Tenants claim discrimination, but believe landlords have right to be picky
One out of five Malaysians claim they have encountered racial discrimination when renting property. Sunday Star quoted research done by YouGov Omnibus, which polled 1,204 Malaysians aged 18 and above, and found that 21% of respondents claimed to have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity when it came to renting space. The research also showed that 62% of respondents have come across a rental advertisement with specific racial requirements when it comes to renting certain properties. The study reportedly showed that Indians (46%) faced the most discrimination, compared to local Chinese (20%) and Malays (18%). While 37% of respondents perceived racial requirements for renting property as racism, some 32% believed the requirement was simply good business sense. About 60% of respondents felt that landlords had “absolute discretion” when it comes to renting out their properties. (Malay Mail)

Guan Eng: SC to regulate digital currencies
The Capital Markets and Services (Prescription of Securities) (Digital Currency and Digital Token) Order 2019 has come into force to allow the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) to regulate digital assets as prescribed securities. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the offering of such instruments, comprising digital currencies and tokens, as well as its associated activities, will require authorisation from the SC and need to comply with the relevant securities laws and regulations. “In this regard, the SC will put in place the relevant regulatory requirements for the issuance of initial coin offerings (ICO) and the trading of digital assets at digital asset exchanges in Malaysia. This framework is expected to be launched by end-Q1 2019. Any person offering an ICO or operating a digital asset exchange without SC’s approval may be punished, on conviction, with imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and fine not exceeding RM10 million,” Lim said. (The Edge Markets)

HCK takes over Empire Remix 2 project, to be rebranded as education city
HCK Capital Group Bhd is taking over the development of the Empire Remix 2 project in USJ 1, Subang Jaya from Mammoth Empire Holding Sdn Bhd’s (MEH) unit True Renaissance Development Sdn Bhd (TRDSB) and rebranding it into an integrated education city development. The project had seen delays since it was first launched in 2012. Previous reports estimate that new investors will have to fork out at least RM350 million to continue the project. Empire Remix 2 is part of an integrated commercial development together with Empire Remix, which would have a combined GDV of RM1 billion. Empire Remix 2 comprises one 12-storey tower, three 28-storey towers, as well as two floors or associated units and four basement floors. (The Edge Markets)

Singapore’s CapitaLand to create Asia’s biggest realty group via ASB takeover
Singapore‘s CapitaLand is acquiring Temasek subsidiary Ascendas-Singbridge (ASB) in a deal valued at S$11 billion, including debt, to create Asia’s largest diversified real estate group. After the transaction, CapitaLand’s combined total assets under management (AUM) will exceed $116 billion across more than 30 countries, and cover asset classes such as logistics/business parks, industrial, lodging, commercial, retail and residential. In addition, CapitaLand will surpass its 2020 AUM target of $100 billion, putting it among the top 10 real estate investment managers in the world. (The Nation)

(Photo from The Star)

M’sian passport ranks fourth in Asia, visa-free in 179 countries
The Malaysian passport remains the fourth most powerful in Asia, enabling Malaysians to travel to more countries visa-free. According to the rankings published by the Henley Passport Index, holders of Malaysian passport can travel to 179 countries visa-free. This is an increase from the 2018’s figure of 166 countries. Malaysia is placed behind Singapore, Japan and South Korea in Asia, and is ranked 12th overall in the world out of 199 countries. Japan and Singapore maintained their position as No 1 and No 2 respectively, while South Korea jumped from third to tie with Singapore this year. Although there are more places for Malaysia to visit visa-free, Malaysia’s ranking dropped from 10th place in 2018 to 12th. In this year’s index, Malaysia is tied at 12th place with Estonia. (The Star Online)