RAM retains ‘negative’ outlook for Klang Valley properties
RAM Ratings has maintained its ‘negative’ outlook for residential and commercial property sectors in the Klang Valley, as consumer sentiment is expected to muted amid weaker economic prospects. Lending conditions are also likely to stay tight due to factors such as cautious bank lending practices, concerns about increasing household debt and dampened growth, resulting in another challenging year for the Malaysian property market. However, RAM did not expect any widespread decline in property prices, with only some price corrections in less mature areas and within the high-rise sub-segment. Supply conerns may weigh down the prospects of commercial properties, while the residential property sector will remain subdued. (The Star Online)

Penang undersea tunnel could cost over RM20bil
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan has claimed that the Penang undersea tunnel project would cost over RM20 billion of taxpayers’ money by the time it is completed in 2025. The study for the planned project alone had cost a “staggering” RM305 million. He questioned why the Penang state government had agreed to pay using 110 acres of prime waterfront land – valued at RM6.3 million in 2013 – for a project that would only be completed in 2025 at the earliest, as the value could be worth double or triple by that time. Abdul Rahman also questioned the government’s decision to award a 30-year toll concession to the company building the tunnel, Consortium Zenith BUCG, claiming it to be contrary to the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. (The Malay Mail Online)

Moody’s: Islamic banks in Malaysia have better asset quality
Islamic banks in Malaysia are able to outperform their Indonesian counterparts in terms of asset growth and growth stability, said Moody’s Investors Service. This reflects to a large part of the Malaysian banks’ more established franchises, deeper market penetration, and long-standing regulatory support. Banks in both countries are recording slower growth in Islamic financing due to economic slowdown, but in Indonesia it is more pronounced. The Islamic banking sector accounts for 27 per cent of the total banking system assets in Malaysia versus 5 per cent in Indonesia. There is also a more diversified portfolio mix in Malaysia. The superior performance of Islamic banking portfolios in Malaysia banks reflects their success in integrating it into their core franchises and establishing themselves as mainstream institutions for both retail and corporte customers, which in turn shows Malaysia’s pioneering role in establishing comprehensive legal, tax and regulatory frameworks to facilitate Islamic finance, said senior analyst Simon Chen. (New Straits Times Online)

Ivory Properties has RM1.8bil worth of Penang projects
Ivory Properties Group Bhd is undertaking RM1.8 billion worth of projects on Penang island this year, including the first phase of Penang WorldCity (PWC) called Tropicana Bay Residences with a gross development value (GDV) of RM933mil, The Wave (GDV of RM494mil), and The City Residence and City Mall (RM313mil). The City Residence and City Mall and The Wave will be the main contributors to the group’s 2017 fiscal year’s revenue. The City Residence and City Mall is in a location where the undersea tunnel and new highway projects are being planned as part of the Penang Transport Master Plan, while the The Wave in Penang Times Square is located in an area earmarked for upcoming LRT routes. (The Star Online)

Plenitude signs RM50mil contract for Oakwood upgrading works
Plenitude Bhd has invested RM50 million for the renovation and upgrading of Oakwood Hotel and Residences Kuala Lumpur, previously known as Nomad Sucasa All Suites Hotel which has been in operation since the early 1990s. The Oakwood Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur is a mixed-used project consisting of two towers, the 198-unit Sucasa Corporate Apartments and the 252-unit Nomad Sucasa All Suites Hotel. The property was officially closed in July 2015 for refurbishment, and that once it was completed, it will be managed by Oakwood Asia Pacific Ltd. (The Star Online)

Kerjaya Prospek to bag RM300mil BCB contract
Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd (formerly Fututec Bhd) is anticipating a win for a RM300 million contract from property developer BCB Bhd to build a major high-rise project in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. It is believed to be related to BCB’s Elysia Park Residence, which is located in Medini, Nusajaya. Elysia Park Residence is a high-rise project covering 7.82 acres of land, with a 4-acre park right next to the development. It carries a GDV of RM1.2 billion, and will comprise six tower blocks with 961 units in total to be developed over five years. So far this year, Kerjaya Prospek has secured RM283.76 million worth of jobs. (The Edge Markets)

Sunsuria in JV for Putrajaya land
Sunsuria Bhd has partnered with Taiwan-based Ever Rich Land Co Ltd to turn a 3.4ha land in Putrajaya South into a RM694 million theme-designed mixed development. The property developer’s subsidiaries, Sunsuria City Sdn Bhd and Sunsuria Gateway Sdn Bhd had signed an agreement with Welcome Global Co Ltd, one of Ever Rich’s real estate investment arms. The resulting JV company will be Sunsuria Everrich Sdn Bhd, which will be 60% owned by the Sunsuria units and 40% by Welcome Global. (The Sun Daily)

Steel tunnel first of its kind in Malaysia
Malaysia will have its first “tunnel in the air” when the Kelana Jaya LRT Line Extension Project (LEP) is completed next month. It will be located between the Subang Jaya and SS15 stations, with the steel tunnel covering tracks that pass through Empire Gallery and Saujana Residency in Subang Jaya. Saujana Residency residents had aired their concerns of visual intrusion and noise, as well as the the potential danger from having parts of the building and track just three metres away. Following discussions, a steel tunnel in the shape of the guide-way envelope was agreed upon. Prasarana CEO Datuk Zohari Sulaiman said the membranes of the tunnel were air inflated, and the technology used is the same as at the Beijing National Aquatics Centre. (The Malay Mail Online)

The steel tunnel on the Kelana Jaya LRT extension line is the first of it's kind in Malaysia. -Malay Mail Online

The steel tunnel on the Kelana Jaya LRT extension line is the first of it’s kind in Malaysia. -Malay Mail Online