Malaysia to sign RM3.75bil RTS deal with Singapore July 30

Construction of a US$880 million (RM3.75 billion) light rail project linking Johor with Singapore will begin next year, after both countries formalise the deal on July 30, said transport minister Wee Ka Siong. The Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link was suspended last year after the former Malaysian administration led by Tun Mahathir Mohamad pledged to tighten finances and review major deals. The countries had earlier this year agreed to a July 31 deadline to finalise the project, after talks were hit by movement curbs to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Wee said the agreement will be signed on the Johor Causeway in a brief ceremony to be witnessed by both prime ministers. “Our expectation is by the end of 2026, we will see the start of RTS operations between Johor Bahru and Singapore,” he said. The total cost of the project would be RM3.75 billion ($880.28 million), including the construction of a maintenance depot which was not included in the earlier estimate. Singapore is paying 61% of the costs and Malaysia 39%, a transport official said. (The Star Online)

No more home quarantine from July 24

Returning Malaysians and non-citizens permitted to enter the country will once more be made to undergo mandatory two-week quarantine at specified quarantine centres from Friday, July 24. Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government has decided to revoke the allowance for those entering the country to self-quarantine at home. He noted the rising number of infections globally was contributing to the increase in Malaysian cases, with more positive cases among returnees. The ruling applied to both Malaysians and non-citizens who had been allowed to come into the country, with the full cost having to be borne by the returnees. There were also concerns that many citizens were not adhering to the stipulated standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the recovery movement control order (MCO), including those undergoing mandatory quarantine. Medical tourists would be allowed to enter the country and will be immediately brought to the hospital for treatment but must undergo Covid-19 screening before departure. (The Star Online)

Co-working spaces to grow 30%-40% yearly post-Covid-19

The volume of co-working spaces in the country is expected to grow between 30% and 40% year-on-year post-coronavirus with large corporations and multinational companies being the main drivers. While having experienced a short-term dip in demand due to the stay-at-home order, co-working space operators are now facing capacity challenges in meeting the safe distancing requirement, said WorkSpacing CEO Robin Ahmed Gofur. He said there is less likely a reversion to the conventional office as the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of the new way of working, which offers flexibility and digital services under one roof. He added that more corporations have shown interest in shared working spaces, particularly from the telecommunications, information and communications technology, and banking sectors given their ingrained culture and understanding towards digital services and the new working environment. There are over 60 co-working spaces of about 700,000 sq ft in Greater Kuala Lumpur, according to Savills Research. Regus, Common Ground and WeWork are among top brands with a presence across major cities in the country. (The Malaysia Reserve)

Melaka lists down 990 development projects worth RM13.8 billion under 12MP

The Melaka government has listed 990 development projects, worth RM13.8 billion under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) from 2021 to 2025. Chief Minister Datuk Sulaiman Md Ali said of the total projects, 963 were new projects, while 27 projects were from the previous plan. “The state government is also applying for an allocation of RM73.5 million to develop Pulau Besar into a free duty island , as well as for sea and beach activities to strengthen the state’s economic sector,” he said. On making Melaka as an investment destination, he said efforts would be made to attract foreign investors and make Melaka a competitive high-tech industry hub. Sulaiman said the state government would also carry out a farming project using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in Pulau Gadong  to increase production and save labor costs. (Bernama)

No water tariff hike in Selangor for now

The Selangor government has no plans to increase the water tariff at a time when the people are still facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said. He said the water tariff issue will be discussed when the time is right. “We do not have any intention to raise the water tariff in the midst of a pandemic. However, water management sustainability is something that must be discussed as it involves all states and not just Selangor alone,” he said. Amirudin was responding to queries on the latest development on earlier proposal to review the water tariff in all states, including Selangor, that was first raised when the Federal government under Pakatan Harapan rule. (Bernama)