OPR REMAINS AT 2.75%
The Star, The Sun, NST, The Edge Markets, EdgeProp, 10/03/2023
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has kept its overnight policy rate (OPR) at 2.75%, citing expectations of moderated inflation in 2023, albeit with upward pressures still partially contained by fuel subsidies and price controls. This is the second consecutive time the central bank has held its benchmark interest rate steady, after implementing four consecutive hikes in 2022. Although Malaysia’s economy grew by 8.7% in 2022, the central bank expects it to moderate in 2023 due to slower global growth, with growth continuing to be driven by domestic demand. BNM also noted that downside risks continue to come from global developments such as weaker-than-expected growth outturns or much tighter and more volatile global financial conditions. The bank will continue to monitor the impact of OPR adjustments and remains vigilant to cost factors that could affect inflation.
MALAYSIA ATTRACTS RM264.6 BILLION APPROVED INVESTMENTS IN 2022
The Star, The Sun & NST, 09/03/2023
Malaysia’s approved investments amounted to RM264.6 billion (4,454 projects) in 2022, with the services sector accounting for the largest share of the pie, followed by the manufacturing and primary sectors. The services sector saw approved investments totalling RM154 billion (3,581 projects) or 58.2% of the total approved investments for the year. Meanwhile, approved investments in the manufacturing sector stood at RM84.3 billion (31.9%) and primary industry at RM26.3 billion (9.9%).
Foreign direct investments (FDIs) accounted for 61.7% or RM163.3 billion of the total approved investments, while domestic direct investments (DDIs) contributed 38.3% or RM101.3 billion. China accounted for the biggest FDIs at RM55.4 billion, followed by the United States (RM29.2 billion), the Netherlands (RM20.4 billion), Singapore (RM13.5 billion) and Japan (RM11.4 billion).
A large proportion of the approved investments took place in Johor (RM70.6 billion), followed by Selangor (RM60.1 billion), Sarawak (RM28.2 billion), Kuala Lumpur (RM25.0 billion) and Penang (RM16.3 billion).
As for the investment outlook for 2023, the moderation in global economic growth may impact investment decisions globally. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank projected a positive but slower economic growth compared to the previous years, so investments will also be impacted as it also depends on demand. Despite global challenges such as inflationary pressures, economic uncertainty, and climate change, Malaysia’s economy is expected to remain resilient this year, as stated by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
World Bank has forecasted a positive outlook for Malaysia, with an estimated growth rate of 4.0%, while the IMF is anticipating a growth of 4.4% which is in line with the government’s recent growth forecast of approximately 4.5%.
DOSM: NUMBER OF UNEMPLOYED DECREASED IN JANUARY 2023
The Edge Markets, 09/03/2023
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Malaysia’s number of unemployed persons fell 0.6% to 596,100 in January 2023 compared to December 2022. The country’s unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, indicating the continued improvement of Malaysia’s labour market and economy, in keeping with the expansion of the global economy. The number of employed persons rose by 0.2% to 16.16 million persons in January 2023, with increases seen in the services, manufacturing, construction, mining and quarrying, and agriculture sectors.
GOVT TO TACKLE 10 ‘SICK’ PR1MA PROJECTS WITHIN A YEAR
The Edge Markets & EdgeProp, 08/03/2023; The Sun, 09/03/2023
A total of 18 projects under the 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) currently being developed nationwide have been identified as “sick” projects. The special team set up by the Ministry of Local Government Development to review delayed, sick and abandoned projects had set the target to resolve issues concerning 10 projects within a year. Through the special team, the ministry not only monitors delayed, sick and abandoned projects under government-related agencies or companies, but also private housing projects.
ASSESSMENT CUTS OF 5% FOR STRATA TITLE UNITS, 20% FOR TERRACE HOUSES IN PUTRAJAYA
The Edhe Markets & EdgeProp, 09/03/2023
The government has agreed to implement phase two of the assessment tax cut in Putrajaya amounting to 5% for strata title residences (apart from affordable houses) and 20% for terrace houses beginning 1st July 2023. The assessment discount applies to residential units built after 2017, with the reduction to be based on the total tax imposed. The tax reduction offer involves almost 2,700 units of residences with strata titles and the new rate will stay until a reassessment is done by Putrajaya Corporation.
ACCESS ROAD TO JALAN HANG TUAH 4 REOPENS AFTER TWO YEARS
The Star, 06/03/2023
An access road to Jalan Hang Tuah 4 in Taman Salak Selatan, Kuala Lumpur, from the Sungai Besi Expressway (Besraya) is finally open to the public after two years of closure. The Jalan Hang Tuah 4 access road was closed to facilitate the construction of the Taman Naga Emas MRT Station on the MRT Putrajaya Line, resulting in a new traffic system being introduced in the area. The reopening of the road is on trial basis from 5th March 2023 to 5th September 2023.The access road will be monitored for six months for traffic safety before a final decision is made.
EKVE 91% COMPLETED, TO BE OPENED IN STAGES IN 2024
The Edge Market, 06/03/2023; EdgeProp, 07/03/2023
The East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) is 91% completed and is expected to be opened in stages beginning in 2024. The construction of the highway was temporarily halted previously due to rising construction costs and the concession company had to obtain additional funds to cover the increased costs. The funding issue has been resolved and construction work was to resume in mid-February 2023.
PHASE TWO OF PUTRAJAYA MRT2 LINE TO START OPERATING ON MARCH 16
Phase Two of the Putrajaya Mass Rail Transit (MRT2) line will start operating on 16th March 2023. The decision was made after Friday’s post-Cabinet meeting with the agencies involved, and briefing on the tests carried out for the MRT2 showed positive development. The MRT2 service will begin at 3pm on 16th March 2023. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will launch it in the morning of the day.
HSR PROJECT FEASIBLE IF NOT GOVERNMENT-FUNDED
The Star, NST EdgeProp & The Edge Market, 09/03/2023
The government is open to any proposal to revive the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project (HSR), provided that it does not require any government funding. So far, no decision had been made by the government regarding HSR after the project was terminated in 2021. The Ministry of Transport had received permission from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to negotiate the revival of the project as long as it did not involve government funding. The ministry is open to any proposal as long as it involves private investment but no specific proposal has been accepted.
The HSR, originally announced by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2010, aimed to cut down land travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to only 90 minutes. The 350-kilometre route, which was originally expected to be completed by 2026, was terminated on Jan 1, 2021 with Malaysia having to compensate Singapore with a whopping RM320 million as part of its obligation under the HSR Bilateral Agreement.
DISCUSSIONS REOPENED FOR MELAKA INTERNATIONAL CRUISE TERMINAL PROJECT
The Edge Market, 06/03/2023
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) is in discussions with the Melaka state government to continue the Melaka International Cruise Terminal (MICT) project, which had its investment operating license revoked previously due to several issues. The MICT, which involves reclamation works under the Melaka Gateway project, was almost complete and would have various negative implications if it was discontinued. The ministry has received an application from the Melaka Gateway developer to revive the cruise terminal project, and it is in the process of obtaining license approval to continue the project from the ministry, especially the Melaka Port Authority. MOT have no problem supporting the continuation of MCIT, but need to take into account the views of the state government and officials from the Port Klang Authority will contact the Melaka state government to discuss the cruise terminal issue.
MYBAS MELAKA INITIATIVE WOULD BE IMPLEMENTED THIS YEAR
The Edge Market, 06/03/2023
The Stage Bus Services Transformation (SBST) programme, through the ‘myBas Melaka’ initiative, will be implemented this year to improve the transport system in Melaka. The SBST programme will be accommodated by the federal government through Budget 2023 which was announced recently, and Ministry of Transport will appoint and pay the operating firm. The government may introduce a monthly pass for myBas Melaka, similar to the one to be implemented in Johor.
