Mah Sing plans smooth succession

  • Property
  • Saturday, 24 Aug 2019

Management behind M Oscar: Lionel (left) says M Oscar will be launched at an average price of RM650 per sq ft. Chris sees demand for homes.

TAN Sri Leong Hoy Kum is no stranger in Malaysia’s corporate world. He has built up property developer MAH SING GROUP BHD to be one of the largest property groups in the country with properties in Johor, the Klang Valley and Penang.

Unlike some of his counterparts, Leong did not venture abroad, preferring to remain on familiar grounds.

Nonetheless, the group expanded massively in the last property run-up which started around 2009/2010, and which peaked in 2012, having more than 40 projects simultaneously at times. The company’s market capitalisation grew from RM1.28bil at the end of 2009 to RM2.14bil as at Aug 21,2019. Its market capitalisation was RM510mil at Dec 31,2006.

It was during this hot run-up in the property sector that Leong’s children entered the group.

According to Forbes, Leong is listed as Malaysia’s 50th richest in March 2019 with a net worth of US$250mil or RM1.045bil at current exchange rate. His source of wealth: property development, Forbes said. Like any well-heeled, the founder and group managing director is planning his succession.

Leong has three children, Jane, 33, Lionel and Rachel, 28. All three are with Mah Sing Group.

Recently StarBizWeek met up with Lionel who will be turning 31 later this year.

Mah Sing Group Bhd group strategy and operations director Lionel Leong on high-rise residential development  M Oscar. Starpix by Low Lay Phoon.Mah Sing Group Bhd group strategy and operations director Lionel Leong on high-rise residential development M Oscar. Starpix by Low Lay Phoon.

Armed with his economics degree from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Lionel has been with Mah Sing for six and a half years now. He is group strategy and operations director.

He was previously working in a bank and joined Mah Sing group when the property market peaked around 2012/13. That period was indeed an exciting one for Mah Sing and other property developers, big and small.

Mah Sing’s market cap reached RM3.19bil in 2013 and climbed to RM3.52bil at the end of 2017.

Noteworthy was its 83.77% jump in market cap from 2012 (RM1.75bil) to RM3.19bil a year later, which was in line with the Malaysian property euphoria.

“I really enjoy this work in (the) property (sector) because I feel we, as a company, can make a different in the lives of others.

“In banking, the work revolves around improving the financial model system. It may not have that direct an impact.

“But how one plans the space in a house – every little spark of an idea – has an impact on the design and the people who live in that house.”

“How we brand, plan and price our products remain (whether it is a boom or a slow market)

“We still need to come up with the right product. Challenging but this is not going to stop us from doing basic production. We still want to capture a market willing to pay for our products, ” he says.

Lionel is in project development and planning and M Oscar is his first project.

“Before, we run our projects in a very functional way. It was very centralised. Last time, the GMs of project handle sales and marketing. Today, the GMs of sales and marketing also get involved in design and planning. Chris is involved in the planning and conceptualising. Before we used to leave it all to the planning department, ” Lionel says.

High-residential development M Oscar is a two-block project comprising the North Tower and South Tower on residential land next to MEX Highway on the Salak South Garden side.

On the challenging market that he will be launching South Tower in, Lionel says be it “the best of the market, the worst of the market, the brand does not change”.

Lionel joined the company when the property market was sizzling hot.

To keep prices competitive, South Tower will not be furnished. Buyers will have a free hand over their kitchen cabinets and wardrobe. Air conditioning connections will be in place.

The company is launching M Oscar at an average price of RM650 per sq ft (psf), with a 700 sq ft bumiputra unit at RM428,000.

South Tower faces Sri Petaling whereas North Tower, scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2020, will be launched at RM700 psf. North Tower faces KL city. The land size is 4.63 acres and it will have a facilities deck of 2.7 acres.

South Tower will be 31 storeys, while North Tower, 32. There will be seven levels of car park facilities.

M Oscar’s price range are from RM450,000 to RM800,000. Sizes are between 700 sq ft, for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit, and 1,200 sq ft, for a four bedroom unit.

Of the total 910 units for both towers, 80%, or about 720 units, will be between 700 and 900 sq ft. There will be 96 dual key units of about 1,200 sq ft.

They will be clearing the land soon and putting up the hoardings.

Reporting to dad

On his working relationship with his father, who is Mah Sing founder and group managing director, Lionel says: “I update him on the progress. He will tell me what he thinks.

“The more we, Chris (Chen) bring the materials to him, the more comfortable he will be because then he knows what I am working on, ” Lionel says.

He (Tan Sri Leong) is very good at negotiations, business development side and has sharp business acumen, ” Lionel says.

Chris Chen, the sales and marketing general manager for M Oscar says there is demand for homes.

“There will be a demand for housing. There are many who want to buy their own houses, most of them being first-time buyers. That is why we are pricing our units more affordably, ” he says.

Based on Valuation Service and Property Department figures, in the Old Klang Road area, the highest transactions, or demand, are for units between 1,000 and 1,250 sq ft with a price range of between RM300,000 and RM450,000.

“For 1,000 sq ft properties, 18.6% are priced between RM450,000 and RM750,000, ” Chen says.

That was how they have derived the size and pricing for M Oscar.

So target price range for most searches is RM450,000 to RM750,000 and the built-up areas 700sq ft to 1,200sq ft, says Chen.

He says Mah Sing also conducted a survey on M Oscar’s 1,500 registrants who are currently living in Bukit Jalil, Sri Petaling, Petaling Jaya, Desa Petaling, Kuchai Lama and over a 20km radius for M Oscar site.

As at Aug 13. 2019, between 41% and 100% of the registrants are buying for their own stay. Bukit Jalil notched the highest at 100% while Desa Petaling, 41% of those buying for own stay.

Registrants between 24 and 54 years pf age were surveyed, Chen said.

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