Singapore, Malaysia rail operators ink MOU on JB-Woodlands link
Rail operators SMRT and Prasarana Malaysia have signed an MOU to form a joint venture company to finance, build and operate the Johor Baru-Singapore rail link that will be ready seven years from now. The JB-Singapore RTS Link Operating Company, or OpCo, is expected to “design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew the RTS Link operating assets like trains, tracks and systems”. The train system will be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers an hour between Johor’s Bukit Chagar terminus station and the Singapore terminus in Woodlands North. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and completed in 2024. (The Straits Times)

China’s CCCC to make KL its Asean hub, build tower at TRX
China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) intends to make Kuala Lumpur its hub for the Asean region as the port and construction group expands its footprint here. The group plans to set up its regional centre in KL, and will build the “CCCC Tower”, a commercial building in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) as it has acquired the land. The GDV and investment value of the project was not disclosed. CCCC’s contract value in Malaysia is the highest among other Asean countries, with currently more than US$16bil (RM67.27bil) worth of ongoing contracts in hand, said CCCC vice-president Peng Dapeng. (The Star Online)

China Vanke buys prime tract in Jalan Raja Chulan
Shenzhen-based property developer China Vanke Co Ltd is believed to have won the tender for a 7.4-acre tract in Jalan Raja Chulan, putting an end to attempts to divest the asset in a long-running legal dispute. It is learnt that China Vanke is paying RM500 million for the land. China Vanke, through a locally incorporated company – Malola Garden City Sdn Bhd – plans to build six towers with over 4,000 serviced apartments on the site, which is located near Menara Kuala Lumpur. The project is estimated to have a GDV between RM1.5bil and RM2.5bil. There were two previously failed bids to sell the tract. (The Edge Markets)

Negri MB: 50% houses in state must be affordable
To help the people own a house, the Negri Sembilan Government has made it compulsory for new housing units to consist of 50% which are affordable, and the prices will be set by the state government. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the policy had also raised the Bumiputera quota from 30% to 50%. (Malay Mail Online)

Developers want PR1MA flexible end-financing scheme extended
Property industry giants are requesting the government to extend PR1MA’s flexible end-financing schemes to all developments that meet the criteria, to enable more people to benefit from the affordable housing scheme. The “step-up” end-financing scheme for PR1MA is currently limited to PR1MA housing, which could restrict the choices of house buyers. They also recommended the reintroduction of the developer interest bearing scheme (DIBS) for first-time homebuyers, especially for properties below RM600,000. Deferring the increase of stamp duty for homes above RM1mil would ease the pressure on the housing market. (The Star Online)

Sunsuria City deuts first landed homes
Property developer Sunsuria Bhd has held a soft launch for its first ever landed homes in Sunsuria City, Salak Tinggi, Selangor. The homes are named Monet Lily and are part of the new Monet Residences development which sits on 15.8 acres of freehold land. It comprises 211 units of 2-storey terraced homes, with estimated GDV of RM141.24mil. Sunsuria City is a 525-acre development that has the 150-acre Xiamen University Malaysia located at its heart. (The Edge Markets)

Damansara Realty consortium bags RM27.6mil Rapid job
A consortium of Damansara Realty Bhd and Kumpulan Perubatan (Johor) Sdn Bhd (KPJSB) has won a RM27.62 million contract to provide medical services for utilities, interconnecting and offsite facilities for Petronas’ Rapid project in Pengerang, Johor. The duration of the RM27.62 million contract will be for 39 months from Sept 25, with additional optional services worth RM7.8 million. (The Edge Markets)

SP Setia issues RM434mil sukuk to pay for Penang land
SP Setia Bhd, which is buying 1,674.83 acres in Penang for RM620.12mil, has issued Islamic medium-term notes (sukuk murabahah) of RM434mil to part finance the purchase. Its unit Setia Recreation Sdn Bhd had won a tender bid in November last year for 1,674.83 acres in Seberang Perai Utara, which was planned for an eco-themed mixed development township with RM9.6bil GDV. SP Setia said it aimed to launch the township development on the land in 2019/2020. (The Star Online)

More Chinese cities impose property control measures
A number of second-tier cities in China have rolled out property speculation curbs in an effort to cool home property sales. The city of Shijiazhuang, southwest of Beijing, has banned investors from selling newly bought homes for up to five years, while Changsha in Hunan province banned homeowners from buying a second property for up to three years from the time of their first home purchase. The city of Chongqing, as well as Nancang in the southern province of Jiangxi, meanwhile, banned transactions of new and second-hand homes for two years after purchase. The various measures took effect last week. (NST Online)

Singapore Immigration to implement thumbprint scans at checkpoints
Occupants of cars travelling through the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints will be subjected to a thumbprint scan. The security measure will be implemented at car counters at the two land checkpoints on the Causeway and Second Link. Travellers are required to present the passport for clearance and proceed with the scanning of both thumbprints before they are cleared to enter or depart from Singapore. The process may cause passport clearance at the checkpoints to take slightly longer than usual. (The Sun Daily)

Singapore ICA BioScreen system to capture thumbprints of visitors at checkpoints (Photo from The Straits Times)