World Bank: Malaysia riding out Covid-19 storm comparatively better

Despite the numerous challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia is riding out the severe economic downturn comparatively better than many economies, said the World Bank. Country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, East Asia and Pacific, Ndiamé Diop said Malaysia’s economy rests on strong fundamentals. The country’s diversified economic structure, sound financial system, effective public health response and proactive macroeconomic policy support have all helped to soften the pandemic’s blow, he said. The World Bank estimates that 90% of the world’s economies would see a contraction this year. “The impact from the pandemic is expected to lead to the first increase in global extreme poverty since 1998, effectively wiping out the progress made since 2017, ” he said. “Even before the crisis, there was a growing realisation that Malaysia needs to shift its competitive approach towards attracting higher-quality investments; a challenge which is even more critical to address now, ” he added. (The Star Online)

IGP: 20-year jail and fine sufficient for drunk drivers

The Inspector-General of Police has described the government’s proposal to increase the prison sentence to 20 years and fines of up to RM150,000 for driving under the influence cases as “sufficient”. Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said the police had suggested that a mandatory prison sentence be imposed on drunk drivers to reduce the number of drink-driving accidents. “If Parliament approves the amendment to the Road Transport Act 1987, which involves longer jail time and higher fines, I would very much welcome it,” he said. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the proposed amendments, which include mandatory jail sentences, longer jail time, higher fines and a longer licence suspension period, were expected to be tabled at the current Parliament session. (The Star Online)

Ipoh to become cleanest city in Malaysia by 2023

Ipoh City Council (MBI) aims to make Ipoh the cleanest city in Malaysia by 2023, said its mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin. He said the city council has carried out numerous efforts including upgrading assets and increasing maintenance staff, especially to carry out sanitation works. “These assets include lorries, trucks and other vehicles. We need to replace these as they already reached 10 to 15 years of service… Increasing the number of staff is also crucial as a sufficient number of workers will help us achieve our cleanliness target,” he said. Rumaizi also hoped that Ipoh residents would join hands in maintaining the city’s cleanliness so as to achieve the target set by the city council. (The Edge)

Sime Darby Property hits RM680m in sales with online campaigns during MCO

Various online campaigns by Sime Darby Property beginning from March 25 until July 5 have garnered 740 bookings for properties within Klang Valley and Johor valued at RM680 million. Purchasers were mainly from within the Klang Valley and surrounding areas and some were even from as far as China, the company said in a statement. Its website traffic was high throughout the campaigns, averaging more than twice the usual volume, despite sales galleries closed or operating at half capacity during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. The first of the well-received online campaigns was the ‘Online Guided Sales Experience’ that provided potential homebuyers with end-to-end virtual sales experience, from prospecting to booking collection via digital means. Two other campaigns were launched to introduce more great deals for selected projects, riding on the government’s six-month moratorium on loan repayments. (The Malaysian Reserve)

For first time, world records 1 million coronavirus cases in 100 hours

Global coronavirus infections passed 14 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the first time there has been a surge of 1 million cases in under 100 hours. The first case was reported in China in early January and it took three months to reach 1 million cases. It has taken just four days to climb to 14 million cases from 13 million recorded on July 13. The United States, with more than 3.6 million confirmed cases, is still seeing huge daily jumps in its first wave of COVID-19 infections. Other hard-hit countries have “flattened the curve” and are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus while others, such as the cities of Barcelona and Melbourne, are implementing a second round of local shutdowns. The number of cases globally is around triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The pandemic has now killed more than 590,000 people in almost seven months. (The Star Online)