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THE LOVE AFFAIR THAT'S KILLING OUR FORESTS

Ekve 02

In recent years, there have been lots of protests over new highways. No one wants a big highway cutting through their neighbourhoods (all that traffic!) and killing all the trees and animals.But it...

In recent years, there have been lots of protests over new highways. No one wants a big highway cutting through their neighbourhoods (all that traffic!) and killing all the trees and animals.But its inevitable. There will be more highways being built. More trees being cut down. More animals losing their homes.Why? Because Malaysians love their personal space.(Yes, there are a few more other factors that we will talk about here also, but thats quite a big one.) THE EKVE: GOOD, BAD AND UGLY Take, for example, the EKVE.Thats the East Klang Valley Expressway an upcoming 39.5km-long expressway that connects Ukay Perdana in Ampang and Bandar Sungai Long in Kajang.It is part of a traffic dispersal scheme to direct cars away from the city. So its pretty handy if you need to get from the north to the south of Greater Kuala Lumpur but dont want to get caught in the massive jams on the Middle Ring Road 2.But that route away from the city also means it will have to cut through two forest reserves the Ampang Forest Reserve and the Ulu Gombak forest reserve.Thankfully, the Ulu Gombak forest reserve stretch under Phase 2 has been shelved (for now), but Phase 1 is underway with 106.6 hectares of the Ampang Forest Reserve degazetted.The 106.6 hectares is actually about 0.001% of Selangors entire forest reserve, and it will be replaced by gazetting some other land nearby, but obviously people (NGOs, residents and the like) are not very happy about that.And for good reason. Our forests are our natural heritage, and trees give us oxygen. But more importantly, the forest reserve is a water catchment area for the Selangor dam. No forest reserve means no water, which is no fun especially with El Nino and the water shortage issues weve been having.And intruding into the forest means wildlife would lose their homes or lose their way home. Wed be asking more questions like Why did the Sumatran Serow cross the road? SAY NO TO HIGHWAYS?Its easy to surmise, then, that having more highways is a bad idea.However, can we really live without highways? Or are they a necessary evil?Malaysians, specifically KL-ites, love their cars. Every day, 1,000 new vehicles are registered in Kuala Lumpur. Soon, our license plates will run out of space, just like our clogged roads.We also love our city, because thats where the jobs, business opportunities, schools and amenities are. By 2020, Greater Kuala Lumpur is expected to be home to 10 million people. These people need a place to live.And, as mentioned, one big, big factor is that Malaysians love our space. Generally, security and facilities factors notwithstanding, Malaysians prefer landed homes. We like to have a garden, to be able to hang our clothes out in the sun, and to park right in front of our door. We dont like being crowded or have people living above us or below us.But with rising property prices in and around the city, new developments are being built farther and farther away in new growth areas. We do have lots of space in Malaysia, so we can afford to spread out. Why settle for city shoebox apartments when we can have resort living?This urban sprawl comes at a cost. As the increasing Kuala Lumpur workforce become commuters, we need to build new highways to connect these areas so these people can get to work each day. And we need to build more roads and more parking lots to keep these cars in the city.Why not build better public transportation systems instead?That is definitely a solution, but it only works in areas where there are enough people to support the system, like the city center. While theres a romantic story of a train in Japan that services a single student to school every day, it is not viable to service spread out and low population areas (which is probably why the High Speed Train to Singapore will not be stopping at Putrajaya.)BE LIKE SINGAPORE?If we want to stop cutting down our forests and draining our water catchments, perhaps we need to stop the sprawl and hang up our car keys.We need to start planning and building houses closer together and stack em up higher. Keep the city nice and tight. Dont push development far and wide to obscure places with funny names. Encourage people to stay close to their workplace so they cut down on commuting.More housing closer together and higher up? Surely we dont want to be like claustrophobic Singapore! Or could we learn something from our southern neighbour?Think about it.Singapore may be the third densest country in the world. But because all the high-rise housing and road and rail networks are efficiently planned, it is also one of the most livable, with an abundance of green and blue spaces. In 1986, Singapore had a 2.7 million population, with 36% of the island covered in greenery. In 2007, its population grew to 4.6 million, and its greenery also increased to 47%! In an effort to make the country car-lite, the MRT stations are equipped with bike racks, and by 2030, Singapore will have more than 700km of bike lanes.Los Angeles is an example of how sprawl makes for less efficient city living, where commuters get caught in the worst traffic jams every day no matter how many highways are built.It would take a deliberate and concerted push by the policy makers for things to change. Our city developments should be transit-oriented, with a focus on walkability build proper (shaded) sidewalks and bike lanes instead of car parks. Reliable shuttle or taxi services, or even options such as Uber, would help people get around without needing to drive.It would also take a change of mindset. Malaysians love our space and our cars. We protest against any upcoming high rises in our backyard. We complain about congestion on the road while driving our single-occupancy vehicle. We are fine with change as long as we dont have to change the way we live.This love affair with space could be killing our forests. Perhaps its time to do something about that. For news, insights and latest transacted property prices in the Klang Valley, check out PropertyPricetag.com.Read the full article here.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

