US on track to oust China as Malaysia’s No. 1 investor
Chinese firms’ pullback on investments here has opened the door for American investors to take over as Malaysia’s main source of foreign funding. According to analysts speaking to The Straits Times, US firms viewed Malaysia as the region’s “sweet spot” in terms of cost, infrastructure, and regulation. The US interest also made up for Malaysia’s inability to capture investments from firms relocating outside of China to escape the fallout of the tariff war between the two superpowers. Vietnam is regarded as cheap but its manufacturing ecosystem isn’t as developed, while labour costs are much higher in Singapore. Data showed Malaysia received RM11.5 billion in US foreign direct investment during the first three months of 2019, over three times from the same quarter last year. Chinese FDI in Malaysia was below forecasts and dipped to RM4.4 billion in the first quarter. (Malay Mail)

No more foreign workers for service sub-sectors by 2021, says Muhyiddin
The government will discontinue the hiring of foreign workers for service sub-sectors comprising laundry, textile, hair dressing and goldsmith businesses in stages, beginning from this year until 2021. Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this matter had been agreed upon at a meeting of a joint committee comprising his ministry and the Human Resources Ministry on the topic of foreign worker management. The justification for its discontinuation was the prioritisation of local employment and the focus on other sectors, which were more stimulating to the economy. He said that in future, companies would need to consider factors such as more attractive salaries, allowances and incentives, which would attract local employees, while also setting into motion the move towards automisation and mechanisation. (The Star Online)

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran (right) (Source: Bernama)

Acme to raise fresh funds for development project in Penang
Acme Holdings Bhd, which proposes a bonus issue of warrant, intends to acquire a development project in Penang. Consequently, the plasticware product maker cum property developer is raising up to RM21.72 million fresh funds through a private placement. The group intends to utilise up to RM20 million to acquire Medan Tropika Sdn Bhd, which owns two parcels of land measuring 178,841 sq ft that are situated in the locality of Bandar Baru Air Itam in Penang. The estimated GDV of the proposed mixed residential and commercial development is approximately RM194.37 million. (The Edge)

InvestPenang says ‘soft’ property market killed RM1.3b BPO Prime project
The termination of Penang’s RM1.3 billion joint venture BPO Prime was a mutual decision reached with Singapore’s Temasek Holdings due to the softening conditions in the current property market, Datuk Seri Lee Kah Choon said today. The InvestPenang executive director said a survey showed demand for housing property had weakened substantially. Temasek entered into a joint venture with Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and Economic Development Innovations Singapore Pte Ltd (EDIS) in 2015 to build the BPO Prime project on 6.8 acres of land in Bayan Baru. The land is currently occupied by the PDC office. The objective of the project was to create offices and housing units for global business services (GBS) and their workers. It was supposed to have commenced in 2016 and completed this year. (Malay Mail)

Woman retires at 34 with three properties after living on RM6 a day for years
A woman in Japan who spent no more than 153 yen (RM6) a day for the past 16 years has achieved her dream of retiring before her 35th birthday. The 34-year-old woman, known only as Xiao, reportedly has never bought new clothes since she was 18, choosing to wear only hand-me-downs. It was also reported that she spent only 25 yen (RM1) on udon noodles for dinner every night. Her frugality has allowed her to save enough to acquire three houses in under two decades, which cost a total of 55 million yen (RM2.17mil). She is now living on a monthly income of 300, 000 yen (RM11, 861) from rent. “Save your energy and money for something you love; only then, can one be said to be responsible for one’s own life, ” she said. (The Star Online)