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New Horizons - Iskandar Malaysia

by Khalil Adis - Property Report Singapore-Malaysia-Indonesia  - June 2009 - Features

Where are some of the promising hotspots for real estate in the world? Amidst the doom and gloom, Property Report discovers there are ambitious developments currently underway in Iskandar Malaysia, Da Nang in Vietnam and London which could spell good news for investors and developers when the global economy recovers.

Iskandar Malaysia
Cutline: According to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), as at April 2009, Iskandar Malaysia has attracted close to RM42.6 billion worth of committed investments by both local and foreign investors.

Iskandar Malaysia is a special economic zone covering an area of 2,217 sq km. It is meant to complement Singapore’s growth strategy with an environment that provides an alternative "quality of life”. The idea was mooted back in July 2005 when the federal government asked Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) to conduct a feasibility study for the development of a special economic zone in South Johor, Iskandar Development Region (IDR). A Special Projects Team (SPT) was then formed in Khazanah to undertake the task of preparing a Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for the zone’s development.

As part of the feasibility study, senior officers from the federal government and the Johor State government were seconded to the SPT for this purpose. The SPT team also included outside consultants and subject matter experts in fields such as town planning, real estate, economic and financial planning, environmental planning, legal and regulatory, marketing, business process reengineering, social policy, strategy and local government.

In October 2005, Khazanah presented to the National IDR Planning Committee, a Conceptual Outline Plan for the IDR. The committee was jointly chaired by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Johor Chief Minister, with Khazanah acting as the secretariat for the Committee. The committee concluded that there was strong economic, social and developmental rationale to create the IDR.

On 4 November 2006, the IDR was officially launched by His High Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor, and witnessed by former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Chief Minister of Johor Dato’ Haji Abdul Ghani Othman with the vision to make south Johor the new international address for business, investment, leisure and culture. This marked the beginning of an exciting and dynamic phase of South Johor’s economic development as outlined in the form of the CDP. IDR was rebranded as Iskandar Malaysia in April 2008.

A special access card prototype is currently being studied to make travel between Singapore and Iskandar more seamless and convenient. It is currently being tested in the laboratory. Following that will be three to six months of testing. The access card should be ready by end 2009, if all goes on track.

Investments to date
Iskandar Malaysia aims to attract RM50 billion in investments within the first five years and up to RM370 billion over 20 years. According to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), as at April 2009, Iskandar Malaysia has attracted close to RM42.6 billion worth of committed investments by both local and foreign investors.

When completed in 2025, Iskandar Malaysia will comprise a high-tech park, an educational hub, gated residential estates, logistics and industrial precincts, hospitals, marina, world-class hotels, waterside villas and theme parks. The area includes the logistic triangle of Senai Airport to the north, Port of Tanjung Pelepas (South West) and Johor Port in Pasir Gudang (South East).

Commitment from the Malaysian government
The Malaysian government is serious about making the Iskandar project come to fruition. At Cityscape Asia, Property Report managed to speak to the chief executive officer of Iskandar Investment Berhard (IIB), Arlida Ariff, who shared with us pertinent information that was not public knowledge to assure Singapore investors at Cityscape Asia recently.

Firstly, current Prime Minister Najib Razak, has allocated a substantial amount of money for Iskandar Malaysia when he announced the second stimulus package – a signal that the Malaysian government wants Iskandar Malaysia to succeed.

“When he announced the second stimulus package, of the RM60 billion, RM1.75 billion was for Iskandar. We were the only economic region that received any substantial numbers to show that the government is helping to go ahead with the progress and this was a Najib initiative,” says Ariff.

Secondly, Prime Minister Najib Razak was the person who was responsible for brokering Iskandar Malaysia’s first biggest property deal.

“Datuk Seri Najib was the first to be involved in putting us together with Mubadala through his own relationship with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Our first biggest property deal with a foreign investor was brokered by Datuk Seri Najib,” Ariff says.

These two reasons, says Ariff, are clear signs from the Malaysian government that should assure wary Singapore investors.

“Our response to Singaporeans who weren’t certain that that could be a U-turn in the government policy, that is just to say that strictly from actions that the current Prime Minister has done, shows that the government will continue to be supportive and promote Iskandar in the same manner of the previous administration,” Ariff says.

Ambitious projects
Some of the most notable projects here are those by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB). They include Medini and EduCity. Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini) is IIB’s mixed-use flagship development which was launched in 2008 at the Cityscape Dubai 2009. The development boasts an Iskandar Financial District (IFD), which aspires to be the hub for Islamic Banking locally and regionally. Groundworks have already started at Medini and development will move into building phase by end of this year. Medini is being co-developed with Middle Eastern investors such as Mubadala, Millennium, Kuwait Finance House and Aldar. Collectively, they have invested US$1.2 billion, making up 10 percent of IIB’s capital raised to date.
Another project is EduCity @ Iskandar, IIB’s education hub. The area is based on a multiversity concept with common facilities offered by selected leading universities in the world. Groundworks have begun at EduCity @ Iskandar. The first university to open, in 2011, will be Newcastle University Medicine (NUMed) Malaysia, which opens its first branch campus outside the UK. Meanwhile, IIB is currently exploring cooperation with education investors from Europe, US and Australia for the educational hub.

To support Iskandar Malaysia’s growth, a mixed development project is underway in the form of Nusajaya. Comprising 24,000 acres of contiguous development-ready land, Nusajaya is one of the largest property developments in Southeast Asia. Nusajaya comprises seven signature developments - Kota Iskandar (Johor state new administrative centre), the Southern Industrial and Logistics Clusters (SiLC), Puteri Harbour Waterfront Development, EduCity, Afiat Healthpark, International Destination Resort and Nusajaya Residences, all within a city.

Nusajaya Residences
Located just 15 minutes away from Singapore, Nusajaya Residences comprises East Ledang, Horizon Hill, Ledang Heights and Nusa Idaman. They provide high-quality landed residential properties at half the value compared to Singapore properties. This makes it an attractive draw for Singaporean looking for a good quality of life with excellent medical facilities at a fraction of Singapore’s costs. Nusajaya Residences comes with 24-hour security and CCTV monitoring by trained security personnel.

East Ledang
East Ledang was officially launched on 23 February 2008. Costing RM1.2 billion to build, East Ledang offers landed homes built around the concept of ’East meets West’ set in the lush tropical garden. Two type of homes are offered here – twin villas and linked duplexes. East Ledang is the only residential development in Malaysia to have 31 themed gardens that include a 20-acre forest, wetland gardens and lake gardens, creating a resort-like ambience. 861 state-of-the-art dwellings will be developed over seven phases. Phase 1, also known as Serenity Park, has a total of 139 units including 52 twin villas and 87 link duplexes. East Ledang is developed by UEM Land and is now available for investment.

Horizon Hills
Horizon Hills is a unique residential development set around an RM30 million 18-hole championship golf course designed by renowned golf course designer, Ross Watson. It features a mix of terraced clustered, semi-detached, bungalow homes and condominiums. All the homes are built on the natural undulating and elevated terrain providing panoramic views of the golf courses and even Singapore. There are 6,000 residences offered at Horizon Hills in 12 precincts. They include the Gateway, the Golf, the Hills, the Cove, the Island, the Wetland, the Waterfall and the Expat Village. To date, 465 units of residences have been sold with total sales of RM200 million. Horizon Hills is developed by Horizon Hills Development Sdn Bhd a joint venture between UEM Land and Gamuda Land Sdn Berhad. It is now available for investment.

Ledang Heights
Ledang Heights is an exclusive bungalow enclave located in the prime residential area of Nusajaya. Designed and laid out to make the most of the 360 acres of rolling hills, Ledang Heights offers generous plot sizes for investors or owners to build their dream homes. Spaciousness is a definitive feature of Ledang Heights with its picturesque lake vistas and lush green central park. Its unbeatable location makes it only a 30 minute drive from downtown Singapore.

Nusa Idaman
Nusa Idaman is a mixed development spanning 250 acres in the suburbs of Nusajaya. This mixed development was the first in Malaysia to introduce anti-termite homes, precinct concept, single entry and exit points, low density, lush parks and family recreation space. This residential precinct which is adjacent to a 650-acre urban forest (Regional Open Space) also features a large linear park. The development components of Nusa Idaman are residential and commercial units, kindergarten, primary school, mosque, a community hall, public field, recreation lake, petrol stations, landscaped parks and vista points.

Leisure Farm Resort
Leisure Farm offers countryside living, just 15 minutes away from Singapore. Located in Gelang Patah, Leisure Farm sits within the Southern Johor Economic Region. The residences here are nestled amidst rolling hills and picturesque waterways. Seven themed bungalow precincts are being offered at Leisure Farm Resort. The Merbok Springs and Victoria Meadow Estate Precincts offer luxurious villas that speaks of refined living. Palm Grove and Polo View Precincts feature prime bungalow lots stretched over 1/3 acre with chic or opulent villas. Meanwhile Bayou Bay and Bayou Grove Precincts offer bungalow lots fronting pristing waterways.

· Total investment to date is RM42.1 billion.
· Total Iskandar Malaysia GDP is about US$20 billion in 2005, 60 percent of Johor’s total GDP of US$33.4 billion.
Current per capita GDP for Iskandar Malaysia is about US$14,790 which is higher than the Johor per capita GDP of US$10,757 but half of Singapore’s (about US$30,000).
· Services and manufacturing sectors are the two main pillars of Iskandar Malaysia’s economy, but services dominate by contributing about US$10 billion in Iskandar Malaysia.
· Within the services sector, wholesale and retail trade contributes 42.2 percent, Tourism and Hospitality (16.8 percent), Professional and Business (14.6 percent), Transport and Related (12.7 percent), Medical and Educational (6.7 percent), Financial (6.6 percent).
Property Report Facts
· Iskandar Malaysia covers a land size of 2,217 sq. km.
· 3 times the size of Singapore
· 48 times the size of Putrajaya
Source: Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA)

“The prototypes are ready to be tested out. We’ve installed several facilities on the Tuas side and our CIQ side. We are waiting for the legal aspects to be worked out. There will be a certain number of people to be given this access card to test it out. So we will go on a prototype first. Our target is before the end of the year, to progress to testing mode.” Arlida Ariff, Iskandar Investment Berhad CEO.

Published: Wednesday December 16, 2009 MYT 3:55:00 PM The Star

Pinewood Studios to invest in Iskandar Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Iskandar Malaysia will see the participation of Pinewood Studios Group, the largest stage provider in Europe, with an investment of RM400 million by 2013.

To be known as Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, the project will be located on 32 hectares of land in the region, said Khazanah Nasional Bhd's managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

According to him, the studio is expected to generate an economic profit of RM1 billion over a period of eight years.

Pinewood Studios has been known to host some of the silver screen's best moments, including movies such as James Bond, Batman, Lara Croft and Superman as well as feature films, television dramas, commercials, pop promotions, animation and photo shoots.

Situated west of London, it houses film stages, post production theatres, large digital television studios, an underwater filming stage, and location filming as well as a studio village with a wealth of specialist media and production support companies. - Bernama

Genting plans more attractions for Johor Premium Outlets

Friday August 6, 2010 By ZAZALI MUSA zaza@thestar.com.my

KULAIJAYA: Genting Bhd is planning to develop additional attractions such as a hotel and an international water theme park to complement its Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) here.

Chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay said it had conducted the study a year ago, and if there was a need, the attractions would be built in the second development stage of the JPO.

“We have not looked at how much will be invested on the additional attractions and they will be build according to market needs,” he said yesterday.

Lim was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the JPO outlet in Genting Indahpura mixed development township here by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

The project is a 50:50 joint venture between Genting’s 54.6% owned subsidiary Genting Plantations Bhd and Premium Outlets, a division of US-based Simon Property Group.

The RM149mil outlet with 330,000 sq ft built up area on a 17.8ha site, is the first of its kind in South-East Asia – there are 52 outlets in the United States, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.

Expected to open in the third quarter of 2011, it offers a wide selection of branded items such as designer fashions, sportswear, children’s wear, jewellery, shoes and fashion accessories at attractive discounted prices.

“We have plans to bring visitors at our Resorts World Sentosa and also Singaporeans via shuttle bus services to shop for branded items here,” said Lim.

He said apart from Singaporeans, the company would be targeting at rich Indonesians living in the republic and Indonesians from Jakarta and cities in Sumatra and Thais to come here.

Meanwhile, Ghani said the number of flights landing at Senai International Airport nearby, would be increased to cater the rise of visitors.

He said AirAsia in principle, had agreed to increase its flight frequencies to Senai when the JPO opened next year and in 2012, when Legoland Theme Park started operations.