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GAMUDA CLAIMS PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT DID NOT ACCEPT NEW DESIGN PROPOSAL

The previous government’s decision not to consider an alternative design proposal for the 51km Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project has led to heightened costs. As the project development partner (PDP), Gamuda was obligated to complete the project as per the agreements made. While there were many criticisms and comments on the project, it was the company’s responsibility to handle overall construction works while the government decided on the number of stations. During the tender process for underground works, the group suggested alternative designs, which were rejected by the previous government. The SSP line is still in its development stages and is expected to commence operation in 2022.

(NST, 08/12/2018)


 

YTL PLANS TO BUY MARRIOTT BRAND HOTEL IN MADRID

YTL Corp Bhd’s subsidiary, YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd, plans to purchase a hotel in Madrid, Spain, via the acquisition of the entire share capital of Spanish firm “SOL HTL Project” for RM1.04 billion. SOL HTL’s property will be converted into a 200-room hotel to be operated under Marriott International Inc’s “Edition” brand with a slated opening prior to December 31, 2020.

(NST, 08/12/2018)


EKOVEST SIGNS UP WITH MELIA HOTELS

Ekovest Bhd has tied up with Melia Hotels International, a Spanish hotel chain, to manage its hotel within the EkoCheras mixed development. Ekovest has signed a 15-year management agreement with Melia Hotels, whereby the contract officially appoints Melia Hotels as the operator of the EkoCheras Hotel Suites, which will be known as Innside Kuala Lumpur Cheras. The hotel, offering 238 rooms with contemporary decor all across its 13 floors, is scheduled to open in late 2019.

 (The Star, 10/12/2018)


 

BOUSTEAD SEEKING BIDS FOR ROYALE CHULAN BUKIT BINTANG

Boustead Holdings Bhd, owner and operator of a portfolio of hotels is still seeking bids for the Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, after having received offers to purchase it. Boustead has apparently set a reserve price of approximately RM190 million for the four-star hospitality asset. The hotel is 21 years old, comprises 400 rooms and sits on a 0.77 acre site within the “tourist area” of Bukit Bintang. The group has sent out invitations to several interested parties to submit bids, whereby the marketing of the hotel has purely been undertaken by Boustead.

(The Edge, 08/12/2018)


 

SENAI DESARU EXPRESSWAY EXPANSION WORKS POSTPONED INDEFINITELY

The Federal Government has yet to issue an official statement on the status of upgrading works at the Senai Desaru Expressway (SDE). On December 12, 2017, the Works Minister announced that the government had approved a RM390 million allocation to upgrade and expand the SDE from two lanes to four, involving a 26km stretch from Cahaya Baru in Pasir Gudang to the Bandar Penawar intersection in Kota Tinggi. According to the plan, a tender would be opened after the Works Ministry finalises the project’s value assessment and design. However, a session, on July 17 2018, between the Finance Ministry, the Works Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit to identify a list of projects which have not been issued acceptance letters and project savings. Following this session, the project to upgrade and expand the SDE has been postponed.

(NST, 10/12/2018)


 

LEGOLAND TO INSTALL “OCEAN TUNNEL” FOR SEA LIFE MALAYSIA

The installation of a 180-degree transparent tunnel for the upcoming SEA LIFE Malaysia attraction will be completed in 1H19, according to Legoland Malaysia Resort. SEA LIFE Malaysia, the world’s largest aquarium brand’s attraction will be located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Bahru, with the aim of engaging and inspiring children to learn, love and care for the ocean. The double-storey aquarium is located next to Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, Legoland Water Park and Legoland Hotel, occupying 0.5 acres of land. The six-metre long and 2.1-metre wide clear ocean tunnel surrounded by 385,000 litres of water will be set within a replica of an historic shipwreck site.

