Fewer launches in 2016 due to soft market and bleak sentiment
There will be fewer new property launches this year due to the softening market and bleak household sentiment. According to the National Property Information Centre’s (Napic) 2015 Property Market Report, the number of new launches fell 19.2% to 70,273 units from 88,997 units in 2014. However, demand for affordable houses below RM500,000 is expected to increase, despite the slowdown. About 80% of transactions last year were for homes below RM500,000. According to Napic, major states such as Johor and Penang saw substantial declines in new launches, down by 42.8% and 47.5% respectively. (The Star Online)

Malaysia issues US$1.5b Islamic bonds
The government has issued US$1.5 billion (approximately RM5.84 billion) worth of Islamic bonds, or sukuk. The proceeds will be used to redeem the government’s existing sukuk, as well as finance development expenditures. The Finance Ministry said the US$1.5 billion sukuk comprised US$1 billion 3.179% trust certificates due 2026 and another similar US$500 million 4.080% scheme due 2046. Underlying assets for the US$1.5 billion sukuk comprises non-physical assets like vouchers representing entitlement to a specified number of travel units and Syariah-compliant shares. (The Edge Markets)

Residents must unit to solve security issues
Resident associations and committees have been urged to unite in order to solve security problems in their respective neighbourhoods once the housing developer hands over the housing project to them. Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) Perak branch chairman Tony Khoo Boon Chuan said problems usually appear because of disagreements among the residents, usually over the fees to hire security guards, as well as the costs for guard houses, access cards and maintenance. He suggested the parties get a lawyer to draw up a supplementary agreement binding all residents on the terms and conditions for the long run. (The Star Online)

i-City to benefit from new flyover
i-City Shah Alam is set to benefit once the flyover linking the Federal Highway to Section 7 Shah Alam opens next Thursday. I-Bhd marketing director Monica Ong said residents and tourists would be able to enjoy better connectivity and convenience with the flyover. Over the past two years, 3,000 property units have been handed over to the owners, creating a flourishing township. The opening of Central i-City Mall by August 2018 and Double Tree by Hilton in 2019 will solidfy i-City’s status as a well-developed integrated city combining lifestyle, leisure and business. (The Star Online)

10,000 units of PR1MA flats too much for Balik Pulau
A Barisan Nasional lawmaker has pointed out that the federal government’s plan to build high-rise flats totalling 9,904 units in Balik Pulau, Penang is unsuitable for the small town. Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhamad Farid Saad said the project, which consists of 29 blocks of flats, to address shortage of affordable housing on the island is too massive for the small township and needs to be scaled back. The project should be scrapped and replaced with a low density and low rise project, as many residents who moved to Balik Pulau wanted to enjoy the greenery, fresh air and low density. He also questioned whether PR1MA had taken into account the social, economic, environmental and geopolitical effects of the project, which would increase the number of residents there by one fold. (The Malay Mail Online)

Property development to turn Yong Tai around
Yong Tai Bhd has announced several proposals in line with the group’s overall expansion plan into the property sector. Key among them include the acquisition of a 17-acre plot of land in Melaka at RM37 million for the development of a theatre to produce the Impression Melaka cultural show, a JV agreement for the development of 100 acres of land next to Impression Land, and a fundraising exercise to raise over RM300 million. Impression Melaka is a live cinematography show that utilises the latest light and sound technologies, modern art concepts and cultural performers. It is estimated to cost about RM300 million and targeted for completion by end-2017. The proposals are expected to be completed and take effect by the first half of the financial year ending June 30, 2017 (1HFY17). (The Edge Markets)

McDermott shift from Singapore to Malaysia done in June
Houston-based oil services company McDermott International’s relocation from Singapore to Malaysia is expected to be completed by June. Transition is underway and new personnel were being recruited in Kuala Lumpur since two months ago. Besides McDermott, other multinational oil services companies, including Technip and Subsea 7, are also relocating to Malaysia from the republic. Its move to Malaysia was influenced by several factors, including the drop in crude oil prices, high operating costs, and Malaysia being a regional hub for the oil and gas industry. (The Star Online)