Petty traders staring at ruin as Covid-19, MCO lay waste to businesses

The extended nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) since March 18 hurt most businesses badly but has been particularly devastating to small-time businesses, petty traders and hawkers. Despite slowly resuming business following the loosening of restrictions in April, many of their regular patrons have been equally slow to return. This, in turn, has decimated their revenue sources and made it hard for many to keep operating. Most businesses were allowed to resume operations during CMCO, but the accompanying SOPs along with weak consumer sentiments meant shoppers remained few and far between. Indian Petty Traders Association of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya president A. Joty, with 35 years of experience under his belt, said this was the first time that he has seen business conditions this bleak, surpassing even the 1997 Asian financial crisis. (Malay Mail)

Deferment of KL-Singapore HSR extended to 31 Dec

Singapore has agreed to Malaysia’s request for a seven-month extension to the High Speed Rail (HSR) project suspension. Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post yesterday that Malaysian Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali has written to him to request an extension of seven months to discuss Malaysia’s proposed changes to the project. Khaw said this should provide “sufficient time” for Malaysia to clarify its proposal and for both sides to assess the implications of the proposed changes. Malaysia was previously given until Sunday to proceed with construction works, as per an agreement signed in Putrajaya on September 5. (Malay Mail)

IGB going ahead with commercial REIT IPO

The Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout may have spooked many companies into putting their business plans on the back burner, but not IGB Bhd. The property developer is marching ahead with plans to spin off its commercial assets into a commercial real estate investment trust (REIT) comprising nine of its office buildings, and listing it on Bursa Malaysia. Although IGB remains tight-lipped on the schedule for the planned initial public offering (IPO), sources say it could be as early as November. Of the nine office buildings in Kuala Lumpur to be included in the proposed REIT, seven are within Mid Valley City. The remaining two — Menara Tan & Tan and GTower — are located in Jalan Tun Razak. Collectively, the nine properties have some 3.5 million sq ft in net lettable area and roughly valued at between RM3.15 billion and RM3.5 billion. (The Edge)

IOI confident of property sales recovery post Covid-19 pandemic

IOI Properties Group (IOIPG) expects that property sales will recover after the Covid-19 pandemic is over based on the third quarter (3Q) results from its 2020 financial year (FY20). In a press statement, the group announced its 3Q20 results where the real estate giant had achieved RM401.4 million in revenue and a profit before interest and taxation of RM137.7 million. The group anticipates that its developments in strategic locations around Malaysia with its projects in the pipeline will continue to draw prospective buyers as the economy gradually improves post-CMCO. In China, IOIPG’s launch of villas and high-rise condominiums in Xiamen is expected to continue registering an increase in sales revenue as economic activities in China are recovering after their Covid-19 lockdown. (Malay Mail)

Trump cutting U.S. ties with World Health Organization over virus

The United States will end its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO) over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday, accusing the U.N. agency of becoming a puppet of China. The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak. Trump’s decision follows a pledge last week by Chinese President Xi Jinping to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the coronavirus. The amount almost matches the WHO’s entire annual program budget for last year. Trump last month halted funding for the 194-member organization, then in a May 18 letter gave the WHO 30 days to commit to reforms. The WHO is an independent international body that works with the United Nations. (The Star Online)