have served the Cheras and Pandan catchments.

“The Kuchai, Serdang and Seri Kembangan catchments are also underserved by public transport at the moment, and this realignment would benefit them,” added Mahmood.

(The Star) Mydin to set up biggest hypermarket

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Retail giant Mydin will set up its biggest wholesale hypermarket in the country in Jalan Baru, Prai in August.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan gave the good news to residents in Taman Pauh during his campaign for the Permatang Pauh by-election yesterday.

He said the outlet would measure around one million sq ft and was scheduled to be in operation on Aug 15.

“Permatang Pauh residents will get to shop at the biggest Mydin outlet here. This is a gift for the people here.

“As I have always said, shopping at Mydin would save your pockets as the prices is reasonable. The prices remain the same as Mydin absorbs the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST),” he said.