More than 13% of Malaysian buildings at risk of fire
More than one-tenth of buildings inspected nationwide do not meet fire safety standards said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar. More than 3,000 or about 13 per cent out of 23,282 buildings inspected since last year are at risk of catching fire. However, he dismissed the possibility of an inferno similar to that of Grenfell Tower in London, which claimed at least 80 lives. The tragedy was blamed on the building’s flammable cladding and insulation, but buildings in Malaysia used different insulation materials. Notices were issued by the Fire and Rescue Services Department to building owners, who were instructed to ensure their premises are fitted with better fire safety features. (NST Online)

Related article: Home & Office Fire Safety Advice

Online bidding for auction properties will be available soon
The newly launched online property auction platform e-Lelong for court auctions will improve transparency and the effectiveness of the existing bidding process. Through the new system, details of the bidders will not be revealed and the bidders will no longer be required to be present at court to make their bids. Once the pilot project is running smoothly, the system will be expanded to other states in Peninsular Malaysia. Bidders can now register online and once they are approved, will have access to details on court property auctions. (NST Online)

Mah Sing backs single regulator plan
Mah Sing Group Bhd has expressed support for the government’s proposal that a single regulatory body be set up to supervise the property sector in Malaysia to address the issue of first-time homebuyers. The government is looking to establish a single authority to regulate the property sector, due in part to the need to address the issue of irregular pricing in the affordable housing segment. It would be difficult to put a definite threshold for the affordability rate as property prices vary significantly according to locations, and the development of affordable housing include high land and compliance costs and tight lending requirements. (The Edge Markets)

MRT line boosts property prices along rail corridor
The development of rail lines have a huge impact on real estate prices along its corridor and it also improves the standard of living of a large segment of urban population. Prasarana Malaysia Bhd president and group CEO Datuk Seri Azmi Abdul Aziz said rail projects like the Klang Valley MRT line were a catalyst for sustainable development and spurring economic activities. Property prices are expected to appreciate by between 10% and 20% thanks to economic spillover from the MRT development. Azmi said a rail line directly impacted real estate through increase in land value, land use and densification along the corridor. He expects residential and commercial (comprising offices, retail and hotels) areas to benefit from better accessibility and connectivity. (NST Online)

Pavilion REIT to acquire Pavilion Elite for RM580mil
Pavilion REIT is planning to acquire the new retail landmark in Bukit Bintang, Elite Pavilion Mall, along with related assets and rights, for RM580mil cash. The mall, which is located between Pavilion KL and the Regent Hotel, opened its doors only nine months ago, has 10 floors with 91.6% occupancy rate as of last month. The proposals are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. (The Star Online)

Elite Pavilion Mall is located between Pavilion KL and the Regent Hotel (Photo from The Star Onlin)

Mesiniaga to gain RM6mil from property disposal
Mesiniaga Bhd expects to gain RM6 million from its proposed disposal of a five-storey commercial building on Jalan Larut, Penang, for RM15.9 million. The building, which is being sold to Sparkle Gateway Sdn Bhd, was under utilised and an excess to the group, while no longer situated at a strategic location as it is far from the major customers in Penang. The 16-year-old building’s original cost of investment was RM10.1 million, with a net book value of RM8.5 million. (The Edge Markets)

EPF to boost investment in private assets
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) aims to grow its investment exposure in private assets to 15% of its total assets under management (AUM) from 5% now as its strategic medium-term investment move. These private asset investments will include infrastructure, property and private equity. (The Star Online)

Malaysia legalises e-hailing services as Grab, Uber compete
Malaysia has passed two bills that will legalise e-hailing services, as ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber Technologies Inc race to expand in the region. The amendments to Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Act and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) Act will allow ride hailing services to operate on an “intermediation business license”, a new category specific for the service. Ride-hailing had met with protests and strikes from taxi driver associations, which argued hat their livelihoods were threatened by the private hire services. (The Star Online)

Amazon Prime Now launched in Singapore
Amazon launched its Prime Now service in Singapore on 26 July, following rumours that it would launch in Singapore after a series of high-profile Instagram users made sponsored posts alluding to the service. It is Amazon’s first foray into Southeast Asia, and takes on local delivery services by the likes of FairPrice Online and RedMart. It is also home to Amazon Prime Now’s largest urban fulfilment centre. Customers in Singapore can choose between 2-hour delivery or one-hour delivery options. (Channel NewsAsia)

Amazon Prime Now offers two-hour delivery (Photo from CNN Money)