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Monday, 31 December 2018

(NST) PPI for local production down 2.9pct in November


KUALA LUMPUR: The Producer Price Index (PPI) for local production decreased 2.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in November 2018 from 0.7 per cent in the preceding month.

In a statement today, the Department of Statistics said the decrease in the overall index was mainly due to y-o-y decline in agriculture, forestry and fishing (-22.7 per cent), manufacturing (-1.8 per cent) and water supply (-0.1 per cent).

“Conversely, the index of mining as well as electricity and gas supply rose 4.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively,” it said.

Compared with the previous month, the PPI for local production registered a decline of 2.8 per cent in November which was contributed by the indices of mining (-16.4 per cent), agriculture, forestry and fishing (-6.4 per cent) as well as manufacturing (-0.7 per cent).

Water supply recorded a gain of 0.5 per cent while electricity and gas supply increased 0.3 per cent, it said.

Meanwhile, the agency said the PPI for local production by stage of processing (SOP) slid 2.8 per cent in November from the previous month.

All indices experienced a decline. Crude materials for further processing saw a 10.9 per cent drop, finished goods recorded a 0.9 per cent fall, and intermediate materials, supplies and components shrank 0.6 per cent.

On a y-o-y basis, the PPI for local production by SOP for November dropped 2.9 per cent.

“Indices of crude materials for further processing, finished goods and intermediate materials, supplies and components recorded a decrease of 6.9 per cent, 2.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively,” it said.

(The Star) 4DX cinema opens in Klang Valley

Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) has unveiled the first 4DX cinema auditorium in the Klang Valley.

With the 4D cinematic technology by South Korea’s CJ 4DPlex, movie buffs at GSC 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya can now enjoy a multi-sensory cinematic experience delivered by 20 signature motion and environmental effects.

The media was given the chance to experience this technology at a special screening of Bumblebee at GSC, 1 Utama.

It certainly provided a different experience. The audience could feel the energetic impact during the battles between Bumblebee and the Decepticons (robotic villains), thanks to the vibration effects.

The movie, a blend of action, humour and emotion, was enjoyable to watch in the 4D setting.

GSC chief executive officer Koh Mei Lee said, “After introducing 4DX nearly a year ago at GSC Paradigm Mall in Johor Baru, we are proud and excited to bring this game-changing cinema offering to moviegoers in the Klang Valley.

“The urban audience in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor will appreciate what this new technology has to offer, an enriching cinema experience to allow our customers to experience the magic of the movies with engaging and immersive effects such as snow, rain, motion and more,” she said.

Koh said 4DX provided an opportunity for directors to showcase movies the way they were meant to be felt.

“There are some experiences in 4DX so distinct that they cannot be replicated by a traditional cinema.

“It changes the movie paradigm for audiences from being a spectator to being the participant with a role in the heart of all the action,” she added.

Seventy-five people comprising journalists, bloggers and social influencers were invited to the special screening.

Prior to the movie screening, guests learned about 4D cinematic technology and experienced its effects, including snow, wind, bubbles, scent, water, vibration and warm air.

GSC customers who opt for the 4DX experience will need to pay an RM18 surcharge on top of the normal ticket price to enjoy the special effects.

GSC plans to introduce 4DX in two locations next year – GSC IOI City Mall, Putrajaya and GSC Southkey, Johor Baru.

GSC also plans to open its first ScreenX cinema next year, which is a multi-projection theatre that boasts a 270-degree panoramic experience.

By utilising a proprietary system to expand the screen to the side walls, audiences can go beyond the traditional frame with surrounding imagery that gives a sense of being inside the movie.

GSC operates 433 screens in 50 locations across Malaysia and Vietnam, with 344 screens in 36 locations in Malaysia and 89 screens in 14 locations in Vietnam through a partnership with Galaxy Studio.

For details, visit www.gsc.com.my


Saturday, 29 December 2018

(NST) Stamp duty increase for Properties exceeding RM1 mln now effective July 1, 2019


KUALA LUMPUR: The increase of one per cent in stamp duty for the instrument of transfer for property exceeding RM1 million to RM 2.5 million is now effective July 1, 2019.

In a statement today, the Finance Ministry said the government would maintain the current stamp duty rate for six months from Jan 1 to June 30, 2019 to encourage the sustainability of activities in the real estate sector.

The government had previously during the tabling of the 2019 Budget, announced that the stamp duty would be raised from three per cent to four per cent for this category effective Jan 1, 2019.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Pakatan Harapan government was very concerned and fair in determining a sufficient time frame for the transfer process to be undertaken in the interim before the new stamp duty becomes effective.

“As announced in the 2019 Budget, the government had agreed to grant a 100 per cent stamp duty exemption to first time house buyers for properties priced between RM300,000 to RM1 million,” he added.

He said for houses priced up to RM300,000, stamp duty is exempted on the instrument of transfer and loan agreement for the sale and purchase executed between Jan 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2020.

“For homes priced between RM300,001 to RM500,000, the instrument of transfer and loan agreement is exempted, but limited to the first RM300,000, for the sale and purchase agreement completed between July 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2020.

“However, the exemption is limited to the instrument of transfer for the purchase of houses priced between RM300,001 to RM1 million from any housing developer, from Jan 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019,” Lim said.

He also said the exemption of the stamp duty is aimed at continuing to encourage first time house purchases by Malaysians, improving the purchase of unsold units from developers, as well as boosting the property market,

“This is also a move towards overcoming the increasing residential property overhang,” Lim added. --Bernama

(NST) Msia to boost revenue in 2019 on higher oil price


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is expected to receive a boost in its revenue next year on higher oil price, with the local and global analysts predicting the Brent crude to rebound to around US$72-US$75 average a barrel for 2019.

Some analysts have projected as high as RM1.5 billion extra to the government’s coffers next year.

This will be on top of additional revenue gains of between RM4 billion and RM6 billion from new tax measures and government asset sales, as well as savings of around RM6 billion from the introduction of a targeted subsidy scheme, an analyst said.

According to a Bloomberg survey of oil analysts from the world’s biggest banks, the Brent benchmark is expected to rebound to average US$72.5 a barrel in 2019, more than 35 per cent higher than its current price of US$53.27 at press time.

MIDF Research chief economist Dr Kamaruddin Mohd Nor also expects a rebound in oil price but higher at US$75 per barrel.

“We are expecting the same (oil price rebound). This will be good for the government's coffer,” he told NST Business.

He said in theory, every US$1 per barrel deviation from US$70 a barrel imputed for 2019 Budget will either boost or decline the government’s revenue by RM300 million.

Putra Business School Senior Lecturer and Business Development Manager Dr Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff said this could be a sign of recovery in Malaysia’s economy if the budget is well managed.

“This is an opportunity for Malaysia to manage 2019 Budget better because additional revenue coming from oil in 2019 will allow the government to continue selected subsidised programs for the people especially B40 as well as managing the federal debt better,” he said.

Barclays Plc head of energy and commodities research Michael Cohen in an interview with Bloomberg said the recovery in oil price would be mainly due to reduction in supply and recovery in global economic conditions.

“We could even see something similar to a V-shaped recovery next year, on two very important conditions.

“One, that the reduction in OPEC exports leads to a reduction in inventories. And two, that we don’t see a further deterioration in macroeconomic conditions.”

Bloomberg research house, Bloomberg Intelligence senior government analyst Rob Barnett and BI senior industry analyst Will Hares, said the re-imposition of United States sanctions on energy companies involved with Iran will be a key driver for the global oil market in the first half and beyond 2019.

“Re-imposition of Iran Sanctions oil exports from Iran have declined by about 1.5 million barrels a day since renewed US sanctions were announced in May.

“Geographical diversity means no single concern poses an existential threat to integrated oil and gas companies, but global oil supplies could be reduced by a further 500,000 barrels a day, if not more, on geopolitical factors in Iran and Venezuela, among other countries,” they said.

(The Star) New hotel highlights Johor’s heritage

JOHOR BARU: Care Luxury Hotels and Resorts (CLHR) Management has opened its fourth hotel, which stands tall in the heart of the city.


Featuring 283 themed rooms spread across 27 floors, Trove Johor Baru is strategically located within Iskandar Malaysia and in close proximity to major business hubs, shopping centres and tourist attractions.

Its recent opening ceremony was attended by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi.

The imposing exterior of Trove Hotel in Johor Baru. — ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG/The Star


CLHR director Gan Hong Lee said the group believed that its latest hotel would lift the bar for fellow players and affiliates in the local tourism industry, while vying to be at the top spot of hospitality providers.

“CLHR acquired Hotel Selesa and Metropolis Tower in Jalan Dato Abdullah Tahir in the first quarter of 2017 and has been renovating the hotel blocks ever since.

“The renovation project extends throughout every corner of the building, from giving a much-needed facelift to the 283 rooms, relocating the swimming pool to constructing a brand new pillarless ballroom,” he added.

Among the unique themes, Local Love pays homage to the local heritage of arts and craft in pop art style, while Into the Woods lets guests escape to Johor’s natural heritage.

Straits Affair invites guests to discover Johor Baru’s early significance as a trading post. Fun with Geometry showcases conventional designs and motifs with a modern twist and Precious Moments from the Arabic word Jauhar allows guests to experience local luxury.

The rooms command a magnificent view of the city skyline and capture the splendour and charm of Johor’s storied past.

In addition to that, the development and administrative centre of Iskandar Puteri is only 20 minutes away by road.

It is also easily accessible from Singapore as it is only a few minutes drive from the Causeway.

The group’s three other properties Hotel Granada Johor Baru, Tunamaya Beach and Spa Desaru Coast and Tunamaya Beach and Spa Resort Tioman Island.


(The Star) Negri in the limelight

A change in state government, a by-election through which Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim became Port Dickson MP, and a proposal to make Seremban the regional base for the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer Airbus are the major events in Negri Sembilan this year. 

Similarly, news on the deferment of the 350km KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project which runs through the state, the launch of the restructured and ambitious Malaysian Vision Valley (MVV) 2.0 project and the creation of a non-Muslim affairs portfolio in the state administration are equally important and widely discussed among Negri folk.

Political changes

Without a doubt, the top news for 2018 in Negri Sembilan has to be the defeat of Barisan Nasional at the hands of Pakatan Harapan on May 9.

In the 14th General Election, Pakatan made a clean sweep of all seats in the urban areas in the state and made inroads into some rural areas, but was unable to secure a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

Aminuddin Harun, 51, who won the Sikamat seat for the third consecutive time became mentri besar and his swearing-in before state Ruler Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir at the Istana Besar in Seri Menanti on May 12 went into the annals of the state’s history for being the first non-Barisan state chief executive.

Aminuddin went on to create history when he appointed a member of his state executive line-up to oversee non-Muslim affairs.

This was Pakatan’s general election pledge.

It was a welcome move as the previous administration grappled with issues of illegally built places of worship, poorly maintained and land-scarce non-Muslim cemeteries among others.

To ensure voices of the community are heard, the state government went a step further by appointing a representative from the state Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism Council to sit in the non-Muslim Affairs Unit.

Another initiative by the Pakatan government was the appointment of a deputy speaker in the 36-member state assembly.

This was necessary as the new administration decided to extend the duration of state assembly sitting to enable all lawmakers to have their say in the august house.

The idea was to migrate from the previous system where most state assembly sittings were held for a maximum of two days.

Still on politics, Anwar’s decision to contest in a by-election in Port Dickson in October also came as a complete surprise to Negri folk as talk had been rife that the Prime Minister-in-waiting would be contesting elsewhere, including in his stronghold of Permatang Pauh.

But as widely expected, Anwar not only won the seven-cornered contest with a whopping majority but in such convincing style that five of his challengers lost their deposits.

Negri folk see Anwar’s win as a huge blessing for the state and they expect him to do more rather than focus only on strengthening Port Dickson’s position as one of the country’s premier tourism destinations. 

Fresh initiatives

The people of Negri Sembilan were a tad disappointed when the Federal Government decided to defer the construction of the HSR.

