Tough market for condos in Klang Valley for next 2 years
The market for Klang Valley condominiums is expected to the more challenging over the next 2 years, mainly due to large incoming supply from completed projects. The demand for non-landed properties is expected to be weaker than landed ones. Tight credit situation will also continue to affect sales, and transaction volume is expected to drop further. The market will be challenging in the first six months of 2016 but could pick up in the second half, provided the country’s economy is not adversely affected by any external shocks. (The Star Online)

Perak state agency accepts challenge to sell RM130,000 homes
Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) says it will build homes priced below RM150,000 for buyers who are unable to purchase the state’s affordable homes, and has taken up the challenge to offer housing units at RM130,000 each. Goup chief executive Datuk Aminuddin Desa said this was because PKNP’s affordable housing units in D’Aman Residensi and Casa Kayangan in Meru Raya, which were priced between RM150,000 and RM299,000 were fully booked upon launching last year, but some applicants were unable to secure housing loans. Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said Rehda should come up with a price guide to define what was “affordable”, as currently each state has a different idea of “affordable” pricing, ranging from below RM180,000 to RM350,000 depending on the location, size and state. In Perak, RM250,000 has been determined as the affordable mark. (The Malaysian Insider)

Malaysia to launch nationwide city complaints app
The Malaysian government is building an app for citizens to report complaints directly to their municipal authorities. The app, called Kepochi, will be launched this month, and will “enable the people to lodge complaints on their problems such as roads with potholes and the complaints would be channeled to the local authority concerned”, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan. Complaints apps have been launched in Singapore and Indonesia last year, but while those have been at city level, the Malaysian project will be a country-wide one. (GovInsider(Bernama)

Singapore seizes bank accounts as part of 1MDB probe
Singapore has seized a large number of bank accounts connected to possible money-laundering offences related to investigations into 1MDB. The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department is cooperating with authorities in Malaysia, Switzerland and the United States. The move follows Switzerland’s criminal investigation into US$4 billion that appeared to have been misappropriated from Malaysian state companies. (The Malaysian Insider)

Shell sells Malaysian plant shares to private Chinesse refiner
Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell its shares in it’s Malaysia Shell Refining Company to a private Chinese refiner for $66.3 million. This marks the first overseas refinery acquisition by a private Chinese refiner, shortly after Chinese authorities allowed small, independent oil plants to import crude oil for the first time. Shell will sell a 51% stake to Malaysia Hengyuan International Ltd, with the remaining shares held by institutional and public shareholders. Shell has been exploring options for the company including the sale of the Port Dickson refinery or converting it to a storage terminal since 2015 in an effort to concentrate its global downstream footprint and business competitiveness. (The Star Online)

Over RM50mil allocated to develop rural Penampang
The Rural and Regional Development Ministry today approved an allocation of over RM50 million for the development of rural areas of Penampang, Sabah. Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said RM48 million would also be provided specifically to develop the rural water supply for the district. The construction of a water treatment plant would supply clean water not only to those in Penampang but also Kota Kinabalu and its surrounding areas. In addition, 30 houses under the Hardcore Poor Housing Programme in Penampang had also been approved, along with a community hall in Kampung Sugud and new village roads. (The Malay Mail Online)

WHO declares Zika virus a global health emergency
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern. This is only the fourth time the WHO has declared a disease a global health emergency. The Zika virus, which was first identified over 50 years ago and recently begun spreading “explosively” through the Americas, has alarmed public health officials in because of its possible association with brain damage in newborn babies. WHO has estimated that the virus will reach most of the hemisphere and infect up to 4 million people by year’s end. (Washington Post)

Image from Save The Children Facebook page

Image from Save The Children Facebook page