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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Real Estate Scene in Singapore

In the course of my real estate career journey, I have seen the ugly and the beautiful sides of this industry in Singapore. Unfortunately, the ugly side takes most of the roles:

1) The unbelievable poor attitude of some realtors;

2) The wrong education imparted by some team leaders from various agencies to their down-lines;

3) Customers are culprits too. Yes.

4) Some solicitors with very little knowledge of conveyance procedures, try to prove their worth, push all the blames to the realtors, so as to get away with, because, the word 'solicitors' carries more weight than the word 'realtors' I supposed;

With all that, no wonder the stigma of 'cowboy industry' adheres to the industry, here in Singapore.

Agents with little or no knowledge of their prospects' requirements, often waste their time, their prospects' time and the co-broke agents' time, in the name of self-center.

Team managers imparting wrong education to their down-lines, is the birth of unethical agents.

Agencies and team managers who often grade themselves as the '1st' in the industry, cause the formation of goose bumps all over my body.This keeps appearing on the classified ads every single day with:

'The Number 1 Real Estate Agency'; or 'The Number One Team in ABC Agency'.

In Singapore, most property buyers prefer to deal with the number one real estate company and the number one agent. In my opinion, this is over-rated. Clients are misled, confused and overwhelmed by many number 1s out there.

Pages on the Singapore Classified Ads of The Straits Times will be a lot cleaner if the relevant department from the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice keeps a watchful eye on this.

Customers(Sellers/buyers) who do not respect the time of realtors and owners, often arrive late, without prior notice.No words of apologies when they have finally arrived at the scene, an hour later.

Customers' responsibility to pay GST to registered agencies, refuse to acknowledge the tax, openly ask the realtors to absorb that expense, which is rightfully the formers'.

The move by the Singapore government to regulate the industry, through the newly formed Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will certainly help to eliminate the obvious. Strict rules are set to fine and or jail unethical agents who try to perform pressure selling; dual representation - receiving commissions from both sellers and buyers.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) role is to protect the consumers, which, I fully agree. However, there is a need to protect the agents too. The unethical and unprofessional practices by solicitors and consumers must be looked into as well.It is not fair to smack rules that penalize all agents when there are agents who are lawful, ethical and honest, suffer from the strict rules being imposed by the Ministry of National Development (MND).

I guess, it is the beginning and the approaches will be fine tuned as the industry grows, but, don't take too long please. The industry was given the opportunity to self-regulate, it is a real pity that, the opportunity was taken too loosely, resulting the lost of 10 good years.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Agents: Is It a Good Career Change?

You might be considering a career change and looking at being an estate agent. Real estate agents are the people that you will hire to look for a property that can be bought and will help you sell your property as well. They earn money through commissions if they get to make a sale or make a successful deal between his client and a seller or buyer.

Men and women can be real estate agents and it doesn't really require a graduate or degree course. You can choose to make it your main job or a sideline job. Another good thing about being one is that you can work from home and work at your own time. Working at home is an advantage as you can easily connect through the Internet and find properties for your clients. Building a network and posting advertisements will be your bread and butter in being a successful agent.

In helping you decide whether a good career change is, let us discuss about it in work details, earnings, requirements and qualifications and future career options. The first is the work details. Being a estate agent, you will need to meet your client's face to face and talk to them clearly about what they are looking for. You should take note of the specifics like location of the property, size of the property, payment options and the budget. Once you find good candidates for their clients, they should be open to bringing them there and showing them around. They are also the one who can meet up with lawyers regarding the legalities of property transfers.

How much do real estate agents earn? They earn via commission and that is around 1%-3% of the selling price of the property. It also goes to say that the bigger the deal you are looking for, the bigger commission you will be getting. But if you are working for an agency, you will salary and a part of the commission if you make a sale. If you own a real estate agency with a couple of business partner, then surely, you will have a revenue sharing policy at ha

What are the requirements and qualifications to become a real estate agent? Well, there is really none. You don't have to have a formal degree as anyone can be an agent. Most often, when you get accepted in an agency, you will undergo a training period to equip you with the right tools to be able to sell properties. However, there are some exams that you can take to become a certified real estate broker, which can be helpful in getting more clients and earning more.

What other career options can you have? Well, you will always need to start small. Since you are just new to the real estate industry, applying to an agency can be a good stepping stone for you to learn the ropes. If you feel like you have gained enough experience, you can be a freelance real estate agent or make a small company of your own and get a team of real estate agents on board.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Buying a Property in Singapore: Things to Take Note Of

Buying a property in Singapore is one complex area that can be difficult to comprehend. Because of this, getting the help of real estate agents is advantageous especially when it comes to finding the right kind of house, apartment or condominium that will suit you and your family. Properties in Singapore are either sold through a leasehold tenure or a freehold tenure. A leasehold tenure means that the owner can hold the property in perpetuity while a leasehold tenure provides for a certain period of ownership, wherein the property gets returned to the State upon the tenure's expiration.

When it comes to foreign ownership, foreigners were allowed to own property in Singapore since 2005. Properties such as apartment units or condominium units were called strata titled properties and did not need the approval of the Singaporean government. However, buying a property in Singapore requires the approval from the Singapore Land Authority was needed if the property consisted of land such as bungalows and houses. When it comes to those covered by the Housing Development Board, foreigners are not Permanent Residents or are not corporate bodies cannot buy an executive condominium coming from the open market. Instead, they had to contact the developer.

When buying a property in Singapore, finding the right kind of property is part of the game. Seeking the help of professional real estate agents will be of good use because not only will they ensure proper documentation of everything but they already have a working knowledge about the Singaporean real estate market thereby making it easier for you to pick your choice. In choosing an agent, you can request the Institute of Estate Agents for recommendations. When buying a property in Singapore, it is also important to secure the assistance of a solicitor. Compared to the agent who does the leg work in looking for the right kind of property for you, the solicitor handles the legal issues as well as conducts a title check making sure that the ownership and title to the property is legitimate.

The process of buying a property in Singapore requires the solicitor who will lodge a caveat with the Singapore Land Registry in notifying the public that the buyer has interest over the property just to make sure that the property is not the subject of any adverse notice and the like. In connection with this, the solicitor can also check into the seller's reputation and credentials making sure that any renovation or alteration on the property was legally made and approved, and if not, request that it be corrected at this expense.

Buying a property in Singapore also requires that you narrow your choices down and schedule a viewing. After this, and you have already made your choice, you will be required to sign an Option to Purchase document that specifically calls for a 14-day period within which you will decide whether you will buy the property or not. There is not caveat still at this stage because you have not signified your intention to buy just yet. At this stage in buying a property in Singapore, you will have to have at least one percent of the purchase price available already. If the purchase pushes through, then you will have to exercise this option and send the document to the seller's solicitor. At this stage, at least nine percent of the purchase price should have already been paid.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Singapore Investment Property Information Best Understood by a Real Estate Agent

There are many individuals found in search for some reliable information based on real estate or properties for sale, rent or to put on lease. It is found not always to be an easy task to accomplish with concept relating to put a house on sale we lived for years together or to buy a new one and turn it as per our requirements into a home. This is because we all look for a profitable agreement out of the property or asset we possess.

To have an assurance on the deal we made on such factors can at times prove worth making only with the proper advices and suggestions from a real estate agent. The information and guidelines of these agents can help us find ourselves on the satisfactory side after agreements on selling or buying of a real estate is done successfully. The service of these experts on real estates is not that easy enough. Because they have to keep in mind to ensure the client get the most of out the percentage he or she holds in an agreement. Besides they also have to offer judgmental and authenticated decisions taking both the parties at par and maintaining a neutral viewpoint.

It is both challenging and also exciting to hunt for any property available for sale or to be kept for a rent. The conditions and also the perspectives vary with any local property of a buyer and also the investor based on the knowledge of the market related with real estate values. In Singapore investment property deals can be both profitable and also satisfactory. This is because Singapore is a city that is embedded with high quality recreational centers, skyscraper offices, shopping centers, schools, public amenities and also eateries. The residential apartment at W Singapore Sentosa Cove by prominent property developer, CDL is placed to be best Sentosa Cove condominium. CDL has laid down a complete new standard of living in Sentosa. With well furnished hotel, admirable retail outlets and private condominium, W Residences is a property with excellent seafront view. People can also look for the Tivoli Grande located at the Still Road which is a newly launched in District 15. There are a total of 82 freehold condos divided into two blocks to hold the privacy of a residential apartment. Interested buyers can go 2BHK and 3BHK penthouses even. Tivoli Grande is also very near to the East Coast Park.

There are 105 luxurious residential apartments in Starlight Suites located in River Valley of District 9. It is a 35 storey building with superb amenities, great layout and convenience. Such deals in Singapore investment property are always worth making as they are available at affordable prices. All these are well facilitated with both leisure and work for any individual. So to make a successful deal in a multi facilitated metropolitan city like Singapore, a real estate agent can provide worth countable suggestions to any client that approaches him.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Singapore Real Estate is Making Promises

It isn't that Singapore real estate is making verbal promises, but when you look at the numbers you cannot deny that the market is very promising for buyers. When looking at the figures as of 2006, we see that the private residential property price index showed a healthy 10.2% increase over its 3.9% increase from 2005. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of the figures, then let's take into consideration that property prices in Singapore are up 15.8% since 2004.

It's not a mystery as to why the Singapore real estate market is on the rise since the economy is more or less taking it with it. The economy showed a 7.9% gross domestic product growth in 2006 versus the 2005 growth rate of 6.4%. However, it isn't just the economic growth that is fueling the Singapore Real Estate market. It is also new policies within the housing market that were put into place in 2005. These new policies include:

The loan-to-value increased from 80% to 90%
Foreigners are more likely to be able to purchase apartments due to certain rules no longer being put in place (foreign purchase no longer has to meet the criteria of: the building must be over 6 stories high and must be a condominium).
The allowance of single people who are not related to jointly purchase properties via their Central Provident Fund (social security pension).
Cash down payments are down to 5% from the previous10% on home purchases.

Home ownership has become a significant goal of the Singapore government. Due to this commitment and cooperation with the Housing and Development Board, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Urban Redevelopment Board, and the Central Provident Fund, home ownership has increased to 92% from its previous 27% as recorded in 1970. This is a success story in itself since Singapore encountered a housing crisis not long after it acquired its independence, but now Singapore real estate is certainly making a statement.

Upon achieving economic stability, the demand for housing in Singapore has increased and the housing prices have increased as well. The higher price of property makes for a stronger Singapore real estate market and as long as these higher prices continue, so will the promises and high expectations of real estate within Singapore. Without a doubt the numbers speak for themselves and they most certainly cannot be overlooked.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Real Estate Scene in Singapore

In the course of my real estate career journey, I have seen the ugly and the beautiful sides of this industry in Singapore. Unfortunately, the ugly side takes most of the roles:

1) The unbelievable poor attitude of some realtors;

2) The wrong education imparted by some team leaders from various agencies to their down-lines;

3) Customers are culprits too. Yes.

4) Some solicitors with very little knowledge of conveyance procedures, try to prove their worth, push all the blames to the realtors, so as to get away with, because, the word 'solicitors' carries more weight than the word 'realtors' I supposed;

With all that, no wonder the stigma of 'cowboy industry' adheres to the industry, here in Singapore.

Agents with little or no knowledge of their prospects' requirements, often waste their time, their prospects' time and the co-broke agents' time, in the name of self-center.

Team managers imparting wrong education to their down-lines, is the birth of unethical agents.

Agencies and team managers who often grade themselves as the '1st' in the industry, cause the formation of goose bumps all over my body.This keeps appearing on the classified ads every single day with:

'The Number 1 Real Estate Agency'; or 'The Number One Team in ABC Agency'.

In Singapore, most property buyers prefer to deal with the number one real estate company and the number one agent. In my opinion, this is over-rated. Clients are misled, confused and overwhelmed by many number 1s out there.

Pages on the Singapore Classified Ads of The Straits Times will be a lot cleaner if the relevant department from the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice keeps a watchful eye on this.

Customers(Sellers/buyers) who do not respect the time of realtors and owners, often arrive late, without prior notice.No words of apologies when they have finally arrived at the scene, an hour later.

Customers' responsibility to pay GST to registered agencies, refuse to acknowledge the tax, openly ask the realtors to absorb that expense, which is rightfully the formers'.

The move by the Singapore government to regulate the industry, through the newly formed Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) will certainly help to eliminate the obvious. Strict rules are set to fine and or jail unethical agents who try to perform pressure selling; dual representation - receiving commissions from both sellers and buyers.

The Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) role is to protect the consumers, which, I fully agree. However, there is a need to protect the agents too. The unethical and unprofessional practices by solicitors and consumers must be looked into as well.It is not fair to smack rules that penalize all agents when there are agents who are lawful, ethical and honest, suffer from the strict rules being imposed by the Ministry of National Development (MND).

I guess, it is the beginning and the approaches will be fine tuned as the industry grows, but, don't take too long please. The industry was given the opportunity to self-regulate, it is a real pity that, the opportunity was taken too loosely, resulting the lost of 10 good years.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Malaysia Cup 2012 Schedule

2012 Malaysia Super League Preview

The new season of the Malaysia Super League promises to be one of the most exciting ever, with defending champions Kelantan looking a strong chance to retain their title.

However, it won't be all smooth-sailing for Peter Butler's men as Terengganu look set to pose a strong challenge to the Red Warriors, while Kedah could spring a surprise along the way.

At the other end of the table, Felda United, Sabah and Kuala Lumpur could be in for a long season, while the introduction of Singapore-based outfit LIONSXII will add an element of intrigue this year.

Ahead of the season kick-off, ESPNSTAR.com takes a look at how each side could fare over the next six months.

Kelantan (Champions in 2011)


The Red Warriors are generally regarded as favourites for this season's title and it's easy to see why when you take a quick glance at the players at Butler's disposal.

In Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Kelantan have the safest pair of hands in the country tending their goal, although he will have to do without the protection of the reliable Azizi Matt Rose, who picked up a ligament injury in the Charity Shield match against Negri Sembilan.

Up front, Malaysia international Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Lebanese import Muhammed Ghaddar will be expected to get the goals for Kelantan, but 18-year-old Ghanaian Dennis Antwi could just be Butler's wild card in attack, after scoring an impressive ten goals in pre-season.

Kelantan will also be bolstered by the signings of former national stars Indra Putra Mahyuddin and Mohd Nor Farhan Muhammad. While both are a shadow of their former selves, they are still capable of the odd moment of brilliance, and will add much depth to Butler's squad.

Nonetheless, the Red Warriors will have to be wary of complacency, especially as most teams will be gunning for them. And having claimed their first Super League title last season, the demanding Kelantan fans will be desperate for their side to repeat the feats of Kedah and Selangor in recent season and go back to back.

Terengganu (Runners-up in 2011)

Terengganu came closest to pipping Kelantan to the title, finishing just three points behind the eventual champions, and again this season, they look the most likely to challenge for top honours.

The Turtles were impressive on all fronts last year, winning the FA Cup and finishing runners-up in the Malaysia Cup as well, and the fans will be hoping they can go one step further this season under new coach Mat Zan Mat Aris, who led the club to their first Malaysia Cup title back in 2001.

Plenty has been made of Terengganu's foreign imports Erison da Silva Santos Carnietto and Francis Doe: the former a skillful and hardworking Brazilian playmaker, the latter a complete striker who has been capped by Liberia.

However, their main threat will once again come from Ashaari Shamsuddin and Abdul Hadi Yahya, who won the last two Golden Boot Awards respectively. In addition to these two, Terengganu also have Abdul Manaf Mamat to call upon, and with such firepower, it is hard to see the Turtles faring poorer than a top-two finish.

Selangor (3rd in 2011)

One of the most successful sides in the land with a record 32 Malaya/Malaysia Cup titles to their name, Selangor will be looking to set the record straight this season after a disappointing 2011 campaign, where they finished third in the Super League and were knocked out of both cup competitions at the semi-final stage.

The biggest change for the Red Giants in 2012 comes in the managerial hot seat, with former Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti taking over from K. Devan, who departed last September .

On the pitch, 30-year-old captain Amri Yahyah remains Selangor's biggest threat in attack, while Safiq Rahim will look to pull the strings from midfield.

Young star Asraruddin Putra Omar looks set to marshal the backline despite his relative youth, although he will be aided by the signing of Lebanon international Ramez Dayoub, who will add steel and experience at the back.

However, Irfan's wildcard could just be winger Amirul Hadi Zainal. Having now established himself as a bona-fide Malaysia international, the 25-year-old looks set for a big year ahead.

Kedah (4th in 2011)


2011 was a year to forget for Kedah as they ended the campaign empty-handed, finishing fourth in the Super League after a poor start to the season. However, coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan deserves plenty of credit after he took over in the middle of the campaign, and guided Hijau Kuning to a late climb up the table.

