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James Felt, influential real estate developer (1903-1971)




The smallest patch of green to arrest the monotony of asphalt and concrete is as important to the value of real estate as streets, sewers and convenient shopping

dubai recovers P7

Why their mantra is

‘stability, stability, stability’ Japanese investors are averse to volatile markets, haunted by the property bubble in Japan in the 1980s by Zoe Phoon

CORPORATIONS in the Land of the Rising Sun may have deep pockets but they are absolutely cautious when it comes to investing their money as the real estate bubble pop and market collapse in Japan in the 1980s are still fresh in their minds. Property prices had shot up very fast and very steeply then, according to media reports, partly because speculators used paper profits from a booming stock market to invest in properties, insupportably leveraging the prices of both higher and higher. The biggest speculators were cash-f lush corporations wh ich pumped up the commercial property market at the same time that home prices were inflating. Therefore, it is understandable why, to Japanese investors, bubbles still hurt today, and why t hey will conduct due diligence from various aspects before they even think of parting with their cash. Real Reserve finds out from Masato Nakamura, president/CEO, Bank of

Tok yo - M it s u b i s h i U F J (Malaysia) Bhd [BTMU (M)] – a unit of the world’s largest bank in terms of total assets, T h e B a n k o f To k yo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd – what Japanese corporations think of investing in real estate. T h e i nt e r v i e w w it h Nakamura also touches on BTMU (M)’s collaboration with Malaysia Property I ncor porated (M PI) to promote our country as an international real estate investment destination. He said the bank sees Malaysia as a foreign direct investment destination that still offers high potential and many opportunities for Japanese investors. “They find Malaysia a stable country in terms of its c u r r e n c y, e c o n o m y, infrastructure and politics compared to certain neighbouring countries’. “As an international real estate investment destination, we feel that Malaysia is worth the while for Japanese corporations to explore the opportunities. “It’s because of this that we arranged the trips to Tok yo a n d O s a k a i n December 2012 together with MPI, Sunway Group and SP Setia Bhd to meet with our clients,” Nakamura

Nakamura says BTMU (M)’s clients may look into investing in residential and commercial properties for starters but the bank is also exploring the possibility of inviting Japanese companies for township development in Malaysia

said at his office in Menara IMC, Kuala Lumpur. BTMU (M) organised around 20 slots of meetings and site visits to the two major Japanese cities. Its well diversified client profile includes property developers, ra i l road companies, construction companies, retailers and asset management companies. On what the bank’s clients h ave t hei r eye s on, Nakamura said, “It depends on each client but on the whole they are keen to know

t he k i nd of prop er t y investment opportunities in Malaysia because their awareness of the local market is relatively low. “Those who decided to explore the possibility of ac t u a l i nve st me nt a r e i nt e r e s t e d t o h ave a partnership with Malaysian companies.” On what motivates them to consider to invest in Malaysian real estate, he shared, “We th i n k the keyword is ‘stability’ … stability in terms of property price, legal framework,

tenants, foreign currency … they avoid volatile markets because of the experience with the property bubble in Japan in the 1980s.” On how well the bank’s clients understand the local property market and how it fits into their investment plans, he said, “While the understanding varies with each client, some comprehend it quite well but some require basic information. In general, property investment needs to be in line with their core business, that is, not many

compa n ies look i nto property investment as part of portfolio investment.” On BTMU ( M ) ’s perception of Malaysia and doi ng busi ness here compared to other Southeast Asian markets, Nakamura said: “We’ve b e e n i n t he country for 55 years and suppor t i ng Japa nese companies. As a result, there are now over 1,000 Japanese companies here. Given these facts, our perception of Malaysia is quite positive. “There are many areas that need to be enhanced but compared to those in other countries, the government entities of Malaysia are very supportive. This is because of the very close relationship between Malaysia and Japan not only at the government level but at the private sector, too.” The trend is that Japanese individuals and corporations are increasingly eyeing outbound opportunities, driven by the declining dome st ic m a rk e t, a nd Southeast Asian countries, China, the United States and the United Kingdom are among the major beneficiaries. SEE P5

Jakarta – Asia’s new market darling by Zoe Phoon PREVIOUSLY ignored by big-name property investors, the Indonesian capital is now on the rise. In 2002, the Jakarta property market saw minimal growth at best due to regional and global economic factors that included negative business confidence following the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. As its apartment and hotel sectors were dependent on expatriate demand, growth was flat. The office sector also suffered as investments from multinational corporations shrank. Today, Jakarta is predicted to be Asia’s top real estate market ahead of stalwarts Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney in a survey, “Emerging trends in real estate – Asia Pacific 2013”, released by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) of New York City and Washington DCbased Urban Land Institute (ULI). Indonesia’s economic turnaround in the past few years has impressed international investors: Interest rates and inflation are under control, gross domestic product has been growing at around 6.5% annually and foreign direct investment at a much higher

rate, at 39% in H1 2012, said PwC. In the property sector, office buildings’ rental rates surged 29% year-on-year in Q3 2012 driven by demand from national and foreign companies, PwC noted, citing data from real estate services firm DTZ. The sharp growth in demand propelled Jakarta 10 places from its 2011 ranking, PwC said, but it also warned investors of the city’s not entirely rosy real estate scene. Difficulties in finding inexpensive bank loans and trustworthy local partners, and land with disputed ownership would mean “caveat emptor” or buyer beware, PwC alerted. The PwC-ULI survey lists Jakarta as Asia Pacific’s most promising city for the property business followed by Shanghai, China; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Shanghai’s retail property sector is heating up as investors move away from the commercial sector, traditionally the bread-and-butter investment for foreign funds in China. Foreigners are now generally not as tempted to buy into Shanghai propert y because the market is saturated, commercial-grade investment buildings are scarce and Chinese regulators are not as

Indonesia’s economic turnaround in the past few years has impressed investors and demand for office space pushed rents up by 29% y-o-y in Q3 2012

welcoming to foreign money as in the past, PwC continued. The survey also highlights concerns among investors that prime assets in key real estate markets in Asia Pacific are becoming overpriced and that many are turning their attention to markets outside core cities for investment and development. ULI Trustee and ULI North Asia vice chairman Richard Price, who is also chief executive of Asia Pacific for CBRE Global Investors, said many international investors are struggling to see at t ract ive i nvest ment

opportunities in the region’s prime property markets given their high rents, high capital values, low yields and abundant local capital. Consequently, these investors look at frontier markets such as Indonesia while others revisit often overlooked capitals Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, which explains the cities’ strong showing in the survey. Price also noted i ncreased international buyer interest in secondary markets Kowloon in Hong Kong and second-tier Chinese cities. Elsewhere, core i nvest ment

markets in many mature, western cities are also seeing a surge in demand from newly formed Asian institutional investors seeking to capitalise on the post-global financial crisis corrections there. Analysts in Asia Pacific generally favour Jakarta (population: 10 million) as the market with the most potential for international investors, and size does matter: It’s the largest city in Indonesia and Southeast Asia; it’s Indonesia’s economic, cultural and political centre; and the world’s 13th most populous city.

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The Haven is on course to becoming a reality by G  unaprasath Bupalan

THE headline-maker that is the luxury resort condominium project The Haven Lakeside Residences in Ipoh will mark the completion of the first of its three tower blocks and related amenities in an elaborate celebration on Feb 1 to be officiated by the Regent of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah. More than 700 guests, including Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, are expected. They include condo purchasers, government officials, VIPs and friends of the developer, Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd. The amenities that have also been completed include the club house, swimming pool and jogging track. This resort type condominium development with a gross development value of RM350 million comprises 497 units and

offers an array of services and facilities including a seahorse shaped swimming pool, amphitheatre, spa, tennis court, business centre, conference facilities, restaurant, gymnasium as well as badminton and squash courts. The project is expected

to be fully completed in the second half of the year. The development is on 13.6 acres fronting a 10-acre slope and a four-acre lake that has as its centrepiece a 280-year-old limestone outcrop dubbed Rockhaven. Peter Chan, CEO of Superboom, pointed out that

the built-up area takes up just 5% of the entire land area. “We want to conserve the existing natural environment, promote diversity and live up to our tagline, which is, ‘In the city, yet by the fringe of the virgin forest’”.

by Zoe Phoon

Domestic investors are driving demand for development sites and buildings in the capital

kok was that of a 20-year lease by CPN of The Office

@ Central World to the CPN Commercial Growth Fund.

The report noted that the lack of building sales was not because of a lack of potential buyers but was due to there being few willing vendors. Demand for both development sites and buildings was mostly from domestic investors. Demand for development sites, the report said, came mainly from condominium builders, especially in the downtown area. The liberal laws on zoning would mean that condo developers compete with other potential users for most downtown sites where condo developments remain the most profitable.

Kishore Ravuri is now CEO of Perception Management He’s well placed to serve given his global and local experience, says founder Millicent Danker by G  unaprasath Bupalan INDEPENDENT stakeholder relations consultancy Perception Management Sdn Bhd, whose clients include government agencies and leading industry players, has appointed Kishore Ravuri CEO with effect from Jan 1. Among the company’s clients are the Department of Standards Malaysia, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Maxis, Prudential, Tropicana Medical Centre as well as developers such as Iskandar Investment Bhd, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Sunway Group Bhd and Dijaya Corporation Bhd. Having served six years as special assistant to Perception Management founder Dr Millicent Danker and as director of client



WorldNews ▶▶ Lenders can’t offer no-doc, low-doc loans

THE United States’ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has set rules that forbid lenders from giving home loans to buyers who are not in a position to repay the loan. The rules also restrict lenders from offering inducements to borrowers to over-extend themselves while protecting the lenders if borrowers default. Bureau director Richard Cordray said in a statement that lenders should not set up consumers to fail, adding “when consumers sit down at the closing table, they shouldn’t be set up to fail with mortgages they can’t afford”. The new regulations were issued to restrict the kind of high risk home loans that led to millions losing their dwellings in the housing collapse and sparked the global financial crisis of 2008. The rules require banks to fully document a borrower’s financial status of income, debts and other assets and obligations to show that the borrower can pay back the loan. Also, banks cannot bait borrowers with teaser loan rates that hide the true long-term costs of a loan.

The first of the three tower blocks, clubhouse, swimming pool and jogging track have been completed

Thai CBD land prices trending up ASKING prices in Thailand’s central business district (CBD) continued to rise in Q3 2012 but there were no major land sales, according to a report by global commercial real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis. The price increases were noted on the main roads of Ploenchit and Sukhumvit up to Soi 63. The report said land prices in the most popular development areas in the suburbs also stayed on the uptrend. Of the land sales, the only building sale in capital Bang-


services – supporting the company’s clients and partners in emerging markets that include India, Vietnam, Zambia, Ghana and Malaysia – Ravuri feels that Malaysian companies should make a strategic shift in their approach to communications and gain from the “benefit of stakeholder engagement”. “The media continue to be a powerful and intelligent conduit between business entities and its complex ecosystem of multiple stakeholders. “To unleash this power is to be able to provide content which will not only educate the readers but also stimulate an intellectual discussion, and even offer fresh perspectives and learning,” he said. With an honours degree in marketing and a master’s in communication studies, he served with global firm

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in Mumbai, India, before joining Perception Management in 2006. He has been a public relations and communications practitioner for more than a decade with experience in journalism, media management, corporate communications, brand management, internal communications, corporate social responsibility and crisis communications. “We are delighted to appoint Ravuri as our CEO for Malaysia. We have been in business for over 17 years now and have a varied client portfolio including key government agencies and high-profile brands which he is well placed to serve, given his global and local experience,” said Danker. “Perception Management is a serious player in the business of stakeholder management. We recognise

▶▶ ‘Megastrip’ in Korea after Jeju’s?

SOUTH Korea has announced plans to build a new casino resort on the Yongyu-Muui islands spanning 30 square miles and costing a whopping US$290 billion (RM882 billion). Named 8City and to be located near the Incheon international airport, the development aims mainly at Chinese gamblers in a move to boost South Korea’s economy. Reported to have the backing of a hotel company and an air carrier, the proposed casino is said to rival the ostentatious construction in markets such as Dubai. Expected to be completed by 2030, the “Megastrip” is designed to have a unique central structure and feature one of the world’s largest buildings.

▶▶ Spain may be Indians’ springboard into Europe

THE Spanish government’s effort to draw foreign investment is expected to attract Indian investors considering that Indians are increasingly seen as high spenders globally. In view of that, the Spanish residency programme is envisaged to be targeted at them in big way, said Sonu Iyer, partner and national leader for human capital and global mobility at Ernst & Young. According to the website, the programme aims to bolster the Spanish property market, putting an end to falling prices and helping to shift the excess real estate in the country. Spain, which has set lower property price thresholds for the permits than Portugal and Ireland, which are also offering similar residency schemes, is seen to have the competitive edge. Iyer said Spain’s lure of permanent residence for high net worth Indians could be children’s overseas education or retirement in the Mediterranean.

