PM: Malaysia’s GDP grew by 5.6% yearly since 2010
Malaysia has recorded an average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.6% per year since 2010 due to careful economic planning, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, adding that Malaysia was among the Asean countries that recorded the best economic growth in 2015. The government was able to reduce its fiscal deficit from 6.7% in 2009 to 3.2% in 2015, and will be able to achieve its target of 3.2% this year. More importantly, market confidence will remain at a high level tied to Malaysia’s credit position. (The Star Online)

Shareholders pump RM584mil into EcoWorld
Two major shareholders of Eco World Development Group Bhd – Liew Tian Xiong and Sinarmas Harta Sdn Bhd — will collectively inject at least RM583.98 million into the property group through a private placement exercise. The raised funds will be used for the subscription for EcoWorld International Bhd’s (EWI) initial public offering (IPO). Aside from funding the IPO share subscription, EcoWorld also allocated about RM297.69 million or 38.7% for future land acquisitions, ongoing land acquisitions and general working capital for ongoing development projects. (The Edge Markets)

Sime in talks to dispose Singapore properties
Sime Darby Bhd is in discussions with US-based private equity fund Blackstone Group to sell a majority interest in three of its Singapore properties for S$300 million (RM870 million). According to The Business Times, the deal is for the proposed properties of Sime Darby Centre at 896 Dunearn Road; Sime Darby Enterprise Centre, a light industrial building along Jalan Kilang off Jalan Bukit Merah; and Sime Darby Business Centre at 315 Alexandra Road (next to IKEA). Blackstone is reported looking to acquire 75% of the properties. The big-ticket item would be the Sime Darby Centre, an office and retail development on freehold and 999-year leasehold land parcels zoned for commercial use. The other two properties are light industrial developments. (Malaysia Chronicle)

Land deal to reduce MRCB’s debt levels
EPF’s offer to acquire MRCB’s land in Bukit Jalil could be the solution to reducing the latter’s debt level of RM4.7 billion to about RM3.7 billion. EPF reportedly offered to buy 80% of MRCB’s stake in a parcel of land from a total of three lands for a consideration of RM421.5mil, to be paid in two parts. The land is part of MRCB’s deal with the government for the development and refurbishment of the National Sports Complex. (The Star Online)

Malaysia planning to amend law to seize land in case of big fires
The government is proposing an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act that will allow it to seize control of land where big fires are discovered, as part of long-term efforts to curb haze from slash-and-burn forest clearing techniques usually linked to palm oil plantations. Top palm oil producers Indonesia and Malaysia have been facing criticism for deforestation and land-clearing methods that cause serious haze across South East Asia every year. The amendment, however, is unlikely to be made in time to curb fires this year. (The Straits Times)

E-toll reduces traffic congestion at toll plazas
The electronic toll collection system has reduced traffic congestion at toll plaza lanes by up to 50 per cent, said Deputy Works Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin. Toll transaction times have been cut down to about six seconds for Touch ‘n Go and three seconds for SmartTag, compared to 15 seconds for cash transactions. This has reduced congestion at toll plaza lanes by 30% to 50% and helped motorists save time. (Astro Awani)

Seacera to acquire Duta Nilai Holdings for RM220mil
Seacera Group Bhd is acquiring a company that owns a 250-acre land in Semenyih for RM220 million. The tile and building materials manufacturer said the acquisition will enable the group to hasten the growth of its property development activity. It will purchase the entire equity interest in Duta Nilai Holdings Sdn Bhd, which holds the land owner Duta Skyline Sdn Bhd. Seacera said the land is strategically located, being near Kuala Lumpur City Centre and surrounded by current developments from established property developers such as EcoWorld, Mah Sing, UEM Sunrise and S P Setia. (The Edge Markets)

alibaba jack maAlibaba’s Jack Ma overtakes Wang Jianlin as Asia’s richest man
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma overtook Dalian Wanda Group Co.’s Wang Jianlin as Asia’s richest man after the e-commerce giant’s financial affiliate raised a record amount in its latest round of fundraising. Ma added $4.3 billion to his fortune on Tuesday after his Ant Financial’s latest deal, expanding his wealth to $33.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. However, Ma’s lead among Asia’s billionaires could be short lived as Wang reorganizes his entertainment business and seeks to relocate his property unit’s listing in search of higher valuations in mainland China — deals that could affect the property-to-entertainment mogul’s fortune. (Bloomberg)