Category: Swhengtee News Published: Saturday, 03 August 2013 16:55
FLYING START: Four property industry figures will spearhead Discover Iskandar Malaysia Tour 2013 to promote Iskandar among investors in Southeast Asia
More property developers, both local and foreign, have been flocking to the Iskandar region in Johor to capitalise on its rapid growth in recent years. A slew of mega developments in the southern SEZ (Special Economic Zone) are set to tip the supply scale in a big way. A prime example is the enormous Country Garden Danga Bay (CGDB) project by Country Garden Holdings Ltd, a top Chinese developer, offering a staggering 9,000 residential and commercial units due to complete by 2018.
With such a massive number of units flooding the Iskandar market in the coming years, promotional activities for the region are about to step up another notch with the launch of the Discover Iskandar Malaysia Tour 2013 scheduled for next month.
Initiated by IRDA (Iskandar Regional Development Authority) in collaboration with iProperty.com, (a property portal) and with the support of Tourism Malaysia, the tour aims to create greater awareness of Iskandar among investors and home buyers in the Asian region, while at the same time promoting Iskandar developers.
Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of iProperty.com feels that although Iskandar is probably the biggest standalone project in the region and is set to change the Malaysian property landscape, it still needs to be aggressively promoted because there is a lot of competition for property investments from other emerging markets within the region.
“There will be an extensive online campaign backed up by physically taking Iskandar’s key developers to property expos in Malaysia and several selected countries in the region, as well as producing a coffee table book to showcase the various developments in Iskandar. We will be looking to leverage on our company’s unique position to attract buyers from Malaysia, Singapore and other countries, as well as riding on our good relationship with developers,” explains Di Gregorio, adding that he sees this initiative as a long-term campaign and not a one-off exercise, with plans to take the tour as far as the US, UK and Australia in the future.
Another key element of the tour is the invited guest speakers or ‘ambassadors’ comprising four prominent industry figures from various professional backgrounds. NST RED speaks to these four Iskandar ambassadors about their roles in the campaign and thoughts on Iskandar moving forward.
Founder and President of SwhengTee International Real Estate Investors Club
Tee: I will be talking more about the property investment aspect of Iskandar Malaysia, in line with the masterplan for the region. For example, a lot of people have been asking me about the number of units being built and the people moving into Iskandar, which is something that I want to touch on. I believe the Iskandar region is experiencing one of the biggest migration of people in Malaysia, or even in Southeast Asia. Timing in property investment is always crucial. I believe it is the right time for Iskandar to become the regional centre and leader for many fields such as tourism, education or even become a world financial hub like Singapore or Switzerland. I will analyse this and let investors know why now is the right time to invest in Iskandar.
Compared to similar SEZs like Shenzhen or Dubai, we can see that development in Iskandar is not actually crazy or overbuilt in terms of supply, as some would perceive it. I will analyse more on the supply and demand factor in Iskandar.
Essentially, everyone looks at the investment returns and short term/long-term rentals. One of the main challenges in promoting Iskandar is to present Iskandar as a holistic concept, rather than as various fragmented property developments. We need to promote Iskandar as an integrated concept of a metropolis city to attract and convince more investors to take a look at Iskandar.
CEO/Founder, Greater Synergy Group
Ahyat: My objective is to share with participants, both domestic and foreign, a young investor’s perspective of this amazing Iskandar Malaysia region. Seven out of 10 Malaysians today are below the age of 39 and I feel proud to represent this breed of young investors.
Iskandar truly embodies vibrant aspirations and will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My main objective is to tell investors in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong and other parts of the world the true investment story about Iskandar Malaysia. Now, if you ask 10 people about Iskandar, you might get 10 different answers. Today, eight years into the 20-year Iskandar Masterplan that kicked off in 2006, many still do not really understand what Iskandar really is. I still meet active property investors who do not know much about Iskandar.
What is most shocking is that more Singaporeans know more about Iskandar than investors in KL. There are probably many factors behind this, but to me this is unacceptable. I want KL investors to know about the opportunities available in Iskandar, even if they are too focused with the vast opportunities in the Greater KL area.
I would also urge the locals in JB to open their hearts and get involved in this massive wave of development. It is only natural that some may feel victimised and marginalised when there’s a surge of growth, but it is always about what we can do about it rather than what others could do for them. Locals in JB should be at the forefront of investment in this region.
To many Singaporeans, properties at even RM1,000 psf in Iskandar are very cheap for them at current exchange rates. I would wish to engage with young Singaporeans and share with them the possibilities and opportunities in Iskandar.
The same goes to my fellow young investors in Jakarta and Hong Kong.
Ho Chin Soon
Director, Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd
Ho: We have been looking at the statistics of the population growth in Johor Bahru district, which effectively is Iskandar Malaysia. For the past 30 years, the area has been the number one growth region in terms of population in Malaysia. There are almost two million people in the Johor Bahru district based on a very conservative growth rate estimate of 4 per cent per annum.
We need to highlight this natural population growth to investors. Iskandar Malaysia is something of a natural phenomenon mainly because of its proximity to Singapore. We will run through some of Iskandar’s historical background, key locations, house price index and statistics. We will also run through our latest maps to show flagship developments, key developers and why they are in Iskandar.
In my opinion, the essence of the potential of Iskandar is very simple. Just ask yourself, do you have confidence in Singapore and can it prosper 10-15 years from now? Can it continue to be a strong financial centre? Can it compete with other cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai? If the answers are yes, Iskandar will be a reflection of their success. I see Iskandar Malaysia and Singapore as close siblings because the respective economies are inextricably linked to each other.
Managing Partner and Founder, Chur Associates
Tan: I will be looking at it from a legal perspective, considering my background. For investment purposes, you need familiarity of legal framework. So the topic of my presentation will be “First Date with Iskandar Malaysia” to let people know a little bit of Iskandar’s background.
Any investment on real estate is impossible without a proper legal structure or support. It’s impossible to invest in anything without any assurance by the authorities or the government. I’m highlighting what has been put in place from the Malaysian, Singaporean, as well as from a common perspective and how we are different from Shenzhen or Hong Kong that is famously known as “One Country, Two Systems”.
I think Iskandar and Singapore is a good answer to Shenzhen-Hong Kong simply because our systems and commercial requirements are more similar and blend in easily with each other. Both sides need each other. One thing that is noticeably different is that Shenzhen-Hong Kong needed a formal agreement or a treaty to be signed between the Chinese and Hong Kong governments to make sure that Shenzhen was a success.
We do not have that proper G2G (Government-to-Government) agreement on how we can develop Singapore and Iskandar together. Things here are probably more market and infrastructure driven. We can see now that since 2007, Iskandar has matured progressively.
We will also examine how the government has gone out of their way to ensure that Iskandar Malaysia is a success. For example, the unique land lease model that is one-of-a-kind in Malaysia, which the federal government is willing to implement at the expense of overriding the authority of the state government.
At the end of the day, it is how you ensure consistency in terms of delivery. As we all know, Iskandar is a special creature. There is of course some tension between the federal and state government in terms of overlapping legal matters. Nevertheless, I would also say that overall it is the most matured product in Southeast Asia in terms of the legal framework.
For example, it is the only location in the whole of Southeast Asia where direct ownership for foreigners is allowed and encouraged. Comparatively, Indonesia still hasn’t opened up to FDO (Foreign Direct Ownership). The only two countries where this is possible are Singapore and Malaysia. Our law has always been there from the beginning to facilitate foreign ownership of land, unlike in some countries where you are uncertain of what would happen if there is a regime change.
Source : RED New Straits Times