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Johor set to become leading solar power producer in Southeast Asia

JOHOR BAHRU, Feb 28 — Johor is set to become a major producer of eco-friendly energy in Southeast Asia with the opening of a solar power park in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, worth RM1.4 billion.

Sultan Ibrahim Solar Park will be the biggest of its kind in the region with a capacity of 450 megawatts, according to Sultan Of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar here today.

He said the solar park, which is the rst large-scale private investment project secured by the state for 2021 came from his efforts to encourage investment and economic development for the people and Johor.

According to Sultan Ibrahim, the project is also in line with the Johor Sustainable Development Plan 2030 which prioritises environmental sustainability in the development of the economy and prosperity of the people.

He added that the project will not only have an impact on the state’s economy; there will be job opportunities for various levels too, as it will become the largest solar power storage system in the region when fully operational by 2023.

The project will not only boost economic growth but also place Johor as a leading renewable energy producer internationally, he told the Royal Press Office (RPO) via his official Facebook.

“We are thankful that Johor is among the states that are blessed with high solar irradiance. It’s about time we explore this resource to improve power generation capacity and contribute to the production of renewable energy,” he said.

Sultan Ibrahim is expected to grace the groundbreaking for the solar park on March 23, at the project site in Pengerang.

Source: Bernama

Johor set to become leading solar power producer in Southeast Asia


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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Komarkcorp Bhd plans to become the country’s largest face mask manufacturer by the middle of the year after subsidiary Komark Mask (M) Sdn Bhd received full FDA and Ce certification for its suite of medical masks today, which will allow it to export globally.

Komarkcorp said it had now mobilised 11 separate mask manufacturing lines and is on track to install a further 15 lines by April this year to bring its current annual capacity of 180 million pieces to 420 million pieces per year of various types of masks, including three-ply masks, KN95 masks and its own Hybrid Dove Plus masks.

“The group’s own brand, Dove Mask, has seen wide consumption locally in the past three months, and in conjunction with being awarded FDA and CE certification, it has inked its maiden export order to Europe,” it said in a statement today.

Komarkcorp said Komark Mask had entered into a supply and purchase agreement with Robayu Corporation SP. ZO.O, a Poland-based medical products trader for the European markets, for the purpose of selling three-ply disposable medical grade face masks worth US$2 million.

Robayu will purchase one million pieces per month for three years as an initial contract. Subject to demand, Robayu has indicated it may raise the order up to four million pieces a month.

In addition to the maiden export order, with full certifications in place Komark will begin immediately to engage its overseas silos in Komark Thailand and Indonesia to tap into immediate regional markets.

“While export markets remain our focus, as our medical grade masks are now fully certified to be the highest quality, we are seeing huge local OEM (original equipment manufacturer) demand for masks,” chief executive officer Koh Chie Jooi said.

He said the group was running at maximum capacity at present. It has forward sold production for OEM order well into the calendar year, with enquiries still coming in.

“Our synergy of combining the printing and packaging business with the masks division has seen us tap into an exciting segment of customised OEM masks.

“We are sizeable enough to cater for local and overseas demand and by June, we will be the largest mask manufacturer in Malaysia,” he said. Moving forward, Komarkcorp is exploring a personal protective equipment segment as well, with its research and development team currently doing its research, testing and certification exercises.

Source: Bernama

Komarkcorp set to be country’s largest face mask manufacturer


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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Cabot Corp will be investing in new sustainable rubber technology and research and development (R&D) capabilities at its plant in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

The global speciality chemicals and performance materials company plans  to increase its staff strength by over 30 per cent, and install  digital controls and automation systems to further expand manufacturing of its Engineered Elastomer Composites (E2C) solutions which was launched last year.

“The company is also signing a long-term extension and expansion of its land lease in Port Dickson,” it said in a joint statement with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) on Friday.

