Malaysia Update: October 22, 2019

Malaysia Update | October 22, 2019
Authors: Kim Yaeger and Jacob Corfman
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Industry4WRD Developments Since its Launch

Since its launch in October of 2018, Malaysia’s Industry4WRD has experienced significant developments and roadblocks. Most notable are the difficulties faced with getting information about the program to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) throughout the country who are the intended beneficiaries. Out of over 50,000 SMEs in Malaysia, only 600 firms have applied to the Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment (RA) which is the national program that signifies whether a firm is ready for assistance in starting the transition to Industry 4.0. Out of the 600 firms that have applied, as of late September, 133 of them have been deemed as qualified in assistance. In other words, less than 1.2 percent of firms who are the intended beneficiaries of the program have applied, and just over 22 percent of that 1.2 percent have been accepted.

Deputy Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has announced possible pathways to take in addressing these problems. To help supplement, he states that MITI plans on traveling to smaller cities in different states in Malaysia to spread word directly, as well as an increase in funds to help facilitate the program in the 2020 budget. 210 million RM of the 2019 budget was allocated to the program and will be available for utilization until 2021. The 210 million RM is dedicated to support the transition of 500 companies to IR4.0, which is the number of companies MITI set out to help transition by 2019 in the original plans of Industry4WRD, a goal that Deputy Minister Ong believes is still achievable by the end of the year.

Alongside the SMEs who are to benefit from the program, the emerging workforce who will soon join the envisioned future has yet to buy in as well. A study conducted by INTI International University & Colleges (INTI) and International Data Corporation (IDC) found that overall: students, graduates, and parents were unable to articulate what IR4.0 entails; students feel unprepared to join the IR4.0 workforce; and that tertiary education may not be doing enough to prepare students for the workplace. Tan Lin Nah, CEO of INTI, states, “While emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is on the rise, students are unable to articulate or envision how their choice of education and careers today may be impacted by digital change.” To combat this, INTI has taken several initiatives to better educate the workforce which will contribute to the workplace Industry4WRD will create. INTI has partnered with over 450 industry players to help equip students with ready skills, has made Design Thinking a part of required Mata Pelajaran Umum module across all Bachelor’s programs, and continue to organize Industry Advisory Boards where members of faculty and industry meet to evaluate curriculum.

The council covered the first draft of Industry4WRD in an update released on March 21, 2018. Since then, MITI has released the final draft of Industry4WRD: National Policy on Industry 4.0 and spearheaded policies to drive Industry4WRD such as the dedication to developing KRSTE.my (Knowledge Resource for Science and Technology Excellence, Malaysia), a branch dedicated to ensuring Malaysia will have the necessary high level skilled labor to carry out the ambitions of Industry4WRD. Many reports suggest that Malaysia must take its time with Industry4WRD as many of the SMEs don’t quite have the quality and/or amount of data to enact it in full swing, the lack of information reception may exemplify this. The project is still in its developmental stages, which is understandable given the level of digital infrastructure most of the SMEs are at currently, but a worthy endeavor given the economic potential and competitive significance it would play for Malaysia.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Halal Medical Device Implementation

The Ministry of Internationa Trade and Industry (MITI) announced during their consultative forum recently held that the voluntary halal standards for medical devices has been finalized. Despite the emphasis on voluntary, industry is concerned that the regulation will lead to a slippery slope in demand of Halal medical devices in Malaysia. The development of the regulation is especially significant given the level of growth of the medical device market in Malaysia. According to this release by MATRADE, in 2018 they saw a 16% growth in medical device exports and are hoping to close 2019 with similar if not larger numbers. Not only the level of exports have been recorded and projected to be in the double digits, but the definitions of what is to be a considered a medical device have broadened as well, subjecting more products to the potential demand shift. If the regulation gains momentum in the negative direction for producers, it could easily hamper their numbers. The Council is working with other associations, led by the Association of Malaysia Medical Industries (AMMI), to respond, particularly to urge Standards Malaysia to narrow the scope of the standards to cover only medical devices from animal sources. Access to Standards Malaysia's Halal medical device -- General requirements can be found at the link for purchase, although as this was written the site states that "Online purchase will be available soon."

Bank Negera's Draft on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism

A supplementary document to the Money Services Business Act 2011 (MSBA) has been drafted to pursue Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism  (AML/CFT) control measures. The new draft addresses situations where online payments are made without face-to-face verification between buyer and seller, and sets minimum requirements and standards that a seller must observe in order to continue doing so. The council would like to hear from our members regarding any thoughts on the matter, if you have any specific ideas or concerns, please contact Kim Yaeger (kyaeger@usasean.org) and Emma Tabatabai (emma@usasean.org) for further inquiry.  

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements
Minister: RCEP talks expected to conclude by year-end

Regional Affairs
Malaysia fast-tracks investments to win trade-war business
With new Foreign Policy Framework, Malaysia to no longer stay silent against global injustice

National Affairs
Labour shortage hits Malaysia's rubber glove exports
Ministry tables eight amendments to Industrial Relations Act
MESTECC to prepare transboundary pollution act cabinet paper in three months
NEHAP focuses on sustainable environmental health
‘Glitch in smart city progress’
Smart city players working in silos hindering development as a whole, says Dr M
Tun M: Private sector needs to step up and invest more
Anwar Says He Will Succeed Mahathir as Malaysia Prime Minister Around 2020
Integrity chief: Malaysia’s war on corruption is coming together

Customs
Nine companies blacklisted for misappropriation of vehicle import APs
MITI continues anti-dumping duties on fibre cement board products from Thailand
Malaysia Adopts US Electronic Data System to Track Suspected Terrorists
Malaysia to propose new water tariff to Singapore

Defense & Security
Navy Chief Introductory Visit Puts Malaysia-Brunei Defense Relations Into Focus
US-Malaysia Counterterrorism Cooperation in the Spotlight with Home Minister Visit
Future of the Malaysian Defense Industry - Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2024

Economics
Malaysia's higher-than-projected fiscal deficit will not affect rating — StanChart
Malaysia to boost economy in 2020 as Sino-US trade war drags on
Malaysia August exports down 0.8% to RM81.4b
Malaysia's economic power to grow as country integrates with Asian economies
Growing interest seen in sustainable finance, says Asean capital market regulators
Malaysia's Budget 2020 should be expansionary, less fixated on deficit — SERC
Govt urged to change poverty rate definition
Putrajaya committed to further strengthen Malaysia-US ties — MITI

Energy
Saudi Aramco stands by Malaysia mega-refinery, Petronas says
Govt to liberalise power industry

Financial Services
Modest growth seen for banking sector
Malaysia to require banks to report exposure to climate risks

ICT
Digital tax can rake in RM2.4bil a year
Govt approves RM21.6 billion plan that gives urban, rural folk equal access to Internet
Axiata Seeks Malaysia, Indonesia Mergers After Telenor Talks End
Malaysia Parliament passes law to scrap anti-fake news law again, abolishing it end of year
Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill re-tabled in Parliament
Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll-out 5G demo projects
Malaysia: Current laws enough to deal with fake news
Gobind: Laws on internet regulation, personal data protection under study
Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5G demo projects
E-commerce players want extra incentives in Budget 2020
5G demonstration projects begin tomorrow in KL and 5 states
Revamped policy on TVET needed
Malaysia Woos More High-Tech Investments from China
Firms must initiate data governance

Infrastructure
‘Toll abolition not possible’
M’sia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5g demo projects
Dr M: we will study all offers for PLUS Malaysia takeover
Malaysia Wants To Slap Grab With $20M Fine 
Sabah drafting development plans of areas bordering Indonesia
Mahathir: 'We have to go to the Chinese' for infrastructure

Manufacturing
Conditions in manufacturing sector still challenging
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Multilateral Trade Agreements

Minister: RCEP talks expected to conclude by year-end The Star Online 2nd Oct 2019
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking has expressed optimism that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations can conclude by year-end.

Regional Affairs

Malaysia fast-tracks investments to win trade-war business Reuters 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia has set up a panel to fast-track investments as it seeks to woo businesses affected by the U.S.-China trade dispute and it approved more than $500 million in new proposals this month, a government minister said.

With new Foreign Policy Framework, Malaysia to no longer stay silent against global injustice Malay Mail 19th Sep 2019
A new Foreign Policy Framework was launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday, with Putrajaya declaring its intention to not shy away from speaking up against regional or global breaches of human rights and inequality.

National Affairs

Labour shortage hits Malaysia's rubber glove exports The Edge Markets 10th Oct 2019
Malaysia’s projected rubber glove export for this year has been revised down to 188 billion pieces from 195 billion pieces earlier due to the current labour shortage, said Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA) president Denis Low Jau Foo. The figure is, however, slightly higher than the 172 billion pieces exported last year. "We have to cut down on productivity due to labour shortage; thus for first six months of 2019, Malaysia’s export of rubber gloves declined by 4.5 percent simply because we did not have enough workers."

Ministry tables eight amendments to Industrial Relations Act The Edge Markets 7th Oct 2019
The Human Resources Ministry today tabled eight amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat. "The amendments are part of the holistic review and in conformity to international standards in bringing transformation to the industrial relations landscape in the country," the ministry said in a statement. The amendments, it said, were discussed at length with various stakeholders, and are in line with the Pakatan Harapan government's promise to enhance and improve workers' protection and to ensure workers' rights are at par with international standards.

MESTECC to prepare transboundary pollution act cabinet paper in three months The Edge Markets 25th Sep 2019
The Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (MESTECC) will be preparing a cabinet paper on the need to create a Transboundary Pollution Act in three months. Its Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the cabinet paper among others would contain the direction and policy of the act and if agreed by cabinet ministers, the ministry would proceed to formulate a draft of the laws concerned. “In three months, I will send a cabinet paper, so that they (cabinet) can make a policy decision on whether to formulate a draft or not.

NEHAP focuses on sustainable environmental health The Edge Markets 25th Sep 2019
The National Environmental Health Action Plan (NEHAP) focuses on 11 areas of concern that aim to put sustainable environment and health at the centre of development, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. He said the areas were air quality; water, sanitation and hygiene; solid and hazardous waste; toxic chemicals and hazardous substances; climate change, ozone depletion and ecosystem change; and contingency planning preparedness and response in environmental health emergencies.

‘Glitch in smart city progress’ The Star Online 24th Sep 2019
There are too many smart city players working in silos, thus hindering the smart city development as a whole, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said to overcome the issue, the Housing and Local Government Ministry has introduced the Malaysia Smart City Framework, comprising all three tiers of government as well as private sector participation to streamline and coordinate the development of smart cities in Malaysia. Dr Mahathir said the emphasis towards turning Malaysian cities into smart cities would be one of the highlights in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan.

Smart city players working in silos hindering development as a whole, says Dr M The Star Online 23rd Sep 2019
There are too many smart city players working in silos, hindering smart city development as a whole, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Prime Minister said to overcome the issue, the Housing and Local Government Ministry has introduced the Malaysia Smart City Framework, comprising all three tiers of government as well as private sector participation to streamline and coordinate the development of smart cities in Malaysia. Dr Mahathir said the emphasis on turning Malaysian cities into smart cities would be one of the highlights in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan.

Tun M: Private sector needs to step up and invest more The Edge Markets 20th Sep 2019
While the Government is faced with many limitations to invest and spend as a result of debts inherited from the previous administration, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on the private sector to “step up and invest more”. “All of you own and run companies, so you will know what I am talking about when I say the debt burden weighs very heavily on the Government and limits our ability to invest and spend more."

Anwar Says He Will Succeed Mahathir as Malaysia Prime Minister Around 2020 Bloomberg 18th Sep 2019
Malaysian ruling party leader Anwar Ibrahim, who cut a deal to become the country's next prime minister ahead of last year's election, said he should take power around May 2020.

Integrity chief: Malaysia’s war on corruption is coming together The Star Online 17th Sep 2019
Malaysia's political will to fight corruption to the core has started bearing fruit, says the nation’s former anti graft chief. National Governance, Integrity, and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed said international indexes and studies show an improvement in Malaysia's performance indicators.

Customs

Nine companies blacklisted for misappropriation of vehicle import APs The Edge Markets 10th Oct 2019
Nine companies have been blacklisted after a compliance audit was conducted for alleged offences related to misappropriation of vehicle import licence (AP), for the period 2017 to 2018, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking. He said the compliance audit covered the entire import process until the vehicle was sold and registered, in addition to ensuring that Open APs holding companies complied with the existing guidelines. “The Ministry has been conducting regular compliance audits since 2009 to ensure that AP abuse is resolved,” he said.

MITI continues anti-dumping duties on fibre cement board products from Thailand The Edge Markets 24th Sep 2019
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has decided to continue the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports of cellulose fibre reinforced cement flat and pattern sheets (FCB) from Thailand for five more years.

Malaysia Adopts US Electronic Data System to Track Suspected Terrorists BenarNews 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia is developing a new immigration system to incorporate the screening of passenger data in preventing terrorists from entering or leaving the country, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Malaysia to propose new water tariff to Singapore Nikkei Asian Review 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia will submit a revised price for raw water sales to Singapore, as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government pushes ahead with its effort to change the terms of a half-century-long agreement between the neighbors. The proposed change to the 1962 Johore River Water Agreement has been a point of contention between Malaysia and Singapore, due to differing interpretations of the price-revision period in the pact. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Mahathir have agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration if discussions reach an impasse.

Defense & Security

Navy Chief Introductory Visit Puts Malaysia-Brunei Defense Relations Into Focus The Diplomat 24th Sep 2019
Earlier this month, Brunei’s new navy chief was in Malaysia for a scheduled introductory visit. The interaction spotlighted ongoing efforts by both sides to cultivate their defense ties within the broader Malaysia-Brunei bilateral relationship.

US-Malaysia Counterterrorism Cooperation in the Spotlight with Home Minister Visit The Diplomat 24th Sep 2019
This week, Malaysia’s home minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, paid a visit to the United States. While the agenda of his trip was wide-ranging, it nonetheless spotlighted in particular the counterterrorism aspect of the wider U.S.-Malaysia relationship that has been gaining traction over the past few years despite the wider challenges in bilateral ties that remain..

Future of the Malaysian Defense Industry - Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2024 Insta Newsletters 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia’s military expenditure, which stands at US$3.4 billion in 2019, is anticipated to grow from US$3.5 billion in 2020 to value US$3.7 billion in 2024, registering a CAGR of 1.61% over the forecast period, primarily fueled by the ongoing military modernization efforts. Military expenditure, on a cumulative basis, is anticipated to be US$18 billion, which is lower than the US$19.6 billion spent during the historic period. Malaysia is an active participant in joint operations with the European Union (EU) and peacekeeping operations with NATO and the United Nations (UN), and as such, seeks higher spending in terms of its defense sector. GDP is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 3.24% and reach a value of US$527.6 billion by 2024.The defense budget as a percentage of GDP is expected to decrease marginally from an average of 1.2% during 2015-2019 to 0.7% over 2020-2024. The country’s per capita defense expenditure is expected to increase from US$102.3 in 2019 to US$103.1 in 2024.

Economics

Malaysia's higher-than-projected fiscal deficit will not affect rating — StanChart The Edge Markets 9th Oct 2019
Higher-than-projected fiscal deficit for 2020 will not raise rating concerns for Malaysia as long as the medium-term fiscal consolidation target is adhered to, says Standard Chartered. The bank said it expected Malaysia's 2020 fiscal deficit to be at 3.2%, which is higher than the projected 3.0%, but lower than 3.4% anticipated for 2019.

Malaysia to boost economy in 2020 as Sino-US trade war drags on The Edge Markets 7th Oct 2019
Malaysia's government will likely present an expanded budget on Friday to temper a weak economic outlook, as it grapples with global recession fears, the protracted US-China trade war and a large debt pile left behind by its predecessors. Southeast Asia's third-largest economy bucked a global cooling trend and grew faster than expected over the first half of 2019, but analysts say growing protectionist policies around the world will eventually drag on the trade-reliant country. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's government will at the least need to sustain its development spending to prop up domestic demand next year, economists have said, even as it continues to deal with RM1 trillion (US$238.66 billion) in debt that has been blamed on embattled former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration.

Malaysia August exports down 0.8% to RM81.4b The Edge Markets 4th Oct 2019
Malaysia's August exports registered a 0.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) decrease to RM81.4 billion, while imports fell 12.5%. The Department of Statistics Malaysia stated that the decline in exports was due to lower exports to Hong Kong (-RM911.5 million), Singapore (-RM844.9 million), Australia (-RM818.1 million), Taiwan (-RM690.2 million) and Thailand (-RM382.1 million). In the External Trade Statistics for August 2019, which was published today, the department's chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said that in August 2019, imports also registered a decrease of 12.5% y-o-y to RM70.4 billion.

