Federal agencies agree to toe Penang’s line

December 19th, 2014 No comments

Federal development agencies JKP Sdn Bhd and the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) have agreed to comply with state requirements on their projects in Penang.

Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said JKP and Perda will be amending their development plans to comply with what the state government wants.

He said both bodies will also be submitting their justifications with regards to pricing of the residential units within their projects.

“Perda and JKP are always ready to work with the state government and the local authorities to provide comfortable and affordable housing to the people in Penang,” he said in a statement today.

The move comes after Zainal and state Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh met on Wednesday to sort out issues relating to projects by the two federal agencies.

Both agencies and the state have been at loggerheads for some time over the issue with Zainal alleging the projects were held up but Jagdeep denying that was so.

JKP has eight projects while Perda has seven involving a total of 9,444 residential and commercial units.

Jagdeep meanwhile said the state was prepared to consider applications for low-cost and low-medium cost residential units for land procured through land acquisition for public purpose.

He said the state was prepared to consider applications if prices for housing units did not breach the RM400,000 ceiling on the island and RM250,000 on the mainland for land not procured through land acquisition.

“Both Perda and JKP were asked to submit their official request before Jan 15 next year,” he said in a press conference today adding the State Planning Committee (SPC) will be deliberating the matter.

Source: The Sun Daily



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Think City launches RM30m grant for nationwide urban renewal programmes

December 19th, 2014 No comments

Fresh off a successful run of pumping RM17.5 million in grants to inject energy into George Town, Think City is seeking to replicate its success by partnering the public and local governments of the national capital and Butterworth. — Picture by K.E.Ooi

If you live in Kuala Lumpur, George Town or Butterworth and have ideas to make your city a better place to live, you can tap Think City for its new RM30 million public grant for urban renewal.

Fresh off a successful run of pumping RM17.5 million in grants to inject energy into George Town, Think City is seeking to replicate its success by partnering the public and local governments of the national capital and Butterworth, a township on Penang’s mainland that has undergone a development boom in recent years.

Think City’s Hamdan Abdul Majeed said Butterworth was chosen as it was a counterpart to its more popular cousin on the island — George Town — and is a typical “secondary city” where there is generally a “narrow population base, limited sense of opportunities” and is struggling to find its own identity.

For the country’s capital city Kuala Lumpur, Hamdan said the organisation will focus on its downtown — a one kilometre radius from Masjid Jamek — which houses the city’s roots and history, along with multiple heritage buildings.

“Each of the city, the focal point will be different,” said the CEO of state investment arm Khazanah Nasional’s wholly-owned subsidary when announcing the new grant programme today.

“We hope we’ll be able to get support and participation from the wider public through the grants programme,” he told reporters here.

The expected RM30 million figure for the fund over the next three years is based on the annual RM8 to RM10 million allocated to Think City by Khazanah Nasional’s foundation — Yayasan Hasanah.

Anyone from individuals, NGOs, schools, community councils, private property owners to companies may apply for grants of between RM10,000 to RM100,000 through forms available on Think City’s website: www.thinkcity.com.my/tcgrants

The projects can be wide-ranging including public art, but a key criteria will be sustainability — where projects can live on even if grants are no longer given out, Hamdan said.

“Typically a lot of grants will focus on restoration of buildings, improvement of public spaces, cultural; could also be activities in the city, urban mobility projects, what I call innovative and creative ideas about making the city better, greening, making the urban environment more conducive,” he said, also adding that applications for grant amounts beyond RM100,000 could be considered based on the projects’ impact to the cities.

The deadline for the first round of application is January 31, 2015, with ThinkCity then carrying out an eight-week assessment before announcing the approved grants in early April.

Think City is still assessing the impact of its previous grant program on George Town and is expected to announce the historic city’s inclusion in the same RM30 million Think City Grants Programme in the second quarter next year.

Think City has already started laying down the groundwork for its foray into the fourth city on its list, the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor in Johor, with possible plans to extend the grants to the fast-booming city.

Hamdan said Think City is focusing on arts and culture in Iskandar and is trying to identify areas where they can “fill in the gaps” in the rapidly-developing city.

“For example, possibility is there to have a proper signage system, to improve green environment in the city,” he said, pointing out that a city is not merely a “block of buildings”.

Economic impact, better living

Think City thinks it can help quadruple the amount of money being pumped in to regenerate the cities, when matched against disbursements of its own public grants.

“Our experience shows that we are able to get a ratio of one to four, meaning for every dollar we put in, they are able to attract three to four dollars into the project. This is not in any way even estimating the spillover effects,” Hamdan said.

In Think City’s George Town experience, every RM1 disbursed in grant saw private stakeholders putting in an additional RM6, with stakeholders investing RM98.4 million against Think City’s RM16.4 million during the 2010-2013 period.

According to Think City, 87 heritage buildings were restored and 600 jobs were created in the UNESCO heritage site George Town as a result of its grant programme – which eventually came to a total of RM17.5 million for over 240 projects in the past four years.

