Monday 05 Jun 2023
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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on August 22, 2022 - August 28, 2022

Au Foong Yee

Au Foong Yee is editor emeritus at The Edge Malaysia and chief judge of The Edge Malaysia Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards (BMSPA) 2022


This is the sixth year of the awards. In the last half decade, I have had the privilege of inspecting the sites of all the properties successfully shortlisted by members of the distinguished panel of judges.

The BMSPA is the only one of its kind in Malaysia and the region. This fact aside, why are these awards unique? Let me share with you a brief insight into the arduous judging process.

All submissions received are scrutinised based on the quality of responses to the criteria set for each category. After careful deliberation, entries are shortlisted for site inspections.

These entail a sit-down presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session and a physical inspection. (In 2021, this process was conducted online because of the Covid-19 lockdown.) This year, judges inspected a total of 42 (yes, 42!) sites.

Typically, property awards site-visit routes are planned by the hosts who, understandably, would “show off” the most attractive side or sides of their property. 

For these awards, it is the judges who drive the site inspection agenda. That is because, while physical and aesthetic attributes impress us judges, we wish to see what is behind closed doors — areas that are out of bounds except for those authorised to enter.

Is the back of house or the buildings in contention in compliance with security and fire safety regulations? Are the spaces equipped with quality internal air flow? The latter is more urgent in the wake of Covid-19.

Fire-fighting and security control rooms are scrutinised for their quality in equipment, installation, working environment and crisis preparedness. Do they pass the mark for the building or project to be dubbed “world class”?

We also suss out “dark corners”, if any, which often go under the radar of the senior management.

A case in point: stairways inside retail properties. Blocked stairways are a clear fire hazard. During past inspections, we found cigarette butts and other rubbish strewn in the stairways, presumably a haven for staff (and/or contractors) enjoying their “me time”.

Suffice it to say, every site inspection conducted is akin to an unofficial audit of the building or project concerned, assuming the top management recognises its value.

That is why some building owners and property managers who had been unsuccessful in their previous entries acknowledge the shortcomings, made improvements and resubmitted the building for the awards.

Serai Bukit Bandaraya, an upmarket and low-density condominium in Kuala Lumpur, finally walked away with Gold in the Below 10 Years Multiple-owned Strata Residential category last year. The achievement came after four consecutive years of submission for the awards. Kudos to the owners, residents and property managers of Serai Bukit Bandaraya for their tenacity and hard work in transforming it into real estate that is managed in an outstanding and sustainable manner.

On the flipside, there are property developers, owners and managers who, after failing to make the cut, choose to stay away from future audits. Worse still are those who never opened up their buildings for scrutiny.

Congratulations to all winners! Your commitment and efforts have helped raise the bar in Malaysian real estate. 

To all winners, past and present, the recognition is never intended to be permanent. Continuing to invest in your pole position is the way forward.

To those unsuccessful, I compliment you for the effort. I look forward to seeing your submissions next year.


Lim Lan Yuan

Lim Lan Yuan is president of the Association of Property and Facility Managers (APFM) as well as a few other allied professional organisations. He currently chairs the technical committee on building maintenance and management, which introduces standards and technical references. Lim is a tribunal member of the Strata Titles Board in Singapore. He is author of the book A Guide to Management Corporations as well as several publications on property and facility management.


Congratulations to all winners as well as participants of the awards! This year, we have seen increased maturity in the submissions. The better ones show greater understanding of the requirements for a best managed property. The winners have shown competence and quality in property management. The weaker submissions have benefited from learning the benchmarks required to obtain recognition for the awards. It is about displaying good technical knowledge and skills, coupled with strong management and community efforts, as well as applying — when appropriate — technology, innovation and best practices. To be successful in the awards, developers, builders and property managers will have to understand the requirements in design, construction, management and maintenance to meet the demands and standards of well-managed and sustainable properties.


Richard Chan

With more than 41 years’ experience, Richard Chan was a founder member and is an adviser of the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, set up in 1984. He was also a founding member of the Building Management Association of Malaysia and has been an exco member of the national committee of BMAM since 2010. In 2018, he was appointed a registered property manager and has been called to serve as board member (2019 to 2021 and 2021 to 2023) with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Malaysia.


