Sunday, 31 May 2015

(The Star) Perlis to get mega projects worth RM850mil

KANGAR: Perlis will have three mega projects worth RM850mil to develop the state under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Malaysia’s northernmost and smallest state will receive federal funds for the Perlis Inland Port, Chuping Valley, Padang Besar Logistics Hub and the long-awaited Padang Besar Hospital.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he gave the approval for the funds during his one-day working visit to Perlis yesterday.

“I gave the approval during a briefing by the state government so that Perlis can be further developed,” he told reporters after the Anugerah Desa Sejahtera 1Malaysia presentation ceremony in Kampung Kurong Tengar, Kuala Perlis, here yesterday.

He also announced a RM2.5mil allocation for a fishing jetty in Kampung Kurong Tengar.

Earlier, after a closed-door meeting with Barisan Nasional leaders, Najib said the coalition had done much to develop and lead the country, adding that Malaysians should be proud of its stability and unity.

“In five years, we will go through the final lap towards 2020 when we will be a developed nation.

“The main challenge for us is to ensure that the country’s wealth is distributed fairly and to be inclusive. We can only achieve this if the people and parties give us their support.

“When I met the Barisan leaders here, some told me to be strong. I can only do that if party members give their full support to me.

“Perlis – as I can say – is an ‘all clear’ state as Perlis Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man have vouched for me,” said Najib, adding that Barisan might lose in the next general election if the Government was belittled and the coalition was seen as weak.

Perlis, he said, had historically been a Barisan fort.

Najib said he had also acted as the “head marketer” for Perlis’ famed Harum Manis mangoes, having promoted the fruit to the Emperor and Empress of Japan, as well as his counterpart Shinzo Abe.

He also defended the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), adding that wealth should be distributed to the rakyat.

“Are we wrong for helping people in hardship? Are we wrong if we give the wealth to those who need it?” he said.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

(NST) 40,000 units of houses to be built in Penang by 2025

GEORGE TOWN: Some 40,000 units of various houses will be built in Penang by 2025 to meet the state's housing demand. 

Of the total, 35,118 will be in the categories of low-cost, low medium-cost and affordable housing. 

State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state's population was projected to increase by a quarter million to about 2 million from the current 1.6 million over the next decade. 

"We have enlisted help from the private sector to cater for housebuyers in the low cost, low-medium-cost and affordable housing categories. 

"We are prepared to build more quality houses in line with the population growth in Penang," he told reporters after attending a soft launch of the RM300,000 per unit affordable housing by Ideal Property Group in Seri Tanjung Pinang here. 

Among the features of the apartment units, offered by Ideal Property, is a dedicated child daycare centre to relieve the burden of working parents. 

Meanwhile, Jagdeep said the state government had formed a private-public partnership with five developers, with more expected to be on board to build new houses, especially in the affordable housing category. 

The affordable housing projects were in Batu Kawan, Teluk Kumbar, Bayan Lepas, Sungai Ara and Tanjung Tokong. 

"We have received 12,606 submissions from the private sector so far while the remaining 22,512 units to be built by state-owned Penang Development Corporation over the next 10 years," he said, adding that the 22,512 units consisted of 12 projects located in the five districts on the island and the mainland.

(The Star) WCT plans 2 new malls

WHEN WCT Holdings Bhd opened its first mall – the Aeon Bukit Tinggi Shopping Mall – in Klang eight years ago, it was a start to a long-term plan to diversify into shopping mall ownership and management.

The company had built retail buildings including The Curve and Tesco Mutiara Damansara, Tesco Bukit Tinggi, Aeon Bukit Indah Johor and Aeon Malacca, so it was a natural progression for the construction outfit.

In the last three years, the group has, though its property arm WCT Land developed two more retail buildings – the Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and Gateway@KLIA2, the integrated complex at the budget airlines airport.

A total of RM5bil had been allocated for its investment and development of this business arm.

It plans to build the Paradigm Johor Baru, a 1.3 million sq ft mall along Jalan Skudai.

Construction for Paradigm Johor Baru is underway and the mall will be launched next year,

This will be followed by Paradigm Kuala Lumpur, a mall with 1.5 million sq ft of net lettable area in Old Klang Road.

The project will entail development cost of RM700mil and would also comprise residential towers, offices, a hotel and perhaps an auditorium.

While plans for both malls have yet to be announced, WCT Malls Management general manager Vincent Chong tells StarBizWeek the offerings must be enticing to keep up with competitors.

Not far off from WCT’s upcoming mall in Kuala Lumpur, the Pavilion Holdings Group too is setting up a mall of about two million sq ft.

Battling the odds

With the upcoming addition of sizeable new malls such as Sunway Putra Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Velocity Mall in Cheras, IOI City Mall in Putrajaya, WCT has been fanning its advertising and promotional activities,

This year, WCT has been bringing in celebrities for meet-and-greet sessions by collaborating with Astro, Fox and Dreamworks.

