Highlights:

  1. High-speed rail project with Singapore to be scrapped
  2. Greater media freedom priority of Communications and Multimedia Ministry
  3. Malaysia cheapest place in the world to employ expats
  4. MAHB profit soars to RM444.6 million in Q1
  5. UN-Habitat and Think City sign MOU aimed at bettering cities in Malaysia
  6. Johor welcomes Singapore to take advantage of zero GST

PM confirms high-speed rail project with Singapore to be scrapped

Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed that the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project with Singapore will be scrapped. The Prime Minister said that the Government had to talk to Singapore about it and the compensation that needed to be paid. “It’s not beneficial, it’s going to cost us a huge sum of money. We will make no money at all from the operation. It is just a short track,” he told reporters after the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council meeting in Kuala Lumpur this evening.

 Allowing greater press freedom major aspect of reform by ministry

The new Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo said allowing allowing greater press freedom is a major aspect of the reform that the Ministry will undertake. He said the media in the country should be allowed greater freedom in its coverage and also in its criticism of the government. “The media is the voice of the people and the government should be prepared to accept criticism for us to be able to undertake reform,” he told Bernama Radio. He also pledged to work closely with the media fraternity towards shaping a better-informed Malaysian society.

Malaysia cheapest place in the world to employ expats – survey

Malaysia is the cheapest place in the world to employ expatriates. This is one of the key findings of the latest MyExpatriate Market Pay survey published annually by ECA International, a leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. Malaysia saw one of the most dramatic falls in average expatriate pay package compared to the previous year, keeping it rooted to the bottom of the 40-country list. The value of a typical annual compensation and benefits package for an expatriate middle manager in Malaysia shrank by US$17,188, and is now US$150,868, less than half of what it would cost to send an expatriate to Japan. “Malaysia has much cheaper accommodation costs than its Asian neighbours and relatively low levels of tax, so the country sits at the bottom of the rankings as the least expensive city included in the rankings, ” said Regional Director – Asia, ECA International, Lee Quane.

UN-Habitat and Think City sign MOU aimed at bettering cities in Malaysia and across the globe

UN-Habitat had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Think City, a Malaysian non-profit organization to initiate a strategic partnership to advocate and promote the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The move follows preliminary discussions with Think City during the 9th World Urban Forum in February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, to explore opportunities for continued and strategic collaboration.

The MOU with UN-Habitat centres around three key areas with the first one covering the Economics of Urbanization. This is a collaboration to support the production of the World Cities Report 2019, which will inform UN-Habitat’s Strategic Plan (2020-2025). This also involves identifying planning and development strategies to achieve “true value”, where urbanization not only contributes to wealth creation but is able to address social inclusion and environmental issues.

Second is Culture in Urban Regeneration where UN-Habitat is keen to encourage culture and community focused urban regeneration as part of its wider mandate to implement the New Urban Agenda. This partnership with Think City will allow both partners to work at global, regional and national levels, developing plan-led urban regeneration programmes that are community focused and sustainable.

The final area of collaboration covers Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building. As UN-Habitat has a strong urban planning and urban design department, a knowledge exchange programme can be developed between Think City and UN-Habitat. This will expand the potential for research-based global practice to complement on-ground implementation, providing opportunities for capacity building and research, to develop a positive feedback loop between policy and practice.

MAHB profit soars to RM444.6 million in Q1

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 surged to RM444.6 million from RM65.29 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter under review also improved 11.2 per cent to RM1.22 billion from RM1.09 billion previously. “Airport operations recorded revenue growth of 12.2 per cent to RM1,14 billion, mainly driven by both the aeronautical and non-aeronautical segments and this included construction revenue of RM25.8 million from Turkey operations. “Underpinned by strong passenger growth, the aeronautical segment grew 11.7 per cent to RM588.4 million over the corresponding quarter last year, ” it said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today. Malaysia operations recorded passenger growth of 3.4 per cent, while international grew 10.2 per cent, and domestic contracted 3.4 per cent to 24.4 million passengers compared with the corresponding quarter last year of 23.6 million passengers.

Johor welcomes Singapore to take advantage of zero GST

Johore Menteri Besar, Datuk Osman Sapian ‘welcomes’ Singaporeans to take advantage of 0% GST in Malaysia from 1 June. “When more people come visit us, we will of course welcome them,” said Datuk Osman, who was elected as Menteri Besar, earlier this month following the 14th General Election. “Whatever we offer to local Johorians, if it is also offered to Singaporeans, why not?” said Datuk Osman. “It will help boost our economy. We have no objections. We are open to it. We are an open country.”