KL ‘yes’ to Special Grant review

Posted on : 18-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 18, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: The Federal Government has in principle agreed to review the Special Grant for Sabah but the sum needs to be determined first based on its ability as well as allocation channeled to the State Government.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in his winding up speech for the Chief Minister’s Department read by Special Tasks Minister, Datuk Teo Chee Kang on Thursday said the Federal Government made the decision after the Special Committee to Review Sabah Special Grant convened on Jan 29, 2014.
According to him, the latest development on the matter was that a meeting was supposed to be conducted at the end of October last year but it was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.
“The State Government will continue with the effort to get the Federal special grant for Sabah to be reviewed and that a positive decision can be met so that the State’s economy can be uplifted in parallel with other states in Malaysia,” he said.
The Federal Government had started giving the annual Special Grant to Sabah in 1963 as provided for under Article 112C, 122D and Part IV of 10th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
There was a misconception that the special grant amount was 40 per cent of the nett revenue collected by the Federal Government from Sabah but the actual definition of “nett revenue” here was revenue collected by the Federal Government minus revenue channeled to the State Government, he said.
In 1964 the Special Grant for Sabah was RM2.5 million and it steadily grew five years after that with RM29.3 million being channeled to Sabah in 1968.
In 1973 the amount received by Sabah was RM26.7 million and it remained until today. “But the State Government will continue to work towards getting this amount to be reviewed including proposing a new calculation formula,” he said.
Musa said the State Government also agreed for a Land Bank to be set up which can be used for future development as proposed by Pantai Manis Assemblyman, Datuk Rahim Ismail.
On Rahim’s proposal for the State Government to reacquire the 200 acres titled land that had been abandoned and with expiring lease term in Kampung Kalanahan, Papar, he said a study would be conducted on the land usage. If there is pressing need for Bumiputera housing development, he said the State Government would gazette the areas as Bumiputera Housing Reserve.
As for the grazing reserve that is yet to be developed, the State Government would consider gazetting part of it as Bumiputera Housing Reserve and the site for the people housing programme and People Housing 1Malaysia Programme (PR1MA) if the development was really needed, he said.
A detailed study is needed on the proposal to prohibit non-Sabahans to purchase Country Lease (CL) titled land above 100 acres especially in terms of its impact to the social and economy as well as investors’ confidence to come to Sabah, he said.
Balung Assemblyman, Datuk Syed Abbas Syed Ali had suggested that the non-Sabahans be prohibited to buy more than 100 acres of CL land except for those located in the urban areas.
Nonetheless, Musa said sales transaction involving CL lands to individuals or companies be it from Sabah or outside of the State was provided for under Section 10 of the Land Ordinance Chap 68 whereby the property is open for the open market for development in order to encourage foreign investors to come to Sabah.
For agriculture land 1,000 acres and above, 30 to 49 per cent of the land ownership shares are allocated to the natives or bumiputera, he said.
On the issue of the hospital for Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s (UMS) medical school, he said the State Cabinet had decided on Dec 9, 2011 to approve a UMS Teaching Hospital (HUMS) that would be developed through public private partnership by the Federal agency, Public Private Partnership Unit. The development plan for 400-bed HUMS on a site identified in the UMS campus had been completed that was monitored by the Federal Public Work Department. The development plan had been submitted to City Hall for endorsement as part of the terms of the HUMS development, he said.
On the issue of stateless children, Musa said the government has yet to make any official decision on whether to give them documents or pass until a thorough study and census on them had been completed.
The issue was currently being scrutinised by two committees namely the Main Committee and Technical Committee on Foreign Migrants Management in Sabah set up as recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
(Source: Daily Express)
April 18, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: The Federal Government has in principle agreed to review the Special Grant for Sabah but the sum needs to be determined first based on its ability as well as allocation channeled to the State Government.

Only costly projects not yet implemented: No State budget review

Posted on : 17-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 17, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: The State 2015 Budget development expenditure will not be reviewed in line with the budget’s halatuju to maintain the State’s development momentum and prosperity of the people.

Sabah never failed to demand

Posted on : 15-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has never failed to ask or demand anything deemed to be in the best interest for the state, including the matter of petroleum royalty, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
However, Musa, who is also Sabah Finance Minister, said anything that was requested by the state government should be fair and reasonable to be met by the federal government, as well as Petronas.
Thus, Musa said the opposition in Sabah need not worry or be anxious because the state government would always be fully committed to ensure Sabah benefited from its natural resources.
“We must work together (to prosper Sabah’s economy) and respect the Federation. There is no need to quarrel, we should (discuss) in a good and professional manner and believe that ‘we have done our duty’ (to ask and demand for our rights),” he interjected when Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR-Bingkor) was debating the Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri’s policy speech at the State Assembly (DUN) here yesterday.
Jeffrey, among other things had accused the state government of being taken for a ride by the federal government by not demanding for an increase in petroleum royalty to 20 per cent.
Musa said the accusation by Jeffrey was unfounded because the state government and the federal government together with Petronas always discussed and ensured that the revenue from the oil and gas industry was divided on a win-win basis, including in terms of royalty.
Besides the petroleum royalty, Musa said the state government had also taken steps to identify economic potential in other resources available, including developing downstream processing industries involving the Sabah Ammonia Urea Project (Samur).
This was because the outlook of upstream processing, such as the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was currently not so profitable, he said.
“By diversifying revenue (streams) in this industry, the state government can profit and ask for equity, in which Petronas has basically agreed (to give) a 25 per cent equity in Samur,” he said.
Looking at the current scenario, Musa said the state government was more interested in on-shore oil exploration, and had asked Petronas to identify and explore the lands of Sabah, as off-shore oil exploration cost much more, besides being far away.
In addition to that, he said the marginal oil fields take over in Sandakan which had been approved by Petronas in principle would be endeavored to ensure that it would be able to contribute to the economic growth of the state.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has never failed to ask or demand anything deemed to be in the best interest for the state, including the matter of petroleum royalty, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

State Govt, Transport Ministry to reduce different pricing – Pairin

Posted on : 15-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 15, 2015
THE State Government and the Transport Ministry are working together to find ways to reduce the different pricing of goods between Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan said.
Pairin in reply to Balung assemblyman Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali yesterday, said that the State Government and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai have had discussions about the matter.
Syed Abas wanted to know why there is still different pricing between the goods in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia despite the liberalization of the Cabotage Policy.
Pairin who is Infrastructure Development Minister, said that there were many reasons behind the matter and one of them was the cost of transporting the goods from the port to the rural areas in the state.
“As a result of our discussion with the Transport Minister, we will be following up with specific meetings to identify the categories that contribute to the higher cost be it in the transportation sector where lorry associations have mentioned that the matter concerned their road tax.
“So we have to look into the issues one by one to see where we can reduce and we will follow up with a more detailed meeting in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiat reminded DAP Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin that the Cabotage Policy was liberalized in 2009.
In reply to Chan’s additional question during the question and answer session at the State Assembly sitting, Tan said the Cabotage police was liberalized on June 3 2009.
“I quote Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat’s statement ‘effective June 3, the Cabotage Policy has been relaxed and foreign vessels are now allowed to carry containerized transhipment goods between ports in the Peninsular and East Malaysia. Sepanggar Port was mentioned in the statement which has been gazetted.
“Following the gazettement, we will develop Sepanggar Port into a transhipment port,” he said when replying to Chan who wanted to know if the State Government will be taking steps to get the Cabotage Policy liberalized.
Earlier Pairin when replying to Chan’s initial question on what steps the government has implemented to develop Sepanggar into a transhipment hub, said that the Sabah Ports Board planned to have this done by 2030.
He added that the Sepanggar Bay Container Port is a specific port that can handle almost 70 per cent of container operations in Sabah.
According to him, a RM200,000 survey on the proposal is being carried out and expected to be completed by this month and the Sabah Ports Board as well as Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd have submitted a new project application under the 11th Malaysia Plan to the Federal Government seeking RM1.5 billion to finance the project.
Initial steps that have and are being implemented at the state level towards this are increasing the port’s Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) capacity annually to 500,000 and this is through expanding the container area by 2.8 hectares.
In the long run, Sepanggar Port will be able to handle 1.2 million TEUs when its wharf is extended by one kilometer and the container area further expanded. The number of container cargo handling machinery like the rubber tired gantry crane will also be increased, he said.
Pairin added that they are now developing and upgrading the Terminal Operating System and this is expected to be completed within 12 months.
“We are also carrying out dredging works to deepen the seabed to 15 metres to allow bigger international vessels to berth in Sepanggar Port,” he added.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 15, 2015
THE State Government and the Transport Ministry are working together to find ways to reduce the different pricing of goods between Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan said.

All 60 Sabah assemblymen sign “Aku Janji” to support fight against corruption

Posted on : 15-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: All the 60 Sabah state assemblymen today signed the “Aku Janji” (I Promise) as a mark of their commitment and support towards corruption prevention.
This made Sabah the first state with assemblymen from both sides of the political divide signing the pledge.
The signing was witnessed by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed at the State Legislative Assembly building, here.
Abu Kassim said the approach was in line with the MACC’s strategy of enhancing cooperation with political parties and non-governmental organisations towards effective corruption prevention.
He said the commitment to fighting corruption involved leaders’ seriousness in passing and enforcing a regulation or law, becoming role models for the country’s echelon political leaders, upholding integrity in administration, being transparent in managing funds, not politicising the corruption issue to fish for public support and votes, and being sincere in helping the MACC fight corruption by trusting and supporting its actions. — BERNAMA
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: All the 60 Sabah state assemblymen today signed the “Aku Janji” (I Promise) as a mark of their commitment and support towards corruption prevention.
This made Sabah the first state with assemblymen from both sides of the political divide signing the pledge.

Sabah to produce RM3 bln worth of white shrimp by 2020

Posted on : 15-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is expected to produce RM3 billion worth of white shrimp when four main prawn farms are fully operational by 2020.
Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Assistant Minister Datuk Sairin Karno said the four farms are expected to produce 110,870 metric tonnes of white shrimp by 2020, contributing RM1.5 billion to the Gross National Income.
He said the farms, owned by four companies approved under the National Key Economic Areas, had invested RM1.12 billion in accordance with the conditions set by the government before pursuing the integrated development project.
They are Sunlight Inno Seafood Sdn Bhd (Pitas), KB Aquaculture (Kota Belud), Pegagau Aquaculture Sdn Bhd (Tawau), and QL Aquamarine Sdn Bhd (Kudat), he said when replying to Dr Edwin Jack Bosi (DAP-Kepayan) at the State Assembly here today.
KB Aquaculture is ready while three others are still at the implementation stage, he said, adding that the integrated project implementation through the National Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Economy Approach would create 4,351 jobs for the local community.
Sairin said Sabah produced white shrimp worth RM321.08 million in 2014, up 38 per cent from 2013, while this year’s production is expected to reach 30,000 metric tonnes. -Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 15, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is expected to produce RM3 billion worth of white shrimp when four main prawn farms are fully operational by 2020.
Sabah Agriculture and Food Industries Assistant Minister Datuk Sairin Karno said the four farms are expected to produce 110,870 metric tonnes of white shrimp by 2020, contributing RM1.5 billion to the Gross National Income.

Najib launches Bank of China as renminbi clearing bank

Posted on : 15-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 15, 2015, Wednesday
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday launched the Bank of China as the renminbi clearing bank in Kuala Lumpur to facilitate and reduce the cost of doing business here.
Malaysia is the second country after Singapore in Asean to establish a renminbi clearing bank with China.
Najib said the landmark establishment of the renminbi clearing bank was the result of discussions between Chinese President Xi Jinping and himself in May this year.
“This marks another important milestone in the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and China and this fruitful collaboration would facilitate more trade in renminbi and boost Malaysia’s status as Asean financial hub,” he said at the launch of the clearing bank here.
Najib said the Bank of China, currently the seventh largest bank in the world by assets, would provide Malaysia direct access to the Chinese financial markets and new avenues to source as well invest surplus renminbi funds at competitive rates.
“The new clearing bank, a critical financial initiative, will enhance our ties still further. It will support increased bilateral trade and investment, promote the use of local currency settlement and bring mutual benefit for everyone in the region,” he said.
He said the clearing bank would reduce liquity risk, encourage the growth of premium financial services in both countries, besides further promoting the facilitation of trade and investment.
“Currently, the renminbi foreign exchange now stands at RMB3.5 billion a day. It is increasingly recognised as a major global trade settlement currency. This establishment could not come at a more opportunate time,” he said.
Prior to the agreement, conversion of the ringgit into yuan would need to be first converted into the US dollar and then thereafter to the renminbi.
With a clearing house in Malaysia, the ringgit can be directly converted to yuan, hence reducing the cost of transaction.
As Malaysia chairs Asean this year, Najib said, stable and internationally-recognised currencies would be crucial to facilitate the accelerated trade and investment activities in order to establish the Asean Economic Community.
“Since Asean is one of China’s largest trading partners, the renminbi has a key role to play and we anticipate Malaysia becoming a major offshore renminbi clearing centre to facilitate direct trade settlement within the region.
“This could drastically lower transaction costs and benefit both China and Asean,” he said.
On the historic Malaysia-China relationship, Najib said, the good business cooperation progressed further in the projects undertaken by China in the country including the establishment of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park.
Last year, he said, total approved foreign direct investments from China in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia totalled RM4.8 bilion.
The renminbi clearing house is the latest in a series of moves that both countries have undertaken to enhance trade that has grown more than 10-fold since 2000 to exceed US$100 billion (RM332.85 billion) in 2013.
China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner in Asean.
In May last year, during the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Malaysia and China agreed to work towards the realisation of bilateral trade target of US$160 billion (RM532.56 billion) by 2017. — Bernama
April 15, 2015, Wednesday
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday launched the Bank of China as the renminbi clearing bank in Kuala Lumpur to facilitate and reduce the cost of doing business here.
Malaysia is the second country after Singapore in Asean to establish a renminbi clearing bank with China.

M’sia in position of advantage to give economy a boost

Posted on : 14-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 14, 2015
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia is in the primary position of advantage to stamp its mark in Asean history, as it will be able to advocate matters that are favourable to its domestic economy.
The position of Asean chair and the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will unleash its potentials to be in the forefront of the Asean economy by leveraging on its domestic and the sound infrastructure strengths. With an Asean population 625 million and an economy of US$2.4 trillion, which is the seventh largest in the world, the region offers a huge opportunity for Malaysia, especially the private sector, to tap and continuously grow.
Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) general manager, Syed Nabil Aljeffri, said with Malaysia’s open door economy, it is easier to galvanise the private sector to cross borders within Asean.
“For intra-Asean trade to work on a domestic environment basis, first we have to get out of our comfort zone by getting to understand our neighbours’ environments in doing business, because this is what AEC aims to do – to integrate the economy to becoming a single economic block,” he said.
Take Thailand’s role as the motor vehicle hub in the region.Other Asean countries need not compete to be another one, but instead complement Thailand by being part of the supply chain of the industry, he said.
He said furthermore, as Thailand will be able to offer cheaper labour and raw materials, Malaysia, on the converse, will have its own advantage of providing the connectivity through information and communications technology (ICT).
That will become an investment opportunity for Malaysia, as its regulatory and standard practices, ICT knowledge and ease of doing business can be shared with other countries including Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Phillipines, he said.
“ICT is the single most powerful tool to connect Asean’s private sector as it provides multiple opportunities easily,” said Syed Nabil.
Malaysia was ranked 18th in the Ease of Doing Business Report 2015 by World Bank and the second after Singapore in South-East Asia.
In addition, the multi-lateral free trade agreements (FTAs), including the negotiations of the Asean-Hong Kong FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), will also create a huge market and entrepreneurship openings as well as developments for Malaysia to advance in investment opportunities.
He said foreign businessmen always complained of the difficulties, like economic barriers, of doing business in Asean.
The best way to overcome them is to form joint ventures (JVs), he said.
“Form a JV. This is how it works – you and I agree, we can do something for the mutual benefit,” he said.
He said forming JVs would be one of the key efforts to be introduced in the post-2015 Small and Medium Enterprises Strategic Action Plan.
“The approach is the right way to go because a local partner would able to understand the market better in terms of harmonising the regulations and language among others, to ensure a seamless movement people and the business,” he said.
However, it will be up to the policymakers and leaders to decide and create a conducive environment for business to talk and merge with each other, he said. – Bernama
(Source: Daily express)
April 14, 2015
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia is in the primary position of advantage to stamp its mark in Asean history, as it will be able to advocate matters that are favourable to its domestic economy.
The position of Asean chair and the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will unleash its potentials to be in the forefront of the Asean economy by leveraging on its domestic and the sound infrastructure strengths. With an Asean population 625 million and an economy of US$2.4 trillion, which is the seventh largest in the world, the region offers a huge opportunity for Malaysia, especially the private sector, to tap and continuously grow.

CM: Scope aplenty in Sabah’s oil and gas sector

Posted on : 14-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 14, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman urged local oil, gas and energy companies to build on their potentials as opportunities are aplenty for them in the industry here.
Oil and gas have been tapped for decades in the State, but local participation, especially in downstream activities, is viewed as becoming more active in recent years. There is much to be tapped provided one is equipped with the relevant financial and technical capabilities, he said.
But Musa understood that due to the infancy of the industry, Sabah-based companies are being very cautious in entering the field despite the commitment of the State and Federal Governments on oil and gas industry development.
His cited the water requirement of Petronas’ Sabah Ammonia Urea Project (Samur) in the Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park (Sogip) of 20 million litres per day, stating that a new water treatment plant has been completed.
Furthermore, the construction of the internal infrastructure facilities in Sogip, like roads, lighting, drainage and ICT, which should be completed by the middle of this year.
“When the Samur project is operational in the first quarter of 2016, it will be supported by all the necessary infrastructure so that its operations will run smoothly,” he said, when launching the Fourth Sabah Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, here. His speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan.
In the areas of consistent power supply, he said the Federal Government had also allocated RM333 million to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd for the purpose of pulling the transmission line from the Kimanis Power Plant.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017. “It is the desire of the State government to be involved, through its agencies or State Government Linked Companies (GLC), to participate throughout the value chain of the oil and gas industry,” he said.
Musa recalled in the 12 months since the conference was held, Sabah had also shown many improvements in the development of its oil and gas industry.
(Source:Daily Express)
April 14, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman urged local oil, gas and energy companies to build on their potentials as opportunities are aplenty for them in the industry here.
Oil and gas have been tapped for decades in the State, but local participation, especially in downstream activities, is viewed as becoming more active in recent years. There is much to be tapped provided one is equipped with the relevant financial and technical capabilities, he said.

Oil price to impact State budget

Posted on : 14-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 14, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: The fall in fuel price will probably affect the State’s budget but it is still too early to know exactly to what extent. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said due to the unstable price of oil in the global market, it is not possible to declare precisely how much the State’s budget deficit will be.
“We will only know at the end of the year, how much we can collect. However, we are ready to face any possibility. By spending prudently, we are confident we can reduce operation costs,” he told Tamparuli Assemblyman Datuk Wilfred Bumburing during question and answer at the State Assembly sitting, Monday.
“In terms of oil royalty, it is very easy. We are receiving five per cent of the total gross production of crude oil, just like Sarawak. On top of that, we are also asking for other equities.
“Among the equities, we have asked for 10 per cent equity from Bintulu LNG, 25 per cent from Samur and other downstream processing such as melamine. Other than that, we are also asking for the rights to obtain equity on onshore exploration.
“All this while, we have offshore exploration. Now when we have onshore exploration, they must give the exploration right to us because it will be on our lands,” he said.
Musa said he is grateful to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Petronas who agreed to granting Sabah 25 per cent of the onshore exploration.
Bingkor Assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan asked Musa if the State Government will discuss with the Federal Government to be granted higher cash payment than the five per cent, following the discovery of 16 new oil wells in the State last year.
Musa said the State Government had asked to be given the rights to take over the marginal fields, including one in Sandakan. In principle, Petronas had already approved the request. “We want to take over the field. We don’t want equities only.
We want to explore the fields. That’s how good the Federal Government had been to us,” he said.
Earlier, replying to a question by Kiulu Assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai, Musa said Petronas pays oil royalty to the State Government twice a year with the first around February and the second around August.
Musa revealed that prior to the fall in oil price, the State government had expected to collect RM1.15 billion in royalty this year. “However, due to the foreseeably lower crude oil price this year, the number had been revised to only RM788million.
“Seeing that oil royalty contributes to between 20 and 23 per cent of the State Government revenue, we will be affected if the price remains low.
“Other than practising more cautious and prudent spending, we are expecting minimum impact to the development plan due to the RM1billion bond raised last year supported by strong State reserves,” he said.
In other aspect, Musa said the fall in oil price would affect Petronas’ plans in its oil and gas development projects.
“Therefore, Petronas will conduct a detailed review on managing the operational costs for each project. This is to ensure that each project will remain competitive and profitable even when the oil price is low,” he said.
(Source: Daily Express)
April 14, 2015
Kota Kinabalu: The fall in fuel price will probably affect the State’s budget but it is still too early to know exactly to what extent. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said due to the unstable price of oil in the global market, it is not possible to declare precisely how much the State’s budget deficit will be.

Juhar Mahiruddin appointed Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri for second term

Posted on : 13-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

December 30, 2014

KOTA KINABALU: Tun Juhar Mahiruddin yesterday received his instrument of appointment as Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri for the second term.

After receiving the instrument of appointment from Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negeri, here, the Yang Dipertua Negeri’s private secretary, Abinan Asli

Malaysian economy to grow 4.7pc in 2015 and 5pc in 2016: World Bank

Posted on : 13-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

13 APRIL 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank expects the Malaysian economy to slow to 4.7 per cent in 2015 before returning to 5.0 per cent next year.
In its first outlook for Malaysia this year, it said lower oil prices will dampen growth through delays in capital expenditures in the oil and gas (O&G) sector, a key driver of the recent investment boom.
It expects private consumption to moderate on tighter credit and a small impact from the introduction of the Good sand Services Tax (GST), before rebounding in 2016.
“A slight uptick in inflation is therefore expected despite low readings in the first half as lower oil prices are reflected throughout the economy,” it said in its East Asia Pacific Economic Update.
LNG exports, primarily to Japan, are a major component of the current account surplus and the four to five month lag in the transmission of oil prices to LNG prices is starting to be felt.
With the possibility of Japan restarting its nuclear reactors sooner than expected, LNG imports are expected to reduce.
“The current account is thus expected to narrow, although upside is possible if manufacturing export growth retains momentum from the fourth quarter.”
On risks to near term growth, the World Bank said the soft oil prices will impact growth, fiscal and external accounts.
“Although the government announced a slew of expenditure cuts to remain on a consolidation path, over a fifth of revenues depend on oil, including a yearly dividend from Petronas.”
If oil prices remain low, Petronas will be hard-pressed to maintain this dividend, especially if it is to continue its large investment programme.
Other risks include weakness in the global economy that would dampen export demand, renewed volatility in capital flows, and the realisation of contingent liabilities, which have increased since the global financial crisis.
Malaysia’s favourable economic prospects will support overall household income growth although falling palm oil revenues (driven by oil prices and the floods in late 2014) will pose a challenge to the livelihoods of smallholders.
“While the introduction of GST may impact low-income urban households, most goods consumed by this group have been exempted or zero-rated.”
It also expects the labour markets to remain robust but not buoyant, in line with economic performance.
Household income growth will remain on an upward, if somewhat slower, trend, with the share of the population earning less than US$4 per day expected to decline further.
On challenges, the World Bank said productivity-enhancing reforms are critical to support long-term growth and boost shared prosperity.
These include modernising social policies towards income-targeted programmes focused on equality of opportunities, reforming the education system without increasing public spending, enhancing competition in the economy and ensuring the sustainability of public finances by reducing dependence on energy revenues.
“Further gains in reducing inequality and boosting incomes at the bottom of the distribution hinge on speeding up these reforms to close skills- and income-based achievement gaps in education and the labour market.”
On the outlook for the region, the World Bank said growth will ease slightly in developing countries in East Asia and Pacific this year, even as the region benefits from lower oil prices and a continued economic recovery in developed economies.
“Despite slightly slower growth in East Asia, the region will still account for one-third of global growth, twice the combined contribution of all other developing regions,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific regional vice president.
Low global oil prices will benefit most developing countries in East Asia, especially Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, and the Pacific island countries.
However, the region’s net fuel exporters, including Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, will see slower growth and lower government revenues.
In Indonesia, the net impact on growth will depend on how much a decline for its coal and gas exports.
(Source: New Straits Times)
13 APRIL 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank expects the Malaysian economy to slow to 4.7 per cent in 2015 before returning to 5.0 per cent next year.
In its first outlook for Malaysia this year, it said lower oil prices will dampen growth through delays in capital expenditures in the oil and gas (O&G) sector, a key driver of the recent investment boom.

Malaysia on track to achieve a balance budget, says Najib

Posted on : 12-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 12, 2015
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is on track to achieve a balance budget and become an advance economy by 2020, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Asserting that Malaysia is a great story to tell, the prime minister said despite mounting challenges, the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong.
“We do have our challenges but if you look at the fundamentals and macro pictures … a 47.7 per cent growth in gross national income (GNI) from 2009 until 2014, a market capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia which rose 140 per cent during the same period, and a gross domestic product (GDP) that grew six per cent last year,” he said when launching Bloomberg TV Malaysia at Kota Damansara here yesterday.
Najib said Malaysia’s achievement was recognised by international bodies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and , which had ranked Malaysia near the top of the tables for competitiveness and ease of doing business.
Even Bloomberg in 2014 also listed Malaysia as the third best emerging market in the world, he said in an impromptu speech.
“We are on the right track. Of course, we have challenges in terms of growth rate, on the notion of equality of income, household income, so its not just GNI, not just per capita income.
“But we have the determination, we are very focus and we have the political courage.
“Soon, the 30 million or so Malaysians in 2020 would feel the pride of Malaysia as an advance economy. We are courageous enough to introduce GST (Goods and Services Tax). When many people say don’t, I say no, we have to do it because it is the right thing to do and we must do it because it’s good for the country’s economy,” he said.
On the launch of Bloomberg TV Malaysia and its present in Malaysia, Najib said it is very timely as Malaysia is moving towards the last leg of Vision 2020 and he would soon launch the final five-year Malaysia plan before 2020.
“Since Malaysia has taken Asean chairmanship this year, we also have the Asean stories to tell as well,” he said.
Najib said as Bloomberg’s support and encouragement would inspire everyone, he hoped Bloomberg’s stories would help bring Malaysia to where it deserve to be.
“We will also support you, give you encouragement and in return you have to do a good stories and you only telling the truth about us,” he said.
Housed at The Strand Encorp, Kota Damansara, Bloomberg TV Malaysia is run by Enmedia Ventures Sdn Bhd, which is owned by businessman Tan Sri Effendi Norwawi.
Speaking to reporters later, Effendi, who is also Bloomberg TV Malaysia chairman, said he hoped the dedicated business channel would provide real time and latest development of the local business scene.
Currently the local business community is under served in terms of dedicated news avenues, he said, adding that Malaysia’s business news would also be aired across the globe through the Bloomberg TV network.
Bloomberg TV Malaysia can be viewed online and via other digital platforms, and it is expected to enter the paid TV platform like Astro and Hypptv soon, he added. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 12, 2015
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is on track to achieve a balance budget and become an advance economy by 2020, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Asserting that Malaysia is a great story to tell, the prime minister said despite mounting challenges, the country’s economic fundamentals remain strong.

PM vows to carry on as long as the people and party back him

Posted on : 10-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 10, 2015
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has broken his silence following weeks of attacks, saying that despite calls for him to step down, he will continue to lead the country and Umno as long as he has the people and the party’s mandate.
Speaking on TV3’s Soal Jawab talk show, the Prime Minister spoke on several leading issues of the day, including those raised by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Najib fielded questions on the controversial 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), the case of murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Sedition Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act and the economy, during the one-hour interview with Hamdan Ahammu.
Despite heavy criticism from Dr Mahathir, Najib said he still respected the former prime minister “just as I respect every citizen of this country”.
“I accept criticism as part of politics and that it won’t always be easy. Although the criticisms are hurtful, the fact remains that I am responsible to the people and party.
“As long as the people and party continue to give me the mandate and trust, I will continue to lead the country and party,” he said.
Urging Malaysians to look at the bigger picture and the country’s future direction, Najib said: “We should not allow an issue to determine that the country and its economy have been destroyed or we have problems that cannot be resolved at all.
“That is totally untrue. We must be confident of our direction. If there are any weakness, we will improve.
“That is why I said no government is perfect. There will be weaknesses. During Dr Mahathir’s leadership it was not perfect and neither is it during my time.”
On the 1MDB, Najib said he had directed the Auditor-General (A-G) to determine if funds had been abused to finance the making of a film, in reference to his stepson Riza Aziz who produced the big-budget Hollywood movie Wolf of Wall Street.
“I do not want to defend anyone as it involves my family. But I want the A-G to verify this.”
Asked why the 1MDB funds were transferred to Singapore from Cayman Islands instead of bringing them back to Malaysia, Najib denied that the money was parked in Cayman Islands, adding that it had merely used the island for regis­tration purposes since it was a tax haven.
Some 200 Malaysian companies, he pointed out, had accounts on the island, adding that they deposited their monies there to profit from foreign exchange.
“At an appropriate time, the money will be brought back to Malaysia,” he added.
Asked if he had explained the 1MDB issue to Dr Mahathir, Najib said: “Personally, I did not as he did not raise the issue directly with me. But the fund’s board members and chief executive had met him.”
Stressing that he would not condone any abuse in 1MDB, he said he had directed the A-G to look into the accounts although its own auditor Deloitte had verified these.
(Source: The Star)
April 10, 2015
PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has broken his silence following weeks of attacks, saying that despite calls for him to step down, he will continue to lead the country and Umno as long as he has the people and the party’s mandate.

RM3.8 bln spent on projects

Posted on : 10-04-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

April 10, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has spent RM1.2 billion to implement various development projects in Sbaah, particularly those related to infrastructures last year.
The federal government meanwhile has spent RM2.6 billion to carry out infrastructure, health, education and security projects as well as those targettd at reducing the development gap between urban and rural areas last year, said Head of State Tun Dr Juhar Datuk Haji Mahiruddin when opening the first meeting of the third term of 14th State Legislative Assembly sitting, yesterday.
He also said Sabah had attracted RM2.8 billion in investments last year involving 33 projects in food production, biomass, nonmetallic mineral products, plastic products and palm oil based products.
Of the total amount, local investors contributed RM2.2 billion or 80 percent of the total investment while RM570 million or 20 percent were from foreign investments.
He added that the private sector in Sabah had continued to be active in the implementation of various high impact projects that would generate ample employment opportunities in the future.
He also said the tourism sector in Sabah had not been adversely impacted by the kidnapping incident that occurred last year.
He attributed this to the efforts undertaken by the state government to aggressively introduce and promote its new tourism product as well as switched its focus to other market sources to boost the sector last year.
Nevertheless, Juhar said the local community must do their part to attract tourists to come to Sabah.
He said they could do this by creating a clean and conducive environment and by being friendly to tourists.
With regard to the agriculture sector, Juhar said Sabah had emphasised in the production of agro-food and the generation of higher and better income for farmers, fishermen and breeders in the state.
He stressed that the sector needed to be reinforced through the use of modern technology which would help the state to increase its agro production and meet the rising demand for food.
Also important is the production of safe and quality food, particularly rice, he said.
He then expressed his gratitude to the government for the efforts and initiatives it had undertaken to research and restructure subsidies and incentives and also ensured that these met its targets and contributed to the development of the state’s agriculture sector.
On women development, Juhar expressed his satisfaction on government’s development geared toward the topic.
He said the government had carried out several programmes that had focused on women development and these comprised of the women of substance programme, women entrepreneurs programme, single mothers development programme, gender sensitivity programme as well as the family welfare programme that aimed at creating and strengthening social harmony.
Juhar said senior citizens and people with disabilities were also included in the country’s development, and efforts were being made to ensure their interest and welfare were protected.
At the same time, he also said a committee to monitor the price increase of goods and services was also established by the government to reduce the burden of the people following the price hike of goods and services in Sabah.
He also said the government had also implemented various initiatives to help the people own their own homes such as the People’s Housing Programme (PPR), Affordable House Programme and 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA).
“The government has also reinforced the role of the Local Government to address several problems in the city such as those related to squatters, drug abuse, increasing poverty rate in the city and population density,” he said.
In his speech, Juhar also spoke of efforts that had been made to develop the sport sector and youths in Sabah.
He said this was in line with the development plan and policies such as the 2014 Sabah Youth Index, Sabah Youth Strategic Development Plan (2016-2020), Sabah Youth Development Policy, and Sabah Sports Development Strategic Plan (2016 – 2030).
Juhar said the state government will increase its effort to reduce the poverty rate in Sabah this year.
It will continue with the implementation of various ongoing poverty eradication programmes, he said.
The government will also continue its ‘Program Kampung Sejahtera’ (PKS) aimed at transforming underdeveloped villages that had been selected for development in aspects of human capital, economic development and improved quality of life.
He also informed that the state government will continue to implement measures to strengthen and implement corporate governance and financial management practices at all statutory bodies and state agencies.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
April 10, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has spent RM1.2 billion to implement various development projects in Sbaah, particularly those related to infrastructures last year.