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FOCUS Wish list ignored Property players lament goverment's deaf ear è PAGE IV Y O U R

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OCTOBER 5, 2012

Approach guaranteed returns with caution It may be very lucrative, but as the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is By S. SIVASELVAM sivaselvam@mmail.com.my

YOU can never go wrong investing in this condo as the rental income is guaranteed – this is the spiel that has become a mainstay of the marketing drive of many a developer. But scores of buyers have had their fingers burnt – all because the sweet promises turned out to be a nightmare, with condos remaining vacant for long periods, zero property maintenance and the company behind the scheme wound up. This tale of misery has persisted over the years but few have learnt from the sorry experiences of others. Curtailing this seemingly neverending cycle of false hopes has become a cause for the doyen of the GRR (Guaranteed Rental Return) scheme in the country, Datuk Vincent Tiew, who is the head of sales and marketing at Andaman Property Management Sdn Bhd. With five years of experience in selling more than 1,000 apartments and condos under the GRR scheme – and many more underway and in the pipeline – he is in a position to offer words of caution and advice to prospective buyers. His pointers for sieving the genu-

ine offers from the chaff include determining that the sale price is fair and reasonable, not a unit that is overpriced. “For the overpriced ones, it will be more difficult to rent them out at a level at which the ‘guaranteed’ return is attainable,” he tells Get Real. “So don’t be lured by the amount you are promised every month. Common sense will dictate what is a pie in the sky. Decide for yourself whether there will be genuine demand for the property.” Another tip: Find out who the tenant will be with whom the buyer signs up. Will it be the developer itself, or a RM2 subsidiary that can be readily wound up with the developer not bearing liability, or perhaps even a third party? Or will it be directly with a tenant who will occupy the premises, with the developer or its subsidiary being only responsible for seeking the tenants? Another point to ascertain: Who is responsible for the unit’s maintenance – the tenant, the developer or its subsidiary? Tiew’s advice is also to check on the developer’s track record and percentage of return, and not be lulled by assurances and promises for which no basis is shown.

Grey’s the colour of 2013 GREY IS THE NEW BLACK: With the seemingly latest colour scheme for properties, owners can now ‘fit’ in

By PAVITHER SIDHU pavither@mmail.com.my

WHITE was boring, but became fashionable to the point of cutting edge cool when the late Steve Jobs chose candy white as the colour for his Apple products. Similarly, brown was dull as

ditchwater but is now becoming trendy among high-end automobile manufacturers with luxury marques such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes offering customers this colour in their 2012 range. According to paint giant PPG’s global colour manager, Jane Harrington, the rage for brown is

“Some developers of resort projects incorporate the rental into the selling price, which means the buyers are merely getting back their own money and not earning a return,” he points out. Another matter to check out is who will be liable for damages and repair to the units – the developer, another company or the tenant. Otherwise, the buyer will end up having to bear the costs. He attests to strict observance of three principles for Andaman’s success in implementing its GRR scheme: Securing the tenants; ensuring that the tenancies are recurring, that is, long term in nature; and the GRR is at an attractive percentage. “We secure the tenants first before we embark on a project,” says Tiew. For instance, for the 228-unit Diamond Residence @ Serdang in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, tenancy has been secured with Universiti Putra Malaysia to accommodate its students, with the project launch set for November. Registration is now open for the public to sign up to buy the units (more page II). “We build to meet demand and ensure that the projects are manageable, unlike some other developers who launch their projects first and then scout for tenants.” due to its ability to convey stability and comfort as well as the kind of authenticity consumers – especially luxury consumers – seek. It associates with the experience of good coffee, good chocolate, great pieces of wood, she said, explaining that this has led it to be introduced to luxury cars. What about real estate? S I Design Sdn Bhd’s interior designer, Mohd Shahfirul, told Get Real that the colour for 2013 is grey. While it may be associated with grey skies looming ahead, it can also be connected to raw honesty as depicted in the concrete walls sported by many luxury contemporary homes. “Various tones of grey are increasingly used in the interior design and exterior of homes, so much so that the colour is now ‘in’. “Many interior designers have been using shades of watery grey, silver, blue and green in their projects lately,” he

