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Monday, November 19, 2007

Axis REIT seeks to boost coffers

AXIS Real Estate Investment Trust (Axis REIT) will raise more money from shareholders to boost its property portfolio value by two thirds to some RM1 billion by the end of 2008.

The property trust will place out more new Axis REIT units which will essentially lower its gearing, a measure of its borrowings against its total assets.

Hence, Malaysia's first listed REIT will have more room to secure loans for future real estate acquisitions.

"It is not a question of (portfolio) size, it is a question of quality," Axis REIT Managers Bhd executive director Stewart LaBrooy told Business Times in Petaling Jaya recently.

LaBrooy did not specify the number of properties Axis REIT plans to buy or their respective locations.

Although an overseas foray by Axis REIT is also on the cards, it is most likely to involve acquisition of securities in foreign property trusts.

Direct physical property buys abroad are, however, less favoured due to more legal complexities. "There is still a lot more to do in Malaysia," LaBrooy said, without indicating when its initial venture abroad will take place.

Axis REIT's gearing, derived from dividing its borrowings by its total assets, indicates to what extent the property trust relies on loans to grow its business.

Since its listing on Bursa Malaysia's main board in August 2005, Axis REIT has bought 16 local commercial and industrial assets worth an estimated RM600 million to date, said LaBrooy.

It initially had, upon listing, five entities collectively valued at about RM300 million. These include the Menara Axis, and Crystal Plaza, both located beside the Asia Jaya LRT station in Petaling Jaya.

New additions this year include the Giant Hypermarket in Sungai Petani, Kedah, and BMW Asia Technology Centre at Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Johor.

Axis REIT chief financial officer Lim Yoon Peng had said in July that due to its latest property purchases, its gearing was expected to almost double to 42.4 per cent.

The figure was, however, anticipated to drop to 23 per cent due to a planned private placement of 50 million new Axis REIT units, its first new security issue since its flotation.

Malaysia's Securities Commission has capped local REIT's gearing at 50 per cent. This means that property trusts could only borrow up to half of their total assets.

The 50 million new units could potentially raise some RM87 million, assuming they were priced at RM1.74 each, according Axis REIT's filings to the bourse.

Axis REIT will seek unitholders' consent for the exercise on December 7. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, and fund future real estate acquisitions.

"Axis REIT is the most aggressive acquirer of assets among Malaysian REITs," research firm BNP Paribas said in a note.

Axis REIT's income before tax in the nine months to September 2007 rose 78 per cent to RM50 million, partly due to an upward revision in the fair value of its properties. Revenue surged 12 per cent to RM33.8 million.

Its securities, which were untraded yesterday, traded at RM1.89 last Friday, a one sen or 0.5 per cent drop from the previous day's closing.

By The EDGE MALAYSIA (By Chong Jin Hun)

New commercial hub on the cards for Sungai Buloh

PETALING JAYA: Dijaya Corp Bhd’s (Dijaya) indirect whollyowned subsidiary, Nadi Jelita
Sdn Bhd (Nadi Jelita), will be jointly developing 20.83 acres of freehold land in Pekan Baru,
Sungai Buloh with Aliran Firasat Sdn Bhd (Aliran).

Acquired by Aliran in 2005, the land currently has a book value of RM65.6 million. Dijaya has a 60% stake in the joint venture development comprising 173 units of 3- and 4-storey shop offices.

Tong: The development will be launched in three phases

According to Tong Kien Onn, managing director of Dijaya, the RM200-million integrated
commercial development would be launched in three phases. The first phase will comprise 72 units, while the second and third phases comprise 64 units and 37 units respectively.

The first phase of the freehold project is targeted for launch within the first quarter of
next year. “Our sales target for the first phase is 60 units (80%) within one month of
launching,” said Tong.

“All units fronting the busy main road of Jalan Sungai Buloh are 4-storey with a standard size of 22ft by 70ft, while the corner units are 4-storey with lot sizes of 35ft by 69ft and 35ft by 70ft. Other units are 3-storey and the standard lot sizes vary from 22ft by 69ft to 22ft by 70ft,” he told theSun. All 4-storey corner units would be provided with lifts. The row facing the main road would most likely be for showrooms and banks while the inner units would be suitable for
businesses such as food and beverage.

