Chinese builders say Malaysia projects not dead
Two Chinese companies are optimistic that the stalled multibillion-dollar projects in Malaysia will move forward, looking to political leaders to break the impasse. State-owned China Railway Group eyes restarting Bandar Malaysia, a mixed-use development centered on a proposed high-speed rail link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Meanwhile, state-owned China Communications Construction, said that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a $13 billion Chinese-financed railway project suspended since July, is not dead, either – despite Mahathir’s vehement opposition. Chinese state companies also are trying to restore confidence in President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, a far-reaching infrastructure program for building land and sea routes across Asia and the Middle East. (The Edge Markets)

IJM Corp bags RM505mil job to build Affin Bank HQ in TRX
IJM Corp Bhd has bagged a contract worth RM505 million to construct and complete the superstructure works of Affin Bank Bhd’s new 47-storey corporate headquarters at the upcoming international financial district Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). The new project will boost IJM’s outstanding construction order book which currently stands at a near all-time high of RM9.3 billion. The completion period of the project is 26 months; it is expected to be completed by December 2020. (The Edge Markets)

Felda needs RM955mil to complete New Generation housing project
Felda needs to be injected with funds of RM955 million to complete the Felda New Generation Housing project, which is now classified as abandoned, said Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin. Felda had planned to build 8,314 houses under the project, involving RM1.65 billion. Of the total, 1,234 units had been built, while 5,346 units are still under construction and another 1,734 units classified as abandoned. Felda has reportedly spent RM696 million on the project via Budget 2017 and internal resources. Felda has several options to continue the project, including by opening opportunities for other government agencies to help, or enhancing cooperation with state governments. (Malay Mail Online)

Govt to stop oil palm expansion, keep 50% land as forest
The government will not allow any more expansion of oil palm plantations in the country, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said. She also said the government is committed to maintaining 50% of the land as forest, noting the loss of flora and fauna due to widespread deforestation for the palm oil industry over the years. Asked the impact of the government decision on its long-term revenue, Kok said the decision will be up to palm oil producing companies. She noted the glut in palm oil supply worldwide due to overproduction by Malaysia and Indonesia, which are the biggest producers of palm oil globally. (Malay Mail Online)

Singapore hikes development charges for residential properties for 5th time
Developers of residential and commercial real estate in Singapore will have to pay higher development charges – the fifth straight increase since September 2016. This follows the revised development charge (DC) rates for the period from Sept 1, 2018 to Feb 28, 2019 by the Ministry of National Development. The DC is a tax levied on developers to carry out development projects that increase the value of land, including rezoning to a higher value use and increasing the plot ratio of the property. The review is carried out every six months on March 1 and Sept 1 each year in consultation with the chief valuer. (The Edge Singapore)