Interest rate cut boosting Malaysian REITs
The OPR rate cut, which was announced on Wednesday, coupled with proposed measures for mature Malaysian REITs to diversify their investment options, is giving the sector a boost. Property stocks including M-REITs enjoyed a brief high on Wednesday but remained muted yesterday, although interest in REITs is expected to emerge following the issuance of a consultation paper by the Securities Commission (SC) on 17 proposals “to facilitate growth of the maturing M-REITs market”. One of the key changes proposed is to allow REITs to acquire vacant land and undertake property development. However, the REITs must continue to hold the completed property for at least 2 years. Another major change proposed by the SC is a fixed leverage limit of 50% for M-REITs, which aims to contain risk as well as ensure sustainable growth. (The Star Online)

Penang NGO proposes alternative transport plan to save cost
Penang Forum, a public-interest civil society coalition, has proposed an alternative plan to address traffic problems in the state with the introduction of trams and bus rapid transits (BRTs) using only a third of the RM27 billion cost for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). The proposed plan will be a ‘better, cheaper, faster PTMP’ featuring tram systems that would about to RM1.6 billion for a single route between Komtar and Bayan Lepas, compared to an LRT route costing RM4.4 billion. The annual operating cost for the tram would also be lower at RM67 million, compared to RM170 million for the LRT. The NGO had engaged consultants and researchers to carry out a study on the alternative transport plan that would shave off significant cost from the original PTMP. (The Edge Markets)

AREA, MAHB to study Subang technology park project
AREA Management Sdn Bhd, the project management company of the AREA Industrial Development Fund 1 (AIDF-1), has entered into a memorandum of business exploration (MoBE) with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) for a technology park project next to the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport at Subang. The project is to develop a 60-acre Grade A technology park focusing on aerospace manufacturing and component MRO (manufacturing, repair and overhaul) to cater to suppliers of the aerospace industry wishing to set up manufacturing plants or supply operations adjacent to the airport. The project is part of the further development of the aerospace ecosystem in Subang, which is also aligned to the development of the recently launched KLIA Aeropolis. The park is planned to be a gated, guarded and managed facility with two offerings namely build to lease or build to sell, making it the first of its kind in the Klang Valley. (The Sun Daily)

SC grants waiver to Sunway REIT for Penang land acquisition
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has granted a waiver to Sunway REIT, allowing the company to acquire land for extension of the Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Perai, Penang. Sunway REIT applied for an exemption from the REIT Guidelines, which state that a fund is not permitted to conduct property development activities and the acquisition of vacant land. The approval granted by SC is subjected to the condition that Sunway REIT continues to hold the expanded Sunway Carnival for at least two years from the completion of the proposed extension. Last month, the REIT announced its plan to buy a tract of land adjacent to the mall for RM17.2 million cash to expand its net lettable area. (The Edge Markets)

Berjaya Assets, Foshan City plan duty free trade city in JB
Berjaya Assets Bhd’s unit and Foshan City Bureau of Commerce (FCBC) have signed n MoU a to build a South East Asia Duty Free Trade City (SEADFTC) at Berjaya Waterfront, Johor Bahru. Under the MoU, both parties will establish a framework for collaboration with progressive discussions, exchange of information, and development and investment updates for the relevant commercial initiatives. FCBC will organise trade visits to SEADFTC to explore and conduct trading and investment activities with the intention of promoting this project as a strategic initiative for Foshan City investors in Malaysia. (The Star Online)

Mah Sing’s Cerrado Residential Suites draw 7,500 registrants
Mah Sing Group Bhd’s Cerrado Residential Suites at Southville City, Bangi has attracted nearly 7,500 registrants since it was open for registration a few months ago, ahead of its launch of July 23. The project consists of smaller and affordable units which are largely below RM500,000 and has attracted good response from the market in the form of interest from the market. The freehold Cerrado Residential Suites will offer four towers of residential suites with a total of 1,616 units. Each tower has 35 storeys and comprises 404 units and four lifts. The project also offers 10 units of poolside cabana. (The Edge)