KEDAH TABLES 2019 BUDGET WITH PROJECTED RM57.78 MILLION DEFICIT
The Kedah government has tabled the state’s 2019 Budget, with a projected deficit of 8.14% compared with 10.19% in 2018. The projected deficit stood at RM57.78 million, while the operating expenditure for 2019 reduced by 10.61% from 2018. The operating expenditure is RM768 million and of this, RM108 million will be allocated as contributions towards the development fund. As for development expenditure, the state government has allocated RM86 million. In 2019, the state government is expected to accumulate RM710 million in revenue, with RM295 million originating from tax revenue, RM215 million from non-tax revenue and RM200 million for non-tax revenue receipts.
(The Sun, 12/11/2018)
FOCUS ON TALENT IN ADOPTION OF INDUSTRY 4.0
Malaysia should focus on talent and manpower training in the adoption of Industry 4.0 to tackle the shortage of skilled manpower, according to the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia. Malaysia’s Industry 4.0 is similar to Taiwan’s Productivity 4.0, which encompasses Manufacturing 4.0, Agricultural 4.0 and Business 4.0. Malaysia and Taiwan should thereby cooperate in processes of promoting Industry 4.0 policies. Taiwan would be able to assist in the integrated supply chain process and methods on optimising production processes, whereas Malaysia should amend its laws and regulations to create a responsive environment for the adoption of Industry 4.0. Taiwan is now focused on technical and vocational set-ups and has allocated additional resources to universities for the provision of technical courses and offering “post-studies” for vocational training. Taiwan is encouraging its SMEs to offer “on-job” training and correspondingly, SMEs who undergo training courses will be able to obtain financial assistance from the government. Sectors that are encountering strategic promotion by the Taiwan government include agriculture, food manufacturing, information technology, logistics, machinery & equipment, retailing, textiles and transportation.
(The Sun, 14/11/2018)
P2P HOUSING SCHEME ROLLOUT DESCRIBED AS “BADLY HANDLED”
The manner in which the peer-to-peer (P2P) housing scheme was handled exposes the government towards allegations of cronyism according to the Prime Minister’s media and communications adviser. The right way to go about carrying out this scheme is to request for proposals from as many parties as possible so that the government has numerous options to choose from. The scheme will be the first of its kind in the world, offering first-time home-buyers the chance to pay a 20% upfront payment to own a house, with the remaining 80% to be borne by investors via the peer-to-peer financing framework. It was declared during Budget 2019, the peer-to-peer (P2P) financing framework, which would be regulated by the Securities Commission, will go “live” in 1Q19.
(The Star & NST, 10/11/2018)
AIRASIA WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN AIRPORT REIT
AirAsia Group Bhd will not invest in the proposed airport real estate investment trust (Airport REIT) as the low-cost carrier does not want to lose focus on its airline business. The implementation mechanism of the Airport REIT proposed by the government in Budget 2019 has yet to be finalised.
(The Edge, NST, The Sun & The Star, 13/11/2018)
MAHB’S OCTOBER 2018 PASSENGER MOVEMENTS UP BY 0.5%
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) total network of airports recorded a 0.5% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth for October 2018 to 10.7 million passengers mainly contributed by international passengers. International passenger movements grew 2.2% to 5.1 million passengers during the month, mitigated by a 1% decline in domestic passenger movements to 5.6 million. The international segment for local airports experienced four million passenger movements, a decline of 0.8% y-o-y, and the domestic segment exhibited a 1.8% decline to 3.8 million passengers.
(The Edge, 13/11/2018)
MRT2 37% COMPLETE AND SCHEDULED TO BE COMPLETED BY JULY 2021
The Klang Valley’s second mass rapid transit line (MRT2) is approximately 37% complete and is on track for full completion by July 2021. The MRT2 will serve a corridor with a population of two million people stretching from Sungai Buloh to Serdang and Putrajaya and will span a total length of 52.2km.
