Guan Eng has ‘no goodies to give out’ in Budget 2019
Following financial legacy issues that was left by the previous government, many expect Budget 2019 – which will be announced this November – will be a tough challenge for the new Pakatan Harapan government to balance the rakyat’s expectations and being fiscally responsible. “It is going to be a very difficult budget… It is likely I will end up as the most unpopular finance minister because I have no goodies to give out,” said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. These sacrifices are necessary, he said, to help trim the RM1 trillion national debt so that Malaysia can get back on track fiscally within three years. (The Edge Markets)

Sentiment on local property sector hits record high in H1
Malaysians expressed a record high of 42% satisfaction rating for the local property sector in the first half (H1) of 2018 post 14th general election, according to a online property portal’s consumer sentiment survey. The record high, which comes even as Malaysia continues to face uncertainties attributed to various macro-economic and socio-political issues, is a marked improvement from just 25% in 2015 and 38% in H2 2017. The rise in sentiment to breach the 40% mark is attributed to changing perceptions among Malaysians towards the country and thereby the real estate market. “People who previously were thinking of relocating overseas have changed their plans or have deferred them. Others who postponed home purchases are beginning to explore both primary and secondary markets again. Even Malaysians abroad are considering returning home,” said the portal’s country manager. (The Sun Daily)

Subsidised public transport mulled for B40 group
The National Cost of Living Action Council (NACCOL) is studying the possibility of providing subsidised public transportation to ease the cost of living. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the suggestions include introducing unlimited ‘Rapid Rail’ and ‘Integrated Rapid Bus’ passes as well as discounts for KTM Komuter services. The passes and discounts would be targeted for the Bottom 40 (B40) bracket. Dr Wan Azizah said most developed nations including France and Singapore gives out high subsidies for public transportation. Malaysia, she said, will follow a similar model. Currently, the government does not offer any direct subsidies for public transportation. (NST Online)

Former MPSJ chief Nor Hisham to take over as 12th KL mayor
Barring any unforeseen changes, former Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) president Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, who retired last year, will take over as the 12th mayor of Kuala Lumpur on Oct 2. Sources said he was already receiving calls from developers seeking his help to push through their projects. Nor Hisham, who served with MPSJ from 2014 to 2017, is known for being tactfully opinionated about issues but rarely took a step back if he felt strongly about something. Nor Hisham is known to be vocal about local government elections and has always maintained that appointment or election by merit is crucial. He replaces mayor Tan Sri Amin Nordin Abd Aziz, who tendered his resignation on Sept 1. (The Star Online)

SkyArena tipped to be KL’s largest sports complex
The SkyArena Sports Complex located along Jalan Ayer Jerneh in Setapak is poised to be the city’s largest, multi-level and multi-function sports complex. Built at about RM100 million, the sports complex will have facilities that include an indoor rock climbing, Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool, and a football field with running track and hostel. The 3.80ha sports complex will be accessible to the public and buyers of units in SkyArena — a mixed integrated development by SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd. The complex is the biggest component in SkyArena and has eco-friendly elements that reduces energy use to lower the maintenance cost. The 11.6ha SkyArena with a total GDV of RM2.5 billion was first launched in 2014 with a project called Ascenda Residences comprising 650 high-rise units, followed by Bennington Residences with 580 high-rise units. SkyArena Sports Complex has won two prestigious Regional awards – “Public Service Architecture” and “Public Service Development” – during the Asia Pacific Property Awards ceremony held in Bangkok this year. (NST Online)

Scale model of the SkyArena Sports Complex (Photo from The Star)