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Happy Deepavali

We wish our Hindu friends and neighbours, Happy Deepavali. May you have a wonderful occasion celebrating the festival of lights.

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Chai Bar’s Grand Opening (13-14 Oct 2014)

For those who are keen to eat healthy, check out the grand opening of Chai Bar, they are having a promo of Buy 1, Free 1 for all salads!

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New System for Complaints

Source: the Star Sept 26

The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has come up with a standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure that the public complaints system is managed efficiently.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the task force formed to look into the problems with the system have submitted the SOP and the Service Level Agreement (SLA) from the various departments after evaluating and studying the management process of the complaints system.

“We will classify the complaints from the public into four categories, which is critical, for immediate action, normal and non-critical.

“Complaints received from our hotline, email and website will be monitored by the complaints unit and not directed to the respective departments in the city council,” Alinah said during a media briefing on the MBPJ public complaints management system at MBPJ headquarters in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

She said the complaints unit should be the one to open a file and close it by the end of the day.

“This will be an efficient way of having a record of every complaint, enabling them to track cases easily,” she said, adding that the upgraded system was on a three-month trial run since its implementation on Sept 15.

The critical category (Kat 1) involves cases pertaining to public safety, traffic obstruction and property destruction, while cases seeking immediate action (Kat 2) have the potential to affect public safety or cause traffic obstruction and property destruction.

The normal (Kat 3) cases are those which do not require tender process or issuance of notice and outsourced contractors, while non-critical cases (Kat 4) involve normal maintenance work and tender process, and does not affect public safety.

Meanwhile, complaints unit task force committee member Councillor Sean Oon Chong Ling, who represents Zone 20 (Sections 20, 21 and 22) said the categorisation system was definitely more efficient and an easier way to monitor complaints.

“Just like before, upon receiving a complaint, we would issue them a reference number.

“But instead of giving them a reply saying that it is being looked into or action is being taken, we would classify the complaint into its category and state the time frame needed to resolve it,” Oon explained, adding that the SOP for the unit to respond via email is one working day (not inclusive of Saturday, Sunday and public holiday).

He said the task force had implemented a score board system, which would enable the unit to monitor cases.

Weekly meetings would also be held to ensure its progress.

Alinah said the city council was always open to receiving complaints and constructive criticism from residents.

According to MBPJ’s 2013 statistics, it received 19,570 complaints, of which 15,903 were resolved and 3,386 had yet to be resolved.

A total of 13,675 complaints were received from January to August this year, of which 8,211 cases were resolved and 5,464 were still under the action of the respective departments in MBPJ.

On Sept 19, StarMetro reported that there was no development or progress with the MBPJ online complaints system, which was criticised by residents for its lack of accountability.

Residents voiced their grouses stating that the city council was taking its time to resolve the issues pertaining to the system.

Earlier in July, Alinah had given MBPJ heads of department one month to sort out the SLA in order to have a better complaints system.

Alinah said the SLA, which was part of the SOP to tackle public complaints, was necessary to help the complaints unit provide feedback to residents on the timeframe needed to solve each problem.

The complaints system task force is represented by Oon and other councillors, namely Ang Ming Ern (Zone 11), Tang Fuie Koh (Zone 3) and Azizi Ariffin (Zone 22), while the complaints unit was represented by Tengku Nazaruddin Zainudin.

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PJ folk have until 5pm tomorrow to submit their objections at MBPJ office

Source: the Star Sept 4th

PETALING Jaya residents, if you are reading this before 8.30am, you have less than 24 hours to submit objections on the proposed amendments to the Petaling Jaya Local Plans (RTPJ) 1 and 2.

The deadline to object is at 5pm tomorrow when the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) closes its office.

Some of the proposed amendments have not seen much rancour from residents as they were a continuation of existing policies of the city council.

MBPJ Public Relations Department director Haniza Abdul Hamid said as of Tuesday, 30 objection forms were received for RTPJ 1, while RTPJ 2 received 481 objection forms.

“Our next step is for the council’s Local Investigation Committee to meet,” she said.

The public hearings will be chaired by the State Planning Committee.

Many residents associations are scrambling to mobilise residents to send in objection forms to the city council before the deadline.

One amendment receiving a lot of flak is the proposed increase in plot ratio from 1:4 to 1:6 within a 400m radius, which will mean a higher population density following the proposed “Transit Oriented Development” (TOD) plan.

Besides the Taman Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) station, other areas which will see the new 1:6 plot ratio, if the amendments go through, are those with upcoming LRT or Mass Rail Transit (MRT) stations.

DAP council whip and SS2 councillor Lee Suet Sen, said these would include the upcoming LRT station in Ara Damansara and the MRT stations in 1Utama, The Curve, and two in Kota Damansara.

Section 5 Residents Association (RA) president Mohamed Rafiq Fazal Din said although the committee had sent objections on the plans, they wanted more time.

“I think it is unfair (not to extend the deadline), as some relevant documents were only made available very recently.

“One still needs time to look through them, understand them and then draft their objections.

“We are hoping our objections will get us a public hearing session,” said Mohamed Rafiq, adding that Section 5 had 711 households.

The publicity and public objection programme for the draft local plans have been a source of tension, as a group of councillors signalled their protest against its launch early last month.

The August fullboard council meeting also had a heated winding up when a motion by five councillors, including all three party whips, to extend the public objection period was denied by MBPJ mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad.

See Hoy Chan Holdings, as the largest stakeholder in the Bandar Utama area, had no objections to the new TOD plot ratio, said its director Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok.

“We merely pointed out some inaccuracies in the plan to the local council, such as wrongly designated land use,” said Teo.

However, he added that 1:4 to 1:6 was a conservative move compared to neighbouring Kuala Lumpur, which had plot ratios ranging from 1:9 to 1.

The proposed Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Highway (DASH), which would affect the Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara and Damansara Perdana areas, also got residents moving to send in objections.

Spokesman for the newly-formed group “Say No To Dash” Joanne Ting had outlined and e-mailed relevant articles in RTPJ 2 affecting Damansara Perdana residents directly.

Aside from the highway, other objections included changing the status of recreational and vacant land, including a retention pond, to hold a water tank.

Raising another topic of objection was Lee who said his zone of responsibility would not see much radical alteration with the continued re-zoning of properties in SS2 from residential to limited commercial.

“This has been going on for nearly a decade, so what the proposed re-zoning does is to save the business owners the trouble of having to renew their city council business licences every year,” said Lee.

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Li Ka-Shing selling off Citta Mall @ Ara Damansara

Source: TheEdge

ARA Asia Dragon Fund — which owns five malls in Malaysia — has hired a real estate agent to find buyers for the assets that carry a price tag of more than RM2 billion, sources say.

Affiliated with Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong Group, the fund owns 1Mont Kiara, Klang Parade and Citta Mall in the Klang Valley, Ipoh Parade in Perak and AEON Bandaraya Melaka.

The five assets, acquired between 2010 and 2012 by ARA Asia Dragon Fund 1 (ADF1), have a combined 2.7 million sq ft of space and have recently undergone a renovation and refurbishment exercise.

ADF1, which bought the properties for an estimated RM1.3 billion, initiated a renovation exercise last year, involving more than RM200 million. Klang Parade, for example, underwent an extreme makeover, while the work on Ipoh Parade and 1 Mont Kiara was at a smaller scale.

It was reported that as at March 2014, Klang Parade had 88% occupancy, Ipoh Parade 90% and 1 Mont Kiara 80%.

ARA Asia Dragon Fund is a private real estate fund managed by Singapore-listed ARA Asset Management Ltd and comes under the purview of ARA Private Funds. As at press time, ARA Private Funds CEO Ng Beng Tiong had yet to respond to an email query regarding the sale of the assets.

Ng had previously stated that should the fund divest the five assets, it would be looking at making at least 20% in internal rate of return, given that the acquisitions were made within the last four years. The fund’s investment horizon is between three and five years.

The Edge understands that the fund had last month asked real estate agents to put in their proposals, after which it selected an exclusive agent to invite bids for the assets and handle the sale.

According to a source, the fund prefers to sell all the assets to one party and the sale is likely to be completed next year.

ARA Asset Management’s presence in Malaysia was established in 2006 when it teamed up with AmBank Group to set up the AmFIRST Real Estate Investment Trust (AmFIRST REIT). Will AmFIRST make a bid for these properties? According to an official contacted by The Edge, the trust will not be putting in a bid for these assets.

Ng had previously said that because the assets are held by a fund, the interests of its investors would come first and maximising returns for the fund is paramount.

