This article about Marina Island Pangkor has been re-produced from the New Straits Times.
In recent years there have been several coastal land reclamation projects in Malaysia. Is the country running out of coastline? Is existing coastal land so tightly held that it limits coastal re-development? Compared to its neighbors Malaysia actually has a very low population to coastline ratio. So why the interest in coastal reclamation for leisure purposes? We previously covered Mersing Laguna and Kuantan waterfront resort city.
One of the latest attractions of waterfront developments in Malaysia is the marina, which is a dock or basin with moorings and supplies for yachts and small boats. A marina, which normally has refuelling, washing and repair facilities, differs from a port in the sense that it does not handle large vessels.
In short, a marina is a specially designed harbour with moorings for pleasure craft and small boats.
The Palm Islands in Dubai, Sentosa Cove in Singapore and Sovereign Islands in Australia are among the top marina properties along with Monaco, which for years, has become a magnet for the richest and most discerning tycoons in the world.
Similarly, Malaysia’s coastline is also witnessing various distinctive projects taking place with luxurious living spaces being built overlooking the Andaman Sea, the Straits of Malacca as well as the South China Sea.
A lifelong dream
Managing Director of Marina Sanctuary Resort Sdn Bhd, which spearheads the Marina Pangkor Island project, Datuk Ding Poi Chung whose expertise lies in the area of land reclamation, marine structures, as well as land and marine piling works, is currently working to fulfill his lifelong dream of developing an island getaway which was artificially constructed through massive reclamation works that began 20 years ago.
Nestled off the coast of Lumut in Perak, Marina Island Pangkor is an example of a mixed development township aiming to provide occupants with amenities that include a marina, a domestic jetty as well as an international jetty. On this island resort, residents have the choice of owning serviced apartment suites, beach frontage bungalows and villas.
According to Ding, he had already envisioned the waterfront development when he first started working on water-related projects as a teenager.
“I have been in the construction and development industry for over 40 years including in the operation of quarries. My first reclamation project was a swampy area of about 186 acres along the Manjung River named Venice of Perak, which was a mixed property development. The project took off quite well and is now one of the leading property markets in the region as well as a popular destination among expatriates,” explains the 53-year old, who is also the Chairman of Ding Kong Ling & Sons Sdn Bhd.
Contemplating an idea
Following on more reclamation projects happening around the world, Ding foresaw the increasing demand for upgraded yet affordable waterfront lifestyle in the local market. That prompted him to contemplate the idea of a mixed waterfront development resort or a one-stop live and play resort.
“I decided on making an island instead of doing extension to an island or from the beachfront. In addition, I wanted the project to be affordable to cater to homebuyers from inside and outside the country, but more importantly, I wanted every property on the island to have views of the water, being either of the beach or the sea,” he continues.
Having grown up in Perak, Manjung’s land contour was at Ding’s fingertips. His experience also led him to identify Teluk Muroh near Lumut as the most strategic location in Peninsular Malaysia due to several vital factors.
“Pangkor Island and its hills provide a natural wave breaker to protect my ‘baby’ from a probable tsunami and strong waves. There is a deep channel for international jetty amid clear bluish water. In addition, Teluk Muroh is situated nearby actively growing mega projects in Manjung and surrounded by long well-established tourist attractions such as Pangkor Island, Pangkor Laut Resort and Pulau Sembilan,” he elaborates.
Birth of an island
In 1999, the developer of Marina Island Pangkor obtained the right to reclaim the island. However, only 316 acres could be reclaimed. Upon further methodological studies and approvals from the authority, Marina Island Pangkor’s reclamation work took off in 2003.
“To prevent and minimise future maintenance issues, Marina Island Development Sdn Bhd engaged Australian engineers to perform a study on the tidal or current movements of the area for a couple of months. The engineers recommended the current shape of the island to minimise the possibility of erosion,” he recalls. In addition, Ding emphasises that the risk of flooding in the island is close to nil as Marina Island Pangkor was built at 14.7 feet in height.
When questioned as to why buyers are drawn to Marina Island Pangkor, Ding opines, “Our key feature is that every unit on the island is freehold and must have water views. Homeowners have the luxury to own a unit with either a white sand beach, sea or marina view from an affordable price ranging from RM333,000 for serviced apartment to RM3.5 million for waterfront or beachfront villas.”
Marketing an island living
The resort style township, he states, also boasts private waterfront and beachfront direct access for villa occupants where they can have their boats berthed 20 feet from their waterfront yard.
“Prior to April 2013, we had not done any marketing outside of Perak but our foreign buyers found us via our website. Recently, we have set up a sales office in Kuala Lumpur and within two months, we have sold 150 units with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of over RM55 million,” he says, with regards to the marketing strategy of the island resort.
“We plan to hit the international market by the middle of 2014. Purchasers of our property range from owner occupiers to business operators of mid to high net worth.”
According to Ding, villas with private backyard docking were soft launched in February 2013 with 30 per cent of the units sold. The official launch will only be held in October 2013 with a show unit.
Protecting the seafront
Asked whether residents on the island township should be concerned about potential natural disasters, Ding calmly explains. “If you look at the map, Marina Island is well protected by natural wave breakers, being Pangkor Island and its hills. In fact, we have gone through the tsunami in 2004 when the Island was already 30 per cent reclaimed. I was at the jetty site, standing on the rock bunds when it happened. There was just a strong wave hitting the rock bunds. The reclamation of rock bunds started in 2003 and till now, we are doing just fine. However, should the wave go over Pangkor’s hills, half of Peninsular Malaysia would be submerged and if that happened, it would be God’s will.”
On a lighter note, the MD also sees his project as having the potential to become a haven for boaters plying Malaysian waters.
“There is a wet berthing and dry dock facilities at our marina which allow boat owners to do some simple cleaning and maintenance works. Although we are equipped with supply shops, we divert major repairs to the nearest workshop off Marina Island Pangkor. We aim to provide convenience to our customers whereby our marina is a one-stop solution for boat lovers. To date, it has attracted many international boats due to the condition of our water and the fact that we provide the only sealift in Southeast Asia to haul up boats safely from the water,”
Ding hopes that in due course, Malaysia will witness the opening of the island’s iconic Underwater Hotel Rooms which is set to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Waterfront properties with marina
There are other notable waterfront properties built near marinas. Located along Penang‘s northeast coast, Andaman at Quayside, for example, offers a direct view of the Andaman Sea as well as the Straits of Malacca. At this seafront resort, which is sited on Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O)’s flagship Seri Tanjung Pinang development, homebuyers will enjoy access to a recreation area that includes a signature waterpark as well as verdant parks. In addition, the Straits Quay Retail Marina is situated nearby and has berths that can accommodate boats from 10 metres to 82 feet in length. “Condo residents can use the berthing facilities for a fee,” explains Christina Lau, E&O General Manager of Marketing & Sales (Penang).
At the southernmost tip of the peninsula, townships such as Danga Bay as well as Puteri Harbour provide homebuyers with the choice of investing in seafront properties built near public and private marinas. Described as a prestigious neighbourhood by its developer, UEM Sunrise Berhad, the Residences at Puteri Harbour offers a variety of living spaces ranging from canal housing and waterfront villas to condominiums and waterfront apartments.
Battle-weary city folks exhausted from a hard day‘s work should escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to nearby waterfronts. Amid the tropical breeze, they might just fall in love with the beautiful sea view, decide to purchase a luxury resort-style property with a marina and get a yacht named Splendour to go with it.
Images: Marina Island Pangkor