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FOREIGN INVESTMENT INTEREST “INTACT”

Foreign investment interest in Malaysia reportedly “remains intact” based on data provided by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida). The Ministry of International Trade and Industrial continued to receive requests on the current value and inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) via Mida. Most of the investments in Malaysia had been linked to the Belt and Road Initiative and investors from China.

(NST, 16/07/2018)


CONTINUOUS INVESTMENT FLOWS FROM TAIWAN SEEN

Investments from Taiwan are expected to prevail despite the change in the domestic political landscape. At the end of 2017, the Taiwanese have been investing heavily in Malaysia across all different segments, thus bringing-in an accumulative foreign direct investment of US$12.4 billion (RM49.6 billion). In 2017, trade between Malaysia and Taiwan experienced a 24.6% increase to US$17.59 billion, from US$14.1 billion in 2016. A total of 1,700 Taiwanese businesses have operations in Malaysia, whereby more than 20 of these are listed firms.

In the tourism segment, the number of Malaysian tourists to Taiwan rose by 11.3% to 528,019 in 2017, from 474,420 in 2016, whereas the number of Taiwan tourists to Malaysia grew 10.7% to 332,927 in 2017, from 300,860 in 2016.

(The Sun, 16/07/2018)


MARC SEES PRIVATE CONSUMPTION TO MITIGATE EXTERNAL HEADWINDS

Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) anticipates private consumption growth in Malaysia will remain resilient at 7.2% and will assist in cushioning challenges from the external sector as a trade war exists among major economies. Malaysia’s headline gross domestic product (GDP) moderated to 5.4% in 1Q18 due to subdued domestic demand. In 1Q18, private consumption continued to grow at a healthy pace of 6.9%, as total investments slipped to 0.1% due to a decline in private investment growth. The overall growth in 2018 is forecasted at 5.3%.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 17/07/2018)


MAY 2018 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE UNCHANGED AT 3.3%

Malaysia’s unemployment rate in May 2018 remained at 3.3% for four consecutive months. The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points Y-o-Y, compared with 3.4% in the corresponding month of 2017. The number of unemployed persons recorded a total of 504.8 thousand individuals, which denoted a 0.5% contraction against May 2017. On a seasonally adjusted M-o-M basis, the unemployment rate in May 2018 remained at 3.3%, compared with April 2018.

(The Sun, 17/07/2018)


JUNE 2018 INFLATION AT 40-MONTH LOW AMID ZERO-RATED GST

Resulting from the zero-rated goods and services tax (GST), Malaysia’s consumer price index (CPI), which measures headline inflation, posted a Y-o-Y growth of 0.8% in June 2018, the lowest since March 2015. The rate was below a consensus forecast of 1.3% and was also the first time in 40 months that the CPI registered below 1%.

(The Edge Financial Daily, The Sun, NST & The Star, 19/07/2018)


SINGAPORE’S LEAD OVER MALAYSIA’S ECONOMY IS SHRINKING

Malaysia is closing-up on regaining its lead over Singapore’s economy, after trailing close behind for a third straight year. Malaysia’s gross domestic product was US$314.5 billion in 2017, approximately US$9.4 billion less than Singapore’s US$323.9 billion. That deficit is set to shrink to just over US$2 billion in 2019, as forecasts suggest that Malaysia’s economy is to expand by approximately 5.5% in 2018, versus a 3.1% increase in Singapore.

(The Edge Financial Daily & NST, 18/07/2018)


NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY 2.0 TO BE READY BY THE END OF 2018

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is currently drafting the National Housing Policy 2.0, scheduled to be ready by the end of 2018. The ministry will also look into the suggestion by the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) to set a ceiling price for affordable homes in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley at RM500,000. The ceiling price allows for the government to build additional affordable housing, whereas the private sector will focus on delivering market-driven properties without price control and quotas.

(The Edge Financial Daily, 16/07/2018)


SALES & SERVICES TAX BILL TO BE PASSED IN PARLIAMENT IN AUGUST 2018

The Ministry of Finance optimistically expects the Sales and Services Tax (SST) bill to be passed in August 2018, whereby the rates are set at 10% for the sale of goods and 6% for the provision of services. The ministry is focused on implementing sustainable fiscal measures to keep public finances robust, with confidence of keeping the fiscal deficit low while maintaining a positive current balance in 2018.

(The Sun, The Malaysian Reserve, The Edge Financial Daily, The Star & NST, 17/07/2018)


EXPIRING LEASEHOLD PROPERTIES GIVEN PRIORITY IN CONVERSION TO FREEHOLD

Owners of leasehold properties in Negri Sembilan whose titles are close to expiry will be given priority in converting them to a freehold tenure. The Negri Sembilan State Government has been informed by the Federal authorities that such properties could be converted into “freehold status” based on provisions in the National Land Code. However, an individual who has more than one leasehold property can only apply for one property to be converted into freehold status, whereas the remaining property will remain leasehold.

(The Star, 19/07/2018)


KUALA LUMPUR CITY PLAN 2020 TO BE GAZETTED BY THE END OF 2018

The Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 will be gazetted by the end of 2018. The plans were first drafted in 2008, four years after the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 were gazetted. However, the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 has remained a draft as the previous Barisan Nasional administration refused to make it official, prompting unplanned development in the city.