ADF1 made its maiden acquisition in 2010 when it bought 1 Mont Kiara, which comprised an office building and a retail component, for an estimated RM330 million from Aseana Properties Ltd. The fund has pumped in RM20 million to upgrade the retail portion to provide more visibility. The retail portion of the commercial property has a net lettable (NLA) area of 226,000 sq ft. In the same year, the fund bought AEON Bandaraya Melaka for RM710 million from supermarket-cum-department store operator AEON Co (M) Bhd while it was still under construction.

Klang Parade and Ipoh Parade were acquired from TMW Asia Property Fund in 2011. ADF1 had also bid to acquire Seremban Parade from TMW, but the deal did not go through. TMW is managed by Pramerica, the real estate investment management business of the US’ Prudential Inc.

Ipoh Parade, which was built in the 1990s, underwent a RM90 million asset-enhancement exercise that increased the mall’s NLA to 618,448 sq ft from about 584,794 sq ft and the number of shops to 199 from 182.

Twenty-year-old Klang Parade was upgraded last year at a cost of RM120 million. Although the NLA was decreased to 660,102 sq ft from 696,442 sq ft, the number of tenants grew to 231 from 123.

Citta Mall in Ara Damansara was the fund’s final known Malaysian acquisition. Purchased in 2012 for RM200 million, it has an NLA of 426,006 sq ft. This shopping centre was developed on a 70:30 basis by German real estate fund SEB Asset Management and property developer Puncakdana Group.

Although ADF1 is expected to eventually divest the five properties, ARA Group has maintained that it will continue to seek neighbourhood malls in Malaysia.

As at March 31, 2014, ARA Asset Management’s assets under management stood at S$25.4 billion (RM65 billion). ARA Asset Management also manages REITS listed in Singapore, including Suntec REIT, Prosperity REIT and Fortune REIT.

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Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Selamat Hari Raya to our Muslim friends and neighbours. May you have a wonderful occasion filled with laughter and
fond memories.

Have a safe journey home to your kampung and do drive safely.

Happy holidays to the rest!

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Construction debris lands on Honda, two injured

Source: the Star Jun 26

SUBANG JAYA: Two motorists were injured when the Honda Civic car they were travelling in was crushed by falling construction debris.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Azmi Abu Kassim said the incident occured at around 9am today.

“The Honda car was travelling along Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang when several metal rods hoisted by a crane fell on the car.

“A Nissan Van then hit the Honda from the rear,” he said adding that the man and woman in the Honda car suffered multiple injuries and was taken to the Sime Darby Medical Centre for treatment.

It was learnt that the crane was hoisting the metal rods for construction of one of the beams for the LRT project there.
He said the driver of the van escaped without injury.

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Park at your own risk!

Dataran Ara Damansara has become a magnet during lunch hours drawing office workers from near and far. The eateries there are doing roaring business but this phenomenon has created a new problem. The many automobile repair shops in the area have hijacked the parking lots resulting a drastic reduction of available lots. This forces many patrons to double park and to park along the main road fronting the shops as well as the opposite side next to Seri Pilmooor.

These are illegal parkings but as long as they don’t obstruct traffic, perhaps it is tolerable? So it is a surprise to see many of these signs put up overnight. Instead of the standard no parking sign, these signs warn of clamping and being tow trucked away. It looks like MBPJ is serious.

But knowing how this country operates, are they?

Have you seen MBPJ enforcement units doing their rounds here? Those who park along the main road next to the huge high rise developments have been seen summons issued. But cars are still parked there regardless.

So back to these yellow signs. Do you think they make a difference?

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Fire at Taman Perindustrian Jaya

Firemen dousing the fire

At around 7.30am this morning, a shop lot used as a warehouse at Taman Perindustrian Jaya caught fire. Thick black smoke was seen at a distance rising into the sky. Five fire engines rushed to the scene within minutes and more than 20 firemen were seen trying to put out the fire.

The shop lots were locked with grill and shutter and the firemen could not get their hoses in. One firemen was seen using an industrial saw to cut through the grill and later the shutter. They then tried to peel off the shutter and get their hoses in.

Two teams were working separately, one at the front of the shop lots while the second team attacked from the back. At one time, debris was seen falling and they had to back away.

These courageous firemen were risking their lives as the thick smoke could potentially be toxic. Although gas masks were available, none of them was seen wearing them

A crowd had already formed watching the firemen at work from a distance. Many were asking how the fire started and what were stored in the shop lots.

At press time, there was still no sign of the owner.

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