Friday, 31 August 2018

(NST) Reminiscing i-City's transformation over two decades

KUALA LUMPUR: Back in 1997, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim flagged off the development of a 72-acre palm oil plantation land in Section 7 Shah Alam with the belief that it will contribute to development of the capital city of Selangor.

At that point, Shah Alam was seen mainly as an administrative and industrial centre for the state of Selangor, and the concept of Shah Alam as part of Greater Kuala Lumpur was still in its infancy.

Fast forward 21 years, i-City as the area is known today, has gone far beyond Anwar's expectations and is now a maturing development that has not only left an indelible mark and changed the skyline of Shah Alam, but has also helped to cement its place on the world map.

Today, i-City is listed by CNN Travel as one of the world’s 25 most colourful and brightest places.

And in the digital space, a word search of "i-City" will generate numerous postings in various social media sites, symbolic of its pervasiveness in everyday lives.

i-City continues to be at the forefront of technological advancements, being the first developer to offer fibre-to-unit connectivity and the first to offer Internet of Things-ready homes to solidify its position as the country’s first-recognized Technology City and among the nation’s first Smart Cities, if not the first.

i-City has also become a magnet for global property and hospitality names with investors and partners from Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Australia and US to count a few.

On the eve of the 61st National Day, Anwar - who is PKR de-facto leader, was in i-City where he, just as it was 21 year ago, encouraged i-City on to newer heights, with the flagging-off of the Frasers Place residences.

Frasers Place will be the first service apartment development by Frasers Hospitality Group in Shah Alam and will be another ground-breaking development in the capital city of Selangor.

According to Anwar, he hoped that his "home-coming" visit to i-City would accelerate the development of the other components of i-City such as The Jewel so that i-City will play its role in the development of Greater Kuala Lumpur.

"I am confident that with its twin tourism and property development visions, i-City will spur the development of Shah Alam very much like how the tourism and property development of KLCC has been a catalyst in the development of Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

(The Star) Osman: It will link southeast Johor with Pulau Ubin in Singapore

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor plans to build a third bridge in Sungai Rengit, Pengerang, Kota Tinggi to ease traffic congestion at the Johor Causeway and the Second Link Crossing.

Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said the bridge would link the southeast part of Johor with Pulau Ubin in Singapore.

He said the state government was curently in discussions with a company interested in undertaking the project.

“If all goes as planned, the bridge will be built within the next three to four years,” said Osman.

He said this during the ground-breaking ceremony for the RM162mil Gerbang Nusajaya Interchange, a project by UEM Sunrise Bhd and Mulpha International Bhd here.

Osman said the project would be implemented under the Private Public Cooperative Unit (Ukas) in the Prime Minister’s Department.

“We will seek approval for the project from the Federal Government and also hold discusssions with Singapore on the third bridge,” he said.

Osman said the Sungai Rengit-Pulau Ubin route was suitable as it was shorter in terms of length for the bridge, at about three kilometres.

He said from Pulau Ubin, there would be undersea tunnel for motorists to reach Singapore’s mainland.

Osman said among the components for the third bridge included common immigration checkpoints for both Malaysia and Singapore authorities instead of separate checkpoints like at the Johor Causeway in Johor Baru and the Second Link Crossing in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah.

He said the project would further boost development and economic activities in Pengerang, apart from the on-going multi billion ringgit integrated petrochemical complex.

“We want to spread development to other parts of Johor and not only within Iskandar Malaysia,” added Osman.

(The Star) Plenty to look forward at developer’s community event

KUCHING: Hock Seng Lee (HSL) is launching a promotions package for its Highfields housing project at Batu Kawa here.

The promotion, which is part of HSL’s Merdeka Sales @ Highfields community event this weekend, includes waived legal fees and stamp duty for sales and purchase agreements, memorandum of transfer and memorandum of charge as well as zero down-payment.

“We have done a market study of houses in the vicinity of Highfields and feel confident our Merdeka promotion is the most attractive,” HSL general manager Ling Lai Kiong said.

“Our focus is on semi-detached homes, terraced homes with internal courtyards and corner terraced units. These house types are in short supply in the area. With the promotion, they are among the best value-for-money homes HSL has to offer.”

Ling said semi-detached units at Highfields’ phase two, priced from RM599,000, were 80% completed and would be ready to move in within the first half of next year.

There will be a free health screening for all visitors to the Merdeka Sales @ Highfields event from Friday to Sunday.

Other activities include a portrait drawing session tomorrow and a remote-control rock crawler competition on Sunday.

“On all three days, there will be guided tours of the showhouse and project, free food and drinks, plus Malaysia flag giveaways,” corporate affairs manager Shirley Loo said.

“This time of the year is about bringing people closer through fun activities. In all our marketing activities, HSL aims to promote healthy living.

“Healthy societies and happy neighbourhoods are the best indicators of any successful housing project,” she added.

Highfields is one of HSL’s earliest housing projects. A third phase is currently in the construction stage.

Located on mixed-zone land with 60 years’ lease, it is surrounded by landscaped verges and green spaces.

The semi-detached showhouse is available for public viewing daily from 10am-5pm.

(The Star) Comfortable beachfront spot for set lunch and cocktails

Beach Blanket Babylon’s daily set lunch will appeal to those who enjoy alfresco dining but not the discomfort from Penang’s tropical humidity.

Part of the scenic seaside bar, it is located in the compound of Thirty-Two at the Mansion restaurant in George Town and is now air-conditioned.

Thanks to the glass panelling, diners can enjoy views of the seafront as they tuck into the three-course lunch, priced from RM45+.

To start off, choose between soup of the day or Mesclun Salad with spicy lemongrass vinaigrette. Homemade bread is also served.

Then it is decision time as there are close to 30 main course options to pick from, with the set priced according to your chosen dish.

The list includes local comfort food such as Char Koay Teow, Vietnamese Beef Pho, Otak Otak Sandwich, Clam Laksa and the signature Crab Laksa Lemak.

Those preferring Western flavours will find the Chicken and Mushroom Pie, Grilled Chicken with Foie Gras Butter, Classic Beer Battered Fish and Chips or Seared Seabass with Beurre Blanc up their alley.

Some dishes such as the 6-Spice Marinated BBQ Chicken or Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Prawns in Crispy Sarong are classics given a local spin.

If you are in the mood to splurge, the Baked Salmon with Almond and Cranberry Crust, Slow-cooked Whole Lamb Shank, Braised Beef Rib and prime steaks may strike your fancy.

