Sunday, 30 September 2018

(NST) Penang to consider trackless alternative to LRT

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will study a proposal to build a trackless Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) as an alternative to the proposed light rail transit (LRT) in its mega multi-billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project.

During a question-and-answer session at the PTMP for Penangites forum at Dewan Sri Pinang today, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the new train system last week.

“ART is relatively new. CRCC came to Penang last week and presented the ART to us,” he said.

“But, it will not be fair for us to respond now. Previously, they (Penang Forum) only talked about trams. It is a new product, but we will not rule it out. We will look into it.”

Chow was responding to a presentation by Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui called “Better, Cheaper, Faster Penang Transport Master Plan”.

He hinted that it would be difficult to implement ART in Penang.

“In the video, the train was on an eight to 10 lanes highway. Penang does not have that,” he said.

ART is the world’s first electric-powered train system which was launched recently in two cities in China.

The ART system is said to be more energy- and cost-efficient than LRT.

The train, which has a lifespan of 25 years, only needs 10 minutes of charging for it to travel up to 25km.

About 300 Penangites, including representatives of local non-governmental organisations, attended the forum.

Lim said the proposed Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) had to be scrapped, while the PTMP project should be reviewed.

“Our arguments are backed by facts. More highways will not solve traffic congestion in the state. The only alternative is to improve the public transport system,” said Lim.

“Penangites will only enjoy congestion-free roads for five years. After that we will be back to square one. This is why we are proposing for the PTMP to be reviewed.”

(NST) No talks yet on CCCC taking over MRL

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) has yet to hold talks about the future of the East Coast Railways (ECRL) project with its main contractor, China Communications Construction Ltd (CCCC).

"So far there has been no discussion between MRL and CCCC and we are still waiting for further action on their statements (CCCC)," said a source, when contacted by NSTP Business.

Further, the source said MRL as the owner of ECRL, has yet to receive any feedback from the CCCC.

This is in the light that the Chinese firm was reported to be interested in buying ECRL's equity interest if the government were to resume the mega project.

Commenting further, the source said MRL had no authority to issue any official statement as ECRL was now under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance.

Recently, CCCC vice president Sun Ziyu said it was open to discussions on equity partnerships in the ECRL project which was put on hold by the government since July 2018.

As the main contractor of the mega project, the CCCC is hopeful should the ECRL's project resume and it is willing to take over the equity interest in ECRL.

"In the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) project, we managed to change the role of the contractor to the train operator. We can have more discussion on ECRL.

"We are open to discussions (on the potential of equity partnerships) and we can also adopt the TOD (transit-oriented development) concept in the railway project," he said when met by local media in China last week.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng recently announced that the government has yet to make any decision regarding the ECRL mega project.

"We will make the announcement at the right time as I have to talk to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad," Sun said.

When NSTP business pressed for more details, CCCC declined to provide feedback.

The ECRL's ptoject was suspended since July 2018 due to the actual cost of the project which had burgeoned to RM81 billion compared to the previous government's announcement of just RM55 billion.

ECRL is one of the key components of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative, which includes rail links connecting Selangor to Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

The project was approved by the previous government on 21st October 2016, while engineering, procurement, construction and implementation agreements were signed with the CCCC on 1st November 2016.

(NST) Sabah Pan Borneo Highway project under review for restructuring

LAHAD DATU: Sabah ‘s Infrastructure Development Ministry is reviewing the Pan Borneo Highway in the state, said its minister Datuk Peter Anthony.

He said the review was to look into restructuring to be done in view of leakages.

The recommendations from the review would be forwarded to the Works Ministry, Finance Ministry and the Sabah government, he told a press conference after opening the Festival Sayangi Lahad Datu, here, last night.

He was commenting on Works Minister Baru Bian’s comments that there was a 36 per cent delay involving the project.

Anthony said his ministry had notified the Finance Minister about the matter and believed Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had also updated Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the problem.

He added that his ministry also planned to remove Syarikat Borneo Highway (BHP) PDP Sdn Bhd which was appointed as the coordinator for the project and that the task would be taken over by the Public Works Department which comes under the Sabah Infrastructure Development Ministry. - BERNAMA

(NST) PNB to invest into affordable housing

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) is taking advantage of the country's property market imbalance to explore the affordable housing market which has yet to be fully explored by property developers.

Adding to that, PNB chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Aziz said the current segment of property growth is not balanced with excess supply across commercial and residential categories.

"We intend to manage the inventory of these properties. We will not continue to contribute to the excess supply in the luxury residential segment that has already taken place.

"The oversupply of luxury residential would likely stretch until 2022. So we need to work together to not exacerbate the current situation.

"There is a great opportunity in the property development sector, and affordable housing is one of our current main focus," he said during a media conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.

However, Zeti, who started this job in PNB in ​​July 2018, said that it would be carried in stages.

Her team will study opportunities and risks, while at the same time build on capabilities before exploring future investments.

"It will take time to move into that direction. We need to examine in a comprehensive manner the changes made either in the real estate sector or in other sectors.

"We have to consider the risk factors. What is important is that PNB does not want to make any drastic changes that will affect the market," she said.

Zeti said PNB is currently focusing on balancing its property portfolio.

"Last year, PNB sold its assets in I&P Group Sdn Bhd and this year, we have completed the sale of 90 High Holborn in London.

"Our main property company, PNB Development Sdn Bhd, is also executing several offers, including the sale of land in Kota Seri Langat and the purchase of commercial properties owned by Media Prima Bhd," she said.

Zeti said it is important for PNB, as Malaysia's largest fund manager, to diversify its investment assets across the world.

"This is something that needs to be done gradually. PNB has grown and become very important contributor to Malaysia's economy.

"During my stint at Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), we initially managed our reserves by focusing on developed countries and fast-growing financial markets.