MAKING THE GRR SCHEME WORK: Secure tenants before embarking on a project, says Tiew

noted, adding that the minimalist style is currently in demand. Nippon Paint (M) Sdn Bhd’s product marketing manager, Siow Shy Teng, agrees that the different shades of grey used in many new developments and homes of late seem to point to the colour being the latest fashion statement. However, she said Nippon Paint has been working on developing trends beyond colours and that the market’s encouraging response to its Momento Wallpaper Paint launched at the end of 2011 shows it is on the right track with homeowners and interior designers. Renowned American colour specialist Leatrice Eiseman, who is executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, also thinks 2013 will be filled with interesting new colour directions. “We are seeing a resurgence of classic shapes and traditional styling

combined with a much more updated feeling. That has been going on for the past few years and I don’t see it going away,” she said. According to the Pantone Color Institute, the trends are Connoisseur, a combination of monochromatic violets and orchids; New Old School, hues typically found in flags and banners; Extracts, which takes orange and spicy tones to a new level; Footprints, vibrant tribal colours; Sojourn, a mixture of colours that represents magical journeys; Surface Treatments, which embraces hues of the ocean, sea and air; and Out of the Ordinary, which involves stylish, textured or shaped designs that tempt the eye. On the other hand, paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore & Co’s annual colour forecast report, Color Pulse 2013, said the convergence and interplay of unexpected colours, materials, spaces and ideas will shape tomorrow’s colour palette.


II

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

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THE MALAY MAIL

In THE MARKET Based on the expected rental of RM2,227 a month or RM26,719 a year, investors would enjoy a gross yield of 8% per annum DATUK VINCENT TIEW, HEAD OF SALES AND MARKETING AT ANDAMAN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SDN BHD

Diamond Residence @ Serdang | Offer: 228 units with built-ups from 771sq ft to 1,527sq ft | Price: From RM381,700 | Developer: Casa Andaman Sdn Bhd | Contact: 1700.818.118 |

SERI KEMBANGAN

Andaman adds ‘bling’ to Seri Kembangan This gem of a student accommodation property, Diamond Residence @ Serdang, is now open for registration

By PAVITHER SIDHU pavither@mmail.com.my

IN the 1950s, when Seri Kembangan in Selangor was known as Serdang New Village, it had a population of 15,000 people comprising mostly tin mining workers and rubber tappers. Today, the once ulu village is a thriving town with 150,000 inhabitants who are mainly entrepreneurs, businesspeople, professionals and students. Of these, a significant 50,000 are students as it is surrounded by institutions of higher education such as Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and those located in South City Plaza including the International College of Health Sciences, SEGi College Seri Kembangan and Akademi Antarabangsa Clipso. The Andaman Group has foreseen the issue of limited student accommodation and come out with its latest offering named Diamond Residence @ Serdang. Located near Equine Park and UPM, the 6.69-acre development is being undertaken by Casa Andaman Sdn Bhd – a member company of the group – and marketed by Andaman Property Management Sdn Bhd (APM). Datuk Vincent Tiew, APM’s head of sales and marketing, said “the brilliance of the diamond” is visible from a necklace of 30 shop-office units that will form the commercial centre, called Diamond Square @ Serdang, and with the 228 units of condominiums in two blocks at the core. “Some 90% of the shop-offices have been sold as the development’s strategic location would enable these investors to tap into a huge catchment population,” he said. Residential units at the RM116 million development, which will be launched in November, are now open for registration. All units at the condo component, known as Diamond Residence @ Serdang, will be

fully furnished and feature four sizes: 771sq ft for a threebedroom unit; 1,061sq ft and 1,244sq ft for a four-bedroom unit; and 1,527sq ft for a fivebedroom duplex. These are priced from RM381,700 or RM495psf and buyers/investors can look forward to early bird discount and waiver from paying legal costs on their sale and purchase agreements. Each unit will be allocated two parking bays. Other facilities include 24-hour security, a half-Olympic-size swimming pool, gym, barbeque pit, games room and multipurpose hall. Tiew said that in APM’s five years of marketing student accommodation, it has always been innovative in coming out with improved design, layout and quality for its products. “Offering a variety of layouts and enhanced facilities would mean a healthier, more secure and high-tech environment that’s more conducive for students to live, learn and play. Previously, there were many concerns about security, health and infrastructure.” On where the rental market would come from, Tiew said the company has a collaborative agreement with UPM to provide accommodation for its students and lecturers, so rental income is assured, ranging from RM2,000 to RM4,000 monthly based on a three-plusthree-plus-four-year scheme. Bumiputera buyers will get a 12.5% discount, meaning the price for a 771sq ft is RM333,988 inclusive of furnishings, compared to RM381,700, which works out to savings of about RM47,700. “Based on the expected rent of RM2,227 a month or RM26,719 a year, buyers would get a gross yield of 8% per annum. After deducting the maintenance fee and sinking fund calculated at RM0.253psf, the nett return comes to 7.29%. “Assuming the buyer gets an 85% loan at an interest rate of base lending rate minus 2.4% and a loan tenure of 30 years,

CONDUCIVE LIVING: The facilities are designed to promote a secure, healthier and wholesome environment for students

GEM OF SERDANG: The project’s name is derived from the shape of the development which resembles a diamond

the monthly repayment comes to RM1,587, and the buyer would enjoy a cash surplus of RM443 a month,” he added. Other landmarks near the development which is slated for completion in September 2014, include South City Plaza, Technology Park Malaysia,

Mines Resort City and Palace of the Golden Horses. Located adjacent to the roundabout at Jalan Raya 1, Serdang, and five minutes’ drive from the UPM toll, it is accessible via the Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway SPOILT FOR CHOICE: Units are fully furnished and come with four types of layout and Sungai Besi Highway.


THE MALAY MAIL

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

Get Real with the Malay Mail

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IV

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

Get Real with the Malay Mail

FOCUS KUALA LUMPUR

Wish list of the property industry 1. Due to its impact on more than 140 industries, called for more focus on the sector in the form of financial incentives, tax breaks or even infrastructure projects that will directly and indirectly benefit the sector.

A disappointmen

2. Do away with private utility companies imposing capital contribution charges on property developers to lay infrastructure in their projects, as compliance costs payable to various authorities can be as high as 30% of the selling price of the housing units. 3. The mandatory delivery of a given percentage of low-cost houses by developers be reviewed, and be replaced by the delivery of affordable homes between RM150,000 and RM350,000 as this will also reduce any mismatch in supply and demand for these housing. 4. Details on how government land is to be privatised, with reputable developers with good track record and financial muscle being prequalified to fast track the programme. 5. Maintain a favourable RPGT regime which can potentially increase sales and result in stronger growth of the property and housing industry, to be offset to some extent by stamp duty collection on higher volume of transactions. 6. Reduce stamp duty so that the cost of property and home ownership can also be reduced, thus sustaining affordability levels. 7. Tax relief be extended to interest incurred on end-financing for the first home. Alternatively, provide grants of up to 10% of the purchase price of affordable properties to first time home owners. 8. Further ease policies to encourage foreigners to buy properties in Malaysia. 9. Ditch the 70% LTV (Loan-to-Value) ratio for purchase of third property. 10. Leave low-cost housing development to the government and let developers focus on building medium-cost to high-end houses. 11. Single nationwide rule on the automatic release of unsold Bumiputera units rather than individual state imposing contradicting conditions. 12. The BTS (build-then-sell) requirement from 2015 not be the sole sales method to be allowed. 13. Tax incentives for heavy machinery and automation in the construction industry to help promote greater mechanisation and automation, and reduce foreign labour dependency. 14. To curb spiralling property prices, additional stamp duty be imposed on foreign ownership and acquisition of third residential properties and more. 15. A quarter of the government land allotted for the building of affordable homes be used to develop commercial properties to create new growth centres. 16. Cash subsidy for first-time house buyers. 17. Total tax exemption on rental income earned by disabled individuals. 18. Increase in rent allowance for civil servants. 19. Affordable urban housing for civil servants. 20. Tax incentives to developers who implement energy management within their buildings. 21. More attractive incentives for property developers to install solar panels in new homes as a step towards fostering the development of green buildings.

