Malaysia’s vaccination rate speeds past the US

Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 vaccination rate is now higher than the fastest rate recorded in many countries including the United States. According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data website, Malaysia’s daily vaccination rate per 100 population reached a high of 1.27 on July 19. This is higher than the United States, which peaked at 1.01 vaccine doses per 100 people on April 13. Malaysia’s vaccination drive got off to a slow start but things ramped up dramatically this month with the arrival of large amounts of vaccine that the country had purchased. While Malaysia still has some ground to cover in order to get 80% of its population vaccinated, its current pace puts the country in good stead. Other than the United States, Malaysia’s fastest rate is still ahead of the highest figures reached so far by other notable countries including South Korea (1.27), Spain (1.24), Japan (1.04), Germany (1.03), France (0.92) and the United Kingdom (0.89). (The Star)

Malaysia remains an attractive destination for high-value manufacturing, logistics sector

Malaysia remains an attractive destination for high-value manufacturing and global services in Asia due to its favourable investment environment, according to Knight Frank Malaysia’s latest publication, the Real Estate Highlights First Half of 2021 (REH). Knight Frank Malaysia executive director of capital markets, industrial Allan Sim said in the manufacturing space, the company particularly sees more interests surfacing in the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector driven by the global shortage of semiconductors and the 5G network roll-out. “Growth in the logistics sector is supported by more new requirements and space expansion from e-commerce players as well as last-mile logistics service providers. The accelerated shift from traditional retail to online order fulfilment will continue to generate strong demand to propel sustainable growth into the future,” he said. “We anticipate significant interests and growth potential in the E&E space moving forward, bolstered by current global demand for sensors, semiconductor, solar, internet of things (IoT) products, as well as further investments into artificial intelligence (AI), smart machines of the future,” he added. (NST Online)

MoF launches JanaNiaga to assist SMEs maintain cash flow

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has launched the National Supply Chain Finance Platform, dubbed as “JanaNiaga”, with an aim to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in maintaining a healthy cash flow while also limiting credit risk to financiers or financial institutions in Malaysia. The programme is a national initiative by the ministry to help SMEs finance their dealings with public institutions and government-linked companies (GLCs), as part of the government’s efforts to alleviate economic struggles during the ongoing pandemic. Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said today the JanaNiaga platform will be led by the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia (EXIM Bank), with the involvement of several financial institutions in Malaysia, as previously announced during Budget 2021 in November last year. He noted that the initial RM300 million allocation by EXIM Bank is expected to grow up to RM1.2 billion with additional allocation from other financial institutions that will participate in JanaNiaga in phases. With the support of GLCs, Tengku Zafrul said SME suppliers will enjoy financing rates as low as 3.5% per annum for a financing margin of 100%, much lower than regular rates. Funding applications are also to be made online, allowing each application to be approved within 24 hours. (The Edge)

Fitch: Malaysia’s consumer spending recovery faces headwinds, to stretch into 2022

Fitch Solutions has revised down its forecast for real household spending in Malaysia to post growth of 3% year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2021, from 11% previously, a recovery from the 3.7% y-o-y contraction estimated over 2020, as a result of surging cases and the re-implementation of stricter restrictions on movement and non-essential retail. In nominal terms, total household spending will be worth RM900 billion in 2021, slightly lower than the RM905 billion estimated for the pre-Covid-19 environment in 2019. Fitch said retail sales in Malaysia continue to be weak over 1H21, with growth mainly coming from a low base. This weakness stems from the lack of significant relaxation in restrictions, impacting both consumers and retailers. “We also note that continued restrictions on inter-district and inter-state travel within the Klang Valley, which accounts for 60% of retail sales in the country, will delay this recovery. However, we note that these restrictions continue to speed up the development of the country’s e-commerce sector. The online retail sales index, which portrays e-commerce activity continued to surged to record 23.1% growth y-o-y,” it said. Fitch believes that rising consumer price inflation is a key risk to consumer spending over the remainder of 2021, as it has the potential to erode purchasing power. (The Sun Daily)

Sheng Tai eyes RM1bil FDI with Malaysia’s first Cultural Tower plan in Melaka

Sheng Tai International Sdn Bhd announced a plan to transform one of the nine towers at The Sail Melaka project into Malaysia’s first Maritime Cultural Tower, targeted to attract about RM1 billion foreign direct investments from China. It said the Maritime Cultural Tower is one of the towers at the RM6.5 billion The Sail Melaka, a strategic development along the Melaka Waterfront Economic Zone (M-WEZ) which is set to be fully completed in 2024. The development will feature five-star and six-star luxury hotels; high-end condotels; business suites; a million square feet luxury shopping mall as well as a cultural square with shop lots overlooking the Straits of Melaka. “Measuring at 350,000 sq ft , the 61-storey cultural tower can house up to 1,000 businesses from various industries, including arts and culture, baba nyonya, fashion, food, and education. The size of each suite can come up to 2,000 sq ft, priced from RM500,000,” it said. (The Edge)

The Sail Melaka – Sheng Tai International
Artist impression of The Sail Melaka (Source: Sheng Tai International)

Penang Housing Board identifies 10 plots of land for affordable housing

The Penang Housing Board has identified 10 plots of land in all five districts of the state to build affordable housing units for the people, said state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo. The Local Government, Housing and Town and Country Planning Committee chairman said the Penang Housing Board had a meeting to finalise its first affordable housing project at Bukit Gedung recently. “The planning for the first project is at an advanced stage now, we will be calling for a Request for Proposal for the project in October,” he said. A total of 1,267 units will be built in the project. The 10 plots of land the Penang Housing Board will be using to build affordable housing projects are in Jelutong on the island and on the mainland, in Perai, Ampang Jajar, Juru, Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth and Bandar Cassia. The Penang Housing Board aims to build a total of 20,912 units of affordable housing on the 10 plots of land. (Malay Mail)