FOX files US$46.4m counterclaim against Genting Malaysia
The legal dispute between Genting Malaysia Bhd (GENM) and Fox Entertainment Group LLC, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and FoxNext LLC (collectively known as FOX) intensified as FOX filed a counterclaim seeking US$46.4 million (RM191.7 million) from GENM. GENM told the Malaysian stock exchange today that FOX and The Walt Disney Company on Jan 22 filed answers to its lawsuit, but at the same time filed a counterclaim alleging breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. To recap, GENM is suing FOX and The Walt Disney Company for more than US$1 billion (RM4.13 billion) for terminating their contract to develop a Fox-branded theme park at Resorts World Genting in Malaysia. (The Sun Daily)

Low financial literacy hindering homeownership in Malaysia
One often overlooked issue hindering homeownership is the lack of financial literacy among Malaysians. “Financial literacy remains low and people somehow don’t fully understand what it takes to own a property,” RHB Bank head of group mortgages and ASNB business Anuar Amin said. Sunway University Business School lecturer Dr Henry Cheah Chee Wei noted that many young Malaysians trying to obtain home loans are National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) loan defaulters and this affects their credit profile. As a result, it is harder for them to obtain a mortgage when they want to buy a house. Both believe education is the key to address the issue of low financial literacy. The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has set up an online online financial education module to educate the public about basic financial literacy. (The Edge Markets)

Sunway, Hoi Hup secure RM1.32b executive condo project in Singapore
Sunway Bhd and joint venture partner Hoi Hup Realty Pte Ltd has secured a bid to develop an executive condominium housing project in Singapore. The project is worth S$434.45mil (RM1.32bil). Sunway will have a 35% stake in the development with Hoi Hup holding the rest. Sunway’s cost of investment in the joint venture is S$65mil or approximately RM197.75mil. The completion period of the proposed project shall be 60 months or earlier, commencing from Jan 22, 2019. The project is expected to contribute positively to the earnings of Sunway Group in the financial year 2023. (The Star Online)

Axis REIT’s manager targets RM200m acquisitions in 2019
Axis REIT Managers Bhd (ARMB), the manager of Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (Axis REIT), is targeting to acquire RM200 million properties in 2019 compared to the RM180 million spent for the same purpose last year. The selection of properties will continue to focus on Grade A logistics facilities and manufacturing facilities with long leases from tenants with strong covenants, well-located warehouses, business parks and industrial properties with potential for future enhancement. The trust will continue to focus on Klang Valley for potential acquisitions, as well as venturing into Melaka, the East Coast region, Sabah and Sarawak. Axis REIT’s current portfolio stands at 45 properties, located in Klang Valley, Johor, Penang, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Kedah. (NST Online)

Need for regulation of businesses like Airbnb
There is a need to regulate the home-sharing business before it undermines the hospitality industry and the property sector, according to the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH). MAH CEO Yap Lip Seng said this business model concept could exist with mainstream hotels, but it must be regulated in a similar way to how the authorities monitor ride-sharing operators. “It becomes a risk not just to the hospitality players but also to the communities where such services are provided in housing estates, apartments and condominium blocks if it operates entirely out of the system,” he said. Malaysia welcomed more than two million home-sharing guests over the last year and is said to be the fastest growing market for Airbnb in the region with over 44,000 forms of accommodation listings. (The Sun Daily)