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Malaysia’s Sunway Malls delays coronavirus response

Malaysian shopping-centre operator Sunway Malls is taking an extended period to consider its position on rental rebates to its retail tenants amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

The firm says it will follow the guidance of the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, which has recommended a longer period of observation to fairly assess the situation.

Sunway Malls said while retailers in Hong Kong and Singapore are seeking rental relief, their current predicament is different to that of Malaysian retailers, since the rents in Hong Kong and Singapore are five-to-10-times higher than in Malaysia. 

The company also said its seven malls are largely driven by local consumption (more than 90 per cent) rather than by tourist spending, so there has been less impact from fewer tourists visiting the country during the virus crisis. 

“There is no significant decrease in footfall when comparing last year’s post-festive season footfall with this year’s,” said the statement. “Sunway Malls’ statistics show that the virus outbreak had caused a slight decrease in footfall during initial weeks, but it has since normalised and our footfall has remained stable and resilient.”

Sunway Malls acknowledged the uneasiness caused by the virus, although described the situation as cautious rather than regressive.

“By far, the situation in Malaysia is largely controlled, contained and relatively low in relation to other affected countries,” it said.

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