Snubbing the indust

By S. SIVASELVAM sivaselvam@mmail.com.my

ZERO – That is the outcome in the 2013 Budget for the wish list presented by the property sector players. While national associations were diplomatic in their comments on the Budget, they were unable to mask their disappointment, with the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) saying the Budget measures have ignored its proposals. Of the 21 proposals culled from the various industry organisations and related parties, only one has been realised – even then partially only. The call was for a reduction in stamp duty to bring down the cost of property and home ownership. Under the Budget, the 50% stamp duty exemption on transfer and loan agreements for the purchase of the first home, already granted in the 2009 Budget, is now extended to end-2014 with the house price cap raised to RM400,000.  It grudgingly accepts that the 5% increase in the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), even though it may have a short-term negative effect, is a compromise in helping curb excessive speculation.  The Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) is disappointed that its request for a duty reduction on heavy machinery and equipment, which it has sought since 2006, has again been ignored. Chartered surveyor and international property consultant C H Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd feels that rather than the 50% stamp duty exemption on transfer documents for first-time buyers, a direct grant of RM10,000 would have been more useful for them. Managing director Foo Gee Jen also cautions that without proper planning, there could be a mismatch of demand versus location if the housing projects are located in areas without adequate infrastructure and facilities. Penang Master Builders & Building Materials Dealers Association president Lim Kai

ARE HOMES AFFORDABLE?: Doubts over those eligible being able to pay the housing loans

Seng agrees, urging the government to ensure that the Budget is effectively implemented so as to ensure that the incentives and allocations are channelled properly.  The National House Buyers Association (HBA) threw cold water on the government’s affordable housing scheme for first-time buyers, warning that the buyers may struggle to service the monthly instalments. HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong points out that under the My First Home Scheme (MFHS),

a housing loan of RM400,000 with an average interest rate of 4.75% would mean a monthly instalment of RM2,086 which he fears would be too much to pay for an individual earning up to RM5,000 a month or a couple with a combined income of RM10,000. On top of that, a 10% downpayment could make such “affordable” homes unaffordable. On PR1MA, he feels the price cap of RM400,000 is too high, suggesting that the range should instead be RM150,000-RM300,000 to cater for a wider base of the middle income

and lower inco On the new properties sold 10% for those s five years, Ch had asked for 30% and is pu government i trolling the pri on the subject allowed a “lais remain. Veerinderjee tax advisory fi however, feel


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V

We doubt the private sector will be keen to take over the abandoned projects TA SECURITIES

nt for the property industry

try’s 2013 Budget wish list, the government focuses only on the buyers

ome groups. w RPGT rate of 15% for d within two years and sold between two and hang relates that HBA r this rate be raised to uzzled that while the is serious about conices of essential items, of house prices, it has ssez faire” situation to

et Singh, chairman of firm Taxand Malaysia, ls that a 30% RPGT

SOFTENING MARKET: Banks may still be reluctant to give out property loans

rate could have led to a shock in the property market, describing the 5% increase as a warning signal to speculators. OSK Investment equity capital market head Gan Kim Khoon is unimpressed with the stated aim of the 5% hike in the RPGT to help curb speculation, as it isn’t large enough to have such an impact. Moreover, the softening market, he contends, will prompt property investors to turn to the stock market. In similar fashion, MBAM feels the RPGT increase is unnecessary

as the financial measures imposed by Bank Negara Malaysia are sufficient. Hwang DBS Vickers Research analyst Yee Mei Hui thinks the impact on the property industry from the Budget is minimal as “sales have softened in recent months although we believe they will pick up”. Even as the government advances its affordable homes strategy, OSK Research points out in a report that loans growth is moderating, with loan applications for both residential and non-residential properties

experiencing contractions of 3% and 4.8% last August. Similarly, loan approvals decreased 12.7% and 1.9% year-on-year in August. “We see further pressure on property loans given that the increase in RPGT is likely to impact loans relating to speculative elements of the property market,” it adds. TA Securities in its Budget analysis is dismissive of the tax incentives for developers and contractors who are involved in reviving abandoned housing projects, saying that while it will benefit the affected buyers, “we doubt the private sector will be keen to take over the abandoned projects simply due to the tax incentives”. On this issue, OSK Research gives

two reasons why, for the banking sector, it is neutral on the prospects of the RM100 million funding for the revival of 30 abandoned housing projects: The proposed funding is at less than 0.1% of total industry loans and property loans base. The risk averse nature of the banks given the current economic slowdown may prompt the banks to prioritise the viability of the projects as part of more stringent risk management. “We believe these combined factors will be a more important consideration for the banks to take into account than the exemption benefit itself,” it asserts. Alluding that the Budget has had

little impact on the property sector on Bursa Malaysia, Kenanga Research recommends a neutral stance on developers, suggesting that investors be selective or adopt a trading stance. “Although most of the developers under coverage are trading close to trough levels, we do not see any near term catalysts beyond the immediate term rebounds as the nearing general election risks will keep the sector’s valuations capped,” it adds. A sop for housing developers is an incentive that has now been extended to them – total deduction on the expenses in installing security control equipment in the same year the equipment is purchased under the Accelerated Capital Allowance.


VI

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

Get Real with the Malay Mail

NEWS

THE MALAY MAIL

From a buyer’s perspective, apart from price and size cosiderations, the neighbourhood’s environment and its surrounding amenities are also among the main decision-making factors when it comes to owning a home SITI ZUBAIDAH ABD JABAR, DEVELOPMENT CONTROLLER FOR SELANGOR’S NORTHERN REGION, PKNS

SHAH ALAM

Buyers flock to PKNS expo The Selangor state property development arm’s ability to respond to needs has given rise to sell-out launches By GERALDINE LIM geraldine@mmail.com.my

DESPITE talk of a cooling property market, it took just 13 days for the Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) to sell approximately RM25 million worth of properties during its PKNS Property “Colors of Life” 2012 Collection, an expo featuring units priced from RM261,888. A bolt from the blue? Not so says Siti Zubaidah Abd Jabar, the development controller for Selangor’s northern region. “The good response is the result of us coming out with products that are in demand … this year has thus far been very good for PKNS as many of our launches have sold out. “Our self-contained townships such as Antara Gapi and Bernam Jaya have seen tremendous growth over a short period due to their enhanced facilities and well-planned infrastructure.” From buyers’ perspective, she said that apart from price and size

considerations, they also consider a neighbourhood’s environment and its surrounding amenities as decisionmaking factors for home ownership. “This is why PKNS’ developments are popular – we don’t only build units but live up to our tagline of ‘building communities, enriching lives and realising dreams’.” According to her, PKNS has a property to suit all types of buyers be it a home within a gated community, a themed neighbourhood or a contemporary home. “We have a large and varied selection in a number of locations,” said Siti Zubaidah. In Serendah, the development agency’s affordable double-storey link houses called LILY II @ Antara Gapi are aimed at appealing to those residing in Serendah, Batang Kali, Rasa and Tanjung Malim. “Antara Gapi is a self-contained township with constant growth … it is also blessed with a scenic surrounding and unspoilt nature,” she explained, adding that it is situated about 50km from Kuala Lumpur city centre and

LAUNCHING SOON: Kuang Perdana features semi-dees (above) with land dimensions of 40ft by 80ft and link homes (below) with land dimensions of 20ft by 60ft, priced from RM369,760

WELL-RECEIVED: PKNS Property “Colors of Life” 2012 Collection held from Sept 21 to Oct 3 at SACC mall, Shah Alam, received good response from prospective homebuyers

7km from Rawang. Besides highway connection, it is also accessible via the Serendah KTM station. The units on offer come with dimensions of 20ft by 70ft, priced from RM285,888. Apart from LILY II @ Antara Gapi, the PKNS expo also showcased its

soon-to-be launched residential-cumcommercial enclave, Kuang Perdana. The residential portion of this development will comprise six semidetached houses with dimensions of 40ft by 80ft and 39 terraces of 20ft by 60ft, from RM369,760, all “well-spaced apart with plenty of walkways and

LIVING AMIDST HERITAGE AND SCENIC SIGHTS: PKNS’ Taman Bayu Alam in Bandar Kuala Selangor features 15 bungalows of 50ft by 80ft and 60 semi-dees of 40ft by 80ft

AFFORDABLE UNITS: Antara Gapi in Serendah is a self-contained township offering spacious double-storey link homes with practical layout priced from RM285,888

EDITORIAL

Andrew Wong andrew@mmail.com.my Zoe Phoon zoe@mmail.com.my

S. Sivaselvam sivaselvam@mmail.com.my Gunaprasath Bupalan gunaprasath@mmail.com.my

greenery set between them”. The neighbourhood’s commercial hub, Perdana Avenue, will comprise retail lots of 1,954sq ft to 4,196sq ft that will sport modern façades and well-planned layouts. Kuang Perdana is 500m from the Kuang KTM station and accessible via the KL-Kuala Selangor, Guthrie Corridor and North-South expressways. Soon-to-be launched PKNS products in the expo include 24ft by 65ft double-storey terraces in Puteri Irina which is in Kota Puteri, Selangor. The expo also offered for sale 15 bungalows of 50ft by 80ft and 60 semi-dees of 40ft by 80ft in Taman Bayu Alam, a township located in Bandar Kuala Selangor. “Taman Bayu Alam is an idyllic township nestled amidst nature’s finest – fireflies and historical sights are part of Kuala Selangor’s heritage,” said Siti Zubaidah. “It is also within reach of a Tesco hypermarket, financial institutions and F&B outlets.” According to PKNS, its fast-selling products during the expo were Kristal View condominium located within Shah Alam’s coveted Section 7; semi-dees at Krisalis in SS5C, Kelana Jaya; and Citrina cluster homes at Bernam Jaya. The expo was held at the Shah Alam Convention Centre Mall from Sept 21 to Oct 3.

ADVERTISING SALES Geraldine Lim geraldine@mmail.com.my Pavither Sidhu pavither@mmail.com.my

Daniel Hong danielhong@mmail.com.my

BC Tiang Nimraj Sidhu Vijendran Nair bctiang@mmail.com.my nimraj@mmail.com.my vijendran@mmail.com.my 016.333.1288 016.341.8001 019.600.1797

For inquiries, Get Real, c/o Property Media Hub, 05-03-01, Blk 5, Level 3, VSQ @ PJ City Centre, Jalan Utara, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia T: 03.7956.6522 | F: 03.7954.0922 | E: getreal@mmail.com.my


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FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

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Ignored and pushed aside most of the time, squatters are only coddled and warmly embraced during that short season known as election time

VII

OPINION

You can’t live off empty promises Squatters know only too well that words and action are worlds apart

DOWN TO EARTH SALLEH BUANG

GOVERNMENTS must live up to and fulfil the promises they make. I am compelled to make this statement after reading that the Johor state government has yet to make good its pledge 10 years ago to the residents of 10 villages in the parliamentary constituencies of Tebrau and Johor Baru that they would be issued land titles. A decade is a long time. It spans two general elections, and I wonder whether the 10,000 residents of these villages have remained loyal to the same political party running the state now, or they had been won over by the Opposition. That is certainly not a pleasant prospect for the state government to ponder. It’s no secret that anger and resentment can make people switch allegiance from a cause or political party and that not living up to promises gives fertile ground for the Opposition to move in with their campaign and win new supporters. According to the MP for Pasir Gudang and federal cabinet minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed

LEFT BEHIND: Progress has given us modern infrastructures; political apathy has made these sit next to age-old squatter settlements

