Datuk Maznah Hamid and her husband Datuk Shaheen Mirza Habib are no strangers to the corporate world. Their company Securiforce Group, which they founded in 1980, is the largest security service provider in the country and has strong business ties with financial institutions.
But after 13 years of serving the security service industry, the husband-and-wife team decided to venture into the more lucrative property development sector in 1993.
Their first venture is the ongoing Danau Lumayan — a privatisation project awarded by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the federal government — in Bandar Tun Razak in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, and undertaken by Danau Lumayan Sdn Bhd (DLSB).
Maznah is the chairman of DLSB while Shaheen is a director. Their eldest son Shahril Reza Shaheen joined DLSB six years ago as a marketing executive and is now the general manager of administration and marketing.
“Danau Lumayan is only 10 minutes from KLCC and is relatively affordable. We entered property development because we wanted people to own homes, especially those in the low-income group. We could help them in the financing aspect as we have strong networking with the banks, some of which are our clients. We also give buyers flexibility in paying the deposit,” says Maznah who hails from Kedah.
“We completed the phases ahead of schedule,” Shahril tells City & Country. “Our aim is to develop a regional commercial and residential centre for Bandar Tun Razak.”
The commercial component
The 102-acre Danau Lumayan has an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM900 million and a net buildable area of 65 acres.
The development, which is 64% residential and 36% commercial, is targeted at the low to medium-income group.
Casa Lumayan, the township’s final residential phase — which will be launched next month — offers 900 apartments with built-ups of 1,142 to 1,364 sq ft. The GDV of this phase is RM205 million while the units are priced between RM245,000 and RM249,000.
At the end of last year, DLSB had launched Astana Lumayan whose 250 apartments — with a built-up of 1,208 sq ft and priced from RM245,990 — were sold within two hours of launch.
After Casa Lumayan, the developer will be focusing more on its commercial component, the first phase of which was launched in 2005. Called Danau Lumayan Avenue, the phase offered 56 shoplots with sizes ranging from 4,990 to 6,704 sq ft that were fully sold. The completed shoplots now have a market value of RM1.5 million compared with the developer’s price of RM930,000.
The next commercial phase will be Lake Park Avenue, comprising 105 units of 2, 3 and 5-storey shoplots to be priced from RM210 psf. Some 50% of them have already been booked.
“Response to the commercial phases has been good so far. It took some time to sell RM1 million shoplots in this location back then but we managed to sell all of them within a few months. We also have had no problems selling the bumiputera units. We have had a number of repeat buyers.
“For Lake Park Avenue, we are talking to en-bloc [more than five units] purchasers so that we can build according to their requirements and specifications, so they will not need to waste money on renovations. We have some anchor purchasers [who are] in medical services, retail and [are] hoteliers. We plan to launch Lake Park Avenue in the second half [of this year],” Shahril says.
He says the undeveloped commercial parcels can sustain the developer for another four to five years. “The targeted completion of this township is 2015 and we are on schedule. We have weathered two financial crises and shown our capability in developing townships.”
DLSB owns another 20 acres in Klang Valley which, Shahril says, can sustain the company for two to three years.
The company is looking to bring in a 3 to 4-star hotel operator and a medical specialist centre to complement the medical institutions nearby. Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) and an integrated health complex that is under construction are located within 2km of Danau Lumayan.
“The maturity of the location is shown by the number of banks and shops here,” Shahril remarks. According to him, there is good demand for 2 to 3-star hotels to cater for visitors to HUKM and the future health complex. The KL Badminton Stadium and a teacher’s training college are also close by.
Shahril says there is a 2-star hotel in Danau Lumayan that has an average occupancy rate of above 80%.
As much greenery as possible will be maintained in Danau Lumayan and the two natural lakes within the development beautified, adds the 29-year-old business graduate from the University of California.
A jogging track and playground are part of the plan as well. However, says Shahril, the lakes will later come under the care of Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
The developer will also build a pedestrian path connecting Danau Lumayan’s residential and commercial components. In terms of accessibility, three LRT stations are located within a 2km radius of the development.
“Developers normally give residents a 24-month defect and liability period but until today, we still entertain complaints from residents. Our engineers and technicians are available under one roof here,” says Shahril.
Securiforce was set up in 1980 with RM5,000 and five guards, says Maznah, who focused on marketing while Shaheen was in charge of finance and strategies.
“We built the company from scratch. We were young back then with the energy to work long hours. Sometimes, my husband and I had to stand in for the guards and patrolling officers,” she recalls.
In her younger days, Maznah was a translator and private tutor, teaching Bahasa Melayu to the children of foreign embassy and multinational corporation officials. The parents of some of her students were stockbrokers and developers who eventually became her business mentors. She took their advice that to be successful, one had to become an entrepreneur.
“They told me to look for resources. So I looked around and saw rich homes with guardhouses and I knew then that these [guardhouses] could be my resources,” she says.
Securiforce started its business with five guards in five houses. Maznah sold insurance and was involved in multilevel marketing to earn the money for expansion.
The couple got the idea of night patrolling after having to sell their house and sleep in their office. “When you have no money, you have to think how to create more business,” Maznah says.
“When our business became established, we took the next step of going into property development.”
The couple’s hard work has certainly paid off. Maznah received an outstanding female entrepreneur award in 1990 and has earned the moniker “iron lady” in the industry. Apart from giving talks to women and entrepreneurs and lecturing at Universiti Utara Malaysia, she likes to attend seminars and business clinics on property development, psychology and entrepreneurship.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 857, May 9-15, 2011
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