Covid-19 outbreak will affect Malaysia’s growth, says BNM Governor

Malaysia’s economic growth will be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly in the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20), said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus. Nor Shamsiah said it is “too hard to predict” the impact of this virus outbreak on the country’s economic growth moving forward. She, however, noted that the GDP growth, “particularly in the first quarter” of this year, will be affected by the Covid-19. “The overall impact of the virus on the Malaysian economy will depend on the duration and spread of the outbreak as well as policy responses by authorities,” she added. In contrast, during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, Malaysia had recorded a 5.9% GDP growth in 2003, and the nation recorded a 5.1% growth in 2015 during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) epidemic. (The Edge)

Fitch unit sees KL-Singapore High Speed Rail back on track soon

Malaysia and Singapore are likely to revive the suspended high-speed rail link between the two countries in the “short term”, Fitch Macro Solutions Research predicted. The unit said the economic benefits of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) were too great to ignore, adding that there was a strong business case to proceed with the project that was deferred due to its high cost. The PH administration has renegotiated several transportation projects to arrive at discounted prices that will save the country tens of billions on paper. These include the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (MRT2), the Light Rail Transit line 3 (LRT3), and most recently, the Pan Borneo Highway. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia, Singapore to form joint committee to tackle coronavirus outbreak

Malaysia and Singapore will form a joint working committee to address the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, in addition to the current collaboration between the two countries. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the main objective of the committee, which will be led by the countries’ respective deputy health ministers, was to strengthen ongoing cross-border efforts. Dr Dzulkefly said that the focus would include identifying contact persons from both ministries for better communication to manage cases involving the coronavirus and the contact tracing processes. He also indicated that one of the terms would include a travel advisory between Singapore and Malaysia. The number of positive cases in Malaysia remain at 18 while Singapore has 45 positive cases. (NST Online)

Acoustech to sell land in Johor Bahru for RM6.62 mil

Acoustech Bhd’s (AB) wholly-owned subsidiary JM Cemerlang Sdn Bhd (JMSCB) will sell a 0.410-hectare plot of land in Plentong, Johor Bahru to Melatone Coating Sdn Bhd (MCSB) for RM6.62 million. The disposal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020. AB Group intends to utilise the sale proceeds to partly retire JMCSB’s existing borrowings and to finance the development of phase two of Desa 88, which is targeted for launch in March 2020. The disposal is subject to consent from the Johor state authorities as MCSB is a foreign company. (The Edge)

Group tells Penang not to start reclamation project pending appeal

Penang Forum has called on the Penang state government to hold off reclaiming three islands under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) pending an appeal case against the project. Penang Forum’s Khoo Salma Nasution said the Sungei Batu fishermen has already submitted an appeal to the Department of Environment (DoE) and the case is yet to be heard. “The PSR is not climate mitigation but climate aggravation,” she said. She said it was obvious the decisions around the massive reclamation project are politically motivated without any consideration for the environmental effects. The forum is a platform for the people to bring up local issues. (Malay Mail)