UMLand eyes land acquisition in Iskandar Malaysia

United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is exploring opportunities to acquire land in Iskandar Malaysia as part of its future plan, says chief executive officer Charlie Chia.

He said that the company was in the midst of talks to buy a piece of land, between 80.937 hectares to 121.406 hectares in the Iskandar region.

“We are looking for other opportunities and will announce them soon.

“This is because currently we are still talking to the other parties," he said on the sidelines of the ceremony to sign the memorandum of understanding by Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity Corp (J-Biotech) here yesterday.

To date, UMLand's landbank stands at 809.37ha.

On the group's future plan for the land, Chia said that it planned to use it for landed property, affordable houses and industrial park development.

“At the moment we will concentrate on our first pilot project, J-Biotech Park.

“we have no plans to have another one but when the time comes and the land is available, we will be moving towards that direction (industrial park development project).

"Industrial parks also have affordable houses because some people prefer to live nearby to their working area due to travelling time ... therefore there will be the element of residential," he said.

Chia said that the market in Johor was more on landed properties and industrial parks.

He added that the demand for apartments had slowed down.

On industrial development's contribution to the group, he said, that the J-Biotech Park project was expected to contribute 10% to the group earnings.

"We will see positive contribution from this new segment.

“This is because Johor will enjoy spillover effect as industrial park in Jurong, Singapore is running out of lease," he said.

Chia added the necessity to cater to industrial park spillover from Singapore and factories shifted to Johor had made UMLand to venture into the segment.

He said the Singapore government was building a second Central Business District in Jurong, which meant the industrial park located there needed to be relocated.

"Therefore we prepare ourselves to accept this influx or spillover and we can see this starting to happen," he said.

On the capital allocation for the new segment, Chia said UMLand was still on the lookout for land acquisition.

He said after that it would be ready to put a sizeable allocation for industrial development. – Bernama