Rise in rubber and rubber-based exports proof of sector’s continuing growth

Posted on : 19-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

SHAH ALAM — The rise in the value of exports of rubber and rubber-based products of RM5.3 billion or 38.5 per cent for the first seven months of the year is proof of the sector’s continued growth in the future.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong also said RM19.1 billion in export value of rubber and rubber-based products was recorded for the seven months compared to RM13.8 billion for the corresponding period of 2016.

He said public perception that the rubber industry was not important needs to be changed as the commodity is now capable of generating high value products for various sectors, including building engineering or bridges.

“Without us realising it, Malaysia has the among best technology and expertise in the rubber industry in the world, with our products being the choice of of other countries due to its high quality.

“As such, the government strongly encourages industry players to cooperate with universities to continue with research and develop more innovations to further enhance the country’s rubber industry,” he told reporters here today.

Mah added that the increase in total natural rubber exports of 682,131 metric tonnes for the first seven months of 2017 compared to 568,279 metric tonnes for the same period of last year, also showed that the sector was not stagnant, but rather, improving and receiving the attention of the world due to its importance in a particular area.

Earlier, he witnessed the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and Doshin Rubber Products (M) Sdn Bhd.

UiTM was represented by its Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Industry, Community and Alumni Network) Prof Dr Zaini Abdullah and Doshin Rubber Products by its director, Or Tan Teng

The MoU is the result of a large scale strategic research partnership in place from 2013 and aimed at improving infrastructure as well as Malaysia’s safety in the field of earthquake engineering and dynamic structures.

Meanwhile, Mah reminded rubber tappers and smallholders who had yet to register for the Rubber Authority Transaction Permit Cards (PAT-G) under the supervision of the Malaysian Rubber Board to do so before Sept 30, to be eligible for the Rainy Season Assistance (BMT).

“We are looking at 440,000 tappers and rubber smallholders applying for the BMT, but to date, only 171,196 from this group have registered and applied with 81,196 having done so online from Sept 1 when applications opened.

“We hope more of the rubber tappers and smallholders will quickly apply to receive the BMT,” he said.

The BMT is a RM261 million financial assistance extended by the Federal Government to the affected groups to ensure their well-being during the rain season.

From this sum, RM200 monthly is extended for three months from November to January 2018.


Petronas Chemicals bags three awards (winner in The Best Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility, first runner-up for Most Organised Investor Relations and the Strongest Adherence to Corporate Governance)

Posted on : 18-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) recently bestowed three awards for its excellence in corporate governance and stewardship at the ‘Institutional Investor Awards for Corporates’, held in Singapore.

The company emerged winner in the Best Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category and named as first runner-up for two other categories namely the Most Organised Investor Relations and the Strongest Adherence to Corporate Governance.

Commenting on the award, PCG managing director/chief executive officer Datuk Sazali Hamzah, said, “We are honoured to accept the ‘Institutional Investor Awards for Corporates’ in these three categories.

“This prestigious awards recognise and honour corporations in the Southeast Asia region for their efforts in championing sustainable and responsible entrepreneurship and we are privileged to be included in list of recipients.

“Being recognised as the winner of strategic CSR programmes tonight has further strengthened our resolve to raise the bar in establishing many more far-reaching sustainability projects.

“As an ethical, social and environmentally responsible company, PCG fully appreciates the importance of contributing to the wellbeing of the environment and the people living in areas where we operate.

“All of our endeavours are aimed at achieving our commercial objectives while carrying out our responsibility towards sustainable  socioeconomic development and the environment,” he added.

Elaborating further, Datuk Sazali said, “PCG supports the Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad’s initiatives which encourage listed companies to adopt international best practice in disclosure, transparency and investor relations. PCG strictly adheres to these principles when communicating with our shareholders, analysts and regulators, and we are delighted that our efforts have been acknowledged through the ‘Most Organised Investor Relations’ and ‘Strongest Adherence to Corporate Governance’ awards.”

Organised by Alpha Southeast Financial, the Institutional Investor Awards for Corporates is an annual poll carried out to find Southeast Asia’s top ranking companies who are investors’ favourites.

This year, the votes came from more than 528 investors and analysts across the region as well as US and Europe. The participants include fund managers with investment interests in Southeast Asia, large institutional investors, insurance companies, pension funds, funds of hedge funds, private banks, equity and fixed income brokers as well as buy and sell-side analysts.

This year, a total of 24 Southeast Asian public listed companies were ranked based on their practices, be it on corporate governance, investor relations disclosure, transparency, financial management, integrated reporting, CSR and dividend policy.

Apart from PCG, there were five leading Malaysian companies that were also voted for the awards, namely: KLCC Property Holdings Berhad, Sime Darby Group, AmBank Group and Bursa Malaysia.

Also present at the awards ceremony were PCG’s chief financial officer, Rashidah Alias; head of corporate Affairs and Administration, Siti Azlina Latif; and Head of Investor Relations, Zaida Alia Shaari.

Commenting on the awards, Rashidah said, “Communicating directly and often in person with shareholders and analysts demonstrates PCG’s confidence in our strategy, and these award reflect the investment community’s confidence in PCG through our commitment to openness, transparency and maintaining a two-way interaction with financial markets.”


MDEC aims to produce 20,000 data professionals by 2020

Posted on : 15-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) aims to have 20,000 data professionals by 2020, said its head of strategic partnership, N. Somasundaram.

He said there were currently 6,000 data professionals involved in various MDEC-related programmes.

“We are working with professional training providers and local universities in ensuring a sufficient supply of data professionals,” he told a press conference on the upcoming Big Data Week 2017 in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Somasundaram said this would help Malaysia to achieve its target of becoming Asean’s big data and analytics (BDA) hub by 2020.
Meanwhile, some 3,000 visitors are expected to attend the Big Data Week event, to be held from Oct 2-8 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Event highlights include the Next Big Tech Asia conference and hackathons, as well as a number of other activities which aims to increase public awareness on BDA.

Organised by Knowledge Group of Companies, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and MDEC, the event will feature 60 global experts and chief data scientists from leading organisations like Google, Facebook, Fusionex and iFlix sharing their experience in transforming data into valuable insights.

Knowledge Group managing director, N. Selva said the close collaboration between Malaysia’s key players like HRDF, MDEC and Fusionex was very encouraging for the development of data economy.

“MDEC’s continued support as a co-organiser is a testament to their commitment to their role as the custodian of the data economy initiative,” he added.


Mida approves RM1.3 bln DISF (Domestic Investment Strategic Fund) grant till July 2017

Posted on : 15-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

SUNGAI PETANI: The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) has approved grants totalling RM1.3 billion under the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF) since the fund was established in July 2012 until July this year.

Mida Executive Director, Strategic Planning (Manufacturing), Zabidi Mahbar, said the allocation involved 264 projects with investment value of RM12.8 billion.

“The approved grants were in the form of training grant, research and development grant, certification for international standards as well as licensing and high technology procurement.

“Out of the figure, 76 projects in Penang, 13 in Kedah, 10 in Perak and one project in Perlis received DISF grants with investment value of RM5.2 billion,” he told the media after attending the Northern Region Domestic Investment Seminar 2017 yesterday.

He also urged all players to take advantage of the facilities provided by the government to enable them to shift to a higher value chain.

“Besides the DISF grant, industry players can also capitalise on the automation capital allowance (ACA) introduced under Budget 2015 to encourage the use of automation in manufacturing.

“The scheme provides ACA of 200 per cent for labour-intensive industries such as rubber, plastic, wood, furniture and textile to assist these companies undertake technology transformation,” he said.

Up to June this year, only 41 applications were approved by Mida for this scheme and applications were expected to increase following the outreach programme carried out by the agency, he added.

Meanwhile, Zabidi said Mida was also planning an appropriate incentive to help local companies in technology transformation in line with the government’s announcement to create a special incentive for Industry 4.0.

“A high level task force that will formulate Industry 4.0 policy jointly led by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has been established to plan the policies, strategies and direction to develop Industry 4.0 in Malaysia.

“Mida is also cooperating with the task force to draw up the National Policy for Industry 4.0 that will be tabled at the Cabinet meeting in the fourth quarter of this year,” he said.

Zabidi also said the investment growth momentum in the country had seemingly strengthened even though the numbers until the middle of this year had not been announced yet.

Meanwhile, the one-day seminar organised by Mida was attended by over 200 participants.

It aimed to increase the awareness among the business community on the investment opportunities as well as facilities provided by the government, besides opening a platform for them to interact directly with various institutions at the federal and state level.


MNCs (Multinational Corporations) urged to work with SMEs to market halal products globally

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in Malaysia are encouraged to work with local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to market halal products to the global market, said Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He also urged local SMEs to boldly grab the opportunities to work with the MNCs to grow their businesses to the international markets.

“I suggest that local companies seek opportunities to work with MNCs to market their products internationally,” he said during the Halal Industry Dialogue Session with the Deputy Prime Minister here today.

He said this was in line with the government’s aspiration and commitment to further developing the nation’s halal industry to ensure it continued to expand and be at the forefront in terms of production, as well as, provision of halal services.

The halal industry was seen as a two-pronged strategy whereby besides contributing to the country’s economy, it had a huge export potential, he said.

Based on this potential, Ahmad Zahid said the government had targeted the number of export-ready SMEs to increase to 1,600 by 2020 compared with 1,257 companies in December last year.

The industry was expected to employ 330,000 workers by 2020 against 248,508 workers as of the end of last year.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the industry is always vibrant with the entry of new players, Ahmad Zahid urged the financial institutions to look not only at the risk in extending loans to the halal companies but also their future potentials.

The half-day dialogue was attended by about 1,000 participants representing the stakeholders in the halal industry from the private sector, non-governmental organisations, academicians and civil servants.

The dialogue aimed to collate feedback, proposals and views from the stakeholders on the direction of the country’s halal industry development.


Business events industry to generate more than RM3.9 bln in GNI (Gross National income) – Nazri

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR:  Malaysia’s business events industry is expected to generate more than RM3.9 billion in gross national income and bring in 2.9 million visitors by 2020, said Tourism and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

He said the industry would also offer 16,720 jobs and last year alone, 5.1 per cent of tourist arrivals came from business event visitors.

“Business events are a catalyst for socio-economic growth. The impact from hosting international business events not only stretches beyond direct spending and job creation, but also amplifies the benefits beyond tourism.

“The legacy impact will help power Malaysia’s continued development as a knowledge and creative society,” said Mohamed Nazri in his opening speech at the Malaysia Business Events Week 2017 yesterday.

Also present were Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) chief executive officer, Datuk Zulkefli Sharif and Economic Planning Unit deputy director general (Human Capital), Johan Mahmood Merican.

Mohamed Nazri said the industry was also linked to all National Key Economic Areas in high-growth sectors, including health, finance, investment an education.

“Within a one-year span and up to August 2017, we had secured an impressive 73 events, about 60,665 delegates and RM555.53 million in estimated economic impact,” he added.

He said topping the list was the medical and pharmaceutical sectors with 22 events, 20,900 delegates and RM166.45 million in estimated economic impact.

“This was followed by the education sector with nine events, 12,850 delegates and RM146.77 million in estimated economic impact, as well as the science and technology sector with 12 events, 5,663 delegates and RM57.1 million in estimated economic impact.

“These efforts have stimulated the industry to diversify its offerings and capitalise on numerous opportunities, where we look forward to having all ministries in Malaysia to be working in strategic collaboration with MyCEB, to build on Malaysia’s prominence as one of the region’s leading business events destination,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Nazri said the ministry had no intention to make it illegal for homeowners to rent out homes to tourists.

There is nothing wrong in doing so for extra income as hotels might not be available in all places, especially in rural areas, he said, citing Kota Marudu in Sabah as an example.

“There are not many hotels there and it’s a tourist destination. So many residents rent out their homes to tourists,” he said.

On another note, the minister said the tourism tax collection would, among others, be used by the ministry for tourism-related promotional activities and infrastructure development.


BioNexus-status firms to play more prominent role

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian BioNexus-status companies are expected to play a more prominent role as they undertake more aggressive commercialisation activities, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau.

He said Malaysia now has a network of 286 BioNexus companies and moving forward, the country needed to sustain the momentum for more aggressive commercialisation activities from them.

“The strategy will focus on strengthening partnerships between the public and private sectors, aswellastoprovideadvisory and business support in the areas of funding, commercialisation, entrepreneurship, regulatory and human capital for the continual development of bio-based businesses,” he said at the opening BioMalaysia and Asia-Pacific Bioeconomy 2017 (BioMalaysia 2017) Conference and Exhibition.

The text of his speech was read by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Secretary- General, Datuk Seri Mohd Azhar Yahaya, who also launched the event here yesterday.

Tangau said Malaysia was wellprimed to excel in the bio-based sector by focusing on the core elements such as high-impact, high-growth and high-technology sectors that were capable of driving the development of home-grown technologies to generate new economic opportunities and create a broad spectrum of novel industry sectors in the country.

“We are pushing the boundaries of transformation to ensure that the changes brought upon are truly holistic and inclusive and encompassing economic, governance and social development.

“In line with the National Transformation 2050 aspiration, more aggressive approaches are needed to spur and sustain growth for Malaysia in the next 30 years,” he said.

He said in line with the people- centric concept, the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP), designed to harness the power of rural farms and farmers in partnership with BioNexus companies, was aimed at creating an inclusive bio-based sector that would benefit the general populace.

“In addition to enhancing the role and contribution of farmers, the BCDP correspondingly elevate the socio-economic status of rural communities by opening up new avenue for wealth generation,” he said.

The BioNexus status confers financial incentives, including tax exemptions from 100 per cent of statutory income for the first ten years, from the first year that statutory income is derived to double deductions for expenditure incurred from research and development promotion.

Malaysia’s premier and largest annual bio-based event in the region, BioMalaysia 2017, is back for the 15th year and will take place from Sept 11-13.

This year’s event, themed.

‘Bioeconomy — Driving growth and prosperity of the nation’, will focus on the bioeconomy development efforts that drive the growth and prosperity of the nation.

The event, led by MOSTI and jointly organised by Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corp Sdn Bhd (Bioeconomy Corp) MyEvent International, is set to attract 10,000 top regional and global leaders from the biobased sector and will include open-style talks, career fairs, exhibitions, business partnering programmes, workshops and industry meetings.

Meanwhile, at a media briefing on the sidelines of the event, Bioeconomy Corp chairman, Prof Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, said awareness on biotechnology products has to come before the demand set in.

“Many countries are jumping on the bandwagon to rejuvenate the biotechnology sector and Malaysia took a proactive role in 2012 by being the second country in Asia to have a dedicated bioeconomy roadmap.

“The awareness rose through the new global consciousness to acknowledge sustainability and with the possibility that the natural resources may deplete,” he said.

New Bioeconomy Corp chief executive officer, Dr Shuhaizam Zain, saidlocalBioNexuscompanies were expected to contribute up 1.5 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) worth around RM2.1 billion by 2025, from presently 0.97 per cent GDP contribution.

He said out of a current network of a total of 286 BioNexus companies, only 37 had penetrated global market, especially with the biodegradable products, to South- East Asia, West Asia and Europe market.

“The network of active BioNexus companies are expected to doubleup by 2025.

The market demand will cause the biotechnology industry to compete with among each other to come out with the reasearch and the products,” he said.


MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd) Airports records 7.8% passenger growth in Aug 2017

Posted on : 11-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd ’s (MAHB), including its Istanbul operations, recorded a 7.8% increase in August 2017 with 11.4million passenger movements, boosted by higher number of international passengers.

It said on Monday international passengers rose 15.8% with 5.5 million passengers in August while domestic passengers grew by 1.3% to 5.9 million passengers.

On a last 12 month basis, the total MAHB network of airports registered 9.0% growth with 125.7 million passengers, the highest traffic handled over a 12 month period by the network.

On the local front, airports in Malaysia registered 8.3 million passengers in August 2017, a 9.3% year-on-year growth over August 2016.

Malaysia passenger traffic grew by 9.3% in August 2017. International traffic grew by 17.3% while domestic improved by 1.7%. The domestic sector recorded 3.9 million passengers, a growth of 1.7%.

“International traffic for Asean destinations grew 15.2% to 2.0 million passengers whereas non-Asean traffic posted a 19.1% growth to 2.4 million passengers in August 2017,” it said.

MAHB said the KLIA Main Terminal and klia2 recorded growth of 4.4% and 21.4% respectively over August 2016 passenger numbers.

As for its Istanbul SGIA operations, it recorded a 3.7% growth in August 2017. International and domestic traffic grew by 10.2% and 0.4% respectively.

MAHB said overall aircraft movements increased by 4.6%. International aircraft movements grew by 14.9% while domestic aircraft movements fell 1.3% over August 2016.

“Overall average load factor was 77.0% in August 2017, an improvement of 2.4 percentage points over August 2016,” it said.

MAHB said passenger movements at the KLIA rose by 12.5% over August 2016 with 5.1 million passenger movements.

Of the 5.1 million, it said 1.7million passengers were recorded for the Asean destinations (17.8% growth) while two million passengers were recorded for the non-Asean destinations (15.3% growth).

As for the domestics sector, there were 1.4 million passengers, up 2.9%.

August traffic for KLIA Main Terminal grew by 4.4% while traffic for klia2 increased by 21.4%.

“Overall aircraft movements at KLIA increased by 10.9% over the same month last year,” it said.

MAHB pointed out the 9.3% growth for August was mainly driven by the international traffic growth that was contributed among others by the Hajj travel season, the SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017, visa relaxation for India and China, competitive fares as well as favourable exchange rate for foreign tourists.

Conclusion of ASEAN-HKC Investment, free-trade agreement

Posted on : 10-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (HKC) announced Saturday the conclusion of negotiations on free trade and investment agreements.

“The ministers were pleased to note the negotiations for the ASEAN-HKC Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN-HKC Investment Agreement had been concluded,” the economic ministers of the ASEAN and HKC Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said in a joint statement released to the media.

ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting Philippine lead and Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the declaration was made during the 2nd AEM-HKC Consultations in Pasay City on Saturday morning.

The 10 member-states of the bloc and Hong Kong are scheduled to sign the FTA and investment agreement in November, where heads of states of ASEAN and its dialogue partners will gather for the 31st ASEAN Summit in Pampanga.

“The signing of these agreements this November bodes well for the Philippines, particularly for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” Rodolfo told reporters in a press briefing.

“These agreements would level up our already vibrant trade and investments relations as this would mean increased market access for Filipino exporters,” he added.

Hong Kong is the third largest export market for Philippine products in 2016 with merchandise export that amounted to $6.62 billion.

“We are anticipating increased inflow of investments from Hong Kong, which will definitely translate to more employment opportunities for the Filipinos,” the Trade official said.

Deepened cooperation will also be enabled through the endorsement of the Economic and Technological (ECOTECH) Work Programme under the ASEAN-HKC FTA, according to Rodolfo.

“This will provide opportunities for our MSMEs to work together through capacity building exercises, information sharing, and internship programs, among others,” he added.

Free trade negotiations between the ASEAN and Hong Kong began in July 2014.

Hong Kong is the sixth largest trading partner in 2016 with total merchandise trade of $93.3 billion or 4.2 percent of the bloc’s total trade.

Total foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from Hong Kong to ASEAN reached $9.6 billion or 9.9 percent of the bloc’s total FDI in 2016.


AirAsia bags Asean Business Award 2017

Posted on : 07-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia Bhd has bagged this year’s Asean Business Award (ABA) for Priority Integration Sector – Tourism, for its outstanding performance in the region’s priority integration sector of tourism.

In a statement, Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said Asean integration was about people as much as it was about policies.

“It’s not just about having a community on paper. It’s about experiencing first-hand how others live, creating new jobs in travel and tourism and forming new supply chains by connecting places that have never been connected,” he said.

He noted that air travel did this and more and AirAsia carried 13.4 million people within Asean last year.

“We are proud to do our part to bring the region closer together,” he added.

The ABA was created by the Asean BAC in 2007 to recognise outstanding Asean enterprises, serve as a platform to spread information on the Asean Economic Community, and spotlight small and medium enterprises that have the potential of becoming global economic players in their respective industries.

In addition to tourism, priority integration sector awards were given for achievements in 11 other sectors, namely fisheries, electronics, e-Asean/ICT, textiles, logistics, wood-based, rubber, agri-foods, healthcare, automotive, and retail.

At 10.55am, AirAsia shares rose two sen to RM3.42 with 3.36 million shares transacted.


Country has strong fintech devt in ASEAN – CIMB Group Holding Chief Fintech Officer Olivier

Posted on : 07-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR— Malaysia’s financial technology (fintech) development is strong compared to other Asean countries, said CIMB Group Holdings Bhd’s Chief Fintech Officer, Olivier Crespin.

He said the country’s strategic location allowed it to reach the Asean market with a population of 650 million, which provided a huge opportunity for the local fintech industry.

“If you compare Malaysia with Singapore, Malaysia receives a higher number of fintech investments, which has been quite successful,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Fintech Innovation Summit 2017 here, today.

From the regulator’s perspective, Crespin said Malaysia had done a lot in developing the fintech services, including creating the sandbox while the implementation of application programmeming interface (API) and the e-know your customers (eKYC) process had set up the foundation to benefit the customers.

He said sandbox was a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repository in the context of software development including web development and revision control.

He said fintech would open a platform to collaborate with banks and bring a new level of customer experience, operational efficiencies and business opportunities.

“It will help banks reach a bigger market, provide different kind of offerings, be more client-centric, as well as adding value for its customer,” he said.

Crespin said banks would also be able to work with more partners including other banks and integrate with the ecosystem, improve development speed, adopt new mindset and be smart about regulations.

He said Malaysia was able to provide wider services to clients as current account, savings account (CASA) holders would increase and penetrate 90 per cent of the population.

He also said the fintech platform was a big way to improve life as it would encourage building a digital attacker and other security applications.

“It can also be something related to day-to-day life such as booking a trip for holidays, taking a public transport, preparation for retirement and sending kids to university,” he said.

Meanwhile, IDC Financial Insights Associate Vice-President, Michael Araneta said the key theme for Malaysian fintech companies, moving forward, was to grow beyond the country.

“2018 will be a banner year for Asia/Pacific fintechs to regionalise — similar to the journeys of Alipay and Grab — so Malaysian companies will have to compete fervently against those from other markets. They all need to achieve scale and ubiquity as quickly as possible,” he added.


M’sia establishes foreign business chamber in the Philippines

Posted on : 07-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has emerged as the first Asean country to establish a foreign business chamber in the Philippines aimed at cross-promoting the vast opportunities that are yet to be tapped by the two countries.

Membership in the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines, Inc (MCCI), an idea mooted by the International Trade and Industry MInister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, will be open to both Malaysians and Filipino companies and professionals, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The MCCI was launched on Thursday by Mustapa on the sidelines of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Pasay City, the Philippines from Sept 4-11.

Miti said that in 2017, Malaysia’s total trade and investment with the Philippines continued at a modest level but remained steady.
For the half year of 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with the Philippines increased by 28% to RM12.47 billion from RM9.75 billion a year earlier.

In terms of investment, the cumulative direct investment value by Malaysia in the Philippines amounted to RM2.4 billion between 2008 and 2016.

Major investments in the Philippines were mostly in the banking, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

On the other hand, FDI inflows from the Philippines to Malaysia from 2011 to 2016 amounted to RM3.7 billion in various sectors such as beverages and tobacco, chemical  and  chemical products, basic metal products, food manufacturing and wood and wood products.

Miti also noted that infrastructure was among the top priorities of the Philippine government with public spending on infrastructure projects targeted to reach US$180 billion between ‎2017 and 2022.

“This will translate into increasing spending on public infrastructure from 5.32% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 to as high as 7.45% of GDP by 2022.

“Malaysian companies are taking advantage of the development by participating in a several local projects including the Regional Government Centers in Calabarzon, Nueva Ecija and Bataan which was successfully built by Alloy Mtd,” it said.

Another mega project that Malaysian companies should take advantage of is the Clark Green City, a 9,450ha mixed development project, Miti added.

To date, there are about 30 Malaysian-owned companies operating in the Philippines.


BNM’s Monetary Policy Committee decides to maintain OPR at 3 pct

Posted on : 07-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has decided to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.00 per cent at its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting today.

The central bank has kept the key interest rate unchanged at that level since July 13, 2016.

In a statement, it said the domestic financial markets have been resilient and that the ringgit has strengthened to better reflect the economic fundamentals.

At the current level of the OPR, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, it said.

“The MPC will continue to assess the balance of risks surrounding the outlook for domestic growth and inflation.

“Global trade has picked up significantly. In the advanced economies, both consumption and investment continue to improve,” it said, adding that growth in Asia too was driven by sustained domestic activity and strong external demand.

BNM noted that these developments pointed to sustained momentum in global growth.

This outlook, nevertheless, may be affected by political and policy developments in major economies and geopolitical risks, it cautioned.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian economy recorded a higher growth in the second quarter of 2017, driven by firmer domestic activity and exports.

“Looking ahead, growth prospects will be sustained by the more positive global growth outlook and stronger spillovers from the external sector to the domestic economy,” the central bank said.

It added that domestic demand would remain the key driver of growth, supported by improving incomes and overall labour market conditions, new and ongoing infrastructure projects and sustained capital investment by firms in the manufacturing and services sectors.

Overall, growth in 2017 will be stronger than earlier expected, it maintained.

It pointed out that headline inflation continued its moderating trend, declining to 3.2 per cent in July, due mainly to the decline in domestic fuel prices.

Underlying inflation, as measured by core inflation, will be sustained by the more robust domestic demand but is expected to remain contained, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the sixth MPC meeting, which is the last meeting for 2017, is scheduled for Nov 9.


MIDA expects many more MNCs (Multinational Companies) to populate TRX

Posted on : 06-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) expects more multinational companies to populate Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), KL’s international financial district.

Today MIDA in collaboration with TRX City hosted foreign chambers of commerce on a visit to TRX. The private event was attended by delegates from various chambers of commerce representing six of Malaysia’s prominent trading partners; India, New Zealand, France, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

This visit is part of MIDA’s initiative to highlight investment opportunities in high-impact projects like TRX to the international business community.

MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said it sees TRX as a long-term profitable location for businesses to expand due to its excellent accessibility and connectivity to the vibrant ecosystem available in the existing city centre and the rest of Greater Kuala Lumpur.

“It offers exciting prospects for companies seeking to centralise their key functions in one location and streamline their global support services to enhance efficiency and productivity.

“By locating here, companies can be closer to an established supply chain and matured workforce. Given the strategic value propositions, we expect many more multinational companies (MNCs) and local conglomerates to seize these budding opportunities and increase their competitiveness by setting up their operations in TRX,” he said.

As to date, MIDA has approved 26 Principal Hub companies from different industries such as electrical & electronics, food & beverage, oil & gas and consumer products.

MIDA said these approved projects will significantly impact Malaysia’s economy over the next 10 years by creating over 1,800 high value jobs and incurring RM16.8 billion in business spending.

TRX City chief executive officer Datuk Azmar Talib said TRX will be KL’s best international business address and the city’s new central business district, backed by resilient infrastructure, sustainable features and liveable public spaces.

A 70-acre development, TRX aims to strengthen Kuala Lumpur’s position as a leading centre for international finance and business by creating a seamless and central business environment for financial services firms, MNCs and supporting ancillary businesses.

To date, TRX has signed global property and infrastructure group Lendlease to jointly develop the Lifestyle Quarter; HSBC Malaysia, Prudential and Affin Bank Berhad for office towers; Indonesia’s leading property developer Mulia International to develop the Signature Tower plot; Lembaga Tabung Haji and WCT Bhd for residential plots, and global leader in water management Veolia Water Technologies as the water treatment and recycling concessionaire.

Awarded with Malaysia’s first provisional neighbourhood-level GBI Township Platinum certification, TRX’s masterplan combines sustainability, attractive public domains and great connectivity to create a world-class international financial district.


Total trade breaches RM1 trillion for Jan-July 2017

Posted on : 06-09-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s total trade breached the RM1 trillion mark for the first seven months of 2017 at RM1.008 trillion, while expanding by 22.7 per cent from the corresponding period of 2016, said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

It said trade had breached the RM1 trillion mark two months earlier than the normal trend.

“Expansion was supported mainly by trade with Asean, China, the United States, the European Union, Japan, India and Taiwan.

“Exports expanded by 22.3 per cent to RM529.68 billion, while imports rose by 23 per cent at RM478.71 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM50.97 billion,” it said in a statement today.

For the month of July, the ministry said exports maintained the steady growth momentum, recording a value of RM78.62 billion, rising by 30.9 per cent compared with a year ago.

It said exports posted a stronger year-on-year growth than imports for the third straight month and all major export products registered increases.

Electrical and electronic (E&E) led exports to register double-digit growth for the seventh straight month (+28.3 per cent) or RM6.15 billion, followed by mining goods, which expanded by 27.5 per cent to RM6.71 billion and agriculture goods (+14.8 per cent) at RM6.42 billion.

MITI said major exports in July 2017 were E&E products valued at RM27.91 billion, petroleum products (RM7.09 billion), chemicals and chemical products (RM5.72 billion), palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products (RM4.46 billion) and liquefied natural gas (RM3.79 billion).

As for imports in July, it increased by 21.8 per cent to RM70.59 billion and the three main categories of imports by end-use were intermediate goods, valued at RM39.9 billion, capital goods (RM9.18 billion) and consumption goods (RM5.99 billion).

“During the first seven months of 2017, imports were valued at RM478.71 billion, an increase of 23 per cent from the corresponding period of 2016.

“Intermediate goods were valued at RM278.71 billion, increasing by 25.6 per cent, capital goods (RM65.78 billion, ↑15.7 per cent) and consumption goods (RM40.35 billion, 5.1 per cent),” MITI said.