Hamzah: No longer govt’s full responsibility to ensure SOP compliance

The government, especially the enforcement agencies under the Home Ministry, should not be made fully responsible for ensuring compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs), especially with the increasing relaxations given to the people. Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said all parties should together play a role by making compliance with the SOPs a normal practice, especially with the impending announcement of Covid-19 in the country as endemic. “We have other strategies like in safeguarding our border areas and entry points against illegal entry by individuals and those carrying drugs and so on. Let us focus on these,” he said. Hamzah said the government should also not be blamed for those not playing their part in ensuring SOP compliance including employers who should be responsible for their workers. “ It (SOP compliance) should start with the employers. If they see to it but are unhappy with the implementation to a certain extent, they can report to us and we will send a team to the factory concerned,” he added. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia ends 2020 Tokyo Paralympic campaign in style with 5 medals

What an extraordinarily talented bunch they are. That’s the only conclusion one can come to when describing the national contingent’s 12-day battle for medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as the curtain finally comes down on the Games in the Land of the Rising Sun. Not only did they meet the three-gold target, but the national contingent also created history when they ended the medal quest with two silvers to make this the country’s best-ever achievement since competing in the first edition in 1972 in Heidelberg, Germany. Malaysia’s previous best was at the 2016 Rio edition when the contingent returned home with three golds and one bronze. However, there was disappointment when defending champion Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli was denied the gold medal in the men’s shot put F20 category. He was classified as Did Not Start (DNS) following a protest lodged by Ukraine, who claimed that Muhammad Ziyad was late to enter the call room. To ensure that the Paralympians continue to maintain the performance shown in Rio 2016 and Tokyo at future Games, Megat D Shahriman, who is also the PCM president, said they would work more closely with the National Sports Council (NSC), especially in further developing the athletes’ potential. (Malay Mail)

Developers go on affordable housing path to achieve sales

Although the pandemic continues to pose challenges and create uncertainties, property developers have been able to maintain solid performances. Several listed companies, in announcing their earnings during the latest corporate results season, say their sales targets for 2021 are either are on track, have been achieved or revised upwards. An analyst says many property developers, following a tough 2020, have stuck with what had worked best for them. “Digitalisation has been a big part of their marketing strategies and it has worked wonders. Nevertheless, the property market is about physical products and many developers have churned out units that are best catered to customer needs.” Another property analyst says many developers have been focusing on affordable homes, adding that the strategy has worked for numerous players. “The ongoing Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) is also playing a big part in spurring the market,” he says. On a one-year basis, the KL Property Index – which is made up of listed shares of property companies – has risen more than 11%, thus reflecting the resilience of the local property industry. (The Star)

October reopening of tertiary institutions in the works

The Higher Education Ministry is planning to allow students of higher learning institutions to return to campus for the 2021/2022 academic session through its IPT Recovery Plan (Pemulih IPT) starting in October. Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad said the move to reopen all IPT under all phases of the National Recovery Plan was in line with efforts to enable university students to return to their campus after being fully vaccinated. Noraini said she had met Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to propose university students and staff be given priority in getting their Covid-19 jabs at their respective locality. She said they projected that 1.296 million vaccine doses were needed to vaccinate 648,000 students, adding that it proposed that the vaccination centres at IPT be designated for university students and staff. (The Star)

ESG among new trends in property development

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a conducive environment and living space for all. This links to the rising trend in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda for stainability, and mitigation of climate change. As ESG has become a value-driver for property development, the new norm of working and staying at home has also influenced designs for a safe and spacious home. With sustainability measures as part of its DNA, S P Setia Bhd strives to connect thriving communities through its development philosophy of “live learn work play”. Similarly cognisant of market needs, Sime Darby Property has seen a strong demand for freehold landed homes within a reasonable distance from big cities. Meanwhile, with working from home (WFH) being the popular topic in town, the concepts of being “people-centric” and focus on “home making” are important in the design thinking process at Mah Sing Group Bhd. UEM Sunrise is also addressing new ESG-driven design needs, particularly through spatial flexibility and non-superfluous architectural elements, that are cost-optimised. (The Star)

Muhyiddin appointed as National Recovery Council chairman

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been appointed as the National Recovery Council chairman, with the position considered to be a minister-level appointment. “This appointment was made based on the government’s confidence in Muhyiddin’s capability to spearhead the country’s recovery strategy in order to achieve the best economic impact and improve the people’s livelihood which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, adding that the Cabinet decided this on Sept 1 and the appointment had been presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Muhyiddin tendered his resignation as prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Aug 16 after having held the position since March 2020. (The Star)