Highlights:

  1. Property prices in Malaysia decline 2.5 percent
  2. FMM aims for closer, regular engagements with government
  3. Malaysia hosts International Solid Waste Association World Congress
  4. RHB invests in children and youth development for a sustainable future
  5. Hangzhou to become China´s first digital economy city
  6. Taiwan investigates train crash that killed 18

Property Prices in Malaysia Decline 2.5 percent
The PropertyGuru Market Index (“PMI”) shows that asking prices of homes in Malaysia continue to drop nationwide as well as the key property epicentres of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor and Penang. The downward trend is reflected in both quarterly and annual price movements despite improved consumer sentiment of 42 percent and 53 percent of Malaysians wishing to buy a home by the end of 2018. In the third quarter of 2018 (“Q3 2018”), the PMI showed that asking prices by real estate developers and individual owners nationwide had dipped by 1.8 percent from the preceding quarter. Year-on-year, prices show a 2.5 percent drop. Notably, amidst oversupply of properties and new market supply, properties in certain market segments and certain locations are coming under increased pressure with sellers continuing to discount prices to secure buyers. Similar to the national trend, all key property epicentres in Q3 2018, recorded a quarterly decrease. Kuala Lumpur saw the largest drop by 3.2 percent from the previous quarter, followed by Johor at 3.3 percent, Selangor at 1.8 percent and Penang at 1.3 percent. Johor has been on an upward trend experiencing an upward capital appreciation in the market from Q4 2016 till Q2 2018 until a slight Year-on-Year dip of 2.3 percent was recorded in Q3 2018.

FMM aims for closer, regular engagements with government
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) looks forward to closer and regular engagements with the government on relevant programmes and initiatives under the 11th Malaysia Plan’s (11MP) 19 priority areas and the six policy pillars’ 66 strategies. FMM President Datuk Soh Thian Lai said the federation was optimistic that these economic targets and aspirations would be executed and achieved through close collaboration and consultation between the government and the business sector. “In particular, this is for the manufacturing sector to receive better fitting policies in order to meet the challenging demands of competition and technological advancements,” he said in a statement today.  The FMM also applauded the government for tabling a comprehensive and pragmatic 11MP mid-term review plan to balance fiscal consolidation, while supporting inclusive growth by adjusting macro strategies and setting new priorities. Datuk Soh said the federation strongly believed that the local manufacturing sector could contribute significantly towards helping achieve the macro strategies of productivity, investments, moving up the value-chain and strengthening exports. He hoped that the proposals to increase government revenue as part of fiscal consolidation would not lead to additional and unnecessary regulatory burden to the manufacturing sector.

AirAsia starting Ipoh-Singapore flights from 2 December
AirAsia will start flying between Ipoh and Singapore from 2 December. Perak Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing. said the budget airline will fly the route four times a week. “With the participation of AirAsia in this golden route more choice can be provided to consumers in terms of better prices and different time slots,” he added.

RHB invests in children and youth development for a sustainable future
RHB Foundation (RHBF), today launched two educational initiatives as part of its commitment towards Nurturing Future Generations. Nurturing Future Generations (NFG) (pic), one of four pillars under RHBF aims to nurture and empower children and youth to achieve their fullest potential. Established in 2015, RHBF has allocated RM2 million to drive ‘RHB X-Cel’ and ‘RHB MoneyMaster’ initiatives over the next two years. ‘RHB X-Cel’ is an academic excellence programme aimed at providing deserving children and youth from the underprivileged segments of the community with equal opportunities to excel academically through structured learning aids and tuition classes, focusing on 5 core subjects. Introduced for the first time this year, more than 800 students from 18 schools across the nation have been selected to be part of this programme for academic year 2018. RHB X-Cel is expected to impact an additional 1000 students in 2019. Realizing the importance of personal financial management amongst children and youth, RHB also introduced ‘RHB Money Master’, a financial literacy programme, targeted at secondary schools and college/university students, to educate the younger generation in managing their finances, cultivating healthy savings habit and teaching them to achieve financial freedom at a young age. Launched in February this year, RHB Money Master includes 90-minute interactive sessions covering important topics such as savings tips, opening of banks accounts and how to recognise as well as avoid financial scams. To date, RHB has reached out to 9151 students from 43 schools across the nation.

Hangzhou to become China’s first digital economy city
China’s Hangzhou has planned a creative and courageous action plan to make the city as the ‘First City of China’s Digital Economy’ in five years according to the Information Office of Hangzhou Municipal People’s Government. Hangzhou mayor, Zhou Jiangyong said by 2022, the Hangzhou digital economy development system will basically take shape. The city will be built into an international first-class source with China’s digital economy ideas and technologies, gathering place for enterprises and talents, leading place for the development of digital industrialization and demonstration place for industrial digitization reform. Existing statistics shows that the added value of digital economy in Hangzhou accounts for more than 1/4 of the city’s total economic output and contributes more than 1/2 to the city’s economic growth, showing the idea to build the first city in the national digital economy process is real. Hangzhou has been a tourist city famous for its culture and scenery since ancient times and honored as ‘Paradise on Earth’. Today, Hangzhou has a new vitality in China’s economic geography because of the charm and potential have shown while developing digital economy. Driven by digital economy, the city has formed advantageous industries such as information software, E-commerce, cloud computing big data and digital content, with more than 20 leading enterprises such as Alibaba, NetEase and Hikvision emerging prominently. Hangzhou is striving to become the leading city in China’s digital economy development. Hangzhou aims to build several industrial centers with international influence in E-commerce, cloud computing and big data, artificial intelligence, digital content and others fields by 2022.

Taiwan investigates train crash that killed 18
Taiwan’s president pushed for a swift investigation today after an express train derailed on a coastal tourist route, killing 18 people. The crash on the popular east coast line injured another 187 people Sunday and left the Puyuma Express lying zig-zagged across the tracks in the island’s worst rail accident for a quarter century. A task force and forensic units will determine whether the derailment was “an accident or human error” prosecutor Chiang Jen-yu said as investigators combed through the wreckage for evidence. Passengers who survived the accident recalled how the train had been shaking intensely during the journey and was going “very fast” before it derailed.