HSR construction in Singapore slated to begin in 2019
The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) has called for tenders for the design and construction of tunnels and associated facilities for Singapore’s end of the high-speed rail (HSR) project connecting with Kuala Lumpur. According to The Straits Times, construction was expected to start next year. “We remain on track to commence the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore express service by 2026,” said an LTA spokesman. The 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR is expected to cut travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes. (Malay Mail Online)

Yong Tai makes KL debut with RM200mil condominium project
Melaka-based property developer Yong Tai Bhd, in a collaboration with KOF Holdings Sdn Bhd and the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority, will be developing a high-end condominium along Jalan U-Thant here,which will have an estimated GDV of about RM200 million. Impression U-Thant, which will later be renamed Residensi Mutiara U-Thant, will be the company’s maiden residential development in the Klang Valley bearing its signature Impression trademark. Spanning 1.2 acres, the freehold project features a 10-storey condominium block housing 108 units. The development is expected to be completed by 2021. (The Edge)

Flat loan growth positive for banks
After missing loan growth targets in 2017, several Malaysian banks have kept expectations more conservative this year, even as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) data indicated a moderation in the total outstanding financing growth of 4.1% in 2017 compared with 5.6% in 2016. “The fact that loan growth rates tend to become flat, or even reverse, is a positive sign,” said Jose de Luna-Martinez, the lead financial-sector specialist at the World Bank, noting that it is good when loan growth stabilises. The Malaysian banking sector is categorised as a “mature market” which is getting crowded for domestic players. However, market segments such as housing finance and insurance still have potential to grow. (The Edge)

JAKS Resources puts property ambition on hold
AKS Resources Bhd has decided that it will take a step back from the property market to focus more on infrastructure and power-generation projects, especially from renewable resources. But first, it has to finish construction of the RM1.1 billion Pacific Star development in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, by the end of the year. It also wants to sell off its 51% stake in Evolve Concept Mall in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. The group has no plans to acquire more land for development amid a soft property market that is favourable for big-scale developers. It will instead focus on its US$1.87 billion 2x600mw coal-fired thermal power plant in Hai Duong Province, Vietnam, for the next two years, which will drive the group’s profit growth. (The Edge)

Singapore may allow Airbnb-type rentals, with tough conditions
Singapore on Monday proposed allowing private home owners to rent out their property for short-term stays but with stringent conditions, a move welcomed by home-sharing giant Airbnb. Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday published proposals for a regulatory framework for private home owners wanting to let out their properties for tourists. The proposal refers to private homes in the city-sate and does not cover the government-subsidised apartments, commonly referred to as HDB. The proposals include measures to safeguard the security and privacy of private home residents, including a short-term rental cap of 90 days per year and limiting the number of persons renting a unit to six. (Free Malaysia Today)

AmProp teams up with UK’s Chelsfield to invest in Shanghai offices
Amcorp Properties Bhd (AmProp) plans to invest up to RMB107 million (RM66.19 million) to collaborate with Chelsfield Asia Fund 1 Limited Partnership to buy office properties in Shanghai, China, as part of its strategy to diversify its property investment and development portfolio. The parties, as co-investors, intend to acquire five floors of strata office properties with a total gross floor area of 9,769.43 square metres in Llland Tower in Shanghai. This follows the group’s profitable ventures in London and Tokyo. The group would also leverage on the experience and branding of Chelsfield, and expects the venture to contribute positively to its future earnings. (The Sun Daily)

Businessman loses RM100,000 in non-existant land scam
A ‘Datuk’ businessman lost RM100,000 after being duped by a man in the purchase of a non-existent piece of tin mine land in Chini, Pekan. The suspect told the 54-year-old victim that there was a tin mine in Chini for sale at RM1 million because the contractor could not pay the tin mine company. He handed a deposit of RM50,000 with a cheque on December 29 and another RM50,000 by cash. After two months, the victim was informed by a third party that the land owner would be returning the deposit for failing to meet the land sale agreement, but to-date has yet to receive the deposit money back, which prompted him to lodge a police report. (Malay Mail Online)