Personalised attention needed to drive Malaysia retail industry – Hamzah Zainuddin

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– Personalised attention will enhance the shopping experience and drive the retail industry in Malaysia, says Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the personalised shopping experience worked best, as customer needs are met by salespersons.

“Personalisation is becoming important in the retail industry. During my trip to Japan in 2012, I was extremely happy with the salespeople at a departmental store where I shopped, as they were both helpful and entertaining.

“We should be looking into retail and entertainment at the same time, as there is something special about such stores,” said Hamzah in his opening speech at the Asia-Pacific Retailers Convention and Exhibition (APRCE) 2017 here, today.

He also noted that Kuala Lumpur ranked as one of the top five shopping destinations on Expedia UK World’s 25 Best Shopping Cities last year.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Retail Association (MRA) President, Tan Sri William Cheng said retail sales were very much driven by tourist arrivals in the country.

“In 2016, tourist spending in Malaysia was RM82.1 billion, which is 18.8 per cent more than the previous year, with the wholesale and retail trade contributing 14.9 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic product,” he added, at the conference.

He said retail sales grew by 10.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the 9.1 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.

Cheng said in line with the transformation of the retail industry, APRCE was looking forward to a vibrant mix of brick and mortar stores, omni-channel retailers and retailers with sustainable initiatives.

Themed, ‘Transformation, Creativity and Beyond,’ the three-day conference which began yesterday saw a gathering of 2,000 retail delegates from 18 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

It was organised by the Federation of Asia-Pacific Retailers Associations and hosted by the MRA.

The conference featured 22 industry experts from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia, who shared their knowledge on customer shopping preferences and rapid digitalisation of the retail sector.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

MIDA encourages M’sian SMEs to venture into Peru, Chile

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should venture into Peru and Chile for a bigger customer base and gain access to new resources, says the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).  In a statement today, Deputy Chief Executive, Datuk N. Rajendran said in going abroad, the business community and the government stood to benefit, as the move would not only deepen the global presence of the SMEs, but strengthen Malaysian brands as well.  “Investments from these two Latin America companies have not been significant in Malaysia.  “However, with more local companies expanding their reach there, we trust that this will translate into a better understanding on the investment opportunities available in Malaysia, by the business communities there,” he added.  Rajendran said MIDA and the SME International Trade Association of Malaysia (SMiTA) co-organised the SMiTA Biz Connect Day yesterday to encourage local SMEs to explore new market opportunities in Peru and Chile.  The one-day event attracted about 100 participants.  SOURCE– BERNAMA

Tech Malaysia lauds initiatives for digital economy

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Malaysian tech experts laud the government’s allocations and initiatives to boost the nation’s digital economy.

Last week, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the Budget 2018. Eight main agendas, or ‘thrusts’, were highlighted during the Budget 2018 which include fortifying the fourth Industrial Revolution and driving Malaysia’s digital economy.

Under this ‘thrust’, the government announced initiatives including matching grants, tax incentives, the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), a regulatory sandbox, and many more.

At the centre of this drive, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said it is delighted that Budget 2018 is focused on accelerating growth and enhancing the well-being of the rakyat as well as in further enhancing Digital Malaysia.

It also pointed out that Malaysia’s digital economy continues to be a key growth driver, contributing about 18.2 per cent to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) this year and it is expected to exceed the projected target of 20 per cent earlier than 2020.

In her post-Budget 2018 commentary, MDEC’s chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Yasmin Mahmood pointed out that the RM100 million allocation for the eRezeki and eUsahawan programmes would ensure that the digital economy continues to be inclusive for the well-being of the rakyat, and in particular, the B40 and M40 groups.

“With both programmes going into their third year, we estimate that 150,000 rakyat would be trained in 2018; resulting in 341,745 rakyat participating in both programmes with an estimated total income and revenue of RM544 million according to calculations,” she said.

Budget 2018 also unveiled plans to develop eLadang to encourage farmers to leverage on the latest smart farming technologies, and Big Data Analytic (BDA) to improve yield and income.

MDEC is also pleased by the RM250 million allocated for future education of the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) generation, and for the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres and improve Computer Science modules, including for Coding programmes.

“Our forecast reveals that we need one million digital workers, such as coders, application developers and software engineers, by 2025. With the continuous emphasis on talent development for the future of work, this is indeed encouraging for Malaysia to continue nurturing our bright young talent,” she commented.

Aside from that, the Malaysian government also announced initiatives to assist startups by introducing a slew of initiatives to encourage venture capital activities.

These initiatives include income tax exemption being widened to include management fees and performance fees, as well as a reduction in minimum investment limit in a venture company from 70 per cent to 50 per cent from 2018 to 2022.

“This is a visionary stance by the Malaysian Government as the start-up ecosystem is the job creators of the future.

“We introduced two highly successful initiatives last year, the first being the Malaysia Digital Hub initiative that supports start-ups and communities while creating greater opportunities for them to connect to the Asean and global digital ecosystem; and secondly, the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP) – an initiative by the Malaysian Government that aims to attract global technopreneurs and help them to realise their fullest potential out of Malaysia and to scale their businesses regionally and globally,” said Yasmin.

On the DFTZ, MDEC highlighted that the development is proving to be a massive game changer for Malaysia which would see Malaysia’s SMEs doubling exports, and establish Malaysia as a regional trans-shipment hub for e-commerce logistics while creating 60,000 jobs by 2025.

“I am happy to say that the DFTZ will ‘Go Live’ on November 3 and 1,900 export-ready SMEs will be flagged off to begin their export journey. This is an encouraging number of SMEs as our previous target was 1,500 SMEs.

“For the first time, the world will see a physical and virtual zones with additional online and digital services to facilitate cross border eCommerce and invigorate internet based-innovation,” commented Yasmin.

Meanwhile, tech experts are also positive on the efforts announced during Budget 2018. Digital and technology spending in Malaysia is expected to rise by six per cent, placing the country ahead of most Asia Pacific countries.

Gartner Inc (Gartner) highlighted this in its post-Budget 2018 commentary and said, Malaysia, like the rest of the world, is on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution and digital economy era.

“Gartner is forecasting a six per cent growth in technology spending for 2018, putting Malaysia ahead of most Asia Pacific countries.

“With the initiatives announced in Budget 2018, Gartner is confident that Malaysia is on the right track towards become a fully digitised nation,” Gartner Research vice president Tervinderjit (TJ) Singh.

“With the announcements made in the Malaysia Budget 2018, we see an increased emphasis on preparing the nation to become a fully-developed digital economy through targeted initiatives such as the Malaysian Digital Policy.

“The upgrading of smart manufacturing facilities and Futurise Center in Cyberjaya reflect the government’s sustained commitment to invest and support the industry as it continues progressing to the next level.

“The RM83.5 million allocation to further develop the first ‘DFTZ’, which is expected to attract RM700 million in investments and creating 2,500 jobs also puts the nation in good stead. These investments will go into strengthening the nation’s infrastructure and raising import values to push Malaysia into becoming the region’s primary e-commerce hub,” he added.

In a statement, Cisco Malaysia’s managing director Albert Chai said, “Malaysia’s Budget 2018 is a step in the right direction for the nation’s digital journey thanks to the great emphasis on efforts to digitise the manufacturing sector.

“This marks the country’s pivotal shift from a labour-driven economy to a more knowledge-driven society. The rise of the fourth Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is definitely upon us.”

With the measures under Budget 2018, Cisco believed that Malaysian manufacturers would be better positioned to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities brought upon by digitisation.

“In its nascent stage, the combination of tax reliefs and grant allocation Smart Manufacturing facilities will incentivise more manufacturers to adopt new technologies such as automation, BDA and robotics,” Chai added.

“Digital innovation will shape the next wave of economic development in this country. But at the heart of this transformation is the people.

“I am particularly excited about the various measures aimed at developing a workforce that is future-ready. Of particular interest is the RM250 million allocation to educate the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) generation which encompasses the setting up of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centres and improving Computer Science modules, including Coding programmes.

“At the same time, SMEs should not be left behind by the wave of progress. We laud the government’s measure, through Digital Free Trade Zone, to ensure the participation of 1,500 SMEs in the digital economy. Given that the economy is largely made up of SMEs, our progress towards becoming a digital economy will be hampered if they lag behind,” he added.

“There’s never been a better time to fast track Malaysia’s digital economy and Cisco looks forward to driving this vision, in tandem with the positive measures outlined in Budget 2018,” said Chai.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Global promotion for Sabah, Labuan dive sites

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

LABUAN– Popular and latest diving sites of Malaysia will be promoted globally at the international platform of DEMA Orlando (Diving Equipment and Marketing Association) 2017 from Nov 1- 4 at Orland ,Florida, United States.

Tourism Malaysia Ambassador for the diving segment (2017-2019) and internationally renowned diver Clement Lee will be the Malaysian speaker to promote diving in Malaysia and to give a presentation on Nov 2.

Labuan-born, Clement, 65, is currently working on promoting diving in other lesser known islands in Semporna, Sabah such as Matabuan, Bohey Dulang, Si Amil and Denawan to take the pressure off Sipadan and to preserve the island\’s underwater life.

Malaysia is among the leading dive destinations in the world with one of the richest marine environments in the Indo-Pacific Basin.

The incredible bio-diversity of marine life, coupled with warm clear waters, beautiful islands and breathtaking beaches keep divers coming back time and time again.

