Penang to build RM100mil museum and art gallery in city centre
The Penang state government has proposed for a RM100 million Penang Art Museum and Gallery to be built in the city centre. The land is the site of the former Sia Boey market, with rows of heritage shophouses along it, before tenants were relocated and the place vacated. It was originally earmarked for a mixed development, as Phase Five of the Komtar project, but the state government decided to change plans for the site. An iconic building is planned for the Penang Art Museum and Gallery, while the heritage shophouses will be restored. The aim is to drive urban regeneration via art to the area. (The Malay Mail Online)

RM20 VEP charge delayed to September
The Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) charge, which is set at RM20, for foreign cars entering Malaysia from Johor, originally scheduled to start on August 1, has been postponed to September 1. The postponement is to allow the fee collection system to be set-up and finalised at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine(CIQ) complexes, as well as give ample time to Singaporean motorists to prepare for the VEP charge. (Malaysia Chronicle)

Iconic landmark planned for Taman Megah
Residents of Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya may have to bid goodbye to the popular Ming Tien food court, as well as the adjacent badminton court, Fun & Cheer discount store and The Pet Family pet store, which will have to make way for a high-rise residential and commercial mixed project developed by PPB Group Bhd. It is expected to start next year, although it is indicated that the project is still at the planning stage. (Focus Malaysia)

British PM warns of dirty money in London property
British Prime Minister David Cameron will be speaking out against “corrupt money from around the world” being laundered through British property transactions during his trip to Southeast Asia on Tuesday. There have been concerns that British properties, particularly in London, “are being bought by people overseas…with plundered or laundered cash”, according to an excerpt from his speech. Britian’s Land Registry will begin publishing information on foreign-owned properties this autumn, and open consultation on how to increase transparency in property ownership. (Free Malaysia Today)

Asset bubbles top credit risk for Asian banks
A recent investor poll by Moody’s Investors Services reported that the unwinding of asset bubbles is the top macroeconomic threat to Asian banks in the next 12 months, followed by a growth slowdown in China. Asset bubbles, especially in real estate, are seen as an important but manageable source of credit risk for banks, with property prices appreciating rapidly in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Singapore after the 2008 financial crisis. Banks in these regions have taken various steps to cool the property market to decrease their risks. (The Sun Daily)

Lukewarm response for BCB takeover
BCB Bhd has received only 10.09% valid acceptances level for the mandatory offer to take over the property and construction firm. The offeror Evergreen RatioSdn Bhd, which is controlled by the BCB group managing director and family, had raised their holding to 57.87% of BCB’s shares, causing the offer to become unconditional despite the low level of acceptances. The firm’s advisor had urged minority shareholders to reject the takeover, saying that the offer was “not fair and not reasonable”. (The Star Online)