Malaysia Update: September 4, 2018

Malaysia Update | September 4, 2018
Authors: Kim Yaeger, Ian Saccomanno, Emma Tabatabai, Tina Jamaluddin and Bryan Yeoh 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
October 16-18, 2018: Malaysia Business Mission: Register now for the Malaysia mission. The mission will be an opportunity to engage the new administration under Prime Minister Mahathir and gain a better understanding of the new government’s priorities and plans. Deadline to register is October 2. Contact Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org for more information.
September 27, 2018: Save the Date for a dinner hosted by USABC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in honor of Prime Minister Mahathir in New York, alongside UN General Assembly meetings.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
Malaysia Reintroduces the Sales and Service Tax (SST)

The Sales and Service Tax was reintroduced on September 1 after the passage of five bills that abolished the previous Goods and Service Tax. This act fulfilled the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s electoral promise to abolish the Goods and Services Tax and reimplement the SST.

The Royal Malaysian Customs Department has released the full texts for the Sales Tax and the Service Tax (full texts can be found here). The new system sets out 3 goods rates which are determined by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD). Although a majority of services are exempt, the first schedule of the Service Tax regulation stipulates nine types of services which will be taxed at 6 percent. The service tax is only domestic and does not apply to imports or exports of services. Deputy Director General of Customs Dato’ Paddy Bin Abd Halim has been managing the SST transition at the RMCD.

As part of the implementation process, the RMCD has released resources on the recently launched mySST website to help businesses and consumers navigate the SST. Businesses can check their registration status, find industry specific guides and transitional rules using the website.

The introduction of GST back in 2015 was an unpopular policy change as it increased the cost of living and cost of operations for both consumers and businesses. For consumers, the switch back to the SST should result in decreased cost of living and increased consumer confidence. Most small and medium enterprises (SMEs) also welcome the SST because it is a simpler system of taxation which could reduce compliance costs. Because the SST is more people friendly, this means that the burden of taxation falls on businesses. The SST system does not issue input tax refunds unlike the GST system. Thus, businesses will have to absorb the added cost or pass it on to their customers.

The Council has expressed concern to the Ministry of Finance over the lack of a public consultation phase and the insufficient transition time which has left businesses in a lurch as details of the regulations were only made public 3 days before the tax goes live. The Council is closely engaging with the Malaysian government on this issue and members can direct comments or feedback to Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org and Tina Jamaluddin at tjamaluddin@usasean.org.

Mahathir Resets the Tone of China-Malaysia Relations

On August 18, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad embarked on his first official visit to China. On his first few days, he visited the headquarters of Alibaba, Geely, DA Jiang Innovations and addressed Chinese executives at the China Entrepreneur Leaders Forum.

All eyes were on Mahathir as he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Mahathir’s tough rhetoric on the number of Chinese investment deals that have poured into Malaysia under his predecessor’s administration have painted him as “anti-China”. Mahathir’s first official trip to China as the Seventh Prime Minster would allow him to clarify his stance and set the tone for future Malaysia-China relations under his administration.

Mahathir and Li witnessed the signing of several memorandums of understandings between the two countries. During a press conference with Li, Mahathir thanked China for agreeing to increase imports of agricultural products but also warned that developed countries should not use their wealth to take advantage of lesser developed countries. He emphasized the need for free and fair trade relations to prevent a new form of colonialism. At a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Chinese government officials, Mahathir also affirmed that there would be no changes in Malaysia’s policy towards China despite the recent change in government. President Xi is keen on Malaysia’s participation in the “Belt and Road Initiative while Mahathir desires China’s understanding and help as Malaysia grapples with internal fiscal issues.  

At the end of the trip, Mahathir cancelled and then deferred several Chinese infrastructure deals citing Beijing’s understanding of Malaysia’s position and the inability of Malaysia to fund these projects. While officials from both countries were positive regarding the outcomes of Mahathir’s trip and both sides affirmed that relations will remain friendly as it has been, Mahathir’s willingness to push back against China redefines the tone of the Malaysia-China relationship compared to the last administration.
 
