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Developers including Mah Sing Group Berhad are capitalising on the charms of Sentul’s past and tapping into the opportunities for its future


Spotlight on the award-winning UMLand Seri Austin township

OCTOBER 2017 RM7.50(WM) RM9.00(EM) KDN PP 18181/04/2013 (033492)



32 | Making Wise Property Investments

Plan your investments well to reap fruitful rewards in the long run


34 | The US Southern California Orange County Housing Market is Hot!

With an extremely low inventory and blistering demand, the housing market is poised to be hot for quite some time


36 | Financial Planning is only for the Rich:- Myth or Truth? STRATEGY


8 | Legacy of the Lim Lineage

LBS Bina Group’s Tan Sri Lim Hock San shares on the company’s sound strategies for its future developments

38 | from Zero to Airbnb Superhost 40 | The Secret to Property Investment Success? 41 | Get Used to Coming In Second Best LEGAL

42 | Legislative Intervention Needed to Regulate Airbnb


14 | Selling for The Next Dimension

From Realtor to Trainer, Analyst & Real Estate Multi-Preneur, Colin Tan of ColinTan Group of Companies shares on how his different approach helped him rise from failures to success at the highest level.


18 | Recognising UMLand Seri Austin’s Crowning Achievements

UMLand Seri Austin is thrust into the spotlight once again with its latest awards adding on to its already impressive string of achievements and accolades


22 | Sentimental in Sentul: A Township Awakening to Opportunities

Developers including Mah Sing Group Berhad are capitalising on the charms of its past and tapping into the opportunities for its future


27 | Sentul’s Satiable & Savoury INVESTOR NEXT DOOR

28 | Building Bricks to Property Success

Property Consultants Tony Yap and Caleb Chin share their strategies for investment


30 | A Rising Star in the Real Estate Fraternity

Founder Ivon Lai shares on how she managed to beat the competition in the Real Estate arena within a couple of years and transform her firm into an award-winning agency

2 I October 2017


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Dato’ KK Chua Editor Yvonne Yoong Writers Mages PV Lingam Felicia Soon

Second Chances “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – Neil Armstrong Sure, everyone remembers Neil Armstrong’s legendary leap into the annals of history as the first man on the moon to have made that indelible momentous stride for all of mankind on July 16, 1969. Decorated with honours, even after his death, the White House issued a statement addressing him as “among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time” for delivering “a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.” Though coming in a close second, many may be hard pressed to name Buzz Aldrin as the second person to land and walk on the moon. Such is human nature that for many, the goal is more often than not, to emerge in the comfortable niche of claiming first place. Such is the unquenchable quest for bagging the top prize for some that values can be compromised. The same could also be said to be true of the world of real estate whereby Agents compete to secure deals quickly - outdoing one another - all in the name of obtaining profits. However, in the game of real estate, does it always mean that the ultimate goal is to rake in huge profits, whatever the cost? This issue’s Personality of the Month features Colin Tan, Founder of ColinTan Group of Companies. A Singaporean well-versed with Malaysia, he is no stranger to the real estate industry, having trained both Realtors here and across the causeway. This Trainer who is armed with strong entrepreneurial insight decided to radically change the industry by launching his brand of training into real estate in a big way, driven by a quest to promote wholesome values and put in place the right training for Realtors. Having been shortchanged out of a deal when he first struck out as a Real Estate Agent, he vowed that he would one day train people concerning the proper and right way to seal deals for both owners and tenants. Testimony to living his dreams, having trained over 1,000 Realtors in Singapore where he is based including hundreds of Agents in Malaysia, this to him, represents a second chance at giving back to society while succeeding in his endeavours on a totally different level. This sense of giving back to the community be it in the form of training or monetary contributions is also alive and well as seen in LBS Bina Group’s Tan Sri Lim Hock Sang’s active involvement in community services, with him also being the President of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce in China-Guangdong. This spirit of giving back to society is also healthily prevalent amongst Entrepreneurs. Their outgoing spirit, innovative inventions and beneficial products continue to inspire and also create opportunities for the population at large. Many of these stories are detailed in this month’s Entrepreneur Insight maiden cover making its debut as a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of overcoming challenges. Life after all, presents second chances to regain momentum to start all over again – a lesson that Entrepreneurs and Property Developers are familiar with. This is the lesson that seasoned Entrepreneurs are familiar with and one, which young Entrepreneurs will be able to learn from, even before they launch their careers on a grand scale.

CREATIVE Creative Director Sarah Tan Designer Megat Khuzamir

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Sales marketing enquiries +6012 3788 683


Armani Media Sdn Bhd (1032085-H) No. 32-3, Jalan Pekaka 8/4 Seksyen 8, Kota Damansara 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Tel: +603 6156 3366 Fax: +603 6156 3399

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Yvonne Yoong Editor On The Cover Insight Malaysia

Property Insight Malaysia


Although every reasonable care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, neither the publisher, editors, writers nor employees or agents can be held liable for any errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. The contents of this publication do not constitute investment advice. It is intended only to inform and illustrate. No reader should act on any information contained in this publication without first seeking appropriate professional advice that takes into account their personal circumstances. We shall not be responsible for any loss or damage, whether directly or indirectly, incidentally or consequently arising from or in connection with the contents of this publication and shall not accept any liability in relation thereto. The views by our contributors expressed here are their personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect Property Insight’s views. The publisher does not endorse any company, organisation, person, investment strategy or technique mentioned in this publication unless expressedly stated otherwise. The publisher does not endorse any advertisements or special advertising features in this publication, nor does the publisher endorse any advertiser(s) or their products/services unless expressedly stated to the contrary. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including photocopying and imaging without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Tan Sri Lim Hock San Managing Director, LBS Bina Group Berhad

October 2017 I 3


MASTERING CROSS BORDER REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS Held for the first time in Malaysia, the ARENA Convention and Exhibition (ACE) 2017 was attended by about 600 delegates wordwide. This year’s convention was organised by the Chair and Secretariat of this year’s ASEAN Real Estate Network Alliance (ARENA), the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA). “By hosting events such as ACE 2017 annually, we envision that ARENA will become a powerful regional body that will provide its members with a strong networking platform to promote cross border real estate transactions,” says Organising Chairman for ACE 2017 and Secretary General of ARENA Soma Sundram. “ASEAN is growing tremendously and there are huge economic opportunities for ARENA members. Each ASEAN country however has its own individual characteristics and legal framework for property transactions. Through programmes such as ACE 2017, we can share and better understand each market especially when it comes to best practices.” This year’s theme entitled “making friends and connecting business” is also aimed at supporting Malaysian Real Estate Practitioners to look beyond borders and cross sell properties in other markets. The conference was officiated by Deputy Minister of Finance, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Lee Chee Leong.

KSK LAND HOSTS ‘CONFLUENTIAL’ ART EXHIBITION KSK Land Sdn Bhd, the developer of 8 Conlay hosted an art exhibition entitled “Confluential” from August 19 to September 18 at the luxurious 8 Conlay sales gallery. Held in collaboration with Art WeMe, a contemporary gallery, the exhibition featured the works of three celebrated international artists namely Sanzi from China, Liao Ying Hsi from Taiwan and Saenkom from Thailand as well as notable Malaysian artists including CN Liew, Lok Kerk Hwang and Ng Foo Cheong. Different genres of paintings and sculptures collectively showcasing the power of confluence of Asian cultures were showcased in this exhibition. KSK Berhad Group Chief Executive Officer and KSK Land Managing Director Joanne Kua says, “‘Confluential’ represents a marriage of confluence, confidence and influence. The exhibition will set in motion our journey, enabling 8 Conlay residents to embrace luxury in different forms while blending high value arts, travel, designs and bespoke services.”

JOINT COLLABORATION TO DEVELOP DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM A jointly developed digital technology platform was recently established for SPNB Dana Sdn Bhd which witnessed mTouche Technology Berhad inking a Conditional Agreement with MNC Wireless Berhad. Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between MNC Wireless and SPNB Dana recently, both parties will form an Equity Joint Venture company to provide financial support to home buyers of SPNB’s affordable housing project with the appointment of MNC Wireless SPNB Dana’s digital technology solution partner. SPNB Dana is a subsidiary of Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhadwhich in turn is wholly owned by Ministry of Finance Inc under the Ministry of Finance. Tang Boon Koon, Executive Director of mTouche says, “This is a very important milestone for mTouche and we are excited to be given the opportunity to work with MNC Wireless to jointly develop the digital platform for SPNB Dana.” MNC Wireless Chief Executive Officer Christopher Tan adds, “The Equity Joint Venture company to be formed with SPNB Dana, will allow SPNB to provide financial support for its project’s home buyers coupled with supporting SPNB’s digital transformation road map.”

4 I October 2017

LAUNCH OF ANDIRA PARK 2 Following its very successful 100% sold out Andira Park Phase 1 launch, TAHPS Group Berhad launched Phase 2 of its development and managed to achieve more than 90% sales during its weekend launch at Bukit Puchong Sales Gallery in Puchong, Selangor recently. Located on an 8.33-acre freehold site at the developer’s township in Bukit Puchong, the gated-and-guarded landed residential project has a gross development value of RM100 million. The first 10 buyers were each given a token of appreciation. “We hope to sell all the units within the next few weeks,” shares TAHPS Group Chief Executive Officer Eugene Khoo.

S P SETIA UNVEILS RIMBA VILLA IN SETIA ALAM S P Setia recently launched its Rimba Villa development that capitalises on the modern tropical style theme to a tee. Each unit comes with four bedrooms and five bathrooms as well as an exclusive roof garden, providing owners ample access to Mother Nature. Phase one comprises 168 units of double-storey linked semi-detached units. In all, over 300 invited guests attended the private preview. “Rimba Villa is located next to the entrance of the hiking trails of the Setia Alam forest so residents will have direct access to the nature reserve,” explains Setia Alam General Manager Tan Siow Chung. He adds that the master plan was designed to ensure minimal earthworks for the preservation of the site and adjacent forest. Rimba Villa is a 73-acre freehold residential project with a gross development value of RM645 million. It will comprise 430 double-storey linked semi-detached units indicatively price at around RM1.45 million each. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

TRINITY GROUP UNVEILS TRINITY LEMANJA Trinity Group Sdn Bhd, one of Malaysia’s leading boutique property developers recently launched its latest development named Trinity Lemanja in Kepong. The development that comes with a gross development value of RM320 million is located in the heart of Kepong town, Trinity Lemanja is merely a stone’s throw away from various amenities such as AEON Metro Prima (850 metres away), KL Tzu Chi Jing Si Hall, Kepong Metropolitan Lake-Garden, The Challenger Sports Centre, Kepong Sentral Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Station and the upcoming Metro Prima mass rapid transit (MRT) station (S05). “As a boutique developer, we have always placed our focus in the affordable luxury segment. Our key strategy is to ensure that our projects meet the current demands and needs of our target customers, with an emphasis on value creation. We believe every homeowner deserves to live their dream lifestyle and Trinity Lemanja seeks to fulfill that aspiration,”says Trinity Group Sdn Bhd Founder and Managing Director Dato’ Neoh Soo Keat.

CREST BUILDER REWARDS LUCKY HOME BUYERS CB Land Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crest Builder Holdings Berhad gave away multiple prizes including a Honda Jazz to the Grand Prize Lucky Draw winner for its “Two-Riffic Bonanza” Lucky Draw Campaign held at The Greens @ Subang West sales gallery in Shah Alam. The Two-Riffic Bonanza campaign is a gesture of appreciation from Crest Builder for their buyers’ support for The Greens and for their continuous support for future developments. The Greens is a freehold residential development comprising 646 units of condominiums developed on a 7-acre land with a total gross development value of RM400 million. There are eight different types of layouts ranging from 3 bedrooms, terrace units and penthouses with built-up areas ranging from 915 sq ft to 1,830 sq ft. Prices of the units start from RM576,800. The development is scheduled to be completed by 3Q18. “We are encouraged by the faith and confidence our buyers have placed in us to build their dream home as many of them are first-time homeowners and owners looking to upgrade from their current homes,” says Crest Builder Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director Eric Yong. The Greens was also recently awarded with the “Best Residential Development” by Property Insight Prestigious Developer Awards (PIPDA) on May 5, 2017.

October 2017 I 5


SUNWAY CITY LEADS SMART CITY INITIATIVES Sunway City has been recognised as an Integrated Smart and LowCarbon Township at the IDC Smart City Asia Pacific Awards (SCAPA) and is considered among the top smart city initiatives in Asia Pacific. The transformation from a wasteland made barren from tin-mining activities into its thriving township today has made Sunway City a model of sustainability for other township developments in the region. Sunway City is also Malaysia’s first fully integrated green township as certified by the Green Building Index in 2012 and was named a Low Carbon City by the Malaysian Institute of Planners in 2016. “In all our endeavours, sustainability and social responsibility have been an integral part of our business framework as we expand our presence worldwide and work towards a sustainable future. “Sunway is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I hope to continue creating positive impact on our cities and communities within Malaysia and beyond in line with the SDGs,”


Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) have extended the tax incentives for promoted businesses at One Bukit Senyum, Johor to developer Astaka Holdings Limited (Astaka). This status ensures that Phase Two of One Bukit Senyum in Johor will benefit from full income tax exemption on proceeds from the sale and leasing of all non-residential buildings. One Bukit Senyum, being the administrative and commercial hub spanning 11.85 acres of land is valued at RM5.4 billion. IRDA Chief Executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim says, “One Bukit Senyum in Flagship A of Iskandar Malaysia will attract new investments as well as create jobs and business opportunities for the rakyat. Astaka Executive Director Dato’ Zamani Kasim says it welcomes this incentive given by the Federal and Johor State Government.

6 I October 2017

says Founder and Chairman of the Sunway Group Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling.

PAM’S NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION A Merdeka Jubilee Dinner was held at the Royal Selangor Club on August 26 which was attended by Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) President Ar Ezumi Harzani and past PAM Presidents. Among the guests present were the panelists and speakers at the earlier session of the Merdeka Jubilee Architecture Symposium held at Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. A Colonial menu was put together as a tribute to the celebration dinner.

NS BLUESCOPE MALAYSIA UNVEILS ITS 2018 CSR GOALS NS BlueScope Malaysia recently revealed its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives at an event attended by 250 corporate and business partners as well as representatives from trade associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). NS BlueScope Country President for Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei Pongsak Padungkarn elaborated on the company’s CSR initiative named CONNACTION (Continuous in Action) which was launched last year. The initiatives include providing adequate shelter roofing support, community care, animal protection, environmental sustainability and heritage conservation. A token of appreciation was also handed out to the volunteers who contributed to the CSR initiatives.

SUNWAY VELOCITY HOTEL UNVEILED Sunway Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality division of leading Malaysian conglomerate Sunway Group held a special media preview for Sunway Velocity Hotel. The 351-room hotel will be the only transitoriented as well as the largest and only integrated hotel within the Cheras vicinity. The hotel with a gross development cost (GDC) of RM146 million represents a joint venture project between Sunway Berhad and Fawanis Sdn Bhd. “We are confident that we will be able to operate at about 75% occupancy in the first year of the Hotel’s opening, taking into consideration the integration, connectivity, market size and our competitive pricing,” says Sunway Hotels & Resorts Cluster Director of Operations Kelly Leong. “We are excited about the opening of the hotel as it will further add vibrancy to the community in Cheras while we plan the development of the upcoming 8.45-acre, RM2 billion Sunway Velocity TWO which will be linked to Sunway Velocity,” says Sarena Cheah, Managing Director, Sunway Property, Malaysia. andn Singapore.

MAH SING’S GOLD CAMPAIGN Mah Sing Group is topping up its successful RM23 million Celebration Rewards Campaign with RM23 million Rewards Reloaded plus Rush for Your Gold campaign by giving out a total of 75 gold bars to customers who purchase one of the Group’s properties. Customers stand a chance to win one of the two grand prizes which comprise 200 gram pure 999 gold bars. The campaign will run from September 1 to December 31, 2017. “We launched the RM23 million Celebration Rewards Campaign back in May to mark our 23 year anniversary in the property industry as well as our “This Is The New Us” brand transformation,” says Mah Sing Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ho Hon Sang. “Due to the positive response we received, we decided to reload the campaign and offer our customers an additional opportunity to win gold bars should they purchase one of our properties,” he adds.

CELEBRATORY LAUNCH OF 58-STOREY ASCOTT STAR KLCC KUALA LUMPUR Ascott Star KLCC Kuala Lumpur, the city’s newest benchmark for luxury living,was jointly launched today at the official signing and launching ceremony between developer Alpine Return Sdn Bhd and leading international serviced residence operator The Ascott Limited (Ascott). The development has a gross development value (GDV) of RM3 billion (USD700 million). The 58-storey Ascott Star KLCC Kuala Lumpur formerly known as Star Residences Tower 3, is part of Alpine’s Star Development project comprising mixed residential and retail units at Jalan Yap Kwan Seng in the Central Business District of Kuala Lumpur. The property will feature a rooftop sky park and full serviced apartment facilities including a 25-metre infinity pool, a gymnasium, sky lounge, sky bar and restaurant. Residents will have access to Star Boulevard, Malaysia’s latest tourist hotspot featuring the Star Walk of Fame and Entertainment Hub. “This strategic partnership will realise great value for property owners looking for rental income and an assurance of professionally managed services for guests,” says Alan Koh, CEO of Alpine Return. Ascott Regional General Manager for Singapore and Malaysia Ervin Yeo agrees saying that its strategic location is a draw for discerning buyers seeking a world-class experience and the comforts of home.” Theproject is slated for completion by 2021 and is anticipated to commence operations by July that year.

October 2017 I 7

Cover Story


LIM LINEAGE LBS Bina Group’s Tan Sri Lim Hock San shares on the company’s sound strategies for its future developments By: Yvonne Yoong & Mages P V Lingam


ome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, the building of the LBS Bina Group Berhad (LBS) empire was the result of years of prudent planning, execution and hard work which was started from humble beginnings by Founder and Chairman Dato’ Seri Lim Bock Seng in 1982 as a construction and transportation company. The elder Lim decided that it was time for his son Tan Sri Lim Hock San JP to head home after graduating with First Class Honours in Civil Engineering from the University of Wales, UK to helm the family business involved in construction works and lorry transportation which later expanded into property development, insurance and tourism. The younger Lim heeded his father’s call and faithfully tended to the business until he was appointed the Managing Director of the Group in December 2001. And, as they say, the rest is history. Now, after 35 years, Hock San has led the group into another level of excellence with his prudent yet practical management style and forward-looking strategies. Testimony to this are the numerous awards and accolades the firm has garnered over the years. Prominent awards that have added many feathers to LBS’ illustrious cap of achievements include emerging as Property Insight Prestigious Developer Awards (PIPDA) 2017’s Developer of the Year; The BrandLaureate BestBrands Award’s The Most Valuable Brand for Property and the International Academy 8 I October 2017

for International Research (IAIR) Awards’ Best Company for Leadership Property Development Malaysia – Global category (International Academy for Intercultural Research). LBS was also singled out for South East Asia Property Awards Malaysia 2016’s Special Recognition for the Corporate Social Responsibility category and the list goes on. This philanthropist and active advocate of social and community projects also sits on the board of many charitable organisations in which he plays a key role which include being the President of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce in China-Guangdong and Honorary President of the Malaysia-China Silk Road Entrepreneurs Association. He is also the Honorary Life Adviser of The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia and Honorary Adviser of the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce. Hock San’s contributions have also resulted in him being conferred with the World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES) Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts in enhancing bilateral relations between Malaysia and China (Guangdong Province) in 2015.


Hock San, 60, has always displayed a consistent and persistent approach in his management style in bringing the company through the two cycles of economic crisis as in the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997/1998 and the Global

Economic Crisis of 2007/2008. These trying years taught him invaluable lessons which include to always stay focused and never give up. Sharing how he navigated the organisation through these crisis, he says maintaining close contacts with the banks, stakeholders, clients and management team were crucial for its survival during the lean and trying times. A firm believer in executing the right strategy at the right time, the prudent developer has the advantage of a massive total land bank spanning 4,886 acres as at August 31 earmarked for future developments throughout Malaysia with

TOP: LBS Skylake Residence RIGHT: Hock San (in white) at the project site

an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM30 billion. Hence, it is able to balance its launches according to market demand.


In fact, LBS has championed and rolled out several affordably priced housing

October 2017 I 9

Cover Story

projects ahead of its time as opposed to the current economic slowdown which has witnessed other developers only launching these initiatives now. The advantage of its early entry into this segment of the market saw LBS capitalising on competitively priced raw materials and lower construction costs when the company decided to develop its range of projects. The Federal State Government has also lauded LBS’ decision to concentrate on affordable or medium-low costs homes. “LBS has championed medium-cost homes since the 1990s. During the crisis of 1997/1998, we started developing in Serdang, Seri Kembangan, with support from my brothers Datuk Wira Lim Hock Guan and Major (Hon) Dato’ Sri Lim Hock Sing which turned out to be a successful project,” says Hock San. He relates how the confidence level overall was sluggish in the various industries with many businesses struggling with the hardship and crisis of the currency downfall. Despite all these challenges, this public-listed developer stood firm and 10 I October 2017

acquired the purchase of more land by securing loans from banks. Throughout the years, one of LBS’ strategy is to buy land in strategic areas and hold on to them before launching projects at the right time according to the needs of the market. During the trying period and also in better times, Hock San says that although the group’s profit margin is not as lucrative or profitable as compared to other developers launching high-end properties, considering LBS rolls out affordably priced properties, nevertheless, the satisfaction in completing the projects on time and delivering good quality to benefit purchasers is reward in itself. LBS’ sterling performance record of never failing to complete all of its projects on time speaks volumes about the developer walking its talk. Not surprisingly, Hock San believes a good developer is one who never fails to deliver completed projects on time.


Challenges are part and parcel of the

business but being able to be versatile in carrying out changes within a short span of time can help with turnarounds as was the case in 2007 when construction costs escalated to an all time high. He shares that in order to manage this huge challenge, LBS decided to establish its own in-house construction arm in MITC Engineering (MITCE). Eventually, it incorporated MITCE into a larger company called ML Global Bhd to take over the construction business in order to beef up and handle quality control. This wise strategy employed since 2007 has seen LBS not only raking in sizeable profits but continuing to grow in stature. Already, LBS is confident that it will achieve its projected RM1.5 billion sales target for 2017 even as the company plans to launch concurrent projects worth more than RM1.9 billion this year. In fact, early this year when the whole industry was anticipating challenging times given the negative property outlook and the market being slow to recover, Hock San was on the other

Left: Construction progress of BSP21 as at September 2017

hand, optimistic and predicted the country would achieve at least a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5 per cent. Proving him right and more, the country’s GDP went ahead to achieve a record of 5.6 per cent. Hock San asserts, “When the country’s economic growth remains consistent, the property market should perform well moving forward. The China Government’s initiatives concerning the One Belt One Road will attract foreign investors into the country and give breathing space for more plans to materialise.”


LBS continues to push ahead more affordable homes projects. Moving forward, Hock San doesn’t discount the possibility of launching more high-end developments if the market calls for it. In 2011, he introduced a rebranding exercise and restrategised LBS’ business model to upmarket its medium to low development projects. LBS’ slogan of Believe-BecomeBehold has indeed set a benchmark for the company to build high quality developments banking on ongoing commitments to ensure long term sustainability. Hock San admits that looking back at the early years, he regrets having to sell off certain really prime and strategic land banks in order to stay lean and afloat during trying times. “We adapted by adopting fast decisions to sell as opposed to the original plan to develop these land banks. In the case of Bandar Saujana Putra, we originally planned to build double-storey units which we anticipated would be slow to sell. Hence, we decided to convert this development into single-storey houses with selling prices of between RM150,000 and RM180,000,” he shares. This strategy proved wise and in line with the company’s stand to never solely depend on merely developing one project at a time. Networking among industry players Hock San says, gives him added leverage and knowledge needed

to navigate and execute his marketing strategies according to the dictates of the market in line with local and global occurrences.


LBS recently acquired M3 Shopping Mall, a shopping mall which has a gross floor and net lettable areas of 587,572 sq ft and 182,609 sq ft respectively. The project purchased at RM105 million is now valued at RM107 million. Currently 83 per cent tenanted, the M3 Shopping Mall is considered another strategic commercial investment identified by LBS. Counted among the newly launched projects this year is LBS’ high-rise lakeside development known as LBS SkyLake Residence. The development comprises two blocks of serviced apartment units totalling 746 with built-up areas starting from 545 sq ft priced from RM331,900 as well as one shoplot unit. There are also 112 affordable homes under LBS SkyLake Residence with builtup areas ranging from 545 sq ft to 1,063 sq ft which are priced from RM250,000. LBS SkyLake Residence with an overall GDV of RM372 million boasts easy accessibility via Lebuhraya DamansaraPuchong (LDP) and the North-South Expressway Central Link (Elite). It is only a 15 minutes’ drive away from Bandar Putri Puchong and 25 minutes to Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Bukit Jalil and about 30 minutes to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The total acreage for this project is 5.079 acres. “LBS prefers looking for bigger townships now to develop them faster and reduce their holding costs. Now, LBS is capable of buying lands to develop townships within a span of six months to a year,” affirms Hock San. LBS, with its different land banks in varying locations with multiple product offerings, continues to ride on its excellent reputation. As such, banks are willing to facilitate loans to LBS which has a sterling reputation for developing townships such as in the case of its affordably priced Bandar Saujana Putra (BSP) which was developed in various stages comprising serviced apartments, single-

storey link houses, double-storey semidetached homes, townhouses as well as commercial units. Being part of the gargantuan development is BSP Skypark, a duly completed project comprising serviced residences with 689 units priced from RM591,900. The built-up areas for the unit start from 1,004 sq ft. The BSP township project spanning 850 acres was established in 2003 and is the first township developed by LBS. The recent hot selling project in this township is BSP21. The development comprises a total of 2,602 serviced residences and 28 shoplots. The built-up area for the serviced residences range between 610 sq ft and 1,711 sq ft with the units being priced from RM312,387. The project has a GDV worth RM1.4 billion. As of September, about 89 per cent of the units have been sold. With over 70 facilities available within the development, BSP21 has proven that affordability and lifestyle can go hand in hand. The upcoming launch of BSP6 comprises 684 units of serviced residences with built-ups starting from 1,049 sq ft. The project has a GDV of RM387 million. Meanwhile, BSP Village is part of a 56-acre commercial development which comprises 164 units with built-up areas starting from 2,761 sq ft for a two-storey unit and 4,425 sq ft for a three-storey unit. LBS is also developing the affordable Rumah Selangorku homes at Alam Perdana situated near Ijok in Selangor which is targeted for launch in October. The development spanning a 470-acre plot comprises 980 units of doublestorey landed townhouses and 673 units of double-storey terraces which have recorded positive registration to date. The double-storey townhouses with built-up areas starting from 969 sq ft are priced from RM368,000. Meanwhile, the terraced units with built-up areas from 1,200 sq ft are priced from RM469,900. In all, LBS Alam Perdana’s total GDV is RM627 million. PPA1M Mercu Jalil is another affordable housing development launched for Government staff spanning 5.43 acres of land located in Bukit Jalil, October 2017 I 11

Cover Story

Kuala Lumpur. This project with built-up areas of its units ranging between 1,000 sq ft and 1,200 sq ft are priced from RM245,000. The development with a GDV of RM353 million comprises two blocks of 47-storey apartments. It is expected to be completed in September 2020. On the northern side of Brinchang in Cameron Highlands, LBS’ Cameron Centrum project represents its largest commercial offerings with its range of malls, hotels, plazas, residences, galleries, recreational facilities and more. Precinct 1 of the Cameron Centrum project spanning 5.66 acres comprises a total of 58 units ranging in built-up areas of between 2,185 sq ft and 9,214 sq ft. The project with a GDV of RM185.21 million was launched this year and is expected to be completed by 2021. The units are priced between RM1.45 million and RM5.55 million. In the pipelines in Kulai, Johor is another of LBS’ land bank which will be developed into a township.


When the country’s economic growth remains consistent, the property market should perform well moving forward. The China Government’s initiatives concerning the One Belt One Road will attract foreign investors into the country and give breathing space for more plans to materialise” - Tan Sri Lim Hock San

12 I October 2017

Hock San says, “On the economic front, it is common for investors to watch and wait. Nevertheless, although commercial products offerings are slightly on a low take-up rate generally speaking, Cameron Centrum is picking up and charting good progress. Thus, I believe the slowdown is temporary.” He opines that LBS will continue to acquire land banks in strategic locations and will design products according to market demand. A study done to access market requirements for homes would form part of LBS’ ongoing mission to deliver fitting products, as the younger generation would prefer to buy condominiums with extensive facilities. Hock San believes that the current economic situation would pick up in the next three years. He anticipates changes in market demand. Hence, developers he says, need to be sensitive and quick to respond to these changes by adapting their product offerings accordingly. Hock San has planned LBS’ future strategies in line with it achieving higher profit margins to reinforce the confidence level of stakeholders and investors alike.

SIX STRATEGIES FOR THE FUTURE Hock San shares that there are six pillars which LBS follows. Firstly, LBS stresses the importance of a sterling reputation so that banks continue to have confidence in extending it credit or loan facilities to purchase more land although considerations are subject to cash flow, price factors and locations. Secondly, Hock San shares that the company is very keen to develop townships that have mixed developments to spur more influx of economic activities. Thirdly, he maintains that possessing holding power is key. Hock San shares that when he first bought land to develop the first phase of the BSP township, the surrounding area was barren. However, after holding

on for some time, he started to see improvements in terms of accessibility and emerging new amenities making this a liveable community. Fourthly, Hock San believes that LBS’ strategy in championing properties in the affordable range has managed to build up a positive reputation for the company. The timely delivery speaks volumes about LBS’ stringent and strict professional practice. Fifthly, LBS has built a sterling reputation and status for its in-house construction arm and plans to expand and outsource its services to obtain Government tenders in the future. LBS has also ventured into China in September 2015 when it signed a foreign joint-venture agreement with

Zhuhai Jiuzhou, an investment arm of the Zhuhai City Government. The China Government has already approved this plan to establish tourism and commercial projects in the future. After a period of three to five years from now, LBS will embark on the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) process to delve further into other investments besides real estate to generate a steady stream of income for the company. LBS, being a public-listed company also has an obligation to satisfy its shareholders’ interest. The developer is also strongly considering innovative strategies on branding to keep the momentum of the company’s vision and mission going higher.

Cameron Centrum October 2017 I 13

Personality of The Month


From Realtor to Trainer, Analyst and Real Estate Multipreneur, Colin Tan shares on how his different approach helped him rise from failure to success at the highest level By: Yvonne Yoong


eal Estate Trainer, Property Investor and Entrepreneur Colin Tan of ColinTan Group of Companies is very much at home in the world of bricks and mortar. His reputation precedes him, having climbed up the property rung from a Realtor to undertaking corporate roles such as Group Director of Strategic Communications and Sales at UMLand, and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of Hatten Group previously. Having trained and conducted speaking engagements for countless Realtors in Singapore and Malaysia, his training calibre is evident in the pronounced success of top Agents who have gone on to become industry leaders from single start-ups or junior positions. In Malaysia, many of his top batch students today run their own agencies and are Heads of Departments working for developers or run other businesses. “I believe that giving back to society revolves around educating and empowering people to become successful,” shares Tan, 50, who hails from the Lion City. The journey to being on top of his property game though was not easy. Tan relates how during a low period of his life back in 1992, when he was fraught with financial and health challenges, he ventured into real estate as he perceived property as a big ticket item to recover his losses. However, having been hopeful after taking a property listing, the deal was “stolen” by another Agent, causing him to lose out on the transaction. That experience got him thinking about how another person perhaps, probably in the same circumstance or worse, could have 14 I October 2017

agency would bring in. Thus, I sometimes closed half of what the company sold in total.”


reacted drastically if they didn’t have the sheer will or tenacity to carry on. Noticing a lack of proper and correct training methods in the industry, Tan vowed that he would one day train Realtors on the proper way to succeed. “I feel offended whenever people imply that to become successful sales people, you must be able to tell white lies. Therefore, I was filled with passion to transform the industry by teaching people to do the right thing and yet become extremely successful,” he shares. Having joined the training industry in 1992, he helped out with project marketing at a small agency in Singapore comprising 12 people whereby he would take the initiative to write out his own scripts which he then distributed to his colleagues. “The scripts actually helped me a many times during new launches that the

Tan disagrees with the Real Estate Negotiator or Salesperson term attributed to Realtors, maintaining that these implications do not do justice to the profession or what the overall work entails. “Why would you call someone a Real Estate Negotiator? Are you implying that all he or she does is negotiate and not close deals?” questions Tan. “I view Real Estate Agents as business people providing consultative work and advice to people to make the right decisions in buying and selling properties,” he affirms. Tan, who has years of experience in property investment in Singapore and Malaysia maintains that he has not lost a single dollar in amassing and then disposing of these properties at the right time since 1997. He believes in aligning with Governments and investing or divesting according to their directions. He quotes the time when the Singapore Government was transforming Marina Bay as the right time to invest there back then. “When the Singapore Government or any of the other Governments want to encourage people to invest in an area or industry, they will incentivise investors and prospective buyers to go into those areas and vice versa, penalise those who goes against the flow,” he says. From the late 1990s, the Singapore Government’s goal was to transform the

do their own research and not merely listen to others or simply follow the herd mentality blindly. Ultimately, his chosen career path of training Realtors and consulting developers sit well with him. “Sales is not only wonderful but powerful when done correctly. It is truly a work of art and science. It has a lot to do with mathematics and psychology too. Perfecting the art of sales and marketing in real estate is akin to being a master of psychology, arts, science, mathematics and economics,” he says. Before catching his flight to Beijing to meet up with leading China construction companies, Tan took time to impart some gems of insights into the world of real estate, his different approach to training and why not all Realtors are trained equal, hence resulting in soaring sales performances and a rise in portfolios.

Sales is not only wonderful but powerful when done correctly. It is truly a work of art and science. It has a lot to do with mathematics and psychology too. Perfecting the art of sales and marketing in real estate is akin to being a master of psychology, arts, science, mathematics and economics” – Colin Tan

Lion City, particularly in the Marina Bay area. Hence, investing there would be in line with its direction. “It has since been proven that at that time, people who invested in the Marina Bay area gained more in one or two years before the sub-prime fiasco versus those who bought in traditional areas like Orchard Road and Bukit Timah,” he says. After that, the Government of Singapore made it clear that it would curb investments and speculations. As much as many Practitioners said that demand would remain strong and price would not come down, prices dropped for fifteen quarters straight. “In Malaysia, it’s different. Prices of properties here are at the bottom since the dotcom crash and prices are still low. Once the international community starts flooding into Malaysia in line with the Government’s goal to attract more people which I believe will happen, prices will start to appreciate. I have been in Malaysia for the last two years and I don’t think Malaysia is lacking in terms of living standards and quality workforce. Its low cost of doing business is also a big draw,” he adds. Tan says that Malaysia’s average property price index has been flat for 17 years since the dotcom crash, and was not affected by the sub-prime and Lehman Brothers fiasco. “There’s tremendous potential for real estate in Malaysia’s emerging market. For mature markets, you have to find the

UP, CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH COLIN TAN Please share on your property journey and the role you undertake as Trainer I ventured into real estate way back in 1992. I discovered that training in the industry was very lacking and hence, there is a massive need for a good Trainer to teach people how to make money and at the same time, do it the correct way.

right time to invest as the market always move in economic cycles and anybody who tells you that property prices will always go up is lying,” quips Tan. “Take a bungalow in London, a city of over 2,000 years for instance. If a property is priced at 500 pounds and you compound it with 2,000 years, it will be worth trillions of dollars if property prices always go up but that’s not the case,” adds Tan. He advises property investors to buy and invest within their means while always taking into consideration the worst case and not just the best case scenario. The worse case scenario applies in the case of loss of income, going for long periods without rent and so on which will jeopardise the ability to pay back the loan. New investors he says, should also

How would you describe yourself? Many would say I’m crazy but I’m driven by passion to drive the industry to new levels of professionalism. What was the impetus that led you to want to pursue a career as a trainer? I first joined the industry because I came from a very serious struggle, both financially and health-wise back in 1992. I came into the industry after I failed in business. I discerned that in real estate I would be selling big ticket items. Having been undercut for a property listing, I told myself that I would change how the industry operates via training Agents. How do you get the best traits out of the Real Estate Agents whom you train? I believe that people only choose to do wrong if they can’t get success doing right. If you give them a way to succeed correctly, then they would want to follow that step and not deviate from doing October 2017 I 15

Personality of The Month

right. My goal is to train people correctly. Explain the role Real Estate Agents can play and how do you impart these important lessons to them? Somehow, the real estate industry has messed up their minds by creating a structure whereby a Real Estate Agent feels like an employee and refer to the real estate agency mentor as Manager or agency owner as “Boss”. There is no salary, Employee Provident Fund (EPF) contributions nor welfare either so technically speaking, the Realtor is the boss. Why is that important? If Agents think like employees, they can’t earn like a business person. With the structure of the agency and its worldview, one likely joins in as an Agent, works to get promoted along the way or will be made to feel they have Managers to report to. What kind of business people get promoted or have Managers? Therefore, I actually reprogramme my students to think, act and become business people and free their minds from this trap of being a Negotiator or Salesperson. How can developers address market demands better? Having analysed the market situation, I believe developers should start planning for their projects to be built around strong market analysis, data and from the sales angle. I constantly remind developers that developing doesn’t make money but selling does. I feel that many developers in Malaysia tend to build what they like and not what the market will embrace.

16 I October 2017

At the same time, I’ve noticed that many developers constantly plan their products to be sold to overseas buyers. I believe that developers should consider local demand more than overseas demand as in reality, most sales would still come from the locals. Local buyers have a lot less restrictions as compared to foreign buyers and have more end financing and sometimes, the Government supporting their purchases. I believe this is especially crucial in uncertain times. How do you train Realtors to successfully close deals? I teach them how to run this business from the angle of a businessperson. At the same time I help to build up their Strength, Structure, Systems, Strategies and Skills. This is known as ColinTan Training’s 5S Principles to Success.


I’ve shared my strategy of “flowing with Governments”. The problem with property investors I’ve discovered generally is that they tend to look at historical data more than future plans and development or redevelopment plans. If you look at Singapore in the 1990s, it was experiencing what you would call brain drain and population decline. The Government decided to transform Singapore into a more cosmopolitan kind of city; a little like New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Sydney to be attractive for

immigration and avoiding the brain drain. A good example is the Marina Bay of Singapore. Up to completion, from 2004 to 2005 and 2006, many of the units there, like Icon Residence, were still unsold. Why? Because people were saying that this area has no history, etc. I was telling people to invest in that area because I knew what our Government was doing so I was anticipating that in a few years’ time, the area and market would be totally different. In just a couple of years people saw gains of over S$2,000 psf (RM6,220 psf). Likewise, Iskandar Malaysia is something that will happen in time. It will take time for the Malaysian and Johor Government to start bringing in the population to sustain these properties that are being built. Anywhere in the world, you will find an oversupply in a transforming region before you start to fill the properties with people. Any responsible Government would make sure that there are more homes before growing its population. A good Government won’t bring in more people before there are enough homes. Hence, there will always be an oversupply situation in a transforming or growth market. Iskandar Malaysia has been seeing healthy growth of between 6 per cent and 7 per cent which is three times more than Singapore over the last few years. It’s one of the fastest growing market in the region.

Property Nuggets


Cordova Land Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mah Sing Group Berhad signed the sales and purchase agreement to acquire prime land located opposite Courts Mammoth along Batu 2½ Jalan Cheras in Kuala Lumpur. • The land with a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.2 billion will be developed into the integrated M Vertica, development. The project targets first-time homebuyers and upgraders. The units with built-up size ranging from 850 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft are priced from RM450,000. M Vertica promises 38 facilities and a breathtaking view of the city.

KNIGHT FRANK’S GLOBAL CURRENCY SPECULATIONS • Six currencies expected to influence global property buying behaviour in 2017. • Currency fluctuations speculated to drive global property investment flows. • Basing property decisions on currency alone however is seen as a risky strategy. The Global Currency Report was launched to assess the currency movement around the world. The highlights were on overseas assets and international capital flowing into property markets. The report also highlighted the impact of US currency on overseas investments.


Sunsuria Berhad posted revenues of RM122.7 million from RM58.4 million with a net profit of RM31.9 million increased from RM6.7 million representing a 373% uptrend. • The company’s revenue increased to RM290.2 million from RM114.7 million while its net profit increased to RM60.5 million from RM19.3 million. Sunsuria’s profit performances are reflected from the sales of units at Forum 1 Setia Alam and Suria Residences in Bukit Jelutong, Jasper Square, Bell Avenue, The Olive and Bell Suites at Sunsuria City.


The construction margin improved to 9.4% from 8.1% from the immediate preceding quarter with the precast margins still at 20%. • Order book replenishment of RM1.0 billion against targeted RM2 billion. Sunway Construction (Suncon) recorded profit after tax of RM36.7 million for the quarter ended June 2017. The construction margin has improved 9.4% from 5.9% as compared against the quarter of the preceding financial year.

E&O BOASTS 227% Q1 PRE-TAX PROFIT Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) has marked a pre-tax profit of RM173.44 million ending on March 31, 2018. • This is a 6.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) increase as compared to RM163.31 million recorded in the same quarter of its financial year 2017. • The positive increase was attributed to its property segments represented mainly in The Tamarind, the Amaris Terraces and the Ariza Seafront Terrace in Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP), Penang as reflected in an increase in the sale of completed properties. E&O’s property segment generated RM148.89 million in revenue as compared to RM137.09 million in Q1FY17 with an operating profit of RM48.82 million as compared to RM37.70 million in Q1FY17 as at end-June 2017. Remaining contributions were from its investment and hospitality segments. October 2017 I 17

Developer of The Month

RECOGNISING UMLAND SERI AUSTIN’S CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS UMLand Seri Austin is thrust into the spotlight once again with its latest awards adding on to its already impressive string of achievements and accolades By: Yvonne Yoong & Felicia Soon


uccess certainly agrees with the highly-decorated, multiple awardwinning UMLand Seri Austin township also known as Taman Seri Austin. Strategically situated in the easily accessible, fast-growing and popular growth corridor of Tebrau within Iskandar Malaysia in Johor Bahru, it comes as no surprise that the township continues to draw attention and receive numerous accolades given its liveability. To date, UMLand Seri Austin has won more than 60 excellence awards from various non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the media and relevant authorities. The latest awards received include the Asia Property Awards (Malaysia) 2017 under the categories “Best Housing Development (Iskandar)’ and “Best Housing Development (Malaysia)”. It also won the inaugural TIMA 2016/17’s The Iskandar Malaysia Accolades Award, emerging as the Corporate “Value Champion” and Overall “Value Champion” due to its commitment in undertaking corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and community programmes and is recognised as a sustainable township to live in. In fact, Seri Austin as a township has been winning awards every consecutive year since 2013. UMLand Seri Austin CEO KK Wong who is also Acting Group Director of 18 I October 2017

Townships for the developer attributes this to Seri Austin’s winning ways in terms of attributes and achievements. “Seri Austin has also been recognised as the 1st Smart Healthy City and Communities Township in Iskandar Malaysia complemented by close-knit neighbourhoods emphasising healthy outdoor lifestyles with beautiful lakes and parks, recreational areas, jogging tracks and bicycle lanes,” he enthuses.


The township has clocked in several new milestones having also been awarded with the Noble Excellence Awards 2016 for Southern Best Development of The Year under the Residential Landed category profiling its Aster Luxury Cluster and Semi-Detached Homes. At The Noble Excellence Awards 2016, it also emerged as the National Best Development of The Year under the Residential Landed category for its Aster Luxury Cluster & Semi-Detached Homes. In addition, UMLand was also the recipient of the Prestigious Developer Awards 2017 under the category of “Top 10 Developers”. Being singled out for Property Development Excellence by the McMillan Woods Global Awards 2017 as well as named Super Golden Bull under The Golden Bull Award 2017, the awards read on and on. UMLand Seri Austin CEO Wong was also recently selected and recognised in the inaugural Business Edition (Chinese Version) of The Malaysia Book of Records 2017 under the category of “Most Influential Entrepreneurs” for his immense contributions to the township. The residential township spanning 500 acres of freehold land that was established in 2005 is developed by Dynasty View Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UMLand. The overwhelming sense of recognition that is pouring in is also testimony to the well-planned township which owes its success to its quality residences planned alongside a healthy and conducive community living environment at affordable prices catering to a “Simply Better” lifestyle. Among the residential appeal of the neighbourhood is a 36-hole golf and country resort within the vicinity

We continue to provide not just homes but comprehensive living for our residents to experience a fulfilling lifestyle concept” – KK Wong

complemented by commercial centres. The presense of AEON Tebrau City, AEON Bandar Dato’ Onn, upcoming IKEA, Fairview International School, Sunway College, KFCH International College, Bandar Dato’ Onn Specialist Hospital and international food and beverage (F&B) outlets also make this township attractive. A masterclass development covering a wide range of amenities and entertainment for all ages, Seri Austin has further strengthened its 12-year track record in building developments that feature a conducive and healthy lifestyle as well as a sustainable township.


Wong says that the beauty of this township is characterised by it launching October 2017 I 19

Developer of The Month

The Iskandar Malaysia Accolades (TIMA) 2016/17

free town parks in Iskandar Malaysia since June 2014. Among the other initiatives include Seri Austin being the first private organisation to support the Johor Talent Development Programme in July 2015. Creative measures are also seen in its initiative to make the Seri Austin Gallery the first smoke-free workplace in Iskandar Malaysia since two years back and by featuring the biggest standalone Starbucks drive-through concept store in Johor. To benefit the community at large, Seri Austin also initiated the first Adopta-Park programme in Johor as well as the First Riders Point in Iskandar Malaysia and the first mid-end grocer with this type of innovative concept as seen in The Pasar in 2016. This year, Seri Austin organised a series of fun activities including its first Colour Run in Iskandar Malaysia in April and the first Food Truck Park in the township itself in May.

The Malaysia Book of Records Business Edition (Chinese Version)

many first initiatives. In 2008 for instance, UMLand Seri Austin emerged as the first township in Johor Bahru to implement the “Effective Microorganism” (EM) programme. “Our close-knit neighbourhood development emphasises a healthy community and outdoor lifestyle with beautifully landscaped EM lakes. We are also the first in Johor to implement a designated neighbourhood bicycle lane. It’s our pledge and commitment as a responsible developer to customers, the society and the environment,” enthuses Wong. “Protecting and sustaining the environment is part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative 20 I October 2017

following our continuous “Green Living” campaign,” adds Wong of the EMenabled township. This was followed by it being the maiden township in Johor Bahru to provide High Speed Broadband-ready (HSBB) Unifi Access to residents in October 2010. “We continue to provide not just homes but comprehensive living for our residents to experience a fulfilling lifestyle concept. At UMLand Seri Austin, we are proud to be number one in Johor Bahru to implement High Speed Broadband Unifi Access,” enthuses Wong. In addition, he says that Seri Austin is also the first township to have smoke-


“UMLand Seri Austin fully embraces the lifestyle concept of “We Build, We Care, We Love” as we believe that “Every single life is precious”. We will continue to build innovative homes with modern layouts and quality design architecture,” affirms Wong. “Furthermore, Seri Austin homes has been able to capture the interests and imagination of homeowners in its ‘Simply Better’ homes of good design and superior quality,” he continues. Today, UMLand Seri Austin continues to pave the way for the property industry through its sheer diligence in enhancing sustainability and social equity. The developer has rolled out two new projects in Aster 2 and D’Lagoon.

At the recent inaugural Noble Excellence Awards held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) on January 16, 2017, the Aster Luxury Cluster and Semi-Detached Homes by UMLand Seri Austin was recognised as the Southern Best Development of the Year – Residential Landed (Platinum) as well as the National Best Development of the Year – Residential Landed. The Noble Excellence Awards is one of the few Malaysian awards which honours the achievements of exceptionally completed property developments while highlighting outstanding projects. This award also identifies and honours conscientious developers who seek real impact in the community which resides within and around their projects. It was designed for the industry to benefit home-buyers and create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem between buyers and sellers.


Aster 2 is located in the serene living environment of Seri Austin in Iskandar Malaysia. It comprises two types of designs and façade. These include 72 units of Type A (Land Size: 40’ x 75’, Builtup – 3,080 sq ft) and 12 units of Type B (Land Size: 40’ x 85’, Built-up – 3,243 sq ft) featuring modern contemporary design comprising five bedrooms and five bathrooms plus one utility room. Type A is priced from RM1.32 million while Type B is priced from RM1.38 million. In addition to this, buyers will also enjoy two years of High-Speed Broad Band (HSBB) whereby they are entitled to a special wireless TM Residential Package. Apart from excellent infrastructure, the township enjoys good accessibility to major highways including the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL), NorthSouth Highway, Senai-Desaru Highway, Pasir Gudang Highway, the Dato’ Onn interchange and Tebrau-Kota Tinggi Highway as well as to the Woodlands Checkpoint and Second Link. The project is expected to bring a gross development value (GDV) of RM108 million for the developer. The project targets those living in Seri Austin who wants to upgrade within the township as well as to other local and foreign buyers who need bigger and

more comfortable houses. Amongst other outstanding features are full-height wall tiles for the bathrooms, rain harvesting tank and fibre-optic infrastructure for immediate high-speed internet access. Other attractive features include wider staircases with timber handrail and tempered glass railing with exclusive staircase entrance to the master bedroom. Expected to be completed in 2018, the 84 units of luxurious double-storey semidetached houses are located in a gated and guarded community equipped with a 24-hour multi-tiered security system that include a central guardhouse and patrolling guards. UMLand Seri Austin in June 2017 has also launched residential apartments and terraced villas. The project with a GDV of RM162 million will comprise two low-density 20-storey towers with a total of 204 luxury-residential apartment units (six units per floor) and 58 units of terraced villas strata homes. The developer has adjusted the pricing to make it more affordable to a wider segment of the market. “We are also targeting locals working in Singapore, young families who prefer an exclusive lifestyle and upgraders,” says Wong. The built-up areas of the apartment units ranges from 807 sq ft to 1,033 sq ft while the landed strata homes will have built-up areas from 2,796 sq ft. The apartment units are meanwhile priced from RM491,800. The landed strata

Top: An artist impression of D’Lagoon Bottom: An artist impression of Aster 2

properties are priced from RM968, 800 onwards. Wong shares that the project which follows the concept of “living by the lake” is surrounded by a plethora of amenities and facilities. “Besides providing quality homes, the serene ambience and easy accessibility and connectivity to residents are a great boost,” he adds. D’Lagoon is among the rare few residential developments within Iskandar Malaysia where foreigners can still acquire a property at the previous approved minimum purchase price of RM500,000.


Moving forward, Wong said Taman Seri Austin will also have affordable housing to cater for the lower-income group. “As a result, we shall have a wide range of products available for homebuyers,” he adds. Launched in 2005, the 500-acre freehold UMLand Seri Austin township is already 75% developed and fully occupied with a population of about 30,000. October 2017 I 21

Area Focus



Developers including Mah Sing Group Berhad are capitalising on the charms of its past and tapping into the opportunities for its future By: Mages PV Lingam


entul, a town steeped in a rich and nostalgic past is now an emerging hotspot for various high-rise developments that are now shaping the future of the area. Indeed, walking down memory lane in this once quaint town which is witnessing the emergence of more high-rises located off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur is akin to taking a tour of a historic town once filled with thousands of railway workers mostly hailing from India. This once-sleepy and sentimental town was founded in the late 1800s when the first Malayan railway line was opened, linking Taiping and Port Weld which gradually expanded its connection route to link both the North and South of the then Malaya. The railway workers were commissioned by the British Government back then to work on one of the largest railway depots in the country incorporating one of the world’s finest integrated engineering workshops called Sentul Works. Despite being well-known for its notoriety in the 1960s as a sleepy old hollow of an old forgotten town, overlooked and left in a dilapidated state teeming with old houses and buildings, 22 I October 2017

the Sentul of today is a far cry from its lacklustre past. Presently, it is well-sought after by expatriates and successful investors after a major transformation took place at turn of the new Millennium, with the redevelopment of the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) land by YTL Corporation Berhad being one of the catalyst for the area. This led to the gentrification of Sentul and its rapid transformation from zero into one of the most desired heroic high-rise residential locations. Just take a drive through Sentul and you will witness iconic looking skyscrapers making a statement juxtaposed against the skyline. The area has also greatly expanded with upgraded accessibilities and modern amenities contributing to the liveability of Sentul as a popular area to work, play and live. Even accessibility is a breeze considering that the distance from Sentul to Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur is approximately 4.7 km. As for travellers, geographic coordinates of Sentul are set at 3°10’60.0”N (3.1833300°) 101°40’60.0”E (101.6833300).


Of late, Sentul has become a maturing favoured property hotspot for high-rise residential developments comprising mainly serviced apartments and condominiums besides retail and office components as well. Its name itself is derived from the Sentul tree named Sandoricum Koetjape which represents a species that can grow up to 150 ft tall. The neighbourhood, with its age-old trees frame the surroundings of the century-old brick railway building which was transformed into the KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) years back. This park has a lake and is complemented by generous green lungs within Sentul Park which include lovely landscaped gardens that are conducive and ideal as a setting for joggers and picnickers. Its easy connectivity to the city and beyond also lends it attractive status as a thriving neighbourhood that is bustling with commercial activities as well as lifestyle and entertainment pursuits as

in theatre at KLPAC and so on.


Testament to the fact that Sentul is a rising shining beacon, many developers are beginning to recognise the area for its strategic location and future potential. Not to be left out in envisioning the great potential inherent in Sentul, prominent developer Mah Sing Group Berhad (Mah Sing) acquired 8.9 acres of prime freehold land fronting Jalan Sentul Pasar in Kuala Lumpur. The development spans a total 8.9 acres with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM1.3 billion. The first phase of the M Centura development spanning 4.66 acres of land targets first-time home buyers, working professionals, young families and upgraders with the first block scheduled to be launched in Q42017. Banking on its unique value-added proposition focusing on affordable luxurious living on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur, the development’s strategic location makes it easily accessible via major highways. In addition to this, M Centura boasts a 100% residential freehold status setting it apart from other leasehold developments surrounding the vicinity. This is one of the sought-after attractive points for buyers considering the exquisitely designed units are priced indicatively

net price from only RM328,000 onwards or approximately RM505 per sq ft with indicative built ups ranging from 650 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft. The development’s total 1,413 units housed in two towers comprising Block A’s 46-storey and Block B’s 47-storey are cleverly designed based on practicality with six lifts allocated per block. All units will be facing a north-south orientation which will also capitalise on the views of the surrounding vicinity. M Centura is located just 5km north of the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Nearby its location in Sentul are other surrounding mature townships like Kepong, Segambut, Setapak and Batu Caves as well as other suburbs in the Klang Valley that will add up to a population count of over eight million.


M Centura will be equipped with 1-acre of resort facilities for the benefit of its residents. It is also a 100% residential property ensuring exclusivity, privacy and security. Its attractively designed grand lobby with double volume ceiling provides an impressive grand entrance statement to visitors. The building will be secured with 3-tiered security. A comprehensive range of facilities include an Olympic-length swimming pool, wading pool, laundry bar, childcare October 2017 I 23

Area Focus

area and more which are included for the enjoyment of its buyers. The dual floating gym is a unique selling proposition of the development, where residents get to enjoy the beautiful view of the facilities deck while working out. The development will feature green living with vertical planting and tree preservation running down the external façade of the towers. Keeping the development sustainable, there is also a rainwater harvesting system whereby rainwater will be recycled for gardening. M Centura will also be equipped with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for hybrid or electric vehicles for the benefit of its environmentally-friendly residents. Meanwhile, an efficient integrated garbage disposal system will ensure organised and hygienic disposal of rubbish. Sentul is a town well-equipped with amenities and facilities including medical centres like the Sentul Medical Centre located about 4km from the development, the KPJ Tawakkal Specialist Hospital situated within 5km and Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (HKL) located 5.5km from the development. M Centura will also be surrounded by schools including SJK (C) Sentul Pasar within 1km; SK Convent Sentul 1 located 2km away; Wesley Methodist School is located 3km away; SK Methodist Sentul is located 3km away and SMK Bandar Baru Sentul located about 4km away.


Mah Sing proactively plans to launch more affordably-priced properties in view of its existing and new land banks to meet current property market demand in the Sentul neighbourhood brimming with many exciting prospects and possibilities. It is no secret that Sentul is a most sought-after address due to its strategic location which is within 5km from KLCC and 7km from Mont’ Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. Another convenient feature for M Centura will be its strategic location which is easily accessible via DutaUlu Kelang (Duke) Expressway, Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road (MRR2) and 24 I October 2017

the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway. M Centura is also adjacent to a myriad of conveniences such as proximity to various amenities besides public transportation infrastructure and more. The accessibility to various services would be an add-on convenience to M Centura’s homebuyers. Nearby public transportation include Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Sentul station which is located approximately 2.6km from the project. This is complemented by the Kampung Batu station situated about 2.8km away as well as the Batu Kentonmen station which is located around 3.7km away. Residents have the option to park their vehicles at the respective stations and take the train to work to avoid the traffic on the road. Besides that, the Sentul Timur Light Rail Transit (LRT) station located 2.4km away and the Sentul LRT Station situated 3.5km away are both park-and-ride stations (P&R) under the Sri Petaling Line. These alternative modes of transportation provide alternative routes of travel for residents. Direct shuttle services will also be provided, giving residents access to the pick-up and drop off points at the LRT and upcoming MRT stations.


PPC International Sdn Bhd Managing Director Datuk Sr Sidsapesan Sittampalam (Siders) acknowledges that many established developers have “jumped unto the bandwagon of developing this neighbourhood into a high-end, high-rise residential township”. “Surrounded by YTL’s Sentul East and West are other high-rise developments by UOA Group namely Sentul Village and Sentul Point, MAXIM with its One Maxim and Maxim Citylights projects and Mah Sing Group with its M Centura development which is testimonial to Sentul’s popularity for residential developments,” he says. The Sentul locality he maintain is favoured for its proximity to the city centre within 3km underpinned by its connectivity and public transportation infrastructure. It addition, is accessible

from various parts of the city via the Sentul Link and DUKE Expressway. Siders adds that the proposed Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line 2 would have a station in Sentul West. The locality is estimated to receive about 7,500 units of apartments within the next three years. A notable trend has seen smaller apartments being launched which are within the range of between 650 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft. Incidentally, new launches have seen units being sold at an average price of RM600 psf. Siders further states that Sentul has the ideal ingredient for rental growth and capital appreciation in the near future given its proximity to city centre, comprehensive public transportation infrastructure and highway accessibility. Amongst the range of developments launched in Sentul a few years back, he notes that Capers commands the highest rental and capital value psf. The Fennel located across Capers he adds is expected to achieve high rental and capital values once the entire development is completed. Rejey Properties Principal G. Jayakumaran says that Sentul residential properties are selling fast. He quotes Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd’s maiden project called Rica Residences which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM270 million as an example. Fajarbaru’s principal activities focused on civil works, building construction and turnkey contractor, and now property development has sen the developer acquire the Sentul Cinema together with adjacent empty plot of land measuring 2.3 acres. Jayakumaran adds that the project comprising 473 serviced residences within a 39 storey tower is selling well. Prices for the units with built-up areas ranging between 657 sq ft and 1,283 sq ft are priced from RM600 psf. “There is currently only four non-Bumi Rica Residents units available, one of which is facing the Kenny Hills with gross selling price of RM639,000,” he says. Sheakay Real Estate agent Seann Leng Yoong Kee shares that the average rental yields projection currently for some residential developments as in three-bedroom units which are partially

furnished are between RM1,400 and RM2,000 per month while fully furnished units can fetch prices ranging from RM1,800 to RM2,500 per month. Leng assets that one indication of Sentul’s future viability relates to its easy accessibility and comprehensive amenities that are available like the Sentul Link which connects to the city centre quicker. In addition, there is the introduction of the Bandar Baru Sentul shoplots to meet consumers needs. In addition, Leng adds that “Sentul poses an attraction for foreigners to reside here, being a strategic location with easy accessibility to the city centre posing another aded advantage.” In addition to this, he says that the rental rate is far lower as compared to the central business district (CBD) area of Kuala Lumpur.


Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants

Managing Director Dato’ Nawawi Mohd Arshad says that the Sentul vicinity is easily accessible via the existing major arterial roads including Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Sentul/Jalan Sentul Pasar, Jalan Kuching, Jalan Pahang and Jalan Ipoh. Meanwhile, there are ample highways leading into Sentul including Sultan Iskandar Highway (formerly Mahameru Highway), Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2) and Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE). He says that Sentul’s rail system has transformed by leaps and bounds over the years. This is because the Sentul infrastructural blueprint was given a good-to-go by the Government in order to enhance the mode of transportation and inter-connectivity between towns and cities. Testament to the public transportations systems in place today are the light rail transit (LRT) line including the Sentul Timur station and the KTM commuter line servicing the Sentul station. The

- Dato’ Nawawi Mohd Arshad

- Datuk Sr Sidsapesan Sittampalam transportation line will be further boosted by the proposed Mass rapid transit (MRT) line2 Sg. Buloh-SerdangPutrajaya – Sentul West station and the MRT Circle Line 3.



Maxim Citylights

Jalan Sentul Pasar

Mercury @ Sentul Village

Jalan Sentul Pasar

Type of Property


SA & Retail

MAXIM Holdings

SA & Retail


Newly Completed

Ongoing One Maxim

Jalan Sentul Pasar

SA & Retail

MAXIM Holdings

The Fennel @ Sentul East

Jalan Sentul


YTL Land

Sentul Point

Jalan Sentul Pasar



Rica Residence

Jalan Perhentian


Fajarbaru Builder Group

SkyAwani @ Sentul (RUMAWIP)

Jalan Sentul Pasar



SkyAwani 2 @ off Jalan Ipoh

Off Jalan Ipoh




Mah Sing

Upcoming M Centura

Jalan Sentul Pasar

SkyAwani 2 @ Sentul

Off Jalan Ipoh

Sentul Point

Jalan Sentul Pasar

D5 @ Sentul East D2 @ Sentul East

Jalan Sentul

D8 @ Sentul East

Jalan Enam, off Jalan Sentul

Sentul Art Complex

Jalan Strachan

SOVO Retail


Retail & Office


Retail & Office

YTL Land


M Centura

Jalan Sentul Pasar

Mixed development

Mah Sing

SkyMeridien @ Sentul East

Jalan Sentul

Mixed development


Unnamed Development


Mixed development

*SA - Service Apartment *SOVO - Small-Office-Versatile-Office

*CO - Condominium

Sunsuria Bhd Source: PPC Intl Research October 2017 I 25

Area Focus


Development Name


Type of Property


Sang Suria


RM1.40 – RM1.90 psf/m


The Capers @ Sentul East


RM2.00 – RM2.60 psf/m


Sentul Village

Serviced Apartment

RM1.20 – RM1.60 psf/m


The Maple @ Sentul West


RM2.00 – RM2.20 psf/m




RM1.30 – RM1.90 psf/m


Maxim Citylights

Serviced Apartment

RM1.30 – RM1.50 psf/m


Sentul Utama


RM1.20 – RM1.50 psf/m


1 Sentul


RM1.50 – RM1.90 psf/m

Source: iProperty; NTL Research & Consulting, 2017

In addition, a few notable affordable homes projects in Sentul have mushroomed to meet the demands of first-time home buyers such as SkyAwani Residences by prominent developer SkyWorld Group under the RUMAWIP Scheme. This comprises a total of 1,226 units housed in four towers situated on 2.78 acres of leasehold land at Bandar Baru Sentul. Other affordable homes initiatives include Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd’s Sentul Raya Affordable Homes which is also

known as Kampung Railway comprising 250 low-cost units and 826 affordable medium-cost apartments spanning 123.5 acres of land. Nawawi adds that the residential rental market in Sentul can be segmented according to apartment units which can command rentals from between RM1.20 psf and RM1.50 psf per month. Meanwhile, rental prices for condominiums or serviced apartments range from RM1.20 psf to RM1.90 psf with new and luxury residentials like The

The most active area for residential properties now would be Rica Residence in Sentul. Being the most sought after place to live and work due to its very strategic location plus thriving economic activities in the close-by townships like Batu Caves, Gombak, Genting Highland and Kepong. ” - G.Jayakumaran, Principal Rejey Properties

Being stationed in Sentul, the sub-sale and rental opportunities for commercial with retail lots appreciation value is looking more positive. If newer residential development constructed, then this would also encourage the town to thrive in future.” - Seann Leng Yoong Kee, Real Estate Agent Sheakay Real Estate

26 I October 2017

Capers and The Maple able to achieve higher rents of above RM2.00 psf. Besides that, the analysis done by Nawawi also notes that the market rental for commercial spaces in Sentul can be categoried from RM3 psf to RM4 psf for office spaces. Rentals for terraced shop-offices (upper floors) range from RM1.40 pf to RM3 psf while retail space in mixed-use developments (podium) range from RM2 psf to RM4 psf with terraced shop-offices (ground floor) ranging from RM3.60 to RM7.10 psf.

Hotel: ZEN Rooms Basic Sentul Cinema, Hotel Seniman Sentul, Archeotel Hotel; Hospital: Sentul Medical Hospital; Eateries: Sentul Curry House, Restoran Mani Curry House, Sky View Restaurant, Bistro Richard, Tastebud, Restoran Raju, Burgerbyte, Laksa Houz, A2 Station Steak House; Malls: Menara Sentul Schools: Convent Sentul Secondary School, Wesley Methodist School, SK Sentul 1, Chi Man Chinese Primary School, Methodist Boys School, SMK La Salle, St Joseph Tamil Primary School, Religious Primary School Sentul Pasar Religious Houses: Sri Aatheeswaran temple, Miracle Chapel, Church of St Joseph, Masjid al-Hidayah, Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple, Athi Eeswaran Temple, Masjid Pakistan Sentul, Amru-Al As Mosque;

Area Focus Food Trail



This English themed eatery which is popular for its signature fried chicken is run by senior students from the Dignity for Children school. The Nasi Lemak coconut-infused rice was tender accompanied by succulent pieces of fried chicken, garnished with homemade sambal, cucumber, fried anchovies and peanuts. A bowl of sweet and sticky Kimchi Jjigae Stew served with delicious ayam percik left us craving for more. The tantalising Green Thai Curry Pasta with fried minced chicken neatly placed on a lemongrass was a recordbreaker at Project B. Team Rating: 8.5/10

This dimly-lit and cosy eatery tucked by the lakeside boasts a sensational menu as in the crunchy Vietnamese River Lobster served with fresh aromatic lemongrass. The house specialty is the Signature Platter that comes complete with Vietnamese fried spring rolls, Saigon crystal roll prawns, steamed New Zealand mussels with lemongrass sauce, deep-fried pandan chicken and green mango salad. Sweet dessert comprising ruby-red water chestnuts floating in white cold coconut milk delighted our taste-buds. Team Rating: 8.5/10

Sentul -

Satiable & Savoury NAILIS SENTUL

Check it out!

This traditional Malay coastal themed eatery boasts cosy interiors complemented by gazebos and a durian tree. The age-old recipes with special blends of condiments comprising spices and herbs were evident as we tucked into the Laksa Utara or rice noodles seasoned in a thick fish-based broth garnished with onions and coriander leaves. The Bihun Soup with tender sliced beef accompanying the thin noodles was exceptionally tasty served with a special thick red sauce. We also dipped the flavourful crunchy anchovies fritters into the spicy sauce. What a feast! Team Rating: 8.3/10

SENTUL CURRY HOUSE Made popular by its spicy flavoured fish-head curry, this is one eatery not to be missed. Fish, mutton and lentil curries were placed in huge woks and served with an array of sumptuous Indian-styled, freshly-blended spiced vegetables, marinated fish as well as chicken wings and thighs, dry mutton curry (perattal). The crab cutlets stuffed with crab meat is best eaten with piping hot steamed rice. The coconut milk infused Apam is another favourite taken as light food accompanied with Masala Tea, making for an agreeably a delightful combination. Team Rating: 8.0/10

SENTUL AH YAP HOKKIEN MEE & SEAFOOD The third-generation non-halal eatery serves the most tasteful charcoal-fried light brownsauced Hokkien noodles. Lard was used to enhance the flavour of the noodles teaming with fish cake and bite-sized meat, leaving the eatery lingering with the heavenly smell of noodles enveloping the space. The deepfried pork-skin with thinly sliced ginger was addictive. No wonder it is also the Chef’s favourite dish. Team Rating: 8.2/10 October 2017 I 27

Investor Next Door

BUILDING BRICKS TO PROPERTY SUCCESS Property Consultants Tony Yap and Caleb Chin share their strategies for investment By: Mages PV Lingam


roperty Insight speaks to Tony Yap and Caleb Chin, Authors of Buy Bricks Sell Bricks, Sun Tzu’s Strategic Plan for Gen Y Property Investors who have known each other since they were 16 years old. Together, both of them have undertaken property consultancy work while coaching people on real estate investment, financial consultation and personal development to empower and inspire others to achieve their personal dreams.

Property Insight (PI): What first inspired you to venture into the property business? Tony Yap (Tony): I stopped right in my tracks upon spotting and reading a peculiar book by Robert Kiyosaki which advises people to start investing their cash rather than spending it. At 24, upon graduating with a Robotics Engineering Degree from the Multimedia University in Malacca, I first started out my property journey by buying a low-cost apartment. The seller asked for RM90,000 but since I had no prior savings, I decided to save four to five months of his salary first and visited the bank to do a valuation for the property. By now, it was valued at RM120,000! Taking on a 90% loan, I made 28 I October 2017

a differential sum of RM12,000 to pay for the legal stamp duty, and the money saved wasn’t used again. The monthly maintenance fee was RM650 but I rented out the fully furnished unit to students for RM1,100 monthly. I realised at that time that in order to do investment or business, I needed more knowledge. Within a span of two months, I bought another apartment with a 40-year tenure, but which was now both fully settled and transferred to my wife’s name. To understand the property market further, I began to read more. Eventually, I bought and flipped a few units. My friends started approaching me for consultation and I followed them to showrooms, did analysis and also attended courses.

the bank for advice. They guided me on investment strategies but my aspirations grew stronger after seeing my Senior Manager calculating her net profit for the month which amounted to about two years of my salary. After seven years, in 2012, I quit the bank and entered the real estate journey.

Caleb Chin (Caleb): I started my career about nine years ago as a Mortgage Banker in a foreign bank. During that time, I came across many Business Owners and Investors. It struck me how they can make so much of money and how they were able to sell and buy properties as well as stocks. I needed to break the rat race so I asked some of my clients as well as my Senior Manager at

Caleb: I leveraged on the banks. It was delayed gratification on my part as I sacrificed daily to save up enough in order to accumulate the seed or capital money. I admit that the initial early years were tough. My first property was purchased in 2009 comprising a luxury serviced apartment called the Zest in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong. I struggled to get the down payment. There were

PI: Tell us more about your journey. Tony: I realised that I am able to earn higher commission when I am into real estate. I was attracted by that thought. So, I quit my day job. I also realised that I am able to acquire first -hand information on better capital investment, receive flexibility in funding and be able to do research on pre-investments of properties to avoid losing money.

no rebates but only a free Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA). I only had RM12,000 in savings while the deposit was RM25,000. So, I signed a loan agreement with my father for RM10,000 and took out a personal loan from the bank. I was 24 and purchased the unit for RM240,000. During that time, upon vacant possession, I worked as an inhouse agent with the same developer. PI: How many properties do you own? Caleb: I have successfully purchased 29 properties, flipped most of them and am holding on to seven units. My dream is to achieve a semi-retired state. Tony: I purchased eight units and am holding on to five now. In these few years, I have written four books and coauthored one book with Caleb. PI: Your experience in auction properties? Caleb: Yes, my first experience was when I bought an auctioned flat located in Equine Park, Sri Kembangan. The asking price was RM55,000 for the unit but I ended up forking out RM68,000 in cash. The mistake I made was I failed to check on the title of the unit and the status of the developer of that project. It was only later that I found out that the developer was a bankrupt. The flat should possess a strata title that is valid within 10 years but because the developer was defunct, the bank refused to finance the project. That got me thinking I could have bought more properties with that amount I paid in cash. Therefore, I always advise others that auction properties are not for rookie investors as they require high capital or funding. Tony: I am far away from investing in auction properties as they have complex mechanisms attached to the process. PI: What were some of the Challenges Faced During your investment journey? Tony: I have studied that pitfalls stem from wrong expectations and no solid planning for the investment. Some are unable to secure loans from the banks and the tenure to settle the loans are shorter but the instalments payable are higher. I have a friend who owns a property near KLCC who complained that he was unable to make money from that high-end investment. The property

resulted in capital gains of less than RM15,000 in a span of three years even when the rental income was good with a net profit of RM1,000. Meanwhile in Semenyih, another person complained that the rental yield was unsatisfactory although his capital gain rose to 50% in the past eight years. He wanted a higher rental return. From the start, always must ask yourself what the plan is and manage your expectations before diving into property investments. Caleb: Knowledge is very important. I bought a two-and-a-half storey superlink house in Bandar Kinrara a few years back for RM960,000. The developer is good but the quality was bad. A crack built-up from the top storey to the ground floor, and it took six months for the defect to be repaired by the developer. I later sold that property for a good RM1.15 million. Another feat that I faced was with the low cost flat at the Equine Park which was tenanted but no rental income came in for six months. The family had financial issues and struggled to pay up. Eventually, the tenant moved back to his hometown and the lot was left empty until now. But, I am happy as the mass rapid transit (MRT) is being built adjacent to my unit. I intend to sell it off after its completion for double the amount. PI: Your advice to new property investors? Tony: I recall Robert Kiyosaki’s book which states that only when one’s passive income is more than one’s income, bringing it to a surplus, only then can one see profits. So, in order to achieve the passive income goal, I tend to keep more commercial properties. I find that the trend for residential properties is always fluctuating as the rental value goes up or down with every transitional 10 years. As for commercial properties, as long as there is steady human traffic and the need for economic activities in an area, the demand is always positive and the income stable too. So, buy as many shoplot units as possible! Caleb: I believe in not falling into the trap of trading time for money. Time-moneyvalue is my benchmark in property investment. So, it is worth treating each single property as a financial product and

money-making strategy. Understanding and finding the right products via resources gathered and turning them into a self-sustaining financial methodology is the best way forward for savvy investors. PI: How do you manage your property portfolio while coaching and consulting? Tony: I prefer making property purchases within my usual travelling time which is about 30 minutes’ distance away so I am able to manage it well. I allow my trusted agents to handle my property management. Caleb: I do the same with the local specialist in that location. However, rental collection is done by my wife. PI: How do you identify the correct property to buy? Tony: I have many friends, gurus and developers who always highlight to me regarding sub-sale products or new launches. We go hunting via investor groups and visit many show galleries. Caleb: I gather information via seminars, web searches on launch previews, via agents and groups of investors. We have no property overseas as of yet. PROPERTY INVESTMENT PROPERTY 1 Location

Bandar Kinrara

Property type


Purchase value


Market value


Price psf now


Rental per month


Rental yield

6.5% Nett

Loan margin :


Loan tenure :


PROPERTY 2 Location

Seri Kembangan

Property type

2 storey landed

Purchase value


Market value


Price psf now


Rental per month


Rental yield

5.7% Nett

Loan margin :


Loan tenure :

40yrs October 2017 I 29

Industry Insight


Founder Ivon Lai shares on how she managed to beat the competition in the Real Estate arena within a couple of years and transform her firm into an award-winning agency By: Mages PV Lingam

Team work makes the dream work” - Ivon Lai


rior to establishing her agency in 2015, Propstar Realty Founder Ivon Lai spent 15 years undergoing various career changes until she finally decided to go after her passion. Lai who comes from a banking and mortgage background is also an e-Commerce graduate. Her agency received the Elite Project Marketing Agency and Exemplary Agency Culture Awards which brought her two-year old company to the limelight among other longstanding industry players. Lai, whose first venture into Real Estate started when she joined Metroworld Realty as its Centre Director in 2010 working at its Mont’ Kiara branch in Kuala Lumpur shares that her main focus was on projects developments then. During this time, she made up her mind to use her expertise to establish her own agency targeting the niche, high-end market. Coming from the banking industry and being well-versed in mortgage advisory, Lai with her people skills began to capture market share easily especially with the ongoing market slowdown.


The agency’s area of concentration lies with marketing projects by China developers and promoting real estate here to potential buyers from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Lai even ventured into a deal with an investor from Taiwan who bought about 60 units of luxury high-rise condominiums at the Binjai 8 development located nearby KLCC in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city. However, this 30 I October 2017

deal backfired. The units were purchased by a group of investors from Taiwan who were not familiar with the market conditions and market here which created problems during the hand-over process. Lai was approached by the group to sort out the after-sales process which she did. She later managed to achieve more than 80% occupancy after a three-month stint before she withdrew her position as Director of the company. Lai believes that Propstar Realty stands apart from other agencies as it is more service-oriented. “We just started with 10 negotiators and have now grown to about 50 quality negotiators. Our target is to establish enduring long-term business relationships with the developers and provide absolute quality services to our clients,” adds Lai. Lai says one of its key projects undertaken recently was to help sell a luxury condominium called Agile Mont’ Kiara in Kuala Lumpur that was launched by a developer from China known as Agile PJD Development Sdn Bhd. “After some revamping of methods to sell to locals here, our agency managed to close the sales of 70 units in November and 60 units last December, with sales and purchase agreements being signed. The units sold were priced from RM1 to RM5 million. The ratio of 70% local buyers and 30% foreigners comprised Chinese, Korean and others respectively,” says Lai proudly. She says that although purchasers

for under construction projects in China need to pay in full for their property purchase, hence making it a very cost purchase decisions, they are still confident and willing to pay in cash. She says her agency spends time to conduct comprehensive market studies on pricing, locations, future appreciation as well as project and mortgage advisory before approaching potential buyers locally or abroad.


Lai says that 2015 was a very tough year to sustain the business due to the implementation of the Good and Services Tax (GST) and the downing of two international flights which deeply affected the country in terms of perception and confidence levels. However, excellent teamwork due to 90% being fulltime employees served to help the agency to forge ahead with its plans and goals. The strategy she says was to conduct weekly sharing based on market activities and movements as well as being interactive via holding concrete discussions and coming up with solutions assisted by the Sales Managers. “Our company has a mission to fulfil - one being to achieve a count of 100 Negotiators and 10 Sales Managers to run their key projects concurrently. Meanwhile, the agency sales target has been set at RM500 million,” shares Lai. In a year, Propstar Realty manages about three to four sales for key developments. In addition, it is also

actively managing the sales of Luxe by Infinitum developed by Macly Group, located behind Quill City mall, Kuala Lumpur. In its portfolio as well is another development located nearby Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur. “Team work makes the dream work,” says Lai. The company would also venture into properties around KLCC this year. The team of Negotiators are taught to be professional, ethical and diligent. The Negotiators also work closely on how to market and analyse the projects while pitching to clients the best way in assisting them to settle handovers successfully. Lai attributes her fondest memory of her agency to having a good set of people to work with. To date, many of her senior management have been working with her for more than four years. A few have even joined her from her former company. She explains how her staff got together to shoot a short video within a days’ notice, and managed it well within a few hours because of the existing team spirit within the company. This positive work culture and dedication among the Negotiators have made the company win the award this year. Lai believes that the philosophy of the company is to adhere to a strict direction and encourage the sales team to dress stylishly but professionally as their clients are mostly from the upscale market. After all, she adds that first impressions form the best expression of the company. October 2017 I 31

Rookie Investor

MAKING WISE PROPERTY INVESTMENTS Plan your investments well to reap fruitful rewards in the long run By: Felicia Soon


avvy Investor Liek Lim who is also VR Lab Group Sales Director recently took time off his busy schedule to meet up with Property Insight to share his experience and views on challenges individuals face concerning finance and other matters while imparting some property investment advice.


Born in Raub, Pahang, Lim’s rise from a small town boy to Real Estate Investor has not been a smooth sailing journey. Lim recalls how reading Robert Kiyosaki’s bestseller book helped pave the way towards his first property purchase and subsequently, make good his investment journey into real estate which is still reaping him returns till today. “I first discovered that there was a book entitled Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki while reading a magazine prior to the first publication of the book in 1997,” he relates. “After purchasing the book, I grasped that investing is about getting smarter with your money, learning to spot opportunities, adjusting to changing market conditions and being agile when it comes to reacting to change,” he elaborates. According to him, due to increasing inflation, many Investors are finding opportunities on how to make their money work for them to deliver positive cash flow and good returns that would outpace inflation. As such, investing in properties is a lucrative way to gain passive income and long term returns. Lim shares that the guideline for investing in properties is generally centred on planning for one’s property investment according to one’s salary 32 I October 2017

scale whereby one needs to have at least half a year’s minimum savings. This is especially prevalent with the escalating property prices in the market. According to the Valuation and Property Service Departments (JPPH), between 1999 and 2014, the House Price Index increased in all states particularly in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Perak and Johor. However, in comparison with other countries around the region such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and even Thailand, properties in Malaysia still remain as among the most affordable in the region. On top of that, banks and financial institutions are also lenient towards first-time homebuyers by extending them a 90% loan in order to purchase their first or second property. Yet, the common dilemma faced by many first-time homebuyers is that they do not have the seed money to buy their

first property.


For Lim, he did not have sufficient savings to buy a property right after he graduated from university even though the cost of purchasing an apartment back in 2005 was only about RM 100,000. “I needed to plan my savings at least six months in advance in order to accumulate and pay the down payment. “Hence, I was initially hesitant to purchase any property and spent a longer time observing property prices before finally deciding to fork out RM500 as a down payment for a property purchase priced at around RM180,000.” However, Lim actually pulled out from the purchase even though it had been approved by the bank because he was concerned that he would not be able to pay back the monthly instalments at a

I believe to be successful in any investments one must be objective with the investment plan one does. Most importantly you have to come up with an exit plan before you invest in property” – Liek Lim

Therefore, Lim is agreeable that this is a good time to buy sub-sale properties although there is a risk of market oversaturation. “Many new developments are rapidly coming up which will subsequently be completed in two to three years’ time,” he observes. “This could result in many homebuyers rushing to sell off their properties upon completion which could push the selling price down lower and affect the rental returns as well,” explains Lim. As parting words, Lim shares, “I believe that in order to be successful in any investment, one must be objective with the investment plan one may come up with. Most importantly, one has to come up with an exit plan before deciding to invest in any property.” PROPERTY INVESTMENT

later stage. After spending a few years working abroad, Lim toyed with the idea of having an office-based home and decided to buy his first property. He bought a Small office Home office (SoHo) unit at Old Klang Road in Kuala Lumpur for RM400,000 in 2010 which proved to be an astute investment decision.


As Lim opines, “Investing in property is something very interesting to venture into as there are many options available as to what you can do with your return on investment.” For example, if you buy a property for RM400,000 and the price increased to RM650,000 after a few years, then there are a few available options that will open up for you to choose from. For instance, you may choose to sell

off your property to reap the capital appreciation or you may even consider refinancing your property to cash out some money. Thereafter, you can use the money to invest in other properties to make more income. Today, the SoHo unit has been turned into an Airbnb unit. Lim has since then continued on his property investment journey by purchasing other units in bulk with other fellow Property Investors. In 2014 for instance, he and a team of Investors transformed a property into a hostel for the purpose of students’ accommodation in Bandar Sunway, Selangor. Lim opines that the challenge faced by most new Investors are a lack of knowledge on how to begin investing in property. They may also be clueless on how to weigh various considerations before purchasing a property for investment. For example, if one is looking into buying a property for the first time by just leveraging on one’s monthly salary, then the bank may reject the loan unless the prospective purchaser is able to present a solid investment plan to the relevant bank. Despite the economic downturn, the property market is booming with more new and upcoming projects offered by way of attractive packages and discounted rates.

PROPERTY 1 Location

The Scott Garden, Old Klang Road, KL

Property type


Purchase value


Bank value


Price psf


Size Income per month

872 sq ft with balcony Averaging RM4,200

PROPERTY 2 Location

Residensi Laguna, Bandar Sunway, PJ

Property type


Purchase value


Market Value



1096 sq ft

Price psf


Income per month

Sold at RM450,000 within a year

PROPERTY 3 Location

Nadayu28 Condominium, Bandar Sunway, PJ

Property type


Purchase value

RM1,135, 000

Bank value


Price psf



1850 sq ft

Income per month Averaging RM8,100 October 2017 I 33

International Insights

THE US SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ORANGE COUNTY HOUSING MARKET IS HOT! With an extremely low inventory and blistering demand, the housing market is poised to be hot for quite some time


he US real estate market is extremely strong. Lack of supply continues to be the main story of the 2017 housing market. The supply issue has become a significant impediment which is preventing the market from reaching its full potential. Infact, the number of existing homes listed for sale has been declining for over two years while the number of new homes added to the market has been insufficient to meet demand.

34 I October 2017

sAs a result, home prices have been on the rise and will continue to escalate for quite some time. Home prices reached an all-new high across the US in June according to the latest index released from S&P Dow Jones and CoreLogic. Nationally, home prices increased 5.8% from June 2016 and hit an all-time high according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price NSA Index which covers all nine US census divisions.

Given the current US economic conditions and the tight housing market, the trend of continued appreciation appears very likely for the next couple of years. The Orange County housing market has been appreciating for more than five years. However, the market is not expected to peak anytime soon. To understand why the market is poised to continue climbing, it is best to revisit the theory of supply and demand.

The expected market time for homes priced below USD500,000 is only 34 days. The market is still strong for residences priced from USD 1 million to USD 2 million. The trend of a lack of inventory and redhot demand stoked by ultra-low interest rates does not look like it will change anytime soon. Instead, multiple offers are the norm. This holds true for just about any property priced below USD1.25 million that is in great condition, nicely

A situation revolving around large supply and very little demand favours the buyer. A situation centred around small supply and high demand favors the seller. Therefore, with years of short supply and strong demand, it is no wonder that the housing market has been a hot seller’s market for quite some time now. Everything priced below the USD1 million mark (RM4.27 million), is flying off the shelves.

About The Contributor

Cindy Hanson who resides in Orange County, city of Irvine in Southern California is a professional Real Estate Broker with an international clientele. Equipped with 10 years’ experience in real estate, she represents clients throughout US and internationally.


appointed, situated in a good location and priced close to its Fair Market Value. In the lower price ranges, buyers are tripping over one another to secure their piece of the American Dream. In short, the US Southern California Orange County housing market is HOT and will continue to be hot for quite some time. Why is Orange County Southern California US so popular?

5,000 4,000 3,000

2014 Listings 2015 Listings 2016 Listings 2017 Listings

2,000 1,000




t Sep





r Ma




Typically, the US Southern California Orange County active listing inventory peaks around mid-August but this year, 10 per cent fewer homes came into the market in August, recording 7 per cent fewer homes overall. As a result, active inventory peaked early.

• •

Perfect weather almost every day!

Safe – Irvine is one of the safest cities according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Great weather – Enjoy sunny dry and hot summer weather almost every day, Good price - Housing prices here are comparatively low and affordable as compared to the Asian real estate market, Great school system – Almost all schools in Irvine are rated a perfect 10-score, Mixed culture - With a variety of different ethnic grocery stores and restaurants for residents to choose, Stable economy – One can expect the housing market to be steady, Great consumer protection – Governed by strict rules and regulations, with great transparency during the real estate transaction, consumers will have comprehensive protection throughout the process. October 2017 I 35



inancial planning has oftentimes been regarded as something only reserved for the rich and only what the rich people can afford to do. Is this a fair observation? Is it true that if you are not rich, you should drop the idea of financial planning altogether? Generally, people tend to measure ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ by looking at the amount of wealth a person has. Regardless of our experiences or background, we basically build wealth via the following means for example - inheritance, employment or entrepreneurship. I am sure you have seen some people who got rich by being employed and those who obtained wealth by venturing into businesses or those who inherited something. This means that there are plenty of ways to get rich. However, not many are able to remain rich so the question begats itself on why this is so. Firstly, let us understand what it means by financial planning. According to the Financial Planning Standard Board (FPSB), financial planning is a “process of developing strategies to help people manage their financial affairs to meet life goals.” As such, we need to have a process to manage our financial affairs to ensure that at the end of the day, we will have the financial muscle to help us achieve our life goals. Financial muscle in this context simply means having enough savings and an ability to achieve our goals that can ultimately be quantified. Generally, financial planning is supposed to cover the followings areas: 1. Cash flow and Debt Management; 2. Risk Management and Insurance Planning; 3. Investment Planning; 4. Retirement Planning; 5. Education Planning; 6. Tax Planning; 7. Estate Planning. The better approach to manage our personal finance is to have a comprehensive financial plan that covers all of the above. In addition, the strategies that are formed for each of these areas have to be able to support the life goals and aspirations of the person. If you really believe that financial planning is only a privilege reserved for

36 I October 2017

the rich, are you saying that the not-sorich have no life goals that need to be met? The idea that financial planning is only for the rich is much akin to the question of whether the chicken or egg comes first. Contrary to the popular belief that we only can manage our financial affairs once we have surplus, ironically, people who have surplus are those who have done proper planning beforehand. Those who have started managing their cash flow and debt obligations would end up being in a better position of having surplus. Without having surplus, it would be impossible for one to have savings. If one has handled the risk management process correctly, then one’s savings will be protected. In the event of financial losses, a person who has invested the savings in a way that is right and in line with his risk capacity will see his wealth grow and become inflation-proof in the long run. This issue combined with savvy tax planning will minimise the “leakages” and maximize the retention of income. Eventually, this will enable the person to pursue life goals that are inevitable such as retirement and education planning. Real estate planning allows the smooth distribution of estate and wealth to be possible, preventing the next generation to be trapped in financial struggles of having to pay off debts and protect the wealth that was built by the deceased which ensures that the family does not backtrack in the event of death.



Based on the statistics published by Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK), reasons people requested for their help are generally of the following nature:Apparently, nearly 75% of reasons are due to improper management of money and poor financial planning. If one has managed his or her financial affairs comprehensively, then it is rather hard for events such as losing a job, slowdown in business, or even high medical expenses to drag one down in life, making one poor ultimately. One misconception is that when we embrace financial planning, we will have to accept a frugal lifestyle. Instead, the whole point of financial planning is to put the aspirations and life goals of a person at the core. Thus, it would be counterintuitive if you will have to live a frugal lifestyle. If you embrace financial planning, what you essentially will have to do is to look at your personal finances in totality and then make decisions that are smarter and less attached to your desires and emotions for instant gratification. It does not involve you having to eat less or not go out with your friends at all. In addition, there are a few ways to build wealth. Apart from inheritance, employment and entrepreneurship, sound financial planning is another way to sustain wealth. Unlike the other ways, financial planning is up to us and it is a process we have full control over. Also, you do not require the help of any Financial Planning Professional


% 15






















About The Contributor

Kevin K.M. Neoh is a Licensed Financial Planner by the Securities Commissions Malaysia and Bank Negara Malaysia.

in order to start taking control of your personal finances and financial affairs. All it takes in my opinion, is for us to have awareness and determination to follow the approach. One of the critical qualities is for us to have a strong financial foundation. After all, the future requires cash reserves to tide us through. The challenge faced by many however, is that they hardly can come up with any cash flow surplus at the end of the month, hence taking away the ability to be in the driver’s seat. After some time, people would rather believe that only the rich can do so since they are perceived to have ability to save money. What people may not realise however, is that we all have the same ability to accumulate wealth to some degree. The difference perhaps, is the approach towards spending which is why some who earn high income and are rich can also get into financial trouble. The best, simplest approach I know of is to save a fixed portion of your income before you even get to spend it. This doesn’t have to be done manually nor does it have to be via the help of an insurance savings plan. Instead, just open another savings account and set up a standing instruction to transfer a portion of the salary from the receiving account to the savings account monthly to start building up your savings and reservoir via this method. Since there is a lack of facts depicting financial planning is a privilege reserved only for the rich, I would rather believe that it is a myth. So, do not procrastinate. Start saving for your future today! October 2017 I 37




t has been eight years now since my first property purchase. I had just started work as an external Auditor when my father insisted that I begin my wealth accumulation journey via property investment. My maiden venture into the world of property investment thus started with a double-storey terraced house that fetched a rental yield of 4.5% per annum. It was like ticking off one of the items on my bucket list before turning 30. My subsequent property purchase was five years later when I bought an apartment in a mature residential area at 20% below market value.


Following the purchase, I attended an interior design course and discovered that a properly designed and fitted out unit can fetch higher rental yields. Hence, I took a leap of faith and fitted out the interior design for my own investment property. It was a steep learning curve covering everything from sourcing, designing, planning to contractor management. I worked closely with a fellow Investor friend who also owns an investment property at the same development. We worked as a team and leveraged on each other’s resources and expertise. Mid-way through the interior design undertaking, I engaged a few agents to advertise my unit for long term rental. However, most agents came back with low offers as there was no existing demand for units that were furnished with interior design since most units 38 I October 2017

were rented out either bare or partially furnished. As long term rentals did not look too optimistic, my friend suggested the option of trying out short term rentals via Airbnb. Taking his advice to heed, a few days later, a booking request was received from a couple who wanted to rent this unit coupled with my friend’s unit for their bridal entourage and

outstation guests. Although the units were not Airbnbready yet, we accepted the booking and had less than 48 hours to get it ready for our first Airbnb guests!

About The Contributor


The demand for the unit via the Airbnb platform grew steadily over the next few months after starting off with just weekend bookings. Eventually, weekday bookings also became popular. Soon, we had guests from Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, US and the UK comprising business travellers, tourists, wedding guests, staycationers booking the unit. The unit was even booked for television commercial filming. I reached my next milestone after six months and was awarded the coveted status of Airbnb Superhost. A Superhost must host at least 10 bookings and not encounter any booking cancellations while having received 5-star reviews for four out of every five reviews. The key to being a Superhost is to ensure that every guest is happy. The unit has to be clean and well-stocked with daily necessities. Amenities also have to be carefully thought out. I’ve discovered that small thoughtful gestures and efforts will help score added brownie points and a five-star review including:1. Arranging for airport transfer upon request 2. Providing unlimited high-speed internet to cater for the needs of business travellers 3. Sharing the GRAB or UBER service promo code with our guests


I started Airbnb literally handling everything on my own – from bookings, check-ins and check-outs, housekeeping to repairs and maintenance. As my bookings increased, I could no longer cope with the physical demands of seeing to the requests while working on my nine-to-five job. I needed to find new ways to leverage on others while I managed the property remotely.

Ethan Chor is an ordinary guy working at a nine-to-five job, who battles the traffic to work every day. Fate interjected, and he was introduced to Airbnb. Having entered the magical world of hosting, he aspires to be financially free in five years’ time.

In other words, I needed to run my Airbnb property like a business, whereby structured processes and systems are in place. I also incorporated important business principles which include: a. Understanding the target customers and delivering on promises made b. Understanding the theory of demand and supply c. Outsourcing low value activities

IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNT 1. Managing an Airbnb property is like running a start-up. You need to treat it like a business and not as a passive investment per se. 2. When opportunity knocks on your door, always say “Yes”. Then, focus on what you can achieve realistically, Take small steps to get to your goal. 3. Focus on the value you can deliver to your customers, and not solely concentrate on the monetary profits. Value creation always comes first. The monetary rewards will come naturally after that. 4. Surround yourself with people who will bring you to the next level. Don’t get bogged down by pessimistic people. October 2017 I 39

Property Strategy



Buying properties Below Market Value (BMV). Knowing your numbers. Property area analysis. Demographic profiling. Pricing considerations. Managing Tenants. Blah blah blah.....Admittedly, the technical areas of Property investment can be sexy. Mastering the principles above would certainly give one a competitive edge. However, intellectual prowess alone MAY NOT ensure PROPERTY INVESTMENT SUCCESS. So, what’s that secret ingredient or “special sauce” that one may need for property investment success?

About The Contributor

Mark Chua is the bestselling author of the book “WHO SAYS”. He was a former senior vice president of a bank and an ongoing avid lover of properties. He is living proof that one can be successful in both their careers and property investments. He can be reached via or


40 I October 2017

My portfolio comprises mostly of residential properties. Many people ask me how I keep up with the turbulent “headaches” of managing a scalable portfolio, unreasonable tenants, endless repairs and handling the stress of vacant units. Yeap, you guessed it – Property investment isn’t just about your cerebral Einsteinian brain. To me, a large part of your investment success is also due to your LIKABILITY. Why do some Investors complain about having Tenants who frequently move out of their units? Why do they complain when Bankers or Agents do not return their calls? Why do they have a hard time finding a reliable Contractor, Plumber or Handyman? Your Tenants are not just your assets. They are human beings. Be firm but respectful to them. It’s the small things that you do for people that matter. Till this day, my wife Lauren sends all my Tenants Chinese New Year/Hari Raya/Deepavali hampers. What’s more, we personally hand deliver the hampers to them. I can promise you that your tenants will appreciate simple gestures like these. Even their own Bosses don’t give them hampers! When it comes to tenancy renewals or rental revisions, they are at least open for a

discussion. Why? Because they LIKE you. If you are an Investor who is constantly asking for a Contractor / H a n d y m a n / P l u m b e r / Pa i n t e r / whoever else – I’d like to say this respectfully – PLEASE give this area more attention. Realise that fruitful long term relationships with Property Stakeholders can give you intangible benefits over the long term. My contractor, Ah Heng, has been working with me for years. He is devoted to his three children, especially his youngest eght-yearold daughter. So, we buy small gifts for his daughter which are nothing expensive, just thoughtful. The young girl will be happy and smiling. And her father? Which father will not be ecstatic with joy if you are kind to his princess? And which client do you think he’ll give his best service to?


You are a “Salesman”. Your “product” is your property. Your Tenants, Contractors, Handyman, Suppliers, Bankers and Lawyers are your “customers”. Let me humbly ask you this - Have you ever bought something from a Salesman you DID NOT LIKE before? I rest my case.

Property Strategy



uilding a money-making property business does not happen overnight. There is no get-rich-

quick. Yes, some people get lucky - gambles can pay off and markets can meteorically rise but, on an everyday basis, success needs to be planned. Getting a business off the ground can be a hard slog. Ask any Entrepreneur and they will tell you that it takes time, effort and money to build the business. And, there will be more than your fair share of moments when you will wonder:- Is it worth it? When you are in the early stages of building your business, you have to focus on the future outcome which are the good times that will come as a result of your efforts now. That inevitably means putting the needs of the business first. It’s rather like having children - the

business needs to be your top priority if it is to grow into a stable and well-adjusted adult. However, what you need to keep in mind is the future payback of the property investment:- Look after a property well, and it will look after you well in return. What though, does being second best mean? • It means unfortunately, sometimes going without. • It means you being a lower priority than your business. • It means your tenants’ needs come above your own. • It means doing everything in your power to ensure your business survives and thrives. • It means what it says on the tin: You are second best. And, admittedly, that can be tough in the beginning.

About The Contributor

Dato’ KK Chua is the Strategic Adviser and Managing Director of Armani Media. He is also a registered Real Estate Agent and an Investor with more than 10 years experience in the industry. He can be contacted at

It can feel like everything you do and all your resources are spent on building your property business. But, if you want to really succeed, your business comes first and you come second. Now, all these scenarios may sound very depressing and boring, and you may even be questioning why you ever wanted to get into property investment. Or, in fact, why you ever invested in the first place. But, let me tell you this:- It’s for the long term. You are playing the long term game. Owning and running a property business may be hard work in the beginning, and it may feel like a neverending drain on your resources but again, look after it right and it will look after you well. Another lesson to learn is to be patient. Run your business to the best of your ability and understand that making money takes time. Once you have perfected the art of looking after your business interests, you will learn that what this actually means is that you are actually looking after your own best interests. By knowing this, you will feel a lot less frustrated by what you are missing out on now because of what you will stand to gain in the future. And, the sacrifices you make now will be worth much, much more when you come to collect your winnings in the future. October 2017 I 41




irbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation and apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds and hotel rooms. Interestingly, the company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives percentage service fees or commissions from both guests and hosts in conjunction with each and every booking. Some cities have restrictions on subletting for a short period of time. In addition to this, many landlords or community associations also have restrictions on short term sublets. As a Host, you may be required to pay tax on income received via Airbnb. Under the Hotels (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) Act 2003, the term “hotel” for a licence is required which applies to any premise whereby:a. Persons are harboured or lodged for hire or reward of any kind; and b. Rooms are furnished by the owner, lessee, principal tenant, occupier or Manager of such premises for the domestic use of the persons so harboured or lodged, but does not include any premise let out on a landlord and tenant basis; A person who contravenes this Act commits an offence and shall upon conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both. And, in the case of a continuing offence, shall in addition, be liable to a 42 I October 2017

fine not exceeding RM1,000 for each day the offence continues to be committed

About The Contributor


“Inn” under this Act is defined to mean any hotel, boarding house or other place where any person is harboured or lodged for any kind of reasons whatsoever. This can be for hire or reward and where any domestic service whatsoever is rendered by the owner, lessee, principal tenant, occupier or Manager to the person so harboured or lodged, licensed under any written law for the time being in force in Peninsular Malaysia.


Under this Act, any premises, whether furnished or unfurnished, where lodging or sleeping accommodation is provided for as a reward has to keep a specified register of guests. If the owner fails to do so, he or she shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding RM2,000 or both.


The premises may have insurance in relation to residential habitation only. Insurance companies are not fond of liars or people who conveniently forget to tell them that they are running a small hotel. Public liability and fire insurance requirements vary for different types of occupiers.


A residential premise will state it is

Dato’ Pretam Singh Darshan Singh is President of the Tribunal for Homebuyers Claims and was the Chairman of the Consumer Claims Tribunal. He is a Partner of Pretam Singh, Nor & Co.

so in the planning approvals and the Bomba requirement for a hotel type of accommodation is different from that of a residential premise. In the event of a fire, a stranger will have no clue as to where the escape routes are. The death of a visitor could perhaps lead to manslaughter charges.


By-Law 9 clearly prohibits a proprietor from using his parcel for any purpose, illegal or otherwise, which may be injurious to the reputation of the development area. As any contracting out is prohibited (Section 148/149 of SMA 2013) for any use of a parcel for illegal purposes like Airbnb as such, action may be frowned upon and may result in action taken by the Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Corporation (MC) as the case maybe. In my view, for all these legal concerns, there is an urgent need for legislative intervention to legalise and promote this stay as has been done for e-Hailing service providers.



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016 321 9033 / 017 779 1688

NO. Lesen Pemajuan Perumahan: 14153-1/11/2017/ (0934(L) | No Permit Iklan dan Jualan: 14153-1/11/2017/0984(P) | Tempoh Sah: 05/11/2015-04/11/2017 | Tarikh Dijangka Siap: Mei 2019 | Hak Milik Tanah: Pegangan Bebas | Gadaian Tanah: Tiada | Pelan Bangunan Diluluskan Oleh: Majlis Perbandaran Sepang | No. Rujukan Pelan Bangunan: MP Sepang 600-34/2/71(12) | Jumlah Unit dan Harga: Pangsapuri (1,168 Unit) MIN: RM395,460.00 MAKS: RM958,247.00

Property Insight October 2017  
Property Insight October 2017