Plaza Rakyat, Hyatt Hotel projects to be redeveloped, says FT minister
Two abandoned projects in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre, namely Plaza Rakyat and the Hyatt Hotel, will be redeveloped, says Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad. The Plaza Rakyat project, which had been left idle since 1992, and it would be built by a new developer with the development order to be released later this year after the developer settles certain charges set by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. “The Hyatt Hotel project on Jalan Sultan Ismail was initiated in 1993, and abandoned before a series of amendments were made in 1998, 2003 and 2013, but still remains idle. We expect the project to be started by the original developer,” he said. Khalid said the ministry had set some requirements to ensure the projects were not abandoned again, besides examining the background and financial capabilities of the contractors involved. (Malay Mail)

Chinese buyers account for RM8.4b property sales in 2018
Chinese buyers accounted for RM8.4 billion worth of property sales in 2018, which is 12.1% of the total transaction value and 0.4% of total transaction share, according to a report from and IQI Global. The report said Chinese buyers drove a significant multiplier effect as the impact of their investment spread to other sectors, such as retail, hospitality, manufacturing, banking, insurance, and transportation. IQI Global group CEO Kashif Ansari said Malaysia is not the only country that is vigorously debating the benefits of foreign real estate buyers. However, he said the government of Malaysia has much more control over foreign property buyers than does the government in the US and many other countries. In terms of the total Chinese property investment value, Malaysia ranked lower with Thailand, Japan, Australia, and Canada all ranked ahead of Malaysia as the four most popular destinations for Chinese buyers. Malaysia is especially appealing to buyers motivated by lifestyle, retirement, or education, with its affordable standards of living, high quality of life, medical facilities, and accessible educational institutions. (The Star Online)

Malaysians to see ‘big drop’ in real salary increases next year
Malaysian workers are expected to see a big drop in their real salary increases next year at 2.9%, compared with an estimated 4.0% this year, according to a study on salary trends by global consultancy firm, ECA International. “Despite the forecasted nominal salary increase staying at 5.0%, inflation in Malaysia is expected to rise from 1.0% to 2.1%, which will reduce the rate at which salaries increase in real terms.” Asian nations will lead the way again for salary increases next year, with 13 out of the top 20 being dominated by Asian countries. The top 5 are also all Asian, with India leading the pack with an average real salary increase of 5.4%. Emerging economies of Vietnam and Thailand will both see significant real salary increases, placing them in the global top five, with increases of 5.1% and 4.1% respectively. (The Edge)

KPKT aims to open RFP tender for govt land by January 2020
The Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) aims to open the request for proposal (RFP) tender for the 72 plots of land under the federal government by January 2020, minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said. She said the landbank was obtained from the consolidation of the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA), Malaysia Civil Servants Housing Programme (PPAM) and Syarikat Perumahan Nasional Bhd (SPNB) under KPKT. There will be almost 72 plots of land launched for the RFP tender, with an expected average of 1,000 houses per plot. Among the potential development that is going to be opened for tender for private developers include the Felda New Generation Project. Zuraida said the developers’ track record — particularly those involved in the affordable housing projects by the private sector — would be a consideration during the tender process. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Court orders Najib to enter defence over RM42mil SRC case
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been ordered by the High Court to enter his defence for seven charges in the SRC International trial involving the misappropriation of RM42mil in SRC funds. High Court judge Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali made the order after ruling that the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against the Pekan MP. “The prosecution has successfully adduced credible evidence proving each and every essential ingredient of the offences of abuse of position for gratification, criminal breach of trust and money laundering as framed in the charges,” said the judge. The judge opined that Najib’s failure to avoid a conflict of interest during Cabinet meetings supplied the criminal intention against him – particularly when it was shown that he had interests in SRC, a company that he also controlled. (The Star Online)