Survey shows Covid-19 affecting nine in every 10 Malaysian workers

A survey by recruitment agency JobStreet has revealed the massive impact of Covid-19 to the Malaysian workforce, with nine in 10 respondents saying the pandemic has forced changes to their work. Taken from approximately 5,000 respondents in May, most described the changes as unfavourable and widespread. 58% said they felt they must continue working from home, 48% said the pandemic has hurt their remuneration and salary, while 24% were forced to take leave. In contrast, a decrease in scope of work was felt by employees working in the hospitality/catering sector at 45%, and the architecture/construction sector at 36%. Most employees are now concerned with matters related to finances and job security which in turn has led to a decline in job happiness. Last month, official data showed that nearly 800,000 Malaysians were left jobless in April as a result of measures taken to contain the pandemic. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia’s CPI falls 2.9% in May, food prices up

The overall prices of basic goods and services in Malaysia again fell by 2.9 per cent in May when compared to the same month last year, but food prices have continued to go up year-on-year in all states in Malaysia for the third consecutive month, the latest official statistics show. The CPI fell by 2.9% in April, and has decreased by 2.9% in May when compared against the same months last year. This was driven by the fall of prices when compared to May 2019 across four categories, namely transport (-20.8%), housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (-2.6%), clothing and footwear (-1.1%), and furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (-0.2%). The increase in the food and non-alcoholic beverages index by 1.2 per cent was due to the increase in prices of meat (2.7%), food products not elsewhere classified (2.6%) and vegetables (2.4%) in May 2020. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s debt limit can be raised if necessary

While Malaysia’s debt-to-GDP ratio may hit the 55% statutory limit by year-end, the cap is “self-imposed” and can be changed through parliament if deemed necessary for the people’s well-being, said Malaysian Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) group MD Datuk Charon Wardini Mokhzani. Technically, the legislative body could increase the debt limit but this depended on what it had to say and Malaysia would wait for the decision, he said. Earlier this week, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the country’s debt level, currently at 52%, might reach 55% later this year due to measures implemented under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) and the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) that were aimed at saving lives and livelihoods as well as stimulating the economy. In terms of accessibility to finance, the government had announced close to RM300 billion worth of stimulus packages to help the economy and businesses to continue. (Malay Mail)

Loans still hard to get despite government stimulus packages

Banks have tightened lending, dashing the hopes of many looking to take advantage of the latest government incentives to stimulate the housing and automobile industries. MIEA president Eric Lim Boon Ping pointed out that the government has recently taken a number of measures to stimulate the real estate industry, including the reintroduction of the home ownership campaign (HOC), and exemption of stamp duty and real property gain tax. Housing developers have also provided incentives to attract prospective buyers. “However, we noticed banks have tightened their lending requirements. Recently, a pilot’s loan applications with several banks were all rejected. It appears that there are higher requirements for loan applicants from the aviation sector, as well as tourism industries,”he said. He advised would-be first-time home buyers to put their plans on hold and wait for perhaps another five years when they are more secured financially and better qualified for loans. (The Sun Daily)

OSK Property to focus on affordable ‘essential homes’

With most potential buyers remaining housebound during the various iterations of the Movement Control Orders (MCOs), industry players have been adapting and restrategising. OSK Property Holdings Bhd has restrategised to reach its audience and plans to carry on with selected launches. The group says it will hold fewer launches this year. It is looking at a combined GDV of RM311.9 million and is focusing on the townships of Iringan Bayu in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, and Yarra Park in Sungai Petani, Kedah. “We will continue to pursue land banking opportunities for our long-term growth… OSK Property will be adapting to the new normal in its product offerings moving forward. We will focus on building affordably priced ‘essential homes’ in strategic locations,” said CEO Ong Ghee Bin. “Essential homes are in developments that focus on fundamental requirements with selected key facilities and a balance of greenery and sustainable features. We will be incorporating this product into our future launches in Melawati in Selangor, Sentul in Kuala Lumpur and Rubika in Butterworth,” he notes. (The Edge)