DECEMBER 2020 INFLATION DOWN YEAR ON YEAR

The inflation rate or Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2020 declined by -1.4% to 120.6 compared with 122.3 in December 2019. The decline in the overall index was attributed by the decline in transport (-8.4%), housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (-3.3%), clothing & footwear (-0.4%), restaurants & hotels (- 0.2%) and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (- 0.1%). Food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 1.4% to 135.8 from 133.9 in December 2019.

(The Star & NST, 23/01/2021)


6.5% and 7.5% GROWTH FORECAST STAYS

The Ministry of Finance Malaysia is maintaining its gross domestic product growth target of between 6.5% and 7.5% for 2021 despite the emergency declaration and the second round of the Movement Control Order.

(NST, 23/01/2021)


GERMAN COMPANY COMMITTED TO MALAYSIAN INVESTMENT PLANS

German investors in Malaysia are likely to continue with their investment plans as most of these investments are within the high-technology sector with long planning phases which started two to three years ago. The arrangements cannot be immediately halted or changed, and this applies to many big players and multinational companies.

(The Edge Markets, 24/01/2021 & NST, 25/01/2021)


NCER SPEARHEADS SOCIO-ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN PERAK

The Northern Corridor Implementation Authority has increased collaborative efforts with the Perak State Government to drive the growth of knowledge-based digital and other critical industries impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in order to resuscitate the State’s socio-economic recovery. This will be achieved through the implementation of high-impact projects, strategic investments and integrated human capital programmes as outlined in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) Strategic Development Plan 2021-2025.

(The Edge Markets, 27/01/2021)


REVIVING DOMESTIC INVESTMENTS

While economic conditions in Malaysia may have recovered from the lows of 2020, business sentiment has remained weak despite the billions of ringgit injected by the Malaysian Government to resuscitate the economy. An estimate by the Department of Statistics Malaysia exhibited that the country’s gross fixed capital formation, which is an indicator of domestic investment performance, has contracted sharply by -15.4% in 2020, following a decline of -2.1% in 2019.

(The Star, 27/01/2021)


MALAYSIA REMAINS A COMPETITIVE INVESTMENT DESTINATION

Malaysia continues to be a competitive investment destination despite the global uncertainties, with US$26.4 billion investments being approved in the first nine months of 2020, according to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority. Investments approved in the manufacturing sector from January to September 2020 registered an increase of 16.6% in capital investments, up from 3.2% recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

(The Star, 28/01/2021)


MALAYSIA IS GATEWAY TO RCEP

Italy remains committed to Malaysia as a trading and investment partner as it eyes Malaysia as the gateway to opportunities arising from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Italian investments in Malaysia are present in various sectors such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, aerospace, and the green and circular economy.

(NST, 28/01/2021)


STEPS TO DEGAZETTE LAND INITIATED

The Ministry of Federal Territories Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur City Hall had initiated the process of degazetting a plot of land in Kuala Lumpur reserved for public space, in order to accommodate a proposed mixed development project. The proposed project would be a split between 54% affordable housing and 46% mixed development on a 9.5-acre land, sandwiched between the Taman Intan Baiduri Lake and Sungai Jinjang, bordering the Kepong and Batu constituencies. The plot, known as Lot 80835, was gazetted as “land for a public purpose” on 17th April 2015.

(The Star, 25/01/2021)


ADVANCECON SECURES RM60.58 MILLION ECRL JOB

Advancecon Infra Sdn Bhd has secured a contract from China Communications Construction Sdn Bhd worth RM60.58 million for the proposed construction and completion of subgrade works for Package 3, Section 4 of the East Coast Rail Link project. The work will commence from 1st March 2021 to 15th April 2023.

(The Edge Markets, 26/01/2021; The Star, NST & The Sun, 27/01/2021)


SEE HUP SECURES RM99 MILLION ECRL CONTRACT

See Hup Consolidated Bhd has secured a contract from China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd worth RM99.01 million to construct part of the subgrade works for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). Slated to commence on 1st March 2021 and due for completion within 28 months, the contract involves Package 1, Section 4 of the rail link.