Finish the meal with dessert of the day or top up RM5 to switch to the house favourite Sticky Toffee Pudding.

The Set Lunch is available from noon to 3pm daily even on weekends and public holidays.

Beach Blanket Babylon has also added 12 artisan cocktails to its beverage menu, most of them incorporating aperitifs and house- infused liqours.

Sip on unique locally-inspired concoctions like the Teh Te Agave, First Harvest, Jack Lah, The High Road, Eau de Vie and Dragon Eye.

Patrons preferring something non-alcoholic can go for refreshing, juice-based mocktails like Applelicious, Sour Candy or Citrus and Spice.

Opening hours are noon to midnight daily. For inquiries or reservations, call 04-2622232.

(The Star) More temptations for tastebuds

Offering an epic wine list paired with an exciting food menu, The Wine Shop (TWS) has firmly established itself as one of the most vibrant wine bars in Penang.

There are two outlets located at Olive Residency (beside Olive Tree Hotel) in Bayan Lepas and Lintang Burmah in Pulau Tikus.

The former has streamlined its menu and introduced monthly specials as well as a range of homemade cakes.

New on the menu are pear honeycomb salad, mini Johnsonville sausage served with a side of green, spicy caramelised roast pork, scallop spaghetti, artisanal pizzas and dessert on fire called The Banana Foster.

There are also salted egg fish skin salad, roast pork sandwich (ciabatta, sliced roast pork, caramelised onion and tossed salad) and Iberico pork collar (three pieces of grilled collar steak, salad, sauerkraut, mustard and brown sauce).

The pear honeycomb salad with balsamic vinegar dressing offers a refreshing start.

It is a nice balanced dish of sweet, soft and crunchy salad while the scallop spaghetti ala aglio olio is spiced up with bacon bits and deep-fried pork lard.

Adding to the existing pizza list are hand-made artisanal pizzas. There will be at least two flavourful choices made fresh daily. Servings are however limited.

The Banana Foster is prepared by your table. Bananas are cooked in a bubbling pan of butter, brown sugar, rum and cinnamon, flambed with liqueur and served with vanilla ice- cream.

TWS’ perennial favourite of glazed Iberico BBQ pork ribs leans towards the classic.

The ribs are seasoned in a special BBQ sauce for two days to produce heavenly delicious tender meat with a charred edge.

Pair all the decadent creations with the amazing wines from around the globe.

Desserts consist of appetising homemade cakes such as chocolate peanut butter cake, flourless dark chocolate cake and cempedak cake complemented with freshly brewed coffee or tea.

TWS also has its own delicatessen stocked with imported gourmet meats and artisan cheeses.

The dining area is open from noon to 1am while the retail section for the Pulau Tikus outlet starts at 9am and Bayan Lepas at 10am. Both shops are closed on Sundays.

For more details and reservations, call 04-2261824 (Pulau Tikus) or 04-6111885 (Bayan Lepas).

Alternatively, you can log on to or

Thursday, 30 August 2018

(NST) Singapore yet to receive official proposal for third link

SINGAPORE: Singapore has yet to receive any official proposal from Malaysia on a third bridge linking both countries from the eastern side of Johor.

“We have not received any official proposal or communication from Malaysia regarding a third link between Singapore and Malaysia,” a spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement today.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian had earlier today said the state government had a plan to build the third link to ease traffic congestion at the Johor Causeway and second link crossing.

However, Osman said a proposal would first be sent to the federal government for due diligence.

The plan is to link Pengerang, Johor and Pulau Ubin in Singapore via a three-kilometre bridge and an undersea tunnel.--BERNAMA

(NST) Foreigners always welcome to buy property in Johor: MB

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The state government always welcomes foreigners to buy property in the state, said Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian.

He, however, said foreigners were subjected to certain conditions and regulations including they could only buy residential property priced at RM1 million or above.

Osman also stressed that there was no automatic granting of residency to foreigners who purchased property in the state.

“In future, we might increase the prices to RM2 million to protect the interest of local buyers.

“The state government will continue to monitor this matter from time to time,” he told reporters after officiating the ground-breaking ceremony of the RM162 million Gerbang Nusajaya elevated interchange, a project by UEM Sunrise Berhad, here today.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said that foreigners would not be allowed to buy residence units in the US$100 billion (RM410 billion) Forest City project here. BERNAMA

(NST) MRCB net profit improves to RM33.45m in Q2

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd’s (MRCB) net profit rose to RM33.45 million in the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 (Q2 2018) from RM24.04 million a year ago, on the back of a stronger performance from the engineering, construction and environment division.

Revenue declined to RM405.24 million from RM725.27 million previously, it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

MRCB group managing director Imran Salim said: “We are very encouraged to see continued profit growth in the first half of 2018. As anticipated the stronger performance was driven by better margins in our engineering, construction and environment division, which is expected to be a significant contributor moving forward.

“As one of the largest construction players in the country, the division has a good pipeline of contracts to sustain its business over many years,” he added.

The division saw operating profits increase 168.1 per cent to RM41.0 million during the period, mainly due to the progress of the group’s on-going projects and other value engineering initiatives implemented to reduce construction costs.

It has an external order book of RM6.5 billion and an unbilled order book of RM5.1 billion.

The property development and investment division recorded an 8.1 per cent decrease in revenue to RM413.9 million, and saw operating profit fall to RM55.1 million from RM77.9 million in the corresponding period in 2017.

The higher revenue and operating profit recorded in the same period last year was mainly due to the construction completion of the group’s Eastern Burwood apartment development in Melbourne, which was largely recognised in the corresponding period in 2017.

The main revenue contributors in the first half of 2018 were the group’s on-going property development projects, which include 9 Seputeh in Jalan Klang Lama, PJ Sentral Garden City, Sentral Suites and Kalista Park Homes, and the sales of completed units from Sentral Residences, Q Sentral and Easton Burwood.

The sale of a piece of development land in Penang also contributed a profit before tax of RM31.3 million, while recurring income from MRCB-Quill REIT and MRCB Quill Management Sdn Bhd contributed RM9.5 million.

Unbilled property sales at the end of the first half of 2018 totaled RM1.7 billion.

(NST) Malaysia's headline inflation expected to drop to 2.0pct this year with SST

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s headline inflation is expected to ease to two per cent this year despite the reintroduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on September 1

Last year, the country’s headline inflation was 3.7 per cent.

“For us if we can keep it around 2.0 per cent, I think that will be good enough. It may go down lower,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said at a media briefing here today.

