Bank Negara cuts SRR to 2% to shore up liquidity

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will reduce the statutory reserve requirement (SRR) to 2.0% from 3.0%, effective March 20, 2020. Additionally, the central bank said each principal dealer will be able to recognise Malaysian Government Securities (MGS) and Malaysian Government Investment Issues (MGII) of up to RM1 billion as part of the SRR compliance. The SRR is an instrument to manage liquidity and is not a signal on the stance of monetary policy. “This flexibility for principal dealers is available until March 31, 2021. These combined measures will release approximately RM30 billion worth of liquidity into the banking system,” it said in a statement. (The Star Online)

Genting group halts worldwide operations until March 31

Genting Malaysia Bhd (GenM) is temporarily closing its resort destinations in Malaysia and in the United States (US) until March 31, joining the growing list of gaming and entertainment centres around the world shutting their doors following the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The casino giant is closing Resorts World Genting (RWG), Resorts World Awana, Resorts World Kijal and Resorts World Langkawi until March 31, following the Movement Control Order announced on Monday. GenM said the closure encompasses all of its hotel facilities, food and beverage outlets, casino, Skytropolis Indoor Theme Park, entertainment facilities, attractions, shopping malls as well as retail outlets at RWG. It said essential resort-based services such as security, Fire and Rescue Department, utilities and clinics will remain operational during this period. RWG will resume operations from April 1. (NST Online)

DBKL urged to exempt public housing rental during movement restriction

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has been urged to extend its rent exemption for business premises and include low-income families renting its people’s housing projects (PPR) and public housing (PA). Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil noted that at present, about half of the 42,000 renting PPR and PA earn below RM1,000, and that the restriction of movement order (RMO) would further affect them. “It is estimated that such an assistance would only cost DBKL RM2.5 million, or about 0.08% of its 2020 budget,” he said in a statement yesterday. Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa had on Wednesday announced that businesses operating in DBKL premises would be exempted from paying rent for a month, in light of the two-week RMO. He also announced that 500 daily-wage earners with the council would be receiving full pay, even if they were unable to work throughout the 14-day period. (The Sun Daily)

Tracking illegal real estate agents in Malaysia

There are over 100,000 real estate agents operating without a licence in Malaysia and the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP) is tracking them to protect the local property market. BOVAEP and the police recently conducted a joint raid on a real estate cooperative firm carrying out illegal estate agency practice. “More than 50 real estate frauds are being reported every month as a result of illegal real estate brokers operating in the country,” said Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) president Francis SP Loh. Issues on illegal real estate brokers have become speckled with unregistered firms or persons involved in acting as an agent in the selling of Malaysian properties for a fee such as property marketing firms, travel agencies, proptech companies, MM2H companies, investor funds and foreigners, too. Foreign real estate agents or developers cannot sell property on their own in Malaysia. They are required to engage a local registered real estate agent or firm to market any foreign properties. (NST Online)

Italy overtakes China with most virus deaths

Italy surpassed China on Thursday as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as the UN chief warned “millions” could die if it spreads unchecked around the globe. China for its part reported no new domestic cases for the first time since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide. While there was a glimmer of hope in China, several nations tightened their borders and imposed lockdowns, trapping tens of millions of people in their homes. The death toll soared in Europe as Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405. China has officially reported 3,245 deaths from the virus, which can cause respiratory failure, particularly in the elderly. (The Star Online)