Ethiopian Airlines flight crashes, killing 157
An Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board and raising questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model that also crashed in Indonesia in October. There were no survivors among the passengers from 33 countries aboard the plane. “The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and that he wanted to return,” said the airline’s Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam. The aircraft, a 737 MAX 8, is the same model that crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Oct 29, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight. The cause of that crash is still under investigation. (The Star Online)

Highland Towers area view.
(Picture b Ahmad Zamzahuri)

Highland Towers to be demolished by June, says minister
The Highland Towers Condominium which have been left neglected for more than 25 years will be demolished at the latest by June, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. The Highland Towers Re-Development Committee had prepared a report of a study on the structure of the condominium and will decide on the agency which will carry out the demolition works, whether it is the Public Works Department (JKR) or the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council. Zuraida said the developers of Highland Towers had also said they would provide RM2 million for the demolition works. It was proposed that the Highland Towers area be re-developed as a recreational park. (Malay Mail)

Developers in a rut as affordable demand exceed supply, with expensive homes unsold
Malaysian property developers face the conundrum of more expensive houses remaining unsold even as demand exceeds the supply of affordable housing. Only a quarter of homes launched nationwide between 2016 to March 2018 cost under RM250,000, and for the first time in a decade the overall House Price Index fell on a quarterly basis last year. Home prices on average in KL and Selango have increased over 100% and 80% by 3Q2018, compared to 2008. By 3Q2018, unsold units stood at over 30,000, with ‘unaffordable’ homes making up 65.4%. These exclude some 10,801 serviced apartments and small office home office units built on costly commercial land that remain unsold. Due to this developers are now sitting on RM27.4 billion worth of completed but unsold homes throughout country. (Malay Mail)

Hatten Land to launch mixed-use development in Australia
Hatten Land Limited, a leading property developer in Melaka has entered into an exclusive land purchase option agreement with Sunvale Development Pty Ltd to acquire a land in Melbourne, Australia for an aggregate consideration of not exceeding A$15.8mil (S$15.25mil). This marks the group’s first expansion into the Australian property market. The group has an option which upon exercise, entitles the group to acquire the land, which is located in Southbank, Melbourne, Australia. The land has been granted a planning permit for the development of a multi-storey building comprising of dwellings, retail premises and offices with an estimated gross floor area of 25,000 square meters. The group intends to develop a mixed-use development on the land which may comprise retail and hospitality units. (The Star Online)

Prosecution wants Rosmah to declare property acquisition in money-laundering case
The High Court was told today that the prosecution has filed a notice against Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for her to declare her property acquisition in a money-laundering case. Rosmah is facing 12 counts of money laundering totalling RM7,097,750 and five charges of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board. Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent, who is also representing Rosmah in the case, said Rosmah could not be asked to declare her acquisition of property and be charged over the same assets. (Malay Mail)