Singapore-Malaysia border crossing (update 10): Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System in Dec 2024

21 Jan 2018:  Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System in Dec 2024

Dec 2024: Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System to carry 10,000 passengers per hr per direction; need to clear customs only once

26 Oct 2017: Commentary by Khor Yu Leng

Johor views of the rising cross-border tolls with Singapore by Khor Yu Leng, 26 Oct 2017

The busiest land crossing in the world has been adjusting to and absorbing “tit-for-tat” fees escalation since 2014

The Johor-Singapore land crossing is described as one of the busiest in the world. Johor authorities reported an average of about 296,000 daily pedestrians in 2015. This figure excludes those using motorcycles (about 100,000 registered for automated clearance), cars, vans, lorries and buses. The data is a bit patchy, but reports point to 126,000 vehicles daily (including about 4,000 trucks and lorries entering Singapore) just on the kilometre-long Causeway built in 1923; whilst the Second Link has capacity for 200,000 per day. Overall this implies at least a quarter million commuters.

Compare this with the US-Mexico San Ysidro border crossing (connecting San Diego and Tijuana), which has 50,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians entering the US daily. While San Ysidro (35 minutes to cross in a standard lane, may be faster) is often thought of as the busiest land crossing in the world, the statistics suggest that the Causeway has it beat.

Many on a daily commute are Malaysians seeking higher paying jobs in Singapore. To earn incomes that can be three-times higher than if they worked in Johor, hundreds of thousands of people make daily 180-240 minute (return) commutes across the congested Causeway and Second Link bridges. This includes widespread anecdotes of an added 60 minute daily wait times at immigration in recent years.

Swelling the massive commuting traffic are Singaporeans whose strong currency takes them a long way in Johor. This brings weekend and holiday car traffic that go for essentials of shopping, foot massages and a car wash. No surprise that some Johor workers in Singapore say they don’t bother to return home until late every Friday night!

Malaysia’s VEP registered 20,000 Singapore cars by October 2015. While there were complaints on higher crossing fees and talk about reducing trips, Johor experts and a mall owner I checked in with report no impacts. Basically, Singapore drivers get used to paying a bit more within a month or two, and things are “business as usual” for those catering to their trade. Property gurus point to more new retail outlets in Johor including a new Aeon in September, Ikea and Paradigm Mall in November, and Mid-Valley at South Quay.

Johor observers point to the start of competitive fees hikes in 2014 on passenger car traffic, with Singapore increasing its Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) from SGD20 to SGD35 per day. In reaction the Barisan Nasional government did not honour its 2013 general election pledge not to charge toll fees on the Johor Bahru Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway (EDL, that links the North-South Expressway with the city’s CIQ Complex). Thus, all vehicles at the CIQ pay a charge whether they actually use it or not. The latest is a RM25 5-year Malaysia VEP, that adds to last year’s new RM20 road charge, that took a round trip for a Singapore car going into Johor to about SGD19.

Johor State Assemblywoman Wong Shu Qi explains that this “toll hike competition” causes more Johor workers to use motorbikes. She points out that things are still to the relative benefit as  “Singapore cars pay RM56.80 per roundtrip whilst a Malaysian car pays RM 165.80.” Think also of the cost of having a family dinner in Johor versus Singapore.

Other Johor resident point to a well-off segment of Johoreans working in Singapore and driving Singapore registered vehicles as bearing the greater cost increase of about RM400 per month (RM20 road charge for 20 work days). Some can afford this, and others already defray costs by carpooling to their Singapore jobs. It seems there is limited sympathy in Johor for the extra charges as they appear to be largely borne by a relatively small segment of well-off Johor residents.

Indeed, there is even negative sentiment in Johor about Singapore registered cars. Assemblywoman Wong explains that: “Many locals reckon that Singapore vehicles that are driven rudely and recklessly in Johor are actually driven by Malaysians with Singapore PRs who are proud of owning a Singapore registered car.”

Perhaps the ones to sympathise with are the 100,000 motorcyclists on stressful daily commutes. While they do not face such rising charges, a Johor resident points out that fights are not uncommon. “Many have added spikes to their motorbikes. The police have gotten good at breaking up the fights, and they don’t arrest them.”

So, Singapore shoppers easily shrug off rising car charges but Johoreans face more motorbike angst and carpooling as the long term decline of the Ringgit against the Singapore dollar has driven even more to seek jobs in the island state. As for those selling property to make Johor a dormitory for Singapore, some developers currently see the tolls as a minor issue relative to the over-supply of condominiums and crime problems. Township developers are currently more worried about the too-low 70% financing offered to their buyers, but are long-term positive as their landed units are cheap for Singaporeans.

The future Rapid Transit System will no doubt be greatly welcomed by the current quarter million Johor commuters and keenly eyed by Singaporeans considering Johor for more than the weekend foot massage. For now, the feeling is that it was high time that Johor commuters with Singapore cars should pay more for their road usage; but they would no doubt wish that they get more than the allocated 20% of the RM20 road charge for Johor state coffers.

Khor Yu Leng is an independent political economist at Segi Enam Advisors Pte Ltd.

Note: One Singapore Dollar (SGD) equals 3.11 Malaysian Ringgit (RM). The Malaysian Ringgit now has 2/3 of the exchange rate value it had with the Singapore Dollar in 2002. The author lived for a period in Johor Bahru as a young child. She remembers crossing to Singapore every weekend for shopping, eating and visiting relatives. She also remembers that the Singapore Dollar exchange with the Malaysian Ringgit was one-for-one.


Author’s interviews with seven Johor observers, 14-25 October 2017

Nearly 300,000 walk between Johor and Singapore daily, 22 April 2016, AsiaOne, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Motorcyclists grumble over congestion at Johor's new M-Bike lanes, 21 Feb 2017, New Straits Times, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Busy U.S.-Mexico border crossing reopens ahead of schedule, 25 Sep 2017, LA Times, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).RTS to Shorten Travel Time Between JB and Singapore, 28 Sep 2017, Property Guru, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Singapore says will hike Causeway toll rate if Malaysia does, 29 Jul 2014, Malay Mail, (accessed 25 Oct 2017).Singapore says will hike Causeway toll rate if Malaysia does, 29 Jul 2014, Straits Times,   (accessed 25 Oct 2017).

16 Oct 2017: Malaysia 5-year VEP (RFID tag) RM25 fee adds to RM20 Road Charge

Malaysia to implement Vehicle Entry Permit for all foreign-registered vehicles 9 Oct 2017 -- All foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia will soon require a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) that costs RM25 (S$8), said Malaysia’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai on Saturday (Oct 7).

This is on top of the RM20 road charge currently imposed on vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore. The VEP would be valid for five years, said Mr Liow, without giving a timeline for its implementation. Vehicle owners who paid for the VEP will be issued with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag to be placed on the windshields of their vehicles. “The VEP will help us to identify the number of foreign vehicles entering Malaysia and also to prevent car theft and car cloning syndicates,” Mr Liow was quoted as saying by The Star. He added that the road charge would also apply to the northern border with Thailand by the end of this year or early next year. “We will implement the VEP and the RC at border entries between Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia for cars coming into Sarawak from the two countries at a later stage,” he said. Read more at

Foreign vehicles entering Singapore to pay 'reciprocal road charge' of S$6.40 Singapore 16 Jan 2017 -- Starting Feb 15, all foreign-registered cars will have to pay a reciprocal road charge (RRC) of S$6.40 when they enter Singapore via the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Monday (Jan 16). "The RRC mirrors Malaysia’s road charge of RM20 (S$6.40) per entry for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor, which was implemented on Nov 1, 2016," LTA said. The road charge will be collected together with the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP), toll charges and fixed Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) fees upon departure at the Tuas or Woodlands Checkpoints. An average of 20,000 Singapore-registered vehicles enter Malaysia daily via the two land checkpoints. Read more at

RM20 road charge for foreign vehicles entering Johor from November, 28 Oct 2016 -- Foreign private-registered vehicles entering Malaysia via Johor will be subjected to an RM20 (S$6.60) charge from Nov 1, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) announced on Friday (Oct 28). The road charge (RC) will be collected each time motorists enter Malaysia via Touch n’ Go cards, according to the statement. The RC system has been activated at the two land entry points in Johor - the Causeway and the Second Link - and will be extended to the 10 other entrances into the country in stages.

"Initial collection exercise will only involve foreign private-registered vehicles excluding foreign registered motorcycles," MOT added.  The ministry said the RC is not to be confused with the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP). It described the VEP, which requires foreign vehicles entering Malaysia to be registered via an online portal for an RFID tag costing RM10, as "part of ongoing efforts by the Government of Malaysia to improve border control and monitoring". Read more at

8 Feb 2017: Singapore reciprocal road charge on Malaysia vehicles starts on 15 Feb, no cross-border paid car pooling, Singapore-JB MRT link?

Editor's note: I was chatting with a Singapore-based economist this morning. On the 15th the higher fee cars for the Malaysia-Singapore crossing kicks in (triggered by Malaysia's special fee on Singapore cars – which is not replicated for its Thai and Indonesia borders). Families living-straddling border have to split (meet up weekends) or face an extra RM2000 per month commute cost. I also saw headline today’s news about tighter rules on renting out rooms in Singapore (but I haven’t read it yet). 

New entry charge for foreign cars from Feb 15, PUBLISHED JAN 17, 2017 -- Foreign cars entering Singapore will be levied a new entry charge from Feb 15, in line with earlier government pronouncements that the Republic will match similar fees implemented by Malaysia. In an announcement yesterday, the Land Transport Authority said a reciprocal road charge of $6.40 per entry will apply at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints. It said the fee mirrors Malaysia's road charge of RM20 (S$6.40) for non-Malaysia registered cars entering Johor that was implemented on Nov 1 last year.... On Jan 9, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that Singapore intends to match Malaysia's road charge.... He pointed out that Malaysia collected about RM13.93 million in road charges from Singapore vehicles in the seven weeks from Nov 1. Singapore's reciprocal charge will be collected with the vehicle entry permit (VEP) and toll charges for the two crossings, which can amount to as much as $41.50 for cars. During Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) hours, foreign cars without an in-vehicle unit are also levied a fixed ERP charge of $5 a day.

Paid cross-border carpooling services are against regulations: LTA By Linette Lim  Posted 20 Jun 2016 -- Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, an LTA spokesperson said: "Malaysian-registered cars are not allowed to provide hire-and-reward services in Singapore without a public service vehicle licence." Likewise, Malaysian regulations do not permit Singapore-registered cars to do the same in Malaysia without a public service vehicle licence.

Singapore-JB MRT to be linked by high bridge; deal by 2017 PUBLISHED DEC 14, 2016

Nearly 300,000 walk between Johor and Singapore daily Apr 22, 2016 -- ISKANDAR PUTERI - An average of 295,731 people use the two land crossings between Malaysia and Singapore daily. State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said Immigration Department records showed that some 107.9 million people used the Johor Causeway and Second Link last year. "This did not include the ones travelling on motorcycles, cars, vans, lorries and buses. - See more at:

 19 October 2015: New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, Malaysia toll hikes, Immigration Dept can impose travel ban against those who shamed Malaysia

Immigration Dept can impose travel ban against those who shamed Malaysia Published: 18 October 2015 3:38 PM - See more at:

New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, exco says Updated: 5:10 PM, October 7, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR — The new Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system meant for both causeways linking Malaysia to Singapore has been delayed a second time despite an earlier announcement that the system would go live last Thursday (Oct 1). Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Hasni Mohammad said that the new start date for the system, which has already registered 20,000 Singaporean vehicles according to the Road Transport Department (RTD) website, will be determined during the mentris besar and chief ministers meeting. “We have to wait for the outcome of the meeting before making any comment or announcement,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online. This is the system’s second delay, the first resulting from “technical difficulties”, which pushed back its August 1 launch. According to newswire Bernama, the VEP system will initially involve foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia through Johor but will eventually be applied to all 12 road entry points into the country. Roads from Thailand will be next to receive the VEP system, followed by Brunei and Indonesia. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

Toll hikes: Why is Barisan Nasional on a suicidal path? Sin Chew Daily Published Oct 16, 2015, 1:06 pm SGT; In its editorial on Oct 15, 2015, Sin Chew Daily questions the belief that Malaysian voters will forget the hikes when it is time to vote in two years' time. First of all, toll rates for 18 major highways in the country was increased with effect from Thursday (Oct 15). And before long, the frustrated public began to lash out mercilessly at the government for the sudden and drastic increase.... The BN government used to cap the toll hike by way of compensating the concessionaires or allowing them to extend their toll collection periods.  I believe they might have weighed the pros and cons that they have decided to leave the concessionaires alone this time. Apparently the government is placing its stake on some common human attributes: forgetfulness and adaptability.  The next general elections may be more than two years away, and the time is long enough to diffuse any negative impact that might come with the rising toll rates.....

Toll hikes better now than later, says report Published: 14 October 2015 9:06 AM

See more at:

All highways involved in toll hikes not ‘inter-urban’, says body Published: 17 October 2015 8:37 PM; All 18 highways which increased their toll rates since last Thursday are not categorised as inter-urban highways. The Malaysian Highway Authority in a statement today said inter-urban highways were highways linking one state capital to another state capital and forming a national highway network as they connected the rural areas to the towns. “Geometrically, inter urban highways have controlled access as commuters can only enter the highways via certain interchanges. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); “Highways categorised as an inter-urban highway are the North-South and East Coast Expressways,” the statement said. The highway authority also explained that the KL-Karak Highway (KLK)is not an inter-urban highway as the highway only connects Gombak and Bentong, Pahang. - See more at:

PLUS toll hike due next year By: LEONG HUNG YEE Saturday, 17 October 2015

Toll hikes coming to Penang as well   By Audrey Dermawan - 13 October 2015 @ 12:53 PM

‘Betrayal,’ PM says of toll hike proposal leak By Ida Lim Saturday June 13, 2015 - See more at:

5 August 2015: 

Malaysia's new VEP fee (RM20 per entry and RM10 for 5 year registration) discriminates against Singapore vehicles - Singapore may hike vehicle entry fee in tit-for-tat move

Malaysia's new VEP fee discriminates against Singapore vehicles: Transport Ministry "Such costs and inconveniences could discourage Singaporeans from going to Malaysia, in particular Johor, for leisure purposes such as shopping, entertainment, sight-seeing, holiday," the Transport Ministry says.

POSTED: 04 Aug 2015 20:47  UPDATED: 04 Aug 2015 22:43; SINGAPORE: Malaysia's upcoming RM20 (S$7.16) entry fee for foreign-registered vehicles travelling through Johor, "discriminates against Singapore vehicles", the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said on Tuesday (Aug 4). The fee kicks in on Oct 1 and the ministry said Singapore will consider matching the levy in some form after studying its implementation. MOT also said it is requesting more information from Malaysian authorities on their new requirement for Singapore vehicles to pre-register before entering Malaysia. Over the weekend, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi was quoted by The Star as saying "from Sep 1, Singapore vehicles which are not registered with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) would be refused entry into Malaysia”.

Singapore may hike vehicle entry fee in tit-for-tat move Published: 4 August 2015 11:56 PM; Aziz also said that Malaysia is aiming to roll out a second phase of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system covering the Malaysia-Thailand border by the middle of next year. The mandatory registration applies to all private vehicles, public buses, taxis, goods vehicles as well as diplomatic cars. Vehicle owners are also required to pay RM10 for the road charge, which is valid for five years. Separately, from October 1, Singapore-registered private passenger vehicles will have to pay RM20 per entry for the VEP. The VEP for foreign vehicles was previously scheduled to begin on September 1, after it was postponed from August 1. Payment can be made only with Malaysia’s Touch ‘n Go card. In August last year, Singapore raised its entry permit charges – for the first time since 1994 – for foreign cars and goods vehicles. Singapore's Land Transport Authority had explained that the increase sought to “equalise the cost of owning and using a foreign-registered vehicle in Singapore with that for a Singapore-registered vehicle”. In response, Malaysia raised the tolls at the Causeway in the same month. Two months later, Singapore followed suit, as part of a long-standing policy that ensures a fair distribution of total revenues from the crossings. – TODAY Online, August 4, 2015.

21 July 2015:

Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau and Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension

Thumbs up for Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau, launched last Wednesday, offers seven trips a day in each direction. Checks by The Straits Times on Friday evening and yesterday morning found the carriages packed. The Shuttle Tebrau, launched last Wednesday, offers seven trips a day in each direction. Checks by The Straits Times on Friday evening and yesterday morning found the carriages packed.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES; Published Jul 6, 2015, 5:50 am SGT; Journey lasts five minutes, the immigration queues are shorter and there is no traffic jam...Information technology consultant Ann Ang, 44, found it "so much easier" to get through Singapore and Malaysian immigration checks in one go now, rather than having to hop on and off a bus on each side. "I don't have to keep carrying bags up and down the bus."...Now, trains depart from Singapore at 6.30am, 8am, 9.30am, 5pm, 6.30pm, 8pm and 11pm. But some passengers said they would like to see more services, particularly in the afternoon....





Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension Updated: 8:52 AM, July 4, 2015 SINGAPORE — Taxi services between Johor and Singapore, which have been halted since midnight on Wednesday (July 1) because of lapsed permits for Malaysian cabbies to ply the cross-border routes, have resumed after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) extended their licenses until July 31. The disruption arose because the LTA’s Malaysian counterparts did not receive the licence renewal documents despite these being sent last Monday....




19 April 2015:

Plan to ban lorries on Causeway

Plan to ban lorries on Causeway, VEP will affect business: SMEs By Chloe Wang UPDATED: 07 Apr 2015 23:38

Singapore SMEs say plans to ban heavy vehicles from using the Causeway and the new foreign vehicle entry permit will hit businesses that rely on daily deliveries from Malaysia.

Johor wants to ban heavy vehicles from using the Causeway, says public works official Published on Apr 4, 2015 4:20 PM - See more at:

6 April 2015:

Malaysia expected to levy $7.40 Vehicle Entry Permit for foreign vehicles from Aug 1 - Straits Times

Malaysia expected to levy $7.40 Vehicle Entry Permit for foreign vehicles from Aug 1 Published on Apr 4, 2015 4:09 PM; JOHOR BARU - Malaysia has said that it would be expected to start levying a Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) for foreign vehicles entering Malaysia from Singapore on Aug 1, Bernama has reported. "This is the first time Malaysia is implementing the charge and definitely it will take time in terms of procuring and installing the equipment," Bernama quoted Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abd Aziz Kaprawi as saying on Saturday. He added that the equipment, to be installed at both the Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link, would facilitate the charging of the RM20 (S$7.40) VEP. Datuk Abd Aziz also said the VEP on foreign vehicles crossing the border to Malaysia via other checkpoints, such as those at the Thailand border, would be the same, reported Bernama. He added that his ministry would discuss fare increases for express buses with the Land Public Transport Commission, according to Bernama. Responding to the changes, a spokesman for Singapore's Transport Ministry said: ""We will study the Malaysian levy and consider matching in some form after the details are confirmed." ... ....

14 January 2015: Malaysian sting operations to collect unpaid fines from Singapore motorists

Johor Baru op nets $900k in unpaid fines from Singapore motorists By Danson Cheong And Lim Yi Han; Published on Jan 14, 2015 6:13 AM; The six-day operation from Dec 27 to Jan 1 was conducted near and at Johor Baru immigration checkpoints. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN MALAYSIA

Malaysian traffic police, in a six-day operation, collected more than RM2.4 million (S$900,000) in outstanding traffic fines from Singapore motorists.... The operation, conducted from Dec 27 to Jan 1, caught 13,529 drivers with outstanding fines near and at Johor Baru immigration checkpoints.

Johor Traffic Police Chief Baharudin Mat Taib told The Straits Times that more than 15,470 fines were paid during this period, with almost $500,000 paid in cash.... The rest of the fines were settled by credit card.... He added that Malaysian officers will continue to conduct such sting operations regularly......

23 December 2014:

More tit-for-tat fee hikes on Malaysia VEP by mid 2015?

‘Resolve VEP fee issue amicably’   23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore have been urged to discuss issues related to toll fees and the imposition of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee for the good of Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia region.... Pulai member of parliament Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was important for both sides to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the total impact that any increase by Singapore would have on Iskandar Malaysia.... “It is time for both governments to resolve this issue and work together for the long-term benefits,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.... Nur Jazlan, who is also Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, was responding to yesterday’s Singapore media report, which said its Ministry of Transport would be studying Malaysia’s move to impose a VEP fee of RM20 (S$7.55) for foreign vehicles from Singapore starting middle of next year.

3 August 2014: Singapore-Malaysia border crossing fees face tit-for-tat hikes

The Singapore-Johor crossings are heavily trafficked and its two road links are key to the supply-chain of the low-key traffic of essential goods and labour from lower cost Malaysia to the booming Island state. On traffic numbers, Malaysia sources estimate 300,000 vehicles (including 3,000 to 4,000 trucks and lorries) cross Johor-Singapore daily (presumably this is for both crossings?) while Singapore reported over 130,000 vehicle across the JB-Singapore Causeway and capacity of 200,000 vehicles for the Second Link. At the same time, the leaders and sovereign wealth funds of the two nations have come together in recent years to promote Johor as a hinterland and dormitory town for the higher cost Singapore core economy.

I have written about this topic several times since I first prepared a review of Iskandar Malaysia for the Rajaratnam School for International Studies (RSIS) in 2011. More recent postings on Singapore-Johor Iskandar topics in this blog include: a)


 (refer to 18 June 2014 update: China developers have significant investments in Malaysia, particularly in the Johor-Iskandar Malaysia zone which is developing as a northern adjunct to Singapore..."), b)


 on Johor-Iskandar & Malaysia power shifts, and c)


on Petronas' RAPID project in Johor. ISEAS is currently reviewing the final draft of my paper on "Political Contestation in Iskandar Malaysia: Views on economic integration during Malaysian GE-13" on research done end-2013, to be published as chapter in a book by ISEAS in 2014/2015 (highlights of Johor voting outcomes noted here -



On the cost of driving a Johor car to work in Singapore. A KL friend whose nephew lives Johor and works in Singapore mentioned that the monthly cost of running a Malaysia registered car in Singapore had gone up terribly, due to the increased Singapore VEP fee. The estimate was some SGD1,500 per month (petrol, unrevised border toll charges, new Singapore VEP and parking). If the 30-year old Mr Chin cited in the Bloomberg article below did the same, it would seem a significant chunk of his monthly salary could go to these costs. This would seem problematic, in addition to his long commute cum work hours. Another cross border commuter, Mr Chan working in Singapore says he leaves home 6.45am to sometimes after 11pm; causing apparent nascent marital problems. Thus, in the pursuit of the Singapore dream of a cheaper landed property, the "Mr Chins" would presumably have to find a cheaper form of transport than a Johor private car or else be priced out of this lifestyle. You would need to have a high enough income. A Singapore private car would avoid the new daily SGD 35 Singapore VEP fee of SGD700 per month assuming 20 working days. But it is more costly to purchase and may apparently face a tit-for-tat fee set by the Malaysian authorities anyway on foreign vehicles in its territory (see Malay Mail quote below).

Since the calculus above, Malaysia and Singapore have decided on hikes on crossing toll fees too (on top of the daily "usage fee"). At the JB-Singapore Causeway, before 1 August 2014 was SGD2.30 for a round trip, but will rise to SGD12.80 soon. Thus, a 20-day per month commute would cost SGD256 in such fees, compared to  SGD46 before. This could make the monthly Johor car transport fee amount to over SGD1,700 per month? Note that crossing fees for the Tuas Second Link are different.

Singapore argues that "Based on 2013 data, the VEP fee increase will only affect about one in ten foreign-registered cars. Other foreign-registered cars will not be affected as they enter and stay in Singapore on VEP-free days or during VEP-free hours," but this may nevertheless crimp the hopes of the lifestyle property seeking "Mr Chins" of Singapore.

A Malaysia newspaper article says that "Ties between the two countries over commuters plying the link are already strained following Singapore’s move to raise vehicle entry fees, which prompted Putrajaya to introduce a similar tax for foreign vehicles entering via the country’s southern border.... And following the report that Malaysia may increase toll charges for the Causeway by as much as threefold for inbound vehicles, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will follow suit with an equivalent amount if the rumours prove true, according to The Straits Times today.... Once-testy relations between the two Southeast Asian neighbours have grown balmy in recent years, culminating in infrastructure joint ventures in both countries such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link.... But the recent controversy over Singapore’s VEP increase and Malaysia’s apparent retaliation is again leading to strains in ties linking the countries that were part of the same nation from 1963 to 1965."

Thus, it would seem that the further development of Johor as a northern adjunct to Singapore is quite crying out for a direct cost-effective mass transport linkage to ease the problems of travel time and cost. It is a bit surprising that the Malaysia and Singapore authorities and their sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) so invested in promoting Singapore-Johor transboundary living (and selling high-end properties in Iskandar Malaysia) have chosen to jam up some of the key household financial economics of such a lifestyle before mass transport has been put in place.

New links:

Singapore to match Johor's new Causeway tolls 'in next few weeks': LTA Published on Aug 1, 2014 8:14 PM By Hoe Pei Shan; "SINGAPORE - Singapore will match Johor's new higher Causeway tolls "in the next few weeks", said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday night. "As details of Malaysia's toll revisions were not made known to Singapore earlier, LTA would need some time to operationalise the changes," said a spokesman. Should Malaysia reduce or do away with the toll charges, Singapore will follow suit, he added.... As of midnight Friday, cars entering Johor from Singapore through the Johor Baru Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex have to pay a toll of RM9.70 ($3.78), up from the previous RM2.90. Cars travelling from Johor to Singapore previously paid no tolls, but are now subjected to a new toll of RM6.80 ($2.70). While motorcycles continue to be exempted from the tolls, drivers of bus, goods vehicles and taxis now also have to pay more at the Malaysia checkpoint.... LTA currently imposes separate lower tolls for vehicles going from Singapore to Johor, but none for when they return.

When Singapore matches Malaysia's rates, cars making a round-trip can expect to pay a total of about $12.90 in tolls, up from the current $7.60, and more than five times the $2.30 before August 1

.... Meanwile, the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) has expressed its concerns over the toll increases. In a statement to the media, the president of the SCCI, Mr Thomas Chua said the higher charges will increase transportation costs for businesses and affect the ease of commuting...."

source: Straits Times, 1 Aug 2014 article cited above

Thousands of motorists entering Singapore to suffer, say Johor MPs By Vanessa Ee-Lyn Gomes

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - 14:48; "THOUSANDS of Malaysian motorists, who enter Singapore through the Causeway daily, would need to fork out more money following a revision in the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) and Goods Vehicle Permit (GVP) fees effective August 1..... Malaysian cars entering Singapore will be charged a VEP fee of RM90.05 per day, a RM38 increase from the current fee of RM51.46. The GVP for foreign-registered goods vehicles will be raised to RM102.91 per month compared to the current RM25.73 fee.... Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong admitted the new fees would greatly impact Malaysians who travel to and work in the republic. He added

an estimated 300,000 vehicles crossed the Johor-Singapore Causeway daily, most of which were Malaysian-owned....

The Pan-Malaysia Lorry Owners’ Association pointed out lorry operators would suffer the most because they would have to bear the cost of the fee increase directly as

some 3,000 to 4,000 trucks and lorries enter Singapore daily



a traffic jam leading to the Tuas Second Link crossing to Johor.

JB-Singapore Causeway, source: AFP picture on this webpage

Cut-Price Luxury Homes Fuel Singapore Tri-Nation Sprawl   By Sharon Chen  Jun 9, 2014 9:20 AM GMT+0800; "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. (OCBC) 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....

A five-bedroom, two-story home with private pool in Iskandar was advertised last month for 3.9 million ringgit. A similar-sized home on Singapore’s prime Sentosa district with a waterfront view was on sale for about 15 times as much.... The tri-nation super-city does have some unique problems. With only two road links to Malaysia, rush-hour traffic can cause delays of 90 minutes or more at immigration. More than 130,000 vehicles a day cross the kilometer-long Causeway, built in 1923

, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told parliament in February.

The second route, a bridge opened in 1998, has the capacity to take another 200,000

...... “I try to leave Singapore as late as possible, or the traffic is very bad,” said Chan Ong Yong, a Malaysian truck driver who lives in Johor and works in Singapore delivering and installing sheet glass. “If I lived in Singapore, the rent would be too high and school would be too expensive.”..... Chan, a 30-year-old father of three, earns about S$3,000 ($2,393) a month, twice what he would get in Malaysia. The cost: Some nights, he doesn’t get home until after 11 p.m. “Sometimes I fight with my wife because I spend so little time at home,” Chan said..... Commuters like Chan face two stops for passport control and customs each way, with vehicles frequently searched for contraband goods that are cheaper in Malaysia. Singapore-registered cars entering Malaysia are required to have fuel tanks at least three-quarters full, as gasoline is less than half the price across the Causeway....."

Petronas news (update 45): Saudi Aramco not going ahead with Petronas for Johor project - RAPID, Petronas-led LNG project gets Canada approval amidst China deals tilt

26 Jan 2017: Saudi Aramco not going ahead with Petronas for Johor project - RAPID

Saudi Aramco not going ahead with Petronas for Johor project: WSJ 25 January 2017 Read more at

Earlier news:

  • Petronas decision on Rapid deal with Aramco in Dec? 28 OCTOBER 2016 -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is said to be making a final investment decision in December to partner with Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi Aramco) by offering a 50 per cent stake in its refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (Rapid) in Johor. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report yesterday, if Petronas proceeds with the plan, the two companies will set up a joint-venture company in the first quarter of next year to run the project, with the refinery due to start operating in early 2019. Read More : 

  • Petronas-Aramco seek $10b loan for Johor project SEP 30, 2016 - Talks with banks have begun; however, analysts say profit squeeze could force rethink of Canadian gas plans - Malaysia's national oil corporation Petronas and the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) have begun negotiations with Malaysian-based banks to raise a record US$7.5 billion (S$10 billion) syndicated loan to finance a planned refinery and petrochemical complex in Johor. Bankers familiar with the loan syndication said that the 50-50 joint venture between the two international oil giants will be a straight-forward loan ahead of a much larger bond issue further down the road to finance the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development Project, or Rapid, as it is called in the Pengerang industrial zone in Johor.

