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Sunday, July 2, 2017
Pangkor set to shine with resort projects
Developing ambitions: A visual representation of PRW property projects on Pangkor Island.
from the balcony of a room in a nearly completed hotel facing a beach in
Pangkor Island, Datuk David Chua smiles with relief as he gazes at the calm sea
that reflects the shine of the morning sun into colourful rays of light.
finished the most challenging stage of the development in his Pangkor Resort
World (PRW), a 10-year integrated hotel-residential-commercial project that
began construction in 2012.
difficult part in any property development is the first three to five years. I
have gone through that stage.
“In a few
months, guests in this hotel will be able to enjoy the serenity and sea breeze.
Looking out from their room, they can see YTL’s world-famous Pangkor Laut, the
rippling waters, pristine beaches and even Sumatra Island on clear days,” Chua
says, just after climbing four flights of stairs to take a panoramic view of
“With all my
five on-going projects completed or nearing completion, I can embark on my next
stage of planning to bring in investors from countries where they are sources
of tourists to Pulau Pangkor,” he adds.
three-star tourist hotel is one of the five current projects within PRW plan
that covers some 53.5 acres (21.6ha) of land sandwiched between the largely
untouched Pasir Bogak beach and Sungai Pinang forest reserve.
hotel has been sold to a hospitality player, who operates a hotel in Cameron
Highlands. As Cameron guests have often enquired about beach stays, this
hotelier decided to own a sea-fronting hotel to create business synergy.
modern facilities meant for holidays and corporate company retreats, this
soon-to-be-launched hotel that overlooks the Straits of Malacca has become the
talking point of Pangkor hoteliers. It will add 50 rooms to the total 2,000
hotel rooms in Pangkor.
“We are not
building a five-star hotel as the current market for this segment is too small.
It is also difficult to find talents who can provide five-star service. In
fact, over here most tourists go for outdoor activities. What they want is a
clean and comfortable accommodation.”
project, which has been completed and is about to be handed over to the Federal
Government, comprises a cluster of chalets with a large function hall. The
Government appointed Chua to be the developer after acquiring a 10-acre land
from DC&A Developments Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Chua.
Rumah Peranginan Persekutuan project, meant for holding government-related
events and as a holiday destination for senior civil servants, can accommodate
up to 500 people.
project that has been completed and fully sold is Pangkor Lot 10 (PL10), a
mixed development of 120 studios, 30 suites and 30 units of ground floor shops.
Indeed, some business activities are up and running.
PL10 is the
first phase of PRW’s development on Pangkor Island. Its overwhelming sales
response has encouraged the company to expedite its Phase 2 (88RV) and Phase 3
(Villaku) residential developments that sit on freehold commercial tourism
Villa (88RV), near completion, is a gated development covering six acres of
land. The 88 double storey linked houses, priced at RM500,000 and above, are
only minutes’ walk to Pasir Bogak beach and Sungai Pinang forest reserves that
offer a breathtaking view of the Straits of Malacca.
88RV, which has witnessed sales of over 60%, will be a recreational parkland
with water-based features and F&B outlets, as well as supporting facilities
to offer fun-filled activities and quality food. Chua has named this Ark in
Pangkor and promised it will be the new tourism icon next year.
ResortStay (Villaku) are apartment blocks housing 190 two-room two-bath units
that come with a balcony, lounge, dining area and kitchenette.
RM175,000 per unit, these units can be used for residence or business activity,
as they sit on freehold commercial tourism land.
blocked the sale of 32 units for entrepreneurs who aim to operate a holiday
resort or small business. More than 50% of the balance of the units has been
caters for investors and locals who want to upgrade their homes, Villaku will
provide an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to start a trade or business,”
“In terms of
quality and critical mass, we have no competitor on the island currently. We
are set to bring a positive change to this island. We will demand standard and
quality from our F&B operators and people working for us here,” declares
Labuan and Langkawi, Pangkor appears to have missed the radar of the Federal
Government in the development and promotion of international tourism. But low
development and commercialisation also means that this picture-postcard island
is largely unspoiled.
on the island are driven mainly by the private sector. Currently, the best
three-star hotels there are old and in need of refurbishment. Tourists have to
contend with moving around in old pink-colour vans whose engines threaten to
break down any time.
start its own regular shuttle service to ferry hotel guests and residents to
and from the jetty in the town centre, which is a five-minute’s drive.
