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Malaysia able can be main contributor to WTO agenda in economic growth, development

Malaysia, with its active involvement in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has been seen as able to be the main contributor to the WTO agenda in terms of economic growth and development.

WTO director-general Dr Ngozi Okonko-Iweala conveyed this to Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi during their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland today.

In a statement issued in conjunction with the meeting, Nanta said Iweala also congratulated Malaysia for its relatively intact and robust economic performance.

“The meeting was beneficial and useful as we also touched on various issued related to WTO’s contribution to Malaysia’s economic growth and development,” he said.

On world hunger which has reached a critical juncture due to the pandemic and the rising food insecurity the world is facing, Nanta said Malaysia welcomed WTO initiatives in ensuring a sufficient supply of essential items and that they were being sold at reasonable prices.

“It is believed to be able to help countries like Malaysia in alleviating the financial burden of the people through distribution of subsidies for food items.

“Prices of goods will record a decline, with a good trade flow and supported by a facilitating network, hence giving benefits to the people,” Nanta said.

The minister also said that the WTO initiative that suited Malaysia most was the initiative on electronic commerce or e-commerce.

“This is because the pandemic has triggered a change in transactions by users. Therefore, this e-commerce initiative will definitely help Malaysia to regulate this sector accordingly, besides not hampering the growth of the industry,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia able can be main contributor to WTO agenda in economic growth, development

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Penang recorded the highest share of total trade among the states in August from Malaysia’s total trade of RM265.7 billion in the same month, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

Malaysia’s total exports increased by RM46 billion, or 48.2 per cent,  to RM141.3 billion in August compared to the same month last year, with higher exports recorded in most states led by Pulau Pinang (RM17.1 billion).

Johor recorded exports worth RM14.7 billion, Selangor (RM4.7 billion), Sarawak (RM4.1 billion), Kuala Lumpur (RM2.2 billion), Kedah (RM1.7 billion), Sabah (RM.756.3 million), Melaka (RM733,1 million), Negeri Sembilan (RM318.9 million), Kelantan (RM259.7 million), Pahang (RM153.7 million) and Perlis (RM60.6 million).

However,  exports decreased in Perak by RM371.2 million, Terengganu (minus RM316.6 million), and Labuan ( minus RM87.8 million), the department said.

Among the top five major exporting states, Pulau Pinang remained the top exporter with a share of 29.9 per cent, followed by Johor (23.4 per cent), Selangor (17.5 per cent), Sarawak (8.4 per cent), and Kuala Lumpur (5.3 per cent).

At the same time, DOSM highlighted that imports also increased RM50.2 billion, or 67.6 per cent, in August to RM124.4 billion compared to the same month in 2021.

The increase in imports was due to the higher imports by all states, led by Johor, with an increase of RM14.2 billion, it noted.

This was followed by Selangor (RM10.6 billion), Pulau Pinang (RM8.9 billion), Kuala Lumpur (RM6.6 billion), Negeri Sembilan (RM2.1 billion), Melaka (RM1.9 billion), Kedah (RM1.5 billion), Sarawak (RM920.6 million), Pahang (RM888.5 million), Perak (RM821.7 million), Sabah (RM538.3 million), Labuan (RM294.2 million), Terengganu (RM174.7 million), Perlis (RM74.5 million) and Kelantan (RM26.3 million).

Source: Bernama

Penang’s share of Malaysia’s total trade in August highest among states

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Companies must shape up their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) exercise or lose access to capital with a purpose, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He said that ESG assets are set to reach US$53 trillion (US$1=RM4.56) by 2025, adding that institutional investors carry considerable collective influence with nearly RM2.2 trillion in assets under management and roughly RM750 billion in the local stock exchange.

“Given their size and capacity, institutional investors can and must play a key role to drive effective oversight, catalyse future proofing and unlock value by actively engaging with their investee or portfolio companies. not just in the interest of returns, but also on purpose, premised on ESG principles,” he said.

Speaking at the Institutional Investors Council Malaysia (IIC)-Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC) Corporate Governance Conference 2022, he said effective corporate governance is a crucial tool in the ESG toolkit to help ensure that appropriate policies, processes and structures are in place for businesses to remain competitive and sustainable in the long run.

“This brings about the concept of stewardship in long-term institutional investors, such as pension funds that are also effectively asset owners that could exert considerable influence on the operations and corporate behaviour of their investee companies,” he said.

He also expressed his concern about supporting smaller businesses, or smaller cap companies in starting their own sustainability journeys.

“I say this because smaller companies with limited resources and capacity face challenges when assessing, disclosing and reporting on in-depth ESG data and sustainability issues, and as such, may face disproportionate burdens and report fewer disclosures compared to their large-cap counterparts.

“These challenges should not be underestimated, because the narrow application of ESG metrics and criteria risks systematically exclude such companies from future sources of funding, undercutting their growth potential and undermining our sustainability journey as a whole,” he added.

During the conference, Tengku Zafrul also launched the revised Malaysian Code for Institutional Investors (MCII) 2022 which replaces the first MCII that was published in 2014.

It comprises six of the original principles as well as one new principle, in addition to introducing a new section entitled “Stewardship Spotlight”.

Tengku Zafrul said this new principle emphasises the role of institutional investors in leveraging their influence over current or potential investee companies, policymakers, service providers and other stakeholders collaboratively with a view to maximising their overall long-term value.

“Consequently, the expectation is for institutional investors to shape, influence and champion the ESG agenda within the Malaysian capital markets,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Companies must shape up on ESG – Tengku Zafrul

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 Johor aims to attract more quality investments to achieve its target of becoming a developed state by 2030. 

Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said that in order to achieve the goal, the state’s economic growth target must be consistent with the seven per cent growth projection set previously.

“To achieve those goals and ambitions, the economic growth target needs to be consistent at a rate of seven per cent.

“Business cannot be as usual, it demands a paradigm shift and a catalyst that can stimulate our economy,” he said at the third meeting of the first session of the 15th State Legislative Assembly here today.

Onn Hafiz said the state government has outlined six initiatives in an effort to further strengthen investment activities and ensure the influx of quality investment into the state.

He said this includes strengthening the role of Invest Johor, as the main state government agency responsible for bringing in investors from within and outside the country, in addition to strengthening the Johor Investment Committee and the Johor Economic Tourism and Cultural Office which are under the supervision of Invest Johor.

“We need to attract quality investors such as in the oil and gas, petrochemical, data centres, electricity and electronics industries, in addition to developing the food industry or foodbank.

“Thanks to the combined energy of all parties, Johor is back to being number one (in terms of investments),” he said.

Also planned is a strategic and focused trade and investment mission aimed at gaining investment and high-tech industry, innovation and research that will complete and strengthen the industrial ecosystem in Johor, he said.

Onn Hafiz said from the total investment of RM60.9 billion recorded by the state in the first six months of this year, a total of 7,421 job opportunities are expected to be offered through 222 projects.