Besides shop offices, there would also be a 5 ½-storey multi-level car park building that would
accommodate 1,130 parking bays.

“We have got most of the approvals already, and construction should begin early next year,” said Tong, adding that the indicated selling price would range between RM1.1 million and
RM1.6 million per unit.

“This development is being planned with the purpose of supporting the local business community and to be a leading commercial hub in the heart of Sungai Buloh,” said Tong.

The six-year project is expected to attract investors who recognise the potential of the well-established area, businessmen from the spillover from the adjacent Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh and Bukit Rahman Putra, as well as first time investors who can afford an RM1- million freehold shop office.

According to Tong, a preregistration exercise would be held throughout this month and next month. The second launch of the project can be expected within the first half of 2008.

By theSun (By Yeong Ee-Wah)

Borneo Highlands eyes world market

Built on a former timber logging area, the Borneo Highlands Resort is a unique eco-friendly luxury residential development in Southeast Asia that is set to penetrate the international market starting next year.

Standing at 1,000 metres above sea level atop the Penrissen mountain ranges and literally a stone's throw away from the southwest Kalimantan border, about 25 per cent of the total area of 2,097ha of land has been developed so far by promoting the "Back to Nature, Back to Basics" lifestyle.

The resort's chief operating officer Loh Leh Ching said its developer, Borneo Heights Sdn Bhd, will initially target the real estate at regional markets including Singapore, Brunei, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia, especially as a second or holiday home.

The resort, which has spent RM120 million on facility upgrading and infrastructure since its inception in 1995, is a joint-venture between Country Heights Holdings Bhd, which holds a 70 per cent stake, and the Sarawak Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), the remaining 30 per cent.

"At present, 149 of the maximum projected 500 bungalow lots are already developed, including one lot purchased by a lawyer from the UK and another by a Singaporean businessman, while we have also received enquries from Japan and Taiwan," Loh said during a recent tour of the resort, about an hour's journey by road from in Kuching.

With the property prices expected to increase to RM700 per sq ft (psf) in the next five years from RM72 psf at present, he said the company will also look at European, US, Russian and the Middle East markets.

On investment returns, Loh said the property prices had risen from a mimimum RM38 psf to RM72 psf, an increase of about 90 per cent in the past two years.

He is confident that potential buyers will find Borneo Highlands, dubbed the Rainforest Haven Properties, an attractive long-term investment because of the 198-year land leasehold period compared to the normal period of less than 100 years in and around Kuching city.

Currently in the phase four of development, the land starts from a minimum RM31,000 per point (100 points equivalent to one acre) and the bangalows' features are being built according to owners' personal taste and preference. They are expected to fetch up to a whooping RM8 million per unit, said Loh.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are among some of the public figures who have taken up the bungalow units.

But owners at the Borneo Forest (phase one), Golf Forest (phase two), Hornbill Forest (phase three) and Swan Lake Forest (phase four) need to abide by rigid rules on nature preservation and are encouraged to designate a small plot for organic farming with assistance from the resort, Loh said.

He said the resort management also reserves the right to replant up to three trees at a cost of RM500 each for every big tree chopped down by the owner.

Borneo Highlands Resort's business development manager Caroline Yeo said the resort, which is undergoing a RM3 million renovation and upgrading works, will have its 60 accommodation rooms reduced to 30 when it reopens in April next year.

Other infrastructure developments include the upgrading of the access road from the foothill to the plateau at a cost of RM8 million and the installation of electricity cables at an estimated RM8 million, Yeo said.

"Residents and visitors can have a peace of mind as regular security patrols as well as two security checkpoints are installed, including one at the entrance of the foothill," she said.

By Bernama

E&O wins Best Investor Relations award

Property developer E&O Property Development Bhd emerged as joint winner in the Best Investor Relations in the Singapore Market by a Malaysian Company category at the IR Magazine Southeast Asia Awards 2007.

The first place is shared with lender Public Bank Bhd.

"This is the first time a Malaysian property developer has won this award. E&O Property will continue to emphasise on investor relations initiatives as an effective channel of disseminating financial information as well as relationship building with the financial community, be it analysts, fund managers, investors, shareholders or the media," said executive director Eric Chan in a statement.

