Friday, 30 November 2018

(NST) Tourism sector to lose out if KL limits 1am closing time

KUALA LUMPUR: Shortening operating hours of entertainment outlets would dampen the tourism market and see the federal capital losing out.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the repercussion on tourism and business operations in the city could be serious, following move to limit operating hours of night spots to 1am.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) ought to take into cognisance that the federal capital not only sees local visitors but also the huge number of domestic and foreign tourists.

“Last year, Kuala Lumpur attracted 12.29 million international tourists, ahead of world-renowned cities such as Rome, Tokyo, Istanbul, Seoul, Miami, Barcelona and Shanghai.

“Curtailing operating hours of entertainment outlets would certainly dampen visitors’ experience and they are unlikely to return for more,” he said in a statement released today.

Tan was commenting on the recent remarks by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad who said the entertainment outlets in the city centre will no longer be allowed to operate past 1am beginning January 2019.

The new regulation, Khalid said, will be strictly enforced and exceptions will only be made for entertainment outlets with special permission to cater to foreign tourists.

Khalid also said these special outlets will be allowed to operate until 5am.

Tan also warned that the capital city would be perceived as less tourist-friendly and this will in turn will affect the tourist arrivals.

He opined that the total number of visitor arrivals will also see a drop.

“The situation would be further exacerbated by the imposition of the airport departure levy effective from January 1 next year.”

“But more impactful would be on tourism receipts and our country’s economy as entertainment outlets affect high-spending tourists the most, including those who are here for business meetings, on incentive tours, attending conferences or participating in exhibitions, popularly known as the MICE market.

“Our country’s economy would suffer, with less vibrancy that businessmen and investors could bring to our shores. It should also be noted that Malaysia’s tourism industry employs 3.2 million people and contributed 22.7 per cent to total employment.”

“As such, closing entertainment outlets at 1am sharp may create a ripple effect on our tourism industry and affect our country’s economy,” warned Tan.

(NST) MAHB to boost online shopping for travellers' convenience

SEPANG, Selangor: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is seeking to partner with airlines to offer travellers the option of shopping online while onboard flights and collecting their purchases at the retail outlets at its airports.

“We're upgrading our airports to cater to the convenience and comfort of air travellers,” said MAHB senior general manager for commercial services Mohammad Nazli Abdul Aziz.

“Our RESET Strategy seeks to better understand air travellers spending patterns so that we will be able to introduce more convenient retail formats.

“In moving beyond the traditional retail business model, we will push for e-commerce in a big way,” he said in an interview here today at the sidelines of the 9th Concessionaires Conferences carrying the theme ‘Gearing Towards the Future of Travel Retail’.

MAHB operates the bulk of the country’s airports but the income it generates from non-aeronautical business such as retail, parking, advertising and rental of commercial space contributes about half of the company’s earnings.

Earlier this year, MAHB ran marketing campaigns with luxury brands such as Innisfree, Dior Backstage and Atelier Cologne that saw a rousing response from big spending tourists from China and the Middle East. 

“Going forward, we seek to collaborate with as many airlines to make shopping and dining at our airports more convenient for travellers. 

“We want to see more air travellers using apps on their smartphones. We want to see travellers click away for their purchases and then collect their goods at the stores at our airports when they disembark from their flights,” he explained.

Currently, there are more than 350 retailers renting commercial space throughout the 39 airports in Malaysia operated by MAHB.

Over the next five years, Nazli foresees higher frequency of online shopping and cashless payments at its airports to boost air travellers’ average spending by as much as fourfolds from RM35 to RM140.

(NST) Ewein's Q3 revenue surges to RM60.6m

KUALA LUMPUR: Ewein Bhd, a property company, registered a positive quarterly performance for the third time in a row this financial year ending December 31, 2018 (FY2018).

For the third quarter (3Q), the company posted a revenue of RM60.56 million, a 108.04 per cent higher than RM29.11 million posted in the same period last year.

A filing with Bursa Malaysia today shows Ewein's positive performance is attributed to contributions from its property development segment, which saw more property units sold, higher percentage of completion and faster construction progress compared to last year.

The company recorded a 9-month cumulative quarter revenue of RM160.06 million, which is 109.68 per cent higher than the revenue registered in the same period last year.

Commenting on the latest financial results, president and group managing director Dato Ewe Swee Kheng remain optimistic on the performance of the remaining last quarter.

"We shall see the group achieving a record high annual revenue and profit for the entire FY2018.

"This will mainly be fuelled by the revenue contribution from Ewein’s City of Dreams development,” he said in a statement.

Currently, through its subsidiary Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, the group is constructing its maiden property development project in Penang, a luxury sea-front development known as City of Dreams in Bandar Tanjong Pinang, overlooking Gurney Drive.

City of Dreams has a gross development value of RM800 million and is situated on a 3.67-acre land.

The 40-storey freehold property development features 572 sea-view units ranging from 1,100 sq ft to 1,350 sq ft in size.

The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

(The Star) Boost for tourism ties with Indonesia

MELAKA: In its bid to promote the state in conjunction with Visit Melaka Year 2019, the state is strengthening its ties in the tourism sector with Indonesia, said Chief Minister Adly Zahari.

In line with this, he said programmes such as Indonesian Information Officer Exchange programme and Indonesian Community Information group would help promote Melaka’s sites of interest.

“We will take the opportunity to show them tourist attractions in the countryside and around the city of Melaka so that they can get a clearer picture, which in turn would help them increase the number of tourists to the state,” he said.

He said this after receiving courtesy calls from five delegations at his office in Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh.

Melaka received 16.79 million tourists last year and targeted 17 million tourists this year.

Adly said apart from promoting tourism, the state government was also keen to exchange information and views to work more effectively. — Bernama

(The Star) Improve air links to interior Sarawak

MIRI: Sarawakians are increasingly affected by problems caused by insufficient rural flights, flight delays and cancellations.

Demand for flights in and out of rural Sarawak has surged as school holiday begins, but the rural air service seems to be struggling to cope.

There is a need to drastically improve rural air service in remote Sarawak, said Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) deputy president Datuk Nelson Balang Rining yesterday.

“The number of complaints on rural flight woes have increased. At least five community leaders from northern Sarawak brought it up in the past few days.

