PM appoints Ismail Sabri as Deputy Prime Minister, Hisham as Senior Minister

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) also said Ismail Sabri will continue to hold the Defence Minister post. The PMO also announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as Senior Minister (Security). “As senior minister, Hishammuddin will lead the security cluster, which prior to this was led by Ismail Sabri. The Prime Minister has also agreed for Hishammuddin to assist him in the implementation of the National Recovery Plan,” said the PMO. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has been informed of the two appointments, which take effect immediately. “It is hoped that the two appointments will boost the Perikatan Nasional government’s ability, especially in facing the Covid-19 pandemic, to strengthen unity and cooperation among parties that form the government,” the statement read. (The Star)

Umno withdraws support for Perikatan Nasional govt with immediate effect

Umno has officially decided to withdraw support from the Perikatan Nasional government with immediate effect, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. The announcement by Ahmad Zahid came hours after a virtual Umno supreme council meeting that began at 8.30pm on Wednesday (July 7) and stretched till the early hours of Thursday (July 8). Ahmad Zahid said the withdrawal of support came because Perikatan Nasional failed to fulfil seven requirements outlined by the Umno secretary when it was sworn in on March 11 last year as the government. In the virtual press conference, Ahmad Zahid also urged Muhyiddin to step down as prime minister in order to make way for a new leadership. Umno has 38 MPs in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat. However, the Umno president made no mention whether Ismail Sabri and other Umno ministers should quit immediately. He said the Umno supreme council had also confirmed the postponement of party polls for a period of 18 months, in line with Clause 10 in the Umno Constitution. The Umno supreme council meeting also asserts its stance made in the last Umno General Assembly 2020 that it will not support the nomination of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a Prime Minister candidate or a DAP-Pakatan Harapan led government. (The Star)

Housing loan approval rate on the way up

Property loan approval rates are expected to start recovering from the third quarter of this year, as lockdown restrictions begin easing with the gradual opening of the economy. UOB Kay Hian noted that the mortgage approval rate saw a month-on-month pickup of four percentage points in April and two percentage points in May, following the lockdown. “We expect to see a recovery in the loan approval rate from the third quarter of 2021, as the loan processing backlog is expected to ease with the gradual reopening of the economy,” it noted. It also said this would also translate to a better conversion rate of property sales, as transacted value historically trends in tandem with the mortgage approval value. Separately, the research house said developers with strong balance sheets have been in buying mode to replenish their landbanks for future developments. These include Sunway, Mah Sing, and UEM Sunrise. UOB Kay Hian said key risks to the property sector include a prolonged lockdown that would further dampen the economic outlook and consumer sentiment on big-tickets items; slower-than-expected progress billings, spiking building material cost and impairments on receivables and completed inventories. (The Star)

Sunway Property revises sales target upwards to RM2.2bil

Sunway Property announced an upward revision of its property sales target to RM2.2 billion from its previously set target of RM1.6 billion in January 2021, following higher contribution from its overseas projects. In Singapore, the developer recorded sales in excess of RM1 billion mainly attributable to the successful launches of Ki Residences — a private condominium in Clementi, and Parc Central — an executive condominium in Tampines. In Malaysia, the developer has brought forward the launch of Sunway Belfield’s second tower, which has a GDV of RM360 million. Sunway Property’s managing director Sarena Cheah said the company has realigned the composition of the projects to be launched in the second half of 2021 (2H2021) based on the rapidly changing market demands. Meanwhile, the developer’s total land bank stands at 3,334 acres with a potential GDV of over RM52 billion. (The Edge)

EU: Anyone with WHO-approved Covid-19 jabs can enter, ‘digital cert’ not even compulsory

The European Union (EU) has clarified that anybody who has received Covid-19 vaccines authorised by its member countries are allowed to enter, following reports that the EU Digital Covid Certificate only approves jabs approved by the bloc. It added that its member states have also lifted travel restrictions for those who received Covid-19 vaccines that are yet to be approved by the EU, as long as the manufacturers have gone through the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing process. “There is no obstacle or hurdle. Therefore, some recent reporting concerning the AstraZeneca vaccines’ origin is inaccurate,” it added. The union said that the digital proof of one’s status on Covid-19 dubbed “EU Digital Covid Certificate” is not a prerequisite for travelling in the EU nor a compulsory document, but simply a practical tool. The union advised Malaysians who wish to travel to its Member States to check the entry requirements for the countries they wish to visit. (Malay Mail)