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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Comprehensive plan needed to revive JB

An aerial view of Johor Baru city centre. Visitors used to stop by before the opening of the CIQ complex.

Opening of new immigration complex and shifting of govt offices left city centre deserted

JOHOR BARU: Comprehensive planning is needed to ensure the Johor Baru city centre transformation succeed together with strong political will and concerted efforts from various parties.

Views from property developers, owners, businesses, non-governmental organisations, town planning experts, chambers or commerce and Johor Baru folk must be taken into account in drawing up the urban renewal plan.

Prof Ahmad Nazri Muhamad Ludin ... ‘It is vital to rejuvenate Johor Baru.’

It is vital to rejuvenate Johor Baru into a vibrant city as it has lost its appeal,'' said Universiti Teknologi Malaysia dean in the Faculty of Built Environment Prof Ahmad Nazri Muhamad Ludin in an interview.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, some RM1.8bil will be allocated under the transformation plan with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and the state economic planning unit as the project's facilitator.

Many blamed the opening of Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at Bukit Chagar in 2008 as the reason why the city centre is now deserted.

Prior to the opening of the CIQ complex, motorists and visitors especially Singaporeans and locals working in Singapore entering Johor via the old CIQ would stop at the city centre to change money and patronise the eateries.

But the traffic now has been diverted to Jalan Tebrau and Stulang Laut, hence money changers and eateries in the two areas enjoyed brisk business.

He said the shifting of state government offices to the state's new administrative centre of Kota Iskandar in Nusajaya in 2009 from Bukit Timbalan here made matters worse.

Lunch crowds especially office workers have declined and the public dealing with the government offices now have to go to Nusajaya,'' said Ahmad.

He said unlike Kuala Lumpur, after the federal offices moved to Putrajaya, it still has contents such as Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Petaling, Jalan Chow Kit and Central Market to attract crowds, but not Johor Baru.

Ahmad said people did not see a need to come to the city centre as its suburban areas were also developing; in fact Johor Baru has more vibrant suburban neighbourhoods than the city centre itself.

Samuel Tan Wee Cheng says that opening up Sungai Segget is the right move.

KGV-Lambert Smith Hampton director Samuel Tan Wee Cheng lauded the plan to redevelop the former sites of Lumba Kuda and Bukit Chagar low-cost flats in the same way as KLCC.

He said the development should include high-rise condominiums and serviced apartments as these could attract Malaysian professionals working in Singapore and expatriates based in the republic.

The sites' close proximity to the CIQ and the proposed extension of the MRT line from Singapore to Johor Baru Sentral are the good selling points to attract buyers,'' said Tan.

He said incentives should be given to property owners in the form of soft loans to upgrade their rundown properties in the city centre as the upgraded properties could fetch better rental returns for owners.

Tan said these properties could be turned into boutique hotels, specialty retail stores, food and beverage outlets as well as offices like in Singapore's Arab Street, Emerald Hill, Joo Chiat and Tanjung Pagar areas.

He said opening up Sungai Segget which flows alongside Jalan Wong Ah Fook in the city centre was the right move as water elements would bring back life and soul to the area.

Under the transformation plan, RM200mil will be spent to clean up Sungai Segget, one of the dirtiest rivers in the country with its reputation for being a dumping ground for raw sewage; RM6mil was spent several years ago to cover the stretch.

Southern region representative of Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management Jenny Chan said old parts of Johor Baru city should be preserved in the renewal plan.

She said Johor could learn from Malacca and Penang in retaining and preserving old buildings in Jonker Street and George Town.

Chan said old buildings within the enclave of Johor Baru city might not be as old as those in Malacca or George Town but still worth preserving them due the uniqueness of the faade such as art dcor and neo-classical designs.

A vibrant city should be a blend of the old and the new. Look at London and Istanbul where the two elements blend well in the two cities attracting tourists from all over the world,'' said Chan.

She said regulat street performances, arts and culture activities, al fresco hawker centre could attract crowds back to the city centre after office hours and weekends and it was high time for Johor Baru to have its own Central Market like in Kuala Lumpur.

By The Star

Paramount seeks to buy land after stake sale

Developer eyes Klang Valley land as it wants to ride on ETP

KUALA LUMPUR: Paramount Corp Bhd is going on a land acquisition spree in the Klang Valley following its sale of a 20% stake in Jerneh Insurance Bhd for RM130.8mil.

The company is expanding its land bank as it is positive on the Government's plan for greater Kuala Lumpur under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

»Land is getting scarce, hence the new pieces of land we are looking to buy will be smaller. So we will have to build high-rise homes« ONG KENG SIEW

Land is getting scarce, hence the new pieces of land we are looking to buy will be smaller. So we will have to build high-rise homes, managing director Ong Keng Siew told Starbiz after Paramount EGM.

At the EGM, shareholders unanimously approved the sale of Jerneh to Ace Ina International Holdings Ltd.

Of the proceeds, Paramount plans to use RM36.19mil to pay a special dividend of 40 sen per share, which will be given within three months after completion of the disposal.

After minusing the estimated expenses for the proposed disposal, the remaining RM90.31mil will be used to buy land in the Klang Valley for property development purposes.

Executive deputy chairman Datuk Teo Chiang Quan said the company would also use some of its cash for land acquisition purposes.

Paramount has RM235.47mil cash as at Sept 30 versus RM50.59mil in borrowings.

Teo is positive on the outlook of the property sector, especially if infrastructure plans under the ETP are properly carried out.

If the authorities are determined to make Kuala Lumpur a world-class city and implement the mass rail transport system and high-speed bullet train, this will be very good for the country.

Imagine if there is a bullet train linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, where properties are 10 times more expensive than ours. With good accessibility, properties in KL will be greatly enhanced, Teo said.

He added that there was pent up demand for good properties in Kuala Lumpur now.

He cited an example where last month, 125 Paramount homes in Kemuning Utama, Shah Alam, with prices starting from RM520,000 were snapped up within two hours.

Property upgraders are looking for more sophisticated homes that are gated and guarded. That is why you see prices for such homes holding very steady, said Teo.

Earlier in the week, Paramount announced its third-quarter results to Sept 30 which saw its revenue dropped 11.93% to RM98.29mil while net profit rose 32.65% to RM21.59mil.

For the nine-month period, revenue increased 9.64% to RM329.34mil while net profit improved by 45.89% to RM63mil.

The higher net profit was attributed to the overwhelming response to its property launches and better progressive billings.

Teo said Paramount was now setting up an international school using British syllabus in Kota Damansara.

The school is scheduled to open in September 2011 and will have 600 students.

We already have 400 students registered for this curriculum. We will also offer Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for students in year 12 and 13, said Teo.

Meanwhile, Ong said a new KDU College campus would be constructed in Glenmarie.

Paramount plans to launch a 200ha mixed-development project, Banyan Hills, in Sg Petani, Kedah, by the first quarter of 2011.

The company has also bought a 20ha freehold land in Cyberjaya for RM78.4mil from Cyberview Sdn Bhd.

It plans a mixed and mid-upper to high-class guarded residential properties and high-rise condominium with a gross development value of RM530mil there.

By The Star

MRCB, IJM Land shares rise after merger talk

Shares of Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd and IJM Land Bhd perked up amid a weak broader market yesterday after a popular finance blog speculated on a possible merger.

The rise comes as retail investors have become more active in the market recently. Last month, they accounted for almost half of the volume traded.

IJM securities, namely the mother share and the warrants, were among the top 10 most-actively traded securities yesterday.

The mother shares gained 5.5 per cent, or 15 sen, to close at RM2.89, its highest in 40 months. The warrants were up by 16 sen to RM1.78, a record close.

Meanwhile, MRCB , the master developer for the KL Sentral development in Brickfields, ended the day 9 sen higher at RM2.10 with more than 11 million shares traded.
The Malaysia-Finance Blogspot, under a post headlined "Does a MRCB-IJM Land merger make sense?", noted that "the word had switched from an IJM Land privatisation to a merger with MRCB. Something along the lines of a UEM Land-Sunrise deal it seems".

Early this month, UEM Land Holdings Bhd launched a RM1.4 billion conditional takeover offer for Sunrise Bhd.

But the price gains also indicate that financial-based blogs are becoming more influential, at least among the smaller retail investors.

Last month, another blog said that MMC Corp Bhd had made a bid to take over the UEM Group. MMC shares rose to a 27-month high on October 5 after it confirmed interest in UEM.

Jupiter Securities head of research Pong Teng Siew said financial blogs are increasingly gaining momentum in the marketplace due to renewed retail interest in equities.

By Business Times