Najib is first ex-PM to be convicted

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has become the first former premier in the nation’s history to be convicted by the court after he was found guilty of seven charges relating to the misappropriation of RM42mil in SRC International Sdn Bhd funds. He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million. Justice Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali ruled the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt on the charges levelled against him. Najib was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and RM210mil fine for one court of power abuse. For three counts of criminal breach of trust, Najib was sentenced to 10 years’ jail for each of the charges. For three counts of money laundering, another 10 years’ jail each. The court ordered for the jail time to run concurrently. He would have to serve an additional five years if he fails to pay the fine. In sentencing the 67-year-old Pekan Member of Parliament, Mohd Nazlan said he had taken into consideration public interest as well as contributions made by the former top leader of the country to the nation’s development. Najib is still eligible to carry out his duties as Pekan Member of Parliament until his appeal process is completed. (The Star Online; NST)

RM525mil boost for Penang

Six companies will inject a total of RM525.3mil into Penang’s economy through the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA), said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow. The investment, under the second phase of the EmpowerNCER human capital development programme, would create 1,600 jobs, especially for those affected by Covid-19 pandemic. The six companies are PTS Industries Sdn Bhd (RM2mil), Clarive Analytics Malaysia Sdn Bhd (RM159mil), Iconic Penang Sdn Bhd (RM150mil), Osram Opto Semiconductors Sdn Bhd (RM110.07mil), UWHM Sdn Bhd (RM65.5mil) and Coraza Systems Malaysia Sdn Bhd (RM38.73mil). “The human capital programmes are to ensure that the manpower has the resilience to compete and make themselves relevant in the various business environments which have become more challenging at present times. The expected improvement could be seen between 18 and 24 months from now and we expect all to return to normal by 2025,” said NCIA CEO Datuk Seri Jebasingam Issace John. (The Star Online)

New property sales to improve in 2H: MIDF

Sales of new properties are expected to improve gradually in the second half (2H) of 2020, supported by incentives in the short-term Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), said MIDF Research. MIDF Research said besides that, rising work-from-home (WFH) may drive higher demand for bigger homes. Subsequently, the firm expects loan demand to recover in 2H. According to Bank Negara Malaysia’s loan statistics, total applied loan for properties improved sequentially 52.9% month-on-month (m-o-m) to RM13.1 billion in May after plunging 64.8% m-o-m in April. Meanwhile, it expects property inventory to continue to decline this year due to the reintroduction of HOC. “We think that the decline in property inventory were largely due to HOC in 2019 and aggressive efforts of property developers to clear their inventory whereby developers offered discount and attractive package to attract property buyers,” it said. “Investors should look forward to earnings and new property sales recovery in 2H 2020 which will be underpinned by Penjana incentives and record low interest rate. Besides, the lower property inventory has also eased the concern of property overhang,” it adeed. (NST Online)

DBKL to build up to 8,000 low-cost homes, says FT minister

City Hall (DBKL) will launch a programme to construct 5,000 low-cost houses for sale under its Rumah Residensi Prihatin initiative, nearly 2,000 units council homes and 1,000 units of micro-homes for rent, said Tan Sri Annuar Musa. The federal territories minister said these homes would cater specifically to low-income earners. “The ministry plans on launching a new programme to build three-bedroom homes priced below RM200,000 each, for low-income earners. Secondly, for rent DBKL is developing nearly 2,000 units of council homes where it will be rented out for RM350 to RM850 a month. For micro homes, the rent is expected to be at RM100 a month and we expect around 1,000 micro homes to be constructed in five years,” said Annuar. Touching on the lack of parking space in many low-cost homes, he said DBKL has added extra parking space in certain areas by building multi-storey carparks, and ‘is ready to build extra car parks for public housing’. (Malay Mail)

Boustead Holdings expected to embark on major debt restructuring

Boustead Holdings Bhd group is expected to embark on a massive debt restructuring exercise, which will include the sale of non-core assets, in a move to improve its long-term financial position, according to sources. Sources say the diversified conglomerate’s exercise will involve a restructuring of existing debt amounting to about RM5.4 billion and a rationalisation of non-core, low-yielding assets over the next few years that will help it with cash flow needs. According to the sources, the upcoming debt restructuring exercise — which will also include the refinancing of RM607 million perpetual sukuk — is independent of any potential move by LTAT to take Boustead Holdings private. Boustead Holdings is the flagship listed vehicle of Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT). Last Friday, Boustead Holdings announced a broad transformation plan, comprising 20 initiatives, to drive the group forward for the next three years as part of its strategy to strengthen prospects and unlock value. It said the plan focuses on funding, structural, operation and corporate governance areas, but did not elaborate. (The Edge)