Top industry players eye Sabah

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From left : Abdul Rahman, Musa and wife, and The Edge Communications’ Sdn Bhd managing director Au Foong Yee at the Malaysian Top Property Developers Networking Retreat. Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf

KOTA KINABALU: Some 60 delegates from more than 20 companies attended the three-day The Edge Malaysia Top Property Developers Networking Retreat from last Friday till yesterday in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The delegates included winners, past winners and judges of The Edge Property Excellence Awards (TEPEA) 2014 that was held in Kuala Lumpur last Monday as well as Sabah property developers and consultants.

The delegates included representatives from Sunway Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd, S P Setia Bhd, IGB Corp Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Eco World Development Group Bhd, UEM Sunrise Bhd and MKH Bhd, among others.

The retreat, organised by the Sabah State Government and facilitated by The Edge Malaysia weekly, was aimed at introducing the state to property developers from Peninsular Malaysia as a destination for potential development and investment.

“These [developers] are the very people I believe can help generate stellar ideas that will form the backbone of a development blueprint for [Sabah],” said the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan in his speech during the welcome dinner hosted by the chief minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Musa Aman last Friday. Abdul Rahman mooted the idea for a networking retreat to Kota Kinabalu during the TEPEA last year.

Over three million tourists visited Sabah last year and the number of tourists is expected to increase despite recent security related challenges, and there is a need for more hotels and resorts to be developed to support tourism, said Musa in his welcome speech.

According to president of the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) Datuk Francis Goh, over RM20 billion worth of property development is forecast to kick off in 2015, as Sabah is geared towards attracting manufacturing investments particularly in the petrochemical and energy sectors by year-end.

Musa noted that the increasing demand for residential property gives developers from Peninsular Malaysia the opportunity to expand to Sabah. He added that some top developers have already made their presence in Sabah and their efforts to provide a different line of commercial or residential products are welcome.

“Healthy competition augurs well for end users. In spite of the challenges facing the property market I urge developers to ensure property prices do not escalate beyond the means of the people, and to endeavour to build more affordable housing. It is during this networking trip that you will see Sabah’s potential not only in tourism but also in trade and investment,” said Musa.

Some of the activities during the retreat included talks by Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority, Tanjung Aru Eco Development, Shareda, the Sabah State Economic Planning Unit, the Sabah Tourism Board, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Environment Sabah.

Day two of the retreat also saw the delegates visiting the sites of three developments — Bay 21 Residences, The Riverson and Imago Mall at KK Times Square. This was followed by a dinner hosted by the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing & Local Government.

For full coverage of the networking retreat, please read the Oct 27 issue of City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 20, 2014.