Najib: 4 additional services to be GST zero-rated
The government has agreed to treat several services to overseas customers as zero-rated supply for the purpose of Goods and Services Tax (GST) effective July 1, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The services include those prescribed in connection with goods for export where the service is supplied to overseas customers. “Secondly, prescribed services supplied in the free zones, including Licensed Manufacturing Warehouses (LMW) to overseas customers. Thirdly, research and development services… and finally, non-recurring expenditure incurred as engineering expenses, including tools and machinery used in the manufacturing process of goods.” A set of guidelines on Exemption of withholding tax will be announced by end of this month. (NST Online)

New airport planned for Perak
The Perak government plans to build a new airport to further boost the tourism and industry sectors in the state. The state government had made preliminary discussions and conducted research on the matter. The location for the new airport has been identified; it will not be far from Ipoh and not near to a busy airport such as Penang International Airport. The location for the new airport is said to be quite spacious and can accommodate a 3.5 kilometre runway suitable for large aircraft. It is not only meant for tourism but also the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry. (NST Online)

Busy year ahead for PRG Holdings with affordable housing projects
As PRG Holdings Bhd’s maiden development, Picasso Residence, is set for completion, the group is preparing to take on a number of projects with its latest venture into affordable housing development. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd. Under the MoU, PRG Holdings will conduct feasibility studies and due diligence on several of the projects, which have a total GDV of RM5 billion. (The Edge Markets)

UEM Sunrise expects 85% take up rate for Serene Heights phase 4
Property developer UEM Sunrise Bhd (UEMS) is expecting a take up rate of 85% for Dahlia, its fourth and latest phase of the Serene Heights development in Bangi. The group has begun construction of Dahlia and it is now open for sale, with prices ranging between RM585k to RM1 million. The development is expected to be completed in July 2020 and has a GDV of RM108 million. Serene Heights Bangi is a 448-acre mixed-township development first launched in June 2015. (The Edge Markets)

Artist’s impression of Serene Heights (Image from Serene Heights)

Selangor gave 75% discount on land for fire stations
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has denied a claim made by Tan Sri Noh Omar that the state government had charged premium prices for the site of two fire stations. Azmin instead claimed that a 75% discount for the sites had been given which resulted in a RM22.19 million loss for the state. He further explained that the initial premium market prices for the land was valued at RM19,850,000.00 for Setia Alam and RM9.7 million for Bukit Rahman Putra respectively. (Malay Mail Online)

More multinational O&G players eyeing Malaysia as regional hub
More multinational oil and gas (O&G) players are looking to relocate or set up their regional base in Malaysia due to its relatively stable political and business environment as well as competitiveness. Malaysia, said Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid, is able to offer an educated and highly-skilled workforce, well-developed infrastructure, advanced technology and a supportive business environment, all a “significantly lower cost compared with several of our neighbours”, which in turn would help invigorate the local O&G industry and country’s economy. He also said this year could be the “road to recovery” for the O&G sector after experiencing a “year of tough decisions” in 2016. (The Edge Markets)

IWCity shares fall further after delay of IWH merger
The share price of Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) continued to fall yesterday, after the group and its holding company Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) agreed to delay the signing of their merger deal. Last week, IWCity said the date to sign the deal has been extended to Sept 4, to enable the group to negotiate in good faith and execute the definitive agreements with relevant vendors under the restructuring exercise. (The Edge Markets)

Uber Malaysia inks deal to let taxis onto its network
Uber has signed an MoU with a Malaysian taxi association to include traditional taxis in the ride-hailing firm’s network. The pilot initiative is dubbed “UberTaxi” and will charge users the same rates as the “UberX” service. Around 500 drivers from Gabungan Persatuan dan Syarikat-Syarikat Teksi Semenanjung Malaysia will join Uber under the programme. The government is revamping the taxi and hire car industry via the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), which includes incorporating e-hailing services such as Uber and its home-grown rival Grab. (Malay Mail Online)

Tencent applies for licence to offer WeChat Pay in Malaysia
Tencent Holdings Ltd has applied for a licence in Malaysia to offer local payment services via its WeChat Pay, in what would be a first for the platform outside of China. If approved, users in Malaysia will be able to link their local bank accounts to WeChat Pay and pay for goods and services in ringgit. Last month, more than 100 merchants across 500 outlets in Malaysia began accepting Alipay as a payment option in Malaysia. (The Star Online)

China’s Tencent 腾讯