Insolvency law amended, bankruptcy threshold now RM100,000

The Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2020 aimed at amending the Insolvency Act 1967 (Act 360) has been passed with a simple voice majority in the Dewan Rakyat. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said Act 360 was amended based on certain requirements, including transforming existing legal framework into legislation that is more relevant to current needs. He said that it was also to update the Act to be in line with the development and advancement of international law on insolvency, corporate governance and best practices in insolvency. It also gives an opportunity to individuals to better manage their finances, more so after facing unexpected situations like COVID-19, as well as avoiding the sudden increase in bankruptcy cases in a short time. The Act has been amended four times, with the last one being in 2017. (Bernama)

Higher property prices decreasing Malaysia’s ability to afford homes

The rapid increases in property prices in the country suggest that the number of Malaysians able to afford homes may have decreased, as the household median income rate has not doubled over the past years, says MyProperty Data Sdn Bhd. Its analysis revealed that houses priced at RM300,000 and below recorded in the year 2000 comprised 86.14% of a total of 40,896. In 2009, the figure was 65.31%, and in 2019 it was only 32.37%, with the median age of buyers between 32-35 years. Its CEO Thor Joe Hock said this shows that fundamentally Malaysia is facing affordability issues, and not affordable homes, as inflation seems to have accelerated since the market peak of 2011. He also noted that from an analysis of over 5,000 development launches past and present, 45% of projects were ‘overpriced’ by over 10% and some by as much as 80%. He said overpricing leads to further inflation as developers are now bench marking against what other nearby projects are being marketed for. Left unchecked, this will result in spiralling inflation, exacerbating an already severe affordability issue. (NST Online)

Melaka plans to create new economic corridor worth RM100bil

The Melaka state government is planning to create a new economic corridor to attract high-impact investments, to be known as the Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone or M-Wez worth about RM100 billion. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali said the state’s new economic landmark is an incentive to be implemented by the private sector as well as the government, covering 20km of reclaimed coastal land. “M-Wez will comprise the Kuala Linggi International Port (KLIP) as the oil and gas industry services hub, the Tanjung Bruas Port as the container port and Melaka Gateway as the Melaka International Cruise Terminal (MICT). We will also have a High-Speed Rail (HSR) station to promote the corridor’s economic development,” he said. He said M-Wez is one of the development projects under Melaka’s comprehensive development plan comprising short-, medium- and long-term plans covering the period from 2020 to 2035. (Malay Mail)

Pahang MB: No water catchment area at Lynas PDF site in Bukit Ketam

The land in Bukit Ketam, the site of the proposed permanent disposal facility (PDF) for Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is not located near any water catchment area or stream. Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said he and the state secretary (Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak) had already inspected the site. “The PDF site was approved by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), an agency under the the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry. During my visit with the state secretary, we did not find any water catchment areas as claimed by certain quarters.” Some 600,000 residents in Kuantan were concerned about the future source of clean water as Bukit Ketam serves as a water catchment area for Sungai Kuantan. “The PDF might result in the ground water being contaminated. The state government should work along with AELB to conduct studies on the site,” he said. Earlier this month, Science, Technology and Innovation minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the AELB has approved the usage of the land for the construction of the PDF. (NST Online)

Covid-19 Bill gets green light

With a simple voice vote in the Dewan Rakyat, a Bill to temporarily suspend non-performance of contractual obligations in several sectors due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic was passed. It will be known as The Temporary Measures For Reducing The Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Bill 2020. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the government had taken time to draft the Bill as it had to engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure comprehensive temporary protection measures for those affected by the pandemic. Among others, it will prevent developers from imposing late payment charges on unpaid property instalments by purchasers should they have defaulted payments from March 18 to Aug 31 this year. Developers must also exclude March 18 to Aug 31 from the calculation of the defect liability period and the period for developers to carry out works to repair or make good of other defects in houses which have been purchased. Also no warrant of distress can be taken against tenants who have been in arrears of rent between March 18 and Aug 31. A special Covid-19 Mediation Centre would be set up to help resolve disputes. (The Star Online)