’28 days of 0 infection before Malaysia is declared Covid-19 free’

Malaysia will declare itself free of Covid-19 when the country records zero new cases of infection for 28 consecutive days. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this is the same method applied before the announcement of the end of a cluster. Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry is in the midst of preparing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reflexology and massage businesses to resume activities. The proposed SOPs will be tabled to the National Security Council (NSC) next week. “We expect all sectors to reopen by the end of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO)… If we can maintain the new cases at single or double digits, more sectors will be allowed to resume operations,” he said. (NST Online)

Penang reduces price ceiling for foreign home buyers

Foreign buyers can expect cheaper property units in Penang as the ceiling price for overhang stratified and landed properties in the state has been reduced by between 20% and 40%. State Housing, Local Government and Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the offer would be ongoing for a year from today, in line with the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2020. Jagdeep said the ceiling price for stratified properties on both island and mainland has also been lowered by 20%, putting them between RM800,000 and RM400,000 respectively. “This would help property developers to clear up the existing overhang stock, as well as to help boost our standstill economy during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. Penang currently has 3,043 overhang units with a total value of about RM2.6 billion. (Malay Mail)

The revival of the economy is about spending, says Rehda president

The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Malaysia president Datuk Soam Heng Choon believes that the revival of the economy will come through the people’s spending. “I hope that the people who saved on the stamp duty and the RPGT (real property gains tax) will take out the money and spend on other things to move the domestic economy,” he said. Soam said the property-related incentives that are part of the RM35 billion Short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) will help both the buyers and developers. However, the recovery of the economy is dependent on the prospect of the external environment such as in major countries like the U.S. and China, and how effective their economic packages are. “The reality will come once the loan moratorium expires in September. There will be a lag effect from the unemployment and retrenchment and that would impact on consumer spending,” said Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) executive director Lee Heng Guie. (The Edge)

Franchise, direct sales in Malaysia down as much as 80% during MCO

A recent Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry survey found that franchising and direct sales operations in the country have declined by up to 80% due to the movement control order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Harian Metro reported Deputy Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid as saying the biggest drop reported was in the food and beverages subsector, followed by education. Among the challenges faced include a lack of workers, raw materials due to logistical problems, operational costs, as well as rental and utility payment throughout the MCO. He said the ministry was reviewing several initiatives aimed at stimulating retail activities in the country and to boost consumer spending. The minister added there is also a need for both the industry and government to cooperate in identifying new methods and SOPs to be obeyed, so as to ensure businesses can once again operate safely. (Malay Mail)

Singapore to extend VEP validity period for Malaysia-registered vehicles till Sept 30

The Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) will automatically extend the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) validity period for all Malaysia-registered cars and motorcycles for another three months to Sept 30, 2020. Earlier, on March 26, 2020, LTA announced that it would extend the VEP validity period for Malaysia-registered vehicles until June 30, 2020. In its website, LTA also noted that the VEP fees incurred before March 18, 2020 and after April 14, 2020 will continue to apply. It advised that motorists who wish to avoid accumulating VEP fees and who are unable to personally drive their vehicles out of Singapore may engage cross-border towing/transport services to transport their vehicles back to Malaysia. Currently, all foreign-registered vehicles are required to pay VEP fees of S$4 per day for motorcycles and S$35 per day for cars, with each VEP valid for 14 days from the date of entry into Singapore. (Bernama)