Malaysia Update: Parliament Approves TPP

Malaysia Update | February 1, 2016
Authors: Marc Mealy, Ezani Mansor, Kim Yaeger, Emma Tabatabai and Brigitta Jakob
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

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THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 


Parliament Approves TPP

On January 28, the Dewan Negara (Upper House of Parliament) approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed tabled the motion in a special one-day sitting before Senators. "There were 3, 4 people who didn't agree but the majority did," said Minister Mustapa after the vote. The opposition was greater in the bipartisan Dewan Rakyat (Lower House), where the motion was passed one day earlier, on January 27. After two days of debate, 127 parliamentarians voted in favor of the pact while 84 opposed. The pact is set to be signed by country leaders in New Zealand on February 4, subject to each nation's approval. After Minister Mustapa signs the TPP, domestic ratification process will need to take place involving 26 amendments to 17 laws.

Attorney General Clears Prime Minister Najib in 1MDB Scandal

Malaysia’s Attorney General has closed an investigation into transfers of US$681 million into Prime Minister Najib Rajak’s personal bank accounts, stating that no laws had been broken. The Attorney General reaffirmed statements made earlier by PM Najib that the funds were a gift from the royal family in Saudi Arabia, not money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an indebted fund he championed.. “I am satisfied with the findings that the funds were not a form of graft or bribery,” Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali told a news conference last week, where a statement was issued that said PM Najib had returned US$620 million to the Saudi royal family because it had not been utilized. Malaysia's anti-corruption commission said it would seek a review of the Attorney General's decision. The funding scandal has stirred tension in Malaysian politics for the past seven months. Following the Attorney General’s statement, Swiss authorities have published preliminary conclusions from its own probe into 1MDB which found that billions may have been misappropriated between 2009 and 2013. The Swiss findings implicate various Malaysian public officials, as well as former and current officials of the United Arab Emirates. PM Najib does not appear to be the focus of the inquiry.

Recent Economic Revelations

Moody’s downgraded its credit-rating outlook for Malaysia, as the economy continues to face a challenging environment with falling commodity prices, foreign exchange market turbulence, and a slowing Chinese economy. The outlook on the A3 sovereign rating was cut from positive to stable, ranking Malaysia at Moody’s fourth-lowest investment grade. Large capital outflows—that contributed to the crippling ranking—were correlated to the continuing rout in oil prices, which comprised a major part of Malaysian government revenue. According to government estimates, for every $1 per barrel drop, Malaysia risks losing 300 million ringgit ($68 million), as some domestic and international projects may become unprofitable. Hence, as oil prices slide below $30 a barrel, Malaysia’s state oil firm, Petronas, is planning to slash as much as 50 billion ringgit ($11.4 billion) in capital and operating expenditure over the next four years. On the other hand, despite the gloomy revelations on some aspects of the economy, HSBC predicts that Malaysian currency will stabilize to the 4.40 level against the USD this year—after slumping about 19 percent last year.

Revised Budget 2016

Prime Minister Najib Razak revised Malaysia’s annual budget plan on January 28 to optimize the country's developmental and operational expenditures in the face of slower economic growth. Najib said the recalibration is necessary due to a slump in global oil prices and a slower economic growth in the United States and China. When Budget 2016 was unveiled in Parliament last October, the crude oil price was at US$48 per barrel. However prices have fallen to US$30 per barrel since the budget was presented. For every US$1 drop in oil prices, the Malaysian government loses around RM300 million (US$70 million) in revenue. Eleven recalibrated measures announced, including subsidy cuts, a new consumption levy, and higher taxes for the wealthy. A full list of the measures can be found here.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

National Affairs
PM Urges Three Ministries To Formulate Stem Action Plan
Brazil and Malaysia fall in corruption index as both countries are rocked by scandal
Reduced risks of political instability for Malaysia: S&P's
Malaysia Closes Investigation Into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Funds
Wahid : Revision to Budget 2016 not an austerity measure
+ Time to move on from 1MDB scandal: Bank Negara Malaysia's Zeti
+ Malaysia to amend laws to target environmental pollutors

