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Old August 28th, 2007, 10:21 AM   #101
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Wiring up IDR

by Thomas Soon
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KUALA LUMPUR: Time dotCom Bhd (TdC) and Palette Multimedia Bhd, the country’s two leading wired and wireless broadband specialists, have joined forces to tap into the market potential for such services at the multi-billion ringgit Iskandar Development Region (IDR), and possibly the entire country.

Sources told The Edge Financial Daily that TdC, backed by its over 800km of fibre optic line running across the country, would outsource to Palette the implementation and rollout of its broadband network at economic development zones such as the IDR.

The two companies are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on their collaboration this week.

Together, the two companies will be able to provide the highest bandwidth of up to 10 megabits per second (mbps) to allow the realisation of a true “triple play” (voice, data and video) for homes in the country, which will be on par with most of the Internet-developed countries.

“The tie-up is a milestone for both companies, especially for Palette (which competes with the likes of Ericsson and other global players in broadband implementation),” a source said, adding that the tie-up would contribute significantly to Palette’s top line and bottom line.

The source said Palette would design and implement the network, while TdC would act as the operator and the service provider to the homes. “The homes will have access to VOIP and even IP TV services,” the source said, adding that Palette would act as a total solution provider for TdC including the suppy of hardware.

“Palette was selected because it has a wide range of experience in the provision of broadband in the country and in the region, while TdC offers Palette the high-speed fibre optic backbone,” the source said. Time also holds a 3G spectrum licence.

It is learnt that TdC and Palette had a soft launch to roll out the provision of WiMax type of wireless services of up to 10mbps to a 500-home housing project in IDR over the weekend. More such projects are being lined up with tie-ups with other developers.

The IDR project covers 2,217 sq km, three times the size of Singapore. The government aims to turn the IDR into an economic powerhouse to challenge other regional cities in securing foreign direct investment and to drive the country’s economic growth.

This week, TdC and Palette are also scheduled to launch the upgrading of the broadband infrastructure at Palette’s maiden wireless township in Damansara Perdana. The source said TdC’s backhaul infrastructure was allowing Palette to fully realise the marketing potential of its wireless products and services.

“(TdC managing director) Datuk Baharum Salleh is thinking ahead; he wants Time dotCom to be at the forefront of the next generation of telecommunications. The two companies will be able to bring the true triple play to Malaysia at an affordable cost,” the source said.

Announcing its quarterly results recently, Baharum had said TdC hoped to improve its performance by optimising the utilisation of its fibre optic network and by September, the network would “be fully Internet Protocol (IP) core and metro-e (metro ethernet)”, which would allow it to offer more solutions and services to the market.

He had also said the group had started the migration from time division multiplexing to Internet protocol-next generation network to enable the group to offer and provide total telecommunication solutions more effectively to its customers and as such, the group was expected to improve its performance.

Apart from its wireless broadband software development, Palette also has a subsidiary Palette System Sdn Bhd that distributes computing, networking and wireless products in the Asean region to over 2,000 system integrators, retail dealers and retail chains.

Palette is the technology partner and the regional distributor of Proxim, which is the world’s number one provider of a full range of wireless equipment, for Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and other Asean countries.

It is also the regional distributor for Singapore and Malaysia for the corporate and enterprise class leading networking manufacturer, Allied Telesyn Inc, with products ranging from core switches, routers, ADSL router/modem, hubs, media converters and NIC.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #102
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AirAsia to expand southern hub to tap Iskandar region
Wednesday August 29, 2007
TheStar


JOHOR BARU: AirAsia will continue with efforts to expand its southern hub at Senai Airport in view of the great potential of the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

“We have seen the plans for Iskandar, and we are big believers in it. When Iskandar is ready, we will already be a part of it,” said chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes.

“We are not waiting to see if Iskandar happens or not. We have faith in the state,” he added.

AirAsia simultaneously launched direct flights from Johor Baru to Macau and Palembang in Indonesia yesterday.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Fernandes and AirAsia Deputy CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun welcomed 150 passengers from Macau who flew in on a new Airbus A320.

Fernandes said he was happy with the response from the Macau flight which recorded a load factor of 85%, compared to an average of 70%.

“It usually takes 18 months to develop a route but we have seen a 85% load factor already,” he said.

Fernandes said the airline was targeting one million passengers via Senai Airport next year. With Macau and Palembang, AirAsia now has 84 flights weekly from Senai Airport.

He added that he plans to open the no-frills hotel Tune Hotel in Danga Bay, Johor Baru.

Abdul Ghani said he was honoured that AirAsia had chosen Senai Airport as the first destination to fly its new Airbus.

“This signifies the airline’s commitment to enhance the connectivity in the region,” he said.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #103
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August 29, 2007 15:11 PM

Duke Of York Visits Nusajaya Centre And Briefed On IDR


JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 29 (Bernama) -- The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who is here to attend Malaysia's 50th Merdeka Day celebration on Friday, visited the Nusajaya Centre here today.

