Long queue to ownership

Foreign workers are being paid up to RM1,000 to queue up for housebuyers to book hot properties in land-starved Penang island.

These professional queuers — mostly Bangladeshis and Indonesians — even bring along their wives and children to camp outside the developer’s office up to one week ahead of a project launch.

They are paid between RM200 and RM250 per day to stay in queue for numbers which are then passed on to buyers to enter the sales office to book their units.

Architect Jessica Tan said she forked out RM150 to a “local agent” of the foreigners for a Bangladeshi to stay in the queue from 8pm the night before the launch until 7.30am the next day.

The 30-year-old, who did not want to spend the night for safety reasons, said the foreigners brought along their children and wives to camp outside the developer’s office.

“My friend from Kuala Lumpur paid RM1,000 for a Bangladeshi to stand in line for five days,” she said, adding that some locals even offered such a service for a hot property in town recently.

Engineer Edward Wong claimed that foreigners camping overnight on behalf of buyers was a common sight since late last year but lining up as early as a week before the property launch was a new trend.

“Usually, there will be two of them who take turns queuing in front of the developer’s office,” said the potential buyer in queue.

Wong, however, said the professional queuers had irked genuine buyers who find themselves far behind the line despite turning up early to book their units.

“An elderly man was here at 5.30am on the launch day itself but only managed to get in at 4pm because the foreigners had started queuing days before.

“With foreigners lining up for property investors, common folk like us won’t get a chance to purchase the affordable units,” said Wong.

Sophie Low, 34, said Penang was a “developer’s market”.

The property investor said she was not surprised at people hiring foreigners to queue for them as new projects in Penang island were in such high demand.

“It’s a free market — if you have the money to pay someone to stand in line for you, that’s fine,” she said.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda, Penang) chairman Datuk Jerry Chan said there was “absolutely nothing wrong” with genuine buyers paying foreigners to stand in line for them.

“Those who are working cannot be expected to stand in line overnight, so engaging a property agent or even their maids to do it is fine.

“However, it’s unethical (though not illegal) for scalpers to line up and then sell their spots in the queue because it could deny genuine buyers the opportunity to purchase a unit of their choice.

“One way to eliminate scalpers is to require those lining up to come with a bank draft as evidence of their intent to purchase,” he said. - By Christina Chin (The Star)


March 9, 2012 at 2:19 PMHo

The queuing is a joke. Developers can just give out numbers and ask those potential buyers to go home. When lunch, call out the numbers one by one.

March 9, 2012 at 3:36 PMbeehui

it's ridiculous and shameful to see such phenomena in Malaysia.

March 9, 2012 at 3:59 PMsad

Ya....datuk is right because as a head of rehda he needs to protect developers, nothing wrong cause developers can do whatever they want...to create such hype, awareness and they find it awesome because their properties is the most wanted in the country. And there is no such law says they cannot do that...
Am wondering where is the voices of HBA aren't they suppose to say something for the buyers..
But again, i should says those who queue....sigh!!!! don't know what to say

March 9, 2012 at 5:52 PMcondomana

hi sad,

Yes you are right, Datuk is just doing his job of defending developers (and probably he had a couple of Bangla queuing for him too)...:)

It's right too for Christina Chin to do this write up (to add to the hype), highlighting words like "land-starved Penang", "hot property in town", "developer's market", as instructed by her boss and their BIG advetiser (you would have surely noticed the amount of money IJM paid for centerfold advertisements lately). She's only doing her job..:)

Don't be sad lah, afterall, it's their money, not yours. As long as LGE doesn't ban speculative buying in property, there's pretty much nothing you can do...:) Maybe someone should go ask LGE about what he thinks!

March 9, 2012 at 8:38 PMsad

Oh Dear, did this article mention bout IJM???

March 9, 2012 at 9:13 PMSPunitD10owner

Overnight queues for Vertiq condo launch

By Lam Jian Wyn of theedgeproperty.com
Friday, 09 March 2012 15:02

KUALA LUMPUR/PENANG (Mar 9): IJM Land Bhd's Vertiq condominium launch in Penang last weekend saw overnight queues forming days before the launch on Mar 3.wow!!!

Almost all its non-bumiputera units were taken up on the day of the launch, bringing to an overall 65% take-up rate of the project after taking into account a 30% bumiputera allocation, said Toh Chin Leong, IJM Land general manager for property development in the northern region.

"All the units facing the sea and the smaller city-facing units were taken up. About 80% of the units face the sea while the remainder look out to the city," Toh told The Edge Financial Daily.

Vertiq is coming up on a 2.31-acre (0.9ha) freehold tract within the Metro East area of Penang, home to several of IJM Land's developments such as Bayswater and Platino condos. It has a gross development value of RM231 million and comprises 318 units within a 35-storey tower. Prices range from RM540,000 to RM1.2 million per unit, while built-ups range from 1,044 to 2,303 sq ft. According to Toh, the units with ocean views fetch an average of RM560 psf while the other units command an average of RM520 psf.

To entice buyers, IJM Land has offered three parking bays for the smaller units with non-ocean view looking into the Greenlane area of Penang instead of the standard two bays, Toh said.

"We plan to release the bumiputera units once construction is 80% completed, in accordance with the state government's requirements," he added.

Over 200 people camped outside the sales gallery at Lebuh Tunku Kudin on the morning of the launch.

"People started queuing from Tuesday [Feb 28]. We noticed that a lot of people in the line did not fit the typical buyer profile, and we suspected that they were lining up to sell their spots in the queue. So what we did was ask them to fill up forms with their names and IC numbers. We told them if these names and numbers did not appear on the S&P, they will be disqualified from buying the properties," he said.

This did not deter some people from hiring others to line up for them in the queue, with some buyers apparently paying up to RM250 a day to do so.

Toh recounted an incident during the release of the bumiputera allocation of the Light Linear condos on Jan 10. The Light Linear is part of IJM Land's RM5 billion mixed-use waterfront development named The Light.

"A woman came up to us to verify a number she had bought from someone in the line for RM40,000. We don't want to encourage this type of activity," he recounted.

"In previous launches, housewives and office workers lined up for projects. You could tell that they were actually interested in units for their own use," he explained.

In the case of Vertiq, those who could not provide the relevant details left the line while the rest continued according to numbered seats, Toh said.

"Before the launch, we put out 138 numbered seats in the lobby of our office. We eventually gave out more numbers. We also set up tents to protect them from the sun and rain.

"Buyers have to line up and work together to make sure no one cuts the queue. Buyers would leave their family members or maids to take care of the seat and bring food to them. Some would bring trolley bags full of tumblers of water, books, laptops and other things they needed to keep themselves occupied," he said.

As an additional measure to curb speculative purchase of Vertiq units, buyers were only allowed to buy one or two units if the second unit is at least 1,927 sq ft.

However, an exception was given to five groups of bulk buyers comprising loyal IJM Land customers, explained Toh. They were allowed to buy two small units from level 20 onwards as well as a medium unit and a large one from any floor.

March 10, 2012 at 2:22 AMHo

What Sophie Low said is just pure crap, I am sure it is 'fine' to be rich and pay whatever amount for the queu.

I am sure this article is raised due to the queuing
'event' at the launching of the Vertiq project. Penangites must be damm rich, queuing 3 days up front to buy a half a million ringgit property at 1000+sf (only 1000sf, albeit facing the sea I must mention) that will be ready in 3 years time!!!

This project is hot due to one reason, the good high yield example of Baywater. People hope this will be the 2nd Baywater. Fingers crossed.

Lets see how many Penangites will queu to purchase a three quater of a million ringgit unit in the future.

March 10, 2012 at 11:27 AMjeremy tan

1) It is a free market.
2) Low interest rates by BNM
3) Influx of liquidity from money printing by BNM

Provided, BNM increases interest rates and tightens credit facilities. The property scenario in Penang will continue its uptrend.

Yesterday, BNM maintain its overnight policy rate at 3%.