  • Petronas Could Soon Seal Partnership With Saudi Aramco on $21 Billion Refinery - Malaysia’s state oil firm in December is expected to offer the Saudi Arabian giant a 50% stake in the project By YANTOULTRA NGUI Oct. 27, 2016

Note: Customised news update is available for 29 Sep 2016 - 26 Jan 2017

29 Sep 2016: Petronas-led LNG project gets Canada approval amidst China deals tilt

Editor's note: Canada approves Petronas-led $27 bln LNG complex. Reports say Petronas is in no rush to start. The view from KL is that this is an important plus for Petronas. It's good news as a continued stall would have dragged Petronas - this is its single largest project. A significant stake had been sold to China interests. The view from a Canada businessman is that this is good for Canada. Low oil prices have hit Alberta. LNG is clean fuel, although there is some environmental impact from this project. Note: Canada and China recently signed various state level MOUs. Thus, both Malaysia and Canada have had state-level or G2G agreements with China.

Federal government approves $11.4-billion LNG project in B.C. September 28, 2016 -- Pacific NorthWest LNG has been one of the leading LNG project proposals for several years, along with the Shell-led $25-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat and the Chevron-led $12-billion Kitimat LNG project. Shell and Chevron have secured federal and provincial environmental approvals, plus First Nations support at the terminal, and significant support along their pipeline routes.....But the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade welcomed the announcement, which it noted is subject to 190 conditions, and includes up to $2.5 billion in annual tax revenue and nearly $3 billion in annual contributions to Canada’s GDP. “The Pacific NorthWest LNG project will energize the Canadian economy,” said the board of trade’s president and CEO, Iain Black.

Canada approves $36 bn LNG project, eyes Asia 28 Sep 2016 -- The project includes a pipeline and two Petronas terminals to ship gas to Asia. The gas terminals are to be built on Lelu Island, near Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast. Each will have a capacity of six million tons per year, with the possibility of adding a third down the road. The pipeline built by the operator TransCanada must cross 900 kilometers of British Columbia between Hudson's Hope (about 400 kilometers or 250 miles north of Prince George), ending at Lelu Island. The pipeline deal comes after Petronas in late 2012 snapped up Canada's Progress Energy Resources gas producer for USD 5.2 billion.
The deal means heavy LNG traffic through a maze of islands where salmon is a vital resource. However, others were upbeat about job opportunities. The green light for the pipeline project comes a few weeks after a key meeting between federal and provincial governments to define the necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions under last year's Paris climate agreement.
Read more at:

Pacific NorthWest LNG, a consortium comprised of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas 62%), Japan Petroleum Exploration Company (JAPEX 10%), PetroleumBRUNEI (3%), Indian Oil Corporation (10%) and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec 15%).

Fastest Asia-U.S. Shipping Route? Canada’s Ports

China, Canada resolve canola-shipping dispute; to boost trade ties SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 By David Ljunggren and Rod Nickel

Strengthening of Canada-China commercial relationship September 1, 2016

Canada to Join China-Led Infrastructure Bank in Win for Xi by   Bloomberg News  August 31, 2016

29 August 2016: Sarawak and Sabah reps on Petronas board after Sarawak staffing tussle

After Sarawak, Sabah rep to join Petronas board Sunday August 28, 2016 - See more at:

Sarawak says ‘not in picture’ over Petronas’ oil production share with foreign firms Sunday August 28, 2016 - See more at:

Petronas, Sarawak resolve seven staffing issues, says Adenan  22 comments      Edward Subeng Stephen, Bernama     Published 27 Aug 2016

End to Petronas-Sarawak controversy  by fintan ng and p aruna 23 August 2016
Sarawak DAP mulls taking Petronas hiring issue to Parliament Tuesday August 23, 2016 - See more at:

Petronas: Most workers needed in Sarawak will be from the state 10 August 2016 | MYT 9:39 AM

Work permit freeze due to real hiring bias, Sarawak DCM tells Petronas BY SULOK TAWIE Wednesday August 10, 2016 - See more at:

Petronas to explain decision in terminating employees from Sarawak  8 August 2016 | MYT 9:35 PM

14 August 2016: Petronas Sarawak staff retrench woes, oil and gas company woes in Singapore and Malaysia

State will be fair in immigration dealings with Petronas staff: Nancy  August 14, 2016, Sunday Churchill Edward... KUCHING: A Sarawakian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department assured citizens that the state government will be fair in the dealings with immigration involving national petroleum corporation Petronas staff. The minister Nancy Shukri was reacting to the recent action taken by the Sarawak government led by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem following grouses expressed by Sarawakians over Petronas selection of manpower. 
Nancy said: “I have been following the arguments on the drastic action taken by the Sarawak state government against Petronas. It was clearly stated by the Sarawak state government that any new applications for work permits from Petronas  have been frozen as a result of complaints from Sarawakian Petronas officers whose services were terminated and retrenched as revealed by Suarah Petroleum Group. (SPG). It is a normal action by the state.”... She added that the action was based on the complaints by the SPG and definitely there was a basis to the complaints. “The action against Petronas was the first after 1963 using the autonomy power of the state through immigration law.... Secondly, it was an isolated and independent action upon receiving complaints from SPG and Sarawakians as a whole. However. she opines sit also reflects that Sarawakians are becoming more aware of their rights under the constitution and the state government has to act accordingly for the interests of Sarawakians under the constitution. “I would say that it is nothing to do with the devolution issues since the negotiation is in progress and committment given by the federal government  is very positive.......

12 July 2016: PETRONAS reaches cessation deal with SapuraKencana, Petrofac for Berantai

PETRONAS Reaches Deal with SapuraKencana, Petrofac for Berantai by  Chee Yew Cheang Rigzone Staff July 11, 2016 -- Malaysia's national oil company (NOC) Petroliam Nasional Berhd (PETRONAS) announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with Petrofac Energy Developments Sdn Bhd and SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad's subsidiaries Kencana Energy Sdn Bhd and Sapura Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd for the cessation of the Berantai Risk Service Contract (RSC) located in Block PM 309 offshore Terangganu, Malaysia. "The RSC’s cessation will allow PETRONAS to minimize the project’s long-term value erosion and optimize the development and production activities in Malaysia, in line with its efforts to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of its operations," the state-owned firm said in the press release. PETRONAS will reimburse the balance of outstanding capital and operational expenditures to the contractors over the following 12 months following the RSC cessation that will take effect Sept. 30. Under the agreement, the contractors will transfer ownership of the Berantai FPSO (floating production, storage and offloading) facility to the NOC.

16 May 2016: Sarawak seeks to regulate Petronas activities within state  - says Federal Government has no authority to issue licences 

Sarawak seeks to regulate Petronas activities within state BY SULOK TAWIE June 15, 2016 --  Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced today the state government’s plans to regulate the seabed and subsoil activities of national oil company Petronas and its contractors within its territory. He said Sarawak’s regulatory framework would be based on relevant state laws to which Petronas and its contractors would have to abide. “Petronas, a corporation having rights to prospect and mine petroleum both offshore and onshore under the Petroleum development Act, 1974, will have to be regulated and abide by the provisions of the Oil Mining Ordinance of Sarawak and the Land Code in regard to the use and occupation of State Land within the boundaries of Sarawak for the prospecting and mining of petroleum,” he said when winding up the debate in the state assembly here. He said the Land Code of Sarawak, which came into effect on January 1, 1959, defines “state land” to include the seabed and subsoil which forms part of the continental shelf by virtue of an Order made by the British Queen while Sarawak was still a Colony. “Article 73(b) of the Federal Constitution states that the state legislature may make laws for the whole or any part of the State. “Therefore, state laws like the Land Code, the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 of Sarawak apply to the seabed and sub-soils in the continental shelf regardless of the character of the high seas above that area of the continental shelf....Adenan also said the state government does not agree to the extension of Continental Shelf Act and the Petroleum Mining Act to Sarawak, which purports to authorise the federal government to grant licences for the exploration and mining of petroleum in the Continental Shelf of Sarawak. “Therefore, Parliament has no constitutional authority to pass any legislation relating to the issuance of licences for the prospecting for oil or the oil mining leases within the boundaries of Sarawak which extend to the seabed and sub-soils in the Continental Shelf,” he added. - See more at:

Petronas Bintulu LNG Complex, located approximately 20km from Bintulu Town, covers 276ha and currently accounts for 40.5% of Sarawak's gross export, 6% of Malaysia's total export and 4.2% of the country's GDP. It includes three LNG plants with eight LNG trains in total. The three plants are respectively owned and operated by Malaysia LNG, MLNG Dua and MLNG Tiga, in joint venture with Petronas.

First edition of the Offshore Malaysia Oil and Gas Activity Map to 2019

Malaysia Oil and Gas Profile - » A Barrel Full Oil & Gas Wiki

26 May 2016: Panama Canal upgrade to bring more gas to Asia

Panama Canal Fever Sweeps Globe Again as New Era in Trade Nears by Alex Nussbaum Naureen Malik May 25, 2016... As U.S. gas exports ramp up, new route will slash time to Asia. $5 billion project also shifts oil, crops, container trade....

24 May 2016: Russian state oil firm may buy Petronas' assets, its earnings and assets impaired  on lower oil prices, Canada project news and others

Russian state oil firm may buy Petronas' assets  Published 23 May 2016 ..."Also, Zarubezhneft shows interest in studying the assets of Petronas. The parties are holding consultations about it," he is reported as saying on Friday by Russian news agency Tass. "As for Zarubezhneft, it is studying opportunities to undertake projects in Malaysia....

Malaysia’s Petronas Says Oil Prices to Continue Affect Earnings - National company posts 60% annual decline in profit By YANTOULTRA NGUI May 18, 2016

Petronas’ Q1 profit down 60% on low product prices, asset impairment Posted on 19 May 2016

Petronas and ringgit volatility 21 May 2016

Petronas leaves May crude price factor unchanged at $4/bbl May 12, 2016


PETRONAS' PLNG SATU Heads to Malaysia's Kanowit Gas Field Off Sarawak by  Petroliam Nasional Berhad|Press Release|Wednesday, May 18 - See more at:

Petronas sails Satu PFLNG Anamaria Deduleasa  16 May 2016

Petronas Turns to Jotun to Help "Substantially Cut Fuel Costs" May 18, 2016

Petronas, PetroVietnam extend contract for 10 more years 11/05/2016

Petronas, PetroVietnam extend PSC for 10 more years 9 May 2016

PETRONAS, PetroVietnam Extend PM3CAA PSC in Malaysia-Vietnam Waters to 2027 by  Petroliam Nasional Berhad / Vietnam Oil & Gas Group|Press Release|Tuesday, May 10 - See more at:

Petronas to conduct test at Bintulu plant 12 May 2016

DNeX bags drilling equipment and services job from Petronas Carigali By Supriya Surendran /   | May 19, 2016

On Canada project

Canada Set to Make Petronas LNG Decision as Early as Mid-Summer May 2, 2016

Petronas names new president of Pacific NorthWest LNG BRENT JANG VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail Published Apr. 29

B.C. LNG: First Nations appeal to UN to help stop Petronas project - Scientists have raised concerns about the project slated for Lelu Island The Canadian Press Posted: May 12, 2016

On RAPID project 

PETRONAS Signs Contracts For Pengerang Petrochemical Plants  May 11

AP: Malaysia – Petronas seeking new RAPID partner 13 May 2016

On Petronas Gas

Get set for competitive prices thanks to Gas Supply Bill 2016 BY FERNANDO FONG - 23 MAY 2016  Read More :

Petronas Gas sets RM4.5bil capital expenditure over five years 27 April 2016

Petronas Gas set aside RM4.5b capex over next 5 years  26 April 2016


Profit up at Petronas unit, weak tanker price clouds prospects  May 9, 2016

Petronas unit to buy remainder 50% in joint venture to boost tanker fleet in International Shipping News 26/04/2016

15 Apr 2016: Petronas to slash capex for Canadian LNG project -  to US$500 million over the next 2 years from the initial US$5 billion planned over the next 3 years

Petronas to slash capex for Canadian LNG project - report By Meena Lakshana / | April 14, 2016 KUALA LUMPUR (April 14): National oil firm Petroliam National Bhd's (Petronas) unit Progress Energy Ltd is significantly slashing its capital expenditure (capex) in the US$36 billion Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern British Columbia while awaiting a final approval from the Canadian government's environmental agency. According to a report by Canada-based Financial Post, Progress president and chief executive officer Michael Culbert said the company is reducing its investment to US$500 million over the next two years from the initial US$5 billion planned over the next three years.

Petronas slashes spending as it awaits decision on B.C. liquefied natural gas project by Yadullah Hussain | April 13, 2016

13 Mar 2016: Petronas keeping eye on Candada project EIA process, Mahathir fired as Adviser to Petronas

Petronas keeping a close eye on Canada’s environmental impact assessment process By Dispatch Staff -  March 12, 2016, Just when Petronas, through its subsidiary Pacific NorthWest LNG, and its partners were in the final stages of an investment decision, the new federal Liberal government in Canada is toughening up environmental reviews of major energy projects. This is a step in the direction of regaining “public trust” and to meet with the emission reduction pledge that the government made at the Paris conference last year. The government said in January that major energy projects would be subject to additional assessment on “direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions” and this is something that spells uncertainty over the $36 billion LNG project says Petronas. Malaysia’s state-owned company has already spent an estimated $12 billion to get its LNG project to this stage and with new assessment, the project which has already suffered from multiple delays, will get delayed again and because of this Petronas has conveyed to federal cabinet ministers it won’t accept additional hurdles....

Petronas to mature Canadian project BY TEE LIN SAY 10 March 2016; PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) via subsidiary Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) is proactively taking steps to mature the US$36bil (RM147bil) Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Canada towards its final investment decision, the national oil company said in a statement. This was in response to recent press reports which said that Petronas was close to pulling out of the project, following frustrations with the stance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate-change priorities and the introduction of new uncertainties for the project.  The new federal Liberal government in Canada is toughening up environmental reviews of major energy projects as it strives to meet international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.... A Canadian newspaper had quoted sources as saying that Petronas was threatening to walk away if it didn’t get federal approval by March 31....

Malaysia Fires Former Leader Mahathir as Adviser to Petronas - Government cites former prime minister’s alliance with the opposition By YANTOULTRA NGUI March 11, 2016 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Former leader Mahathir Mohamad was terminated on Friday as an adviser to state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, over his alliance with the opposition, which is demanding the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. The prime minister’s office said in a statement that Mr. Najib’s cabinet has agreed unanimously to terminate Dr. Mahathir’s service...

Mahathir Mohamad wins jailed Anwar Ibrahim's backing in bit to oust Malaysian PM Najib Razak March 4, 2016 by Lindsay Murdoch Bangkok: Malaysia's jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has declared support for his arch-nemesis Mahathir Mohamad in efforts to topple embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. Mr Anwar said Mr Najib has "wreaked havoc" in the country with "the most severe scandal" in Malaysia's history... Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad  in his office in Kuala Lumpur last week....  

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in his office in Kuala Lumpur last week. Photo: Bloomberg... 

2 Mar 2016: Petronas to cut 1,000 jobs or less than 2%, expenditure cut of up to RM20 billion in 2016 to affect raft of Malaysia O&G players

The Edge reports: 1,000 job cuts affects less than 2% of the Petronas work force. It has over 50,000 staff at end 2014, up from 39,000 in 2009. Staff costs were almost RM10 billion at end 2014,average cost per employee was RM188,000. Key positions also shift as CEO Wan Zulkiflee appoints new upstream and technology & engineering heads.

source: screen shot of The Edge article,

3 Feb 2016: ExxonMobil sees 2015 earnings fall 50%, cuts 2016 spending by 25%

ExxonMobil sees 2015 earnings fall 50%, cuts 2016 spending by 25%; ExxonMobil Corp. plans to reduce its capital and exploration expenditures in 2016 by 25% compared with that of 2015 to $23.2 billion.  The company estimates earnings in 2015 totaled $16.2 billion, a 50% drop from the $32.5 billion earned in 2014. Capital and exploration expenditures were $31.1 billion, down 19% from the 2014 level.

26 Jan 2016: Petronas, Pertamina, PTT, ONGC retain sovereign ratings while S&P downgrades others including Sinopec and CNOOC

S&P downgrades Asia Pacific energy firms, Petronas not affected 26 January 2016; We don't believe China's national oil companies will be able to stabilise their cash flow adequacy amid the current price environment, despite their efforts to cut capital expenditure and costs," the agency said. The company said it had therefore lowered its credit profile for companies, including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) in China and for Woodside Petroleum and Santos in Australia. However, S&P said the revised oil price outlook had no impact on the ratings and outlooks on national oil companies in South and Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia's PT Pertamina, Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional (Petronas), Thailand's PTT Public or India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). "The companies all have an important policy role as major energy suppliers and providers in their respective countries... Therefore, the ratings and outlook on these four companies remain the same as those on their respective sovereigns." The Standard & Poor's reviews come days after competing rating agency Moody's put 175 commodity firms, including in Asia, on review over a bleak outlook - See more at:

12 Jan 2016: Bloomberg - Petronas Sees Three More Tough Years in `Unsettling Environment,'  mulls $30 oil for 2016 (two months ago, assumed $48 for 2016)

Note: This is a still not a major Petronas news update, but an ad hoc one.

  • Petronas also in recent Malaysia news alerts on cuts to contract workers in 2016. Shell Malaysia reported in local news to have cut about 1,300 jobs in 2015. Jobs loss outlook for 2016 worse than some 20,000 lost in 2015 in Malaysia. Other 2015 job cuts include Malaysia Airlines -6,000, RHB Bank -2,700, CIMB Bank -3,600, Standard Chartered -3,600 from The Malaysian Insider compilation from 2015 news. 

  • The recent price drop from around $38 toward $31 may highlight these major producers by cost: United States $36.20, Norway $36.10, Angola $35.40, Colombia $35.30, Nigeria$31.60. See diagram below.
  • Certainly also issues for POGO food-fuel price spread re. biodiesel. 
  • China GDP and oil demand is eyed, and into the future, car makers start to worry about tech disruption to their industry.

Source: What it costs to produce oil By Alanna Petroff and Tal Yellin / CNNMoney - The collapse in the price of oil has squeezed energy companies and countries that were betting on higher returns. Here’s what it costs on average to pump a barrel of oil in the 20 biggest oil producing nations. 

Oil tumbles nearly 5 percent to new lows; analysts warn of $20s - A brutal new year selloff in oil markets deepened on Monday, with prices plunging as much as 5 percent to new 12-year lows as further ructions in the Chinese stock market threatened to knock crude into the $20s.

Petronas Sees Three More Tough Years in `Unsettling Environment' by   Elffie Chew January 12, 2016; Crude oil may average $30/barrel in low-price scenario. Company plans to keep 60-70 billion ringgit annual capex.... Petroliam Nasional Bhd. said crude prices could average $30 a barrel this year and warned the Malaysian state oil company faces two to three tough years.Just two months after the company was assuming an average price of $48 a barrel, Chief Executive Officer Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin laid out the new "low-price" scenario for 2016. Petronas remains committed to its multi-billion dollar projects as it sticks to its capital expenditure plan of as much as 350 billion ringgit ($80 billion) over the next five years, he said Monday.... The drop in oil has in part led to international investors souring on Malaysia, with the ringgit slumping to a 17-year low in 2015. The net-oil exporting nation stands to lose 300 million ringgit for every $1 a barrel decline in crude, according to government estimates. Brent currently trades below $32 a barrel.Moody Investors Service lowered its credit-rating outlook for Malaysia on Monday, citing an external environment that has crimped government revenue despite Prime Minister Najib Razak’s efforts to improve the country’s finances. Najib said last week he will amendthe 2016 budget to take into account the lower price of oil after using the same price assumption that Petronas did....."The reversal in the price will happen," Wan Zulkiflee said. "It’s only whether it will happen in three years, five years or in seven years’ time.".... The slowing Chinese economy and its weakening yuan are having an impact on Petronas’ sales and operations in the North Asian nation, Wan Zulkiflee said.....In Canada, Petronas is still awaiting environmental approval from regulators to start construction on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project....The company will review its decision within this quarter on whether to proceed .... Wan Zulkiflee said the company will continue to maintain its production levels as significant cuts would result in setbacks when there is a recovery. Petronas hasn’t gotten to the point where it needs to "right-size" permanent employees even as it reviews the status of contract workers, he said. .....Spending Cuts - It’s also lowering spending by improving on procurement processes and cutting costs on business travel that saved the company 24 percent in operating expenditure excluding salaries last year, Wan Zulkiflee said....... It’s still committed to paying the government 16 billion ringgit in dividends this year, down from 26 billion ringgit in 2015...

Oil Extends Losses From 12-Year Low as Stockpiles Seen Expanding by Ben Sharples January 12, 2016, Inventories probably rose 2 million barrels last week: survey, Iran to starting selling new oil grade before boosting exports...

China's Demand for Crude is Showing Signs of Cracking - Resilient supply isn't the only problem for crude. by Luke Kawa, January 11, 2016;

The End of the Monetary Illusion Magnifies Shocks for Markets by Simon Kennedy January 8, 2016; Central banks no longer have as much room to deliver stimulus. HSBC says currencies most sensitive to policy in 15 years... Central bankers are no longer the circuit breakers for financial markets. Monetary-policy makers, market saviors the past decade through the promise of interest-rate reductions or asset purchases, now lack the space to cut further -- if at all -- or buy more. Even those willing to intensify their efforts increasingly doubt the potency of such policies. That’s leaving investors having to cope alone with shocks such as this week’s rout in China or when economic data disappoint, magnifying the impact of such events....

The driverless, car-sharing road ahead - Carmakers increasingly fret that their industry is on the brink of huge disruption Jan 9th 2016; ...Now, Mr Fields is talking about autonomous cars being ready to roll by 2020. More conservative car bosses add five years.... Barclays, another bank, forecasts that the fully driverless vehicle will result in the average American household cutting its car ownership from 2.1 vehicles now to 1.2 by 2040.... The 11m or so annual sales of mass-market cars for personal ownership in America may be replaced by 3.8m sales of self-driving cars, either personally owned or part of taxi fleets, Barclays thinks....

4 Jan 2016: Pressure to cut domestic O&G jobs after expatriates sent packing? Big oil to cut investment again in 2016.

Editor's note: Over the weekend, chatted with some O&G people who report that PETRONAS under pressure from its foreign creditors on why it is not cutting more domestic jobs. O&G expatriate job cuts already impacting the KL rental property markets. **This is a short update only, I shall do a major PETRONAS news review for 14 Nov to end December soon.

Big oil to cut investment again in 2016 By Karolin Schaps and Ron Bousso Jan 3, 2016; At around $37 a barrel, crude prices are well below the $60 firms such as Total (TOTF.PA), Statoil STO.OL and BP (BP.L) need to balance their books, a level that has already been sharply reduced over the past 18 months. International oil companies are once again being forced to cut spending, sell assets, shed jobs and delay projects as the oil slump shows no sign of recovery.  U.S. producers Chevron (CVX.N) and ConocoPhillips (COP.N) have published plans to slash their 2016 budgets by a quarter. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) has also announced a further $5 billion in spending cuts if its planned takeover of BG Group (BG.L) goes ahead.

14 December 2015, from The Edge Malaysia on loss of jobs by O&G expatriates impacting KL high-end property rentals.

14 Nov 2015: PETRONAS 3Q2015 net profit plunges, capex plans continue, dividend cut, Canada project hurdles, RAPID on track

Petronas Q3 net profit tumbles 91% on weak oil prices Published: 11 November 2015

Petronas slashes 2016 dividend as earnings plummet Published: 12 November 2015

Malaysia's Petronas says committed to capex plans despite continuing challenges (Platts)-- 12 Nov 2015 * January-September capex up 5.5% on year at $11.42 billion * Q3 oil, gas production rises 4.8% on year * Progress of RAPID project on track   Malaysia's state-owned Petronas remained committed to its capital expenditure plans even though it anticipated continuing challenges due to bearish market sentiment, CEO Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said Wednesday. The projects that the company will focus its capital investment on include the Refinery And Petrochemical Integrated Development project in the southern Johor state; the Pacific North West LNG Project in Canada; LNG Train 9 in Bintulu; and the two floating LNG projects being constructed in South Korea. "These capex projects are investments for the long term, and we are set on seeing them through successfully to ensure Petronas' sustainability well into the future," Wan Zulkiflee said in a statement while announcing the company's Q3 2015 results.

Government will not revise Budget 2016 despite Petronas’ lower dividend, says deputy finance minister Friday November 13, 2015 - See more at:

PETRONAS Not Laying Off Permanent Staff Despite Current Market Gloom by  Chee Yew Cheang Rigzone Staff Thursday, November 12, 2015- See more at:

Canadian indigenous, environmental groups urge Trudeau to reject Petronas project Published: 12 November 2015

Another hurdle to Petronas’ project in Canada  11 November 2015; Over 70 Northern British Columbia indigenous leaders, environmental organisations, scientists, businesses, unions, university groups, and faith groups from across the province have signed on to a letter written by Lax Kw’alaams hereditary chief Yahaan (Donnie Wesley) calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to reject the PNW LNG plant proposed for Lelu Island and Flora Bank. They also want ongoing test-drilling at the site to be cancelled.  The final Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) decision, expected by early 2016 though possibly sooner, is the final major regulatory hurdle the project must overcome to move ahead.

PETRONAS Celebrates First Production at Bukit Tua, Kepodang Fields by  Petroliam Nasional Berhad Press Release November 05, 2015

Petronas Unit Allocates Up to $300m for Indonesian Oil Fields Next Year By : Retno Ayuningtyas November 09, 2015; A unit of Malaysian energy giant Petronas plans to invest $200 million to $300 million next year on developing its oil blocks in Indonesia, an executive says.  Hazli Sham Kassim, Petronas Carigali’s general manager and head of Indonesian operations, said the company would wrap up production at the Bukit Tua field in Ketapang, East Java, and begin exploration activities in the North Madura II block in offshore East Java in 2016.

OMV, Petronas launch oil talks with Iran TEHRAN, Nov. 11 (MNA) – Describing the latest status of negotiations with Malaysia’s Petronas and Austria’s OMV oil companies, managing director of ICOFC announced several Russian firms’ willingness to invest in Iran’s central oil fields.

PETRONAS FLNG2 Reaches Milestone with Keel Laying at SHI's Shipyard  by  Petroliam Nasional Berhad Press Release Monday, November 09, 20- See more at:

Petronas floating LNG2 to commission in 2018 Posted on 9 November 2015

WCT bags RM315.6 million Petronas EPCC job Posted on 13 November 2015 -

Petronas Dagangan aims to sustain financial results 9 November 2015

Total, Petronas keep eye out for acquisitions as prices pressure oil players October 18, 2015

Icon Offshore appoints Petronas top exec Amir as new MD 3 November 2015

MISC-Bumi Armada FPSO business merger could create huge Petronas subsidary by By Vincent Wee Malaysian shipping company MISC and oil and gas services provider Bumi Armada, both relatively big players in their respective fields, are reportedly in early stages of exploring a corporate exercise involving the consolidation of the floating production storage offshore (FPSO) businesses of both companies, local reports cited sources as saying. According to them, the exercise could see MISC inject its FPSO businesses into Bumi Armada in return for shares, a move that could see Petronas' shipping unit ending up with a big stake in Bumi Armada
Lawas natives yet to see a single sen over Petronas gas pipeline BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA 29 October 2015,  Lun Bawang landowners in Kampung Long Luping said they have either been partially paid or not at all for land taken for the pipeline, which made the news last year after a section of it blew up. Sakai Libang, 54, said the problem was not Petronas but the Land and Survey Department

11 October 2015: Petronas mostly ‘exempted’ from TPP, quit Mauritania, mulling TAP Project, analysts doubt Canada project, credit and rating

Khazanah, Petronas mostly ‘exempted’ from TPP, says minister Published: 7 October 2015 8:56 PM - See more at:

Petronas Renews Pledge to Export Canadian Gas as Analysts Doubt by  Rebecca Penty October 9, 2015 — 7:24 AM HKT. Malaysian energy company says proceeding depends on approvals. Executive vice president dismisses energy market volatility.... Analysts have cast doubt on Canada’s ability to deliver LNG export projects this decade. The global market is entering a period of oversupply, with ventures starting up in Australia and the U.S., and demand is slowing in Asia just as the oil slump has taken down prices for LNG. There are 20 projects under consideration for export from the Pacific Coast in British Columbia and none have started construction.... Canada and East Africa are “last to the LNG party” globally behind the U.S. and Australia, according to CIBC World Markets commodities strategist Katherine Spector. Plunging oil prices mean only about 6 billion cubic feet (170 million cubic meters) a day of LNG exports will be developed in North America by 2022, Spector wrote in a report this week, about half the amount she had forecast last year would be online by 2020.... Petronas in June said it would proceed with the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, pending outstanding approvals, becoming the only Canadian proposal to issue an investment decision to date. Other owners of the venture are Indian Oil Corp., Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and Brunei National Petroleum Co.

Petronas quitting Mauritania on revenue, oil price fall Published: 7 October 2015 4:06 PM - See more at:

Petronas Said to Mull Buying Statoil’s Stake in TAP Project  by  Ercan Ersoy and Elffie Chew  September 2, 2015 — 1:16 AM HKTUpdated on September 2, 2015 — 8:28 PM HKT

Adding on older news items of interest

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's Petronas to delay RAPID'S refinery start-up to mid-2019 May 18, 2015, * Weak commodity prices prompt review, re-bidding of EPC contracts * Petrochemical chains also rephased due to weak oil prices...

The Yuan Drop Just Added $14 Billion to Asia Inc.’s Debt Burden by Christopher Langner, David Yong and Lianting Tu August 13, 2015 — 2:43 PM HKT; ... The extra yield over Treasuries investors demand to hold the 10-year 5.25 percent dollar bonds of state-owned oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd. -- among Malaysia’s most liquid notes -- has risen 11 basis points this week to the highest since March. “We’re especially worried about Malaysia as its currency faces the most stress after the yuan devaluation,” said Gordon Tsui, the head of fixed income at Taikang Asset Management (Hong Kong) Co

ASIA CREDIT CLOSE: Petronas takes advantage of improving risk appetite HONG KONG, Aug 5 (IFR) - Petronas saw its bonds tighten as an improvement in risk appetite drove investors to buy into the long-end of the curve. The Petronas 2025s and 2045s tightened around 5bp, according to a Hong Kong-based trader, who put it down to investors taking advantage of an overnight rise in 10-year US Treasury yields....

Fitch Revises PETRONAS' Outlook to Stable; Affirms 'A' IDR Jul 1, 2015 2:38am EDT

British Columbia Sees $7.1 Billion From Petronas Gas Exports  July 7, 2015 — 6:11 AM HKTUpdated on July 7, 2015 — 7:12 AM HKT  British Columbia is pledging to cap levies on Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s natural gas export project as it expects to collect C$9 billion ($7.1 billion) from the venture by 2030. Canada’s westernmost province must compensate the Malaysian oil producer, known as Petronas, and its partners if it adds costs through changes to certain taxes or credits over the next 25 years, according to terms of an agreement signed May 20 that were released Monday. “The revenue opportunities are significant,” British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong said in a briefing with reporters Monday.....

