Malaysia stands as sixth preferred destination for Chinese property buyers

Malaysia has maintained its ranking as the sixth most preferred destination in the world for Chinese property buyers for the second consecutive year. Based on a report by Juwai IQI on top 10 Chinese buyers’ picks for 2019, Malaysia is more popular with Chinese buyers than the UK (7th place), Vietnam (8th place) and Singapore (11th place). The top five favourite destinations for Chinese property buyers are Thailand, Australia, Japan, the US and Canada. “Malaysia has long been a favourite investment choice for Chinese buyers. It has affordable standards of living, high quality of life, medical facilities and accessible educational institutions,” said KL-based Juwai IQI executive chairman Georg Chmiel. He also said that the attractive terms of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Scheme also made the country an attractive destination. The five top Malaysian markets for Chinese buyers are Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Malacca City, Kota Kinabalu and Shah Alam. (Bernama)

Malaysia’s unemployment rate may go up to 5.5% this year

The country is projected to record an unemployment rate of between 3.5% and 5.5% this year due to the impact from Covid-19, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said. Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the government’s move to partially reopen the economy during the movement control order period and the Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package would, however, assist workers and households in facing the critical situation induced by the coronavirus. Last week, DOSM revealed that unemployment in March rose by 17.1% year-on-year to 610,000 people, for a jobless rate of 3.9%. Mohd Uzir said the job demand and vacancy status for the first quarter gave an early signal of an imbalance in the labour market. (Malay Mail)

Several states allow Friday prayers to be held today

After more than two months of being unable to perform Friday prayers at mosques following the outbreak of the Covid-19, Muslims in several states have been allowed to conduct the congregational prayers beginning today. However, for the initial phase, only selected number of individuals are allowed to perform the Friday prayers and other congregational prayers at the mosques and suraus in their respective areas. For the time being, mosques and suraus will remain shut to the public. Mosques and selected suraus in the Covid-19 green zones in the Federal Territories would be allowed to hold Friday prayers and other congregational prayers, namely, Tarawih and Aidilfitri prayers, in stages, beginning today, and limited to between three and 30 people, excluding the imam. Perlis, Selangor, Perak, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, and Melaka have also followed suit, with different numbers of people allowed according to the respective states. (NST Online)

Maintain an open market amid challenging time, APEC economies told

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries should commit to keep their market open at this challenging time and not retreat to protectionism measures, said APEC Secretariat executive director Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria. She said in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed almost 300,000 lives globally, the region needs to promote greater support for the healthcare system and ensure that medical supplies and medical equipment are affordable. Sta Maria said that all the APEC economies should work together to provide a fair, non-discriminatory, transparent and stable investment environment to ensure that trade and investment continue to flow, especially during these trying times. APEC represents 40.8% or US$404.5 billion of the essential medical goods’ global import value and 28.8% (US$271.8 billion) of global exports. (Bernama)

‘Major’ mental health crisis looming from pandemic: UN

The coronavirus outbreak risks sparking a major global mental health crisis, the United Nations warned Thursday, calling for urgent action to address the psychological suffering brought on by the pandemic. While protecting physical health has been the main concern during the first months of the crisis, it is also placing huge mental strains on large swathes of the global population, the UN said in policy brief. “Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. The UN brief highlighted the mental strains on people fearing that they or loved ones will be infected or die from the novel coronavirus, as well as the psychological impact on vast numbers of people who have lost or are at risk of losing their livelihoods, have been separated from loved ones or have suffered under drastic lockdown orders. Health care workers and first responders – operating under “tremendous stress” – are particularly vulnerable. (NST Online)