RFID payment at 62 toll plazas from Jan 1

Beginning Jan 1, motorists of class one vehicles can pay toll at 62 toll plazas on 24 highways using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. The highways include North-South Expressway (Bangunan Sultan Iskandar toll plaza, Johor Baru; Kempas and Senai, Johor; and Jitra, Kedah); KESAS Expressway; Kajang SILK Highway; and Butterworth Ring Road. The Works Ministry in a statement said this was a move towards the Multi-Lane Free-Flow system along the highways to improve the quality of toll payment service in the future. The RFID system uses a sticker which is connected to the Touch ‘n Go e-wallet, allowing motorists to top up the value online without having to go to a customer service centre or a top-up centre. (The Star Online)

Opportunities in commercial sub-sectors

Malaysia’s commercial real estate market will remain challenging next year and may dampen growth, but Knight Frank Malaysia is optimistic about prospects in the coming year, especially in the industrial sector. “Malaysian real estate will continue to be challenging in 2020, but there are still opportunities to be found,” said the firm’s executive director of Capital Markets, James Buckley. Investors are currently attracted by the undersupply of good quality industrial property, the relatively higher returns and longer lease tenures. They are also attracted to lower maintenance costs and relatively lower vacancy in the sector compared to others, he said. The industrial sector has performed well with star performers beingthe sale of development sites and industrial properties. (NST Online)

Minimum wage rise to add RM2.5b outflow annually by foreign workers, MEF warns

Putrajaya’s decision to increase minimum wage to RM1,200 in major cities would result in an estimated RM2.5 billion additional remittances out of the country by foreign workers annually. Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said currently, foreign workers are repatriating about RM34 billion annually, and this had not taken remittances made by illegal foreign workers into account. “The foreign workers would repatriate the extra income to their home country, resulting the ringgit being further weakened,” he said. (The Edge)

70% of Malaysia’s rich put their savings in bank accounts

Malaysia’s rich are well prepared for retirement – and it’s mostly thanks to Government pensions, a new report by Standard Chartered has found. The bank’s Wealth Expectancy Report 2019 surveyed 10,000 emerging affluent, affluent, and high-net-worth individuals across 10 Asian countries – including 976 Malaysians – on their saving and investment habits. For Malaysia, respondents’ top financial goals were saving for their children’s education, investing in property, saving for retirement and starting their own business. “Wealth creators in Malaysia tend to make most of their wealth management decisions on their own, making only limited use of professional advisors,” the report said. It also found that respondents were likely to have sufficient retirement savings to maintain their lifestyles, largely thanks to the high level of statutory pensions. (Business Insider)

Malaysia may reopen Mongolia murder case as Najib vows innocence

Malaysia’s top prosecutor will look into reopening the case of a murdered Mongolian woman allegedly linked to former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as the victim’s father says he’s pinning his hopes on the country’s new government to find justice. Two former police guards for Najib had been convicted of the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu. The courts that sentenced the two men to death had grappled with their lack of motive. One of the convicted men, Azilah Hadri, is seeking a retrial after penning a sworn statement accusing the former prime minister of ordering him to covertly arrest and destroy her because she was a foreign spy and a threat to national security. Najib has denied any involvement. (The Star Online)