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BILATERAL TRADE BETWEEN MALAYSIA, CHINA TO EXCEED US$100 BILLION

In 2018, bilateral trade between Malaysia and China is expected to exceed US$100 billion (RM400 billion), thus surpassing 2017’s US$96 billion. In the initial 5-months of 2018, bilateral trade grew by 14.7% to US$42.7 billion compared with the corresponding period in 2017. Imports from China to Malaysia accounted for US$18 billion, whereas exports to China stood at US$25 billion.

(The Edge Financial, NST & The Star, 19/06/2018)


MALAYSIA’S INFLATION IN MAY 2018 INCREASES BY THE MOST IN 4 MONTHS, Y-O-Y

In May 2018, Malaysia’s consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.8% (fastest pace in a four month span) to 121.1 as transport prices recovered, compared with 119.0 in the corresponding month of 2017. Among major groups which recorded increases were: transport (+3.8%); food & non-alcoholic beverages (+2.2%); housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (+2.1%); restaurants and hotels (+2.1%); health (+1.9%); and furnishings, household equipment & routine household maintenance (+1.5%).

(The Edge Financial Daily, 20/06/2018 & The Sun, 21/06/2018)


HOUSING, LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTRY MOOTS LARGER HOMES FOR “POOR”

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) “National Community Policy” will be prospectively launched in August 2018 and may include proposals for larger homes for the impoverished. The proposal entails expansion of the People’s Housing Project (PPR) flats to a 900 sq. ft. minimum from the current 600 sq. ft. For effective materialisation, it was proposed that said provisions for bigger homes should be executed under the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025). The National Community Policy would act as a framework for resolving local community development issues, whereby the policy will initially be implemented in housing areas under the jurisdiction of KPKT, prior to it being extended to other agencies and sectors.

(The Edge Property, 16/06/2018 & NST, 17/06/2018)


BUILD-THEN-SELL CONCEPT IS BETTER

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) will streamline all housing projects to ensure that they adhere to a “build-then-sell” concept. This was to ensure that the contagion of abandoned housing projects will be thoroughly addressed and concurrently resolved. Loan processes from banks are to be additionally revised, whereby applicants with side income and income from spouses and siblings, should be accounted for by banks when considering loan applications. Applicants with incremental incomes over the years should be given greater consideration as this would qualify them for higher housing loans.

(NST, 18/06/2018)


PERAK TO BOOST INVESTMENTS IN HIGH TECH SECTOR

The Perak State Government will boost investments in the high technology industry to develop a highly skilled workforce and to correspondingly provide enhanced returns for investors and the state. In 2019, the state government is expected to attract investments worth RM9 billion.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 21/06/2018)


NEW TAX INCENTIVES MULLED

Malaysia may initiate new tax incentives for foreign investment in segments including technology and research & development, but only under the circumstance that companies guarantee to generate better-paying jobs for Malaysians. To attract investments, the Malaysian Government could extend tax breaks exceeding 10 years, which is the outer limit of tax incentives currently available. Historically, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority has allowed companies investing in Malaysia to claim income tax breaks for a period between 5 and 10 years.

(NST, 20/06/2018)


HOUSING POLICY REVIEW

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) is reviewing the national housing policy to ensure its suitability in the current Malaysian housing market environment. Among matters to be considered include the coordination of affordable housing policies, which should be placed under KPKT to facilitate better management. The policy review will involve collaboration between KPKT, the Finance Ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia and developers, in addition to attaining feedback from potential home buyers.

(The Sun, 22/06/2018)


DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM HANOI TO PENANG FROM JULY 1, 2018

On July 1, 2018, AirAsia will launch four weekly direct flights between Hanoi and Penang. This is in addition to the seven current weekly direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Penang, with an average passenger load of 80%. As a result, the Penang State Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee is optimistic of achieving an influx of Vietnamese tourists.

