No assessment tax rates increase in KL for 2017
The assessment tax in Kuala Lumpur will not be raised next year due to expected slowdown in the country’s economic growth, said Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz. He added that the local authority would also not review the tax imposed on property in the capital city, and disabled ratepayers would be given a 20% discount on their assessment tax. The RM1.143bil development expenses allocation in Budget 2017 provides for the implementation of development projects, as well as purchase and capital asset replacement. There are 14 development and management programmes using the allocation, with three main programmes being Roads and Drainages Programme, Management and Administration, and Public and People’s Housing Programmes. (The Star Online)

HSR project on Najib’s agenda in Japan visit
The KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project is expected to be among the topics of discussion during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today. Najib’s working visit was at the recent invitation of the Japanese leader. While in Tokyo, Najib will also hold a meeting with Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MILT) Keiichi Ishii, other than meetings with members of the Japan-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendship Association and the Chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). Other matters expected to be discussed in the meeting of the two leaders are issues of regional security, especially regarding the South China Sea and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. (Malay Mail Online)

Homes for youths part of KL’s RM150mil housing budget
DBKL has allocated RM150 million for public housing projects in Budget 2017, including RM80 million for the construction of council homes designed specifically for working youths. The council homes, to be located in Kampung Sungai Udang, Segambut, Razak Mansion, Sungai Besi and Kampung Keramat in Titiwangsa, would be different from the People’s Housing Project (PPR) as it catered to different groups of the city population. The project is to meet the growing demand for rental housing, which are for rent only for a 5-year tenure to encourage youths to buy their own property once financially stable. Work on the projects has started and is expected to complete in 2018. (Malay Mail Online)

Artist's impression of Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA (Source: Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA Sepang Facebook)

Artist’s impression of Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA (Source: Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA Sepang Facebook)

Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA set to be SEA’s largest outlet mall
The Mitsui Outlet Park KL International Airport (KLIA) is on track to become the South-East Asia’s biggest outlet mall by 2021 with the phase two expansion now underway. The expansion, which was expected to be completed in 2018, would see the mall being enlarged to 190 shops from 130 at present. Phase two will include more premium luxury international and local brands, with diversification into entertainment and amusement, as well as service-based tenants. The expansion will also introduce a new ambient experience with Sky Walk (ceiling simulated with clouds) and River Walk (resembling a creek). The new phase would be built adjacent to the current Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA and would include additional 500 car park bays to complement the existing 2,100 lots. The Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA is an important part of the KLIA Aeropolis Masterplan, a vision to transform the KLIA into a diversified airport city. (The Star Online)

Pavilion REIT eyeing greenfield projects
Pavilion REIT may be a looking at buying developmental projects, possibly Pavilion Bukit Jalil and Pavilion Damansara Heights, taking advantage of the new guidelines proposed by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), which will allow the participation of REITs in greenfield projects. A valuer has been hired to look at the soon-to-open Pavilion Extension in Jalan Bukit Bintang with a view to injecting the asset into PavREIT. PavREIT intends to acquire three assets next year, and there are also plans to acquire retail mail Fahrenheit88 as well, according to sources. Market observers say that a REIT’s role in a greenfield project is as an investor. In the case of PavReit, if it is not buying the entire project, a likely scenario is the setting up of a joint venture with the developer. (The Edge Markets)

AmFIRST REIT reports higher net property income of RM35mil for 1HFY17
AMFIRST REIT’s net property income for 1HFY17 rose 18.03% to RM35.59 million from a year ago. Gross revenue rose 12.3% to RM55.67 million, mainly contributed by additional revenue from the newly acquired Mydin Hyper Mall in Penang as well as higher occupancy and rental reversion in Menara AmBank. However, the increase was partially offset by lower revenue from Prima 10, The Summit Subang in USJ and Wisma AmFIRST as a result of lower occupancy, and the divestment of AmBank Group Leadership Centre in March this year. (The Edge Markets)

Only 55,000 residents left in Venice following “Venexodus”
Several hundred Venice citizens held a rally on Saturday to protest the exodus of residents, which is sucking the life out of the fabled Italian city. More than 60,000 tourists arrive in Italy’s Adriatic jewel each day — a tally that outstrips the number of full-time residents. Venice is losing 1,000 residents each year. It now has less than 55,000 people, compared to 100,000 40 years ago, said Matteo Secchi, head of the association which organised the rally. He compared it to Pompeii, a town which people visit but no one lives in. Housing is one of Venetians’ biggest complaints — costs have rocketed as private owners rent out apartments to tourists for short-term lets. (New Straits Times Online)

Residents of Venice hold luggages during the 'Venexodus' demonstrations in Venice, Italy. - EPA/ANDREA MEROLA

Residents of Venice hold luggages during the ‘Venexodus’ demonstrations in Venice, Italy. – EPA/ANDREA MEROLA