Expert Series with Khalil Adis: Iskandar, still attractive or totally negative?

Not too long ago, there were many Iskandar believers. In fact it became so hot that the big developers from China were launching number of units in the thousands. Well, these days, it does seem that these believers are in the background while the negative comments are now taking centerstage. While the foreign direct investment (FDI) is still continuing but perhaps it is too slow? Is it true that Iskandar’s magical story has ended, about to end or continuing? I tracked down Khalil who will share with us his thoughts about Iskandar. Let’s learn.
1) Is there really an oversupply currently? If yes, how long would this oversupply lasts. If no, why do you say so?
I do see an oversupply in the residential property market. Since majority of the projects were launched in 2014, I would say it could last up to 2020. Hence, if I were a property buyer, I would buy a property for my own stay. If I were an investor, I would buy near the RTS-MRT station in JB Sentral or the HSR station in Nusajaya as rent seekers generally want to live close to transport hubs.
2) Will HSR be the catalyst that Iskandar needs or perhaps Malaysia and Singapore should quickly focus on increasing the number of links quickly instead?
The HSR and RTS will be the catalyst as right now, commuters are turned off from travelling to and fro due to the constant traffic jams at the causeway. Once the links are in place, cross border travel will become more seamless and hopefully this will encourage more people and investments to pour into Iskandar Malaysia. I think both sides should focus on the RTS-MRT link first as the HSR will only be ready in 2022. Most importantly, we need to see the 3 BRT lines in place as outlined by IRDA.
3) Is it true that Iskandar would benefit more if it is successful when compared to Singapore? Why?
Iskandar Malaysia is in itself the most successful out of the five economic corridors in Malaysia. It has nothing to do with it already being successful or not because it is strategically located just next to Singapore. What is more important is the political issues and policies in place in Iskandar Malaysia. As we speak, the political issue in Putrajaya and the reversal of policy in renaming Nusajaya to Iskandar Puteri have spooked Singaporean buyers as it seemed to confirm policies in Malaysia can change mid-stream. This is something the various stakeholders in Iskandar Malaysia will need to address.
4) In your opinion, the three things that IRDA must do for Iskandar’s continuous success are?
IRDA must do::
1. Address the various negative stories coming out from Iskandar Malaysia. Out of 10, 7-8 are negative. Perception issues need to be tackled head on.
2. Continue to reach out to Singaporean investors and MNCs at trade shows.
3. Have forum and question and answer sessions on the renaming of Iskandar Puteri, the progress of the BRT lines and RTS-MRT link to bolster confidence.
I personally believe that no matter what we invest in, due diligence is of utmost important. Even if we are firm believers of Iskandar, it does not mean that whatever we buy will increase in value. One real example, High Speed Rail (HSR) which was supposed to be a major catalyst is delayed. However, there are plans for many other links which to me seems more important than the HSR. Do watch these links instead of better signs. Yes, watch the manufacturing sector as well.
interviewed on 13 Mar 2016
Next suggested expert series: Penang Property Market? Expert Series with Michael Geh
Khalil Adis is a property journalist who is also a sought-after speaker and real estate consultant known for his independent reviews and commentaries.He has his own consultancy business which presents a myriad of services which include property and market research, due diligence, editorial, content management and speaking engagements in the regional property market.


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