Singapore, Malaysia among top 10 cybersecurity countries
Wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not automatically generate cybersecurity. Many other rich countries have holes in their defences and some poorer countries are showing them how it should be done, a recent U.N. survey showed. Singapore tops the list of best cyber security countries by by the U.N. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), followed by the United States and Malaysia. The rest of the top 10 were Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. The ranking was based on countries’ legal, technical and organisational institutions, their educational and research capabilities, and their cooperation in information-sharing networks. (The Star Online)

Key tender for KL-Singapore HSR draws strong global interest
An industry briefing held yesterday for firms interested in bidding for a key tender for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) drew almost 400 participants from 165 international and local organisations, reflecting the keen interest in the mega project. The tender, which will be called by the end of the year, is for the contract to become the assets company (AssetsCo) for the HSR project, which targets the rail service to be completed by 2026. The bulk of the firms came from the 67 entities in Europe, followed by 29 from Malaysia, 25 from Singapore, and 21 from other parts of Asia. The rest were from North America and Australia. At the briefing, participants were told about the key features of the project, such as how a double-track line is to be constructed between the two cities, as well as the procurement objectives of the tender, such as a safe and secure HSR system. (Malay Mail Online)

A presentation by Joint Development Partner (JDP) Project Director Steve Lankester. ― Picture courtesy of LTA and MyHSR/TODAY

Rehda hopes for year-end revision of national housing policy
The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) hopes the government will launch the revised National Housing Policy, which, among other things, would emphasise on the price for the affordable houses, by year-end. Rehda is working with the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government to standardise the prices for affordable houses in the country. The prices for affordable houses would differ in each state, depending on the land price, cost of development, return of investment, and depreciation of currency. (Malay Mail Online)

Diverse collaborations needed for affordable housing, says BNM
There is a need to foster more diverse collaborative partnerships to deliver affordable housing, which includes a vibrant community of social housing enterprises, private foundations and non-profit organisations that support or complement the government’s affordable housing agenda. Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Deputy Governor, Shaik Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour, said such organisations are instrumental in developing a rental market as an alternative to house ownership. The introduction of “Rent-to-Own” schemes could complement government initiatives to provide housing to the public. (Malay Mail Online)

SERC: Malaysia growth projected to hit 5% this year
Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) said Malaysia’s overall economic growth projection will hit 5% this year, in line with the improvement in export, private consumption, and private investment. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) recorded a stronger traction of 5.6% in the first-quarter 2017, lifted by sturdier domestic demand and higher exports. The growth is broad-based spurred by domestic demand particularly in private sector expenditure and strengthening external demand. Inflation rate decelerated by 3.9 per cent year-on-year in May due to moderating transport prices. SERC estimated inflation to increase between 3.5% and 4% this year. (NST Online)

PRG mulls JV with S’pore O&G firm for construction jobs
PRG Holdings Bhd is going to explore the possibility of partnering Singapore-listed oil and gas firm, Mirach Energy Ltd, to undertake property and construction projects in Malaysia and elsewhere. PRG, formerly known as Furniweb Industrial Bhd, said the MoU with loss-making Mirach, an upstream O&G player, is in line with its business model to rope in strategic partners for projects, and will provide opportunity to diversify its revenue stream. A JV will be formed to undertake the main contractor work for an affordable housing development in West Malaysia. (The Edge Markets)

Study loans can be settled with EPF Account 2
EPF contributors will be able to settle outstanding study loans from July 21 with their Account II under the Education Withdrawal Facility, regardless of the effective date of their education loan agreements. The change replaces the current conditions for Education Withdrawals from Account II for three categories of higher learning. The scheme also allows EPF members to make withdrawals from Account II to pay tuition fees for their children or for themselves to pursue further studies at any local or overseas higher educational institution. (The Star Online)

IWCity restructuring deadline extended
Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) and Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) have extended the deadline to conclude their planned restructuring to Sept 4, as IWH needed more time to finalise talks on the corporate exercise. The extension was needed to enable IWCity’s major shareholder IWH to negotiate in good faith and execute the definitive sale and purchase agreements (SPA) with the relevant vendors under the restructuring. (The Edge Markets)

Spring Gallery to undertake concept masterplan for Melaka land
Spring Gallery Bhd, whose shareholders approved its diversification into property development in April, has entered into a concept masterplan agreement with Arena Progresif Sdn Bhd (APSB) for 76,386 sq-m of land in Pekan Klebang, Melaka. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Million Rich Development Sdn Bhd (MRDSB) has been given the rights to carry out and complete the concept masterplan for the land. MRDSB also has an eye to combine the development land with other parcels of land to be identified, to develop a large scale commercial project. (The Sun Daily)