World Bank hub in Malaysia to bring together economic, financial experts

The World Bank Group (WBG) office in Malaysia will function as a hub that brings together local economic and financial experts, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. He said the hub would also allow the WBG to conduct developmental research to improve global indicators including through the World Bank’s Doing Business Survey and provide technical support in selected fields, especially for low and middle-income countries. In 2012, the Economic Council meeting recommended to have the WBG office in Malaysia, with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) spearheading the initiative. Following the decision, the MoF held a series of meetings and discussions with the Prime Minister’s Department, the Foreign Ministry, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, BNM and relevant agencies, along with WBG representatives, to discuss in detail the establishment of the office. (The Edge)

Firms rush to get workers’ housing up to standard

Companies are scrambling to find and renovate lodgings to properly house migrant workers, say construction and manufacturing groups. Master Builders Association Malaysia president Foo Chek Lee said construction companies were sourcing houses for foreign workers, with some even making renovations to comply with the latest housing standards. “Employers are hunting for houses, but it takes time. Even if they can find a place, neighbours may not like it because they worry that foreigners will pose a security risk. If companies have to apply for a Certificate of Accommodation, it will take time to get approval from the local council,” he said. It is mandatory for employers to obtain the certificate for the workers lodgings provided. Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai proposed a 12-month grace period for firms to continue disinfecting existing quarters, while preparing the proper lodgings. (The Star Online)

Mah Sing confident of achieving RM1.1bil target

Property developer Mah Sing Group Bhd achieved property sales of RM847.1mil for the period ended Sept 30, or 77% of the 2020 sales target of RM1.1bil despite the challenging business and operating conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are confident in achieving our RM1.1bil sales target by the financial year end. The reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign and other property-friendly measures under the Penjana stimulus package as well as the low interest rate environment are positive for the property market,” said Mah Sing founder and group managing director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum. Mah Sing is on track to achieve its target with several new launches lined up in the fourth quarter, together with the recently launched M Luna in Kepong and M Adora in Wangsa Melawati. The group has remaining landbank of 1,996 acres with remaining gross development value and unbilled sales totalling RM24.34bil as at Sept 30. Meanwhile, the company expects the glove manufacturing business to generate sales in second quarter of 2021. (The Star Online)

MOH to receive COVID-19 vaccine phase 3 clinical study next week

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is expected to receive the first report of the phase three clinical study on COVID-19 vaccine next week, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. He said the report would be provided by one of the 10 vaccine research companies which had negotiated with Malaysia before this. He explained that Malaysia conducted initial negotiations with 10 of the 12 COVID-19 vaccine companies to carry out the third phase research to ensure the country obtain supply after the vaccine has been registered. “The condition set by Malaysia in the negotiation is that the vaccine has to be registered with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Division. The agreement would be cancelled if the vaccine was not registered,” he said. (Bernama)

Malaysian airports recognised globally for Covid-19 safety measures

Malaysian airports’ commitment to safety measures amid Covid-19 has been recognised internationally, with a recent validation by the British Standards Institution (BSI). BSI has given airports in Malaysia the ISO45001:2018 certification which validated the efforts towards the safety of passenger and airport community. Malaysia Airports group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said the certification is an achievement for the country during this challenging pandemic period. The ISO45001:2018 certification is outcome-oriented and ensures that effectiveness of airport operations safety measures is audited based on actual on-ground practices, on top of having full documentation for these SOPs. In another development, AirAsia was awarded the top seven stars for Covid-19 health ratings from the aviation safety experts at The carrier was judged on seven criteria: website information on Covid-19 procedures, the wearing of face masks, personal protection equipment for the crew, modified meal service, regular deep cleaning of aircraft, personal sanitiser kits and social distancing onboard. These criteria were out by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on regional and international safety guidelines. (The Star Online)

Malaysian airports recognised globally for Covid-19 safety measures
Malaysian airports commitment to safety measures amid Covid-19 have been recognised internationally. – AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star