Still, an outburst after Kedah drew with Perak 1-1 in their final Malaysia Cup match last season saw Wan Jamak slapped with an eight-match ban by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), meaning he will have to watch the Canaries' start to the season from the sidelines.

On the field, Kedah's starting eleven this season looks set to have a samba feel, after the club signed Brazilian duo Danilo Vivaldo and Daniel Baroni. The former stands at 1.87m and has been praised for his defensive solidarity, while the latter is expected to provide a creative spark in the middle of the park, something Kedah lacked last year.

But the biggest coup the club managed to pull off in the off-season was to retain the services of inspirational midfielder Baddrol Bakhtiar, who reportedly received several lucrative offers from Indonesia following his tournament-winning exploits for Malaysia at the SEA Games. Having been rewarded for his loyalty by being handed the Kedah captaincy, Baddrol has already spoken of his desire to return the Canaries to the top of Malaysian football.

Perak (6th in 2011)

Plenty of questions were raised when then-Perak coach Azraai Khor Abdullah chose Shahrulnizam Mustapa to replace star player Nelson San Martin when the Chilean left to join Bangkok Glass in 2009. However, the 30-year-old has gone on to become a vital cog in the Perak midfield, and ahead of the new season, Seladang's fortunes will largely be dependent on how much of an impact Shahrulnizam makes.

While not many believe Perak have the quality to be considered genuine title contenders, coach Norizan Bakar's team is oozing with experience, meaning it will be foolish to completely rule them out. Goalkeeper Nasil Nourdin and midfielder K. Nanthakumar are both former Malaysia internationals, while 34-year-old left-back Chan Wing Hoong continues to turn back the years with his energetic bursts down the wing.

However, Perak struggled for goals last season, displaying an unhealthy reliance on former Malaysia golden boy Akmal Rizal Rakhli, who scored nineteen goals in 43 caps for the national team. Norizan seems to have identified his attack as a problem area, and has wisely brought in reinforcements to lighten to burden on Akmal's ageing shoulders.

Failee Ghazali has been brought in on a permanent basis after scoring five goals in seven games for Perak on loan last season, while towering Serb Lazar Popovic is tipped to bully opposition defenders into submission. Perak's lack of options in attack could also mean 20-year-old Shafiq Jamal could be given a fair opportunity to impress.

For now, a top-five finish seems a realistic target for Seladang. But should Norizan's veterans continue to turn back the years, you never know what could happen.

Johor FC (7th last season)

Now firmly established as a Super League club after earning promotion in 2001, Johor FC will be hoping 2012 is the year the club takes the next step in their development and start to challenge for top honours.

And no expense has been spared in this pursuit, with Johor FC increasing their budget to RM6million, enticing former Negri Sembilan and Selangor boss K. Devan to the club in the process.

Having been given a free rein, Devan has set out to create his perfect team, booting out half the players at his disposal when he took over, including influential midfielder Rezal Zambery Yahya, who has left for Malaysian Armed Forces.

The 50-year-old has brought in Khaironnisam Sahabudin Hussain and Shafizan Hashim to bolster the Bees' backline, and considering they had the joint-fifth best defence last season, expect Johor FC to be watertight at the back in 2012.

Devan also looks set to field a new-look attack after signing Farid Ideris, Haris Safuan Kamal and Zamri Chin, although his most interesting signing has been promising goalkeeper Mohd Zamir Selamat, who joined from Harimau Muda A and looks set to replace Mohd Anis Faron as Johor FC's number one.

There is no doubt Devan has set the wheels in motion, and if the Bees can find a bit of consistency and continuity, 2012 could just be the year we witness the birth of a new Malaysian superpower.

Negri Sembilan (8th last season)


Negri Sembilan caused one of the upsets of 2011 when they beat hot favourites Terengganu 2-1 in the final of the Malaysia Cup, but the club has since been hit by the departure of five key players, who have all given up playing in the country's top flight in favour of lucrative offers.

Mohd Aidil Zafuan, Mohd Zaquan Adha, Farizal Harun, Hairuddin Omar and Irwan Fadzli Idrus have all joined ambitious Premier League side Malaysian Armed Forces, while Ahmad Fakri Saarani and Ahmad Aminuddin Shaharudin have joined Super League rivals Felda United.

