Malaysia Update: Malaysia to Introduce New Cyber Security Law

Malaysia Update | July 5, 2017
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Ezani Mansor, Emma Tabatai and Mingde Chong
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
July 14: Pre-TIFA Roundtable with Karl Elhers Senior Director for Southeast Asia USTR
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Malaysia to Introduce New Cyber Security Law

Malaysia is planning to further strengthen and coordinate efforts in combating cybercrime by taking steps to introduce a new cyber security bill in the country. The draft law is expected to be tabled in the next parliament sitting beginning July 24. According to Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the draft law aims to protect Malaysians from online threats including money laundering, and recruitment and financial sourcing by terrorist groups. While details of the bill have yet to be publicized, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak revealed that the law would cover serious cybercrimes perpetuated by extremist groups such as online transactions and member-recruiting. Data from CyberSecurity Malaysia shows that online fraud cases in the country rose 20% in 2016 compared to the year before, with other crimes such as intrusion and spam on the rise as well. With enforcement agencies relying on minimal existing legislation such as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Computer Crime Act 1997 as the main laws pertaining to cyberspace, the introduction of the new cyber security act is expected to more adequately address the needs of the current digital threat landscape.

Along with the announcement of the new legislation, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also revealed that the National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) will be consolidated and placed under the umbrella of the National Security Council (NSC) to be the single coordinating agency to deal with cybercrimes. The NCSA was first set up by the Najib administration in January 2016.

New Malaysian Financial District Proceeding Smoothly

Malaysia’s upcoming financial hub, Tun Razak Exchange (TRX City), is set to take shape after an investment by HSBC Holdings of US$250 million allowed it to reach its critical mass. While details regarding the investment remains scant, the move is seen as a significant advancement for the development as it is the first investment in the financial district by a foreign bank.

The hub was first announced in 2010 as the next leading center for international finance and business. It is also expected to support the government’s Economic Transformation Program while simultaneously contributing to urban regeneration in the nation’s capital. The 70-acre development, which will be completed over the next 15 to 20 years, with the opening of its first office building by the end of 2018. While 70% of the land has been commercialized, there is no rush to sell the remaining land available or speed up construction, according to Prime Minister Najib Razak who remains patient to receive the best offers possible. HSBC’s significant investment comes at a timely manner, after Prime Minister Najib voiced his hopes to see more investments by foreign financial institutions in the district. Indonesia’s Mulia Group and Australia’s Landlease Group have also announced plans to build a 105-story tower and a retail mall respectively.

In addition to providing cultural attractions and enhancing the KL skyline, the government sites that TRX City will strengthen KL’s role as the country’s financial capital to become the next leading business district in Asia. If it reaches government expectations, the hub should support Malaysia’s goal of raising its GNI per capita to USD$15000 (from its current USD$10570), creating 3.3 million jobs and securing USD$444 billion in investments by 2020.

Malaysia Tightens Enforcement of Foreign Investment Restrictions in Insurance

The new leadership of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), under Governor Muhammad bin Ibrahim, has moved to tighten enforcement of its 70 percent foreign equity cap on insurance companies. BNM recently sent letters to foreign insurance companies that exceeded this level, asking them to increase their local shareholding to at least 30 percent by June 2018. Full enforcement of the regulation will also prevent foreign firms from investing in more than one local insurer. Though the ownership cap has existed since 2009, BNM had previously granted exemptions for foreign investors that they saw as contributing to the development of the industry. BNM’s new leadership, however, has chosen to focus on promoting local involvement in the industry instead. There are currently 11 Malaysia-incorporated insurers that are wholly owned by foreign insurance companies. Relatively small local equity markets may make it difficult for all of these companies to both raise local ownership at a competitive price at the same time and to raise additional financing for future expansion. With national elections expected in October or November, Malaysia’s senior leadership’s attention will be diverted by more urgent matters. Following that, however, the new cabinet will have more time and political capital to deal with challenges such as this before the June 2018 deadline. BNM's leadership changed in May 2016 when the current governor, Muhammad bin Ibrahim, replaced Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who had run BNM since 2000.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 
With the Trump administration's duel focus on "Buy American" and "deficit reduction," some USABC members are monitoring the potential impact on continuing to source products from their facilities in Malaysia to serve their USG customers. In the absence of America's participation in the TPP, it may be advantageous for US companies to advocate that the GOM reform their government procurement system by, for example, joining the WTO Government Procurement agreement. If any members are interested, the Council would be willing to include an advocacy effort towards the GOM highlighting both the potential export and FDI benefits for Malaysia being able to have more products sourced from Malaysia for customers globally to USG agencies.
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Malaysia and Australia seal agreement on fintech cooperation
Japan's investment in Malaysia may rise 30pct in 2017
Malaysia decides to stop importing North Korean labor
Malaysia-Indonesia to have stronger trade ties in digital economy, MSMEs
Circling around the Asean problem
Boost for Brunei, Malaysia educational ties

National Affairs
Business optimism remains strong in Malaysia
Malaysia better armed to withstand financial crises
Malaysia exports likely rose 22% in May
Malaysian election this year or next: Guessing game goes on
Malaysia's Iskandar economic zone to be three times the size of Singapore
Malaysia taken off US human trafficking watchlist
Malaysia's opposition to launch roadshow to spread awareness on 1MDB scandal
The Ringgit Is Easily Asia's Strongest Currency
M'sian companies ink 4 MOUs over USD50mil at Astana Expo 2017
Of every five companies in Malaysia, one is owned by a woman
M'sia on track to achieve 5% trade growth in 2017: Mustapa
Preparing for jobs of the future
No GST expansion on 60 food items from July 1
NCER expects to create over 37,000 jobs by 2025
Gov begins initiatives to produce data to meet 11MP policy needs
US moves to seize another $540m of Malaysia's 1MDB fund
Malaysian economy's diversified growth & revenue thanks to govt economic, fiscal reforms
Positive outlook for Malaysian economy in 2017, but look out for global risks, says World Bank
New Companies Act to reduce cost of doing business
Putrajaya failed to consult Sarawak over tourism tax, state minister says
KL now cheaper for expatriates
Companies Act 2016, Companies Regulations 2017 has eased cost of doing business
Malaysia tourism tax proceeds for promotion, refurbishment purposes: Minister

Customs
Solid waste not allowed into Malaysia without approval permit
Songkhla keen on 24-hour checkpoint with Malaysia
Masa: Maritime industry needs clearer picture of cabotage policy
Malaysia to raise CPO export tax next month

Defense & Security
US: M’sia on right track to curbing trafficking
Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines launch joint patrols to tackle ISIS threat
Uber, Grab-type services must provide police-linked SOS button in their apps
Five countries' defense ministers to discuss ISIS issue
Malaysia’s Coast Guard Gets New Chief

Energy
Malaysia a world leader in manufacturing of solar power technology, says minister
A growing solar industry
Malaysia, Kazakhstan to cooperate on green technology implementation
Sarawak to set up oil and gas exploration company
Kudat set to become Sabah's renewable energy dynamo
Thailand to help transmit electricity from Laos to Malaysia
TNB's arm to develop Malaysia's first large scale solar project

Financial Services
AirAsia's fintech platform to be ready in 3 months
Malaysia: More innovation needed following insurance deregulation
The Malaysian fintech ecosystem is on the brink of a revolution, and everyone is in on it
Hard to invalidate Islamic contracts, scholars say amid Dana Gas sukuk dispute
New Malaysian financial district taking shape in KL
Big banks and fintech firms urged to work together
NEM Foundation Opens First Blockchain Center in Malaysia
SC introduces clearing for securities, derivatives as new regulated activity

Food & Agriculture
Agriculture Ministry: No foreign plastic elements in rice
Melaka livestock free from hemorrhagic septicemia disease, exco member says
Malaysian palm oil price achieves biggest daily gain in a month

Health & Life Sciences
MMA claims ‘death of GP practice’ as more clinics shutter
Intermediaries compromising healthcare, warns MMA
Five Malaysian teaching universities sign landmark agreement on knowledge, expertise-sharing
Stop indiscriminate blood tests, says medical association
Singapore's medical tourism threatened by Malaysia, Indonesia

ICT
Khailee Ng encourages young startups to contribute to new economy
Average ICT salary in Malaysia projected to rise above RM9,000
Pikom: ICT salaries in Malaysia grow at slower pace yet again
Japanese ICT firms urged to use Malaysia as stepping-stone to Asean
Malaysian tech stocks pause
Cyberview launches Starter Kit
National Cyber Security Agency taking shape: DPM
Liow: Ministry to level playing field for e-hailing drivers and cabbies

Infrastructure
MoF issues request for proposals to develop Bandar Malaysia
Singapore, Malaysia unveil details of upcoming tender for high-speed rail assets company
Iskandar to be three times the size of Singapore, says FT report
New Malaysian financial district takes shape amid 1MDB tumult
Najib: People ready to embrace developments brought by ECRL
Prasarana drives towards world-class transport services

Manufacturing
M'sia to operate world's first bio-based chemical manufacturing plant in 2019

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Malaysia and Australia seal agreement on fintech cooperation LeapRate 29th Jun 2017
On 27 June 2017 the Malaysia Securities Commission (SC) and ASIC signed a Co-operation Agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation in each economy. Malaysia is a vibrant fintech destination. In 2015, Malaysia became the first Asia Pacific nation to regulate for equity crowdfunding. High levels of digital adoption and internet penetration in Malaysia make it an attractive market. This agreement expands ASIC’s fintech cooperation network in Asia. Investment in fintech in our region has been growing exponentially in recent years, with total investment in 2016 reaching $8.6 billion, up from $0.5 billion in 2013.

Japan's investment in Malaysia may rise 30pct in 2017 NST Online 28th Jun 2017
Japanese investment in Malaysia may increase by 30 per cent this year, predicted the Japanese Chamber Of Trade And Industry In Malaysia (JACTIM), according To Japan's Kyodo News, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported. In a recent seminar, JACTIM President Toshihiko Todokoro expressed optimism for a surge of at least 30 per cent in Japanese investment in Malaysia in 2017. Todoroko said that Japanese companies will expand operation in Malaysia if political stability is maintained, since it is important for those companies, especially new investors. The latest data shows that Japanese investment in Malaysia is concentrated on the manufacturing sector, notably in the electrical and electronics industry.

Malaysia decides to stop importing North Korean labor The Japan Times 29th Jun 2017
Malaysia has decided to stop issuing work permits for North Korean laborers in the wake of the apparent assassination of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, according to Malaysian government sources. Malaysia and North Korea used to have friendly relations, but they deteriorated sharply with the killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February. A number of North Koreans were implicated by Malaysian police in the alleged plot. The unilateral economic sanctions measure imposed by Malaysia is in line with the request of the United States for countries to cut off sources of funds that could be used by North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile development programs.

Circling around the Asean problem the star 17th Jun 2017
There is a Malay saying: Tak kenal maka tak cinta. If you do not know, you cannot love.So International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed is to be congratulated for taking the lead in establishing the Asean Circle, which was launched yesterday.Its remit is to raise the level of awareness and knowledge of Asean in Malaysia, and of what it means to the people.

Boost for Brunei, Malaysia educational ties Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Jun 2017
A delegation from the Management & Science University (MSU) made a formal visit to Brunei Darussalam to strengthen education cooperation between Malaysia and Brunei. The MSU delegation was led by Professor Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid, MSU President, and Professor Puan Sri Datuk Dr Junainah binti Abdul Hamid, MSU Vice-Chancellor. Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Education, and senior officials of the ministry were present at the meeting. The MSU delegation visited Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD). The visit highlighted aspects of educational cooperation which include the exchange of students and academic staff, renewal and new educational technology and areas of cooperation for mutual benefit.

National Affairs

Business optimism remains strong in Malaysia The Star Online 5th Jul 2017
Business optimism in Malaysia remains strong despite the decline in the June manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI).Counter-balancing the June PMI contraction was the continuing growth in external demand reflected in exports. According to MIDF Research, business optimism in the country has remained solid since May even though Malaysia’s manufacturing PMI has fallen below the 50-point level, which indicates contraction.“The fall in the PMI is mainly due to lower demand and output requirement.“However, new orders from abroad continue to rise for the second time in three months. Increase in new export orders reflect firming global as well as regional demand for Malaysia’s goods,” the brokerage wrote in a report yesterday.

Malaysia better armed to withstand financial crises, says Zeti Free Malaysia Today 5th Jul 2017
Malaysia is in a better position now to weather any financial crisis as it has learned much from the Asian financial crisis of 1997, former Bank Negara governor Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz says. In an interview with Channel News Asia, she said: “Right now we have ability and capability. What we have in place now is our surveillance mechanism: we know well before hand where the funds flow from. “We didn’t have this real time info in those days. Now we have real time information on where the flows are coming from – so the market and our institutions can intermediate these flows which are much larger than we experienced during the financial crisis.”

Malaysia exports likely rose 22% in May MarketWatch 5th Jul 2017
Growth in Malaysia's exports likely accelerated in May, supported by strong shipments in commodities and electrical and electronics products. Exports likely rose 22.0% in May from the previous year, according to the median forecast from a poll of nine economists, compared with April's 20.6% increase. "We believe global demand will remain supportive to Malaysia's trade," said Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, chief economist at Bank Islam Malaysia. The recent momentum in manufacturing and exports helped the Southeast Asian economy expand by 5.6% in the first three months of the year, its fastest pace in two years. The economic upturn has eased concerns about growth, which had been hurt by weakness in oil prices since mid-2014.

Malaysian election this year or next: Guessing game goes on The Straits Times 4th Jul 2017
Reporters at The Star daily in Malaysia had been told to try and clear their leave in the first half of the year. The editors were expecting the 14th general election to be called towards the second half of the year and all leave on the editorial floor would be frozen if this happened. May and June, reporters were told, were the "safest" months to go on leave because it was unlikely that Prime Minister Razak Najib would be contemplating calling the polls during Ramadan, or the following Syawal period. Although the parliamentary term is due to expire only in August next year, analysts have been predicting that Datuk Seri Najib would want to cement his hold on power with an early election, given the ringgit's strong pole position among Asian currencies this quarter plus the 5.6 per cent growth rate year on year.

Malaysia's Iskandar economic zone to be three times the size of Singapore The Straits Times 3rd Jul 2017
Iskandar Malaysia is poised to become three times the size of Singapore when it is completed by its expected date of 2025, says business newspaper the Financial Times (FT). The newspaper dubbed the special economic zone as "Malaysia's Shenzhen" because it is geared to become a manufacturing and technology hub like the wealthy Chinese city. It would strengthen the fortunes of both countries by giving Singapore the landmass it lacks, while allowing Malaysia to leverage on Singapore's financial expertise.

Malaysia taken off US human trafficking watchlist The Star Online 28th Jun 2017
While Malaysia remains in Tier 2 of the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, it has been taken off the watchlist. In the 2017 report that was released on Tuesday night, Malaysia was taken off the watchlist as the Malaysian Government was deemed to have made significant efforts to eliminate trafficking. "The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore, Malaysia was upgraded," said the report which is released by the US State Department annually. It said the Government had expanded trafficking investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. The report added that officials had strengthened enforcement of the law prohibiting passport retention and convicted 17 employers for unauthorised retention of passports, compared with zero convictions during the previous year.

Malaysia's opposition to launch roadshow to spread awareness on 1MDB scandal Channel NewsAsia 28th Jun 2017
Malaysia's opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan on Wednesday (Jun 28) said it would go on a nationwide roadshow to spread awareness about the 1MDB scandal. The roadshow is the coalition's response to the United States' latest filing on state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). The US Department of Justice is seeking to recover more than US$1 billion in assets it says are associated "with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated" from 1MDB - a fund set up and formerly advised by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also Finance Minister. Malaysian authorities opened investigations into the controversial fund in 2015 but, so far, no one has been detained or charged. The frustrated opposition coalition said it wants Mr Najib to call an emergency session of parliament and table a white paper on 1MDB. 

The Ringgit Is Easily Asia's Strongest Currency Bloomberg.com 28th Jun 2017
Malaysian assets are back in favor as investors focus on encouraging signs of an economic turnaround instead of a scandal that has touched the top of government and as far as Hollywood. The stark shift means that Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has weathered political attacks and protests going back to 2015 over allegations involving state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd., may call an early election to cement his hold on power. The ringgit is easily the strongest major Asian currency this quarter, climbing twice as much as the next best, the Chinese yuan. Global funds have bought the most Malaysian stocks year-to-date since the same period in 2013, and net inflows to the bond market surged in April and May. Malaysia has been rocked by far-reaching investigations into investment fund 1MDB, yet double-digit acceleration in the country’s exports has lifted the economy, which grew 5.6 percent on-year in the first quarter, the most since early 2015.

M'sian companies ink 4 MOUs over USD50mil at Astana Expo 2017 NST Online 26th Jun 2017
Malaysia has signed four memorandum of understanding (MOUs) worth over USD50 million this week at the Astana Expo 2017. The MOUs were signed with three Expo participating countries, namely China, India and the Republic of Kazakhstan. Malaysia-based Ronser Bio-Tech Bhd, an integrated wastewater treatment solutions specialist, had appointed Kazakhstan’s MEC LLP as the exclusive representative to distribute its wastewater treatment system in Central Asia including Kazakhstan. The agreement between these companies were recorded at USD20 million.

Of every five companies in Malaysia, one is owned by a woman Human Resources Online 21st Jun 2017
In a press release to Human Resources, Department of Statistics, Malaysia, revealed that there were 187,264 businesses owned by women in 2015, making it 20.3% of the total business companies in Malaysia. This means that on average more than 10,000 women-owned companies were opened every year from 2010 to 2015, according to its latest Report of Economic Census 2016. Close to nine in 10 (91.4%) women entrepreneurs came from the services sector, especially in providing services directly to the households. Other business areas included retail, food stalls, beauty salons and hair dressing, kindergarten and nursery.Industries in order: Agriculture, mining and quarrying, manufacturing, construction, and services. Pink highlights the percentage of women in each industry. 

M'sia on track to achieve 5% trade growth in 2017: Mustapa NST Online 20th Jun 2017
Malaysia is on track to achieving five per cent growth in trade in 2017, International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today. Speaking at the launch of the Miti Report 2016, Mustapa explained that the record trade growth of 23.6 per cent in the first four months of 2017 is providing the momentum for the record growth.

Preparing for jobs of the future the star 19th Jun 2017
One of the key concerns highlighted in the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) dialogue is how to ensure the younger generation is equipped for jobs of the future. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said almost 65% of existing jobs are likely to become redundant or disappear within 30 years or so.

No GST expansion on 60 food items from July 1 malaymail 19th Jun 2017
The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) said it was cancelling the goods and services tax (GST) on over 60 food items,  due to be enforced on July 1, after referring to the Finance Ministry.

NCER expects to create over 37,000 jobs by 2025 NST Online 18th Jun 2017
The Northern Corridor Economic Region's (NCER) Development Blueprint 2016-2025 expects to create more than 37,000 jobs when two growth nodes in Kedah are completed. Its chief executive officer Datuk Redza Rafiq said over the 10-year period, a total of 80 high-impact projects would be implemented in Kedah, Perlis, Penang and Perak. "By 2025, with cumulative investments of RM146.5 billion, we believe these projects would change the economic landscape of the region especially involving technology, education and innovation," he told Bernama after the 'Kembara Kasih Ramadan' 2017 event.

Gov begins initiatives to produce data to meet 11MP policy needs the Sun Daily 17th Jun 2017
The government has started working on several initiatives to produce the data and statistics to meet the policy needs in the 11th Malaysia Plan.

US moves to seize another $540m of Malaysia's 1MDB fund Aljazeera 16th Jun 2017
The US Department of Justice is seeking to recover $540m in assets that it says were stolen from Malaysia's troubled sovereign wealth fund, prompting objections from Malaysian officials who said on Friday there was no evidence of such crimes. The move by the United States, announced on Thursday, is part of an effort to seize luxury property, art, and other ill-gotten assets linked to fraud at the government-controlled fund, which is intended to promote economic development projects in the Asian nation. It was the latest development in a complex money laundering scheme the Justice Department says was intended to enrich top-level officials of the fund, including some who are close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysian economy's diversified growth & revenue thanks to govt economic, fiscal reforms NST Online 15th Jun 2017
The Malaysian economy is well-diversified in terms of sources of growth and revenue owing to the economic, financial and fiscal reforms undertaken thus far by the government. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the measures taken has resulted into a more robust economy which is able to withstand global and domestic challenges. "In the first quarter 2017, the economy grew by 5.6 per cent, well beyond expectations, clocking in the fastest pace in two years. Domestic demand continued to anchor growth supported mainly by private consumption which expanded at a faster pace of 6.6 per cent while private investment surged to 12.9 per cent.

Govt starts work to produce data to meet 11MP policy needs NST Online 13th Jun 2017
The government is reviewing the national statistical system to bring forth the full potential of data towards effective public service delivery, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said today. "We've started working on several initiatives to produce data and statistics to meet the policy needs in the 11th Malaysia Plan," he said at the launch of the latest Malaysia Economic Monitor by the World Bank today. "The increasing dynamism and sophistication of users' expectations required more frequent and niche-area statistics." Data collection was expanded to include socio-economic statistics and derived statistics.

Positive outlook for Malaysian economy in 2017, but look out for global risks, says World Bank NST Online 13th Jun 2017
There is ‘continued light’ at the end of 2017 for the Malaysian economy, which is expected to grow by 4.9 per cent – above the official projection of 4.3-4.8 per cent, says the World Bank. However Malaysia must watch out for the global risks - increased protectionism, uncertainties about global policies on trade and interest rates, and the evolution of commodity prices. While these are short-term risks outside of Malaysia’s control, “how you prepare for and react to them is entirely within your control”, remarked Dr Ulrich Zachau, who is the country director for Southeast Asia.

New Companies Act to reduce cost of doing business The Star Online 8th Jun 2017
The new Companies Act 2016 and Companies Regulations 2017, which came into effect in January, aim to reduce the cost of doing business, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Putrajaya failed to consult Sarawak over tourism tax, state minister says The Malay Online 8th Jun 2017
Putrajaya failed to consult Sarawak over tourism tax, state minister says

KL now cheaper for expatriates NST Online 8th Jun 2017
KUALA Lumpur has risen in terms of affordability for expatriates, according to ECA International’s cost of living survey.

Companies Act 2016, Companies Regulations 2017 has eased cost of doing business NST Online 13th Jun 2017
The new Companies Act 2016 and Companies Regulations 2017, which came into effect on January 31, 2017, has reduced cost of doing business, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Since their introduction, many business-friendly policies come into effect, said Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) legal affairs committee chairman Michael Chai. “One of the major changes is a ‘single member and single director company’ as compared with the previous requirement of two directors and members,” he told reporters at a preview of an ACCCIM seminar here today.

Malaysia tourism tax proceeds for promotion, refurbishment purposes: Minister Channel NewsAsia 12th Jun 2017
The government will use proceeds from the Tourism Tax - which comes into force on Jul 1 - to promote Malaysia overseas and refurbish tourism facilities, said Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz on Saturday (Jun 10).

Customs

Solid waste not allowed into Malaysia without approval permit The Star Online 28th Jun 2017
No solid waste is allowed into the country without an approval permit (AP) to prevent Malaysia from becoming a dumping ground.A National Solid Waste Manage­ment Department (JPSPN) spokesman said any company that intends to bring in waste such as plastics must first obtain an AP even before the importation process begins. However, JPSPN said any plastic wastes that are found abandoned comes under the control of the port authorities and the Customs Depart­ment as they have not left the Customs area.

Songkhla keen on 24-hour checkpoint with Malaysia Bangkok Post 29th Jun 2017
Traders and officials alike are looking forward to seeing the main border crossing with Malaysia open around the clock, but warn the benefits for tourism could be mixed. The province has set up a panel to study the likely impact of the plan to open the Sadao checkpoint 24-hours a day to end the long lines at immigration and the increasing cargo congestion, and promote trade and tourism. Deputy Songkhla governor Kajornsak Charoensopha said on Thursday the province agreed in principle with the idea, but was awaiting the report of a comprehensive study by Prince of Songkhla University.

Masa: Maritime industry needs clearer picture of cabotage policy The Star Online 20th Jun 2017
There is a need to make clear the uncertainties surrounding implementation of exemption of the cabotage policy for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the Malaysia Shipowners Association (Masa) said.

Malaysia to raise CPO export tax next month The Star Online 16th Jun 2017
Malaysia will raise its crude palm oil export tax to 6.5% in July from 6% this month. According to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, effective July 1-31 the calculated palm oil reference price will be RM2,890.04 (US$676.35) per tonne. “A price above RM2,250 incurs a tax, which starts from 4.5% and can reach a maximum of 8.5%,“ it said. Malaysia, which is the world’s second largest palm oil producer after Indonesia, has lowered the tax for a third consecutive month in June, down from 7% in May.

Defense & Security

US: M’sia on right track to curbing trafficking The Star Online 29th Jun 2017
While Malaysia remains in Tier 2 of the United States annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, it has been taken off the Watch List.This is because the country was deemed to have made significant efforts to eliminate trafficking.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines launch joint patrols to tackle ISIS threat CNN 19th Jun 2017
The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia will begin joint patrols and information-sharing to curb the influence of local Islamist terror groups, according to a joint statement released by the three governments. Southeast Asian terror cells aligned with the Iraq- and Syria-based group have been emboldened in recent years, culminating in a month-long battle for the city of Marawi on Mindanao island in the southern Philippines. The Trilateral Maritime Patrol Indomalphi -- whose name incorporates elements of each of the three countries' names -- was "initiated and implemented" by the governments of the "three in order to face the security challenges associated with each country's border waters," according to the statement.

Uber, Grab-type services must provide police-linked SOS button in their apps NST Online 8th Jun 2017
All e-hailing operators in Malaysia will have to install a SOS button within their respective app’s to enable passengers to alert police, if they are in danger.

Five countries' defense ministers to discuss ISIS issue Antara News 15th Jun 2017
The defense ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines will meet on June 19 in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, to discuss the ISIS issue in Marawi, Southern Philippines.

Malaysia’s Coast Guard Gets New Chief The Diplomat 8th Jun 2017
Malaysia’s Coast Guard has appointed a new chief as the agency undergoes modernization to help the country better confront a range of maritime challenges. Malaysia’s equivalent of a coast guard, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), was founded back in November 2005, and, as I have noted before, the country was one of the first among the Southeast Asian states to have such an agency (See: “Assessing Malaysia’s Coast Guard in ASEAN Perspective”). Since then, though the MMEA had a modest start and continues to face resource constraints, it has begun to help Malaysia confront a wide variety of challenges such as smuggling, piracy, illegal fishing, and militancy and has also received a number of capability boosts (See: “Why Japan’s Malaysia Coast Guard Boost Matters”). The MMEA has since been renamed the Malaysia Coast Guard as it undergoes these changes as part of the country’s broader military modernization.

Energy

Malaysia a world leader in manufacturing of solar power technology, says minister The Star Online 26th Jun 2017
Malaysia is a world leader when it comes to solar power, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau. "Malaysia is the second largest manufacturer of photovoltaic modules and the third largest producer of photovoltaic cells in the world," said Tangau in his speech at the Astana Expo 2017 here on Monday. He added that four of the world's top five photovoltaic cell manufacturers are located in Malaysia and said that solar energy is a key contributor to national economic growth due to the nation's strategic location on the world's sun belt. "We recognize that this natural resource is important if we are to be a leader of innovation in green technology," said Tangau.

