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Malaysia news roundup

The Malaysian build and interiors industry has largely been focused on providing low-cost housing recently. Two projects have been announced that will see homes being both built and refurbished in order to provide affordable and high-quality accommodation for Malaysians.

There have also been large projects announced, such as a $2.8 billion 'Living Quarter' in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, the paint industry has found itself at the forefront of the fight against disease after an insecticide wall coating was developed in Malaysia. Read on for more build and interiors news.


GBI catching on rapidly in Malaysia

Environmental concerns are becoming a larger part of construction around the world, although in many cases this is met with resistance. However, this does not appear to be the case in Malaysia, where the Green Building Initiative (GBI) has taken off with impressive speed according to one analyst.

Speaking to the Borneo Post, director of Exergy Malaysia Ahmad Izdihar Supaat said that since 2009, Malaysia has been constructing GBI buildings faster than any other Asian nation. Currently, the country only has just over 12 million sq m of GBI-certified buildings, but at the rate the scheme is taking off this will increase significantly over the next few years.

Mr Supaat, who is a registered GBI facilitator, said: "It is a fast-growing tool in the region and with both our federal and state governments focusing on green environment, more people will be GBI-conscious and consequently contractors will go for it not only for economic gain but also recognition."

He also pointed out that this impressive building speed has been achieved in Malaysia despite the GBI scheme being voluntary. In countries such as Singapore and India, the initiative is mandatory so the total number of green buildings is higher. However, Malaysia looks set to catch up, with Miri City looking likely to have its first GBI-certified building soon.


Lend Lease selected for $2.8bn 'Lifestyle Quarter'

One of Australia's leading property developers Lend Lease has been selected as the majority party in a Malaysian construction joint venture. The firm is partnering with the 1MDB Real Estate - a firm owned by the Malaysian government - on a $2.8 billion project in Kuala Lumpur, where it will be constructing the Tun Razak Exchange’s (TRX) 'Lifestyle Quarter'.

TRX is a major new financial and business hub in Kuala Lumpur, and the Lifestyle Quarter will contain its residential areas. Several apartment tower buildings are set to be constructed there, alongside a hotel and a new shopping centre.

Lend Lease was selected for the job for two main reasons, the first being its long track record of working in Malaysia. The firm has been providing property development and construction services to the nation for around 35 years. The second reason is its expertise with major international projects, such as the London Olympic Village.

Development on the Lifestyle Quarter is expected to begin late this year, with Lend Lease as the development manager for the project.


Housing Aid Programme to receive $54.3m funding

Malaysia's Rural and Regional Development Ministry has announced it will be allocating more money this year to the construction of affordable housing. In total, RM200 million (around $54.3 million) will be given out to support Malaysia's Housing Aid Programme (PBR). This will be used both to build new homes and refurbish old ones.

The money will be split relatively evenly, with RM99.8 million going to western Malaysia. The remaining funding will be split between Sabah, which will receive RM50.2 million, and Sarawak, which will receive RM50 million.

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, the rural and regional development minister, said: "The allocation covers the construction of 2,756 units of new hou­ses and refurbishing 5,744 homes throughout the country. Each house is priced at RM50,000 and some houses have already been constructed.”

In order to implement this programme efficiently, it is essential that the sites for the new houses are procured and prepared before the aid money is given out. State governments are to work with aid recipients to ensure that construction can go ahead as soon as possible without any conflicts over land ownership.


$27.2m allocated to repair armed forces housing

Even more is being invested in providing housing for some of Malaysia's more vulnerable groups of people, as it has been announced that RM100 million (almost $27.2 million) is being made available to provide repairs and upgrades to the housing of veterans of the country's armed forces.

The decision was made by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's defence minister, who said that the move would improve morale. He also explained that housing upgrades were necessary to make sure ex-servicemen and women were comfortable and secure.

In addition, it was confirmed that the Malaysian government has approved the construction of several housing projects located in and around ten of the country's army camps. In total, these projects are worth around RM1.1 billion. Mr Hussein is planning to propose "a housing blueprint for military officers and personnel so that those entrusted to build the houses will not delay construction".

He added: "The ministry must have a clear agenda so that the Armed Forces personnel will know that their welfare is protected in the long term. Military assets are important but the welfare of our personnel is of equal importance too."


New anti-mosquito paint developed

A major new development in the fight against tropical disease has been announced that stands to have an impact on the build and interiors industry in Malaysia. In order to prevent the spread of dengue fever and similar diseases, a new paint has been developed that is able to kill mosquitoes and other pests on contact.

The paint was developed by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), which has claimed that the product is the only thing on the market that can kill mosquitoes on contact. While other anti-mosquito paints only repel the insects, the IMR's has been proven to kill them.

Finding an insecticide that remains fatal once mixed with paint was not easy, but the IMR was able to create the substance after extensive testing. The organisation painted their substances on both wood and concrete, then used fixed cones to place insects on the surfaces for 30 minutes.
“We finally arrived at the current formula after the tests showed a rapid knock-down within 10 minutes and when we found out there was a high number of dead mosquitoes after 24 hours,” said Dr Lee Han Lim, leader of the project.

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