"However, in 2003, BNM move onto investing in emerging markets with just starting one per cent to three per cent of our portfolio size. When we build on our expertise, we managed to increase its size.

"So, this will be the approach we will use on PNB's asset optimisation. We will not be in a hurry," she said.

(NST) Malaysia eyes 30 million tourist arrivals by 2020

GEORGE TOWN: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is targeting 30 million tourist arrivals by 2020.

Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said this would increase the contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product from 14.9 per cent last year, when there were 26.1 million tourist arrivals, to 15.1 per cent.

He said the increase in tourist arrivals proved that tourism promotions had been successful.

“We are now asking for a bigger budget for tourism promotion because it is key to the sustainability of the tourism industry,” he told reporters after flagging off the 2018 Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Penang, here, today.

He said there was a need to go all out to promote the country’s tourism industry as there was stiff competition from neighbouring countries.

He urged tourism organisations to use the tagline, Malaysia Truly Asia, in their promotions as it had proved to be effective in wooing tourists.

Bakhtiar said the ministry was working with the Education Ministry to introduce staggered school holiday breaks according to states to distribute the domestic tourist load.

(NST) Sarawak govt urged to unfreeze land along postponed LRT line

KUCHING: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan is urging the state government to unfreeze land located along the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) line since the project has been postponed.

Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who is also the state’s DAP chairman, said he had received nearly 50 complaints from landowners whose applications to renew land leases had been rejected.

“In the past two months, many landowners have come forward and raised their worries and concerns that they can’t renew their land leases, which will expire in 10 years’ time,” the deputy minister of domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism told a press conference at the state DAP headquarters, here, today.

“They have been informed by the Land and Survey Department that their applications (to renew their land leases) will not be approved as their land have been allocated for future development.

“Most of the affected land is located along the proposed LRT line from Serian to Santubong.

“This is a very serious issue as once the landowners fail to renew their land leases, the land will go back to the state government without compensation.

“So, I urge the state government to unfreeze the land and allow the renewal of land leases.

“The chief minister had announced that the project will put on hold. I believe it will be ceased (eventually).

“It would be an injustice to reject the owners’ applications to renew their land leases.”

Earlier this year, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg announced that the state’s LRT system, covering Serian, Samarahan and Santubong, with three lines more than 150km long, was expected to be operational by 2024.

However, he decided to postpone the project to focus on rural development.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

(NST) Make Penang a home port for cruise ships - MATTA

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) has proposed that Penang to be turned into a home port for cruise ships to cater to the growing cruise market in the region.

Its President, Datuk Tan Kok Liang said this would not only benefit the tour and travel industry, but would also create economic spillovers for other port-related services such as handling, docking, engineering, and refuelling.

“In order to make the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) a home port, we need passengers (for the cruise ships).

“Thus, we have urged the MATTA members to play a significant role to do marketing promotions not only among Malaysians but also tourists from the region,” he told the reporters at the MATTA Fair Penang here today.

Tan said making Penang a home port would create a better option for large cruise ships to call to rather that docking in other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

“The Penang home port stands out from home ports in other countries such as Singapore as Penang is closer to Thailand, one of the favourite travel destinations in the region,” he said.

Tan said he had also submitted a proposal to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng last month seeking tax incentives for tour vehicles and double deduction for cruise ship chartered courses to encourage the adoption of Penang as a home port.

On Sept 6, the Penang Port signed a joint-venture agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises to redevelop the SPCT to accommodate larger ships and the project is expected to be completed by end of 2019. - Bernama

(The Star) Developer to provide fully-furnished student accommodation in JB

JOHOR BARU: Property developer Mah Sing Group Berhad has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology (NMIT) to provide fully-furnished accommodation for students.

Located just 20 minutes away from NMIT, the accommodation at Meridin@Medini has a two-way shuttle bus service to EduCity as well as to Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) Johor.

Students also get to experience the full recreational facilities in Meridin@Medini such as swimming pool, gym, community centre, meeting rooms, tennis court as well as have access to the Meridin Walk Lifestyle Mall and high-speed internet.

Mah Sing’s senior general manager of development (southern region) Benjamin Ong said he was glad that the company was able to provide suitable accommodation for students studying at NMIT.

“Mah Sing is always looking ahead to work with different parties in enhancing the life of the community around our development as it is in line with our company’s vision.

“Following our partnership with EduCity Iskandar Malaysia and i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd earlier this year, this is the third collaboration that we have formed to provide an ideal accommodation to the community studying or working around Iskandar Puteri,” he said.

He also wished students all the best and hope that they could excel in their studies as well as enjoy their life as a student with NMIT.

Meanwhile, NMIT director Dr Mohd Farhan Razali said the maritime industry was growing globally as well as locally and more students were enrolling in NMIT.

“By partnering with Mah Sing to provide the ideal accommodation for our 500 students here at Iskandar Puteri, we believe that this would help to create a conducive living environment for them and enhance their learning experience.

“The location and modern features of Meridin@Medini coupled with the additional facilities provided for the tenants will be able to fulfil the needs of our students.

“We foresee that this partnership will benefit our students in many aspects,” he added.

(The Star) Promise of a luxury lifestyle

Enjoy myriad attractive perks and savings with Mah Sing Group’s customised sales package to help ease the burden of home buyers.

Benefits include low down payment, legal fee waiver for the Sales & Purchase Agreement (SPA) and complimentary interior design package as well as kitchen and electrical appliance vouchers.

Drop by Booth C3 during the Fair 2018 in Queensbay Mall, Penang, from Oct 11 to 14 or contact 04-2913109 to find out more.

The developer will be showcasing three prestigious developments in Penang at the fair.

The projects are Ferringhi Residence 2 in Batu Ferringhi and The Loft and M Vista located in the Southbay township in Batu Maung.

The resort-style Ferringhi Residence 2 combines the allure of natural surroundings with lifestyle amenities to pamper residents, capturing the best of tropical island living.

Spanning 4.02ha, the gated and guarded development comprises three blocks.

The blocks are Tower A which has 10 storeys, Tower B with 32 storeys and Tower C with four storeys, featuring a total 632 units.

Currently on sale is Tower B which houses 478 freehold condominium units available in three different layouts.

The condo units come with spacious built-up space ranging from 1,208sq ft (two bedrooms) to 1,565sq ft (3+1 bedrooms).

The functional and modern residences command panoramic ocean and mountainvistas.

Residents can relax to the accompaniment of the cool breeze and the soothing sounds of nature.

Residents will also enjoy the luxury of signature resort amenities.

They can dip into an infinity pool or Jacuzzi and work up a sweat at the tennis court and gym while the spacious BBQ area is ideal for parties.

The project is also a Green Building (BCAI) with eco-friendly features like an automated vacuum waste collection system.

Ferringhi Residence 2 is easily accessible via Jalan Sungai 1 and is within easy walking distance to the plethora of attractions along Batu Ferringhi including five-star international resorts, beaches and a tourist sidewalk.

As for The Loft, it promises breathtaking views of the island’s southeastern waterfront as well as the cityscape.

The development consists of 156 luxury suites spread across twin 30-storey towers.

There are only three units per floor. Each of the three -bedroom homes is spaciously crafted with living spaces of 1,378sq ft to 1,680sq ft.

They have high ceilings and large windows to convey an airy ambiance.

Completed with vacant possession and in move-in condition, selected units come with extensive private gardens.

Security is assured with the multi-tier card access system.

Facilities are equally comprehensive and include a three-tiered swimming pool, children’s playground, gymnasium and reading lounge.

A sky bridge connects the Sky Lounge and Sky Gym at Level 15.

Another attractive option is M Vista, ideal for first-time home owners, professionals and young families.

M Vista is the latest residential offering in Southbay.

The 23-storey tower features 237 lifestyle suites that are affordably priced from only RM400,950.

Targeted for completion in the fourth quarter of 2021, the units come in five layouts with built-ups of 536sq ft (studio unit) to 1,201sq ft (3+1 bedrooms).

The development focuses on providing convenience to buyers.

There are ample facilities including a BBQ and outdoor dining area, a herbarium filled with edible herbs plus an indoor play area and reading corner for children.

Work out at the gymnasium and then unwind at relaxation corner and secret garden.

It is also complete with a Sky Garden (Level 16) and Sky Lounge (Level 15).

Location wise, both The Loft and M Vista are strategically positioned a mere 1km from the second bridge, 9km to the Penang Bridge and a stone’s throw away from the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.

This provides seamless connectivity to both the mainland and George Town.

It is also within close proximity to the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, Giant Hypermarket, Queensbay Mall, Design Village and the upcoming IKEA Batu Kawan.

Education institutions like the Straits International School and INTI College are nearby too. The fair is open from 10.30am to 10.30pm over four days. Admission is free.

(The Star) The benefits of LRT system

The implementation of a tram system in Penang would lead to higher chances of road accidents.

Penang Island City councillor Nicholas Theng Jie Wey said it was a known fact that roads in Penang were narrow.

“Have you ever wondered what would happen if we installed trams directly onto existing roads?

“If trams that run on ground were to be implemented, we would have no choice but to re-phase junctions, create special lanes and accord road priority to trams.

“The crafting out of existing lanes for dedicated tram lines will choke the present traffic system.

“Although we seek to cut down the number of private vehicles on roads, reducing the lanes is not the right way,” he said during the full MBPP meeting at City Hall.

Theng said Melbourne in Australia recorded close to 2,000 tram-related accidents in 2017.

“This is despite trams having been around in Melbourne for more than 100 years so theresidents there are at least used to the system.

“Can you imagine the chaos that would be unleashed on the roads here with people who have no experience with trams?

“The state should implement a public transport system with the least risk of collisions as well as build infrastructure that caters for most usage.

“The LRT network which is elevated is the wiser choice to preserve safety and provide reliable, efficient and affordable rides for all Penang commuters.

“This way, the safety of other road users is also ensured,” he said.

Meanwhile, a public forum for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), entitled ‘PTMP for Penangites’ will be held tomorrow.

The forum is part of the state government’s efforts to engage and update the public on the implementation of the proposed projects under PTMP.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that in addition to serving as a platform for the rakyat, the forum would also provide an opportunity for the public to better grasp and understand the benefits of PTMP.

The proposed projects under PTMP comprises the Bayan Lepas LRT, Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Highway, Penang South Reclamation as well as the three major roads and undersea tunnel.

Chow said the PTMP was a holistic and integrated transport plan to cater for travel demands in the next 50 years.

He also said PTMP’s primary objectives were to solve the main threats to the sustainable growth of Penang.

Chow listed the main threats, the first being increasing traffic congestion and reduction in productivity, competitiveness and quality of life.

The other threats are shortage of land for affordable housing and absence of public transport infrastructure.

“Members of the public are invited to attend the forum.

“The state looks forward tointeracting with Penangites during the forum,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

The forum tomorrow will be held from 2pm to 4.30pm at Dewan Sri Pinang.

(The Star) Sports complex bags regional awards

The 3.8ha SkyArena Sports Complex, the biggest component in the SkyArena mixed integrated development in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, has won two prestigious regional awards.

Developer SkyWorld founder and group managing director Datuk Ng Thien Phing said the sports complex won the Public Service Architecture and Public Service Development awards at the Asia Pacific Property Awards in Bangkok in May this year.

“We were truly overjoyed when this project was awarded five stars for best Public Service Architecture in Malaysia,” said Ng, adding that SkyWorld would be competing in the overall International Awards in London end of this year to determine the world’s finest property.

SkyArena Sports Complex is poised to be the city’s largest, multi-level and multi-function sports complex housing facilities such as indoor rock climbing, Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool, badminton courts, football field with running track, gym and fitness centre, squash courts, hostel and others.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad visited the SkyArena Sports Complex project site, accompanied by Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and officials from the Federal Territories Ministry and KL City Hall (DBKL).

“I believe the SkyArena Sports Complex will bring up the level of wellness and well-being, and contribute to growing a healthy and vibrant community in Setapak and its surrounding,” said Khalid.

(The Star) New multi-level carpark in Klang ready by next year

It is not possible to build a new multiple storey carpark complex in Klang’s Little India because there is no space available, says Klang Municipal Council (MPK) president Datuk Mohd Yasid Bidin.

He however hopes the parking woes in the area could ease up once the new mult-level parking complex inJalan Raya Timur is completed.

He said the project is being built by KTM Berhad next to the Klang Komuter station.

“The new complex will offer parking for a substantial number of vehicles and it is expected to be completed by next year.

Yasid said currently the council’s observation revealed that a majority of the public parking bays in the area were taken up by motorists who commute on Komuter trains.

He said since there was no park-and-ride facility, many found it convenient to park their vehicles at the public parking bays as it was much cheaper compared to private parking lots in the area.

“I believe KTM’s multiple storey carpark will be able to provide sufficient parking space for many.

“It means there will be more parking space available for motorists as they will not be dependent on the public parking bays alone,” he said.

It was reported that the popularity of Klang’s Little India enclave among Malaysians and foreign tourists was one of the main causes of the daily traffic congestion in Jalan Tengku Kelana.

Lack of parking bays creates more congestion as motorists tend to park haphazardly.

Being the biggest Indian shopping enclave in Malaysia, locals flock to the area to buy Indian products such as sarees, suits and textiles, accessories, delicacies, gold as well as stainless steel items and fresh flowers.

Foreign tourists are especially intrigued by the colourful atmosphere of the street.

During Deepavali season, the congestion is made worse with many who want to experience the festivities and last-minute shoppers hoping to get a good bargain.

Friday, 28 September 2018

(NST) Gamuda posts record core profit property sales for FY2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Gamuda Bhd posted a lower net profit of RM514 million in the year ended July 31 2018 from RM602 million last year due to one-off RM300 million losses on disposal of Splash and a RM4 million impairment on investment in Gamuda Water.

The group said excluding the one-off losses and last year’s one-off impairment loss on investment in Smart of RM98 million, it had achieved a record-high core net profit of RM818 million this year, up 17 per cent from RM701 million last year.

Revenue wise, Gamuda (including its share of joint venture companies’ revenue) achieved a record high of RM7.2 billion this year, an increase of 26 per cent from RM5.7 billion revenue last year.

The higher full-year revenue and core net profit resulted mainly from the higher property sales of the group’s overseas projects in Vietnam and Singapore as well as work progress from its ongoing construction projects.

Gamuda posted a record-high property sales of RM3.6 billion for FY2018, surpassing its RM3.5 billion sales target.

The property sales grew 50 per cent compared with last year’s sales of RM2.4 billion on the back of stronger sales from its two projects in Vietnam, Celadon City in Ho Chi Minh City and Gamuda City in Hanoi, and GEM Residences in Singapore.

Overseas sales contributed 70 per cent of overall property sales. Next year, Gamuda targets RM4 billion property sales from its local and overseas projects.

For the fourth quarter, Gamuda posted a net loss of RM101 million compared with a net profit of RM103 million a year ago. This was due to the one-off losses on disposal of Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) and impairment on investment in Gamuda Water.

Excluding the quarter’s one-off losses and last year’s one-off impairment loss on investment in Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) of RM98 million, Gamuda achieved a core net profit of RM203 million, up one per cent from RM201 million net profit for the same quarter last year.

Property sales stood at RM 1billion during the quarter, with 70 per cent coming from overseas projects in Vietnam and Singapore.

(NST) China Southern Airlines introduces KK-Shenzhen route

KOTA KINABALU: Asia’s largest carrier, China Southern Airlines (CSA), is now flying from Shenzhen to this city, its second direct flight here after Guangzhou.

The inaugural flight is expected to arrive at Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 1.40am tomorrow.

This means there are now 98 weekly flights connecting Sabah and 10 Chinese cities.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew said they hoped to achieve 500,000 China arrivals by the end of this year. The number of tourist arrivals from China totalled 358,000 as of July. Last year, there were 431,026 arrivals from China.

Consul-General of China in Kota Kinabalu Liang Caide said the number of tourists from China had grown over the years as Sabah was an attractive destination.

CSA general manager for Malaysia Eric Xu Wang said: “Today, we will launch our new route from with 7 flights per week with Airbus 320, by providing full services on board,” he said.

“We believe that these new direct flights will give an additional lift to commercial trade and tourism between both countries, and covering a wide range of tourism and cultural exchanges between Shenzhen and Sabah.”

Asked whether the carrier was looking to link other destinations in China with Sabah, Wang said CSA was confident there would be opportunities to open more new routes in the future with tourism developing fast in the state.

On whether the airline would divert some of the Guangzhou or Shenzhen direct flights to east coast cities like Sandakan and Tawau, he said they would have to do market research before making such a move.

(NST) New waterfront set to be created in Butterworth

GEORGE TOWN: The coastal landscape in north Butterworth, between the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) and Jalan Tunku Putra, Teluk Air Tawar, is set to change with the construction of a new waterfront within the next few years.

This follows a supplementary agreement inked between the Penang government and Rayston Consortium (Butterworth) Sdn Bhd to reclaim 650 hectares of the land there.

Today’s signing will push Rayston to start the long-delayed reclamation works since the first agreement was signed way back in 1999.

The company has also been given six months to submit planning approval, including obtaining the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said once reclaimed, the whole area would be developed into a mixed development project, which is set to boost the economy of mainland Penang.

“We are excited with the prospect of the creation of the new waterfront.

“In the economic sense, this massive project will boost the economy of Butterworth and its surrounding areas, especially in terms of logistics and transportation, as the site will be where the undersea project sits, if it proceeds as planned,” he told newsmen here today.

Present were State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus and Rayston director Datuk Ronnie Lim.

Chow said housing, particularly affordable homes, would be among the component in the mixed-development project, in line with the state’s government housing policy.

Meanwhile, Lim estimated the overall reclamation project to be tagged at RM2 billion.

He said the project had been long delayed owing to the relocation of some 1,700 squatters along the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) alignment, Bagan Ajam and its surrondings.

“Since we have settled the squatters, we can proceed with the project.

“And subject to discussion with the Penang government, this will be a mixed-development project,” he said, without revealing specific details.

Under the supplementary agreement, new clauses were added to the 1999 agreement, in which Rayston would hand over 35 per cent of the reclaimed land, about 90.31ha, to the state government, instead of only 5 five per cent or 12.92ha, within six months of the commencement of work.

(The Star) Airport in Ipoh to undergo upgrade

Several facilities at Sultan Azlan Shah Airport will be upgraded to enhance passengers’ experience and improve aircraft traffic control.

Perak Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing said the airport tarmac and open bay would be upgraded and the operations of airplanes and helicopter segregated during the construction.

He said at present, the existing aircraft stands were fully utilised during peak hours and the tarmac was congested with hordes of passengers.

Tan added that the work will include expanding the tarmac to accommodate more aircraft stands.

He was on a working visit to the airport with airport manager Mohd Ali Osman and Tourism Perak chief executive officer Zuraida Md Taib.

Apart from the tarmac, Tan said the open bay for passengers would be renovated to include a covered walkway to provide more convenience and comfort during departures and arrivals.

Tan said there was congestion on the tarmac because aircraft operations for airplanes and helicopters occupied the same space.

With increasing traffic and flights at the airport, he said there was a need to separate them.

He added that such efforts would help Perak and airlines promote the state’s tourism.

Tan said AirAsia would resume its operations in Ipoh to Johor beginning Oct 1.

The main entrance of the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh. 

AirAsia suspended its Ipoh-Johor route in September 2016.

“Our airport is getting busy with higher traffic and more flights.

“The visit today is to ensure the infrastructure and amenities are ready to accept more passenger arrivals with new flights,” he said

“We will always ensure that the airport management, as well as state and Federal Governments will work together to improve facilities at the airport and add more domestic and international flights.”

Meanwhile, Mohd Ali said the works would start in December and expected to complete by the second quarter of next year.

“The cost of the upgrade is about RM1.3mil,” he said.

He said the airport’s passenger arrivals last year was 276,000 visitors, with a total of 112 international and 56 domestic flights recorded in a month.

And as of July, Mohd Ali said the airport received about 190,000 passengers.

(The Star) Sweet deals to ease the burden

Purchasers of Emerald Residence units in Teluk Kumbar, Penang, need to pay only a 1% downpayment.

The developer of this build-then-sell development by TPPT Sdn Bhd has also thrown in a 9% rebate on the selling price as well as free maintenance for two years or a RM10,000 voucher, free stamp duty on the transfer of titles and waiver of legal fees for both the sales & purchase and loan agreements.

Property Talk Sdn Bhd director Steven Cheah, the sole real estate agent for the project, said the balance 90% is only payable upon completion of the development in mid-2019, translating into substantial savings on the instalment interest for buyers.

“The units are priced from RM476,792 or RM428 psf. However, after deducting the early bird incentives and savings on the progressive interest, the actual nett selling price is only RM400 psf,” he said.

“Only reputable and financially strong developers are able to undertake the build-then-sell concept.”

Cheah said that Block B2 of the development would be up for preview at the Fair in Queensbay Mall from Oct 11 to 14.

The low-density Emerald Residence consists of three blocks featuring 441 units designed with spacious internal layouts of 1,114sq ft to 1,183sq ft,

Currently 70% completed, the project has only six units per floor.

Every unit comes with two free side-by-side car park lots for practicality and convenience.

The freehold project is equipped with comprehensive facilities including an infinity pool, gym and recreation area located on Level 4.

It is also installed with fibre optic cables for faster connectivity, and has separate lift access for each block.

Cheah said demand for property in the southern part of Penang island has been growing with the completion of the new RM207.7 million federal road upgrading project between Bayan Lepas and Teluk Kumbar.

“Travelling time from Teluk Kumbar to the Bayan Lepas industrial estate and second Penang Bridge has been shortened via the new flyover and expanded road,” he said.

For more information on Emerald Residence, drop by Booth C7 at the fair.

Those interested can also log on to or call 04-6491221/012-9367389/012-5504001.

The show house at the project site is open for viewing by appointment.

(The Star) Giving city folk an abode amid nature

Having worked in the concrete jungle five days a week, and sometimes more, it is no wonder many of us crave a home away from the busy streets to rejuvenate and recharge.

Property developer Binastra Land understands this and is offering families one of its latest developments – Green Residence@Cheras in Kuala Lumpur – as an ideal getaway.

Located just across the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur city centre, the development provides a residential enclave that is secluded by natural beauty.

“In a truly inspirational and green environment, this development has a true setting within nature. This is how the project got its name, because it is ‘an abode within nature’.

