Asia’s first Movie Animation Park Studios opens in Ipoh
Asia’s first Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS), located in Bandar Meru Raya, Ipoh has opened its doors to the public. The park with the tagline “Live Your Dreams” has more than 40 attractions in six themed zones, namely Animation Square, Dream, Blast Off, Live Action, Lakeside and Fantasy Forest. Built on a 20.8ha site, MAPS which cost RM520 million houses both international and homegrown Intellectual Properties (IPs) including DreamWorks characters. Several of the attractions available will be “first experiences” either in the world, Malaysia or Asia. The theme park can accommodate 8,000 visitors in a day and is opened from 10 am to 6 pm daily and from 10 am to 10 pm on weekends and public holidays. The park’s opening today is just the soft launch as more facilities will be made available at a later date. (The Sun Daily)

REA Property unveils VR tech for property buyers in Malaysia
Property buyers in Malaysia will soon be able to view prospective properties via virtual reality (VR) technology, which provides a 360-degree realistic viewing experience. REA Group Ltd, an Australian-based multinational digital advertising company specialising in property, is currently conducting a series of pilot tests in order to enhance the customer’s experience when buying a property. The group is Google’s worldwide partner for the Google Daydream Virtual Reality Apps, and has the first VR real-estate app which enables customers to view prospective properties through the VR goggles. It will change the way people experience and search for property. Although the technology is only currently available in Australia, it was hinted that it would soon be available in the local market, to be introduced within the next two years. (The Star Online)

More loans taken out for property transactions
A pick-up in property loans and push in sales by developers have consultants cautiously optimistic about the local property market for the remainder of 2017. According to property consultancy PPC International’s managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam, there was an increase in the amount of loan applications during the first three months of the year by about 19%, compared with the same period last year. Based on Bank Negara’s monthly statistics, approved loans for the purchase of property had increased 3% year-on-year to RM11.3 billion, driven by 20% increase in loan applications, with approved loans growing 9% to RM28.62bil in 1Q. (The Star Online)

Investors upbeat about Malaysian property
Despite the less-than-stellar performance of many listed property companies during the recent corporate earnings season, investor confidence in local property stocks has actually been steadily increasing this year. Year-to-date, the KL Property Index (made up of the listed shares of property companies) has risen by 14%, outperforming the FBM KLCI which has grown just 8% during the same period. Industry observers and analysts believe that the market has likely bottomed out, and that an improved earnings performance is on the horizon for local property stocks. A similar trend is being seen in Singapore, where property stocks saw their best performance in five years. (The Star Online)

Shah Alam public transport hubs ready by year end
Two ‘Hentian Akhir Bandar’ (HAB) or Final City Terminals are scheduled to be fully operational by the end of the year in sections 17 and 19, according to the Shah Alam City Council. These terminals will facilitate the movement of passengers and public transport vehicles within the city centre to reduce congestion and streamline overlapping routes. HAB 17, a single-storey air-conditioned terminal in Section 17, was almost complete, while HAB 19 is expected to be fully operational by end of the year. (Malay Mail Online)

George Kent tendering for RM4bil worth of jobs
George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd, which posted a 23.2% jump in net profit for Q1, has tendered for RM4 billion worth of jobs this year, which include systems works for railway transportation, construction of hospitals and water projects. George Kent has two business divisions, which are metering and engineering. As at Jan 31, 2017, the group has an outstanding order book of RM6.13 billion, which can last for five to seven years. Last year, it secured job wins of over RM1.14 billion. The group has yet to secure any rail projects overseas and is looking for opportunities. (The Sun Daily)

Exterior of Evolve Concept Mall, Ara Damansara (Photo from Mail Boxes Etc)

JAKS Resources says no plans to exit property business
JAKS Resources Bhd, which is looking to divest its Evolve Concept Mall near Ara Damansara, Selangor, said the group currently has no plans to withdraw from its loss-making property development segment after the completion of its ongoing Pacific Star project. The group currently owns 14.8 acres of undeveloped landbank in USJ, Subang Jaya. At the moment, the management has not decided whether to develop the land or to dispose it, citing it will consider all options. On its construction segment, which contributes the most to the group’s revenue, Ang said JAKS is currently tendering for jobs worth RM1.5 billion to RM2 billion. (The Sun Daily)

Gamuda 3Q profit rises on progress of MRT2 works
Gamuda Bhd’s net profit grew 11% to RM170.93 million in 3QFY17 from a year earlier, driven by higher progress of MRT2 works, while revenue for the quarter jumped 79% year-on-year to RM839.49 million. The construction group said it recorded higher progress on its underground and elevated works of the MRT2, and its water and expressway concessions division also posted better performance after toll rates were raised at certain expressways. Its property division also booked higher revenue due to better property sales for the Celadon City and Gamuda City in Vietnam. (The Edge Markets)

Phase two of Pan Borneo Highway to begin by year end
Phase Two of the Pan Borneo Highway involving the Limbang-Lawas stretch is expected to begin at the end of this year. Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the paper on the proposal had been handed over to the government’s highest-level technical committee, which will give a choice whether to do the alignment through Brunei or an alternative route. A decision is hoped to be made in October and handed over to the Project Delivery Partner for construction of the stretch from Limbang to Lawas. Projects in phase one of the highway is said to be mostly on schedule, with one or two delayed due to problems related to land. (Malay Mail Online)