Monthly Archives: October 2011

Think out of the box to offset rising costs, developers told

BINTULU: Developers have to think out of the box like never before to cushion the impact of the increase in operational cost.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) vice-president cum Bintulu branch liaison chairman Troy Yaw Chee Weng said with increase in building materials, labour and other cost, developers and operators must find other ways.

“The cost is escalating and we can’t run away from this fact,” he said at the Sheda Home & Property Roadshow at ParkCity Everly Hotel here.

“Who said a house must have a roof … We have no choice, it’s not an option — we have no choice but to relook into all these new building materials which may be a little bit expensive for now but if you factor in labour and material cost you could save, I think its worth working on it,” he said.

Yaw said Bintulu was blessed with the Samalaju project.

“We are experiencing the third boom in Bintulu. This is all multi-billion dollar business mind-mapping we normally can’t understand, but its happening here.”

He said there were opportunities for the people, especially business players in developing Bintulu town.

There are 200 over Japanese families here and they will be here for many more years to come. It’s about time to think about building quality homes, quality Japanese restaurant, he said.

“The opportunities in Bintulu are enormous over the next five or 10 years and already some contractors are benefiting from the earthwork contracts.

“We are into a very challenging time and into a very exciting period as well and Bintulu will continue to spearhead a better future,” said Yaw.

Bintulu Development Authority as the sole government agency managing the growth of Bintulu has already come up with their master plan, relocating some of the squatters, planning to build thousands of low cost houses and transforming Bintulu into a friendly industrial city by year 2020.

“In the old days, people see Bintulu as a working town. People come here to work but not intending to stay long. Now that is changing; there are opportunities for hotels, homes and apartments. We need to open up our minds,” he stressed.

Sheda has about 13 members in Bintulu and 277 members throughout Sarawak.

“It is our aim to strive to have a good working relationship with the government authority. Over the years we have done just that.

“It does not mean we can overcome all the issues faced by developers in the state; some of it pursued for years without achieving our outcome. But that does not mean we are going to stop,” Yaw said.

He also commented on the statement made by Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg during the opening of Sarbex 2011exhibition in Kuching recently, that it was time to review all government policies to keep up with the times.

“That means he realises rules are made by people and should be amended by people when they become obsolete.

“We are glad to have a minister who is prepared to amend change, regulations stipulated by authority if necessary,” Yaw said.

Also present at the function were Sheda president Zaidi Ahmad, deputy president Joseph Wong Kee Liong and organising chairman Yek Nai Kwong.

Guest of honour BDA general manager Datu Mohidin Ishak was represented by his assistant general manager Pulusagi Tran.


‘Budget 2012 people-oriented’

WHAT HAVE WE HERE?: Zaidi (third right), Troy Yaw (second right) and others visit a booth.


BINTULU: Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak for his commitment in tabling a responsible people-oriented Budget 2012 recently.

Especially the painstaking efforts to address rising costs of living and bringing down the deficit to 4.7 per cent in 2012 from 5.4 per cent in 2011, said its president Zaidi Ahmad.

According to Zaidi the expansion of the My First Home Scheme (MFHS) with a proposal to increase the limit of house prices from a maximum of RM220,000 to RM400,000, and joint salary threshold of RM6,000 effective January 2012 is a response  to the call by MDC (Malaysian Developers’ Council) to increase the price threshold above RM220,000 as the cost of these properties in major towns was much higher.

“Coupled with the introduction of a New Civil Service Remuneration Scheme, salary improvement restructuring and increase of retirement age, government servants would have more disposable income and savings to pursue their dream homes which is positive for the industry,” he said.

He said MFHS and Prima (Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia) need to be expanded to Sarawak concurrently and urgently to ensure deserving Sarawakians enjoy the same benefits.

Thus he urged Bintulu Development Authority and Ministry of Housing to request the federal government for immediate implementation of such projects in Sarawak.

He said this at the opening ceremony of Sheda Home & Property Roadshow 2011 at ParkCity Everly Hotel from Oct 11 to 13.

Also present were Sheda deputy president Joseph Wong Kee Liong, Sheda vice-president cum branch liaison chairman Troy Yaw Chee Weng and organising chairman Yek Nai Kwong.

Representing BDA general manager Datu Mohidin Ishak as guest-of-honour was his assistant general manager Pulusagi Tran.

“We laud the policy that the financing of these schemes be undertaken by Islamic banks,” said Zaidi.

On this subject, he said Islamic banks could also look into financing based on supplementary agreements of LCH and LC+H as an intermediary solution to LCH issues faced by developers, while waiting for a policy review by the government.

