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STAMP DUTY INCREASE FOR PROPERTIES EXCEEDING RM1 MILLION DEFERRED SIX MONTHS TO JULY 1, 2019

The increase from 3% to 4% in stamp duty for the instrument of transfer for property exceeding RM1 million is now effective July 1, 2019 to encourage the sustainability of activities in the real estate sector. As announced in the 2019 Budget, the government had agreed to grant a 100% stamp duty exemption to first time house buyers for properties priced between RM300,000 to RM1 million. For houses priced up to RM300,000, stamp duty is exempted on the instrument of transfer and loan agreement for the sale and purchase executed between January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. For homes priced between RM300,001 to RM500,000, the instrument of transfer and loan agreement is exempted, but limited to the first RM300,000, for the sale and purchase agreement completed between July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. However, the exemption is limited to the instrument of transfer for the purchase of houses priced between RM300,001 to RM1 million from any housing developer, from January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019. The exemption of the stamp duty is aimed at encouraging first time house purchases and increasing the purchase of unsold units from developers.

(The Edge Property, 29/12/2018)


LIVE STREAMING SHOPPING TRENDING UP IN MALAYSIA

In Malaysia, live-streaming shopping is becoming increasingly popular through various platforms, as more and more retailers embrace the latest digital trend to attract consumers. Lazada has added such a feature into its mobile app which mirrored its parent company Alibaba’s live-streaming sales feature in China. A similar approach was emulated by Shopee and Lelong, with unique product offers being made available through live videos streamed on Facebook.

(The Star, 31/12/2018)


RETAILERS, MALL OPERATORS EMBRACE HIGH-TECH

Malaysian retailers and mall operators are adopting technologies such as shopper tracking systems and facial recognition cameras, using data analytics to capture important shopper information. Sunway Velocity Mall completed the installation of its shopper tracking system in early December 2018, which identifies a unique ID of shoppers’ mobile smartphones and is testing the system now and records their travel history and traffic pattern in the mall, visit frequency (new traffic or returning traffic) and dwell time. There is also provision for integration with mobile application (to identify shopper profile to offer more personalised engagement), and additional reports based on user requirement.

(The Sun, 31/12/2018)


2018’S TOP DESTINATIONS

According to statistics from World Travel Monitor, international outbound trips grew by 6% worldwide in the first eight months of 2018. According to travel booking portal, Agoda, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia are the third most-booked city and country in Asia. Japan is the top most-booked country, and Thailand the second. Bangkok and Tokyo are in first and second place for most-booked city. For visitors from Asia Pacific, Malaysia ranks #1 as a destination country for Singapore travellers, flavouring places like Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. Malaysia ranks #2 as a destination country for Indonesian travellers. The top destination cities booked by Malaysians in 2018 are Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Melaka, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok (Thailand), Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Kuching, and Kuantan.

(The Star, 29/12/2018)


TAIPING GETS GLOBAL RECOGNITION

Taiping has been named as one of the 100 Sustainable Cities, the only Malaysian city which made it in 2018’s list of “Green Destinations”. The ‘2018 Sustainable Destinations Top 100’ list, made available at greendestinations.org, was aimed at giving recognition to efforts by authorities in the tourism industry by providing a “sustainable environment.”

(NST & The Edge Property, 29/12/2018)


General Property Market

TOP DEALS IN 2018

Seven leading real estate experts have been surveyed about the top deals in 2018. Wisma Pantai was the winner of the “top property” deals and was sold by UOA Real Estate Investment Trust (UOA REIT) to CIMB Bank Bhd for RM120 million, which equates to RM407 per sq. ft. It was described as a good value purchase (for CIMB), plus it would serve its internal purposes after its restructuring exercise whereby CIMB will be vacating most of Menara Bumiputera-Commerce (to move to Wisma UOA). Also featuring prominently was the AREA Group of Companies (AREA) purchase of 212.54 acres of freehold industrial land in Kota Seri Langat, Selangor, from PNB Development Sdn Bhd for RM320 million. AREA plans to build Selangor’s first gated, fully integrated and serviced industrial and logistics park. To be named the COMPASS@Kota Seri Langat, it will be a premium standard industrial and logistics hub with resort-style features. The project has a gross development value of RM4 billion and is probably the largest new modern integrated and gated and guarded industrial park strategically located at the end of the West Coast Expressway, which is currently being built.

