Credit crunch may hit Asia, including Malaysia
A credit crunch may hit Asia as early as next year, with Malaysia likely to be one of the Asian economies at the centre of the crisis. Nomura Research, however, said the credit crunch would not be a long-drawn-out affair as the region’s economy would likely recover after July 2019. It warned that a number of countries in Asia, especially the current account surplus and export-reliant economies, could experience a sudden shortage in the availability of money for lending, leading to a decline in loans available. Other countries that would potentially be affected include South Korea, Greater China, Singapore and Thailand. (The Star Online)

Tabung Haji set to sell TRX land bought from 1MDB
A controversial piece of land in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) that Lembaga Tabung Haji purchased from 1MDB three years ago is likely to be one of the underperforming assets that will be transferred to a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under the ministry of finance. According to its group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, the 1.6-acre land is currently not providing any yield to Tabung Haji and therefore could be disposed of. Tabung Haji’s property arm, TH Property Sdn Bhd, was supposed to undertake the development of the property into a high-rise residential tower on the TRX land. Acquiring the TRX land in 2015 at RM188.5 million drew heavy criticism from various quarters, as it was seen as a bailout for debt-ridden 1MDB. (The Edge Markets)

Developers urged to provide quality housing for M40, B40
Property developers have been urged to equally address the need for quality housing for the Middle 40 (M40) and Bottom 40 (B40) groups as the country moves towards being a developed, high-income nation. Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Senator Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said developers who have made huge fortunes should work together with the government to give attention to the less fortunate, including treating them with dignity and sensitivity in building their living habitat. “It is no coincidence and not by chance that crimes are more frequent in low-cost and affordable housing categories. I hope these pressing issues will continue to be highlighted when delivering the quality of the houses, not just on the quantity,” he said. (The Edge Markets)

Arul Kanda, Najib to be charged over 1MDB audit tampering
Former 1MDB president and CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy will be charged for the first time today in connection with the 1MDB scandal. According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the charge against Arul Kanda involves the alleged tampering of the final audit report on 1MDB. Also to be charged is former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Najib and Arul Kanda were arrested yesterday after they had gone to the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya over the same probe into the alleged tampering of the final audit report on 1MDB. However, only Najib was released on bail. Najib currently faces 38 charges relating to money laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust. (The Edge Markets)

Singapore’s property measures to tame residential market in 2019
Just when Singapore’s residential property market was reviving after a four-year slump, government moves to curb the exuberance might play spoiler going into the new year. Home prices that are forecast to climb as much as 10% this year could remain flat in 2019 and may decline as much as 3%, estimates property brokers. The government is unlikely to introduce additional curbs or rollbacks as the market is stabilizing, noted Knight Frank Singapore. The pace of residential property price increases is slowing after the government added measures to cool the market in July. Those curbs were prompted after prices rose about 7% in the first six months of the year, fueled by aggressive land bids from developers and en-bloc or redevelopment transactions. (The Edge Markets)