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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Malaysia will still attract Middle East investments'

MALAYSIA, particularly Johor's Iskandar project, will still be able to attract investments from the Middle East despite the current Dubai debt crisis, experts say.

Arlida Ariff, president and chief executive officer of Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), believes that there are still investors from that region looking for long-term prospects here.

Selective companies from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the city of Abu Dhabi continue to be strong despite what's happening in Dubai, she said.

"There's still a lot of liquidity from the Middle East that was in the past focused on the 'wrong' areas, which will now look for more sensible, long-term prospects. And I think our investment opportunities in Malaysia offer that for the Middle East," she told Business Times yesterday, on the sideline of the second day of the Malaysia-Arab Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur.
Dubai recently triggered a global stock market sell-off when it revealed that its investment companies needed more time to pay off a staggering US$60 billion (RM203.40 billion) debt.

IIB is the catalytic developer of Iskandar Malaysia, a project that has managed to draw some RM50.5 billion in investments since its inception in late 2006. This includes investments from the Middle East such as Mubadala Development Co and Aldar Properties (from Abu Dhabi), Kuwait Finance House and Limitless Holdings (Dubai).

Arlida said she doesn't expect these investments to be affected by debt fallout in Dubai.

"We remain confident that the projects that we have in partnership with our Middle Eastern partners will continue," she said.

She expects to be able to make announcements on some new investments at Iskandar over the next three to six months.

Datuk Richard Fong, chairman of Malaysia Property Inc (MPI), doesn't see the local property market being hurt by the latest developments in Dubai as Middle Eastern investors have generally not been big buyers since the global financial crisis started late last year.

"As far as the Malaysian property (market) is concerned, the biggest foreign purchasers are Singaporeans. The Middle East ranks ninth or 10th, so it doesn't really affect us much," he remarked.

MPI is a government-private entity, tasked with attracting foreign direct investments into the local property market.

Datuk Michael Yeoh, chief executive officer of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, said that the flow of investments from the Middle East into Malaysia "won't be too badly affected" given that oil-rich countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are not affected by Dubai's problems.

By Business Times (by Adeline Paul Raj)

Mah Sing to buy land in Penang

Mah Sing Group Bhd has proposed to acquire 1.352 hectares (3.38 acres) of freehold land in Georgetown, Penang, through its subsidiary Klassik Tropika Development Sdn Bhd for RM38.651 million.

The acquisition is part of the group's expansion strategy to acquire choice land bank in the Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru for its projects targeting segments of the medium high-end property market.

"This would allow Mah Sing to capture a larger share of the market via simultaneous launches in matured areas and continue their high take-up rates," the group said in a statement today.

"Furthermore, it is rare a large piece of prime land is available in the heart of Georgetown," it said.
"We will capitalise on the sea view to the northeast and mountain view to the southwest for the proposed development," it added.

Mah Sing said the proposed acquisition is not expected to have any material impact on the group's earnings for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2009, as development of the land is expected to start in the second half of 2010.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next financial year.

By Bernama

Mah Sing eyes US$620m China mixed property devt

KUALA LUMPUR: MAH SING GROUP BHD is teaming up with China's Danlong Realty (Beijing) Ltd to undertake a mixed development property project in Jiangsu province, with an estimated investment cost of US$620 million.

The company said on Wednesday, Dec 2 the project would be undertaken on an 87.31 acres site, west of Wuyi road in the Wujin district.

It had signed a letter of intent with Wujin District People’s Government, Changzhou City to undertake the project there.

Both companies would set up a joint venture company to develop the plot of land into a medium to high end residential and commercial properties with an estimated total investment cost of US$620 million.

Mah Sing would subscribe 51% of the registered capital and Danlong would subscribe the remaining 49% of the registered capital in JV company.

Mah Sing shall invest a total of USD80 million in proportion to their stakeholdings as registered capital of the JV company.

The Wujin government had also given the JV company the opportunity to explore additional sites which are Plot 2 with total land area of 53.13 acres in the north of Wujin High-New Zone of Changzhou City and Plot 3, covering 82.37 acres in Minghuang Town, Wujin district.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Joseph Chin)

Government takes action against errant housing developers

More than 1,000 housing developers and almost 5,000 directors have been blacklisted by the Government for various reasons, including abandoning projects, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said 1,345 developers and 4,659 directors have been blacklisted.

Besides abandoned projects, he said the offences included being responsible for defective projects, non-compliance with decisions of the Housing Tribunal and failing to pay fines issued by the ministry.

Responding to a question from Datuk Halimah Sadique (BN - Tenggara), Kong said from 1990 to Sept 30, 2009, 148 abandoned projects involving 49,913 units and 31,824 buyers were recorded.

“Of this, 12 projects were revived, completed and issued certificates of fitness; 49 are being revived; while the rest are waiting for new developers,” he said.

Under Budget 2010, Kong said the ministry had allocated RM200mil to revive low and low-medium cost houses.

“Of the 87 yet to be revived, 41 are low and medium-cost projects which can be revived,” he said.

Later at the lobby, Kong said the rest of the abandoned projects were difficult to revive, adding that most were high-cost projects.

“Not every project can be revived. The project has to be viable to the new developer, whom we call the white knight.

“If the white knight incurs losses, he won’t take up the project,” he said.

By The Star