TIN mining is one of the oldest industries in Malaysia.
Malaysia was the world’s largest tin producer and supplied more than half of the world’s tin until the mid-1980s when prices fell. By late 1980s, more than 300 tin mines ceased operations.
Former tin mining land was largely controlled by the government. After the closure of several tin mines, the government alienated some areas to private developers for tourism-related developments to boost the economy.
Hon Fatt Mines in Seri Kembangan was the world’s largest open-cast tin mine — covering 530ha including the lakes.
It is now known as Mines Wellness City (formerly Mines Resort City). The government in 1988 alienated the land to Country Heights Holdings Bhd for recreational and tourism purposes.
Mines Wellness City is home to Palace of the Golden Horses, Mines Wellness Hotel, Golden Horses Health Sanctuary, Mines shopping mall, Mines Waterfront Business Park, Mines Resort and Golf Club, Mines Convention Centre and Heritage Residences.
Other former mining settlements which have become major tourism landmarks include Sunway Resort City (SRC) in Bandar Sunway and Kinta Valley in Perak.
The multi-billion-ringgit SRC started when founder Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling had a vision of turning 350ha of tin mining wasteland into a vibrant city.
Cheah paid RM100,000 for the land in the 1970s to make it a reality.
Today, SRC is the only integrated resort city in Malaysia which fully encapsulates the “livability” concept with six key components — shopping mall, hotel, office, theme park, education institute and medical centre.
Kinta Valley, which covers areas like Kampar, Gopeng, Batu Gajah, Seri Iskandar/Tronoh, Ipoh, Tambun, Meru and Jelepang, used to be one of the most productive tin mining areas in the world.
After the mines closed, rapid development started to take place and this boosted the retail shopping and tourism industries.
Among the biggest township developments in Kinta Valley is the 507ha Bandar Seri Botani in Ipoh developed by Taiko Group.
The development will have more than 6,000 residential (bungalows, semi-detached houses, townhouses and link houses) and commercial properties when fully completed.
Several other township projects have also started, such as Bandar Meru Raya, Bandar Baru Sri Klebang and Bandar Baru Putra in Bercham.
Upcoming projects include Bandar Tasik Amanjaya (formerly Kinta Lake district), which was announced in 2014 by Menteri Besar Inc.
The 107ha project in Seri Iskandar, costing RM2.2 billion, will take about 15 years to develop. It will encompass housing, commercial, education and recreational centres with a gross development value (GDV) of RM6 billion.
Meanwhile, PCB Development Sdn Bhd and RSG MAPS Sdn Bhd have jointly developed Asia’s first Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) in Bandar Meru Raya.
Built at a cost of RM520 million, MAPS opened in June. It is an additional attraction in Kinta Valley, which is home to top tourist sites such as Kellie’s Castle, Lost World of Tambun, Pulau Pangkor, Last Tin Dredge, Lata Kinjang Waterfalls and Gopeng White Water Rafting.
MAPS is expected to receive about one million visitors a year.
SILVERLAKES — KINTA VALLEY’S
MOST STUNNING DESTINATION
Kinta Valley is home to many lakes and a few are located in Silverlakes, an area being developed by Silverland Capital Sdn Bhd.
The company, controlled by Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Bhd chairman Datuk Azizan Abdul Rahman, offers an impressive architecture on 206ha of secluded lakes, flatlands and rainforest.
The master plan for the project is tourism-centric commercial, with a premium outlet and residential development that would generate a GDV of more than RM2 billion.
According to Azizan, Silverlakes will be a fully-integrated development that will emulate the success of E&O’s lakeside gated-and-guarded concept.
“The net development area is around 40 per cent. This means we have more areas reserved for greenery and water bodies,” Azizan told NST Property.
He said Silverland would construct a wide range of landed and commercial properties (mid to high-end residences and outlet mall) around the water bodies.
“We will also build clubhouses in every enclave in the residential development.”
The company would preserve the open waters and raintrees, he said.
“This will create a habitat for migratory birds and wildlife, to be enjoyed by all,” said Azizan.