Customs
Malaysia's Customs Dept seeks heavier penalties over illegal cigarettes
Myanmar halts sending workers to Malaysia over visa fees
Malaysia To Venture Into New Areas Of Cooperation With China To Boost Exports

Economics
Najib presents revised 2016 Budget
Bank Negara seen taking more steps as liquidity remains tight
Weak ringgit contributing to Malaysia’s resilient trade performance, says MIDF Research
Malaysia to see 3.6% GDP growth this year, says HSBC
Oil shock sends Malaysian economy skidding
Malaysia's five year bond yield falls to lowest since 2013
What to expect for the car market in 2016
Mida sees good flow of investments

Energy
Malaysia Cuts Growth Forecast, Cuts Budget as Oil Slides
Malaysia’s Petronas to Slash $11.4 Billion in Capital, Operating Expenses
Malaysia's CPO stock level declines on biodiesel plan
Digi is first in Malaysia to test hydrogen-powered base stations
Lundin completes Bambazon exploration well, offshore Malaysia

Financial Services
As oil prices tumble, Moody’s puts 120 energy firms on downward review
Khazanah invests in China’s WeLab, eyes growing consumer loan market
Ringgit to stabilise at 4.40 to US dollar, says HSBC
Foreign funds net sellers of Malaysian equities for second week
Shoppers Pay 0%, Retailers 10% in Strained Asean Credit Market

Food & Agriculture
Hanoi to export fruit to Japan and Malaysia

Health & Life Sciences
Addressing vaccine hesitancy

ICT
Medium Has Been Blocked In Malaysia
Tap into e-commerce market to promote products, Malaysian firms urged
Malaysia's 145 Gbps Internet traffic peak in 2015 is just the beginning, says MyIX
Malaysia’s e-commerce ‘penetration’ to double in 2016: iPay88
Digi programme to digitally-empower more women
Malaysia to invest in high-tech villages

Infrastructure
Malaysia at fourth spot in world emerging market logistics ranking
New home sales to stay sluggish in 2016

Manufacturing
Textile and apparel industry supportive of TPPA
Manufacturers body says TPPA should be signed

TPP
Malaysian lawmakers approve TPP deal
TPPA crucial for Malaysia
TPP could bring in additional US$100 bln investment by 2027: Mustapa
Tok Pa: Malaysia will ensure TPPA a win-win deal
Govt winning hearts on TPPA, says minister
Minor Amendment To Laws Related To TPPA, Says Mustapa

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

PM Urges Three Ministries To Formulate Stem Action Plan Bernama 28th Jan 2016
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged three ministries to formulate an action plan for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to help the country achieve developed status. He said the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation can mobilise forces to plan and report to the National Science Council. "STEM is vital to help the country achieve developed status. It is also an important element in Science to Action (S2A). Mastery in STEM can still be enhanced," he said at the first meeting of the National Science Council (NSC) at Bangunan Perdana Putra, here today.

Brazil and Malaysia fall in corruption index as both countries are rocked by scandal DW 27th Jan 2016
Brazil and Malaysia, which both endured massive corruption scandals in 2015, suffered steep declines in the latest corruption perception index, which is produced annually by the watchdog organization Transparency International (TI). Among the 168 countries ranked by TI, Brazil suffered the steepest decline plunging seven notches to 76 . They scored just 38 points on the 0-100 scale, with 100 being a virtually corrupt-free society.

Reduced risks of political instability for Malaysia: S&P's New Straits Times 26th Jan 2016
Recent developments in Malaysia, including the Attorney-General's latest remarks clearing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak of criminal wrongdoing, have reduced the risks to the sovereign ratings said Standard and Poor's. "Recent developments suggest that a disorderly change of government is less likely and that the risks to credit support is now less," said Kim Eng Tan, who is senior director of sovereign & international public finance ratings, during a webcast. He however warned that risks could rise if there are such future developments.

Malaysia Closes Investigation Into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Funds The New York Times 26th Jan 2016
Malaysia’s attorney general said on Tuesday that he had closed an investigation into transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts because no laws had been broken. The decision, greeted with outrage and cynicism by the opposition, appears to prolong the embattled premiership of Mr. Najib, who has struggled to explain why nearly $700 million had been transferred to him. Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali told reporters at a hastily convened news conference on Tuesday in the country’s administrative capital, Putrajaya, that he had ordered the anticorruption commission to close the investigation into the money that Mr. Najib received.

Wahid : Revision to Budget 2016 not an austerity measure The Star Online 19th Jan 2016
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar clarified today that next week’s recalibration of the Budget 2016 would not be an austerity measure. “With lower expected oil revenue, we have to optimise our spending by focusing on projects with high economic impact,” he said during his keynote speech at Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd’s Global Research Briefing 2016 on Tuesday. The government is expected to announce the Budget 2016 revision this Jan 28 as oil slipped below US$29 per barrel, which was 40% lower than US$48 per barrel assumed by the government during budget announcement last year. “We cannot simply use the term 'austerity measures', but what we are looking for is to optimise or stretch our spending. We are not cutting spending simply for the sake of cutting spending,” Abdul Wahid said.

Time to move on from 1MDB scandal: Bank Negara Malaysia's Zeti CNBC 19th Jan 2016
As Asia braces itself for a turbulent year driven by an economic slowdown in China and a slump in commodity prices, Malaysia has an additional headache to worry about: its international reputation. Since last year, a state-owned investment fund, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), has been embroiled in one of Malaysia's worst political scandals that has left international investors wary. Malaysian authorities, including the central bank, have launched investigations, as have international bodies such as the FBI in the United States, into allegations of misappropriation of funds by 1MDB.

Malaysia to amend laws to target environmental pollutors Channel NewsAsia 19th Jan 2016
Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Minister is planning on amending legislation to enforce strict liability for those behind environmental pollution. The push comes at a time when Malaysians are up in arms over the sea and rivers turning red in Pahang state, supposedly due to pollution from bauxite mining. It is known worldwide as the main source of aluminium, but in Malaysia’s Pahang state, bauxite has earned a reputation as the source of environmental pollution and corruption. Despite the aluminium-making ore leaving layers of red dust and changing the colours of sea and rivers, the Department of Environment has found it difficult to charge those responsible for the environmental effects of bauxite mining.

Customs

Malaysia's Customs Dept seeks heavier penalties over illegal cigarettes Asia One 19th Jan 2016
The Customs Department wants heavier punishment meted out to business owners found to be selling contraband cigarettes in an effort to eradicate the items nationwide. Deputy director-general (enforcement and compliance) Datuk Matrang Suhaili said previously, investigations on selling and distribution of illicit cigarettes were carried out under the Customs Act 1967. However, to enable heavier punishment and as a warning to sellers, the Customs Department will enforce the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) Act 2007.

Myanmar halts sending workers to Malaysia over visa fees Anadolu Agency 18th Jan 2016
Labor agencies in Myanmar have suspended sending workers to Malaysia to protest against a tenfold increase in visa fees, officials said Monday. Malaysia has raised visa application costs from $6 to $57, prompting employment agencies to boycott the country, where an estimated one million Myanmar migrant workers – mostly illegal – live. According to the new system starting Monday, labor agencies are required to pay $26 in system charges and a $25 service charge in addition to the $6 visa fee for each Myanmar worker.

Malaysia To Venture Into New Areas Of Cooperation With China To Boost Exports Bernama 15th Jan 2016
Malaysia is looking forward to venture into new areas of collaboration with China, particularly in high-tech and automotive products, to enable its exports to China to bounce back. Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said the initiative would help strengthen bilateral trade ties between both countries. Malaysia's exports to China declined to about US$97 billion in 2015 from US$100 billion the previous year. "The decline in our exports to China is partly due to the world economic slowdown, China's stock market (turmoil) and weakening of the ringgit. However, it is just a temporary adjustment. "We have already signed an agreement of understanding with China, where we are targeting to achieve (exports worth) US$160 billion in 2017. At this moment, we just leave it as it is," he told reporters after the launch of the PxP Viral Social E-Commerce platform here, today.

Economics

Najib presents revised 2016 Budget The Star 28th Jan 2016
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) has announced a revised Budget 2016 to optimise the country's developmental and operational expenditures in the face of slower economic growth. The revised budget will include precautionary and proactive measures in managing national revenue and expenditures, while ensuring that the well-being of the people remained a priority. Najib said the recalibration is necessary due to a slump in global oil prices and a slower economic growth in the United States and China.

Bank Negara seen taking more steps as liquidity remains tight The Malaysian Insider 22nd Jan 2016
The Malaysian central bank's surprise cut in reserve requirements may not be enough to fix the country's funding constraints, with capital outflows and slow growth in bank deposits likely to force more easing measures, economists said. On Thursday, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) cut the statutory reserve requirement (SRR) ratio to 3.5% from 4%, effective February 1, while it kept its benchmark overnight policy rate (OPR) unchanged at 3.25%. The ringgit touched a near three-week high on Friday, following the BNM move, while banking stocks also got a boost. BNM also said it has injected RM40 billion into the market since early 2015 to boost liquidity.

Weak ringgit contributing to Malaysia’s resilient trade performance, says MIDF Research The Malaysian Insider 19th Jan 2016
The current condition of the ringgit contributes to the resilience of Malaysia’s trade performance, despite the deteriorating trade activity among Asian countries, according to MIDF Research. Despite seasonally adjusted month-on-month contraction for three consecutive months for non-oil domestic exports in Singapore — which contracted by 0.33%, 3.84% and 3.13% in October, November and December respectively — Singapore’s imports from Malaysia shows slight improvement, where the contraction fell from 10.2% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 9.6% y-o-y.

Malaysia to see 3.6% GDP growth this year, says HSBC The Malaysian Insider 19th Jan 2016
Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year is projected at 3.6% versus the estimated 4.7% for 2015, said HSBC Bank (M) Bhd. HSBC Asean economist Lim Su Sian said weak export figures, lower oil prices and slow domestic consumption would affect the GDP. "The severe slump in oil prices will pressure the country's exports and current account and these will be reflected in the GDP," she told a media briefing on the economic and foreign exchange outlook 2016.

Oil shock sends Malaysian economy skidding Strait Times 18th Jan 2016
In the 1990s, then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad crowned his modernisation of Malaysia with a new administrative city of Putrajaya and the world's tallest twin towers built using cash from the national oil company Petronas. And until 2014, about a third of government revenues came from Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) - the sole Malaysian entry in the Fortune 500 list of the largest companies in the world. Petronas, with operations in 50 countries, reported turnover of RM188 billion (S$61.1 billion) for the first nine months of last year, and net profit of RM23.8 billion. But the seemingly bottomless dive in oil prices over the past 18 months has ended the days of Malaysia living like a trust-fund kid. A dim global economic outlook has also depressed another major Malaysian commodity export, palm oil, as its price follows global oil gyrations.

Malaysia's five year bond yield falls to lowest since 2013 The Star Online 18th Jan 2016
Malaysian government bonds rose, driving the five-year yield to its lowest level since 2013, on speculation the nation's debt is luring investors amid a selloff in stocks. The yield on the notes has dropped 18 basis points in the past month, while the benchmark stock gauge lost 1.5 percent. Malaysia's 10-year bonds, which are rated the fourth-lowest investment grade by Standard & Poor’s, offer the second-highest yields among Southeast Asia's three biggest economies. The government will take measures to cut spending, including studying the privatization of projects, the finance ministry's top bureaucrat Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said Wednesday.

What to expect for the car market in 2016 The Malay Mail 18th Jan 2016
The last six months of 2015 has seen the Malaysian ringgit drop against the key currencies that affect Malaysian prices, namely the US dollar, the British pound, the Euro and the Japanese yen. Against this backdrop, the major car companies in Malaysia have already announced inevitable price increases for 2016, with the exception of Mercedes-Benz, which said it would maintain its prices, at least in the near future.

Mida sees good flow of investments New Straits Times 15th Jan 2016
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) is confident that it can maintain the momentum of investments coming into the country this year despite the global economic volatility. This was because Malaysia had a long history of industrial development which had resulted in a solid network of investor-friendly soft and hard infrastructure, said Mida chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.

Energy

Malaysia Cuts Growth Forecast, Cuts Budget as Oil Slides ABC News 28th Jan 2016
Malaysia on Thursday cut its 2016 growth forecast and slashed spending plans as the economy reels from the slump in oil prices, dealing a new setback to embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak. In a speech, Najib said the government had based the 2016 budget on oil prices averaging $48 a barrel, but that estimate has been lowered to $30-$35 a barrel. State oil company Petronas contributes about a third of all revenue collected by the Malaysian government, which loses around 300 million ringgit ($70 million) for every $1 drop in oil prices. Najib said economic growth will be between 4 and 4.5 percent this year, down from an earlier estimate of 4 to 5 percent.

Malaysia’s Petronas to Slash $11.4 Billion in Capital, Operating Expenses The Wall Street Journal 19th Jan 2016
Malaysia’s state oil firm, Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas, is planning to slash as much as 50 billion ringgit ($11.4 billion) in capital and operating expenditure over the next four years, according to an internal memo sent to staff by its chief executive. The plan comes as the continuing rout in oil prices has hurt major oil companies world-wide, with the price of Brent crude tumbling to $28 a barrel on Friday. The slide could spell a further drop in Petronas’s revenue and earnings, as some domestic and international projects may become unprofitable.

Malaysia's CPO stock level declines on biodiesel plan The Star 19th Jan 2016
The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) is optimistic over the outlook for the Malaysian palm oil industry, saying measures to reduce the crude palm oil (CPO) stockpile has started to show success. Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, the minister, said Malaysia's CPO stock level showed a reduction from 2.9 million tonnes to 2.6 million tonnes last month.

Digi is first in Malaysia to test hydrogen-powered base stations Telenor Group 25th Jan 2016
Digi is currently piloting a project to reduce its base stations’ dependency on diesel generators as sources of power. Its hybrid hydrogen fuel cell testing is made possible by a grant from the Green Technical Working Group under the Malaysia Technical Standard Forum Berhad, which is funded by the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission. The proof of concept, now being carried out at a pilot base station near Rompin, Pahang (pictured below) uses a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell system that is not only able to power base stations but also achieve zero Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

Lundin completes Bambazon exploration well, offshore Malaysia World Oil 25th Jan 2016
Lundin Petroleum’s wholly owned subsidiary Lundin Malaysia has completed the Bambazon exploration well, in Block SB307/SB308, offshore East Malaysia. The Bambazon well encountered approximately 15 m of net logged reservoir pay with oil shows over three main reservoir intervals. The well has been plugged and abandoned and will be expensed in the first quarter of 2016.

Financial Services

As oil prices tumble, Moody’s puts 120 energy firms on downward review The Malaysian Insider 22nd Jan 2016
Rating agency Moody's today placed large parts of the global oil and gas sector on review for a downgrade, as a crash of more than 70% in oil prices over the last 18 months has pulled down energy company stocks as well. The reviews affect oil and gas companies across the world, including the United States and Canada, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region (APAC) as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). "Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of 120 oil and gas companies on review for downgrade," the rating agency said in a statement.

Khazanah invests in China’s WeLab, eyes growing consumer loan market The Star Online 20th Jan 2016
Khazanah Nasional Bhd has invested in WeLab, one of China’s largest mobile lending and credit analytics platforms, to gain exposure to the country’s growing consumer loan market. The sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday its special purpose vehicle, Bukit Galla Investments Ltd. and several other parties were in a US$160mil Series B fundraising exercise. Khazanah managing director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the investment in WeLab continued to strengthen Khazanah’s presence in the innovation and technology sector internationally. “WeLab’s business model is attractive because the company cooperates with financial institutions to provide banking solutions on a purely online and mobile platform, while providing affordable credit to people who are unable to obtain financing through traditional channels,” he said.

