Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Residential projects in Johor - too ambitious?

The Iskandar region of Southern Johor has ben the subject of many ambitious plans. Maybe even grandiose plans. The plans include
"...a snow world theme park, an opera house, a hospital specializing in Chinese traditional medicine and a school."
One view is that there may be too many homes planned.

Leading to this question:

Why, yes.

After a history of building ghost cities to pad up their economic growth figures.

And they are running out of ghost cities to build in China.

Then there is Malaysia.
So why are they building so many new homes in Iskandar? 
Look to China. Most of the developers or at least one partner in the joint ventures are Chinese construction/development companies. Fresh from building Ghost Cities (Google that), in China, these developers need new mega-projects to keep going and going and going.
There is a suspicion that part of China's incredible economic growth is made up of meaningless and unneeded infrastructure work, like building homes that no one wants (leading to Ghost Cities - where the population is a small fraction of the capacity of the city).
Iskandar, in Malaysia, where corruption is still a big problem, may be "ripe" for these Chinese Developers. Particularly as Malaysia had plans for Iskandar ("Field of Dreams" plans: "build it, and they will come") which slotted in nicely with the Chinese Developers'.
But what exactly is Iskandar, Malaysia? CNN Money answers this question in this video:

The way CEO of Iskandar Regional Development Authority speaks of "what we term as incentives" at 1:58 sounds like he's speaking of bribes euphemistically.

But maybe I'm just being overly sceptical or cynical. So here's a less critical, more neutral, or even slightly positive perspective of the place for a "private city".

And then there is the possible impact of the HSR, as well as the RTS. Those would be in Malaysia's interest to fast-track into completion in support of their residential development projects.

With the RTS, and an expedited custom clearance, Singaporeans may be enticed to buy a second home in Iskandar - to get landed property or large condos for a fraction of the price in SG at the cost of a daily or weekly commute.

[Feb 11 2018 Addendum. Recently, Malaysia has suggested an easing of Customs and Immigration checkpoint procedures between SG and MY. The specifics were not given, other than "Single Checkpoint" at the causeway. The purpose is to ease congestions and speed up immigration clearance. This could be a way to enhance the attractiveness of all the properties being developed in Iskandar. If Singaporeans were persuaded that they will have faster clearance of immigration, that would be one less hurdle or barrier to living in those would-be ghost towns.]

Would Singaporeans bite?

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