TRADE EXPECTED TO EXCEED 2017’S RECORD OF RM1.8 TRILLION
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry optimistically expects that Malaysia’s total trade for 2018 will surpass last year’s performance of RM1.77 trillion. The ministry expects a growth of between 6% and 7%, due to investors’ confidence in the economy and added transparency delivered by the new government. For the first seven months of 2018, total trade expanded 6.1% to RM1.01 trillion, whereas exports grew by 7.3% to RM565.72 billion.
ECONOMY TO CONTINUE GROWING AT SLOW PACE
Malaysia’s economy is expected to continue growing at a subdued rate between November 2018 and January 2019. The monthly change in the Leading Index (LI) increased by 0.2% from 118.4 points in June 2018 to 118.6 points in July 2018. Five out of seven components of the LI make up the increase, the highest of which was contributed by real imports of semi conductors (0.5%). In contrast, the annual change of the LI marginally declined and stood at negative 0.1% in July 2018. The LI has been designed to monitor economic performance for an average of four to six months ahead of time.
The Coincident Index (CI) is a measure of current economic activity. The CI grew 1.6% in July 2018 with positive contributions from all of its components. Capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector (0.4%) was the main component accounting for the increase. The annual change of CI rose to 3.9% in July 2018 from 3.1% in June 2018.
(The Sun & The Star, 25/09/2018)
MALAYSIA RECEIVED ‘INTERESTING INQUIRIES’ IN MIDST OF US-CHINA TRADE SPAT
Trade tension between the US and China has presented some “unique” opportunities to Malaysia with companies from both countries looking to invest in Malaysia. The challenge for Malaysia is how to cater to the needs of these companies who are seeking “a safe haven” away from the “trade war”. Malaysia has received enquiries not just at favoured investment locations like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru, but even in places where investors rarely express interest in, such as Ipoh. Malaysia is also facing challenges in attracting more investors as the government seeks to attract more high technology, high capital expenditure and high income generating investments.
(The Sun, 25/09/2018)
RISING AGE EXPECTANCY AND SLOWING BIRTH RATES MAY IMPACT SELANGOR
Selangor’s economy and growth will be impacted by its ageing population, longer life expectancy and slower population growth. The average life expectancy in Selangor has reached 75 years old, a significant increase from approximately 65 years old, which was recorded 10 years ago. However, the birth rate in Selangor is rising at 1.7%, lower than the national rate of 1.9%. With failure to address these trends, the “working group” will become smaller compared with retirees, which will subsequently affect the state’s economy and productivity levels. The lower birth rate has been contributed to higher costs of living, thus forcing couples to opt for having fewer children. Besides inflationary pressures, parents have to address other related costs like education for their children, while considering that salaries have been stagnant for numerous groups. Selangor is home to 6.38 million people (approximately 20% of the country’s total population) and in 2014, the state’s population stood at 6.05 million. In 2017, the population growth in the state steadily declined from 2.5% in 2014, to 2.1% (2015), 1.8% (2016) and only 1.4% (2017).
(The Malaysian Reserve, 25/09/2018)
FMM, MDEC PLAN DIGITAL HUB FOR MANUFACTURING
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a Digital Manufacturing Hub to boost the adoption of Industry 4.0 within the manufacturing industry. The Digital Manufacturing Hub will offer industry players hands-on experiences in emerging technologies and digital transformation, in addition to becoming an avenue for re-skilling talents in new areas.
(The Star, 28/09/2018)
STATE COMMITTED TO HELP TARGET GROUPS OWN HOMES
Melaka has been recognised as the state that provided the most affordable homes at a cost of merely RM80,000, compared with other states in the region that price affordable homes at RM240,000. Standard houses in Melaka are generally affordable with pricing set between RM120,000 and RM250,000, compared with similar houses in other states, which may cost between RM470,000 and RM700,000. The issue of unsold houses, which is quite critical in other states, is almost non-existent in Melaka. By 2023, the Melaka State Government has targeted to build 57,503 affordable homes with more than 27,000 homes, priced at between RM80,000 and RM90,000, being built by the state and the remainder by private developers.
TERENGGANU TO ISSUE ISLAND TOURISM RULES
The Terengganu State Government will speed up measures to issue guidelines to regulate entertainment activities on tourist islands in the state. The guidelines are being drawn up and will be issued by early 2019.
KAMPUNG BARU DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS AIMS CONSENSUS BY THE END OF 2018
Scheduled to be held by the end of 2018, the Malaysian government plans to initiate a congress which gathers all stakeholders in the long overdue Kampung Baru redevelopment plan, which includes landowners, developers and various agencies. The platform will be used to discuss and finalise the ultimate solution for the development of the Malay enclave and to salvage what was left by the Kampung Baru Detailed Development Master Plan, which appears to have been dormant since its inception in 2015. The Kampung Baru Development Congress aims to attain solid consensus among the residents to proceed with the redevelopment programme. A new committee will also be set up to organise the congress, which will comprise all existing stakeholders including Kampung Baru Development Corp and resident associations.
(The Malaysian Reserve, 24/09/2018)
NO TO TOWNSHIPS ONLY FOR FOREIGNERS
The Malaysian Government will not allow property developers to build houses or townships exclusively for foreigners. The government is seeking high quality foreign direct investments flowing into the country and creating high quality jobs for people, which is in line with its objective of creating high quality growth shared among Malaysians.
(The Edge Property, 24/09/2018 & NST, 25/09/2018)
BUILDERS MUST PASS SAVINGS TO HOMEBUYERS
The Malaysian Government will withdraw the Sales and Services Tax (SST) exemption given to developers if property prices are not reduced. The government hopes that developers will pass on the expected savings from the exemption to homebuyers in the form of reduced home prices. Real Estate and Housing Development Association (Rehda) is however conducting a study on the amount of savings property developers will get from the government’s new policies. Rehda is optimistic that a formula benefitting consumers can be worked out before the tabling of the 2019 Budget in November 2018.
(NST, The Star, The Sun & The Edge Financial, 25/09/2018)
STUDY OF FREEHOLD LAND TITLE, TO BE GRANTED WITHIN FIVE YEARS
The Seremban State government is conducting a detailed study to provide freehold land titles to leasehold housing land. The government has had several meetings to gather more comprehensive information as it involves hundreds of thousands of homes. The implementation date has yet to be decided as the study has not been completed and the government is currently working on implementing the agenda in a transparent manner. However, the freehold status will only be given to homeowners who have lived in a property prior to the 14th general election in May 2018.
(The Edge Property, 25/09/2018)
NO REGULATIONS YET FOR SOCIAL E-COMMERCE
Regulations governing electronic transactions on social media platforms will eventually be introduced as more people turn to social commerce as a means of completing commercial transactions. However, the current focus for the cross-border social commerce industry is to begin with registering businesses. Any laws designed for e-commerce platforms will be designed to protect customers and business operators and the legislation will be of a “global standard”, due to its cross-border nature.
(The Malaysian Reserve, 25/09/2018)
A PLACE FOR HIGH-RISE LIVING DISPUTES
A body known as the Strata Community Mediation Centre will be formed on October 1, 2018, to assist in mitigating problems faced by 1.2 million residents occupying high-rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The centre aims to mediate a variety of problems which are not stipulated under the Strata Management Act 2013 (Act 757), such as disputes between neighbours regarding noise, smell, parking, rubbish disposal and boundary issues. The centre will collaborate with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Commissioner for Buildings Division, Valuation and Property Services Department, National Unity and Integration Department and the Putrajaya Community Mediation Centre. In total, there are 5,859 strata developments comprising 494,263 units in Kuala Lumpur.
(The Star, 26/09/2018)
3,000 FAMILIES IN PERAK TO GET 99-YEAR LAND TITLES
Three thousand families living on temporary occupation licence land in the Perak State will be given 99-year land titles. These will be predominantly situated in the coastal areas of Kerian, Larut Matang, Manjung, Hilir Perak and Bagan Datuk.
(The Star & The Sun, 26/09/2018)
GREATER FOCUS ON JEMPOL, GEMAS
Economic activities in Negri Sembilan will be intensified with focus being given to towns in Jempol and Gemas. The Jempol district will be developed into a food valley and will be the main food source for the state and the Klang Valley. The agricultural sector will be the main economic development driver for the Jempol district and will be translated into several high-impact projects such as the proposal to make Bandar Seri Jempol an “agropolitan centre”. Besides focusing on the agricultural sector, the Negri Sembilan State Government will also work on developing a corridor for commercial and residential developments, whereas Gemas will be developed as a “capitalist and agropolis centre”. In the pursuit of this goal, some of the key thrusts have already been outlined, particularly in developing Gemas as an efficient and sustainable transport hub; providing public utilities and infrastructure and upgrading traffic systems.
FT MINISTER HOPES TO INCLUDE KL DECLARATION IN KL CITY PLAN
The Ministry of Federal Territories plans to incorporate the KL Declaration (sustainable cities resolutions formed during the World Urban Forum 9) into the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020-2040 (KL 2040) to ensure inclusivity, transparency and accountability in city planning, development and management. Highlights of the KL Declaration include strengthening the role of urban governance systems, to ensure continuous dialogue and participation among different levels of government and stakeholders; increasing multilevel and cross-sectoral coordination, transparency and accountability; and sharing creative solutions and innovative practices.
(The Edge Financial, 28/09/2018)
ACCESS RAMP TO OPEN DESPITE PROTESTS
An access ramp will go through the residential neighbourhood of Taman Ukay Bistari in Ampang despite protests by the residents. Built by a private developer in 2017, the ramp will connect to Jalan Ukay Bistari 2A and cater to residents of a new condominium project in Kampung Pasir. The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) had approved the developer’s infrastructure plans for the housing project and application to build the ramp as an access route for the housing project in 2012. MPAJ will sustain its decision as the ramp has already been built.
(The Star, 25/09/2018)
AIRASIA TO START JB-IPOH ROUTE
Beginning October 1, 2018, AirAsia will begin its Johor Baru to Ipoh route from the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. The airline will be utilising the Airbus 320 aircraft, which has a 180 passenger capacity and a four day a week frequency of flights, scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. With the latest addition of flights, the Perak State Government will encourage and support other airlines to use the airport and correspondingly complement the tourism sector.
(The Sun, 27/09/2018)
CHINA’S CCCC SEEKING TO INVEST IN MALAYSIA
China Communications Construction (CCCC) is transforming itself from an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor into an investor, developer and operation service provider. CCCC is actively seeking investment opportunities to assist in developing Malaysia. The company plans to invest in targeted industries along the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and lead investments from China and other countries.
(The Sun, The Edge Financial & The Star, 24/09/2018)
KUB GAS TERMINAL TO ACQUIRE LAND IN KLANG
KUB Malaysia Bhd’s subsidiary, KUB Gas Terminal Sdn Bhd, is acquiring a 7.66 acre piece of leasehold land in Klang for RM25 million, from Universal Lubricants Factory Zinol (M) Sdn Bhd. The land is situated beside the existing KUB premises and is earmarked for the construction of import terminal facilities, additional storage, and/or bottling facilities to support KUB’s future business growth.
(The Sun & The Star, 26/09/2018)
ECM, TUNE ACQUIRE 50% STAKE IN SUBHOME
ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd and Tune Group Sdn Bhd have teamed up to acquire a 50% stake in SubHome Management Sdn Bhd, a home-sharing platform. SubHome manages and markets a portfolio of home rentals and offers complete hotel-like services to vacation and business travellers looking for alternative lodgings. In totality, SubHome operates 417 homes currently spread across Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru and offers a turnkey solution for developers, with a complete suite of services ranging from assistance with refurbishment, listing, marketing, on-going property maintenance and guest enquiries. In 2019, SubHomes aims to target 3,000 homes and also plans to venture beyond Malaysia, particularly in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, both in Thailand. In the nearer term, SubHomes is aiming at expanding to Selangor, Penang and Kota Kinabalu.
(The Edge Financial, NST, The Sun & The Star, 26/09/2018)
PERIDOT GROUP POISED TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST SEMI-DETACHED AND BUNGALOW HOUSES IN KLANG
Peridot Development Sdn Bhd will officially launch its first semi-detached and bungalow homes by the end of 2018 or early 2019, contingent on the completion of show units for the project. Located on 4.8 acres of freehold land in Banting, Klang, the 28 units of 2-storey semi-detached and two units of 2-storey bungalow homes are the first phase in the NUSA Series @ Taman Manggis Jaya. With a gross development value (GDV) of RM25 million, the semi-detached homes have built-ups of 2,800 sq. ft. and are priced at RM250 per sq. ft., whereas the two bungalow units have built-ups of 3,042 sq. ft and 4,259 sq. ft. each and are priced at RM290 per sq. ft. The group is also planning for a 24 acre mixed development of landed residential and commercial properties called “Trilliant” at Kundang, Selangor, which has a GDV of RM150 million, and strata linked bungalows called “Kemensahill” on a 6 acre site in Ampang, Selangor, with a GDV of RM75 million.
(The Edge Property, 25/09/2018)
OVER 48,000 AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS TO BE BUILT IN MELAKA
The Melaka State Government, in collaboration with the Federal government, targets to build over 48,000 affordable homes in the state over the next five years. Approximately 19,232 homes will be developed by departments or agencies under the Melaka State Government, including the Melaka Housing Board (LPM), the Melaka Customary Land Development Corp, the Melaka State Development Corporation, Melaka Chief Minister Incorporated and private developers. Meanwhile, 28,922 affordable housing units will be developed by Federal departments or agencies such as PR1MA Corporation Malaysia, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, the 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Division and the National Housing Department. To date, 24,000 units have been built, while more than 2,000 units are in various stages of construction and are to be completed by the end of 2018.
Paduwan Realty will undertake a mixed development project with a gross development value exceeding RM464 million that comprises 411 affordable housing units at Merlimau in Jasin, Melaka. Located on 150 acres of land, the project also comprises 1,239 terraced houses priced between RM280,000 and RM450,000. Scheduled to be completed in 24 months, the first phase of the project will commence works from the date of issuance of the advertising permit and developer’s license. The Melaka State Government has fixed the ceiling price for affordable housing in Melaka at RM180,000 per unit, with a minimum size of 1,000 sq. ft. for three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
(The Edge Property, 26/09/2018)
MAH SING’S “SECRET GARDEN”
Mah Sing Group Bhd is launching a RM520 million township known as “M Aruna” in Rawang. “M Aruna” will be fully developed in three phases, whereby the first phase is known as “Aster”, which comprises 117 units of two storey link houses with a built up area of 1,666 sq. ft. and priced from RM506,000. Mah Sing is also offering a furnishing assist plan for Aster’s early bird buyers, who only need to pay RM15,000 for RM60,000 worth of furnishings, which will include built-in-wardrobes for three bedrooms, kitchen cabinets, lighting, air-conditioning units in the living room and master bedroom, an instant water heater and a smart home system.
CHANGES IN HOUSE DESIGN FOR EX-SOLDIERS
Construction of 7,000 houses for former soldiers in Perak will continue to be carried out, but with a change in design from formerly being landed homes, to now being multi-storey housing units. The Perak State Government will alter the existing design to maximise land usage. To date, circa 2,000 units have been constructed.
(The Sun, 25/09/2018)
TTDI LONGHOUSE SETTLERS SEEK QUICK DELIVERY
The delay of a RM3 billion housing development in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, by Malton Bhd’s 51% owned unit, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, is affecting the livelihood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) longhouse settlers. The proposed development (a joint venture between Memang Perkasa and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan) comprises a total of eight blocks of serviced apartments with 200 units reserved for the relocation of the longhouse families. The prejudicial objections raised by TTDI’s residents associations and management bodies against the housing development have caused delays in the construction of the 29-storey block and has directly affected the rights of the longhouse settlers.
TRINITY CONFIDENT OF 50% TAKE-UP IN THREE MONTHS FOR MONT’KIARA PROJECT
Trinity Group Sdn Bhd expects to achieve a 50% sales rate for its katest condominium project “Trinity Pentamont” located in Mont’Kiara, within three months of its official launch. Located on a 2.9-acre freehold site along Jalan Kiara 5, the 41-storey project has an estimated gross development value of RM437 million. To date, the developer has received “35% in bookings” for the project, which is scheduled for completion by 2022. The project comprises 330 units with built-up sizes ranging between 1,379 sq. ft. and 4,115 sq. ft., of which 300 units are dual-key units. All units are equipped with at least three car park bays and selling prices start from RM640 per sq. ft.
(The Edge Financial, 28/09/2018)
NEGRI TO FULFIL HOUSING PLANS
The Negri Sembilan State Government will proceed with plans to build the Desa Sutera Labu People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Ladang Kirby Labu. The construction of 200 PPR units, which has been approved by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, will continue through via an open-tender process.
GARDEN MALL’S LARGER NLA EXPECTED TO LIFT IGB REIT FY19-20 EARNINGS
IGB Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) recently completed an asset enhancement initiative at The Gardens Mall, adding 14,000 sq. ft. of net lettable area (NLA) on the lower ground floor and connecting the Din Tai Fung and Purple Cane Tea Cuisine restaurants to the parking lifts at the Northern section. The 12 food and beverage and lifestyle tenants within the new retail space include Wendy’s, San Francisco Coffee, Ko Hyang and Watsons.
(The Edge Financial, 26/09/2018)
KIP REIT EXPLORING THIRD-PARTY ASSET OPTIONS
KIP Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) plans to acquire more third-party ready assets, upon the successful addition of its first external asset, AEON Mall Kinta City in Ipoh, Perak, to its portfolio. As at the end of June 2018, total assets under KIP REIT’s management are valued at RM616.2 million. These include five community-centric retail centres known as KIP Marts in Senawang, Melaka, Kota Tinggi, Masai, and Tampoi and one KIP Mall in Bangi. The average occupancy for these six assets is 84.9%. The REIT is also looking to inject KIP Mall Kota Warisan in Sepang, with an occupancy rate of 65% after nearly one year in operation (projected to be 90% by the end of 2018), into its portfolio. KIP REIT also holds the Right Of First Refusal for the acquisition of four more KIP Marts. To-date, two in Sungai Buloh and Kuantan are under construction, while two others, in Sendayan and Sungai Petani, are at planning stage.
(The Edge Financial & The Star, 28/09/2018)
MERDEKA PNB118 SKYSCRAPER AIMS TO BECOME KLCC ALTERNATIVE
The developer of the Merdeka PNB118 skyscraper (PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd) expects the project to become an alternative location to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre. The average office floor plate is approximately 20,000 sq. ft. and be sub-divided into quadrants, thus allowing both larger corporations to potentially take up several floors, whereas smaller companies can merely take up a quarter of a floor. Permodalan Nasional Bhd (the parent company of PNB Merdeka Ventures) has mitigated office oversupply issues and will occupy half of the 83 floors of office space in the building.
Meanwhile, 17 floors will be occupied by luxury hospitality brand “Park Hyatt”, which will offer “refined residential-inspired luxury experiences in a top-tier cultural destination”. Menara PNB118 will also comprise a three-level observation deck with a restaurant and 16 floors of sky lobbies and amenities. Upon its completion in 2021, the tower will be 630m tall, making it the tallest building in Southeast Asia.
(The Edge Property, 24/09/2018)
GAMUDA LAUNCHES GAMUDA COVE EXPERIENCE GALLERY IN TAIPAN USJ
Gamuda Bhd has opened its “Gamuda Cove Experience Gallery” in Taipan USJ for visitors to preview the master plan of its latest 1,530-acre “Gamuda Cove” development near Cyberjaya. With a gross development value of RM20 billion, the leasehold township is located in the southern part of the Klang Valley along the Elite Highway, opposite Cyberjaya. The first residential phase of “Gamuda Cove” is scheduled for launch in November 2018 with completion in 2021. The first phase will offer four types of linked homes at an indicative price which starts from RM680,000. Meanwhile, the “Gamuda Cove Discovery Park” and “Gamuda Cove Theme Park” will be publically opened in 2019 and 2022, respectively. The township will also feature affordable housing units under the Rumah Selangorku scheme.
(The Edge Financial & The Star, 24/09/2018)
MELAKA GATEWAY PROJECT TO RESUME
The Melaka State Government reassured that reclamation and construction works on the first island of the “Melaka Gateway project” development will be completed by the end of 2019, regardless of disputes over freehold statuses being accorded to projects taken on by developers. Sprawling across 3,719 acres, the RM43 billion “Melaka Gateway project” comprises a mixed development on three artificial islands, including the construction of an International Cruise Ferry Terminal jointly developed with US company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Scheduled for completion in 2025, reclamation and construction works on the first island are currently 60% completed.
(The Edge Property, 22/09/2018 & The Star, 25/09/2018)
SKYARENA TIPPED TO BE KL’S LARGEST SPORTS COMPLEX
The SkyArena Sports Complex located along Jalan Ayer Jerneh in Setapak is poised to be the city’s largest, multi level and multi functional sports complex. Built for circa RM100 million, the sports complex will have facilities comprising indoor rock climbing, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool and a football field with a running track and a hostel. The 9.4 acre sports complex will be accessible to both the public and buyers of units in “SkyArena” (a mixed development by SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd). The 28.7 acre SkyArena with a total gross development value (GDV) of RM2.5 billion was first launched in 2014, starting-off with a project known as “Ascenda Residence”. Comprising 650 residential units with a GDV of RM399 million, “Ascenda Residences” is almost fully sold. In 2015, SkyWorld launched Phase 2, known as “Bennington Residences”, featuring 580 residential units priced from RM584,000 per unit and an overall GDV of RM447 million. The other components of SkyArena include a retail mall, flexible shop office home office units and a boutique hotel.
I-BHD EXPECTS PROFIT GROWTH IN 2018 ON RM305 MILLION UNBILLED SALES
I-Bhd expects to achieve a favourable “earnings growth” in 2018, given its RM305 million of unbilled sales. Meanwhile, the construction progress of Central Plaza@i-City is slightly behind schedule and is rescheduled to be launched in January 2019. To date, the mall has achieved an occupancy rate of approximately 70% and the company aims to achieve 85% prior to the launch date. Anchor tenants include Sogo, Village Grocer and TGV Cinema. In 2019, the company plans to launch “Hill 11 residence” (gross development value (GDV): RM278 million), “Hill 12 residence” (GDV: RM281 million) and smart offices (GDV: RM230 million). Meanwhile, its other investment properties: Technology Office Tower (261,000 sq. ft.) and a 2,000-seater convention hall are scheduled to be completed in late 2019.
(The Edge Financial, 27/09/2018)
KL PWTC PROJECT PUT ON HOLD
Development of the 70-storey Kuala Lumpur Putra World Trade Centre (KL PWTC) tower, which will house Umno’s new headquarters, has been put on hold due to the current economic milieu. The project, which will be built at the Putra Bus Terminal site, is now on hold until “all negotiations have been concluded”. The KL PWTC comprises offices, a six-star hotel with 250 rooms, a two-storey shopping podium, a mosque that can accommodate a congregation of 5,000 people at a time and numerous restaurants.
CREST BUILDER, T7 GLOBAL TO JOINTLY BUILD LATITUD8 BLOCK
Crest Builder Holdings Bhd has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with T7 Global Bhd to collaborate for the preparation of a technical proposal for the construction of the proposed mixed development, “Latitud8” on Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. “Latitud8” is a joint land development between Intan Sekitar Sdn Bhd (51% owned subsidiary of Crest Builder) and Prasarana Malaysia Bhd for the development of a 2.72 acre parcel of commercial land located at the Dang Wangi Light Rail Transit station. With a gross development value of RM1.1 billion, the project will feature a lifestyle retail podium with business and convention facilities, office space, small office home office residences, duplexes and a rooftop lounge and bar.
(The Edge Financial, 27/09/2018)
XIN HWA PROPOSES PRIVATE PLACEMENT
Xin Hwa Holdings Bhd has proposed a private placement of up to 21.60 million new shares to rise up to RM17.28 million, to partially fund the construction of a three-storey warehouse and three-storey office on its 4.37 acre land in Selangor. The warehouse will allow the group to expand its market presence in the central region of Peninsular Malaysia.
(The Sun, 27/09/2018)
ZF OPENS SECOND PLANT IN MALAYSIA
ZF (a global leader in driveline and chassis technology) has unveiled their second plant in Malaysia as part of their expansion plan to meet growing demands of the local and regional luxury automotive market. The RM48 million facility known as ZF Chassis Systems Sdn Bhd (ZCS) in Pekan, Pahang, measures 139,931 sq. ft.
MELAKA HOTEL STILL NOT SOLD
The four-star Avillion Legacy Melaka Hotel was put up for sale 14 years ago by Malaysia Building Society, but has yet to be sold. Located on Jalan Hang Tuah, the leasehold hotel (56 years remaining on its lease) is situated just outside the Unesco Heritage buffer zone, and is understood to be worth approximately RM60 million (just over half of its purchase price of RM110 million). The 15 storey, 19-year-old building has a total gross floor area of 431,424 sq. ft., and occupies 75,865 sq. ft. of land, with 346 parking bays.
(The Edge Property, 22/09/2018)
EXPEDIA GIVES LOCAL TRAVELLERS UP TO 58% DISCOUNTS WITH AOA
Expedia Malaysia aims to increase bookings with the introduction of a new feature, Add-On Advantage (AOA), which will reward Malaysian travellers by granting them discounts of up to 58% on bookings, prior to the travel date. The new feature allows travellers to book a flight or any travel package before booking a hotel at discounted rates. This feature is unique to Malaysia as the group’s online site layouts and promotions vary from country to country. Expedia currently works with more than 750,000 hotels globally and approximately 550 airlines worldwide.
(The Malaysian Reserve, 25/09/2018)
OYO RAISES RM4.14 BILLION FOR EXPANSION
OYO, South Asia’s largest hotel chain which established its presence in Malaysia in December 2017, has raised RM3.31 billion (US$800 million) based on its latest financial report. OYO currently operates more than 120 properties across all major cities in Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Johor and Melaka, thus resulting in a variety of quality and affordable stay options available to international tourists and domestic travellers, with room prices starting as low as RM49 a night. The group will continue to explore newer businesses while remaining focused on both organic and inorganic growth. In the past 12 months, the company has increased its international footprint to five countries (India, China, Malaysia, Nepal, and the UK).
MARITIME HUB TO GIVE PROJECT A BOOST
The Negri Sembilan State Government plans to set up a maritime hub located at Negri Sembilan’s southern border with Melaka and an aviation facility located near Negri Sembilan’s northern border with Selangor, to commence the ambitious Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) project. Located on a 306,410 acre site, the 30 year project has a projected gross development value of RM640 billion. It will be divided into five clusters (a Central Business District covering Seremban, Ampangan and Rasah; Nature City (Pantai and Lenggeng); Edu-Tech Valley (Labu and Setul); Wellness, Eco and Agro Tourism (Port Dickson, Kuantan, Linggi, Sirusa); and New Liveable Township (Jimah), is expected to create approximately 1.3 million jobs.
The Maritime hub will provide ship-to-ship transfer services, complementing a similar hub in Kuala Linggi, Melaka and the government is in talks with Airbus to build a final assembly line or a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Airbus has also commissioned a feasibility study of the aviation hub and is considering it favourably. The first phase of the MVV project will begin in Nilai with the development of a high-technology park followed by projects in Labu and Port Dickson.
(The Star & The Edge Financial, 27/09/2018)
MOVING FORWARD WITH REHAB AGENDA
ReGen Rehabilitation International Sdn Bhd (specialist rehabilitation medicine provider) has unveiled Malaysia’s first private rehabilitation hospital. The 96-bed standalone rehabilitation hospital has been operating since August 1, 2018. The company hopes to transform the medical landscape by raising awareness through the four pillars of the campaign: public education, professional healthcare training, engaging corporate and government organisations and reaching out to the community.
(The Star, 28/09/2018)
DIRECTHOME LOOKS TO EXPAND INTO MALAYSIA
Singapore-based DirectHome, an online property portal which connects home owners with potential buyers and tenants, is planning to expand its services into the Malaysian market within the next six months. DirectHome provides comprehensive solutions, whereby its users are able to sell, buy and rent properties via an automated process, bypassing the need of real estate agents.
(The Sun, 24/09/2018)
GREATER HOMEOWNERSHIP IN MALAYSIA
The Malaysian Government intends to promote greater homeownership in Malaysia through the encouragement of income growth. Currently, the national median household income denoted that pricing for affordable housing in Penang and Kuala Lumpur are approximately RM300,000 and RM400,000 respectively.
MALAYSIA FALLS TO 79TH ON “ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX”
Malaysia has dropped to 79th position (2017: 67th) out of 162 countries and territories in the latest Economic Freedom index by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs. Based on data in 2016-2017, the ranking reflects the fact that space for the private sector in Malaysia has been “squeezed”, businesses have been obstructed and the size of the government has increased. The index measures and ranks countries in five areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labour and business. For Malaysia, the rating on size of government increased to 6.86 from 6.80 in the 2017 report, while legal system and property rights remained unchanged at 5.76. Access to sound money declined to 5.79 from 7.01, freedom to trade internationally: increased to 7.54 from 7.51; and regulation of credit, labour and business increased to 8.62 from 8.65. A higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom. Hong Kong and Singapore topped the index, continuing their streak as first and second respectively from 2017 and the top 10 rankings also included New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the United States, Georgia, Mauritius, the UK, Australia and Canada (both tied at 10th place). Other notable countries include Germany (20th), Japan (41st), France (57th), Russia (87th) and China (108th).
(The Edge Property & The Sun, 25/09/2018)
LOAN PROBLEMS PREVAIL
According to the Real Estate Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia, the top three reasons for unsold residential units in the Malaysian market are due to the “difficulties of obtaining end financing, the unreleased bumiputra quota and a weak market.” The overall loan growth in Malaysia is expected to be subdued following the fall in automotive sales and consumer spending after the introduction of the Sales and Services Tax. The Ministry of Finance cited high loan rejection rates as one of the reasons that prospective house buyers are unable to secure financing. This situation has also resulted in some low-cost houses in Penang remaining unoccupied despite the good demand for such housing. The government has been in talks with Bank Negara Malaysia regarding the reassessment of the prevailing lending guidelines.
REHDA: 2019 PROPERTY PRICE TURNAROUND “UNLIKELY”
According to Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia, house prices will not pick up in 2019 as the broad national economy will always have an impact on house prices, citing the gross domestic product forecast for 2019 is expected at circa 5% or even lower. Factors that may change this are if the Malaysian Government and Bank Negara come up with a financing scheme that benefits home-buyers from all segments, which is not limited to first-time buyers and the bottom 40 group.
(The Edge Property, 25/09/2018)
1H18 HOUSEHOLD DEBT-TO-GDP MODERATES FURTHER AT 83.8%
Malaysia’s household debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) continues to moderate, standing at 83.8% in 1H18 compared with 84.2% in 1H17. However, property market imbalances were seen persisting, with vacancy rates for office space and shopping complexes deteriorating further in 1Q18. The number of unsold housing units correspondingly increased to approximately 146,196 units as at end of 1Q18, with more than 80% of unsold units being priced above RM250,000. Nevertheless, the sustained demand for affordable housing particularly from first-time home buyers and prudent underwriting practices in lending to the property market and related sectors are expected to mitigate any broad based price correction. New household borrowings remained of high quality and approximately three-quarters of new loans approved are to borrowers with debt service ratios of less than 60%.
(NST, The Sun & The Star, 27/09/2018)
DEVELOPING ASIA SET TO LEAD
Developing Asia is set to lead global growth with an outlook that remains resilient despite external headwinds. Asian Development Bank (ADB) kept the 2018 growth forecast for the region at 6%, while growth excluding the high-income newly-industrialised economies was forecasted at 6.5%. Despite the overall favourable Asian expansion, economies in Southeast Asia are expected to experience a slight decline in 2018. Sub-regional growth is projected at 5.1%, a marginal decline from its earlier 2018 forecast. A combination of factors such as moderation in export growth, softer domestic demand, subdued agriculture, higher inflation, net capital outflow and a worsening balance of payments, dimmed the growth outlook in six of the 10 economies in the sub-region, namely: Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam. Malaysia’s growth forecast was cut to 5% from 5.3% previously. In contrast, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand are set to outperform earlier forecasts, while Cambodia and Singapore will likely meet April 2018 projections. Overall, Southeast Asian growth is expected to return to the 2017 rate of 5.2% in 2019.
(The Edge Financial, NST & The Sun, 27/09/2018)
MALAYSIA MAY IMPLEMENT VEP BY THE END OF 2018
The Road Transport Department optimistically expects the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) on all foreign vehicles entering the country via the Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, to be implemented at the end of 2018. The permit system is currently in its final testing stages, before being finalised by the Ministry of Transport.
(The Edge Property, 25/09/2018)
GEMAS-JB LINE TO COST 20% LESS
The Gemas-Johor Baru (JB) electrified double-tracking project (EDTP) will cost circa 20% less than the RM9.43 billion contract originally awarded to a Chinese group due to the exemption of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) and greater competition among contractors to secure work packages along the 197km stretch. The YTL-SIPP joint venture is currently the full turnkey contractor for the Gemas-JB EDTP, with a contract value of RM8.9 billion. The project entails 197km of double tracks as well as stations, depots, land viaduct, bridges, electrification and signalling systems. The civil works portion of the project is estimated to cost RM6 billion, whereas the remaining allocation is for the construction of double tracks and railways system. The Gemas-JB EDTP, which will run through the districts of Segamat, Kluang, Kulai and Johor Baru, is scheduled to be completed in October 2021.
TEMOKIN DEVELOPMENT LAUNCHES MAIDEN PROJECT IN PASIR GUDANG
Temokin Development Sdn Bhd (TDSB), a member of Temokin Holdings Sdn Bhd (THSB), recently launched the first phase of its maiden property project, the “Mahligai” at Nusa Damai, Johor. With a total gross development value of RM100 million, the “Mahligai” is a landed property project which will be introduced over three phases, with prices for two-storey terrace homes starting at RM480,000. Sprawling across 11.75 acres, the “Mahligai” comprises phases are Phase 1 comprising 53 units of four bedroom, double-storey terraced homes with a built up of approximately 1,679 sq. ft. for intermediate units and 1,752 sq. ft. for corner units. Phase 2 of the “Mahligai” will feature 87 double-storey terraced homes and Phase 3 will feature 23 exclusive, three-storey terraced homes. To date, approximately 95% of the units in the first phase have reportedly been sold.
(The Edge Property, 25/09/2018)
CLUSTER HOMES LAUNCHED IN JOHOR BARU
Plenitude Tebrau Sdn Bhd has launched its “HARP Taman Desa Tebrau” double-storey cluster homes in Johor Baru. Located on 49 acres of land, 344 freehold houses will be developed in three phases. The first phase of the project comprises 100 units, including 40 semi-detached homes and vacant possession is scheduled to be granted prior to September 2020. Approximately 60% of the international lots in the first phase were sold on the first day of the launch. The second phase comprises 112 units and is scheduled for launch in December 2018. There are three house designs with prices ranging between RM1.12 million and RM1.22 million.
(The Star, 27/09/2018)
SUNWAY SIGNS MOU WITH NEC
Sunway Bhd and NEC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (NEC) are exploring a collaboration to augment safety and security for the 1,788 acre Sunway Iskandar Township in Johor and to develop smart city solutions together with an Innovation Centre of Excellence (CoE). The firms have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the appointment of NEC Asia Pacific as one of Sunway Iskandar’s preferred information and communication technology system integrator and equipment providers. NEC plans to invest an estimated RM100 million into the township, which will create skilled tech jobs and develop local “technopreneurs” and tech-savvy talent within the Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor. As part of the MoU, NEC Asia Pacific will explore the implementation of the latest NEC technologies (including biometrics and video analytics), towards making Sunway Iskandar a smart, secure and sustainable township, and to establish a one-stop service desk support centre for NEC’s managed service business in Sunway Iskandar.
CRESCENDO’S 2Q18 PROFIT DOWN 37% ON LOWER PROFIT MARGIN
Crescendo Corp Bhd’s 2Q18 net profit fell 36.7% to RM10.99 million, from RM17.37 million a year ago, due to more sales of market driven affordable houses, which have a lower profit margin. In 1H18, the group launched 17 terraced factories in Taman Perindustrian Cemerlang, Johor, 24 shop offices, 102 mid-market landed residential properties and 204 affordable homes at Bandar Cemerlang, Johor. Moving forward, the group is planning to launch 23 detached, semi-detached and cluster factories at Taman Perindustrian Cemerlang, Johor and 222 affordable homes at Tanjung Senibong, Johor.
