It was an eye-opening experience for delegates of the EdgeProp Malaysia Study Tour on Excellent Building Sustainability, Management and Wellness 2019 to Japan recently.

The delegation, which comprised Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, drivers of Malaysia’s top property develop-ment companies and members on the judging panel of EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed Property Awards, gained valuable insights into some of Japan’s latest technologies for sustainable township development as well as smart and wellness home systems and solutions.

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Held from Oct 3 to 5, the study tour was organised by EdgeProp Malaysia and supported by Panasonic.

The tour kicked off with a meeting between Zuraida and Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Parliamentary Vice-Minister Masamune Wada, followed by a briefing by the officers of MLIT on the trends in the Japanese housing market, and the country’s Building Standard Law.

The delegates then visited the Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (SST), a living model of a smart and sustainable township that is being developed by a cluster of companies led by Panasonic.

On the second day, the delegates experienced some of the futuristic technologies that were being showcased at the

Panasonic Center Tokyo as well as the sustainable solutions in indoor air quality (IAQ) and commercial building system at the Panasonic Tokyo Shiodome Building.

Some of the delegates proceeded to Osaka where Zuraida also met with the Mayor of Izumisano City, Hiroyasu Chiyomatsu. S P Setia senior executive vice-president Datuk Koe Peng Kang gave a briefing on the developer’s upcoming integrated development in Osaka dubbed Setia Izumisano City Centre (SICC).

The trip was a good opportunity for the tour participants, who are key industry stakeholders, to learn from Japan’s cutting-edge technologies and the latest sustainable and smart township development that can be applied to the Malaysian market,

Zuraida said in her speech at the Panasonic Center Tokyo.

“Technology plays an important role and we should catch up on this on a fast-track basis. Japan has the experience and solutions to many issues, so why don’t we learn from them so that we can do it faster, instead of taking a long time to do it on our own?” she added.

The minister was noticeably impressed by the Fujisawa SST and urged Malaysian developers to take the development of SST in Malaysia a step further by learning about the smart town.

“This is something that is very doable in Malaysia, even at a lower cost. So I hope developers can start thinking about this,” she said.

Panasonic Malaysia managing director Cheng Chee Chung concurred, adding that the study trip offers the participating developers a strategic vision to create differentiation in their respective property developments with the advanced technologies and cutting-edge solutions that they have seen during the trip.

“Panasonic is well known globally for its electrical appliances such as air conditioners, TV, washing machines, refrigerators and rice cookers. Many do not know that Panasonic actually has so much more to offer than just electrical appliances.

“From the SST to Panasonic’s unique technology NanoeX and urban energy management capabilities, Panasonic can offer IAQ as well as sustainable, wellness and security solutions

“Collaborating with for the study tour to Japan together with the Minister and the top management of leading developers in Malaysia, it gives us the opportunity to introduce and showcase Panasonic’s unique technologies and solutions capabilities,” he elaborated.

A timely and necessary learning experience

Meanwhile, Panasonic Corp QAFL business promotion office managing director Ichiro

Suganuma noted that the study tour had also aimed to raise awareness about the importance of IAQ among the delegates.

“Not only because of the haze which made our lives difficult in Kuala Lumpur last month but because so many kinds of air pollutants exist in our daily lives. And data shows that 29% of lung cancers are caused by air pollution.

“It shows how important air is to us and it must always be kept fresh and clean. While the environment of the whole country could not be cleaned in a day, every one of us has to be concerned for our health in the office, at home and even outside of a building. Air quality could not be seen easily but it’s a basic necessity for us. One must never forget this,” Suganuma said.

The study trip was also timely as Malaysia is now seeing rapidly growing demand for buildings that are not only purposefully designed and built for sustainability, but also developed for excellent property management, offered EdgeProp Malaysia managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee, who was also on the tour.

“On a macro level, Malaysia is pushing for smart cities. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir

Mohamad has said recently that turning Malaysian cities into smart ones would be a highlight of the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“And this, precisely, is the reason why we are here,” she emphasised.

Besides offering insights into the latest smart, sustainable and wellness technologies; affordable housing mechanisms; and property management solutions, the trip fostered discussions and networking among the participants, noted Au.

“Apart from exchanging ideas, we also see strategic networking session possibilities among the study tour delegates. It is certainly no mean feat to have in the same room for two days and two nights, [the] drivers of Malaysia’s leading developers!” she said.

This story first appeared in the pullout on Oct 18, 2019. You can access back issues here.

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