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MALAYSIA HITS DEFLATION FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2009 GLOBAL CRISIS

Malaysia’s economy swung into deflation in January 2019 for the first time since the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2009 as fuel prices declined. Consumer prices declined 0.7% from a year ago after hovering below 1% in the previous seven months, according to the statistics department. This led to a 7.8% decline in transport costs in January 2019, the biggest annual decline of all the categories.

(The Star, 23/02/2019)


 

MALAYSIA’S GDP TO EXPAND 4.9% 2019, NO RISK OF DEFLATION

Malaysia’s economy is going strong and the GDP is expected to expand a further 4.9% in 2019, albeit, a decline in inflationary pressure. The January 2019 Consumer Price Index (CPI) decline was not caused by recession or any kind of weak demand. Strong economic growth, with the economy expanding by 4.7% in 2018, immediately dispels any deflationary fears following the decline in January 2019 CPI by 0.7%, the lowest in nearly 10 years. The CPI decline proves that the government’s policy of abolishing the Goods & Services Tax (GST) and replacing it with the Sales & Services Tax (SST) and stabilising fuel prices with a ceiling price mechanism works by expanding the economic pie to benefit both businesses and the people.

 (The Sun, 25/02/2019)


 

MOF BACKS PRASARANA IN LRT3 PROJECT

Prasarana Malaysia Bhd (Prasarana) will have the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) backing as it pushes forward in the Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) project. The Finance Ministry will help fund and guarantee the now price reduced RM16.63 billion project. Connecting Bandar Utama to Johan Setia in Klang, the completion date for the project is set for February 28, 2024. The LRT3 project started in 2015 to serve two million population from Bandar Utama to Johan Setia.

(NST, The Star & The Edge, 23/02/2019)


 

GOVERNMENT MAY ACQUIRE FOUR HIGHWAY CONCESSIONS TO ABOLISH TOLLS

Putrajaya has begun talks with Gamuda Bhd to negotiate the acquisition of four highway concessions that the company has a majority stake in, with the aim of abolishing toll collection at these highways. The government is looking to negotiate with selected highway operators to take over their concessions. The four highways involved in Putrajaya’s talks with Gamuda are: Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Lebuhraya Shah Alam (KESAS) and SMART Tunnel. Upon any successful takeover of the highways, the government will abolish the existing toll mechanism and replace it with a ‘congestion charge’ where commuters will pay a charge equivalent to the existing toll for six hours of ‘peak’ period a day. This means that during the “off-peak” period between 11pm and 5am, commuters will travel on the highway for free. At other “normal” travelling hours, commuters will enjoy discounted rates up to 30% compared to existing toll rates.

(The Edge, 23/02/2019)


TOLL CHARGES TO GO DOWN

The government has decided to abolish toll charges gradually and in phases, in line with Pakatan Harapan’s general election pledge to the people. Sources say that while a study currently being conducted on toll charges will only be finished by June 2019, at least one concessionaire has offered to give rebates and discounts to road users in the meantime.

(NST & The Star, 23/02/20109)


PRG FACES HICCUPS ON MAIDEN LUXURY RESIDENTIAL PROJECT

PRG Holdings Bhd’s maiden luxury residential project Picasso Residence, which is supposed to be the company’s flagship development, seems to be running into some trouble. The high-rise residential project, which will have an Olympic-sized swimming pool, is due for completion in March 2019. However, purchasers are unlikely to get their keys anytime soon, as construction works have stopped and buyers were told the new completion date will likely be delayed to 2020. Comprising two 38-storey towers of 472 units, the luxury residential development inspired by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was launched with prices from RM950 per sq. ft., targeting at investors and home seekers eyeing units ranging between 1,013 and 2,480 sq. ft. Besides Picasso Residence, PRG has in its pipeline the launch of Subang U5, which is an affordable apartment project that comprises 650 units priced below RM500,000, in 2019.

(The Edge, 25/02/2019)


GLB MAKES KLANG VALLEY DEBUT

Golden Land Bhd (GLB) officially opened its sales gallery in Setia Alam, Shah Alam over the weekend to market its high-rise freehold serviced apartments, Anggun in the same location. There will be 56 dual key units with built-up areas of 1,227 sq. ft., 56 units of 560 sq. ft. and the rest are three-bedroom units between 926 and 990 sq. ft. It will be developed by GLB’s subsidiary Spectrum 88 Sdn Bhd. The project sits on 3.59 acres and will have a one-acre facilities deck.