(The Edge Property, 19/07/2018)


NO SST FOR ESSENTIAL ITEMS

The Customs Department has proposed exemptions on a list of consumer goods including poultry, fish, milk and vegetables, when the Sales and Service Tax (SST) is reintroduced. Other items range from bicycles to carriages for disabled persons and various types of orthopaedic appliances. Exempted goods will not be subject to the proposed 10% sales tax under the SST. The Department has also drawn up a proposed list of services subject to a 6% service tax under the SST. These include hotels and homestay operators, telecommunication, insurance and takaful service providers. The department has also proposed that a RM25 tax per annum be levied upon the issuance of every principal or supplementary credit or charge card. Professional services such as legal, accounting, surveying, architectural, valuation and engineering will also be subject to the service tax. Restaurant operators, including hawkers and food truck operators, must also pay the service tax. However, the SST will only be applicable to individuals and businesses making more than RM500,000 annually.

(The Star & NST, 20/07/2018)


PERAK HOPES TO ATTRACT MORE FLIGHTS INTO THE STATE

As Perak awaits the re-launching of AirAsia’s Ipoh-Johor Baru flight in October 2018, the Perak State Government is planning to attract more flights into the state. The Perak Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee will be holding discussions with other airlines for adding additional flights to and from Ipoh and will also to be liaising with Malaysia Airports for the upgrading of facilities at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. With four flights weekly, AirAsia’s Ipoh-Johor Baru route is scheduled to commence on October 1, 2018 and is expected to attract more tourists from the southern region and Singapore.

(The Star, 19/07/2018)


AIRFARE CEILING PRICE TO BE DECIDED BY THE END OF JULY 2018

The ceiling price for airline tickets in Malaysia will be decided by the end of July 2018, which will be determined after executing a thorough study. Via an agreement made between the Transport Ministry, Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and MASwings, the ceiling price would be reviewed frequently.

(NST & The Sun, 19/07/2018)


AL-SALAM REIT TARGETS ALMOST RM1 BILLION ACQUISITION IN NEXT 3 YEARS

Al-Salam Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) aims to add almost RM1 billion worth of commercial and industrial properties to its portfolio of properties over the next three years. Currently, the REIT is in the midst of acquiring RM270 million worth of properties including Mydin hypermarket in Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu (RM155 million) and 22 restaurants across Malaysia (RM115 million). A potential addition to its portfolio is the 37-storey “Menara JLand”, but the tenancy and yield of the office tower must align with the REITs’ standards prior to it being injected into the fund. The fund is also venturing into real estate development following a new ruling introduced on March 15, 2018, allowing REITs to develop properties or acquire vacant land to be developed, which could be worth up to 15% of its total asset size. Their current projects include: Muar Furniture Park which will be completed by 2020, the Pengerang Industrial Park and Menara Johor Land in Johor. Al-Salam REIT will also be enhancing its four-storey Komtar JBCC mall in Johor Baru, which is valued at RM465 million.

(The Edge Property, 14/07/2018)


REVIVAL OF PROPERTY CONSTRUCTION STOCKS

Property and construction counters ended on a high on July 19, 2018, with a total of six stocks surging more than 10% as FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI extended its winning streak to nine days. Market breadth was significantly positive across the two counters possibly on hopes that the country’s mega projects, currently up for review, may be revived. The key benchmark index ended 0.35% higher to 1,759.24 points from July 18, 2018 close of 1,753,07 points, to close above its 50 day simple moving average.

(NST, 20/07/2018)


GABUNGAN AQRS PLANS TO TRANSFORM PROPERTY ARM

Gabungan AQRS Bhd has laid out its five-year transformation plan to resuscitate its property division, which is expected to contribute considerable earnings to the group. Plans for its property arm include re-launching its existing high-rise condominium project, “The Peak” and a soft launch for its new affordable apartments, “E’Island Residence”. “The Peak” project will be re-launched in 3Q18. Gabungan AQRS remains positive about this project largely due to its close proximity to the city centre, with good connectivity to major highways (Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway) and interchanges; new high-rise property developments in Johor Bahru which have been temporarily put on hold; and the appointment of a third-party renowned property agent to market “The Peak” project in the overseas market.

The E’Island project has received encouraging response, with almost 400 buyers (comprising a balanced mix of both bumiputera and non-bumiputera) having registered their interest prior to its official launch. The 1,140-unit semi-furnished affordable apartment project ranged between RM350,000 and RM495,00 per unit and is expected to be launched in 3Q18. The RM491million project sits on 19 acres of land located in Puchong, with good highway connectivity. The development of the RM1.7 billion One Jesselton project is scheduled to commence in 4Q18.

(The Edge Property, 14/07/2018)


DBKL ENDS SALE OF 18 PARCELS OF LAND WORTH RM1.4 BILLION

Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) has ended the sale of 18 parcels of land worth RM1.4 billion as the transactions were deemed unfavourable to the city. DBKL anticipates legal action by the buyers involved in the three transactions following the decision to terminate the sales, as the city hall had engaged an external legal firm to look into the matter. Meanwhile, the rest of the buyers were accepting of DBKL’s decision and had their downpayments returned.

