The year 2019 ended on a positive note for the local property sector as the government said it would re-start Bandar Malaysia, making Kuala Lumpur greater as it move southwards to urbanise several areas like Sungai Besi, Chan Sow Lin and Salak South.
Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) executive vice-chairman and controlling shareholder Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo is set on making Bandar Malaysia the game changer for the Malaysian economy.
In a statement last month, Lim said he is upbeat the mega-project will serve as the country’s first integrated transit-oriented development that can attract local and international business travellers, tourists and residents, as well as major multinational corporations, Fortune 500 global technology and entrepreneurial companies.
Bandar Malaysia will be developed on 196.7ha of land that once housed Kuala Lumpur’s first international airport and the base of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
It will have an estimated total gross development value of RM140 billion.
The master developer of Bandar Malaysia is IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd, the consortium comprising IWH (60 per cent) and China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd (40 per cent).
The project was officially revived last month in a signing ceremony between TRX City Sdn Bhd (TRXC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance (Inc), and IWH-CREC.
TRXC entered into an agreement with IWH-CREC to develop Bandar Malaysia on December 18.
IWH-CREC is acquiring a 60 per cent equity stake in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (BMSB), the project’s master developer, from its parent company TRXC, for RM6.45 billion.
The signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
There are new conditions for IWH-CREC under the revived Bandar Malaysia where the consortium will have to construct 10,000 units of subsidised affordable homes.
IWH-CREC will also have to develop a 85-acre park, to be called People’s Park, which should be equivalent of New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park. The size of the park is almost double the 48.6 acres proposed under the previous deal.
Key components under the new plan is the participation of local contractors including Bumiputera in the project and the use of local resources.
Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail to go ahead?
Dr Mahathir said Bandar Malaysia would include the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) station, giving more meaning on the future of the bullet train project.
He said, although Malaysia and Singapore have yet to finalise details on the stalled HSR project, it would definitely have a stop in Bandar Malaysia.
"We have not decided on the HSR project itself, but yes, it (Bandar Malaysia) will have an HSR station," he said.
Dr Mahathir also said that talks on the resumption of the HSR project may happen this year, but the development may be scaled down and adjusted to reduce the cost.
"We would like to spend less money on this project as it is very expensive. Maybe we have to do some adjustments in order to reduce the cost, and reducing its speed may be part of it. It need not necessarily be as fast as 400 kilometre per hour. If it travels that fast, it might just speed all the way to Alor Setar. So we will look into what is a more suitable speed," he said.
The HSR project was announced by then prime minister Najib Razak in September 2010, with expectations that it would be completed by 2026.
After Pakatan Harapan won the last general election, Dr Mahathir initially announced that the project would be scrapped. However, during a visit to Japan in June 2018, he said the project was not scrapped but merely postponed due to the high cost.
Malaysia and Singapore agreed to suspend the construction of the HSR until May 31,2020, to enable both countries to find the best way forward for the project.
Under the original plan, travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will be reduced to 90 minutes. The 350km line will have seven stops in Malaysia with the service ending at Jurong East in Singapore.