land swap

Penang news (update 7): Changing property market of Penang ; Penang investments and budget surplus shows improved performance post 2008 under DAP administration; for 2014 Johor, Sarawak and Penang the top three states for investment. BPO projects in Batu Kawan and Bayan Baru respectively, would be jointly developed with Temasek Holdings and Economic Development Innovations Singapore

15 March 2015: Changing property market of Penang

Changing property market of Penang By: DAVID TAN Saturday, 14 March 2015 - Legislation, bridge and location are some factors affecting prices; UNTIL about a year ago, Penang’s south-west district was known as the locality for affordably-priced properties.Since 2008, Ideal Property Group has developed over 4,000 units with a RM3bil gross development value (GDV) there. These include One World, One Residence and Fiera Vista in Bayan Lepas, priced between RM300,000 and RM800,000. These have become landmark projects. In the sub-sale market, prices have since increased from RM380 to RM500 per sq ft (psf) for high rise condominium, and more than 50% for landed units.... With the Penang second bridge project completed last year, new launches of high-rise properties hit about RM550 psf last year.The very expensive ones are located in prime locations such as Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah, and Pulau Tikus neighbourhoods in the north-east district.
For example, when the Marinox Sky Villas, a leasehold condominium in Tanjung Tokong was launched in 2012, it was sold at around RM650 psf. This has increased to over RM600 psf last year.
Similarly, condominiums in City Residence at Tanjung Tokong by Ivory Properties priced at RM750 psf in late 2013 have increased to over RM1,000 psf today....

27 February 2015: Penang investments and budget surplus shows improved performance post 2008 under DAP administration; for 2014 Johor, Sarawak and Penang the top three states for investment

Penang records 109% increase in investments By LOOI SUE-CHERN Published: 27 February 2015 2:08 PM Penang recorded a 109% increase in investments last year over 2013’s volume of RM3.91 billion. Out of the RM8.16 billion in domestic and foreign investments in 2014, RM5.1 billion came from foreign investment. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said this put Penang in the top three for states with the highest investments in the country last year, after Johor and Sarawak.... He said the domestic and foreign investments came mostly from the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, while some also came from the biomedical sector. "This shows we are still strong in the E&E sector as a main player in the supply chain. It is a sign of sustainable progress. "We thank everyone in the industry as well as government agencies like the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) for all their efforts in drawing investments to Penang," he today. On the increase in investments, Lim said it was also important to look at the bigger picture. "From 2008 to 2013, we got RM40 billion compared with RM21 billion from 2002 to 2007..

Penang made more in 6 years than BN did in 50 By Susan Loone 3:49PM Feb 26, 2015 - A clean administration has enabled the Penang government to accumulate budget surpluses for six consecutive years since 2008, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today. This is through its practise of competency, accountability and transparency or CAT, a policy touted by the Pakatan Rakyat-led administration when it seized Penang from BN in the March 8, 2008 general election....

4 February 2015: Is there some concern at MIDA about the proposed China electronic sector investments in Penang - cautious of photovoltaic investments using Malaysia's GSP and COO as a transshipment point to beat anti-dumping problems?

Mida keeps close tabs on China, Taiwan PV makers By: DAVID TAN Wednesday, 4 February 2015
GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) is adopting a cautious stand on investments by photovoltaic (PV) solar manufacturers from China and Taiwan.
Mida deputy chief executive officer Datuk Phang Ah Tong told StarBiz that this was because Mida did not want Malaysia to be used as a transhipment point for China and Taiwan-made PV cells and panels to enter the United States, as the latter had imposed anti-dumping duties on PV products originating from China and Taiwan.... The US International Trade Commission had recently imposed a minimum 70% tariff rate on China PV modules, and an 11.45% to 27.55% rate for Taiwan PV manufacturers.... Phang said that so far there were no significant PV investments from China and Taiwan in Malaysia... “However, we are still pursuing investments in alternative renewable energy such as bio-mass, bio-gas and small hydro plant a result of the foreign investments, Malaysia was the third largest solar module producer in the world after China and Japan, and the fourth largest producer of solar cells in 2013... The major corporations in Malaysia involved in PV manufacturing are First Solar and Panasonic Corp in Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Hanwa Q Cells in Cyberjaya, AUO Sunpower in Malacca and IRM Group Bhd in Ipoh.... Malaysia has been known as a transhipment point for China-made products using the GSP and COO documents issued for companies in Malaysia to enter Europe.....

30 January 2015: BPO projects in Batu Kawan and Bayan Baru respectively, would be jointly developed with Temasek Holdings and Economic Development Innovations Singapore , Penang housing affordability worsens, second worst after Sabah says Rahim & Co.

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......

28 January 2015:  RM 5 billion electronic sector investments expected

Penang eyes over RM5bil in investments Wednesday, 28 January 2015; GEORGE TOWN: Penang aims to secure more than RM5bil in foreign direct investments from four major electronics companies planning to set up their plants here... Director of InvestPenang, a Penang government investment arm, Datuk Lee Kah Choon, said the four multinational companies (MNCs) were awaiting the approval from Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA). Lee, who is also the special adviser to the Penang Chief Minister, said the MNCs would help spur the state's economy and create as many as 2,000 jobs. "The majority of the jobs available will be for engineers, while the remaining are the supportive roles that include administration and marketing," he told reporters after the briefing on Penangs Economic Outlook 2015 on Wednesday today. He said two of the companies had started recruitment drives here and they would start operations after they received the green light from MIDA....

14 January 2015: Penang construction-related controversies, worries about deterioration of livability, overdevelopment concern starts to scare some expatriate property investors? 

Just how much more development can Penang take, concerned observers ask BY HIMANSHU BHATT AND LOOI SUE CHERN Published: 14 January 2015; (Dennis and his wife) invested in a house in the idyllic Batu Ferringhi tourism belt and for the past five years, as expatriates, have attested to Penang's reputation as one of the most attractive and livable islands in Asia. That was until recently, when they learned of a multi-storey high-density mixed development project which will be built just yards behind their home – despite the Batu Ferringhi area being designated for low-density projects under the Penang Island Structure Plan. A recent string of construction-related controversies that include ugly hill cuttings, urban flash floods and traffic congestion is changing perceptions about Penang's liveability and raising questions as to how much more development the island can take before its environment starts to degrade and the quality of life for residents suffer. Such limits, or carrying capacity, however, have never been confirmed by the state..... But Chow, who is in charge of local government, traffic management and flood mitigation, admitted that the state wanted to maximize land use – which meant allowing hillslope and high-density developments. This is in view of expected demand for new property as the island's population increases. As it is, there were a total of 2,595 planning approvals issued, of which 552 projects took place from 2000 to October this year, according to the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP)...... This situation begs the question of what the authorities use as yardsticks to determine if new development will overtax the island's resources. In the absence of such information, Lim suggested that road congestion could be used as a good reference point...... A study for the master plan has found that there are a quarter of a million vehicular trips being made during peak morning hours every working day in the state. Of these, 42.5% are within the island, underscoring the strain faced by the limited road system..... To date, the delay in gazetting development blueprints for Penang island has taken on a political dimension, with the state Barisan Nasional (BN) opposition criticising the long wait for the Local Plan to take effect.... In the meantime, Dennis, the retired engineer from Europe, and his wife, are now looking at moving away, possibly to Bali. "We were happy here. That's why we invested our money and bought a house," the elderly man said. "But this kind of development scares us as foreigners. I feel very unsafe and insecure......

22 November 2014 - E&E human rights allegations, construction and property, social assistance maxed out says Guan Eng

Rebut human rights abuse allegations, urges Penang by Imran Hilmy; Last updated on 20 November 2014 - 04:27pm; GEORGE TOWN: Penang has urged the federal authorities to rebut allegations that human rights abuses were taking place in the electric and electronic (E&E) sector in Malaysia. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said both the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) and Human Resources Ministry (HRM) should take steps to ensure the country was not sanctioned due to negative perception.... He added any unfavorable impression should be countered before action was taken which could affect the economy, noting Penang had a huge E&E sector. He expressed confidence the claims of human rights violations were not true and urged for quick end to the matter.
"We hope steps are taken to ensure the economy is not affected," he said in a press conference today.
Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin had on Monday claimed the US Labour Department will put Malaysia on the "International Ranking on Forced Labour" watch list next month.... The move comes after global NGO Verite in a report titled "Forced Labour in the Production of Electronic Goods in Malaysia", highlighted several issues by some 500 male and female workers which included deceptive recruitment, poor living conditions and passport retention....

Penang gives out jobs worth RM6bil By: DAVID TAN; Tuesday, 18 November 2014; GEORGE TOWN: The value of jobs given out this year to the construction and renovation industry in Penang is expected to be around RM6bil, compared with RM9.25bil a year ago.... Penang Master Builders and Building Material Dealers Association president Datuk Lim Kai Seng told StarBiz that the number of jobs to be given out this year in Penang was around 400, compared with 539 in 2013.
“The reason for the slowdown is because many of the important construction jobs from the Government had already been given out in 2013.... “Last year saw a record 539 jobs worth RM9.25bil being given out,” Lim said. For the first nine months of 2014, some 308 jobs valued at RM3.3bil were given out, compared with 289 worth RM5.3bil in the corresponding period of 2013, according to the latest Construction Industry Development Board report. Of the 308 jobs, some 45 were from the government sector, while the balance 263 were from the private sector.... It was reported in March that Kuala Lumpur and Penang-based developers would develop RM4.56bil worth of residential and commercial projects in Penang this year amid the challenging environment for the property sector.... Developers set to launch new projects include IJM Land Bhd (gross development value, or GDV, of RM538.5mil), Mah Sing Group Bhd (RM280mil), DNP Land Sdn Bhd (RM800mil), Wing Tai Malaysia Bhd subsidiary Ideal United Bintang (RM935mil), Tambun Indah Land Bhd (RM616mil), Sunway Bhd (RM290mil), SP Setia Bhd (RM300mil) and Eastern & Oriental Bhd (RM800mil)....

Penang can’t afford to spend more to help Penangites: Guan Eng; 15 November 2014 @ 10:14 AM;
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government cannot “cough up” more to help the people in the state, including for transportation and healthcare because it cannot afford it, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.... Lim (DAP-Air Putih) told the State Assembly that this was due to the fact that the state government had already extended “gold” assistance focusing on certain target groups... Among them are for warga emas (senior citizens), anak emas (special needs children), pelajar emas (outstanding students), schools, students of religious schools, the state’s Equitable Economic Agenda, net aid for fishermen, taxi drivers and trishaw riders.... “All these have totalled RM287,138,545.51 since 2008, and for 2015, RM116.94 million has been set aside for this purpose. “If there is added expenditure (for aiding people), the state government will not only experience a budget deficit but also might go bankrupt,” he said when winding up debate on the state’s Supply Bill 2015 yesterday....

9 July 2014 - Penang mega transport plan

Hot in recent Malaysia investor news is Penang's new integrated transportation plan. It will apparently be funded in large part by a land swap/ reclamation deal i.e. property development on reclaimed land. I happened to meet the Penang Chief Minister at the airport last week and ventured to say hello. He asked if I was from Penang and encouraged me to move and buy property in Penang - there's apparently upside to home prices there!

Starting to talk to international public policy specialists on this.

Q: Is DAP in Penang taking the Singapore PAP route of making property development a large component of its economy? Is this perhaps the only way they can get things done given federal-state financing situation in Malaysia?

A1. Interesting, but would have to be done carefully—Federal-State coordination still needed-otherwise political risk high. Singapore does not need to worry about that.
Broker research news on Penang's mega transport project:
Malaysia Construction (Hoy Kit Mak) - Penang integrated transportation plan positive for the sector - ALERT
"We remain positive on the Malaysian Construction sector, a beneficiary of the upcoming M$160B railway-related infrastructure spending. Latest newsflow on Penang’s plan for a M$27B integrated transportation plan (M$5B initial) is positive for contractors with deep pockets and large-scale project management expertise. A request for the proposal will be called next month, and key contenders include Gamuda, IJM, Scomi and WCT. We think IJM/Gamuda has an advantage, with a bias toward Gamuda, our top sector pick and one of our top country picks."
Malaysia Construction - Mega-projects: Let’s be realistic by  Tushar Mohata; Alpa Aggarwal, Nomura 08 Jul 2014: "News report suggesting Gamuda favourite for Penang transport project manager role§ Over the weekend, an article in The Star (Gamuda leads pack for multi-billion ringgit Penang transport job, 5 July 2014) suggested that Gamuda (GAM MK, Buy) is a frontrunner for the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) role for the Penang island integrated transportation plan, with the project worth as much as MYR 27bn (recall that the PDP fee for MRT Line 1 was 6% of the total project value). § The market has taken this news positively, with Gamuda’s stock price up 2.5% on Monday.Mega-project awards to be slow; advise investors to be conservative§ We caution investors on having high expectations from Malaysian mega-projects (such as the Penang transport plan) in the near to medium-term. The government has multiple mega-projects on its radar as part of its Economic Transformation Plan goals, and construction works for some of these projects may involve a huge capital outlays. § Indeed, as we have seen in the past, various projects keep surfacing in media reports / budget announcements, only to be put on the backburner again (see Fig 2, a case in point being the MYR 8bn Gemas – JB Southern Double Tracking project, which has been discussed for several years now but is nowhere close to being awarded, in our view).Stick to high likelihood project winners – e.g., MRT Line 2, WCE§ Keeping the fiscal constraints in mind, as well as pending negotiations with the population over land acquisition and alignment issues, the government might spread out the award of these projects over multiple years. § The government is also likely to prioritize projects that have more immediate multiplier effects, and as a result, some of these discussed projects might not see the light of day anytime soon (see Fig 2).§ It is very difficult to say whether the Penang transport project will take off in the coming months, or to speculate on possible winners, in our view. Moreover, the winner of the Penang transport jobs will be compensated through a land swap / reclamation deal, which would take years to monetize through property development activities on the reclaimed land.§ As a result, we advise investors to selectively stick with contractors whose projects are already partially off the ground / awarded. We like Gamuda (GAM MK, Buy), as we are confident of the company’s prospects on MRT Line 2 Underground and PDP works and not for the Penang projects. We also like IJM (IJM MK, Buy) because of its more certain near-term earnings from the recently awarded West Coast Expressway (WCE) contract.§ Additionally, with 30-50% of their earnings being driven by property, these companies also benefit from a less volatile, higher-margin earnings stream."