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CURRENT ACCOUNT SURPLUS TO REMAIN

The Malaysian Government expects Malaysia’s current account to remain at a surplus in 2018 and will not suffer from a twin deficit. The government is focused on smarter spending, while adopting a wider application of the open tender concept for government procurements and projects. The government’s current efforts of fiscal consolidation are focused on prudence, which refers to the cutting out of the excesses of the past.

(NST, 09/10/2018)


MOF APPROVES 48 PPP PROJECTS

Approximately 48 public private partnership (PPP) projects, which were under review under the Public Private Partnership Unit, have been approved, under the condition that an open tender process is executed. Progressing forward, projects approved after the review will generate additional economic growth, while leaving no space for “financial abuse”.

(The Star, 09/10/2018)


AUGUST 2018 INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT UP 2.2% BUT BELOW FORECAST

Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) for August 2018 depicted a growth of 2.2%, which was slightly below a survey predicting a 2.3% increase. The Department of Statistics Malaysia denoted that the growth in the IPI for August 2018 was supported by an increase in the manufacturing index (4.3%) and electricity (4.0%). The increase in manufacturing output was driven by major sub-sectors such as electrical and electronic equipment products (4.5%); petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (3.5%) and non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products (4.9%). The mining sector output registered a decline of 4.6% in August 2018 compared with the corresponding period in 2017, which was contributed by a decrease in the natural gas index (-8.0%) and the crude oil index (-0.6%).

(The Star & The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


 

GOVERNMENT TO SELL ASSETS

In an effort to pare down the national debt of RM1 trillion, the Malaysian Government will pursue ways to raise funds, including selling some of its assets and the possibility of introducing new taxes. The government will look at selling land to locals for housing projects and other “valuable assets”. The new tax regime will be different from the current Sales and Service Tax and will serve as “less of a burden to the people”.

(The Sun, 10/10/2018)


RM120 MILLION ALLOCATED TO REACQUIRE CITY HALL LAND

In totality, RM120 million in compensation has been allocated towards repaying the buyers involved in 10 transactions concerning plots of land owned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), which were cancelled. The 10 transactions involved 35 acres of land and are part of 97 overall transactions involving the sale of DBKL land worth RM5.63 billion. In addition to the 10 cancelled transactions, a total of 23 transactions were successfully renegotiated, one was brought to court and 43 others were concluded. Meanwhile, transaction details of 20 plots of land whereby ownership has been transferred were handed to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency for investigation.

(NST, 08/10/2018)


 

ONE MILLION AFFORDABLE HOMES TARGET UNDER REVIEW

The Malaysian Government is looking to review its pledge of building one million affordable homes as it now feels that the country does not necessarily require so many units to address the affordable housing issue. The government intends to work alongside the private sector to develop these projects but further details are still pending.

(The Edge Financial, 09/10/2018)


MINISTRY WANTS MORE LAND FOR AFFORDABLE HOMES

In a bid to lower the cost of building affordable houses, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government has requested the respective state governments to disclose vacant lands available for such development. There are currently 127 affordable housing projects of which merely 27 land parcels were provided by state governments and the rest are on private land, which results in steep land costs and relatively more expensive housing. The 27 tracts of land come in varying sizes, from as small as 2.75 acres to 10 acres. For “new” affordable housing projects, each development needs at least 10 acres from a state government. Besides state government land, the federal government is also looking at land under the Federal Lands Commission to be released for development. That is why a policy is in place where the state governments have to give land to the federal government to build affordable housing. Under the new housing policy that will be unveiled soon, the government will introduce a subsidy for the development of affordable housing units and “rent them out to deserving citizens.”

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 09/10/2018)


 

SIX AGENCIES TO BE MERGED INTO SINGLE ENTITY FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Malaysian government will combine six existing agencies to form a single entity known as the “National Affordable Housing Council”, to streamline and coordinate the development of affordable housing. The ministry is looking to consolidate Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia, Uda Holdings Bhd, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Sdn Bhd, Federal Territories Affordable Housing, Housing Programme for the Hardcore Poor, and 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing. The merging of these bodies aims to provide a consolidated approach in addressing the affordable housing issue and to avoid any potential “overlapping of affordable housing projects”. Grouping the different bodies under a single entity will allow the government to control the distribution, financing schemes and the pricing of the housing units, in line with the ministry’s policies.

(The Edge Financial, 09/10/2018)


 

AFFORDABLE HOMES IN CITIES, FOR RENTAL ONLY

The Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) plans to rent out affordable homes in “cities” for a period of approximately five years instead of selling them to boost rental housing in future developments. By then, occupants should be able to afford to buy a new house and opt for the rent-to-own (RTO) scheme. The ministry plans to expand the RTO scheme to other segments of the property industry and branch out nationally. RTO schemes must also accommodate a wide spectrum of the population, mainly focusing on lower income groups and those who are not eligible for any form of housing loan. By doing so, prospective homeowners, particularly from the “B40 group” will be able to lay out their financial plan accordingly and increase the likelihood of owning a house. The government will ensure that affordable homes are built in strategic locations, which are situated close to infrastructure, city centres and amenities.

(The Sun, 09/10/2018)


AFFORDABLE HOUSING BUILDERS COULD SEE LOWER COMPLIANCE COSTS BY 2019

By 2019, developers of affordable housing are expected to see a reduction in their compliance costs including those for utility, water and telecommunications, under the circumstance that the affordable housing policy is approved by the Cabinet. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government wants utility companies to construct their own utility base and amenities within housing areas thus reducing the cost for developers. The ministry has proposed that prices of affordable houses are to be “capped at RM500,000”, depending on the location and median income of people in the area. These units should be equipped with facilities and have a configuration in excess of 850 sq. ft. The high cost of houses is a result of the imposition of land premiums, development costs and compliance costs. Land and compliance costs make up approximately 25% of the overall cost of building a house. The ministry is effectively seeking to reduce the cost of development for developers, so that house prices can be lowered.

(The Sun & The Edge Financial, 10/10/2018)


 

NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY AWAITING CABINET APPROVAL

Accordingly to the Housing and Local Government Minister, the National Housing Policy is awaiting Cabinet approval and will be made public on or around November 2, 2018, when the Pakatan Harapan government unveils its first budget.

(The Star, 11/10/2018)


MINISTRY TO REVIEW BUMI QUOTA FOR HOUSING PROJECTS

The Housing and Local Government Ministry will study the bumiputra quota for housing projects and correspondingly devise a release mechanism, as housing developers have long lamented the burden of unsold bumiputra units. Currently, different states impose different bumiputra quotas (between 30% and 70%) for housing projects. Housing developers are appealing that by the time the certificate of completion and compliance is given, the unsold bumiputra units must be released into the open market. Any unsold and “unbilled” bumiputra unit is a liability to the developer who is usually required to pay interest to the bank, which then adds on to total costs.

(The Edge Property, 08/10/2018 & The Sun, 09/10/2018)


 

NEGERI SEMBILAN SETS TO RESOLVE ISSUES OF ABANDONED PROJECTS

The Negeri Sembilan state government is committed to resolve issues concerning several abandoned housing and commercial projects to assist affected buyers. State Urban Wellbeing, Housing, Local Government and the New Village Committee chairman have stated that there are currently “two housing projects in Kuala Pilah and Gemas, and four abandoned commercial projects in Seremban.”

(The Edge Property, 10/10/2018)


FEDERAL COURT TO DECIDE IF KPKT CAN GRANT EXTENSION OF TIME TO DEVELOPERS

The Federal Court will decide whether the Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Ministry has the authority to grant developers an extension of time (EOT) for their property development projects. If the ministry is allowed to grant EOTs to developers, this would exempt them from paying liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) to buyers (at 10% of the purchase price per year) if they fail to promptly deliver their properties to purchasers.

(The Edge Property, 10/10/2018)


HOME MINISTRY TO ASSESS NEEDS OF POLICE STATIONS

The Home Ministry will be visiting police stations nationwide to assess each site and the welfare of police personnel. Among issues discussed were the maintenance of police stations, upgrading of the personnel living quarters, improving logistics and reviewing the welfare of personnel. As for the construction of Kota Kinabalu’s new police headquarters, the project is ongoing and is scheduled to be completed by mid-2019.

(NST, 09/10/2018)


 

GOVERNMENT TO RETENDER MRT2 UNDERGROUND WORKS

The federal government will be retendering all unfinished underground works of the Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 (MRT2) project (also known as the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line), via an international open tender process. This follows the cabinet’s decision to terminate the underground work contract of the MRT2 with MMC Gamuda KVMRT Sdn Bhd, a joint-venture between Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd.

(The Edge Financial, The Star, 08/10/2018)


 

NO CUT IN NUMBER OF MRT2 UNDERGROUND STATIONS

There will be no change to the number of underground stations for the Mass Rapid Transit 2 (MRT2) project, dismissing concerns after the federal government decided to retender all unfinished underground works of the project via an international open tender process. A total of 35 stations (11 of which are underground), will be built along the MRT2 network.

