Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019


Developing country debt jumps to US$7.8t in 2018, says World Bank report

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 — Total foreign debt held by developing nations jumped more than five per cent to US$7.8 trillion, driven by a surge in Chinese debt, the World Bank said in a report today. But the data show an increasing share of countries where…

Margma: US ban on Malaysian gloves limited to those made by one specific company

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) clarified that the ban on Malaysian rubber gloves by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is only limited to those produced by one specific company.

The CBP issued five withhold release orders covering five different products, imported from five different countries, including Malaysia.

CBP deemed a particular company to be involved in forced labour and has since banned that company’s goods from entering the US.

The association commented that the media reports on the banning of Malaysian rubber gloves by the US are factually inaccurate and misleading.

“Nonetheless, it is our hope that clarity will prevail upon the fact that it is just a company that is banned and not all Malaysian rubber gloves are banned,” said the association in a press statement today.

Margma said it would like to keep the public informed that its members have great concern about the welfare of their workers.

“The industry has since last year worked on social compliance initiatives in order to continuously improve the welfare of the employees in the rubber glove industry,” it added.

Margma said it has formed a social compliance committee and organised a national seminar under the purview of the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council.

“There is a lot of compliance to be done and there is a lot of work to be carried out to ensure that workers’ rights, accommodation and general welfare are protected and, for these initiatives, time and expenditure are required and together we have drawn up a programme that will make our industry fully in compliance.”

In addition, the association said it has engaged and updated the US Embassy and the US Department of Labour during the visit on the efforts in implementing social compliance standards in the Malaysian rubber glove industry.

“Margma is taking social compliance very seriously to ensure that the shipments of gloves to the US and the world are in total compliance. As a matter of comfort, many American companies do carry out periodic audits on the manufacturers to ensure there is compliance,” it said.

Wall Street opens on downward slide on economic slowdown fears

NEW YORK, Oct 2 — US stocks continued to fall at the markets’ open today, as disappointing employment data added to the gloom from a dismal manufacturing report yesterday. Yesterday’s losses wiped out gains won in the third quarter by the…

US wins backing for US$7.5b tariffs on EU in jet subsidy clash

BRUSSELS, Oct 2 — The United States won approval today to impose tariffs on$7.5 billion worth of European goods over illegal EU subsidies handed to Airbus, threatening to trigger a tit-for-tat transatlantic trade war as the global economy falters….

FAA orders inspections of Boeing 737 NG planes for structural cracks

NEW YORK, Oct 2 — The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of Boeing 737 NG aircraft for structural cracks after Boeing discovered the problem on planes undergoing modifications, the agency said today. The mandate affects 1,911…

London court allows mass claim against Google over iPhone data

LONDON, Oct 2 — London’s Court of Appeal gave the go-ahead for action against Google over claims it collected data from more than 4 million iPhone users, overturning a ruling in 2018 that in effect blocked any route to legal redress. The…

Barakah serves demand for RM180m on Petronas

PETALING JAYA: Barakah Offshore Petroleum Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary company PBJV Group Sdn Bhd has served a notice of demand (NOD) to Petronas Gas Bhd (PGB) for RM179.84 million in relation to the Pengerang gas pipeline project.

Barakah said told Bursa Malaysia that PBJV will commence all legal proceedings against PGB if PGB fails, refuses and/or neglects to pay RM179.84 million to PBJV within 14 days from the date of service of the NOD.

The basis of PBJV’s claims are for the loss and expenses incurred under extension of times by PBJV under the procurement, construction and commissioning of the gas pipeline project in a sum of RM30.44 million; PBJV’s loss of the balance of the contract price of the project arising from and in connection with the signing of the global settlement agreement in the sum of RM24.48 million.

In addition, there are three change notices submitted by PBJV to PGB for the project in a sum of RM23.52 million; and PBJV’s projected loss of revenue arising from and in connection with the suspension of PBJV’s Petronas licence estimated in the sum of RM101.4 million.

Sterling off lows as PM Johnson offers little new on Brexit

LONDON, Oct 2 — Sterling rebounded from early lows today as hedge funds covered some of their short bets after Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered only vague details on his Brexit proposals to the European Union at a party conference. Ahead of…

Chances are there won’t be gaming tax hike in Budget 2020: Research firm

PETALING JAYA: Gaming players are not expected to be hit with a tax hike in the upcoming Budget, but the risk still remains for numbers forecast operators (NFO), according to a report from Alliance DBS Research.

The research house said it believed hiking the tax for this segment could be counter-productive as this could indirectly induce more illegal NFO activities, should NFOs decide to pass on the higher tax to the punters.

“[NFO] players are on a stronger financial footing since late last year on the back of more stringent enforcement by the authorities in curbing illegal NFO activities. Furthermore, a considerable time has passed since the authorities last implemented a tax hike for the NFO sector,” it said.

To recap, the government increased the gaming tax for NFOs to 8% back in 1998, while the pool betting duty for NFOs was increased to 8% in 2010.

There are however, rising concerns from investors, given the measures introduced in Budget 2019, namely: raising the casino licence fees from RM120 million to RM150 million per annum, the hike in casino duty from 25% to 35% of gross gaming income, the machine dealer’s licence fee being increased from RM10,000 to RM50,000 per annum, the gaming machine duties being increased from 20% to 30% of gross collection, and the reduction of special draws for NFOS by half to 11 draws.

The research house said that should the government decide to raise taxes, its sensitivity analysis shows that a 1% increase in casino duty will lower Genting Bhd and Genting Malaysia Bhd’s forward earnings by about 1% and 3% respectively.

“On the other hand, a 1% increase in gaming tax/betting duty could reduce Berjaya Sports Toto (BToto) and Magnum’s forward earnings by about 7% and 8% respectively. Nevertheless, we believe that the NFOs would likely to revise its prize structure to maintain its profit margins,” the report said.

Alliance DBS is maintaining its positive call on the sector, with Magnum Bhd its top pick.

REDtone wins RM130m Sri Lanka hospitals deal

PETALING JAYA: REDtone Mex Sdn Bhd has won a RM130 million contract to provide nationwide medical imaging, filmless radiology information system infrastructure and network connectivity to 20 of the largest hospitals in Sri Lanka, including the National Hospital in Colombo.

The company will set up a teleradiology command centre in a secured data centre with a telecommunications operator, enabling radiologists to remotely store, retrieve, view and analyse images.

REDtone Mex said artificial intelligence (AI), a core component of the system, will facilitate analysis of critical diseases, while improving patient diagnosis and treatment.

REDtone Mex CEO Yee Kar Fong said the command centre and use of AI will drive efficiency and productivity gains by pooling together radiologists and medical specialists from various fields to promptly diagnose, improve treatment plans and prescribe treatments to patients speedily, especially in the rural areas.

“In addition, the Sri Lankan government can derive significant cost savings with the implementation of this system as the current practice of buying radiology films, printing, distribution and storage is inefficient and expensive.”

The healthcare industry in Sri Lanka currently faces various challenges, including medical care delivery turnaround time, rapid changes and adoption of expensive diagnostic technology, large digital storage needs, shortage of radiologists and rising costs.