“However, it all depends on how the impact of SST is absorbed by the economy and whether there is any illegal profiteering,” Lim added.

He said price impact under SST would generally be halved of that under GST, given that the former’s taxable items coverage was lesser than GST’s.

GST, which was introduced by the previous government in 2015, had 11,197 taxable items, while the impending SST would have 6,405 taxable items.

Lim said the potential price increases should be under controlled, adding that the government had carefully formulated the exempted items in order to minimise the rakyat’s burden.

The rakyat, he explained, would be less burdened by the consumption tax as SST only covered about 38 per cent of the consumer price index (CPI) basket compared to GST’s 60 per cent.

SST has for now exempted 5,443 items, or about 10 times more than GST’s 545 exempted items.

He urged the Customs Department to be more friendly to make it easier for the rakyat to pay the tax.

“The government provides service with a smile - SST. Let's us cooperate together. This is a friendly approach to make this taxation easy for both the government and business players. This is effective to build confidence between customs and the rakyat,” he added.

Lim said so far, nearly 80,000 businesses had registered for the SST.

The government, he said, had made its final decision to exempt sales tax on restaurant operators with an annual turnover of less than RM1.5 million from RM1.0 million previously.

“With the re-introduction of SST, the government will collect RM21 billion per annum compared to RM44 billion from the GST annually.

“The rakyat will benefit RM23 billion in terms of tax savings with the implementation of SST,” he added.

During tax three-month tax holidays, Malaysia incurred losses of over RM10 billion after zero rating the GST in June this year, according to reports.

Lim said the government was still reviewing the taxable items and tax rate, as discussion was on going and subject to changes.

“We will keep reviewing the rate and items, if these affect the economic well-being of the rakyat,” he said.

Lim said the government is expected to start paying the GST refund to affected business operators by next year.

“We will find ways to source the payment,” he said adding that the government was undertaking various measures to monetise its assets and reduce expenditures.

Lim acknowledged the shortfall of RM23 billion but said the government expects to offset the deficit by collecting more income from Petronas, Bank Negara Malaysia and Khazanah Nasional Bhd as well as reducing operational costs.

The government, he added, was expected to rake in RM4 billion of SST collection towards the year-end, and targeted the full collection in 2019 at RM21 billion.

(NST) Singapore-Malaysia to announce joint decisions on RTS, HSR soon

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia will be able to announce their joint decisions on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) and High Speed Rail (HSR) projects soon, said Singapore Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan.

Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is here in Singapore since Wednesday evening and is believed to have continued discussions with Khaw on the projects.

Both Ministers last met on Aug 23 in Kuala Lumpur after having their first meeting on Aug 11.

“Always delightful meeting Minister Azmin Ali, brainstorming ideas on how to further our bilateral relationship,” Khaw who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure wrote on his Facebook today.

“There is so much we can do together, for mutual benefits. He is an inspiring leader,” Khaw wrote further in his posting which is accompanied with two photos of him and Mohamed Azmin.

Discussions between Singapore and Malaysia on the latter’s request to defer the 350km project linking Kuala Lumpur and the Island City is ongoing.

Singapore had on Aug 24 said the HSR Bilateral Agreement remains in force, unless Singapore and Malaysia mutually agree to vary it.

Meanwhile, Azmin is expected to have a packed schedule here.

“Arrived in Singapore this evening on a tight schedule. Series of meetings set for tomorrow,” Mohamed Azmin tweeted late last night.

“Thank you for the warm reception Singapore. Truly appreciated,” he wrote further.

On Aug 23, Khaw had also met Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Anthony Loke in Putrajaya.

The Ministers exchanged views on a broad range of transport issues, including the Johor Bahru-Singapore RTS Link Project and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd Tebrau Shuttle Service. -- Bernama

(The Star) Easy payment plan for homebuyers

Miclebina Properties is making it easier for homebuyers with financial constraints to own a home.

As most homebuyers often have trouble getting the down payment needed to purchase a house, the developer of the Manhattan Condominium in Pengkalan, Ipoh, is offering a 20-year instalment plan.

Dubbed the Wawasan 2020 promotion, Manhattan Condominium buyers are eligible for the special scheme as long as they can secure an 80% housing loan.

“If buyers get an 80% bank loan for the house, they can apply for the instalment scheme instead of paying the 20% down payment in a lump sum.

“They can pay back the down payment over 20 years to the developer without any interest charged,” said Miclebina Properties sales and marketing manager Ken Yap.

Manhattan Condominium is a mixed- development consisting of a business centre, condominiums, semi-detached houses and a hotel.

Located on the prime stretch of Jalan Pasir Puteh, the condominiums come with its own water park-cum-wading pool.

The freehold development is a fully integrated project comprising 436 units across four blocks, with Block C and D already having its certification of completion and compliance (CCC).

Block A and B are expected to be fully completed by next year.

Besides a water theme park, the project also comes with a children’s playground, swimming pool, jacuzzi, sports complex, clubhouse and outdoor facilities such as barbecue pits, golf putting green, reflexology path and yoga sundeck.

The water theme park for children and indoor golf simulator are worth a mention, as these facilities within a residential set-up is the first of its kind in the country.

Each block consists of nine levels and prices range from RM219,000 to RM999,990. There are seven unit sizes, from the standard unit to penthouses ranging from 794sq ft to 2,805sq ft.

The layout ranges from two bedrooms to four plus two bedrooms, and between two and five bathrooms.

The project offers seven-tier security encompassing key card access at the entrance (guardhouse), perimeter fencing, 24-hour patrol, CCTV surveillance, and card access to each block, floor and unit.

There are over 150 CCTV cameras surrounding Block C and D, with more anticipated following the completion of the other two blocks.

There are also plans to improve the amenities by broadening roads and access points as an added convenience for residents.

In addition, all infrastructure including high speed broadband cables have been fitted for the project.

Yap noted that Phase 2 of the project, consisting of Block A and B, will be a boon for investment buyers, as selected units with three or four rooms come with rental guarantee of two years.

“The rental scheme is fixed at RM1,800 for three-room units and RM2,000 for four-room units,” he said.

“We are also offering a new scheme for investment buyers for our two-storey shop office units, where they can own a shop lot with zero risk under the Rent-to-Own scheme.

“By only paying a RM4,000 deposit, they will be renting the unit for RM2,000 a month for two years.

