Public sex offender registry could impact property prices
A publicly accessible sex offender registry could lead to a drop in property value, particularly in neighbourhoods where a registered sex offender lives, said Ernest Chong, a veteran property consultant about the potential impact of having such a registry. “It will be very stressful for the neighbourhood, especially families with young children or single women living alone,” he said. Legally speaking, no one can be denied his or her constitutional right to purchase, own or rent a piece of property, as long as they have already ‘paid’ for their crimes in prison. A sex offender registry could cause the property value in a neighbourhood to drop, especially when news spreads that a sex offender has purchased property and now lived there. However, he added that such a registry was important as people should be made aware of the presence of an offender in their midst. (Free Malaysia Today)

Mah Sing shifts gears with fresh launch in new area
Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd, which is at the last leg of a three-year transformation programme and having hit a sales target of RM1.8bil, is optimistic of matching its performance this year. The group is confident of improving on its sales target this year, with a fresh launch in a new area, said group managing director and CEO Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum. The group did not launch any new projects in the past two years, instead focusing on new phases in existing projects. Going into 2017, he said the property market is expected to remain challenging due to the uncertainties in both the global and domestic economies. (The Star Online)

Sime Darby may raise RM27bil from unit listings
Analysts estimate that Sime Darby Bhd could raise more than RM27 billion from the listings of its plantation and property companies while maintaining controlling stakes in them. If it kept a 51% stake in each entity, the conglomerate could raise some RM27 billion from the listings. The plantation arm could fetch RM19.4 billion, while the property firm is expected to raise RM7.8 billion. Sime Darby announced on Thursday that its plantation and property units would be listed on Bursa Malaysia as Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd. (New Straits Times Online)

Mitrajaya rides on construction boom
Mitrajaya Holdings Bhd is expecting its prospects for construction orders to remain good this year, despite the moderating construction boom in Malaysia. Having tendered for RM2.8bil worth of local jobs to date, the construction and property development group hopes to secure RM1bil from that pool. 80% of Mitrajaya’s tender book are building works for residential and commercial projects, while 20% are for infrastructure works. Construction orders from property developers have slowed down significantly in the past one year. Nevertheless, developers are still launching projects at strategic locations. (The Star Online)

PLB plans affordable housing project in Penang
Property and construction-based PLB Engineering Bhd is planning to start a RM2.6 billion affordable housing project in Paya Terubong, Butterworth in mid-2017 on a 113-acre site. The project would comprise 7,658 affordable units priced between RM300,000 and RM390,000, which would be launched in stages over six years. The company plans to kick off the development with 1,280 affordable units with GDV RM450mil. The group also plans to develop over 2,000 units of commercial and residential properties on the same site in the near future. In 2019, the group plans to develop an RM1 billion mixed-development project on a 200-acre site in North Seberang Prai. (The Star Online)

Rail track operator urged to compensate house owners
The railway track operator for the Electrified Double Track Project from Ipoh to Padang Besar has been urged to speed up payment of the compensation to 58 house owners in Kerian. The compensation totalling more than RM200,000 for the damage caused to the houses due to the construction of the railway tracks should have been paid as soon as the construction was completed two years ago. The company had said they would pay the compensation when all 63 house owners had agreed to the compensation agreed. So far, only 58 families had agreed. The construction project which was implemented since 2008 had incurred expenditure amounting to RM16.05 billion including the cost of land acquisition. (Astro Awani)

Malacca bans soliciting and begging from public
Malacca has imposed a state-wide ban on soliciting and begging from the public. The immediate ban also includes those who go around peddling items and knickknacks in the name of charity and religious bodies. Those caught doing so can now be punished. The state Welfare Department has a database on those receiving the monthly financial aid, and those soliciting donations on the streets are considered illegal. The warning also covers foreigners and children who beg or peddle knick-knacks, supposedly for charity. (The Star Online)

no smoking circle public area penang island malaysia

A “smoking circle” found in Penang’s Heritage Area (Photo by

More public areas off limits to smokers
Smoking is no longer allowed at camp sites, game courts and playgrounds. Public parks are now also designated as no smoking areas except for open public car parks. Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control’s treasurer-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah welcomed the amendments, saying many people thought it was all right to smoke in national parks because they were open spaces. It will be the responsibility of the local council to enforce the new regulations and for local authorities to play their part in improving public health. (The Star Online)

Malaysia not on US travel ban list
Malaysia is not on US President Donald Trump’s travel ban list, which currently comprises Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. A US Embassy spokesperson said Malaysia is not affected and citizens can continue to travel to the US with legitimate visas. Trump signed an executive order banning travel from Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia on Jan 27 for 90 days while suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days. Travelers from the countries have been detained in airports in the US and reportedly interrogated for hours while some have even been sent back to the country they were traveling from. (The Sun Daily)