YONG TAI RECORDED A NET PROFIT OF RM1.5 MILLION FOR 2Q FY23
Property developer Yong Tai Bhd (YTB) posted a net profit of RM1.5 million for 2Q ended 31 December 2022 (Financial Year 2023) as compared to a net loss of RM84.2 million in the same quarter in 2022. For 2Q, the company’s property development segment saw a strong improvement due to the contributions from improved sales of completed units and ongoing development projects.
The company had secured additional property sales of RM91 million due to the company’s focus on selling the completed units and ongoing development projects. The Amber Cove serviced apartments were completed by October 2023 and the developer is now focusing on completing Impression U-Thant which is targeted to deliver vacant possession by 2H23.
YTB’s property investment division also started to recognise revenue that consists of rental income and its share of ticket sales through collaboration with local show producers and artists to showcase their art and cultural shows, musicals and concerts at Encore Melaka. The expected pent-up demand from the post-pandemic recovery of the tourism industry will boost the company’s earnings for its Encore Melaka asset together with the opening of its business luxury hotel – Courtyard by Marriott Melaka business by 2Q23.
DRT SERVICE TO IMPROVE FIRST- AND LAST-MILE CONNECTIVITY IN BANDAR PUTERI PUCHONG
The Star, 07/03/2023
The Selangor government in Malaysia plans to expand its Demand-Responsive Transit (DRT) service, which provides ride-hailing services for selected neighbourhoods using vans, to other areas within the next two months after the initial trial run in Bandar Puteri Puchong. The DRT service, which aims to improve first- and last-mile connectivity and is part of the Selangor Mobiliti initiative, will be restricted to one zone or a shorter distance, uses intelligent software to improve accuracy, and will have low fees. The trial covers 17 residential and 20 commercial stops and includes Bandar Puteri and Taman Perindustrian LRT train stations.
ABLE GLOBAL TO SELL KUALA LANGAT LAND FOR RM18 MILLION
The Edge Markets, 09/03/2023
Able Global Bhd — through its 70%-owned subsidiary Able Development Sdn Bhd (ADSB) — plans to sell its 23.538-acre land in Kuala Langat, Selangor, for RM18.45 million. Able Global said ADSB, being the vendor of the deal, had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with the purchaser Able Perfect Sdn Bhd (APSB). The land is expected to have a net book value of RM13.5 million, with a realised gain of about RM5 million. The existing use of the Land is Agricultural (with oil palms).
NEXGRAM ABORTS PLAN TO ACQUIRE RESORT IN LANGKAWI
The Edge Markets, 09/03/2023
Nexgram Holding Bhd said it is aborting its plan to acquire a resort in Langkawi for RM90 million to be used as a healthcare service facility. This comes after Nexgram and the vendors were unable to satisfy certain conditions precedent in the sale and purchase agreement. Nexgram had signed the agreement in September last year to acquire the 218-room Wings By Croske Resort Langkawi from Croske Hotels Sdn Bhd and Flyboys Club Sdn Bhd via the issuance of convertible preference shares. The group intended to use the property as a healthcare service facility for its health and wellness treatments and services. Nexgram had rented the property in the past to, among others, operate a Covid-19 test facility as part of Malaysia’s International Travel Bubble Programme in Langkawi.
In February 2023, Nexgram terminated another deal with Melaka Corporation pertaining to the acquisition of a 10-hectare piece of land in Melaka state for RM61.53 million. Nexgram had proposed to utilise the land for a mixed development dubbed the ‘Melaka Lifecare Specialist project’.
IJM LAND LAUNCHES TWO MORE PHASES OF SIERRA HIJAUAN
The Sun, 09/03/2023
IJM Land launches the fifth and sixth phases (2E and 2H) of Sierra Hijauan located in Ampang. With a gross development value (GDV) of RM60,087,000 and sized at 2.78 acres, Phase 2E will comprise 25 units of 2½ storey semi-detached homes and 3-storey bungalows priced from RM2,329,800 to RM3,339,800. The larger 5.51-acre Phase 2H has a GDV of RM116,123,400 and will comprise 78 units of 2- and 2½ -storey link villas priced from RM1,419,800 to RM1,785,800. There will be two final phases that are targeted to be launched in the 4Q23.
Sierra Hijauan is a low-density development with only 310 units within 32.77 acres. The launch of the two phases is a continuation of the progress of Phase 2C and Phase 2D launched in 2021, which were fully sold, and comprise link villas, semi-detached homes, and bungalows that are scheduled to be completed as scheduled in 2024.
NEW PROPERTY OFFERINGS AT NILAI IMPIAN FULLY TAKEN UP
The Star, 09/03/2023
Sime Darby Property achieved 100% take-up for its new extra value homes, Emilia 1 & 2 in Nilai Impian, Negeri Sembilan. Emilia 1 & 2 feature modern double-storey link houses with built-up areas measuring 1,781 sq. ft. to 2,090 sq. ft. The 20’ x 65’ houses, which come with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, are priced from RM568,888. The project is accessible through PLUS Interchange 215 and well-connected via the Elite and Lekas highways as well as the future Nilai-Labu-Enstek Road. The new Nilai Impian school complex, which offers preschool, primary and secondary education is only 2km away, while several universities and colleges are also within easy reach.
TROPICANA MIYU IN PETALING JAYA FULLY SOLD
The Edge Markets & EdgeProp, 08/03/2023
Tropicana Corp Bhd announced that its ongoing project Tropicana Miyu in Petaling Jaya, Selangor is fully sold. The condominium project was launched in September 2020 and slated for completion in August 2024. Jointly developed with Temokin Holdings Sdn Bhd, Tropicana Miyu comprises 271 units with built-ups from 600 sq. ft. to 2,183 sq. ft. The condominium has a number of amenities and facilities, including a grand double-volume foyer, floating gymnasium, 40m infinity pool, and multipurpose hall. The majority of purchasers are domestic buyers, primarily from Petaling Jaya, buying for their own stay purposes or for their children.
FAJARBARU SECURES RM311 MILLION CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT FROM WCT
EdgeProp, 06/03/2023; The Sun, 09/03/2023
Fajarbaru Builder Group Bhd has won a RM310.54 million contract via a tender exercise from WCT Holdings Bhd to undertake the main building works for the residential condominium towers located in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. The main building works consist of three blocks of residential condominium towers comprising 341 units, together with four levels of basement car park and three levels of podium facilities. The tenure for the contract is 35 months, commencing from 15th March 2023 and slated for completion on 14th February 2026.
PALATERIUM TARGETS 85 NEW HWC COFFEE SHOPS IN MALAYSIA
Palaterium Sdn Bhd which operates Malaysia’s newest specialty coffee chain HWC Coffee, will invest RM60 million to establish up to 85 stores by December 2024. Palaterium would invest RM25 million in 2023 to open 35 shops and RM35 million in 2024 to open 50 stores. The RM25 million investment was also to open a coffee academy, a flagship store and a new corporate office at Millerz Square in Old Klang Road. In 2022, Palaterium invested a total of RM10 million to launch up to 15 HWC locations in Malaysia. The first location was established in One Utama in April 2022. The company currently has 18 outlets, with Gardens Mall, Pavilion Bukit Jalil, and One Utama housing the most profitable ones.
KWASA LAND PARTNERS EXSIM FOR RM1.6 BILLION GDV PROJECT
The Star & The Sun, 09/03/2023
Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd is partnering with EXSIM through their wholly owned subsidiary, EXSIM MX4 Sdn Bhd, on a new RM1.6 billion mixed development at Kwasa Damansara. The project would entail the construction of serviced apartments on a land area totalling 15.91 acres. Situated at a plot known as MX-4(ii), the development will feature 5 apartment blocks. Each block will feature its own signature design and build features while still complementing the overall development. The project which is expected to provide homes for over 10,000 people, will be delivered in phases with the first phase expected to be completed in 2027. Kwasa Land is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund Board (EPF) and the master developer of Kwasa Damansara.
