Malaysia to spend RM20bil on Economic Stimulus Package

Malaysia has revealed a RM20 billion package of tax reliefs and subsidies to stimulate the economy hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. The amount allocated is higher than Singapore’s S$5.6 billion (RM17 billion) package to help firms and workers, as well as households in the republic. Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia’s Economic Stimulus Package 2020 is anchored on three strategies namely mitigating impact of Covid-19, spurring rakyat centric economic growth and promoting quality investments. Under the stimulus package, the government will implement a three-pronged approach – 1) to ease the cash flow of affected businesses, 2) to assist affected individuals and 3) to stimulate demand for travel and tourism. Bank Negara Malaysia will provide a special relief facility worth RM2 billion; Bank Simpanan Nasional will also allocate a RM200 million in microcredit facility offering an interest rate of 4%; and the approval process for existing loan funds will be further streamlined. (The Edge)

PM choice may land with the people

A snap election may take place if the Dewan Rakyat, which will have a special sitting on March 2, fails to determine which prime minister candidate has a clear majority support, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The interim prime minister, who had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong earlier yesterday, said the King had one-to-one interviews with all Members of Parliament (MPs). Despite that, there was no prime minister candidate with a distinct majority. “So Dewan Rakyat will be called on March 2 in order to determine who has the majority support to become the next prime minister. However, if the Dewan Rakyat fails to determine the candidate with clear majority support, then we will have to go for a snap election,” he told reporters after unveiling the Economic Stimulus Package 2020. Dr Mahathir had previously said he had hoped to lead a non-partisan administration that prioritises the national interest, and that “rightly or wrongly, politics and political parties must be set aside for the time being”. (The Star Online)

Skyworld to launch IPO in 2-3 years

SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd could go public in the next two to three years to raise a minimum of RM200 million for expansion, says its major shareholder and group managing director Datuk Ng Thien Phing. The company is all set to launch an initial public offering (IPO) but added that it would wait for the market to recover. Ng said future fundraising exercise by SkyWorld is to acquire landbank in strategic locations in Kuala Lumpur and to carry out existing and new projects. He said the top three priorities for location are the land must be beside a park, next to a LRT station and in a highly-populated area. SkyWorld has eight on-going high-rise residential projects in Kuala Lumpur which will keep the company busy for the next five years, and the company’s unbilled sales are over RM1 billion, he added. SkyWorld expects to launch four new projects with combined GDV of RM1.5 billion between July this year and March 2021. The lands are located in Cheras, Setapak, Old Klang Road, and Sentul. (NST Online)

Banks should assist homeowners to get their strata titles, says Rehda

Banks in Malaysia should correlate with home buyers for the issuance of strata titles for high-rise residential units so that they become the rightful legal owners of the property which they have paid for. Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon said banks and homebuyers must play a role to make sure the title is transferred. Soam said, when the title is out, the banks must “perfect the charge” over the legal document, that is, make the transfer to the rightful owner. Rehda has been in discussions with banks to force it upon the buyer to get the strata title. He said there are two issues regarding strata titles in Malaysia – developers not getting the strata titles, or strata titles have been issued but buyers are not taking it. Soam said the new law has a section that compels the developer to get the strata title, a failure in which the buyer can retain 2.5% of the selling price, but there is no compulsion on the buyer to transfer the title. The government may stand to lose revenue from stamp duty payments and registration fees that could run into millions of ringgit if owners do not collect their strata titles, as homeowners have to pay stamp duty to the Inland Revenue Department according to a scale. (NST Online)

New Chinese billionaires outpace US by three to one

China minted three times as many new billionaires than the United States in the past year, with fortunes made in drugs and online entertainment after a mini-boom from the coronavirus outbreak, a ranking of the world’s wealthiest people shows. The Greater China region, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, created 182 new billionaires in the year to Jan 31, taking its total to 799, according to the 2020 Hurun Global Rich List released on Feb 26. That compares with 59 new US billionaires. While the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has hammered the world’s second-biggest economy, it has also driven up stock valuations of Chinese companies in online education, online games and vaccinations as demand for online services has surged. “China today has more billionaires than the US and India combined,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chairman of the Hurun Report, which counted 629 US billionaires and 137 in India. Beijing is the world’s billionaire capital for the fifth year, with 110 billionaires, against 98 in New York. Shanghai overtook Hong Kong to claim third spot. (The Star Online)

Top 10 of Hurun Global Rich List 2020 (Source: New Express News)