Thursday, May 14, 2015

Adenan walks the talk on illegal logging


KUCHING: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has frozen 375 accounts totalling over RM560mil in its latest strike against illegal logging and timber corruption in Sarawak.
The MACC also seized more than 500 logs during a joint operation to clamp down on illegal timber activities.
Under Ops Gergaji, some 400 personnel from MACC, police, state Forestry Department and Inland Revenue Board raided 48 log ponds, sawmills and business premises across the state on Tuesday.
The raids were carried out simultaneously at 13 locations in Miri, 12 in Kuching and Sibu, six in Bintulu, three in Bakun and two in Kapit.
"We carried out the raids based on detailed investigations and intelligence obtained by MACC and the agencies involved," investigation division director Datuk Mohamad Jamidan Abdullah said in a statement.
He said further investigations would be carried out under Section 17(a) and 17(b) of the MACC Act as well as Section 4(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.
"The joint operation shows the commitment of the Federal and state governments to combat corruption in the timber sector and curb illegal logging activities in Sarawak.
"Such activities are believed to have cost billions of Ringgit in losses to the Federal and state governments," he added.

Where Does Russia Go From Here


Bustari Yusuf and Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak Legislative Assembly



Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: No, no. Otherwise I will not have move the motion.
Otherwise I will not have supported the motion of Ahli Yang Berhormat Semop when he
hijacked my motion. All right, let me come back to my debate. With the State having its
rights on Sales Tax on top of GST, now we Sarawakian will be paying double taxes on oil
palm products, on tyres and also 4-D tickets. The other incident of Yang Amat Berhormat
failing to protect Sarawakian interest is the award of the Pan Borneo Highway projects. The decision-making process is controlled by the Board of Director of Lebuhraya Borneo Utara
(LBU), where the west Malaysian are the majority in the Board of Directors.
Six, Yang Amat Berhormat talks about closing down the internet gambling centres,
but 3 months later, many internet gambling centres are back in business, now some even
with the local council’s entertainment licences operating legally. They changed the machine
kuda to machine ikan. But they are operating legally with entertainment license but in actual
fact it is gambling operation...(interruption)

Tuan Speaker: You should assist rather than glorifying.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Ya, I am assisting. I’m bringing this fact to assist the
government. Alright, number seven Yang Amat Berhormat talks about preserving the forests
and thus go hard on illegal loggings. Tuan Speaker, if you look at the figure that is provided
by the Minister in last week's debate, the actual culprit of deforestation in the State is not the
illegal loggers. We don’t condone illegal logging. Surely illegal logging must be stopped.
But the actual culprit of deforestation is not illegal loggers it is actually the policy of the
government. Why I say that Tuan Speaker? If we look at the figure annually our timber
production volume is about 10 million meter cubic ranging between 9 to 10 to 11. About 10
million meter cubic. Look at the illegal logs seized. Highest amount of volume log was in
2004. It was only 14,000 meter cubic it is hardly even 1% of the legally logging ...
(interruption)

Tuan Speaker: Yang Berhormat, you are in breach of Standing Order 32(3) because this
has been discussed ... (interruption)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Okay, I will proceed of ... (interruption)

Tuan Speaker: You are repeating unless there is a substantive motion for the rescission ...
(interruption)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Doesn’t matter. Alright, I’m just telling ... (interruption)
Tuan Speaker: You stop this ... (interruption)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Okay I stop. I’ll go on to the next point ... (interruption)
Tuan Speaker: Alright, alright.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: With all the above seven matters, that I’ve mentioned, it is
abundantly clear that many announcements of his new policies have been neutralized or
rendered ineffective by the BN policies and the government agencies.
I have said before, to reform the system is not an easy task. Yang Amat Berhormat
will face many obstacles within the Barisan Nasional parties and the government
administration. What is required is a very strong political will.
We all want a better Sarawak for Sarawakian. Yang Amat Berhormat wants it. I
believe many of the Honorable Members from the other side wants it also, we also want it.
But we believe that a better Sarawak only can be achieved through transparency, good
governance, fair policies and a strong opposition to provide a check and balance in the
system.

As Yang Amat Berhormat has previously mentioned that, he is willing to listen to the
Opposition and also to work together with the Opposition. I, on behalf of the Opposition, wish to say that we are also of like mind. We can co-operate and work with the Government,
not in the sense of joining BN, let it be clear. Not in the sense of joining BN but by pointing
out the short-comings of the policies of BN. So that such policies can be changed for the
better.

Tuan Speaker, our words may be harsh, our criticism may be strong, but our
intention is good. I believe, together we can get rid of the dead woods and the rotten apples
in Barisan Nasional and the administration and strive a better Sarawak for Sarawakians. Not
a Sarawak for a few privilege Sarawakians and also not a Sarawak for a few selected
Sarawakians families. But a Sarawak for all Sarawakians.

Tuan Speaker, point number two on 20% oil royalty demand. Almost a year after
unanimous resolution in this august House on the 20% is oil and gas royalty, it is clear that
such demand is going no way. The Chief Minister is hitting brick walls on this matter and
has to openly seek help of the Prime Minister so that Petronas will accede to our claim.
Tuan Speaker, do not be so na├»ve about the so-called Prime Minister’s help.

Petronas is a company controlled by the Federal Government. If Prime Minister agrees to
accede to our demand for the 20% oil royalty, there is no way that Petronas cannot agree on
it. By now, if the Prime Minister agrees on this 20% of oil royalty demand, by now Petronas
would have agreed to it.

If one were to take into consideration of the oil royalty for the Federal Government,
the declared dividend and the tax revenue on the Petronas profit, the Federal Government in
total, is getting about 30% to 40% of the total revenue from the production of oil and gas in
Sarawak. We, instead are getting 5%.

Therefore the demand for 20 percent is only fair and necessary to put us Sarawak as
equal partners with the Federated State of Malaya. Now that the nice and cordial approach
as adopted by State Barisan Nasional is getting no way. We need a stronger and harsher
and more drastic measure to implement the resolution of this House.

Tuan Speaker: Such as?

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: I will give you two suggestions. The first one, the first
suggestion is to use our immigration power and cancel the work permit of all the West
Malaysian currently employed at the executive and managerial level in the office of Petronas,
MLNGs and the subsidiary companies in Sarawak. Cancel their work permit. They cannot
continue to work in Sarawak. This will put a halt, maybe, a stop to its operation production
until the matter is finally sorted out. It may cause some loss of revenue but it is better to put
a halt to the production than to allow the continuous extraction when we are only getting five
percent royalty. Afterall, if the operation were stopped, oil and gas will still remain in our soil.
We have, Tuan Speaker, prohibited religious bigots and extremists from entering
Sarawak. Add on to the list, prohibits the robbers who plunder and robe us from our natural
resources. And this Petronas in a sense can be regarded as robbers who robe us, robe
Sarawakians of our natural resources. That is suggestion number one. Not so drastic.
Suggestion number two, more drastic. Join the National Pakatan Rakyat to form the
government. The figure will tell. Tuan Speaker, Pakatan Rakyat nationally has 86 MPs,
PSM has one, listen, listen ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: No, no, no.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Sarawak BN has 25 ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: Order order. Your Pakatan Rakyat ... (Inaudible)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Pardon? Federal, federal, federal level.

Tuan Speaker: Include ... (Inaudible) or not?

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Federal level ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: So ... (Inaudible)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: You can ask from PKR. Ahli Yang Berhormat from Batu
Lintang. You will agree. Alright, Sarawak Barisan Nasional has 25 Members of Parliament,
Sabah has 22 Members of Parliament, just Sarawak Barisan Nasional joining force with
Pakatan Rakyat, we can get 112 MPs, just nice to form the federal government. It is in the
manifesto Pakatan Rakyat that 20 percent oil royalty be accorded to Sarawak. And with that
Tuan Speaker, once we step out this position, Sabah will follow soon. So all the 22 MPs of
Sabah will follow suit. The join force and we can get our twenty percent oil royalty.

