Biden wins White House, ending Trump presidency

Democrat Joe Biden has won the White House, US media said Saturday, defeating Donald Trump and ending a presidency that convulsed American politics, shocked the world and left the United States more divided than at any time in decades. CNN, NBC News and CBS News called the race in Biden’s favor as an insurmountable lead in Pennsylvania took the 77-year-old over the top in the state-by-state count that decides the presidency. The result now condemns 74-year-old Trump to becoming the first one-term president since George H. W. Bush at the start of the 1990s. The Secret Service has already begun intensifying its protective bubble around the president-elect, who will be inaugurated on January 20. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, a senator and former California attorney general, will make history as the first Black woman to enter the White House in either of the two top jobs. Results from congressional races indicate that Biden will face a divided legislature, with his Democrats holding a majority in the House and Republicans clinging to control of the Senate – although that could still shift. The division in Washington will likely complicate immediately Biden’s ability to govern, starting with disputes in Congress over a delayed economic stimulus package for Americans hammered by the fallout from the coronavirus crisis. (NST Online)

World Bank welcomes overall stance of Budget 2021

The World Bank welcomes the overall stance of the Budget 2021 proposals and recognise the need to continue providing support to lives and livelihoods during a period when Malaysians, especially those in the B40, are under enormous stress. Its lead economist Richard Record said in a statement this is the right time to sustain a counter-cyclical stance until a recovery is underway. “Malaysia’s economy continues to be based on sound fundamentals and the country has the necessary depth in resources and competitive advantages to emerge stronger from the crisis. In this regard, Budget 2021 is an important milestone in the country’s efforts to recover from Covid-19. However, the path to an economic recovery is subject to continued downside risks, ” he said. These notably include a slower than expected return to growth for the world economy leading to continued suppression of investors sentiment, the many uncertainties surrounding the development and deployment of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, as well as the risk of enduring economic and social scars resulting from the recession. (The Star Online)

Fiabci welcomes RM69bil boost for development expenditure

The fiscal stimulation from Budget 2021 will take up the slack in property development activities, International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) Malaysia president Datuk Koe Peng Kang said. He said the RM69bil allocated for development expenditure under the fiscal plan is essential to boost the country’s economy. He also expressed hope that more jobs for engineers and create other construction-related jobs. “It has also come to my attention that a lot of property agents are having hard time and facing financial problems due to slower sales. I wonder whether the government can help them to weather through the hard times, ” Koe said. As for the property sector, so far, there is only the exemption of stamp duty for first-time home ownership (for units worth RM500,000 and below). Koe, however, lamented the lack of incentive for digitalisation. He opined it was crucial to provide tax incentives for companies to encourage them to digitalise their businesses, as this help them compete effectively and efficiently at the international level. (The Star Online)

MoE: Schools nationwide to close until year end

The Education Ministry has announced that schools nationwide will be closed until Dec 17, traditionally the last day of the school year. Senior Education Minister Dr Radzi Jidin said the closures will start on Nov 9 (Monday), and will include vocational colleges registered under the ministry. He added that all students in boarding schools must return to their homes, but will be allowed to remain at their hostels while waiting to be picked up by their parents or guardians. Radzi said during this period, students still in hostels will be under the care of their wardens, with food and drink being provided by the school. The 2021 school term will begin on Jan 20, with primary school students, secondary school students in Form One, Form Four, Form Five and Form Six starting face-to-face learning on that date. Students in Forms Two and Three will start home-based learning on Jan 20, and will only return to school physically on March 8. (NST Online)

National Employment Council to focus on creating 500,000 jobs

The establishment of the National Employment Council will focus on efforts to create nearly 500,000 new job opportunities as well as address unemployment, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. He said the council will also involve the private sector and skilled groups to assist the government besides providing views on steps needed to achieve this purpose. Muhyiddin said reskilling and upskilling training for some unemployed groups are ongoing currently to enable them to adapt to jobs that will be generated through new economic activities. At the same time, Muhyiddin said various incentives will also be given to investors, both from within and outside the country for at least two years as part of the government’s efforts to create more employment opportunities. (Bernama)