Five Newsbytes to Start The Day – 7 June 2019

Prudential Assurance is TRX’s first tenant
British insurance company Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB) will be leaving Menara Prudential in Jalan Sultan Ismail to enter what has been promoted as the regional financial centre TRX “soon”, according to a statement from PAMB. Three other business units of Prudential plc – Prudential BSN Takaful, Eastspring Investments Bhd and Prudential Services Asia – will also be moving to TRX. PSA is the shared services and information technology hub for Prudential’s business units in Asia, the statement said. An industry source said while the move has already started, the insurance company would take a month or thereabouts to be operational from TRX starting July. The insurance company will occupy between 70% and 80% of what is currently loosely known as Menara Prudential 2. The TRX building is also known as Menara Prudential. The remaining office space has been leased. (The Star Online)

KL office rental most affordable in Asia-Pacific
Asean’s largest office stock lies in Greater Kuala Lumpur totalling 126 million sq ft, according to Savills’ Greater KL Office Market Overview First Quarter 2019 report. It is the second largest after Hong Kong, which has 127 million sq ft. But while Hong Kong’s office rental is the highest, at US$20.58 per sq ft (psf), Kuala Lumpur is the most affordable, at US$1.39 psf. The KL situation – the largest supply and the lowest rental rate – has come about because of massive overbuilding over the past decade or so. Some consultancies had warned about the growing supply since seven years ago while others had downplayed the situation over the past couple of years, saying that it was all right to have an occupancy rate of even 75%. Kuala Lumpur’s occupancy rate was 79.7% as of end-2018, the 2018 Property Market Report from the Valuation and Property Services Department said. (The Star Online)

MIPEAC calls for PropTech firms to be registered
The Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) has weighed in on the issue of PropTech companies allegedly performing illegal real estate brokering by urging PropTech companies to comply with existing legislation. Earlier in March, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) lodged police reports against nine PropTech start-ups that it claimed were illegally operating real estate practices. MIPEAC President Francis S P Loh said: “It is imperative that any PropTech firm wishing to operate in Malaysia be registered and legitimised by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP).” He warned that any PropTech firm that purports to offer agency services without proper registration with BOVAEP infringes the law. Whilst PropTech firms may provide attractive perks and incentives, MIPEAC warned that the firms may not have any recourse to monies in hand to deal with unexpected events, such as a dispute. (The Edge Markets)

Online hiring in Malaysia continues to grow
Online hiring in the country is expected to continue to grow in line with the projected growth of Malaysia’s main economic sector. According to Monster Employment Index (MEI), the overall annual growth in online hiring registered a 7% year-on-year increase in April 2019 with eight out of nine industries showing positive annual growth. Based on MEI, online hiring activity in the information technology, telecom/Internet service provider and business process outsourcing/information technology enabled services industry saw the highest y-o-y growth of 43%. Meanwhile, engineering/production, real estate recorded the steepest y-o-y decline of six per cent for the month under review while the demand for software, hardware, telecom professionals recorded the highest uptrend of 41% y-o-y. (The Sun Daily)

Sarawak floods cause widespread damages
There are widespread damages caused by the devastating floods over the past two days in northern and central Sarawak. In Long Busang settlement in the Belaga district some 500km south of Miri, many houses were toppled and properties damaged. The 1,000 plus folks in Long Busang saw floods that reached about five metres at one stage. The State Disaster Relief Committee, in the meantime, is coordinating the deployment of emergency food aid from Belaga town to Long Busang. The river-trip to Long Busang is about three hours away from Miri. In the interior northern Sarawak, the flood-hit districts of Baram and Tinjar are also seeing flood-relief operations being carried out. (The Star Online)

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