No exclusive townships for foreigners, developers told
Finance minister Lim Guan Eng said Putrajaya had no issues with foreign ownerships of properties, but warned against real estate development projects solely for foreigners. He said the government will never allow property developers to build townships exclusively for foreigners. Lim said no country would be at ease if foreigners, regardless of their nationalities, were given exclusivity in property purchases. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had courted controversy last month after he said foreigners would be banned from buying properties in development, specifically Forest City in Johor. The Prime Minister’s Office later clarified that while foreigners could own property in Malaysia, their investments did not guaranteed them residency in Malaysia. (Malay Mail Online)

No property price cut, no tax exemptions
The finance ministry may retract the tax exemption for construction services if property developers do not reduce selling prices despite the tax saving they now enjoy. “If this does not happen, then the government may have to rethink the exemption given and find new ways to make homes affordable, especially for first-time homebuyers,” said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. He said the ministry wants to focus on reducing prices of residential properties, in particular those priced at RM400,000 each and below. “We want to see a reduction in housing prices, and we are not interested to see any additional perks (freebies, rebates and so on),” Guan Eng said. Rehda acknowledged that with the abolishment of the goods and services tax, there will be direct savings of 6% for buyers of commercial and industrial properties. (The Edge Markets)

Sunway and NEC exploring smart city solutions at Sunway Iskandar
Sunway Bhd and NEC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (NEC) are exploring a collaboration to augment safety and security for the 1,800-acre Sunway Iskandar township in Johor, and to develop smart city solutions together with an Innovation Centre of Excellence (CoE). NEC planned to invest an estimated RM100 million into the township, which will create skilled tech jobs and develop local “technopreneurs” and tech-savvy talents within the economic growth corridor of Iskandar Malaysia. As part of the MoU, NEC Asia Pacific will explore the implementation of the latest NEC technologies, including biometrics and video analytics, towards making Sunway Iskandar a smart, secure and sustainable township, and establishment of a one-stop service desk support centre for NEC’s managed service business in Sunway Iskandar. (NST Online)

Malaysia to get rid of single-use plastics by 2030
Malaysia will launch its “Road map towards zero single-use plastic 2018-2030” next month, which aims to reduce Malaysia’s plastic waste including the policy on plastic straws nationwide. Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said under the new roadmap, plastic straws usage will only be given upon request by consumers. It will also include a policy on the charge for plastic bags at shops and where the money goes to. Recently, the Federal Territories Ministry announced that plastic straws will be banned in all the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan from Jan 1 next year. “Plastic contamination has become a national issue and it bears negative implications to the environment,” said Yeo. Malaysia is the fourth largest plastic exporter in ASEAN and ranked eighth in the world in mismanaged plastic waste pollution. (The Edge Markets)

Malaysia may implement VEP for foreign vehicles by year-end
The Road Transport Department (RTD) expects the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) on all foreign vehicles entering the country through the Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, to be implemented at the end of this year. Its director-general Datuk Seri Saharuddin Khalid said the permit system was now in the final stage of tests, before being finalised by the Ministry of Transport. The VEP was previously postponed by the government to standardise its implementation in Malaysia-Singapore and Malaysia-Thailand. (Malay Mail Online)