G20 industry groups press governments to defend free trade

BERLIN, July 19 — A self-styled “Global Business Coalition” of industry groups has urged the Group of 20 leading economies to counter threats to global free trade. US President Donald Trump is taking a more aggressive, protectionist posture on…


New tax system won’t impact economy, says MIER

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s decision to abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reinstate the Sales and Services Tax (SST) would not significantly impact the country’s economic growth, according to Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).

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

“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,” MIER executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said at MIER's 33rd National Economic Briefing today.

“I think other factors (such as domestic demand, private and public consumptions) are more important,” he added.

Asked on the impact of SST implementation on the consumers, Zakariah said he expects some increase in prices of goods in the near-term once the tax is reinstated.

However, he said that SST is unlikely to have a huge impact on consumers compared with the GST as the former is imposed on manufacturers and not on end customers.

“The coverage (of items) between both tax regimes are also different where GST are much more widespread. So I believe that there will be a less burden on consumers,” he added.


Lim: Delays in GST refunds led to higher prices of goods

KUALA LUMPUR: Delays in refunding claims for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have led to businesses factoring in the yet-to-be refunded tax into the final prices of goods and services, according to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Speaking at a press briefing at the parliament today, Lim said this in turn, has led to the increase in prices.

The Sales and Services Tax (SST) is a single stage tax whereas the GST is a multi-layer tax that goes through several stages of the supply chain.

“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. This has resulted in higher costs, and ultimately the end customers would have to bear the cost with higher prices for goods and services,” he explained.

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

Defending his stance on why the SST is less of a burden to the people compared with the GST, Lim said the new tax regime which will come into force on Sept 1, only covers 38% of the consumer price index (CPI) basket of goods whereas the GST covers 60%.

Among the goods and services that were subjected to GST but will be exempted from SST are, medical insurance, 250cc motorcycle, infant formula milk, doctor's consultation fee at private hospitals, sardine, theme park and cinema tickets, bank transaction fee, maintenance services and spectacles frame.


CIMB Thai’s Q2 profit down 46.4% on higher bad debts, impairment losses

PETALING JAYA: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd's 94.11%-owned indirect subsidiary CIMB Thai Bank PCL reported a 46.4% decline in net profit to THB191.2 million (RM23.2 million) for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 against THB356.6 million (RM43.3 million) in the previous corresponding period, mainly dragged by bad and doubtful debts and impairment losses.

Its operating income expanded 4.9% to THB3.4 billion from THB3.25 billion for the quarter under review.

For the six-month period, CIMB Thai's net profit went down 24.6% to THB 360.1 million, due to higher operating expenses coupled with a 1.0% increase in provisions. Meanwhile, its operating income rose 6.5% to THB6.8 billion.

CIMB Thai's net interest margin over earning assets stood at 3.87%, higher than the 3.81% a year ago, driven by more efficient management of funding costs.

As at June 30, 2018, total gross loans (inclusive of loans guaranteed by other banks and loans to financial institutions) stood at THB215.2 billion, an increase of 1% from December 31, 2017.

Loan loss coverage ratio decreased to 90.1% as at 30 June 2018 from 93.2% at the end of December 2017. As at 30 June 2018, total provisions stood at THB11.3 billion, translating to a THB4 billion excess over the Bank of Thailand's reserve requirements.

Total consolidated capital funds as at June 30, 2018 stood at THB43.9 billion. Bank of International Settlement (BIS) ratio stood at 17%, 12% of which comprised Tier-1-capital.

At the noon break, CIMB Group's share price fell 2 sen or 0.3% to RM5.83 on 7.55 million shares done.


Online recruiter says hiring grew sharpest in O&G, tech to rise

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Employment in the oil and gas sector grew the most in May this year at 14 per cent, according to Monster.com. At the same time, the online recruitment company said its latest data showed the retail industry in Malaysia…


Business optimism in Malaysia up 24pc in Q2, report finds

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Business optimism in Malaysia leapt 24 percentage points (pp) to 52 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of this year, from 28 per cent in the first quarter (Q1), mainly due to the election of the Pakatan Harapan…


Business optimism in Malaysia rose to 52pc in Q2, report finds

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Business optimism in Malaysia leapt 24 percentage points (pp) to 52 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of this year, from 28 per cent in the first quarter (Q1), mainly due to the election of the Pakatan Harapan…


Business isn’t just about profit, Chinese chambers tell young entrepreneurs

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Young entrepreneurs need to understand the importance of a business model if they want to thrive, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said today. Its president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap…


Tek Seng drops 8.5% on photovoltaic solar biz halt

PETALING JAYA: Tek Seng Holdings Bhd saw its shares drop as much as 8.5% to 27 sen this morning after it announced the suspension of its photovoltaic solar business yesterday.

At 11am, the counter was trading at 28.5 sen, down 1 sen or 3.4% with 840,400 shares changing hands.

Tek Seng's 50.69%-owned subsidiary TS Solartech Sdn Bhd (TSST) decided to halt its entire production activities this quarter due to intense market competition.

TSST is mainly involved in the manufacturing and sale of photovoltaic products and is a major Tek Seng subsidiary.


MNRB falls 9.8% on RM400m rights issue plan

PETALING JAYA: Shares of MNRB Holdings Bhd dipped as much as 9.8% to RM2.11 this morning following its plan to undertake a renounceable rights issue exercise to raise about RM400 million.

At 10.45am, the stock was trading at RM2.12, down 22 sen or 9.4% on 1.61 million shares done.

MNRB intends to inject some RM300 million into its takaful subsidiaries to invest into new information technology infrastructure.

Meanwhile, some RM100 million will be pumped into Malaysian Reinsurance Bhd to explore and develop new products for the local market to further solidify its market leadership in the local insurance industry.