Govt fails to get two-thirds Parliament majority to amend Constitution
The Pakatan Harapan government has failed to obtain the two-thirds Parliament majority it needs to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution. The amendment would have been the first step in making Sabah and Sarawak equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia in the Federation of Malaysia. A two-thirds vote majority, which amounts to 148 out of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, is needed to amend the Constitution. Pakatan managed to secure 138 votes but 59 MPs abstained from voting. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when met by reporters in the Parliament lobby, said he did not expect the government’s bid to amend the Constitution to fail. However, he said that every lawmaker has the right to vote “whatever they have set their sights on”. (The Star Online)

Felda seeks RM6 billion government bailout
Felda, a Malaysian state agency overseeing farmers, will ask for about RM6 billion from the government to help turn itself around, according to a source. The agency will include the request in its long-awaited white paper when it is tabled in parliament today, said the person, who asked not to be named as the bill hasn’t been publicly presented. If approved, the funds would likely be disbursed in stages. The current administration has had to rescue struggling state institutions as its fight against corruption exposes pockets of financial trouble. In December, the government approved a RM19.9 billion ringgit aid for the Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH). Meanwhile, Felda plans to sell off some assets to help fix its finances as it grapples with an ongoing corruption investigation. (The Star Online)

Rosmah to face fresh bribery charges linked to solar hybrid project
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor will be facing fresh bribery charges today concerning a solar energy project to provide electricity to schools in Sarawak. She will be charged under Section 16(A)(a) of the MACC Act 2009, dealing with soliciting or accepting bribes. If convicted, she can face an imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification involved or RM10,000. She was first charged in relation to the project in November last year, where she pleaded not guilty to two counts of graft, the first for soliciting RM187.5 million and the second for receiving RM1.5 million. Separately, she was also slapped with 17 money laundering and tax evasion charges in October involving over RM7 million. (The Edge)

Tambun Indah buys more land near Pearl City township for RM131m
Property developer Tambun Indah Land is expanding its land bank in Seberang Perai Selatan, Penang, with the acquisition of another 27 parcels of land totalling 209.54 acres for RM131 million cash. A major portion of the land is located adjoining to the southern side of Tambun Indah’s flagship Pearl City township development. Its 70%-owned subsidiary Mustiara Sdn Bhd has acknowledged a letter of acceptance of offer from landowner TPPT Sdn Bhd to buy the parcels of land. A deposit of deposit of RM2.62 million had been paid, with the remaining balance funded via bank borrowings and/or additional financial assistance from shareholders. (The Edge)

Malaysia, Indonesia tie for top spot among Muslim-friendly travel destinations
Malaysia has taken the top spot in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) for the ninth year in a row, but for the first time, it is sharing that position with Indonesia. The GMTI 2019 report, which includes 130 destinations globally, gave both countries a score of 78. The rest of the top 10 countries are Turkey (score of 75), Saudi Arabia (72), United Arab Emirates (71), Qatar (68), Morocco (67), Bahrain (66), Oman (66) and Brunei (65). In 2018, Malaysia received a score of 80.6 while Indonesia tied with United Arab Emirates with a score of 72.8. Singapore remains the premier Muslim-friendly travel destination among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations this year, followed by Thailand, the United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan. (Malay Mail)