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Expect sideways trading for Bursa Malaysia ahead of 2019 Budget

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares are expected to see sideways trading in the next three weeks, with foreign investors adopting a waiting game ahead of the 2019 Budget announcement on November 2. M&A Securities Sdn Bhd chief dealing officer R Sundararajah said the trend was likely to continue at least until budget day, as the current FTSE […]


Govt urged to focus on reducing operating expenses

PETALING JAYA: Local economists, analysts and a think tank have urged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration to focus on reducing the government's operating expenditure, which has been persistently high over the years.

The view comes after Mahathir's presentation on the 11th Malaysia Plan's mid-term review in Parliament last week, which saw the government cutting back its development budget by RM40 billion for the 2018 to 2020 period.

The government, which affirmed that the operational budget will not take a hit, lowered its real gross domestic product (GDP) growth target to 4.5-5.5% annually from 5-6% previously.

Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd head of research Pong Teng Siew, when contacted, told SunBiz that the operating expenditure related to emoluments, pension payments and gratuities rose more than 9% a year in the past 10 years, while nominal gross domestic product rose just more than 4% over the same period.

He noted that the cut in development expenditure is possibly due to the administration's short-term inability to reduce its operating expenditure without public sector layoffs.

CGS-CIMB Research said it believes the government has room to make fiscal adjustments through determined spending cuts without hurting the country's growth prospects unduly if wastages and leakages are curbed.

It opined that operating and development expenditure can be trimmed by RM7 billion in Budget 2019 due to tighter procurement procedures, zero-based budgeting, reviews or deferment of infrastructure projects, more targeted subsidies and cash transfers, and revisions in supply and services contracts, which could limit the need for aggressive revenue-raising measures and steeper cuts to productive areas of spending.

On GDP growth, CGS-CIMB said despite the target being lowered to 4.5-5.5% in the mid-term review, prospects remain supportive of economic activity and labour market conditions.

Disappointed by the government's preoccupation with tax and increasing costs for business, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs director of research and development Laurence Todd said “there are indications that the government is moving in potentially the wrong direction”.

“Further reforms to strengthen the oversight and performance of GLCs are of course welcome, but it is disappointing that the government does not seem to be proposing more radical reforms, including significantly reducing its holding of assets and equities, which could raise revenue and stimulate private sector growth.

“At the same time, the government is proposing to reduce development expenditure – we would recommend that the government focus on improving its balance sheet in a way that raises revenue and maintains the overall level of public investment,” Todd added.

On the flip side, Sunway University Business School Professor of Economics Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the mid-term review, with a strong focus on improving governance, institutional reforms and strengthening the government delivery system, should enable the government to reap some “democracy dividends” on increased investor confidence and sustained private investment activities.

He said the review has lent greater clarity on the policy direction of the new government over the next two years as it has established the priorities, policy thrusts, strategies and targets on what the administration intends to do to address the critical challenges facing the country.

“Understandably, the 'how' part needs fleshing out but it suffices that the focus should be on implementation capacity and capabilities, and, importantly, a consultative approach with all stakeholders especially the private sector, industry groups and NGOs.”

However, he pointed out that income gaps, disparities and inequalities across regions, industries and community groups are structural problems, which will require carefully thought-out intervention programmes.

“These are perhaps too 'micro' to be contained in the broad five-year plan and better fleshed out by the implementing agencies that have been streamlined,” Yeah said.


National entrepreneur development policy on the way

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED), which was set up on July 2, 2018, is formulating an inclusive and competitive National Entrepreneurship Policy following the tabling of the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last Thursday.

In a statement today, the ministry said this is a new agenda in the comprehensive and integrated development of entrepreneurs, with a focus on the B40 income group and social entrepreneurs and aimed at uplifting the people’s standard of living.

“More details on the policy will be announced in the middle of November 2018,” the ministry said, adding that several strategic clusters have been identified including financing, training, cooperative, data base, operation/rationalisation and international issues.

The process includes a review of the legal and entrepreneurship policy framework, strengthening entrepreneur/cooperative governance, market expansion, rationalisation of entrepreneur development agencies, and a new financing mechanism that is more dynamic and open, it said.

“MED will come up with a strategic plan to rationalise and refocus all functions and roles of entrepreneur development programmes in order to support the nation’s economic agenda and create a conducive and integrated entrepreneurship ecosystem,” it added. – Bernama


Full steam ahead for SMEs

As small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute more than one-third to Malaysia’s economy, it comes as no surprise that this segment continues to be recognised by the new government and private sectors as an important growth engine. According to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Government is keen to increase the competitiveness of SMEs […]


Malaysia to be the second country in Southeast Asia to introduce the digital tax

The upcoming Budget 2019 slated to be announced on November 2, is exceptionally important to provide direction for the country. More importantly, in the direction and support on the growth of the digital sector in Malaysia. This was confirmed by economists and market observers as the government has commenced tabling the 2019 Budget on October […]


11MP macroeconomic strategies to be continued with some adjustments

KUALA LUMPUR: The macroeconomic strategies set out in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) will be continued with some adjustments to ensure that economic fundamentals are strengthened, sources of growth secured and structural issues managed. According to the Mid-Term Review of the 11MP (2016-2020) released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs here yesterday, strategies to address […]


Malaysia’s economy continues to expand at moderate rate

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy continued to expand, albeit at a moderate rate, during the review period of 2016-2017 as a result of slower world economic growth and modest global trade expansion in 2016. According to the Mid-Term Review of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday, as an open […]


New National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework to transform manufacturing sector

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The new National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework serves as a strategic guide to enable the transformation of the manufacturing sector and accelerate the adoption of the Industry 4.0 related technologies in response to the…


Govt reveals initiatives to address low technology adoption among business firms

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — The federal government plans to implement four key strategies to address issues related to innovation and technology adoption, coordination among agencies, investment in high-end Research and Development (R&D) as well as…


Cabinet to deliberate on MRT2 underground deal

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KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said yesterday he will bring up the matter of the termination of MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd’s contract to build the underground portion of the mass rapid transit Line 2 (MRT2) for further deliberations at the next cabinet meeting. That’s because the cabinet was the one to pull the plug on MMC-Gamuda’s underground work contract of the MRT2, he added. “Let’s wait for the next cabinet meeting because I was not at the previous cabinet meeting as I was in Bali last weekRead More