Stricter MCO for Selangor to be considered if virus surge continues

Selangor may return to a movement control order similar to what was implemented in March last year if current measures fail to curb the Covid-19 spread, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba. “The proposal for the implementation of a full MCO is something that we can consider, ” he said during a joint virtual press conference with Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday. Dr Adham noted that it was also worrying that more young people were being infected. “Most of those found positive during the second wave of the pandemic were mainly senior citizens. The situation has changed in the current wave, with more people from the younger age group testing positive for the virus,” Dr Adham added. As for Covid-19 fatalities, he said the deaths were mostly among those who had existing health issues such as diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments. (The Star)

Bosses in Selangor can now buy vaccine for their staff

Employers can now buy the Covid-19 vaccine for their workers through the Selangor government. Exco member in charge of public health Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said interested employers can register to buy the vaccines through the state’s SELangkah application. The Selangor government has allocated some RM100mil to help expedite the National Immunisation Programme. Meanwhile, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari announced Monday (May 17) that more beds and intensive care unit (ICU) apparatus will be provided to treat Covid-19 patients in the state. The recent spike of Covid-19 cases in Selangor has become a major concern for the state government. Beginning next week, the state government will operate a special counter for the purpose of cutting the pink bracelet to end home quarantine. “This is to reduce the crowding at the Malawati Stadium CAC and at the same time, to reduce the risk of infection for those who have completed their quarantine,” he added. (The Star)

MOF: Claim for RM300mil e-wallet credit for two million youths opens on June 1

pproximately two million eligible Malaysian youths and full-time students are invited to claim RM150 of e-wallet credit under the eBelia programme next month, the Ministry of Finance announced. The eBelia initiative is open to Malaysian citizens aged between 18 and 20, and full-time students enrolled in courses equivalent to a diploma or SKM4 and above at public and private registered institutions of higher learning. The programme aimed to help relieve the financial burden as well as promote cashless spending amongst Malaysian youths and full-time students at registered local institutions of higher learning. The eBelia programme will be offered through four e-wallet service providers, namely BigPay, Boost, ShopeePay and Touch ‘n Go e-wallet. “The claim period for the eBelia credit is from June 1 to July 22 and the credit can be spent until July 31, 2021. Eligible recipients are encouraged to update their e-wallet accounts or download the e-wallet apps before June 1. Eligible youths’ data will be cross-checked with registered institutions of higher learning and other relevant government databases,” the statement said. (The Star)

malaysia digital e-tunai e-wallet cashless

Moody’s: Massive increase in global debt a threat to economic recovery

The total global debt rose a record US$24 trillion in 2020, pushing global leverage up a staggering 34 percentage points to a new high of 366% of GDP. This was especially in emerging markets and Southern Europe as third and fourth waves of the Covid-19 pandemic were swelling, domestic demand was anaemic, and jobs as, well as incomes, suffered sustained blows, according to Moody’s Analytics. Though governments led the borrowing spree, it said corporate, household and financial sector debt rose as well, posing distinct risks to the global recovery. On global government debt, Moody’s Analytics said the debt rose by US$12.2 trillion in 2020, the largest increase on record and accounting for more than half of the increase in total global debt. However, it noted that there were several economies in which high and rising debt loads merit special attention, and topping the list were the US and China. The global corporate debt rose by US$5.5 trillion last year, pushing the global tally of corporate debt to a record US$80.6 trillion and causing the ratio to GDP to surpass 100% for the first time, it said. (Bernama)

Nearly 600 bank branches in Malaysia to close by 2030’

There will be an 18% net reduction of retail bank branches across Southeast Asia by 2030 as lenders increasingly move away from branch-based services, estimates Roland Berger. This implies over 11,000 branches closing. The strategy consultancy firm, in a report about the future of retail banking networks, says the bulk of the closures will be in Indonesia (7,055), followed by Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. It estimates there will be 567 closures in Malaysia within the decade, with the number of physical branches projected to drop by 23% to about 1,900 in 2030. Branch closures are also expected in Singapore and Brunei. The move away from branch-based services in Southeast Asia is driven not only by technological advancements but also by changes in demographics, the growing pervasiveness of digitalisation, easy access to information and greater financial education. Future bank branches in Southeast Asia will likely move away from offering simple transactions and focus on higher value-add services, such as bancassurance and investment products. Interestingly, in four of the 10 Southeast Asian markets, namely, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, the number of bank branches is expected to continue to steadily increase over the decade rather than decline. (The Edge)