23 May, 2010

Strategic Real Estate Development Plan


I am attracted to the concept of strategic real estate development, which goes beyond the ordinary sense of property development.

Malaysia is trying to attract long-term capital from foreign direct investors that have substantial financial clout and global partnerships. These large investors have investments in different sectors that will benefit Malaysia and will bring about a multiplier effect of further economic investment and links. These first innovative moves are meant as a catalyst to brand Malaysia as a global investment destination, breed investor confidence and weave Malaysia into the global economy. Our targeted investors are partners of global market leaders and own some of the best brands in the world. This will certainly provide further business and investment opportunities that will benefit Malaysia.

We have land owned by the Government that are now idle or under-utilised for various reasons. We now want to unlock the strategic value of these federal assets. Our objective is simple: to capture high multiplier effects by unleashing the full economic potential of these assets to spur growth for a thriving and competitive economy. There is no open tender as it involves the transfer of land within the Government. However, I do intend for an open tender of Government land for development. It is incorrect to assume all Government land will be monopolised by a single institution.

Citing examples, the development of the joint-venture Sungai Buloh land involving the EPF will be tendered out. While this mega development plan will add to our economic growth, the development is also expected to benefit the 10 million EPF contributors. In more recent times, 1MDB, as a strategic development company wholly owned by the Government, is in a strong position to ensure that all its partners stay faithful to the key objective. The land to be developed in Sungai Besi is linked with the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Qatar Investment Authority, which is keen to invest US$5 billion. It will be a comprehensive development that will include foreign as well as local players such as LTAT. As the lead agency, 1MDB will utilise its global networks to select and appoint local and international partners, who are world-class planners and developers, to harness the diversity of global and local experience to produce the best results. These are exceptional deals for our country and I hope for more high-level partnerships that will promote an infusion of global and local talents.

The need for sustainable development cannot be overstated. I support the call for public spaces and parks instead of concrete jungles. I also have high hopes that this new wave of developments will reflect our aspirations for sustainable living and for green technology to feature prominently in our way of life. The strategic real estate development will be green-driven to create green spaces and public parts for a better livable environment. I have said the essence in the New Economic Model is about changing mindsets. We must have the courage to attempt new approaches and new ways of thinking. Only then can we as 1Malaysia shape our future and ensure prosperity for all.

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