‘High cost of living due to weak ringgit’
A weak ringgit is one of the reasons behind the high cost of living, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Prime Minister was asked to comment on the findings of the National Worry Index survey that saw bread-and-butter issues topping the list. Dr Mahathir said those who were not confident with the way the government was implementing its promises could determine Pakatan Harapan’s fate in the 15th General Election. He said Pakatan did not get the full picture when it was drafting its election manifesto. “They can vote to determine Pakatan’s fate,” he said, adding that it would take a full five-year term for the government to implement all of its election promises. (The Star Online)

Far East Consortium to consider Singapore REIT IPO
Far East Consortium International Ltd., the Hong Kong developer, is considering a real estate investment trust listing in Singapore that could raise as much as S$500 million ($365 million), people with knowledge of the matter said. Hong Kong-based Far East Consortium is working with advisers on the potential sale of trust units backed mainly by hotels under the Dorsett brand, with the initial public offering taking place as early as the first half of 2020, sources said. In a Hong Kong stock exchange filing earlier today, the company confirmed it is mulling a “potential spinoff and separate listing of certain hospitality properties” on an overseas securities exchange. The assets are in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the U.K. Singapore has hosted $3.7 billion of property trust IPOs over the past three years. (Yahoo Finance)

CAP: Leave Penang Botanic Gardens alone
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is appalled over the Special Area Plan (SAP) designated for the Penang Botanic Gardens. The move will bring in lots of visitors, have more man-made structures and ultimately may charge Penangites a fee to visit the gardens, it said. CAP president Mohideen Abdul Kader said the ambiance of the gardens would changed forever with the SAP to develop the gardens into a major tourist destination. He said a multi-storey car park to house cars would be developed when the authorities could not even provide Penangites with proper affordable houses. “A cable car station may be developed at the gardens to connect to Penang Hill… If implemented, would cause irreparable damage to the gardens and Penang Hill through the building of more hotels, bungalows for the rich elites, cafes, amusement joints and roads,” he added. (NST Online)

Source: NST

Ascott expanding Malaysian operations
The Ascott Ltd, the largest serviced residence owner-operator in the country, is expanding its operation here and adding at least three new properties in its portfolio next year. The Singapore-based company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Malaysia this year expects to open Ascott Star KLCC and lyf Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur, as well as Juru Residences in Prai, Penang. Ascott, CapitaLand’s wholly-owned lodging business unit, also has an agreement with Plenitude Bhd to manage the Penang-based developer’s property, Ascott Gurney Penang, which is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2021. With Ascott Gurney Penang, Ascott will have more than 5,000 serviced apartment units across 25 properties in the country. Come 2022, Ascott will also manage Somerset KL Metropolis, comprising premium serviced apartments with GDV of RM333mil and is part of the RM20 billion KL Metropolis project. (NST Online)

Mida in talks to attract RM38b worth of projects to Malaysia
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) says it is in active talks to attract 682 projects with proposed investments of RM37.6 billion to Malaysia. “Despite ongoing trade tensions pointing to slower growth, we will stick to the course and continue attracting strategic partners to invest in Malaysia. This will generate more spillover impact on the economy through the growth of the local supply chain ecosystems and improvement of the Malaysian workforce,” International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said. Malaysia’s approved investments in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors rose 4.4% to RM149 billion in 9M19. Of the total investments, domestic investments accounted for RM82.7 billion or 55.5%, while foreign direct investments (FDI) represented 44.5% or RM66.3 billion. (The Edge)