In this article

[This is a sponsored article with Scientex Berhad.]

The home-buying landscape has become a complex and seemingly unattainable financial challenge for many middle-income Malaysians. 

Traditionally, our parents aimed for a spacious, double-storey abode with ample parking and a serene balcony.

Today, buying a landed home in the sub-RM500,000 range is seemingly impossible, especially for those dreaming of dwelling in lively urban areas like Klang Valley, Penang, and Johor.

The focus is on vertical living, with compact apartments under 800 square feet, promising three small bedrooms, and the appearance of sophisticated living through the building’s shared facilities.

Buyers of high-rise properties face costly monthly expenses, ranging from hundreds to thousands of Ringgit in steep maintenance fees and mortgages. 

This shift poses a need for more affordable housing choices.

One local player that aims to make double-storey landed homes attainable to Malaysians is Scientex Berhad (Scientex).

Starting from just a single township in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Scientex today has a presence in 30 townships across Malaysia with more to come in neighbouring countries.

From plastics to property

In 1968, Scientex began as a plastics manufacturer for industrial and consumer packaging.

At the plastics manufacturing hub / Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

The company was listed on Bursa Malaysia in 1990, and ventured into property development in 1993.

When the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis hit, the value of the Ringgit plummeted amidst inflation. Home buyers were finding difficulties in acquiring property that matched their affordability. 

Scientex provided a solution by offering compact and affordable landed homes.

Some of the company’s property developments / Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

For context, Scientex defines affordable homes as properties priced below RM500,000. That’s according to Datuk Alex Khaw, Chief Operating Officer at Scientex’s Property Division in an article published by The Edge.

The properties Scientex develops also provide homebuyers with freehold double or triple-storey terrace homes, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and enough space to park up to two cars.

“Owning a house with decent space to grow your family should be the basic necessity for any Malaysian,” said Datuk Alex in an interview with Vulcan Post. 

And these Malaysians are the exact customers taking up Scientex developments.

“The majority of our buyers are 30 years old and above, with a monthly household income of RM3,000 to RM8,000,” he observed, adding that most buyers purchase these properties to live in.

Balancing quality and affordability

Inflation of housing prices is inevitable and has been rising year-on-year. So, how does Scientex ensure it can keep up with its affordable quality housing value proposition?

“Our new land acquisition strategy is focused on suburban or up-and-coming regions. This is where we can still source for sizeable land at a reasonable price,” Datuk Alex told Vulcan Post. 

Such examples of up-and-coming regions include Scientex’s developments in certain townships within Selangor’s Jenjarom, Perak’s Ipoh, and Penang’s Tasek Gelugor.

All the terrace homes sold are built on freehold land / Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

Furthermore, he shared that Scientex balances affordability with quality by keeping their property offerings simple and replicable.

“Our typical products are fundamentally built on two or three-storey terrace homes. When similar products are built in huge volumes, cost efficiency and product quality will be achieved over time,” shared Datuk Alex.

As of 2023, Scientex’s property division has delivered roughly 33,000 units of homes priced below RM500,000 nationwide.

Scientex aims to launch over 2,000 units of homes in its FY2024, and 8,800 units in 2025.

Scientex’s team also shared that the company is well on target to achieve its aim of completing 50,000 units of affordable homes by 2028. 

Onwards and upward

The Scientex team / Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

Over the last two decades, Scientex’s property division has been expanding its footprint northward. From Johor and Melaka, to Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Penang, and Kedah, the company will continuously strive to provide Malaysians with access to affordable homes.

This strategy to provide housing to middle-to-lower-income families has displayed the company’s valuation strategy in its sustainability goals.

Left: Scientex winning the Best Developer Housing Policy and Compliance Award / Right: Scientex at The Edge’s ESG Awards / Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

Doing so also aligns with the government’s National Housing Policy to increase the accessibility of home ownership.

Scientex now aims to continue its track record by expanding to other Southeast Asian markets. To date, the company has broken ground in Bangkok, Thailand in 2022, with Jakarta, Indonesia following shortly after in 2023.

In terms of Scientex’s plans to expand in other markets, Datuk Alex shared that they will be determined after considering the company’s overall vision and business goals.

At the same time, the company is striving to take steps to further ingrain sustainability considerations within its processes and frameworks. 

Image Credit: Scientex Berhad

As a producer of plastic packaging and developer of homes, it’s strategic for Scientex to stay cognisant of the waste that their business activities and operations may generate. 

This can help the firm future-proof their business as companies small and large around the world turn towards being ESG-focused.

  • Learn more about Scientex Berhad here.
  • Read about other Malaysian startup stories here.

Featured Image Credit: Datuk Alex Khaw, Chief Operating Officer at Scientex’s Property Division

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)