November is Keluarga Malaysia Month, says PM

Despite a population of various races, religions and ethnicities, Malaysia has remained a strong and harmonious nation which has helped it to prosper. “I want to stress here again that no one will be left behind under the Keluarga Malaysia philosophy,” said Ismail Sabri. He also announced that starting this year, the annual National Family Month will be known as the Keluarga Malaysia Month celebrations. The celebration, which is usually held in November, he said, will serve as a platform to strengthen ties and enhance inclusivity among people from various races and religions in the country. Elaborating on the rebranding of the celebrations, he said this was in line with the objectives of the National Family Policy to develop the wellbeing of families so they are healthy, strong and resilient in facing future challenges. (NST Online)

Ivory Properties expects increase in demand for Penang residential properties

Ivory Properties Group Bhd expects to see an increase in demand for residential properties in Penang, underpinned by the opening of borders, the government’s stimulus plan and softening of property prices. Group CEO Datuk Low Eng Hock said property prices have softened due to Covid-19 and this would likely stimulate property-buying sprees from investors or occupiers, especially following the government’s announcement in Budget 2022. “We foresee an increase in the demand for residential properties, especially among foreigners from Hong Kong, China, Singapore, as well as Penangites residing overseas, as well as foreign financial providers as they are the key drivers of our operations,” he said. One of the group’s ongoing projects include a 312-unit serviced suites atop a four-storey commercial podium, called The Wave, which is phase three of Penang Times Square, and is expected to fully be completed in the second quarter of 2022. Moving forward, he said the Penang-based property group would be occupied with the upcoming launch of various projects with a total GDV of RM2.14 billion. (Malay Mail)

Melaka polls: Nomination process to adopt new norms, says EC

The Melaka state election which starts today with the nomination process at 28 nomination centres, will be held in new norms in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Precautionary measures still needed to be taken to prevent the state polls from triggering a new Covid-19 cluster even though more than 95% of the country’s adult population has been fully vaccinated. Based on the guidelines set by the Election Commission (EC), only candidates, as well as their proposers and seconders, are allowed to enter the nomination centre. Candidates are also not allowed to walk in a parade with their supporters or hold any group activities. The Election Commission (EC) has set the voting date for the Melaka state polls on Nov 20 while the nomination of candidates is on Nov 8 and early voting on Nov 16. (Malay Mail)

Finance Ministry: Change of govt official cars aimed at reducing costs

The change of government official cars from Proton Perdana 2.4 Premium to Toyota Vellfire 2.5L would result in reduced payments, the Finance Ministry said. According to a statement issued by the ministry, the monthly payment for a Toyota Vellfire 2.5L was RM4,851.61 compared to RM4,854.41 for a Proton Perdana 2.4 Premium. The Finance Ministry noted that the switch was also due to Proton ending the production of Proton Perdana 2.4 Premium in 2014, adding that the proposal to switch models was made by the previous government but only implemented this year. The government’s decision to switch models for ministers’ official cars, a replacement process that began last April, had recently gone viral on social media. (Malay Mail)

Malaysia, Australia discussing possibility of reopening borders

Malaysia and Australia are discussing the possibility of reopening borders between the two countries as soon as possible, says Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. He said the health ministers of both countries are also discussing the matter and he said he was hopeful it could be concluded soon. His visiting Australian counterpart Senator Marise Payne noted that like Malaysia, Australia also had very strict controls in place, both domestically and at the country’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She said Australia is gradually reopening its borders and eager to see the return of international travellers, including Malaysian international students. Both ministers said the meeting touched on various areas under the CSP framework such as trade and investment, education, tourism, defence, people-to-people ties, as well as post-Covid-19 cooperation. (The Star)

Global COVID-19 cases near 250 million as Delta surge eases

Worldwide cases due to COVID-19 were approaching 250 million on Sunday as the surge from the Delta variant eases and more normal trade and tourism resume, although some countries in eastern Europe are experiencing record outbreaks. Over the last three months, the daily average number of cases has fallen by 36%, according to a Reuters analysis. Health experts are optimistic that many nations have put the worst of the pandemic behind them thanks to vaccines and natural exposure, although they caution that colder weather and upcoming holiday gatherings could increase cases. Infections are still rising in 55 out of 240 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Greece at or near record levels of reported cases since the pandemic started two years ago. More than half of the world’s population has yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (The Star)