Daily Briefing: Malaysia and Singapore to postpone HSR for two years; Transport minister says old HDB unit prices can still increase in 10 years

And US accelerator eyes travel and hospitality vertical for Singapore startups.

From Reuters:

Malaysia and Singapore agree to postpone the high-speed rail (HSR) by two years with no penalty for both sides as Malaysia is still reviewing its finances amidst its massive debt, Malaysian business weekly The Edge reported.

“We want to continue with this project because it will bring good to both countries,” Malaysian minister of economic affairs Azmin Ali said. “However, over the course of the postponement we will discuss ways to reduce the cost.”

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport declined to comment, referring queries to a Facebook post by its minister, Khaw Boon Wan, in which he said a decision would be announced “soon”. 

Read more here.

From Property Guru:

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) units can still be considered as assets despite their 99-year lease tenure because 50-year-old units may still record a price increase over a span of 10 years, transport minister Khaw Boon Wan said.

“If you buy a 70-year-old flat, there is still appreciation potential especially because this government is prepared to continue to invest in it through Home Improvement Programme (HIP) II and the Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (Vers),” Khaw told over 200 youths at a grassroots event in Sembawang.

He explained that flat prices are increasing at slower rate now since economic growth is not as strong as it was in the past.

“In your parents’ and grandparents’ generation, we were lucky because we were transforming from third world to first world, so our economic growth was very strong...That’s why you hear of your grandparents buying a flat for $30,000 to $35,000, and can now sell for about $400,000,” said Khaw.

Read more here.

From Deal Street Asia:

Silicon Valley-based global accelerator Plug and Play is targetting to launch a travel and hospitality-focused vertical for its Singapore accelerator programme in September.

Speaking to Deal Street Asia, the firm’s head of travel and hospitality centre of innovation Amir Amidi noted that Asia Pacific is a very interesting market when it comes to travel and transportation where 55% of venture capital investments globally took place in 2017.

“It’s [APAC] a market that we want to definitely get involved in, both on the corporate and investment sides. So, we thought Singapore is a perfect place for us to launch the travel and hospitality programme for Plug and Play,” said Amir.

Globally, Plug and Play has invested in 40 startups under its portfolio of travel and hospitality since the vertical was launched in 2016.

Read more here.

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