PM, NSC urged to extend RMCO

Both the National Security Council (NSC) and the Prime Minister have been advised to extend the curbs under the recovery movement control order (MCO) against the Covid-19 pandemic beyond Aug 31. The Star has highlighted views from medical experts and business groups calling for the recovery MCO to be extended, with many advising continuous vigilance despite the number of daily cases hovering around single low double digits. Many experts have also argued that the emergence of clusters in the north, especially the Tawar cluster in Kedah with 65 cases, one of the biggest active clusters, was due to people letting their guard down after being in the “green zone” since late April. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation, the Covid-19 pandemic would be around for at least two more years. (The Star Online)

Consultants: Vacancy tax won’t solve overhang

The government’s plan to impose a vacancy tax on developers to resolve Malaysia’s unsold units have been shot down by property consultants, the view being the tax will not solve the overhang but will instead raise prices. All three consultants say Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin should look at other ways to resolve the issue of unsold units that go into billions of ringgit. VPC Alliance Malaysia managing director James Wong said: “It is not a good idea. Developers are already burdened with a lot of taxes including the payment of contribution and levies for the infrastructure in housing projects. More importantly is to address the root causes of the overhang.” Last week, Zuraida said her ministry is formulating a tax to be implemented as early as next year. Wong pointed out that many housing developers built without proper market and financial feasibility studies, resulting in wrong products, pricing and location of their projects. (The Star Online)

Shah Alam folk cry foul over proposed housing scheme at Monterez club

Residents of Section U9 in Shah Alam are crying foul over a planned high-density development housing scheme, which they claim could pose an environmental concern to the area’s sole ‘green lung’. The ‘green lung’ comes by way of the 80.9-hectare Monterez Golf and Country Club (MGCC), which has been home to locals and expatriates the past three decades. Residents claim that the MGCC’s 18-hole golf course and clubhouse provide a vital recreational, sporting and social avenue for them and those from eight other surrounding housing schemes. However, that could be at risk if the Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) new rezoning plan (MBSA Local Plan Draft 2035) – which outlines land use and development from the year 2021 to 2035 – goes through. Monterez Residents Association (MRA) president Ng Kok Seong said destroying the green lung would escalate natural hazards such as flooding, increase thermal pollution, reduce air quality and strain public utilities and amenities. (NST Online)

5,978 country lease titles in Sabah restored to 999-year lease

The owners of 5,978 country lease titles will benefit from a recent Sabah government decision to restore the 999-year lease on land titles, the State Land and Survey Department said. The practice to reduce the lease period by 900 years was started during the 1990s but the High court ruled in March 2020 that it was unlawful, department director Bernard Liew said. He said the Sabah cabinet made the decision on June 2020 to rectify the mistake as well as to comply with the court ruling. “Our dept records showed that 5,878 CL land titles were affected,” Liew said, adding that the cabinet decision applies only for those land titles with original 999 years but was reduced to 99 years after conversion/subdivision. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced in Nabawan yesterday the plan to restore the 999-year lease. (Malay Mail)

Govt planning to increase inspection counters at Johor CIQ complex

The Home Ministry is planning to increase the number of Malaysian Immigration Department inspection counters at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at the Sultan Iskandar Building. Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said an addition of about as many as 40 counters were aimed at expediting cross-border travel between Malaysia and Singapore, even more so when the borders are fully opened later. In the meantime, the National Integrated Immigration System (NIISE) will replace the Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMs). The new system would address all the weaknesses of the old system and it is expected to be implemented in 2023. He added the system was not only equipped with biometric capabilities but also included a face recognition system. (Malay Mail)