Highest daily COVID-19 cases recorded since MCO

The one thing that Malaysians feared most as a fallout from the Sabah state election came true when the number of new COVID-19 positive cases today jumped to 432 – the highest daily figure recorded since the government implemented the Movement Control Order (MCO) in March. The number of new positive case detected has been rising daily since the Sabah state election ended on Sept 16, with just 58 cases recorded nationwide on nomination day on Sept 12 to a massive 432 yesterday. For the first time too, the positive cases involved a Cabinet minister, namely Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who also had a history of travelling to Sabah. Other than Dr Zulkifli, state assemblymen Lim Yi Wei (Kampung Tunku) and Shatiri Mansor (Kota Damansara) also announced that they too had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from Sabah on Sept 27. Several malls in Petaling Jaya had also released statements of single isolated positive cases within their premises. (Bernama)

Irresponsible owners in KL may risk land forfeiture

The Federal Territories Land and Mines Office (PPTGWP) is considering invoking the National Land Code 1965 (NLC) as a strategy to force owners to clean up their properties that have become derelict and pose a threat to public health and safety. Owners of such properties in Kuala Lumpur, both residential and commercial units, who have left their buildings in a dilapidated state risk losing the land where their properties sit, if the land office deems it unsafe to the community. Sections 127 and 128 of the NLC allows alienated land to be forfeited by the state. PPTGWP director Muhammad Yasir Yahya said the NLC had never been used to forfeit residential units in a derelict or unhabitable state before, but that he was willing to explore it as a deterrent to get owners of such units to take responsibility of their properties, due to the growing number of derelict houses in Kuala Lumpur which was getting out of control and endangering the public. Forfeiture of land is carried out when the owner does not pay quit rent despite repeated warnings. Action would be taken if the residential unit or building was in a poor state and no longer safe for habitation. (The Star Online)

Malaysia’s debt levels set to rise this year

Malaysia’s debt levels are expected to rise this year at a fiscal deficit of an estimated 5.8% to 6%, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz. Zafrul noted that fiscal injections into the economy stand at around 20% of its GDP at present. “We are anticipating and forecasting that deficit will go up this year for Malaysia. We are still focused on fiscal responsibility, of course. We have debt-to-GDP now at around 53%, it will end at around 56%. We have approval from Parliament to go up to 60%, ” he said. The Malaysian government has rolled out stimulus packages with a total value of RM305bil, leading to higher spending and the need to borrow. Moody’s had in January warned that Malaysia’s debt burden was significantly higher than other countries with an “A” sovereign credit rating, which indicates low credit risk. However, deep domestic capital markets and high savings would provide a stable funding pool for the government’s debt, and partly offset these fiscal weaknesses. (The Star Online)

Building managements can stop short-term rentals, rules apex court

The Federal Court today ruled that management corporation bodies of residential strata buildings, through their own house rules, can prohibit short-term rental of residential units in their buildings. A three-member bench, chaired by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, said even if the state authority permitted the use of the land for commercial purposes, such use was still subject to other laws in force such as the Strata Management Act 2013. In this case, Verve Suites Mont Kiara Management Corporations passed a by-law to stop short-term rentals because residents complained that guests in such arrangements were a nuisance and a breach of its by-laws. Earlier, the Commissioner of Building Kuala Lumpur had issued a circular instructing all joint management bodies to curb the prevailing use of buildings in and around the city for short-term rental. (Free Malaysia Today)

Trump leaves Walter Reed Hospital to return to White House

US President Donald Trump has left Walter Reed Medical Center and is on his way to the White House where he will continue to recover from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Trump walked out of the hospital Monday afternoon with a face mask on and waved at the media. Trump was later seen at the White house pulling off his protective mask as he posed for photos atop the Truman Balcony. In a video message less than 2 hours after being released from the hospital, Trump said Americans should not be afraid because the US has the best medical equipment and medicines in the world. He also said that vaccines to fight the disease will be coming “momentarily.” The president is expected to participate in the next presidential debate scheduled on October 15 in Miami, Florida. (Bernama)

(Source: US News & World Report)