However, Negri coach Azraai Khor Abdullah is hardly perturbed by the plethora of departures, and has full confidence his young charges will be able to hold their own against the competition's top sides.

One player who has remained at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium is 32-year-old Shukor Adan, who will be expected to spur on his youthful team-mates, especially when the going gets tough. Although the burden on Shukor could be significantly relieved by new signings Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owana, who hit two goals in Sunday's 2-1 Charity Shield win over Kelantan.

The 28-year-old Cameroonian was a handful for the Kelantan defenders all evening, and don't be surprised if he is amongst the top scorers of 2012.

T-Team (9th last season)

2011 proved a milestone year for T-Team as the Terengganu-based outfit made it to the semi-finals of the Malaysia Cup in only their second appearance. However, they had a less enjoyable experience in the league winning just nine matches, all they did finish comfortably above the relegation zone.

And while the Young Turtles have lost star duo Indra Putra and Mohd Nor Farhan to Kelantan, coach Yunus Alif remains upbeat ahead of the new season, and is expecting plenty from new signing Fadzli Saari, who plied his trade in Germany for SV Wehen back in 2001.

The arrivals of foreign players Bojan Petric and Zachariah Simukonda has also been hailed as a major coup for Yunus' side. Petric, who stands at 1.90m, is expected to add plenty of height in the T-Team defence, while Zambian striker Simukonda impressed in a three-year spell with Perlis from 2005 to 2007.

T-Team will also be able to push forward regularly safe in the knowledge they have former Malaysia number one Syamsuri Mustafa in goal, although he is likely to have plenty to do with a weak defence in front of him. Still, the Young Turtles look like they have enough in them to stave off relegation this season.

Sabah (10th last season)


Sabah coach Justin Ganai has already admitted staying in the Super League will not be an easy task for his side, who battled hard to a 10th-placed finish last season. Already, many believe 2012 will be another year of struggles for the SabaHawks, but those within the club are quietly optimistic they have what it takes to retain their top-flight status for another season at least.

Sabah struggled to find the back of the net last season, scoring just 24 goals in 26 matches, and Ganai is hoping his new signings will help address this pressing issue.

Bobby Gonzalez earned his place in Sabah folklore after his goals fired them to promotion in 2010, and after an impressive year with Sarawak, where he scored sixteen goals in 21 appearances, the diminutive forward has returned and is expected to play a key role this season.

He will not have it all to do on his own though, with plenty expected from Australian-born Brendan Gan, whose father hails from Negri Sembilan. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder spent four seasons with A-League side Sydney FC, and his signing has captured the imagination of the locals, with Gan even revealing his intention to play for Malaysia.

Another Australian import, Michael Baird, has experience playing in Romania's top flight with Universitatea Craiova, and is expected to lead the line alongside Gonzalez. Should the SabaHawks attack manage to get amongst the goals, it could go a long way to ensure their bid to remain in the Super League is realised.

Felda United (11th last season)

It was a baptism of fire for Felda United last season as they struggled to come to terms with the big time in their first taste of the Super League, after winning promotion in 2010.

However, finishing 11th seems to have done little to lessen expectations at the club, with the Felda management targeting a top-five finish and a cup win this season.

Seventeen players from last year's squad have been axed, while the Settlers have snapped up Malaysia internationals Ahmad Fakri and Yong Kuong Yong from Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

Both will add some much-needed quality to the Felda attack, but their most interesting signing has been midfielder Hardi Jaafar, a dead-ball specialist renowned for his long-range specials. Hardi, who has 29 Malaysia caps to his name, joins from Selangor and will bring a wealth of experience in the middle of the park.

And it will be goalkeeper Hamsani Ahmad who will lead to new-look Settlers side out in their first game against Sabah on January 10, after the 35-year-old was named the new Felda captain.

A long season awaits the Kuala Lumpur-based side, one in which they will do well to preserve their top-flight status.

Kuala Lumpur (12th last season)

It seems not too long ago that Kuala Lumpur reigned supreme in Malaysia, winning three consecutive Malaysia Cups from 1987 to 1989, as well as two Super League titles in 1986 and 1988.

However, their recent financial struggles have cost the City Boys, who have been widely tipped as prime candidates for the drop this season.

Coach Razip Ismail is aware of the monumental task he has ahead of him, but is hoping the signing for former Malaysia U-23 star Stanley Bernard will inspire his team to success this year. The 25-year-old began his career with the City Boys and was even included in the Malaysia squad that played a high-profile friendly against English giants Manchester United in 2009.

However, his once-promising career has hit a standstill in recent years, and he failed to score a single goal last season for Sabah. Now back at the club he began his career at, Bernard will be hoping some strong displays for Kuala Lumpur this year will help revive his stagnant career.

Nonetheless, the City Boys have one of the weakest squads in the Super League on paper, and were not helped by the off-season departures of goalkeeping duo Norazlan Razali and Remezey Che Ros to Selangor and PKNS respectively, leaving a gaping gap between the posts which Zahid Ahmad, Rozaimie Rohim and Amirul Abu Seman will all battle to fill this year.

Midfielders Nazrin Nawi and Norismaidham Ismail have also left for greener pastures, choosing to join Malaysia Cup champions Negri Sembilan, meaning it the City Boys are to avoid the drop this year, a couple of youngsters are going to have to step up and make a name for themselves.

PKNS FC (Newly-promoted, Premier League champions last season)

Unlike most newly-promoted sides, PKNS FC have virtually no financial woes to worry about, with coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim given a reasonable budget to work with.

However, the Fire Ants soon found out their lack of history was a major factor in their inability to attract star players to move to the Petaling Jaya Stadium, with Abdul Rahman admitting most players were more keen on playing for the likes of Kelantan, Selangor and Terengganu.

Still, one player PKNS did managed to bring in was Frenchman Michael Nicoise, a 27-year-old with plenty of European experience. Abdul Rahman will be hoping the tricky striker will be able to forge a good understanding with former Selangor star Rudie Ramli.

At the back, Mohd Fadhil Hashim is looming as a key player for the Fire Ants, and his leadership in last season's promotion-winning campaign has not gone unnoticed, with the 28-year-old being handed the club captaincy.

However, with PKNS expected to field plenty of young faces, Fadhil, Rudie and Nicoise will be expected to shoulder much of the workload in 2012.

Sarawak (Newly-promoted, Premier League runners-up last season)

After a five-year absence, Sarawak are back amongst the big boys of Malaysian football, although coach Robert Alberts, in his second managerial stint at the club, has played down his young team's chances in the Super League.

And with his squad littered with youngsters and discarded veterans, Alberts will be hoping Cameroonian duo Guy Bwele and Kalle Sone play huge parts in the Crocs survival bid.

27-year-old Bwele is expected to add some much-needed experience in the backline, while 29-year-old Sone has been brought in to inject pace in a rather toothless Sarawak attack.

Local lad Benedict Martin returns to his home state after three years with Perak, and will be expected to provide a supply of chances for his strikers with his dead-ball skills, while the Crocs will heavily rely on Sani Anuar Kamsani to keep opposition strikers at bay.

Once regarded as one of the Malaysia's brightest goalkeeping prospects, the 28-year-old has failed to realise his full potential despite winning the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup with Negri Sembilan, with Alberts admitting Sani's experience could see him get the nod ahead of Aidil Mohammad and Saiful Amar Sudar.

LIONSXII (New entrant, replacing Harimau Muda A)


Seventeen years after Singapore abruptly withdrew from Malaysian football after winning the league and cup double in 1994, the city state will once again be represented in Malaysia's top flight after an agreement was reached between both countries' football associations.

But already there are plenty suggesting the LIONSXII are in for a big shock despite having a number of internationals to call upon, especially when they travel for away games and encounter the feral home crowds Malaysia is renowned for.

Singapore's former Malaysia Cup hero V. Sundramoorthy will manage a side littered with some of the country's best players, with captain Shahrik Ishak and combative midfielder Hariss Harun expected to play key roles for LIONSXII.

At the back, young star Safuwan Baharudin will be expected to cover for the error-prone Baihakki Khaizan, although Sundramoorthy will have to do without skillful left-back Shaiful Esah, who will miss the first month of the campaign after fracturing his left fibula.

Up front, former Singapore international Agu Casmir is expected the lead the line on his own, but should he miss through injury or suspension, it remains to be seen if youngsters Sufian Anuar and Khairul Nizam will be able to step up to the plate.

Source: www.espnstar.com

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