We only produce the oil, Putrajaya sets price, says Petronas chairman Published: 2 July 2015 8:51 AM - See more at:

South Sudan Fighting Escalates in Oil States Before Peace Talks by   Okech Francis  June 6, 2015 — 10:46 PM HKT

South Sudan Oil Field Becomes Battleground as Economy Reels by   Ilya Gridneff  May 26, 2015 — 5:00 AM HKT

MMC Corp appoints former Petronas president Shamsul as chairman Published: 6 July 2015 7:42 PM - See more at:


19 August 2015: PETRONAS slashes rig count to 14 from 39 and operating cashflow woes requires use of cash reserves, Irish probe tanks, environmental doubts on BC LNG project, US starts talks on South Sudan sanctions

On recent earnings and rig count slash, worries of Malaysia contractors
Petronas Irish probe tanks  Written by  OE Staff   Friday, 14 August 2015 02:26  Petronas subsidiary PSE Seven Heads' Midleton well offshore Ireland has failed to discover commercial quantities of gas, according to partner Landsdowne Oil & Gas.

On BC project
  • Malaysia scandal dampens hopes for Petronas LNG Project in BC published by Asianpost on Wed, 08/12/2015 - 08:56  By Ng Weng Hoong  New Canadian Media  Special to The Post British Columbia Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s recent visit to Malaysia yielded a Facebook photo-op with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and a misreported story that state energy firm Petronas and its five Asian partners would begin construction of their US$36 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern BC this September. In the reporting of de Jong’s press conference, Malaysian news agency Bernama did not make clear that the project must first receive Ottawa’s environmental approval, due sometime between September and December, before the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG – not the British Columbia government – can make its final investment decision
  • Petronas LNG terminal set in salmon's 'Grand Central Station' - New data shows LNG terminal in middle of nursery for 40 salmon populations CBC News Posted: Aug 07, 2015 3:22 PM PT| Last Updated: Aug 08, 2015 2:13 PM PT

On South Sudan
  • South Sudan: Sides trade accusations after deal falters 3 hours ago; Rebels have accused South Sudan's government of resuming military attacks, a day after President Salva Kiir failed to sign a peace deal aimed at ending the civil war.  Rebel leader Riek Machar said the government had chosen war over peace. But Mr Kiir's chief negotiator said the deal was a sell-out that could not be implemented as the rebels are split....
  • US Pursues New UN Sanctions on South Sudan as Deal Unsigned By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSAUG. 18, 2015, 6:08 P.M. E.D.T.  UNITED NATIONS — The United States has begun talks at the United Nations to sanction South Sudan if its government doesn't sign a peace deal with rebels within 15 days and all sides in the conflict don't promptly implement a cease-fire, President Barack Obama's national security adviser said Tuesday.
  • South Sudan economy 'in intensive care' as famine looms By James Copnall BBC South Sudan analyst 10 July 2014

23 June 2015: PETRONAS C$36 billion gas project faces dissent and low prices, with several LNG startups oversupply  / glut until 2020-2025, Axens to provide processing technology for naptha at PETRONAS RAPID, PSE Seven Heads agrees contract for Irish drilling

Petronas Canada Gas Bet No Cinch as Dissent Adds to Low Prices  by Rebecca Pentyand Allison McNeely June 22, 2015 — 10:04 PM HKT; Petroliam Nasional Bhd.’s C$36 billion ($29.4 billion) Canadian natural gas export project was treading water after the global market for the fuel weakened. Now local opposition is adding a new hurdle. A British Columbia aboriginal group that claims title to land earmarked for the liquefied natural gas terminal says it will take legal action if its environmental concerns aren’t addressed. That follows a decision by Petronas, as the Malaysian company is known, and investors earlier this month to press ahead with the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal. The Lax Kw’alaams band, which has already turned down C$1.15 billion in compensation, says the terminal is slated for a culturally significant island and would damage salmon habitat, Deputy Mayor Stan Dennis said in an interview. In October, then-Petronas Chief Executive Officer Shamsul Azhar Abbas said the project needs to stay on schedule and begin shipments in 2019 or face a deferral of 10 to 15 years, until another market window opens. “One of the key risks is potential for delay,” said Tom Isaac, a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Calgary who leads the firm’s aboriginal law group and has no stake in the project. “If litigation were initiated, that could take some time to wind its way through the courts.” Several planned LNG project startups this decade means buyers will be oversupplied until at least 2020. About 40 percent of respondents to a recent Bloomberg Intelligence survey said the glut may last until 2025, analysts led by Elchin Mammadov said in a June 16 presentation. Australia and Canada have the most expensive LNG projects in the world to develop, and some will be shelved or canceled, the analysts said....

Malaysia’s Petronas to Build Natural-Gas Plant in British Columbia - Plan paves the way for export of cheap North American gas to Asia, By  Chester Dawson  June 12, 2015 1:53 a.m. ET
CALGARY—Malaysia’s state-owned energy company Thursday said it would build a large-scale natural-gas plant on Canada’s Pacific coast, paving the way for the export of cheap North American gas to high-demand markets in Asia. The 36 billion-Canadian-dollar (US$29.3 billion) project, known as Pacific NorthWest LNG, marks Canada’s emergence as a hub for exporting surplus North American natural gas to Asia. It is the first of nearly two...

PETRONAS selects Axens Technologies for Malaysia’s RAPID project Monday, Jun 22, 2015
Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Malaysia’s national oil and gas company has selected Axens as a technology provider for PETRONAS’ Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project located in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia..... RAPID is estimated to cost US$16 billion while the associated facilities will involve an investment of about US$11 billion. PIC is poised for its refinery start-up by early 2019.... Axens was initially selected in October 2010 for a Detailed Feasibility Study, after which their technologies were selected following an open bid in January 2012 on the basis of the best NPV (Net Present Value), as well as proven long term operating experiences supported by the technology and catalyst’s specific features; hence providing  additional benefits to the project. The following technologies from Axens was selected for the RAPID project:
•Naphtha Hydrotreating (NHT), this process purifies naphtha  removing dienes, olefins compounds, sulfur and nitrogen species with a feed capacity of 21,000 BPSD; •OctanizingTM a continuous catalytic regenerative (CCR) reforming process for maximizing the production of reformate from heavy hydrotreated naphtha , with a feed capacity of this unit 14,000 BPSD.........

Petronas inks rig for Irish drilling  Written by  Elaine Maslin   Monday, 22 June 2015 03:59; Petronas subsidiary PSE Seven Heads has agreed a contract to drill on the Midleton prospect offshore Ireland starting in August, according to partner Lansdowne Oil & Gas. PSE Seven Heads, a subsidiary of Petronas' PSE Kinsale Energy will use Diamond Offshore Drilling's Ocean Guardian semisubmersible drilling rig to drill the well, in SEL 4/07, which covers part-blocks 49/11, 49/12, 49/17 and 49/18, immediately southeast of the Kinsale Head gas field, in the Celtic Sea offshore southeast Ireland. The Midleton prospect, about 20km northeast of the Kinsale Head field, has been estimated to contain 330 Bcf gas initially in place, according to Landsdowne....
10 June 2015:  Opinion: Uncertainty grows over LNG deal - ‘Conditional’ final investment decision expected from Petronas by June; Tanjung Offshore secures RM250m contract from Petronas Carigali  

Opinion: Uncertainty grows over LNG deal - ‘Conditional’ final investment decision expected from Petronas by June BY NG WENG HOONG, SPECIAL TO THE VANCOUVER SUN JUNE 5, 2015; The sobering reality is the project faces greater barriers and more uncertainties than a year ago when Zulkiflee’s predecessor, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, began to grasp the magnitude of his over-reach to develop natural gas reserves, pipelines and a large LNG terminal in B.C. all within five years. Company insiders confirmed they had underestimated the extent of environmental and First Nations opposition to fracking, and oil and gas pipeline projects in B.C. Also, like most in the industry, they had not anticipated the crippling effects of the oil price collapse. Political developments in Malaysia and China could add a few more black swans to halt the project’s progress.....Shamsul’s term was not renewed in March following clashes with his boss and PNW’s biggest supporter, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is now fighting for political survival over allegations of financial mismanagement of billions of dollars in state funds. It was Najib who announced the project’s massive $36-billion price tag, the equivalent of 10 per cent of Malaysia’s GDP, to a surprised Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a visit to Southeast Asia in 2013. Will Petronas or the Malaysian government continue to support PNW’s high-risk project if Najib is no longer prime minister? Zulkiflee made his first move by approving PNW’s offer to pay $1.15 billion to the 3,700-member Lax Kw’alaams First Nations group over 40 years for the right to build the LNG project over their property and ancient fishing grounds. Despite some calling it a generous “game changer,” the sum offered was insignificant as it amounts to less than $8,000 per person per year........“Industry analysts expect only one to three B.C. LNG projects to be operating by 2025. The market outlook for Asia is still uncertain,” she wrote. Also, Canadian projects, requiring the equivalent of crude oil prices at $76 to $90 US a barrel, are expensive when compared with their rivals in the U.S.... Another likely source of concern, not widely discussed, is the commitment of two of PNW’s cornerstone shareholders, Sinopec and IOC.... Amid the LNG price collapse, India is spoiled for choice to increase import volumes through existing channels with Qatar, Nigeria, Egypt and Australia while it pursues talks to develop new overland supply lines with Russia, Turkmenistan and even Iran, which could soon be free of trade sanctions imposed by the West. These developments are leaving Petronas looking increasingly quixotic in its quest to launch B.C.’s LNG industry. The company’s attempts to sell down its 62 per cent stake in PNW LNG to 50 per cent have stalled since the last deal was concluded with Sinopec in April 2014....Rather than clarify the situation, Petronas’ offer to make a conditional final investment decision could set the stage for further negotiations and uncertainty.

Tanjung Offshore secures RM250m contract from Petronas Carigali Tuesday, 9 June 2015
KUALA LUMPUR:  Oil & gas services provider, Tanjung Offshore Bhd secured a RM250mil contract to provide topside maintenance to Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd’s platforms in Sarawak.
It said on Tuesday the construction work request contract would involve the maintenance for Petronas Carigali’s offshore and onshore facilities in Sarawak. The contract is for two years with an option to extend for another year....

1 June 2015: Petronas top official robbed of RM300,000 (c. USD 81,000) in house break-in

Petronas top official robbed of RM300,000 in house break-in Posted on 27 May 2015 - 09:21pm
KUALA LUMPUR: A gang of robbers escaped with more than RM300,000 in cash and valuables after holding up a top official of national petroleum company Petronas and his family at their bungalow near Taman Tun Abdul Razak, Ampang today.
The Petronas top official, who is a Datuk, was asleep when he and his family were woken up from their sleep by the robbers who broke in at about 5am.
The gang fled after getting cash, gold jewellery, luxury watches and other items.
Minutes after they left, the victims, who were unharmed, managed to untie themselves and alerted the police.

22 May 2015: Malaysia's Petronas posts Q1 profit drop, cuts dividend; Petronas reports first oil from Indonesia's Bukit Tua field 

UPDATE 1-Malaysia's Petronas posts Q1 profit drop, cuts dividend on oil price fall  By Anuradha Raghu Fri May 22, 2015 6:59am EDT * Q1 net profit 11.4 bln rgt vs 18.8 bln rgt in Q1 2014 * Maintains projection for crude prices at avg $55/barrel in 2015 * Price will be rangebound for many, many quarters- CEO (Adds details of results, CEO quotes) KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 (Reuters) - Malaysian state-owned oil firm Petronas posted a 39 percent drop in first-quarter net profit on lower crude prices, but a mild rebound in oil helped earnings bounce from the previous quarter when it made its first quarterly loss in at last five years. Global oil prices have climbed more than 40 percent from six-year lows hit earlier this year to touch 2015 highs in early May. Prices, though, are still well-down from the peaks of June 2014, when growing evidence of a worldwide glut sent crude markets into free fall. Petroliam Nasional Bhd, which is called Petronas, reported on Friday a net profit of 11.4 billion ringgit ($3.18 billion) for the January-March period, compared to a profit of 18.8 billion ringgit in the same period in 2014. It had suffered a net loss of 7.3 billion ringgit ($2.03 billion) in the previous quarter. Malaysia, a net energy exporter, relies heavily on Petronas for most of its oil and gas revenue. Out of the 66 billion ringgit of oil revenues in 2014, 29 billion came in the form of dividends paid by Petronas, a government report showed. That dividend would be cut to 26 billion ringgit in 2015, Petronas said.....

Petronas reports first oil from Indonesia's Bukit Tua field WorldOil (subscription) KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Petronas has reached a significant milestone in its upstream operations in Indonesia with first oil achieved from Bukit Tua field on May 17. “This upstream project is an integrated development as it also involves the ...

18 May 2015: LNG's adverse impact on Petronas and Malaysia  - Citigroup cited in The Star; PETRONAS suggests that Malaysia's many O&G players should consolidate

LNG's adverse impact on Petronas and Malaysia Monday, 18 May 2015  By: TEE LIN SAY PETALING JAYA: The earnings of state-owned Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and the country’s current account are expected to come under pressure in the next few months due to the steep drop in the average price of spot liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG prices track crude oil prices and have more than halved, with the average spot price down as of April to US$7.60 mmbtu (million British thermal units)since oil prices started their downward descent last July. LNG makes up two-thirds of Petronas’ total oil and gas production, and with contract agreements up for renewal, analysts pointed out that earnings would be hit. The average price of spot-LNG in July 2014 was US$13.8MMbtu, and prices rose slightly to US$15.1mmbtu as of Dec 2014. It started adjusting early this year, and as of April, it stands at US$7.9mmbtu. Economists believed that the country would face a current account (CA) deficit in the second quarter if countracts negotiated were not favourable. Citigroup Inc economist Kit Wei Zheng warned that headwinds from lower oil prices, which have not been as severe based on first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data, could increase going forward.  “The impact of weaker LNG prices on the CA should be maximum in the second quarter, and the CA surplus should recover in the second-half for leading to a full year surplus of 3.2% of GDP,” he said in a report following the release of Bank Negara’s first-quarter GDP data last Friday. In 2014, Petronas produced a total of 1,358 kboe (kilo barrel of oils equivalent) of gas out of a total of 2,226 kboe of oil and gas. Gas made up 61% of Petronas’ total oil and gas production that year. The LNG sales volume that year increased 4% to 30.12 million tonnes from 28.85 tonnes in 2013, driven by higher trading volume and higher sales from the Petronas LNG complex in Bintulu, Sarawak. Not only would that have implications on Petronas earnings, but Petronas’ contributions to government revenue could be impacted. Petronas contribution had dropped to about 22%, from 30%. In 2012 and 2013, when the going was still good and Brent crude stood above US$100 per barrel, Petronas had contributed RM80bil and RM73.4bil respectively to the Government.

M'sian O&G companies should explore consolidation opportunities, says Petronas Monday, 18 May 2015 KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian oil and gas (O&G) companies must consider exploring consolidation opportunities within the fraternity to increase competitiveness and put the industry in a good stead when the global oil market recovers. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) President and Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said consolidation opportunities were  plentiful.   "Those with heftier cash and other means to fund consolidation and guided by a clear strategic focus, will be able to beat competitors to the negotiating table for winning deals," he said. The manoeuvres, he added, would also position the companies ahead of the pack when oil prices recover. Wan Zulkiflee said this in his welcoming remarks at the Asia Oil and Gas Conference 2015 here today.

6 May 2015: PETRONAS JV group offers US$950 million to native group for Pacific NorthWest LNG project, Petronas completes asset acquisition - 15.5% interest in the Shah Deniz production sharing agreement in the Caspian Sea, a 12.4% stake in Azerbaijan Gas Supply Co and a 15.5% share in the South Caucasus Pipeline Co; PETRONAS carigali pay cut report quickly denied

Petronas-led JV offers aboriginal group US$950m in Canada for project nod (Update) Tuesday, 5 May 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: Pacific NorthWest LNG is offering up to C$1.15bil (US$950mil) over 40 years to an aboriginal community in Canada to approve its natural gas export terminal on Canada’s Pacific Coast.  Reports said on Tuesday the joint venture, which is led by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) had made the offer to the community, which would be paid over 40 years.
Pacific NorthWest LNG is offering the payments to the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation so it can build the unit on the community’s traditional lands at the port of Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia, the native group said on its website. The reports said the deal also included incentives from the provincial government and gas pipeline developers.  According to the native group, the payments are for the life of projects (approximately 40 year to 60 years) using 40 years as an assumption in its summary.

Petronas still in talks with Canadian aboriginal group By Fatin Rasyiqah Mustaza / The Edge Financial Daily   | May 6, 2015 : 8:41 AM MYT KUALA LUMPUR: A Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) led consortium has yet to conclude the long drawn out negotiations with the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation group on the oil company’s plan to build a gasification terminal to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the port of Prince Rupert, western Canada.  The consortium’s Pacific NorthWest LNG project is required to have the consent of the Lax Kw’alaams to construct a LNG terminal within their territory. The project will liquefy and export natural gas produced by Progress Energy Canada Ltd in which Petronas also holds a controlling stake. Currently, Petronas owns 62% of Pacific NorthWest LNG. Other stakeholders include China Petroleum & Chemical Corp Ltd (15%), Japan Petroleum Exploration Co Ltd (10%), Indian Oil Corp Ltd (10%) and Brunei National Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (3%). Petronas said an impact benefit agreement offer has been tabled to the Lax Kw’alaams, in addition to offers from both the government of British Columbia and TransCanada Corp....

Petronas completes asset acquisition Monday, 4 May 2015 - 15.5% interest in the Shah Deniz production sharing agreement in the Caspian Sea, a 12.4% stake in Azerbaijan Gas Supply Co and a 15.5% share in the South Caucasus Pipeline Co; BAKU: Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas (O&G) giant Petronas has completed its transaction for the acquisition of O&G related assets in Azerbaijan, following a sales and purchase agreement it signed with Norway-based Statoil in October last year.
Petronas’ Azerbaijan country chair Zainal Abidin Zainudin said Petronas completed the acquisition on April 30 and now officially owns a 15.5% interest in the Shah Deniz production sharing agreement in the Caspian Sea, a 12.4% stake in Azerbaijan Gas Supply Co and a 15.5% share in the South Caucasus Pipeline Co. It was reported earlier that Statoil sold its stake in the Shah Deniz project for US$2.25bil (RM8bil). The deal was Petronas’ third largest acquisition, after its US$5.7bil acquisition of Canada’s Progress Energy Resources in 2012 and the US$2.5bil acquisition of Gladstones LNG project in Australia in 2008. Zainal Abidin said the acquisition gives Petronas a strategic presence in a producing field in oil-rich Azerbaijan, where the company is involved in project development totalling around US$38bil....

*This was soon denied: Petronas Carigali cuts salaries by 20% Posted on 15 April 2015 - 05:39am  by Eva Yeong PETALING JAYA: Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has asked its staff to take a 20% pay cut in view of the challenging market conditions caused by low global oil prices, a source told SunBiz. According to a memo obtained by SunBiz, Petronas Carigali indicated that a 20% reduction in current salaries would be required effective May 1, 2015. The company said in the memo that it intends to continue investing to sustain production levels despite the low oil price environment affecting its expenditure and projects feasibility. However, it would be challenging to do so at the current cost structure and as part of its cost optimisation efforts, the company has decided to revise salary rates. Petronas Carigali is the exploration and production (E&P) subsidiary of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).

UPDATE 1-Petronas not cutting pay or staff, chief executive say (Adds details from Petronas statement) Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:39am EDT  (Reuters) - Malaysian state oil firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) on Wednesday denied a media report that said staff at one of its units were asked to take a pay cut due to the plunge in global oil prices. "It is misreporting. There is no salary cut and retrenchment for Petronas staff," Chief Executive Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin told reporters following a shareholders meeting for a Petronas unit. Local newspaper SunBiz earlier reported that Petronas Carigali issued an internal memo asking its staff to take a 20 percent pay cut due to low oil prices.

21 April 2015: PETRONAS FLNG by 1Q2016, Carigali strives to improve efficiency, Petronas Chemicals gears up for 80%-85% plant utilisation rate; Pengerang terminal added to Platts recognised loadings from Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, Tanjung Bin and certain floating storage units in nearby waters for its Singapore price assessment process

Petronas FLNG to tap marginal fields by 1Q of 2016 Tuesday, 21 April 2015 By: INTAN FARHANA ZAINUL; KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) expects to complete its ambitious floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessel by the first quarter next year.  Petronas vice president and venture director LNG project domestic Datuk Abdullah Karim said on Tuesday the Petronas FLNG 1 (PFLNG) is now 91% completed. "With PFLNG we are able to monetise gas fields which previously were considered too small or stranded," he told reporters at the PFLNG briefing.
He explained that a marginal field for gas would have a reserve of about half a trillion cubic metres.
For the PFLNG1, Abdullah said would be on site, which is in Bintulu, Sarawak (Kanowit field) by March 1 next year. "We are looking about 1.2 million tonnes per annum of LNG production from the PFLNG 1," he said. The PFLNG 1 was designed to operate in shallow waters. The final investment decision for the PFLNG Satu was made on March 27, 2012.........

Petronas Carigali strives to improve efficiency to mitigate oil plunge impact Published: 21 April 2015 5:58 PM Petronas Carigali has implemented strategies to improve cost efficiency. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 21, 2015. Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)'s upstream arm Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has implemented strategic approaches to improve its cost efficiency to mitigate the adverse impact of the plunge in oil prices. Among the initiatives taken is production with minimal cost, leaner operations and drilling, integrated logistics, and better innovation and collaboration, according to a statement issued by the state oil company today. In the same statement, Petronas Carigali president Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib urged Petronas contractors to remain agile, resilient and versatile.  Anuar also shared that Petronas Carigali's deliverables were significantly growing in terms of number and complexity....

Petronas Chemicals gears up for 80%-85% plant utilisation rate Tuesday, 21 April 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Integrated chemicals producer, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) is currently pushing for a higher average plant utilisation rate of between 80 to 85 percent in a bid to drive sales volume. PCG President  and  Chief Executive Officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah said the company's efforts in this respect are progressing well.  "PCG has improved operational excellence, with a plant utilisation rate of 80 per cent last year compared with 78 per cent in 2013, and for 2015 our utilisation rate is expected to rise to 80 to 85 per cent.  "And with the latest Sabah Ammonia Urea (SAMUR) plant due for commission next year, PCG's utilisation rate could hit beyond 85 per cent from 2016," he told Bernama on the sidelines of the 3rd Hazards Asia Pacific symposium held here today.......... On the SAMUR project in Sipitang, Sabah and the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johor, Sazali said they are progressing well and on track. "SAMUR is 90 per cent completed and we target to commission it by the first quarter of 2016.
"As for RAPID, as far as I know the project is also progressing as planned," he said.
The world-class SAMUR project aims to produce 740,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquid ammonia and 1.2 mtpa of granulated urea. Meanwhile, RAPID is expected to produce 7.7 mtpa of differentiated and specialty chemicals such as synthetic rubber and high-grade polymers, and its refinery will be capable of producing petrol and diesel that meet Euro 4 and Euro 5 fuel specifications..........

Pengerang gets Platts’ nod Tuesday, 31 March 2015; PETALING JAYA: The Pengerang oil terminal in Johor is expected to receive greater interest following its inclusion into oil agency Platts Singapore’s pricing assessments for middle distillates and gasoline. Industry players said the inclusion of the Pengerang oil terminal was expected to offer traders more flexibility in loading cargo and improve market liquidity.  “This will help efforts to make Johor the region’s oil and gas trading hub by providing traders accurate and timely information on the prices of oil products,” an analyst said. The Pengerang terminal, majority owned by the 51%-49% joint venture between Dialog Group Bhd and Dutch oil and chemicals storage company Vopak, started operations last year.
“The accreditation (by Platts) will help us in marketing our terminal. We can market to those traders on Platts.  ........Meanwhile, Reuters quoted a source from Vopak who said that the facility was in the process of being filled but it has not yet reached full capacity. “With the Platts approval, we expect interest to pick up,” Reuters quoted the source as saying.  .......Apart from landed storage tanks in Singapore, Platts currently recognised loadings from Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, Tanjung Bin and certain floating storage units in nearby waters for its Singapore price assessment process.
.......Platts said Pengerang joined those as an alternative delivery location, and would be subject to the same performance requirements and normalisation processes. The terminal has five berths, with the largest able to accommodate a VLCC (very large crude carrier).  The new terminal has an initial storage capacity of 1.3 million cu m over 50 tanks, though a second stage could add an additional one million cu m.......

12 April 2015: Low oil prices improving economics for Petronas-led B.C. LNG project

Low oil prices improving economics for Petronas-led B.C. LNG project by Yadullah Hussain | April 9, 2015 12:06 PM ET TORONTO – Low oil and gas prices have improved the economics for a Petronas-led natural gas export project on the British Columbia coast as the company looks to make a final investment decision in June. “Over the past three months, we have driven costs down … in a very significant way,” Michael Culbert, CEO of Pacific NorthWest LNG, a consortium led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, told an energy conference in Toronto this week.

5 April 2015: Japan's Toho Gas to buy LNG,  Petronas’ Botswana operation hit by fall in prices

Japan's Toho Gas to buy LNG from Malaysia's Petronas TOKYO, Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:35am EDT
(Reuters) - Japan's third-biggest city-gas supplier, Toho Gas Co, said on Tuesday it signed a basic agreement with a wholly-owned unit of Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG). The company is set to accept seven to nine LNG cargoes a year during the 10-year contract starting in April 2017, it said in a statement. The prices will be linked to crude and U.S. Henry Hub prices, with an option to change the destination on condition of obtaining the seller's prior consent, it added.......

Petronas’ Botswana operation hit by fall in crude oil prices By: MOHD HAFIDZ MAHPAR Friday, 3 April 2015 KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) Botswana-listed operation last year recorded its first profit drop in four years due to the decline in international crude oil prices.
Engen Botswana Ltd told the Botswana Stock Exchange on Friday that its net profit was halved to 65.2 million pula (RM24.1mil) last year on the back of a slightly lower revenue of 2.6 billion pula (RM962mil). The downstream petroleum marketer said its gross profit fell by 26.9% mainly due to the decline in international crude oil prices, which necessitated the revaluation of inventories during the course of the year in line with International Financial Reporting Standards. Foreign exchange gains also decreased from 9.7 million pula (RM3.6mil) at the end of 2013 to 1.4 million pula (about RM520,000) at the end of 2014. It said this was due to the depreciation of the Botswana pula against the South African rand. Engen Ltd, which operates South Africa’s second largest refinery, is 80% owned by Petronas and has a 70% stake in Engen Botswana, according to Engen Botswana’s 2014 annual report.....

31 March 2015: Cost management crucial for O&G, says Petronas

Cost management crucial for O&G, says Petronas COO By: WONG WEI-SHEN  Tuesday, 31 March 2015 “I strongly believe that one of the issues that the O&G industry needs to focus on in the current environment is cost management,” said Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) chief operating officer and executive vice-president of downstream Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (pic). Due to falling prices and increasing costs, companies are now re-prioritising shareholders’ returns over production growth, he said at the launch of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) Asia 2016. He added that across the board, there had been a reduction in budgeted capital expenditure, lower production plans and more targeted exploration efforts, as well as rationalisation of the downstream business.
Petronas executive vice-president and chief executive officer of upstream Datuk Wee Yiaw Hin said: “In this challenging environment, it becomes more important that we really push technology to the limit to help manage cost.”........

26 March 2015: PETRONAS Carigali JV strikes oil off Sabah

Petronas Carigali JV strikes oil off Sabah By: MOHD HAFIDZ MAPHAR  Wednesday, 25 March 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: A Japanese-led group exploring Deepwater Block R off Sabah, which includes Petronas Carigali, has made “a significant oil discovery” at the Bestari-1 exploration well. The group comprises operator JX Nippon Oil & Gas (27.5% interest), Inpex Corp of Japan (27.5%), Petronas Carigali (25%) and Australia-listed Santos (20%).... Santos told the Australian Stock Exchange on Wednesday that the discovery was being evaluated with a view to planning an appraisal campaign. “The Bestari-1 well encountered 67 metres of net oil pay in multiple sand packages within the primary Miocene age formation at true vertical subsea depths ranging from 1,860m to 2,702m,” it said. “The oil bearing sands are of high quality with good porosity and permeability. Oil samples, recovered from wireline pressure and sampling tools, confirm 27-30 degree API Oil with no indication of hydrogen sulphide and neglible carbon dioxide.”.... Petronas awarded the production sharing contract for Deepwater Block R, a 672 sq km area where the well is located, in January 2012. .... The national oil company said the exploration block was near key discoveries such as the Kikeh, Kebabangan, and Gumusut-Kakap fields.

24 March 2015: Petronas says $5 bln bond issue for capex, possible M&As - Reuters

Malaysia's Petronas says $5 bln bond issue for capex, possible M&As KUALA LUMPUR, March 19  Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:00am EDT (Reuters) - Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) plans to use the $5 billion it raised in Asia's largest bond offering so far this year for corporate expenses as well as possible acquisitions, the company said. In a statement to Reuters, the state-owned energy firm, which posted its first quarterly loss in at least five years in the fourth quarter due to the slump in global oil prices, declined to give any details about its potential M&A plans. It had earlier stated plans to cut capital expenditure by 10 percent and operating expenses by up to 30 percent this year, but still went ahead with the bond and sukuk issue, its first foray into the debt market in six years.

 12 March 2015: US$5 billion bonds sold, some bonds sold at lower premium than initially offered, analyst says "risk on for Asia" when PETRONAS gets the deal out, new PETRONAS bonds seemed expensive compared to the curve but cheaper than CNOOC (PETRONAS used to trade inside CNOOC)

Malaysia’s Petronas Sells $5 Billion of U.S. Dollar Bonds by Elffie Chewand Christopher Langner 2:25 PM HKT  March 11, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd., Malaysia’s state-owned oil company, sold $5 billion of dollar-denominated bonds Wednesday.... Petronas issued the debt in four parts, including a sukuk tranche, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The longest-dated portion was $1.5 billion of 4.5 percent, 30-year bonds that yield 1.9 percentage points more than similar-maturity U.S. Treasuries.... The Kuala Lumpur-based energy company borrowed in dollars at a time when Malaysian issuers in the currency are the worst performers in Asia for the year. It also sold $1.5 billion of 3.5 percent, 10-year notes, $750 million of 3.125 percent, seven-year securities, and $1.25 billion of five-year 2.707 percent sukuk, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Petronas’s new Islamic bonds were sold at a premium of 110 basis points. It had initially offered the debt with a yield of about 135 basis points, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.
Its seven-year conventional debt paid 130 basis points, versus a marketing spread of about 150, while the 10-year and 30-year securities were marketed at about 175 basis points and 220 basis points respectively. The 30-year debentures priced at a 190 basis-point premium.