Hamdan said Think City aims to add value to existing projects and initiatives, saying: “We are very happy that in each of the city that we are looking at, there’s already a momentum in the cities. So we are confident to say that in the next three to four years, we are expecting positive outcomes from these kind of collaborations.”

Hamdan also spoke on the need for an “urban movement” where every citizen would take “ownership” of their cities.

“Seventy-five per cent of Malaysians live in cities, it’s no longer a case of rural community. But then urban living is very challenging, so how do you make urban living better? That’s where the whole idea of having an urban movement is very essential to ensure our cities are liveable and sustainable,” he said.

Source: The Malay Mail Online



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After four-year wait, Penang Island to finally get city status

December 17th, 2014 2 comments

Penang Island will soon be declared a city, the state government confirmed today, after announcing Putrajaya’s approval of its status application made back in January 2010.

State local government and traffic management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Cabinet finally approved the upgrade at a meeting last month.

He told a press conference here that the Penang government received a letter from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry on December 10 notifying the state of the decision.

Chow added, however, that final approval will have to come from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“We have to wait for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to formally declare George Town as a city before it is official,” he said.

With the city status, the Penang Island Municipal Council will now be renamed as the Penang Island City Council.

Chow said this also means the council would be able to hire more officers and staff members, apart from an increase in jurisdictional powers in matters like traffic management and enforcement.

It is understood that when applying for Penang Island’s city status in 2010, the state had also sought to open up the council to include more vacancies for staff members in the council.

With its status upgrade, the Penang Island City Council will now also have the power to revise the island’s boundaries to include reclaimed lands such as Macallum Street, Seri Tanjung Pinang and Sungai Gelugor.

The existing boundaries under the Penang Island Municipal Council do not include these areas and covers only George Town instead of the entire island.

For example, the installation of traffic lights within the town area falls under the council’s purview but similar works done outside this boundary is handled by the Public Works Department.

Penang’s capital, George Town, was already granted city status by way of royal charter from Queen Elizabeth II on January 1,1957 but has not been acknowledged by Putrajaya.

The whole of Penang including the mainland has two municipal councils, one the Island Municipal Council and another, the Seberang Perai municipal council on the mainland.

Source: The Malay Mail Online



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Petition for lower tariff

December 17th, 2014 No comments

Joint management bodies (JMB) of high-rise buildings in four states and the Federal Territory want a special tariff for electricity to be introduced.

They are asking the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry to intervene in the matter.

Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik said the JMBs and other management corporations from Penang, Perak, Selangor, Johor and Kuala Lumpur had submitted 403 petitions to the ministry.

“They are asking for a new policy to help them cope with the high electricity tariff.

“We want the ministry to urge Tenaga Nasional Berhad to set a new tariff for residential complexes without the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“Flats, condominiums, serviced apartments and gated communities should be allowed to have a new tariff that is higher than the tariff for residential premises but much lower than tariffs for commercial premises and with a flat rate,” he said.

He added that the tariff should cover all common areas and facilities in residential high-rise buildings such as the corridors, surau, lifts, water pumps, community halls and management offices.

At a recent press conference in Anson Road in Penang, Ng said that currently, the electricity commercial tariff for high-rise buildings was higher than the tariff imposed on other residential units.

“To add to it, there was a 15% electricity hike earlier this year, and with the GST imposed next year, there will be a 6% hike on top of that,” he said,

“The commercial tariff is subject to GST and there is no way of avoiding it.”

He said that the issue required the urgent intervention of the ministry.

“We hope something can be put in place before April 1,” he said.

He added that residential buildings with more than 300 units would be subjected to the GST.

A total of 366 petitions were from Penang while the rest came from the other states and Kuala Lumpur.

Source: StarProperty.my



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Step up, buyers urged

December 16th, 2014 No comments

Work to revitalise the abandoned Majestic Heights Phase 2A project in Paya Terubong, Penang, can go ahead only with the cooperation of at least 220 owners.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that so far, 127 unit owners had signed the agreement to execute the commencement of the project.

“We need at least 93 more buyers to come forward to start this project again,” he said at a press conference at Komtar yesterday.

Lim added that each owner needed to pay RM10,000 upon signing the agreement.

“The amount was fixed after a successful negotiation between us and the developer PLB KH-BINA,” he said, adding that initially, the proposal was for each owner to pay RM45,000 for the rehabilitation.

Lim said the company has also agreed to extend the defect liability period from three months to 12 months.

“I hope the purchasers will settle this issue quickly so they can have their homes ready soon,” he added.

The buyers can sign the agreement tomorrow at Komtar Level 53 or make an appointment with the law firm Salina, Lim Kim Chuan & Co.

The project known as Taman Paya Terubong (Majestic Heights Phase 2A) was abandoned in 1998.At that time, the physical completion was already 70%.

The project has 370 units comprising 342 low medium-cost units, six shoplots and 22 light industrial units.

Source: StarProperty.my



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