According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the country's GDP is on a steady growth path, with the economy recorded to be expanding at 5.8 per cent at the end of 2014.
As further investment into Malaysia persists, population growth will naturally follow, and as existing urban areas become overcrowded, developers are looking towards previously untapped areas for further development. Wanting to avoid the mistakes made in the world's most polluted cities and emulate the standards set by the world's cleanest cities, developers are making sustainable development a greater priority.
The southern Klang Valley, near Kajang and Seminyih, is touted as an area worth watching. Real estate prices are lower in this area, but with major transportation links in the works, the area is ripe for growth for property investments. The proposed KL-LATAR Expressway will reduce driving time to Kuala Lumpur to 30 minutes and the MRT railway line in Sungai Buloh is nearing completion.
Flat, undeveloped land in the Klang Valley provides ideal residential and mixed commercial and residential development spaces. This property hotspot is a potentially lucrative area for future sustainable developments.
Klang Valley has caught the attention of the Eco World Development Group. Eco Sky, its first project in the area, is a commercial and residential development on a 3.88 hectare parcel of land. It will have Singapore's BCA Green Mark,US Green Building Council's LEED and Malaysia's Green Building Index (GBI) certifications. Eco Sky will be followed by the much larger township, Eco Majestic, which will cover 434 hectares and is slated to be the largest strata title development in Malaysia.
In collaboration with the Malaysian Ministry of Education, Panasonic Malaysia has been organising its Global Eco Learning Programme annually since 2011 towards educating the younger generation in Klang Valley on the importance of sustainable development.
Penang is another area in Malaysia thatcould see exponential growth in green property investments.
In response to concerns about environmental sustainability following rapid property growth, The Penang Green Council launched a 'Be Green, Make a Difference' campaign in 2014 to encourage sustainable building. The council doubled funding for its Penang Green Innovation Incentive and added funding for Penang Green Innovation Incentive and Rainwater Harvesting Incentives in 2015.
The completion of the second Penang bridge boosted property development interest in the Batu Kawan area, with the most ambitiousproject being Aspen Vision City. A mixed commercial and residential development on a 245 acre parcel of land, Aspen Vision City is being built with sustainability in mind. According to Group CEO of the Aspen Group, Dato' M. Murly, "As the developer, we are committed to the eco-town concept. We believe Aspen Vision City will be the finest fully integrated eco township of the future city."
"After almost two years of detailedstudy and planning, we believe Batu Kawan is the future city of Penang and we look forward to spearheading the development of Batu Kawan's Central Business District," said Murly.
Sabah, located in Borneo, is one of the world's hottest tourist destinations because of its abundance of natural wonders. From its pristine beaches and islands to its rich variety of flora and fauna in Kota Kinabalu and other national parks, eco-tourists flock to Sabah for its unspoiled beauty.
In 2014, Sabah recorded a 21 per cent increase in tourism. Occupancy rates in Sabah hotels stand at 92 per cent and according to officials, another 5000 hotel rooms are still needed to accommodate the influx of tourists. This means that Sabah holds huge potential for growth in the hospitality and building industries.
To ensure that future projects don't harm the natural surrounding environment, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed on a Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative to ensure Sabah and all of Borneo retains its biodiversity and natural beauty. Adopted measures include emission reduction policies, feed-in tariffs for renewable energy and public and private partnerships for biodiversity conservation.
Property investors in the region will find that many current and future projects in Malaysia now have sustainability in mind. With support from both the government and local residents, it can be said that Malaysia is truly showing the way forward in Asia's green building landscape.