ASIA CREDIT CLOSE: Petronas curve holds steady as EM bonds weaken Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:54am EDT; SINGAPORE, March 11 (IFR) - Malaysian energy giant Petronas Corp dominated attention today with its four-tranche bond and sukuk offering, which is expected to be USD6bn-7bn in size.... "If Petronas can get this deal out of the door, it will be risk on for Asia," said one credit trader. "That's not a given, thanks to the size and the weak oil price."... Petronas's old bonds were little changed, despite the new supply. The 2019s were at Treasuries plus 115bp/122bp, around 2bp wider, while the 2022s were at T+135bp/140bp. The new bonds offer around a 5bp concession to the curve, according to a bond investor. However, many investors are underweight Malaysia, and a new issue of benchmark bonds gives them a quick way to balance their portfolios.... Investors said that the new Petronas bonds seemed expensive compared to the curve, but cheap in comparison to CNOOC's 2018s, for example, which were quoted today at a Z spread of 77bp/86bp. Petronas used to trade inside CNOOC....

9 March 2015: PETRONAS starts roadshow for RM17 billion bond and sukuk, S&P assigns preliminary A- to sukuk,  Mahathir urges external auditors to allay public concerns about the billions of overseas investments by PETRONAS and other key entities / agencies

REFILE-Malaysia's Petronas begins $17 bln bond and sukuk drive Thu Mar 5, 2015 7:28am EST
(Reuters) - Malaysian energy company Petronas began roadshows on Thursday to raise up to $17 billion from conventional and Islamic bonds, or sukuk, for working capital.... State-owned Petronas met potential investors for a $15 billion multi-currency conventional bond programme and a one-off dollar-denominated sukuk issuance of $2 billion, two sources told Reuters.... A spokesman from Petronas confirmed the plans.... Bank of America Merrill Lynch, CIMB Group Holdings , Morgan Stanley MUFG, JP Morgan and Citibank are lead arrangers, while HSBC and Deutsche Bank are playing smaller supporting roles, the sources said. Petronas will conduct roadshows in Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Hong Kong, Boston, Los Angeles and New York from Thursday to March 10, they added. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's on Thursday assigned a preliminary rating of A- to the Petronas sukuk.... The move by Petronas comes after the company announced its first quarterly loss in at least five years on Feb. 27 because of the global slump in oil prices. It stated plans to cut capital expenditure by 10 percent and operating expenses by up to 30 percent this year....

Felda chairman’s son quizzed on London luxury hotel buy Published: 7 March 2015 5:09 PM; Felda's overseas buying spree was raised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier this year, when he urged Putrajaya to appoint external auditors for all its agencies to allay public concerns about the billions being spent on investments across the world. "We see entities such as Felda, EPF, Tabung Haji spending billions in acquiring foreign properties while others such as MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd) and Petronas have bought shares in airports and Canadian ventures also involving huge sums of money," the former PM had written in his blog....

28 February 2015: PETRONAS says no more RSCs when oil price below US$80, earnings weakness in Malaysia O&G inevitable with 10-15% capex cuts in 2014-2015 (mulling 30% opex cut too), Canada project FID by June 2015 with award of capital tax allowance (sources earlier said not given) and re-bidding of tenders to save cost.

 Malaysia’s Petronas Swings to First Quarterly Loss- State oil-and-gas firm intends to cut investment plans over next two years after $2.7 billion loss.By Saurabh Chaturvedi  Feb. 27, 2015 8:33 a.m. ET
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysia’s national oil-and-gas company, Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, on Friday said it would cut its investment plans by as much as 30 billion ringgit ($8.3 billion) in the next two years as the company reported its first-ever quarterly loss.... Petronas Chief Financial Officer George Ratilal told reporters that the loss was primarily due to the fall in global crude-oil prices and on account of some asset impairment charges totaling 20 billion ringgit for the full year. ... The company’s cut represents a reduction of 10%-15% for this year and the next as Petronas expects crude prices to hover around the $55-a-barrel level, Chief Executive  Shamsul Azhar Abbas  told reporters at an earnings briefing. The company is also evaluating options to cut operating expenses by 30%....

Shamsul: No more RSC for third party for now  By: NG BEI SHAN  Saturday, 28 February 2015
THERE was a time when redeveloping marginal oil fields was a “hot” topic among local oil and gas services players.... Some of these companies’ aspirations to move upstream, however, are shattered as Petrolaim Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has reiterated that it would not dish out any more new risk sharing contracts (RSC) at below US$80 per barrel.... “We don’t see any future awards of RSC contracts at prices below that,” says president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas....
It will be re-developing the brownfields on its own via Vestigo Petroleum Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary that was set up less than two years ago to develop small and mature fields... “We reckon the time has come for us to say that we are capable of doing this ourselves rather than award to other international or local players,” he says, explaining that the upstream unit of the national oil company has garnered the capabilities and knowledge from its partners over the years.... To recap, Petronas’ upstream unit Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd has established Vestigo in July 2013 to complement the former’s upstream activities with the focus on small, marginal and mature fields....

Earnings weakness from O&G inevitable Saturday, 28 February 2015; IT must have come as a shock for Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to report its first quarterly loss in five years since it started reporting quarterly figures. The RM7.3bil loss was mainly due to an impairment of assets after a revaluation, but the headline figure does indicate that 2015 is not going to be rosy. Petronas has said it will cut capital expenditure (capex) by 10% this year and by 30% for some items. This directly means less activity for the sector, and it has started to show in some of the oil and gas (O&G) service providers in the latest earnings season.

Canada project on track Saturday, 28 February 2015; PETROLIAM Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will make a final investment decision (FID) on a project to build a multi-billion-ringgit liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in British Columbia, Canada, by June this year... However, president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas has alluded that the national oil company would pursue the development as it has received what it wanted from the Government and was waiting for further approvals.... “The issues outstanding with the local provincial government and the Canadian government have been resolved. The capital allowance will be given, which will further improve the economics of the project,” he said yesterday... He also dismissed speculation that Petronas was considering walking out of the project because of the economics.... “Enough of such speculation …we can wait until the end of June and still complete it within time,” he reiterated.
Petronas will be re-bidding the tenders for the job to build the LNG plant because cost has come down with the decline in oil and gas prices....

27 February 2015: PETRONAS 4Q2014 loss or RM9.9 billion / US$2.7 billion on US$76.27 Brent (down from US$109.27 a year ago) and impairment, planned capex spend will be cut by RM30 billion over next two years, PETRONAS cash from operations RM10 billion shortfall versus capex spend and dividend commitments in 2015 says Moody's; Shamsul's says 2015 outlook likely "bad"

Petronas Turns to $2.7 Billion Fourth-Quarter Loss on Oil Slump 'By' Pooi Koon Chong 5:31 PM AWST   February 27, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Petroliam Nasional Bhd., the Malaysian state oil company preparing for a leadership transition in April, reported a loss in the fourth quarter following crude’s plunge. The loss was 9.9 billion ringgit ($2.7 billion) in the three months through Dec. 31, compared with a 9.6 billion ringgit profit a year ago. Revenue dropped 6.4 percent to 79.4 billion ringgit. ... “Petronas Group is taking steps to reduce its planned capital investments and operating expenditure in order to mitigate the potential adverse effect on its profitability and cash flows,” the company said in a statement today.... Natural gas futures dropped to $2.58 per million British thermal units on Feb. 6, the lowest since 2012, while Brent futures are down 44 percent since June. Petronas derived 21 percent of its revenue from gas and an equal amount from crude, with petroleum products being the... Petronas will pay Malaysia’s government, its sole shareholder, a dividend of 26 billion ringgit from 2014 profit of 37 billion ringgit, Petronas Chief Financial Officer George Ratilal told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. Planned capital spending will be cut by as much as 30 billion ringgit over the next two years, he said.... Petronas won’t generate enough cash from operations this year to cover capital spending and dividend commitments, said Vikas Halan, a Singapore-based vice president at Moody’s Investors Service Inc., estimating the shortfall to be at least 10 billion ringgit. .. Petronas deferred its final decision to build a C$36 billion ($29 billion) liquefied natural gas project in Canada’s British Columbia in December, citing low oil prices...Petronas has said it aims to reduce its share in the development to as low as 50 percent.....

Petronas postst first quarterly loss in 4Q, braces for grim year ahead - Petronas said the Dated Brent averaged US$76.27 in 4QFY14, a decline from US$109.27 a year ago...on prospects, Shamsul 2015 will likely be "bad"...

Malaysia's Petronas posts $2 bln quarterly loss amid global oil slump KUALA LUMPUR  Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:03pm IST

25 February 2015: Canada hopes C$18+ billion BC LNG project put on hold on 3 Dec 2014 will be revived on major cost drop; PETRONAS "humble pie" says Kinibiz on novation of four LNG carriers costing US$1.1 billion to MISC 

Petronas visit bolsters hopes for dormant B.C. LNG project  by BRENT JANG; VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail;  Published Sunday, Feb. 22 2015, 4:27 PM EST; A major B.C. LNG project put on hold by Petronas in December is showing signs of a revival as three executives from the Malaysian energy giant prepare to visit Canada..... The Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture, led by Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, is positioned to become the first major exporter of liquefied natural gas from Canada, despite a delay that has lasted nearly three months.... On Dec. 3, Petronas and its four Asian partners placed the venture on hold indefinitely due to anticipated high capital costs that make the project uneconomic to build.... Since then, Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG has made progress in extracting cost savings from prospective contractors and suppliers, B.C. Deputy Premier Rich Coleman said. “Evidently, those costs have come down dramatically,” he said in an interview.... The Petronas-led group estimates that $36-billion will need to be spent in order to achieve planned exports to Asia in 2019. The huge budget includes $6.7-billion in two pipeline projects and $11.4-billion for the export plant at Lelu Island, located near Prince Rupert in northwestern British Columbia... Incoming Petronas chief executive officer Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin will travel to Vancouver to meet with B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Mr. Coleman....Pacific NorthWest LNG is scrutinizing international engineering costs, subcontractors and two natural gas pipelines to be built by TransCanada Corp. – the $5-billion Prince Rupert Gas Transmission plan and the $1.7-billion North Montney Mainline....

Petronas eats RM4bil humble pie By TigerTalk  8:47AM Feb 25, 2015; KINIBIZ The collapse of crude oil price in the last 12 months is forcing many oil giants (to quote the usual biz speak) “rethink”, “reprioritise” and “reposition” their business plans drastically. Budgets are slashed. Expenditure reduced. Mega projects are postponed or scaled down.... In many cases, some may say that they are eating a long overdue humble pie.... Case in point is the recent move by Malaysia’s state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to transfer ownership of four new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers to Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Bhd (MISC).... The carriers will be constructed for an estimated US$1.1 billion (RM4 billion) and are to be delivered to MISC in 2016-2017.... Petronas will then charter these LNG vessels from MISC for 15 years, or maybe even more.... The deal is practically an amendment to a deal that was signed two years ago. It novates or replaces a previous shipbuilding contract signed in 2013 between Petronas, MISC and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)...

24 February 2015: MISC - PETRONAS extends time on 5 and signs 5 new LNG carriers

MISC reports that Petronas extends the time charter of five existing LNG carriers and signs on five new LNG carriers. UOBKH Research 24 Feb 2015.

22 February 2015: SapuraKencana's Mokzhani sees need for PETRONAS to manage expectations of Malaysia O&G players as well as sector consolidation (4,000 companies of which 40 are public listed); PETRONAS to set aside RM2.1 billion for Sarawak O&G contractors; Johor to take 10% stake in Pengerang Terminals 2 and Pengerang LNG 2; Pengerang Package III contracts awards; Petronas-Vopak-Dialog industrial terminal info

New Petronas CEO urged to encourage consolidation By: WONG WEI-SHEN Saturday, 21 February 2015; A prominent oil and gas (O&G) player feels that one of the primary tasks of the newly appointed president and chief executive officer of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) should be to encourage consolidation within the industry....  “He has to encourage consolidation, as a lot of service companies had mushroomed in the last five to 10 years, enjoying US$100 oil. Having said that, at US$50 oil, we will all have to revisit our cost structures and find efficiencies to help with bringing costs down,” says SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd vice-chairman Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir (pic) of Petronas’ new head Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin.... Mokhzani is one of the major shareholders in SapuraKencana with a 10.38% equity stake. He also has a 18.55% stake in Yinson Holdings Bhd via Kencana Capital Sdn Bhd.... To paint a clearer picture, there are currently about 4,000 O&G firms that come under the purview of the International Trade and Industry Ministry, while only about 40 of them are listed on the local bourse.... Wan Zulkiflee will be taking over the helm from Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas starting April 1.... Mokhzani foresees more companies turning to Petronas for help and shelter during this “rough patch” for the next two years.... While there is no more cheap oil production, innovative solutions can help save, Mokhzani adds.... “That’s where Petronas has to encourage Vestigo/Carigali to work smarter with contractors to do this. I think Wan Zulkiflee will be the right person to spearhead this new business approach.... “He has to manage the expectations of both his shareholder and stakeholders (everyone involved in the O&G industry),” he says....

RM2.1bn Petronas ang pow just for Sarawak by FMT Reporters  | February 21, 2015
Exclusive yearly bonanza for oil and gas contractors in the state; KUCHING: Oil and gas contractors in Sarawak have been given a RM2.1 billion “ang pow” from Petronas, to be given every year. The figure is the value of yearly contracts that will be set aside by the national oil corporation exclusively for oil and gas contractors in the state, Star Online reported today....

Johor state to take 10% stake in Petronas’ Pengerang terminals Thursday, 5 February 2015  KUALA LUMPUR: The State Secretary, Johor (Incorporated) will take a 10% stake in two terminals at Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC).  The Johor government had on Thursday signed two lease agreements with Pengerang Terminals (Two) Sdn Bhd (PT-2) and Pengerang LNG (Two) Sdn Bhd (PLNG-2) respectively.  “The issuance of the lease agreements by the state of Johor marks the next stage of progress in the development of Petronas’ Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC) in Pengerang, Johor,” said the national oil company. Subsequent to the signing of the agreements, the Johor government would hold a 10% equity in PT-2 and PLNG-2 respectively. PT-2 terminal will serve as a dedicated storage and industrial terminal for Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex.... RAPID is estimated to cost US$16bil while the associated facilities will involve an investment of about US$11bil.

Muhibbah gets RM116m Petronas Rapid job in Pengerang Published: February 4, 2015 02:48 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd today announced it has been awarded a RM16 million contract by Tecnicas Reunidas, SA Group for the design and building of temporary construction facilities and accommodation camp for package three in Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang, Johor. In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, Muhibbah said the construction was scheduled to commence in the first quarter and was expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016. Tecnicas Reunidas is one of the leading international engineering and construction company for oil and gas production, refining and petrochemicals and power generation projects. The company was awarded by Petronas as an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contractor for Package III, the construction of kerosene hydrotreating unit, diesel hydrotreating unit, naphtha hydrotreating unit, cracked naphtha hydrotreating unit, and continuous catalytic reformer units in Petronas’ Rapid project. - See more at:

Petronas, Vopak, Dialog to develop major storage terminal in Malaysia 4 February 2015 The companies recently signed a shareholders agreement for the development in Pengerang, JohorPetronas, Dialog and Vopak are to develop and operate an industrial terminal in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia. The industrial terminal will serve the world scale Petronas Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project. Each company recently signed the shareholders agreement to jointly develop an industrial terminal in Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia. Vopak will have a 25% share. The industrial terminal will serve the users of the new world-scale Petronas' RAPID project which is an integral section of Petronas Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC). The industrial terminal will have a storage capacity up to 2.1 million m3 for crude, refined products, petrochemical products and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The marine infrastructure includes 12 berths. The 24m draft can accommodate very large crude carriers. Berths for unloading and reloading of LNG vessels up to QMax are included in the project plans. - See more at:

13 February 2015: "1MDB Mess Clouds Petronas $7 Billion Debt Proposal" - Bloomberg
1MDB Mess Clouds Petronas $7 Billion Debt Proposal; 'By' Christopher Langner and Elffie Chew  12:00 AM AWST  February 13, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s national oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd is paying for troubles at a state investment fund.... The yield premium on Petronas’s 2022 U.S. dollar-denominated debt over Treasuries has surged 54 basis points in the last six months after the government said it wasn’t liable for 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s debt and the fund missed a loan payment. That was unfortunate timing for Petronas, which is planning its first dollar bond in five years to raise as much as $7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.... The cost of insuring Malaysian sovereign debt reached a 16-month high on Jan. 13, one week after local media reported 1MDB’s missed payment, and is up 27 basis points since Dec. 31. Fitch Ratings said last month it may downgrade Asia’s only net crude exporter, citing plunging oil prices and “uncertainty” surrounding finances of the investment fund, whose advisory board is headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak.... “The 1MDB mess is being factored into the spreads for Malaysia and there aren’t that many bonds in which you can express that view,” said Dilip Parameswaran, the Hong Kong-based head of independent advisory firm Asia Investment Advisors Ltd. “That, mixed with lower oil prices and a potential downgrade of the sovereign, are all weighing on Petronas.” ... Natural gas futures dropped to $2.58 per million British thermal units on Feb. 6, the lowest since 2012, while the price of Brent futures is down 46 percent since June. Petronas derived 21 percent of its revenue from gas and an equal amount from crude, with petroleum products being the biggest contributor to its top line, according to its 2013 annual results...The investment fund (1MDB) failed to repay a 2 billion ringgit loan due in December, Edge Financial Daily reported Jan. 6. The spread on the 2023 notes soared 115 basis points in two days to 417 basis points. It had widened to a record 430 basis points on Feb. 12...

More news links on 1MDB here:

12 February 2015: PETRONAS goes to bond market for $7 billion with Deutsche, CIMB & BofA

Today Petronas announced their biggest USD bond offering ($7b)  where they mandated Deutsche, CIMB & Bk of America.

KL bank specialists have interesting observations on choice of mandated banks.

10 February 2015: PETRONAS CEO announcement goes to the wire - Wan Zulkiflee (COO and head of downstream) succeeds Shamsul  on 1 April 2015; Shamsul expected 7-month extension did not eventuate

Malaysia Names Wan Zulkiflee as Petronas CEO Succeeding Shamsul  'By'Pooi Koon Chong
5:59 PM AWST  February 9, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia named Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin as president and chief executive officer of state oil company Petroliam Nasional Bhd from April.
Wan Zulkiflee succeeds Shamsul Azhar Abbas, whose contract ends today and will serve through March 31, Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement via state news service Bernama today. Wan Zulkiflee, currently Petronas’ chief operating officer and head of its downstream business, will take over the top post in a three-year term....

Next 24 hours will determine who runs Petronas By: RISEN JAYASEELAN Monday, 9 February 2015; While it had been widely reported recently that the oil giant’s current president and chief executive officer, Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas, will be offered only a 7-month contract extension, nothing has been firmed up yet considering that there is no statement from Petronas at the time of writing.... The last day of his contract is supposed to be today.... Four names have been speculated to be front runners for this – Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib, Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh and Md Arif Mahmood....

4 February 2015: Malaysia - PETRONAS next pressure point in LNG risk, BofA says 10% fall in LNG price worsens current account by 0.5% GDP versus 10% oil price drop impact of 0.1% of GDP

Malaysia's Next Pressure Point Looms in LNG Risk, BofA Says 'By' Sharon Chen 11:45 AM BNT   February 3, 2015; (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s current account surplus will probably narrow as liquefied natural gas prices drop, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, adding a new risk to the nation’s weakening economic outlook.... LNG prices may be down 50 percent by the middle of this year from last June, as they track oil with a lag of four to six months, according to Singapore-based Bank of America economist Chua Hak Bin. Such a decline would probably reduce Malaysia’s current account surplus by about 2.5 percent to 3 percent of gross domestic product, he wrote in a report Tuesday.... “Collapsing LNG prices will likely be the next pressure point,” Chua said. “Malaysia may be a small net oil exporter but the net gas trade surplus is huge” at 58.9 billion ringgit ($16 billion), or 6 percent of GDP in 2013, he said.... Crude prices at about half the level of a year ago have forced oil-producing Malaysia to cut government expenditure.... The currency has fallen more than 11 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past six months, the second-worst performer among 11 most-traded Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg.....  Malaysia’s current-account surplus shrank to 7.6 billion ringgit in the third quarter, the smallest in more than a year. A 10 percent decline in LNG prices will worsen the current account by about 0.5 percent of GDP while a 10 percent drop in oil prices will only hurt the current account by 0.1 of GDP, according to Chua.....

31 January 2015: PETRONAS affirms planned RM60 billion for Pengerang, questions about Johor's multiple oil & gas hubs, on-hold APH rights sold Dubai investors with no progress since, Benalec reclaimed land project in echo of newbie reclaimed projects affecting Johor property sector?

One too many oil and gas hubs By: M. SHANMUGAM Saturday, 31 January 2015
Going forward, what the nation would be watching closely is the kind of numbers that Petronas would be forecasting to churn out this year. Considering that Brent crude has come down by more than 50% since it hit a high of US$115 per barrel on June 19 last year, Petronas’ earnings would be impacted. The impact would be felt not only in the pockets of the Treasury but also the 4,000-odd oil and gas companies operating in Malaysia. Petronas, however, had said that it would not reduce its planned expenditure for the integrated oil and gas hub in Pengerang where it would be spending RM60bil over several phases. This amount would multiply many times over if investments from other oil and gas majors to set up downstream oil and gas related ventures in Pengerang are included.
...........However, the oil and gas hub in Pengerang is not the only one coming up in Johor.
Earlier this week, Benalec Holdings Bhd received approval to reclaim some 1,400ha in the Straits of Johor that will be developed into an oil and gas hub. Benalec is essentially a company that made its fortune by reclaiming sea-fronting land in Malacca and selling or jointly developing it. Its expertise is to reclaim land. But the business plan that it has mapped out for its 1,400ha of proposed development in Johor is similar to the Petronas-led Pengerang development, albeit on a smaller scale. Benalec has influential partners in the form of the Johor royalty and businessman Daing A. Malek Rahman. So although it seems like a Herculean effort for Benalec, there is no reason to doubt that the project is here to stay......Apart from Benalec’s proposed oil and gas project in Tanjung Piai, there are two more oil and gas hubs in Johor already in operations – in Tanjung Langsat and Tanjong Bin.
Johor Corp owns the Tanjung Langsat oil and gas terminal and it operates the oil and gas hub together with its partners Trafigura, Technip and MISC. As for Tanjung Bin, there is a petrochemical and maritime industrial park there that is owned by MMC Corp Bhd and its partners are Vitol and MISC. Not to be forgotten is the yet to be completed Asia Petroleum Hub (APH) bunkering and storage facility that is saddled by financial difficulties and is now under the control of banks. CIMB Banking group announced in September that it was selling its rights on the APH project that is to build oil storage and bunkering facilities, to a group of investors from Dubai. Since the announcement, there has not been any progress.......... There is nothing wrong in the creation of oil and gas hubs. But too many hubs lead to over-crowding and eventually forces price-cutting. The end result is there will be casualties. It is already happening in the Johor property sector where prices are dropping. The Iskandar dream is in jeopardy because of several unplanned projects on reclaimed land..........

29 January 2015: PETRONAS alternative energy from shale gas in Canada and Australia might not see immediate returns (but be for future generations?), JGC Corp US$502 million contract to expand LNG Bintulu to help Japan energy security

Petronas digs deeper for future generations by yuen meikeng Updated: Thursday January 29, 2015 MYT 7:51:00 AM;  PETALING JAYA: Exciting times lie ahead for Petronas as it explores new sources of oil and gas or “unconventional energy” at locations which include Canada and Australia.
“Petronas is investing heavily in unconventional energy as we are working hard to safeguard and ensure that there is sufficient energy supply for future generations” said Dr Chan Tuck Leong (pic), the process engineering head of Pacific Northwest LNG, a subsidiary of Petronas. He said unconventional hydrocarbon resources were oil and gas, similar to what consumers use today.
In its venture in Canada, Petronas will be converting natural gas extracted from the shale reservoirs into liquefied natural gas (LNG), similar to its operations in Malaysia LNG, Bintulu. Apart from Canada, Petronas has been exploring and producing different types of unconventional energy in Australia too. Dr Chan said these investments might not see immediate returns, but “would definitely benefit future generations”.

Japan’s JGC Corp secures US$502m Petronas contract By: JOSEPH CHIN  Monday, 26 January 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: Japan’s JGC Corporation has secured a 60bil yen (US$502mil) contract from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to expand the facilities at its liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex in Bintulu, Sarawak.... JGC Corporation said on Monday the contract was awarded by Petronas LNG 9 Sdn Bhd (PL9SB) which included engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC).... JGC Corporation said the PLC is one of the world’s largest LNG production facilities and has eight production trains with a combined capacity of 25.7 million tonnes per annum (MPTA). JGC said the project would help stabilise Malaysia’s capacity to export LNG which would help to support the country’s continuing economic growth.  “The project will also be important in helping Japan’s energy security, as they currently rely on Malaysia for more than 15% of its total LNG imports,” it said.$502m-Petronas-contract/?style=biz

20 January 2015: GDP outlook dampened, Ringgit at 6 year low, qualitative budget adjustments, most savings from removal of energy subsidy? Petronas' dividend slightly lower as calculated on last year's prices. PETRONAS quashes talk of plan to cut 10% of its workforce.

29 January clarification: An economist friend confirms that the energy subsidy cut savings was already built into models and known with effect for Dec 2014; so the recent budget revisions would not reflect such savings

Petronas Says NST's Job Cuts Article is 'Misreported and Inaccurate' by  Rigzone Staff  Tuesday, January 20, 2015; Malaysia's state-owned Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) clarified Sunday that a local newspaper's article published Saturday saying that the firm plans to trim its workforce by more than 10 percent was "misreported and inaccurate", the firm said in a press release.... In an article entitled "Petronas Trimming Expenditure," the New Straits Times (NST) reported that the Malaysian national oil company plans to reduce its workforce by around one-tenth "as part of measures to lower operating cost in response to the plunging global oil prices," the newspaper said, citing unnamed company officials.... "The downsizing and restructuring would include axing redundant positions and underperforming staff," the NST article revealed, quoting a company official who disclosed that these issues were raised at a senior management briefing last week that was led by Petronas CEO Shamsul Azhar Abbas....

Petronas’ dividend ‘slightly lower’ this year Published: 20 January 2015 4:07 PM. Petronas' dividend contribution to the government this year will be slightly lower than the previous contribution as the amount would be calculated based on last year's crude oil price. Dispelling misconceptions that the national oil corporation's contribution to the government would be severely slashed due to the slump in crude oil prices, Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said the amount, which has been decided by Petronas, would be announced soon. "Last year, the price was strong whereby in June Brent crude oil was sold at US$115 per barrel. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); "It (amount) will be slightly lower, but not that much of a drop in dividends," he told reporters after a briefing on the special address on measures to strengthen Malaysia's economic resilience by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today...

A downgrade to GDP growth outlook and some trimming of the federal budget (including a move to defer the National Service programme, which would save the country RM400 million) and qualitative changes. Chatting with analyst friend at lunch, the quick reaction was that the oil price drop impact is likely mitigated in large part by the removal of energy subsidies - on fuel subsidy alone that saves some RM11 billion, and more also saved on gas subsidies. Last year some RM70 billion came to the federal budget from PETRONAS.

What is Putrajaya cutting from Budget 2015? By Ida Lim Published: January 20, 2015 12:07 PMUPDATED: January 20, 2015 02:33 pm; He said that the government stood to save RM10.7 billion by removing direct fuel subsidies for the public and using the managed float mechanism for RON95 petrol and diesel. - See more at:

PM announces measures to strengthen Malaysia's economic resilience Last updated on 20 January 2015 - 09:18pm; In a special address this morning, Najib said that the government remained confident that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by between 4.5% to 5.5% in 2015. Meanwhile, in light of falling oil prices, volatile capital flows and a worsening global economic outlook, the prime minister also announced that Malaysia's fiscal deficit target would be revised to 3.2% of GDP in 2015.... "It is higher than the three per cent set out in the Budget, but lower than the 3.5% in 2014, and in line with the government's continuing commitment to fiscal consolidation," said Najib.... The development expenditure for 2015 meanwhile would be fully maintained, but operating expenditure is expected to be reduced by RM5.5 billion, he said. The government will also encourage government-linked-companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) to invest domestically; further reduce the cost of doing business; allocate 30% of the annual procurement budget of government agencies and GLCs for goods and services to local SME producers; and increase local goods and services in government procurement.

Highlights of PM's special address on the economy Last updated on 20 January 2015 - 03:23pm
* Malaysia is a crude oil exporter. Thus, when oil prices plummeted recently, there was a perception that export receipts will also decline drastically and result in a current account deficit. Indeed, this perception is not correct.
* As a net crude oil exporter, Malaysia had a surplus of RM7.7 billion from January to November 2014.
* Malaysia is an importer of petroleum products with a net import bill of RM8.9 billion during the same period.
* The perception that Malaysia is a large oil producer is also not true

Ringgit extends losses against US dollar at close - Bernama Last updated on 20 January 2015 - 07:27pm; At 5pm, the local note was quoted at 3.6060/6730 against the greenback compared with 3.5700/5590 on Monday. A dealer said the ringgit hit a near six-year low after the government increased its fiscal deficit target to 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product and cut forecast economic growth and inflation this year to adjust the country's budget after a sharp fall in earnings from oil and gas....

18 January 2015: Najib to hold 20 January talk but consensus that Malaysia can hold up with removal energy subsidies and new 6% GST; some concern over impact of PETRONAS Sarawak gas pipeline explosion in June 2014 on its earnings

This Is Asia's 'Undisputed Loser' From Oil and Fiscal Cuts Are Looming By Sharon Chen and Liau Y-Sing  Jan 16, 2015 10:44 AM GMT+0800; The plunge in oil prices that spurred a currency crisis in Russia and endangered Venezuela’s leadership is also roiling markets in Malaysia, a net oil exporter in Southeast Asia. Economists say it’s not time to panic, yet.... For one thing, Malaysia’s oil and gas products account for about 22 percent of its exports, compared with more than 70 percent for Russia’s energy. For another, Prime Minister Najib Razak is buying some fiscal breathing room by abolishing decades-old energy subsidies and introducing a 6 percent goods and services tax in April, according to Nomura Holdings Inc..... That would allow Najib to keep close to his budget goals even as declining investor confidence pushed the currency this week to its lowest level since April 2009 and boosted the cost of insuring the nation’s debt.... Najib will hold a special session to talk about economic developments and the country’s financial position on Jan. 20, the finance ministry said. With crude prices at half the level of a year ago, the pressure will be on him to accelerate the restructuring of an economy grappling with a cash squeeze and elevated household debt and further reduce the nation’s dependence on oil....