(The Edge Property, 19/07/2018)


REJECTED BUMIPUTERA APPLICATIONS FOR HOUSING FINANCE TO BE REVIEWED

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government will review Bumiputera applications for affordable homes that were rejected by financial institutions. The move was to ensure that they were previously house owners, in order to avoid a glut of unsold affordable houses under the Bumiputera quota. The ministry will also meet with the Employees Provident Fund and other financial institutions to find a solution to the problem.

(The Edge Financial Daily & NST, 16/07/2018)


SCIENTEX SEEKS TO BUILD 50,000 AFFORDABLE HOMES BY 2028

By 2028, Scientex Bhd is targeting to deliver 50,000 units of affordable homes nationwide. To date, Scientex’s property division has delivered nearly 16,400 affordable homes priced below RM500,000 nationwide, whereby approximately 70% are priced below RM200,000. Scientex’s subsidiary, Scientex Heights Sdn Bhd, had launched 116 units of two-storey terraced homes at the 197-acre Durian Tunggal Township in Alor Gajah, Melaka, under the Rumah Mampu Milik Melaka (RMM) programme. This was aimed at addressing the increasing demand for affordable quality homes in the state. Buoyed by the strong booking rate during the pre-booking of the 116-unit phase at the end of 2017, Scientex intends to launch the next phase of Scientex Durian Tunggal, which comprises 104 units of two-storey houses.

(The Edge Financial Daily, 16/07/2018)


LBS TO LAUNCH TWO PROJECTS WORTH RM962 MILLION IN 2018

With a combined gross development value (GDV) of approximately RM962 million, LBS Bina Group Bhd (LBS) is targeting to launch two landed property projects in the Klang Valley within the next two months. With a GDV of RM474 million, Phase 3 of Alam Perdana comprises 856 units of 2-storey link houses and 28 semi-detached houses, with prices ranging between RM509,900 and RM850,000, respectively.

Phase 1 of Cybersouth in Dengkil, which is estimated to have a GDV of RM488 million. Targeted will be launched in September 2018. Cybersouth comprises 698 units of 22 ft. by 75 ft. townhouses and 379 units of 20 ft. by 60 ft. 2-storey link houses, with prices ranging between RM399,900 and RM530,000 and respectively.

(The Edge Property, 18/07/2018)


FORMER ENCOURAGING SALES LEADS EUPE TO LAUNCH THIRD PROJECT IN KL

In early 2019, Eupe Corporation Bhd plans to launch its third Kuala Lumpur project, Vivus@Seputeh, at a gross development value of RM800 million. This comes subsequent to the launch of Eupe’s Kuala Lumpur maiden project, “Novum”, back in 2016. “Novum” is a freehold condominium development jointly developed with Chin Hin Property Development, which comprises three towers ranging from 37 storeys to 40 storeys, which are erected on a 3 acre parcel facing the Federal Highway. The 729 residential units have now been 96% sold, with selling prices starting from RM1,000 per sq. ft., whereas the overall unit built-up sizes ranged between 647 sq. ft. and 1,441 sq. ft. Eupe’s second project, Parq 3 at Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, which was launched in October 2017, has achieved a 70% sales rate.

(The Edge Property, 18/07/2018)


MATRIX UNITS TO DISPOSE RM3.71 MILLION PROPERTIES

Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, BSS Development Sdn Bhd (BSSD) and Matrix Concepts Sdn Bhd (MCSB), have proposed to dispose of properties in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, worth RM3.71 million. BSSD entered into an agreement with Kuntum Kemuning Sdn Bhd on October 19, 2017, to dispose of one unit of a 1,916 sq. ft. three-storey shop office known as “Sendayan Metropark 2A”, for RM1.52 million. MCSB has recently signed an agreement with Anexco Sdn Bhd on July 13, 2018, to sell one unit of a 2,842 sq. ft. two- and-a-half storey shop office known as “Pusat Komersial Lobak”, for RM2.19 million.

(NST, 14/07/2018)


COLONY INVESTS RM4.6 MILLION IN ITS SECOND BRANCH

Colony, a serviced office and co-working space provider, has invested around RM4.6 million for its second branch, Colony @ KL Eco City in Bangsar. The 20,000 sq. ft. co-working space has recorded a 60% “occupancy rate” with two out of the five-floor spaces having been taken up by an anchor tenant, a regional importer and distributor in the food industry, while another floor, which houses private offices, is optimistically expected to be fully tenanted soon. Two other floors are allocated for meeting rooms, a kids’ playroom and an event lounge. Colony aims to open its third branch in KL Sentral by December 2018.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 19/07/2018)


NEW 700M SKYSCRAPER COMING UP IN KLCC

A 700 metre building tentatively named Tower M will be erected within the Kuala Lumpur City Centre development after 2030, dwarfing the 630m Menara PNB 118, which is slated for completion in 2024. Tower M will comprise three office towers on top of a retail podium and is to be built on four acres of land named Lots L, L1 and M, which are situated next to the mass rapid transit (MRT) KLCC East Station near Jalan Binjai in Kuala Lumpur. To be taken on by KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd (KLCCH), Tower M will have a gross development value of between RM3.7 billion and RM4.2 billion, based on the 174,240 sq. ft. site, current prices per sq. ft. of RM2,000 for office spaces in the vicinity and a potential plot ratio of 14 to 16. Works for the KLCC East Station have begun, and the developments on the four acres of land comprising four basement levels of car parking, one concourse retail level and four retail podium levels as well as the foundations of the future office towers are currently underway, in tandem with the construction of the station. KLCCH will only build these office towers upon pre-securing leases for the whole building. In view of the current market speculation, it is envisaged that the towers will only be built in the distant future (beyond 2030).

