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2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Monday April 24, 2006

Foreign companies relocating to Malaysia

Brian Koh

Executive Director

DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Sdn Bhd

StarBiz: Your outlook for the commercial property sector.

DTZ is generally bullish of the commercial property sector for the immediate term. With the generally limited supply and growing demand, we are seeing a stronger growth in rental rates amidst declining vacancy rates. Nevertheless, we see market risks developing again over the next three to five year timeframe as the new cycle of construction projects will be coming on-stream.

Observations on the market trends in the past year.

We have already seen movement of 10% for prime space and probably 5% for the more secondary space over last year. We can expect more upward movement in the next 24 months, probably at a slower pace.

In the retail market, rental movement is more difficult to monitor, but we expect to see continued upward movement in rents.

For example, Lot 10 and Starhill in the Starhill REIT prospectus reported an improvement of 4.92% and 20.47% in their average rents for the financial year 2005 compared with 2004.

New projects are also reporting comparable rents being achieved to existing benchmark leaders.

We still expect to see upward movement in rental across the board especially for prime properties.

Your opinion on what contributed to these trends.

We are seeing some relocation from other more expansive cities in Asia to Kuala Lumpur.

Improved business sentiments also result in the upgrading and expansion of existing operations.

The opening up of the country’s financial market is also driving demand for new office space.

On the retail front, although consumer sentiment is teetering at the edge, this has been balanced by improved tourist arrivals.

Challenges and issues faced by the industry and their impact.

Construction and land costs have been escalating for the last two years, and add to this is the rising financing cost, which is expected to continue upwards. Project financing will continue to be selectively available and it is always hard to get a major pre-commitment from a major tenant to jumpstart a new project in the office sector.

Views on some of the ongoing and planned commercial projects.

As a trend, we do see better quality projects coming in, such as PJ Trade Centre, which DTZ is involved as co-marketing agent for en-bloc sale.

To compete in the future, and attract the best tenants, developers realise that quality will go a long way towards competitive advantage, and long-term success.

The Pavilion is another project that we are really excited about and it will certainly be an iconic project with a strong regional profile.

How many commercial developments are there in the Klang Valley?

In the office sector, there are at least 4.5 million sq ft coming onstream from now to 2009. Projects to watch are KL Sentral, Mid Valley City, and CapSquare .

In the retail sector, projects to watch are The Gardens at Mid Valley City, Sunway Pyramid 2, and of course The Pavilion. I-City and the Suria KLCC extension are also two projects that would have an impact on the local retail scene. In total, we are talking about new space of 5.4 million sq ft.

Which markets are among the most active in terms of new developments and growth potential?

Other than the Klang Valley, Johor Baru appears to be fairly active at least in the retail sector, despite the very negative perception from the various abandoned projects there.

Notwithstanding that, Jusco has successfully developed two malls in the southern city and is an anchor in another one over the last three years.

So there are still opportunities in the midst of a challenging market.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
3 year warranty on new homes! hope this is the start of a trend.. :)

SP Setia sets new standards
By Angie Ng

DATUK SERI Liew Kee Sin celebrates a decade of leadership at SP Setia Bhd.

Wasting no time, he is already setting new industry standards for the group to achieve a higher quality of growth.

The company’s latest initiative is the Setia 18 + 18 Home Warranty Programme, which was launched by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting yesterday.

Liew, who is group managing director and chief executive officer, said all properties under the SP Setia Group which were handed over from April 2 would enjoy an additional 18 months warranty on top of the standard 18-month Defect Liability Period (DLP) set out in the statutory Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA).

Buyers who are taking delivery of their property will receive a certificate of the extended home warranty.

“The move is a solid expression of our continuing pursuit of quality excellence, inspired by our enduring commitment to our customers. We believe our effort will enhance the confidence of buyers in our ability to deliver on our promise,” Liew told StarBiz.

As the property industry depends heavily on foreign labour, quality issues may arise due to the fluctuating skills level of the foreign workers. Some common complaints are about poor workmanship on finishes and plastering.

He said SP Setia had a stringent quality control and audit procedures in place to ensure the standards of its products.

“While our projects are not free of complaints, we are responsive to address any problems faced by our customers in a prompt and efficient manner to ensure their satisfaction. We hope our effort will encourage healthy competition and further elevate industry standards for the benefit of housebuyers,” Liew said.

This year, some 4,200 units of property due for handover will benefit from the introduction of this extended home warranty.

He said the initiative would also serve as a springboard for SP Setia to reach the next phase of growth.

He added that while SP Setia continued its expansion programme by venturing into new projects in new areas, “it will not forsake its customers.” Employees at all levels will take part in a company-wide Service, Product and People Quality (SPPQ) programme.