“After that, they can decide whether to continue renting or purchase the unit. If they choose to purchase it, the total rental of RM48,000 paid before this will become part of the down payment,” he said, adding that the scheme would also benefit entrepreneurs, who would not need to spend much for their bricks and mortar.

Yap noted that the built-up area of the shop lots are all 20’x80’ with freehold title.

“By taking up the Rent-to-Own scheme, buyers are able to lock in the shop lot unit price at the current market price of RM650,000 even if they decide to buy it after two years,” he added.

Yap also said the bumiputra reserve units for Block C and D are for sale. For details, call 05-226 1128, 019-463 1293 or 019-475 2318, or visit

(The Star) 30-acre park in Bandar Puteri Jaya opening soon

The largest public recreational park in Sungai Petani, Kedah, has been completed and will open in Bandar Puteri Jaya township in a few months.

Sprawled over 30 acres, it will be a green lung for all to pursue a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

The health-conscious are sure to love its walking and cycling trails with bridges crossing dry creeks and rising up to a lookout platform with a view of the sprawling township.

Catering to joggers are a parcourse and a track equipped with a series of exercise stations.

The park is another enticing addition to the successful Bandar Puteri Jaya developed by OSK Property since 1999 alongside the new township, Yarra Park.

The size of both townships with a combined 2,591 acres makes the multi-award company one of the biggest and successful developers in Sungai Petani.

Both are located next to the Jalan Kuala Ketil trunk road (recently upgraded to four lanes), and are a 10-minute drive from the North-South Highway toll.

Residents enjoy easy access to Alor Setar and Penang while Kulim is also within reach via the Sidam Kiri Road.

In the vicinity are schools, petrol stations, hawker centres, clinics and convenience stores as well as a police station, supermarket and 24-hour KFC drive-thru outlet.

One of the winners of OSK Property’s 20188 Ways to Save package receiving the prize from the company management.

Currently available in Yarra Park is the completed Fairfield Villas. It has 47 affordable luxury double-storey bungalows with spacious gross floor areas of 3,376sq ft to 3,419sq ft.

They are equipped with home alarm systems and are UniFi-ready.

Choose from two facade designs, each with a double -volume living area. Prices start from RM770,000.

At Bandar Puteri Jaya, there is the stylish Louvre Residence with 266 semi-detached homes categorised into Louvre I (220 units, single-storey), Louvre II (24 units, double-storey) and Louvre II Special with an extra room (22 units, double storey).

The low-density completed development blends modern flair with nature’s design. All types have spacious built-ups, high ceilings and concrete imprint covered car porch for three vehicles. The houses are priced from RM338,000 to RM450,180.

Finally, in Bandar Puteri Jaya is the exclusive Roseville, the first strata-titled, landed plus gated and guarded project in Kedah with 220 stylish residences.

These are split into Rosea (138 single-storey semi-detached units), Rosella (72 double-storey semi-detached units) and 10 bungalows. They sell from RM412,000 to RM531,852.

Residents will revel in their own private clubhouse with facilities like a pool, indoor and outdoor gyms, playground, reflexology path and open field.

Visit the show villages for Yarra Park, Louvre Residence and Roseville from 10am to 6pm daily or call 04-4251818.

The developer is now offering the Merdeka Package to mark the upcoming National Day.

It has six amazing offers – free legal fees, stamp duty on SPA and loan, chance to win a car, cash rebate, zero entry cost, 5% rebate for Bumi lots plus a special gift.

(NST) Sentul — where the action is

THIS has been a busy year for property developers in the Klang Valley, based on the number of new launches that took place from January to June.

According to Henry Butcher Malaysia, development activities in Sentul have been especially robust.

The firm said the area (Sentul proper and greater Sentul) is seeing much action from developers which are on a race to satisfy the urban populace looking for residences that not only offer comprehensive amenities but are also close to downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Sentul encompasses Taman Metropolitan Batu to the north, Bandar Sentul Utama and Sentul Pasar, Baru Baru Sentul to the east alongside Sentul East and Sentul West.

It is also close to other hotspots such as Segambut, Gombak, Setapak and the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

Sentul is accessible via the Sentul Link, Sultan Iskandar Highway (formerly Mahameru Highway), the Middle Ring Road 2, Duta-Segambut Highway and Damansara-Ulu Kelang Expressway.

There is also easy access to the city and suburbs via Jalan Kuching, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Genting Kelang, Jalan Kepong and Jalan Ipoh.

“Sentul’s somewhat obsolete past is quickly being replaced by a bigger and brighter future prospect, as gentrification raises the area’s standard of living and returns the area to its past glory as a prosperous railway town.

“With the peculiar architecture of Capers serving as the neighbourhood’s landmark, Sentul has become a much sought-after locality in a short period of time,” the firm said.

By virtue of its economic dominance, the value and volume of property transactions in the Klang Valley is by far the highest in the country.

Sentul itself has gone through rapid changes over the past 15 years.

Henry Butcher said the secondary highrise residential developments in Sentul have a selling price of RM155 to RM970 per sq ft (psf).

The price range caters for buyers from low- , medium- and higher-income groups, with the newer ones pegged towards the higher end of the spectrum at RM600 to RM900 psf.

Among the completed projects, YTL Land & Development Bhd’s The Fennel and The Capers prove to be the costlier options, both priced above RM800 psf, said Henry Butcher.

Unit sizes are generally in the mid-range. Condominium developments in Sentul tend to have built-up areas of 900 to 1,200 sq f.

The largest offering in the area is The Maple (also by YTL Land) up to 2,891 sq ft.

Sentul - a success story

YTL Land has unveiled its master plan to redevelop Sentul Raya, a multi-billion ringgit project which had stalled during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.

Sentul Raya, comprising mainly railway land, was first initiated by Taiping Consolidated’s subsidiary, Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd, which underwent a restructuring exercise.

The Sentul Raya project was a 70:30 joint venture between Taiping Consolidated and KTM Bhd (KTMB).

YTL Corp Bhd was appointed by the government in November 2000 as the new KTMB partner for the Sentul Raya project.

In October 2001, YTL Corp announced its plan to inject RM282 million of property and land-based assets into Taiping Consolidated and to rename it to YTL Land.

The urban renewal project, which started in 2002, became the first private gated park in Kuala Lumpur.

As the 117ha site is divided by the Sentul KTM Komuter station and tracks, the concept of the master plan characterises the two halves differently, thereby forming Sentul West and Sentul East.

Sentul East, on a 43.7ha site, comprises mainly commercial units while Sentul West, which sits on 75.3ha site, features residential properties with lakes, a 14ha private park and the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre which opened in 2005.

