Perak exco: Husbands can’t afford RM5 for wives’ retirement savings
Perak Women and Family Development, Character Development and Community Welfare Committee chairman Wong May Ing speaks to the press in Ipoh November 29, 2018. — Picture by Marcus Pheong IPOH, Nov 29 — The inability of husbands to pay at least RM5 towards the i-Suri scheme for their wives’ savings was contributing to the weak response in Perak, said a state official.Perak Women and Family Development, Character Development, and Community Welfare Committee chairman Wong May Ing told reporters on the sidelines of the state assembly that only 1,454 women are currently registered for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account for homemakers“The total eligible women in Perak, who are entitled to apply for the incentives, are 13,603. However, only 10.6 per cent registered with EPF.“We approached some of the non-applicants and asked why they did not register, and many responded that their husbands could not afford to contribute RM5 monthly for them,” she said.The i-Suri programme was introduced by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to encourage housewives, single mothers, divorcees and widows to start saving independently for their future.Husbands of registered recipients are required to contribute a minimum amount of RM5 monthly to be eligible for the incentive of RM40 per month given by the government.Wong said the government is also working with the state’s Implementation and Coordination Unit to encourage eligible recipients to take advantage of the incentive.She also revealed that Terengganu recorded the highest registered recipients with 6,905, while Perlis is the lowest, with only 401 registered. [...]
Tada picking up in popularity as commuters hunt for fare savings
A number of commuters are increasingly turning to Tada as an alternative. — TODAY pic SINGAPORE, Nov 17 — Unwilling to pay a S$36 (RM110) fare on ride-hailing app Grab for a trip from Holland Village to Thomson on a rainy evening last Saturday (Nov 10), freelance writer Natasha Hong turned to her rarely used Tada app “not hoping for much”.There was a surprise in store for the 31-year-old, as the price of S$16 indicated on the app was less than half the price compared to its rival firm.While she did not think that any driver would pick up the cheaper rush hour ride, Ms Hong got a ping in a jiffy. The private hire car driver who turned up was “a really lovely guy”, which genuinely surprised her as she had tried the app a handful of times since its July launch, and it had never really worked.After that early hiccup, she said she would not have been surprised if Tada had just “closed quietly”, as she did not know of any friends who used it frequently.Short on choices to avoid Grab’s surge pricing, a number of commuters like Ms Hong are increasingly turning to Tada as an alternative.They cited the tolerable waiting times for a match to a ride — down from 40 minutes at times to around 10 minutes — as a reason for their conversion. Some users have even reported that it now takes less than a minute to secure a ride.Mr Zac Chua, 27, founder of snack company The Kettle Gourmet, said that Tada’s service has improved slightly. From a wait of between nine and 12 minutes previously, he now takes about five to six minutes to get a ride.But Tada’s biggest selling point is definitely its cheaper fare prices, particularly with commuters here griping about having to fork out more for their Grab rides after rival firm Uber’s exit in May. As a result, some users told TODAY that they have adopted it as their go-to app whenever they need a ride.The app’s increasingly popularity among users is reflected in its sign-up numbers, as Mr Jonathan Chan, general manager of Mass Vehicle Ledger, the company behind Tada, said that they are seeing between 1,000 and 1,500 new user sign-ups daily, up from about 600 a day previously.Its driver numbers have also seen healthy growth, with about 19,000 private hire car drivers now on board to serve its 110,000-strong user base. This is significantly higher than its initial year-end target of between 2,000 and 3,000 drivers.The ride-hailing firm is also making its move into taxi bookings, as it launched Tada Taxi on Thursday, a new mobile application with a pool of 2,000 cabbies. Tada Taxi will not take a cut from drivers, nor will it impose any levy on the booking fees set by the respective taxi companies.RIDE SAVINGS A WINNERWhen the Tada app was first launched here more than three months ago, users experienced a number of teething issues when attempting to book rides on the platform.One user who only wanted to be known as Mr Faizal installed the app when it was launched on July 26, but had to give up when he tried unsuccessfully to book a ride seven or eight times over a week. He eventually resorted to using Grab.These days, it has become “a bit easier” to secure a ride with Tada, and the 35-year-old civil servant now uses the app at least three times a week.To date, his best value-for-money ride was when he paid S$17 travelling from Hougang to Jurong a few weeks ago, saving S$7 on a ride that cost S$24 on rival app Grab as there was moderate surge pricing on a Friday.For a number of users, the cheaper fares have outweighed the longer wait times on the Tada app.Mr Jeremy Koh, 26, a business development executive, turned to Tada due to the “insane” prices he has seen on Grab in recent months. Fares were pegged at S$50, and even went up to S$80 on occasion.The first time he used Tada, he waited 25 minutes to get a S$24 ride from Clarke Quay to Sengkang at 1am. Grab was charging S$46.The second time he used it, he “almost gave up on the app” after waiting more than 40 minutes for a cheaper S$7 ride from Sengkang to Hougang.But he persisted with Tada as prices “don’t fluctuate much” as compared to Grab. The biggest price difference he has seen between both firms was for a 11pm trip from Plaza Singapura to Sengkang, with Grab quoting S$39 while Tada charged S$20.Mr Koh is also using Tada because he is unhappy about Grab “monopolising the market” after Uber’s exit, pointing out that Grab no longer gives promotional codes.“I am hoping for the other players to become bigger and thrive in the market to prevent a monopoly,” he said.While users are happy with Tada’s cheaper prices, they also wonder if these fares are sustainable in the long run.Ms Hong pointed out that while her Tada driver pocketed S$16 from her ride as the app does not charge drivers commission, he would have earned more on Grab. A S$36 ride on that platform would have seen him taking S$28.80 if he had paid the maximum 20 per cent commission.She said: “Are the 19,000 Tada drivers also Grab drivers, or on other apps? There is no way that a driver on both Grab and Tada would pick the lower Tada fare.”Ms Hong does not think that drivers will continue on Tada due to the lower earnings, as she added: “It’s useful in that you get an alternative service to try, but I still won’t put my hopes in getting too many rides from them.” — TODAY [...]
Rehda expects some cost savings with SST waiver
Soam said together with other discounts and rebates that most developers are currently offering in view of the soft market for new launches, house buyers could look forward to at least five per cent lower prices depending on location and type of product. — Bernama pic KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (Rehda) says it expects some savings in development cost following the government’s move to exempt basic construction materials and construction services from the Sales and Services Tax (SST) in the effort to reduce house prices.“We are expecting between 2.5-5.0 per cent savings depending on the type of development, but this will be applicable to new projects only as prices for those projects during the Goods and Services Tax (GST) era would have been agreed upon by the contractor and are in various stages of completion,” said President Datuk Soam Heng Choon in a statement today.He said together with other discounts and rebates that most developers are currently offering in view of the soft market for new launches, house buyers could look forward to at least five per cent lower prices depending on location and type of product.In a separate statement, online property portal PropertyGuru Malaysia has proposed for more organisations to step up and empower Malaysians with a more convenient credit checking facility to assess their Debt Service Ratio (DSR) and Eligible Mortgage Amount.It said such checks should be made available for free to all Malaysians.It also recommended that the government open up more of its reserve land for development with all land sales to be conducted via open tender, while emulating best practices regarding a lower threshold for en bloc sales and encouraging redevelopment of old buildings and assets for affordable housing.“Interest rates for home loans should be revised too. We recommend a reduction of 0.5-1.0 per cent off interest rates for first-time homeowners within a specific price range, and reduction of upfront costs which include legal fees and stamp duties,” it said.Meanwhile, it urged organisations and public-listed companies to introduce profit-sharing schemes and provide incentives namely housing loans and disbursements for down payment to help employees buy a home.It also recommended that the houses be constructed as semi-built homes, which could allow flexibility in customising spatial usage and layout as well as contribute to lower construction costs and savings.  — Bernama [...]