Abolish RPGT to avoid penalising non-speculative real estate holders, says MCA
MCA wants the government to abolish the real property gains tax (RPGT) for properties disposed after five years, arguing that those who bought properties many years ago could not have done it for speculative purposes. Party president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said those who inherited properties should also not be made to pay RPGT if they chose to dispose it now. During the tabling of Budget 2019, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government would impose a 5% RPGT on all Malaysians, and raise the tax by 5% for foreigners to 10%. Previously, Malaysians were not charged any RPGT if they sold their properties after holding them for at least five years. (The Star Online)

Selangor govt, BNM discuss ways for new homeowners to have rent-to-own properties
The Selangor state government is in the midst of discussion with the Bank Negara Malaysia for first-time prospective homeowners to have rent-to-own properties. Selangor exco on housing and urban living Haniza Mohamed Talha said the meeting will be to discuss to tip up the purchase of ‘Rumah Selangorku’ for first time house buyers, together with the fund for affordable housing offered by Bank Negara. Bank Negara is opening up RM1 billion in funds for affordable housing, introduced in January this year, 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 RM4360, and to purchase houses worth up to RM300,000. (The Sun Daily)

Jagdeep: I disagree with ministry’s move to scrap people’s housing project
The Housing and Local Government Ministry’s move to stop building people’s housing project (PPR) in the country has taken the Penang state government by shock. State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said a letter from Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had stated that PPR will be rebranded and no longer be built. It will be replaced with a new policy, where housing for B40 will be built by private developers under Request for Proposal (RFP) and priced between RM90,000 and RM300,000, regulated by the ministry. “PPR is provided to the B40 group on a rent basis for those who cannot afford to buy the low-cost (LC) housing units,” he pointed out. Jagdeep said the reason given in the letter was that the federal government could not continue building PPRs, as the cost was too much. “I believe this needs to be reconsidered, as there are categories of people who cannot afford to have access to even LC housing and wholly depend on PPR,” he said. (The Star Online)

Govt pledges to liberate Malaysia from corruption, abuse of power
The government is committed to rehabilitating the country and liberating it from corruption and abuse of power, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Prime Minister said that this was being done by strengthening the country’s administration based on the “Rule of Law” and separation of powers as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The prime minister also said the government was aware of the economic uncertainty and the increasingly challenging global geopolitical system, including the many barriers to free trade, as well as global currency instability, which could affect the country. As such, he said the government had drawn up various strategies at both national and international levels in its bid to overcome all the challenges. (The Star Online)

Buildings in Kuala Lumpur obscured by the haze yesterday. (Photo from The Straits Times)

Asean data warns of persistent hotspots in Sumatra, Kalimantan
The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) has warned that haze will continue to affect western parts of Peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak, as hotspots are expected to persist in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. Despite Indonesia’ denial over the weekend, data provided by ASMC on its website showed that hotspots in Sumatra have increased to 206 on September 8, compared to 52 on September 7. “With the prevailing winds blowing from the southeast or southwest, transboundary haze may continue to affect surrounding areas including western Sarawak and western parts of Peninsular Malaysia.” Environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said Malaysia is ready to offer assistance to help Indonesia put out fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra. (Malay Mail)