(The Edge, 08/12/2018)


 

PENANG STANDS FIRM ON 30% AFFORDABLE HOUSING QUOTA

The Penang government will stand firm on the 30% low-cost (LC) and low medium-cost (LMC) housing quota requirement. The Chief Minister of Penang said this was because there were 30,726 Penangites on the waiting list to purchase LC and LMC homes. The state government was looking at other options, including a rent-to-own scheme, to ensure that low-income families can afford to buy a home.

(NST, 09/12/2018)


 

HSL TARGETS GOVERNMENT FUNDED MEGA PROJECTS IN SARAWAK

Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) has zoomed in to bid for several newly rolled-out Sarawak government-funded mega infrastructure projects. HSL is eyeing the state coastal highway and second trunk road projects, in addition to contracts associated with the state water grid, as these projects draw on the group’s strength in geotechnical and marine engineering. The proposed coastal highway spans approximately 900km from Sematan in the south to Miri in the north. Construction work for the first stretch is expected to commence in six months. The proposed second trunk road is to provide alternative shorter routes to the main trunk road, Pan Borneo Highway and the coastal road network.

(The Star, 10/12/2018)


TWO BLOCKS OF CITYONE MEGAMALL TO REOPEN AFTER GAS LEAK

The developer of the CityOne Megamall (the scene of a gas explosion that caused three fatalities and 41 injuries) has been given clearance by the authorities to reopen Block C and Block D of the mall on December 12, 2018. Certified Structural Engineer Consultants had verified that the localised explosion did not impact the structural integrity of the building.

(NST, 10/12/2018)


READINESS ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR INDUSTRY 4.0

By 1Q19, the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) will introduce the readiness assessment criteria for the migration of 500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) towards the “Industry 4.0” platform. A sum of RM210 million will be provided for the 500 SMEs to carry out the Readiness Assessment in migrating towards industry 4.0 platforms via Malaysia Productivity Corp. An additional RM7.12 billion has also been allocated for various initiatives to support industry 4.0 and corresponding digitalisation.

(The Star, 11/12/2018)


MALAYSIA RISES IN CG WATCH REPORT ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE RANKING

Malaysia ranked fourth out of 12 Asia-Pacific economies in terms of market accountability and transparency, according to the 2018 CG Watch report in December 2018. The CG Watch report is a regional report pertaining to corporate governance, which is published by the Asia Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) and CLSA Limited (a global Asian investment group). This is a significant improvement from 2016 when Malaysia stood in 7th place, making Malaysia the biggest 2018 gainer among other countries, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. The rise further proves that the government’s efforts to instil principles of competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) in its administration are indeed effective.

(The Star, NST & The Edge, 12/12/2018)


NEGRI SEMBILAN DRAWS RM2 BILLION INVESTMENTS IN 1H18

Twenty manufacturing projects with total investments worth RM1.6 billion have been approved in Negri Sembilan from January to June 2018 with the services sector drawing-in investments worth RM400 million. This brings the total investments in Negeri Sembilan for the first six months of this year to RM2 billion, which is based on investment data from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

(The Star, 12/12/2018)


 

HIGHLAND TOWERS DEMOLITION DELAYED

The demolition of the two surviving Highland Towers blocks has been deferred to allow additional studies of the “structures” to take place. The re-evaluation study to be conducted with the Malaysian Public Works Department will take at least an additional three to four months.

(The Edge, 11/12/2018)


 

MAHB RECORDS 3.8% PASSENGER GROWTH IN NOVEMBER 2018

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports (including the Sabiha Gökçen International Airport), recorded 11 million passengers in November 2018, representing a 3.8% growth from November 2017. The increase in passenger movement was driven by airlines launching new international and domestic routes, additional frequencies and the operation of new airlines. On a twelve-month basis, the MAHB network of airports grew to 132.8 million passengers, which is also the highest number of annual passenger movements recorded to date. Overall aircraft movements increased 5.3% with international and domestic aircraft movements recording an increase of 6.1% and 4.8% respectively, compared with November 2017.