(The Star, 18/06/2018)


HSR ALTERNATIVE FOR ONLY RM20 BILLION

An alternative proposal of upgrading present infrastructure in order to produce a railway link to Singapore, will merely cost the government RM20 billion, which is much lower than the high speed rail (HSR) project that would cost between RM60 billion and RM70 billion. The proposal will also additionally save the government approximately RM500 million, as re-negotiations with Singapore would cease and plans, previously put in place by the authorities in the republic, will not be disrupted. The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) has been briefed on the alternative plan that utilises the existing double-track infrastructure of Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). The only predominant difference is the travelling time of 130 minutes, compared with 90 minutes via the HSR. However, consultants have ascertained that travelling time might be diminished with new trains which can travel at a higher speed without compromising on safety. This could be made possible if the government were to allow third parties to operate rail lines owned by KTM. Upgrading of existing railway tracks would mean no duplication of railway lines and involve no land acquisition, minimal disruption to the existing system and correspondingly complement the entire national railway network.

(The Star, 18/06/2018)


AIRASIA TO DOUBLE ITS KK – SINGAPORE FLIGHTS

From 1 August 2018, AirAsia Bhd will double the number of weekly flights between Kota Kinabalu and Singapore to 14 weekly flights. AirAsia currently connects eight domestic routes between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kota Bharu, Penang, Kuching, Miri, Sandakan and Tawau. Nine international routes are also available between Kota Kinabalu and Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Taipei, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Shenzhen and its latest direct route to Bangkok, which will commence on August 16, 2018.

(NST & The Star, 19/06/2018)


MORE FLIGHTS POSSIBLE FOR KL, SINGAPORE

The number of flights between Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Singapore could possibly be increased without a limit, as both countries are signatories to the Asean Multilateral Agreement on Air Services. The operation of additional flights would be dependent on demand and operational realities factored into by the respective airlines. Prior to an increase in flight frequency, factors to consider should include aircraft and crew availability and the procurement of airport slots at both the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Changi International Airport. Airlines also have the option of operating larger aircraft with larger seating capacities, rather than increasing overall frequencies of the route. For 12 months leading up to April 2018, 4.2 million passengers flew between KL and Singapore, with a load factor of 79.4%.

(The Sun, 20/06/2018)


GABUNGAN AQRS AWARDED RM60 MILLION PROJECT

Gabungan AQRS Bhd has been awarded a RM60.22 million sub-contract from Syarikat Muhibah Perniagaan dan Pembinaan Sdn Bhd (SMPP). The contract entails the execution and completion of sub-structures, a toll plaza building and motorcycle lane works for the Elevated Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Highway privatisation project and works will commence on June 25, 2018 and are scheduled for completion by February 24, 2020.

(The Financial Daily, 20/06/2018; The Sun & The Star, 21/06/2018)


SUNCON KEEN ON KVDT PHASE 2 DEAL

Sunway Construction Group Bhd (SunCon) is keen on bidding for Phase 2 of the Klang Valley Double Tracking (KVDT) project, which 2 entails a 110km railway track spanning from the Kuala Lumpur station to Klang, Salak South to Seremban and Simpang Port Klang to Port Klang.

(The Financial Daily & NST, 21/06/2018)


I-BERHAD, VISA INK INITIATIVE

With the “i-City” project in Selangor almost half way completed with 10 towers, I-Berhad, the developer of i-City, is currently embarking on the largest scale strategic smart city initiative in Malaysia. The developer has signed a strategic partnership with Visa Malaysia for the introduction of the Visa contactless payment system at car parks and top-up kiosks for theme parks. Electronic payments will also be introduced for the Central i-City shopping mall (opening in 4Q18), Double Tree by Hilton @ i-City (opening by 2020) in the RM10 billion 72 acre i-City.

(NST, 21/06/2018)


CREST BUILDER EYES JV WITH CHINA COMPANIES

Crest Builder Holdings Bhd (CBHB) is seeking to form joint ventures (JVs) with international companies (including China), with the aim to raise its tender book from the current RM2.2 billion to RM3 billion by the end of 2018. With approximately RM350 million of the sum billed, CBHB now has an order book of RM1.2 billion as of 1Q18, including approximately RM596.1 million worth of projects secured as of March 2018, including: the 44-storey Capri Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, two blocks of 40-storey residential apartments in Desa Park City (South Brooks) and a six-storey factory office in Petaling Jaya, with values of RM149.5 million, RM328.8 million and RM117.8 million respectively. On its property development business, 646 units of its medium-cost condominium project in Batu Tiga, Shah Alam, is scheduled to be completed in 3Q18. With a gross development value (GDV) of RM330 million, the project has recorded a 75% booking rate. Furthermore, with an approximate GDV of RM1.1 billion, the retail and small office flexible office suites at Dang Wangi, are scheduled to be launched by the end of 2018.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 21/06/2018)


