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TOTAL TRADE ROSE 4.2% IN JANUARY TO MAY 2018

Malaysia’s total trade rose 4.2% from January to May 2018 to RM753.46 billion compared with the same period in 2017, due to improved trade with key markets such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, the European Union (EU), Japan and Saudi Arabia. Exports also continued to outpace imports for five consecutive months since January 2018. Exports remained above the RM80 billion mark in May 2018, totalling RM82.11 billion or a 3.4% growth compared with May 2017 and imports rose by 0.1% to RM73.99 billion. The trade surplus was recorded at RM8.12 billion, an expansion of 47.1% from May 2017 and marked the 247th consecutive month of surplus since November 1997.

(NST, The Edge Financial, The Star & The Sun, 06/07/2018)


PRIORITY FOR SOME PROJECTS

The Malaysian Rural Development Ministry (KPLB) will only be prioritising rural projects which will “positively impact the lives of Malaysians”. Contingent on the country’s current financial situation, the ministry will review some of the projects that have been deferred and implement projects which are “truly beneficial to a wider Malaysia only”.

(The Sun, 02/07/2018)


11TH MP REVIEW TO FOCUS ON FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

Scheduled for October 18, 2018, the 11th Malaysia Plan’s (11MP) midterm review will focus on sustaining the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. The Malaysian Government is optimistic of attracting added investments as attributed by Malaysia’s robust economic growth. Issues and development challenges will be identified, whereby steps in mitigating said issues will be correspondingly proposed. Progressive social economic policies will be also introduced to complement institutional reforms. The review will address the disparity of growth across states, gaps between income groups, the high youth unemployment rate and rising costs of living.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun & NST, 03/07/2018)


FIRST COMMUNITY POLICY DRAFT READY BY AUGUST 2018

The Malaysian Government is expected to finalise the first draft of the national community policy by the end of August 2018, as the country intends on shaping its community amid rapid urbanisation. The policies will outline guidelines, action plans and the list of programmes that are due for implementation, which are relevant to the department and agencies. Several sessions will be available for the public to join the policy planning, as this is part of the government’s aspiration to pledge their commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). The NUA is a framework that provides efforts pertaining to urbanisation and development, which includes local fiscal systems, urban planning, and basic services and infrastructure, whereas the SDGs are expected to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The United Nations (UN) Human Settlements Programme has projected that Malaysia will have an urbanisation rate of 85% by 2040, when its population is expected to hit 41.5 million.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 04/07/2018)


THREE MEGA PROJECTS WORTH RM92.1 BILLION “SUSPENDED”

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued “suspension orders” for all contracts related to three projects, namely the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP), worth a total of RM92.1 billion. The services and operations suspension is in place until further notice, with orders being solely directed towards the related contractors regarding the provisions mentioned in the agreements.

(The Edge Property & The Malaysian Reserve, 05/07/2018; The Sun & NST, 06/07/2018)


MRL PROCEEDS WITH ECRL CONTRACT

Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), owner of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, will proceed with the project at a revised cost of RM40 billion from the initial RM66 billion, as termination of the project would entail additional funds of RM21 billion. Cost-cutting measures to be executed will include scrapping Phases 2 and 3 of the project, halving the number of tunnels to 25 and reviewing the number of depots. However, there are proposals to merely defer Phase 2 (which is the rail link from Gombak to Port Klang costing RM9 billion) and eventually award it to local contractors via open tender.

(The Edge Property, 30/06/2018)


AIRASIA WILL SUPPORT “GENUINE” LCCT PROPOSALS

AirAsia Bhd, a strong proponent of the low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT), is ready to work with any individuals, state government or industry player, including Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to achieve its vision of building a new LCCT. Air Asia expects the proposed LCCT terminal to be equipped with 90 aircraft parking bays and accommodate up to approximately 50 million passengers a year.

(The Edge Property, 02/07/2018)


MRL INSTRUCTS CCCC TO SUSPEND ECRL WORKS ON GROUNDS OF NATIONAL INTEREST

The East Coast Rail Link’s (ECRL) project owner, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), has instructed its main contractor, China Communications Construction Ltd (CCCC), to suspend all works under the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract (EPCC), with immediate effect. CCCC shall protect, store and secure said works against any deterioration, loss or damage during the suspension period. Additionally, CCCC shall not remove any equipment, materials or any part of the works from the site, without prior written consent from MRL.

