More Malaysians using Airbnb to settle mortgages
More Malaysians are relying on Airbnb to settle their mortgages given the property overhang that is engulfing the sector. According to an Airbnb survey of more than 2,000 Malaysian hosts and guests, half of the Airbnb hosts said it had helped them pay for their homes while 40% said Airbnb provided a supplementary income for them to make ends meet. Axis REIT Managers Bhd investment head and former MIEA president Siva Shanker said many of the Airbnb hosts were investors and speculators who purchased the properties during the upturn, with the intention of selling them at a higher price. PPC International managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam said the concept of Airbnb needs to be regulated. With no proper regulation in place, Siva said the value of the apartment will deteriorate. (The Star Online)

Malaysian passport 13th most powerful, Singapore and Japan rank 1st
The Malaysian passport has been ranked the 13th most powerful travel document in the world in the Henley Passport Index. Singapore and Japan held on to the top spot in the rankings with a score of 189. In a statement, Henley and Partners noted that the Malaysian passport, with a score of 176, was among the top three most powerful passports in Southeast Asia along with Singapore and Brunei. In 2018, the Malaysian passport was ranked 12th in the index. Finland, Germany, and South Korea hold 2nd place; Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg are 3rd place; while France has dropped to 4th, sharing the position with Spain and Sweden. It also noted that the United Arab Emirates has made it into the top 20 for the first time in the index’s 14-year history. At the bottom of the rankings is the Afghanistan passport which allows its citizens to only access 25 destinations worldwide. (Free Malaysia Today)

MCT aims for RM650m sales from new projects
MCT Bhd, a unit of the Philippines’ Ayala Land Inc, plans to roll out new property launches with estimated GDV of RM650 million. The projects included Sanderling Lakefront Residences @ Cyberjaya, Casa Bayu @ CyberSouth and Alira @ Metropark Subang. MCT said its aggressive moves to complete and deliver projects had resulted in it recording a net profit of RM60.5 million last year. MCT recently increased its total landbank size with two acquisitions in Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya, estimated to generate a GDV of about RM1.6 billion for the company in the next five years. (NST Online)

133-year-old Bukit Mertajam temple razed by fire
The 133-year-old Tua Pek Kong Temple in Jalan Pasar has been razed after it caught fire Wednesday (July 3) evening. Firemen in the dozens were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the fire, and managed to bring the blaze under control but large parts of the temple had already been razed. Traders in a food court nearby have also been evacuated. Known to locals as Pek Kong Cheng Tua Pek Kong Temple, it was built in 1886 in the heart of town. (The Star Online)

Products and brands under Nestle Malaysia (Source: The Star Online)

Nestle Malaysia says no increase in product prices
Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd will not increase the prices of products following the introduction of the excise tax on sugary beverages, as the impact on its business was very minor. “Although, we have a small product range of ready-to-drink and coffee being impacted, it is very limited and manageable… We will find a way to absorb the impact,” said CEO Juan Aranols. He, however said, the prices of the products would be higher if there is a rise in raw material prices. On July 1, the government imposed a new sugar tax, an excise duty of 40 sen per litre imposed on sweetened beverages containing more than five grams of sugar or sugar-based sweetener per 100 ml. It will also be imposed on carbonated, flavoured and other non-alcoholic beverages. (The Edge)