Ringgit weakens past RM4 vs USD again
The ringgit weakened past 4.00 against the US dollar today after US policy makers indicated the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates next month. It slumped by the most in eight months, dropping 1.5%, the biggest decline since Sept 7, and sent the ringgit to its lowest level since March 29. At 9:40am, the ringgit weakened to 4.0055 against the US dollar. Higher US interest rates do not bode well for emerging Asian markets like Malaysia as investors shift their money back to US dollar-denominated assets. (The Edge Markets)

1MDB board to be dissolved
The advisory board of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak will be dissolved, as global investigations into the state investment fund continue. The move is another step in a gradual winding up of the embattled state-investment fund, which defaulted on an interest payment on a bond last week, triggering a partial cross-default on other debts. The dissolution comes almost a month after a parliamentary inquiry called for law-enforcement to investigate its former CEO. Finance Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that it accepted the resignation of the board of directors, a separate body, which will take effect on May 31. A new board of directors would be appointed “in due course” while its current president, Arul Kanda, will remain in his role “until further notice”. 1MDB also stated it would transfer ownership of a number of real estate companies and property assets to the ministry. (The Wall Street Journal)

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LBS Bina expects 30% sales cancellation rate this year
LBS Bina Group Bhd is expected 30% of its overall project sales to be cancelled this year – the same ratio as last year – due to buyers failing to obtain loans, following cooling measures by Bank Negara. Managing director Tan Sri Lim Hock San said the group was supposed to sell RM1.5 billion worth of properties last year, but cancellations amounted to about RM500 million, or 30%, and he expects the same for this year. LBS Bina achieved total sales of RM1.029 billion last year, up 60% from 2014. This year, it is looking to launch RM1.95 billion worth of properties, a mix of high-rise and landed residential and commercial developments, mainly in its township, Bandar Saujana Putra, and the Klang Valley. Its most recent launch is the Cameron Centrum Precinct 1, the first phase of the largest integrated development in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands. (The Edge Markets)

Kimlun bags RM166m Rumah Selangorku contract
Kimlun Corp Bhd has won a contract worth RM165.82 million for the construction of affordable apartments in Selangor. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Kimlun Sdn Bhd had accepted the contract from Hillcrest Gadens Sdn Bhd to build five blocks of Rumah Selangorku affordable apartments in Mukim Petaling, Selangor. The project is expected to be completed by April 2019. (The Edge Markets)

Ho Hup Construction bags West Coast Expressway job
Ho Hup Construction Co Bhd has won an RM58 million sub-contract for structure and bridge works at the West Coast Expressway. It had accepted the contract from Menuju Asas Sdn Bhd, the main contractor of Public Works Department, for upgrading works between Teluk Intan and Kg Lekir. The works include all temporary, piling, substructure, superstructure and miscellaneous works related to the bridges. The contract is for about 24 months and is expected to begin on May 9 this year. (The Star Online)

Tenants rule as Singapore rentals drop
Rental rates across Singapore’s home, office and retail properties dropped in the first quarter as an oversupply and weak demand dragged down prices. The city-state’s home rental index declined 1.3% from the previous quarter, while office and retail rentals slid 2.1% and 1.9% respectively. Rents have been declining across market segments, due to a cooling property market, large incoming supply and fewer expatriates coming in as a result of immigration control. Office rents may decline as much as 25 percent in a prolonged slump that may last until the end of 2018 as demand slows, said Daiwa Securities Co. last month. (Bloomberg)

Related article: Singapore office tenants gain upper hand in rental negotiations

bomb‘Bomb’ jokes at KLIA can land you in jail, warns police
Fifteen people have been arrested since last year for saying the word ‘bomb’, even in jest, at KLIA and KLIA2 since last year, said district police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali yesterday, according to the New Straits Times. Many of them were caught saying the word ‘bomb’ jokingly at the baggage check-in counter and in the airport vicinity. “People must know that this not something you can joke around as it can bring about serious consequences,” he said. Offenders can be jailed up to seven years or fined, or both. Malaysia has boosted security measures at transport hubs since the terrorism shoot-out and bombings in Jakarta in January and the Brussels attacks in March. (The Straits Times)