(The Edge Property, 04/07/2018)


FIREFLY TO OPERATE FROM SELETAR AIRPORT BY THE END OF-2018

Firefly Airlines will move its operations to the Seletar Airport in Singapore, when the new terminal becomes operational. Firefly, a unit of Malaysia Airlines, is currently operating 20 daily turboprop flights (to and from Subang, Ipoh and Kuantan) at Changi Airport. Seletar Airport’s new passenger terminal has received its Temporary Occupation Permit and preparations are on track for the terminal to begin operations by the end of 2018. Managed by Changi Airport Group, the new terminal building has a floor area of 107,639 sq. ft. (more than six times larger than the current terminal). Constructed and fitted out at a cost of approximately RM236 million, it is designed to handle 700,000 passenger movements a year.

(The Edge Financial, 05/07/2018)


BERJAYA CORP TO WORK WITH AUTHORITIES TO bUILD NEW TIOMAN AIRPORT

Berjaya Corp Bhd will work with the federal and Pahang governments to build a new airport on Pulau Tioman. Estimated at a cost of RM1.2 billion, the company is sorting out administrative approvals. Berjaya Hotels and Resorts is also planning to launch direct flights from Subang Skypark in Selangor to Pulau Redang in Terengganu. In August 2018, the company will re-launch the service, which will be operated by Berjaya Air. The air service will utilise two pre-owned ATR 42-500 aircrafts with a capacity for up to 36 passengers.

(NST, 05/07/2018)


MAHB: RM100 MILLION FOR AIRPORTS 4.0

Over the next five years, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is planning to allocate RM100 million for “Airports 4.0”, a digital initiative across selected local airports. Airports 4.0 emphasises connectivity and real-time informational reporting to provide a digitalised, holistic airport experience. With Airports 3.0 currently in place at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), numerous processes, which include self check-in, self bag drop and digital “wayfinding” via a mobile application, that occur throughout a passenger’s journey have been digitalised. Embarking on Airports 4.0 enables a fully-integrated ecosystem promising a seamless travel experience, via reliance on business intelligence and digitalised data collected throughout the passenger’s journey.

(NST, 03/07/2018)


MRCB COMPLETES SALE OF KL LAND TO SOCSO

On July 3, 2018, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) completed a RM323 million disposal of a 1.866 acre piece of land on Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, to the Social Security Organisation. The proposed disposal allows MRCB to channel its focus onto property development projects such as those in Bukit Jalil, Cyberjaya, PJ Sentral and Kwasa Sentral.

(The Sun, 04/07/2018)


IJM LAND TO LAUNCH PROJECTS WITH RM1.5 BILLION GDV IN FY19

In the financial year ending March 31, 2019, IJM Land Bhd is projected to launch new property projects with a gross development value (GDV) of approximately RM1.5 billion, whereby the majority of said launches will comprise residential properties in Malaysia. With a GDV of approximately RM15 billion, the 1,878 acre Bandar Rimbayu project in Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, could prolong for 12 years before it is entirely completed. The integrated township which comprises residential, commercial and recreational components is in the midst of planning for the launch of SWANS (a double-storey link house project), with a starting price of RM850,000, and is targeted to be launched in 4Q18.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 05/07/2018)


AGILE AIMS TO LAUNCH RM12.6 BILLION WORTH OF PROJECTS IN MALAYSIA OVER NEXT THREE YEARS

Over the next three years, China’s Agile Group is aiming to launch projects in Malaysia with a gross development value (GDV) of RM12.6 billion. The developer is also interested in acquiring three landbanks located in Penang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Coming up on a 3.76-acre freehold parcel on Jalan Bukit Bintang, “Agile Bukit Bintang” has a GDV of RM2.2 billion and comprises three 60-storey towers, with a total of 1,501 condominium units, 66 small office-versatile office (SOVO) units and 14 commercial lots. Agile Group released 300 residential units in Tower B for an exclusive “pre-sale”, whereby 60% were booked within three weeks. Tower B comprises 21 SOVO units and 678 residential units. The built-ups of the residential units range between 625 sq. ft. and 1,157 sq. ft. with a selling price of RM1,750 per sq. ft.

(The Edge Property, 30/06/2018)


CONNECTING PEOPLE AND MOMENTS

Scheduled for completion by 2021, “Platinum OUG” is a 99-year leasehold condominium comprising one residential block with 660 units in two built-up types. Overall, 440 units will be of a 1,250 sq. ft. configuration, whereas the remaining 220 units have a configuration of 850 sq. ft. Layouts of the bigger units adhere to the “dual-key” concept with a studio unit, whereas the 850 sq. ft. layout offers three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Prices of the smaller mid-cost apartment units which have one parking bay are capped at RM300,000 and the dual-key unit’s with two parking bays are priced from RM557,000.

(The Star, 04/07/2018)


FT MINISTRY TO REVIEW TAMAN RIMBA KIARA DEVELOPMENT

The Federal Territories Ministry will review the contract for a high-rise development at Taman Rimba Kiara. The project involves the development of eight blocks of 42- and 52-storey high-end serviced apartments and a 30-storey block of affordable homes. Local residents have formed The Save Taman Rimba Kiara Group to voice their opposition to the proposed development, which was approved in November 2017.

(The Edge Property, 04/07/2018)


TRINITY GROUP TO LAUNCH RM437 MILLION CONDOMINIUM PROJECT IN MONT KIARA

Trinity Group Sdn Bhd is continuing with its plan to launch 330 units of condominiums at its “Trinity Pentamont” development in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, by 3Q18 despite the slower market that has caused some property developers to defer their launches.

With a gross development value of RM437 million, Trinity Pentamont is expected to achieve a 100% sales rate within six months of its launch, as high demand exists in the area, particularly from the domestic market. Sale prices are from RM600 per sq. ft., while the market price for condominiums in Mont Kiara is about RM800 to RM900 per sq. ft. Thus, early buyers will have a better margin once the development is fully completed. The 2.89 acre project’s soft launch is expected to be in early August 2018, while its completion date is in 2022.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 05/07/2018)


WORKERS’ ACCOMMODATION IN MALAYSIA

Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) is building hostels for Western Digital workers. The hostels are included in Phase 1 of the Datum In-City project which comprises three blocks of nine-storey apartments. These apartments can accommodate 10,000 workers, with 5,000 available parking bays. Total land area is 6.08 acres and the 432 apartment units come in three sizes, 475 sq. ft., 865 sq. ft. and 971 sq. ft. The project is located at Jalan SS8/6, next to Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and the Federal Highway, and PKNS will build a pedestrian bridge to give workers easy access to the Western Digital factory. The buildings incorporate elements of eco-sustainable architecture to achieve maximum Green Building Index ratings and the project is already halfway completed.

(The Sun, 06/07/2018)


SUNWAY IS ON TRACK TO MEET 2018’S RM1.3 BILLION SALES TARGET

Sunway Bhd is on track to meet its 2018 sales target of RM1.3 billion. The optimism was boosted when its Sunway GEOLake Residences recorded 60% in bookings, with 90% of registrants signing the sale and purchase agreement on the same day of preview. With a gross development value of approximately RM650 million, the Sunway GEOLake Residences comprises 420 condominium units and 44 townhouses spread across 6.49 acres of land in Sunway City. Sizes of the condominium units range between 883 sq. ft. and 1,776 sq. ft., with prices averaging at RM900 per sq. ft.

(The Edge Financial, 06/07/2018)


BULLISH EXPANSION PUSHES DOMINO PIZZA’S 1Q18 GROWTH

In 1Q18, Dommal Food Services Sdn Bhd’s aggressive expansion of the Domino’s Pizza chain in Malaysia has resulted in an almost double-digit growth in revenue for the franchise. Currently, there are 216 stores operating nationwide, whereby 90 stores were opened in the last three years, and at least 40% of revenue comes from these new outlets. The company foresees significant growth in 2H18 via its expansion into East Malaysia and the addition of 15 to 20 stores in Peninsular Malaysia. In 2018, the group has spent approximately RM20 million on the expansion of stores. The company will also enhance their online ordering technology as more than 50% of orders received in 2017 were via the website, surpassing orders via the call centre.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 02/07/2018)


MR DIY NEARS 500-OUTLET TARGET

By the end of 2018, home appliance store operator, MR DIY Trading Sdn Bhd, targets to have approximately 500 outlets nationwide. The company has opened 15 outlets in 2018 and expects to open 70 additional outlets to achieve the company’s year-end target. With the opening of new stores, the company aims to further strengthen its market position in Malaysia. Currently, MR DIY has 550 outlets in the Asia-Pacific region, comprising 415 in Malaysia, Thailand (100), Indonesia (31) and Brunei (4). By 4Q18, the company is planning to open 300 additional stores in the region and correspondingly expand into Singapore and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, MR DIY’s e-commerce platform enables its customers to make purchases online and pick them up from 25 selected MR DIY outlets in the Klang Valley via Collect @ MR DIY and benefit from MR DIY’s Guarantee policy.