“They said travelling by flights to places like Bario and Bakelalan have become a daily headache for their communities, as there have been numerous flight delays and cancellations on top of the difficulty in booking the seats,” he said.

Balang said the Federal Government through the Transport Ministry must address these woes before the Christmas holidays.

He noted that the ministry had in last year renewed its contract with MASWings for another seven years, but there is a need relook at the present situation.

“The former minister said a total subsidy worth RM190mil will be provided under the contract to MASWings.

“I hope the Pakatan Harapan Federal Government will continue to subsidise rural air services in Sarawak and Sabah.

“The Federal Government must understand the needs of the people here, that we have to rely on low-cost air links that are the only fast way to travel in and out of rural settlements, as the roads are still in very bad conditions.

MasWings fly to about 50 destinations in Sarawak and Sabah now.

He added that Bakelalan constituency needed more airstrips and more daily flights.

“For example, the Long Semadoh area and surrounding villages have a population of more than 2,000 but the Long Semadoh airstrip is no longer in operation for years.

“Over at Bakelalan village, MasWings operates three flights per week from Miri but this is not enough to meet the demand.

He urged the government to revive the Long Semadoh airstrip and reactivate flights that serve these areas.

“We are thankful to the government for their attention but there are still plenty of areas needing better connectivity,” he stressed.

(The Star) Glamping is latest attraction in Teluk Bahang-Balik Pulau eco-tourism belt

After a three-year wait, the Boulder Valley Glamping Site in Penang is open to the public who want to try camping without sacrificing modern comforts.

The place in the Teluk Bahang-Balik Pulau eco-tourism belt offers glamorous camping or ‘glamping’ in short, amid the unique boulders and tropical greens.

It was developed on a 10ha site by Amazing Discovery Sdn Bhd.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the site was an abandoned rubber estate with only earth tracks.

“There were no water supply, electricity or any infrastructure.

“But it has since been transformed beyond my expectations,” he said during the soft opening recently.

The place features tents that are equipped with beds, air-conditioners, water heaters, fans, safes and other necessities.

The rooms are known as Safari Tent, Family Safari Tent, Tented Villa, Family Tent Villa and Grand Tented Villa.

Nature lovers can also hold events in the jungle with facilities like Dining Glass House, Glass House Event Place, Pre-Function Area and the Jungle Glades, where the choice of using glass enables the guests to enjoy natural viewsof the environment.

Day trips are also available for those who are not into glamping but wish to enjoy the wildlife ambience of Boulder Valley.

It is open from noon to 7pm with RM30 per entry. The money paid can be used as dining vouchers at the restaurant.

Chow said he was impressed by the owners – Amazing Discovery Sdn Bhd – who preserved the original environment while making it more convenient to others.

“This is an example of sustainable eco-tourism practice.

“The way the owners preserved the natural environment while releasing the economic potential isremarkable, as only 4.5% of the 10ha has been used as built-up area.

“I first heard of glamping from Amazing Discovery Sdn Bhd five years ago.

“Today, it has become a trend and lifestyle in Malaysia.

“The state government willgive its utmost assistance to all eco-tourism players as this is an important sector in the tourism industry,” he said.

Owner Heah Gek Huah said phases two and three of the project were in the pipeline.

They involve the building of a 120-room eco-hotel, 36 villas, 40 chalets and 100 ‘Bird Nest’ villas.

He thanked the state and federal governments as well as the local authorities for helping to make the project a success.

(The Star) Lively collaboration for Gamuda’s latest development

Gamuda Land has entered into partnership with six parties to liven up its Gamuda Cove township launched in September.

The developer announced that a 20ha recreational area called the Discovery Park will become its first tourism and hangout spot within Gamuda Cove.

Gamuda Land recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the six partners at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club, Kota Kemuning.

Signing the MoU with Gamuda Land’s chief executive officer Ngan Chee Meng were Invade chief executive officer Kent Teo, Kitchen Mafia founder Sherson Lian, Aerophile Group general manager Matthieu Gobbi, Blastarcars Malaysia chief executive officer John Wong Tue King, AKA Balloon chief executive officer Nur Izzati Khairudin and Caravan Serai managing director Chua Teik Huang.

They will provide key activities in the Discovery park, such as Blastacars Drift Kart, the Aerobar, glamour camping (glamping) as well as hot air balloon rides.

Discovery Park is designed as the next tourism and entertainment centre for the Southern Klang Valley and will offer thrills, fun, spectacular sights and even nature spots.

Ngan said when the Gamuda Cove project started about two years ago, “one of the things we realised is we need to bring vibrancy to our townships and this (Discovery Park) is the best way to bring in entertainment and leisure.”

Ngan also shared that Gamuda Cove is the culmination of a 20-year experience of learning from all its projects.

“Most importantly,” he added, “is bringing new elements that make sense to new generations.

“We have a nice range of Malaysian food that will be very attractive to a lot of tourists.

“So we see that opportunity to showcase Malaysian hospitality and what Malaysia has to offer. We’ll bring many things Malaysian into the Discovery Park.”

As a taste of the excitement to come, AKA Balloon prepared two tethered hot air balloons on the golfing greens for VIPs and guests to experience a hot air balloon ride.

Ngan said Gamuda Cove provided an opportunity as it lies at the gateway of Kuala Lumpur where tourists come and go, as well as those travelling north and south of Malaysia.

“We seek to make it more vibrant, which will bring in a lot of people, a lot of footfall, a lot of activities that at the end, will make sense for people to stay there, to make a home of the place.

“Their home will become part of the leisure, entertainment and work within the area,” he said.

Ngan also shared that as the Discovery Park is part of the bigger business centre district of Gamuda Cove, there will be opportunities to add other components such as hotels, retirement homes and education institutions like universities.

He also said companies can become inspired by the development and choose to set up businesses in Malaysia to invest.

“Hopefully they will make an address in Gamuda Cove. That’s our ultimate aim,” he added.

(The Star) Boosting buyers’ potential to own first home

The recent budget tabulation is a positive move towards encouraging house buyers, particularly first-timers, to own their first home, according to Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Southeast Asia Economic Studies Programme director Dr Yeah Kim Leng.