(The Edge, 14/11/2018)
MEGAPROJECTS “ACHIEVING 5% IMPLEMENTATION” TO GO ON
Megaprojects that have been approved by the previous government and have reached “5% implementation” will continue, according to the Malaysian Work’s minister. However, projects that have yet to meet the 5% implementation threshold will be reviewed according to a circular outlined by the finance ministry.
(The Edge Financial, The Star & NST, 15/11/2018)
TOLL CONCESSIONAIRES HAVE RECOUPED MORE THAN DOUBLE THEIR COSTS
Toll concessionaires have collected more than double the cost of constructing their highways from the start of their operations up till 2017, according to the Malaysian Minister of Works. There are 29 tolled highways which will still be in operation until the end of their concessions. The total amount of construction costs for the 29 highways was RM35.14 billion and the amount of compensation paid (to concessionaires) from 1990 to 2017 was RM5.109 billion and the total amount of toll collected from when they started operations to 2017 was RM74.654 billion. Furthermore, the Ministry of Works was given six months to negotiate with the respective stakeholders and concessionaires on Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto to abolish tolls. After six months, the Ministry will submit a few proposals based on on-going negotiations and will deliberate the possibility of reviewing agreements and then acting accordingly.
(The Star, The Edge & NST, 16/11/2018)
UTUSAN SELLS LAND FOR RM18 MILLION TO RAISE WORKING CAPITAL
Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd is planning to sell a leasehold industrial plot located on Jalan Tiga off Jalan Chan Sow Lin in Kuala Lumpur for RM18 million to raise working capital for its operations. Utusan has signed a conditional sale and purchase agreement with local private company Strong Skyhutch Sdn Bhd for the proposed disposal, which is expected to bring in a net gain of approximately RM16.9 million for the group. The 1.17 acres of land has 60 years left on its lease. Net proceeds from the proposed disposal will be utilised in partially funding working capital requirements of the group to finance its day-to-day operations, which includes payment to creditors and administrative expenses.
(The Edge Financial &The Star, 16/11/2018)
STRONG BOOKING RATE FOR KITA @ LBS CYBERSOUTH
More than 200 terraced homes at LBS Bina Group Bhd’s “Kita @ LBS Cybersouth” development in Dengkil were booked at the soft launch in early November 2018. Kita @ LBS Cybersouth is located on Malay Reserve land in the southern corridor of Greater Klang Valley between Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. In excess of 300 potential home buyers attended the soft launch of the first phase of Kita @ LBS Cybersouth known as Kita Bayu. The launch introduced Phase 1A, which comprises 20’ x 60’ double-storey terraced houses priced at RM530,000 and Phase 2A comprising 22’ x 75’ double-storey town houses priced at RM399,900. Approximately 120 homes within Phase 1A and 100 homes in Phase 2A were reportedly booked within the first few hours consequent to the launch.
(The Edge, 14/11/2018)
NEW PHASE OF TERRACED HOUSES IN IRINGAN BAYU BOOKED WITHIN “A FEW HOURS”
All 342 single-storey terraced houses in the latest phase of OSK Property’s Iringan Bayu township development in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, were booked within “a few hours of the launch” on November 11, 2018. Iringan Bayu is a 770-acre township development that features one of the largest recreational parks (22 acres) in Seremban. Each unit in the phase dubbed “Astera” comes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Unit built-ups range from 1,090 sq. ft. to 1,327 sq. ft. Astera was priced at RM301,320 onwards with a low down payment plan.
(The Edge, 14/11/2018)
AHB SECURES RM43.37 MILLION EARTHWORKS JOB FROM SIME DARBY
Advancecon Holdings Bhd (AHB) has secured a RM43.37 million contract to undertake earthworks and appurtenance works for Phase 2 of the Serenia City township development in Sepang, Selangor. AHB’s wholly owned subsidiary Advancecon Infra Sdn Bhd has accepted the letter of award from Sime Darby Serenia Development Sdn Bhd for the proposed project. The contract is for 15 months from November 27, 2018 to February 26, 2020.
(The Edge & The Sun, 15/11/2018)
SINGAPORE-BASED FUNDNEL EXPANDS TO MALAYSIA
Singapore-based private investment platform Fundnel has ventured into Malaysia and will provide small businesses with more options to raise capital for growth. Fundnel was recently appointed by the Securities Commission Malaysia as the seventh Equity Crowdfunding platform in Malaysia. Fundnel will provide capital raising services targeted at local unlisted growth companies. This will range from local cafés and retail stores to larger companies in the fields of education and wellness. MisterTyre, a homegrown pioneer in on-demand mobile car care services, will be one of the first companies to be launched on Fundnel Malaysia. Fundnel has also tied-up with local investment firm, Midana Capital, to collaborate in a “deal origination” process, with the common ambition of supporting Malaysian companies.
(The Star, 12/11/2018)
KIP REIT TO GROW ASSETS TO RM1 BILLION BY 2019
To be driven by new acquisitions, KIP Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) plans to grow its total asset value to RM1 billion in 2019. As of September 30, 2018, the property trust’s total asset value amounted to RM614.93 million. Following the purchase of Aeon Mall Kinta City shopping centre in Ipoh, KIP REIT’s total asset value will grow to RM834.93 million. KIP Group and QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd have also signed two memorandums of understanding to provide a KFC drive-through restaurant service at KIP Group’s retail outlets, which is expected to boost occupancy rates and earnings in the future. The 4,088 sq. ft. KFC drive-through restaurant at Desa Coalfields is, for example, an extension to the 213,000 sq. ft. KIP Mall Desa Coalfields and is expected to increase the mall’s occupancy rate and boost its footfall to approximately 1,500 visitors per day, when it opens in 4Q19.
Moreover, the KFC outlet, to be built at KIP Mart Lavender in Senawang, is expected to grow the occupancy rate by 4% to circa 85%, with the extension of the new 4,800 sq. ft. KFC drive-through restaurant. To date, QSR Brands has signed four such partnership agreements and is currently in negotiations with seven property developers. QSR Brands targets to grow its KFC outlets by 67 over the next three years, from the current 707 outlets. This excludes the 50 potential KFC outlets to be set up in partnership with Petronas. As for Pizza Hut, QSR Brands aims to open 60 new stores over the next three years, following a two year period of restructuring.
(The Edge, The Star, NST & The Sun, 13/11/2018)
LAZADA MALAYSIA CRUSHES 2017 11.11 SALES RECORD
Lazada Malaysia has set a new record within the first 9 hours of the one-day Lazada 11.11 Shopping Festival on 11 November 2018, surpassing its 2017 11.11 sales achievement. The shopping extravaganza ended at midnight, marking a new milestone in the e-Commerce platform’s history. During the Shopping Festival’s peak, Lazada experienced over 3,000 transactions taking place per minute, with top sellers raking in an average of 60 times their daily volume. For over 24 hours, #MYLazada1111 was the top trending topic amongst internet users in Malaysia, with the Lazada mobile application being the most downloaded. The record-breaking performance is part of Lazada’s explosive growth, with more than 20 million shoppers throughout Southeast Asia on the Lazada mobile app and website. The Lazada 11.11 Shopping Festival began with a live countdown television special in collaboration with Media Prima Television Networks, which was broadcasted across major television channels including TV3, ntv7 and live streamed on the Lazada mobile application. Nearly 4.5 million Malaysians tuned in to the star-studded programme and almost 7,000 people witnessing the show live.
ONLINE RETAILER FINDS NEW LOGISTICS PARTNER
Effective December 1, 2018, RedBox, AirAsia’s logistics arm, will be Shopee’s logistics partner for Sabah and Sarawak. Under the agreement, RedBox will assume cross-border logistics services with Sabah and Sarawak for the leading e-commerce platform within Asean and Taiwan, starting with the direct delivery of goods from Shenzhen in China to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. RedBox was incorporated in March 2018 under Redbeat Ventures Sdn Bhd and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AirAsia Group Berhad.
