At least 40% of ECRL civil works worth RM10b to be awarded to local firms

East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRLSB) and main contractor China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) have reached an agreement for CCCC to appoint local subcontractors and suppliers for at least 40% of the civil works of the ECRL project excluding tunneling works. MRLSB and CCCC said the value of the works is estimated to be up to RM10 billion for the implementation of the project from 2017 to 2026. CCCC has also agreed to accord special attention to the appointment of small contractors from Grades G1-G3 categories that will directly benefit them as well as the overall construction industry players in the country. To date, a total of 403 local contractors have successfully passed the pre-qualification process and have already been registered in the online registration system. Of these, 212 companies are bumiputera contractors or 52% of the total pre-qualification. MRLSB and CCCC said to further encourage the participation of local contractors in the ECRL project, the firms have collaborated with the relevant state governments to provide another platform for local contractors to participate in the ECRL project. (The Edge)

HR Ministry: Employers to bear full cost to immunise foreign workers from Covid-19

The cost of vaccinating foreign workers in Malaysia from Covid-19 will be borne by their employers, the Human Resources Ministry said. The announcement comes a day after another minister said the government needed time to decide if they would be vaccinated for free. “It is compulsory for employers to cover all immunisation costs including for Covid-19 diagnosis,” Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan. The Human Resources Ministry had made it mandatory for employers to pay for screening and testing of all its foreign workers last year. Saravanan said the directive for businesses to bear immunisation costs is under Section 24J of the Workers Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990, also known as Act 446. Covid-19 screening and tests are subsidised, but only for foreign workers who contribute to the Social Security Organisation. (Malay Mail)

Property sales expected to rebound in 2H 2021, says Kenanga Research

Property sales are expected to slow down in the first half of 2021 (1H 2021), but will see a mild rebound in 2H 2021, provided the Covid-19 situation improves, says Kenanga Research. It said the easing of lockdown restrictions is a positive sign as it will push the economic recovery onto the right track, but warns that a possible worsening of the Covid-19 situation may cause further setbacks. The research house has maintained its neutral call for property developers, in light of the sector’s challenging structural fundamentals of affordability, oversupply and policy issue. The research house believes that some developers may lower the pricing for certain product offerings in the near term to meet sales targets, as the market continues to target more affordable segments. “The property overhang situation is largely residential and serviced apartments, which make up 84% of the total overhang,” it said, adding that high-rise units account for 54% of the residential property overhang in Malaysia. (Malay Mail)

MCT to launch seven projects with RM2.2bil GDV

MCT Bhd is gearing up to launch seven new property development projects this year, comprising residential and commercial properties with a combined GDV of RM2.2 billion. Its CEO Teh Heng Chong said the property market is expected to continue its path towards recovery with the global economy gaining steady progress following the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Among MCT’s new developments are Aetas Damansara, a high-end residential project in Tropicana Golf & Country Resort, Damansara, Alira in Metropark, Subang, and Sanderling Lakefront Residences in Cyberjaya. Other projects include a boutique commercial centre at Lakefront Cyberjaya, the maiden phase of the Cybersouth Town Centre in Dengkil, a residential development in USJ Subang, and one in Cybersouth. “Coupled with the low-interest rate and reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign, which presents good buying opportunities, more homebuyers will once again be searching for their dream home,” he said. (The Star Online)

EPF approves 2.5m out of 3.88m applications for i-Sinar

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has approved 2.5 million out of a total of 3.88 million applications for i-Sinar as at Jan 4. The retirement fund said the approval was for submissions under Category 1 since Dec 21. The EPF also said most of the remaining 1.4 million submissions which have yet to be approved, falls under the criteria outlined under Category 2, which will open for submissions from Jan 11. It said members who fall under Category 2 are advised to start preparing relevant documents such as official pay slips (which details total salaries including overtime and commissions) and/ or bank statements, for uploading on i-Sinar Online. (The Star Online)