1.25mil PTPTN borrowers listed in CCRIS
A total of 1.25 million National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers who failed to repay their education loans have been listed in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS). Hardcore borrowers were not only listed in CCRIS, but also by numerous other financial institutions, to enable financiers to look at the borrowers’ records for credit affairs. Borrowers who had poor payment record risked difficulty in obtaining loan approval from all financial institutions including for personal loans, credit cards, housing and vehicle. PTPTN started listing the hardcore borrowers in the information system in stages since June last year, which was aimed at encouraging borrowers to be more disciplined and responsible in repaying their loans. (Bernama)

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Foreign investors sweep up RM7.32bil in 10-week period
Foreign investors stretched their equities buying spree to 10 consecutive weeks, bringing the total amount to RM7.32 billion. The amount had receded for five consecutive weeks from the peak recorded in the week ended March 18, when RM1.48 billion was swept up. At market close last Friday, the amount of listed equities bought by foreign investors for the week was RM107mil, based on transactions in the open market and excluding off market deals. Last week’s foreign purchases boosted the cumulative year-to-date net inflow to RM6.4bil, still relatively low after the -RM19.5bil net outflow for the whole of 2015 and -RM6.9bil in 2014. (The Star Online)

No decision yet on iconic A&W outlet in PJ
The fate of the iconic A&W restaurant in Petaling Jaya remains uncertain, as plans to redevelop the 0.4ha land resurfaces again, and it may not be included in the new development. While there is nothing concrete yet, land owner KUB Malaysia Bhd hopes to finalise development plans by early next year. Previously, two office towers were proposed for the site and aimed for completion in 2018. However, plans for the relocation of the fast food joint and construction of the towers were called off some two years ago, not long after they were mooted. The company is still in talks with development partners and have not made a decision on whether it should be fully commercial, mixed development or serviced apartments. The company also plans to get the 1:6 plot ratio and apply for a transit-oriented development (TOD) project status to fully utilise the convenience of the Taman Jaya LRT station located right beside it. (The Star Online)

The iconic standalone A&W fast food restaurant in Petaling Jaya

The iconic standalone A&W fast food restaurant in Petaling Jaya

Increase supply of affordable housing before offering financial aid, says economist
The government should address the shortage of affordably-priced houses in the country before implementing schemes to enable the middle-income group to buy houses, said economist Muhammad Ridhuan Bos Abdullah. He lauded the MyDeposit scheme as a good initiative by the government, but said it would serve little purpose if there were not enough suitable units for first-time house buyers. He questioned whether the number of affordably-priced houses were enough to meet the needs of all the people in the target group, and said the government should first look into increasing the supply due to high demand. “It’s better to resolve the core issue first before introducing other (helpful) mechanisms or strategies,” the senior lecturer at Universiti Utara Malaysa’s School of Economics told Bernama. (Malaysian Digest)

Hektar REIT eyes malls in second-tier cities
Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which expects to maintain its DPU at 10.5 sen in the current financial year (FY16), is also identifying potential acquisition targets across the country to widen its portfolio, which comprises shopping malls: Subang Parade in Subang Jaya, Selangor; Mahkota Parade in Melaka; Wetex Parade in Muar, Johor; and Central Square and Landmark Central in Kedah. Its chairmain and CEO Datuk Jaafar Abdul Hamid said the trust manager is keen to purchase a neighbourhood mall in one of the country’s second-tier cities, but did not specify a time frame. Meanwhile, Hektar REIT intends to continue its mall enhancement initiatives this year, and has allocated RM20 million to raise the overall NLA of Landmark Central and adding more cinema halls in Subang Parade. (The Edge Markets)

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Residents call for demolition of abandoned Highland Towers
Residents of Taman Hillview and Taman Sri Ukay are calling for the demolition of the two nearby abandoned Highland Towers buildings which have become hideouts for criminals and drug addicts. The president of the residents association for the two housing estates said the residents were unanimous in seeking the demolition of the remaining two towers, which were left abandoned after one collapsed 23 years ago. If nothing is done, the residents might take legal action against the landowner for refusal to demolish the buildings to ensure the safety of nearby residents. On April 12, police shot dead three of six criminals believed to be robbery suspects in a raid on one of the condominium blocks. The incident had added to the fear of residents, many of whom had been victims of targeted robberies. (New Straits Times Online)

Tiong Nam continues diversification into property development
Tiong Nam Logistics Holdings Bhd will continue its diversification into property development, e-commerce and heavy project cargo to sustain its earnings for the financial year ended March 31. Currently, more than 95% of the company’s sales is contributed by its core business of total logistics solutions. It plans to use 40-50 acres from its total 150-acre land bank earmarked for property development, and looking to develop landed property in the Iskandar zone, specifically Kota Masai, that will carry GDV of about RM200 million. Property development is one of the main contributors, alongside logistics and warehousing services, to the increase in Tiong Nam’s third quarter net profit. (The Star Online)