Microsoft launches the new Surface Pro Malaysia

Posted on : 10-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft has reinvented the modern workplace concept with the launch of Microsoft’s brand-new Surface Pro.

Tagged as Microsoft’s ‘most versatile laptop’ the device which is the latest generation of its iconic Surface product line, has been redesigned from the inside out to deliver better performance and battery life than ever.

The Surface Pro, together with Microsoft 365, is a complete, intelligent, and collaborative modern workplace solution that enables everyone to be creative and work together, taking productivity to the next level.

“There are three fundamental aspects which are critical in molding the next generation workplace- people, place and technology. The world is constantly changing, and we are constantly on the move, with our mobile devices. At Microsoft, we’re constantly pushing boundaries and with the introduction of the Surface Pro, we’re taking consumers to a whole new level of the definition of a powerhouse laptop and a mobile creative studio in one thin, lightweight device”, said Microsoft Malaysia chief marketing & operations officer Michal Golebiewski.

The new Surface Pro has been redesigned from the inside out to give people more performance and fifty per cent more battery life than the Surface Pro 4.

Everything has been streamlined and refined — from softer, rounded edges to cameras built to fade into the bezel. At just 8.5mm thin and starting at 0.766kg the new Surface Pro is lighter than the bag it will be carried in, and packs the power of a 7th generation Intel Core processor into a new fanless, two whisper-quiet design.

The Surface Pro brings creativity to live in a highly portable form factor. The high-resolution 12.3 inch PixelSense Display is engineered to work with the new Surface Pen, the fastest digital pen ever, to deliver an amazing inking experience with a new hinge that adjusts to 165 degrees, people can now put Surface Pro into Studio Mode, creating the optimal position to write or sketch.

According to Microsoft, mobility is key. The three critical aspects in the new world of work are people, place and technology. Employees in the new world of work have the capabilities to work flexibly and productively in the digital modern work place, they are empowered with technology and their offices support a collaborative, dynamic workplace design.

The new Surface Pro is the ultimate work companion to allow the world to work in new ways within the modern workplace. With its long-lasting battery life, Microsoft’s new Surface Pro takes on a whole new meaning of a true companion.

“Malaysian employees feel the most important way to improve collaboration and increase their level of productivity is through better PCs (55 per cent) and better mobile devices (34 per cent).

“At Microsoft, we believe nothing should stand in our customers ways to bring their ideas to life. We built the Surface Pro because we believe the right technology can help people push the limits of what’s possible. Modelled after whether it be a student or an employee, the Surface Pro and Microsoft 365 present businesses with an opportunity to create a new culture of work that unlocks creativity and enhances teamwork while also delivering simple management and intelligent security. Together, it’s a solution that makes your modern workplace a reality,” said Golebiewski.

Technical Specifications

Microsoft Surface Pro
Software: Windows 10 Pro, Office 365 30-day trial
Dimensions: 11.50 x 7.93 x 0.33 in (292.10 x 201.42 x 8.5 mm)
Weight: m3: 1.69 lbs (768 g), i5: 1.70 lbs (770 g), i7: 1.73 lbs (784 g)
Storage solid state drive (SSD) options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB4
Display Screen: 12.3 inch PixelSense Display
Resolution: 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)
Aspect ratio: 3:2
Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Battery life: Up to 13.5 hours video playback
Processor: Intel 7th Gen Core m3, i5, or i7
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 (m3), Intel HD Graphics 620 (i5), Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 (i7)
Security: TPM chip for enterprise security, enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in
Memory: 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Ports: Full-size USB 3.0, microSDXC card reader, Surface Connect, 3.5mm Headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port


Corporate Malaysia need to invest in new digital Culture

Posted on : 10-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: The changing face of Malaysia’s workforce has resulted in a need for organisations to foster a new culture of work to achieve digital transformation success, a Microsoft Study has concluded.

In fact, 74 per cent polled felt that more can be done by their organisations to invest in culture development.

In a statement, Microsoft Malaysia chief marketing and operations officer Michal Golebiewski said: “The rise of digital technologies, along with a new generation of millennials entering the workforce, has brought about a need to address changing workers’ expectations, knowledge and skills, as well as the tools they use.

