A prospectus by Singapore’s World Class Global Ltd reveals just how many George Town shoplots and other properties it has snapped up.

The prospectus reveals a breath-taking list of dozens of shophouses and other properties in Dato Keramat Road, Juru Lane, Tan Sri Teh Ewe Lim Road, Macalister Road, Naning Street, Transfer Road, Hutton Road, Prangin Road Ghaut, Magazine Road, Gurdwara Road, Section 11W, Noordin Street, Macallum Street, CY Choy Road, Katz Street, Cecil Street, Ceti Street, Presgrave Street, Tye Sin Street, Penang Road and Bertam Lane.

Check out the prospectus for yourself: you can find the list of Penang properties in Appendix A on pages A-38 to A-42 (large pdf file).

It is a bewildering list, with potential profits from redevelopment running into the millions of ringgit, according to valuation reports, which can be found in Appendix B of the prospectus from page B-60 onwards.

See earlier my blog post here. As mention there, while what the firm is doing in legally permissible, what we are faced with now is a Unesco world heritage site in inner city George Town while next to it, another world is emerging: a playground for the rich – similar to the superficial heritage trappings, fancy eateries and glitzy lights of Nagore Road – that is well beyond the reach of ordinary Penangites. Much of it by a single large foreign developer.

Indeed, gentrification is fast swallowing up Penang’s cultural and natural heritage.

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24 COMMENTS

    • Some Malaysian folks cannot accept Singapore is better off than us after 50 years of separation. That is the basic reason – envy. But we must not forget that some Singapore buyers are formerly Penangites who migrated across the causeway since the 80’s for the sake of their children’s education.

      • What the Singapore investors worry most is the forever fighting NGOs spirit of Penang !

    • Like Singapore Minister Khaw was a Penang born, any who now live in Singapore have strong sentimental link to Penang island, and hence return to invest in Penang old shophouses. To imagine how downtown heritage Penang will look like in future, go explore Joo Chiat to get an idea.

      One thing for sure, they buy in whole stretch (opposite Komtar 6 units, opposite Gama Supermarket the corner stretch) and when well refurbished we can walk with ease as there shall be no obstruction along the kaki lima.

      • For many Malaysians, their hopes of working in plush offices or pursuing a corporate career has had to be replaced with working as Uber or Grabcar drivers, or even as maids and house cleaners, as wages for most fresh graduates remain too low to survive in the city.

        According to payscale.com, the average rate of salary increase in Malaysia in 2015 was only 3.5%, whereas Indonesia rated 9.8%, Singapore 12% and Thailand 5.8%.

        https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/14565/

        Malaysia is said to have 5% GDP growth vs Singapore’s 2%. But what matter most to rakyat is our salary growth. Else everything is expensive, not just properties.

  1. The old shop houses in the heritage zone are private properties.
    It is the discretion of the owners whether to sell to Singaporean companies.
    So no need for us the worry for them.
    Important thing is Singapore firms will help to restore and preserve the old houses to their former glories.

  2. Personally not a fan of these projects or Aspial but the Koh brothers have been highly successfull placing their bets all over. So the fact they have done this, property owners should be happy their assets will go up.

    In SG, I hate these places except where the govt actually plough in money to refurbish the very old HDB flats and shops that are nearby or there are old malls nearby. Then it becomes very interesting with old and new next to each other, mingling. Examples would be Hong Lim Complex, Bras Basah Complex, Albert Center-Bencoolen St area. Somehow the older shops find new life, extremely crowded often, more than these gentrified places..

    • Spill over effect. Once the dilapidated schoolhouse given physical makeovers, the others which are not acquired by this Global folks stand to gain as the properties appreciate in value.

      However, the rental inevitably raised to cover the renovation cost. This is likely to hurt the customers pockets with higher menu prices.

      Likely in future the present RM1.10 priced kopi o may only be available in the alley stalls like Toh Soon coffee outlet off Campbell Street.

      • My grandfather suffered last time because of rent control act. The tenant can live free when sublet the old shop house for profit. Thankfully he can get good deal selling to Singapore developers!

      • Keep it modern and clean, the Singapore way! Want cheap things go to KL Petaling Street for pirated stuff.

  3. Special report on Nanyang Siang Pao today giving top 10 reasons attracting the Hong Kong people (including celebrities like Simon Yam and Karen Mok) to invest in Penang properties:

    http://www.enanyang.my/news/20170909/%e3%80%90%e7%8b%ac%e5%ae%b6%e3%80%91%e8%89%ba%e4%ba%ba%e5%95%86%e5%ae%b6%e7%ba%b7%e6%b6%8c%e7%bd%ae%e4%ba%a7%e7%bb%8f%e5%95%86br-%e6%a7%9f%e5%9f%8e10%e7%89%b9%e8%89%b2%e5%a4%ba%e6%b8%af/

    If you cannot read Mandarin, let me know and I will translate the 10 reasons to you.

  4. Anil, visit any of the private museums of ‘gentrification’ in Georgie Town & you (I supposed are as ordinary as any Penangite) may think twice of paying the entrance fee.
    Many will argue the investments thrown into such ventures need to recoup from ‘justifiable’ profits. But then again one particular museum along Weld Quay which charges RM25.00 entrance fee but still can ‘afford’ to give ‘generous’ commission of RM10 per paying visitor to ‘membership’ tour driver who bring tourists to it. How to survive???
    SingLanders, how about gentrify Penangites to ‘appear’ rich & wealthy?
    Human gentrification process:
    Ang Moh-speaking & social-skills sponsorship, fine dining etiquette training, home makeover with high end interiors, new set of personalised suits, facial & hair ‘tweeks’, yuppie thinking, generous Arab-style donation of cash deposits for living the rich & famous lifestyle, Merc S_ _ _Ho Liao, Kia-Su mental ingraining.
    This human gentrification (of Penangites) will definitely make SingLander Gentrification of Georgie Town a success story.

    • Physical gentrification via building renewals should happen after winning the hearts and souls (or minds) of the locals who used to yesteryears of non modern hightech simplicity lifestyles???
      Human complacency could be the fault allowing foreigners with cash to dictate the cosmopolitan future? The fear of many that sinking ringgit cannot uplift the wannabes for world class lifestyles, while the old charms of heritage is diminishing by days without injecting of cash to maintain or sustain the physical infrastructures if not the intangible aspect of the Penang civilization?
      Only time can tell so I hope we live long to witness the outcomes.

      • Unfortunately, properties become speculative commodities or futures earnings via artificial demand. The social aspect of housing is anybody’s game of chances.
        We have not reached the mindset of the Scandinavians whose values are not based on greed but a balance of sustainable lifestyle, caring for environment & conservation of culture & nature which tend to lead to living a happy life. Yet they also managed to encourage & develop their people’s talents & skills, whether they be in the arts, science & medicine.
        Have you seen high rise frenzies in the Scandinavian countries where housing is not for the rich & famous?

      • Human complacency? I beg your more sane explanation not in the vein of solely chasing money.
        The fault lies more on the gomen who tend to treat housing more for quickie profit-making (assessment rates, taxes, etc) than a long term social need of the majority.
        People should not be burdened by speculative forces acting for selfish gains. If everyone has to shoulder huge housing loan (some into 2nd generation), where does that leave any money for more important needs like further self-education, business capital, decent meals, travel, etc? Will people be motivated to pursue careers of their hearts linked to their talents?
        Remember, we have only one-life to make good use of our life & purpose.
        Old world charm? The road of gentrification will lead us down the slippery path where one fine day, we tend to reminisce the old world charm transfixed on mural arts & photo books which don’t sell convincingly to UNESCO asking what has happened to Penang.

    • Asia Comic Museum at Komtar a must visit for art fans. Entrance can be free on certain promo days, like on book launch event on 2 Sep during 2pm – 4pm slot, no need to pay i think RM15.

      • This museum can match Singapore’s museums.

        The curator Mr Hew is very knowledgeable especially on 70s Hong Kong comic i grew up with.

        Worth visiting to recollect past memories growing up in Penang.

    • yes, the old shop houses in the heritage zone should not be gentrified, but to be left unkempt in depilated conditions for low cost businesses like pirated DVD and foot massage. Better still we should allow the banglas, Indons and Mynmmar pendatang to conduct their businesses there to keep cost low for Penang B40 consumers, can dine in cheap food cooked by these foreigners.

  5. World Class Global able to transform Penang Heriatge to be more pleasant to the eyes with proper refurbishment of dilapidated shophouses ?

    Today my “LongBoai” Paya Terubung friends told me LGE to give toll free road from Paya Terubong to Air Itam per his speech last night.



    The road to cut through the hills and many may protest BUT the majority residents welcome that to cut travel time meaning saving money.

    • The manner of hill slope cutting is abhorring & uncalled for.
      To build one road of 20-30ft width requires cutting of wide sections of hill?
      Don’t believe me, just go there & see for yourself.
      Many Paya Terubong residents are not in favour of this hill cutting for your truthful information.
      Don’t believe me, just go to Taman Lau Geok Swee & ask the residents who have an ongoing court case with the developers.
      It is not toll-free ‘gift’ that matters but the long term environmental impact that will follow.
      We don’t want a ‘Highland Tower’ nightmare to come if the recent landslide @ Taman Lau Geok Swee is any warning for us to wake up.

      • May be some kind soul can video the alleged damage done to Bukit Kukus as sacrifice for the link road?

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