(The Edge Property, 14/07/2018)


RETAIL GROWTH FORECAST REVISED UPWARDS FOR 2018

Retail Group Malaysia has revised Malaysia’s 2018 retail growth rate forecast from 4.7% to 5.3% given improved consumer confidence following the change of government and the subsequent zero rating of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Retail sales have picked up upon entering into the three-month tax holiday from June to September 2018. The improvement in retail sales during this period was also backed by “the Hari Raya festival, Father’s Day celebrations and the just concluded FIFA World Cup”.

(The Edge Property, 17/07/2018)


E-COMMERCE WILL COMPLEMENT PHYSICAL STORES

Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) is optimistic that online retail will complement each other more going forward instead of replace physical retail stores. There is currently an online explosion. However, online retail sales (goods only) account for only about 2% of total retail sales in 2017. RGM believes the retailing formats of online retail and physical retail stores are crossing into each other’s territory and this will continue. While the traditional store has embraced web technology, more e-commerce businesses have also set up physical stores including fashion brands such as Christy Ng and FashionValet.

(The Edge Property, 17/07/2018)


SST SEEN TO AFFECT RETAIL SALES

Retail sales are expected to drop significantly in the first two months following the reintroduction of the sales and services tax (SST) on September 1, 2018, as consumers adopt a more cautious approach to spending. However, Retail Group Malaysia is optimistically expected sales levels to “return to normal” from November 2018 in conjunction with the school holidays and festive season.

(The Edge Financial Daily & The Star, 18/07/2018)


STUDY, CO-WORKING SPACE “LEPAK” TO OPEN IN MID-AUGUST 2018

LBS Bina Group Bhd and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) have formed a partnership to initiate “Lepak”, a study and co-working space located at M3 Mall in Gombak, Selangor. The 2,000 sq. ft. “Lepak” will primarily cater to the institution’s students and is expected to open to the public in mid-August 2018.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 19/07/2018)


EXCITING OFFERINGS AT 3 DAMANSARA

Fresh from a rebranding exercise, shoppers can now look forward to a seamless shopping experience at 3 Damansara (formerly known as Tropicana City Mall) with a total of 170 fashion, food and beverage (F&B) and lifestyle offerings spread over four levels. Connected to an adjoining 12-storey office block, 3 Damansara is located strategically between the SPRINT and the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong highways, allowing easy accessibility for visitors from Kuala Lumpur and various parts of Petaling Jaya.

(The Edge Property, 19/07/2018)


PARAMOUNT REINFORCES FOOTPRINT

Paramount Corp has reinforced its commitment in property developments in the north of Peninsular Malaysia following the opening of Wisma Paramount, the first green building in Kedah. Located in Bukit Banyan, Kedah, Wisma Paramount is part of the group’s mixed development that has a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.1 billion. Three phases with a GDV worth RM624 million, were launched in 2012, with additional phases to be developed up until 2025. “Bukit Banyan” is Paramount’s third municipal property project in Kedah after “Taman Patani Jaya” and “Bandar Laguna Merbok”. As for the “Paramount Utropolis Batu Kawan”, this mixed development sprawls across 44.23 acres of land, and will comprise an institution of higher learning, Kolej Universiti KDU Penang. Construction commenced in 2015 and the project is scheduled to be fully completed in 2H18.

(NST, 14/07/2018)


FEDERAL HILL LAND DEAL CALLED INTO QUESTION

The Federal Territories Ministry will look into calls to reverse the government land swap deal for a proposed property development by SP Setia Bhd. In 2012, the land was obtained via a privatisation agreement. The exchange with the government was for the planning and development of a health research facility complex named “Kompleks Institut Penyelidikan Kesihatan Bersepadu” in Setia Alam, involving the transference of 41.5 acres of freehold land in Setia Alam for the “Kompleks Institut Penyelidikan Kesihatan Bersepadu”; and the construction of 24 apartments and a “Klinik Bangsar” on the land.

(The Edge Property, 16/07/2018)


SIME PROPERTY “IN INVESTMENT TALKS”

Sime Darby Property Bhd (SD Property) is currently in talks with several investors to develop the Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) with the immediate development comprising a high-tech industrial park. The property developer has also engaged with the Negri Sembilan government, citing that the MVV was recognised as a catalyst for the state’s future growth. MVV is a state-led but private sector-driven development which spans across 379,100 acres of land to deliver a positive economic impact to the country. The first phase will span over a 30-year development period covering 11,636 acres. The 30-year project is expected to attract approximately RM290 billion of investment, which will generate almost 1.38 million new jobs. The MVV project includes the development of five strategic clusters namely Edu-Tech Valley, Tourism and Wellness, New Livable township, Central Business District and Nature City.