(The Star, 25/02/2019)


BLAND EARMARKS RM1.05 BILLION PROPERTY LAUNCHES IN 2019

The group, via its subsidiary Berjaya Golf Resort Bhd, launched The Tropika, a mixed development project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM720 million, comprising 868 residential units across four towers. The Tropika is located on 6.5 acres of freehold land in Bukit Jalil. There are four different types of units, measuring 732 sq. ft., 974 sq. ft., 1,318 sq. ft. and 1,251 sq. ft. respectively. Units of the first tower are priced at RM725 per sq. ft. and every subsequent tower will increase RM50 per sq. ft. The commercial space of the project features a 23,695 sq. ft. grocer along with two-storey dual frontage office lots ranging from 3,316 sq. ft. to 3,814 sq. ft. and retail space ranging from 752 sq. ft. to 1,677 sq. ft. Completion of the commercial component will take two years while the residential towers will take four years. BLand is also planning to develop the 12-acre land next to The Tropika, into a 1,500-unit residential project with managed healthcare.

(The Sun, 25/02/2019)


I-CITY IS SHAPING UP TO BE THE “HEART OF SELANGOR’S GOLDEN TRIANGLE”

I-Bhd’s i-City in Shah Alam is fast shaping up to be the heart of Selangor’s Golden Triangle. i-City has come a long way since it was first envisaged more than 15 years ago. Even then, the first phase of i-City’s development comprising the low-rise MSC Malaysia Cybercentre Office Suites was a pioneering move for Shah Alam as i-City became the first private sector MSC Malaysia Cybercentre development in the country. The MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status, the International Park status as well as i-City’s recognition as a Tourism Destination contributed to the vibrancy of the place. With the mall, convention centre and theme park, I-Bhd expect to receive 12 million visitors in 2019 and the group is confident it can grow this to 30 million visitors over the next five years given the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton, a second convention centre and the completion of centralWalk.

I-City has helped put Shah Alam on the tourism map with its theme park listed by CNN Travel as one of the world’s top 25 “most colourful and brightest places”. Since its opening to the public in 2009, i-City’s theme park has attracted more than 5 million visitors a year. Coming on stream towards the end of the 1Q19 is the opening of the Central i-City Mall with 1 million sq. ft. net leasable area, a mall that was developed as a joint venture between the Central Pattana Group of Thailand and i-City. The mall will be augmented by the 300 units of centralWalk high-street retail outlets, offering lifestyle-altering experiences. It is envisaged that these retail developments will transform Shah Alam into a regional shopping centre

(The Star & NST, 25/02/2019)


STRUCTURED TEAM TO BE FORMED TO MANAGE AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS

A structured team under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government will be placed at affordable housing projects to look into the management of these properties, including their upkeep and the maintenance charge collection. The formation of the structured team is in line with the National Community Policy or Dasar Komuniti Negara (DKN), which was officially launched earlier this month. DKN, a sub-policy under the National Housing Policy (2.0) to improve the living standard of public affordable housing residents was formulated by the Housing and Local Government Ministry and supported by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council and EdgeProp.my.

(The Edge, 23/02/2019)


 

ISKANDAR MALAYSIA SET TO INCLUDE PARTS OF KOTA TINGGI, KLUANG, PONTIAN

The Iskandar Malaysia region will be extended to include parts of Kota Tinggi, Kluang and Pontian for land development and modern agriculture. Iskandar Regional Development Authority’s (Irda) members of authority have approved the proposal, which will see the total area being expanded to 4,749 sq km from 2,217 sq km. With the larger area of coverage, Iskandar Malaysia should be able to offer more land for development at affordable cost and, at the same time, have “modern agriculture” as a new promoted sector.

(NST, 23/02/2019)


 

DESARU PARK CITY PROJECT IN KOTA TINGGI DELAYED – UDA

The launch of the Desaru Park City project in Bandar Penawar, near Kota Tinggi, by UDA Holdings Bhd (UDA) will be delayed as the company has yet to receive the development approval from the local authority. The launch of the Desaru Park City, with a gross development value of RM1.2 billion, was initially planned for the end of 2018 or in 1Q19. It is the first joint venture project between UDA, South East Johor Development Authority (KEJORA) and IR Security which will cover 99 acres. The mixed development spans five phases, with the first phase consisting 135 single-storey terraced houses under the Johor Affordable Housing Scheme, 350 apartment units, 69 double-storey terraced houses and 28 shop-offices.