He was received upon arrival by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and briefed on the developments in Nusajaya and the wider Iskandar Development Region (IDR) by the chief executive officer of Iskandar Region Development Authority (IRDA), Datuk Ikmal Hijaz Hashim.

He was then taken on a site tour of the state government's new administrative centre (JSNAC) and the Puteri harbour, the waterfront precinct.

Earlier the Duke of York, who is also the United Kingdom's special representative for international trade and investment, was received by State Secretary Datuk Abdul Latiff Yusof and British High Commissioner to Malaysia Boyd Mcleary upon arrival at the Senai International Airport from Singapore.

Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth, is a special guest for the 50th Merdeka bash.

UEM Land Sdn Bhd managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim, in a statement, said Prince Andrew's visit augured well for the strong bonds between Malaysia and Britain and would pave the way for even better business collaborations between the two countries.

"Nusajaya is, in fact, currently in talks with several British universities to set up their faculty in EduCity, one of the seven signature developments in Nusajaya," he said.

UEM Land, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UEM World, is the master developer of Nusajaya, a 9,600ha integrated urban development south-west of Johor and a key development project within the IDR.

Nusajaya, is positioned to be the largest, premier, fully integrated urban development in Southeast Asia offering significant investment, financial and business opportunities for local, regional and international entrepreneurs as well as investors.

It has seven signature developments, the JSNAC, Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, Medical City, Educity, Puteri Harbour, International Destination Resort and Residential.

Prince Andrew later had an audience with the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Iskandar, at Istana Bukit Serene.

He will also visit Dyson, a British vacuum cleaner manufacturer in Senai, before departing for Kuala Lumpur in the evening.

-- BERNAMA
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Old August 29th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #104
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August 29, 2007 15:58 PM

IDR Attracts RM$4.2 Billion Landmark Investment

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 29 (Bernama) -- South Johor Investment Corporation Bhd (SJIC), through its subsidiary Rim City Sdn Bhd (RCSB), today entered into a series of agreements to develop the first integrated international city development in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

The partnership with leading investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is a major catalyst and a significant milestone in IDR development of IDR, said SJIC chairman Datuk Azman Mokhtar at the signing ceremony here.

"This landmark investment will represent the single largest foreign real estate development in Malaysia, one of the largest real estate developments in the region and the largest single foreign investment in Malaysia," Azman said.

He said the agreements entered by RCSB were with three leading consortiums led by Mubadala Development Company, Kuwait Finance House and Millenium Development International Company, which will initially invest more than US$1.2 billion (RM4.1 billion) of initial investment for land and infrastructure to develop three clusters.

The three clusters, under lifestyle and leisure, cultural, and financial, will consist of nine themed zones.

Today's signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

RCSB also entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aldar Properties PJSC, a leading Abu Dhabi-based developer which will act as the master development manager.

The consortiums in partnership with SJIC will be making further investments for development over a 20-year period.

-- BERNAMA
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:50 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by pedang View Post
the first integrated international city development in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).
I think I saw somewhere there're lotsa skyscrapers...
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #106
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IDR draws US$1.2 billion investment from Middle East

PUTRAJAYA: A group of Middle East investors inked pacts Wednesday to plow US$1.2 billion (euro880 million) into a new Malaysian economic hub, marking the first major foreign investment in the project.

The Iskandar Development Region, or IDR, in southern Johor state bordering Singapore was launched in November as a new regional growth center to woo foreign investors amid stiff competition from China and India.

Abu Dhabi state investment agency Mubadala Development Co. [under Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) ] Kuwait Finance House and Dubai-based property developer Saraya Holdings Ltd. agreed to develop a total 2,230 acres (902 hectares) in the IDR, said state agency South Johor Investment Corp. or SJIC.

SJIC chairman Azman Mokhtar hailed the partnerships as a key catalyst to kickstart growth in the IDR zone.

Three times larger than neighboring Singapore, the zone is a major part of the government's plan to become a developed nation by 2020.

"This is a historic and strategic landmark transaction between our two regions,'' Azman said at the signing ceremony, adding that the total investment marked the single largest foreign property development in Malaysia.

The government targets an investment of US$105 billion (euro80 billion) over 20 years to develop the IDR, sprawled over 221,634 hectares (547,657 acres), into a regional business, entertainment and leisure hub.

"We are looking long term...there is tremendous potential (in Asia),'' said Mubadala Chief Executive Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak.

"This will be a flagship development for the region, not just for Malaysia.''

Under the pact, Mubadala will invest US$520 million (euro380 million) to develop the lifestyle and leisure parcel comprising a golf village, an amusement bay, residential district and a medical center, SJIC said in a statement.

Al Nibras 2 Ltd., a fund managed by Kuwait Finance House, will put in US$330 million (euro241 million) to build a cultural village, it said.

Millennium International Dev. Co., a unit of Saraya, will invest US$325 million (euro237 million) in a financial hub to serve markets in Asia and for Islamic banking services, it said.

