Friday, October 11th, 2019


Trump says ‘warmer feelings’ in US-China trade talks

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 — President Donald Trump today said Chinese and American officials were working toward meaningful progress in trade talks, boosting hopes for a detente in the two sides’ damaging trade war. Trump’s tweet fed a stock rally,…

US Fed unveils new steps to boost liquidity, manage rates

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 — The Federal Reserve today announced a new programme to boost liquidity in the US financial plumbing and allow the central bank to better manage interest rates, but without changing monetary policy. In the new programme, the…

EPF: We won’t let go of PLUS for anything less than fair value

PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said it takes note of the government’s announcement on PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS) at the tabling of Budget 2020, as well as the decision to reduce average toll charges by 18% across all highways owned by PLUS.

However, the pension fund’s CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias assured that it will not let go of PLUS for anything less than its fair value.

“We take cognisance of the decision made and will hold discussions with the government and Khazanah Nasional Bhd as soon as possible to ensure that any final resolution protects our members’ interests,” he said in a statement.

Khazanah owns 51% of PLUS while the EPF holds the remaining 49%.

Alizakri said EPF was glad that this long-running matter will soon come to a satisfactory conclusion that takes into account its concerns and recognises the actual worth of the asset.

“PLUS has contributed significantly to the EPF both through financial returns as well as social benefits in the form of safe, convenient and comfortable highways for our members and Malaysians in general.”

Public Bank: Budget 2020 shows holistic, comprehensive approach

PETALING JAYA: Public Bank Bhd founder Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow applauded the government for taking a holistic and comprehensive approach in Budget 2020.

“We are delighted to note that Budget 2020 has outlined a wide range of initiatives, action plans, fiscal measures and incentives seeking to address the challenges that Malaysia is facing, which include setting the new growth direction, intensifying growth momentum, addressing high cost of living and increasing the income level of the rakyat,” he said in a statement.

Teh noted that the government is cognisant about driving growth in the new economy and digital era.

“We welcome the measures to make Malaysia as a preferred destination for investment, accelerating the digital economy, enhancing access to financing for businesses as well as strengthening the diversity of the Malaysian economy. In particular, we note that the government is also developing the relevant infrastructures to enhance the ecosystem to drive growth, for example, economic zones, transportation, 5G connectivity and digital applications.”

Teh said Public Bank will continue to play its role as a financial intermediary in support of the government’s measures, to facilitate access of financing to businesses, particularly the small and medium enterprises.

“In addition, we will continue to support financing for affordable housing, in line with the government’s efforts to increase home ownership.”

“As a bank, we will strengthen our efforts to promote higher adoption of e-payments among our customers in support of Malaysia becoming a cashless society.”

FMM: Budget 2020 addresses market challenges

PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) hailed Budget 2020 for addressing the problems and challenges that cut across all sectors of society.

It said in a statement that despite the current economic constraints, the budget has focused on expanding the economy, attracting more investments, growing foreign markets and focusing on driving the economy into the digital era.

“Sufficient initiatives and incentives have been provided towards the development of human capital, SMEs, export promotion, enhancement of innovation activities and the overall ease of doing business which are essential to restructuring the economy to be more progressive, knowledge-based and high-valued.”

FMM lauded the government’s actions to strengthen the local workforce with an allocation of RM6.5 billion to create 350,000 jobs for Malaysian through increased participation of unemployed graduates and women and toward reducing dependence on foreign workers.

“The increased budget allocation for TVET (Technical, Vocational Educational and Training) to RM5.9 billion, the RM100 incentive for TVET apprentices and the extension of the double deduction for participation in the Skim Latihan Dual Nasional and Structured Internship Programme under TalentCorp are also welcomed.”

It also applauded the government on raising the ceiling of the Market Development Grant (MDG), revising the allocation per export fair upwards and expanding the overall quantum allocated for export promotion activities for SMEs.

“The increased threshold from RM500,000 to RM600,000 for the reduced 17% tax rate of SMEs requires further clarity on the eligibility condition of annual sales of not more than RM50 million.”

In addition, FMM thanked the government for taking heed of its call to extend the time bar for the Accelerated Capital Allowance on Automation until 2023.

It said the manufacturing sector welcomed the RM210 million allocation under the National Fiberisation & Connectivity Plan (NFCP) to accelerate the deployment of new digital infrastructure in high impact areas, including industrial parks where broadband access is key to operations.

“The manufacturing sector notes the allocation of RM4.85 billion under the MARRIS fund to all state governments to maintain roads. We hope that these funds will also be used to upgrade and maintain the roads in industrial estates.”

RAM: Malaysia’s fiscal stance appropriate, won’t immediately weigh on ratings

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Malaysia’s fiscal stance underpinning Budget 2020 is “appropriate” and, though likely to cause a mild deviation from the government’s original fiscal consolidation path, will not immediately weigh on the country’s…

Maybank supports fiscal discipline in Budget 2020

PETALING JAYA: Maybank group president and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias lauded the government’s efforts to maintain fiscal discipline in Budget 2020.

“It is important to do this during the times when we can do so, so in the times when we do not have much choice we will still have other tools at our disposal,” he said in a statement.

He noted that the enhancements and additions to funding schemes by the government and development financial institutions to complement banking industry financing for SMEs and entrepreneurs are positive and will further enhance the growth of these sectors.

“We believe the SME sector is underrepresented in our economy and this initiative can help the sector to expand further.”

Abdul Farid said there is an array of customised incentives targeted to stimulate investments and develop enabling infrastructure for 5G technology and Industry 4.0, which shows the government’s commitment in accelerating economic growth to be supported by the growth in digital economy.

“There is also an initiative to encourage the SME sector to digitise their operations. Perhaps what we can add in this area is an effort to re-skill the work force, and to curate an environment where an evolution towards digital immersion will not just be allowed but encouraged.”

Speaking of the spirit of shared prosperity, he said the immediate needs of the B40 segments need to be supplemented, while the medium-term initiatives are being executed.

“These range from immediate measures to address income and cost of living issues for the B40 and vulnerable groups, to longer term initiatives such as improvement in social safety nets, job creation as well as investment for human capital development, particularly to address high youth unemployment and low female participation in the labour force.”

Report: German government slashes 2020 growth forecast

BERLIN, Oct 11 — The German government is cutting its 2020 growth forecast for Europe’s largest economy to 1.1 per cent from its April prediction of 1.5 per cent, German magazine Der Spiegel reported today, without citing sources. It said the…

BP says taking US$2-3b hit on asset disposals

LONDON, Oct 11 — British energy major BP said today that it will take a charge of US$2-3 billion (RM8.4-12.6 billion) on the back of major asset sales including its Alaska division. The company said in a statement that it would take the hit in its…

ECB’s Draghi defends stimulus against enduring criticism

FRANKFURT, Oct 11 — European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi appeared in a speech today to defend fiercely-contested new stimulus measures, as debate over September interventions by the institution entered a second month. “Accepting failure is…