Monday, 31 October 2016

(NST) Higher airport tax rates beginning next year, except to Asean destinations

KUALA LUMPUR: Get set for higher airport tax rates come January 1, 2017. 

From next year, passengers travelling to most international destinations from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and other airports nationwide, will have to pay RM73 in airport tax, also known as the passenger service charge (PSC). 

This marks an RM8 increase from the current RM65 passengers are paying for international destinations from KLIA. 

In addition, passengers flying to domestic destinations from next year will have to pay RM11 in PSC if they travel from the KLIA, Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) and other airports. 

Currently at klia2, passengers travelling to international and domestic destinations are paying RM32 and RM6, respectively. 

However, those travelling from KLIA to Asean countries will enjoy a lower airport tax rate. These passengers will, from next year, pay only RM35 in PSC compared to the current RM65. 

This marks a RM30 reduction from the current rates at KLIA. 

There is a slight increase in the PSC for those traveling to Asean countries from klia2. These passengers will pay RM35, which is RM3 more from the existing RM32. 

Announcing the increased rates today, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) said the move would boost traffic to and from Asean countries. The aviation regulation body also said the Asean PSC may also increase the possibility of opening second gateways in the region and consequently increasing traffic inflows into points in Malaysia. 

The PSC is collected by airlines upon purchase of air tickets and is paid to airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) following completion of the flight. 

Passengers who do not travel on a flight for which they have purchased their tickets are eligible for a full refund of the PSC. 

Mavcom said it is taking steps to fully equalise the PSC at KLIA and klia2 on a gradual basis. Its first step was equalising the rates at KLIA and klia2 for domestic and Asean destinations. The commission will also review the PSC in a year’s time with a view to equalise the PSC at KLIA and klia2 for international destinations as well. 

“Equalisation of PSC rates at KLIA and klia2 also enables Malaysia to be better aligned to international guidelines, including with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) principle of non-discriminatory pricing at airports,” Mavcom said in a statement today.

(NST) MAS, AirAsia welcome new PSC rates

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS) has welcomed the revised passenger service charge (PSC) rates announced by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) by launching a sale on its selected Asean destinations starting this week. 

The national carrier's chief executive officer (CEO), Peter Bellew said the new rates at both theKuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) are the same for domestic and Asean flights from January 1, 2017. 

Mavcom also plans for a full equalisation of charges at the two terminals by January 1, 2018. 

Bellew said the new charges will see a reduction of some RM35 or US$8.33 per passenger for Asean passengers at KLIA which will become the same price at klia2. 

"It's great news that Mavcom confirmed today that they are moving to full equalisation on international routes from January 1, 2018…Our customers now have the freedom to choose from whatever terminal they wish in Kuala Lumpur," he said in a statement today. 

Bellew also said the revised PSC rates have created opportunity for MAS to compete on a level playing pitch in Malaysia as the airline continuously fights for every dollar and cent savings where possible. 

MAS is launching a 'Freedom Fares' sale starting on Wednesday November 2 until November 8, 2016 on selected Asean routes with fully inclusive fares from RM149 and domestic from RM99. 

Meanwhile, AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes has also lauded the revised PSC. He said it is a huge step forward for Malaysia as the acceptance that low charges is what the country needs. 

"Hearing very good news on airport charges. Great for consumers. Well done Mavcom," Fernandes said in his Twitter account today.

(NST) T'ganu looks to upgrade Redang Airport to bring in the tourists

KUALA BERANG: The State Government plans to upgrade the Pulau Redang airport to enable more flights including the Boeing 737 to land on the island in the future. 

Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman said the effort is in line with the government’s aim to transform Terengganu and its islands into a top tourism destination. 

Razif said Terengganu is seeking opportunity to apply for an allocation for this project from the Federal Government through the Tourism and Culture Ministry. 

“We assume that the number of foreign tourists will increase following the upgrade of the existing airport,” he added. 

Razif told reporters after opening the Malaysian Umno Youth retreat programme in Tasik Kenyir on Saturday. 

“We hope with the new airport at Pulau Redang, foreign tourists will no longer be stranded while visiting the island during the monsoon or wet seasons,” he said, adding that tourists need not rely on just ferries and boats then to travel between the mainland and the island. 

The existing airport in Pulau Redang was built more than 20 years ago with a landing strip that is 1,100 metres long and 30 metres wide. It is operated by the Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd.

(NST) Confirmed: East Coast Rail Link project to be built, funded by China

BEIJING, China: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), a 620km high-impact project under the 11th Malaysia Plan, will be built and funded by China, Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah confirmed today. 

Speaking to Malaysian media upon arrival here as part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s delegation, he said the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPC) contract and a financing framework were among the agreements that he would sign during the visit. 

The EPC contract will be awarded to China Communication Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) while the financing agreement will be with Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM). 

“The Chinese investment in Malaysia will open up smaller towns like Mentakab, Dungun, and going up to Tumpat,” Mohd Irwan said. 

He said when completed, the ECRL will make products from the East Coast more competitive due to cheaper transport costs, and raise the income of industries and businesses located along the rail link route. 

Mohd Irwan said the decision to seek financing from China was due to the favourable terms offered. 

“If you borrow in the international market you will not get the low interest rate that we will get. We haven’t finalised (the details) but we will get very competitive (rate) and the repayment period we expect to be 20 years,” he added. 

Mohd Irwan said the government hopes to finalise the ECRL by end of this year so that construction on the project can start in early 2017.

(NST) RSDH eyes China partnerships

PETALING JAYA: Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare Sdn Bhd (RSDH), having earlier this year cancelled a RM431 million partnership deal with Jinxin Healthcare Investment Management Group Ltd in Chengdu, now wants to partner other hospital chains in China. 

RSDH is a 50:50 joint venture between Sime Darby Bhd and Australia’s largest healthcare group, Ramsay Health Care Ltd. 

The company operates three hospitals in Malaysia and another three in Indonesia. 

RSDH also operates the Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare College in Shah Alam, Selangor. 

“Although we have a small presence in Malaysia and Indonesia, we can borrow up to RM2 billion (for new partnerships, including the hospital chains in China). We are initiating due diligence soon,” said RSDH group chief executive officer Bronte Kumm. 

Since April last year, RSDH has seen a 20 per cent profit growth. 

Kumm expects the business to continue expanding at 20 per cent from RM83 million in financial year ending June 2016 to surpass RM100 million in the current year ending June 2017. 

Kumm, who took charge of RSDH since May last year, has decentralised hospital operations to simplify procedures. 

RSDH’s hospital administrators are now better empowered to make decisions that solve problems more effectively. 

“We used to have many staff at the head office. Following a natural attrition rate and redeployment, we are now a lot more efficient. We have achieved considerable cost savings and we do this with the aim of empowering our staff to contribute,” he told Business Times in an interview, here, recently. 

“We will continue with this productive culture in encouraging our staff to multi-task, wherever necessary. We will also leverage on technologies to further simplify ways of doing things,” he added. 

RSDH has adopted integrated electronic medical records across all its hospitals as it supports a patient-centric approach to healthcare.

Kumm listed down intangible benefits such as a reduction in potential medical errors, instant communication of laboratory tests and improvements in the quality of data for clinical research. 

While the electronic medical record system gives easy access to patients’ medical information, Kumm said RSDH adheres to strict confidentiality of patients’ medical records provided under the Personal Data Protection Act. 

On hospital upgrade, he said RSDH is setting aside RM600 million to further modernise its flagship Subang Jaya Medical Centre in Malaysia, and add 100 beds at RS Premier Jatinegara and RS Premier Bintaro medical centres in Indonesia. 

In Maldives, RSDH is preparing to manage the “Tree Top Hospital”, which is slated for completion in January and fully operational to receive patients in May next year.

(The Star) Touch of class in every corner of hotel

It is difficult not to notice the three-metre-tall bronze horse while enjoying afternoon tea at St Regis Kuala Lumpur’s Drawing Room.
The majestic piece which towers above the tables, is no ordinary sculpture despite its simple name of Horse.
Last year, One IFC chief executive officer Carmen Chua and her team transported the piece commissioned by renowned Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero to the hotel via a trailer across major roads in Kuala Lumpur, which left many in awe of the unusual sight.
Their love for arts did not stop there, as Chua went on to paint the walls of the hotel with Mark Evan’s leather etching – Grace Thunders and Barnaby Hosking’s Bird and Butterflies.
“We want to give our guests a completely different St Regis experience here in Kuala Lumpur,” said Chua, whose One IFC is the developer and owner of the 208-room hotel.
Despite being just six months old and nestled among a host of hotels in the busy transportation hub of the city, Chua’s marketing efforts has continuously proven itself.
The hotel was awarded a 9/10 expert rating by The Telegraph UK in its travel column making St Regis Kuala Lumpur the only hotel in the city alongside The Datai and Four Seasons Hotel in Langkawi, Kedah.
St Regis Kuala Lumpur opened for business in May this year and has 208 rooms.
St Regis Kuala Lumpur opened for business in May this year and has 208 rooms.
In its review, The Telegraph applauded the hotel’s service and facilities as well as its large rooms, which is uncommon in Asian countries. It also noted that butlers were on hand to press clothing and send complimentary hot drinks on demand.
“Our butler service is available 24 hours a day at all floors to give our guests a bespoke service,” said Chua, adding that each room also has a walk-in wardrobe and study area.
Their deluxe room is 678 sq ft while the suite room ranges from 1,485 sq ft to 3,800 sq ft, which are the largest in the country.
In August, Forbes ranked the hotel’s afternoon tea as the best in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are extremely pleased that the market is appreciating our attention to detail throughout the design, construction and service levels at St Regis Kuala Lumpur, as valued by The Telegraph UK and Forbes,” said Chua.
It has certainly been a tough test for her but Chua has managed to oversee every detail and ensuring every guest arriving will receive only the best experience.

“Our top priority is always keeping the end user in mind, and we are really happy that our guests are appreciating every bit of effort we put in,” said Chua who opened the hotel for business on May 1.

(The Star) Completion not the end of improvement on OWL

Finally, the problem-riddled one-way loop (OWL) in Petaling Jaya will see completion by today, two years after the project was first implemented.
Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said everything would be in place by the end of today, after which Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) would conduct a traffic audit on the loop.
“We welcome feedback from members of the public on what else can be improved along the loop,” he said.
He added that Petaling Jaya residents and motorists had a month to submit their views to the council while it was carrying out the audit.
The OWL, which was launched by MBPJ in October 2014 as a pilot project, has gone through numerous stages of upgrading and construction.
Over the course of its implementation in the past two years, it often had motorists and residents up in arms over safety issues.
Motorists have been plagued by a series of problems including broken road dividers, unclear and oftentimes confusing line markers on the road and even pedestrian sidewalks which pose their own hazards, making it dangerous for people to walk on.
The new road sign put up near PJ Hilton for traffic heading towards the Asia Jaya LRT station to help motorists navigate better. Previously, the lack of signage resulted in many vehicles weaving in and out of traffic along the one-way loop.
The new road sign put up near PJ Hilton for traffic heading towards the Asia Jaya LRT station to help motorists navigate better. Previously, the lack of signage resulted in many vehicles weaving in and out of traffic along the one-way loop. 
The ongoing underground sewerage project that took place in stages along the loop did not help matters.
“Though the loop is complete, we will not stop there. We will constantly find ways to improve it especially at areas which we may have overlooked,” said Mohd Azizi.
In line with that, he also requested for all departments in MBPJ to come up with innovative ideas every month.
These ideas are meant to help improve MBPJ’s daily services and aimed at bringing better changes within the city council.
“I have set every Thursday as our innovative day and all departments must brainstorm and come up with new innovations that we can implement,” he said.
These ideas, he said, would then be discussed at another monthly meeting to see if they were viable for implementation.
“I am confident this will help bring positive changes to the council and this also gives a platform for officers to think outside the box,” he added.
The OWL starts from the Federal Highway and Jalan Utara turn-off – Kuala Lumpur-bound – near the Asia Jaya LRT station and PJ Hilton hotel.
From there, motorists can no longer turn right and are forced to go left towards Asia Jaya LRT station and follow the loop past the Crystal Crown hotel, Taman Jaya park and the Section 52 commercial centre before turning in to PJ Hilton hotel.
Road dividers have been built and markings on the roads are redrawn as seen in these before-and-after pics of the one-way loop from Jalan Utara into Jalan Semangat. The photo on the left was taken in April.
Along the approximately 3km roadway, many changes have taken place over the past two years, with the most obvious being the original two-lane dual carriageway turned into a six-lane one-way street.
This affects all roads around the controversial loop namely Jalan Utara, Jalan Timur, Jalan Barat and Jalan Sultan.
With the road being more spacious now, MBPJ was able to widen sidewalks around the whole loop and build sheltered pedestrian walkways near the Asia Jaya LRT station.
New big signboards have also been put up to inform motorists of the correct lanes for their destination and to prevent weaving traffic which had caused numerous accidents and bottlenecks.
This is especially evident at the Jalan Semangat and Jalan Utara junction where the daily bottlenecks there frequently cause a build-up of traffic all the way past Asia Jaya LRT station and down to Federal Highway.
In the early days of the OWL implementation, before the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings were installed, pedestrians had to make a dangerous dash across all six lanes.
Now, proper road dividers have also been put up at certain critical stretches such as along Jalan Utara to prevent both weaving and jaywalking.
The whole stretch of road in the loop has been resurfaced complete with newly painted demarcation lines and speed breakers.

Before this, driving around the loop was hazardous because of the many potholes from the various construction works which took place there the past two years.

(The Star) Push for standard service charge at KLIA and KLIA2

KUALA LUMPUR: A leading aviation official has called for a uniform passenger service charge (PSC) for the main terminal in KL International Airport (KLIA) and KLIA2.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac also said that one PSC rate across Asean countries would distort the market.
De Juniac urged the authorities to consider lowering the rate for the main terminal, better known as KLIA, to match that of KLIA2 which he described as an amicable solution for passengers and airlines, rather than raising the PSC rates.
“The solution is to decrease the PSC charges at the KLIA to resolve the issue. Bring the rate down, it should be the same level at KLIA2.
“Our members do not understand why there are different rates for both the two terminals when the airports have the same facilities and there is no difference in the infrastructure ... both are state-of-the-art. It will be a pity for the Malaysian tourism sector if it is raised,” he said in Kuala Lumpur recently.
He said parties should look to bridge the gap or else it would be detrimental to the market.
On suggestions for a special rate among Asean countries, he said that it did not make sense.
“You not addressing the issue with one rate ... it does not make sense.”
For several months there has been market talk that the PSC rates would be raised and the task is in the hands of the industry regulator, Malaysian Aviation Commission, which had said it would make an announcement by year-end.
Reports have emerged that there were plans to have one rate for Asean market and towards this end, the klia2 rates may be raised.
So far, AirAsia Bhd has been vocal in saying that it was not in favour of a hike as an increase would have an impact on passenger travel and its business.
Malaysia Airlines Bhd, on the other hand, wanted rates to be standardised so that there was a level playing field and it had threatened to fly some of its routes out of klia2.
The current charges at KLIA are RM65 for international destinations and RM9 for domestic travel, while at klia2, the charges are RM32 and RM6 for international and domestic destinations, respectively.
The issue is over the RM33 price difference between the main terminal and KLIA2 for international passengers. The RM33 charge is over US$8 per customer and most airlines’ average profit is less than US$8 per customer, hence, the RM33 difference is the key in making the economics of the route development work.

“It is distorting the market as the US$7 to US$8 is enormous for LCCs. So it is better to reduce the tax at KLIA so that more can benefit,” said de Junaic who also felt there was no need for a dedicated low-cost air terminal.

(The Star) Malindo Air to begin daily flights to Chiang Mai from Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR: Malindo Air announced it will now fly to Chiang Mai, Thailand, daily.
This will be the second Thai destination after Bangkok, with flights from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket also in the works for a Nov 10 launch date.
The airline said it was offering travellers RM199 for economy class and RM299 for business class one-way, all-inclusive for its maiden flight to the northern Thai city.
Malindo Air Flight OD530 will depart every day from KLIA at 10.35am and arrive in Chiang Mai International Airport at 12.20pm local time.
Chiang Mai is one hour behind KL.
The return flight will depart Chiang Mai at 1.40pm and arrive in KLIA at 5.25pm.
“Travellers from Malaysia will now be able to access this new destination in less than three hours with the low fares,” said Malindo Air chief executive officer Chandran Rama Muthy.
“This will certainly bring mutual benefit to both countries. We are confident our new frequency and attractive fares will stimulate more inbound and outbound travel between both countries,” Chandran said in a statement.
For bookings and enquiries, contact 03-7841 5388 (7am-11pm daily), visit at or write in to

For purchases through mobile phones, use or download the Malindo Air App on Google Play and App Store.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

(The Star) A balancing act

People-friendly. Generous. Pre-election mood.
You can call it what you want, but the Budget 2017 certainly has some interesting new policies.
Worth a total of RM260.8bil, the national budget unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last Friday contained a basket of goodies for Malaysians, especially for those in the bottom 40% of household income, or B40 group, consisting of farmers, fishermen and so on.
One of the points in the Budget which have captured the attention of tax payers is the new combined lifestyle tax relief.
Currently, tax payers can claim for relief for the purchase of reading materials, computers and sports equipment. But with Budget 2017, these items will be combined under a single lifestyle tax relief, which will also include printed newspapers, smartphones and tablets, Internet subscriptions and gymnasium membership fees.
The relief is claimable up to RM2,500 per year and will kick off in the 2017 year of assessment.
This move has been received with mixed views, but most generally agree that it will help Malaysians to attain a better standard of living.
However, various quarters say that it is equally important to take into account the rising cost of living, which poses a problem for many.

Economist and Asli’s Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam welcomes the lifestyle tax relief but stresses that deep structural issues like the high cost of living needs to be further addressed.
“It will help but people expect more because the cost of living has gone up for basic needs. It is good but insufficient,” he says.
Highlighting the current inflation rate of between 2% and 3%, Ramon says the bulk of the people’s expenditure goes on food, transport and housing and soon, there is nothing much left.
“My main concern is that the core causes of inflation have yet to be tackled. These new reliefs are useful but they are marginal, especially for low income earners who do not go to the gym or even buy newspapers,” he says.
The middle income group, or M40, may benefit from the lifestyle tax relief – and they too are subject to the high prices of goods due to inflation, Ramon acknowledges.
“Inflation occurs because demand exceeds supply. The supply of items like food produce and affordable housing should be increased to push prices down,” he says.
Likening the lifestyle tax relief to “aspirin which provides comfort but does not get rid of the fever”, Ramon says large structural changes are needed to solve the issue.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, also announced a RM10bil subsidy allocation for fuel, including cooking gas, as well as toll charges and public transport.
A sum of RM1.3bil will also be allocated to increase food production at competitive prices.
Noting that the Government had good intentions in introducing the lifestyle tax relief, independent financial adviser Yap Ming Hui points out that it is another issue when it comes to maintaining one’s lifestyle.
“These reliefs show the initiative of the Government in including some of the relevant expenditure we have today.
“But people need to have proper planning on what they can afford or not.
“On the one hand, items like the latest smartphones and tablets enrich our lives but, on the other hand, we need to spend money to subscribe to monthly data packages,” he says.
Yap says gym memberships are the same, whereby one would need to pay a yearly or monthly fee to maintain it.
“While all these things enrich our lives, it still costs us money and we will need to earn more to maintain such a lifestyle.
“And if you find yourself stressed out and struggling to pay more to maintain your lifestyle, are you really enjoying a better quality of life?” he points out.
This brings Yap to conclude that it all boils down to an individual’s priorities.
“We need to prioritise what is important to our lifestyle, be it having good food, a proper education for your children or a nice home, and balance those out with your financial resources.
“As individuals, you need to examine which items you think will benefit you under the lifestyle tax relief. Buying one smartphone could easily wipe out the relief of RM2,500.
“The Government can do only so much to provide subsidies and reliefs; it is then up to each individual to determine what is a priority,” he says.
Describing the lifestyle tax exemption as generous and positive, Sunway University business school professor of economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng says the move will benefit the middle income and high income group, or T20.
“These groups are more likely to use this tax benefit as it will suit their lifestyle,” he says, adding that people will likely try to claim the maximum by spending more on the listed items.
Dr Yeah says the combined lifestyle tax relief provides people with a choice to customise what they want to claim for according to their needs.
“Existing users or those who already have gym memberships and Internet subscriptions will benefit the most from this relief as it would help lower their tax bills.
“But for those who can’t afford it, this may encourage them to spend more, thinking they can claim tax relief.
“If you don’t have the income to support such things, refrain from spending on them, and do not dip into your savings,” he advises.
Dr Yeah suggests that the Budget should include allocations for educating people on financial literacy.
“A recent study showed that millennials have trouble coping with their lifestyles as they are spending more than they are earning. Such financial education could be incorporated in the Budget for the younger generation,” he says.
On the rising cost of living, Dr Yeah says the antidote is to ensure level playing fields for businesses and encourage more competition in industries to boost supply and lower costs.
Consumers are more sceptical about the lifestyle tax relief.
Fomca (Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association) senior vice-president Datuk K. Koris Atan says the lifestyle tax relief will help but it won’t make much of a difference.
“A good phone can last for a few years and so, this tax relief only offers a relatively small benefit.
“Basic needs should be addressed and focused on,” he says, questioning the recent move by the Government to remove cooking oil subsidies.
Koris adds that the escalating cost of living should have been given more focus, lamenting that food prices for items like chilli have increased.
“These days, RM50 worth of rations finish up very quickly. In a week, consumers need at least RM100 to RM200,” he says.
Concurring with Koris, business analyst Ashwin Antonius Chin, 31, says the lifestyle tax relief provides some aid but it isn’t enough.
“Internet subscriptions are already about RM2,000 a year. That only leaves a remainder of RM500.
“It isn’t enough to cover gym fees which cost an average of RM1,800 a year,” he says, adding that this leaves no room for other claims like the purchase of newspapers and smartphones.
“It helps to reduce the burden of Internet bills which we are already paying. But in terms of having a better lifestyle, it does not really help,” he says.
He suggests that the relief for Internet subscriptions should be in a category of its own considering how Internet access is increasingly becoming a need in today’s world.

“Gym fees and the rest can be in another bucket for lifestyle relief,” Chin says.

(The Star) F1 break could jeopardise hotel industry around Sepang and KLIA

PETALING JAYA: Hotels around KLIA and Sepang could be affected by a hiatus in the hosting of the Formula 1 (F1) race in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Association of Hotels president Sam Cheah said hotels near the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) would register full occupancy during the annual race as they hosted the drivers, and their crew and the teams.
“The hotels around the area would be filled to capacity for the few days of the race.
“There will definitely be loss of revenue for the participating official hotels should Malaysia stop staging the event,” he said.
However, on the whole, it would not greatly affect the hotel industry, said Cheah.
“There are spectators who spill over to hotels in Kuala Lumpur but the number is not enough to cause much worry,” he added.
Tourism Malaysia former chairman Wee Choo Keong said failure to hold the prestigious F1 race would be a blow to the country’s image.
“It’s on the sporting calendar in all the major cities throughout the world,” he said.
He noted that the potential loss of tourist receipts would be acutely felt after the organisers poured millions into having the motorsport in Sepang.
“We will lose European tourists and their spending power.
“F1 also spends a great deal on hotel accommodation and logistics for the many teams and their crew members,” he added.
Wee also said it was not easy for the event to return after a hiatus.
“It’s not something that you can stop one day and then renew the day after.
“You have to relook at the logistics all over again and it will take a lot of time,” he said.
On Monday, SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali sparked intense debate around the world when he suggested a temporary halt to staging F1 here following a decline in ticket sales since 2014.
He also said that an initial report for the last F1 race, held from Sept 30-Oct 2, had shown that television viewership in Malaysia was the lowest in history.

He was quoted as saying that it would be beneficial to the country to take a break from hosting the race after its licence runs out in 2018.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

(NST) Johor to get RM5 out of RM20 from road charge, says Liow

SEGAMAT: The state government is entitled to RM5 from every RM20 collected from the road charge (RC) to be imposed on foreign-registered vehicles entering Johor starting Tuesday. 

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system is set to be implemented after a glitch-free two-month trial run at the Causeway and Second Link. 

"Singapore started implementing charges on foreign-registered cars long ago. 

"We will also be imposing charges on Thailand and Indonesian registered cars gradually," Liow said at the Pertubuhan Penganut Dewa Tai Poh Yah at Lot 973, Mukim Pogoh, Kawasan Perindustrian Jalan Genuang, near here today. 

He said as of July, 144,000 Singapore-registered vehicles have registered for VEP. 

Also present was State Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong. 

Liow announced yesterday that effective Nov 1, the RC would be collected each time motorists enter Malaysia via the Touch n’ Go card. 

The Minister said the initial collection exercise will only involve foreign private registered vehicles excluding foreign registered motorcycles. 

He said the RC system had been activated at the two land entry points in Johor - the Causeway and the Second Link.

Friday, 28 October 2016

(The Edge Financial Daily) Part 8: Wish list for the housing sector – compliance cost should be reduced

Datuk Soam Heng Choon: Ease financing for the lower income sector to spur sentiment and maintain the level of input cost — state governments should realise that cost is a subset to selling price. It is important that more government land be used for affordable housing programmes. We hope this can be done fast. We also hope that what’s given to PR1MA homebuyers can be extended to others as well.

Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) president Foo Chek Lee: For us contractors, we hope the government can reduce the cost for IBS and cut down the GST for building materials and heavy machinery to ease cash flow.

Rehda deputy secretary general Tan Ching Meng: We have quite a large number of foreigners living here. We shouldn’t put a cap for foreigners to buy properties at RM1 million and above because there’s ample supply. So I would say that the government should lower the cap amount to encourage foreigners to buy and reduce the red tape. We’re being edged out due to land scarcity in Kuala Lumpur city, so we also need incentives such as those given to mega projects such as Bandar Malaysia and the Tun Razak Exchange. If possible, the government should give those incentives to developers in KL.

Rehda Kedah/Perlis chairman Datuk Rick Cheng: Compliance cost should be reduced. Don’t tax us so much. We also need more efficient processing of applications for development.  Speed up the application process when we seek approvals to develop a piece of land. Lastly, this is on financing — whether it is a private bank or government loan, speed up the application and approval process. For smaller states, government loans are important financing sources for homebuyers.

Rehda Johor chairman Datuk Steve Chong: Reduce the compliance cost and subsidy cost. I also hope that financing for homebuyers can be eased.

Rehda Selangor chairman Zulkifly Garib: I agree with everyone — that there be easier financing, especially end-financing. I also hope for a lower compliance cost.

Tan: In Kuala Lumpur, we have a very fast-approving authority and developers are very active as the government is encouraging high-density projects in the city. This will act as a stimulus to the market. Do not disturb the local market but encourage foreign buyers. We should lower the cap amount to RM500,000 for foreign buyers.

Cheng: Maybe in Kedah and Perlis, this can be done due to lower property prices.

Soam: I totally agree with Datuk Rick Cheng. In Perlis and Kedah, you can hardly get a RM1 million property.