SJIC will hold 30 percent equity in the venture with each of the three groups, which are expected to make "further development investments of several multiples'' over their initial investment over a 20-year period, it added. - AP
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Old August 29th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #107
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Very good news 4 IDR!!!
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Old August 30th, 2007, 04:38 AM   #108
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I'm still waiting for Disneyland.....
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Old August 30th, 2007, 06:32 AM   #109
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AirAsia to expand southern hub to tap Iskandar region

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


AirAsia will continue with efforts to expand its southern hub at Senai Airport in view of the great potential of the Iskandar Development Region (IDR).

“We have seen the plans for Iskandar, and we are big believers in it. When Iskandar is ready, we will already be a part of it,” said chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes.

“We are not waiting to see if Iskandar happens or not. We have faith in the state,” he added.

AirAsia simultaneously launched direct flights from Johor Baru to Macau and Palembang in Indonesia yesterday.

Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Fernandes and AirAsia Deputy CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun welcomed 150 passengers from Macau who flew in on a new Airbus A320.

Fernandes said he was happy with the response from the Macau flight which recorded a load factor of 85%, compared to an average of 70%.

“It usually takes 18 months to develop a route but we have seen a 85% load factor already,” he said.

Fernandes said the airline was targeting one million passengers via Senai Airport next year. With Macau and Palembang, AirAsia now has 84 flights weekly from Senai Airport.

He added that he plans to open the no-frills hotel Tune Hotel in Danga Bay, Johor Baru.

Abdul Ghani said he was honoured that AirAsia had chosen Senai Airport as the first destination to fly its new Airbus.

“This signifies the airline’s commitment to enhance the connectivity in the region,” he said.



Source : STAR
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Old August 30th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #110
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New perks proposed to draw investors to Iskandar zone

August 30 2007

A PROPOSAL has already been submitted to the government on new incentives to attract more investors to the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), the South Johor Investment Corporation Bhd (SJIC) said.

“We are waiting for government approval,” its chairman, Datuk Azman Mokhtar, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Azman, who is also managing director of Khazanah Nasional, said the amount to be invested announced yesterday “was less compared to what is really needed” by IDR.

SJIC yesterday entered into a series of conditional agreements to develop the first integrated international city development in the region worth US$1.2 billion or RM4.1 billion.

SJIC described the partnership with leading investors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, as a major catalyst and a significant milestone in the development of IDR.”

The landmark investment would represent the single largest foreign real estate development in Malaysia, one of the largest real estate development in the region and largest single foreign investment in Malaysia.

The various consortia in partnership with SJIC would be making further development investments of several multiples over the initial investment of USD$1.2 billion over a 20 years period. — Bernama
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:15 AM   #111
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August 30, 2007 15:43 PM

Iskandar Region Well-positioned To Draw More Investors

By Salbiah Said

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 30 (Bernama) -- The Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in Johor, which attracted initial investments of US$1.2 billion (RM4.2 billion) from four Middle Eastern companies yesterday, is well-positioned to attract more investors to Malaysia.

"We truly believe in the potential of the real estate sector in Malaysia, and specifically we have chosen the IDR to be our first real estate investment in Malaysia," said vice chairman and chief executive officer of Saraya Holdings group of companies, Ali Hassan Kolaghassi, in an exclusive interview with Bernama.

"We believe there is great potential for financial institutions to establish their presence in Malaysia, and in the Johor region especially. Malaysia is well-positioned to be at the top of that (real estate) sector," said Ali Hassan, who is also chairman of the Saraya Real Estate MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Fund and Arab Bank Capital board member.

Four agreements were signed yesterday between South Johor Investment Corporation Bhd (SJIC), which coordinates the development of the IDR and companies from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The investing companies are Millennium Development International Company, a member of Saraya Holdings, Mubadala Development Company (MDC) and Kuwait Finance House (KFH).

Aldar Properties PJSC will be managing the development of IDR's first integrated international city, referred to as Node I.

Node 1 will spread over 892 hectares in Nusajaya, between the new Johor state administrative centre and the second crossing to Singapore.

Under the agreement, Millennium Development will be the master concessionaire and land developer for the 146-hectare financial district with an investment of about RM1.1 billion.

KEY FACTORS WHICH DRAW INVESTORS TO IDR

Mubadala, KFH and Millennium Development will respectively lead a consortium each and collectively invest more than US$1.2 billion in land and infrastructure to build three clusters, namely a lifestyle and leisure cluster, a cultural cluster and a financial district, in Node I.

Ali Hassan said Saraya representatives would be available to complement the services provided by other financial markets in the region, especially with Malaysia being the hub of Islamic finance.

He listed the key factors which attracted the group to the region.

As a real estate developer, he said it was important for the company to work hand in hand between the public and the private sector.

"And what attracted us here is the infrastructure that is provided by the government... that's number one... the incentives, taxation and legislation... to allow us to proceed with the plans which are to be introduced in the district," Ali Hassan said.

"All these are provided for by the Malaysian government to attract potential investors," he said.

