Saturday, July 17, 2010

Johor Bahru Malaysia Update

Went over the causeway to pay Johor Bahru a visit today.  First I went to Pelangi Plaza.  It was a shopping very popular with Singaporeans for its close proximaty to Singapore.

The state of the mall is still good.  Shiny floors and well maintained building facilities.  However, 20-30% of the shops in mall are vacant.  There are no tenants.  The remaining tenants in the mall, ironically, are mostly Singapore-owned companies, such as Cold Storage Supermarket, Popular Book Store, Yun Nam, and some other Singapore brands.  Shopping crowd is still there, just the crowd is very small, very small, although still better than the crowd number I saw in the US malls.

Another shopping mall I visited is City Square.  It is a very very popular mall with Singaporeans, as it is just a stone's throw away from Johor Bahru's CIQ building.  The mall provides almost all the needs to a shopper.  From entertainment such as cinemas, to hang-out places such as Coffee Bean.  Let alone the fast food stores such as McDonald's.  City Square is legend, nobody would expect it would do badly, even with the opening of the new Johor Bahru CIQ building.  However, I again saw quite a number of shops are now vacant.  There are no tenants.  This mall still commands much better visitorship than Pelangi Plaza, but the deterioration is worrying. 

Then I moved to the streets near to the old Johor Bahru CIQ building, which had been demolished.  The stores are disappearing in clusters.  The neighbouring building to City Square - Merlin Tower, is like a ghost town, hardly anyone there. 

There have been reports on Malaysia economy, with positive tones, but obviously that positive development does not reflect in this part of the country.  I wonder as this part of the city is dying slowly, that must be another part of the city that should be slowly booming.  Which part is it?  I am very keen to find out.

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