(The Edge Markets, 27/01/2021 & The Star, 28/01/2021)


RETAIL CENTRES TO BEAR THE BRUNT OF MCO 2.0

IGB Real Estate Investment Trust’s (IGB REIT) earnings slipped in 4Q20 and warned that the outlook for 2021 has worsened with the re-introduction of the Movement Control Order (MCO). The impact of MCO 2.0, including lower shoppers’ footfall, reduced car traffic volume and higher temporary closure of retail shops, will adversely affect the financial performance of retail centres, especially shopping malls. Retail sales in 1Q21, despite the Chinese New Year festivities being the peak season for shopping, are not expected to perform well.

(The Star, 25/01/2021)


KERJAYA PROSPEK PLANS TO ACQUIRE LAND IN SETAPAK FOR RM30.14 MILLION

Kerjaya Prospek Property Bhd has proposed to acquire two pieces of freehold agriculture land measuring 64,056 sq. ft. and 33,809 sq. ft. in Setapak worth a total of RM30.14 million from Sunsuria Genlin Development Sdn Bhd.

(The Edge Markets, 25/01/2021; The Star & The Sun, 26/01/2021)


GABUNGAN AQRS SECURES TWO JOBS WORTH RM83.6 MILLION

Gabungan AQRS Bhd has secured two construction jobs worth a combined RM83.6 million in Kuala Lumpur. A RM45.7 million job from Teringin Sentral Sdn Bhd will involve the construction of a 97-unit SOHO (small office home office) block in Jalan Scott, Brickfields, which will be executed over 30 months. Additionally, the RM37.89mil job from Solitaire Suites Sdn Bhd to build a 31-storey office block in Persiaran Lidcol, off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, will commence on 1st May 2021 and is expected to be completed by 31st October 2023.

(The Edge Markets, 26/01/2021 & The Star, 27/01/2021)


CHIN HIN PLANS LAND BUY IN SERENDAH

Chin Hin Group Property Bhd is acquiring five parcels of freehold land in Serendah, Hulu Selangor from Frazel World Sdn Bhd and Frazel Icon Sdn Bhd for RM54.52 million in order to expand its property development activity.

(The Edge Markets, 27/01/2021)


PLAZA BATAI TO BE DEMOLISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR REDEVELOPMENT

The “upmarket” Plaza Batai located in Damansara Heights will be demolished to make way for serviced apartments. Plaza Batai comprises 16 two-storey terraced shop lots with a total net lettable area of 47,160 sq. ft.

(The Edge Property, 23/01/2021)


SKYWORLD’S SKYVOGUE RESIDENCES IN TAMAN DESA OPEN FOR SALE

SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd has unveiled “SkyVogue Residences” in Taman Desa. Occupying a 1.34-acre parcel, the project comprises a 45-storey tower offering a total of 333 condominium units with a gross development value of RM273 million. The project is catered towards urbanites and offers typical units with built-ups from 1,085 sq. ft. to 1,400 sq. ft., duplex units (built-ups from 1,970 sq. ft. to 2,285 sq. ft.) and penthouse units (built-ups from 2,195 sq. ft. to 2,650 sq. ft.). Priced at an average of RM580 per sq. ft., the project is Qlassic (Quality Assessment System in Construction) and Green Building Index compliant.

(The Edge Markets, 26/01/2021)


DEVELOPMENT ORDER FOR TAMAN RIMBA KIARA PROJECT NULL AND VOID

The Court of Appeal decided that the Development Order (DO) granted for the Taman Rimba Kiara project is null and void. Previously, the DO was obtained in 2017 by the joint venture of a foundation and a private developer to develop Taman Rimba Kiara.

(The Star, 27/01/2021)


AEON UPS DIGITAL AMBITION WITH BOXED WHOLESALE TIE-UP

Aeon Co (M) Bhd has partnered with US-based Boxed Wholesale (an American online wholesale retailer) for the utilisation of the e-commerce company’s state-of-the-art technology to accelerate Aeon’s expansion into new retail offerings. Boxed will be supporting Aeon in its efforts to expand into business-to-business ventures and new retail solutions via Aeon’s virtual mall. Due to commence in 2Q21, the platform is expected to support Aeon’s 4,000 tenants in its malls throughout the country.

(The Edge Markets, 28/01/2021)


BINTAI KINDEN AND AUSTRALIAN FIRM TEAM UP FOR TWO PROJECTS

Bintai Kinden Corp Bhd is teaming up with Australia’s International Equities Corp Ltd to jointly undertake two mixed property development and management projects with healthcare facilities and wellness services in Malacca and Penang. Occupying 4.74 acres of freehold land in Malacca, “Holistica Melaka” will have an estimated Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM380 million. It is an integrated holistic and wellness-themed mixed development project comprising wellness condominium-hotel, wellness residential condominiums, retirement and lifestyle apartments, wellness club and a medical specialist centre, which will be operated and managed by a reputable healthcare operator. Situated at the fringe of George Town, the 0.60-acre “Holistica Penang” with an estimated GDV of RM90 million, is a lifestyle condotel development project comprising a 21-storey building with 98 condotel units, which include studio units and one to three-bedroom units with sizes ranging from 484 sq. ft. to 1,362 sq. ft.

(The Edge Markets, 25/01/2021; The Sun, NST & The Star, 26/01/2021)


FLEXIDYNAMIC AIMS TO LAUNCH PROSPECTUS IN 1Q21

Flexidynamic Holdings Bhd is aiming to launch its prospectus in 1Q21 for its initial public offering comprising 75.23 million new ordinary shares on the ACE Market. The company has purchased two adjoining new semi-detached factory units in Banting.

(The Sun, 26/01/2021)


PASUKHAS SECURES CONTRACT TO BUILD FINTEC GLOVE FACTORY NEAR IPOH

Pasukhas Group Bhd has secured a RM58.9 million job from Fintec Global Bhd to build a glove factory near Ipoh, Perak. The 107,639 sq. ft. factory will house up to 14 glove-dipping lines to produce medical-grade nitrile gloves. The construction work is scheduled to commence on 1st February 2021 with the target for completion is within eight months.

(The Star & The Edge Markets, 27/01/2021)


KEDAH TOURISM TO STEP UP PROMOTION EFFORTS DESPITE MCO

Kedah Tourism will continue to intensify tourism promotion efforts, especially on social media, although the State is under the Movement Control Order (MCO). Continuous efforts were required to ensure that the tourism sector in the State, which has been hit by a decline in tourist arrivals due to Covid-19, could survive. The number of domestic tourists to 12 districts in the State, especially Baling and Yan, increases tremendously every time inter-district travel is allowed.

(The Edge Markets, 24/01/2021)


TOURISM TO DRIVE ECONOMY

Subang Jaya City Council will work with private sectors to promote the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve and Orang Asli village in Sungai Rasau as tourist attractions in Puchong, in efforts to assist in driving growth of the economy, as many sectors were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

(The Star, 28/01/2021)


RETIREMENT VILLAGE TO BE BUILT ON PR1MA LAND

According to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Malaysia, retirement villages will be developed on Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) land. PR1MA would come up with the model concept and collaborate with partners to develop retirement villages. PR1MA was drafting a policy that focused on the needs of senior citizens and addressed elements needed for them to live in a harmonious environment with health facilities. Penang and Melaka had been identified for the villages, and they would be ready in 2023. It would cost between RM400 and RM600 per month to stay in a retirement village.

(NST, 24/01/2021)


HSBC AND AGILE SEAL EHDA DEAL

HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd will be providing a tailor-mode digital payment solution for Agile Property’s Housing Development Account (HDA). The eHDA (electronic HDA) solution reduces manual processes significantly and digitalises the HDA payables process. For property developers, HDAs are mandatory for residential developments to safeguard the interest of buyers. The developer will channel all payments received from property buyers into a HDA. Payments from the HDA will be used to pay quit rent, assessment rates, levy charges, stamp duty, insurance premiums, consultant fees and construction costs.

(NST, 23/01/2021)


RTS LINK STATION IN WOODLANDS TO BE 10 TIMES THE SIZE OF TYPICAL MRT STATION

The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link’s station at Woodlands North and its connected Customs, Immigration and Quarantine facility will be about 10 times the size of a typical Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. The 4km rail shuttle service, which will allow travellers to cross the Straits of Johor and reach Bukit Chagar in Johor within five minutes, is scheduled to begin passenger service by the end of 2026. Malaysia started constructing its side of the infrastructure in November 2020.

(The Edge Markets, 24/01/2021)


ISKANDAR TRANSPORT SYSTEM PROJECT ATTRACTING FOREIGN FIRMS

Several foreign companies have shown interest in the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) system which will serve an area that is over three times the size of Singapore. The Johor State has already identified the routes and alignments for the project and is in the final stage of awarding tenders for the station’s design. The IMBRT system would have 26 direct routes and 42 feeder routes. The IMBRT system would complement the Rapid Transit System connecting Johor Bahru and Singapore and the electrified double-track railway from Gemas to Johor Bahru.

(The Star, 25/01/2021)


IIB TO STRONGLY FOCUS ON ‘NEXT’

Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) is optimistic about its prospects in 2021 after an uncertain 2020 as the company plans new businesses including renewable energy, digital economy and smart farming. The company launched Iskandar NEXT (Iskandar New Economic Experience and Talent) in October 2020 to boost digital innovation and talent development in Iskandar Puteri, Johor. Five areas of focus in Iskandar NEXT are drone and robotics, food security, talent development, advanced technology and education. The company is exploring smart farming in Iskandar Puteri in 2021 instead of investing in property development due to the “overhang” issue in the area.

(NST, 25/01/2021)


CHALLENGING TIMES TO CONTINUE FOR PROPERTY MARKET

The next couple of years will be the most challenging for property developers in Johor because of the economic slowdown brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The second round of the Movement Control Order implemented in Malaysia, except in Sarawak, to flatten the Covid-19 curve, would further hit the property market. There were hardly any new property launches in Johor, especially Iskandar Malaysia, due to unfavourable market sentiments.

(The Star, 26/01/2021)


GAMUDA TO START BENEFITTING FROM MEGA PROJECT

Gamuda Bhd, whose 60%-owned subsidiary SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd is the project delivery partner for the Penang transport master plan, will begin the first reclamation works for the Penang South Island (PSI) project in 1Q21. SRS is proceeding with the project as planned, with reclamation works to start with the 2,300-acre Island A. The PSI has allocated 700 acres of Green Tech Park, targeted at high-value electrical and electronics players, on Island A. It would complement the mature industrial eco-system of Bayan Lepas.

(The Star, 26/01/2021)


PENANG SEA PROJECT SET TO TAKE OFF

The proposed Penang South Reclamation project is set to get going with the State expecting formal approval for the Environment Management Plan (EMP) once the Movement Control Order is over. The EMP approval is a subsequent process as the Environment Impact Assessment of the project was approved on 25th June 2019.

(The Star, 26/01/2021)


PENANG HOTELS SHIFT FOCUS TO FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Hotel operators in Penang have switched their focus to their food and beverage business to stay afloat after the second Movement Control Order made rooms a no-go zone. Some hotels in the town area have only 1% or 2% occupancy rate while some have decided to close temporarily. But things are slightly different for hotels on the mainland because factories are open. As such, they are accepting bookings as they are booked by corporate clients.

(The Star, 24/01/2021)


HOTEL EQUATORIAL PENANG TO SHUT DOWN

Hotel Equatorial Penang will shut down by the end of March 2021. The 662-room hotel in Bukit Jambul was the first five-star hotel in the south of Penang Island with conference capacity for more than 2,000 people when it opened more than three decades ago.

(The Star & The Edge Markets, 25/01/2021)


PPC TO ISSUE LEASE TO TURN FERRY INTO FLOATING RESTAURANT OR MUSEUM

The Penang Port Commission (PPC) will be issuing a Request for Proposal to lease the iconic Penang ferry as a floating museum or tourist restaurant for 10 years with the option to extend for another five years.

(The Edge Markets, 27/01/2021 & NST, 28/01/2021)


SK NEXILIS TO BUILD RM2.3 BILLION COPPER FOIL FACILITY IN KOTA KINABALU

SK Nexilis, a South Korean copper foil producer for Electric Vehicle (EV), is investing RM2.3 billion to start its first overseas plant in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Construction works to build the 50,000-tonne capacity copper foil manufacturing facility is expected to commence in 1H21, with commercial operation targeted in 2023.

(The Star, 27/01/2021)


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