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BANK NEGARA PROJECTS GDP GROWTH AT 4.3% TO 4.8% IN 2019

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to expand by 4.3% to 4.8% in 2019, compared with 4.7% in 2018, driven by domestic demand amid the challenging global environment. Nonetheless, Bank Negara Malaysia cautioned that the domestic growth projection is subject to several downside risks, particularly from global trade disputes, political uncertainty and sudden shifts in investor sentiment.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun, The Star & NST, 28/03/2019)


FEBRUARY 2019 CPI FALLS 0.4%

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.4% to 120.8 in February 2019, compared with 121.3 in February 2018, mainly due to a decline in transport costs. Of the main groups under the overall index, the transport index, which contributed 14.6% towards overall weight, decreased the most y-o-y (-6.8%). However, the fall was countered by the increase in the indexes of housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (+2.0%) and of food & non-alcoholic beverages (+1.0%). Other rising indexes were restaurants & hotels (+1.3%), education (+1.3%) and alcoholic beverages & tobacco (+1.1%).

(NST, 23/03/2019)


INFLATION SEEN TO REMAIN STEADY AT MODERATE LEVEL

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, headline inflation in 2019 is projected to average between 0.7% and 1.7%, compared with 1% in 2018. The central bank expected inflation to be driven by some “cost-pass-through” from domestic cost factors, including those arising from policy measures, but this would be offset by the impact of lower global oil prices and ceiling prices on domestic retail fuel prices.

(The Star & The Sun, 28/03/2019)


MALAYSIA’S EXPORT GROWTH TO HALVE IN 2019

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysia’s exports growth will likely soften to 3.4% in 2019, from 6.8% in 2018, in line with moderate global economic expansion and trade activity.

(The Edge Financial, 28/03/2019)


2018 LOAN DISBURSEMENT GROWTH HITS FOUR-YEAR HIGH

The growth in loan disbursement stood at 7.3% in 2018, which is the fastest pace since 2014. Banks in Malaysia have collectively disbursed loans totalling RM1.24 trillion in 2018 (the highest in five years). Of the total, RM357.9 billion was disbursed to households, RM794.4 billion towards businesses, and RM95.1 billion raised via capital markets.

(The Edge Financial, 28/03/2019)


HOUSEHOLD DEBT MARGINALLY DECLINED IN 2018

The ratio of total household debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined to 83% of GDP as at the end of 2018, from 83.8% in 2017. Meanwhile, the growth of household debt slowed further to 4.7% in 2018 compared with 4.9% in 2017 and 5.6% in 2016. The decelerating pace was mainly due to slower growth in loans extended by non-bank financial institutions. Notably, residential property loans remained as the primary contributor to household debt growth, although lending has been curtailed by reduced housing affordability, particularly among low- to middle-income households.

(The Edge Financial & The Sun, 28/03/2019)


4.4 MILLION WORKERS EARN RM2,160 OR LESS PER MONTH

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the living wage for a single adult household in Kuala Lumpur was estimated at RM2,700 in 2016. For a couple without children, the estimated living wage was RM4,500, and RM6,500 for a couple with two children. The living wage is not necessarily uniform throughout the country and is meant to be sufficient to pay for minimum acceptable needs and not for “aspirational” lifestyles. Over the medium term, the cost of living in Malaysia will continue to impact households’ wellbeing and sentiments, especially since wages remain low. Overall, approximately half of Malaysian workers (4.4 million people) earn RM2,160 a month or less. Households in the Bottom 40 per cent of income distribution experienced slower income growth over the 2014 to 2016 period, relative to the higher-income households and any income increase was offset by the increase in expenditure, thus leaving little room for the accumulation of savings.

(NST, 28/03/2019)


MIDA TARGETS RM13 BILLION IN APPROVED INVESTMENTS FOR E&E INDUSTRY

Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) expects higher approved investments of RM13 billion for the electrical and electronic (E&E) industry in 2019, which is an increase of 16.07% from RM11.2 billion in 2018, supported by the sector’s strong and vibrant ecosystem. The presence of major Multinational Companies (MNCs) and Malaysian-owned companies contribute to the steady growth of the E&E industry in Malaysia.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun & NST, 29/03/2019)


MALAYSIA “CAN RECOVER” IN 3 YEARS

In three years, the Malaysian Government foresees the country recovering from administrative and financial problems left behind by the previous administrative government. The present administrative government has many plans which are expected to overcome “existing issues”.

(The Edge Financial & NST, 26/03/2019)


UTILITY FIRMS TO UPDATE DATA WITH JUPEM

The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources has recommended utility companies to update data regarding their underground utilities, including cables and pipes, with the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM), in order to facilitate the governance and speeding up of new development projects. JUPEM has already started compiling utility data in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

(The Edge Property, 25/03/2019)


GOVERNMENT REVIEWING STATE-OFFERED LAND FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Federal Government is currently reviewing the suitability of land that has been offered by State Governments for affordable housing purposes, as the government has issued a request for proposals for at least three housing projects. In order to keep affordable housing prices low, the ministry has requested utility companies, including electricity, water and telecommunications, to absorb costs for the development to ultimately reduce housing prices. Other steps taken include imposing a Sales and Service Tax (SST) exemption for building materials, emphasising the usage of cheaper and speedier Industrial Building System (IBS) and seeking lower costs of acquiring land. Under the 2018-2025 National Housing Policy, the government has set a target to develop up to 100,000 units of affordable homes annually between now and 2025, at prices below RM300,000.

(The Edge Financial, 26/03/2019)


REGULATIONS PLANNED FOR RESALE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSES

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government plans to set regulations for affordable homes to be sold back to the Ministry if the homeowner wishes to sell. Regulations under the National Affordable Housing Policy are being “fine tuned” to allow target groups to purchase homes at reasonable prices. The rules will apply to all affordable homes built commencing 2019.

(The Star & The Sun, 28/03/2019)


KUALA KUBU BARU MAY BE NEXT HERITAGE SITE

Kuala Kubu Baru in Hulu Selangor is being evaluated to become a national heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005, prior to being nominated as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The evaluation is being carried out by the National Heritage Department, Selangor government, local authorities and relevant agencies.

(The Sun & NST, 26/03/2019)


GOVERNMENT TO FINALISE NATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE POLICY IN 2Q19

The Malaysian Government is committed in completing the review of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) by 2Q19. The NAP will address the need for standards and regulations of these new technologies (including the proposed “flying vehicles”), should there be a demand for the application of such technologies by the automotive industry in the future.

(The Edge Financial, 28/03/2019)


MPSEPANG SETS GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYERS HOUSING FOREIGN WORKERS IN SHOPLOTS

The Sepang Municipal Council’s (MPSepang) Town Planning Department has drawn up a set of guidelines for workers’ accommodation in shoplots. The guidelines were based on an inventory study that found shoplots being a common mode of housing arranged by employers, for foreign labourers working in restaurants and on construction sites.

(The Star, 28/03/2019)


“UNFAIR” HOUSING LOAN TERMS TO BE REVISED BY THE END OF 2019

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has found that some terms and conditions of housing loans and financing contracts are “disproportionately skewed” in favour of banking institutions, to the detriment of consumers. Following the bank’s thematic review in 2018, banking institutions are now required to revise these unfair terms and conditions and improve clarity via the use of plain language, for both new and existing housing loans and financing contracts, by the end of 2019. The bank is also readying a set of standards (to be issued in 1H19) that set out its expectations for the board and management of financial service providers (FSPs) to promote a culture where the interests of consumers are an integral part of business operations. In addition, FSPs must act in good faith by ensuring fairness of contract terms, providing clear and concise product information and offering appropriate advice or recommendations.

(The Edge Financial, 28/03/2019)


DBKL TO HELP PUBLIC HOUSING RESIDENTS PAY ARREARS

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has introduced the “Rental Arrears Settlement Service Scheme” to address the problem of rental arrears by tenants of its Public Housing and PPR units. DBKL will appoint tenants who cannot afford to pay their rents as cleaners and their income will be channelled directly to DBKL to settle their current and outstanding rents.

(The Edge Financial, 29/03/2019)


THE AUTHORITIES CAN HELP RECOVER UNPAID MAINTENANCE FEES

There are several actions outlined in the Strata Management Act 2013 (Act 757) that allow the local authority, via its Commissioner of Buildings (CoB), to intervene in issues at strata properties. The CoB will prepare investigation papers, while the Housing and Local Government Ministry will prosecute if required. Joint Management Bodies and management committees can also compel defaulters through written notices demanding payment via Form 11 or Form 20 of the Act. If the defaulter does not pay the charges after the managing body serves these forms, the managing body may file a summons or claim in court or go to the Strata Management Tribunal for recovery of the arrears. Alternatively, a warrant can be applied from the CoB to seize any movable property of defaulters.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


11.9 MILLION ACRE FOREST AREA GAZETTED AS PERMANENT FOREST RESERVES

As of December 31, 2018, a total of 11.9 million acres of forest area was gazetted as permanent forest reserves under the National Forestry Act 1984. The Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources has also identified government forest areas, which have the potential to be made permanent forest reserves, covering 285,157 acres. The ministry was also formulating a Forestry Bill to coordinate all forestry-related laws in the country, in order to incorporate a public hearing before approval could be given for any logging activities.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


RAMSAR WETLANDS TO BE PROTECTED FROM FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

The Malaysian Government will no longer consider approval for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) on all Ramsar sites, in order to ensure the sustainability of these wetlands. A Ramsar site refers to a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Malaysia has seven Ramsar sites, namely Tasik Bera (Pahang); Tanjung Piai, Pulau Kukup and Sungai Pulai (Johor); Kuching Wetlands National Park (Sarawak), and Segama Wetlands and Kota Kinabalu Wetlands (Sabah).

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


NEGRI TO STUDY RESPONSE TO FREE SEREMBAN BUS SERVICE

The Negri Sembilan State Government will study the response to the free bus service in Seremban and will work out a suitable mechanism if it is predominately utilised by foreigners. The free bus service in Seremban commenced its operations on March 24, 2019 and serves KM Plaza, Seremban Utara Post Office, Haji Shariff Cendol, Wisma Negeri, Seremban Municipal Council, Seremban EPF, Tuanku Jaafar Hospital, Seremban Health Clinic and Seremban KTM.

(The Star & The Sun, 25/03/2019)


KUALA LUMPUR – SINGAPORE ROUTE “THE WORLD’S BUSIEST”

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore flight route, which operates 30,187 flights annually, has been named the world’s busiest international route, for a second straight year. Rounding out the world’s top five busiest international routes were Jakarta-Singapore, Hong Kong-Shanghai and Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur, and this is likely due to high demand for low-cost carriers, especially those that operate out of Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. The analysis was based on operating flight volume, including insight into on-time performance and carrier frequency.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun, The Star & NST, 27/03/2019)


GOVERNMENT MAY ABOLISH GOMBAK TOLL UPON GETTING REPORT IN JUNE 2019

The Malaysian Government will look into the proposal to abolish the Gombak toll at the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway after it receives a comprehensive report in June 2019. The government appointed an independent audit consultant on January 28, 2019, to assist in analysing relevant data related to suggestions in reducing the burden of highway tolls for the public.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


RM23.84 BILLION SHAVED FROM COST OF MRT2 AND LRT3 PROJECTS

The Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) and Mass Rail Transit 2 (MRT2) projects will proceed with a cost reduction of RM23.84 billion. The LRT3 project will plough ahead at a cost of RM16.63 billion compared with the original RM31.65 billion agreed upon as a result of discussions, negotiations and rationalisation. Meanwhile, MRT2, via a structuring of the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya project, and a rationalisation exercise, has reduced costs by RM8.82 billion.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


MAH SING UNIT ACQUIRES LAND FOR RM90.3 MILLION

Mah Sing Group Bhd has acquired 4.6 acres of freehold land in Petaling for RM90.3 million. The land will be turned into “a quick turnaround niche development” as it already has a development order. However, in view of the location, the developer intends to revisit development plans in order to fit current market demands. Based on preliminary plans, the project will have an estimated gross development value of approximately RM500 million. The affordable two-bedroom units will have an indicative built-up from 700 sq. ft. and a starting price of RM428,000.

