New airport proposals for Penang
Amid all the hype surrounding the Kulim International Airport (KXP) there is now even talk of two companies proposing to build a new airport in two different locations in south Seberang Perai on mainland Penang. One proposal – called North Malaysia International Airport (NMIA) – involves acquiring thousands of hectares of padi land, while another – the Northern Region International Airport (NORIA) – entails reclaiming 5,000ha off the coast of south Seberang Perai. Both proposed locations are within 10km of each other. NMIA, if given the nod, would be an exchange for the rights to develop the coveted prime land now occupied by Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas which is on Penang island. A source revealed that the location of NMIA, which would cost about RM10bil and covering a whopping 650ha, would be near the border shared by Kedah, Penang and Perak. The other proposal, NORIA, includes the building of an industrial fisheries port, a major enhancement to Penang’s aquaculture sector in south Seberang Prai and a new electronics industrial park. (The Star Online)

Civil servants spend more than half of salaries on repaying debts
The high debt levels of Malaysia’s civil servants are nothing surprising. In BNM’s Financial Stability Review released last September, findings showed that civil servants spent more than half of their monthly salaries on repaying debts. It noted that these high debt levels are even more apparent for those earning less than RM5,000 monthly. After considering their monthly expenditure on basic necessities and debt obligations, they are left with only 15% or RM360 to RM586 to spend on discretionary items. Almost half of the borrowings or 47% is for consumption purposes such as personal financing, motor vehicles, credit cards and others. Bank Negara also stated that the debt repayment capacity of civil servants remained lower than the average borrowers at the national level, which could have broader socio-economic implications. (The Star Online)

MTUC proposes series of labour reforms to benefit workers
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has proposed to the government a RM300 cost of living allowance for workers, a housing allowance, as well as 30 days paid leave for Muslim workers to perform the haj. These are among the proposals MTUC has submitted to the government which is in the midst of reviewing three key labour laws as promised by the Pakatan Harapan in its GE14 manifesto. MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said the labour laws in Malaysia were archaic since most of the legislation was introduced in the 50’s and 60’s. Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran said labour laws which were being amended to provide better protection for workers were the Trade Unions Act 1959, the Occupational Safety and Heath Act 1994, the Industrial Relations Act 1967 and the Employment Act 1955. (The Sun Daily)

MM2H brought in RM40b revenue to Malaysia
The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) scheme has raked in RM40.6 billion in total from its introduction in 2002 until 2018, from 21,841 approvals. Of that, property purchase makes up the highest amount at RM5.5 billion, with apartments, villas and townhouses topping the list. In 2018 alone, more than RM600 million came from 500 houses sold to these successful applicants. The foreign retirees’ preferred location is Kuala Lumpur, followed by Johor, Selangor, Penang and Malacca. Besides property, the country also earns revenue from the visa holders’ bank deposits, medical treatment, tourism and other purchases like cars and furniture. Applicants from China, South Korea, and Japan made up the top three, followed by Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Britain, the US, Taiwan, India and Australia. (The Edge)

62 Malaysian companies hold permits to import plastic waste
A total of 62 Malaysian companies currently hold approved permits (AP) to import and process plastic waste. The permits are issued by the National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) within the Housing and Local Government Ministry. In July last year, the Ministry announced a three-month suspension for the issuance of permits following the incident of contamination in Kuala Langat, Selangor, believed to have been caused by a factory processing plastic waste illegally. All the 62 companies were being continuously monitored to ensure they abide by stipulated regulations. Stern action, including the revocation of licence, would be taken if any of the companies were found to have violated the regulations pertaining to the permits. According to the NSWMD website, Malaysian importers of waste need to ensure invoices submitted bear the signature and stamp of relevant exporters they work with, while permit applicants need to furnish photos of the waste that is intended for import into the country. (NST Online)

Source: SCMP