EPF members can make withdrawals of any amount from Jan 2018
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has enhanced and simplified its policies to enable members aged 55 and 60 to make partial withdrawals of any amount at any time from next January. This is opposed to the “Age 55 and Age 60’ withdrawal policies that allow members to withdraw a minimum of RM2,000 once every 30 days. Members who choose to make monthly withdrawals will also be able to withdraw from as low as RM100 per month, down from RM250 currently. The move forms part of four enhancements to the EPF’s schemes and policies, which will take effect on January 1 next year. Others include the option to appoint Amanah Raya Bhd (ARB) as nominee/administrator trustee, flexible withdrawal policy until age 100 and extension of death benefit from age 55 to 60. (NST Online)

Malaysia to grow by 6% in 2017; 5% in 2018
UBS Investment Bank is expecting a 6% growth in the Malaysian economy in 2017 and expects the trend growth to continue in 2018, but closer to 5%. As trade slows from around 10% in 2017 to 7% in 2018, it will impact the growth outlook. The upcoming general election and infrastructure projects like the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) and KL-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) would contribute to growth in 2018. In a survey of Chinese corporates investing overseas, UBS found 15 to 25 per cent of 500 large Chinese corporates highlighted that they were looking to invest in Asean – and within Asean highlighted Malaysia as their most preferred destination. (NST Online)

Bank Negara wants digital currency exchangers to report their activities
Bank Negara has reiterated its stand that bitcoin and its cryptocurrency siblings are not legal payment methods in Malaysia, as the central bank initiates a policy compelling digital currency exchange operators to report their activities. However, it noted that the move to impose reporting obligations on digital currency exchanges is not a move to regulate digital currencies and that investors are going into the market at their own risk. Under the new policy, digital currency exchangers will be categorised as reporting institutions under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA). So far, Japan is the only country in the region to recognise bitcoin as a legal payment method. (The Star Online)

MK Land to sell off RM362.9mil worth of unsold units in 2 years
Property developer MK Land Holdings Bhd will focus on selling off unsold units from its completed projects worth up to RM362.9 million within the next two years. The bulk of the units are from the semi-detached Rafflesia development and Armanee Terrace condominium in Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya, as well as some units at Residensi Suasana in Damansara Damai and Meru Perdana in Ipoh. MK Land is also in the planning phase to develop affordable housing, namely the Rumah Selangorku in Taman Bunga Raya, Bukit Beruntung and in Bandar Baru Gunung Semanggol in Bukit Merah, Perak. (The Edge Markets)

Country View to sell Kulim land for RM119.9mil
Country View Bhd proposes to dispose of 139 pieces of land in Kulim, Kedah measuring 1.74 million square metres for RM119.9 million. Proceeds from the deal will be partly used for its land acquisition in Johor Baru for RM310 million. The proposed land acquisition will allow the group to expand and enhance its property development activities in Iskandar Puteri, which is expected to generate future income. (The Sun Daily)

Amanahraya REIT to dispose Shah Alam land for RM105mil
Amanahraya REIT has proposed to sell a piece of freehold land in Shah Alam to Nippon Express (M) Sdn Bhd for RM105 million. Proceeds from the disposal will be used to partly settle existing loans from Affin Bank Bhd. The balance of the proceeds will be used for working capital or to partly finance the group’s future potential acquisition. Following the disposal, AmanahRaya REIT will see an estimated net gain of about RM2.4 million. (The Edge Markets)

Tiger Synergy bags RM1bil affordable housing project
Tiger Synergy Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Tiger Synergy Housing Development Sdn Bhd (TSHDSB) has secured a RM1 billion affordable housing project from Elite Community Sdn Bhd (ECSB). The project involves a proposed development of 5,000 units of affordable homes consisting of apartment units together with all the necessary amenities, utilities, facilities and infrastructures in Seremban, Negri Sembilan. It will comprise 15 blocks of 21-storey apartments. (NST Online)