Green light for Penang LRT project comes with 30 conditions
The Transport Ministry has approved the 30-km Komtar-Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, which is part of the Penang Transport Masterplan (PTMP). The application made by the State Economic Planning Division (BPEN) was approved yesterday and was subject to 30 specific conditions, according to Transport Minister Anthony Loke. The conditions come under Sections 83 and 84 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010, and include detailed assessments that take into account technical, social and regulatory measures. The proposed LRT project covers 27 stations from Komtar to a reclaimed island that will be developed in the southern part of the state. It will also see the construction of an undersea tunnel, highways, and extensive bus connectivity on both the island and mainland. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s overall debt, liabilities stood at RM1.09 trillion at end-2018
Malaysia’s overall debt and liabilities stood at RM1.09 trillion at the end of last year, compared with RM1.08 trillion in 2017. Special Parliamentary Select Committee on the Budget chairman Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the national debt stood at RM741 billion at the end of last year, RM54.2 billion higher than the previous year. He said the funds were used to cover a portion of expenditures for development projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP). The committee outlined eight recommendations for the government based on good governance, prudence and constant monitoring. “Instead of looking at only debts, the committee scrutinised many aspects through accrual accounting and included liabilities which also covers public-private partnerships (PPP) and government guarantees (GG),” he added. (NST Online)

(Source: Malay Mail)

Still no signs of recovery for local property market
There are still no sign of recovery in the local residential property market as most developers under the coverage reported lower new sales year-on-year, according to AmInvestment Bank. It said the outlook for the Malaysian property sector remains subdued in the near term on the back of a slow residential market, as developers work to address the overhang issue. The sector has been experiencing a challenging time in the past three years, particularly the residential property segment, mainly due to high property prices, stricter lending policies, volatile macroeconomic conditions and weak consumer sentiment. On the bright side, developers are more aggressive in clearing unsold units by offering discounts and the inventory level is on a declining trend. (The Sun Daily)

Putrajaya studying plastic trash-for-fuel tech to clear illegal dump sites
The Housing and Local Government Ministry is looking to tap the mountains of plastic trash in the country as an alternative fuel and source for producing cement. Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the technology known as processed engineered fuel (PEF) could help the government cut down the illegal plastic garbage pile nationwide. Currently there is only one known company in the country using PEF. The PEF, said to produce zero-waste, will be used as a one of the materials to produce cement. If the plan works out, her ministry is expected to clear all the 40 listed plastics companies and dumpsites, which are either issued stop work order or sealed for operating illegally, within six to 12 months. The ministry has also received another suggestion from a local company which used “pyrolysis plasma” technology to incinerate plastic junk. (Malay Mail)

Photo by Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail

Airport REIT finalisation underway
The proposed Airport REIT is expected to be finalised once the government has inked the operating agreement (OA) with operators of airports nationwide. The idea of a special REIT for airports was announced during the 2019 budget presentation last year, and is expected to generate more than RM700 million annually. The move to transfer the airport assets into a REIT will allow the government to monetise its ownership of airports, the first for the country. However, any decision will depend on the negotiations with the airports’ operators. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) hopes to raise RM4 billion by selling a 30% stake in the REIT to private investors. The proceeds from the sale of the stake will be used to finance the airports’ capital expenditure. However, there was also concern over the structure of the Airport REIT as most airports are in constant need of maintenance capex. (The Malaysian Reserve)