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Lim: Stop-work orders issued seven times more than before

July 30th, 2012 1 comment

BUTTERWORTH: Stop-work notices have been slapped against errant property developers who failed to abide by necessary guidelines and regulations, Chief Minis-ter Lim Guan Eng said.

He said between 2008 and 2011, the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) issued 259 temporary stop-work notices on development projects on the island.

And between April 2008 and May this year, he said the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) issued 11 similar notices on development projects on the mainland.

He said under the previous administration, only 38 stop-work notices were issued by the MPPP on projects on the island while no notices were issued by the MPSP on mainland projects between 2003 and March 2008.

“Under the present state government, the MPPP has issued stop-work notices seven times more than the previous administration over a four-year period.

“This shows that the state is serious about taking action against developers who do not abide by the law,” he said after opening the Taman Tunku Corporate So-cial Responsibility (CSR) beautification project in Seberang Jaya here yesterday.

Lim said the stop-work notices were later lifted when the developers took necessary action to comply with the related guidelines and regulations.

He said it was unfair to label all developers as errant or bad, adding that those who abided by the law and gave back to society through CSR projects should be praised.

Earlier in his speech, Lim said when the state co-operated with developers that carried out CSR projects, some newspapers had accused the state of being developer-friendly.

“Not all developers are evil-hearted. Those who are not good, the state will take action against them.

“But, those who do CSR, we have to praise them,” he said.

The RM470,000 Taman Tunku beautification project was jointly sponsored by Airmas Group of Companies, IJM Land Berhad, New Bob Group of Companies, Sunway City Berhad and Tambun Indah Land Berhad.

Members of the Surveyors, Plan-ners, Engineers, Architects and Developers Malaysia (SPEAD) organisation also chipped in.

Source: The Star

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Malaysia’s real estate remains a preferred investment choice

July 23rd, 2012 No comments

PETALING JAYA: Despite the overall gloom and doom in the global economy, a glut of condominiums and cooling measures by Bank Negara to deter speculation in the overall property market, the general observations on the ground indicate strong sales for certain segments of this market.

This underscores the fact that real estate continues to be a preferred investment choice in the current economic climate.

The latest report by Knight Frank Real estate highlights 1st half 2012 said there were five completions in the first six months of this year, bringing the total cumulative supply in Kuala Lumpur to 29,882 units.

Another five developments are expected to be completed in the second half this year. This will bring the cumulative supply to 31,163 units. These numbers cover the high-end condominium market priced RM500 per sq ft and above.

These new completions, coupled with existing supply and weak occupancy rates, are expected to put further pressure on the rental market.

The report also noted that smaller sized apartments and SoHo units were becoming a mainstay in the Kuala Lumpur condominium scene and the dual-key concept was steadily gaining acceptance and popularity among developers and purchasers.

These two over-riding trends in the high-rise residential sub-segment help add product diversity, it said.

Dual-key units comprise a studio apartment unit attached to an otherwise standard condominium unit. Such units come with two separate doors with one leading to the studio unit, and the other to the adjoining unit, bonded with a common foyer.

While there were multiple SoHo developments being launched, three dual-key concept residences entered the market and all three recorded good take-up rates, the report said.

The recent increase in the number of new launches offering smaller units in established locations and popular suburbs is driven by the scarcity of land and high land costs, as well as pressure for developers to keep end-pricing affordable. Although the units are small, on a per sq ft basis, the price will be higher than the larger units.

As for pricing, in the primary market as when buyers buy directly from the developers, the high-end condominium sector saw a slight drop in average asking prices in the city while the fringe and suburban areas generally demonstrated a stable trend.

Similarly, there was a notable decline in transacted prices in the city’s secondary market where buyers buy directly from owners instead of from developers. Projects located on the fringes of the city, however, saw more sales and leasing activities.

DTZ Research report for Kuala Lumpur Q2 2012: Resilience across all sectors said the overall residential market was “stable with average capital and rental values experiencing marginal increases.”

“The outlook is, however, more cautious as sentiment is clouded by both internal and external issues, including those of a political nature,” the DTZ report said, adding that the market was expected to experience a period of slower growth going forward.

In the office segment market, the market was relatively stable despite a spike in new supply.

Menara Felda will be the new corporate headquarters of Felda Land Development Authority which has just listed Felda Global Ventures Holdings in one the of biggest initial public offerings internationally for the year.

Menara Darusalam, a mixed development, will house the new Grand Hyatt Hotel. With several recently completed office buildings in the vicinity such as Menara Worldwide and Menara Prestige still filling up spaces, the new additions will add pressure on rents, DTZ report said.

