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PROPERTY PLAYERS URGED TO TAKE ON GREATER ROLE IN NATION BUILDING

Property industry players have been encouraged to join real estate non-governmental organisations (NGOs) so that they can contribute positively to nation building.

International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) World President Dato' Alan Tong Kok Mau said that by actively participating in NGOs, property professionals would be able to share their collective views and thus play a greater role in the government's vision of developing the country.

Delivering the opening address at the 16th National Real Estate Convention (NREC) held at the beginning of this week, Dato' Alan Tong said Kuala Lumpur's growth was impressive and that it is heading to become a world class city, thus propelling the country towards attaining a fully-developed nation status.

Dato' Alan Tong attributes this growth to the improving working relationship of both the public and private sectors over the years. As such, he called on industry players to be actively involved in such NGOs whose views are often sought by the authorities. In being more involved, real estate professionals will be able to increase the positive contribution of the private sector.

However, Dato' Alan Tong noted the vulnerability of the property market to overbuilding. As such, he stressed on the need for real estate professionals to take heed of the supply and demand forces in a given location.

"Conduct a proper research and surveys before embarking on a launch in a specific location. Such studies can help gauge the potential success of a project as it would provide an indication of the demand and supply situation in that location," he said to the 400 delegates who were in attendance at the NREC.

The two-day convention was co-organised by FIABCI Malaysia Chapter, the Institution of Surveyors, Malaysia (ISM) and the Association of Valuers and Property Consultants in Private Practice (PEPS).

Having said that, Dato' Alan Tong noted that regulations put in place by authorities can have an impact on natural market forces. He explained that the property industry is normally influenced by natural market forces which can be managed proactively. However, there are times when an oversupply situation could have stemmed from regulations. As such, he urged the authorities to relook at some of their policies and regulations currently in force which could contribute to a situation of oversupply.

He also expressed hope that the relevant agencies would continue to refine their policies, cutting down bureaucracy.

"Promote a good balance between regulation and free market forces so that the private sector's role of real estate development will be more effective and be in tandem with the country's vision of achieving a fully developed nation status by the year 2020," he added.

Dato' Alan Tong is the first Malaysian elected to lead FIABCI, a Paris-based NGO with national chapters in more than 50 countries around the world. He was inaugurated World President for the 2005-2006 term at the organisation's premier event, the World Real Estate Congress which was held from 29th May to 4th June this year in Athens, Greece.

He is also the group executive chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd (BKP), the company with which he re-entered the property market after selling his stake in a public-listed property development company in 1997 before the financial crisis hit.

BKP is the developer of Hijauan Kiara, an upmarket spa-themed luxury condominium project in Mont'Kiara. Hijauan Kiara is the company's second niche and innovative development comprising 188 units of luxury condominiums on a freehold 5.4 acre parcel.

Besides being one of the lowest density offerings in this sought-after address, this RM250 million project which is 70 per cent sold, also introduces a host of first-of-its-kind features in the neighbourhood, such as private lift lobbies, a layout of no more than two units on each floor and sunken baths as standard in all master bedrooms.

BKP's maiden project was Aman Kiara, an exclusive gated-and-guarded precinct of 19 bungalows and 12 duplex condovillas also situated in Mont'Kiara. Aman Kiara is unique for being the first development in the country to feature strata bungalows together with condovillas.
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