SST to be set at 6% for services, 10% for sales
The provision of services will be taxed at 6% under the reintroduced sales and services tax (SST), while the sales of goods will incur a 10% tax, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The SST bill is expected to be passed in August and would be implemented in September. He said the SST, coupled with rising crude oil prices and extra dividend from government-linked companies, would bring in an extra RM14.4 billion revenue for the government to compensate for the loss of RM21 billion revenue from the zero-rating of the goods and services tax (GST) from June this year. Lim said taxes, apart from funding the development and administration of the country, also function to correct economic inequality that exists in the society by redistributing income. (The Sun Daily)

Rehda identify structural problems in affordable housing
Rehda Institute has identified nine structural problems in providing affordable housing. There are fragmented playing field between public and private sectors, rigid housing policies, unsuitable location, land scarcity, cross subsidies that purportedly made houses more expensive, rising material costs, unproductive use of public funds that led to oversupplies, lower financial approval rate for the lower income groups, and lack of latest market data. “At the moment, there is a lack of coordination between the public and private sectors in providing affordable homes,” said Rehda Institute chairman Datuk Jeffrey Ng. “There are various definition of what affordable means and the median household income differs from state to state.” (NST Online)

Malaysia, Singapore to discuss high-speed rail by end July
Malaysia will send an official representative to Singapore to discuss the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project by the end of the month, said Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali. Azmin added that an announcement on the matter will be made this week. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a press conference in May that his government will drop the HSR project, saying it would not benefit Malaysia. Since the announcement was made, Singapore has not received any formal notification of Malaysia’s plans to scrap the project. Based on preliminary estimates, the Singapore Government has spent more than S$250 million on the HSR project by the end of May this year. Singapore has said it will exercise its rights to compensation if the HSR project was terminated. (Channel NewsAsia)

Ministry to review rejected Bumiputera applications for affordable homes
The Housing and Local Government Ministry will review applications for affordable homes by Bumiputera that were rejected by financial institutions, said its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. The move was to ensure they were already house owners and to avoid a glut in unsold affordable houses under the Bumiputera quota. This was in response to a suggestion by Rehda for unsold Bumiputera quota affordable homes to be released to the open market. The ministry is now drafting the National Housing Policy 2.0, scheduled to be ready by end of the year. (The Borneo Post)

LED street lights helping Penang save millions
Penang is on track to install over 20,000 energy-saving LED street lamps that will help the two local councils save millions of ringgit. State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the installation would be completed by 2020. He said such lights would reduce the councils’ power bills by almost 60%. Last year, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) spent close to RM6 million on street lighting while the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) spent nearly RM7 million. Street lights in Penang are installed and maintained by MBPP and MPSP, as well as Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). (Free Malaysia Today)