TELADAN SETIA TO BUY NEGERI SEMBILAN LAND FOR RM24 MILLION
The Edge Markets & EdgeProp, 07/03/2023; The Star, 08/03/2023; The Sun, 09/08/2023
Teladan Setia Group Bhd (TSG) is proposing to acquire freehold vacant land in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan for RM24.12 million. The proposed acquisition of land measuring 753,689 sq. ft. is planned for a mixed development. The sale and purchase agreement was entered by Pavilion Link Sdn Bhd (purchaser, a TSG’s wholly owned subsidiary) and Complete Achievement Sdn Bhd (vendor).
ORIENTAL IN RM2.2 BILLION JOINT DEVELOPMENT
The Star, 10/03/2023
Oriental Interest Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, OIB Properties (KV) Sdn Bhd (OIBKV), and Kedah State Development Corp (PKNK) will jointly develop a 1,196 acres land in Kuala Muda, Kedah, into a mixed development project with a gross development value of RM2.15 billion. PKNK, which is the landowner, is entitled for RM326 million or 16% of the GDV, whichever is higher, while OIBKV as the developer will settle the cost of the land totalling RM240 million in full by 10th year from the date of the agreement.
168 PARK SELAYANG SALES GALLERY OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED
The Edge Markets & EdgeProp, 09/03/2023
168 Park Selayang Sdn Bhd has officially launched the sales gallery for the 168 Park Selayang development in Jalan Kuching. The project includes two high-rise residential towers, which are Block A and B comprising 1,433 units, and a two-level neighbourhood mall, which will span 235,000 sq. ft. Units in Block A come in eight sizes, ranging from 560 to 1050 sq. ft., with a starting price of RM297,000. Meanwhile, Block B units come in four sizes. Formerly known as Selayang Star City, the 168 Park Selayang development was previously developed by Leadmont Group offering three high-rise residential towers, a serviced suites block and a mall. The first phase, with over 600 designer suites in Block C, was launched in 2014, before the project was eventually abandoned in 2017. The High Court granted permission for Infra Segi Sdn Bhd — the parent company of 168 Park Selayang Sdn Bhd — to relaunch the project. The project was subsequently renamed 168 Park Selayang.
GVL ESTABLISHES RM1.5 BILLION SRI SUKUK PROGRAMME
NST & The Sun, 08/03/2023
Global Vision Logistics Sdn Bhd (GVL) has secured RM1.5 billion sukuk to fund the development of its Shah Alam International Logistics Hub (SAILH), which is set to be the first green-certified logistics hub in Malaysia and one of ASEAN’s largest. The SAILH is strategically located on 71 acres of Shah Alam’s prime industrial estate and connected to land, sea and air transportation networks. The development in Section 16 Shah Alam will consist of a four-storey warehouse complex that includes two driving ramps for light-and heavy-duty vehicles to easily access each warehouse level and other amenities, including offices, conference facilities and workers’ residences. The development is targeted to be completed in a few phases by 2028. Phase one of the development is expected to be completed by mid-2025 and has a total net lettable area of 2.8 million square feet. The remaining phases will be completed by the end of 2028.
It will also feature the latest in logistics technology and systems to manage the storage and the flow of freights and inventories to other distribution centres and retail networks within the country and abroad. Once completed, the SAILH will be one of the largest green-certified logistics hub in the region. The logistics hub is expected to attain the local GreenRE Silver Rating 2 and attain global recognition from the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) Advanced and EDGE Zero Carbon.
MATTA COLLABORATING WITH CZECH REPUBLIC TOURISM PLAYERS
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents of the Czech Republic (ACCKA) recently to strengthen the cooperation among industry players. The MoU will potentially establish Malaysia as a prominent travel destination for Czechs. Both associations have committed to working together to boost tourism by assisting in expanding connections between Malaysian and Czech entrepreneurs through the development of business strategies, communication and exchange of information, and organising meetings as well as assisting and participating in exhibitions, international trade fairs and other events. ACCKA stated that there has been a huge increase in luxury and long-haul outbound travel for Czech travellers and they prefer the beach and sunny destinations during the winter (October to March).
