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It is mission possible

September 8th, 2014 No comments

Home sweet home: Visitors viewing some of the house models during the roadshow in Butterworth, Penang.

It took a long time for the Penang Government to start building homes under its affordable housing scheme as it had to save money for the projects, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the state had allocated RM500mil which was generated from the sale of 41.5ha of land on the island for the scheme.

Lim said the state was working with the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to build 22,575 affordable homes for Penangites, especially those in the middle and lower- income groups.

“It involves 12 projects in all the five districts in the state. For the three Seberang Prai districts, there will be 16,373 low-cost, low medium-cost and affordable units,” Lim said.

He was launching the Mission:Home Possible roadshow in Taman Lucky, off Jalan Raja Uda in Butterworth for the Bagan parliamentary constituency on Saturday.

This is the second roadshow after the first one held in Komtar on Aug 23 for the Tanjung and Jelutong parliamentary constituencies.

Lim said the roadshow series, which will cover all 13 parliamentary constituencies in the state, would run until December.

Also present were state executive councillors Jagdeep Singh Deo, Phee Boon Poh and Lim Hock Seng as well as Bagan Dalam assemblyman A. Tanasekharan.

It was earlier reported that the roadshow was aimed at informing the public about the state’s affordable housing projects.

The public can also apply for units at these projects or check their application status at the roadshow which is scheduled to be held on Saturdays fortnightly.

Jagdeep, who is state Housing Committee chairman, said the state’s Selection Process Enhancement Committee would select the successful applicants.

To be eligible, applicants must be a Penangite or prove that they have lived in Penang for at least five years, be a registered voter in the state and a first-time house buyer.

Their household income must also not exceed RM2,500 to apply for RM42,000 low-cost homes, RM3,500 for RM72,000 low medium-cost homes and RM6,000 for homes priced RM200,000 and below.

The household income must not be over RM8,000 for homes priced RM300,000 and below and not over RM10,000 for units priced RM400,000 and below.

Jagdeep had said on Aug 23 that there were 51,238 applicants so far of whom 24,399 applied for low-cost units, 23,582 for low medium-cost units and 3,257 for affordable units.

He said the first of the 12 projects to take off was Bandar Cassia Phase One where construction of 149 low medium-cost units and 371 affordable units began last year.

He said the projects in Teluk Kumbar, Jalan S.P. Chelliah, Bandar Cassia Phase Four and Kampung Jawa Butterworth were expected to start by the end of this year.

Projects in Jelutong, Pintasan Cecil, the Sandilands foreshore in Jalan C.Y. Choy, Bandar Cassia Phase Seven, Ampang Jajar, Mak Mandin and Bukit Mertajam were expected to start next year.

Source: StarProperty.my

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Call for more private developers to help build affordable homes

September 6th, 2014 1 comment

Jagdeep (red tie), Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Rashid Hasnon (left) and Asia Green Group staff looking at a scale model of The Clovers.

The state government wants more private developers to come on board to build affordable housing units.

Penang Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said that with 22,500 affordable units to be built over the next 10 years, private developers should grab the opportunity to be part of the ventures.

“While the majority of the projects are undertaken by Penang Development Corporation, private-public partnerships can be further enhanced if firms join in,” said Jagdeep.

He was speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of Asia Green Group’s The Clovers luxury condominiums and Merbah Court low-cost units in Sungai Ara.

The Penang Development Corporation, he said, has started building 540 units in Batu Kawan under the affordable housing project and more would be built over the next few years.

Asia Green director Tan Li Mei said The Clovers would be one of the company’s maiden lifestyle projects.

It will have one of the biggest podium landscaped gardens in Penang which includes a mini forest park and water features.

She said the pricing of RM450 per sq ft would be a boon to buyers as there would definitely be a greater price appreciation of their units when the goods and services tax is implemented next year.

The Clovers consists of 42-storey blocks in the shape of a clover with units ranging from 776sq ft to 1,598sq feet.

“Those who are seeking more comfort and luxury can buy the one of the 24 penthouse units. They range from 1,875 to 2,907sq ft,” said Tan.

Each unit will have two private lifts offering direct and convenient access to individual flats.

Exercise amenities will include three swimming pools (leisure, Olympic and children), a floating gym, forest tracks and a basketball court.

Residents can relax at a large rooftop garden while children will have a play area.

Visitors can hold parties at a barbeque area and there will be dance, game and entertainment rooms as well.

Tan said the CCTV security system and car-only access at The Clovers would give residents a sense of safety and security.

On Merbah Court, Tan said the project comprising 349 low-cost housing units was part of the company’s commitment to the state government’s affordable housing project.

Both The Clovers and Merbah Court are expected to be completed in 18 months.

Source: StarProperty.my

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All eyes on next rate hike

September 5th, 2014 5 comments

Bank Negara Malaysia is not going to “run the economy to the ground” to achieve low inflation, said governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Risks to growth have to be taken into account, too, she said, cautioning that any significant brakes will be the cause for some pausing in the further raising of interest rates in the near term.

After the 25 basis points hike in July, the market is expecting another 25 basis points hike, either on September 18 or during the last scheduled meeting for the monetary policy committee for the year on November 6.

Zeti, in an interview with Bloomberg on the sidelines of the Global Islamic Finance Forum, explained the various factors needed before the central bank decides to continue with the hiking cycle.

“We will look at what the risks are to inflation and the underlying inflation, rather than one-off adjustments that result in higher prices.

“Obviously, we’re not going to run the economy to the ground to achieve low inflation, we look at the risks to growth as well.”

Another factor taken into account is the build-up of financial imbalances.

