Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

 

Oil slips as dollar gains, demand shows signs of weakening

NEW YORK, May 16 — Oil prices slipped today, as a strengthening dollar overshadowed a US crude inventory report that showed domestic crude stocks falling more than expected. Brent crude futures were down 31 cents at US$77.43 a barrel by 11:17 a.m….


Vincent Tan now a substantial shareholder of T7 Global

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Corp Bhd founder and executive chairman Tan Sri Vincent Tan has emerged as a substantial shareholder in Malaysia-based international service provider in the oil and gas industry, T7 Global Bhd.

According to a statement released today, Tan has taken up 21 million shares, or a 5.04% interest in the group.

“The board recognises Vincent Tan's emergence as substantial shareholder and is confident that under the executive management team’s leadership, the group will continue to make substantial progress for the company. We believe there is further upside in our business and ability to grow value to our shareholder,” said T7 Global executive deputy chairman Tan Sri Tan Kean Soon.


Zero GST come June 1, but will new tax system be in place by then?

PETALING JAYA: Come June 1, the government will stop collecting Goods and Services Tax (GST) – making good on a campaign promise by the Pakatan Harapan government – but the Finance Ministry in its announcement today was silent on whether a new system would be implemented by then.

According to Thannees Tax Consulting Services managing director S.M. Thanneermalai, a new tax system would need a minimum of three months for it to be effective, even if it goes back to the previously used Sales and Service Tax (SST).

He believes that plugging leakages in government would go a long way in providing revenue to the government in the interim period.

The Finance Ministry said in a statement today all goods and services currently taxed at a 6% rate will be zero rated, enabling the new government to circumvent the need to wait for a drawn-out process of passing new legislation to do away with GST.

While this accords the government some leeway for it to come up with another form of indirect tax on consumers, market observers believe that a replacement will be needed as soon as possible in order to minimise loss of revenue on the government’s part.

Without a new tax system by June 1, the government will lose an important source of revenue. GST brought in RM44 billion for the government in 2017.

Baker Tilly Malaysia tax leader Anand Chelliah opined that the government wants to let the GST system wash out of the economy first.

“This is a transition period. The first step is to make it zero per cent, next is repealing of the (GST) Act, then they bring in the new Act (SST).”

Anand said until the government is satisfied that the GST is washed out from the system, maybe in July to September, when it is ready to repeal the GST Act and abolish it, then by that time the government might be ready to implement SST.

“By zero rating GST, the country tends to lose a lot of tax collection. It’s question of whether they feel they need to set an alternative consumption tax like SST to defray the loss from GST. If they’re in a hurry, they will bring it in sooner, maybe July or August. They need to draft the new legislation for SST.”

Anand said the country used to have the Sales Tax Act and the Service Tax Act so there is a framework for the new government to work on.

“If they want to use a similar type of system, then it is not so difficult and they can make a few amendments, redating it and passing it through Parliament. If they want to make a big change, it will take longer.”

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid told SunBiz that there must be one form or another of indirect tax, either GST or SST, otherwise the government will not be able to collect any revenue from indirect tax. Indirect tax is an instrument to stabilise the economy.

“My view is last time when SST was implemented, our GDP was lower. That means SST will not be able to generate enough public sector revenue compared to GST, which is much more efficient in collecting public sector revenue,” Zakaria said, adding that the government should use the GST experience to formulate a better tax system than the old SST.

He is positive on the government's ability to get some extra revenue with improved efficiency in government expenditure.

” Any form of corruption or leakages will be minimised. Public sector expenditure will be much more efficient and the government can save a lot of money from more prudent expenditure monitoring; therefore, efficient expenditure monitoring is a good source of revenue,” he said.


UK hiring problems are widening as EU workers stay away

LONDON, May 16 — The Bank of England cited the loss of European Union workers as it warned that British companies are facing a mounting labor shortage. “Recruitment difficulties had broadened across skills and sectors, which was reported to be…


Flush with Nestle cash, Starbucks unveils bold China plan

NEW YORK, May 16 — Starbucks Corp. unveiled a bold plan to more than triple revenue in China over the next five years, at a time when other American corporates worry that simmering trade tensions may disrupt their businesses in the world’s…


EU heads discuss bold or fold strategy towards Trump tariffs

SOFIA, May 16 — European leaders will seek to agree a common stance today towards threatened US import tariffs on steel and aluminium, balancing the views of those most fearful of a trade war and those determined not to be bullied into…


Banking on CIMB FIRST to boost product take-up

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd plans to increase the product take-up rate per customer to more than one through the launch of the CIMB FIRST online platform.

CIMB Group Consumer Banking’s regional head (preferred banking and segments) Desmond Teoh said the bank gained an average of about 60,000 new customers monthly, most of whom took up one product from the group.

“Following the soft launch of CIMB FIRST three months ago, the group saw an increase of 15% of new customers taking up more than one product from the range of about 30 products offered by the group.

“This is very encouraging, and we hope more and more customers will be aware of the products that we offer which suit their needs,” he told reporters after the launch of the CIMB FIRST platform by Group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz today.

Group Consumer Banking CEO Samir Gupta said the platform offered holistic financial solutions unique to each customer’s needs based on the recommendations of a virtual financial adviser.

CIMB FIRST, which stands for Finance, Insure, Returns, Save and Transact, was very customer centric and enabled each customer to choose the online profile that best described them, he noted.

The platform will suggest to the customers a proposition covering savings, financing, insurance, investment and credit cards for systematic financial planning.

“Through CIMB FIRST, we aim to be our customers’ financial solutions partner in their life journey, so they can have the peace of mind to lead a more fulfilling life,” said Gupta.

Customers are free to choose any combination now or later, based on their requirements.

He said they could apply online for many solutions such as saving accounts and credit cards while other solutions like insurance and investments would require face-to-face consultations with CIMB officials. – Bernama


CIMB to boost product take-up

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd plans to increase the product take-up rate per customer to more than one through the launch of the CIMB FIRST online platform.

CIMB Group Consumer Banking’s regional head (Preferred Banking and Segments) Desmond Teoh said the bank gained an average of about 60,000 new customers monthly, most of whom took up one product from the group.

“Following the soft launch of CIMB FIRST three months ago, the group saw an increase of 15% of new customers taking up more than one product from the range of about 30 products offered by the group.

“This is very encouraging, and we hope more and more customers will be aware of the products that we offer which suit their needs,” he told reporters after the launch of the CIMB FIRST platform by Group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz today.

Group Consumer Banking CEO Samir Gupta said the platform offered holistic financial solutions unique to each customer’s needs based on the recommendations of a virtual financial adviser.

CIMB FIRST, which stands for Finance, Insure, Returns, Save and Transact, was very customer centric and enabled each customer to choose the online profile that best described them, he noted.

The platform will suggest to the customers a proposition covering savings, financing, insurance, investment and credit cards for systematic financial planning.

“Through CIMB FIRST, we aim to be our customers’ financial solutions partner in their life journey, so they can have the peace of mind to lead a more fulfilling life,” said Gupta.

Customers are free to choose any combination now or later, based on their requirements.

He said they could apply online for many solutions such as saving accounts and credit cards while other solutions like insurance and investments would require face-to-face consultations with CIMB officials. – Bernama


FGV management begins forensic investigations into past investments

PETALING JAYA: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s management has begun forensic investigations into investments made by the group in FGV Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd, the acquisition of Asian Plantations Ltd and the purchase of Troika apartments near the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

According to the group, in October last year, upon the instructions of its board of directors, FGV conducted preliminary internal investigations into the past investments.

Upon the conclusion of the internal investigations, the board instructed management to commence forensic investigations.

The group went on to say that it is guided by and committed to the highest principles of corporate governance and will take all necessary steps to safeguard FGV’s interests.

It also promised that when the forensic investigations are completed, the board will take all necessary actions in a transparent manner. In the event of any material developments, FGV shall make the relevant announcements in accordance with the Main Market Listing Requirements of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd.

Investigations into Safitex General Trading LLC were concluded in September, 2017 and there is no plan to revisit the investigations. FGV had, on March 30, made a Bursa announcement in respect of the commencement of litigation against Safitex General Trading LLC in Dubai Court of First Instance.

It was reported that FGV Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd, a company producing high-grade carbon nanotubes and graphene which FGV invested into in 2013, had lost RM117 million over the past three to four years, and needed another £100 million (RM534.7 million) for expansion.

Asian Plantations however, FGV purchased for RM628 million in October 2014, and assumed RM388 million in liabilities.

The group’s share price was up two sen to close at RM1.89 with some 15.2 million shares changing hands today.


O&G players must abide by state laws: Sarawak CM

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg says with effect from July 1, oil and gas (O&G) industry players must abide by state laws such as the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 and Gas Distribution Ordinance (GDO) 2016.

He said the state will continue to cooperate with the federal government and Petronas to ensure the Malaysian O&G industry continue flourishing and contribute to the country’s economic growth.

“We will update the federal government and its agencies on the steps taken to regulate the O&G industry in accordance to state laws.

“Sarawak will be fair and conducive when enforcing laws to improve investor confidence in the (O&G) industry,” Abang Johari said today.

The chief minister said the state government has always followed an open economic model and welcomes foreign investors, such as Shell, to strengthen and grow the O&G sector.

“Moving forward, I guarantee that the state will continue to work together with all stakeholders to preserve the existing values and open more opportunities in the O&G industry for the benefit of Sarawakians,” he added. – Bernama