March CPI rises 1.3%

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.3% in March 2018 as compared to the same month last year, according to Department of Statistics.

CPI for the first three months period increased by 1.8% compared with the same period last year.

Among the major groups which recorded increases were the indices for food and non-alcoholic beverages (2.8%), furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (2.1%), health (2%), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (2%), restaurants and hotels (2%) and education (1.1%),

It said the overall index was also affected by the drop in the transport group by 1.5% in March 2018. Other groups which also showed decreases were clothing and footwear, as well as communication.

In terms of overall CPI, the department said three states had surpassed the national CPI rate of 1.3% recorded in March 2018 as compared to March 2017.

The states are Selangor and Putrajaya (1.6%), Malacca (1.5%) and Kuala Lumpur (1.4%).

However, it said the higher increase in the index for food and non-alcoholic beverages was reflected in most states in Malaysia.

The index for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 4.1% in Kuala Lumpur, 3.4% in Sabah and Labuan, 3.4% in Johor and 3.1% in Penang, it added.

PR1MA to start work on homes at LRT locations in Q4 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: More than two years after it was awarded eight locations along the LRT network to be developed under its transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative, Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia said it will start development on two locations in the fourth quarter of this year.

The two along the LRT line network, are Cempaka and Pandan Jaya. A third location to be developed later, would be Pandan Indah. All three developments are to have a gross development value of RM1 billion.

PR1MA was granted land in a total of eight locations along the LRT network to be developed using this TOD model. The other five locations are Titiwangsa, Sentul New Town, Jelatek, Kinrara and Bandar Puteri.

PR1MA TOD development model is a mixed development concept that would cater to various income groups, with emphasis on social integration and social inclusivity.

Typically, TOD developments are usually catered to the higher-income groups due to their strategic locations. PR1MA’s approach is to help ensure that the M40 income group can also benefit from the shorter commute, lower personal transport costs and easy access to daily needs which will inevitably help to reduce the cost of living.

The M40 group has a mean household income of around RM7,500.

“We see PR1MA as an agency that delivers more than just brick and mortar. PR1MA homes would be the foundation for strong, integrated and harmonious communities that would grow into townships that meet social, environmental and economic sustainability objectives while at the same time ensuring that PR1MA itself is sustainable from a financial and economic standpoint,” said PR1MA CEO Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias at the closing ceremony of the “Ekspo Jualan Perumahan – Ke Arah Sejuta Impian, Alami Gaya Hidup Sejahtera”.

The expo, which was held between March 24 and April 1 at Putra World Trade Centre, is believed to have attracted 30,000 visitors.

The event, which involved multiple federal and state housing agencies was organised to create awareness and encourage home ownership among the rakyat from both the middle-income (M40) and lower-income (B40) groups.

Abdul Mutalib said the expo received positive feedback from the M40 income group, especially young working adults and young families.

It will continue its nationwide roadshow to Pahang, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Perlis throughout the month of April.

Tripcarte Asia plans foray into Asean market

KUALA LUMPUR: Tripcarte Asia, a homegrown travel online platform that lets travellers discover and book things to do, is looking to expand its service into the Asean market, including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand or Vietnam by end of 2019.

Currently, the startup only has a presence in Malaysia, offering about 90 tours and attractions from Johor, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Port Dickson, Ipoh, Malacca and Penang.

Previously known as, Tripcarte Asia provides an online ticketing service that allows travellers to book a single e-ticket that “bundles together” admission to many attractions, allowing individuals to skip the queue at the venue.

Founded and launched in 2015, Tripcarte Asia aims to consolidate the tours and activities market by providing a single online destination to discover and book in-destination activities.

In a recent interview with SunBiz, its founder and CEO Parthiven Shan said the company is targeting to be the largest online ticketing platform in Southeast Asia within the next three years.

“There are a few strategies that we are looking at, it is either through partnerships with local company abroad, or we can work from our office here.

“We are looking into the best ways to penetrate this market depending on the countries, the difficulties and the challenges.”

“Currently, we are in talks with a company to set up some sort of operation in Indonesia. Our next immediate destination is going to be Indonesia,” he added.

In addition, Parthiven said the company is also targeting to increase its offering to around 1,000 activities and attractions within the first two years of its three-year plan.

In terms of its revenue target, he said the company is looking to hit RM7 million to RM8 million this year, compared with RM1.6 million in 2017, driven by the increase in number of destinations.

“We have moved to other destinations in other states and we are expanding to all over the country,” he said.

On the funding front, this year, Parthiven said the company is seeking to raise up to RM1 million to scale up its current operations, which is in line with its market expansion plan.

“There are a few venture capital funds that we have lined up to present to over the next few months.

“Previously, we got a direct grant from Cradle Fund, totalling about RM300,000, which was basically used for our business expansion,” he added.

Fall sharply on U.S.-China trade war worries


BENGALURU (March 23): Southeast Asian stock markets fell sharply on Friday as U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, bringing the two countries closer to a trade war and unnerving investors across the globe. China urged the United States to “pull back from the brink”, saying Beijing was not afraid to engage in a trade war should the case arise. The escalating tensions took a toll on broader Asian shares, which weakened as much as 2.4%, the steepest decline in a month-and-a-half. “Hopefully… someRead More

SE Asia stocks fall sharply on US-China trade war worries

SINGAPORE, March 23 — South-east Asian stock markets fell sharply today as US President Donald Trump unveiled a plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods, bringing the two countries closer to a trade war and unnerving investors across the globe….

February CPI up 1.4%, below market expectation

PUTRAJAYA: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 1.4% in February 2018 compared to the same month last year, according to the Statistics Department.

Chief statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said among the main groups, the increases were food and non-alcoholic beverages index (+3.0%), furnishings, household equipment & routine household maintenance (+2.1%), health (+2.1%), housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (+2.0%) and restaurants & hotels (+1.8%).

Meanwhile, the CPI for the period January-February 2018 recorded an increase of 2.0% as compared to the same month last year.

“The overall index was also affected by the drop in the transport group by 0.3% in February 2018. Other groups which also showed decreases were clothing and footwear (-0.7%) and communication (-0.5%),” said Uzir.

In terms of overall CPI, four states surpassed the national CPI rate of 1.4% recorded in February 2018 as compared to February 2017. The index for Malacca increased by 1.8%, followed by Selangor & Federal Territory Putrajaya (+1.7%), Johor (+1.5%) and Sabah & Federal Territory Labuan (+1.5%).

Meanwhile, the index for food & non-alcoholic beverages rose 4.2% in Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur, 3.9% in Sabah & Federal Territory Labuan, 3.6% in Johor, 3.2% in Penang, 3.1% in Sarawak and 3.1% in Malacca.

Super big-cap rally adds RM35b market capitalisation to Bursa


KUALA LUMPUR: The steady climb of super big-cap stocks, which have market capitalisation (cap) of RM10 billion and above, have added some RM35 billion to Bursa Malaysia since the start of the year. Based on Bloomberg data, currently there are about 40 super big-cap companies, compared with 38 companies a year ago. Among the 40 stocks that have climbed to fresh peaks so far this year include Nestle (M) Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, Petronas Chemicals Bhd, Top Glove Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Fraser & Neave Bhd. In the recentRead More

DRB-Hicom exits hospitality business, swaps land with Syed Mokhtar firm in RM1.9b deal

PETALING JAYA: DRB-Hicom Bhd is disposing of a large portion of its non-industrial property assets and its entire hospitality portfolio to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s privately held company, in a deal estimated to be worth RM1.9 billion.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, the group said it will dispose of several subsidiaries owning some 2,200 acres of land as well as its entire equity in Horsedale Development Bhd and Rebak Island Marina Bhd to Prisma Dimensi Sdn Bhd.

The transaction will be satisfied via a cache of landbank in Johor totalling 1,243.45 acres belonging to Prisma Dimensi and Kelana Ventures Sdn Bhd, and a cash payment of RM289 million.

The sale of the companies and the land, which is subject to regulatory and governmental approvals, is expected to net DRB-Hicom a one-time gain of RM849 million.

Upon completion of the deal, the group’s industrial landbank will increase to 1,800 acres. It currently has 600 acres of industrial landbank in Kedah, Perak and Malacca, some of it already under development as industrial parks. This includes the recently launched National Automotive Cluster @ Proton City in Tanjung Malim, Perak.

The group said in a statement yesterday the disposal is part of its strategy to take advantage of its 30-year experience in the development of industrial properties.

“With the incoming landbank in Johor, the group is in an advantageous position to tap into the high demand of industrial parks, especially from Singapore, and DRB-Hicom intends to develop this into a high-tech and modern industrial park once the property market recovers from its current slumber,” said group managing director Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar.

In its exit from the hospitality industry, the group will sell Rebak Island Marina, the owners of Vivanta Rebak Island Resort by Taj located on Rebak Island, Langkawi, Holiday Inn Glenmarie Kuala Lumpur and Glenmarie Golf & Country Club, both located in Shah Alam. The Lake Kenyir Resort Taman Negara in Terengganu, which was closed in 2016, is also part of the asset disposal.

“Having a core focus for each of our main sectors is important. While there is potential of course in the hospitality industry, we feel that DRB-Hicom’s strengths lie in different areas. This exit will allow us to have a leaner and more focused properties portfolio, making it easier to harness these strengths and push towards excellence in industrial property development,” said Syed Faisal.

The group expects the transaction to be completed within the first quarter of 2019, subject to obtaining all regulatory approvals.

On Bursa Malaysia today, DRB-Hicom rose 0.43% or 1 sen to RM2.33 with 8.43 million shares traded.

MMC’s Q4 earnings hit by losses at Zelan, lack of land sale

PETALING JAYA: MMC Corp Bhd’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 fell 68% to RM85.05 million from RM267.41 million a year ago, in the absence of land sale at Senai Airport City, completion of Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT Line and higher share of losses from Zelan Bhd.

Subsidiary Senai Airport City Sdn Bhd holds a total of 2,780 acres land and the market developer of the industrial development known as Senai Airport City.

The group’s revenue fell 33.33% in the quarter under review to RM1.23 billion from RM1.85 billion.

The group remains positive of its prospects driven by improving performances of its operating companies together with contribution from on-going construction projects.

“Ports & Logistics division is expected to register higher revenue across all the ports. The completion of 49% acquisition in Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and the proposed acquisition of the remaining 51% equity interest is expected to contribute positively to the group’s future earnings as it allows full consolidation of PPSB as a wholly owned subsidiary. The acquisition allows the group to establish a strong foothold in the Northern region of Peninsular Malaysia and complement the group’s strategic presence throughout the Straits of Malacca,” its board of directors said.

The group’s full year net profit stood at RM225.40 million, 58.99% lower than the RM549.66 million reported in the previous financial year.

Revenue declined to RM4.16 billion from RM4.62 billion.

The stock fell 1.54% to close at RM1.92 with 130,900 shares done.

Home Expo offers over 100,000 affordable houses

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 100,000 units of affordable homes ranged between RM65,000 to RM350,000 will be showcased and available for sale at the largest nationwide home expo organised by the federal and state government housing agencies.

Speaking at a press conference today, Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia CEO Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias said the expo aims to provide a one-stop centre for the public, especially B40 and M40 groups, to get information, not just on housing programmes, but also financial institutions and relevant agencies to assist and facilitate their home ownership journey.

“This is the best chance for the lower income groups to come and evaluate all these (housing) programmes, and see the diversity of prices and locations of these products, based on their affordability,” he added.

Abdul Mutalib said Perak will be the first state to host the series of expo, which will be held at Ipoh Convention Centre from March 1 till March 5, 2018.

This will be followed by other states including Sabah, Pahang, Kelantan, Malacca, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor until the end of April.