(NST, 16/07/2018)


BUKIT KAYU HITAM ECONOMIC ZONE GETS GO-AHEAD

The Malaysian Government will proceed with plans for the development of the Special Border Economic Zone (SBEZ) project in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah. The government will turn the Bukit Kayu Hitam Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Complex into the main gateway for international trade, which is expected to serve as a catalyst for the Kota Perdana development project. Under the Kota Perdana development project, Malaysia and Thailand would cooperate on a project covering 8,686 acres, which will provide for world-class facilities for the manufacturing and commercial sectors. This includes a free trade zone to encourage bilateral trade between Asean member countries and the expansion of regional trade in the global marketplace, especially with China and India.

The SBEZ project, to be developed by Northern Gateway Sdn Bhd, a company fully-owned by the government comprises seven phases and is optimistically expected to be completed in 20 years. SBEZ would include a land port, a free trade zone and a commercial area, which will be built on 4,398 acres of land which has already undergone the process of approval by local authorities. The initial phase of the project, an inland container depot (ICD), is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

(NST, 16/07/2018)


CITY OF AMUSEMENT COMING UP

Developed by Hatten Land, “Harbour City” on Pulau Melaka is set to be Melaka’s largest mixed used “City of Amusement” and a major tourist attraction. Splash World @ Harbour City will offer exciting water attractions, including 11 extreme water slides, a two storey lazy river and a kid’s water play park and speed slides. Below the theme park deck is the 800-unit Habour City Mall. Each floor of the six-storey megamall features interiors that reflect six different oceanic levels rising from “The Trenches”(lower ground floor), “The Abyss” (ground floor), “The Midnight” (first floor), “The Twilight (second floor), “The Sunlight” (third floor), and the “Coastal Layer” (fourth floor). Situated middeck between the mall platform and the theme park podium are 780 cabin-style rooms named “Habour City Thematic Suites” which comes complete with bunk beds, porthole windows and nautical-inspired interiors with 14 different layouts ranging between 365 sq. ft. and 1,267 sq. ft. The “Habour City Resort” will house 500 stunning sky-rise villas measuring between 470 sq. ft. and 2,200 sq. ft. The development also boasts a prestigious 250-room international hotel tower named “Habour City Premier Resort”, which is now open for sale. Habour City capitalises on Melaka’s booming tourism sector which experienced over 16 million foreign arrivals in 2017.

(The Star, 17/07/2018)


UEM SUNRISE TO LAUNCH NEW PHASE OF SERENE HEIGHTS

UEM Sunrise Bhd plans to launch the latest phase, “Eugenia” of its mixed-township development Serene Heights Bangi in September 2018, as its earlier phases have been handed over and have received good sales rates. “Eugenia” comprises 84 residential units and has a gross development value of RM62.8 million. UEM Sunrise also held the first handover of Serene Heights’ vacant possession to purchasers of “Begonia” units. The RM170.6 million project comprises 153 double-storey terraced houses, which received a full sales rate during its initial launch in June 2015. Approximately 121 units of “Acacia homes” and 153 units of “Begonia homes” were launched simultaneously in June 2015 and both the phases were fully sold within two days. Likewise, the 162 units of “Camelia homes”, launched in August 2016, are also fully sold. In addition, Serene Heights’ 170 units of “Dahlia homes”, which was launched in July 2017, has recorded an approximate sales rate of 80% for Dahlia 1 (92 units) and 55% for Dahlia 2 (78 units). UEM Sunrise is also offering the “Houzkey” scheme for the Serene Heights Bangi development, a special collaboration with Maybank for easy financing for purchasers. HouzKEY is specially designed to assist those who have difficulties in attaining home ownership due to high initial costs.

(StarProperty & The Malaysian Reserve, 17/07/2018)


MELAKA GATEWAY DEVELOPER TO UPDATE STAKEHOLDERS ON PROJECT

The concessionaire of Melaka Gateway, KAJ Development Sdn Bhd (KAJD), is requesting for a meeting with key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Transport and port regulator Port Klang Authority to present the latest updates on the project. The RM43 billion Melaka Gateway project comprises three man made islands and one natural island that includes the Melaka International Cruise Terminal, which was developed in partnership with US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Works on the Cruise Terminal reclamation and jetty are halfway done and are currently earmarked for completion by the third quarter of 2019. Launched in 2014, the 1,366-acre Melaka Gateway on Pulau Melaka East 1 was to become the largest private marina in South-East Asia by 2025, with cruise terminal and jetty, commercial, cultural, heritage, entertainment, lifestyle and wellness components.

(The Sun, The Star, The Edge Financial Daily & NST, 17/07/2018)


ADVANCECON SECURES SETIA ALAM MIXED DEVELOPMENT JOB

Advancecon Holdings Bhd has awarded an earthworks contract worth RM20.51 million for the Eco Ardence mixed development in Shah Alam. The contract entails earthworks and ancillary works for the second phase of the project in Setia Alam. The estimated duration of the Eco Ardence contract is nine months from site possession in July 2018.