Riding on the K-pop craze, it discovered, really draws in the crowd.

“By early morning, many teenagers were waiting with their mothers for tickets,” Chong says.

He admits Paradigm Petaling Jaya, which has a rental rate of RM7-8 per sq ft on its 680,000 net lettable area, has not experienced growth in terms of numbers since January.

“We must be realistic. For now, our focus is just to sustain business for our tenants. As such, we haven’t targeted growth for this mall this year,” Chong says.

Now that Paradigm has stabilised, WCT is ready to launch an office tower and hotel components, the latter, which will be managed by New World Millenium Hong Kong Hotel.

By next month, seven levels of office space at Paradigm Mall Petaling Jaya will be ready. WCT will occupy two levels, while negotiations with multi-level companies and a university to tenant the rest of the building by the third quarter of 2016 are underway.

The Paradigm mall needs an occupancy rate of 85% to be sustainable, while Pavilion Kuala Lumpur requires at least 80%,

Managing an airport mall

WCT is expecting Gateway@KLIA2, its long-term concession with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, to break even within the next two to three years.

For 2015, the airport complex’s annual gross revenue is expected to be RM105mil.

“Running an airport mall is different from managing one in the city,” Chong says.

Gateway has 120 retailers and they occupy 74% of the total net lettable area (NLA).

Food and beverage providers make up 30% of the tenancy mix, while the rest are providers of travel items, books and magazines, fashion apparel and accessories.

It has not been easy for WCT to find suitable tenants at the Gateway@KLIA2 mall in spite of the high traffic there, but Chong explains there are only 350,000 sq ft of NLA available as the mall is part of the airport and not a standalone retail building as is in some countries. “These numbers may not seem encouraging but bear in mind that KLIA2 was designed to cater to 45 million passengers. In that case, we shouldn’t expect 100% occupancy rate for now,” Chong said.

Gateway is currently only catering to about 25 million airport passengers and captures some three million footfalls per month.

Jaya Grocer, which initially caters to the 10,000 airport employees, is now providing convenience to foreign tourists and locals.

“We aren’t projecting a significant increase in occupancy and we have to be very careful about our tenancy mix. Another nasi lemak vendor would just cannibalise other existing food outlets,” Chong said. “For now, we need more fashion tenants.”

As passenger numbers are expected to grow to 28 million from 25 million this year, WCT will grow and expand Gateway in tandem with that.

“We work closely with tenants such as the RM1 day promotion, where meals and products are sold at RM1. We will probably do that again after our Raya promotions,” Chong says.

Overseas ventures?

For the first quarter ended March 31, the group’s property development and investment segments registered revenue of RM102mil and operational profit of RM32mil.

At the group level, net profit was RM33mil, 17.5% lower than RM40mil last year.

Revenue was RM352mil, 24.6% lower than RM467mil the year before due to the completion of several projects.

WCT said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia it expected contribution from the new projects to increase in the second half of the year.

It was reported that WCT was looking to venture into the Indonesian property market with a company there.

“To do that, we must really explore first. For now, we are comfortable in Malaysia and we have a unique product in Gateway. If another opportunity to build an airport mall comes up, we should be first in line to do it,” Chong says.

“If Indonesia asks, we would say yes.”

(The Star) LBS Bina confident of RM1bil sales this year

PETALING JAYA: Property developer LBS Bina Bhd is confident of achieving RM1bil in sales this year, given the number of new launches in the pipeline, says managing director Datuk Seri Lim Hock San.

He said the company would launch five projects with a combined gross development value of RM1.28bil next month.

The projects are mainly residential properties priced below RM500,000 a unit in the Klang Valley, Pahang and Johor.

“We are confident that we can achieve the target. Besides, we also have current sales of RM330mil as well as unbilled sales of RM674mil,” he told reporters after the company’s AGM.

Lim said LBS would also launch 1,312 affordable houses, 30km southeast of Kuala Lumpur city centre, in September priced between RM150,000 and RM180,000 per unit.

Meanwhile, he said the construction work to transform the Zhuhai International Circuit in China into a tourism hub would start by next year.

“We expect to get approval from the Chinese government this year so that we can start to transform the racing circuit by next year into a tourist spot comprising factory outlets, retail shops, theme parks, car showroom and hotel,” he added. – Bernama

(The Star) IJM Land to start work on Penang project in Q2

GEORGE TOWN: Work on IJM Land Bhd’s RM4bil integrated mixed-development project The Light Waterfront along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is expected to commence in the second quarter of next year.

Its senior general manager (north region) Datuk Toh Chin Leong said the project, to be jointly developed with Singapore-based Perennial Real Estate holdings Ltd, would comprise a convention centre, retail mall, two four-star hotels, condominiums and an office tower.

“The development cost of the project is RM3bil and will take us seven years to complete.

