BNM expands eligibility criteria for Affordable Home Fund
Bank Negara is opening up the RM1bil fund for affordable housing to a bigger group of first-time home buyers. From Sept 1 onwards, the scheme will be opened to buyers with a maximum monthly household income of up to RM4,360. Buyers can also afford to use the scheme to purchase houses of up to RM300,000 a unit, up from RM150,000 previously, in line with the definition of affordable house in the National Affordable Housing Policy. Participating financial institutions under this scheme are AmBank (M) Bhd, Bank Simpanan Nasional, CIMB Bank Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, and RHB Bank Bhd. The Fund for Affordable Homes is restricted to residential properties in the primary market only with financing rate of up to 3.5% per annum. The financing tenure is up to 40 years or up to age 70, whichever is shorter. The fund was introduced in January this year to help first-time home buyers, especially those in the lower-income bracket and in smaller cities to obtain financing for property. The fund will be opened for two years from Jan 2, 2019. (The Sun Daily)

Cabinet gives green light to Gojek
The Cabinet has allowed Indonesia’s popular motorcycle e-hailing service, Gojek, to operate here. However, Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said specific legislation on governing the e-hailing service have yet to be discussed or finalised. “The Youth and Sports Ministry and the Transport Ministry have been tasked to discuss in detail on developing Gojek’s services in the country in terms of rules and laws and where it should be allowed to operate,” he added. Redzuan also expected for Gojek to begin its operations here within two months following Cabinet approval. He noted that it would not be difficult to introduce Gojek here as there are already laws in place to monitor the operations, including geofencing. “(For example) Gojek (riders) also can’t be allowed to ply on highways, which can be dangerous in terms of safety. This must be studied in detail.” (NST Online)

Protestors at Hong Kong International Airport. (Source: CNN)

Protest-hit Hong Kong eyes Malaysia’s second-home programme
A Malaysian programme to attract wealthy foreigners to live in the Southeast Asian nation has drawn 251 applications from Hong Kong residents this year, compared with 193 approved last year from the Chinese-ruled city, a government official said. Property consultants said interest in the “Malaysia My Second Home” (MM2H) initiative has surged among residents of the Asian financial hub, rattled by anti-Beijing protests that began more than 11 weeks ago. Real estate agents expect Malaysia and Thailand to benefit the most from some Hong Kong residents’ frustration over the second bout of lengthy demonstrations in five years. the programme had received this year a total of 3,500 applications by Tuesday, versus 6,279 in 2018. None of this year’s applications had been approved. However, it was not clear how many applications were received last year from Hong Kong. (The Star Online)

Lim: Malaysia remains attractive to foreign investors
Malaysia continues to be an attractive investment destination as total stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) rose by 10.3% to RM667.5 billion in 2Q19. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the steady rise in total FDI stock showed the continuing attractiveness of Malaysia as an international investment destination amid rising trade tensions across the world. He said the 4.9% GDP quarterly growth was better than market expectations of 4.7% as compiled by Bloomberg. “The government will maintain its business-friendly approach to attract investment into the country and create quality jobs for all Malaysians,” he added. (NST Online)

Cabinet reshuffle likely
The first reshuffle of the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet is due anytime and a few ministers will be changing their portfolios. Sources said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced this during the Cabinet meeting yesterday. The source added that this was the first time the Prime Minister had openly said in a Cabinet meeting that he would be shuffling portfolios of existing ministers and that the reshuffle was imminent. Another source, however, said Dr Mahathir had merely said that he would be “reorganising portfolios”. The source believed that there would not be any changes in the line-up of ministers. “Same ministers and ministries, but the portfolios of the ministries will be reorganised. I think that’s what the PM meant,” said the second source. There has long been talk of a Cabinet reshuffle, with some ministers getting flak for not performing up to the expectations of the public. Dr Mahathir, however, has repeatedly said there would be no such thing. (The Star Online)