Interstate travel likely to be allowed by first half of October

Interstate travel will likely be allowed during the first half of October, says National Recovery Council chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Muhyiddin said the issue was one of the things discussed during the council’s meeting yesterday. “So, you can start making plans to travel the country after this. But at the same time, do not forget to practise Covid-19 SOPs (standard operating procedure),” said Muhyiddin. “The reopening of the country’s borders was also discussed… They will be looking into whether to allow fully vaccinated Malaysians to travel abroad. At the same time, it will also be discussed whether to allow tourists and business travellers into our country,” said Muhyiddin. It was the first time Muhyiddin had chaired the NRC meeting since being appointed as chairman of the council. (The Star)

12th Malaysia Plan: RM2.25bil allocation in housing assistance for the poor

The government has allocated RM2.25 billion to provide housing assistance to the poor under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. He said the allocation was to build and repair 85,500 units of houses, namely 75,000 units in rural areas and almost 10,500 units in urban areas, under the Housing Assistance Programme from 2021 to 2025. “However, it does not include the construction of houses under state governments, corporate sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs),” he said. The government would also build another 500,000 units of affordable homes for B40 and M40 groups. He said that the government would also improve financing facilities including the Fund for Affordable Homes, Youth Housing Scheme and Rent-to-Own (RTO) programme to ease the burden of these groups in paying their installment. (Malay Mail)

Khairy: Sarawak to start administering Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in October

Sarawak will start administering the Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in October, making it the first state to do so, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin. He said the Ministry of Health (MOH) is now drawing up the clinical guidelines on administering the vaccine booster shots, with the focus on the high-risk group of those aged 60 years and above and those with serious comorbidities. Sarawak will be the first state to start the booster dose programme. “One of the matters to be dealt with in the clinical guidelines is the type of vaccine to be given. We are still contemplating whether to give the same type of vaccine or a different one,” he said. (The Edge)

12MP: Nation to implement low-carbon, clean and resilient development plan

Malaysia will implement a low-carbon, clean and resilient development plan to achieve sustained socio-economic growth, according to the 12MP report. Focus will be placed on efforts to attain a low-carbon nation status, accelerate the transition to becoming a circular economy, share responsibility in reducing pollution as well as intensify climate change adaptation and risk reduction measures. Collaborative efforts among federal, state and local governments as well as the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) will be intensified to support the transition to a low-carbon nation. The 12MP report noted that towards fulfilling the nation’s Paris Agreement commitment to reduce up to 45% of GHG emissions intensity to GDP by 2030. Additionally, the 12MP report said evidence-based and risk-informed actions, as well as integrated approaches for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, will be undertaken in development planning. (The Edge)

Malaysia’s DuitNow, Singapore’s PayNow to link in 2022

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) plan to begin a phased linkage of Malaysia’s DuitNow and Singapore’s PayNow real-time payment systems. BNM said the first phase of the DuitNow-PayNow linkage would be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022 and would allow customers of participating financial institutions to make real-time fund transfers between Malaysia and Singapore using just a mobile number. “The project will enable more seamless payments for the high volume of remittances between Malaysia and Singapore, which reached RM4.2 billion in 2020,” it said in a statement. The central bank said the project would also cater to travellers between both countries, which saw sizeable pre-pandemic traffic of about 12 million arrivals yearly on average. (The Star)

Theme parks in Malaysia may reopen to public in Nov after 90% adults vaccinated

Theme parks nationwide will be allowed to open after the country’s vaccination rate among its adult population has reached 90%, scheduled end of November, said Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Santhara Kumar. He said it would also be subject to the approval by the National Security Council Health Ministry which are currently studying the SOP on the opening of the theme parks. He said the tourism industry players are currently preparing to revive the tourism sector which had been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Last Thursday, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the decision on the opening of theme parks in the country would be announced soon. (Malay Mail)

Penang CM: Not considering third bridge as alternative to undersea tunnel project for now

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today said that the state government is not considering building a third bridge for Penang to replace the proposed undersea tunnel project. He admitted that the state government will not dismiss the possibility of building a bridge instead of an undersea tunnel, but it was not being considered at the moment. “Any decision on this project will only be done after the feasibility study is officially presented to the state government,” he said. The Penang lawmaker was responding to news reports that claimed that the state government might consider building a third bridge instead of the undersea tunnel. Chow said despite the state explaining the details of the undersea tunnel and three-highway project many times since the tender had been awarded in 2012, there are still many irresponsible parties who distort the facts of the project. (Malay Mail)