Melaka to enter Phase Two, Negri Sembilan to Phase Three from Sept 4

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that Melaka will enter Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), while Negri Sembilan will proceed to Phase Three on September 4. This leaves Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya and Kedah as the only states and federal territories in Phase One. He also said that the government’s special committee to address Covid-19 has given the go-ahead for Langkawi to be the first tourist destination in the country to reopen as part of a travel bubble pilot project from September 16. Other destinations will be allowed to operate in a similar capacity once they hit an 80% vaccination rate, he added. Ismail Sabri also said he believes that Malaysia is on the right track after recording a national infectivity rate of below Rt 1.0 for the first time in months. (Malay Mail)

Bank Negara joins digital currency initiative

Bank Negara will be testing the use of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) for international settlements under a multi-national initiative codenamed Project Dunbar. In a joint-statement, Bank Negara said it would join hands with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Monetary Authority of Singapore and South African Reserve Bank for the initiative. Project Dunbar, led by BIS Innovation Hub’s Singapore Centre, aims to develop prototype shared platforms for cross-border transactions using multiple CBDCs. These multi-CBDC platforms will allow financial institutions to transact directly with each other in the digital currencies issued by participating central banks, eliminating the need for intermediaries and cutting the time and cost of transactions. The results of the initiative, expected to be published in early 2022, will inform the development of future platforms for global and regional settlements. According to Bank Negara assistant governor Fraziali Ismail, the multi-CBDC shared platform has the potential to leapfrog the legacy payment arrangements and serve as a foundation for a more efficient international settlement platform. (The Star)

JB set to strengthen position as international land gateway on completion of RTS Link, EDTP

Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) is expected to strengthen its role and position as Johor Baru becomes a major international land gateway when the Malaysia-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project and the railway Gemas-Johor Baru Electrified Double-Tracking Project (EDTP) are completed soon. Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said he believes the two mega projects are set to be the main contributor to economic recovery efforts in the state, thus benefitting the people and further develop Johor Baru City. The completion of the two projects will also directly support the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) in the city. “The IIBD project, which covers 100 hectares in the middle of Johor Baru Sentral district, will become the ‘The Southern Gateway of Malaysia’ and ‘The next best option to live, work and play in Southeast Asia after Singapore’,” he said. (Malay Mail)

UEM Edgenta to transform into tech-enabled, healthcare-focused solutions provider

UEM Edgenta Bhd, whose digital healthcare solutions segment contributed 64% to the group’s revenue in the first six months ended June 30, 2021 (H1’21), is embarking on transforming itself into a tech-enabled solutions company with a focus on healthcare by 2025. UEM Edgenta managing director and CEO Syahrunizam Samsudin said of all of its business segments, healthcare offers the highest growth. This is not just because of Covid-19, but in general health is going to be the main agenda for the world in the next 15 to 20 years as technology continues to drive innovation and healthcare, to drive different types of solutions to diseases, and to provide data for assets management. In H1’21, its healthcare support division reported a 14.1% y-o-y revenue growth that was supported by the operationalisation of key contracts wins from Singapore and Taiwan, as well as higher variation orders for Malaysia’s concession business. (The Sun Daily)

Pahang govt says land owners have until Sept 30 to pay quit rent

The Pahang government has agreed to extend payment for this year’s quit rent by land owners in the state until September 30. As such, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said penalty for late payment will only be imposed from October 1. “The decision is hoped will enable landowners to continue to show high commitment in fulfilling their responsibility to pay quit rent,” he said. The announcement on the extension is the second this year. Quit rent is required to be paid by May 31 every year, but last May 19, the state government extended the payment to until August 31, before extending it again until end of this month. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia yet to decide on vaccination for children

Malaysia has yet to decide to go ahead with Covid-19 vaccination exercise for children below 12 years old, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. “There has been no approval for paediatric vaccination yet in Malaysia or anywhere else. It’s still under review by regulatory agencies… Once there is enough data to support that it is safe to give out to children, then we will take that to the vaccination committee for consideration and for us to decide,” he said. According to him, vaccine manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech was in the midst of producing a Covid-19 vaccine for children, and it would have a different dosage from adults. Khairy said the Health Ministry was also considering making Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in order to address the issue among anti-vaxxers. For the time being, however, he said the Government maintained its stance it was not going to legally mandate vaccines as mandatory. He added that a new policy on testing for Covid-19 would soon be implemented for those who refused to get vaccinated for non-medical reasons. (The Edge)