Foreigner

Residents of Alam Prima condominium in Seksyen 22, Shah Alam, have closed their gates to foreign tenants with a huge un-welcoming sign at the lobby entrance.The condo's joint-management body (JMB) ...

Residents of Alam Prima condominium in Seksyen 22, Shah Alam, have closed their gates to foreign tenants with a huge un-welcoming sign at the lobby entrance.The condo's joint-management body (JMB) has laid down this policy since 2012, which includes vetting through all tenancy agreements to ensure no unit is rented to non-Malaysians. Presumably, the move is to avoid cultural clashes in the predominantly Malay residential building.If we allow [foreigners to stay here], were afraid of problems arising," said JMB committee member Norhayaty Ariffin. "The policy is a preventive measure."In 2013, Ridzuan Condominium in Bandar Sri Subang issued a ban on "African" tenants. A similar ban was issued in East Lake Residence, Seri Kembangan.While it may be entirely the prerogative of the JMB to lay down such house rules, is such discriminatory policies what we want to see in more developments?According to Subang Jaya State Assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, "This trend is not healthy. There are crime cases committed by local Malaysians too. I am against such discriminatory rules"Imagine your children not being able to secure accommodation or take public buses when studying abroad," she adds. "Federal government needs to control intake of students and ensure foreign labourers are placed in proper hostel by their employers."Check out the latest transacted property prices and updates at PropertyPricetag.com.

WOULD YOU BUY A HOME THERE?

Highlandtowers

Highland Towers in Ulu Klang has been synonymous with the folly of hillside developments for many, especially those old enough to remember when Block 1 collapsed in the tragic 1993 incident that cl...

Highland Towers in Ulu Klang has been synonymous with the folly of hillside developments for many, especially those old enough to remember when Block 1 collapsed in the tragic 1993 incident that claimed 48 lives.Block 2 and 3 were completely evacuated and remain unoccupied today, some 22 years later.Are the former high-end condominium towers to remain a dilapidated monument of the lives lost under crushing bricks? Or is it ever possible for it to regain a new lease of life?In a recent report by an online news portal, its ex-RA president, Dr Benjamin George, believes it's time for Highland Towers to be redeveloped ... with the necessary precautions and procedures to avoid any repeat of tragedy.The cause of the 1993 collapse had been attributed to structural failure due to land-clearing and erosion at a hillside development site behind the Towers. Water from the new construction site and the monsoon rainfall caused a landslide that rammed into, and snapped, the foundation of Block 1."In Hong Kong, there are hill slope developments and there are no problems," George said. "That is because it is done properly. There are ways to develop a hill slope properly."He said it didnt matter what was built on the land, which is still owned Arab Malaysian Bhd (AmBank), except that it would be good to see a new development there and for the remaining towers to be demolished.The neighbouring hillsides remain a popular residential area and have seen continued development despite several other landslide incidents.Have we learned enough from the past to move on into the future?Check out PropertyPricetag.com for recent transacted values of properties in Ulu Klang.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Name bangsar south

The naming of a development or an area is an important part of building a brand, according to a news portal. The right name for a project or an area could add to its prestige and raise property.Tod...

The naming of a development or an area is an important part of building a brand, according to a news portal. The right name for a project or an area could add to its prestige and raise property.Today, the number of developments being linked with prominent addresses is increasing. (This is one reason why there are so many areas called Damansara and Kiara, for example.)Some examples:* A former rubber estate in Sungai Buloh has been developed and renamed as KOTA DAMANSARA and now boasts a new MRT line in a thriving neighbourhood* A part of the sleepy Kampung Kerinchi is now known as BANGSAR SOUTH, with modern office towers and mid to high-end apartments by UOA* Taman Melawati is now home to the 62ha integrated KL EAST township by Sime Darby.* Some of the latest developments scattered in the sourthern part of Kuala Lumpur now include KL SOUTH as part of their name. These include Verve Suites KL South in Old Klang Road by Bukit Kiara Properties; Southville City @ KL South township in Bandar Baru Lembah Selatan by Mah Sing Group; and Trinity Aquata KL South in Seri Kembangan by Trinity Group.* In the northern part of KL, by a 9ha lake in the Selayang area, there is KL NORTH, ie Lakepark Residence @ KL North.* Developments in Segambut, Dutamas and Kepong tend to like branding themselves as NORTH KIARA to highlight their proximity to their high-end neighbour, Mont'Kiara. For example, Verdana @ North Kiara by BRDB Developments; BCB Bhds Concerto North Kiara; Scenaria @ North Kiara Hills by UOA Development; and Anjali North Kiara from Angsana Setia.Find out how much properties in these neighbourhoods have been sold for at PropertyPricetag.com!Source: The Malaysian Insider

5 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT PUCHONG

Puchong

5. PUCHONG WAS ONCE FILLED WITH RUBBER ESTATES, OIL PALM PLANTATIONS & TIN MINES The neighbourhoods built on former rubber estates are freehold (e.g. Kinrara, Puchong Jaya, Bandar Puteri, Pucho...

5. PUCHONG WAS ONCE FILLED WITH RUBBER ESTATES, OIL PALM PLANTATIONS & TIN MINES The neighbourhoods built on former rubber estates are freehold (e.g. Kinrara, Puchong Jaya, Bandar Puteri, Puchong Utama, Bukit Puchong), while those built on former tin-mining areas are leasehold (e.g. Taman Kinrara 1 to 5).4. PUCHONG IS GOVERNED BY 3 LOCAL COUNCILS!DBKL (5th to 7th mile); Subang Jaya Municipal Council (Kinrara to 16th mile) and Sepang Municipal Council (yang lain-lain). Most of the undeveloped areas in Puchong are located within the Sepang municipality (e.g. Bukit Puchong 2, 16 Sierra, Pulau Meranti and Taman Mas). 3. PUCHONG HAS THE MOST BANKSFormer Kinrara assemblyman Datuk Yap Pian Hon was reportedly inspired by the Hong Kong commercial districts and, together with some businessmen, brought in 29 banks to the town.2. PUCHONG'S DEVELOPMENT CATALYST: PUTRAJAYA & IOIPuchong benefited by the development of Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, which are next to it. The Damansara-Puchong highway was the first major highway to be built there, and the Ampang LRT Line Extension Project will add to its connectivity with 2 stations in Puchong. IOI Properties (part of the plantations giant IOI Group) is considered the pioneer developer, with its 374ha self-contained Bandar Puchong Jaya township in 1990, the IOI Mall in 1996, and Bandar Puteri Puchong in 2000, among others. The group still has about 40ha of land to be developed in the township.1. PUCHONG: RISING PRICES YET STILL AFFORDABLEPuchong's property sector has seen a boom due to its strategic location. The average price for selected high-rise residential properties in Puchong had increased by 35.6% to 79.2% over the past five years, yet are considered more affordable than those in Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya. Most of the properties transacted in 2014 were priced between RM300,001 and RM400,000, with 36% between RM100,000 to RM300,000.Want to know how much houses in Puchong were sold for? Check out PropertyPricetag.com.Sources: The Star, The Malaysian Insider