Thursday, November 15th, 2018


Tada Taxi aims to be mother of all taxi-booking apps in Singapore

SINGAPORE, Nov 15 — Commuters looking to book a taxi ride without having to deal with surge pricing now have a new option. Tada Taxi, a new app launched today with a pool of 2,000 cabbies, aims to get taxi drivers of all stripes on board. Unlike…

Wall Street sell-off resumes as global worries persist

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 — Wall Street opened in the red today, extending a streak of losses for the Dow to five days as investors digested a mixed bag economic and political news. Before the open, manufacturing surveys showed criss-crossing results in…

Upset by Trump’s Iran waivers, Saudis push for deep oil output cut

ABU DHABI, Nov 15 — When US President Donald Trump asked Saudi Arabia this summer to raise oil production to compensate for lower crude exports from Iran, Riyadh swiftly told Washington it would do so. But Saudi Arabia did not receive advance…

Dr M to address trade barriers in Apec, says Leiking

PORT MORESBY, Nov 15 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other leaders of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member economies will address trade barriers that are impeding prosperity across the region. All leaders, who…

Emirates Airline half-year profit slides 86pc on oil hike

DUBAI, Nov 15 — Emirates Airline today posted an 86 per cent drop in half-year profits as the Middle East’s leading carrier was hit by a hike in oil prices and currency devaluations. The Dubai-based airline in a statement its net profit in the…

Brexit-sensitive stocks battered on deal backlash, exporters gain

LONDON, Nov 15 — British stocks slid today with RBS and housebuilders sharply down after Brexit minister Dominic Raab quit in a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to win backing for her draft deal to exit the EU. Housebuilders,…

Affordable housing – four agencies to come under one roof

SUBANG JAYA: The single entity to be set up to oversee the provision of affordable homes will consist of four agencies instead of six, said National Housing Department director-general Jayaselan Navaratnam.

Jayaselan said the Cabinet has allowed UDA Holdings Bhd and Federal Territories Affordable Housing Project (Rumawip) to be excluded from the entity.

“They find it more rightful for UDA to stay in the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development as it has a specific agenda to cater to bumiputra development. For Rumawip, the Federal Territories Ministry requested (for it to be excluded) as it is confined to the Federal Territories and it is a small activity without any funding from the federal government, with their land being private-owned,” he said at the Rehda Selangor Housing Convention on Policies & Regulatory Updates Impacting the Housing Industry here today.

The four agencies that will be streamlined under the entity are 1Malaysia People's Housing Programme (PR1MA), Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor and the Malaysia Housing Project for Civil Servants.

“Even though we want to have a single entity, we're finding it difficult to implement because everybody wants to have a piece of the cake. Out of the 19 agencies in the housing industry, we're only holding four,” said Jayaselan.

Meanwhile, he said the government is targeting to launch the National Housing Policy (2018-2025) in December and that the policy was approved by the Cabinet two weeks ago.

“When you see the policy, you'd probably think 'Is that all'? There are 14 states with 14 (sets of) regulations and needs. We're trying to bring it down to one and that's most challenging.”

He said what it wants to achieve in the next five years is to first amend the regulations instead of the Act.

“The industry has evolved but the regulations did not, so we want to change certain things there to meet the needs of the developers and to support the needs of the purchasers. We want to enable developers and purchasers to have a 'free flow relationship', compared to now, which is more controlled,” said Jayaselan.

He said the National Housing Policy is sub-divided into the affordable housing policy and the private property development policy.

“We want to sub-divide it into two, one for public and one for private. We realised public housing cannot be merged with private property. It must work in a different scenario and environment with a different ballgame.”

Among the Act and guidelines under the policy, Jayaselan said, the Public Housing Management Act is being enacted and will most probably be incorporated into the PR1MA Act. The Strata Management Act (Act 757) will be handled by the Federal Territories Ministry instead of the Housing and Local Government Ministry. The Housing Development Act 1966 (Act 118) will see some amendment.

He added that the Residential Tenancy Act, the Commercial Development Act and the Waqaf Land Development Act will also be enacted.

“The Residential Tenancy Act will be enacted as we believe the market must move into a rental environment. The Commercial Development Act will be enacted as most of the residential units are built on commercial land and we're moving into mixed development and the idea in which shop lots are at the bottom (of a building) and residences above.

“Waqaf land is a state matter and we have all states coming up with different rules and methodologies so we need to streamline it,” Jayaselan said.

He added that the policy will have five focus, 16 strategies and 57 action plans, premised on ensuring good quality housing for all; improving accessibility and affordability of housing; ensuring quality and cohesive neighbourhoods; improving housing and transport coordination for better quality of life and strengthening institutional capabilities.

Yeo: IPP review covers only direct-award contracts

PETALING JAYA: The Energy, Green Technology, Science and Climate Change Ministry has no plans to review existing independent power producer (IPP) contracts, but will be looking at them phase by phase, according to its minister Yeo Bee Yin (pix).

“At this moment, the existing ones we do not touch on them. But we are only looking and reviewing the one that is a direct award,” she told reporters at the Sustainability Summit Asia 2018 here today.

“In 2017, just a year before the election, there were many direct awards for IPPs. The direct award does not offer the best deal to the people,” she added.

Asked why the primarily property company Tadmax Resources Bhd was allowed to proceed with its project in Pulau Indah when it fulfils the criteria for review announced by the minister, Yeo declined to comment.

Tadmax, which is a new player in the power sector, was directly awarded a 1,000MW combined-cycle gas turbine plant on its Pulau Indah land in August 2016.

In October 2018, Yeo announced the government decided to cancel four power projects.

They were the 700MW power plant projects by Malakoff Corp Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) in Kapar; 1,400MW power plant by Aman Majestic Sdn Bhd and TNB in Paka, Terengganu; the 300MW combined gas engine power plant project by Sabah Development Energy (Sandakan) Sdn Bhd and SM Hydro Energy Sdn Bhd at the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster in Sandakan; and the 400MW solar energy quota to Edra Power Holdings Sdn Bhd.

In July, Yeo said her ministry would cancel up to eight projects.
In Parliament yesterday, she said the government would open a tender process for some RM2 billion worth of projects in January next year to produce 500MW of electricity through solar power. The details of the project tenders, known as Large Scale Solar (LSS) Programme 3 projects, will be announced later.

The projects are in addition to the ongoing LSS projects to produce 958MW of electricity from the end of this year until 2020.

The Sustainability Summit Asia 2018, hosted by Sunway University's Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development in partnership with The Economist, featured more than 20 speakers from different countries.

Tomei sells skincare, cosmetics distribution business

PETALING JAYA: Tomei Consolidated Bhd's wholly owned subsidiary Flawless Skin Care Sdn Bhd (FSC) today sold its business of distributing the skincare and cosmetic products of “The history of Whoo” and “belif” as a going concern for RM8.97 million.

FSC, whose principal activity is retailing of skin care and cosmetic products, today entered into an asset purchase agreement with LG Household & Health Care Malaysia Sdn Bhd for the exercise.

LG is a company incorporated in Malaysia with its principal activities in the area of skin care and cosmetic products.

FSC agrees to sell and LG, relying on the several representations, warranties and undertakings contained in the agreement, agreed to purchase free from all encumbrances the whole of the business as a going concern.

“The disposal would enable Tomei to utilise its resources and focus on the core businesses of the group in the gold and jewellery business,” it said.

Further liberalisation to fuel Asean aviation market: Ideas

PETALING JAYA: Further liberalisation of the aviation market via implementation of the Asean Single Aviation Market (ASAM) is needed to enable future growth in the region’s air transport market, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas).

“We estimate that if future demand can be made, air transport will support over two and a half million jobs by 2030 and contribute nearly US$100 billion (RM419 billion) to the economy every year,” said Ideas economist Adli Amirullah in his paper titled Economic Benefits of Asean Single Aviation Market.

The paper, which was published today, recommends that a formal platform be provided for the directors-general of all Asean member states’ Civil Aviation Authorities to discuss the ways to overcome the specific challenges in achieving ASAM.

“Second, all Asean member states need to be ready to share aeronautical information with each other for the safety of the industry. Third, with the growing aviation market, there is a need for free movement of professionals in the aviation industry.

“Therefore, Asean member states should advance the implementation of Mutual Recognition Agreement for aviation related services as fast as possible,” said Adli.

He also urged Asean member states to prioritise full implementation of Asean Community Carriers. These proposals are expected to speed up the realisation of ASAM and the full benefits of liberalisation of the aviation market.

Adli said to date, market liberalisation via ASAM has delivered significant economic benefits to the citizens and businesses of Asean by lowering prices and increasing consumer choice, while also boosting tourism and facilitating trade.

Ideas research director Laurence Todd said ASAM has already delivered huge benefits to tourists, businesses and citizens across Asean but further liberalisation will deliver a huge boost to trade, investment and tourism.

“Of course, there is still further to go and many of the measures previously agreed remain behind schedule. We recommend setting up a formal platform for national regulators to drive faster implementation; advancing the Mutual Recognition Agreement which will enable flight crew to operate anywhere in Asean; and prioritising the full implementation of Asean Community Carriers,” he said.