IDEAS: Govt intervention root cause of affordable housing shortage
Local think-tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has blamed the shortage of affordable homes on the existence of federal and state agencies related to housing that it said created unfair competition with property developers. “It is normal for private developers to move away from what is perceived as unfair competition. The reasoning is simple and easy — as a private developer, it is impossible to compete on affordable projects with government planning. That is why we are facing a limited supply of affordable housing in the country,” said its senior fellow Carmelo Ferlito. He said allowing developers to move back into affordable projects would re-open the way for a free market, but would have to avoid cutting out their incentives to do so with direct government intervention that created unfair competition in the market. (Malay Mail Online)

Sime Property to launch medium range landed properties with RM1.5bil GDV
Sime Darby Property Bhd will focus more on the launches of medium range landed properties in its townships of City of Elmina, Bandar Bukit Raja and Serenia City in Selangor and Bandar Universiti Pagoh in Johor. It targets to launch about 1,900 units of properties with combined gross development value of RM1.5bil in the second half of the year. The company is also driving to reduce its unsold inventories through active sales promotions and campaigns. In July to December of 2017, it launched 2,978 units with a combined GDV of RM1.9bil – mainly in City of Elmina, Bandar Bukit Raja and Subang Jaya in Selangor. (The Star Online)

PR1MA, govt agencies to offer over 100,000 affordable homes via expo
The federal and state government housing agencies will be offering over 100,000 units of homes throughout Malaysia through the nationwide home expo known as ‘Ekspo Jualan Perumahan — Ke Arah Sejuta Impian, Alami Gaya Hidup Sejahtera’. The expo will display the offerings by the various agencies, namely 1Malaysia’s People Housing Scheme (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB), National Housing Department (NHD), 1Malaysia Housing Projects for Civil Servants (PPA1M) and the state government agencies. The expo will kick off in Perak on March 1, with about 38,000 units on sale in the state. (The Edge Markets)

Maybank IB tops 2017 league tables for global sukuk
Maybank Investment Bank (Maybank IB) topped Bloomberg’s 2017 League Tables for Global Sukuk and Asean Loan Syndication (by Book Runners) and ranked second in ASEAN Local Currency Bonds. It was also named Malaysia’s Best Investment Bank for the third consecutive year by Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2017. In total, the investment bank ranked top in 18 categories in the Malaysian country poll, including Best For Overall Country Research, Best Overall Sales Services, Best For Events and/or Conferences, as well as, Best Research for economics and several sectors. (The Star Online)

Sunsuria’s 1Q net profit soars 96% on new projects
Sunsuria Bhd saw its net profit for 1QFY18 soar 96% to RM20.84 million from a year ago, amidst revenue increase of 73.69% to RM110.82 million. The positive results for the quarter was due to two new projects, namely the Bell Suites SOHO and Monet Lily double-storey terrace. Additional sales and work done from Forum 1, Suria Residence, Bell Avenue, Jasper Square and The Olive developments also boosted the group’s performance. The company is also seeking shareholder approval to diversify beyond property development into construction and related businesses. (The Edge Markets)

WCT earnings surge to RM152mil
WCT Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17) surged by 133% to RM151.91mil from the previous year. This was achieved amid stronger contributions from mainly the engineering and construction segment. The engineering and construction segment continues to be the group’s main contributor, accounting for 73% of its consolidated revenue in 2017, backed by a strong order book. Its engineering and construction segment would continue to build on its strong order book, having secured several new infrastructure contracts worth about RM2bil in 2017. (The Star Online)

BRDB sees Rawang as future residential hotspot
Property developer BRDB Developments Sdn Bhd is strengthening its foothold in Rawang, Selangor, which is envisioned to be the new hot location and growth area in the coming years. The company plans to expand the brand’s identity into Rawang by delivering quality homes with intelligent design in a cosmopolitan area. As part of the company’s long-term strategy for Rawang, BRDB launched the first two phases of its RM2 billion Tamansari development recently. BRDB has other developments in hand but the Tamansari development will be its anchor project to strengthen its position in the central region. The Tamansari development sits on a 99.15ha of land, encompassing a total of 16 phases, expected to be completed over the next 10 to 15 years. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Artist’s impression of the Tamansari development (Image from The Malaysian Reserve)

PM: Malaysia’s tax system reconstructed to ensure strong revenue
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has reiterated that the government reconstructed the taxation system to include the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and ensure strong revenue for the country. He said 164 countries globally had implemented the GST and Malaysia had one of the lowest rates. “We have 500 items and services that have been zero-rated, including those for health and education. We will continue to embark on a policy of being inclusive and fair,” he said. (Malay Mail Online)

One island-bound lane on Penang Bridge to close for six months
One lane on Penang Bridge from the mainland to the island at the midspan section will be closed for its year-long maintenance that began six months ago. This temporary closure will be until Aug 21. A contraflow lane on the opposite side will be set up during peak hours in the mornings and evenings. Motorists are urged to use the second Penang bridge or ferry instead. (The Star Online)