The results of the awards were determined by research conducted with over 350 analysts, portfolio managers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and other Asian markets.

By New Straits Times

Development corridor boost for Sabah

SABAH'S RM2.3 billion budget for next year, the biggest ever in the history of the state, augurs well for the implementation of the much anticipated Sabah Development Corridor (SDC).

The budget, unveiled by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman last Friday, took into account the requirements to hasten the implementation of the SDC.

Expected to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next month, the SDC is poised to steer Sabah's economic development to greater heights.

Noting that excellent infrastructure was key to the success of the SDC, Musa said a whopping RM313 million of the RM839 million proposed for development expenditure would be allocated for the purpose.

Human capital development is also being given priority with RM200 million allocated for the establishment of the Sandakan Education Hub.

A separate allocation of RM55.8 million has been set aside for human resource development programmes to meet the requirements of the state, including the SDC.

"The SDC would be comprehensive and holistic to bring maximum development and economic spin-offs to the state", Musa told Business Times.

Besides creating economic spin-offs, the SDC will also generate employment opportunities for people in the urban and rural areas.

Musa attributed the state's ability to provide a huge budget to prudent and sound financial management that have seen in a marked increase in revenue.

This was reflected by this year's revised revenue of RM2.2 billion as against the original estimate of RM1.8 billion.

Musa, who is also the State Finance Minister, expects Sabah's revenue to continue to improve and has projected earnings of RM2.3 billion for next year.

The state is also on a sound financial footing with more than RM2.3 billion in reserves, a massive increase from just RM845 million in 2005.

By New Straits Times (By Joniston Bangkuai)

Quill Capita plans to buy properties from sponsors

Quill Capita Trust, a property trust partly owned by CapitaLand Ltd of Singapore, plans to buy two yield-accretive assets from its sponsors in the next three to six months to grow the trust, its manager said.

"We are looking at a couple of properties and they will come from our sponsors. We are currently in the process of discussion, working out the timing of injection and planning the valuation exercise," Quill Capita Management Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Chan Say Yeong told Business Times in an interview. He did not elaborate.

Quill Capita Trust's gearing came down to 0.7 per cent after completing a share placement in September that raised RM226 million.

This means it can buy around RM400 million worth of properties via borrowing before it needs to sell more shares. Gearing of a real estate investment trust (REIT) cannot exceed 50 per cent under the Securities Commission's rules.

The trust, with the backing of sponsors Malaysian property developer Quill Group and CapitaLand, has put in place a pipeline of assets that will ensure its future supplies of good quality purchase. Quill Capita Trust owns the first right of refusal to buy the properties developed by its two sponsors.

Some potential acquisitions may include the office tower known as Lot J at KL Sentral that is being jointly developed by Quill Group and the Malaysian Commercial Development Fund, a US$250 million (RM845 million) fund which CapitaLand has set up together with Malayan Banking Bhd to help finance its projects.

With 350,000 sq ft of net lettable areas, Lot J is currently under construction with a 2009 target completion.

Quill Group is also constructing an annexe building in Kuala Lumpur for lender HSBC Bank Malaysia. The project, due to be completed in 2010, is leased long-term to HSBC and may be put into the trust at some point.

In addition, CapitaLand's development fund has also invested in a project called One Mont Kiara together with Aseana Properties Ltd, that will build two blocks of office towers and a retail podium.

The development fund also has another project in nearby Hartamas, near the High Court, comprising office towers and retail units.

Meanwhile, Quill Group continues to build on several developments in Cyberjaya, with one project expected to be completed soon. Quill also has an office building in Petaling Jaya's Section 13 and a logistic centre in Subang that may be sold into the trust.

Further in the future, Quill may have the Vision City development that it bought from RHB Group ready for the trust.

"When choosing which REIT to buy, investors should look at which sponsor is serious about the property trust business." Chan said.

He said a REIT investor should hold a longer term view and pick those with sponsors that are willing to put in money to develop projects, so that the trust is guaranteed a pipeline of assets.

Quill Capita Trust, which was listed in January this year, has almost doubled its asset size to RM524 million so far, from RM276 million at the time of listing.

This is helping it to pay better dividends to sharehoders.

The trust now expects to distribute 6.23 sen per unit for fiscal 2007, from six sen before.

By New Straits Times (By Chong Pooi Koon)

4th Malaysia International Fashion Week kicks off

KUALA LUMPUR: The fourth annual Malaysia International Fashion Week 2007 (M-IFW ‘07) — this year’s premier platform for promoting Malaysia’s fashion talents to the world — took off at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre yesterday.

Organised by the Malaysian International Fashion Alliance (Mifa), M-IFW ‘07 which will be running until Sunday will showcase creations from various renowned designers in Malaysia on runway shows, cocktail events, gala evenings as well as the prestigious Malaysian International Fashion Awards.

The four-day event launched yesterday by Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai will also host the revamped mifa8 competition, mifa8 Fashion Forward.

“I believe this fashion week will be a new trade for tourism and will encourage designers to grow to a higher standard. Fashion is not just about beautiful outfits, but at the same time, it is a good marketing platform in promoting Kuala Lumpur as a fashion platform,” said Lim.

“With M-IFW ‘07 being the sole fashion week in Malaysia this year, we have the ideal opportunity to really take our core mission — which is to promote Malaysian fashion designers to the world and to bring the world to our homegrown talent — to the next level as we continue to consolidate Kuala Lumpur’s standing as a major Asia-Pacific capital with a constant flow of innovative fashion leadership and inspiration,” said Mifa CEO Syeba Yip.

Drawing some of the best designers in the region, M-IFW aims to give these designers a platform to showcase their collections to buyers, media and industry heads from around the world.

“Fashion is not just about styles and designs; it is an expression of culture. While models walk down the runway, each of us will be able to see a part of ourselves in these models as what they wear indirectly speaks to us individually,” said Mifa chairman Heah Sieu Lay.

Among the other highlights of M-IFW ‘07 are KL Six — a showcase of the work of Malaysia’s renowned fashion designers presented by The Edge and theSun, a fashion showcase by Carven Ong, an Islamic Fashion Festival and various other runway shows.


Regional property market to remain robust

Property investment activities in the Asia-Pacific are expected to remain fairly robust this year, given the solid economic and property sector fundamentals in the region.

According to the latest DTZ Research's Money Into Property report, investment activities in the region showed that domestic transactions still dominated the market, accounting for 72% of the purchases.

Buoyant market returns and a positive economic outlook have also resulted in a rise in foreign investment in real estate in the region.

Last year, foreign transactions made up 28% of the purchases compared with only 10% in 2005.

Among the active foreign players, US investors still accounted for the largest group in the region with 10% of total activities.

Japanese and Australian investors followed with US$3.4bil and US$1.7bil respectively. (After being absent for the past few years, Japanese investors re-entered the international market last year.)

The office sector is still the main target for investors with US$25bil in transactions. In terms of lot size, large transactions worth over US$200mil accounted for more than 40% of the total transactions in the region for the past two years.

DTZ's Investor Intention Survey showed that instead of the traditional office and residential sectors, retail and industrial would be the focus for investors this year.

This is especially in China and India, as investors look for opportunities created by strong economic growth and rapid urbanisation in those countries.

In the residential sector, the double-digit population growth expected in the region in the next 20 years would create a high demand for housing.

While local investors have become more discerning and sophisticated, foreign investors have also benefited from the introduction of favourable regulations for foreign direct investment and positive structural changes.

Although many economists think that appreciation in housing prices in the region has reached a “bubble”, DTZ Research said only China, India and New Zealand experienced real annual price rises of more than 8% in the past five years.

In the same period, the real rate of housing price appreciation averaged only 4.5% in the other parts of Asia-Pacific.

In the commercial sector, total commercial real estate stock reached US$9.4 trillion, overtaking Europe for the first time. China accounted for 44% of the total stock, followed by Japan and India with 22% and 15% respectively. In terms of invested commercial stock, Japan maintained its leading position, accounting for almost half of the invested stock.

Looking at market maturity, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore ranked the highest with owner occupation ratios at around 30%, largely in line with other advanced markets in the US and Britain.

Japan, New Zealand and South Korea are next with occupation ratios from 45% to 71%, while other countries in the region have estimated ratios of 70% or higher – an indicator that opaque market conditions still exist in those countries.

Public markets are developing at a healthy pace across Asia-Pacific with quoted property companies showing 11% growth in net asset value.

