Bank Negara holds key interest rate at 3.25%
Malaysia’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 3.25%, as widely expected, with resilient exports and domestic consumption helping to prop up economic growth. All 13 economists polled by Reuters had forecast that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) would hold its overnight policy rate (OPR). BNM raised its key rate in January 2018 by 25 basis points to “normalise” monetary policy. It was the first increase since 2014, and the first rate change since July 2016’s 25 basis point cut on uncertainty surrounding Britain’s Brexit vote. The central bank outlined continued risks from unresolved trade tensions, heightened uncertainties on the global and domestic fronts and prolonged weakness in commodity-related sectors. Malaysia’s full-year 2018 growth was 4.7%, and the government forecasts 2019 growth of 4.9%. (NST Online)

Penang turns to rent-to-own schemes to clear long waiting list for public housing
The Penang state government will turn some of its low cost housing units into rent-to-own schemes and offer it to those who applied for people’s housing project (PPR) units. The local government, housing development and town and country planning committee chairman said those who have been in the waiting list for PPR units for over a decade will be given priority to take up these units. There will be about 800 more rent-to-own units available from the projects in Bukit Minyak and Balik Pulau. Jagdeep said Penang only has 999 PPR units while the state’s waiting list for PPR units now stand at 1,137 applicants. (Malay Mail)

MyRumah showcase kicks off at MyTown Cheras on Thursday
The MyRumah Property Showcase returns for a fourth year with the first of its nationwide stopovers starting at MyTown Shopping Centre, Cheras, this weekend. Expected to be launched by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, the latest MyRumah event will offer more than 2,000 units of property from four property developers and a property-related government agency. The four-day showcase beginning Thursday will comprise exhibitions from Sime Darby Property, Gamuda Land, LBS Bina Group and CK East Development, which will feature properties ranging from RM300,000 to RM1.4 million. The National Housing Department, Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) Bank Bhd are also joining the exhibition. Besides KL, this year’s MyRumah showcase will be held in Seberang Prai, Melaka, Johor Baru, Kuantan, Ipoh and two other unconfirmed slots in Kota Kinabalu and Shah Alam. (NST Online)

Mudajaya ex-employee arrested, charged with misappropriation of RM800,000 property
Mudajaya Group Bhd’s former employee, who was sued by the company for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, was arrested in Bangkok and brought back to Malaysia. The group said the former employee was charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property amounting to RM800,000. To recap, the group announced in March 2015 that it had found additional costs incurred in a specific project undertaken by the group. An internal comprehensive review revealed that irregular transactions were recorded in one project involving the former employee. The group initiated a lawsuit against him in February last year. (The Sun Daily)

Malaysia’s richest man slips out of world Top 100
“Sugar King” Robert Kuok is now the 104th richest man in the world according to Forbes, down from 96th place in last year’s edition. His estimated net worth is also now US$12.8 billion, falling from the US$14.5 billion Forbes believed he was worth in 2018. Kuok’s decline in wealth tracked a global trend that diminished the paper wealth of many billionaires. “Altogether 11% of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis,” Forbes said when announcing the list. The world’s richest man remains Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with US$131 billion, ahead of Microsoft’s Bill Gates (US$96.5 billion) and investor Warren Buffett (US$84.5 billion). (Malay Mail)