Interstate travel ban likely to stay

The interstate travel ban is likely to last until Hari Raya Aidilfitri as the Health Ministry has recommended an extension of the conditional and recovery movement control orders. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the ministry anticipated a need to extend the restrictions beyond the expiry date on Wednesday. During the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season last year, the government had banned interstate balik kampung trips and large-scale open houses due to the ongoing MCO then. Although he did not elaborate on how much of an MCO extension the ministry would be recommending, he hinted that travel curbs could go beyond Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which is expected to fall on May 13. Dr Adham had said an announcement would be made tomorrow (Tuesday) and that the National Security Council would discuss the extension at its meeting. The MCO is usually implemented for a two-week period, meaning that the next extension could possibly be from April 29 until May 12, which is expected to be the eve of Hari Raya. Currently, the government only allows interstate travel with police permission for employment, medical and educational purposes from Mondays to Thursdays. (The Star)

Residential property overhang seen easing

The Malaysian residential property market saw a slight improvement in its overhang situation last year, mainly due to a slowdown in transactions as a result of the global pandemic. Going into 2021, property consultants are cautiously optimistic that the level of residential overhang can be eased further. Rahim & Co International Sdn Bhd real estate agency CEO Siva Shanker notes that developers slowed down their launches last year due to Covid-19. “As the number of new launches were scaled down, this reduced the pressure on the overhang situation,” he said. PPC International managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam says having the right product mix can help to ease the property overhang situation in the market. According to Napic, there were a total of 23,606 overhang units of serviced apartments worth RM20.76bil in 2020, up 37.7% in volume and 38% in value compared with 2019. (The Star)

No slowdown in mega land reclamation projects

Despite the soft property market largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has not been a slowdown in mega land reclaimation projects in the country. At end-March, Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd (WBG) announced its RM40bil mixed development Widad@Langkasuka in Langkawi where the centrepiece will be a 1,000-acre, man-made island. WBG said currently, almost 90% of the 1,979-acre site consists of the ocean, and the joint venture intends to build a man-made island which will eventually span 50% of the entire area. Meanwhile, Gamuda Bhd aims to start the first reclamation works on the massive Penang South Island (PSI) project this month. The PSI project consists of three islands located at the south of Penang Island, which is next to the Bayan Lepas airport. Also, more mega land reclaimation works will continue in Melaka, with the recent annoucement of a new Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone (M-WEZ). Property consultancy firm PPC International Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam also points out that developers going into land reclamation are taking a long-term view of the market prospects. The cost of reclamation is high and any development on reclaimed land has to cater for luxury and high-end purchasers to justify the cost. Although the National Physical Plan (2010) forbids coastal land reclamation for any purpose other than port development, there are still many reclamation projects in the coastal line of Malaysia. (The Star)

Data shows average cost of living in KL is RM3,300 monthly

The cost of living for a single person in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is estimated at about RM3,262, which remains the cheapest among its South-East Asian peers, according to data by iPrice Group Sdn Bhd. Still, the cost is almost three times higher from Malaysia’s minimum wage of RM1,200 in major towns. “However, according to Numbeo’s database, KL ranked second-highest in monthly average net salary of RM4,259, right behind Singaporeans, who are estimated to earn RM10,195 a month. Hence, the quality of life in KL is relatively better, especially after comparing it to other South-East Asian cities,” iPrice stated. The cost of living in Singapore is at least 132% higher than its South-East Asian peers. Shockingly, however, Bangkok and Manila are placed at the top three as well. According to the World Bank, issues pertaining to cost of living include stagnant growth in incomes, elevated household debt and unaffordable housing. (The Malaysian Reserve)

IWH said to be eyeing merger with IJM Corp

Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) “is said to be interested in a merger with IJM Corp Bhd,” according to a news report. Sources close to IWH told the weekly that company has “reached out” to IJM Corp with a preliminary proposal for a three-way merger between both groups’ construction and property, plantation and highway divisions”. “For IWH, a merger with IJM Corp would be strategic for the future development of its ambitious Bandar Malaysia project, given the latter’s execution strength of large projects,” wrote The Edge. Meanwhile, other sources also told the business publication that “other companies that could be interested in IJM Corp include Sunway Bhd and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB)”. IJM Corp had actually proposed to merge MRCB with its property arm IJM Land Bhd in 2010. (The Edge)

Al-Itqan Education Centre in Penang to be completed in 2023, says chief minister

The Al-Itqan Education Centre in Teluk Kumbar near here is scheduled for completion in 2023 and will begin its intake in the same year, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow. He said the education centre, comprising four blocks of five-storey buildings, would be built on a three-acre (1.2ha) site. “The proposed Al-Itqan Education Centre is estimated to utilise up to RM15 million in construction cost, and the Ideal Property Group, a Penang-based property developer, will undertake the construction,” he said. The Al-Itqan Education Centre will consist of 51 classrooms which can accommodate around 1,000 students, and facilities such as four laboratories, four meeting rooms, three multi-purpose halls and two prayer rooms. He said the proposed education centre was part of the compliance process implemented by the state government and the local council for the developer undertaking an affordable housing project in Bukit Gelugor. Several schools had been built under the compliance policy for the past 10 years. (Malay Mail)

BERNAMA - Al-Itqan Education Centre in Penang to be completed In 2023
(Source: Bernama)