Dr M in Time’s list of 100 most influential people
Described as a formidable old warhorse, 93-year-old Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been listed in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people this year, following the historic election victory that swept him back to power in the May 9 polls last year. Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown, who wrote the profile summary for Dr Mahathir, said Dr Mahathir’s campaign not only gathered vast crowds, but his reliance on core values helped to unite electoral groups, and his age enable him to gain the trust of regular Malaysians. The Pakatan Harapan chairman is listed in the leaders’ category with the likes of US President Donald Trump, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chinese President Xi Jinping among others. (The Star Online)

Malaysia Rail Link clarifies CCCC will not own ECRL assets
Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) clarified today that a proposed joint operations agreement between the company and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) does not involve ceding any form of ownership of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) to its Chinese counterpart. The joint operation arrangement is purely the sharing of management, operation and maintenance (MOM) costs plus the exchange of technical know-how and expertise between the two companies. “The Government of Malaysia will own 100% of all ECRL assets through MRL, from the beginning to the end of the joint MOM arrangement,” it said. Besides the issue of ownership, MRL clarified that the travel time from Kota Bharu to Kuala Lumpur via the new southern alignment will be approximately four hours. MRL also clarified that the reduction in cost from RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion was not solely due to the four stations being omitted, but includes other cost saving measures as well. (The Edge)

Valuers say current weak residential market won’t prolong
Valuation and Property Services Department director-general Ahmad Zailan Azizuddin said the residential market has stabilised and is expected to remain flat until the end of this year. However, he dare not say the market has bottomed out. “Regionally, all countries are not performing well. So it is good that the government is supporting the infrastructure sector,” he said. Ahmad Zailan, who is also the president of Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP), was speaking to reporters after launching the updated 6th edition of the Malaysian Valuation Standards. Other valuers are less optimistic, pointing out that the current bearish market would need a longer time to recover in view of the steep rise in prices over the past decade. There were also too many approvals for development over the years before the present government took over last year, and will need to wait for these approved projects to be absorbed by the market. (The Star Online)

(Source: FMT)

Details of Penang LRT project to go on public display for feedback
The Penang government will follow due process and put up a public display of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project for feedback before construction begins, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said. Chow was clarifying a Bernama report in which he was quoted saying that the RM8 billion project will start construction next year. Chow said there is still substantial work to be done even after the state obtained conditional approval for the project. He said he is still hoping to get conditional approval for the proposed LRT project from the federal government soon. The LRT is a component of the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan. The rail line was estimated to cover 29.5km and will have 27 stations linking the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas with Komtar in George Town. (Malay Mail)

Hektar REIT RM2.4bil asset value target on track
Hektar REIT is on track to double its portfolio asset value to RM2.4 billion by 2026, as it is in the hunt for one more asset this year. Its CEO Datuk Hisham Othman said the firm was in an active negotiation with a mall owner over a potential acquisition move. The asset is likely located outside Klang Valley as it aims to move away from the overcrowded malls in the city centre. “We are tapping on the stable purchasing power in smaller underserved cities by bringing in new local and international brands and retailers to the area,” he said. The REIT’s current asset value stood at RM1.2 billion following its acquisition of Segamat Central, catering to a market catchment of three million shoppers. (NST Online)