Cabot aims to lead and advance rubber technology through specific innovations such as new tools for modelling and optimisation of liquid mixing, novel methods for characterising elastomer composites, as well as automation of continuous rubber processing.

MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud expressed his confidence in Cabot to benefit from Malaysia’s solid chemical industry ecosystem, backed by an investor-friendly business environment, policies and availability of skilled workers in the country.

“The investment by Cabot is a testament to Malaysia’s resilient business environment and promising returns to investors,” he said.

As partners to investors, Azman said MIDA remains committed to driving high-quality and knowledge-driven projects into Malaysia, in line with the national investment agenda for long-term sustainable economic growth.

Meanwhile, Cabot Engineered Elastomer Composites vice-president and general manager David Reynolds said Cabot’s plant in Malaysia has been a key asset for the company to develop and expand the portfolio of elastomer composites solutions.

“As such, we are committed to continuing to partner with MIDA to strengthen our investments in Port Dickson and support the growth of this high-performance product line,” he said.

Cabot’s E2C solution  is a new category of performance rubber composites based on a proprietary liquid mixing process for natural rubber latex, including three commercially viable products for off-the-road mining tyre applications. The solution was also named in the European Rubber Journal’s inaugural Top 10 Elastomers for Sustainability List in July 2020.

Source: Bernama

Cabot Corp to invest in new sustainable rubber technology in Malaysia


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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has urged  businesses, particularly  the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to implement digitalisation values and adopt innovation in their business to remain resilient.

MIDA deputy chief executive officer II Ahmad Khairuddin Abdul Rahim said that in order to drive business growth and staying relevant in current norms, business leaders, especially the SMEs must be able to think creatively and embrace innovation into their business models.

“A willingness to innovate should also go along with a solid understanding on how to cultivate the innovation into life. The focus will be on assisting Malaysian businesses to shift from old conventional growth models to build new growth through the adoption of the digital system,” he said in his opening speech during the virtual Domestic Investment Webinar today.

The session themed “Innovation and Transition to New Business Models” was supported by the Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education (DPCCE) of the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia Productivity Cooperation (MPC), SIRIM Bhd and AmBank. 

He said Malaysia’s Industry4WRD policy is an excellent guide and the incentives of Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment and its subsequent Intervention Fund enable domestic companies to assess their capabilities and readiness to adopt Industry 4.0 processes, understand their present capabilities and gaps, as well as prepare feasible plans to move toward effective adoption of Industry 4.0.

“This represents the rst step for companies in Malaysia to align with the rapidly changing technological landscape while developing new growth areas by prioritizing operational eciency and resilience through digital and automation technologies,” he said.

Ahmad Khairuddin added that other critical enablers are the skilled talent and upskilling programmes to drive and sustain Malaysia’s economic growth, of which, the availability of a skilled workforce will support the transition of all economic sectors towards knowledge-intensive activities.

“The government had also introduced the Automation Capital Allowance, a major initiative to motivate domestic companies to undertake automation and machine upgrading. The Smart Automation Grant under the RM100 million allocation is an initiative awarded to eligible SMEs and Mid-Tier Companies on a matching basis or 50 per cent of total eligible expenditures, up to a maximum grant cap of RM1 million per company,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the webinar has successfully attracted more than 300 participants, including manufacturers, service providers and other potential investors.

Source: Bernama

MIDA urges domestic companies to adopt digitalisation, innovate to stay competitive


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PUTRAJAYA (Feb 25): Malaysia’s economy is expected to show better prospects in the next few months based on the Leading Index performance which recorded 108.8 points in December 2020 compared with 101.6 points in the same month in 2019, as well as maintaining the annual growth of 7.1% since November 2020.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said as countries globally including Malaysia are in the process of launching the Covid-19 vaccine programmes, Malaysia together with the global economies were projected to return to positive growth this year.

“The global economy currently is in the recovery trend from the devastating effects of Covid-19. According to the World Economic Outlook Update issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January 2021, the global economies are projected to perform better at 5.5% in 2021 and 4.2% in 2022 following slowing economic activities due to measures put in place to contain the pandemic in 2020,” he said.

He said this in a statement on Malaysia Economic Statistics Economic Review Volume 2/2021 issued by DoSM today.

On the country’s economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2020, Mohd Uzir said the Covid-19 pandemic had caused a significant adverse impact on the global economy last year whereby almost all countries worldwide experienced economic slowdown, and Malaysia was not spared as its gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 3.4%.

On a monthly basis, Malaysia’s economy declined 4.7% in October, -4.0% in November, and -1.7% in December.

“Overall for 2020, Malaysia’s GDP contracted 5.6% compared with a growth of 4.3% in 2019, following the deterioration in all economic sectors because of several waves of Covid-19 infections, as well as the enforcement of various movement control order throughout the year.

“This contraction is the second worst it recorded since the economic crisis in 1998,” he said.

Even though the health crisis still persists in 2021, the government’s response this time was more balanced between livelihoods and allowing economic sectors to operate under strict standard operating procedures which were positive measures to the overall economy and provided respite to businesses.

Commenting on the arrival of the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine in Malaysia, Mohd Uzir said it definitely would assist in reducing the impact of the pandemic on the economy, enabling more economic sectors to reopen and possibly allow the reopening of international borders in stages.

“Nevertheless, businesses should not consider the vaccine as the solution and need to continue practising the new normal. With the acceleration of e-commerce adoption due to physical distancing and movement restrictions, digitisalisation is undoubtedly the way forward,” he said.

Hence, he said the comprehensive Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint launched recently was timely as it outlines the focus on digitalisation including talent empowerment, providing a trusted and secure digital environment, and expand the focus sectors in the economy.

Source: Bernama

Malaysian economy expected to turn positive this year on Covid-19 vaccine roll out


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Source: The Edge Markets

Bridging the digital divide in Southeast Asia


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As the world turns its attention towards electric vehicles (EVs), countries with an established automotive ecosystem are vying for a slice of the action.

When we talk about the automotive industry in Southeast Asia, Thailand comes to mind. As the region’s hub for automotive manufacturing and assembly, the country has been aggressively promoting its automotive industry.

Thailand came up with an EV policy in 2017. To attract investments to the sector, it offers tax holidays for manufacturers and assemblers of hybrid EVs (HEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs) and battery EVs (BEVs).

The Board of Investment (BOI) of Thailand offers HEV producers tariff exemptions on imported machinery, while PHEV manufacturers enjoy corporate income tax exemption for three years, in addition to tariff exemptions on imported machinery.

PHEV manufacturers that make more than one key EV part are also entitled to an additional year of corporate income tax exemption per piece, subject to the combined tax exemptions not exceeding six years.

Meanwhile, BEV investments are entitled to five to eight years of corporate tax exemption. If the company manufactures more than one key EV part in the country, it is also entitled to another year of corporate income tax exemption per piece, subject to a combined maximum of 10 years.

Thailand also provides specific incentives for battery electric buses, whereby the producers are exempt from tariffs on imported machinery, while enjoying a three-year corporate income tax holiday.

They are eligible for an additional year of corporate income tax exemption if they produce more than one key part of battery electric buses in the country, with the combined tax exemption not exceeding six years.

The BOI also lists 10 important EV parts that will enjoy corporate income tax exemption for eight years if produced in the country. They include batteries, traction motors, battery management system, electric converters and inverters, portable electric vehicle chargers, electrical circuit breakers and EV smart charging systems.

Thailand also cut the excise tax for HEV and PHEV passenger cars to 5% from 25% based on carbon dioxide emissions, while BEVs will only be charged a 2% excise duty, down from 10%.

Known as the land of pickup trucks, Thailand also reduced excise duty on passenger pickup vehicles and double-cab pickup trucks that release less than 175g of CO2 to 23% and 10% respectively, from 25% and 12%.

