‘MoF links two suspicious projects worth RM9.4bil to 1MDB’
There is “strong suspicion” that two recently declassified projects involving a unit of the ministry of finance (MoF) were implicated in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial scandal, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The two projects, which are undertaken by Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd (SSER), are the 600km multi-product pipeline connecting Melaka and Port Dickson to Jitra, Kedah, and the 662km gas pipeline from Kimanis gas terminal to Sandakan and Tawau, costing approximately RM4.06 billion. The two projects have a combined contract value of RM9.4 billion, with their development awarded to Chinese firm China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPB) on Nov 1, 2016. As at end-March this year (12 months after the commencement date), SSER already paid CPPB RM8.3 billion, which is 87.7% of the total contract value, based on the “timeline milestone” payment method that is stated in the agreements, although only 13% of the projects had been completed. (The Edge Markets)

Bina Puri to launch two projects worth RM500mil in 2018
Bina Puri Holdings Bhd is set to launch two projects worth RM500 million this year, said group executive director Datuk Matthew Tee. “There has not been much upside in the sector since 2012, so we hope that with the abolition of GST, the sentiment will improve. I believe things will only get better and there will be only upside in the property sector,” he said. First up of the new launches will be phase 2 of The Valley, with a GDV of RM150mil and comprising a 1,600-acre homestead development in Karak, Pahang. It will also unveil a RM350 million condominium development on a 3.5-acre freehold site in Cheras Pertama in the third quarter of 2018. The yet-to-be-named condominium development will comprise 398 units. (The Edge Markets)

PPR owners given 3 months to eject foreign tenants
People’s Housing Project (PPR) owners, renting their units to foreigners, have been given three months beginning today to eject these tenants. Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said if the owners fail to do so; they would be subjected to action including the cancellation of home ownership rights.Action taken will start with PPR homes under the ministry nationwide, followed by the other sectors. In addition, Zuraida said the ministry also plans to redevelop the residential area at Highland Towers after it has been left abandoned for almost 30 years when one of the blocks collapsed in a major landslide tragedy. “The remaining blocks have now turned into a nest for addicts and criminals, and it worries people in the area,” she said. (NST Online)

Good demand for landed residential property in South Johor
The demand for landed residential property in south Johor, especially in the Iskandar Malaysia region, is still encouraging despite the slowdown in the property market. SP Setia Bhd president and CEO Datuk Khor Chap Jen said most buyers in the economic growth corridor still preferred landed or high-rise properties. “Buyers have started to come back to the market and it is a good sign for many developers in Iskandar Malaysia, including us,” he added. Developers in Iskandar Malaysia were still launching their projects despite uncertainties and challenges in the property market in recent years. He said the property outlook in Iskandar Malaysia remained attractive, adding that developers should come out with the right products to attract potential buyers, especially first-timers. (The Star Online)

MoF to appoint external auditor for Tabung Harapan
Ministry of Finance (MoF) will appoint an external auditor to audit Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM), the crowd-fund attempt aimed to mend the government’s strained finances. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the plan for the external audit will take place in the near future, and he welcomed all auditors who are interested to serve the government’s fund. “This external audit will help to ensure the fund’s financial statements are accurate,” he said. THM has collected over RM31 million so far, as of yesterday. (Malay Mail Online)