“This incentive is provided for purchases in the first six months of 2019. The sizeable stamp duty savings together with the price reduction promised by developers due to the abolishment of the GST will have a positive impact on consumer confidence as the lower price and budget incentive are expected to spur sales,” he said.

Yeah added that initiatives such as the National Home Ownership Campaign would help not only buyers but also developers.

Under the campaign, developers will offer a 10% discount on existing unsold properties.

He added that during the campaign period, potential homeowners would have many location choices, house types and financing options made available by developers and financial institutions.

“Since housing is a basic need, the National Home Ownership Campaign will enable all working-age Malaysians who have yet to own a house to find good deals as well as make well-informed decisions that entail a long-term commitment.

“While home ownership is the primary goal, by promoting greater demand, the campaign will at the same time help to reduce the oversupply situation in selected market segments and localities,” he said.

Dr Yeah is an economics professor at Sunway University Business School and director of the Economic Studies Program at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia (JCI) at Sunway University.

He is one of the speakers at the upcoming Forum 2018 titled “Will Malaysia Face a Property Winter in 2019”, which will discuss the industry moving

forward, taking place tomorrow at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya from 9am to 5pm.

Admission is free but for those interested to mingle with the speakers during a special session, is offering a lunch networking session with them at the price of RM150 for two pax.

For details, visit

Thursday, 29 November 2018

(NST) Perak set to be country's top shoe manufacturing centre

IPOH: Perak, particularly Ipoh, is poised to become the country’s premier shoe manufacturing centre with the establishment of a shoe manufacturing academy here.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) would provide a site measuring 80 hectares for the academy, which would also include a factory.

“We will have further discussions on how to realise it as well as on expanding the existing shoe manufacturing operation in Pengkalan either to Bemban or Chemor.

“We welcome this idea, which provides an opportunity for youths to enter the shoe manufacturing field, because technical and vocational education and training is one of the state’s main focuses,” he said.

Faizal told this to reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between PKNP, represented by its Chief Executive Officer Mohd Ariff Yeop Ishak, and Jimmy Couture Trend Sdn Bhd, who was represented by founder Jimmy Chia Eng Huat today.

Jimmy Couture is one of the partners in the project

In his speech earlier, Ariff said the setting up of the academy would provide educational and training equipment to improve the human capital, especially youth entrepreneurs, in the fashion industry.

He said the RM100 million Ipoh Shoe City project had already started, which would, among others, involve the construction of 128 factories on 10.8 hectares in the Pengkalan Light Industries Park. - Bernama

(NST) Malaysia's October headline inflation grew in line with consensus estimate: Kenanga

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s headline inflation is expected to taper off for the remaining two months of the year, analysts said.

The country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at a marginally faster pace of 0.6 per cent year-on-year in October (September: 0.3 per cent), in line with the consensus estimate.

Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd expects inflation to remain below one per cent in the remaining months of 2018, as the upward pressure arising from weak ringgit and seasonal monsoon period would be partially offset by fuel subsidies, particularly the continued fixation of RON95 price at RM2.20, and high base effect from the previous year.

Kenanga IB said the October figure came below house estimate of 0.9 per cent. On month-on-month basis, the index grew by 0.2 per cent (September: 0.4 per cent).

Meanwhile, the core inflation expanded to 0.4 per cent year-on-year from September’s 0.3 per cent, it added.

“The inflation growth trend has remained subdued since June, in part due to the tax holiday period following the abolishment of the Goods & Services Tax (GST), the reintroduction of the fuel subsidy and the high base effect.

“The impact emanating from the reimplementation of the Sales & Services Tax (SST) from September remained muted, thus far,” it said in a report today.

Kenanga said the higher CPI was underpinned by the rise in housing, food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurant, education and transport indices.

“Largest increase in CPI growth, relative to the previous month, was recorded by the food and non-alcoholic beverages, rising as much as 77 basis points to 1.2 per cent year-on-year, its highest since June.

The advent of monsoon season was the main reason disrupting food supply as reflected in the food sub-group index of vegetables and fish and seafood.

On a year-to-date basis, the CPI has moderated to 1.1 per cent compared to 3.9 per cent in the same period a year ago.

“As such, we expect the whole year CPI growth to likely hit the lower end of our forecast range of 1.0-1.5 per cent (2017: 3.7 per cent),” it said.

Kenanga IB said for 2019, floating of domestic fuel prices in 2Q19 and low base effect arising from the tax holiday period in June to August 2018 may exert upward pressure to inflation.

“However, an expected slower global growth and possibly lower crude oil prices would put a cap on inflation upside. Hence, CPI is projected to only increase, albeit slightly, within a range of 1.0-1.5 per cent in 2019,” it said.

Meanwhile, Kenanga IB said given the potentially subdued inflationary trend coupled with the expectation of moderating global trade and growth, it expects Bank Negara Malaysia to hold the overnight policy rate steady at 3.25 per cent.

“Despite that regional central banks, namely Indonesia and the Philippines have raised interest rates and Thailand has leaned towards tightening, we believe Bank Negara will continue its accommodative monetary policy stance and ensure the OPR level remains supportive of growth,” it said.

(NST) World Cup cited as reason for decline in tourist numbers to Tasik Kenyir

KUALA TERENGGANU: The World Cup 2018 in Russia has been identified as one of the reasons behind the decline in tourist numbers to Tasik Kenyir this year.

The number of tourists declined by 3.9 per cent or 25,775 this year. The other reasons are the absence of a Visit Terengganu Year promotion and the general election.

State Tourism, Culture and Information Technology committee chairman Ariffin Deraman said according to statistics, the number of tourist arrivals started to drop in January, with an overall 637,309 arrivals compared to 663,084 for the same period last year.

“The decline in tourist arrivals was because there was no Visit Terengganu Year Promotion by the state government, as well as the World Cup which was aired live from June to July,” he said.

Ariff, who is also Alor Limbat state assemblyman, said this in his speech when winding up the debate on the Supplies Enactment 2019 at the state assembly sitting today.

He said the number of tourist arrivals last year increased from the previous year.

“In 2016, a total of 413,000 people visited Tasik Kenyir compared to 637,309 in 2017,” he said.

