BNM: Malaysia needs to produce more fintech solutions companies

Posted on : 21-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia needs to produce more companies to provide financial technology (fintech) solutions that are not only available locally but also in other emerging markets, particularly within the Association of South-East Asian Nations, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Chairman of the BNM’s Financial Technology Enabler Group, Aznan Abdul Aziz, said it has been almost a year since the central bank set up the group.

“In that short period we are starting to observe attitude shifts. However, much is still desired and that there is genuine need for a paradigm shift.

“We must embrace technology and at the same time be mindful of the challenges that come with it. I call upon all of us to have a change in attitude in adapting to the rapidly-changing fintech industry,” he said at the opening of the Finnovasia KL 2017 here today.

He said Malaysia was uniquely-positioned to be a testbed for innovative fintech solutions for emerging markets and there were few factors that gave Malaysia the comparative advantages.

Among the advantages included Malaysia’s leadership in strategic areas such as Islamic finance and financial inclusion, he said.

“We are ranked highly among the top countries for the development of Islamic finance and we have also been recognised for our passion and commitment to advance financial inclusion agenda.

“This would naturally translate into our focus and support to fintech innovations that are tailored to serve this agenda,” he said.

Aznan said Malaysia’s consumer profiles and challenges were similar to those in other emerging markets.

“The country is a middle-income country with respectable gross domestic product growth of four-five per cent and sizeable population of approximately 30 million people with high mobile and Internet penetration,” he said.

As such, Malaysia provided an ideal fintech consumer base, he said.

He said there was strong and holistic support from key stakeholders in driving not only the fintech ecosystem, but also e-commerce and small and medium entrepreneurship.

“The bank collaborates with other competent authorities, Securities Commission and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, to provide enabling infrastructure and conducive regulatory framework for a vibrant fintech landscape.

“All these factors put together make Malaysia an ideal ground for fintech companies to test and validate their solutions before moving on to a bigger market,” he said.

The bank, he said, was exploring several critical enablers to provide the enabling infrastructure and the framework to maximise opportunities while minimising risks to financial stability and consumers.

These included facilitating the creation of centralised digital identity to allow for effective and efficient management of customer due diligence and knowing the customer process, he said.

He said it also included in enabling the use of cloud computing to allow for efficient and secure storage of data without compromising data security.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

LIMA’17 (Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace 2017): More than 550 aerospace, maritime exhibitors

Posted on : 21-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

KUALA LUMPUR– More than 550 aerospace and maritime exhibitors from 36 countries will showcase their products at the five-day Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2017 (LIMA’17) exhibition which begins tomorrow.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said LIMA’17 to be held at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre (MIEC) and Resorts World Tanjung Malai Langkawi is a great marketplace for the industry players to share knowledge and technology, as well as a networking platform and opportunity.

“LIMA’17 promises a more meaningful involvement of the maritime sector and aviation industry with the direct involvement of the larger commercial sector,” he said in a statement today.

According to the statement, LIMA’17 would involve the largest participation in the history including various ministries and more than 30 agencies and government-linked corporations such as Defence Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry and Civil Aviation Department as co-organisers.

Liow said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) would bring together 31 departments, agencies and industry players at the LIMA’17 to provide a comprehensive overview about the country’s transport industry and the role of the ministry as the industry facilitator.

On another note he said, the second edition of the ASEAN Aviation Summit will be jointly organised by MOT and Department Civil Aviation with the theme ‘Global Sustainable Green Aviation,’.

With more than 250 international and local delegates expected, the summit is timely, given the recent adoption of International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Global Market Based Measure during the 39th session of ICAO general assembly.

Among the top speakers at the summit are AirAsia chief executive officer Aireen Omar and Singapore Civil Aviation Authority director general, Kevin Shum.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Pairin: RM99.5 million for Sabah Railway Dept

Posted on : 20-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KOTA KINABALU: The State Railway Department (SRD) will be undertaking a study on extending its services all the way to the east coast of Sabah.

Deputy Chief Minister cum Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan said RM1 million had been approved to conduct the study.

“We will be looking at extending the railway line all the way to Sandakan and even to Kudat,” he told reporters after attending a briefing on the latest development in the State Railway Department here yesterday.

Pairin later took the train to Beaufort where he officiated at the launching of the department’s new Diesel Multiple Train (DMU) which will be used to serve the Beaufort-Tenom route.

The DMU, which was acquired at a cost of RM7.62 million from India, has a carrying capacity of 192 passengers and can travel up to 90km per hour.

During the press conference, Pairin said a total of 494,638 people had used the rail service last year. During the same period the SRD had also recorded 134 service cancellations due to unavoidable causes such as technical problems and weather.

“The cancellation has shown a significant decrease as 705 were recorded in 2015. This is because SRD is in the process of updating its operation and administration. This effort will be continued in order for SRD to achieve a more consistent and reliable service,” Pairin said.

“Other than the DMU, SRD has also acquired two Railbuses, each with a carrying capacity of 60 passengers to serve the Tanjung Aru-Beaufort route,” he said, adding that the department had also started to use a ‘tamping machine’ to maintain the tracks in a more systematic and effective way.

“All these assets were acquired at a cost of RM13 million and financed by the state government. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) the state government has approved a ceiling of RM47 million for projects to further develop and improve the rail service. The projects will be implemented from between 2016 to 2020,” he said, adding that this year, a total of RM5.43 million had been approved to implement projects such as repairing the permanent tracks, acquiring of  machinery and upgrading the department’s siren system.

Also under the 11MP, the federal government, through its Transport Ministry, has approved RM99.5 million to upgrade the railway tracks from Halogilat to Tenom as well as to acquire three DMUs.

“Both these projects are expected to commence this year and be completed within 24 months,” he said.

On the matter of safety, Pairin said his ministry was taking a serious note of the matter and had taken various steps to prevent accidents from happening, such as carrying out maintenance work on the rail tracks to prevent slipping, erecting warning signboards and building service roads for vehicles.

“We also conduct public awareness programs like dialogues with the public and distributing flyers on the matter in schools,” he said.

SRD, he added, had been requested to increase its safety level by installing and repainting faded ‘yellow boxes’ as well as yellow bar lines on roads, increasing the number of staff at crossings, installing CCTVs at all train crossings and erecting signboards at crossings.

Meanwhile, Sabah Railway Department general manager Melvin Majanga said there were 51 crossings along the train route from Tanjung Aru to Tenom.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

The 12th StudyMalaysia Higher Education Fair 2017 – Get the answers you need!

Posted on : 09-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local

KUCHING: School leavers and parents are invited to visit the StudyMalaysia Higher Education Fair (Sabah and Sarawak) to find the right course and the right college at CityONE Megamall this weekend (March 4–5) and Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, Kota Kinabalu next weekend (March 11–12), from 10am to 5pm on all days, at all venues.

The fair was in Sibu last weekend.

Themed ‘The One-Stop Higher Education Fair With The Answers You Need’ the StudyMalaysia Higher Education Fair is back in Sabah and Sarawak for the 12th time.

The fair is held by StudyMalaysia Media Group and its online media partner is StudyMalaysia.com. The career counselling and workshop activities for students are guided by Challenger Concept, the publisher of Education Guide Malaysia.

The two-day StudyMalaysia Higher Education Fair could be the best platform yet for students and parents to meet face-to-face with representatives of higher educational institutions to decide what suitable course to enrol for and to find out more about the types of financial aid available.

Representatives from Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) will be there to answer questions on what courses are accredited while National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) personnel will provide information on courses that are eligible for PTPTN loans.

Designed for SPM, STPM/A-Level and UEC school leavers as well as their parents, the fair offers the latest information on higher education opportunities showcased by Malaysia’s reputable higher educational institutions, government agencies, scholarship providers and many more for studying locally and abroad.

The exhibitors may include AIMST University, Asia Metropolitan College, Cosmopoint College, Executive College, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, International Aviation Centre, International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak, International Medical University, Kolej Sunway Kuching, Kolej Universiti Linton, Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology, MAHSA University, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, NIIT College, Open University Malaysia, Quest International University Perak, Sabah Institute of Art, SEGi University and Colleges, Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, UCSI University, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), University College of Technology Sarawak, University of Southampton Malaysia Campus, Wawasan Open University, Labuan International School, Aussie Studies, Tridiva Utama Sdn Bhd, Ministry of Education, PTPTN, MQA, Challenger Concept (Education Guide Malaysia) and StudyMalaysia.com.

School leavers will also get a free copy of myCAREER handbook (Series 2). All visitors will receive the ‘27 Fields of Study’ flyer.

Admission is free. Door gifts will be given to visitors at the fair while stocks last.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

Furniture exports to grow five pct in 2017, says Minister Mah

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR– Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong has expressed confidence that Malaysia’s furniture exports would grow five per cent this year.

He said this optimism was based on the Netherlands’ recognition of the country’s timber certification programme, which was known as the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme, last month.

The recognition provides a status and paves the way for local furniture products to enter other countries, he said, adding that the Dutch government was very strict on recognition of certificates.

“Following the approval of our timber certificate, it gives us a status to enter other countries,” he told reporters after officiating the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) 2017 here, today.

Mah said Malaysian furniture was renowned for its brand, quality and pricing.

He is optimistic that efforts to bolster Malaysia’s furniture exports would pay off, enabling the country to be among world’s top five largest furniture exporters in five years’ time from the eight position.

“We have entered the Middle Eastern countries, and Iran has shown interest in our furniture too,” he said, adding that furniture designed by young Malaysian designers would also help take Malaysia’s exports to a higher level.

Commenting on the US market, Mah said despite the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being in limbo, the exports to the US remained firm.

However, he said the government would still focus on ASEAN countries which have a combined population of 600 million.

Earlier in his speech, Mah said exports of Malaysian furniture products rose to RM9.53 billion in 2016, up 4.2 per cent from RM9.14 billion in 2015.

“Wooden furniture accounted for 80 per cent of that amount,” he said, adding that to date, the “Made in Malaysia” furniture was exported to over 160 countries.

“Malaysia has a strong market presence in the US, Japan and Australia.

“We are also experiencing substantial growth in the UK, China, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

On the MIFF partnership with China’s Alibaba.com portal to implement an online-to-offline business, Mah hopes local furniture industry players would take advantage and utilise the medium to market their products.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Sabah delegation in China to boost investment ties

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : Local Business

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has the potential to become an important window for China to export its agricultural products to Southeast Asia countries due to its strategic location in the region, said Minister of Special Tasks Datuk Teo Chee Kang.

Teo said Sabah has the support from the Federal Government to develop the State as a logistics hub in the region.

“Sabah, located strategically in the centre of the Southeast Asia region, can be an important window for China to export its agricultural products to the 600 million population in the region.”

He said the joint venture rubber plantation project between Bornion Timber Sdn Bhd and Guangdong Guangken Rubber Group Co. Ltd. was a successful example of collaboration between Sabah and China-based enterprises.

“I believe Sabah and China have much room to explore in terms of collaboration opportunities in the agricultural sector,” Teo said during his visit to the Department of Agriculture of Hubei Province in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Teo and Deputy Speaker of State Legislative Assembly, Datuk Johnson Tee, were invited by Malaysia China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Sabah branch led by its president, Datuk Frankie Liew, for a nine-day visit to China.

The 33-member delegation, comprising local entrepreneurs from various sectors including property, tourism and agriculture, left the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on March 4.

Their itinerary include visits to Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Macau and other major cities in China where they will meet with government officials, chambers of commerce and entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities and collaborations.

During a dinner hosted by the Tong Daochi, the Vice Governor of Hubei Province, Teo also said that the business investments and collaborations between Sabah and Wuhan could be further enhanced with the establishment of friendship city ties between both places and the availability of direct flights.

He hoped that this visit would mark the beginning of a win-win relations between Sabah and Wuhan.

In a separate dialogue session with Hubei’s Housing, Urban and Rural Construction Department and property developers, Teo addressed the security concerns raised such as the missing MH370 flight, abduction cases and intrusion of Filipino militants into Sabah.

He said the increasing tourist arrivals showed that the negative impact of the missing MH370 to the tourism industry in Sabah two years ago had gradually diminished.

As for the security concerns, Teo said he recently accompanied the Chief Minister for an inspection in the east cost of Sabah and found the area to be very safe.

“As such, foreign investors need not worry about security issues in Sabah,” he assured.

During the four-day visit in Wuhan, the delegation has also met with officials from the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the People’s Government of Hebei Province, Hubei Provincial Tourism Development Committee and Foreign Affairs (Overseas Chinese Affairs) Office of Hubei Provincial People’s Government.

The delegation also visited tourist attractions in Wuhan, such as the Yellow Crane Tower (Huang He Lou), Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, museums, high technology development zone, free trade zone and Optics Valley of China.

Meanwhile, Liew hoped that the Sabahan entrepreneurs would take the opportunity to establish friendship with their counterparts in China in order to explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities.

“The purpose of organizing the visit to China is to open up collaboration opportunities for enterprises that complement each other,” he said.

Also present were MCCC Sabah branch advisor cum Sabah Timber Association president Datuk James Hwong, Kota Kinabalu Hokkien Association president Datuk Clement Yeh, Sabah Institute of Art (SIA) chief executive officer Professor Dato’ Dr Wilson Yong Tung Yung, MCCC Sabah branch life honorary advisor Datuk Lau Kok Sing, Sabah Tourism Federation (STF) president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw, Political Secretary to the Minister of Special Tasks Peter Chong Su Leong and Liaison Secretary to the Minister of Special Tasks Albert Kok.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

San Miguel keen to set up trading facility in M’sia

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

MANILA: Philippines’ food and beverage company, San Miguel PureFoods Co, is keen to set up a trading facility in Malaysia to tap the country’s halal market.

Its president, Francisco S. Alego III, said a feasibility study would be undertaken and the products would be brought to the Malaysian market.

He said in addition to cater to the local market, the food processing arm of San Miguel would also set its sight to make this facility a hub for exports.

“I think most countries welcomed halal products that are produced in Malaysia and that’s why we are seriously looking into the possibility of setting up the facility whether to process meat, beef, or dairy products from Malaysia,” he told Malaysia reporters after a meeting with International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
At the moment, he said, Malaysia’s operation of San Miguel, via Petron Malaysia Bhd, contributed a single digit to the group.

“This is relatively small although we see a huge opportunity in Malaysia, especially with the per capita income, Malaysia is huge.

“So, I think this meeting today is the start of a bigger thing to come between our two countries with San Miguel in the forefront,” he said.

Also present was Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) Vice President (Industry Development), Ahmad Lokman Ibrahim.

HDC, an agency under Miti, focussing on coordinating overall development of the halal industry in Malaysia, was ready to assist San Miguel set up the facility, Ahmad Lokman said.

Malaysia, he said, has successfully developed three halal parks and would be offered to those keen to be part of the development.

“A similar model can also be developed in this country with HDC’s expertise and knowledge,” he said.

Last year, he said, Malaysia exported US$10bil (RM44.6bil) worth of halal products.

The meeting ended Mustapa’s working visit to Manila, which was held in conjunction with the 23rd Asean Economic Meeting’s (AEM) retreat which was held from March 8 to 10.

Earlier, Mustapa spent time together with local business community during a luncheon, before meeting with Secretary of Philippines Department of Trade and Industry, Ramon Lopez.

SOURCE- Bernama

Blueprint to spur trade investment between Malaysia & Philippines

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

MANILA– The Malaysia-Philippines Business Council (MPBC) and the Philippines-Malaysia Business Council (PMBC) will develop a five-year blueprint to give a fresh impetus to both countries’ trade and investment.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the blueprint would also further raise the visibility of both countries.

“I hope both countries will contribute inputs for the blueprint,” he said after chairing a meeting between both councils here today.

The MPBC representatives are from AlloyMtd Group, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Halal Industry Development Corporation and Alumni Institute of Malaysia while the PMBC are represented by San Miguel Corp, Makati Business Club and Maybank ATR Kim End Securities.

Mustapa said both countries should focus on sectors which Malaysia’s excel in such as halal, finance and services industries.

“We will share our knowledge with the Philippines. I have suggested to them to focus on small and medium enterprise development and to engage an intern per company.

“This is to allow young Malaysians to work together with our Philippines counterparts and vice-versa.

“This is important as ASEAN is getting more integrated. I anticipate more businesses to be conducted in this region and it is vital for youngsters to understand the culture, language and companies of various ethnicities,” he said after attending the launch of AlloyMtd Group’s mini Putrajaya project in Palayan.

Mustapa, is on a working visit to Manila in conjunction with the 23rd Asean Economic Minister retreat held here from March 8 to 10.

He said last year, the Philippines economy grew almost seven per cent and in the next five years, it was expected to grow more than 6.5 per cent per annum.

“There is a lot of developments going on here especially in the infrastructure sector and I foresee Malaysia to capitalise on them.

“In Malaysia, we are also going through massive transformation and this will be good for both countries,” he said.

Meanwhile on bilateral trade, Mustapa said total bilateral trade, last year, amounted to RM20.24 billion, an of 2.7 per cent over RM19.71 billion registered in 2015.

He said exports registered a growth of 3.6 per cent to RM13.64 billion while imports stood at RM6.6 billion, up one per cent.

“Overall, Malaysia’s trade surplus rose 6.1 per cent to RM7.05 billion from RM6.65 billion previously.

“Among products exported to the Philippines are electrical and electronics goods, palm oil and chemical based products, machineries and processed food while items imported included electrical and electronics goods, chemical based products, natural rubbers, processed food, optical and scientific equipment,” he added.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

M’sian car vendors see great potential to collaborate with Japanese counterparts

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian car vendors see great potentials in partnering with their Japanese counterparts to tap the growing Asean Economic Community market.

In a statement today, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) said 44 Japanese car vendors and trading companies attended a business-matchmaking session with 25 Perodua vendors in Tsu City, Mei Prefecture yesterday.

The event was hosted by Hyakugo Bank of Japan.

During the event, bank President Toshiyasu Ito said South-East Asia was an attractive market for Japanese companies and that partnerships between Malaysian and Japanese companies with the most advanced technology would give a competitive edge in the market.
The event was jointly organised by the Malaysian Automotive Association, Malaysia Investment Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp, Japan Trade Organisation and Perodua.

The potential collaborations include strategic partnership and/or technical assistance in plastic and metal parts, tools, electrical parts and after-market parts.

MAI Chief Operating Officer, Nizma Mohd Nazar, said the event was a testimony of the strong bilateral economic relationship between Malaysia and Japan.

“It is intended to be a platform for our vendors to identify suitable and potential joint-ventures with Japanese car companies.

“It would also help promote strategic alliances in various business areas, including technological collaboration, business expansion opportunities, export market penetration and knowledge sharing, Nizma said.

Japan was Malaysias second largest trading partner in car products, with two-way trade amounting to RM6.8bil in 2015.

Malaysias exports of car parts and components to Japan last year increased by 27% to RM301.5mil from RM237.5mil in 2014.

“Perodua is a testament to what a Japan-Malaysia partnership can do, said Nizma.

Perodua President/chief executive officer, Datuk Dr Aminar Rashid Salleh, said the event was a milestone for the Malaysian car industry, as the Malaysian vendors involved were the best in their respective fields and were now on the verge or going regional, if not global.

They were vetted based on their dedication towards improving quality, discipline, productivity and commitment towards better cost management, he said.

Aminar said the business-matching session was a continuation of the Look East Policy, which began in 1981 as well as an opportunity to take advantage of the free trade agreement between Malaysia and Japan.

SOURCE-BERNAMA

University (Uni Teknologi Petronas) produces biopesticide to control paddy fields pests

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National

SERI ISKANDAR– A group of researchers from Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP) here have produced an organic-based ‘biopesticide’ to overcome the issue of pests while increasing paddy yield.
The ‘biopesticide’ was developed by five lecturers and 15 UTP students since 2015 under UTP’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.

Its project leader Prof Madya Dr Suzana Yusup said the project which was a collaborative effort between UTP and the Agriculture Department as well as Bio-X Techno Sdn Bhd successfully proved that organic insecticides can overcome attacks from insects such as the brown plant hopper, locust and bugs.

“Farmers from the Perak Tengah district had suffered great losses which affected their source of income. Thus, UTP together with the government department and the private sector took the initiative to address the issue,” she told Bernama after attending a briefing on the project at the Bota/Lambor Farmers Association, in Titi Gantong, near Bota Kiri, here today.

“Organic poison does not affect consumer’s health nor damage the environment as it is made from plants in Malaysia,” said Suzana who is also a lecturer at UTP’s Chemical Engineering Department.

She said the study was conducted to identify the effectiveness of organic poison used for three seasons on paddy planting areas at the Paddy Centre of Excellence, in Titi Serong Agriculture Department.

“We have carried out two comparisons using organic poison and chemical poison. The findings of the study revealed that the (paddy) yield slightly increased although with unpredictable weather,” she said.

Suzana added that UTP intends to promote the product in the domestic and foreign market while improving the quality of the ‘biopesticide’.

Meanwhile, UTP Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Prof Dr Ahmad Fadzil Mohamad Hani said the project won second place in the Elsevier Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge held in Germany last year.

“Among the five hundred proposals submitted to the challenge, Suzana’s project was chosen among the top five finalists. This success has gained recognition for UTP at the international level,” he said.

Ahmad Fadzil added, UTP, as a higher learning institution that is greatly concerned about the sustainability of nature, conducted the research as part of the university’s social responsibility in research related to engineering, technology and the society.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Mustapa to attend AEM (23rd Asean Economic Ministers’ Retreat and Related) meeting in Manila

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR – International Trade and Industry Minister (Miti) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed will attend the 23rd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings in Manila from March 8-10.

In a statement today, Miti said the ASEAN economic ministers would exchange views and deliberate on commemorative activities for the 50th Anniversary of the regional grouping, Priority Deliverables for 2017, the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Blueprint 2025, addressing challenges on trade facilitation measures, Non-Tariff Barriers/Non-Tariff Measures and progress in integration of other economic sectors.

“The economic ministers are also expected to deliberate on accelerating the pace of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),” it added.

The 15th AEM-EU Consultations would also be held on the sidelines of the AEM Retreat to discuss the way forward for the formal region-to-region talks towards the possible resumption of the ASEAN-EU Free Trade Area.

Apart from these meetings, the economic ministers would meet representatives from the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and ASEAN-EU Business Council.

Meanwhile, the working visit to Manila is also part of MITI’s continuous efforts at further intensifying trade and investment relations between the two countries.

Mustapa would meet with the Philippine-Malaysia Business Council and Malaysia-Philippines Business Council, as well as, have a session with the business community in the Philippines.

These meetings are aimed at further enhancing the Malaysia-Philippines economic ties, strengthening business to business collaboration and potential opportunities for tie-ups in the halal industry.

Mustapa will also inaugurate an infrastructure project by AlloyMtd Group in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

SOURCE– BERNAMA

Malaysia expected to produce 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017

Posted on : 08-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

Malaysia expected to increase output by 80% this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is expected to produce 900,000 tonnes of biodiesel in 2017, up about 80% from half a million tonnes last year, while Indonesia’s production is projected to rise to 3.5 million tonnes this year from three million tonnes in 2016, according to industry expert U.R. Unnithan.

Met on the sidelines of the 28th Global Palm and Lauric Oils Conference here yesterday, Unnithan said the forecasts were based on the current pricing of crude palm oil (CPO) and oil prices.

At yesterday’s close, CPO fell 1.5% to RM2,851 per tonne.

Unnithan, who is also the president of the Malaysian Biodiesel Association, said where the current oil prices were at, biodiesel plants were unable to make profits.

“Today, the utilisation capacity is under 25%, which means at present levels, companies can only cover their variable costs but not fixed costs.

“But if they ramp up capacity to nearly 100%, then they should see some profits,” he said, adding that the biodiesel industry has survived because of the local mandate.

Palm oil can be used to produce the bio components of biodiesel grades sold at retail fuel pumps.

Commenting on Indonesia’s B20 biodiesel mandate, Unnithan said Indonesia had taken a smart move by going ahead with the implementation, provided it can get its subsidy model to work.

“I think it’s a smart move because all of a sudden, an additional three million tonnes of demand a year has surfaced. The Indonesian biodiesel market is probably as big as China’s now and for them, it’s worthwhile because oil prices now are at about US$50 per barrel,” he said.

Malaysia, on the other hand, should implement its B10 programme this year now that CPO prices had adjusted to a new level.

“CPO prices in the region of about RM2,500 to RM2,600 per tonne are sustainable in the long term for both food and fuel. At that level, one can see a steady increase in biodiesel because the additional demand can be taken up when there is additional supply,” noted Unnithan.

Meanwhile, well-known palm oil expert and chairman of LMC International Ltd James Fry found Indonesia’s B20 biodiesel mandate impressive, mainly because it is self-financing and didn’t need Government subsidy, and the export levy charged at US$50 per tonne of CPO has somewhat taken the prices up by more than US$50.

Going forward, Fry thinks Indonesia’s biodiesel mandate is going to be the most important factor in softening the decline in CPO prices later this year.

Fry did not want to disclose the outlook for CPO prices in 2017 as this would be revealed later today during his topic on “Lessons from the latest El Nino and La Nina – The Implications for Prices”.

Fry said the El Nino experienced last year was similar to the El Nino that took place in 1997/1999.

The road to full B20 implementation is a long one and several factors, including a recovery in oil prices, biodiesel exports and logistics will play an important role.

The mandate serves two purposes: lower gasoil demand and hence lower reliance on imports; and support for the biodiesel industry reeling from the effects of low oil prices and Europe’s anti-dumping duties.
SOURCE:- THE STAR

Bullish stance reaffirmed on semiconductor sector – analyst

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUCHING: Analysts at the research arm of TA Securities Holdings Bhd (TA Research) were bullish on the outlook of the semiconductor sector at this juncture.

The bullish outlook conviction for the semiconductor sector was on the back of higher global sales of semiconductor components which registered an increase of 13.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) growth to US$30.6 billion in January 2017.

TA Research believed that promising prospects of the semiconductor sector would be underpinned by better sales outlook and the weak ringgit environment.

“We believe the trend will continue, expecting positive US dollar sales growth in 2017.

“The recent release of the fourth quarter (4Q16) financial results, (semiconductor players such as) Unisem (M) Bhd (Unisem) and Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (MPI) have reported US dollar sales that beat initial guidance,” the research firm said.

The positive sales growth in January 2017 was also the largest y-o-y sales growth achieved since November 2010, it said.

At the same time, the research firm noted the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) has revised its sales growth assumption for this year upwards to 6.5 per cent y-o-y which bode well for the current year outlook.

The organisation believed the sector’s growth will be driven by sensors which is expected to witness an increase of nine per cent y-o-y, analog (7.8 per cent y-o-y) and memory (12.8 per cent y-o-y).

In the meantime, the research firm noted the higher sales growth in January 2017 was spreaded across regions.

It added all regions reported double digit growth rates apart from Europe.

Elaborating further, the research firm observed that sales in China led the pack, increasing by 20.5 per cent y-o-y.

It noted the increased sales was followed by the US market which rose by 13.3 per cent y-o-y, Japan (12.3 per cent y-o-y); Asia Pacific (11 per cent y-o-y and Europe (4.8 per cent y-o-y).

TA Research pointed out that all regions reported positive y-o-y sales for the second month in a row. The research firm also noted billings increased by 52.3 per cent y-o-y to US$1,860.3 billion.

It highlighted that the strong billings marked the strongest rise in billings since February 2011.

As a result, the research firm opined that equipment spending is expected to remain strong into 2017, with investments directed at leading edge memory and foundry fabs.

SOURCE:- THE BORNEO POST

EU group says China plan ’skews’ high-tech field

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : International Business

BEIJING: Beijing’s plans to use “staggering” subsidies to create national champions in high-tech industries would further skew China’s business playing field and worsen trade frictions, a European lobby group warned on Tuesday (Mar 7).

The EU Chamber of Commerce said in a report state subsidies of hundreds of billions of dollars and foreign technology transfers in 10 sectors were “highly problematic” and urged China to stop interfering in the market.

“We see that Chinese market players are entering the global marketplace, whereas we are still here in front of the Great Wall of China,” the group’s president Joerg Wuttke told reporters ahead of the release of the report on Beijing’s China Manufacturing 2025 plan first announced in 2015.

The report said subsidies for industries including new-energy vehicles, information technology and robotics had “already created problems for both China’s economy and European business”.

“We think China would be better off not picking winners and deciding who’s doing what in the future,” said Wuttke. “The recommendation we have there is, ’stay away, let the market pick the winners’.”

European electric carmakers face “intense pressure to turn over advanced technology in exchange for near-term market access”, and IT companies have seen their market access shrink, the report said.

The Chinese plan’s emphasis on self-sufficiency is “particularly concerning – it suggests that Chinese policies will further skew the competitive landscape in favour of domestic companies”.

This could cause a new flood of overcapacity in those industries, as happened previously in the steel and solar sectors, and exacerbate tensions with China’s international trade partners, the report said.

China’s Communist-controlled parliament is holding its annual 10-day session in Beijing, in which delegates approve growth targets and the national budget.

Beijing has urged its companies to enter markets abroad in search of higher returns and advanced technologies to make them more competitive in a range of high-value sectors from aerospace to agribusiness and robotics.

China ranked 84th globally – behind Saudi Arabia and Ukraine – in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2016, and second to last in an OECD report on the restrictiveness towards foreign investment.

Since President Xi Jinping took over in 2012, the government has moved away from liberalisation on several fronts, strengthening state-owned enterprises, increasing capital controls and tightening restrictions on free exchange of information and ideas online.

In a report released in January by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, a record 80 per cent of 462 US businesses who replied to a survey said they felt that foreign companies were less welcome than in the past.

SOURCE- AFP/EC

SMEs, start-ups told to tap into India’s digital trade platform

Posted on : 07-03-2017 | By : sabah today | In : National Business

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is encouraging more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, in their pursuit to expand their network, to seize opportunities in India’s digital trade platform.

Secretary-General Datuk Seri J Jayasiri said India was a big market to tap, with a population of about 1.8 billion, and there was a huge demand for technology tools and systems.

“As this year has been declared, ‘The Year of Internet Economy’, we have hired Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma as our advisor on digital economy, but we must also look at other markets and participate in business technology events to get a bigger outreach.

“This would save them (entrepreneurs) a lot of time instead of going to  India physically,” Jayasiri told a press conference after the soft launch of the Asean India Biztech Expo & Conference yesterday.

Last year, Malaysia’s total trade with India stood at RM1.85 billion.

Earlier, Jayasiri said businesses could now look forward to greater opportunities to invest and trade in both goods and services once the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is concluded, as scheduled, in November.

“Not only will the market of 1.8 billion people be expanded to a lucrative market of 3.5 billion, but also a wide supply chain that would provide opportunities for enterprises of all sizes.

“Businesses of Asean and India can enjoy first mover advantage, if only they are willing to take the bold step to invest now,” he said.

The maiden two-day event beginning May 24, organised by the Asean India Business Council (AIBC) in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Asean-India relations, will be opened by MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Themed, ‘Bridging Borders Through Business’, it would comprise three main components namely exhibition, conference and the Asean-India Achievement and Excellence Awards.

Meanwhile, AIBC Co-Chairman Datuk Ramesh Kodammal said the exhibition would cover high-technology industries including Internet of Things (IoTs), smart machines, customers digital assistance automative and aeronautical, biotech and pharmaceutical.

“We are expecting more than 5,000 visitors and about 120 booths to be put up by India, Malaysia and businesses from other Asean countries.

Trade and investment flows between Asean and India remained modest with an average of US$67.96 billion over 2011-2015.

In 2015, trade figures stood at US$58.74 billion, which represented only 59 per cent of the US$100 billion target set by Asean leaders.

To-date, Asean has free trade agreements with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Asean’s global trade per annum is over US$2.5 billion and 50 per cent of it accounted for imports into Asean.

SOURCE— BERNAMA