“And with more than half of the world’s millennials residing in Asia, the workplace will need to transform to adapt to the technology habits of these digital natives. In addition, due to deployment of advanced and emerging technologies, organisations need to relook at reskilling its workforce to develop creative and strategic skills for the future.”

Even as 80 per cent of business leaders in Malaysia acknowledge the need to transform into a digital business in order to succeed, it noted that people are ultimately the main drivers of digital transformation.

“People are at the heart of digital transformation. Their expectations, knowledge and skills, as well as the tools they use for work, are determining factors in the level of transformation that any organisation can achieve. The challenge that they face now is how to implement new ways to foster a modern culture of work to better empower Asia’s workers, especially those at the frontline. By estimates, there are two billion firstline workers globally, and make up majority of our workforce today,” added Michal.

The study found the following factors influencing the culture of work in Malaysia today.

These include increasingly mobile workforce and exposure to new security risks such as the rise of mobility and proliferation of mobile and cloud technologies have resulted in individuals working across multiple locations and devices.

The rise of diverse teams as 31 per cent of workers in Malaysia are already working in more than 10 teams at any one point in time. This makes the availability of real-time insights and collaboration tools crucial to get work done.

It also pointed out that there are gaps in employees’ digital skills even as leaders are in the motion of embracing digital transformation.

It added, as the bar is raised with new technologies adopted across industries, deployment is uneven. In fact, it pointed out that 68 per cent of respondents feel that more can be done to bridge the digital skills gap among workers.   “Today, firstline workers serve as the first point of contact between companies and the rest of the world – first to engage customers, represent brand, and see products and services in action.

“To unlock the potential of employees, organisations need to address and elevate their workforce, especially firstline workers, through addressing the core values of the new culture of work,” it said.

“We believe that every worker – from the factory floor to the front desk, to the executive boardroom – can contribute to an organisation’s collective endeavours.

“It is our view that involving firstline workers in digital transformation will drive unprecedented opportunity – for workers, the organisations that they work for, and the industries and society at large,” added Michal.

“At Microsoft, we see the opportunities that can be unlocked with technology by equipping frontline workers with the right tools, such as Microsoft 365.

“Ultimately, digital transformation projects can only succeed if the right tools are in place for workers to leverage and maximise upon.”

Microsoft has announced the expansion of Microsoft 365, including Microsoft 365 F1, which provides purpose-built capabilities that help foster firstline culture and community, train and upskill employees, digitise business process, deliver real-time expertise, and minimise risk and cost.

For organisations still on Office 2007, end of support will happen on October 11. Customers who are still using Office 2007 products and services are encouraged to move to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 to stay supported, and ensure uninterrupted support from Microsoft.

Michal concluded: “With cloud-based productivity tools being a key pick among Asia’s mobile workers to drive greater collaboration among teams, we urge organisations to take the opportunity to evaluate Microsoft 365 as an option to modernize their workforce.”


Sabah has most PPR housing projects

Posted on : 10-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

THE government has allocated some RM6 billion for 120 People’s Housing Projects (PPRs), with 83,759 units completed across the country.

Sabah has the highest number of PPRs implemented by the National Housing Department (NHD), with 26,199 units of the low-cost houses.

NHD director-general Jayaselan K. Navaratnam said 41 PPRs comprising 15,327 units were under construction, while 23 projects comprising 10,066 units were in the pipeline.

He said the implementation of PPRs depended on several factors, including high demand from people in the area and applications from the state government to obtain low-cost housing.

He said such projects targeted those living in squatter areas and low-income earners with a household income of not more than RM3,000 a month.

He said there were two types of PPRs – PPR-For-Rent, at only RM124 a month, and PPR-To-Own, where units could be bought for RM35,000 each in Peninsular Malaysia and RM42,000 each in Sabah and Sarawak.

“The response to PPRs is very encouraging as the units are rented out and sold at a fairly low rate compared with the market rate, where the construction cost per unit is between RM150,000 and RM180,000.”

PPR is a programme under the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, with NHD as the implementing agency.


World Bank revises Malaysia’s 2017 GDP –

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR:– The World Bank has revised up Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for this year to 5.2% from 4.9% in June, on the back of a much stronger-than-expected growth of 5.7% in the first half of 2017.

The World Bank had previously forecast Malaysia’s economy to grow by 4.3%

World Bank Malaysia country manager Faris Hadad-Zervos said the Bank expected Malaysia to continue its growth trajectory route on high level growth.

“Upward estimates reflect Malaysia as an open economy, so the favourable external environment has helped fuel Malaysia’s continued growth.
“Also policies within the country have helped spur domestic demand and public investments.

“These are all very positive things,” Faris said at a press conference to unveil the World Bank’s October 2017 edition of the East Asia and Pacific Economic Update in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.


Pledge to boost Malaysia-China ties

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu will work with the State Government to further enhance the Malaysia-China friendship, facilitate trade cooperation and promote exchanges between Sabah and China.

Its Consul General, Liang Caide said he was pleased to serve in Sabah, especially when the bilateral relation between Malaysia and China was currently at its best in history.

“To serve as the Consul General in Kota Kinabalu as the cooperation in various fields between Sabah and China has entered the fast lane is an honour and a heavy responsibility.

“There are so much that we can do,” Liang said in a press release issued on his courtesy call on the Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman here on Tuesday.

Both Musa and Liang discussed about cooperation projects, tourism industry and establishing sister city ties in the meeting.

The Chinese consulate in its press release said Musa acknowledged the contributions of the consulate in promoting exchanges and cooperation in various sectors between Sabah and China and would continue to render his support to the consulate.

The Chinese consulate said Musa also welcomed Chinese corporations to invest in Sabah and hoped that the consulate would facilitate in bringing in more Chinese tourists to the State.

Musa also told Liang about his recent meeting with the chairman of a tourism travel national corporation in Beijing who would bring one million Chinese tourists to Sabah in the future.

Liang said the target could be easily achieved and therefore, he hoped that Sabah would further step up its tourism-related facilities and services and to ensure better security for tourists.

He added that Kota Kinabalu would soon sign an official agreement to establish sister city ties with Hangzhou.


Microsoft launches new products for Malaysian businesses

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

  • Announces the launch of Azure Stack, Microsoft 365 and SQL Server 2017 for Malaysian market that will accelerate transition to become a digital business
  • The launch underscores Microsoft’s commitment in empowering organizations to make the leap to embrace hybrid cloud environment and enable their digital transformation journey

KUALA LUMPUR– As businesses in Malaysia look for better and faster ways to leverage on the fourth industrial revolution and transform themselves, modern technologies such as cloud computing have a crucial role to play. To better equip businesses, Microsoft today announced the enhancing of its cloud portfolio with the launch of Azure Stack, Microsoft 365 and SQL Server 2017. Together, these solutions will add flavour to Microsoft’s existing array of cloud & hybrid platform, that has been at the helm of driving digital transformation for businesses over the past 25 years in Malaysia.

These solutions are the perfect tools for organizations to boost their hybrid cloud strategy to take advantage of modern cloud computing capabilities. In its recent survey of 1200 IT leaders across Asia on hybrid cloud, the cloud usage in Malaysia will be Hybrid cloud (50%), private cloud (31% and public cloud (19%.)

Celebrating the launch, K Raman, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia said, “For Malaysian businesses today, hybrid cloud is a natural progression regardless of size and budgets, to reach their digital ambitions. Many in the industry who have adopted these solutions include UEM Edgenta, Genting Plantations, Malaysian Airlines, Nando’s Doctor2U amongst others. With a firm ear on the ground, we believe in evolving ourselves to meet their new and evolving requirements of enterprises. As such, we have expanded our suite of products and created customisable solutions to enable businesses in Malaysian businesses today to embrace digital transformation – engage with customers, empower their employees, optimize operations and transform their products.

SQL Server and Azure are already trusted by millions for their data and business-related needs. The extension of Azure Stack, SQL Server 2017 offer rich new applications which will enable better management tools, intelligent applications and advanced analytics to not just reduce cost and increase efficiency but to also innovate and enable faster time to market for businesses.”