(EdgeProp,my, 29/12/2018)


EXEMPTION TO HELP “BOOST” PENANG HOUSING MARKET

The Finance Ministry’s exemption of stamp duty for first-time homebuyers for properties up to RM1 million will help continue to spur the Penang housing market. The move will help increase ownership and improve the housing market which has been “rather slow”. Budget 2019 provides for an exemption of stamp duty on property transfer letter for the first purchase of houses priced between RM300,001 and RM1million for six months starting from January 1, 2019.

(The Star, 31/12/2018)


EXEMPTION OF RPGT, SERVICE TAX FROM JANUARY 1, 2019

The Malaysian Government has agreed to exempt the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) to Malaysian citizens who dispose of their properties at a consideration price of RM200,000 and below. Effective from January 1, 2019, and subsequent to six years of ownership, the RPGT exemption is applicable to the disposal of properties such as low-cost houses, low-medium cost houses and affordable houses. For the acquisition of assets prior to 2000, the market price on January 1, 2000, will be used as the base acquisition price for calculation of capital gain.

(The Edge Property, 31/12/2018)


PRASARANA TO INCREASE LRT FREQUENCY BETWEEN GOMBAK AND ARA DAMANSARA

From January 2, 2019, Prasarana Group is increasing the train frequency of the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT), which covers the route between the Gombak and Ara Damansara stations. The frequency of the LRT train service between the two stations will be increased during the period period of 7.30 am to 9am during weekdays to meet the high demand.

(The Edge Property, 01/01/2019)


SUNWAY PROPERTY’S LAUNCHES “DO WELL” IN A CHALLENGING MARKET

After recording positive numbers in 2018, Sunway Property will be aiming to expand its land bank and increase contributions from overseas operations in 2019. Thus far, “Sunway GEO” in Selangor (a condominium opposite Sunway Medical Centre within Bandar Sunway) has registered a sales rate of 80%, primarily due to its well established location within an integrated township. Another new launch, “Sunway Velocity 2”, adjoins “Sunway Velocity” within a 23 acre integrated development in Kuala Lumpur and is served by two Mass Rapid Transit stations. Anchored by a mall, a hotel and offices, “Sunway Velocity” is approaching completion and its products have been fully sold. As for “Sunway Velocity 2”, the launch of the serviced apartments has recorded a sales rate of circa 80% for Phase 1.

(The Star, 02/01/2019)


SPA CEYLON TO OPEN THREE CENTRES IN THE KLANG VALLEY

In 2019, Spa Ceylon Malaysia (an Ayurveda retail and spa company) plans to open three spa centres within central Klang Valley, in order to meet the demands of its growing customer base. The company has acknowledged locations in Mont Kiara, Bangsar and Bukit Bintang, and has allocated an investment of approximately RM450,000 for each branch. Simultaneously, the company is also looking at opening branches in Penang, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak. Currently, the company has five retail outlets located at Nu Sentral, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), KLIA2, Publika and Mid Valley.

(The Star, 01/01/2019)


BOOKSTORE SPORTS ULTRA-MODERN LOOK AT NEWLY-OPENED OUTLET

Located on Level 2 at Mid Valley Megamall’s South Court, “Popular Bookstore” Malaysia spans 15,000 sq. ft., and is the fifth store the retailer has opened in 2018 and the 95th store in Malaysia. The store offers over 20,000 books comprising a diverse range of Chinese, English and Malay titles and a selection of various gadgets, information technology peripherals and audio-visual products.

(The Star, 01/01/2019)


RETAIL PROPERTY EXPECTED TO REMAIN “FLAT” IN 1Q19

The retail property sector is expected to remain flat in 1Q19, underpinned by steady, yet cautious consumer spending. According to the Malaysian Association for Shopping and High-Rise Complex Management, the Chinese New Year festive period in February 2019 will assist in sustaining the sector during the period. Cumulative supply of retail space has increased with two new completions, namely KL EcoCity Retail Centre and Eko Cheras Mall and occupancy rates continue to be under pressure due to the challenging market and recently completed retail malls. New entries from the UK’s cosmetic brand, LUSH and Thai-owned New York Deli, Dean and Deluca, have however made their first appearances in Malaysia at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and various international brands which opened their first stores in 2017 and 2018, gained confidence in Malaysia’s retail market and continued to expand by opening second stores in the Klang Valley.

(The Star, 02/01/2019)


OYO OPENS 2 HOTELS IN SENAWANG, PUCHONG

OYO Hotels (South Asia’s chain of hotels, homes and living spaces) has opened two new budget hotels, namely OYO 498 D&F Boutique Hotel in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan and OYO 502 Midah Inn in Puchong, Selangor. Located within Senawang’s industrial and commercial centre, OYO 498 D&F Boutique hotel offers rooms from RM70 per night and OYO 502 Midah Inn, located within the Puchong Gateway development, offers rooms from RM65 per night.

(NST, 01/01/2019)


DEMAND FOR PRIVATE HEALTHCARE REMAINS UPBEAT

Private healthcare operators in Malaysia anticipate higher earnings in 2019, derived from rising demand from medical tourists and the effects of government policies encouraging health protection. Growth prospects for the sector are globally positive in the long term, which is underpinned by an ageing population, rising affluence and increasing life expectancies. Analysts noted that the local private healthcare sector has added catalysts, which include competitive charges and hospitalisation costs in medical tourism, a generally English-speaking population and various incentives from the government. In 1Q19, KPJ Healthcare Bhd is set to open BDC Kuching Specialist Hospital (150 beds) and KPJ Miri Specialist Hospital (96 beds) and the opening of KPJ Batu Pahat (150 beds) in Johor is scheduled for “later on” in 2019.

(The Edge Financial, 02/01/2019)


BUYERS KEEN ON 2019

Circa 42% of the respondents in the latest StarProperty.my Buyer’s Sentiment Survey are “keen to buy” properties in 2019. Additionally, 34% are “not thinking of buying now”, whereas 24% are “undecided”. 84% chose buying over renting, indicating the reluctance of Malaysians to rent properties for long periods. The findings of the survey also reveal that the price of property (with a weighted average of 3.85) tops the list of factors that influence buyers, followed closely by safety and security (3.82), and location (3.80) in third. Respondents also illustrated a high preference (87%) for newly-launched homes over sub-sale properties. Of the different types of properties available, respondents highly favoured terraced / linked houses (52%) compared with condominiums / serviced apartments (44%), apartments / flats (25%), semi-detached houses, bungalows / villas and shop-houses. As for affordability, properties in the range of RM300,000 to RM500,000 were most favoured by the majority of respondents. The next range is RM500,001 to RM700,000, whereas merely 5% were looking for properties costing more than RM900,000.

The most popular location among buyers is in Johor Baru (50%), followed by Kuala Lumpur (19%), Puchong (18%) and Petaling Jaya (17%). Shah Alam, Cheras and Kajang are also among the preferred locations. In the 2019 Buyers’ Sentiment Survey, most of the respondents chose 1,000 sq. ft. to 1,499 sq. ft. as the ideal property size to provide for a quality lifestyle.

(The Star, 02/01/2019)


PUTRAJAYA TO BECOME “ESPORTS” HUB

Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj) aims to transform Putrajaya into a hub for “esports” (or competitive video gaming) for the youth by mid-2019 to change the perception of Putrajaya being primarily known as a government administrative capital. PPj has identified several locations for the “Youth Centre by The Youth” project, one of which includes the Putrajaya Challenge Park. The area will be a focal point for youths, who will be responsible for organising their own “esports” programmes.

(NST, 01/01/2019)


CANCELLING MOTORCYCLE TOLL AT TANJUNG KUPANG TO BENEFIT 50,000

Effective from January 1, 2019, the abolition of toll collection for motorcycles at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (Linkedua) Expressway’s Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza near Gelang Patah, Johor, provides long-term benefits to approximately 50,000 residents around Johor Bahru, who utilise the route daily. Prior to the elimination of the toll, motorcyclists had to pay a toll of RM1.10 at the Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza.

(The Edge Property, 31/12/2018)


TRANSFORMING PENANG INTO A “SMART CITY”

The priority for this 2019 will be to transform Penang into a smart city, which is in line with Penang 2030 “A Family-Focused Green and Smart State”. State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government has stated that several pilot projects were in the pipeline for such a purpose and the current town and country planning agenda for Penang will be carried out from now until 2030.

(The Star.com.my, 01/01/2019)


NO MORE TOLLS FOR MOTORCYCLISTS USINGTHE PENANG BRIDGES

Effective January 1, 2019, motorcycle tolls are abolished on both the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge (second bridge). The move is expected to benefit circa 20,000 motorcyclists using the Penang Bridge and 2,000 additional motorcyclists using the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge daily.

(The Edge Property, 01/01/2019)


HENG HUAT’S UNIT TO ACQUIRE INDUSTRIAL LAND FOR RM3.8 MILLION

Heng Huat Industries Holdings Sdn Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, HK Kitaran Sdn Bhd will acquire a piece of freehold industrial land measuring 2.26 acres (98,457 sq. ft.) in Penang from HK Alliance Sdn Bhd for RM3.8 million. Slated for completion in 2Q19, the land is currently rented by Heng Huat Industries Holdings to house portable cabins used for staff accommodation.

(The Edge Property, 31/12/2018)


VIZIONE SECURES RM378 MILLION “ROADWORK-RELATED” PROJECT IN SABAH

Vizione Holdings Bhd has secured a RM377.6 million, 24 month contract from Permata Rebana Sdn Bhd to supply materials, labour and project management services relating to road works in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

(The Edge Property, 01/01/2019)


NEW PROPOSAL FOR KAMPUNG BARU REDEVELOPMENT PLAN

The latest redevelopment plan for Kampung Baru which is expected to be presented to the Malaysian Government by the end of January 2019 is based on the results of a survey conducted in November 2018 by Kampung Baru Development Corp (KBDC). KBDC had released 5,697 questionnaires to registered heirs and landowners, asking, among others, their views on the activation of the Land Acquisition Act 1960, which would allow the government to compulsory acquire their assets. The survey also served to gauge the sentiment of the Malays in loosening up the Kampung Baru “Malay Agriculture Settlement” (MAS) status to allow non-Malay buyers to own properties there.

(The Edge Property, 03/01/2019)


MELAKA HERITAGE SET UP TO MEET UNESCO RECOGNITION

In December 2018, the Melaka State Government formed a committee through its subsidiary, Melaka Heritage Sdn Bhd to safeguard and preserve its heritage and history. The formation of the Melaka Heritage was approved by the state executive council in November 2018. This is in line with the recognition requirements of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and to help bolster the state’s economy through the tourism sector.

(The Edge Property, 03/01/2019)


HOUSING FOR THE POOR

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is targeting to construct 500,000 housing units in the next five years for the poor and low-income earners. Social impact assessment will be conducted before a housing project is implemented to ensure that the quality of the houses and their locations are safe and conducive.

(The Sun, 04/01/2019)


ECRL COULD BE BACK ON TRACK

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, which was suspended in mid-2018, could be back on track on a smaller scale, provided that China agrees to the revised terms. The Malaysian Government is attempting not to spend beyond its means while simultaneously ensuring that China does not suffer from losses. The RM81 billion ECRL project was approved by the previous administrative government back in October 2016. The construction was slated to be carried out by China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), with Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank of China) financing the project.

(NST & The Edge Financial, 03/01/2019)


AIRASIA TARGETS 100 MILLION PASSENGERS IN 2019

AirAsia Group has no plans on opening additional airlines over the next three years. The airline intends on focussing on growing its existing business particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines. In the first nine months of 2018, the airline group carried 61.4 million passengers across its network, whereby the target set for the entirety of 2018 was 90 million passengers. As for 2019, the group expects to carry in excess of 100 million passengers.

(The Star, 03/01/2019)


TAH&H’S KEY INVESTMENTS ENJOY STEADY VISITOR ARRIVALS

The response towards Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn Bhd’s (TAH&H Group) recent soft opening of “The Datai Langkawi” was encouraging as all available rooms were fully booked and the company is optimistic towards the full opening of The Datai Langkawi in 1Q19. At Iskandar Puteri, the company is further developing “LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort” by adding a new LEGO CITY 4D Movie, which is scheduled for launch in 1Q19, and a third attraction with the addition of “Sea Life Malaysia”, which is scheduled to open in 2Q19. The company is also expanding the number of new Ninjago-themed rooms for LEGOLAND Hotel from December 2019 onwards. “Desaru Coast” is now in Phase One which involves 1,999 acres of land. In the first part of Phase One, the “Els Club Desaru Coast” features two golf courses (a 27 hole golf course and an 18 hole Valley Course). The second part of Phase One will comprise the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villa and One & Only Desaru Coast. The second part of Phase One also comprises the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, the Desaru Coast Riverside retail village and the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal.

(NST, 03/01/2019)


UNITED MALACCA IN DEALS TO DISPOSE OF PLANTATION ESTATES

United Malacca Bhd has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Huat Lai Broiler Breeders Sdn Bhd for the sale of 1,403.8 acres of land comprising 11 lots in Alor Gajah, Melaka and 18 lots in Jasin, Melaka for RM96.79 million. Another agreement was entered into with HLRB Broiler Farm Sdn Bhd for the sale of two lots of land with a total land area of approximately 738.6 acres in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan for RM51.7 million. Meanwhile, HLRB Processing Sdn Bhd has proposed to acquire three lots of land with a total land area of 380.7 acres in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan for RM26.65 million.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 04/01/2019)


‘DUBIOUS’ LAND DEAL, PROJECT DISCOVERED ON MALAYSIAN RUBBER BOARD’S SUNGAI BULOH LAND

The 2,800-acres owned by Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB) land was allegedly sold at far below market value while an over RM1 billion project which began construction in 2012 has hardly seen any progress although RM70 million has been paid to the Project Delivery Partner (PDP). The land is also part of the tract designated for the proposed Kwasa Damansara transit-oriented development.

MRB was instructed by the former administrative government in 2010, which had secured Cabinet approval, to sell the land to Aset Tanah Nasional Bhd (ATNB) for RM1.5 billion. ATNB is one of the Government Investment Companies of the Ministry of Finance. However, it has come to the knowledge of MRB that the said 2,800 acres of land was subsequently bought by Kwasa Land, a unit of the Employees Provident Fund for a sale consideration of RM2.28 billion.

The 2,800-acre plot was part of a 3,385-acre land owned by MRB. After the sale of the tract, the board planned to utilise the RM1.5 billion obtained from the land sale to develop five research facilities on the remaining 585 acres. MRB had appointed KLIA Consortium (set up by KLIA Associates Sdn Bhd and KLIA Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd), as the PDP for the contract worth RM1.1 billion but the PDP contract was terminated by MRB in February 2018 without any explanation.

(The Edge Property, 03/01/2019; NST, The Edge Financial, The Sun & The Star, 04/01/2019)


MAH SING OUTLOOK PROMISING WITH FOCUS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Mah Sing Group has lined up several launches in 2019 with the key selling points being: affordability and strategic locations. In the central region, Mah Sing will roll out M Vertica Cheras Phase 3 & 4 (high rise residential, starting price RM451,000), M Centura Sentul Phase 2 (high rise residential, starting price RM350,000), Sensory Residence, Southville City KL (high rise residential, starting price RM344,000), Basil @ M Aruna, Rawang (landed residential, starting price RM550,000), M Cahaya, Sungai Buloh (high rise residential, starting price RM250,000) and Icon City PJ Phase 2 (commercial). New projects in the northern region set to be launched in 2019 are Southbay City, Penang (high rise residential, starting RM600,000) and Icon Residence, Georgetown Penang (high rise residential, starting price RM1 million). Meanwhile in the southern region, the Orchid and Hazel @ Meridin East, Johor (landed residential, starting prices RM450,000 and RM487,000 respectively) will be launched.

(The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


ECOBUILT SECURES RM203 MILLION PROJECT

Ecobuilt Holdings Bhd (formerly known as M-Mode Bhd) has secured a RM202.47 million contract from Vistarena Development Sdn Bhd to build two affordable apartment blocks housing 1,320 units, in Kampung Muhibbah, Bukit OUG, Kuala Lumpur. The project is slated to be completed by July 3, 2021.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 04/01/2019)


SANICHI ACQUIRES BANGSAR SOUTH BUILDING FOR RM46 MILLION

Sanichi Technology Bhd is acquiring a 12-storey building in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur from Takaful Ikhlas Family Bhd for RM46 million. The proposed acquisition of the 54,046 sq. ft. building is scheduled to be completed in 2H19.

(The Star, 03/01/2019)


NEXGRAM TO INCUR RM12 MILLION LOSS FROM SALE OF OFFICE TOWER

Nexgram Holdings Bhd’s unit Coconut Three Sdn Bhd, formerly known as Nexgram Land Sdn Bhd, has proposed to dispose of its 11-storey stratified office building called Nexgram Tower in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur to IMS Development Sdn Bhd for RM67 million, which will result in an estimated loss on disposal of RM12.4 million. The property’s current book value is RM79.4 million and the original cost of investment of the property on April 8, 2013 was RM64 million.

(The Sun, 04/01/2019)


MOTHERCARE RETAILER SEEKS IPO TO EXPAND BUSINESS

Kim Hin Joo (Malaysia) Bhd, which retails the Mothercare and ELC brands in Malaysia, is planning an initial public offering (IPO) on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia to fund its business expansion and capital expenditure. Kim Hin Joo operates 16 Mothercare outlets and 11 ELC SIS in the Klang Valley, George Town, Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching and plans to open four to five new Mothercare outlets within three years of its listing. It will open two of these in Johor Baru and Kuala Lumpur in 2Q19, and a further two to three new outlets outside the Klang Valley between 2020 and 2021. Kim Hin Joo also plans to replace its back-end information technology infrastructure system with a system that incorporates business intelligence software and enables integration with all operations within the group. The company also plans to concurrently revamp and upgrade its e-commerce platform which hosts online store operations.

(The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


MR DIY SAID TO EYE US$500 MILLION IPO

Mr DIY (Malaysia’s biggest home improvement retailer) is exploring an initial public offering that could raise about US$500 million. The company has been interviewing potential underwriters as it considers a listing in Kuala Lumpur. Mr DIY, which is backed by private equity firm Creador, has over 500 outlets throughout Malaysia and has expanded its operations to Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia could list as soon as the end of 2019. The company employs more than 4,000 workers, with each of its store space encompassing an average of 10,000 sq. ft. The company has devised a comprehensive e-commerce strategy that is expected to yield a 20-time uplift in the number of online orders compared with when it launched its online store some 14 months ago. The company has also invested in a new 15,000 sq. ft. warehouse, which is able to store more than 20,000 products. This is a huge improvement from its previous warehouse, which was 800 sq. ft.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 04/01/2019)


LOL LAUNCHES DIGITAL FASHION PLATFORM

LOL (a leading home-grown apparel brand) has introduced a new innovative platform, “Cozmic Lab” in Malaysia. Cozmic Lab is the result of a unique collaboration between LOL and Brother International (one of the world’s most renowned brands in printing and imaging technology). Moving beyond ready-to-wear apparel, Cozmic Lab offers customers an exciting, cost-efficient and environmental friendly avenue to co-create or customise their own apparel. Utilising digital technology, customers are able to select the apparel’s design, quality, quantity, type and location to collect the final product. Cozmic Lab is now available at the LOL store in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya, and will be opening stores in Sunway Pyramid, Sunway Velocity, Berjaya Times Square and Paradigm Mall in Johor Bahru.