(The Sun, The Star & The Edge Financial Daily, 18/07/2018)


WESTERN DIGITAL TO CLOSE PETALING JAYA FACTORY

By the end of 2019, Western Digital will be closing its hard-disk drive (HDD) factory in Petaling Jaya due to declining demand for the product. The company will however retain a Centre of Excellence in Selangor with several key engineering teams, core operational planning and regional support functions.

(The Star, 18/07/2018)


WESTERN DIGITAL PLANS TO SELL PJ FACTORY

Western Digital is planning to sell its hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturing facility site at the Sungei Way Free Trade Industrial Zone in Petaling Jaya. Western Digital is looking at a price range between RM160 million and RM190 million for the 11-acre site. Western Digital’s plan to dispose of its approximately 1 million sq. ft. factory site comes after the company’s announcement of shutting down the plant by the end of 2019 due to “declining long-term client demand for HDDs”.

(The Edge Property, 18/07/2018)


AEROSPACE REVENUE TO SOAR TO RM55.2 BILLION

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) expects the local aerospace industry to generate RM55.2 billion in revenue by 2030. Revenue from maintenance, repair and overhaul works was expected to hit RM20.4 billion. An additional RM21.2 billion could be generated from aero-manufacturing and RM13.6 billion from engineering and design services.

(NST, 14/07/2018 & The Sun, 16/07/2018)


AIRASIA, AIRBUS IN TALKS TO DEVELOP INDUSTRIAL AERO CENTRE

AirAsia Group Bhd and Airbus SE are in discussions to develop an industrial aeronautical centre in Malaysia, following AirAsia X Bhd’s (AAX) confirmation that it would purchase 100 Airbus A330neo’s, thus making the budget carrier the largest customer of the aircraft model. AirAsia and Airbus are cooperating to set up the centre, which could include the establishment of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities, a training centre, data centre, possible industrial cooperation and Airbus supplier implantation.

(The Edge Financial Daily, 20/07/2018)


HYATT PLANS LARGEST “BRANCH” IN MONT KIARA

In 3Q18, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, a global hospitality company, is scheduled to open their first and largest Hyatt House hotel in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur Mont Kiara is an extended stay hotel (ESH) located within Arcoris Mont Kiara’s development area. The hotel has 298 guest rooms and other facilities such as restaurant, 3,100 sq. ft. meeting room, fitness centre and a top floor swimming pool.

(NST, 14/07/2018)


DATAPULSE MULLING PURCHASE OF GEO HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR

Datapulse Technology has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with ICP Ltd to acquire MHI MY 1 Pte Ltd, a joint-venture company in the business of hotel investment. The target subsidiary, via its wholly-owned Malaysian subsidiary, owns a mid-scale hotel in Kuala Lumpur, currently operating under the brand “Geo Hotel Kuala Lumpur”. Upon the completion of a refurbishment programme, the hotel will debut as Travelodge Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.

(The Edge Property, 17/07/2018 & The Edge Financial Daily, 18/07/2018)


10% SERVICE CHARGE IS NOT GOVERNMENT TAX

The 10% service charge imposed by hotels and restaurants will stay when the Sales and Service Tax (SST) returns to replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on September 1, 2018. According to the Malaysian Association of Hotels, the service charge is not to be confused with SST, which has a 10% tax on the sale of goods and 6% tax on the provision of services (the same rate implemented prior to the GST). The SST is a government tax, whereas the service charge is distributed among the “service crew” of the hotel. Approximately 30% of hotels nationwide include the service charge in their invoicing, which has been common practice in Malaysia for years.

(The Star, 18/07/2018)


SUBANG PROJECT CONTINUES WITH NO ‘MISALIGNMENT’

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) direction of its regeneration project for the Subang Park area is expected to remain intact with no drastic alterations, despite the shift in power within the federal government’s administration. The 60 acre development area is dedicated to maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and aerospace manufacturers to set up base in Subang. In March 2018, MAHB secured the first tenant for its Subang Aerotech Park, which was Senior Aerospace UPEC. The UK-based assembly and manufacturer’s built-to-suit plant is targeted to be handed over in December 2018. Subang Aerotech Park is expected to attract more than RM1 billion in investments within the next five years, supporting over 5,000 jobs.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 16/07/2018)


ONE DEAL OFF FOR PRG, ANOTHER IS ON

PRG Holdings Bhd has aborted the proposed RM18.3 million acquisition of Roopi Medical Centre Sdn Bhd, but announced a plan to acquire a confinement service firm for RM5.35 million. The termination came after the group and the vendors had mutually agreed not to extend the deadline to fulfil conditions of the agreements related to the purchase. With the deal now falling through, the vendors, will have to refund the deposit paid, within 14 days. In a separate filing, PRG’s wholly owned subsidiary, PRG Healthcare Sdn Bhd, is acquiring 41.2% of Esther Postpartum Care Sdn Bhd (EPC) for RM5.35 million. PRG also entered into a call option agreement for an additional 13.33% stake in EPC for RM2 million. EPC, which provides confinement services in Malaysia based on Taiwanese postpartum concept, recorded a net loss of RM326,961 for the financial year ended 2016.

(The Sun, 16/07/2018)


PROPERTY SECTOR “MOVING FORWARD ON POSITIVE NOTE” IN 2H18 – AXIS REIT

As the knee-jerk reaction due to 14th General Election has subsided, Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) reckons the property sector is expected to do better in 2H18, which is opposing the general perception of a “bearish property environment”. Total transactions improved by 4% in January and February 2018 and as for 2H18 and 2019, the market is expected to level out and begin its upward trend again.

(The Edge Financial Daily, 16/07/2018)


M-REITS VOLATILITY TO CONTINUE

Malaysian real estate investment trusts (M-REITs) are anticipated to continue being volatile due to global conditions. As REIT prices fell, average dividend yields have grown to the highest point since 2016 to between 6% and 7%, thereby widening the spread between REIT yields and 10-year Malaysian government securities.

(The Star, 18/07/2018)


CONSUMER CONFIDENCE HITS 21-YEAR HIGH: MIER

The Consumer Sentiments Index (CSI) survey, which is conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), rebounded above the 100-point optimism threshold to soar to 132.9 points in 2Q18, the highest level since 2Q97. This is likely due to the recent change in the political landscape, abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and consumers’ expectations of an improvement in the economy.

(The Sun, The Star & The Edge Financial Daily, 20/07/2018)


REHDA INSTITUTE URGES GOVERNMENT TO SET UP SPECIAL UNIT

Rehda Institute has proposed for the government to set up a dedicated unit to look into the overall master planning of affordable homes nationwide. In its latest “Affordable Housing Report”, the association proposed for the formation of a special purpose central agency (SPCA) under the housing and local government ministry. It suggested that stakeholders such as Bank Negara Malaysia, the Department of Statistics, the National Property Information Centre and Rehda Institute should develop and conduct surveys and analyse data to ensure timely release of market information.

The report identifies nine structural problems in providing affordable housing including addressing the fragmented and unlevelled playing field of the public and private sectors, rigid housing policies on quota and price controls, cross subsidies and rising development costs. It also identified structural issues such as the unproductive use of public funds, low financial capacity for the bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) groups, and the absence of reliable market data. The report highlights the need to redefine a maximum affordability threshold based on a states’ median income loan eligibility. The report also proposed for financial institutions to provide an interest subsidy for the B40 and M40 income earners, where they only pay interest at a subsidised rate for the first five years of their mortgage. The B40 group refers to Malaysian households earning RM3,900 a month or less, while the M40 segment is defined as households with income ranging from RM3,860 to RM8,319.

(NST, 15/07/2018; The Edge Financial Daily & The Star, 16/07/2018)


LPPSA, MBSB BANK TEAM UP TO OFFER HOUSING LOANS TO CIVIL SERVANTS

The Public Sector Home Financing Board (LPPSA) has teamed up with MBSB Bank to provide a joint financing scheme for civil servants to own their first homes, which will be rolled out in 2018. The scheme allows spouses or parents and children to apply for joint loans to purchase a house, provided that at least one of the joint applicants is a civil servant. LPPSA and MBSB Bank will also offer two loan categories for the scheme (financing for completed houses and houses under construction). The facilities offered by MBSB Bank are to finance the differential of the loans between the amount of funding approved by LPPSA and the price of the house.

(The Edge Financial Daily, NST & The Star, 20/07/2018)


ISKANDAR MALAYSIA TO REACH TARGET

Reaching a cumulated investment of RM264 billion as at March 2018, Iskandar Malaysia is optimistically expected to reach the targeted investment of RM383 billion by 2025. Initially aimed at achieving RM176 billion over the 10-year period from 2013 to 2022, the newly recorded investment has surpassed the target, with four years remaining. From 2006 to March 2018, the top five countries with the highest cumulative committed investments into Iskandar Malaysia are China, Singapore, the United States, Japan, and the European Union. As one of the supporting sectors in Iskandar Malaysia, residential properties have contributed RM48.86 billion or 18.64% of cumulated investments to date.

(StarProperty, 18/07/2018)


HSR MAY BE DELAYED, NOT CANCELLED

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project may be delayed and implemented at a later date instead of being cancelled because it will be difficult to reduce the price of the project. The decision was made after studying the implication of unilaterally discarding the contracts in addition to the price Malaysia would have to pay in compensation.

(NST & The Edge Financial Daily, 20/07/2018)


TRAMS MAY BE RUNNING IN JB IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS

The Johor State Government has earmarked Jalan Wong Ah Fook (located in the central business district) for erecting a tramway. With operations expected to commence in the next two to three years, the rail vehicle will run on tramway tracks along public urban streets, and on a segregated right of way. A feasibility study on the project and its relevant costs will be conducted.

(The Star, 20/07/2018)


AIRASIA ADDS TWO NEW DESTINATIONS TO JOHOR BAHRU HUB

Effective October 1, 2018, AirAsia will expand its Johor Bahru domestic network, adding Alor Setar and Ipoh as new destinations. Departing from Senai International Airport, AirAsia Malaysia will fly four times per week, to both destinations. These new routes mark the 10th and 11th domestic routes available. An opportunity to strengthen the economies of Johor, Kedah and Perak through increased tourism would spring from the boost of connectivity between the southern and northern states.

