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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

RM70m facelift for Bangsar Shopping Centre

MAKEOVER: Mohamed Moiz (left) and BRDB general manager (asset and property management) Datuk Mohan R.Karthlgasu with a model of the new BSC

Developer Bandar Raya Developments wants Bangsar Shopping Centre to be a new iconic property in the Bangsar enclave

BANDAR Raya Developments Bhd (BRDB) will spend at least RM250 million to upgrade Bangsar Shopping Centre and build an office tower next to the mall.

This is BRDB's first major refurbishment plan for BSC since it opened its doors in 1990. Work started early this year and is set to be done by the end of 2009.

Chairman Datuk Mohamed Moiz Ali Moiz told Business Times that RM70 million is for an extreme makeover for BSC.

The rest is to build a 12-storey office tower next to the mall together with a four-storey retail annex to the rear of BSC.

The developer, which has been developing properties in the Bangsar Baru and Bukit Bandaraya areas since 1964, will use its own funds and borrowings for the plan.

The rest is to build a 12-storey office tower next to the mall together with a four-storey retail annex to the rear of BSC.

The developer, which has been developing properties in the Bangsar Baru and Bukit Bandaraya areas since 1964, will use its own funds and borrowings for the plan.

BRDB's net profit for the year to December 31 2007 surged 18-fold to RM70.6 million due to robust demand for its properties. Revenue rose 18 per cent to RM662.8 million.

Mohamed Moiz said the "new" BSC will support BRDB's completed developments in the neighbourhood, including the ongoing One Menerung residential project located nearby.

One Menerung comprises five blocks of low-rise luxury condominiums and each unit is priced from RM2.7 million to as much as RM5.2 million each.

"We want BSC to be a new iconic property in the Bangsar enclave. By end-2009, we will have a bigger cluster of shopping, lifestyle and community in one area," Mohamed Moiz said at a media briefing on the plan at BSC yesterday

By New Straits Times - Business Times - (by Sharen Kaur)

Emkay REIT in the works

The Emkay Group of companies, controlled by developer Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar, said its plans to set up a commercial property trust could take two years to materialise.

Chief operating officer Peter Teh Heng Poh said the real estate investment trust (REIT) is still in the conception stage, but it is targeting to have at least 500,000 sq ft of net lettable area in the trust.

"Most of the upcoming buildings in MKN Embassy Techzone, an IT building project in Cyberjaya, are also slated for the trust" Peter Teh Heng Poh Chief Operating Officer Emkay Group

“Based on the buildings that we have, the size is already there. We are working on other details,” he told Business Times in an interview in Damansara Perdana yest e r d ay.

The REIT will likely be listed on the local bourse and will own mainly the Emkay Group’s properties in Cyberjaya as well as in Damansara initially.

Among assets to be sold into the trust is the four-storey Bangunan Mustapha Kamal in Cyberjaya, which has 121,500 sq ft of lettable area. The building has been completed and the group is in negotiations with potential tenants, Teh said.

In Damansara Perdana, the 21- storey Menara Mustapha Kamal, which is due for completion in September 2009, will also be included in the property trust.

This building will have 201,508 sq ft of lettable area and the group plans to retain four floors for its own use.

Teh said most of the upcoming buildings in MKN Embassy Techzone, a freehold IT building project on 4.1ha site in Cyberjaya, are also slated for the trust.

The so-called campus development will have clusters of specially- built office blocks for IT firms sharing some common facilities, he said. The project is modelled after a similar concept in Bangalore done by its partner, the Embassy Group of India.

“There will be four blocks under the first phase and we plan to buy more land from Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd to build another eight blocks in Phase 2,” Teh said.

Setia Haruman is the master developer of Cyberjaya and is an associate company of Emkay Group, in which Mustapha holds majority shares.

Teh said the first two blocks in Phase 1 of the Techzone that are due to be done in the next few months, will not be put into the REIT because it is already in talks with some local funds for en-bloc sale.

“There are many fund managers looking to buy the buildings because they want recurring income. If they can get a seven per cent return, they are happy,” he said.

The upcoming blocks in the first phase of Techzone should measure some 250,000 sq ft in gross built-up each, Teh added.

Other potential candidates for the trust include two 10-storey office towers within the NeoCyber mixed development project in Cyberjaya. Emkay Group plans to start construction on these towards the year-end, which will have another 260,700 sq ft lettable area.

By New Straits Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

IJM Corp bags RM840m Abu Dhabi job

KUALA LUMPUR: IJM Corp Bhd has secured a hotel development project in Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi worth some AED1 billion (RM840 million) under a joint venture (JV) with LFE Corp Bhd.

In a statement to Bursa yesterday, it said the IJM-LFE JV has received a letter of intent dated April 12 from Tamouh Investments LLC for the construction of phase 1, plot 1 Zone E2 Hotel Development project in Abu Dhabi.

The JV is made up of IJM’s wholly owned IJM Construction Sdn Bhd (Abu Dhabi branch), with a 70% stake and LFE’s wholly owned LFE Engineering Sdn Bhd with the remaining stake.

The latest job will add to IJM’s burgeoning order book of some RM6 billion. Meanwhile, LFE, which provides electrical and mechanical engineering services and maintenance works, returned to the black in its financial year ended Dec 31, 2007 with a net profit of RM8.15 million from a net loss of RM20.77 million a year earlier.

In separate a statement, IJM Corp said US-based The Capital Group Companies, Inc has acquired 1.3 million shares in the company between April 8 and 10, bringing its total indirect stake to 8.99% or 77.26 million shares.

By The EDGE Malaysia

Rent control in the Gulf

KUALA LUMPUR: While rent control has been removed in most of Eastern and Central Europe, with Asian countries like China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore following suit since the early 2000s, the regime has made a surprising comeback in one group of high-growth, dynamic economies — the Gulf.

In December last year, the Dubai government toughened up its 2005 Rent Law and reduced the maximum 2008 rent increase to only 5%. Abu Dhabi also capped its 2008 rental increase at only 5%. Meanwhile, a rent freeze has been implemented in Qatar while the government is determining the new rent increase cap; rent increases for the past two years to February 2008 were limited to 10% annually.

According to the Global Property Guide (, an online property research house, the move has dismayed landlords and alarmed property investors. Prince Christian Cruz, senior economist at the Global Property Guide, said: “We believe that rent control is generally harmful.”

“But rent control can be benign, if: it is implemented so that its market-restraining effects are modest; it helps to defuse public protest about high rents; and it assists landlords and tenants by providing an agreed framework for contracts,” he said.

Cruz noted that most of the conditions mentioned were absent in the rent control measures in Qatar and UAE, and that if the matter persists, it could result in the property market boom grinding to a halt.

Global Property Guide said that a common justification for rent control is the right to housing, which is sometimes protected by the constitution. Another justification is that the rent control corrects market inefficiencies such as information asymmetry and high transaction costs.

Both the landlord and tenant benefit if standard provisions exist, which determine what should be agreed on — the initial rent, rent adjustments, date of payment, penalty for delays, conditions for eviction and more — providing flexibility and security.

However, rent control tends to distort economic incentives, leading to inefficient distribution of resources. It reduces incentives for landlords to supply rental units, discourages them from maintaining units till the end of a tenancy and leads to a host of bullying and illegal behaviour by landlords.

According to Global Property Guide, a minimalist rent control can be harmless or mildly beneficent, where it occurs in the context of standardisation of contract structures, designed to increase market certainty and to provide guidance for citizens.

“Qatar and UAE can learn a thing or two from Canada. Although the laws appear to be pro-tenant, the system is not entirely disadvantageous to landlords. Allowable rent increases are based on each province’s CPI, allowing regional disparity,” said Cruz.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by )

Project to give town an economic boost

Pasdec's mixed township to be completed by 2015

KUANTAN: The Bandar Putra project in Tanjung Lumpur comprising more than 3,300 residential and commercial properties is expected to give the fishing town a facelift and an economic boost.

Launched in February and costing about RM850mil, the project is being undertaken by Pasdec Holdings Bhd.

The project's mix of residential, commercial and recreational components comprising single- and double-storey semi-detached houses in 38 innovative designs will be developed on over 167ha of freehold land.

A new dual-carriageway currently under construction will, when completed, cut travelling time between Pekan and Kuantan by half.

Pasdec group managing director Yusof Ali Mohamed Zain said the project would be developed in stages over 10 years, with full completion scheduled in 2015.

Yusof Ali Mohamed Zain

“The first phase comprises 69 single- and double-storey medium-cost link houses costing RM146,888 onwards and 32 semi-detached single- and double-storey houses priced from RM245,888.''

Some 90% of the 209 medium-cost houses priced at RM63,888 that would be managed by the Pahang State Secretary housing unit had been sold, he told StarBiz on Monday.

Eight of the semi-detached double-storey houses were sold out one week after registration opened recently.

Yusof Ali also said Bandar Putra was expected to get a boost in value given that a leading healthcare provider had agreed to set up a hospital and a hotel there to tap the potential in health tourism in the east coast region.

“There is interest in trying to woo people from Thailand to come here to enjoy the tourism attractions and at the same time, have a medical check-up or seek treatment.

“Even now, people from Terengganu are flocking the private hospitals in Kuantan for medical treatment,” he added.

The companies were now at the final stage of discussions to iron out the details, he said, adding that an announcement would be made soon.

By The Star (by Roslina Mohamad)

Perak waiting for RM12m Federal funds

Eight projects to be completed this year

IPOH: The Perak Government has urged the Housing and Local Government Ministry to immediately channel the RM12mil allocation to kick-start eight approved infrastructure projects in the city.

State Education, Local government, Housing and Public Transport chairman Nga Kor Ming said the Ipoh City Council was still waiting for the funds from the Federal Government, although it was ready to begin the projects which are due to be completed this year.

“We understand that the delay was caused by the transition of power from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Rakyat.

“We hope the Federal Government will expedite the matter and channel the funds immediately,” he told reporters after an inaugural briefing by the council here yesterday.

“I place high hopes on the Prime Minister’s word that Federal projects in the five Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states will continue as usual and that they will not be sidelined,” he said.

Among the projects are the replacement of the traffic controller for 12 traffic junctions (RM450,000), the construction of a bridge in the flood-prone Kampung Dato Ahmad Said Tambahan 2 (RM350,000) and another bridge at Taman Chempaka, Kampung Baru Ampang (RM1.45mil).

During the briefing earlier, Nga said that the council was working to improve its relationship with the 650,000 Ipoh residents by expediting the settlement of complaints.

“The council promises that all SMS complaints sent to its hotline will be dealt with within seven days,” he said.

The public, said Nga, could SMS their complaints to 36828, and the council's officers would reply within a week.

“The council will also give the complainant the contact number of the officer-in-charge of their case, so if no action is taken, they can contact the officer directly,” he said.

On the state government’s one-time waiver of notices of summonses and compounds for hawking and parking offences, Nga said, “Mentri Besar (Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin) has instructed State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim to send out notices on the waiver to all the local councils.

By The Star (by Clara Chooi)

Tesco plans to open 11 more outlets

KOTA BARU: Tesco Stores (M) Sdn Bhd plans to establish 11 more hypermarket outlets on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia within the next 12 months

Chief executive officer Chris Bush said the expansion would largely cover areas such as Kedah, Johor and the Klang Valley where three stores would be added to the present six.

He said this after the opening of the RM80mil Tesco outlet here, its first in the east coast.

To help consumers cope with mounting costs brought on by global inflation amid the rising fuel prices, Bush said Tesco had last year introduced its own brand for some 800 products.

“We know it is difficult to control cost pricing especially when suppliers hike their costs but we have strategies in place where we guarantee fair value for many products.” he said adding that the Tesco-branded products were 50% to 60% lower in pricing compared to similar products of different brands.

Realising this, many consumers had started buying its brand and had seen impressive growth in

Earlier, Tesco corporate and legal affairs director Azlam Shah Alias said for the Kota Baru outlet, 200 of its product lines were sourced from local suppliers.

By The Star (by Ian Mcintyre)