Ringgit to stabilise at 4.40 to US dollar, says HSBC The Malaysian Insider 19th Jan 2016
The ringgit is expected to stabilise to the 4.40 level against the US dollar this year, said HSBC Hong Kong's head of foreign exchange research for Asia-Pacific, Paul Mackel. However, a key risk factor for the ringgit is weaker commodity prices. "China's renminbi is also an important part of the story. Its volatility, change in behaviour and nature. "I think it is a cause of concern for many, as acknowledged in the last few weeks," Mackel told a media briefing on economic and foreign exchange outlook today. Mackel was also of the view that the ringgit remains "fundamentally undervalued".

Foreign funds net sellers of Malaysian equities for second week The Sun Daily 19th Jan 2016
Foreign investors were the net sellers on Bursa Malaysia for the second week running, offloading RM762.9 million worth of equities last week, according to MIDF Research. However, it said the intensity of the selldown was not as severe as seen last year due to low foreign liquidity overhang in the local market. The selldown the week before was RM613.7 million. “Foreign funds were net sellers throughout the week but the amount did not exceed RM200 million during any of the days. Foreigners have been net sellers for seven consecutive trading days now,” MIDF Research said in a note yesterday.

Shoppers Pay 0%, Retailers 10% in Strained Asean Credit Market Bloomberg Business 18th Jan 2016
Families buying televisions are getting lower borrowing costs than the stores selling them, a reflection of the toll taken on Southeast Asia retailers by flagging consumer demand and e-commerce rivalry. Courts Asia Ltd., which offers shoppers zero percent long-term credit on higher-end products, has seen its Singapore dollar bond yields rise 26 basis points to 4.32 percent in the past six months and is trying to refinance the note ahead of its May repayment. The yield on U.S. currency bonds of Parkson Retail Group Ltd., part of a Malaysian retailer which operates across Southeast Asia, has soared 321 basis points to 10.23 percent.

Food & Agriculture

Hanoi to export fruit to Japan and Malaysia Fresh Plaza 19th Jan 2016
The Service of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi, the Malay company, Fresh farm SDN BHD and the Japanese group, Meika Shoki, signed an agreement on the 14th January on an international value chain for Canh oranges, Dien grapefruit and longans. The Malay and Japanese partners will help the Vietnamese capital to export these fruits to Malaysia and Japan.

Health & Life Sciences

Addressing vaccine hesitancy The New Straits Times 17th Jan 2016
Vaccine hesitancy — the delay or refusal by misinformed people to accept vaccination despite availability of services — promises to be a major threat to the wellbeing of Malaysian children. Official statistics show that the number of parents refusing to immunise their children has gone up from 470 in 2013 to 1,292 last year. Anti-vaccination groups, which blame vaccines for a range of health problems, have somehow managed to persuade these parents — mostly urbanites — to switch to traditional or alternative medicine for their children. The Health Ministry considers this a worrying trend as Malaysia is not completely free of vaccine-preventable diseases.

ICT

Medium Has Been Blocked In Malaysia Fortune 27th Jan 2016
Medium has been blocked in Malaysia after the publishing platform refused a government request to take down a post on its site. In a special post on Medium, the company said it received an email last Wednesday from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the government agency charged with the regulation of the local communications industry. The agency asked Medium to take down a post that alleges the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak was trying to exit the country in the midst of a corruption scandal involving him. Medium says it requested more clarification, and the government has since responded by banning the site in Malaysia from last Friday onwards.

Tap into e-commerce market to promote products, Malaysian firms urged The Malay Mail 17th Jan 2016
Malaysia's Ambassador to China Datuk Zainuddin Yahya has urged Malaysian companies to tap the huge Chinese e-commerce market to promote their products. He said in the first three quarters of last year, Malaysia's trade with China in foodstuffs amounted to US$1.2 billion (RM5.31 billion), but Malaysia only exported US$350 million worth of foodstuffs to China.

Malaysia's 145 Gbps Internet traffic peak in 2015 is just the beginning, says MyIX MIS Asia 1st Feb 2016
Malaysian Internet Exchange (MyIX, also known as 'Persatuan Pengendali Internet Malaysia') has unveiled the latest national Internet data patterns recorded during year 2015, which showed Internet traffic peered over the Exchange's nodes peaking at 145 Gbps. During the official opening of a new MyIX office in Setiawalk, Puchong, MyIX chairman, Chiew Kok Hin, said, "The highest bandwidth travelling through MyIX infrastructure last year took place in November 2015 [whereby MyIX recorded 145 Gbps of data travelling per second]. When compared to November 2014, this shows a 53 per cent increase in data travelling per second through MyIX." With Netflix and iflix expected to fuel increasing demand within the National Internet Exchange, Chiew said that MyIX, an initiative under MCMC (national regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission), has expanded its operations with investments worth about RM , including the opening of the new RM1.4 million (US$340,000) Puchong office.

Malaysia’s e-commerce ‘penetration’ to double in 2016: iPay88 Digital News Asia 1st Feb 2016
Despite the economic gloom, with GDP (gross domestic products) growth expected to slow down, Kuala Lumpur-based online payment systems provider iPay88 Sdn Bhd believes that the e-commerce sector in Malaysia is poised for “strong growth” in 2016. The time is ripe, with domestic market demand “well-supported by wide and stable online connectivity and broadband solutions,” according to its cofounder and executive director Chan Kok Long (pic above). “We see more and more Malaysian companies moving their businesses online,” he told a recent media briefing at iPay88’s office in Kuala Lumpur.

Digi programme to digitally-empower more women Digital News Asia 1st Feb 2016
DIGI Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, through its Empower Societies initiative, has launched its Digi Wanita Era Digital (Digital Era Women) programme to “bring the power of the Internet” to more Malaysian women, it said in a statement. The new programme – with the unfortunate acronym WED, which led to an unfortunate tagline of ‘Digi WEDs women and the Internet’ – is a nationwide outreach to inspire and empower women in Malaysia through greater Internet adoption and education on basic Internet skills, according to Digi. WED is a collaboration between Digi, the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO).

Malaysia to invest in high-tech villages Gov Insider 25th Jan 2016
The Malaysian Government is bringing technology to villages in a new rural development project announced this week. Prime Minister Najib Razak launched the ‘Intelligent Community’ project, using sensor technology to improve communications and safety for villages. Public facilities in villages will be hooked up with CCTV cameras, like in schools, gardens, police stations, community centres, health clinics and police stations. Sensors in nearby rivers will warn residents of rising water levels. The project will also provide free internet and telephone calls so that residents can get access to better information for their businesses.

Infrastructure

Malaysia at fourth spot in world emerging market logistics ranking New Strait Times 19th Jan 2016
Malaysia’s drive to develop a world-class infrastructure and transport network propelled it to the fourth spot in a closely watched annual ranking of the world’s 45 leading emerging markets. Malaysia surged past Saudi Arabia (5), Brazil (6) and Indonesia (7), according to 2016 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. The index ranks emerging markets based on their size, business conditions, infrastructure and other factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.

New home sales to stay sluggish in 2016 The Edge Property 16th Jan 2016
This year saw 18 residential projects launched, of which 11 were private condominiums and seven were executive condos (ECs). Four of the projects had more than 1,000 units, namely High Park Residences (1,390), Sims Urban Oasis (1,024), Kingsford Waterbay (1,165) and Sol Acres (1,327). High Park Residences was considered the biggest private condo to be launched since the 1,715-unit D’Leedon hit the market in December 2010. Yet, it sold 1,100 units in one weekend as selling prices were below $1,000 psf. High Park Residences is 93% sold to date, making it the best-selling project of 2015.

Manufacturing

Textile and apparel industry supportive of TPPA The Malaysian Insider 20th Jan 2016
The textile and apparel industry players are supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which is expected to promote at least 30% growth in export revenue for the industry. Malaysian Knitting Manufacturers Association (MKMA) president Tang Chong Chin said that the association was confident that the sector’s business growth is expected to double in five years. “As a player in the market, with that kind of elimination of duty, given the Yarn Forward Rule (YFR) and Short Supply List (SSL), we are quite positive to achieve this given the sufficient labour force to support our industry,” Tang told reporters, after attending the dialogue on potential economic impact of TPPA on the textile and apparel industry in Malaysia.

Manufacturers body says TPPA should be signed The Star Online 20th Jan 2016
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) should be signed for the better good of the country. At a joint press conference here on Wednesday, FMM president Datuk Seri Saw Choo Boon said the deal was a good one for Malaysia given the increased importance of trade today. The government, he added, managed to secure a good deal in terms of the number of concessions. This deal would help the country move up the economic value chain. Commenting on allegations from some parties that the deal was not good for the country, Saw said these must be backed up by facts and not weak statements nor just allegations.

TPP

Malaysian lawmakers approve TPP deal Channel News Asia 27th Jan 2016
After two days of debate, Malaysian Members of Parliament on Wednesday (Jan 27) approved the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement. The lower house of Malaysia's parliament approved the deal with 127 MPsvoting in favour of the country's involvement in the TPP, while 84 MPs opposed it. "It's the beginning of a long journey," said Malaysia International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed after the decision was announced.

TPPA crucial for Malaysia The Star Online 19th Jan 2016
Malaysia will become significantly less attractive as an investment destination for multinational corporations (MNCs) if it does not become a signatory of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), says investment promotion agency InvestKL. The MNCs Malaysia has attracted so far come mostly from the United States, Japan and Singapore, all of whom have agreed to sign on to the agreement, thus signing on would make Malaysia and particularly Kuala Lumpur a more attractive investment destination. Not signing, warned InvestKL chairman Datuk Seri Michael Yam, would make Malaysia only “a second choice” for investors who prefer access to larger markets that the TPPA can give access to.

TPP could bring in additional US$100 bln investment by 2027: Mustapa New Straits Times 17th Jan 2016
Malaysia is expected to receive an additional investment of over US$100 billion (RM440 billion) by 2027 with the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. He said the projected investment figure is from a study by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers on the trade pact’s benefits for Malaysia.

Tok Pa: Malaysia will ensure TPPA a win-win deal The Star 17th Jan 2016
Malaysia is free to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) even after endorsing it next month, said Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. The International Trade and Industry Minister said Malaysia could exit the deal without having to pay any penalty, as stipulated in Chapter 30 of the proposed agreement. “If the agreement is detrimental to the country, we can always scram after giving a six-month notice,” he said when briefing on TPPA costs and benefits here Sunday.

Govt winning hearts on TPPA, says minister The Sun Daily 17th Jan 2016
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed is convinced the government is already winning the fight in convincing rakyat to accept the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as it will bring more benefits in the long run. "I see increased acceptance of the TPPA among those who opposed it earlier, including those from the opposition political parties, following the series of townhall meetings held lately," he said after the TPPA briefing session and #TambahPendapatan forum attended by nearly 1,500 people today. Stressing that TPPA is also a transformation agenda for the nation, Mustapa said the country's revenue would increase from US$107 billion (RM473.48 billion) to US$211 billion from 2018 until 2027.

Minor Amendment To Laws Related To TPPA, Says Mustapa Bernama 19th Jan 2016
Only minor amendments will be made to the 26 state and Federal laws and regulations related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. "There will not be much amendments and if there are, they will be very minor. Besides, it will only involve a circular which has already been identified by the Attorney-General," he told reporters at Export Day 2016 organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) here today.