It is people’s budget, says Musa

Posted on : 24-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 24, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman has described the 2016 National Budget announced by the Prime Minister yesterday as a people’s budget.
In describing the budget, Musa said it was a ‘people’s budget’ as it placed the people’s priority and welfare as its main thrust.
“This means that irrespective of the state of the economy, the government will not compromise in protecting and defending the interest of the people,” he said.
Musa also described the 2016 National Budget as a realistic budget that took into consideration the present country and global economic state.
He added that the budget showed the government’s commitment to protect the interest of the national economy by introducing several measures that would be taken.
“We fully support the government’s effort and initiative in facing the effects of the global economic downturn to ensure that the country’s economy remains sustainable, competitive and strong,” he said.
Musa also expressed his happiness on the announcement that the first phase of the construction of the Pan Borneo Sabah highway will begin next year encompassing a distance of 706 kilometers from Sindumin to Tawau at a cost of RM12.8 billion.
“We are also grateful that the highway will not be subjected to any toll,” he said.
He added that several allocations linked to sectors associated with Sabah were also announced by the Prime Minister for the benefit of the people, particularly those in the rural areas and those in need of assistance.
He said the state government was confident and optimistic that Budget 2016 would achieve its aim and target if focus was given on the guidelines given.
Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid said the 2016 Budget announcement to streamline the pricing of some goods throughout the country was a move that focused on the needs of the people.
After viewing the live telecast of the budget announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Chief Minister’s official residence near here, she said the initiative was a people-centred move that benefitted the people, particularly Sabahans.
However, she reminded that the move would involve only certain goods that were considered necessary for the people.
Jainab also said that such an effort was not new as the prices of commodities such as sugar and gas had also been streamlined before this.
She said that she was unaware of what the new goods were.
She also described the budget as people-friendly and that several goods such as medicine, prepaid cards and economy class domestic flights for the rural air service had been exempted from GST.
In the budget, the Prime Minister announced an allocation of RM260 million for the implementation of the 1Price 1Sarawak and 1Price 1Sabah programmes to streamline the prices of some goods throughout the country.
Meanwhile, Rural Development Minister Datuk Radin Malleh said that the budget would benefit people from the city to the rural areas.
He hoped that all the promises made in the budget would be realised.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 24, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman has described the 2016 National Budget announced by the Prime Minister yesterday as a people’s budget.
In describing the budget, Musa said it was a ‘people’s budget’ as it placed the people’s priority and welfare as its main thrust.

Najib unveils slew of incentives to boost business sector in Budget 2016

Posted on : 24-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 24, 2015
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday unveiled what is surely a balanced and practical budget that offered a slew of incentives to stimulate domestic investments, energise small and medium enterprises and invigorate the capital market.
The Budget 2016 also includes multi-billion ringgit projects that provide ample opportunities for infrastructure and construction companies, a move that would surely provide an impetus to the business sector over the long term against a backdrop of a challenging external environment.
Najib, who is Finance Minister, also announced a RM11 billion development of the Cyber City Centre in Cyberjaya, RM7.0 billion KLIA Aeropolis township and the RM320 million rubber city in Kedah, all of which were bound to trigger increased corporate activities, including for the Bumiputera sector.
A major project within Kuala Lumpur, worth RM900 million, is the Jalan Tun Razak traffic dispersal project through a strategic public and private partnerships, which obviously would be good news for the construction firms.
Najib also told the Dewan Rakyat that Khazanah Nasional Bhd was investing RM6.7 billion in nine high-impact domestic projects in various sectors, as well as allocating RM500 million as venture capital and private equity fund.
To attract more private investments and ensure the benefits also accrue to all states including Sabah and Sarawak, RM142 million was allocated to develop the Samalaju Industrial Park in Sarawak and the Palm Oil Jetty in Sandakan, Sabah valued at RM20 million.
Besides this, RM42 million would be spent to develop the Mukah Airport in Sarawak as well as upgrade airports in Kuantan and Kota Bharu while a feasibility study would be undertaken to extend the runway in Batu Berendam in Melaka.
The budget, themed ‘Prospering the Rakyat’, and valued at RM267.2 billion compared to the revised RM260.7 billion in 2015, comes amid immense challenges including the sharp drop in crude oil prices, global economic slowdown and decline in the value of the ringgit.
However, the broad-based Goods and Services Tax (GST) has emerged as a saviour in boosting revenue via the efficient collection of taxes from some 400,000 companies representing 90 per cent GST-complaince.
The GST collection in its first full-year implementation is expected to be significantly higher at RM39 billion which will offset the fall in oil revenue.
“As announced several times, the rakyat can be assured that revenue from GST collection will be returned to benefit them, in addition to clarifying how the GST will be spent.
“This is the real intention of the government and there is no hidden agenda,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the Opposition parties, which vehemently criticised and opposed the GST before, were unashamedly adopting the GST in their Budget documents.
Under development expenditure, the economic sector would receive the highest share of RM30.1 billion.
For next year, the Federal Government revenue collection is expected at RM225.7 billion, an increase of RM3.2 billion from 2015.
He also said that focus would be given to chemical, electrical and electronics, machinery and equipment, aerospace and medical devices industries and services.
“For this, RM730 million is allocated to funds under the Malaysia Investment Development Authority,” Najib said.
Next year, Najib said, domestic investment activity to be intensified with its contribution to GDP estimated at 26.7 per cent, driven by the increase in private investment at RM218.6 billion and supported by public investment of RM112.2 billion.
Najib, clad in aubergine baju Melayu, presented the Budget 2016 at the Dewan Rakyat, his seventh national budget since assuming leadership of the administration.
The Budget 2016 represents a manifestation of the 11th Malaysia Plan, and is the first Budget in a series of five Budgets until Malaysia transforms into a high-income advanced economy.
In an effort to energise the SMEs, which is expected to contribute a substantial 41 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, Najib proposed five incentives, among others, establishing RM200 million SME Technology Transformation Fund under the SME Bank to provide soft loans at four per cent.
The government will also provide an additional RM1.0 billion for the syariah-compliant SME Financing Scheme until Dec 31, 2017, Najib said.
In addition, SMEs that incur expenditure on research and development projects up to RM50,000 for each year of assessment will be eligible to claim double-tax deduction automatically for the years of assessment 2016 to 2018.
To empower entrepreneurship and accelerating innovation, RM35 million is allocated to MaGIC as a Leading Regional Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub, and RM30 million for several youth programmes such as Global Entrepreneurship Community, Bahtera, Great, 1met, National Innovation Competition and a Pilot Coding Project in schools.
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will also be allocated RM1.5 billion to propel the nation a competitive technology hub in the region.
Najib said to further strengthen exports and economy, the government will intensify support by providing RM235 million to Matrade for 1Malaysia Promotion Programme, Services Export Fund and Export Promotion Fund.
Matrade and SME Corp will also increase the capacity of SMEs and mid-tier companies to export goods and services overseas.
Bank Negara Malaysia would also provide the ringgit-reminbi credit swap facility for local banks to diversify the use of foreign currency in trade transactions, Najib said.
Meanwhile, Najib said, Malaysia has so far signed 13 free trade agreements comprising six regional agreements through Asean and seven bilateral agreements.
As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Najib said, the Government has agreed in principle, however, final decision will be made by Parliament.
The 12 TPPA nations have a combined population of 800 million people and total GDP of US$27.5 trillion will open more new markets and opportunities for Malaysia.
In formulating appropriate policies for the current economic situation, Najib said, the government has proposed several tax incentive for food production be extended until 2020.
Among the incentives are companies that invest in subsidiaries that undertake food production project will be given tax deduction equivalent to the amount invested.
Companies that undertake new food production projects will also be given 100 per cent income tax exemption for 10 years.
Najib said the government would also promote and encourage companies to increase the use of technology such as adopting the Industrialised Building System in the construction sector.
Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission will also be provided with RM1.2 billion for rural broadband project; National Fibre Backbone Infrastructure; high-speed broadband and undersea cable system to improve the country’s telecommunications infrastructure. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 24, 2015
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday unveiled what is surely a balanced and practical budget that offered a slew of incentives to stimulate domestic investments, energise small and medium enterprises and invigorate the capital market.

Budget 2016 key points

Posted on : 23-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

October 23, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: The following are the highlights of Budget 2016 themed “Prospering the Rakyat” tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Dewan Rakyat here today.
*Economic growth at 5.3 per cent in the first half of 2015 and 4.5 to 5.5 per cent for the full year
*GDP expected to expand 4-5 per cent in 2016, driven by private investment and consumption growth of 6.7 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively
*Exports expected to grow by 0.9 per cent and imports by 1.5 per cent
*Construction sector expands by 8.4 per cent, services by 5.4 per cent, manufacturing by 4.3 per cent
*Fiscal deficit expected to decline from 6.7 per cent to 3.2 per cent this year
*Foreign direct investment remains strong at RM22.4 billion
*Inflation expected to be under control at 2-3 per cent
* RM30.1 billion is allocated to the economic sector
* RM13.1 bilion is earmarked for education and training, health, housing and the well-being of the people
* RM5.2 billion is allocated to the security sector
* Federal Government revenue collection is estimated at RM225.7 billion, an increase of RM3.2 billion compared to 2015
* Fiscal deficit is expected to decline to 3.1 per cent of GDP in 2016
* Domestic investment with contribution to the GDP is estimated at 26.7 per cent in 2016
* Development of the Malaysian Vision Valley with initial investment forecast at RM5 billion in 2016
* Implementation of Cyber City Centre in Cyberjaya with development cost of almost RM11 billion
* Development of an airport township or KLIA Aeropolis to attract an investment of RM7 billion
* Investment of RM6.7 billion by Khazanah Nasional Berhad in nine high-impact domestic projects
* Investment of RM18 billion for RAPID Complex in Pengerang, Johor
* Development of Rubber City, Kedah with an allocation of RM320 million, Samalaju Industrial Park, Sarawak (RM142 million) and Palm Oil Jetty in Sandakan, Sabah (RM20 million)
* Ampang LRT line exntension project ready for use in March 2016, Kelana Jaya-Putra Heights LRT extension line ready from middle of 2016
* MRT Sungai Buloh-Semantan ready in December 2016, Semantan-Kajang to complete by mid 2017
* MRT II Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya will commence in second quarter of 2016, to complete by 2022
* LRT3 Bandar Utama, Damansara-Johan Setia, Klang will commence in 2016 and expected to complete by 2020
* The government continues negotiations on high-speed rail with Singapore
* Rapid Transit Bus project for KL-Klang and Kota Kinabalu will be implemented
* MCMC to provide RM1.2 billion for rural broadband projects, National Fibre Backbone Infrastructure, High-speed Broadband, undersea cable system
* RM250 million to be channelled for national broadcasting digitalisation project to enhance audio visual quality and provide value-add to TV content
* RM1.4 billion to build and upgrade 700km rural roads nationwide
* RM878 million for Rural Electrification Project covering 10,000 houses
* RM568 million for Rural Water Supply Project to benefit 3,000 houses
* The government targets a total of 30.5 million tourists, which will contribute RM103 billion to the economy
* Online visa applications will be implemented beginning with China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the US and Canada
* RM450 million will be set aside for various high-impact programmes
* RM190 million is allocated to FAMA for Price Reduction Programme; increasing farmers’ markets by an additional 50; and establishing 150 new Agrobazaar Rakyat 1Malaysia
* Rebranding of MARDI, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Agriculture and Department of Fisheries
* RM235 million earmarked to MATRADE for the 1Malaysia Promotion Programme, Services Export Fund and Export Promotion Fund
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 23, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: The following are the highlights of Budget 2016 themed “Prospering the Rakyat” tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Dewan Rakyat here today.
*Economic growth at 5.3 per cent in the first half of 2015 and 4.5 to 5.5 per cent for the full year

Budget 2016: Highlights

Posted on : 23-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 23, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2016 in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the theme of the 2016 Budget is “Prospering the Rakyat”.
The following are the highlights of his speech:
* RM267.2bil has been allocated under Budget 2016, compared with the revised RM260.7bil in 2015.
* There will be nine high-impact domestic projects worth RM6.7bil in total.
* The first priority of Budget 2016 is to spur domestic investment to contribute 26.7% to the GDP in 2016.
* The Budget aims to increase private investment to RM218.6bil and public investment to RM112.2mil.
* The GST sum is to be credited into value of prepaid reloads from Jan 1 next year.
* Personal income tax pushed to 26% from 25% for those earning between RM600,000 to RM1mil. Income tax is also pushed up to 28pc from 25% for those earning RM1mil and above.
* RM900mil is proposed for the Jalan Tun Razak Traffic Dispersal Project to reduce congestion in the city.
* RM200mil will be allocated to improve roads in Felda settlements.
* RM1.2bil is allocated to improve Internet speeds, from 5mbps to 20mbps.
* RM1.4bil will be spent to improve 700km of road all around the country.
* RM67mil is allocated for bus operation routes outside the city.
* Tourism is expected to contribute RM103bil to the economy. E-Visa for seven countries (China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United States and Canada) to be launched in mid-2016.
* RM5.3bil is allocated to modernise farming.
* RM28 billion is allocated for new MRT projects.
* From Jan 2016, RM100 will be given in schooling aid to students from households with a monthly income of RM3,000 and below.
* RM250 1Malaysia book vouchers will be available for 1.2mil students.
* RM930mil is allocated to the Youth and Sports Ministry, with RM145mil set aside for training athletes.
* BR1M to continue for 4.7 million households
* The Pan-Borneo Sarawak Highway, which is set to be completed in 2021, will be toll-free.
* RM100 million is to be provided by Communications & Multimedia Ministry for eRezeki, eUsahawan programmes which is expected to benefit some 100,000 people.
* The Budget aims for 30% women involvement at decision-making levels in both public and private sectors.
* RM360mil is proposed to improve National Service, with RM160mil allocated for non-governmental organisations.
* All domestic economy class flights will be exempted from GST for rural folk.
* RM1.6bil is allocated for the construction of 175,000 units of PR1MA homes. 10,000 units are expected to be completed next year.
* TEKUN to provide RM600mil + RM500mil for Bumiputras and RM100mil for Indian entrepreneurs.
* RM90mil in micro-credit loans allocated for Chinese SME traders and businessmen, including RM50mil for KOJADI (MCA’s investment & education arm).
* RM300mil is proposed to improve the welfare and development of the Orang Asli community. RM45mil is also set aside to assist with extra food, pocket money and school transport fees for the Orang Asli community.
* The minimum starting salary in the civil service is set at RM1,200 a month from July 2016. The move is expected to benefit some 60,000 civil servants.
* From July 2016, the minimum pension rate is set at RM950 a month for pensioners with at least 25 years of service.
* A payment of RM500 for all civil servants and RM250 is allocated for Government retirees to help with cost of living.
* The Government will allocate a BR1M payout of RM400 to unmarried persons above 21 with incomes below RM2,000. A BR1M payout of RM1,050 is also set aside for those with incomes below RM1,000 and RM1,000 (for those with incomes below RM3,000), RM800 (for those with incomes below RM4,000).
* In terms of income tax, relief for each child below 18 years of age is increased to RM2,000 from RM1,000 from year of assessment 2016.
* Tax relief for individual taxpayers whose spouse has no income is increased to RM4,000 from RM3,000.
* Children supporting their parents, even if not living together with their parents, to get tax relief of RM1500 (for the mother) and RM1,500 (for the father), if the parents are above 60 years of age.
* Parents of disabled children get RM6,000 tax relief and up to RM14,000 if their child furthers his or her studies.
* Tax exemption of RM8,000 instead of RM6,000 is also set aside for every child above 18 years of age in an education institution, both local and overseas.
(Source: The Star)
October 23, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2016 in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the theme of the 2016 Budget is “Prospering the Rakyat”.

Enough jobs but only for skilled graduates

Posted on : 21-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 21, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: While there are sufficient quality employment opportunities provided by the industry and more than enough fresh graduates every year, the bigger concern is whether or not graduates of local universities can meet the standards required.
Hence, university graduates are urged to improve their skills in order to meet the industry’s standards and need for quality workers, said Industrial Development Minister, Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah.
“We have enough job opportunities. We are also looking at not less than 270,000 fresh graduates a year, which is not a small number. So the demand is there, and so is the market. But the question is, are the graduates ready for them?” asked Tan.
Speaking at the Sector Focused Career Fair (SFCF) 2015 at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here yesterday, Tan reiterated the importance of providing such a platform for university students to expose them to job opportunities available, especially by the private sector and industry players.
He also reminded how economic growth is a two-way effort of industry players as well as good quality workers.
“It is important for us to connect fresh graduates with the industry just as it is vital for the university to produce well-prepared graduates. The industry also needs these graduates, but they also want quality. It works both ways,” he said.
In order for the economy to continue to grow, he added it is also important for university graduates to aim further than middle income jobs and look at acquiring skills to make themselves qualified for top-earning jobs.
“When we talk about the spectrum of employment in Sabah, we are always talking about the bottom 40 of our employment sector, where there is low pay and job opportunity is vast.
“But we are looking at that top 10 per cent of skilled workers or trained professionals. Either you go to the bottom 40, or you get yourself ready from here – graduate and work from the middle income jobs, with the right skills, and work your way to the top 10 per cent.
“I hope that is your aspiration. It is also your job to make sure that the economy is good. We need you in the industry. There are vacancies, but you need skills,” urged Tan.
He also stressed on the importance of getting good-paying jobs, considering today’s rising cost of living.
“You need good jobs because you need good pay. Don’t go and get jobs with ‘alang-alang’ (just about enough) pay. You’ll face problems. Your pay should at least be able to cope with the cost of living, especially now that Kota Kinabalu is growing and it is not cheap to live here,” he said.
Meanwhile, UMS Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Harun Abdullah disclosed that the employment rate for the university’s graduates is currently at 50 per cent, a figure they hope to improve every year.
“Previously, the graduates employment rate is around 50 per cent. So SFCF is our way of trying to improve the figure. We play our role with the cooperation of industry players, especially Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), and we hope that this figure will increase from year to year,” said Harun.
SFCF, he said, is mainly aimed at bridging the gap between industry and the talent pool available in the local higher education.
“Getting the right talent to the industry will benefit not only the organisation but also the improvement of the local social economy,” he said.
The career fair is being held for two days starting yesterday at the university, focusing on three sectors, namely, Agriculture, Global Business Services and Oil, Gas and Energy.
The SFCF UMS is the latest chapter of TalentCorp’s SFCF series consisting of industry-specific career fairs which is a collaborative effort between TalentCorp and local universities.
Apart from offering internship and employment opportunities, the career fair also includes career talks and coffee talk programmes. Undergraduates and visitors will also be able to directly engage with more than 20 leading employers such as Petronas, Shell and Jobstreet.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 21, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: While there are sufficient quality employment opportunities provided by the industry and more than enough fresh graduates every year, the bigger concern is whether or not graduates of local universities can meet the standards required.

When is corruption not a corruption in business?

Posted on : 21-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 21, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The word corruption needs to be better defined as some expenses are considered necessary for businesses and have to be recognised.
Malaysia International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Sabah branch chairman Datuk Tan Cheng Kiat said corruption was the number one disease in many developing countries, but how we handle it is important.
He said “corruption” had been practised in developed countries for many years except that it was called ‘donations’ in America or “lobbying fees” in Australia.
“When you have to get approval, you have to engage a lobbyist, usually an ex-politician, mayor or director-general, who has all the network.
“For you to facilitate quick approval, you need to pay a lobbyist for the job,” Tan said.
He said a lobbyist is a new profession that needed to be recognised and legalised in a way so that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) could apply and income tax could be collected.
“If we do not legalize all these things, money will be going overseas, and unaccounted for,” he said at the MICCI Sabah branch annual luncheon here yesterday.
The luncheon was graced by Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan Shu Kiah who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman.
Tan said his friend who wanted to develop a property in Sydney, Australia had paid a lot for legal fees, lobbying fees and consent fees, which would be regarded as corruption in Malaysia.
Because our country does not have this classification, Tan said the expenses were lumped into the word ‘corruption’, with bad connotation.
“Some of the expenses are needed to accelerate approvals, to get things smoother. We pay for a lot of things, why not we pay for this and pay to the right people to do the right job? And it does not have to be called corruption or under-table money,” Tan reckoned.
Assuming the word ‘donation’ can be written down in expenses account, Tan said the expenses could then be charged against the sales income and claim for tax.
“But if I give people under-table money, corruption money, I cannot report it. The people who receive it also cannot report it as income,”he said.
Tan said such expenses have to be recognised that they are necessary for business.
Corruption is one of the 4C’s which Tan regarded as necessary to be addressed in order for our country to move forward. The remaining C’s include clarity, especially in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) issue, Cabotage policy and confidence of investors.
On the subject of the Cabotage policy, Tan stressed that the policy was definitely responsible for the higher costs of goods in Sabah.
He claimed that many local shipping companies were owned by politicians, and even gone to the extent of naming MCA members and Sarawakians, making it hard to talk about the Cabotage policy.
But he challenged the state leaders to remove the Cabotage policy.
It may take a year, two years or three years, Tan said, but doing so would send a message to Sabahans that our leaders are effective and cared about Sabah and Sarawak.
“A tough subject but one that needs to be handled,” he said.
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 21, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The word corruption needs to be better defined as some expenses are considered necessary for businesses and have to be recognised.
Malaysia International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Sabah branch chairman Datuk Tan Cheng Kiat said corruption was the number one disease in many developing countries, but how we handle it is important.
He said “corruption” had been practised in developed countries for many years except that it was called ‘donations’ in America or “lobbying fees” in Australia.

‘Check backgrounds of Syrian refugees before accepting them’

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: The government must scrutinise the backgrounds of Syrian refugees before they are allowed to enter the country, said a Gerakan delegate.
Kelantan Gerakan chairman, Senator Datuk Ng Ching Chin said this is necessary to ensure those who were allowed in were not involved in any violent activities.
“Since the Syrian refugees are leaving their country due to political turbulence, their backgrounds must be considered.
“So, the authorities, especially the Home Ministry, must view this matter seriously by investigating in detail their backgrounds before they are brought into the country,” Ng said during winding up of debate at the 44th Gerakan National Delegates Conference near here, yesterday.
Earlier, in the debate session, a delegate from Sabah, Chan Tzun Hei suggested that the government do away with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the purchase of domestic flight tickets in Sabah.
He said the imposition of GST burdened the people of Sabah who depended a lot on air transportation due to the vast distances involved.
“For example, the people have to travel over winding road for six hours from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan when it only takes 50 minutes by air.
In the meantime, Penang delegate Hartini Abdullah said any quarter who often raised racial sentiments must be promptly punished, especially political leaders.
She pointed out that every community in the country had its own special privileges as enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution and such issues should not be raised to the point of causing racial conflicts. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: The government must scrutinise the backgrounds of Syrian refugees before they are allowed to enter the country, said a Gerakan delegate.
Kelantan Gerakan chairman, Senator Datuk Ng Ching Chin said this is necessary to ensure those who were allowed in were not involved in any violent activities.

PM: Don’t turn 1MDB into political football

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Critics of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) should not turn it into a “political football”, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Just do not make it a political football. If there are wrongdoings, let the Public Accounts Committee find out.
“We are elected by the people and we will serve the people through difficult times,” he said.
Najib also spoke about the upcoming Budget, saying he had a tough task.
“Take the toll, for example. If you do not increase the toll rates, you have to pay compensation. That leaves less resources for other things such as BR1M,” he said.
Najib added that borrowing money was not an option as that would make Malaysia a debt-ridden country.
“We are not a failed state. We are successful and we had a 6% growth rate last year,” he said.
As for the Goods and Services Tax, he said: “I know the rakyat are cursing, but without it, you will see an increase in other forms of taxes.”
Noting that the Government was paying a huge amount of compensation, Najib said he believed the country would rise above it all as it had gone through worse times.
On the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Najib said it would benefit Malaysians.
“With TPPA, even small-time traders in Muar will be able to trade with other TPPA countries.
“Now is the best time to sign the agreement. Signing it any later would result in higher investment on our part,” he added.
(Source: The Star)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Critics of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) should not turn it into a “political football”, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Just do not make it a political football. If there are wrongdoings, let the Public Accounts Committee find out.

PM: BN still best form of govt for Malaysia

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is still the best form of government for Malaysia despite the shortcomings and difficulties it faced, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said most importantly, BN had charted out a clear roadmap for the nation’s future, and that all the current political difficulties could be resolved if the people stood behind the leadership.
Pointing out that this was not the first time the country is facing political difficulties, he added that in the past, the country had been able to recover because the support of the people towards the leadership.
“Once a while, there will be bumps along the road. Just like when you are flying an aircraft, there will be air pockets.
“God willing, we will overcome,” he said when opening of Gerakan’s 44th National Delegates Conference at Setia City Convention Centre here, yesterday.
He said while the opposition will always bring up and try to stir hatred against the government, the BN government will continue to do whatever that is necessary for the people.
“But we cannot always take the populist approach, because we need to deliver (to the people),” he said.
On another issue, Najib also reminded the people that there is no absolute truth in the influx of information in the social media.
He said some quarters will always twist and turn facts to suit their own agenda, adding that he himself had also been victimised in social media.
“For example, they had photoshopped my pictures many times. Sometimes ‘kepala lain, badan lain’ (head different, body different). Luckily they do it in a blotched manner, so people can see it’s fake. Like when they put my face next to a woman, that was not me,” he said.
As such, he said that in facing the new political culture in the social media era, Gerakan members need to intensify the use of social media as a platform to garner bigger support from the people in its effort to revitalise, asides from countering lies by the opposition.
“This is the new political culture. Gerakan must be more active in social media in order to revive the party and change the perception of the people that BN is still the best government for the people,” he added.
He also assured that Gerakan is still a relevant partner in BN despite it badly losing in the past two general elections.
He also noted that Gerakan, under the leadership of president Datuk Dr Mah Siew Keong had showed stronger political will and determination to succeed again. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is still the best form of government for Malaysia despite the shortcomings and difficulties it faced, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said most importantly, BN had charted out a clear roadmap for the nation’s future, and that all the current political difficulties could be resolved if the people stood behind the leadership.

Social contract allows for vernacular school system, says PM

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given his assurance that Chinese education will continue to exist and thrive in the country.
The Prime Minister said although some people felt that the ideal situation was to educate everyone under one roof in the same language, it was not part of the country’s social contract.
“Our social contract allows for dif­­ferent streams of education and we should just live with it. There is no use in arguing it as it was deci­ded when we became independent.
“If you want to blame, blame Tunku Abdul Rahman or Tun Abdul Razak,” he said when opening Gerakan’s 44th national delegates conference at the Setia City Conven­tion Centre here yesterday.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said the future of Malaysia’s direction would be charted on the principles of the Social Contract and the Federal Constitution.
“We are the only South-East Asian country, outside of China and Taiwan, which has Chinese education. So, as much as you can complain, you cannot deny the benefit.
“It was during my tenure as Education Minister that the only clause which could have been used against Chinese education, was repealed,” he said.
Najib said regardless of the language used in education, it was vital for all communities to work towards national cohesion and unity.
“National harmony and unity are ideas which we must aspire to achieve,” he said.
Earlier, he emphasised the point that Malaysian Chinese were not pendatang (immigrants) but “sons of Malaysia”, who had contributed a lot towards the development of the country.
“You have done your part. You were born here, grew up here, and when the time comes, when you die, your ashes will be scattered here.
“That’s the reality of it. We are here as Malaysians,” he said to loud applause.
Najib said Malaysia would continue to be a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society based on the principle of moderation, adding that this is Barisan’s policy.
He said Malaysians need to learn to judge people based on their content of character and not the colour of their skin.
“We must look at one another as fellow human beings because ir­­respective of whether Malay, Chi­nese or Indian or other ethnic groups, there will always be good and bad individuals,” he added.
(Source: The Star)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given his assurance that Chinese education will continue to exist and thrive in the country.
The Prime Minister said although some people felt that the ideal situation was to educate everyone under one roof in the same language, it was not part of the country’s social contract.

Gerakan calls on BN to set up think tank to outline strategies on handling issues

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Gerakan yesterday called on the Barisan Nasional (BN) to set up a national-level think tank to discuss, analyse and find solutions to issues in the country.
Its president Datuk Dr Mah Siew Keong said the think tank could be made up of intellectuals from BN component parties and act as a platform to develop more cohesive and effective strategies.
He said the move was necessary to reform BN to make it more inclusive and people-oriented to face challenges in the future.
“If we want to continue to lead Malaysia in the future, BN should act now on this transformation.
“We must work hard by taking concrete steps to reshape BN to be more cohesive, united and a friendly party,” he said in his keynote address at Gerakan’s 44th National Delegates Conference, near here, yesterday.
In addition, he also suggested the setting up bureaus to this effect at state and division levels to encourage the participation of various groups in the BN and the grassroots.
On consensus-building among BN component parties, he said an annual general convention should be introduced and also more frequent division-level committee meetings so that the division leaders (of the component parties) would meet more often.
On preparations for the 14th general election, Mah said BN needed to recruit younger members and choose them as candidates, as Malaysia is a young country with the majority of the population under the age of 40.
Mah, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, also wanted the BN leadership to take firm action against any member who raised the issue of racism, regardless of their position.
“In fact, the relevant authorities need to curb voices of racism which are contrary to the beliefs and values of religion and the spirit of the federal constitution and ‘Rukun Negara’(National Philosophy),” he said.
Gerakan also wanted the government to consider increasing the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) while households earning less than RM5,000 per month should be given a tax deduction to offest the Goods and Services Tax (GST) payments.
A total of 1,618 delegates or 71 per cent of the total 2,279 delegates nationwide attended the conference. — Bernama
(Source:The Borneo Post)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Gerakan yesterday called on the Barisan Nasional (BN) to set up a national-level think tank to discuss, analyse and find solutions to issues in the country.
Its president Datuk Dr Mah Siew Keong said the think tank could be made up of intellectuals from BN component parties and act as a platform to develop more cohesive and effective strategies.

PM: Malaysian chinese are not ‘pendatang’

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Malaysian Chinese are not ‘Pendatang’ (immigrants), but are the sons of Malaysia who have contributed to the development of the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Speaking at the opening of Gerakan’s 44th National Delegates Conference here yesterday, Najib who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman said the community had also played a part in the spectacular growth of the country.
“That is why you are not ‘Pendatang’. You are the sons of Malaysia. You are born here, grew up here, and when the time comes, when you die, you will be buried here.
“That’s the reality of it. We are here as Malaysia,” he said to the applause of 1,618 delegates attending the NDC at Setia City Convention Centre.
He also reiterated that Chinese education in the country will continue to exist, adding that its existence had been enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
He pointed out that Malaysia is the only country outside China and Taiwan that has allowed Chinese schools to grow.
Najib added that although there are vernacular schools, it was important for Malaysians of all races to have a sense of unity and need to work together towards national unity.
“We all must believe that national harmony, national cohesion and national unity are ideas that we must all aspire to achieve. It will see great challenges, it is not easy but I believe we all must be integrated under one roof,” he said.
He added that moving ahead, he will assure that Malaysia’s future was based on the social contract and the Federal Constitution.
“Malaysia will continue to be a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society based on the principle of moderation. That is the policy of Barisan Nasional,” he added. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Malaysian Chinese are not ‘Pendatang’ (immigrants), but are the sons of Malaysia who have contributed to the development of the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

BN will continue to be moderate and progressive, says PM

Posted on : 19-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Malaysians should have faith in the ruling government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
“We will continue to be a mode­rate and progressive Barisan Nasional.
“I am, however, aware about statements made by some indivi­duals in Umno and Barisan Na­­sio­nal. But believe in us, believe in our policies and leadership,” he said.
Addressing Gerakan’s national delegates conference, he said political leaders who made certain comments should be dealt with.
“I think we should; whether through law enforcement or party discipline. At the same time, we hope the ‘other party’ should not be so rude.
“For every action, there will be a reaction. Do not insult the leadership of this country.
“If you do not believe in it, you have a chance every five years. We believe in democracy and going back to the rakyat. So do not hurl insults or humiliate the leaders of Malaysia,” he said.
He said the people must believe in Umno and Barisan, adding that the coalition would always seek consensus in its decisions.
Najib noted that he was criticised for repealing the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“People say Malaysia is a police state now. But check how many people are arrested now and how many people were arrested by previous leadership under ISA?” he said.
Najib said the Opposition would always stir up hatred, especially through social media.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said issued a statement, saying that Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian had the right to submit a motion for a vote of no-confidence against Najib in the Dewan Rakyat.
Azalina, who is in charge of parliamentary affairs, noted however that it was a private motion and that precedence would be given to Bills and government motions, as stipulated in the Standing Orders.
“We are confident that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker will give fair consideration to all the motions submitted for the day,” she said.
In Taiping, MANJIT KAUR reports DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as saying that the no-confidence motion should be tabled by the Opposition Leader.
It would be difficult for an individual Opposition MP to pull it off, he said at the state DAP convention yesterday.
(Source: The Star)
October 19, 2015
SHAH ALAM: Malaysians should have faith in the ruling government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
“We will continue to be a mode­rate and progressive Barisan Nasional.

Faster SME growth

Posted on : 18-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

19 October 2015
THE importance of small and medium entreprises (SMEs) to the economy cannot be denied.
In Malaysia, 97.3% of business establishments comprise of SMEs. They contribute to 33.1% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), 57.5% of the nation’s employment and 19% of the nation’s exports. The Government’s goal is for SMEs to contribute to 41% of Malaysia’s GDP by 2020.
Currently, there are various tax incentives available to SMEs. However, more support is needed to help SMEs be more competitive and grow, particularly in the current challenging economic environment.
The SME Corp’s definition of “SME” was updated effective Jan 1, 2014. An SME is now determined according to industry sectors, annual sales turnover or number of full-time employees. From a tax perspective, however, the definition of an “SME” to qualify for tax breaks is different from that of SME Corp’s.
For example, to be eligible for reduced tax rates, the company must be a Malaysian resident with a paid-up ordinary share capital of not more than RM2.5mil at the beginning of the tax basis period and is not controlled by a company with a paid-up capital exceeding RM2.5mil.
The different definitions of an SME give rise to confusion when it comes to accessing incentives. Hence, it would be useful if the definition of an SME is streamlined for greater clarity.
Currently, there are no specific tax incentives available to support the financial requirements of SMEs. As SMEs often face financial capability and cash flow issues, a double deduction on financing costs for SMEs during the first five years of business operations can help the business.
Another form of support could be a double deduction on financing costs for the next expansion project exceeding a certain threshold. These will provide some relief to SMEs during the initial start-up years as well as during the expansion phase.
In order to remain competitive, SMEs will need to continue to innovate and adopt technology in its operations. The current incentive of an annual tax deduction of 20% for five years on expenditure incurred in the development of e-commerce enabled websites should continue. Similarly, other tax incentives such as deduction on expenses incurred in obtaining recognised quality systems, standards and halal certification should be continued.
Special incentives should also be given to technology-related expenditure that promotes productivity and operational excellence such as the purchase of computers and software and the use of IT-related equipment.
Market access
Under the Budget 2015, to encourage mergers and acquisitions, fully-owned Malaysian enterprises in certain service sectors with an annual sales turnover of less than RM5mil or with fewer than 50 full-time employees, that carry out a merger or acquisition approved by the SME Corp, would enjoy a flat tax rate of 20% on all income for five years from the date of completion of the merger.
Pursuant to the scheme, stamp duty exemption was also available on certain instruments executed between July 3, 2012 and July 2, 2015. This incentive has now expired, but it should be continued to encourage SMEs to expand their business and broaden market access.
Incentives for the promotion of exports, currently available to SMEs that export manufactured products or agricultural produce or services, should also be continued or enhanced as these will help the SMEs access and compete in the global market.
Human capital development
The human capital infrastructure is critical to SMEs. The SME Master Plan (2012 – 2020) sets out six specific growth areas for SME development and performance improvement, one of which centres on human resource development. In this regard, the tax incentive framework for SMEs should be designed to allow companies to access skilled work force and training opportunities as well as provide competitive rewards and benefits to attract and retain the right talent.
Correspondingly, current incentives such as double deduction on expenses incurred in training employees under approved training programmes, employing the handicapped, participating in TalentCorp-endorsed career fairs abroad, and GST expense related to training employees in accounting and ICT, should be continued.
Other new tax incentives that should be considered relate to attracting and retaining employees, providing structured training to employees as well as ensuring employees are continuously trained in various fields, including vocational or technical training.
Tax incentives that encourage gender participation in the workplace as well as the provision of accommodation and amenities in the workplace should also be introduced.
SMEs should continuously keep abreast of tax benefits available to support their business strategies and growth.
As for the regulators, they should focus on facilitating and promoting domestic investments by SMEs rather than creating regulations that are burdensome to business, especially during the start-up and expansion phases.
Serious attention needs to be paid to the growth and development of SMEs as SMEs have the potential to become global market leaders.
Farah Rosley is a tax partner with EY Malaysia. The views reflected above are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.
(Source: The Star)
19 October 2015
THE importance of small and medium entreprises (SMEs) to the economy cannot be denied.

Mustapa: TPPA needs to be tabled in parliament by mid-Jan

Posted on : 16-10-2015 | By : sabah today | In : News

October 16, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) document needs to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by mid-January, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He explained Malaysia could not go beyond the first two weeks of 2016 to decide whether to sign the agreement or not.
“But next week, there is the tabling of the national budget, so, we cannot disturb that process.
“Of course, I will have to discuss with the Speaker to get an appropriate date (for the tabling of the TPPA),” he told reporters after giving a talk on the TPPA during the ministry’s Free Trade Agreement Outreach Programme here yesterday.
Negotiations on the TPPA concluded on Oct 5 in Atlanta, the United States and the text of the document would likely be available at the end of this month.
The TPPA negotiations, which were first launched in 2005, involves 12 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Mustapa said the TPPA was the most controversial agreement which required the government to go all out to explain the pros and cons of the agreement.
He said at the moment, general discussions were based on speculation.
Although there would be more certainty on the agreement once the document was out, the government would still be required to carry out another round of discussion to explain it, he
added.
“Even before MPs (members of parliament) can make informed judgments on the TPPA, the people need to be educated on what it is all about,” noted the minister. — Bernama
(Source: The Borneo Post)
October 16, 2015
KOTA KINABALU: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) document needs to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by mid-January, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.