HBA: Rent-to-Own scheme should be extended to middle-class too
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is urging the government to expand “Rent-to-Own” housing schemes to cover the middle-class who are also struggling to buy homes and prevent a “homeless generation”. While it was true that potential buyers should not enter long-term financial commitments until they were ready, other factors such as increase in house prices that constantly outpace salaries was an issue that should be addressed. HBA honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said the traditional method of saving 10% for downpayment and taking a housing loan for the remaining 90% property price is “no longer viable” for those in the lower- and mid-income groups. Rent-to-own schemes currently offered by the federal government are aimed at those who fail to secure housing loans from banks, but fall within the eligible income bracket for affordable housing and low-cost housing. (Malay Mail Online)

First batch of Forest City homebuyers can move in by year end
Construction of the Forest City mixed development project in Johor is on schedule, and the first group of homeowners can expect to move in by end of this year, said Country Garden PacificView (CGPV). Its chief strategy officer, Dr Yu Runze, said that construction is “on track as planned”. The first island is still undergoing reclamation works, but Commercial Street and four-star Phoenix Hotel had already began operations last December. The first-phase residential project will be ready by the end of the year and buyers can begin to move in. (Malaysia Chronicle)

Sogo shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur -NSTP/MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

Sogo shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur -NSTP/MUHD ASYRAF SAWAL

Malaysia among most attractive countries in retail development
Malaysia is among the most attractive countries worldwide in retail development, according to Swiss market expansion services company DKSH. In AT Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index, the country was ranked third behind China and India in terms of retail development. “Malaysia decidedly is a promising land for the consumer goods sector,” it said. Malaysia also had the most business-friendly retail environment among all Southeast Asian countries and this attractive market condition had attracted the interest of new market participants. Aside from the established western brands, many Asian companies are expanding into new markets such as Malaysia, leading to increased competition. (New Straits Times Online)

Eco World International makes strong trading debut
Shares of Eco World International (EWI) staged a solid trading debut after raising RM2.58 billion in the largest initial public offering so far this year in Malaysia, reflecting a strong investor appetite for the state-backed asset. EWI plans to use the proceeds from the IPO to fund projects in the UK and Australia, as well as to repay borrowings to finance land acquisition, development expenditure and other costs. So far this year, four IPOs apart from EWI have been priced in Malaysia raising over $770 million compared to a total of about $250 million for the whole of 2016. (Nikkei Asian Review)

RM20mil Metropolis Park planned for Kuala Lumpur in 2018
Kuala Lumpur residents can look forward to a 2ha green lung in the Jalan Duta area early next year. The RM20mil Metropolis Park will have a terrace garden, amphitheatre, jogging/bicycle track, playgrounds and more. The facility, which will be completed by 1Q 2018, would be managed by Naza TTDI for the next 15 years as part of its CSR programme. The objective of the Greener Kuala Lumpur campaign was to transform the city into a healthier and greener metropolis that could attract more visitors and investors. When completed, the Metropolis Park would be the largest park adopted by a business entity.The park would be a green lung for the 30ha KL Metropolis development, which is surrounded by Damansara Heights, Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara and Bangsar. (The Star Online)

Artist's impression of the KL Metropolis development (Image from Naza TTDI)

Artist’s impression of the KL Metropolis development (Image from Naza TTDI)

Tier-one aerospace firm to invest in Malaysia
A tier-one aerospace manufacturer, believed to be from the US, is coming to invest in Malaysia, making it the first to enter the country in the past 10 years. This would spur the creation of high-income jobs in the country. A source from International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) said negotiations were ongoing and should conclude by year-end. The investment should benefit three to four small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, create more high-value jobs, and contribute to realising the Aerospace Industry Blueprint 2015-2030 road map. (The Star Online)

MRCB plans team-up with Adani for development jobs in India
MRCB has signed a preliminary agreement to team up with Adani Realty, a unit of the India-based conglomerate Adani Group, to explore the possibilities of developing convention centres throughout India. It is one of the 31 MoUs, worth an estimated US$36bil (RM160bil) signed between Malaysian and Indian companies during Prime Minister Najib Razak’s official visit to India. The deal will be MRCB’s first forey into India. Another unit of the Andani group has inked an agreement with MMC Corp to explore the feasibility of developing an integrated maritime city, the Carey Island Port project. (The Star Online)

Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will be Malaysia's 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan will be Malaysia’s 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong

April 24 a public holiday for Agong’s installation
Putrajaya has announced April 24 a public holiday to mark the installation of Kelantan‘s Sultan Muhammad V as Malaysia’s 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The holiday applies to states in the Peninsula as well as the federal territory of Labuan. Sabah and Sarawak have been told to ratify the public holiday under their respective state laws. Sultan Muhammad V succeeds Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah of Kedah, the only state monarch to reign twice as Agong. (Malay Mail Online)