PKNS optimistic of staying competitive in property sector

Chief executive officer Siti Zubaidah Abd Jabar said following the depressed property sector over the last three years coupled with the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest challenges in selling properties today included the high rate of booking cancellations due to strict loan approval conditions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Chief executive officer Siti Zubaidah Abd Jabar said following the depressed property sector over the last three years coupled with the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest challenges in selling properties today included the high rate of booking cancellations due to strict loan approval conditions. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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SHAH ALAM, Dec 29 — The Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) is optimistic of remaining competitive in the property sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic through the implementation of the Strategic Recovery Plan launched earlier this year.

Chief executive officer Siti Zubaidah Abd Jabar said following the depressed property sector over the last three years coupled with the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest challenges in selling properties today included the high rate of booking cancellations due to strict loan approval conditions.

This, she said, had led to PKNS recording a high property inventory of 1,297 units worth RM1.1 bilion early this year, resulting in reduced cash flow for the corporation.

However, following PKNS’s various aggressive efforts including through digital marketing, 53 per cent of the units had been sold, she said, adding that the remaining amount was still considered high.

“The current situation has had a huge impact on all industries including the real estate sector, which saw up to a 19 per cent drop in sales.

“To better prepare this corporation, we took steps to conduct a comprehensive study on the 10-Year Strategic Plan which started this year by producing a Strategic Recovery Plan as a measure to address the challenges expected for next year and restore PKNS’s financial position and business,” she told Bernama.

She said through the plan, PKNS would take measures to improve its financial performance systematically including possibly liquidating some existing assets to cover cash outflow in order to regenerate income.

Siti Zubaidah said it was an effort by the corporation to reduce operating costs and manage financial risks better and more efficiently.

“Next, PKNS will strengthen its return on investment with care by ensuring that every subsidiary and privatisation project provide high returns.

“The corporation will also take advantage of synergistic opportunities within the group to create added value that will be achieved through six steps, namely smart partnership, targeted initiatives, joint policies, continuous monitoring at the subsidiary level, clearer business plans, and talent development at the group level,” she said.

She said PKNS would also strengthen the development of affordable housing by collaborating with strategic partners through invitations to quote or requests for proposal, undertaking special targeted development for the M40 group and civil servants housing as well as expanding land bank, including Malay reserve land.

Siti Zubaidah said PKNS’s provision of loan consultancy services, together with the cooperation of banks, would help buyers, especially those from the B40 group, to own residential units and, at the same time, reduce the corporation’s property inventory.

She said although the property sector was expected to recover in the next two to three years, PKNS believed that the digitalisation approach, as a result of the new norm, would be the best practice now as a means of continuing to increase the corporation’s efficiency and reduce its operating costs.

Besides that, she said, PKNS would improve the “sell and build” concept by encouraging the transition to modern technology so that the design and construction process could be accelerated while reducing costs and improving the quality of its properties.

Siti Zubaidah said although faced with various new challenges due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, she was confident that the short-term plan could be the best recipe to re-strengthen the corporation’s financial position in order to achieve the aspirations of its 10-Year Strategic Plan.

On future developments, she said PKNS had earmarked the Sepang and Hulu Selangor districts as new development locations.

“Our focus now is Sepang based on the Selangor Business Capital Blueprint as an international business hub will be developed there.

“There appears to be a good potential for PKNS to develop housing and infrastructure in Sepang to fit the blueprint to attract domestic and foreign investors,” she said.

Siti Zubaidah said apart from strengthening the property sector, PKNS was also committed to helping local entrepreneurs to face the impact of Covid-19 with the organisation of Bazar Lokal as a platform to revitalise the business of this group.

She said the online bazaar was first created by PKNS’ subsidiary, PKNS Real Estate Sdn Bhd (PREC), to open up opportunities for the public to shop at PREC-owned shopping malls.

Siti Zubaidah said PREC also provided support services, guidance and information to traders who lacked the knowledge and capabilities on online business before registering with Bazar Lokal.

She said another PKNS subsidiary, Selangor Industrial Corporation (SIC), had also launched the Selangor Digital E-Supply Chain (Seldec) portal to create a complete business ecosystem, including enabling the public to obtain fresh produce directly from rural areas.

“Seldec is also collaborating with Koperasi Hijrah in an effort to help traders grow their business through financial assistance facilities of up to RM50,000 without any charges for entrepreneurs to register on their portal,” she added. — Bernama

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