(The Star) A more orderly transport hub

Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB), the developer of Penang Sentral transport hub, will work with the relevant authorities against taxi and bus operators who flout guidelines.

“We will tighten up enforcement after some operators were found to have put public safety at risk.

“All bus and taxi operators were taken for a site walkabout.

A general view of the entrance to Penang Sentral.

“They were briefed on the locations for pick-up and drop-off at the terminal prior to the soft opening.

“Simulation of the traffic movements were also done with them,” the statement read.

It was earlier reported that confusion reigned last Friday when many bus passengers complained that they were dropped off at the already closed-down temporary bus terminal outside the complex.

They then had no choice but to take a 300m walk to reach the transport hub or wait under the hot sun by the road for someone to pick them up.

Ticketing booths at Penang Sentral.

The temporary bus terminal was previously used as a bus station while Penang Sentral was under construction.

In the statement released on Monday, MRCB also said the dedicated passageway for buses is located at Level 1, and buses are not allowed to take the bend at the entrance.

“A simulation exercise conducted prior to the soft opening of the hub went well.

There are also convenience stores, cafes and restaurants at Penang Sentral.

“It is further evidenced by a smooth flow of bus movements since the first day of operations on Nov 22,” the statement read.

Penang Sentral, which can cater to between 3,000 to 4,000 passengers each day, features ticketing counters, a surau, cafes, convenience stores and restaurants.

On the second floor is a bridge that connects the hub to the Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal and a link-way to the KTM train station.

Passengers waiting on Level One for their buses at Penang Sentral in Butterworth.

There is also an information counter, an auxiliary police beat, a food court and an open deck for visitors to take in the breathtaking view of Penang island.

The RM2.7bil project, which began in 2007, was modelled after Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

(NST) Selayang: KL north gateway

FINDING the right township to live in alone or with your family can be a daunting challenge. there are so many things to look at and consider before you make a decision to buy.

But how will you know if a property is suitable for you or well-invested in?

Firstly, you have to find a property that is within your budget and settle for it at your price point.

Secondly, you need to consider factors such as connectivity and access to roads and highways and decide if the property will be a worthwhile investment in the long term. Good connectivity or other future big infrastructure developments linked to the location of the property can tremendously boost return on investment.

Thirdly, study the number of facilities such as hospitals, malls, colleges, schools (primary and secondary) and shoplots available in the township as these will determine its success and popularity.

Checking the site is also important. What you see in the brochure, if you are looking at a new launch within an existing township project, could be different from the reality. So, do a thorough site visit and interact with people in the development’s neighbourhood as they may know about any illegal occupation or other legal disputes related to the township.

Also, ensure that the property is not close to any polluting industry, telecommunication towers or sewage.

There are many good areas in the Klang Valley, and one that should be considered is Selayang, which is located a mere 10km northwest of Kuala Lumpur.

Selayang is surrounded by matured neighbourhoods such as Kepong, Rawang and Batu Caves. the town itself is mature and developed with a vast option of landed properties and highrise buildings.

Famously known for its wholesale market or “Pasar Borong Selayang”, properties there have been catered for low- and middle-income earners, said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.

Located in the district of Gombak, Fernandez said the suburban area is welcoming rapid developments and witnessing value appreciations for properties, such as Selayang Star City shopping mall and the iconic Selayang 18.

“These developments are poised to create a modern feel to this growing town. Henceforth, with a projection for a place to unlock future capital

gains, Selayang is looking rather appealing to first-time house buyers eyeing affordable properties that are close to the Kuala Lumpur city centre,” said Fernandez.

Selayang is easily accessible via Jalan Ipoh, Jalan Kuching, Middle Ring Road 2, Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong and Kepong-Selayang highway, he added.

According to real estate agents, Selayang is still worth buying into because of its proximity to the Kuala Lumpur city centre and for its relatively low average prices compared to other townships.

“Furthermore, residents here could access the Kuala Lumpur city centre via Jalan Kuching without paying toll,” they noted.

Estate agents concurred that asking prices for properties in the suburb are on the uptrend and are yet to reflect the actual value of the location’s potential, given rising demand in the north of Kuala Lumpur.

A quick search on shows that a landed property sized 22ft by 75ft and with built-up of 2,100sq ft can fetch above RM750,000. The unit comes with four bedrooms and three bathrooms and will cost a monthly repayment of about RM3,076 for the next 30 years.

Those looking for high-rise developments can expect newer properties to cost from RM400,000. For instance, a950-sq-ft unit with three bedrooms and two bathrooms could cost about RM1,681 in monthly repayment for the next 30 years.

(NST) Exciting changes in Selayang, Rawang

SELAYANG, a town in Gombak, is undergoing moderately rapid development. The newer Bandar Baru Selayang, located just 2km away, is further boosting growth at Selayang township.

Bandar Baru Selayang is giving Selayang a new facelift with contemporary lifestyle offerings — a break away from conventional housing areas, said PropertyGuru Malaysia country manager Sheldon Fernandez.

He said some noteworthy developments that are changing the landscape of Selayang include Loh & Loh Corp Bhd’s Idaman Hills, JL99 Group’s LakePark Residence Selayang, Leadmont Group’s Selayang Star City.

Fernandez said ample natural attractions such as the Forest Research Institute Malaysia and matured amenities like Hospital Selayang have helped push up the value of properties in the area as shown by the PropertyGuru Market Index (PMI) which recorded year-on-year growth (second quarter (Q2) 2017 to third quarter (Q3) 2018) of 11.1 percent.

The PMI also showed a quarter-on-quarter appreciation, rising 6.8 per cent from Q2 to Q3 2018 — indicating progressive growth.

A recently-completed infrastructure has started to help the township gain foothold and momentum. Since the opening of Guthrie Corridor Expressway (GEC), the 25km expressway connects Bukit Jelutong in Shah Alam to Kuang, near Rawang, and complements the North South Expressway and New Klang Valley Expressway.

A real estate consultant said recently that the development in Selayang would be much faster than in Rawang because of the connectivity.

The consultant said Rawang is just another suburb and housing there would be fuelled by local demand.

He said it would be tougher for Rawang to capture the spillover from Kuala Lumpur, adding that properties in Selayang, which links to north Kuala Lumpur, would command better pricing.

