Malaysia's solid exports, demand likely spurred faster first-quarter growth Reuters 18th May 2017
Malaysia is expected to report on Friday that its pace of economic growth picked up in the first quarter, thanks to surging exports and resilient domestic demand. A strengthening economy is pivotal for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is widely expected to call early polls this year amid concerns that rising living costs could cut support for his long-ruling coalition. The median forecast in a Reuters poll of 12 economists was for 4.8 percent annual growth in January-March, up from 4.5 percent the previous quarter. If the pace is 4.8 percent, January-March will be the best period since the second quarter of 2015. Exports from Southeast Asia's third-largest economy rose strongly in early 2017, aided by China's push to rebuild inventory and higher commodity prices, Standard Chartered said in a May 12 research note.
TN50: Najib holds court with entertainment industry movers and shakers NST Online 17th May 2017
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak met the movers and shakers of the country's entertainment industry to glean their views for the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative in a dialogue session tonight.
Iskandar Malaysia, an ideal gateway for EU into Asean NST Online 17th May 2017
Iskandar Malaysia is well-positioned to become a platform for companies from the European Union (EU) countries to serve their customers in the Asean region. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said Iskandar Malaysia is well situated in the Asean region for these companies to enter a market with a population of about 650 million.
MCMC yet to receive any report on Wannacry in Malaysia NST Online 16th May 2017
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry has yet to receive any report regarding the spread of the Wannacry ransomware.
Meeting to finalise COC framework the star 16th May 2017
Senior Asean and Chinese officials are meeting in China this week to finalise the draft framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the contested South China Sea.
Najib joins world leaders at Beijing Belt and Road Forum roundtable summit NST Online 15th May 2017
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is attending a Roundtable Summit together with other world leaders in Beijing for the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The second and final day of the forum was held at the picturesque Yanqi Lake International Conference Center in the northeast suburbs of Beijing. Najib, in a post on his Facebook, said he was enjoying "good discussions thus far at the Belt and Road Forum". He said he also had "the pleasure of sitting next to President Xi (Jinping) during lunch attended by more than 30 world leaders".
Najib: Doors have opened for Malaysian entrepreneurs in China The Star Online 15th May 2017
Doors are opening wide for the Malaysian businesses in China due to the amicable ties between the nations and leaders of both countries, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Najib - who is concluding his five-day working visit to China on Monday - said that many Malaysian entrepreneurs and corporate figures took the opportunity to be here to have business discussions with the Chinese. "It is as if they now have the key to open doors that were tricky to access in the past because of certain obstacles. Things are easier now as the Chinese have taken the cue and read the signals from the top level," Najib told Malaysian reporters.
Najib: M'sia committed to help realise OBOR initiative NST Online 15th May 2017
Malaysia is committed to help fully realise China’s “project of the century” to reshape more than half the world through a land and sea route called the One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR) which world leaders gathered here are confident will facilitate significant economic and cultural exchange. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, at a press conference at the end of the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation here, described developments following Malaysia’s support for OBOR and its close ties with China as “very exciting”, not just for businessmen but also the people through the creation of more jobs.
Mustapa to lead M’sian delegation to WEF Asean 2017 the star 10th May 2017
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed will lead the Malaysian delegation to the three-day World Economic Forum on (WEF) on Asean 2017 in Phnom Penh, starting today.
Blueprint to boost productivity The Star Online 9th May 2017
To become an advanced nation by 2020, Malaysia must record a labour productivity growth of 3.7% annually, among other conditions. But it has been registering a mere 1.8% between 2011 and 2015. The Government has come up with the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint to help rectify this. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the blueprint sets out strategies and plans to ensure the country achieves its productivity targets. “Productivity is the main driver of our economic growth. “While we have managed to record encouraging economic growth amid global uncertainties and challenges, we need to further strengthen our resilience. “We can do so by boosting productivity because this will ensure sustainable growth,” Najib said at the launch of the blueprint.
Idris Jala: Malaysia on track to achieving high-income nation status by 2020 the star 9th May 2017
Malaysia's goal of achieving a high-income nation status by 2020 is still on track despite the challenges faced due to the current global economic climate, says Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
Minister: Make Sepanggar a regional transshipment hub the star 8th May 2017
Sabah will fully benefit from the cabotage exemption policy if the Sepanggar port near Kota Kinabalu is made into a regional trans-shipment hub, state Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang said.
Islamic financing can facilitate sustainable developments: SC, World Bank NST Online 8th May 2017
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) and the World Bank Group say more sustainable developments can be created when Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) employ Islamic infrastructure financing in their projects.
Off to score on the Belt and Road The Star Online 7th May 2017
It will be another significant trip when Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visits the Middle Kingdom this week. This came on the heels of his trip in March to India, where he inked 31 deals worth US$36bil (RM156bil). The Prime Minister, whose last visit to China was as recent as November last year, has a number of events that are no less prominent this time. Besides meeting President Xi Jinping, among other top Chinese leaders, he will visit the home base of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Then he will head north to Beijing to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on May 14 and 15. There will be signing of memorandums of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in Belt and Road projects.
Govt seeks ways to create new jobs the star 2nd May 2017
The Government has called for more proactive measures to create new jobs to replace those that are rapidly disappearing under the assault of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
PAS' stance may split votes in next Malaysia polls The Straits Times 2nd May 2017
Malaysia's opposition Islamist party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), is confident of going it alone at the next general election. PAS leaders say they could win an ambitious 40 of the 222 parliamentary seats and capture five of Malaysia's 13 states without any alliance. This means the next election will likely see many three-cornered fights, with PAS and another opposition party fighting for the same seat against the ruling Barisan Nasional, and split votes for the opposition.
Malaysia's inflation up 5.1% on higher cost of fuel The Star Online 20th Apr 2017
Higher fuel prices sent the rate of inflation for March soaring to its highest level in nearly nine years, with the consumer price index (CPI) rising 5.1%. With the headline inflation rate the highest since November 2008 but lower than expectations, it was the transport sub-sector, which tracks the price of petrol at the pump, that contributed much to the rise in inflation after it rose 23% from a year ago as the recovering price of global crude oil pushed prices higher in Malaysia. The Department of Statistics said that apart from transport, food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 4.1%, recreation services and culture 3%, health 2.6%, restaurants and hotels 2.3%, and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 2.1%. “The average price of one litre of RON95 petrol was RM2.29 in March 2017 compared with RM1.60 in March 2016. As for RON97, the average price increased to RM2.59 in March 2017 compared with RM1.95 in March 2016,” said the Department of Statistics in a statement yesterday.
Malaysia may gain from US protectionist move - report the star 19th Apr 2017
Malaysia stands to gain if the US imposes tariffs on the top five imports from countries with which it has high trade deficits, namely China, Mexico, Japan and Germany.
Najib: Bumi agenda not ‘zero-sum’, won’t sideline others malaymail 19th Apr 2017
The federal government’s blueprint to uplift the Bumiputera community is not at the expense of Malaysia’s remaining ethnic groups, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.
Malaysia and Laos to enhance ties the star 10th May 2017
Malaysia and Laos are eager to explore potentials in developing the halal industry to diversify trade activities between the two countries. The two countries are also planning to enhance investment cooperation with Laos expressing commitment to ensure ease of doing business for Malaysian investors.
Asean tells EU to practise equal opportunity, recognise certifications NST Online 4th May 2017
Asean nations’ protest against the European Union’s (EU) Resolution on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rainforest showed increasing awareness and cooperation among developing nations in dismantling barriers to trade.
Malaysia, Indonesia to lead defence against EU restrictions NST Online 2nd May 2017
Defense & Security
Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producers, will lead Asean’s defence against the European Union’s (EU) move to restrict imports of the commodity over claims that the industry is causing deforestation.
ToR will ensure Malaysia-Thailand Army ties further enhanced Astro Awani 18th May 2017
The Malaysian Army and Royal Thai Army will further enhance existing ties and cooperation through the signing of the Terms of Reference (ToR). Malaysian Army Chief General Datuk Seri Zulkiple Kassim said ToR would ensure the relationship between the two armies is expanded to include matters outside the General Border Committee (GBC).
Agency integration needed, says DPM the star 10th May 2017
Malaysia will beef up security controls to address cross-border crimes by streamlining the relevant agencies’ standard operating procedures, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
Malaysia, Indonesia to counter EU decision to ban palm oil-based biofuel The Star Online 26th Apr 2017
Malaysia and Indonesia will send a joint mission to Europe next month to counter the European Union (EU) resolution which proposed to curb the use of oil palm-based biofuel by 2020. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Mah Siew Keong said he would be going to Europe with Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution next month in a bid to stall the resolution.
BNM governor Muhammad upholds his own central banker brand NST Online 2nd May 2017
Transparency in financial stability policies is the way to go for Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim and he eagerly looks forward to feedback from the public. premiums.
Malaysian stocks, ringgit rebound on higher crude oil price Free Malaysia Today 2nd May 2017
Food & Agriculture
Better late than never. The Philippine peso and Malaysian ringgit have clambered aboard the Asian currency rally, advancing against the dollar and spurring flows into equity markets. Global funds have poured US$485 million (RM2.1 billion) into Malaysian stocks and US$198 million into the Philippines since the end of March as the countries’ currencies strengthened 2% and 0.5%, respectively. That’s a dramatic turnaround considering both declined more than 4% in 2016 and hit decade lows this year. The driving forces are slightly different. For the Philippines, investors are encouraged by tax reforms aimed at raising more than US$3 billion in annual revenue to fund infrastructure spending. In Malaysia, the recovery in commodity prices has burnished the appeal of equities. If the Philippine tax amendments are passed, it would be “quite positive for equity flows and domestic resident flows as it’ll improve efficiency within the economy,” said Wilfred Wee, a Singapore-based fund manager at Investec Asset Management Ltd, which oversaw US$114 billion as at the end of 2016.
Malaysian palm oil price reverses losses to see slight gains ahead of data The Star Online 29th Apr 2017
Malaysian palm oil futures were slightly higher on Friday evening, reversing losses from earlier in the day due to low demand, pending the release of data and ahead of a long weekend. The market will be closed on Monday for Labour Day public holiday. The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange was up 0.1 percent at 2,508 ringgit ($578.01) a tonne by the end of the trading day.
Malaysian palm oil price hits 8-month low on concerns over rising output The Star Online 19th Apr 2017
Health & Life Sciences
Malaysian palm oil futures fell on Tuesday, recording a fifth consecutive session of losses, weighed down by forecasts of rising output and tracking weaker performing rival oils. The benchmark palm oil contract for July delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange edged down 1 percent to 2,473 ringgit ($560.90) a tonne at the end of the trading day. It earlier fell to an intraday low of 2,468 ringgit, its lowest levels since Aug. 11. Traded volumes stood at 59,760 lots of 25 tonnes each on Tuesday evening. "The market is down on weaker soyoil, and also on continued concerns of higher supplies both in Malaysia and Indonesia," a Kuala Lumpur-based futures trader said.
More Malaysians having kidney problems, about 7,000 cases recorded each year NST Online 10th May 2017
The number of Malaysians with kidney problems has been increasing, with 6,000 to 7,000 new cases recorded each year. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the ministry estimated that the number of cases from stage one to stage five had now reached 400,000, including 40,000 of them at stage five and requiring haemodialysis.
Cyber security expert: WannaCry ransomware has surfaced in Malaysia the star 15th May 2017
The WannaCry ransomware affecting IT users around the world has surfaced in Malaysia, said LGMS founder C.F. Fong. The cyber security expert said that a director of one of his client companies discovered the ransomware on his personal laptop on Saturday morning.
Malaysia escaped global ransomware cyberattacks.. for now NST Online 13th May 2017
Malaysia appears to have escaped the brunt of the massive global ransomware cyberattacks which hit various countries yesterday. The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said that for now, there have been no reports of such activities occurring in Malaysia.
Pos Malaysia, Lazada to develop e-commerce regional distribution centre NST Online 4th May 2017
Pos Malaysia is collaborating with Lazada (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd on the development of an e-commerce regional distribution centre in Sepang. The memorandum of collaboration was signed by Pos Malaysia's group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh and Hans-Peter Ressel, Lazada Malaysia's CEO.
Are businesses tapping into the potential of digital transformation? the star 2nd May 2017
Digital innovation is gaining importance. Asia is fast becoming a key area of digital innovation. This region is estimated to account for about 50% of global Internet users estimated at around 2.8 to three billion since Asia is the largest regional e-commerce market.
Digital economy could add more than 20% to Malaysia's GDP before 2020 The Star Online 19th Apr 2017
The contribution of the digital economy to Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP), at about 17% currently, is expected to exceed the projected target of 20% earlier than 2020, said Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah. He expressed confidence that the level could be achieved earlier as Malaysia had started making waves in the digital economy arena this year, first with the launch of the Digital Free Trade Zone or DFTZ on March 22 and now, the Malaysia Digital Hub. "Malaysia can also leverage on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the DFTZ is an area where our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from partnerships with big players like Alibaba. "Seeing the rate at which Digital Economy Corp Sdn Bhd (MDEC) is bringing in the investments, we can achieve it (target of 20% to GDP) earlier than 2020," he said after officiating the Malaysia Digital Hub and Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
HK’s MTR Corp plans joint bid with China Railway Corp to build KL-Singapore link the star 16th May 2017
Hong Kong’s rail operator plans to join forces with a state-owned mainland Chinese rail giant to bid to build a multibillion-dollar rail line between Malaysia and Singapore, in its first attempt to capitalise on China’s global trade and commerce strategy, a top official said.
Hong Kong's MTR Corp plans joint bid with mainland rail giant to build Kuala Lumpur-Singapore link The Straits Times 15th May 2017
Hong Kong's rail operator plans to join forces with a state-owned mainland Chinese rail giant to bid to build a multibillion-dollar rail line between Malaysia and Singapore, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP). MTR Corporation chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said his company was interested in partnering with China Railway Corporation to bid for a contract to build the 350km high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The project would be MTR Corp's first investment under China's "Belt and Road" plan. "We want to expand into new markets under the 'Belt and Road' initiative," Mr Ma said. "But we are careful in considering factors such as financial viability of projects and risks."
Najib witnesses signing of ECRL Phase Two construction agreement NST Online 13th May 2017
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today witnessed the signing of a supplementary agreement to facilitate the construction of the second phase of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) in Malaysia.
I make no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure - Najib NST Online 13th May 2017
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says he makes no apologies for wanting to build world-class infrastructure for Malaysia despite criticism from the opposition politicians. Pointing out that some opposition politicians had said the government was selling the country’s sovereignty by agreeing to develop some projects with China, Najib stressed that such projects open up huge swathes of the country.
High-speed rail: 6 consultancy contracts awarded The Straits Times 12th May 2017
Six contracts have been awarded for reference design consultants for the upcoming Kuala Lumpur- Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR). The contracts were given last month by MyHSR - a unit under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance tasked with undertaking the rail project - to Jacobs Engineering Services, Ranhill Consulting, HSS Integrated, Aecom, as well as a consortium made up of engineering firms Systra and Meinhardt. The firms are expected to provide consultancy services in the designing of stations and other infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels.
Report: Dalian Wanda may lead development of Bandar Malaysia the star 9th May 2017
Dalian Wanda Group, controlled by China's richest man, has emerged as the frontrunner for the development of the Bandar Malaysia township, following the surprise move last week by Malaysia to boot out a consortium that was to buy a majority stake in the project, Singapore's The Straits Times reported on Tuesday.
High speed rail terminal project intact The Star Online 9th May 2017
The construction of the station for the high-speed rail (HSR) project in Bandar Malaysia will not be affected by the changes in the status of the master developer of the project. A consortium led by Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) is still in negotiations with Bandar Malaysia – wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance Inc (MoF) – to build an integrated transportation terminal to cater to the HSR project. “The consortium signed an agreement directly with Bandar Malaysia, which is wholly owned by the MoF. Negotiations are ongoing on the design and details of the project and it depends on the alignment of the HSR,” said a source close to the authorities handling the project.
Bandar Malaysia deal in spotlight as land tops RM20b The Edge Markets 6th May 2017
The value of the Bandar Malaysia tract within the old airport site in Sungai Besi here may have topped RM20 billion in anticipation of the mass rapid transit (MRT) and Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail projects, The Edge Malaysia business and investment weekly reported. The Edge Malaysia, in its latest May 8 - 14 issue, quoted an executive familiar with the planned Bandar Malaysia property project as saying Bandar Malaysia's profile had also improved after the Malaysian Government took over the project from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). “When Bandar Malaysia was tendered back in 2015, it attracted over 40 bids. Today, the land is even more attractive. It does not have the 1MDB stigma. Furthermore, visibility has improved for turnkey projects like the high-speed rail and MRT,” he said.
Bandar Malaysia fallout: China's loss, Japan's gain? Free Malaysia Today 4th May 2017
In the wake of a possible fallout between the Chinese and Malaysian governments over the Bandar Malaysia property deal lapsing, Japan is increasing its push to get a lucrative tender for a high-speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Japan gears up for Malaysia-Singapore rail tender Nikkei Asian Review 4th May 2017
Japan is stepping up its efforts ahead of a tender for the proposed 350 km high-speed rail linking Malaysia's capital to Singapore. dustry and NEC Corp.
Malaysia manufacturing PMI rises to 50.7 in April Nikkei Asian Review 2nd May 2017
The Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 50.7 in April from 49.5 in March. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while one below 50 points to a contraction. April's data recorded the above-50 level for the first time since March 2015. "April's survey marked a somewhat positive turnaround for the Malaysian manufacturing economy, with output and new orders rising concurrently for the first time in over two years," said Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey. "Growth is being underpinned by strengthened sales from abroad, which was helped to offset ongoing domestic demand weakness," the economist added.