Housing ministry launches scheme to aid first-time homebuyers
The housing and local government ministry has launched the FundMyHome+DepositKu scheme, further easing the burden for first-time homebuyers who purchase property via EdgeProp Sdn Bhd’s FundMyHome platform. Under FundMyHome, buyers can own a home without the need for a mortgage and monthly repayments by paying 20% of the purchase price, while the balance 80% is contributed by participating institutions. However, the most common issue faced by buyers is the inability to raise the required 20% payment, which is where the DepositKu scheme comes in. Under DepositKu, first-time homebuyers can opt for a loan of up to RM30,000 to be repaid after five years, accounting for part of the 20% payment to own a home under FundMyHome. The scheme is open to first-time Malaysian homebuyers purchasing a home priced RM500,000 and below from the FundMyHome platform, with approvals subject to final vetting by the housing ministry. (The Edge)

Penang’s Yeap Chor Ee estate pioneers novel micro-housing scheme
The Estate of Yeap Chor Ee has announced a groundbreaking plan to redevelop shophouses into shared living and work spaces in the heart of the city’s Unesco world heritage site. The project, involving a row of nine heritage shophouses along Acheh Street, will see the spaces transformed into a co-learning, co-living and co-working space for students and professionals. Datuk Seri Stephen Yeap, who is Chor Ee’s grandson, said the estate is investing about RM2.6 million into the project. Chor Ee had been a prominent banker and tycoon known as the founder of Ban Hin Lee Bank in the early 20th century and his estate owns over 100 shophouses in George Town’s inner city. (Malay Mail)

‘Some planned PR1MA projects may be scrapped’
The housing and local government ministry said that the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA) is currently being reviewed and that some of its proposed projects that are deemed unviable may be scrapped. Those that have been completed will still go on sale and the ones currently under construction will still be completed. Work on some PR1MA projects that are currently under construction that may not seem to be viable — due to unsuitable locations, for example — has also been halted, said housing minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. She added that PricewaterhouseCoopers is currently carrying out due diligence, and said the decision on the projects will only be made once the firm completes its report on PR1MA in June. (The Edge)

Penang expects approval for transport plan by June
Penang hopes to obtain approval for projects under its Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) within the first half of the year, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow. The lawmaker said he is “optimistic” that the state will be given approval for the mega infrastructure project within the next few months. Penang, through its project delivery partner SRS Consortium, had applied to Putrajaya for approval to build a Light Rail Transit (LRT), Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1), and to reclaim the sea to create three islands off the southern coast of the Penang island. Chow did not specify which component of the project the state is expecting a green light from the federal government. (Malay Mail)

Airbnb: No avenues for operators to register with Ministry
Airbnb operators are unable to register with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) because there are no forms or other avenues for them to do so, said Airbnb Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, Mich Goh. She was responding to a directive by the ministry for Airbnb hosts and operators to register with it and to obtain business licences from the local authorities. Registration forms are now available only for hotels, which do not apply to Airbnb properties. The ministry issued the directive on Feb 15, and the move was welcomed by the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), which said the move is crucial to ensure industry harmony in driving tourism for Malaysia. (The Sun Daily)