M-REITs may be allowed to build own properties
Malaysian real estate investment trusts (M-REITs) may soon be allowed to utilise as much as 15% of their total assets into property development projects and vacant land development, and are already preparing for the policy to take effect slated for end of the year, said industry sources. The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) will issue a public consultation paper to gather feedback on the planned revision to REIT guidelines. M-REIT managers have long lobbied to be allowed to build some of their own properties to enjoy development profits as it became harder for them to make yield-accretive acquisitions. At present, M-REITs can refurbish, renovate or extend existing real estate in their investment portfolios but the rules prohibit property development or the acquisition of vacant land. (The Edge Markets)

Iskandar Malaysia to become theme park hub in Malaysia
Iskandar Malaysia is set to become a regional hub for theme parks in Malaysia, with more theme parks expected to be set up in the country’s first economic corridor. State Tourism, Trade and Consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the growth corridor would have eight theme parks within the next three to five years. The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) are in talks with theme park operators from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and North America to set up theme parks in Iskandar Malaysia which will cater for all age groups. The size of the new theme parks will range between 20.33ha and 40.46ha and they could be either outdoor or indoor theme parks. Iskandar Malaysia currently has Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, the Hello Kitty Indoor Theme Park @ Puteri Harbour, the Angry Birds @ JBCC and the Mount Austin water theme park. (The Star Online)

Bank Islam to finance two waqf land projects
Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd has signed an agreement with Perbadanan Wakaf Selangor’s subsidiary, Urus Maju Ehsan (M) Sdn Bhd (UME) to provide RM15.5 million in financing for the development of two waqf land projects in Klang, Selangor. Waqf is a voluntary charitable endowment in the form of cash, property or land, for syariah-compliant causes. Bank Islam will provide partial financing for both projects, with have a gross development cost of RM50 million. The first project is an apartment with 164 residential units and 12 shop units on 3ha land in Jalan Kebun Klang; the second is for 13 units of shop offices and 34 bazaar units on 3ha land in Jalan Teratai, Klang. These are the first phase of a 3-phase waqf land development plan in Selangor, which has a total GDV of RM300mil on 30-40ha of land that will take up to six years to complete. (The Sun Daily)

UEM Group eyeing spillover projects from HSR
UEM Group Bhd is planning to snap up spillover projects from the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail (HSR) project, which is expected to spur rapid development along its route, esepcially in Iskandar Malaysia. Group managing director and CEO Datuk Izzaddin Idris said, however, the group would only decide on its participation in any HSR-related projects after the detailed plan was announced by the government. The group will not be involved in the HSR construction but hopes to participate in related development. Izzaddin said the group was also looking at opportunities in Muar and Batu Pahat given that the two districts would house two of the eight stations for the 350km rail line. (The Malay Mail Online)

Photo from 7-Eleven Malaysia

Photo from 7-Eleven Malaysia

7-11 Malaysia opens 2000th store in the country
7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd has launched its 2000th store in Malaysia, which is in The Scott Garden in Old Klang Road. It reflects the current 7-Eleven convenience store format, which is being rolled out across Malaysia via store refurbishments and new stores since late 2013. The group intends to increase 600 new stores over the next three years from 2014 to 2016. The new 7-11 stores encourage customers to see it as lifestyle concept, as well as providing an increased range of products and services for the convenience of customers. (The Star Online)

Singapore: Property cooling measures still too early to be lifted
It is still too soon for the Singapore government to consider any adjustments to property cooling measures, said the Monetary Authority of ingapore (MAS) managing director Revi Menon. The authorities wants to make sure the gains made over the last one to two years are entrenched, paving a sustainable path for the property market and strengthening household balance sheets to withstand shocks. Menon noted that the contribution to accommodation costs to inflation has come down significantly, while household balance sheets have started to strengthen, and annual growth in household debt moderating.The risk of a renewed surge in property prices is not trivial given that interest rates are likely to remain low and global investors continue to search for yield. (The Malay Mail Online)