Middle-income group in need of ‘rent-to-own’ schemes
The National House Buyers Association of Malaysia (HBA) said the middle-income group in Malaysia is in dire need of rent-to-own schemes, warning that the country could face a housing crisis in the form of a “homeless generation”. HBA honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said most new properties launched are not within the affordable range – between RM150k and RM300k – with a build-up of at least 800 sq ft and three bedrooms. He advocated for a “rent-to-own” scheme that extends to the middle-income group for affordable housing, so that they do not need to continue renting in their golden years. Other suggestions include providing preferential interest rates and incentives to developers and borrowers, and ‘last mile’ utility costs to be borne by utility companies. (The Edge Markets)

Bursa: Local market still attractive as IPO destination
With big players set to be listed, Bursa Malaysia said the local market is still an attractive listing destination. Lotte Chemical is one of the biggest initial public offerings (IPOs) in recent years, while Edra Power, which is en route for listing in November, is looking to raise over RM5 billion. More IPOs are expected to come in this year, which include new entries and companies that had previously delayed their IPOs. Some eight companies were listed on the local bourse in the first half of the year, with only three main board listings – Eco World International Bhd, Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd and KIP Real Estate Investment Trust. (The Sun Daily)

Mah Sing Group managing director and CEO Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum

Mah Sing chief crowed Asia’s Best CEO for fifth year running
Mah Sing Group Bhd was named the Best Investor Relations Company in Malaysia, while its group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum was crowned Asia’s Best CEO (Investor Relations) at the Corporate Governance 7th Asian Excellence Awards 2017. It was the fifth consecutive win for the company and Leong in both awards. Corporate Governance Asia is the most authoritative journal on corporate governance in Hong Kong and Asia, providing news and analysis of corporate governance issues, boardroom performance and shareholder activism. (The Edge Markets)

KWAP setting up property development arm
Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) is setting up a property arm to undertake development projects as it chases higher returns by putting more money into real estate. The Ministry of Finance has approved the proposed special purpose vehicle (SPV) which will undertake developments on KWAP-owned land. It intends to rope in property developers to lend their execution expertise to individual projects. The move is part of KWAP’s asset reallocation review in 2016 to divert investments from fixed income to alternative investments, mainly property. Most of KWAP’s real estate portfolio is overseas. It owns seven properties in Australia, two in the UK and one in Germany, apart from two properties in Malaysia. (The Edge Markets)

Over 80,000 Bumiputera properties unsold in Johor
The Johor state government said it will meet with property developers to solve the glut of over 80,000 unsold Bumiputera properties worth tens of millions of ringgit. The Bumiputera properties comprise condominiums, apartments, shop lots, industrial lots and luxury houses. The Johor state housing and local government committee would be engaging talks with the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) soon to find a remedy for the issue. Developers are facing a lot of constraints, including cash flow as a result of holding on to the Bumi units for long periods. All projects in Johor are required to set aside 40% as Bumiputera lots. (Malay Mail Online)

Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri planning Malaysian start by year-end
Indonesia’s biggest lender Bank Mandiri Bhd will commence operation as a full-fledged commercial bank in the country by year-end. As a qualified Asean Bank (QAB) under the interbank Asean Banking Framework, it will be treated as a local bank operating in Malaysia. It is awaiting approval from Bank Negara Malaysia for it to commence the full banking operations in the country. (The Star Online)

Damansara Realty consortium wins RM26.21mil Rapid job
Damansara Realty Bhd’s (DBhd) consortium has clinched a RM26.21 million contract to provide security management services for Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang, Johor. The consortium will operate and maintain security for utilities, interconnecting and offsite facilities at Rapid, the second mega project in Johor’s Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex, which is slated to be the region’s largest oil and gas hub. (The Sun Daily)

Gamuda Land expands Vietnam footprint
Vietnam’s bright economic outlook and growing middle and affluent class is prompting Gamuda Land to look for more sites to develop in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Hanoi. While most Malaysian property developers in Vietnam have put their launches on hold, Gamuda Land is expanding and is bullish on prospects. It has two ongoing township developments in Vietnam, namely the US$3.5 billion Gamuda City in Hanoi which started in 2007, and the RM5 billion Celadon City in HCMC that commenced in 2010. The company is exploring new landbank opportunities in HCMC. (NST Online)

Scale model of the entire Gamuda City project by Gamuda Land Vietnam in Hanoi –NST Online

GST defaulters cannot leave Malaysia, over 7,000 traders on travel ban
Traders who fail to pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be blacklisted from going abroad, the Royal Malaysian Customs Department has said. 7,143 traders are currently blacklisted for failing to pass on the consumption tax to the customs department, and the Immigration Department has barred them from travel at all exit points of the country. Those currently barred from exiting the country were mostly those who were bankrupt, who have yet to settle their taxes owed to the Inland Revenue Board or had defaulted on the federal government’s higher education study loan. (Malay Mail Online)