New Visit Malaysia 2020 logo launched
The new Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY 2020) logo was unveiled yesterday by Prime Minster Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It replaces the previous controversial emblem that was criticised as amateurish. The new logo, designed by 23-year-old Alfred Phua Hong Fook, a graphic designer, was picked among 586 submissions during a competition held by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry in March. The new logo features various icons of the country, including the hornbill, a hibiscus, a wild fern, and it bears the colours of the Jalur Gemilang. Malaysia aims to bring in 30 million international tourist arrivals and RM100 billion in tourist revenue throughout the VMY 2020 campaign. (The Sun Daily)

HOC to focus fully on affordable houses
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) is expected to exclude medium and high-cost housing projects from the extended Home Ownership Campaign (HOC), and focus fully on low-cost developments to meet the actual market demand. KPKT national housing department DG Jayaselan Navaratnam said the HOC, which started in January did not manage to reduce the number of unsold houses that are flooding the market. The first six months of the campaign did not produce the desired results as there is still a continuous mismatch between supply and demand. For the remaining six months of the HOC, he said KPKT would focus mainly on affordable houses that are priced below RM300,000, along with unsold sub-sale houses that are in the market. Jayaselan said the rent-to-own (RTO) home ownership schemes would also be eligible for the HOC certificate, which would allow buyers to enjoy stamp duty waivers. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Residential property needs ‘realistic’ evaluation
The Malaysian residential market needs to be evaluated with a more realistic approach to curb the rising overhang that’s being caused by the current demand-supply mismatch in the market. Property consultancy firm Nawawi Tie Leung (NTL) noted that the residential property market across Malaysia has been undergoing trying times, adding however that increasing interest from first-time home buyers has “swayed” the residential market towards affordable housing. Additionally, NTL said the high-end residential market sampled in Kuala Lumpur continues to remain soft due to subdued activity. Meanwhile, Maybank Investment Bank Research (Maybank IB) said the demand-supply rebalancing in the property sector will take some time, but added that home sales might have hit bottom already and should stabilise in 2019. (The Star Online)

Malaysia says 2020 fiscal deficit target a ‘challenge’
Malaysia will find it challenging to meet its 3% fiscal deficit target for next year due to uncertainties around the US-China trade war, said finance minister Lim Guan Eng. Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy is dealing with a debt pile of over RM1 trillion. Malaysia is also struggling with slowing economic growth, hurt largely by a global slowdown and the trade war between the United States and China. Lim said while Malaysia can meet this year’s fiscal deficit target of 3.4%, next year’s target of 3% would be harder to meet. The central bank in May cut interest rates by 25 basis points, Malaysia’s first since July 2016, amid the growth concerns. “In the short term, we expect to gain some benefits in the form of business relocation, trade and investment diversion. We are seeing numbers pointing to that,” Lim said. (The Star Online)

MSPO recognises land use rights and NCR
Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok has responded to allegations by environmental group Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) that native customary rights (NCR) land are being violated in the palm oil industry. She reiterated that it is mandatory for companies registered under the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) to recognise land use rights and NCR. In addition, she said all entities seeking MSPO certification will have in place an appropriate conflict and dispute resolution process accepted by all stakeholders. Kok said the documented proof of legal acquisition of land titles and fair compensation should be accepted with free prior informed consent. (The Edge)