No more police roadblocks from Dec 7, interstate travel ok; no more passenger limit

The police will no longer carry out roadblocks in Malaysia from Monday onwards (December 7) as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, senior minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced. He said Malaysians no longer need to ask for the police’s permission to travel to different districts within a state, or even from state to state from December 7 onwards. “But the orders to the police is that although no roadblocks, but to focus on compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs),” he said. Even those in areas under the extended CMCO (full list here) would be free to travel to other states. The only travel restriction remaining within Malaysia will be in and out of EMCO areas. “The country is expected to suffer a GDP loss of RM300 million a day if CMCO is continued and this will result in a decline in the labour market and household spending, investment uncertainty, permanent job loss, business closure and other effects either directly or indirectly. Therefore, the government needs to consider all aspects in formulating any approach to create a balance between maintaining public health and impact on the economy,“ he said. Ismail Sabri also said that vehicles would be allowed to carry the normal capacity of passengers. States and locations where the CMCO will be lifted will return to being under the RMCO. It is unknown for now if the RMCO will be extended past December 31. (Malay Mail)

EPF: No conditions for i-Sinar application

There are no conditions attached for i-Sinar withdrawal application and what have been outlined are the criteria to ensure that the application matches the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) internal data. The retirement fund said this is to ensure it will easily and securely expedite the approval process. “The process of verification is required to avoid fraud and improper withdrawal of i-Sinar funds by third parties. For members who fulfill the criteria, their application will be approved automatically,” the EPF said. It said only confirmation of the maximum amount is required during member’s online application. For members who did not suffer a 30% salary reduction but still require cash to sustain their livelihood in this pandemic, the EPF said there is still latitude under Category 2 to consider applications from all members. Category 2 provides the opportunity for the EPF to consider certain situations such as a reduction in income based on their supporting documents. Members just need to apply online. It also explained that automatic approval could not be given for those who applied for i-Lestari as the country’s situation was different when it was launched compared to now. (The Star Online)

Yong Tai to collaborate with Chinese company in Covid-19 vaccine development, distribution in Malaysia

Property developer Yong Tai Bhd has entered into a heads of agreement (HoA) with China-based Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products Co Ltd (SZKT) for a proposed collaboration on the development and exclusive commercialisation of the latter’s inactivated Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia. SZKT is currently developing a Covid-19 Inactivated Vaccine (Vero Cells) against the coronavirus. Upon the successful conclusion of the Phase III clinical trial or emergency usage approval being obtained in Malaysia, whichever is earlier, Yong Tai said the parties plan to cooperate on a vaccine procurement programme of approximately 100 million doses of the vaccine over a five-year period. SZKT, which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is principally involved in developing and manufacturing human vaccines. (The Edge)

Lendlease taps into tech to ‘future-ready’ TRX

Sydney-based property and infrastructure group Lendlease will use technology extensively as its cornerstone in its development in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) comprising residential, offices, retail and a hotel. Lendlease Development Malaysia Sdn Bhd is currently building serviced apartments TRX Residences and a retail mall with a net lettable area of 1.33 million sq ft. Having to contend with the Covid-19 virus for nearly a year, with the global economy relying on new vaccines as its silver bullet, Lendlease, as a global developer, is using technology and sustainable development techniques to “future-prove” its development in TRX and yet remain customer-centric. The adoption of more “touchless” interfaces and technology to facilitate WFH and to enable “data-centric” asset operational decisions will only become increasingly important, said Lendlease Development managing director Stuart Mendel. (The Star Online)

Ant, Grab win Singapore digital bank licenses along with Sea

Ant Group Co and a venture led by Grab Holdings Ltd and Singtel won licenses to run digital banks in Singapore, paving the way for the technology giants to expand their financial services in the South-East Asian hub. Sea Ltd. is also among the four winners announced Friday by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) after almost a year of deliberation. A consortium involving China’s Greenland Financial Holdings Group Co is the other successful candidate. Singapore joins the U.K. and Hong Kong in opening up its banking system to purely digital entrants, as it seeks to inject innovation and competition into a market dominated by traditional lenders. The permits are coveted given the city’s status as a rapidly growing wealth management center and a gateway to Southeast Asia, where the digital lending market is expected to quadruple in five years. Other countries in the region are expected to follow suit, including Malaysia. Digital full banks will be allowed to take deposits and provide banking services to both retail and corporate customers. Digital wholesale banks can only target small and medium-sized businesses and other non-consumer segments. They are expected to start operating from early 2022, MAS said. (The Star Online)