Malacca is the next Iskandar?

I read an article by Pete Wong in www.propertyguru.com.my recently in which he gave many reasons why Malacca might just be a better choice for investors than the overhyped Iskandar. In his article, he mentioned that during his recent visit to Malacca, he was surprised by its transformation. He said that today, there are many more tall buildings, well known retailers and even the number of tourists has increased significantly. In fact well known hotels like Hatten are running close to full occupancy. He also said that being driving from one attraction to the next one takes only a very short drive. Besides that, Malacca also have UNESCO World Heritage Site Status which not many cities which are as modern as Malacca has. Thus, he concluded by saying that if we were to invest in Malacca with a view to tap on increasing number of tourists, we may be getting the best returns compared to anywhere else in Malaysia.

I love Melaka. I go to Melaka at least once every 2 years, even when I was based in Penang. I think these days I will travel to Melaka once per year. In my last trip to Melaka, I told my wife, ‘I must buy a place somewhere in Melaka. We can come more often’. In fact I have a few points which Pete have missed. First point is, the Melaka state government has been more efficient than many other Malaysian states. I remember many years ago, the Melaka river was basically dead. Today, in the evening, you can enjoy a cup of latte while lounging by the sidewalk of the river. It’s nowhere near perfect but this definitely needs time. The streets are much cleaner despite the fact that you can never fail to see tourists all over Jonker’s Walk and other historical sites. Due to the roads being wider, the jams here are much lesser than Penang’s Georgetown. Another feature which I love a lot if Jonker’s Walk. In the evening, you can see majority of the stalls run by LOCALS! Yes, how many places in Malaysia where you can still see majority locals running the stalls instead of foreigners! I think Malaccans deserve a huge pat on the shoulder for this.

So, we come to the conclusion, is Melaka the next Iskandar? I do not think so. Malacca has its own amazing transformation but most of it would be tourism driven. Thus, maybe, just maybe some right products may be launched which offers good yield but if you look at the long term capital appreciation potential, I do not think so. Would I still buy Melaka? The answer is a sure Yes. I just have to find the right one. A nice little place I can call home when I am in Malacca. I would prefer not to think of it as the same when I invest in Iskandar or Greater KL.

written on 25 Jan 2014

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