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Showing posts with label Penang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Penang. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Penang's LRT project gets conditional approval from Transport Minister


GEORGE TOWN: Waves of excitement swept through Penang when the Transport Minister announced that the Bayan Lepas light rail transit (LRT) has received conditional approval.

It is seen as a move to reduce traffic congestion in the city and create a next wave of growth for the state.

The approved 29.9km Bayan Lepas LRT will bring convenience not only to the local folk but also tourists and investors, said Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang chairman Datuk Dr Ooi Eng Hock.

Ooi, who is positive that the project will spur growth on the island, believes the LRT will bring in another wave of development into the state.

“The LRT will divert traffic congestion. It will attract new investments, make life easier for our workforce.

“I believe it will boost the state’s economy with another wave of growth,” he said yesterday.

Following the Transport Ministry’s conditional approval of the project, Ooi added that it is the first step for a change in landscape and behaviour of transport mode in Penang.

Yesterday, the Transport Ministry gave conditional approval to the Bayan Lepas LRT project.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke in a statement said that after a detailed study of the application by Penang Economic Planning Unit (BPEN) to develop the Bayan Lepas LRT project, approval with 30 conditions for the state to comply was given on Tuesday.

Loke said the conditions included a detailed environmental impact assessment (DEIA) approval including traffic, social and heritage assess­ments.

The state must now exhibit documents on the project for three months, and the final go ahead will only be decided after the public responses are evaluated, said Loke.

“I welcome public participation from the people, NGOs and all stakeholders in this public review.

“The relevant documents are to be exhibited in public places including government offices.

“The state government must also upload a copy of these documents on a website for online viewing.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow thanked the Federal Govern­ment and said the state is committed to fulfilling all requirements.

“We will wait for the official letter from Transport Ministry to proceed and initiate public viewing of the documents,” he said.

The RM8.4bil Bayan Lepas LRT together with a monorail, cable cars and water taxis, is part of the state government’s RM46bil Penang Trans­port Master Plan (PTMP).

This LRT will begin at Komtar in the northeast corner of the island and head south through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Lepas and Penang Interna­tional Airport, ending at the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) development.

It is expected to provide a fast route to the airport and will traverse densely populated residential, commercial and industrial areas.

Source link 

 

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It’s time for Penang to reinvent itself; RM70bil to be raised from the 3 man-made islands to finance LRT, PIL infrastruture under PTMP

 

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Penang new Chief Minister taking Penang to the next level

https://youtu.be/mdtJqsLapZU/


Flat property market seen for Penang

 

China buyers eyeing Penang property in growing tourism

 

Boost for Bayan Lepas: Global biz hub for Penang

Hi-tech facility aims at rejuvenating economy in Bayan Lepas 


 
An artist’s impression of the proposed GBS By The Sea project in Bayan Lepas.

 

Good time to invest in property now

 

When will the property market pick up?

Penang is best for property investment in Malaysia

Penang has dislodged Kuala Lumpur's Golden Tringle as the top investment choice

 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Penang all set to make waves as EIA approved, work of second phase of PSR has begun


Ministry has given the green light to the Penang government for the EIA report on the Penang South Reclamation scheme near Teluk Kumbar. The project will take off early next year.


GEORGE TOWN: The state government has secured approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) scheme near Teluk Kumbar.

It is learnt that the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry has given the green light, paving the way for the three man-made islands totalling 1,800ha to take shape off the southern coast of the island.

The report incorporates 23 conditions proposed by the relevant government agencies and non-governmental organisations. It is prepared by project delivery partner SRS Consortium.

Among the key conditions are compensating more than 900 fishermen with low-cost houses in the Bayan Lepas area, planting artificial corals to sustain the marine ecosystem around the islands, and sourcing the sand for the reclamation from legitimate sites.

Sources told The Star that SRS Consortium would start reclaiming the first island measuring 930ha in the first quarter of 2020. It will take about three years to complete the first island. The cost to reclaim is about RM60 per square foot.

SRS Consortium will call for a tender to reclaim the three islands in the third quarter of this year.

Sources said the state government would sell some state land via an open tender exercise, while SRS Consortium will internally generate the seed funds to raise about RM2bil to start the reclamation of the first island.

The reclamation for the second and third island will commence when SRS has raised sufficient funds from the sale of the reclaimed land. For serving as the project delivery partner, SRS Consortium will be paid a 6% fee based on the RM46bil construction cost.

However, the state government is negotiating with SRS to reduce it.

More than RM70bil is expected to be raised from the sale of the three man-made islands, enough to spearhead the state’s economic development for the next 30 years.

About 75% of the three islands are for sale via open tender.

Some RM46bil from the targeted revenue will be used for the construction of the RM9bil light rail transit (LRT) line, the RM9.6bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1), and other supporting infrastructure projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).fina

Presently, the price of industrial land on Penang island is around RM70psf-RM200psf, depending on its status as leasehold or freehold land. However, as the industrial lots on the proposed man-made island are freehold land, the pricing is about RM200psf.

When the reclamation of the islands starts in 2020, there could be a 10% appreciation.

On the three islands – Island A (930ha), Island B (445ha) and Island C (323ha) – the plan is to construct a dam and three power plants for the islands and develop industrial, residential properties and state government administrative buildings.

Chow was earlier quoted as saying that Island A is seen as a continuation and expansion of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) while Island B will be “a playground for city planners and architects to give their best design” with a tram system and green spaces.

Island C is meant for a mixed development project.

Source link 


Read more:

Chow: Work on second phase of PSR has begun - Nation


https://youtu.be/TrfcwvrcG14 
The above Video is about Penang South Reclamation (PSR).  We thank Prof. Dato' Dr Zubir and Puan Zuraini for coming forward to explain the actual situation at Penang south.  Prof. Zubir is an expert on marine science and the former Director of Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia. He shares about his study at the PSR area and his survey among the fishermen.   Puan Zuraini is the officer at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan at Penang south. Drawing from her own upbringing as a daughter of fisherman, she shares about her engagement with local fishermen in PSR area who are hoping that the project will provide job opportunities to them and bring development to the rural area.

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It’s time for Penang to reinvent itself; RM70bil to be raised from the 3 man-made islands to finance LRT, PIL infrastruture under PTMP

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Parcel rent bills mailing soon

Stratified property owners given till December 31 to settle dues for 2019

Chow (second right) with (from right) Jagdeep Singh, State Land and Mines office director Akmar Omar and State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus, showing the new bills for the parcel rent in Komtar, Penang.
OWNERS of stratified properties will now have to pay parcel rent directly to their respective district and land offices.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the billing for parcel rent, replacing quit rent, would be sent out to all parcel owners next month through their respective management corporations.

“Previously, it was paid by the respective management corporations of stratified properties.

“Since the bills will be sent out late, parcel owners are given until end of this year to pay up although the deadline is usually May 31 each year,” he told a press conference at Komtar on Friday.

Chow said the parcel rent came into effect since January this year.

He said the rates for parcel rent would be based on the size of each unit, while quit rent was based on the total plot of land which the building was built on.

“Parcel owners will need to update their addresses with the respective district and land offices when paying their parcel rent this year,” he said, adding that the parcel rent billing for next year will be sent to their addresses.

Citing an example, Chow said the total quit rent collected from a specific stratified property last year was RM28,268.

“The collection in parcel rent for the same property will be lesser at RM24,239, as it will not take into account common areas, unlike for quit rent,” he said.

State housing, town, country plan­­ning and local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who was also present, said the arrears for quit rent has amounted to RM65mil to date.

Parcel owners are advised to update their mailing addresses at the land and district office or online at etanah.penang.gov.my

Source link 


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Penang State to study Airbnb woes before legalising operations; Using Airbnb to settle mortgages?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Landslide tragedy caused by slope instability, was a Construction mishap, not landslide!

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/27/pwd-tragedy-caused-by-slope-instability/?jwsource=cl

Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah.

Construction mishap, not landslide

mayor Yew Tung Seang.
GEORGE TOWN: The incident that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Tanjung Bungah was a construction mishap, said Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Yew Tung Seang.

He said that the slope was unstable due to digging activities as the resort’s owner was building a retaining wall without informing the authorities.

“It’s not a landslide. The incident occurred after the retaining wall collapsed within the resort’s premises.

“We need to be informed of any construction activity and make sure that it is done under the supervision of engineers.

“We are monitoring the situation closely before making a decision on whether to stop the resort’s operations,” he said at a press conference after the launching of the Karpal Singh Digital Hub at SK Sungai Gelugor yesterday.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak accident at the construction site in Tanjung Bungah.

