SST to benefit house buyers more, say Penang contractors
The re-introduction of the Sales and Service Tax (SST) may benefit house buyers more compared to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), said the Penang Electrical Merchants Association. The 10% SST is a one-off charge which only applies to the manufacturer, supplier or contractor. In comparison, the 6% GST was applied at all stages, from the raw materials to the manufacturer, supplier and contractor. An example is the price of a RM100,000 property, which would cost RM106,000 with the addition of GST for buyers, but the 10% SST does not apply to the RM100,000 price tag. Developers will possibly absorb the increase to boost their sales in view of the slow property market, said an industry expert. The new SST starts on Sept 1. (The Star Online)

Cabinet has approved in principle new Johor-Singapore rail, says Loke
Transport Minister Anthony Loke says the Cabinet has approved in principle the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project but it is still looking into the cost and other final details. If the Cabinet gives its go-ahead, then the first process was to set up a joint operation company between Malaysia and Singapore as the RTS involved two separate countries. “Despite the delay, the RTS project will be completed in six years’ time by 2024,” he said. Malaysia and Singapore signed a legally-binding agreement in January to build the link. The cross-border service will connect Johor’s Bukit Chagar and Singapore’s Woodlands North. (Malay Mail Online)

EcoFirst targets RM240mil property sales
EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd is targeting RM240 million sales in the current year ending May 2019 from its Liberty @ Ampang Ukay and Kondominium Kelab Golf (formerly known as Upper East @ Tiger Lane) projects. Phase one of Liberty @ Ampang Ukay comprised three towers of residential SoHo units and 32 retail units, with GDV of RM606.8 million. The second phase comprise of 378 units of affordable homes, with a RM500 million GDV. The group will be exploring strategic joint ventures with landowners in the future, particularly in Klang Valley. Projects in the pipeline include building RumahKu Selangor homes for sale to low and medium income earners. (NST Online)

E-parking payment system to be introduced in Perak soon
Motorists in Perak will soon have an additional option of paying for parking when an application on smartphones is rolled out by next year. The existing coupon system will also be standardised in all the 15 local councils from January. “As a first step, we want to standardise the coupon system and at the same time for the convenience of the public we want to introduce online banking or payment via credit card,” said State Housing, Local Government, Public Transport, Non-Islamic Affairs and New Villages Committee chairman Yong Choo Kiong. “With one application it can be used in all the councils. I hope motorists will choose the e-parking system,” he said, adding that the coupon system will however not be discontinued. (The Sun Daily)

Alibaba Cloud continues to invest in Malaysia
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, announced the launch of their second availability zone (Availability Zone B) in Malaysia to expand its cloud footprint and bolster its cloud capacity, serving increasing customer demand locally and in the region. The new zone complements Availability Zone A which was launched last year in heightening cloud security and ensuring business continuity through resilient cloud infrastructure. Alibaba Cloud will also continue to invest in Malaysia by setting up the first cloud based Anti-DDoS Scrubbing Centre in August. The new centre will feature a variety of security functions including Anti-DDoS Pro, a service that defends against all types of DDoS attacks. Earlier this year, the company announced the collaboration with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in the Malaysia City Brain Initiative to create a smart city powered by AI and big data. (Digital News Asia)