Thursday, July 19th, 2018


Boeing wins air show overshadowed by incognito jet orders

FARNBOROUGH (England), July 19 ― Boeing claimed victory today after outselling rival Airbus at this week's Farnborough Airshow, where the world's largest planemakers repeated last year's comparable tally of around 900 firm and draft orders with…

GST refund delays to blame too for higher prices as businesses passed on costs to consumers: Lim

PETALING JAYA: Delays in refunding claims for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to businesses led them to passing on the costs to consumers, resulting in higher prices of goods, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The GST is a multi-layer tax that goes through several stages of the supply chain , whereas the yet-to-be implemented Sales and Services Tax (SST) is a single-stage tax imposed on the manufacturer.

Lim said today the multi-layer nature of the GST saw each supplier factoring in the delay in reimbursement at every level, resulting in an increase in the final price. The longer the supply chain led the higher price increase.

“Technically, each supplier can claim back GST as an input tax from the government. Nonetheless, this still causes a huge problem with operating cash flow for many businesses as the (former) government has been notoriously slow in refunding GST claims,” he explained at a press briefing at Parliament.

Lim said he will reveal the real reason for the previous government's failure to make refunds promptly on a later date.

The Customs Department yesterday released its list of proposed goods for exemption under the SST regime, of which about 98% is expected to be adopted.
K-Konsult Taxation Sdn Bhd managing partner Koong Lin Loong explained that the key items for business include the standardisation of the threshold for registration under SST which is set at RM500,000 annual income, compared to the GST which had varying thresholds for different industries.

Professional services for example previously had no threshold. Now it has been standardised at RM500,000.

Small services will also no longer be charged service tax.

Koong also opined that the cost of doing business under the GST was higher due to software and compliance expenses.

On the transitional period to the new tax system for businesses, Lim said there are bound to be problems and issues related to adjustments, urging software providers to not take advantage of the situation and charge exorbitantly. He has enlisted the Customs Department to assist in the transition period.

Lim noted that the government is still on track to achieving the fiscal deficit target of 2.8%, despite a narrowed revenue base, by curbing government spending.
On making the SST more efficient and transparent than the GST, he said there is a need for the Customs Department and regulators to ensure compliance to prevent tax evasion.

Consumer confidence in Q2 hits 21-year high: MIER

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in 21 years in the second quarter of 2018 (Q2 2018), as households were upbeat about the labour market and their future incomes, according to Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).

The think-tank said its Consumer Sentiments Index (CSI) survey, which involved 1,020 households in Peninsular Malaysia, rebounded above the 100-point optimism threshold to soar to 132.9 points in the second quarter, the highest level since Q2 1997.

MIER said this is likely due to the recent change in the political landscape, abolition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the consumers' expectations of an improvement in the economic welfare.

Speaking at MIER's 33rd National Economic Briefing today, its executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said the survey also revealed that the consumers are having ambitious spending plans in the coming months, especially for consumer durables.

“This is underpinned by the improved consumers' current incomes as well as future incomes and favourable employment outlook as shown by the survey results,” he added.

MIER said based on the CSI survey results, 21% of the households interviewed enjoyed better finances in Q2 2018, the highest proportion received since Q1 2014, while majority (65%) of them saw no change in their incomes recently.

“Only 13% of the respondents this time lamented being worse off financially then before, the smallest proportion tabulated since Q4 2004,” it noted.

Consistent with its CSI survey, MIER said that businesses are also upbeat on the economy, as its Q2 2018 Business Conditions Index (BCI) rebounded strongly recording the highest level over the last 13 quarters, surpassing the demarcation level of 100-point threshold of optimism.

Meanwhile, Zakariah said the government's decision to abolish the GST and reinstate the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would not significantly impact the country's economic growth.

“The brief period of the tax holiday and the shift to SST in September won't have much impact on GDP as the (GST and SST) elements play a very small or insignificant role in (contributing to) GDP. I think other factors (such as domestic demand, private and public consumptions) are more important,” he added.

MIER maintained its GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast at 5.5% this year. GDP growth is expected to moderate to between 4.8% and 5.3% next year.

Additionally, Zakariah said growth prospects for 2018 and 2019 would depend heavily on resilient growth in domestic demand and good performances of major developed economies.
Meanwhile, he said, the ringgit is expected to trade between RM4.18 and RM4.20 against the US dollar by year-end due to capital flows amid global interest rate differentials.

Comcast concedes to Disney in bidding war for Fox assets

LOS ANGELES, July 19 ― Comcast Corp dropped its US$66-billion (RM269 billion) bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's entertainment assets today and said it would press on with its bid for European broadcaster Sky Plc, which Fox partly owns….

Trump slams EU over US$5b fine on Google

WASHINGTON, July 19 ― US President Donald Trump today criticised the European Union and said the bloc was taking advantage of the United States, pointing to the record US$5 billion (RM20.36 billion) fine European antitrust regulators imposed on…

Serba Dinamik bags RM268m Laos contract

PETALING JAYA: Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary Serba Dinamik International Ltd has secured a US$66.2 million (RM268.8 million) engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract from Laos-based Nam Taep 1, 2, 3 Hydropower Co Ltd.

The contract commenced today and is set to go on for up to 43 months, and involves the design, supply, construction, commissioning and completion of 3 x 5MW Nam Taep 1 and 3 x 5MW Nam Taep 2 hydropower energy generating facilities at Ban Nam Taep and Ban Nameuang, Xam Tai District in Houaphan Province of Laos.

The contract is expected to contribute positively to the group’s earnings for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2019 to Dec 31, 2022.

“This collaboration with Nam Taep marks Serba Dinamik’s first step into Laos, and is in line with our strategy to increase our involvement in the energy market as well as to enlarge our market presence in Southeast Asia. We currently have a total capacity of 120MW for hydropower plants,” said group managing director Datuk Dr Ir Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah in a statement.

In a separate filing, Serba Dinamik said it has subscribed to 15% of Green & Smart Holdings PLC’s share capital for RM16.99 million.

Green & Smart Holdings is listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange with business operations in Malaysia.

Green & Smart Holdings and its subsidiaries are involved in power generation from biogas captured through the treatment of palm oil mill effluent based on proprietary technology.

Abdul Karim said the subscription is in line with the group’s plan to enlarge its asset ownership business and expand its EPCC business segment and capabilities.
Green & Smart Holdings through its wholly owned subsidiary Green & Smart Sdn Bhd has awarded one EPCC contract to Serba Dinamik Sdn Bhd, in relation to a 2.7MW biogas power plant in Teluk Intan, Perak.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Serba Dinamik gained 0.28% to close at RM3.56 on volume of 5.82 million shares.

PUC inks MoU with Axiata’s units

PETALING JAYA: PUC Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiaries today entered into memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two units of Axiata Group Bhd to further develop its digital advertising capabilities and e-payment services.

PUC’s wholly owned subsidiary RedHot Media Sdn Bhd (RHM) inked an MoU with Axiata Digital Advertising Sdn Bhd (ADA); while another wholly owned subsidiary EPP Solution Sdn Bhd inked an MoU with Axiata Digital eCode Sdn Bhd (Ecode).

RHM focuses in traditional advertising and media activities, while ADA is an integrated digital marketing business.

ADA has been a partner of the major digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and is interested to further expand its advertising services to the traditional media platforms to gain a bigger market base.

RHM possesses domain knowledge in traditional advertising and media industry, with access to a wide network of advertisers and media partner. RHM is keen to emerge into digital platforms via the collaboration with ADA who has the expertise in the field.

“The collaboration with ADA will expand its services on digital platforms as such it is able to deliver all-round advertising services to clients,” PUC said.

Meanwhile, EPP and ECode will explore an interoperable credit transfer integration whereby Presto Wallet end-users and Boost end-users are able to make and receive payment to and from one another. Both parties are to form a joint working group to set out the framework, application programming interfaces.

PUC has four core businesses, which are media and advertising, financial services (e-commerce and e-payment), technology and renewable energy.

Ecode, a designated payment instrument issuer operating and facilitating an e-wallet system, operates Boost, a mobile application with an electronic money wallet feature.

Boost has attracted 2.2 million users and acquired over 11,000 payment touchpoints since its launch in late 2017.

UCrest partners Russian cancer research centre

KUALA LUMPUR: UCrest Bhd, a mobile health and cloud platform developer and provider, is eyeing a collaboration with Europe’s largest cancer research centre, Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Centre.

The technology firm has inked a memorandum of understanding to partner Blokhin via its imedic platform, bringing online cancer research of protocols and medicines, collaboration with doctors in other hospitals in research and clinical trials, as well as enabling the centre to provide medical services to patients worldwide.

Ucrest said it and the institute would conduct joint research and development on cancer diagnosis and therapeutics using artificial intelligence technology, block chain and Internet of Things technology to combat the deadly disease.

Blokhin is one of the leading cancer research centres in the world and it has achieved success and breakthroughs in many areas of cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. – Bernama

IRDA attracts RM10.9b investments in 1H2018

JOHOR BARU: The Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) attracted cumulative investments of RM10.9 billion in the first six months of this year.

Johor Mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian said this raised the cumulative committed investments since 2006 to RM263.95 billion.

To date, 58% or RM154.14 billion of the total investments had been realised. Of the committed investments of RM263.95 billion, domestic investments account for 61% or RM161 billion.

Osman said of the RM102.9 billion foreign investments received, China contributed the highest amount at RM36.35 billion, followed by Singapore (RM21.98 billion), the US (RM6.87 billion), Japan (RM4.41 billion) and Spain (RM4.18 billion). From 2006 to June 2018, Asean accounted for RM23.74 billion in investments and the European Union RM13.62 billion. – Bernama