PM announces Microsoft partnership under US$1b Bersama Malaysia initiative

The government has announced its partnership with Microsoft under the Bersama Malaysia initiative, which will see the hyperscaler establish its first data centre region in Malaysia. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the initiative will see investments amounting to US$1 billion (RM4 billion) over the next five years. He said Microsoft’s data centre region will effectively consist of multiple data centres, managing data from various countries. He also welcomed the public-private partnerships formed by Microsoft and its partners, including the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), Petronas, Celcom and Grab. These partnerships are expected to assist in skilling up to one million Malaysians by 2023, Muhyiddin said. The partnership is in line with Malaysia’s MyDigital initiative and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, which was unveiled in February 2021. (The Edge)

Grab mulling secondary Singapore listing after SPAC merger, say sources

Grab Holdings, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing to delivery giant, is considering a secondary listing in its home market of Singapore after completing a Nasdaq listing via a US$40 billion (RM165.2 billion) SPAC merger, three sources familiar with the matter said. Listing on Singapore Exchange would enable Grab to have an investor base close to where its regional business is based, the people said, potentially offering its customers, drivers and merchant partners easier access to trade its shares. Grab and SGX declined to comment on the listing plans. The potential Singapore listing plans come after Grab this week struck a US$40 billion merger with Altimetre Growth Corp , a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), setting a record for the world’s biggest SPAC deal. Currently, there are 28 companies with a secondary listing on SGX, including Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd and Top Glove Corp Bhd and Hong Kong conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings. (Malay Mail)

Ministry to implement housing project worth RM6b using Kenaf Building System

A long-term housing project worth RM6 billion using the Kenaf Building System (KBS) will be implemented in the government’s effort to introduce the technology nationwide. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the project, which is a collaboration between the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (LKTN) and several agencies, will require two million tonnes of kenaf and 20,000 hectares of kenaf plants within 10 years. Mohd Khairuddin said the ministry planned to commercialise KBS technology nationwide as it has the potential to speed up the construction period and even save energy consumption and construction costs between 20% and 30% compared to conventional methods. “KBS is a good thermal insulation material that can save electricity, especially for air conditioners for a long time, as the main material is kenaf core which is light and environmentally friendly. The important aspects of its remarkable durability are being eco-friendly, lighter, cooling the environment and faster from the construction management standpoint than that of conventional methods,” he said. (The Edge)

Ministry encourages use of kenaf-based IBS technology to build PPRT homes
(Source: The Sun Daily)

New investment policy to be tabled to Cabinet on Wednesday

A Cabinet paper on the country’s new investment policy will be tabled on Wednesday (April 21), says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali. The Minister of International Trade and Industry said the new policy was to attract more high-quality investors in an effort to make Malaysia a high-income nation, and it was expected to be implemented immediately. “The policy that will be introduced focuses on innovation, technology and digital. In fact, even during my recent working visits to South Korea and Japan, they welcomed the implementation of the new investment policy,” he said. Mohd Azmin said the new policy was also in line with environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. (The Star)

Momentum builds on vaccine rollout

With more vaccine doses expected to arrive by May, the country kicked off the second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme that started with the vaccination of 9,916 senior citizens, the disabled and those with comorbidities. Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Dewan 2020 hall in Perlis saw the largest group immunised – a total of 924 recipients. “They are from four categories: those who have a history of allergies and are able to take the vaccine; immunocompromised patients; those who are at risk of bleeding due to certain diseases or are taking specific medications; and those deemed suitable to be vaccinated such as chronic patients, haemodialysis patients, pregnant women and psychiatric patients,” he said. Phase Two also saw 30 non-medical vaccination centres opened in Kedah, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perlis, Terengganu, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. For Selangor, Khairy said the second phase would only start on April 26 as the state was still completing vaccinations for those under Phase One. (The Star)

Light City 1st phase to complete by 2024

IJM Perennial Development Sdn Bhd is expected to complete the first phase, which represents the commercial component of the RM4.5bil Light City project, located next to the Penang Bridge by 2024. According to IJM Perennial general manager Tan Hun Beng, the construction work for the first phase kicked off last October. IJM Perennial is a joint-venture between IJM Corp Bhd and Singapore’s Perennial Holdings Private Ltd to oversee the Light City project. Tan added that since the soft launch in February 2021, IJM Perennial has already sold 25% of the Mezzo residence. “The group is negotiating with several Asian-based companies which are involved in the food and beverage (F&B) and other retailing business to come in as anchor tenants for the shopping mall. Both the convention centre and the hotel will also draw the crowd to the mall,” said Tan. Initially, IJM Perennial had planned to start work on The Light City in 2018, but given the property market slowdown, the group then decided to hold back the implementation of the project and revised its existing plan. (The Star)