MODERN HOSPITAL OPENS IN IPOH
The Star, 08/03/2023
Hospital Seri Botani opened its doors in Bandar Seri Botani, Ipoh, on 7th February 2023. Located close to an international school and around the mixed development of Bandar Seri Botani, the hospital is constructed on part of an 18-acre (7.4 hectares) land. The seven-storey building, under the flagship and management of Taiko Group of Companies, houses operating theatres, an intensive care unit, 24-hour emergency services and consultation suites. The hospital will be expanding more facilities and services such as a wellness centre, cardiac catheterisation laboratory, mammogram and magnetic resonance imaging scanner (MRI) rooms in the next few months. The hospital is currently licensed for 30 beds, but once the development is completed, the hospital will have 150 beds.
PLS PLANTATIONS JV WITH JAPAN’S MYFARM TO CULTIVATE DURIAN PROJECT
NST, The Edge Markets & The Sun, 06/03/2023
PLS Plantations Bhd has partnered with Japanese investors to expand the durian plantation in Pahang. PLS Plantation’s 51% owned entity, PLS LESB Sdn Bhd, has executed a heads of agreement (HoA) to a joint venture and launch a large-scale durian cultivation project in Malaysia. PLS LESB will partner with Japan’s Millennium Agriculture Technology (MAT) and MyFarm Inc, Japan (MyFarm) to develop up to 1,000 hectares of durian plantation in Pahang. The Japanese investment, which is expected to be completed in 2023, will see the deployment of modern Japanese agricultural practices for planting “Musang King” durian species as part of the project.
JOHOR EXPECTS ECONOMY TO GROW MODERATELY AT 4.1 – 5% IN 2023
The Sun & The Edge Markets, 10/03/2023
The Johor State Government is targeting a moderate economic growth of between 4.1% and 5% in 2023, in line with national trends. To achieve this, Johor is looking to China as a major potential investor for the state, as well as European countries. Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi has set a goal of increasing Johor’s GDP to RM 260 billion by 2030, which will require the state to expand at an average of 7% from now to 2030. The state must improve the overall business environment and provide a conducive ecosystem to attract and retain quality investments and talents to achieve this growth rate.
In addition, Johor top the list by attracting the most foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country, a whopping RM70.6 billion in 2023, a huge improvement over RM6.8 billion in 2020 and RM7 billion in 2021.
DUTCH COMPANY INVESTED EXTRA RM260 MILLION FOR EXPANSION IN KUKUP
The Star, 06/03/2023
A Dutch company, ATT Tanjung Bin Sdn Bhd (ATB), invested an extra RM260 million to develop its Phase 3 expansion of the Bitumen Storage Tank Construction in Kukup. The company had invested more than RM3 billion to develop its facility in Pontian since 2012. Johor State Government mentioned the development as part of the state government’s intention to continue supporting companies that are expanding their businesses in Johor. ATB and its strategic partner Vitol Tank Terminals International B.V (VTTI) are managing petroleum products for domestic and international markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Australia. ATB-VTTI is planning to expand its petroleum sector to renewable energy and liquefied natural gas, which could make Johor one of the leading players in the oil and gas industry.
LEGOLAND MALAYSIA INVESTS RM40 MILLION FOR UPGRADING
The Star, The Sun & The Edge Markets, 10/03/2023
Legoland Malaysia Resort has allocated RM40 million for maintenance and routine cleaning in 2023 to ensure the safest and most enjoyable visitors’ experience. The initiatives include upgrading existing attractions to give them a fresh look and to launch new attractions to attract visitors. Legoland Malaysia Resort also planning some of the most spectacular celebrations to attract more visitors. They believe the number of Indonesian visitors is expected to return to the pre-pandemic level this year.
R&R JELUKONG BEING BUILT FROM SIBU TO BINTULU
EdgeProp & Bernama, 06/03/2023; NST, 07/03/2023
The Works Ministry is building a rest and recreation (R&R) stop in the Jelukong area in Lubok Antu, as well as a lay-by in Sungai Semanok, Bintulu for the convenience of users of the Pan Borneo Highway between Sibu and Bintulu. Once completed, the R&R will be maintained by the local authority.