Agong accepts PM’s resignation, Muhyiddin is now caretaker PM

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has accepted Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation along with his cabinet. In a statement posted on the Istana Negara Facebook page yesterday, Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King has consented to Muhyiddin taking over the role of caretaker prime minister until his successor is appointed. “This is in accordance with Article 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution which states that His Majesty must appoint a member of the Dewan Rakyat who in his opinion commands the confidence of the majority of Dewan Rakyat members as the new Prime Minister to chair the cabinet,” the statement said. The Ruler also opined that the execution of the 15th General Election (GE15) is not the best option (to appoint a new government) after taking into consideration the safety and wellbeing of the people during the current Covid-19 pandemic. (NST Online)

Govt initiatives will continue to run smoothly’

The day-to-day administration of the civil service will not be disrupted by the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister, says Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali. The country’s top civil servant said cooperation between government agencies was solid and would ensure existing programmes and initiatives could be implemented successfully. “Security personnel, including those from the police and the armed forces, remain on standby in ensuring peace and public order is maintained,” said Mohd Zuki in a statement after Muhyiddin’s resignation as prime minister yesterday. He added that Federal Government initiatives involving large allocations, particularly the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, had not been affected. Separately, Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman urged civil servants to be neutral and to steer clear of politics. “We must always adhere to the principle of neutrality. The allegiance of public servants is to the King, country and the government,” said Khairul Adib in a statement. (The Star)

Govt urged to relax terms for MM2H programme

The government should relax the “harsh” conditions set in the latest Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) requirements before it resumes in October, says the Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda). Shareda president Datuk Chua Soon Ping said the raising of the required monthly offshore income from RM10,000 to RM40,000 requirement was among the more “problematic” terms that would discourage potential applicants. “The government’s move to raise the bar defeats the spirit of the programme of encouraging foreigners to invest in Malaysia,” he said. He said the raise is unrealistic as the pandemic affected the whole world, including the applicants. He added that Malaysia is now in need of foreign investment as the economy has been badly affected by the pandemic. He also said that the government needs to make the MM2H scheme attractive as Malaysia is also competing with other countries like Thailand,Singapore and Australia. “We should attract more foreign knowledge workers, skilled workers, professionals and entrepreneurs who will have positive impact to the building of our nation,” added Chua. (The Star)

We need the best brains’, Dr Noor Hisham says in pushing greater investment in Malaysia’s public health

Malaysia needs to prioritise the development of its public health experts to prepare the country for future pandemics, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said. The Health director-general said there was a dearth of specialists dealing with public health, adding that the best brains were concentrated in other areas of medicine and healthcare. “We need the best brain in public health. We are under invested in public health. Public health has a wide spectrum and we need to really recognise the sub-specialty in public health so we could develop a forte for all the areas and we need to really focus and give attention to public health,” he said. He proposed that each ministry have its own public health experts to advise on public policies going forward. He also noted that the number of public health specialists had dwindled over the years. He also suggested integrating public and private healthcare as part of the transformation. (Malay Mail)

Home prices in world’s most expensive market break record

Hong Kong’s home prices jumped to a record high, joining other global real estate markets that are soaring on low mortgage rates and rising demand as the pandemic slowly recedes. Values for resale houses rose 0.65% for the week ended Aug 8, according to Centaline Property Agency Ltd. Residential property values have increased 8.6% since the beginning of the year. Outsized demand, limited supply and low borrowing costs have fueled the world’s most expensive property market even amid concerns about the city’s future after the protests and the introduction of a national security law by China last year. The abundance of liquidity has also resulted in soaring prices in other major financial centres around the world. The rising prices also signal that a potential exodus of residents to the UK via a new visa program hasn’t hurt the real estate market in Hong Kong. In addition to the strong demand from local buyers, mainland Chinese investors are helping boost the market. (The Edge)

WCT sells 602 acres of land in Serendah for RM214mil

Builder WCT Holdings Bhd said a unit of its property development arm has disposed 602.5 acres of land in Serendah, Selangor for RM214.3mil cash. The estimated total gain from the disposal was RM45.5mil, the company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia. The company said WCT Land Bhd’s wholly owned Jubilant Courtyard Sdn Bhd on Monday has entered into a sale and purchase agreement to dispose the 12 parcels of freehold land to privately owned MDCon (Simpang Empat) Sdn Bhd. (The Star)