Property consultants expect positive effect from zero-rated GST measure
With zero-rated Goods and Service Tax (GST) beginning next month, property consultants expect it to be a fresh lead that encourages purchasers to end the wait-and-see approach and make their buying decision. The zero-rated GST is a smart move for new government in the transition period to stimulate the market. Property buyers who intend to purchase commercial properties can now make their decisions as the transaction price will now [from June 1] be cheaper, as they do not need to pay the 6% GST. For residential properties, as building and raw materials will not be charged 6% GST, the selling price is expected to reduce, said Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam. However, there won’t be significant price cut in short term as the raw material inventories which are purchased by developers have been charged GST. CBRE|WTW Malaysia managing director Foo Gee Jen believes that zero-rated GST will provide a small boost to the general property market as about two-thirds of the market is dominated by residential property, which is exempted from GST. (The Edge Markets)

Sime Darby Property partners Mitsui Co, Mitsubishi Estate for RM530mil Klang project
Sime Darby Property is partnering Japan’s Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd. for a RM530 million GDV develop and lease built-to-suit industrial facilities project on a 39-acre site at the Bandar Bukit Raja integrated township in Klang, Selangor. Sime Darby Property holds 50% of the joint venture company, while the other 50% is held by Mitsui, in which Mitsubishi has a 40% holding. The built-to-suit industrial facilities, comprising warehouses and logistics facilities, offer tailored features to suit operational requirements of business tenants. The built-to-suit project at Bandar Bukit Raja will be the third joint venture project for Mitsui and Mitsubishi Estate, besides logistics facility development projects in China and the United States. (The Sun Daily)

House-buyers want to stop sale of 99-year leases
The incoming federal government was urged today to stop two housing policy changes which would allow developers to sell 99-year leases for homes on freehold land, and for en-bloc sale of housing estates. National House Buyers Association’s secretary-general, Chang Kim Loong, also urged the incoming government to remove the housing minister’s power to grant developers an extension of time for completing a housing project, to avoid any abuse of power. Developers are required to deliver completed houses within 36 months of the sale-and-purchase agreement being concluded. The sale of 99-year leases for houses on freehold land was not fair as it would allow a developer to develop houses on freehold land and sell them on a 99-year lease. (Free Malaysia Today)

Country Heights sells stake in healthcare unit to focus on property business
Country Heights Holdings Bhd’s wholly-owned unit, Mines Holdings Sdn Bhd, is divesting a 5% stake in Country Heights Health Tourism Sdn Bhd (CHHT) for RM250,000. Country Heights said the deal is in line with objectives of the group whereby it will focus on its core businesses of property development and property investment. The non-core businesses of the group will be divested in stages, it added. CHHT owns and operates GHHS Healthcare, a private preventive health screening centre in Seri Kembangan, Selangor. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia’s Chinese project: Mahathir to respect all agreements
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad said his government would “respect all agreements” even as it reviewed the viability of Chinese-linked projects in the country.“As far as the leaders from China and the Chinese are concerned, we have made it clear that we are going to look into all these contracts again because they are very costly for the government and will incur huge debts which we cannot pay,” he said. Mahathir’s comments provided little clarity on his new Pakatan Harapan coalition’s China policy, which observers believe could significantly diverge from the dovish approach towards Beijing taken by his defeated predecessor Najib Razak. (South China Morning Post)