World Bank raises Malaysia GDP 2018 forecast to 5.4%
The World Bank has raised its forecast for Malaysia’s 2018 Gross Domestic Prooduct (GDP) growth to 5.4% from 5.2% previously, on sustained high level of private sector expenditure. Malaysia had experienced a significant acceleration of growth at 5.9% in 2017, supported by a confluence of favourable domestic and external factors. “Looking further ahead, Malaysia’s economy is projected to expand at 5.1% in 2019 and 4.8% in 2020 and is expected to achieve high-income country status at some point between 2020 and 2024,” it added. Domestically, downside risks relate primarily to the relatively high level of household and public-sector debt, as well as uncertainties surrounding Malaysia’s forthcoming general election. (NST Online)

Ultra-wealthy prefer to invest in stocks, properties
Despite the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the ultra-wealthy around the world still prefer parking their money in stocks and properties. The biggest draw for new investments by the wealthy last year was equities. The appetite for shares was greatest in Asia, where 83% of Asian respondents said their clients increased exposure to equities last year. The level of investors in Malaysia investing abroad had been relatively stable over the years, with the trend expected to to continue over the next few years. According to Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey 2018, 28% of Asians list wine, jewellery, watches or classic cars as part of their investment portfolio, below the global average of 37%. (NST Online)

IHH surprises market with Fortis takeover offer
IHH Healthcare Bhd has taken the market by surprise following a report that it is planning an offer of up to US$1.3bil (RM5.04bil) to take over India’s second-largest hospital chain, Fortis Healthcare Ltd. The potential cash offer from IHH would top an earlier bid from TPG-backed Manipal Health Enterprises Pvt. IHH is a unit of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. It currently ranks as South-East Asia’s largest hospital operator. (The Star Online)

1,800 auctioneers left out of e-Lelong
Auctioneers in Peninsular Malaysia will no longer have any role in the 2012 Rules of Court under new amendments to introduce the web-based platform, e-Lelong. President of the Council of Auctioneers Malaysia Mustafa Osman said they had been left out without prior notice or explanation despite earlier promises to the contrary. He said auctioneers had since 1929 assisted the court in auction matters, without receiving a single sen from the government or the courts. The e-Lelong was conducted as a pilot project at the Kuantan Court Complex last July. The system allows public auctions to be conducted online in real time. It is expected to increase the public’s chances of owning fixed assets, especially residential properties, at real value without price manipulation. (Free Malaysia Today)

Country Garden teams up with Perdana ParkCity for KL project
China-based property development Country Garden has formed a joint venture company with Perdana ParkCity Sdn Bhd to develop a piece of land into a mixed development project in Taman Wahyu, Kuala Lumpur. Country Garden currently has four major developments in Malaysia, including the Forest City mega project in Johor, while Perdana ParkCity’s developments include Desa ParkCity in KL. With this joint venture, the development plans to establish the Hopsca community, a new urban concept widely adopted in the rapidly growing real estate industry in China. Hopsca includes various urban functions such as business office, residence, hotel, business, leisure, entertainment and transportation.(The Star Online)

Boustead gets green light for RM750mil land acquisition
Boustead Plantations Bhd (BPlant) has obtained shareholders’ approval to acquire 11,600ha of plantation land in Sugut, Sabah for RM750 million by mid-May 2018. The oil palm fruit yields from the land were expected to generate an additional RM55 million in revenue for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018. On the Sugut land purchase,the company had monetised its 809.37ha of Malakoff land in Penang for close to RM700 million to buy the land. (The Borneo Post)

350 affordable terrace homes for NS civil servants
A new housing project with 350 terrace houses for Negeri Sembilan civil servants will be launched on April 26. Under the PPA1M programme, a total of 10,000 houses were either being built or had been completed. The new scheme of single-story and double-storey terrace houses will be coming up on 18.2 hectares of state-owned land in Bandar Baru Seri Sendayan, near the Sendayan air base. PPA1M projects are aimed at public servants, especially low and middle income earners, and also available in Nilai, Port Dickson and Jelebu. (Free Malaysia Today)

Encorp sues contractor over delays and subpar work
Encorp Bhd’s unit Must Ehsan Development Sdn Bhd has filed a lawsuit against its contractor to claim for liquidated damages of RM24.63 million, because of a project delay. It served a writ of summon and statement of claim on Bumimetro Construction Sdn Bhd, and is also seeking a Qlassic (Quality Assessment System in Construction) penalty of RM3 million. Bumimetro was appointed by Must Ehsan as the main contractor for main building works construction for a proposed mixed development project in Kota Damansara, Selangor. Bumimetro had failed to complete the project within the timeframe, as stipulated in the agreement. (The Edge)