Lockdown extension very likely

The current two-week lockdown which is due to end on Monday has seen a reduction in the number of positive Covid-19 cases, but an extension appears inevitable due to the high number of deaths and the daily cases which has yet to dip below 4,000. Even though ministers in charge of managing the Covid-19 pandemic state that they are not sure if the National Security Council would extend the lockdown, Senior Minister and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed that the NSC will sit today as usual. However, a source said that the issue of the lockdown extension would definitely be discussed as the current lockdown ends on June 14 and much deliberation is expected from various ministries, based on the presentation by the Health Ministry. “The NSC would now have to decide, based on facts and figures, if an extension is needed to save lives but we would also have to look at saving livelihoods, which is another worry in the current economic downturn, ” said the source. NSC meetings are confidential and the only people who can speak on its decisions are the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Ismail Sabri and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry stated that the country’s Rt – an indicator of how fast Covid-19 is spreading has reduced to below 1.0 to 0.96. On May 28, the Prime Minister announced that the country will go into a lockdown for 14 days from June 1, with only the essential economic and service sectors being allowed to operate. (The Star)

RM551.56m Pakej Kita Selangor 2.0 includes 25 initiatives for state residents, businesses

The Selangor state government has announced a RM551.56 million stimulus package for residents and businesses in the state, under 25 initiatives, themed ‘Pakej Kita Selangor 2.0: Bersama Menuju Kejayaan’. Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said that the allocation is expected to aid 1.6 million people. He said a moratorium on loans for 40,000 Hijrah scheme entrepreneurs, 1,300 graduate students for the year 2021, 286 students sponsored by Yayasan Selangor, 2,632 tenants of the People’s Housing Project and 477 participants of the Smart Rental Scheme. Besides the Selangor Internet Data programme which targets subsidising SIM cards with unlimited internet data for 70,000 recipients, RM200 million will be added to Selangor Advance which will utilise the cash flow of small and medium industry companies to cover expenses including saving jobs for employees in order to maintain the viability of their respective companies. “In addition, RM80 million is allocated to 8,000 entrepreneurs as initial capital to start a business,” he added. Amirudin said the state government will continue providing free Covid-19 tests for the community with a target of 100,000 screenings. He also announced RM2.55 million for tourism industry members, via the Tourism Activity Assistance Grant, Selangor Tourism Voucher 2.0, Digitisation Learning Training Programme as well as a one-off financial assistance to tourism associations in Selangor. (Malay Mail)

IGB Commercial REIT opens IPO applications

IGB Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust (IGB Commercial REIT) will see the listing of 2.3 billion units on Bursa Malaysia’s Main Market via an initial public offering (IPO) which includes a restricted offering of 945 million units alongside 282 million units to institutional investors, as outlined in its prospectus. Upon listing, it is expected to have a market capitalisation of RM2.3 billion based on a restricted offer price of RM1 per unit, making IGB Commercial REIT the sixth largest Malaysian REIT and the largest standalone office REIT by market capitalisation, net lettable area and appraised value. Applications for the units will be open until July 6, 2021 with a tentative listing date of July 30, 2021. (The Sun Daily)

Penang CM says will not cancel controversial three-island reclamation project

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has said that the state does not plan to cancel its planned Penang South Islands (PSI) project to create three islands off the southern coast of Penang island. Responding to various calls from several quarters including ministers and PKR leaders for the project to be cancelled, the Penang lawmaker said the state can still build PSI and preserve the environment and the people at the same time through technological advancements. He said the state does not have to choose between PSI, the environment and fishermen. He said the state is implementing many mitigation measures such as carrying out a socioeconomic plan for fishermen, and introducing green initiatives for the PSI development. “Suffice to say that such a massive and comprehensive plan to improve the fishing community has never been done before anywhere in the country,” he stressed. He stressed that fishing activities will continue as a 250m wide unimpeded passage will be provided for the fishermen throughout the reclamation and development phases of PSI. He said the state plans to deploy artificial reefs and plant mangroves to kickstart the Offset Programme. He also said 20% of the PSI land will be reserved for green parks, mangroves, water canals, wetlands, floodplains and bioswales to enhance biodiversity. He said green initiatives introduced in PSI such as low carbon developments and transportation, use of renewable energy, and provision of open spaces will contribute towards improving liveability and public wellbeing for decades to come. (Malay Mail)

A map showing the fish landings off the southern coast of Penang island. ― Graphic courtesy of the Penang Chief Minister's office
A map showing the fish landings off the southern coast of Penang island. ― Graphic courtesy of the Penang Chief Minister’s office

Austria’s AT&S picks Malaysia for RM8.5 billion factory, its first in Southeast Asia

AT&S, the Austria-headquartered global manufacturing leader of high-end printed circuit boards (PCB) and integrated circuit (IC) substrates, has chosen Malaysia as its first production plant in Southeast Asia. AT&S’ new facility in Kulim Hi-Tech Park, Kedah will involve a proposed total investment of RM8.5 billion and would create 5,000 high-tech and high impact jobs, Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said. AT&S’ latest investment was a testament to the confidence of foreign investors in Malaysia’s economic prospects as well as the human capital resource available to cope with the high-tech demands of high-impact industries, he added. Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2021 with commercial operations targeted to come on stream in 2024. AT&S’ high end PCB and IC substrates are used in mobile devices, industrial electronics, automotive applications as well as medical and health technology. As an international enterprise, the company has production facilities in Austria, India, China and South Korea. (NST Online)