Malaysia's economic power to grow as country integrates with Asian economies The Edge Markets 3rd Oct 2019
Malaysia’s economic power is expected to grow as the country integrates more deeply with other Asian economies in trade, innovation, culture, tourism and people flows, said Juwai.com executive chairman Georg Chmiel. He said this was due to Malaysia’s location in the heart of Asia, the world’s largest regional economy, as revealed in a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) entitled ‘The Future of Asia’.'

Growing interest seen in sustainable finance, says Asean capital market regulators The Edge Markets 3rd Oct 2019
There have been US$2.6 billion worth of green and sustainable bonds issued carrying the Asean Green or Sustainable Bond labels in the past two years, according to capital market regulators in Asean. This comes in less than two years after the launch of the Asean Green Bond Standards in November 2017 and the Asean Social Bond Standards and Asean Sustainable Bond Standards in 2018, the Asean Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) noted in a statement today.

Malaysia's Budget 2020 should be expansionary, less fixated on deficit — SERC The Edge Markets 24th Sep 2019
The Malaysian government should allow room for an expansionary budget and be less fixated on reducing its deficit in anticipation of slower economic growth amid rising risk of a global recession, said local think tank Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC). SERC executive director Lee Heng Guie (pictured) said today the government must be both pragmatic and strategic in crafting Budget 2020, which should include an expansionary budget focusing on sectors, initiatives, and measures that will protect growth-enhancing spending and investment. Lee said SERC saw a "high and rising" risk of a global recession going into 2020, with Malaysia experiencing a moderation in real gross domestic product growth at a projected 4.5% versus the 4.7% estimated expansion for 2019.

Govt urged to change poverty rate definition The Edge Markets 24th Sep 2019
The government has been called to fix a higher poverty rate to obtain a more accurate total of the poor in the country, said Parliamentary Caucus on Reformation and Governance chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.    He said while the caucus is aware of the existence of inequality and low income among households, as well as the issue of economic structure, he hoped Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would consider the views on new measures of poverty rate.

Putrajaya committed to further strengthen Malaysia-US ties — MITI The Edge Markets 19th Sep 2019
Malaysia is committed to boost bilateral ties with the United States amid the challenging economic environment, the government said today, ahead of a visit to the US by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.  Noting that the two countries have over six decades of strong bilateral ties, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said Malaysia is committed to continuing working with the US for mutual benefits.  

Energy

Saudi Aramco stands by Malaysia mega-refinery, Petronas says Nikkei Asian Review 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia's state oil company Petronas said on Friday that recent attacks on a key Saudi oil facility will not affect Saudi Aramco's $7 billion investment in a refinery complex in the southern state of Johor.

Govt to liberalise power industry The Edge Markets 17th Sep 2019
The Cabinet has approved a 10-year masterplan to reform the domestic power industry, in which the government will now stop approving new independent power production projects that come with power purchase agreements (PPA). Dubbed as Malaysia Electricity Supply Industry 2.0 (MESI 2.0), the main feature of the masterplan is to introduce liberalisation across the industry from fuel sources, generation to transmission and distribution and retail in Peninsula Malaysia. And it will also encourage and facilitate the supply of green energy in the country. With details yet to be ironed out, it is still unclear if the initiatives will result in lower electricity tariffs, which is already quite competitive currently. By the same token, liberalisation will help to enhance efficiency along the value chain, which in turn is expected to drive down production costs. Speaking in a briefing last Friday, Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin revealed that the key reform initiatives are: Allow generators to source own fuel to optimise cost; Move from PPA regime to capacity and energy market; Establish third party access framework and network charges for grid to allow third party using the infrastructures; and Facilitate green energy producers and consumers.

Financial Services

Modest growth seen for banking sector The Edge Markets 2nd Oct 2019
Malaysia’s banking sector will remain stable but soft going forward, say analysts, with most of them giving a modest growth outlook. In August, loans growth stayed at 3.9% year-on-year (y-o-y), same as the preceding month, as business and household lending was tepid, while deposits growth slowed further to 4.6% versus July’s 4.9% primarily due to softer build-up in fixed deposits. Other indicators too remained weak, as loan applications swung back to negative at -0.3% compared to July’s positive 0.5% growth, on lower household demand.

Malaysia to require banks to report exposure to climate risks The Straits Times 25th Sep 2019
Malaysia's central bank governor said financial institutions will be required to report their exposure to climate risks and the information it gathers could be used to set regulatory standards in South-east Asia's third biggest economy. Bank governor Nor Shamsiah Mohamad Yunus said the recent shroud of haze in Malaysia and neighbouring Indonesia and Singapore from burning forests was a reminder of the environmental challenges facing countries

ICT

Digital tax can rake in RM2.4bil a year The Star Online 2nd Oct 2019
PETALING JAYA: Tax revenue could increase by more than RM2.4bil a year should foreign digital service providers register for the 6% service tax that is set to be implemented from Jan 1 next year.

Govt approves RM21.6 billion plan that gives urban, rural folk equal access to Internet New Strait Times 20th Sep 2019
The Cabinet has approved the implementation of a RM21.6 billion national connectivity plan that gives both the urban and rural population equal access to the Internet in an effort to reduce the digital divide.

Axiata Seeks Malaysia, Indonesia Mergers After Telenor Talks End Bloomberg 17th Sep 2019
Axiata Group Bhd. is pursuing mergers as a key strategy despite an abrupt end to its plan to form an Asian mobile giant with Telenor ASA, its top executive said.

Malaysia Parliament passes law to scrap anti-fake news law again, abolishing it end of year The Straits Times 9th Oct 2019
The Malaysian Parliament on Wednesday (Oct 9) voted to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA), the second time the Lower House had done so in just 14 months. The Lower House, which is controlled by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, had attempted to repeal the controversial AFNA - which makes "fake news" a crime - last year. But Malaysia's Upper House, or the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition Barisan Nasional coalition, had blocked the Bill.

Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill re-tabled in Parliament Malay Mail 7th Oct 2019
The government today re-tabled the Anti-Fake News (Repeal) Bill 2019 in the Dewan Rakyat. The government first tabled the Bill in September last year and it got past the Dewan Rakyat but was rejected by the Dewan Negara. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong re-tabled the Bill for first reading before Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Yusof. Debate of the Bill for second reading is also expected to be done at this sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, which is scheduled to end on December 5. The Bill seeks to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 (Act 803) which was passed by Parliament during the previous (Barisan Nasional) administration.

Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll-out 5G demo projects Borneo Bulletin Online 7th Oct 2019
Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month. However, GSM Association (GSMA) director-general Mats Granryd said Malaysia should take gradual and cautious steps in embarking on 5G to have more room and time to experiment and learn from countries which are already in the advanced phase of the 5G roll-out.

Malaysia: Current laws enough to deal with fake news The Straits Times 7th Oct 2019
Malaysia is poised to set up a bipartisan parliamentary panel to look into how to deal with fake news using current laws or other methods, as it goes ahead with repealing the Anti-Fake News Act (AFNA). The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition came into power after the May 2018 election, promising to do away with a raft of laws it claims were put in place to suppress freedom under the six-decade-long Barisan Nasional regime.

Gobind: Laws on internet regulation, personal data protection under study Malay Mail 6th Oct 2019
Minister Gobind Singh Deo has that studies are ongoing to possibly review various laws on internet regulation and to protect personal data. In an interview with local daily The Star, the communications and multimedia minister said he will propose a parliamentary select committee relating to misuse of the Internet when Dewan Rakyat reconvenes. Gobind said the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) was still required as it gives the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) the necessary legal powers to carry out investigations.

Malaysia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5G demo projects Malay Mail 6th Oct 2019
Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month. However, GSM Association (GSMA) director-general Mats Granryd said Malaysia should take gradual and cautious steps in embarking on 5G to have more room and time to experiment and learn from countries which are already in the advanced phase of the 5G roll-out.

E-commerce players want extra incentives in Budget 2020 NST Online 2nd Oct 2019
E-commerce industry players want extra incentives in Budget 2020 to help the government achieve growth of 20.8 per cent to RM170 billion next year. The industry’s contribution to Malaysia’s gross domestic product has continuously improved over a seven-year period from RM37.7 billion in 2010 to RM85.8 billion in 2017, with an average annual growth rate of 12.5 per cent. Shopback Malaysia country general manager Eddy Han said the cashback platform hoped that policymakers could provide a one-year tax exemption for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that start online operations for the first time, to help them sustain their businesses by investing in training, marketing and talent.

5G demonstration projects begin tomorrow in KL and 5 states NST Online 30th Sep 2019
5G demonstration projects will be rolled out for a period of six months, starting tomorrow until March 30, next year. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said the projects involved an initial investment of RM116 million by eight telecommunications companies — Maxis, Petronas, Celcom, U Mobile, edotco, Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), Altel and Digi. MCMC chairman Al-Ishal Ishak said the companies would demonstrate 5G use cases across nine sectors in Kedah, Perak, Penang, Selangor, Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur.

Revamped policy on TVET needed NST Online 22nd Sep 2019
TO avoid being left behind as the world strides further into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) must be a top national priority. That message, offered in the context of a “Shared Prosperity Vision” for Malaysia, was delivered by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week — very fittingly on the eve of Malaysia Day. The prime minister underscored how important it is to “upskill” workers to become more efficient and capable at more sophisticated tasks, which will help reduce today’s large income gap between the rich and poor.

Malaysia Woos More High-Tech Investments from China New Straits Times 20th Sep 2019
Malaysia's unhindered access to the US and Europe markets makes a good choice for China-based exporters to relocate here, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in view of the ongoing trade war. “Beyond domestic considerations, Malaysia has easy access to the world's major markets, be it the US, Europe or elsewhere," he said. “This is an important factor for exporters to consider when the global supply chain is being re-oriented due to trade flows either in the Pacific driven by the US.

Firms must initiate data governance NST Online 20th Sep 2019
Companies should initiate data governance to protect consumers databases or risk damage to their reputation, said TM Forum global ambassador for big data analytics Professor Paul Morrissey. “Data governance involves the protection of customers’ data that an organisation is collecting. Data governance is becoming a real agenda in a lot of organisations today,” Morrissey said at a briefing on Urbanlytics 2019 forum here today.

Infrastructure

‘Toll abolition not possible’ The Star Online 8th Oct 2019
Highway tolls cannot be abolished immediately because studies show that it requires a government buyout, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

M’sia to be among first in Asia to roll out 5g demo projects Daily Expres 8th Oct 2019
Malaysia is set to be among the first in Asia to deploy the fifth generation network (5G) technology with the nationwide roll-out of 5G project demonstrations next month.

Dr M: we will study all offers for PLUS Malaysia takeover The Star Online 7th Oct 2019
The government will study any proposal to acquire PLUS Malaysia Bhd, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. "Any offers by anyone will be studied by the government. If it's suitable with our demands, we will entertain them," he said to reporters during a press conference in Parliament lobby on Monday (Oct 7). Dr Mahathir was responding to Malaysian-led Hong Kong-based private equity firm RRJ Capital, which was reported to have laid out a revised proposal to the government to acquire PLUS Malaysia Bhd for RM3.5bil.

Malaysia Wants To Slap Grab With $20M Fine  PYMNTS.com 3rd Oct 2019
The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) ruled that Singapore-based Grab is in violation of competition laws and is considering slapping them with a $20.5 million fine, Reutersreported on Wednesday (Oct. 2).

Sabah drafting development plans of areas bordering Indonesia Malay Mail 2nd Oct 2019
The Sabah government will begin work to draw up plans to develop areas bordering Indonesia to ensure a complete infrastructure can be created in line with Indonesia’s plan to relocate its capital to Kalimantan.

Mahathir: 'We have to go to the Chinese' for infrastructure Nikkei Asian Review 26th Sep 2019
Accompanied by security agents in black suits, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad walked into the conference room, smiling at everyone. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday, Mahathir shared his feelings on being prime minister again.

Manufacturing

Conditions in manufacturing sector still challenging The Edge Markets 2nd Oct 2019
Business conditions in the manufacturing sector remain challenging despite September’s reading of IHS Markit Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rising to a four-month high of 47.9, up from 47.4 in August. The improvement in the PMI was attributed to increases in new orders and output indices. This was the first time since April that the headline index increased, according to the IHS Markit which compiles the index. However, Malaysia’s PMI has not breached the confidence level of 50, separating growth from contraction, since September last year.