Western Digital to close its iconic PJ factory by end-2019
After over 20 years in operation, Western Digital Corporation announced that it will be shutting down its HDD (hard disk drive) manufacturing facility in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, by the end of 2019. The move is in response to the declining demand for HDDs in the long-term. US-based Western Digital entered Malaysia in 1973, initially making custom semiconductors before transitioning to manufacturing hard drives. The shutdown will not eliminate Western Digital’s presence in Malaysia altogether, as the company still has manufacturing sites in Johor and Sarawak. The company is in the final stages of commissioning its second SSD facility in Penang, which will go into production in the coming months. Western Digital will retain a Center of Excellence in Selangor, housing several key engineering teams, core operational planning and regional support functions. (The Star Online)

A restaurant in Gurney Plaza, George Town, displaying the service charge. (Photo from The Star)

10% service charge is not govt tax
The 10% service charge imposed by hotels and restaurants will stay when the Sales and Service Tax (SST) returns to replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Sept 1. The service charge is not to be confused with SST, which has a 10% tax on sale of goods and 6% tax on provision of services (the same rate as pre-GST times). The SST is a government tax while the service charge is distributed among the service crew of the hotel. About 30% of hotels nationwide include the service charge in their bills – a common practice in Malaysia for years. The Customs Department website states that the service charge is a charge over and above the cost of goods or services imposed by businesses in a bill. This is normally applied in the hospitality industry and the normal rate is 10%, in place of a tip system. The sum is pooled into a fund to be paid to workers in an establishment. (The Star Online)

50 developers earn honours at PIPDA
The Property Insight Prestigious Developer Awards (PIPDA) 2018 witnessed more than 50 award winners taking to stage. Present as guest of honour was Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. Among the developers who received the awards were MRCB, Mah Sing, OSK, UMLand, Putrajaya Holdings, IJM and Sunway. For the first time, the personal recognition awards went to Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) president Datuk FD Iskandar, who received the Industry Excellence Award, while Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal was awarded for his corporate social responsibility contributions under Yayasan Emkay. Judges went through the nominations based on four criteria – track record, concept, building design and value creation. (The Star Online)

Canada Pension Plan may buy stake in Pavilion Bukit Jalil
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is in talks with Malton Bhd, a company controlled by Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon, on the purchase of up to a 49% stake in Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall, sources say. Should the discussions bear fruit, this will be the third partnership between Lim and CPPIB, after the Pavilion Damansara Heights project in Kuala Lumpur in 2015 and Pavilion Dalian in China in 2016. CPPIB is one of the 10 largest retirement funds in the world. Another source says Pavilion Bukit Jalil mall, which is located in southern Kuala Lumpur, is likely to be placed under a special purpose vehicle to accommodate the partnership. The entire Bukit Jalil City project has a GDV of RM4 billion. (The Edge Markets)

145-storey KLCC skyscraper on the cards
KLCC (Holdings) Sdn Bhd (KLCCH), the owner of Malaysia’s tallest building, the Petronas Twin Towers, will lose its bragging rights when The Exchange 106 and Menara PNB 118 are completed. But it will not be long before the company regains its crown as it plans to build a 700m building called Tower M within the Kuala Lumpur City Centre development. Construction of the office tower atop a retail podium will commence on a 4-acre site (Lots L, L1 and M) near Jalan Binjai in Kuala Lumpur after 2030. Industry estimates put the GDV of the yet-to-be-named skyscraper at between RM3.7 billion and RM4.2 billion. Data from the Skyscraper Centre, the global tall building database of the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, ranks the Petronas Twin Towers as the 12th tallest building in the world. The Petronas Twin Towers will still retain the title of tallest twin structures in the world. (The Edge Markets)

Image from The Star