“The company is going the extra mile to make quality excellence its central focus. We are constantly revamping the way we conduct our business - including in product design, construction methods, sales and marketing and customer service. It is a continuous self improvement programme,” Liew said. As the company expands, maintaining consistent high quality and service standards is one of the biggest challenges.

“People hold the key to ensuring that our product and service quality can keep pace with our rapid expansion. That is why it is very important to train our people and instil a sense of pride in them to embrace the highest quality standards in every aspect of their work,” he added.

The SPPQ programme, which has been implemented group-wide since 2005, is to provide customers quality assurance and further reinforce the promise of the SP Setia brand name. Service quality refers to the way the company interacts and builds relationships with its customers.

“It is about providing exemplary customer service and customer care at all times. It means being in touch with the wants and aspirations of our customers. Our aim is to ensure a pleasant and memorable experience every time a customer comes in contact with our sales ambassadors,” Liew said.

On product quality, he said SP Setia was committed to providing end-products of the highest quality. “Product quality also means offering products that are in tune with market trends. We are always studying and reviewing our work process to ensure that we will produce a quality home that our purchasers can be proud of to own.”

People quality, he said, meant getting the best people to do the right job. “Our stringent recruitment process and rigorous training ensures that we cultivate a pool of passionate and dedicated staff who can grow with us in our journey.”

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Saturday May 13, 2006

KL retail scene outlook

Henry Butcher Shopping Centre Consultants Sdn Bhd managing director Tan Hai Hsin shares his thoughts on the Kuala Lumpur retail scene

BizWeek: What is your overall outlook of the KL retail scene for the second half of this year?

Tan: Positive. Retail performances (rental rates and occupancy rates) of KL shopping centres shall remain stable for the following reasons:

No major influx of retail space this year; Consumers’ spending remains healthy with gradual improvement in overall economic environment; and tourism continues to grow this year which will benefit shopping centres in the city centre.

With so much duplication, how should a mall position itself?

T: Our shopping centre industry is not large enough, nor consumers sophisticated enough to justify so many niche retail concepts and specialty shopping centres. However, in the next 10 years, we will see this happening. There will be malls catering solely for children, a 7-storey commercial building with 10 restaurants, an 8-storey, 50,000 sq ft commercial building with only 4 large tenants, to give some examples.

It is difficult for a new shopping centre to position itself totally different from others. When a new mall opens, it takes away market share from one or more shopping centres within a 30-minute driving range.

Therefore, for a new mall to succeed in the current market, it must identify the retail demand gap within the market catchment area it intends to serve, and if this void is sizeable enough to justify a new mall.

Tan Hai Sin
What do you think of The Pavillion, KL

A: Nevertheless, the Pavilion is a good project with excellent location. It is within the Bukit Bintang (BB) shopping and tourist district where hotels, office buildings and high-rise residential apartments are already located. Its presence will enlarge the shopping potential of the area.

But its success will depend on its ability to fill the retail demand gap of the area. Currently, many retailers in Mid Valley Megamall, Suria KLCC and 1-Utama are not here.

The expansion of Mid Valley Megamall and Suria KLCC, and the decentralisation of malls will not dilute the attractiveness of BB, which holds within it the Klang Valley’s largest concentration of malls – Plaza Sungei Wang, BB Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, Lot 10, Plaza Low Yat, Starhill Gallery, KL Plaza, Piccollo Galleria, Imbi Plaza, Plaza Berjaya and Sun Complex. At least five more malls will be added here in the next five to six years.

So far, its attractions have been largely driven by the private sector. Tourism Malaysia will have to do its part. To compete KL on the same standing as other major Asian shopping destinations, the Government will need to:

1)Pedestrianise” at least one street within Bukit Bintang area;

2) Produce specific brochures (in different languages) to promote its retail facilities;

3) Work closely with mall owners and retailers to promote its attractions;

4) Introduce tourist information centres, clean public toilets, street furniture, public park, for example, within the shopping district;

5) Improve connectivity with covered bridges, sheltered walkways or underground linkages;

6) Improve car traffic circulation within the area; and

7) Reduce traffic congestion by improving the public transportation system.

Is the emergence of lifestyle malls a fad?

A: The shopping centre industry is undergoing a revolution. Developers and owners need to introduce more product offerings to entice shoppers. In the US, shopping centres pay a great deal of attention to the shopping experience. We are going for this same trend.

1-Utama has rainforest feature, Sunway Pyramid has Egyptian theme and The Curve has “The Street” outdoor dining feature while Starhill offers different experiences to entice the senses.

We live in an era where consumers are spending more time in malls. This is happening around the world, from the United States, to Southeast Asia, China to India and the Middle East. Shopping centre owners are thus trying to create different features to enhance the experience of their shoppers.

Comment on foreign ownership of Malaysian retail malls. Kuwait and Singapore are two foreign purchasers of Pavilion. Does this bode well for the retail scene of the country?

A: When foreign real estate and institutional investors are interested or participated in Malaysia's shopping centre industry, it reflects the following:

·Our shopping centres are of high quality, comparable to international standards;

·Our retail real estate products are able to generate investment returns that will attract foreign investors; and

·Our shopping centre industry has the potential for the next level of growth.

© 1995-2005 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

I feel we have enough large city malls already!, do u think this writeup is overly optimistic :dunno:

12,998 Posts
travellator said:
I feel we have enough large city malls already!, do u think this writeup is overly optimistic :dunno:

I've heard such sentiments from foreigners and local alike even back in 1998. In fact some of my relatives from Canada whom are here in 1999 commented that KL had an oversupply of malls and that any future malls would kill any existing ones. It seems that they are wrong :D

Bear in mind that I got these comments before these projects are completed:

- Mid Valley Megamall
- 1 Utama Phase 2
- The Curve
- Ikano Power Centre
- Great Eastern Mall
- Berjaya Times Square
- Avenue K
- Low Yat Plaza
- Giant Mall
- Jusco Cheras expansion
- Starhill expansion
- Ikea at Mutiara D'sara
- Bintang Walk
- BB Park

I am not too sure if I listed all but these are all that I remember opened after 1999 (or at least end of 99) ;)

3,505 Posts
szehoong said:
I've heard such sentiments from foreigners and local alike even back in 1998. In fact some of my relatives from Canada whom are here in 1999 commented that KL had an oversupply of malls and that any future malls would kill any existing ones. It seems that they are wrong :D

Bear in mind that I got these comments before these projects are completed:

- Mid Valley Megamall
- 1 Utama Phase 2
- The Curve
- Ikano Power Centre
- Great Eastern Mall
- Berjaya Times Square
- Avenue K
- Low Yat Plaza
- Giant Mall
- Jusco Cheras expansion
- Starhill expansion
- Ikea at Mutiara D'sara
- Bintang Walk
- BB Park

I am not too sure if I listed all but these are all that I remember opened after 1999 (or at least end of 99) ;)
Also Galaxy Ampang ;)

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
a few articles from the Star about these dynamic property & construction firms :) way to go

Monday May 29, 2006

Malaysian property companies going global

GOING abroad has brought many benefits for Malaysian property development and construction companies.

Besides giving a boost to earnings potential, having an overseas presence is also a great way to build up a company’s credentials and image as a capable player among its peers.

With globalisation taking centre stage in the world today, there are immense opportunities to be tapped for industry players with the right aptitude and technical know-how.

Malaysian developers have proven that they are capable of turning vast tracts of land into well-planned neighbourhoods.

The burgeoning middle class in China, India and Vietnam is a boon for Malaysian developers eyeing a slice of the big overseas market.

From highways in Hyderabad and Bahrain to airport runways in Doha and underground train stations in Kaohsiung, Malaysian expertise has made significant contribution to the global infrastructure network.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Monday May 29, 2006

Global earnings flowing to bottom lines

THE lucrative international market is beckoning Malaysian property development and construction companies.

Local companies that have successful offshore projects have gained from the positive publicity, and seen a boost in their earnings performance and reputation.

Among the bigger players with overseas property projects are Mulpha International Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, IGB Corp Bhd, Sunway City Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd.

Quite a number of construction companies, including IJM Corp, Gamuda Bhd, Road Builder Holdings Bhd, WCT Engineering Bhd and Mudajaya Corp Bhd, are exporting their expertise overseas, the most popular destinations being India, China and countries in the Middle East and South-East Asia.

The inroads made by the big construction groups in the foreign markets have given reason for their property subsidiaries to explore opportunities in those countries as well. This allows the units to leverage on the reputation and networking of their parent companies.

The huge and relatively untapped property markets have much to offer Malaysian developers, which through their immense experience, innovativeness and technical know-how, are able to plan, build and market a broad spectrum of residential and commercial projects.

Going by Mulpha's huge success Down Under, Australia is a big real estate market for developers with the right products to offer.

Mulpha, through its development projects in Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, and Norwest Business Park, Sydney, is one of the largest Malaysia-based real estate investors and developers in Australia. The company's Australian operations contributed more than 60% to total group earnings.

There are also bountiful opportunities in India and China that Malaysian developers could take advantage of.

In China, a surge in demand for residential and commercial products has resulted in a big scope for new real estate developments in most of the big cities.

India is another promising market that is wooing Malaysian developers to its shores.

An increase in job creation, rising income, low housing finance rates, rising demand and changing demographics have contributed to a buoyant Indian real estate market.

The Indian authorities in February last year eased rules on foreign direct investments in the real estate sector, allowing 100% foreign participation in development of townships, housing, commercial premises, hotels, resorts, hospitals, educational institutions and recreational facilities.

Indian joint-venture partners are wooing Malaysian developers for their expertise in developing townships, shopping complexes, infrastructure and highway developments, as such projects and facilities are still lacking in India.

Malaysian developers are undertaking ventures in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai, while some adventurous ones have become pioneers in Punjab.

Hyderabad and Bangalore, which have become the country's IT hub, are rapidly expanding and there is urgent demand for commercial and residential products to cater to the huge influx of residents into these areas.

IJM, one of the first to offer integrated township living in India, has made good headway in the country's property landscape.

Analysts said as the projects were being undertaken via joint ventures with state-owned landowners, the land costs of IJM projects remained relatively low and lucrative.

AmWatch, in a recent research note, said by starting its own ready-mix concrete plant in India, IJM would be able to control the cost and supply of key raw materials, such as concrete for its developments in the country.

IOI Corp is using its maiden offshore development project to build a gems and jewellery complex, AP Gems Park, in Hyderabad, India, as a test bed to explore opportunities in the country's property market. The complex is scheduled to open for business by the end of this year.

IOI property director Datuk David Tan said: “India is on the verge of an explosive growth. Its high GDP growth rates have made it the second fastest growing economy (after China). It has a very rapidly increasing middle class. There are opportunities for Malaysian developers to find the correct local partner.

“If there are opportunities for more of such viable projects, we are prepared to move into India in a bigger way,” Tan said.

Ireka Corp Bhd, which has completed a RM40mil design-and-build Brunei Embassy project in Beijing last year for the Brunei government, is also eyeing a bigger exposure overseas.

Executive director Lai Voon Hon said property subsidiary Ireka Land Sdn Bhd was actively exploring opportunities in Vietnam, India and China.

“Due to the rapid growth of the middle-class in India and Vietnam, there is big demand for condominium living and even gated communities. The public in both these countries have high regard for Malaysia's quality and type of residential developments, and indeed, welcome its developers to venture there.”

Ireka plans to kick off its i-ZEN residential projects in those countries soon.

IGB Corp Bhd chief executive officer (hotel division) Tan Boon Lee said one of the advantages for Malaysian real estate companies in their overseas pursuits was the ease that they could assimilate into any society.

“We are multi-lingual and have a culture that makes us work easily with different races. Our businessmen are just as comfortable overseas as they are at home. This allows us to learn the local customs, traditions and ways of life quickly, thereby, we can tailor make our products better to fit into the local market,” Tan said.

Most companies prefer to team up with good joint-venture partners to pursue their maiden forays overseas.

As observed by IJM Properties managing director Teh Kean Ming: “The local partners have the right market knowledge and networking while we possess the technical skills and marketing know-how to deliver quality and well-designed products.”

According to Sunway City Bhd (SunCity) senior managing director Datuk CK Wong, before venturing into any overseas projects, the company will look for financially strong and well-connected joint-venture partners, preferably landowners, to develop the projects.

Besides SunCity's maiden offshore property project in Cambodia, the company is currently exploring opportunities in China and India.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Monday May 29, 2006

Players build mega projects abroad

WITH Malaysia having seen rapid development over the past 25 years that has resulted in infrastructure improvement, we now see skyscrapers and expressways linking major cities virtually juxtaposed to quaint old houses in Kuala Lumpur.

Given this scenario, Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Datuk Goh Chye Koon agrees there is an overcapacity in the local construction scene, and that it is imperative for construction and property companies to look outside the country for “emptier” pastures.

“Yes, there is indeed over-capacity in the local scene, and local (construction) players would do well to explore opportunities offshore,” he told StarBiz.

He said large projects from the Ninth Malaysia Plan would be able to absorb some of the overcapacity, but the absorption would very much depend on the delivery process of the projects by the Government.

“The Government is also encouraging more of these construction players to go abroad, so we should see the trend continuing, after no fewer than 20 companies, such as Gamuda Bhd, WCT Engineering Bhd and IJM Corp Bhd, venturing into countries like India, the Middle East, Pakistan or Taiwan,” Goh said.

One of the mega projects built by Malaysians going abroad, WCT Engineering's RM102mil Al-Seef flyover in Bahrain completed in 2005.
With the strong emphasis on foreign projects, it is no surprise that research houses are upbeat on some of these successful companies, such as WCT, Gamuda and IJM Corp. One research unit even called WCT a “rare gem”, labelling the mid-sized construction firm as “both a value and growth stock”.

WCT's overseas construction projects contributed to 20% of its RM129.2mil net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2005, according to its executive director Chua Siow Leng.

“We started venturing into India in 1999, and to date we have completed three expressway projects there with our joint-venture partners,” Chua said.

Then four years ago, having built the Sepang International Circuit, WCT secured the deal to construct the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) together with Cebarco Bahrain. The contract was worth RM600mil.