 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
Bank Negara Governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus has been reviewing pending BNM policies since her appointment in June. Specifically, the Interoperable Credit Transfer Framework (ICTF) is still under review, under the advisement of the Department of Financial Innovation. BNM hopes to finalize the outsourcing guidelines soon and reportedly incorporated some stakeholder feedback. Of particular concern by BNM is prevention of, and possible redress for, any data breach of Malaysian consumer data stored off-shore. Additionally, the deadline for foreign insurance companies to divest down to 70% guideline was set for June 30 but BNM is aware that not all companies have met the requirement. The enforcement date has been extended indefinitely to give companies time to make new proposals to BNM. As these policies continued to be reviewed, the Governor is striving to create better transparency and stakeholder engagement. The Council is looking for more opportunities to engage BNM on these issues, and has sought a meeting during our upcoming Malaysia Business Mission, October 16-18. The Council is also finalizing a data breach notification submission, members can contact Kim Yaeger at kyaeger@usasean.org or Shay Wester at swester@usasean.org for more information. 
 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
National Affairs
Dr M: Council of Eminent Persons' report may not be made public
Hiring system of Bangladesh workers to be discontinued
Panel reviewing Sosma to hold a third meeting
PM: Cash handouts to stop eventually
Economic adviser to PM appointed
Joint statement by governments of China and Malaysia on bilateral ties
Dr Mahathir calls for China’s help with fiscal problems
Dr M: No policy changes towards China
Loke: Unpaid AES summonses would not have benefited Government

Customs
SST gets Agong's nod for Sept 1 kickoff
Who are winners and losers of sales and services tax
Malaysia to go ahead with Asia-Pacific trade pact CPTPP, says PM Mahathir
IRB confirms Finance Minister’s claims of RM16bil in unreturned taxes
Smooth sailing for SST Bills

Economics
Malaysia's headline inflation expected to drop to 2.0pct this year with SST
Govt sets up two committees to juggle between growth and spending cut
Guan Eng: It's difficult for Malaysia to achieve a balanced budget right now
Ong Kian Ming: Renewed interest from foreign investors, especially from Singapore and Japan, since GE14

Energy
Petronas, Shell, Petron - all supply petrol, diesel for government official vehicles

Financial Services
Reconsider imposition of SST on general insurance products, says PIAM
Malaysia: Foreign insurers given more flexibility to divest their stakes
Malaysian central bank liberalises foreign exchange policy

Food & Agriculture
Sugar prices to reduce effective Sept 1
Malaysia's Sime Darby, China food giant sign deal to produce palm oil-based products
Go all out against illegal foreign fishing boats, says Sabah minister
M’sia, China sign MoUs on biofuel, rubber research
Li Keqiang: China to import more from Malaysia

Health & Life Sciences
Govt mulling soda tax to encourage healthy living: Tun M
Doctor visits may cost at least three times as much next year
Proposal to raise private doctors' fees by RM30 to RM125
Dr M: Government mulling soda tax to encourage healthy living
Cover Story: Long road ahead for healthcare reform

ICT
Overall pricing for telco services likely to be slightly higher
Malaysia sees increased online hiring in several sectors in Q2
Democratising AI in Singapore
Fake news: Strict action against telcos that fail to reduce broadband prices by Aug 31
‘i-Melaka’ apps to help serve the people better
More than 4,000 sign up for i-Suri
Customs wants 5% tax on smartphones
Govt initiatives, DFTZ help drive local SMEs into e-commerce marketplace

Infrastructure
Joint Singapore-Malaysia decisions on HSR and RTS link to come soon: Khaw Boon Wan
Johor wants a third link bridge with Singapore within 3-4 years
Special committee to review terms of Forest City project
ECRL not cancelled yet, all options still being studied says Dr M
Loke: Transportation network in east coast states will be improved
RM4.3mil project to ease traffic in Sungai Pinang
State govt and Irda studying JB tram project