When both Malaysia and Singapore inked an agreement to build the HSR in December 2017, the news delighted the people here as the project would not only be a catalyst for development but also drastically cut travel time.

Thousands of Malaysians living in Seremban and working in the Klang Valley saw the project as godsend as driving to the federal capital was taking a toll on their lives due to heavy traffic.

The HSR service is now expected to only roll out five years later than the original date or by Jan 1, 2031. 

Negri folk are also looking forward to the MVV 2.0 development covering an area of 153,411ha or twice the size of Singapore, which is expected to create about 600,000 jobs over a 30-year period.

The project, envisioned to be a world-class metropolis, is huge as it is expected to attract RM294bil in investments until 2045.

Six important projects covering an area of 10,813ha will be undertaken in the MVV with the first being a 1,135ha high-tech industrial park in Labu near Seremban. 

The other five projects identified under Phase I of the MVV 2.0 are an integrated transportation terminal and downtown transit-oriented development (3,518ha), specialised and integrated logistics services (1,240ha), World Knowledge City (2,000ha), Biopolis and Wellness City (2,000ha) and a Tourism district and bird/river sanctuary (920ha).

People are also excited at the prospects of having Airbus setting up either a final assembly line or a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility within the MVV.

The company has commissioned an 18-month study on the viability of setting up a facility here and if the plan materialises, then Seremban will be home to the French aircraft maker’s fifth facility in the world after Toulouse, Hamburg, Tianjin and Alabama.

The move will also be a huge boost to the MVV2.0 as many more aviation-related support industries will set up operations here.

AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes whose award-winning airline is Airbus’ largest client has also lent his support and pitched for Seremban to become Airbus’s regional home.


Friday, 28 December 2018

(NST) Melati Ihsan sees rise in property, construction activity in 2019


MELATI IHSAN SEES RISE IN PROPERTY, CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY IN 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Construction engineering company Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd expects to see an increase in property and construction activity in 2019 amid the better economic outlook brought about by the government’s initiative to uplift the people’s wellbeing.

Executive Chairman Tan Sri Yap Suan Chee said the outlook for the local construction sector is promising and would benefit industry players.

“For the property development segment, developers remain cautiously optimistic on the current market situation and we expect that there will be a period of adjustment and consolidation to clear existing property stock before an uptrend can be seen.

“The present challenging conditions in the property segment are due mainly to the mismatch of housing demand and supply in the market,” he said in the company’s annual report to Bursa Malaysia.

Nevertheless, he said, amid challenges in the local property sector, the market still offers pockets of opportunities for developers to replenish their land bank in anticipation of a recovery.

And, due to a clearer economic and political direction, certain developers may still implement projects that they had planned or announced earlier, Yap noted.

“We expect positive interest from potential buyers especially in the Klang Valley when it comes to affordable pricing projects or mid-range products.

“Development schemes with the right mix of factors that include location, lifestyle concept, pricing and marketing strategies will perform reasonably well and attract buyers,” he added.

The board of directors is optimistic about the group’s ability to continue to achieve a satisfactory performance for the financial year ending Aug 31, 2019.

Melati Ehsan recorded revenue of RM287.85 million and pre-tax profit of RM3.20 million in the financial year ended Aug 31, 2018.

The revenue represents a 71.29 per cent increase over the RM168.00 million in the previous financial year.

However, the group’s profit before tax decreased by 18.09 per cent in the current financial year despite the increase in revenue, due mainly to the decrease in gross profit margin.

It recommended the payment of a first and final single tier dividend of 1.0 sen per ordinary share (2017: single tier dividend of 1.0 sen per ordinary share), amounting to RM11.9 million with respect of the financial year ended Aug 31, 2018, subject to the shareholders’ approval at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

(The Star) Retail group enhances cashless payments through new card, app

As a show of support to the nation’s cashless society goal, Aeon Group launched its Aeon Member Plus Visa Card and Aeon Wallet mobile app.

The card is a one-for-all card that not only allows Aeon loyalty member card customers to collect double the points at all Aeon Retailer Outlets, but also functions as a prepaid card for cashless payment in-store and online.

Supplementing the functionality of the Aeon Member Plus Visa Card is the Aeon Wallet – the first mobile application system that is launched by a retailer in Malaysia.

This app is linked to an Aeon Member Plus Visa Card and allows for payment via QR code at all Aeon retail stores.

With integrated Visa functionality, the Aeon Member Plus Visa Card is a card that Aeon customers can use to make purchases without having to worry about security. It also supports Visa payWave for faster transactions.

Visa Malaysia country manager Ng Kong Boon said they had worked closely with Aeon to ensure the card was fully integrated with the capabilities of all existing member cards.

“Additionally, this card offers Visa prepaid card functionality, so it comes with all the security features one would expect from leading payment network operators in the world,” he added.

During the launch, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said with the launch of the card and wallet, the company has set a precedence among brick-and-mortar retailers to constantly innovate for the benefit of consumers.

“This will lead to an enhanced shopping experience for consumers, resulting in a higher level of satisfaction among them,” he added.

Aeon Asia Sdn Bhd and Aeon Co (M) Bhd managing director Shinobu Washizawa said the launch was at an opportune time where Malaysians were willing to explore new payment methods that provide convenience.

“On that note, we are convinced that what they need is a catalyst to adopt cashless payments, and we are certain this motivation lies within the Aeon Member Plus Visa Card and Aeon Wallet,” he added.

“We have also made it easier for our loyal customers to enjoy shopping at every Aeon retailer outlet.

“Prior to this, Aeon Co and Aeon BiG had separate cards for customers to collect reward points, but with the new Aeon Member Plus Visa Card, it is accepted at any Aeon outlet, which means shoppers now only need to carry one card.”

The Aeon Member Plus Visa Card and Aeon Wallet are now available to all Malaysians.

Card owners can top up funds at any Aeon Retailer Outlet’s cashier counters, Aeon Credit Service’s ATMs, via internet banking, or the Aeon Wallet mobile app.


(The Star) Thrills and screams await haunted house visitors

A haunted house attraction inspired by The Sacred Riana is now open at the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) in Meru Raya, Ipoh.

