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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Making Kuala Lumpur a great place to live in

The Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley NKEA 2020 targets are to be in the top 20 most livable cities list and the top 20 in economic growth.

The goals under this NKEA are to be realised through the implementation of nine Entry Point Projects (EPPs) and the two business opportunities. These include improving the city’s attractiveness to foreign multinational companies (MNCs) and foreign talent, putting in place an efficient public transport system and enhancing the ambience of the city by improving its physical environment through various initiatives.

Intensive efforts are ongoing to upgrade the water quality of Kuala Lumpur’s main rivers and beautifying and developing its surroundings via the River of Life EPP, going green through the planting of more trees in the city, developing iconic places within the city and providing comfortable walkways for the pedestrians.

There are also plans to enhance solid waste management and sewerage services for the metropolis, as well as efforts to improve housing opportunities and to vitalise Putrajaya.

It is envisaged that initiatives under the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley NKEA would contribute RM190bil in GNI over the next 10 years and create over 300,000 jobs.

Achievements for 2011 have been good, with 16 KPIs meeting targets. Out of these, at least eight KPIs have surpassed targets.

Falling short of expectation were the KPIs for a biogas plant for food waste, improvement of pedestrian walkways, talent attraction programme and the website and portal improvement.

The Government is upping the ante with new critical targets for 2012.

This year’s KPIs include concluding Letters of Intent for 10 MNCs’ operational headquarters relocation in Greater KL/KV; 600 employment generation and 10 branding InvestKL activities.

“For the Returning Expat Programme, the KPI is to have 1,200 expatriates return to Malaysia. The Residence Pass Programme is targeting for 800 approved passes, while the Employment Pass (Category II) intends to approve 300 passes. This year will also see the development of a diaspora database,” the report said.

On infrastructure, the feasibility study for the high-speed rail was due for completion. The Government also aims to have 100% completion of land required for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang My Rapid Transit line, and all elevated civil underground and depot packages are to be awarded, among others.

This year would see completion of the Heritage Trail Route 1 (National Museum to Medan Pasar), Reviving Medan Pasar and Heritage Trail Routes two to four, as well as the upgrading of Masjid Jamek, and land matters, planning approvals and detail design for Malaysia Truly Asia Centre (MTAC).

Also, there would be a 12km upgrade of non-covered pedestrian network system.

In terms of environment protection, the Government expects 15% completion of River Beautification Construction for Phase 1 under the River of Life project, and 30,000 trees to be planted.

The Government also expects a 100% roll-out of Separation at Source Scheme (Household Wastes) in Kuala Lumpur through distribution of bins to landed property; and Issuance of Letter of Approval to successful contractor via Private Public Partnership for the setting up of Food Waste Treatment Plant (Composting or Anaerobic Digestion) for food waste.

In addition, the Government was targeting a 45% construction progress for rationalisation projects of Old Klang Road; 20% sewer rehabilitation projects in Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya; and 18% regionalisation of sewerage treatment Lot 130, Klang.

By The Star

Qinzhou start-up district estimated to cost RM2.6bil

The entrance of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park in Qinzhou city in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

PETALING JAYA: The joint venture of SP Setia Bhd, Rimbunan Hijau Group and Qinzhou Jingu Investment Co Ltd will focus its development at the Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP) on the start-up district.

Based on a preliminary estimation, the total estimated cost for the start-up district alone is expected to be approximately 5.4 billion yuan or RM2.6bil.

SP Setia said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia that the start-up district spans over 7.87 sq km or 1,945 acres.

Qinzhou Jingu is looking for approval from the Chinese government to allow up to 30% of the commercial and residential land in the start-up district to be swapped for another piece of commercial and residential land.

This swapped land will have an equivalent land value in the more developed Binhai New Town.

The relevant parties will establish the joint venture company in Qinzhou City. It will be named China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park Investment Co Ltd.

The land swap will allow the joint venture company to gain development access to Binhai New Town, which has a total planned area of 110 sq km and a net development area of 45 sq km.

According to the Bursa filing, Binhai New Town is designed to be an industrial service centre, seaside tourist resort and high-end residential district. Once completed, the expected future population is 500,000 people.

“The proposed development is currently at a very preliminary stage and the total development cost, the expected commencement or completion date of the entire proposed development and the expected profits to be derived from the entire proposed development have yet to be ascertained,” it said.

The total registered capital of the company will be 1.8 billion yuan or RM878.05mil, of which the registered capital to be subscribed by SP Setia is approximately 396.9 million yuan or RM193.6mil. This will be funded through a combination of internal funds and, or bank borrowings.

The actual mix can only be determined later.

The joint venture agreement was formed to develop the China-Malaysia QIP.

By The Star

SP Setia banks on China project

NANJING (China): SP Setia, Malaysia's leading property developer, is expecting its China venture to bring its overseas expansion drive to another level.

SP Setia president and group managing director Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said he hoped the company could have a meaningful involvement in the development of the newly-launched China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP).

SP Setia has teamed up with Rimbunan Hijau Group to form a 45:55 joint venture (JV) called Qinzhou Development (Malaysia) Consortium.

Together, SP Setia and Rimbunan will own a 49 per cent stake in a JV company to be formed with China's Qinzhou Jingu to undertake the QIP project.

The QIP is the third industrial park in China to be developed under the umbrella of government-to-government collaboration after the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park and Tianjin Eco-City.

The QIP was proposed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Malaysia-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum in Kuala Lumpur a year ago.

Najib and Jiabao jointly officiated at the historical launch of the project on Sunday, heralding a new level of economic cooperation between the two countries.

"The joint venture opportunity has taken the group's overseas expansion plans to another level," said Liew.

"It will further drive us towards growing SP Setia's international footprint beyond Australia, Vietnam and Singapore."

By Business Times

12 projects set to help boost tourism sector

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is poised to improve its standing as one of the world's top global destinations due to its many tourist attractions.

The country is already the ninth most-visited country in the world and its tourism industry remains a major contributor to gross national income (GNI), foreign exchange earnings and employment.

Tourism industry is the seventh largest contributor to the country's economy with a GNI total of RM37.4 billion last year. It is expected to contribute RM66.7 million to the national GNI by 2020, according to the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) annual report.

The Tourism National Key Economic Area (NKEA) has identified 12 Entry Point Projects (EPPs) across five themes to achieve its GNI target.

The first theme is affordable luxury shopping such as duty free for wider range of goods, making Bukit Bintang-Kuala Lumpur City Centre as premier shopping district and opening three new premium outlets.

The second theme is family fun which includes the development of an eco-nature resort city in Sabah and developing cruise-related tourism products.

Events, entertainment, spa and sports are the third theme whereby the ministry will target more international events, establish dedicated entertainment zones, develop local expertise and better regulate the spa industry and promote the under-tapped golf tourism in the country.

The fourth theme is business tourism where Malaysia will be established as a leading business tourism destination.

The last theme is nature adventure which poses Malaysia as the pre-eminent global bio-diversity hub.

Tourism NKEA will also focus on enhancing connectivity to priority medium-haul markets such as China, Japan, Australia and India.

By Business Times

Ministry revives 21,000 homes from 100 nationwide projects

PUTRAJAYA: Twenty-one thousand houses from 100 abandoned schemes throughout the country have been revived and completed.

The ministry managed to settle 100 abandoned housing projects between 2009 and this year, said outgoing Housing and Local Government Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Kabit.

There are 30,000 units still uncompleted in 67 other abandoned projects.

“I hope the new secretary-general will be more aggressive in dealing with this issue,” he said in his speech to ministry staff when handing over duties to his successor Datuk Arpah Abd Razak here.

Ahmad officially retired from the civil service yesterday, after he clocked out for the last time from a career spanning 36 years.

The 57-year-old, who holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, had served as the ministry’s secretary-general for the past three years.

Previously he had served in various capacities at both federal and state level, including at the Public Services Department, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Information Ministry and the Selangor Road Transport Department.

Arpah, who was Ahmad’s deputy, will take over the post today.

Having joined the civil service in 1979, she holds a Masters in Town and Country Planning from the same university as Ahmad.

By The Star

Goldman Sachs eyes US$3b property debt fund

LONDON: A private equity arm of Goldman Sachs is looking to launch a US$3 billion property debt fund in a bid to take advantage of a growing shortage of real estate financing across the UK and Europe, British newspaper the Times said on Monday.

Real Estate Principal Investment Area (REPIA) is exploring options to create a fund that would provide senior and mezzanine loans to property investors, and will target property lending that is riskier but which would offer higher potential returns, the Times said without citing sources.

Mezzanine debt is commonly used to plug the gap between equity and senior debt, usually in the 60-80 percent loan-to-value band. The fund's structure and make up would be similar to another US$2.6 billion property debt fund that REPIA set up in 2009 to target U.S. property investors, the newspaper said.

Europe's property industry is grappling with a widening debt funding gap, the shortfall between debt needing refinancing and the money available do so, as more banks slash lending to the sector in a bid to comply with incoming solvency regulations.

Property consultancy CBRE Group estimates that there is about 960 billion euros (US$1.3 trillion) of outstanding debt secured across Europe, of which 575 billion must be repaid within the next three years.

Non-bank financiers that have recently launched funds targeting the financing gap include the property units of insurers Prudential Financial and AXA Group while fund manager BlackRock said it was considering making a foray into real estate debt.

Goldman Sachs was not immediately available for comment.

By Reuters