MoH will brief PM today on whether to extend MCO

The ministry of health (MoH) director- general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told the media yesterday that he will be briefing the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today on whether the country needs a second extension for the movement control order (MCO). Malaysia is currently in its second phase of MCO that will end on Tuesday, after the initial one started from March 18 until March 31. He said there was a meeting at 6pm yesterday with various agencies that included the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), statisticians, and epidemiologists, to discuss this matter beforehand. The mortality rate in Malaysia was lower at 1.58% compared with around 4.6% to 5.6% for other countries, Noor Hisham said, which shows that medical services provided in Malaysia either in the ward or in intensive care unit (ICU) are satisfactory and good. (The Edge)

MCO: Almost 50% of self-employed Malaysians out of work

Almost 50% of self-employed Malaysians are out of work after the movement control order (MCO) was imposed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a survey by the Department of Statistics. The online survey, which was conducted from March 23-31, recorded responses from a total of 168,182 respondents aged 15 and above. Self-employed workers made up 11.7% of the total respondents in the survey, and 45.6% of them were out of work. Of the self-employed workers who were still working, almost 95% experienced a drop in income and of this, 35.5% had their incomes drop by more than 90%. The survey found that 28.3% of employers experienced a drop in income of more than 90%. The survey found that workers with government linked companies (GLC) and multinational companies (MNC) were the least affected overall by the MCO. Overall, only 6.2% of respondents said they were not financially impacted by the MCO, while 52.6% said they were “very affected” by it. (The Star Online)

Moneylenders, pawnbrokers agree to three-month moratorium

The Licensed Money Lenders Association or the Credit Community, as well as the pawnbrokers association have agreed to a three-month moratorium to ease the burden on borrowers, says Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. Licensed moneylenders registered with the ministry, meanwhile, had agreed not to impose late charges throughout the movement control order (MCO). Zuraida said the government had also agreed that the premises of companies from the credit community or pawnbrokers be allowed to operate for two days a week. She said the operating hours would be limited from 9am to 2pm to allow SMEs to carry out their transactions. (Malay Mail)

Selangor waives April rent for PPR tenants

A total of 2,632 tenants in four People’s Housing Projects (PPR) in Selangor can heave a sigh of relief as the state government has exempted them from rental payments in April following the imposition of the movement control order (MCO). State Housing and Urban Living Exco, Haniza Mohamed Talha, said the Selangor government has also allowed the PPR residents to defer rental payments for May and June. These include the Kampung Baru Hicom PPR, Kota Damansara PPR, Serendah PPR and the Council Homes Bandar Baru Bangi for B40 families. She said the decision was made based on complaints received from tenants who could not pay the monthly rentals due to several reasons, including not being able to go out to trade and loss of income. (Malay Mail)

China’s big developers shrug off short-term virus impact to splurge on land

China’s top developers are prising open their war chests to snap up land this year as local governments sell more prime real estate to boost revenues and smaller, distressed property firms look to offload assets as the coronavirus takes a toll. Despite some analysts’ warnings that an economic recovery could take longer than expected, many major property companies said at recent earnings conferences that they planned to ramp up spending thanks to a faster-than-expected home sales rebound in the first quarter and more abundant liquidity. Others said they would maintain purchasing levels on a par with last year as they were confident demand for housing will remain intact in the long run. China’s property market ground to a halt earlier this year as the virus outbreak escalated and authorities imposed tough curbs on travel and movement, shutting down crowded places such as property showrooms. Developers said they expected sales to normalize in April, following an 80-90% recovery in March, and a spate of government economic support measures and increased liquidity will provide some boost to property sales. (The Edge)