Aptly named “Rumah Hantu Sacred Riana”, it features characters from the 2017 Asia’s Got Talent winner’s performances.

Trilogy Magic Factory founder and the attraction’s manager Oge Arthemus from Indonesia, said the ghost house had already received positive comments from those who dared to enter it.

“There are six different ‘ghosts’ to scare visitors in the house.

“Some visitors said they nearly fainted. They told us that they were really spooked but would love to enter the house again,” he said after a media preview of the new attraction.

The haunted house at MAPS opened its door in early December. It is the second of such attraction in the world, with the first one opened in Indonesia.

MAPS chief operating officer Mohd Farid Abdul Aziz said the attraction would be a permanent feature at the theme park.

“When she won Asia’s Got Talent, we were the first to invite her to perform outside of Indonesia.

“During our first meet-up with Riana, we discussed about the possibility of working together. The haunted house is the result of our meeting,” he said, adding that the BoBoiBoy Cattus Coaster and BoBoiBoy Caveteria were two other new inclusions at the theme park.

“We chose Riana because of her aura and talent, which we felt would have a good impact on the theme park,” he said, adding that the magician would be at MAPS at least four times annually for performances or to meet with fans.

“The haunted house will be expanded in the future with more attractions next year,” he added.

Mohd Farid said the theme park had also reduced its admission fee, making it more affordable.

He said the ticket price was RM60 (online purchase) while walk-in visitors would

be charged RM80 per adult and RM70

for children, senior citizens and the disabled.

“For those visiting in the evening, it is only RM35,” he said.


(NST) The once-popular theme parks in Malaysia


THEME PARKS feature a variety of attractions such as rides and games, as well as various events for entertainment purposes, and have become increasingly popular among Malaysians, especially those with families.

There are more than a dozen theme parks in Malaysia. However, at least seven of them have stopped operations due to various reasons.

MIMALAND (1971-1994)

The country’s first theme park is Mimaland, which stood for “Malaysia In Miniature Land”, located in Gombak, Selangor.

The park was famous for its large-scale dinosaur replicas and surrounded by tropical rainforest.

It had a lake for boating and fishing, attracting thousands of visitors every year. Other attractions included a pool, said to be the largest in Southeast Asia.

However, a series of unfortunate events led to the park’s closure in 1994.

According to reports, a Singaporean tourist drowned in the pool in January 1993. In 1994, development in the area caused a minor landslide and safety became a major concern.

Mimaland has been abandoned ever since its closure, but thrill seekers occasionally go there for adventure, despite the area’s dilapidated condition and stories of haunting.

Speculation was once rife that Mimaland would be redeveloped by a joint venture between MPHB Capital Bhd’s 98.2 per cent unit, Mimaland Bhd, and Magna Senandung Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Bandar Raya Developments Bhd.

The proposed joint venture was to involve developing seven parcels of leasehold and freehold land measuring about 131 hectares.

New Straits Times reported in 2011 that the project would include eco-friendly hillside, courtyard and waterfront landed homes set amid natural waterways, valleys and water bodies with mature forest views, with prices starting from RM500,000.

However, in August 2015, the joint venture was terminated. No reason was given for the cancellation.

For property analysts, the cancellation did not come as a “big surprise” as the proposed Mimaland redevelopment project had faced complex technical issues and there had been delays in securing approvals from various authorities.

STARLIGHT EXPRESS THEME PARK, THE MALL (1987-2006)

Starlight Express theme park was located at the iconic The Mall, which was part of the Putra Place Complex opposite the PWTC building and Seri Pacific Hotel at Jalan Putra in Kuala Lumpur. Putra Place was also home to the five-star Legend Kuala Lumpur hotel.

The theme park was popular with children who visited the place after school or on weekends. It was basically “the place to go to”, with The Mall being the largest shopping centre in Malaysia then.

Starlight Express featured thrilling rides such as a swaying pirate ship, Matter-horn and a roller coaster built into the wall named Tornado which then changed to Horror Express. With newer malls entering the market, The Mall lost its appeal.

Sunway Group bought over the Putra Place Complex in 2015 and renamed it Sunway Putra Mall (comprising Sunway Putra Hotel and Sunway Putra Tower) afteramajor refurbishment. The refurbishment project costed more than RM1 billion and took two years to complete.

MINES WONDERLAND THEME PARK, SERI KEMBANGAN (1997-2011)

Mines Wonderland is part of Mines Resort City (now Mines Wellness City), a development by Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB). Mines Resort City was built from the late 1980s on a site which was once the world’s largest open-cast tin mine with a massive hole in the ground measuring 2km long, 1km wide and 200 metres deep.

The park attracted large crowd as it had many attractions to keep a whole family entertained. Among the most popular were the water taxi and cruise along the 60.7ha lake, the Light Fantasy Show and Ice Factory.

Unfortunately, the theme park closed in 2011. CHHB founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew had planned to build a tri-tower on the site, but that did not materialise.

Lee then decided to sell 15.2ha of the area - the site of the Mines Wonderland theme park.

SAFARI LAGOON (1998 - 2007)

Safari Lagoon was the country’s first rooftop water-theme park. Opened in 1998, it was the third-biggest theme park in Southeast Asia.

The park, costing about RM28 million, was situated on the seventh floor of the Pandan Safari shopping mall in Pandan Perdana, at the border of Cheras and Ampang.

It featured animal sculptures and lush greenery for a safari look, as well as a variety of facilities including water slides, wave pools and a playground.

Despite its popularity, the park closed in 2007.

It was reported that the park had operated without a licence for nine years. The illegal operations came to light in January 2007 after a freak accident took place at Safari Lagoon.

The theme park has been left abandoned and in dilapidated and eerie conditions. The mall has also been deserted and become an eye sore since it stopped operating in 2015.

DESA WATERPARK, KUALA LUMPUR (2000 - 2016)

Desa WaterPark in Taman Danau Desa, Jalan Kelang Lama closed on September 30 2016 after 16 years of operation.

The most popular attraction at the park was Thunderbolt, one of Asia’s longest uphill water coasters.

Desa Water Park, operated by Berjaya Group, was popular in its early days, probably because the Klang Valley lacked water parks back then.

But when more such parks, like Sunway Lagoon, were built, Desa WaterPark started to lose its visitors.

The 16.99ha land that housed Desa WaterPark and was owned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall was sold to Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd for a mixed development project.

The project would include high-end bungalows, multi-storey towers and condominiums as well Federal Territories Affordable Housing.

Aset Kayamas has said the gross development value for the project is RM6 billion to RM7 billion.

WET WORLD WILD ADVENTURE PARK, PENANG (2013 - 2014)

This theme park was located at Moonlight Bay, Batu Ferringhi in Penang and was touted as one of Asia’s first seawater adventure parks.

It featured several attractions, such as rock climbing, running tracks and trampolines, and stood out because everything was made out of bouncy inflatables floating on the water.

Unfortunately, less than a year in operation, the park closed rather abruptly. There were complaints that the public beach was not accessible and admission tickets were too expensive.

(NST) Glomac set to launch RM530m projects


GLOMAC Bhd says it is gearing up to launch RM530 million worth of new projects over the next four to five months. For the current financial year ending April 30, the developer expects to launch projects worth RM790 million, collectively.

“We have launched RM397 million worth of properties and sold RM164 million so far in the first half of our financial year. This is good as the whole of last year we sold RM214 million worth of properties.

“More launches are coming in the affordable sector,”said Glomac group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri FD Iskandar.

FD Iskandar said the new launches will take place in Saujana KLIA, Saujana Rawang, Saujana Perdana in Sungai Buloh, and Saujana Jaya in Kulai, Johor.

“We are also launching shop offices in our Lakeside Residences in Puchong, and in Plaza @ Kelana Jaya,” he said.

Plaza @ Kelana Jaya has a total gross development value of RM360 million.

The freehold project is located at the former Kelana Jaya Seafood Centre, which was closed in 2008.

Kelana Jaya Seafood Centre, once a prominent landmark in Petaling Jaya, closed after 18 years in business. The land on which it is located was sold by the PKNS (Selangor State Development Corp) to Glomac Segar Sdn Bhd on April 1 2008.

In the same year, Glomac Segar was acquired by Glomac.

The proposed plan back then was to extend the existing Plaza Kelana Jaya development that would comprise shop-offices, office suits, serviced apartments and a shopping mall. The project was scheduled to be launched in 2009, but put on hold due to unforeseen circumstances.

The new plan for Plaza @ Kelana Jaya features two residential towers (Tower A and B) with a total of 696 apartment units, and 16 units of three-storey shop-offices.

Tower A was launched in August and is about 70 per cent sold while Tower B was launched about two months ago and sales have reached 40 per cent.

“For us, sold means the sale and purchase agreements have been signed. We sold the units in Tower A at RM700 per sq ft (psf), while those in Tower B were sold at RM750 psf.

“The unique selling point for the project is that it is a freehold development and one of the last you will find in this area. It is in a prime location, fronting the LDP (Damansara-Puchong Expressway) with easy access to other major roads. We also have a lake at the back,” said FD Iskandar.

Plaza @ Kelana Jaya is within close proximity to Kelab Golf Negara Subang, Giant Hypermarket, PKNS Sport Complex, Paradigm Mall and the Kelana Jaya light rail transit station.

Glomac is responsible for several successful developments in Kelana Jaya such as Kelana Business Centre, Kelana Centre Point, Dataran Glomac, Plaza Glomac and Glomac Business Centre. They are located either in SS7 or SS8 areas and were completed from 1996.

FD Iskandar said a project with the right product, right pricing and in the right location would never go wrong no matter what the market situation is.

(NST) MVV 2.0 set to drive investments


A NEW plan to develop 153,411 hectares of land in Nilai, Seremban and Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan may boost confidence in the local property market.

The development, known as Malaysia Vision Valley 2.0 (MVV 2.0), which involves an area twice the size of Singapore and part of Greater Kuala Lumpur, is expected to attract RM294 billion of investments in 30 years.

Private companies have purportedly indicated interest to participate in MVV 2.0. They include a company from China which has agreed to invest RM2 billion in Nilai.

The MVV 2.0 will focus on four economic drivers — high-tech industry, services and tourism, education and skills-based research, and logistics, aviation and maritime hub-related activities.

“The development will open up new industries, and more businesses are expected to make MVV 2.0 their new home. As MVV 2.0 is focused on four key economic sectors which are all doing well amid the current market conditions, the build-up for housing is expected. We are looking at thousands of apartments and landed properties for locals and foreigners who will work and live in MVV 2.0,” said a Seremban-based property consultant.

He also expects interest to build up in existing projects like Seremban2by IJM Land Bhd and Iringan Bayu by OSK Property.

MVV 2.0, previously known as Sime Darby Vision Valley (MVV), was given a new lease of life in line with the government’s inspiration to create job opportunities and promote high-tech industry.

The project originally had an estimated gross development value of RM25 billion to RM30 billion.

Under the master plan unveiled in 2009, the project would cover over 32,000ha, to be developed in about 20 years. Key proposed pieces of infrastructure such as high speed railways and highways were identified The MVV 2.0 was launched two weeks ago by Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun.

Aminuddin said MVV 2.0 differs from it predecessor MVV as the restructured development gives priority to investments in the industrial sector.

“Under MVV, the priority was initially housing. We now wish to attract more investors, especially in the clean and green and high-tech sectors, to improve our economy and be able to provide more jobs,” he said.

Sime Darby Property Bhd will be undertaking the MVV 2.0 project as the master developer.

The developer currently owns 1,149ha

within the MVV 2.0 and has the option to acquire another 3,560ha from Sime Darby Bhd within five years from the date of its listing.

The first phase of MVV 2.0 spans over a 30-year development period covering 10,927ha.

Six projects have been identified under Phase One — a hi-tech industrial park (1,135ha), an integrated transportation terminal and downtown transit-oriented development (3,518ha), specialised and integrated logistics services (1,240ha), World Knowledge City (2,000ha), Biopolis and Wellness City (2.000ha) and a tourism district and bird/river sanctuary (920ha).

