MRT trial runs starting in October
Trial runs for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) are set to begin in October. It has been confirmed that the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line will start a three-month trial run from Oct 1, with the official launch of operations on Dec 31. Phase one of the MRT SBK Line from Sungai Buloh to Semantan, will be almost complete by October, as all civil structural works for the elevated stations and guide ways are complete. The supporting facilities, including car parks and feeder buses will commence operation by then to start serving the public. MRT Corp will provide 14 parking facilities along the 51km MRT SBK line, and 300 feeder buses. (The Star Online)

Higher EPF 2 withdrawal limit could boost property market
An increase in the withdrawal limit for EPF Account 2 – up to 30% – will help increase home ownership and boost the property market, said Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd. However, such measures may require further studies on the long-term effects on future retirees, said its Head of Economic Research Wan Suhaimie Wan Mohd Saidie. He said that Budget 2017 will still be very “rakyat-centric” for the property segment with goodies to be given out under government housing schemes. There could even be additional subsidies for affordable government housing. (Daily Express)

Photo from Wikimapia

Photo from Wikimapia

Concorde Hotel KL to be demolished for integrated project
The Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur may be torn down to make way for a multi billion ringgit project, making it the fourth commercial building and third established hotel within a 500m stretch along Jalan Sultan Ismail to be demolished in recent years. The first two hotels were Equatorial Hotel and Crowne Plaza Mutiara Hotel. The plot will be redeveloped in order to unlock its value, as the approved plot density now is much higher than when it was built in the 1980s. Initial documents show that a 39-storey tower with 240 office suits, a 54-storey hotel block with 530 rooms and 2015 units of serviced apartments, with a sky bridge linking the two towers, will constructed. There will also be two 41-storey towers and a 10-storey annexe podium. However, the project may be altered depending on conditions set by the owners and DBKL. (The Edge)

Malaysians increasingly drawn to high-rise living
More Malaysian house-buyers are opting for the lifestyle attached to high-rise residential living, as it offers affordability, security features and good resale value. In addition, with the enforcement of the Strata Management Act 2013 last year, high-rise house owners’ rights are better protected now. Housing statistics showed that as of June 2014, there were almost 5.5 million people in the country living in strata developments. Properties such as condominiums, apartments and small office and home offices (SoHo) could fetch better rental rates compared to landed property in many areas. (New Straits Times Online)

Jalan Tun Razak has potential as medical hub
With the number of hospitals and medical centres located along Jalan Tun Razak, one of the busiest roads in the federal capital, the are has potential of becoming an international medical hub. Some of the hospitals located along and around Jalan Tun Razak are the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL), the National Heart Institute (IJN), Pusrawi Hospital, National Blood Centre, KPJ Tawakkal Specialist Hospital, the Respiratory Medical Institute and Prince Court Medical Centre. The Kuala Lumpur Health Clinic set to be the largest government clinic, capable of treating up to 4,000 patients a day, is also situated in the vicinity. HKL director Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain said Jalan Tun Razak could be enhanced further as a medical hub because of the number of well-established hospitals in the area. However, this potential could be affected due to the traffic congestion along the road, especially during peak hours when even ambulances have difficulty getting through. Therefore it was necessary to make some changes and improvements towards a smoother and more efficient traffic system. (Astro Awani)

Developers urged to focus on landscaping to add value to properties
Local developers in Bintulu should place more emphasis on improving the landscape and environment of their projects instead of just focusing on profit maximisation, said Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) vice-president Troy Yaw Chee Weng. Good lanscaping should be given priority, with many good examples of projects in Miri and Kuala Lumpur. “Making money is important – we all know that, but at the same time building lifestyle for people in Bintulu for that matter is more crucial,” he said. When properly done, landscaping could add value to properties in any neighbourhood. He also appealed to developers to reconsider using underground power cables instead of overhead ones, which are more expensive but increase aesthetic appeal. (The Borneo Post)