Source: Bernama

Johor aims to attract more quality investments to achieve developed state status

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Sabah looks forward to enhanced bilateral relations with Brunei now that the borders on both sides have reopened, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He is optimistic that cooperation in various fields, especially trade, will grow seeing that Sabah’s trade with Brunei increase by more than four folds from RM311.7 million in 2017 to RM1.48 billion in August, 2022.

“Sabah always values its relations with Brunei,” he said in a statement after an audience with the Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at Istana Nurul Iman, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei today.

The Chief Minister said Sabah also welcomed visitors from Brunei, the number having grown steadily after the reopening of borders with the first Royal Brunei Airlines flight into Kota Kinabalu International Airport on May 6, this year.

“Following the border reopening, Bruneians also travel by road to visit Sabah since Aug 1, this year. A total of 78,605 Bruneians visited Sabah in 2019 but the number plunged to 5,494 in 2020 following the border shutdowns,” he said.

Hajiji also shared with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah the achievements of the Sabah government under the Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya development roadmap.

“Since Gabungan Rakyat Sabah-Barisan Nasional (GRS-BN) took over the state’s administration two years ago, Sabah recorded RM5.449 billion in revenue in 2021,” he said.

The Chief Minister said Sabah also achieved RM389 million in domestic investments from January to June 2022, and RM9.9 billion in foreign direct Investments (FDI) from January to September this year.

Hajiji, who  is on a  one-day visit to Brunei today, his first since his appointment as Chief Minister, also extended an invitation to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah for a reciprocal visit to the ‘State Below The Wind’.

Source: Bernama

Sabah looks forward to enhanced bilateral relations with Brunei – CM

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Turkiye’s ambassador to Malaysia Emir Salim Yuksel said increasing high-level and technical contacts between Turkiye and Malaysia in the coming period will be a priority during his stint here.

The diplomat, who took office in June, said it is crucial for Turkiye and Malaysia to maintain the momentum that both countries gained with the recent high-level visits.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob undertook his inaugural visit to Turkiye in July, while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah visited the country in August.

Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid an official visit to Malaysia in August.

“It is a fact that we already have strong political, economic, commercial and cultural relations and they are gaining momentum with recent official visits,“ he told Bernama in an interview recently.

Regarding the 15 official documents signed during Ismail Sabri’s visit, Yuksel said Turkiye do not see them as purely legal texts but as a testimony of a joint vision to operate and cooperate further.

“We are naturally following each and every item discussed during these very significant visits irrespective of their transformation into legal shape. We have already started planning and realising new technical visits from both sides,“ he said.

Yuksel noted that Turkiye is satisfied with the remarkable progress achieved by the two friendly nations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1964.

He opined that two major steps gave fresh impetus to the two countries’ relations – the first being the Strategic Cooperation in 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties; and the second one being the elevation to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ismail Sabri on July 7, 2022.

Additionally, he said Malaysia has a significant place in Turkiye’s “Asia Anew” policy, which is the country’s new approach to the region.

During his tenure, Yuksel said he will also focus on enhancing economic cooperation and expansion of bilateral trade and investments; strengthening bilateral cooperation in the fields of technology; security and defence industry cooperation through sustainable partnerships, exchange programmes of scholars and students and promoting tourism cooperation.

On education, he said another 21 Turkish scholarships will be offered to Malaysian students this year. To date, a total of 260 Malaysian students have benefited from the Turkiye scholarship programme.

“In line with Malaysia’s needs, we are ready to expand the scope of Turkish scholarships,“ he added.

Since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, Yuksel said Turkiye’s tourism sector is gaining pace with 34,011 Malaysians having visited the country this year until July.

However, he admitted that pre-pandemic figures were quite promising as over 114,000 Malaysians visited the country.

He said the frequency of Turkish Airlines’ direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul will be increased to 10 times a week from the prevailing seven times a week.

“I would also like to add that Istanbul is one of the most convenient hubs for international travellers.

“For instance, if you have a plan to travel to the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Central Asia or America, which are just hours away from Istanbul, just spend a few days in Istanbul and continue your trip with Turkish Airlines, which flies to 287 international destinations and 53 domestics in 129 countries,“ Yuksel said. 

Source: Bernama

Increasing Turkiye-Malaysia high-level, technical contacts a priority: Ambassador

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Malaysia’s economy is on solid and stable footing despite global economic headwinds caused by geopolitical tensions and other external events.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the government will continue to take proactive steps to safeguard the economy.

“The government has successfully supported local businesses and spurred the economy through responsive and responsible policies, resulting in the economic growth of 8.9 per cent (in the second quarter) and an unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent.

“This included support from government-linked investment companies (GLICs), especially the implementation of the Principles on Good Governance (PGG) for GLICs as guidance for them,” he added.

Citing the 113th People’s Financial Report (LKR113), he said the government is determined to achieve high income status by 2025, be a low carbon country by 2040 and achieve net zero carbon by 2050.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG ) assets are expected to hit US$53 trillion by 2025, he added.

He noted that institutional investors have RM2.2 trillion worth of assets under management, with about RM750 billion in the local stock market, which would be highly influential in the transition to sustainability.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul revealed that the government had distributed RM20.96 billion to 358,089 employers through the wage subsidy programme (PSU) which sustained the jobs of 2.96 million local workers. 

The Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP) this year, under Budget 2022, offered 80,000 job opportunities on a contract basis, including 50,000 jobs in the public sector and 30,000 jobs in government-linked companies (GLCs) and strategic partners from January this year.

“Up to Sept 9, 2022 a total of 63,593 personnel have been successfully placed, with 36,781 personnel placed in the public sector while 26,812 personnel were placed in GLCs and their strategic partners,” he revealed.

The LKR113 also noted that the World Bank has revised upward Malaysia’s GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 6.4 per cent from 5.5 per cent previously.

“The revision was based on Malaysia’s latest economic growth rate of 8.9 per cent in the second quarter, which beat expectations,” he said.

However, the World Bank is of the view that there is no quick fix to the weakness of the ringgit compared to the US dollar, recommending that Malaysia focus on strengthening its fundamentals and implementing structural reforms.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia’s economy on solid and stable footing despite global headwinds — Tengku Zafrul

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The urge for both Malaysia and South Korea to establish the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) has become imperative in order to further deepen the existing economic ties shared by the two nations, South Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Lee Chi Beom said.

He said with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement entering into force early this year and other regional arrangements such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) being discussed by governments these days, the bilateral FTA is getting relatively lower attention and the momentum has been slightly weakened as well.

“As the scope of our economic exchange gets broader, it is anticipated that the need for a bilateral FTA, that covers country-specific characteristics which are often overlooked by FTAs like RCEP, will become greater.

“That is why it is crucial for both our governments to maintain the momentum of the bilateral FTA negotiations and I hope to see greater commitments made by our governments to actualise it,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview recently in conjunction with Korea’s National Foundation Day observed on October 3.

Lee said although South Korea already has a separate FTA with the ASEAN, the country has yet to conclude one with Malaysia ever since both nations commenced negotiations on the bilateral FTA in 2019.

He said notwithstanding the pandemic situation over the past two years, bilateral relations have registered remarkable progress alongside the two countries’ economic growth ever since diplomatic ties were established in February 1960.

“Most notably, our bilateral trade volume has grown 7,200 times over the past 60 years and the trade flows continued to increase even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although the pandemic has slowed down the growth, our people-to-people exchange has breached the one-million mark for the first time in 2019. Fortunately, the numbers are slowly picking up again ever since the reopening of borders,” he said.

According to the South Korean embassy in Malaysia, the bilateral trade volume was recorded at US$20.6 billion last year as compared to the previous year’s US$28.2 billion.

Back in 1965, it was just around US$2.83 million.

Asked on how economic relations could further bloom, he said there is always room for potential cooperation to be continuously expanded and strengthened.

Lee said he is optimistic that this year’s bilateral trade volume could reach higher than the last year’s figure as bilateral trade and investment continue to increase despite the pandemic.

“In terms of economic cooperation, I think the increase was possible because of the solid economic foundation built over the years between South Korea and Malaysia,” he said.

He said many other companies are also looking for business opportunities in Malaysia in response to the global supply chain restructuring, climate crisis and energy transition.

“I expect such a trend to continue with the RCEP that came into effect early this year,” he said.

He added that the embassy here is also planning to establish a Consulate General office in Kota Kinabalu soon.

In the past two years, South Korean companies which opened up branches in Malaysia included the Korean Education Centre and KOTRA’s Korea Business Centre Korea Water Resources Corporation and Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation.

Most recently, the Korea Environment Corporation opened its Southeast Asia Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur this month.

Malaysia is the third-largest trade partner of South Korea in Southeast Asia.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia-South Korea FTA establishment imperative to deepen economic ties – South Korean Ambassador

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Sarawak occupies a special status in Malaysia and plays an important role in China-Malaysia relations, said Chinese Consul General in Kuching, Xing Weiping.

“In recent years, with the attention and support of the Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, relations between China and Sarawak are soundly developed with mutual trust in politics, exchanges in cultural and corporation in economy,” said Xing.

He said the hard connectivity of infrastructure by the ‘Belt and Road Initiatives’ had been steadily promoted in the state, with a list of infrastructure projects taking place, such as the Baleh Hydroelectric power station, the ongoing Jepak bridge construction and the new green projects such as Autonomous Rail Transit and hydrogen bus.

“As an old Chinese saying, many hands make light work. The achievements of China-Sarawak cooperation cannot be made without the long-term support and participation of the Sarawak state government, Chinese community, Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese.”

Xing said this in his speech during a ceremony held in celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China at a restaurant here today.

“I believe that with the continued efforts of all of you, the mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation between China and Sarawak will surely see greater development and a brighter future,” he remarked.

Xing also pointed out that this year marks the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Malaysia, and bilateral trade between the two countries had grown by 34.5 per cent to stand at a record high of USD$176.8 billion in 2021.

He mentioned that China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years.

“In the first eight months of this year, the trade volume between China and Malaysia reached nearly USD$131.2 billion, up 21.2 per cent year-on-year, and Malaysia has become China’s second largest trading partner along the Belt and Road.”

During China’s State Councillor Wang Yi’s visit to Malaysia last July, Xing said both countries had agreed to build a China-Malaysia community of shared future.

For the whole Southeast Asia nations region (Asean), he said Asean had now become China’s largest trading partner, with exports from China to countries in the region up by 19.4 per cent this year.

This year also marks the inaugural year of the China-Asean comprehensive strategic partnership, he added.

Touching on China’s phenomenal economic achievements over the past decades, Xing said the country was now coordinating their efforts to contain Covid-19 and at the same time, promoting economic and social development.

“In accordance with the strategy of ‘preventing case import and domestic resurgence’ and ‘dynamic zero-Covid policy’, we implement strict and practical measures in the prevention and control of the epidemic.”

He said China so far has the lowest incidence rate and death toll due to Covid-19 among major countries in the world, while boasting a 3.6 per cent year-on-year increase in their industrial output above designated size, and consumer price index rose by 1.8 per cent in the first eight months of the year.

Furthermore, Xing said China is pursuing innovation-driven high quality development by investing a total of RMB2.79 trillion yuan in research and development.

Citing examples of their recent achievements, Xing said their country’s largest domestic aircraft, C919, had completed its test flight; Shenzhou XIV had carried out space mission again; Wentian, the first science laboratory module of China’s space station had successfully lifted off; and the roll out of ‘Fuxing’ railway service to mark the beginning of a new era of China’s high-speed rail.

Besides, Xing also highlighted that Taiwan is part of China’s territory, and peaceful reunification and ‘One country, Two systems’ are the fundamental guidelines to resolve the Taiwan question.

He said China will advance the process of peaceful reunification with utmost goodwill and resolutely crush any separatist attempt for ‘Taiwan independence’ with decisive actions.

The ceremony was launched by Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who represented Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Source: Borneo Post Online

Sarawak important in China-Malaysia relations, says Consul General

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Malaysian companies still hold favourable environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics among their Asean peers, says Maybank Investment Banking Group (Maybank IBG).

Of the 475 companies covered by Sustainalytics in the Asean-six markets, only 177 companies or 37% satisfy the filters requirements such as the low and medium ESG risk score, no or minimal controversies and medium or strong management, said Maybank IBG in its latest sustainability research report.

Sustainalytics is a leading external ESG research and data provider that Maybank IBG has partnered with for ESG services.

“Juxtaposing the 177 filtered companies against the 201 Sustainalytics-covered companies that are also covered by Maybank IBG, only 86 (43%) of the latter satisfy all three filter requirements, which are deemed to be low or medium ESG risk companies,” it added.

Of the 86 stocks under Maybank IBG coverage, the single largest block of 31 (36% share) are listed in Malaysia, whereby plantation companies, which are a large weighting on the KL Composite Index do not feature as low or medium ESG risk, with key risks including rainforest destruction and poor working conditions, while according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), only 19% of global palm oil is RSPO-certified.

For the Malaysian corporates, they appear to be progressing well in terms of integrated annual reporting (regulator push has helped), declaring net-zero and carbon neutral targets, as well as leveraging green financing options and increasing the number of women on boards.

“However, they appear to be lagging in terms of adopting the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework for reporting of climate-related risks and opportunities, as well as having their climate-related targets approved and validated by the science-based target initiative.

When considering relative performance versus the benchmark, Maybank IBG said Malaysia is a “positive outlier” in contrast to rest of Asean as 31 filtered Malaysian stocks outperformed (8.3%, 2.4%, 7.9% over one, three and five years) both in the MSCI Malaysia Index and overall Maybank IBG coverage returns of 5.8%,1.5% and 3.5%) respectively.

Interestingly, the number of Sustainalytics-covered stocks in Malaysia that satisfy the filters to be considered low or medium ESG risk companies is a larger basket of 42 companies, for which performance has been by far the best at 11.7%, 7.0% and 8.9% over one, three and five years period.

Source: The Star

Malaysian companies lead the way in ESG practices among Asean peers

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Government business facilitation agencies need to continue to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sustain their recovery post-pandemic.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said such agencies, such as the Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd (SJPP) and Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd (CGC), can help MSMEs adapt to the changing economic landscape.

This is important as Malaysia is expected to face various challenges in the fourth quarter of this year and into 2023 due to factors such as the war in Ukraine, the impact of China’s zero COVID-19 policy, and the continued hiking of interest rates by the US central bank, as well as supply chain disruptions, he added.

“Whatever the challenges may be, hopefully, we can achieve positive results through cooperation to help businesses be resilient and recover,” he said at the signing ceremony involving CIMB Bank Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd with SJPP and CGC here today.

The finance minister also reiterated that Malaysia can achieve economic growth of 5.3 and 6.3 per cent for this year, adding that third quarter growth would also be solid.

“Since the pandemic, the government has implemented economic packages worth RM530 billion in addition to Budget 2021 and 2022,” he noted.

On Budget 2023, Tengku Zafrul said the government will continue to focus on economic recovery, apart from continuing with efforts to enhance people’s welfare and build economic resilience to face future challenges, adding that it will also enhance the development of human capital for MSMEs.

“Areas such as building resilience, automation, and digitalisation are also important and will be given attention in Budget 2023,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Govt business facilitation agencies need to help MSMEs sustain recovery – Tengku Zafrul

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Economic and trade cooperation between China and Malaysia have hit new highs, with bilateral trade volume for the first eight months of this year reaching US$131.2 billion.

China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing said this constitute an increase of 21.2 per cent year-on-year. 

Speaking at the China’s 73rd National Day celebration here, Monday, he said that of the RM87.4 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) approved by Malaysia in the first half of this year, China’s share was amounted to RM48.6 billion or 55.6 per cent of the total FDI. 

The ambassador said with joint efforts from both sides, China and Malaysia relations have witnessed more and greater achievements at an accelerated speed, while high-level contacts have also broken new ground for further cooperation. 

Ouyang is optimistic that the trend will continue to develop in a healthy and stable manner.

He noted during Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Malaysia in July, both sides had agreed on working together towards building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future. 

“This is further enrichment to the China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership. It will open up broader prospects for cooperation between the two countries,” he said. 

Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin represented the Malaysian government at the reception.

Also present were Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and some 600 guests.

Ouyang said humanity exchanges between both countries have also seen new achievements. 

“Despite the negative impact of the pandemic, progress has been made in sending Malaysian students back to China to resume their studies, thanks to joint efforts of both sides. So far, more than 1000 Malaysian students have successfully returned to China,” he said. 

This year also marks the 48th anniversary of the establishment of China-Malaysia diplomatic relations, while next year will be the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Malaysia. 

Source: Bernama

China, Malaysia economic and trade cooperation reach new highs

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Many Swedish firms are optimistic about the overall economic outlook in Malaysia, with expectations of increased turnover and plans to increase their investments in the country in the next 12 months, according to a survey contributed by Team Sweden.

Team Sweden comprises the Swedish Trade and Invest Council (known as Business Sweden in Malaysia), Sweden’s Embassy in Malaysia, and the Malaysian-Sweden Business Association (Masba).

Of the 41 companies which completed the Malaysia Business Climate Survey 2022, being conducted during the second and third quarters of this year, 80% of those polled expect turnover to increase in the wake of a resumption of business activities.

The survey report was launched on Monday (Sept 26) by Team Sweden, represented by Swedish Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr. Joachim Bergström; Trade Commissioner of Sweden to Malaysia, The Swedish Trade & Invest Council, Emma Broms; and Masba president Carl Malmqvist.

The report noted that 54% of companies expect to slightly or significantly increase their investments, compared with 39% in the previous survey done in 2020.

“Only 10% of companies plan to reduce investments, compared to 14% previously. This is a strong sign of confidence in Malaysia and demonstrates that despite the impact of Covid-19, Malaysia will continue to be an attractive destination for Swedish companies to invest and grow in Asia,” said the report.

It observed that Swedish companies experienced higher profitability in 2021, than in 2019.

“66% of the Swedish companies [were] profitable in 2021, compared to 61% in 2019. Similarly, the number of companies operating at a loss has decreased from 20% in 2019 to 7% in 2021,” said the report.

Most respondents have a neutral or positive perception of the current business climate in Malaysia, with 46% “neutral” and another 44% perceiving the climate as “good” or “very good”.

Comparably, the number of companies expressing that the business climate is “poor” or “very poor” decreased  to 7% in 2022, from 11% in 2020.

About 53% of the companies that responded to the survey have more than 1,000 global employees.

The respondents come from a wide range of industries. Industrial companies represent the largest sector at 47%, followed by professional services at 38%, and consumer companies at 16%.

While most Swedish businesses in Malaysia remain focused on Peninsular Malaysia and have limited activities in Sabah and Sarawak, two out of three respondents have a plan to grow their business in the two Borneo states.

“Some see great potential in the area, while others are more sceptical of the opportunities. Several respondents stated that they have not investigated the region yet, but that they see the growth and need to start developing a presence soon,” the report said.

This report also highlighted that Swedish companies perceive “personal safety”, “access to distributors”, and “service providers” to be key advantages in doing business in Malaysia.

“However, concerns and challenges highlighted in the 2020 survey remain in place today. The lack of transparency, unsatisfactory labour market regulations, and finding skilled labour locally continue to be big struggles for Swedish companies present in Malaysia,” it added.

A number of companies expressed concerns regarding the ability to bring in specialised staff from abroad.

“It is noteworthy that the companies that experienced difficulties in bringing in specialised staff from abroad were also more likely to respond that they would not invest more in Malaysia, indicating improved visa arrangements would go a long way towards attracting more Swedish investment,” the report said.

Some 77% of the companies surveyed said they had not experienced bribery or fraud, and 86% said they had not witnessed human or labour rights abuse.

In total, there are about 90 Swedish companies based in Malaysia.

In her presentation, trade commissioner Brooms said Swedish exports to Malaysia amounted to US$400 million in 2021, while Malaysian exports to Sweden reached US$600 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

Swedish firms optimistic about outlook in Malaysia, survey shows

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Malaysia’s ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be elevated to a strategic partnership.

This will pave the way for collaborations in the economy, investment and trade, renewable energy, food security and oil and gas, among others.

This was discussed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob when he met President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Qasr Al Shati, here yesterday.

On food security, the prime minister offered the UAE reciprocal investments in the field of agriculture, in line with the country’s plans to become an export hub.

Previously, Qatar invested in the Baladna Food Industries Group joint venture project for the supply of food and dairy products with FGV Holdings Bhd and Felcra Bhd worth RM4.2 billion in Perlis and Pahang.

“For that purpose, we agreed to form a joint working committee with the UAE to discuss the details,” Ismail Sabri said during a press conference here today.

Malaysia also officially invited the UAE to explore opportunities in the development of the revised Bandar Malaysia project by providing a package for more investors to participate.

A package is also being drawn up by the Finance Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) which is basically similar to the initial planning of Bandar Malaysia.

He also visited the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) headquarters and was briefed on the UAE oil and gas company.

He said Malaysian companies were interested in collaborating with UAE firms in the petroleum industry, including in the upstream sector and liquefied natural gas, renewable energy, fertilisers and carbon dioxide.

“This joint venture is important to continue to progress and ensure an organised and equitable supply of energy in the era of energy transition,” he said.

Regarding trade, the value of trade increased by 90.4 per cent for the first eight months of 2022, which is RM25.60 billion, exceeding the total value in 2021, which was RM22.29 billion

“With the data for this eight-month period, this year’s trade value is expected to record the highest value,” said Ismail Sabri.

He also informed Sheikh Mohamed that the Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan Chair in the Malaysian Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) had been established with a donation of RM30 million.

It aims to promote universal peace for research, conferences and international dialogue.

Regarding his first working visit to the UAE and the atmosphere of the meeting with Sheikh Mohamed at his residence, the prime minister said it took place in a friendly and family spirit that showed the closeness of Malaysia-UAE relations.

Ismail Sabri also took the opportunity to congratulate Sheikh Mohamed on his appointment as the third president of the UAE and his membership as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2022/23 session.

He said he hoped the UAE would play an active role in highlighting international issues such as Palestine and the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

In addition, the UAE president supported Malaysia’s view during the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) that the veto power of the Security Council be reviewed.

The UAE president also appreciated the contribution of more than 6,000 Malaysians working in the UAE and invited more to come and work in the country.

Source: NST

Malaysia boosts ties with UAE, offers investments in food security, Bandar Malaysia

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Malaysia is on the right track towards sustainability by 2050 and to date, at least 44 out of 54 Sustainable and Responsible Investment Funds (SRI) have been approved by the Securities Commission Malaysian (SC) within two years.

Minister of Finance Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the government is committed to implement development projects and programmes that prioritise environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the 112th People’s Financial Report (LKR 112) released today, he said Malaysia would cooperate with Asian countries with the same vision through the Asia Zero Emission Community in achieving the goal of becoming a carbon neutral country as early as 2050.

“As at end of December 2021, 94 per cent of the 50 companies in Malaysia have adopted an ESG strategy and 68 per cent have an emission reduction policy.

“Global ESG assets are estimated to exceed US$53 trillion (US$1=RM4.56) by 2025, over one-third of the projected US$140.5 trillion total assets under management,” he said.

He said companies needed to practice ESG elements, open up opportunities and access to financing related to sustainability and investment and receive incentives for ESG-focused programmes inline with the empowerment of the 12th Malaysia Plan.

The minister said among the steps taken by the government to achieve the goals is through the implementation of the Principles of Good Governance (PGG) for Government-Linked Investment Companies (GLIC).

He said the PGG included, among others, recommendations to establish a governance structure for the oversight of ESG elements in future investment strategies.

“GLICs collectively manage RM1.7 trillion in assets, thus, have great influence in the context of guiding and empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the GLIC ecosystem to embrace ESG principles.

“TNB (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) and Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in advancing innovative decarbonisation solutions to support the goal of becoming a carbon neutral country by 2050,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said overall, the government has channeled RM20.958 billion to 357,988 employers through the Wage Subsidy Program (PSU) to maintain the employment of 2,960,265 local workers in an effort to reduce the unemployment rate among Malaysian.

On the Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP), he said a total of 63,593 personnel have been successfully placed through this programme, consisting of 36,781 personnel in the public sector and 26,812 personnel in government-linked companies (GLCs) and their strategic partners for this year as of Sept 2, 2022.

“Under Budget 2022, MySTEP offers 80,000 contractual job opportunities including 50,000 jobs in the public sector and 30,000 jobs in GLCs and strategic partners from January 2022.

He said as of end-2021, MySTEP has successfully achieved the overall target of 50,000 job opportunities for 2021 by placing a total of 63,221 personnel.

“Of this total, 41,680 personnel have been successfully placed in the public sector while 21,541 personnel have been placed in GLCs and their strategic partners,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Tengku Zafrul: Malaysia on the right track towards sustainability by 2050

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Various measures taken by the government in implementing the stimulus packages and reopening the economic sector in phases have reduced the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and supported the recovery of economic growth, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the country’s economy continued to strengthen with the gross domestic product (GDP) registering a stronger growth of 8.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the 5.0 per cent recorded in the first quarter.

Malaysia’s second quarter economic growth is the highest in ASEAN and higher than some developed and regional countries, and is expected to be able to reach a target of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent, taking into account the first half growth of 6.9 per cent, he said.

“There are various indicators of economic improvement, including the number of vehicle sales. For example, (Perodua ) Alza received 30,000 bookings when it was launched while the waiting period for Proton X50 is up to six months,“ he said during the ‘Keluarga Malaysia Dinner’ which was attended by more than 300 Malaysians here.

To help reduce the burden of the people affected by the increase in the price of goods, Ismail Sabri said the government allocated nearly RM80 billion in subsidies.

Ismail Sabri, who is in this city to participate in the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said when he took over as prime minister last year, his priorities were political stability and racial unity.

“Political stability is important to attract foreign investment, this was realised through a memorandum of understanding with the opposition parties. To strengthen unity among the various races in Malaysia, I introduced the Keluarga Malaysia concept,“ he said.

He also described Malaysians abroad, including in the United States, as the country’s ‘little ambassadors’ who also have an important role to continue to project a positive image of Malaysia overseas.

“Your contribution is very important and will also help benefit families and communities in Malaysia,“ he said.

The prime minister said he was confident that the patriotic spirit of Keluarga Malaysia in New York remained high despite being abroad.

Source: Bernama

Stimulus packages, reopening of economic sector reduce impact of Covid-19, says PM

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A pertinent question around environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is whether ESG performance should be linked with board remuneration to help accelerate the process of change.

While some may argue that management should not be rewarded for doing the right thing, companies find that aligning executive pay with ESG measures helps to speed up the process of change.

Boards need to ensure that ESG and sustainability is a core part of business strategy and not just a box ticking exercise, an initiative or activity.

Sustainability is a specialist responsibility; boards must quickly get up to speed on the science behind it, and they should be climate literate if not climate experts.

ESG or sustainability committees – apart from those in audit, risk management, remuneration, nomination and governance – should be set up to deep dive into these complex issues.

ESG is more than disclosures and regulatory compliance; companies must move beyond the moral imperative and focus on the tangible business benefits, said WTW managing director, global leader – executive compensation & board advisory – Shai Ganu.

Progressive boards align bigger goals with long-term incentive plans and milestones, while selecting the right metrics, for example, on reduction of carbon emission or board and leadership diversity targets, added Ganu, a key speaker at the International Directors Summit 2022 (Sept 26-28), hosted by the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia.

“What gets measured, gets done, and what gets rewarded definitely gets measured,’’ said Ganu, adding that this measurement of performance should not be seen as an exercise to make it easier to earn incentives.

Not all non-financial key performance indicators are ESG measures.

In view of emerging trends and threats amidst the rapidly evolving business environment, it is urgent for boards to embrace new thinking on ESG, step up and act immediately.

For many businesses, the understanding of the five megatrends in ESG plus technological (ESG+T) issues is critical to the development of a resilient and sustainable business strategy, said GEC Risk Advisory founder and CEO, Andrea Bonime-Blanc, another key speaker at the summit.

This awareness of ESG+T should be translated into actionable tactics, with a leadership blueprint under each megatrend that leaders should consider.

Against the catalysing of geopolitical shifts, a member of management, backed by internal and external resources, should be specifically asked to oversee geopolitical risks and opportunities.

While many of the geopolitical shifts – the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US-China tensions as well as the strengthening of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – have been in the works for several years, they have catalysed this year, sparked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Following this conflict is the worldwide domino effect on energy, food, supply chains and inflation.

The worsening global climate crisis and war are propelling complex risks; boards need to be aware of how these risks affect their businesses, and help management plan strategically and tactically.

Climate and geopolitical issues should be made a permanent part of a company’s enterprise risk management.

From ESG to ESG+T shocks, businesses are faced with disruptions from virtual games, social media, metaverse of an immersive virtual world, non-fungible tokens of assets on blockchain, and cryptos.

Digital distortions such as cross-border cyber attacks and misinformation, are becoming more entrenched in our daily lives.

As these technological changes unfold, leaders must understand the various dimensions in artificial intelligence, biometrics, nanotechnology, biotechnology and others.

They must also ensure that the appropriate governance, risk and ethics lenses are applied to the research, development, manufacturing and/or application of their products and services, added Bonime-Blanc.

Traditional shareholder-centric capitalism of the past half century is giving way to a broader set of shareholder considerations, expectations and interests where employees, customers, regulators, suppliers and others are playing more important roles.

Resolving the risks and pitfalls of this convergence may signal new opportunities for organisations.

In terms of leadership and institutional trust which had been declining over the past decade, a recalibration of trust in the business community has been evident in the past two years, said Bonime-Blanc.

Trust by stakeholders in leaders and institutions is underscored by transparency; to nurture this trust requires deliberate, conscientious action and tone from the top, both in words and deeds.

ESG is not corporate social responsibility and must be embedded into the fabric of the organisation.

Many businesses have taken proactive steps to integrate ESG and sustainability principles into their business strategies but they have to ensure that their ESG integration is meaningful and sustainable.

There is no time to waste as investors and consumers respectively place top priority on ESG and sustainability in their investment and consumption decisions.

Yap Leng Kuen is a former StarBiz editor. The views expressed here are the writer’s own.

Source: The Star

Emerging trends in ESG

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Johor continues to receive robust digital investment opportunities with some RM51bil worth of investment recorded in the first six months of this year from the industry.

State investment, trade and consumer affairs committee chairman Lee Ting Han (pic) said this would strengthen Johor’s position as an ideal investment destination for both local and international companies.

“With the current positive growth, we believe the state will continue to attract more investors from the data centre industry as well as other supporting sectors.

“This naturally refutes claims by certain politicians that the cabotage policy implemented by the Transport Ministry has caused us to lose digital investments,” he told The Star.

Lee noted that four data centres are set to begin operation in 2024 at the Sedenak Tech Park in Kulai.

A data centre refers to a building or facility that is dedicated to the use of computer systems and associated components, including telecommunication and storage systems.

He said the four data centres that are setting up their bases in Johor include the Yondr Group from the Netherlands, Bridge Data Centres (BDC) and ByteDance System from China, as well as the YTL Power International Bhd from Malaysia.

“In Johor, we are seeing an influx of data centre investments pouring in. Four data centres have announced their entry into the state and are now in the construction stage.

“On top of that, at least five more data centre players from Australia, the United States and Singapore have also expressed interest to invest in the state.

“Currently, the state and federal governments are facilitating their entry and we expect to have further updates on their commitments by the second quarter of next year,” he added.

He said that the companies are looking into setting up their facilities in the Nusajaya and Sedenak areas.

Lee also noted that Google had announced in August that they are planning to explore Malaysia to meet the growing demand for cloud services in Asia-Pacific.

“We can see that there is a robust digital investment drive into the country, especially Johor. Their presence in the state is important as it will also attract other supporting industries and further boost investments.

“Their presence will make way for the creation of quality job opportunities that will benefit local talents.

“This will allow locals to get better employment opportunities here, allowing them to remain in the state instead of having to cross over to Singapore,” he said.

Source: The Star

Johor sees positive growth

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A total of RM60.9 billion in investments for the first half of this year is expected to create 7,421 job opportunities for the people of Johor, Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said today.

He said that a total of 222 projects achieved through foreign and domestic investment will create job opportunities in the service and manufacturing sectors.

“The investment performance also saw a jump in the service sector to RM54.2 billion with 152 projects.

“The manufacturing sector also recorded an encouraging investment value of RM6.7 billion through 68 projects.

“In addition, the remaining investment was recorded through the main or primary sector,” said Onn Hafiz.

He said this when replying questions from Anuar Abd Manap (BN-Pemanis), Azizul Bachok (BN-Tiram), Selamat Takim (BN-Sungai Balang) and Hasrunizah Hassan (BN-Pulai Sebatang) during the Johor state legislative assembly sitting at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar here today.

In a related development, Onn Hafiz said the state government has drawn up initiatives to strengthen its investment activities and attract investors to the state.

“First, empower Invest Johor’s role as the main agency responsible for bringing in investors from within and outside the country.

“Secondly, strengthen the role of Johor Investment Committee (JIC) and Johor Economic Tourism and Cultural Office (JETCO) which are under the supervision of Invest Johor as secretariat.

“This is because JIC and JETCO function as facilitators between state and federal government agencies and investors, to discuss and resolve issues and related matters,” he said.

Onn Hafiz said the next initiative is to plan a strategic trade and investment mission to expand the Kulai Fast Lane initiative in all local authorities.

He said the initiative will be branded as the Johor Fast Lane.

“The environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda is supported to provide confidence and ensure investors are comfortable and able to carry out sustainable operations.

“Furthermore, cooperation with various federal agencies such as Miti, Mida, Irda, East Coast Economic Regional Development Council (ECERDC), Johor Petroleum Development Corporation (JPDC) and other strategic investment partners will be enhanced,” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

Johor MB: New investments in state to create over 7,000 jobs

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The northern state of Kedah is geared up to lure more investments after hitting a record RM20 billion in approved investments in the second quarter of 2022 (2Q22), said senior State Executive Council member (industry and investment, higher education, science, technology and innovation) Datuk Dr Ku Abd Rahman Ku Ismail.

The state recently announced Gurun as an investment destination for a new ​​404.686-hectare industrial area.

He said for many years, Kedah has been proven to be a prime choice for investment and the state is keen to facilitate and attract more local and overseas investments based on the Kedah Development Plan 2035.

“In Kedah, all investment-related agencies work as a team with the same purpose and objective, which is to facilitate and attract more investments into the state,” he told a press conference at the MIDA Invest Series: Unfolding States Business Potential (Kedah).

Ku Abd Rahman said Kedah has experienced a tremendous economic transformation from agriculture to manufacturing.

For the manufacturing sector, Kedah is fortunate to have the Kulim Hi-Tech Park as a catalyst, which is already known as a well-established technology park in the world.

He said the state government is actively promoting investment destinations such as Bukit Kayu Hitam halal and logistic centre, Bukit Selambau industrial area, Gurun industrial area, Kulim industrial corridor, Northern Technocity and Padang Meha industrial area.

In the southern and central part of Kedah, there are new growth areas such as Kulim Hi-Tech Park expansion, the development of Pulau Bunting and Kedah Aerotropolis consisting of Sidam Logistics, Aerospace & Manufacturing Hub, Kulim International Airport, North Corridor Highway.

He said the state government is also committed to developing new growth areas in northern Kedah with projects such as the Kedah Rubber City, Delapan Special Border Economic Zone (Delapan SBEZ) in Bukit Kayu Hitam under Northern Gateway Sdn Bhd, Kedah Science and Technology Park and Bukit Kayu Hitam halal hub.

He said the state is also collaborating with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) to provide the business community with development updates and investment opportunities as well as providing a platform to network with relevant state government agencies.

MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman said the collaboration aims to highlight the state’s investment landscape and its potential.

“As global players move towards building a sustainable and compliant business module, MIDA is aligning its strategies with the national investment aspirations and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles to attract high-value, sustainable investment projects and to collaborate with partners who are focused on ‘impact investing’,” he said.

The event attracted 300 participants comprising industry captains, business associations representatives, entrepreneurs, academicians and government officials.

Source: Bernama

Kedah eyeing more investments after hitting record RM20b in 2Q — exco

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Budget 2023, due to be tabled on Oct 7, will place more emphasis on sustainability compared with the previous two budgets, says Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

“Just as we fully integrate sustainability aspects in Budget 2021 and 2022, we will do the same and in fact, give a much higher priority to sustainability in the upcoming Budget 2023,” he said during the Accelerating Climate Action and Justice ministerial panel at the Cooler Earth Sustainability Summit 2022 here yesterday.

Tengku Zafrul said the government would issue up to RM10bil in ringgit-denominated sustainability sukuk, starting in the fourth quarter of 2022 to fund eligible social or environment-friendly projects.

“We have enhanced the government’s green procurement policy, to encourage the use of green products and services.

“Moving forward, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is finalising an integrated national financing framework, which is tailored to the country’s needs and requirements.

“In addition, we are also developing a more comprehensive, unified and explicit framework for sustainable finance through the sustainable finance roadmap,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul added that for Budget 2023, the MoF has issued six public consultation papers where three are related to sustainability as well as environmental and social governance (ESG).

“In terms of initiatives, we hope to work together with the private sector. Most importantly, we must ensure that our people who are most vulnerable to the transition (towards sustainable development goals) are protected through our ongoing and continuous effort in certain areas.

“These are, for example, facilitating employment opportunities in new and transitional industries, providing opportunities for reskilling, investing in alleviation of energy poverty, especially in rural areas and making clean, affordable and secure energy more accessible to all,” he said.

The government embraces the private sector and businesses as partners in ESG leadership, whether it’s adapting to climate change, addressing social inequalities or conserving the country’s natural environment, according to Tengku Zafrul.

“One of the ways we are doing this is through the mobilisation of savings and ensuring access to such investments.

“For example, at least 44 of the 54 SRI (sustainable and responsible investment) funds approved by the Securities Commission were launched over the last two years,” he said.

As at end-December 2021, 94% of Malaysia’s Top 50 listed companies had ESG strategies, with 68% having policies to reduce emissions.

“International investment communities have also focused on ESG-related risks and opportunities. Global ESG assets are on track to reach US$53 trillion (RM241.5 trillion) by 2025.

“As a result, in order for companies to remain competitive on a regional and global scale, ESG considerations are no longer a choice, but rather required as a means to access financing,” he said.

The fourth edition of the annual summit, organised by CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, themed Facilitating a just transition is held from Sept 20-24.

It was opened by the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah with the objective of bringing industry experts, corporate leaders, businesses, non-governmental organisations, financiers and investors as well as policymakers to deliberate on the challenges and urgent action plans required to shape a sustainable future.

Meanwhile, CIMB Group is doubling its sustainable finance target to RM60bil by 2024 under its Green, Social, Sustainable Impact Products and Services (GSSIPS) framework.

In a statement, the group said the increased commitment was made as CIMB had mobilised its earlier announced target of RM30bil two years ahead of its plan, guided by its GSSIPS framework.

In his speech, CIMB group CEO Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said as of 2020, the group’s financed emissions stood at 9,200 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, covering 40% of its gross loan portfolio.

“We are committing to halve our thermal coal mining sector’s financing and investment exposure by 2030 to ensure we can deliver on our original promise to exit coal by 2040,” he said.

The CIMB Group is also committed to reduce the physical intensity in the cement sector by more than 35% from 0.72 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of cement produced in 2021, to 0.46 tonnes by 2030.

“Over the past year, we have successfully pioneered innovative market-leading transactions such as a sustainability-linked derivative and a sustainable collateralised commodity murabahah and most recently introduced our latest offering, the sustainable term investment account-i.

“We plan to introduce more innovative sustainable finance products and services moving forward,” he said.

Source: The Star

Tengku Zafrul: More emphasis on sustainability in Budget 2023

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The holistic implementation of the National Low Carbon Aspiration 2040 Plan is expected to expand gross domestic product (GDP) growth by RM13 billion a year and generate more than 207,000 jobs.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the aspiration under the National Energy Policy 2022-2040 (DTN) that was launched today will help the country achieve net zero gas house emissions in 2050 as it faces the challenges of energy transition and climate change.

The aspiration has nine targets to be achieved by 2040, among them shared mode of public transport of 50%, use of electric vehicles (EV) of 38%; use of the B30 mixed fuel for heavy vehicles as an alternative fuel as well as energy savings of 11% for industry and commercial use and 10% for residential use.

“The government is confident that the DTN is capable of ensuring that the energy sector is always ready to face future challenges.

“The sector is poised to open a new chapter, in line with global trends that have seen new sectors that are low carbon such as the use of EVs and new energy sources such as hydrogen and bio-based energy,” the premier said at the launch of the DTN here.

To achieve the vision and objective of DTN, he said, 12 strategies and 31 action plans have been identified, to be implemented in the short, medium, and long term, in parallel with the implementation of the Five-Year Malaysia Plan.

The government has also agreed to set up the National Energy Council (MTN) to oversee the implementation of the new energy policy.

“I will chair the National Energy Council to ensure that DTN initiatives are implemented effectively by the various ministries and agencies based on accountability and their respective roles,” Ismail Sabri said.

The DTN is a “living document” that will be updated every three years by the MTN in accordance with factors such as technological advances, socio-socioeconomic levels, and the balance of energy sources, he added.

“The government is now focusing on the development of EVs by offering various tax incentives to encourage activities such as assembly, production of components as well as green technology services.

“It has also set up an EV task force to develop and promote the local EV industry,” the prime minister said, adding that four areas of the sector have become the main focus, namely expanding the use of EV, developing charging infrastructure, developing talent, and attracting investments.

“Up to now, over 600 EV charging facilities have been installed nationwide and will be further enhanced via initiatives from companies such as TNB and Petronas on cooperation agreements with them,” he said.

To drive the development of hydrogen, Ismail Sabri said the government is finalising the Technology and Hydrogen Economy Roadmap.

“The government has also redistributed the renewable energy quota of 1,200 megawatts to drive the generation of green hydrogen. At present, Petronas is also working with various quarters on hydrogen generation,” he added.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the DTN is aligned with the country’s commitments toward Sustainable Development Goal 7, which is ensuring access to energy that is affordable, sustainable, and modern for all in facing the energy trilemma of ensuring supply, affordability, and sustainability.

Source: Bernama

PM: Low carbon plan will expand average GDP growth by RM13b annually

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The two-way trade between Malaysia and China is expected to hit a new record high this year with the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Lim Ban Hong.

Lim said the trade is expected to grow despite the pandemic’s effects and the global uncertainty caused by geopolitical tensions.

“The latest Chinese trade statistics revealed that Malaysia-China overall trade in the first eight months of 2022 reached US$131.21 billion, growing 21.1 per cent from the corresponding period last year,” he said in his opening address at the 19th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (Cabis) Roundtable Dialogue between Malaysia and chief executive officers from China.

In 2021 alone, a total of 43 manufacturing projects were approved from China worth US$3.98 billion, generating nearly 14,000 employment opportunities in Malaysia, according to Lim.

“Malaysia is welcoming more business collaboration from China in new and complex growth areas, this will foster innovation and strengthen supply chain linkages between Malaysian and Chinese companies.

“The resumption of travel links between Malaysia and China is a significant step in the right direction and Malaysia looks forward to receiving more business travellers from China to Malaysia,” he added.

Lim noted that Malaysia was among the early supporters of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and remains committed to deepening economic ties with all BRI participating countries.

Malaysia is committed to facilitating quality investments from China and would continuously be enhancing the country’s unique value propositions to ensure that Malaysia remains a preferred investment destination, he said.

“These unique propositions span across a wide array of elements including incentives, facilitation, talent, infrastructure, as well as legal, regulatory, procedural and institutional mechanisms,” he added.

On ASEAN-China relations, Lim said that ASEAN and China need to intensify efforts on the trade and investment fronts.

“We must continue to cooperate and support rules-based and multilateral economic agreements to help the region (recover from the) pandemic,” he said, adding that both parties have to strive to keep the supply chain connectivity uninterrupted and facilitate the movement of essential goods and services, as well as people.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia-China trade expected to hit record high this year: MITI

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he hopes that both Asean and China can continue to work on upgrading the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) for mutual benefit. 

This followed an agreement to carry out a joint feasibility study to improve the effectiveness of the ACFTA to ensure it becomes more inclusive, modern, and comprehensive. 

The premier said it is imperative for Asean and China to diversify efforts on the trade and investment fronts.

“The ACFTA agreement remains the foundation of Asean-China trade relations and continues to play an important role in facilitating trade between the two sides. Therefore, it is important that this agreement continues to be relevant and benefit businesses and regional communities,” he said in his virtual speech during the opening ceremony of the 19th China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) on Friday (Sept 16).

Ismail Sabri said governments must continue to work together and encourage multilateral trade relations to facilitate economic recovery in the region post-pandemic, and also to face any unexpected crisis that may occur in the future due to geopolitical uncertainties.

“As outlined in the Asean Comprehensive Recovery Framework, or ACRF for short, we have to strive to keep the supply chain connectivity uninterrupted and facilitate the movement of essential goods and services by removing trade barriers.

“Supported by key infrastructures such as ports, airports, and logistics networks that are adapted to the new norms, I am confident that trade activities can always run smoothly, thus further contributing to regional economic recovery efforts,” he said. 

The prime minister said this matter is even more critical for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the economic backbone of a country.

“I would strongly encourage both Asean and China to intensify cooperation in digital economy partnership, to drive the use of technology among SMEs to empower their businesses,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the Malaysian Pavilion at Caexpo 2022 will feature three categories as main attractions, namely food and beverage; lifestyle; and healthcare and wellness. He said the exhibition will be attended by various government agencies, SMEs, and leading conglomerate companies in the Asean region such as Petronas, Air Asia and the Shangri-La Hotel group.

“I was made to understand that this Caexpo exhibition is one of the outcomes of the cooperation under the ACFTA. I am hopeful that this Caexpo exhibition would continue to provide opportunities for various levels of the Malaysian business community to explore cooperation in the trade sector, which will be able to stimulate trade activities for faster economic recovery. 

“This is also in line with this year’s Caexpo theme, which emphasises shared prosperity, which is also the main agenda of Malaysia’s economic development,” he said.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, he said the agreement, which was signed after eight years of negotiations, demonstrates a positive sign to the world that Asean and China, together with the other RCEP partners, are committed to economic integration, ensuring that transnational supply chains are not affected, and keeping markets open amid the ravages of a global pandemic. 

“This agreement offers local businesses wider market access and the opportunity to improve regional supply chains and diversify their respective production networks, while helping reduce the cost of doing business.

“I am pleased that this agreement will provide immense opportunities to bolster regional businesses and supply chains, as well as diversify production network for seamless integration towards global economic recovery and growth,” he said. 

Source: Bernama

Ismail Sabri hopes Asean, China continue to work on upgrading free trade agreement

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Budget 2023, which will be presented in Parliament on Oct 7, will continue to focus on strengthening the momentum of the country’s economic recovery and generating sustainable growth in the long term, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said the Malaysian economy is on a solid track supported by resilient economic foundations, pragmatic policies and diversified economic structures. 

However, the management of the country’s economy in 2022 is expected to be more challenging, he noted.

“The world economic growth forecast in 2022 and 2023 by international organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been revised and lowered.

“The IMF has revised its global economic growth forecast to 3.2 per cent for 2022 in July from 3.6 per cent in April, and 4.4 per cent in January 2022,” he said in a statement today.

Mustapa went on to say that for 2023, the world economic growth forecast has been lowered from 3.8 per cent in January 2022 to 2.9 per cent in July 2022.

Commenting on the growth of the national economy, he said the gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection of the national economy is expected to reach a target of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent.

“This takes into account the 6.9 per cent achievement in the first half of 2022,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mustapa emphasised that the measures taken by the government in implementing stimulus packages and the gradual reopening of the economy have reduced the major impact of the COVID-19 crisis and also supported the economic recovery.

Source: Bernama

Budget 2023 to focus on economic recovery, sustainable growth — Mustapa

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