“The convention centre will take four years,” he said.

He said this to reporters after attending a signing ceremony between IJM Land managing director Edward Chong and Perennial Real Estate chief executive officer Pua Seck Guan.

Also present were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who witnessed the signing ceremony, and IJM Corp chief executive officer Datuk Soam Heng Choon.

Meanwhile, Soam said the commercial and entertainment project would serve as the flagship scheme under IJM Land.

“The waterfront scheme will transform the landscape of Penang and position the state at the forefront among investors and tourists,” Soam added.

(The Star) Magna Prima defends land sale

Move is to put it on stronger footing before embarking on next course of action

NEWS that property developer Magna Prima Bhd is looking to sell three pieces of its prime land for some RM500mil has caused certain quarters to question whether the company is switching to a strategy of selling rather than developing land.

Last week, Magna Prima said cash proceeds of some RM500mil from these land sales will allow it to buy smaller plots of land for property development and set a policy of giving out 50% of profits from each project as dividends to shareholders.

The land it intends to sell include 2.62 acres of Lai Meng School near KLCC, 20 acres in Shah Alam and seven acres in Petaling Jaya.

The Lai Meng School land, which is close to Petronas Twin Towers, is currently worth RM350mil, according to valuers.

This is a significant appreciation from the price it paid when it acquired the land from Lai Meng Girls’ School Association (LMGSA) four years ago.

Magna Prima bought the land in March 2010 for RM148.2mil cash (or around RM1,350 per sq ft).

The initial plan was to develop the Lai Meng land into what would be called Jalan Ampang Iconic Towers with a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.8bil.

Meanwhile, the development of its Shah Alam land would have been a fully integrated mixed commercial hub worth RM1.4bil while the land in Petaling Jaya would have a GDV of RM1.3bil.

Magna Prima group managing director Datuk Rahadian Mahmud Mohammad Khalil says the company’s strategy of being a niche property developer has never changed. However, current market conditions require the company to be more prudent and diversify its risk. Staying nimble during tougher market times is its priority.

“We are not in the business of selling land. Selling the three pieces of land is a calculated manouvre to strengthen the company. It is to put the company on a stronger footing before embarking on our next course of action,” he says.

“For a start, these three pieces of land have appreciated in value. Secondly, the GDV for all these land exceed RM1bil. We can execute it but the bigger a project, the more the risk of selling and completing it. I don’t think current market conditions calls for taking on big projects.”

Having just completed its maiden Australian project, The Istana in Melbourne, where there was no progress billing for three years up to completion, Rahadian knows that managing projects that require huge capital outlay is challenging.

The Istana is a 25-storey condominium with 320 units and a GDV of RM615mil. In Australia, recognition of profits takes place only after properties are built and sold. To date, the company has collected some 80% of the proceeds.

In fact, he says the company is already looking to diversify its revenue stream into other recurring income sources.

“If we are not a professional and transparent company, how would we be able to complete The Istana. In Australia, we bore the entire development cost for the three years,” he says.

Rahadian says property environment today is a lot tougher than what it was two to three years ago.

There is definitely more risk in executing one big project than to execute a few smaller projects concurrently.

“By embarking on 10 projects with a GDV of RM200mil, these projects are a lot easier to sell, execute and complete than just completing one huge project which is RM2bil in size. It doesn’t mean we make more money but we definitely lower the risk. On a per job basis, smaller projects are easier to handle,” he says.

On the company’s business model, Rahadian says it has always been the same, which is to become a niche developer of smaller projects but with a larger profitability. Its strategy, moving forward, will be to focus on matured areas and embark on property development that can be turned around fast.

On the argument that its Shah Alam land is considered a pocket-sized land and asked why is it being sold, Rahadian says the development plan for Shah Alam comes with a GDV of RM1.4bil and a return on equity of seven years. That is too long for Magna Prima.

“To start on the Shah Alam project, we will be building three levels of basement car parks that will be fully owned by us. Subsequently, we will also own the shopping mall that will be built.

“The capital expenditure required for this project will be huge. It is a good project but in times like these, we would rather sell the land as it has appreciated,” he says.

“At our current size, we do not want to be bogged down with too much land cost. We aim to get development approval for our land within six months from acquisition.”

On its dividend policy, Rahadian says shareholders will be rewarded once the three parcels of land are sold.

“It is a policy made by management. Shareholders will be aware of how much we are distributing from our quarterly results. Under the segmental revenue breakdown, shareholders will be able to see how much the property division is contributing,” he says.

Rahadian says the whole process of the land sale will be done in a transparent manner. As the three pieces of land are of substantial value, an EGM will have to called for each land that is to be sold.

“Each land to be sold will have to go through the approval of shareholders. This is under Chapter 10 of the listing requirements. Shareholders will have to vote on it. It will be the usual process of an offer being made and valuers valuing our land,” he says.

(The Star) Chinese SMEs to get RM50mil

PUTRAJAYA: A much anticipated moment for Chinese small and medium entrepreneurs has arrived.

The RM50mil fund for Chinese SMEs announced in Budget 2015 last year will be launched by the Prime Minister next Friday.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said applicants could begin applying for loans from then.

“Applicants will know within seven days if their applications are accepted or rejected,” he said yesterday at a press conference to announce the launch of the Secretariat for Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME) and Chinese SMEs Entrepreneurs Fund.

Dr Wee said the loan was open to those age 21 to 60 for amounts of RM50,000 to RM250,000 and Koperasi Jayadiri Malaysia Bhd (Kojadi) had been tasked to distribute the funds.

A 4% interest rate will be charged on the loans for a maximum tenure of five years.

He said the loan required a collateral or joint guarantee from directors.

To get a loan, applicants could get the form from the Kojadi website.

Dr Wee said that in the past, the Chinese had complained that they could not get loans and that some had resorted to loan sharks.

“They also could not get loans from commercial banks if their companies were less than three years old,” he added.

Dr Wee said there would also be a one-stop guide to assist Chinese entrepreneurs in the application process.

He said the Government would work with Chinese SMEs, Federation of Malaysia Chinese Guilds Association, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) and the SME Association Malaysia to determine good borrowers.

(The Star) Eyeing 50 school co-ops to hit RM1m in 2020

The number of school cooperatives making more than RM1mil needs to be raised to 10 this year.
This is the aim of the National Co-operative Organisation of Malaysia (Angkasa).
It hopes 50 co-ops will be able to hit the million-ringgit mark by 2020.
Angkasa president Datuk Abdul Fattah Abdullah said in 2013, some 40 schools made over RM500,000 while 400 more were in the RM300,000 to RM500,000 bracket.
“Only one education institution cooperative — MRSM Kepala Batas —achieved the feat of reaching the RM1mil target in 2013.
“The total turnover earned by co-ops nationwide in 2013 was RM32.9bil. Only RM312.9mil was contributed by educational institutions,” he said recently.
There are about 12,000 co-ops in the country with 2,300 in the education sector.
MRSM Kepala Batas Koperasi Bhd advisor Mohd Yunus Dareman said their profit increased from RM600,000 in 2012 to RM1.02mil in 2013.
“Our business strategies include offering items at affordable price, with some even cheaper than shops elsewhere or malls.
“We also collaborate with school clubs and buy their sport equipment needs,” said the 55-year-old after he was presented with a certificate for their success.
The event was held at Angkasa’s workshop for school co-ops in Kompleks Tabung Haji in Penang.

(The Star) ‘Wrong guidelines for high-rise projects’

Please listen to the people first.
This is the plea of a Penang Island City councillor who wants the views of residents heard before high-rise projects are approved.
Dr Lim Mah Hui said the public were concerned about “uncontrolled and over-development” on the island.
He said housing projects in Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang had drawn the most flak with density a hot issue with residents there.
“Under the Penang Structure Plan, the permissible density along the Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang corridor is 15 units per 0.4ha of land for residential housing.
“However, the council amended the guidelines in 2002 to allow for density of above 60% for proposed development.
“How can a local guideline override the gazetted structure plan?” Dr Lim asked in his closing speech during the full city council meeting yesterday.
He also said that the present guideline required notifying residents within 20m of a project.
“This guideline is only suitable for small projects but not for large-scale commercial projects or projects of public interest.
“For projects such as these, the details should be available to the public. Enough time should be given for the council to engage the public and their views should be taken into consideration in the decision-making process.
“Thousands have voiced their concerns in petitions. It is time for us to hold more discussions with the public over high-rise developments in Penang with the council,” he said.
“Our vision is good governance and greater public participation. It’s time for us to take up the challenge and engage more with the public.”
Mayor Datuk Patahiyah Ismail, in her response, said all approved high-rise projects on the island complied with guidelines set by the Penang Structure Plan and city council.
She said talks with residents staying within 20m of a high-rise project would be carried out before the project.

(The Star) ‘Make it an elevated highway’