TRX TO PROCEED WITH EXTRA RM2.8 BILLION FROM GOVERNMENT

The Malaysian Government has decided to proceed with the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), with an additional RM2.8 billion allocated for the project. This is to be executed despite the misappropriation of more than RM3 billion from TRX City Sdn Bhd (TRXC), via 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). The RM2.8 billion additional injection will bring total government funding to RM6.5 billion and will assist in recouping all misappropriated funds, repay all borrowings, recover all funding investments and opportunity costs and potentially achieve a minute surplus return. Completing the TRX will allow the full value of the project (at least RM7.6 billion) to be realised. The 70 acre TRX development is situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and was planned as a leading centre for international finance and business. The master plan includes a total of 26 buildings and a gross floor area of 21 million sq. ft., which covers office, residential, hotel, retail, food and beverage and cultural space.

(The Edge Property, 21/06/2018; The Edge Financial Daily, The Star, The Sun & NST, 22/06/2018)


SUNWAY GROUP SEES 10% REVENUE, PROFIT GROWTH IN FY18

Sunway Group expects a 10% growth in revenue and profit for the financial year ending December 31, 2018 (FY18), driven by improvements of most divisions. The group will persist with launching property projects, which includes a major “Sunway GEOLake” development, which is set to be unveiled at the end of June 2018. Moreover, the group has injected approximately RM1 billion to construct hospitals in Sunway Penang, Sunway Velocity and Sunway Ipoh over the next five years.

(The Edge Financial Daily & NST, 22/06/2018)


UEM SUNRISE TO EXPAND RENT-TO-OWN SCHEME

UEM Sunrise Bhd plans to expand its rent-to-own (RTO) scheme to ease the burden of first-time house buyers. The scheme will also assist in mitigating empty and untenanted projects, which may result in unnecessary maintenance costs. In August 2017, the developer launched its own “EASY Own Plan” RTO scheme and recently collaborated with Malayan Bank Bhd’s (Maybank) HouzKey RTO scheme. UEM Sunrise offers two key projects under its RTO scheme (Verdi Eco-dominiums in Symphony Hills, Cyberjaya, and Residensi Ledang in East Ledang, Iskandar Puteri), both of which were completed in 2016.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 18/06/2018)


JIANKUN CONFIDENT OF TURNAROUND IN 2018

Jiankun International Bhd is optimistic of its profitability in the financial year ending December 31, 2018 (FY18), after failing to meet its target last year. In 2018, most of Jiankun’s expenses will be significantly reduced, with revenue being supplemented by two of its property projects: “Bayu Heights 2” at Seri Kembangan and “Amani Residences” at Bandar Puteri Puchong. With vacant possession expected to be provided in 2018, “Bayu Heights 2” offers 84 three-storey terraced houses, which are currently sold-out. Scheduled for completion in 2020, “Amani Residences” is a high rise serviced apartment project which is currently under construction (20% completed) and has garnered sales “in excess of 70%”.

(The Sun, 20/06/2018)


CHAMBERS KUALA LUMPUR “60% BOOKED” WITHIN THREE MONTHS

Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd’s maiden project in Kuala Lumpur, “Chambers Kuala Lumpur”, has achieved a “60% booking rate” within three months of the project’s soft launch in February 2018. Scheduled for completion in 2022, the 33-storey “Chambers Kuala Lumpur” serviced apartment, situated on Jalan Ipoh Kecil, has a gross development value of RM311 million. With an average price of RM900 per sq. ft., 70% of its 509 residential units are studio units with built-up sizes ranging between 600 sq. ft. and 700 sq. ft., and the remainder are 2-bedroom units with built-up sizes ranging between 800 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft.

