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Lego theme park for Johor

The Straits Times/The Malaysian Insider

JOHOR BARU, Nov 21 – Lego, the Danish manufacturer of toy building blocks, is close to concluding a deal to build a theme park in Johor.

State authorities familiar with the project said a breakthrough in negotiations were proceeding well and preliminary works on “Legoland Malaysia” could start as early as June next year.

The project, to be sited on some 400 acres of land off Danga Bay, is expected to entail an initial investment of under RM1 billion.

Lego now operates theme parks in Denmark, Britain, the United States, Germany and Dubai. The theme parks, built entirely from building blocks, are targeted at young families and include the whole gamut of exciting roller coaster rides and a variety of other attractions.

Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), the investment arm of Iskandar Malaysia, is expected to be the local partner in the project. Speaking in Dubai last month, IIB managing director Arlida Ariff said that as many as three theme parks were being considered in Iskandar Malaysia.

It is learnt besides Lego, IIB is also pursing talks with Universal Studios and Disney Tokyo.

The plan is to have a core theme park covering 600 to 800 acres, and a few smaller theme parks of 50 to 100 acres each. Some 3,000 acres have been set aside for theme parks, including supporting commercial developments, in Iskandar Malaysia.

Discussions are for park operators to take up a stake in the theme parks so that they can have a long-term interest in these ventures.

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Take a sneak preview of LegoLand Theme Parks at WWW.LEGOLAND.COM.

Badawi’s legacy in Medini Iskandar

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has unofficially resigned so to speak, but will only officially do so in March next year after his party polls.

The question is how well will his tenure be remembered?

Or has he left any good legacy for the country and people, at least so far? I wouldn’t want to mention deeply about this issue but all I can remember from his few years of popular-then-very-unpopular premiership was nothing more than his so-called “Economic Corridors”.

This week at a global real estate event in Dubai, Iskandar Malaysia – one of Mr Badawi’s brainchild corridor project has revealed an ambitious multi-billion dollar development in the Iskandar region of Johor, the southern state neighbouring Singapore.

Medini - Iskandars Financial District

Medini - Iskandar's Financial District

It is called Medini Iskandar (City) or simply known as Iskandar Financial District, which is to be developed by a consortium of investors mainly from the Middle East. (It was also announced that the Iskandar region would have at least three world-class theme parks.)

The unveiling of this urban-centric project came after the privately-funded Penang Global City Centre project in the northern economic region of Penang, another brainchild of the Prime Minister, was scrapped by the recently-elected Opposition government of Penang.

Medini Iskandar

Medini Iskandar

I’m here trying to be a little pessismistic on the prospect of Iskandar Malaysia, not really because it was a brainchild of an unpopular Prime Minister but more of the fact that our political uncertainty since March 2008 is taking its toll (or has had) by driving out the “forces” to other emerging economies, perhaps China and India.

The fact is Malaysia last year already had an “investment deficit” or negative flow of investments due to fund outflows exceeding the inflow of funds (such as FDI and tourism receipts?) into our country, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2008. What more can you say for this year.   

And then we have a record-breaking inflation rate then doesn’t seem to drop at all when crude oil prices already trade well below the $100 per barrel mark (consumer prices at pump have dropped a little). So I ponder why is our government putting enormous importance to mega-projects that no one cares at all than the welfare of the people who are suffering from a 27-year high inflation?      

It is even harder to believe the viability of this dream corridor amidst a very nasty financial crisis evolving in the developed world. The ongoing crisis in the US and Europe will certainly hit Malaysia’s export-oriented economy very very hard. And we all know this for sure.  

In the end, many corridor projects will just be Dreams, not until everything in the world including Malaysia gets better. Mr Badawi would certainly want his Iskandar Malaysia legacy to live on under the hands of his successor, that most of us already know.

Putrajaya Waterfront

Malaysia City hereby presents you an approved waterfront residential development in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

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[Source: World Architecture News]

The city of Putrajaya is the new administrative capital of Malaysia, a few miles south of Kuala Lumpur.

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_1

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_1

The new city is based on a system of connected islands created by overflowing a very large plantation of oil palms. The Public Administration buildings are in the centre of the islands, the residential units face the water.

“The key of the overall planning for the waterfront is the relationship to the waterfront or lakefront. Whilst the buildings on the boulevard predominantly reinforce the alignment of the boulevard, the waterfront planning should tie the boulevard back to the waterfront. The current masterplan creates large building block footprints that remain heavy a reminiscent of old American models.”

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_2A

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_2A

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_2B

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_2B

The main residential complex is conceived like a fleet of majestic Sail-Boats floating in the lagoon.

“Our conceptual approach is relative to context and tropical climate. Three factors influence our sketch planning approach: allow permeable building blocks, smaller block sizes and radiate the buildings to enhance the visual corridors and links between the boulevard and the lakefront; varying the building height of ten storey restrictions heightening at nodal points for massing hierarchy; unify the buildings by introducing a canopy roof uniquely tropical.”

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_3

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_3

The rib-like structural system forms the outer skin of the Sail-Boats and gives an important contribution to shadow the inner spaces of the various apartments without interfering with the view of the artificially created lagoon.

“The new urban plan places integration with landscaping and view as priorities. It encourages creating “fingers” of developments towards the water body and infused with park, creating a series of green forecourts.”

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_4

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_4

All the apartments face the opposite sides of the Sail-Buildings as to create bilateral ventilation, with positive bio-climatic effects.

“The urban plan suggests the building orientation and massing provide maximum view toward the water and development across the lake. The massing is broken into smaller components with different heights. This approach will ensure the integration of landscape and building massing. The landscape and public areas will be larger and located in between the building fingers, which will create an interesting “journey” towards the waterfront.”

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_5

Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Residence_5

Project details:

“Putrajaya Waterfront Luxury Condos” @ Core Island Precinct 4

Architects: Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti www.manfredinicoletti.com and Malaysian architect: HijjasKasturi www.hijjaskasturi.com

Developer: Putrajaya Holdings www.pjh.com.my

Description: The project will probably be launched at the end of the year. Selling price starting from RM 700 per sqft. Development will be in two phases, 4 blocks launched in each phase. Currently open for registration. (Source: Rizalhakim)

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Meanwhile, a new hotel is opening in Putrajaya beginning this November 2008.

Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside by Accor Hotels & Resorts is a 5-star hotel featuring 282 rooms with a unique traditional South-east Asian theme.

News: RPK to be sent to Kamunting

NEWS – Sept 23

RPK sent to Kamunting…

1. Malaysia’s famed political blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin or better known as RPK was brought to ISA detention centre at Kamunting, near Taiping, Perak this morning. He’ll begin his detention there for up to 2 years.

2. Arrested since Sept 12, RPK will continue to be held without trial under Section 8(1) of the ISA, reporters were told by his lawyers who were at the High Court today to argue RPK’s habeas corpus application. RPK’s wife Marina and ex-ISA detainee-Seputeh MP Teresa Kok were spotted chatting with former de facto Law Minister Senator Zaid Ibrahim as they sat at the public gallery.

3. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar confirmed signing RPK’s detention order yesterday after he was satisfied with the reasons given by the police for his detention. The detention was due to RPK’s articles that was deemed insulting to Islam which could arouse anger among Muslims.

4. Malaysian Chinese student-rapper Wee Meng Chee or better known as Namewee has been interogated by the police in Bukit Aman today. He is under probed under the Sedition Act.

5. PKR’s information chief, Tian Chua says that his PR alliance has held talks with the Government over the transition of power. Pak Lah has rebuffed this allegation almost immediately.  

6. MIC president Samy Vellu claimed that Pak Lah has agreed to consider releasing the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders that were detained under the ISA.

7. Malaysia’s 2008 ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International slipped further to 47 (from 43 last year out of 179 countries) out of 180 countries surveyed. Malaysia was ranked 2nd among ASEAN countries behind Singapore who was ranked 4th in the world.

8. The Malaysian Insider reported that nearly all (except two) of Umno’s state chiefs will support the Pak Lah – Najib Razak team for the top two positions in the party. Umno division meetings will begin on October 9 and Pak Lah needs at least 58 nominations out of 191 Umno divisions to qualify to contest the Presidency in December polls. 

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News: Teresa Kok released! (updated2)

NEWS – Sept 19:

1. (GMT+8) 1.30pm: Seputeh MP and Kinrara Adun, Teresa Kok released from ISA detention (at last). Will give a press conference in 2 hours time at DAP headquarters.

“She was released unconditionally.”  – Acting Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar

“What have I done to be arrested under the ISA?”  – Teresa Kok

“I have not been able to sleep in the last one week, and my high-blood pressure has gone up.” – Teresa’s father

“If you have proof, let the courts decide. There’s no use for this draconian law.” – PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub

2. The Star reported: The High Court here fixed next Friday to hear the habeas corpus application by RPK who is seeking his release from detention under the ISA.

3. Teresa to sue Utusan Malaysia and its columnist Zaini Hassan over articles accusing her which led to her ISA detention. Teresa will also sue the Government and former Selangor MB Khir Toyo. Malaysiakini reported: Utusan dares Kok to take lie detector test.

4. Bukit Gelugor MP and veteran Opposition leader Karpal Singh has filed an RM10mil suit against Utusan on another defamatory article. 

5. Further remand for blogger Kickdefella.

6. Guan Eng: Anwar is only a threat to BN.

7. Continued pressure on Anwar to reveal the ‘frogging’ MPs, while Pak Lah needs to get at least 58 of the 193 divisions to nominate him to defend his Umno presidency come October 9.  

8. Ong Ka Chuan backs Ong Tee Kiat for No.1 at MCA.

9. KLCI rallied in line with other regional stock markets, up 34 points at closing.

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News: Next Tuesday is critical (updated2)

NEWS – Sept 18:

1. Anwar wants Parliament to meet by next Tuesday, Sept 23 in order to pass a vote of no confidence on Pak Lah. Anwar also did not discount the possibility of seeking an audience with the King.

2. Pak Lah: “There is no need to call for an emergency session of Parliament because the next session is soon anyway (after Hari Raya)”. Meanwhile, Anwar’s sodomy trial is set for the next day, Sept 24.

3. Pakatan to meet on next move as emergency call strongly rejected by Pak Lah.

4. Home Minister Syed Hamid says his Ministry is watching over Anwar before taking any action. Pak Lah says there was no suggestion to use the ISA on anyone.

5. Aliran expresses serious concern over ISA detainee, RPK’s deteriorating health.

6. Pak Lah said he officially informed the Umno Supreme Council about the portfolio change with his deputy Najib Tun Razak.

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News: SAPP pulls out from BN

NEWS – Sept 17:

1. The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has pulled out of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and will become an independent party.
- SAPP has 2 MPs and 4 State reps.
- 2 of the State reps disagreed with the pull-out and have quit SAPP, and perhaps rejoin another BN party later.

“SAPP hereby proudly disassociates ourselves from these shameful wrongdoings of the BN government. SAPP further believes that the BN is not capable of practising good governance and non-racial politics.”

2. Pak Lah is now the new Defence Minister while Najib takes over the Finance Minister post. With this, Najib was also appointed the new deputy chairman for Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

3. The swapping of portfolio is part of the Umno transition of power which is planned for 2010, but the transition could happen earlier than 2010 depending on the situation, and that it would not exceed that year.

4. ‘He (Anwar) has become a threat to the economy and possibly (national) security,’ warned Pak Lah.

5. Pak Lah says Anwar’s letter only mentioned national security, the leadership and problems on morality and politics and had not touched on the transfer of power to Pakatan Rakyat.

Malaysias administration centre, Putrajaya at night. Photo by split.second.

Malaysia's administration centre, Putrajaya at night. Photo by split.second.

6. ISA detainee Teresa Kok has lodged a police report against Malay-language newspaper Utusan, its columnist Zaini Hassan and former Selangor Chief Minister Khir Toyo.

7. Popular blogger Syed Azidi Syed Aziz (aka Kickdefella.wordpress.com) was arrested in Kota Baru before being taken to Kuala Lumpur by the police. His wife believes that he was arrested for sedition.

8. PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz is confident Anwar will succeed in his plan to take over the Federal Government.

9. The ACA has begun investigations into claims by BN MPs that they are being offered money by Pakatan Rakyat to cross-over.

10. Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Khir Toyo confirmed going for Umno Youth’s top post. The other candidate is Mukhriz mahathir, son of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. 

11. Sex-scandalled former Health minister, Chua Soi Lek will contest the MCA deputy president’s post. This is a straight fight with Housing Minister Ong Ka Chuan, brother of the current MCA president. The presidential candidates this time are Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat and another former Health Minister Chua Jui Meng.

12. A Muslim NGO, Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), has come out strongly to condemn the ISA detentions of Teresa Kok, Raja Petra and others. It has also questioned the detention of journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.

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CNN reports: Malaysia PM says he might resign before 2010 

Channelnewsasia / AFP: PM says may step down earlier

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