(The Edge Property, 27/09/2018)
TROPICANA ACQUIRES MORE ASSETS
Tropicana Corp Bhd is acquiring a 50.1% stake in Peluang Duta Sdn Bhd (PDSB) for RM49.05 million. PDSB’s 70% owned subsidiary, T Sanctuary Development, owns two plots of land measuring 329 acres in Johor, whereby the land has been earmarked for a mixed development project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM4.3 billion. The proposed project comprises a 70% residential and 30% commercial breakdown, which includes terraced houses, shop offices, urban affordable homes, serviced apartments and an international school.
The group’s first residential phase of “Tropicana Danga Cove” (GDV of approximately RM7 billion) in Iskandar, Johor, is “Ayer Residences”, which has recorded a 100% sales rate for non-Bumiputera units. Tropicana is launching the second phase in 4Q18.
SYNTHOMER TO INVEST RM35 MILLION IN R&D NEAR PASIR GUDANG
Synthomer plans to invest approximately RM35 million to set up a new research and development (R&D) centre near its Pasir Gudang facility, in Johor, as part of its ongoing expansion plan in Malaysia. Scheduled to take approximately 18 months to set up the R&D centre and commence operations in early 2020, the facility will result in a yearly increase of 90,000 tonnes of nitrile latex, which is a 50% increase from the existing output. With the opening of the R&D centre, the existing centre in its Kluang outfit with 70 researchers will be relocated to the new location.
(The Star, 22/09/2018)
JOHOR PROPOSES NEW HOSPITAL IN KEMPAS
The Johor State Government is proposing for a new hospital to be built in Kempas to mitigate the congestion issue at the Sultanah Aminah and Sultan Ismail hospitals. With an estimated cost of RM500 million, the construction of the proposed hospital is scheduled to commence in the middle of 2019.
JOHOR GOVERNMENT URGED TO QUICKLY “FREE UP”: BUMI LOTS
Developers are hoping that the Johor State Government can assist with hastening the release of more than 80,000 unsold bumiputra properties worth billions, most of which are residential properties. Under existing guidelines, developers will be eligible to release bumiputra units after nine months or when 50% of the project has already been completed. However, some of the bumiputra units have taken up to five years to be completely released. Circa 40% of units in any housing development project in Johor must be set aside for bumiputra buyers, who are entitled to a 15% discount. To change the status of the bumi lots, developers are required to pay 7.5% of the initial 15% discount as a premium to the state government. Noting that the take-up rate for factories and shoplots for bumiputras was only 5% in the state, developers are forced to hold on to these units, which can be easily vandalised and are costly to repair and maintain.
(The Star, 27/09/2018)
PENANG WANT TO GO AHEAD WITH LRT PROJECT
The Penang State Government is adamant about moving forward with the proposed light rail transit (LRT) project despite the decommissioned Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) denoting that it “may not be the best option for the state”. This proposition was raised as SPAD’s planned tram system was not suitable for the state and may end up aggravating the worsening traffic congestion. The government will do the necessary changes of the proposed LRT project and will submit the plan to SPAD within a month.
LOCAL CONTRACTORS WILL NOT BE EXCLUDED
In 2019, local contractors will benefit from several infrastructure projects to be carried out in Penang. The state is ready to allocate construction works to local contractors, including one of the three paired roads (the 5.7km Ayer Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass), which is scheduled to commence in 1H19. Besides the Ayer Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass, it also includes a 7.2km undersea tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Prai, the 4.075km Gurney Drive-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and the 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang. The other projects include flood mitigation projects and the expansion of Penang International Airport and the expansion of the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal.
(The Star, 27/09/2018)
GAMUDA GETS EXTENSION FOR PTMP
Gamuda Bhd has received an extension from the Penang State Government for its appointment as the project delivery partner for roads and public transportation projects, which are part of the Penang Transport Masterplan (PTMP). The validity of the letter of award was extended to August 30, 2019, from August 30, 2018, by the Penang State Government, as it awaits relevant approvals from the Federal Government.
(The Sun, 25/09/2018)
STRAITS TRADING, UNIT AIM TO DEVELOP PENANG LAND
Singapore-listed Straits Trading Company Ltd and its unit MSC Properties Sdn Bhd are looking to develop their land in Butterworth, Penang. MSC has a tin smelting plant located on 13.9 acres of land in Butterworth and Straits Trading owns neighbouring land totalling 26.2 acres. These land parcels (totalling 40.1 acres) are a mere 5 to 10 minute drive to the upcoming Penang Sentral, a multi-billion ringgit integrated transportation hub connecting the railway, ferry and bus services throughout the entire State of Penang. MSC is relocating its smelting operations from Butterworth to a new plant in Pulau Indah, Klang, scheduled for completion in by 2020.
(NST & The Edge Financial, 28/09/2018)
DAYA MATERIALS SECURES RM19.98 MILLION JOB
Daya Materials Bhd’s unit, Daya CMT Sdn Bhd, has secured a RM19.98 million construction contract from Mehow Medical (M) Sdn Bhd to construct a factory block and a three-storey warehouse in Seberang Prai Tengah, Penang. The project duration will be for a period of 10 months, commencing October 9, 2018.