PM: ECRL will benefit people, close development gap
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is a game changer in closing the development gap between the west coast and east coast of Malaysia, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak. The gross domestic product (GDP) of three east coast states was projected to grow by 1.5% with the implementation of the ECRL. It would benefit the people and change the economic landscapes of Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang, by turning them into trade hubs and tourism destinations, thus stimulating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and attracting investments. Besides being environmentally-friendly and time-saving, the ECRL will facilitate the movement of people during the festive seasons. The planned construction of the rail link is slated to start in July and end in June 2024. (New Straits Times Online)

Map of the ECRL project (Image from SPAD)

Map of the ECRL project (Image from SPAD)

IWH-IWC merger signals rise of Bursa’s largest property developer
The proposed merger of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and Iskandar Waterfront City (IWC), in which IWH will acquire the remaining 61.7% stake in IWC, will create one of Bursa Malaysia’s largest property developers with RM30 billion worth of land. The IWC board has 30 days until April 19 to deliberate on the merger. “Upon completion of the proposed merger, IWH will assume the listing status of IWC on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia, which will see the establishment of one of the largest listed strategic master property developers,” IWH said in a statement. The restructuring will see an injection of 3,593 acres of land with an open market value of RM4.1 billion into IWH. (New Straits Times Online)

Focus on eco-friendly buildings in Johor

Many developers in Johor are focusing on the “go green” concept, and looking towards building sustainable and environmentally-friendly buildings. Many new properties feature eco-friendly measures such as solar panels, wind turbines, rain harvests as well as segregation dustbins to build the practice of reusing, reducing and recycling (3R). “The increasing number of green buildings, and the focus on the Green Building Index (GBI) is an ideal initiative to battle the issue of global warming,” said Johor Baru mayor A. Rahim Nin. The concept of green buildings would not only be beneficial to the public and government but also in building the nation. (The Star Online)

Housing loan rejection rate as high as 60%, says Rehda
The rejection rate for housing loans is as high as 60%, causing property sales to remain sluggish, says the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda). Banks, however, have said housing loan applications have a success rate of 80%, said Rehda past president Datuk Ng Seing Liong, because banks filtered the housing loan seekers before even receiving applications. Although the overall property market remains sluggish, there is still demand for certain properties, especially affordable homes. (The Edge Markets)

China investments will not affect Malaysians’ employment opportunities
Malaysians’ employment opportunities will not be affected with the increased investments from China, said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong, adding that is was the criteria set for foreign investors in Malaysia. He was responding to a query on heavy influx of migrant workers in view of the growing investments from China. The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) Sdn Bhd project was cited as one of the projects which had given more than 50% of available jobs to Malaysians. The government has approved a total of RM4.8 billion worth of investments from China, involving 33 projects and expected to create 10,147 job opportunities. (The Sun Daily)

kuantan bauxiteBauxite mining moratorium likely to be extended
The moratorium on bauxite mining in Kuantan is likely to be extended for another three months or more, as there is still runoff from bauxite stockpiles near a port that is contaminating coastal waters. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he would make a recommendation to the cabinet, although that body would have the final say on the matter. The moratorium had already been extended several times since January 2016. (New Straits Times Online)

AlloyMtd eyeing RM11bil Philippine administrative centre job
Malaysian conglomerate AlloyMtd Group has submitted a bid to build a new administrative centre for the Philippines Government at an estimated cost of RM11 billion. The proposed Clark Administrative City project, located in the city of Clark, about 96km from Manila, will house the executive, legislative and judicial bodies of the Philippines federal government. It replicates Malaysia’s Putrajaya and will serve as the centralised site for the national government. The project will consts of 23 buildings covering some 273,000 sq m. (The Star Online)