(The Edge Property, 08/10/2018)


 

GOVERNMENT CAN’T AFFORD SEREMBAN-PD RAILWAY LINK

The Malaysian Government cannot afford to reconstruct the 39km Seremban-Port Dickson (PD) rail route (the second oldest in the country) as it will require a substantial budget. The Port Dickson Residents’ Association had proposed for the rail route to be revived as it could help transform Port Dickson into an international tourism destination. KTM stopped the passenger train service in the late 1970s due to low passenger volume and the freight link in 2009, following a derailment. However, there have been talks that the project may be revived as part of the ambitious Malaysia Vision Valley project, encompassing the Seremban-Nilai-Port Dickson growth area.

(The Star, 09/10/2018)


 

NEW CONNECTING ROAD TO PULAU BUNTING OPENED TO THE PUBLIC

A new road connecting the North-South Expressway to Pulau Bunting near Yan in Kedah was completed on September 23, 2018, and was opened to the public from October 9, 2018.

(The Edge Property, 09/10/2018)


 

AIRASIA TO START DIRECT SERVICE FROM KL TO TIANJIN

AirAsia is expanding its footprint in China with an exclusive direct service between Kuala Lumpur and the coastal city of Tianjin in North-eastern China. Beginning December 2, 2018, the new route will connect more than 15 million people in Tianjin with South-East Asia and beyond. Located in northern China bordering the Beijing and Heibei pro­vince, Tianjin is a coastal metropolis with numerous cultural, social and economic elements. Its attractions include: The Five Great Avenues district, Tianjin Radio and TV Tower and Drum Tower.

(The Star, 12/10/2018)


 

FT MINISTRY RENEGOTIATES 23 LAND DEALS, ADD RM149 MILLION

A special committee under the Federal Territories (FT) Ministry has successfully renegotiated 23 out of 97 dubious land deals that were deemed lopsided, adding a further RM149 million to Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur’s coffers. Among the 23 deals that are undergoing the negotiation process, 16 have concluded and the developers have agreed to “top-up” the transaction price, whereas three cases require valuations from the Valuation and Property Services Department. These 23 parcels of land which have a total acreage of 256.96 acres are located at Bandar Tun Razak (1), Batu (3), Bukit Bintang (3), Cheras (2), Kepong (3), Segambut (2), Seputeh (3), Setiawangsa (2) and Titiwangsa (4).

(The Edge Property, 09/10/2018)


HIGH EARNINGS VISIBILITY FOR VIZIONE

As at June 30, 2018, Vizione Holdings Bhd’s order book of 23 projects that predominantly comprises construction jobs has “ballooned” to RM3.91 billion. Of these projects, 12 are private commercial developments worth RM2.661 billion, seven are government housing schemes with a contract value of RM589 million and four are infrastructure projects worth RM656 million. Vizione is also working with Vertice Bhd to undertake construction works for a RM815 million contract awarded by Consortium Zenith. The Package 2 contract involves the construction of a 5.7km bypass connecting Bandar Baru Ayer Itam to Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu as part of the Penang Transport Master Plan.

(The Edge Property, 06/10/2018)


HCK CAPITAL LIKELY TO TAKE OVER EMPIRE REMIX DEVELOPMENT

Mammoth Empire Holding Sdn Bhd’s (MEH) Empire Remix development in USJ 1, Subang Jaya, is expected to be taken over by a new investor or a group of new investors. The investors will have to pay more than RM350 million to finish the project (which has experienced delays) and are likely to assume all liabilities of the development, particularly involving the rights of end purchasers and banks that have an interest in the development. With a gross development value of RM1 billion, Empire Remix and Empire Remix 2 are integrated commercial developments which were launched in 2012. Approximately RM350 million is needed to complete Empire Remix, but this sum excludes potential obligations under liquidated and ascertained damages. Dergahayu Sdn Bhd (owns the 14-acre Empire Remix site) and HCK Capital Group Bhd, may join up to take over the development. HCK Capital acquired two “en bloc” office buildings (The Duo and The Cubiz) in the Empire Remix development from MEH in 2012.

(The Edge Property, 06/10/2018)


CHINA’S CPCG PLANS TO INVEST RM10 BILLION IN MALAYSIA

China-based Pacific Construction Group Ltd (CPCG) has committed an investment of up to RM10 billion over 10 years in Malaysia, within the areas of infrastructure development, high technology machineries, knowledge transference and education. With that commitment, CPCG has also established CPCI Holdings Sdn Bhd (CPCI), its wholly-owned subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur, to facilitate the Group’s investments into Malaysia, which will also serve as its regional technical competency centre.

(NST & The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


IOI PROPERTIES OFFERS FINANCING SCHEME FOR SELECTED HOMES

IOI Properties Group Bhd has launched the “Pay Later Buy Now” financing scheme to bridge the gap in the current market, where purchasers are interested and are financially capable of purchasing properties either today or sometime in the near future, but are facing stringent end financing requirements. Under the financing scheme, purchasers enjoy a down payment from as low as RM1,000 and an extended period of five years to settle differential sum payments up to RM170,000. The properties offered include “The Clio Residences” in IOI Resort City, Putrajaya and 3 projects located within “16 Sierra” in Puchong South comprising “Akira” (3-storey semi-detached), “Lyden” (semi-detached) and “N’Dira” (hybrid terraced).

(The Edge Financial, 09/10/2018)


 

GREENFIELD RESIDENCE BY CICET ASIA

Greenfield Residence is an inaugural project under Cicet Asia Development Sdn Bhd. Located in Sunway Mentari, off Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong, the project was built in accordance with the Green Building Index. The project comprises 816 residential suites in three towers, with a 50m infinity pool, sunken sundeck, hot tub, a jogging trail that encircles a 1.98 acre recreational podium, and a floating gym. Built-up areas of the suites range between 581 sq. ft. and 1,302 sq. ft. and are priced from RM430,000.

(The Edge Financial, 08/10/2018)


 

NO NEED TO REDUCE AFFORDABLE HOUSE PRICE IN MELAKA

The Melaka State Government has set the ceiling price for affordable housing at RM180,000 in the state, in which developers cannot offer affordable houses at a price higher than that. Affordable home prices in the state are seen as “reasonable and affordable” to fall within the B40 group. For example, the price of a single storey terraced house in Kuala Sungai Baru, Melaka, with the standard of two bathrooms and three bedrooms starts from only RM143,450.

(The Edge Property, 08/10/2018)


 

KERJAYA PROSPEK TAKES OVER CONDOMINIUM PROJECT IN KL

Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd (KPGB) is buying a 90% stake in Yakin Land Sdn Bhd (YLSB), which has a condominium project in Batu, Kuala Lumpur, for RM10.8 million. KPGB’s wholly-owned unit, Bazarbayu Sdn Bhd, acquired the 90% stake in YLSB for RM1.35 million, while also agreeing to pay RM9.45 million owed by YLSB to its previous shareholders. YLSB, according to KPGB obtained the rights to develop a housing project on 4.5 acres of land in Batu via a joint venture agreement with the landowners in 2016. The group plans to develop two 36-storey blocks of condominiums comprising 454 units, targeted for completion by the end of September 2022.

(The Edge Financial & NST, 12/10/2018)


 

CUSCAPI BUYS COMMERCIAL SPACE AT EMPIRE CITY FOR RM20 MILLION

Cuscapi Bhd, which is currently operating from leased premises, is acquiring a commercial space at Empire City in Damansara Perdana for RM20 million. The group is purchasing the space located within the podium level below MyEG Tower, from Cosmopolitan Avenue Sdn Bhd, a unit of Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd. The 33,340 sq. ft. space will, however, only be ready for occupation in 18 months.

(The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


 

DOMINO’S EYES 240 STORES BY THE END OF 2018

Domino’s Pizza Malaysia aims to expand the number of its outlets in Malaysia from the current 223 to 240 by the end of 2018. Domino’s is positive about the outlook for the food and beverages sector in 2019 and is looking into growth opportunities.

(NST, 06/10/2018)


T7 GLOBAL VENTURES INTO RETAIL SEGMENT

T7 Global Bhd is expanding into the retail segment via the incorporation of a sub-subsidiary company known as T7 Generations Sdn Bhd. The intended principal activity of T7 Generations is to be involved in the retail sale of clothing, articles of fur, clothing accessories, footwear and retail sales of “new goods” in specialised stores.

(The Sun, 09/10/2018)


NSK HYPERMARKET TO OPEN IN CYBERJAYA IN 2020

Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd (“SH”) and NSK Property Sdn Bhd (“NSK”) have signed a tenancy agreement for NSK to open a hypermarket in Cyberjaya in 2020. NSK will rent 13-acres of land located at the centre of Cyberjaya from Setia Haruman for a period of fifteen (15) years. The 250,000 sq. ft. hypermarket is targeted to open for business in 4Q20 and will initially operate from 7am to midnight daily. The hypermarket will cost approximately RM35 million to build and operate and will combine two concepts of retail and wholesale businesses, making it the first of its kind in Cyberjaya and it will offer a wide range of products at “affordable” prices.

(The Sun, 11/10/2018)


LARGEST CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED CENTRE LAUNCHED

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia and its authorised dealer Hap Seng Star have launched the RM41.6 million Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-owned Centre in Bandar Kinrara Industrial Park, Puchong. Operated by Hap Seng Star Kinrara, the centre is the largest in Malaysia with a built-up area of 46,210 sq. ft. It has the capacity to display more than 100 showroom vehicles at a time and delivers a complete one-stop solution in sales and financial services.

(NST, 07/10/2018)


NESTLE (M) TO SELL CHILLED DAIRY UNIT, PJ PLANT TO FUND WORLD’S LARGEST MILO FACTORY

Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd is selling its chilled dairy business (which retails the Bliss brand of yogurt drinks in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei) and its Petaling Jaya factory, to Lactalis Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd for RM155.3 million. The move is part of plans to set up the largest Milo factory in the world in Chembong, Negri Sembilan. By the end of 2019, the group will be using RM100 million, or the bulk of the proceeds from the sale, for the Milo manufacturing centre in Chembong. Nestle Malaysia plans to move all existing Milo manufacturing assets in the Petaling Jaya factory to the Chembong factory and expects a one-time gain of RM27 million from the disposal, split over 2018 and 2019. Effective January 1, 2019, the deal comes with a “no compete” clause for five years, forbidding Nestle Malaysia from operating in the chilled dairy business.

(The Sun, The Star, NST & The Edge Financial, 10/10/2018)


TDA MANAGING RM74.7 BILLION ICP AND PROJECTS

Technology Depository Agency (TDA), an agency responsible for monitoring the Industrial Collaboration Programme (ICP), is managing US$18 billion (RM74.7 billion) worth of 89 ICPs and 396 ICP projects. Established in 2015 under the Ministry of Finance, TDA’s core function serves to manage, administer and monitor the implementation of ICP to further develop the local industry and the nation’s technology capabilities, leveraging on strategic government procurement.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 08/10/2018)


PERAK SIGNS RM1.9 BILLION INVESTMENT DEALS

InvestPerak, the state’s investment promotion agency, and Gas Malaysia Bhd, have signed investment pacts with five local companies worth approximately RM1.9 billion. The biggest investment was the RM1.1 billion agreement signed with Malayan Flour Mills Bhd to build an agro-food industry manufacturing plant in the state. InvestPerak has also signed an agreement with Top Glove Bhd, that will invest RM100 million to build a glove manufacturing factory in Ipoh and will also collaborate with Central Medicare Sdn Bhd to build another glove factory in Changkat Jong in Teluk Intan, Perak, with an investment valued at RM600 million.

(The Star, 11/10/2018)


CHINA TOURIST ARRIVALS PLUNGE DURING PEAK PERIOD

Between October 1, 2018 and October 7, 2018, tourist arrivals from mainland China to Malaysia declined by an estimated 30% to 35% during China’s National Day break, compared with last year’s holiday period. This was the first time Malaysia posted a fall in tourist arrivals from China during its “golden week” or peak tourism season in the “Middle Kingdom”. China’s “golden week” in 2017 registered circa 180,000 Chinese tourists entering Malaysia.

(The Star, 09/10/2018)


MAHB SEPTEMBER 2018 PASSENGER TRAFFIC UP 1.3%

Passenger traffic at 39 airports across various countries in which Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) operates, increased by 1.3% in September 2018 to 7.75 million, from 7.65 million in September 2017. International traffic climbed 0.9% Y-o-Y to 4 million passengers, while domestic traffic increased 1.6% Y-o-Y to 3.75 million passengers. Double-digit growth was experienced in the context of passenger movements to and from Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Iraq in September 2018. Passenger traffic at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Main Terminal contracted 0.5% Y-o-Y to 2.18 million in September 2018 from 2.19 million, whereas passenger traffic at klia2 also fell by 0.8% to 2.45 million from 2.47 million. This was due to a 1.4% Y-o-Y decline in international passengers to 3.35 million, which was offset by a 0.8% increase in domestic passengers to 1.28 million.

(The Edge Financial & NST, 11/10/2018)


THE CANVAS HOTEL IN KLANG OPENED

The Canvas Hotel, a 98-room boutique hotel in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang, Selangor, is part of the Impiria Residensi mixed development which also offers retail shops and residences. Developed by WCT Holdings Bhd, it was completed in July 2018 and the opening of the hotel was in September 2018. There are 63 superior queen bed rooms, 28 superior twin bed rooms and seven king bed suites in the hotel. Room rates start from RM125 per night during the opening promotion period, which ends in February 2018.

(The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


 

MITRAJAYA SECURES RM100 MILLION JOB TO BUILD KL HOSPITAL

Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd has secured a RM99.9 million contract from International Medical University, Malaysia, to build a 7-storey private hospital with one basement level and a 6-storey podium car park at Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur. The contract will commence on October 15, 2018, and is scheduled for completion by January 15, 2021.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 10/10/2018)


GENTING UPS THE LIFESTYLE GAME

By the end of 2018, Resort World Genting (RWG) will introduce the indoor Skytropolis Amusement Park at First World Hotel (currently undergoing a substantial revamping process) and will open featuring 24 rides along with an ice-skating rink housed within more than 430,556 sq. ft. of space. The Void, a planned franchise of mixed reality entertainment attractions and ILMxLAB are collaborating to bring in the first virtual reality experience featuring Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Opening in December 2018 is Zouk Genting which will span 37,500 sq. ft. on Level G of Sky Avenue, which will comprise two clubs including Zouk and Empire. In early 2018, RedTail Bar by Zouk, a new-style gaming bar covering approximately 4,289 sq. ft. opened at Sky Avenue. RWG also recently opened Asian Bar Street, which is part of Sky Avenue and a new dining establishment, High Line, which occupies approximately 140,943 sq. ft. of space located on Level 4 of Sky Avenue.

(The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


PASSING ON SST SAVINGS TO BUYERS “NOT EASY”

Property developers have until the end of October 2018 to announce the discount which can be passed on to house buyers arising from the sales and services tax (SST) exemption on construction materials, but the cutting of prices may be an arduous task. While there are other major cost components that play a part in property prices (land and compliance costs), lower input costs resulting from the exemption of SST on construction materials “should” translate into lower house prices.

(The Edge Financial, 08/10/2018)


CURRENT HOUSING POLICIES MUST CHANGE

According to Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute, there is a need to change existing legislations for the real estate industry as laws have not kept up with the pace of the nation’s economic and social landscape. Urbanisation has altered the face of Malaysia in the past four decades with the size of its urban population growing from 30% to 70% of the total population, which therefore necessitates a review of existing policies and legislations to better handle challenges faced by industry stakeholders. The move of the Malaysian Government in introducing the revival of the Malaysia Inc concept encourages public and private partnerships, as it may assist in the development of affordable homes.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association reckons that in order to enable more affordable homes to be introduced to homebuyers, all stakeholders in the industry, including the government, land owners, developers and suppliers, need to play a part in reducing the cost of building homes. Besides this, there’s a need for developers to share supply data in order to better capture market conditions and manage the prevailing “demand and supply mismatch”.

(The Edge Property, 08/10/2018)


 

 

JPPH PROPOSES TO SET UP PANEL TO MONITOR HOUSE PRICES

The Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) has proposed to form a committee to monitor house prices. JPPH, which has been proposed to be part of the committee, will conduct checks on new housing projects and provide advice on whether the projects are overpriced or otherwise, prior to approvals being granted by the National Housing Department (JPN). Though this move will assist the government monitor house prices, the proposal is still at its initial stages. Property developers can however expect a simplified data submission process in 2019 following collaboration between JPPH and JPN. The two departments began discussions in early 2018 to streamline the data submission process whereby property developers would only have to submit one form to either department. The process will be easier and less time consuming, given that developers have to submit comprehensive data on every project it is working on to both JPPH and JPN.

(The Sun, 10/10/2018)


LOAN TENURE COULD BE EXTENDED UP TO 40 YEARS

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is proposing a more flexible loan package with flexible interest rates and extended maximum loan tenure for affordable home buyers. One of the proposals includes a maximum loan tenure extension from the current 35 years to 40 years. Currently, the maximum loan tenure stands at 35 years or until the borrower turns 70 years old, whichever occurs earlier. BNM also proposed flexi loans, flexi interest rates and a step-up scheme, which allows the amount of repayment to commensurate with the growth of the borrower’s income over time.

(The Edge Financial, 10/10/2018)


 

REHDA URGES STATES TO ADOPT AUTOMATIC RELEASE MECHANISM FOR BUMI UNITS

The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) has urged state governments to adopt an automatic release mechanism for properties allocated under bumiputera quotas, in order to lower the high number of unsold units in Malaysia. Of all states in Malaysia, only Penang and Selangor have the automatic bumiputera unit release mechanism. Rehda has suggested that other states should be transparent and adhere to the mechanism in helping the country reduce overall property prices.

Besides unsold bumiputera units, other reasons contributing to the unsold units are end-financing problems and low interest or demand in certain areas. A recent survey has revealed that 89% of respondents are facing end-financing problems compared with 39% in 2H17.

(The Edge Property, 10/10/2018)


 

NAPIC: PROPERTY MARKET EXPECTED TO IMPROVE AROUND 2H18 OR 1H19

The property market is expected to improve in either 2H18 or 1H19, depending on the improvement of household sentiment and the business environment, according to the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC). The property market had recorded a marginal decline in 1H18 with 149,889 transactions worth RM67.74 billion, recording a decrease of 2.4% and 0.1% respectively compared with 1H17 that recorded 153,526 transactions worth RM67.83 billion.

(The Edge Property, 11/10/2018)


 

65% OF HOUSES LAUNCHED IN 1H18 COST RM500,000 AND BELOW

The proportion of residential properties launched within the price range of RM500,000 and below increased to 65% of total launches in 1H18 compared with 52% in 2H18, according to a survey by Rehda. Rehda Property Industry Survey for 1H18, which involved the participation of 152 Rehda members from across the peninsula, also revealed a 12% contraction in the overall number of residential units launched. Nonetheless, sales performance grew by 6%, with 6,764 units recorded as being sold. The survey found that for most states, most houses were launched within the price range of RM100,001 and RM500,000, with the exception of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (RM500,001 to RM700,000). The percentage of respondents reported to have affordable housing components in their development increased to 47% compared with 41% in 2H17 and 37% in 1H17. Most of the unsold units appeared to be equally distributed within the price ranges of RM250,001 and RM500,000 (mostly for the Kuantan and Alor Star areas), RM500,001 to RM700,000 (predominantly Johor Baru and Shah Alam) and RM700,001 to RM1 million (predominantly Johor Baru and Puchong).

(The Star, The Edge Property, The Sun & NST, 11/10/2018)


 

UNSOLD HOMES RISE 18.3% IN 1H18 TO NEW PEAK

Malaysia’s unsold completed homes increased 18.3% over six months to a new record high of 29,277 units in 1H18. The Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH) denoted that the increase in unsold residential properties translated into a 10.2% rise in value to RM17.24 billion, compared with the end-2017. Unveiling its preliminary market report for 2018 (1H18), JPPH attributed the increase to “slow market absorption” and that the majority of unsold units are high-rise residences priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million. In 1H18, the total amount of loans applied for the purchase of residential property contracted by 3.1% compared with 1H17, whereas approved loans fell by 0.2%.

JPPH defines “overhang properties” as unsold completed units which are in the market for more than nine months after launch. Approximately 50% of the overhang is spread across Selangor, Penang and Johor, which collectively account for 14,640 units. From this figure, 5,006 units are priced between RM500,000 and RM1 million. Johor has the most with 5,988 units unsold after completion, 4,604 of which are located in Johor Bahru alone. About 40.3% of Johor’s total overhang units comprise high-rise homes, whereas Selangor has 4,694 units, 37.6% of which are high rise condominiums and apartments. Penang accounted for 3,957 overhang units with over half, 2,225 units, comprising high-rise homes.

(The Edge Financial, 12/10/2018)


MALAYSIAN 4Q18 BUSINESS SENTIMENT FALLS SLIGHTLY

Business sentiment among Malaysian companies has slightly dipped according to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Malaysia’s Business Optimism Index (BOI) study. Overall BOI slipped from +13.17 percentage points in 3Q18 to +12.99 percentage points for 4Q18. On a Y-o-Y basis, BOI jumped significantly from +5.52 percentage points in 4Q17 to +12.99 percentage points in 4Q18. The local economy will continue to be exposed to global uncertainties on the external front including rising trade tensions and weaker public investments on major infrastructure projects. However, D&B expects the outlook among Malaysian firms to remain relatively healthy in light of sustained improvements in domestic demand and growth among key ASEAN economies. For 4Q18, the manufacturing and services sectors were the most upbeat sectors and the construction sector was the least optimistic.

(NST, 10/10/2018)


PESTECH UNIT GETS SUBCONTRACT FOR EDTP PROJECT

Pestech International Bhd’s unit Pestech Technology Sdn Bhd and Ansaldo STS Malaysia Sdn Bhd have been appointed as the subcontractor for the turnkey engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance contract relating to the signalling systems for the electrified double track project (EDTP) from Gemas to Johor Baru, by Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd. The date scheduled for completion of the project is April 1, 2021.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 10/10/2018)


 

FOREST CITY TO HAVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THREE YEARS

Forest City in Johor will look into building affordable housing that is tailored to local needs within the next three years. The Ministry of Housing had suggested that the developer builds products that cater to the tastes and budgets of Malaysians. The products will be custom-made, in terms of pricing and design.

(The Edge Property, 08/10/2018)


SENAI AIRPORT CITY WANTS INDUSTRIAL PARK UP AND RUNNING BY 2025

Senai Airport City (SAC) is looking to have its industrial park fully developed and operational by 2025, with logistics and food players being main targets to set up base. The 2,718-acre industrial park currently has occupants such as Ecoworld, Hershey’s and AME Development’s I-Park. The entire industrial park is being developed in five phases. The first phase currently comprises 1,200 acres of land, which has experienced a 50% take up. Other targeted industries are hi-tech and green manufacturing, electrical and electronics and aerospace manufacturing and maintenance, repair and overhaul.

(The Star, The Edge, The Sun & NST, 11/10/2018)


PENANG PAIRED ROADS PROJECT TO START IN 2019

The proposed three paired roads project in the Penang Transport Master Plan will cut across 21 rivers, 35 sensitive areas and 54 areas with noise impact. The roads will span circa 20km in length and will take approximately seven years to complete, whereby construction works will commence between Air Itam and the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (LCE) by 1Q19. Package one is between Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang, also known as the North Coast Paired Road, and Package three is between Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction and the LCE.

(NST & The Star, 06/10/2018)


 

PENANG SIGNS MOU TO COLLABORATE WITH UN HABITAT

The Penang government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nation’s Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat). The MoU serves to develop a common monitoring framework for projects implemented in the state to be in line with UN Habitat’s sustainable development goals. The five-year MoU is the first of-its-kind between a Malaysian state government and UN Habitat.

(NST, 07/10/2018)


NEW PPR PROJECT IN JELUTONG

Located on land measuring 5 acres, a new People’s Housing Project (PPR) will be developed in Jelutong, Penang, by the Penang State Housing, Local Government, and Urban and Rural Development Committee, to provide low-cost housing to poor families in Penang. The project will involve 1,000 residential units, which are scheduled to be completed in two to three years time and there are currently 1,200 names on the waiting list to acquire such housing units in Penang.

(The Edge Property, 06/10/2018)


SEBERANG PERAI TO BE IN TOURISM PLAN

Penang will include Seberang Prai’s undisturbed natural areas in its planned tourism master plan. Seberang Prai was a region with abundant natural assets such as mangroves, mudflats, migrating birds and the Prai River. The Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee has been entrusted to come up with the tourism masterplan which will cover development plans for the state as a whole. It will include the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site, beaches, the national park on the island, and ecotourism sites on the mainland.

(The Edge Property, 09/10/2018 & The Star, 10/10/2018)


 

PENANG CRUISE TERMINAL TO BE EXPANDED

The RM155 million expansion of the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) is set to commence in early 2019. Upon completion, the joint venture project between Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd will be able to handle 1.7 million passengers a year by 2021 and has the capacity to cater to 12,000 passengers at any given time. PPSB has been given a 30 year lease on the 139,931 sq. ft. land whereby under the expansion plans, the existing 400m berth will be extended by 220m, with an additional 118m-long “mooring dolphin” used to secure ships from drifting. Upon completion, the terminal will be able to simultaneously handle two mega-sized cruise ships on the outer berths, along with one small- and one medium-sized ship on the inner berths by the end of 2019.

(The Star, 09/10/2018)


CONTAINER TERMINAL TO BE A MAJOR PLAYER

With a RM500 million capital expenditure for the next five years, the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) is set to be transformed into a major port of call for cargo ships with operations in the north. A RM150 million expansion plan has been approved to upgrade its present facilities in order to accommodate larger ships. The current berth will be expanded from 1.5km to 3km, and two additional entrances to the NBCT will be built to ease congestion and cater for future growth volume. The plan is to increase the present 1.6 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equiva­lent Unit) to 7.4 million TEUs by 2023. The NBCT is poised for a “quantum leap” with economic development taking shape in Batu Kawan and in Kota Perdana, Kedah, whereby 1,112 acres of land is set to be developed as an economic zone.

(The Star, 09/10/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton