Inoculated Malaysians might soon be able to travel to Singapore using MySejahtera as ‘vaccine passport’, says Khairy

Malaysia is in talks with Singapore for the island nation to allow its fully vaccinated locals to travel there by recognising their individual inoculation statuses as logged by the MySejahtera application, said National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. He said discussions are also underway with several other countries to get them to recognise the vaccination statuses of fully inoculated Malaysians displayed on MySejahtera to allow them to travel internationally. “Once you have the yellow profile on your MySejahtera, that means you are fully vaccinated. We will use the QR code once the Covid-19 Emergency Management Technical Committee recommends allowing certain freedoms (such as international travel) that are not currently possible,” said Khairy. Additionally, he said mutual agreements with other countries for them to recognise these digital vaccination certificates are also being discussed. (Malay Mail)

PM: Govt to form committee to look into reconvening of Parliament

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a committee comprising government and opposition representatives had been formed to look into important aspects before Parliament reconvenes. Muhyiddin said the committee would consider whether it should be a physical or hybrid parliamentary sitting. He said the government needed to scrutinise all matters to avoid problems after its implementation. He said there was also a need to consider whether Parliament itself was ready for a physical sitting, including with regard to sitting arrangements which needs to comply with the set standard operating procedures (SOPs). The prime minister also gave his commitment that both government backbenchers and opposition members represented in the committee will have a say in the decision-making process on whether to reconvene Parliament or not. In this regard, he hoped the people will understand the situation, adding that it was not a matter of the government denying the rights of the elected representatives or acting against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Malay Rulers’ views. (Malay Mail)

Seven top developers dominate 70% of local market share

With increasing consolidation in the property sector, the market is seeing the industry being dominated by a few players with landbank that carried an estimated gross development value (GDV) of close to RM100 billion, said Public Investment Bank Bhd (PublicInvest Research). It estimated that the top seven Malaysian developers have more than 70% of the local market share, out of more than 1,000 property developers. “This is evident by the market share dominated by a few companies that currently focus on improving quality and cost advantage of scale. Industry concentration is often, although not always, a sign that an industry may have pricing power and rational competition,” said PublicInvest Research. Nevertheless, it noted that property players are riding on a cyclical recovery and are on stronger footing despite a few months of zero revenue due to lockdown restrictions. The research house described 2020 as a painful year for the property sector but noted that pent-up demand from government initiatives such as the Short-term Economic Recovery Plan’s (PENJANA) RPGT waiver and Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2020 are driving sales with demand momentum still encouraging despite MCO2.0. “As such, most property developers are even expecting better sales in this year, as conditions are still conducive for property buying, notwithstanding unemployment risks,” it said. The research house expected the sales momentum to continue into 2H2021 (if not better) as the inoculation process sped up. (The Edge)

Seven top developers dominate 70% of local market share
(Image from The Edge)

Low interest rates ‘fuelling’ debt accumulation by households

Historically low interest rates are “fuelling” debt in Malaysian households, “which have funnelled loans mainly to the purchase of residential properties and passenger cars”, The Edge Malaysia reported. Data reveals that loan applications and approvals by banks have been at elevated levels since the end of the first round of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in May last year – with loan applications hitting a record high of RM94.24 billion in March. RM36.14 billion, or 38.35%, was for the purpose of purchasing residential properties, followed by RM10.77 billion, or 11.43%, for the purchase of passenger cars. Analysts said that government initiatives such as the Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) add to banking sector loans, “which may not be sustainable, especially if the economy remains weak and uncertain”. “The flip side of keeping rates low for too long is the risk that you keep fuelling the asset bubble. When loans are cheap, it will encourage people to take more risks and engage in speculative investments,” said Lee Heng Guie, executive director at The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC). (The Edge)

SPM, STPM 2021 candidates will be vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech from July

The candidates for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) 2021 will be vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine starting next month, said National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. The vaccine shots will be administered at schools that will be used as vaccination centres (PPV), he said. “We will start giving the vaccine to them in July as a preparation before they return to school later,” he said. Yesterday, Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) has agreed to the Education Ministry’s (MOE) proposal that students sitting for major examinations this year be given the priority to be vaccinated. Radzi said this was due to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency’s (NPRA) approval of the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 and above. (The Edge)