(The Star, 16/11/2018)
SUNCON SECURES RM352.06 MILLION SUNWAY VELOCITY 2 WORKS DEAL
Sunway Construction Group Bhd’s (SunCon) wholly owned subsidiary, Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd (SCSB), was awarded a RM352.06 million project for main building and associated external works for the proposed commercial development of Sunway Velocity Two – Plot A Project. The projects involve include Phase 1A – serviced apartment of 53 storeys (Block B1) and Podium Carpark; Phase 1B – serviced apartment of 53 storeys (Block B2); and Phase 1C – office block of 28 storeys (Block A1). The project will span across a period of 37 months and is expected to be completed by December 14, 2021.
(The Sun & The Star, 14/11/2018)
TIGER SYNERGY TO RAISE UP TO RM10.5 MILLION FOR ALAM IMPIAN PROJECT
Tiger Synergy Bhd proposes to undertake a private placement to raise up to RM10.5 million for the development of its Alam Impian project in Shah Alam, Selangor. The proposed private placement represents up to 10% of its total number of issued shares based on the mandate procured from Tiger shareholders. Net proceeds from the fund raising exercise will be utilised for preliminary expenses of the Alam Impian project such as statutory contribution and professional fees. Alam Impian is a proposed mixed-residential development comprising 945 medium range condominiums and 12 three-storey semi-detached houses.
(The Sun, 14/11/2018)
PARAMOUNT TO LAUNCH ATWATER’S RM350 MILLION GDV COMMERCIAL PHASE
By the end of November 2018, Paramount Property is set to launch the commercial component of its Atwater development, which comprises two office towers and a retail component located at Jalan Universiti, Section 13 in Petaling Jaya. The project’s residential component, which comprises 493 serviced apartments, was launched earlier in 2018 and is currently 85% sold. Tower A will comprise nine storeys (19 units) while Tower B will comprise a total of 17 storeys (53 units) and connecting the two towers will be a six-storey retail block. The commercial portion of Atwater has a gross development value of RM350 million and is slated for completion at the end of 2021. The group headquarters (Paramount Corporation Bhd), which is currently located in Damansara Uptown will move once the development is completed. There are four available floors with a total floor plate of 30,000 sq. ft. to cater to organisations that wish to optimise the layout as such expansive spaces are not often available in the Klang Valley. Additionally, Co-labs Co-working, a subsidiary of Paramount Corp Bhd, will also operate a co-working space within the commercial portion. The office towers will also feature garden terraces and roof gardens. The offices will be priced from RM1 million onwards, or an average of RM800 per sq. ft. Meanwhile, the retail block is akin to a tropical-themed neighbourhood mall, which will feature multiple decking levels with giant green canopies to allow as much natural ventilation as possible.
(The Edge Property, 16/11/2018)
JAPAN’S NH FOODS AND LAY HONG OPEN FOOD MANUFACTURING FACILITY IN PULAU INDAH
Japanese food processing group NH Foods Ltd, and poultry and eggs firm Lay Hong Bhd, have officially opened their new food manufacturing plant in Pulau Indah, Klang. The plant is operated by NHF Manufacturing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which is 51% owned by NH Foods and 49% by Lay Hong. The joint-venture is optimistic about its long-term prospects due to the demand for its processed foods in the domestic and export markets. Products under the Pulau Indah plant will be branded as Nippon Premium Nutriplus, which are currently available in major supermarkets.
(The Edge & NST, 14/11/2018)
MITI TO ROLL OUT IR4.0 READINESS ASSESSMENT IN 2019
The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) will roll out the assessment criteria for the migration of 500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) towards Industry 4.0 (IR4.0) platforms. The readiness assessment will be ready and compiled by early 2019 following its pilot project involving 22 companies. The pilot project is purported to determine the right and suitable criteria and exercise for 500 SMEs that are currently in the process of being identified as the first group for the migration readiness assessment mentioned in the recent Budget 2019. The government has allocated RM210 million for 2019 to 2021 to support the IR4.0 transition.
(The Malaysian Reserve, 15/11/2018)
KURAMAN ISLAND TOURISM MEGA PROJECT
The Federal Territories Ministry is considering the proposed RM8 billion tourism mega project off Kuraman Island Marine Park (part of the Labuan Federal Territory), taking into consideration its economic benefits to Labuan. The project will initially be carried out at the northern part of Kuraman Island, while at the southern part, where the centre of the marine park is located, will be left unaffected. The developer, a Chinese investor, has projected an RM8 billion cost to develop an international island resort and marina destination on the island, generating 10,000 jobs. If everything is in place, construction of the mammoth 363 acre project is slated to begin in 1Q19. The project will comprise three to six star resort hotels, a tourism town, condominiums and apartments, international marinas, wellness centre, water world theme park, sea water lagoon and signature seafood restaurant. Three additional man-made islands, Kuraman 2, 3 and 4, will also be built in stages around Kuraman Island and will be fully completed in 2029.
PROPERTY OWNERSHIP QUOTA BY FOREIGNERS TO BE REVIEWED
The Housing and Local Government Ministry will review the quota of property ownership by foreigners to be used as guidelines for developers and state authorities. Thus far, property owned by foreigners in the country has yet to exceed one per cent and the ministry will now discuss more detailed mechanisms to be utilised by the state authorities. A new threshold was set in March 2014 whereby the minimum value for property acquisition by foreigners was RM1 million. In efforts to curb land or property purchases by foreigners, the ministry, via Budget 2019, had also set a new limit, whereby the Real Property Gains Tax rates will be revised from 5% per cent to 10% for disposals of properties or shares in property holding companies after the fifth year (applicable to companies and foreigners). The stamp duty on the transfer of property valued at more than RM1,000,000 will also increases from 3% to 4%.
(The Edge & NST, 13/11/2018)
REHDA MOOTS RENTAL HOUSING REIT
The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) has proposed a residential real estate investment trust (REIT) to provide public rental housing for the bottom 40 (B40) income group as an alternative solution to home ownership. The process of formalising the proposal, handled by the Malaysian REIT Managers Association (MRMA) and Rehda, with the assistance of investment banks is still ongoing. Under the proposed REIT, the government can provide land for social or public rental housing in suitable locations in urban centres, whereby the REIT undertakes the project at its own cost. The REIT will also be given the right to rental returns from the development for 30 years at prefixed rental rates.
(The Edge Financial, 14/11/2018)
AFFORDABLE HOUSING – FOUR AGENCIES TO BE “UNDER ONE ROOF”
The single entity to be set up to oversee the provision of affordable homes will comprise four agencies instead of six, according to the National Housing Department. The Cabinet of Malaysia has allowed UDA Holdings Bhd and Federal Territories Affordable Housing Project (Rumawip) to be excluded from the entity as it was ascertained that it was more rightful for UDA to stay within the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development, as it has a specific agenda for catering to bumiputra developments. For Rumawip, the Federal Territories Ministry requested for it to be excluded as it is confined to the Federal Territories and it is a small activity without any funding from the federal government, as their land is private-owned. The four agencies that will be streamlined under the entity are: 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor and the Malaysia Housing Project for Civil Servants.
(The Sun, 15/11/2018)
APPROVAL FOR NATIONAL HOUSING POLICY
The National Housing Policy has been approved by the Cabinet of Malaysia according to the National Housing Department and its main thrust is the separation of public and private housing, with an emphasis on renting. The government wants to promote “social renting” whereby tenants first rent public housing prior to moving into what is referred to as “social ownership” of public housing. Over a period of time, if affordability and savings factors are favourable, tenants then moves towards “private renting” (private housing by private developers) and finally “private ownership”. Metrics utilised to assist individuals with their affordability levels include the rent-to-income ratio, median house price-to-income ratio and mortgage repayment-to-income ratio.
(The Star, 16/11/2018)
TIME FOR BNM TO REIMPOSE FINANCING QUOTA SAYS HBA
It is time for Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to re-impose financing quotas that banks should adhere to in order to assist first-time home buyers, according to the National House Buyers Association (HBA). The quota system was implemented in the 1980s by BNM whereby banks were required to fulfil a certain amount of quota in “small-sized” financing, whether for low-cost or medium-cost houses (priced) below RM100,000.
(The Edge Financial, 16/11/2018)
CYBERJAYA “BACK ON TRACK” WITH NEW MEASURES
The government will announce measures to help Cyberjaya to boost Malaysia’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry. The government is working on some initiatives to make Cyberjaya the multimedia hub that was envisioned over 20 years ago, in which Malaysia was known to be the potential leader in the ICT global industry via the establishment of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). The MSC programme was officially launched in February 1996, which was then perceived as a crucial element to accelerate the objectives of Vision 2020 and to transform Malaysia into a modern state by 2020, with the adoption of a knowledge-based society framework.
(The Malaysian Reserve, 14/11/2018)
DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN JOHOR STILL A PRIORITY
The government has given its assurance that it will assist in improving the current congestion at both land entry points which Malaysia shares with Singapore, which includes moving forward with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project. Despite a new government, numerous development projects in Johor, including the Johor Baru-Singapore RTS Link, will still be executed. RTS, which is under Khazanah Nasional Bhd, will still be carried out but in a different form, which will be announced soon. The RTS Link will run above ground in Johor and on a 25m-high bridge track across the Straits of Johor, prior to travelling underground to the Woodlands North MRT station in Singapore.
(The Star, 12/11/2018)
MRCB ENTERS INTO RM1.32 BILLION CONCESSION TERMINATION AGREEMENT
Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB)’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, MRCB Lingkaran Selatan Sdn Bhd (MLSSB), has entered into a termination and settlement agreement with the government, in relation to the Concession Termination of the Eastern Dispersal Link Expressway (EDL). Pursuant to the termination agreement, the government will pay MLSSB RM1.32 billion, subject to terms and conditions.
(The Edge, The Star & NST, 13/11/2018)
MERSING AIRPORT PROJECT
The Johor state government has identified several mega projects to be implemented in 2019, including construction of an airport in Mersing and a new bridge linking Johor Bahru and Singapore. The airport, located in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), may be used by tourists to and from Batam, Indonesia, and Phuket, Thailand and may also be utilised as a light aircraft repair hub. There are two possible locations and the cost is still to be determined. Construction of the new bridge could probably start after all parties involved have reached an agreement over how best to address the congestion at the Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (Linkedua).
(The Edge & The Star, 13/11/2018)
MERSING TO BE DECLARED NATIONAL GEOPARK IN 2019
Mersing will be declared as the first national geopark site in the state of Johor in March 2019. Geology was the most important element in applying for the geopark status, but it must be accompanied by other factors including biodiversity and culture of the local community. The proposal to make Mersing a geopark was in line with the government’s effort to position the district as a thriving domestic and international tourist destination.
SMART CITY CONCEPTS FOR ISKANDAR PUTERI
The Smart City Urban Design Guideline (SCUDG) and Smart City Centralised Monitoring Services (SCCMS) have been launched. SCUDG will apply to township, offices, residential homes, offices, technology parks and retail malls, while the SCCMS is a 24-hour managed security monitoring service maintained by certified and licensed staff. The company responsible for both systems is Inneonusa Sdn Bhd, which is a tripartite joint venture between Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), UEM Sunrise Bhd and Iskandar Investment Bhd. Inneonusa, via TM, is able to provide a Smart City platform by leveraging on TM’s integrated core infrastructure, which includes connectivity, data centres, ICT and cloud services. Inneonusa is therefore able to support the current stakeholders of Iskandar Puteri’s citywide ecosystem.
(The Edge, 13/11/2018)
PENANG TABLES 2019 BUDGET WITH PROJECTED DEFICIT OF RM395.69 MILLION
The Penang government has tabled the state budget of RM901.19 million for 2019, with a projected deficit of RM395.69 million, due to an operating expenditure of RM671.19 million and a transfer of RM230 million from the consolidated funds to the state development funds, in order to fund development projects totalling RM306.38 million. The deficit for 2019 is almost half, or 47% of the projected deficit of RM748.5 million for 2018, as the state government willd no longer provide loan facilities to its statutory bodies.
In a bid to improve cleanliness and a greener environment, the state government via the Penang Island City, is building a waste transfer station in Batu Maung at a cost of RM61.5 million. The station will be fully operational on December 1, 2018 and will be able to receive up to 800 tonnes of waste per day. To enhance the effectiveness of public transport systems, the state government also proposed the construction of the Northern Corridor International Airport on reclaimed land at Batu Maung near Pulau Rimau. The expansion of the existing Penang International Airport will cater to passenger and cargo capacities for the next 20 to 30 years. For airport needs beyond the year 2050, construction of the Northern Corridor International Airport is necessitated and the state government will carry out a feasibility study for the project shortly.
(The Edge, 10/11/2018)
PENANG HOPES TO SET UP WATER TAXI SERVICE
The Penang government plans to call for a Request for Proposal (RFP) to offer water taxi services in the state after failing to receive any response regarding the idea. The water taxi services would open more routes and more effective transportation networks by linking the island and mainland. Suggested locations for these services include Tanjung Tokong, George Town, Jelutong, Butterworth, Perai, Bukit Tambun, Batu Kawan, Nibong Tebal and Seberang Prai.
PENANG SENTRAL TRANSPORT HUB TO OPEN ON NOVEMBER 22, 2018
On November 22, 2018, the long-awaited Penang Sentral transport hub will open. Situated on the mainland, the hub can accommodate from 3,000 to 4,000 passengers a day, whereby the official opening is scheduled for December 2018. Bus ticket counters, the taxi terminal, the walkway to the ferry terminal and the Butterworth KTM station, information centre and surau, are all located on level two.
The main lobby or drop-off zone for vehicle passengers is on level three, along with an information counter, an auxiliary police office and a food court. Modelled after Kuala Lumpur Sentral, the RM2.7 billion development was built on 31.6 acres of land. A 10-storey transport terminal overlooks George Town on the island, which is the centrepiece of the first phase. Seven phases of the project are slated to be built over a period of 12 years up till 2030. Future phases will also be deliberated and be contingent on market demand. This includes serviced apartments, SOHOs and a commercial development.
(The Edge, 14/11/2018)
RUNNYMEDE GROUP SIGNS MOU WITH RITZ-CARLTON FOR SEAFRONT HOTEL
Runnymede Group of Companies and Ritz Carlton recently signed a landmark memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the management of a luxury hotel and residential units. These will be located within the Runnymede Place development located on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, nestled along Penang’s famous Millionaire’s Row. This five-acre seafront project is adjacent to the Citibank Building and is a block away from Georgetown’s E&O Hotel. It is set to open in 2026 and will comprise an 18 suite heritage hotel, luxury condominiums, an office block, retail units and a 48-storey luxury hotel tower.
A THEME PARK FOR PULAU JEREJAK
With a mixed development including a theme park being planned for Pulau Jerejak., the state government has no plans to make the island a Unesco World Heritage Site, Tropical Island Resort Sdn Bhd will develop the southern part of the island with the Environmental Impact Assessment Report being approved in 2018. However, the developer has yet to submit planning permission to the local authorities in order to undertake the project.
