Wealthy Asians to favour cash and gold, survey shows
Amid an environment of economic uncertainty, ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) of Asia Pacific are expected to place their bets on cash, as well as less cyclical assets such as bonds and gold, according to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey for 2019. In Malaysia, wealth managers are optimistic about growing their clients’ wealth this year after more than half reported an increase in the fortunes of their clients in 2018. 78% of wealth managers expect their clients’ wealth to grow in 2019, despite challenges from continued market volatility. Ultra-high net worth Malaysians are also expected to continue investing in real estate this year, although they are likely to diversify their allocations abroad. (The Edge)

World Bank keeps Malaysia’s 2019 GDP outlook at 4.7%
The World Bank Group has maintained Malaysia’s 2019 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast at 4.7%, driven by private consumption. “Household spending will be buoyed by stable labour market conditions and income support measures such as the Cost of Living Aid (Bantuan Sara Hidup),” said lead economist for Malaysia Richard Record. He said gross fixed capital formation was expected to increase slightly, driven by the private sector, while public investment was expected to remain subdued in the near term. Going into 2020, he said Malaysia’s economy was projected to expand at 4.6 per cent, and the country was expected to achieve high-income country status by 2024. (The Star)

SkyWorld buys RM176m Setiawangsa land for mixed development with ‘low entry price’ homes
Property developer SkyWorld Development Group is acquiring a 13.61-acre site in Setiawangsa, Kuala Lumpur, from Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur for RM176 million. In addition to the acquisition, SkyWorld said it will assist to relocate the existing sports complex owned by Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN) to Bandar Baru Nilai. SkyWorld founder and group managing director Datuk Ng Thien Phing said the piece of land will be utilised for a mixed development known as SkySierra, in which the first phase of the development — comprising residential properties — has a GDV of RM776 million. Commercial and business components will be developed in Phase 2. The first phase of SkySierra, known as The Valleys, is expected to launch in the second half of 2019 pending approvals and is expected to take about 4 years to complete. (The Edge)

Airbnb lambasts call for cap on short-term rentals
Airbnb has hit out against the Malaysian Association of Hotels’ call for a new cap on short-term rentals, equating it to capping Malaysian tourism. Airbnb head of public policy for Southeast Asia Mich Goh said caps run contrary to the goal of growing Malaysian tourism as well as the Malaysia Productivity Corporation’s (MPC) work in reducing red tape and enhancing innovation. She said restrictive caps would mean less choices for travellers, which in turn would lead to fewer travellers and tourism growth. The MPC is currently considering how best to regulate short-term rentals and has been in consultation with the wider industry on its draft regulatory framework. (The Sun Daily)

Inta Bina eyes main contractor role in Forest City
Building contractor Inta Bina Group Bhd is looking to become one of the main contractors for Forest City – the multibillion-ringgit project developed by Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd in Johor. “Country Garden recently approached us to tender for their bungalow projects in Forest City. If we win the bid, they will be the first international client in our corporate history,” said group managing director Paul Lim Ooi Joo. the contract to build bungalows and landed villas near the golf course in Forest City is worth over RM300 million in total, which will be divided into three packages of RM100mil each. Initially set up to handle residential projects with a contract value of below RM1 million, Inta Bina has progressed to large-scale projects worth some RM200 million. (The Edge)