It is learnt that the resort owner recently contracted a Myanmar worker to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.

The contractor hired three other Myanmar nationals to assist him.

Checks found that the retaining wall, which was supposed to be about 5m wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

State local government commit­tee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said mitigation works along the 50m stretch of Jalan Batu Ferringhi would be completed in three to four weeks’ time.

“Although the incident happened on private land, it has affected the federal road where many heavy vehicles pass by every day.

“It is important to stabilise the road to ensure the safety of road users,” he said.

Meanwhile, Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser Yan Lee called on the MBPP to reveal its standard operating procedures for investigating illegal earthworks done in the state.

“I hope that the council can share with us how many officers or workers are available to check on such earthworks,” he said.

Source link 


GEORGE TOWN: Soil movement due to slope instability is said to be the cause of the freak landslide that claimed four lives at a beach resort in Batu Ferringhi, says Penang Public Works Department (PWD) director Shahabuddin Mohd Muhayidin.

He said preliminary investi­gations showed that the slope was unstable as a result of digging by a third party.

“The digging at the slope caused soil movement with a whole lot of earth coming loose.

“Right now, we are taking the necessary steps to stop further soil erosion at the slope.

“After this, we will install sheet piles to stabilise the slope,” he told reporters at a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

Following the landslide, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had ordered PWD to conduct a thorough study of Jalan Batu Ferringhi to check on conditions of the road and slopes along the 15km stretch.

“If the study finds any of the slopes or roads unsafe, repair works will be carried out following recommendations from the study.

“For now, a 50m-stretch of the road leading to Teluk Bahang has been closed for mitigation work and to ensure the safety of road users.

“The mitigation work is expected to be complete within three to four weeks, and in the meantime, a flagman will be assigned at the road stretch to direct the one-way traffic,” said Chow at the press conference.

He said the state had no information on the status of the Myanmar workers who died in the incident.

“Relevant authorities will need to investigate the landowner and project owner so that appropriate action can be taken.

Chow said they have called on the police and government agencies like the Department of Occupational Safety and Health to investigate the and take action against those responsible.

“From monitoring at the site, we believe the works to build the retaining wall were carried out without professional help.

“It was just action taken by the landowner who wanted to fix a condition on the site. And, due to the way the work was carried out, it caused soil movement and eventually the soil collapsed.”

He said PWD and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would continue monitoring the issue.

“In this incident, the landowner should be responsible as he or she is responsible for monitoring the land.

“Although the landowner tried to take the initiative to build the wall, professional help should have been sought to ensure safer and more secure work.”

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council would serve notices to the landowner and other parties concerned under Section 70A of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

“MBPP is investigating, and will take appropriate action against the parties involved.

“Although we have a team monitoring illegal construction, the construction work on this particular site was not visible to public view.”

Yew advised landowners to apply for permits before embarking on any construction work in future.

Source link 


Experts: Human error could have led to landslide



GEORGE TOWN: A landslide which occurred even when there was no rain to trigger it might have been due to many reasons, including human error, says an expert.

Universiti Sains Malaysia geotechnical engineering professor Prof Dr Fauziah Ahmad said the workers may have dug at the toe of the slope while trying to build a retaining wall.

“During the digging process, pressure might have been released from the top of the wall, which could already have had cracks.

Prof Fauziah said traffic vibrations could also trigger pressure and cracks on the wall.

“Once there are cracks, water will seep through over a period of time, and when it reaches the instability between backfill and the wall, the slope will collapse,” she added.

Prof Fauziah was asked to comment on the incident on Tuesday where four foreign workers were buried alive in a landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Centre of Tropical Geoengineering director Prof Dr Edy Tonnizam Mohamad said the stability of a slope, among others, depends on its soil properties, slope geometry, volume, effect of gravity and also the pore water pressure.

“A slope could fail if one or a combination of factors passed its equilibrium and factor of safety.

“If the geometry of a slope is not properly designed according to geologic, engineering and climatic factors, a slope failure could occur.

“There have been several cases of landslides even when there was no rain,” he said.

Prof Edy added that to prevent such incidents, monitoring and inspection before and during construction is important.

“Professional supervision is also needed at the construction site.

“During construction, the standard operating procedure should be made clear.

“The construction site should be managed properly and safety procedures adhered to,” he said.

‘Owner built walls on his own’

Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star
Earth patch: Workers covering the landslide area with canvas to prevent more soil erosion in Tanjung Bungah. — MUSTAFA AHMAD & ANDY LO/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The owner of a resort along Jalan Batu Ferringhi may have been building walls on his own to prevent soil erosion for some time before a landslide struck, killing four foreign workers.

Penang Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said there were signs of such efforts but the authori­ties had never been informed.

“It appears to me like he had been doing it on his own, without informing the authorities,” he said.

Attempts to contact the resort owner for comments were futile as of press time.

On Tuesday, four foreign workers were buried alive in a freak landslide at a construction site in Batu Ferringhi at 9.21pm.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Che Zaimani Che Awang said all four bodies had been recovered.

He added that three of the victims were discovered in a standing position while holding the metal poles for the retention wall while the other was leaning over.

He said the victims did not have any identification papers.

It is learnt that the resort owner had recently contracted a Myanmar worker called Ong to build a retaining wall after finding that the hill separating the resort and Jalan Batu Ferringhi showed signs of erosion.Ong then hired three other Myanmar nationals, to assist him.Checks found that the retaining wall, which was to be about five metres wide, had yet to be built but there were other retaining walls beside it.

The exposed slope has been covered with tarpaulin sheets to prevent further erosion.

Read more:


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Introduction to Slope Stability | Soil Mechanics
https://youtu.be/rlCmaYi2rYk

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Trade war spurs 1,360% investment jump in Malaysian state of Penang


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-06-11/trump-says-he-s-holding-up-trade-deal-with-china-video

The Malaysian state of Penang is winning from global investors’ search for safe havens, amid the U.S.-China trade tensions.

Foreign direct investments into its manufacturing sector surged 1,360% to 8.47 billion ringgit (US$2 billion) in the first quarter from a year ago, more than for the entire 2018. The state stands to gain from changes in the global supply chain as it’s well-connected with a strong talent pool and supportive public policies, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said in a Wednesday statement.

The state, already home to companies from Intel Corp. to Dell Technologies Inc., makes up 42% of Malaysia’s manufacturing FDI. Recent investments in Penang include U.S. semiconductor company Micron Technology Inc's new solid-state drive assembly and testing centre, and Florida-based Jabil Circuit Inc's purchase of 20 acres of land to expand its facility.

“Malaysia is reaping benefits from business relocation, as well as trade and investment diversions caused by the trade war,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a Thursday statement, adding that the rise in investments as well as industrial production signal “healthy” economic growth in the second quarter.

Chow is wary of the near-term outlook and cautions that the investment surge may not be repeated in the second or third quarters. While some companies benefit from the trade war, others are negatively affected as their customers take a wait-and-see approach, he said. Penang’s investment outlook remains “on the right track” over the medium to long term, Chow said.

The state had moved quickly to court investors amid the trade war, signing a cooperation deal with China Chamber of International Commerce, giving subsidized rental rates for small businesses and setting up a seed fund for technology start ups.- Bloomberg

Penang bags big jump in investments 

More than RM8bil recorded in the first quarter of the year
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin speaking during a press conference at KOMTAR. - LIM BENG TATT/The Star
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and State Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin speaking during a press conference at KOMTAR. - LIM BENG TATT/The Star

THE state recorded RM8.85bil in total approved manufacturing investments in the first quarter of 2019, exceeding the RM5.78bil it received for the whole of last year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the investments in the first quarter were 768% higher than the investments in the same period in 2018.

“Penang garnered 41 projects at the start of this year,” he said at a press conference held at his office in Komtar.

“They amount to RM8.85bil and will bring in more than 10,000 jobs.

“The state is a key contributor to the country’s foreign direct manufacturing investment (FDI), representing 42% of the country’s total FDI.”

Chow highlighted the many attractions of Penang for investors.

“We boast a robust supply chain, strong talent pool, well-established infrastructure and support services to investors.

‘The combination of all these advantages makes Penang a preferred destination for investments.”

He was quoting the latest data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).

However, Chow was more cautious about the business climate later this year.

He said that while Penang could remain a preferred investment destination in the mid to long run, the US-China trade war would have a huge impact in the coming two quarters of the year.

“We believe the meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month will be crucial.

