Malaysians researching property financing online exceeds global average
HSBC’s latest Beyond the Bricks home buying report, says the number of Malaysian home buyers going online to research home financing options is above the global average. About 77% of the 1,000 Malaysians surveyed online for financing options compared with the global average of 74%. The report also ranked Malaysia among the nine when it comes to digitally active home hunters, with 81% using online channels such as website, mobile, emails to research their recent property purchase. The UK leads the pack with 93% when it comes to researching on property purchases. With property the next industry for tech disruption, property websites are using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) to transform property trading services. Malaysia was ranked behind the UK, US and Australia in terms of researching online for property financing. (The Sun Daily)

HSR stop in Forest City a possibility
There could be a change in the alignment of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore due to a request from the private sector to divert the line to Forest City in Johor. Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd is said to have made requests to the government to build a HSR station in its Forest City development in Johor. A source said Country Garden planned points of entry from Malaysia and Singapore, with a ferry and light rail transit network at the centre of it all. The possible HSR station in Forest City would be the new transport hub for Johor Baru, similar to KL Sentral in Brickfields. (NST Online)

RM1bil mixed-use development coming up in Kuchai Lama
Poly Ritz Development Sdn Bhd is looking to launch a RM1 billion mixed development called D’Ritz Residency in Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur by the end of this year. It will be a 3.53-acre freehold development comprising 1,128 serviced apartment units and 20 retail units including six 3-storey shoplots, and targeted towards the upper-middle income group. Besides D’Ritz Residency, Poly Ritz has another two project launches worth in total of about RM1 billion lined up for the next few months. The RM336mil Ritz Communities for middle- and lower-income groups will be launched in Salak South, KL this month under the Rumah Mampu Milik Wilayah Persekutuan affordable home scheme, while a mixed development called Ritz Avenue will be launched in Jalan Kuching by year-end, targeted towards upper-middle income groups and young families. (The Edge Markets)

Artist impression of Ritz Avenue

Minister: Malaysian cities must be ready for future challenges
Malaysian cities must be prepared to meet future challenges in line with rapid urbanisation and advances in technology and innovations. Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau said research and planning for future cities were necessary to address the challenges of urbanisation and other disruptive global forces. Urbanisation is currently at 76% of Malaysia’s total population, with annual rate of urbanisation at 2.19%. Madius said advances in science, technology and innovation had the potential to change existing industries and create new ones, including urban manufacturing, renewable energy projects, the widespread use of drones and robots and the internet of things (IoT). (Malay Mail Online)

Housing ministry to build PPR for former estate workers
The Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry is planning to build a People’s Housing Project (PPR) to alleviate problems faced by some 300 former workers of two estates in Tanjung Karang, Kuala Selangor. A plantation company in Bestari Jaya has agreed to provide 5.2 hectares of land to the ministry for the purpose. However, no date could be given for when work on the project could begin, as there were several regulations involved including change in land status and land ownership. (Malay Mail Online)

Xin Hwa bags RM13.7mil logistics contracts for MRT construction
Xin Hwa Holdings Bhd’s unit, Xin Hwa Trading & Transport Sdn Bhd, has secured RM13.7mil worth of contracts relating to the construction of the MRT 2 (SSP Line). The logistics service provider said the contracts, which would run until December 2019, involved the delivery and transport of pre-cast segmental box girders and crossbeams to various project sites. The contracts are expected to contribute positively towards the group’s earnings for the financial year ending March 31, 2018. (The Star Online)

Jetson wins RM76mil contract from Chinese construction company
Construction and property development firm Kumpulan Jetson Bhd has been given a contract valued at RM76.35mil by China State Construction Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd, a unit of Beijing-based China State Construction Engineering Corp. The contract involves work on the structure of a 39-storey tower and a 41-storey tower, and is expected to contribute positively to the earnings for FY17 to FY20. (The Star Online)

Airbnb might be illegal in Sabah, operators must check regulations
Prospective Airbnb operators have been urged to do their homework by reviewing their respective local laws before signing up for the online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb. Airbnb’s contractual obligations work in such a way that the burden to ensure that Airbnb is actually legal in a particular country lies on the operator. Local authorities would vary on how they regulate Airbnb operations. For example, Airbnb has been banned in several cities, such as Singapore, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam and even London. For a building to qualify for Airbnb, it must be designed for commercial use and adhere to fire safety requirements by the Fire Department. Airbnb is yet to be deemed legal in Sabah, but guidelines are in the works by DBKK. (The Borneo Post)

Big Ben, London, UK (

London ranked best megacity for women, Cairo worst
Cairo is the world’s most dangerous megacity for women, while London is the best, according to the first international experts’ poll on how females fare in the rising number of cities with over 10 million people. The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey in 19 megacities polled how well women are protected from sexual violence, from harmful cultural practices, and if they have access to good healthcare, finance and education. Cairo (Egypt) fared worst, followed by Karachi (Pakistan), Kinshasa (Congo), and New Delhi (India). London was ranked as the most woman-friendly, then Tokyo and Paris. (NST Online)