Customs: Traders should bring down prices after zero GST kicks in
Traders nationwide are required to reduce the price of goods to correspond with the abolition of the 6% standard Goods and Services Tax (GST), starting June 1. Customs Director-General Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said traders were also urged not to exploit the government’s intention to lower prices of goods to benefit consumers. All GST-registered traders had to comply with the imposition of the zero rate. The government would take firm steps to ensure the price of goods and services were in compliance with the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011. (Malay Mail Online)

Govt to find ways to lower payment to Singapore for dropping HSR
The government will find out how it can reduce the amount of money it has to pay to Singapore if it needs to drop the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “The terms and agreement for the HSR are such that if we decide to drop the project, it would cost us a lot of money,” he said. The HSR, which is worth RM100 billion, and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, which has a contract value of RM60 billion, are two mega infrastructure projects cited by the prime minister as funded by a borrowing spree that had swelled the national debt to RM1 trillion. The ECRL is expected to cost RM92 billion by the time it is paid off due to interest, he added. (The Edge)

Influx of China giants worries housing developers
The government has been urged to review housing development plans by companies from China pending a detailed study on the feasibility and viability of these projects. Rehda council member Anthony Adam Cho said local developers and the Malaysian public had become concerned by the volume of Chinese-built housing projects in recent years. He had said that foreigners who stayed at Forest City could live there forever and there was no ruling that would prevent them from becoming citizens after living there for years. Projects which had been approved would have to carry on, but the government must ensure that the Chinese developers adhere to the relevant rules, policies and law. He said Chinese developers had great advantages in size and resources, and an influx of Chinese companies had affected the livelihood of Malaysian developers. Foreign companies also enjoyed benefits such as tax holidays which were denied to local developers. (Free Malaysia Today)

Asian Pac buys Petaling Jaya land for RM300mil
Asian Pac Holdings Bhd has proposed to buy 74 acres of land in Petaling Jaya for RM300 million, for the purpose of future property development. “The sizable lands will fit a wider mix of products when being developed. Furthermore, the lands are easily accessible via major highways like New Pantai Expressway and KESAS (Klang-Shah Alam Expressway),” the property development firm said. Asian Pac will make the payment in two tranches via a deferred payment mode, and expects to complete the land purchase by 4Q of 2019. Asian Pac has property projects in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Sabah, as well as being the owner and operator of Imago Mall in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. (The Edge Markets)

New Housing Minister Zuraida vows to spruce up PPR flats
New Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said she plans to improve the condition of People’s Housing Projects (PPRs) to encourage more Malaysians to stay there. She admitted that the condition of some of the PPRs in the city had deteriorated over the years. This has led to the PPRs becoming home to foreigners instead. “There has to be some cleaning up, so that real Malaysians are staying there,” she said. To avoid the PPR units from being rented out to foreigners, the PPR owners may be required to seek approval from local authorities first. This would also allow the ministry to keep tabs on the foreigners residing in PPRs. Zuraida also said there are plans to increase the number of PPRs as part of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto promise to build one million affordable homes over the course of 10 years. (Malay Mail Online)