(The Sun, 04/01/2019)


MELAKA GATEWAY PROJECT TO CONTINUE AS IT IS UNDER LOCAL SUPERVISION

The Melaka Gateway project will proceed after ascertaining that it will be under the supervision of a local company and will benefit the people, especially in terms of job opportunities. The Melaka State Government is advocating the principle of non-interference in foreign direct investment projects provided they are overseen by local companies and provided various economic opportunities.

(The Edge Financial, 03/01/2019)


INTERCHANGE SET TO BOOST PANTAI SENTRAL SUCCESS

In December 2018, the new toll-free Pantai Sentral Interchange opened, providing entry and exit points from the New Pantai Expressway directly to Pantai Sentral Park. With a total investment cost of RM98 million, the 2.8km interchange was constructed by IJM Land Bhd and Amona Development Sdn Bhd (the joint developers of Pantai Sentral Park) which took 18 months to complete. The opening of the interchange is timely prior to the handover of the first phase of 211 condominium units at Pantai Sentral Park, known as Inwood Residences in 1Q19. The second phase, Secoya Residence, which comprises 243 condominium units, is slated for completion over the next couple of months. Pantai Sentral Park is a 58 acre mixed-use development featuring seven residential and six commercial phases and will take 10 to 15 years to be fully completed.

(NST, 03/01/2019)


EKOCHERAS ON TRACK FOR COMPLETION BY JUNE 2019

Ekovest Bhd’s RM1.84 billion EkoCheras integrated development on Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur is on track to be fully completed by June 2019. The development comprises a mall, a hotel, an office tower and three blocks of serviced apartments. The four storey EkoCheras Mall will be the first to be completed. Circa 91% of the 600,960 sq. ft. mall has been leased out as at the end of 2018, with the tenants expected to move in by February 2019. The majority of the tenants will be top food and beverages outlets, such as Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Leaf, Auntie Lora Kopitiam and The Brew House, while Village Grocer and Golden Screen Cinemas are their anchor tenants. MuYoo+ (Singapore-based fruit tea and bakery store) and Manekinedo (Japanese karaoke chain) will open their first stores in Malaysia at the mall. The developer will retain the mall and the 238-room Innside Kuala Lumpur Cheras hotel. For the latter, the company has appointed Melia Hotels International (Spain’s largest hotel chain) as the operator. Meanwhile, the three blocks of serviced apartments at EkoCheras namely Tower E, Tower H and Tower J offering a total of 1,516 units, have recorded a circa 80% sales rate. Slated for completion in January 2019, the units, in the three towers, have built-ups ranging between 500 sq. ft. and 1,200 sq. ft. and are priced between 500,000 and RM1 million. Meanwhile, the 21-storey office tower dubbed Tower A, has seen its 106 stratified office units with built-up space of 1,300 sq. ft. sold out at prices of between RM790,000 and RM2 million.

(The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


HYATT HOUSE KUALA LUMPUR OPENS ITS DOORS

UEM Sunrise Bhd and Hyatt Hotels Corp officially opened its first Hyatt Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Mont’ Kiara on December 6, 2018. Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur is a four-star extended-stay hotel offering home-like hospitality and is located within UEM Sunrise’s Arcoris Mont’ Kiara mixed development. The hotel has over 298 cintemporary studios and suites with fully equipped kitchens, living and bedrooms.

(The Sun, 04/01/2019)


NEW HINO 3S CENTRE IN IPOH

Daihatsu (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (DMSB), a Hino Motors Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd authorised dealer, has launched a new sales, after-sales service and spare parts (3S) centre in Ipoh. This new 3S centre acts as a one-stop centre for sales, service and spare parts. With a built-up area of 84,942 sq. ft., the new infrastructure is equipped with 11 bays and three hoists.

(The Star, 03/01/2019)


PROPERTY OUTLOOK: NO SIGNS OF RECOVERY SEEN YET

The domestic property market is projected to remain soft in 2019, as the issues of oversupply in certain segments and tight lending policies are expected to continue to plague the market. The softer market was reflected in the third-quarter financial performance of property players in 2018, with many developers posting lower-than-expected results. New property sales from local projects were subdued in 3Q18 as buyers adopted a wait-and-see stance prior to Budget 2019. Buyers may also take a wait-and-see stance as the government has urged developers to reduce selling prices by 10%.

(The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


DEVELOPER: OVERSUPPLY OF UNSOLD UNITS NOT DEVELOPERS’ FAULT

Blaming developers for the oversupply of unsold properties is due to a lack of understanding of market needs. Market conditions depend on local and international sentiments, which included the United States-China trade war, the lower prices of commodities and the slower global and local economies. People are more cautious in how they chose to spend their money, which did not reflect a lack of demand. Prices reflecting the current market conditions are normal and are not a result of overpricing. Many developers often conduct a market study to finalise their offerings. However getting statutory approvals takes time and sometimes market dynamics may change by the time approval is obtained. The developers, especially public-listed ones, have to continue launching as they need to maintain profit forecasts and share price targets. Another point to note is that some of the unsold stock are those under the Bumiputera quota, which developers have to hold until they obtain the official release from the relevant authorities.

(The Edge Property, 03/01/2019)


A POTENTIAL GEM IN THE SOUTH

UEM Sunrise Bhd is planning to launch standard 20’x75’ terraced housing in Gerbang, Johor in 1Q19 priced at circa RM600,000. The company also plans to commence construction of a private marina in Puteri Habour in 2019. Slated for completion in two years, the joint venture development between UEM Sunrise and Singapore’s One Degree 15 comprises a clubhouse, suites and berths for yachts.

(NST, 03/01/2019)


PENANG’S RESIDENTIAL OVERHANG RELATIVELY LOW, SMART CITY AGENDA ON TRACK

According to Penang State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee, the property market in Penang was still “strong”, despite the overhang of residential units. Penang had 3,261 overhanging residential units in 2018, compared with 2,271 units in 2017. In 2019, Penang’s priority will be transforming Penang into a smart city, in accordance with the Penang 2030 theme ‘A Family Focused Green and Smart State’ and several pilot projects are in the pipeline for such purposes.

(The Edge Property, 02/01/2019)


PENANG AIMS TO BE MOST LIVEABLE CITY

The Penang State Government is looking into an ambitious vision to make Penang island the greenest and most liveable city in Asia by introducing the Penang Green Connectors project. This will include the creation of a coastal park stretching from Tanjung Tokong to Batu Maung and a series of linear parks along existing rivers connecting the coast to Penang’s hills. The government also has plans to build a bicycle and pedestrian lane with the concept of Green Connectivity from Gurney Wharf to Batu Ferringhi.

(The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


SANBUMI KEEN TO EXPAND TO PENANG

Sanbumi Holdings Bhd is eyeing investments in the hospitality and property sectors in Penang following its successful investments in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka. The company will focus on the hospitality sector first as the property market is currently experiencing a slow down.

(NST, 04/01/2019)


LABUAN ASSESSMENT RATES STAY FOR 2019

The Labuan Corporation (LC) has no plans to raise assessment rates in 2019, and will, instead, use revenue collected for services provided to administer the island. The revenue included charges for putting up banners and billboards, fees for business licences, rental, development fees, planning fees and fines. The new assessment, in accordance with the revised valuation on property, will be implemented in 2020.

(The Edge Property, 02/01/2019)


SARAWAK FIRM ON 5% SALES TAX

Sarawak will stand firm on its decision to impose a 5% sales tax on petro­leum products in the state starting 2019 despite reservations from the federal government. The sales tax will be levied on crude oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, chemical-based ferti­lisers and gas-to-liquid products.

(The Star & The Edge Financial, 04/01/2019)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton