No plans to increase GST rate, says minister
The Government will not increase the goods and services tax (GST) rate even though a revenue shortfall of RM30 billion is expected this year from the oil and gas industry, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani. He said the Government was committed to assist the lower and middle-income group and manage the fiscal deficit efficiently which would than translate into steady economic growth. Malaysia implemented a 6% GST on April 1, 2015. (The Star Online)

Demolition of Ampang Park Shopping Centre temporarily suspended
The High Court has allowed an application by 39 strata-title holders of the Ampang Park Shopping Centre to temporarily suspend its demolition for the construction of the Ampang Park Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station. The suspension will be in effect until Sept 28, 2016 when a hearing for the stay of execution of the land acquisition will be held. (Malay Mail Online)

MRCB expecting Sentral Suites to contibute up to 30% sales
Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) is expecting its Sentral Suites project, which has a GDV of RM1.5 billion, to contribute 20% to 30% to sales over the next 4.5 years. It aims to achieve the target via an exclusive digital marketing and promotion campaign with property portal PropertyGuru. The partnership is the first of its kind in the country, which will not only shift the traditional perception of property but also enhance MRCB’s marketing strategy while keeping up with current trends and culture of property searches. Sentral Suites, located in the Kuala Lumpur Sentral central business district, was slated for launch in the fourth quarter of this year. It will consist of three 43-storey towers, with 1,434 apartments and 41 retail units. (The Star Online)

PNB focusing on niche areas to deliver more affordable houses
Leading asset manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will be focusing on niche areas in collaboration with the government to deliver its mandate on affordable houses, said chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar. “We have several property development projects in the country under our roof. I think it is about mobilising the resources and putting them into the provision of affordable homes and this will be done on an ad-hoc basis,” he said. The three mandates given include improving the corporate performance of the group and its group companies; enhancing bumiputra participation in business and corporate sector; and supporting the Government in providing more affordable homes for Malaysians. PNB has investments in several property companies, including I & P Group Sdn Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and S P Setia Bhd. (The Star Online)

Ekovest unit to issue RM3.64bil sukuk for highway project
Lebuhraya DUKE Fasa 3 Sdn Bhd is set to issue RM3.64 billion Sukuk Wakalah, Malaysia’s largest ringgit-denominated greenfield toll-road project financing, for its Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE), formerly known as Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE) Phase-3 project. Ekovest Bhd, the parent company of Leburaya DUKE, said proceeds from the sukuk would be used for part of the RM3.9 billion construction cost of the 32.1-kilometre (km) SPE project. The total cost of the SPE development is estimated at RM5.05 billion. The government would inject RM560 million through the Reimbursable Interest Assistance (RIA) within a three-year period and Ekovest would pay back within eight years. (The Borneo Post)

Haze worsens as air quality approaches unhealthy levels
The air quality in the Klang Valley has worsened since Tuesday, with several areas appreaching unhealthy levels. According to the Department of Environment’s Air Pollutant Index, Port Klang is the worst affected so far, with an API reading of 89, with nearby areas with readings between 80 and 85. the API in Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur are in the mid-70s. Penang is also beginning to show effects of the haze caused by fires in Riau, Indonesia, with George Town and Seberang Prai now experiencing moderate air quality. The haze descended on Malaysia earlier this week, earlier than expected due to changing winds. The annual crisis has pushed countries in the region to agree on a roadmap on regulating transboundary pollution, which was finalised last week. (Malay Mail Online)

Malaysia bags silver for mixed doubles badminton
Malaysia’s dreams of winning its first Olympc gold in badminton yesterday were dashed by Indonesia yesterday, as Malaysia’s mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying were defeated by Indonesia’s Ahmad Tontowi and Liliyana Natsir in the finals. The match ended 14-21, 12-21 after two sets. It is a historic achievement as Malaysia has previously not been strong in mixed doubles and it was also not expected from the pair before the tournament. (Malay Mail Online)

Silver medalists Malaysia's Liu Ying Goh and Malaysia's Peng Soon Chan stand with their medals on the podium following the mixed doubles Gold Medal badminton match at the Riocentro stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / GOH Chai Hin

Silver medalists Malaysia’s Liu Ying Goh and Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan stand with their medals on the podium following the mixed doubles Gold Medal badminton match at the Riocentro stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016, at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP PHOTO / GOH Chai Hin