State govt, entrepreneurs urged to emulate Johor

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Sabah branch president Datuk Frankie Liew has urged Sabahan entrepreneurs and the State Government to emulate Johor’s success in attracting investors from China to the state.

Liew said Johor has far exceeded Sabah in terms of development and luring foreign investments from China.

Hence, he said local entrepreneurs and the State Government should emulate their counterparts in Johor in order to make Sabah an important investment zone for China investors.

Liew said this when visiting Iskandar Malaysia zone after attending the 16th anniversary celebration cum sixth installation ceremony of MCCC Johor branch recently.

During the dinner, Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said that the state had recorded 800,000 tourist arrivals from China last year, whereas that of Sabah was only 360,000.

Tee also said that Johor had been attracting the highest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) for four consecutive years in Malaysia.

He said FDI for the manufacturing sector alone recorded RM14.4 billion in 2013, RM21.1 billion in 2014, RM31.1 billion in 2015 and RM26.4 billion in 2016, which amounted to RM93 billion in total and the creation of 63,515 job opportunities.

Liew said China was not only the largest import and export country in the world, but also had great influence on major economic sectors, such as property, innovative technology and trade, and therefore, the need to maintain friendly cooperative ties with China.

“The Johor state government’s initiative to develop the state, especially its effort to attract China investors to Iskandar Malaysia, has been very successful.

“The Sabah State Government and private sector must identify our own project that could be developed into an investment or development centre for China in the Far East region.”

Liew said Sabah could leverage on our fertile land, tropical climate and geographical advantage to lure China investors into investing in retirement village, healthcare institution, tourism, agriculture and property development in the State.

Also present was MCCC Sabah branch life honorary advisor Datuk Lau Kok Sing.


Thai Smiles starts flying to KK

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Thai Smiles on Sunday made its inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu, its second destination in Malaysia after Penang.

Wiwat Piyawiroj, Assistant Executive Vice President, Commercial of Thai Airways (Pcl) said the cooperation in the opening of Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route between Thai Airways and Thai Smiles would mark the official milestone announcement to showcase the ongoing business model of the airlines between parent company and its affiliate.

“By providing this service, Thai Airways will be the distributor and marketer for the distribution of tickets and Thai Smiles will be the flight operator. This type of business will take place on several international routes that are due to launch this year. And we strongly believe that this cooperation will bring comfort to passengers traveling to various cities. In particular, the route that flies directly to Kota Kinabalu will bring about sustainable and profitable growth for both airlines,” said Piyawiroj.

Captain Woranate Laprabang, acting CEO of Thai Smiles revealed that the airline, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, the national carrier, was very proud to open the new route to Kota Kinabalu.

“It is acclaimed to be a major tourist destination of ASEAN region in the extent of the exuberance of nature. The tickets will be sold by Thai Airways while the flight will be operated by Thai Smiles. The first flight has commenced on March 26, 2017. The opening of this new route to Kota Kinabalu is considered one of the strategic priorities for us in the ASEAN region. Thai Airways and Thai Smiles are going to expand its growth in order to develop more international network of routes extensively. Furthermore, we are committed to increasing our customer’s choice to have a chance to travel to new destinations. Of course, we are confident that our reputation for excellent service will make both airlines the market leader in the near future,” said Captain Woranate.

Abdul Harris Hardy, director of Tourism Promotion Authority of Malaysia, Thailand’s office said this year the Tourism Authority of Malaysia aimed to attract 1.75 million Thai tourists to experience in the neighboring Malaysia with a variety of experiences.

“During January and October 2016, Malaysia welcomed 1.47 million Thai tourists, an increase of 34.4% from 1.09 million in 2015. The number of Thai tourists is accounted for number one  among the total number of tourists visiting Malaysia.

“With the potential of Kota Kinabalu tourism along with comfortable journey by Thai Airways and Thai Smiles will certainly increase the number of tourists from Thailand to Sabah, Malaysia,” he said.

Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai congratulated Thai Airways and Thai Smile for their expansion of network and adding Kota Kinabalu as the second Malaysian destination after Penang.

“This is a timely and welcome addition to our network of international flights into Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Opening up the Thai market is important for Sabah – we look forward to receiving young Thai nationals who love adventure, diving and the variety of food we have to offer, as well as the expats who are looking for new family destinations. Our natural attractions such as Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are ideal for long haul travelers from Europe. Bangkok is a popular destination for Malaysians, many are eagerly waiting for this flight to commence,” he said.

Thai Smile Airways operates in 10 domestic destinations: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Ubon Ratchathani, Udonthani, Suratthani, Narathiwat, and Krabi with one interline flight between Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The airline also operates 11 international flights to Siem Reap, Penang, Changsha, Chongqing, Gaya, Varanasi, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mandalay, Zhengzhou and Kota Kinabalu with a plan to further increase the flight frequency of domestic and launch new international routes.


TAED envisioned to benefit economy, community and environment – Musa

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah must leverage on its geographical location, being at the heart of the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines – East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and strategically located along the Far-East shipping routes, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

“I look forward to the outcome of the comprehensive Sabah Ports 30 years master plan that will turn our ports into a vibrant transhipment hub for the BIMP-EAGA region as well as the Far East. This will also spur other multimodal logistics development and activities that include the Pan Borneo highway, railway connectivity linking the hinterland and aviation hub,” Musa said, when delivering his inaugural lecture entitled ‘My Vision for Sabah’ at an event organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) here on Sunday.

On another note, Musa said, the Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED), a 348-hectare integrated beachfront development in Tanjung Aru, was envisioned to be well-positioned to benefit the economy, community and environment.

“To create a sustainable development like no other in the region, TAED needs to be, not only economically viable but also socially and environmentally acceptable.”

By specifically developing TAED with low-impact residential, hotel and commercial properties, he said, the State government would not only be able to raise the necessary funds for construction, but also to finance the maintenance of all public areas within the development, including the new beach and park.

“There is no other development comparable to TAED. TAED is envisioned to be well-positioned to benefit the economy, community and environment. It is with this holistic approach towards improving all three – economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability, that TAED will undoubtedly set a high benchmark for all future developments in Malaysia and the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Musa said, the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) is a project to prepare Sabah to become a leading international meeting, incentives, conventions and exhibition (MICE) centre.

“It is a highly specialized venue that will be equipped with high-tech facilities to ensure smooth and efficient running of MICE activities. SICC is designed to be ahead of its generation and is a representation of the best-featured convention centre derived from the world’s leading MICE venues,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister had chipped in RM250 million for this project.

Musa was also keen on the outcome of The Jesselton Quay project which would become an iconic landscape as Kota Kinabalu city’s new waterfront and premier tourism frontier.

The project will have its own cruise terminal and will integrate the Kota Kinabalu International Cruise Terminal, marina facilities and the SICC.

On a more serious note, Musa said, the issue of land reclamations, especially along the Kota Kinabalu seafront, has over the years been a source of aggravation to many, especially those in conservation.

“To the dismay of many, previous administrations had granted approvals for reclamation for the purpose of commercial development from Likas Bay all the way to Tanjung Aru.

“How much more can the city take? Where do we stop? Should the city be reclaimed past Gaya Island? I made the bold decision to freeze all KK seafront land applications and even went to court to wrestle back those that had been approved.”

Therefore, in 2015, Musa took the initiative a step further when the State Legislative Assembly successfully passed a landmark bill to ban land reclamation beyond the designated boundary as a means of protecting coastal lands along the Kota Kinabalu city front.


Good governance vital to success of any organization – Musa

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The principle of good governance is vital to the success of any organization as without the culture of transparency, accountability and sound financial management, an organization will be subject to all kinds of problems that will pave the way for failure, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman.

When he first took office, Musa said, he directed all heads of state departments, agencies and Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to buck up.

“There is no reason for GLCs to not perform as they have state owned assets such as land and buildings. State agencies and GLCs should be enterprising enough to generate businesses and investments from these assets,” Musa remarked.

As a result of this hard line approach, he said, a number of state agencies have started to repay their loans and even hand out dividends to the State government.

“In 2016, the Sabah government received dividends of more than RM286 million,” Musa said.

Among the State statutory bodies and agencies that paid in 2016 are Sabah Development Bank, Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd, Sabah Energy Corporation Sdn. Bhd (SEC), Progressive Insurance Bhd (PIB), Sabah Credit Corporation, Sawit Kinabalu, Suria Capital Holdings Bhd and Asian Supply Base.

Musa said he had always applied the principle of ‘waste not, want not’ in managing the State’s finances.

“Resources and expenditures of the State are to be managed in a prudent, effective and efficient manner, in accordance with established financial regulations.”

Being a state with financial capability accredited with “AAA” rating for seven years in a row, Musa said, Sabah was competent to perform the entrusted responsibility.

“I am also confident that we can perform because we have an efficient administrative machinery in financial management which has been awarded with a ‘Clean Bill’ for 15 years.”

Musa said this when delivering his inaugural lecture entitled ‘My Vision for Sabah’ at an event organized by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu (RCKK) here on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Musa said, he always reminded civil servants not to be complacent just because they have performed well.

“There must be a strong sense of commitment and pride in delivering your services and with minimal red tape. Most important of all, the culture of behaving like Little Napoleons must be stamped out.”

Of course, Musa said, there is room for improvement as there are still some state departments, agencies and GLCs that needed to buck up.

“Last year, we saw the weakness of one particular state department that made Sabah famous for all the wrong reasons.

“We must admit that this has caused a huge embarrassment and tarnished all our other achievements. That is why I always remind those in the civil service, you must uphold integrity and honesty in your service to the people. There are loopholes in the system that must be plugged,” he reminded.

Musa also emphasized on the need for strong cooperation between Federal and State agencies in matters concerning project planning and implementation.

“The State must not be left in the dark and leaders must not let personal differences get in the way when making crucial decisions,” he said.

Musa said he had also frequently reminded elected representatives that good governance starts from the top.

“It is not enough to just sit in a meeting room to get briefings on what is going on in the kampungs or rural areas. You must go down to the ground. I have therefore, made regular visits to the various districts to hear about the progress of projects and programmes as well as problems in a particular area,” Musa said.

He pointed out that the title YB did not just mean Yang Berhormat, but also meant Yang Berkhidmat, or ‘At Your Service’.

“The job of YBs is to speak on behalf of their constituents, and to act as their eyes and ears.”


Canton Fair invitations available at KKCCCI’s office

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: The 121th Session of China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) will be held at China Import and Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China on 15th April to 5th May, 2017.

Paper Invitation issued by the Canton Fair is available at the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KKCCCI) office.

The Canton Fair will be made up of National Pavilion and International Pavilion with categories: Exhibition category for National Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics & Household Electrical Appliances, Lighting Equipment, Vehicles & Spare Parts, Machinery, Hardware & Tools, Building Materials, Chemical Products, Energy; Phase 2 (April 23 – 27): Consumer Goods, Gifts, Home Decorations; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Textiles & Garments, Shoes, Office Supplies, Cases & Bags and Recreation Products, Food, Medicines, Medical Devices, Health Products.

Exhibition category for International Pavilion Phase 1 (April 15 – 19): Electronics and Household Electrical Appliance, Building Materials and Hardware, Machinery and Equipment; Phase 3 (May 1 – 5): Food and Drink, Household Items, Fabrics and Home Textiles.

For overseas buyers, they can pre-apply for the first free Buyer Entry Badge (Buyer Card) via Buyer E-Service Tool (BEST) on Canton Fair’s official website and get it at the following locations: (1) Overseas Buyers’ Registration Office in Canton Fair Complex; (2) Appointed hotels in Guangzhou and nearby area; (3) Canton Fair Hong Kong Representative Office (Service is provided throughout the year).

Required documents for getting Buyer Card: -Valid original Personal Documents (Overseas Passport, H.K./Macao Home-return Permit, Taiwan Compatriot Travel Certificate, Valid ID as Overseas Chinese or a Chinese Passport with overseas employment visa valid for over one year) -Return Receipt of Buyer Card Pre-registration, or Paper Invitation or E-invitation of Canton Fair which is valid for you to get the first free Buyer Card -A most recent Passport Photo in a size of 5 cm x 4 cm -Business Card

The Buyer Card is valid for multiple sessions of the Canton Fair. If forgotten to bring along or lost, the new Buyer Card will cost RMB200 per card as service fee.

Canton Fair’s Guide is available for download from (click “Attendance Guide for Buyers”).

For those interested to visit the Canton Fair, please obtain the Paper Invitation of Canton Fair from KKCCCI Secretariat, Tel: 088-252312.


Bilateral trade with OIC countries up 0.2 pct

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries inched up 0.2 per cent to RM145.18 billion in 2016 from RM144.87 billion the previous year.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Ahmad Maslan said exports to the OIC improved 5.1 per cent year-on-year to RM82.07 billion, while imports amounted to RM63.11 billion.

