Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here's How to Improve the Value of Your Landed Properties

KL's back lanes get creative makeover

Activists turning public spaces into hip places for interaction

Published on Nov 29, 2013
- See more at:

By Yong Yen Nie, Malaysia Correspondent

IN THE back lane of a neighbourhood in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, where one would expect to see bare concrete and wasted space, a surprise awaits - a charming little garden.

Started six months ago, the project is the brainchild of renowned landscape architect Ng Sek San, 53, who has created a community garden complete with shady trees, a small lawn and an old school swing in the lane at the back of his house. Since then, his neighbours have chipped in by planting shrubs in the garden. "Back lanes always seem to be an underdog space that no one knows what to do with - and there are thousands of them in the country," Mr Ng told The Straits Times in an interview recently. "(This garden) inspires people to turn existing spaces into community-based projects, which promote inclusiveness within the society." Another architect, Ms Foo Hui Ping, 32, is devising her own back-lane project in her neighbourhood in Petaling Jaya, encouraging people to find ways to use these spaces by, say, hosting community meals or sporting activities. Elsewhere in Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, activists are leaving packets of seedlings at bus stops for commuters to take away. Also, members of the #BetterKL group, set up in 2011, are leaving questionnaires asking how to make the city better, which commuters can fill out while waiting for their bus. These projects by architects, designers and activists aim to educate the public about how to utilise and interact within the city's shared spaces. The grassroots initiatives are run independently but they have a common goal: to improve the quality of life in a city whose landscape is increasingly being dominated by high-rise buildings and mass rapid transit projects. Rapid development has caused public spaces such as parks to shrink as they make way for commercial and residential buildings. In addition, urban dwellers have become more dependent on cars, and many prefer air-conditioned shopping malls to parks for social activities. Ms Foo believes unused spaces can provide "safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists, while giving them a new way of looking at the city. Driving in a car, they miss the details that characterise the city". The government does plan to increase parkland in Kuala Lumpur, which now forms 5 per cent of its total land area, raising the ratio to 8 per cent or 2,445ha by 2020. However, experts such as Dr Nor Akmar Abdul Aziz, a greenspace management researcher at Universiti Putra Malaysia, are unsure if the target can be reached. "As it is, lack of funding for green space development and management stands out as a major weakness in executing such plans," she told The Straits Times. Thus, architects and public space activists are taking matters into their own hands. Ms Goh Sze Ying, 30, who heads #BetterKL, said the local authorities had not stopped the group from setting up pop-up art installations in public spaces. The next challenge is to convince local councils and the Land Public Transport Commission, which regulates public transport in the country, to openly support and participate in such projects. "We want to try to get the authorities' approval for some of our projects and bridge the gap between policymakers and grassroots initiators, so city planning can be improved from the start," said Ms Goh. As for Mr Ng, he has secured the green light from power provider Tenaga Nasional for his next project - to turn a 3.2ha plot surrounding a power station in Bangsar into a park. He is optimistic that the city council will grant him approval. "We are not endangering lives," he said. "This is about changing our consciousness of the land we live in." - See more at:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Meridian 101 Construction Destroyed Heritage Buildings

Those of us who thinks the Meridian 101 Degrees project is brilliant in incorporating the heritage frontage may be disappointed.

The developer has just been clearing the plot and they have completed demolished and flattened the row of heritage buildings. 

Meanwhile, the famous Yut Kee restaurant's new shop is almost completed - the red one in the picture above.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Property growth expected on Penang mainland

 | March 4, 2014
Property boom is expected in Seberang Perai and surrounding areas with the opening of the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge.
fook tune huatPERAI: Batu Kawan and Simpang Ampat will be major areas of growth in mainland Seberang Perai this year, predicts international property asset consultant Henry Butcher Malaysia (HBM).
“Batu Kawan in particular would become a major township, comprising residential, commercial and industrial areas,” said HMB (Seberang Perai) associate director Fook Tone Huat at a press conference here today.
He said the overall property market outlook in mainland Seberang Perai was expected to be bullish in the second half of the year, largely due to the Penang second bridge – the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge.
“We expect a surge in demand for properties on the mainland, particularly in the Batu Kawan township and surrounding areas of Seberang Perai Selatan.”
Other areas of growth will be Alma in Bukit Mertajam and Jalan Baru, the RMAF base in Teluk Air Tawar and, Byram and Changkat plantations.
“Once Batu Kawan becomes congested, investors and developers will look at turning Byram and Changkat plantations into development areas,” Fook said.
“The new bridge will attract investors and purchasers to relocate to the mainland, especially in Batu Kawan, which is directly linked to the island’s Batu Maung via the 24km Penang second bridge,” he added.
Built at a cost of RM4.5 billion by the federal government, the elevated mega sea highway is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia and third longest in the world.
Fook said that initial volumes of property buying in Batu Kawan would however be moderate due to cooling measures and stringent financing policies imposed by Bank Negara to control speculation.
He however expects property prices to remain high due to the escalating land and development costs.
“The second bridge will also cushion the effects of these cooling measures and spur future growth,” said Fook.
Moreover, he said industrial land value in Batu Kawan would be cheaper between RM30 and RM35psf compared with RM80 and RM100psf across the Penang channel in Bayan Lepas and Batu Maung.
He said the low land cost in Seberang Perai would attract more investors to Batu Kawan.
He revealed that Penang’s major investments last year took place in Batu Kawan and surrounding places such as by Hoemonetics Corp, Magneti Marelli, Ibiden, Penang Designer Village, Universty of Hull and GEMS International School.
Fook also predicted property market speculation would surge due to the entry of major investors and big property industry players from the Klang Valley in search for land in Seberang Perai Selatan.
“The industrial property sector is set to see a high demand, especially in Bukit Minyak Industrial Park, Penang Science Park and Batu Kawan Industrial Park.”
Currently the mainland’s industrial area runs from Mak Mandin in north Seberang Perai and cuts through Batu Kawan to Nibong Tebal south Seberang Perai is the longest industrial belt in the country.
The HBM report revealed that Penang island and Kuala Lumpur central areas remain as the most expensive property market in the country, way above Seberang Perai.
Fook also advised property developers to cut down on the development of high-end housing to avoid loss risks as individual house buyers are having difficulties obtaining loans due to stringent fiscal policies.
“Bank Negara should relax its financing policies on first time house buyers to enable every family to own a home,” he urged.