Riding The Tide

Once sleepy Desaru is ready to embrace rapid development

Established in 1995, MB World Group Berhad is a flourishing developer headquartered in Johor Bahru. A public listed company listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia, it was formerly known as Emas Kiara Industries Berhad. The group was a pioneer in geo-synthetic engineering when it obtained approval for its first geo-textile manufacturing plant from the Malaysian Government. Geo-synthetic engineering aids to conserve nature while facilitating economic development.

Poised with clear objectives in mind, MB World Group has diversified its business into property developments in 2015 through its subsidiary MB Max Sdn. Bhd. The Group recorded an unaudited net profit of RM16.37 million in the financial year of 2016, representing an increase of 207.13% from RM5.33 million in the previous financial year, with main contributions from its Pinnacle Tower project in Johor Bahru city centre.

Executive Director of MB World Group, Ng Liang Khiang tells Property Insight that the RM374 million Pinnacle Tower developed by MB Max Sdn. Bhd. is expected to be completed by the 4th quarter of 2017. It consists of a 38-storey serviced apartment housing a total of 273 units.

“We always look for locations with great connectivity that have the potential for appreciation. For example, the Pinnacle Tower, which is located at Jalan Dato’ Abdullah Tahir in Johor Bahru downtown. The development is situated within the vicinity of high end residences and starred hotels. The residents can also enjoy convenient access to major shopping malls and the Causeway checkpoint to Singapore,” he says.


This year, MB World Group has launched their first new integrated township – Taman Sri Penawar in Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi.

Spanning across 470 acres of prime land bank, this township development project is under the leadership of Cocoa Valley Development Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of MB World Group. Under the proposal, there will be 3,300 residential units and 380 commercial units in the township. The whole development is expected to be completed in 7 years, with an estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM1.9 billion.

“Taman Sri Penawar offers great value for homebuyers and investors, as it is strategically located next to the existing Taman Desaru Utama, a mature neighbourhood completed with amenities such as hotels, shopping mall, retail outlets, restaurants and clinics that can complement it in many ways.

As it is also well-connected with major roads and highways such as Senai – Desaru Expressway, Kota Tinggi – Pengerang highway and Tanjung Balau road that provide easy access to Johor Bahru, Senai, Iskandar Puteri (Puteri Harbour), Kota Tinggi, Desaru, Pengerang, Tanjung Balau, Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal and Tanjung Pengelih Jetty, Taman Sri Penawar acts as the major gateway to all the resorts, educational institutions and industrial areas in the Southeastern part of Johor,” said Ng at the media launch recently.

This strategic location has a high growth potential due to confluence of professionals, engineers and contractors traversing from Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru, Senai and the North to Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC), the largest petrochemical complex in Malaysia to date. One of the major components of PIPC, the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project initiated by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) is expected to employ 70,000 workers during construction and generate 4,000 new jobs upon completion in 2019.

Ng added that prior to 2011, before the launch of the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex (PIPC), many investors would not even consider buying property in the laidback Southeastern corner of Johor, and the only visitors to this area were those visiting the serene Desaru beaches, connoisseurs who wished to feast on the lobsters in Sungai Rengit, as well as the cyclists who enjoyed cycling along the peaceful coastal road between Tanjung Pengelih Jetty and Sungai Rengit.

In the recent news, Saudi Arabia’s oil giant, Aramco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Petronas to invest RM31 billion in the RAPID project. This would further boost the investors’ confidence in Pengerang. With more investors onboard, the multi-billion ringgit oil and gas project in Pengerang is expected to push up demand for property in Southeastern Johor, as well as the other parts of the Kota Tinggi district.


With this bright prospect in mind, MB World Group is banking on the location of its township project Taman Sri Penawar near Desaru coast to attract potential property buyers from all over the state of Johor and beyond. As shared by Ng, Taman Sri Penawar is just a stone’s throw away from marvellous tourist attractions such as Desaru Fruit Farm, Desaru Beach, Tanjung Balau Beach, Tanjung Balau Fishermen Museum, Sungai Lebam Firefly River Cruise, and more, while some of these attractions are well-known, the rest are hidden jewels mostly unknown to outsiders.

Besides being a tourist destination and hydrocarbon industrial hub, Bandar Penawar also emerges as an educational hub, with many institutes of higher learning clustering in the vicinity. Currently, the campuses of National Youth Skills Institute (IKBN) Bandar Penawar branch, Bandar Penawar Community College, as well as Bandar Penawar Sports School (SSBP) where prospect national athletes are nurtured are all located nearby. The growing student population will surely turn the once sleepy corner of Peninsular Malaysia into a vibrant urban centre.

With such a wide range of facilities and activities, Ng is confident that the township will be suitable for investors who are expanding their portfolio of income generating assets, as Taman Sri Penawar will become a thriving place for living, learning and raising opportunities.

No doubt, the property market is experiencing a slowdown currently. In Ng’s opinion, the stringent loan requirements are one of the biggest challenges that they need to address for their purchasers. “We will focus more on the affordable housing segment as the demand for this segment is higher. Due to the better chance of loan approval and lesser commitment for the purchasers, the affordable homes will definitely be more attractive to the buyers,” he shares.


“Affordability, accessibility and appreciation potential are the key selling points of our developments. Phase one of 265 units of single-storey terrace houses was sold out within two weeks, and we hope to get a similar response for the launching of the 272 units double-storey terrace houses,” said Ng.

For the time being, MB World Group will be focusing on the development of Taman Sri Penawar. With the recently launched Desaru Avenue shop office, the phase 1 and 2 of single-storey terrace houses and the 272-unit “Harmonia” double-storey terrace houses which have a total estimated GDV of RM492 million, Ng believes they will be kept busy for the next few years.

Desaru Avenue offers 161 units of double-storey shop offices. Each unit is situated on an average land area of 22 ft. by 70 ft., with an average built-up area of 3,080 sq. ft. With its spacious and flexible layout, the shop office is ideal for a variety of businesses, including retail, office, boutique, restaurant, and vacation accommodation. To complement the success of single-storey terrace house, phase 1 of Desaru Avenue has been sold within a month prior to the launch.

Next, phase 2 of single-storey terrace houses with a total of 320 units will have an average built-up area of 1,091 sq. ft., featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms; while Harmonia consists of 272 double-storey terrace houses, with an average land area of 22 ft. by 70 ft., creating a spacious built-up area of 1,996 sq. ft. The gated and guarded development aspires to provide a safe and comfortable living environment for all the residents.

MB World Group’s goal in 2017 is to continue building the Group into an established and reputable listed property development company. With an estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM1.9 billion, the entire township project will keep the Group busy for up to seven years.

Despite the soft market condition currently, MB World Group will strive to provide good customer service, deliver quality products and added value for its prospective buyers and investors. At the same time, they will also be looking out for any potential land banking opportunities to ensure continued growth in the Group.

“Given the dynamic business environment that the Group operates in, we constantly monitor the business environment and adjust our strategies accordingly, in order to stay competitive in the market,” Ng asserts confidently.

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