Funding for OBOR initiative currently at US$240bil
Funding for the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, China’s game-changing development plan to link the country with the African, Asian and European continents, has gained some traction with accumulated pledges of about US$240bil to date. Various sectors in Malaysia stand to gain tremendously from the initiative, as the country’s need for infrastructure upgrades to attract larger foreign investors and stimulate economic growth would go hand in glove with OBOR’s objectives. Projects such as the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, Pahang, the Melaka Gateway, the East Coast Rail Link and the Xiamen University Malaysia campus are part of the initiative. China is the top foreign investor in Malaysia, with investments worth US$10.84 billion last year. (The Star Online)

Malaysia fourth most attractive FDI destination
Malaysia is the fourth most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region after China, India and Vietnam, according to Nomura. China and Japan are expected to be the biggest drivers of FDI in the region where the Asean-5 and India are the next FDI magnets, a shift from funds which traditionally came from the West. Among the pull factors particular to Southeast Asia are concrete government efforts to work around financing constraints for infrastructure development. (The Edge Markets)

Sabah property value second highest in country
The value of real estates and landed properties in Sabah was the second highest in the country last year. According to Syed Anuar Syed Norddin, the director of State Property Assessment and Services, the real estate and landed property sector in Sabah was quite unique as its value grows so fast. “This may be due to the openness of the state to foreign investors such as those from Taiwan and China who have large capital, causing land prices for all categories to be higher than in other regions,” he said. (The Borneo Post)

Yong Tai scraps JV mixed development project in Puchong
Yong Tai Bhd’s plan to acquire two parcels of freehold and contiguous land in Puchong, Selangor, for a potential property development project has been cancelled. The tourism-related property developer said it and the vendors of Terrawest Resources Sdn Bhd, which owns the 1.5-acre land, had entered an MoU to terminate the project for failing to agree and finalise the terms of the proposed acquisition of Terraewest. The initial plan was for a mixed development project with estimated GDV of RM173mil, excluding a hotel tower. Earlier in April, Yong Tai also amicably terminated an MoU to buy the Johor Bahru land that was also signed then. (The Star Online)

1 million affordable homes by year end
The government’s target of building one million affordable housing units (RMM) is expected to be achieved by year end, according to the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government. As of April, the total number of RMM units targeted for construction was 875,490, of which 237,738 units had been fully completed. Kedah recorded the most number of RMM homes that had been completed at 42,131 units, followed by Selangor, Johor and Perak. Although the Rent To Buy scheme is currently only available for homes under the People’s Housing Programme (PPR), it has the potential to be extended for the purchase of housing units developed by other agencies and state governments in the future. (The Sun Daily)

Penang-based Aspen to launch maiden Klang Valley project next year
Aspen Group, which launched an initial public offering (IPO) on Singapore’s Catalist board recently, is planning a venture into the Klang Valley next year. The Penang-based property developer is expected to launch an affordable housing project in Kajang with GDV of RM500mil, comprising 2,200 units on 18 acres by the first or second quarter next year. The project will be carried out in three phases on the site of the former Kajang Hill Golf Course. (The Star Online)

MRCB gets green light for RM2.2bil cash call
Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has gotten the green light for its proposed renounceable rights issue, with some 89% of its shareholders approving the cash call. The exercise, which will raise some RM2.2bil, will not only pave a smooth path for MRCB’s biggest fund-raising exercise, but will also see its gearing being reduced significantly. MRCB is currently in the midst of selling its Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) highway; if the EDL is sold, coupled with the proceeds from the rights, then MRCB will have virtually no borrowings,said an official close to the company. MRCB is undertaking refurbishment work for the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil. (The Star Online)

Kampung Mutiara villagers given three months to vacate following protests
Kampung Mutiara residents in Penang have been given three months to vacate their village after final discussions with the landowner to postpone today’s eviction. The residents will be shifted to temporary housing at Seri Tanjung Pinang in Tanjung Tokong by UDA Holdings within these three months. After the villagers move out, Penang Umno will develop two lots of land next to Kampung Mutiara, which will include 550 units of free housing for all Batu Ferringhi villagers, including the residents here, who were evicted from their homes. (Malay Mail Online)

Protesters taking away a log which they used to block the entrance to their village in Kampung Mutiara July 31, 2017. (Photo from Malay Mail Online)