Dedicated to a hero

Like with all our houses, we have given the new corner terrace a name - ‘Rumah Setia’ (in English: Loyalty House). 

The reason: all streets in East Ledang are called after heroes of the mythological Malay ‘Hang Tuah’ saga, a legend of the five warriors of the Melaka Sultanate. This house in particular is located in a street called ‘Jalan Hang Jebat’ called so after our favourite character of the legend, the ‘silat’ (martial arts) practitioner Hang Jebat. He was known for his loyalty to his fellow warrior Hang Tuah, the main character of the saga. Hang Jebat rebelled against the Sultan to revenge his friend whom he believed to have been executed by the Sultan for a deed he had not done and without proper investigation (it was a setup by envious officials). Hang Tuah was however still alive thanks to the prime minister who liked him and secretly disobeyed the Sultan’s orders. The Sultan regretted having sentenced Hang Tuah to death and after the Prime Minister confessed he asked for Hang Tuah to come back to the Palace. He then ordered Hang Tuah to kill his own friend Hang Jebat for starting the rebellion, and to stop him from continuing to run amok and kill thousands of people in the state. Hang Tuah followed the order unquestioningly and initially only wounded Hang Jebat in a long fight, but subsequently killed him after promising to care for Hang Jebat’s love child Hang Kadim. In a nutshell, this story is about conflicting concepts of loyalty, the unquestioning loyalty of Hang Tuah to his boss the Sultan, and his duty towards his country, and on the other part the personal loyalty of Hang Jebat to his childhood friend Hang Tuah, a loyalty which Hang Jebat valued over his duty to the Sultan whom he too served. An exciting story which you can read in more detail on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hang_Jebat 

Or you can buy ‘The Epic of Hang Tuah’, a beautifully bound book with maps and historic background comments from the ‘Malay Great Works Series’.

Hang Jebat’s famous quote during the fight was “Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah” meaning “A fair king is a king to salute, a cruel king is a king to rebel against”. Which kind of loyalty would you choose? The unquestionable loyalty of the soldier Hang Tuah to his superior, the Sultan of Melaka - or the critical loyalty of Hang Jebat to his friend Hang Tuah, even if it means to fight against the orders of your superior?

In any case, this is the reason we named our house in Jalan Hang Jebat ‘Rumah Setia’.

We have got the keys!

After a long wait we not only got liquidated damages from UEM for the delayed handover of a corner terrace which we bought quite a while back, but also - more importantly - the keysThanks to the developer’s delay we had plenty of time to plan the interior design. So much so that our furniture angels from AttractDesign have already produced the built-in wardrobes and kitchen units. On Thursday afternoon (3 April 2014) we got hold of the keys, and on Friday the units were delivered - now it’s just a matter of installing them. Oh, and the lights and ceiling fans have to go in, the number of power sockets has to be at least tripled and the house properly wired for wifi everywhere. And let’s not forget the landscaping. We try to improve with every new renovation. And this is probably renovation Nr 10 (of our own properties). Let’s get it started.

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What is the current state of bricks & mortar in Nusajaya?

A few months have passed since the introduction of real estate cooling measures: the steep increase in Real Property Gains Tax (i.e. the tax on profits someone makes from selling his house) has hit foreigners in particular. Whilst locals enjoy a staggered taxation:

image(Source: SE LAI CK Chartered Accountants)

Compared to most countries, these tax rates are still benign and after 5 full years of ownership foreigners only need to pay 5% and locals 0%.

At the same time the levy which foreigners have to pay to get state consent to buy Malaysian real estate, has been increased. With effect from 1 May 2014 the fee will no longer be a flat fee of RM10,000 - but is based on 2% of the price of the property the foreigner intends to purchase (or RM20,000 whichever is higher). At the same time the state of Johor has increased the minimum value of a property a foreigner can purchase: from RM500,000 to RM1m (there are excemptions to this for properties located in Medini).

The above cooling measures, together with the change of weekend in Johor to Friday/Saturday (mainly for civil servants, banks are still operating from Monday to Friday and so are most private companies), and in addition the clumsy way of communicating all these changes, have led to an over cooled sales market. The prime secondary market has all but died. UEM Sunrise seems to have had a sad take up rate of 20% for its new Almas condo launch. This raises the question whether the above measures were too much too early?

At the same time huge land deals are going ahead. Another Chinese giant (Greenland Group) has purchased Danga Bay land for RM3 billion. There may be an oversupply of condos in the next 2-5 years. However, having experienced the immense growth of property developments in Malaysia before, we think that mid to long term this supply should find its demand in a growing population.

The rental market on the other hand is buoyant. Rents have increased a lot. SemiDs in the upmarket East Ledang area are now renting for RM10-12k pcm. In Horizon Hills they find tenants for maybe RM1k less. Ledang Heights’ luxurious bungalows are now reaching around RM20k per month.

So whilst confidence in the subsale market has definitely decreased the rental demand balances the overall market sentiment of property owners.

Launching this month: Nusajaya Techpark (Ascendas / UEM)

A new techpark is launching this month: just across the Second Link highway from the prime residential enclave of Ledang Heights, and with around 519 acres freehold land slightly bigger than Ledang Heights’ 360 acres - the Ascendas / UEM joint venture ‘Nusajaya Techpark’:

Nusajaya Techpark is located within Nusajaya’s phase II (aka ‘Gerbang Nusajaya’). It will contain factories and factory lots for precision engineering firms, medical supply and electronics companies etc. With it supporting infrastructure will locate there such as sports facilities, F&B outlets, dormitories etc for the business community of 34,000 people (after completion of all three phases in around 9 years). 

Ascendas is a well known property company from Singapore and has already several projects in Malaysia. The sales office for the Nusajaya Techpark can be found in Mall of Medini on the upper floor (in the middle of the shopping complex is an escalator leading upstairs).

For those who don’t know - Gerbang Nusajaya (in English ‘Gateway Nusajaya’) is located on the left of the Second Link highway (coming from Singapore):

Further projects in Gerbang Nusajaya are an affordable housing estate called Nusa Citra and Peter Lim’s Autocity (Formula One compliant race track and similar installations for motorsports enthusiasts).

For residents of Nusajaya phase I (Ledang Heights, East Ledang, Leisure Farm) the question to address will be whether there will be any noise pollution coming from the Gerbang Nusajaya development disturbing the peace and quiet of these prime residential areas of Iskandar Malaysia. 

Change of weekend in Johor

2014 has officially made its entrance. And with it the change of the weekend days for Johor, which are now Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday. At least, if you work for the government. Today was the first ‘new Saturday’ so to speak, i.e. the first Friday of 2014. Since for our small business the work week will remain Monday to Sunday (no rest for wicked self employed people!) [or shall we now say ‘Sunday to Saturday?’] - it was business as usual today. Banks were open, shops were open, emails were answered by accountants etc. And our Muslim partners did not notice any change in mosque attendance for Friday prayers either - the mosques were overcrowded as before, but not more so. You may be tempted to wonder why the change. If it ain’t broken why fix it? It may make business slightly more complicated for businesses needing export licenses from government officials etc (there is one day less to sort these sort of things out now), but it also makes life a little calmer for civil servants, who can now if they so wish make their way to the mosque in peace and quiet and do not need to rush back to work. Just like Sunday worship for their Christian brothers and sisters. The change has come, whether it was a prudent change or not, its effect on business and day to day life seems minimal. 

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Nusajaya is a regional city located in the south west of Johor, Malaysia at the border to Singapore.
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