Sultan proposes setting up “Bank of Johor” to provide housing loans
The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim, has suggested that the state government set up its own bank, named “Bank of Johor”, to provide services to the people such as providing housing loans, financing development projects, and allowing residents of Johor to open savings accounts and make investments. “With the state’s cash reserves reaching RM3 billion and the revenue of the government as well as state-owned companies touching RM7.5 billion a year, certainly they can be shareholders of ‘Bank of Johor,” he said. The proposed bank will enable civil servants and private sector employees in Johor to pay a deposit as low as RM1 to book low-cost and affordable housing unit. The idea came about as many people still could not own a house because they could not get housing loans, and welcomed the cooperation extended by Bank Rakyat to Yayasan Sultan Ibrahim in providing housing loans to the poor. (The Malay Mail Online)

MQREIT won’t be affected by office glut
MRCB-Quill Real Estate Investment Trust (MQREIT) does not expect to be significantly affected by the current office space oversupply, as only 7% of its net lettable area (NLA) will be up for renewal in July. The remaining portion of its total NLA of about 1.57 million sq ft has locked-in periods in the rental agreements, and there will only be a small fluctuation in occupancy rates. As at December last year, the group’s occupancy rate was 97.5%. Of the total NLA, 80% is office space and 20% is retail space. Its current tenant for the Quill Building 8 in Shah Alam, logistics company DHL Express, has shown interest in renewing its tenancy. Regarding the additional upcoming office space stream and overhang in KL and Selangor, MQREIT says it is unlikely to be affected as its offices are mainly purpose-built. (The Edge Markets)

Astaka to launch RM6bil project in Johor this year
Property developer Astaka Holdings Ltd is set to launch a 4.8ha project with GDV of RM6 billion in Johor this year. The “One Bukit Senyum” project would comprise signature Grade A offices, high-end retail, 5-star hotels and serviced residences. The development will also include The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum, which will be the tallest residential building in Malaysia and Singapore. The company said that the Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum had kept momentum and interest levels sustained with 70% sales volume achieved. (The Star Online)

Artist impression of the Astaka One Bukit Senyum development (Image from New Launch Gallery)

Artist impression of the Astaka One Bukit Senyum development (Image from New Launch Gallery)

Mitrajaya tendering for projects worth RM2.7bil
Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd is tendering for projects worth RM2.7 billion, consisting of RM2.2 billion from buildings (75% government, 25% private) and RM500 million from infrastructure. Its current order book stands at RM1.81 billion that will last for about two years. The top three projects by the developer are Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission buildings at Precint 7, Putrajaya, two building blocks of MK22 condominiums, Mont Kiara and PJ Midtown building and external works. (The Edge Markets)

KLCCP seeking new tenants for Menara Exxonmobil
KLCC Property Holdings Bhd (KLCCP) is seeking new tenants to set up office at Menara Exxonmobil, after its main occupant – US oil giant Exxonmobil – decided it will not be taking up the entire building anymore under a new long-term lease agreement. It was earlier reported that ExxonMobil, which had occupied the 29-storey office tower since 1997, may return several floors to KLCCP. Exxonmobil will be the major and anchor tenant, taking up 70% of the total lettable area, with the rest to be put out for rent by KLCCP. (The Star Online)

Construction industry expected to grow up to 10% in 2016
The works ministry is expecting Malaysia’s construction industry to grow between 8% and 10% for 2016 in terms of value and projects undertaken, driven by public infrastructure projects such as the MRT, LRT, Pan Borneo Highway in East Malaysia, and housing projects. These projects ensure consistent growth in the local construction industry, which will contribute to the country’s economy and the people through employment opportunities. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysian JV wins Cambodia airport project
A construction joint venture consortium by Vinci Group and Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd have won a US$23 million (RM88mil) contract from Cambodia’s Societe Concessionnaire De L’Aeroport. The JV will design and construct and new domestic terminal at the Phnom Penh Airport in Cambodia, which would cater to the future growth of domestic traffic. Construction has commenced and expected to be completed by the end of 2017. (The Star Online)