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70 Taman Sri Pinang flats up for sale

June 23rd, 2011 No comments

THE Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) is offering 70 units of the Taman Sri Pinang flats in Sungai Pinang, which were originally allocated for MPPP staff, for sale.

The flats at Block 1 are now open for viewing between 9am and noon until Saturday.

“Potential buyers can come at that time to survey the units,” MPPP councillor Ong Ah Teong said, adding that the flats received the occupation certificate in July 2002.

Ong also said the flats were being sold on a “as it is basis”.

“Buyers have to cover the cost of any repairs themselves,” he said.

The price varies between RM69,350 and RM74,450 for the three-bedroom 650sq ft units.

“The units will be sold via an open tender system to bidders with the highest bid,” Ong said.

He said potential buyers were also required to buy a bank draft worth RM500 and submit it together with their bid in an envelope into a tender box located at Level 3, Komtar.

“Potential buyers need not worry as we will refund them the money if their bid is unsuccessful,” he said.

Interested buyers can get their purchase forms at Level 17 of Komtar from noon till 4pm from now until this Saturday while the closing date for the forms’ submission is at 11am on July 11.

Source: The Star

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Work on Air Itam market on schedule

June 22nd, 2011 No comments

Phase Three of the RM1mil facelift for the Air Itam market in Penang is scheduled to begin next month.

Air Itam assemblyman Wong Hon Wai said this phase involved the upgrading of six stalls for poultry.

“In the first two phases which ended last month, 20 sundry goods stalls, 25 fish stalls, 18 tofu stalls and 12 stalls from the pork section have already been given a facelift,” he told reporters at the market.

He added that the upgrading included improvements on the lighting and drainage systems, and new tiles on the walls.

“The new stalls are equipped with roller shutters and their own water supply,” he said, adding that the fourth and final phase would be the upgrading of the vegetable stalls.

“This market was built before World War II and minor upgrades were carried out over the years. The entire facelift project is expected to be completed by the end of this year,” he said.

He said the new public toilets at the market were expected to be completed next month.

It was reported in January last year that the Air Itam market was among five markets earmarked for upgrading works under the Penang Municipal Council’s 2010 budget.

The other markets in the upgrading programme are those in Cecil Street, Jelutong, Batu Maung and Pulau Tikus.

Wong also said that the RM27,000 resurfacing works on two roads in Air Itam — the road leading to Kampung Pisang and another road in Happy Valley (Taman Lembah Ria) — were completed two weeks ago.

On another matter, Wong urged the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry to get to the root cause of the rising price of fish instead of issuing notices to traders who had increased the price.

It was reported on Friday that three fishmongers accused of profiteering had each been served with a notice by the state Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism enforcement division, under the newly-implemented Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

Source: The Star

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Colour-coding strategy

June 21st, 2011 No comments

PENANG island will be divided into three colour-coded zones with the red zone designated as dirty under a blueprint proposed by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to make the island a cleaner place.

The two other zones are the orange and green zones (moderate and clean zones respectively).

MPPP president Patahiyah Ismail said the blueprint on the strategies and enforcement that should be employed to the council would be tabled to the state government for its approval by the end of this month.

“We realise that we need to be more efficient in enforcing the rules to make Penang island cleaner and greener,” she said when met by reporters.

She explained that the island would be divided into colour-coded zones to differentiate the amount of focus the council should be giving in improving the cleanliness as well as to monitor the progress of each zone more effectively.

“As soon as we get the green light from the state government, the implementation of the blueprint will be done immediately,” Patahiyah said after officiating the ‘Cleaner, Greener Penang Gotong-Royong Perdana’ at Straits Quay.

More than 1,000 people took part in the programme, which was a collaborative effort between the MPPP and the residents committees of Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong.

The participants included school students, hotel staff and council staff as well as representatives from various village security and development committees in the Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah areas.

The areas of the gotong-royong were divided into three sections, A for Tanjung Tokong, B for Tanjung Bungah and C for the beachfront.

The state Forestry Department also contributed 34 tree saplings such as Calophyllium Inophyllum (Penaga Laut), Hopea Odorata (Merawan Siput Jantan) and Tecoma to be planted along the beach.

Also present during the event yesterday were organising chairman Lim Cheng Hoe and Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu.

Source: The Star

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Rising costs a challenge for developers

June 18th, 2011 No comments

A LOT HAS been said about how much it costs now to buy a house or an apartment.

For someone who is just starting out, or for a newly married couple looking to buy their first home, it can mean making a huge sacrifice elsewhere just so there is enough money for the down payment and then the monthly instalments on the home loan.

Many people have chosen to attribute the high cost of new properties to developers or, more precisely, the perceived penchant of builders to raise prices for every new project launched.

Rightly or wrongly, fairly or otherwise, developers do bear most of the brunt for the “high” prices of new properties.

But just like any other business people, developers know that pricing their properties out of the targeted market’s price range will surely put them out of business.

Prices of new properties are determined by how much it costs the developer to put up these structures in the first place, and the prices of land and building materials have been rising over the years.

The price of land, especially in or close to urban centres, has gone up exponentially. As an example, let us look at one locality in Kuala Lumpur and compare the prices from 2005 and 2011. In September 2005, a terrace house on Jalan Terasek 2, Bangsar Baru, was sold at RM363 psf. In February this year, another house on the same street was sold for RM668 psf, an increase of more than 80% in just over five years.

The cost of building materials has also gone up as the demand for more homes expands with population growth, improving standard of living and widening affordability.

The ratio between the construction cost and the price paid for the land varies from country to country. In Malaysia, it can be safely assumed that the ratio is about 70:30, with the construction cost taking up the bigger portion.

What are the materials that go into building a home, and how significant a portion of the total cost do they account for? Items that come to mind quickly are cement, sand, bricks, concrete, roof tiles, etc.

Also significant but hardly visible in any completed structure are steel bars, fabric reinforcements and numerous other components that are essential in the construction of a building.

For instance, steel bars may account for up to 20% of the total construction cost, while concrete takes up another 15%. Another significant component is masonry works, which can account for about 10% of the cost.

One only has to check the prices of these items over the past five to six years to realise that they have gone up significantly, some by more than 70%.

To illustrate this argument, let us take a look at the prices of some of these items from say, 2005, and compare them with today’s prices.

To ensure the figures we use are reflective of industry levels, we have opted for numbers compiled by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) of Malaysia.

According to the CIDB figures, the cost of 10mm-12mm mild steel round bars rose from RM1,647 per tonne in 2005 to RM2,608 in January this year, an increase of just over 58%.

In the same period, the price of the 16mm-32mm mild steel round bars rose from RM1,563 to RM2,534, an increase of 62%.

The price of 10mm-12mm high tensile deformed bars went up from RM1,685 to RM2,608, a 55% rise. The 16mm-32mm high tensile deformed bars cost RM2,493 in January this year, up 56% from five years before.

Fabric reinforcement, another important component of construction, has also seen significant price increases. According to the CIDB figures, the price of A7 fabric reinforcement has risen from RM1.79 to RM3.08 per kg up 72%. That for the A10 type went up from RM1.86 to RM3.07 or 65%.

Sawn mixed hardwood and waterproof plywood, which are essential in building the moulds into which concrete is poured, have seen similarly high increases in price. A cubic metre of sawn mixed hardwood cost RM1,290 early this year, up 57% from RM820.

Less substantial, though not less significant, are increases in the prices of sand, bricks, concrete and waterproof plywood. The price of a metric tonne of river or mining sand went up from RM14 to RM20.17, or 44%. A consignment of 1,000 pieces of bricks now costs RM200 against RM140 before, up 43%.

The price of a cubic metre of G25 ready-mixed concrete went up from RM140 to RM191.20, up 37%, and that of G30 ready-mixed concrete was up from RM147.67 to RM201.17, up 36%. The 13mm thick waterproof plywood costs RM49.90 per sheet, up from RM44.50, or 12%.

The only item that has seen a drop in price is the 10mm-40mm diameter granite aggregate, which sells for RM23 per metric tonne, down RM1 from the 2005 price, or a decrease of 4%.

As stated earlier, the cost of land does make up a substantial portion of the cost of a project. Changes in the price of land, on the other hand, vary from place to place. Price increases are usually more substantial in the larger urban centres than in small towns.

With every new project, the demands of buyers also change.

Changing tastes call for changes in designs. Aesthetics are becoming more important, new demands to meet environmental requirements and concerns can result in higher costs. Added to that is the cost of labour and equipment, which is also on an uptrend. Given this scenario, the only way a developer can set itself apart from the rest is to be more innovative in its designs, ensure high quality and offer excellent after sales service.

That, understandably, also comes at a cost. But that’s another story.

Souce: The Star

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Married couples with joint income below RM3,500 are eligible

June 17th, 2011 No comments

MARRIED couples in Penang will have the opportunity to purchase their first home at RM67,500 in Paya Terubong.

State Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai said that buyers who fulfilled the criteria would be eligible to buy the low medium-cost Suria Vista apartments.

“Interested buyers have to be Malaysian citizens above the age of 18 who have never owned a home, with a monthly household income that must not exceed RM3,500,” he said.

Wong said the project had 123 LMC units but only 90 units were opened to the public because the remaining 33 units were meant for relocating squatters from the Air Itam area.

“Interested buyers can fill up the application form which will be submitted to the online portal of the state secretary’s office (SUK) for screening and assessment,” he said.

OHM Group marketing executive Saw Chong Seng said each of the 700sq ft units had three bedrooms and two bathrooms and did not come with a parking space.

“Parking space and renovations come with an optional price of RM22,500,” he said, adding that the project was 68% completed and expected to be ready by year-end.

He said eligible buyers could visit the show unit in Suria Vista Apartment at Paya Terubong between 10am and 6pm, from now until this Sunday, and fill up an application form there.

They can then go to http://erumah.penang.gov.my to check the status of their application.

Source: The Star

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