Other diving sites in Malaysia to be promoted include Tioman Island and Aur Island in Johor, Kapas Island and Perhentian Island in Terengganu and Mantanani and Mataking in Sabah.

Speaking to Bernama, he said Labuan’s latest scuba dive site of Vernon Bank is one of those on the list for the global promotion.

“The existing Labuan ship wrecks of American Wreck, Australian Wreck, Cement Wreck and Blue Water Wreck are not spared and they will also be promoted, as part of the Malaysia’s popular scuba diving sites,” Clement said.

Clement Lee, has been in the Dive Industry spanning over 30 years, one of the pioneers in diving tourism in Sabah as well as a pioneer in the now renowned Sipadan island.

“I’m still active in scuba diving and conservation programmes throughout the country and certain parts of the world.

Clement just returned from Taipei last week after an invitation from Tourism Malaysia Taipei and Lion Travel to give presentations and talks about the various dive spots and destinations in Malaysia.

He was awarded the prestigious DEMA Reaching Out Award in 2008 in Las Vegas and became the only one from this region to be inducted into the International Scuba Divers Hall of Fame in Cayman in 2011.

Appointed as Tourism Malaysia Advisor of Diving in 2015, Clement has travelled extensively for promoting diving in Malaysia and giving talks all over the world.

Recognised for his contribution to the growth of recreational diving in Sabah, Clement, from Borneo Divers was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) on Nov 8, 2011 in Cayman Islands. Founded by the Cayman Island\’s Ministry of Tourism in 2000, the ISDHF was designed to honour individuals whose contribution to the sport has been immeasurable.

International undersea photographer (Seahorse Production founder) Rudy Whitworth who is collaborating with Tourism Malaysia on Malaysia’s diving promotion is also scheduled to give a presentation on the latest Malaysia’s diving sites.

“After diving at several historical scuba dive sites in the waters off Labuan of which I found very interesting and have potential, Labuan will be a big part of my presentations scheduled on Nov 3,” he told Bernama.

I will have two presentations that I will deliver for Scuba Shows, the first is called ?Emerging Dive Locations in Malaysia’ and will contain information and images from each of the five locations I went to.

“The initial showing of this presentation will be at DEMA and the second is called ‘Shipwrecks of Malaysia’.

“This show will highlight the shipwreck diving opportunities at four of the five locations of Tioman, Kuching, Miri and Labuan and the initial presentation is scheduled for the Chicago scuba show ‘Our World Underwater’ in late February 2018.

At DEMA, dive and travel industry professionals from around the world gather in Orlando to take part in the world’s premier trade exhibition for diving, action water sports and adventure travel industries.

Exhibitors showcase the latest products and services in fields like diving and watersports equipment, swimwear, boats, dive and adventure travel, dive training and diving publications among others. Among attendees are diving and watersports retailers, dive resort operators, dive training agencies, travel agents and press and media representatives.

Beyond the exhibit floor, DEMA provides excellent educational programmes and events for industry professionals including seminars on state-of-the industry topics and the premier industry networking event, the DEMA Awards Party.

SOURCE–BERNAMA

UMS to establish collaboration with China’s Wuyi University

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) will officially establish ‘Friendly University’ ties with Wuyi University Jiangmen China (WYU) on October 9 to further explore collaboration of international exchange and academic interaction between the two universities.

President of Federation of Jiangmen Associations Malaysia, Datuk Susan Wong, paid a courtesy call on UMS Vice Chancellor Professor Dr D. Kamarudin D. Mudin recently to propose the intention to set up a friendly relationship between Wuyi University Jiangmen (WYU) and UMS.

Susan, who is also the president of The United Society of Guangdong Province Association Sabah and president of The United Sabah Sze Yip Association, said that the collaboration between Jiangmen and Kota Kinabalu was consolidated during the Third World Jiangmen Youth Convention held in 2012 here where Jiangmen City Mayor and Kota Kinabalu City Mayor both signed the ‘Friendly City’ Memoranda of Understanding at the event.

She said that the inter-exchanging in the academic sector between Jiangmen and Kota Kinabalu is potentially high, which will lead to a feasible outcome benefit to both parties.

Susan as the director of Wuyi University Jiangmen China confirmed that the visiting group led by WYU Chancellor Professor Zhang Kun will arrive in Kota Kinabalu on October 8, while the courtesy call on UMS will be on October 9 together with the signing of the Letter of Intention to establish ‘Friendly University’ ties.

Kamarudin expressed his appreciation to Susan for her enthusiasm on higher education development in the state.

He welcomed the proposal to establish ‘Friendly University’ ties with Wuyi University Jiangmen China which integrates with UMS future development blueprint to increase collaboration with international universities.

Kamarudin also congratulated Susan on her appointment as director of Wuyi University, saying it was proof of recognition from a China higher education institute to a Sabahan entrepreneur.

Meanwhile Susan said it was the honour of Sabahans that Kamarudin has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of UMS.

Also present during the courtesy call were Datuk Wong Yit Ming, the secretary general of The Federation of Jiangmen Associations Malaysia and The United Society of Guangdong Province Association Sabah, Professor Dr Ho Chong Mun, director of Centre for International Affairs UMS and Mohd Kairuddin, assistant registrar of Centre for International Affairs UMS.

Wuyi Jiangmen University ranked 10th place among 60 universities in Guangdong Province and successfully achieved the rank of 167th place among universities in China.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Expand business potential at Harbour Mall Sandakan

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

SANDAKAN: They say to be successful in running one’s own business requires a lot of hard work, determination, commitment, believe in oneself and sometimes, a little bit of good fortune.

With all these ingredients already in hand, opening up your retail store at Harbour Mall Sandakan is an advantage considering the proactive strategies employed by the Mall’s Management in promoting the establishment which have helped to generate improved revenue and increased marketing exposure.

Harbour Mall Sandakan which celebrated its fifth anniversary last July, is the one and only state-of-the-art shopping mall of its kind in this east coast town. It offers 200,000 square feet of prime spaces for retailers, making it a shopping haven for both locals and tourists in Sandakan.

Today, Harbour Mall Sandakan welcomes more than 70,000 an average footfall each week.

“This is very encouraging as we are now just about 70 per cent occupied with the target of 80 per cent or more by year end,” Ireka Corp Bhd Group Managing Director Datuk Lai Voon Hon disclosed during the mall’s anniversary celebration.

Our reporter met up with mall tenants who shared their success stories and how the mall management’s extensive promotion campaigns through electronic, print and social media has given marketing exposure which is one of the vital elements to boost their sales.

This is the first part of interviews conducted with Harbour Mall Sandakan retail store operators.

SN MUTIARA

If you are looking for some creative and unique design for your Tudung, SN Mutiara is the place where you can have your headscarf especially decorated to cater to your taste.

This store is located on the first floor and dealing in a wide range of clothing for Muslim women. Owner Nurdiana Labaco, 42, set up the establishment in June 2012 with the support of her husband, family members and a loan from Koperasi Polis Di Raja Malaysia Berhad.

Nurdiana said her venture into the business was mainly due to her passion for Muslim women fashion. She chose Harbour Mall Sandakan to open her business because it is the only modern mall and also for its location in town where a concentration of people from Beluran, Telupid and Kinabatangan converged on when they are in Sandakan. Five years on today, Nurdiana has her own brand of Tudung and a clientele of 6,000 members. The benefit of being a member of SN Mutiara is enjoying a special discount when making purchases.

Nurdiana’s other specialty is bead decorating for Tudung where customers come with their own plain headscarf to have sparkly beads hand-sewn at the store.

According to Nurdiana, 70 per cent of her clients are from the working class in Sandakan and also other neighbouring districts. There is also a growing number her clients who are guests from the adjoining.

FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON SANDAKAN

Apart from promoting her merchandise on social media, she said the mall management’s promotion campaigns have helped to boost sales particularly during the period in 2015 where business was slow. This is an added value for setting up a business in Harbour Mall Sandakan because the management gives emphasis on the interest of the tenants.

She said she would strongly recommend to her friends and those who are planning to establish a business in Sandakan to pick Harbour Mall Sandakan for their location.

WAHAP SATE DI BAWAH BAYU

Satay is a popular delicacy in Malaysia. It is grilled chicken or beef skewers marinated with spices and served with peanut sauce.

In Sandakan there are a few satay stalls around but one that is synonymous with authentic Sandakan satay is the well-known Wahap Sate Di Bawah Bayu

The man behind the delicious satay at Wahap Sate Di Bawah Bayu is 59-year-old Wahab Linggang. His love affair with satay started from the days when he was a young boy helping out at his uncle’s satay stall in Jalan Dua, town centre after school.

Wahab started off preparing his satay from home and later operating a stall at the walkway of an eatery in Sandakan Harbour Square. He set up Wahap Sate Di Bawah Bayu at the Harbour Mall Sandakan more than one year ago.

Initially he had hesitated but after some encouragement from friends and also the convincement by Thomas Lau, ICSD Ventures Sdn Bhd Consultant for Government Liaison and Public Affairs (East Malaysia), he made the decision to open the satay stall at Harbour Mall Sandakan food court.

Wahab is assisted by his family members in running the satay stall. He uses his special recipe to prepare his satay and it has been a hit with visitors to the mall. They also offer catering services.

“To be successful in your business venture, hardworking alone is not enough. There must be passion, motivation, determination and readiness to take risk in order to move forward,” Wahab said.

Wahab thanked the mall management for their proactive initiatives in extending assistance to its tenants to promote their products to a wider market.

He said various promotion events organized by the mall management have proven to be an effective marketing strategy benefitting tenants.

“Of course, I encourage those who want to set up their own businesses, to consider Harbour Mall Sandakan.”

SOURCE: NEW SABAH TIMES

MOTAC considers volcano tourism

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

TAWAU: The Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) Sabah office is mulling the idea of promoting volcano tourism in Sabah.

They have seen the potential after exploring the Tawau Hills National Park recently under its Sabah Sustainability Volunsharing Programme (SSVP) in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Volcano tourism is not a new global phenomenon, but something new in Malaysia.

During the expedition, volunteers inspected the dormant Bombalai volcano which last erupted thousands of years ago. What remains of it is an ancient crater. Its cinder cone is only a half-an-hour’s jungle walk from the entrance of the park.

The exploration involved 10 students and staff of UMS and MOTAC Sabah with the guidance of the park’s authority. The entourage was welcomed by the park’s assistant senior manager Jufri Nasri.

There are two volcanic attractions within the park – the sulphurous springs with warm turquoise water and white sulphur substance deposits, and the ancient crater at Mount Lucia, one of the three large mountains inside the park.

Outside the park, there are other volcanic attractions such as Columnar Joints along the Balung River and Conical Sprouts at Andrassy.

Both sites are accessible from Tawau town.

UMS Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy, senior lecturer in tourism Dr Awangku Hassanal Bahar Pengiran Bagul said volcano tourism usually integrates with recreational activities such as sightseeing, hiking, climbing, camping or even mountaineering.

If the volcano tourism site is highly popular, it can be recognised as an independent tourism sector or as a value added adventure experience under the umbrella of geo-tourism, he said.

“We were excited to learn more about Sabah’s volcanic geo heritage and I believe the identification of the different aspects of geo heritage site values is part of a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development of Tawau Hills Park and the surroundings area,” said Dr Hassanal.

MOTAC Sabah director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said: “We are happy with this programme (SSVP) and wish to continue this in the near future. We had been collaborating since 2015 and won few recognitions”.

Both bodies have been running the SSVP focusing on the sustainability issues in the tourism industry with previous theme of heritage trail and tagal ecotourism.

The SSVP is the winner for IKON Award (High Impact University-Community Engagement Award) from UMS in 2016.

SOURCE: NEW SABAH TIMES

Matrade urges women entrepreneurs to go global

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) has urged women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses into the international markets.

Lifestyle Unit Director, Abu Bakar Yusof said MATRADE have always wanted to share knowledge, create awareness on the global market demand and nurture these women entrepreneurs even though they were not yet ready for the international market.

“Currently, 30 per cent of the women entrepreneurs in Malaysia are under the enterprise sector.

“MATRADE wants more women from this sector to join the corporation’s programmes to share knowledge and experience, and most importantly, the programmes are free of charge and can be registered via online,” he told Bernama recently.

Abu Bakar said majority of the entrepreneurs were from the lifestyle sector such as fashion, cosmetics, beauty and personal care, accessories and jewellery.

One of the programmes, Women Exporters Development Programme (WEDP), aims to encourage competitive and sustainable women-owned companies to expand their products and services exports.

“WEDP is an intensive hand-holding programme involving customised business coaching, skills enhancement training, international business exposure and market immersions, networking and mentoring sessions, and leadership and entrepreneurial development,” he said.

The companies participating in the programme will receive some financial support in the form of assisted visits to international trade fairs or other international trade promotion events and selective free participation in seminars and workshops organised by MATRADE.

Meanwhile, the corporation will extend its support to any women festival by advocating business and trade agenda among the brand participants and visitors.

“This is in line with MATRADE’s strategy to spur the local fashion industry to become export ready and transform the sector into one of Malaysia’s main export contributors,” he added.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Budget 2018 favourable to eCommerce sector ans SMEs – Lazada

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: The initiatives unveiled during the Budget 2018 has been viewed as favourable for the small and medium enterprise (SME) industry and also the eCommerce sector.

eCommerce platform, Lazada, lauded the government’s efforts in improving the eCommerce landscape. In Lazada Malaysia’s post-budget commentary, chief executive officer (CEO) Hans-Peter Ressel, said: “Budget 2018 not only underlines eCommerce as a primary driver towards Malaysia becoming a fully developed digital economy, but also digitalise the country as a whole in preparation for the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

He highlighted that the allocation of RM 83.5 million for the first phase of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) at KLIA which is expected to further spur the growth of SMEs and attract investments worth up to RM700 million.

“As the number one online shopping and selling destination in Malaysia, we are committed in supporting our local SMEs and helping them build their eCommerce businesses.

“Through our #EveryoneCanSell programme, sellers will enjoy full access to eCommerce training, easier business registration, enhanced internet connectivity with online tools and solutions, as well as financial support through loan financing and exclusive merchant accounts.

“We hope to boost SMEs’ capabilities when they capitalise on #EveryoneCanSell’s holistic digital ecosystem, so they remain competitive online,” he added.

Meanwhile, 11street chief operating officer (COO) Chuljin Yoon, lauded the government’s support to continue growing the e-commerce market, enabling a thriving digital economy to shape the country’s future.

He pointed out that Budget 2018 is designed to shaping the future of Malaysia’s economy, comes in a time where the country’s economy continues to strengthen.

“Furthermore, the development of the DFTZ hub in KLIA continues to help Malaysia edge closer to its digital economy vision, while improve the livelihood of Malaysians through growing job and entrepreneurship opportunities, and reduction of income tax for the M40 category.

“Along with tax reliefs, incentive measures and the vision to make Malaysia a regional e-commerce hub, SMEs and e-commerce will continue to play a vital role achieving the digital economy vision of contributing 20 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.

“11street is confident that these measures will continue to cement a dynamic and strong digital economy for the country, allowing SMEs, online marketplaces and monobrands a holistic e-commerce trading experience,” Chuljin said.

“One key observation is the investment into DFTZ that will drive the participation of 1,500 SMEs into digital economy, and attract investments of up to RM700 million, therefore creating an additional 2,500 jobs.

“Futhermore, other initiatives are in place to help drive the adoption of e-commerce among SMEs, such as the recent DesaMall project by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Malaysia) in partnership with 11street, providing entrepreneurs a comprehensive e-commerce training development programme to upskill themselves.

“This programme includes skillset, packaging and promotion trainings, along with platform site support and services – a move we believe will drive greater revenue to local and rural entrepreneurs within the domestic market and international exports.

“It then becomes evident that the e-commerce ecosystem in Malaysia is geared for accelerated growth, as the country progresses to offer a holistic online trading experience. While SMEs continue to proliferate, global brands are increasingly seeking opportunities to explore and expand their offerings within the local online space – signaling a healthy growing consumer spending power and market demand,” said Chuljin.

“The support allocated for SMEs will continue to empower this sector to grow, not just locally but globally as well to drive greater cross-border trading opportunities – a key component we see will propel the local e-commerce market, as cross-border trading continues to grow in Malaysia. Income tax reduction for the M40 category, anticipated to provide RM300 to RM1,000 of disposable income, will encourage consumers to hop aboard online marketplaces to purchase daily necessities attributed to friendlier prices, thus broadening the platform for the

e-commerce sector to grow,” he added.

“To support the government’s vision to working towards ‘Shaping the Future’, 11street will continue to work closely with government bodies and relevant agencies, together develop the SME sector as a key pillar to Malaysia’s digital economy,” he said.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Mustapa urges SMEs to step up their game

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has urged local industry players, in particular, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to step up their game to sustain their businesses and remain competitive.

He said the extension of the Principal Hub Tax Incentive until Dec 31, 2020 as announced in the recent Budget 2018, would not only make Malaysia an attractive location for more foreign companies to utilise it, but also establish a need for the talent and capabilities of local SMEs to complement the foreign businesses within it.

“We have about 975,000 local SMEs. I anticipate that foreign SMEs who want to set up their hub here will also seek more opportunities with local counterparts, such as joint ventures and so forth,” he said in his keynote address at the National Supply Chain Conference 2017 here, today.

Mustapa said the Principal Hub Initiative introduced in May 2015 had approved 27 applications from multinational companies to establish their regional and global headquarters in Malaysia.

The initiative had also resulted in business spending of over RM230 million and utilisation of local ancillary services worth around RM20 million annually, as well as the creation of high-valued jobs.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), he said Malaysia was today attending a chief negotiators meeting in Tokyo, Japan, with 10 other countries on proceeding with negotiations without the United States.

“The meeting is to provide concrete proposals to ministers to consider the TPP issues during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, in two weeks time,” said Mustapa.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Azman Mahmud said for the first six months of this year, Malaysia recorded an additional RM65.4 billion in approved investments in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors, involving 2,294 projects, while creating over 61,900 potential jobs.

From 2012-2016, he said Malaysia recorded RM1.03 trillion in investments in the three sectors, involving 29,717 projects and creating 886,592 employment opportunities.

On the event today , Azman said MIDA, as the principal investment promotion agency, looked forward to the spillover benefits from strategic business linkages resulting from it, particularly the development of Industry 4.0.

So far, 171 potential business linkages had been arranged from the conference series, the last of which was held in Sarawak on Nov 22.

The one-day conference organised by MIDA, covers various sectors including parts, components, raw materials, logistics, packaging, warehousing, maintenance, engineering and information technology services.

– BERNAMA

Ministry explores Tawau volcano tourism potential

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTAC) Sabah Office is exploring Tawau Hills Park as a possible start-up of volcano tourism in Sabah.

Volcano tourism, pursued under the ministry’s Sabah Sustainability Volunsharing Program (SSVP) with Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), may not be a new global phenomenon but is still relatively new in Malaysia and especially Sabah.

MOTAC Sabah director Ag Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said he was happy with the collaborative program and wished to continue this in the near future.

“We have been collaborating since 2015 and won few recognition,” he added.

The exploration team of 10 this year involved MOTAC Sabah and 10 UMS students and staff with the guidance of the Tawau Hill Parks’ authority.

During the excursion, discussions with Tawau Hills Park had resulted in the identification of two volcanic spots within the park, namely the warm turquoise water of the white sulfurous springs, and ancient crater at Mount Lucia, one of the three large mountains inside the parks’ area.

In Sabah, Tawau’s Bombalai volcano is currently a dormant volcano and, since it estimated to have erupted thousands of years ago, it can be regarded as an ancient crater.

Bombalai cinder cone is only a half-an-hour jungle walk from the entrance of Tawau Hills National Park.

Outside the Tawau Hills Park, there are other volcanic attractions such as Columnar Joints along the Balung River and Conical Sprouts at Andrassy where both sites are accessible from Tawau town.

Dr Awangku Hassanal Bahar Pengiran Bagul, a senior UMS lecturer in Tourism at Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy and SSVP co-founder, said that volcano tourism usually integrates recreational activities such as sightseeing, hiking, climbing, camping or even mountaineering.

He said if the volcano tourism site was highly popular, it can be recognized as an independent tourism sector or as a value added adventure experience under the umbrella of geotourism.

He said the team had learned more about Sabah’s exciting volcanic geoheritage and believes the identification of the different aspects of geoheritage site values is part of a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development of Tawau Hills Park and the surrounding area.

MOTAC Sabah and the UMS faculty have been running the SSVP with focus on sustainability issues in the tourism industry.

With the SSVP theme of heritage trail and tagal ecotourism previously, the program won IKON Award (High Impact University-Community Engagement Award) from UMS in 2016.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Seri Insan Borneo School first to implement I-Textbooks

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Seri Insan Borneo School is the first school in East Malaysia to implement Interactive Textbook (I-Textbook) in the classroom.

The school which is based on the ‘smart school’ concept will implement this mode of learning in  partnership with Learning Port Sdn Bhd, a Kuala Lumpur based company that promotes interactive textbooks that can include multimedia, such as videos and interactive graphics, among others.

Studies are possible as long as students have internet access in their laptop or tablet, according to its Chief Executive Officer Dato Idrus Mohd Satha during the Seri Insan Borneo School 18th annual dinner cum soft opening of I-Textbook Programme.

With the implementation of the textbook, Seri Insan will go one step further to accord its students the best education programme and mode of learning both in the classrooms and at home.

Meanwhile, Seri Insan chairman Datuk Dr Sharifah Habsah Habib Alawi said the school have invested significantly on classrooms equipment with this implementation.

As I-Textbooks enable students to review their lessons after class, this will help students to perform better in their examinations, she said.

According to her, full implementation of I-Textbooks by next school terms will ensure  positive impact on both students and their teachers.

“We aim to produce students that are competent in using effective technology, which is in line with our ‘smart school’ concept,” she stated

She added that Seri Insan have always endeavoured to provide quality education and instill in young people with enthusiasm to learn, to think independently, to be creative and critical, with a desire to serve their community.

They also believed in according their students equal opportunity to strive for excellence in all they do and to ensure their holistic development, she said.

Also present during tonight’s function was Suria Capital Chairman Datuk Faisyal Yusof Hamdan Diego.

SOURCE-BNN

Malaysia can further improve in the area of starting a business – World Bank country manager in Malaysia, Faris Hadad –

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Uncategorized

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can make further improvements in the area of starting a business despite the six reforms carried out towards it over the last 15 years, said the World Bank.

Its Country Manager in Malaysia, Faris Hadad-Zervos, said as the government continued to strengthen the business regulatory framework, it was important to focus on this area, especially where small and medium firms were facing difficulties.

“Malaysia has eased new business registrations by establishing a one-stop shop service and streamlining the registration process through the introduction of e-lodgement.

“In doing so, the time needed to register a new business has more than halved from 36 days 15 years ago to 18 now, while the cost has been reduced from 33 per cent of income per capita to five per cent today,” he told reporters after launching the World Bank Group’s latest Doing Business report here today.

The Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, finds that reforms of the past year were adopted in the areas of getting credit, trading across borders and protecting minority investors.

The report also said that Malaysia continued to improve its business climate for local entrepreneurs in enacting three business reforms during the past year.

In improving access to credit for example, Faris said the country had established a modern collateral registry.

In addition, Malaysia made importing and exporting easier by improving the infrastructure, equipment and facilities at Port Klang, which triggered a reduction on the border compliance time for both, he added.

Among others, the report launched today revealed that Malaysia remained in the top 25 among 190 global economies.

However, the ranking was also a marginal fall to 24th position from the 23rd spot attained last year.

The World Bank report is the 15th in a series of annual reports measuring regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business.

Over the past 15 years, Malaysia has implemented 23 reforms towards improving business regulations, much higher than the per country average of 15 in the East Asia and Pacific regions.

SOURCE–BERNAMA

Malaysia’s 2018 fiscal deficit target of 2.8 pct achievable – Moody’s

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: International rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service expects Malaysia to achieve its target of reducing the fiscal deficit to 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 from three per cent this year, given the supportive economic growth and commodity price environment.

In a statement yesterday, it said the government projected the Goods and Services Tax (GST), corporate tax collection and investment income would drive revenue growth of 6.4 per cent year-on-year.

“The budgeted pace of revenue growth, if achieved, would be the fastest since 2012.

“This is driven by a 6.9 per cent year-on-year (versus 6.6 per cent in the previous year) rise in corporate tax collection, which accounts for a third of total revenue,” it said.

Moody’s said GST revenue, which accounted for about a fifth of total revenue, was budgeted to increase 5.5 per cent year-on-year in 2018 compared with a relatively low 0.7 per cent increase in 2017.

However, the 2018 Budget did not lay out concrete policy measures to increase revenue but instead relied on the economy to boost income, the rating agency said.

Consequently, it said revenue, as a proportion of GDP, would continue to decline to 16.6 per cent in 2018 from 16.8 per cent in 2017, making the ratio among the lowest of A-rated sovereigns.

“Meanwhile, total spending is budgeted to rise by 5.4 per cent next year, but as a percentage of GDP, it will fall for the seventh consecutive year, facilitating overall deficit reduction,” said Moody’s.

It said spending that would foster inclusive growth would take priority while development expenditure was budgeted to rise just 0.2 per cent year-on-year and operating expenditure was projected to increase by 6.5 per cent.

Spending is focused on small and medium enterprises, supporting export growth and boosting sectors such as agriculture and tourism, including enhancing transport infrastructure.

“Another thrust area is meeting goals under the National Transformation 2050 programme by providing support to minority segments of society,” it added.

SOURCE- BERNAMA

Malaysia remains in top 25 among 190 world economics – MITI

Posted on : 02-11-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia remained in the top 25 among 190 global economies this year in the latest World Bank’s Doing Business report, with a favourable business climate, said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

At 24th position, the country is ranked marginally lower than the 23rd spot attained last year.

“Despite the slight decline, Malaysia actually recorded an improvement by 0.96 in terms of an overall distance to frontier (DTF) score, from 77.47 in the previous year to 78.43 this year.

“The drop in the ranking was a result of reforms undertaken by the United Arab Emirates, translating to an increase in the distance of frontier score of 1.87 and enabling it to leapfrog from 26th in 2016 to a ranking of 21st this year, MITI said in a statement today.

The World Bank Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs report, is the 15th in a series of annual reports measuring regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business.

Ten of these are included in this year’s ranking, namely the ease of doing business, starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

It also measures labor market regulations, which has not been included in the rankings.

The report covers data collection from June 2, 2016 to June 1, 2017.

Overall, the reports ranks New Zealand as the most business-friendly in the world, ahead of Singapore and Denmark, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong.

Within ASEAN, Malaysia was ranked second after Singapore and ahead of economies such as Thailand (26th), Brunei (56th) and Vietnam (68th). Meanwhile, in Asia, Malaysia was ranked among the top five after Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

MITI Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said although Malaysia dropped a spot, there was some success in the business regulatory reforms singled out by the World Bank, including strengthened access to credit through the new Companies Act 2016 that established a modern collateral registry.

“The World Bank also applauded Malaysia’s strengthened minority protection by requiring greater corporate transparency, placing us as the fourth best country for protection of minority investors.

“It also said that we have improved infrastructure facilities at Port Klang which has eased the handling processes at the terminal and facilitated import and export processes,” he added.

He said the ministry noted that there was room for improvements as indicated by the World Bank, for example, under the “Starting a Business” indicator, the Companies Act 1965 was completely overhauled last year.

“We removed several requirements which had made the incorporation process complicated in the past, especially for small and medium enterprises,” he explained.

Moving ahead, Mustapa cautioned that despite an improvement in the scores, the slight drop in the ranking indicates that other countries had been successful in implementing deeper reforms at so much faster pace.

“We need to do more and move faster in pushing through further reforms to improve our business regulatory environment,” he said.

SOURCE-BERNAMA