dr mahathir


Sustaining the future for palm oil

As a plant turned edible oil to meet the needs of consumers, palm oil today joins the ranks of commodities dividing nations worldwide for its enviromental and political implications. An undeniable fact is palm oil’s contribution to Malaysia’s economy. Having roots in our history since 1917, exports of palm oil and palm-oil based products continue […]

Iskandar Malaysia to be expanded, spanning more areas in Johor

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 22 — Iskandar Malaysia in southern Johor will be extended to 4,749 km square from the current 2,217 km square to include parts of the Kota Tinggi, Kluang and Pontian districts. Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), in a…

Chinese bank’s Panda bonds offer shows confidence in new govt

KUALA LUMPUR: The offer by a Chinese bank to issue Panda bonds in China for Malaysia is a positive sign that foreign countries and foreign investors are confident with the new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the level of interest and confidence shown […]

Govt in talks with China on Panda bonds: Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today confirmed that Malaysia has received an offer for the issuance of Panda bonds from China and said the relevant parties are currently in discussions.

Speaking to reporters at the 12th Malaysian Property Summit, Lim said the offer from China Construction Bank has been communicated to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

“But we are still at the discussion stage. Unlike the Samurai bond for which the working paper has been presented to and approved by the Cabinet, and both countries have agreed on it. This one is still at the discussion stage,” he said.

Earlier this week, China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, said China Construction Bank is proposing to issue Panda bonds in China to Malaysia to help alleviate financial stress.

“I see this as a positive sign from other countries and foreign investors, who are confident about the administration of the new government led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Because they are confident, they are willing to extend a loan, just like Japan with their Samurai bond. This is something that is being done for the first time since the 80s,” said Lim.

He said such offers from Japan and China reflect the interest of foreign investors in Malaysia and their confidence in the new government, which was not seen before.

He noted the Samurai bond’s coupon rate of 0.65% is below market rate compared with the coupon rate of a Goldman Sachs bond issuance under the previous government which was 100 basis points above the market rate.

The ¥200 billion (RM7.34 billion) 10-year Samurai bond, guaranteed by the Japanese government, will be issued next month, at a coupon rate not exceeding 0.65%. The Samurai bond was initiated by Mahathir, who requested his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for yen-denominated credit in June last year.

The Samurai bond will be used to reduce debt accumulated by the previous government. The Samurai bond sale will be Malaysia’s first in three decades, having last raised such debt in 1989.

Meanwhile, Lim said the government hopes to conclude talks on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) but noted the challenge of ensuring that the cost is something that the country can afford while at the same time maintaining good relations with China.

“We still maintain the best of hopes that this matter can be resolved and that they can meet our request for the price reduction. Otherwise we would not be able to afford it,” he said.

Lim said the ECRL is one of the remaining projects to be concluded while most of the other projects that were being reviewed have been finalised.

As for the proposed Airport Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which was announced in Budget 2019, he said it is working towards appointing a REIT manager but it has not been finalised yet.

In his keynote address, Lim said the cost of living is still high although consumer price index (CPI) was at 1% in December, which is the lowest inflation rate in nine years.

He said the government is looking at how to ensure the low CPI can be filtered down and allow the public to benefit from the low inflation rate.

He said the CPI is sometimes used as a benchmark for wage increases, which is not so accurate thus the government is looking at another index that can better reflect the cost of living, so that wage rises reflect the actual situation.

Proton dealers with service centre upgrades reap benefits

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Proton Holdings Bhd dealers who upgraded their service centres to 3S and 4S, are now reaping a multitude of benefits, including sensational sales of the X70, the recently-launched sports utility vehicle (SUV). The…

Zeti: Strong economic momentum to continue this year

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz (pix) has described Malaysia’s 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7% as steady despite the challenging environment and expected the strong economic momentum to continue in 2019.

She noted that the growth of between 4% and 6% in 2019 remained positive amid the current economic situation.

“For this year’s outlook, it should be as good if not better and this would be presented by all the investment houses, as well as the official one by the central bank and the Ministry of Finance,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the Nomura Islamic Asset Management 10th Anniversary Investment Forum today.

BNM, last week, reported that the Malaysian economy, as measured by GDP, grew 4.7% in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, bringing full-year 2018 GDP growth to 4.7%.

The central bank said private sector activity remained the main driver of growth, while a rebound in exports of goods and services contributed towards net export growth.

BNM is expected to announce the Malaysian economy 2019 outlook next month.

Zeti, who is Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) chairman, said while economists and research houses projected lower GDP growth this year, PNB’s dividend would not be affected by a possible slowdown in the economy, driven by the fund’s diversified investment portfolio.

“Investment is all about diversification. If you learn to diversify, when one market does not perform, another does.

“The idea is to achieve a sustainable return and I have full confidence in PNB team that they will give their best effort to achieve such sustainable returns,” she said.

On the formation of the Economic Action Council (EAC), of which she is a member, Zeti described it as a great opportunity to get the economy going again.

Asked about top priorities to be discussed at the first EAC meeting, she said, “I want to save it when the meeting commences in the next few weeks. It will be very soon.”

On Feb 11, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the appointment of 16 members of the EAC which would be chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Strong Malaysian economic momentum to continue in 2019, says Zeti

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz has described Malaysia's 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7 per cent as steady despite the challenging environment and expected the strong…

Slow progress for RM10 billion Cyberjaya City Centre

PETALING JAYA: The RM10 billion Cyberjaya City Centre (CCC), a joint development project between Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) and Cyberview Sdn Bhd, seems to be showing slow progress since the change of government.

It was observed that some piling works have been done, but the project has yet to see major progress..

What is MRCB’s plan for it after a slew of mega project postponements and reviews?

MRCB chief corporate officer Amarjit Chhina told SunBiz that the project could take a longer time to be completed.

“The time frame (for the first phase) may change and could be longer than what has been told earlier,” he said.

Recall that in October 2015, Cyberview and MRCB Land Sdn Bhd signed a 30:70 joint venture agreement to develop the first phase of the CCC project comprising a convention centre, hotel, offices and retail lots. It was kicked off in the first half of 2016 and is expected to take seven years to complete.

Phase 1 of CCC is built on 53.37 acres of land, with a gross development value of RM5.35 billion. The convention centre was previously targeted for completion by next year.

The three-phase CCC project, which would take 15 years to be completed, was officially launched by then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak in 2017, who said that CCC was aimed to be a game changer and completely transform Cyberjaya into a global technology hub and smart city.

Despite the delays, Amarjit stressed that the CCC project is still ongoing, but MRCB’s focus now is more on its other core transit-oriented development (TOD) projects, namely Penang Sentral, Kwasa Sentral and KL Sports City. This is given that these locations (Penang Sentral in Penang, Kwasa Sentral in Sungai Buloh and KL Sports City in Bukit Jalil) have very strong rail transport and road connectivity compared with Cyberjaya.

“We have a very big pipeline of projects in a very strong locations underpinned by very strong transport connectivity. Our key strengths are TOD developments, which is similar to KL Sentral, but at the moment we’re putting our focus more on these locations,” he added.

The Mass Rapid Transit Line 2, slated for completion in 2022, will pass through Cyberjaya with two stations.

Cyberjaya was the brainchild of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and it started to take shape back in 1997. It was supposed to be the Silicon Valley of Malaysia.

Mahathir had said that Cyberjaya should not be just another town with the usual housing development; instead it should focus on the high technology, electronic and information technology industries.

High foreign outflow due to investment recalibration, says expert

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 ― A high net foreign fund outflow of RM263.5 million was recorded between Monday to Thursday, a level last seen since the third week of December 2018, as investors recalibrated their investments due to periodic adjustment…

Expert: More investments to flow in from Saudi Arabia following crown prince’s visit

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Feb — Discussions on refineries and petrochemical related investments in Malaysia is likely to dominate discussions during Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s maiden visit to Malaysia beginning Sunday. MIDF Amanah…