Creating the world’s first REIT for airports
The government has proposed to set up the world’s first airport real estate investment trust (REIT) to raise RM4bil to fund future airport upgrades and expansion. The idea of setting up an airport REIT is to move the aviation industry towards a self-sustainable model that does not have to depend on the government’s expenditure for future upgrades and expansion. The government owns all the physical assets of airports in the country, while Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is the concessionaire that operates and manages the airports till 2035. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that investors in the airport REIT would get income from user fees collected from MAHB. It hopes to sell the REITs to private investing institutions and this will only be carried out after the new regulated asset base and user fees structure are negotiated and finalised. (The Star Online)

5% real property tax on Malaysians
The government will impose a 5% real property gains tax (RPGT) on all Malaysians and raise the tax by 5% for foreigners. When tabling Budget 2019, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said this was to streamline the tax on property sales. The RPGT is currently a tiered tax that ranges from 30% for property sold inside the first year of its date of purchase to 0% after five full years of ownership. “For companies, individuals who are not Malaysians or hold permanent residency, the RPGT rate will increase from 5% to 10%. For individual citizens and permanent residents, the rate will increase from 0% up to 5%,” said Lim. (The Sun Daily)

Dr M: Property crowdfunding will help build 1 million affordable homes
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is confident that the “property crowdfunding” solution announced in Budget 2019 can drive the building of one million affordable houses in 10 years. He said the scheme, the first of its kind in the world, offered first time home buyers the chance to pay only 20% to own a house with the remaining 80% will be borne by investors via the peer-to-peer financing framework. This would enable more people to own a house with minimum payment, which could be settled by their savings, loans or Employee Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals. Buyers can take a loan for 20% of the price of the house, and the balance 80% will be bought by investors, similar to a REIT. “This does not mean the investor will enter the home, just claim ownership to the level invested but the house fully belongs to the buyer,” he said after launching a digital platform which offers a similar scheme to the Crowdfunding Property solution. (The Star Online)

Casino, aviation, property sector’s earnings dented by new measures
The key surprises in the Budget 2019 proposals are higher gaming tax and real property gains tax (RPGT), says CIMB Equities Research. The sector winners include healthcare and tobacco, while casino, aviation and property sectors are likely to see some dent to their earnings. It said the measures which could impact earnings of companies under its coverage include the increase in minimum wage to RM1,100 per month, increase in casino and slot machine operator duties, and increase in RPGT for the disposal of properties or shares in property holding companies. (The Star Online)

Singapore to match Malaysia’s decision to abolish Second Link toll for motorcyclists
Singapore will match Malaysia’s move to abolish tolls from January 1 onwards at the the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. On Friday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that motorcyclists will no longer be charged when crossing the Penang’s two bridges and the Second Link to Singapore. The current toll rate for motorcyclists coming from Malaysia to Singapore is RM1.10 and 40 Singapore cents at the Tuas, Singapore checkpoint. “Should Malaysia reduce or remove the motorcycle toll charges at the Second Link, Singapore will match Malaysia’s revised toll rates,” said a source from Singapore’s Transport Ministry. (Malay Mail Online)