Malaysians worried about rising costs, want affordable homes, survey finds
Malaysians are concerned about the rising cost of living and would like a reduction in income tax, more efforts to prevent crime, and delivery of affordable homes, according to a survey by a property website. An online survey was conducted on approximately 300 respondents, which highlighted the big issues affecting Malaysians. There have been significant increases in the cost of living in Malaysia, including increases in petrol prices, toll fees and public transport, as well as the introduction of GST last year. The survey also found that Malaysians were hoping to see more affordable housing schemes under Budget 2017. (Malay Mail Online)

Home Buyers Association: Developers still fuelling speculation
The National Home Buyers Association (NHBA) is calling out developers for artificially inflating prices and offering rebates that allow speculators to buy without downpayments. The practise is said to be negating efforts by the government to rein in property speculation and spiralling real estate prices, as it artificially increases prices and encourages false demand. It urged Putrajaya to prohibit the practice, and to introduce more measures to hinder owners of multiple properties from acquiring more for speculation. It was noted that increased construction cost, the excuse used by developers to justify expensive house prices, was baseless. The 10% rebate is a “deduction” against the downpayment, which is based on an inflated retail price. This essentially allows the buyer to obtain full financing for the purchase, but looks like a loan for 90% of the face value. (Malay Mail Online)


Damansara Realty to develop PPA1M project in Putrajaya
Damansara Realty Bhd has signed an agreement with Putrajaya Corporation for an 11.9-acre development with a potential GDV of RM467.3 million. The proposed development is a Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia (PPA1M) project, which will comprise 1,350 residential units and 45 commercial units at Presinct 5, Putrajaya. It will be completed by end-2019. (The Edge Markets)

KPJ to build RM67.6mil hospital in Johor
KPJ Healthcare Bhd is planning to develop a piece of land in Batu Pahat, Johor into a RM67.6 million hospital, to be known as KPJ Batu Pahat Specialist Hospital. KPJ’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Puteri Specialist Hospital (Johor) Sdn Bhd has entered an agreement to lease a hospital building and the land from Johor Land Bhd and landowner Johor Corp (JCorp) for the proposed development. The hospital will be a seven-storey 90-bed hospital building. It is expected to take 24 months to complete. (The Edge Markets)

Naza TTDI to revisit IPO plans in next 2-3 years
Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, the property arm of Naza Corp Holdings Sdn Bhd, is planning to explore its initial public offering (IPO) plans again in the next 2 to 3 years. The company had explored the notion twice (in 2008 and 2011), but due to unfavourable market conditions, decided to shelve the idea. Naza TTDI deputy executive chairman and group managing director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin said some components of the RM20 billion KL Metropolis will be suitable for injection into a REIT in the future. The group plans to start initiating its retail maill and hotel components, and looking at how to consolidate its assets in to a REIT while waiting for certain properties to mature. (The Sun Daily)

Batu Caves makeover in trouble with auhorities
The iconic Batu Caves temple is getting a makeover before Thaipusam, which is just over 100 days away. There’s only one problem – the temple committee does not have the local council’s permission and the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has slapped them with a warning notice. Despite the notice, no fine has been issued yet, and there are no attempts to seal the construction at the base of the temple steps. A fresh flight of steps is being built in addition to the three already there, which could pose a safety risk when more than 1 million visitors are expected during Thaipusam. The Star also reported that there were extensive renovations to the temple at the base of the hill, the stairs leading to the top, and in the cave itself. It was discovered that an artificial waterfall is also in the works. (The Star Online)

The construction and renovation works in progress at Batu Caves temple (Photo from The Star)

The construction and renovation works in progress at Batu Caves temple (Photo from The Star)