(The Edge Property, 21/06/2018)


ALIBABA GROUP OPENS FIRST SOUTH EAST ASIA OFFICE

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the world’s leading e-commerce company based in China, has opened its first Southeast Asian office in Kuala Lumpur, as part of the company’s strong commitment to boost the local and regional digital economy. The office additionally marks a new phase of Alibaba’s strategic partnership with Malaysia and the development of its first Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) facility outside China. The office will serve as a local “digital economy” training centre and help to enhance the business ventures of young entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

(NST & The Star, 19/06/2018)


GOVERNMENT MAY TAKE OVER OWNERSHIP OF SKYSCRAPER AT TRX

The Government may gain complete ownership of the Exchange 106 tower in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) development if Indonesia’s, Mulia Group, fails to fulfil its obligations under a compensation agreement. Currently, the construction of the tower (formerly known as the Signature Tower) is 90% complete, whereas “Phase 1 of the TRX is 80% complete”. The Exchange 106 tower, which is set to become Malaysia’s tallest skyscraper upon completion, is currently being developed by the Finance Ministry’s unit, MKD Signature Sdn Bhd, and Mulia Group. MKD Signature owns 51% of the joint-venture entity, while Mulia Property Development of the Mulia Group holds the remaining 49%. The 492 metre tall project is slated for completion by the end of 2018.

(StarProperty, 22//06/2018)


SECTOR SHOWS POSITIVE GROWTH

Since the beginning of June 2018, the Malaysian retail sector has exhibited positive growth subsequent to the implementation of the “zero rate” goods and services tax (GST). Though the GST impact varies by industry, the current retail sector environment has improved as more traders are operating in supermarkets. Certain policies implemented by the government are functioning well and have resulted in a positive way by stimulating the local retail sector.

(NST, 19/06/2018)


FOODPANDA RECORDS 100% GROWTH

In 2017, express food delivery service provider, Foodpanda Malaysia, recorded a 100% growth in orders as per its key performance index. Foodpanda has approximately 1,500 partner restaurants across the Klang Valley, Johor Baru and Penang, which are serviced by 1,800 freelance riders. The company is seeking more partners comprising a mix of major food and beverage (F&B) brands that have an established customer base, reach and presence. Currently, the company is established in the Klang Valley, Johor and Penang, and is looking to launch in Ipoh, Perak and, Melaka and Kota Kinabalu in Borneo by late 2018.

(NST, 19/06/2018)


AEON CREDIT TO DOUBLE CAPEX TO RM120 MILLION

Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd is doubling its capital expenditures (capex) allocation from RM60 million in financial year 2017 (FY17) that ended on February 28, 2018, to RM120 million in FY18. The additional allocation will be channelled towards several uses including approximately 66 branch transformations, upgrading web applications and self-service terminals. The company is set to launch two digital products in 2018, which are the AEON Wallet and Aeon Member Plus Card. With the former, the company will first target its six million existing members across its group of companies, including AEON BiG and AEON department stores.

(The Edge Financial Daily, The Sun & NST, 22//06/2018)


KLCC HOLDINGS TO PROCEED WITH PROJECTS, BUT MINDFUL OF “COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MARKET REALITY”

KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd will proceed with its property projects as planned, but with awareness towards the current soft market sentiment within the commercial property sector. In April 2018, KLCC’s parent company, KLCCP Stapled Group (KLCCP), signed a joint venture with a third party to develop its first transport oriented development. The mixed development comprises retail, office space and hotel and functions as an expansionary programme for Suria KLCC, as the group will build a bridge linking Bukit Bintang to KLCC, which is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

(The Edge Property, 21/06/2018; The Edge Financial Daily & The Star, 22/06/2018)


JAG PLANS PRIVATE PLACEMENT TO FINANCE ARCA PROJECT

JAG Bhd is looking to raise up to RM14.41 million from a proposed private placement, for working capital purposes to fund the development of its “Arca” project. With a gross development value of RM220.09 million, the mixed development located in Klang comprises serviced apartments, shop offices and an office tower.

(The Sun, 22/06/2018)


MALAYSIA TO ENSURE STABLE ENVIRONMENT

Malaysia will remain committed to fair trade, freedom of information and the rule of law (with mutual benefits), which includes respecting intellectual property rights which form part of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). The Malaysian Government will enhance existing International Integrated Logistics Services (IILS) to cater for digital trade facilitation. The Digital IILS status will allow relevant internet-based entities to provide door-to-door logistics services in Malaysia, thereby creating an integrated online-to-offline regulatory framework to encourage e-commerce.

(NST, 19/06/2018)


A DUTY-FREE PANGKOR WILL “BOOST THE ECONOMY”

Under the circumstance that Pulau Pangkor is declared a duty-free island, local economic growth will be boosted, thereby spurring the development of the resort island which has a population of 25,000 people. Pangkor’s residents are hopeful of the island being given duty-free island status by the Malaysian Government, thereby redefining the tourism sector and socio-economic activities that are almost on par with Pulau Langkawi (an established duty-free island).

(NST, 18//06/2018)


NATION’S LONGEST GLASS-BOTTOM BRIDGE TO BE BUILT IN LANGKAWI

Crocodile Adventureland Langkawi, developed by Taman Buaya Langkawi Sdn Bhd, plans to build a glass-bottom bridge set to be the first of its kind in Malaysia. Proposed to be approximately 300m long, the bridge would span across a large pond filled with gigantic crocodiles at the park in Jalan Datai. Construction of the bridge is expected to conclude by 2H19.

(NST, 18//06/2018)


PULAU SEMBILAN NEAR PERAK TO RE-OPEN BY THE END OF 2018

Pulau Sembilan, a group of islands off the coast of Bagan Datuk, Perak, is scheduled to re-open for tourism by the end of 2018. Since April 2017, the islands were closed to visitors as they underwent restoration works, due to artificial structures which endangered its marine flora and fauna, including its main attraction, the rare phytoplankton that emits a blue glow. To further ensure that its wildlife continues to thrive, the Perak State Government will be strict in imposing protective measures such as limiting the number of visitors to the island and banning the construction of holiday chalets.

(The Edge Property, 18//06/2018)


HOTEL INDUSTRY FACES SUPPLY GLUT

The Malaysian hotel industry is facing a tight squeeze for corporate business, as event planners are more price-savvy due to the abundance of available choices and not due to fluctuations in the ringgit. Numerous hotels which are opening within local cities are all offering numerous options at varying price points, thereby amplifying the extent of competitiveness in the local hotel market.

(NST, 20/06/2018)


NEW HOSPITAL FOR TANJUNG KARANG

Tanjung Karang in Kuala Selangor will have a new hospital by November 2020, which is expected to benefit more than 20,000 surrounding residents. Piling works have commenced for the hospital, situated on a 39.8 acre site, which is in close proximity to the existing hospital that was built in 1966. The 150 bed ‘specialist hospital’ will have specialists including: emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopaedics, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology.

(NST, 17/06/2018)


PRG IN TALKS TO EXTEND DEADLINE FOR ROOPI DEAL

PRG Holdings Bhd is in talks with Roopi Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (RMC) and Linecom Corp Sdn Bhd, for an extension of time for the proposed acquisition of RMC and the two properties currently utilised by RMC. This occurred as conditions under the agreements were not fulfilled within the stipulated deadline of June 19, 2018.

(The Sun, 20//06/2018)


HERITAGE TRAIL BACK ON TRACK

The RM26 million Heritage Trail 5 (HT5) beautification project at Bulatan Dato Onn in Kuala Lumpur, has now resumed. The Federal Government appointed a new contractor and the project restarted on March 27, 2018, with scheduled completion by the end of 2018. The project is divided into two phases with two separate contractors; Phase 1 is valued at approximately RM10 million, whereas the government is seeking another contractor for Phase 2. HT5, known as “Jejak Pahlawan” or “Warriors Trail”, which will be a 2km stretch connecting the River of Life Precinct (Parcel 7) and Precinct Taman Tasik, which passes through Precinct Sivik at Jalan Tangsi and Precinct Taman Tasik at Tugu Negara.

(The Star, 21//06/2018)


ECRL POSER CLOUDS CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD AMBITIONS

China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could encounter another setback if the Malaysian government decides “to stop” the 688km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). However, it is unlikely that the project will be completely stopped, as 20% progress has been made on the railway’s first phase, which stretches 600km from Gombak to Kota Baru. The main contractor, China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), has not ceased works on the ECRL (more than 14% completed) and are currently proceeding “very cautiously”. Market talk is rife with speculation, including the possibility of building a single track on a double-track formation (to reduce the implementation to just one phase), or shortening it to connect with Kuantan Port City. No official decision has been announced as the new Malaysian government is currently reviewing the ECRL’s contracts, particularly in terms of its financing.

(The Edge Financial & The Sun, 18/06/2018)


BANK NEGARA STATES THAT “BANKS CAN DETERMINE INCOME SOURCES”

Banks have considerable flexibility in determining income sources and the appropriate debt-to-income level or debt service ratio (DSR) that borrowers can reasonably sustain. The DSR adopted by financial institutions accounted for financial circumstances of the borrower based on several factors, including: a borrower’s income, existing debt repayment, obligations a borrower is already committed to, and reasonable buffers to meet essential and emergency expenditures.

(NST, 20//06/2018)


“EBAY GO GLOBAL”, DRAWS OVER 3,500 FIRMS

Global e-commerce platform, eBay, launched its “Go Global with eBay” initiative almost a year ago and has managed to attract more than 3,500 Malaysian businesses. eBay was focused on offering localised seller support to catalyse the growth of cross-border trade in the country. Efforts in Malaysia are being localised across Asean, with a strong focus on Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Sellers eligible for the initiative could manage their goods more efficiently via access to overseas warehouses and by collaborating with carriers and third-party providers via eBay. The focus on increasing sales growth in Malaysia is to enable local entrepreneurs to go global and to correspondingly leverage on the top three export destinations (the United States, Australia and the UK) for business expansion and to contribute to Malaysia’s sales growth.

(NST & The Sun, 18/06/2018)


ONLINE HIRING RISES IN 1Q18 DUE TO DEMAND FOR TECH TALENTS

Demand for tech talents continues to rise in Malaysia, prompting an uptrend in online hiring activity in 1Q18. The Southeast Asia Online Recruitment Trends Report exhibited that online recruitment growth in Malaysia registered an 11% annual growth in February 2018, but declined 11% in March 2018. In 1Q18, the oil and gas (O&G) sector achieved the steepest annual growth compared with all other sectors in March 2018. The Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector was off to a poor start with overall online hiring activity declining 4% in 1Q18. The Malaysian economy remained resilient in 4Q17, driven predominantly by private sector demand, steady growth in Malaysia’s job market and continued business confidence in the technology, logistics and O&G sectors.

(NST, 19/06/2018)


SALES UP 20% DURING “TAX HOLIDAY”

Since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate was set to zero at the beginning of June 2018, businesses have reported an increase in sales as consumers benefit from a “tax holiday”. In the long term, general costs of goods are expected to decline by more than 6%, as the Goods and Services Tax had affected different stages of the supply chain. The Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association’s 20,000 approximate members in Malaysia recorded between a 10% and 20% increase in patronage. Members of the Malaysian Automotive Association received numerous bookings and delivery requests for car purchases prior to the implementation of SST (Sales and Service Tax). However, the zero-rated GST has a relatively minor impact on other industries as the Sundry Goods Merchants Association said that members selling sundry goods / daily necessities had relatively stable sales either with or without GST.

(The Star, 19/06/2018)


HBA: ALLOW EPF TO OFFER HOME LOANS TO MEMBERS

The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is urging the government to allow the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to extend financing for home purchases by eligible members, particularly for affordable homes. The preliminary concept would be for EPF to disburse 15 to 20-year loans to a member, who has been contributing for at least five years and, earning below RM5,000. To prevent abuse, the homes will be subjected to a 10-year lock-in period. Simultaneously, the EPF may acquire insurance with endowment policies like MRTA [mortgage reducing term assurance] or MLTA [mortgage level term assurance], to ensure that members have residual funds for contingencies.

The MRTA protects banks if borrowers fail to service their loans, whereas the MLTA protects the borrower’s dependents if they are unable to repay the loan due to unforeseen injuries or death. Insurance premiums should be paid via EPF contributions so that bonuses from the insurance endowment plans can be accumulated in the member’s account. The borrower can pay a monthly instalment to be compensated back to the fund, which is similar to a regular bank loan.

