Today, we have with us someone whom I would go to when I have any questions about Iskandar Malaysia. Even though I consider him as an property expert, he remains approachable and always willing to share. He has been invited to speak by many media organisations and is a Director in Alpha Marketing Pte Ltd and also manages FYI Design Sdn Bhd. I am honoured to have him sharing some of his views as well as some latest developments in Iskandar Malaysia.
Question 1: Many people continue to say that there’s a huge oversupply in Iskandar Malaysia. What are your thoughts?
Ryan: Actually, the oversupply that everyone is talking about is basically a mismatch of housing type against the demand / buyers. In terms of this property mismatch, we could see this situation repeating in many cities. Even the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is facing this issue. In brief, I would say this is due to too many high end homes and not enough mass market products. There are two main points that I wish to highlight here. The current issue is also because the property type that is being built was marketed heavily to Singaporeans and other foreigners. However, we must also look at the huge potential. There are many factories being built today and Johor has had the highest manufacturing investments in Malaysia for 5 years running now. (Data as per MIDA website.) An article for reference to understand the actual number we are talking about.
Question 2: People say that there’s too many high-end condos in Iskandar. Some say it is even more expensive than KL. Your thoughts?
Ryan: Yes, I have heard of such comparisons. Some people in KL finds it ridiculous that Iskandar Malaysia can support so many high end condos. However, everyone does not look at the fact that Iskandar Malaysia has 3.7mil SGD income earners next door. There are also many Mainland Chinese visiting here. So its not really surprising in some sense. As for the future, the next two catalysts for Iskandar would be the MRT and the High Speed Rail (HSR). When both are fully operational, the spillover will happen. If we are asked whether we should build later when everything is ready or to build today and having them ready a few years later, I think the latter is better.
Question 3: Iskandar Malaysia has also been positioned as for entertainment (theme parks) and education. Your thoughts?
Ryan: Many people may not remember but Legoland opened for business in 2012 and today it has hotel, water park and a new aquarium may be coming by the end of 2018. This has shown us that the theme park theme is workable and Iskandar Malaysia is a good place to site them. Another prominent theme park developer and operator, Sunway will have an extreme sports park by early 2019.There is also another indoor sci-fi theme park in 2019 and the Desaru theme parks/ hotels will be largely operational by end of 2018. All these would represent a phase 2 from just a lone Legoland in 2012.
When we talk about private education, it’s a huge business today in Iskandar Malaysia and this starts to mirror the progress in Kuala Lumpur. We can already see many high-income foreigners and this continues to support private schools here. We could see many Korean families in JB because their kids are schooling in one of the Big 3 schools namely Marlborough, Raffles and Sunway International. These are actual happenings on the ground today and not a future aspiration anymore. In fact, education institutions are the no 1 tenant provider for Iskandar Puteri now.
Question 4: What would be the outlook for Iskandar Malaysia since there is now a new government?
Ryan: In the short term, there will be uncertainty as we wait for the new government to decide on all policies. Singaporeans are also generally wary of Tun Mahathir as in his time as Prime Minister previously the relationship with Singapore was not all-smooth. However, my feeling is that projects such as the High Speed Rail and MRT to Singapore will still continue as the demand is very strong from the ground for this to happen. It will also yield great benefits to both countries. In the long run a new government is good for Malaysia as it allows reduced corruption and increased efficiency. All these are good for Iskandar and Malaysia as a whole too.
Thank you Ryan for the latest updates. We will definitely be in touch with you for continuous progress updates. Cheers.
written on 19 May 2018
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