Industry experts call for property study
Penang-based property developer Asas Dunia Bhd said the Government’s blanket freeze on properties worth RM1mil and above is not the solution to the rising unsold properties in the country. Its managing director Datuk Jerry Chan said: “A blanket freeze is not practical as each location, either within a city or state, has its own unique demand, pricing and prospects.” The past chairmain for Penang Rehda said instead of a blanket freeze, a study needed be done to determine what type of properties remain unsold and for how long. The freeze followed a Bank Negara report on the glut of unsold real estate in the country. The unsold and unutilised properties include high-rise residentials, mall and office space. (The Star Online)

Johor to maintain RM1mil floor on foreign property ownership
Johor will maintain the current RM1 million minimum purchase price for foreign property ownership in the state. This follows the state government saying it was mulling ways to relax restrictions on foreign homeownership in a bid to reduce Johor’s excess unsold properties. The recent Bank Negara report found Johor had the highest number of unsold homes in Malaysia at 27% of the 130,690 units priced above RM250,000, which includes service apartments and SoHo units, but the state classifies these units as commercial units, not residential. (The Edge Markets)

UOA Development ups stake in property developer for RM159.5mil
UOA Development Bhd is buying a further 35% stake in Everise Project Sdn Bhd from Kaginic Assets Holdings Sdn Bhd for RM159.54 million, which would bring its total shareholding in the property development company to 74%. Kaginic Assets had made an offer to dispose of its entire interest in Everise and UOA, as an existing major shareholder, had accepted the offer. UOA Development said the acquisition will be satisfied by cash from internal funds. (The Edge Markets)

Johor govt in JV with Chinese firm to develop robotics town
A JV company will be established between the Johor state government and a company from China to develop a Robotics Town. The JV would be implemented under an agreement to be signed soon between Johor Corporation and SIASUN Robot Investment Company. The township would encompass eight key Robotics developments, namely the Smart Industrial Development Institute, Research Institute, Exhibition and Services Centre, Manufacturing Industrial Financial Centre, Manufacturing Industry, Industry Big Data Centre, Collaboration Centre and Smart Manufacturing Industry Operations, and Engineering Academy. (Malay Mail Online)

Damansara Realty appoints new COO
Damansara Realty Bhd (DBhd) has appointed Ir Yahaya Hassan as Group Chief Operating Officer, effective December 1, 2017. Yahya had, since 2003, managed multi-million ringgit projects in the healthcare and property sector during his tenure as the Managing Director of Healthcare Technical Services (M) Sdn Bhd, one of DBhd’s units. The group was currently focusing on strengthening its offerings to its clients by harnessing the synergies across DBhd’s subsidiaries in the property development, project management consultancy and integrated facilities management segments. (NST Online)

More build-to-suit projects by Axis REIT
Following its first build-to-suit project last year to undertake property development activities, Axis REIT is now hungry for more. Last month, it announced its second build-to-suit development, leasing a 2.8ha plot of vacant land in Subang to build a manufacturing plant at a cost of RM74.16 million, to be leased to aerospace components maker, Upeca Aerotech Sdn Bhd, for 20 years. Axis REIT plans to embark on more such projects as it sees them providing a lot more income stability, with long-term returns that are more attractive under a brand new asset. (The Edge Markets)

MB: Johor to build 100,000 more affordable homes by 2023
The Johor government will look at strengthening the affordable housing scheme where some 60,000 homes would be built by 2020. “The state government aims to build an additional 40,000 units by 2023 to make the total of 100,000 affordable homes within the next six years,” said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin, adding that the state government would improve the application process to ensure that the rakyat truly benefit from such housing policy. Priority would be given to those in the waiting list, while action would be taken against owners who abused the scheme by renting out their homes. (The Star Online)

Al-Salam REIT to acquire properties from QSR for RM115mil
Al-Salam REIT is acquiring 22 properties from several QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd units in an all-cash deal of RM115mil. The vendors of the properties are KFC (Peninsular Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Kentucky Fried Chicken (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, KFC (Sabah) Sdn Bhd and SPM Restaurants Sdn Bhd. The properties comprise 21 restaurants and one warehouse/office that support the F&B operations of the KFC and Pizza Hut fast food outlets. The REIT is also in the process of acquiring Mydin Hypermarket Gong Badak for a cash consideration of RM155mil. (The Star Online)

MOSTI develops standards for earthquake-resistant structural designs
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), through the Department of Standards Malaysia has developed a Malaysian Standards (MS) for earthquake-resistant building design code. The standards involved two phases developed in collaboration with various stakeholders, acting as guidelines for local authorities on the design of earthquake-resistant structures in ensuring the lifespan, strength and safety of buildings in areas vulnerable to earthquake disaster. Local authorities were strongly encouraged to enforce the use of the MS through regulations, construction codes and building guidelines. (Malay Mail Online)

Monorail service in Melaka to resume after 4-year break
The Melaka Monorail service will begin operating again Monday, after being suspended since 2013 due to technical problems. The service would operate from 10am to 10pm on weekdays, with extended service till midnight on weekends. Currently, only one coach accommodating 15 people will travel each round, taking 30 minutes. Tickets are priced at RM10 each. The 1.6km line, built at a cost of RM16.5mil connects Taman Rempah to the Hang Tuah Station on Jalan Bunga Raya. (The Star Online)

Melaka monorail service (Photo from The Star)