Baru wants Petronas to clarify rumour on February LNG sale – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo -
Petronas' evaluation of SSGP ongoing - Business News | The Star Online -
Sarawak PKR chief demands answers from Petronas over pipeline explosion - The Malaysian Insider -
Portion of Petronas RM3bil Kimanis-Bintulu pipeline project exploded (photos) - Bintulu Weekly - News, Opinions and Multimedia -

13 January 2015 evening: Najib says Budget 2015 may be revised next week

Putrajaya might tweak Budget 2015 in face of falling oil prices, flood aid Published: 13 January 2015 Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says today Budget 2015 might be revised because of unexpected major events. Falling global oil prices and a weakening ringgit have forced Putrajaya to relook Budget 2015. The recent flood in the east coast states might also affect government spending after it said it would spend RM800 million for flood relief. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the budget might be restructured in view of current developments, national news agency Bernama reported today. "I will come out with a statement (on this) next week," he said after receiving flood relief assistance from China today.....Treasury had ordered all government-linked companies and statutory bodies to hold off foreign purchases in response to falling global oil prices and a weakening ringgit. "After taking into consideration the uncertain world economic outlook in 2015, the government on December 17 is of the opinion that domestic consumption must be increased to generate and support the country's economy," according to the Treasury circular....

13 January 2015: World Bank sees significant risk for Malaysia with 1.5%-age point drop in key balances versus GDP if Brent average $63.80 in 2015; talk of naivety of fossil fuel "get rich quick" schemes in Greenland and Norway on alert, looking at tapping reserves and observations on need to revamp government spending

Thanks to reader N who pointed out World Bank Economic Report Dec 2014 to me on Malaysia. It analyzes the impact of lower oil and gas prices as significant for Malaysia at the $75 and $63.80 levels for Brent for 2015. Currently, that's trading just below $50 and we'll have to see how average prices pan out in 2015.

source: World Bank Malaysia Economic Monitor December 2014

Elsewhere, talk of naivety of fossil fuel "get rich quick" schemes in Greenland and Norway on alert, looking at tapping reserves and observations on need to revamp government spending

$50 Oil Kills Bonanza Dream That Made Greenlanders Millionaires By Peter Levring  Jan 12, 2015 7:00 AM GMT+0800 Greenland, an island that may be sitting on trillions of dollars of oil, has had to acknowledge that its dream of tapping into that wealth looks increasingly far-fetched. Back when oil was headed for $150 a barrel, Greenlanders girded for a production boom after inviting in some of the world’s biggest explorers, including Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) Now, with Brent crude dipping below $50 last week, Deputy Prime Minister Andreas Uldum says Greenland’s hope of growing rich quickly on fossil fuels was “naïve.” ... ://

Oil Losses Force Norway to Consider Measures to Back Economy By Mikael Holter, Saleha Mohsin and Jonas Cho Walsgard  Jan 9, 2015 6:37 PM GMT+0800; Norway is considering tapping reserve funds to shield western Europe’s biggest oil producer from the worst slump in crude prices in more than half a decade.... Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the government is now “on alert” to respond to the rout. “If the economic situation requires it, we can react quickly,” she said yesterday at a conference in Oslo organized by Norway’s confederation of industry. Erna Solberg, Norway's Prime Minister, said her government is working on models that...

Hayman’s Bass Sees Oil Slump Disciplining Petro-State Norway By Saleha Mohsin  Jan 8, 2015 5:20 PM GMT+0800; Hayman Capital Management founder and chief investment officer Kyle Bass said, Norway... The oil rout that has dragged down Norway’s krone since June will ultimately discipline a government that has relied too much on its petro-dollars to finance expenditure.
That’s according to Kyle Bass, the founder and chief investment officer of Hayman Capital Management LP, who was in Oslo yesterday to attend a Skagen AS conference.... Norway “trades like an emerging market because of its dependence on crude,” Bass, one of the first hedge-fund managers to predict and make money on the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis, said in an interview. “A traditional cleansing is a good thing in the long run, it keeps government spending in check. Politicians are going to have to figure out how to cut back on the spending that they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.” ....

10 January 2015: Petronas’ quarterly results avidly awaited, How bad will it be? Malaysia oil and gas companies planning to lobby that PETRONAS stop awarding contracts to foreign companies.

How low will Petronas profits dip? Saturday, 10 January 2015  By: M.SHANMUGAM; A clearer picture will emerge on the impact that the almost 50% drop in the price of crude oil over the last six months has had on the coffers of the Federal Government when Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) unveils its next quarterly results... Everybody knows that Petronas is not going to show a sterling set of numbers. When Petronas released its third-quarter results on Nov 28, 2014, it had already sent a clear message that the final quarter would be bad. The question is: How bad will it be?... As at end-November, Shamsul had predicted Brent Crude to stabilise between US$70 and US$75 per barrel. At the upper limit of US$75, Petronas’ payout to the Government in the form of dividends, taxes and royalties would be RM43bil.... But now, it would appear that the best-case scenario for Brent Crude next year is US$75 and not many are betting on that price.... The domestic oil service providers have stopped forecasting the price, while global oil majors have not discounted US$60 or below as the average.... So, even a prospective payout of RM43bil to the Government this year is looking rather shaky. Previously, Petronas’ quarterly results used to be a mundane affair. But surely, it is not going to be the same this year, as all eyes will be on how low its profits have dipped...

Source: The Edge Malaysia, 12 January 2015

Note: Some local companies have suggested that they be allowed to at least match the bids of the foreign companies. However, there is no indication to date of Petronas bowing to political pressure... The national oil company has in the past come under fire for awarding jobs to foreign companies such as Hyundai. These awards are said to have resulted in Malaysian companies that did not win the contracts labouring to make ends meet. However Petronas has stood firm, looking at improving its cost efficiency... In 2013, Petronas paid the government some RM63 billion, contributing 29.5% to tis revenue. The sum comprised RM36 billion in tax income and royalties, and RM27 billion in dividends... However, The Edge understands that Malaysian oil and gas companies are planning to collectively lobby the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to ensure that Petronas contracts are not awarded to foreign companies... Late last year, the MoF had asked government-linked companies (GLCs) to refrain from acquiring assets in foreign countries in order to stem capital outflow... In this vein, the local oil and gas companies argue that Petronas too should not award jobs to foreign companies....

9 January 2015: PETRONAS wants to slash OPEX by 30%
After slashing capex, Petronas plans up to 30% cut in opex By: JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU, NG BEI SHAN; Wednesday, 7 January 2015; PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is looking to make cuts in its operating expenditure (opex) by between 25% and 30% to preserve its profitablity as crude oil prices continue to tumble.... Sources said that the national oil company was reviewing its spending and was in the process of identifying where cuts could be made. Projects it has committed to from last year and in its budget are likely to continue.... Oil company executives said word was starting to filter to them that cuts in opex would be made as the price of crude oil continues to fall. As the price of Brent crude oil was falling and at US$70 a barrel late November last year, Petronas said it would slash its capital expenditure (capex) up to 15% this year.... With the price of global crude oil now at around US$50 a barrel, more oil majors have announced cuts in not only capex but also their opex, which includes payroll....

7 January 2015: Oil & gas work has been in favour, energy companies drop with oil price plunge

From Mat Rempit to being an offshore rig worker Updated: Wednesday January 7, 2015 MYT 7:13:03 AM; BANGI: When he was a teenager, Mohd Ikhwan Iskandar would spend his nights racing bikes on the highways and his days loitering in shopping malls. Now 23, he is a new man of sorts especially after signing up for Kem Perkasa, an intervention programme for the so-called Mat Rempit. “I wanted to change and become a better person,” he said in an interview at the camp’s “graduation ceremony” at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here yesterday. He said the intervention programme was “life-changing” as he made new friends, learnt vocational skills and gained an insight into his own character. “Now I am working on an offshore rig. My parents used to tell me don’t just sit at home, go study or get a job. Now I can support them and they’re very happy,” he said.... Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor was present yesterday at the camp organised by Permata, an initiative on early child care, and UKM’s Centre for Youth Empowerment, assisted by the Youth and Sports Ministry. Rosmah, who heads Permata, also launched camp coordinator Dr Rozmi Ismail’s book on Rempit di Malaysia.... “The ‘alumni’ of Kem Perkasa had gone on to become fitness instructors, chefs and managers of entertainment centres,” she said....

Asian Stocks Extend Drop, Led by Energy Companies on Oil Plunge By Jonathan Burgos  Jan 7, 2015 8:10 AM GMT+0800  Asian stocks fell, after yesterday sinking the most in nine months, as U.S. equities extended declines and the slump in crude oil deepened. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) declined 0.3 percent to 134.57 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, with energy companies dropping the most. The Asian gauge slumped 1.7 percent yesterday and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell for a fifth day, extending the longest losing streak in 13 months. West Texas Intermediate oil sank below $48 a barrel in New York amid speculation data on U.S. supplies today will fuel concern over a global glut....

16 December 2014: Petronas' newer foreign investments in question?

Low oil prices, domestic politics put Petronas’s B.C. LNG project at risk by Ng Weng Hoong, Special to Financial Post | December 15, 2014; "VANCOUVER – The announcement by Petronas Berhad this month to delay its final decision on whether to invest $36-billion in a Canadian LNG export project may be just that  — a delay. But it could also be a sign the Malaysian national energy company is caught in a difficult pinch between collapsing global energy prices and political turbulence back home undermining Petronas’s global expansion plans.... With those two pressures together, the planned Lelu Island project near Prince Rupert in British Columbia appears to be very much in the company’s — and the country’s — crosshairs. Analysts say the case for a major Canadian LNG-export project is rapidly weakening amid the energy price collapse, the emergence of the United States as an oil and gas supplier and the advanced state of competing projects in Qatar, Australia, Russia and even Papua New Guinea and Angola............ With the coming expiry of some long-term sales contracts with Asian customers and the development of new capacity in Australia and Malaysia, Petronas will have as much as 26 million tonnes of flexible and tradeable LNG capacity by 2022. Even without PNW LNG, Petronas will still have nearly 20 million tonnes of capacity, Mr. Chong said.... Days before the deadline for its final investment decision, the company said it was deferring the 12-million tonnes/year project despite having secured agreements with the B.C. government............“The U.S. factor emerged strongly in 2014,” Mr. Munro said. “We have a very competitive neighbour, which has raised the odds against the development of a major Canadian-LNG export industry.”... Petronas is under pressure to increase investments back home largely to placate powerful politicians and counter Malaysia’s slowing economy. As a result of reduced earnings from lower oil prices, the company’s expected reduced contributions to the economy next year could spark criticism following its recent costly forays into Canada, Brazil and Venezuela... At Petronas’s third quarter results briefing last month, CEO and President Shamsul Azhar Abbas warned of a 15% to 20% cutback in next year’s capital expenditure, and a 37% reduction in oil-based payments to the government if Brent crude averaged US$75 a barrel. Brent is now trading below US$65......... While the company was unhappy with what it saw as a delay by the B.C. government in announcing its final LNG tax rules, it also gave itself the herculean task of completing the massive greenfield project from conception in 2013 to plant start-up within five years.... Lacking experience with North America’s regulatory, aboriginal, labour and environmental challenges, the company plunged into Canada’s shale sector by proposing to bet the equivalent of 10% to 12% of Malaysia’s GDP on a single project...."

15 December 2014: Weaker credit metrics, PETRONAS lower earnings problem for Malaysia coffers, award of Sabah onshore deals

Sharply lower oil prices is driving concerns about the oil & gas sector in Malaysia. PETRONAS has warned about a 30% reduction in earnings.

Low oil prices and high capex will weaken credit metrics for rated oil & gas firms, says Fitch
By TheEdge /   | December 15, 2014 : 12:06 PM MYT    
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 15): Low oil prices and high capex will weaken credit metrics for rated oil and gas companies in south-east Asia, but ratings to remain stable in 2015, according to Fitch Ratings. In a report released Dec 14, Fitch said South-east Asian oil companies continued to require high capex to maintain and increase their upstream and mid-stream production capacities.
It said low oil prices would reduce their net operating cash generation in 2015, at a time when the capex flexibility of these operators is somewhat limited;

Petronas juggles lower earnings  By Farah Saad & Doreen Leong; Friday, 12 Dec 2014, 12:30 AM
Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is experiencing one of the toughest challenges of its corporate history. Revenue and profit are plunging. Its RM109 bil Canadian dream gas project could become a nightmare and another RM90 bil in other projects it announced in the last five years may have to be reviewed. The slump of more than 40% in world crude oil prices in the last six months, from US$112 to US$64 per barrel, has affected its bottomline. Each US dollar fall in the world oil price has a RM1 bil impact on Petronas’ pre-tax profit. Poor market sentiment has also affected at least three of Petronas’ five listed companies – Petronas Dagangan, Petronas Chemicals and Petronas Gas, which have lost a combined market capitalisation of RM30.3 bil this year alone. The rest of the industry catches cold when Petronas sneezes. When the oil company announced a 15-20% cut in its capex on Dec 1, oil-and-gas stocks on Bursa Malaysia fell by 5-20% the next day....

Petronas urges Putrajaya to 'tighten belt' over possible lower ...Nov 28, 2014 - Petronas pre-tax profit fell 12% in the third quarter ended September 30, 2014, against the previous quarter this year. - The Malaysian Insider ... Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), which contributes to almost 40% of the national coffer, is urging the government to "tighten its belt" as the national oil firm is facing the possibility of less earnings in light of the falling crude oil prices. Petronas president & Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas (pic) believes that the price range of Brent crude oil at US$70 (RM237) to US$75 may be a 'new era', until the end of next year, if not for the next two years.  Based on the new oil price assumptions, Shamsul said Petronas is looking to cut as much as 15%-20% of its capital expenditure (capex) budget for next year. Shamsul also called on the government to be prudent on its spending as the state oil firm has to safeguard its growth plans.  "If we are to maintain our dividend contribution or higher, it would significantly impact our growth plans," said the chieftain at Petronas' third quarter results briefing today.....

‘Lower oil price is a reality check’   By Cynthia Blemin / The Edge Financial Daily   | December 11, 2014 : 9:30 AM MYT     “Our dependency on O&G has been reduced over the years,” he said, adding that Malaysia is now a broad-based economy which will help to ride the current fluctuations in the oil price. Wahid said that the country has also managed to reduce its dependence on oil revenues. “Back in 2009, we were at 40% in terms of contribution from oil revenues and that has been reduced to 36% in 2011 and 31% in 2013,” Abdul Wahid added....‘lower-oil-price-reality-check’
Sunday, December 7, 2014; Sabah news (update 6): Sabah onshore oil & gas, the oil royalty push, secession talk is sedition; 7 December 2014: Sabah onshore oil & gas, the oil royalty push, secession talk is sedition:  News is out - we had been hearing about talk of this from friends in the oil & gas industry for some time now. Is there big onshore oil & gas in Sabah? Notably in the vicinity of Sahabat? Sabah signed oil and gas production sharing contracts (PSCs) effective 20 November 2014 for 27 years. Petronas awarded.... /khoryuleng/2014/08/sabah-sulu-problems-fester-on.html

29 June 2014: Petronas RAPID project in Johor

There is considerable and growing interest in the PETRONAS Rapid project in the south eastern coast of Johore, just north of Singapore. Some useful links on public information and academic sources are put together here. Broadly, while the project is said to be complementary to Singapore's oil and petrochemical hub role there are many who also view it as potentially competitive, especially in light of relatively stagnant growth in this sector for Singapore. Industry veterans do point to general over capacity in refining in the region and the shifting economics of the oil and derivatives trade, given large investments in China and India and also the changes triggered by the US shale gas revolution[1].  Pengerang terminal's deepwater jetty with a draft of up to 24 meters to berth one VLCC, is due by the end of 2014. Companies doing ventures with PETRONAS at Pengerang include Evonik and Itochu; whilst BASF declined. What's interesting are also some Malaysia Federal versus State kerfuffles[2].

[1] WSJ 25 June 2014 19:14: "The Obama administration cleared the way for the first exports of unrefined American oil in four decades. We report that the Commerce Department gave Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Products Partners LP permission to ship a type of ultralight oil known as condensate to foreign buyers, in separate rulings that haven't yet been announced. Our story considers the implications of the decisions, which allow energy companies to start chipping away at the longtime ban on selling U.S. oil abroad. Shipments, we note, could begin as soon as August, though they are likely to be small and it isn't clear how much oil the two companies are allowed to export. Meanwhile, we find that the fracking boom has its downside as refineries are starting to complain that oil extracted from shale formations  is quite hard to handle with existing equipment because it's full of volatile gases that make it tricky to transport and to process into fuel."
[2] View our posting here: /khoryuleng/2014/06/johor-iskandar-policy-admin-moves.html

PETRONAS REACHES FINAL INVESTMENT DECISION FOR PENGERANG INTEGRATED COMPLEX, 3 April 2014: "Based on the current progress, the project is poised for its refinery start-up by early 2019. The project will further strengthen PETRONAS’ position as a key player in the Asian chemicals market, focusing on key growth areas of differentiated and specialty chemicals and capturing the growing automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer products sectors. Domestically, the PIC will contribute towards meeting the growing demands for petroleum products and Euro 4M and Euro 5 specification fuels." Link to press release:

Readers might be interested in some recent back history on Petronas. Released in February 2011, our report entitled "PETRONAS: Briefing on Petronas' new strategy," update on new marginal field contract and issues on its Sudan concessions with the impending secession of South Sudan expected in mid-2011. Download here:

Across in Singapore, there was a proposal for a 4th refinery by Hin Leong (to be sized larger, possibly at 500,000), but that seems shelved having gone rather quiet for a while. News links include (from older to newer):

Note: our annotations include yellow highlight of PETRONAS Rapid project area and red circled approximate area of Country Garden's land reclamation project. Notable that the Rapid project zone looks to be bigger than Singapore's Jurong Island. Legend removed - please do go to the original map source. Map source: "THE EXTENDED STRAIT - Singapore's Oil Hub" by Martin Garcia and Magnus Nickl, Draft Version. Which notes that the key oil hubs in the Malacca Straits are: "1. Port Klang: Port Klang is divided mainly in two ports, each one with its own operator. These are called the North Port and the West Port. Both have oil tank facilities of considerable dimensions. Port Klang is the biggest oil storage harbour in the Strait of Malacca. 2. Port Dickson: Port Dickson is one of the locations of Royal Dutch Shell in Southeast Asia and ExxonMobil, each of them running a refinery at this location. 3. Malacca Oil Storage Terminal: Very near Malacca in Sungai Udang petronas erected a refinery taking a large part of the terrain. Through one major jetty the tankers that brings the crude oil and takes the refining products can dock perfectly even if the depth are quite small. 4. Jurong Island in Singapore: Jurong Island of Singapore is the biggest oil and petrochemical hub in the region and is the preffered location for bunkering of both tankers and cargo vessels because a lot of their main operative actions take place in Singapore."
Dialog Group is leading the oil storage thrust in Johore with key JV partners. There are several other storage projects in Johore, and some seem likely to compete with each other, while several are part of Dialog (company website link: The Dialog JVs seem akin to the Tanjung Pelepas move in Johore in the late 1990s when two key container line operators were encouraged to relocate from Singapore. The latest news, is that Malaysia's Pengerang oil terminal seeks to extend its storage to biodiesel and LNG too.
Related to this are large Johore land reclamation projects (located off Singapore's western tip) that are apparently raising new transboundary questions. Specialists tell us that congestion in maritime traffic is resulting in a rise in the number of vessel collisions in the waters off Johore - Singapore.
NST news link:; "The Department of Environment has issued a temporary stop-work order against all coastal land reclamation works for the development of the massive Forest City off Tanjung Kupang here pending a detailed study.... State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said any negotiation on lifting the suspension would be between the department and the project’s joint developers, China’s Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd and state-owned Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor... The project hit a snag after the Singaporean government raised concerns over the state’s coastal land reclamation projects, citing that it might cause trans-boundary issues...."[3]

[3] Other land reclamation (non-oil & gas sector) in Danga Bay area, just west of Johor Bahru town: Land and development on man-made Danga Bay island to cost RM8bil, Published: Tuesday February 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM;

Johor / Iskandar watch (update 31): Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan

23 November 2015: Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan


Johor Baru City Centre set for transformation - $6.7b plan to turn area just after former Johor checkpoint into international business district by Reme Ahmad 23 Nov 2015; Johor yesterday launched a RM20 billion (S$6.7 billion) plan to transform Johor Baru's old city centre into an international business district. Over the next decade, the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) will emerge in the area, located just after the former Johor checkpoint at the end of the Woodlands Causeway. It is named after Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, who celebrated his 57th birthday yesterday. The JB city centre currently has a mix of narrow streets, old shophouses and upgraded malls such as Komtar JBCC and City Square. The IIDB aims to improve infrastructure in the area and dot it with newer towers to leverage on its proximity to Singapore and lower costs, officials said.

19 October 2015: Checking back news - RM30 billion target expected in 2015, Johor hopes to tap large scale Chinese industries,  New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again

RM30bil target for Iskandar can be achieved this year By: ZAZALI MUSA Monday, 12 October 2015

New Johor-Singapore vehicle permit system delayed again, exco says Updated: 5:10 PM, October 7, 2015 KUALA LUMPUR — The new Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system meant for both causeways linking Malaysia to Singapore has been delayed a second time despite an earlier announcement that the system would go live last Thursday (Oct 1). Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Hasni Mohammad said that the new start date for the system, which has already registered 20,000 Singaporean vehicles according to the Road Transport Department (RTD) website, will be determined during the mentris besar and chief ministers meeting. “We have to wait for the outcome of the meeting before making any comment or announcement,” he was quoted as saying by The Star Online. This is the system’s second delay, the first resulting from “technical difficulties”, which pushed back its August 1 launch. According to newswire Bernama, the VEP system will initially involve foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia through Johor but will eventually be applied to all 12 road entry points into the country. Roads from Thailand will be next to receive the VEP system, followed by Brunei and Indonesia. THE MALAY MAIL ONLINE

While some expats work in Singapore, their kids study across the Causeway 938LIVE reports: A look into the appeal of Iskandar's international schools for some expatriates based in Singapore. By Lee Gim Siong, 938LIVE  POSTED: 09 Oct 2015 12:41  UPDATED: 09 Oct 2015 13:48

Johor hopes to tap large scale Chinese industries   By Halim Said - 14 October 2015 @ 5:49 PM NUSAJAYA: Johor is hoping to tap into various large scale industries from China, especially in the manufacturing sector.  Johor Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (JACCCI) vice-president Datuk Tan Seng Leong said the association was bullish and is on the look out for suitable land in the state to accomodate demand from Chinese investors.   "There has been a lot of demand from Chinese investors to set up their operations in Johor," said Tan.   According to Tan, with the rising costs of operation and labour, including the increase in utility tariff in China, Johor was particularly attractive to Chinese investors.   Tan said for large scale industries from China to grow in Johor, there is a need for a bigger land area estimated at around 1,200 to 2,000 hectare to accomodate demand.

China manufacturers plan to locate ops in Johor By: ZAZALI MUSA Thursday, 15 October 2015

MNC looking to invest $60.4m, set up shop in Iskandar Malaysia by Liz Lee October 12, 2015:  A multinational company specialising in the distribution of tropical vegetable oils and their derivatives, has expressed interest to invest MYR250 million ($60.36 million) in Iskandar Malaysia, according to the Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism committee. Committee chairman Tee Siew Kiong said the Europe-based company, with its head office in Singapore, plans to set up its operations in the Southern Economic Corridor in peninsular Malaysia. “The investment could be realised by this year or in the first quarter of next year,” he told a press conference after opening D’ Elegance Hotel in Taman Nusanatara last Friday.

Bosch continues to invest in Malaysia with new Johor office October 14, 2015, Wednesday Read more:

16 October 2015: Johor has right to secede if Putrajaya breaches federation’s terms, says crown prince

Johor has right to secede if Putrajaya breaches federation’s terms, says crown prince October 16, 2015, KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has asserted the southern state has a right to secede from Malaysia if it finds a breach to the terms agreed...Tunku Ismail also said the Johor royal family should not be associated with “the mess” currently affecting the country, adding that it has always been strong, independent and resourceful.....The call for Johor’s secession has been picking up steam online, with social media posts depicting pictures of imaginary Johor currencies—Johor dollar and Johor dinar—going viral earlier this month - See more at:
Editor's note: will need to fill in some story links from late August to mid October soon!

22 August 2015: Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan,land tax hike for Johor River Waterworks, more theme parks, UMLand land bank, Wah Seong contract

Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan timing could be wrong: Consultant  By Chuah Bee Kim - 14 August 2015 @ 7:00 AM JOHOR BARU: The Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan is a good policy, but the timing could be wrong, said a property consultant. KGV International Property Consultants executive director Samuel Tan, who has viewed the master plan, which is up for public viewing at six venues until Aug 19, said he understood the need for the state government to protect the interest of Malaysian property owners and to ensure sustainability of the environment. However, he said the implementation of the master plan now could possibly deter investors from coming to Iskandar Malaysia. Tan said the 99-year lease imposed on foreign property owners, which is one aspect of the master plan, could drive investors to areas which have no such restrictions.   “This would drive the investors to go to Medini, a premium waterfront urban development that has no restrictions on foreign ownership, no minimum price threshold for foreign property buyers, and where investors are exempted from real property gains tax until December 31, 2025  “The price threshold of RM2 million for landed properties and RM1 million for strata-title on foreign property owners could spur developers to push up prices of properties built for Malaysians in Iskandar Malaysia,” said Tan, adding that foreigners would pay three times more for quit rent and assessment as compared with Malaysians in the growth region. Tan was commenting on the Johor Strait Development Corridor Master Plan, which was unveiled last week and covered housing, green technology, sustainability, reclamation and setting up of international zones for foreign property owners....

Singapore notified Malaysia of concern over land tax hike for Johor River Waterworks: Shanmugam; PUB's operations in Johor are governed by the 1962 Water Agreement which does not require the water agency to pay the land tax says Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
By Monica Kotwani, Channel NewsAsia POSTED: 18 Aug 2015 16:25

Four more theme parks for Iskandar Malaysia Friday, 14 August 2015  By: ZAZALI MUSA; Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim (pic) said the growth corridor would have eight theme parks within the next three to five years. He said talks were going on between Irda and theme park operators from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and North America to set up their theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia. “The size of the new theme parks will range between 20.23 ha and 40.46ha and they could be either outdoor or indoor theme parks,” Ismail told a press conference at the launch of the SME City @ Indahpura here. He said the eight parks included the existing Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, the Hello Kitty Indoor Theme @ Puteri Harbour, the Angry Birds @ JBCC and the water theme park currently under construction at Taman Mount Austin.\

UMLand eyes land acquisition in Iskandar Malaysia Wednesday, 19 August 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is exploring opportunities to acquire land in Iskandar Malaysia as part of its future plan, says chief executive officer Charlie Chia. He said that the company was in the midst of talks to buy a piece of land, between 80.937 hectares to 121.406 hectares in the Iskandar region. ... To date, UMLand's landbank stands at 809.37ha.

2 Indonesian oil tankers detained for entering Pengerang waters illegally   By Halim Said - 13 August 2015 @ 4:30 PM

Wah Seong bags RM189 million Pengerang subcontract Published: 19 August 2015 10:03 AM Wah Seong Corp Bhd has bagged a RM188.96 million subcontract from Penta-Ocean Construction Co Ltd for the supply and delivery of coated steel pipe piles for the Pengerang Deepwater Petroleum Terminal Project in Johor. - See more at:

21 July 2015: Johor crown prince a substantial shareholder in TMC Life Sciences

Johor crown prince a substantial shareholder in TMC Life Sciences Published: 7 July 2015 7:44 PM; The Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim has emerged as a substantial shareholder holding a 7.67% stake in TMC Life Sciences Bhd, in which Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim controls a 70.5% stake. The filing to Bursa Malaysia shows that Tunku Ismail was issued the 133 million TMC Life shares after he sold an indirect 30% stake in BB Waterfront Sdn Bhd. TMC took over the entire stake in BB Waterfront, a wholly-owned unit of Best Blend Sdn Bhd, for RM400 million by issue of shares. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); The Johor royalty held a 30% stake and Lim owned the remaining 70% in Best Blend. BB Waterfront owns Thomson Iskandar, a medical hub project located on 1.6ha in Stulang Laut, which is within 1km radius of the Malaysian CIQ complex located at the Causeway linking Singapore to Johor Bahru. The medical hub will contain a hospital named “Iskandariah Hospital”. Co-located with the hospital is an outpatient medical centre that will contain 400 clinic suites. The medical hub will be managed by Thomson International, a subsidiary of Thomson Medical Pte Ltd – a private hospital owner and operator in Singapore - See more at:

Singapore-Malaysia border crossing (update 5): Singapore-Johor Baru shuttle train - The Shuttle Tebrau and Johor-Singapore taxi services resume after licence extension

24 May 2015: 2.5 meter waves near Pengerang, Zelan eyes Pengerang projects; Tash Aw writes in NY Times Iskandar appeal to Singaporeans, Forest City says 700,000 homes to come but large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore the nearly 336,000 new private residential units are more than the total number of private homes in Singapore; Lakeside Iskandar project offers 'guaranteed' returns for serviced apartments; slew of articles in Singapore Straits Times including Editorial; government of Johor plans to unveil new laws which will restrict foreign home buyers to new international zones to protect locals from being priced out of the market 

Barge hit by 2.5 metres waves - MMEA Bernama | Updated: May 20, 2015  (First published on: May 20, 2015 21:17 MYT) The barge was believed to be carrying a load of sand from Teluk Ramunia towards Pengerang when it was hit by waves and capsized. - File pic  KOTA TINGGI: Waves as high as 2.5 metres may have caused a barge to capsize with 14 of its crew members still missing off Tanjung Pungai, Pengerang this morning. Read more at:

Zelan eyes projects in Pengerang to boost order book Thursday, 14 May 2015  By: S. PUSPADEVI KUALA LUMPUR: Construction outfit Zelan Bhd, with an order book of RM1.1bil, is bidding for some of  the Pengerang projects which are up for tender in Johor.

