Global coronavirus death toll tops 500,000

The death toll worldwide from the novel coronavirus surpassed 500,000 on Sunday, reported Anadolu Agency, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University. The worldwide tally for virus-linked deaths reached 500,108, while the number of recoveries topped 5.08 million. Global coronavirus cases have surpassed 10 million. The US remains the worst-hit country with over 2.53 million infections, while its death toll exceeds 125,700. Brazil, which has the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Latin America, has the second-highest number of infections worldwide with 1.31 million. Russia, India, Italy, Spain and the UK are also among the hardest-hit countries in the world. Overall, the virus has spread to 188 countries and regions since late last year. (Bernama)

Govt will be fair to all states, says Azmin

The Federal Government has given assurance that it will be fair to all states, including those led by the Opposition, in the efforts to revive the Covid-19-affected economy. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, who is also the International Trade and Industry Minister, said no issue arose regarding differing political ideologies when it came to economic development. He said Selangor contributed more than 23% to the National Gross Domestic Product and the federal and state governments must ensure there was no disruption. “We put aside politics. This is the time when the Federal and state governments must work together to overcome the challenges faced due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) and COVID-19. It is very crucial for us – the Federal Government and state governments – to work together,” he said. (The Star Online)

Sunway REIT to acquire The Pinnacle Sunway for RM450mil

Sunway REIT has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement for the acquisition of The Pinnacle Sunway for RM450 million. The Pinnacle Sunway is a 24-storey Grade A office building, 3-storey mezzanine floors and 6 levels of basement car park with a total of 855 bays. The property, which is Green Building Index (GBI) certified and has Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status, is strategically located within Sunway City. The acquisition will place Sunway REIT’s property value to increase by 5.6% from RM8.0 billion as at 30 June 2019 to RM8.5 billion upon the completion of the exercise, and further reinforcing its position as the second largest listed REIT in Malaysia. It will be the eighth asset which Sunway REIT owns in Sunway City. (NST Online)

Penang cable car plan sparks interest

Even before the proposed RM100mil Penang Hill cable car project has yet to lift off after running into funding problems, another similar idea has been mooted. This time, it’s a RM300mil cable car project from Penang Hill to Teluk Bahang. Foreign investors are forming a consortium to propose the 6km cable car project to be built by China, one of the largest builders of cable cars in the world. “The project is expected to cost in excess of RM300mil, ” said Sim Leisure Group Ltd CEO Sim Choo Kheng. He said such an attraction might mean new international appeal for the Teluk Bahang and Batu Ferringhi tourism belt. Sim said his company had been discussing the project with the state since 2015 and was prepared to set aside a few acres of land it controls in Teluk Bahang for the lower station of the cable car line. The proposed cable car line will be 6km, with one middle station and about 20 pylons, while the maintenance road below will be 10km. He said his team was aware of non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) concerns and was prepared to be fully transparent with the construction plan. This is not the first time a cable car project has been proposed for Penang Hill. (The Star Online)

Artist impression of a 6km cable car line stretching from Penang Hill to Teluk Bahang, with one middle station.

MOE reschedules major exams dates, SPM to be held from Jan 6 to Feb 9, 2021

The Education Ministry (MOE) has announced the rescheduled dates of major examinations, with the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), being held from Jan 6 to Feb 9, next year. The new Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) dates, which were scheduled for November, have also been rescheduled to Aug 12-18 this year for Semester 2, and March 1-9 next year for Semester 3. The SPM Ulangan (SPMU), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) exam dates have also been rescheduled. According to the ministry, the reschedule was made to enable students to have an adequate amount of time to learn and make preparations to sit for their examinations. (Bernama)