Fernandez, however, said Rawang, which is also located in the Gombak district, is still booming with housing areas, such as Bandar Country Homes, Bandar Tasik Puteri, Emerald West and Anggun Rawang.

“When first conceptualised, housing offerings here attracted many first-time buyers or middle-income earners.

“Today, it is famous among upgraders who are looking for bigger homes. New upscale gated-and-guarded neighbourhoods have also emerged in recent years, with guard houses and perimeter-fencing for added security and privacy tailored for upgraders or those looking for affordable lifestyle living,” he said.


Fernandez said connectivity is not much of an issue when it comes to Rawang as infrastructure there has been upgraded with the completion of the GEC, Kuala Lumpur-Kuala Selangor expressway (Latar) and the Rawang-Serendah bypass.

He said amenities are ample and conducive as Rawang is receiving an additional commercial and retail upgrade via The TWO, the largest mall in Malaysia.

DA Land Sdn Bhd launched The TWO, a multibillion-ringgit integrated commercial development in Rawang in 2015.

The TWO is the acronym for “Theme park resort, Wholesale city, Outlet mall”. It is being developed on a 20.6ha site at an estimated gross development value of RM5 billion.

There are no latest updates on the progress of The TWO.

In 2014, DA Land signed a memorandum of understanding with themed-attraction specialist Sanderson Group to assist in the design of the theme park element of the development.

The company’s flagship project in Rawang is Lake Club Parkhome, spread over 25.5ha nestled in a central park and linear back gardens.

“Rawang is currently self-sustaining with many convenience offerings. Therefore, property seekers looking for affordable properties will benefit from the inexpensive pricing in Rawang, knowing it’s growth potential,” said Fernandez.

According to the PMI, the index rose 2.3 per cent year-on-year (Q3 2017 to Q3 2018).

However, there was a 1.5 percent reduction quarter-on-quarter, indicating that sellers were lowering prices, making the properties more appealing for buyers who don’t mind the traveling.

For instance, a listing on shows a two-storey terrace house with 65ft by 70ft size and built-ups of 1,885sq ft is priced at RM470,000. The unit comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms and will cost a monthly repayment of RM1,928 for the next 30 years, he said.

Additionally, a three-storey property in an exclusive gated-and-guarded development with 24ft by 80ft land size and built-ups of 1,540 sq ft is priced at RM850,000. The unit comes with six bedrooms and five bathrooms and will cost a monthly repayment of RM3,486 over the next 30 years, said Fernandez.

Developers such as Mah Sing Group Bhd is marking its foothold inRawang with various residential offerings, including M Aruna.

Other developers include Guocoland (M) Bhd, Glomac Bhd, Hong Bee Land Sdn Bhd, Low Yat Group, MK Land Holdings Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

“Selayang and Rawang properties are still relatively untapped but are experiencing more exciting changes and progress going forward,” added Sheldon.

(NST) The Enclave Phase 2 launch in Q2

HOSPITALITY development firm Pulai Springs Resort Bhd will be launching Phase 2 of The Enclave in Jalan Pontian Lama, Johor, in the second quarter of next year.

Phase 2 comprises two-storey semidetached houses in a resort-style living, said its group executive director Nick Mah.

The Enclave is an exclusive, low-density freehold boutique development nestled within Pulai Springs Resort.

It has a total of 34 semi-detached houses and bungalows, selling between RM1.6 million and RM2.9 million. The three-storey houses for Phase 1 ranging from 4,129 to 6,541 sq ft, are slated for completion soon.

Mah said the boutique development offers low-density living at its finest.

“Each home at The Enclave is meticulously designed, featuring dual-roof concept and double-layer brick wall system to create a cooler, breezier and more energy-efficient living space.”

Mah said key features of The Enclave include the location and connectivity. The project is well-connected to two major airports in Senai in Johor and Changi in Singapore, four seaports and a coastal highway.

It is located near the Johor Premium Outlets, Paradigm Mall Johor Baru, Aeon Taman Universiti mall, Sultan Abu Bakar customs, immigration and quarantine complex at the Second Link, Kota Iskandar state administrative centre, Puteri Harbour and Iskandar Puteri.

Mah said the guarded community is also a short drive to several world-class educational institutions, healthcare and wellness facilities, and the Legoland Malaysia and Hello Kitty and The Little Big Club theme parks.

The Pulai Springs Resort won the International Real Estate Federation’s (FIABCI) Prix d’Excellence Award in 2000.

The resort had also won the FIABCI Malaysia Chapter Award of Distinction For Best Resort Development 1998-1999.

These accolades were described by the Wall Street Journal as “the most prestigious real estate award in the world”.

More than a year ago, the Johor government awarded the Best Landscape (Hotel/Resort Category) to the resort during the Johor Landscape Day.

The company also operates the Cinta Ayu Resort Apartments and The Anugraha Boutique Hotel which is located within Pulai Springs Resort.

(NST) Central i-City to open on Jan 12

CENTRAL i-City, the largest shopping mall in the capital city of Selangor, is scheduled to open on January 12 next

year. The RM850 million mall has a net lettable area of 940,000 sq ft and will include 350 retail shops with three levels of basement car park and six levels of retail.

CPN Ventures Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Pattana PCL, Thailand, or CPN) assistant vice-president of marketing Siegfried Shaun Dela Pena Tan said the mall has achieved 73 per cent tenancy and he is targeting it to be fully taken up by early next year.

“The mall is expected to transform retail experience for Malaysians. It is catered to a more affluent target segment attracting shoppers who will spend more, appreciate better and be driven by quality. We expect that the mall will serve more than 900,000 residents in Klang and a further 700,000 in Shah Alam. It is a new destination in i-City, poised to become the centre of life for the community,” Shaun told NST Property.

Central i-City is a joint-venture project between CPN, which has 60 per cent stake, and I-City Properties Sdn Bhd (ICP), an affiliate of Malaysian property developer I-Berhad that holds 40 per cent.

CPN is Thailand’s largest retail property developer. It currently manages 33 shopping centres under the brands Central World, Central Plaza and Central Festival with over 70 million sq ft of gross floor area (GFA) space.

