Malaysia ranks top 5 globally in mobile social media penetration
Malaysia was ranked top five globally and highest in Southeast Asia for mobile social media penetration, according to Hootsuite and We Are Social in their latest Digital 2019 report. Internet penetration in Malaysia stood at 80%, with users spending a daily average of eight hours and five minutes online. Emerging fourth globally in mobile social penetration, Malaysia is in the lead among Southeast Asian countries including Singapore is in sixth place, followed by Thailand (8th) and the Philippines (10th). Malaysia presented a unique opportunity for businesses, which 75% of the internet users spent their money via e-commerce with 58% spending on mobile commerce platforms. Ride hailing applications also proved to be highly popular in Malaysia, 48% of internet users used such an app, the third highest globally behind Singapore and Indonesia. (The Sun Daily)

MoF: Stamp duty exemption for houses up to RM1m during HOC
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has announced the exemption of stamp duty for the purchase of houses priced up to RM1 million, during the six-month Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) from January to June 2019, in a bid to encourage homeownership and reduce the supply overhang in the residential market. The move is aimed to assist those in the B40 and M40 categories. “The exemption is for buyers of houses priced up to RM1 million and also reduces the rate for houses priced up to RM2.5 million. [For the] first RM1 million, stamp duty is exempted. For the balance of the price, a stamp duty of 3% will be charged,” said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. Rehda has also agreed to cut the prices of its completed and incoming units by at least 10%. (The Edge Markets)

Singapore: Malaysia remitted payment for HSR’s abortive costs
Malaysia has remitted the payment for abortive costs incurred by the republic for suspending the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) Project, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Transport. The ministry’s spokesperson said the republic has “received confirmation from the Government of Malaysia through diplomatic correspondence” about the remittance. On Sept 5, 2018, Singapore agreed to suspend construction of the project until the end of May 2020. Following Malaysia’s request for the deferment of the project, the government has agreed to pay an abortive cost of S$15 million (S$1=RM3.04) to the Singapore government by Jan 31, 2019. The HSR Express Service between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur is expected to commence by Jan 1, 2031 instead of the original start date of Dec 31, 2026. (The Sun Daily)

Rehda proposes joint venture with govt to build affordable houses
Penang Rehda has proposed that the government partners with developers in joint-venture efforts to build affordable homes at the new ceiling price of RM300,000. Its chairman Datuk Toh Chin Leong said such a move could entice developers to meet the market demand for affordable housing. “If the location is good where there are amenities and infrastructure, then the land may be expensive. This would result in developers having to subsidise [the project]. It would also result in the developers’ profit margins to be slim, unless the government partners with the developers. Then, the ceiling price would be acceptable,” he said. He was responding to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s announcement that prices of houses, whether built by the federal, state, or private sector, would be fixed between RM90,000 and RM300,000. (The Sun Daily)

ARK Resources to jointly develop RM600m Penang project
ARK Resources Holdings Bhd has proposed an 80:20 joint venture with the landowner Koperasi Kampung Melayu Balik Pulau Bhd (KKMBPB) to develop 89.9 acres of land in Penang into a multi-phased integrated development. The project has an estimated GDV of RM600 million. KKMBPB will provide the JVD land with vacant possession and free from encumbrances and ARK Resources will develop the land at its own sole costs and expenses. The group said the proposed JV is expected to enhance its core business of property development and in line with its strategy to seek for more strategic land to expand its existing landbank. (The Sun Daily)