“We want families to experience a home with lavish leafy groves, green islands, pavilions and ponds,” said Binastra Land chief executive officer and managing director Datuk Seri Michael Tan.

The freehold development, which sits on 4ha of land and is Green Building Index compliant, has three blocks of condominiums with 596 units.

The built-ups range from 1,127sq ft to 1,557sq ft and prices start from RM752,158.71 onwards, revealed Tan, adding that the gross development value of the project was RM550mil.

While the facade of all three towers complements the natural contours in a contemporary design composition, its interior is equally stylish with wide and versatile space for a comfortable living.

“The units have up to four bedrooms and five bathrooms. With meticulous design and room-planning, these practical and flexible layouts are everything you need to compose your personal mark of class.”

Sprawled across an elevated plot of land (110m above sea level) within the green lung of the Cheras 9th Mile, Green Residence is built on four key aspects –

balance, greenery, harmony, and safety – all of which are daily enjoyments of life, Tan added.

To encourage residents to have a balanced lifestyle, the development comes with facilities so families can spend time together outdoors, as well as for community building among residents.

“Focusing on wellness, residents can enjoy facilities such as a swimming pool,

a water lounge, relaxation pool, floating gazebos and a well-equipped gym.

“There is also a 1,400m trail of six senses walk, bicycle path and jogging track together with a 7,000 sq ft aromatic garden,” explained Tan, adding that there were two leisure zones for residents to have alone time with coffee and books.

It is also a dream come true for children since there is a water theme park at the development with a 5,000-bubble pool, five aquatic splash and two water playgrounds.

On top of the multi-purpose hall with badminton and full-fledged basketball courts, there is also a cafeteria, sundry shop and nursery.

The project features 1.58ha green sanctuary and landscaping to provide ample green areas when residents venture outdoors and engage in healthy activities.

“There are 30 species of floral and green plants at specific locations for residents’ enjoyment as they take a rejuvenating stroll on lush terrain with undulating walkways,” explained Tan.

With 60 homes per acre of greenery, Binastra Land aims to provide a healthy ecosystem where residents can live harmoniously and co-exist with nature.

As security is the main priority for many housebuyers, residents can be assured of peace of mind at Green Residence thanks to the three-tier security system.

Green Residence is easily accessible from the Cheras-Kajang Highway and is within a short distance of the upcoming MRT station.

The development also recently received the Qlassic Award 2018, a collective effort from the Binastra team, committed to improving and delivering the best to its customers, Tan highlighted.

“It is always our mission to strive and deliver our projects not only in excellent quality and good workmanship but also ahead of schedule.

“Our well-trained staff and skilful workers with years of experience and commitment further make this mission a reality.

“Green Residence has all the makings of a home for generations to come,” Tan concluded.

The development is ready for move in.

(The Star) Subang Jaya traffic dispersal plan to be monitored for three months

The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) will continue to monitor the traffic dispersal plan in the area.

Speaking after the council’s monthly fullboard meeting, MPSJ president Noraini Roslan said, “We will only see the full impact of the new system after a three-month trial phase. If we stop it now, it will be back to square one.

“According to the feedback we have received, road users said the morning traffic is smoother, however, there is still congestion during the evening rush hour.

“The backlog at the Kewajipan and Murni junction has also reduced.”

Noraini added, “It is the responsibility of Shah Alam Highway (Kesas) and Public Works Department (JKR) to improve the intercity connection.

“If the problem is an intercity connection, then it should be solved there, and not by loading the local roads.

“We have to close the junctions along

local roads as roads users are still trying to make a U-turn at the junction near Da Men Mall.”

StarMetro reported on Aug 30 that 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.

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

Then 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. — By OH ING YEEN

(The Star) Khalid: Brace for challenges brought on by ageing society

Kuala Lumpur should brace itself for an ageing population and climate change.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said proper city planning, development and management was critical as 77% of the country’s population lived in cities.

“A large population in our cities will mean urbanisation challenges such as solid waste disposal, traffic congestion, air pollution, limited water resources, inadequate supply of housing and an increase in ageing population.

“Malaysia will become an ageing society by 2040 in which almost 20% will be 65 years old and above, bringing about new challenges in health services and suitable physical city environments,” he said.

“The issue of an ageing society has never emerged before in our national plans. So, now we have to include actions, planning and design to meet with the needs of this part of our community.

“In 2020, Kuala Lumpur will have 2.2 million people, with slightly more than half a million households.

“The city will have 25% young population, which will mean an increasing need for new affordable housing, employment and job creation, as well as everyday needs such as recreational spaces and transportation.

“City planning and management is not just about meeting the needs of the current population, but also the needs of its future citizens,” he said at the World Class Sustainable Cities 2018 international conference at Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur.

Khalid also said the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 which was being reviewed would have to include latest concepts, policies and strategies that have evolved, and were being adopted at national and global levels.

“The KL Structure Plan 2020 was formulated at a time when there were only Millennium Development Goals.

“Then, policies such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or the New Urban Agenda (NUA) were not formulated.

“My immediate concern is to ensure the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, which was prepared incorporating the SDGs and NUA, is gazetted by the end of the year,” said Khalid.

He urged people to adopt green strategies and actions to mitigate the impact of climate change.

“People living in cities will be greatly affected. From food and water shortages, to urban flooding, rising temperatures – all are being felt slowly but surely.

“Green development will ensure comfortable and healthy cities, and will also assist in the more efficient and sustainable use of energy,” he said.

Khalid said people should also strive for our their development mould encompassing each’s rich culture and heritage.

“A liveable city is one with comprehensive basic facilities, infrastructure and good public transportation, neighbourhoods that are safe and comfortable with a clean environment.

“We must always remember that we are Malaysians first, and that we have to encompass our citizens’ needs above all else to ensure a holistic quality of life,” he said.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

(NST) Rawang on right track

IN the early days, Rawang used to be a satellite town of Kuala Lumpur with an economy powered by tin mining.

Throughout the years, it started to expand and today, its population is close to 200,000.

Mah Sing Group Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Ho Hon Sang believes that Rawang is on the right track to become a property hotspot.

“People used to think that Rawang is far and inconvenient, but it’s a different town right now compared with the old days.

“With constantly enhanced connectivity and infrastructure, Rawang is slowly building its name as an ideal place to live. We believe that with the right land, concept and product, the development will see good take-up rates.”

Ho said Rawang was an up-and-coming area in the Klang Valley, and the company found that many house buyers bought their properties there because they wanted to own a landed unit at reasonable price, with the ease of commuting to work in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the town was also attracting investors, who were banking on the affordable property prices to reap profits through capital appreciation.

“Property investment remains a favourable asset class that helps preserve wealth against inflation. Mah Sing has a good history in Rawang and based on the success of our two townships, we are confident that our third—M Aruna— will be well received,” Ho told NST Property.

He said the population in Rawang was increasing with better infrastructure, resources and economic activities. “We have been investing in Rawang because of its location in the northern corridor of Kuala Lumpur.

“It is just 37km away from the Central Business District (CBD) with good road and rail connectivity.

“Back in 2011, we foresaw that with continued urbanisation, demand for residential land was expanding to the suburbs, including Rawang.

With our fast turnaround business model, we knew we could meet the demand for landed properties.

“As a market-driven developer, we understood the needs of the emerging generation of property buyers, and when the 91.5ha landbank for M Residence@Rawang was acquired, it made perfect sense to build a township that provides rapid access to the CBD with the comfort and joy of suburban living.”

Ho said M Residence@Rawang was envisioned as a place for urbanites and city dwellers to call home. “Due to overwhelming response for M Residence@Rawang, we acquired another 63.5ha of prime land just 2km south to build M Residence 2.”

Where growth was concerned, Ho believed Rawang had enough amenities to draw a new generation of homeowners. “This generation does not mind travelling further to work as long as they own a landed property.

“This is why our developments in Rawang have distilled the essence needed by this group.

The crucial factors that property buyers look into are always location, price and accessibility.

“The popular response to M Residence2 once again proved that Rawang has good potential when it comes to property acquisition.

“We are essentially meeting market demand for good quality homes with exceptional concepts and delivered in a timely fashion,” said Ho.

(NST) Danny Tan may inject more assets into Tropicana

TAN Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing, who in the past had injected over RM11billion of his private properties into Tropicana Corp Bhd, may likely sell more assets to the property group.

Tan, the younger brother of Berjaya Group's Tan Sri Vincent Tan, has a wide spectrum of businesses like property development, property investment, resort management, restaurants and leisure through his investments in public and private limited corporations.

According to Forbes, the 63-year-old businessman and entrepreneur's net worth as at July this year was US$990 million (RM4.09 billion).

Tan, who retired after 23 years from the day-to-day operations of Tropicana in 2015, is selling 50.1 per cent of his private firm Peluang Duta Sdn Bhd (PDSB) to the group which he founded in 1992 for RM49.05 million.

PDSB's 70 per cent-owned subsidiary, T Sanctuary Development Sdn Bhd, owns two plots of land measuring 133.182ha in Johor. The land has been earmarked for a mixed development project with a potential net gross development value (GDV) of RM4.3 billion.

The proposed project will comprise 70 per cent residential and 30 per cent commercial, which includes terraced houses, shop offices, urban affordable homes, serviced apartments and an international school.

Tropicana said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia recently that the total purchase consideration was based on RM40 per square foot (psf), which is about 11 per cent discount from the indicative market value of RM45 psf.

Tropicana has entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Tan and his children to acquire the stake in PDSB. This is deemed a related party transaction, as Tan, who is responsible in the development of the Tropicana Golf & Country Club in Petaling Jaya, is a major shareholder of Tropicana with about 70 per cent direct and indirect stakes.

His children—Datuk Dickson Tan Yong Loong and Dion Tan Yong Chien—are the group's deputy group chief executive officer and group managing director, respectively.

Dickson Tan and Dion Tan, as well as Danny Tan's other children, Dillon Tan Yong Chin and Diana Tan Sheik Ni are also major shareholders and directors of PDSB.

Tropicana expects to complete the proposed acquisition of PDSB next month.

Meanwhile, the group said it is bullish on the Johor market, taking into account the increased transaction volume by 11.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the preceding quarter last year.

"The residential sector remains dominant in the overall property market," it said.

Commenting on Tropicana Danga Cove, the group's project in Iskandar, Johor, it said the first residential phase, Ayera Residences has been well received witha100 per cent take-up for the non-Bumiputera units.

Tropicana is launching the second phase in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Riding on the success of Tropicana Danga Cove, this proposed acquisition is timely as it allows the group to increase its land bank size in prime locations in Johor that have positive development value, which can be unlocked immediately upon completion of the proposed acquisition," said Tropicana.

The 112.09ha Tropicana Danga Cove has a projected total GDV of about RM7 billion.

Tropicana is also developing Tropicana Danga Bay in Johor.

(NST) TTDI longhouse settlers seek quick delivery

THE delay of a RM3 billion housing development in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, by Malton Bhd’s 51 per cent-owned unit, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, is affecting the livelihood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) longhouse settlers.

The proposed development —a joint venture between Memang Perkasa and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP)—comprises eight blocks of luxury serviced apartments, between 42- and 54-levels with 1,800 units. It also includes a 29-storey block featuring 350 affordable apartments with 200 units reserved for the relocation of the longhouse families.

TTDI residents are protesting the proposed development as they fear the 10.24ha Taman Rimba Kiara Park — their “last green lung” in the area — would be in jeopardy.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had in mid 2016 approved the housing development on 4.86ha land in Taman Rimba Kiara, which is designated as a public open space under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

It was reported that YWP had carved out the 4.86ha for the proposed development and procured the issuance of a title to itself in 2014, after which it formed the joint venture with Memang Perkasa.

Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents Association chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo said the prejudicial objections raised by TTDI’s residents associations and management bodies against the housing development have caused delay in the construction of the 29-storey block and has directly affected the rights of the longhouse settlers.

He said the settlers have waited for 36 years to move into their permanent homes.

In 1982, DBKL temporarily relocated some 98 families from Bukit Kiara Estate to the longhouses after the government acquired the rubber estate that is now known as Bukit Kiara.

The longhouses were built on a 1.78ha site, which now forms part of the proposed housing development by Memang Perkasa.

The settlers were told that the longhouses were merely temporary shelters and that they would be given proper homes.

According to Sunderam, permanent houses should have been built in five years but the families had been kept waiting longer.

In 2015, a Master Resettlement Agreement (MRA) was signed between YWP and the settlers.

Under the agreement, the settlers were offered permanent affordable housing on land next to the Sri Maha Mariamman temple and opposite the existing longhouses.

“The YWP made an offer of two affordable housing units for each family. The original settler would get a unit for free and a next of kin would be able to buy a unit at half the price, or RM175,000.

“All the families agreed to this and signed the agreement. The affordable apartments are supposed to be completed by next year, but it (the project) has yet to take off because of the dispute between the developer and TTDI residents,” he said.

Sunderam said the settlers hope that the affordable houses would be constructed soon so that they could rebuild their lives.

Recently, about 20 residents of the longhouses handed a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Department asking Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Waytha Moorthy to speed up the construction of the affordable housing project.

The memorandum was received by the minister’s political secretary, Muniandy Ponnusamy.

“Our families including children, 500 people altogether, are still living in cramped and dilapidated conditions. We hope the new government will solve this problem soon,” Sunderam said after handing over the memorandum.

“We know there are people objecting and there have been court proceedings to try and stop the project, but our houses are in a bad state and the residents, who are mostly in their senior years, are in dire need of better homes.”

It was reported that Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad was in negotiations with the developer to scale down the project and find an amicable solution so the longhouse residents get their apartments as promised.

Segambut Member of Parliment Hannah Yeoh had proposed building flats close to the TTDI market for the longhouse settlers, but Sunderam said they prefer to have a permanent home near the Indian temple as promised in the MRA.

(NST) Mah Sing's 'secret garden'

ARUNA means ‘reddish brown’ in Sanskrit and refers to the red rising sun, representing growth and prosperity.

Mah Sing Group Bhd is launching a RM520 million township called M Aruna this weekend in Rawang, a town envisioned to be the new hotspot and growth area in the coming years.

The township is based on the concept of a “secret garden”.

Mah Sing chief executive officer Datuk Ho Hon Sang said M Aruna will be fully developed in three phases. The first launch this weekend is called Aster.

Aster comprises 117 units of two-storey link houses with a built-up area of 1,666 sq ft.

The units are selling from RM506,000. Ho said Mah Sing is targeting first-time house buyers and young families.

He said M Aruna will benefit from the added access to the Latar Expressway and the extension from Jalan Tasik Puteri.

He said enhanced accessibility is one of the reasons why Rawang is gaining traction among people working in Kuala Lumpur.

“We strongly believe that building a property is not sufficient. We should always enhance the lives of our house buyers by going the extra mile to provide services and features. This is why we are constantly seeking for ways to value addour products by providing green features and ample space for healthy and active lifestyles.”

Mah Sing is also offering a furnishing assist plan for Aster’s early bird buyers.

They only need to pay RM15,000 for RM60,000 worth of furnishings which include built-in wardrobes for three bedrooms, kitchen cabinet, lightings, air-conditioners in living room and master bedroom, instant water heater and smart home system, etc.

Ho said with nearby amenities nearby, M Aruna is potentially another quick turnaround project for the group, replicating the success of M Residence and M Residence 2.


M Aruna will provide a green sanctuary to promote sustainability, which is in line with the group’s goal to reinvent space and enhance life.

Mah Sing’s focus is to enhance the lives of buyers by providing premium facilities and creating a relaxing living environment.

One of the main attractions of M Aruna is a “secret garden” with unique landscape that is well-connected from the entrance, said Ho.

The “secret garden” will have a tree house themed playground with child-friendly facilities, a children’s bicycle park with challenging features, relaxing hammock and a half basketball court.

“We invested heavily in these lifestyle features and landscape because buyers appreciate these initiatives as they represent value for money,” he said.

Mah Sing will also adopt the industrialised building system (IBS) using pre-cast technology for M Aruna, as part of the group’s efforts to strive for innovation and enhancement.

“The IBS is environmentally-friendly where it reduces the use of timber. It also reduces construction time and provides for a cleaner site.

“The IBS produces superior quality finish. The quality of IBS components is better as they are pre-cast and pre-fabricated in a controlled environment.”

Ho said IBS also allows reduction in columns to maximise floor space without compromising structural strength or stability.

Ho said M Aruna has also adopted a strict linear layout to ensure the best sun protection.

The houses are arranged in neat linear rows orientating strictly in a north-south direction.

This neat and formal arrangement gives the best alignment in avoiding excessive heat gain in a tropical climate.

“Houses aligned in this manner are cooler, require less air-conditioning and contribute to energy saving in a long run,” he added.

Members of the public are invited for Aster’s launch from 11 am to 7pm on Saturday and Sunday, at the M Aruna sales gallery in Rawang.