Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Straits Quay - Penang's 1st Retail Marina to re-define entertainment experience

2 new malls opened in Penang this week! The First Avenue Mall at Georgetown city centre and Straits Quay at Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong.

1st Avenue Mall, opens progressively since 26 November and official launch on 3Q 2011

Although both are just soft launching with few of the tenants opened, but in the near future, latest by 3rd Quarter in 2011, the retail landscape in Penang will be changed! Not to mention the coming Gurney Paragon and Penang Timesquares 2nd Phase. Penang-lang will have more choices rather than the current Gurney Plaza and Queensbay Mall.

This post is about Straits Quay. I had passed through there few times but it was not opened to public then.

So, I got the pictures from Straits Quay Facebook page and few other blogs. And I believe the pics will tell the stories =)

British style, classy. A touch of elegance
Imagine the new year countdown here with the fireworks

Aerial View on Straits Quay

It's a multi-billions project by E&O Groups. This is just the 1st Phase.

Water Taxi to carry visitors from E&O Hotel, but strictly for hotel customers

Romantic Penang when night falls

A lot of branded tenants will move in soon, the best of the best is the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, which is 3rd in the world.

Enjoy a cup of coffee after a day of tired work...soft music in the background


The very first marina retail in Malaysia

DOME is already opened. Expect many more fine dining restaurants here.
i-Dragon is investing RM 5M here, 小笼包 facing the sea soon?

I wish to have my b'day here XD
The entrance

A different feel.

Christmas light up is ready! Let's count down for Christmas there!
Another great thing about Strait Quay - there'll be the 1st ever Performing Art Centre (PAC) in Penang! PenangPAC will adopt the successful KLPac model featuring all genres of the performing arts, exhibitions, opera and theatre.

Good you can watch orchestra here! Besides it offers another options for stage event rather than the fully-booked Dewan Sri Pinang or Komtar Dome.

Excited for the official launch of Straits Quay on July 2011 (if not mistaken)! By then 1st Avenue Mall will have above 80% tenants in and these will bring more colors to Penang lifestyle.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

(PART 2) My Thoughts :- PNB 100 –storey tower & Malaysia Economy


KLCC from Sky Bar

1. Yes, mega project has it pros. KLCC project has multiplied effect and is a success. It has not just become the landmark of Malaysia but sparked a property boom in the surrounding area which today boasts the city’s most expensive condominiums.

2. However, we should always be reminded that construction spending does stimulate the economy, but it does very little to create a high-income economy.

3. We’ve spent the past 20 years focusing on construction, and what has it done to Malaysia? Yes, we have some very nice infrastructures but still trapped in the middle-income group.

4. Malaysia has transformed a lot since independence and achieved some scale of success.

5. But we are not doing fast and good enough.

6. In the book Pilot Studies on New Penang edited by Ooi Kee Beng and Goh Ban Lee, it clearly stated late-comer nations must acquire industrial and technological capability through sustainable investment to catch up with advanced nations.

7. Asian Newly Industrialised Economics (NIEs) or popular known as 4 Small Dragons such as Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore did very well in this case.

Taiwan High Speed Rail, 300KM/H, connecting Taipei to Kaohshiung.
Imagine we can travel from Penang to KL / KL to Singapore less than 2 hours?

Singapore newly opened The Sand @ Marina Bay.
Center Business District in the background.
The successful restored of Cheonggyecheon River at Seoul.
It was even worser than Sg Pinang / Klang River by then.

Sexy Skyline Victoria Bay @ Hong Kong

8. In the 60s, Malaysia was on par even more developed than the above nations. However, 40 years later they have far exceeded us. Taiwan and South Korea have their world famous brands such as Acer, HTC, Hong Hai, LG, Samsung, Kia while Singapore and Hong Kong are the world financial centers.

9. And one has to be reminded the above nations barely have any natural resources compared to us.

10. Talking about human capital, one cannot miss the significance role of Research & Development (R&D) on a nation development. I would like to highlight few data here which tell the stories.

10.1 Total no. of Scientific Publication (2001- 2005)

Indonesia -------------------2,903
Philippines -----------------2,462
Malaysia ------------------6,535
Thailand ------------------11,653
Singapore ----------------28,117
Taiwan -------------------75,620
South Korea -----------110,012
US --------------------1,512,217

SOURCE: Wong and Ho (2007b), computed from Thomson Reuters National Science Indicator.

10.2 Total no. of USPTO Utility Patents (2001 – 2005)

Malaysia ---------------464
Thailand ----------------201
Indonesia ----------------59
Philippines -------------162
Singapore ------------2,375
South Korea -------20,501
Taiwan -------------27,838

Souce: Wong and Ho (2007b)

10.3 Publication and Citations of Selected Malaysian Universities vs other Asian Universities (Jan 1999- Feb 2009)

University---------No of Papers ---------------------------No of Citations

USM ------------------------------------------3,250 -----------------13,257
UM --------------------------------------------3,439 -----------------14,316
UKM ------------------------------------------1,528 ------------------5,624
Hong Kong University of Sci & Tech ---10,402 -----------------96,281
NUS ------------------------------------------28,602 ---------------236,388
National Taiwan University ---------------27,225 ---------------196,631
University of Tokyo -----------------------67,864 ----------------882,361

SOURCE: Compiled from Thomson ISI’ Essential Science Indicator

11. The data has shown us clearly Malaysia has to work harder especially in terms of Research & Development.

12. Many agree that the key towards transformation is to focus on attracting and retaining human capital, good education system, ease of doing business, good governance, equal education and job opportunities, political stability and above all, focus more on R&D.

13. (Quote from The Edge) It’s disheartening as Budget 2011 just allocates RM482 million for R&D&C (Research & Development & Commercialization), which is a miserable 0.2% of total budget. Whereas South Korea allocates 3.37% of its GDP, a whopping R&D budget of RM84 billion which is almost 200 times than we do. In Singapore latest budget, they plan to spend 3.5% of their GDP on R&D, or RM7.7 billion a year. Malaysia R&D budget is just 6% of Singapore’s.

14. Now we know what is our strength and where we should work harder.

15. I’m a local undergraduate who loves my country Malaysia. It is my biggest wish to see Malaysia prospers and be a developed country. There’re already a lot of Malaysia's success stories such as Air Asia’s Tony Fernandes, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong who founded Genting Group, CIMB’s Dato Sri Nazir Razak and PETRONAS.

16. Our neighbor countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines are developing progressively and might overtake us soon.

17. We have no time to waste.

18. What Malaysia will be 20 years later depends on what we do now.

19. Let’s us together, regardless of background, do our part for this nation.

References and quotes from:-
1. Interesting, but transformation it is not by V Sivapalan on Money+Entrepreneurship The Edge October 25, 2010

2. Take a second look at the 100-storey tower by Azam Aris on My Say The Edge October 25, 2010

3. Warisan Merdeka: Build and they will come? By Jenny Ng on Big Money The Edge October 25, 2010

4. Not just growth for growth’s sake Cover Story The Edge October 25, 2010

5. Data of KL city office space supply and demand, from Ministry of Finance’s National Property Information Centre (Napic), retrieved 13 November 2011 on http://www.jpph.gov.my/V1/index3service.php?versi=1&no_khidmat=3&no_item=3&showold=yes&page=2

6. Bangkok Skyline, proposed skyscraper , retrieved 13 November 2011 on http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=956606&page=2

7. Cambodia to build Asia tallest skyscraper, retrieved 13 November 2011 on http://www.property-report.com/site/cambodia-to-build-south-east-asias-tallest-tower-8892

8. Ranking of tallest Skyscraper, retrieved 13 November 2011 on http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=102116&page=53

9. Global cities, retrieved 13 November 2011 on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city

10. Page 23, 29, 35, 48 Asia’s Shift towards Innocation and Its Implication for Penang, Pilot Studies for a New Penang edited by Ooi Kee Beng & Goh Ban Lee

11. All pictures are searched from Google

(PART 1) My Thoughts :- PNB 100 - storey tower & Malaysia Economy

1. Lying on my bed in the hot afternoon after exam paper, I flipped over the colorful pages of The Edge Malaysia and read through a lot of articles regarding Malaysia plans to transform into a high-income nation.

2. Moments later on Facebook, a friend of mine shared an article from Bloomberg which is about Singapore’s GDP has overtaken Malaysia’s, a country 478 times its size.

3. As a Malaysian, I really wish to see the transformation of my country towards a developed state which will give our people a better life. Here, I would like to share some opinions on Budget 2011 especially the controversial PNB 100-storey tower.

4. I’m particularly interested about the Greater KL Plan, one of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) identified under the ambitious Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), which aims to double gross national income per capital to RM48, 000 from the present RM23, 700. (This means our wealth will double in less than 10 years, wow!)

5. The budget surprisingly focus seems to be on intensifying Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives in the form of allocation for the development of infrastructure support and various high-impact projects such the MRT (will write more through personal experience in 2 best MRT system in the world Taipei & Singapore), the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) and Warisan Merdeka.

6. “Cities only grow or die, they don’t stand still” – said New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally at the recent Global CEO Conference 2010 in Sydney.

7. “Who does this century essentially belong to? Some say it belongs to Asia, China, Europe, India. I would say that this century belongs to cities. More and more of the global population will be living in cities. In fact by 2050, some estimate that 70% to 75% of population will live in cities, big and small. So whether we like it or not, cities would be the primary source of growth.” – Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng

8. And Kuala Lumpur is the only global city, or Alpha world city in Malaysia. Some others Alpha world city are Seoul, Madrid and Moscow while Hong Kong, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai are Alpha + world city. New York and London top the list in Alpha ++ world city.

9. Greater KL Plan is to introduce more life into the city, given its aim to almost double the population to 3 million from the current 1.8 millions. We now have 1.8 million people in KL but the business will be very much different with 3 million population. . Seoul, Tokyo and Shangai buzz with business activity because they have more than 10 million populations each.

10. Besides it plans to attract 200 new MNCs by 2020. Attracting 100 such firms will contribute about RM40 billion in annual GNI to Greater KL. There are now 1,600 MNCs based here, compared with 17,000 in Shanghai and 6,000 in Singapore.

11. However I shall discuss more on putting most of the resources into a single city while neglecting cities like Penang in different article.

The controversial 100-storey Tower Warisan Merdeka by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB)

12. The critics question the need for such a massive project at a time when the property market could be facing a glut. Although the money is funded by PNB own its own, many argue that it could be put in better use but not another mega infrastructure development.

13. PNB said it expected an 8% to 10% annual return from the project, which will tentatively have a gross floor area of 3 million sq ft.

14. PNB have enough money to finance the entire project, the 100-storey would be a 5 starts green building. On paper, it looks good but there’re a lot of questions that needs to be answered.

15. “The same happened when we wanted to build the Petronas Twin Tower” - The government defended the projects, saying it’s not wasteful and will have a strong multiplier effect and create many economic activities. And this 100-storey tallest tower will be the pride of nation and put us on the world map again.

16. However, when Petronas constructed the KLCC, it was the only large- scale integrated development in the city at when demand for high-grades offices was strong but this time, it is different.

*This can be deduced simply by analyzing available data on occupancy rates and office supply in the city. Table 1.1, downloaded from Ministry of Finance’s National Property Information Centre (Napic) website.

17. Quoted The Edge Big Money, in the third quarter of this year, the incoming supply of office space in KL stood at 10.4 million sq ft. These will take another 3 to 4 years before they flood the market. Meanwhile, assuming the 3 million sq ft from PNB’s Warisan Merdeka come on stream in 2015, the city will have a total 13.4 million sq ft of office space.

18. This does not include other mega projects announced recently such as the 34 ha Kuala Lumpur International Financial District, the redevelopment of Royal Malaysian Air Force base near Sungai Besi, minutes way from the city centre there’s development in Mon’t Kiara- Dutamas as well the massive Rubber Research Institude townships in Sungai Buloh.

19. Then now there is already vacant office space in hand. Accoding to Napic, 58.5 million sq ft or 80.5% of KL office space is tenanted in 3Q of this year.

20. In the 1990s, before the Petronas Twin Towers were completed, the occupancy rate in KL reached a high of 98.1% in 1997. With the completion of KLCC, the occupancy rate fell to 82.1%.

21. In terms of timing, the completion of KLCC could not have been better.

22. And let us not confuse by the time when Malaysia achieved average GDP growth of 7.2% annually during the booming 1990s and had one of the highest FDI in Asia.

23. While PNB may move to this new tower and take 50% of it, however it will vacate Menara PNB, which it occupies. Nearby, the Felda Group is slated to move to Menara Felda in Platinum Park in a few years, leaving another old building empty. There’re opportunities as well as risk in every development.

24. This is what the data shows. Numbers do tell stories.

25. Although this project has a financially strong backer, PNB should study thoroughly before fully embarking on this plan. The 3 main points are KL office vacancies, traffic and not less important, design of the tower.

26. Most of the countries are in a race of building the tallest skyscraper in this 21 century.

27. By the time of completion, PNB 100-tower will not be the highest tower in this region too. It will be ranked as 8th, 9th or even 10th worldwide. When KLCC was completed it was the tallest. So just merely by "height" will it put us shining on the world map?

28. One of the example is Cambodia, which approved a 555 meter high tower in this early September. Yes, it will be built in the centre of its capital - Phnom Penh. Cambodia will have a 555 meter tower, which is taller than our Warisan Merdeka and KLCC, but does this mean that it's more developed than us?


29. Real estate agent Previndran Singhe of Zerin Properties once said: “It is good to have iconic developments. But we should do away with the perception that iconic developments mean tall buildings.” I fully agree.

30. I wish the current design is not the ultimate model as it is not attractive enough. Honestly speaking, it’s just like yet another tall tower. And it's not attractive enough. PNB should come out with a more attracting design. Something like this which has a "WOW" factor?

Shanghai Tower

Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) which had been scrapped. But I do like the design and the zero carbon footprint ideal.

A new skyscraper proposed in Bangkok


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