Total ban on polystyrene in Selangor from Jan 1
A new policy set by the Selangor state government to ban the use of polystyrene and promote reduced plastic bag usage will take effect on Jan 1. Businesses in Selangor will face a RM1,000 fine if they use polystyrene packages come January 2017. Several additional conditions have been added to the by-laws to incorporate the new ruling. The maximum fine is RM1,000 and shoppers will be charged a minimum 20sen for single-use plastic bags. Among the things exempted from charges include plastic bags for raw meat, plants or roots covered in sand or soil (e.g. potatoes and ginger), flowers, unwrapped loose seeds, products (prescription and poisonous substances) and live fish or aquatic products. Selangor had extended its “No Plastic Bag” day after receiving feedback from the public. (The Star Online)

HBA: Laws needed to protect buyers from abandoned projects
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) has urged the government to consider preventive measures to avoid more abandoned projects in the future, and to provide some protection for house buyers. 26 abandoned housing projects in 2016 and the current economic situation could lead to more abandoned projects next year, which put buyers at risk when purchasing under the current legislation. The government has many ways to regulate the housing industry, including legislations and rules under the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act and the Housing Development Regulations. One of the measures suggested is the Build-Then-Sell 10:90 concept which HBA has been lobbying for. (The Sun Daily)

EPF’s down-payment facility reduces housebuyers burden
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which allows members to use their contributions to pay the down payment for a house can help realise the desire of low-income workers to own their own homes. One contributor said being able to withdraw from his EPF account to pay the down-payment helped reduce the burden on low and medium wage workers like him, while another contributor said he would use the EPF money in future to buy a house as an investment. (Malay Mail Online)

Penang guarantees no water rationing until 2030
The Penang government has pledged that there will be no water disruptions, including rationing, until 2030. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the state is the only one in history that has not imposed water rationing due to the administration’s three-pronged strategy. According to Lim, the number one method was by holding the top management personally responsible if water rationing is imposed. The second step was by ensuring competent water demand management and implementing water conservation programmes. The third aspect was by fully gazetting water catchment areas as well as over-designing water treatment plants, water pipes and water reservoirs to ensure adequate water supply. (Malay Mail Online)

Felcra to restructure before considering IPO
Felcra Bhd said it will be focusing on restructuring and strengthening its operations — which includes a proposed venture into property development — before the group considers any potential listing of its subsidiaries. the group is looking into three key business areas to be developed going forward, comprising its current core plantation business, as well as a diversification into property and food security. Felcra is looking at a potential GDV of RM5 billion over the next 10 years for its undeveloped land banks, and is planning commercial and residential developments. (The Edge Markets)

AmProp eyes Hong Kong property market
Amcorp Properties Bhd (AmProp) is looking to venture into Hong Kong’s property market through a collaboration with Grosvenor Asia Pacific Ltd. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Amcorp Orient Ltd, had entered a co-investment agreement with Grosvenor to form a joint-venture company to invest in a portfolio of value-add as well as redevelopment and development projects in Hong Kong. “Following AmProp Group’s profitable ventures in London and Japan, the co-invest is part of the group’s strategy to diversify its property investment and development portfolio, and as an impetus towards its quest to embark on niche developments in high-growth international markets,” the group said. (The Star Online)

Armed Forces and police personnel patrolling at a mall in the Klang Valley. (Photo from The Star)

Armed Forces and police personnel patrolling at a mall in the Klang Valley. (Photo from The Star)

Malls, clubs and hotels beef up security for festive season
Malls, clubs and hotels in the country are taking their own steps to improve security to complement efforts made by the police, following the shooting of three suspected miliants by Indonesian police over plan to bomb a police post during the holiday season. The number of mall visitors can increase by 50% during the year-end holidays, so naturally security personnel are required. Some of the larger malls even have more than 100 personnel as well as the help of the auxiliary police. However, patrons also have a part to play in security, by noticing and reporting suspicious activity. (The Star Online)