Malaysia could move towards Phase 2 of NRP by early August, says Ismail Sabri

The whole country will be able to move to Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) by early August if the country continues to see positive progress in its vaccination rates, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. This is one of the three thresholds required to progress to Phase Two. Ismail Sabri said more than 10% of the population have already been fully inoculated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK). “If these positive developments continue, the whole country will be able to move to Phase Two in early August, such as how Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak have done after surpassing the three thresholds under the NRP,” he said. Malaysia will reopen in four phases based on three main thresholds: the number of daily Covid-19 cases, the number of fully vaccinated people, and the state of the healthcare system. (The Star)

Malaysians’ average, median salaries in 2020 fall for first time since 2010

Malaysians received a lower amount of salary on average in 2020 as compared to 2019, the latest official statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) showed. The DoSM unveiled the findings of its 2020 Salaries & Wages Survey Report, which showed both mean and median salaries for Malaysians falling for the first time (in terms of amount) since the data series started in 2010. In 2020, the median monthly salaries and wages recorded a double-digit decline of 15.6% to RM2,062. The mean monthly salaries and wages received by Malaysian citizens in 2020 fell for the first time since the series of data began in 2010 by -9.0% to RM2,933. The drop in median monthly wages to RM2,062 in 2020 actually set it back to salary levels about four or five years ago at RM2,000 (2016) or RM2,160 (2017). Based on the DoSM report, the drop in median and mean monthly salaries in 2020 for Malaysians was recorded across the board, irrespective of gender, age (except for those between 40-44 years old), ethnicity, urban or rural locations, state, education levels or highest certificate obtained, skill level, and in almost all industries. The DoSM also observed that the Covid-19 crisis had resulted in containment measures throughout 2020 via different forms of the movement control order (MCO), which affected Malaysia’s economy and saw the unemployment rate increasing from 3.3% in 2019 to 4.5% in 2020. (Malay Mail)

IWH CREC’s deal to buy 60% of Bandar Malaysia terminated

Ministry of Finance’s wholly-owned TRX City Sdn Bhd and IWC CREC Sdn Bhd have mutually agreed to terminate the deal for the latter to buy a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia project that is located in the former air force base near Sungai Besi, southern Kuala Lumpur, for RM7.4 billion. It is understood that IWH CREC will get the refund of RM1.54 billion from the MOF following the termination — the total sum that the joint venture has paid on the staggered basis. ICSB is a joint venture between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd (CREC). Under the deal, ICSB had agreed to purchase a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia for RM7.4bil. The RASSA was executed on Dec 17, 2019. The termination came 28 months after the joint venture had worked hard to lobby to buy the 60% stake, when the agreement lapsed on May 6, 2021. Coincidentally, the deal was aborted after the government decided to cancel the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project by compensating Singapore. (The Star / The Edge)

Iskandar Investment looks at emerging technologies, agritech to develop Iskandar Puteri

The development of Iskandar Puteri in Johor — one of the five flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia — is moving into the phase where the creation of an economic and industrial ecosystem will be ramped up to grow the city into one that is globally recognised. In this phase starting in 2022, the catalytic developer and master planner of Iskandar Puteri, Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB), will focus on attracting investments in agriculture technology (agritech) and emerging technology such as drones, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR). For the emerging technology sector, IIB is spearheading Iskandar Next, an umbrella programme that focuses on digital and talent development. Last November, DRZ Iskandar — Asia’s first drone zone — was launched. The dedicated drone and robotic zone is targeted to attract RM351 million in investments by 2025. IIB has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Malaysian Technology Development Corporation to establish a robotic centre of excellence. Specifically for the development of the blockchain industry in Iskandar Puteri, the Blockchain Village @ Medini (BV@M) was launched in 2019. IIB president and CEO Datuk Khairil Anwar Ahmad says the effort to develop Iskandar Puteri’s economic ecosystem in the emerging technology will be intensified. (The Edge)

Malaysia maintains top-ranked position in Global Muslim Travel Index 2021

Malaysia has once again topped the list of best Muslim-friendly holiday destinations for Muslim travellers according to MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2021. Malaysia remained the top-ranked destination in the GMTI 2021 as it had been since the launch of the index which monitors the overall performance of the Muslim travel market in 2015. Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said Malaysia remains fully supportive and committed to further developing the Muslim-friendly Travel segment, which has become increasingly significant to the global tourism market. She also noted the key roles of the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), an entity under Motac in charge of Islamic tourism-related affairs, particularly Islamic Tourism research and training as contributions towards the recognition. The GMTI 2021 report ranks 140 destinations on their readiness to attract the Muslim travel market in the Covid-19 environment taking into account key factors including ease of access, environment and services provided by travel destination. (Malay Mail)