Online bidding for auctioned properties starting in July
Starting July this year, Malaysians will be able to bid for property at online auctions instead of going to court in Peninsular Malaysia, said Chief Justic Tun Arifin Zakaria. The e-Bidding process will be launched to replace the manual Public Auction process held in the High Court. The e-Bidding process aims to be more transparent, as it will be opened to more prospective bidders, and help hasten the debt recovery process. More importantly, it will eliminate syndicates from interfering with the bidding process through artificial pricing. Arifin also announced that online filing and searches for Power of Attorney documents would be available, and a one-stop centre to deposit all such documents from the High Court opened in Kuantan. (The Malay Mail Online)

OSK to launch RM3.6bil mixed development in Seremban
OSK Holdings Bhd’s indirect unit Aspect Synergy Sdn Bhd is planning to develop an integrated residential and commercial project in Seremban, Negri Sembilan with an estimated GDV of RM3.6 billion. The project, located in Seremban South bordering Bandar Sri Sendayan and near to Seremban 2, will comprise mixed landed and high-rise residential units and mixed commercial components on approximately 767 acres of land. OSK is expecting demand for housing in Seremban to grow, as it will be one of the stops for the highly-anticipated Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project. (The Star Online)

Rehda ‘cautiously optimistic’ for Johor property market
Despite the challenging year ahead for property developers, Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) is ‘cautiously optimistic’ of the Johor property market as there are pockets of opportunities especially in Iskandar Malaysia, as business remains as usual as the demand for properties is still there. Rehda Johor branch chairman Hoe Mee Ling said that first-time buyers in Iskandar would go for double-storey link houses below RM800,000 whereas up-graders would look for semi-detached houses or bungalows RM1mil and above. Demand for industrial buildings is also looking up as many Singapore SMEs are relocating to Johor due to lower business costs. (The Star Online)

Developers continue with ‘affordable’ theme this year
The local property market is expected to remain ‘flat’ in 2016, but analysts say Malaysian developers should be able to weather it by continuing to capitalise on the affordable housing segment, which is still seeing strong demand. An analyst from AllianceDBS Research said the property market should be steady provided the overall economy remains healthy. Many developers had delayed their launches in 2015 due to the weaker-than-expected market. It is believed that developers will have revised their marketing strategy to target products that remain in demand, especially affordable housing. (The Edge Markets)

Slight delay in Penang undersea work
Construction of the RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project in Penang will commence on June 15, slightly later than its original schedule of the first quarter of the year. Main contractor Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd will first begin construction of the three highways, which form part of the project, before starting on the 7.2km undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland. It is currently pending an independent environment mental assessment of the three road packages from the state government, and approval from the from the Department of Environment. The highways would take about six years to complete, while construction of the undersea tunnel would likely only start by 2021. (The Edge Markets)

(Image from The Edge)

(Image from The Edge)

AZRB targets at least RM800mil in construction jobs
Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd (AZRB) is targeting to obtain construction contracts of RM800mil to RM1bil this year, including the highly-anticipated MRT 2 development job. Group CEO Datuk Roslan Jaffar said although the construction sector was expected to be robust this year, the target set was lower than last year when the company bagged its first toll concession job for the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) worth RM1.55 billion. AZRB’s order book stands at RM3.47bil as at Sept 30, 2015, which should keep the company busy for the next three to four years. Besides bidding for the MRT line 2 project, AZRB is also keen to bid for the LRT line 3 project. (The Star Online)

Illegal miners outnumber legal ones
As authorities probe deeper in the Pahang bauxite mining industry, it is revealed that the number of miners legally allowed to dig up land for the mineral is much less than the illegal ones. It has emerged that only 36 out of the 236 bauxite-mining sites were legal, which is a 1:6 ratio of legal and illegal operations. A source revealed that in the early days when the mining industry was picking up, there were agents who would connect these illegal miners to lorry operators to facilitate the transportation of the illicitly extracted material. There was no problem transporting the illicit cargo to the ports as there were more than enough lorries on standby. Other sources told NST that the MACC had outlined eight recommendations to the state government to tighten procedures on bauxite-mining activities in Pahang. (New Straits Times Online)

Khairy: Malaysia should tap into wellness tourism potential
Ministry of Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin said that Malaysia’s wellness and fitness industry has the potential to become a big revenue earner for the tourism sector. He suggested that wellness tourism be developed along with medical tourism, which the country introduced in 1998 and has been aggressively promoting. Health or medical tourism would be expanded by inserting the wellness aspect, he siad, with programmes like Malaysia Urban Retreat Festival (Murfest), yoga and spiritual retreats, as well as fitness weeks, used to attract tourists who are interested in such activities. (The Sun Daily)