A tour of the IDR on Tuesday lifted his confidence further of the region's potential to succeed in drawing investors, especially the infrastructure, road networks and incentives provided for by the government.

"The zone that we have chosen will ultimately be the zone that will be primarily focusing on attracting financial institutions to make their presence, plus support services that will be required as a result of the financial institutions that will be in the district," Ali Hassan said.

"So there will be a residential community, other primary services, as well as other services to be offered by our colleagues and other investors who signed the agreements today (yesterday), to enable any financial institution to have a presence in our zone," he said.

The financial district will be equipped with other amenities such as residential units, medical and hospital facilities, schools, and entertainment outlets.

"I truly believe that all these together, will make this a truly successful development masterplan that will attract a lot of investors ultimately," Ali Hassan said.

"So we will act on our behalf as a real estate developer, we will also bring in co investors to develop specific zones or to be part of the masterplan," he said.

BULLISH OF ISKANDAR DEVELOPMENT REGION

Ali Hassan remains bullish of Johor, specifically the Iskandar Development Region. The IDR, a brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was launched late last year and is being designed as a new growth centre for the country.

When completed in 20 years, it will become a landmark development with top-class lifestyle and leisure enclaves and is expected to create some 800,000 new jobs.

The IDR, covering 2,217 sq kilometres, is nearly three times the size of Singapore. It is an ambitious plan aimed at making the region bigger than China's Shenzen, which has benefited greatly from Hong Kong.

"Every site is unique with its own heritage and architecture. We don't want to compare one location to the other. We are not developing Johor (IDR) so that it is in competition with any place, but to complement with what is out there," Ali Hassan said.

"As we were looking to expand into this part of the world, we found Malaysia to be our first opportunity to invest in such a mega-size real estate," he said.

"As a group, we have a presence in the Middle East and Europe, and this represents our first opportunity in the region," he added.

KEY TO SUCCESS IS TO ATTRACT ANCHOR TENANTS

"The most important challenge has been overcome, that is the fact there is already infrastructure in place. Our job is to start developing the zone until it is completed so that it harmonises with the rest of the masterplan and infrastructure that is provided," Ali Hassan said.

"Very soon we have to finalise our masterplan. We have to present the final concept to the government and ultimately commence marketing the zone for potential tenants. The key to the success of this project is to attract anchor tenants, that is, international financial institutions that will establish a presence in this district," he said.

To put the plan into action, the company will mobilise a full team who will be present in the IDR to expedite work on the project.

"It is part of our strategy... we have done this before... we truly believe this will be a good challenge InsyaAllah (God willing), it will be successful," Ali Hassan said, highlighting the company's wide international exposure in real estate development.

Saraya specialises in hospitality and mixed use real estate development, land development and property development.

Millennium Development covers a broad range of large scale projects, such as the reconstruction of Beirut Central District (Solidere) in Lebanon, a new downtown in Jeddah and the strategic planning for the Al-Abdali project, a new downtown in Amman, Jordan.

Currently, the company is responsible for the development of a US$40 billion (RM1,400 billion) new city in Aktau on the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan. Its construction partner is Saudi Oger, a prominent construction company in Saudi Arabia.

DRAWING INVESTORS TO THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT

"We have done various types of real estate initiatives, such as hospitality and resorts, and we have also developed urban downtowns. We have a very diversified expertise in real estate. We know what it takes to develop financial districts, and we are affiliated to major estates and major banks," Ali Hassan said.

"We hope to ultimately attract other investors to the (financial) district (IDR). IDR is our first investment in Malaysia. Next, we would be interested to develop some kind of resorts," he said.

Ali Hassan said the financial district was expected to draw investors such as banks, investment houses and private equity funds.

"All will come as a result of the incentives, infrastructure, tax incentives, provided for by the IDR. Key to having them operate is the benefits provided. The incentives provided by the Malaysian government will position Johor on a very competitive edge with the rest of the world," he said.

"I think they (the government) have truly put in the initiatives to make the IDR attractive to investors."

Ali Hassan was also full of praises for Khazanah Nasional, the government's investment arm which is spearheading the IDR.

"Malaysia is always on our radar screen. Khazanah has done a good job in promoting the IDR overseas. That's how we came across the IDR. Malaysia as a country has a success track record for the past two decades," he said.

"I think the story will always be bright for Malaysia and will continue to be brighter, especially with the country dominating the tourism market from the GCC," Ali Hassan said, noting that in the past few years, most hotels in Kuala Lumpur were operating on a 100 percent occupancy, including service apartments.

MALAYSIA TRULY ASIA

"More tourists are coming from the Middle East to Malaysia. They feel very comfortable coming here... the culture, religion, acceptance and hospitality," Ali Hassan said.

"From the financial perspective, whenever you have a government offering incentives, giving comfort and security to investors, that is what it takes for them to come here," he said.

"There's the financial and political risks to be considered. Once these two factors are addressed, which is not an issue here, I truly believe more investors will come here."

Ali Hassan attributed the large influx of Middle East tourists who spent longer duration in Malaysia to the excellent job of Tourism Malaysia, which has been aggressively promoting the country in that part of the world.

He noted that the slogan "Malaysia Truly Asia" could be found everywhere in the Middle East.

Other plus factors also contributed to Malaysia's ability to attract investors from the Middle East, Ali Hassan said, noting that Malaysia offered an attractive package for people from the Middle East.

They are Malaysia's role as chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), its position as an economic power in the region, a halal hub, and a combination of all types of tourism, that is sun and sea seekers, city tourism, shopping experience and entertainment.

"All these elements are available. You cater to people who want to come to the beach too. KL visitors can enjoy a variety of shopping outlets and amusement parks for the kids. Of course, halal food available here, which is an acceptable choice for the Middle East people," he said.

On Saraya's foray in Malaysia, Ali Hassan said: "We always consider ourselves as a long-term investor. It is the responsibility of a developer to invest and create a track record."

-- BERNAMA
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 04:21 AM   #112
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UEM Builders seeks more jobs in Malaysia
By Sharen Kaur
September 1 2007
BusinessTimes




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Preparations are being made to win construction jobs in Nusajaya and the Iskandar Development Region as well as looking at opportunities in Penang, Kedah, Melaka and Terengganu, says UEM managing director
UEM Builders Bhd, which expects to double its order book to RM5 billion this year, is looking for more jobs in Malaysia.

Managing director Ridza Abdoh Salleh said UEM is gearing to secure infrastructure projects like rail, road and water, and development of buildings in Nusajaya, Johor, and those under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP).

"We are monitoring the development. Preparations are being made to win construction jobs in Nusajaya and the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) such as phase 2 of the Johor State New Administrative Centre (JSNAC) and Waterfront Development projects, and phase 1 of the Medical City, valued at more than RM500 million collectively," Ridza told Business Times in an interview.

UEM has contracts for Phase 1 of the JSNAC and Waterfront projects worth RM230 million and RM45 million respectively.

Ridza said UEM is also looking at opportunities in Penang, Kedah, Melaka and Terengganu, where projects are in preliminary stages of evaluation.

"If given the opportunity, we will be interested in participating in the Penang Outer Ring Road project and the Penang International Airport extension works. However, our primary focus is on the Second Penang Bridge project," Ridza said.

UEM's construction unit has a joint venture with China Harbour Engineering to construct the RM1.5 billion bridge that will open in 2011.

The group is actively looking for infrastructure development jobs in the Middle East, India and Indonesia, where it has RM1.2 billion, RM154 million and RM233 million worth of jobs respectively.

"UEM hopes to participate in a highway project undertaken by Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd in Indonesia," Ridza said.

On another note, Rizda said UEM is diversifying its role and expanding its earnings via multi-prong initiatives like exploring regional development projects and opportunities independently or through joint ventures with local and foreign partners.

"We are not limiting ourselves to infrastructure works only. We are exploring new ventures such as property development, industrialised cleaning and shutdown maintenance, oil and gas, and industrialised building system," Ridza said.

He said UEM will be able to optimise and generate revenues and profits from projects it secures. It is targeting more than 10 per cent growth in profit margin from projects recently secured.

According to UEM's key performance indicator, the group's revenue this year could surge 55 per cent.

It posted a net loss of RM21.5 million on revenue of RM1.8 billion for the year ended December 31 2006.

"Being a government-linked company may have its advantages, but UEM prefers to compete on a level playing field. The industry requires players to be competitive locally and internationally, and we will instill the values such as competitiveness and enterprising among our staff," he said.
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 05:15 AM   #113
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Envoy: Start investing in IDR
Sunday September 2, 2007
By NELSON BENJAMIN
TheStar



Lim (centre) having a discussion with Parameswaran during the reception
at Sentosa Island on Friday as Singapore Red Cross chairman Lt-Gen (Rtd)
Winston Choo looks on.


SINGAPORE: Singaporeans should make their move now to invest in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), especially with the recent announcement of USD$1.2bil (RM4.1bil) in investments from West Asia.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Singapore Datuk N. Parameswaran said Singaporeans should start moving as the IDR was an ideal hinterland for the island republic as it had vast opportunities for carrying out business and was also a place to stay.

“There is a natural symbiosis that we can build together. Do not sit down and think about it too long.

“As you can see with the recent announcement of West Asian investors, the IDR is not dependent on Singapore,” he pointed out.

Parameswaran said the latest announcement only represented about 1% of the IDR’s total area, which was three times the size of Singapore.

“This is a 20-year project. Surely, there will be other major announcements soon, maybe involving another area or even a theme park,” he said.

Parameswaran urged Singaporeans to disregard the “small voices” as the voices from the top wanted everybody to be there, including Singaporeans.

“The synergy between Malaysia and Singapore has already existed as we are natural partners. Even Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz has given the assurance that our ties in trade, investment and tourism cannot be cut,” Parameswaran added.

He was speaking to reporters after hosting a reception to mark Malaysian’s 50th anniversary in Sentosa Island here on Friday.

More than 500 dignitaries and guests attended the event including Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang and Attorney-General of Singapore Chao Hick Tin.

“Someone told me that we need some big American companies to come into IDR. We already have companies like Flextronics, Evergreen and Seagate operating in Malaysia,” Parameswaran said.

He said Singapore should now take the first step to discuss about having a better link between Malaysia and Singapore as the causeway was becoming too congested.

“We tried before and failed. Now the Singaporeans should try and let's see how it goes,” he said, adding that there was no point in trying to have a third link when the problems about the causeway have not been resolved.

“No point having easy access cards or a thumbprint biometric system for both countries when you still get caught in the traffic jam at the causeway,” Parameswaran said.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #114
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US$10b Mideast investment for Iskandar

September 4 2007

MORE than US$10 billion (RM35.1 billion) will be spent by Middle East investors over the next few years to develop the tract of land that they recently bought in the Iskandar Development Region.

Officials familiar with the transaction said that this amount will be pumped in to turn Node 1 of the project into a world-class lifestyle and leisure cluster; a cultural cluster and a financial district.

Last week, four agreements were signed between the South Johor Investment Corp Bhd (SJIC) and investors from the Middle East.

Mubadala Development Co, Kuwait Finance House and Millennium Development International Co committed US$1.2 billion (RM4.21 billion) to buy 892ha of land in the area. Aldar Properties PJSC will be managing the development of the project.

In each of the consortia, SJIC will be a strategic partner with a 30 per cent stake.

It is learnt that the investors have to begin developing the area as soon as possible. And the target is to get cracking by 2008.

Lawyers and bankers familiar with similar scale development in the Middle East say that agreements usually have a clause requiring investors to complete a certain percentage of the project within a specified timeframe.

The US$10 billion to be spent to turn Node 1 into a world-class masterpiece will spark off a construction boom in the south.

The main beneficiaries are likely to be construction companies like Putrajaya Perdana which signed an agreement with Aldar Properties last week to provide consulting and construction services for the Iskandar region projects.

But the inflow of funds is also going to have a significant multiplier effect and will impact on the lives of everyone from property agents to those involved in the retail and cottage industries.

Mubadala and Aldar are involved in some of the most ambitious projects in the Middle East, arguably in the world.

They are developing islands off Abu Dhabi into top-class cultural and lifestyle enclaves.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 06:12 AM   #115
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Mubadala group may invest RM21bil in IDR

By YAP LENG KUEN

PETALING JAYA: Of the three consortia coming in a big way to invest in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Mubadala Development Co is expected to come up with more than half of the almost US$12bil (RM42bil) to be pumped in.

Sources indicated that last week’s signing involved only the purchase of land for US$1.2bil. The entire development spans three nodes in the IDR which involves the development of a financial district, an entertainment and cultural centre and a commercial centre.

The Mubadala group appeared to have the most ambitious plan for the IDR, said sources close to the three investors. In fact, real estate is one of the upcoming areas of focus at Mubadala, which is a wholly-owned, principal-investment vehicle of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

According to its managing director and chief executive officer Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, healthcare and real estate offered significant opportunities in the future. The group is currently involved in the energy, infrastructure and motor vehicle sectors.

Among its notable investments of 100% are in the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co, Abu Dhabi Knee & Sports Medicine Centre, Abu Dhabi Terminals, Horizon International Flight Academy and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.

Its other investments include Dolphin Energy Co (51%), listed company Emirates Ship Investment Co (32.9%), Ferrari (5%), and Piaggio Aero Industries (15%). It also has between 5% and 15% on a project basis in the Mukhaizna oil field in Oman, as well as oil explorations in Libya and Oman.

Besides Mubadala, the other consortia at the IDR are Saraya Holdings, via urban development arm Millenium Development International Co, and Kuwait Finance House.

Putrajaya Perdana Bhd, which inked a memorandum of understanding last week with Aldar Properties (the master planner for the consortium’s IDR project) to provide construction, consultancy and a range of services, is expected to be the main contractor for most of the jobs at the three nodes in the IDR.

Sources indicated Putrajaya Perdana, in its aim to be an international construction house, was likely to invite Malaysian and Singaporean companies with expertise in civil engineering, water and electricity to complement its niche in the commercial sector.

The construction giant is expected to initially undertake jobs in the IDR and move on to the Middle East.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 06:34 AM   #116
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Ekovest may secure RM1.6b IDR jobs

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EKOVEST Bhd has the potential to secure RM1.6 billion of orders out of the total RM4.3 billion worth of projects in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), CIMB Research said.

The research house said: “We think this is achievable as the company is already the main contractor with exclusive rights for Danga Bay Sdn Bhd and has already been involved in several developments via Limbongan Ekovest since 2000.”

It reiterated a “trading buy” on Ekovest with an unchanged revised net asset value (RNAV)-based target price of RM4.40.

“Ekovest is our top pick for a direct play on property and infrastructure in IDR via Danga Bay. Our unchanged FY08-10 forecasts have already factored in the potential new orders,” it said.

CIMB Research said potential catalysts for further re-rating include the latest news flow on the IDR and acceleration of property developments in Danga Bay which will provide a new benchmark for land valuations.

The research house said Ekovest’s FY07 net profit came in 24% above its forecast and 14% above consensus because of stronger-than-expected margin expansion and lower tax rates.

While its top line notched up a scorching 55% growth rate due to the recognition of new contracts, net profit more than doubled as earnings before income tax margin widened from 6.3% to 7.5%, and tax rates came off.

According to CIMB Research, the growth achieved at the top line was primarily driven by three main projects recognised during the period such as the RM600 million Duta Ulu Kelang Expressway, the RM500 million Kolej Universiti Teknologi Tun Hussein Onn and the RM366 million Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

“These projects are still at the early stages and should contribute to its construction earnings over the next 1-2 years.” it said.

The research house also said Ekovest’s order book is good for another two years as its outstanding order book of RM2.5 billion still had scope for expansion.

“The next big project, which is yet to be rolled out, is the RM1.2 billion National Institute for Natural Products, Vaccines and Biologicals, However, the structure is still being finalised and is expected to be firmed up by year-end,” CIMB Research said.
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Old September 4th, 2007, 08:28 AM   #117
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Gulf firms in $1.2bn Malaysia deal



Investors from the Middle East have agreed to invest about $1.2bn in the Iskandar development zone in southern Malaysia.

This is the first big foreign investment in a government plan to develop the country’s south.

The investors are led by Mubadala Development Company, the investment arm of Abu Dhabi, which has committed $520m.

The rest of the money is coming from Al-Nibras 2 Limited, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House, and Abu Dhabi's Millennium Development International Company.


The project will be managed by Aldar Properties PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based developer.

The government is reportedly relying on Middle Eastern investors to help fund a plan to turn an area three times the size of Singapore, into an Asian metropolis.

A Malaysian state agency that manages the Iskandar zone said in a statement: "This is a historic and strategic landmark transaction between our two regions."

The group will partner the South Johor Investment Corporation (SJIC), to develop 2,230 acres into an "international city", a global hub for trade, commerce and education.

SJIC would hold 30 per cent of the venture.

Foreign focus

The southern state of Johor lies about 1km away from Singapore, with $147bn in foreign reserves, but has a reputation among Singaporeans for street crime and cheap goods.

Malaysia has invited Singapore investors to join the Iskandar development, but federal and local politicians in Johor do not want to rely too heavily on Singapore money due to decades of suspicion and strained ties between the two nations.

The SJIC, which is controlled by Khazanah, a state investment arm, said the Middle East group would spend the $1.2bn to acquire land and develop infrastructure.

The SJIC has also said that the Gulf investors would make "further development investments of several multiples over the initial investment of $1.2bn over a 20-year period".

Investment declining
Late last year, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the prime minister, has said that roughly $105bn in mostly private investment would be needed over 20 years to develop Iskandar into a regional centre for industry, tourism, entertainment and luxury accommodation.

The 2,200sq km development area will include a high-tech park, logistics and industrial precincts, educational park, regional hospitals, marina, waterside villas, theme parks and exclusive, gated residential communities.

But analysts have said that Malaysia will struggle to lure the dollars away from other nearby growing economies like Thailand, Vietnam, India and China.

Foreign direct investment in Malaysia has steadily declined. In 2006 it amounted to an estimated $3.9bn, compared to $5.5bn in 2001.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exer...E47147D072.htm
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Old September 5th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #118
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September 05, 2007 17:15 PM

IDR Continues To Draw Mid-East Investors

By Salbiah Said

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 5 (Bernama) -- Last week's injection of investments worth RM4.1 billion from the Middle East to the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) in southern Johor is set to be just a foretaste of more investments from that part of the world to the IDR.

"I'm confident we will see more large investments from the Middle East to the IDR within a month," Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman told Bernama here recently.

He declined to elaborate as this is still at the discussion stage, as with proposed investments from Japan and China. wowow.. can't wait

"They are not yet in a form that can be surmised as finalised, perhaps they all will be finalised before year end," he said.

Abdul Ghani described the RM4.1 billion investment from four Middle East companies last week as the initial round of investments but still the largest amount so far in foreign direct investment since the IDR was launched last November, and said this reflects the confidence foreign investors have in Malaysia.

He believed that this momentum will prompt investments from other sources as well due to the multiplier effect.

According to him, the RM4.1 billion investment is for land and infrastructure and will be spent in about six months.


"Locals are being contracted to undertake the infrastructure work, and after this is completed in the next six months, this will be followed by investments in three clusters - lifestyle and leisure, cultural, and financial - which will consist of nine themed zones," he added.


