No inheritance, capital gains tax in Budget 2019
The much-speculated taxes on capital gains and inheritance will not be introduced in Budget 2019. Sources said both capital gains tax (CGT) and inheritance tax may only be introduced over the next few years if found feasible. With only less than three weeks before the national budget is unveiled, the source also said that the additional tax measures to be announced would likely focus on the digital economy and tax incentives. The potential digital tax to be introduced will likely be an extension of the existing Sales and Service Tax (SST) on online businesses, particularly on foreign digital service content providers. The government had set up a Tax Reform Committee on Sept 12 to look at the current tax structure and how to broaden tax base. Any changes to the tax incentive structure will be gradual and progressive over the next few years. (The Star Online)

Pan Borneo Highway will remain toll-free
The Pan Borneo Highway in Sabah and Sarawak will remain toll-free, said Works Minister Baru Bian. He said the Pakatan Harapan coalition, since taking over the federal government, had stated that there would be no toll collection for the Pan Borneo Highway. The federal government was committed to continue construction of the highway and see it completed on schedule. The Works Ministry would discuss with the Finance Ministry to re-evaluate the cost of the entire highway but the discussions would not broach on the alignment. He noted that land acquisition was among the reasons for delays in construction in Sabah. (Malay Mail Online)

Government to set up three categories of affordable houses
The government will incorporate three categories of affordable housing that will be constructed under the National Housing Policy, latest by mid-November, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. Houses fetching RM150,000 and below, RM150,000-RM300,000 and RM300,000-RM500,000 would make up the new categories. Zuraida also said all housing projects under the five housing entities comprising PR1MA, PPA1M, UDA Holdings Bhd, SPNB and PPRT would be streamlined under one programme. “This means that the housing entities will use the same design, same pricing and the same management,” she said. “We are also looking at various options for social housing requirements in town areas, particularly the rent-to-own (RTO) scheme,” she added. (The Edge Markets)

Property agents see opportunities from residential overhang
Property agents view the country’s residential overhang as an opportunity to sell, real estate agency Cornerstone Realty executive director Wong Yau Long said. Wong expects the overhang situation in the country to remain unchanged until next year. The situation is unlikely to worsen, however, because developers have adjusted their plans and are holding back on launches. Developers will need more agents to sell their overhang units, which is an opportunity for agents, said Wong. CBD Properties (OUG) Sdn Bhd project manager Jonathan Lai said the overhang could be beneficial to buyers as they can view the actual units instead of making decisions based on show units. IQI Realty Sdn Bhd head of team Tham Wai Kien suggested developers provide smart devices and home appliances to attract buyers. (The Star Online)

Malaysia among Asia’s most visited countries in 2016, says report
The South East Asian (SEA) region received the highest number of travellers, with China topping the list. Tourism has been one of the growing economic sectors across the world. According to the report by World Tourism Organisation the international tourist arrivals have increased from 25 million globally in 1950 to 1,235 million in 2016. The Asia Pacific region accounts for 30% of the world’s international tourism receipts. The region has outperformed all other regions in terms of growth, with international tourist arrivals increasing an average 7% per year compared to the world average of 4%. China remains the leading destination in Asia with a record 59.27 million people in 2016, followed by Thailand with 32.58 million, and Malaysia with 26.75 million visitors. Japan and India followed with 24.04 and 14.56 million tourists respectively. (The Star Online)