(NST, 04/07/2018)


NEM BLOCKCHAIN CENTRE OPENS

NEM Malaysia has opened the NEM Blockchain Centre (NBC) in Glo Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, which serves as a learning centre, incubator and accelerator for organisations in Asia. NBC will house the NEM Blockchain Innovation Lab and will serve as a co-working space, with several Malaysian companies already using its facilities for blockchain-related learning and knowledge-sharing events.

(NST, 04/07/2018)


PIKOM EXPECTS RECOVERY IN PRODUCT SALES

The National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) is certain that the sales of IT-related products and services will gain momentum in the next two to three months, as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is now “zero-rated”.

(NST, 05/07/2018)


BERJAYA AND RAZER LAUNCH NEW E-WALLET

Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) and leading lifestyle brand for gamers, Razer Inc, have collaborated to launch Razer Pay, an e-wallet service in Malaysia, which is aimed at youths and millennials, to provide convenience for users to top up, transfer funds and make payments with ease. Razer owns 51% of the stake in Razer Pay and the remaining 49% is owned by BCorp. Razer Pay will be made available to more than 6,000 major retail and food and beverage outlets which include brands such as 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Singer, Cosway, Greyhound Café, Wendy’s, Kenny Rogers, Krispy Kreme, 99 Speedmart, Tealive, Thundermatch, Sweet Hut and more.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 05/07/2018)


COURT ORDERS LOOB TO CLOSE TEALIVE OUTLETS WHILE IT APPEALS INJUNCTION

The Court of Appeal has rejected Loob Holding Sdn Bhd’s bid to keep its Tealive outlets open while it appeals a court ruling that prohibits it from operating as a competing business to Chatime for a period of two years. Loob has been operating 161 Tealive outlets in Malaysia for more than a year and its closure will affect 800 staff. Loob has since expanded Tealive overseas, including in China, Australia, India and Vietnam.

(The Sun & The Edge Financial, 06/07/2018)


I-BHD PLANS RM3 BILLION WORTH OF PROJECTS

Effective in 2019, property developer, I-Bhd, is embarking on a five-year growth strategy as it plans to launch up to RM3 billion worth of projects in order to ramp up its leisure division. The company, best known for its 72-acre i-City development in Shah Alam, still has numerous projects to develop at the site and will commence construction of a third hotel after the Double Tree Hotel opens in 2020. On track for completion in 2018 will be I-Bhd’s 1.5 million sq. ft. Central i-City Shopping Centre, which is a joint venture between Bangkok-based Central Pattana Public Co Ltd and I-Bhd, with the former holding a 60% stake in the partnership. With a gross development of RM850 million, the project is the first international mall development for Central Pattana, which is the largest mall owner and developer in Thailand.

(The Star, 02/07/2018)


MELAKA TO REVIEW GATEWAY PLAN

The Melaka State Government is negotiating with the master developer of Melaka Gateway, KAJ Development Sdn Bhd, to change the freehold status of the 200 acre man-made island to a 99 year leasehold status. The island project comes under the development of Melaka Gateway’s first phase, which spans 3,719 acres comprising three man-made islands and one natural island.

(NST, 30/06/2018)


EXCLUSIVE HILLTOP LIVING IN BANDAR MAHKOTA CHERAS

Affordable luxury living is what Resilion Residence, a low-density and exclusive development, in Bandar Mahkota Cheras, Selangor, has to offer future homeowners. With a gross development value of RM130 million, the development spans just over 4 acres of freehold land and features both high-rise and landed residences. The development comprises a 15-storey condominium tower, offering 172 units with built-up areas ranging from 1,148 sq. ft. to 2,051 sq. ft. and 72 town villas with built-ups between 1,114 sq. ft. and 1,362 sq. ft.

