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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mara ventures into properties

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), a government agency set up to develop Bumiputera entrepreneurs, is venturing into the property business as it seeks to rely less on the government for funding.

Mara Inc Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Abd Halim A. Rahim said the move is in line with the government's wish to see agencies become independent and generate their own revenue.

Mara, an agency under the preview of the Regional and Rural Development Ministry, was set up to promote Bumiputera participation in commercial and industrial activities.

Since 1952, Mara has disbursed loans worth over RM2.1 billion to more than 160,000 Bumiputera entrepreneurs. The money comes from the government.

It now aims to develop its landbank, starting with the Klang Valley. However, it is not known how much land Mara has.

To start with, Mara Inc will develop 0.9ha at Persiaran Gurney, Kuala Lumpur, in a 51:49 joint venture with Zikay Group .

Mara Inc and Zikay, via their joint venture company Symbolic Avenue Sdn Bhd, will develop a project called Gurney Avenue, featuring three blocks of medium to high-end condominiums, retail and shop lots, worth some RM300 million.

"This is an on-going exercise within Mara to develop land. We will have more projects of similar nature coming up after identifying the land that we want to develop," Abd Halim said.

Abd Halim was speaking to Business Times yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, at the signing of the joint venture agreement between Mara Inc and Zikay.

Zikay group chief executive officer Anuar Mohamed said the project, now in design stage, is slated to launch by the end of this year or early next year.

"We have not priced the properties. We are bullish on sales as it is a prime asset in a strategic area," Anuar said.

The price of condominiums within the vicinity of Persiaran Gurney is above RM1,000 per sq ft, he said.

By Business Times

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