Govt may pass law to prosecute M’sian companies responsible for forest fires
The government may pass a law to prosecute Malaysian plantation companies guilty of causing fires in their property even if it is outside Malaysia, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said the law would be used against companies that failed to put out the forest fires and were partly responsible for the haze. “We will ask them to take action to put out the fire. But of course, if we find them unwilling to take action (to extinguish the fire), we may have to pass a law to make those responsible for fires in their property, even if it is outside Malaysia,” he added. Among the measures taken so far to tackle the haze were cloud-seeding initiatives and closure of schools. (NST Online)

BNM: Malaysia’s household debt dips but remains high
Malaysia’s household debt level remained elevated at 82.2% of GDP, according to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). This compares with 83% as at end-2018. The central bank said that loans for the purchase of residential properties continued to be the key driver of debt growth. It said although the share of household debt held by borrowers earning less than RM3,000 per month has continued to decline over the years, the leverage of these borrowers has risen steadily largely due to housing loans which have been made more accessible under various loan assistance schemes introduced in recent years. Meanwhile, BNM said house prices continued to expand at a more moderate pace amid sustained demand for affordable properties, but total unsold units have risen further, mainly driven by properties priced above the maximum affordable house prices in individual states. (The Sun Daily)

Malaysia plans to adopt early security screening system: Muhyiddin
Malaysia plans to adopt an early security screening system on foreign visitors with aim at blocking the entry of unwanted individuals such as terrorists, criminals and others. Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the use of the Automated Targeting System-Global (ATS-G) was offered to Malaysia by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Muhyiddin said through the system, Malaysia would be able to share the contents of the United States’ database with the aim of helping the country to manage matters related to visitors’ arrivals. The United States, Muhyiddin said, has ample data, not only from within the country alone but also from other countries that it has existing cooperation. He said this was part of the efforts to set up a new immigration system for the country, to replace the existing ones that had been used for a long time. (The Sun Daily)

Govt has paid RM9b in interest for 1MDB debts
The government has paid at least RM9 billion in interest for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) debts, according to Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah. He said the government is committed to repaying 1MDB debts, including the principal amounting to RM36 billion, while at the same ensuring there will be enough money for development expenditures. “We also will make sure that we will not default on (1MDB debts) repayments,” he said. (The Sun Daily)

Tony Fernandes steps down from all posts except Airasia, Airasia X
AirAsia Group Bhd chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said yesterday he is stepping down from all official board positions except AirAsia Group and AirAsia X Berhad to pave the way for new leaders to move up the company’s ranks. AirAsia X Berhad, operating as AirAsia X, is a long-haul budget airline based in Malaysia and a sister company of AirAsia. Fernandes is listed as an non-independent non-executive director on the board of AirAsia X. Last month, Fernandes was appointed as the chief executive of, the low-cost airline’s travel and lifestyle e-commerce platform. (Malay Mail)