Malaysia up two spots on World Competitiveness Rankings
Malaysia moved up two notches to 22nd place in the latest IMD World Competitiveness Rankings published by the Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitiveness Centre. “Malaysia is the only economy (in Southeast Asia) to register an improvement of two positions, driven by a strong rebound in economic performance, especially in international trade,” the Switzerland-based research group said in a statement. The top five most competitive economies in the world remain the same as in 2017, but their order changed. The United States placed number one (previously fourth), followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Philippines experienced the most significant decline in the region, shifting nine places to 50th. (The Sun Daily)

Dr M: SPAD, Pemandu, Jasa and MPN among agencies to be abolished
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will be abolished, with its duties taken over by the Transport Ministry, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir. The Prime Minister also announced that several other Government agencies deemed as “political” or “non-essential” will be abolished or redeployed. This included the National Professors Council (MPN), Special Affairs Department (Jasa), the Residents’ Representatives Committee (JPP) and Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO). He was also asked about the fate of Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit), National Innovation Agency and MaGIC (Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre), to which he reponded that they ‘are not actually part of the government’ and will be disbanded. (The Star Online)

Bank Negara gives details on land purchase deals to MACC
Bank Negara Malaysia said it has extended comprehensive information on the central bank’s land transaction to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for review. BNM said it initiated the purchase of the land for the development of a financial education hub, which was conducted as an arms-length transaction based on the land’s fair value as determined by an independent private sector valuer. “The transaction complied with all the governance requirements and relevant laws that govern the bank. The bank shall continue to be transparent on this matter,” Bank Negara said. (The Edge Markets)

EPF buys Polish retail mall for RM1.4bil
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has bought a retail mall in Poland but declined to say for how much or the annual net yield for the investment. A source from Britain said the EPF bought it for “close to 300mil pounds (RM1.4bil)”. The deal is believed to have been completed in March. In February, the EPF bought two logistics assets in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam and Moerdijk, making it the EPF’s second Dutch purchase. The Polish mall, known as Galeria Katowicka, has a gross floor area of 511,286 sq ft, offers direct access to the rail station and the underground bus terminal. According to foreign press reports, since its opening in 2013, Galeria Katowicka has enjoyed an upward growth in sales and footfall and double-digit growth in retail sales. It receives between 1.2 and 1.3 million visitors monthly. (The Star Online)

MRCB expects to win over 20% of RM2.9bil tenders
Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has targeted to secure above 20% of the total open construction tender contracts valued at RM2.9 billion this year. Its CCO Amarjit Singh Chhina said MRCB has a sizeable tenderbook in place and the company is bullish to carry out business as usual, while aiming high to tender for jobs mainly in engineering, construction, as well as property development. He said this year would be good for the construction sector which is expected to contribute greatly to the company’s revenue and profit through its new property projects that are just starting. MRCB’s current landbank stands at close to 400 acres with an estimated GDV of RM57 billion, of which 80% consist of transit oriented developments (TODs). (The Malaysian Reserve)