Merdeka 118 Tower to be completed by mid-2020
The ongoing construction of the iconic Merdeka 118 Tower is at level 78, which makes it about two thirds completed. It is expected to top out by mid-next year, according to PNB Merdeka Ventures CEO Tengku Datuk Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud. The iconic tower, which is phase 1 of Merdeka 118, offers 83 floors of office space. The 635m tower will overlook two of Malaysia’s national landmarks – Stadium Negara and Stadium Merdeka. Upon completion, Merdeka 118 will have a floor area size of over 3 million sq ft comprising as well as three premium residential towers. The project also boasts the PNB Observation Deck which is the highest viewing deck in Southeast Asia. It will also house the only Park Hyatt Hotel in Malaysia. Phase 2 will offer a retail component known as Merdeka @ 118, while phase 3 will be a three-tower premium residential section estimated to be launched by the end of next year. Meanwhile, the RM7 billion Merdeka 118 project will be targeting a triple platinum rating with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), GreenRE and Green Building Index (GBI) certification, making it the first project in the country to earn such a rating. (The Edge)

EPF unfazed by Brexit, eyes UK investments
Malaysia’s largest pension fund, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), will continue to seek investments in the UK despite Brexit uncertainty, says its chief executive officer Tunku Alizakri Alias. That is because EPF invests for the long term, he added. “It is usually in times of uncertainty that people want to get rid of assets. For EPF, which has a deep pocket and has a long-term investment horizon, this is a great time for us to get quality assets from those who are unable to withstand the uncertainties presented by current global developments,” he said. The UK is due to leave the European Union on Oct 31. Alizakri noted that many global players’ knee-jerk response to the Brexit vote in 2016 was to move away from the UK. (The Edge)

Malaysia needs a pro-growth budget — SERC
In view of “high and rising” risks of a global recession as 2020 nears, local think tank Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) is calling for a pro-growth Budget 2020 from the government that focuses on high-impact sectors, initiatives and measures that would protect growth-enhancing spending and investments. SERC executive director Lee Heng Guie noted that Malaysia is already projected to experience a moderation in real GDP growth at 4.5%, versus the estimated 4.7% expansion for 2019. “We (Malaysia) should not be too obsessed with continuing to reduce the deficit to a desired level, but instead allow some room for an expansionary budget,” he said. The government is scheduled to table on Oct 11 its Budget 2020, which will be the final budget under the nation’s five-year 11th Malaysia Plan that outlines the country’s economic growth roadmap between 2016 and 2020. (The Edge)

Local firm claims Maldives turning back on RM514m construction project after change of govt
A Malaysian property developer has filed for arbitration against the Republic of Maldives over an alleged breach of contract, amounting to nearly US$30 million (RM124 million) of arrears for a project in the Hulhumalé reclaimed island there. WZR Property Sdn Bhd group chairman Datuk Sazmi Miah said that his company was invited to submit its proposal along with six other international companies to develop a 25-storey office complex by the republic’s Ministry of Finance and Treasury. WZR Property won the bid and was then awarded the contract on February 1, 2016, with the project amounting to nearly US$123 million (RM514 million). However, WZR Property claims that it had not received a single sen of the payment despite the fact that it has already completed 20% of the total work, and 60% of the pilings for the structure. The archipelago nation’s presidential election was held in September 23 last year, and saw the ruling coalition defeated by the opposition. (Malay Mail)

Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry of Trump
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Tuesday that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain. “The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Ms. Pelosi said in a brief speech invoking the nation’s founding principles. Mr. Trump, she added, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.” Ms. Pelosi’s decision to push forward with the most severe action that Congress can take against a sitting president could usher in a remarkable new chapter in American life, touching off a constitutional and political showdown with the potential to cleave an already divided nation, and reshape Mr. Trump’s presidency and the country’s politics. (The New York Times)

(Source: Evening Standard UK)