Batu Caves sports colourful new look
Social media is abuzz over the newly painted stairs at the Batu Caves temple. The 272-step stairs leading up to the entrance of the Sri Subramaniar Swamy Temple has been painted with various bright hues of red, blue, yellow, green and orange – giving it a rainbow look. The arches and temples in the vicinity have also been repainted. Batu Caves Sri Mahamariamman Temple trustee Datuk N. Sivakumar said that the paint work was carried out three days ago, and the area is opened to public. The overall cost of the refurbishment is about RM5mil, with the funds coming from donations from various donors and devotees. (The Star Online)

Complete list of businesses, items affected by SST ready in 2 days
A complete list of items and businesses affected by the Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be ready within two days. Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said however people should not expect any significant changes to the list. It was reported that SST would affect 70,000 businesses, as opposed to 420,000 under the now-repealed Goods and Services Tax (GST). The SST will see its rate set at 10% for sales and 6% for services. Subromaniam said the list of exempted items might also “more or less” remain the same. He had said earlier that SST would only involve 6,400 items (in terms of goods tax) compared to 11,197 items under the GST. (NST Online)

Dr M: Foreigners cannot buy residential units in Forest City
Malaysia will not allow foreigners to buy residential units in the US$100bil (RM410bil) Forest City project in Johor, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday. The project has faced uncertainty since the new government took over, as developer Country Garden Holdings Co looks to revive faltering demand for a city planned to be home to 700,000 people. “We are not going to give visas for people to come and live here. Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats,” he added. A Country Garden official said the company did not have any immediate response to Dr Mahathir’s comments. Malaysians living in Johor complained of large numbers of Chinese people snapping up properties in Forest City, besides concerns of environmental damage, a glut in the property market, and the impact of land reclamation on fisheries. Country Garden has developed just a fraction of the planned reclamation of 20 sq km, where Chinese nationals accounted for about 70% of apartment buyers last year. (The Star Online)

Iskandar region sees significant growth in Japanese investments
There has been a significant growth in investments, especially from Japan, into the Iskandar region following the installation of the new government. Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said most investors from the Land of the Rising Sun had previously adopted a wait-and-see attitude, particularly to ascertain the Pakatan Harapan-led government’s direction. “After seeing and understanding our direction, investors began to take interest; and I expect the total foreign investment, especially Japan, to rise because the new leadership line-up offers fresh ideas to develop the nation,” he said. Ong noted Japan had long been Malaysia’s strategic partner and was the fourth largest trading partner last year. (The Borneo Post)

Doctor visits may cost at least three times as much next year
A visit to the doctor at private clinics nationwide could cost you at least three times as much next year. General practitioners’ charges of between RM10 and RM35 are to be increased to between RM35 and RM125. The increase was agreed to at a town hall session at the Health Ministry on Monday. Deputy director-general of health (medical) Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the revision of charges was due as the last time this was done was in 2006. “The more complex one’s illness, the higher the consultation charge will be. The ceiling price for the consultation charge is RM125,” he said. He did not rule out the possibility that the new charges would be implemented at the beginning of next year. (The Star Online)