Tuesday, March 19th, 2019


Ho Ching to step down as chairman of Temasek’s subsidiary in Singapore

SINGAPORE, March 19 — Ho Ching will step down as chairman of Temasek International, the wholly owned management and investment arm of parent company Temasek Holdings. Ho — who remains as chief executive officer of state investment firm Temasek…

Investors go after Danske for US$475 million

COPENHAGEN, March 19 — Institutional shareholders in scandal-ridden Danske Bank are suing the Danish lender for US$475 million (RM1.93 billion) in damages for losses incurred in a gigantic money laundering case, according to a statement seen today…

Wall Street higher as Fed expected to hold fire

NEW YORK, March 19 — US stocks rose today with technology and financial shares leading gains, as investors expected a more accommodative policy stance at the end of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting this week. A flurry of downbeat economic…

Survey: People want higher taxes on rich, better welfare

PARIS, March 19 — A strong majority of people in wealthy countries want to tax the rich more and there is broad support for building up the welfare state in most countries, a survey conducted for the OECD showed today. In all of the 21 countries…

Merkel: Won’t take stand on possible Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank merger

BERLIN, March 19 — German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today only Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank could decide whether they wanted to merge, making clear she would not take a stand. In her first comments on the prospect of a tie-up between…

PM: Govt considering listing state-owned entities

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is considering listing state-owned entities on the stock market as part of efforts to reduce debt and liabilities.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said a debt and liability management committee has been formed to look at the government’s balance sheet and implement strategies to reduce debt and liabilities, including government guarantees.

“This committee is currently undertaking measures to strengthen the overall debt management framework.

“The strategies, among others, include greater risk control parametres on issuances of government guarantees, better market access and identification of opportunities on potential asset monetisation, which means mature unlisted government entities may be listed in the stock market, as well reducing some of our GLCs shareholdings in the public-listed companies,“ he said in his keynote address at Invest Malaysia 2019 today.

Mahathir noted that the key guiding principles for monetising any of its assets is that the disposal or monetisation must never be done at fire-sale prices while any disposal of shares, monetisation of assets, auctions or other measures must be done in an orderly manner and communicated cohesively across all implementing entities.

“There shall be no disruptions to the capital markets, confidence to the financial markets, ratings environment and economic growth,“ he added.

Mahathir said the reckless utilisation of off-balance sheet instruments by the previous government has led to a massive build-up of contingent liabilities to the government, some of which are already materialising.

In terms of restoring credibility in the economic and financial policies while reducing vulnerability, he said the immediate challenge is to reduce debt and liabilities and rebuild the fiscal space.

To ensure public sector accountability in presenting the accounts and balance sheet of the country, the government is introducing the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

In addition, the Fiscal Policy Committee is monitoring key developments closely to ensure that Malaysia’s fiscal consolidation target remains on its path.

“We are confident that we are on track,“ Mahathir said.

EU antitrust regulators offer online whistleblowing on cartels

BRUSSELS, March 19 — Whistleblowers will be able to report suspected price-fixing online instead of showing up at the offices of the European Union’s antitrust regulators in an effort to make it easier for companies to come forward. The European…

REDtone’s Q3 profit surges

PETALING JAYA: REDtone Inter-ational Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Jan 31 2019 jumped eight fold to RM5.37 million from RM663,000 a year ago as the managed telecommunication network services segment posted higher revenue.

For the quarter under review, the group reported a revenue of RM45.41 million, which was 66.32% higher than the RM27.3 million reported in the previous year corresponding quarter.

For the nine-month period, REDtone’s net profit more than tripled to RM10.56 million from RM3.06 million a year ago on the back of a 21.83% rise in revenue to RM105.54 million from RM86.63 million.

REDtone is of the view that the operating performance of the group for the remaining quarter of the financial year ending April 30 will remain challenging and competitive. It will continue to focus on measures to improve operational efficiencies and to improve profitability in its core businesses.

Glomac Q3 earnings down 70% to RM1.43m

PETALING JAYA: Glomac Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Jan 31, 2019 plunged 70.3% to RM1.43 million from RM4.82 million a year ago, mainly due the completion of certain development phases and lesser on-going phases.

The group reported 24% lower revenue of RM79.03 million during the quarter under review, compared with RM104.02 million in the previous corresponding quarter.

For the nine-month period, Glomac’s net profit more than halved to RM3.5 million from RM7.3 million a year ago, while revenue dropped 37.7% to RM192.4 million from RM308.8 million.

In a statement, Glomac said it achieved RM217 million worth of new sales during the nine-month period, exceeding total sales reported during FY18 of RM214 million and driving unbilled sales to RM440 million as at end-January 2019.

Year-to-date, Glomac has launched RM511 million worth of new projects, making up 94% of FY19 targeted launches.

The new launches remain in the mid-market and affordable segments whilst our matured landed residential projects in townships such as Saujana Perdana in Sungai Buloh, Selangor and Saujana Jaya in Kulai, Johor continue to sustain steady sales.

Be more flexible in lending or you may face windfall tax, Guan Eng warns banks

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has urged banks to be more flexible in terms of lending arrangements, amid complaints about access to lending among local investors.

“We want to ask the banks to be a bit more flexible in terms of lending arrangements because this is an issue whereby we get many complaints of the banks being very conservative. Banks last year recorded huge profits; some of them, their largest profits ever,“ said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“In Malaysia we don’t have windfall taxes for banks so I think it is time for you to start lending. Unless you prefer windfall taxes,“ he said at Invest Malaysia 2019 today.

He said interest from foreign investors, especially Japan, has improved and investment figures are encouraging but hopes that local investors will follow suit.

“We know there are certain issues they (local investors) are concerned about especially in terms of easier access to lending and also resolving the intake of foreign workers. Let me assure you that we are getting down to it, to make sure that these issues are overcomed and we hope that the investment among the local businessmen will pick up, in line with the increased confidence among foreign investors,“ he added.

Lim reiterated Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that there are no plans to introduce new taxes apart from those already outlined by the government.

“We are still fine-tuning the imposition of the sales and service tax (SST). There are two big takeaways. Firstly, the construction sector had a windfall … the construction services sector is exempted from paying SST and that should provide a significant boost to the construction sector,“ he said.

Secondly, private hospitals are exempted from the 6% service tax, a move which the government hopes will help reduce medical costs.

“We also hope that the private hospitals can reciprocate by reducing cost or at least retaining cost. Otherwise we may have to reconsider our decision to waive the imposition of service tax for private hospitals.

“We hope that private hospitals will respond, make sure costs are kept low so that we can attract not only more foreign patients but also reduce the burden of local patients,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Lim stressed that the special dividend from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is not to address the fiscal deficit but to pay goods and services tax (GST) and income tax refunds.

“Even this year, we are not relying on Petronas to reduce our deficit to 3.4% of GDP (gross domestic product). I think the real challenge will be next year, to reduce from 3.4% to 3%,“ he said.

However, he remains confident that the government will perform well on the back of continued growth of the economy, foreign investments that continue to come in and benefits of the institutional reforms that have been carried out.

During the tabling of Budget 2019, the government had announced a RM30 billion special dividend payment from Petronas to fully settle the outstanding income tax and GST refunds estimated at RM35.4 billion.