Malaysia Clippings | November 1 - 6, 2012

Top Story: Canada’s PM, in blocking Petronas, says nation open to investment but seeks reciprocity
Canada temporarily blocked Malaysian state oil firm Petronas' C$5.17bil (US$5.17bil) bid for gas producer Progress Energy Resources on Oct 20, giving it 30 days to make new representations to the government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in some of his toughest remarks on foreign investment yet, signaled a willingness to block foreign purchases of Canadian companies if other countries are not open to Canadian investment.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • 2013 Malaysia investment climate to be 'challenging’- MIDA chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Noharuddin Nordin said there is an economic slowdown globally such as in Europe and the US, as well as their trading partners like China and India. "The global supply chain will be challenging next year and Malaysia, as part of that global supply chain, will be affected by the slowdown. But what is important is how to take advantage of the slowdown. However, Malaysia is sticking to its target of attracting US$10 billion (RM30 billion) foreign direct investment (FDI) this year, compared with US$9.4 billion last year. 
  • M’sia and EFTA agree to start FTA talks- Malaysia and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) today agreed to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today. However, the date to start the negotiations has not been decided, and would be mutually agreed to by both sides, he said.
IN THIS UPDATE:
National Affairs
+ Over 4,500 ask for delay in implementation of minimum wage
+ Proton set to become major regional integrated car industry player
+ M’sian aerospace program needs more funds to soar with developed countries
+ Govt confident programs like WIF-KL will boost innovations from M’sians
ICT
+ Rais: Global harmonisation on ICT principles vital for data protection
+ South Korean ICT industry keen to turn M’sia base for ASEAN, Middle East markets
Food and Agriculture
+ GM crops to boost M'sia food security
+ 'We’re ready for global food crisis’
Financial Services
BNM, SC enhance scope of cooperation
+ Bursa welcomes Chinese IPOs
+ Zeti says M’sia can withstand capital flows
+ More experts for financial services
+ Financial advisers assoc. hopes for single licence
Credit access and security for investors pushing up M’sia global competitiveness
Health and Life Sciences
+ Liow: M’sian medical specialists abroad keen to return home
+ M’sia to work with New York's Sackler Institute For Nutrition Science
Human Capital Development
+ Muhyiddin: Onus for transformation is on the people 
National Affairs

Over 4,500 companies ask for delay in implementation of minimum wage | The Star, Nov 4
Over 4,500 companies had requested for a delay in the implementation of the minimum wage due Jan 1, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. The requests were received by the National Wages Council and the companies said they "are not ready to implement minimum wages," he said.

Proton set to become major regional integrated car industry player | Business Times, Nov 3
Proton Holdings Bhd is expected to become a major integrated car industry player in the region, says Hong Leong Investment Bhd Research (HLIB Research). In a note on Thursday, HLIB Research said this followed DRB-HICOM Bhd's necessary and right measures to integrate Proton into the group at a fast pace. "Proton is expected to once again regain market leadership with good product and service offerings with leaner cost structures, collaboration with leading world carmakers (with VW and Honda) and strong management," it said.

M’sian aerospace program needs more funds to soar with developed countries | BERNAMA, Oct 29
The Malaysian aerospace science programme needs more funds to soar on par with developed countries. Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry Deputy Secretary-General Prof Datin Dr Khatijah Mohd Yusoff said tremendous efforts were needed to ensure Malaysia's level of achievement in aerospace was comparable with other countries. She felt there was still room for improvement and more funds were needed to support the aerospace programme.

Govt confident programs like WIF-KL will boost innovations from M’sians | BERNAMA, Nov 2
The government is confident that programmes encouraging science and innovations such as the World Innovation Forum Kuala Lumpur (WIF-KL), will be able to further bring about innovations from the people by 2020. In a statement to Bernama today, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation said that as of October 31 this year, it had set out 554 science and innovation based programmes drawn up with the help of various government bodies and private organisations.

Human Capital Development

Muhyiddin: Onus for transformation is on the people | Malaysian Insider, Nov 5
The success of Malaysia’s transformation programmes hinges on the willingness and determination of all Malaysians to change and transform, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today. To achieve such a success, Muhyiddin outlined the following eight areas which needed to be addressed. They were to re-energise the private sector; develop a quality workforce; build a competitive domestic economy; strengthen the public sector; create a transparent and market friendly affirmative action; develop a knowledge base infrastructure; enhance the sources of growth; and ensure sustainability growth.

MyCC looks into culling activities among farmers for anti-competitive elements | BERNAMA, Nov 1
The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) is looking into the culling of five million layer chickens by farmers for any anti-competitive elements. The MyCC will undertake an initial information gathering process to gain a more comprehensive overview of the issues before any decision to conduct a formal investigation is made.

Financial Services

BNM, SC enhance scope of cooperation | Business Times, October 31
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the scope of collaboration and cooperation. In a joint statement, BNM and SC said the MOU will focus on common areas of interest that were important to promote financial sector and capital market stability. "It takes into account the changing financial and the new international regulatory regime," the statement said.

