Zeti: Malaysia can meet revenue requirement without GST
Malaysia can meet its revenue requirements even after shelving the Goods and Services Tax (GST), says Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. She said this is by prioritising its projects, increasing the efficiency of the public sector, avoiding wastage and exploring new sources of revenue. The former Bank Negara governor also expressed her confidence in the country’s economy which can be steered towards the right direction. She said the 100-day time-frame is adequate to provide clarity and make necessary adjustments and changes. “We have done this before during the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir’s reign in the mid 1990s. “As the result of the many mega projects, our current account deficit of the balance of payments exceeded 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and increased the country’s vulnerability,” she said. (The Star Online)

Flood mitigation, affordable housing and LRT main focus on Penang CM
New Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow vowed today to start work on as many of the projects promised to Penangites in his first 100 days of taking office. He said the priorities are flood mitigation projects, affordable housing and implementation of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Asked if the plan to reclaim land and create three islands to fund the RM27 billion PTMP would be dropped since Pakatan Harapan (PH) had taken over Putrajaya, Chow said the islands’ project may likely be retained. He said the islands would create 4,000ha of land and spur Penang’s economy, especially in the booming Bayan Lepas industrial zone. as for the undersea tunnel and three main roads project, he would call the contractors (Zenith Construction) to brief him on the current status. He said of the three main roads, two were ready to go since environmental regulators had given the greenlight a long time ago. (Free Malaysia Today)

Auction properties on the rise
Properties going “under the hammer” are expected to continue to rise in the coming quarters, especially for high-end residentials including those under commercial titles such as SoVo, SoHo and SoFo. The auction market is largely “an untapped segment” when it came to property investment in Malaysia due to various misperceptions. The number of auction properties rose to 28,262 units worth RM12.2bil in value in 2017, an increase if 8.3% year-on-year. It was a 24% y-o-y rise in terms of units. The general rise in auction units has become “another form of competition” to developers, especially with the popularity of online auctions and because they are traded at discounts to their market values. (The Star Online)

Image from The Star

Developers bullish on Penang property sector
Property value in Penang is expected to appreciate as the Penang Transportation Master Plan (PTMP) can now be executed with ease to benefit the sector. Penang Rehda chairmain Datuk Toh Chin Leong said the state government could collaborate with the federal government to fund infrastructure projects such as the expansion of the airport and the light rail transit (LRT). The state government can now also explore building a bridge, which is a cheaper alternative, as a third link instead of an undersea tunnel, he said. Rehda also hoped that the new federal government could come out with a comprehensive plan to subsidise the cost of building affordable houses in the country, and consider bringing back the developers’ interest bearing scheme (DIBS) to help first-time house buyers own a house. (The Star Online)

Savills Malaysia: Housing prices to firm up in 2019
Property consultancy Savills Malaysia expects housing prices to firm up in 2019, with real estate developers only able to increase supply by early 2020, following renewed confidence in the market from the new government’s promise of clean and fair governance. However, there will be a period of adjustment and consolidation required to clear existing stock before we see much evidence of price increases. In short, particularly in Greater KL and Penang, there has never been a better time to buy. The Pakatan Harapan administration’s promise to abolish the goods and services tax (GST) will augur well for groceries, F&B and mass prestige fashion brands. However, the abolition of GST is not expected to have any meaningful impact on the office market. (The Edge Markets)