Lim: Highway acquisition will bring compensation savings of at least RM5.3b
The government’s proposed RM6.2 billion acquisition of four highways in the Klang Valley through the issuance of bonds is a “win-win solution” as it will result in savings of at least RM5.3 billion in compensation to the operators for freezing toll hikes. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the total compensation savings would be between RM5.25 billion and RM6.50 billion. On June 22, the Federal Government made a conditional offer to acquire four toll highways — the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sistem Penyuraian Trafik KL Barat (SPRINT), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas) and the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) — for RM6.2 billion. According to Lim, the government cannot afford to fork out RM18 billion in compensation for the highways not to collect toll charges due to legacy issues from the previous government leading to financial constraints. (The Sun Daily)

TRC Synergy tenders for projects worth RM2bil this year
Construction player TRC Synergy Bhd is actively bidding for RM2 billion worth of projects this year while striving to reduce reliance on the segment. Executive director Datuk AbdulAziz Mohamad said the company has set a realistic target of RM2 billion this year as compared with a RM5 billion tender book last year. TRC’s construction division currently contributes 90% to turnover, while the remaining 10% comes from the property segment. TRC secured construction projects worth RM609 million last year. “As for this year, the total value of projects that we have tendered and will tender for is RM2 billion, including projects related to the Pan Borneo Highway in Sarawak,” he said. Going forward, TRC Synergy is looking to increase the contribution from the property segment to 20%, particularly after the mixed-use development project Ara Damansara kicks off in 3Q19. (The Star Online)

Source: Shafwan Zaidon/Malay Mail

New survey suggests KL getting pricier to live and work in
Malaysia’s capital has risen by four places as the world’s 141 most expensive city to live and work in. Mercer’s 25th annual Cost of Living Survey found that Kuala Lumpur rose four places to 141 from 145 on the backs of the movement of other cities. Eight of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities are currently located in Asia as a result of the region’s high costs for consumer goods and a dynamic housing market which has also created an impact on the pockets of expatriates. Hong Kong tops the list as the world’s costliest city for the second consecutive year, and remains as the most expensive city for expatriates both in Asia and globally. The other seven Asian cities in the top 10 list are Tokyo (2nd), Singapore (3rd), Seoul (4th), Shanghai (6th), Beijing (8th) and Shenzhen (10th). (Malay Mail)

Mah Sing plans to spend up to RM1bil to buy more land
Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd is prepared to spend up to RM1bil to acquire more land primarily within the Klang Valley for potential residential and industrial development. Mah Sing corporate and investment executive director Datuk Steven Ng said the company is also able to leverage on its low gearing levels if it wanted to fork out more cash for land acquisition purposes. Mah Sing founder and group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum said the company currently sits on a healthy balance sheet with cash and bank balances of RM1.3bil and is looking for new land “practically every day”. The group plans to do pocket-sized developments in the Klang Valley comprising affordable residential projects, and focus more on townships in the outskirts like Rawang. Mah Sing’s landbank stood at 2,099 acres as at March 31, 2019. (The Star Online)

Property overhang can be resolved if MM2H is less stringent
One way to resolve the property overhang is to stop being so strict over Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) applications from Chinese nationals, said a developer. “I understand that we are more stringent on the MM2H applications for the mainland Chinese,” said TA Global Bhd director Datin Alicia Tiah. “These are the people with money ready to spend. If the government would like to clear all these overhang stocks, they must not only look at local buyers but must also encourage foreigners to buy as well. One way to do this is to stop the restrictions in MM2H,” she said. Instead of the current restrictions, she proposed that the government could set up a quota for properties allowed for non-Malaysians in every state. (The Edge)