MCO: Two people allowed in one car, grocery runs

The government has given some leeway to the standard operating procedure of phase four of the Movement Control Order (MCO) by allowing two people to travel in one vehicle. Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said they must be people from one family living in the same house and the movement is to buy food and daily essential items. Previously, only the household head was allowed to go out to buy food and daily essential items. Permission for movement is now for the purpose of buying daily essentials or to seek healthcare or medical services outside a 10-kilometre radius if the items or services are not available within 10km of the individual’s home. Ismail Sabri said several more leeways made to the current MCO will be announced soon. (The Edge)

Air-cond servicing, plumbing allowed during MCO without Miti approval

Air-conditioner maintenance and plumbing services are allowed to operate without approval from the international trade and industry ministry (Miti) during the movement control order. However, the house owner needs to provide details of the contractors to the nearest police station first, said Senior Minister for Infrastructure Fadillah Yusof. He said many small-time contractors were not registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) as the works they carried out were considered minor. “If there are any such works, customers can actually request their services by going to the nearest police station and informing the police. There’s no need to go to Miti for such small works,” he said. (Free Malaysia Today)

JPPH: Property market to remain resilient

The Malaysian property market is expected to remain resilient despite the economic headwinds this year due to COVID-19, with affordable housing and finding the right solutions to the property overhang continuing to be the main agenda of the government. Valuation and Property Services Department Malaysia (JPPH) said the close monitoring of the implementation of programmes under the National Housing Policy 2.0 (2018 – 2025) and various incentives introduced to promote home ownership among Malaysians are expected to contain the overhang situation in the coming year. As Bank Negara Malaysia expects the Malaysian economy to rebound in 2021, in tandem with projected global recovery, the property market is anticipated to move in similar trajectory. “Many incentives are given by the government in the effort to cushion the impact on the property market. However, given the challenging market coupled with the downside in consumer and business community confidence, market activity and market absorption are likely to be slow,” it said. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia stuck in middle-income trap: Moody’s Analytics

Malaysia now faces the challenge of maintaining its competitive edge against both ends of the value chain namely low-wage countries on one side and advanced and more innovative countries on the other, said Moody’s Analytics. Malaysia ranks as the third richest country in Southeast Asia. “Income inequality has been a growing issue between Malaysian states, particularly the richer manufacturing hubs and states that rely on agriculture and other natural resources like palm oil and mining. Malaysia has struggled to move up the value chain, and there are concerns of the country being stuck in the middle-income trap, unable to sustain high rates of growth to reach high-income status,” it said. Besides that, Moody’s Analytics said there had also been concerns over the country’s relatively low foreign direct investment (FDI) to GDP ratio hampering its economic potential. (NST Online)

Allow property developers to operate, Mah Sing urges govt

Lauding the government’s decision to allow approved businesses to fully resume their operations from today, Mah Sing Group Bhd said Putrajaya should also consider lifting the lockdown for the property sector. According to the property developer, the sector has a multiplier effect on more than 140 industries and is reliant on domestic consumption. “Approved construction sites have a set of guidelines to follow, and if property sales galleries can open, they can adopt the same stringent hygiene and social distancing guidelines, which are already being practised at supermarkets or banks,’ it said. The government allows approved businesses to operate at full capacity under Phase 4 of the MCO which started yesterday. (The Edge)