Property management is a 24/7/365 work with no days off. The commitment, effort and hard work, coupled with integrity, sincerity and honesty, are never recognised by the masses. The Edge Malaysia has given cheers and accolades to the deserving ones. Kudos! This is not enough, however, as we need to continuously break barriers and chart new frontiers. Property management is not just a job or profession but something that owners, occupants and the public can see and understand. It is hoped that the awards will also result in support for those who toil in this arena without receiving merit or credit. We salute the silent heroes.


The Edge Malaysia Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2022


Datuk N K Tong 

Datuk N K Tong is group managing director of Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd, a niche developer that offers innovative lifestyles. He is the current president of the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia and an independent non-executive director at Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia. He has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Manchester and an MBA in real estate finance from the Wharton School of Business.


This year’s BMSPA fielded another robust line-up of properties that gave us judges plenty to ponder over and an opportunity to dive into the details to separate the best from the rest. I believe these awards will continue to highlight best practices and raise the bar for property management in Malaysia.


Anthony Lee Tee 

A registered practising architect since 1995, Anthony Lee Tee is managing director, accredited architect, independent forensic building inspector and trainer at Architect Centre Sdn Bhd. With more than 30 years’ experience in the construction industry in the region, he is now a PAM (Malaysian Institute of Architects) council member for 2020 to 2023 and chairs the professional practice committee and disciplinary committee. He is also group chief operating officer and transformation officer at Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, overseeing the operations of the Bina Puri Group of Companies, particularly its property and construction businesses. He has been appointed an expert in numerous dispute resolution matters in and outside Malaysia, including at international arbitrations.


“Scary” describes the BMSPA judging criteria, and it has been made scarier with each passing year since 2017, and it is certainly not for the ill-prepared. Past and present winners will attest that fulfilling the judging criteria cannot happen overnight. It would have taken a good part of a decade in planning, crafting sustainable property management and inculcating a culture of maintenance from Day 1. We admire properties with “lifecycle views” in sustainable financial management. Savvy investors know this, and it is now the worst-kept secret as judges see ever-increasing traction. It just makes sense. Congratulations to the winners!


Chris Tan Chur Pim

Chris Tan Chur Pim has been a practising lawyer since 2000 and founded law firm Chur Associates in 2003. Tan is a regular guest speaker for corporate, academic and public events in Malaysia and overseas; a guest commentator on Chinese and English radio and TV stations; as well as a frequent article contributor to local and overseas media publications — both online and print — in English, Chinese and Malay, especially on the topic of real estate. He has been a regular speaker at the annual The Edge Malaysia RealTalk property forum (previously known as The Edge Investment Forum on Real Estate).


In this now normal that we are living in, with the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, there seems to be a common drive to remove the fluff and frills in property management practices and return to a more realistic “back to basics” approach. We observe innovation and adjustments to adapt to this now normal with a renewed optimism to move forward stronger. The lockdowns and movement restrictions have taught all of us to pay more attention to the property that we spend most of our time in — be it the office, home or even the hybrid arrangement, as work from home is now an acceptable employment norm. There is a growing awareness of the importance of our living or work environment and the need to leverage the collective community to make a better environment. The encouraging number of entries this year despite the adversity and challenges is a testament to this great awareness.


Datuk Stewart LaBrooy 

Datuk Stewart LaBrooy is honorary secretary of the Malaysia REIT Managers Association (MRMA). He is currently executive chairman of AREA Management Sdn Bhd, which specialises in large-scale industrial projects in Malaysia. He has over 40 years of experience in industrial property and was CEO and executive director of Axis REIT Managers Bhd. LaBrooy founded Real Estate Advisory Sdn Bhd, which gives advice on funds and REITs and is a board member of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA). He is also a director of several public and private companies in property development, services and property investment.


I must congratulate The Edge for staging the BMSPA awards at a gala dinner at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur. For the first time, an independently judged contest by a team of seasoned practitioners from the property management industry set out to identify the best of the best and the winners received awards based on sheer merit.

What I found amazing was the fact that buildings over 10 years old were also judged, which shows that in Malaysia, there are still excellent examples of building owners and managers who do an amazing job in keeping their assets current and refreshed. 

Recognition of the longevity of properties such as 3 Kia Peng Apartment, Hijauan Kiara and IPC Shopping Centre is testament that with quality maintenance and management of the buildings, age is not a factor.


Ishak Ismail

Ishak Ismail is founder and managing director of IM Global Property Consultants Sdn Bhd, a property consulting firm registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA). He has been in real estate practice since 1991 and was licensed by BOVAEA in 1998 to practise as a registered valuer, estate agent and property manager. He is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and was registered as a chartered surveyor in 2008. In 2015, he was accredited as an international certified valuation specialist, or business valuer, by the International Association of Consultants, Valuators and Analysts. He has been actively involved in the auction industry since 1992 after obtaining the licence to conduct auctions in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Penang. In recent years, he was appointed a real estate investment trust (REIT) property manager for Damansara REIT Managers Sdn Bhd (Al-’Aqar Healthcare REIT), Pelaburan Hartanah Nasional Bhd and Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd.


The BMSPA acknowledges the best property management practices in the country. It is also an industrial recognition and benchmark for properties that are managed with excellence in sustainability.

Therefore, I am very proud and honoured to congratulate all the winners, who have demonstrated a commitment to meet the needs of the present and future without compromising on the quality of building maintenance.

I hope the prestigious awards will motivate other companies to be more innovative not only in offering ecological features but also in shaping sustainable living environments that enrich people’s lives.


The Edge Malaysia-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Awards 2022


Au Foong Yee

Au Foong Yee is editor emeritus at The Edge Malaysia and chief judge of The Edge Malaysia-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Awards 2022


Like it or not, landscaping has become an integral part of our living space. Deepened by the impact of the coronavirus, the yearning to live and work amid nature has taken on new life.

One of the most alluring attributes of landscape must be its ability to take on any shape or form no matter the scale or space.

The Edge Malaysia-ILAM Malaysia’s Sustainable Landscape Awards 2022 pushes landscaping initiatives a notch higher, recognising landscaping that is both outstanding and, more importantly, sustainable. 

Sustainable landscaping is not limited to the creation of eye candy. It demands responsible, deliberate, committed and thoughtful efforts to care for the environment, both today and tomorrow.

The multiple benefits derived from sustainable landscaping include water conservation, reduced maintenance cost and waste disposal reduction. Careful selection of plants and positioning also allow for the building of a habitat. The list goes on and on.

This year, we found winners in a vibrant township, a resort cradled by greenery and a modest but delightful common garden tucked inside a stratified residential property in Kuala Lumpur.

All three are starkly unique and definitely different in their own right. Yet, all three share a commonality — the drivers of the projects are clearly passionate about and committed to sustainable landscaping.

Certainly, nature, creativity, functionality and sustainability can coexist happily.

Congratulations to the winners! You have successfully made others see green.


Suhardi Maulan

Associate professor Suhardi Maulan is immediate past president of the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM), a member of the editorial board of Alam Cipta: International Journal of Sustainable Tropical Design Research and Practice as well as dean of the Faculty of Design and Architecture at Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his PhD in environmental planning and design from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the US and teaches the history of landscape architecture and theory of design as well as quantitative data analysis. His research interests include people interaction with the built environment to support sustainable development, especially the visual quality assessment of green and urban spaces.


Desa ParkCity landscape planning and design has demonstrated excellent understanding of the existing landscape conditions and turned it into a vibrant and liveable city with landscape features and spaces at the centre of city life. Symbiosis between man and nature is truly celebrated in the planning and design of this township.

“Biophilic” is the main approach for Mangala Resort & Spa on the outskirts of Kuantan. Its success hinges on the landscape planning and design that demonstrate and understand how a landscape’s ecosystem can work well if all the components are taken care of. The healthy ecosystem helps enhance users’ experience and the economic well-being of the development.

The landscape of Mont’ Kiara Bayu has become the centre of community interaction and cohesion with its self-styled community garden, which not only produces food but also promotes low-carbon living by harvesting rainwater and employing organic materials.


The Edge Malaysia is also represented on the judging panels by City & Country editor E Jacqui Chan

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