Malaysia slips to 25th in world competitiveness ranking
Malaysia has slipped another five notches to 24th place in this year’s ranking of business competitiveness by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, after falling to 19th spot last year from 14th in 2015. However, it is ahead of Japan (26), Thailand (27), the Philippines (41), Indonesia (42) and India (45). Hong Kong and Switzerland took the top two spots again, while Singapore improved to third from fourth last year. The US and Netherlands completed the top four and five spots. Key indicators that determine countries’ rankings include economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure. (The Edge Markets)

WCT eyes REIT listing by year end
Construction and property player WCT Holdings Bhd, which has been looking to list a real estate investment trust (REIT) since 2014, is eyeing to list its REIT before year end after tidying up its assets. It is in the midst of consulting its investment bankers and the authorities. The REIT will have an asset size of over RM1 billion, which comprises Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya, and AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre and Premiere Hotel in Klang. (The Edge Markets)

Forest City receives three more prestigious property awards in Bangkok
Country Garden’s large-scale Forest City development project in Iskandar Malaysia has bagged three prestigious awards at the Asia Pacific Property Awards ceremony held in Bangkok last week. The awards were for Mixed-Use Development Malaysia, Architecture Multiple Residence Malaysia and Asia Pacific Property Award Best Architecture Multiple Residence Malaysia, this last award being the most prestigious of the three. Prior to this set of awards, Forest City had earlier won five international awards, including MIPM Asia’s Best Future Mega Project Gold Award for 2017 and Frost & Sullivan’s Asia Pacific Property Development New Product Innovation Award for 2016. (PR Newswire)

Marco plans to diversify into property sector
Marco Holdings Bhd, the distributor of Casio watches, calculators, digital cameras and musical instruments, is planning to expand its business into property development in the next two years. It is mulling a plan to develop a piece of industrial land in Setapak. The group is keen to develop a condominium on the land once it is converted to residential use. Marco also owns another piece of vacant land in Bukit Katil, Melaka. (The Edge Markets)

TH Properties to venture into UK, Indonesia property market
TH Properties Sdn Bhd (THP), the property development arm of Lembaga Tabung Haji, is expanding its property development business by exploring the property market in London, United Kingdom (UK) and Indonesia after having successfully ventured into the real estate sector in Australia. THP would spend £32 million (RM176mil) to buy a prime land in London, and cooperate with its local partner to develop an apartment project with worth nearly £72 million (RM396mil). For Indonesia, THP is looking for a suitable location and partner for property development. (Bernama)

CapitaLand signs agreement to construct pedestrian bridge
CapitaLand Malaysia Mall Trust (CMMT) has entered into an agreement with K Two Realty Holding Sdn Bhd to construct and manage a link bridge situated between Sungei Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square. The joint collaboration will see both parties to fund, plan, project manage, construct and complete the construction of the link bridge, including external escalators located at the side. Construction cost is estimated at RM8.5mil and completed by the fourth quarter of 2018. (The Edge Markets)

i-City to have own lifestyle retail mall
The fast developing i-City in Shah Alam will have its own lifestyle retail mall – Central i-City Mall – which will introduce Thailand’s retail experience to the growing local retail market. The mall is set to open in October 2018, and will showcase many brands not available in Malaysia. It is a collaboration with Thailand’s CPN Group to introduce the unique Thai retail landscape to Malaysian shoppers. Among the mall’s main attractions are its unique retailers and its cosy ambience. It will have 3,000 parking bays and is located close to the Padang Jawa KTM station. (The Star Online)

AirBNB flourishing in Malaysia with 18,000 listed properties
According to AirBNB South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan country manager Robin Kwok, there are already 18,000 Malaysian properties listed on Airbnb. The number is projected to triple by 2020, based on feedback from local parties, existing hosts and guests. She noted that tourists were not just staying in major urban centres like Kuala Lumpur and Penang, where rental has been stable, but also going to Ipoh, Cameron Highlands, Port Dickson, Lumut and more. (Malay Mail Online)

PJ’s smallest roundabout to make way for traffic lights
The Baiduri roundabout, better known as Jalan 222 roundabout and long thought of as the smallest of its kind in Petaling Jaya, will be removed and replaced with traffic lights soon. Located at the intersection of Jalan 222 and Jalan 229, it is about 2m in diameter and may be the smallest in the country, but there are no records to support this fact. Development and challenging traffic management conditions might drive MBPJ to transform all roundabouts in Petaling Jaya into traffic light crossings in the future. (The Star Online)

The Baiduri (Jalan 222) roundabout was raised slightly from the ground to make it more obvious and prevent motorists from driving over it. (Photo from The Star)