Putrajaya says will declare emergency if API breaches 500 due to haze
The government reiterated that an emergency will be declared if pollution caused by the haze forces air pollutant index (API) reading exceeds 500. The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change (MESTECC) disclosed this in its National Haze Action Plan. API readings of 101-200 are considered unhealthy, 201-300 are very unhealthy and any reading beyond 300 is hazardous. Raging forest fires across Indonesia are thought to be responsible for the current transboundary haze that has also engulfed Singapore and Brunei. According to the action plan, outdoor activities should be stopped once API readings are in the unhealthy band. No open burnings are allowed. Enforcement will be increased and cloud seeding activities will commence. The pollution has forced thousands of schools in Malaysia to stop classes this week. (Malay Mail)

Rethink RM44b ECRL project, says Jomo
The government has been urged to relook at the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project by a member of the Malaysian Council of Eminent Persons, Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram. “It is not a trivial amount… The whole project was intended basically for fundraising. Putrajaya should consider this project very seriously.” He said it would impact the national economy for a long time, calling it a “permanent albatross”. Jomo said the government would need to continue subsidising the railway, but it could be a white elephant. He believed the ECRL project to connect Kelantan to the Klang Valley would be under-utilised and heavily subsidised, forcing future generations to bear the cost as well. He said the money should instead be used on the people of Kelantan, adding that the state “does poorly on so many indicators”. (The Sun Daily)

Green light for TNB’s entry into broadband
Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has expressed its interest in the wholesale broadband sector, which could be the earnings driver for the national utility company, given the government’s imminent plans to liberalise the power sector. Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said TNB’s pioneer broadband project in Jasin, Melaka has produced results. Gobind said TNB’s initiatives are in line with the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan’s (NFCP) goals of improving connectivity nationwide but did not specify whether the company was included in the five-year plan. The potentially bigger involvement of TNB in providing broadband services comes amid talk of liberalisation in the power industry. (The Edge)

Glomac to launch RM903 mil properties in second half of FY20
Glomac Bhd targets to accelerate the pace of new launches in FY20 featuring a diverse range of products with a total estimated GDV of RM903.0 million. “The upcoming launches will remain in the mid-market and affordable segments while the landed residential projects in townships such as Saujana Perdana and Saujana KLIA continue to sustain steady sales,” the property developer said. Glomac announced a net profit of RM3.46 million for the quarter ended July 31, 2019, up from RM1.01 million a year earlier, on lower revenue of RM51.87 million. (The Edge)

UM tops list for producing employable grads
Malaysia’s top institution for producing employable graduates is Universiti Malaya (UM). The oldest university in the country rose two bands and now features in the 141-150 position of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Graduate Employability Rankings 2020. It was previously in the 161-170 band last year. QS research director Ben Sowter said all Malaysian universities have either risen or remained in the same position as last year. Globally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is No.1 and retains the dual honour of being both world No.1 in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and for employability. Stanford University is second and University of California, Los Angeles, is third. (The Star Online)