More than 200,000 Ampang residents, who will be affected by the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), plan to take to the streets if Ampang Jaya Municipal Council approves the proposed route that links to Jalan Ukay Perdana, the main artery connecting Ukay Perdana, Bukit Antarabangsa, Sering Ukay and Ukay Bistari.
The residents fear that the link would cause major congestion near their homes.
Some 32 residents associations in Ampang held a press conference at Sinaran Ukay Condominium to voice their disapproval.
They instead proposed an elevated highway that would bypass Jalan Ukay Perdana.
One of the residents’ task force facilitators, Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman, said all efforts to make their concerns heard by the concessionaire, the council and the Malaysian Highway Authority had proven futile.
“We are not against the project but want the highway to be elevated. If push comes to shove, we may protest,” he said, adding that residents must be consulted on the route.
“The only option left for us now is to call on all 24 appointed councillors to reject the proposal and push for the elevated highway.
“We want Mentri Besar Azmin Ali, who is also Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman and Gombak MP, to meet us and intervene in the proposed plan, which will have an undesired impact on the residents,” he added.
Another facilitator, Brig Jen Datuk Mohd Arshad Raji, claimed that there were plans to convert Jalan Ukay Perdana into a highway by linking it up with a toll booth at Ukay Perdana.
“Jalan Ukay Perdana will be widened in certain stretches and two half-interchanges will be built on the existing road.
“The road widening will use land reserved for Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the future, under the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council Draft Local Plan 2020, and we are afraid the LRT plan will be scrapped.
“We think the proposed conversion of Jalan Ukay Perdana to be part of the expressway was not included in the local plan,” he said.
Mohd Arshad said they learnt the proposed expressway would be approved by MPAJ in mid-June despite strong objections from the public.
“Also, the environmental impact assessment by the Department of Environment for EKVE expired on May 15.
“It is illogical for MPAJ to approve the application based on an expired report.
“The EKVE is designed to deposit traffic into MRR2 that is in itself a perennial nightmare for roadusers.
“There will be a backflow of congestion into Jalan Ukay Perdana, the only road that takes us in and out of our homes. It will affect the residents’ daily activities,” he said.
Mohd Arshad said the elevated highway must also integrate directly with the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway, the proposed Sungai Besi-Hulu Klang Expressway, Ampang–Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway and the KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway as points of entry and egress, and not solely the MRR2.

Friday, 29 May 2015

(The Star) Eco World plans RM8bil Kota Kemuning township

Chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the first launch of Eco Sanctuary was slated for next month.  Chang said the group was excited about the introduction of Eco Sanctuary to the Klang Valley market as the developer had been planning for this over a year since the purchase of the land in March 2014.(April 1 file pic shows Chang with the plans for the public park in Taman Wahyu.)
Chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the first launch of Eco Sanctuary was slated for next month. Chang said the group was excited about the introduction of Eco Sanctuary to the Klang Valley market as the developer had been planning for this over a year since the purchase of the land in March 2014.(April 1 file pic shows Chang with the plans for the public park in Taman Wahyu.)

SHAH ALAM: Eco World Development Group Bhd is planning a second township with a gross development value (GDV) of RM8bil in Kota Kemuning.

In a statement yesterday, the property group said the project called Eco Sanctuary would be a 308.7-acre leasehold project with an “eco” concept.

Chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the first launch of Eco Sanctuary was slated for next month.

Chang said the group was excited about the introduction of Eco Sanctuary to the Klang Valley market as the developer had been planning for this over a year since the purchase of the land in March 2014.

The launch of Phase 1 of Eco Sanctuary will comprise two parcels of land that include semi-detached units, zero-lot bungalow, bungalows and terraced villas.

The strata-titled homes are fully gated and guarded alongside security cameras and intercom systems connecting all units with a central guard house to facilitate visitor management system. Currently, EcoWorld is involved in 15 projects which include affordable to high-end properties and has about 5,245 acres of landbank with a total GDV of RM65bil.

Through its associates, EcoWorld has also expanded to the United Kingdom and Australia with several developments in London and Sydney lined up for launch in 2015.

(The Star) Drop in GPI ranking blamed on protests

THE Home Ministry has blamed anti-government demonstrations for Malaysia’s drop in the Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2014.

Malaysia dropped from 19th place in 2011 to 33rd place in 2014 because of these protesters who were not satisfied with government policies, the ministry said in a written reply to Datuk Ahmad Hamzah (BN-Jasin).

In his question, Ahmad asked the ministry to state the government initiatives to improve the GPI ranking.

The ministry said the Government was already taking proactive ­measures by enacting the Peaceful Assembly Act, Sedition Act (Amend­ment), Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) and Prevention of Terrorism Act.

The Government also introduced The Reducing Crime National Key Results Area to ensure national security continued to be at a very good level and under control, it added.

This, the ministry said, had proven to be effective as the national crime index had dropped by 12.6%, exceeding its expectation of 5%.

The GPI is the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness, and it is based on various core principles. They are, among others, domestic and international conflict, public security and military.

(The Edge) SEA’s first hilltop premium outlet in Genting Highlands

KUALA LUMPUR: Genting Simon Sdn Bhd (GSSB) is developing Genting Premium Outlets mall (GPO) on a 600,000 sq ft piece of land within Genting Highlands. The centre will be operated by GSSB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Simon Genting Ltd (SGL).

SGL in turn is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Plantations Bhd and Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group.

GPO is projected to cost RM200 million and will be Southeast Asia’s first hilltop premium outlet centre and will serve the central Eastern Malaysian market. It will open its doors by end-2016.

