Great opportunity for Malaysians to buy affordable houses, says developer

Real estate industry experts feel that Covid-19 and the movement control order (MCO) offer a great opportunity for Malaysians to purchase affordable residential properties. This is because developers are offering more attractive packages, including additional discounts, rebates and furnishing to attract buyers, Hartamas Real Estate Group founder and group managing director Eric Lim said. “I believe that the nation’s current economic situation is in a much better position… Many large firms and public limited companies are into liquidity financing rather than being dependent on bank borrowings,” he said. Impetus Alliance CEO and managing director Datuk Seri Michael Yam said the situation now is also a golden opportunity for developers to relook into the market and expand their capacity. He expressed hope that the government would continue the Home Ownership Programme (HOC) to spur the real estate market and property buyers. (Malay Mail)

Malaysian Bar: Allow law firms to operate during MCO

The Malaysian Bar has called on the government to provide leeway to law firms to operate during the MCO period. It said the legal profession plays a critical and irreplaceable role in the economy by supporting and enabling the real property and banking sectors, as well as operations that include contracts and transactions, capital markets, debt recovery, insolvency, and intellectual property protection. Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir said the Bar Council recognises that since the outbreak of Covid-19, the legal profession cannot go back to a mode of operation that was practised before the outbreak. “We are concerned that the standard operating procedure and operating guidelines for the legal sector during the MCO period that were drawn up by MITI, are too stringent, and this has affected the ability of firms to satisfy the requirement and make applications,” he said. (Malay Mail)

M’sians in S’pore must apply at least 2 days before returning

Only 400 Malaysians returning from Singapore are allowed to cross the border daily, following a relaxation on entry restrictions due to Covid-19. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore had so far received 900 applications. Only those with entry permit issued by the high commission will be allowed to enter Malaysia. Those who wish to return to Malaysia must send the applications two days prior to their returning date. The high commission had on its Facebook page said the applicants would need to email their particulars with a copy of their passes for the application. Once approved, the high commission will reply the email which will include a unique reference number which must be presented at the immigration checkpoint. (NST Online)

15% of hotels in Malaysia may have to close operations

Approximately 15% of the hotels in Malaysia may have to shut down their operations due to Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng said this finding was based on a survey conducted by the association on April 16. “From the same survey, 50 per cent of the hotels responded that they are considering ceasing operations and 35 per cent of hoteliers said they would temporary halt their businesses. Some hotel operators said they would remain closed at least till year end, while some said they would only resume their businesses after a vaccine for Covid-19 is found,” he said. A total of 4,880 hotels, including budget hotels, in the country are registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry. Although hotel services are part of the essential services that are allowed to operate during the Movement Control Order (MCO), hotels are prohibited from accepting new guests. Yap said the closure was also partly due to the “close to oversupply” market in the country. (NST Online)

Penang public markets to use e-wallet payment by June

The Penang government aims to fully adopt the e-wallet transaction system in every public market in the state by June this year. State Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state government has received positive feedback from public market traders on e-wallet usage. Penang has 26 public markets under MBPP and 30 public markets under MBSP. (Malay Mail)