Details of these new cloud offerings are as follows:

  • Azure Stack extends the Azure ecosystem opportunity by helping enterprises grow their Azure business and reach a larger addressable market through hybrid cloud scenarios. It is an extension of Azure that brings the agility and fast-paced innovation of cloud computing to on-premises environments and enables entirely new hybrid cloud scenarios. It offers consistent hybrid cloud platform, providing an ideal fit for organizations that want flexibility without having to build applications in a different way.
  • Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, delivering a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees. It is tailored to address the commercial needs from the largest enterprise to the smallest business, in form of Microsoft 365 Enterpriseand Microsoft 365 Business They help companies achieve more together by better connecting employees, customers and suppliers, protect company data across devices with always-on security and simplify the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console. They also empower mobility among employees – to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
  • SQL Server 2017 provides intelligence, on a trusted industry-leading, most secure data platform, and enables innovation for all the data of a company. It enables companies to engage market leading solutions for every workload including Advanced Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing and OLTP. SQL Server is the most intelligent, fastest and most secure database, and the most intelligent data warehouse that enterprises can rely on for operational analytics.

The launch was done in the presence of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). Wan Murdani Mohamad, Director, Enabling Ecosystem, MDEC, noted how cloud providers are now seen as critical platforms that empower businesses, adding that, “These on-demand facilities, which are designed to help store all sorts of data on the cloud, are now made more affordable, easier to access, very space efficient, and progressively secure. This further strengthens the ecosystem, enabling it to upgrade itself.  As cloud is one of the digital ecosystem focus areas for MDEC, we work very closely with all related service providers and relevant stakeholders to advocate and facilitate the delivery of competitive and sustainable ecosystems in promoting and accelerating the adoption such services. Services that Microsoft is rolling out today engages all three pillars of innovation – Infrastructure and Apps; Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI); and Modern Workplaces. These ongoing efforts are crucial in enabling digital transformation and proper migration to the cloud.”

Peering One is the first Azure Stack service provider in Malaysia. With this collaboration, customers who have hybrid cloud requirement due to latency, connectivity and regulatory have an option now to extend their Azure services to Peering One datacenters. With consistent cloud platform with Azure and Azure Stack, customer can now build and deploy modern application across hybrid cloud environments based on business requirement rather than on technology.

“There are four areas in which IT Leaders need to step up to enable digital transformation – first, they need to get up to speed with the modern tools of managing increasing security and complexity. Second, gain control of their infrastructure with software management tools spanning across public, private, and multiple branded clouds. Third, move quickly to an integrated hybrid cloud which will allow them to benefit from the best of both worlds. Lastly, they need to drive more sophisticated workloads in the cloud to innovate, shorten time to market and maximize the potential which new digital technologies offer. Our modern cloud applications will continue to be are customizable basis needs of the organizations, compliant with regulatory requirements and secure to ensure peace of mind to our customers,” concluded Raman.

The launch took place at the event themed “Enabling Digital Transformation with Microsoft Cloud” that had participation from industry leaders and decision makers from various sectors. It was supported by platinum sponsors such as Cisco Systems (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Citrix, DXC Technology Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lenovo Global Technology Sdn Bhd in addition to other gold sponsors and exhibitors.

As part of the launch, Microsoft has a host of offers. Users who sign up for Azure would receive $200 worth of credit to explore services for 30 days, 12 months of popular free services and 25+ services free of cost. Microsoft 365’s Fast Track customer service is available as part the subscription – delivered by Microsoft engineers to enable the move to cloud at your own pace. It helps migrate email, content, and light up Microsoft 365 services for new users, deploy and securely manage devices including Microsoft 365 powered devices. There is also a discount of upto 30% to run SQL Server on Linux. Additionally, migrating to SQL Server would entitle businesses to receive free licenses, free training and subsidized assessment and support services un June 2018.


Shopee’s East Malaysia Entrepreneurs Challenge winner bags RM3,000

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Shopee, the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan announced Janet Wong Yew Yiin as the Grand Prize winner of Shopee’s first ever East Malaysia Entrepreneurs Challenge which was held from September 25 to 30, 2017.

The seller whose online shop specialises in home and living category bagged an RM3,000 cash prize after placing first among 30 other selected entrepreneurs from Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is Shopee’s first time organizing an entrepreneurs challenge targeting East Malaysia, as we see great potential and growth for eCommerce in both Sabah and Sarawak which are important markets for us.

“Our aim is to encourage and enable entrepreneurs in East Malaysia to embrace the digital economy,” said Ian Ho, Shopee’s regional managing director in a statement yesterday.

For the East Malaysia Entrepreneurs Challenge, sellers were selected from over 60 participants who attended Shopee University, a series of in-depth tutorial modules crafted by Shopee to aid local entrepreneurs and businesses in setting up their online businesses.

This free entrepreneurial workshop series has been organized in 10 states across Malaysia, training more than 4,000 sellers to date. The judging criteria was based on several variables which included total sales, buyers rating as well as chat response rate on the Shopee App.

“I was very excited when I heard of the Entrepreneurs Challenge and I took it up because I wanted to expand my business not only in Sabah and Sarawak, but also across the whole of Malaysia,” said Wong.

Shopee has become the go-to platform for both buyers and sellers with its Free Shipping Programme across Malaysia and zero commissions incentives which provide cost savings to approximately four million users throughout Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Nur Farhidda Asmadi placed second with an RM1,500 cash prize while Judy Hii Lu King placed third with an RM500 cash prize.

The winners were announced at the Shopee’s Day Out Carnival which took place at Mango Tree Bistro, Kuching. During the event, more than 60 lucky Shopeeholics from Sabah and Sarawak were invited to enjoy Shopee’s first ever carnival organized in East Malaysia.

Earlier in March 2017, Shopee also organized its first ever Shopee Sellers Awards where a full-time housewife, Te Mei Hong, aged 39, was awarded the Seller of Year.

She sold baby products and had a sales record of close to RM1 million within the span of less than 2 years.

Shopee is the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. It is a platform tailored for the region, providing customers with an easy, secure and fast online shopping experience through strong payment and logistical support.


Malaysia moves to 65th (moves up 7 places) spot in economic freedom report – published by Fraser Institute in Canada)

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has edged up seven places to rank 65 among 159 countries in 2015, according to the recently-published Economic Freedom of The World Report 2017 (EFW), compared to 72nd placing in 2014.

The report, which ranks countries upon the consistency of their institutions and policies in promoting economic freedom, is published by the Fraser Institute in Canada.

The 2017 edition was calculated based on the data for the index gathered in 2015.

The ranking also revealed that regionally, Malaysia was ranked fourth among Asean countries after Singapore, the Philippines and Cambodia, followed closely by Indonesia and Laos in the fifth and sixth spot.

In a statement today, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said, Malaysia scored an overall 7.19, an improvement in 0.19 point year on year, driven by an improved “Size of Government” score which reflected the scale of government intervention in a country.

“The improved outlook is indicative of a greater sense of individual economic freedom afforded to the populace,” it said.

Ideas said Malaysia also saw improvements in the “Regulation” and “Access to Sound Money” scores respectively.

“The latter category is judged by how effectively the country adopted policies that generate low inflation.

“The improvement in Malaysia’s ‘Regulation’ score was testament to easing restrictions on businesses,” it said.

It said Malaysia’s scores in key components of EFW are: Size of government (increased to 6.93 from 6.63); Legal system and property rights (fell to 5.76 from 5.87); Access to sound money (improved to 7.01 from 6.85); Freedom to trade internationally (dropped to 7.51 from 7.56); and, Regulation of credit, labour and business (increased to 8.72 from 8.62 ).


Prince Charles and Camilla to visit Malaysia (Nov 3, Gala Dinner celebrating 60 years diplomatic ties between the UK and Malaysia)

Posted on : 05-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

PETALING JAYA: Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will be travelling to Penang, Perak and Sarawak during their maiden visit to Malaysia next month.

Their first official visit here is part of an 11-day tour of South-East Asia that will include Singapore and India.

“On Nov 3, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will start their visit to Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

“Key events in the programme include a gala dinner celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties between Britain and Malaysia, attended by senior dignitaries as well as key figures from business, arts, culture and media,” said the British High Commission in a statement yesterday.

The programme includes a celebration of the Commonwealth in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Summits to be held in Britain next year and in Malaysia in 2020.

The Prince and Duchess will then head to Sarawak and Perak, where they will see firsthand the work being done to promote wildlife conservation and the protection of biodiversity.

“Their Royal Highnesses will also meet members of Sarawak’s diverse indigenous communities.

“Also, the Duchess will meet with representatives of Purple Lily, an NGO committed to inspiring and empowering disadvantaged women and young girls by providing life skills training and financial education,” the statement said.

The visit will end in Penang, which was originally named Prince of Wales Island.

“The Prince and Duchess will have the opportunity to meet members of different religious and ethnic communities who live side by side in the Unesco World Heritage site and to experience the rich cultural heritage,” said the High Commission.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell said the visit would undoubtedly be the highlight of the celebration of 60 years of diplomatic ties.

“We are also very pleased that their Royal Highnesses will have the opportunity to meet Malaysians and experience the rich cultural diversity and heritage here,” she said.

Moody’s: Outlook for Asian oil refining, marketing sector stable on steady earnings growth

Posted on : 03-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

PETALING JAYA: The outlook for the Asian oil refining and marketing (R&M) sector is stable, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of rated companies growing a modest 5% through 2018, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

“Driven by China’s and India’s appetite for petroleum products and continued capacity rationalisation, we believe refining margins will remain firm, thereby supporting the growth in earnings,” says Rachel Chua, a Moody’s Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

“Specifically, we expect the average Asian refining margins to be largely in line with the average of US$6.2 per barrel for the last three years, but better than US$5.1 per barrel in 2016.

“The recent forced closure of about a quarter of US refining capacity has created an undersupply situation, causing fuel prices including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to surge. Nonetheless, we expect the recent spike in crack spreads and refining margins to temper and normalise as the supply crunch eases gradually,” she says.
Moody’s conclusions are contained in its just-released report, “Refining and marketing – Asia, Outlook stable on modest Ebitda growth and firm refining margins”.

This outlook reflects Moody’s expectations for the fundamental business conditions in the sector over the next 12-18 months and has been stable since October 2014, when Moody’s initiated its outlook opinion.

Supply and demand will vary by country, but for the region as a whole, Moody’s estimates that Asia’s incremental growth in demand for fuel of around 0.7 million barrels per day (bpd) will outpace net refining capacity additions of 0.4-0.5 million barrels per day (bpd) over the next 12-18 months.

At the same time, the bulk of the incremental growth in refining capacity will come from China and Vietnam. Still, with demand growth surpassing capacity additions over the last five years, Asia is likely to remain a net importer of refined petroleum products over at least the next three years, the international rating agency notes.

Rising demand for diesel will keep diesel crack spreads healthy. The modest pace of industrial activities in the region and China will drive demand for diesel, which is a transport fuel and is also used in the agriculture, mining and construction sectors.

Meanwhile, gasoline demand and gasoline crack spreads will remain supported by low pump prices as global crude oil prices continue to stay below US$60 per barrel.

Diesel and gasoline typically make up around 60% of Asian refiners’ product slate.

However, Moody’s adds that Asian refiners continue to be exposed to the economic slowdown in China, industry cyclicality and geopolitical risks, despite the rating agency’s stable outlook.

“We could change our outlook to negative if net refining capacity additions and increasing refinery output in Asia materially outpace growth in demand, such that our projected Ebitda for the industry declines by more than 10%; or if demand from China and India contracts; or if geopolitical developments materially alter operating conditions,” it adds.

Moody’s would consider a positive outlook if regional demand overwhelms capacity additions such that refining margins exceed US$8 per barrel on a sustained basis, leading us to raise our Ebitda-growth forecast above 10%.

CM proud of achievement (Sabah’s financial management is the best in Malaysia)

Posted on : 03-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Haji Aman is proud that Sabah’s financial management is the best in Malaysia.

“During the National Finance Council meeting, the Auditor General always reports on which states that achieve high rating (in financial management). And Sabah is definitely the best.

“As the Chief Minister, I feel proud of this achievement,” Musa said at the presentation of excellent financial management awards to State ministries, departments and agencies based on the National Audit Department’s accountability index for the year 2015 and 2016 here yesterday.

The event saw the presentation of a pewter plaque and RM15,000 incentive to 25 State ministries, departments and agencies which had attained five-star rating in 2015, followed by 22 State ministries, departments and agencies in 2016.

Musa, who is also Sabah Finance Minister, said only a few State departments and agencies were accorded the top rating in accountability index back in 2007.

“But if we are committed, transparent, competent in executing our responsibilities, we will definitely achieve success and five-star rating. This has become a reality as our performances improved year after year,” he  said.

In 2015, Musa said 25 of the State ministries, departments and agencies achieved the five-star rating under the accountability index, the highest among all the Malaysian states.

According to him, the success of a ministry, department or agency could also create healthy competition for the others. In the past, Musa said the district councils’ financial records were not good. However, when district councils such as Tambunan, Papar and Beluran successfully achieved five-star rating one by one, others began thinking of attaining the top rating as well, he said.

“Hence, we see the district councils working hard with transparency until almost all the district councils in Sabah have obtained five stars,” he disclosed.

Musa said the award presentation ceremony yesterday was a form of appreciation by the State Government to the ministries, departments and agencies that have worked hard with sincerity to enable them to achieve the top rating.

“We, in Sabah, should be proud of this. But, we must not be complacent. We must improve our performances from time to time,” he reminded.

Musa also said he is aware that some agencies and departments have made mistakes in the past.

“We are not perfect. More importantly, we realize that if we are not sincere, honest and trustworthy, we will face the consequences,” he said.

Musa also urged all ministries, departments and agencies to continue their hard work to achieve the five-star rating.

“So long as we have the will, nothing is impossible,” he said

Also present were deputy Auditor-General Tuan Haji Khalid Khan bin Abdullah Khan, representing Auditor General Tan Sri Dr Madinah binti Mohamad, State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Datuk Pg Hassanel bin Datuk Pg Haji Mohd Tahir and State Cabinet ministers.


Digital economy likely to get support in 2018

Posted on : 02-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– The digital economy initiative will continue to get the support in the 2018 Budget, said Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

She said the budget wish-list would most likely remain the same as last year with the main focus on digital economy.

“Our leaders (government) are fully aware of the impact on the digital economy’s growth for the country.

“Last year was evidence of the digital economy’s impact with multi-programmes, such as ‘eRezeki’, which left a great momentum,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the Big Data Week Asia 2017 event here today.

Yasmin said, last year the focus was on the start-up ecosystem and the momentum would continue for a couple more years.

A total of RM162 million was allocated to MDEC in Budget 2017 for programmes such as e-commerce ecosystem and Digital Maker Movement as well as the introduction of the Malaysia Digital Hub.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in announcing that, said digital connectivity was a revolution in economic activity, contributing nearly 16 per cent to the nation’s gross domestic product.

The two-day Big Data Week Asia 2017, starting today, is organised MDEC and Knowledge Group of Companies for industry players, students and public.

It features international speakers of various expertise, leading exhibitors, sponsors, and satellite events focused on building a data-driven ASEAN.

Yasmin said, to help Malaysia lead the digital economy, MDEC would be working with relevant partners to develop a national Artificial Intelligence (AI) framework.

“What we need to do is to ensure to look at the progression and evolve our existing big data.

“AI has been around for quite sometime now and the country is moving into its realms,” she said, adding it would be a critical extension to the National Big Data Analytics Framework.


APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) members urged to focus more on services sector

Posted on : 02-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR – Member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should give more attention to the development of the services sector to more precisely complement the emergence of the global digitisation economy.

Co-Convener of ASEAN Service Provider Confederation, Jane Drake-Brockman said most APEC economies appeared to be still missing the bigger picture, of how the services sector have taken the bulk of a country’s gross development product in recent years.

“We have heard of some new initiatives by the Malaysian government which are precisely designed to improve the competitiveness of the services sector. What we hope is that all APEC economies will start focusing on this in the same way,” she told reporters after the opening of the Asia-Pacific Digital Technology Symposium 2017 here today.

She said on average, the services sector accounted for more than 50 per cent of a country’s Gross Domestic Product, with about 98 per cent of the United States’ economy having been digitised, while about 80 per cent of Australia’s economy is in the services sector.

“Yet, public attention is always focused on the mining and agriculture (structure), while in other (APEC) economies, they’re (more) focused on manufacturing. We are missing the reality that the services competitiveness is what’s driving almost all of the other sectors,” she added.

Earlier, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Secretary General, Datuk Seri J. Jayasiri said many local entrepreneurs had adopted digital technology in carrying out their operations, involving Internet marketing, digital cross-border trade and e-logistics.

“We need to look at technology, not as a competitor, but our partner in creating quality jobs. We owe it to ourselves to use it to our advantage or risk allowing our competitors to use it to our disadvantage.

“This is why the government is prioritising innovation and encouraging the adoption of Industry 4.0 elements in not just the manufacturing sector, but services as well, to build greater economies of scale,” he said in his opening speech.

Jayasiri spoke on behalf of MITI Minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

In the goal of developing a digital economy for Malaysia, Jayasiri said business leaders had a strong role to play, as they would be the direct beneficiaries of the digital transformation happening in the country.

“Companies need to be mindful not to rely solely on facilities provided by the government, but also come up with innovative solutions in embarking on this journey. The government seeks to work hand-in-hand with businesses towards making effective and relevant policies in charting the way forward,” he added.


M’sia rakes in over RM1b medical tourism revenue

Posted on : 02-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

MALAYSIA is on track to achieve medical tourism revenue of RM1.15 billion by the end of the year.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the success behind the medical tourism boom was due to solid support from the government.

“In 2011, 643,000 of overseas visitors had travelled to Malaysia for medical purposes. The number increased to 921,000 in 2016, with the revenue growing by more than 10% per year,” he said while officiating KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Support from the private healthcare sector had also helped to boost local medical tourism as they provided affordable and quality treatment for their patients, Dr Hilmi said, adding that  medical tourism was part of the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) which would drive the country towards becoming a high-income nation by 2020.

“These have contributed to Malaysia’s current position as one of the best countries in the world for healthcare and is recognised by International Medical Travel Journal from year 2015 to 2017,” he said.

Dr Hilmi said to date, 74 of the best private hospitals in the country were registered with the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).

In conjunction with KPJ Damansara’s 20th anniversary, the hospital has also launched a corporate social responsibility programme under #DamansaraCare.

The hospital’s executive director, Aminuddin Dawam said the fundraising campaign would benefit three beneficiaries, namely the Islamic Medical Association Malaysia Response and Relief Team (Imaret), Mercy Malaysia and Malaysia Relief Agency (MRA).

For the CSR effort, various community-oriented programmes will be held such as the social media campaign called #LoveSlapDSH where participants will pledge donations to collect more than RM1 million for each beneficiary.


Musa: New township will narrow gap between rural and urban areas (Turning Ulu Dusun, Sandakan into new township) – CM

Posted on : 02-10-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

SANDAKAN: The establishment of the new Ulu Dusun new township, about 50km from here, will generate the local economy and contribute to development in the area, said Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.

Musa, who is also Finance Minister, said this was because the proposed new township would play an important role in attracting more tourists and visitors due to its location as a transit point for those travelling from Tawau, Semporna and Lahad Datu to Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu.

He said visitors from Kota Kinabalu, Ranau or Telupid intending to go to Tawau or Sandakan would also stop over for meals, rest and shopping before continuing their journey.

“The creation of this new township is in line with the government’s efforts to prosper the people in the surrounding areas through trade to improve the economic status of their families,” he said when officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony of the Ulu Dusun new township near here.

He said the state government would strive to develop other suitable areas and the responsibility was entrusted to the Housing and Urban Development Board (LPPB).

Musa was confident the new township would have a huge impact on the people and the government in terms of the presence of tourists in the area.