Sime Darby Property chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said being the master developer will allow the company to extract and enhance the value of its landbank within the MVV 2.0 development area.

The company has been involved in the property sector in Negri Sembilan since 1997 with the opening of the 720ha township in Nilai Impian. In 2012, it unveiled Bandar Ainsdale and the following year, Chemara Hills.

(The Star) KL property prices dip 0.6%


Good location: An aerial view of Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur, like many first tier cities in the region, continue to lead in residential price growth, according to Knight Frank in its Global Residential Cities Index for the third quarter of 2018.
Good location: An aerial view of Mont Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur, like many first tier cities in the region, continue to lead in residential price growth, according to Knight Frank in its Global Residential Cities Index for the third quarter of 2018. 

PETALING JAYA: Property prices in Kuala Lumpur dropped 0.6% during the 12-month period ended September 2018, as cooling measures and rising interest rates continue to affect buyer sentiment.

This is despite the fact that Kuala Lumpur, like many first tier cities in the region, continue to lead in residential price growth, according to Knight Frank in its Global Residential Cities Index for the third quarter of 2018.

“Asia-Pacific remains the top-performing world region, with a 6.2% increase over the 12 months period to the third quarter of 2018, up from 3.3% a year ago,” it said.

Knight Frank Asia-Pacific research head Nicholas Holt added: “While the Asia-Pacific region continues to lead the world in residential price growth this quarter, its pole position is looking more at risk following the introduction of cooling measures, rising interest rates, and waning buyer sentiment.”

The index tracks the performance of mainstream house prices across 150 cities worldwide, of which 44 are from Asia-Pacific.

Six Asian cities, including four from India, made the global top ten rankings, namely Xi’an, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Hong Kong and Surat.

“Of the 150 cities tracked, 123 (82%) registered a rise in residential prices over the 12-month period with several first tier cities such as London, Melbourne, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur seeing prices slip on an annual basis,” said Knight Frank.

“Six Italian cities now sit within the bottom 20 rankings including Venice and Rome,” it added.

Knight Frank noted that the Xi’an’s local government had, in March 2017, eased residency requirements which led to the arrival of over 800,000 new residents, thus strengthening demand and prices.

The city saw a 20% increase in prices during the 12 months period ended September 2018.

“A range of cooling measures have since been introduced, the latest being a two home limit for Xi’an residents and a single property for non-locals. Xi’an tops the index this quarter, registering a price growth of 20%, almost twice the rate of growth of Changsha (10.9%), China’s second strongest-performing city.

“Major Australian cities Sydney (minus 4.4%), Melbourne (minus 1.5%) and Perth (minus 0.5%) all recorded price declines in the last quarter,” Knight Frank said.


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

(NST) Kuala Lumpur sees 0.6pct drop in residential prices in 12 months


KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur is one of the first tier cities that saw residential prices slip on annual basis, a report by Knight Frank showed.

According to its third quarter (Q3) 2018 Global Residential Cities Index, the independent global property consultancy said residential prices in Kuala Lumpur had dropped 0.6 per cent over the 12-month period.

The Malaysian capital joins other first-tier cities that registered overall declines such as London (-0.3 per cent), Melbourne (-1.5 per cent) and Shanghai (-0.2 per cent).

Six Italian cities including Venice and Rome now sit within the bottom 20 rankings. Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Turin represent the three weakest city markets this quarter.

“A mix of economic stagnation, high rates of new supply and affordability constraints are contributing to softening prices in a number of these urban markets,” the report said.

The index tracks the performance of mainstream house prices across 150 cities worldwide, of which 44 are from Asia-Pacific.

Six Asian cities, including four from India, made the global top ten rankings – Xi’an, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Hong Kong and Surat.

On average, it said global prices increased by 4.5 per cent this past quarter with 123 cities registering a rise in residential prices over a 12-month period

It said Asia Pacific remains the top-performing world region, with a 6.2 per cent increase over the 12-month period to Q3 2018, up from 3.3 per cent a year ago.

According to the report, Xi’an tops the index this quarter, registering a price growth of 20 per cent, almost twice the rate of growth of Changsha (10.9 per cent), China’s second strongest-performing city.

Knight Frank Asia Pacific head of research Nicholas Holt said while the Asia Pacific region continues to lead the world in residential price growth this quarter, its pole position is looking more at risk following the introduction of cooling measures, rising interest rates, and waning buyer sentiment.

“A combination of these factors will likely lead to slowing growth momentum as we head into 2019,” he said.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

(The Star) Sunway to dispose of land and buildings to its REIT



PETALING JAYA: Sunway Bhd has proposed to dispose of selected land and buildings to its real estate investment trust (REIT) for a total cash consideration of RM550mil. 

The property and construction group said the proposed disposal was expected to improve the group’s cash flow and result in a net cash inflow totalling RM311.3mil. 

Sunway’s shares closed unchanged at RM1.40 yesterday, while Sunway REIT rose two sen to RM1.64. 

In its filings with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Sunway announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Sunway City Sdn Bhd had entered into a conditional sales and purchase agreement for the proposed disposal of subject lands and buildings in Sunway City to Sunway REIT to enable the group unlock the value and realise its investment in the properties. 

“The proposed disposal enables Sunway group to unlock its capital from being tied-up in long-term assets and allows Sunway group to reinvest the capital in its core business activities,” the company said. 

“The proceeds from the proposed disposal will result in a net cash inflow of RM311.3mil and is expected to improve the cash flow of Sunway group; and part of the proceeds from the proposed disposal will be utilised to repay existing bank borrowings, which is expected to reduce the gearing of the Sunway Group and potentially save RM9.9mil of finance expense per annum,” it added. 

As for Sunway REIT, it said the proposed acquisition would be funded via a combination of its existing and/or future financing facilities. 

The proposed acquisition is in line with the key investment objective of the manager to continuously pursue an acquisition strategy to acquire and invest in properties that are yield accretive with the potential to contribute to the long-term growth in Sunway REIT’s distribution per unit (DPU) and/or net asset value (NAV) per unit. 

“The subject land and buildings are income-generating and are fully occupied. As such, the manager believes that the proposed acquisition will immediately improve the earnings and the DPU to Sunway REIT’s unitholders upon completion of the proposed acquisition,” it said, adding that the deal would provide Sunway REIT with stable and sustainable income stream over the next 30 years. 

Sunway REIT’s property portfolio size was expected to increase to RM7.8bil after the proposed acquisition from about RM7.3bil as of June 30. 

The proposed disposal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. 

Sunway said the subject land and buildings are located at No 5, Jalan Universiti within the 324ha integrated development of Sunway City. 

The proposal entailed the disposal of three parcels of leasehold land, together with buildings (including all fixtures and fittings, services infrastructure and systems located or used in the buildings) which comprise a five-storey academic block along with a lower ground level (south building); a six-storey academic block along with a lower ground level (north building); a 13-storey academic block together with a two-storey basement car park (new university block); four blocks of five-storey walk up hostel apartment; and sports facilities which comprise a football field, basketball court, netball court and tennis court. 

Sunway’s said the total cost of investment (including other costs for refurbishments and renovations of the subject land and buildings) up to Dec 31, 2017, was RM382.8mil. 

Of the RM550mil total proceeds from the proposed disposal, RM238.6mil would be used to repay borrowings, while RM311.3mil would be used for working capital and capital expenditure. 

Sunway said the proposed disposal would improve its earnings per share by about 0.9 sen based on the group’s 4.85 billion shares. 


(The Star) Malaysia’s economy likely to grow in February 2019


Stronger economy: The Department of Statistics says the annual change of LI showed an improvement in October 2018.
Stronger economy: The Department of Statistics says the annual change of LI showed an improvement in October 2018. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's economy is likely to grow in February to April 2019, says the Department of Statistics.

In the “Malaysian Economic Indicators: Leading, Coincident and Lagging Indexes for October 2018” report released yesterday, chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the annual change of the Leading Index (LI) showed an improvement to negative 0.7% in October 2018 from negative 1.7% in September 2018.

The LI is designed to monitor the economic performance direction in an average of four to six months ahead.

Concurrently, he said, the monthly change of LI augmented in October 2018, registering a growth of 1.2% to attain 119.3 points from 117.9 points in the previous month.

“This was primarily due to the increase of real imports of other basic precious and other non-ferrous metals (0.4%),” he said.

Meanwhile, the Coincident Index (CI), which examines the current economic activity, rose 1% in the reference month.

Two components that contributed significantly to the increase were volume index of retail trade (0.5%) and real contributions to EPF (0.2%t), he said.

He added that the annual change of CI grew further to 3.9% in October 2018 as against 3.4% in the previous month. — Bernama


(The Star) Big plans to boost tourism

JOHOR BARU: Johor believes 2019 will see the tourism industry grow and has identified several measures to attract more tourists to the state.


State Women Development and Tourism Committee chairman Liow Cai Tung said in 2017 alone, there were at least 14 million visitors entering Johor from its 14 entry points.

“We had the third highest number of tourists in the country in 2017, after Pahang and Perak.“This is a good indicator and I believe the tourism industry in Johor will see a boom in 2019,” she said.

The Johor Jaya assemblyman said the state government, through Tourism Johor, has been actively promoting the beauty and uniqueness of the state to a broader market segment.She pointed out promoting the state should not solely be the government or industry players’ job alone but also that of the public.

“Social media is a great platform for promoting tourism and the public should make full use of it to show the attractions in Johor to an international audience.

“A simple share on Facebook could reach another part of the world and draw visitors,” she said.

Liow said the Federal Government’s decision to impose a departure levy on international passengers would boost Johor’s position to attract more domestic tourists.

The departure levy is applicable to every international departure at RM20 for Asean destinations and RM40 for other regions.She said despite the depreciation of the ringgit, it would still be an advantage as many foreigners may opt to visit due to affordability.

“We can attract more international tourists, in particular from European countries as Johor is also home to many beautiful islands around Mersing,” she said.

She said each district in the state has its own uniqueness and has the potential to draw tourists if marketed well.


(The Star) New condo coming up in Setapak

The good take-up rate of its existing projects has prompted Platinum Victory to launch Residensi Platinum Teratai, a freehold development within the city.

Located in Jalan Langkawi in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, Residensi Platinum Teratai is targeted to be launched next month and has a gross development value (GDV) of RM360mil.

Platinum Victory is also planning the launch of Platinum Arena in Jalan Kelang Lama with a GDV of RM427mil by the second quarter of next year due to the overwhelming take-up rate of Platinum OUG.

“Despite the soft market, we see demand for well-priced properties, located in strategic locations surrounded by good facilities and amenities.

“Platinum Victory’s success over the years is attributed to our ability to provide quality developments with practical layouts, at the right price to meet market demand.

“We are confident that the property market has the appetite for the products which we are planning to launch,” said Platinum Victory executive director Gan Yee Hin.

Spread across 1.2ha, Residensi Platinum Teratai will comprise 800 units of 928sq ft condominiums.

Besides Platinum Victory’s practical layout that maximises space usage in its design, residents will also enjoy facilities such as swimming pool, convenience shops, cafes, multipurpose hall, gymnasium, kindergarten and more.

Surrounded by amenities such as Setapak Central Mall, a hospital, schools and recreational activities within a 5km radius, Residensi Platinum Teratai has an indicative selling price of RM423,800.

Owners of Residensi Platinum Teratai can reduce waiting time on their property as well as enjoy immediate bank interest savings as the development is slated for completion next year.

To add more value for homeowners, the units are move-in ready condition.

Platinum Victory will furnish the main areas such as the kitchen, living and dining area as well as the master bedroom and a guest room.

For customisation, the interior design will also be shared with homeowners to ease their property ownership journey.

Also in the pipeline for Platinum Victory is The Palette, a lakefront commercial and social development in Setapak.

True to its name, this commercial development will bring splashes of exciting new colour to the charm of Setapak. Featuring al-fresco dining area, restaurants, cafes and pubs, The Palette is envisioned to change the social landscape of Setapak.

“Having established ourselves especially in Setapak, we feel that the time is right for us to introduce The Palette to serve the Setapak community.

“Our vision for The Palette is a place for people to come together in a vibrant social space for everyone where retail and F&B activities will be abundant,” said Gan.

He added that the 3ha commercial development was only available for lease in order for the

developer to maximise the tenant mix.

The Palette will be completed in stages with McDonalds already opened and Aeon Big following suit by the end of this year.

The F&B area is targeted to be fully operational by the third quarter of next year.

Platinum Victory is currently in talks with various retailers to optimise tenant mix.

For details, call 03-4141 8899 or visit Platinum Teratai Sales Gallery @ G-08, PV 21 Condominium, Jalan Usahawan 2, off Jalan Genting Klang, Setapak Kuala Lumpur.


(The Star) Direct-selling company opens second store in Kuala Lumpur

Direct-selling company Shaklee Malaysia has opened its second store in Sunway Visio Tower, Kuala Lumpur.

Its first flagship store is located at its headquarters in Sunway Geo Tower in Bandar Sunway.

With easy connectivity and accessibility, the branch strategically occupies the ground floor level of the tower with a built-up area of 2,212sq ft, including a mezzanine level housing a training room.

Shaklee business leaders lauded the move, saying that Shaklee Independent Distributors in Kuala Lumpur South now have greater access to the company’s range of healthcare products.

Visitors can expect a well-planned space and contemporary interior design along with a wide range of health, skincare, home and personal care products.

The Shaklee store at Sunway Visio Tower is open from 10am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday.

Product and enrolment promotions are available until February next year.

Free health checks and consultation sessions are also being offered until January next year.


(The Star) New administration and policy changes

The appointments of a soft-spoken politician as the chief minister, and a lorry driver as an executive councillor are some of the most-talked-about news in Melaka in 2018.
Also dominating the headlines were the influx of illegal immigrants to Melaka, a case of sexual assault on boys and the state’s frequent flooding problem.


State Parti Amanah Negara chief Adly Zahari, who is known for his soft-spoken and modest approach, was chosen to lead the state government.

Adly’s appointment was strongly supported by eight DAP state assemblymen who made up the majority of 15 lawmakers from Pakatan Harapan, while the 13 other state constituencies are under Umno.

DAP assemblymen expressed confidence in Adly for his track record of being balanced, fair and accommodating as the coalition’s state chief before May 9.

Later in the month, the appointment of Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan as Unity, Human Resources, Non-Governmental Organisations and Consumer Affairs committee chairman became the talk of the town as there were claims that he was formerly a rubbish truck driver.


Tourists thronging The Stadthuys on a weekend, the state government no longer collects parking fee on weekends and public holidays; this applies to tourist hotspots.

Saminathan rebutted the claims, saying that he was previously an entrepreneur owning the trucks and not only a driver.

Back track to January, the then Barisan Nasional state government softened its stance over the issue pertaining to the “Christ the Redeemer” statue at the Portuguese Settlement, which turned into a controversy in late 2017 as it was allegedly constructed without approval from the local council.

The statue was allowed to temporarily remain on the site for the national Christmas celebration. Months later, the current state government assisted in obtaining the approval.

After GE14, the previous state slogan “Don’t Mess with Melaka” was replaced with “Melaka Berwibawa” to spearhead more developments in the state.

The slogan is also to encourage Melakans to transform the state in terms of cleanliness as well as being innovative in business and other fields.

With that change, a series of new policies were put in place and most of them were good news to the local community.

First, the state government did away with a requirement where applicants needed to obtain support letters from state assemblymen and village heads to receive welfare aid.


Adly, known for his modest approach, is the new CM.

Melaka Housing, Local Govern-ment and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Tey Kok Kiew later announced that the state would no longer collect parking fee on weekends and public holidays, including at tourist hotspots.

Some 14,115 parking bays under the Melaka Historical City Council jurisdiction have designated free parking areas on weekends.

Parking fee on weekdays was also reduced.

In August, people of Melaka enjoyed free bus service for several popular routes.

Public Works, Transport and Amenities committee chairman Mohd Sofi Abd Wahab announced that the routes included from Sentral Bus Terminal to Melaka Hospital and Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC), as well as from Sentral Bus Terminal to Transit Wet Market in Bachang.

In September, state Agriculture, Entrepreneur Development and Agro-based Committee chairman Norhizam Hassan Baktee slammed the attitude of illegal immigrants taking advantage of Malaysians’ tolerance and goodwill to evade action from the authorities.


Melaka launched free bus service for several popular routes in August. -filepic

Norhizam claimed that foreigners were running businesses and even trying to influence the locals about political matters.

His statement received positive response from locals, who even commended the Pengkalan Batu assemblyman for his bold words.

However, a month later, Norhizam was entangled in a controversial video where he allegedly berated villagers over the closure of Jalan Pulau Nibong-Taman Akasia in Batu Berendam.

Aldy apologised for the incident but defended Norhizam by describing him as a dedicated exco who needed to improve on his communication skills.

In October, another wave of debates hit the state when two DAP lawmakers accepted datukship.

Datuk Tey Kok Kiew and Datuk Dr Wong Fort Pin were criticised by their party’s leadership for accepting the title.


Melakans are unhappy that many foreigners in the state are running own businesses. -filepic

However, some Pakatan Harapan leaders and Melaka Opposition chief Datuk Seri Idris Utama backed Tey, saying that he deserved the title as he had been a long-time lawmaker.

Dr Wong, on the other hand, apologised to his party leadership for accepting the title.

Melaka also saw various programmes implemented for the benefit of the rakyat, including extension of properties with 99-year leasehold titles as well as education aids for students.

On the crime front, a 31-year-old father of three was sentenced on Nov 1 to a total of 50 years’ jail and four strokes of the cane on six charges of committing physical and non-physical assaults on two teenage boys.

Melaka experienced a fair share of mishaps in 2018 due to flooding. There were as many as 1,081 flood evacuees on Nov 19, with Alor Gajah being the worst affected area.