CapitaLand Malaysia Mall Trust property, Gurney Plaza. (Photo: REITsWeek)CapitaLand Malaysia Mall Trust property, Gurney Plaza. (Photo: REITsWeek)

Retail REIT CapitaLand Malaysia Mall Trust (CMMT) is committing up to MYR35.0 million of rental relief to support its non-essential services tenants who are required to close during Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO).

The support is inclusive of the 14-day rental waiver from 18 to 31 March 2020.

On 16 March 2020, the Malaysian government declared a nationwide MCO from 18 to 31 March 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The MCO has since been extended to 12 May 2020.

Under the MCO, all government and private premises are mandated to close, except those providing essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and banks.

Food and beverage operators are open strictly for deliveries and take-aways only.

“The mandated closure during MCO has dealt a blow to shopping mall tenants who operate non-essential services or supplies, said Low Peck Chen, CEO of the REIT’s manager.

“In the immediate months post MCO, their operating conditions are likely to remain challenging in view of various measures that are expected to be in place”.

“To help alleviate their cash flow and operating difficulties, we have drawn up a comprehensive support package. Following the 14-day rental waiver granted to affected tenants in March 2020, we will be rolling out a second tranche of assistance in the form of rental relief and both initiatives collectively amount up to RM35.0 million”.

“The rental relief will be on top of the 15% electricity discount announced by the government, which will be fully passed to eligible tenants”, said Low.

“COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented challenges for Malaysia’s retail sector. By weathering the challenges together with our tenants, we aim to build greater resilience in CMMT’s retail ecosystem, in line with the long-term interests of unitholders”, she added.

During the MCO, CMMT malls remain accessible to the public in support of the essential services tenants.

These tenants are also offered the flexibility to operate from no later than 11am and close no earlier than 8pm.

Complimentary parking has also been implemented to support mall tenants’ business and to serve the needs of the communities.

By Shariffa Al-Habshee

Shariffa joined REITsWeek in 2017, and monitors Asia-Pacific REITs for the publication.