Buying over PLUS will not end toll collection — Dr Mahathir
Highway toll collection will continue even if concessionaire PLUS Malaysia Sdn Bhd is taken over by any other entity, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. He said the Government is still considering an offer from Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd to take over PLUS. “Their (Maju Holdings’) proposal includes a lowering of the toll rate. They want to do various other things, repair the roads…we are looking into the matter,” he added. Dr Mahathir said that if the Government wants to eliminate highway toll, it has to come up with a lot of money to take over the concessionaires and subsequent maintenance of highways. Besides the North-South Expressway, PLUS also operates the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE); Seremban-Port Dickson Highway; North-South Expressway Central Link (ELITE); Malaysia-Singapore Second Link; Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and Penang Bridge. (The Edge)

KLIA systems still down, passengers advised to arrive 4 hours earlier
Passengers departing from the KL International Airport (KLIA) are advised to reach the airport four hours before their flight departure time as systems disruption has yet to be resolved. According to Malaysia Airports, the team is still in the midst of stabilising the system as of 6am Friday (Aug 23). It urged passengers to arrive at the airport early and check-in via their respective airlines’ mobile app or website. In an unforeseen first-ever disruption of its airport management system, the operations of KLIA came to a halt for hours since Wednesday (Aug 21) night, with scores of flights delayed and passengers left stranded and frustrated. (The Star Online)


Lim: 20% increase in housing loan approvals with BNM’s new requirements
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng predicted that Bank Negara Malaysia’s expanded eligibility criteria for its RM1 billion Affordable Housing Fund will boost first-time home buyers’ loan approval by at least another 20%. Lim said his prediction is on the back of the extended repayment duration to 40 years from 30 years, which will help first-time home owners reduce their monthly housing loan repayment by 20%t, while making it easier for them to obtain a housing loan. BNM yesterday announced a series of expanded eligibility criteria for the Fund, which takes effect on Sept 1. (Malay Mail)

Putrajaya waiting for Pahang to submit potential Lynas PDF locations
The Housing and Local Government Ministry has yet to receive a list of potential locations for the permanent disposal facility (PDF) for the Lynas rare earth refinery in Gebeng from the Pahang government. Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said her ministry cannot identify the proper location but can only ensure that the location is in full compliance with the requirements. “It must be located far away from residences and pass all the tests and certificates before the local government can approve it,” she said. She noted that the onus is on the Australian miner to come up with a proper location, according to the conditions attached to its six-month operating licence in Malaysia. (Malay Mail)

Asean makes progress in implementing AEC Blueprint 2025
Asean has made considerable progress in the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Darell Leiking. He said economic integration is a dynamic process and the AEC Blueprint 2025 is being implemented through the work plans of various sectoral bodies in Asean. Key achievements include the elimination of intra-Asean tariffs and intensification of efforts to enhance trade facilitation and address non-tariff measures in the bloc. Last year, Asean recorded a combined gross domestic product of US$3 trillion, placing the bloc as the world’s fifth largest economy. (Malay Mail)