A model of IOI Corp's AP Gems Park in Hyderabad, India.
“It was the BIC that paved our expansion into the Middle East, and carved us a solid reputation in the region. We are the only construction company that has built two of the world’s four modern Formula 1 racing circuits,” Chua said.

He added that in Qatar, the company secured RM2.66bil worth of projects in 2005 and earlier this year, the group sealed the Bahrain City Centre building project worth at least RM1.42bil.

Other markets with huge potential for Malaysian builders, Chua said, were Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and North Africa. However, he advised that a hands-on approach was “vital” to execute overseas project to mitigate cost and implementation risks.

Gamuda senior group general manager (business development) Wong Mun Keong said its overseas projects were contributing “just over half” to the group’s project order book.

Gamuda packs some heavy-duty project overseas, including Qatar’s Dukhan Highway and the new Doha International Airport worth a combined US$700mil, which are to be completed by August 2007 and May 2008, respectively.

The group is also due to complete the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit CO4 in Taiwan by the end of this year, and is in a commercial finalisation stage for the Nam Theun 1 hydropower dam project in Laos worth US$600mil.

Wong said these megabucks projects had a “multiplier effect” proportionate to their sizes and would affect local economies as well as wider supplier and labour markets.

“All these projects would provide the opportunity for us to export Malaysian construction know-how and technology, besides exposing young Malaysians to overseas environments,” he said.

Besides the Middle East, he said, India and Indochina could hold good long-term opportunities for Malaysian construction companies.

Another company that is also making inroads into India is Mudajaya Corp Bhd. While overseas contribution is not a significant part of earnings yet, the company expects foreign contribution to be substantial in about four years.

Mudajaya has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the state government of Chharttisgarh in India and the Chharttisgarh state electricity board to build an independent 1,200MW coal-fired power plant. The company believes this plant would provide it with recurring income once it comes online.

Besides bidding for various future highway projects in India, Mudajaya also had plans to join WCT and Gamuda in the Middle East to participate in construction contracts there, said its managing director Ng Ying Loong.

“We are also looking at possibilities to enter into property projects in China,” Ng said.

He added that India should be the next destination for Malaysian construction companies, due to its “current growth rate and modernisation programme”.

“The Middle East, due to the high oil price boom, is another place Malaysian companies ought to venture in for construction projects,” he said.

the building structure of the Bahrain International Circuit resembles that of Malaysia's Sepang International Circuit.

A research house claimed that Indian operations formed 43.5% of its revised net asset value estimate for IJM.

While India contributes 30.3% to IJM’s RM119.2mil net profit for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2006, an analyst estimated it could account for 50.2% of net profit for the following financial year.

The analyst also said given IJM's strong stance in India since venturing into the subcontinent 10 years ago, its management planned to list its Indian operations by 2007.

IJM is also branching into neighbouring Pakistan, undertaking a six-month feasibility study on a toll road project in Karachi worth RM830mil. Should the study show a positive result, it would be IJM’s first venture into Pakistan.

In conclusion, most of the big guys in the local construction scene seem to choose India and the Middle East as the most preferred destinations for future investments.

It is obvious that Malaysian companies do possess the technical knowledge to leave the country and make it big elsewhere, and those with the expertise and funds to grow themselves even bigger would do well to heed the Government’s call to “spread their wings”.

Overseas expansion will also be necessary in the long run, as the local playing field is getting flooded with players.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Concerning the property market in central kl specifically Klcc area. I have heard that some of the completed properties are selling at cost or less in the secondary market, have prices run up too quickly and a looming glut is coming. Does anyone in the business have any comments?

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My opinion only - The retail market in KL is in for a tough time next year I feel when many more of the big malls open, hope the economy keeps up to allow consumer spending to keep those shops open. Petrol prices & loan rates doesn't seem to be coming down we are all getting more cautious with spending just how many malls can we support. One bright spot is the rising tourist numbers that will help abit. Luckily the prices of mall goods here is reasonable to encourage tourist shopping just imagine if the taxes were high no tourist will buy

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Demand For Residential Property In M'sia To Remain Soft
July 26, 2006 18:51 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 (Bernama) -- Standard & Poor's Equity Research, the leading provider of independent equity research, believes that rising inflation and interest rates will continue to have a dampening effect on the demand and prices of residential properties in Malaysia in the short term, but expects a recovery over the medium to long term.

Its Equity Research Associate Director, Tam Ching Wah said the Malaysian residential property market is still in a consolidation phase with sales remaining subdued.

"However, in the medium to long term, demand and prices of residential properties should recover, with income per capita growing at a robust rate of 6 percent to 7 percent per annum and a young growing population," he said.

He said the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan by late 2006 or early 2007 onwards should have a favourable spillover effect on the property market.

He said the number of transactions of residential units declined by 6.9 percent year-on-year in 2005 while sales of new units in the primary residential property market fell at a proportionately higher 42 percent.

The number of transactions of residential units continued to decline year-on-year in the first quarter of this year in most states, except Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Perak and Sabah.

"We expect the number of property transactions and property prices to remain subdued for at least one to two more quarters," said Tam.

Although rising interest rates may have dampened sentiment, S&P Equity Research is not overly concerned with the affordability of residential properties as the affordability ratio is at one of its lowest points in the past three decades.

Of concern is the oversupply situation, with take-up rates for newly launched housing schemes on the decline since 2002, possibly due to the strong supply of residential units in the past five years, he said.

The number of completed housing units between 2001 and 2005 exceeded the government's target housing requirements in the Eighth Malaysia Plan by 37 percent compared with the Fifth Malaysia Plan period when it only achieved 43 percent of its target housing requirements.

Nevertheless, Tam noted that some of the small and mid-cap property companies in Malaysia offer good value as the current share price levels of these companies have generally reflected the poor sentiment in the residential property market.

He said to create value in terms of profitability in the current oversupply situation, developers need to have a good reputation, efficient cost management, low gearing, and the ability to create innovative products for target niche market segments.

They should also own strategically located land bank at low holding cost or have the ability to source such land bank at competitive prices, he said.

"Companies we like have either some or all of the advantages that enable them to create value in the current competitive environment."

He said developers with new innovative products in good locations are still enjoying good demand and commanding relatively higher prices regardless of whether they are in the fast growing Klang Valley or in Johor, which has the highest property overhang.

A number of these developers are involved in building both traditional mass housing projects and niche projects, he added.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
M&S is for me a nostalgia place, if you have lived in the UK it is an affordable store to go to. but here it's overpriced & the selection of clothes is considered old fashion. i still like to buy their foodstuff, and the quality of their clothes are good, they last a long time (but why do we need clothes to last a long time, fashion changes) anyway at least someone realises this and they are doing something about it hope it works and attracts the customers. Guys try the M&S buscuits and foodstuff slightly pricey but good :eek:kay:

We're lovin' it

30 July, 2006

Change is brewing at British retailer Marks & Spencer. SYIDA LIZTA AMIRUL IHSAN finds out how the traditional company is embracing modernity. DAVE Cran was sent to Kuala Lumpur for one reason. To change the image of Marks & Spencer, to dispel the perception that only aunties shop there; and to make its products accessible to the market.

Okay, that’s three reasons. But they are all valid.

First, the M&S stores in Suria KLCC and 1 Utama were old, dull and lack excitement, a definite no-no in retail.

The clothes they stocked looked like they were made for people above 40. Prices are also high, making people question why something so affordable in Britain is so overpriced in Malaysia.

Three months into his new position as general manager, Cran has already “achieved” reason No. 3.

Prices in the store have gone down by up to 20 per cent. Now, one can buy comfortable jumpers or embroidered tops at RM99 and boxer shorts at RM59 for three.

“We have brought prices down in line with our competitors. This year, prices will be reduced by up to 20 per cent again, making them comparative to their United Kingdom prices,” Cran explains.

Anyone who is familiar with the label will know that M&S is not about striking fashion or runway looks but comfortable and wearable clothes which will last you for years.

“What stands out for this brand is quality. You can buy an M&S shirt and it will easily last over two years without fading,” Cran said.

Quality is so deeply entrenched in the brand that when the company decided to have their products made in other countries, loyal followers in England voiced their fears that quality would be compromised.

“It doesn’t happen now because we do not sacrifice on quality. Our factories may not be in the UK but we set high standards in our factories. Our technologists visit regularly to monitor quality.

“The jobs we create in other parts of the world help a lot of people,” Cran explained.

Previously, Cran worked for Robinsons Group in Singapore, the franchise holder for M&S in the republic.

He knows M&S inside out, having been with it for the past 16 years. His first job? Arranging food on the shelves.

In Malaysia, the food range is slowly expanding, courtesy of Cran.

A selection of pasta base, pasta sauces like Puttanesca and tomato and herb have landed on the shelves alongside its melt-in-your-mouth biscuits.

“I think the food we offer is higher in quality than what other high-street retailers offer. Part of it is because of our corporate social responsibility programme, where our factories comply to our stringent rulings which are above local requirements.”

M&S food is generally low in salt and sugar level. It is also free from genetically modified components.

Cran is also looking at expansion.

M&S will open in the new phase of Sunway Pyramid, Pavilion and The Gardens at MidValley alongside Robinsons.

Meanwhile, its Suria KLCC store will undergo a massive facelift next month.

Cran is excited by the prospect of the new look. “We will bring more things in. Like a Plus range for women with sizes from 20 to 28, business suits and Collezione collection for men, featuring semi-formal Italian-inspired outfits.”

Fashion accessories like scarves and jewellery will be extended. The lingerie section will be boutique-like complete with carpeting and different lighting. The food section will resemble a New York-style deli in line with the expanding food catalogue.

For the first time in Malaysia for M&S, children’s wear will make its debut. The clothes, shoes and essentials will be for ages up to 14.

“I think there’s a big market to tap here.”

The company is spending millions on the eight-week renovation.

“The store will be modern and luxurious, with new walls, graphics and better lighting. Our key looks will be worn by mannequins and we will advertise styled ads to make our presence felt.”

Its fans will certainly appreciate the news. It has been a while since anything this exciting has happened at Marks & Spencer.


1. Sizes range from (UK) 8 to 20 for women: it’s nice to know that they make nice clothes for real people, not skinny plywood girls who fit into a size 0 or 2.

2. Three pants length: For some ranges in the store, trousers length comes in short, medium and long.

3. 90-day return policy: Perhaps the best any retailer offers, M&S will give refunds for products returned (except food and underwear) in saleable condition within 90 days.

4. New low prices: With its new prices, you can get a tank top at RM29, a V-neck jumper at RM99, necktie at RM49, jeans at RM99, among others. And it will go down more.

5. Quality goods: You can buy a shirt that lasts for years and stretch tops which will not lose their shape after numerous washes.


1. M&S Triple Chocolate Crunch (RM21) is sooo very good it makes you forget that you are actually eating cereal. It tastes more like oat cookies. Really. What’s great is the oat clusters are light and crunchy, unlike other brands’ which can be a bit hard. It also comes with dark and white chocolate rolls and flavoured truffle pieces. Try sprinkling it over vanilla ice cream or yoghurt for a delicious dessert. Yum!

2. M&S Tomato and Herb sauce 330g (RM12). If you don’t have time to prepare your own pasta sauce, this one will do just fine. Heat it in saucepan above slow fire (don’t let it boil) and just pour over spaghetti or your favourite pasta. This one is aromatic, thanks to basil, garlic puree and oregano which make up its ingredients. If you wish, sprinkle parmesan cheese just before you enjoy your pasta.

3. M&S Cream of Mushroom Soup (RM8) will be credited for erasing my opinion that canned mushroom soup will never taste better than those served in fast food joints. It’s the best canned soup I have tried so far, just slightly below fresh soup in restaurants. Just stir occasionally over low heat. No need to add water. It has no artificial flavouring, colouring and sweeteners.

4. M&S Digestive biscuits (RM7). You don’t have to be ill to enjoy these biscuits, they are crunchy, milky and delicious. With a glass of milk on the side, this is a real tea-time treat. It is also available in other varieties like high fibre, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, reduced fat and reduced fat milk.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sorry I just have to include this, anyone tried this yet!

New outlets in store for The Loaf


LANGKAWI: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad�s bakery, The Loaf, is expected to spawn new outlets within the next five years.

The pioneer outlet opened at the Telaga Harbour Park here last Saturday.

But plans are already in the pipeline to set up outlets selling the gourmet breads and pastries in high-class resorts in Phuket and Bali, and in major cities including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York within the next five years.

The Loaf is run by M&M Consolidated Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Dr Mahathir and Motoko Resources Sdn Bhd.

From left: President/CEO Motoko Resources Tan Sri Kazumasa Suzuki, grand chef Matsubara Yukishi, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Jiro Suzuki.
Dr Mahathir, who holds 51% stake in the company, said he was adopting the �create a product that results in demand� philosophy in business.

�We cannot sit and wait for demand to be there before creating a product. We must create the product first, the demand will be there if the product meets customer satisfaction,� he said.

On plans to open outlets in major cities around the world, Dr Mahathir said it was managing director Jiro Suzuki�s idea.

Suzuki said the opening of The Loaf outlets would be through franchise or directly by M&M.

He said the bakery-cum-bistro in Langkawi was expected to draw about 420,000 tourists a year. �Our capital investment is RM3mil. We hope to break even within two or three years,� he said.

Chef Yukichi Matsubara said The Loaf�s signature products included magazine croissant, Rustique hard bread, and Bostox au Fluers.

�I have also created a type of bread baked in hibiscus aroma. We have yet to give a name to this bread,� he said.

Among the bakery's palette teasers are Seigle Gorgonzola, made using top quality white flour, rye flour, Italian cheese with a dash of rosemary, Reuben Sandwish, that boasts pastrami slices, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut in toasted rye bread, mutton curry served with bread, and the wholesome escargot that comes with cranberry and pecan nut filling.

Dr Mahathir�s favourite is the croissant, which is another signature bread made with the finest Belgian butter.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Gap opening Malay Peninsula stores
Big News Network
Monday 31st July, 2006 (UPI)

Gap Inc. said Monday that seven Gap brand stores are opening on the Malay Peninsula as part of a joint venture with F.J. Benjamin Holdings Ltd.