(The Star, 15/11/2018)
STATE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT OWN ALL SMALL ISLANDS
On the uninhabited Pulau Rimau on the south-eastern tip of Penang Island, the state government merely owns a 2.5 acre plot, while the remaining 90 acres “belongs to private owneras”. On Pulau Kendi, 4km south of the island, the state government owns 70 acres, of which 8 acres are owned by other individuals. The state owns 68 acres out of 156 acres on Pulau Aman, 111 acres out of 166 acres on Pulau Gedung and 702 acres out of 828 acres on Pulau Jerejak. Planning permission was approved for the rebuilding of the resort on Pulau Jerejak in addition to the construction of serviced apartments and condominiums. In June 2018, planning permission had also been given for the building of a bridge from Penang Island towards Pulau Jerejak. Only eco-tourism attractions have been allocated for Pulau Aman and Pulau Gedung, under the Draft 2030 Penang Structure Plan.
(The Star, 10/11/2018)
BUDGET TO DEVELOP GREEN ECONOMY FOR SABAH
A green economy with a thrust towards helping the rural poor through proper land use is part of the maiden RM4.27 billion budget for 2019 by Sabah-led state government’s “Parti Warisan” (or Sabah Heritage Party), which would generate jobs and downstream industries. In Danum Valley, Maliau and Imbak Canyon, the rainforests are globally recognised for its tropical biodiversity and have the capacity to become Borneo’s carbon sink. The new government was departing from the previous administration’s focus on Totally Protected Areas (TPAs) and were working towards a land use plan that will address the dual needs of development and conservation.
(The Star, 10/11/2018)
LRT AMONG BEST OPTIONS TO OVERCOME TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN SABAH
A high-capacity transportation system such as the Light Railway Transit (LRT) is among the best options to overcome the traffic congestion predicament in Sabah in the long run, even if it involves high investment costs. A study by the World Bank in collaboration with the Economic Planning Unit and the Prime Minister’s Office, has ascertained that a high-capacity transportation system was suitable to be introduced in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
(The Edge, 15/11/2018)
SABAH ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE 3.85 MILLION TOURIST ARRIVALS TARGET
The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry is on track to achieve its target of 3.85 million tourist arrivals, with RM8.154 billion tourism receipts by the end of 2018. For the first nine months of 2018, the state recorded 2,865,322 tourist arrivals, compared with 2,726,788 during the corresponding period in 2017. Sabah had recorded a 40.2% increase in tourist arrivals from China, whereby approximately 464,271 Chinese tourists visited the state from January to September 2018, followed by 244,230 tourists from South Korea, which experienced an increase of 8.3%. Air accessibility growth is one of the main factors leading to the increase in the number of international tourists as the state is now connected to 24 international destinations via 216 direct flights a week, with a capacity of 37,210 passengers. The ministry has set a target of 1.275 million international tourists and 2.575 domestic visitors for 2018r.
NAIM IN TIE-UP WITH GAMUDA
Naim Holdings Bhd is teaming up with Gamuda Bhd to bid for the billion ringgit Sarawak coastal highway and second trunk road projects. Naim would have a 70% stake and Gamuda will take on a 30% equity interest in the joint venture company. The coastal highway project will span a distance of approximately 900km from Sematan in southern Sarawak to Miri in the north. In October 2018, the state government had approved RM6 billion to fund the project, which is expected to be awarded in several work packages. Pre-qualification of contractors for the project is currently underway and the early packages are expected to be awarded soon.
(The Star, 14/11/2018)
33,400 MEDICAL TOURISTS VISIT SARAWAK, GENERATING RM42.2 MILLION
Sarawak received 33,400 foreign patients in the first nine months of 2018, generating RM42.2 million in medical tourism receipts. The majority of visitors originated from Jakarta and Pontianak, Indonesia. Due to the high currency exchange rate of the Singapore dollar, most Indonesian patients preferred to seek medical treatment in Sarawak instead. In 2017, the state recorded 44,700 medical tourists, with receipts totalling RM60.7 million. To ensure the success of Sarawak’s medical tourism industry, the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) will roll out an e-Visa facility to assist with the entry of medical visitors in 1Q19. The number of arrivals from January to September 2018 declined by circa 13%, compared with the corresponding period in 2017. However, with the launch of Visit Sarawak Campaign 2019, the ministry aims to position Sarawak as a premier tourism destination and is expected to receive five million visitors in 2019.