CPI UP 3.4% IN JUNE 2021

Malaysia’s inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 3.4% to 123.2 in June 2021 compared with 119.1 in June 2020. The transport group (16.6%) was the main contributor to the increase in headline inflation. This was followed by housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (3.2%); furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance (2%) and food and non-alcoholic beverages (1.3%).

(The Star, 24/07/2021)


ECERDC PULLS IN RM2.7 BILLION COMMITTED INVESTMENTS TO TERENGGANU

As of 30th June 2021, the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) had managed to attract investments of RM2.7 billion from the committed investment target of RM3.9 billion for Terengganu in 2021. Apart from that, the ongoing expansion at Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the “Kertih Biopolymer Park”, an integrated industrial park, would also enable the State to become a  key player in  the  global industrial biotechnology sector. Phase 1  and  Phase  2  are almost fully occupied and the advantage of this industrial park lies in its easy access to raw materials for the sector.

(The Edge Markets, 26/07/2021)


MIDA REMAINS FOCUSED ON ATTRACTING HIGH-QUALITY INVESTMENTS

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) remains focused on attracting high- quality investments from foreign and domestic companies into Malaysia through various investment strategies and policy initiatives amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia recorded a total of RM80.6 billion worth of approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors in 1Q21, a surge of 95.6% from 1Q20.

(The Edge Markets, 26/07/2021)


SAP 2021: FIVE MAJOR PILLARS TO REBOOT SELANGOR ECONOMY

The Selangor Accelerator Programme (SAP) 2021, a start-up programme funded by the Selangor State Government, is focusing on five major pillars (agritech, fintech, greentech, e- commerce and smart city solutions) in 2021 to help put the State’s economy back on track.

(The Edge Markets, 27/07/2021, The Sun, 28/07/2021 & The Star, 30/07/2021)


IMF MAINTAINED ITS 6% GLOBAL GROWTH FORECAST FOR 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) maintained its 6% global growth forecast for 2021. The IMF forecasts lower prospects for Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, where recent waves of Covid-19 infections are weighing on activity. The Fund forecasted that emerging Asia would grow 7.5% in 2021, down 1.1 percentage points from  the  April  2021 forecast. Low-income countries experienced a downgrade of 0.4 percentage points in their 2021 growth, with the Fund citing the slow rollout of vaccines as the main factor  impeding  their recovery.

(The Edge Markets, 28/07/2021)


MALAYSIA’S TOTAL TRADE EXPANDS 29.3% TO RM188.7 BILLION IN JUNE 2021

In June 2021, Malaysia’s total trade increased by 29.3% year on year to RM188.7 billion from RM145.90 billion. Imports increased 32.1% to RM83.23 billion from RM62.99  billion  while exports rose 27.2% to RM105.47 billion from RM82.91 billion.

(The Edge Markets, 28/07/2021; NST & The Sun, 29/07/2021)


HOUSING SECTOR ALLOWED TO OPERATE UNDER PHASES ONE AND TWO

The housing development sector is now allowed to operate under Phases One and Two of the National Recovery Plan. The permission to operate applies to housing developers whose Advertising Permit and Developer’s Licence was still valid. In Phase One, activities under the sector that are allowed are those at housing developers’ management office, matters on vacant possession and house keys, repairs during the defect liability period, and construction work for the Rumah Mesra Rakyat under Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd for G1 to G4 contractors. For States in Phase Two, additional activities that are allowed are sales and marketing activities at developers’ offices, by sales agents, at sales galleries, show units and sub-sale property units.

(The Edge Markets, 27/07/2021; The Star, 28/07/2021)


E-TANAH SYSTEM TO EXPAND ACROSS PENINSULA

The e-Tanah land administration system in Kuala Lumpur, a public-private partnership, will be expanded to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia by 2024. The online platform enabled land matters such as private searches, tax payments, transfer applications and land mortgage applications to be conducted online safely and efficiently.

(The Edge Markets, 27/07/2021; The Star, The Sun & NST, 28/07/2021)


GLOMAC BHD TO LAUNCH FIVE PROJECTS WORTH RM282 MILLION IN 2022

In 2022, Glomac Bhd plans to unveil five projects in its existing townships nationwide with an estimated gross development value of RM282 million. The five projects include a high-rise leasehold residential development known as “Lakeside Residences” in Puchong, 231 units of double-storey terraced houses in “Saujana KLIA”, 33 units of double-storey terraced houses (Phase 2 of “Aurora”) in Bandar Saujana Utama, 178 units of affordable townhouses under the Rumah Selangorku programme and 69 units of double-storey terraced houses in Saujana Jaya, Johor.

(The Edge Property, 28/07/2021)


MM2 ASIA RECEIVES OFFER FOR CINEMA BUSINESS

On 27th July 2021, mm2 Asia entered into a non-exclusive binding term sheet with Kingsmead Properties, where the latter has offered to acquire over 80% of the issued and paid-up share capital in mm Connect. mm Connect (a wholly-owned subsidiary of mm2 Asia) operates 8 cinemas in Singapore, 13 cinemas in Malaysia and a movie film distribution business.

(The Edge Markets, 28/07/2021)


MALAYSIA RETAIL CHAIN ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES F&B DIVISION

Malaysia Retail Chain Association launched its Food and Beverages (F&B) Division and pledged to lobby for benefits and rights for F&B members to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. The F&B division aims to represent F&B retailers with objectives such as to assist and support members specialising in the F&B industry; arrange training and business networking events; promote professional development in the F&B retail chain business and franchise industry, and to conduct other lawful things which are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the objectives.

(The Edge Property, 28/07/2021 & The Sun, 29/07/2021)


MAHB SEES 2021 RETAIL INCENTIVES MATCHING OR EXCEEDING 2020 LEVEL

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) expects its provisions for rebates and incentives to the airport retail sector in 2021 to be no less than the RM400 million provided in 2020. This includes more than 50% rebates to all its tenants and tenancy contract extensions that were introduced in 2020 and continued in 2021 as the Covid-19 pandemic lingers. Another initiative provided by MAHB is the introduction of a new rental model that is tied to the passenger count for new contracts. The group is also planning to introduce retail features like click-and-collect and pre- booking for customers to address changes in passenger behaviour post-Covid-19.

(The Edge Markets, 28/07/2021 & The Star, 29/07/2021)


JOLLIBEE TO OPEN 120 OUTLETS IN WEST MALAYSIA, STARTING 2022

Jollibee Foods Corp has signed a joint venture to own and operate Jollibee stores in West Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur. The venture will involve the opening of at least 120 of the popular Filipino fast-food stores within a decade, starting in 2022. The Jollibee Group operates 17 brands in 33 countries with a total network of 5,816 stores globally.

(The Edge Property, 29/07/2021)


THE TOLL ON EMPLOYMENT

Based on a recently published survey of 320 hotels by the Malaysian Association of Hotels, circa 30% of hotels in Malaysia have reduced their manpower by half. These were likely done through retrenchments. However, in the long run, the future of the hotel industry is expected to be more tech-driven by providing contactless check-in and room service robots.

(The Star, 24/07/2021)


HOTEL INDUSTRY’S DEFINING MOMENT

According to the Malaysian Association of Hotels, average hotel occupancy rates for 2020 stood at 32%. This compares with pre-pandemic times of circa 64.2% in 2019 and 60.7% in 2018 for hotels in Malaysia. The occupancy rate is expected to decline further to 23% in 2021. In 2022, the hotel industry’s average occupancy rate will only hit 35% even if domestic travel is allowed. The mid to upper luxury hotels average rates slumped by a minimum of 50% due to the closure of international borders, as international travellers typically have higher spending power.

(The Star, 24/07/2021)


MALAYSIA, INDONESIA TO EXPLORE TOURISM SYNERGIES

Malaysia and Indonesia will explore tourism synergies together as the latter moots the restoration of international collaborations within the ASEAN region to revive the sector. Intra- ASEAN movement presently stands at 40% and most countries around the world have moved from international tourism towards focusing on domestic arrivals.

(The Edge Markets, 27/07/2021)


PAHANG TO HAVE TOURISM BUBBLES FROM AUGUST 2021

Tourism destinations in Pahang that have achieved herd immunity will be reopened to visitors in stages under the green bubble concept from August 2021. The Pahang State Government and National Security Council would study the standard operating procedures and guidelines to be implemented before reopening the destinations.

(NST & The Star, 25/07/2021)


E-COMMERCE – GROWING IN POPULARITY: ‘BUY NOW, PAY LATER’ METHOD

The “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) method of payment within e-commerce is reportedly growing in popularity all over Asia. BNPL is “a type of short-term financing that essentially allows consumers to make a purchase but pay for it at a later stage or via instalments over a short-term period. Some BNPL players charge interest or a penalty fee if the consumer makes a late payment. One of the reasons for the strong BNPL take-up is that those people who do not have credit cards and cannot pay for purchases in instalments before can do so now.

(The Edge Property, 24/07/2021)


MERCURY SECURES RM450 MILLION BUILDING JOB

Mercury Industries Bhd has secured a RM450 million contract from Solusi Kelana Sdn Bhd to build three blocks of serviced apartment and SOHO units in Johor Bahru. Work on the project is scheduled to commence on 1st September 2021 and would take 32 months to complete.

(The Edge Markets, 28/07/2021 & The Star, 29/07/2021)


REVIVAL POSSIBILITY REMAINS BLEAK FOR ABANDONED MALLS IN JOHOR BAHRU

With more new malls opening, coupled with weak market conditions, the hope of abandoned malls in the capital city of the southern region to be revived seems even tougher. One of them is the once iconic five-storey Water Front City (also known as Lot 1) mall, which is located along Persiaran Tun Sri Lanang in Kebun Merah. It had more than 400 shops and once had an occupancy rate of almost 90%. The 69-acre mixed development, which was touted as one of the world’s largest single seafront city developments, has been abandoned since 2003. Currently, only the open car park area has been turned into a yard for the Johor Bahru City Council to store towed vehicles. The revival plan was not a simple task for Water Front City as the retail units were sold and owned by different owners, who are now untraceable and are not responding to the notices by the authorities.

(The Edge Property & The Star, 29/07/2021)


DESARU COAST LISTED IN 2021’S GREATEST PLACES BY ‘TIME’

Desaru Coast integrated destination resort, located on the southeastern coast of Johor, has been named among Time Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places of 2021, a list comprising 100 of the magazine’s top destinations around the world. The destination was recommended to a global audience as the location offered a coveted list of international hotels including Desaru Coast, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, as well as other attractions such as world-class golf courses and cruises in Sedili Wetlands. The magazine also highlighted the imminent opening of the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, which would offer increased transit options for neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia.

(NST,  24/07/2021)


NEW RGT PLANT TO START OPERATIONS IN 2022

RGT Bhd’s new 100,000 sq. ft. manufacturing cum warehouse facility at its Bukit Minyak plant which is scheduled to start operations in early 2022 will be producing circa RM500 million worth of hygiene care products per annum. The expansion project started in November 2020 and was scheduled for completion in October 2021. However, due to the lockdown, RGT is now expected to conclude the expansion in December 2021. The group also spent RM15 million on a two-acre site and a factory opposite the present premises, whereby the properties will be used for a future expansion  project.

(The Star, 26/07/2021)


NEW LIFE FOR WAREHOUSES, MARINA

Three warehouse buildings in Swettenham Pier, Penang, and the inland portion of Tanjung City Marina off Weld Quay will be handed to the private sector to be turned into tourist attractions. A consensus has been reached to create a one-stop tourism destination that includes shopping and tourism centres at Swettenham Pier which will drive vibrant economic activities and benefit the State. To be signed in early August 2021, the lease for Warehouses Five, Seven and Eight and the inland portion of Tanjung City Marina is for a period of 30 years with an extension option for 15 more years. Slated to be completed in 2024, “Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal” will be fully upgraded and at the same time, Warehouses Five, Seven and Eight, which have been unused and not in operation for a long time, will be renovated.

(The Star, 29/07/2021)


SARAWAK TO REOPEN TOURISM BY THE END OF 2021

Sarawak is expected to open for domestic tourism before the end of 2021 and for international travel by 2022. Sarawak is also considering welcoming vaccinated domestic tourists from other States and also visitors from Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and other countries.

(NST,  29/07/2021)


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