The condominium units come with a storage area and spacious yard, whereas selected units come with two balconies, at the master bedroom and living room. There are three levels for the town villas (lower ground, ground and first floors) each featuring different layouts. The condo units are priced from RM428 per sq. ft. while the town villas start at RM484,290. Approximately 50% of the properties were booked during the launch of the development and the project is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

(The Star, 06/07/2018)


SIME DARBY PROPERTY’S NEW LAUNCHES RECORD STRONG TAKE-UP RATE

Sime Darby Property Bhd has reportedly sold 90% of its new launches within one week, suggesting resilient demand for both its residential and commercial products despite the soft property market. This refers to the final phase of its landed home series in Denai Alam situated at the heart of City of Elmina, dubbed Semanea Hills, which comprises a total of 162 units, as well as commercial units at 3 Avenue in Bandar Bukit Raja. According to Sime Darby Property, the Semanea Hills superlink homes were 90% sold and the semi-detached units were 73% sold, resulting in the combined sales rate of 50% across the entire Elmina Green development. Furthermore, 80% of its new commercial units at 3 Avenue were bought within a week of their launch on June 9 2018. 3 Avenue is located on a 6.27-acre site and is accessible to all major road networks and key locations within the Klang Valley. The development comprises double-storey shop lots and double-storey semi-detached commercial units.

(The Edge Financial, 06/07/2018)


KEDAH SET TO BECOME THALES IFE HUB

The Pre-Industrial Collaboration Programme (Pre-ICP) Agreement between the Technology Depository Agency and Thales International Offsets, will position Malaysia (particularly Kedah) as a sub-contracting destination for the global supply of Thales’ in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens. The Pre-ICP Agreement is one of the major parameters for award considerations where Malaysia, specifically Kedah, was elected as the sub-contracting destination, beating India and Thailand.

(NST, 02/07/2018)


NEGERI SEMBILAN PLANS TO DEVELOP AVIATION HUB

The Negeri Sembilan State Government plans to develop an aviation hub in the state, as it is confident the hub would benefit the economy of both the state and wider Malaysia. The state government has already obtained agreements from AirAsia Group Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd to collaborate in realising such a project. The hub is planned for Labu as it is adjacent to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The government plans to build a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for commercial aircraft, engines and components at the hub.

(The Edge Financial & NST, 02/07/2018)


FOUR SEASONS HOTEL KL OPENS

Located within a 65-storey skyscraper next to the Petronas Twin Towers, the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur opened on July 1, 2018. The 209 room hotel and residential tower is directly connected to a retail podium referred to as “The Shoppes at Four Seasons Place”, which includes a selection of luxury retail and dining outlets spread over six floors. The podium is highlighted by “Decadent by Four Seasons” for luxurious desserts and “The Laundry Shoppe”, which is a luxury laundry boutique.

(NST, 03/07/2018)


VERTICE, SMUZCITY TO EXPLORE SMART HOTEL OPPORTUNITIES

Vertice Bhd’s (formerly Voir Holdings Bhd) wholly owned subsidiary, Vertice Construction Sdn Bhd, has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Smuzcity Bhd (SCB) to collaborate on opportunities for qualified real properties to be considered for a structured smart hotel chain business. Through this MoU, Vertice will provide its knowledge and experience in the construction industry to contribute towards works for the design, construction and renovation for hotel chains. SCB in turn, will offer solutions for real property owners to participate in a structured hotel chain program, in areas of work relevant to properties management, hotel operations, online marketing and distribution channels including online booking engine as well as online and offline travel agents, software and hardware implementation. SCB’s principal activities are providing unstaffed hotel solutions and property management services. SCB has the intention to expand its portfolio of unstaffed hotels to 100 within the next few years. SCB intends to develop and build a “smart hotel” chain, which operates based on “unmanned” and “cashless” concepts, allowing hotel guests to experience a futuristic lifestyle with advanced technology. By replacing manual hoteliers with machines, Smuzhotel lets guests experience the full suite of hotel services through technology applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) BOT, AI facial recognition, e-wallets, on-demand entertainment and services, virtual reality and Internet of Things.

(The Sun & The Star, 06/07/2018)


GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW TOURISM TAX

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture will review the need to retain the tourism tax to ensure that it would not detrimentally affect tourist arrivals in the country. The tourism tax, which came into effect on September 1, 2017, is a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for foreigners staying in hotels or registered private accommodations.

(The Star & The Edge Financial, 04/07/2018)


GREAT BENEFIT FROM THALES PROJECT

French multinational company, Thales, has engaged with Celestica Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a Canadian company based in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP), to manufacture, assemble, and test display screens for in-flight entertainment systems. The project would utilise 60% of locally sourced materials, provide 450 jobs annually over the next five years, and generate economic spillover effects in excess of RM1.2 billion in value by 2022.

