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Monday, March 3, 2008

Company a household name in Sabah

HAP SENG is a household name in Sabah. This strong brand name in East Malaysia has reached the shores of Peninsular Malaysia where Hap Seng Land Sdn Bhd is bringing with it more than 30 years of expertise and experience in property development and holding of investment properties.

As a leading property developer in Sabah, the company has constantly set new benchmarks in areas such as quality, concept and early completion of its projects. In fact, the company was the first to introduce the gated community concept in Sabah when it developed its Taman Mosaic some 20 years ago! Today, this project of 40 boxy-style bungalows has high perimeter walls and a guardhouse.

The company has done 32 housing projects in Tawau alone since the late 1970s.

In recent years, Hap Seng has vastly improved its products, as shown by projects such as its Taman Suria in Tawau that boasts 24-hour security with CCTV cameras and infrared motion detectors at the perimeter walls. Completed with Certificate of Fitness last year, all except for two of the 30 semi-detached and detached units have been sold.

These houses have 5ft-wide staircase, plaster ceiling for the first floor, and even 6ft-high walls with ceramic tiles grilles in the wet kitchen.

The recently completed wet market at Bandar Sri Indah in Tawa.

Any doubt that I might have about this company soon vanished after a recent visit to its projects in Kota Kinabalu and Tawau.

I was most impressed with its RM2.5bil Bandar Sri Indah in Tawau, the biggest township in Sabah with 1,368 acres of Hap Seng's former oil palm estates that is set to be one of the best in Sabah.

The township, started in 2004, is moving fast into Phase 5.

Straddling both sides of Jalan Apas, it is about 16km from Tawau old town centre. Its sheer size would surprise first-time visitors who arrive at this town bordering Indonesia after a 10 to 15 minutes' drive from Tawau Airport. Bandar Sri Indah is projected to grow into the largest business and residential hub in Tawau. It is near the famous Shan Shui Golf & Country Course.

It will have 7,493 residential units (992 acres), 788 commercial units (96 acres), 527 industrial units (103 acres) and 28 acres of open space. Amenities on 149 acres will include schools, hypermarket, community hall, sports centre, religious reserve, bus/taxi terminal, market, security centre, and petrol stations.

It is about the size of UEP Subang Jaya (UEP) in Selangor and boasts an impressive and grand entrance statement with water features at a big roundabout at Jalan Apas. Security guards salute us as our 4WD cars drove in for a visit.

A modern two-storey wet market (officially opened last December) with spacious car park is near the township's main entrance. It has a nice food court on the first floor with stainless steel chairs and tables, suraus and 114 stalls at the wet market on the ground floor. A freezer will soon be added to enable the stallholders to keep their fresh foodstuff.

Facing Jalan Apas are rows of newly completed two-storey shop offices with 35ft-wide frontage and tinted glass windows. Phase 2A of the shop offices (126 units) have been fully sold while the Phase 2B shop offices (133 units) have also been selling well. Polycarbonate roofs cover the space between the rows for shoppers' convenience. A shopping centre has been proposed on a piece of land between these two phases.

Hap Seng Land plans to create an eco-park with a jungle trail in a forest reserve next to the Phase 2B shop offices. It has also built a RM240,000 imported Australian teflon tent at a landscaped Eco Park open space which can be used to host various functions and activities such as product exhibitions and special events.

“Almost the whole of Tawau town came to this site to see our fireworks display when we celebrated the township's second anniversary last September,” said the project's deputy marketing manager Conrad Paujik.

About half of the purchasers of the 677 houses in Phase 1 (it has also its own guard house) have moved into their houses. This phase has two big family parks with basketball court, children's playground, and futsal court. In the Esplanade area, gazebos and jogging tracks have been built along a stream.

Hap Seng Properties Development Sdn Bhd operations manager Willie Pang said a 3km jogging track along a stream would be built to link Phase 1 to the lake garden in Phase 3. “We even have a 24-hour mobile patrol unit,” said Pang, who also took me to the security centre where the 20 to 30 guards had to clock in and out daily by pressing their thumbs on an identification gadget.

On the other side of Jalan Apas is the BSI Industrial Park, the biggest industrial park in Tawau. Currently, three types of one and 1½-storey industrial shop offices totalling 120 units are being built for sale. They have motorised roller shutters and CCTV cameras (with digital video recording) and an alarm system which are linked to the Bandar Sri Indah 24-hour security centre.

There is a hive of activities as lorries and tractors clear the huge land to build some 2,000 units of terrace house, semi-detached house and bungalow under Phase 5 (to be launched next year), an Anglican primary and secondary school project (under construction and expected to begin operations early next year), and 306 houses for sale under Phase 3.

Surrounded by three virgin forest reserves, it is clear that one of the best selling points of Bandar Sri Indah is that residents can enjoy abundant greenery and fresh air. Besides the good security and the quality of the houses, another selling point is the affordable entry level to own a house here.

A Phase 1, 20ft x 90ft two-storey terrace house was sold at a developer's price for only RM105,000. A hallmark of Hap Seng's houses is its big lot size, generous land setback at the rear of the house which is ideal for future extensions.

The rich Tawau folks will also get to own bungalows with an eco-friendly concept when 110 bungalows and link bungalows under Phase 2C (near the shop offices) are launched next year.

By The Star (by S.C.Cheah)

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