Malaysia biggest loser, down 18 spots to 119 as new press freedom index released

Press freedom in Malaysia took the biggest hit of any country during the past year, according to an annual ranking published by non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF, Reporters Sans Frontiers). RSF said it had pushed Malaysia down 18 places, to 119, even before the government last month imposed a “so-called “anti-fake news” decree,” which enables “authorities to impose their own version of the truth”. The fake news law was promulgated in mid-January after a state of emergency was declared following a surge in new daily coronavirus case numbers. The emergency declaration allows for rule-by-decree and is scheduled to run until August, with parliament suspended. Opposition politicians accuse the government of using the pandemic as a fig leaf for authoritarianism. (The Star)

MAHB’s RM1.3bil regeneration of Subang Airport

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is eyeing a total investment of about RM1.3 billion to regenerate Subang Airport into “more than just a city airport”. MAHB subsidiary KLIA Aeropolis Sdn Bhd general manager Randhill Singh said the investment was on the card as the airport operator would want to generate greater yields from leasing its facilities within the ecosystem. KLIA Aeropolis has been tasked to undertake land development for MAHB’s network of airports nationwide. Randhill said the five-year masterplan was part of MAHB’s initiative to establish Malaysia as the aerospace and aviation hub in Asia Pacific. The initial development for the masterplan would begin in early 2022 with the setting up of two maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities slated to be operationalised by 2023. Randhill said MAHB would not be looking at expanding the Subang Airport significantly but rather embarking on Airports 4.0 initiative, optimising the existing space and utilising technology to cater to a growth of 5.0 million passenger per annum. (NST Online)

Land Office: Convent Bukit Nanas will be fully govt aided institution once lease expires

Century-old SMK Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) will not face the wrecking ball once its land lease expires, the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office has said. Its director Datuk Muhammad Yasir Yahya said the land would revert to the government, which in turn would allow the school to be gazetted as an educational institution that is fully government aided. He added that the government decided against renewing the school’s lease to bring about this change in status. “Right now, CBN is partially aided and it is a very old school, and it will benefit more if it is made a fully aided government institution,” he was quoted as saying. Muhammad Yasir assured that the all-girls school would not be asked to vacate the land to make way for any redevelopment once the lease expires. Yesterday, Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) urged the authorities, including the National Heritage Department, to protect CBN in response to reports that the historic school might be forced to relocate as its lease was not being renewed. The non-governmental group said the school, which was founded in 1899, was an important part of Malaysia’s history and heritage, both in terms of education and the architecture of its buildings. (Malay Mail)

SMK Convent Bukit Nanas (Source: Badan Warisan Malaysia)
SMK Convent Bukit Nanas (Source: Badan Warisan Malaysia)

Health DG: Surge in cases seen globally

The recent rise in Malaysia’s Covid-19 daily figures is reflective of the global pandemic situation, said the Health Ministry. Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said countries such as the United States and India as well as neighbouring nations Indonesia and Thailand are all going through a similar increasing trend. Yesterday, Malaysia recorded 2,341 new cases and three more Covid-19 deaths. It is the sixth day straight that new cases in the country remained above the 2,000 mark. Sarawak recorded the highest increase with 600 new cases, followed by Selangor (539 cases), Kelantan (429), Kuala Lumpur (344) and Johor (102). Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysia’s Covid-19 data is authentic as they undergo a thorough verification process daily. “The data registered will be used for epidemiological analysis of the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia including case trends, infectivity rates, infections clusters, hospital capacity as well as the effectiveness of preventive and control measures. Therefore, there is no doubt in the accuracy of the ministry’s data management system and the figures released to the public,” said Dr Noor Hisham. (The Star)

EPF: Members will continue to earn dividends up to age 100

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has clarified that members will continue to earn dividends for the remaining portion of their EPF savings up to age 100. It clarified that an old statement regarding the maximum age of 75 years for EPF dividend payment, which is currently circulating via WhatsApp and other online platforms, is outdated and no longer applicable. The EPF will inform members prior to transferring any unclaimed savings when the member reaches age 100. Any claim after the transfer can be made through the Registrar of Unclaimed Monies. The EPF urged members to be cautious of misleading or unsubstantiated information received through social media platforms and refrain from circulating them. (The Star)

EPF members will continue to earn dividends up to age 100 (Source: The Star)
EPF members will continue to earn dividends up to age 100 (Source: The Star)

Sunway eyeing to launch mixed development of at least RM1.15bil on Cochrane land

Sunway Bhd plans to roll out a mixed development comprising serviced apartment and retail elements that carries a GDV of at least RM1.15 billion on its newly acquired prime land at Jalan Cochrane, Kuala Lumpur. Its wholly-owned subsidiary Sunway Rahman Putra Sdn Bhd signed a SPA to acquire a 6.59-acre freehold plot in Kuala Lumpur from Mutiara Rini Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boustead Properties Bhd, for a purchase consideration of RM233.4 million. The land located within the commercial zoning in the city centre is situated directly across from Cochrane MRT station and just one station from Tun Razak Exchange. Sunway Bhd said the land is strategically located for a transit-oriented mixed development comprising serviced apartments with a retail podium and is located directly opposite the Cochrane MRT station and just a stone’s throw away from MyTOWN Shopping Centre. According to Sunway Property managing director Sarena Cheah, the proposed mixed development will have a GDV of at least RM1.15 billion. The development will comprise serviced apartments that sit on top of a retail podium, which will benefit from road frontages on all four sides of the site. (The Edge)