“Sheda opined that a review of the Real Property Gains Tax (RGPT) to 10 per cent for properties held and disposed within two years, and five per cent exceeding two years and up to five years to curb excessive speculation is timely insofar as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and maybe Johor Bharu are concerned.

“However we believe property markets especially in Sarawak are not highly speculative but mostly owner-occupied, and this move will certainly act as a deterrence to upgraders and investors alike. We hope the government could review this requirement,” he said.

This year the roadshow was participated by 23 exhibitors comprising developers, bankers, property valuers, real estate agents, suppliers of building materials, home furnishing, sanitary ware, furniture, security and smart home system.

Grander international Kite Festival Next Year

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THE Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) plans to make the Borneo International Kite Festival next year even grander following the hugely successful 2011 event last week.

BDA secretary Mohd Bohari Kipli said the overwhelming response to this year’s festival – the 7th in the series – would spur the organisers to do an even better job for the 8th edition next year.

“Aside from the locals, we hope more people throughout the state and nation, and indeed, the world, will attend the festival the next round,” he enthused.

He fervently hoped the Tourism Ministry would allocate more funds for the 2012 festival, scheduled in August or September.

At a farewell-cum-prize giving ceremony, Mohd Bohari said fine weather on most days of the festival was one of the reasons for the a big turn-out.

“With friendly winds right from the opening of Gudi Festival, we were able to carry out all events smoothly,” he added.

Over 120,000 people converged at the Bintulu Old Airport for four-day 7th festival which began last Thursday and ended last Sunday.

Mohd Bohari said the festival was one of the annual events in Bintulu, and this year, it drew participants from countries like Belgium, the US, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

“Although it didn’t make the Malaysia Book of Records for having the most kites flying simultaneously at a single time, the festival produced an atmosphere that was colourful and vibrant, livening up the town for nearly a week.”

He urged the international participants to persuade their friends and families to come for the festival again next year, saying “apart from enjoying the festivities, they can also learn about the local cultures.”

Great atmosphere

A Singaporean, Gadis Widiyati, who won the award for the
“most committed kite flyer”, thanked the organisers for the hospitality, and the opportunity to learn about Sarawakian cultures together with the rest of the participants, especially the first-time visitors.

“It was a great festival — wonderful atmosphere with the full support of the public. As kite flyers, we believe we have a strong bonding through our hobby,” said Widiyati who never missed the chance to join the festival.

Generally, stall holders at the festival’s trade expo were happy with the public response, saying the crowd were bigger this year.

A regular trader selling food, including traditional cuisine, and drinks, said the festival gave the locals an avenue to promote their products and earn extra incomes.

One of the international teams — i-Quad Team — said they were honoured to be in Bintulu to share with the local people their passion for kite flying.

i-Quad Team, representing five countries, comprised David Hathaway (Canada), Barry Poulter (England), Steve De Rooji (Holland), Takako Barresi (Japan), John Barresi and Willow Robin Demers (US).

In the previous year, the canopy of the main stage was blown down by strong winds, and a storm wreaked havoc on the programme. This year, the weather was better, and though there were strong winds on some days,  only a handful of stall operators reported having some
of their items blown away.

Awards presentation

A total of 16 awards were presented.

Sazali Moss of Sarawak won the first-ever World Kite Fighting Championship award with Supriyanto of Indonesia as the runner-up. The third and fourth placings went to Roslan Buswari of Kota Kinabalu and Norizamiwati Mohd Zaman of Kuala Lumpur Flyer Club.

Gadis Widiyati (Singapore) won the platinum award for the Most Committed Kite Flyer with the silver and bronze going to Awang Masli Hussein (Brunei) and Azemi Ariffin (Penang).

i-Quad Team took two awards – for the Best Team and for the 100th Participation in a Kite Festival.

Japan’s Air-Rex was the Best International Team while Putrajaya Kite Association was the Top National Team.

Andreas Fishbacher of Germany and England’s Sara Longbottom were judged the Most Committed International Kite Flyers in the male and female categories respectively.

Awards for the Most Sporting National Male and Female Flyers went to Christ Tan of Windancer KL and Norizamiwati Mohd Zaman of KL Flyer Club.

Ron and Baew Spaulding of Thailand took the Most Sporting Kite Couple award while France’s Rosier Bertrand won the Most Colourful Kite category.

Vietnam won for the Most Colourful 2D Kite award.

In the Rokakko Challenge, MAS Club beat Vietnam to the title.

Sarawak’s Ismail Mohd Jaafar won the Best Train Kite award with Maksum (Indonesian Kite Museum) in second spot.