Socso launches system to help reduce poverty
The Social Security Organisation (Socso) has launched the Social Synergy Programme to help the needy and streamline the fragmented roles of various social agencies in the country. The programme which involves 17 government agencies and non-government bodies will provide a holistic social safety net especially for the needy in the bottom 40% (B40) income group. The programme will be administered under the MySynergy System which allows easier background identification. Under the programme, those who are not entitled to Socso’s benefits will be referred to other agencies or departments that can help them, if they fulfil the criteria. The programme is also registered and protected under the Personal Data Protection Act and has received copyright validation from Intellectual Property Corp of Malaysia. (The Malaysian Reserve)

Starhill Gallery to undergo transformation
The iconic Starhill Gallery, which is part of a portfolio of retail assets owned by Singapore-based Starhill Global Real Estate Investment Trust (SGREIT) will undergo a transformation and revealed as The Starhill – Home of the Tastemakers in 2021. The mall, the most luxury retail establishment in the Bukit Bintang shopping district was developed by YTL Corp Bhd more than two decades ago. YTL Land & Development Bhd vice president Joseph Yeoh said the mall will be partially closed (from October this year) for renovation with some brands continuing to operate. The completion of phase one renovation is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020 in tandem with the relaunch of Shook!, Lu Yu Tea House and Jogoya. The soft opening of new stores and other food and beverage outlets is scheduled in the last quarter of 2020. (NST Online)

Sime Darby in no hurry to divest non-core assets
Sime Darby Bhd is looking at trimming its non-core assets, even though it is not in a hurry to do so, as part of its five-year plan to create value for the group two years after its demerger exercise. Group CEO Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson said the group had seen good progress in its non-core asset rationalisation plan, with some divestment exercises completed in FY19. Sime Darby’s non-core assets include a 12% stake in Eastern & Oriental Bhd, 3,561ha in the Malaysia Vision Valley in Negeri Sembilan and a 30% stake in Tesco Malaysia. The much-anticipated demerger of the Sime Darby group was completed on Nov 10, 2017, with the separate listing of three entities, breaking one of the country’s largest conglomerates into pure-plays. Sime Darby now focuses on the industrial, motors and healthcare sectors. (The Edge)

Petrol stations encouraged to sell fuel below govt-stipulated prices
Petroleum products can be sold below government-stipulated prices if petroleum companies want to compete among each other, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. The Domestic Trade, Consumer Affairs Minister said all 3,500 petrol stations from the six main industry players are currently selling petroleum products according to the Automatic Pricing Mechanism (APM) which is RM2.08 per litre for RON95 petrol. Saifuddin said petrol station operators can implement this if it generates a larger volume of sales everyday. “Petrol retailing business is a business of volume, not margin, which means competition among station operators can take place. How much to be reduced depends on the operator as they need to make comparison in terms of costs and quality of service offered,” he said. (The Star Online)

Nearly nine in 10 Malaysian female business travellers have been harassed
SAP Malaysia Sdn Bhd has announced the results of a new SAP Concur survey, revealing that nearly nine in 10 Malaysian female business travellers have suffered harassment while travelling, and more than seven in 10 have changed their plans because of safety concerns. The SAP Concur survey results identified concerns of personal safety while away on business. Of the Malaysian respondents, 74% (compared to global figure of 58%) say they have changed their travel arrangements because they felt unsafe. Female Malaysian business travellers report high levels of harassment and sexism on the road, with more than 88% (significantly higher than the global figure of 77%) having experienced some sort of harassment or mistreatment while travelling. “Societal issues and employee experiences are increasingly impacting the way we travel. With these shifts come new expectations from travelling employees that shouldn’t go unnoticed.” (The Star Online)