(NST, 25/02/2019)


HUNZA AND IJM LAND GO AHEAD WITH MEGA PROJECTS

Two developers are executing their plans to develop mixed-development mega projects in 2019 despite a bleak property market outlook. Hunza Properties Bhd is constructing the RM9 billion Penang International Commercial City (PICC) and IJM Land Bhd is starting construction work for The Light City, a RM4 billion integrated mixed-development scheme next to the first Penang Bridge, in 3Q19. The IJM project comprises a 1.1 million sq. ft. retail mall, two international class hotels, a convention centre, office tower, and two condominium blocks. With a gross development value of about RM9 billion, the PICC project, located on 43 acres of land in Bayan Baru, comprises the PICC Tower, a business processing outsource office, a five-star hotel, a medical centre, a food and beverage boulevard, a lifestyle mall, and residences. The group is carrying out the residential phase first, to be followed soon by the commercial component. Known as Muze, the scheme comprises two towers with 846 residential units, which have built-up areas starting from 1,078 sq. ft. onwards. Construction work for The Light City project was supposed to start in July 2018. IJM group had to redesign the project into two phases because of the softer market. The first phase of the scheme, now that it is broken into two, comprises a retail mall with a 700,000 sq. ft. gross floor area, an international class hotel, convention centre and a condominium project. The construction cost for the first phase is estimated at RM1.5 billion. As for the second phase, IJM group will study the market condition first before making a decision. The second phase currently proposes a 400,000 sq. ft. retail mall, an international class hotel, and another condominium project.

(The Star, 23/02/2019)


 

VCB PLANS TO INVEST UP TO RM300 MILLION ON BATU KAWAN FACILITY

Vitrox Corp Bhd (VCB) plans to invest between RM200 million and RM300 million to start the construction of a new design and production facility in Batu Kawan. The facility will be ready for operation in 2022 or 2023. Utilisation of the production floor of the existing facility will reach 70% to 80% due to the surging demand for products. Currently the utilisation of the production floor of the existing facility is about 50%. The built up area is planned to be 900,000 sq. ft., double the size of the present facility that has a 450,000 sq. ft., located on a 22-acre site. VCB is getting ready for expansion as the demand from the automotive sector, smart factories, 5G telecommunication roll out, hybrid electrical vehicles, artificial intelligence and data centres is growing.

(The Star, 25/02/2019)


LOWER PLOT RATIO FOR CITY DEVELOPMENTS UNDER KLCP 2020

The plot ratio cap for city developments has been set at 1:10 under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 (KLCP 2020). Though the requirement applies to all types of development including commercial and residential schemes, there is however an exemption for specific projects, which is contingent on certain conditions. Currently there is no moratorium on new property projects but their “sizes” will be monitored via limiting the plot ratio according to the KLCP 2020.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


URBAN FARMING ALLOWED, BUT WITH APPROVAL

Residents of urban areas are allowed to carry out agricultural activities on land surrounding their neighbourhood, upon attaining approval from the local authorities. The move is in line with ‘Local Agenda 21’ to encourage urban agriculture, especially in housing estates. Idle land in a residential area, such as “the far corners of a park”, can be thoroughly utilised via urban agriculture.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019; The Star, 26/02/2019)


PORT DICKSON DEVELOPMENT PLAN TO BE ADJUSTED

An adjustment will be done to the Port Dickson Development Plan as there are several big projects to be implemented within the constituency. The new projects will involve those related to tourism and infrastructural works.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


MOH NOT PROCEEDING WITH REIT PLAN

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will not proceed with the proposal to set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to source additional funds for the ministry. The ministry has other options to consider in order to generate funds for the development and improvement of MOH facilities.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


IDENTIFYING HOUSING DEMAND AND SUPPLY

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government has established a Housing Integrated Data System to assist in identifying the demand for and supply of affordable housing nationwide. The ministry had encountered difficulties in obtaining information such as income levels by location and other data which is relevant to housing market indicators.

(The Sun, 27/02/2019)


TASK FORCE TO SPEED UP MM2H APPROVALS

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture will set up a task force to speed up the approval process of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme. MM2H functions as a programme by the Tourism Ministry which allows foreigners to stay, but not work, in Malaysia for 10 years. The task force is slated to commence in March 2019 and will be finalised by July 2019 to complete all outstanding 3,727 applications.

(The Sun, 27/02/2019)


ECRL PROJECT TO CONTINUE IF PRICE IS RIGHT

Malaysia will continue with the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, which has been suspended since July 2018, if the price point is reasonable. But for now, Malaysia and China have not agreed on the price for the project. If the project cost is in excess of RM55 billion, Malaysia will require 30 years to repay the loan to finance the ECRL construction.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 26/02/2019)


DEVELOPER’S QUEST FOR BETTER LIVING

Eco World Development Group Bhd is creating a holistic living environment within its Life@EcoWorld development to introduce the “ageing in place” concept, which meets the needs and lifestyle aspirations of homeowners at every stage of their lives. Two memorandums of understanding were signed between EcoWorld, Aged Care Group and Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital of Taiwan. The collaboration will uncover a sharing of knowledge, teaching, research and talent exchange between the two countries.

(The Star, 27/02/2019)


RM3 MILLION A YEAR TO BUILD HOMES FOR THE POOR

The Melaka State Government will allocate RM3 million annually for a housing programme to help the hardcore poor in the state. The programme will include home repairs and building 60 houses annually, whereby the first phase of construction is scheduled to begin in June 2019. The first 30 units at a cost of RM30,000 each, will be built in Pokok Mangga and will be rented out for RM150 a month for a period of three years.

(The Star, 26/02/2019)


DAMANSARA REALTY’S PPA1M PROJECT IN PUTRAJAYA CANCELLED

According to Damansara Realty Bhd (DBhd), Putrajaya Corp has cancelled a project to build 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M) units and related commercial components on 11.9 acres land in Precinct 5, Putrajaya. The cancellation was due to the government’s move to unify the development of affordable homes under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. On November 30, 2015, DBhd had signed the agreement with Putrajaya Corp to develop the project, which comprises 1,350 residential units and 45 commercial units, at a gross development cost of RM467.3 million.

(The Edge Financial, 27/02/2019)


COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN SEREMBAN BOASTS UNIQUE DESIGN

Oakland Food Market’s lifestyle shops and offices is an up-and-coming commercial development in Seremban. The two blocks (up to five storeys) of stratified commercial development will house 86 shops and 96 offices. Unit sizes for shops begin from 1,041 sq. ft. (includes a terrace or open space), whereas offices start from 1,125 sq. ft., which includes a terraced garden and rooftop garden. The freehold development also provides more than 500 basement and surface parking spaces.

(The Star, 27/02/2019)


CARSOME TO MOVE ITS HQ TO LUXURY COWORKING SPACE COLONY@MUTIARA DAMANSARA

Carsome (Southeast Asia’s largest online used-car auction platform) is moving its 150-person team to Colony@Mutiara Damansara in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. The 19,000 sq. ft. co-working space in KYM Tower will open with an approximate occupancy rate of 81% in July 2019. Carsome is the first website in Malaysia to provide car sales services. Funded by local and global investors, it has raised a total of over RM142.65 million in funding and is operating in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, with over 14 motor inspection centres.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


MEDA INC TO CHANGE NAME TO MERIDIAN BHD

Meda Inc Bhd will change its name to Meridian Bhd and undertake a private placement of up to 10% of its total issued shares to fund the development of Malaysia Tourism City (MTC) in Melaka. Meda Inc plans to develop a 622 acre land in Kuala Linggi in Alor Gajah, Melaka, into the MTC, over three phases. Phase 1 of MTC comprises a water theme park, a weekend market, a thematic adventure park, the first phase of vacation bungalows called “The Estate”, the first phase of an eco-tourism park, a hotel and edu-tourism facilities. Meanwhile, Phases 2 and 3 will have a designer moto-tourism park, a shopping mall and entertainment centre, a convention centre, the second and third phases of vacation bungalows, an aesthetics healthcare centre, the second phase of the eco-tourism park, hotels, the second phase of the water theme park, a martial arts village, a medical centre and an aquarium.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


INVEST SELANGOR TO PROMOTE UMW’S MANUFACTURING PARK IN SERENDAH

UMW Development Sdn Bhd (UMWD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Invest Selangor Bhd to leverage on the latter’s local and foreign network, in order to attract investors towards the UMW High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Park in Serendah. The MoU will serve to facilitate discussions leading to the marketing and promotion of the HVM park, and to simultaneously captivate more foreign direct investments into Selangor through UMWD’s land offerings. The park consists of 861 acres with planned supporting commercial, mixed use and industrial development.

(The Edge Financial, & The Sun, 26/02/2019)


SELANGOR TO EXPAND MRO SEGMENT

Selangor is expanding its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector in a bid to establish itself as the aerospace and aviation industry’s gateway to Asian countries. The Selangor State Government is currently in talks with international companies for the relocation of some of their operations to Selangor, including around the Subang Airport, Serendah and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.

(The Edge Financial, The Star & The Sun, 26/02/2019)


METROD BOOSTS CAPACITY, SEE SALES DOUBLING IN 3 YEARS

Metrod Holdings Bhd (copper rod producer) is aiming to double its sales numbers over the next three years by tapping into the growing demand for copper globally. This comes after the group boosted its manufacturing capacity with the launch of a 6,300m plant extension adjacent to its existing manufacturing facility at the Bukit Raja Prime Industrial Park in Shah Alam.

