As Malaysia celebrates its 60th anniversary of independence, we list down six Malaysian characteristics to show you’ve truly embraced the Malaysian culture.
By Khalil Adis
Having lived in KL for almost a year, my Malaysian friends have claimed that I have become more “Malaysian-ised”. Huh, you might ask. What does this mean? Let this Malaysian-ised-Singaporean list down the six common characteristics:
#1 You order “roti canai” not “roti prata”
Yes, if you don’t want Malaysians to know you’re a Singaporean, you say “roti canai” and not “roti prata” when you make your order at the local mamak (Indian coffeeshops which are mostly halal). Failing which, you will sure “kena ketuk” (Malay word for “taken advantage of”).
#2 You try not to pay for parking
Singaporeans are so used to pay for parking that we tend to do the same in Malaysia. However, there are ways that you can save up on your parking fees as traffic enforcements across the causeway is not as strict as Singapore’s.
One of the most common phenomena that I find in Malaysia is double parking. This means to double park on both sides of the road such that a four way lane has now become a one-way lane. I try not to do this as I do not want to inconvenience other drivers.
What I will usually do is to find a relative quiet area where I can park my car. I will usually do this in the early mornings at Endah Parade before heading to the gym. This saves me RM2 per day on parking fees. That’s RM60 in a month!
#3 You speak Manglish
Also known as Malaysian English, this is not too different from our Singlish (Singaporean English) with a mishmash of Malay-Chinese-Indian-English words all rolled into one.
A perfect example of Manglish is; “Mana you? I’m already at the mamak stall d lah!”.
(Translation: “Where are you? I’m already at the Indian coffeeshop already and have been waiting for you for the longest time!”)
#4 You type “Tq, Tq” in your WhatsApp conversations
Again, this is something that I find uniquely Malaysian. Most Malaysians that I know will type “Tq, Tq” in their WhatsApp conversations as an abbreviation of the word “thank you, thank you”.
I have yet to practice this as the writer in me still prefers to type “thank you” in full.
#5 You use the word “kut”
The word “kut” is greatly used in KL among Malays to emphasise something. For example, if you want to emphasise that someone has now become very rich, there’s no doubt about it, you say:
“Dia sekarang dah jadi orang kaya kut!”
(Translation: “He/she is now a very, very, very rich man/woman!”)
#6 You say you’re stuck in traffic (when you really aren’t)
Ok, I admit, I sometimes use this as an excuse especially when I have so much work to do and I am running late. But hey, since most KLites have told me this is a very valid excuse, this white lie is the only way for me to save my skin.
I try not to use this the next time. I promise!
One Bukit Senyum is a mixed development which comprises twin towers of service apartments (The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum), as well as phase two of One Bukit Senyum, which comprises of a shopping mall, grade A office tower, five-star hotel, Johor Bahru City Council’s headquarters, serviced apartments and residences. Photo: Astaka Holdings Limited
Conferment of One Bukit Senyum expected to play a key role in Johor’s transformation into a burgeoning metropolis of Malaysia
By Khalil Adis
Iskandar Malaysia’s property market received an added boost with the announcement by Astaka Holdings Limited that it has been granted node status by Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).
Located in Flagship A of Iskandar Malaysia, the node status refers to a designated area where the developer and promoted businesses can enjoy tax incentives.
“The node status accords Phase 2 of the project full income-tax exemption on proceeds from the sale and income derived from the leasing of all non-residential buildings,” said Singapore-listed Astaka Holdings Limited in a statement.
One Bukit Senyum is an upcoming RM5.4 billion administrative and commercial hub spanning 11.85 acres.
Phase 2 of One Bukit Senyum will include the new headquarters of the Johor Bahru City Council, a five-star hotel, serviced apartments and a premium shopping mall.
It will also come with branded residences and serviced residences.
“We are honoured that One Bukit Senyum has been awarded node status. This underscores the significance of our project and the trust that the Malaysian federal government and Johor state government have in Astaka,” said Astaka’s executive director and chief executive officer Dato’ Zamani bin Kasim.
“Landmark developments such as One Bukit Senyum, that is in Johor Bahru City Centre or Flagship A of Iskandar Malaysia, will attract new investments that in turn, create job and business opportunities for the rakyat. This development will also contribute to efforts to enhance Johor Bahru’s standing as one of the leading growth centres to spur the nation’s drive towards becoming a high-income nation.” said Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, chief executive of IRDA.
Astaka Holdings Limited is an award-winning property developer.
In 2015, it won Best Condo Development (Malaysia) at the Southeast Asia Property Awards (Malaysia).
A study conducted by a researcher at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute shows that the mega project in Iskandar Malaysia has negative effects ranging from ecological damage to environmental pollution.
By Khalil Adis
The controversial Forest City project appears to have adverse effects on the local community which include reduced fishing income, increased navigational dangers, more shallow and polluted waterways, noise and dust pollution, and dangers from speeding contractors’ and construction heavy vehicles.
This is according to a finding released on 22 June by ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
The ambitious 3,425 acres project spanning four different islands has been billed by the developer, Country Garden, as “a role model of a sustainable city smart city well ahead of its time”.
However, the Singapore-based research institute’s study shows otherwise highlighting habitat damage and mass fish death, as among the biggest issues.
Titled ‘The Socio-Cultural Impacts of Forest City’, the study was conducted by Serina Rahman, a visiting fellow under the Malaysia Programme.
According to the study, Forest City “is having a major impact on its neighbouring community, Mukim Tanjung Kupang”.
The study is based on the researcher’s extended fieldwork and total immersion in the villages around the Forest City development between 2008 and 2017.
Forest City is a mixed-use development project by Country Garden Pacific View (CGPV), a joint venture between Country Garden Group and Iskandar Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd.
Located off the Straits of Johor and within view from the Tuas Second Link, Forest City first gained attention sometime in 2014 when local fishermen had complained that it was affecting their livelihood, especially since it is located very near to the delicate Ramsar site.
However, it was Singapore’s official protest and clout on the international stage that finally brought the project to a grinding halt.
“Given Johor’s close proximity to Singapore, we are naturally concerned about any possible transboundary impacts on Singapore from property development projects that involve reclamation works in the Straits of Johor. There are also international obligations for both Malaysia and Singapore authorities to work closely on such matters. We have asked the Malaysian authorities to provide more information so that we can undertake a study as soon as possible on the impacts of these reclamation works on Singapore and the Straits,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement released on 21 June 2014.
The diplomatic spat attracted significant international attention and media coverage forcing both the state and federal governments to take action.
The federal government, via the Department of Environment (DOE), then intervened and asked the state government to comply with Malaysia’s commitment to international laws.
Following several diplomatic exchange, the project stopped work temporarily in June 2014.
This was after Singapore provided evidence at the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Commission on Environment in December 2014.
The DOE subsequently issued a letter to Country Garden to do a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) Report.
Interestingly, this was done only after the project had commenced massive land reclamations, contravening international laws.
In January 2015, the DOE finally issued a report and set new limits on the developer reducing its size from 1,600 hectare to less than 405 hectare.
While this had resulted in a major revamp of the master plan (the initial plan appeared to show part of the island under the Second Link), the study shows the damage has already been done.
We dissect the study and list down its key findings:
#1 Livelihood of fishermen affected
One of the most adverse impact arising from the project is on the livelihood of the local population.
Mukim Tanjung Kupang, where Forest City is located at, comprises nine villages whose inhabitants are mainly fishermen.
Of this, 250 are registered fishermen while many aren’t.
“Many others in the community depend on gleaning in the mangroves, mudflats and intertidal seagrass for their daily meals. These are the fishermen (and women) who are greatly dependent on the natural habitats for their subsistence and survival,” the study shows.
Additionally, the DEIA Report showed that the fishermen here earn an average household income figure of RM1,626.
This is based on the developer’s finding called ‘Forest City Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment’ report, after the DOE requested the developer to do so.
Citing a public dialogue in Kampung Pok that took place in September 2014, the study further mentioned a fisherman, Anuar Musa of Tg Kupang, who said that his income would be affected for the 30-year duration of the project.
Additionally, he had said that “no amount of money could compensate him for the shrinking catch that he was seeing ever since reclamation began.”
#2 Habitat damage and environmental pollution
Forest City is situated very close to the delicate mangroves area located at the Sungai Pulai Ramsar site.
Ramsar areas are recognised as wetland areas of international importance.
Measuring 9,126 hectare, Sungai Pulai was gazetted as a Ramsar site on 31 January 2003 and is the largest riverine mangrove system in Johor.
According to the study, some 2,000 acres of this site are now gone.
Instead, it will be converted into three golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and an accompanying resort complex.
During the public dialogue, other fishermen had reported on mass fish deaths in the area, providing clear evidence on habitat damage.
In addition, the clearing of mangroves and secondary forest and the building of the dispersal link have also generated dust and noise pollution.
“With access to these roads immediately in front of local villagers’ homes and shops, complaints about the dust have been rife. Houses are reportedly full of dust even when windows and doors are shut, and freshly laundered clothes hung out to dry come back covered in dust. Villagers on motorbikes and bicycles suffer from dust inhalation and particles in their eyes as they ride past these access areas. There have not been any studies or monitoring of local residents’ health issues as a result of the development. A few restaurants and food stalls close to the new dispersal link have shut down because of the pollution,” cites the study.
#3 Job displacement among locals
While the study did not mention how much their livelihood has been affected, the study suggests there is a possibility their income has been greatly reduced arising from the reported mass fish deaths.
“Some former fishermen take on other work to supplement reduced catch and increasing petrol costs, heading back to sea only when there is a guaranteed harvest. Most young men work in the port or in the private sector as lorry drivers, Rubber-Tyre Gantry (RTG) operators, factory workers, security guards, cleaners and other technical jobs,” the study says.
Local women are also affected.
“Several women supplement family incomes with online sales of cosmetics, baked goods and other items. Some in the community commute to Singapore for work in factories or as cleaners but usually for only short periods of time,” the study cites.
#4 Some fishermen received compensation, some did not
Additionally, according to a research paper titled ‘The Case of Forest City’ by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “Country Garden was forced to treat those it stood to impact with more care and respect”.
This was after the DOE’s intervention and the release of the DEIA Report.
“It held several community engagement meetings and gathered input from villagers through a number of local workshops. In addition, a new law was passed that taxed developers for every square foot of reclaimed land and used the proceeds to create a fund for fishermen impacted by the reclamation works. Approximately $30 million was projected to be collected, including from projects already underway. The Johor chief minister championed the program as evidence that Johor was taking care of its fishermen,” MIT’s report cites.
ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’s study concurs with this: “Since the stop-work order, there has been visible effort by CGPV staff to engage with the community. Several have proactively asked how else they might be able to support the villagers and meet their needs.”
However, it notes that only registered fishermen were eligible for compensation.
This compensation was only announced during the public dialogue where RM3 million was handed over from the developer to a group of community and fishermen’s representatives.
The first tranche disbursed was RM3,000 per fisherman with an additional RM1,000 given to those who owned boats.
This was paid soon after the public dialogue.
Subsequently, there were two other disbursements of between RM1,000 to RM3,000 each.
“The fishermen who were deemed eligible to receive these funds have been given about RM10,000 (S$3,200) each since the project began. Some of those without licenses but depended on fishing for their livelihoods were deemed ineligible for compensation,” the study cites.
According to the study, those awarded compensation were decided upon by the South Johor Fishermen’s Association and the head of each jetty.
However, many unregistered fishermen were unable to claim compensation as they, according to the study, “either fish for supplementary incomes or are unable to get fishing licences”.
“With fishing licences no longer being issued, this group of fisherfolk are not eligible for compensation, assistance or subsidised petrol,” the study shows.
#5 Compensations appear to be reserved for the selected few
Following the DEIA Report, the developer also started offering various compensation packages for the betterment of the community including employment opportunities.
“Aeron Munajat, CGPV’s Head of Corporate Communications revealed that CGPV spent more than RM1 million in 2016 alone supporting school programmes, workshops and courses, as well as contributing to the South Johor Fishermen’s Association, among others,” says the study.
As part of the compensation package, the DEIA Report had recommended that a ratio of at least 30 per cent be set aside for locally sourced employees.
However, not everyone has equal access to these compensations.
“The developer and the project’s proponents’ compensation and local employment efforts have not always reached those who need them most as opportunities are often reserved for the well-connected or appointed village representatives. Other local applicants often lack relevant work experience and face language and cultural barriers,” the study cites.
Additionally, the study shows that many villagers do not seem to be aware of the opportunities available.
The study notes the following: “Those who proactively asked for jobs were reportedly discouraged by middlemen and agents. Several have complained that opportunities to sell goods to construction workers (within and just outside their quarters) have gone to vendors from outside the community.”
Employment opportunities also come in the form of setting up shops.
Again, this proves to be problematic.
“Others comment that they cannot afford to pay the ‘rental’ rates imposed on those who take up stall spaces,” the study cites.
The study also conducted a survey among unemployed residents who have no political or family connections.
It said that while many were keen to find work in Forest City, the local villagers experienced a clash of cultures between local and Chinese customs, even among the local Chinese.
“Language barriers are often the primary obstacle for the villagers, with many being unable to speak English and even fewer able to speak Mandarin. Even local Chinese villagers have commented that while their children are able to get jobs in the project because of their ability to speak Mandarin, they do experience a great difference in language, work styles and attitudes between mainland and local Chinese,” the study says.
Not all is bad
Nevertheless, the study notes one positive outcome from Forest City.
“Positive feedback on the development does exist, with some shopkeepers reporting better business given increased numbers of people (whether workers, contractors or visitors) to the area. This is corroborated by the number of small businesses that has been set up around the contractors’ quarters’ entrance in Tanjung Kupang. These range from makeshift food and drinks stalls to grocery shops and suppliers of services. There are also a few new hardware supply stores in the vicinity,” the study cites.
With the project now in full swing, the study suggests the only way to move forward is for the relevant stakeholders to take steps to mitigate and reduce the negative impact on the local community so that they can also benefit from the Forest City project.
“The key to this are capable and credible expertise providing accurate information and the right advice, and the involvement of all levels of the community in deciding what they need and want, as well as ensuring that compensation offered and provided reaches those who need it the most,” the study concludes.
Greetings from KL!
I know it's the era of social media and bite-sized news where catchy headlines and viral posts rule the world. However, I am going to write this blog post the good-old fashioned way and keep it real.
Anyway, can you believe it? It's been nine months since my move to KL. This time round I had overcome the initial quirks of getting to know the city. In fact, this is my first time experiencing Ramadan in KL with its vibrant street bazaar, delicious local food and not to mention the sweltering heat.
However, it's not just the weather and the culture that I had gotten accustomed to. I had also survived taking the public transport (which I find highly inconvenient) and am now driving around KL's roads. I now begin to understand when KLites say: "It is better to drive then to take public transport".
I used to think how far Pasir Ris was to Jurong until I had to drive from Sepang all the way to Sungai Besi. It felt like an endless journey! So far, I had driven to two speaking engagements wearing my Baju Melayu, explored the nurseries at Sungai Buloh, went to the Ramadan bazaars in Puchong and delivered mattresses as well as groceries as part of my #projectspeakersgiveback CSR programme. Even with the help of the Waze application, I had made many wrong turns along the way as KL's road's and expressways can be quite confusing. I take this as part of my learning experience.
Looking back, I still cannot believe that I had survived driving around KL so far. This was good as I needed that spark to write my upcoming book. For months, I have been experiencing the much dreaded writer's block when writing about the train system in KL. The challenge is writing about public transportation and its impact on the property market in a way that will resonate with my readers. I mean, public transport isn't exactly a sexy topic. In comparison, writing Property Buying for Gen Y was effortless as I wrote about the struggles I had faced following a stream of consciousness. Now that I have experienced KL's roads first hand, it has become sort of a catalyst and inspiration for my manuscript. I will put in an equal dose of humour as well. Just wait!
On the work front, it has been keeping me very busy. I used to think I work hard in Singapore. However, I work much harder here throwing in almost 12 hours a work a day, travelling for meetings which can sometimes take me to Johor and back home to Singapore. Sometimes, I go up north to Penang. It made my work ethic back in Singapore look really sloppy. I'm not kidding!
My diet has also changed drastically. Gone are the fried stuff. I now eat salads and fruits everyday. This wasn't a conscious decision I assure you as I am not particularly bright in the kitchen department. I now even have my own herb garden in my balcony. I have also signed up at a local gym which I try to go to daily when work permits. I have to say though, I feel and look so much more healthier now.
On a more serious note, I do notice that bullying in Malaysia has become rather prevalent. I would often read about it in the local newspapers and my Facebook feeds. Bullying can manifest in many forms. They veer from hurtful online comments to physical abuse. Listen, bullying is never ok. Bullies are usually socially awkward and they cower when they are confronted one to one. I say this as I had experienced this personally. I take a strong stance on bullying. If you are on the receiving end of bullying, approach your teachers, managers, friends and family members for help. We are all born differently with unique gifts and talents. Learn to accept differences and respect them. Let's take time to reflect on this during this Ramadan.
Speaking of which, I know some of you may be busy making preparations for Hari Raya. However, let us not forget to help the less fortunate as well. You can do your part to ease their burden by visiting old folks home, the orphanage and so on. On my end, I am pleased to say two dormitories housing foreign workers are now well stocked with mattresses and groceries, under our #projectspeakersgivebackproject. Initially, they were in a deplorable state and not fit for human habitation. Many thanks to those of you who had lend your hand and thrown your weight behind this project. As we are heading to the tail end of Ramadan, let's make full use of this blessed month. Remember, goodness begets goodness. May your Ramadan this year be more meaningful.
Wishing you a blessed Ramadan.
Market watchers were anticipating Iskandar Malaysia to fail. However, the economic development region has proven detractors wrong with these mind blowing facts
On 21 May, Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Sultan Iskandar officiated the grand launch and the opening of sales gallery of Bukit Pelali at Pengerang, a 363-acre project that is Pengerang’s first strata township being developed by Johor-based Astaka Holdings Limited. Iskandar Malaysia, situated within Johor, is the most successful out of the five economic corridors in Malaysia. Photo: Astaka Padu
As Iskandar Malaysia surpasses its 10th year as of November 2016, it has continued to defy expectations with these five key achievements
By Khalil Adis
I recall covering Iskandar Malaysia when it was still very much in its early development stage sometime in 2008 as part of a special feature for Property Report.
Hosted by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), I had to wear rubber boots while government officials drove me around in a Land Rover over muddy roads as we cut through dense jungles and oil palm plantations in what is now known as Iskandar Puteri (then called Nusajaya) and Medini.
As we passed by what is now known as EduCity and Legoland I was blown away by the massive scale of Iskandar Malaysia’s development. It was, by far, the single largest development that I had covered when reporting on the ground.
As I headed back to Singapore to file my story, I called a few of my sources comprising analysts, and markets watchers on what they thought of this special economic zone.
“It will fail. Just look at Cyberjaya,” said one.
“Another white elephant project,” quipped another.
However, that all changed in 2011as bilateral ties between both countries started to warm .
That year witnessed Temasek Holdings announcing its investments in two sites in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia, now called Afiniti Medini and Avira.
This was followed with another S$3.2 billion worth of investment to build a township development on Danga A2 island in 2013.
As bilateral ties began to thaw, so did investors’ confidence.
At the peak of the market in 2011, Singaporeans were seen snapping up Iskandar Malaysia properties like hot cakes.
With the market now remaining somewhat muted and with concerns of oversupply, market watchers are again writing off Iskandar Malaysia.
Whether you like it or not, this “flash in the pan” has indeed come a long way. As Iskandar Malaysia celebrates its tenth year, we look back and list its five major achievements.
#1 RM227.67 billion in total cumulative committed investment as of 31 March 2017
Not bad. Not bad at all considering the federal had initially invested RM5.8 billion while the manufacturing sector contributed some RM5.5 billion during its initial phase in 2006. Since then, investment volumes have grown by leaps and bounds to reach RM227.67 billion as of 31 March 2017.
#2 Return of investment (ROI) of 3,825.34%
Now, let’s work on the ROI. With an initial investment from the federal government at RM5.8 billion in 2006 and a total cumulative committed investment of RM227.67 billion as of 31 March 2017 over a span of some 11.45 years, this works out to an investment gain of RM221.87 with an ROI of whopping 3,825.34 per cent! In terms of annualised ROI, this works out to 37.79 per cent. This pales in comparison to the paltry 1.0 per cent interest you get when you put your money in your Singapore bank account.
#3 The Chinese are coming in a big way with investments of RM24.61 billion
Bye-bye Singapore, hello China! Our tiny city-state no longer holds dominance as the single largest foreign investor in Iskandar Malaysia. In fact, for the past three years or so, China has been coming in droves and snapping up land parcels from Tanjung Pelepas all the way to Tebrau. The good - state government coffers stand to benefit which will have an indirect impact on Johoreans. The bad - concerns on the sustainability and the possibility of inducing price volatility in the property market once these mammoth projects are completed.
#4 61% of Iskandar Malaysia’s investments are by the domestic market
While some analysts have expressed concerns on the wave of Chinese investments and their potential repercussions, Iskandar Malaysia is still very much driven by domestic investments. Of the RM227.67 billion in total cumulative committed investment as of 31 March 2017, 61 per cent were driven by the domestic investments. This means, even if a foreign investor were to pull out (as in the case of Dubai’s Mubadala) or during a global economic crisis, Iskandar Malaysia can still hold out on its own due to its sheer domestic investment market size.
#5 56% investments worth RM138.61 billion have been realised as of 31 March 2017
Enjoy exploring LEGOLAND MALAYSIA or dining by the waterfront at Puteri Harbour? Perhaps some of you have even used your CPF Medisave for your medical treatment at Gleneagles Hospital Medini. Well, these completed projects that you see right now are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s still the remaining 44 per cent that has yet to come on-stream such as Motorsports City, Gerbang Nusajaya and of course the high-speed rail station. Once completed, all these will create around 257,100 additional jobs by 2030 in Iskandar Puteri, according to DTZ Research.
The key takeaway when investing in Iskandar Malaysia is this - you must be in for the long-haul in order to reap fully from your investment. It’s definitely not a market for those hoping to make a quick buck or for the cash-strapped.
Navigating the Malaysian property market can be daunting affair, especially for those just starting out. We list 8 property trends that every investor should watch out for in 2017.
By Khalil Adis
The property market outlook for next year is daunting with a general slowdown expected across all the property markets. From residential to commercial, experts at the recently concluded PropertyGuru 2017 Property Outlook Forum echoed similar sentiment.
“Based on the combined data from the PropertyGuru Property Price Index and official statistics, 2017 is expected to be another slow year for the property market. With the completion of many new developments flooding the market in 2017, there is likely to be a drop in selling price due to the lack of demand; and some may be motivated to move their units quickly due to their lack of holding power,” said Sheldon Fernandez, country manager of PropertyGuru Malaysia.
Indeed, the property market in Malaysia faces various challenges such as loan rejection by banks, rising costs of living and high unemployment rate among fresh graduates due mainly to their lack of proficiency in the English language.
In the first case, the loan rejections rate in Malaysia stands at around 40 per cent arising mainly due to non-payment of PTPTN (the National Higher Education Fund Corporation) and credit card loans.
In the second case, cost of basic good and necessities in Malaysia have gone up.
Data from the Statistics Department showed that the country’s consumer price index increased 1.4 per cent in October year-on-year.
This is slightly slower than the previous month's pace.
Government data also showed that there were increase in prices for food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco and housing.
Finally, according to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), unemployment among fresh graduates as of February 2016 stands at around 200, 000.
This does not include those who have just completed their diplomas, certificate programmes and Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
Collectively, these factors have had a huge impact on the property sector.
Despite the bleak outlook, not all is gloom and doom in the Malaysian property market.
In fact, there are still pocket of opportunities to be sought after by savvy investors.
Here, we list down our top ten property trends to watch out for in 2017.
Trend 1: Below market value homes
One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
With the sluggish economy, rising cost of living and tighter bank guidelines, home repossessions are on the rise.
While there is no official data avialable, agents specialising in below market value (BMV) properties are enjoying brisk business as the supply of such homes come on stream.
This presents a very good buying opportunity for the cash rich buyers as below market value homes come under the hammer.
BMV properties are typically those in the low-cost and medium cost segments
From an investment point of view, buying such properties makes sense as you can buy multiple of distressed assets equivalent to buying one from the primary or resale market.
Due to the lower acquisition costs, your rental yield is higher which ensures you can cover your mortgage (if you are taking a loan) or positive cash flow if you are buying it in cash.
However, due diligence is important so hire a good solicitor and agent to help you buy BMV properties.
Be prepared to cough up extra monies for unpaid maintenance fees, utility bills and quit rent (cukai pintu)
Trend 2: Transit oriented development
I had covered this extensively from my recent article on Propwall.
For more information, please click here
Trend 3: Hotel suites
The shringgit (shrinking ringgit), as what my Malaysian friends call it, does not necessarily spell bad new for the Malaysian economy.
In fact, the falling ringgit has helped to boost tourism arrivals and spendings, especially from my fellow countrymen in Singapore.
One product you may want to look into is hotel suites.
Good markets to focus on include Melaka, Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.
Make sure the hotel suites have a proper management arm and are located close to places of attractions and shopping centres.
Trend 4: Retail units
Retail units are closely intertwined with the shringgit and hotel suites as tourists flock to Malaysia as the get more bang for their bucks.
When investing in retail units, make sure you go for reputable developers with a property management arm.
The best development to go for are mixed-use development comprising residences, hotels and retail.
This ensures maximum human traffic patronising your stores.
Again, the good markets to focus on are similar to the one I mentioned above under hotel suites.
Trend 5: Smart and connected liveable townships
Malaysian Gen Ys are a discerning lot and they demand a lot more than just a roof over their heads.
As such, smart and connected (and by that, we mean Wifi) liveable townships are the way to go.
Developers also need to come up with more creative ways to differentiate and add value to their developments by creating a vibrant community.
For example, in 2014, UMLand’s Taman Seri Austin became the first urban community to be selected for the Smart and HealthyCity and Community Programme by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).
Taman Seri Austin features cycling lanes, pedestrian pathways, and two recreation parks.
Another example is Albury @ Mahkota Hills which features Gen Y friendly facilities like a gym, clubhouse and park connectors.
The development recently hosted a wedding over the weekend at its clubhouse which creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie among its residents.
Trend 6: Short term stays
Airbnb and student accommodations are in demand due to the shringgit and lack of suitable hostels respectively.
When looking at Airbnb, the ideal size would be at least 500 sq ft with a myriad of facilities like cooking, washing machines, microwave oven and so on.
For this concept to work, your property must be located close to tourism attractions like Bukit Bintang, Georgetown and JB Sentral.
One Singaporean friend of mine earns RM10, 000 a month just by renting out his loft unit located within 8 minutes walk from Bukit Bintang MRT station.
Do bear in mind thought that not all management committee in condominiums approve of such short-stay rentals.
Trend 7: Flexible work spaces
Malaysian Gen Ys are an entrepreneurial lot.
Thanks to government mooted agencies like Cradle Fund and Magix, the start-up culture here is alive and kicking.
Some of the most notable Malaysian start-ups include Kaodim and iFlix.
With this trend in mind, flexible work spaces have become ubiquitous.
Generally referred to as “hot-desking”, this trend is especially suited for those just starting out, are cash-sensitive and require computer access with printing and scanning facilities.
In Singapore, hot-desking has become such a brisk business.
If you have a spare office space, why not convert some of your area for hot-desking activities and help fellow entrepreneurs?
You can rent it to on a monthly basis on a per head basis.
Trend 8: Resale homes
If you need a home urgently, a resale unit is the way to go as they are priced significantly cheaper, at around 30 per cent lower, compared than new launches.
This is due to the massive supply in the market that has contributed to a glut in the market, resulting in softening property prices.
This has made it a buyers market.
Be prepared though to have extra cash in hand as you will need to pay a deposit, legals fees and other costs.
The great thing is this - sellers are more willing to negotiate with you.
As such, if you have difficulties in your 10 per cent deposit, you can negotiate your payment terms with the landlord.
Here’s wishing you a prosperous 2017 ahead!