Manufacturing
Malaysian rubber glove industry expects revenue of RM18.8bil in 2018
Xavier: The way forward is energy-saving vehicles
New Perodua Myvi production disrupted due to supply issue
Proton to make inroads into China

Travel & Tourism
Rina Harun: Ministry to develop rural tourism to boost livelihoods
Malaysia on track to meet 33.1 million tourist arrivals
Tourism Ministry to address concerns raised by Pakatan Pemandu
M’sia and China set 2020 as Year of Culture and Tourism
Three Tourism Malaysia offices under review for closure | TTG Asia
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
National Affairs

Dr M: Council of Eminent Persons' report may not be made public the star 27th Aug 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) 100-day report may not be made public as its report is for the government to base their decisions on, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Hiring system of Bangladesh workers to be discontinued The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
The government will officially stop using the Foreign Worker Application System (SPPA) to hire workers from Bangla­desh effective Sept 1. This follows the meeting of the Special Committee on Foreign Wor­ker Management on Aug 14 chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Panel reviewing Sosma to hold a third meeting The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
The special committee tasked to review the Security Offen­ces (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) will hold a third meeting this week.

PM: Cash handouts to stop eventually The Star Online 26th Aug 2018
Cash handouts under BR1M, which has been renamed Bantuan Sara Hidup by Pakatan Harapan, will be gradually reduced before being stopped altogether, says the Prime Minister.

Economic adviser to PM appointed The Star Online 25th Aug 2018
The Prime Mi­­nister’s Office (PMO) has announced the appointment of former Khaza­nah Research Institute director Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid (pic) as economic adviser to the Prime Minister effective next Monday. Dr Muhammad is currently the managing director and chief economist at data analysis firm DM Analytics Malaysia.

Joint statement by governments of China and Malaysia on bilateral ties The Star Online 20th Aug 2018
China and Malaysia are optimistic about the prospect of their bilateral relations. According to a joint statement between the two governments on Monday, both sides will adopt a strategic and long-term vision, and work for the sustained and steady development of their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Dr Mahathir calls for China’s help with fiscal problems The Star Online 20th Aug 2018
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on China’s top leadership Monday to help solve his country’s fiscal problems, as he tries to revise major Beijing-backed projects signed under his scandal-plagued predecessor.

Dr M: No policy changes towards China The Star Online 20th Aug 2018
There will be no changes in policy towards China under the new Malaysian government, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir gave the assurance when meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guest House here today. He underscored that there would be continuity in Malaysia’s policy towards China.

Loke: Unpaid AES summonses would not have benefited Government The Star Online 20th Aug 2018
The RM435mil in unpaid Automated Enforcement System (AES) summonses would not have benefited the government,as the collection would have gone to two concessionaires instead, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke. He said the agreement formed by the previous government with the concessionaires was so “lopsided” that the two firms would easily get a profit and a return of their investments.

Customs

SST gets Agong's nod for Sept 1 kickoff The New Straits Times 28th Aug 2018
The implementation of Sales and Services Tax (SST) has been approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, thus allowing the new tax system to take place on Sept 1.

Who are winners and losers of sales and services tax the star 27th Aug 2018
The sales and services tax (SST) regime is likely to have an impact on the earnings of manufacturers and importers while healthcare and building material companies are among the major beneficiaries.

Malaysia to go ahead with Asia-Pacific trade pact CPTPP, says PM Mahathir The Straits Times 27th Aug 2018
In an interview with a Thai television network last week, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reaffirmed his country's commitment to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In particular, Mahathir pointed towards the withdrawal of the US from the agreement which allowed for the suspension of clauses that were sticking points between the US and the negotiating countries.

