No affordable housing, no approvals
The Selangor state government has decided to withhold the necessary approvals for developers who do not meet its affordable housing quota, in a bid to rein in defiant ones who delay the construction of affordable units in their projects. Any developments approved by its local councils are required to prioritise the construction of affordable units. This means such units are to be built in the first phase of the project’s development, or concurrently with other residential units. Failure to comply could result in punitive action by the respective local government, including the suspension of the development order, building plan approval and also the issuance of the certificate of fitness. Selangor has fixed a ratio of between 15% and 40% of each development be made up of affordable housing — depending on the locality and size of development land — for affordable housing units priced below RM250,000. (The Edge)

Zuraida: Ministry hopes for swift resolution to Highland Towers land acquisition
The Ministry of Housing and Local Government hopes that the land acquisition process for the Highland Towers condominium which had been left neglected for almost 26 years can be sped up for redevelopment. Its minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the engagement process with all the interested parties had been concluded but there were still some residents who had not stated their agreement officially. She hoped the land acquisition process by the state government through MPAJ could be concluded this month before works to demolish the Highland Towers could be carried out by the end of the year. It was previously reported that the Highland Towers would be demolished by June 2019 at the latest. (Malay Mail)

The abandoned Highland Towers site in Ampang (Photo from The Star)

Govt to study proposal to increase retirement age to 65
The government will study the proposal to increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 as practised in several developed countries including Singapore. Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran said the ministry will discuss the matter with the Finance Ministry before making a decision. Asked if the proposal could affect employment opportunities for the younger generation, Kula Segaran said the proposed increase in retirement age would benefit the country in the future. “The country lacks workforce, there is no lack of job opportunities. We are taking in a lot of foreign workers because the country does not have sufficient labour force,” he said, adding that the unemployed in the country were mostly youths, including fresh graduates. He urged unemployed youths to join Technical and Vocational Training (TVET) programmes which would provide them with skills that would increase their job opportunities. (NST Online)

Eight million households to be interviewed for census
The government will be asking Malaysia’s eight million households for detailed information ranging from our age to income as it conducts its most extensive national census exercise next year. The data gathered will guide the government’s policies and programmes to address rising worries about cost of living, jobs, affordable housing and other bread-and-butter issues among Malaysians. Information from the census helps determine how government funding worth billions of ringgit will be spent across the country. The 2020 census will be carried out starting from July 7 to end August next year. It will be the sixth carried out in the country since the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Previous census exercises were carried out roughly every 10 years, namely in 1970,1980,1991,2000 and 2010. (The Star Online)

Call to turn Tasik Kenyir into geopark to preserve its natural heritage, history
The Terengganu state government is urged to take proactive action to turn the Tasik Kenyir area into a geopark to ensure preservation of its natural heritage and history. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Institute programme chairman, Dr Hazman Samsudin said the move could generate income for the surrounding community through ecotourism activities. The plan to make Tasik Kenyir a geopark was mooted in 2011, but it had not been realised until now. He said turning Tasik Kenyir into a geopark would not burden any party or affect existing incomes as it would not involve gazetting the change. “Unlike the World Heritage sites which have to be gazetted, business here will run as usual.” The 209,189 ha Tasik Kenyir is the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia and a habitat for thousands of flora and fauna species. It was also where dinosaur fossils were found. (The Sun Daily)

Tasik Kenyir (Source: The Sun Daily)