At the launch event on Wednesday, chairman and chief executive of the Genting Group, Tan Sri Lim Kok Th ay said: “We are proud to have GPO as a hallmark development within the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP). Its strategic location within Genting Highlands will allow GPO to leverage and also further enhance Genting Highlands’ attraction as a major tourist and holiday destination that draws about 20 million visitations annually.” 

The outlet will house 150 designer and brand name stores and is now in the construction stage. GPO will offer a gross leasable area of 300,000 sq ft and 4,000 parking bays for cars and buses. Phase two and three of the project are expected to commence within the next three to five years.

According to Jean Marie Pin Harry, the general manager of GSSB, who was at the launch: “Since Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) opened in 2011, it has seen about four million visitors on average. These numbers were beyond our expectations at that point, hence, we are expecting GPO to have more visitors because of the Fox theme park that is coming up in Genting. 

Also, JPO caters to the southern market and GPO will cater to the central market of Klang Valley.” GPO will be the 85th premium outlet in the Simon Property Group premium outlet portfolio.

1. GPO will off er a gross leasable area of 300,000 sq ft and 4,000 parking bays for cars and buses
2. GPO will be the 85th premium outlet in the Simon Property Group premium outlet portfolio.

(The Edge) UEM Sunrise’s Asian Trade Centre shelved for ‘commercial reasons’

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd is shelving its Asian Trade Centre retail project in Gerbang Nusajaya, Johor, for commercial reasons, said the developer.

It was reported late last year that UEM Sunrise was seeking approvals for the project.

“The decision made by the company not to proceed with the Asian Trade Centre project in Gerbang Nusajaya was purely based on commercial reasons after considering the operating licence and working visa requirements necessary to make it viable,” it said in a statement.

“UEM Sunrise has been instrumental in developing the growing retail offerings in Nusajaya and is committed to introducing further retail propositions through our integrated developments.”

The group, which is the master developer of Nusajaya – one of five flagship zones in Iskandar Malaysia – said it was also committed to building sustainable communities and that retail is an important part of its long-term strategy for the zone.

“Gerbang Nusajaya, the second phase development of Nusajaya, is a 4,551-acre project that is on course to become the commercial and business engine for Nusajaya,” it said.

The developer noted that Nusajaya Tech Park is “progressing well” after its groundbreaking ceremony last year, while other major projects that are still coming up include FASTrack Iskandar, Signature Residences and Gerbang Nusantara.

FASTrack Iskandar is an integrated automotive hub that will also feature retail and lifestyle elements such as car showrooms, entertainment and F&B outlets, bonded garages and warehouses, a 4.5km test track and a 1.5km go-kart track.

The project is being jointly developed by UEM Sunrise and Singapore-based FASTrack Autosports (Iskandar) Pte Ltd.

Meanwhile, the developer’s other ongoing retail developments in Nusajaya are a retail boulevard in its Almãs mixed-use development in Puteri Harbour, and phase two of its Mall of Medini project near Legoland.

(The Edge) BRDB’s first phase Taman Sari 50% taken up

RAWANG: The first phase of BRDB Developments Sdn Bhd’s RM2 billion Taman Sari has seen a 50% take-up since its launch on May 16.

BRDB sales and marketing general manager Kim Neoh told The Edge Property that the response to Amaryllis, the first phase of Taman Sari, was “overwhelming with almost all of the non-Bumiputra lots being taken up over two weekends.”

Amaryllis has gross development value (GDV) of RM121 million and will consist of 117 units of 3-storey terraced houses. The units have a built-up area of between 3,033 sq ft and 4,003 sq ft. Selling prices start at RM895,000. 

Amaryllis sits on 11.7 acres of land within Taman Sari. It is due for completion in 2018.

Taman Sari spans 245 acres of freehold land in Rawang and will comprise 2,000 residential units of terraced houses, bungalows, and condominium and some commercial units. It will be developed in 16 phases over 10 years.

The township will also include a clubhouse. An international school, said to be the first in the area, is being planned. Taman Sari is three minutes away from the Rawang toll and is accessible via the KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway (LATAR Expressway), North–South Expressway and Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

(The Edge) OSK Property targets five new malls in five years

PETALING JAYA : OSK Property Holdings Bhd plans to open five shopping malls over the next five years after the reopening of Atria Shopping Gallery in SS22, Damansara Jaya, today. 

“By 2020, we intend to complete five more shopping malls. Atria Shopping Gallery is just the first of the six,” said executive director Ong Ju Xing at the soft opening of Atria Shopping Gallery. 

He added that the company is currently planning its second mall in Cheras. “The mall will be part of our new integrated development there. It will have a net lettable area (NLA) of roughly 500,000 sq ft. 

“The third will be in Sungai Petani. It’s part of our 2,600-acre township. We are planning on one million sq ft of NLA. It will be the largest mall in Kedah.” 