Path to ending an old rivalry by tash aw in NY Times Updated: Sunday May 17, 2015 MYT 7:51:26 AM Despite years of tension, the surge of Singaporeans moving to Malaysia illustrates the underlying closeness of the two countries. JUST after 6am on a Monday, and traffic on the Johor-Singapore Causeway is already busy.  In less than an hour, still shrouded in semi-darkness, the Singapore-bound traffic leading to the 1.05km bridge will have slowed to a crawling pace; in bad weather or on the eve of public holidays, rush hour queues sometimes last up to two hours. A striking number of family sedans with Singaporean licence plates stream steadily toward the expressway that leads to the heart of the island republic. Inside the cars, bleary-eyed schoolchildren contemplate the long day ahead.
.......A 3,000-sq-ft house in Horizon Hills, a development that boasts a clubhouse, gym and lush golf course, costs around US$170,000 (RM606,900) – the price of a small government-built Housing and Development Board apartment in Singapore.  For this alone, Singaporeans are prepared to face the daily routine of waking up at 4am in order to get their children to school on time, and then waiting until 7pm for all family members to have finished work or extracurricular activities before driving across the causeway again. As the population of Singapore increases and the cost of living, especially of housing, remains high, more Singaporeans are choosing to live across the narrow strait in Malaysia and commute. The traffic is a visible sign of reinvigorated links between the two countries, whose relationship has been punctuated by political tensions despite shared historical roots and huge bilateral trade. As Singapore celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence – and separation from Malaysia – the rivalry between the two neighbours seems finally to be giving way to a greater recognition of their interdependence.Last month, the front page of the widely read Today newspaper featured a lavish spread highlighting the growing trend of Singaporean families relocating to Iskandar, the 2,217sq km special development zone in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.
Established in 2006, Iskandar covers a land area about three times the size of Singapore; its ambitions rely in large part on its proximity to its neighbour’s mature and continuously expanding economy.
.......The growing Singaporean presence in Iskandar signals an accelerating détente between Singapore and Malaysia. Until 1965, the two countries were part of the same union, first under British colonial rule and then under the fledgling state of Malaysia.  .........The huge number of people now travelling between Malaysia and Singapore is a fresh reminder of just how close the two countries fundamentally are. Malaysians have for many years been relocating to Singapore in search of job opportunities and higher salaries. According to Singapore’s 2010 census, roughly 13% of the resident population is Malaysian. Now it is Singaporeans who are searching for a gentler pace of life in Malaysia. In moving across the causeway, both peoples are giving the lie to the prejudices of recent decades by reaffirming links between their cultures that go back centuries.

Johor's Forest City could house up to 700,000: Developer Published on May 13, 2015 7:15 AM  By Reme Ahmad, Assistant Money Editor; THE master developer for the 1,400ha reclaimed land in Johor near Tuas said that over the next 20 or 30 years, homes may be built that can house as many as 700,000 people. The homes being built in the Forest City project would add to the nearly 336,000 new residential units that are in the pipeline for the rest of Johor state. The large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore. The large number of new homes coming up in Johor has raised concerns in Singapore.  Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who is a board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, told Parliament on Monday that the nearly 336,000 new private residential units are more than the total number of private homes in Singapore.

Lakeside project launched in Iskandar - Developer offers 'guaranteed' returns for serviced apartments May 21, 2015 7:57 AM

EDITORIAL Building Iskandar on firm ground May 21, 2015 5:53 AM  As a growth proposition for Iskandar Malaysia, it is natural to leverage its proximity to Singapore and the city-state's readiness to trade with all for mutual benefit. Supported by ample space and relatively lower costs across the Causeway, that strategy has seen much development taking place in Johor over the years - to the point that analysts have lately flagged the prospect of a glut in certain sectors. For example, Maybank Investment Bank warned that the pro-perty oversupply in Iskandar is "likely to get worse before it gets better". Given Singapore's close ties with its neighbour, it's in the nation's interest to see Iskandar Malaysia - formerly known as Iskandar Development Region and South Johor Economic Region - succeed over the long term. Singapore is the largest foreign investor in Iskandar at RM11 billion (S$4.07 billion) as of June last year, primarily in the areas of manufacturing, education, healthcare and property development. Singaporeans are building, among other things, a medical hub, an international school and factories in the sprawling economic zone about three times the size of Singapore. A number of small and medium-sized enterprises are looking to locate there to take advantage of lower labour and land costs. And Singaporeans with money to buy a second residential property have been wooed by developers of condominiums and landed property in Johor.
- See more at:

$928 million plan to turn Johor Baru river into tourist destination Published on May 15, 2015 1:54 PM - See more at:

Johor to create special foreigner zones Property GuruProperty Guru – Tue, May 19, 2015..
The government of Johor plans to unveil new laws which will restrict foreign home buyers to new international zones to protect locals from being priced out of the market. According to Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi, Johors Minister for Local Government and Housing, details of the plan will be released in June or in August in order to get feedback from the property industry and the public prior to making a final decision. The move follows complaints that thousands of residential units built by developers are primarily targeted at foreigners. The units, which include three-storey landed homes and luxury condominiums, are often priced way beyond the reach of most Johoreans. Last year, the Malaysian government set a minimum price threshold of RM1 million for foreign property buyers. Abdul Latif noted that the move only worsened the situation as property developers keen on selling units to foreigners have set RM1 million as the minimum price. We do not want foreigners to buy all over (Johor), as prices would then go up and the locals cant afford them, he said. We will decide on these areas after engaging with the public and others. Generally, foreigners are allowed to acquire up to 50 percent of the units at property projects in Iskandar provided the minimum price is RM1 million. They are prohibited from purchasing units built for low-income Malaysians or for the indigenous bumiputera and Malay communities.

Iskandar Malaysia records RM7.98 bln in new investments in 1Q 2015 Posted on May 7, 2015, Thursday JOHOR BAHARU: Iskandar Malaysia recorded RM7.98 billion in new investments in the first quarter of this year. It brought the cumulative committed investments secured to RM166.10 billion from 2006 until March 31, 2015. Announcing the investment figures, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said of the committed investments, RM78.53 billion or 47 per cent represented those realised as projects on the ground. He said domestic investments made up RM102.34 billion or 62 per cent while the rest were from foreign players. “We continue to see strong support from Singapore, China, the United States, Spain and Japan. “However, it is the domestic investments which truly reflects the confidence in the region’s development,” said Mohamed Khaled after launching the Synergy Cloud Data Centre at Senai Business Aviation Terminal, here yesterday.
Read more:

16 May 2015: Johor property glut prompts Singapore to warn buyers of risks

Johor property glut prompts Singapore to warn buyers of risks Published: 12 May 2015 7:29 AM
An artist's impression of the Iskandar Development Project in Johor. A possible property glut has seen the Singapore government advise its citizens to be more cautious when buying property in the southern Malaysian state. – May 12, 2015.An artist's impression of the Iskandar Development Project in Johor. A possible property glut has seen the Singapore government advise its citizens to be more cautious when buying property in the southern Malaysian state. – May 12, 2015.In Johor alone, there are around 336,000 new private residential units in the pipeline – more than the total number of private homes  in Singapore. And this does not include the 1,400ha of reclaimed land near the Tuas Second Link, which will be developed from 2020 onwards. In the light of rising concerns about this oversupply of private properties across the Causeway, the Singapore government will ramp up efforts to raise awareness of the risks involved in buying overseas property. “Given these indications, buyers are becoming more cautious, as shown by many reports,” Singapore minister for culture, community and youth Lawrence Wong said in the Singapore parliament yesterday, in his capacity as a member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) board of directors. “Official Malaysian data suggest the Johor housing market is already slowing down ... Singaporean buyers, too, are becoming wary.”
According to a survey of real estate agencies, the number of Malaysian properties bought through these agencies dropped from 2,609 in 2013 to 838 last year, said Mr Wong, who was replying a query by Singapore MP Dr Lee Bee Wah (of the Nee Soon group constituency). Her question on how many Singaporeans are individual owners of properties in Iskandar Malaysia comes after a recent Maybank report cautioned investors that the glut of homes in Iskandar will be aggravated by a huge incoming supply this year and next. The report pointed the finger at aggressive land-banking activities by Chinese developers, which could worsen the glut and lead to price wars in the high-rise mixed-development segment. - See more at:

1 May 2015: Iskandar Malaysia records RM158b in committed investments - expect a year-to-year of RM25-30 billion

Iskandar Malaysia records RM158b in committed investments Thursday, 30 April 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: Iskandar Malaysia, the major development corridor in Johor, recorded a total cumulative committed investments of RM158 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, said the targeted cumulative committed investments was RM383 billion.  "Since its establishment in 2006, domestic investments have been growing steadily, making up 67 per cent of RM158 billion and 33 per cent foreign investments. "We are optimistic that from this year, we can expect a year-to-year of RM25-30 billion," he said at the launch of the third batch of the Iskandar Malaysia Creative Industry Talent Development Programme (IMCITDP) here today. The programme is a collaboration between IRDA and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios. In a partnership with Japanese digital post-production company, Imagica International Asia, four courses from a total of 28 courses, will be offered....

26 April 2015: On Iskandar property glut, lawmakers views; Johor state government has requested Bank Negara to review housing loan policies to enable buyers own homes worth more than RM140,000 in Iskandar Malaysia - the problem is that banks don’t give out loans; Part of VEP fees to be used to improve Johor public transportation 

In Iskandar glut, lawmakers see foreign optimism meeting poor local demand BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY, MELISSA CHI and SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL Monday April 20, 201507:01 AM GMT+8; “There is a misconception of the demand market here... there is a clear mismatch between supply and demand,” Johor Baru MP Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad told Malay Mail Online. “While there is an oversupply of premium properties, the demand however is for medium and low cost ones owing to peoples incomes,” he added. Shahrir said it is only natural for developers of premium residential properties in Iskandar to be hardest hit by the dip in prices and secondary sales, as that was never the focus of the region. “You have to be fair to Iskandar as housing was never part of its main draft. The crux of its investment was more on services, hospitality and manufacturing as well as allocations for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “The investments we are interested in are not housing and this is why we have called in Pinewood and Legoland to Iskandar. That is the main investment strategy but because of all these, foreign developers think there is a demand for their properties and that is not happening. “This is what’s happening and they have to live with it. If they are willing to take the risk then we can’t stop them,” the senior Umno lawmaker said..........Johor opposition leader and Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau noted that the number of residential projects launched in the state was done without sufficient supporting services or industries in place to make them viable in the near term. The DAP leader said that the region is not yet able to accommodate a surge in tourism, nor is it able to fulfil the needs of foreign investors seeking to take advantage of Malaysia’s second home schemes. “There will be a sustainable demand for properties here but not in the near future. It will take another five to ten years to see booms in economic sectors such manufacturing, service sectors and so on  before there is a more steady increase of demand for properties,” he said in an earlier email interview. ..........DAP’s Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong stressed that the the rapid pace of property development in Iskandar has no real legs to stand, a situation that is not helped by the general slowdown in the property market nationwide.
“Johor is a case of killing the golden goose too fast, too greedily. The property market is not sustained by a genuine working population with income to support their investments, while borrowing rates are surging, awaiting the bubble to burst,” he said when contacted. ..........Umno’s Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, however, believes the upcoming RM53 billion Pengerang Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) project will provided the needed jobs and spending capacity to revive the region’s flagging property market. “Property in Iskandar is experiencing a down cycle, but it (sales) will pick up itself once corporate businesses like RAPID kickstarts. “Once corporations set up business in Iskandar, then things will pick up. When businesses come in offering higher job opportunities, only then will the supply (of residential property) be taken up. It (Iskandar) will not become a white elephant,” he said....

Johor asks Bank Negara to study housing needs Wednesday, 22 April 2015; JOHOR BARU: The Johor state government has requested Bank Negara to review housing loan policies to enable buyers own homes worth more than RM140,000 in Iskandar Malaysia. State housing and local government executive committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Latif Bandi, said such move was needed to help developers overcome the difficulty in selling their housing projects and excess houses.
“The problem is that banks don’t give out loans.  “Even though the buyers command salary of RM10,000 a month, the banks will not release loans so long as they see the buyers having other debt-paying commitments. “Hence, Bank Negara has to study the housing needs,” he said after opening the 17th AGM of the Bumiputra Contractors (cleaning services and solid waste disposal) Association of Johor here yesterday. He was responding to a survey conducted by Malayan Banking Bhd on excess of luxury homes in Iskandar Malaysia recently.

Part of VEP fees to be used to improve public transportation  by nelson benjamin Updated: Monday April 20, 2015 MYT 12:28:34 PM; JOHOR BARU: The state government will use its share of the proposed vehicle entry permit (VEP) fees to improve public transportation in the state. State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the money collected would be channelled to improve the bus transportation system. “We are also looking at improving traffic flow, especially on the major roads, such as Jalan Tebrau, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak and Jalan Skudai, which are congested during peak hours,” he said. The state is expected to get 25% or RM5 from the RM20 that will be imposed on foreign vehicles entering Malaysia through the Causeway here and the Second Link Expressway in Tanjung Kupang, Gelang Patah, from Aug 1.
Asked for the four-month delay in implementing it, Hasni said there were certain issues which needed to be ironed out, including tabling a proposal in Parliament because it involved border crossings..... Besides Singapore, Malaysia also has border crossings with Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia. He said under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the state had requested RM7.674bil from the Federal Government for infrastructure and rural development......... Under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2014), Johor received RM8.5bil. Hasni said the bulk of the allocation totalling RM3.06bil under the 11MP would go towards 10 major road projects. They include the Gemas-Ayer Hitam road, the Pasir Gudang Highway (third phase), the Muar-Tangkak-Segamat road (fifth package) and the Batu Pahat-Ayer Hitam road. He said the state was also looking at ways to improve east-west connectivity, especially with a better road system........

19 April 2015: Maybank cautions on "huge incoming supply" for Iskandar residential and commercial property; Jho Low quick flip of Iskandar property, UEM Sunrise RM42 billion project Gerbang Nusajaya, plan to ban lorries on Causeway, crooked bridge / Causeway replacement won't be revived says Johor MB, relocation of Singapore businesses and families to Iskandar, Singapore re-engineering driving "higher capital-labor ratios, more innovation and downsizing. Some companies are relocating offshore to Iskandar and Batam"

Caution advised on Iskandar residential, commercial property: Maybank UPDATED: 18 Apr 2015 00:06; Oversupply, "huge incoming supply" in a crowded development space and "aggressive landbanking activities" by Chinese developers among the reasons for concern flagged by Maybank Investment Bank's research unit. "We prefer the Klang Valley and Penang over Iskandar."

Edge Weekly - Jho Low made RM400 million by quick flip of Iskandar land deal By The Edge Malaysia / The Edge Malaysia   | April 3, 2015 : 10:00 PM MYT  IN late 2006, the then 26-year-old Jho Low approached Khazanah Nasional seeking support for Kuwait Finance House’s bid for RHB Bank Bhd ( Financial Dashboard). Khazanah had a 30% stake in RHB Bank at the time. He did not succeed, but he got whiff of a business opportunity in the then emerging Iskandar regional development in Johor. After finding out that Khazanah was inviting bids from Middle Eastern investors to buy and develop various parcels of land in the Medini area, Jho Low quickly used his connections to form Iskandar (Holdings) Company Ltd with three Middle East parties. The shareholders

UEM Sunrise unveils Gerbang Nusajaya with GDV of RM42b Wednesday, 8 April 2015; KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd has unveiled comprehensive development plans for Gerbang Nusajaya – the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia – with a gross development value of RM42bil. UEM Sunrise said on Wednesday Gerbang Nusajaya is master planned for connectivity and is easy to reach from Malaysia, Singapore, and regional cities. Gerbang Nusajaya features a number of catalytic developments including Nusajaya Tech Park, a 519-acre integrated eco-friendly tech park and FASTrack Iskandar, which is a 300-acre “motorsports city”. The massive development would be over 25 years and would create 76,000 direct job offerings, 137,000 indirect job offerings together with a population of 220,000.  UEM Sunrise is the master developer of Nusajaya, which is one of the five flagship zones and key driver of Iskandar Malaysia. It said Gerbang Nusajaya as the gateway to Iskandar Malaysia, will be the commercial and business engine for Nusajaya.  “The 4,551-acre second phase development of Nusajaya is designed for growth via catalytic developments and strategic partnerships with established developers and multinational companies,” it said.....

19 April 2015: Plan to ban lorries on Causeway /khoryuleng/2014/08/singapore-malaysia-border-crossing-fees.html

Housing, water more vital than ‘Crooked Bridge’, Johor MB says Friday April 17, 201509:34 AM GMT+8; KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 ― Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin said yesterday that the state prioritises housing and clean water supply over the discontinued “Crooked Bridge” project. Local daily the New Straits Times reported Khaled as saying that the Johor state government will not revive the project and that any talks instead would likely centre on the underground tunnel proposed during the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat last year. “I have been informed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (about the crooked bridge) and the state government will abide by the federal government’s decision,” Khaled was quoted saying. Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently told Perak Today in an interview that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not talk to him for six months after a dinner discussion that had ended in questions over the delay of the “Crooked Bridge” project. Najib told TV3 in a televised interview last Thursday that Dr Mahathir wanted the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid cash aid policy scrapped and the “Crooked Bridge” project to be revived — two issues that he said could have been part of the reason why the former prime minister has become more vocal in his criticisms towards him. The so-called “Crooked Bridge” was Dr Mahathir’s idea to replace the Causeway linking Johor and Singapore, but was discontinued by his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and believed to be among reasons why the latter was hounded out of office by the man who put him there. - See more at:

Najib, Mahathir on 'crooked bridge': What is the issue about Published on Apr 13, 2015 10:44 PM; KUALA LUMPUR - The so-called "crooked bridge" never took off in the 14 years after it was first mooted by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, but the recurring national issue may yet take down a second successive Malaysian leader. In 2003, just before ending his 22-year tenure as PM, Tun Dr Mahathir announced that Malaysia would go ahead and build a crooked bridge - a six-lane S-shaped highway that would curve in such a way that it allows vessels to pass under it - if Singapore refused to demolish its half of the Causeway. The failure of his successor Abdullah Badawi to push ahead with replacing the Causeway led Dr Mahathir to viciously attack him in 2006. The move, observers say, eventually pushed Tun Abdullah to resign in 2009. The still influential Dr Mahathir now claims that Datuk Seri Najib Razak also failed to keep his promise to build the crooked bridge, and has asked the prime minister to step down amid a host of other outstanding issues plaguing his administration....

KTL Global relocating bulk of Singapore operations to Johor Published on Apr 7, 2015 9:40 AM
SINGAPORE - Oil-and-gas rigging equipment supplier KTL Global will be relocating the bulk of its Singapore operations to Johor, Malaysia, as part of key corporate changes announced on Tuesday following a strategic review of its businesses.
By June, the group will have relocated most of its heavy steel rope and rigging production from Singapore to Tanjung Langsat. "This will resolve the issues of high labour costs, utility charges, and government levies faced in Singapore, as well as a shortage of manpower," the company said.....

Recycler finds bigger green pasture by Ariel Lim and Jacqueline Woo The Straits TimesThursday, Apr 09, 2015 FOR local plastics recycler Winrigo, having enough space is essential.The firm needs to stockpile large amounts of waste material. This was why Winrigo jumped at the opportunity to set up a 24,000 sq ft manufacturing plant in the Iskandar development zone about five years back. Operations director Teri Teo, 44, told The Straits Times last month that Iskandar's proximity to Singapore made it "the best candidate" for the company to expand operations in. "We're dealing with scrap material, so it's important Iskandar has the space we need and is near enough for us to transport materials without spending too much time travelling," he said. "Commuting is easy, and we can go home in the evening to spend time with our families." The green-tech firm is devoted to the development of its line of environmentally friendly plastics known as R3plas....

The Big Read: Iskandar’s lure is a strong pull for S’poreans  By YVONNE LIM  Updated: 4:20 AM, April 4, 2015; SINGAPORE — Every weekday morning before the sun even rises, Singaporean teacher Naharudin Shariff, 46, will leave his home in Nusajaya – about 20 minutes’ drive from Johor Bahru city centre – and make his way across the Causeway to send his three daughters to different schools, before driving to work himself. Come evening, he repeats the routine: After work, he will wait for his daughters - one is studying in junior college, the other two in secondary school - to finish their classes, pick them up, and head back to Malaysia. They try to reach home by 7pm every night and have dinner together. “If one of my daughters has to attend an extra class in school, we all plan our day around that. Everyone tries to arrange their schedules so that everyone does something that day. That way we don’t have to make so many trips to and fro,” he said.  The daily shuttling between the two countries is a small inconvenience for a better quality of life in Johor, he said. “The whole family is happier (in Johor),” he told this newspaper at in his three-storey house in Horizon Hills, a gated community in Nusajaya. “Our house here is a lot bigger (compared to the condominium unit he used to own in Singapore). My wife can now have the spice garden she had always wanted, and our kids keep a rabbit and a chick as pets.” He added: “It is very quiet, especially at night. Very peaceful and relaxing, you don’t hear vehicles or the MRT. When you look out the window, you see trees instead of another concrete block.” ..........

Singapore's Growing Success Sparks a Backlash - This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Forbes Asia. Forbes Staff Forbes Staff , Contributor     By Jane A. Peterson; Wild Rocket Group started ten years ago in Singapore and now has four restaurants serving modern Singaporean cuisine. But sometimes it’s forced to turn away guests because it can’t hire enough staff. “It’s incredibly frustrating,” sighs 43-year-old Willin Low, the owner and, at his flagship restaurant, the head chef. “All of my expansion plans have halted.”.....Investors want him to open outlets in Jakarta, London or Tokyo, but Low refuses. He can’t build a competent staff to expand his $3.7 million business in Singapore, let alone launch overseas. Tightening government limits on foreign workers oblige Wild Rocket to hire Singaporeans for 60% of its openings, even though most locals shun restaurant work. Add to the mix an extremely tight labor market (the unemployment rate is just 1.9%) and rising taxes on each foreign worker hired. “You end up hiring Singaporeans who are not good,” laments Low, “and you can’t fire them”–at least not without losing a competent foreign worker to maintain the same balance.... Still, complaints reverberate across the business community as the growth in foreign manpower shrinks, from 6.8% in 2012 to just 2.6% last year. “When I started Singapore was a very welcoming, pro-business environment,” says Australian Chris Wanden, who owns the 12-year-old Dimbulah coffee chain. “Now it’s under threat. [Foreign-worker limits] undermine growth. Labor-market controls are not part of a free-market economy.” Companies also routinely beef about locals who job-hop relentlessly. “Singaporeans can be very picky,” explains Tan. “They see it as a birthright to get good jobs. The good life here may well have contributed to the lack of perspective on global competition, and this has curbed their hunger.” ...Many analysts applaud the government for managing an economic restructuring in which the fittest companies survive and the least productive fold. “With time, things like service standards can be repaired,” says economist Manu Bhaskaran of Centennial Asia Advisors, a research and advisory firm. “The real threat to Singapore’s tourist trade is high costs. Singapore needs a period of cost-adjustment before it regains competitiveness, whether in tourist services or other areas. [Before,] there was no incentive to upgrade and become productivity-driven. Now companies have no choice.” Leading Singapore companies are beginning to reengineer, he says, through higher capital-labor ratios, more innovation and downsizing. Some companies are relocating offshore to Iskandar and Batam, while others, such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever, are expanding their local operations....

13 April 2015: A dozen international schools targeted

Iskandar Malaysia aims to have a dozen international schools by yee xiang yun Updated: Saturday April 11, 2015 MYT 8:47:25 AM; JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia is well on its way to establishing itself as an education hub with a target of welcoming a dozen of international schools to set up their campuses in Johor. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said that it had achieved half its target so far with six international schools already setting up their respective campuses here. Ismail said that the international schools here offered syllabus from the primary school level up to the O and A Levels or equivalent levels.
“Our ideal target is to have 12 international schools in Iskandar Malaysia but there is no timeframe for achieving that as we prefer for it to take its natural course....

12 April 2015: New Iskandar hub to cater to datacentre demand surge

New Iskandar hub to cater to datacentre demand surge Updated: Wednesday April 8, 2015 MYT 4:10:03 PM Sedenak Iskandar data hub — a 700-acre data hub in the Iskandar Malaysia area of Johor — has been announced to meet the region’s rising demand for datacentre space and services.
The Malaysian cloud services and datacentre industry recorded RM795mil in revenue for 2014, a 26% leap from RM630mil in 2013. Exports grew from 7% to 18%.
Sectors that contributed to this growth include the federal government (29%), banking and financial (19%), and content and technology (17%). There was also growth in high-value datacentre services such as managed services that accounted for 50% of the total revenue, a 20% increase from 2013.
The data hub was announced by the Data Centre Task Force that consists of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), Johor Corporation (JCorp) and Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).
Datuk Yasmin Mahmood, chief executive officer of MDeC said, “Cloud services and datacentres are a key sector identified to contribute to the national gross income. With the new Data Hub, we aim to attract high value investments from top cloud services and datacentre providers to Malaysia, to further accelerate the growth of industry and position Malaysia as a world-class data hub in the region.

31 March 2015: Singapore rental versus interest cost for 150-200bp positive carry spread

Will look out for similar property review on Iskandar. One of the justifications for Iskandar property prices was that it could go to 30% below Woodlands, Singapore and be considered fair value.

UOBKayHian - Monday , 30 March 2015; Property − Singapore; Does Rental Income Still Cover Interest Costs?....  Positive carry still exists but increasingly difficult to rent out. Those who are able
to rent out their units will continue seeing positive carry as rental yields (2.5-3.5%)
exceed mortgage rates of 1.5-2%. However, the positive carry spread will narrow to
about 100 bp (from 150 bp earlier) as the variable mortgage rates effectively increase
by about 50 bp compared with four months before. Also, it has become increasingly
difficult to rent out units as the increased completions and slower influx of foreigners is
resulting in rising vacancies (about 8.5% of condo & apartment units are vacant).
Another 100 bp rise in SIBOR or alternatively a 30% drop in rents from here on would
result in the positive carry situation turning into a negative carry situation...........

19 March 2015: In-depth interview with the Sultan of Johor - The Star

Sultan of Johor speaks his mind by wong chun wai AND nelson benjamin Updated: Wednesday March 18, 2015 MYT 2:07:15 PM; JOHOR BARU: Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar moved into Istana Bukit Serene weeks ago from Istana Pasir Pelangi and the interview with The Star was at the new official residence overlooking Singapore.

Driving up the road leading to the palace, it was amazing to see several huge cages on both sides, with tigers, panthers and cats inside them. The edifice, some 2km away from the Jalan Kolam Air entrance, was perched on a hill and overlooked a huge swimming pool......We were ushered into the interior of the grand palace, passing through a large hall area with ornate wooden furniture and chandeliers, and huge portraits of the Johor royal family adorning the walls. Sultan Ibrahim was already there to meet us, wearing a sky blue short sleeved linen shirt and in a jovial mood. “Go ahead and ask me anything,” he said as we all sat down.

And throughout the hour-long session, the monarch took all our questions, including tough ones on his business ventures, Chinese investors coming to Johor, the change in the state’s weekend, rumours of a casino and his son’s liver transplant in China.

On the coronation - Q: Tuanku, The Star extends its congratulations to you on your forthcoming coronation. Your Royal Highness, why is the coronation taking place only after more than four years?......
Q: What are the events planned in conjunction with the Coronation?.........
Q: What are your wishes and hopes for Johor? A: I hope that people from all races will unite irrespective of their religion and belief. This is our home and it belongs to all Malaysians. This state is the home of all Johoreans regardless of race and religion. The people should also appreciate the stability of the state and, of course, Malaysia. We live in a multi-racial society. We must respect each other. There is no room for extremism in Johor. Please uphold the values and principles of moderation.

On business, development and reclamation in Johor  Q: Tuanku, your increasing business and commercial dealings have become a talking point. The Johor royalty is involved in a variety of businesses, including a power plant (the 1,000MW-1,400MW Project 4A) and property development in Johor. How does the royalty balance what is good for the people and the state when it has a personal interest in so many businesses? A: If you look at the history of the Johor royal family, we have been involved in business from the days of my great-grandfather. I have never tried to hide my business dealings using proxies, like some people do. I am open and transparent. Tracing the Johor royal lineage, you would have seen how the Johor royal family has a long history of doing business. It began with gambier and black pepper during the early days. .... I was doing palm oil business when I was the Tengku Mahkota....  Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else. I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27,000 a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians. I am sure Johoreans do not want to perceive me as one selling titles for my income. It is unfair to say that the private sector would be crowded out. Look at the number of private companies doing business in Johor. It is a free market. No one is forced to buy anything from anyone. Monopoly does not exist in Johor.

Q: What are your views on claims that the land reclamation works will affect Singapore’s shoreline? A: There is plenty of land in Johor but the coastline is strategic. People only talk about reclamation by Johor, but not many are aware that land reclamation in Singapore reportedly started as early as the 1820s.... Singapore has reclaimed over 70sq km of land from 1960 to the present day, I am told..... .... Then, there is talk of the environment. I have done my checking. There is not a single dugong that would be affected; get your facts right. According to the MB, a 30-sen fee has been imposed for every square foot of land reclaimed to help fishermen affected by the reclamation. It will bring in over RM104mil to help the fishermen.

Q: The 1,386ha Forest City property project has become a controversy. Forest City will be almost half the size of Putrajaya and will rise in the Johor Straits, southwest of Johor Baru, where the Second Link to Singapore is situated. It is a joint venture between Guangdong-based Country Garden Holdings and the Johor state-owned Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ). A: As the Sultan, I welcome all investors, just as the mentri besar would. It would be insane for anyone to reject investments.... If there are any Americans, Britons, Australians or Germans who would want to put money in Johor, they are welcome, but where are they? If the Chinese are prepared to invest here, why should it be an issue?...All these investments will be good as this will have a spill-over effect for other sectors such as retail, more job opportunities for locals and for the transportation services....

Q: Johor has seen a few major Chinese developers launching large-scale property projects. One developer, for instance, launched 9,000 units at one go and most are to be sold to buyers from China. But a large number of units are not sold yet. There are concerns that Johor is seeing an over-built situation and possible creation of ghost cities. Local developers have also been speaking up about preferential treatment to these overseas developers. Please comment. A: The fear of a glut is just an assumption. All these homes will not be built simultaneously.... We are talking about investing in the future and these Chinese investors know the Hong Kong and Shenzen scenario very well.  Over 200,000 people cross to Shenzen each day in just 45 minutes. That is how the cross-border culture has changed dramatically.... I think local developers just have to work harder. I believe that healthy competition among the developers is good for the industry.

Q: Is it correct to say that not many people dare to speak up against your Royal Highness? There is fear and respect, all mixed together. After all, you do have a controversial reputation. A: (Laughs) Well, you are asking me tough questions. I think I am a friendly and easy-going person. I am straight-talking. I cannot stand hypocrites. I expect people to speak up. Be a man. You have asked me difficult questions straight to my face.... A lot of people, including some politicians in Kuala Lumpur, don’t know me but talk as if they know me. There are those who have preconceived ideas of me. I don’t blame them.

