Mahfuz: Employers given flexibility on housing
Dewan Negara has approved the Workers’ Minimum Standard of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Bill 2019 which was aimed at expanding the housing minimum standard and provision of basic amenities for workers in all employment sectors. Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the amendment was a significant step to ensure that workers in all sectors enjoyed a better housing system, comfortable basic amenities and more assured health and security level. At the same time, he said that employers were given the flexibility to decide whether to build, rent or house their workers at centralised accommodation depending on suitability. (Malay Mail)

Lower taxes for all in Budget 2020, govt urged
The Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) has proposed that the government reduce income tax rates for all in Budget 2020. The new budget is expected to be tabled in the next parliament sitting starting from October. ACCCIM president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap said the national chamber hoped corporate tax could be cut to 23% from the current 24%, and that this rate could gradually be reduced yearly to 18%. He proposed that the government raise the first chargeable income of SMEs from RM500, 000 to RM2mil, and to lower the SME tax rate to 15% from 17%. On the property sector, the removal of 5% real property gains tax (RPGT) on the disposal of property that has been owned for five years or more was proposed, so as to reduce the current overhang of unsold properties in the country. (The Star Online)

RHB, Tokio Marine seek merger to be second largest general insurer
A merger between the insurance arm of RHB Bank Bhd and Tokio Marine Insurans (M) Bhd is set to create the second largest general insurer in the country, with a combined gross written premiums of approximately RM1.71 billion and a market share of nearly a tenth. RHB Bank said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) had given the nod for it to commence negotiations with Tokio Marine Asia Pte Ltd for the sale of up to 94.7% of its stake in RHB Insurance. As part of the proposed transaction, RHB Insurance would be merged with Tokio Marine Insurans — the general insurance arm of Tokio Marine Asia — the seventh largest non-life insurer in Malaysia with a gross written premiums of RM920 million and a 5.1% market share as at end-2018. (The Edge)

42 families to get compensation during construction of resort
Forty-two fishermen and their families in Port Dickson will each receive “compensation” of RM1,000 a month for five years following an agreement reached between the state government and a developer who plans to build a five-star 760-room resort here. Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the KL Metro Group, which is slated to start the construction of Lexis Hibiscus 2, its fourth property here, early next year, will set aside RM12mil for the purpose as well as help the community in other ways. Lexis Hibiscus 2 is estimated to have a GDV of RM500mil. The payment is to assist the fishermen in the event they face any hardship or loss in income during the construction of the project. The Negri Sembilan government will also get 20% of profits from the Lexis Hibiscus 2 venture annually as the property will be built on a 32ha plot owned by the state. The new property will be located next to Lexis Hibiscus and will feature 582 water villas and 178 sky pool villas. (The Star Online)

Penang’s fifth CM moves into RM1.05m renovated official residence after 10 years
Chow Kon Yeow and his family are finally able to move into Seri Teratai, the Penang Chief Minister’s official residence, a decade after the colonial building was left vacant. The official residence was left vacant after Chow’s predecessor, Lim Guan Eng, lived in it for a short period before moving out in July 2009, reportedly because it was dilapidated and infested with termites. Lim’s predecessor, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, also did not live in the official residence as he lived in his own home during his 18-year tenure. The state government started restoration and renovation works on the building on January 14 this year after Chow expressed his intention of living there. Seri Teratai underwent RM1.05 million in restoration and renovation works. The grand building, located on 115,000sq ft of grounds, was built in the early 20th century and is a category II heritage building. (Malay Mail)

The Penang Chief Minister’s official residence, Seri Teratai (Source: Malay Mail)