“We feel our stellar performance in the first quarter might not be repeated in the second and third quarters of this year.

“Nevertheless, Penang’s investment outlook is on the right track over the medium to long term.

“The state government will continue to focus on bringing in high quality investments that can create high-value jobs and suit the state’s industry profile,” he said.

Penang's approved manufacturing investments rise more than seven-fold in 1Q19

Penang attracted approved investments worth RM8.8 billion in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter (1Q) of 2019, up 763% from RM1.02 billion in the same period last year.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said despite the intensifying trade and technology disputes between the United States and China that created uncertainties in the global trade and economic outlook, Penang remained a favoured investment destination.

"According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), from January to March this year, Penang successfully garnered 41 projects amounting to RM8.85 billion, which represented 35% of Malaysia's total approved investments in manufacturing," he told a press conference here today.

The approved manufacturing investments in 1Q19 had already surpassed the full-year approved investment figure of RM5.8 billion in 2018, he said, adding that they were expected to create 10,073 job opportunities in Penang.

Of the total investments approved in the quarter under review, foreign direct investment accounted for RM8.47 billion while the rest was domestic investment, Chow said.

"The optimal combination of robust supply chain, strong talent pool, well-established infrastructure and the state's support services to investors makes Penang a preferred destination for investments," he said.

However, Chow, who is also the chairman of the Penang Strategic Investment Advisory Council, said while Penang could be a preferred investment destination in the middle to long run, he was cautiously optimistic on the near-term outlook due to the latest trade war development.

He said there was a truce in the trade war in 1Q but the situation had worsened since.

"US President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on another US$300 billion of Chinese exports to the US, and the meeting between Trump and China's leader Xi Jinping later this month is crucial," he said.

He also cautioned that the superb investment performance in the manufacturing sector in 1Q might not be repeated in the second and third quarters; however, Penang's investment outlook would be on the right track over the medium to longer term.

"Through InvestPenang, the Penang government will continue to focus on bringing in high quality investments that would create high value jobs and suit the state's industry profile," he said.- The Edge Market.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cracked drain causes road cave-in, house nearby on brink of callapse

https://youtu.be/9yXuW1pdrt4

Danger zone: A JKR personel inspecting the cave-in in Jalan Lembah Permai. — ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star
Dangert zone: A JKR personel inspecting the cave-in in Jalan Lembah Permai and (inset) the abandon squarter house. — ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star
The abandon squatter house.

 GEORGE TOWN: A cracked underground drain caused rainwater to flood the earth beneath a road in Tanjung Bungah, causing a retaining wall to burst open and creating a 10m-wide “cavern” beneath the road.

Residents along Lembah Permai woke up last Friday and found part of their street had caved in.

An abandoned house on lower grounds next to the street is teetering on the brink of collapse after water washed away the earth beneath the house’s foundation.

Where the opening of the 40cm-in-diameter underground drain used to be is now a maw around 10m across, with chunks of the wall lying down the slope.

The minor landslide brought back fearful memories for residents because it is less than 1km from the Tanjung Bungah landslide that happened in October 2017, which killed 11 construction workers.

“It was raining so much last week. The water from this drain comes from most of the roadside drains in hillside and it was gushing almost all day and night.

“Luckily, no one lives in that house now. It was abandoned many years ago,” said neighbour Teh Choon Pin.

When the southwest monsoon began on May 6, it was raining almost continuously for five days in Penang and this retaining wall burst open on the fifth day.

Resident Zuhaimi Che Mat, who lives just about 30m from the wall, said it was the first time this has happened in the 50 years she lived there.

R“The water from the drain flows into the stream heading out to sea. When it rains heavily, water from the hills comes gushing down the stream and out of the drain,” she said.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, who is also Tanjung Bungah assemblyman, said the state approved an emergency fund of RM220,000 and a contractor has been appointed to start repair works.

“The underground drain had cracked and water was seeping into the soil and weakening the road foundation.

“We knew there were problems and the Public Works Department was in the process of calling for a tender before the wall burst open,” he said.

He said the hassle was that there were many utility cables and pipes running under the road that went down too.

“There is an 11kV electricity cable, water pipes, telephone cables and others. So many agencies will be involved in the repairs,” Zairil added.

Source link   


Related post;

Drainage and construction damaged nearby houses since 2014 must complete its mitigation quickly!

