All state govts back implementation of ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign

All state governments have expressed support for the implementation of the “No Plastic Bag” campaign in a bid to increase appreciation of the “green lifestyle” among Malaysians. Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Datuk Dr Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad said that the implementation of the initiative aimed to address the pollution problem caused by single-use plastics. Members of the 76th National Council Meeting for Local Government (MNKT) have approved the Proposed Paper for the Implementation of the “No Plastic Bag” campaign by local authorities. 20 sen will be charged for each plastic bag requested by customers. “This collection needs to be handed over to the local authority to be used for environmental sustainability activities for the well-being of the people,” he said. The campaign would be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 will be from December 2020 to 2021, with the implementation focused on permanent premises, namely supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, petrol stations, chain stores and pharmacies. Phase 2 (2022 – 2025) would see the campaign extended to other types of business premises, including grocery stores, wet markets, night markets and farmer’s markets. (Malay Mail)

Calls for single body for affordable homes

There are renewed calls for the creation of a statutory body that can coordinate the development of affordable homes between federal and state agencies. PPC International managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam said there needs to be a single authority that can address the affordable housing situation in the country. “The federal and state governments do not work in tandem as land is a state matter. Each state has its own equivalent to what constitutes affordable housing and has its own schemes and proposals,” he said, adding that the statutory body would have the authority on building and managing affordable homes. Similarly, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) is calling for the creation of a new statutory body, to be modeled after Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB), that will take over the role of delivering social housing in Malaysia. At the recently tabled Budget 2021, the Perikatan Nasional administration allocated RM1.2bil to build affordable housing for low-income families. (The Star Online)

Build more Grade A office towers in Johor to attract investors and property buyers

Johor Baru should have more Grade A office buildings to attract foreign investors and the spillover will be a housing boom. According to Datamine Malaysia Sdn Bhd head of research Jerren Lai, Grade A office space is non-existence in Johor Baru, especially in the Iskandar Malaysia economic zone. Lai said the focus of developers has always been to build houses while the government plans catalyst projects to stimulate the economy. Next year will see the entry of two Grade A office towers, both developed by IGB Corp Bhd. According to Lai, the two office towers by IGB will be ready in March 2021. Coming up next is a corporate tower in Coronation Square, an RM3 billion development by Coronade Properties Sdn Bhd. “We hope that the two office towers by IGB and the block in Coronation Square will encourage more developers to build office space in Johor Baru. There’s a lot of demand for office space among foreign firms, especially Singapore-based multinational companies (MNCs) and bluechip firms who require Grade A offices to relocate their back end operations,” said Lai. Lai said Iskandar Malaysia is the ideal place for them as Grade-A office rentals are 70 per cent lower than Singapore while human resource cost is a fraction of theirs. (NST Online)

For sale: Tony Fernandes’ luxe 125-acre UK estate with wine cellars, gym, sauna

Airline magnate Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has put up for sale his 18th-century Ayrshire estate in Scotland, which he is thought to have bought for £2.5million (RM13.55 million) back in 2013. The AirAsia Group CEO’s massive property is listed on the website of prominent real estate firm Savills, which described the place as an “exquisite private and secluded estate in the picturesque Ayrshire countryside”. Sale of the estate will include three residences on the land: Skeldon House, Castle Cottage and The Coach House. The buildings sit on natural woodland and the banks of the River Doon, and includes wine cellars, tennis courts, gymnasium and sauna. The listing was also reported by UK daily The Sun, which claimed Fernandes to be feeling the pinch of the Covid-19 pandemic for his decision to sell the 125-acre property on the South-west of Scotland after living there for seven years. The AirAsia Group has seen most of its airline fleet grounded this year due to the pandemic and has been struggling to stay afloat. (Malay Mail)

Tony Fernandes UK mansion Skeldon House Scotland
An aerial view of Skeldon House, located on the 18th-century Ayrshire estate in Scotland. — Screen capture via

By-election postponed as Agong declares emergency for Batu Sapi

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has made a Proclamation of Emergency for the Batu Sapi Parliamentary constituency, in effect cancelling the by-election for the seat. The Proclamation of Emergency was made after studying the explanation given by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who had presented his advice based on a decision taken at the Cabinet meeting. Whatever proceedings that had started for the purpose of conducting the by-election for P.185 Batu Sapi would not be continued for the sake of controlling and preventing an outbreak of the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and another date will be set for the by-election.The Election Commission (EC) had set November 23 for nomination, December 1 for early voting and December 5 for polling for the Batu Sapi by-election. The by-election was called after Batu Sapi Member of Parliament Datuk Liew Vui Keong died of lung infection on October 2. (Malay Mail)