The fourth will be in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, with an estimated 200,000 sq ft NLA. 

“The fifth is in Melbourne, in the South Bank area near the casino. The final one will be in Cyberjaya, and is part of an integrated project. It’s going to have 350,000 sq ft NLA,” Ong said. 

He is optimistic on the retail market and believes that it can absorb more shopping malls if these have a clear market position and distinctive identity. 

“We are confident we can differentiate ourselves from the other malls. We would have done an in-depth survey of shoppers’ habits, the neighbourhood’s needs and the future market trend before we start a project. We know what the market needs are, and I believe Atria Shopping Gallery is a good example of a different shopping environment and experience for shoppers,” Ong said. 

The Atria, as it was then known, was one of the first malls in the Klang Valley. OSK Property acquired the mall in 2007 and rebuilt it to suit the fast-changing retail market and consumer expectations in the country. The entire development has a gross development value of RM1 billion. 

The transformed upper-middle market mall was reopened today after four years. About 65% of its stores (175) are already open, while another 20% are expected to open in next month. 

“There are still some 15% or roughly 7,050 sq ft available for rent. We are looking to reach 95% occupancy by August,” Ong said, adding that the mall has a total net lettable area of 470,000 sq ft. 

It has a tenant mix of upmarket local and international brands as well as 12 “mini anchor tenants” such as Village Grocer supermarket, Chi Fitness gym, Ace Hardware, Dynasty Dragon Chinese restaurant, and the largest Mango fashion store in the country that occupies almost 16,000 sq ft. 

There is also a pre-school within the mall — The Little Tree House — a collaboration between OSK Ventures Investment and HELP Education Bhd, for children between four and six years old. 

The five-floor retail mall is part of a mixed-use development that also comprises two 14-storey blocks of 392 small office/ flexible office units called Atria SoFo Suites. These are due for completion by year-end. 

Atria SoFo Suites was launched in 2011 at a record RM850 to RM1,000 psf in that area. The units have a built-up area of between 488 sq ft and 1,200 sq ft.

(The Edge) Mah Sing on track to achieve new sales target of RM3.4b

(April 1, RM2.03)
Maintain buy with an unchanged target price of RM3: Mah Sing has completed the issuance of an unrated perpetual sukuk musyarakah with a nominal value of RM540 million via a private placement. The issue — with a distribution rate of 6.8% — has no fixed maturity date, but is callable after five years.

Mah Sing’s move is timely as it enables the group to lock in unsecured long-term funding while strengthening its capital structure. Also, the move reflects its growing stature with investors, with improved future fundraising options, whenever required.

As the perpetual sukuk has equity-like features, our preliminary estimates point to an improvement in Mah Sing’s forecast financial year 2015 (FY15F) net gearing to 9% from 25% currently. On the flipside, we estimate a small 2% to 4% contraction in FY15F to FY16F fully-diluted earnings per share (EPS) — assuming the entire proceeds are reinvested in fixed deposits for the time being. We maintain our earnings forecast for now pending more clarity on how Mah Sing will utilise the proceeds. We believe the monies will be quickly put to work on any value- or EPS-accretive moves.

Mah Sing remains on track to achieve its new sales target of RM3.4 billion for FY15F amid a more challenging market environment.

Our conviction is underpinned by the group’s focus on residential launches targeted at the mass market. To be sure, around 44% of its products are priced below RM500,000 (below RM1 million: 84%).

The group managed to secure a 67% take-up rate for the sixth tower block of its Savanna Executive Suites, Southville City@KL South, which was launched last December. The seventh block was open for viewing about a fortnight ago. The first five blocks have already been sold out. We continue to rate Mah Sing as our top large cap property pick. 

(The Edge) EcoWorld positive on achieving goals

KUALA LUMPUR: EcoWorld Development Group Bhd remains confident of achieving its sales target of RM3 billion for its financial year 2015 ending October (FY15), and its target of RM4 billion in FY16.

Chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah said EcoWorld’s (fundamental: 0.5; valuation: 0) sales will be driven by launches of new and ongoing projects, as its developments are focused in areas with existing catchment.

“We have given the sales target of RM3 billion, and we are very optimistic [about meeting] that, it’s not an issue. And next year we have a target of RM4 billion.

“We were lucky to have bought our land bank two years ago. When we bought the land bank, it was all located very close to highways and trunk roads. Each and every project already has catchment nearby,” said Chang.

He highlighted that EcoWorld’s Eco Sky project in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, for example, is in the vicinity of a KTM station and a Tesco supermarket, while its Eco Sanctuary project will benefit from nearby catchment areas such as Kota Kemuning, Subang Jaya and Puchong.

“Every development that we have picked has all these characteristics, and we are not in any greenfield projects,” said Chang.

He was speaking to the media yesterday after the opening of EcoWorld’s third sales gallery in the Klang Valley for its 308.7-acre (124.9ha) Eco Sanctuary development in Canal City, located south of Kota Kemuning.