To go to
Pangkor, visitors will have to take a ferry from Lumut and the newly-built
confident his projects will bring a refreshing change to this little sleepy
fishing island of 18 sq km.
five projects, I have something solid to show people and this is why I am going
to the press now. We will highlight to people that Pangkor has all the
attributes for holiday making and this is an ideal investment in land-scarce
Pangkor for value appreciation and attractive rental returns,” adds the veteran
monitoring developments in Pangkor for 25 years, Chua believes that PRW will
become the focal point of tourism and commercial activities due to its location
and activities to be generated.
there has been no major publicity and marketing activities. But before the end
of the year, there will be advertising and online promotions using social
media, Chua says. One of these will include putting up a video of the projects
As the land
for PRW was bought 25 years ago, the holding cost for the land is low. This
partially explains why Chua can afford not to rush through his development.
members and I bought the land in 1992. The Asian financial crisis of 1997/98
and other subsequent slowdowns caused us to stop or change our plan. But five
years ago, we decided to go ahead,” recalls Chua.
keeping a low profile, Chua’s projects had attracted investors and buyers.
satisfied with the sales performance given that in the past three years, the
central bank has tightened loan applications, the economy has slowed and the
ringgit has been hit by a host of negative news.
Pangkor Island is more than just a tourist place with sandy beaches, fishing
activities, seafood and 85% of virgin tropical rain forests. The historical
importance of Pangkor is seen as a strong selling point.
a history that has not been highlighted. It is the genesis of history of Malaya
in 1874, following the signing of the Treaty of Pangkor,” Chua says.
Malacca and Penang, not many people are aware that an important event of
historical importance had taken place in Pangkor Island that triggered the
start of British intervention in Malay politics.
Treaty was signed on Jan 20, 1874, between the British and the Sultan of Perak
then on board HMS, anchored off Pangkor. It is significant in the history of
Malay States as it legitimised British control of the Malay rulers and paved
the way for British imperialism in Malaya.
(Peninsular Malaysia) finally gained independence from the British in 1957.
British arrived in the 19th century, the island was occupied by the Dutch. In
1670, the Dutch built a fort they called Dinding to prevent smuggling of tin,
which was the coveted commodity mined in Perak state during that period. The
remains of the fort could still be seen on this island.
this island is attracting more tourists, many are back-packers and visitors
seeking short and cheap holidays. Last year, arrivals stood at 1.05 million.
projects, once completed, will attract more high-end tourists. We are targeting
tourists with higher spending power to stay two days or more here. We will get
well-known food outlets to set up shop. People will not need to go to Ipoh for
chicken rice and noodles once they come here,” he quips.
traffic is projected to take an exponential rise once construction of the West
Coast Expressway (WCE) is completed in 2018, as this will cut travel time from
Kuala Lumpur to Lumut to about 90 minutes from over three hours currently.
And if Perak
takes steps to reduce its current 29 traffic lights from Ipoh to Lumut, Pangkor
will be poised to lure more visitors from Ipoh.
promotion and marketing, we must get people excited about Pangkor. Once the WCE
is open for traffic, we see a 15% per annum growth in tourist arrivals for the
next three years, and 10% after that.”
impact on Pangkor
projecting that the tourism prospects for Pangkor to be bright and is planning
the next stage of development for his PRW resort.
be another five plots of land to be developed on PRW area over the next five
years. But the actual plan will emerge when partners are found.
all the attributes to develop into an international tourist destination. If we
depend on the local market, it will be very slow. Hence, we need to collaborate
seeking to partner with foreign investors in countries where there will be new
and strong sources of tourists,” says Chua.
been interests shown by potential investors from Asean, the Middle East and
appears to prefer China as its nationals love to stay at beach resorts due to
the shortage of such opportunities in their country. The potential to draw
mainland Chinese is huge, given that more than 80% of China’s 1.37 billion
people have not gone overseas.
Chinese tourists normally choose Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as their
first foreign destinations due mainly to cultural similarities.
inhabited mainly by 30,000 fishermen and people involved in tourism, is also
known to be safe. Lying within the stretch of the Straits of Malacca, it is
sheltered by Sumatra island.
is short of quality accommodation, our projects will fill the gap. Future
developments can be high-end hotels, service apartments that come with F&B
outlets, spas and recreational facilities.”
Chua, once PRW’s current and future projects are completed, its total gross
development value could rise to RM700mil-RM800mil, from the current RM150mil.
attract more upmarket tourists, Pangkor may have to upgrade its local transport
system and expand its airport services beyond just chartered flights.
“We have come a long way. We have reached a stage where we can
take PRW to higher development. When all phases are completed, our visitors
will account for 10-15% of additional arrivals. We will create jobs and
business activities. This will benefit everybody here.” Chua says.