It is the leader in the retail development and management sector with the largest share of Bangkok’s retail market, at 22 per cent. The company also manages seven office buildings, two hotels, four residential and six condominium projects.

Central i-City Shopping Centre is CPN’s flagship project in Malaysia and its first internationally.

“This is CPN’s maiden international regional shopping centre, signifying the company’s advancement into the Asean shopping centre landscape. CPN was looking to partner a leading local developer in Malaysia, while I-Berhad was looking for an internationally recognised mall operator. The marriage between the two parties is just perfect and now we are scheduled to open in January,” said Shaun.

Shaun said the mall will house a first-of-its kind “vertical transportation system”, which comprises four dedicated stacks of escalators that will allow customers to traverse the shopping centre from Basement 3 directly to the highest level, the 4th floor, and vice versa.

The mall will also provide customers the “ultimate shopping experience” in a day by creating a synergised design between shopping and the natural light in a day, he added.

“We are introducing Malaysia’s first natural light-in-a-day-concept thematic ambience in the different levels of the shopping centre. We believe that this form of art will perfectly complement our concept of synergistic clustering to further stimulate shopper spending,” he said.

I-Berhad executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong said there will be increased activities in i-City following the mall opening.

“We are happy that the mall project ini-City is almost completed and it will be opening next year with a grand launch. We are bullish about the retail market. People are unfazed by the economy. They are still shopping and dining out. Themall has a good tenant mix and 25 per cent of the total number of retail shops comprises food and beverage outlets,” Lim said.


Anchor tenants in Central i-City are Sogo Department Store, TGV Cinemas and Village Grocer. Sogo Department Store is a joint venture with Central Department Store Thailand and it will be the first outlet operating in Shah Alam/Klang.

It will occupy 200,000 sq ft of space in the mall and offer new brands, contemporary fashion apparel and lifestyle brands, children’s department and an extensive range of home-improvement products spread over four floors.

“Sogo has this view of changing people’s mindset of what is a departmental store. Its first store is located in Kuala Lumpur and after many years it is branching out with new brands and has chosen i-City to reach out to customers,” Lim said.

Village Grocer has a footprint of about 40,000 sq ft in Central i-City and it will be the first and largest branch in Klang and Shah Alam, said Ivan Tan, the group executive director of The Food Purveyor Sdn Bhd — Village Grocer.

“We contemplated on Central i-City for two reasons, the first being that CPN is a well-known mall operator in Thailand. In the last 30 years it has opened 33 shopping malls. It is building and managing the mall in i-City so we are quite confident.

“The second reason is the location. We are selective about locations. We select a location where we can serve the premium grocery market segment and we believe i-City makes the cut for it. i-City has grown very fast in the last 13 to 14 years and it provides the catchment for our business,” Tan told NST Property.

According to Tan, there will be more Thai offerings as well as influence in Village Grocer @ i-City.

“Grocery shopping is not big -ticket, so we think it will continue to do well. Household income has increased and lifestyle has changed, so people don’t mind paying more for quality goods and fresh produce. About 40 per cent of our products are imported and we always have a good supply of fresh produce,” said Tan.

TGV Cinemas general manager (marketing and operations) Kabir Ariff Sultan said it will offer the first IMAX screen that is equipped with the latest audio and visual technology in the Klang and Shah Alam region.

“The overall design and concept includes eight digital screens plus 1 IMAXhall to cater to 1,800 audiences. This will be the biggest IMAX screen in Southeast Asia and the second biggest in the world after China. We have taken a different methadology for TGV @ Central i-City, from the seats to the experience coming into the foyer. As a company, we have relooked at how we want to do our cinemas. Deluxe is the new standards for TGV,” he said.

According to Kabir, TGV invested more than RM25 million to set up 40,000 sq ft of cinema space in the mall.

“There are many firsts for TGV @ Central i-City,from being the largest LED omix TV (14 metres high), having thefirst integrated cafe and a fully dedicated family-friendly hall, featuring the first IMAX screen in Shah Alam/Klang, to where deluxe is the new standard with gliding seats for everyone to enjoy.

“The market is becoming tougher for cinema operators as people can watch movies in many ways. As an operator, we have to be innovative and come up with ways to attract moviegoers. We believe we will do well in i-City as Shah Alam is underserved. With the location, coupled with the many firsts that TGV Cinemas will have in Central i-City, we are bullish on the performance,” he added.

(The Star) Stop-work order delays Bukit Kukus paired road project

GEORGE TOWN: The RM545mil Bukit Kukus paired road project may only be completed late 2020 or early 2021 as it faces uncertainty over a stop-work order.

That order is still in effect since the Oct 19 landslide that saw 12 containers on a slope crashing down and killing nine foreign workers and injuring four people.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had paid RM169mil to contractor Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd for 70% of the council’s portion of the completed work that amounted to RM275.6mil.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the remaining 30% would be delayed as it was uncertain when the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) would lift the stop-work order.

“The earlier target was for the first quarter of 2020, then we revised the completion date to later that year due to the stop-work order.

“But now, it could be even longer,” he said.

Zairil said the stop-work order only affected the council’s portion of the project.

A spokesman for the contractor agreed that 30% of the construction work could take longer.

“We are looking at a later date in 2020 to complete our work,” he said.

State DOSH director Jaafar Leman declined to give a date on when the order would be lifted.

“We are doing forensic tests on the hillslopes and haven’t given approval to other agencies to do mitigation works just yet,” he said.

The stop-work order, said Jaafar, would only be lifted when the department was fully satisfied with the safety measures.

The project had hit a snag when Yuta Maju faced land acquisition issues and realignment of cables.

Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, the other contractor that had completed 18% of the RM120mil stretch, faced legal issues when affected residents took up the matter with the Appeals Board. The matter is still pending.

PLB Land Sdn Bhd, which has completed 36% of the RM150mil stretch of the paired road project, had to remove big rocks and boulders, and the portion is scheduled to be completed in mid-2020.

Fourteen concrete beams, measuring 25m long each, fell onto a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon with 11 breaking apart on a stretch of the project on Oct 11.

DOSH issued a stop-work order on Oct 13, which the contractor only adhered to four days later, citing misunderstanding with DOSH.

(The Star) Mah Sing set to sell properties online in partnership with Lazada

“Over half of the Malaysian population are shopping online, so being the first developer to sell units online on an eCommerce platform such as Lazada, gives us a competitive edge against other developers in Malaysia,” Mah Sing CEO Datuk Ho Hon Sang said.
“Over half of the Malaysian population are shopping online, so being the first developer to sell units online on an eCommerce platform such as Lazada, gives us a competitive edge against other developers in Malaysia,” Mah Sing CEO Datuk Ho Hon Sang said. 

PETALING JAYA: Mah Sing Group Bhd is set to become the first developer in South-East Asia to sell its properties online under a partnership with e-commerce company Lazada Malaysia.

To attract buyers, the company is also offering cash incentives of up to RM30,000.

“Over half of the Malaysian population are shopping online, so being the first developer to sell units online on an eCommerce platform such as Lazada, gives us a competitive edge against other developers in Malaysia,” Mah Sing CEO Datuk Ho Hon Sang said.

Mah Sing home buyers who shop for their homes on Lazada will receive an exclusive 5% Lazada Incentive, worth between RM20,000 and RM30,000 which is the biggest online incentive ever to be offered on Lazada.

Lazada Malaysia CEO Christophe Lejeune said: “We are ramping up our efforts to anticipate the changing demands of the constantly evolving and increasingly fearless mobile consumer.

Malaysian shoppers are looking for more digital solutions for all their lifestyle needs, and we believe that this collaboration will make affordable homes more accessible to young homebuyers.

The 5% incentive is one of the biggest incentives a property developer can offer.

The Mah Sing projects that will be listed in Lazada for the 12.12 sale include M Vertica in Cheras, M Centura in Sentul, Sensa Residence @ Southville City in KL South, M Aruna in Rawang, M Vista in Penang and Meridin East in Johor.

Interested buyers can preview homes beginning Nov 28 and can add to cart and purchase from Dec 10-12.

Prospective buyers are also encouraged to contact their banks to check for loan eligibility before booking their unit on the Mah Sing Flagship Store on LazMall during the campaign period.

A fee of RM3,000 needs to be paid by interested buyers as registration fee to Lazada Malaysia to secure the unit before purchase.

Booking fees are fully refundable if the homebuyer decides not to proceed with the purchase.

Once the unit selection, documentation and loan application are finalised, buyers can sign their sales and purchase agreement.

(The Star) Guan Eng: Data is king, not cash

“When you talk about the digital economy, it is all about data... the previous government probably got it wrong when it said ‘Cash is king’,” Lim said.  “Cash is not king; data is king. So, when data is king, we not only have to have access, but also have to understand as well as leverage on this new platform,” he told a press conference after officiating at the SCxSC Fintech Conference 2018 here yesterday
“When you talk about the digital economy, it is all about data... the previous government probably got it wrong when it said ‘Cash is king’,” Lim said. “Cash is not king; data is king. So, when data is king, we not only have to have access, but also have to understand as well as leverage on this new platform,” he told a press conference after officiating at the SCxSC Fintech Conference 2018 here yesterday 

KUALA LUMPUR: Cash is no longer king – data is – in today’s technology-driven world. 

According to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, it is important for Malaysia to leverage on new technologies in this era of digital economy to advance further economically and socially. 

“When you talk about the digital economy, it is all about data... the previous government probably got it wrong when it said ‘Cash is king’,” Lim said. 

“Cash is not king; data is king. So, when data is king, we not only have to have access, but also have to understand as well as leverage on this new platform,” he told a press conference after officiating at the SCxSC Fintech Conference 2018 here yesterday. 

Now in its fifth year, the annual conference is organised by the Securities Commission (SC) to discuss and explore fintech ideas in the capital market. 

In his keynote address at the conference, Lim said the government expects the digital economy to form 20% of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. This would be an increase from 18.2% in 2016. 

“We recognise the importance of developing the digital economy. Therefore, despite the fiscal challenges the government faces, we are committed to investing significant resources in nurturing the digital economy,” Lim said in his speech. 

He noted that the digital economy, if harnessed properly, could become the next economic engine for Malaysia through the opening up of new avenues for growth. This, he said, would aid Malaysia in becoming a developed economy. 

However, he stressed, developing the digital economy could not remain solely the role of the government. 

“The entrepreneurial state model prescribes a collaborative approach by relying on the 4P partnership, involving the public, private, professionals and the people to manage and steer specific initiatives,” Lim explained. 

“Hence, we are exploring new funding mechanisms that would incorporate stronger collaboration with the private sector,” he said. 

These mechanisms would include streamlining venture capital funds managed by government agencies and an allocation of RM2bil by government-linked investment companies to co-invest in strategic and new growth sectors with private equity and venture capital funds. 

“Various technologies are converging and the convergence is giving us new tools we can use to address old and new problems that beset businesses, the government and society at large,” Lim said. 

He noted that some of the latest technology involving artificial intelligence and big data that are part of Industry 4.0 have already been applied in domestic retail, marketing and transport industries. 

“The wider adoption of these latest technology is important for Malaysia to break away from the middle-income trap and start roaring again as a proud Asian Tiger,” he said. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

(The Star) Convenience awaits drivers

The Plus Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system for easier toll paymemt will kick off at three locations in the northern region on Dec 15.

The pilot programme will be launched at the toll plazas at the Penang Bridge, the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE) and in Jitra, Kedah.

PLUS will be giving out 10,000 RFID tags for free to those who frequently use the three toll plazas.

Its managing director Datuk Azman Ismail said the system marked PLUS’ effort to support the vision of Malaysian Highway Authority towards modernising the nation’s highways to be world- class in safety, efficiency and quality.

“The RFID pilot programme is aimed at increasing options for drivers to pay toll on PLUS-operated highways.

“It is in line with our mission to deliver positive travel experiences through technology and innovation.

“When fully implemented, the RFID system will offer a lot more convenience for motorists,” he said during a press conference at Bayan Lepas, Penang.

The PLUS RFID features an open payment system which offers flexibility and freedom to drivers to pay via credit and debit cards. This will ultimately minimise delays and congestion at the toll plazas.

The RFID tag, which is directly linked to drivers’ credit and debit card accounts, will also offer them easy online access to track and control their toll payments.

At the same time, drivers can enjoy rewards through the PLUSMiles programme.

Also present was Penang Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin.

Those interested to participate in the pilot programme can register at

(The Star) New concept store by boutique bakery

Boutique bakery chain BreadTalk recently opened its concept store in Avenue K Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

The new concept store joins some 800 Breadtalk shops all around the world.

“Over the years, Breadtalk has been expanding globally, and recently obtained the halal certificate,” said UML Lifestyle Sdn Bhd executive director Freddie Lee.

UML Lifestyle is the appointed master franchisee for BreadTalk and Toast Box Malaysia, both under BreadTalk Group Ltd.

“We want to excite the market with our new concept store which strives to meet modern consumer demands,” Lee said.

One of the key features of the concept store is its open kitchen, emphasising the objectives of BreadTalk’s masterchefs in providing transparency and insight into their bread-making process.

“These days, people are curious about what they eat, whether it is safe to consume or not.

“That is why we implemented glass walls for our kitchen, so that our customers can see and enjoy their bread in peace.

“Our most popular product on the menu is the Golden Lava Mini Croissant and Floss Bun,” he said.

More than 100 types of breads and cakes priced from RM2 onwards are available at the concept store.

Lee said there were plans to open three more concept stores in Plaza Low Yat, IOI Mall Puchong and klia2 before the year end, and another three stores next year, including its first flagship store at Star Boulevard in the second quarter of 2019.

The BreadTalk concept store, which operates from 8am to 10pm daily, is located at Level C of the mall, opposite the exit to KLCC LRT station. — By NUR SITI A’ISYAH AZIZ

(The Star) One card to shop and gain points at all Aeon stores

Retail company Aeon has integrated its different loyalty and discount cards into one single card that is also a Visa credit card.

The Aeon Member Plus Visa card was introduced together with the Aeon Wallet app that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play store.

The new card will give double points for every RM1 payment made in any Aeon Store, Aeon Big hypermarket, Aeon MaxValu, Aeon MaxValu Prime and Aeon Wellness outlets.

Besides being a credit card, the Aeon Member Plus Visa card also offers consumer financing.

Based on customer feedback, the card is more appealing as it provides them with more convenience.

“Previously, Aeon Co and Aeon Big issued their own cards.

“With the Aeon Member Plus Visa card, users can accumulate points for shopping at Aeon Co, Aeon Big, Aeon MaxValu and Aeon Wellness, all using just one card,” said Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd chief marketing officer Shiro Ishida.

He added that the function of a Visa credit card had also been integrated within the card, making it useful worldwide.

“Depending on how much you deposit into the prepaid, you can use up to a maximum of RM10,000.

“Also because it is a Visa card, it can be used anywhere, but the points collected will only be doubled when the card is used within the Aeon Group,” he explained in an interview.

While the Aeon Wallet app gives users a simple, fast and secure way to make payments via a QR code, it also enables users to check their balances and real-time transaction history.

The new Aeon card and Aeon Wallet app were given a soft launch in September and have been introduced to new Aeon customers.

At the same time, existing discount cards are slowly being phased out once they reach their expiry dates.

Since the launch, Aeon has ceased issuing old cards.

“Some existing customers have also converted to this new card and they will carry forward their existing points to this new card,” said Ishida.

Aeon Co (M) Bhd corporate management executive director Poh Ying Loo said,

“We believe the convenience provided by one-for-all cards is suitable and appealing to our customer base.

“I am sure they will find it a very convenient and easy way to make transaction payments. At the same time, they get rewarded for making purchases.”

So far, 170,000 users have signed up for the new card while the Aeon Wallet app has had more than 40,000 downloads.

Aeon is expecting a million sign-ups by end of the year.

Ishida said, “Soon, we plan to expand to include more merchants in our existing list – as per the feedback from our customers.

“We started with Aeon Group first, but our customers say they would like to have a larger network to collect points – especially for the Wallet.”

Aeon Big (M) Sdn Bhd senior general manager Yoshizo Hirano said the new card is free for the first year and subsequently, the annual fee is RM12 per year from the second year onwards.

Soon, customers can also get additional

discounts and bonus points during special campaigns and in-store events in both Aeon Co and Aeon Big.

In the future, the card can even be used to collect points at the Aeon Fantasy (M) Sdn Bhd amusement park in Johor.

(The Star) World’s first Commonwealth Youth City

Tanjung Malim has been launched as the first Commonwealth Youth City in the world.

Set to be the Youth City of Asean, 3.6ha of land has been identified for the building of the Commonwealth Youth Council and Commonwealth Youth Network headquarters which will commence in two years.

The Youth City, launched by Deputy State Speaker Aminudin Zulkipli, will consist of an innovation hub, business hotel, SOHO suites and affordable homes for youths.

Among its key components are the Commonwealth Innovation Centre and Youth Council Global Secretariat.

The city will include high-technology systems, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data and other futuristic features.

It will be built on existing public infrastructures and facilities, and in collaboration with the Government, government-linked companies, the private sector and civil society.

Britain’s Prince Charles had first announced that Tanjung Malim would be made a Commonwealth Youth City during his visit to Malaysia in November last year.

In his speech, Aminudin said one of its aims was to reduce migration rate of youths from rural areas to big cities, as well as improve the standards of living and development in semi-urban areas.

He said there would be opportunities for youths to improve themselves for better employment and entrepreneurship.

“The development of the city will incorporate advances in digital technology and new thinking in the age-old city concepts of relationships, community, environmental sustainability, participatory democracy, good governance and transparency.

“The Commonwealth Youth City initiative will also be developed in several Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries to create a network of youth cities which will be known as Youth City Community,” added Aminudin.

“I am looking forward to this community, which will enhance integration of Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth members, allowing them to be more socially, economically, environmentally and politically engaged.”

Commonwealth Youth City global chairman Kishva Ambigapathy said the city would allow rural and urban youths to use creativity in resolving local and global development issues.

“The network with other cities across the Commonwealth and beyond will provide an enriching approach to knowledge transfer across borders and strengthen ties between one another,” he said.

The launch was witnessed by dignitaries and delegates from the United Kingdom, United States, China, Russia, Pakistan, Malta, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Australia, India, Ghana and Bahrain.