Malaysia, Singapore ink historic HSR agreement
A legally binding bilateral agreement that paves the way for the implementation of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail (HSR) project was signed by both countries on Tuesday. The HSR lines in Singapore and Malaysia are to be linked by a bridge over the Straits of Johor with a height clearance of 25m above the water level, it was revealed in the agreement. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the HSR project is a significant milestone between both countries and proves that Malaysia and Singapore have a stable bilateral relationship. The HSR service is targeted to be completed by 2026 and will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes. The route totals 350km in Malaysia and 15km in Singapore. There will be seven stations in Malaysia – Bandar Malaysia, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri – before it ends at Jurong East station in Singapore. The high speed rail is expected to boost connectivity, facilitate travel between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, enhance business linkages and improve people-to-people ties. (Channel News Asia; The Sun Daily)

Busy 2017 for Gamuda with RM28bil MRT2 and township projects
Gamuda is set for a busy 2017, as it outline two major projects, namely the RM28 billion MRT2 project and four townships with estimated GDV of RM45 billion. According to Gamuda, two thirds of the MRT2 contracts have already been awareded and the remaining works will be awarded over the next eight to nine months. Its current construction order book amounts to some RM9bil and is enough to sustain the group for the next three years. It will try to bid on a piece of the proposed East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) projects once more details are provided. The group is also involved in the massive RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (TMP) project. Gamuda Land is rolling out four major township projects with an total estimated GDV of RM45bil to be developed over the next 20 years. The group plans to stick to its property sales target of RM3 billion for FY17. (The Star Online)

The first phase of the MRT SBK line will cover 12 stations from Sg Buloh to Semantan. -Photo by Saddam Yusoff

The first phase of the MRT SBK line will cover 12 stations from Sg Buloh to Semantan. -Photo by Saddam Yusoff

First phase of MRT to open on Friday
The first phase of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line will open to the public on Friday, Dec 16. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to launch the first phase of the MRT on Thursday before its opening to the public the next day. This line, as part of a comprehensive network system, is part of the government’s aim to make Kuala Lumpur one of the top livable cities by 2020 — at par with, if not better, than London, Singapore and Hong Kong. The first phase of the MRT SBK Line will cover 12 stations from Sungai Buloh to Semantan over 24km. The MRT, which comes with four car sets for each journey, will have a train frequency of three minutes during peak periods. The entire MRT SBK Line is set to complete in July next year. (New Straits Times Online)

Penang homeowners get assessment exemptions for 2017
Penang property owners will receive massive savings on their assessment rates for next year. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said low- and medium-cost homeowners as well as those living in kampung houses will be fully-exempt from payment while other property owners, including commercial, will receive a 6% exemption. The move is to alleviate the economic pinch felt by Penangites as living costs rise and the ringgit value fell. (Malay Mail Online)

Govt spends RM14.44mil under TP1M programme in Penang
The federal government spent RM14.44 million under the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund (TP1M) for the completion of 33 projects in Penang since 2013. The expenditure served as 100% funding for repair of strata-titled homes. The TP1M programme serves to help occupants of low-cost and low medium cost strata properties to improve their quality of life, and includes 10 major works: repair or replacement of elevators; roofs; water tanks; sanitary system; staircase; paint works; the general defects of joint-assets; rewiring works; construction of fences and slope. (The Sun Daily)

Plans to build 800 PPR units in Tanjong Karang, says minister
The Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KPKT) is planning to build about 800 People’s Housing Project (PPR) units in Tanjong Karang, Selangor next year. The ministry had identified a suitable site for the project aimed at helping the underprivileged own homes. It will be the first housing project in Tanjong Karang, and will receive federal government subsidy. For example, if the house was built at a cost of RM170,000, the government will sell it to the people at RM70,000. (Malay Mail Online)

50 houses on Mt Erskine at risk of collapse
Some 50 homes on the hill terraces of a 200-year-old estate near Mount Erskine, George Town are at risk of collapse, a Penang assembly member said, following a landslide last month. 12 houses in particular at the Hong Seng Estate had been declared as “high risk” and the residents ordered to vacate their homes. It was found that the land underneath the houses were extremely unstable, and two homes were at risk of collapsing entirely. The affected slopes were repaired by Penang government engineers and the work was completed on Nov 21. A 60ft concrete bund was built at the site, but engineers say that would not fix the problem permanently. (Free Malaysia Today)