Hong Kong, with a long history of having its real estate made available as an investment vehicle to investors, has the largest market capitalisation for quoted property companies worth a total US$190bil.

Meanwhile, the net asset values of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the region grew at a record 24% last year to reach a market capitalisation of US$150bil – a return to the 1997 pre-Asian crisis level.

Australia led the REIT market with US$80bil in market capitalisation, followed by Japan and Singapore with US$41bil and US$13bil respectively.

Most REITs in the region, with the exception of New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea, were traded at a premium to their net asset value, showing investors’ confidence in the REIT sector.

By The Star (By Angie Ng)

US-Malaysia Business Council to give input on IDR

KUALA LUMPUR: The US-Malaysia Business Council members have indicated they are ready to give their input as well as engage in dialogues on the Iskandar Development Region to enhance the attractiveness of the south Johor development project internationally.

Council chairman Joseph Alhadeff said the project was worth “close monitoring” as it had lined up several positive incentive structures to attract investors and businessmen.

“We have indicated that we are more than happy to keep the dialogues open with them (Iskandar Regional Development Authority) on how we can be helpful,” he said in an interview.

He said the council would disseminate information on IDR to US businessmen and investors.

Six targeted sectors identified for development in the IDR are financial advisory and consulting services, creative industries, logistics, educational services, tourism related services, and healthcare.

Other economic corridors recently rolled out in the country are the Northern Corridor Economic Region and Eastern Corridor Economic Region.

Alhadeff said the advantage of the IDR was its proximity to Singapore, apart from its natural resources and ports which are already “developed and can be developed”.

By Bernama

Construction costs expected to rise 15%

PENANG: The increased price of building materials is expected to increase the cost of construction as much as 15% next year, says Datuk Jerry Chan Fook Sing, chairman of Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (REHDA) Penang.

He said the expected price increase was based on the continued rise in fuel prices as well as other direct increase in material prices.

“Contractors and housing developers are beginning to feel the rise in the costs of basic items like steel, cement, tar, steel and transport following the higher fuel prices,” he told reporters after a seminar on Penang's potential under the Northern Corridor Economic Region.

By Bernama

Sunway to remain leader of integrated resorts with expansion boost

PETALING JAYA: Sunway City Bhd’s property investment arm is expanding with an addition of a four-block commercial development and 25 villas following the RM80 million refurbishment of its flagship hotel, the Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa.

The property investment arm’s managing director Ngeow Voon Yean said the four blocks of commercial buildings would be built in the vicinity of Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa and Sunway Pyramid.

“It is the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle in our integrated resort. There is a demand for Grade A commercial office space in Petaling Jaya,” said Ngeow, adding that the project was still in planning stages.

He said office buildings were the only aspect that was lacking in its integrated resort in Bandar Sunway which already has two hotels, villas, spa, shopping malls, theme park, hospital and universities.

The 25 villas, which include a hot spring spa, would be built within Sunway City in Tambun, Ipoh, and was expected to be ready by early 2009.

Ngeow told The Edge Financial Daily that the group intended to remain the leader in terms of providing comprehensive facilities to consumers.

In the last three years, Sunway had gone through a series of expansion, which includes an expanded shopping mall; the addition of Pyramid Tower Hotel — a four-star hotel, Mandara Spa, 17 villas; and the RM80 million refurbishment exercise on Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa and the Pyramid Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It has also obtained the franchise of London’s famous club the Ministry of Sound, which is set to open its doors in Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa by year-end. Also in the pipeline, is the opening of the dry park in Sunway Lagoon Theme Park at night.

Its Sunway Hotel Seberang Jaya has also been expanded with the addition of an exhibition and convention centre which has a capacity of 1,200 people.

“It (the integrated development) is our unique selling point,” he said, adding that this second round of asset enhancement programme was its strategy to stay ahead of the pack and continue to be a well-recognised resort brand in the region.

Sunway City’s property investment arm include the shopping mall, theme park, hotel, education and medical centres. It contributes 40% of revenue to the group while the property development arm makes up the rest.

“Now that the hospitality sector and shopping mall is fully expanded, we hope to improve the turnover contribution by 10% in the next two to three years,” said Ngeow. He also said that it was on a constant lookout to enhance products and services for customers.

The property investment division also has a management arm that specialises in managing hotels, theme parks, shopping malls and facilities. It is in the final stages of negotiations to manage two four-star hotels in the Klang Valley and another in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is also a consultant for two shopping malls in China.

The division also planned to capitalise on the ever-growing medical and education tourism.

“Many are coming from Indonesia and Singapore to seek treatment here. It shows that the confidence level in our specialists has improved.

“Many Asian parents are also sending their children to study here and they can stay at our hotels as it is convenient,” he added.

Asked if the group planned to expand overseas, Ngeow said: “If there is an opportunity that fits our investment criteria, we will consider.”

Currently, its only hotel abroad is the Sunway Hotel Hanoi in Vietnam.


State to soar higher with projects

PENANG: The proposed Penang Global City Centre and Seri Tanjung Pinang projects will enhance Penang's city status, according to an economic analyst.

UOB KayHian analyst Yee Nei Hui said Penang had the potential to soar to greater heights with such high-impact projects.

“With high-impact projects and vast potential under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) project, the state is poised to move to another level,” Yee said when presenting a paper on Penang high on the foreign fund managers' radar during the “NCER: Unleashing Penang's Potentials” seminar at the E & O Hotel here yesterday.

Yee said the seafront Seri Tanjung Pinang project in Tanjung Tokong that is being developed by E & O Property Development Bhd has proven to be a catalyst for development in the state.

Unlike the southern economic corridor initiative, Iskandar Development Region (IDR), which started from ground zero, NCER has a stronger base, the analyst noted.

The high-impact projects would attract more investors from Kuala Lumpur in view of the strong demand for residential projects in Penang.

“The price of houses will go up further, giving market players more room,” she said.

By The Star

Penang land prices not likely to dip, says expert

PENANG: The island's land prices are unlikely to drop, even if another economic slowdown happens, said Michael Geh, a senior partner at property consultancy Raine & Horne (Penang).

“For the past 10 years, Penang’s land value has been increasing,” he said yesterday when presenting a talk on Penang Property As A Global Asset during the “NCER: Seizing The Opportunities” symposium organised by Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd.

He also said it was a misconception to say that there was not much land left in the state.

“With NCER, Penang can be a microelectronic hub of excellence, logistics hub in the northern region and has potential for an oil industry spin-off,” he added.

He said Penang’s strengths were its friendly locals, strong engineering workforce and vibrant nightlife.

However, the state’s weaknesses were its over dependence on the electronics and manufacturing sector, limited direct flight destinations, lack of top jobs for other sectors and slow pace in property development.

He also said the state’s declining population growth due to intra-state migration would hamper its development rate.

By The Star

PGCC will benefit Penangites

Developer: Project not just to spur economic growth

PENANG: The RM25bil Penang Global City Centre project is a holistic initiative for sustainable growth that will benefit all Penangites.

The project is not just to spur economic growth, explained Equine Capital Bhd executive chairman Datuk Patrick Lim.

“The role of the developer goes beyond just the construction aspect. We are looking into future growth in all aspects.

“That is why we have engaged the best technical people, local and foreign, to find scientific and methodological solutions.

“We are not only looking at the issues brought up by NGOs, but we are going deeper into many other aspects,” he told The Star on the sidelines of the “NCER: Unleashing Penang's Potentials” at a hotel here yesterday.

Sounding board: Participants attending the PGCC briefing in Penang on Saturday.
Some 300 participants representing various NGOs and interest groups took part.

“We are looking at the broader view, with input from many experts participating in the seminar,” he added.

Among the topics discussed were the economy, research, traffic, public transportation and sustaining mobility. Lim said the seminar was not organised to gain popularity.

“We are here for an open discussion and accountability. There will be more such seminars and public forums in the future,” he said.

The ecological impact of the project would be discussed in subsequent seminars, he added.

“We are committed to Penang. We are prepared to share with everyone. This is our corporate social responsibility,” he said.

The PGCC project that would take up 105.2ha of the current Penang Turf Club, will include the construction of international hotels and a mini-philharmonic centre.

It is expected to create about 30,000 jobs, of which 5,000 would be generated during the construction phase. The entire project is expected to take 18 years.

The project is undertaken by Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd, an associate company of Equine Capital Bhd.

By The Star