(The Sun, The Star, NST & The Edge, 11/12/2018)


MRT-SBK COMMUTERS INCREASE BY 37% IN FIRST NINE MONTHS

From January to September 2018, an average of 157,000 commuters traveled daily on the Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang (MRT-SBK) line. This depicted a 37% increase over last year’s figure, which verifies the confidence of users with regards to the efficiency of urban rail services. In line with the government’s objective to transform public transport into the main mode of transportation for the people, various initiatives have been implemented to increase the number of MRT passengers. Among these were the implementation of an integrated ticket system for rail and services to facilitate the transfer of MRT passengers and the scheduling of trains every four minutes during peak hours. On December 1, 2018, the My100 and My50 unlimited travel passes was launched to assist in reducing the monetary burden of Malaysians.

(The Sun & The Edge, 11/12/2018)


 

SANICHI AIMS TO SECURE ORDER BOOK OF RM500 MILLION VIA F&B VENTURE

Sanichi Technology Bhd aims to secure an order book of RM500 million over the next five years, with its latest venture into the food and beverage (F&B) business. The company has entered into an equity joint venture (JV) with FKS Holdings Pte Ltd to supply fresh produce for the international F&B industry, in addition to providing Japanese “Omakase” fine dining cuisine. The JV plans to set up 25 outlets over the next three years across the region and major cities, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Jakarta.

(The Star & NST, 12/12/2018)


 

TABUNG HAJI SET TO SELL TRX LAND BOUGHT FROM 1MDB

A controversial piece of land in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) that Lembaga Tabung Haji purchased from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) three years ago is likely to be one of the underperforming assets which will be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the ministry of finance. The SPV has been tasked to take over Tabung Haji’s underperforming assets, which include properties generating yields of less than 2% per year and equities experiencing impairment in excess of 20%. The properties will be acquired by the SPV at “book value”.

(The Edge, NST, The Sun & The Star, 12/12/2018)


 

SELANGOR’S FIRST PUBLIC LIBRARY IN A MALL OPENS

With malls being a preferred destination for families, the Selangor Public Library Corporation (PPAS) has opened its first outlet (a 5,000 sq. ft. facility) at Jaya One, Petaling Jaya. Among the facilities offered are free WiFi, seminar and reading areas, computers and printing services. More than 5,000 books can be borrowed by registered members, whereby registration is free of charge.

(The Star, 12/12/2018)


“80%” OF CANTARA RESIDENCES UNITS “BOOKED” IN AN HOUR

More than 200 purchasers turned up for the soft launch of new serviced apartment units at the Canatara Residences sales gallery on December 1, 2018. On sale were 188 new residential units priced from RM542,600, which ranges from two to four rooms with built up sizes from 646 sq. ft. to 1,184 sq. ft. Within one hour, 80% of the units were booked by purchasers. Cantara Residence features a total of 888 serviced apartment units and 13 commercial units, with a link bridge connecting the four residential towers.

(The Edge Financial, 11/12/2018)


 

ENCORP’S JV WITH SINMAH CAPITAL FOR BUKIT KATIL PROJECT FALLS THROUGH

Encorp Bhd’s plan to develop its Bukit Katil land in Malacca has hit another setback as plans to jointly develop the land with Sinmah Capital Bhd have fallen through. Encorp denoted that the Condition Precedent (CP) of the Joint Venture and Shareholders Agreement (JVSA) for the proposed joint venture dated June 8, 2017, were not fulfilled as of December 6, 2018. Under the JVSA, the parties were to jointly develop 77.9 acres into a mixed development comprising a medical college, hospital and residential properties, with a gross development value of RM865 million.

(The Sun, 11/12/2018)


 

HOTEL GROUP OPENS ITS FIRST RETREAT IN CAMERON HIGHLANDS

Located in the administrative district of Tanah Rata, Avillion Cameron Highlands by Avillion Hotel Group is a new five-storey hotel atop the “Cameron Fair” commercial centre. Apart from 100 superior studios and two-bedroom suites, the hotel additionally offers facilities such as conference rooms, courtyard playground, in-house restaurant and a gymnasium to cater towards both business and leisure travellers. The soft launch of Avillion Cameron Highlands was in January 2018 and the occupancy rate was recorded at over 80% during August 2018.

(The Star, 11/12/2018)


 

DEVELOPERS URGED TO PROVIDE QUALITY HOUSING FOR M40, B40

Property developers have been urged to equally address the need for quality housing for the Middle 40 (M40) and Bottom 40 (B40) groups as the country moves towards becoming a “developed, high-income” nation. The Malaysian Housing and Local Government Ministry denotes that developers with hefty incomes should work with the Government to channel attention towards the less fortunate.

(The Edge, 11/12/2018)


 

EXTRA REASONS FOR SHOPPING SPREE AT PREMIUM OUTLET

Johor Premium Outlets is offering treats to its customers in conjunction with the opening of its “Phase III”, whereby 20 stores will be added, thus bringing the total number of brand name outlet stores to 150 across 313,000 sq. ft. Phase III’s brand highlights include South-East Asia’s biggest Nike Factory Store (15,000 sq. ft.), BritishIndia, Chaps USA, Ed Hardy, Puma and Under Armour and new brands are Ace Bags and Luggage, Boggi Milano, Calvin Klein Watches and Jewelry, Dockers, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors and Versace.

(The Star & NST, 12/12/2018)


INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT UP IN OCTOBER 2018

According to the Department of Statistics, Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI) increased by 4.2% in October 2018 compared with October 2017, driven by growth experienced in all segments, which include mining, manufacturing and electricity. The manufacturing sector depicted growth of 5.4%, whereas electricity and mining grew at 2.1% and 1.4% respectively, contributing to the overall growth in IPI.

(The Sun, The Star & NST, 13/12/2018)


PANTAI SENTRAL INTERCHANGE OFFICIALLY OPENED

The Pantai Sentral Interchange has now been officially opened. Construction of the 2.8km interchange, by IJM Land Bhd and Amona Development Sdn Bhd, the joint developers of Pantai Sentral Park, took 18 months. The interchange involved a total investment cost of RM98 million, which will provide vital entry and exit points from the New Pantai Expressway (NPE), directly to the Pantai Sentral Park development. Comprising three ramps located at Kilometre 11 of the NPE, it complements local road networks in the areas of Bangsar South, Pantai Hill Park, Kerinchi and Pantai Dalam.

(The Edge, 13/12/2018)


 

PROTASCO UNIT GETS RM315.8 MILLION SUKE PROJECT TERMINATION LETTER

Protasco Bhd’s subsidiary, HCM Engineering Sdn Bhd, received a termination letter from Turnpike Synergy Sdn Bhd (TSSB) for the construction of the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE), due to major delays in the project’s implementation. The SUKE project is undertaken by a joint venture (JV) between HCM and Hatimuda Sdn Bhd on a 40:60 basis (HCM-Hatimuda JV). The JV was awarded by TSSB in August 2016, with a value of approximately RM315.8 million and the works was expected to complete within 30 months, by February 28, 2019.

(The Edge, 13/12/2018)


 

EUROPE, CHINA FIRMS KEEN TO COLLABORATE IN KULIM AIRPORT PROJECT

The Kedah state government is considering several proposals from several companies based in Europe and China to collaborate in building a cargo based airport in Kulim. The companies believe that Kedah is strategically located in order to function as the country’s air logistics hub. The federal government has recently agreed to the decision to proceed with the airport project but asked the state government to seek financing from sources (a private funding initiative) other than the federal government.

(The Edge & The Sun, 14/12/2018)


 

MALAYSIA AIRPORTS HANDLED 89.8 MILLION PASSENGERS FROM JANUARY TO NOVEMBER 2018

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) operating airports in Malaysia registered 89.8 million passenger arrivals from January to November 2018. Throughout the 11-month period, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) recorded 25.4 million passengers, whereas the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) registered 29 million, which was a three per cent year-on-year growth.

(The Edge & NST, 14/12/2018)


 

VERTICE SELLS 60% OF FASHION RETAIL BUSINESS FOR RM32.6 MILLION

Vertice Bhd is planning to divest a 60% equity interest in its fashion retail business to its founder and executive deputy chairman for RM32.62 million. Under the agreement, the company’s founder will be relinquishing his directorship in the group in order to concentrate his efforts on managing the fashion retailing business, which is parked under Kumpulan Voir Sdn Bhd and negating any potential conflicts of interest.

(The Sun, The Star, The Edge & NST, 14/12/2018)


MALAYSIA VISION VALLEY 2.0 OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED

The Malaysia Vision Valley 2.0 (MVV 2.0) project was officially launched on December 13, 2018 after being shelved, reintroduced and restructured over the past nine years. Sime Darby Property Bhd denoted that it is planning for the development of a high-tech industrial park, which is the first “heartbeat project” among the six identified within the first phase of the development. The state-led private sector-driven development is envisioned to be a “world-class metropolis” spanning 379,087 acres in the districts of Seremban and Port Dickson and is part of the State Structure Plan, aimed at positioning these districts as extensions of Greater Kuala Lumpur. Sime Darby Property currently owns 2,838 acres within MVV 2.0 and has the option to acquire 8,796 additional acres from Sime Darby Bhd within five years from the date of its listing. The first phase of MVV 2.0 spans over a 30-year development period covering 27,000 acres.

(The Sun, The Star, The Edge & NST, 14/12/2018)


 

“HIGHER RISKS” FOR PASIR GUDANG PORT

The Malaysian Transport Minister has taken to social media explaining Malaysia’s stand on the Seletar Airport Instrument Landing System (ILS). The Pasir Gudang port will encounter higher risks due to the height that Singapore intends on setting for the airport’s ILS. The Malaysian Transport Minister had requested that Singapore amends the disputed flight path for the southern-end entry to the airport and withdraw the announcement on the ILS approach that is expected to come into force on January 3, 2019. If the ILS flight path is permitted, Malaysia would not be able to construct tall buildings in Pasir Gudang. Previously, Seletar Airport did not utilise the ILS and pilots could manoeuvre around obstacles with no height regulation imposed around the flight path area. However, it is currently compulsory to impose a height restriction for ILS, whereby the affected area spans from Pasir Gudang up north to Ayer Tawar clse to Kota Tinggi.

(The Star, NST & The Edge, 13/12/2018)


 

JOHOR PRINCE ASSURES PULAU KUKUP WILL STILL BE PROTECTED

The Johor Prince has given his assurance that no development will take place on Pulau Kukup and that the Ramsar site for Pulau Kukup will remain, whereas Johor National Parks may add Gunung Panti and Gunung Pulai to its list of national parks.

(The Sun, The Star & NST, 13/12/2018)


 

JOHOR REHDA: UNSOLD BUMI LOTS NEED TO BE SOLD

Bumiputra units account for most unsold homes in the state and the Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Associa­tion requires a review of the release mechanism. The move is necessary if the state government is serious in achieving its target of 100,000 affordable homes (RMB) by 2023. Data released during the tabling of Budget 2019 denoted that most of the 5,988 unsold properties in Johor worth RM3.8 billion were allocated to bumiputras.

(The Star & The Sun, 14/12/2018)


SARAWAK MULLS REINTRODUCING LRT PROJECT

The Sarawak Government is considering putting the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project between Kuching and Kota Samarahan back on track. The LRT is one of the options to solve traffic congestion particularly in heavily populated areas.

(The Edge, 13/12/2018)


PROJECT WILL BE COMPLETED ON TIME

The Works Ministry has assured that the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah and Sarawak will be completed on schedule despite technical issues faced during the construction period. The 2,325km, two lanes Pan-Borneo Highway stretches from Sabah to Sarawak, which passes through Brunei and will be connected to the Trans-Kalimantan Highway Indonesia road network and is scheduled to be completed by 2022.

(NST, 14/12/2018)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton