KL second nicest city for expats, JB third, survey finds
Kuala Lumpur is listed as the second-best city to live in South East Asia, followed by Johor Baru in third place this year, according to ‘Mercer’s 2017 Quality of Living Rankings’ survey. Singapore came out on top as the best place to stay in SEA. Global rankings placed Vienna, Austra in first place, followed by Zurich (Switzerland), Auckland (New Zealand), Munich (Germany), and Vancouver (Canada). Kuala Lumpur was 86th and Johor Baru in 103th place. The research looked at 10 categories including political and social environments, economy, natural surroundings, housing, health services and education. (Malay Mail Online)

Klang Valley property picking up momentum
Despite subdued performance last year, the Klang Valley property market seems to be picking up momentum this year with encouraging take-up rates observed in the first two months, especially after the Chinese New Year, said Zerin Properties CEO Previndran Singhe. For example, S P Setia Bhd is looking at higher sales targets for this year and Sunway Property has announced strong take-ups for its Mont’Kiara development. According to Previndran, things should be slightly better this year, not only for the bigger developers but also the medium-sized ones, as there is more action in the market. He says the market should see steady, but not massive, price movements this year. (The Edge Markets)

New draft plan for KL city in pipeline
The Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 was launched 10 years ago, but it has not been gazetted, and will instead be thrown into the bin as DBKL plans to introduce a new development blueprint for the city. Mayor Datuk Seri Mhd Amin Noordin Abd Aziz said the new blueprint being drafted was for development until 2050, as the current plan did not take into account land prices which had risen dramatically since the initial draft plan, thus hampering economic growth. (Malay Mail Online)

Ekovest set to secure Blue River project
DBKL is set to appoint Ekovest Bhd’s unit, EkoRiver Construction Sdn Bhd (ERCSB), as the design and build contractor for the proposed “Blue River Project” in the vicinity of the River of Life Precinct 7 – Masjid Jamek Kuala Lumpur zone. The project’s total contract value is estimated at RM79mil excluding GST. Ekovest has a 60% stake in the joint-venture company for the River of Life project, with the remaining 40% held by MRCB. (The Star Online)

TSR Capital bags RM120mil job from ECER Development Council
Construction and property development group TSR Capital Bhd’s unit, TSR Bina Sdn Bhd, has landed a RM119.74mil contract to build a stretch of road linked to Kuantan Port City, Pahang, as well as other related works. The contract from East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) is for the construction of part of the Port Link Road plus a toll plaza, trumpet interchange, and inner road and drainage diversion works under phase 2 of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP). (The Star Online)

too many malls in klang valleyToo many malls may spell trouble for banks
A veteran property expert has voiced his concerns over the oversupply of retail space in the market, fearing repercussions on the banks that have given loans to shopping mall developers. Ernest Cheong said a number of malls, especially those not supported by large catchment populations, could find themselves in financial trouble. Last year, data from NAPIC showed that Malaysia had some 148 million sq ft of retail space at the end of 2015, with extra 18 million sq ft being developed or planned, while tenant occupancy rate had been falling by 2% to 3% every year since 2014. He questioned whether banks could sustain heavy losses if mall owners were not able to service the loans they took, which could run into billions of ringgit. (Free Malaysia Today)

KLIA immigration service named best in the world by Skytrax
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) has been named the best immigration service in the world by Skytrax World Airports Awards. Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the accolade reflected the high level of service offered by staff at KLIA in keeping with the ‘Friendly Professional Integrity’ slogan. “It is not only in terms of overall service efficiency but also quality and courtesy of the staff on duty with emphasis on sovereignty, security and well-being of the country, besides the cooperation of various quarters, including Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAHB) and airline operators.” he said. According to Skytrax, the World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. (New Straits Times Online)

Interior of KLIA (Photo by Tian Chad)

Interior of KLIA (Photo by Tian Chad)