Cash format petrol subsidy for eligible Malaysians
The Pakatan Harapan administration is likely to give cash to lower income households already enlisted for the cost of living aid (BSH) scheme as petrol subsidy, according to officials with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP). The decision to use a cash handout format similar to the current BSH programme was reached after considering multiple proposals for nearly a year, but is still pending Cabinet approval. Economists had warned it would be “difficult” to implement and prone to leakages given the lack of reliable data. But sources said that the government has built an improved database, one that has updated income and vehicle ownership information extracted from the BSH and Road Transport Department data. Subsidies will be capped at 100 litres per owner of a vehicle with a 1,500cc engine and 40 litres for those with motorcycles. Putrajaya estimated the subsidies would cost RM2 billion. (Malay Mail)

Contractors could secure up to RM11bil in ECRL
Local contractors could secure between RM8.8bil and RM11bil in civil work contracts from the RM44bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which is set to be relaunched at the end of the month. CGS-CIMB Research also expects that tenders for the project could be announced by the end of the third quarter, with initial awards dished out in the following quarter, at the earliest. It is estimated that the total value of civil works for the ECRL would be between RM22bil and RM26bil. With 40% of tenders reserved for local contractors worth between RM8.8bil and RM11bil, the balance RM13bil to 16bil of civil works would be directly undertaken by the project’s turnkey contractor, China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), and will include most of the tunnelling works, including the new 7km hill tunnel near Jelebu that will replace the originally planned 18km-long Genting tunnel. The ECRL is scheduled to be relaunched on July 25. (The Star Online)

Singapore to return US$40m linked to 1MDB scandal
Singapore is returning almost US$40 million to Malaysia seized in connection with a massive financial scandal that played a major role in the toppling of the corruption-plagued government of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the police said. The city-state is one of several countries that launched probes into 1MDB.Singapore police said their commercial affairs department had filed applications to return around S$50.3 million of seized money linked to 1MDB to Malaysia. “Part of the monies have already been transferred to Malaysia, while the rest are still being processed by the banks,” they said. (Malay Mail)

Axis REIT buys property in Penang from Ire-tex for RM20.5m
Axis REIT is acquiring a property in Bayan Lepas, Penang from Ire-tex Corp Bhd for RM20.5 million in cash. Its trustee, RHB Trustee Bhd, has signed an agreement with Zoomic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ire-tex, in relation to the acquisition. The property, sitting on a piece of leasehold land measuring 90,040 sq ft, comes with a double-storey factory-cum-office building. Currently, the occupancy rate of the factory is 100%. The REIT said that Bayan Lepas is Penang’s prime industrial area sought after by local and multinational operators and investors. (The Edge)

Penang beaches make world top 10
Penang has been listed as one of the top 10 great value beach destinations in the world. Online portal International Living listed Penang, among 21 other beach destinations, as the eighth great value place to visit or live in which is “pocket-friendly” by global standards. Describing Penang as a small tropical island off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, it reported that the state has been one of the top expat destinations in Malaysia for years. International Living added that Penang has everything from beaches and shopping to great food and a vibrant culture. The website also named Salinas in Ecuador, Pedasi in Panama and Bocas del Toro in Panama as the top three great value beach destinations in the world. (The Star Online)