PETALING JAYA (April 24): Malls are now close to empty due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) to break the spreading chain of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, all must agree that the battle is not over even after the MCO ends, which is now scheduled on May 12. With the pandemic continuing to loom, moving forward, what will be the fate of malls?

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This was the topic of discussion at Facebook LIVE Fireside Chat (pictured) today entitled ‘Will malls be empty in the new normal?’.

The panelists were President of the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPKM) and 1 Utama and Bandar Utama City Centre director Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok, KIP Group CEO Valerie Ong and Sunway Malls and Theme Parks CEO HC Chan. The live session was moderated by EdgeProp Malaysia managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee.

“It has not been that long ago when malls used to be a part of my life, and I believe I’m not alone, but the MCO has changed that.

“The Covid-19 has caused unthinkable physical, emotional, mental and economic impact. Retail is one of the industries that has taken a big hit,” Au said, setting the tone of the discussion.

The panel also shared their views on whether there is an oversupply in the number of malls in the country. According to the National Property Information Centre (Napic), as at 3Q2019, Malaysia has a total of 1,035 shopping complexes, with 179.8 million sq ft (or 16.42 mil sqm) of lettable retail space. On average, the occupancy rate for shopping complexes in Malaysia stood at 79.5%.

Meanwhile, there are 39 shopping complexes which are now under construction, upon completion, it’s expected to add in another 16.41 million sq ft (or 1.52 mil sq m) of lettable retail space to the market.

On top of this, there are 27 shopping complex developments that have been approved but have not started construction. If all approved projects are built, there will be another 11.14 million sq ft (or 1.03 mil sq m) of lettable retail space in the market.

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For the full report on the virtual Fireside Chat read the May 8, 2020 issue of pullout.

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Interested to know more about what’s happening in the property market? Click and watch our previous Fireside Chats:

"Will the Malaysian property sector survive this mother of all crises?" 

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