TRX project to proceed with additional RM2.8b injection
The government has decided to proceed with the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), with an additional RM2.8 billion allocated for the project. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that without the funding (RM2.8 billion), failure to complete the project would also lead to the government having to pay RM3.51 billion in compensation. He said, apart from having to pay compensation, the government would also lose the RM3.7 billion transferred earlier to TRXC. “The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to support the TRX project to recoup all misappropriated funds, repay all borrowings, recover all funding investments and opportunity costs as well as potentially achieve a small surplus return,” Lim said. “There will also be an eyesore in the form of an abandoned mega-project in the heart of Kuala Lumpur,” he added. The payment will be made in tranches until the project’s completion in 2024. Mulia’s Exchange 106 Tower and the Prudential building are expected to be ready by early next year. (NST Online)

Penang introduces rent-to-buy schemes for low-cost housing
The Penang state government will convert some of its low-cost housing projects into rent-to-buy schemes and plans to introduce more in the future, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow. It was decided during the first state exco meeting to re-introduce the rent-to-own (RTO) scheme instead of only selling low-cost and low-medium-cost housing units. Under the scheme, he said rent paid over the long term of between 20 and 25 years will go towards paying for the unit and in the end, the tenant will be the owner of the unit. “This scheme comes with the condition that the tenants have to pay their rent on time,” he added. The projects identified for this scheme are built by state agency Penang Development Corporation (PDC), one of which is a low-cost housing project in Mak Mandin, Butterworth. “Give us some time for the housing department to look at the criteria and mechanisms to implement this policy,” he said on the date of implementation. (Malay Mail Online)

KLCCH to go on with projects
KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd (KLCCH) will continue with its development projects despite the glut in commercial properties. KLCCH director and group chief executive officer Datuk Hashim Wahir said that, as its master developer, it is the group’s responsibility to ensure that Kuala Lumpur City Centre is fully developed. “We are mindful of the situation in the market. These decisions will be based on the current commercial [property market] reality,” he said. It was reported in April that KLCCH had formed a JV with a third party to develop its first transport-oriented development (TOD) on Jalan Bintai, which is expected to be completed in 2022. The mixed project, which is an expansionary programme for the Suria KLCC shopping centre, will feature retail and office components and a hotel. (The Edge Markets)

EPF says it does not provide housing loans
The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) said that the proposal by a consumer group for it to provide housing loans to members would be deviating from its original social intent. The EPF told Free Malaysia Today that its mandate and purpose is to provide a safe place to invest and grow its members’ savings for retirement purposes. The current EPF structure, competencies, skills and processes, which are more towards investment and fund management, would have to be repurposed in order to give out loans the way banks do. The EPF added that managing housing loans required a different set of skills, particularly in performing tasks like property valuation, credit evaluation and risk assessment. It pointed out that there is an existing facility under its Account 2 for members to withdraw their savings to help finance the purchase of a home and settle or reduce housing loans. (The Borneo Post)

Sunway open to working with Pakatan on affordable housing projects
Sunway Bhd is looking forward to working with the new government to develop more affordable housing projects, while urging it to introduce incentives to help the developers. The group said it was open to engage with the Housing and Local Government Ministry on a win-win formula that fulfilled the government’s vision and benefited the shareholders’ interests. Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had earlier expressed concerns about the size of affordable houses, saying that PPR flats should be at least 900 sq ft instead of the current 600 sq ft. (Malay Mail Online)