Malacca recognised as state with most affordable housing in terms of price
Malacca has been recognised as the state which provides the most affordable housing in terms of pricing, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron. He said this formed part of the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s continuing endeavour to improve infrastructure facilities for the people under its housing programme. For example, an affordable house in Malacca costs only RM80,000, compared with one of the northern states where the price is RM240,000. Khazanah Research Institute together with the World Bank have categorised Malacca as the most affordable housing provider in the country. He said the government had also allocated RM2.8 million to repair dilapidated houses so that no group was marginalised or left out of the state’s housing programme. (The Sun Daily)

Fitch: Banks in Asia-Pacific to face heightened property risks
Banks in Asia-Pacific will face heightened property risks over the medium term and residential property risks are highest for Australian and New Zealand banks, said Fitch Ratings. These banks had relatively high exposure to the sector and heavily indebted household sectors were susceptible to a rise in interest rates or unemployment. However, Fitch said household leverage has started to decline in the emerging markets where it was highest – Malaysia and Thailand. Asia-Pacific banks had relatively high exposure to the property sector and hence will face rising risks over the medium term, “given their relatively high exposure to the sector and the susceptibility of heavily indebted household sectors to a rise in interest rates or unemployment”. (The Star Online)

Bina Darulaman to capitalise on undeveloped landbanks worth RM344mil
Bina Darulaman Bhd (BDB) is confident of overcoming the current challenging business environment by capitalising on undeveloped landbanks, worth RM344.4 million, to sustain future developments. About 75% of BNB’s product launches would be affordable housing priced at RM400,000 and below. While BDB noted that several projects planned for launch in 2017 have been held back due to weak market sentiments, BDB Land had continued to launch properties in Bandar Darulaman, Darulaman Perdana and Darulaman Utama in 2017 while another subsidiary, Kedah Holdings Sdn Bhd, rolled out its maiden pocket development outside Kedah in Kuala Kangsar. (The Edge)

52,925 affordable homes planned
A total of 52,925 affordable housing units under 79 projects will be developed in Penang to solve the issue of house ownership for low- and middle-income groups. According to the latest projection, 27 projects comprising 5,895 affordable housing units have been built in the state at a cost of RM579.86 million. The figure does not include 26 projects involving 7,977 affordable housing units, which are being built in several areas at a cost of RM867.6 million. The number of units will solve the of house ownership, especially those from the low- and middle-income group in the state. Overall, the projects that cost RM5.2 billion were at the discussion stages, following the additional requirements set by the state government. (NST Online)

Malaysian contractors to benefit most from HSR civil works
Malaysian contractors are expected to benefit the most from the spillover from the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project’s civil works portion, says CIMB Equities Research. The deadline for the project’s AssetsCo role was extended by six months, from June 28 to Dec 28, 2018. The AssetsCo will be led by a foreign HSR expert likely via a JV with a local rail systems works player. A certain portion of the HSR alignment is targeted to begin construction works in 2019, implying that there could be some HSR contracts awarded over the next six to nine months. So far, the only known consortiums that have expressed interest to bid for the AssetsCo are George Kent (Malaysia), YTL Corp and MMC Corp. (The Star Online)

Protasco projects at least 10% growth in FY18 profit
After two years of shrinking profits, Protasco Bhd is confident of achieving a positive growth in its bottom line in 2018, thanks to the government’s spending on infrastructure and affordable housing. For FY17, net profit fell 28.8% while revenue dropped 12.9%. The company projects a minimum of 10% growth in Protasco’s net profit for FY18, driven by higher government spending on infrastructure maintenance as well as affordable housing for civil servants under the Perumahan Penjawat Awam 1Malaysia (PPA1M) scheme. Protasco also appears to have benefited from more road maintenance works this year because it is an election year. (The Edge)

Labuan to get satellite town project
Labuan will soon have a satellite town in Saguking. Called the Saguking Commercial Centre, the 4.67ha mixed-development project costing RM304.86 million is a joint venture between Labuan Corp (LC) and Gancang Development Sdn Bhd. Development could ease traffic congestion in the town centre and help stabilise rising property prices. Property prices on the island are escalating due to fewer infrastructures for various industries, including the financial and oil and gas (O&G) sectors. The satellite town project will help by increasing commercial infrastructures to cater to current demands and the island’s long-term economic development. Saguking Commercial Centre would comprise shop and office lots, warehouse complexes, a hypermarket, apartments and a hotel. (The Edge)

secondlink photo from straits timesAll immigration counters at Johor’s CIQ to open on polling day
The Immigration Department here will open all its counters on polling day to facilitate smooth traffic between Malaysia and Singapore. The department will be mobilising a total of 350 officers to work during the general election. The 350 officers will be deployed to both the Sultan Iskandar Customs Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) and Sultan Abu Bakar CIQ complex in Tuas to facilitate immigration process at all land checkpoint counters for a three day period which will begin on May 8. The three-day exercise is to help voters plan their trip early without causing much traffic congestion on polling day. (NST Online)