Last week four agreements were signed between South Johor Investment Corporation Bhd (SJIC), which coordinates the development of IDR, and consortiums from the Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The consortiums are led by Millennium Development International Company (MDIC) which is the urban development management arm of Saraya Holdings, Mubadala Development Company (MDC) and Kuwait Finance House (KFH).

Aldar Properties PJSC, a leading Abu Dhabi-based developer, is the master development manager of IDR's first international integrated city development, known as Node I, which encompasses 892 hectares in Nusajaya including Johor's new administrative centre and the Second Link to Singapore.

Abdul Ghani said activities to be developed in the three clusters are city centre, golf village, amusement bay, residential district, medical and wellness village, logistics village, creative park, heritage district and financial district.

According to him, an important aspect of this investment is that the Middle East companies involved have a good track record and have been successful in real estate development throughout the world.

"They in fact chose the IDR as their first investment destination in Southeast Asia," he added.

Abdul Ghani outlined the factors which are drawing Middle East investors to the IDR.

These include the IDR's central location in Southeast Asia, the confidence-instilling infrastructure, the government's various attractive investment incentives, a welcoming environment including rivers, lakes and natural resources, land size, and cost-competitiveness for investors.

"We have given an assurance that we will consider all their applications speedily, probably within a month with the setting up of a one-stop centre, so that they won't be dragged down by exacting procedures," he added.

IDR's development comes under the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), a statutory body co-chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Abdul Ghani, which will ensure that plans and proposals which are submitted are processed efficiently.

On tourism, the Menteri Besar believed that most of the tourists will come from within Southeast Asia as well as China and India.

"We hope to realise the vision for the IDR to have explosive economic growth in the global sense," he said. "We also hope the Prime Minister's push for the IDR to be the ideal planned development location will be realised."

The IDR sprawls over 2,217 sq km - three times the size of Singapore - and is an ambitious effort to best China's Shenzen special economic zone, whose success has been largely attributed to its location as the hinterland to Hong Kong, as the IDR is to Singapore.

The government wants the IDR to be the region's largest growth centre, and the government's investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, is the primary driver of this vision.

The IDR, originally conceptualised as the Southern Johor Economic Region (SJER), is expected to draw huge multinationals in the course of its 20-year development, especially with Senai Airport, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Johor Port, which are already serving Southeast Asia and beyond.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #119
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lucky..johor..IDR lucky..hmm, not sarawak
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Old September 10th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #120
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September 10, 2007 19:43 PM

Iskandar Incentive Details By Month's End


By Tham Choy Lin

URUMQI (China), Sept 10 (Bernama) -- Incentives for the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) will be fleshed out in detail and announced by the end of this month, said Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman who is also expecting IDR to rein in several more investments before year-end.

"They will be made more clear and precise. I would imagine some investments would be tailor-made for the incentives," he told Bernama.

The full perks will be laid out for all six service sectors -- creative industries, education, financial advisory and consulting, healthcare, logistics, and tourism.

The IDR board co-chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Abdul Ghani is scheduled to meet on Sept 24.

Abdul Ghani is here for a three-day business and cultural mission with the Malaysia-China Business Council to enhance links with the Xinjiang region. In his delegation is Iskandar Development Region Authority (IDRA) chief executive officer Datuk Ikmal Hijjaz Hashim.

Stretching across the southern tip of Johor, IDR is three times the size of neighbouring Singapore and is being developed as the region's most dynamic economic hub.

It made headlines recently by attracting RM4.1 billion from a Middle East consortium for the first of three nodes of the project and more investments are tipped in view of the keen interest expressed by international investors.

Asked when he expects the next tranche of overseas investment, Abdul Ghani said: "We should be able to have more conclusive discussions, another few more before the end of the year from the Middle East and other parts of the world."

He said a mission would be sent to China, most likely to Shanghai, because the IDR has caught the eyes of tourist related and real estate developers, including the Shimao Group owned by China's ninth richest tycoon Hui Wing Mau who made a special trip to Johor to size up its potential.

"We would love to have the Chinese to come to IDR. We had very positive feedback from them after the Malaysia-China Business Council meeting in Johor Baharu, where they saw the potential for themselves," Abdul Ghani said.

He also urged Malaysian investors to make their moves on the IDR, especially in developing properties to meet the demand of professionals and multinational companies moving to the region.

IDRA chief Datuk Ikmal Hijjaz Hashim said details of the incentives were being finalised.

"We have already announced the broad and general incentives and now we are working out the details like with the tax authorities, Bank Negara and non-fiscal aspects like with immigration," he said.

He welcomed the 25 per cent single tier corporate tax announced in the recent national budget, saying that it would encourage foreign investors in the IDR to stay for the long term after the 10-year tax-free status lapses.

It was announced earlier that investment projects approved by the IDRA in designated zones will be eligible for a 10-year corporate tax exemption as well as waiver of the withholding tax on specific payments, provided the projects are implemented by 2015.

The companies undertaking these projects are free to source their capital globally as well as employ foreign staff without restrictions, within approved zones.

-- BERNAMA
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