The partnership plans three outlets in Singapore, which is on the tip of the peninsula, and four in Malaysia, said Gap, which is based in San Francisco. The shops are to open near the end of this year.

F.J. Benjamin has exclusive franchise rights to operate Gap- and Banana Republic-branded apparel and accessories stores in Singapore and Malaysia. It plans to open about 30 stores in Singapore and Malaysia by 2010. The first Banana Republic stores are expected to open in 2007.

Malaysia to have its first Gap store in early October

SINGAPORE-BASED FJ Benjamin Holdings Ltd will open four franchised Gap brand stores in Malaysia between October and December this year, in time for the holiday shopping season.

These are Gap Inc's first franchise stores and they feature the new Gap store design that is being rolled out in the US.

FJ Benjamin is expected to open a Gap store in the first week of October in Kuala Lumpur at the Lot 10 shopping centre. This store will offer women's clothing and accessories.

A Gap adult store is also expected to open in the first week of October at 1 Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya. A separate Gapkids/babyGap store will also open in 1 Utama in the first week of December.

A GapKids/babyGap store is expected to open in the third week of October at the Mid Valley Mall on the suburban edge of Kuala Lumpur.

"FJ Benjamin is honoured to be the first ever franchise partner of Gap worldwide. We are excited with the new shopping style and choice that Gap will be offering customers in these two growth markets of Singapore and Malaysia," FJ Benjamin chief executive officer Nash Benjamin said in a statement yesterday.

Gap Inc announced its first franchise agreements in January 2006.

FJ Benjamin holds exclusive franchise rights to operate Gap and Banana Republic branded apparel and accessories stores in Singapore and Malaysia.

It plans to open about 30 stores in Singapore and Malaysia by 2010. The first Banana Republic stores are expected to open in 2007.

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
history here guys........Weld was KL's 1st supermarket

Saturday August 5, 2006

Happy to be blue at mall�s reopening

[email protected]
Photo by SAM THAM

BLUE reigned supreme at the re-opening ceremony of The Weld shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Sky, turquoise, navy, sapphire � blue in its many variants were donned by a bevy of beautiful celebrities, who stunned their fans, shoppers and even passers-by.

Blue, by the way, is the colour that The Weld has adopted for its logo.

Although blue is not a common colour for cheongsam, ensembles of the traditional Chinese skirt, designed by Jason Yek, bowled over the crowd.

Adorable actress Carmen Soo was the first to strut down the stage wearing a knee-long cheongsam sprawled with large floral motifs in yellow, pink and purple.

The other cheongsam models were Miss Chinese Cosmo Carrie Lee, Miss Malaysia Queen of the Year Carmen Khor, Miss Chinese International Jolene Chin, Miss Malaysia Asia Pacific Aenie Wong as well as models Simone Teh and Zahnita.

Yek�s masterpiece worn by Anita Sarawak marked the finale. She had on a heavily beaded piece to pair with her manager-husband Mohd Mahathir Abdullah�s long blue shirt embroidered with gold bamboo motifs.

Mawi, who was the centre of attention, got the fans cheering frenziedly in a sapphire blue Chinese garb.

The Weld shopping centre was acquired by Great Eastern in 2003 and recently underwent a RM15mil facelift. It was first opened in 1963, the first supermarket to open in Kuala Lumpur

2,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Population in Klang Valley to remain highest

KUALA LUMPUR: The population growth rate in the Klang Valley will continue to be the highest compared with other regions such as Johor Baru and Penang, Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd managing director Ho Chin Soon said.

Between 1991 and 2000, the Klang Valley grew at 4.8% per annum, compared with Johor Baru (4.6%) and Penang (1.57%).

�If the growth rate of 4.8% per annum in the Klang Valley is sustained, we will have a population of 8 million in 2016,� he told the seminar.

Ho identified four growth corridors. They are Sungai Buloh/Damansara, Puchong/Seri Kembangan, South Klang and North Klang/North Shah Alam.

�The Sungai Buloh/Damansara and Puchong/Seri Kembangan corridors will be considered built up soon, so new corridors will depend on road and transportation infrastructure projects,� he said.

On deciding where to invest, Ho said it was important to consider the location, timing and branding of the product, adding that confidence in �local knowledge� of a particular area would help in making investment decisions.

The Star assistant supplements editor S.C. Cheah said investment in property should be on a long-term basis and gave examples of popular housing concepts such as landed and low density gated communities, a mix of landed or strata gated community, townships with special precincts, bigger condominiums or apartments and inner city living.

On the types of properties to invest in the Klang Valley, he said: �Shop offices in high-growth areas such as Kota Damansara, Klang, Section 7 Shah Alam, Bandar Puteri Puchong and Cheras. Houses and apartments in old townships with very comprehensive facilities and amenities and excellent highway linkages such as Subang Jaya, USJ, Puchong and Old Klang Road could be considered.�
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