Khaled Nordin, the promise of land titles to residents of Kampung Sepakat 1, Kampung Sepakat 2, Kampung Senibong, Kampung

KUALA LUMPUR

Scanwolf undertaking the sequel to Kampar Putra PUBLIC-LISTED plastic extrusions manufacturer Scanwolf Corp Bhd – which has ventured into property development via Scanwolf Development Sdn Bhd (SDSB) which is undertaking the 92.33-acre Kampar Putra township in Ipoh, Perak – is to release the sequel following good demand for its units. With all 265 residential units in the first phase of Kampar Putra sold and 60% of the second phase’s 179 units spoken for, SDSB will work with related com-

pany Scanwolf Properties Sdn Bhd on Kampar Putra II. The joint venture involving 58.91 acres of leasehold land will accommodate 511 commercial and residential units, made up of threestorey shophouses (42 units), single-storey bungalows (59 units), and single-storey terraces of 20ft by 70ft (265 units), 22ft by 70ft (97 units) and 20ft by 65ft (48 units). These will be located next to the 44 units of three-storey shop-offices

that are part of the fourphase Kampar Putra. SDSB said the location, within three minutes’ drive from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tunku Abdul Rahman College, is ideal as the area has been earmarked for further development by the state government. The planned Kampar Hospital will be built opposite Kampar Putra while a trunk road has been proposed to link Kampar with Tanjung Tualang and Malim Nawar.

Plentong Tengah, Kampung Melayu Pandan, Kampung Rumah 10, Kampung Plentong Baru, Kampung Sri Bahagia, Jalan Jasa and Plentong was made by Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman when tabling the State Budget for 2003. Surely the reason for the long delay is not because the state has since put the promise on the backburner as it brought to the boil the development of Iskandar Malaysia (IM). No matter how important IM is, it must make time to also look into the welfare of the “small people” – squatters living in settlements. Back in July 2001, I went on record as saying that squatters have been treated by the law and the courts as the nation’s stepchildren, devoid of legal status and denied the right to occupy the land on which they live, some for several decades. Ignored and pushed aside most of the time, I also said, however, that they are coddled and warmly embraced during that short season known as election time. As that season is around the corner, I have no doubt some politicians are again coddling and warmly embracing the squatters. Sometimes we forget that squatters

are also human beings, like property owners. They have their dreams and expectations. They are also voters, if they are citizens registered with the Election Commission. Many are government supporters, members of political parties now in power, consumers who help keep the wheels of the economy turning and, as some also pay their dues and taxes, they are a source of revenue to the government. In a nutshell, there is no justification for them to be treated as stepchildren. If the state has made promises to the 10,000 residents in the 10 villages near Johor Baru, good faith and good governance dictate that the government must fulfil its promises without further delay. In 2009, Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir also promised to give land titles to squatters if they stayed on government land for more than 10 years. He should fulfil this pledge, especially to the 120 Indian families who have been living in Kampung DBI Buntong near Ipoh. Parti Sosialis Malaysia deputy secretary-general R Mohana Rani said these families have been living on the then Ipoh Municipal Council’s land for the past 40 years and are

the third generation of people to work for the council. Such a lengthy duration makes them eminently qualified to be awarded land titles – unfortunately, all they have been getting so far is run-around. Perak has promised on many occasions that it would be a squatter-free state. The former MB Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali had targeted that for 2001 and again for 2005 while current MB Zambry said it would happen in 2012. With around 15,000 squatters still in the state and a few months left to the end of the year, he had better hurry up if he wants to make good his promise. The nation may have developed by leaps and bounds in the five decades after Merdeka but, sadly, it has not taken the squatters along. They have been left far behind and the only way they can begin to make up for lost ground is for them to demand action and not to be contented with empty promises. Salleh Buang is senior advisor of a company specialising in competitive intelligence. He is also active in training and public speaking and can be reached at getreal@ mmail.com.my


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Get Real with the Malay Mail

FRIDAY 5 OCTOBER 2012

THE MALAY MAIL


5 October, 2012