Asian Finance Bank now officially MBSB Bank
After a successful acquisition by the Malaysia Building Society Berhad (MBSB), the Asian Finance Bank (AFB) has now officially been rebranded as MBSB Bank Berhad, positioning itself as an Islamic bank. It is currently the second largest full-fledged Islamic bank in the country, in terms of asset size of RM43.7 billion. The bank is also looking to actively incorporate fintech (financial technology) into its delivery and marketing tools. MBSB Bank is currently the main financier of over eight of the country’s affordable housing programmes, including the 1Malaysia Civil Servants Housing (PPA1M) programme. (Malay Mail Online)

Penang urges Putrajaya to waive GST for affordable housing
The Penang government is urging Putrajaya to waive the goods and services tax (GST) for the provision and maintenance of housing for the lower income group as well as financial assistance for the construction and maintenance of places of worship. The tax had unfairly affected efforts by state governments, including Penang, in the three areas. A GST waiver would also save the state government RM2 million which could be used to facilitate and assist more non-Muslim places of worship. (Free Malaysia Today)

MyEG, Johor Corp mull Muar Furniture Park land buy
MyEG Services Bhd has inked a preliminary agreement with Johor’s state investment firm, Johor Corp, to explore the possibility of buying or leasing a land located within the state’s Muar Furniture Park. The MoU is valid for three months, MyEG added, but may be extended by mutual agreement. (The Edge Markets)

Tatt Giap ventures into property
Tatt Giap Group Bhd plans to redevelop its land in Penang, where its factories are located, into an industrial park in a bid to return to profitability. It will be the loss-making steel products manufacturer’s first venture into property development. A lack of favourable prospects in the steel industry and a challenging business environment were reasons for Tatt Giap’s entry into the property development business. The group’s maiden property development project would involve the redevelopment of its existing freehold land of 550,000 sq ft into an industrial park with 40 units of warehouse-cum-office buildings. It plans to demolish the existing facilities on the land, while relocating its steel manufacturing operations to another rented factory. (The Star Online)

PM: Land public transport system now more efficient, modern and reliable
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the land public transport system in the country is more efficient, modern and reliable now than it was during previous prime ministers. He said positive measures had been taken by the government to improve the situation. With the completion of the MRT Line 1, and upcoming MRT Line 2 and 3, the whole of Klang Valley will be one of the areas with the most modern public transport in the world. The prime minister said the electric train service (RTS) had also become a popular mode of transport for the people, with many using the service for their daily travel. The quality of life will improve and value of land will also increase, just like in the towns, he added. (Malay Mail Online)

Employment in Malaysia grew 2.1% in 2017
Labour market conditions in Malaysia improved in 2017 with an employment growth of 2.1%, three times higher than in 2016 (0.7%). Earlier, the Ministry of Human Resources revealed that almost 35,000 Malaysians lost their jobs in 2017. According to Bank Negara Malaysia’s website, the retrenchment of 35,000 persons in 2017 was still above the long-run average of 30,000 persons. (The Star Online)