Fuel subsidy plan on hold

The government has announced that it is delaying the implementation of the targeted fuel subsidy programme (PSP) until further notice, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail. “The Cabinet… decided that the implementation of the PSP, which was scheduled to begin on January 2020, will not go ahead until further notice, ” he said. Saifuddin said the postponement was to allow for more sessions to be conducted to explain the subsidy and to better prepare Malaysians to accept the PSP. He added that the registration process of recipients under the M40 group would be conducted by the Finance Ministry. While waiting for the confirmation of the PSP implementation to be announced, the people can continue to enjoy current petrol prices based on the present system. (The Star Online)

Smoking ban at all eateries comes into force on Wednesday

From Jan 1 onwards, it will prove costly for patrons to light up at eateries nationwide. They will be slapped with a RM250 compound for the first and second offences, and see the amount increased to RM350 for a third offence. Food and beverage outlets which allow patrons to light up will also be slapped with the same compound amount, said Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. The Health Ministry had gazetted all food and beverage outlets in Malaysia as smoke-free areas from Jan 1, 2019 – with an educational enforcement period in place for 12 months. There are currently 23 types of establishments designated as smoke-free under the PPKHT (Amendment) Regulations 2017. They include entertainment centres, theatres, elevators, public toilets, air-conditioned eateries, public vehicles, airports, government premises and any area used for the purpose of assembly. (NST Online)

Cabinet to decide on takeover of PLUS and four other toll operators

The Cabinet is expected to decide on the takeover of PLUS Malaysia Bhd and four other highway concessionaires next week, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. He said a decision must be made soon so that the government could avoid paying more in compensation. “We have already announced the freeze on toll hikes for this year and the government has to pay compensation to toll operators. We need to come up with a decision on this quickly as the clock is ticking and the compensation will continue to increase, ” he said. PLUS is the largest highway concessionaire in the country, operating eight expressways under five concessions. Its concession will expire in December 2038. Gamuda has stakes in all companies and the Ministry of Finance Inc announced in June a plan to take over four highways in the Klang Valley for RM6.2bil. (The Star Online)

Major Hong Kong developer donates land to mitigate housing crisis

Wheelock Properties Ltd announced plans to donate several plots of land to charity for social housing in Hong Kong, following in the footsteps of fellow developers as anti-government protests continue to dog the city. Hong Kong-based Wheelock will hand over 46,450sqm of land in the New Territories and Lantau Island to non-government organisations for a nominal sum of HK$1 for each plot. The plots can be used to construct apartments for people waiting for public housing and around 6,000 families are expected to benefit. Wheelock is the third top developer to pledge to help solve the housing shortage in Hong Kong, following New World Development Co and Henderson Land Development Co. (Free Malaysia Today)

Grab, Singtel jointly apply for Singapore digital bank licence

South-east Asia’s ride-hailing company Grab Holdings Inc is teaming up with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel) to apply for a digital full bank licence in Singapore. In a joint statement, the two companies said they will set up a consortium which is 60% owned by Grab and 40% by Singtel. The digital bank aims to cater to the needs of digital-first consumers, who have come to expect greater convenience and personalisation, and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which cite lack of access to credit as a key pain point. (Malay Mail)