(The Edge Property, 19/06/2018)


MALAYSIA FALLS THREE SPOTS IN “WORLD DIGITAL COMPETITIVENESS”

Malaysia has fallen three spots to 27th in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2018, which is its lowest overall rating in five years. Results depicted that several countries (Austria, Malaysia and Russia) are experiencing an “adaptive imbalance” or a mismatch between high levels of training and education, and the attitudes towards embracing digitalisation. The overall ranking was based on factors such as knowledge, technology and future readiness. Malaysia maintained its “knowledge” ranking at 17th place, but fell four places to 22nd for “technology” and two places to 29th for “readiness towards digital transformation”.

(The Sun, 20//06/2018)


Y&G ABORTS PLAN TO ACQUIRE RM31 MILLION LAND IN PONTIAN

Y&G Corp Bhd has withdrawn its plans to acquire two adjacent parcels of freehold land totalling 57.8 acres in Pontian, Johor, for RM30.96 million. This is subsequent to the expiry of the last extended conditional period on May 26, 2018, whereby the conditions precedent in the sale and purchase agreement (SPA) were not complied with. Upon termination, the vendors are expected to refund Y&G a RM3.1 million deposit within 14 days. On August 25, 2015, Y&G had entered into two SPAs with the vendors for the proposed land acquisition, as part of the group’s objective of concentrating on its core businesses of property development, by further expanding its land bank size.

(The Edge Financial & The Sun, 19/06/2018)


JOHOR’S SECOND LINK ENTRY POINT TO BE UPGRADED TO REDUCE CONGESTION

Structures at the Sultan Abu Bakar Complex at the Second Link entry point in Johor will be redesigned and upgraded to reduce congestion. The Second Link, which was built as an alternative entry point from Singapore into Malaysia, has experienced an increasing number of users during the last decade. Aside from the planned upgrade, more traffic police will be assigned to monitor and manage traffic at the complex, particularly during peak hours.

(The Edge Property, 19/06/2018)


LAND PRICE DISPUTES LIKELY TO DELAY RTS

The Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) may take additional time for completion due to negotiations on the land price dispute in the Kim Teng Park housing estate land acquisition. Scheduled to be completed in 2024, the 4km cross border railway will connect the Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru, to Woodlands North in Singapore.

(The Sun & The Star, 20/06/2018)


KIMLUN AWARDED RM53 MILLION CONSTRUCTION JOB

Kimlun Corp Bhd has been awarded a RM53.48 million contract from Nusajaya Rise Sdn Bhd, to undertake earthworks, road and drainage and other ancillary site works for the Gerbang Nusajaya development in Tanjung Kupang and Pulai, Johor. Construction works are scheduled for completion by the end of April 2019.

(The Financial Daily, 21/06/2018)


FERRY SERVICE TO SINGAPORE

Several companies have approached the Johor State Government to set up a ferry service across the Tebrau Straits, in efforts to boost connectivity with Singapore. Ferry services and water taxies are among the new modes of sea connectivity being planned, whereby the Pasir Gudang and Changi ferry jetties are the proposed locations for the ferry service to operate between.

(The Sun, 22/06/2018)


ECO TROPICS OFFERS ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY LIVING

In 2013, Eco World Development Sdn Bhd commenced development of the 1,000 acre “Eco Tropics” in Masai, Pasir Gudang, and are now constructing a 500m road to connect the development with the Pasir Gudang Port. The construction is approximately 50% completed and is expected it to be entirely developed by the end of 2018. Over the last 5 years, Eco World had developed approximately 30% of the land, whereby Phase 1 comprises 800 Greensgate double-storey terraced houses. Phase 2 will comprise bungalow lots and garden homes, which is scheduled to be launched in 2019. There will additionally be two public parks in “Eco Tropics”, which are “West Lake Gardens” and “East Lake Gardens”. With a total gross development value of approximately RM5 billion, “Eco Tropics” will be fully developed within eight years.

(NST, 21/06/2018)


LEAP-LISTED JM UPBEAT ABOUT A BETTER FY18 WITH JOHOR EXPANSION

Educational counselling player, JM Education Group Bhd, is targeting a better top and bottom line for the financial year ending December 31, 2018 (FY18), due to a growing number of students recruited for counselling and local placement. By 2H18, the group is planning to open its 10th branch office in Iskandar EduCity in Iskandar Puteri and a tentative second Johor branch in Batu Pahat.

(The Edge Financial, 18/06/2018)


PENANG CM HOPES LRT PROJECT IS IMPLEMENTED WITHIN 5 YEARS

The Penang Chief Minister is aiming for the light rail transit (LRT) project under the Penang Transport Master Plan to commence within five years. In the past three years, the Penang State Government focused on conducting studies on the LRT project as part of the precedents set by the Land Public Transport Commission or the Town and Country Planning Department. The Penang State Government expects the entire project to be completed over a six to eight year period.

(The Edge Property, 19/06/2018)


PENANG MAINTAINS PRICES OF AFFORDABLE AND LOW-COST HOMES

The Penang government will maintain its ceiling on low-cost, low-medium-cost (LMC) and affordable housing. The price caps introduced in the state’s 2014 budget, currently stand at RM42,000 for low-cost homes and RM72,500 for LMC units. Affordable homes on the island are priced up to RM400,000, whereas units on the mainland go for a maximum of RM250,000.

(The Edge Property, 20/06/2018)


PENANG PR1MA STARTS AFTER A 3-YEAR DELAY

After a three year delay, Penang’s first 1Malaysia Peoples’ Home (PR1MA) project will commence construction by the end of 2018. Two blocks comprising 38 storeys and 31 storeys, will be constructed on an 8 acre land in Kampung Kastam, Jalan Bukit Gambir, with a total of 1,162 units. The 38-storey block falls within the affordable housing category (905 allocated units), with an 850 sq. ft. configuration per unit to be sold at RM300,000. The 31-storey block falls within the low-medium cost housing category (257 allocated units), with a 650 sq. ft. configuration per unit to be sold at RM72,500. The project will be implemented by Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd and is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

(The Edge Property, 20/06/2018 & NST, 21/06/2018)


CONSERVATION PLAN INCLUDES RESTORING ESPLANADE SEAWALL

The wall fronting the Esplanade in Penang will be restored shortly, as studies have revealed evident erosion beneath. The upgrade forms the second phase of an overall North Seafront project that includes the whole Esplanade area, which stretches from Medan Renong, up to the clock tower. Costing approximately RM15 million, rebuilding works spanning approximately 500m of the seawall along the Esplanade, will commence in 3Q18.

(The Edge Property, 20/06/2018)


RM1 BILLION BOOST FOR SABAH’S EAST COAST

Hap Seng Group has expressed an intention to invest RM1 billion to boost the development of various economic sectors in Sabah’s east coast, which spans from Lahad Datu to Tawau. The Sabah State Government will ensure that Hap Seng attains guidelines on sectors appropriate for them to invest in, which will not just be for the east coast, but also extend to other areas including Sipitang and Papar.

(NST, 19/06/2018)


 

HAP SENG TO SELL TWO PLOTS OF LAND FOR RM90 MILLION

Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd is disposing of two leasehold parcels of land totalling 59.24 acres in Tawau, Sabah, to Goldcoin Ventures Sdn Bhd, for RM90.13 million. This is in line with the group’s strategy of disposing of parcels of land located in non-strategic locations without immediate development potential.

(The Star, 21/06/2018)


CMS GETS ONE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR ROAD UPKEEP

Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) has obtained a one-year contract extension from the Sarawak government, with an estimated contract sum of RM180 million for purposes of upkeeping state roads. The extension period will commence from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019 as the Sarawak government extended the contract for six months to June 30, 2018. 

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 19/06/2018)


CONTRACTS FOR SARAWAK’S RM5 BILLION HIGHWAY PROJECT WILL BE VIA OPEN TENDER

The construction of a RM5 billion coastal highway project in Sarawak will be awarded via open tender. Scheduled for completion in 10 years, the 900km highway will connect Sematan in the south, to Miri in the north.

(The Edge Property, 20/06/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton