THE depth of the bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Australia was among the topics discussed during a meeting between Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Australian Ambassador to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski here today.
Both officials also identified areas of potential collaboration between the Finance Ministry (MoF) and the Australian government in areas of mutual interest including structural reform and fiscal management.
“We look forward to continuing our close and productive relationship with the MoF as it implements its important priorities, including through a potential senior officials’ policy dialogue,” Goledzinowski said in a statement today.
Goledzinowski today met with Lim and alumni of Monash University in Melbourne.
Australia first established a diplomatic presence in Kuala Lumpur in 1955.
Both countries shared a longstanding partnership economic policy, reform and trade, including regular secondments and exchanges between agencies with responsibility for financial sector regulation, taxation, competition and anti-corruption.
The relationship is anchored by close defence and security cooperation, as well as strong people-to-people links through education, business, migration and tourism.
In 2015, the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership, reflecting the enduring nature of Australia-Malaysia bilateral ties.
Source: The Malaysian Insight
MALAYSIA Airlines will tonight return to Brisbane for the first time in three years in a $100 million boost to the Queensland economy.
After the tragedies of MH17 and MH370, Malaysia Airlines suspended Brisbane services in 2015, but the carrier is back with flights to the Queensland capital four times a week in a move which could deliver an extra 60,000 visitors a year to the Sunshine State.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the new flights would be a big boost to the state’s economy.
“Welcoming this international airline back to Queensland is a major coup for our state’s tourism industry, injecting millions into the economy and supporting up to 240 jobs annually,” she said.
“This route gives travellers the opportunity to pick Queensland as their gateway to Australia.
“These flights will help us grow our share of key Asian and European markets by tapping into Malaysia Airlines’ extensive network.”
Malaysia Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Arved von zur Muehlen said Australia was one of the airline’s biggest markets and Brisbane was an important destination.
“We are excited to be returning to Brisbane to offer passengers better connectivity with our four times weekly direct flights into the city. At the same time, this is to also encourage passengers to explore Malaysia, which is famous for its rich attractions,” he said.
Source: The Courier Mail
Malaysia has improved in terms of competitiveness, moving up two spots in IMD’s 2018 World Competitiveness Rankings to take 22nd place globally.
In Asia Pacific, Hong Kong (2nd globally) and Singapore (3rd globally) took the top spots, followed by Mainland China (13th globally) and Taiwan (17th globally), while Australia (19th globally) rounded up the top five.
#1 Hong Kong
Global rank: 2nd
Global rank: 3rd
#3 China Mainland
Global rank: 13th
Global rank: 17th
Global rank: 19th
Global rank: 22nd
#7 New Zealand
Global rank: 23rd
Global rank: 25th
#9 Republic of Korea
Global rank: 27th
Global rank: 30th
The report noted the region saw mixed results. While Malaysia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and India (44th globally) all saw slight improvements, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia (43rd globally) dropped a few places. It observed countries from the region that experienced declines this year, with the exception of Taiwan, all showed signs of a need to improve their tangible and scientific infrastructure.
Globally, despite a change in order, the top five most competitive economies in the world remained the same as in the previous year.
The United States improved three positions to return to the top spot, followed by Hong Kong (dropping a spot to 2nd), and Singapore which remained 3rd.
The top five was rounded up by the Netherlands (which moved up one place), and Switzerland (which dropped a place).
The remaining places in the top 10 were occupied largely by Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden rank 6th, 8th and 9th respectively. While the UAE (7th) and Canada (10th) close the top of the rankings.
Arturo Bris noted: “This year’s results reinforce a crucial trait of the competitiveness landscape. Countries undertake different paths towards competitiveness transformation.”
He added: “Countries at the top of the rankings share an above the average performance across all competitiveness factors, but their competitiveness mix varies. One economy, for example, may build its competitiveness strategy around a particular aspect such as its tangible and intangible infrastructure; another may approach competitiveness through their governmental efficiency.”
The rankings are compiled by the IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group at IMD business school in Switzerland, using 258 indicators. ‘Hard’ data such as national employment and trade statistics are weighted twice as much as the ‘soft’ data from an Executive Opinion Survey that measures the business perception of issues such as corruption, environmental concerns and quality of life. This year 63 countries are ranked.
Source: Human Resources
KUALA LUMPUR: The government will review several trade agreements such as Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to see if its viable to be part of the trade partnerships.
Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) secretary-general Datuk Seri J. Jayasiri said as there is no trade minister yet, the review exercise is something definite to be undertaken by the new government.
Jayasiri said the decision will be reviewed by the new minister to ratify, citing that it requires some legislation to be amended.
He was speaking to reporters after the launching ceremony of the SEMICON Southeast Asia 2018 here today.
He added the trade agreements negotiations are currently still on going, and believed that the new government will be supportive of RCEP and CPTPP.
“Although 11 countries have negotiated for the CP-TPP, while six countries need to ratify the trade agreement to enter into force,” he said.
CPTPP's 11 members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
RCEP is a free trade agreement between 10 Asean countries involving Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
Further, Jayasiri said Malaysia's trade performance has been good for the last two years, better than expected.
“This year we project Malaysia's trade to hit around 5.9 per cent growth for 2018. Based on the first-quarter result, we are going on the right track.
“Our trade performance is also conditional on what happened to the external environment. But it seems to show positive sign and augurs well for the Malaysian export,” he said.
Jayasiri pointed out the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector has been the main player for the Malaysian manufacturing, contributing about 36.7 per cent of the total exports.
“We are generally optimistic that the E&E sector would contribute a large portion to our export,” he said.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said the agency garnered about RM485 million approved investments in the first-quarter 2018.
“The semiconductor investments are largely in Penang, both from local and foreign investors,” he said.
Azman said the agency intends to use the same incentive scheme under the Promotion of Investment Act.
“As the industry gears for higher technology, certainly we will improve the incentive to attract more high-technology project in the future,” he added.
Jayasiri said more importantly Malaysia should have more business friendly environment and supportive ecosystem with other essential for potential investors.
SEMICON is the region's premier gathering of the global electronics manufacturing supply chain with over 400 booths and 300 exhibitors participation throughout the three-dat event.
The event is also expected to attract more than 8,000 visitors at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), featuring three theme pavilions, four global pavilions and technology forums to address key issues in the electronics manufacturing supply chain.
SEMI Southeast Asia president Ng Kai Fai said the global semiconductor growth is expected to grow significantly for the next few years. Last year, the sector's revenue surpassed US$400 billion, a 21 per cent increase year-on-year.
“We believe the sector going to grow in this momentum to 2018, probably at US$450 billion and we project to surpass US$500 billion in 2019,” he said, adding that it was a huge potential for electronic sector in Southeast Asia.
Ng said it foresees the catalyst for the semiconductor to grow with the utilisation in Internet of Things (IoTs), artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and cloud computing.
Source: New Straits Times
Giant Malaysian developer UEM Sunrise has all but sold out a $330 million residential skyscraper in the Melbourne CBD, its first project to "top out" in the Australian market so far.
The success at the Conservatory – it is 95 per cent pre-sold – follows on the heels of the sell-out of UEM Sunrise's much bigger Aurora tower, a 92-storey apartment tower in the centre of the city.
However, the smaller Conservatory project, with 446 one, two and three-bed apartments, will be finished first after the physical structure was completed earlier this month.
"It is certainly a big deal for us," managing director Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib told The Australian Financial Review. "It tells the industry that we deliver."
Around 70 per cent of the apartments have been sold to offshore buyers. Prices ranged from $485,000 for a one-bed apartment to $875,00 for a two-bed, two-bath unit.
On a per square metre rate, apartments in Conservatory sold at around $11,500.
Settlement is coming up in September. It is a process UEM Sunrise is monitoring closely, in some cases helping connect investors with buyers in a secondary market.
"We're also getting in touch with all foreign banks for the foreign buyers," Mr Anwar said.
"In the case of Malaysia we've been talking to Maybank. Maybank is going to help us provide facilities for the respective Malaysian buyers. We're trying to basically match them together."
Maybank has also stumped up construction finance for Conservatory, while a club of lenders – Westpac, along with Asian banks OCBC and DBS – backed Aurora.
The 42-storey Conservatory is at the northern end of the CBD overlooking the Carlton Gardens.
The $770 million Aurora tower is rising opposite Melbourne Central. It has 941 apartments and a component of 252 serviced apartments, which were bought by Singapore's Ascendas Hospitality Trust for $120 million.
A third project will be under way by the end of the year, after the Malaysian developer took over the Victoria Police complex on St Kilda Road and engaged architect Zaha Hadid to design a luxury apartment complex.
Not all offshore players in Melbourne have enjoyed the success UEM Sunrise has to date. Singapore's Fragrance is struggling to find buyers for more than one-quarter of the apartments in the so-called Beyonce tower.
A $154 million South Yarra project by Malaysia's Gamuda Land has sold 70 per cent of its units and is not yet profitable.
Mr Anwar will assess further opportunities to develop on their merits but is clearly bullish on the city's prospects as a population boom gathers pace.
"I like the buzz, the vibe the city has," he said, listing Melbourne's strengths in business culture, leisure activities, and education and healthcare.
"That's why people are very attracted to Melbourne.
"You can see by the number of flights coming in and how busy the airport is. It shows there is still a long way to go in terms of the potential of Melbourne."
MONASH University Malaysia kicked off its 20th year celebration with a heart-thumping, groovy party recently.
The event began with fun-filled activities in the afternoon for its 800 academic and professional staff and their families.
There were balloons, party hats, face-painting and henna art, as well as food served by local chefs. Satay-in-a-cup was a hit among the adults, while the children satisfied their sweets craving with fluffy cotton candy. The kids also got to watch movies on the big screen and mingle with heroes like Iron Man and Captain America.
The 1Malaysia Drum Symphony set the mood for the evening with its amazing fusion of Malay, Chinese and Indian drums.
In welcoming guests to the celebration, Monash Malaysia president and pro vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Walker thanked everyone who had contributed to the Malaysian campus.
“Happy birthday, Monash! It’s been a wonderful 20 years and we are going to have a wonderful next 20 years. Happy birthday to everyone who has contributed to Monash University here in Malaysia,” he said.
Keeping up the beat was the main highlight of the night, popular homegrown singer-songwriter and rapper SonaOne got the crowd screaming and bopping along to his tunes.
Spinning foot-tapping and dance-inducing hits was DJ Bate, who had everyone grooving late into the evening.
Established in 1998, Monash Malaysia is the third-largest campus of Australia’s largest university and the first foreign university campus in Malaysia that operates in partnership with the Sunway Education Group.
What do Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur have in common with London, Tokyo and Melbourne? All are smart cities, designed to enhance their citizens’ quality of life.
London and New York integrate and connect the internet of things better than the rest. Smart cities are evolving. A citizen that lives in a smart city wins back up to 60 hours per year thanks to technological advancements.
In Malaysia, smart cities offer significant growth potential, but challenges remain
Malaysia’s smart cities are some way behind as they are still new. That is not a bad thing as Malaysia has avoided the pitfalls of being an early adopter. Authorities can apply advanced technology and systems that already work.
It means there is significant potential for growth and improvement in these cities. By working with other nations, Malaysia can move forward. It is making progress towards an integrated rail system. It is working with the UK to develop a manageable and sustainable strategy.
At the same time, there are challenges to overcome. Analysts question whether these cities will do enough to help reduce crime. They also query whether the poor will benefit. Malaysia’s energy efficiency awareness is currently weak. The country lags behind other nations in adopting green technology. It will take time to catch up.
However, the commitment to the use of electric buses is a step in the right direction. Insufficient infrastructure and resources could also hold Malaysia back. The government must budget for the work required for smart cities to thrive.
Smart cities in Malaysia focused on addressing congestion first
Authorities must address rapid population growth in urban areas. Traditional techniques and management are inadequate. Malaysia needs to overcome traffic congestion and overcrowding. Other challenges include the lack of affordable housing and damage to the environment.
Source: ASEAN Today
According to CPA Australia’s eighth annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey, Malaysia’s small businesses are experiencing positive business conditions – with many adding jobs and investing in technology.
The findings, from CPA Australia’s eighth annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey, follow extensive surveying of nearly 3,000 small business operators in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and China.
In the release, CPA Australia head of policy, Paul Drum FCPA, said that while Malaysia’s small businesses reported weaker business growth than in 2016, the sector was still experiencing positive business conditions and was a strong creator of jobs in 2017. Additionally, he said that Malaysia’s small businesses were likely to create even more jobs in 2018.
Drum commented: “More than a quarter (27.5%) of Malaysia’s small businesses added staff in 2017, reflecting strong growth for many Malaysian small businesses. A healthy 40.1% are expecting to add additional staff members in 2018.”
“Small businesses from Malaysia continue to be strong users of digital technologies in their business. Over half of Malaysian businesses surveyed (53.4%) earned over 10% of their income from online sales, and over 80% use social media for business purposes,” he continued.
Meanwhile, he noted that Malaysia’s small businesses would benefit from a stronger focus on new digital payment options, such as AliPay, ApplePay and WeChat Pay.
“Only 29.1% allow customers to pay through this new technology, well below China (65.5%) and the survey average (42.7%),” Drum concluded.
Meanwhile, Singapore was reported facing several challenges, including increasing costs and increasing competition. Singapore small businesses were the second most likely of the markets surveyed to identify both of these factors as barriers to their growth, and were likely to nominate staff costs as most detrimental to their business, followed by costs for materials.
Despite the increasing cost of staff, 26.6% of Singapore’s small businesses expect to add to their staff numbers in 2018, an increase from last year’s survey.
Source : Human Resources
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s small businesses are experiencing positive business conditions, with many adding jobs and investing in technology, according to CPA Australia’s eighth annual Asia-Pacific Small Business Survey.
The findings follow extensive surveying of nearly 3,000 small business operators in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and China.
CPA Australia head of policy Paul Drum said while Malaysia’s small businesses reported weaker business growth than in 2016, the sector was still experiencing positive business conditions and was a strong creator of jobs in 2017.
Malaysia’s small businesses were likely to create even more jobs in 2018.
“More than a quarter (27.5 per cent) of Malaysia’s small businesses added staff in 2017, reflecting strong growth for many Malaysian small businesses. A healthy 40.1 per cent are expecting to add additional staff members in 2018.
“Small businesses from Malaysia continue to be strong users of digital technologies in their business. Over half of Malaysian businesses surveyed (53.4 per cent) earned over 10 per cent of their income from online sales, and over 80 per cent use social media for business purposes,” Drum said in a statement.
“However, Malaysia’s small businesses would benefit from a stronger focus on new digital payment options, such as AliPay, ApplePay and WeChat Pay. Only 29.1 per cent allow customers to pay through this new technology, well below China (65.5 per cent) and the survey average (42.7 per cent)m,” he added.
Malaysian businesses were the most likely to nominate customer loyalty as having the most positive impact on their business in 2017.
“It is good business practice to focus attention on existing customers, as it is always much easier to keep a customer than attract a new customer.”
“With high numbers of Malaysian small businesses having the characteristics associated with growth – such as a focus on innovation, e-commerce and technology – we are likely to see better results in 2018. I expect we’ll see an increasing number of Malaysia’s small businesses evolve to become large, successful global businesses in the next few years,” Drum said.
The relatively strong focus on technology by small businesses in Malaysia is flowing through to concerns over the security of systems, with more than half (52.4 per cent) of respondents stating that they believe it is likely their business will be cyberattacked in 2018 – the third highest result of the markets surveyed.
This concern is leading to action, with businesses being highly likely to be taking steps to improve their cybersecurity.
Source : New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: Following the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Asia Pacific countries on March 8, Malaysia sends a strong signal of the country’s commitment towards an open and liberal trading system, in light of recent protectionist sentiment which is prevalent in a number of countries.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the necessary steps to amend the relevant laws in order to complete the ratification process and enable the implementation of the CPTPP as early as possible have already begun.
"What the world needs now is more trade and investment flows and not restricted markets.
"Malaysia believes that this agreement will help us to further promote our trade and investment agenda and mitigate the challenges of the global economic environment," Mustapa said in a statement.
The 10 countries that signed the CPTPP agreement together with Malaysia are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam.
"As one of the pioneer members who has successfully negotiated the Agreement ‘on our terms’, Malaysia should not miss the opportunity to grab the benefits of this Agreement and efforts to complete the ratification process should be intensified,” he added.
Despite the absence of the US, Mustapa believes Malaysia still stands to gain from market access to countries like Canada, Peru and Mexico with whom we currently do not have preferential trading arrangement.
"In addition to the market access, our participation in the CPTPP will also benefit us in terms of enhancing governance in a number of economic sectors, strengthening economic cooperation among member countries and promoting adoption of international standards," he added.
Mustapa said CPTPP will open up the door for more Malaysian companies to expand their presence beyond the borders of our country as well as strengthening Malaysia’s position as a premier investment destination – which will eventually create additional quality jobs for the people.
"The Malaysian public at large will also benefit from the increase in consumer choices on goods and services in our market,” he added.
The CPTPP was concluded on January 23, 2018 in Tokyo after eight rounds of negotiations which started in early 2017 at Ministers and Senior Officials level.
With the conclusion of the CPTPP, Mustapa said MITI and colleagues from other Ministries and Agencies will now focus the attention on concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation.
"It is our view that both CPTPP and RCEP will serve as building blocks towards a more open and fairer trade and investment regime in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.
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