(The Star, 30/06/2018)


HEALTH MINISTRY MONITORING 23 ‘SICK’ PROJECTS, INCLUDING REMBAU HOSPITAL

The Malaysian Health Ministry is monitoring at least 23 “sick” projects, including the construction of hospitals and clinics nationwide. Construction of the Rembau Hospital commenced in September 2013 with an original cost of RM96 million and should have been completed back in September 2016. However, this was delayed due to complications faced by contractors. The project is optimistically expected to be completed in 1Q19, though the contractor had assured that it would be finished by the end of 2018.

(NST & The Star, 30/06/2018)


KEPONG WASTE-TO-ENERGY PLANT PENDING FURTHER STUDIES

The Housing and Local Government will execute further studies on the waste-to-energy project in Kepong prior to its implementation, in order to seek the “most suitable, cost effective and convenient way” to manage waste and convert it into energy. First proposed in 2014, the plant was to be built on a 4 acre site and incorporated into the adjacent Kuala Lumpur Transfer Station in Taman Beringin. To be built at a cost of between RM700 million and RM900 million, the plant would include an incinerator to burn waste that would then be converted into energy for electricity. However, the project was met with resistance by nearby residents due to the close proximity between the project and their homes.

(The Edge Property, 03/07/2018)


HOUSING PRICES PROJECTED TO GO UP DESPITE LOWER TRANSACTIONS

Though the volume of property transactions may decline, average transacted prices have been on a steady rise since 2001, which is hard evidence that regardless of the market milieu, property values do increase over time. The decline in average transacted prices during 2013, 2014 and 2015 was possibly due to the implementation of Goods and Services Tax, as market sentiment and the tightening of loan policies resulted in the dip of transaction volume in 2017. However, the property market trend for the past 17 years from 2001 to 2018 had depicted a steady rise in value (peaking in years 2011 and 2012), which generally suggests that the seventeen year historical trend cannot be largely inaccurate. Though the volume of transactions for the year 2017 has dropped considerably compared with 2016, the value is still increasing. Based on information from National Property Information Centre (NAPIC), industrial developments were the only property segment that suffered in 2017 with a decline in value by 4.2%.

(StarProperty, 03/07/2018)


KL PROPERTY GLUT – “MARKET WILL ADJUST ITSELF”

The Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) has indicated that the housing and commercial property glut in Kuala Lumpur is not a great cause for concern as the market will eventually adjust itself to accommodate the excessive supply. This is not largely worrying for the glut as both developers and the market will always adjust itself, however, city plans have to be flexible to adjust to changes in the market.

(The Edge Property, 03/07/2018)


MSC REVIVAL COMEAS AS A WELCOME MOVE

The tech sector is looking into reviving Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) after it had deviated from its initial objective of placing high technology, electronic and information technology (IT) elements within the area. The MSC framework was conceptualised in 1996 to spearhead digital transformation in Malaysia in order to boost and create a hub for innovative producers and users of multimedia technology, in addition to fulfilling Vision 2020. The MSC spans across 185,329 acres, which stretches from the Petronas Twin Towers to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (including Putrajaya and Cyberjaya) and on December 7, 2006, Port Klang was additionally added to the MSC. To date, there are 3,241 active MSC-status companies which generate approximately RM47.1 billion of revenue and create 160,044 jobs.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 03/07/2018)


MALAYSIA ON THE WAY TO “HIGH-INCOME STATUS” DESPITE DEBT CONCERNS: WORLD BANK

The World Bank remains confident that Malaysia is on track to becoming a “high-income” nation, despite the RM1 trillion in liabilities that the country is facing. The World Bank currently defines a high income economy as one with a capita gross national income (GNI) surpassing US$12,235 (RM49, 307). In 2017, Malaysia’s average GNI per capita was estimated at US$9,660, merely US$2,575 short of the defined threshold level. Malaysia’s short-term growth and economic fundamentals remain sound, underpinned by a stronger near-term outlook for household spending. The strengthened outlook primarily reflects additional impetus from new policy measures put forth by the government, including the temporary suspension of the consumption tax. The World Bank expects the country’s economic growth to remain resilient at a rate of 5.4% in 2018.

(The Sun, NST & The Star, 03/07/2018)


LOAN SCHEME FOR M40, B40 GROUPS TARGETED FOR AUGUST 2018 ROLLOUT

The Malaysian Government aims to roll out a loan scheme aimed at the M40 and B40 income groups. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) has liaised with several agencies such as Bank Negara Malaysia and the Employees’ Provident Fund to discuss rolling out a loan package for the M40 and B40 groups. The National Property Information Centre’s (NAPIC) 1Q18 quarterly report had revealed that approximately RM22 billion worth of properties were unsold in the market due to factors such as unfavourable locations, high costs and loan issues. KPKT is in early stages of discussion with Bank Negara to draw out guidelines for a more relaxed loan scheme and are optimistic about rolling out the scheme by August 2018.

(The Edge Property, 03/07/2018)


HOMES WITH A SERENE SETTING IN ISKANDAR MALAYSIA

Tropicana Danga Cove Sdn Bhd has launched its first landed project, “Ayera Residence”, in the southern region of Iskandar Malaysia. Located on 48 acres of land, Phase 1 of the development has approximately 179 homes, whereas the second phase of the development, which will be launched within the next few months, will comprise 377 homes. Priced from RM586,000 onwards, the freehold double-storey house currently registers a 95% approximated booking rate.

(The Star, 05/07/2018)


SCGM MULLS SELLING THREE PARCELS OF KULAI LAND

SCGM Bhd plans to dispose three parcels of land in Kulai, Johor, with a total land area of 406,464 sq. ft. and a built-up area of 264,449 sq. ft. The company planned for the disposal as it is in the process of moving into a new factory in stages. The new plant measuring approximately 658,365 sq. ft. has been completed and has the capacity to cater to future expansion.

(The Sun, 05/07/2018)


JOHOR EYES RM1 BILLION TYRE PLANT DEAL WITH CHINA FIRM

The Johor State Government is in the midst of discussions with a company from China on its plans to invest more than RM1 billion to set up a tyre manufacturing plant in the state by the end of 2018. The Johor state government is at an advanced stage of discussions and may hopefully be signing a memorandum of understanding, details of which will be disclosed once the deal is finalised.

(The Sun & The Star, 06/07/2018)


AVILLION TO MANAGE NEW HOTEL IN JOHOR BARU

Avillion Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary, Avillion Hotels International Sdn Bhd (AHI), has entered into a hotel management agreement (HMA) with Bintang Kencana Sdn Bhd, for a fixed 10-year lease to operate and manage a new hotel in Bandar Baru Uda, Johor Baru. AHI will operate and provide direct day-to-day management and operations of the 153-room hotel once it opens.

(The Sun, 06/07/2018)


PENANG PROPOSES CITY STATUS FOR SEBERANG PERAI MUNICIPAL COUNCIL

The Penang State Government plans to apply to the Malaysian Federal Government for the upgrading of the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) to a city council. MPSP has met the criteria for city council status since 2008, but due to the federal government policy of limiting one city to a state, the Penang State Government merely submitted one application for city status for the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), which it obtained in 2015. In view of the desire to see if the federal government will revise the restriction, the Penang State Government will follow up with the ministry to ascertain current circumstances. The Penang State Government hopes for emphasis to be directed towards Seberang Perai so that it can also offer opportunities to all categories of development.

(The Edge Property, 02/07/2018)


ANOTHER MILESTONE FOR AIRASIA

Low-cost carrier, AirAsia, has introduced two international direct flights from Hanoi and Phuket, to the state of Penang. These routes are expected to further boost tourist arrivals to Penang, whilst simultaneously offering a chance to directly connect Penangites and the northern community, to more international destinations. Direct flights from Hanoi (four times a week) and Phuket (daily) are the seventh and eighth routes launched by the airline into the state of Penang.

(The Sun, 02/07/2018)


ZENITH PROPOSES PENANG UNDERSEA TUNNEL ALTERNATIVE

Consortium Zenith Construction (CZC) Sdn Bhd is proposing to build a bridge in lieu of the RM6.3 billion Penang undersea tunnel which will connect the island to the mainland. The execution of feasibility studies on the undersea tunnel component are 96% complete and will be submitted to the state government by October 2018. The company will also suggest building the bridge as an alternative to the undersea tunnel and will allow the state to make a decision regarding the matter.

The RM6.3 billion mega project comprises a 7.2km undersea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Prai, a 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, the 5.7km Ayer Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and the 4.075km Gurney Drive-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass.

(The Edge Property, 02/07/2018 & The Star, 03/07/2018)


KOTA GIAM, PENANG TO GET PPR HOMES

Subject to the suitability of the land, Kota Giam, Jelutong, in Penang will host up to 2,000 People’s Housing Project (PPR) homes in the next two to three years. Located near an Indah Water Konsortium facility, the 8 acre plot has already been identified by the Penang State Authorities for the PPR units. The plot was allocated subsequent to a site visit conducted by the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s technical team.

(The Edge Property, 02/07/2018)


IPMUDA TO DISPOSE OF LAND FOR RM8.4 MILLION

Ipmuda Bhd’s indirectly owned subsidiary, Roset-BLG Sdn Bhd, will dispose of two parcels of industrial land located in Seberang Jaya, Penang, to Golden Chemical Sdn Bhd for a total consideration of RM8.4 million. The disposal encompasses a vacant parcel of land measuring 2 acres and another parcel of land measuring almost 3 acres, with a single storey detached factory annexed to a double storey office building erected on it.

(The Sun, 03/07/2018)


ZOOMING IN ON TANJUNG ARU PROJECT

The Sabah State Government will undertake an in-depth study to determine if the Tanjung Aru Eco Development project should be scaled down or if alternative steps should be taken. The project had drawn public criticism as it involved reclamation that impeded public access to the beach. The project covers 860 acres of prime land, whereby 623 acres is allocated towards sea reclamation for the development of an integrated tourism project comprising resorts, public parks, shore recreation and resort hotels, residential areas, marinas, entertainment venues, beach clubs, a golf course and dining areas.

(The Star & The Edge Financial, 05/07/2018)


PAN BONEO HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION OVER ONE-THIRD COMPLETED

The Pan Borneo Highway project in Sarawak is gaining momentum as it is now more than one-third into its construction period. As site clearing activities have concluded, the project’s 11 work packages have advanced into their next stages of construction activities, whereby the most advanced package is a two-lane carriageway placed alongside the existing two-lane single carriageway. The Sarawak portion of the Pan Borneo Highway covers a total length of 1,060km, whereby 193km serves as a dual carriageway. Phase 1, which links Telok Melano in southern Sarawak to Miri in the north, is slated for completion in 2021, whereas Phase 2, which covers 77km to link up to Sabah, is in its planning stages.

(The Star, 02/07/2018)


SARAWAK HOTELIERS WELCOME REVIEW OF TOURISM TAX

According to the Malaysian Association of Hotels Sarawak, the tourism tax that has been imposed since September 1, 2017, should be scrapped off as it deterred more foreign tourists from visiting Sarawak. The tax has an adverse impact as far as the Sarawak tourism industry is concerned, particularly for foreign tourists planning to visit Sarawak, as the existing cost of travelling to Sarawak is still expensive. A flight ticket, for example, from Kuala Lumpur to Sibu may cost RM1,145 one-way, compared to a return flight ticket of only RM409 from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. In addition, 90% of hotel guests staying in hotels in Sarawak are mostly Sarawakians who are doing businesses within Sarawak itself. Merely less than 5% are foreigners (predominantly backpackers staying in budgeted homestays), whereas the additional 5% are from other states of Malaysia. Thus, the 10% tax on foreigners will not provide much revenue for the government, but will instead diminish the number of foreign tourists coming into Sarawak.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 05/07/2018)


CONSTANT INTEREST IN SINGAPORE HIGH-END PROPERTIES FROM MALAYSIANS

Upper-class Malaysians have continuously been interested in purchasing high-end residences in Singapore even when the ringgit has weakened against the republic’s currency over recent years. GuocoLand (Singapore) Pte Ltd group has noted strong interest in the company’s two iconic projects, “Wallich Residence” and “Martin Modern” and has stated that Malaysian buyers see Singapore properties as a good investment opportunity. Everyone is interested to acquire a piece of property in Singapore and the currency fluctuations are not a determining factor as Singapore is a natural business hub in South-East Asia due to its strategic location. Besides the strategic location and the country’s vibrant economy, foreign buyers are interested in Singapore properties due to no restriction on foreign purchase, low annual interest rates for loans and an active resale market. To date, Malaysians and those with permanent residence have acquired 20% of the units in Wallich Residence and 25% in Martin Modern. Wallich Residence, the tallest residential development in the republic, is part of the RM9.5 billion, 64-storey integrated development known as Tanjong Pagar Centre and units in both Wallich Residence and Martin Modern are sold for above S$2 million each.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 05/07/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton