It’s now ECRL 3.0 and costs RM50bil, says Wee

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) has been “reborn” for a third time, and will now be known as ECRL 3.0. Spanning a total of 665km, ECRL 3.0 will revert to the northern alignment to connect Pahang and Selangor as previously planned by the Barisan Nasional administration and cost RM50 billion. Construction will take seven years and the ECRL will be operational in 2027. Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the government decided on the northern alignment following discussions with the relevant stakeholders, including state governments, local councils and industry players. The 201km northern alignment, which connects Mentakab to Port Klang through Bentong, Gombak, and Serendah, will replace the southern alignment which travels through Negeri Sembilan. The alignment involves the construction of seven stations. Wee also said the estimated cost for ECRL 3.0 is lower than its previous iteration under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration. “Some might say that the RM50 billion appears to be more than the RM47.38 billion figure (under PH) but we are actually building two infrastructure projects for the price of one,” he said. Currently, the project is 21.39% complete. (Free Malaysia Today)

Berjaya’s Vincent Tan steps back into non-executive role

Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun has relinquished his role as the company’s executive chairman but will remain on the board of directors as non-executive chairman, effective today. “With Jalil Rasheed on board as Group CEO, handling the strategic and operational decision-making and planning the future business direction of the BCorp Group, together with executive deputy chairman, Datuk Seri Robin Tan, I am confident that the BCorp group is in capable hands and would be able to move forward progressively towards greater heights. It is also important to give Jalil space and freedom to run Berjaya in his own style,” said Tan in a statement. He added that he will take a step back from active day-to-day involvement in the group’s businesses to devote more time to promoting charitable initiatives and other interests. Vincent said his charitable vehicle, the Better Malaysia Foundation, was launching a new social enterprise programme to assist the government in solving home ownership needs for low-income Malaysians through innovative and sustainable solutions. Meanwhile, Robin said he will also step into a non-executive role on the board once the transformation process and plan have stabilised, in line with the elder Tan’s vision of independent professional management. (The Star)

Vincent Tan and son Robin to step down from executive roles at Berjaya Corp  — sources | The Edge Markets
(Source: The Edge)

Experts: Jab not an automatic licence to travel

Other factors also need to be considered – and not just the completion of the vaccine regimen – when deciding whether interstate travel should be allowed at this stage, say health experts. Universiti Putra Malaysia medical epidemiologist Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman said the success of the vaccination programme should not be the sole criterion for whether a person could travel across state borders. “We have to also look at the current trend such as the number of active cases and those who are critically ill. We must look at the behavioural patterns too, whether compliance is good or poor, as well as whether there is a significant proportion of vaccinated individuals among the high-risk groups,” she added. She said it would be relatively unfair to allow those who had been completely vaccinated to travel interstate at this time, as those who are fully vaccinated make up only about 1% to 2% of the population. Recently, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government would decide whether those who had completed their two-dose Covid-19 vaccine regimen could travel freely between states and districts. “While interstate travel can be an encouragement (to register for the jab), these ‘green’ travellers will still need to observe the standard operating procedure for now,” said public health specialist Assoc Prof Dr Mohammad Farhan Rusli. (The Star)

Property market performance down 9.9% in 2020

Malaysia’s property market performance significantly declined in 2020, falling by 9.9% in volume and 15.8% in value, according to the Valuation and Property Services Department. Its 2020 annual report stated that there were 295,958 transactions worth RM119.8 billion. The residential property market reported 191,350 transactions worth RM65.86 billion, which was an 8.6% decrease in volume and 9% decrease in value, while the commercial property market reported 20,255 transactions worth RM19.53 billion (a 21% decrease in volume and 32.6% decrease in value). Selangor was the highest contributor to the national market share for both residential and commercial property. There was an improvement in terms of residential property overhang, with the report showing that it was down by 3.6% in volume compared with 2019. For the commercial sector, commercial property overhang in the serviced apartment segment increased and formed the bulk of property overhang for the year. The department expects the property market to remain cautious in 2021, depending on the country’s economic and financial outlook. (Free Malaysia Today)

Individuals attempting unauthorised interstate travel for Ramadan will be summoned

Summonses will be imposed on individuals caught attempting to travel interstate to return to their villages to celebrate Ramadan, said Bukit Aman Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department (JPJKK) director Datuk Zainal Abidin Kasim. As such he said, more stringent checks would be conducted at all roadblocks at the state border and only those authorised to travel interstate would be allowed to do so. Elaborating Zainal Abidin said more roadblocks would be mounted from time to time, depending on the number of daily Covid-19 positive cases reported. So far, he said 30 to 35 roadblocks were being mounted at every exit and entry point as well as at state borders nationwide as and when necessary. (Malay Mail)