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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

JB to get own ‘KLCC’

Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Mukhtar Hussain signing the plaque at the branch opening

JOHOR BARU: Johor wants to develop the former sites of the Lumba Kuda and Bukit Chagar low-cost flats in Johor Baru into an area similar to Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the components of the project would include buildings that resembled the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, hotels, condominiums, serviced apartments and retail complexes.

“On clear days, the towers would have a commanding 360 degrees views of the city centre and our neighbour Singapore,” he said yesterday.

Ghani was speaking to journalists at the opening of the HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd’s first Islamic bank branch in Johor at Taman Nusa Bestari and also its seventh branch.

He said the Lumba Kuda and Bukit Chagar sites would also be the last stop for the mass rapid transit (MRT) services from Woodlands, Singapore to Tanjung Puteri in Johor Baru. A rapid transit system (RTS), which would be centralised at Kempas KTM station, will connect commuters to other parts of Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang.

Ghani said Johor was opened to all options on the type of RTS to use; whether to have a bridge across the Straits of Johor or an underground sea tunnel linking Johor and Singapore.

“The distance might be short: only about 1.6km but if the sea tunnel project is viable and can help reduce congestion above land, why not,” he said.

Ghani said the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and State Economic Planning Unit would have until the end of the year to complete their studies on the city centre transformation plan and submit their findings to the Federal Government.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, some RM1.8bil will be spent to turn Johor Baru into a vibrant city in line with its status as one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia.

By The Star

Iskandar Malaysia moving in the right direction

Selling fast: Tham (right) and sales and marketing manager Patrick Chin with the model of the SuriaMas Block C Apartment Tower.

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore are two major contributing factors that will drive growth of the property market in south Johor.

IJM Land Bhd general manager (southern region) Tham Huen Cheong said the country’s first economic growth corridor was moving in the right direction since its inception in Nov 4, 2006.

Located in the southern most part of Johor, spanning 2,217 sq km and under its Comprehensive Development Plan (2006-2025), Iskandar will be transformed into an international metropolis.

The figure released by the Iskandar Regional Development Authority showed Iskandar received RM62.32bil cumulative investment up to June, surpassing the 2010 target of RM47bil.

“Developers are benefiting from the investment flow with demand for properties on the upward trend,’’ he said at the launch of SuriaMas Block C Apartment Tower.

The project located in Larkin is a privatisation project between IJM’s subsidiary Suria Bistari Development Sdn Bhd and the Johor government.

The 13-storey block with the gross development value of RM35mil is made up of 152 units with built-up area from 82.03 sq metre to 104.98 sq metre, and selling prices between RM220, 000 and RM330, 000 each.

He said the opening of the two Integrated Resorts (IR) in Singapore also saw good demand for apartments units especially those located just few kilometres away from Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Bukit Chagar.

Tham said it was a known fact that Johor and Singapore were economically inter-dependent and positive economic growth on both sides of the Causeway would create a spill over.

“Apartment units are popular with Malaysians working in Singapore as most of the apartments blocks are located within the gated and guarded precinct,’’ said Tham.

He said many chose to stay in apartments nearby the CIQ due to the shorter travelling time commuting to work to the republic.

The safety factor was another consideration as security guards patrolled the area regularly.

Tham said apartments in the Larkin area fetched good rental due to its close proximity to Johor Baru city centre and was surrounded by amenities such as schools, banks, shopping complexes, private hospitals and public transport terminal.

He said a three-room unfurnished apartment unit in the area could easily fetch RM850 monthly rental, while for the fully-furnished three-room unit could derive rental between RM1,200 and RM1,800.

Tham said it was still considered cheap compared with a room in any Housing Development Board public flats in Singapore, which could be leased out to tenant from S$500 monthly.

By The Star

1MDB gearing up for expansion plans in real estate industry

PETALING JAYA: The Government’s strategic investment unit, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) seems to be gearing up for involvement in the real estate industry judging by its large recruitment plan recently.