(The Edge Financial, The Star, The Sun & NST, 26/02/2019)


NEW INITIATIVE TO BOOST CAMERON HIGHLANDS

Cameron Highlands’ position as a tourist destination and an agricultural hub will be enhanced under a new initiative by the Pahang State Government. The objective of the plan, which will span over the next 10 to 20 years, is to make the hill resort more accessible to tourists and to ease traffic congestion, especially during peak periods such as public holidays and weekends.

(The Sun, 27/02/2019)


HEALTH MINISTER PROPOSES ADDITIONAL CLINIC

The Ministry of Health has proposed for another health clinic to be built in Semenyih. The proposal functioned as an addition to the efforts in improving facilities at the two existing health clinics in Semenyih Town and Beranang. Meanwhile, facilities at Kajang Hospital, which is the nearest hospital to Semenyih, will be improved by including the construction of a women’s and children’s clinic.

(The Sun, 27/02/2019)


SPORTS COMPLEX TO OPEN SOON

Construction works on the SkyArena Sports Complex built by SkyWorld Development Group is scheduled to be completed by 2H19. Located on 9.88 acres of land, the sports complex will house triple volume indoor rock climbing, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a diving pool and board, badminton courts, a football field with running track, a 1,400 sq. ft. fitness centre, and squash courts.

(The Star, 27/02/2019)


SETTLERS WANT TO RESTART OPERATIONS ON THEIR LAND SOON

A local assemblyman is calling on the government to sort out the processes at the end of the bauxite mining moratorium, so that his constituents can restart operations on their land as soon as possible. The settlers in Felda Bukit Goh and Felda Bukit Kuantan have been suffering from losses of income after bauxite mining activities were suspended in 2016.

(The Star, 26/02/2019)


TMJ AGAINST PLANS TO BUILD UHAMKA IN PAGOH

Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) has disagreed with plans to build the Muhammadiyah University of Prof Dr Hamka (Uhamka) in Pagoh. The building of the university would be going against the state fatwa and will certainly result in confusion among the people, thereby raising conflicts among Muslims in Johor.

(The Star, 26/02/2019)


PENANG WANTS URBAN REGENERATION LAW

Penang wants an urban regeneration law so that aged housing schemes can be torn down and redeveloped. Currently, unanimous consent from residents of a development must be obtained for the regeneration project to be carried out. The state is planning a number of regeneration projects via the urban renewal committee.

(The Edge Property, 25/02/2019)


IT MAKES ECONOMIC SENSE TO HAVE PSR PROJECT ON THE ISLAND

According to Gamuda Group, it makes economic sense to have the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project on the island rather than on the mainland as the former has become an important economic centre. Under the PSR, the Penang State Government has proposed to reclaim land on the southern part of Penang Island to build three man-made islands to finance the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

(The Star, 27/02/2019)


FIRST A ROAD, NOW A TOWNSHIP

A developer from Kuala Lumpur has promised farmers a payout of at least RM120 million to turn a strip of rural land on western Penang island into a township with nearly 600 houses, four blocks of high-rise buildings and two blocks of shoplots on top of community amenities. The developer seeks to develop 89-acres (Lots 254, 804 and 803) along a new road which the Rural Development Ministry is spending RM53 million to build (construction began in December 2018). In January 2019, the public-listed developer entered into a joint-venture development agreement with Koperasi Kampung Melayu Balik Pulau Berhad to build 276 terraced houses, 214 semi-detached houses, 91 double-storey bungalows, two 16-storey blocks of condominiums, two 16-storey blocks of low-cost flats, two blocks of shoplots, a school, mosque, community hall and other public amenities on land which the co-op owns. The developer specified that the deal is conditional upon the successful extension of the land lease to 99 years, re-zoning of the land use category and approval of all relevant building plans.

(The Star, 26/02/2019)


MIRI CITY COUNCIL TO SEEK RM13 MILLION TO FUND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

The Miri City Council (MCC) is seeking funding of RM13 million from the Sarawak State Government to implement 13 special development projects that have been proposed for the city. Out of 143 major projects that had been planned by MCC, 96 projects (67%) have been completed, including six tourism related projects.

(The Edge Property, 26/02/2019)


SARAWAK EXPECTS RM8.8 BILLION FROM TOURISM IN 2019

The Ministry of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture is aiming to raise RM8.8 billion in tourism revenue in 2019 from higher tourist arrivals. Sarawak’s tourism sector’s main challenge is the lack of direct flights from overseas, into the state. In 2019, the ministry is targeting a 40:60 ratio for domestic and foreign visitors.

