Anwar set to lead Malaysia opposition over Dr Mahathir

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is most likely to lead the country instead of former leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad if the opposition coalition returns to power, according to a top leader in the bloc. The Pakatan Harapan alliance, whose government collapsed last month, will hold a meeting to decide the matter, with Anwar being the most likely to lead, former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said. Anwar has waited in the wings for nearly two years for Dr Mahathir to step down and fulfill a promise to name him prime minister as promised before the 2018 election. The feud over succession helped bring down the government. Unity between the two long-time rivals will be key to the coalition’s ability to mount a challenge to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government. The former premier said he plans to call a confidence vote against Muhyiddin as soon as Parliament convenes, which is now set for May 18. Pakatan Harapan will be ready for anything, including snap elections, said Wan Azizah. (The Edge)

IJM Corp wins RM530mil TRX job

IJM Corporation Bhd has bagged a RM530 million contract to develop residential component at international financial district Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). Its wholly-owned IJM Construction Sdn Bhd had received the letter of acceptance from LQ Residential 1 Sdn Bhd for the superstructure works of two blocks of serviced apartments known as TRX Residences. LQ Residential is a joint venture between international property and infrastructure group, Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd. The project comprises two towers of 53 and 57 storeys each with a total of 443 units and 453 units respectively. “The construction work will take 36 months from its scheduled commencement, and is slated for completion by May 2023,” it said. IJM is undertaking two construction projects in TRX namely HSBC Malaysia and Affin Bank’s new headquarters which are both scheduled for completion by end-2020. Menara Prudential, which IJM developed, constructed and owns, was completed in May 2019 and is 81%-tenanted. (NST Online)

Maybank IB Research remains ‘neutral’ on Malaysia’s REIT

Maybank Investment Bank (Maybank IB) has maintained its “neutral” call on Malaysia’s REITs on the back of satisfactory 4Q performance, with most financial results within expectations. The investment bank said growth was sustained by prime malls and long-term office tenants, although there were pockets of weaknesses at some multi-tenanted offices and neighbourhood malls. It said the two OPR interest rate cuts of 25 bps each in year-to-date 2020 by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the current OPR at 2.50% would be positive for the sector. Going forward, it said the sector is expected to grow by 6% year-on-year in 2020 premised on organic growth driven by higher rental income and stable occupancy. However, it said, a sizeable acquisition pipeline would remain dry while organic growth could be challenged by the adverse impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. (The Edge)

Najib’s case dropped as ‘former PM had no knowledge of wrongdoings’

A former deputy public prosecutor (DPP) today said no further action (NFA) was taken in the RM2.6 billion donation to Datuk Seri Najib Razak and SRC International Bhd cases as investigations up to 2016 showed the former prime minister had no knowledge of any wrongdoings. Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, who ended his career in the civil service as the MACC chief commissioner in 2018, said he was part of a team of DPPs ordered to go through MACC investigation papers on the two cases at that time. He said MACC had suggested that Najib should be charged under Section 403 of the Penal Code for criminal misappropriation. However, he said to secure a conviction for the offence, prosecutors needed to prove knowledge of the offence. Najib, 67, is facing seven counts of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering in relation to RM42 million of SRC International funds. (NST Online)

Covid-19 likely to last till end-2020 at least, say Singapore experts

The number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 is growing around the world, and as the epicentre of the outbreak shifts away from China, it is unlikely that the disease will taper off like SARS did, said experts. With the spike in cases globally, hopes that the outbreak will be over by April or May will be dashed, said NUS Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang. The global number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 has surpassed 100,000 and the death toll is close to 4,000. Professor Tikki Pangestu outlined three possible scenarios, but opined that the virus would most likely become pandemic, and mankind might have to live with its continued existence, like other viruses such as the H1N1 swine flu virus. (The Star Online)