IRB confirms Finance Minister’s claims of RM16bil in unreturned taxes The Star Online 24th Aug 2018
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has confirmed Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claims that a total of RM16.046bil of excess income tax and real property gains tax have not been refunded to taxpayers for over six years. It said that the amount involved 1,653,786 incidents involving companies, individuals, societies, associations and foundations, as of May 31 this year.

Smooth sailing for SST Bills The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
The Bills on the Sales and Service Tax (SST) sailed through the Dewan Negara, which is majority-controlled by the opposition, without hiccups, paving the way for the return of SST on Sept 1. The latest development put to rest fears that the Bills tabled by the Pakatan Harapan-led government could be delayed at the upper House.

Economics

Malaysia's headline inflation expected to drop to 2.0pct this year with SST NST Online 30th Aug 2018
Malaysia’s headline inflation is expected to ease to two per cent this year despite the reintroduction of the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on September 1.

Govt sets up two committees to juggle between growth and spending cut the star 29th Aug 2018
PETALING JAYA: The Government is establishing two new committees – the Public Finance Committee (PFC) and the Tax Reform Committee (TRC) – as it strives to lower the fiscal deficit without hurting economic growth.

Guan Eng: It's difficult for Malaysia to achieve a balanced budget right now The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
The government's aspiration to achieve a balanced budget seems to be out of reach right now or even for the next few years due to the country's financial limitation and restraints, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. He said the fact that the country's debt was amounting to RM1 trillion had also made it difficult.

Ong Kian Ming: Renewed interest from foreign investors, especially from Singapore and Japan, since GE14 The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
Foreign investors, especially those from Japan and Singapore, have shown renewed interest in Malaysia after the May general election. Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming said a majority of them had voiced their confidence in the country's new leadership. On the Look East Policy, Ong said Malaysia wanted to attract more Japanese companies in services, gaming and high-technology to set up operations in Malaysia.

Energy

Petronas, Shell, Petron - all supply petrol, diesel for government official vehicles The New Straits Times 30th Aug 2018
Petron Fuel International Sdn Bhd is not the sole supplier of petrol and diesel for government transportation, said Finance Ministry in a statement issued today. It emphasised that Petronas and Shell have been the suppliers of petrol and diesel for the government since 1997 to cater to the needs of the official vehicles.

Financial Services

Reconsider imposition of SST on general insurance products, says PIAM The Edge Markets 27th Aug 2018
The General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) says it will appeal the government's move to tax general insurance products — except for medical policies — under the new Sales and Services Tax (SST) system.  PIAM chairman Anthony Lee said the new SST, with comes to force on Sept 1, is a contrast to the former service tax regime as insurance and takaful services, including general insurance for individuals, are among the items listed as taxable.  

Malaysia: Foreign insurers given more flexibility to divest their stakes Asia Insurance Review 21st Aug 2018
Foreign parties will be given more flexibility to reduce their 100% stakes in insurance companies in Malaysia to the 70% ceiling. The deadline for the divestments will now depend on the bilateral agreement between the insurance companies and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Malaysian central bank liberalises foreign exchange policy Financial Times 17th Aug 2018
The new governor of Malaysia’s central bank has moved to liberalise its foreign exchange policy and signalled a more conciliatory approach to regulating overseas insurance companies, marking a sharp shift away from the previous administration’s tough stance on international financial institutions.

Food & Agriculture

Sugar prices to reduce effective Sept 1 The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
The ceiling price for coarse granulated sugar and refined granulated sugar will be reduced by 10 sen per kg effective Sept 1. The new price of coarse granulated sugar is set at RM2.85 per kg, while fine granulated sugar is set at RM2.95 per kg. Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said this was due to the global reduction in the price of raw sugar, as well as the rise in living costs.

Malaysia's Sime Darby, China food giant sign deal to produce palm oil-based products The Business Times 27th Aug 2018
Malaysia's Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sime Darby Plantation Berhad, and state-owned China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (Cofco) on the last day of his five-day visit to China. Cofco will be working together with Sime Darby in a joint venture to set up plants in Malaysia to produce palm oil-based products for the Chinese market.

Go all out against illegal foreign fishing boats, says Sabah minister The Star Online 23rd Aug 2018
The state government wants the relevant authorities to go all out and catch illegal foreign fishing vessels operating in Sabah waters, and even legal boats using unlicensed methods. State Agriculture and Food Industries minister Junz Wong said he had received numerous complaints from local fishing communities that they were seeing more fishing vessels from Vietnam operating in Kuala Penyu. He said even licensed foreign vessels were believed to be using (more destructive) fishing methods apart from those stated in their documents.

M’sia, China sign MoUs on biofuel, rubber research The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
Malaysia and China have inked two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on the use of palm-based biofuel collaborative research and development, as well as rubber research. In a statement, the Primary Industries Ministry said the agreement on collaborative research and development on the use of palm-based biofuel would include technical research on the suitability and effect of palm biodiesel on vehicles, industry and the environment.

Li Keqiang: China to import more from Malaysia The Star Online 20th Aug 2018
China will import more products from Malaysia, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Apart from Malaysian palm oil, he said the country was also interested in other agricultural goods from Malaysia.

Health & Life Sciences

Govt mulling soda tax to encourage healthy living: Tun M the sun 27th Aug 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The government is considering implementing a soda tax to encourage healthy living, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Doctor visits may cost at least three times as much next year The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
A visit to the doctor at private clinics nationwide could cost you at least three times as much next year. The general practitioners' charges of between RM10 and RM35 are to be increased to between RM35 and RM125.The increase was agreed to at a town hall session on "Stakeholders Consultation on the Proposed Revision of General Practitioners' Charges", held at the Health Ministry here on Monday (Aug 27). The last change in charges was back in 2006.

Proposal to raise private doctors' fees by RM30 to RM125 NST 27th Aug 2018
PUTRAJAYA: The consultation fees of medical practitioners at private clinics and hospitals may go up by between RM30 and RM125. Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Azman Abu Bakar said the current consultation fees of between RM10 and RM35 had not been revised for nearly 12 years.

Dr M: Government mulling soda tax to encourage healthy living Free Malaysia Today 27th Aug 2018
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government is considering implementing a soda tax to encourage healthy living and reduce sugar consumption, which is a cause of diabetes. He had been asked about the government’s stand on the soda tax to increase government revenue.

Cover Story: Long road ahead for healthcare reform The Edge Markets 23rd Aug 2018
Last Thursday, the Ministry of Health announced that 11 hospitals nationwide would be upgraded to improve access to specialist medical care in the rural areas. The move is a welcome development for the public health sector, which has been hit by a double blow — the development budget for health has been declining since 2015 and healthcare costs have been rising at double-digit rates. After making great progress in primary healthcare for several decades, Malaysia has failed to make the transition to a responsive health system that addresses the changing health profile of its population and rising expectations for healthcare services.

ICT

Overall pricing for telco services likely to be slightly higher New Straits Times 30th Aug 2018
JBIX Chief Peering Officer Weng Yew Wong said this is because equipment purchases, which are part of the providers’ service, would be at a higher cost. “We are monitoring the guidelines from the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and we are still discussing with them as to which services that we provide fall under taxable services. “As we provide mainly telecommunications and information technology services, we fall under the Service Tax Act, as opposed to the Sales Tax Act,” he told Bernama.

Malaysia sees increased online hiring in several sectors in Q2 OpenGov 30th Aug 2018
A report by a global employment website found that hiring in the IT, telecommunications and business process outsourcing sector recorded a 20% increase. According to a recent report, despite the dip in the economy and a decrease in online hiring activity in the first three months of the year, Malaysia saw an uptickin the second quarter across several industries, a report by the global employment website found.

Democratising AI in Singapore OpenGov 30th Aug 2018
In Singapore, AI isn’t just a buzz. The Government is making steps to make it a way of life for everyone – regardless of age or technical inclination. At the celebration, two new AI programs were launched and the full composition of Singapore’s Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data announced. AI Singapore (AISG) celebrates its first anniversary. The ceremonious occasion was marked by the launch of two new initiatives in partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and the announcement of the members of the newly established Advisory Council on the Ethical Use of AI and Data. These announcements were delivered by the Minister for Communications and Information, Mr. S Iswaran on 30 August 2018 at Innovation 4.0.

Fake news: Strict action against telcos that fail to reduce broadband prices by Aug 31 The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
The Communications and Multimedia Ministry released a statement highlighting that several news portals have wrongly stated in their articles that strict action will be taken against telecommunications companies that fail to reduce broadband prices by the end of this month. In the statement, the ministry explains that all telcos and industry players were initially given until July 31 to complete their commercial discussions on how best to reduce broadband prices in the country. The statement adds that after several appeals from the parties involved to extend the time period, the Ministry agreed to push the deadline to Aug 31 instead.

‘i-Melaka’ apps to help serve the people better The Star Online 25th Aug 2018
The state government launched the “i-Melaka” smartphone application to increase its effectiveness in serving the people. Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari said the mobile application enabled the state government to deliver the best services and at the same time allow the public to channel complaints directly to their leaders. He said the initiative was in line with technological advancements and Industrial Revolution 4.0, and that it was an effective and efficient platform utilising the latest technology, besides being available for free on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

More than 4,000 sign up for i-Suri The Star Online 25th Aug 2018
More than 4,000 women have signed up for the i-Suri incentive scheme since registration opened last Wednesday, says Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic). The Women, Family and Commu­nity Development Minister said as of Aug 23, a total of 4,365 women had registered for the housewives’ Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account. “The implementation of the i-Suri scheme is not just to fulfil the pledges in the government’s manifesto, but also to protect the welfare of women, especially those who are housewives,” she said in her speech at the National Council of Women’s Organisations of Malaysia (NCWO) Women’s Day dinner here yesterday.

Customs wants 5% tax on smartphones The Star Online 23rd Aug 2018
Sales tax on smartphones has been proposed at 5%, while the tax for most motor vehicles has been suggested at the full 10%. These items were earlier proposed for tax exemption in the list re­­leased by the Customs Depart­ment.

Govt initiatives, DFTZ help drive local SMEs into e-commerce marketplace The Star Online 22nd Aug 2018
Government initiatives and the creation of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) have helped propel home-grown small and enterprises (SMEs) into e-commerce marketplace, says SME Corporation (SME Corp). It said government efforts including the establishment of the National eCommerce Council (NeCC), jointly led by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) since December 2015, also contributed to accelerating the growth and development of e-commerce in the country.

Infrastructure

Joint Singapore-Malaysia decisions on HSR and RTS link to come soon: Khaw Boon Wan The Straits Times 30th Aug 2018
Malaysia and Singapore are likely to come to decisions on both the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) and the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) soon, said Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday (Aug 30).

Johor wants a third link bridge with Singapore within 3-4 years The Star Online 30th Aug 2018
Johor plans to build a third link bridge in Sungai Rengit in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi district, to ease the traffic congestions at the Johor Causeway and the Second Link Crossing. Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian said the bridge would link the southeast part of Johor with Pulau Ubin in Singapore.

Special committee to review terms of Forest City project The New Straits Times 28th Aug 2018
The Housing and Local Government Ministry will form a committee to review all the terms of the Forest City development project in Johor.

ECRL not cancelled yet, all options still being studied says Dr M The Star Online 25th Aug 2018
Studies are still being made on whether to defer the China-backed multi-billion ringgit East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project or deal with it in some other way, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Aug 24.

Loke: Transportation network in east coast states will be improved The Star Online 23rd Aug 2018
The government will continue to rehabilitate the existing Gemas-Tumpat single track railway line and improve the road network in the east coast states following the decision to scrap the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL). Transport Minister Anthony Loke gave an assurance that these states would not be neglected despite the government’s decision to axe ECRL.

RM4.3mil project to ease traffic in Sungai Pinang The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will embark on a RM4.3mil project to ease traffic congestion along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway during peak hours. Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi said the project would include a paired U-turn at the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway-Jalan Sungai Pinang-Lebuh Sungai Pinang junction to enable road users to turn back without passing the traffic lights along Lebuh Sungai Pinang.

State govt and Irda studying JB tram project The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
Johor’s capital city will offer tram services within the next three years if the plan materialises. The state government is currently exploring the proposal to introduce the tram services with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda). This project is part of a long-term plan to improve public transportation within Iskandar Malaysia.

Manufacturing

Malaysian rubber glove industry expects revenue of RM18.8bil in 2018 The Star Online 23rd Aug 2018
Malaysia's rubber glove industry expects to generate revenue of RM18.8 billion this year, up from RM16.2 billion in 2017, due to robust global demand, says the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma).

Xavier: The way forward is energy-saving vehicles The Star Online 22nd Aug 2018
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar suggested that the proposed third national car project explore energy-saving vehicles as its core investment. With EVs being massively produced here in the future, Dr Xavier said, many people would have the option to shift towards environmentally-friendly vehicles at more affordable prices.

New Perodua Myvi production disrupted due to supply issue The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
Production of the new Myvi, has been temporarily halted due to a supply disruption. In a statement, Perodua said the disruption at one of its vendors, resulting in some 3,000 customers not being able to register their new Perodua Myvi before the end of August. Perodua said there had been a surge in demand for vehicles since the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate was reduced from 6% to 0% effective June 1, ahead of the imminent reintroduction of the Sales and Service Tax (SST) on September 1. Perodua has sold an estimated 140,000 vehicles between January and July this year, representing a jump of nearly 19% over the 118,600 it sold in the previous corresponding period.

Proton to make inroads into China The Star Online 19th Aug 2018
Proton Holdings Bhd is entering the world’s biggest automobile market after signing a deal for the setting up of a manufacturing plant in China. The facility will be a joint venture with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely), with both companies taking up equal equity. This includes the setting up of a production facility for Proton to assemble and market its cars in China. Both parties target to incorporate the JV within the first half of next year.

Travel & Tourism

Rina Harun: Ministry to develop rural tourism to boost livelihoods The Star Online 30th Aug 2018
The rural development ministry wants to encourage participation of rural folk in tourism as a way to improve the livelihoods of these communities. Its minister Rina Mohd Harun said this is also part of an effort to capitalise on the country's tourism potential in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020.

Malaysia on track to meet 33.1 million tourist arrivals The Star Online 27th Aug 2018
Malaysia is on track to achieve its targeted tourist arrivals of 33.1 million this year despite a slowdown in tourist arrival growth last year.

Tourism Ministry to address concerns raised by Pakatan Pemandu The New Straits Times 26th Aug 2018
Pakatan Pemandu’s proposals to address issues facing tourism sector drivers will be raised at the National Transportation Council's (NTC) event at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) on Aug 27. The proposals by the non-governmental organisation – which represents truck and lorry drivers nationwide – will be reviewed as they concern a vital component of the tourism sector, which is attempting to attract 36 million foreign visitors to Malaysia and generate RM168 billion in revenue by 2020.

M’sia and China set 2020 as Year of Culture and Tourism The Star Online 21st Aug 2018
Malaysia and China have set 2020 as the Year of Culture and Tourism between the two countries to promote greater people-to-people contact and sustainable socio-economic growth.

Three Tourism Malaysia offices under review for closure | TTG Asia TTG Asia 21st Aug 2018
As part of a rationalisation exercise, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) is considering the closure of Tourism Malaysia offices in Osaka (Japan), Auckland (New Zealand) and Almaty (Kazakhstan). The closures are seen as a way of reducing operating costs, which range between RM67 million (US$16.3 million) to RM70 million annually for each of the three offices under review.