Utusan Melayu not closing down, publications to cost 50 sen more
Contrary to market talk that Utusan would cease to exist after this week, its management has confirmed that the publishing house will not be closing down. Executive Chairman Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir said claims that the newspaper group which publishes the Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo dailies was going to close down were not true, although admitting that the 80-year-old company, which is publicly listed, was in dire straits. He also announced that salary arrears of existing staff and dues to staff who took up the company’s Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) would be settled, starting with a RM2,000 payment by tonight. However, he did not give a timeline on settlement of the dues. To help the company recover financially, it had no choice but to increase the prices of its publications by 50 sen a copy beginning Friday (Aug 23). It was gleaned that the management was in the process of selling its printing plant in Bangi for RM60 million to solve the problems of salary and VSS payments. (The Sun Daily)

Renting houses online will cost you more, experts caution
An industry player has warned that while renting houses through online platforms is gaining in popularity, would-be tenants may find themselves paying extra fees if they are not cautious. Although more platforms are offering deposit-free packages to facilitate the rental process, they also pay deposits on behalf of tenants, classify them according to credit ratings and ask for extra interest. Property expert Ernest Cheong was more critical of online platforms, saying they are not accountable to anyone, and that licensed real estate agents do not charge any form of interest. “Licensed real estate agents cannot charge prospective tenants anything but the stamp duty and the legal fee for the tenancy agreement,” Cheong said. (Free Malaysia Today)

Penang is pushing for highway project to start on Sept 1, says CM
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state is hoping to push for the first highway project connecting Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Air Itam to start on September 1 despite the lack of a construction agreement. The state is now in the final stages of pushing through the final design approval and the construction agreement to try to make the September 1 deadline. He said project delivery partner, Zenith Consortium, obtained the environmental management plan approval for the 5.7km highway in July. Zenith obtained the Environmental Impact Assessment approval for its three paired road project in October 2018. The paired roads are part of the overall RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project. (Malay Mail)

(Source: The Edge)

No plans to demolish Wisma MCA, says party treasurer-general
MCA said it has no plans to demolish or rebuild its headquarters Wisma MCA located on Jalan Ampang, despite a media report speculating as such. “We would like to reiterate that our current central committee has no immediate plans to demolish and rebuild Wisma MCA. Our utmost priority is to effectively play our role as the righteous Opposition to serve as a check-and-balance to the PH government,” said party treasurer-general Datuk Lee Chee Leong. The party has been appealing to DBKL to increase the plot ratio of Wisma MCA which is currently at 1:4 and the new application of development order is to fully utilise the land area of the site while enhancing its commercial value. (Malay Mail)

Johor to not depend on Singapore for treated water by 2022
Johor is expected to not depend on Singapore for treated water by 2022, said Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar. “We have to make sure that Johor has sufficient treated water and does not need to get it from Singapore – which is why we have to provide new water treatment plants in Johor,” he said. Asked if the effort will impact the Water Agreement talks between Malaysia and Singapore, Dr Xavier said there will be no effect and the agreement still stands. The 1962 Water Agreement, which expires in 2061, entitles Singapore to draw up to 250 million gallons a day of water from the Johor River. Singapore pays 3 sen per thousand gallons of raw water and sells treated water back to Johor at 50 sen per thousand gallons, a fraction of the cost of treating the water. (Channel NewsAsia)