(The Edge Financial, 27/02/2019)


BUSINESS ACTIVITIES “TO SLOW DOWN” IN 1H19

A business condition survey jointly carried out by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research shows that business activity is expected to slow down in 1H19. Respondents were more cautious about the outlook for 1H19, with the survey’s Business Conditions Index declining 23 points to 101 points, from 124 in 2H18.

(The Edge Financial & NST, 28/02/2019)


MALAYSIA’S 1Q19 BUSINESS CONFIDENCE SLUMPS TO TWO – YEAR LOW

Business confidence in Malaysia retreated for the first time in two years in 1Q19, with the confidence indicator of the Statistics Department’s business tendency survey recording a decline into negative territory. The indicator dropped to negative 2.2% (the lowest level recorded since 1Q17). In 4Q18, the indicator was at a positive 7.1%. Industry, construction and wholesale and retail trade sectors expect their business situations to decline in 1Q19, with confidence indicators of -3.6%, -18.9% and -8.2% respectively. Meanwhile, the service sector expects its business situation to improve at a moderate rate with a smaller confidence indicator at +5.9% compared with +18.8% in 4Q18.

(The Edge Financial, 01/03/2019)


DBKL TO SAVE FOREST RESERVE

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will acquire a piece of land in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve to preserve the city’s biggest tropical forest. The 0.67 acre land belonged to a private owner who applied to develop it, however, the application for the development order was rejected by DBKL.

(The Star, 01/03/2019)


“GOKL” FREE BUS FOR TITIWANGSA – MINDEF ROUTE STARTS

The Federal Territories Ministry launched a new route for the GoKL free bus service along the Titiwangsa-Mindef (Ministry of Defence) Hub (fifth route), which has been named the “Orange Line”. The 10.4km new route follows Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, Jalan Padang Tembak, Jalan Bukit Keramat, Persiaran Gurney, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz and Jalan Pahang. Meanwhile, a sixth route (the Sri Pantai-Kerinchi Light Rail Transit People’s Housing Project Route) will be implemented in April 2019 with 15-minute bus frequencies.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


FEDERAL TERRITORIES MINISTRY LAUNCHES HERITAGE TRAIL 6

The Federal Territories Ministry launched the “Heritage Trail 6” under the Leboh Ampang area beautification project in Kuala Lumpur. The “Heritage Trail 6” is the main route that connects pedestrian walkways from Jalan Ampang to Jalan Sultan Ismail, Dang Wangi, Leboh Ampang and Medan Pasar and its surrounding area. It also links major public transport hubs such as the Bukit Nanas Monorail Station, Dang Wangi Light Rail Transit (LRT) station and Masjid Jamek LRT station.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


TROPICANA ENDS 2018 WITH LOWER NET PROFIT

Tropicana Corp Bhd’s net profit fell 32.7% to RM51.48 million in 4Q18 from RM76.44 million a year ago, reportedly due to higher income tax expenses. In 2019, the group will continue to focus on the introduction of new phases across its signature developments, particularly at Tropicana Heights, Tropicana Aman, Tropicana Metropark and Tropicana Danga Cove. The group will also launch the first phase of serviced apartments in Genting, Pahang, spanning 112 acres, towards the end of 2019.

(The Edge Property, 27/02/2019)


SP SETIA EYES “10% PROPERTY SALES GROWTH”

SP Setia Bhd is targeting sales of RM5.65 billion for FY19, which is a 10% increase from the RM5.12 billion in new property sales achieved during FY18. SP Setia plans to launch RM6.80 billion worth of properties in FY19, comprising RM6.66 billion in local launches and RM139.0 million in international launches, with the latter being new phases in Eco Lakes and Eco Xuan in Vietnam. The local launches will be concentrated within the central region, with RM4.98 billion worth of launches planned. This includes new projects from I & P land banks such as Setia Alaman (as an extension of Setia Alam), Setia Mayuri in Semenyih, and Setia Tropicale in Salak Tinggi. It is also launching Setia Safiro on newly-acquired land bank in Cyberjaya. In addition, SP Setia will continue to launch new phases in the group’s established developments like Setia Alam, Bandar Kinrara, KL Eco City and Setia Ecohill 2, and rebranded projects of Setia Alamsari, Alam Sutera and Kota Bayuemas in the central region. Planned launches in the southern region stands at a total of RM1.17 billion, largely from Setia Tropika, Bukit Indah, Setia Indah, Setia Eco Gardens and Taman Industri Jaya. As for the northern region, SP Setia will be launching its maiden residential project at Setia Fontaines on mainland Penang, priced at RM330,000 onwards.

(The Edge Property, 27/02/2019; NST, The Star & The Sun, 28/02/2019)


MAH SING TARGETS MINIMUM RM1.5 BILLION SALES IN 2019

In 2019, Mah Sing Group Bhd has targeted a minimum of RM1.5 billion in sales with the focus being on affordable homes at strategic locations. Priced below RM700,000, the new launches include M Vertica Tower 3 & 4 in Cheras, Sensory serviced residence in Southville City, Basil @ M Aruna in Rawang, Onyx Icon City in Petaling Jaya, Hazel in Meridin East and Orchid in Meridin East in Pasir Gudang, Pykett Project, Ferringhi Residence 2, Block B and Southbay City’s upcoming phase in Penang.

(The Edge Financial, NST, The Star & The Sun, 28/02/2019)


SIME DARBY PROPERTY PLANS UP TO RM2.5 BILLION WORTH OF PROJECTS

Sime Darby Property Bhd plans to launch projects worth between RM1.5 billion and RM2.5 billion in FY19. This is up to 3,000 units, of which an estimated 60% shall comprise landed residential properties that are priced below RM750,000. Additionally, the group will focus on strategic partnerships to develop industrial and logistic properties, which will serve as a catalytic development for its townships, diversification beyond traditional products and increasing its recurrent income in the long term. Sime Darby Property is currently partnering with Japan’s Mitsui & Co and Mitsubishi Estate Co Ltd to develop a managed industrial park in Bandar Bukit Raja. Besides that, the group is expected to commence operations of a new mall (Galleria, KL East) in 4Q19.

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


PARAMOUNT CORP 4Q18 NET PROFIT UP 25%

Paramount Corp Bhd’s net profit rose 24.6% to RM30.05 million in 4Q18 from RM24.12 million in 4Q17. In 2019, Paramount plans to launch seven projects including new phases of existing projects with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.3 billion. This includes expanding its footprint towards Klang, with an integrated property-education development project of 33.3 acres located at Jalan Goh Hock Huat, which will be anchored by a new 1,500-student capacity Sri KDU International School campus. The “ATWATER” commercial development in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, will be launched to complement the residential units that were 84% sold in 2018. Paramount will be launching the third phase of its Utropolis serviced apartments in Batu Kawan. The opening of the KDU Penang University College, Batu Kawan campus is scheduled for September 2019. Paramount will also be replenishing its land bank in 2019 by 41.4 additional acres in Cyberjaya, with a projected GDV of RM570 million, pursuant to the expected completion of the land sale and purchase in 1Q19. The group is working towards launching the first phase of the development in 4Q19. Paramount will jointly develop a transit-oriented development with projected GDV of RM1 billion in Section 14, Petaling Jaya with the land owner, Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


HIGHER TAXES HURT I-BERHAD PROFIT

Higher taxes in 2017 reduced I-Berhad’s net profit by 7% to RM58.7 million for FY18. Investment properties which were under construction over the past few years will however contribute to the group’s bottom line in 2019 onwards. First in line is the soft opening of Central i-City Mall due on March 23, 2019 and an official opening on April 27, 2019.

(NST & The Star, 28/02/2019)


KERJAYA PROSPEK EXPECTS “BETTER” YEAR AHEAD

Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd is expecting an improved FY19, as the group expects to secure more jobs. The company is seeking to amend the development plan for its project located on 4.52 acres in Mukim Batu, Kuala Lumpur. Though the company originally planned to build two 28-storey blocks, it now wishes to change it to a single 60-storey tower with the number of units remaining at circa 450 units.

(The Edge Financial, 01/03/2019)


GOLDEN LAND TO LAUNCH RESIDENTIAL PROJECT

Golden Land plans to launch “Anggun”, a flagship residential development in Setia Alam on a 3.58 acre plot at Persiaran Setia Perdana. Anggun has a gross development value of RM280 million. The development comprises two 35 and 33 storey towers with 500 apartments and 16 single-storey commercial units. Priced at between RM270,000 and RM649,000, the serviced apartments will have built-ups of between 560 sq. ft. and 1,227 sq. ft.

(NST, 28/02/2019)


TM TO SELL TWO ANNEXE TOWERS

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) plans to sell its Annexe 1 and Annexe 2 buildings. Potential buyers have the option of either buying the two buildings without tenants, or with different tenancy agreements. Both buildings occupy leasehold plots and are owned by TM, whereby the plots still have 53 years left on their lease.

Annexe 1 is a 20-storey building with a net lettable area (NLA) of 188,122 sq. ft. and an occupancy rate of 95%. Annex 2 is a 33-storey building with a NLA of 280,650 sq. ft. and an occupancy rate of 92%. The reserve price for Annexe 1 ranged between RM108.5 million and RM125 million, while Annexe 2 ranged between RM164.9 million and RM187 million.

(The Edge Financial, 28/02/2019)


WOTSO MALAYSIA EXPLORES OPPORTUNITIES FOR SECOND WOTSO MALAYSIA

Wotso Malaysia (a joint venture between Australia based Blackwall Ltd and UEM Sunrise Bhd) is exploring opportunities to expand the brand towards other cities in Malaysia. The first Wotso Workspace in Malaysia, which commenced operations in November 2018, is located on the second floor of UEM Sunrise’s Mercu Summer Suites, Kuala Lumpur. The 14,000 sq. ft. workspace comprises private offices for small and medium enterprises, “hot desks”, meeting rooms, video conferencing rooms and phone booths, an event space, leisure areas with sofas, a foosball table, table tennis table and a pantry. The space has the capacity to accommodate approximately 220 people.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


QSR BRANDS ON TRACK FOR RELISTING ON BURSA BY 1H19

QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd is on track to return to Bursa Malaysia by 1H19 as the company is currently finalising documentation. QSR Brands is the operator of 820 KFC restaurants in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Cambodia and also operates more than 470 Pizza Hut restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore. The company aims to open 24 additional KFC restaurants in Malaysia by the end of 2019.

(The Star, 01/03/2019)


PUTRAJAYA CORP TERMINATES DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH TRC LAND

Putrajaya Corporation has terminated the development agreement with TRC Land Sdn Bhd for 500 affordable civil servants housing (PPA1M) units, 316 public residential units and 20 commercial units in Precinct 18 of Putrajaya.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


PLATINUM ARENA: “JUST RIGHT” FOR URBANITES

Platinum Victory plans to launch “Platinum Arena” in 2019. The 36 storey “Platinum Arena” comprising 728 strata serviced apartments with five layout types and a “curated” commercial hub at its base, is a leasehold project suitable for young families.

(StarProperty, 28/02/2019)


BOUSTEAD’S SALE OF HOTEL NOT CONFIRMED, VALUATION STILL UNDERWAY

The Defence Ministry (Mindef) has clarified that Boustead Holdings Bhd has yet to dispose of the Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel, stating that the valuation process is still underway. This follows Boustead’s announcement on February 19, 2019, that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Boustead Hotel & Resorts Sdn Bhd, has accepted an offer from Singapore-based Hotel Royal Ltd to buy the hotel for RM197 million.

(The Edge Property, 27/02/2019)


TOURIST ARRIVALS IN MALAYSIA FOR 2018 WERE STILL BELOW REVISED LOWER TARGET

For 2018, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture reported 25.83 million tourist arrivals in Malaysia, compared with the target of 26.4 million. This was a 0.5% decline y-o-y from the 2017 figure of 25.95 million. Tourist receipts for 2018 also fell short of the RM84.9 billion target at RM84.1 billion. In terms of per capita expenditure, Malaysia experienced a 2.9% y-o-y increase to RM3,257, from RM3,166, while the average length of stay increased to 6.5 nights from 5.7 nights in 2018.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 28/02/2019)


TIMELY RELEASE MECHANISM OF BUMIPUTERA LOTS WILL REDUCE PRICES

The National House Buyers Association (HBA) welcomes the move by the Perak State Government to allow the “early” and “timely” release of bumiputera lots, as such a move will likely lead to lower house prices in the long run. With this step, developers should be able to reduce holding costs, potentially leading to lower house prices, provided the developers do not look to “increase” their profit margins.

(The Edge Financial, 01/03/2019)


BRIDGE FROM PENANG TO PULAU JEREJAK PLANNED

There is a plan for a four lane bridge between Penang and Pulau Jerejak solely for pedestrians, cyclists and electric cars. Cars with combustion engines and utility vehicles like Tenaga Nasional trucks would however require permits to cross the bridge i.e. Ambulances, fire engines and police cars will be allowed to utilise the bridge if required to do so.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


PENANG LOOKS FOR “CONDITIONAL APPROVAL” OF PTMP’S MAJOR COMPONENTS

The Penang State Government is seeking the attainment of “conditional approval” on major components of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) to work on meeting those conditions and start working on the next level including final designs, calculating the costs and tendering the projects’ work components. With an estimated cost of more than RM40 billion, the price includes two projects involving reclamation works and infrastructure.

(The Edge Property, 28/02/2019)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton