Health minister invokes Act 342, says political gatherings for election not allowed

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced that it is prohibiting all activities, gatherings or social meetings related to political campaigning for next month’s Melaka polls. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin cited the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988, also known as Act 342, for the prohibition. He said this stance is also in line with the prohibited activities listed under Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP). “In the interest of public health, all political gatherings will now not be allowed in Melaka,” he said in a series of tweets. Khairy noted that the Election Commission has said it will be announcing the SOPs, but added that those would only apply when official election campaign begins — which is on November 8, as it has been designated as Nomination Day for the Melaka state election. “These restrictions will come into effect from October 25 until November 27, 2021,” he added. (Malay Mail)

Retail REITs to benefit from reopening of economy

With the reopening of most economic activities as Malaysia adopts the living with the virus stance backed by a rapid vaccination programme that has covered close to 95% of the adult population, retail real estate investment trusts (REITs) “may be worth a closer look although much also depends on where their assets are located”. A REIT analyst with a non-bank-backed research house told the weekly that she sees encouraging recovery in retail sales, especially during the year-end festive period. The analyst also added that “the rental revision outlook may not be so positive” owing to the “headwinds in the retail space, which is plagued by a significant glut”. As for rental subsidies, she feels that they do not need “to be further prolonged given that all retailers have been allowed to open”. “We expect a strong recovery in consumer spending due to pent-up demand, especially as later phases of the NRP will coincide with the seasonally stronger 4Q,” said RHB Research analyst Loong Kok Wen. (The Edge)

Pahang plans to build international airport in Gebeng

The National Physical Planning Council has basically agreed with Pahang government’s plan to build a new international airport in Gebeng. Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said it was decided in a meeting on Thursday and the state government was asked to conduct an in-depth study on the project, which would be part of Pahang’s plan to developed an aerospace city in Gebeng by 2050. “There is a need to build a new airport because there is still no international airport in the east coast and this can provide better transport infrastructure facilities, revive the economy and the tourism sector. We are also taking into account the fact that we cannot expand the existing airport (Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Airport) because it belongs to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) which may involve security factors,” he said. (Malay Mail)

KL City Golden Jubilee on Feb 1, 2022, says minister

Kuala Lumpur City will celebrate its Golden Jubilee (1972-2022) on February 1 next year, said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim. He said the celebration is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of Kuala Lumpur as the first city in Malaysia in 1972. A logo, slogan and mascot was launched for a 100-day countdown in conjunction with the celebration. Shahidan said the celebration was to foster a sense of awareness and belonging to the city of Kuala Lumpur through greater involvement in the anniversary programme. Fifty programmes and a hive of activities have been lined up for city residents with the purpose of bonding for more inclusivity between DBKL, society and relevant authorities. (Malay Mail)

Singapore to resume travel from South Asia, eases measures for those from Malaysia, Indonesia

Travellers from six countries that Singapore was previously closed off to will be allowed to enter from Wednesday, as the nation continues to adjust border measures in response to the global Covid-19 situation. All travellers, excluding short-term visitors, with a 14-day travel history to Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, said the Ministry of Health on Saturday (Oct 23). MOH also said that it will be easing measures for travellers from several other countries, including Malaysia and Indonesia. Changes that come into effect on Wednesday include the loosening of measures for travellers from Singapore’s closest neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, who will automatically serve their 10-day SHN at a declared place of residence or accommodation instead of a dedicated SHN facility. Singapore classifies countries and regions into four categories based on their Covid-19 situation and risk profile, with differentiated border measures for each category. (The Star)

China to expand property tax trial to check speculation

China is set to expand pilot property tax reforms, state media reported, as the government battles real estate speculation in the world’s second-biggest economy. China’s housing market took off after key 1998 reforms sparked a building boom on the back of rapid urbanisation and wealth accumulation. But as prices soared, so did worries about wealth disparity and the resulting potential for social instability. China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, on Saturday approved the latest plan to promote “rational housing consumption”. Under the five-year pilot scheme, property tax will be levied on all types of real estate, excluding some rural homes. Further details, such as its start date and target areas, are expected to be disclosed at a later date. In 2011, authorities started trials in Shanghai and Chongqing targeting high-end private residential properties for taxation. (Malay Mail)