World Bank unveils US$12b aid package to combat coronavirus

The World Bank unveiled a US$12 billion (RM50.16 billion) aid package on Tuesday that will provide fast-track funds to help countries combat the coronavirus outbreak. “The goal is to provide fast, effective action that responds to country needs,” World Bank President David Malpass said. He added it is critical to “recognise the extra burden on poor countries” least equipped in the struggle to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The funds, some of which are targeted to the world’s poorest nations, can be used for medical equipment or health services and will include expertise and policy advice, the bank said in a statement. In another development, the International Monetary Fund (MF) and the World Bank said the spring gathering of finance ministers and central bankers held in Washington in April will be shifted to a “virtual format” due to the coronavirus epidemic. (The Sun Daily)

Muhyiddin a one-man show

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will be in charge of all ministries and government departments until the appointment of Cabinet ministers, says the latest Federal Government gazette signed by the Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali. “It is notified that the Prime Minister, (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) shall be charged with the responsibility in respect of all departments of the Federal Government and the subjects for which the departments are responsible until the appointment of other ministers in the Cabinet.” Muhyiddin, who was sworn in as Prime Minister on March 1, met chief secretaries from the Education and Foreign Ministries yesterday. In a Facebook post, Muhyiddin said Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas briefed him on developments and suggestions to upgrade the education sector. Foreign Ministry chief secretary Datuk Seri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob was also seen explaining Malaysia’s current diplomatic relationships and pending international conferences. It is believed that one of the main subjects discussed was the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) inter-governmental forum that will be held in November in Kuala Lumpur. (The Star Online)

(Source: Facebook)

MIEA: First-time Malaysian house buyers, renters should engage professional agents

First-time property buyers and renters who are unfamiliar with real estate transactions should consider engaging the services of a registered estate agent or negotiator. In light of the endless number of cheating cases involving illegal brokers, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) said it is only right buyers and renters allow the professionals to guide them. MIEA president, Lim Boon Ping, said the association’s first-ever public awareness campaign called #MYREALAGENTS is aimed at informing buyers and renters about the importance of choosing registered agents or negotiators, and how they can protect themselves from losses. The #MYREALAGENTS website and social media channels have content on the legal aspect of buying, selling and renting a property, as well as tips, a checklist and what to look for when engaging a registered agent or negotiator. The website shows that as at February 21, 2020, there are 2,841 registered real estate agents and 39,986 certified real estate negotiators. (Malay Mail)

Paramount maintains RM1b sales target this year

Paramount Corp Bhd has maintained its property sales target at RM1 billion for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2020 (FY20), which it says will be driven by some RM1.2 billion worth of launches planned for the year. Demand will come from the growth of new households and buyers who are looking to upgrade their homes, said Paramount group chief executive officer Jeffrey Chew. As for the group’s launches this year, they include landed residential properties in Bukit Banyan, Sungai Petani, Sejati Lakeside, Cyberjaya and Greenwoods in Salak Tinggi as well as high-rise residential projects like Utropolis Batu Kawan, Penang and Berkeley Uptown, Klang and Kemuning Utama, Shah Alam. Chew said the group is also looking at areas to spur growth. These include venturing into property management services and diversifying its portfolio overseas. It is currently looking at Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines for its overseas venture. (The Edge)

Covid-19: Immigration shuts down all autogates, e-gates

The Immigration Department has temporarily closed all autogates and e-gates at the country’s entry points following the Covid-19 outbreak. The Immigration director-general had agreed to close all autogate lanes for Malaysians, the E-Gate for foreigners under the National Enforcement and Registration Biometric System (NERS) and the E-Gate Malaysian Automated Clearance System (MACS). The Health Ministry said Malaysia had recorded a total of 50 Covid-19 cases following a new Covid-19 cluster, involving 14 new cases. All 14 cases were first and second generation cases linked to patient 26, an Uda Holdings Bhd board member, who tested positive on March 1. (NST Online)