Silverlakes will be developed in three parcels (A, B and C) over seven to 10 years.
The first phase for Parcel A comprises an outlet mall (Silverlakes Brand Village) that will have 146 retail and food and beverage outlets, with about 300,000 sq ft of net leasable area spread over 12ha.
This development is located across the Batu Gajah Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTM) station.
It will also have a carpark with 1,100 parking bays. Adjacent to it will be the eight-storey 200-room Ramada Hotel and a convention centre.
Azizan is bullish on Silverlakes Brand Village as Kinta Valley is under-served by retailers.
The retailers at Silverlakes Brand Village will offer discounts of up to 70 per cent.
“Silverlakes Brand Village is the first-of-its-kind outlet village-type of lakeside mall and will be a major tourist attraction. It will be different from other outlet developments like Johor Premium Outlets and Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA.
“In Ipoh, the only modern mall is Ipoh Parade. We believe that Silverlakes Brand Village will attract not only the population in Kinta Valley but also people from neighbouring states and overseas.
“We will have restaurants serving a variety of cuisine, while visitors can enjoy the lake view and walk around during day or night,” said Azizan.
Dubai-based McArthur + Company will oversee the development and manage the leasing agreements and retail operations for a minimum period of 15 years upon its completion.
Azizan stressed that the key selling points for Silverlakes are not just the natural water bodies, rainforest and Silverlakes Brand Village, but also its location which is next to the Batu Gajah KTM electric train service (ETS) station.
“These trains leave Batu Gajah train station on a regular basis every day. One can reach Silverlakes in 100 minutes via the ETS from Kuala Lumpur. We expect this service to bring a lot of local and foreign tourists to Silverlakes.
“There will be easy access to Silverlakes from the Klang Valley and Penang, which have a combined population of about 10 million. The ETS is an excellent mode of transport for the tourist market.”
Azizan hopes to capture about three to five per cent of the 30 million annual tourist arrivals when Silverlakes Brand Village is fully developed.
He said Ramada Hotel and the convention centre would turn Silverlakes Brand Village into an integrated tourism destination.
Year round, the company plans to host international events such as the Asian Jazz Festival, concerts, performing arts, vintage car exhibition, beauty pageant, international marathons and Ironman competitions to make Silverlakes Brand Village a tourist hot spot.
“The proposed new international airport in Ipoh is poised to serve regional routes such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and China. This will see significant growth of inbound tourism for Silverlakes Brand Village which will, in turn, spur tourism activities in Kinta Valley,” said Azizan.
SILVERLAKES AS KINTA VALLEY LANDMARK
Silverland managing director Shaik Rizal Sulaiman said future developments in Silverlakes will be lifestyle-focused and attracting international interest.
The second phase of development for Parcel A (98.3ha) will be an eight-storey four-star business hotel with 200 rooms to be operated by Ramada, which is part of the Wyndham Hotel Group.
Wyndham is the world’s largest and most diverse hotel company with about 7,500 hotels in its portfolio.
“We will also build residences on a 65-acre (26ha) landed area surrounding the lake with amenities and facilities to cater to residents and visitors. Parcel A will be the catalyst for the whole development. That is why we decided to develop the commercial part first to buzz things up,” he said.
For Parcel B (45ha), Silverland will undertake the gated-and-guarded residential development comprising townhouses, lakeside and courtyard villas.
The target for this development are those living in Kinta Valley, holidaymakers, foreigners including those under the “Malaysia My Second Home” programme and local high-end retirement markets, said Shaik Rizal.
He said Parcel C will include a health resort and retirement village across 46.5ha, of which 50 per cent is water.
The lakeside private pool villa resort is planned as a higher end version of a resort retreat. It is estimated to have 88 units of luxurious pool villas with one to two bedrooms each.
Shaik Rizal expects the overall development of Silverlakes to have a big impact on Perak’s economy.
“Silverlakes Brand Village is an attractive economic development strategy as it brings shoppers into a community through the creation of tourism attraction. These centres generate employment, sales and taxes for local authorities, and serve as a catalyst for other new spin-off business in the area,” he added.