Najib slapped with RM1.5bil tax bill over ‘undeclared income’
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has reportedly billed Datuk Seri Najib Razak for an extra RM1.5 billion of income tax which it said was due between 2011 and 2017. Anonymous sources said Najib had undeclared taxable income of close to RM4 billion during that period – which also included the RM2.6 billion that Najib has insisted was a donation he received from Saudi Arabia. Last year, Najib had admitted that he did not verify the source of the RM2.6 billion that ended up in his bank account, which had allegedly been siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). A local daily quoted tax experts saying donations are subject to income tax, and Najib had committed an offence by not declaring the RM2.6 billion as his income, regardless of the source. Najib faces dozens of charges of criminal breach of trust, power abuse and money laundering. His trial is set to begin this Wednesday. (Malay Mail)

Stringent SOPs for bauxite mining proposed
A stringent set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been proposed for the resumption of bauxite mining in Pahang following the end of a moratorium spanning three years. Under the new draft regulations, the minimum condition for a mining lease or proprietary mining lease application must cover an area of at least 20ha, irrespective of it being an individual lot or combination of adjacent lots. Only applicants competent in technical and financial capabilities would be considered, and there must be a permanent mining engineer and safety, occupational health and environment officer on site. The comprehensive draft SOP covers mining rights application planning, bauxite mining site management, stockpile and port management, transportation and enforcement methods, and exportation procedures.It also stated that all new and existing mining and stockpile sites must obtain approved environmental impact assessment, which must contain health, social and traffic impact assessments. (The Star Online)

Mah Sing buys land in Kuala Lumpur for RM500m GDV project
Mah Sing Group has announced that its wholly-owned unit Mah Sing Properties Sdn Bhd has sealed a deal to buy a parcel of 4.63 acres of freehold land in Mukim Petaling for RM90.3million, and the land cost is inclusive of development charge. The project is targeted to commence in the second half of 2019 and developed over a span of up to five years. It is planning for a residential project with an estimated GDV of RM500 million. Mah Sing said this new project is targeted at first-time home buyers and some upgraders as well as the city’s professional population who are looking to stay near to the central business district with ready amenities and infrastructure. Including the latest purchase, 67% of their landbank is in the Klang Valley. (The Edge)

Penang focused on developing tourism infrastructure: Chow
It is vital for Penang to develop its infrastructure base to support the growth of the tourism sector, according to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow. He said Penang needs good connectivity to boost tourism, as it looks to cement its status as a multicultural city in Southeast Asia after its induction as a Unesco World Heritage City in 2008. The expansion of the Penang International Airport is an example of sound connectivity, he noted. Tourism is the fifth largest industry in Malaysia, contributing RM84 billion to the national economy with nearly 26 million tourist arrivals in 2018, a number which is expected to reach 30 million by next year. (The Sun Daily)

Govt ‘definitely not okay’ with RM10b ECRL cost cut, says Daim
Tun Daim Zainuddin has dismissed the view that Putrajaya would be fine if it can get Beijing to agree to reduce the cost of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project by RM10 billion. The former minister, who has been appointed to lead Malaysia’s negotiation team on the suspended 688km rail project, said that China is well aware of the government’s intent to slash costs. Daim recently said Putrajaya expects to close the deal by April, the most positive statement to date after months of uncertainty clouding the fate of the RM81 billion project. Daim reiterated China’s importance to Malaysia as a trade partner and clarified that the Pakatan Harapan government opposed the ECRL project only because it felt the initial terms were lopsided. (Malay Mail)