Negeri Sembilan plans to build aviation hub
The Negri Sembilan state government plans to develop an aviation hub in the state, saying it is confident the hub would benefit the economy of not just the state but also the country. The state government has already obtained agreements from AirAsia and Sime Darby Property to collaborate in making the project a reality. AirAsia is the largest purchaser of aircraft from Airbus, that is why it was proposed that Airbus open a finishing and assembly facility in Malaysia. The hub is planned for Labu as it is near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is also hoped that a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for commercial aircraft, engines and components would be built at the hub. (NST Online)

More unsold homes under construction and unconstructed in 1Q2018
The Malaysia property market is expected to see a surge in supply of residential properties in the near future, as the number of unsold residential units from launched projects that are under construction and those yet to be constructed have climbed in 1Q2018. According to the 1Q2018 report by NAPIC, there were a total of 144,927 unsold residential units under construction and those that have not started construction. Compared with 1Q2017, the total number has increased 5%, which includes SoHo and serviced apartment units. States that recorded the highest number of unsold under construction units were Johor, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur. (The Edge Markets)

Bina Puri hopes to sustain momentum despite property slump
Construction company Bina Puri Holdings Bhd is hoping to sustain last year’s financial performance at the very least, given that the property market remains tepid, while drastic cost cuts by the new Pakatan Harapan government have derailed several key projects. The election results have affected the sectors it is involved in, particularly construction, which contributed 80% of its FY17 revenue. At present, the group has ongoing projects valued at RM2.3 billion that will sustain the construction division for the next two to three years. Among these projects are a package for the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak as well as a steam cracker complex for Petronas. Even though the construction sector remains the main revenue driver, the company is trying to boost its other divisions, such as property development, power supply as well as quarry and ready-mix concrete. (The Edge Markets)

Sources say MRL would not have signed ECRL contract given a choice
Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) would not have signed the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project contract if given a choice in the first place, according to sources. This was revealed to the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), who noted that the contract was heavily skewed against Malaysia’s favour. “Even China government officials were quite embarrassed about it and agreed to changes in the agreement,” said the source. Among the reasons was the 15% upfront payment, which amounted to around RM10 billion. After the proposed cost cutting measures, which would see Phase 2 and 3 of the project being cancelled, costs for the ECRL project is expected to drop to RM40bil from the initial RM66bil. Changes will also be seen in the composition of local contractors participation so that it will be a more Malaysian project. (The Star Online)

MACC and EC to report to Parliament
From over 90 agencies and departments under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD), a massive overhaul will see the number reduced to only 26 entities. 40 will be redesignated to other ministries, while 10 agencies, including 19 offices and task forces, under the Prime Minister’s Office will be abolished. Nine have been given the green light to operate as independent entities – including Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Election Commission (EC), Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the National Audit Department, Public Prosecutor’s Office, Public Service Commission, Education Service Commission, and the Judicial Appointments Commission – and will report directly to Parliament. The Malaysian Parliament, which was also under the PMD, is an independent entity now. (The Star Online)