Ahmad said this during an oral question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“The trade balance also registered a good performance in rising 67 per cent to RM18.96 billion in 2016 compared to RM11.37 billion the previous year,” he added.

Exports included palm oil and related products, chemical and chemical products, machinery equipment, as well as electric and electronics material.

He said among the OIC countries, nearly 70 per cent of Malaysia’s exports was to Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan with a lot of effort going into establishing good trade relations.

Malaysia signed free trade agreements with Pakistan in 2007 and Turkey in 2014.

Ahmad said currently, the OIC was Malaysia’s fifth largest trading partner,  accounting for total trade of RM1.48 trillion in 2016.

Ahmad said the government would continue to establish good trade relations with the OIC.

Founded in 1969, the OIC has 57 members with a collective population of more than 1.6 billion.


Palm oil export growth, higher CPO prices, rising global demand bode well for Boustead Plantations

Posted on : 27-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR— The growth in palm oil exports, coupled with higher crude palm oil (CPO) prices and increasing global demand for the edible oils, would bode well for Boustead Plantations Bhd.

Malaysia’s palm oil exports are set to grow by between five and eight per cent this year, with CPO supported by the stronger US dollar.

Its Chairman, Tan Sri Datuk Mohd Ghazali Che Mat, said to enhance profitability, the group was looking into fast-tracking the replanting of old palm trees on its estates with improved planting materials.

“This will ultimately serve to increase yields and profitability in the long run.

“We are confident that abundant opportunities remain for the group to tap into and are focused on improving our bottom line through effective management of our plantations,” Mohd Ghazali said in its annual report 2016.

However, he said, while CPO prices were expected to remain high for the first quarter of the year, this would likely be moderated by a rebound in palm oil output in the latter half of 2017 as the effect of El Nino waned.

CPO prices are expected to remain supportive for the first half of the year as the sector enters into a low production cycle in addition to the reduced palm oil stocks.

This, coupled with favourable crude mineral oil prices and the weak ringgit, will likely see CPO trading within the price band of RM2,700 to RM3,000.

Mohd Ghazali said that in addition, the production of soyabean was projected to remain high which would further impact CPO prices.

Furthermore, he said, global policy changes might have a bearing, such as the abrupt halt to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement curbing prospects for the sector.

He said the government’s intention to impose a foregn labour levy on employers with the introduction of the Employer Commitment policy could also have an impact on the plantation sector.

“We are certainly supportive of the government and understand the need for this policy. However, this should be carefully planned in consultation with industry participants,” he said.


Najib Meets Abu Sayyaf Kidnap Victims

Posted on : 26-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR– Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today met two of the five Malaysian nationals who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Philippines in July last year.

They are Tayudin Anjut, 46, and Abdul Rahim Summas, 63, who arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence at Jalan Taman Duta here at 8 am, where their family members were also waiting to welcome them home.

During the meeting the two men, who were on wheel-chairs, and visually impaired, related the incident and the bad treatment by their kidnappers.

They were overwhelmed by emotions when expressing their gratitude in being able to be back with their families.

The Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was also present.

Tayudin and Abdul Rahim were crew members of the tugboat Serudong Tiga who were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the Dent Haven waters in Lahad Datu on July 18.

They were rescued by Filipino security forces in an operation in the south of the republic last Thursday and arrived at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang last night.

To date, three other Malaysian nationals were still detained by Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

They were Fandy Bakran, 27, Mohd Jumadil Rahim, 24, and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 33, who were also crew members of the tugboat Serudong Tiga.


City lights out for Earth Hour

Posted on : 26-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KOTA KINABALU: Street lights, homes, offices, and other buildings in the city went dark on Saturday night, signifying Earth Hour, a global initiative to get countries to switch off their lights for an hour.

The annual symbolic act of turning off all non-essential lights, which the City Hall (DBKK) has taken part in since 2011 was commenced at Segama Waterfront here from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

This year’s Earth Hour with its “This Earth Hour, Shine a Light on Climate Action” was officiated by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah. The event also saw hundreds of people from all walks of life.

Edward said that the public should be aware of the importance of taking care of preserving the quality of the nature as Malaysia is among the countries that is rich in biodiversity in the world.

“Failing to preserve the quality of our nature will ultimately affect the well-being of the community as things such as air pollution, water pollution, waste and toxic disposal, illegal deforestation and climate change may cause an imbalance to the environment and the eco-system,” he stated, after officially lighting the 60+ logo candles to mark the Earth Hour.

He further explained that these issues may lead to natural disasters like flood, landslide, and drought, thus urging the public to be aware of the importance of preserving the nature.

Some of the programs held were Low Power Entertainment by volunteered youths, anime and cosplay appearances, and three other competitions.

More than 600 cyclists also took part in the 16KM Decorative Night Ride, where the route started from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu winding up to the City Mosque roundabout and back to the starting point.

Among those present at the event were Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai, Head of Conservation Sabah, WWF Malaysia Office Dr John Tay, general manager of Hyatt Regency Thor Gervasi, city police chief ACP Chandrasekharan Muthu, DBKK director general Datuk Joannes Solidau, The Sabah Parks Board of trustees chairman Dato’ Seri Tengku Dr Zainal Adlin, Ministry of Community and Consumer Affairs permanent secretary Janet Chee, Sabah Department of Environment director Tunku Khalkausar Tunku Fatahi, and DBKK Survey and Innovation director Mas Farisan Salleh.


Mayor launches Sabah Fig and Grapes Mini Carnival

Posted on : 26-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Mayor, Datuk Yeo Boon Hai on Sunday launched the inaugural Sabah Fig and Grapes Mini Carnival at the Lindasan Deasoka on Sunday.

The three-day carnival was jointly-organised by the Recreation and Welfare Club (REKA) of City Hall (DBKK) and the Sabah Fig and Grapes Association (SFGA).

At the function, Yeo also launched the logo of SFGA and its web site.

SFGA was formed after its founders in July last year paid a courtesy call on the Director of Agriculture, Encik Idrus Shafie who was present during the function.

In his speech, Yeo congratulated SFGA on its formation which he described as timely, adding that perhaps DBKK itself should consider growing fig and grapes in its nursery.

The Mayor did not waste the opportunity to appeal to all city folks, as he always does, to do three things with regard to cleanliness – Don’t throw rubbish, Tick off those who do, and Pick up rubbish without having the attitude that it is DBKK’s job.

He cited Japan where even street sweepers are proud that they are helping to keep Japan clean.


Malaysia-EU FTA set to increase total trade by 20-30%

Posted on : 23-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

PETALING JAYA: The proposed Malaysia-European Union (EU) Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) is expected to boost total trade by 20% to 30% from the current 10%, said EU ambassador and head of delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez.

She said this was based on the EU’s FTA with South Korea for the past five years, which rose 35%.

“We (EU) have similar volume in terms of trade with Malaysia, so, certainly it will increase to that level.

“This will also create a win-win situation for both sides as we favour an open, free and sustainable trade,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the two-day Asean Regional Seminar on Transit and Transhipment here yesterday.

Asked when the FTA can be concluded, Castillo said it would be before year-end based on a constructive meeting between European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrm and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in Manila on March 10.

Meanwhile, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said Malmstrm and Mustapa touched on possible areas of cooperation, particularly on small and medium enterprise development, women and youth entrepreneurship, and sectoral legislative enactments involving vegetable, oils and fats.


Malaysia major beneficiary of openness, globalisation

Posted on : 23-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR― Malaysia has been a major beneficiary of openness and globalisation, and as a result its trade-to-gross domestic product ratio increased to 160 per cent, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said Malaysia’s trade openness enabled it to draw foreign direct investment, including from Saudi Arabia and China.

“This is an endorsement of our open policy and in terms of economic ties,” he told reporters at the Global Transformation Forum 2017 here today.

Mustapa was one of the panellists at a forum entitled “Malaysia’s Transformation: Delivering on Government Promises”.

He said with the open economy system, many countries became part of the world value chain, from small and medium enterprises to public-listed companies and even multinationals.

This has translated into job creation, for instance at least one million in the manufacturing sector alone, he added.

“In terms of trade agreements, we have signed 13 altogether, another indicator of trade openness and we are still negotiating with a few other countries,” he said.

Mustapa said Malaysia supported multilateralism, which brought together over 160 countries under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.

“Our companies are doing business in Asia, Europe, Middle East and many parts of the world in various sectors, including construction, oil and gas, and banking,” he added.


BNM Governor: Malaysian economy to expand 4.3-4.8% this year

Posted on : 23-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s economy is projected to expand between 4.3% and 4.8% this year driven by domestic demand and support from the external sector, says Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim.

He said domestic demand would remain a key driver with support from improvement in net exports while private consumption would be supported by continued employment and income growth.

“Households have the capacity and resilience to support expenditure, as well as, have ample liquid financial assets to cover debt,” he told a briefing on the BNM Annual Report 2016, as well as, the Financial Stability and Payments Report here today.

Muhammad said private investment would be supported by the implementation of projects in the services and manufacturing sectors.

“Services and manufacturing sectors account for 75% of private investment activity while key quality projects would increase efficiency, productive capacity and employment,” he said.


AmBank eyes minimum 15 pct growth in loans to SMEs this year

Posted on : 23-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: AmBank (M) Bhd aims to see a minimum of 15% growth in loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for this year, said its group chief executive officer Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir.

He said the target would be driven by retail, corporate and SME asset financing as well as an increase in infrastructure loan demand amid progressive Malaysian economic background.

“Overall, last year’s growth was slow. It was not in double figures; after some (corporate) restructuring in October 2016, there was a monthly growth of 1%-2%,” he said.

Sulaiman said this to reporters after the signing of SME portfolio guarantee (SPG) agreement for an additional financing of RM200mil with Credit Guarantee Corp (M) Bhd (CGC) in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
He said the group’s overall loan growth target for 2017 was about 6%-7%, backed by the country’s positive gross domestic product figures.

The financing for eligible SMEs, via AmBanks SME Banking, is part of Tranche 2, an extended scheme from RM150mil in Tranche 1, launched in September 2016, which was fully-subscribed within five months.

Sulaiman said Tranche 2, which has been available since Feb 22, 2017, has disbursed 8% of the amount thus far.

He said it was expected to be also fully subscribed within five months, considering the SPG was much sought-after by SMEs.

Under this scheme, SMEs can apply for financing facilities of up to RM1mil from AmBank SME with repayment tenure of up to seven years.

CGC will guarantee 70% of the principal financing amount.

“Overall, AmBank SME Business and CGC have allocated a total of RM350mil to-date to support the SME businesses in providing working capital financing to qualified borrowers who lack collateral,” said Sulaiman.

CGC president/chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zamree Mohd Ishak said: “This is our fourth portfolio guarantee (PG) strategic partnership with AmBank and to-date, we have availed RM950mil worth of financing via our PG scheme and we look forward to many opportunities to further increase access to SME financing in Malaysia.”

Mohd Zamree said such initiatives would hasten the achievement of CGC’s aspiration to be a household name for SMEs by 2020.


Maybank partners Alipay to provide contactless payments convenience

Posted on : 23-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

MAYBANK has entered into a strategic partnership with Ant Financial Services Group (Ant Financial) of China to provide Alipay users travelling in Malaysia with contactless payment service which can be used in various outlets ranging from high-end department stores, duty free outlets to hotels popular with Chinese visitors.

This tie-up will provide a payment service that is swift, seamless and secure.

Operated by Ant Financial, Alipay is a mobile payment platform and lifestyle app with 450 million users in China and beyond.

The strategic partnership was formalised at an event witnessed by the Prime Minster of Malaysia, Najib Razak and Digital Economic Advisor to the Malaysian Government Jack Ma.

With them were Ant Financial Services Group chairman Lucy Peng and Maybank group technology officer Mohd Suhail Amar Suresh.

Representing Maybank for the MOU was group strategy officer Michael Foong while Alipay was represented by Ant Financial senior vice president Douglas Feagin.

Foong said that Maybank is honoured to partner with Ant Financial and facilitate contactless payments by Alipay customers from China who make purchases at selected merchants in Malaysia.

“As a leader in card payments, Maybank will now offer Alipay customers the added convenience and security of our comprehensive cashless payment channels, thereby expanding the geographical reach of their digital wallets and enhancing their travel experience in this country,” he adds.

“Given Maybank’s leading position in the Malaysian market, we believe we can provide Alipay customers even greater payment access throughout Malaysia and our customers will have greater peace of mind when transacting on Maybank’s card payment platforms which are quick and secure”, says Feagin.

The new service, available from May 2017 onwards will see Alipay accepted at Maybank card merchants such as Parkson, Royal Selangor, Duty Free Zone, Eraman and Genting.

Foong added that more merchants are currently being processed for enrolment into this program to ensure that Alipay users can have greater payment convenience when in Malaysia.

Maybank is the leader in merchant sales volume in Malaysia with 37% market share and continues to grow this business aggressively.

Maybank offers the complete suite of all major card payment brands viz. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, JCB and MyDebit.