AKPK: Increasing financial literacy will help potential house buyers
Improving financial literacy, especially for making housing purchases, will help borrowers to choose a house and financing that match their financial situation, said the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK). The agency said this in a statement welcoming the move to set up a RM1 billion Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Fund for Affordable Homes under the 2019 Budget to help the lower income group finance their first homes. AKPK, which was set up by BNM in 2006, provides an online financial education module for those applying for financing under the fund, which is available to Malaysian citizens with a maximum monthly household income of RM2,300. (The Edge)

PM: EPF and members can invest in P2P house financing
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and its members will be allowed to put in their money in privately driven property crowdfunding platforms, which iss an additional financing option for first-time house buyers. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said EPF members for example, would be allowed to withdraw their savings to be invested in a peer-to-peer purchase. The peer-to-peer financing framework, which was announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng during the 2019 Budget tabling, allows buyers to purchase or acquire selected properties at 20% of their respective price. As for the remaining 80%, it would be funded by potential investors in exchange for potential appreciation in value over a period of time. The Securities Commission has been tasked to facilitate and regulate the process. (NST Online)

PRG plans to subscribe 29.9% stake in Singapore property firm
PRG Holdings Bhd plans to subscribe to up to a 29.9% stake in Catalist-listed Capital World Ltd, which is engaged in property development in Malaysia. The proposed investment will allow PRG to participate in Capital World’s flagship project in Johor Baru, featuring four million sq ft of integrated development comprising a shopping mall, hotel, serviced suites and serviced apartments. PRG group managing director Datuk Lua Choon Hann said the proposed investment is part of the group’s overall strategy to continue building up its property development and construction division in becoming one of the significant property players in Malaysia. (The Edge)

Low Yat Group urges regulation on short-term stays to curb oversupply
Hospitality player Low Yat Group has urged the government to regulate short-term stays to curb the issue of accommodation oversupply in the hospitality and tourism industry. The group, which was expecting some measures for the tourism industry to be included in Budget 2019, said it can understand the Government’s need to address immediate problems like building the rakyat’s income and improving the nation’s economy. However, it thinks the problem of unregulated short-term stays and over-saturation of accommodation inventory that is affecting the hospitality industry now has to be looked into. “This trend is pressuring average room rates to continue to be very low in Kuala Lumpur compared with other regional cities. Short term stays have to be regulated to curb oversupply of accommodation in the hospitality and tourism industries,” said its executive director Low Su Ming. (The Edge)

Almost 50% of Malaysian consumers distrust online payment security
The VMware Banking Consumer 2020 Study reveals that almost half (46%) of Malaysian consumers are dubious about the security of e-wallets and payment applications. The numbers rise for connected devices, with 53% doubting the security of smart devices with payment capabilities. The study also found that Malaysia consumers prefer traditional payment methods, with the majority (70%) indicating that they trust online interbank transfers, ATMs or cash. Despite the sceptical outlook on newer payment modes, the study found that Malaysia consumers have poor ‘cyber hygiene’ habits, such as using different passwords for their accounts. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s cashless adoption rate is ramping up, with e-payment transactions per capita doubling to 111 transactions per capita in 2017 and forecast to reach 200 transactions per capita in 2020, according to Bank Negara. (Digital News Asia)