Prime office rental rates remain stable and resilient at the moment, averaging RM6.23 per sq ft per month, while top tier offices are commanding about RM7.90 per sq ft per month, the report said.

“With a substantial pipeline of supply completing in the second half of this year and next year, rents are forecast to fall,” the report said.

Knight Frank said the cumulative supply of office space in the city stood at 47 million sq ft and will increase to 48.6 million sq ft with the completion of three new offices by the end of this year. The supply in the city fringes today stands at about 17.5 million sq ft. Some 4.1 million sq ft will be added to the fringes by the end of next year.

Source: The Star

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Board: Council has no power

July 20th, 2012 2 comments

GEORGE TOWN: The approval for a hillside development project in Sungai Ara given by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) is invalid, the Penang Appeals Board heard.

Counsel Datuk Lakhbir Singh Chahl, who is representing Sungai Ara residents who are against the project, raised a preliminary objection on the ground that approval could only have been granted by the State Planning Committee.

“Under the State Structure Plan 2020, the powers of approving ‘special projects’ are vested in the State Planning Committee,” he said.

He added the council had erred in approving the project’s planning application as it did not have the power to do so.

The residents were also represented by counsel Shoba Thilagam.

The MPPP was represented by its legal adviser Shamiah Bilal while Christina Siew appeared for Sunway City, the project developer. Board chairman Datuk Yeo Yang Poh set Nov 7 for the hearing to continue.

On April 8, it was reported that a group of 200 residents from various housing estates as well as representatives of Sahabat Alam Malaysia staged a protest against the project.

The residents had received a notification from the council’s Planning Department that the project was approved on Feb 21.

On June 28, state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow had reportedly said that “special projects” was an escape clause for development in areas exceeding 250ft and on hillslopes with gradients of more than 25 degrees.

Source: The Star

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Green plans for landfill

July 18th, 2012 No comments

GEORGE TOWN: The state government has made plans to turn the Jelutong landfill into parks and a site for mixed development projects.

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the plans would be carried out through a proposed landfill mining and reclamation (LFMR) process.

He said the LFMR process is a proposed recovery and reutilisation project for the landfill.

“The state government has decided to give the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) the responsibility to carry out the project.

“In a meeting last week chaired by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, the state government asked PDC to appoint a consultant to set the specifications and criteria for the LFMR process within three months.

“After the specifications and criteria have been set, PDC will call for an open tender or Request for Proposal to invite local and international experts with experience in LFMR to submit their proposal to make the Jelutong landfill reusable for better land-use again.

“We will leave it to the experts to use their expertise to turn it into parks and a site for mixed development projects.

“We will also leave it to them to come up with their own operations on how to recover and reuse the waste materials and to treat and rehabilitate the landfill.

Estimating that the site recovery would take about five to 10 years, Chow said the move would also help to solve some of the existing problems concerning the landfill such as the removal of the potential peat fire threats as well as reducing the production of methane and carbon footprint.

“The possibility of toxic contamination of underground water sources can also be reduced. In addition, LFMR would also increase the land value of the Jelutong site and the social grievances of neighbouring residents will be resolved.

“For the state, this is another one of our green projects to improve the environment for the future generation,” he said.

Source: The Star

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Council OK needed for extensions

July 18th, 2012 No comments

RESIDENTS must apply for a permit from the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) before carrying out extensions or changes to the house structure.

They are also required to submit their extension plans in accordance with the council’s building plan guidelines for approval, said MPPP councillor Tan Seng Keat.

“We want the public to be aware that they can’t simply carry out any extension. They need approval from the council.

“If they don’t do this, the extensions will be considered illegal and they could be demolished by the MPPP.

“We want to educate the public on the matter.

“We don’t want residents to be unhappy when the council takes action,” he told the press during the MPPP Public Education programme at the SP Setia residential area in Bayan Lepas yesterday.

Tan and MPPP officers gave out brochures on MPPP guidelines for building plans to the residents there.

SP Setia Group’s Head Technical Property Division (North) Ting Tai Theam who was present lauded the programme, saying that the company supported the ruling.

“We always stress landscaping and cleanliness.

“When we hand over the house key to buyers, we tell them about the guidelines for house renovation and extension.

“The residents are also advised to clear renovation waste outside their house so it won’t be a nuisance to the neighbours,” he said.

Tan, who is also the MPPP Enforcement and Public Education alternate chairman, said the extensions were usually done when someone bought an old house and wanted to renovate it.

“This is the second time we have come to a residential area to educate residents on the matter,” he said.

The public can get more information on the matter from MPPP’s Building Department at 14th Floor, Komtar. They can also call 04-2624400.

Also present were MPPP councillors Ramlah Bee Asiahoo and Gooi Seong Kin.

Source: The Star

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