Forest City: Luxury Utopia or Ecological Disaster?

Mangalesri Chandrasekaran25 Aug 2016


A planned Malaysian city near Singapore may not live up to its “liveable eco-city” billing after all.

Environmentalists are protesting the development of Forest City, a project that was put on hiatus in 2015 due to ecological concerns and has since resumed, spelling disaster for marine life and fishermen’s livelihood in the area.

“It has the potential to change the ecology of the whole area in profound ways,” Greenpeace scientist Paul Johnston said.

“It might change the things that are living there, it might change the vegetation that can grow there.”

Forest City involves land reclamation on a massive scale, requiring around 162 million cubic metres of sand to be dumped on four Malaysian islands around the Johor Strait, close to Singapore.

At high risk is the Merambong Shoal, which covers Malaysia’s largest intertidal seagrass meadow, an important habitat for underwater fauna.

Country Garden Pacific View, the joint venture between Chinese developer Country Garden and Esplanade Danga 88, a firm partly owned by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, conceded in an environmental study that “permanent loss of traditional fishing ground” may arise from the development.

However, Country Garden Pacific View executive director Mohamad Othman Yusof said that the reclamation was approved on the back of some 20 simulation studies. In addition, Forest City used “double silt curtains” to keep silt and sediment from spreading throughout the seabed.

Forest City’s size has been downsized to 1,370 hectares from 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres).

Costing SGD56 billion (USD42 billion), Forest City will come with 700,000 residential units upon its 2035 completion. In its first phase, the city will offer some 482 condominium units and 132 serviced apartments, along with hotels, shopping malls, schools, and convention centres, all within a duty-free zone.

Forest City officials have claimed pre-sales of 500 units, mainly to mainland Chinese buyers. Analysts are concerned that such a demographic would be a bleak prospect though, in light of China’s slowing economy and the Chinese government’s recent clampdown on capital outflows.

Citing risks from aggressive land acquisitions, Standard & Poor’s has taken a “cautious” stance on Forest City. The financial services company assigned a long-term corporate rating of “BB” from “BB+” on Country Garden in March.


This story was originally published on on 1 August 2016


You may also like these articles

SP Setia's Sales Target Reduced to RM3.5 Billion

  SP Setia Bhd has lowered its sales target for 2016 from RM4 billion to RM3.5 billion, on the back of the continued global uncertainty caused by Brexit and the weak property sentiment in Mala

Continue Reading24 Aug 2016

Medini Live! Returns for the Second Year

  Taking place in the thriving new township of Medini in Iskandar Puteri, Medini Live! 2016 will be held at the Mall of Medini on August 27 and 28, 2016. It will feature an eclectic mix of ent

Continue Reading24 Aug 2016

IJM Land Introduced Triple Insurance Protection Scheme

  Buying a house is often a daunting prospect for the first-time home buyer. Besides the obvious financial commitments of purchasing and paying for a property, life can throw all manner of twi

Continue Reading24 Aug 2016

Developer Gives Chong Wei an RM1.5 Million Condo

  As a recognition of his contribution to Malaysian sports, property developer Orlando Holdings wants to gift national shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei with an RM1.5 million condominium unit. O

Continue Reading25 Aug 2016