Underground Pipe Culverts from IJM Trehaus site on the left and nearby pond on the right

Friday, May 3, 2019

Check on coming monsoon floods in Penang !

Wake-up call: The floods that hit Penang in 2017 exposed its lack of flood mitigation and disaster preparedness.

GEORGE TOWN: The south-west monsoon season is expected to start sometime this month, prompting fears of flooding and falling trees here.

As dark clouds hang over Penang almost every morning now to herald the coming monsoon, talk of flooding in the state assembly sitting on Tuesday led to several lawmakers and the Speaker himself wanting to have a say.

“I am aware that some government agencies belittle the efforts of assemblymen who highlight flooding and other problems.

“As legislators who face the rakyat, they are carrying out their duties and I hope that the relevant agencies will take them seriously and not make fun of them,” said Speaker Datuk Law Choo Kiang during the day’s proceedings.

Lim Siew Khim (PH-Sungai Pinang) told the assembly how she and Ong Ah Teong (PH-Batu Lanchang) suffered verbal insults when visiting flood victims in Kampung Bukit Dumbar, where homes were flooded seven times, including a few days before the recent Chinese New Year.

This led to Dr Norlela Ariffin (PH-Penanti), Ong and Teh Lai Heng (PH-Komtar) to also stand up and voice their grouses.

Outside the hall, Ong said government officers handling flood problems tend to ignore the pleas of assemblymen.

“We are all in the same WhatsApp groups. When we highlight floods, they never respond,” he said.

Teh told the assembly that government officers don’t face the residents but the assemblymen bear all the insults from flood victims in their constituencies.

Dr Norlela said when she attended the monthly district meetings and called for strict enforcement to end the source of floodings such as deforestation, her pleas were often met with silence.

While the Sungai Pinang Flood Mitigation Plan – delayed for 20 years – has begun again with renewed federal funding, many are worried that the south-west monsoon will still bring back the floods this year.

Scientists Sheeba Nettukandy Chenoli and Chai Heng Lim, in a research paper published last November in the “Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics”, found that the onset of the mid-year monsoon will be on May 19 with a standard deviation of eight days.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said this was the season when rain coinciding with extra high tides fuelled by the super full moon could lead to severe flooding.

“Between May and June, strong winds stir up huge tidal waves that are not safe for small boats,” he said.

A freak storm on Sunday caused several trees to fall on Penang island, one of them in Tanjung Bungah falling on a passing car.

To keep falling trees in check, State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said a special committee was ironing out a method to pass the care of public trees from the Public Works Department (JKR) to Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

“JKR specialises in building and caring for roads and bridges but MBPP has a full landscaping team that includes arborists.

“This team has the know-how to care for public trees and recognise diseased trees that must be felled before they become a hazard.

“We are finalising a method for MBPP’s landscapers to have island-wide jurisdiction of roadside trees and be granted access to federal grants for their maintenance,” he said.

By Arnold Loh and R. Sekaran The Star


Read more ..


Freak storm lashes parts of Penang



  Expecting the unexpected


Related image



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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Penang State to study Airbnb woes before legalising operations; More Malaysians are using Airbnb to settle mortgages

Airbnb, Why the New Logo?

HOW other cities worldwide tackle their Airbnb problems are being studied to see if the home-sharing business could be legalised or regulated in Penang.

The office of the Penang State Exco for Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage (Petach) is studying their policies to tackle the issue of residential home owners who rent out their units as if they were running a hotel or serviced apartment.

Its exco member Yeoh Soon Hin (pic) said the global home-sharing business was quite established in Penang now that when people buy a house or condominium unit, someone might approach them and offer to guide them to sign up with Airbnb and make money from their new property.

He told the assembly that Penang Global Tourism had met with Airbnb’s management team to discuss how to regulate the business.

“Airbnb told us that they are ready to cooperate and register Airbnb units in Penang with the local authority, but we have no laws or policies for this yet,” he said.

Yeoh said in San Francisco, Airbnb operators are limited to renting their homes to a maximum of 90 days a year.

“In Catalonia, Spain, Airbnb operators can be fined up to 30,000 Euros (RM140,000) and the unit owners fined up to 90,000 Euros (RM420,000) if there are complaints.

“In Singapore, the Urban Redevelopment Authority is proposing to limit Airbnb units to only allow up to six people each time to rent them and for only up to 90 days a year.

