World Bank: ‘Social pension’ for B40 elderly a good start

The concern of whether Malaysia’s fast-ageing population would have enough savings to live out their days in retirement could be addressed by having the government fund a “social pension”, such as a RM350 monthly payment to senior citizens in the B40 group, the World Bank has suggested. It also proposed for the Malaysian government to collect more tax revenue to fund such social protection programmes, through measures such as revising existing tax reliefs, tax exemptions and the current tax regime. The World Bank said Malaysia will become an ageing society this year, which means 7% or more of the country’s population are aged 65 and above. In its Malaysia Economic Monitor report, the World Bank said it is essential for Malaysia to introduce a “non-contributory social pension” to help vulnerable and poor older persons and protect them from poverty, as most of the senior citizens here are expected to have insufficient EPF savings. It added that the government’s Bantuan Sara Hidup scheme is projected to cost about 1.6% of the government’s projected revenues in 2020. (Malay Mail)

Foreigners can now purchase property in Negri Sembilan worth at least RM1mil

Foreigners can now buy landed property worth at least RM1mil in Negri Sembilan, which is down from the RM2mil threshold before, says Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun. He said this was among the steps taken by his administration to rejuvenate the state economy. Aminuddin said foreigners and foreign companies will also be able to buy stratified landed property worth more than RM1mil and strata units worth more than RM600,000. The state decided to reduce the threshold because the floor price in neighbouring states is lower. The move to reduce the floor price was in line with the move at the federal level to lower the price threshold for foreign buyers from RM1mil to RM600,000. (The Star Online)

Fitch: Malaysia losing talent it needs to climb world ladder

Stalled reforms and perceived discrimination will keep up the chronic brain drain that has hampered Malaysia’s economic development at a time regional rivals are catching up to or surpassing the country, said Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research. It highlighted the continuation of race-based affirmative action as a major cause of local talent choosing to head abroad for better opportunities. The firm also said the needed reforms — planned or promised — were unlikely to take place now as the country has been plunged into political instability, which in turn has prompted politicians to return to peddling populist measures. Last year, recruitment firm Hays’ published a report that said nearly half of employers in Malaysia were not confident they would be able to find the talent vital to expanding their local operations. As far back as 2011, the World Bank already warned that Malaysia was losing one in five of its graduates to migration, primarily to Singapore’s benefit. (Malay Mail)

Advancecon bids for RM1.5bil contracts including ECRL

Advancecon Holdings Bhd is tendering for RM1.5 billion worth of contracts in the infrastructure and property development space to bolster its orderbook. The company said it is bidding to undertake earthworks and civil engineering works for a diverse range of projects, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), various road works in Sarawak and residential townships in Peninsular Malaysia. As at March 31, 2020, Advancecon’s orderbook stood at RM704.5 million, encompassing works for infrastructure projects like West Coast Expressway, Pan Borneo Highway and new roads in Sarawak, as well as property development projects including Setia Alamsari (South), Eco Ardence, Nilai Impian and Serenia City. Advancecon group chief executive officer Datuk Phum Ang Kia said works at its project sites had since fully resumed from end-May with all on-site workers having undergone and passed Covid-19 tests. (NST Online)

Preschoolers barred from bringing own food

Children will not be allowed to bring their own food, drinks and bags to their preschools which will reopen next Wednesday. However, the Education Ministry said exceptions to the standard operating procedure (SOP) would be given to children who had special dietary requirements and with the permission of the preschool operators. This ruling applies to all government and private preschools. The ministry said if there was a need to “transit” any bag or food, it would be handed directly to kindergarten teachers or assistants. The government announced last week that kindergartens and preschools would be allowed to resume on July 1. Other measures for the reopening of preschools include social distancing requirements and hygienic practices that, among others, require students to wash their hands before entering the schools. Children who are unwell and have a temperature of more than 37.5°C will not be allowed in. (The Star Online)