Malaysia among top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific
Malaysia is listed in the top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific with a growing trend in the future, said the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Datuk Tan Kok Liang. “Wellness tourism is the fastest growing travel sector globally and Malaysia is listed in the top 10 wellness tourism markets in Asia Pacific with expenditures standing at RM20.5 billion and 8.3 million trips with a growing trend for wellness vacations and packages especially to our country,” he said. Matta and the Association of Malaysian Spas (Amspa) has signed a MoU to strengthen wellness tourism. The MoU was expected to unleash the potential of the tourism sector and ensure that it remained competitive in the global market, hence keeping Malaysia’s wellness tourism on par with other famous wellness destinations in Asia. (NST Online)

Businesses raise concern over 40% hike in cement prices
The business community in Penang have raised concerns to the Finance Ministry over the 40% price hike in cement. Reha Penang chairman Datuk Toh Chin Leong said the increase would affect property prices. He said they were worried that the price hike could be due to a monopoly by certain companies controlling supply to increase profits. According to reports, Hanson Building Materials Malaysia Sdn Bhd announced a price increase of ready-mix concrete effective Saturday. Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang chairman Datuk Dr Ooi Eng Hock said the sudden increase would affect the price of affordable housing projects. The Cement and Concrete Association of Malaysia said over the past few years, the cement industry has been suffering from an increase in electricity tariff, increase in packing materials and rising cost from imported fuel, materials, engineering spares and equipment. (The Star Online)

Putrajaya may consider funding PTMP
The Federal government has not ruled out the possibility of funding the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) provided an official application is made by the state government. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said there were numerous aspects which needed to be discussed, including the financial architecture of the mega project, before a decision on the matter could be made. Recently, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that the PTMP was a big project and as such should be placed under the Federal government. The PTMP, announced in 2015, comprises a LRT system, an undersea tunnel and three paired highways. The project would be funded through the reclamation of three manmade islands for industrial, housing and commercial purposes. (NST Online)

SkyAwani 4 opens for registration
SkyAwani 4 Residences, the latest Awani series by SkyWorld Development Group, is now open for registration following the success of SkyAwani 3. Located in Setapak with an estimated GDV over RM534 million, all units in the affordable housing project will be sold at a fixed price of RM300,000. The leasehold project will be on a 4.73-acre site. It will feature three 55-storey towers housing 1,782 units in total. Each unit will come with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, covering a built-up area of 800 sq ft. The project fronts a one-acre park with jogging track, cycling track and blossom park. (The Edge)

Touch ‘n Go, Alipay to launch e-wallet platform in Malaysia (Image from TheSkop)

Transport minister plans for cashless public transport
Transport Minister Anthony Loke plans to get public transport to take the lead in making Malaysia a cashless society by next year. He said his ministry will get the sector to leverage on new technological advancements to transform its ticketing and fare collection systems. But for him, cashless payment will not be limited to transport services. “We also want them to enjoy the same convenience when buying food or drinks at the train or bus station,“ he said. Loke noted that there has been a sharp increase in the number of electronic payment transactions in Malaysia but more collective efforts are needed to promote seamless passenger movement and to provide first and last-mile connectivity. Loke also pointed out that raising the capability of cashless payments can also help to curb corrupt practices because such transactions will be recorded. (The Sun Daily)