School session to start on Jan 20, 2021

The school opening date for the first term of the 2021 session nationwide is set for Wednesday, Jan 20. Senior Minister of Education Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said that the date was set based on the 2021 calendar that had been finalised. He said that the term calendar and school holidays for the year 2021 were prepared by taking into account various aspects that were affected by the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. The school calendar for 2020 has been amended by maximising the duration of school days and reducing the year-end holidays. Radzi said that the reduction in the year-end holiday will allow students to have an adequate face-to-face learning period in preparation for the following year. This is because there are weaknesses in the implementation of teaching and learning (PdP) through home-based learning methods throughout the MCO period. (Bernama)

Law against racist landlords to be tabled in Parliament next year

A new law to address issues of racial discrimination in the property market, among others, is being drafted by the Housing and Local Government Ministry and will be tabled in Parliament early next year. Its minister, Zuraida Kamaruddin, was quoted as saying that the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) is expected to be ready by year-end.The aim of the new law was to address the issue of racial discrimination following incidents of landlords refusing to accept tenants due to their ethnicity, as well as to boost the residential rental market. The Act will also be used to determine the affordable rental rate based on location, as well as laws to protect both tenants and owners. The Act will have similar references to the law used in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, with the local context to suit its needs. (The Star Online)

Ismail Sabri clarifies wearing of masks

Face masks must be worn in crowded public places such as markets, tourist destinations and cinemas, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Starting Aug 1, it is mandatory to wear face masks in public transportation, such as buses, trains, LRT, taxi and e-hailing vehicles. Crowded public places that are listed by the National Security Council include wet markets, wholesale and night markets and supermarkets. Tourist destinations, as well as cinemas, have also been designated as crowded public areas. The Senior Minister (Security) said it was not compulsory to wear masks in one’s own private vehicle. The police will be cancelling fines issued to those who were found to not be wearing face masks in private vehicles. Those who had already paid their fines for the said offence may claim back their payments. He said it was not compulsory to wear masks at places where there was ample room for social distancing, such as football fields. It is also not compulsory for children under the age of two to wear masks or when engaging in physical activities. (The Star Online)

Naim to build 2,500 affordable homes with artificial intelligence

Naim Holdings Bhd will develop some 2,500 affordable homes with artificial intelligence (AI) in Sarawak in the next five years in line with the market demand for affordable housing. It will spend some RM500 million to build the smart homes. Naim group managing director Datuk Hasmi Hasnan had said in June that the group hopes to capture some 40% to 60% of the Sarawak market for affordable housing segment, targeting those who intend to purchase a property priced at RM300,000 and below. The group has been involved in the affordable housing segment since its inception some 25 years ago and to date has built more than 23,000 properties. Hasmi had disclosed that the venture could be partially funded by bank loans, asset sales, and new capital injections. It plans to fund the latest housing development partially through the sale of two parcels of vacant land measuring a total of 405.6 hectares in Bintulu to Sarawak Economic Development Corp (SEDC) for RM340 million. (NST Online)

AirAsia plans to resume Malaysia-Singapore flights in mid-August

AirAsia Group Bhd is gearing up to resume flights between Malaysia and Singapore — including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route that is touted as the world’s busiest — in the week of Aug 17, following both countries’ decision to implement the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL). This will be followed by other international destinations, subject to approvals from authorities. To start with, AirAsia will launch daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and one weekly flight each between Singapore and Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Ipoh. The RGL scheme requires eligible travellers to abide by the prevailing Covid-19 prevention and public health measures mutually agreed upon by both countries, which include undergoing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests. (The Edge)