Cabinet has approved harsher penalties for drunk drivers

The Cabinet has given its approval in principle to amend Sections 41 to 45 of the Road Transport Act, allowing for harsher penalties against those found to be driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, said transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong. He added that the Attorney General’s Chambers has gone through the draft Bill that will be presented for the Cabinet’s final approval on July 17 prior to its tabling a week later. “Under Section 44, currently the maximum jail time for is 10 years. The amendment will see first-time offenders facing 15 years imprisonment for the first offence and 20 years for the subsequent offence. Currently, the maximum fine for those found guilty is RM20,000. So, for example, the amendment might see it increase this to RM100,000 for the first offence and RM150,000 for the following offence. We will also suspend their drivers’ licence for 20 years, from 10 years (now),” said Wee. The minister stressed that those convicted of causing death through drunk driving would face even stiffer penalties including possible mandatory imprisonment. (Malay Mail)

Malaysians likely to delay property purchases in short-term despite heightened interest in 2H 2020

Interest in purchasing a property in the second half (2H) of this year has increased to 53 per cent from 47 per cent in H1 2020, depending on the location, amenities as well as supply and demand, subject to price and market movement, according to a property portal survey. Although more Malaysians are citing intention to purchase a property post-Covid-19, potential buyers, mainly investors, are likely to delay their buying decision in the short-term period. There are many investors in the new market mainly because the conditions are right for them, which include low interest rates, discounts and stamp duty exemption from the ongoing Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) until 1H 2021. However, due to the high market uncertainty, particularly in the Covid-19 crisis, some investors are opting a wait-and-see approach to see how see conditions would fare in the near future. Findings of the study show that 57% would postpone buying a property in 2021 for own-stay and investment purposes, while 37% would likely consider purchasing within the 2H 2020 period. (Malay Mail)

Govt to draft new poverty eradication strategies for Malaysia

The government will formulate various new strategies and methods in an effort to eradicate poverty among the people, in line with current circumstances, said Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa. He said the move included efforts to formulate appropriate policies and programmes through the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12) as well as the annual budget to be tabled following the revision of the poverty line income limit (PGK) from RM980 to RM2,208. Annuar said the Federal Territories Ministry had introduced five additional Wilayah Cakna Initiatives to help those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. The five initiatives were MYJobs @ Wilayah, MYGrocer @ Wilayah, MYSchoolBus @ Wilayah, MYMedic @ Wilayah and MYFood @ Wilayah. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s population estimated at 32.7 million

Malaysia’s population this year is estimated at 32.7 million, up from 32.5 million in 2019, with an annual growth rate of 0.4%. “This is in line with the closure of our national borders and the return of foreigners to their respective countries during the movement control order (MCO) period following the Covid-19 pandemic,” said chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin. Meanwhile, Malaysia is increasingly headed towards being an ageing nation, with the percentage of the population aged 0-14 years decreasing to 23.3% compared to 23.5% in 2019. The overall percentage of those in the 15-64 year group, or the working age, also decreased from 69.8% in 2019 to 69.7% in 2020. At 16.8 million, males continue to outnumber the 15.9 million females, with the sex ratio as a whole nation remaining at 106 males to 100 females in 2020. Ethnic Indians and Chinese continued to show a decline in the population, with the former at 22.6% this year compared to 22.8% in 2019, and 6.9% compared to 6.8% in 2019 for the latter. (The Star Online)

More demand for build-to-suit industrial products

Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of capital markets Allan Sim foresees more developers to respond fluidly to current market demand by securing interest of manufacturers/operators to engage in larger build-to-suit industrial products, rather than speculative builds of smaller offerings. “This strategy will bode well with current market sentiment and trend, as we have been receiving more enquiries from industrialists who are keen to embark on such arrangements, largely spurred by attractive tax incentives for overseas manufacturers under the government’s recently-announced short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana),” he said. The report highlights that developers are unlikely to embark on large-scale industrial park developments in the short term, due to lower demand for industrial property products. However, it added that smaller-scale standalone developments, as well as upgrading or redevelopment of existing buildings in established, matured industrial parks with good accessibility and connectivity, where land is scarce, will take centre stage. (The Edge)