dr mahathir


Commodities’ drag on 3Q earnings

The third quarter of this year has been a disappointing period for Corporate Malaysia as results came in below expectations and analysts believing that the profit trend would unlikely get better anytime soon. Analysts said the lacklustre corporate third quarter among Bursa Malaysia-listed companies would likely extend into the last three months of the year […]

M’sia well on track to become high-income nation — World Bank

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is well on its way to cross the threshold into high-income and developed country status in the coming years, said the World Bank. In a statement, vice president for East Asia and Pacific Victoria Kwakwa said Malaysia’s economy was well-diversified and stood on solid foundations, which are primed to take the country […]

Fiscal health first, higher oil royalties later, economists tell govt

The government should only be alarmed when crude oil prices consistently plummet to below US$50 per barrel, an economist says. REUTERSPIX

PETALING JAYA: The government should restore its fiscal health and weigh the implications on Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) balance sheet first before fulfilling the request of oil-producing states for an increase in royalty payments, according to economists.

Sunway University Business School Professor of Economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the government should at least put on hold the request by oil-producing states for higher royalties at least for the next two to three years, until the country’s fiscal health is restored.

He highlighted that a higher petroleum royalty will not only jeopardise Petronas’ balance sheet but also reduce its capacity to churn the planned RM30 billion extra dividend.

“Petronas’ dividend has given the government the flexibility to pay the goods and services tax and income tax refunds owed to corporations and individuals but also to avoid too drastic austerity measures under Budget 2019,” he said.

Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie concurred, saying that the federal government should buy time to iron out its fiscal position as there is a lot to rectify at this juncture.

He said oil-producing states such as Sabah and Sarawak could hold back on their requests for the time being unless they are in need of funding for state initiatives and projects. Assuming that the royalties are paid directly to the oil-producing states by Petronas, the federal government is likely to receive less in dividends, he added.

Sarawak called for royalty payments to be increased to 20% for its oil spoils in line with Pakatan Harapan promise in its manifesto, after which Sabah joined the bandwagon. Petronas currently pays a royalty of 5% to the oil-producing states.

Recently, Kelantan said it is withdrawing a lawsuit against Petronas in relation to royalty claims. Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said the decision to retract the claim, which was filed since 2011, was made due to its confidence in Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stand to distribute royalty payment to the state governments as announced in a recent Finance Committee meeting.

It was announced in the meeting that the federal government will stop giving out “wang ehsan” and instead channel the royalty payments directly to the Kelantan and Terengganu governments.

Mahathir also said the government is studying the claims of Kelantan and is trying to come up with a mechanism to fulfil the claim without hurting Petronas’ balance sheet.

When asked if the government is being too dependent on Petronas’ dividends for revenue, Lee said the government should look at asset monetisation and non-tax revenue and continue to plug leakages.

For 2019, apart from the RM30 billion one-off payment, the government will still be receiving petroleum income tax, royalty and normal dividend by Petronas, bringing the federal government revenue to RM261.8 billion or 17.1% of gross domestic product.

Commenting if there is a need to recalibrate Budget 2019 in view of the current volatile oil prices, Lee said the government should only be alarmed when crude oil prices consistently plummet to below US$50 per barrel. Budget 2019 was devised based on oil prices of US$70 a barrel. On Friday, global benchmark Brent crude closed at US$60.28 a barrel.

Lee said the RM4-5 billion recognised in savings from the additional tax initiatives and revenue-raising measures introduced in Budget 2019, and Petronas’ dividend would serve as buffers.

Meanwhile, Yeah said the government has to consider diversifying its revenue stream to avoid the need to recalibrate the Budget, especially from the spending side.

“It is now a key risk in 2019 as world oil prices are now expected to hover between US$60 and US$70 depending on the oil-producing countries’ ability to cut production. A US$10 a barrel difference will mean about RM3 billion lower revenue for the government,” he added.

Changing the landscape with digital tax

In a blink of an eye, Malaysia’s government has undergone a huge revamp since May 9, 2018 when our nation’s voters ended a 61-year old rule of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government by electing opposition party, Pakatan Harapan (PH), into power. Since the momentous change, everyone has been bracing for many changes in the country […]

Sarawak Shell recognised for excellent lean management practices

KUCHING: Sarawak Shell Bhd (SSB) was recently awarded the prestigious Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) National Gold Certification in Kuala Lumpur for excellent practices in the area of Lean Management by the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI) Malaysia. This is the first time such recognition has been accorded to an oil & gas company […]

Penang Port may lose 20pc of cargo traffic volume

BUTTERWORTH, Dec 6 — The Penang Port may be at risk of losing 20 per cent of its cargo traffic volume unless its logistics’ efficiency improves, said Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Joint Business Council (JBC) Malaysia…

Fitch unit: Ringgit to weaken to RM4.33 against USD by 2020 due to political uncertainties

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — The ringgit is expected to depreciate to RM4.33 against the greenback by 2020 due to uncertainty in the political sphere, said Fitch Solutions Macro Research (FSMR), a unit of Fitch Rating, in a statement today. Its bearish…

China’s Zhejiang XSD plans RM1.2b green paperindustry park in Kulim

ALOR STAR: China-based Zhejiang XSD Holding Group Co Ltd plans to develop a green paper industry park in Malaysia, which is expected to bring in investments amounting to RM1.2 billion.

The park will be developed on a 300-acre site in Padang Meha, Kulim.

The project is expected to generate economic growth in the area and provide 1,300 jobs to locals.

Zheijang XSD, which produces coated duplex boards for the Southeast Asian and Middle East markets, has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Invest Kedah Bhd for the project. The MoU was signed by Invest Kedah senior general manager Zafir Anuar Ghazali and Zhejiang XSD president Shengfeng Lee.

Zheijiang XSD also concurrently entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Sime Darby Property Bhd for the land where the green paper industry park is to be located.

Lee said Zhejiang XSD’s investment will contribute an annual output of RM1.8 billion while also generating RM1.5 billion through the export of products.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (pix) said the project will strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and China. “We also believe that the investment will continue to increase China’s investors’ confidence in the state,” he added.

This collaboration was strengthened during Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s visit to China last August.

China ranks as largest foreign investor in manufacturing sector

KUALA LUMPUR: China is ranked as the largest foreign investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector from January to June 2018, with investments of US$1.6 billion (US$1=RM4.19). The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) said China also came up top in 2017 and 2016, with investments totalling US$949.4 million and US$1.1 billion, respectively. MIDA chief executive officer Datuk […]

Mida: China our top foreign manufacturing investor in 2018 first half

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — China is ranked as the largest foreign investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector from January to June 2018, with investments of US$1.6 billion (RM6.7 billion). The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said…