Bursa welcomes Chinese IPOs | China Daily, Oct 31
Bursa Malaysia, the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur, hopes to generate larger market capitalization. Malaysia's Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim has called for more Chinese corporations to get listed on the nation's stock exchange.He explained that China is the world's second largest economy and that more China-based initial public offerings can "deepen and broaden" the market.
Malaysia intends to upgrade its economic standing in global business rankings by encouraging more stock market investments and to add more public-listings of companies on its stock exchange.

Zeti says M’sia can withstand capital flows | Businessweek, Oct 15
Malaysia can manage capital inflows due to monetary easing in advanced economies, central bank Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said, as Asian nations take steps to prevent asset bubbles after the U.S. boosted stimulus. The country has policy tools and the flexibility to absorb any excess liquidity, said Zeti, who oversaw Malaysia’s response to capital outflows during the Asian financial crisis more than a decade ago. The Malaysian economy is withstanding the impact of weakening global growth, with gross domestic product forecast to expand about 5 percent this year, Zeti said in an Oct. 14 interview in Tokyo.

More experts for financial services | The Star, Nov 4
Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UniRazak) president and vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Md Zabid Abdul Rashid says the foreseen rapid expansion of the financial services sector will inevitably create a high demand in the next few years for professionals working in this sector. The university, he says, has developed a two-pronged strategy to address the need for human capital in the services industry and aid the ETP.

Credit access and security for investors pushing up M’sia global competitiveness | BERNAMA, Nov 2
Access to credit and security for investors are the main factors that have enabled the World Bank to recently push up Malaysia to the 12th position in the list of most competitive and business friendly countries in the world. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said Malaysia's position in the list, which has been improving every year, has indirectly given a push to civil servants, especially those in the Finance Ministry to excel in their duties to enhance further the country's position.

Financial advisers assoc. hopes for single licence | The Star, Oct 31
Local financial advisers need not apply for separate licences to provide insurance and investment consultation in the near future, if the single licensing framework proposed by the Association of Financial Advisers Malaysia (AFA) goes through. With the joint regulatory oversight by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission (SC), AFA hoped the harmonisation of existing regulations would go through next year, allowing financial advisers a fair playing field with other financial services intermediaries like insurance agents and banks.

Food and Agriculture

GM crops to boost M'sia food security | The Sun Daily, Oct 23
Rapid population growth, climate change, escalating food prices, diminishing agricultural land and water resources pose a serious setback in increasing food output to feed the world's growing population. Hence, scientists have to seek better solutions for farmers to increase productivity on smaller tracts of land using less water, energy, fertilisers and pesticides. Local researchers, like their counterparts in the developed world, believe that Genetic Modification (GM) Technology could well be the holy grail for enhancing the country's food output in the future.

'We’re ready for global food crisis’ | New Straits Times, Nov 5
The government's efforts to increase food production are bearing fruit, even as Malaysia prepares to face a worldwide food crisis next year. With the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry ensuring Malaysia has food to tide itself over during this period, several short- and long-term plans have been formulated to deal with the problem. Although the rapid expansion of the economy over the past two decades has resulted in a change of food consumption patterns, the government is confident Malaysia can weather the crisis.

ICT

Rais: Global harmonisation on ICT principles vital for data protection | BERNAMA, Oct 29
Global harmonisation of the information and communication technology (ICT) principles continues to be a preferred approach in addressing future data protection, including in matters of protecting end-user information and country's sovereignty. This was an understanding among ICT stakeholders gathered for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2012. Citing Malaysia's stance, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said ICT related security must be an important agenda in the international community to prevent encroachment into people's privacy as well as sovereignty of a country.

South Korean ICT industry keen to turn M’sia base for ASEAN, Middle East markets | BERNAMA, Oct 29
The South Korean ICT industry is keen to explore the potential of using Malaysia as the base for the Asean and Middle East markets through the ICT business missions to the country. The National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) said the South Korean ICT Industry viewed Malaysia as a relatively low-cost location with world-class infrastructures and facilities.

Health and Life Sciences

Liow: M’sian medical specialists abroad keen to return home | The Star, Nov 4
The Government's efforts to bring home Malaysian medical specialists serving abroad through Talent Corp is showing positive results, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. He said more than 100 notable Malaysian medical specialists serving in Australia, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Ireland had stated their interest to return to serve in Malaysia. "Besides being offered appropriate positions, financial carrots have also been offered to bring them back," he told reporters after launching Kulim Hospital Imaging Department's CT Scan service here Sunday.

M’sia to work with New York's Sackler Institute For Nutrition Science | BERNAMA, Nov 1
Malaysia will work closely with New York's Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science to combat the increasing trend of non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as obesity and diabetes among Malaysians, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Thursday. He said the institute would provide Malaysia with the inputs on how to deal with overnutrition and undernutrition among Malaysians.