2,775 people affected by Pasir Gudang chemical pollution
The number of those affected by toxic fumes from the chemical pollution of Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang has jumped to 2,775. Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said that until 12pm on Thursday (March 14), there were 1,906 cases at two medical bases in Pasir Gudang, and another 869 victims who sought treatment in hospitals and clinics in Johor Baru. He said that besides the 111 schools that were directed to close, kindergartens and preschools in the affected area were also told to close. (The Star Online)

Survey: KL, JB among top cities in Asia for living quality
Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru were 10th and 12th respectively in Asia, according to a survey ranking global cities for quality of life. KL was also second highest in Southeast Asia. International human resources consulting firm Mercer’s quality of living survey indicated both cities retained their global ranking, despite the current global economic climate being dominated by trade tensions and populist undercurrents. Ahead of KL is Singapore, the highest in South-East Asia and the Asian region, followed by five Japanese cities (Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya), and then Hong Kong and Seoul. Globally the Austrian city of Vienna remains at the top place for the 10th year in a row, followed by Zurich in Switzerland, with the cities of Auckland in New Zealand, Munich in Germany, and Vancouver in Canada at joint third place. Mercer’s survey evaluated 450 cities worldwide based on living conditions according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories. (Malay Mail)

Napic urged to provide more up-to-date data
Data coming from the National Property Information Centre (Napic) should be more up-to-date so that buyers can understand the current demand and supply situation and make purchasing decision. See Kok Loong, executive director of Metro Homes Realty Bhd, said the data provided by some parties like Napic only present property overhang and not the overall market supply. He said the real ratio that represents a supply and demand situation should be the residential vacancy rate (RVR), which is the percentage of all units in a specific market that are unoccupied during a particular time. He suggested Napic should provide RVR by national, state, city or location basis similar to other developed countries such as the United States, Singapore and Australia. “Napic should compile and publish it on a quarterly basis for the public to analyse. For a better Malaysia, we should start providing more information on timely basis so that the stakeholders can react accordingly,” he added. (NST Online)

Rehda: Property developers turn positive on second-half outlook
Property developers are more optimistic on the outlook of the property industry in the second half of 2019 on the back of improved consumer sentiment, according to Rehda. For 1H 2019, the economic and business as well as property industry outlook remained neutral, said Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon. “Developers feel that there are more people walking in to their property gallery, thus they expect to have better chance to increase their sales compared with six months ago,” he added. Based on Rehda’s Property Industry Survey 2H 2018, 41% respondents planned to launch 8,991 units in 1H 2019, comprising 3,637 strata units and 5,210 landed units. However, 78% respondents with future launches in 1H 2019 are anticipating their sales performance to be 50% and below within that period. (The Sun Daily)

First Ikea in northern region opens in Penang
Swedish home furnishing store, Ikea, opened its first northern region store in Batu Kawan yesterday. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow is confident the RM650 million new store will drive the development of Batu Kawan. He said the home furnishing retailer will elevate the economy here with more than 300 people hired for the store since last year. “Batu Kawan is a new township developed by Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and these lands were acquired since the 1990s,” he said. Ikea and Aspen Group has invested on the over 200 acres of PDC land here for mixed development, which will be built in phases over the next five to 10 years. (Malay Mail)

Members of the public throng the newly opened Ikea outlet in Batu Kawan, Seberang Perai March 14, 2019. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail