“Big-spending” Malaysian in New York?

Interesting story here from the gossip pages of the New York Post.

The Post links Low Taek Jho, a Penang boy who studied in Wharton, to UBG Bhd, a listed firm.

Curious, I looked up the UBG Annual Report for 2008 and found that there is a 27-year-old group advisor/non-independent non-executive director by that name. “He currently serves as group advisor of several international corporations, involved in global private equity, mergers and acquisitions, buyout, government-togovernment offset structured investments and financing, networking and financial aid, amongst others.”

Must be some 27-year-old. Check out his ‘stock pick’ from 2000.



Contractor demolishes structures on govt land?

A cowshed located on what is believed to be government land next to the site of the flattened Kg Buah Pala was demolished by private contractors this afternoon.

The contractors are believed to be linked to the developer of the Buah Pala land, Nusmetro.

A journalist and another eye-witness contacted me and raised the question: why is a private contractor demolishing structures believed to be standing on government land (state or federal?), when government officials are nowhere to be seen?



Problems at the Penang Botanic Garden

The Penang Botanic Garden is close to the heart of many Penangites. But the following photos suggest that its maintenance leaves something to be desired.

Photos by a regular Botanic Garden visitor – Click icon at bottom right to expand to full-page slideshow

I just hope whoever is responsible for the upkeep of the Garden will look into this.

In particular the dead trees or branches need to be removed before any passers-by get hurt. (Two people were killed some time ago from falling branches.)

Until this trees is felled, the nearby walkway needs to be barricaded. Is the tree dying because of improper pruning (or hacking?) or maintenance?



Developer threatens to sue Penang govt?

A developer is threatening to sue the Penang state government for tens of millions of ringgit.

The developer is one of four that was compelled to scale down its project to abide by Unesco guidelines for the preservation of George Town’s world heritage site listing.

Instead of timidly conceding the possibility of paying compensation (as it has in the past, thus possibly having the opposite effect of emboldening developers to sue the government), the Penang state government should publicly name the developer concerned and challenge it all the way.

A few Penangites already know who the developer is, but I will leave it to the Penang state government to come out and formally identify the developer.



Commercial property glut in Penang

While more property development projects are in the pipeline, the research unit of a local bank, CIMB Research, has reportedly warned of a “significant” commercial property glut in Penang. From an Edge report:

Occupancy rates:

  • Office space: 76% (the lowest in Malaysia)
  • Retail space: <70% (second lowest in Malaysia)

“There appears to be a significant glut in Penang, which would worsen if more office and retail space were built.”

  • Beach hotels: 63% (3rd quarter, 2009)
  • George Town hotels: 68%
  • Hotels outside city: 37%