New LRT routes in Klang Valley a boon to commuters
New LRT routes in the Klang Valley set to begin operations this year will bring greater convenience to commuters and proof of the government’s commitment to improve urban transportation. If all goes according to schedule, the Ampang LRT Line extension of Sri Petaling-Putra Heights passing through Kinrara Puchong, will be operational by end-March, while the Kelana Jaya-Putra Heights line will start operations in the middle of this year. The Sri Petaling-Kinrara route has been operating since last October. Besides providing better accessibility to a greater number of commuters, the LRT project also contributed to economic spin-offs such as new shopping malls, office buildings, as well as job and business opportunities. (The Star Online)

1MDB scandal will deter foreign investors
BMI Research, a unit of world financial rating agency Fitch Group, says that the sheer scale of the 1MDB scandal will deter foreign investors from coming to Malaysia, and that international businesses would also be wary of dealing with government-linked companies (GLC) and institutions as they risked being implicated. Some of the factors that were a cause for concern for investors include the number of international authorities involved in the investigation, the size of the amount misappropriated, as well as the alleged political authority. Global companies would be cautious in their dealings as any involvement could lead to fines, damaged reputations and loss of investors, clients and customers. (The Malaysian Insider)

Big plans for Johor Halal Park
UMLand aims to position and develop its Johor Halal Park (JHP) as the leading bio-based and herbal-based park in the world. Its location in the Eastern Gate Development Zone of Iskandar Malaysia and close proximity to Singapore gave it an added advantage, and would be one of the strong selling points to attract investors around the world. There has been interest from companies in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore to set up operations in JHP. The freehold-halal park is a joint venture project between UMLand and Johor Biotechnology & Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech). It is located in Cahaya Baru near Pasir Gudang, and components include a regional marketing and clearing house (RMCH), integrated packaging, warehousing and logistic (IPWL), one-stop centre, scientific and halal laboratory and incubator facilities of international standard. (The Star Online)

Felda re-attempts Indonesian deal using unlisted unit
Felda is planning to use an unlisted unit to buy into Indonesia’s debt-burdened Rajawali Group in order to avoid heavy investor criticism that botched an attempted deal last year, said sources. Plans for Felda to buy 37% of palm oil plantation firm PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk fell through last year after politicians and investors said the $680mil deal was an expensive favour for tycoon Peter Sondakh, who has long-standing ties with Prime Minister Najib Razak. This time, Felda will use an unlisted unit to acquire the stake and seeking to cut the price by as much as 30%. Rajawali Group said the transaction with Felda was “being finalized” but declined to give details or comment on the group’s debt levels. Felda Global Ventures declined to comment. (The Star Online)

Company plans to transform Medini into Jewel of Iskandar Malaysia
Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM) plans to position Medini as the new central business district (CBD) of Iskandar Puteri by attracting domestic and foreign companies to set up their offices. Working on a green field to develop the area gave the company an added advantage and total freedom to develop the best development plan for the area, and it was working closely with other property developers to transform Medini into the Jewel of Iskandar Malaysia, said managing director and CEO Datuk Khairil Anwar Ahmad. MIM would focus on commercial development within the area while the domestic and foreign developers would concentrate on residential projects. It had so far invested about RM1 billion on infrastructure in Medini since 2008 to improve connectivity and accessibility. The proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) station in Iskandar Puteri is also expected to boost development in Medin, along with the special tax holidays and incentive packages reserved for the area. (The Star Online)

Khairil (left) explaining the project to Johor Baru Central Municipal Council president Dr Badrul Hisham Kassim. Laid out before them is the scale model of Medini Iskandar Puteri. (Photo from The Star)

Khairil (left) explaining the project to Johor Baru Central Municipal Council president Dr Badrul Hisham Kassim. Laid out before them is the scale model of Medini Iskandar Puteri. (Photo from The Star)