Tengku Zafrul: RM14.58 billion disbursed via PENJANA as at Nov 20

A total of RM14.58 billion or 42 per cent out of RM35 billion allocated under the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) has been disbursed as at Nov 20, 2020. Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said according to the thrust breakdown under the plan, RM7.15 billion or 54% of the total RM13.2 billion under the first core thrust had been spent and benefitted a total of 1.36 million recipients. “For the second core thrust aimed at boosting business, a total of RM5.54 billion or 38% of RM14.7 billion had been spent, benefitting more than 40,000 businesses. For the third thrust, aimed at stimulating the economy, a total of RM1.9 billion or 27% of RM7.1 billion had been spent which had benefited around 11.36 million recipients,” he said. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced a special additional initiative framework, KITA PRIHATIN, worth RM10 billion on September 23, which is a continuation of the PRIHATIN and PENJANA initiatives to ease the burden of the people, maintain employment and help businesses. During the tabling of Budget 2021 on Nov 6, the Ministry of Finance also announced various additional initiatives to help the people, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises, as well as the economic sector. (Bernama)

Pasir Gudang accorded city status

The Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has consented to the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) being given a city-status and declared Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG), effective Nov 22. Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Ir Hasni Mohammad said MBPG is the third local government authority in the state to be upgraded as a city after the Johor Bahru City Council in 1994 and the Iskandar Puteri City Council in 2017. “Pasir Gudang’s rapid development as an industrial city and port by having two international ports and the comprehensive infrastructure that prioritises the people’s well-being, meet the requirements , and therefore, it is appropriate for Pasir Gudang to be accorded a city status,” he said. According to Hasni, MBPG’s jurisdiction covers an area of 35.956 hectares, encompassing Mukim Tiram and Mukim Plentong, with a population of 533,868 people. (Malay Mail)

CMCO eroding business cashflow, RAM survey says

Business sentiment remains bleak over the next three months as the conditional movement control oder (CMCO) further eroded business cashflow by about one-third, according to a RAM Ratings survey. The results of the latest RAM Business Confidence Index (RAM BCI) survey for Q4 2020 showed that the overall index was little changed at 35.9 (Q3 2020: 33.7). The level is “still substantially below” the threshold of 50 for sentiment to turn optimistic. “Nearly 70% of the survey respondents indicated that the CMCO had further eroded their business cashflow, by an average of 30%-35%, ” it said. RAM said the recovery paths of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises appear challenging in the absence of any brighter business prospects. To help these small businesses, it suggested additional support to address their immediate challenges. (The Star Online)

Rare earth mining in Kedah will affect water supply for 4.2 million consumers

The Kedah state government’s approval for large-scale mining of rare earth elements in Ulu Muda, Sik and Baling will jeopardise water supply in the three northern peninsular states of Penang, Kedah and Perlis, Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) said. PBAPP CEO Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said the mining will endanger water supply for a combined population of 4.2 million people. He said Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, in approving the permit, had forgotten that Ulu Muda is the largest and most important water catchment area in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER). He said large-scale mining operations in the 163,000-hectare Greater Ulu Muda Forest Complex will involve large-scale land clearing wherever the minerals are found, and could lead to negative environmental and health impact and contamination of surface water systems in the Muda River basin. Jaseni said mining will also adversely affect Sungai Muda, a strategic raw water resource. About 70% of Perlis’ raw water and 96% of Kedah’s raw water were extracted from Ulu Muda. Meanwhile, more than 80% of the raw water at the Lahar Tiang Intake in Penang were from Ulu Muda. (Malay Mail)

RM172m compensation paid for 17 cancelled PR1MA projects

The Housing and Local Government Ministry has paid compensation amounting to RM172 million for cancelled Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia (PR1MA) projects and aims to fully settle these debts in 2023. Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the compensation paid so far was for pre-development, labour costs, interest on delays and others for 17 of the 32 cancelled projects. “Other projects are still in negotiation. We managed to reduce about 30% from the claims. For others, we will no longer request allocation from the federal government to manage the debts and future financing. We will use productive lands to build up new houses and cooperate with the National Housing Department, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) and others as a cross-business model to maximise what we have to cut losses and bring back the money,” she said. With the implementation of the PR1MA Project Rationalisation Plan, 62 projects are continued while 32 were cancelled. (Malay Mail)