Malaysia plunges from 35 to 80 in World Happiness Index
Malaysia is ranked the 80th happiest nation in the 2019 World Happiness Report, a massive drop of 45 places compared with 2018 when it was ranked 35th. This latest report of 156 countries covers the period from 2016-2018, while the 2018 report covered 2015-2017. In South-East Asia, Malaysia is ranked fourth behind Singapore (34th), Thailand (52nd) and the Philippines (69th). In the previous report, Malaysia was ranked second happiest in the region. The top spots for happiest countries in the world go to the Nordic nations, with Finland being the happiest followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The unhappiest country is South Sudan, with Tanzania, Afghanistan and Central African Republic just above them. This year’s report focused on happiness and the community. (The Star Online)

Western Digital ready to sell PJ manufacturing site
Western Digital has decided to sell its hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturing facility site at the Sungei Way Free Trade Industrial Zone in Petaling Jaya, where the company has been operating for over two decades. The decision came following the company’s deliberations regarding its staff, production and the ongoing business in Malaysia. Knight Frank Malaysia has been appointed as the exclusive agent to handle the marketing and sale of the site. It was reported in July 2018 that Western Digital was looking at a price range of between RM160 million and RM190 million for the 11-acre site which also offers slightly more than 1 million sq ft of built-up area. Western Digital may retain one of the buildings on the PJ site as a regional and technical centre, subject to the offers it receives. The company still has manufacturing facilities in Penang, Johor and Sarawak. (The Edge)

The Western Digital manufacturing facility site in Petaling Jaya (Photo from The Edge)

Government to tender out RM3.2bil in green contracts this year
The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) will tender at least RM3.2 billion in contracts this year, involving renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) projects. Minister Yeo Bee Yin said among the projects would be the retrofitting of 50 government-owned buildings with EE technology. “This pilot project is worth about RM200 million and will be an open tender for energy-saving companies,” she said. Other tenders include projects under the RM2 billion large-scale solar (LSS) 3 scheme and adoption of the Net Energy Metering (NEM) mechanism which would drive about RM1 billion in investment and opportunities within the RE industry. (The Star Online)

Kulim airport privately funded as Putrajaya can’t afford it
The federal government lacks funds and needs the private sector to help finance the needed infrastructure development, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said. Referring in particular to the government approval for the RM1.6 billion, privately-funded Kulim International Airport in Kedah, Azmin said this was necessary due to the state of public coffers. He also confirmed the proposed airport will be 100% privately funded. The increased capacity of the Penang International Airport can no longer be sustained, and expansion is also restricted due to the limited land surface. “[The airport in Kulim] is just to complement whatever facilities that we have in Penang and Alor Setar,” he added. (Malay Mail)

UOB launches app that matches property buyers with mortgage bankers
United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) has launched a mobile app that matches prospective property buyers with the bank’s team of mortgage specialists. Dubbed UOB GetBanker, it is part of the bank’s efforts to harness technology to improve customer experience. “Using the UOB GetBanker app, a property buyer or agent can search for a mortgage banker based on whether they are looking to purchase a residential or commercial property, the location and the price of the property,” it explained. UOB Malaysia managing director and country head of personal financial services Ronnie Lim said the app will help to streamline the property buying process, making it simpler and smarter. Tan said the launch is also timely as the bank expects to see more first-time homebuyers enter the housing market in the next couple of years. (The Edge)