Thursday, May 31, 2018

Canning high-speed rail project could stunt Jurong property prices, business growth: Analysts

By Cynthia Choo

29 May, 2018

SINGAPORE — Should the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project – which had been touted as a game changer by Malaysia and Singapore leaders – be abolished, investors and homeowners in Jurong can no longer expect property prices to go up as quickly as they had hoped, said experts.

However, they believe that significant developments in the area such as the Jurong Lake District will help to bolster demand and prices in the long run.

Malaysia will reintroduce sales and services tax in September to replace GST: PM Mahathir

30 May 2018

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will implement the sales and services tax (SST) in September to replace the goods and services tax (GST), announced Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (May 30).

The 6 per cent GST will be zero-rated from Jun 1, effectively removing it for consumers, but abolishing it would require the approval of Parliament.

When asked if the SST would be set at its previous rate of 10 per cent, Dr Mahathir said: "We will study it."

He added that the finance ministry will provide more details on the SST on Thursday.

On a TV3 bulletin aired on Wednesday night, Chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons Daim Zainuddin said that the report on the SST will be submitted to the government in two weeks.

The SST system to be introduced will be a "somewhat updated version", with the ultimate goal of lowering the price of goods and services for the people.

"There will be no immediate need to introduce any new taxes nor increase the personal income tax or corporate tax rates at this juncture," said Daim, adding that economics was a very complex subject and could not be looked at from a single perspective.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The GMO debate: 5 things to stop arguing

By Tamar Haspel

Columnist, Food

October 27, 2014
[Note date]

Break out the party hats! Unearthed is one year old — and it has been one interesting, gratifying year. To celebrate, I’m revisiting the issue that kicked off this column a year ago: genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You might not think much of my idea of celebration, but I’m guessing you’d agree that the public debate about GMOs isn’t playing out in a constructive way. Both sides have dug trenches, and they’re lobbing grenades over the wall while nothing much changes. It’s the World War I of food issues, and something’s gotta give.

I’m going to suggest five somethings. Each is an argument, from one side or the other, that I think should be retired. If we all agreed to stop lobbing these particular grenades, we could move on to more substantive issues and perhaps generate a little goodwill in the bargain.

What happens when HDB flats with short leases left are no longer assets?

By Sing Tien Foo

17 May, 2018

Resale prices of Housing and Development Board flats have experienced negative or zero growth for the last 19 consecutive quarters since the third quarter of 2013, in contrast to prices of private property, which started showing signs of recovery in late 2017 after 15 consecutive quarters of declines.

The growth momentum in private property market has continued into 2018 with a robust first quarter growth of 3.9 per cent.

There are myriad factors behind the recovery of private property market and the sluggishness in the HDB resale market.

But one issue that has come more into public attention is the leasehold status of HDB flats and correspondingly, the question of whether those with short remaining leases can still be regarded as assets.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Why farmed salmon is becoming a viable alternative to wild-caught

Tandoori Salmon. (Deb Lindsey/For the Washington Post)

By Tamar Haspel
September 24, 2013
[Note date]

Come dinnertime, wild salmon is an excellent choice. Many of the Pacific fisheries are well managed, and the fish itself is healthful and delicious. The problem is that there isn’t very much of it. Worldwide, our annual wild salmon harvest comes to about 2 billion pounds, which sounds like a lot until you divide it by 7 billion earthlings and come up with one serving per person per year.

What’s a salmon eater to eat?

Racial Politics in Malaysia

The Big Read: Voters not swayed by racial politics in Malaysian GE, but how long will that last?

By Kenneth Cheng, EILEEN NG and FARIS MOKHTAR in Kuala Lumpur 

13 May, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR — For years, the issue of race has dominated Malaysian politics, with Malays —particularly those in the rural areas — tending to vote for the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and its Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which have long positioned themselves as the defender of Malay rights and supremacy.

But this week’s historic polls have turned things on their head.

Up in arms over the escalating cost of living, a burdensome Goods and Services Tax (GST) and an out-of-touch government mired in corruption scandals, the crucial Malay vote bank looked past race to end BN’s six-decade rule of the country.

[It's not that they looked past race that is remarkable. It is that it took them so long to overlook corruption before it was untenable.]

Sunday, May 27, 2018

ElderShield to be renamed CareShield Life with higher, lifetime payouts from 2020

By Louisa Tang

27 May, 2018

SINGAPORE — The enhanced ElderShield insurance scheme will be renamed CareShield Life from 2020, and will dole out higher and lifetime payouts to severely disabled Singapore residents — up from a cap of six years.

Unlike the existing opt-out ElderShield scheme, enrollment in CareShield Life will be compulsory. The first cohort to be enrolled are citizens and permanent residents aged between 30 and 40 in 2020, with all subsequent cohorts automatically enrolled once they reach 30 years old.

Those born before 1980 can opt to join the scheme from 2021.

The Government, which on Sunday (May 27) accepted the committee's full set of recommendations, has pledged to help lower- to middle-income residents by providing them with means-tested premium subsidies of up to 30 per cent.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Commentary: Malaysia reborn? Does GE14 spell an end to racial politics?

Many had predicted a Malay tsunami would rise up against the ruling party but what happened instead was a tsunami rakyat, where voters voted with economic concerns in mind, says ISEAS-Yusof Ishak’s Serina Rahman.

Serina Rahman

10 May 2018

SINGAPORE: Malaysia woke up this morning to a new dawn. The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lost their 61-year hold on government and Mahathir Mohamad, now the prime ministerial candidate for the Pakatan Harapan coalition, is poised to be sworn into power after a 15-year hiatus.

Prior to Polling Day, the term of the moment was “Malay tsunami” – the prediction that rural Malays will swing to Pakatan Harapan to dethrone the incumbent government.

What happened instead was a “tsunami rakyat”: A citizen’s tsunami.

MP suggests changing valuation method for ageing flats to raise demand

By Chen Lin

15 May, 2018

SINGAPORE — With owners of older HDB flats worried about the value of their homes as their leases shorten, Ms Cheryl Chan, Member of Parliament for Fengshan constituency, proposed taking a “multi-prong” approach to help sellers and buyers by changing the valuation method for ageing units and extending the lease for flats in mature towns of selected precincts.

To further help Singaporeans put a roof over their heads, she also proposed reassessing the property loan structure and allowing selected older flats to be leased directly from the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Monday, May 14, 2018

Commentary: Malaysia’s new leadership line-up strengthens Mahathir’s hand

Mahathir Mohamad named three Cabinet ministers and announced the establishment of a Council of Elders on Saturday (May 12), in a move that strengthens his position within the Pakatan Harapan coalition, says one observer.

By Tricia Yeoh

14 May 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad wasted no time in getting to work after the 14th general election concluded with the country’s first ever change in government.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

With Anwar’s pardon, will ‘Mahathir’ prophecy come true?

New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 11, 2018.
11 May, 2018

PETALING JAYA — The ‘Rahman’ prophecy was an amusing, albeit unconventional, way for Malaysians to predict the country’s first six prime ministers.

For the uninitiated, the legend started circulating around the 1960s and 1970s and predicted that each letter in the word ‘Rahman’ represents the name of Malaysia’s prime ministers: Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razak Hussein, Hussein Onn, Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak.

Some believe the prophecy would mean the end of Umno.

With the Najib administration’s defeat in the 14th general election (GE14), many believed the Rahman prophecy was fulfilled.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Commentary: Pakatan Harapan’s successful campaign strategy, informed by data, powered by people

Data highlighting Malaysians’ key concerns helped the Pakatan Harapan connect with voters and formulate a winning strategy in Malaysia’s 14th General Election, says Khor Yu Leng.

By Khor Yu Leng

11 May 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: News of an extraordinary political upset for Barisan Nasional came through slowly after polls for Malaysia’s 14th General Election (GE14) closed.

Mahathir Mohamad, leader of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, claimed victory for Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, under whose flag the Pakatan Harapan coalition parties contested under.

Where many have called the win a “shock victory”, in fact, there were early signs of voter concerns that Pakatan paid close attention to and worked hard at addressing to gain the electoral advantage.