On his son, Tunku Abdul Jalil Q: On a personal note, there has been speculation over the health of Tuanku’s son, Tunku Abdul Jalil ibni Sultan Ibrahim (pic), also known as Tunku Laksamana Johor. Can you comment, especially on his liver transplant? A: He is fine and well after the transplant, thanks be to God. The next five years will be very crucial for him as he needs to watch his food and his lifestyle.... We only discovered the cancer last year as initially my son was complaining of shoulder pain and was only treated at the local General Hospital, which just provided him with pain killers and sleeping tablets.... We only discovered that something was wrong while holidaying in London. After discussing with surgeons from Singapore, we decided to go for a full organ transplant in Guangzhou, China. They told me not to waste any more time... I am thankful that the procedure went well and we were well cared for when in China... The Chinese went to great lengths to help my son. They sent two doctors to Singapore to talk with the doctors there. They provided English-speaking doctors and nurses. They also provided other facilities for me there. I am greatly touched and grateful to them. I also want to thank my subjects as I was deeply touched when informed that thousands of people from all races and religions came together to pray for my son and my family. All those prayers certainly helped him.

On the Johor weekend Q: Will the Friday and Saturday weekend for the civil service still remain or does Johor, as a developing state, plan to revert to Saturday and Sunday to compete internationally, especially with so much talk about doing business with Singapore? Or will the private sector be forced to change to Friday and Saturday as well? A: It’s already over a year since Johor has had Friday and Saturday as the weekend. The aim of the change is to enable Muslims to perform their prayers without having to rush back to their offices.... I understand it has its implications for the private sector as well as doing business with Singapore. I am still in the process of gathering feedback from the public and private sectors.

> TOMORROW: Sultan Ibrahim’s thoughts on royal awards, rumours about a proposed casino in Johor, his relationship with mentris besar past and present, and more.

Sultan Ibrahim also wants a balanced development where the people will benefit  by wong chun wai AND nelson benjamin Updated: Thursday March 19, 2015 MYT 8:34:26 AM; JOHOR BARU: Johor rulers have always been strict when giving out state awards. Each year only a few people are awarded Datukships in the state. ............
Q: Tuanku, Johor is known for its reluctance to give awards. What is your response to talk by Malaysians that there are far too many Datuks in Malaysia? A: I can tell you this. I am aware the people are saying that if you throw a stone, you will hit a Datuk but I can add this — if you throw a stone now, it will hit a Datuk; it will then rebound and hit another Datuk. That is the situation now and we cannot deny this talk. We must feel the pulse of the people.
Q: There are accusations that Tuanku plans to open a casino in the state. Please comment.  A: I know that there is a lot of talk and speculation that Tan Sri Vincent Tan and I plan to team up to open a casino, after I bought Berjaya shares simply because he has a licence (for Sports Toto). I can assure my subjects that as long as I am around, there will be no casino in Johor. In Johor, we do not encourage the issuance of any gambling licences and if possible I want all the illegal ones to be cleaned up by the police.

On environmental issues  Q: You have expressed concern about the environment many times. Could you elaborate?  A: It is pointless to be a developed state if our environment is all polluted as it will not be a conducive place for the rakyat to live in. That is why I directed the state government and relevant authorities to ensure that there are no illegal logging activities in the state. I fully support the state’s decision to freeze any logging activities statewide beginning this year, while existing ones will continue until their contracts expire. Then there will be no more. I also want the state government to increase the number of green lungs in Johor, as well as maintain existing forest areas, as an effort to preserve the environment. That is why in the Forest City project, great emphasis will be placed on the environment and greenery. Transportation on the island will be free as there will be a monorail everywhere. Meanwhile, cars will travel and park underground. I want to see green and trees everywhere in the midst of this massive development.

On state development - Q: Johor is seeing a large number of unplanned developments that were not in the Iskandar Master Plan. Considering this, would you like to see a freeze on property development approvals in the state? A: It is for the Mentri Besar to decide but as the Sultan, I wish to see balanced development. I do not want to see Johor Baru filled with buildings only. ....... There must be spillover effects with the ordinary people being able to open up businesses to serve the people who have bought homes here....I hope that the Government will speed up the building of the 28,000 affordable homes in the state, especially for first-time buyers.
Q: There are some who say that Tuanku has used his power to acquire state land. What have you to say about that? A: I can quote you the amount of land that has been acquired by the state from me, instead of the other way around. In Pengerang, the state acquired my land. In some cases, it has ended with me paying the state because they could not afford to pay me after acquiring the land....There is misconception, as I do not need to take government land. I never ask for anything for free as I am willing to pay for it, above market price and in cash.

On ties with mentris besar - Q: Speaking about the MB, there are perceptions that you have more clout than the MB. What is your response? A: You chose the word “perceptions”. I cannot control what some people want to say. I cannot tell the MB what to do.  He is the head of the state government. He is elected and enjoys the majority of the House. I am the Sultan and I understand my role very well. Whatever our positions, we share the same goal – to see Johor prosper. I have a good relationship with him. It helps, perhaps because we were schoolmates. We have a good working relationship.
Q: Did your Royal Highness have a problem with the previous mentri besar, Tan Sri Ghani Othman?  A: I do not want to talk about the past. It’s over.


18 March 2015: First VLCC at Pengerang 
Dialog announced that its Pengerang Deepwater Terminal received its very first Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) – the Liberian-registered “MT Mesdar”. The 333-metre long vessel weighing in 315,802 metric tonnes arrived from the Middle East to discharge its crude oil cargo at Phase 1 of the deepwater terminal. “MT Mesdar” is the first VLCC to call at Pengerang and, the first to berth at Malaysian jetty, since the recent commissioning of the crude oil tanks in early Mar 2015 (Bursa Malaysia).

17 March 2015: Johor Sultan boosts stake in REDtone to 20% (the third corporate transaction with the family of Vincent Tan), Singapore buyers interest waning and worry about policy issues including cross-border tolls; Iskandar sees RM26.77 billion investments in 2014, some Japanese buyer interest

Johor sultan ups stake in REDtone, The Star/Asia News Network, Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015; PETALING JAYA -  Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has emerged as the single-largest individual shareholder in REDtone International Bhd following a spate of open-market purchases, coupled with the conversion of his warrants and convertible loan stocks into ordinary shares.... The recent activities have boosted his holdings in the company to 20 per cent from 4.8 per cent previously... "We are excited to have Tuanku as one of our major shareholders, especially at a time when we are aiming to further solidify our growth and widen our profits," REDtone chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ali Syed Abbas Al Habshee said in a statement....Meanwhile, the other substantial shareholder of REDtone, Berjaya Corp's chairman and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Robin Tan Yeong Ching, said he was pleased to hear of the stake increase by Sultan Ibrahim...The corporate transaction in REDtone is the third major notable corporate transaction between the Sultan and the Tan family's related companies. Prior to this, StarBiz had reported back in February 2014 that he had paid RM396mil (S$148 million) for a 15 per cent stake in Tan Sri Vincent Tan's privately-owned MOL AccessPortal Sdn Bhd....In December 2013, the Sultan paid RM250mil for 20 per cent in Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd, which among others, owns the Berjaya Times Square Mall in Kuala Lumpur....

Interest in Iskandar not waning - Security issues and inconsistency in policies are concerns By: THEAN LEE CHENG Saturday, 7 March 2015; THE number of launches in Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia has dropped of late, with each new quarter seeing fewer launches, according to the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda). ince January this year, there have been very few launches.
....The others in the group were Property Guru country manager Gerard Kho and Gabungan AQRS Bhd senior general manager Jerry Lau. Chur Associates managing partner Chris Tan was the moderator for the discussion entitled “Have Singaporeans Lost Their Appetite for Iskandar Malaysia?”.... Kho, whose company has been conducting quarterly property shows in Singapore over the last two years, said he had noticed a drop in the number of visitors between June 2013 and June 2014. “At our peak, in June 2014, over a two-day weekend, developers who participated in the event sold between RM70mil and RM80mil worth of Malaysian property. Recently, we only had enquiries, not outright purchases. The number of visitors has also dwindled.” Kho said the questions visitors were asking about the Johor market were also different. “They do not ask if Iskandar is a viable proposition. Instead, they want to know the proportion taken up by fellow Singaporeans. They also want to know the sort of policies that will be put in place, and have concerns about the daily toll rates between the two countries. They also voice concerns about policy inconsistency,” said Kho.... The debate on Iskandar is interesting for various reasons. Nowhere in Malaysia have so many high-rise residential projects been approved in such a short period of time. .... According to KGV Lambert International, the local authorities there have approved 80,900 units, although only 8,000 are being constructed today....

Iskandar Malaysia Secures RM26.77 Billion In Investments; JOHOR BAHARU, March 10 (Bernama) -- Iskandar Malaysia secured RM26.77 billion in new investments last year, bringing the total cumulative committed amount to RM158.3 billion since 2006. In 2013, the new investments were RM25.05 billion.Iskandar Regional Development Authority chief executive, Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, said of the total, RM77.07 billion, or 49 per cent, represented investments that had been realised.... Of the total cumulative committed investments, 36 per cent, or RM56.99 billion, came from foreign investors, he said. ... From January until September last year, top foreign investors were Singapore, US, Spain, Japan and China... Ismail said with the launch of the enhanced Iskandar Malaysia Comprehensive Development Plan (CDPii) by the second quarter of this year, investors and stakeholders may also get an insight into the outlook and opportunities in Iskandar Malaysia as it moved into its third phase towards maturity in 2025....

Growing Japanese interest seen in Iskandar, says UMLand Tuesday March 10, 2015 06:44 PM GMT+8; NUSAJAYA, March 10 — There has been a steady increase in Japanese interest in Iskandar Malaysia properties due to the conducive environment and proximity to Singapore, a property developer said today. United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) Group Chief Executive Officer Datuk Charlie Chia Lui Meng said the group’s projects here, for example, has been receiving a lot of interest from the Japanese that subsequently translated into sales. Citing the landed properties in Sapphire 8, Bandar Seri Alam, he said 75 units had been sold to the Japanese. “From our purchase profile, they (Japanese) are actually young tenants. They are going to bring their family here. Most probably because of better environment and is closer to Singapore,” he said to reporters when commenting on the trend in property purchases in Johor, here today. Another UMLand project that is currently being developed – Medini Lakeside, also saw a 30 per cent take-up by the Japanese out of the total 50 per cent that has been offered for sale. - See more at:

15 March 2015: Platts to introduce Straits benchmark to replace Singapore benchmark as Johor oil storage  terminals take off; Forest City project behind mass fish death farmers say; Singaporeans seek JB nursing homes

Pengerang gets big boost from Platts UPDATED: Mar 9, 2015 06:32pm; Oil pricing agency Platts said it is considering a proposal to reflect deliveries from Pengerang Terminal in southern Johor in its Singapore pricing assessments for middle distillates and gasoline.... This will be in addition to approved loading points outside of Singapore such as Pasir Gudang, Tanjung Langsat, Tanjung Bin and a few floating storage units, Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc, said in a note to its subscribers today.... Platts, which provides Asian benchmark assessments for most oil products traded in the region, is planning to change the loading points in its pricing assessments for fuel oil, gasoil, jet fuel and gasoline from July 1. It will introduce free-on-board (FOB) Straits benchmarks to replace the existing FOB Singapore benchmark, where traders will not have to specify a loading port at the time of placing a bid or offer in its pricing process and could include cargoes to be loaded from approved terminals in either Singapore or south Malaysia....; note: as Singapore runs low on oil storage terminal expansion space, Johor has come in to office terminals for global companies including Vopak, Trafigura and others. This is akin to what Tanjung Pelepas did to compete with PSA on container traffic, but perhaps the oil storage competitive move may prove to be quite successful. Platts is already shifting from its long standing Singapore benchmark price to a "Straits" price to reflect the growing popularity if oil storage terminals at Tanjung Bin and other sites in Johor.

 RM600 billion Forest City project behind mass fish death, say farmers BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS Published: 15 March 2015 6:27 AM; This is not the first time the area has been hit by mass fish deaths. In the past, locals have blamed Forest City’s land-reclamation works for the deaths, although the developer, Country Garden Pacific View (CGPV), has denied it. Previous episodes have also been attributed to plankton blooms, brought about by rapid changes in water temperature, poor water circulation, and higher than usual nutrient levels in the water. But the deaths in early March were massive, bringing up sea creatures from the depths such as sea horses and moray eel. A BBC report on March 6 said the scene on the beach looked like a "mass grave" and even after the first batch was cleared up, the next high tide brought in a new wave of dead marine life. Forest City will see four man-made islands built in the waters in Tanjung Kupang between southwest Johor and northwest of Singapore. The mixed-development project will include residential and commercial lots and is expected to take 30 years to complete....Residents near the area said this year’s mass fish deaths had even claimed bigger and more resilient fish, such as groupers and catfish. “From afar, I could see the dead fish begin to float to the surface. At first I only saw small fish, but when I went deeper in the ocean, I spotted big ones such as groupers, barramundis, also floating up. This went on until late in the night,” said marine coordinator Kamaruzzaman Mohd Yunus, 56. Kamaruzzaman, who preferred to be called Man Pendas, said unlike last year, when only farmed fish were affected, this year’s wave of deaths had also claimed the wild fish in the sea. “It could be due to the weather or the land-reclamation works, which have polluted the waters… there is definitely a link there,” he said..... Fishermen around Pendas, which is famous for its crabs, told The Malaysian Insider their haul had also reduced considerably. “At that time, I lost Many fish farmers in Kampung Pendas, Gelang Patah, are abandoning their business. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, March 15, 2015. RM1,000 in two weeks as I didn’t catch anything,” said Aziz Sulaiman, 67, who is usually able to earn up to RM2,000 a fortnight from the 20 traps he sets up. Another fisherman, who only wants to be known as Jai, said he normally catches 50kg of crabs a day, but his haul was reduced to 1kg to 2kg during that period. “A bucket of crabs is worth only RM15. When the fish died, I was only bringing back one bucket,” he said.... The company that had prepared the DEIA report had, however, apparently raised caution about the dredging and sedimentation caused by the project that would impact on the seabed, according to the New Straits Times, which had obtained a copy of the report. The paper said despite the mitigation measures to cushion the environmental impact, including the use of a “silt curtain” around the reclamation area, experts noted that more damage could be expected.

Sick, ageing Singaporeans pack JB nursing homes by janice tai AND toh yong chuan - The Straits Times/ANN  Updated: Sunday March 15, 2015 MYT 8:48:31 AM; SINGAPORE: In a quiet private estate within Taman Johor, a 30-minute drive from the Causeway, there is a large two-storey bungalow with high ceilings and a lush garden.... At first glance, it looks like a typical suburban residence. But it is really a nursing home, and Singaporean Andrew Tan is one of its residents.
The house is part of a cluster of 10 bungalows within the estate, making up the City Heart Care Nursing Home. "There are computers for me to check my Facebook page, my own TV to watch the news and I can even go to the coffee shop outside for noodles," said Tan, 43, who is paralysed from the chest down after a car accident 20 years ago. His family, who lives in Singapore, sent him there as his ageing parents no longer have the strength to care for him. After visiting more than 10 nursing homes in Singapore and Malaysia, the former electrical technician, who is single, chose City Heart Care as "it does not feel or smell like a hospital". "I also have my own room, which means I have privacy when my diapers need changing," he said.... He is one of a growing number of infirm Singaporeans who have been admitted to nursing homes in Johor Baru, where prices can be as low as half those in Singapore.... Tan's family pays $900 a month for a two-bedded private room. A similar room in Singapore would cost more than double.... The growing influx is convincing major nursing home players to expand in Johor Baru ........The space crunch in homes in Singapore is another reason more are heading across the Causeway. There are 10,000 beds now and the Health Ministry is pushing to increase this to 17,150 by 2020. Work on seven new nursing homes began this year.Operators said demand for nursing home space here will only grow, given Singapore's ageing population, creating a spill-over effect across the Causeway...........

27 February 2015: Masteel-KUB RM1.23 billion 37-year concession for intercity Iskandar rail system gets support letter; China developers downplay property glut fear saying new demand from China middle class "buy without any questions," villagers affected by Forest City project received RM3000 to RM6200 state agency compensation last year on earnings drop on reclamation works

Note: The Temasek move for geographic diversification up to Penang is raising antenna in KL circles. A specialist says: "Temasek signals a significant geographic diversification from Johor, while big job numbers creation announcements for Johor unfortunately still lag...." 

Steel mill boon for Masteel By: NG BEI SHAN Saturday, 21 February 2015; Masteel has been actively pursuing its proposed RM1.23bil intercity rail transit system in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, and is waiting for the final nod from the Government before proceeding... In fact, the company has not slowed down in its pursuit of the project and has even identified the train to be used for the rail project.... “Once the economic council approves the project, we are well on our way to roll it out,” Tai enthuses... According to him, the company and its partner, KUB Malaysia Bhd, are discussing a 37-year concession from the Government.... The project will be taken under a 60:40 partnership known as Metropolitan Commuter Network Sdn Bhd (MCN) between Masteel and KUB.... The business model will be sound with the income streaming in from three areas: rail passengers from the train operation, property development based on the 21 stations, and construction of the track, he explains.... MCN has received a support letter from the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and a review by the Unit Perancang Ekonomi Negeri Johor, as well as the presentation to the Transport Ministry and a meeting held by the Unit Kerjasama Awam Swasta. ...

Iskandar developers: China buyers will mop up excess unitsby Marissa Lee, The Straits Times; Monday, Feb 23, 2015; BIG-NAME Chinese property players in Iskandar say fears of a property glut in the development zone may be overblown. These developers argue that they bring with them fresh demand for the burgeoning number of new Iskandar homes from China's rising middle class. Said Country Garden Holdings sales and marketing general manager Nicholas Hum, referring to the company's projects: "We have one million owners in China, and it's like a fan club. Wherever we go, there are just buyers that buy without any questions." The Hong Kong-listed company has drawn some flak over its vast Forest City island project, being built on reclaimed land near the Second Link off Tuas.....

Housing glut worries over Johor's mega projects by Reme Ahmad and Rennie Whang, The Straits Times, Monday, Feb 23, 2015; MALAYSIA'S biggest reclamation project is raising concerns over a potential oversupply of homes in Johor, marine environmental damage in the Strait of Johor and the effect it may have on the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen. At Kampung Pok, tucked under the Second Link that connects Johor to Singapore, some residents are making known what they think of Chinese developer Country Garden's ambitious plan to raise four islands that total nearly three times the size of Sentosa at their doorstep. The massive site will house thousands of luxury homes, if artists' impressions provided by the developer are any indication. "Villagers protest that the route to Forest City passes through our area," reads a banner in Malay hung along the only road in the area.... The villages are bordered by mangrove swamps and the Strait of Johor on one side and hectares of mostly empty land in Nusajaya on the other. The edge of the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia's biggest container port, is just 1km away. "Sure, there are concerns about the environment and the future, but things have cooled down as the developer has talked to us," said Mr Abu Bakar. Mr Abdul Malik Sabtu, head of the fishing community in southern Johor, said about 245 full-time fishermen received between RM3,000 (S$1,120) and RM6,200 last year through a government agency to compensate them for a drop in their earnings after reclamation work began last year....  "With all the new projects, I don't think it will be as easy to get tenants as before," said a Singaporean resident of Causeway View, an estate just 600m from the Causeway. He had previously bought a condominium unit in Johor for RM250,000 and rented it out, but he has since sold it. Recent changes to the vehicle entry permit, toll charges and the minimum property purchase price of RM1 million for foreigners are also a put-off, he added....
Note: screenshot of article with focus on graphic on Johor projects facing Singapore

10 February 2015: Hershey Senai plant due to open soon? 400 job openings

Hershey Company investment in Iskandar Malaysia to garner more job opportunities
 By Chuah Bee Kim - 8 February 2015 @ 5:42 PM; State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the move of the Hershey Company, which has invested in a RM816 million confectionary manufacturing plant at the Senai Free Trade Zone and Greenland Malaysia to develop the first coastal luxurious condominium project sprawling close to seven hectares in Iskandar Malaysia with an expected gross development value of RM2.8 billion.....
Hershey names manager for new Johor plant Published: 24 February 2014 3:30 PM Subas joined Hershey in 2011 and has 20 years of manufacturing leadership experience.... During the remainder of 2014, Hershey will be hiring nearly 100 people to fill a range of key positions that are critical to the plant’s operations, including the plant senior management team, engineers, maintenance technicians and skilled specialists. Hiring will continue in 2015, when approximately 300 manufacturing roles become available....Hershey is working with Malaysian engineering firm MEI Project Engineers Sdn Bhd, and the team expects the construction project will be completed in early 2015 - See more at: - JOB OPENINGS - We're excited to announce that we have started hiring for more than 400 positions in 2014 and 2015.  The positions below represent some key roles that are open or will be opening in the next 12 months.
Hershey Building State-of-the-Art Confectionery Plant in Malaysia to Serve Asia Region - New Facility Will Support Growing Consumer Demand Across the Region; $250 million USD (RM816 million) plant is single-largest investment in Asia in company history... The new plant will include innovations in automated candy-making technology, including proprietary equipment and systems developed to Hershey’s specifications.... The plant’s capabilities will include high-speed wrapping machines featuring proprietary, specially engineered wrapping technologies.... The Malaysia plant investment continues Hershey’s ongoing modernization and expansion of its global supply chain to position the company for its next 100 years of growth. This includes the company’s “Project Next Century,” a $300 million investment in its manufacturing and logistics, which culminated with the opening of the world’s most technologically advanced chocolate making facility in the company’s hometown of Hershey, Pa.... After Hershey completes the building structure in early 2015, the Malaysia plant will be one of the largest facilities in the company’s global manufacturing network with 700,000 total square feet. The company has nine plants in the United States as well as facilities in Canada, Mexico, India, Brazil and China. The Malaysia plant will also have the capability to produce the broadest array of finished products of any Hershey factory outside of the United States and Mexico, including millions of Hershey’s Kisses each day.... The plant will produce four of Hershey’s five global brands, which include: Hershey’s Kisses, Ice Breakers, Reese’s and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. Hershey is expanding its global distribution of these brands as part of the company’s ambitious global growth vision to achieve $10 billion in annual revenue by 2017.... The company plans to hire locally to staff hundreds of plant positions as well as management roles.. With revenues of more than $6.6 billion USD, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names... HERSHEY, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 3, 2013-- The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) today announced it will build a new confectionery manufacturing plant in Johor, Malaysia, to meet the growing consumer demand for its products in its fastest-growing region.....

8 February 2015: Iskandar commitment on sustainable development - emissions reduction

Iskandar Malaysia declared as RCE by Bernama | Updated: February 08, 2015 JOHOR BAHARU: Iskandar Malaysia has been declared as the Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Development (RCE).... State Health and Environment Committee chairman, Datuk Ayub Rahmat, said Iskandar RCE is a platform to bring together individuals and organisations to promote sustainable development... "This recognition is a step towards ensuring that Iskandar Malaysia achieve 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emission by 2025" ....

30 January 2015: PAS MP asks why Perkasa silent on Iskandar Malaysia sold to Singapore, Taiwan, HK nationals; Temasek (a big investor in Iskandar) also goes big time to Penang with RM11 billion GDV project for 25k-30k jobs; rapid growth at Iskandar Malaysia contributed to property price rises with housing affordability worsening (Sabah, Penang and KL worst)

Question: Why not these investments and jobs for Johor, rather than for Penang? Iskandar Malaysia's been terribly good at property projects, but specialists say that the long term job creation investments need a boost?

Why stay silent on Johor developments? PAS MP asks Perkasa By Zurairi AR  Published: January 29, 2015 01:15 PMUPDATED: January 29, 2015 01:49 pm; Khalid urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being extremists and deviants. — File picKhalid urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being extremists and deviants. — File picSHAH ALAM, Jan 29 — PAS MP Khalid Abdul Samad questioned today Malay rights group Perkasa’s silence over various development projects affecting the Malays in Johor after the recent flare-up against the Datum Jelatek project in Keramat.... The Shah Alam MP also urged Selangor’s religious authorities to probe the group for being “extremists and deviants”, claiming their actions have painted a negative image of Islam....  “Why are they silent when there are worse actions being done in BN states?
“Iskandar Malaysia has been completed and sold out to Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong nationals,” Khalid told reporters here.... "Why are they quiet? Is there no Perkasa in Johor?”... Khalid also listed down the Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project in Pengerang and the 2,000-hectare man-made island “Forest City” as other developments which he pointed out have allegedly displaced many Malay villagers.....

Penang sees RM5bil investments from 4 China MNCs listed in US By: DAVID TAN
Thursday, 29 January 2015; GEORGE TOWN: Penang will see some RM5bil worth of investments coming into the state in 2015 from four multinational corporations (MNCs) involved in electronic-based manufacturing activities.... investPenang director Datuk Lee Kah Choon said these were only initial investments that would materialise over the next 12 months.... Declining to name the companies, Lee said these could be China companies but public-listed in the United States..... Lee said the Penang International Technology Park and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) projects in Batu Kawan and Bayan Baru respectively, would be jointly developed with Temasek Holdings and Economic Development Innovations Singapore and due for completion in five to 10 years...... “The projects has a gross development value of RM11.3bil and will generate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in the future,” Lee said.....

Housing affordability worsens with Sabah top of list, Penang, KL Thursday, 29 January 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Housing affordability, which is based on the ratio of average terraced house price to average household income, has worsened over the past five years, according to Rahim & Co, Chartered Surveyors Sdn Bhd.... In its survey of the Malaysian property market 2014/2015, the ratio increased from 3.4 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2012 and 2014.... “This essentially means that an average terraced house would cost an average household or family in Malaysia, 3.6 times its annual gross income.... “The least affordable terraced house in Malaysia in 2014 was recorded for Sabah (6.2 times), Penang state (5.9 times) and Kuala Lumpur (5.6 times). Sarawak was fourth with a ratio of 4.4 times,” the survey showed.... Rahim & Co, which is one of the largest real estate consultancy companies in Malaysia, also said in its outlook that transaction activities in the residential sector after expected to soften with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.
To recap, Rahim & Co said that over the past four year, property prices were fuelled by the nation’s development plans, investment concentration and also the rapid growth in Iskandar Malaysia.
“The cautious market sentiment echoes the state of property market in reaching its plateau and reconciliation period is expected in the near future,” it said......

18 January 2015: Kluang gets more development

Majupadu previews Newpark in Kluang 16 Jan 2015; KLUANG: Majupadu Development Sdn Bhd, a Kluang-based property developer, has announced the development of Newpark, the first eco-friendly real estate development in central Johor. “Newpark represents an opportunity to upgrade Kluang. Newpark will be the largest master-planned commercial project in Kluang,” said Majupadu founder and managing director Tey Ah Kau in a press release. “The location is very strategic, surrounded by large, mature housing estates, the Federal Building, the future Inland Revenue Board building and Intan (Institute Tadbiran Awam Negara). Access is just 10 minutes ...

15 January 2015: Forest City gets go ahead for 1,386ha after apparent policy flip-flop

In about-turn, KL approves bigger area for Forest City project Published: 4:00 AM, January 15, 2015 by THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER; KUALA LUMPUR — In an apparent reversal of its earlier reported stance, Malaysia’s Department of Environment (DOE) has greenlighted the RM600 billion (S$228 billion) Forest City mixed-development project in Johor.... The decision comes barely a week after reports in Malaysia quoted the DOE as saying only a fraction of the project — 405ha, instead of the developer’s planned 1,386ha — would be given the go-ahead. Yesterday, however, the developer said approval had been given for 1,386ha — only a shade smaller than the original plan of 1,623ha.
The project, now divided into four reclaimed islands, instead of one huge island nearly three times the size of Ang Mo Kio as originally planned, will have a total size of 1,386ha — smaller than the 1,623ha proposed by the firm.... CGPV is a 66-34 per cent joint venture between China’s Country Garden Holdings and Esplanade Danga 88, whose main shareholder is the Sultan of Johor. Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) is also a partner... Fishermen and fish-farm operators have blamed land reclamation work for mass fish deaths in the area, but the developer has denied this.... The firm that prepared the DEIA report, however, had apparently raised caution about dredging and sedimentation caused by the project that would affect the seabed, said the New Straits Times, which had obtained a copy of the report and reported on it last month.....

13 January 2015: Residents relocated for PETRONAS RAPID project face swampy problems

Tilted houses, swamp land haunt Pengerang folk By Lee Long Hui 9:54AM Dec 31, 2014
SPECIAL REPORT Fear, worry and anxiety are the most common words used by the people of Pengerang in Johor to describe their state of life after being relocated for the RM60 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project of the national oil and gas company Petronas.... The residents simply did not expect to face problems such as land subsidence and swampy soil in the area they were relocated to - Taman Bayu Damai - thereby bringing never-ending inconveniences upon them....

12 January 2015: Forest City denies limit to under 1,000 acres, Johor warns on middlemen-civil servants linkages, view on Malaysia property consolidation in 2015

Developer denies DOE limit on controversial Johor Straits housing project by The Malaysian Insider  - ‎Jan 5, 2015‎; The developer of the controversial Forest City in the Johor Straits has denied that the size of its housing project has been limited to less than 1,000 acres, refuting a report by The Malaysian Insider on the matter. Country Garden Pacific (CGP) View ...

Malaysia sets new development limits on Johor's Forest City project Published on Jan 5, 2015 1:42 PM; JOHOR BARU - China developer Country Gardens Holdings can only develop less than a quarter of its planned Forest City project in Johor Strait, under new limits set by Malaysia's Department of Environment.... The company was informed verbally about the new limits (405ha), Malaysian Insider has reported, after complaints from locals and the Singapore government over reclamation works in the narrow waterway between Malaysian and the city state.....

Don't collude with middlemen, Johor civil servants warned by The Star Online  - ‎Jan 1, 2015‎ 
Ismail hoped that Johor civil servants would provide efficient service and make Johor one of the most developed states in the country.... Ismail also called on local council presidents to check on their subordinates as the state government had also received reports of middlemen operating at local councils.... Ismail hoped that Johor civil servants would provide efficient service and make Johor one of the most developed states in the country. “We have the Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor and the multi­-billion ringgit oil and gas hub in Pengerang in Kota Tinggi. The two projects will be the main drivers of Johor’s growth in years to come,” added Ismail.... He said that with more domestic and foreign investors showing strong interest in the two projects, civil servants had to improve on their delivery system.... He reiterated that the state government had never appointed individuals or companies to represent agencies and departments offering services on­ behalf of the state government....

Year of consolidation for property sector by The Star Online  - ‎Jan 2, 2015‎; THE property sector is expected to slow down further this year following cooling measures and tougher lending conditions implemented in 2014. Although it has often been said that the Johor market is different from the rest of the country, due to the economic growth area of Iskandar Malaysia and the leverage provided by its proximity to Singapore, the feel-good factor which spurred sales and ...However, the rate of the slowdown may be cushioned with the continuous fall in the price of oil....  The changing dynamics of lower oil prices on the economy are still unravelling. But economists are not looking at any rate hikes for Malaysia in the near term, unless there are changes in the external sector, and this is something which will work well for the property sector.... While oil price is a factor, CIMB said the goods and services tax (GST) is another. In a report entitled “Property Development and Investment: Post GST Blues?”, CIMB Research head Terence Wong foresees a pick-up in buying momentum in the first half of 2015....

23 December 2014: Forest City land reclamation worries a possible negative on investor confidence? Cross border car fees tit-for-tat with Malaysia VEP to start mid-2015? EcoWorld in Iskandar.

Will Forest City issue affect ties with Singapore?  By SIM BAK HENG - 23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: JOHOR lawmakers fear that Malaysia and Singapore may be embroiled in a diplomatic row once the detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) report of the controversial Forest City project is approved.... They are worried about the possibility of retribution from Singapore, citing the republic’s reclamation works in Pulau Tekong and Tuas more than 10 years ago as an example... Malaysia was prompted to file a case with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) following Singapore’s actions then.. A state assemblyman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said this could become a reality should the Department of Environment (DOE) approve the DEIA report.... “The Malaysia-Singapore Joint Committee on Environment was formed following the ITLOS decision on Pulau Tekong in 2004.... “I hope both governments can work together to resolve the Forest City reclamation issue.... “If it is brought to the ITLOS for arbitration, it can affect investors’ confidence in Johor and Iskandar Malaysia.” ....

‘Resolve VEP fee issue amicably’   23 December 2014 @ 8:13 AM; JOHOR BARU: Malaysia and Singapore have been urged to discuss issues related to toll fees and the imposition of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) fee for the good of Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia region.... Pulai member of parliament Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was important for both sides to look at the bigger picture and take into consideration the total impact that any increase by Singapore would have on Iskandar Malaysia.... “It is time for both governments to resolve this issue and work together for the long-term benefits,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.... Nur Jazlan, who is also Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, was responding to yesterday’s Singapore media report, which said its Ministry of Transport would be studying Malaysia’s move to impose a VEP fee of RM20 (S$7.55) for foreign vehicles from Singapore starting middle of next year.

Eco World Devt targets RM7b sales Wednesday, 10 December 2014; KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World Development Group Bhd posted earnings of RM7.18mil in the 13 months ended Oct 31, 2014 as the company remained upbeat about its prospects with four new projects.... Announcing its results on Wednesday, the property development company targets to achieve RM7bil sales over FY2015 & FY2016 with the current and new projects.... “For the upcoming financial year, the Group intends to launch four new projects – these are Eco Sanctuary in Shah Alam, Eco Terraces in Penang, Eco Tropics and Eco Business Park III in Iskandar Malaysia. Along with its existing projects in the Klang Valley and Iskandar Malaysia, the group targets to achieve RM7bil sales over FY2015 & FY2016,” it said....

22 December 2014: 2014 saw halving of property transactions; Johor freezes serviced apartments (they are mostly actually owner-occupied) on glut fear with 3.3x more units than needed? Johor to spur SMEs

Iskandar’s plunging fortunes; 8:27AM Dec 17, 2014 By Khairul Khalid; KINIBIZ This has been a year to forget for the Iskandar economic region in Johor. After much lauded growth in the last five years, led by a robust property market, cracks began to show in Iskandar this year. Bullishness about Iskandar’s property market has been replaced with a more cautious, sometimes even bleaker outlook.
 What is causing this dwindling optimism about Iskandar? For a start, the numbers don’t lie.
“In comparison to the first half of 2013, there was a drop of about 48 percent in terms of total transactions in the same period this year,” said V Sivadas, executive director of PA International Property Consultants based in Johor Baru (JB).  That is an alarming drop in sales by any standards. The fact that it is happening just when Iskandar seems to have picked up momentum in the last few years has rattled the market. According to Sivadas, this decline is across all sectors of the property market in Iskandar. “Our records indicate 5,419 total transactions in the first half of this year at a value of about RM3.7 billion. In comparison with the first half of 2013, there was a drop of about 48 percent in terms of total transactions and about 37 percent drop in terms of total value of transactions in the first half of 2014,” said Sivadas, who based his analysis on available records of properties sales within Iskandar Malaysia.

Freeze on serviced apartments in Johor Updated: Sunday December 14, 2014 MYT 7:46:05 AM JOHOR BARU: The state has rejected new applications to build serviced apartments; Mentri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin said this was to ensure that the property market would not be flooded by serviced apartments, especially in Iskandar Malaysia. “All new applications have been frozen,” he said.  “Those who have received their approval can continue with their projects,” he said at the ground-­breaking ceremony of affordable homes by state-linked PIJ Holdings Sdn Bhd at Jalan Datin Halimah here yesterday. Mohamed Khaled said construction of serviced apartments was not subjected to housing development conditions such as the providing of basic amenities such as schools, multi-purpose halls and places of worship..... Nowadays, such apartments were no longer rented out but owner-occupied. “Hence, developers should provide these amenities to buyers,” said Mohamed Khaled.....  It was reported that about 86,000 units of serviced apartments had been approved for the country’s first economic growth corridor until 2025.

Fear of service apartment glut by New Straits Times Online  - ‎Dec 10, 2014‎ 
A TOTAL of 86,000 units of service apartments which have been approved for construction in Johor, especially in the Iskandar Malaysia, is excessive, said Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin... He said, based on the Iskandar Regional Comprehensive Development Plan 2025, there would only be demand for 26,000 service apartments in the state until 2025....

Efforts for Johor SMEs to tap into Iskandar and Pengerang projects Monday, 22 December 2014
PUTRAJAYA: The Johor Entrepreneurial Development Centre (EDC) is spearheading efforts to spur the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by exploiting the spillover of the Iskandar and Pengerang development.... Johor Education, Information Entrepreneurial Development and Cooperative Committee chairman Md Jais Sarday said EDC would formulate a five-year strategic plan to assist SMEs in seizing opportunities.... “The plan is expected to be unveiled under the Johor Strategic Growth Plan in the first quarter of next year,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by EDC and SME Corp Malaysia.... Jais said although Johor had the third biggest number of SME companies after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, their contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) was merely 8.4% compared with that of Selangor (28.3%) and Kuala Lumpur (29.1%). He attributed the low percentage to Johor SMEs’ concentration in the services and agriculture sectors, apart from financing constraints....

17 December 2014: Shanghai's Greenland plans 52ha Iskandar Malaysia project

Greenland 21 for Iskandar Malaysia?  By SIM BAK HENG - 16 December 2014 @ 12:14 AM;
SHANGHAI-based property giant Greenland Holdings Group is expected to replicate the concept of its flagship integrated development project called Greenland 21 at Iskandar Malaysia.... The Fortune 500 company is finalising the acquisition of a 52ha plot in Permas Jaya, Johor Baru, for the project. This waterfront project marks Greenland’s second venture in Iskandar Malaysia, after its low-density Jade Palace condominium development located at Danga Bay on the western side of the causeway.....

12 December 2014: Indonesia investors, Tanjung Langsat as largest private jetty operator

Will look for more info to update this.

Tanjung Langsat Port sees double digit growth in 2014 Thursday, 06 March 2014 | 00:00 Tanjung Langsat Port sees double digit growth in 2014; "After registering a healthy 47.7% growth of its total cargo throughput in 2013, Tanjung Langsat Port (TLP) in Johor is poised to see double digit growth in 2014.... “2013 was a milestone year for us; the 11.60 million metric tonnes in total throughput achieved last year elevated the port to the country’s largest “private jetty” operator,” said Johari Shukri Jamil, TLP Chief Executive Officer.... The two additional berths, which bring total liquid berths at TLP to seven, will provide an edge to current investors such as Dialog, MISC and PUMA that jointly operate Langsat Terminal One (LGT1) and Langsat Terminal Two (LGT2)..... TLP has a combined capacity of about 770,000 cubic meters for oil storage of which 100,000 cubic meters come from the port operator’s tank terminal.  LGT1 provides 476,000 cubic meters storage facilities for petroleum and naphtha while LGT 2 facilitates 171,000 cubic meters for gasoline. The remaining 20,800 cubic meters of edible oil is from Langsat Bulkers Sdn Bhd (LBSB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Felda Johor Bulkers Sdn Bhd. TLP continues to receive strong interests from independent oil storage operators and oil traders to set up their operations in the port.....the new port users of Malaysia’s largest “private jetty” will include Turkey’s Evyap Inc, one of the world’s leading soap and personal care products manufacturers; Singapore’s KTL Offshore Pte Ltd which operates one of the world’s largest rigging facilities; and Musim Mastika, a subsidiary of Musim Mas Group, one of the largest edible oil producers from Indonesia...."

Projects In Iskandar Malaysia Open Up New Opportunities For Indonesian Investors BY BERNAMA  /  News  /  Source  /  Top Stories March 19, 2013 by BERNAMA Subeditor; "To date, Indonesian investors in Iskandar Malaysia included Sinas Mas, which invests in leisure and tourism development in Senai; Musim Mastika in the production of palm oil industrial cluster in Tanjung Langsat; Mulford Plastics in plastic moulding manufacturing in Pasir Gudang; and Delphi Cocoa that manufactures cocoa-based food products in Pasir Gudang....Ismail said the total investments by Indonesian companies in Iskandar Malaysia now stood at less than RM1 billion...."

22 November 2014: Johor nuclear plants & Malay Reserve land questions, Iskandar plan 2014-2025, 25 hospitals for Iskandar, film production hopes, Economist says "early optimism is fading"

DAP rep claims two nuclear plants being planned for Johor;  Updated: Wednesday November 19, 2014 MYT 7:38:35 AM; AN Opposition assemblyman has claimed that two nuclear plants will be built by the Federal Government in Johor within the next eight years... Tan Chen Choon (DAP-Jementah) alleged that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong had made a statement to that effect. He claimed that Mah had stated that the Federal Government was in the final process of drafting the Control of Atomic Energy to enable the project to get off the ground.
“The nuclear power plant costing RM21.3bil was announced by the Federal Govern-ment in June, 2010, under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) where seven locations were identified in several states including Kedah, Perak, Terengganu, and two in Johor,” he said when debating the state Budget at the state assembly yesterday.... Earlier, Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin had quashed claims that the size of Malay Reserve Land in the state had shrunk, particularly in areas where developments are taking place in Iskandar Malaysia. He said the claims were untrue as such lands are protected under the Malay Reserve Enactment 1936 and Federal Constitution. He said under such laws if the land owners wanted to cancel its status with an excuse for development, the person must replace it with another plot of land with same value or size. He said based on the current data, Malay Reserve Land had increased from 87,563.6ha in 1957 to 432,157ha in September this year. “This shows that there is an increase in the size of Malay Reserve Land to 279,744ha or 18.2% since our country gained independence 57 years ago. In Johor Baru and Kulaijaya alone, which is under the Iskandar Malaysia area, lands gazetted as Malay Reserve have also increased to 23,517.37ha this year from a mere 1,921.4ha in 1957,” he said.... Mohamed Khaled said under the Enactment, the state government agreed to enforce a ruling to seize any Malay Reserve Land that had changed ownership to non-Malays....

Comprehensive Development Plan for Iskandar Malaysia approved; 2014-11-07 11:28; KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Bernama) -– Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced the approval of the 2014-2025 Comprehensive Development Plan for Iskandar Malaysia. Najib, who is also finance minister, said the announcement was made at the 16th Iskandar Regional Development Authority Advisory Council Meeting today. "Since January 2014, it is encouraging to note that Iskandar Malaysia has successfully attracted new investments worth RM24.97 billion. "In committed investments alone, Iskandar Malaysia has secured RM156.51 billion since 2006, of which 51 per cent or RM79.17 billion has been realised to date," he said in his latest Facebook entry tonight....

Iskandar Malaysia to have at least 25 hospitals Updated: Sunday November 16, 2014 MYT 10:03:15 AM; NUSAJAYA: More foreigners, especially from Singapore, are expected to come to Iskandar Malaysia to seek medical treatment with the setting-up of at least 25 hospitals, including private specialists centres by 2016. One of the health industry members involved – IHH Healthcare Bhd – has invested over RM400mil for the first phase of its Gleneagles Medini Hospital here.  Its CEO and managing director Dr Tan See Leng said that the 300-bed hospital, which is set to open its doors to the public by June next year, would have an initial capacity of 148 beds “With the setting up of the hospital right at the heart of the Iskandar region here, we hope to attract foreigners, especially Singaporeans to seek medical treatment at our hospital. “The rates will be relatively cheaper for Singaporeans to get medical treatment in Johor Baru compared to what they will be paying in the republic,” he said...

Pinewood Iskandar eyes foreign investments in film production by kathleen ann kili at the johor state assembly in nusajaya; Updated: Monday November 17, 2014 MYT 8:53:52 AM; THE creative industry in the state is expected to boom with Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS) targeting to attract RM1.9bil in foreign production investments and create some 11,300 freelance jobs until 2020. “Investors can look into areas such as pre-production, production, post-production, distribution and marketing, logistics, food, equipment rental, construction materials, hospitality and other services,” said Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong. In efforts to further enhance the industry, Tee said a state-level organisation – Filem Johor – had been set up to promote the state as an international film destination. “Filem Johor is dedicated to managing and facilitating enquiries and preparations needed to speed up film production processes. “Besides that, we also have MaGIC-X, which is a ‘gamification’ centre to support individuals or SMEs to market their commercial products,” he added....

Johor to redevelop idle, underutilised govt land, buildings by Bernama; Posted on 4 November 2014 - 05:36am; JOHOR BARU: The Johor state government plans to rejuvenate and redevelop idle and underutilised government land and buildings through public-private partnership (PPP) model as part of the Johor Baru transformation programme. Mohamed Khaled, who is also co-chairman of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), said there was also an increasing need for social-focused PPPs in the areas of affordable housing, education, healthcare, youth development and other public facilities.... The PPP projects that are currently in the pipeline for Iskandar Malaysia include the much-needed Bus Rapid Transit project which would help boost the public transportation system within Iskandar Malaysia," he said. The PPP conference 2014, which is jointly organised by IRDA and Johor Economic Planning Unit, attracted over 300 participants from both the public and private sectors...

Malaysia and Singapore: Milking it - Old enmities plague a crucial partnership; Oct 25th 2014  | JOHOR BAHRU; The Iskandar plan started brightly, with some $40 billion of private money, according to local bigwigs. Legoland Malaysia, which opened in 2012, anchors a busy entertainment district; an outpost of Marlborough College, a posh British school, has helped launch a much-vaunted educational cluster. Though retaining the some of the air of a frontier town, Johor Bahru is scrubbing up.... Yet early optimism is fading. Housebuilding appears to have raced ahead of job creation, and a housing glut looms. Not all Johoreans are happy with the suspension of corporate-ownership rules that elsewhere favour the ethnic-Malay majority. A battering in last year’s general election has made it harder for the Barisan Nasional, Malaysia’s ruling coalition, to ignore their concerns. Singapore hints that foot-dragging is slowing down plans for a cross-strait rail link...

22 October 2014: Who benefits?

About two weeks ago, I spoke to a friend who keeps an eye on some Iskandar property prices - notably the high-end (high rise integrated developments) Puteri Harbour area. In recent years, prices went from some RM700 psf to RM1400-1600 psf. However, a recent launch offered some investors early access to larger units at some RM900+ psf. Prices making a big up and down?


After 8 years, who does Iskandar Malaysia really benefit? BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA Published: 21 October 2014; "It was a mega-corridor meant to rejuvenate the state capital, Johor Baru, but eight years after it was launched, Iskandar Malaysia has come up short on its promise to give ordinary residents in southern Johor better jobs and better lives. This was the sentiment gleaned from a straw poll by The Malaysian Insider among two groups of people, ordinary residents and business owners in four locations in southern Johor –  Masai, Bandar Baru Uda, Bukit Indah and Kampung Melayu Majidi.... More than half of the 18 interviewees said that their lives had not changed for the better, even as Iskandar Malaysia seeks to transform southern Johor's physical and economic landscape.
About two-thirds of the businesses surveyed said that they had not felt any spillover effects, in terms of money-making opportunities or profits.... This is after the initiative has brought in RM156.35 billion in investments since 2006 according to an October 18 report by state news agency Bernama. Yet, many respondents remain optimistic about Iskandar Malaysia, with a majority in both groups saying the initiative was, on the whole, good for southern Johor.... But this optimism was heavily tempered with intense frustration at the rise in the cost of living and the price of houses. There is also a growing sense among residents that the rich and connected would get the lion’s share of benefits from Iskandar Malaysia while everyone else would get the table scraps......"

Iskandar Malaysia to receive another ‘big’ investment Published: 18 October 2014; "Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Iskandar Malaysia is expected to receive another 'big' investment, which will continue to strengthen the region's image as an attractive investment destination in the country. Mohamed Khaled however declined to comment further on the investment. "We have to wait for the announcement of the big investment as it is the federal government's project. I expect the announcement will be made soon," he told reporters today..... He said with the inflows of local and foreign investment, Iskandar Malaysia is expected to create 1.5 million high-income jobs in 2025...."

Iskandar secured RM10b investments in third quarter, October 16, 2014; JOHOR BAHARU — Iskandar Malaysia has secured investments worth RM10 billion in the third quarter of this year, bringing the total cumulative committed investments since its inception in 2006 until Sept 30 this year to RM156.35 billion. Of the total cumulative committed investments, RM77.17 billion or 49 per cent represents investments that have been realised.... IRDA chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the creative sector continued to grow in the third quarter with an investment from Astro Production Sdn Bhd (APSB) through Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS)..."

Slowdown looming for Iskandar Malaysia by The Sun Daily  - ‎Oct 6, 2014‎; PETALING JAYA: "The property prices in Iskandar Malaysia (IM) are expected to stay weak and flat over the medium term as there will be more incoming supply ahead, whereas the Klang Valley's property market appears to be more sustainable, according to ...Malaysian developers are scaling back and slowing down on their new launches in IM hotspots like Danga Bay and Nusajaya-Medini, and shifting their focus to landed and industrial properties due to rising competition in the high-rise integrated property segment.
"We remain cautious about the increasingly crowded development space in IM. Oversupply of apartments/retail spaces in hotspots such as the Nusajaya-Medini and Danga Bay areas may cause a decline in property values over the medium term....The focus is now more on whether the demand for high-rise apartments and retail space can keep pace with the incoming supply (serviced apartments, hotels, offices and retail spaces) from aggressive launches by the Chinese developers over the past year (citing Maybank Kim Eng Research analyst Wong Wei Sum in a report last Friday)..."

25 September 2014: UEM Sunrise seeks to diversify earnings base from Iskandar, notes Selangor foreign purchase clampdown

UEM Sunrise to rely less on projects in Iskandar Malaysia Posted on 25 September 2014 - 05:38am  by Eva Yeong; "KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Sunrise Bhd plans to restrategise in terms of product offering and location, in order to reduce dependency on its projects in Iskandar Malaysia and spread out risks, said its managing director and CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib. "Our strategy is to diversify a bit. One of the concerns that people have about UEM Sunrise is the high dependency on our developments in Iskandar Malaysia. If you look at our landbank, perhaps just a bit more than 60% is actually in Iskandar," he told reporters at a briefing yesterday. "If there is an opportunity for us to diversify away, we can do some form of land swap or monetise some of this land that we have in Iskandar for an acquisition of land somewhere else in Malaysia or abroad, why not? It's something that we are willing to consider," Anwar said, adding that it is looking for opportunities in land banking both locally and abroad.... Meanwhile, the group is maintaining its RM2 billion sales target, despite having only achieved about RM560 million in sales as of end of August.... Izzaddin said 60% of this year's sales will come from projects in Nusajaya, 25% from Australia and the balance from projects in the Klang Valley.... On a separate issue, Anwar said the new minimum prices for foreign purchases in Selangor has created uncertainty within the market but the group is able to mitigate the risk as it has projects in other states as well as abroad. The Selangor state government, which has divided the state into several zones, has increased the minimum price for foreign purchases to RM2 million for certain zones, effective Sept 1...."

22 September 2014: Forest City - company claims support while villagers vent their anger

Johor villagers vent anger at mega reclamation project BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA Published: 21 September 2014 - See more at:; "Irate villagers of Tanjung Kupang in Johor vented their anger at the developers of the biggest land reclamation project in the state, arguing during a public dialogue today that it will lead to the loss of their land and livelihood. About 200 residents from about a dozen villages around Tanjung Kupang also accused the developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGP), of bulldozing the project through their area without their knowledge even though it could have a huge impact on their lives... The Forest City project will see four man-made islands being built in the waters in Tanjung Kupang between south-west Johor and north-west of Singapore. It was reported that the islands will have both residential and commercial lots and the project is expected to make a profit of nearly RM290 billion over the next 30 years for CGP. The Gross Development Value (GDV) will come up to RM600 billion... CGP is a 66-34% joint-venture between China’s Country Garden Holdings Ltd and Esplanade Danga 88 Sdn Bhd, whose main shareholder is the Sultan of Johor. Johor state company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) is also a partner in the project..... Explanations from the developer’s consultant that they had polled the opinions of 10% of the village’s population were disputed by the audience and the hall exploded in a hail of boos and shouts of “who did you talk to?” Forest City project director Datuk Zamani Kasim then claimed that there was a focus group meeting with village representatives in June where the community’s leaders had supported the project. But this further angered the audience who shouted back: “Who did you speak to?” and “What meeting?” The company claimed it had surveyed 100 heads of households in the village. The survey showed 69.2% had agreed to the project while 71.3% thought it had more positive than negative impact. CGP also claimed it had a focus group meeting with village heads and elders where they agreed to the project.... Anuar, along with some other residents, were unconvinced by the company’s promises that locals will benefit from more jobs, contracts and business opportunities once property construction began. “These promises had also been given to us by PTP (Port Tanjung Pelepas) when that was being built. Until now, they have not been fulfilled.” KPRJ executive vice-chairman Datuk Md Othman Yusof tried to calm the crowd and win them over with arguments that the people of Johor would benefit from massive project. But residents would have none of it and shouted that they still rejected the project. “You tell us we will benefit, but who are those homes you are building for? Singaporeans and foreigners, not Johoreans,” said a resident of Kampung Pok, who did not give his name. Another member of the audience attempted to get KPRJ to confirm or deny whether CGP had been exempted by the government from having to build affordable houses.... "

commentaries on the above article, snapshot at 11.30pm 22 Sept 2014:
+14 benardquek -95p · 10 hours ago I live here. Next to Lido beach, which is no more. I use to harvest clams and mussels during my free time. During my childhood, I remember having picnics by the seaside with my parents. My late grand father would even fish for food if he wanted to. He could have a rich catch of groupa, swimmer crabs and kembong. There was also a rich habitat for oysters in the old what do you find now? Country Gardens, Danga Bay and similar like places....all I see now are large cranes arched over the horizon, stacking up pillars for the nouveau rich who are to come, with the promise of high net worth and big spending. Johor Bahru is no more. It is destroyed for the sake of industrialisation. Time to move on people.

+89 1 day ago Singapore should do some reclamation at the same area too (since the country needs land), then the two countries will be separated by a "longkang" and pedestrians can just walk across a "papan" to reach the other side. No need to pay toll. Save money-lah.

+56 Rightospeak 129p · 1 day ago OMG, the greed of these developers and they are supported by the BN government! No wonder Singapore is protesting, because they are literally narrowing the strait and killing all the sea creatures living there. God and the people will have the final laugh for I foresee bankruptcy here. Just wait! There will a serious glut with no buyers when it's finished.
+64 drngsc 137p · 1 day ago Dear residents, please while you get angry, remember the people who sold you out for their own gains. Search the land office and the registrar of companies to see who are the shareholders of the company and who are the nominees. Remember remember remember. When GE 14 comes, you must know what to do. Did they care about your family, your livelihood? Did they care about you Johoreans? The Johore state government and their powerful associates will sell off all of Johore to foreigners for quick profit. Soon you can only see the tall buildings, your land would all have belonged to some one else. You will be strangers in your own land. Remember.

+90 sputjam 99p · 1 day ago Plenty of land in iskandar but they developer dowan to pay. Got state land,they sold it of to developers instead of building affordable homes for locals.

+76 smokinlala 153p · 1 day ago Now we know why BN lost Gelang Petah! With this rate, PR will have better chance in GE 14

-124 auchinaman 133p · 1 day ago There is a need to change...there is a need to accept PELBAGAIAN (Diversity) to achieve PROGRESS. I believe these villagers are too afraid to change, they are so used to the old comfort of their own. So the more advance party taking over their life sent shivers down their spines. This is also what is happening in Malaysia. When the capable seem to demand more to achieve progress, they felt threatened. Where as these people should change with the wind...let the capable to do the job and you share the benefit as a whole. This is what we call MERITOCRACY and the ONLY WAY for PROGRESS.

Singapore-Johor update: ISEAS Perspective "Iskandar Labours to Develop" by Khor Yu Leng and Vasiliki Mavroeidi

Just to alert you that I have a new update on Iskandar Malaysia, released by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. This was co-written with Vasiliki (PhD scholar at Cambridge University), who has been a Research Associate on a bunch of papers and studies.

ISEAS has released an abridged version of our update:, written by Guest Writers Khor Yu Leng and Vasiliki Mavroeidi and titled “Iskandar Malaysia Labours to Develop”.

Key topics:
  • Iskandar Malaysia located in southern Johor is now marketed as the northern adjunct of Singapore and for transboundary living. 40% of investments were in the real estate sector.
  • High profile, large-scale property development projects by China-based companies has been the latest phenomenon. Country Gardens is the most noted.
  • The role of the Sultan of Johor in business is figuring high.
  • Another issues is the recently increased cost of vehicles crossing the border.

Extracts from full report:
Iskandar Malaysia is developing as the de facto northern adjunct of Singapore, in a significant policy supported by the sovereign wealth funds and the administrations of Malaysia and Singapore. Malaysia and international property developers have done much to sell it as a dormitory town to the booming island state. This is amidst Johor’s already key role as a provider of cheaper goods and labour to Singapore, attested by the heavy flow of traffic across the border each day. The Iskandar project, centred on the development of the Medini zone, and with a sprawling territory is in its early rapid build-up stage as infrastructure (including new key road arteries to unblock Johor logistics congestion) and residential estates are being put in place. In this early first phase of implementation, a critical mass of population has yet to come in place. More property is set to come via the ambitious Country Gardens – Johor “Forest City” reclamation project. The current issues surrounding the grand Johor-Singapore project relate to Johor political-business power shifts, nascent stakeholder concerns on their poor inclusion and alienation in it, and concerns about the rising cost of living (housing and transport) of the cross-border lifestyle and the outcome of the property push by China and other developers. Some of these issues will probably see some resolution as the large build of property and cost-effective mass rapid transport roll out in the short and medium term. As Iskandar starts to be populated, investors will likely be playing close attention to property occupancy rates as well as new manufacturing and high-end service investment and jobs creation.

The most vociferous public concerns have come from former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. In his personal blog, he worried the radical changes in the landscape of the “new Johor Bahru” (in Malay: Johor Bahru Baru) would not see Malays from the city or nearby villages occupy the many skyscrapers in the planning. In a jibe at selling out to foreigners, Mahathir noted that Singapore was sold in 1819 to the British for only 60,000 Spanish dollars by the Temenggong (governor acting for the Sultan of Johor) when the island was only inhabited by a few fishermen. He also pointed out that new citizens could become a political force in Johor and affect the balance with ethnic Malay voters. Mahathir cites a Malay proverb that development may come with a hefty price (“Yang penting ialah Malaysia menjadi negara maju walaupun ayam dikepok mati kelaparan dan itik di air mati kehausan”): locals would suffer in their own bountiful land due to the influx of outsiders (Mahathir 2014). In reaction from the political opposition, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said: “We hope that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will give further explanations on the fight to prevent the Iskandar region from being taken over by foreigners,… because it involves the issue of national security which the Iskandar project seem to have threatened” (Malaysia Chronicle, 14 July 2014).

Johor-Iskandar & Malaysia power shifts (update 1)

I was seated at the window seat on a flight from KL to Singapore. Over southern Johore, the plane made a nice flyover from the western part over Tanjung Pelepas toward the eastern end of that part of the state. Just east of Syed Mokhthar's container port (and a bulking terminal across from it) was a lot of red-brown earth cleared areas for property development in the core Iskandar area. The same could be seen in the Danga Bay area between that and Johor Bahru town. Just north of that was suburbia with lots of homes laid out.

Just east of Johor Bahru were some red-brown earth scars of land leveled for building (but a lot less than in the core Iskandar zone) and further east were palm oil plantations and replantings of those areas. Toward the far eastern area was again large areas opened for development - presumably for RAPID. It was a great fly over, I wish the airline would have allowed me to take more than a few shots, but the policy is to switch off devices for the landing. 

It looks like Johore development is proceeding to complement 
Singapore's need for more northern space and arguably in competition with ports and oil and gas infrastructure.

 Flying over core Iskandar - Medini zone and Johore suburbia

What's hot in the news in Malaysia are some interesting moves for more participation in state administration by the Sultan of Johor. Other Malaysia states are in the news with recent kerfuffles in Terrengganu, about increased oil royalties and on East Malaysia. 

Some commentators are wondering about an apparent shift in state versus federal negotiation power. In opposition land, there are also questions on its leadership power over Selangor issues on water, controversial road construction, religious administration and more. At the recent Teluk Intan byelection, Chinese ruralfolk delivered a massive negative 15 percentage vote swing in a political revolt against the efforts of the DAP leadership. 

It would seem that traditional political leaders have lost some of their powers to state and local actors at this point of the political cycle. What next?

News links

Johor housing Bill to be amended; Updated: Sunday June 8, 2014 MYT 5:11:38 PM;
NUSAJAYA: The Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 will be amended to include a provision that the Sultan is to act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.... The amendment, which reads “role of the Johor Ruler is on the advice of the Mentri Besar”, was announced by Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the state assembly sitting here, Sunday... Khaled said that other clauses in the Bill which mention the Johor Ruler would be changed to “state authorities”.... The Bill is expected to be tabled at the state assembly sitting on Monday....It had been reported that the Bill would empower the Sultan to appoint JHRPB members, oversee its accounts and also dissolve the board.... It is understood that the Johor Ruler would also be able to determine the remuneration of board members, approve the appointment of a director and pass the estimated expenses for each following year before seeking the state government’s approval for the allocations....