Titijaya teams up with CREC for RM575 million mixed-use joint development

Posted on : 27-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Property developer Titijaya Land Bhd is partnering China Railway Engineering Corp Ltd to jointly develop mixed-use project with a gross development value (GDV) of RM575 million on a 1.82-acre (0.74ha) land in Kota Kinabalu’s city centre.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony of several agreements, deputy managing director Lim Poh Yit said this is Titijaya’s maiden development project in East Malaysia.

“The reason we venture into Kota Kinabalu is because it is a vibrant tourism city and we can position ourselves to fit into the demand of the market here. Being able to bring in CREC (China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd) is also an advantage for us,” he said, adding that the construction of the project will start this year.

CREC managing director Wang Youping said CREC and Titijaya has built mutual trust and confidence after their first development project in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

“We said last year if there was a good project, we would collaborate [again],” he added.

Known as The Shore, Poh Yit said the project will be positioned as the new premium class waterfront hub, with luxurious residential and serviced residential units docked within a prime waterfront enclave.

The project will be 25-storey tall and comprise 561 units with built-ups ranging from 409 sq ft to 541 sq ft, with price tags starting from RM453,000.

The project is expected to be completed within 48 months from the start of construction, which is expected to be this year. To formalise the deal, Titijaya inked a framework agreement with CREC Development (M) Sdn Bhd yesterday.

Titijaya also inked a service residence management agreement with The Ascott Ltd for The Shore. Under the agreement, Ascott will manage the serviced residence component of the project for 15 years.

The announcement came after Titijaya proposed to buy Sri Komakmur Development Sdn Bhd for RM70.9 million, which has three parcels of land measuring 75.44 acres, with a cumulative market value of RM172.64 million and could fetch a total GDV up to RM1 billion.

The proposed buy will be satisfied by internal funds and bank borrowings. Titijaya group managing director Tan Sri Lim Soon Peng said the proposed acquisition will enable Titijaya to immediately gain access to several prime land within the high-growth and fast-maturing central development spine of Sabah.

As The Shore only takes up a small portion of the lands the company is buying, Soon Peng said Titijaya and CREC “are both keen to explore the possibilities of further collaborations in the property development scene in Sabah, to establish more new landmarks in the state”.

“The Sabah state government has also been very encouraging in promoting its tourism industry to make it another major source of income for the state, to drive its economy. All these efforts and catalysts shall certainly help to improve the demand for commercial and residential properties in Sabah,” he added.


King Salman to pave way for more high-impact investments

Posted on : 26-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR— King Salman Abdul Aziz Al-Sa’ud’s maiden visit to Malaysia will not only further cement bilateral ties but also draw the oil-rich gulf nation to high-impact investments and the halal sector.

The President of the Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce Mohamed Fauzy Abdul Hamid said the Saudi Arabian government was expected to announce several exemptions to Malaysians starting business especially in Mecca.

He said exemption from the need to have work permit is expected to be announced during the ruler’s four-day official visit besides shareholding requirements for locals.

“The visit by the head of state to Malaysia is truly an honour. Saudi Arabia leaders are very selective in the countries they visit and normally choose only developed nations (to visit),” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama News Channel in conjunction with King Salman’s visit to Malaysia beginning today.

The last time a Saudi king visited Malaysia was in 2006, when King Abdullah, King Salman’s half-brother and predecessor, flew in with a 300-member delegation.

Many programmes have been drawn up and they include business matching sessions between Saudi and Malaysian companies especially in high investments and the halal sector. Cooperation on energy developments is also on the agenda.

King Salman is accompanied by a 600-strong delegation, comprising members of the royal household and Cabinet ministers, for the visit until March 1.

The inaugural visit to Malaysia of King Salman is at the invitation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

Mohamed Fauzy said high impact investments were Saudi Arabia’s main focus as the country was seeking new markets after the plunge in crude oil prices.

In the halal sector, he said it was not only confined to the food and investment sectors but also services and goods.

He said Saudi Arabia, in turn, offered tremendous market for Malaysia’s halal food and beverage products, which was highly certified and accredited by many Islamic countries.

“I hope King Salman’s visit will open a new era for Malaysians who are keen to do business especially in Mecca, Madinah and Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia is Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in the Middle East and trade between the two countries increased 19.8 per cent to RM13.12 billion in 2016.

Nearly 60 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to Saudi Arabia are related to palm oil and palm-based agricultural products, amounting to RM552.84 million last year.

Other products exported include machinery, equipment and parts, processed food and electrical and electronic products.


Malaysia can become Asian auto R&D centres if France’s PSA (Group) becomes Proton’s partner (France PSA Group, which makes the world famous Peugeot and Citroen cars)

Posted on : 26-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– Renowned car maker, France’s PSA Group, has ambitious plans to transform Malaysia into a strategic base to develop and manufacture a new range of cars destined for the global market if its proposed partnership with Proton comes to fruition, an industry source said.

He also said that the PSA Group, which makes the world famous Peugeot and Citroen cars, is looking to open an Asian Research and Development (R&D) centre.

That means if they bag Proton Malaysia, it would naturally benefit by being named PSA’s Asian R&D centre, he said.

Therefore, joining hands with a foreign strategic partner (FSP) would enable the national car manufacturer to go global.

Currently, as a standalone company and under-utilising the manufacturing capacity of its two plants, he said it would be impossible for Proton to achieve the economies of scale to compete in the global market.

Proton requires know-how and funds for R&D programmes to compete with global car brands, here and abroad, as it is still at the bottom of the ladder in home-grown automotive technology.

This is simply because the cost of R&D runs into billions of ringgit and Proton, on its own, cannot afford to go it alone, he told Bernama.

A case in point is the development cost of just one model, the Proton Iriz, which was at RM600 million and this did not include marketing, distribution and other related costs.

Just to recover the development cost of RM600 million — at roughly RM60,000 per unit, Proton would have to sell 10,000 Iriz cars, the source said.

Other players, such as Honda and Toyota, are able to spread their costs across millions of cars as their cars are sold worldwide.

“Thus, the cost is spread with the volume across many countries,” the source said.

Early this week, China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd said that it is prepared to share with Proton its know-how, co-developed with its Swedish subsidiary Volvo car, as part of the company’s pitch to seek control of Proton.

In addition, Geely’s Volvo in Malaysia had attained Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) status for its models equipped with Drive-E powertrain last year.

The source said that the writing on the wall is all too clear for Proton to join hands with a FSP if it is to succeed.

“The only way to do this is by marrying a big auto player, two of which have submitted their bids, as of February 15, seeking Proton’s hand in marriage for what could be a long-term mutually rewarding relationship,” he said.

An auto analyst cited how Proton still produced cars with Euro 4 engines which made it impossible to sell cars to the United Kingdom as the European market only wanted engines with Euro 6 car emission standards.

However, a foreign partner could facilitate the production of new engines through new and updated designs and technologies, which are accepted in developed markets.

In the process, penetrating developed markets, which would ramp up production at its manufacturing facilities, could go a long way to revive Proton.

Realising this and the need to go global, auto conglomerate DRB-Hicom had always intended to look for a FSP since acquiring Proton in March 2012.

As Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani pointed out last week, the government kept Proton for 32 years and Khazanah tried to revive it but they too were unsuccessful.

Now, Proton has been passed to DRB-Hicom which realised that the national car manufacturer needed to do more than produce cars for the domestic market as it needed to market the cars overseas to increase volume and sustain the company.

With a foreign partner, some 100,000 direct and indirect jobs would be secured, as well as, create more job opportunities.


Matrade projects export of cosmetic products for men, women to grow faster

Posted on : 22-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) projects the export of cosmetic products under the lifestyle industry for both men and women to grow faster on booming demand.

Chief executive officer Dr Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros said beauty and cosmetics products are no longer exclusively for women, with more men paying special interest in their personal appearance, thus expanding the target market.

Last year, cosmetics was among the top five Malaysian exports under the lifestyle industry at RM1.25 billion.

“Between 2011 and 2016 the total export value was RM12 billion,” he said after opening the Product Development Workshop, organised by Matrade and the Asean-Korea Centre here.

Banking on demand, Mohd Shahreen said soon, Malaysia would tap the halal segment which offers a bigger market.

Halal beauty and cosmetics products are fast gaining popularity among Muslims globally.

“However, the halal products are not limited to just Muslims, but also others, as the concept places special emphasis on hygiene and safety during the manufacturing process,” he added.


Proboscis Monkey Action Plan for Sabah

Posted on : 22-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Local and international experts are collaborating to come up with a plan to protect the proboscis monkey in Sabah.

Malaysian and international scientists, government agencies and industry players will congregate at the three-day Proboscis Monkey Workshop, which starts today, to draft a policy for the purpose.

The workshop is organised by the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) and Sabah Wildlife Department.

DGFC director Dr Benoit Goossens said several experts would propose recommendations at the event for the primate’s conservation based on findings from an extensive five-year research on the endangered species.

A proboscis monkey action plan for Sabah would be drafted following the recommendations, he said.

“I hope the plan will be adopted by the state government to save the species endemic to Borneo, which is threatened by habitat loss and forest fragmentation in Sabah,” Dr Goossens said.

On the research, he said both the centre and department had collected crucial information on the primate’s population in Sabah, including data on demography, behaviour, genetics and health over the past five years.

Surveys were carried out on proboscis monkeys along several rivers such as the Kinabatangan, Segama, Klias and Sugut, with many blood samples collected for genetic analyses.

“Information on genetic isolation, lack of gene flow between populations, risks of inbreeding and extinction will be discussed during the workshop,” Dr Goossens said.

He said the workshop will see input from relevant stakeholders – government department officers, representatives from NGOs, tourism and palm oil industries, local communities, scientists and experts on proboscis monkeys – to formulate pragmatic solutions to preserve the proboscis monkey.

These researches were made possible with the support of Yayasan Sime Darby, which had committed RM3.96mil over six years since 2011.

DGFC’s work on the proboscis monkey is one of three crucial projects being conducted by the research organisation on endangered, endemic species to Borneo found in Sabah’s Kinabatangan area. Its other two vital research projects are on the Sunda clouded leopard and Bornean banteng.

(Shell FuelSave Diesel) Euro 5 now available at retail kiosks along West Coast

Posted on : 22-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

Shell Malaysia today announced the availability of its Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 – a high quality, fuel-efficient diesel at 8 retail stations along the west coast of Sabah.

Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5, formulated with Active Efficiency Ingredients, is a cleaner diesel fuel that improves engine efficiency and delivers better mileage. It ignites and burns more effectively to help improve fuel economy. Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 also contains special detergents that helps protect against the build-up of injector deposits, amongst others.

Shairan Huzani Husain, Managing Director of Shell Timur Sdn. Bhd., Au Tong Sing, National Sales Manager, Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn. Bhd. and Ben Mahmud, Head of Retail Marketing, Shell Malaysia Trading Sdn. Bhd. officiated at the launch event, which was held at Golden Hill Enterprise, one of its retail outlet in Kota Kinabalu.

He added: With the launch of Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5, we are giving drivers travelling along the west coast of Sabah, the opportunity to experience our best, most efficient diesel fuel.”

With an ultra-low sulphur content of only 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur compared with 500 ppm of sulphur in Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro2M, Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 is compatible with modern diesel engines.

Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5 will be made available at 16 stations along the west coast of Sabah eventually. The lists of stations are as follows:

- Bundusan Service Station, Bundusan

- Golden Hill Enterprise, Kota Kinabalu

- Kivatusin Station, Penampang

- KNY Express, Inanam

- A. Taipan, Inanam

- Mega Gas Station, Menggatal

- Mutiara Klasik, Kota Kinabalu

- One Station, Tuaran

- SMS Kg Likas (Sabah) SB, Likas

- Stesen Maju Jaya, Keningau

- Stesen Minyak Hj Tengah B. Bagol Dan Anak, Sipitang

- Stesen Minyak Shell Maju, Penampang

- Stesen Minyak Wawasan, Kota Kinabalu

- Syarikat Kotobu Sdn Bhd, Putatan

- Tamajaya, Lok Kawi

- Yun Cheong Shell SVC Station, Tanjung Aru

For more information on Shell FuelSave Diesel Euro 5, please visit http://www.shell.com.my/dieseleuro5


Gas Generators to continue exploring for more business

Posted on : 20-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Gas Generators (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Gastec), a wholly owned subsidiary of T7 Global Bhd (T7 Global),  will continue to explore for more business opportunities to further augment the company’s market presence both locally and regionally.

Gastec is principally involved in house designing, engineering, fabrication, testing and commissioning of industrial gas packages and plant for on-site production of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, packaging of air/ gas compression, filtration and other process packages for various industries since the mid-1990s.

Since then, Gastec has been servicing various number of clients from many industries such as oil and gas, plantation, medical, and many other industries.

Under Gastec’s business models, it provides two options to clients: Build, Operate and Transfer – which GasTec provides long term leasing with an option for the client to acquire the asset at the end of the lease term and Build, Operate and Own – whereby clients owns the asset without leasing.

Over the years, Gastec has expanded a wider business footprint throughout the Asean region with active presence in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Manila and other Asean regions.

Gastec recently announced the grand opening of the new premise at Balakong, Malaysia. The ribbon cutting for the grand opening ceremony held yesterday was witnessed by Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Minister II, Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

“Striding on Gastec Malaysia’s vision and future business development plans, we will continue to be responsive to all of our customers and exceed their expectations from the various industries as best as possible, which has always been our company’s philosophy.

“Moving forward, we will continue to explore for more business opportunities to further augment our market presence locally and regionally,” Gastec chief executive officer (CEO) Ken Tan said.


Petronas Chemicals 4Q16 earnings up 40 pct to RM987 mln

Posted on : 20-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (Petronas Chemicals) earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016 (4Q16) ended December 2016 jumped by 40 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM987 million from RM704 million recorded in 4Q15.

The company in its accounts notes filed to the stock exchange yesterday said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) surged RM464 million or 46 per cent to RM1.5 billion on higher sales volumes, lower unit cost, favourable spreads and stronger US dollar.

As a result, the group registered higher earnings in 4Q16.

Petronas Chemicals’ revenue grew by RM498 million or 14 per cent to RM3.9 billion as compared to RM3.45 billion in 4Q15 as a result of higher volume and stronger US dollar resulted from foreign exchange translation.

In addition, the company said it achieved very strong operational performance with higher plant utilisation of 96 per cent as compared with 86 per cent in the corresponding quarter on the back of improved plant reliability and higher methane supply to its methanol facilities.

Consequently, Petronas Chemicals noted both production and sales volumes were higher.

Nonetheless, the company said the overall average product prices were lower as compared with the corresponding quarter due to lower fertiliser and methanol prices.

Elaborating further, its olefins and derivatives (O&D) segment recorded exceptional operational performance with 100 per cent plant utilisation for the quarter ended December 2016 as compared to 95 per cent in the corresponding quarter ended December 2015.

It observed production and sales volumes were higher in line with improved plant utilisation.

The company also observed that average product prices increased with the recovery in crude oil prices.

As a result of higher volumes and prices, Petronas Chemicals noted the revenue for the O&D increased by RM392 million or 16 per cent to RM2.8 billion.

Moreover, Petronas Chemcials said the segment’s EBITDA was higher than corresponding quarter by RM287 million or 37 per cent at RM1.1 billion, driven by higher spreads, higher volume and stronger US dollar.

Correspondingly, the  company noted profit after tax for the segment also rose by RM128 million or 22 per cent to RM706 million.

Apart from that, Petronas Chemicals disclosed that its fertilisers and methanol (F&M) segment registered significantly higher plant utilisation of 89 per cent for 4Q16 as compared with 79 per cent in 4Q15 attributed to higher methane supply to the methanol facilities.

As a result of improved plant utilisation, the company said both production and sales volumes increased.

On another note, Petronas Chemicals said the average product prices for F&M softened as market conditions remained challenging.

It added methanol price firmed in line with crude oil price coupled with tight regional supply whilst ammonia and urea prices were adversely affected by oversupply in the market following new capacity additions.

Despite market headwinds, revenue for the F&M segment increased by RM91 million or nine per cent to RM1.1 billion as a result of higher volumes and stronger US dollar.

Correspondingly, the EBITDA and profit after tax for the segment improved by RM87 million or 26 per cent to RM425 million and by RM85 million or 35 per cent to RM331 million respectively.

As for financial year 2016 (FY16) ended December 2016, Petronas Chemicals said the group’s revenue grew by 2.4 per cent y-o-y to RM13.86 billion whilst FY16 earnings increased by 5.4 per cent y-o-y to RM2.93 billion.


Malaysia’s healthcare industry eyes RM5 bln in revenue contribution to 2017 GDP

Posted on : 20-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR— The healthcare industry is eyeing a revenue contribution of up to RM5 billion to Malaysia’s 2017 gross domestic product.

This is on the back of an estimated one million healthcare travellers visiting the country this year.

In 2016, the industry’s contribution to the GDP exceeded RM1 billion, said the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) in a statement here today.

It said the prime market comprises travellers from Asean, but Malaysia’s healthcare segment has also seen steady growth with visitors from China and India.

MHTC said Malaysia’s medical travel sector, already a much sought-after choice in Asia, added another feather to its cap when one of its key drivers was honoured on the international stage for outstanding contributions to global healthcare.

MHTC Chief Executive Officer Sherene Azli, joined the distinguished company of 50 other women from all walks of life, in being recognised among “Outstanding Women in Healthcare” at the World Health and Wellness Congress 2017 recently.

The Malaysian healthcare travel sector has seen tremendous growth in recent years.

Sherene’s recognition will help drive Malaysian healthcare to even greater heights.


Malaysian car parts companiese urged to grab opportunities in Indonesian mart

Posted on : 19-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

JAKARTA– Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) has urged Malaysian companies to continue pursue opportunities for increasing exports of car parts to Indonesia.

Its Trade Commissioner to Indonesia, Naim Abdul Rahman, said this was because Indonesia has a big car industry, ranked second after Thailand in Association of South-East Asian Nations in terms of car production.

Its annual car production is around one million units while its car parts imports alone were worth over US$3 billion (US$1 = RM4.45).

“These figures constitute all kinds of car parts made for original equipment manufacturers or replacement parts for motor vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles,” he told Bernama after the launching of Proton Iriz in Jakarta today.

Naim said Malaysia was one of the major suppliers of car parts like absorbers, weatherstrips, brake pads, wheel rims, transmission parts, head up displays, alarms, sensors, lighting electronics and air conditioners to the country.

He said to overcome the stiff competition from other countries, Malaysian companies must continued to offer quality car parts and worked closely with their Indonesian distributors on effective marketing strategies.

“Participating in trade events such as in the coming exhibition, International Auto Parts, Accessories and Equip Exhibition 2017, would be an effective platform for Malaysian companies to promote their car parts and components in Indonesia and more importantly to meet up with the right buyers present in the market,” he added.

He also welcomed Indonesian companies’ interest in sourcing for Malaysia-made car parts and components at Automechanika Kuala Lumpur which will be held from March 23-25, 2017.

Matrade Jakarta is coordinating to arrange an International Sourcing Programme for Indonesian buyers during the event.


Proton eyes Indonesian mart with launch of Iriz

Posted on : 19-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

JAKARTA: Proton Holdings Bhd’s compact car, Proton Iriz, will compete with other small variants in the Indonesian market, said the national carmaker’s chief executive, Datuk Ahmad Fuad Kenali.

He said the entry of the car was to test the market for compact cars after several models, like Waja and Persona, had been in the Indonesian market over the past year.

“In an effort the recover the market for Proton cars in Indonesia, the national car company launches Proton Iriz first before other models like Saga and Persona,” he told Bernama after the launch of the model here yesterday.

Proton Iriz is a 1.3 cc compact vehicle with a comfortable interior.

He said Proton, now in turnaround stage, launched four models last year.

“The Perdana was launched in June, Pesona in August, Saga in September and Ertiga in November,” he said.

Ahmad Fuad said the company has operated in Indonesia for a long time but because there were no suitable models it has to start with the Proton Iriz.

“The launch of this new model is part of the marketing strategy to boost demand for Proton cars after the slack in 2015 and early 2016.

“The strategy now is to appoint new agents to sell Proton cars and to offer good services,” he said. He added that the world economic condition has improved and this gave Proton the confidence to recover the domestic and overseas market shares.


Sabah has potential to become major maritime Transshipment Hub

Posted on : 16-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Both the Sepan­gar Bay Container Port and Port Klang have been earmarked as the two harbours that will turn Malay­sia into a logistics hub in Asean, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The Cabinet, said Liow, recently discussed making the country into a logistics hub for Asean, with Sepan­gar port playing a role in the growth area of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“Sabah is uniquely and strategically positioned within the Asean sub-region of BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area).

“The development of this location is highly dependent on the creation of inter-regional transport links that will make Asean the world’s eighth largest economy,” Liow said in his welcoming remarks at the Sabah Ports Forum here yesterday.

Also present was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Sabah, he said, was in an advantageous position as a staging hub for product distribution within Asean as sea routes from South America and Australia to China would favour the state due to its geo-strategic location.

But Sabah, pointed out Liow, needed to unlock its potential to become a major player in the maritime and logistics sectors.

“Issues such as the lack of manufacturing and downstream processing activities that have led to insufficient container volume need to be addressed,” he said, adding that currently, the volume of exports was only half of the imports, leading to ships returning half empty.

This, said Liow, gave no compelling reason for main line operators to call at Sabah ports, which led to containers being transhipped at Port Klang or other ports in the penin­sula.

The Government, he said, had approved RM1.027bil under the 11th Malaysia Plan to turn Sepangar Port into a transhipment hub that could boost connectivity to international markets, generate higher volume of cargo and attract shipping lines to call at the port.

Liow, who also visited the Sepangar Bay Container Port, said the Government was set to further liberalise the cabotage policy, which had been blamed for higher costs of goods in Sabah.

“As a responsible and caring one, I am pleased to inform that the Government is currently reviewing the cabotage policy for a further liberalisation mechanism to ensure affordable cost of goods and servi­ces,” he said.

(The cabotage policy requires all domestic transport of goods to be done by Malaysian vessels, which means that goods bound for Sabah and Sarawak will have to come in via Port Klang).

Liow said there had been a long standing debate on the root cause of higher prices of goods in Sabah, with many having attributed this to the policy.

However, he said a joint study by the World Bank and the Economic Planning Unit in November 2016 found that neither the policy nor the shipping costs were the main cause for the high prices of goods, which were instead due to weak distribution channels, high handling charges and inefficient inland transportation.


Extra RM12mil for Sabah Rela

Posted on : 12-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

Kota Kinabalu: Members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) in Sabah have more reasons to cheer as the uniformed voluntary movement turned 45 years old this year.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced a RM12 million additional allocation for the purchase of 40,000 new digital camouflage fatigues.

“As an additional allocation, the State Government will provide RM3 million this year and another RM3 million next year for the purpose.

“The Federal Government through the Home Ministry will match the allocation and provide RM6 million this year, making the total allocation of RM12 million.

“This means around 40,000 new Rela members would be able to get uniforms immediately,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said this after officiating the national-level 45th Rela Anniversary celebration at Padang Merdeka, here, Saturday.

Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Federal and State Ministers and Rela Director-General Datuk Zulkifli Abidin.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, also announced that a 20-acre site in Sandakan has been offered to Rela for the purpose of setting up a new training centre in the East Coast area.

“On this, we would like to say thank you to the State Government, especially the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, for the offer.

“If the allocation for the construction of the facility can be done as soon as possible, I will ensure the training centre will be built starting this year,” he said.

Towards this end, he said the Rela role would also be elevated and will take part in the border policing in the East Coast areas and assist the security agencies under the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).

He said the voluntary movement once known as “home guard” would no longer have the role of keeping order during weddings and simple events, but would also be part of keeping the security of the Malaysia Borneo states intact.

“We will utilise Rela as an auxiliary force. The power of citizen arrest still rest on the police and based on the new National Security Act, arrests could also be done by the military.

“This is the reason why Rela will be elevated to assist the police and military in the execution of law and enforcement,” said Ahmad Zahid, adding that the Home Ministry would discuss with the National Security Council and they will be assigned in Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) later.

Over 8,131 out of the 10,000 Rela members across Sabah attended the celebrations here.

Ahmad Zahid earlier said that Rela is the country’s largest voluntary movement with over 3.05 million members nationwide and is viewed by neighbouring Asian countries as one of the most organised movements in the region.

The event also saw Ahmad Zahid pinning of pips on Musa, taking him to the ranks of Honorary Deputy Commissioner for the Rela movement.

The Home Minister also installed medal of honours on 10 Rela members, five of whom comprise mountain guides who assisted in the rescue operation during the deadly earthquake in Ranau in 2015 and another five who assisted the authorities during the 2013 Tanduo incursion.

Meanwhile, Musa, in his address, expressed pride for the Rela movement, saying their cooperation, commitment and contributions to the State was well noted.

“With the large members nationwide, I believe Rela played an important role and responsibility and among them, being involved in community activities, keeping the people’s commitment on progress, assisting government in strengthening unity and harmony and deploying its members in grassroots development,” he said.

Musa said the State Government will continue to support and assist Rela in executing its roles in the communities. – Jason Santos


Proton responds to reports about potential foreign partner choice

Posted on : 12-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KOTA KINABALU: The flurry of news activity reporting Chinese automaker Geely as the leading candidate to become Proton’s potential foreign partner has prompted a response from the latter with regards to matters and reservations pertaining to the possible tie-up.

The Malaysian corporation said via a statement that the interested parties which were reported to be Geely and Groupe PSA have conducted their own due diligence on Proton, and DRB-Hicom is now waiting for the submission of bids from the parties, after which an earnest evaluation of the bids will commence.

It reiterated that it aims to complete the selection by the first half of this year, although it is striving to conclude the deal earlier.

With regards to the tie-up itself, DRB-Hicom said it believes that Proton can be a more successful carmaker once a foreign strategic partner (FSP) is on-board.

It added that the entry of a FSP will enable Proton to revitalise itself through access to new platforms, powertrains and technologies which will further improve the Malaysian company’s range of products and its quality.

Meanwhile, according to DRB-Hicom group Managing Director, Datuk Seri Syed Faisal Albar, he said that his revitalisation of Proton’s market share underlines DRB-Hicom’s intent to keep the brand as a player in the automotive market.

“We remain committed to revive Proton’s fortunes, and finding the right FSP is critical to that goal. History has shown that collaborations between a smaller carmaker and a larger carmaker can revive the former’s fortunes. DRB-Hicom is confident that with the right FSP, Proton will enhance its brand equity can again be a successful carmaker as it was in the 1980s and 1990s,” he said.

He added that DRB-Hicom will evaluate three key criteria – which are the strategic, operational and cultural fit – in finding the right FSP for the Malaysian carmaker.

A strategic fit will enable both parties to derive tangible benefits from the range of technology and products available, which will ensure that Proton can achieve economies of scale from its domestic operations.

An operational fit with the FSP ensures that both Proton and the partner will complement each other’s strengths, while a cultural fit will ensure a successful union. This “chemistry” between the two parties will be critical in pushing Proton forward while enhancing the FSP’s own operations vis-à-vis its short and long-term plans.

With a close fit that matches the items listed, DRB-Hicom said it is confident the venture will be beneficial to all parties. It added that in evaluating a potential partner, DRB-Hicom will insist that the Proton badge and its technology will be expanded into ASEAN markets first and global arena subsequently.

The automaker’s parent company also said that there was little to fear that a partnership would be a lop-sided deal.

“Contrary to common belief, Proton has plenty to offer to the eventual FSP. First, they will have at their disposal Proton’s own range of affordable cars, such as Persona, Saga, Preve and Iriz. These cars are manufactured to high production standards and meet global safety standards. Any carmaker that is on board with Proton will be able to find a range of cars to offer specific markets across the globe,” said Syed Faisal.

Secondly, one of the immediate advantages available to any carmaker partnering with Proton is the ability to immediately increase their production capacity through the Tanjung Malim plant in Proton City.

“The plant has a low utilisation rate presently, and optimising the use of the modern facility will also benefit the local workforce. This means Malaysians can benefit from increased employment opportunities with full capacity utilisation at the plant,” he said.

Finally, Proton would also be bringing into play its own in-house research and development team as well as that offered by Lotus Cars UK. The combined engineering capabilities of both teams will offer the FSP enhancements to its own current capabilities.

Syed Faisal stated it was important to point out that DRB-Hicom’s search for a FSP for Proton is a critical exercise to ensure the sustainability of the national carmaker.

As a local company, DRB-Hicom is proud to be the owner of the first national and ASEAN’s only car manufacturer. We have stated before that we will maintain a significant equity in Proton, and this has not changed. The FSP search is not about shirking our national responsibility but about enhancing Proton as a bona-fide carmaker, and eventually putting it, and Malaysia, on the global map,” he explained.

He added that as a responsible shareholder, DRB-Hicom will also assess the intention of the potential partner in utilising the current “home-grown” vendor network during its evaluation.

“This is a very significant element in our evaluation, as DRB-Hicom, which also owns subsidiaries serving Proton as vendors, will avoid having the “home-grown” network being diluted substantially,” he added.


Malaysia’s total trade increases to RM1.49 trillion, ASEAN takes 29.4% of exports

Posted on : 12-02-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s total trade grew by 1.5 per cent to reach RM1.49 trillion in 2016 compared with RM1.46 trillion in the previous year, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said on Wednesday.

He said exports rose by 1.1 per cent to RM785.93 billion and imports grew by 1.9 per cent to RM698.66 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of RM87.27 billion, the 19th consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998. Mustapa said ASEAN’s share of Malaysia’s total exports expanded to 29.4 per cent in 2016 from 28.2 per cent in 2015, the highest share since 1993.

“Specifically in December 2016, Malaysia’s total trade recorded a double-digit growth of 11.1 per cent to RM142.39 billion compared with a year ago,” he said at a press conference here Wednesday.

He said exports in December 2016 expanded by 10.7 per cent year-on-year to RM75.55 billion, the highest value in 2016 with manufactured goods continued to support Malaysia’s exports.

Explaining in details, he said, the increase in total trade in 2016 was contributed by higher trade with China, which expanded by RM10.09 billion, United States (US) (RM6.87 billion), South Korea (RM3.56 billion), Taiwan (RM3.29 billion) and Saudi Arabia (RM3.04 billion).

The minister said significant increases were also recorded with Turkey amounting to RM2.81 billion, Hong Kong (RM1.93 billion), India (RM1.85 billion), Mexico (RM1.64 billion), Brazil (RM1.52 billion), Bangladesh (RM1.48 billion), ASEAN (RM1.41 billion) and the European Union (EU)(RM549.6 million).

He said the major contributors to export growth in 2016 were expansion of manufactured and agricultural exports by 3.2 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, compensating for the lower performance of mining goods.

The continued growth for electrical and electronics (E&E) exports were driven by strong global demand for electronic devices and rising exports to ASEAN by 5.4 per cent with significant growth to Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam countries and the Philippines also spurred exports.

Mustapa said ASEAN remained as an important and strategic trading partner for Malaysia, taking up RM230.93 billion of Malaysia’s exports in 2016, an increase of 5.4 per cent.

In terms of trade, ASEAN accounted for 27.1 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade in 2016, with a value of RM402.66 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent, he said.

Mustapa said the increase in exports was led by manufactured goods which expanded by RM12.97 billion or 6.7 per cent.

The exports of manufactured goods accounted for 89.1 per cent in 2016 compared with 87.9 per cent in 2015, he said.

“The expansion in this sector was contributed by higher exports of E&E products, petroleum products, manufactures of metal, processed food, transport equipment, chemicals and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts as well as textiles,” he said.

Among the ASEAN countries, Singapore remained the largest export market with a share of 49.6 per cent of total exports to ASEAN.

“China continued to be the largest trading partner with Malaysia for the eighth consecutive year since 2009. In 2016, Malaysia’s trade with China increased by 4.4 per cent to RM240.91 billion,” said Mustapa.

Trade with the EU increased by 0.4 per cent to RM149.05 billion. Malaysia’s exports to the EU were higher by 1.2 per cent to RM79.84 billion.

Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Belgium remained the top five export destinations in the region, accounting for 78.8 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports to the EU, he said.

The country also maintained sturdy export performance to the US with an increase of 8.9 per cent to RM80.23 billion.

“Trade with the US expanded by 5.3 per cent to RM135.88 billion in 2016,” he said. In 2016, Malaysia’s exports to South Asia grew by 6.9 per cent to RM45.39 billion, after a decline of 0.9 per cent in 2015.

Trade with South Asia rose by 7.4 per cent to RM63.8 billion in 2016 and imports increased by 8.6 per cent to RM18.4 billion, he said.

In 2016, other promising markets with significant growth in exports were Mexico, increased by RM1.59 billion, attributed mainly to E&E products, Tanzania (RM264.2 million, palm oil and palm-based agriculture products) and Nigeria (RM201.9 million, petroleum products), he said.