New Cabinet expected this week

The Cabinet line-up will be announced this week, but not before being presented to the King for consent, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The newly-minted Prime Minister said he would announce the line-up once Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to it. He also called on the public not to believe in a purported Cabinet list that had gone viral, saying it was fake. On the National Recovery Council (NRC) and Special Committee on Covid-19, Ismail Sabri said the Opposition had shown encouraging response to his suggestion of cooperation with the new government. Ismail Sabri, however, said no Opposition MPs would be part of the new Cabinet as the new Federal Government was not a unity government. He said it was imperative that political stability was swiftly achieved through togetherness, and this included cross-party cooperation. Asked who would be his deputy, Ismail Sabri said he would consider all parties involved. The current main contenders for the deputy prime minister’s post are Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali. (The Star)

Kuala Lumpur ranks 32nd on Safe Cities Index 2021, slightly better than in 2019

Kuala Lumpur made it to the 32nd place among 60 other cities in the Safe Cities Index 2021 released today by The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU), improving slightly from the 35th position it occupied in 2019. The Safe Cities Index 2021 ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators covering digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security. Among the 60 cities polled, Copenhagen topped the list, followed by Toronto, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Under the digital security pillar, Sydney led the category followed by Singapore and Copenhagen, while Kuala Lumpur ranked 35th place. As for the health security pillar, Tokyo led the category followed by Singapore and Hong Kong, while Kuala Lumpur ranked 38th. For infrastructure security, Kuala Lumpur ranked 37th. According to EIU, while they found that most cities have strong environmental security policies, they must now deliver results. Under this category, Kuala Lumpur ranked 10th. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia critically needs trade-based solutions, says BNM

Malaysia critically needs trade-based solutions to ease liquidity constraints brought by COVID-19 pandemic, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) assistant governor Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid. He said the pandemic, which led to subdued domestic demand and stringent containment measures, had resulted in a liquidity squeeze among Malaysian businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). While measures have been introduced to lessen the burden of SMEs, Adnan Zaylani said these were merely a temporary backstop and prolonged assistance of this form might not be sustainable. According to him, trade-based solutions can offer a viable option where funding is tailored to the lifecycle of production, allowing companies to obtain short-term liquidity via the sale of current assets such as receivables and inventories to financial institutions without increasing their indebtedness. He said as a trading nation, Malaysia could lose US$65.3 billion worth of annual export revenue if the country did not embrace the transition towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy by 2025. “It is clear that sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have but an imperative business consideration critical for long-term survival,” he said. (The Star)

Real estate players want measures in Budget 2022 to tackle rising cost of property

While the country awaits the formation of the new Cabinet and the release later in the year of Budget 2022, an online survey conducted by Kuala Lumpur-headquartered real estate technology group Juwai IQI discovered that a top priority for real estate professionals around the country is for steps that address the rising cost of property. About 75% of surveyed agents agreed with the statement that “The government should do more to address the rising cost of property”. Juwai IQI co-founder and group CEO Kashif Ansari said Malaysia has a relatively young population and workforce. This creates strong demand for affordable residential properties in the major metropolitan areas. People are moving from rural areas to Kuala Lumpur and urban areas in Selangor, Penang and Johor, but property prices in these places have increased over the past five years. At the same time, the urban population has increased by 20%, from 20 million to 25 million. “The pandemic has temporarily slowed the rate of urbanisation, but the rural-urban population shift will resume once Covid is behind us,” he said. The process of urbanisation and the global wave of rising asset costs have pushed prices up even higher than predicted. Agents in this survey told us they believe more measures are needed, he added. (The Sun Daily)

Pahang ready to move into Phase 3 of National Recovery Plan, says MB

Pahang is expected to move into Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (PPN) very soon after meeting all the threshold indicators set, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said. He said these include the percentage of those fully vaccinated, intensive care unit bed usage, and the state’s low Covid-19 infection numbers. “Data shows that 40 per cent of the state’s 480,000 adult population have completed two doses of vaccine, which is one of the indicators set for phase three,” he said. Besides the percentage of individuals already vaccinated, other threshold indicators set include that bed usage in the intensive care units (ICUs) should be at a safe level and daily Covid-19 cases should be below 2,000. Wan Rosdy was also optimistic that Pahang will be able to achieve its herd immunity target at the end of October, before the onset of the monsoon season. (Malay Mail)

Singapore is top destination for overseas real estate investments in 1H2021

Singapore’s real estate investment growth doubled to US$4.7 billion (RM20 billion) in the first half of 2021, a surge of 97% compared with a year ago, reported Business Times. The report, citing Real Capital Analytics (RCA) newly released report – “Asia Pacific Capital Trends 2Q2021”, said over half of the total capital inflows are from international investors. This also enabled Singapore to top the list of overseas investment destinations for the first time ever. RCA noted that the investment capital is mostly flowing into the office and industrial sectors. The report said Singapore’s strong real estate investment market performance in 1H2021 is in line with a continued recovery in the Asia-Pacific region, which saw steady sales growth in almost all major markets in the second quarter this year. According to the report, investment activity across the Asia Pacific region increased to US$77.6 billion in the 1H2021, up 8% from the same period in 2020. (The Edge)