Located within the Iskandar Malaysia special economic zone (SEC) in southern Johor, Forest City comprises four man-made islands spanning 30 square kilometres. This year, more than 20,000 residential units are expected to be handed over to owners on top of the more than 4,000 that already have been. The first phase of 482 units at Cerulean Bay in Forest City was handed over in September last year. Prices range from 13,000 to 18,000 ringgit per square metre, which translates to US$399 to US$552 per square foot, according to the developer, Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV). CGPV is a 60:40 joint venture between Country Garden and Esplanade 88 Danga Bay (EDSB), an associate company of Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ). To date, investments into Forest City total more than 17 billion ringgit. The first island (Island 1) is 50 per cent reclaimed and comprises a fully occupied retail complex, the five-star Phoenix International Marina Hotel, commercial units, a sales gallery, and Shattuck-St Mary’s Forest City International School. Shenzhen must abandon Hong Kong’s property model, warns ‘godfather of real estate’ The remaining three islands (Islands 2-4) will be built based on “property demand and supply”, according to CGPV. In August last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that while foreigners can purchase residential units at Forest City, they will not be granted visas to live there. Buying property does not guarantee automatic residency. Foreigners who wish to make Malaysia their permanent home can consider the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) government programme. “Due to Dr Mahathir’s comments last year, many international investors have taken a wait-and-see approach towards their investments in Malaysia. [Because of] this condition, Forest City was inevitably affected,” said Zhou Jun, Forest City’s brand management general manager. Buyers of Forest City hail from over 35 places including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, and Australia, says Zhou. “Over time, we understand that the Malaysian government continues to welcome foreign investments,” added Zhou. “Thanks to the comprehensive legislative system, Forest City was not badly impacted despite the Prime Minister’s remarks. On the contrary, as we are able to contribute to the Malaysian economy, create job opportunities and promote technology and knowledge transfer, we have received a lot of support from the government.” In order to facilitate the growth of the Malaysian economy, Forest City has awarded contracts worth 1.6 billion ringgit to local companies, and contributed more than 300 million ringgit of tax to the federal and state governments. In addition, over 10 million ringgit has been donated and sponsored, in terms of corporate social responsibility initiatives. For now, it’s “business as usual” at Forest City, said Zhou. On August 18, CGPV unveiled the 172-acre Classic Golf Course at Forest City Golf Resort. This followed the opening of the 183-acre Legacy Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack Nicklaus II, in September last year. There are plans for the construction of a third golf course. The Forest City Golf Resort spans 8 square kilometres and is located about 7km from Forest City. Designed by landscape architect and golf course designer Liang Guo Kun, the 18-hole Classic Golf Course is a parkland course, known for its lush greenery and rolling contours, he explained. Liang is also the executive director and vice-president of Country Garden Holdings. “The Legacy Golf Course is desert-themed, and while it has an open terrain, I designed the Classic Golf Course with a hilly terrain,” says Liang. “If I were to design it the same way, where is the fun in playing then?” According to Zhou, Forest City’s main focus for 2019 and 2020 is to build up the industrial component as part of its blueprint. It intends to attract industries to set up in the industrial hub, and further enhance the tourism component of Forest City. In addition, Forest City’s landmark Carnelian Tower, a 45-storey integrated building comprising residential units, grade A offices and shops, is slated to open in 2020.