Exemption of RPGT, Service Tax from Jan 1, 2019
The government has agreed to exempt the real property gains tax (RPGT) to individual Malaysian citizens who dispose of their properties at a consideration price of RM200,000 and below. The RPGT exemption, effective from Jan 1, 2019, were for the disposal of properties including low-cost houses, low-medium cost houses and affordable houses from the sixth year onwards. For the acquisition of assets before year 2000, the market price on Jan 1, 2000, would be used as the acquisition price for the disposal of property by Malaysian citizens and permanent residents. Additionally, the government would also exempt the service tax for persons registered for Service Tax in Group G (Professional Group) who provide the same service to registered persons beginning Jan 1, 2019. This is to avoid the increase in cost due to double taxation and maintain the competitiveness of the local service industry. (The Star Online)

Stamp duty increase for properties over RM1mil effective July 1, 2019
The increase of one per cent in stamp duty for the instrument of transfer for property exceeding RM1 million to RM 2.5 million is now effective July 1, 2019. The government would maintain the current stamp duty rate for six months from Jan 1 to June 30, 2019 to encourage the sustainability of activities in the real estate sector. It was previously announced that the stamp duty would be raised from 3% to 4% for this category effective Jan 1, 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Pakatan Harapan government was very concerned and fair in determining a sufficient time frame for the transfer process to be undertaken in the interim before the new stamp duty becomes effective. He also said the exemption of the stamp duty is aimed at continuing to encourage first time house purchases by Malaysians, improving the purchase of unsold units from developers, as well as boosting the property market. (NST Online)

UOA Development buys two Pantai plots in KL for RM25mil
UOA Development Bhd has acquired property developer Naik Makmur Development Bhd for RM24.67 million cash, to expand its existing land bank in the district of Pantai, Kuala Lumpur. Owned by Lembah Bayusegar Sdn Bhd, Naik Makmur holds two parcels of freehold land in Pantai totalling 2,509 sqm. UOA plans to develop the land, which is then expected to contribute positively to its earnings in the future, but said its gross development value and costs have yet to be ascertained. (The Edge)

Allianz Real Estate seeking to expand in Asean
Allianz Real Estate (ARE), which recently acquired a 20% stake in Ocean Financial Centre in the Singapore CBD for S$537.3 million, is seeking to expand in Asean in 2019. “We would like to explore Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia as a start … because Allianz has fairly fast-growing insurance businesses there which are now of a sizeable presence. As a result, we can leverage on their presence – their relationships, understanding of regulations – to see if we can invest in real estate in these three countries,” said Allianz Asia-Pacific CEO, Rushabh Desai. The group is exploring the logistics, office and retail property sectors to ride on the “fast-growing consumption stories” in these three countries. Currently, Singapore is the only country in Asean where ARE has invested in. (Business Times)

FT Ministry aims to hand over 90 housing units to poor via Baiti Jannati project
The Federal Territories Ministry aims to hand over 90 housing units to the underprivileged in the Federal Territory next year under Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s (TNB) ‘Baiti Jannati’ project. FT deputy minister Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh said the target could be realised through its strategic cooperation with more private parties in an effort to enable the less fortunate to own homes and to live in more comfortable ones. “The Baiti Jannati TNB project is one of the solutions in helping and addressing urban poverty in the Federal Territory. We do not want tithe recipients, single mothers, the disabled and senior citizens to be marginalised,“ he said. Since the Baiti Jannati TNB project was implemented in 2014, a total of 109 houses of selected recipients have been successfully built or repaired by TNB involving a cost of RM5.028 million. TNB will buy DBKL houses that are occupied by selected tithe recipient and repair the house at an overall cost of not more than RM50,000 per unit before handing it over to the selected recipient family. (The Sun Daily)