Johor Port Authority, Smart Crest sign deal to develop RM2b Bunker Island

PUTRAJAYA: Johor Port Authority (JPA) has entered into an agreement with a private company, Smart Crest Sdn Bhd, to develop a RM2 billion Bunker Island, near Tanjung Bin in Johor.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook who witnessed the signing of the agreement today, said the project, fully funded by the private sector will put Malaysia, and particularly Johor, on the world map as a major player in the oil storage and bunker business.

“At the national level, the development of this island will be a significant economic multiplier for the country as ships that enter to discharge or load oil will spend on other services such as agency fees, port charges and deliveries to the ship and crew transfers, hotels, career development and trade finance,” he said.

The project according to Loke, will create a centre for oil break bulking, make bulking, blending and redistribution to both domestic and regional market.

The agreement was signed by JPA chairman Rosnan Fathlal and Smart Crest managing director Ir Cher Lee Kiat.

Located within the Free Commercial Zone of Tanjung Pelepas, Bunker Island will sit on 100 acres of the reclaimed island at Tanjung Bin.

The development of Bunker Island will take four years to complete. It will have 61 tanks located in five tank pits, a storage capacity of about 1.2 million cubic metres, two jetties and seven berths, besides capabilities to handle various types of products.

Loke said the project will also provide Malaysia with an excellent opportunity to promote cleaner marine fuel in accordance with International Maritim Organisation regulations, effective January next year.

Speaking to the media later, Loke said his ministry will ensure that the long-delayed Bunker Island project starts as soon as possible by making sure that no red tape hinders the implementation of the high impact project.

“The developers are confident that the first phase of the project, which is the oil tank development, can be completed within two years, thus generating revenue for the next phase of development,” he said.

Rosnan said JPA handed a 30-year lease period to the developers with a rent of RM500,000 a year for the first two years. Subsequently, a lease payment of RM2.19 million a year will be imposed for the third, fourth and fifth years and a 10% increase in rent once every five years.


AirAsia launches petition to protest additional PSC

KUALA LUMPUR: Low-cost airline AirAsia has launched a petition to protest the RM23 additional passenger service charge (PSC) for passengers travelling beyond ASEAN from RM50 to RM73 per person.

At the time of writing, the petition, which was launched mid-last night (it started seven days ago as a draft) has garnered 26,870 signatures.

“We opposed this increase by not collecting the additional RM23 from consumers,” the airline stated in the petition.

AirAsia said the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) was designed and operated as a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) and hat passengers should not have to pay the same PSC as the far more well-equipped and luxurious Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) terminal.

The airline said a high PSC is an unfair burden on consumers.

“PSC has always been lower at klia2, up until 2018 when the rate was increased and equalised for reasons unknown.

“We believe that high PSC stifles tourism, hampers economic growth and makes Malaysia considerably less attractive to visitors compared to other destinations,” AirAsia pointed out.

To recap, charges paid by passengers at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) for flights to destinations outside of ASEAN have more than doubled since 2016.

Up to Dec 31, 2016 the PSC was charged at RM32 per person, but starting from Jan 1, 2017, the rate was increased to RM50 per person.

Effective July 1 last year, the airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has imposed a higher PSC of RM73 per person.

Despite the order, AirAsia has refused to collect the additional RM23 from its guests to ensure air travel remains affordable for all, saying it believes the PSC hike is ‘unreasonable’.

Nevertheless, due to the recent High Court ruling, the budget airline will be collecting the increased PSC for klia2 for flight bookings made from midnight last night under protest, with the differential amount to be clearly indicated in the itemised fare as ‘PSC (Under Protest)’.

In the petition, many expressed their disagreement, saying the PSC is unfair and too much to bear.

Daniel Mishary said working for a non-profit organisation requires him to travel using cheap air fare flights.

“When the administrative costs increase and automatically increase the air fare, it would not serve the purpose of having a low cost flight anymore,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wan Mohd Halimin Wan Ismail said “the increase in the charge needs a reasonable explanation so that (the issue of) the higher charge aimed merely at making a profit does not arise.

“Furthermore, many cost increases have been borne by consumers.”

Another petitioner, Rosnizan Ismail, said “it is a burden for those of us who have many children to bear the higher costs. This will add to the burden of low-income people like us.”


Malaysia to set up ‘special channel’ to facilitate investments from China

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia plans to set up a “special channel” led by the Finance Ministry to facilitate more investments from China, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The special channel, he said, will be able to double approved foreign direct investments (FDIs) in manufacturing from China to about RM8.8 billion from RM4.4 billion in the first quarter of this year.

“We should be able to use the existing institutions (to set up the channel).

“I think when I go to China for the investment mission, we will be fleshing out the details for the Chinese investors,” he said while confirming of his upcoming visit to Shenzhen later this month.

Lim met reporters after officiating at the Malaysia-China Belt and Road Economic Cooperation Forum 2019 here today.

On the Shenzhen’s investment mission, Lim said he is confident that Malaysia could offer itself as a safe haven for Chinese companies, particularly amid the intensifying trade war between the US and China.

“When we talk about the trade war, that is basically between the US and Shenzhen, a manufacturing and export market in China. Since the Chinese manufacturing investors are looking for a safe haven, I think we are able to offer it to them,” he said.

Lim also believes that Malaysia will be able to offer a more compatible mix in manufacturing as well as expertise to the Chinese investors.

“They are not very familiar with what Malaysia has to offer; in fact, what we can offer is the compatible mix. So we want to promote Malaysia and let the Chinese investors be aware that we are much better, not only in terms of manufacturing mix but also cost, compared to other countries,” he said.

Asked on updates surrounding issuance of Panda bonds, Lim said at the moment, the pricing is still not attractive enough for Malaysia to raise money from the bonds, but discussions on the matter are continuing.

“If there is any further announcement, we will make it later,” he added.


Invest Selangor confident of more China investments

KUALA LUMPUR: Invest Selangor Bhd is optimistic of heightened investment interest from China in Malaysia this year, particularly Selangor, following the escalating trade conflict between China and the United States, says Invest Selangor Bhd CEO Datuk Hasan Azhari Idris.

“China was Selangor’s top investor with RM3.93 billion of investment value in 2018, mainly in the manufacturing industry such as basic metal products and paper, followed by Japan with RM435.6 million in the semiconductor, factory automation, automotive and food industries.

“And it is still possible for China to maintain its position as the top investor (in Selangor) for this year, and relocating their operations amid the country currently having a trade dispute with the US,” he told Bernama.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) Invest Series: Unfolding States’ Business Potential: a briefing by Selangor state government agencies.

For this year, the Selangor state government targets to achieve overall investment of RM10 billion.

“We are on the right track to achieve the target set by the state government. As for now, we only get data that was released by Mida for the first quarter of 2019 (January-March), and based on that figure, yes, we have a long way to go.

“But, usually, we can see the pick-up trend during the second half, so I believe that we can reach the target,” he said, adding that the state is focusing on the five high technology clusters, namely machinery and equipment, transportation and equipment, life sciences, food and beverages, and electrical and electronics.

Meanwhile, Hasan Azhari said Invest Selangor has allocated another RM10 million to carry out investment-related programmes in Selangor for the second half from July to December 2019.

“The allocation may be slightly more because there are certain programmes that are high in cost.

“While the portion of RM7.11 million for the period of January-June 2019, all has been spent on various activities, not only oversees trade investment missions but also all related programmes such as business seminars, dialogues and exhibitions that we were participating in, and also publications,” he said.

Earlier in the opening speech, Mida deputy CEO Arham Abdul Rahman said the federal government, through the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and Mida, is continuously intensifying its efforts to attract more high-level and quality investments to all states including Selangor, through the provision of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for both foreign and domestic investors.

“For Selangor, as of March 2019, a total of 9,097 projects with investments of RM218.4 billion were approved by Mida in the manufacturing sector, creating more than 802,000 employment opportunities.

“Selangor is indeed one of the most preferred investment locations for manufacturing activities. Continued interest by investors had enabled Selangor to register a remarkable level of re-investments which constituted 40.3% of total investments in the sector for the state,” he said.


Banks not investing enough on fraud risk management: KPMG survey

KUALA LUMPUR: KPMG’s Global Banking Fraud Survey finds that banks are still reactive towards fraud and not investing enough on fraud risk management.

According to the survey, which was conducted by the multinational accounting firm between November 2018 and February 2019, the total cost of fraud risk management was not monitored by 52% of banks surveyed.

“This makes it an outlier within bank operations and reduced visibility to the Board and Risk Committees who make key budget, resourcing and investment decisions,“ KPMG Malaysia head of forensics Tan Kim Chuan said in a statement today.

The survey was conducted across 43 retail banks, 13 of which are in the Asia-Pacific region, five in the Americas and 25 in Europe, the Middle Eastern and African regions.

Based on the findings, 61% of the banks surveyed have reported an increase in external fraud – in value and volume – over the past three years.

The survey also found that over half the respondents recovered less than 25% of the fraud losses, thereby demonstrating that fraud prevention is key.

“Cyber and data breaches remain the most significant challenge as reported by banks across all three regions, and these challenges may be amplified with the increasing popularity of open banking, as banks across the globe are getting ready to open their doors to third parties to access their customer data,“ it said.

According to Tan, criminals have become more sophisticated today and are leveraging on technology to scam more victims. This means financial institutions need a paradigm shift in their approach to mitigate fraud risks in a sustainable and effective manner.

“To meet mounting customer expectations, financial institutions should focus on building a well-structured fraud management model that can deal with evolving digital transformation, identify unknown risks, harness the benefits of technology and reduce the cost of compliance,“ he added.

Commenting on Bank Negara Malaysia’s Risk Management in Technology policy issued on July 18, 2019, which aimed at guiding financial institutions in the country to combat the rise in cybercrime, Tan said the introduction is timely and will be a useful guide on the backdrop of increased technology adoption within the financial services sector.

The policy, which will come into effect beginning Jan 1, 2020, sets out the expectations for banks to establish a holistic technology risk management framework, which encompasses all levels of the organisation from the board level down, to continuously assess risks, identify gaps, and prioritise activities to mitigate and manage technology risk against its approved financial risk appetite.


KLIA Aeropolis DFTZ to be completed by June next year

KUALA LUMPUR: The KLIA Aeropolis Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) development is expected to be completed by June 2020.

Cainiao KLIA Aeropolis Sdn Bhd CEO Johnson Chen said the project, which is currently 50% completed, is expected to be operational by September 2020.

“Once the project is completed, it would enable logistics and our business partners to export more products to China and outside the region,” he said on the sidelines of the Alibaba Cloud Summit Malaysia today.

In 2017, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) signed an agreement with Cainiao Smart Logistics Network (Hong Kong) Ltd and MA Elogistics Sdn Bhd.

Cainiao HK and MA Elogistics had completed their subscription of shares in the joint-venture company, Cainiao KLIA Aeropolis Sdn Bhd at 70% and 30% respectively.

MAHB also announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd has entered into a sublease annexure of a 24.28ha land in Bandar Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Sepang with the lease of 30 years.

The site is set to be the world’s first e-world trade platform outside China with the development cost of over RM200 million.

The KLIA Aeropolis is expected to receive an additional RM700 million worth of investment once it is fully operational.

Chen said the site developed by them totalling 100,000 sqm (10ha) will have cargo and warehouse facilities.

“We have engaged with traditional logistics players such as GDex, online shopping platform Lazada, and have strong collaboration with MAHB and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation,” he said.


FGV to remain as major shareholder of MSM

KUALA LUMPUR: FGV Holdings Bhd will maintain its status as the major shareholder of sugar company MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd even if it were to enter into strategic collaborations that involve share disposal.

Group CEO Datuk Haris Fadzilah Hassan said the company is open for discussion that could further strengthen MSM business but would like to remain as the major shareholder as it believes demand for food and energy would continue to grow.

“We believe that the demand for food and energy will always be growing, so we like to stay in this food business as sugar also is part of the food business,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between FGV Palm Industries Sdn Bhd’s, Biotek Dinamik Sdn Bhd and Sime Darby Energy Solutions Sdn Bhd today.

The MoU is to produce bio-compressed natural gas from waste biogas generated from palm oil mills effluent ponds.

Haris Fadzilah said any collaboration entered into by MSM would be aimed at utilising the refining capacity of MSM refineries, as well as opportunities for overseas market.

“While we have the capacity of 2.2 million tonnes (per annum), the demand in Malaysia is about 1.6 million tonnes (per annum). So you can see there is opportunity for us to serve the domestic and find opportunities to expand overseas,” he said.

He said among the targeted overseas markets are China, India and Indonesia which are the world’s top sugar consumers.

MSM, 51%-owned by FGV, currently holds 60% of the sugar market share in the country, while the rest falls under Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd.

Commenting on the board of directors’ remuneration fee impasse, Haris Fadzilah said the discussion is still ongoing between the directors and major shareholders.

“Once the board and shareholders have something concrete, we will issue a statement on this,” he said.

The directors are also committed to turnaround the company despite the fee impasse, he said, adding that,“ I commend them for their commitment.”

At FGV’s 11th annual general meeting (AGM), which was held last month, major shareholders voted against three resolutions on the FGV directors’ remuneration.

The resolutions are to approve payment of directors’ fees amounting to RM2.55 million, in respect of the financial year ended Dec 31, 2018, payment of a portion of directors’ fees to non-executive directors up to an amount of RM1.18 million from June 26 until the company’s next AGM, and payment of benefits to non-executive directors from June 26 until the next AGM.

Shareholders also voted against a resolution that gives authority to directors to allot and issue shares pursuant to Section 75 of the Companies Act 2016.

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) is FGV’s largest shareholder at 33.7%, while Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd and the Armed Forces Fund Board hold 5.25% and 1.25%, respectively.


Khazanah’s M+S sells office, retail assets to Allianz Real Estate, Gaw Capital for S$1.575 billion

KUALA LUMPUR: M+S Pte Ltd, in which Khazanah Nasional Bhd has a 60% stake, is disposing of its entire stake in Ophir-Rochor Commercial Pte Ltd (ORC) to Allianz Real Estate and real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners for S$1.575 billion (RM4.725 billion).

The selling price equates to S$2,570 (RM7,725) per square foot of net lettable area.

“With the office and retail assets performing well beyond expectations, we are delighted that the proposed transaction of S$1.575 billion at a record price for this area has presented the opportunity to maximise returns for our shareholders,” M+S’ CEO Kemmy Tan said in a statement.

ORC, a wholly owned subsidiary of M+S, is the developer and owner of Duo Tower and Duo Galleria, the office and retail portion of Duo, a mixed-use development, which also includes Duo Residences and the Andaz Singapore hotel, in central Singapore.

She said M+S, which would continue to own the hotel Andaz Singapore, looked forward to working alongside the powerful combination of Allianz Real Estate and Gaw Capital Partners, who have impressive global track records in real estate management and development, to further reinforce Duo as an attractive place for global business and travellers.

“Duo provides an unparalleled live-work-play environment and is poised to establish itself as one of Singapore’s major business hubs. It will be an excellent addition to our global 24×7 cities office portfolio,” said Allianz Real Estate’s Asia-Pacific CEO Rushabh Desai.

“This exciting transaction with Allianz Real Estate marks a great step forward in our flourishing partnership with the group. Duo has enormous potential, given its fantastic location and connectivity, and this marks an important milestone for Gaw Capital in the Singapore real estate market,” he said.

The Duo development is situated in the Ophir-Rochor corridor in Singapore, right next to the heritage district Kampong Glam, and was designed by acclaimed architect Ole Scheeren.

Duo Tower consists of 20 floors of prime Grade-A office space occupied by prestigious MNCs and leading local companies, while Duo Galleria is a retail mall that connects directly to the Bugis MRT station, an interchange for the Downtown and East West lines.

Over the course of the last three years of operations, M+S has steadily grown and sustained a vibrant community of tenants, retailers, homeowners, shoppers and hotel guests at Duo.

The development has become an icon in Bugis and has been instrumental in injecting greater vibrancy and cultural diversity to the area by ushering in multinational office tenants, fresh retail concepts and the internationally renowned Andaz Singapore hotel which has a global client-base.

“M+S has done a fantastic job developing the Duo office and hotel complex and has successfully leased the building to a full roster of world class tenants.

“As M+S will continue to hold the hotel portion of the complex, we look forward to working together to enhance the asset and ride on the continued growth of the Bugis area as a new leisure and business district.” said Kenneth Gaw, president and managing principal at Gaw Capital Partners.

According to the statement, Allianz Real Estate acts on behalf of several Allianz Group companies, while real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners acts on behalf of a sovereign wealth fund separate account.