▶▶ Landlords ‘not the villains’

LONDON Central Portfolio Ltd has declared that "landlords are not the villains" in the United Kingdom’s empty homes crisis, according to reports. With 354,389 families on the waiting list for social homes in the city, there is clearly a housing crisis. But the residential funds and asset management firm highlighted that while the government has targeted Central London and its private landlords as the aggravators for the scandal, the latest statistics reveal that scores of London’s empty homes are publicly owned. It said the latest data from the local authorities reveals that in Hackney, almost 50% of all the empty homes are council-owned compared with 7% in the country as a whole. According to the National Housing Federation, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has the third largest waiting list for socially rented properties in London – 19.4% of the residents. The scandal, however, is that the borough has more than 2,000 empty homes with 39% owned by the Local Authority and Housing Associations. While the Empty Homes Agency identified many vacant properties as being privately owned, they described them as often homes, which are inherited from elderly relatives, that have fallen into disrepair and where “in many cases the owner lacks the funds or the skills to repair and manage the property”.

CONTACT Media continue to be a powerful and intelligent conduit between business entities and its complex ecosystem of multiple stakeholders, says Ravuri

that reputations today are built around how well companies manage the needs of their stakeholders and how well they conduct themselves in terms of good governance in the marketplace,” Ravuri added.


Andrew Wong Gunaprasath Bupalan Daniel Hong

ADVERTISING SALES BC Tiang 016.333.1288

Zoe Phoon Geraldine Lim

Rachel Wong 018.223.2808

S. Sivaselvam Pavither Sidhu





Be clear about what you are buying or investing Two experts will tell how to avoid the pitfalls at Property Investment Talk 2013 in Subang Jaya on March 2-3 by Geraldine Lim WHAT should potential buyers or investors look out for in order not be saddled with a lemon? “Beware of developers with shoddy workmanship,” warned Chang Kim Loong, honorary secretary-general of the National House Buyers Association (HBA). “Most properties in the country are sold before they are constructed. Buyers take a big risk as they contract and pay for a non-existent unit. “Unfortunate experiences in buying properties range from misrepresentation, abandoned projects, poor workmanship and being shortchanged with poor quality materials to non-payment of late delivery damages. “A bad experience can haunt buyers for years. Poor workmanship, for example, will result in having to repair

the property at their own cost while some need to seek long-term loans for it. The right education can help them avoid these pitfalls,” said Chang. On abandoned housing projects, he pointed out that buyers are still compelled to pay interest for years even though they do not have a completed property. “Many buyers realised too late in the day that things may not be what they seem.” He also said there are differences in the sell-thenbuild (STB) and build-thensell (BTS) housing delivery systems. “Under STB, if the housing project is stalled or abandoned, the buyer will be stuck until the project is completed. Bank interest has to be paid until the project is revived and completed. “There are buyers who have already paid up to 60% or 80% of the purchase price.

The speakers will include HBA’s Chang and SK Brothers Realty’s Chan

They risk losing all their money without the house and they are also obliged to pay bank interest on the progressive payment. “Under the BTS (10:90 concept), the buyer will only risk 10% of the purchase price if

the housing project is stalled or abandoned,” he explained. Buyers should also beware of a developer’s advertisements and sales brochures. “Keep the sales brochure as they contain relevant representations about the prop-

erty. Check if the developer delivers a different product,” Chang added. On property investment, Chan Ai Cheng, general manager of SK Brothers Realty (M) Sdn Bhd, said, “Be clear about your objectives. Identify the amount of capital appreciation or rental returns you aim at and the purpose of your investment.” She also advised against wishful thinking such as wanting to sell the property in the highest possible price in the shortest time as “realistically, how many of us are so accurate or lucky?”. “It’s good for investors to set a goal for each investment. Once the goal is met, it would trigger other decisions such as selling or refinancing the property. It’s also important to calculate the positive upside. “I believe that it’s always better off investing in something you know more about

or in a location you are familiar with. Do your own independent assessment and make a decision based on your own assessment and your own needs. It’s dangerous to have others decide on your investment.” It is also essential to check on one’s own financial status and ensure a clean record with the bank, she added. Chang and Chan will elaborate on their views at the forthcoming Property Investment Talk (PIT) 2013 – Towards Education, Empowerment and Enrichment, organised by G Prop Marketing and Management Sdn Bhd. It will be held at Grand Dorsett Subang Hotel in Subang Jaya, Selangor, on March 2-3. For more information on PIT 2013, ca l l 018 -383 0488/012-611 7820 or email enquiries to seminar@gprop.

How property developers can go the extra mile by S. Sivaselvam THE construction of properties is only one aspect of a responsible developer’s tasks. It must also make sure that the properties are sustainable and well maintained so that their values continue to be enhanced over time. Sustainability involves ensuring support facilities for a development scheme, efforts to preserve its environment, and having in place a proper maintenance practice. As both developers and property buyers, as well as the residents, are only too aware, this is easier said than done. But a developer that has es-

tablished a name for going against the norm insists that sustainable property development is a viable proposition – and it has the track record to show for it. Peter Chan, CEO of Superboom Projects Sdn Bhd, said what those living or working in a property development wa nt of develop er s i s straightforward: A clean place that is secure and peaceful, with adequate facilities that are well-maintained and regular upgrades to the development. What deters this from becoming a widespread practice? He put it down to human failings – attitude, selfishness, ignorance, incompetence and cheats. And

where do these impediments, as he termed them, come from? His list is wide-ranging: Developers, legislators, government departments and their staff, project managers, professionals involved in the development projects, property owners and tenants as well as staff of the developers themselves. He spoke recently on the sustainability of property development, with a case study on medium-cost properties, at a seminar on strata management in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. It was organised by the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) Malaysia chapter and the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association. And the case study concerned two of Superboom’s three projects – Permai Lake View low-cost apartments in Ipoh and the medium-cost Subang Galaxy in Subang 2, Shah Alam, both of which were sold out. These days, Superboom and Chan are prominent in the news for the luxury resort condominium project The Haven which is under development nearby to Permai Lake View.

In highlighting the positive factors for the success of the two projects, he gave several tips on ensuring good maintenance. These include, on the part of the developer, attitude, responsibility, honesty, some expertise, right management and right staff. “Of course, there must also be the right owner and the right tenant or resident,” he added. Permai Lake View has been described by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr The RM270,000 launch price of Subang Galaxy terraces has almost Zambry Abdul Kadir as the doubled to RM500,000 within two years best low-cost development in scheme, the only low-cost the country. The 576-unit axy, these were exceptional housing that is gated and value for the buyer, efficient guarded, was launched in design, no renovation rePerak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr 2004 with a gross developquired, and good finishes Zamry Abdul Kadir has described the gated and guarded Permai Lake View ment value (GDV) of RM32 and materials. as the best low-cost housing million. The launch price The two properties condevelopment in the country was RM55,000 but within tinue to be managed by Sutwo years after completion, perboom, and it is with obvithis shot up to RM80,000. ous pride that Chan said: Subang Galaxy comprises “We have developed the 175 units of terrace houses best value affordable houscompleted in August 2009 ing at RM55,000 in Permai with a GDV of RM60 million. Lake View, the best value T he l au nc h pr ice wa s terrace houses at RM273,000 RM270,000 but within a couin Subang Galaxy and now, ple of years it almost doubled at RM338 psf in The Haven, to RM500,000. the best value luxury condo Chan outlined the reasons in the world.” for Permai Lake View’s suc“I will not build somecess: Exceptional value for the thing that I will not live in,” buyer, practical design, nuhe emphasised. A motto that merous infrastructure faciliall developers ought to adopt ties and good management. to give meaning to sustainaIn the case of Subang Galble property development.







Reward for a career par excellence An abiding interest in human relationship has led Datuk Hajeedar Abdul Majid to attain success as an architect of note by Geraldine Lim THE buildings he has designed dot Greater Kuala Lumpur. He has also made his mark in preserving historic edifices. And he is mentoring students venturing to follow in his footsteps. It is at the age of 67 that Dat u k Haje e da r Abdu l Majid has been recognised by his peers, with Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) awarding him the PAM Gold Medal 2012. The presentation was held recently. “The award is the most prestigious that can be accorded to an architect or an architectural practice and it was for his lifelong contribution to architecture,” says PAM president Saifuddin Ahmad. “The award, first instituted in 1988, has been conferred to six individuals previously and Hajeedar, as the seventh, joins a legion of distinguished architects.” The landmarks he has designed include the MNI Twin Towers (now known as Etiqa Twins) at Jalan Pinang and Menara Bank Pembangunan at Jalan Sultan Ismail – long before Kuala Lumpur became famous for its Petronas Twin Towers. Others include Surau Precinct 8 in Putrajaya; Dataran Maybank and Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As Siddiq (Bangsar mosque) in Bangsar; Wisma Telekom Semarak (now Menara Celcom) and Kompleks KDN

Hajeedar (left) receiving PAM’s highest accolade from Saifuddin

Wilayah at Jalan Duta; Masjid Sa id i n a O sm a n i n Bandar Tun Razak; and Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in Shah Alam. He also designed the recently completed Kidzania KL in Mutiara Damansara. While Hajeedar’s forte is modern architecture, the other side of the coin is also alluring to him – he has been playing a pivotal role in the conservation of many landmarks in the country. These include the conservation of Carcosa Seri Negara. He strongly believes that buildings and spaces must be designed to co-exist in a sustainable harmony and be able to withstand the test of time in terms of their functionality and relevance to contemporary society. His specialt y in this

One of Hajeedar’s conservation works is the Carcosa Seri Negara

niche has also earned him international recognition – Norway bestowed him the Penguin Prize for the restoration work done on the Infokraf Malaysia building along Jalan Hishamuddin in KL. Among other historical buildings that Hajeedar has restored are the Industrial Court of Malaysia, the old Chartered Bank building (now Restoran Warisan) and the KL Memorial Library (formerly known as the Government Printing Office), all in the vicinity of Dataran Merdeka. Hajeedar also notched a first in the local architecture sector when his firm acquired the computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) system in 1984 for the Bank Pembangunan project. That move led to even then Prime Minister Datuk Seri (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to visit his firm to check out the system. His design for the Bangsar mosque so captivated then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of Maldives when he visited KL that he appointed Hajeedar to build

the Islamic Centre and Grand Friday Mosque in Male, capital of the island state. This was one of the earliest instances of the export of Malaysian architectural services. Hajeedar was also appointed honorary consul of Maldives to Malaysia. Another mark of the man is that he doesn’t mince his words. As PAM’s Saifuddin puts it, “He is someone you wouldn’t want to mess with.” That was best exemplified in one instance when he led immigration and police officers to the then Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Subang to stop a foreign architect from practising in the country without authorisation. Coming from a family of nine siblings, Hajeedar even during his school days (at SK Jalan Pasar and Victoria Institution) was known as a child artist. But being an architect was the furthest from his mind. “I had to decide what to do after my schooling years but art is not something you could survive on in those days,” he recalls. He feared he would end up like Vincent Van Gogh, an artist struggling to find a place in society and only becoming famous after his death. “So, I pondered several options. Being an accountant was one of them but it wasn’t an attractive choice. Then I thought I could become a psychiatrist since my interest is human relationships. “But I realised that it would take years to become one and it takes a postgraduate course to become a professional,” says Hajeedar in an interview with Real Reserve.

Tun Dr Mahathir (left) at the young Hajeedar’s (right) office in 1984 to see the CADD system Some of his masterpieces are Surau Precinct 8 in Putrajaya; Grand Friday Mosque in Male, Maldives; and Dataran Maybank in Bangsar, KL

His father, who used to be chairman of the then Royal Federation of Malaya Police Cooperative Thrift and Loan Society Limited, used to bring him and his siblings along when inspecting the progress of the construction of Bangunan Koperasi Polis at Jalan Sulaiman, the first highrise building in KL back then. The building was the creation of one of Hajeedar’s mentors, the late Datuk Kington Loo who was the first recipient of the PAM Gold Medal award in 1988. Loo told Hajeedar’s father that the boy’s inclination towards art would make him a fine architect one day. Hajeedar also realised that architecture could create opportunities for rational thinking – he saw that the creation of a “three dimensional form” could derive from the study of human needs and the natural environment – and felt that a combination of these three elements could be realised through becoming an architect. In 1966, he was offered federal and state scholarships to study administration or diplomacy at University of Malaya but rejected them because the fields were “not agreeable to my career preference”. He sought instead sponsorsh ip from Mara to study architecture but was offered naval architecture. “I wanted to study architecture and not naval architecture. But I needed the scholarship, so I crossed out t he word naval a nd of course, they weren’t happy about it,” he recalls. Eventually, he did obtain a scholarship and Hajeedar spent seven years in the UK pursuing his architectural studies at the Plymouth College of Art (1966-1969) and Portsmouth Polytech nic, majoring in urban and conservation studies plus two

years of practical training in Brighton. “When I was studying abroad, I needed to show to the others that I was scholarsh ip-worthy and that drove me to excel and top the others,” he says. He returned to Malaysia in 1973 with a diploma and a professional registration with the Royal Institute of British Architects. He became an architect with the Urban Development Authority and had risen to deputy director of the technical services division when he left in 1978 to set up his own practice. HAJ dan Rakan-Rakan was subsequently renamed Hajeedar and Associates Sdn in 1983. It was one of the very few Malay architectural firms at that time and since then its growth has kept pace with the country’s economic development. Even so, Hajeedar has insisted on keeping it as a small outfit so that he can run it “my way” – where his architectural ideas still see light of day as freehand sketches and renderings! Hajeedar was PAM president from 1985 to 1987, when he was also on the board of Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia and a member of its disciplinary committee. His opinions were sought in, among others, the development of KL city, nurturing of a national culture and in national planning. He was also involved in the establishment of the Aga Khan Foundation for Islamic Architecture. Currently, Hajeedar is grooming budding architects as an adjunct professor in the School of Architecture at Universiti Putra Malaysia. Last year, the school exhibited and published his works at its Putra Architectural Exhibition 2012. At 67, he contemplates retirement but in the same breath insists, “I will continue to practise while I can and am healthy to do so. On being awarded the PAM Gold Medal, he says, “I don’t go for accolades. I’d rather my clients say he’s okay, so let’s appoint him. At least I got it (the Gold Medal) during my lifetime and not posthumously! “The award is not only an honour but also a humbling event in my life.”





Glenmarie to host university metropolis The live-and-learn integrated development of Paramount Utropolis will have a GDV of between RM750 million and RM800 million by G  unaprasath Bupalan

IN t he past, u n iversit y towns were commonplace around the world, where settlements developed around institutions of higher learning and grew into urban centres. That concept is now taking on a 21st century transformation and termed a university metropolis. This time around, a university is being built within an existing commercial and residential area, as unveiled recently by Paramount Property (Glenmarie) Sdn Bhd, a division of Paramount Corporation Bhd. Pa ra mou nt Ut ropol i s, with a gross development value (GDV) of between RM750 million and RM800 million, is to emerge in Glenmarie, Shah Alam, anchored by the new campus for KDU University College. The developer sees it as a l ive -a nd-lea r n s el f- contained integrated development. The overall development will be across 21 acres of freehold land at Jalan Kontraktor U1/14. Of this, 11 acres are for the integrated development of 120,000sq ft of retail space, 1,000 units of serviced apartments spread across six blocks, 400 units of SoHos and approximately 4,600 car parking bays. The other 10 acres will house the university. It will include fully-equipped halls that can hold up to 250 people each, 60 state-of-the-art classrooms for lectures, tutorials and discussions, a 50,000sq ft library, discussion cubes, a multi-purpose hall and a 500-bed student village. Paramount believes that as a university metropolis, the township would always be vibrant with the constant infusion of students. Commercial and retail enterprises will see strong business activities in catering to the students, and property investors would benefit from steady demand for residen-

tial housing from students and faculty. The myriad of activities in a campus environment means com mu n it ies around them get to gain from the spillover benefits from a host of activities that they too can enjoy, for instance music, the performing arts and sports. “University metropolises always stay relevant and seldom become unfashionable; in fact most university towns gain stature and eminence as the universities The serviced apartments and SoHo units at Paramount Utropolis will mature,” said Paramount come with full amenities, including Group CEO Chan Say Yeoa pool Front view of Paramount Utropolis, a learning, commercial, retail and residential hub in Glenmarie ng. “Furthermore, many students opt to continue living and working in the vicinity, creating a growing community around the area, just like Boston in the United States, Berlin in Germany as well as Oxford and Cambridge in England.” Designed by architect firm SA Architects whose portfolio includes Tijani 1 & 2 bungalows, Ken ny Hills, Bayrocks, Sunway South Quay, Sunway VivalThe 120,000sq ft retail centre will act as a beacon for the Utropolis di, Desa Sri Hartamas, Ze- community and those in Glenmarie Paramount Utropolis will have over 400 SoHo units designed for nia, Desa Park City, The entrepreneurs w i l l b e p r o g r e s s i ve l y open for sale by March. Residence Mont Kiara and launched. According to the “The pricing of around ing that it will be just half an Kiara Hills, the developmanagement, units will be RM580psf offered by the hour away from the Kuala ment’s first phase, comprissold from RM550psf to RMdeveloper is attractive, as Lumpur city centre. ing serviced suites and the 650psf. UOA will be launching its For commuters, the Batu university, is set to be comThe facilities floor at the Kencana Square's SoHo at Tiga and Subang Jaya KTM pleted in 2015, with the enserviced apartments will R M8 0 0 p sf a nd D i j aya stations are nearby, as will tire project to be completed have a swimming pool, deck launched the first phase of the extended Kelana Jaya in seven years. and rainforest-inspired garTropicana Metropark serLRT line. Once developed, the residens, while a large landviced apartments at around Besides the new KDU Unidential and commercial scaped area at the forecourt RM600psf last November,” versity College campus, curcomponents will have a of the drop off area coupled said RHB Research Institute rent pre-schools as well as two-storey retail mall that with a canopy will create a analyst Loong Kok Wen. i nter nat iona l a nd loca l holds up to 50 retail outlets grand welcoming space for “The GDV is likely to be schools offering primary featuring alfresco dining, visitors to the mall. revised upwards, as the and secondary education Natural lighting and speciallyentertainment outlets, groThis design is the work of current RM800 million is are within a 10km radius of designed learning pods at the KDU ceries, banks and various University College campus aim to landscape designers Urban based on an average pricing Paramount Utropolis. services. Both levels of the Design Group, which is also of RM500psf, which we The same goes for medical inspire thinking and promote r e t a i l m a l l w i l l h ave learning responsible for the landthink is rather conservative. and healthcare centres, po“ground floor” frontage as s c ap e d e s i g n s o f t h e Prices for the subsequent lice stations, fire and rescue an access road will serve market,” he added. A’Famosa Golf Resort clubphases are expected to departments, hypermarkets the first floor shops, while a The group has a landbank house and Safari World in catch up with the neighand shopping arcades as covered walkway linking of 800 acres in Petaling Jaya, Malacca, the Equatorial Hill bourhood,” she added. well as mosques. all the different parts of the Klang, Cyber jaya, Shah Resort Hotel in Cameron This move is expected to On funding for the prodevelopment will make it Alam, Kota Damansara, Highlands, The Horizon in transform Glenmarie from ject, Chan said the company pedestrian friendly. Sungai Petani in Kedah and Bangsar South and the East an industrial area into a viis exploring various options. The serviced apartment Iskandar Malaysia in Johor Lake Residence at Seri Kembrant learning, commercial, "We will finalise the financunits will come in sizes of worth a total of RM8 billion bangan. retail and residential hub. ing structure very soon. It 690sq ft, 900sq ft and in GDV, which will keep it Two blocks of serviced There will be ready acshould be a combination of 1,100sq ft with studio, twobusy till 2020. Its unbilled apartments comprising 414 cess to this development, bank (borrowings) and (funbedroom and three-bedsales as at end-2012 stood at semi-furnished units will be with the developer claimdraising from the) capital room combinations that RM250 million.

Properties Japanese investors favour FROM COVER

A READ t h rough some property acquisitions by Japanese corporations in recent times reveals these to be predominantly situated in central locations well served by transport infrastructure and possessing vast prospects for growth or redevelopment. Essentially, these make for excellent investments with longer-term potential. Early this month, Japan’s second largest developer, Mitsubishi Estate Company (MEC), bought its first property in London, the 1-19 Victoria Street in Westminster, for £180 million (RM868 million). The 10-storey, 340,000sq ft building located 200m from the British Parliament is let to a government department until 2021 with annual income of about £9.2 million (RM44 million), according to

Property Investor Europe news. The British property investing arm of the Tokyolisted group has been an active developer in London, developing Patermoster Square near St Paul’s Cathedral and the mixed-use Central St Giles site in Camden. The £450 million (RM2.2 billion) project at the site was completed in 2010 and the building put up for sale. MEC was also actively investing in 2011. In the United States, the company via subsidiary Mitsubishi Estate New York Inc jointly acquired with Rockefeller Group International Inc an office building, with rentable floor area of 291,480sq ft, located at 1101 K Street in central Washington DC. An MEC press release, which said it will expand

its real estate business in the US, described the K Street location as an “extremely prime” area for offices as a large concentration of businesses is situated nearby including a convention centre, law firms and consulting companies. In China, MEC has plans to set up a representative office in Shanghai considering the cou ntry’s long-term growth. In Singapore, it announced it will participate in a project jointly with CapitaLand Residential Singapore Pte Ltd to develop condo m i n iu m s i n B i s h a n Central. The project marks the second major Asian collaboration between CapitaLand and MEC outside of Japan, after another project in Vietnam. Locally, another major Japanese developer, Mitsui Fudosan, together with Ma-

laysia Airports Holdings Bhd, last year announced plans to develop Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA on 49 acres at KL International Airport in Sepang. Elsewhere, Mitsui Fudosan said it will grow its retail and residential property business in key cities in China and East Asia. Meanwhile, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (Malaysia) Bhd has played a meaningful role in our country’s development over the past 55 years and worked with the government to attract Japanese investment under the Look East policy. The bank has also arranged one-on-one meetings with its major clients for government entities that include Ma laysia Proper t y I nc (MPI). One of its initiatives involved the December 2012

trips together with MPI, Sunway Group and SP Setia Bhd to Tokyo and Osaka to explore the possibility of establishing collaborations between the Malaysian developers a nd Japa nese companies in township development in addition to he ig ht e n i ng awa r e ne s s among Japanese investors on property investment opportunities here. The Sunway Group management team comprised Daniel Lim, chief operating officer, property development division; Joyce Sin, senior general manager, marketing and sales/customer relations; and Gerard Yuen, GM, marketing and sales. Lim, in response to Real Reserve questions, said the Japanese corporations are generally aware of Malaysia, especially Sunway Iskandar,

but the general public lacks basic knowledge on property purchase here. On what Sunway Group has learnt from the trips, he said, “Japanese are keen to invest in Southeast East Asian markets; and Japan’s domestic market is declining, hence their companies are looking to expand overseas.” Lim added that MPI is providing a good platform to promote local real estate to the international market and “Sunway Group will definitely consider future business-to-business trips with MPI”. SP Setia, however, declined comment. Real Reserve’s interview with Kumar Tharmalingam, CEO of MPI (and who has since retired having completed his contract with MPI recently), will appear in the next issue.








Going green makes good business sense Landlords can’t ignore the fact that environmentally friendly buildings attract higher-rent-paying tenants


THE tremendous growth in economic activity across the globe is placing pressure on our natural and environmental resources. There is increasing evidence that human activities are causing irreversible damage to the global environment, which will have an adverse impact on the quality of life of future generations. It was recently reported that Beijing was enduring the highest levels of air pollution on record. Under China's plans for greater urbanisation, about 70% of its population are expected to live in cities by 2035. The current figure is about 50%. More highrises will be needed to satisfy living and working demands. Driven by this huge demand for space, about two billion square metres of new buildings are being constructed every year, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. It's reported that one new tall building is completed every five days in China. However, more than 80% of these new highrises are not green and they use high levels of energy. More than 95% of the existing 40 billion square metres of buildings also consume high levels of energy and lack sustainability features. A stringent and complete evaluation standard on green buildings is said to be urgently needed. The rising concern for the environment in response to global warming is driving the Chinese government to seek sustainable solutions for their cities or face the consequences. Singapore has set a good example for its neighbouring countries in promoting green buildings and an ecological city environment. With limited land and resources, the

authorities early on realised the importance of sustainable development and promoted green buildings as one of the strategic national policies. It launched initiatives to promote green buildings and targeted to greening at least 80% of its buildings by 2030. In 2005, it launched the Green Mark Scheme, an incentive campaign worth S$100 million (RM248 million) to encourage building owners to upgrade their existing buildings to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It has achieved commendable results.

Why eco-buildings

Have you ever walked into a shopping mall, office or government building and find that the temperature is freezing? Many buildings have very poor energy footprint due to a lack of understanding of sustainable (or green) buildings. The real estate industry is a significant contributor to global warming due to extensive energy use in buildings. In some countries, the built environment accounts for about 40% of the energy used. Therefore, there is an imperative for the industry to develop sustainable building technologies and green buildings. In Malaysia, the thrust of new green buildings is mainly confined to the commercial sector – office, hotel and retail. Although we use the word “green” or “eco” branding for residential developments, there haven’t been any large scale residential projects that incorporate the green standards yet. What is encouraging is that Malaysia is waking up to the need for sustainable cities for the future and it is projected that 26 million square feet of new construction in the pipeline will be green. A green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use – energy, water and materials – while reducing its impact on human

health and the environment during the building’s lifecycle. This is achieved through better design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal of wastes. Green buildings are designed to save energy and resources, harmonise with the local climate, improve the quality of life of its occupants, have significant operational savings, increase productivity and provide the right message about a company or an organisation.

Rating systems

The green building movement has led to the emergence of various green rating systems. The predominant ones are: BREEAM - Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, which is widely used in the UK; LEED - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, developed by the US Green Building Council and used in the US; Green Star - Developed by the Green Building Council of Australia and used in Australia, CASBEE - Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency, developed by Japan Sustainable Building Consortium and is used in Japan; Green Mark - Used in Singapore and mandated by the Building and Construction Authority for all new development and retrofit works; and NABERS - National Australian Built Environment Rating System managed by the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change. Of all the systems, the one I like the best is NABERS as it is the only rating system that measures ongoing operational performance.

Facts landlords can’t ignore

Our country is a late starter in

developing green buildings but has made tremendous progress since 2008 with the formation of the Malaysian Green Building Confederation (MGBC), supported by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM). Shortly thereafter, MGBC launched its green building rating programme called Green Building Index (GBI). It later developed Green Pages Malaysia, an information resource directory of green products and processes, and is highly commendable because it takes into account the local conditions and has incorporated the best of the other standards listed above. Whether the government should mandate green construction is always debated. As the population and economy grow, demand for energy has to be met. The need for buildings to reduce their energy footprint becomes imperative as that puts less pressure on new supply and investment in energy supply and transmission. Not to mention the fact that energy costs are continuously rising and impacting businesses. For now, there are no plans for mandated regulations although local authorities are looking into imposing green features in order to obtain the approval of new building permits. The way to grow the green agenda for now is for the government or government-l i n ked compa n ies (GLCs) to lead the way by embracing green buildings for all new projects. If you look back in history, the US government was one of the first major building owners to embrace levels of LEED construction in many building projects of its agencies and departments. In essence, it took a voluntary programme and mandated a given level of performance for government buildings. Some of our more notable

The PTM ZEO (zero energy office) building in Putrajaya by Tenaga Nasional Bhd is an example of an eco-conscious initiative led by a GLC

developers are constructing green buildings to attract multinational clients. It is becoming apparent that the drive for this product will come from our foreign clients initially. In fact, when I asked an owner what rent premium he could get for his green building from local tenants, his answer was “zero”. Unfortunately, the general sentiment among developers is that green buildings cost higher than similar conventional buildings, and it is difficult to get positive returns on this extra investment. This issue is mainly due to: • The still-evolving nature of green buildings; • Lack of technical information; • Incomplete/inefficient execution of green projects; and • Short-term view on returns, instead of focusing on lifetime return on investment (ROI) of these buildings. For property owners, going green cannot be ignored if they want to be in business over the long term. Green buildings are cheaper to run, attract higher-rent-paying tenants, and create an environment where workers feel much more comfortable – facts we can’t ignore as landlords. It makes very good business sense and has to be considered as part of the overall investment. Owners do not have to go for the highest rating but strive for a lower energy footprint for their buildings.

For Malaysia’s GBI, once a building obtained it, it lasts for three years and has to be assessed after that for renewal, unlike the Australian NABERS which demands an annual audit and the energy footprint made public. The question is, how will the ongoing re-certification programme be conducted if there is a huge supply of green buildings to audit. Or will the owners quietly forget to renew their GBI certification once their buildings are full. This remains to be seen. To conclude, what is important is that while there has to be more effort to construct green buildings, it is so much more important to encourage owners of existing ones to reinvest in their properties to make them more energy efficient. In fixing our buildings, we fix our planet at the same time. Why don’t you replace that 10-year-old air-conditioner in your home with a more energy efficient one and raise the temperature setting, insulate your roof, or switch your home lighting to LED types as a start? You can make a difference. Datuk Stewart LaBrooy is a prominent speaker on conventional and Islamic REITs in the region. He is chairman of the Malaysian REIT Managers Association, a board member of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association and CEO of Axis REIT Managers Bhd, the first REIT listed on Bursa Malaysia in 2005.

Loos with a full view of London by Pavither Sidhu THE Shard in London, a skyscraper rising 1,016sq ft, will not be the only newest place to have a panoramic view of the city. Its toilets on the 68th floor, which are 800ft up in the air, promise spectacular vistas as well with their full length windows looking out to River Thames, Tower of London and 30 St Mary Axe, known as The Gherkin, in the city’s financial district. The main attraction will be the spectacular 40-mile vista from The View, which opens on Feb 1. Tickets for the first and second days c o s t i n g u p t o £ 24 .9 5 (RM120.21) for adults and £18.95 (RM91.30) for children are sold out. The View’s chief executive, Andy Nyberg, said it is the only venue where people can see the whole of London at one place, making it a natural starting

point to explore the United Kingdom’s capital. According to the Daily Mail, the main toilets are located on level 1 of The View while a limited number of “loos with a view” are situated on level 68 but these are not normally open for general use. Visitors can use one of the four lifts to access the viewing galleries, situated from levels 68 to 72, in less than 60 seconds. Here, they can view for free through 12 special telescopes known as Tell:scopes. These are especially useful when visibility is poor as they show not only a live “as it is” image but also, at the push of a button, a choice of a clear day, sunset or night view. Besides, the telescopes can zoom into particular landmarks and provide information via the release of aud ible i n for mat ion on those sights. The £2 billion (RM9.6 bil-

These toilets on the 68th floor of The Shard are not your usual ones as they command a panoramic view of the city

lion) triangular glass tower has 600,000sq ft of offices, three floors of restaurants, 200-room Shangri-la hotel and 10 apartments at the

top priced at £50 million (RM241 million). Of course, their occupants would get to enjoy great views from their loo.

The RM9.6 billion triangular skyscraper, opening in February, promises to be London’s next big draw

In the viewing areas are 12 telescopes, called Tell:scopes, which are especially useful when visibility is poor due to the weather





How to make hotel rooms a safer place ACCORDING to a recent media report (Lawyer robbed while sleeping in hotel room, NST, Jan 19, 2013), Nurulhuda Mansor, a young lawyer from Shah Alam, Selangor, was robbed when she was sleeping in her hotel room in Penang. She lost her cell phone which was placed next to her and RM250 that she kept in her handbag. She had used the phone at 2am to call her husband. When she reported the robbery to the police, she was shown CCTV footage of two men loitering outside her room at 4.30am. “I am relieved I slept through the entire episode and am thankful that I was not harmed,” she said. The hotel management made no effort to extend any apologies or sympathy for her dreadful experience, she added. Unfortunately for members of the public who may be contemplating to visit Penang, the hotel’s name was not mentioned in the report. If identified, probably many among us would not stay there. The question that must be asked, upon reading her story, is this – can a hotel guest sue it for (a) the loss of her personal belongings, (b) the trespass into her private space, and (c) the trauma which ensued? Must she sue the hotel in contract (for breach of contract in ensuring the safety of a paying hotel guest)? In addition, or as an alternative, can she sue the hotel management in tort (for negligence, for failure to discharge a duty of care for the personal safety and safety of a hotel guest while she is on the premises)? These are complex legal issues which only a seasoned lawyer can answer. Assuming the action is grounded in con-

tract, the hotel management will probably deny there is such a contractual obligation; alternatively, even if there is such an obligation and a breach thereof has occurred, it will raise the usual limitation or exception clauses. It will say that it is liable only up to a certain limit (say RM100) and nothing more. A hotel guest who considers suing the hotel in contract may not bring the desired results, and may instead choose to file her action in tort, for negligence. For her to succeed, she must prove the following: • T hat the hotel management owes her a duty of care; • T hat, on the evidence, the hotel management has breached that duty of care; • T hat the breach has resulted in damage or loss to the hotel guest; • T hat the damage or loss is foreseeable. On the question whether a hotel management owes a duty of care to its hotel guests, let me quote some passages from an online portal ( hotelsecurity.html): “What degree of care constitutes the ‘reasonable care’ a hotel must provide? Many authorities hold hotel and innkeepers to the exercise of a very high degree of care. Recently, a court held that a person entering a hotel is entitled to expect far greater preparations to be made to secure his safety than one entering a private building … “The degree of care which a hotel must exercise for the safety, convenience or comfort of its guests may vary with the grade and perceived quality of the accommodations

Back to Nurulhuda’s story, we have no idea of the hotel offers. Additionally, a hotel can virtually set its standard of care by imple- what security system has been installed at menting certain customs or operating pro- her hotel room’s door. Is it the old way of uscedures. Once a standard of care has been ing a key to unlock or lock the door? Or is it set by the hotel, it will be held to it, regard- the modern electronic card system? In the past, the card had to be less of whether the inserted into the slot standard is higher AS PREVENTION IS and then withdrawn than that required by before the door can be the duty of ‘reasonaBETTER THAN CURE, opened from the outble care’. side; nowadays, you CONSIDER MAKING just tap it lightly and “In one case, a hotel the door will unlock was held liable for a YOUR OWN “ALARM for you. patron’s stolen propMost hotel rooms erty because the hotel SYSTEM” IN ADDITION h ave s a f e t y b olt s, had an inadequate sewhich the guest should curity force on duty at TO THE EXISTING turn or activate when the time of the theft. SECURITY FEATURES he or she is already in At one time the hotel the room. If that is had a larger force to done, it will be virtualcountermand a small crime wave that had hit the hotel. When the ly impossible for anyone on the outside to number of criminal incidents decreased, so gain access into the room. Not everyone has the presence of mind or did the hotel’s security force? The plaintiff forethought to put a wedge under the hotel guest was robbed shortly thereafter …” room’s door or place a chair or something In 2010, a Saudi Arabian princess and four against the door when we sleep. Few would bother to make our own “alarm other persons stayed at the Wyndham London Chelsea Harbour Hotel. She later sued system” – such as stacking something like the hotel for the loss of her jewellery and cash glasses or cups or other objects (which make amounting to US$16 million. She blamed ho- noise when they fall) against the door. Perhaps, in light of Nurulhuda’s story, we tel group Wydham Worldwide Corporation for its lack of security as well as its “rude and should consider doing that when we stay in a hotel. unhelpful” staff. In its defence, the hotel management said the valuables should have been kept in a bank Salleh Buang is senior advisor of a company specialor a safety deposit box at the hotel’s reception ising in competitive intelligence. He is also active in training and public speaking. instead of in the room.


Dubai or not Dubai Four years after falling from grace as the world’s icon for property development, this city state of the United Arab Emirates is poised to reclaim its title by ANDREW WONG IT is being hailed as “the world’s strongest housing market” and the place where some of best luxury highrises will once again take shape. This is Dubai, once the darling of the world for the amount of money that was being pumped into it to turn its 4,114 square kilometres into a development jewel not only of the United Arab Emirates but also the world. Sporting greats such as the world’s tallest superstructure (the 829.8m high Burj Khalifa), the world’s largest retail centre (the 12 million square feet Dubai Mall), the sevenstar Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel and the underwater Atlantis hotel resort at The Palm which boasts 1,539 rooms and a 40-acre aquaventure theme park, Dubai’s world came crashing down in 2009, when property prices fell by over 50% some four years after the United States’ property market collapsed. But the playground of the rich and famous is now on the path to strong recovery, with a research house saying the recorded 13.46% surge in its 2012 residential property index has made Dubai the “strongest market in the

world” as in the same year, other key cities experienced price declines: London by 4%, Singapore by 3% and Tokyo by 2%. Global Property Guide attributed Dubai’s growth as a return of investors attracted by the city state’s zero tax on capital gains for property sales and rental yields and noted that in 2012, new iconic developments such as The Address luxury hotel, MBR City and a new community development by Meydan were announced. Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) affirmed in its 2012 Middle East and North Africa Real Estate Investor Sentiment Survey that Dubai is “now the favourite destination in the region for overseas investors looking to boost their income” due to the tax-free environment and that its “property market is proving to be a key investment vehicle, not only for institutional investors but also individuals who recognise the medium to long term gains available in a strengthen real estate market”. JLL a l so h ig h l ig hted Dubai’s tourism sector being a driving force in the commercial segment, with hotel occupancy and room rates at the highest since 2008.

DUBAI’S 13.46% SURGE IN ITS 2012 RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INDEX HAS MADE IT THE STRONGEST MARKET IN THE WORLD Said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of Damac Properties, the largest private property developer in the Middle East: “Dubai is an international metropolitan city, in a strategic trading hub between the east and west … as tourism continues to rise by as much as 10% per year, more international clients interested in real estate

The highrise high life is once again envisaged for this city largely made up of expats

will recognise the emirate as a safe and profitable destination in which to invest.” Buoyed by the return of investors, Damac recently launched a 295-unit, 53-storey serviced apartment project called The Distinction in Downtown Dubai to cater to the top-end luxury segment and is slated to have a total of 4,000 luxury serviced hotel apartments under development by the end of next year. However, foreign investors will need to be cash rich as the UAE central bank in December limited the amount of loans foreign purchasers can borrow to 50%. On whether the move will cause Dubai to lose its growth momentum, analysts said they believe it was introduced to deter the unchecked speculation that caused the last property boom.

The Jumeirah beach resort is one of the city state’s prized icons

Branded residences and “pentominiums” were once very much in vogue

“Previously, some banks lent as much as 85% to some projects … the question now is

whether the additional 35% in cash buyers will have to raise will become a deterrent.”




TMR - Real Reserve 25/1/2013  

The Malaysian Reserve - Real Reserve Supplement

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