Rapid rise in house prices could cause future instability, says World Bank
The rapid rise of Malaysia’s real housing prices since 2008 could be a source of future instability, the World Bank said in a recent report. “Increases in housing prices can relax borrowing constraints and allow existing homeowners to increase consumption, thereby boosting the economy. However, the rapid increase in prices creates incentives for the construction of new properties, which could potentially lead to a burst in prices and an abrupt adjustment to economic activity.” The World Bank also noted that the higher cost of living, largely due to high food price inflation and the rising cost of housing, is disproportionately impacting lower-income earners, especially in urban areas. (The Edge Markets)

Ekovest to table IWCity proposal to shareholders
Ekovest Bhd, which has decided to put forward the proposed takeover of Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) to minority shareholders, has entered into a conditional share sale agreement with Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ) to acquire its 6.40% interest in IWCity for RM80.39 million. A proposed offer to acquire the 62% stake it does not own in IWCity is to be tabled to non-interested shareholders at an EGM in mid-February 2018. IWCity has interest in properties in Plentong Land, Danga Land and Sutera Land, which collectively have a market value of RM3.68 billion. Tycoon Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo, who controls both Ekovest and IWC, made a proposal to merge the two companies after a proposed deal between IWC and parent company Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd fell through. (The Sun Daily)

Forest City opens flagship sales gallery in Kuala Lumpur
Country Garden has opened its flagship Forest City Sales Gallery is located on the ground floor of UBN Tower, next to Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur and along Jalan P. Ramlee. It was previously situated in Bangsar. Spanning 5,000sq ft, the two-level gallery provides visitors information about Forest City, the property developer’s biggest project in Malaysia. The China-based developer hopes to foster closer bilateral relations through the sales gallery which will act as a venue for events and activities to enable Malaysian and Chinese companies and entrepreneurs to network and exchange ideas. The recently completed Forest City Golf Hotel is estimated to open by March 2018. (The Star Online)

VIPs at the Forest City flagship sales gallery launching in KL (Photo from The Star)

FT minister: Taman Rimba Kiara never gazetted as public park
Taman Rimba Kiara was never gazetted as a public park, said Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan. He clarified that Taman Rimba Kiara is instead recognised as a public open space, and added that the ministry “would not touch” the park that has drawn controversy over the proposed building of a 2,000-unit high end condominium. The minister’s statement followed the December 14 High Court dismissal of the application to stay on the development filed by five Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents and management bodies against the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). He further clarified that Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) had bought 12 acres of land within Taman Rimba Kiara from the Federal Territories Land and Minerals Office for RM60 million. (Malay Mail Online)

M101 appoints CRCC as main contractor for M101 Skywheel
Property developer M101 Holdingd Sdn Bhd has announced the appointment of China Railway Construction Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CRCC) as the main contractor for the development of M101 Skywheel, which has an estimated GDV of RM2.2 billion. M101 Skywheel, which will feature a 60m Ferris wheel on the 53rd floor, is to be completed by 2021. M101 is championing property tourism as its core business strategy, and has launched the project in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Brunei, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. (The Sun Daily)

Rowsley acquires TMC Life’s major shareholder
Singapore tycoon Peter Lim is injecting his healthcare assets, comprising 100% of Thomson Medical Pte Ltd and 70.36% of TMC Life Sciences Bhd, into his real estate company Rowsley Ltd. It is acquiring Sasteria Pte Ltd, the owner of Thomson Medical and the controlling shareholder of TMC Life, from Lim for S$1.6 billion (RM4.85 billion). Thomson Medical is Singapore’s largest private provider of healthcare services for women and children, while TMC Life operates the Tropicana Medical Centre in Kota Damansara. TMC Life has also proposed the construction of the RM1.2 billion Thomson Iskandar Medical Hub on a 4.14-acre (1.68ha) site in Johor. (The Edge Markets)

CCM’s polymer unit buys office-cum-factory for RM20.8mil
Chemical Company of Malaysia Bhd’s (CCM) wholly-owned CCM Polymers Sdn Bhd is buying an office-cum-factory in Bandar Baru Bangi for RM20.8 million, in anticipation of growing market demand. The property is on leasehold land measuring 7,969 sq metres, and includes a double-storey office-cum-factory, and an annexed single-storey factory. (The Edge Markets)

SC issues Guidelines on SRI Funds
The Securities Commission has issued Guidelines on Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Funds to facilitate and encourage greater growth of SRI funds in Malaysia. The new Guidelines, which enable funds to be designated as SRI funds, will widen the range of SRI products in the market and attract more investors in the SRI segment. With Islamic funds being recognised as part of the SRI universe, Malaysia is currently the largest SRI funds market in Asia (excluding Japan). The SRI Funds Guidelines will apply to fund products within the SC’s oversight, such as unit trust funds, real estate investment trust (REIT) funds, exchange-traded funds, and venture capital and private equity funds,, and will be applicable for both conventional and Shariah-compliant funds. (NST Online)

Malaysia to see 3.2% real wage growth in 2018
The average salary in Malaysia is expected to grow by 3.2% in 2018, an increase over the 1.3% growth recorded in 2017, said global management consulting firm Korn Ferry Hay Group. Financial services, construction and property development and management industries, are expected to record the highest salary increases, while sectors such as health and life sciences, oil and gas and industrial products would register the lowest growth. The firm added that average bonus levels are also expected to decline slightly in 2018 to 2.5 months, from the 2.6 months recorded this year. (The Star Online)