Sentul East and Sentul West developments have definitely lifted the image of Sentul.

Not only have property prices for upmarket apartments skyrocketed, but more people are looking at Sentul as their new home because of the “feel good” factor, said a property agent serving the Sentul area.

“Living in Sentul now is like living in Damansara or Bangsar South. It is not like before where people were afraid to move to Sentul, let alone eat there especially at night, as it was notorious for gang fights.

“All that changed in the last 10 years. It is like Sentul has been given a massive makeover after YTL Land came in with their projects.

“Sentul really has been rejuvenated thanks to Sentul East and Sentul West.

“More developers are in Sentul today to take advantage of the situation where the location is on investors’ radar and property prices are moving up steadily,” he told NST Property.

Completed projects in Sentul East and Sentul West are The Capers (condominiums), d6 (retail and offices), d7 (retail and offices), The Saffron (condominiums), The Maple (condominiums), The Tamarind (condominiums) and Sang Suria (condominiums).

Since 2006, property prices for the residential units, which were sold at about RM250 per sq ft, have doubled or tripled in some cases.

“I believe if YTL Land launches a new apartment project in Sentul, meaning out of the Sentul East and Sentul West developments, it will be a sellout as they have a good following. Maybe the market is waiting for some kind of news from YTL Land on new launches,” said the real estate agent.

When YTL Land launched the final block of The Fennel in Sentul East last year, the first batch of dual-key units were sold out in less than 30 minutes.

YTL Land executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian told NST Property in an interview last year a long queue had started forming as early as 3pm a day before the launch.

“The purchasers waited for 19 hours in the mall before the sales gallery opened the next morning,” Yeoh said.

The units, ranging from 1,400 to 1,600 sq ft, were sold at an average price of RM580 psf.

The Fennel’s success amid an extremely challenging business environment was largely due to its stunning design and offering of a modern lifestyle.

Upcoming highrises of Sentul

There are three projects under construction by various developers in Sentul, namely Rica Residence by Fajarbaru Properties Sdn Bhd, M Centura by Mah Sing Group Bhd and Sentul Point Suite Apartments by UOA Group.

Most of these developments are expected to be completed within four years.

Rica Residency is a 39-storey tower with 473 serviced residences.

Rica Residency ranges between 657 and 1,238 sq ft. The launch price for the units were from RM420,000, or RM538 psf.

Mah Sing is developing M Centura on 3.44ha site fronting Jalan Sentul Pasar.

The project has a gross development value of about RM1.3 billion.

The residential project will have practical units with built-up areas of 650 to 1,000 sq ft, indicatively priced from RM328,000, or RM505 psf.

The developer is targeting first-time house buyers and some upgraders.

Mah Sing group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum told NST Property it will launch Phase Two of M Centura in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to approval.

Phase 2 will not be named M Centura because it will be developed based on a new concept and a different master title.

Nevertheless, Leong said Mah Sing will offer affordable products starting from RM350,000.

Phase Two consists of about 1,600 units (ranging from 600 to 1,000 sq ft) and all units are of north-south orientation, he said.

Leong said Mah Sing does not have other landbank in Sentul but is open to opportunities that come along.

“We are focused on increasing our landbank in the Klang Valley to 75 per cent from the current 67 per cent.

“The transformed Sentul is an emerging market with modern amenities and is within reach while still preserving the old world charm.

“Sentul is also situated at the centre of matured townships such as Kepong, Taman Seri Gombak, Setapak, Segambut and Batu Caves. This provides a large catchment of potential homebuyers looking to upgrade to a new development, especially by a developer with good track record like us.

“According to our market survey, new developments in Sentul are generally well taken up and we believe the demand for affordably priced homes in Sentul will continue to grow as there are locals looking to upgrade their homes as well as spillover demand from nearby matured neighbourhoods.”

Leong said M Centura is 8.3km to the Kuala Lumpur city centre and 7.1km to Mont Kiara. It is also close to Damansara.

This makes it both an excellent investment opportunity and a suitable place to stay, especially for working adults who travel to these locations frequently.

The area’s improved infrastructure and mass rapid transit system had garnered the interest of buyers, he added.

Room for all

SENTUL has houses for all income groups.

While the rich are buying in Sentul, there is also room for the low- to middle-income group to own properties in the established locality.

Henry Butcher Malaysia said leveraging Sentul’s popularity are Sky Awani 1 and Sky Awani 2 by SkyWorld Development Group, which are Federal Territories Affordable Home Programme (Rumawip).

“These upcoming Sentul properties start from RM201 to more than RM800 psf.

“Sky Awani 1 and Sky Awani 2 take the lower rung of the price points, costing between RM201 and RM400 psf.

“The highest priced units are found in The Rica and Sentul Point, as they start from RM601 psf,” said Henry Butcher.

It said at the moment, the average price of highrise residences in Sentul is at RM450 psf, but is expected to increase upon the completion of the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Mass Rapid Transit (SSP Line).

Scheduled for completion in 2022, the SSP Line passes Sentul East and Sentul West, complementing the existing KTM Bhd line, monorail and light rail transit (LRT) stations and connecting the area with the rest of the Klang Valley.

“With land mass getting scarce in the Sentul locality proper, it should not be a surprise when future developments further afield will take a chance at branding their projects with the Sentul address, given its natural proximity to the city centre, increasingly wide variety of connectivity options and the eye-catching skyline,” Henry Butcher said.

The Sentul Timur and Sentul LRT stations are both park-and-ride stations under the Sri Petaling Line.

There are also three KTM stations, namely Sentul, Kampung Batu and Batu Kentomen stations that have parking facilities.

(NST) EcoHill 2 Link boon to residents

THE opening of the extended EcoHill 2 Link at the RM5 billion Setia EcoHill 2 township development in Semenyih is a boon to residents in the northern Klang Valley.

SP Setia Bhd executive vice-president Datuk Tan Hon Lim said the link would provide immediate relief to more than 50,000 people in Beranang, Semenyih and Kajang who commute to Kuala Lumpur.

With the opening of the entire stretch, the 5.2km extension of EcoHill Link will reduce the travel time from Beranang to the Lekas-Semenyih Interchange from 30 minutes to a mere 10 minutes.

SP Setia had invested about RM80 million to construct the new link road and improve the existing infrastructure.

“We will work towards to ensure the road construction will be ready before the owners of phase one move into their new homes,” said Tan at the launch recently.

According to Tan, 354 units of double-storey terraced houses and linked semi-detached houses in the township had been completed.

He said with the completion of EcoHill 2 Link, the house owners and the public would have easy access to two new parks in Setia EcoHill 2 — the 6.89ha South Creek and the 7.29ha Adventure Park.

South Creek community park is located at the heart of the township. Its natural flora has been meticulously preserved, with more than 80 native trees carefully transplanted from the original estate.

The Adventure Park located in the highlands has natural landscape preserved for adventurous activities designed for all ages. Adult visitors can enjoy mountain biking and canopy walks, while the younger ones will be drawn to the forest playgrounds and junior wall-climbing activities.

Tan said SP Setia was working on a new housing project in Setia EcoHill 2 called Barras, the first of the starter homes series in the township.

He said Barras would have a collection of 20’ x 70’ double-storey terraced houses, priced from RM513,000.

The houses featuring two types of layout, namely four bedrooms and three bedrooms are expected to be completed in 2020, he said.

(NST) Banking on good connectivity, security

TOWNSHIPS and integrated projects which are located far from Kuala Lumpur but focus on safety and good connectivity can command great value and brisk sales.

Such is the case for the LBS Alam Perdana township in Ijok (between Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Selangor) in northwest Klang Valley.

LBS Alam Perdana is accessible via major highways such as the KL-Kuala Selangor Expressway, Guthrie Corridor Expressway, New Klang Valley Expressway, North-South Expressway and Damansara-Shah Alam Expressway, which is scheduled for completion by the end of next year.

The township’s proximity to Shah Alam, Damansara Perdana, Meru (Klang) and Sungai Buloh is also a key selling point.

Furthermore, the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang is a mere 25km away while the Universiti Teknologi Mara campus is a 6km drive from the township.

Launched less than a year ago, LBS Alam Perdana is a 190ha leasehold site which will be developed over eight phases. It has a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.7 billion.

Developer LBS Bina Group Bhd recently unveiled the third phase called “Rentak Perdana”.

It comprises 856 units of double-storey terraced houses and 28 units of double-storey semi-detached houses.

The GDV is RM475 million.

The built-up area for the terraced unit is 1,420 sq ft and is priced from RM509,900 while the built-up for the semi-detached unit is 1,847 sq ft and is priced from RM888,000.

“Today, the market continues to show interest in affordable landed homes. This is why we are confident Rentak Perdana will be well-received. We had very good response for our earlier phases. Simfoni Perdana townhouses recorded an 88 per cent take-up rate and Irama Perdana double-storey terraced houses were fully sold.

“I believe this positive response comes from the value we show to home buyers, especially by providing a secure environment with our gated and guarded feature. Our aim for LBS Alam Perdana is to build a township that brings people in the community closer together,” said LBS group managing director Tan Sri Lim Hock San.

Simfoni Perdana offered 980 units of two-storey townhouses at 1,191 sq ft and priced from RM368,000 each.

Irama Perdana featured 673 units of two-storey terraced houses (average built-up size of 1,208 sq ft), priced from RM479,900 each.

LBS aims to make LBS Alam Perdana self-sufficient through a good mix of landed residential and commercial developments and affordable homes under federal and state government programmes.

(The Star) MPSJ: Three-pronged plan to ease Subang Jaya traffic in place

Traffic police will be assisting the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to manage traffic along Persiaran Kewajipan at the Da Men Mall junction in Subang Jaya for a week, after the new traffic management system was implemented.

Officers will be stationed at peak hours in the morning and evening.

MPSJ president Noraini Roslan said the police have committed to help for the first week, but said their presence was not a long-term solution.

“We are hoping that after this week, motorists will follow the new traffic management,” she said, adding that the system seemed to be working well as of yesterday.

Noraini said there were other factors that contributed to traffic congestion in the area.

One example was on the rainy Tuesday morning when heavy traffic on the Federal Highway caused a backlog of traffic from Persiaran Tujuan up to Persiaran Murni.

She said there needs to be another traffic dispersal plan for traffic coming from the Federal Highway to Persiaran Tujuan.

Three phases of traffic management changes were made, the first being the right turn closure onto Shah Alam Highway (Kesas) heading to Kuala Lumpur from USJ.

On Aug 18, the right turn lane onto Kesas interchange on Persiaran Kewajipan near Summit USJ Mall was closed.

On Aug 25, traffic lights were calibrated and the turning from Persiaran Kewajipan to Persiaran Murni was closed, as was the U-turn at the same junction.

On a separate note, the MPSJ councillors have been elected as their respective Zones anti-dengue chairman, as requested by the state government.

The councillors will act as first movers for any action or programmes tackling dengue cases in their zones.

MPSJ has recorded 13 hotspots and have been organising gotong-royong throughout the year.

Gotong-royong sessions will be held at seven hotspots, where some of the areas have rat infestation due to a lack of cleanliness, simultaneously on Sept 1 from 7.30am.

The locations are SS15/2, USJ6/2, Taman Subang Mas, Taman Perindustrian TP, Jalan Merpati 4, 6, and 10, Taman Puchong Intan 2, and Vista Pinggiran Ruselia as well as the surrounding commercial area. Bandar Puteri 5 is yet to be confirmed.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

(NST) LBS Q2 net profit down 19.7pc at RM24.07m, upbeat outlook

KUALA LUMPUR: LBS Bina Group Bhd’s net profit slipped 19.7 per cent to RM24.07 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 compared with RM29.98 million recorded in the same quarter last year due to lower contribution from the property development segment.

Revenue was down 12 per cent to RM304.75 million from RM346.88 million before.

For the first half of the year, net profit was almost flat at RM50.13 million versus RM50.81 million previously, while revenue was 7.99 per cent lower at RM544.86 million against RM592.15 million previously.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, LBS said the property development segment recorded lower profits during the first half of the year because the group completed and handed over certain projects in the previous financial year and new projects were still at the initial stage of construction.

Property development accounted for more than 80 per cent of the group’s total revenue.

“While the prospects for the property industry remains challenging, the group’s prospects, moving forward, remains positive with total property sales of RM1.15 billion, as at Aug 28, 2018, total unbilled sales of RM1.72 billion, as at July 31, 2018, anchored by 19 ongoing projects and a total land bank of more than 1,659 hectares,” LBS added.

(NST) KIP REIT buys Aeon Mall Kinta City for RM208m

KUALA LUMPUR: KIP Real Estate Investment Trust (KIP REIT), the first hybrid community-centric retail REIT listed on Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd is buying Aeon Mall Kinta City Shopping Centre for RM208 million.

In a statement, KIP REIT said Kinta City Sdn Bhd had accepted an offer from the Pacific Trustees Bhd for the proposed acquisition of the freehold shopping mall.

The approximately 21-year-old building has a total lettable area of 530,181 square feet and is 100 per cent leased by a master tenant, AEON Co (M) Bhd.

It has an annual rental of RM16.31 million which translates to a gross yield of 7.8 per cent based on the purchase consideration of RM208 million.

The lease is for a period of 10 years from Sept 29, 2015 until Sept 28, 2025 with the option to renew the lease for an additional five years.

The long-term lease would provide a stable source of income for the fund. Furthermore, the lease has a rent escalation mechanism, KIP REIT said.

Given its strategic location and the increasing population in Ipoh, the property was expected to continue to provide stable returns even after the expiry of the master lease.

The acquisition would to be funded by bank borrowings and internally generated funds and barring any unforeseen circumstances would be completed in the first quarter of 2019, KIP REIT added.

Upon completion, KIP REIT’s total asset under management will increase from RM616.2 million, as at June 30, 2018, to RM827.1 million and the total net lettable area will increase from 936,000 square feet to approximately 1.47 million square feet.

(NST) Penang govt unveils 12-year action plan through Penang 2030, mulls happiness index for residents

GEORGE TOWN: Penang today unveiled the Penang 2030 – an action plan which maps out the state’s development in the next 12 years.

Themed “A Family-focused Green and Smart State to Inspire the Nation”, the policy package is the state’s four-prong vision to increase livability to enhance quality of life, upgrade the economy, empower the people to strengthen civic participation an invest in the built environment.

The highlight includes a “Made in Penang” approach to boost a niche manufacturing sector, the adaptation of a “sponge city” in future town planning to mitigate flash floods, and reducing reliance on the federal government in terms of funding.

Penang 2030 will ensure that all policymaking benefits both the island and Seberang Prai as the future of the state relies on the mainland’s potential for growth.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Keow, who described the Penang 2030 as realistic and practical, said it was aimed at making Penang a model state for the country.

He said each of the terms used to express the vision of the state government for the next decade had been chosen carefully.

“Not only are we continuing what has been initiated and accomplished over the last 10 years, we are actually taking things to a new level.

“Our priorities and the assets at our disposal are much clearer to us in the government now, as we move up one more gear in making Penang a model for the nation and the world,” he said in a special event held at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

Present during the two-hour townhall session were members of Chow’s administration, members of parliament, state assemblymen, captains of industries, prominent leaders, representatives from the various non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders.

Chow said the state government planned to involve as many stakeholders as possible for its planning and implementation of policies and would communicate the positive changes and setbacks to the public at all times to remain transparent.

For this, he said, Penang was looking to introduce a happiness index to gauge the people’s reaction to the policies implemented by the state government.

“We will carry out regular surveys on the happiness level of the people through various means, including social media, so that we can have a better grasp of how people are reacting to the many policies we implement,” he said.

Penang Institute has been tasked to help the state government to coordinate, monitor and communicate matters related to Penang 2030.

The public can submit their feedback on Penang 2030 by sending an email to

(NST) Habib Jewels sales grew 30pc during tax holiday period

KUALA LUMPUR: Homegrown jeweller, Habib Jewels Sdn Bhd, has grown 30 per cent in terms of sales over the period of three-month tax holiday, said managing director Datuk Seri Meer Sadik Habib.

Meer Sadik said besides the zerorisation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) beginning June this year, Habib Jewels’ sales were also supported by growing buying trend among consumers over festive season.

“We also seen growing buying trend from the younger generation from our others selling platform, besides our store, such as online shopping websites and television.

“Besides that, buying momentum has also grown as consumers are taking advantage over the tax holiday period,” he told reporters during Habib’s Merdeka Bazaar here today.

He said the company expects the growing buying sentiments for jewelry to continue for the rest of the year, as jewelry were among the items exempted from the upcoming Sales and Service Tax (SST).

“We expect this trend to continue until year end as consumer confidence increases. We are also glad that jewelry remained SST-exempted, similar as in the past,” he said.

Meanwhile, Habib Jewels is celebrating its annual Merdeka sales this year with a special 10-day sales bonanza which began on August 24 until September 2.

The Merdeka Bazaar is an annual celebration in conjuction with Malaysia’s Independence Day as a mark of Habib Jewels’ pride as a Malaysia heritage jeweller.

During the 10-day Merdeka Bazaar, Habib Jewels is offering discounts on selected diamonds and coloured gemstones items up to 70 per cent and RM10 to RM25 per gram for 916 or 999 gold jewellery.

In conjunction with the National Day celebration, customers will be offered exclusive merchandises at attractive prices namely the Malaysian themes 916 gold pendants priced at RM88, gold Jalir Gemilang locket at RM161, pearl earrings priced at RM61 per pair, and men’s moonstone rings in grey and orange priced at RM388 while stocks last.

(NST) SST: Consumers have a choice, spend wisely - Fomca

KUALA LUMPUR: Consumers should exercise wise spending if they do not want to be burdened by the Sales and Service Tax (SST), to be enforced on Sept 1, although some basic essential items are exempted from the tax.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said consumers should understand the SST concept and be able to differentiate it with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was introduced in 2015.

“Prices of certain goods maybe beyond their (consumers) expectation. Hence, they need for them to understand and know the goods that are imposed the tax and those are not,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

Mohd Yusof said the choice would be in the hands of consumers whether or not to spend as some essential items would be imposed tax, especially those categorised as luxury items.

Traders, he said, should reflect their responsibility by displaying the price of goods sold at their

“For restaurants that impose service tax, there should be a notice to inform their patrons that SST is imposed at the premises,” he added.

He also advised consumers to keep the receipts of their purchases to detect any sudden increase in prices of goods after SST.

“Keeping the purchase receipts should be made a culture to check on abuse by traders and to facilitate reports by consumers to Fomca or the Customs Department,” he added.

According to Customs director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy, the SST rate and the list of goods that will be exempted from the tax will be released soon.

He said the list was being finalised and would not be very much different from the one already uploaded at

Based on the list, essential items such as drinking water, flour, egg and several types of fish will be exempted from SST, while electrical appliances, such as washing machine and refrigerator, will have a 10 per cent SST.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said traders who did not register their businesses for the SST before Sept 1 would not face any action by the government if they had valid reasons.

He said the ministry was prepared to give the traders a bit of leeway, but the traders were warned not to misuse it.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, has given his consent to implement the Sales and Services Tax (SST), paving the way for the tax to come into effect on Sept 1.

The King’s approval on Friday last week came after the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara gave their green-light on Aug 9 and Aug 20, respectively. – BERNAMA

(The Star) More flights to and from Penang with new LCCT

GEORGE TOWN: Soon more people can fly in and out of Penang without having to spend a bomb. 

If the plan materialises, the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) by AirAsia will be ready by 2022 to serve its operations and enhance connectivity from Penang. 

Sources said works were scheduled to start next year on a 22ha plot within the Penang International Airport (PIA) complex in Bayan Lepas, subject to detailed design and survey. 

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the LCCT, with a built-up area of 35,000sq m, is expected to be built on the present site of the MAS Cargo Complex. 

It is learnt that the complex, together with the fuel depot and sewerage treatment plant, would have to be relocated to make way for the development. 

One source said the project’s success would depend on the government’s support, such as help in expediting authority approvals for the various stages to complete the terminal. 

“AirAsia is occupying 50% of PIA at the moment and there is no room for expansion anymore. The low-cost airline giant wants to turn Penang into a northern transit hub by having more direct flights from South-East Asia to the state. 

“It also wants to manage the terminal independently from Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB),” the source said. 

AirAsia had been wanting its own LCCT so that it could keep its costs low. 

Its group chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes was earlier quoted as saying that they had proposed the development of a LCCT at PIA during his courtesy visit to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on July 31. 

He said a new terminal would help increase the number of their planes from five to 16 over the next five years, bringing in eight million passengers per annum into the state. 

Earlier this month, the project was highlighted at the state assembly by Air Putih assemblyman Lim Guan Eng, who is also Finance Minister. 

Lim said the present airport in Bayan Lepas only has the capacity to handle 6.5 million passengers a year, but arrivals last year hit 7.1 million and the number is expected to increase to 7.8 million this year. 

The source said a throughput of nine million passengers per annum was being planned, adding that the apron space would accommodate 16 narrow body and one wide-body aircraft bays. 

He said ideally, the operations of LCCT and PIA should be separated because by the time the MAHB carries out its expansion at PIA in five years, it would have to handle 10 million passengers a year at PIA. 

“The congestion caused by the lack of capacity at the present terminal has hindered the growth of operations at the airport. 

“With the LCCT, the full service airlines would be able to expand operations with the release of capacity at the present terminal. 

“It can also complement the current expansion of the Swettenham Pier cruise terminal, which is expected to bring in more tourists once it is expanded from 480m currently to 700m, which would allow two mega-cruise vessels to berth simultaneously,” he said. 

The source also said with the LCCT, AirAsia could increase its connectivity from eight international destinations to 21. 

There would be direct flights from Penang to Bali, Chiangmai, Macau, Hong Kong, Taipei and several cities in China such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Chong­qing, as well as Trichi and Kochi in India. 

AirAsia currently operates 317 weekly one-way flights into PIA. Besides domestic flights, the low-cost carrier flies to Hanoi, Phuket, Jakarta, Singa­pore, Medan, Ho Chi Minh City, Surabaya and Bangkok. 

The present PIA is the oldest airport in the country, having been built in 1935 when Penang was part of the Straits Settlement in South-East Asia ruled by the British. 

It underwent a major upgrade in 1979 to accommodate Boeing 747s, then the largest planes in the world. 

The terminal saw two significant facelifts in 2009 and 2013. 

(The Star) PMO: There are conditions for foreigners buying properties

PETALING JAYA: Purchase of properties does not guarantee automatic residency in Malaysia, says the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). 

This comes a day after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that foreigners would not be allowed to buy residential units in the Forest City project in Johor. 

His office has now clarified that Malaysia imposes certain “conditions and information” for foreigners purchasing properties, irrespective of their nationality. 

The conditions and information, said the PMO, are publicly available. 

“Purchase of properties does not guarantee automatic residency in the country. 

“For foreigners wishing to make Malaysia their permanent residence, there is a government programme called Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H). 

“Conditions are clearly spelt out for those interested and information on this programme is also publicly available,” said the PMO in a statement yesterday. 

But the statement made no reference to Dr Mahathir’s remarks on Monday in which it was reportedly said that foreigners would not be allowed to purchase properties in the US$100bil (RM410bil) project. 

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia “is not going to give visas for people to come and live here”. 

On foreign tourists, it said Malaysia welcomes all tourists, including those from China, adding that there were no restrictions imposed if they meet all the necessary immigration requirements. 

“In the case of China, tourists are given a single entry 30-day visa into the country. 

“Last year, Malaysia attracted some 2.3 million Chinese tourists and is looking to attract up to 10 million in the coming years,” said the statement. 

The PMO also said it welcomes foreign direct investment, which contributes to the transfer of technology, provides employment for Malaysians and the setting up of industries. 

In Putrajaya, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said she had been instructed by Dr Mahathir to form a committee to scrutinise and reassess agreements and deals related to the sale of residential units in the Forest City project. 

Zuraida said besides her ministry, the committee would consist of representatives of the Finance Ministry, Johor state government and developers. 

“That statement (prohibition on the sale of houses to foreigners) will be studied, and we will call the relevant stakeholders for a meeting to discuss the matter,” she told reporters after the National Physical Planning Council meeting yesterday. 

Zuraida also pointed out that the project had no links with her ministry or the council. 

In Johor Baru, former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he was not surprised with the supposed ban, adding that Dr Mahathir had been consistent with his objections to the project. 

“But we in the Umno public policy council felt that it should not be done all of a sudden with just an announcement and targeting one project,” he said. 

Without an official policy as a base, he said the government would be seen to be discriminating against the development of Forest City. 

“It gives the impression that the constraints and restrictions on foreigners to own properties in Forest City were made due to political sentiments and not based on an objective consideration,” said the Umno vice-president. 

Mohamed Khaled said such a move should not just be “exclusive” to Johor but adopted as a “government policy” nationwide. 

He also said the government must provide clear and strong reasons for the move, such as to safeguard the interest of Johor and Malaysia. 

“We urge Forest City to come out and explain about their contributions to the state, including the taxes paid to the state government, social projects for the community and other assistance to the community. All these will help to overcome the prejudice and negative perception of the Malaysian public about Forest City not benefiting locals,” he said.