“For strata units, Singapore plans to allow it only if at least 80% of all unit owners in the building give consent.

“Japan enacted a law to allow home-sharing of units for only up to 180 days a year,” he said when replying a question from Daniel Gooi Zi Sen (PH-Pengkalan Kota).

Gooi said he was concerned because despite strong enforcement from Penang Island City Council since 2017 to stop residential property owners from using their units commercially, the Airbnb portal lists thousands of units in Penang.

“We cannot deny property owners from benefitting from their assets, but we also cannot let them continue to operate without paying their dues such as commercial assessment rates or the hotel fee,” he said.

Yeoh said Petach was studying how Airbnb operators are regulated while waiting for the federal government to draft laws on home-sharing.

“We raised the issue and were told that the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry are studying possible laws on this.”

Yeoh said the business was unfair to neighbours, the hotel industry and local authorities.

“They are paying assessments and utility rates for residential units but are using those units commercially while legal hotels that comply with all laws such as safety and traffic provisions pay much more.

“The peace and privacy of their neighbours are being intruded upon,” Yeoh said.

He said his team in Petach was also considering the possibility of recommending that Airbnb operators be charged double or triple the current residential assessment rates that they are paying now after they are legalised.

By arnold loh and r. sekaran at the penang state assembly



MUCH has been said about Airbnb in the news of late. The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang branch has claimed that the emergence of Airbnb and illegal accommodation are among the main causes for Penang hotel occupancy rate to decline.

Another news report indicated that Airbnb operators are required to register with Kuala Lumpur City Hall. At this point in time, it is vital to see the concept of Airbnb. The platform was started to connect people who were looking to rent their homes to those who wanted hotel-free stay accommodation for short periods. The reason for the registration must be for the purpose of regulation by the authorities.

The claim by MAH that the emergence of Airbnb has caused hotel occupancy rates to drop must also be examined.

In terms of cleanliness and hospitality, although hotels do fit the bill, not all hotels are in that category. All hotels must be refurbished and kept clean at all times. It may be a bit too much to ask for luxury bedding or first class service, but cleanliness and pleasant service is not too difficult.

Airbnb hosts are conscious about their guests and the reviews that are given on the website. They go the extra mile, and it is not always accurate to say that Airbnb is cheaper and therefore people choose them over hotels. It is the space, the home away from home concept, and being looked after, the occasional bottle of wine left for guests, the fruit basket, the bottles of fruit juice and mineral water in the fridge — all of these go a long way in wooing guests.

In terms of protection for the hosts and the guests, Airbnb has enough protection in place. It is up to the renter to choose who they want to rent out to. Those who want to rent and those who are renting out their properties have their profiles. Reviews as to the safety of the place and its convenience — all can be seen from the website. It is a very transparent website and no one can complain that they were not aware that there was a danger or that they did not get their money’s worth. There are times that unfortunate Airbnb hosts unwittingly allow roguish guests and their premises are wrecked. The Airbnb hosts too, have a risk to take.

From the reports, it is unclear of the need for Airbnb to be registered or regulated. Hotel operators are required to register as it is a business. Airbnb is a service platform and not a business. For hosts, it is an additional income — especially for the elder population whose children have left, or even for those with university fees to pay, this additional income will be a good supplement. Unlike hotels and motels, Airbnb operators are there on a temporary basis. Sometimes, the owner may get a long-term tenant, and may not want to continue with the Airbnb concept.

Maybe we can take a leaf from countries where Airbnb has been regulated. In Los Angeles, United States, a regulation was passed for short-term rentals (vacation) with an initial cap on rentals for up to 120 days with flexibility to increase that number of days.

In New York, it is illegal to rent out an entire residence for less than 30 days. Short-term rentals are permitted if the homeowner is also staying there throughout the rental period and there are no more than two renters. This would be ideal for an elderly couple who would enjoy the company of young tourists who would in turn enjoy being in a home environment.

In Japan, anyone wanting to list their property on Airbnb will need to register with the local government, who will conduct fire and safety checks on the premises. The new regulations also limit rentals to 180 days per year.

Singapore has prohibited public housing rentals that are under six months, or three months in the case of private housing without the approval of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. In London and Paris, new laws have limited short-term rentals up to 90 days per year, and Liverpool City Council has pushed for national regulations to ensure that landlords register short-term rental properties.

Regulation is of critical importance in shaping the welfare of economies and society. Any form of regulation must work effectively and serve the public interest. Government agencies, in this case, the local councils are responsible for implementing regulatory policies and must be aimed towards protecting the consumer. When imposing such regulations on individuals, such as Airbnb hosts, there must be a goal that will help the government to achieve its purpose. The objective of a government or regulatory body is to ensure better and cheaper services and goods, and to provide a fair competition to any particular industry without encouraging a monopoly. Airbnb may be regulated and the town and city councils may want to draw up guidelines following from the examples cited above.

 By GRACE XAVIER
Grace Xavier is research fellow at the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya and she can be reached at gracem@um.edu.my


Using Airbnb to settle mortgages

Survey: Hosting helps to repay loans, provide extra income



https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/07/03/md-the-cost-and-security-issue-of-airbnb/?jwsource=cl

PETALING JAYA: More Malaysians are relying on Airbnb to settle their mortgages given the property overhang that is engulfing the sector.

According to an Airbnb survey of more than 2,000 Malaysian hosts and guests, half of the Airbnb hosts said it had helped them pay for their homes while 40% said Airbnb provided a supplementary income for them to make ends meet.Malaysia is Airbnb’s fastest growing country in South-East Asia for the second consecutive year.

It saw more than 3.25 million guests in Malaysia over the past 12 months ended July 1, which translated to a 73% increase from the previous period.There are more than 53,000 Airbnb listings in the country.

Axis REIT Managers Bhd investment head and former Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president Siva Shanker said many of the Airbnb hosts were investors and speculators who purchased the properties during the upturn, with the intention of selling them at a higher price.

“However, when the property market started to make a turn for the worse, many of these speculators found it difficult to sell or rent out their units but at the same time they needed income to service their loans,” he told StarBiz.

Siva said many of the buyers and investors had bought the units on the advice of some people with questionable skills and credentials.

“Many of the people, who claimed to be experts, gave false assurances that the properties could be sold at a premium of up to 40% within a couple of years, or that they would be able to get high rental yields.

“This is essentially a get rich quick scheme and many people believed in them. But then the market crashed and many of the buyers are saddled with a property that they can’t sell or rent out.”

Siva said many of the so-called “advisers” had rebranded themselves as Airbnb consultants when the property market slumped.

Airbnb is an online booking platform that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests.

PPC International managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam said the concept of Airbnb needs to be regulated.

“It’s never been regulated in the past, especially in terms of taxes. How do you determine things such as cost and security?”

Siva concurred that proper regulation need to be put in place to for Airbnb operators.

“You don’t know who’s going into your apartment. Every other day, your occupants are changing.

“They could be illegal immigrants, running criminal activities, being a nuisance and disturbing the neighbours.

“How is the unit considered ‘gated and guarded’ when the owner is the one that opens the door to these strangers?”

With no proper regulation in place, Siva said the value of the apartment will deteriorate.

“The owner is running it like a hotel, except he doesn’t have the upkeep skills of a hotelier. Within a year, the apartment will look run down. By then, new properties will be up in the market and new owners will be looking to rent them out.

“The owner of the run down apartment is going to have difficulties finding tenants, but he still needs to fulfil his monthly mortgage. Eventually, it becomes a vicious cycle. To stop this, we need to educate the public and get rid of the self-proclaimed property gurus.”

Another concern is the Airbnb having a huge impact on the local hotel industry.

According to Impiana Hotels Bhd executive director Azrin Kamaluddin, hotels that havemore than four stars will face limited to no impact from the rising popularity of Airbnb.

“The hotels offer distinct product differentiation as they provide experience and service to guests.

“What Airbnb does is offer accommodation as a commodity.

“I believe that owners of four and five star serviced residences that do not lease back their units to operators as well as hotels that are three stars and below would be disrupted by Airbnb.

“It is imperative for hotels that have three stars and below to reinvent themselves to stand out from the competition posed by Airbnb,” he said.

On the potential launch of Airbnb Luxe, Azrin said it would not have an impact on four to five-star hotels, given the relatively small volume and higher price tag of US$1,000 per night.

Siders concurred that Airbnb would only have an adverse impact on budget hotels.

“The four-star and five-star hotels offer different types of services and amenities.”
 
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