Putrajaya to freeze toll rates for 21 highways in 2019
The government has chosen to maintain existing toll rates at all expressways in the country for 2019, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The move will cover all vehicle classes on the country’s 21 highways eligible to increased toll rates next year, at a cost of RM994.43 million to taxpayers’ monies. When tabling Budget 2019 in November, Lim had announced the moratorium on toll rate increases for intracity highways only. The government will abolish toll for motorcyclists travelling through the first and second Penang Bridge, as well as the Second Link in Johor. (Malay Mail)

EcoFirst to jointly develop RM1.25b GDV project in Penang with Lone Pine Group
EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd is seeking to jointly develop a RM1.25 billion GDV mixed residential and commercial project in Paya Terubong, Penang with Penang-based Lone Pine Group. The group signed a share sale agreement (SSA) to acquire a 70% stake in Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, a member of the Lone Pine Group, for RM44 million cash. Geo Valley owns seven pieces of land totalling 32.8 acres in Paya Terubong, which will be used for the development. The development will consist of three blocks of medium-cost apartment and one block of controlled price apartment and commercial shop lots on one out of the seven pieces of land measuring 21.73 acres. (The Edge Markets)

DBKL allocates RM2.896bil for city planning in its Budget 2019
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is allocating RM2.896 billion for Budget 2019 to realise planning and projects to enhance the comfort and security of 1.79 million city folks. The budget themed ‘Prosperous Kuala Lumpur, Hopes of People’ is allocating RM1.694 billion (58.5%) per cent as operating expenditure with RM1.202 billion (41.5%) for development. RM20 million will be used to extend the free GO-KL bus routes; RM800,000 to aid the homeless; RM692.01 million for the management and development roads and drainage; RM262.17 million to manage People’s Housing Projects and Public Housing schemes around Kuala Lumpur; and RM142 million to repair and maintain houses involving public works, electrical and mechanical repairs, lifts and cleansing contracts. (Malay Mail)

MVV 2.0 set to drive investments
A new plan to develop 153,411 hectares of land in Nilai, Seremban and Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan may boost confidence in the local property market. Malaysia Vision Valley 2.0 (MVV 2.0), which involves an area twice the size of Singapore and part of Greater Kuala Lumpur, is expected to attract RM294 billion of investments in 30 years. Private companies have purportedly indicated interest to participate in MVV 2.0. They include a company from China which has agreed to invest RM2 billion in Nilai. The MVV 2.0 will focus on four economic drivers — high-tech industry, services and tourism, education and skills-based research, and logistics, aviation and maritime hub-related activities. Sime Darby Property Bhd will be undertaking the MVV 2.0 project as the master developer. (NST Online)

Cash-strapped Umno to rent out Janda Baik leaders’ retreat
Umno will open its Institut Latihan Memperkasa Ummah (Ilmu) in Janda Baik to the public in a bid to generate funds for continued operations after its bank accounts and assets were frozen as part of ongoing criminal cases. The centre was previously reserved for leadership retreats and other Umno events. Putrade Property Management Sdn Bhd has assumed control of the location and will most likely rename it Ilmu Resort. The place is suitable as a resort and for corporate retreats because it has a range of accommodation, meeting rooms and halls. The place will be renovated and refurbished before opening for business in March next year. (Malay Mail)

Umno’s Institut Latihan Memperkasa Ummah (Ilmu) in Janda Baik (Photo from Malaysian Insight)