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Malaysia-China firm wins RM8bil road and tunnel projects

March 1st, 2013 143 comments

Penang has awarded the tender for the underground tunnel linking the island to mainland and three major highways projects to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd with a land swap and 30-year concession on the tunnel.

Penang Chief Minister has announced the deal today where the firm will underdertake 3 highways and tunnel projects in exhange for a 44.51ha of reclaimed land in Tanjung Pinang. The deal will only be formally inked after a few more months where the finer details of the overall project are agreed upon.

The projects consist of:

  • Gurney Drive-Bagan Ajam undersea tunnel (6.5km)
  • Gurney Drive-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu expressway bypass (4.2km)
  • Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu expressway-Bandar Baru Air Itam bypass (4.6km)
  • Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang (12km)

The reclaimed land in Tanjung Pinang will be handed over to the contractor in stages depending on development and construction of the awarded projects.

According to The Malaysian Insider’s report, it was agreed that there will be no toll charges imposed on the three major highways on the island. It would also have to bear any losses of the tunnel should there be a lack of usage by motorists.

Consortium Zenith BUCG is made up of a local company, Consortium Zenith and China-based Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG).

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Premium Outlets to open in Penang

February 27th, 2013 48 comments

Penang State Government will be inviting qualified companies to submit their request for proposal (RFP) for Premium Outlet project in Bandar Cassia, Batu Kawan. This is the first of its kind project in Penang and it will be located on a 40-arce land near to the second bridge, which is set to be ready by September 2013.

Premium Outlets is a portfolio of outlet shopping centers which brings together the finest brands in unique outdoor settings and offers impressive savings of 25 to 65 percent every day.

Submission for the RFP will open on 5 March, 2013 and the closing date is on 6 May, 2013. Interested companies may purchase the RFP document which cost RM2,000 from Penang Development Corporation at Bayan Baru, Penang.

More details can be obtained from Penang Development Corporation at +604-634 0402/470.

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Penang voted among top 8 retirement destinations

February 25th, 2013 60 comments

Penang was named among the top eight destinations for foreign retirees by Kiplinger, a US-based personal finance and business forecasting publication. This also makes Malaysia the only Asian country to figure in the list as others in the reckoning are Medellin (Colombia), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Salinas (Ecuador), Bilbao (Spain), Coronado (Panama), Galway (Ireland) and Tlaxcala (Mexico)

Based on the reports, thousands of foreigners, including 815 North Americans, have taken the advantage of My Second Home scheme, which offers retirement incentives such as long-term residency status and breaks on car imports and purchases. They are mostly drawn to Malaysia due to low cost of living, efficient access to healthcare services.

In terms of cost of live, Malaysia came in third, behind only Thailand and the Philippines, in the Global Retirement Index in terms of lowest living costs. An American couple can get along extremely well on $1,500 a month.

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Demand, prices to remain strong

February 21st, 2013 5 comments

STRONG OUTLOOK: People willing to buy but it’s very selective and not across the board, says MIEA president

THE secondary residential property market is expected to remain strong this year with prices continuing to rise if the current stock remains tight, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) said.

Its president, Nixon Paul said based on a survey done by MIEA, the number of properties available for sale where the asking price is close to market value was low.

“The market is there. People are willing to buy and there is a lot of activity but it’s very selective, not across the board,” he said at a media briefing yesterday.

According to Nixon, residential terrace and semi-detached houses would remain the best sellers this year.

He added that the condominium market, which was badly hit because of the sub-prime crisis in the United States, will stand to improve this year.

“Our prediction for this segment is that it will continue to grow. Rentals are expected to slowly improve through 2013 as more projects under the Economic Transformation Programme start to bear fruits and many expatriates are relocating here,” he said.

For industrial properties, Nixon said the rental markets in Johor and Penang are getting more attractive.

He said the situation is more vibrant in Penang because of a shortage of new industrial space.

“Industrial properties are mostly taken up by the electrical and electronic industry, which is thriving in Penang. Rentals continue to increase and this has made the market more attractive than the Klang Valley,” he said.

For Johor, Nixon said the success of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas as well as better political relations between Malaysia and Singapore have helped to improve the demand for industrial space in the state in the past few years.

Meanwhile, based on a survey carried out by the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda), it has been estimated that the overall cost of doing business has increased by 10 per cent to 20 per cent in the second half of 2012 and similar trend is expected this year.

From the total 170 respondents, 82 per cent said the Revised Real Property Gains Tax had a slight to moderate impact on them, while 74 per cent felt that the 50 per cent stamp duty exemption for properties below RM400,000 had impacted the sector moderately.

Overall, Rehda is upbeat on growth in the real estate sector for the first half of this year and the driving factors would include the economic stability and higher domestic demand.

Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam Kong Choy said the existing trend of high demand and steady prices in 2012 will continue this year.

Yam also expects higher demand for strata residential properties this year.

“If the growth momentum remains steady, then we do expect the property market to remain firm for the rest of the year, primarily driven by domestic buying,” he said.

In terms of challenges, labour shortage, increasing cost of building materials, as well as obtaining end-financing for potential buyers will remain the concerns.

Source: Business Times

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Penang residents ‘priced out’ of owning properties

February 4th, 2013 No comments

SOLUTION IN SIGHT?: Federal and state governments seeking to solve woes with more affordable homes for the middle-class

MORE than a decade after the repeal of the Rent Control Act 1966 was effected, Penang residents continue to find themselves being “priced out” of owning properties.

The act, which was repealed in 1997 and enforced in 2002, saw many pre-war buildings in the heart of George Town abandoned or vacant as many businesses found themselves not being able to pay increased rentals.

Others who had been paying what was viewed as a pittance in terms of rentals either chose to move to other parts of the state or stayed put and paid the new rates.

George Town’s inner city has become more gentrified and continues to be so, as investors have begun to take a second look at pre-war buildings in either turning them into boutique hotels, trendy cafes or offices. Some have decided to buy these premises and now call them home.

The fact that George Town has also found itself inscribed on Unesco’s World Heritage list has done no harm to property prices in the heritage enclave. More visitors and locals have begun to enjoy the vibrancy of the inner city.

The flip side of the coin to this situation is the emergence of a middle-class that cannot afford what are now known as mid-priced properties by developers.

The Federal Government’s 1Malaysia People’s Housing Scheme (PR1MA) that was launched in December is expected to see quality homes on Penang island and Seberang Prai in good neighbourhoods and priced in the range of RM300,000 for a 1,000 sq ft apartment unit.

A development project at Kampung Kastam at Bukit Gelugor on Penang island is set to serve as the Federal Government’s maiden affordable housing project in the state.

The proposed mixed development project is set to feature several high-rise units complete with amenities ranging from a day-care centre, open spaces, easy access for public transport and a commercial component.

The units are expected to be tagged lower than the market price of similar properties in Penang.

There will also be no quota for Bumiputera buyers as the proposed units are being offered at below market price.

The state government, meanwhile, has announced it will build affordable homes priced between RM72,500 and RM400,000 in urban areas, and between RM72,500 and RM250,000 in rural areas.

A RM500 million affordable housing fund has been announced by the Penang government. It has tasked the Penang Development Corp to work with private developers in building the affordable units.

The state has also announced its commitment to build 18,000 units of affordable homes, which will include more than 1,000 homes along Jalan SP Chelliah on the island.

Another 12,000 units are being planned at Seberang Prai on the mainland.

What is left to be seen now is whether the new stock of homes, which are meant to serve as public housing units, will provide a lifeline for low- and medium-income households who would otherwise be unable to afford liveable housing at all.

Source: Business Times

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