Parliament to reconvene on May 18

The upcoming Parliament meeting will reconvene on May 18, says Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof. Previously, the first meeting of Parliament in 2020 was scheduled to begin on March 9. The upcoming Parliamentary meeting will be heavily watched, as Pakatan Harapan is expected to table a no-confidence vote against its former ally and newly appointed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s sudden resignation as prime minister last week triggered a political turmoil which eventually saw the Pakatan government being replaced by Perikatan Nasional, which consists of Barisan Nasional, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and PAS. (The Star Online)

OPR down to 2.5% for first time in a decade

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to grow, Bank Negara Malaysia yesterday announced another cut of 25 basis points (bps) in the overnight policy rate (OPR), marking the first time in 10 years that the rate has been reduced to 2.5%. The cuts in 2009 were made amid a slump in Malaysia’s GDP due to the global financial crisis. Hours later, the US Federal Reserve also announced an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut in a bid to protect the longest-ever economic expansion from the outbreak. Malaysia’s cut comes less than three months after a similar 25bps cut in January. “Though BNM expects the stimulus package to provide some support to economic activity and expects growth to improve in the second half (2H) of the year, there are key downside risks given the uncertainty of the duration and severity of the virus. As such, we are not ruling out further OPR cuts from here,” said UOB Malaysia senior economist Julia Goh. The sentiment was echoed by Bank Islam chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid. In its statement yesterday, BNM cited weak global economic conditions, given the Covid-19 outbreak which has disrupted production and travel activity. (The Edge)

Seek right talent to clear oversupply, Randstad Malaysia tells property companies

Property companies must prepare to get the right talent in order to push buyers into the market to clear oversupply of properties in the country, according to a recruitment agency, Randstad Malaysia. Its human resources services leader said it is common for companies to seek experienced talent to drive project completion and build a healthy project pipeline to ensure business continuity. The agency also noted the Covid-19 outbreak, first reported December last year, will undoubtedly impact the buyers’ market as a result of travel bans and additional precautionary measures implemented by companies. Elaborating on talents, job seekers in the property space this year would likely focus on relevant skills and experiences, company culture and career progression opportunities, it said. “Employers can introduce performance-based incentives to both attract and secure talent,” it said, adding that they can make up for the lower-than-average salary through highly-differentiated employee benefits, such as spousal insurance, access to a company car or an employee-discount on residential housing. (The Edge)

UEM Sunrise looking to sell multiple assets

Property developer UEM Sunrise Bhd (UEMS) has placed multiple assets in Kuala Lumpur estimated to be worth between RM600 million and RM700 million up for sale. The Hyatt House Kuala Lumpur hotel in Mont’Kiara, a 65-acre land parcel in Seri Kembangan and a parcel in Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, are believed to be among the larger assets. The move could be part of the group’s plans to divest its non-strategic assets and rebalance its land bank portfolio. UEMS hopes to fetch about RM270 million and RM250 million respectively for Hyatt House and the 65-acre piece of land, while the Seputeh land may be worth about RM25 million. UEM is also looking at disposing of a few other assets, including several retail components in Mont’Kiara and land in Iskandar Johor, as well as land in Klang, according to sources. (The Edge)

Malaysia’s total Covid-19 cases now at 36

All seven new Covid-19 cases reported were found to have been in close contact with the country’s 26th patient – an Uda Holdings Bhd board member, says the Health Ministry. This brings the total number of cases to 36 yesterday. Among the seven included a paramedic who provided aid to him, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post. Earlier, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, of the positive Covid-19 cases, 14 of the 36 patients are still being treated at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital and Sungai Buloh Hospital while the rest had recovered. All the patients under treatment are in stable condition. The statement added that as at 8am yesterday, the number of Covid-19 cases in 70 countries were 90,306, with 45,603 cases or 50.5% having recovered while 3,084 deaths were recorded. (The Star Online)