Malaysia Property News is a free resource website sharing Daily Property News & information about Property in Malaysia, which related to, Property Market, Property Investment, Commercial Property , Hot Properties Malaysia, Real Estate, Retail Shop, Business Park, Condominium Malaysia, Terraces & Apartment Malaysia, Houses, Residence, Resort and many more.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Johor developers keen to play integral role

Property developers in Johor want the Government to engage them in the consultation for and drafting of a plan to transform Johor Baru into a vibrant city.

Simon Heng

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) chairman of Johor branch, Simon Heng, says the private sector should not be left out in the drawing up of the plan although the initiative was mooted by the Federal and Johor Governments.

“It will be good for all stakeholders if both the public and private sectors could work together to ensure the success of the project,’’ he says in an interview with StarBizWeek.

Heng urges the Johor government to open up state-owned land in the city centre for redevelopment projects via the open tender system instead of awarding the parcels directly to certain parties.

He says it is only logical to engage property developers as they are responsive to the market and know what products sell and what buyers want.

“The former sites of the Lumba Kuda and Bukit Chagar low-cost flats are the best areas to build high-rise condominiums and serviced apartments.

“These properties will attract Malaysian professionals working in Singapore and expatriates based in the republic due to the close proximity,” he adds.

Heng says the number of Singaporeans renting houses in Johor Baru has risen in recent months because of the high rentals in the city-state. Most of these people commute daily from Johor Baru to work on the island.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had last month announced that the Government would allocate funding to rehabilitate and transform Johor Baru.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, some RM1.8bil will be spent within the city centre. T

his include RM200mil to clean up Sungai Segget, one of the dirtiest rivers in the country.

Sungai Segget flows along Jalan Wong Ah Fook in the city centre. Several years ago, RM6mil was spent to cover up a stretch of the river, which has a reputation for being a dumping ground for raw sewage.

The money for the proposed Johor Baru project comes from the Federal Government’s facilitating fund while the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) will act as a facilitator together with the State Economic Planning Unit (Upen).

According to Irda chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim, Irda and Upen have until the end of this year to conduct studies to determine how the plan should look like. The findings are to be submitted to the Federal Government.

Undoubtedly, it is vital to rejuvenate Johor Baru city centre, in line with its status as one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia.

“Apart from engaging developers, views from property owners, non-governmental organisations, experts in town planning and chambers of commerce should be taken into account,’’ says Heng.

SP Setia Bhd executive vice-president (property division, northern and southern regions) Datuk Chang Khim Wah agrees with Heng.

He says the redevelopment plan will definitely increase the value of properties in areas near the city. These include those in Taman Pelangi, Taman Abad, Taman Sentosa and Taman Sri Tebrau.

Chang says while Johor Baru should have its own identity, the stakeholders can always look at the success stories of city-centre redevelopment in other parts of the world.

“A vibrant city should be a blend of the old and new, and a city should be a lively place not only during the day but also at night,’’ he says.

Chang says Istanbul is a good example as the city, with historical sites and monuments, blends well with its chic Taksim Square.

He says Johor Baru should have enough attractions to lure crowds back to the city centre even after office hours and during weekends. These can be done by having street performances, building specialty stores and boutique hotels in the old parts of the city, and by reopening the Ungku Puan night outdoor hawker centre.

The centre, which was the biggest alfresco dining area in the city centre, was highly popular with locals and tourists but was closed several years ago; instead, ugly concrete kiosks have been put up there.

KSL Holdings Bhd executive director Ku Hwa Seng suggests the authorities re-zone certain parts of the old housing estates near the city centre as part of the transformation plan.

He says residential properties facing the main roads in these estates could be converted into food and beverage outlets and specialty retail stores like in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

Ku says developers should be allowed to buy these houses, refurbish and upgrade them, and lease these properties to restaurant and store owners.

“Concerted efforts are needed from the relevant parties to ensure the success of the plan. But the most important thing is the political will of the state government,’’ he says.

By The Star

No comments: