Bioeconomy corporation coordinates RM6.7 bln investments from 340 companies

Posted on : 16-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has received RM6.7 billion in realised investment from 340 technology companies which were coordinated through Bioeconomy Corporation, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said of the amount, 69 per cent or RM4.6 billion was foreign direct investment.

He cited Biocon Ltd from India as one of the companies that had been operating in Bio-XCell Malaysia in Nusajaya, Johor Bahru since 2016.

The company is involved in developing and manufacturing biofarmaceutical products,” he said when responding to a question Datuk Seri Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim (BN-Kuala Selangor) during the Ministerial Question Time.

Madius said one of the initiatives undertaken by Bioeconomy Corporation was providing a conducive environment for foreign companies to set up their bio-manufacturing and bio-industrial plants in Bio-XCell Malaysia.

“The Bio-XCell Malaysia business model is through building and selling of factories, as well as leasing of sites using Central Utilities Facilities (CUF), X-Sentral for labs and businesses, and facilities provided by Bioeconomy Corporation.

“Other incentives are also offered through the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Bioeconomy Corporation and Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.

On long-term strategy, Madius said the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry encouraged the involvement of local companies in biotechnology industry to ensure sustainable industrial development by targeting 20 global BioNexus companies.

“At present, 11 BioNexus-status companies have achieved global status and are pioneering in strengthening the local industry’s competitiveness in the development of global technology and innovation,” he said.


M&E sector investment in H1 2017 worth to RM709 million approved

Posted on : 16-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has approved investments worth RM709.7 million for 37 projects in the machinery and equipment (M&E) sector in the first half (1H) of 2017, compared with RM660 million for 35 projects in the same period last year.

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the industry was dominated by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which produced customised products, including end-to-end manufacturing from design to logistics, to fulfil the strong domestic and global demands.

“I believe the industry’s productivity and competitiveness will increase if the SMEs adopt the Internet of Things (IoT) technology in their operations,” he said in his keynote speech at the opening of the “IoT Malaysia 2017 Seminar” yesterday.

Mustapa also said that local companies, SMEs and startup technopreneurs should explore the IoT as a means to add value to their products and services.

The seminar was jointly-organised by the Malaysia Investment Development Authority and Intel Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Intel Malaysia IoT Group Customer Engineering Director, Eric Chan said Intel had been actively working with local SMEs, especially agricultural entrepreneurs and property developers who were keen on introducing smart home concepts and intelligent transportation.

“We are working on how we can improve the transportation system and more,” he said.

Intel has invested US$5 billion (US$1=RM4.18) in Malaysia and its plant here is Intel’s largest assembly and test manufacturing facility. Intel outsourced its materials locally from more than 100 Malaysian vendors and suppliers.


Think IoT to stay ahead, says Mustapa

Posted on : 16-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR YB Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry today called on local companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to consider the Internet of Things, or IoT solution as a tool to drive growth.

“I encourage more local companies, SMEs and start-up technopreneurs to explore the adoption and implementation of IoT as a means to add value in their products and services as well as to increase productivity and efficiency towards scaling up their businesses,” said the Minister of MITI at the seminar on IoT Malaysia 2017 co-organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Intel today at MITI.

The holding of this seminar is timely and relevant as the world has come to an era which calls for a digital transformation. IoT, which is a component of Industry 4.0 is no longer just a futuristic concept but is actually happening now and is already transforming every aspect of people’s lives.

Realising that IoT holds tremendous potentials that cut across all industries in the world, the Minister urged industry players to seize the growing opportunities. “Industry players need to change the way they do business, to align to emerging IoTs and Industry 4.0 applications.”

This call is in line with the government’s direction to make Malaysia the leading industrial hub for high technology products and activities in the ASEAN region.

“Malaysia is privileged to have good engineering capabilities, skilled workforce and a strong manufacturing base. These create an enabling structure towards materialising this important agenda. Global companies and MNCs are welcome to make Malaysia as their regional development hub for high technology products and activities in the region.  At the same time, we look forward to more high quality investments, both from domestic and foreign sources, particularly in related catalytic sectors such as electrical & electronics (E&E) and machinery & equipment (M&E),” said the MITI Minister.

Recognising the challenges that companies go through in the execution of Industry 4.0, particularly in filling the gaps in the country’s IoT ecosystem, the Minister sees the need to form strong partnerships between the government, the industry players and all the other stakeholders.

The Minister also reiterated that “Many SMEs are capable of developing the supporting technologies such as chip packaging technology, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and high technology electronic components, but they just have not had access to the right IoT platform. This is where MNCs can play a strong role to support local companies and SMEs to grow. If MNCs can give SMEs a helping hand, just like what Intel is doing today, local companies and SMEs can leverage on the established IoT platforms of these MNCs,” he added.

The seminar ran for a full day, and addressed topics such as the IoT Landscape in the World, IoT Success Case Studies and Market Segment Readiness for IoT. It was attended by more than 800 participants from various industry sectors.

The seminar was being held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of MIDA. It also marked Intel’s continuous efforts towards further developing Malaysia’s economic growth. In his speech, the Minister highlighted that “Intel has contributed much to the development of Malaysia’s economy. It has been at the forefront in driving the country’s industrial development, particularly in the E&E sector.”

The Talking Points for YB Minister can be obtained at the following link:

SOURCE : Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)

Malaysia Economy to grow 5% in 2018 – New York-based global, independence business research association

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

NEW YORK: The Conference Board, a New York-based global, independent business research association, has projected that Malaysia will record a 5% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2018, slightly lower than the 5.5% growth forecast this year.

In its latest Global Economic Outlook 2018 released on Monday, it said Malaysia is not the only Asean country to face a decline.

Thailand’s GDP growth is also projected to decline to 3% in 2018 from 3.8% in 2017.

The report attributed Malaysia’s economic slowdown to the decline in oil and other commodity prices, which are not likely to rise above their current levels next year.

Nevertheless, the overall global economy’s momentum is expected to continue, producing a 3% global growth rate in 2018.

“Global growth has finally left the starting gate since the global economic and financial crisis, and GDP growth, which we predicted to grow at 2.8% a year ago, is likely to end at about 3% for 2017 and through 2018,” said chief economist of The Conference Board, Bart van Ark.

While the growth path of mature markets will remain solid in the short term, the potential for accelerated growth is limited, and a growth slowdown is likely to set in later in this decade.

“As some major emerging markets are maturing themselves, especially China, they are unlikely to return to growth trends of the past.

“The good news is that qualitative growth factors, such as an improvement in labour force skills, digitisation, and especially stronger productivity growth, may help to sustain growth and provide better conditions for businesses to thrive over the next decade,” he said.

The Conference Board said the growth momentum in mature economies has intensified during 2017, and is projected to grow by 2.1% in 2018 compared to 2.2% in 2017.

It said the United States’ (US) economy will benefit from carrying stronger investment growth into next year, while several European economies may see some weakening of cyclical tailwinds and fall back to their medium-term growth trend by mid-2018.

However, it projected that emerging markets will grow by 3.8% compared to 3.7% in 2017, adding that there will be significant differences across countries.

China has a somewhat stronger growth in 2017 due to a revival in exports and ample government support of the economy in the run-up to the Party Congress in October, but will continue its long, soft fall going into 2018.

“India, which had a weaker-than-expected year due to implementation difficulties with major policy initiatives, such as the demonetisation of large currency notes and the introduction of a country-wide goods and services tax, will see improved growth in 2018, largely driven by consumption,” van Ark said.

But the Conference Board also warned of risks for the duration of the current strength of the global economy, notwithstanding the stabilisation of energy and commodity prices, improved business confidence, cyclical recovery in Europe, and China’s policy-driven growth stimulus.

A weak recovery in investment, for example, may limit the speed with which technology can be translated into productivity growth, while a slowdown in consumption growth is possible in several countries, as real wage growth remains slow, even as labour markets tighten.

It said policy and geopolitical risks (Brexit, US policy, refugee crisis, terrorism, natural disasters) can interrupt the economic growth trend.

An acceleration in protectionism or a trade war between the US and China, and increased risk of political or even military conflicts in different parts of the world, are other risks that threaten stability and the growth trajectory.

Nevertheless, according to the Conference Board, several forces could help to strengthen the quality of growth and make it more sustainable over the next decade.

Labour shortages, for instance, may help to induce faster investment growth, especially in sectors with high demand for scarce talent.

“This increased capital intensity is a source of labour productivity growth, particularly for Europe, the US and other mature economies,” it said.

The Conference Board said China’s growth path had slowed down considerably and the trend will continue in 2018 with an expected 3.9% growth, down from 4.2% in 2017.

Meanwhile, it said Japan’s 2018 growth will be at 1% (1.5% in 2017).

India will continue with its growth trajectory with a projected 6.5% growth in 2018, up from 6.2% in 2017, while Vietnam will grow at 6% in 2018, up from 5% in 2017.


Digital economy symposium to feature seven speakers

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Digital Economy Symposium 2017 tomorrow (Nov 16) will feature seven speakers who are experts on e-Commerce Opportunities in Malaysia and Success Stories, the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), Logistics and its Application in e-Commerce, Online Payment, and Crowdfunding – Alternative Fundraising via the Crowd.

It is being organised by the Sabah Computer Society led by Karen Wong, and supported by the Ministry of Resource Development and Information Technology, Ministry of Industrial Development, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, Human Resource Development Fund and Sabah Net.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Industrial Development, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah will officially open the symposium at 11am.

The speakers comprise Fione Tan (Co-Founder, &, Carol Fung(Head of Seller Adoption Programme, E-Commerce & DFTZ Division, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), Joshua Sew (CEO,, Tan Chong Yian (Executive Director, ABX Express), Adrian Foong (General Manager,, John Lim (Head of Business Development MOLPay) and Sam Shafie (CEO and Co-Founder, PitchIN).

Tan Chong Yian is the man behind the incorporation of ABX Express (M) Sdn Bhd in 1984. Previously, he worked with Sabah Shipyard Sdn Bhd in Labuan as the Senior Accountant. Based in Kota Kinabalu, he is responsible for the Kerry ABX Group business performance and strategic planning.

He is a Certified Company Secretary of the Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries and a Certified Financial Planner of the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia. His presentation is on Logistics and its Application in e-Commerce.

Carol Fung has over 15 years of experience in E-Commerce Trading and Consultancy.

She started her business from a mere hobby and now she manages her online business singlehandedly.

She is known for selling her ribbons and safety pins in eBay and now she trains entrepreneurs in Malaysia on how to bring their businesses from offline to online.

She is also a Certified Trainer by eBay SEA (South East Asia) which allows her to teach and provide trainings to individuals or companies in using eBay as a platform to trade online. To date, she has taught over 5,000 people from all walks of life in Malaysia and Singapore about “How to start their business in eBay” since 2006.

In August 2013, MPH Publishing Group published a book she wrote called “Master Class Series : Carol Fung’s Guide to Online Retailing”. She will deliberate on two topics – e-Commerce Opportunities in Malaysia and DFTZ (Digital Free Trade Zone).

Sam Shafie is the CEO and Co-Founder of pitchIN, a registered market operator to offer Equity Crowdfunding and a pioneer of crowdfunding in Malaysia. He will present a paper on Crowd Funding – Alternative Fundraising via the Crowd.

He is also the Founder of WatchTower and Friends (WTF) Accelerator that invests in early stage tech startups.

To date, WTF has invested in 32 startups. Prior to this, Sam spent a total of 15 years in the public sector, first as a Deputy Public Prosecutor in the AG Chambers and later with stints in the Securities Commission and in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

Sam was named in Digital News Asia’s 2016 Digerati 50 as being those who will help shape Malaysia’s Digital Economy over the next two years. – Mary Chin


CGC (Credit Guarantee Corporation) takes Gaining Market Access workshops to East Malaysia –

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad (CGC) will be organising signature ‘Gaining Market Access’ workshop series in East Malaysia beginning with its first in Sabah.

This workshop is an initiative under CGC’s Developmental Programme to assist Malaysian small and medium enterprises to gain market access especially into hypermarkets in order to grow and expand their business.

The half day workshop which starts from 9am to 1pm will be held at the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu on November 23, 2017. It is organised for local SMEs to help them take their business to the next level.

The workshop is designed to focus on assisting SMEs on ways to penetrate potential hypermarkets in Malaysia. Besides, it will also guide the participating SMEs on ways to optimise productivity for food industries.

Prior to Kota Kinabalu, CGC had successfully conducted Gaining Market Access workshops at three major market centres namely Kuantan, Malacca and Ipoh, which has benefited more than 141 SMEs.

CGC’s chief business officer, Leong Choong Weng, said before any business can gain access into the international market, they first have to establish themselves in the local market.

“More importantly, their products must be known brands that are sold widely especially at popular hypermarkets. This is one of the challenges faced by the SMEs which we are aware of and doing our part in helping them to learn and understand the hypermarket requirements through these workshops that we are organising nationwide,” he said in a statement.

He further added that this workshop series is a testimony of CGC’s dedication in promoting the growth and development of competitive and dynamic Malaysian SMEs.

“The CGC Gaining Market Access is a workshop for the SMEs to share their thoughts and challenges they are facing with the subject matter experts during the Q&A session. Essentially, this workshop acts as a platform for SMEs to hear and communicate directly with any matters relating to their business and market access,” added Leong.

The workshop is open to all SMEs that are interested or are currently facing difficulties in gaining market access to hypermarkets, and also for those who are keen to increase their business growth and exposure.

Prominent speakers such as Norman Rajen Abdullah, general manager of Mydin Malaysia with more than twenty (20) years of experience in the Hypermarket Industry and an industry expert from Asia Green Produce Enterprise will be conducting the workshop.

Asia Green Produce Enterprise is a customer of CGC renowned for their signature brand, Awang, a local ready-to-cook food product. Under the supervision of certified and experienced chef, their products are processed and packaged to meet high quality standards.

As seats are limited, participation would be on a first-come-first served basis.

Those who are interested to enrol or have further queries on the workshop are advised to contact Adolf Anthony Lajinga at 019-8628119 ( or Na’im Hilmi at 016-9340671 (


MPOB, AladdinStreet partners to enhance palm oil market – Mah

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) through its Palm Oil Research and Technical Service Institute in China and AladdinStreet China has forged a strategic alliance to enhance Malaysian palm oil market through e-commerce platform in the republic.

Through the partnership, AladdinStreet China will grant free registration value at RM191,423.29 to the first 10 Malaysian palm oil exporters or merchants which successfully joined its platform.

Malaysia Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, who witnessed the signing ceremony between the two entities yesterday, said it was timely for the industry members to grab this opportunity to be on board the e-commerce through the platform provided by AladdinStreet China in strengthening their market there.

“China has a population of more than 1.5 billion while AladdinStreet has very strong marketing strategies in helping the merchants market their products in e-commerce.

“I am confident this collaboration will be successful,” he told a press conference after officiating the International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC) 2017 yesterday.

Meanwhile, MPOB in a statement said the collaboration was achieved by capitalising on the incentives and facilities offered by the Chinese government under Belt and Road initiatives to e-commerce, among others, competitive preferential tax and free warehousing facilities in identified free trade zone in China and cost-effective logistic systems.

The three day PIPOC 2017 which kicked off today was attended by more than 2,000 participants locally and internationally.


Malaysia collaborates with CNTA (China National Tourism Administration) to attract more Chinese tourists –

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

HONG KONG: Malaysia aims to attract more tourists from China, including Hong Kong through cooperation between Tourism Malaysia and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Tourism Malaysia worked in close collaboration with CNTA, which acts as a Ministry of Tourism in China, to draw more Chinese tourists.

He said Malaysia would not be able to achieve the target of bringing in three million tourists from China this year as it recorded only about 1.8 million Chinese tourist arrivals until Oct 31.

“The numbers fell off the target by 1.2 million. It’s impossible to achieve the target with two months left (in 2017),” he told Malaysian media here yesterday.

Ahmad  Zahid is here to deliver his keynote address at the 9th World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES), a major international event aimed at enhancing business relationships and networks between China and Asean.

Ahmad Zahid said the shortfall could be attributed to the scaling down of promotions due to reduced allocations.

Besides collaborating with CNTA, Malaysia will start promoting the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 starting next year where wooing Chinese tourists will also be on the cards.

To this end, Ahmad Zahid stressed the importance of air transport connectivity in terms of the frequency of scheduled, periodic or charter flights.

“We should focus on not only major cities but also second-tier cities which have less connectivity. I have discussed with several LCCs (low-cost carriers) so that we can exploit these destinations and gauge the number of potential Chinese tourists coming to Malaysia.

“(This is) because CNTA has promoted certain destinations (in Malaysia) to Chinese tourists. Perhaps CNTA can highlight new destinations that I had seen according to the areas of ​​interest for Chinese tourists.

“They really like the rainforest and beaches. Of course, these elements are important for them to explore and I think the potential is huge. We must be steadfast and consistent in carrying out promotions,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said with a population of 1.3 billion people, China has 60 million potential outbound tourists annually and the numbers is growing as their disposable income rises.

The deputy prime minister expressed confidence that efforts to entice Chinese tourists to second-tier cities would bear fruit with the coordination between Tourism Malaysia and Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture with CNTA.

“Likewise for Hong Kong tourists, who are regarded as high-end tourists, even though they have priority on some countries, it is not impossible to woo them,” he said.


Post Malaysia launches ‘Pos Laju Shield’ insurance plan –

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

ALOR GAJAH– Pos Malaysia Bhd’s courier arm, Pos Laju, has launched the ‘Pos Laju Shield’, a prepaid Takaful insurance plan for customers who wish to protect their items while in transit via Pos Laju.

Pos Malaysia Bhd Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, said the plan offered comprehensive loss and damage coverage of up to RM4,000, with prices ranging from as low as 60 sen per parcel.

He said the insurance plan was a value-added service from Pos Laju.

“The ‘Shield 1′ package is priced at RM8.48, covering 10 Pos Laju parcels, ‘Shield 2′ (RM74.20) covers 100 parcels, ‘Shield 3′ (RM206.70) covers 300 parcels while ‘Shield 4′ (RM318) covers 500 parcels, and the prices are inclusive of the Good and Services Tax.

“The Takaful package is valid for one year from the date of the purchase, and can be used until the balance in the customer’s account has run out,” he said.

The plan also provided compensation for late deliveries, including delays due to natural disasters, which was only applicable when the delivery exceeded the standard delivery period by more than two days, he said.

“We have set RM1.2 million as the sales target for the product by year-end,” he told reporters after launching the insurance plan here today.

Also present were Group Chief Commercial Officer, Nor Azizan Tarja, and Zurich General Insurance and Takaful President, David Fike.

Meanwhile, Mohd Shukrie said, around 90 per cent of Pos Laju deliveries were on time, surpassing the industry’s 85 per cent target.

He attributed this to the initiatives and improvements in terms of the infrastructure to ensure a smooth delivery system.

Mohd Shukrie said that 99 per cent of the delayed or missing parcels were not due to theft, rather, they were usually caused by consignment notes becoming detached from the packages.

“This is why the packages could not be delivered to the intended address, and so the items would still be at Pos Laju,” he said.


Malaysia can become hub for ASEAN market – Ahmad Zahid

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

HONG KONG: Malaysia can become a hub for distributing products from overseas to the ASEAN market for which Hong Kong has grown itself into for decades.

Hence, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged Malaysian investors to take advantage of the vast opportunities before them with the signing of the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) between ASEAN and Hong Kong.

He said Malaysian entrepreneurs and business sectors should translate the FTA to create investment opportunities between the two countries.

“We can see that this opportunity is wide open as all this while they (investors) have invested in some countries outside of Hong Kong, especially China.

“And this is the best opportunity not just in terms of investment but also as a two-way trade between our country and Hong Kong,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said Hong Kong had become the gateway for goods from Malaysia to several countries, particularly its neighbouring countries.

“I think this role of transshipment country can be expanded, not just being a channel and distribution centre for goods from our country.

“But at the same time, Malaysia should be a transshipment country to channel products just like the role Hong Kong has played,” he told Malaysian media here today.

Ahmad Zahid is here to deliver his keynote address at the 9th World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES), a major international event aimed at enhancing business relationships and networks between China and ASEAN.

Themed “Managing Global Uncertainty: Exploring New Opportunities”, the two-day summit gathers government, business and academic and thought leaders to commemorate and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) which complements the China-ASEAN FTA.

The event is organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).

Ahmad Zahid said the role of transshipment country could be played by Malaysia for all ASEAN countries as it has good ports and infrastructures, as well as broader communication channels.

He said the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) at KLIA Aeropolis would turn Malaysia into a hub for products from Hong Kong to ports and infrastructure that had been upgraded through the transshipment system.


Sabah taking first step in biomass development

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has taken the first step towards venturing into biomass development with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up satellite biomass collection centres.
The signing between three entities – the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC), BELL Corporation Sdn Bhd and My Clean Energy Sdn Bhd, will see more stakeholders come together to make this a reality.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, who is also Industrial Development minister, said that this first step taken is a result of the years of discussions, seminars and similar programmes to tap into biomass development.

“Sabah is among the largest palm oil producers (1.5mil ha) in the country and the amount of waste from this industry is huge,” he said after witnessing the signing ceremony here, yesterday.

He said these wastes could in turn become wealth, if managed properly.

Tan said this has taken so long to even kick start because of the numerous challenges faced including to get mills to collaborate and agree to have their industrial wastes be used for this purpose.

“They (operators) were unsure of what they would get out of agreeing, and no agreement on the price per tonne of palm oil waste could be achieved then, but now we are in the midst of finalising most details,” he said.

“Many of them choose to just keep or hold on to these wastes instead of letting them go to proper channels,” he said.

He hopes that the agreement will be the document for the setting up of biomass collection centres and will finally, stabilise the price of biomass and ensure the long-term supply of biomass.

If the centres have been set up, palm oil mills will need to go through several layers of treatment of their palm wastes before ‘dumping’ them into specific centres to be collected and sent to the POIC for further process. Currently, most mills in Lahad Datu have agreed to be part of this project. Potential investors have also lined up to be part of it.

More signings towards making the setting up of biomass collection centres are expected within these few months. POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Pang Teck Wai said the collection centres will clear hurdles on oil palm biomass and supply security for the first time, the two major factors hindering the take off of the billion-ringgit biomass downstream industry in the state.

“All biomass have commercial and industrial uses in pellets, compost, briquettes, energy, biochemical, etc,” he said, adding this signing is also a testament that the palm oil industry can be sustainable.

Under the MoU, BELL Corporation will provide land, some 50km from Lahad Datu for gathering of biomass from its nearby mills.

The logistics is provided by My Clear Energy who will transport the biomass such as empty fruit bunch (EFB) from the mills to the gathering site.

“With these structures in place, we now think that we have found a workable platform much like a supermarket where biomass investors can come and by EFB both in small and large quantities,” he said.

POIC Trading was represented by Dr Pang, BELL Corporation was represented by its CEO, Puan Sri Dr Liana Low, while My Clear Energy was represented by its chairman, Jeffrey Lu.


Lee Lam Thye: Know about psychosocial risks

Posted on : 15-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

Kota Kinabalu: Psychosocial risks should always be regarded as part of occupational safety and health (OSH) and employers must take it into account when developing their OSH management system, said National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Nisoh) Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Since psychosocial risks had an impact on the safety at workplace, he said there was a need to include total wellness programme in OSH management system.

“Disregard psychosocial aspect at own risk as studies show that it has a significant role in causing accidents,” he said after closing the fifth Borneo Occupational Safety and Health Conference and Exhibition (BOSH 2017) here, Tuesday.

He said Niosh had already introduced its Total Wellness and Health Promotion (TWHP) programme in 2003 with the aim to create a sustainable and healthy workforce in the country.

“Our TWHP for example, provides a customised and systematic programme for industry to strengthen Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) prevention including stress mental illness,” he said.

There are five categories of health hazards in the workplace – physical, chemical, biological, ergonomics and psychosocial. Stress falls under psychosocial.

Lee said all organisations must also consider work-related stress and psychosocial risks as part of their safety and health strategy to reduce accidents and injuries at the workplace.

This is important since the National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015 shows that about 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 and over, or 29.2 percent of the population suffer from various mental problems.

He said the number was alarming as it showed an increase of 11.2 per cent compared to 2006.

“Managing stress and psychosocial risks at work would create a healthy work environment, in which workers feel valued and the workplace culture is more positive and consequently, productivity and business performance improves,” he said.

Although many factors contribute to workers’ mental health and well-being, he said there is increasing evidence that the workplace environment makes a significant contribution.

“In a good psychosocial environment, work can be beneficial for workers’ mental health, giving them a greater sense of social inclusion, identity and status, opportunities for development and increased confidence.

“Conversely, a poor psychosocial work environment can have significant negative effects on workers’ health,” he said.

As workers spend one-third of their day at the office, he said workplace issues are one of the major contributors of depression.

“Employers must be aware that the neglect of mental health and psychosocial factors at the workplace is not only detrimental to the individual worker but also directly affects productivity, efficiency and output of any organisation,” he said.

He said employee performance, frequent illness, absenteeism, accidents and staff turnover are all affected by employees’ mental health status.

On BOSH 2017, Lee said he was satisfied with active participation of OSH practioners from Sabah and Sarawak.

He also urged them to support the state government and NIOSH effort to promote good OSH practices in various industries especially in the tourism and agriculture sectors and among the small and medium entrepreneurs.


Lower Cost, gateway cargo keeps Westports in clearer waters

Posted on : 13-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Earnings of Westports Holdings Bhd (Westports) for the first nine months of financial year 2017 (9MFY17) came in estimates, with core profit after tax (PAT) amounting to RM440.5 million which met analysts and consensus’ expectations.

According to MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd (MIDF Research), this comes as the firm’s third quarter (3QFY17) saw revenue going up by 3.8 per cent year on year (y-o-y) but core PAT fell marginally by 0.4 per cent y-o-y due to the fall in transhipment throughput volume.

“The fall in core PAT was cushioned by an improvement in gateway cargo contribution where the ratio of gateway to transhipment now stands at 30:70 compared to 26:74 a year ago,” it added in a report yesterday.

“It was also aided by lower costs in the container segment that dropped 19.3  per cent y-o-y and lower manpower costs caused by lower overtime claims.”

This comes as the effects of reshuffling alliances are felt, it said, as Westports faced setbacks as the new alliances, the Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance commenced.

“The Ocean Alliance moved their containers to the Port of Singapore (PSA) back in April as its largest member, CMA CGM completed its takeover of Singapore based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL),” it added.

“On the other hand, another of Westports’ largest customers, UASC, did the same as it became a part of THE Alliance after being acquired by Hapag-Lloyd. The Asia-Europe and Asia-America trade lanes saw a decrease in container volumes as a result of this.

“Overall, the transhipment throughput volume recorded a decline by 23.2 per cent y-o-y decline which was the second consecutive drop for the year.”

Nevertheless, MIDF Research saw that Westports’ gateway contribution remained positive as gateway throughput volume continued to improve, expanding by 14.3 per cent y-o-y in 3QFY17 as exports volume surged highest on record, posting 14.2 per cent growth in the third quarter.

“We remain optimistic on the gateway segment in 2H17 amid the +14.5 per cent growth in gross external trade forecasted by our economics team for FY17.

“Tax rate slightly unchanged in 3QFY17. The effective tax rate was slightly unchanged in 3QFY17 at 15.2 per cent. In spite of this, we note that the tax rate has declined from 21 per cent in 1QFY17 and is expected to decline more in the 4QFY17.

“This will follow the capitalisation of terminal operating equipment and wharf.”

All these led the research firm to maintain a murky outlook for Westports’ second half of financial year but, adding that “FY18 will be better”.

“The management of Westports remains cautious, holding on to an expectation that FY17’s overall container throughput could decline between minus seven per cent and minus 12 per cent y-o-y, before flattening out in 2QFY18 and returning to growth from 3QFY18 onwards.

“Our forecasted decline in throughput volume is slightly more upbeat compared to management’s view. This hinges on continued strength in external trade and growth in global container shipping demand.

“Aside from that, Westports could benefit from service updates carried out by shipping alliances, having expanded its container handling capacity via CT8 and CT9 phase 1.”


Malaysia to develop logistics partnership within ASEAN, China & Asia Pacific

Posted on : 13-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

HONG KONG: Malaysia will focus on developing and expanding its logistics partnership within ASEAN, China and Asia Pacific countries, says Transport Minster Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said the country was committed to creating a seamless, integrated and interconnected network across land, aviation and maritime transport network, including railways, airports and seaports.

“It is our aim to develop an efficient, productive and business-friendly environment as we transform Malaysia into a logistics hub within the region.

“As a matter of fact, in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report 2017’, we were ranked 23rd for ease of doing business out of a total of 190 economies, ” he said at the Ninth World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES) here today .

Liow, who is also the Honorary Adviser to WCES, was confident Malaysia would eventually be able to improve its rankings as the country’s transport network and logistics sector gradually developed.

He said there was no doubt that transport infrastructure was crucial in promoting increased connectivity across nations.

“It is a key enabler that will certainly open up fresh opportunities for businesses.

“In particular, developing economies in Asia stand to benefit greatly, as market expansion and the formation of new network encourage more inter-trade,” he added.

Furthermore, Liow added that enhanced transport infrastructure would pave the way for a stronger logistics sector, which in turn would serve as the backbone of a nation’s economy.

On the two-day summit themed, ‘Managing Global Uncertainty: Exploring New Opportunities’, organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, Liow said: “It is heartening to have international events and summits such as the WCES to inspire us to think deeper and work harder towards achieving economic integration.


Invest in Malaysia, DPM urges global Chinese diaspora (DPM speaking at the 9th World Chinese Economic Summit)

Posted on : 13-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

HONG KONG: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called on the global Chinese diaspora to invest in Malaysia.

“Likewise, I hope more investors from Hong Kong will also consider Malaysia as an investment destination and use Malaysia as a springboard into other countries in ASEAN, especially with the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“We can be your fulcrum to the ASEAN market of US$620 million with a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$2.3 trillion, making ASEAN the seventh largest economy in the world,” he told participants of the 9th World Chinese Economic Summit here today.

The deputy prime minister also reiterated the Malaysian government’s continued appreciation to the Chinese community in Malaysia.

Saying that Malaysian Chinese have contributed much to the economic development of Malaysia over the past 60 years, Ahmad Zahid added that Malaysian Chinese have participated in all areas of life in Malaysia and have excelled in all spheres of activities.

The two-day summit themed, ‘Managing Global Uncertainty: Exploring New Opportunities’, gathered government, business and academic and thought leaders here to commemorate and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA which would complement the China-ASEAN FTA.