PETALING JAYA: Foreign investors have voiced out the challenges they face in obtaining timely approvals for certain licences in Malaysia, says a property developer.

According to NCT Alliance Bhd executive director Yap Chun Theng, among the main issues that have been raised by foreign investors with regard to its NCT Smart Industrial Park (NSIP) is the long time it takes for their applications to be approved by Malaysian authorities.

He said most multinational companies understand that they have to adhere to regulations set by individual countries in order to do business; however, delays in approval could affect investors’ sentiments and business dealings.

“The processing delay may impact their production timelines and ability to generate revenue efficiently,” Yap told SunBiz.

In addressing these concerns, he said, NCT will be establishing a one-stop centre at NSIP to provide easier access to services from various stakeholders such as Invest Selangor, Human Resource Development Corporation, Social Security Organisation and Kuala Langat Council.

Yap said he hopes this will support investors in the industrial park, in streamlining the approval process for business licensing, tax and incentive matters.

Additionally, he said the group is very focused on the development of NSIP, which is located next to Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Yap said: “At this juncture, Phase 1A has been fully sold while Phase 1B is 40% sold. The first phase of NSIP is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2025. It is recognised as the first managed industrial park in Malaysia, the first industrial park with IR4.0 service facilities and the largest ‘Green RE’ Certified (environmental, social and governance) ESG Industrial Park.

“We are targeting various industries and emerging markets for it, namely four major industries – semiconductor, electrical and electronics, smart logistics and transport – and 4IR-inspired industries. We are also working closely with Invest Selangor and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority to broaden the industrial park’s exposure to potential investors.

“Our project attracts interest from companies in other automated sectors, reflecting its appeal across various industries. Our priority is also the high-tech industries over labour-intensive ones to align with the advanced technological landscape and foster innovation-driven growth.:

Furthermore, he said the group foresees demand from both local and international companies. Yap noted that local businesses are seeking to upgrade their facilities, including factories and offices, to accommodate increased capacity and demand.

“Even in terms of financing, there is a growing number of options available, particularly for ESG-driven projects, as more banks are offering loans to support such initiatives. We have also received enquiries from foreign investors in United States, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Australia who are looking to expand their business in an ESG and IR 4.0 driven industrial park,” he disclosed.

On the local industrial segment, Yap noted that, of late, the market trend has showed considerable interest towards industrial development, which aligns with the group’s focus.

He said companies in general are reassessing their supply chains, considering the relocation of their operations or establishing new locations.He added that Chinese investors, especially, are exploring options to set up industrial operations in different locations.

“The emergence of these trends suggests a promising outlook for industrial development, reflecting the evolving needs of businesses worldwide. During our recent business trip to Taiwan and Japan, we received positive feedback on NSIP from potential investors,” he said.

Currently, its landbank stands at about 930 acres, of which the industrial park occupies 732 acres. The plots are located in Selangor, Genting Highlands and Penang.

“We are open to exploring potential land acquisition opportunities in line with our strategic growth objectives. Currently, we are focused on completing our existing projects,” Yap said.

On outlook, Yap said he is optimistic about the property industry in 2024 despite challenges, driven by opportunities for growth and innovation.

“The property market is closely tied to the overall economic health globally. Assuming a stable economic environment, we foresee steady growth in the property sector.

“However, we remain cautious about global economic uncertainties, such as geopolitical events, inflation rates and interest rate fluctuations, which could impact buyer sentiment and investment trends,” he added.

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