Headlines:
  1. “Malaysia will be an Asian tiger again in three years”
  2. PM wants special court to hear corruption cases
  3. Government plans mid-year budget review, may list government entities
  4. Sungai Kim Kim declared safe, 900 tonnes of contaminant removed
  5. Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris named world’s most expensive cities for expats
“Malaysia will be an Asian tiger again in three years” Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng is confident Malaysia would return to its Asian tiger status in three years. He said the 48 per cent jump in foreign direct investments to RM80.5 billion in 2018, compared with RM54.4 billion in 2017, reflected investor confidence in Malaysia’s economic health. Lim added that Chinese and Japanese investments into Malaysia had increased substantially and he hoped local investors would follow suit. “2018’s figures have been positive despite certain predictions and I think Malaysia’s economy is progressing well. We have exceeded consensus estimation even for the previous month. “The Industrial Production Index at 3.2 per cent in January was higher than the estimate compiled by Bloomberg at 2.3 per cent,” he said in his keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2019 capital market forum here today. PM wants special court to hear corruption cases Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today announced that a special court will be set up to hear corruption cases. He said that such a court was needed so that corruption-related cases could be tried without delay. “We want the corruption court to be set up as soon as possible but we understand there are laws that need to be changed for this to materialise,” he said after chairing the special Cabinet committee on anti-corruption in Putrajaya. Tun Dr Mahathir also directed the police and anti-graft officers to conduct a probe over allegations that authorities were involved in accepting bribes and protecting certain businesses. Government plans mid-year budget review, may list government entities Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government would undertake a mid-year budget review where the criteria for off-budget allocation would be scrutinised. He said the review was to ensure transparency and budget integrity and budgeting process. “Every expense on public money shall be recorded promptly and carefully monitored in accordance with the established financial procedures,” he said in his keynote address at InvestMalaysia KL. Tun Dr Mahathir also said the government would introduce a Fiscal Responsibility Act to ensure public sector accountability in presenting the accounts and balance sheet of the country. “We are also rationalising tax incentives for investments, as the current administration and governance structures of investment incentives is highly fragmented, costly, and ineffective,” he said. The government was also looking into listing mature unlisted government entities on Bursa Malaysia. He also said there will be no new tax for this year, except for sugar tax which had already been announced. Sungai Kim Kim declared safe, 900 tonnes of contaminant removed Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the section of Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor where toxic waste was illegally dumped has been cleaned up and is now safe. She said the authorities will, however, continue to monitor the situation at the site for the next 15 days. “The cleaning work by the contractors that started on March 13 and ended on March 17 saw a total of 900 tonnes of contaminated substance and 1,500 metric tonnes of contaminated water cleared,” Yeo told reporters in Johor. Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris named world’s most expensive cities for expats Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris have been named the world’s most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, according to a survey of 133 cities released today by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This is the first time that three cities share the title of the world’s most expensive city, according to EIU. Hong Kong and Paris were ranked fourth and second respectively last year, with Singapore ranking as the world’s most expensive city in the past five years. EIU’s 2019 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey compares the prices of more than 400 items across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, as well as private schools, domestic help and recreational costs. The twice-yearly survey is meant to help companies calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travellers. According to the report, Singapore and Hong Kong are both 7 per cent more expensive than New York. In comparison, the South Korean city of Seoul is on par with New York in joint seventh place. There are four Asian cities in the top ten global ranking this year, with Osaka in Japan and Seoul joining Singapore and Hong Kong. Other cities making up the top 10 include Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, New York, Tel Aviv and Los Angeles. While Asia is home to some of the world’s most expensive cities, it also has many of the world’s cheapest cities, with India’s Bangalore, Chennai and New Delhi, as well as Karachi in Pakistan, featuring among the ten cheapest locations surveyed.