(The Edge Property, 18/07/2018)


JOHOR AIMS FOR AT LEAST 2,000 AFFORDABLE HOMES IN 2018

In 2018, the Johor State Government plans to build between 2,000 and 3,000 units of Johor Affordable Homes (RMMJ), as part of a commitment to build 100,000 affordable RMMJ units over the next five years. The state government will also ensure that only first time homeowners are eligible recipients of these affordable homes and assured that the state authorities would be transparent in allocating the RMMJ homes.

(The Edge Property, 16/07/2018)


SUNWAY CITRINE OFFERING “A GAME-CHANGING LIFESTYLE” IN JOHOR

Sunway Property’s first townhouse development in Johor, “Sunway Citrine Lakehomes Phase 2”, received “enthusiastic responses from purchasers” within the first week of its launch. It comprises three storey townhouses of 26 ft x 76 ft., with a built-up size of 1,500 sq. ft. and are contemporarily designed with a 10 ft. garden.

(StarProperty, 20/07/2018)


SHATTUCK ST MARY’S SCHOOL TO OPEN IN AUGUST 2018

In August 2018, the RM935 million “Shattuck St Mary’s Forest City International School” will welcome its first intake of students. Each boarding student will have their own apartment within the campus, whereas teachers will also live on the school’s grounds. With a total planned investment close to RM1 billion, this project will be divided in three phases over a five-year period. The establishment of this school will also strengthen Iskandar Puteri as an international learning hub.

(The Edge Property, 16/07/2018 & The Edge Financial Daily, 17/07/2018)


IKHMAS JAYA UNIT SECURES RM78 MILLION CONTRACT

Ikhmas Jaya Group Bhd has secured a RM78 million contract from Kerjaya Prospek (M) Sdn Bhd for works related to the proposed Seri Tanjung Pinang (Phase 2) development (STP2). The works entail the execution and completion of the Marine Bridge crossing the sea that links Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang to STP2 Island and all other associated civil engineering works for the proposed development. The duration of the project is for 21 months commencing July 11, 2018, and is scheduled for completion on April 10, 2020.

(The Star & The Sun, 19/07/2018)


IKEA TO FILL OVER 200 POSITIONS FOR PENANG STORE

Swedish home furnishings retailer IKEA has launched a recruitment drive to fill more than 200 positions at its new store in Batu Kawan, Penang, which is scheduled for opening on March 28, 2019. IKEA Batu Kawan is IKEA’s fourth store in Malaysia after Damansara, Cheras and Tebrau, Johor.

(The Edge Financial Daily, 18/07/2018)


KUMPULAN PERANGSANG UNIT ACQUIRES PENANG LAND FOR EMS FACTORY

Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, CPI (Penang) Sdn Bhd, has acquired a 4.5 acre site in the Bayan Lepas Industrial Park, Penang, for RM27.7 million. CPI intends on building an Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) factory. The construction of the factory on the newly-acquired land, which is three times bigger than the land that the company currently has, is scheduled to commence in 1H19 and is due for completion in 2020.

(The Edge Financial Daily, The Sun & The Star, 18/07/2018)


PLAN TO RESTART KOTA KINABALU TERMINAL 2 OPERATIONS

AirAsia Group Bhd is confident that the government will consider its proposal to restart its operations at Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). The low-cost airline operator reluctantly ceased operations at KKIA approximately two years ago. AirAsia would spend about RM20 million to recommence operations at Terminal 2 in order to carry five million passengers a year and generate approximately 30,000 jobs for Sabahans.

(NST & The Star, 20/07/2018)


GOVERNMENT MAY REDUCE COST OF PROJECT

The Malaysian Government will review the structure of the implementation modal for the Pan Borneo Highway project in order to “prevent waste”. This was agreed upon by the Malaysian Minister of Works and Sabah Infrastructure Development, as up to RM1 billion could be saved. The Sarawak State Government had stressed that the highway project should continue to reduce the Road Development Index gap between Sabah and other states.

(The Edge Property, 17/07/2018 & NST, 18/07/2018)


SARAWAK TOURISM BOOST

The Sarawak State Government has allocated RM12.5 million to boost and transform Sarawak’s tourism landscape by leveraging on emerging digital technology for the next three years. The Ministry of State Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports has taken the initiative to embrace and redevelop its tourism web portal, with enhanced and interactive contents. This includes developing Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technology for tourism hotspots in the state, starting with the Old Kuching Heritage area, just in time for the Visit Sarawak Campaign to be launch at the end of 2018.

In 2017, Sarawak received 4.85 million visitors, bringing in estimated tourist receipts of RM 8.59 billion, whereas arrival figures indicated an increase of 4.2% compared with 2016. The top five sources of tourist markets for Sarawak were Brunei Darussalam (1.73 million), Indonesia (513,442), the Philippines (68,380), Singapore (42,177) and China (38,204). As for January to May 2018, the visitor arrivals figure was 1,750,640, with an increase in tourist arrivals from China and Singapore. For China, 19,641 tourists came to Sarawak during the period of January to May 2018, which is an encouraging increase of 20.2% compared with the corresponding period in 2017. For Singapore, the corresponding period in 2018 indicated an increase of 15.8%, with a total of 17,856 Singaporean arrivals.

(Malay Mail, 16/07/2018 & The Sun, 17/07/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton