Malaysian, Saudi firms sign seven MOUs worth RM9.74bil
Earlier this week, Malaysian and Saudi Arabian companies signed seven memorandum of understandings (MOUs) in various areas, including construction, halal cooperation, aerospace and haj services, with an estimated total value of about RM9.74 billion. The signing of the MOUs signal growing interests from both countries to leverage on mutual strengths in achieving business goals. Among the local companies that signed the MOUs were Halal Industry Development Corp, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, Dewina Holdings Sdn Bhd, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and Silvertech Global Sdn Bhd. (Astro Awani)

Rehda wants step-up financing extended to non-PR1MA projects
The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) would like to see special end-financing schemes, such as the Skim Pembiayaan Fleksibel (SPEF) that was created exclusively for Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia homes, applied to private developments as well. The SPEF, which is exclusive to PR1MA homebuyers, increases the chance of first-time buyers getting a home loan and providing access to a higher loan amount than conventional loans. Rehda plans to observe the scheme and request to be included if it is deemed successful. Tie-ups among property developers in Malaysia and institutions or pension funds like EPF could set the tone for future property projects in the country. (The Edge Markets)

KL Draft Plan is still on, says minister
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor yesterday said he will not approve the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 in its present state, in response to an earlier report which quoted him saying he would “bulldoze” the plan and would “fight to the end” to see that it did not go through. He said he did not agree with the current plan, which was drawn up in 2008, as there were important elements that were unanswered and required more feedback from the public. Another major issue he had was a clause which empowered the minister, mayor and the ministry to make changes to the plan as they pleased after it had been implemented. (Malay Mail Online)

Slowdown in commercial property sales in Perak
There has been a slowdown in sales of commercial properties in the state, said Perak Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) chairman Tony Khoo. If shoplots remained unsold for more than one year after the project launch, the developers would cover the holding cost by renting them out or selling to other investors. Khoo said most of the property issues revolved around the Goods and Services Tax (GST), economic slowdown and strict bank loan procedures. However, according to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, there was no property glut as there were still many applications from developers to build new properties including housing schemes. If there was indeed a glut, the common solution would be a blanket freeze on new developments. (New Straits Times Online)

Kerjaya Prospek 4Q profit up fivefold from acquired units
Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd has reported a fivefold increase in net profit for 4QFY16 after consolidating results from two subsidiaries that were acquired in January 2016. The construction and property development firm’s net profit rose to RM26.22 million from RM4.76 million in 4QFY15, while revenue swelled by more than 11 times to RM235.49 million. One of the two subsidiaries acquired, Kerjaya Prospek (M) Sdn Bhd, had contributed about RM733 million in external revenue from its ongoing projects. Kerjaya Prospek had also seen the launch of its maiden development project, The Vista Residences @ Genting Highlands, in January 2016. (The Edge Markets)

Developer to widen roads in KL South
Property developer Trinity Group Sdn Bhd is collaborating with DBKL to enhance infrastructure in KL South. The group is investing RM3mil on a road-widening initiative that will improve connectivity between its latest development, Trinity Aquata in the Golden Triangle and three surrounding areas. These areas include Kuchai Lama, Sungai Besi and Bandar Baru Seri Petaling. The project aims to expand the existing two-lane road at Jalan 1/141, Sungai Besi into a four-lane road. The group is planning to launch properties in Kepong and Mont Kiara this year. (Star Metro)

Old buildings repurposed to remain relevant
An increasing number of derelict buildings in the Klang Valley are getting a new lease of life through adaptive reuse as chic establishments that attract trendy urbanites. “Adaptive reuse” is the process of repurposing old buildings for modern needs while retaining their historical value. It is an effective way to minimise urban sprawl, conserve existing resources and, most importantly, preserve built heritage. These “rescued” buildings have become fashionable places that attract interest thanks to their rich history, creativity in space usage and ingenuity in business management. (The Star Online)

Chocha Foodstore in Petaling Street is one such building, which has been given new life through adaptive reuse (Photo from Malaysian Flavours)

Chocha Foodstore in Petaling Street is one such building, which has been given new life through adaptive reuse (Photo from Malaysian Flavours)