Long before countless big players dominated the real estate scene, before talks of sustainable cities and townships, and before affordability of houses became an issue, there was already but one giant in the market, stamping its mark for the future.
Formed in 1964, the Selangor State Development Corporation or Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) has had more experience in property development than many would have thought so. The name has more often, in the public’s eye, been associated with social housing – providing affordable and low-cost houses for the population in the state which in truth, was its initial objective. But there’s more than meets the eye for the Selangor state government’s development arm in recent years.
Taking on developments ranging from affordable to luxury high-end residential, commercial and industrial, this mammoth developer is usually involved with more than 85 projects at any one time including those by its subsidiaries and collaborations with the private sector. It is also the mastermind behind 11 major integrated townships such as Shah Alam, Petaling Jaya and Kota Damansara among others.
Excellent Choice for a Cause
Impressive indeed is the portfolio of PKNS, but what really sets it apart is that it still stays true to its roots as a provider of affordable housing for the underserved. Othman Haji Omar, General Manager of PKNS explains that PKNS does not receive grants from the Government. Therefore, the company itself has to generate profits to subsidize for these homes and that is where the medium to high-end developments step in.
“Profit is only a means to an end. The profits made is pumped back into the development of affordable homes as well as facilities and amenities for the community,” he says, adding that homebuyers should feel good because by buying a PKNS home, they are creating an additional 10 shelters for the underprivileged.
While PKNS is diverse in its developments, one thing is for sure; buyers of any level are presented with a great investment opportunity. Generally, its products are priced 10% to 15% lower than others out on the market. Couple that with additional discounts for Bumiputera allocated units, buyers are assured of valuable asset.
And logically speaking, this inadvertently leads to a higher capital appreciation for buyers. Case for example, the Ayu Qaseh double-story link houses in the township of Alam Nusantara were launched at RM325,000 back in 2009. Those are now selling between RM480,000 to RM530,000 – an increase of about 50% to 60%. Other developments by PKNS have also enjoyed significant increase in value, some up to 135% within the span of less than five years.
While all these seem jaw-dropping enough, the stigma that has stuck with PKNS is that with cheaper prices, quality and design is compromised. You might just want to hold that thought.
Aesthetics are also a major aspect of PKNS properties. Not reserved to the mid to high-end, but even the low-cost high-rises present an appealing architecture with nicer facades, colors and finishing, unlike traditional flats.
“The aim is to improve on the quality of life of these people. We pay attention to both the hardware and the software – hardware being the design of these affordable homes, while the software comes in the form of facilities such as tuition centers, nurseries, and gardening spaces for the ground floor units,” says Othman.
Apart from that is the fact that PKNS has never abandoned a single project throughout its 48 years. This pretty much guarantees any buyer of a completed home. And while the “build-then-sell” issue is so passionately debated in the market, PKNS have always been selling most of their properties only when it is near completion.
Setting The Bar
Strides made by PKNS in transforming its brand have not gone unnoticed, having garnered international as well as local awards. Its most recent scoop was the Top 10 Property Developers at the BCI Asia Awards for the second consecutive time this year. It was also presented the BrandLaureate Top 10 Masters Award (Property Development, Asia Pacific) in 2011 while its 9,600-acre city of Shah Alam was named Most Sustainable City by the National Housing and Property Summit 2010.
On top of that, PKNS also places emphasis on meeting the quality and green standards of the day including the Green Building Index (GBI) and Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC) among others. An example would be Laman PKNS, its soon-to-be headquarters which is going for the GBI Platinum rating.
“We believe in benchmarking ourselves and our developments on standards and quality ratings and we want to ensure that our projects incorporate the latest practice of eco-sustainability architecture,” states Othman.
Building Sustainable Communities
While awards may give the good name of PKNS a boost, its focal point has always been about understanding the needs of its customers.
One of the values here at PKNS is being “Customer-centric”. And to live up to that value it has the PKNS Careline, a combination of seven channels including a toll-free number, website, email and Facebook page where customers can send in feedback, complaints and inquiries about PKNS.
Moreover, PKNS is definitely not “all talk and no action”. Once a call or report is received, a PKNS Response Team immediately responds to it, offering free maintenance and repair works to any of its strata-titled properties, including some of its flats built almost 40 years ago.
Throughout the years, PKNS have understood the need to strike a perfect balance of work, live and play. Made to sustain through high and low times, PKNS have delicately carved out blueprints for each and every township it has built, making sure it is integrated with industrial components to create jobs, then building enough houses and commercial offerings to support that new population.
By the sheer size of some of these townships, they are now even considered cities in its own right. Thus the investments put in for the infrastructure and other components such as stadiums and mosques are no small matter.
“With townships as big as 9,000 acres (Shah Alam) and so on, we typically spend between RM1 billion to RM1.5 billion just on infrastructure. We believe it is important to a successful township,” says Othman.
Truly, PKNS has come a long way to what it is today – a premier property developer that cares for the welfare of the underprivileged while introducing attractive and innovative products for all levels of society.
Having built countless houses ranging from affordable housing to luxury high-end, commercial centers and industrial parks, not to mention mega-sized townships, it is hard not to see PKNS as a developer of choice.