Residential properties for auction up 14% in 1Q
The first quarter of 2017 (1Q17) has seen a rise in the number of residential properties put up for auction in the country, with 6,225 or 14% more cases worth RM1.78 billion registered than in the same period a year ago. Abundant supply and low rental yields for residential properties are the most likely contributors to the increased number of foreclosures. According to a local property auction website, Selangor, Johor and Perak had the highest number of auction properties in 1Q17. (The Edge Markets)

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Malaysia and China to meet over port projects and Bandar Malaysia
Malaysia and China are set to hold meetings in the coming days to push ahead with proposals for the construction of three new ports along the Strait of Malacca as well as plans to jointly develop the Bandar Malaysia project. A high-powered 35-member Chinese delegation is scheduled to hold negotiations tomorrow on funding options and implementation timelines for the development of the Melaka Gateway port, another one on Carey Island, Selangor, as well as the proposed development of an energy port in Bagan Datoh, Perak. Malaysian government officials noted that both countries are aiming to formalise these infrastructure deals when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Kuala Lumpur later this year. (The Edge Markets)

ML Global mulls IBS to tackle labour shortage
ML Global Bhd, the 56%-owned construction arm of LBS Bina Group Bhd, is placing greater focus on industrialised building system (IBS) adoption to help ease the shortage of labour in the company. The company had allocated up to RM40 million at the initial phase for the adoption of a precast concrete manufacturing system from China. It will be able to produce about 2,000 apartment units, which will be used in its upcoming projects by the first half of 2018. The adoption of IBS would further reduce cost and reliance on skilled labour during the construction process. ML Global currently adopts aluminium shear wall system — one of many existing IBS — in its current projects. (The Edge Markets)

Tropicana aims for RM1.2bil in property sales
Tropicana Corp Bhd is targeting about RM1.2bil in property sales this year, backed by new launches, including affordable homes. It is planning to launch property projects worth RM1.6bil, focusing on landed residential houses, shop houses and high-rise affordable homes. It plans to enter the “urban affordable home” segment by launching 766 units in its pilot project this year. The group is also looking to expand its recurring income by focusing on international schools. Its current property investment portfolio includes St Joseph’s Institution International School Malaysia, GEMS International School, Tenby International School, as well as the introduction of a new mall and offices at Tropicana Gardens. (The Star Online)

TRC to tender for MRT, LRT projects in 2017
TRC Synergy Bhd is planning to aggressively tender for MRT and LRT packages this year, amid efforts to build up contribution from its property segment. TRC, which is mainly involved in the construction business, is gearing towards improving its contribution ratio to 80:20 from 90:10 currently, of which 90% is from construction. It managed to secure RM1.01 billion worth of new projects in 2016, and is among the few pre-qualified for the new phase of infrastructural projects for MRT, LRT and Pan Borneo Highway. The group’s property development division is expected to work with Prasarana Malaysia Bhd to build transit-oriented development (TOD) towns, hence increasing the contribution from its property segment. (The Sun Daily)

Bank Islam Brunei to choose Malaysia for US$500mil IPO
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Bhd (BIBD) has picked Malaysia as the destination for a planned initial public offering that could raise as much as US$500mil, according to sources. The nation’s biggest lender has asked banks to pitch for roles on the first-time share sale and is expected to choose advisers as soon as next month. The IPO would be the first from a company based in Brunei, which has considered Singapore and London for the offering. Bank Islam was formed in Brunei in 2005 through a merger, and had 7.5 billion Brunei dollars (US$5.4bil) of total group assets at the end of 2015. (The Star Online)

Smoking ban in Selangor parks begins tomorrow
Effective tomorrow, June 1, 2017, it will be illegal to smoke at public parks in Selangor gazetted as no-smoking zones. This excludes open carpark areas. Those caught flouting the law will face a maximum fine of RM10,000 or up to two years’ imprisonment. This includes smoking e-cigarettes. Enforcement will begin from June 1 but it will be carried out in stages, said Selangor Health director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan. “To gazette a park as a non-smoking area is a separate process, we need to know how big the park is and where the boundaries are.” Public parks are among the 24 no-smoking zones. Others include government premises, hospitals, shopping complexes, petrol stations as well as places with air-conditioning. Thirteen parks in Petaling Jaya have been classified as no-smoking zones. In Kuala Lumpur, smoking has been banned at public parks since January. (The Star Online)

A bunting in Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya, informs the public of the gazetting of parks and the fines imposed for smoking in the area. (Photo from The Star)