Digital tax fixed at 6% starting Jan 1, 2020
The government has fixed 6% as the rate for the digital service tax it wants to implement from Jan 1, 2020, with the threshold set at RM500,000. The Service Tax (Amendment) Bill 2019, allowing for the imposition of the digital tax, was passed by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said the 6% rate was relatively low, citing Norway’s rate of 25%, New Zealand’s 15%, and Russia’s 18%. Putrajaya proposed the digital tax when presenting Budget 2019 last November, saying it would be imposed on foreign digital services, including software, music, video and digital advertising. “The digital tax is to provide a level playing field among local and foreign companies, as well as between online and offline service providers,” he said. Under the bill, tax defaulters can be fined up to RM50,000, imprisoned for a term of up to three years, or both. (The Edge)

MyHSR seeks tech consultant to review KL-SG HSR cost reduction options
MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bhd (MyHSR Corp) plans to appoint a technical advisory consultant (TAC) to review the technical aspects of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project’s cost reduction options. The TAC will review and validate the proposed infrastructure assets within Malaysia, such as alignment, stations and HSR maintenance facilities. CEO Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said the appointment of the TAC was an important step before the end of the suspension period in May 2020. The review is also expected to include on-the-ground data collection activities such as topography survey data, soil investigation and ground condition assessments. Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to suspend the construction of the KL-Singapore HSR until May 31, 2020, to enable both countries to find the best way forward for the project. (NST Online)

Seacera looking for ‘reputable partner’ to develop Semenyih land
Tile manufacturer Seacera Group Bhd, which diversified into construction and property development, is looking for a “reputable partner” to jointly develop Seacera’s estimated 500-acre Semenyih land in Selangor. Seacera group managing director Zulkarnin Ariffin said there is now only one “serious discussion” with a township developer, despite expressions of interest from other property developers. The land is estimated to have a GDV of RM10 billion, which is expected to last about 15 to 20 years. However, Seacera will not discount the possibility of disposing of the land because the company lacks “expertise” in property development. (The Edge)

More effective law on urban renewal planned
The Government is planning to table a new law on urban renewal to increase the effectiveness of redevelopment projects in the country. Federal Territories Minister Abdul Khalid Abdul Samad said that Malaysia does not have a specific law for urban redevelopment. At present, the process was carried out only using guidelines under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976. He said the guide involved four categories, namely urban redevelopment, urban rehabilitation, urban preservation and urban revitalisation. “Therefore, to ensure that urban redevelopment is more effective, a new legislation is needed,” he said. However, he did not provide any timeline as to when will the new law be tabled in Parliament. (The Edge)

All streetlights to be LED lamps starting September
All roads nationwide will be lit with LED lamps, instead of the traditional light bulbs, in a move to save energy by as much as 50%. Right now, about 80% of streetlamps in Malaysia use other forms of lighting apart from LED. The plan to introduce LED street lighting will be rolled out in stages beginning September, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. She said not only will this move be more power-saving, it will also create a more beautiful and attractive urban landscape for the people. A three-month pilot project will be conducted in her constituency in Ampang first, when the tender process to get contractors for the project will be completed around June. Zuraida said the ministry was also looking into installing CCTV cameras at hotspots to deter crime and to catch those who dump rubbish illegally as well. (The Star Online)