Minimum drinking age raised to 21, effective Dec 2017
Effective Dec 1, 2017, the legal drinking age in Malaysia will be raised from 18 years old to 21 years old. The new ruling comes about following an amendment to the Food Regulation Act 1985 on May 27. Other changes imposed under the new regulations include the compulsory display of warning labels, stating that ‘Alcohol consumption has an adverse effect on health’ at the premises and on the label of the drinks, as well as alcoholic drinks being displayed separately from other drinks sold in shops. The move is to reduce availability of alcoholic beverages in the market, as well as stopping minors from buying and drinking alcohol. (New Straits Times Online)

Total loan growth slips to 6.3% in April
Total loan growth in the banking sector saw a slight fall to 6.3% year-on-year in April, compared to 6.4% in March, amid a continued challenging operating environment and volatility. Total loans for April stood at RM1,447.8 billion, down 0.1% from March. Loans growth for non-residential property, personal loans and purchase of securities experienced the sharpest growth deceleration, it said, as it retained its full-year loans growth forecast of 6.0%. UOB-Kay Hian Malaysia Research said key areas of weakness in approval trends were: residential property: -26% on-year, non-residential property: -42% on-year, auto loans: -16% on-year, construction: -55% on-year and purchase of securities: -24% on-year. (The Star Online)

Sunsuria plans ‘Little Korea’ for Putrajaya project
Sunsuria Bhd is planning to build a “Little Korea” village for its Sunsuria City development – its flagship project at Putrajaya South – which it plans to develop and launch by next year. The development, dubbed “Sunsuria Provence Village”, will consist of a series of South Korean-themed developments, including a boutique hotel, wedding house, serviced apartments, cultural heritage retail shops and a themed garden. There will also be a 60,000 to 70,000 sq ft South Korean-style retail mall that will include a beauty section offering Korean beauty care products and services, including consultations for cosmetic surgery. The estimated GDV of the project is between RM600mil and RM700mil. (The Edge Markets)

Investors urged to use Malaysia as gateway to Asean market
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is encouraging global investors to tap into business opportunities in the enormous Asean market through Malaysia, which presents a gateway to the region. He said investors would benefit from Malaysia’s strategic geographical location in the heart of Asean, its pragmatic and business-friendly policies, as well as well-developed infrastructure and connectivity. Malaysia’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), as well as the ongoing negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, would also serve as a bridge to other potential markets in the international arena. (The Star Online)

All tenants in high-rise fined if one fails to separate waste
All the residents of multi-storey buildings could be fined if one of them fails to separate their waste in the communal garbage bins, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan. This is because it would be a challenge to identify tenants to fail to comply to the mandatory waste separation guidelines, which was fully enforced starting yesterday. The law makes it compulsory for residents to separate their solid waste into “paper”, “plastics” and “others” when discarding them, or face fines from RM50 to RM1,000. The law is currently implemented in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Perlis and Pahang. The aim is to achieve a recycling rate of 22% by 2020; the current rate is about 17.3%. The government has seen an increase of almost RM2 billion per year to clean public areas and dispose waste, which could be used to build schools, universities and hospitals instead. (The Malay Mail Online)


Eroding coastline threatens Penang highway project
Strong waves in the north Penang channel is causing serious soil erosion to the coastline along Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) near the Bagan Ajam toll plaza. The eroded stretch is only about 2m from BORR, which could endanger motorists using the coastal highway built on reclaimed land about 10 years ago. Many motorists have expressed their concern about the danger to users and the damage to the highway. The BORR concessionaire is taking steps to resolve the problem, as they had anticipated it due to heavy construction in the area. The erosion could have been avoided if a wave breaker was built nearer to the affected stretch, and would also benefit fishermen as it would attract fish. (The Malay Mail)

Kerjaya Prospek unit bags RM172mil apartment contract
Kerajaya Prospek Group Bhd’s (KPG) unit, Kerjaya Prospek (M) Sdn Bhd, has been awarded a RM172.43 million building works contract from EcoWorld Development Bhd. The contract is for the main building works for an apartment project in Selangor, which will take 25 months from June and completed by July 2018. The company also received a letter of award from a related party, Kerjaya Prospek Property Sdn Bhd, for another contract worth RM105.95 million. KPG’s current outstanding order book stands at RM2.64 billion. (Daily Express)

6.5-magnitude quake hits Sumatera
A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatera early this morning. The quake sent people running from their homes, but fortunately did not cause any casualties or damage. Many people were woken by the quake around dawn and fled their homes in Padang, about 140km from the epicentre. Electricity cut out in some places after the quake but was restored shortly afterwards, said the AFP journalist, and people were not ordered to evacuate their homes. Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where tectonic plates collide. (New Straits Times Online)

Measures in place for orderly development in Sarawak
The Sarawak Housing and Urbanisation Ministry has proposed several initiatives to protect the state from a host of issues brought about by a growing economy, namely squatters, congested villages, security, social amenities, employment and housing. Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said these issues could lead to social conflicts, increase in crime, urban poverty and overcrowded towns and villages if not addressed adequately. He stressed that urban renewal issues were important, as based on the Population and Housing Census carried out in 2010, 52% of the state’s population live in urban areas, mostly in Kuching, Miri, Bintulu and Sibu. Hence, there was a need to redevelop certain parts of these areas to provide amenities to the urban population. Among the proposed initiatives include establishing a State Urban Renewal Committee (SURC) to address urban development issues, while another initiative is formulating a State Strategic urban Renewal Framework to guide major stakeholders in implementing strategies properly. (The Borneo Post)