Highlights:

  1. Call for PH government’s 2019 Budget to reflect “new thinking”
  2. Most housing units launched in H1 cost RM500,000 and below
  3. MAHB records 2 per cent passenger growth in September 2018
  4. Japan overtakes Singapore as world’s most powerful passport
  5. ASEAN establishes Competition Enforcers’ Network

Pakatan Harapan’s 2019 budget should be different, reflect new thinking
ASLI Centre for Public Policy Studies Chairman, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the new government’s budget strategy must be prudential and pro-poor, fair and Budget 2019 should show the way and reflect the new government’s thinking. He added that the PH government’s inaugural budget should also be equitable, and aimed to restructure the economy with more meritocracy and competition. “Scheduled for tabling on November 2, the budget must start a new ecosystem that will be fair, just and equitable to all sectors of the economy – labour, capital and the entrepreneurial class. “Then we will have more enthusiasm for supporting the new budget strategy and higher taxation. There has to be far less corruption too, so that the tax payers feel more confident that their higher taxes will be spent wisely and not frittered away through diversion to corrupt and wasteful channels,” he said in a statement today.

Most housing units launched in H1 cost RM500,000 and below – Rehda
The proportion of residential properties launched in the price range of RM500,000 and below experienced a jump to 65 per cent of total launches in the first half of this year (H1 2018) compared with 52 per cent in the second half of 2017, according to a Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) survey. President Datuk Soam Heng Choon said Rehda Property Industry Survey H1 2018, which saw the participation of 152 Rehda members from across the peninsula, also found there was a 12 per cent contraction in the overall number of residential units launched during the period under review. Nonetheless, sales performance grew by 6.0 per cent, with 6,764 units being recorded sold, he said during the media briefing on the survey’s results today. Two- and three-storey terrace houses took the lead with 2,858 units sold, mostly located in Sepang and Shah Alam, followed by apartments/condominiums (2,047 units) located mostly in Cheras and Segambut. The survey found that for the majority of the states, the most launched selling prices were in the range of RM100,001-RM500,000 with the exception of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (RM500,001-RM700,000). Datuk Soam said the percentage of respondents reported to have affordable housing components in their development increased to 47 per cent compared with 41 per cent in the second half of 2017 and 37 per cent in H1 2017.

MAHB records 2.0 per cent passenger growth in September 2018
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) network of airports recorded 10.8 million passenger movements in September 2018, a two per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, MAHB said international traffic increased by 2.1 per cent y-o-y to 5.1 million passengers, while domestic traffic grew 2.0 per cent y-o-y to 5.7 million. On a last 12-month basis, the MAHB network of airports registered a total growth of 4.9 per cent with 132.3 million passengers, the highest traffic handled over a 12-month period.

Japan overtakes Singapore as world’s most powerful passport
Japan has overtaken Singapore as the world’s strongest passport, claiming top spot on the 2018 Henley Passport Index, Henley & Partners, a residence and citizenship advisory firm, announced today. After gaining visa-free access to Myanmar earlier this month, Japan now enjoys visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 190 destinations, compared to Singapore’s total of 189, pushing Singapore into second place on the index. This quarter, Germany fell from its previous second place ranking, sharing third place with South Korea and France. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden and Spain all came in joint-fourth, with 187 destinations accessible to their citizens. Meanwhile, the United States and the United Kingdom slid down a spot from fourth to fifth place. “With stagnant outbound visa activity compared to Asian high-performers such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea, it seems increasingly unlikely that the US and the UK will regain the number one spot they jointly held in 2015,” said the press release. The Henley Passport Index is a ranking of all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel to visa-free. The ranking is based on data from the International Air Transport Association and in-house research.

ASEAN establishes Competition Enforcers’ Network
The ASEAN Experts Group on Competition (AEGC) has established the ASEAN Competition Enforcers’ Network (ACEN) to facilitate cooperation on competition cases in the region and to serve as a platform to handle cross-border cases. The first meeting of the ACEN was held on 9 October 2018 on the side-lines of the 22nd AEGC Meeting in Singapore. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint recognises the importance of competition policy and law (CPL) in promoting economic development and integration. Under the AEC Blueprint 2025, competition policy is a key pillar under the thrust to create a competitive, innovative, and dynamic ASEAN. The aims of the ACEN are to enable mutual understanding of each other’s enforcement goals and objectives and to encourage information sharing between ASEAN competition authorities. The ACEN will also look into facilitating cooperation on mergers and acquisitions with a cross-border dimension.