A growing solar industry the star 19th Jun 2017
The Government has introduced various incentives and strategies to encourage the growth of the renewable energy sector in Malaysia.And given Malaysia’s location in the equatorial region, where sunshine is in abundance all year round, solar energy is naturally positioned to play a crucial role in the future energy mix of the country.

Malaysia, Kazakhstan to cooperate on green technology implementation NST Online 12th Jun 2017
Malaysia and Kazakhstan have agreed to work together to identify ways of implementing green technology programmes.

Sarawak to set up oil and gas exploration company The Star Online 12th Jun 2017
The Sarawak government is planning to establish a state-owned offshore oil and gas exploration company in order to participate in the industry, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Kudat set to become Sabah's renewable energy dynamo NST Online 29th Jun 2017
Sabah's northernmost town, Kudat, is undergoing development to transform it into the state's centre for renewable energy (RE). According to Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Kudat’s sunny climate makes it an ideal location for solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation. "To date, some 58 megawatts of solar PV plants have been approved (for construction in Kudat) by (my) Ministry and the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (Seda). "About 2 megawatts will be channelled to the local Kudat grid, while the bulk will be injected into the transmission line for distribution across the whole of Sabah. "About 50 megawatts are entirely funded by the private sector, and will create job opportunities for locals in terms of technical and management (positions)," he said in a statement. The federal government will also look into harnessing wind energy in both Kudat and Kota Marudu, where studies by Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and power agencies from China and Thailand have determined that up to 300 megawatts of wind energy can be generated. There are also plans to set up a research centre for renewable wind and solar PV energy in Kudat, which would see a collaboration between local universities and Asean energy institutes. Ongkili said that these efforts are part of the government's plan to reduce diesel subsidies in the country and diminish greenhouse gas emissions.

Thailand to help transmit electricity from Laos to Malaysia The Sun Daily 22nd Jun 2017
Thailand will sign a tripartite electricity-trading agreement with Laos and Malaysia, engaging in transmission process, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports. Permanent Secretary of the Thai Energy Ministry Areepong Bhoocha-Oom was quoted as saying that the agreement was scheduled to be inked at the Asean Energy Ministers' Meeting in Manila, the Philippines, on Sept 17-22.

TNB's arm to develop Malaysia's first large scale solar project Asian Power 19th Jun 2017
The 50MW project will be operational by November 2018. Malaysia's national utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad's wholly-owned subsidiary, TNB Sepang Solar Sdn Bhd was awarded the project by the Energy Commission to develop Malaysia’ first Large Scale Solar (LSS) project on a 97 ha site in Mukim Tanjung 12, Kuala Langat, Selangor.

Financial Services

AirAsia's fintech platform to be ready in 3 months NST Online 21st Jun 2017
AirAsia Group Bhd is waiting for approval from Bank Negara Malaysia for its new financial technology (fintech) programme, which is expected to be launched in three months' time, said AirAsia Group chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.

Malaysia: More innovation needed following insurance deregulation Asia Insurance Review 28th Jun 2017
Insurance companies will have to be more creative to increase sales, following deregulation of motor pricing from 1 July, says the CEO of the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM), Mr Mark Lim. He added that innovation will not be the only factor to attract consumers but also the service offered by insurers and how fast they settle insurance claims, reported The Sun Daily.

The Malaysian fintech ecosystem is on the brink of a revolution, and everyone is in on it The Independent 22nd Jun 2017
From corporates to regulators, MDEC brings together all the relevant players to help develop the Malaysian fintech ecosystem FinTech is a gamechanger; it is the kind of revolution that is shaking up the financial services industry, blurring the lines between the financial services sector and the technology sector, and causing upheaval in an industry that is generally known to be stable and rather boring.

Hard to invalidate Islamic contracts, scholars say amid Dana Gas sukuk dispute Gulf-Times 22nd Jun 2017
Some of the top scholars in Islamic finance say it is difficult to declare an Islamic contract invalid because it no longer meets Shariah standards, as the UAE’s Dana Gas is trying to do with $700mn of sukuk. Scholars decline to comment specifically on the case, which Dana has filed at a court in the emirate of Sharjah. The company argues it should no longer make payments on the sukuk because the interpretation of Islamic finance standards has changed since they were issued in 2013, making them “unlawful”.

New Malaysian financial district taking shape in KL The Straits Times 21st Jun 2017
Malaysia's newest financial district is taking shape and drawing investment after spending years mired in controversy for its links to an embattled state investment fund. The Tun Razak Exchange, or TRX, reached critical mass for its initial phase after HSBC Holdings this month said it will invest US$250 million (S$347 million) to build its local headquarters in the development, said TRX City chief executive officer Azmar Talib.

Big banks and fintech firms urged to work together the star 20th Jun 2017
Big banks and fintech startups can be far more successful at improving financial services and customer experience by working together, instead of competing against one another.

NEM Foundation Opens First Blockchain Center in Malaysia Finance Magnates 28th Jun 2017
The NEM Foundation, creators of the NEM blockchain platform whose native cryptocurrency (XEM) is the sixth most valuable blockchain token in the world with a $1.5 billion market cap, today announced a strategic alliance with Australia’s Blockchain Global to expand NEM’s global reach. The partnership’s first initiative will be to open a Blockchain Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to serve as an incubator, accelerator, and co-working space. Scheduled to open in August 2017, the 10,000-square-foot Blockchain Center will house the NEM Blockchain Innovation Lab, a headquarters for research and development as well as regional support for organizations interested in using the NEM platform within their IT infrastructures.

SC introduces clearing for securities, derivatives as new regulated activity NST Online 23rd Jun 2017
The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has amended its regulatory framework to include clearing for securities and derivatives as a new regulated activity. In a statement today, SC said, this framework would de-couple clearing and trading functions into two distinct regulated activities, allowing intermediaries to specialise in their niche services.

Food & Agriculture

Agriculture Ministry: No foreign plastic elements in rice Malay Mail Online 18th Jun 2017
The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry has found no foreign plastic substance in the Super Special Rambutan brand Five Per cent Local rice based on the preliminary result of the test carried out. The ministry said the examination and investigation was carried out on the brand’s rice mill in Mergong, Alor Setar following viral video that claimed the rice as having plastic content.

Melaka livestock free from hemorrhagic septicemia disease, exco member says Malay Mail Online 18th Jun 2017
The state government has not received any report of Haemorrhagic Septicemia (HS) disease outbreak which had resulted in the death of 340 cattle and buffaloes in Terengganu recently. Nevertheless, State Agriculture and Entrepreneurial Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasan Abdul Rahman said the state government took the matter seriously and was taking precautionary measures by controlling the entry of livestock trucks from outside of Melaka.

Malaysian palm oil price achieves biggest daily gain in a month The Star Online 15th Jun 2017
Malaysian palm oil futures bounced back on Wednesday from a 10-month low hit in the previous session, tracking a stronger performance in soyoil on the Chicago Board of Trade and China's Dalian Commodity Exchange. The benchmark palm oil contract for August delivery on the Bursa Malaysia Derivatives Exchange rose 1 percent at 2,456 ringgit ($577.07) a tonne at the close of trade, its biggest daily gain in a  month. The market rebounded from Tuesday's low of 2,425 ringgit, its weakest since Aug. 8, marking its second session of gains in three. Traded volumes stood at 58,911 lots of 25 tonnes.

Health & Life Sciences

MMA claims ‘death of GP practice’ as more clinics shutter Malay Mail Online 22nd Jun 2017
Local general practitioners are facing a sunset industry as more clinics close down due to financial troubles, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) said. Its president Dr Ravindran R. Naidu noted an estimated amount of 500 clinics had shuttered between 2014 and 2016 as shown in the recently released Study on the Health Economics of General Practitioners in Malaysia: Trends, Challenges and Moving Forward in 2016, reported by The Star on its website.

Intermediaries compromising healthcare, warns MMA Free Malaysia Today 22nd Jun 2017
The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has warned the health ministry that leaving third party administrators (TPAs) unregulated comes at the cost of patients’ healthcare. This came after MMA president Dr Ravindran Naidu cited a study on the health economics of general practitioners in Malaysia last year in an interview with The Star. The study revealed that expenses for ma­­na­ging general practitioners’ services had increased over the years due to changes in policies as well as the involvement of unregulated TPAs. TPAs process insurance claims or certain aspects of employee benefit plans for insurance companies. As such, they serve as an intermediary between insurer and policyholder.

Five Malaysian teaching universities sign landmark agreement on knowledge, expertise-sharing NST Online 15th Jun 2017
Five teaching universities in the country today signed the Public University Teaching Hospital Consortium (KHUAM) Memorandum of Agreement in a bid to create effective and efficient knowledge, expertise and facility sharing among the universities.

Stop indiscriminate blood tests, says medical association Free Malaysia Today 14th Jun 2017
MMA says routine batteries of tests could cause false alarm as some are bound to show abnormal results in totally healthy people.

Singapore's medical tourism threatened by Malaysia, Indonesia Singapore Business Review 9th Jun 2017
Malaysia's HMI offers quality treatment at relatively lower cost. Findings by AB Bernstein and Global Health and Travel noted Singapore as one of the top destinations in the region for medical tourism.

ICT

Khailee Ng encourages young startups to contribute to new economy Digital News Asia 5th Jul 2017
"We are at the turning point right now where the power to build tech startups is no longer monopolised by the Silicon Valley narrative,” said Khailee Ng at the launch of the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre’s (MaGIC) inaugural Global Accelerator Programme (GAP) The entrepreneur and 500 Startups managing partner was addressing the first GAP cohort consisting of 56 global startups handpicked by MaGIC. GAP aims to provide them with the necessary skills, knowledge and network to break into the Asean market and become investment ready in four months. To achieve this, GAP will provide technical and business mentoring, along with direct access to route-to-market partners, a monthly stipend, benefits in the form of software tools worth more than US$400,000 (RM1.7 million) each, among others. “Once upon a time, the tech startup story and the million-dollar unicorn story were Silicon Valley stories. But it is now your story,” he said.

Average ICT salary in Malaysia projected to rise above RM9,000 Human Resources Online 27th Jun 2017
In 2016, the average monthly salary of an ICT professional in Malaysia increased to RM8,484 from RM8,114 in 2015 – a growth rate of 4.6%. This year, on the back of a better-than-expected performance of the economy, the National ICT Association of Malaysia’s (PIKOM) new report projected salaries to increase even further, to RM9,000 – an increase of 6.7% over 2016, and twice the average monthly salary in 2007. According to PIKOM’s ICT Job Market Outlook In Malaysia 2017 report, the total ICT value in Malaysia is estimated to be about RM164 billion in 2016 based on the average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 7.6% for the period 2010-2015. PIKOM also projected the overall share of the ICT industry to the economy in 2016 would be about 18.2% from 17.8% in 2015, with the main driver of the of the ICT industry growth continuing to be ICT Services.

Pikom: ICT salaries in Malaysia grow at slower pace yet again Digital News Asia 23rd Jun 2017
Salaries for ICT professionals in Malaysia are still growing at an upward trend, increasing from RM8,114 in 2015 to RM8,484 in 2016. However, the overall salary growth rate of 4.6% in 2016 which is lower than 5.3% in 2015, making it by far the lowest growth since 2009. The findings were part of the National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom)’s ICT Job Market Outlook in Malaysia 2017 report, made in collaboration with Jobstreet.com. Given the numerous domestic and external economic challenges facing the country last year, Pikom research committee chair Woon Tai Hai was not surprised by the lower growth in salary as the world economy recorded its lowest growth rate in ten years.

Japanese ICT firms urged to use Malaysia as stepping-stone to Asean Bangkok Post 22nd Jun 2017
Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) is urging Japanese information and communication technology companies to use the Southeast Asian country as a stepping-stone to tap into the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations market. MDEC chief executive officer Yasmin Mahmood said her government owned institution welcomes foreign ICT firms to Malaysia, and especially their investment in the Multimedia Super Corridor. The MDEC is responsible for the management of the Special Economic Zone which was established to foster growth in the technology industry. "Malaysia has many solutions and a lot of experience," Yasmin said, noting that many foreign companies already operate in Malaysia.

Malaysian tech stocks pause The Star Online 15th Jun 2017
A tech bubble resurfacing in the US equity markets may be the reason for the correction among technology stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq rebounded on Tuesday after the biggest back-to-back decline since. December last Friday and this Monday, sentiment turned a bit more cautious, with reports warning of stretched valuations for tech stocks. Bursa’s tech stocks saw a rebound yesterday after a sharp fall on Tuesday. Analysts, although initially confounded by the sudden downward move in these technology stocks, said it was not such a surprising thing after all in hindsight.

Cyberview launches Starter Kit Digital News Asia 9th Jun 2017
Cyberview Sdn Bhd, the tech hub enabler for Cyberjaya has launched a platform to connect individuals with movers and shakers in particular areas of the technology sector.

National Cyber Security Agency taking shape: DPM NST Online 8th Jun 2017
The government is exploring ways of beefing up the country’s cyber security management.

Liow: Ministry to level playing field for e-hailing drivers and cabbies the star 3rd Jul 2017
Besides screening e-hailing drivers, upcoming changes to existing transport laws are targeted at providing a level playing field for taxis and e-hailing services, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. He said the ministry has been working closely with the Land Pub­lic Transport Commission (SPAD) on amendments to the Land Transport Act 2010 and the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987.

Infrastructure

MoF issues request for proposals to develop Bandar Malaysia The Star Online 5th Jul 2017
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is issuing the request for proposal (RFP) on Wednesday for companies interested in taking part in the Bandar Malaysia project. MoF secretary-general Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah told reporters on Wednesday government has been receiving enquiries for more details on the project. "We are opening up (the RFP) today. We are waiting for parties to come and take the RFP. "Among the criteria is that the company must be in the Fortune 500 list," he said. Asked if the developer must be a foreign firm, he said it was open to all. "Of course there is criteria in the RFP that local content must be met," he told reporters at the sidelines of the RHB Regional Conference 2017 here on Wednesday. Last month,  Irwan said the MoF would soon issue a RFP for parties interested in participating in the Bandar Malaysia project.

Singapore, Malaysia unveil details of upcoming tender for high-speed rail assets company The Business Times 5th Jul 2017
Singaporean and Malaysian authorities on Wednesday shared details with industry partners on what they expect of the company that will play a central role in the development of the high-speed rail linking the two countries. The assets company for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project is expected to show commitment in seven areas, chief of all safety and security, and availability and reliability in the delivery of the system. This company will design, build, finance and maintain all rolling stock and rail assets. The company is also expected to develop and implement a network code that will apply to all persons and entities involved in the project.

Iskandar to be three times the size of Singapore, says FT report The Star Online 3rd Jul 2017
Iskandar Malaysia is poised to become three times the size of Singapore when it is completed by its expected date of 2025, says the Financial Times (FT). The newspaper dubbed the special economic zone as “Malaysia’s Shenzhen” because it is geared to become a manufacturing and technology hub.

New Malaysian financial district takes shape amid 1MDB tumult The Straits Times 20th Jun 2017
Malaysia's newest financial district is taking shape and drawing investment after spending years mired in controversy for its links to an embattled state investment fund. The Tun Razak Exchange has reached critical mass for its initial phase after HSBC Holdings this month said it will invest US$250 million (S$346 million) to build its local headquarters in the development, according to TRX City chief executive officer Azmar Talib. The 70-acre site in downtown Kuala Lumpur has at times been the focus of domestic furor surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a government fund which has spurred criminal and regulatory investigations around the world.

Najib: People ready to embrace developments brought by ECRL the star 15th Jun 2017
The much anticipated East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will not only be a game changer for the economy and landscape of the east coast states, but will also change the people’s mindset on development.

Prasarana drives towards world-class transport services the malaymail 19th Jun 2017
Public transport operator Prasarana Malaysia Bhd has emerged as a truly full-fledged transit company with its expansion in Penang where it has now entered into the ferry services industry.

Manufacturing

M'sia to operate world's first bio-based chemical manufacturing plant in 2019 NST Online 27th Jun 2017
The Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation (Bioeconomy Corporation) announced that Malaysia will be home to the world's first bio-based chemical manufacturing plant by 2019. Bioeconomy Corporation senior vice-president of BioIndustrial, Zainal Azman Abu Kassim, said the ground-breaking ceremony for the Verde Palm Plant will take place on July 30, 2017. "The construction of the plant on 20,000 square feet of land in Johor Baru will take between 18 and 24 months," he said at a press conference at the Astana Expo 2017 here today. The Verde Palm Plant will use palm oil to produce 10,000 metric tonnes of Dodecanedioic Acid (diacid) per year.