On the inflation outlook , Zeti said the consumer price index will increase during the transit period this year and next year due to price adjustments, especially the Goods and Services Tax, but added that it would be temporary.

Malaysia scored the highest in terms of inflation in the latest World Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum due to its low growth rate.

“Right now, we put the inflation at between three and four per cent, and there could be months when it could rise above four per cent but on the average for the year, we expect it to be in that region, for this year and also going into next year.

“In 2016, we expect it to stabilise in the region of three per cent and it is because consumption

growth is stabilising at a slightly

slower level than the long-term average.”

Zeti is also confident that investment activities would still continue, saying there is little concern about the second-round effects since wage growth is also moderating.

“We are not seeing excess demand and we are not seeing wage pressures.”

On whether there is need to be pre-emptive on rates as inflation quickens, she said:

“It depends. It’s not just looking at a single number. We look at hundreds of indicators to assess the performance of the economy and to assess the outlook for inflation.”

Second-round effects have to be carefully monitored in deciding the interest rate policy.

“In any case, the actions that we have already taken are part of a normalisation because the interest rate that is currently prevailing is very supportive of growth.” 

The monetary policy will continue to refer to normalisation of the interest rate when it does not have a dampening effect on growth, she added.

“This is adjusting the degree of accommodation, so that it will not promote financial imbalances.”

On her assessment of whether the current risks are tilted more towards growth or inflation, she said: “We cannot rule out that risks could materialise, that growth would slow down more than what we anticipate, in which case it would not prompt any further rate adjustments.

“It’s only if growth is still relatively positive. If the growth outlook is relatively positive and strong, then this provides the window of opportunity for rate adjustments.”

On the performance of the ringgit, Zeti expects the currency to reflect the underlying fundamentals over the medium term.

There could be occasions where the currency would move against the underlying fundamentals, but the role of the central bank would be just to maintain orderly conditions.

However, currencies do not always reflect the fundamentals from day to day, she warned.

“It may temporarily be affected by financial flows and these financial flows are often triggered by events that unsettle the markets. Therefore, we are not immune to the effects of those developments,” she added.

Source: News Straits Times

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More low-cost units soon

September 5th, 2014 1 comment

THE Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has called for a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the construction of low-cost flats and a mixed develop-ment project on a 5.2ha plot in Ujung Batu, Bagan Dalam in Butterworth.

The project will comprise not more than 600 units of low-cost flats with a minimum size of 650sq ft (60.39sq m) each on 1.6ha, while the remaining 3.6ha could be developed into a mixed-development project deemed suitable by the developer.

PDC, the state government’s investment arm, was appointed by the Chief Minister Incorporated, which is the registered proprietor of the RM25mil plot, to manage the land development.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is PDC chairman, said the projected gross development value for the project was RM382mil.

He said the project would provide an impetus that would transform the area into a lively, modern residential enclave in north Seberang Prai.

He said the flats must be provided with the stipulated finishes as well as facilities such as closed-circuit television cameras and electronic access cards for the entrance gate and lifts.

“There must be floor tiles for the toilet, kitchen and living room, and wall tiles for the toilet and kitchen. The facade treatment must reflect high-end finishes.

“Facilities within the development must include two futsal courts and a community hall that can accommodate at least four badminton courts,” Lim told reporters at the PDC office in Bayan Baru yesterday.

He said the land title was for leasehold of 99 years subject to conditions and restrictions in interest to be imposed by the state.

Lim said there were currently 314 squatter houses in the area, adding that each squatter family would be provided with a free low-cost unit.

“It is always our effort to upgrade and provide better housing facilities for the squatters in Ujung Batu,” he added.

Lim said the RFP tender documents could be obtained from the PDC office from 8am to 4.30pm.

The deadline for submission is before noon on Nov 3.

Source: StarProperty.my

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IKEA anchors RM8b Penang integrated shopping haven to be built in 2015

September 3rd, 2014 46 comments

Developer Aspen Vision Land, IKEA franchisee Ikano Pte Ltd and the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) have entered an agreement for a RM8 billion integrated development in Batu Kawan that will be built around the Swedish furniture icon.

The massive project will be headlined by a regional integrated shopping haven anchored by IKEA, and include a mixed development of residences, offices, medical facilities, a 20-acre park, an international school, standalone retail outlets and an integrated central transportation hub for Seberang Perai.

With the signing of the agreement this morning, Aspen and Ikano can immediately start preliminary measures such as conducting impact studies and market surveys before commencement of the project.

“We are opening up a full-sized IKEA store here so we will need an elaborate study to be completed first before works can begin,” Ikano managing director Christian Rojkjaer said at a press conference after the signing ceremony at the Royale Bintang Hotel here.

The first phase of the project will consist of the integrated shopping mall anchored by IKEA and is expected to start by the end of next year, with completion scheduled for 2018.

The second phase will include other components such as mixed development, high rise commercial buildings, school, office complex, healthcare facilities and a hotel. The entire project will take up to 10 years to complete.

The project is one of several planned in Batu Kawan, including a RM1 billion project consisting of an upmarket outlet shopping mall, a 300-room international-class hotel and a branch campus of Britain’s University of Hull.

The rising demand for land and projects based in Batu Kawan is due to the opening of the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah bridge, which connects the small township to Batu Maung on the island.

Aspen and Ikano jointly bought 245 acres of land from PDC for RM483.95 million for the project.

The IKEA store and the first phase of the shopping mall will take up 30 acres while another 45 acres will be set aside for phase two of the shopping mall; the remaining 170 acres will be for mixed development.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who witnessed the signing, said the whole development is in line with the state’s efforts to attract catalyst projects for Batu Kawan and the state.

The state, through PDC, also plans to build 11,800 units of public and affordable housing in the area.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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