Highland Towers up for sale
About 15 acres of prime land in Kuala Lumpur has been put up for sale for the second time in four years. However, the price has been subdued in the vicinity because it surrounds the collapsed Highland Towers in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. The land was put up for sale for the first time in December 2013, which included 50 freehold vacant bungalow lots together with rights to 111 units of the 138 units in Highland Towers. According to the advertisement, the sale is on the basis of “as is where is basis”. The location comes with a stigma, following the collapse of Highland Towers Block 1 in 1993 which claimed 48 lives. Even banks are cautious about that location and even if a developer were to succeed in making that acquisition, banks would need a good reason to finance the development. (The Star Online)

Raffles Country Club to make way for KL-Singapore HSR project
The 143-hectare Raffles Country Club site in Tuas will be acquired by authorities to make way for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project. The land is also needed for the Cross Island Line’s western depot and other transport-related uses. The club will be required to vacate its premises by Jul 31, 2018. According to the authorities, the Raffles Country Club site is the “optimal site” in terms of location, size and orientation. The 143-hectare site is the biggest land acquisition in recent years. The club is the second country club – after Jurong Country Club – to be acquired by authorities for the HSR project. (Channel NewsAsia)

Raffles Country Club Singapore (Photo from Channel NewsAsia)

Raffles Country Club Singapore (Photo from Channel NewsAsia)

MIEA: Secondary properties offer best value
Despite market softening, the secondary housing market still offers the best value in terms of price and value. Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) past president K. Soma Sundram said the secondary market would continue to move the real estate sector in 2017. Secondary market transactions make up about 80% of real estate transactions in the country, while new projects account for between 20% to 25%. He noted that it was a matter of supply and demand based on factors such as income level, financing and so forth. (New Straits Times Online)

Only 13% of Penang revenue from land sales
The Penang state government received a total revenue of RM4.947 billion since 2008 but only 13% (or RM658 million) are from land sales revenue, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. He also said the state administration allocated RM500 million of the land sales revenue to build low-to-medium cost and affordable houses below RM300,000. He stressed that the RM500 million public and affordable housing fund was taken out of the RM658 million in land sales by the state government, in answer to a lawmaker who had questioned calculations for the state’s budget surpluses and land sale revenues. (Malay Mail Online)

100 ringgitBMI Researc: Worse to come for ringgit
The Malaysian ringgit, one of Asia’s worst-performing currencies over the past year, has further to fall, according to BMI Research. One reason is the effect of the Chinese yuan, which is expected to remain under downward pressure. There will also likely be a narrowing of real interest-rate differentials between the US and Malaysia. Further weakness in the global bond market would also put the ringgit under pressure as around 40% of Malaysian bonds are held by foreigners. BMI expects the ringgit to average 4.50 per US dollar this year and 4.40 in 2018. (Malay Mail Online)

Sabah to gazette forest as protected area for orang utan
The Sabah Forestry Department is moving to gazette a forest in central Sabah, rich in orang utan population, as a fully protected area. The 101,000ha Forest Management Unit 5 (FMU 5) was being classified as a first-class reserve and would become part of the Trusmadi Forest Reserve. A WWF study found orang utan in FMU 5 so the high-conservation area within it would be turned into a first-class reserve. The new owner of the land will have to provide a development masterplan which must be approved before any kind of work can take place on the land. (The Star Online)