RFP for RM7bil mixed project in Sepang next year
Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd (SIC) will commence with a request for proposal (RFP) from property developers and investors for a RM7 billion integrated mixed development project around the Formula 1 (F1) circuit in Sepang next year. According to Business Times, SIC is negotiating with several parties to jointly develop the multi-billion project on a 200ha site, which is currently used as a oil palm estate and used for parking during major events. The mixed project will comprise residential units, commercial properties, a hotel and convention centre with potential gross development cost of RM3.5 billion. The integrated development will also feature educational centres as well as amusement and commercial parks (dubbed an “edutainment centre”), and expected to be completed in phases over 10 years. On the hotel development, SIC is looking to have a four-star hotel. Accor Hotels Group and Le Meridien under Starwood Hotel Group have expressed their interest in preliminary talks. (New Straits Times Online)

Mah Sing urges government to bring back DIBS for first-timers
Mah Sing Group Bhd has urged the government to reinstate the Developer Interest-Bearing Scheme, but only for first-time homebuyers. The scheme, which was removed during Budget 2014, will ease purchase of homes by genuine homebuyers by allowing them to lock in properties at current prices. The scheme would also be in line with the government’s efforts to assist first-time property buyers. The developer also proposed the government to review the real property gains tax (RPGT), including a minimum exemption to revive the property investment sector. (The Sun Daily)

Sluggish start for Youth Housing Scheme
Only 225 loans out of some 500 applications for the Youth Housing Scheme has been approved by Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) since its soft launch in July 2015, due to applicants’ inability to repay loans and incomplete documents, said BSN chief executive Datuk Adinan Maning. Besides that, there were also cases where successful applications were rejected due to offers from other banks. Adinan advised interested applicants to firstly, confirm eligibility by referring to the scheme’s terms and conditions and secondly, to prepare the necessary documents and records for submission, in order to ensure faster processing of their applications. The Youth Housing Scheme was official launched on Oct 1, and is for married youths aged between 25 and 40, with a combined household income of no more than RM10,000, who are looking to buy their first home. (The Sun Daily)

Eco World set to achieve RM3bil sales target for 2015
Eco World Development Group Bhd is confident of achieving its RM3 billion sales target for 2015 despite the current challenging economic environment. The group has recorded total sales of RM2.37bil from its mixed development projects launched nationwide as of August 2015. Among the hot-pick projects for Eco World are Eco Sanctuary in Singapore, Eco Majestic in Klang Valley, Eco Tropics in Iskandar and Eco Meadows in Penang. Another mixed development project, Eco Marina in Batu Kawan, Penang was recently given the green light by shareholders. On its 2016 outlook, the group still expects to see demand from buyers in spite of the challenging market. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s Gen Y living in debt
A survey by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) has revealed that Malaysia’s young adults are accumulating debt at an early age, with 40% spending more than they can afford. The survey found that “Gen Y” respondents between the age of 20 and 33 were living on the “financial edge” and facing money stress, with majority living on high cost borrowing and credit card loans. It also revealed that 75% of Gen Ys have at least one source of long-term debt and 37% with more than one. These include car loans, education loans or mortgages. To offset this debt, they rely on personal loans or credit card borrowing. These debt woes were the result of “impulse-buying” for instant gratification, easy access to personal loans and credit card financing. (The Malaysian Insider)

Genting Malaysia disposes land to Genting Plantations for RM65mil
Genting Malaysia Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary Genting Highlands Tours and Promotion Sdn Bhd is disposing two parcels of leasehold land at Jalan Segambut, Kuala Lumpur to a unit of Genting Plantations Bhd for RM65.76 million cash. A conditional sale and purchase agreement had been entered with Esprit Icon Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Plantations. The two adjoining pieces of land, measuring 3.54ha, has a net book value of RM7.9 million and houses a single storey office building, store, workshop and parking yard. Genting Malaysia said the disposal provides an opportunity to unlock the value of the properties, and intends to use the proceeds as working capital. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia and Taiwan overtake China as world’s top manufacturing locations
The latest Where in the World manufacturing index from property consultant Cushman & Wakefield has identified Malaysia and Taiwan as the first and second best places to build manufacturing plants, overtaking China, now third, in the rankings. The Asia Pacific (APAC) region dominates the top half of the index, securing it as a global manufacturing powerhouse, but underlying volatility remains. Rising labour and operational costs in China are contributing to the attractiveness of lower-cost regions, with Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam all ranking strongly as a result. The report recognised that in 2015 manufacturing was not simply about making things at the lowest possible price, but also “market conditions”. Those in more hi-tech industries are looking to Taiwan due to easier business conditions, lower income and corporation taxes, and easier employee retention levels. (The Loadstar)