Monday, 16 January 2017

Malaysia's "gain" and Singapore's "loss"

China Wants This Malaysian Port to Rival Singapore (And That’s Not All)
A tourist boat travels along the Malacca River

The Straits of Malacca have been a gateway for China for centuries in its quest for power.

A story blended from Malaysian history and folklore says an emperor sent a princess called Hang Li Po to marry the Sultan of Malacca in the Ming Dynasty, offering a ship filled with gold needles. He also sent a blunt message. “For every gold needle, there is a subject. If you can count the number of needles, you will learn the true extent of my power,” the emperor reportedly said in a letter.

Hundreds of years later, China is again seeking influence in Malaysia as it spreads its economic and military clout through Southeast Asia. It is investing billions in a $7.2 billion redevelopment that will see Malacca, long the haunt of Chinese traders, become a new deep sea port.

Malaysia's "gain" and Singapore's "loss"
With the falling ringgit and GST difference, more and more Singaporeans are moving their shopping to JB, hurting Singapore businesses nearer to the causeway

An extensive study by the National University of Singapore’s Business School between 2010 and 2012 showed a significant difference in the spending habits of Singaporeans, between those who lived closer to the Malaysian border and those further away, The New Paper reported today.

With Singapore’s GDP growth falling below original estimates this year and cut backs in forecast for 2017, two academics in the island republic believe there will be even more Singaporeans crossing the border for their day-to-day shopping needs, The New Paper reported today.

They supported this theory with data that showed the trend among Singaporeans making day to day purchases from Johor compared with other high-end products.

What shopping in Malaysia means for us
Shoppers at Carrefour hypermarket in Johor Baru

Singapore's economy is facing a slowdown, with the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) reporting low gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

In a recent Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) quarterly survey, 2017 growth forecasts were trimmed.

According to MTI, GDP growth was recorded at 0.6% for July to September, lower than estimates of 1.7%.

Is Singapore the new sick man of Asia?
On Dec 8, I read in the online publication Asia One a report emanating from Hong Kong about the Singapore economy. The report stated that "morale in Singapore is at rock bottom" and that "some economists call Singapore the new sick man of Asia".

The report motivated me to think more deeply about the current state of the Singapore economy and its future prospects. In this essay, I wish to discuss four questions:
  • 1st, what is the current state of the Singapore economy?
  • 2nd, is the Singapore economy the worst-performing economy in Asia?
  • 3rd, are the problems of the economy cyclical or structural?
  • 4th, should we be pessimistic or optimistic about the prospects of the Singapore economy?
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Are we overtaking Singapore anytime soon?

A Taiwanese TV station claimed that Malaysia would soon replace Singapore for its geographical advantage, given the fact the world’s strongest countries are now vying to get Malaysia on their side.

I was in Johor Baru recently, and had the opportunity to witness the prowess of China’s mega property developers in action in the southern gateway.

Imposing highrises are springing above the horizon near the Causeway, and when these multi-million ringgit condominiums are completed, their owners will be able to enjoy a splendid view of Singapore on the opposite side although it will take them long hours braving through the nightmarish causeway traffic.

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Malaysia’s China stance a hedging strategy, says analyst

Malaysia is not pivoting away from the US in favour of building ties with China, according to political analyst Yang Razali Kassim.

Malaysia is simply deepening its hedging strategy, he said in an interview with World Politics Review (WPR).

“Kuala Lumpur is certainly forging closer economic, defence and security ties with China, but I don’t think it means forsaking relations with the United States.

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China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiatives in Malaysia

On Jan 14, I attended a conference in Johor Baru organised by the Johor Bahru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and had the opportunity to interact with several mainland Chinese managers and leaders from the private sector who are active in Malaysia. High on the discussion list was China’s “One Belt, One Road” policy and its implications for Malaysia and Iskandar Malaysia.

The final weeks of 2015 were quite momentous in terms of the Chinese presence in Malaysia. During a state visit in November, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged to buy Malaysian government bonds, which have been hit by foreign selling as crude oil prices have been falling since late 2014 and by the1MDB crisis in 2015. This caused a knee-jerk uplift in the value of the ringgit, as the perception was China would step in to stabilise Malaysia’s financial markets.

It was also the biggest step forward for the financial sector between China and Malaysia since April 2015, when Malaysia became the second country in Asean (after Singapore) to have a renminbi clearing centre.

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Living for long in the shadow of glitzy Singapore

Many Malaysians would love to see the country overtake the tiny city-state, albeit with a little help from China. The current situation has allowed some of our politicians to visualise a unique opportunity to dwarf Singapore.

