‘Balancing of raising rates too much versus not enough’

WASHINGTON: The US central bank is aiming to prolong the economic expansion but must balance the risk of raising interest rates too much or not enough, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said. Amid increasing concerns in financial markets that the Fed will have to become more aggressive to head off inflation, Powell likened the job to […]

UK business breathes sigh of relief at draft Brexit deal

LONDON: British businesses breathed a sigh of relief after the cabinet gave its backing to a draft Brexit deal that still faces numerous hurdles in Brussels and London. The pound rose to around US$1.3016 after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she had received the backing of her ministers, compared to US$1.2977 at close of trading […]

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.

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.

Property segment drives Tadmax to RM4.45m net profit in Q3

PETALING JAYA: Tadmax Resources Bhd reported a net profit of RM4.45 million for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 compared with a net loss of RM19.82 million a year ago, driven by the property business segment.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said its property business reported a pre-tax profit of RM8.43 million during the quarter. It was the only segment that reported a profit during the quarter.

Revenue for the quarter rose 79.20% to RM46.17 million from RM25.76 million a year ago, due mainly to contribution from the property business segment, which in turn was attributed to the higher percentage completion achieved by its Mizumi Residences project in Kepong.

For the nine-month period, the group’s net profit plunged 90.34% to RM2.66 million from RM27.56 million a year ago while revenue jumped 86.36% to RM120.22 million from RM64.51 million.

Moving forward, Tadmax said the final quarter of the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018 will see contribution from the continued progress and performance of Mizumi Residences, which has already been 80% taken up.

However, the group said the energy business will not contribute to its near-term profitability as it would take about four years before commercial operation begins. Submission of the final technical and commercial proposal was made to the Energy Commission on July 31, 2018.

Recall that the company had entered into a heads of agreement on Sept 14, 2018 with Selangor government-linked Worldwide Holdings Bhd and Korea Electric Power Corp, which is expected to augur well for the group’s power plant project in Pulau Indah.

As for the industrial supplies business, the group said the anticipated reduced activity in the construction market will be a challenge for the segment’s revenue growth potential for the rest of 2018 and next year.