GST compliance rate 98%, over 92% claims refunded
The Deputy Finance Minister said yesterday that over 92% of the companies that submitted their Goods and Services Tax (GST) claims have received their input tax refunds. Regulations state that GST refunds would be made within 14 working days for online submission, or 28 working days for manual submission. Part of the reason for the delay in GST refunds was due to filing or calculation errors by businesses. The government is happy with the 98% GST system compliance rate, with the remaining 2% requiring more time and assistance to adjust. The total amount collected will be disclosed by year-end after a full analysis to ensure information accuracy. (The Sun Daily)

UMLand eyeing land in Iskandar Malaysia
United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand) is in talks to acquire a piece of land in the Iskandar region as part of its future plan. The group plans to use its landbank, currently at 809.37ha, for landed property, affordable houses and industrial park development. It will concentrate on its first pilot project, Johor Biotechnology and Biodiversity (J-Biotech) Park. Group CEO Charlie Chia noted that demand for apartments had slowed down, and that the market in Johor was more on landed properties and industrial parks. Catering to spillover from Singapore and factories shifted to Johor had made UMLand venture into the segment. (The Star Online)

Kedah acquiring 647ha land for Rubber City project
The Kedah state government is acquiring a 647.497ha piece of land in Ladang Bukit Ketapang, Kuala Nerang for the proposed Rubber City project. The project is planned to start this year but the amount of funds have yet to be allocated by the Federak government and will only be received earliest in March next year. Despite the current economy, there are still a number of companies interested in the project, including rubber glove companies. (New Straits Times Online)

Canadian pension fund invests in Pavilion JV
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the largest pension fund manager in Canada, is set to invest RM485mil for a 49% interest in a joint venture (JV) with Pavilion Group to develop Pavilion Damansara Heights, a mixed-used property in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian property market is still attracting strong interest from overseas investors despite reports of a possible slowdown. (The Star Online)

Cuepacs urging government to tighten housing development regulations
Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda has urged the government to enforce tighter housing development regulations to prevent fraud. Members had complained that developers failed to deliver houses after purchase, with some projects having barely started. He estimated that Cuepacs members had been cheated of about RM50 million in 20 different housing projects over the past 10 years. Affected projects include those in Kelantan, Kuala Kangsar, Kuala Terengganu, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu. Azih also called on the government to review the GST for essential items that children, the old, the poor and the disabled frequently buy to be exempted from the tax. (The Sun Daily)

IGB net profit down 17.1% in 2Q
IGB Corp Bhd reported a 17.1% drop in net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, which was attributed to lower contributions from its property development and hotel divisions. Employees’ benefit expense of RM11 million from granting of shares to eligible employees also eroded its earnings. Revenue for 2QFY15 also declined 6.5% from a year ago. Despite lowered earnings, IGB declared an interim dividend of 5 sen per share for financial year ending Dec 31. (The Edge Markets)

Yuan devaluation to accelerate overseas real estate investment
China’s unexpected devaluation of the yuan is likely to speed up overseas property investment among mainland Chinese to protect their wealth. Despite escalation in currency risks in the region, industry experts say there has not been any panic selling yet, as mainlanders mostly buy overseas property for immigration, for their children studying overseas or as holiday homes. They will be unlikely to sell in haste unless big problems like political unrest arise. Morgan Stanley identified South Korea, Thailand and Singapore are three of the “troubled 10” countries at risk with the devalued yuan. Ultra-high-net-worth Chinese investors are expected to make buying decisions for overseas properties before the yuan weakens further. (South China Morning Post)