Minister: Six states approved water rate hikes, two more soon
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar announced today that six states have agreed to raise water tariffs, with two others to do so shortly. He said the increases were needed to fund technological upgrades at water treatment plants nationwide. The rate of increase will vary by state, he said before adding that discussions with the state governments were ongoing. However, he stopped short of revealing the states which have agreed to hike the water tariff. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia ranked 19th among 73 nations for government e-payment adoption
Malaysia has been ranked 19 out of 73 countries in a survey that ranks governments by quantifying their e-payment capabilities based on various indicators such as policies and infrastructure. The survey is part of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) global index commissioned by Visa. Evaluation is based on seven criteria: transactions between citizen and government (C2G), government-to-citizen (G2C), business-to-government (B2G), government-to-business (G2B), as well as the infrastructure, socio-economic and policy environments to enable e-payments. Malaysia is one of the top-performing countries when it comes to B2G, C2G and G2C transactions. However, the coutry lagged behind its peers in infrastructure development and socio-economic conditions. (The Edge)

Govt to pump in RM6bil in stages to fix Felda
Felda is to receive slightly more than RM6bil in stages from the government as it restructures its operations and strengthens governance in order to improve the fortunes of the agency and settlers. It is understood that in the White Paper, Felda will get that sum of money from the government in the form of grants, loans and guarantees in order to resolve the immediate needs of the agency and establish a viable direction for the company and settlers. A sum of around RM2.4bil will be in loans to restructure Felda’s loans and RM2.1bil will be a grant to clear the settlers’ interest for loans over the next 15 years. More than RM200mil will be used to complete housing needs for second-generation Felda settlers and close to RM500mil will be paid to help with living costs and future income, while RM1bil will be given to settlers to make their changeover to new cash crops. (The Star Online)

Sime Darby Property eyes RM2.3bil sales
Sime Darby Property Bhd is confident it can hit its RM2.3bil sales target for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019, with the six-month Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) serving as a much needed catalyst in a time when the market is facing a slowdown. Its chief marketing and sales officer Gerard Yuen said Sime Darby Property has kicked off a campaign where it is launching eight projects in eight weeks. The campaign, called Primetime 8, began in March and will end later this month. “Over the four-week period, we have launched three new projects and previewed one. Two of the projects that we launched have been fully taken up,” he said. Most of the units being offered under Sime Darby Property’s Primetime 8 campaign are located within the Klang Valley. It will be followed up with another campaign where units from all over the country will be showcased. (The Star Online)

Black hole picture captured for first time in space breakthrough
Astronomers have captured the first image of a black hole, heralding a revolution in our understanding of the universe’s most enigmatic objects. The picture shows a halo of dust and gas, tracing the outline of a colossal black hole, at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55m light years from Earth. The black hole itself – a cosmic trapdoor from which neither light nor matter can escape – is unseeable. But the latest observations take astronomers right to its threshold for the first time, illuminating the event horizon beyond which all known physical laws collapse. The breakthrough image was captured by the Event Horizon telescope (EHT), a network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations from Antarctica to Spain and Chile, in an effort involving more than 200 scientists. (The Guardian)

The first image of a black hole ever captured