(NST, The Edge Financial, The Star & The Sun, 29/03/2019)


SIME DARBY’S EV5 SEES ALMOST 100% TAKE-UP

Buyers “snapped up” 164 of the 168 units on offer on the launch day of Elmina Valley Five (EV5), a freehold development by Sime Darby. EV5 offers double-storey link homes with built-up areas from 2,330 sq. ft., whereby prices start from RM816,199. The second phase of EV5 homes comprises 205 units which are scheduled to be launched in April 2019.

(The Edge Financial & The Star, 25/03/2019)


SIME DARBY PROPERTY PREVIEWS SERENIA ADIVA 2

Sime Darby Property has unveiled “Serenia Adiva 2”, another residential development at its Serenia City Township in Sepang, Selangor. Serenia Adiva 2 is a freehold development with a development size of 18.72 acres, comprising 226 double storey link homes with built-up areas starting from 1,874 sq. ft., priced from RM596,888.

(The Sun, 29/03/2019)


FELDA NEEDS RM711 MILLION TO COMPLETE NEW GENERATION HOUSING PROJECT

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will require an injection of RM711 million to fully complete the Felda New Generation Housing project. A remainder of 30 sites, which are meant to comprise 6,816 units of houses, were “problematic” and the houses have yet to be constructed due to financial issues.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


BINA DARULAMAN LAUNCHES NEW PHASE OF HOUSING PROJECT

Bina Darulaman Bhd’s (BDB) property development arm, Kedah Holdings Sdn Bhd, has launched a new phase at its Bandar Sejahtera housing project with a gross development value of RM32 million. Located in Section 8, Bandar Pokok Sena, a total of 70 double-storey terraced houses and 16 double-storey cluster houses will be developed and priced between RM300,000 and RM460,000 each.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019 & The Star, 29/03/2019)


PKNS TO LAUNCH MORE AFFORDABLE HOMES IN ANTARA GAPI

The Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) is launching 154 affordable double storey link homes in Hulu Selangor. The 22 ft. by 65 ft. houses of the “Widuri Residensi” development in Antara Gapi are priced from RM440,600 per unit, with built up areas ranging from 1,915 sq. ft. to 1,966 sq. ft.

(The Edge Financial, 29/03/2019)


TAMAN RIMBA KIARA PROJECT DISPUTES TO BE TABLED

Disputes over the proposed housing project at Taman Rimba Kiara, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, will be tabled and finalised at a Cabinet meeting in April 2019. The proposed project comprises 350 units of affordable houses for Bukit Kiara longhouse residents and eight blocks of 50 storey high end condominiums on a 11.86 acre site has been opposed due to it being “one of the last green lungs in the city”.

(The Edge Property, 23/03/2019 & The Star, 25/03/2019)


GDB AWARDED CONSTRUCTION JOB BY TRC SYNERGY

GDB Holdings Bhd has been appointed as the principal works contractor by TRC Synergy Bhd for a RM135 million mixed use development in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. The first phase of the 30 month project comprises two 18 storey residential serviced apartments on an 8 storey podium, which comprises a 7 storey car park and a one storey facility on top of the podium. The project is scheduled to commence on April 16, 2019 and completed by October 15, 2021.

(The Sun & The Edge Financial, 28/03/2019)


NEW OFFICE LOCATION SIGNALS NEXT CHAPTER

Binasat Communications Bhd (a telecommunications support services provider) has ambitious business expansion plans with its upcoming new headquarters and teleport facility at the Technology Park Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. Set to be completed by the middle of 2020, the new 54,000 sq. ft. three-storey office building will be approximately four times bigger than the current office at Taman Industri Bukit Permai in Cheras.

(The Star, 23/03/2019)


YUTAKA SHOJI MAKES RM13 MILLION MALAYSIA FORAY

Tokyo based futures trading company, Yutaka Shoji, which is listed on the Jasdaq Securities Exchange, will invest more than RM13 million to grow its presence in Malaysia. The firm, which was recently registered as a licensed derivatives brokerage firm with the Securities Commission, sees opportunities offered by domestic crude palm oil products.

(NST, 29/03/2019)


INVESTKL TELLS WHY SOME MNC’S PLANS FAILED TO MATERIALISE

According to investment promotion agency InvestKL, Multinational Companies (MNCs) that did not proceed with their investments in Greater Kuala Lumpur between 2011 and 2018 include Iffco, Darden, Red Lobster, Rhodium, KBR, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and S&D Sucden. These deals were removed from InvestKL’s tracking as they no longer met the requirements of “quality MNC investments”. Some MNCs were granted incentives but subsequent follow-ups revealed that there was a change in their business direction, or they have decided not to proceed with the venture.

(The Sun, 25/03/2019)


SINGAPORE BASED OHMYHOME TO EXPAND INTO THE KLANG VALLEY IN MID-2019

Singapore-based Ohmyhome Pte Ltd (OMH) is looking to expand into Malaysia, as the proptech start-up looks into testing the waters in a bigger market before continuing to grow its footprint in the region. Proptech is a collective term describing technological innovations set to “disrupt” the real estate market. It was launched in September 2016, and operates a one-stop platform aiming to simplify property transactions, allowing do-it-yourself (DIY) transactions at no charge to the buyer or seller. The company will commence operations in Malaysia, starting with the Klang Valley, in the middle of 2019.

(The Edge Financial, 25/03/2019)


HARMAN OPENS STUDIO IN MALAYSIA

Harman has opened its first two-storey, 3,000 sq. ft. studio in Sunway Geo Avenue. Offering full fledged Harman’s audio solutions, the studio features brands such as JBL, Harmon Kardon, Mark Levinson, Lexicon and Revel. The Harman studio offers a complete lifestyle concept showroom including home concept solutions which include soundbars, home theatre systems and a luxury audio room.

(NST, 26/03/2019)


NEW TENANTS FOR PARKSON KLCC SPACE

More than 50 new tenancies, mainly those in food and beverage, cosmetics and fashion businesses will take over the space previously occupied by the Parkson department store in Suria KLCC. Slated to be completed by 4Q20, Phase One of the refurbishment of the Parkson space will comprise mainly food and beverage outlets. Half of the outlets on the second floor food court will be closed for the expansion of the current 25 outlets, to circa 30 outlets and the other half will be closed in 1Q20.

(The Star & The Sun, 27/03/2019)


A. S. WATSON GROUP OPENS 500TH STORE IN MALAYSIA

  1. S. Watson Group has marked a new milestone with the opening of its 500th outlet in Malaysia. Located inside Central i-City, Shah Alam, the new store has incorporated an innovative and sustainable design based on environmentally-friendly materials and innovative technology. The 4,200 sq. ft. Watsons eight generation (G8) design store is equipped with StyleMe, an augmented reality technology to showcase the latest fashionable products and Watsons’ Hi Mirror Skin analysis device.

(The Star, 27/03/2019)


SUNWAY TO OPEN THREE NEW MALLS

Sunway Bhd will open three new shopping malls in Johor, Penang and Perak within the next four years, with an allocation of between RM500 million and RM1 billion for each mall. Sunway Big Box Village in Johor Bahru will be opening in 4Q19, while the mall in Paya Terubong, Penang and Tambun, Ipoh will be ready by 2023. The group has also allocated RM500 million for the expansion of the Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Prai, Penang, which will be completed in 4Q20.

(The Edge Financial, 29/03/2019)


PARAMOUNT PROPERTY TO REVITALISE KLANG WITH “BERKELEY UPTOWN”

Paramount Property unveiled “Berkeley Uptown Klang” in conjunction with the opening of the project’s show gallery. The 33 acre freehold integrated development is anchored by Sri KDU International School and is located beside Jalan Goh Hock Huat, bordering the Klang central business district on the west. Paramount Property is kick-starting this project with Phase 1 known as “Uptown Residences”, comprising 736 units of freehold serviced apartments spanning 5.17 acres. There will be a mixture of units measuring between 859 sq. ft. and 1,093 sq. ft. and garden villa units measuring between 1,572 sq. ft. and 1,588 sq. ft. There will also be affordable homes from 551 sq. ft., at prices below RM300,000.

(The Edge Property, 23/03/2019)


TOWARDS FACTORY AUTOMATION

Knowledgecom Sdn Bhd (Kcom) has teamed up with nine technology service firms to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transform their traditional manufacturing sites into smart factories to maximise resources and produce higher-quality goods more efficiently. Based on Kcom’s survey, smart factories can enable the manufacturing industry to immediately increase their returns on investment in overall productivity, within six to 12 months.

(NST, 23/03/2019)


JV FIRM TO BUILD RM100 MILLION HIGH-TECH FACILITY

Sapura Aerospace Technologies, a joint venture between Sapura Industrial Bhd and two Japanese aerospace companies, will be investing RM100 million over the next five years to build a high-technology facility on a 4.99-acre site in the Greater Klang Valley. The two Japanese companies are Wada Aircraft Technology Co Ltd and Aero Inc.

(The Star, The Sun & NST, 27/03/2019)


GOVERNMENT TARGETS RM16 BILLION REVENUE FROM AEROSPACE INDUSTRY

The Malaysian Government aims to generate up to RM16 billion in revenue from the aerospace industry in 2019. This would be driven by the vibrant and thriving aerospace industry in the Asia-Pacific region, which is expected to have the highest growth in new aircraft delivery for the next decade.

(The Star & The Edge Financial, 27/03/2019)


MAHB TO POSITION MALAYSIA AS MRO HUB

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is embarking on its Subang regeneration initiatives to position Malaysia as Asia Pacific’s preferred Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hub. MAHB will spearhead its initiatives through concerted developments at the Subang Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Aeropolis. MAHB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boustead Projects Ltd and TP Aerospace Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Boustead Projects (an industrial real estate solutions provider) will assist MAHB in providing excellent build-to-suit facilities for aerospace players at the Aerotech Park. TP Aerospace will assist in closing the gap in the Subang Airport MRO value chain, particularly in terms of the MRO of aircraft wheels and brakes. MAHB has spent circa RM40 million to develop common infrastructure on its 35 acre plot of land. Currently, MAHB already has secured one tenant (Senior Aerospace) as the building is ready and will be operational in the next few months.

(NST, 28/03/2019)


RM9 BILLION INVESTMENTS IN AEROSPACE INDUSTRY

Malaysia’s aerospace industry attracted RM9.01 billion in investments from 2013 to 2018. In 2018 alone, it attracted 11 projects worth RM816.3 million in approved investments, with 41% stemming from foreign sources.

(The Sun, 28/03/2019)


AIRBUS SET TO EXPAND MRO FACILITY

Airbus Helicopters is expanding its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Subang, Selangor, with the addition of a completion and delivery centre for the Southeast Asian region. The company’s expansion would also include an additional simulator, paint and interior installation facility for Airbus helicopters in the region. Work on the expansion started in 2H18 and was expected to be completed by the middle of 2019.

(NST, 28/03/2019)


RM4 BILLION INJECTION TO MAKE KEDAH AN AEROSPACE, AVIATION HUB

Kedah will soon be transformed into an aviation and aerospace hub with the injection of almost RM4 billion in investments. This comes by way of an estimated RM2 billion via the establishment of the Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub at the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kepala Batas.

(NST, 29/03/2019)


ACMAR BRINGS WYNDHAM TO MALAYSIA

The Acmar Group is expanding its presence in the luxury and hospitality sector with the scheduled opening of the “Wyndham Acmar Hotel” in 3Q19 and the completion of “D’Rapport Residences” at the end of the 2019. The Wyndham Acmar Hotel in Klang has 300 rooms and 188 residences, with a wide selection of food and beverage options. D’Rapport Residences is a low density luxury condominium with 1,099 units of apartments on 9.12-acres of land. The development comprises 5 towers, each standing at 38-storey’s with 6 units of apartments on each floor.

(StarProperty, 25/03/2019)


KLIA EXPANSION MAY BE DELAYED

The expansion of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) main terminal could be deferred to 2023 unless the decision can be finalised in the first Regulated Asset Base (RAB) framework, scheduled to be enforced by January 2020. The airport operator had appointed a consultant to undertake a feasibility study on building satellite terminal B, providing interlining and connecting the terminals. The company is expected to finalise this expansion plan decision by 3Q19, for the first cycle of the RAB.

(NST, 25/03/2019)


MALAYSIA TO BE A MAJOR MRO PLAYER

Malaysia is set to become a major player in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) of business jets, as French aircraft firm Dassault Aviation is acquiring ExecuJet. The 64,000 sq. ft. facility at Subang Airport is the largest business MRO in the country and it has the ability to service and support aircraft form different manufacturers.

(The Sun & The Edge Financial, 26/03/2019)


HEALTHCARE CENTRE PLANNED FOR LANGKAWI

Royal Bumbon Resort Holding (M) Sdn Bhd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Resort Savers Inc for the development of a high-end healthcare centre on Pulau Bumbon, Langkawi. To be built on a 91.4 acre site, the project’s ground breaking will be held on July 14, 2019. The RM1.2 billion development is aimed at enhancing Malaysia’s reputation as one of the top medical tourism destinations in the region.

(NST, 25/03/2019)


UNSOLD HOUSING UNITS MAY RISE FURTHER WITH PRICE DROPS UNLIKELY

Continuing soft market conditions and affordability issues in the country may see the level of unsold housing units rise further in the short term, however, sharp declines in house prices are unlikely. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), affordability issues within the housing segment has contributed to a further rise in the stock of unsold housing units in the first nine months of 2018 and has caused house price growth to moderate over the same period. Houses priced above RM250,000 continued to form the bulk of new launches and unsold housing units, thus further adding to the housing supply and demand mismatch in some locations. Demand for affordable homes will continue to outstrip new supply in the foreseeable future. Coupled with measures to improve financing affordability, the outlook for the housing market is expected to gradually improve along with greater alignment between demand and supply conditions. However, BNM stressed that while the government has introduced several measures to address the structural mismatch, closer coordination with the private sector will be important for a smooth transition toward a more sustainable housing market, while gradually reducing the level of unsold properties.

(The Edge Financial, 29/03/2019)


TRUST AND HAPPINESS IN MALAYSIA

The recently published 2019 World Happiness Report, which covers the period from 2016-2018, ranks Malaysia as the 80th happiest nation out of the 156 countries surveyed. This represented a drop of 45 places compared with the 2018 report, which covered the period from 2015-2017, and ranked Malaysia as the 35th happiest nation in the world. Where Malaysia scored poorly in the latest study was in the areas of corruption and social support. Meanwhile, following the change in government after the 14th General Election (GE14) in May 2018, there seems to be a change in the general perceptions of Malaysians.

(The Star, 23/03/2019)


LOAN APPROVAL RATE FOR PROPERTY PURCHASERS TRENDED LOWER IN 2018

Overall loan approval rates for property purchases have trended slightly lower at 71.3% in 2018. Based on a survey conducted by Bank Negara Malaysia, the primary reason for loan rejections in 2018 was due to applicants already being too indebted, with insufficient income to meet scheduled loan repayments, and failing to consider the prospect of a future increase in interest rates. In 2018, financial institutions’ exposure to the domestic property market grew at a slower rate of 5.9% to record RM901.3 billion compared with 7.1% in 2017. End-financing for residential properties remained the largest contributor to growth. Consistent with lower affordability, loan applications continue to be largely concentrated on loans for houses priced below RM500,000. First-time house buyers continued to account for the bulk (69%) of total residential property loan borrowers.

(The Edge Property, 27/03/2019)


LARGE INCOMING SUPPLY RAISES CREDIT RISK OF COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES

Due to large incoming supply, risks are expected to remain elevated for the office space and shopping complex property segment in Malaysia. The large incoming supply of new and planned office space in the Klang Valley and retail space nationwide will exacerbate existing oversupply. This is despite the moderation observed in the loan approval rate for the construction of OSSC (office space and shopping complexes) to 73.1% (2017: 79.7%). There remains a risk that these additional commercial spaces will remain unabsorbed, given the continued deterioration in occupancy rates and potential headwinds in the domestic economy.

(The Edge Property, 27/03/2019)


MIEA TO LODGE POLICE REPORTS AGAINST NINE PROPTECH FIRMS

The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) has identified nine proptech start-ups that operate real estate practices illegally. The institute is ready to lodge police reports on whoever is infringing the law and meddling with the practice. The real estate agency practice in Malaysia is governed by Act 242, whereby real estate agents are registered and real estate negotiators are certified by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents & Property Managers (BOVEAP). Real estate transactions in the country can only be handled by real estate agents, real estate negotiators and property owners.

(The Sun, 28/03/2019)


DRASTIC RISE IN SOHO, SOVO AND SOFO UNITS FOR AUCTION IN 2018

The number of small home office units that were put up for auction in 2018 surged to 255 units, an increase of 83% from 2017. Commercial properties in the category of Small Office Home Office (SOHO), Small Office Versatile Office (SOVO) and Small Office Flexible Office (SOFO) that went under the hammer in 2018 totalled circa RM90 million. Although the number of foreclosures in this segment remained lower than other property types, the volume is on an uptrend, which is anticipated will continue in 2019 due to excess supply in the market and the downward pressure on rentals.

(The Edge Financial, 29/03/2019)


FOREIGN WORKERS HOUSED IN GATED COMMUNITIES IRKS LOCAL RESIDENTS

The land-scarce island of Penang has seen the issue of Multinational Corporations that have been forced to house their foreign workers within exclusive gated and guarded communities, raising the ire of locals in the neighbourhoods. With steep rentals of RM2,000 for unfurnished units, the MNC’s would house up to 30 workers in each three storey house, as they are required to provide quality housing for workers, as they are bound by high standards of operating ethics like the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) (a global coalition of industries committed in upholding high standards of corporate social responsibility (CSR)). Property devaluation has also been ascribed to the presence of the foreign workers, once valued at RM1.2 million, homeowners have begun selling for circa RM800,000.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


BETTER INFRASTRUCTURES VITAL TO ATTRACT MORE VISITORS TO PENANG

Improvements to existing infrastructure in Penang will remain pivotal in order for the state to continue becoming an attraction for international and domestic visitors. In this regard, the Penang State Government and the Malaysian Airport Holdings Bhd have agreed to the expansion of the Penang International Airport, which would nearly double the airport’s capacity to 12 million passengers a year. Works are scheduled to commence in June 2020 and are to be completed in three years’ time. The government also welcomed the development of new hotels in the state which would complement efforts to accommodate the growing number of tourists to Penang. Cornerstone Partners Group, being the company who brought in DoubleTree Resort to Penang, has invested over RM200 million to acquire the property in the state. The operator will take circa 21 months to renovate a hotel building at Batu Ferringhi in Penang and six additional months to attain the Hilton DoubleTree brand.

(The Edge Property, 28/03/2019)


PERMAJU, OCR TO DEVELOP RM1 BILLION PROJECT IN KOTA KINABALU

Permaju Industries Bhd’s 70% owned subsidiary, Hardie Development Sdn Bhd, has partnered with OCR Group Bhd to complete a RM1 billion residential and commercial development in Kota Kinabalu. Sprawling across 109.4 acres of land in the Menggatal district, the “Princess Heights” project comprises shops, shop-offices, terraced houses, townhouses and a four-storey hypermarket. Upon completion of Phase 1E of the project (four-storey hypermarket), it will be leased to Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd for a period of 20 years.

(The Edge Financial, The Sun & The Star, 26/03/2019)


RICS

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Jones Lang Wootton