In the first place, Singapore is in a recession now. The republic’s third quarter GDP shrank by 4.1%, while the island’s manufacturing, services and global trade have declined. To make things worse, Singapore has offended China at the wrong time, standing on the wrong side over the South China Sea controversy. Singapore will be put in a very difficult position if President-elect Donald Trump is determined to abandon the United States’ “return-to-Asia” policy.

Meanwhile, China is about to embark on the enormous Melaka Gateway project under the auspices of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which is poised to overtake Singapore as the largest seaport in the region. As if that is not enough, China is also helping the country to build a third port in Port Klang. Once the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project linking Port Klang to Kuantan is operational, cargo ships can literally bypass Singapore, dealing an even bigger blow to the city state’s entrepot status.

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Johor- The Asia’s New Cape of Hope

It may not be far-fetched to say that #Johor has experienced a notable economic transformation recently. Johor remains the country’s top investment destination for the manufacturing sector and continues to attract strong interest from domestic and foreign investors. It drew the highest total approved investments in the manufacturing activities nationwide at RM14.4billion in 2013, RM21.1billion in 2014 and RM31.1billion in 2015. With the investments, the total cumulative committed investments from 2013 to 2015 now stood at RM66 billion where the figure was a gigantic improvement, encompassing RM66.3 billion in total cumulative committed investments from the past decade (2002-2012). It is also worth noting that the cumulative committed investments of #IskandarMalaysia have yet to be included.

Iskandar Malaysia is located in the State of Johor, the most rapidly developing area in the south of Peninsular Malaysia. Bordering Singapore, Iskandar Malaysia recorded RM200 billion in total cumulative committed investments from 2006 until present.
According to the Iskandar Regional Development Plan, Iskandar Malaysia will be achieving the RM383 billion investment target by 2025. Iskandar Malaysia is emerging as the catalyst that spur Johor’s economic growth and development.

Yet, what are the pivotal factors that fuelled the progress and development of Iskandar Malaysia?

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US$100 billion Chinese-made city near Singapore 'scares the hell out of everybody’

“The Chinese are attracted by lower prices and the proximity to Singapore,” said Alice Tan, Singapore-based head of consultancy and research at real-estate brokers Knight Frank LLP. “It remains to be seen if the upcoming supply of homes can be absorbed in the next five years.”

The influx of Chinese competition has affected local developers like UEM Sunrise Bhd., Sunway Bhd. and SP Setia Bhd., who have been building projects around JB for years as part of a government plan to promote the area. First-half profit slumped 58 percent at UEM, the largest landowner in JB.
A decade ago, Malaysia decided to leverage Singapore’s success by building the Iskandar zone across the causeway that connects the two countries. It was modelled on Shenzhen, the neighbour of Hong Kong that grew from a fishing village to a city of 10 million people in three decades. Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. unveiled a 20-year plan in 2006 that required a total investment of 383 billion ringgit (US$87 billion).

Singapore’s high costs and property prices encouraged some companies to relocate to Iskandar, while JB’s shopping malls and amusement parks have become a favourite for day-tripping Singaporeans. In the old city center, young Malaysians hang out in cafes and ice cream parlours on hipster street Jalan Dhoby, where the inflow of new money is refurbishing the colonial-era shophouses.

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Iskandar Malaysia: Why are the Chinese here?

When news broke out in early 2013 that Country Garden, a top 10 Chinese developer had bought land in Iskandar Malaysia, the response was quite positive and highlighted that Iskandar was able to attract other international investors than just Singapore. Fast forward 18 months later to late 2014, a slew of other Chinese developers such as R&F Guangzhou and Greenland Group entered the Iskandar property market as well.

However it was still Country Garden that created the biggest stir by announcing details of their massive 3,400 acre Forest City development off the 2nd Link between Singapore's Tuas and Johor's Nusajaya.

Why are the Chinese so interested in Iskandar Malaysia? What is so attractive for them to invest millions into the region?

  • A replica of the Hong Kong - Shenzhen story
  • Expectations of a population boom in Iskandar a.k.a. Shenzhen
  • Private property Singapore gets more expensive in the medium term
  • An Aging population in Singapore
  • Chinese property buyers are going global
  • Chinese companies doing business in South East Asia

Iskandar follows the Shenzhen script
Links to Hong Kong are replicated in the Malaysian economic zone's ties to Singapore

Efforts to transform the Malaysian border zone near Singapore into a bustling commercial corridor appear to be on track after a rocky start.

The zone, known as Iskandar, is emerging as an attractive opportunity that deserves to be on the radar of those considering investment in the new growth centres of Asia.

Iskandar is a 2,216 square kilometre urbanisation project, three times the size of Singapore. Nusajaya, the residential zone at its core, which stares across the water at the Singapore skyline, is just a 45-minute drive from Singapore's Changi airport. The zone is geared towards a residential metropolis with educational, medical and theme-park infrastructures being used to attract resident migrants from Singapore. Logistics, transport and industrial-related infrastructure is being developed in adjacent zones.

related: China becomes Malaysia’s biggest foreign investor

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The Chinese factor – 5 ways investments from China will impact the property landscape in Iskandar Malaysia

Iskandar Malaysia continues to see record investments with RM202.45 billion in total cumulative investments from 2006 to March 2016, according to statistics from Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

Among the promoted sectors, the manufacturing sector recorded the highest cumulative committed investments at RM54.26 billion.

This includes investment from the sectors of electrical & electronics, petrochemical & oleo-chemical and food & agro-processing.
This is followed by investments in the logistics, tourism, healthcare, education, financial services and creative industries at RM6.03 billion, RM6.03 billion, RM2.77 billion, RM1.97 billion, RM1.47 billion and RM0.56 billion respectively.

related: Is Malaysia overtaking Singapore anytime soon?

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Iskandar Malaysia - China developers' new land of opportunity

Chinese developers are zeroing in on Iskandar Malaysia, spurred by the tough market at home & the promise of rich rewards in the booming Johor Baru zone.

Their preference for building huge "township-style" projects has got some locals' backs up, but others cheer the job growth that the Chinese cash is generating.

Altogether, 5 mainland developers have about 150ha of land & reclamation should add a further 2,000ha.

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Iskandar Malaysia Lands RM2.5 Billion Deal From China-based Company

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 (Bernama) -- Iskandar Investment Bhd, the catalytic project developer of Iskandar Malaysia, has secured a RM2.5 billion real estate investment from China-based company, Qingdao Zhouyuan Investment Holdings.

Qingdao Zhouyuan is a subsidiary of Hebei-based real estate developer, Zhouda Real Estate Group.

President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Ibrahim said the investment project, over three phases, will commence next year and be over a period of about 10-15 years.

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The Iskandar Insider

The landscaped lawns and flowering shrubs of Country Garden Holdings Co.’s huge property showroom in southern Malaysia end abruptly at a small wire fence. Beyond, a desert of dirt stretches into the distance, filled with cranes and piling towers that the Chinese developer is using to build a US$100 billion city in the sea.

While Chinese home buyers have sent prices soaring from Vancouver to Sydney, in this corner of Southeast Asia, it’s China’s developers that are swamping the market, pushing prices lower with a glut of hundreds of thousands of new homes. They’re betting that the city of Johor Bahru, bordering Singapore, will eventually become the next Shenzhen.

“These Chinese players build by the thousands at one go, and they scare the hell out of everybody,” said Siva Shanker, head of investments at Axis-REIT Managers Bhd. and a former president of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents. “God only knows who is going to buy all these units, and when it’s completed, the bigger question is, who is going to stay in them?”

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Iskandar Malaysia

Iskandar Malaysia (IM) (Jawi: إسکندر مليسيا) formerly known as Iskandar Development Region (IDR) (Malay: Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar; Jawi: ولايه ڤمباڠونن إسکندر) and South Johor Economic Region (SJER) is the main southern development corridor in Johor, Malaysia. The Iskandar Malaysia was established on 8 November 2006. The project is administered by Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and was named after the 24th and fourth Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail.

The internal roads linking different parts of the city are mostly federal roads constructed and maintained by Malaysian Public Works Department. The five major highways linking the Johor Bahru Central Business District to outlying suburbs are Tebrau Highway and Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway in the northeast, Skudai Highway in the northwest, Iskandar Coastal Highway in the west and Johor Bahru East Coast Highway in the east. Pasir Gudang Highway and the connecting Johor Bahru Parkway cross Tebrau Highway and Skudai Highway, which serve as the middle ring road of the metropolitan area. The Johor Bahru Inner Ring Road, which connects with the Sultan Iskandar customs complex, aids in controlling the traffic in and around the central business district. Access to the national expressway is provided through the North-South Expressway and Senai-Desaru Expressway. The Johor-Singapore Causeway links the city to Woodlands, Singapore with a six-lane road and a railway line terminating at the Southern Integrated Gateway. The Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, located west of the metropolitan area, was constructed in 1997 to alleviate congestion on the Causeway. It is linked directly to the Second Link Expressway, Johor Bahru Parkway, the railway station, and the North-South Expressway. Further expansion of other major highways in the city were currently in the process.

Larkin Sentral, located 5 kilometres northwest of the city centre has direct bus services to and from many destinations in West Malaysia, southern Thailand and Singapore. Two types of taxis operate in the city; the main taxi is either in red and yellow, blue, green or red while the larger, less common type is known as a limousine taxi, which is more comfortable but expensive. Most taxis in the city are known for not using their meter. Since 2014, various taxi-booking applications have begun in the city such as Uber, and GrabTaxi. The Johor Bahru Sentral railway station serves train services to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. In 2015, a new shuttle train service operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) was launched providing transport to Woodlands in Singapore

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Adjacent To Singapore, Enjoy The Prosperity Of Singapore And The Affordability Of Malaysia

Malaysia's overall housing prices stand at 99th in the world. However, it ranked 9th in the world in terms of property price appreciation with rental yield as high as 6-8 % and rental rate of return as high as 6% -8%.

The freehold property price is only at ¼ of Singapore’s.

The Forest City is the perfect embodiment of this phenomenon as one could enjoy both the prosperity of Singapore and the affordability of Malaysia.

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Country Garden, KPRJ plan massive reclamation development for luxury homes

China’s Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) have drawn out plans for a massive reclamation project to build luxury homes near Pendas in southern Johor near Singapore, according to sources.

Sources said that the project could entail a land area of “a few thousand acres,” which would make it one of Iskandar Malaysia’s single largest projects. It isn’t clear how much Country Garden is pumping into the project, but going by its size, it would dwarf the Hong Kong-listed firm’s first project in Danga Bay, which only covered an area of 50 acres or 20ha, for which it had paid RM900mil.

The new project is being dubbed Forest City.

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China developers entry into Iskandar will fuel competition
This Nov 14, 2013, photograph shows workers at an under construction condominium at Danga Bay in Johor Bahru bordering Singapore. Construction cranes are sprouting across Johor state as investment flows into "Iskandar", a development zone that aims to draw Singaporean Chinese and other capital to its larger neighbour's cheaper land and labour costs. - AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN

The entry of developers from China into Iskandar Malaysia is increasingly being felt and will intensify the competition in the region, according to Maybank Investment Bank Research.

The research house expressed its concern that the developers could flood the market with massive supply of high-rise mixed development projects, inducing price volatility. It said this could happen if there were no synchronised planning and control by the authorities.

A local analyst reckoned that competition would heat up in the Iskandar region owing to the presence of not just these developers but also most of the major property players.

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Stirring up interest in Iskandar Malaysia

New-home sales in Iskandar Malaysia have cooled over the past year, with Singaporean and mainland Chinese buyers retreating from the market. Even local Malaysian buyers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude amid a slowing economy. “People are just holding back in times like this,” says UEM Sunrise’s managing director and CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib.

Whether people are waiting for a good deal or gauging market sentiment before taking the plunge, the Bursa Malaysia-listed property developer hopes to lure homebuyers back with incentives. UEM Sunrise launched its “Signature Selection” programme in September by offering inducements in various projects with unsold stock. These range from RM50,000 ($16,632) worth of kitchen fit-outs to cash rebates, travel vouchers and lucky draws with cars as top prizes.

At Regent’s Park in Nusajaya, where freehold five-bedroom villas are priced upwards of RM6 million, buyers stand a chance to win a Jaguar XF. At Noble Park, the latest phase at its East Ledang gated and guarded residential community, buyers of its grand pool villas can look forward to winning a Range Rover Evoque. Buyers of super linkhouses at Estuari Gardens @ Puteri Harbour can vie for the top prize of a Mercedes C-200. UEM Sunrise is also including some of its projects in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur in the “Signature Selection”

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What does this mean for Iskandar Malaysia?

Iskandar Malaysia, being the earliest beneficiary of Chinese investments, is a step ahead in terms of development progress. By late 2017, we should see the completion of the first Chinese development projects and also the start of construction for the HSR as well as the rapid transit system linking Singapore and Johor Baru. These will bring in the next wave of Chinese investors, which will primarily be in the manufacturing and services sectors. This is on top of the real estate and construction companies that we tend to focus on today.

There have already been several trade missions between Chinese private and public sector groups, and Johor chambers of commerce and government parties to facilitate new trade cooperation activities in Iskandar Malaysia. Greenland’s joint venture with the Johor government to develop a 3,000-acre site in eastern Johor, including major industrial components, is one example.

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative has one key feature, which is to develop industrial capacity and demand outside China. Rather than the traditional method of importing raw materials and producing in China, the initiative seeks to shift certain industries to outside of China and play a bigger role in the production chain by providing infrastructure and services to enable this. The initiative also seeks to increase the purchasing power of locals in various countries and diversify China’s export markets.

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Major project in Iskandar aborted
The China Mall - the first phase of the huge Asian Trade Centre project that Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise has now decided to drop - was to be similar to the 15ha Dragon Mart (above) in Dubai. FOTO: REUTERS

Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise has stopped plans to build the huge Asian Trade Centre development in Iskandar - the 1st major project in the region to fall through.

No reasons were given for the decision, which is likely to intensify concerns that the fast-growing region is hitting some speed bumps.

The move, which it revealed to The Straits Times recently, has stunned property experts, given that UEM Sunrise managing director & chief executive Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said in a New Straits Times report in December that it was "in the midst of getting approvals from the relevant authorities" for the project.

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Country Garden Forest City – Southeast Asia’s Largest Green City

Country Garden Forest City Development is Southeast Asia’s firsts and largest mixed-use green development in terms of the number of units to be built with a vertical greenery and smart city design theme. Country Garden Forest City revolves around a multi-layered three dimensional city planning, with lush vertical greenery covered with dense foliage and multiple forms of public transportation operating at high efficiency, sustainable and renewable energy infrastructures. With the use of futuristic green design and smart technologies, Country Garden Forest City Development is set to become a role model of future cities, adopting best practices to minimise environmental impact through integrated solutions to achieve zero impact to the surrounding area.

Country Garden Forest City is a city meant for the future, a vision and longing that was born out of 30 years of experience influenced by China’s pace of internationalisation – car free zone, luxury green living coexists with smart technologies and amenities, surrounded by the wonders of nature and is of close proximity to centres of education, healthcare, transportation, financial centres, and leisure attractions.

Rather than another pure real estate project, Country Garden Forest City is a culmination of our wisdom, knowledge and experience that brings to life an eco-city of the future in its true sense, offering a perfect mix of luxury tranquillity, urban vitality and proximity in the heart of Southeast Asia. Ideally suited for those who are seeking a ‘get-away’ luxury lifestyle from the bustle of modern life.

related: Forest City Johor 碧桂园森林城市

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Forest City developer presses ahead amid reclamation issues
The shore of Forest City, with the Tuas Second Link to Singapore in view. Amid ongoing talks, Country Garden insists it is reclaiming within Malaysian boundaries. ST FOTO: KEVIN LIM

The mega Forest City project off Johor Baru seems to be going full steam ahead despite ongoing controversy over its reclamation plans & even as other developers have either shelved scheduled project launches or dropped them altogether.

Forest City's China developer Country Garden has already started work on one of the 4 islands that will eventually comprise the largest mixed development in Johor Baru. The project has an estimated value of $58.3 billion and is slated to be completed in phases over the next 2 decades.

Some reclamation of the Johor Strait has started, where the project will be connected to Johor via a 2-lane road. Work on at least one other island is under way as well.

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Mega reclamation project off Johor raises concerns

MALAYSIAN environmental authorities have approved reclamation works for the Forest City project in Johor, but for a reduced 1,386ha development instead of the initial 1,600ha.

The project had faced resistance from Singapore & Malaysians living near the site, which is close to Tuas, over fears of damage to the ecology of the waterway between the 2 countries.

Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV), the master developer, said in a statement yesterday that the Department of Environment (DoE) granted approval after accepting proposals in a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment to "minimise or mitigate environmental impacts through integrated and workable solutions".

related: Housing glut worries over Johor's mega projects

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Singapore presses Malaysia on Johor Strait reclamation projects
The Causeway from Singapore to Johor Bharu. TODAY file foto

Minister for the Environment & Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan emphasised Singapore’s concerns over Malaysia’s land reclamation projects in the Straits of Johor, during the 27th Annual Exchange of Visits between the environment ministries of Malaysia and Singapore.

Dr Balakishnan led a delegation to Kuala Lumpur today (Nov 25) and met with Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources & Environment Dr James Dawos Mamit in Kuala Lumpur.

At the meeting, Dr Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s request for such reclamation works to be suspended until Singapore has received and studied all the relevant information from Malaysia, including the Environmental Impact Assessments, and established that there would be no transboundary impact on Singapore from these projects.

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Johor reclamation works begin despite concerns

2 massive reclamation projects are under way in the Johor Strait despite the lack of environmental assessment reports & a move by Singapore asking about the impact of the development.

According to a report by news website The Malaysian Insider yesterday, the reclamation has also raised concerns over how it will affect the livelihoods of fishermen, as well as ships using the nearby Port of Tanjung Pelepas.

One of the projects is a 2,000ha man-made island - nearly 3 times the size of Ang Mo Kio estate - that will feature luxury homes and will be completed in 30 yrs' time.

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Controversial Johor project to be scaled down, says report
Controversial Johor project to be scaled down, says report

The RM600 billion mixed-development Forest City project in Johor will be scaled down by 30% following the green light by the Department of Environment (DOE) to the developer, The Star reported today.

Initially planned to cover 1,978 ha, the project, which was suspended for about six months over environmental concerns, has been scaled down by about 610 ha. The new site reportedly covers about 1,368 ha.

DOE approved the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) on January 9.

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Controversial Johor Strait land reclamation project Forest City gets the go-ahead

Construction & reclamation for a luxury housing project to be built on a man-made island in the Johor Strait will continue, with Malaysia's Department of Environment (DoE) giving the developer the go-ahead.

Work on the project off Tuas had been suspended from last June as concerns about its environmental impact were raised on both sides of the border. Since then, all parties have been waiting for a final verdict from the DoE.

Singapore conveyed its concerns about the project on a number of occasions to the Malaysian government, asking for more information on the reclamation & construction works.

Johor reclamation at Tanjong Piai gets go ahead

More massive reclamation to be expected in West Johor Straits as Tanjong Piai reclamation project gets approval to go ahead. This is in addition to the massive Forest City reclamation already going on there.
From the Tanjung Piai Integrated Petroleum and Petrochemical Hub website, the plan is to create the following:

  • A 'man-made' island
  • Total size of 3,485 acres
  • Phase 1 : 1,000 acres & Phase 2 : 1,000 acres.
  • Phase 3 & 4 : 1,485 acres
  • Each phase will take about 5 years to complete
  • Expected overall completion - 20 years
It was recently reported that Benalec Holdings Bhd has received the green light from the Department of Environment (DOE) for all three phases of its Tanjung Piai Integrated Petroleum and Petrochemical Hub and Maritime Industrial Park (TPMIP) project in Johor. The company said the DEIA approval encompassed the reclamation construction for all three phases of TPMIP, oil storage terminals and related marine facilities. “The approval also includes infrastructure components on TPMIP such as jetties, a land bridge connecting TPMIP to the mainland of Tanjung Piai, and drainage channel dredging activities in the waters of Tanjung Piai, Johor.”

Reclamation works for Phase 1 began in December last year after the relevant approvals were secured, and there has been formation of land covering more than 100 acres at the project to date.

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Malaysia: Benalec’s entire Tg Piai reclamation project gets DOE approval

Benalec Holdings Bhd has received the green light from the Department of Environment (DOE) for all three phases of its Tanjung Piai Integrated Petroleum and Petrochemical Hub and Maritime Industrial Park (TPMIP) project in Johor.

The marine construction firm said on Thursday that the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) study submitted by 70% owned subsidiary Spektrum Kukuh and Johor State Secretary Inc for Phases 2 and 3 got the nod on Friday last week.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said this was for the balance area of 2,407 acres of the total reclamation area of 3,487 acres. The go-ahead for Phase 1 of the project had been received in January 2015.

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Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park

THE MOST SOUTH-WESTERN TIP OF THE ASIAN CONTINENT - Approximately 3,485 acres of land will be reclaimed off the coast of Tanjung Piai and will form a man-made island to be sited off the south-western coast of Johor, Malaysia. Strategically located at the confluence of the Malacca Straits, Singapore Straits and Johor Straits, Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park is well placed to capture value-added activities from one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, including the movement of oil tankers equaling over a quarter of the global oil trade. Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park lies at the mouth of the Pulai River just south of Port of Tanjung Pelepas, the second largest container port in Malaysia and the Tanjung Bin Area, site of a 2100 MW coal fired power station.

EXTREME PROXIMITY TO SINGAPORE - The site also lies about 10-15 km away from the Tuas-Jurong Industrial Estate and Jurong Island in Singapore. Additionally, the site is some 12km from the planned new megaport at Tuas being developed in Singapore to handle some 65 million TEUs upon completion of all of its 4 phases. The Tuas and Jurong industrial areas are home to many industrial plants and logistics facilities, including shipbuilding, offshore marine base, machinery manufacturing and the Jurong Port, an important port for handling bulk and general cargo. Jurong Island, being the largest fuel bunkering hub in the maritime industry, is one of the most important refining and petrochemical hubs in the world.

NATURAL DEEP WATER AND VAST SEA FRONTING LAND - Besides its geographical strengths, Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park boasts natural deep water between 24 to 30 meters which borders the site, enabling it to handle Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) and even ValeMax Bulk Carriers with minimal capital and maintenance dredging. Direct access to the deep water of Malacca Straits can be achieved with the construction of a short jetty trestle just approximately 700 meters. The large anchorage areas surrounding the site also have capacity for up to 1,000 vessels. Upon completion of reclamation of this man-made island, the site will create vast land for future expansion and a total of 7-kilometer stretch of valuable seafront land which is able to accommodate up to 41 berths from the range of 2,000 DWT to 350,000 DWT. With Indonesia’s Sumatra Island acting as a natural breakwater to Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park, it is a naturally sheltered harbour free from adverse weather conditions.

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China projects in Malaysia to hit Singapore
Goh: Most of the Malaysia-China indirect trade (about RM200bil) that goes through S'pore could return to Malaysia

The giant republic's aggressive investments in ports & rail links in Malaysia under its belt-road regional economic expansion programme is going to change the outlook for the island republic.

China's current mega belt-road projects in Malaysia, once completed, will alter trade routes in the region & this may divert hundreds of billions worth of trade from Singapore, according to industry players.

Cargoes & goods within the region heading for China or vice versa could bypass the Port of Singapore, when China-funded ports & East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) in Peninsular Malaysia are completed within 5 to 10 years

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Massive Port City Project In Malaysia No Threat To Singapore, Other Ports: Port Klang Chairman

A massive RM200 billion (US$45 billion) port industrial city planned for Malaysia's Carey Island is a safeguard for the future and "not a threat" to Singapore or any other ports along the Strait of Malacca, said the chairman of Port Klang Authority, the body behind the project.

Kong Cho Ha, the chairman of the authority that oversees Port Klang – Malaysia's largest port and the world's 12th busiest – said the new port will "create the capacity for the next generation".

"Singapore is also building a big terminal at Tuas which is 65 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units); whereas for Carey Island, we are only talking about developing the port in phases - maybe up to a maximum of 30 million TEUs only," he told Channel NewsAsia.

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Kong: RM200 billion Carey Island port ‘complements not competes’

Port Klang Authority (PKA) is determined to proceed with its RM200 billion port industrial city project in Carey Island, calling it a safeguard for the future, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported today.

PKA chairman Kong Cho Ha said the proposed port complex would not be a threat to Singapore nor would it be in conflict with other major port projects coming up in Malacca.

“This is more complementary rather than competition. Singapore is also building a big terminal at Tuas which is 65 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), whereas for Carey Island, we are only talking about developing the port in phases – maybe up to a maximum of 30 million TEUs only,” Kong told the regional news network in an interview that will be aired next Tuesday.

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“Singapore-Lite” To Be Built In Johor With Middle Eastern Money

Although our economy may not be in the best place right now, many people still look up to Singapore’s success, so much so that they’ve made it their long-term aspiration to replicate our city.

In fact, copycat cities may be closer than we think. In Johor, Malaysia, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd has been partnering with government-linked companies and other investors in order to create Malaysia’s largest single urban development, known as the Medini Project — touted as “Singapore-lite”.

Not only does this have much potential, it’s also well-backed by massive Middle Eastern investors like Kuwait Finance House and Mubadala from Abu Dhabi, according to Forbes.

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Building A City From Scratch: How Middle East Money Is Creating A New City In Malaysia

Ten years ago, Imran Markar was using a GPS device to navigate his way around a patch of land at the southern tip of peninsula Malaysia, just across the narrow Straits of Johor from Singapore. The area had once been used to grow oil palms, but the plantations had gone to seed and it took a lively imagination to believe that much else would thrive.

“When I first came to Johor in March 2007 it was abandoned palm oil estates,” he says. “The trees had died. It was a swamp, it was water-logged. I remember being cautioned not to step out of the car because there were snakes. There wasn't a road, not even a pathway.”

Today, the principal at Dubai-based United World Infrastructure (UWI) is able to drive around the same land on newly-laid roads that criss-cross a 2,300 acre, partially-completed building site, with dozens of cranes, apartments and office blocks rising up from the ground. The new city, named Medini, is part of the mega-development of Johor state being directed by the government’s Iskandar Regional Development Authority.

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Medini Iskandar Malaysia - Smart City in the Making

The story of Iskandar Malaysia (IM) has gone through several iterations since its inception in 2006. Conceived as a special economic zone within the southernmost state of Johor in Malaysia, IM stretches across an area of 547,832 acres (2,217 sq km) or three times the size of Singapore.

Within IM are five zones, with Iskandar Puteri (formerly Nusajaya) being the administrative center earmarked as one of the investment destinations for both local and foreign investors—with catalytic projects such as LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort launched in 2012 and Gleneagles Medini Hospital that was opened last year.

The sheer size of the economic zone has created more room for other catalytic developments. Rising to the challenge is United Malayan Land Berhad (UMLand), one of Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini)’s key developers, which will be rejuvenating an existing lake and promoting lakeside living.

Medini Iskandar Malaysia—Inclusive Smart City
From Master Planner to City Builder
The Compass: Upcoming Commercial Hub
Incentives for Investors
Coming Up: Medini Lakeside
The Next Lap

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Medini: Catalyst to the Pulse of Iskandar Malaysia

Incorporated in 2008, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIMSB) initiates and support catalytic developments of the 2,230 acres of land identified as Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini). MIMSB takes on the responsibility to creatively innovate aspects of Medini with the latest, integrated, connected and smart city initiatives.

As an integrated and comprehensive masterplanner for Medini, MIMSB has also made an impact as a developer, by building iconic developments that contribute to the growth of Medini. MIMSB has been working synonymously with other renowned developers such as UMLand, Sunway Iskandar, E&O, WCT, Mah Sing and many others, and this puts Medini on the map as the new destination in the region. 

Aspiring to be the Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri, Johor, MIMSB works very closely with investment and government organisations to make Medini the Icon of City Living for the Future.

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Medini Iskandar Malaysia

Medini Iskandar is the flagship development positioned as the new urban township of Iskandar Malaysia. Spanning an area of 9.3 sq km (2,230 acres), Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini Iskandar) is the flagship development positioned as the new urban township of Iskandar Malaysia.

Fast Facts:
  • International Mixed-used Development
  • 96 million sq.ft./2,230 acres in Nusajaya.
  • The maximum permitted Gross Floor area (GFA) of 182 million sq.ft.
  • Expected Gross Development Value(GDV) of US$20 billion over 15-20 years. 20% to be developed by 2014 with a targeted population of 50, 000

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Medini Iskandar Malaysia

Medini Iskandar Malaysia (Medini) located within Iskandar Puteri is marked as Flagship Zone B under the Iskandar Malaysia development blueprint. This economic development region is situated in the state of Johor, Malaysia.

Medini is a 2,300 acres (9.3 km2) urban township development planned for a population of 450,000 by 2030. Medini is Malaysia’s largest single urban development to date and will become the smart and connected Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri. The gross development value of Medini stands at US$20 billion spanning 15 to 20 years. Signature developments in Medini include Mall of Medini and LEGOLAND®.Malaysia Resort (theme park), which is designed to provide activities for families and houses over 70 rides.

The name Medini comes from the ancient name of the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, Ujong Medini.

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Cut-Price Luxury Homes Fuel Singapore Tri-Nation Sprawl

Darren Chin gave up a 15-minute train journey to his office in Singapore for a two-hour drive with a stop at passport control. The reason: By commuting from Malaysia, he can afford his own two-story home and car.

“It’s worth it,” said the Malaysian financial adviser, who leaves his house before 6:45 a.m. to get to his job at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. on time. “I’m saving on rent and I’m paying for my own house.”

Chin is part of the expansion of Southeast Asia’s richest city across its borders as residents and companies seek property, labor and amenities, often at half the cost or less. The result is a three-nation urban complex with a population bigger than London and an economy that would rank as one of the fastest-growing in the region.

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Formula One Joins Legoland in Plan to Remake Malaysia’s South

Robert Pick, the former deputy head of the U.K.’s Marlborough College, recalls the day in 2009 when he stood atop a hill at the southern tip of Malaysia and scanned an endless sea of green palm oil trees. He strained to see the spot among the massive plantations where the private boarding school would build its first overseas branch three years later, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its September issue.

“It was a leap of faith,” says Pick, who’s now the founding master of Marlborough College Malaysia, in his new office with a floor-to-ceiling window and a view of vast cricket and rugby fields. “You wouldn’t have believed then what it is now.”

Today, the 90-acre campus boasts more than 30 low-rise buildings divided by green lawns and tennis courts and is traversed by 376 students.

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Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2015 file photo, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, talks with China's President Xi Jinping as they arrive for a family photo with other leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, Philippines

Following Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's recent visit to China, Malaysia's prime minister is the latest leader of a nation that claims territory in the South China Sea to travel to Beijing.

Najib Razak arrives in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for a six-day visit to the country whose claims to virtually the entire strategic waterbody overlaps with areas that Malaysia says belong to it.

Malaysia claims a swath of the South China Sea north of Borneo, along with islands and reefs, but has been relatively understated amid feuding among fellow claimants China, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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Medini Iskandar
Forest City
Another Singapore Next To Singapore?
Iskandar Malaysia: Why are the Chinese here?
S'pore-KL High Speed Rail Agreement
Malaysia's "gain" and Singapore's "loss"
Malaysia's ECRL touted as a game changer
Embracing, Leaning & Tilting towards China
Mega reclamation project off Johor
Malaysia files for revision of ICJ’s Pulau Batu Puteh decision