Quality Living Space That Is Liveable
Design meets practicality to suit everyone’s need
It was destiny in the making. As a child, Dato’ Choo Beng Kai’s weekend retreats included visits to his father’s construction sites and land offices. Little did he realise that those retreats would eventually ignite a deep passion that led him to join the family’s construction and development business.
After having garnered nearly 30 years of experience under his belt, he decided to leave the family business to establish Masmeyer Holdings Sdn Bhd. He was determined to create an impact with his unique proposition in terms of design and practicality.
Wanting to build a legacy that enriches the lifestyles of homebuyers, Choo is always searching for innovative and practical ways to fulfil their needs. He strongly believes a property is for utilisation and debunks the idea of property speculation and investment-centric design factors.
He said, “A home is meant for people to stay. As such, the side effects of owning a home should not include the possibility of inflation.” Although his no frills approach may seem bullish to some, the end result is he is able to create affordable well-designed spaces for his buyers to call home.
Every inch matters
Extravagant designs are often visually appealing, yet it may not be practical for everyday living. Choo ensures every single corner of the home is designed with practicality in mind. Hence, every inch of the walls, windows and doors are carefully measured to utilise every square foot.
The precision of practical design is a unique selling point, starting from his initial flagship project at Taman Pinang Merah at Bukit Pinang, Alor Setar. With the rising number of car ownerships, residents living in terrace houses often find it difficult to secure parking spots for their second car. As such, Choo realigned the design of the pillars to ensure two vehicles can be parked within the compound.
Such design elements add to the unique selling point for each of his projects. Choo makes it a point to imagine himself as the end user to ensure the layout is something that his customers would appreciate. He pointed out that although architects can produce great designs, they don’t always ensure that their designs are liveable.
For example, even though storage spaces are useful to stow equipment and gears, storerooms are not a common feature in Malaysian homes. Realising the need for it, Choo ensures that his designs include a storage space even if the unit measures a mere 900 sqft. He said, “A home is where the soul is, therefore the people living in it should experience only the best.”
The Start of the Journey
Choo’s flagship project costing RM30 million, consisted 300 units of houses, including low cost housing. “As a young boy, I often followed my father on trips to Kedah which enabled me to network with a range of people. So as I was in search of land, I felt that Kedah choose me. As a developer, getting a piece of land is similar to getting a chance in life to start building your dreams.”
Reality, however, can be brutal. His flagship project resulted in him incurring losses due to several unforeseen reasons, such as the rising cost of steel due to construction for the Beijing Olympics and allowing pre-bookings prior to the project’s approval. He was, however, determined to see through the tough times.
He said, “Having joined the family business during the 1997 financial crisis and riding the wave of the 2008 economic slowdown, I have experienced and endured difficult times. These are moments everyone will face. However, we can overcome it by facing challenges positively.”
Armed with lessons learnt from his past, Choo decided to move forward with his second project in Sungai Petani. With his track record of successfully completing a large scale project, he was able to convince the city council to allow him to obtain more land to start new projects.
Call it tactics
Choo commented, “The current market sentiment has fortunately not affected my business. We did very well in 2012, but, we have not launched any new projects this year. To put it another way, we are by the shore observing the rough sea. I have parked our boat at the jetty to wait for the right time to go on my next voyage.”
Joint venture manoeuvres have become increasingly popular of late as corporations realise the need to collaborate in the current economic condition. Choo seized the opportunity by developing landmark projects with strategic partners through joint ventures with Government-linked companies such as UDA Holdings Bhd, PKNK and Rakyat Hartanah Sdn Bhd.
He said, “We cannot deny that the government is the largest land owner, yet they are not able to maximise returns as they do not have the capacity to do so. I sensed a synergic approach to obtain land to develop from them. It was a win-win situation, as I had a lesser burden on my loan, while the government is able to maximise on land returns.”
Marinox Sky Villas & Milrow Villas
When asked about his design philosophy, Choo prefers simplicity coupled with practicality. Providing a spacious yet usable area is important, as a fancy design can translate into high maintenance cost for buyers, which he believes is unnecessary. “A home is to be enjoyed with loved ones to build memories and live happily without having to bear big burdens and constant worries.”
The development at Tanjung Tokong, Penang, certainly offers a unique living experience. Milrow Villas consist of 17 prime lots to those who seeks an exclusive resort-style living. Marinox Sky Villas offers the best possible combination of living spaces, design and specifications.
Choo pointed out, “We spent half a million Ringgit to build a link bridge for running activities at Marinox. I take creating well-rounded amenities very seriously because I always imagine myself as the end user.” The utilisation of design is evident as each resident gets to enjoy the magnificent sea view coupled with versatile lifestyle facilities that meet every need.
So far, the project is 95% sold, an achievement that is credited to a successful marketing strategy employed by Choo. His no frills approach encourages his buyers to think twice before signing up as a buyer. The company does not offer schemes as it does not believe in inducing buyers to overburden themselves.
According to Choo, a real estate agent compared the sales of Masmeyers projects to other projects and commented that the company has low loan rejection rates and few immature buyers mainly due to the thorough screening process of buyers.
There are two upcoming launches in the pipeline. One is a joint venture with Koperasi Polis Diraja Malaysia Bhd (KPDM) in Sentul. Choo said, “We do not foresee any pressure in selling as the location is near the city with matured infrastructure. Furthermore, we were approached by KPDM and the intended target market are members of the police so it suits our end user philosophy.”
Another future launch would be in Kelantan, “I have always been interested in suburban areas like Kota Bahru or Kuala Terengganu, as there is no property speculation. My target has always been real end users, especially those in the second tier capital, because they have the right buying power.”
Choo’s approach to business is similar to his approach to life. Hence, when he formed the Masmeyer Foundation, its objective was not just about giving, but also to restore productivity so each individual is self-sufficient again.
The foundation is now running systematically with funds raised solely by the group for three specific reasons. Firstly, the foundation assists those suffering from medical conditions such as cataract and diabetes by providing surgery or post-operation care so that these individuals return and contribute back to society.
During his personal time, Choo loves running and exercising, so it is not a surprise that he often supports sports activities such as marathons. He believes sports activities can have a positive impact on an individual’s lifestyle.
Lastly, the foundation also engages in moral uplifting projects fuelled by Confucious’ teachings, as well as equipping children with the right frame of mind to grow into holistic individuals.
Abiding by the philosophy that has defined his career, Choo’s no frills approach helped homebuyers enjoy the essence of a well-designed living space with practical features to maximise the use of space. In closing, he said, “When buyers enjoy staying in their homes, it is lit with positive energy flow that creates a conducive living environment.”
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