Integrated transport system for Forest City
Forest City in Johor will have an integrated public transportation system that can provide seamless travel for residents and visitors, while protecting the environment. It will likely incorporate light rail transit, electric vehicles and water taxis, and have links to the proposed high-speed rail (HSR) network connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. As Forest City was a sustainable low-carbon city development, CGPV wanted to increase the use of electric-based vehicles and have fewer cars on the road, thus the need for proper network integration. It is also planning to build a ferry terminal to connect with Singapore, which is two kilometres away from Forest City. (NST Online)

Mah Sing to launch RM1bil properties this quarter
Mah Sing Group Bhd is launching RM1 billion worth of new properties in the last quarter of the year to boost sales, as the developer reported flat earnings growth in the three months ended Sept 30. The upcoming new offerings will bring total planned launches for the year to RM2.3bil. The company is targeting to achieve total sales of RM1.8bil for the full year after raking up RM1.26bil in the first nine months period. The projects are planned to be affordably priced at strategic locations which were nearby city centre and public infrastructure such as MRT and LRT. On its outlook for the property market, while the industry was currently undergoing consolidation, basic housing demand was still expected to be resilient. (The Star Online)

Overhang of strata developments a bane to property managers too
Developers are not the only ones affected by the overhang of strata developments as the situation has led to property managers finding it tough to collect service charges. Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers (MIPPM) president Sarkunan Subramaniam said the issue has created a “havoc” of sorts and affected efficiency as developers are seeing their cash flows being dragged down. In cases where condominiums are 30-40% unsold, the developers are responsible for paying service charges, and they end up not paying due to cash flow problems. Some developers resort to placing their properties on the market with lower service charges in order to attract buyers. (The Sun Daily)

Titijaya unit receives RM47mil investment from Japanese property giant
Titijaya Land Bhd has roped in Japanese leading property giant, Tokyu Land Corp, to be the new shareholder of its wholly-owned Epoch Property Sdn Bhd in a RM47 million deal. Both companies will jointly enhance the development of Mizu Residence which is expected to command a GDV of RM300 million. Tokyu, which holds more than one trillion yen of assets and is ranked third among Japanese real estate companies, is the core company of the Tokyu Fudosan Holdings Group. (NST Online)

JTI Malaysia seeking buyer for Shah Alam plant
JT International Bhd (JTI Malaysia), a unit of Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Japan Tobacco Ltd, has put its factory in Shah Alam up for sale following its decision to shut down its manufacturing facility in Malaysia amid a challenging operating environment. Sources say it may be able to get between RM30 million and RM40 million for the factory that is located on a five-acre site. The leasehold land has about 50 years left on the lease, and is located in Persiaran Raja Muda Shah Alam near the roundabout. (The Edge Markets)

MIPPM: Malaysia is not ready for prop tech
Malaysia’s property management sector is still far from being ready to embrace property technology (prop tech), said Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers (MIPPM) president Sarkunan Subramaniam. “I believe a lot of them (property managers) are not ready because they are not familiar with prop tech. The readiness should come from awareness,” he said. He said prop tech can simplify procedures, help gather transparent data and set up systems, as well as save on cost. Prop tech is becoming the new fintech. According to HSBC, prop tech firms have grown from RM945 million in 2012 to over RM8.5 billion in 2016. (The Edge Markets)

Penang ropes in Singapore’s help to manage botanic gardens
The Penang government will be signing a MoU with Singapore’s Unesco-listed Botanic Gardens to exchange technical knowledge on managing the Penang Botanic Gardens. “The main objective is to increase accessibility and knowledge, to transfer technological know-how in relations to horticulture, garden management, conservation and research,” said state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo. The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the first in Asia and remains the only tropical gardens to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. (Malay Mail Online)

Photo from Flickr/Amani Hasan

China’s love for durians a boon for Malaysia property
China’s love of a pungent, football-sized thorny fruit is skyrocketing, and Malaysia wants a piece of it. The value of China’s fresh imports of durian fruit has climbed an average of 26% a year over the past decade, reaching US$1.1 billion (RM4.5 billion) in 2016. Thailand dominates that market, but Malaysian politicians are counting on durian diplomacy to expand access beyond frozen fruit pulp. Some Chinese durian-lovers are hunting for orchards to cut out the middle man. Owning a durian farm in Malaysia is not only a profitable investment, but also a sign of prestige. Depending on location and accessibility, a farm with 6-year-old trees goes for about RM400,000 per hectare, while those with mature, 10-to-12-year-old trees command at least double that. (Malay Mail Online)