MIDA: Malaysia remains competitive despite pandemic

Malaysia remains competitive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is moving ahead as one of the top global manufacturing nations through the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, said the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA). Its CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud said the country’s diversified economic structure and continuous support from the government in balancing public health and the livelihood of the people, underpinned the growth momentum of Malaysia’s industrial capacity. “To sustain our competitive advantages, the need to transform the Malaysian economy via digital empowerment is no longer an option. Digitalisation is crucial to future-proof our businesses,” he said. Malaysia fell five spots to 27th in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2020 released by the Institute for Management Development, which analyses global economies and their ability to generate prosperity. With the exception of Singapore – which retained its number one position for the second year in a row – the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea, most Asian economies dropped in rankings this year. (The Malaysian Reserve / NST Online)

Sabah unveils second COVID-19 aid package worth RM240mil

The Sabah government has unveiled the second phase of its COVID-19 Aid Package themed “Sabah New Deal” worth RM240 million to reactivate, rejuvenate and revitalise the state’s economy that had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the allocation, which was an extension of phase one of the aid package worth RM670 million announced on March 25, was aimed at empowering the state’s digital economy. The Sabah New Deal package, which encompasses three objectives, was designed to navigate through the current challenging economic uncertainty faced by the state and ensure consistency in its forward move towards new normal transition. “The three objectives are namely, to facilitate the transformation to digital economy, leverage and expand on the economic opportunities in agrofood and empowering human capital, and generate new employment,” he said. (Bernama)

Penang govt to focus on rent-to-own scheme

The Penang government will focus on the rent-to-own (RTO) scheme to help more people in the state own a house. State Housing, Local Government, Town, and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the Penang government targeted to build 180,000 affordable housing units by 2030 and 10% of the total number would be placed under the RTO scheme. “To date, 2,474 units are on the list. I welcome the participation of other developers especially government-linked companies (GLC) to offer RTO scheme in their housing projects,” he said. So far 105,719 units of affordable housing were being monitored, of which 30,191 have been completed, 24,096 units were under construction while 51,432 units were at the planning process. (Malay Mail)

Selangor defers land premium payments, exempts property rentals for May

The Selangor government extended the period for the payment of land premiums and the exemption of rent for premises owned by local authorities as an initiative to restore the state’s economy following the Covid-19 outbreak. Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the state government had agreed to extend the land premium payment period to September 30 for notices that have expired from January 1, 2020, to June 9, 2020. The payment of land premiums can also be made in installments of six months until March 31, 2021, for selected notices (5A and 7G) that have not expired. Amirudin added that for rental of premises under the purview of local authorities, the state government extended the exemption on rental payments to traders and tenants for the month of May subject to the same eligibility given for rental waiver in April. He added the state was in its final stage of concluding the economic recovery plan that is scheduled to be announced next month. (Malay Mail)

Construction of landmark skywalk in Thai-Malaysian border district to resume

Thailand’s southernmost district of Betong is yet to build up a skywalk as a major landmark to attract more tourists later this year, an official said. The construction of Aiyerweng skywalk in the Thai-Malaysian border district has been 77% completed but been temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic since the last few months. Construction materials are yet to be supplied from China in the latter phases of construction of the 100-metre-high, 61-metre-long skywalk, calculated to cost some 93 million baht (about US$2.98 million), Ari said. Given Aiyerweng skywalk overlooking a sea of mist, more tourists are expected from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to visit Betong for sight-seeing trips. (The Star Online)

Artist impression of the Aiyerweng Skywalk (Source: Sanook)