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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Higher quality entries for FIABCI award

KUALA LUMPUR: The standard of entries for the annual International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Malaysia Property Award (MPA) has been on a steady rise over the years and choosing a winner has grown increasingly difficult.

But it is certainly a good problem to have.

Winners of the MPA in their relevant categories will go on to represent Malaysia in the subsequent year at the International Prix d’Excellence.

FIABCI-Malaysia honorary treasurer Yeow Thit Sang is optimistic that the winners of this year’s awards, in a ceremony held last month, would do well when they compete with the world’s best at the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in Bali next year.

“We are quite comparable to the rest of the world,” Yeow told StarBiz, adding that the judging panel had a “tough time” distinguishing this year’s MPA winners.

“In some instances, it took just half a percentage point to distinguish the winners,” he said.

In its effort to continuously raise the standard of the local property industry through its annual awards, FIABCI-Malaysia has been placing great emphasis on the importance of environmental awareness.

Initially, the impact of a development on the environment used to account for 10% of the judging criteria for the MPA. Last year, it surged to 25% and at this year’s awards presentation, it rose further to 30%.

“We can’t deny that property development destroys the environment. The whole world is doing what it can to reduce carbon emissions and it’s important that Malaysian developers practise this as well,” Yeow said.

He added that he was very impressed with the entries for this year’s MPA and the efforts made by the participants to conserve the environment.

He cited as an example efforts by UEM Land Bhd in developing Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, Johor.

In line with environmental guidelines, the developer has to ensure silt is filtered before going into the Straits of Johor during excavation.

UEM Land invested in a RM15mil double-layer silk screen to ensure the highest standard in preserving the environment. The screen was the first to be used in the country.

“They placed the silk screen along the shoreline so that the sea would remain clean, which it was when we visited the site during the judging process,” Yeow said.

UEM Land’s Puteri Harbour was the winner of the Master Plan Category at this year’s MPA.

In line with the need to promote environmental awareness, a butterfly is moulded on the FIABCI-Malaysia trophies.

The connection? Yeow said butterflies were a symbol of “environmental sensitivity.”

“Butterflies can detect immediately when there are sudden changes to the environment because they are sensitive creatures.

“Likewise, we encourage local developers to be sensitive to the way they impact the environment with their projects,” he said, adding that the image of butterfly has been on the FIABCI-Malaysia trophies for many years.

Yeow, who is also the 2010 FIABCI Prix d’Excellence committee president, said there was no doubt that environmental consciousness would play a big role in the judging process at the awards in Bali next year.

“We are expecting about 60 entries (at the Prix d’Excellence) next year, which would be evaluated by over 30 judges from various fields,” he said.

FIABCI-Malaysia will accept entries for its 2010 MPA from January to March.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

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