1MDB placed a two-page recruitment advertisement in The Star on Sept 25, mostly for senior positions within various units in the real estate team of the company.

The vacancies were for positions in the project management unit, design and planning unit, supply chain management unit, project implementation unit, branding and marketing unit, quality assurance unit and corporate functions.

Sources familiar with the company said the new line-up would be for the redevelopment of the Sungai Besi Airport area and a new international financial district in Kuala Lumpur.

“1MDB is gathering resources right now to kick-start its expansion plan in the real estate industry,” the sources told StarBiz yesterday. The company, when contacted, declined to comment.

As reported in June, the Sungai Besi airport would be developed into a green mixed-use development that will feature a commercial hub.

To be known as “City of Malaysia”, the project will be jointly developed by Middle Eastern investors including the Qatar Investment Authority and 1MDB.

In its advertisement, 1MDB said: “At 1MDB, we strive to be a strategic enabler for new ideas and new sources of growth to further strengthen Malaysia’s competitiveness. Through innovation, creativity and high performance, we unlock strategic values to drive long term sustainable economic development. Join our real estate team to be part of this mission.”

According to its website, 1MDB has a unique difference in its pursuit of economic growth.

It creates business opportunities and forges global partnerships to bring home foreign direct investment for new high-impact growth.

It forms equal-capital joint ventures in investments with high multipliers, especially energy, real estate, tourism and agribusiness.

This business model has proven successful with an early indication of US$3bil investments from the Middle East.

By The Star

SunCity project in Penang

SUNWAY City Bhd’s wholly-owned unit, Sunway City (Penang) Sdn Bhd, had on August 4 agreed to buy 32.74ha of land for residential development in Barat Daya district, Penang, from Sungei Ara Holdings Sdn Bhd for RM38.76 million.

SunCity said the area will have an estimated gross development value of RM800 million when fully developed.

“The proposed development for the new land bank consists of semi-detached houses and bungalows which will strengthen SunCity’s presence in Penang,” it told Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

By Business Times

Plenitude to buy Penang land

PLENITUDE Bhd’s wholly owned unit, Plenitude Estates Sdn Bhd, has agreed to buy 21.3ha of freehold land in Balik Pulau, Penang, from United Formula Sdn Bhd and Affluent Base Sdn Bhd for RM40.1 million.

The land is earmarked for mixed development that includes double-storey and super-link houses as well as 2-3 storey shops with an estimated gross development value of RM230 million.

The development should start in the first half of 2012 and last five years.

By Business Times

PKNS plans to set up Astronaut City in Bernam Jaya

KUALA LUMPUR: The Selangor Economic Development Corp (PKNS) plans to set up an "Astronaut City" in Bernam Jaya, Northern Selangor, says its Chief Executive Officer Omar Othman. "However, it is still in the preliminary stage. We are just talking about it. There is nothing concrete yet," he told Bernama here today.

Ohman said PKNS was organising an "Astronaut Congress" to be held at the Shah Alam Convention Centre on October 8. "We are trying to schedule a visit by the astronauts to our Selangor Science Park, which is also the Solar City to exchange ideas," he said after a visit by national astronaut Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor to PKNS's exhibition booth at the Global Finance Conference here today.

Themed, "Dawn of the New Decade: Alternative Investments in Asia", the two-day conference, organised by the International Herald Tribune and the London Speakers Bureau, ended today.

PKNS, the investment arm of the Selangor state government, is the only exhibitor displaying multi-billion ringgit high-profile properties to attract potential international investors.

Malaysia's first Solar City, located in Selangor Science Park 2, is an integrated urban mixed redevelopment with high-tech industrial, commercial residential and recreational components.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Muszaphar said "we are impressed with the world class infrastructure that PKNS has put in place in the Solar city". "We are bringing 100 astronauts from all over the world to visit Solar City namely from the United States, Iran, India. "Probably, we can promote space science as the Solar City has a lot of opportunities and potential," he added.

By Bernama