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=MALAYSIA PRESS: News Headlines On Tuesday, March 13

KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 13) -- Here’s a roundup of local news:

*Court dismisses Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid for freedom ahead of polls

The Kuala Lumpur High Court Mar. 12 dismissed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid to secure freedom ahead of the country's general elections, which may be called within weeks. The former deputy prime minister had sought to strike out his sodomy conviction, with his lawyers arguing that perjured evidence was submitted in the proceedings that eventually saw him sent him to prison in February 2015. "I shouldn't say I'm surprised but I am disappointed," Anwar told media after the decision. Malaysia's 14th general elections must be held by August this year. - Channel News Asia

*Malaysia to lose $140b if revenue flows are cut

Malaysia will lose RM416.6 billion (S$140 billion) if its goods and services tax, road tolls and other sources of revenue are scrapped, said a senior official in the Ministry of Finance. The opposition pact Pakatan Harapan had pledged to remove these taxes and payments in its election manifesto last week. Ministry of Finance secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah told The Star the country stood to lose RM45 billion a year if it abolished the GST, and RM338 billion if it stopped collecting tolls and took over toll companies and their debts. - The Straits Times

*IOI Properties secures S$1.6b long-term financing for S’pore JV, say sources

IOI Properties Group has secured S$1.6 billion (RM4.7 billion) out of S$1.9 billion needed for its proposed joint venture in Singapore worth at least S$2.84 billion, making progress in its race against time to get the project off the ground. Sources told The Edge weekly that the developer had secured the funding from five banks, namely DBS Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, OCBC and Sumitomo Mitsui; the remaining S$300 million it requires is being negotiated with Bank of China. The money will be used to pay for the 1.09ha land in the Marina Bay financial district that it had successfully tendered from the Singaporean government in November 2016 via its unit Wealthy Link. In June last year, IOI Properties had announced that it was partnering London Stock Exchange-listed Hongkong Land Holdings - which owns and manages 800,000 sq m of prime office and luxury retail properties across Asia - to undertake the project, pending regulatory approvals and fulfilment of other conditions precedent. - The Edge Markets

*AirAsia will deliver on Expedia sale, says Fernandes

AirAsia group chief executive officer Tony Fernandes said the low-cost carrier will deliver the sale of its 25% stake in AAE Travel, the operator of travel booking site Expedia. Fernandes said the exercise will be a sale and buy back of an asset to strengthen the group’s digital portfolio. “AirAsia will deliver another sale as promised. Last one, we said Expedia. Will be a sale and a buying back of one asset to build our digital portfolio. Delivered all we said. Now onto our group and digital structure,” he tweeted this morning. Earlier this month, Fernandes confirmed reports of AirAsia’s plans to dispose of its stake in Expedia by year-end, as part of its strategy to dispose non-core assets and focus on core operations. He also said the group is also looking to sell its Santan food business and its logistics and cargo operations. - The Edge Markets

*Offer for OldTown extended to March 20

Jacobs Douwe Egberts Holdings Asia NL BV has extended the closing date of its takeover offer for OldTown to March 20. According to a circular issued by CIMB Investment Bank, the terms and conditions of the offer remain unchanged and the level of acceptances of the offer stood at 83.75% on March 9. OldTown received a takeover notice from JDE in December last year at an offer price of RM3.18 per share. The offer was supposed to close today. Earlier, JDE said it has secured irrevocable undertakings from shareholders holding 51.45% and is looking to procure the remaining shares with an eye to delist and privatize OldTown. JDE has agreed to pay a good faith fee of US$3.48 million (RM13.6 million) or 1% of the total offer price to OldTown. - The Sun Daily

- By Kuala Lumpur Newsroom;; +60320267363
- Edited by Glen Nicol Perkinson
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