Nationwide ban on open burning as haze worsens
Authorities have prohibited all forms of open burning except cremations and religious rituals with immediate effect in an attempt to reduce the harmful effects of the haze. Violators could face fines of up to RM500,000 and prison terms of no more than five years per offence. The prohibition will last until the end of the current monsoon season. The Department of Environment reported that 21 areas across Malaysia officially are “unhealthy”, according to the official Air Pollution Index (API). In East Malaysia, Sarawak continued to bear the brunt of the annual haze, with four districts suffering from unhealthy air. Rhe federal government will attempt cloud seeding to mitigate once this is possible and continue urging Jakarta to accept help in combating the raging fires within its borders. (Malay Mail)

PPR not being scrapped but undergoing rebranding, says minister
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin today denied that the people’s housing project (PPR) would be scrapped. She said that her ministry was instead planning a rebranding exercise to uplift the residents there, financially and psychologically. She pointed out that under her ministry’s Affordable Housing schemes, which still cater to the B40 group, residents will have a bigger home coupled with better facilities and common areas — a different concept compared to the old PPR system. Furthermore, she said that there are two schemes under her initiative, the first is rent-to-own and the other is transit-homes for the B40 community. (Malay Mail)

Tadmax gets govt nod for Pulau Indah power plant
Tadmax Resources Bhd’s unit, Tadmax Indah Power Sdn Bhd, has received the government’s approval for it to go ahead with the development of the 1,000MW to 1,200MW combined cycle gas and turbine power plant in Pulau Indah. In July 2018, Tadmax had signed an MoU with Selangor state-linked company Worldwide Holdings Bhd to develop the cycle gas turbine power plant in Pulau Indah. On Aug 31 this year, StarBizWeek reported Tadmax’s power plant in Pulau Indah, Selangor and another in Kedah were back under the spotlight. Four power plant contracts were cancelled in July 2018 following the Energy, Green Technology, Science and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin’s move to review the country’s power reserve and supply situation. (The Star Online)

Hong Leong, TPG win bid for Columbia Asia’s hospital business
The Hong Leong group in partnership with private equity firm TPG has won a bid to buy the hospital business of Columbia Asia group in Southeast Asia, sources say. While details are scant, sources indicate that the Hong Leong-TPG team is paying around US$1.2 billion cash for the hospital business. The acquisition will mark the Hong Leong group’s foray into healthcare. The conglomerate, controlled by billionaire Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, is already in banking and financial services, property development, hospitality and leisure, manufacturing and distribution, among others. (The Edge)

Zuraida: Unsold high-end properties here to be offered to HK, China buyers
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin plans on taking Malaysia’s Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) to Hong Kong and China. she explained that properties in Malaysia are far cheaper than those found in Hong Kong. At the same time, she believes this will go some way to addressing the issue of expensive, overhung properties. At the moment, the federal minister wants to take her proposal to the Cabinet and have it discussed because she wants to promote the plan under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme. (Malay Mail)