Tuan Speaker: Ya, you have two minutes more.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: This is my suggestion Tuan Speaker. If they do not agree,
doesn’t matter. You have no right to say. At the end of the day you also have to listen to
your Chief Minister.

Tuan Speaker: Two minutes more.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Number three, not enough Tuan Speaker. Tuan Speaker,
the appointment of Lebuhraya ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: I have given injury time.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Ya, thank you. Five minutes.

Tuan Speaker: No. I have given. That is why two minutes more.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: No lah. As the main contractor for the RM27 billion Pan
Borneo Highway did not go through an open tender process. Though LBU is a registered
company, has a registered address in Sarawak but four out of seven of its Directors are
West Malaysians. Therefore it is literally controlled by West Malaysian. Alright, though it
claims that the work will be distributed amongst Sarawak contractors, but this Sarawak
contractors will only be sub-contractors while the main-con, LBU will get the lion’s share of
the profit, the so called Ali Baba commission. Even during the initial rounds of meetings, the
engineer from the Kementerian Kerja Raya Malaysia, headed by the West Malaysian officers,
have been very condescending towards our local engineers and consultants, demanding
that the local engineers design the highway with cheaper and lower-quality designs, so as to
reduce the costs of construction.

Tuan Speaker, there are also political implication and ramification of this project.
Basically, this LBU is controlled by the Bustari Yusuf group who has close links to the top
leaders of UMNO. They are also aligned to the Federal Minister Fadillah faction within the
PBB. The implementation of this project will be carried out for at least another eight years.
During this period, the sub-contractors and/or the sub-sub-contractors will be beholden to
this group. In other words, the UMNO top leaders will yield their controls over the payments to the sub-contractors. When one controls the money source, he controls a lot of other
things.

I urge the government to be more wary on this aspect and its political implication. Let
it not be an opening for direct UMNO influence to set foot in Sarawak.

To avoid such a scenario, I propose that the State Government put its foot down now,
at this initial stage to take over the shareholdings and directorship of LBU, after all it is only a
shelf company, incorporated for the special purpose of getting this project. Therefore, it is
viable, it is feasible for the State Government to step in now and demand that the
shareholders be the Sarawak Government. And that our Sarawak Government officer be
appointed as Director.

Tuan Speaker: You have to conclude.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Okay, one last point. Tuan Speaker, two quick ones. The
Wholesale and Distributors Association of Kuching, Samarahan Sarawak. They have
applied for a piece of land at 6 ½ mile, Jalan Penrissen, Lot 1798, Block 233, KNLD to
construct a whole seller market in Kuching here. We are a city, we have two mayors but we
do not have a whole seller market. I think it is time that the government approve this project
and they were told that this land will be given to Berry Tan’s Company again. So, I hope the
government will look into it and stop all these crony operation. The last one would be Best
House Development project at Taman Kota Sentosa. It is an abandoned project, and now I
have helped to appoint a liquidator and the liquidator come in trying to revive the project.
There are two impediments to these projects. One, is that one of the three parcel of land
that was amalgamated for the project has expired. Number two, is that condition for the
construction of low-cost houses.

Now Tuan Speaker, hundreds of purchasers have purchased the house and until
now there’s no OPs (occupation permit), right? Some of them have moved-in without OP,
some of them cannot move in because its 90%, 80% completed. So therefore, I urge the
government to step in. This is one of the largest abandoned projects, I’ve spoken about it
before and I urge the government to step in to waive the condition for the construction of the
low cost houses although it is in liquidation. Number two, to extend the leasehold of one of
the three parent title, parent lot, so that the developer, the contractor who are going to
continue with the abandoned project can legally and safely continue with this project. Can I
move on to another point?

Tuan Speaker: You have, you’ve to conclude, conclude.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Dudong’s time, Dudong’s time ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: You’ve to conclude.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Pardon?

Tuan Speaker: You’ve to conclude, conclude.

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: One last time, last time ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: You’ve to conclude, Honorable Member, otherwise ... (Interruption)

Y.B. Encik Chong Chieng Jen: Last time, land matter, land matter ... (Interruption)

Tuan Speaker: To conclude.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

CMS given direct non tender over RM 300 million contract



KUCHING: Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd’s (CMS) first major job win since 2009 consisting of the construction contract to design and build the Sarawak Museum Campus and Heritage Trail in Kuching could in analysts’ view be a prelude to more wins.
In an announcement on Bursa Malaysia, CMS said that PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd (PPES), a subsidiary company of CMS Works Sdn Bhd which in turn is a wholly owned subsiary company of CMS had entered into a “Design and Build and Negotiated Contract” with the Government of Sarawak for the proposed Sarawak Museum Campus and Heritage Trail, Kuching, at a total contract sum of RM308 million.
CMS noted that the project comprises the design, construction, fitting out and exhibitory stable for a new world class museum and an adjoining annexe building with a combined total floor space of approximately 30,000 m2.
“The project also includes a heritage trail in central Kuching as well as the period conservation and exhibitory stable for the three existing historical museum buildings and of a pavilion.
“The overall duration of the contract is 60 months. The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020,” the group said.
According to the research arm of Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB Research), although CMS’ construction arm was established since 1990 and has a strong track record in constructing major infrastructures and buildings in Sarawak, the group has shifted its focus to road construction over the last few years.
“Hence, this contract represents its first major construction job win since 2009, lifting its outstanding orderbook significantly by 51 per cent to an estimated RM908 million,” the research arm said.
Assuming a gross margin of six per cent, Maybank IB Research forecasted a net profit contribution of RM14 million into 2020.
It noted that this translates into earnings per share (EPS) of 1.3 sen to be recognised overthe next five years.
“We maintain our forecasts as the earnings impact is minor,” it added.
Nevertheless, Maybank IB Research noted that this could be a prelude to more construction job wins in the near-term, especially that relating to the Pan Borneo Highway and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
Meanwhile, the research arm said that CMS’ cement and construction materials businesses are key beneficiaries of the growing construction activities driven by the upcoming Sarawak state election, Pan Borneo Highway works and 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP).
As such, Maybank IB Research maintained ‘buy’ on the stock while its RM5.00 per share sum of parts-target price is under review pending completion of CMS’ acquisition of Sacofa Sdn Bhd.


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/16/first-major-job-win-for-cms-since-2009-could-be-prelude-to-more-contracts-ahead/#ixzz3Xg4eLkjm

Sacofa plum only 50% purchase boosts CMS profits exponentially

KUCHING: Adding telco infrastructure provider Sacofa Sdn Bhd (Sacofa) to Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd’s (CMS) portfolio will further enhance the latter’s recurring income base, say analysts at Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB Research).
“Overall, we are positive on the acquisition as it would further enhance CMS’ recurring income base,” it estimated in an April 3 report. “Based on Sacofa’s FY13 net profit of RM52 million — which we expect to be sustainable — the potential enhancement to our FY15, FY16 and FY17 net profit forecasts for CMS is four per cent, 6.5 per cent and 7.9 per cent respectively.”
To note, Sacofa’s FY13 revenue comprises rental proceeds from telecommunication towers leased out to telcos at about 67 per cent, bandwidth services (32 per cent), and fibre-optic network rentals (one per cent).
Over the years, Sacofa has constructed new telco towers across Sarawak to cater to the demand from mobile operators. Bandwidth usage has also risen in tandem as agreements were signed with the telcos to provide nodes fiberisation to their sites in order to support higher mobile internet speed such as 4G LTE.
The group currently has net tangible assets of RM344.2 million, non-current assets of RM453.2 million, current assets of RM303.6 million, non-current liabilities of RM243.9 million and current liabilities of RM174.7 million as at end-December 2013. It also has a net cash of RM31.8 million as of end-Dec 2013.
“Sacofa is a ‘one-stop centre’ providing telecommunication infrastructure to service providers in Sarawak,” Maybank IB added. “To facilitate Sacofa in achieving its objectives, the State Government granted Sacofa an exclusive right to construct, own and manage the communication infrastructure in Sarawak on the concept of sharing basis.
“At present, Sacofa operates more than 600 telecommunication towers, comprising mainly heavy duty towers and monopoles of various heights, throughout Sarawak. Sacofa leases its towers to the local telecommunication players including TM, Celcom, DiGi and Maxis.”
To note, Sacofa’s largest single shareholder is the State Financial Secretary (SFS) with a 70.51 per cent stake, followed by Celcom Axiata Bhd at 15.12 per cent, Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (SAINS) at 7.57 per cent and Yayasan Sarawak at 6.8 per cent.
Based on Sacofa’s reported FY13 net profit of RM52 million and net tangible assets of of RM344 million, Maybank IB Research stated that CMS is paying seven times on Sacofa’s earnings and 1.1 times profit per NTA. With just seven years left of its remaining concession period, it would seem that CMS is paying full value for Sacofa, it said.
“The upside would thus have to come from an extension to Sacofa’s concession period beyond 2022 and new businesses that Sacofa can bring to the table.”


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/16/sacofa-will-enhance-cms-recurring-income-base/#ixzz3Xg3iWakq

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Property oversupply and glut in Johor


Druckenmiller Bets on Unexpected With China Boom, Oil Rise

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Zecon to build PR1MA houses in Salak Land District, Kuching

KUCHING: Zecon Bhd has entered an agreement with PR1MA Corporation Malaysia (PR1MA) to develop 54 acres for PR1MA homes and retail units in Salak Land District, Kuching.
The construction and engineering group’s wholly-owned subsidiary Zecon Land Sdn Bhd will have four years to build 2,000 units of homes and retail units, and transform the land to a total built-up area of 3.7 million square feet.
PR1MA has purchased the Salak Land District land from Zecon at RM46 million.
“This joint development project with PR1MA is a hallmark project for Zecon Group. It is the largest development for the Group to-date and one that is closest to home for us,” said Datu Hamzah Drahman, Chairman of Zecon.
He added “We are delighted to jointly develop the strategically located Salak Land District Area with PR1MA and to contribute to developing affordable housing for Malaysians. The Salak Land District area is near Kuching High Court and Wisma Bapa Malaysia, making it a sought-after location for Kuching residents.”
“Zecon Group is a veteran in building infrastructure and properties for both public and private projects across Malaysia. We are proud to be part of this PR1MA programme and share our expertise in infrastructure and building works.”
Under this joint development agreement, Zecon and PR1MA will share the costs and expenditures for the construction and completion of necessary and common infrastructures for this development.


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/02/zecon-to-build-pr1ma-houses-in-salak-land-district-kuching/#ixzz3WdUfQavK

Friday, April 10, 2015

‘GST likely to impact healthcare providers’

KUCHING: The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) will potentially have a negative impact on private hospitals’ margins and the tax will likely cause a decline their patients’ volume.
However, pharmaceutical products are likely remain more stable despite speculations of a separation of drug prescription and distribution, analysts view.
Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd’s research arm (Kenanga Research) in a recent report, pointed out that going forward, the implementation of GST and further subsidy rationalisation programme could dampen private hospitals’ margins and volume growth.
“From our channels check, we understand that several private hospital players are expected to raise prices in order to mitigate the higher operating cost due to the implementation of GST, which could ultimately exert a negative impact on their margins.
“Generally, healthcare services operating expenses are expected to go up since they have to pay for GST on business purchases or raw material costs before selling but are unable to claim credit for the GST paid on the inputs.
“Similarly, higher prices charged by hospitals as well as further subsidy rationalisation programme could potentially dampen purchasing power of consumers leading to lower volume in patients,” it explained.
Aside from that, Kenanga Research noted that there has been speculations that the Health Ministry might prohibit doctors from dispensing drugs to their patients and hence restrict their roles to only prescribing.
“It was also reported that organisations representing doctors and pharmacists agreed, in principle, that dispensing be left to the pharmacists,” it added.
“If this materialises, pharmacy operators will be the winners of the new system as their sales should be boosted considerably.
“However, pharmaceutical players being the source suppliers are unlikely to be affected. Specifically, revenue generated by Pharmaniaga Bhd (under our coverage) is supported by government concession agreements, non-government purchasers and exports to a smaller extent,” the research firm viewed.
Kenanga Research also noted that it preferred Pharmaniaga for its defensive earnings being the sole concession holder to purchase, store, supplies and distribute approved drugs and medical products to Government hospitals and clinics nationwide, its growth exposure in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry supported by an ageing population, and decent dividend yield of 4.8 per cent.
“Overall, we believe that the healthcare industry in Malaysia will continue to enjoy stable growth supported by growing healthcare expenditure, rising medical insurance and aging population demographics,” the research firm said, noting that it pegged an ‘underweight’ rating on the overall sector.


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/07/gst-likely-to-impact-healthcare-providers/#ixzz3WdKEByr2

Monday, April 6, 2015

Back to pre GST price for prepaid reloads from May


Asian growth in 2015


‘Telcos passing down GST as expected’



KUCHING: With all the furor over whether telecommunication service providers should or should not pass down the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to customers, channel checks confirmed that GST is applied on prepaid reloads at all the four major wireless telcos.
It is noted that prepaid users pay an incremental amount for GST above their reload values.
For prepaid starter packs however, Maxis and Celcom have chosen to absorb the GST, meaning prepaid users are status quo before and after GST implementation. For Digi and UMobile, prepaid users now incur an additional six per cent GST for the purchase of starter packs.
An analyst from AllianceDBS Research Sdn Bhd (AllianceDBS Research) affirmed that this will have a positive impact on the mobile operators given that they had been absorbing the old six per cent service tax on behalf of their prepaid subscribers in the past.
“There are two comforting points in this. First, a change in pricing structure to price plus GST (as opposed to GST-inclusive pricing) is preferable as this would minimise potential negative impacts to earnings for mobile operators if the GST rate is hiked in the future,” it explained in a note yesterday.
“Second, as all the mobile operators are passing on the GST, this alleviates previous concerns that some players might want to be aggressive to gain market share by continuing to absorb the tax instead.
AllianceDBS Research had conservatively assumed a three per cent effective increase in prepaid revenue for the mobile players as it believed usage might be slightly impacted due to price inflation in the economy.
“This had previously led to an earnings upgrade of about two to five per cent for the mobile players in FY15 to FY16F.”
The analyst pegged DiGi.com Bhd to benefit the most as it has the highest percentage of revenue generated from prepaid subscribers compared to peers.
In a separate report, Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB Research) the implementation of GST effectively allows wireless telcos a chance to pass on the tax they previously absorbed in the prepaid segment.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that consumers now bear the GST charge for reloads.
“The differing GST treatment on prepaid starter packs by telcos serves to emphasise our point that the benefits of GST are not as clear-cut as simply a direct flow-through of the previously foregone revenue down to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation),” it said.
“There are elasticity considerations, and competition remains intense, meaning part of the newfound revenue could be returned back to customers in the form of lower effective tariffs. It remains to be seen how price points would eventually trend in the coming months.
“We have assumed operators enjoy the equivalent of a three per cent passthrough in service taxes in our earnings forecasts.”


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/03/telcos-passing-down-gst-as-expected/#ixzz3WWgVkOnb

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sheda: Slowdown in property sales expected in near term

KUCHING: Many property developers foresee a slowdown in sales of commercial properties with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) coming into play today.
According to Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Association (Sheda), many developers expressed concerns that “many things are still uncertain” and that “business sentiments are not doing well.”
This, the association said, was examplified by the demand of houses from the last three months which grew stronger in terms of unit bookings as these bookings are subjected to the purchasers ability to secure banks’ housing loan, it said yesterday.
Eventhough residential houses are exempted, Sheda observed that building materials, labour and machineries hire will be subjected to GST which input tax cannot be claimed back.
“Thus, there is an estimate of two to three per cent increase in construction costs of new residential houses,” it added in its statement to The Borneo Post.
“Whether selling price of houses will increase or not, are still subjected to market forces of supply and demand even though the cost has increased slightly.”
Purchasers can hunt for new houses that are nearly or completed as the developers might still sell the houses at pre-GST prices or completed second~hand houses, as these type of house prices might not goes up immediately after April 1.
“It pays to shop around and compare prices,” it advised.
Meanwhile, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz urged property developers to remain vigilant in their cost measures to ensure that properties are still attractive after the implementation of GST.
He said as responsible developers, they should take the lead in overcoming problems of overdevelopment so that home prices are within reach of citizens.
“I hope the social responsibility of developers to continue helping the Government in achieving progress by offering quality and affordable products to the masses will continue,” he said at the Malaysia Property Insight Prestigious Developer Awards 2015 here yesterday.


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/01/sheda-slowdown-in-property-sales-expected-in-near-term/#ixzz3W8hAkoCx

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

CMS Awarded Big Chunk of State Land



KUCHING: Foreseeing the growing demand for residential as well as commercial property at the Samalaju Industrial Zone, Samalaju Properties Sdn Bhd (Samalaju Properties) is currently developing the Samalaju Eco Park Township.
Ryan Jalla Ridu, the senior marketing and product development executive for the company noted that, “The Samalaju Eco Park was born out of our vision to provide a balanced, healthy and sustainable lifestyle to the thousands working in Sarawak’s energy intensive and heavy industries. The town has been developed with its future residents in mind, by firstly understanding the needs of the current and future community.”
The Eco Park is carefully laid out to receive minimal sun exposure yet maximum daylight and air flow. They are also placed such that each home is a short leisurely walk away from recreational spaces, parks and community amenities, increasing the conveniences of residents.
The full development which is slated to be completed in five to 10 years time is approximately 2000 acres. The township, a first of its kind green township development with a mix of residential and commercial developments, has been planned to cater to lifestyles of the future. The Eco Park will be progressively developed and enlarged to stay updated to changing living trends.
Governing each phase of development is a set of stringent mandatory guidelines focused on environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Planned as a self-contained and fully equipped township, residents enjoy easy accessibility to all their daily needs. Tree- lined pedestrian paths, bicycle tracks and public bus and rail transportation networks connect homes to a multitude of amenities such as F&B services, post office, parks and recreational facilities, allowing residents to enjoy car-free lifestyle.
Having obtained approvals from the Sarawak State Government, construction of the first 160 units of apartments has commenced, and is expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2016.
The commercial centre of the township, which will comprise of a mix of shop-houses, mix-use complexes, markets, shopping centres will be centred on a canal system, with shops being afforded frontages of the canal and river walk. It will provide a conducive environment for a variety of commercial and entertainment outlets and activities and will encompass alfresco dining, street cafes and markets as well as entertainment outlets.
For more information regarding the project, please call Samalaju Properties at 082-238888 or visit the company at Level 6, Wisma Mahmud, Jalan Sungai Sarawak, 93100 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.


Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/03/31/samalaju-eco-park-in-the-making/#ixzz3Vxq0qrPd

How and why the Ruble was driven lower - Nikolai Starikov