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Monday, October 17, 2011

Affordable houses in Bandar Malaysia, says 1MDB

KUALA LUMPUR: Bandar Malaysia, a mixed development that is being undertaken by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) on land situated in Sungai Besi, will begin with affordable houses expected to be launched in December.

The entire Bandar Malaysia will include parks, a library as well as public facilities with the key focus on sustainable development, said Chief Executive Officer Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi.

"The idea is to start with affordable houses," he told Bernama in an interview.

He, however, declined to give further details on the affordable houses, which will be one of the many features on the said land.

In June, 1MDB, which is a government-owned master developer for Bandar Malaysia on the 196.6-hectare land, signed a sales and purchase agreement with the federal land commissioner to facilitate the land transfer.

1MDB had said before that Bandar Malaysia would have several attractive elements to further strengthen Kuala Lumpur's global competitiveness as cities compete to attract international investors and businesses.

He believed over time, Bandar Malaysia, as well as, the surrounding areas would see a surge in property value, as areas around the "flying zone" would have restrictions on building heights.

"Once it becomes a no fly zone, the value of property goes up. There will be more density, which will eventually attract public transportation," he said.

Asked on the task of developing the Sungai Besi land, which is currently the base for the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), he said it would not be easy given the amount of procedures and processes involved.

"The land title is now owned by 1MDB but you can't immediately take a hand hoe and start digging," he quipped, referring to the layers of complicity that is involved in developing the land.

For a start, 1MDB has to ensure that RMAF has an appropriate place to move their assets and operations as well as they are comfortably functional at the new location, he said.

Discussions with regards to the relocation is on-going with the help of Malaysian Armed Force Fund Board and some areas such as Subang, Sendayan, Butterworth as well as Kuantan have been identified for the purpose.

It was reported that the RMAF is set to close the Sungai Besi air base from Now 31 and will only be operational for helicopters.

That aside, he said the land itself has to be re-gazetted for development.

"The land is currently gazetted as a security area. So, that is why you don't see anything happening in the area as yet," he said, adding that all the layers of complexity is what makes 1MDB the ideal developer for the land.

"We are 100 per cent owned by the government and it makes it easier to undertake the development and its complexity," he said.

Private developers may end up struggling with the cost that may be involved in all the processes, especially the relocation of RMAF itself, he noted.

By Bernama

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