COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act comes into force

The Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Act 2020 will be gazetted today after receiving the royal assent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said. The act will be in effect for two years from the date of its broadcast in the government gazette on Oct 23. “The implementation in entirety will benefit every individual and company affected economically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. Among others, the Act will prevent developers from imposing late payment charges on unpaid property instalments by purchasers should they default 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 from March 18 to Aug 31. (Bernama)

A quarter of Malaysian workers fear job loss, survey finds

A quarter of Malaysian employees are experiencing job insecurity — or the fear of losing their employment — amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by market research agency YouGov. It said this marked a 5% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Out of 655 full-time employees polled, 6% felt “very insecure” while 19% felt “somewhat insecure”; in contrast, 18% of them said they did not feel secure or insecure, and the remaining 57% said they felt secure in their jobs. “The middle-income earners (monthly household income between RM4,000 to RM7,999) are the most (64%) likely to feel secure in their jobs. Whereas low-income earners (monthly household of less than RM4,000 a month) are the least (53%) likely to say the same,” said the agency. The survey also found that all income groups appear to find it equally difficult to find another job as 28% believe they will only be able to find a new job within three months should they find themselves unemployed tomorrow. About 41% of respondents said they were willing to take a pay cut, with low-income earners the most willing to take a pay cut of more than 40%, and high-income earners are the least willing. Men are also less willing to take a pay cut than women (23% vs 29%). (The Edge)

Muhyiddin: Over RM320bil invested in Iskandar Malaysia

Iskandar Malaysia has recorded RM322.1bil in total cumulative investments until June this year and helped create more than 750,000 jobs within the southern economic corridor, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) co-chairman said he was glad the people within Iskandar Malaysia continue to benefit from its development. Among the proposals of Irda’s members of authority (MOA) conferenc include organising a data collection effort through civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Another proposed initiative was to enhance community-based institutions leaders’ competencies and skills. A third proposal was to support the current Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) and the Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) government initiatives by incorporating financial literacy learning modules. Meanwhile, Irda chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said that wealth sharing and inclusiveness was one of the main agenda of Iskandar Malaysia. (The Star Online)

MIER: Consumers continue to lack confidence over Malaysia’s economic well-being

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research’s (MIER) latest Consumer Sentiments Index (CSI) indicates a continuing lack of confidence among consumers over their economic well-being currently and for the rest of this year. In its Q3 Consumer Sentiments Survey Report, the think-tank said consumers remain in cautious mode as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in the world. This is reflected in the latest CSI which, at 91.5, has changed little from the prior quarter’s 90.1 and remains below the 100-point optimism threshold, MIER said. Notwithstanding the sluggish labour market, consumers’ financial situation has held up fairly well recently, the institute said. “Shopping, however, which piqued the interest of more consumers last quarter, looks likely to be in moderation this time around,” it said. According to the report, household finances are expected to hold their own in the next six months. Housing demand is expected to pick up more momentum before 2020 is out, while cars and personal computers are also looking more attractive this time than previously, it said. (Malay Mail)

Ismail Sabri calls for unity against Covid-19, amid public flak over Putrajaya’s policy blunder

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today called on the public and warring political parties to set aside all differences and unite in the fight against a ravaging coronavirus. In a seeming appeal for support, the minister said the nation is “at war” with a disease that is spreading fast, and that the government needs the public to stand behind its effort to defeat a common enemy, pointing to the alarming sharp spikes in daily Covid-19 cases. The rallying call was made amid public flak over the many communication blunders that caused widespread confusion, among others about the government’s work-from-home (WFH) policy implemented starting today. Earlier today the Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) said the WFH also implies “double standards”, with the lives of white-collar workers seemingly prized above the lives of other staff. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry is responsible for the drawing up the policy. (Malay Mail)