100-year celebration of palm oil industry recognition for smallholders’ contribution

Posted on : 17-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first commercial oil palm planting in the country at Tennamaram Estate, Bestari Jaya, Selangor, today.

Exactly 100 years ago, Henri Fauconnier established the commercial planting of oil palm in the country at Tennamaram Estate in 1917.

At a press conference here yesterday, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will launch the Remarkable 100-year Celebration of the Nation’s Palm Oil Industry at Tennamaram Estate today.

He said some 5,000 smallholders and industry players will attend the event, besides ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives from 30 countries who are buyers of Malaysian palm oil and related products.

At the ceremony, Smallholders Special Award, Commercial Estate Special Award and Tokoh Palm Industry Development Award would be presented, he said.

“We have come a long way. Palm oil is one of the biggest contributors to our economy. We want to send a message to the world that palm oil industry is ahead of other oil in terms sustainability, technology and quality.

“This is actually to recognise the contribution of the 600,000 smallholders and industry players who have contributed to the country’s economy,” he said.

Earlier, Mah received the courtesy visit of Fauconnier’s great grandson, Jeremie Fontaine, at his office here, yesterday. Also present was the ministry’s Secretary-General, Datuk Nagarajan N Marie.

In the next 100 years, Mah said the nation’s palm industry would continue to expand and the ministry’s focus included to increase palm oil exports and related downstream products such as pharmaceutical, oleo derivatives, food and health products.

“This is our way forward. I think that oil palm has a good future in Malaysia. It cannot be denied that we will encounter challenges, however, the palm industry will continue to contribute to the country’s economy. It will continue to grow the way it did in the last 100 years,” he said.

Mah said exports of palm oil and palm-related products for the first quarter of this year totalled RM19.4billion, up 36 per cent from RM14.3 billion in the same period last year.

“The ministry is confident the export value of palm and palm-related products will exceed RM70 billion this year compared to RM 67 billion last year,” he said.

Export of palm oil and palm-related products to China was expected to increase following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd and Sinograin Oils Corporation during Najib’s visit to the republic last Monday.

He said the MoU would provide opportunities to supply and market palm oil products in order to penetrate the midstream and downstream market in China.

“Export of palm oil and palm-related products to China in the first quarter of this year had increased 69 per cent, to RM2.2 billion from RM1.3 billion in the same period in 2016,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mah said he and his counterpart from Indonesia would go to the European Parliament next month to explain on the European Union (EU) Resolution which was unfair to the Malaysian and Indonesian palm industry.


Sabah, New Zealand to improve ties

Posted on : 17-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and New Zealand are set to work on bilateral ties in education, culture, economy and tourism, among others.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan and New Zealand’s Minister for Maori Development Te Ururoa Flavell said they would work together for the benefit of each other and the indigenous people in both countries.

Pairin, the Huguan Siou (paramount leader) of the KadazanDusun Murut community, said that through the bilateral ties, they could learn more about the development of indigenous people from the Maoris.

“I do hope that this relationship will continue as we want to renew some relationships that have been part of our history,” he said during a courtesy call by Flavell and his delegation from New Zealand. Also in attendance was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr John Subritzky.

Flavell in his speech said New Zealand’s dealing with Malaysia in terms of the Maori had been very minimal.

“We have the history of helping each other out in war. We try to work how we can work together and join up again,” he said, adding that Sabah and New Zealand could work together on the economic and cultural development of their indigenous people.

“It is our view that commerce and culture go together,” he said adding: “We also know how important tourism is to Sabah as it is to New Zealand,  so we can talk about what we may be able to do together,”  he said.

Prior to meeting Pairin, Flavell and his delegation also met with the New Zealand alumni and they had shared insights about Sabah and her people.

“A lot of it matches up with what we try to do as well. You can learn from our experience in sectors like tourism and agriculture and we also can learn from you,” he added.

On working together in the education sector, Subritzky said this was because there is a large number of Malaysian students in New Zealand and most of them are from Sabah and Sarawak.


Jack Ma now China’s riches man as fortune rises to US$30.9bln

Posted on : 17-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

PETALING JAYA: Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma has overtaken Wanda Group boss Wang Jianlin as China’s richest man, according to latest estimates.

According to a May 14 report by Forbes, Ma’s fortune was worth US$30.9bil (RM133.75bil) while Wang, whose wealth mainly comes from real estate and the entertainment industry, lags slightly behind at US$30.7bil (RM132.85bil).

Forbes attributed Ma’s rise in fortune to a more than one-third rise in Alibaba’s share price so far this year amid growing profits.

Alibaba’s 2014 IPO in New York also set a record as the world’s biggest public stock offering. It traded below US$70 (RM302.90) last year, but its stocked closed at US$120.34 (RM520.74) in New York on Friday, Forbes said.

Ma and Wang have been neck in neck for the title of China’s wealthiest man for the past few years.

However, Forbes forsees another shakeup as the stock price of Tencent Holdings, which operates the country’s popular WeChat online messaging platform, continues to rise.

According to Forbes, Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng’s fortune was worth US$29.7bil (RM128.53bil) on Friday, just within US$1bil (RM4.32bil) shy of Ma and Wang’s current net worth.

Ma is also Malaysia’s first-ever digital economy adviser, appointed last year.


Panasonic Malaysia eyes 5% sales growth in FY18

Posted on : 17-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Panasonic Malaysia Sdn Bhd is aiming for a five per cent increase in sales in its financial year ending March 31, 2018 (FY18) after recording sales of RM1.72 billion in FY17, said managing director Cheng Chee Chung.

He said consumer goods, which contributed over 70 per cent to sales in FY17, would probably contribute between three and four per cent of sales projection, while the balance would come from project sales and solutions business.

Speaking to reporters at the announcement of its partnership with Media Prima group for Ramadan and Hari Raya campaigns, here yesterday, he said the company was positively optimistic of the target although demand for consumer electronics, which grew 5.2 per cent in FY17, was expected to be flat in FY18.

“Panasonic is not the only company impacted by slowing demand in consumer goods last year. But, we managed to grow.

“Consumer sentiment index had improved in the first quarter of this year, rebounded 6.8 per cent to 76.6 point quarter on quarter, we belief consumers have adjusted and getting used to weaker ringgit,” he said.

On its Ramadan and Hari Raya campaigns, Cheng said it allocated RM5 million for advertising and promotions, including its collaboration with the Media Prima and others.

The collaboration with Media Prima group was aimed at deepening Panasonic’s penetration across the larger Malaysian households especially the wider mass Malay consumers, he said.

Moving forward, Cheng said Panasonic was also looking to expand its dealership network from the current 1,032 dealers, in line with the expansion of its partners like Sen-Q, AEON, Harvey Norman and Tesco by allocating about two per cent of its total sales for expansion capital.

To create more demand for its products, Panasonic would introduce a few new models this year for all product categories, he said.

On online sales, which contributed less than five per cent of its total sales, Cheng said it would continue to sell small items like hair dryers and beauty products but it was rather difficult to extend to bigger items like refrigerators and televisions as consumers still preferred buying those items from shops.

Despite being quite insulated from a weaker ringgit as 64 per cent of its products are made locally , he said consumers should expect some price increase of 5-10 per cent from July this year on fridges, washers and beauty products which were imported.

The price increase, he added, was to adjust to the ringgit depreciation against the prices that were stated in the business plan, but it would depend on the exchange rate and the ringgit’s fluctuation against the US dollar.


AIBT (ASEAN India BizTech Expo and Conference) to help boost total trade between Malaysia-India

Posted on : 17-05-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The two-day ASEAN India BizTech Expo and Conference (AIBT) from May 24, is expected to boost the total trade between Malaysia and India, says the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Secretary-general Datuk Seri Jayasiri Jayasena said with the number of industries to be covered at the inaugural event, the ministry’s remain upbeat over the trade performance between both countries.

The AIBT will feature industries such as information and communications technology, automotive and aeronautical, electrical and electronics, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

“It is also timely as Malaysia embarked on the digital economy this year with the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone.

“The hype today is all about the digital economy and e-commerce.Therefore, we see opportunities for both ASEAN and Indian technology companies to display and promote their products and services,” he told a press conference here today.

He said the event is also open to non-Asean countries and hopeD to see more companies join and benefit from the several dialogues to be conducted.

“This is also a good platform for small and medium enterprises, as well as startups, to source their products and services and perhaps collaborate with other companies for future development,” he added.

The AIBT Expo & Conference was initiated to mark the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations and the hope of promoting and accelerating economic integration between Asean and India, while establishing Malaysia as the main hub.

Some 120 exhibitors are expected to participate in the event and the organiser, the Asean India Business Council, is looking to attract at least 5,000 trade and public visitors.

Total trade between Asean and India declined to US$58.74 billion in 2015 from US$71.82 in 2012.

However, in the latest trade figures by Miti, there was a double-digit expansion in exports between Malaysia and India.

It grew by 15.2 per cent to RM3.31 billion compared to the same period a year ago.

Also present at yesterday’s event was the Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, TS Tirumurti, who said there is going to be a huge surge not just in trade, but also investments between Malaysia and India.

“It is already happening, whereby Malaysian companies are bidding for projects in India. There are also Malaysian companies showing an interest in participating in the fourth generation technology park in India,” he said.

He said as far as business is concerned, this flagship event is going to be one for Asean and also an upgrade at the bilateral level between India and Malaysia.