Malaysia ranks second in Asia, fifth globally for infrastructure investment
Malaysia ranks number two in Asia in terms of attractiveness for infrastructure investment, and placed fifth globally, in the third edition of the Global Infrastructure Investment Index, according to global design and consultancy firm Arcadis. Malaysia’s strong economic performance and continued long-term investment in infrastructure makes it an attractive market for private investment. Neighbouring Singapore retained its position as the world’s top market for infrastructure investment, with its stable political situation, secure business environment and strong growth potential. By comparison, in terms of economic scores, China ranks first among the 41 countries analysed, yet its less attractive business conditions and higher risk environment keep it ranked at number 17 in the index. (New Straits Times Online)

DBKL to clamp down on illegal renovations, extensions
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is launching a programme to clamp down on property owners who make illegal renovations and extensions on their property. The programme aims to ensure that property owners did not make renovation without getting their prior approval. Extension works should be carried out by a registered contracter to ensure safety of the building, and it is the contracter’s responsibility in case of any accidents caused by the extension. In addition, home renovation without the approval of local authorities could lead to problems when reselling properties or submitting insurance claims. Legal action would be taken against house owners who failed to comply with the guidelines beginning from January 1, 2017. (Astro Awani)

Abandoned apartment project pose danger to residents
As reported in the Malaysia Nanban, residents in Taman Setia, Klang are seeking a solution to the problems caused by an abandoned apartment project next to their homes. The six-storey apartment complex project was abandoned 12 years ago, and has since become a hideout for thieves, drug addicts and other unsavoury characters. Residents are afraid to leave their homes at night due to the frequent movements of these individuals. Klang MP Charles Santiago, who visited the abandoned apartment blocks, said he would arrange a meeting with the council and state authorities to discuss the problem. (The Star Online)

Blackstone in talks to acquire Sime Darby’s Australian assets
New York-based private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is in talks to acquire industrial property assets in Australia valued at A$250mil from palm oil producer Sime Darby Bhd. Discussions are underway for the acquisition of as many as five industrial buildings, as well as the purchase of a majority stake in three of Sime Darby’s property assets in Singapore valued at about S$300 million. The disposals by Sime Darby are in efforts to pare down debts, and the company is seeking to raise RM1.5 billion through sales. (The Edge Markets)

DPS to jointly develop RM166.3mil mixed project in Melaka
DPS Resources Bhd’s wholly-owned unit Shantawood Sdn Bhd (SSB) has signed a joint venture agreement for a mixed development project in Tanjung Minyak, Melaka with GDV of RM166.3 million. The joint venture with landowner Biotrend Estate Sdn Bhd (BESB) is to develop the 15.37 hectares of freehold land, which will comprise 37 units of two-storey shop-offices, 182 units of single-storey terrace houses, 80 units of single-storey semi-detached houses, and six units of single-storey bungalow houses. Also included will be 71 single-storey low-cost terraced houses, and one block of four-storey low-cost flat that holds 168 units. The development is expected to commence in January 2017, and shall be completed within 60 months. (The Edge Markets)

Over RM97mil worth of projects for Sibuti
More than RM97 million worth of projects have been planned for Bekenu and Lambir in Sibuti, Sarawak. It was also announced that the Bekenu water supply system, estimated at RM94.8 million, will serve three villages in the area yet to have a permanent water system. An additional RM3 million would be used for low income housing projects in Lambir and Bekenu. (Free Malaysia Today)

RM200bil bonanza for Malaysian builders attracts top fund
With as much as RM200 billion ringgit of building jobs available, no investor can afford to ignore Malaysian construction stocks. Areca EquityTrust Fund has been buying builders as the government accelerates infrastructure spending across Malaysia, the latest hospot being the Pan Borneo Highway project – a RM28.9 billion, 1,796-kilometre highway linking Sarawak and Sabah. CEO of Areca Capital Sdn Bhd, Wong Teck Meng, said the construction industry would be heating up, as these jobs are expected to be awarded in the next two years, with as much as RM200 billion worth of jobs. Construction companies are trading at the highest level relative to the Malaysian equity benchmark in four years as a building boom takes hold, with an estimated RM136 billion of jobs in the pipeline in 2016 alone. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the government will set aside 260 billion ringgit for development expenditure from 2016 to 2020, the culmination of a strategy to achieve high-income status. Other projects being planned include the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed line and subway extensions around the capital. (The Business Times)

UK gov allocates RM1mil to boost Malaysia’s human capital
The United Kingdom government is allocating RM1 million in partnership with British and Malaysian institutions and organisations to help Malaysia develop its human capital, as well as help Malaysia become an education destination in the region. There are currently nearly 17,000 Malaysians studying in the UK. The partnership aims to promote the English language as part of ongoing efforts by the British Council, which runs English courses as well as assisting the Malaysian government to train English teachers. (The Malay Mail Online)