Eco Sanctuary has a total gross development value (GDV) of RM8 billion, with phase 1 of the development, comprising the Monterey and Terraza residential sections, accounting for RM1 billion out of the total GDV.

The project is slated to be launched next month, with phase 1 to be completed around the first quarter of 2018.

Eco World closed unchanged at RM1.60 yesterday, bringing its market capitalisation to RM3.8 billion.

(The Edge) UEM Sunrise cancels MoU with Chinamall

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd has cancelled its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinamall Holdings Pte Ltd (CHPL) to co-operate in the development of a trade and exhibition centre in Gerbang Nusajaya, Nusajaya, Johor.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, UEM Sunrise (fundamental: 1.5; valuation: 2.6) said its subsidiary UEM Land, had on May 27, 2015, communicated to CHPL that it wishes to terminate the MoU on the basis that both parties have not been able to make any significant headway on the project.

UEM Sunrise had signed the MoU with CHPL in late 2012, to develop the Asian Trade Centre. The first phase of the project, the China Mall, was supposed to have been the catalyst, with a mall that was touted to be bigger than the Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur.

UEM Sunrise share closed one sen or 0.97% higher at RM1.04, with a market capitalisation of RM4.67 billion.

(The Star) Contractor fails to complete RM240mil Sungai Melaka project on time

MALACCA: A hiatus in completing the Sungai Melaka Phase Two project as scheduled in August 2014 has derailed the tourism activities planned for this year.
The project was commissioned to the contractor who failed to completed the remaining 10% of the various works at river stretch.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said currently, the RM240 million project was nearing 90% completed and the work left without any progress would not look good for state’s tourism image.
He said the Sungai Melaka Phase Two project under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, was launched on May 21, 2012 linking Taman Rempah from Hang Jebat Bridge to Melaka Sentral bus terminal.
The package also includes the building of embankment, pedestrian walkways and the water taxi jetty.
“However, Natural Resources and Environment Minister (Datuk Seri G. Palanivel) has given his assurance that the project would be ready as soon as possible when we brought the issue to his attention.
“There are components that are still not ready, including water filtering, landscaping and the pavement,” he said after chairing the state Exco meeting, here, Wednesday.
Idris said the state also required two more projects, namely upgrading of the Batu Berendam International Airport (LTAM) and building of a
coastal road between Kuala Linggi and Telok Mas, to boost tourism in the state under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said the airport upgrading at a cost of RM140 million would enable bigger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 from China to land here, apart
from attracting more airlines to operate.
“We have received positive feedback from an airline company in China that it is interested to operate at LTAM, using the Airbus A380 for direct flights between Malacca and China,” he said.
Currently, only Malindo Air is operating from LTAM, providing flights between Malacca and Pekanbaru in Indonesia, and Kota Baru and Penang.
Idris said the Kuala Linggi-Telok Mas coastal road project costing about RM1bil would also alleviate the traffic congestion which affected tourism in the state.

(The Star) End to parking woes at hospital

The parking woes at the Penang Hospital is expected to ease up early next year when the outpatient services move about 1km away.

Penang Health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said there would be 100 parking bays at the new building in Jalan Sepoy Lines.

“There will be 11 treatment rooms in the new building. The waiting time for treatment will be less than 30 minutes,” she said.

Dr Zailan said there would only be specialist outpatient clinics, secondary and tertiary healthcare at the main hospital complex after the relocation of the outpatient clinics. “This will greatly reduce parking woes.” Some 900 people seek outpatient treatment at the hospital daily.

(The Star) Whole new world of science awaits in June

The much-anticipated Science Discovery Centre is expected to open by the end of June next year. Work on it will begin in July.
Funds for the project called Tech Dome Penang has reached RM23.65mil, with RM5.15mil coming from the state government.
The total cost of the project is RM25mil.
Komtar Geodesic Dome, which will house the centre, will be renovated for the project.
The new centre will be modelled after the San Jose Tech Centre, with the building provided by the government and rest of the funds raised by the corporate sector and the public.
Penang Tech Centre Berhad director and steering committee chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai said the total floor space for the centre would be about 2,900sq m (32,000sq ft).
He said most of the interactive exhibits were from Science Alive, New Zealand.
He was speaking at the Tech Dome Appreciation Dinner at E&O Hotel in Penang recently.
In his speech, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the centre would not only showcase science and technology but also be a venue to help spark the interest of young children in science and technology.
He said the idea to set up Tech Dome was first mooted in 2011.
Lim added that Tech Dome Penang would provide a platform for people from all walks of life to discover the wonders of science and technology.
Penang Philharmonic Strings Quartet and the Penang Philharmonic Saxophone Quartet performed at the event.
A Jewellery X-travaganza show by Amee Philips was also held along with auctions and a raffles draw.