Ipsos survey finds Malaysians very concerned about cost of food, supplies

A global Ipsos survey showed that there is a rising concern about the cost of food, groceries and household supplies since the Covid-19 outbreak started. Malaysia was no exception with 64% respondents saying they felt they were spending more on these items. The country ranked fifth highest among 16 countries polled for these concerns, with Turkey and Argentina being the highest, both at 86%. Another section of the survey polled respondents about having to purchase more expensive items and paid for delivery charges. It also found that Malaysia scored one of the highest at 57%. Spending on utilities ranked the highest on the priority list with 65% out of 500 Malaysian respondents polled saying they spent more on utilities since the outbreak started. The next on the priority list is food, groceries and household supplies, where 64 per cent said they spend most on this followed by 42% spending on healthcare. (Malay Mail)

New HSR station location for Melaka identified

The Melaka state government has identified a new site for a Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) station which was previously planned for Ayer Keroh. According to Public Works, Transport, Public Amenities and Infrastructure Committee chairman Datuk Roslan Ahmad, it will be located near the Green City, and between Mukim Durian Tunggal and Mukim Ayer Panas. He said the alignment revision under HSR2.0 is to avoid high-density places and a great deal of land reclamation — involving high-value areas as well — in order to reduce the cost of the project. Roslan said that under HSR2.0, the number of stations had been reduced to five from seven earlier, and their design had been standardised. “I can’t disclose the amount allocated at this time because it is based on the acquisition method via a competitive tendering process,” he said. (The Edge)

Fitch unit: Covid-19 to hit Malaysia’s middle class hard, but not for long

Middle-class households will experience a disproportionate fall to their income levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research. The Fitch Group unit cited official data to estimate that 210,000 households from the upper-middle income category (those with disposable incomes between US$25,000 and US$50,000) will slide down into the classes below due to the economic disruption caused by measures to contain the pandemic. Fitch Solutions also projected average disposable income for Malaysian households to shrink by 8%, from RM102,460 last year to RM94,053 in 2020. However, Fitch Solutions projected that Malaysia would experience a strong and rapid recovery next year, which it credited in part to the government’s various stimulus efforts to mitigate the harm of the MCO on the country’s business activities. It projected that the Malaysian economy would expand by 5.7% in 2021 and that job losses arising from the MCO would be erased by 2022. (Malay Mail)

Careplus buys property development firm, converts its hotels and shoplots to workers’ hostel

Careplus Group Bhd is buying a 90% stake in a property development firm for RM3.42 million cash, which will see the group consolidating its workers’ hostels into a central location. This will be done by converting the property developer’s hotel property and shoplots in Seremban into hostels. The acquisition, which will be completed in the fourth quarter this year, will see Careplus owning a 90% stake in Centro Heights, while the remaining 10% will be owned by Tang. Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, Tang will be appointed to spearhead the management of Centro Heights, to utilise his expertise in managing hostels. The rally in rubber glove shares amid the Covid-19 pandemic lifted Careplus shares to multi-year highs.(The Edge)

High Court allows IRB to collect RM1.69b in tax arrears from former PM Najib

The High Court today has ruled in favour of the Inland Revenue of Board (IRB) in a summary judgment by allowing it to collect tax arrears from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for the amount of RM1.69 billion. Justice Datuk Ahmad Bache stated that all Malaysian taxpayers are required to pay tax regardless of their position or standing, including a former prime minister. In the civil suit, Najib stated that the tax assessment was inaccurate as a substantial amount of the income came from donations received from an Arab donor and some of the purported donations were returned. He also stated that the monies received were also political donations and the remaining are his own income. Ahmad also ordered Najib to pay RM15,000 to the IRB as cost. (Malay Mail)