Last November, the BOI announced an upgrade to the EV packages. For four-wheelers, qualified projects with a total investment package worth at least THB5 billion (RM675.5 million) will be granted three-year tax holidays for PHEVs and eight years for BEVs, which will be extended in case of R&D investments or expenditures.

As for qualified projects with a total investment of less than THB5 billion, Thailand offers three-year tax holidays, with the tax-holiday period for BEVs extended if the project meets set requirements, such as commencement of production by 2022, additional part production, minimum production of 10,000 units within three years and R&D investments or expenditures.

Thailand also offers a three-year corporate income tax exemption for the production of electric motorcycles, three-wheelers, buses and trucks. In addition, it offers eight-year tax exemptions for the production of electric-powered ships with less than 500 gross tonnage.

The BOI also added four EV parts to the list of critical parts, namely high voltage harness, reduction gears, battery cooling system and regenerative braking system. The production of these parts will receive eight-year corporate tax exemptions.

The country is also promoting local production of EV batteries, with the BOI approving additional incentives for both battery modules and cells by granting a 90% reduction of import duties for two years on raw or essential materials not available locally.

Up to November last year, the BOI had approved 26 projects producing EV of various types, including five HEVs, six PHEVs, 13 BEVs and two e-bus projects, with a combined production capacity of over 566,000 units per year.

Seven of those projects have started commercial operations, and are by the likes of Nissan, Honda and Toyota for HEVs, Mercedes-Benz and BMW for PHEVs, and FOMM and Takano for BEVs. The BOI also approved 14 projects to make critical parts for EVs, including 10 in battery production.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is emerging as a regional competitor to Thailand in automotive production. In 2019, it produced 1.29 million units of automobiles, while Thailand produced slightly more than two million units.

Indonesia started promoting EVs in 2019. The republic offers corporate income tax holidays for the manufacturing of EVs, batteries, electric motors, and electric power control units, ranging from five to 20 years depending on the value of investments.

For investment values of between IDR500 billion (RM144.3 million) and IDR1 trillion, corporate income tax exemptions will be given for five years, while investments of more than IDR30 trillion will enjoy a tax holiday of 20 years.

Indonesia also offers super deductible tax for companies that conduct R&D activities. The companies will be given a gross income tax deduction of 300% of the value of the R&D investments if they undertake it in Indonesia.

The largest economy in Southeast Asia has also revised its luxury goods tax structure, with a specific tax structure on EVs. PHEVs and BEVs enjoy 0% luxury tax, while a 2% luxury tax on low-cost green cars using ICE powertrains has been imposed.

Indonesia’s development of EVs and batteries must also be seen in the context of the government’s ban on the export of raw and unrefined minerals. It has the world’s largest reserves of nickel, one of the key raw materials for the production of lithium-ion batteries.

This is one of the reasons why battery companies such as China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd are setting up production in Indonesia. LG Chem is planning to invest close to US$10 billion (RM40.4 billion) in the production of lithium-ion batteries in the country.

Indonesia is also trying to attract Tesla Inc to produce EVs in the country, leveraging on its 21 million tonnes of nickel reserves, as well as the growing supply chain of EV parts and components in the country.

So far, only Toyota has committed to producing EVs in Indonesia, with an investment of US$2 billion.

While Malaysia is still awaiting a specific policy on EV, the National Automotive Policy (NAP2020) does mention energy-efficient vehicles (EEV), which cover EVs.

Under NAP2020, Malaysia aims to develop critical components in the production of EVs between 2020 and 2024.

These critical components include the battery management system, thermal management system, battery pack and capacity. NAP2020 will also continue with the EEV policy, with the addition of Next Generation Vehicles (NxGV) — connected and autonomous vehicles.

However, under NAP2020, Malaysia retains a customised incentives policy. This policy looks at the value of investment, total production, technology transfer, R&D activities, critical component manufacturing, supply chain development, employment opportunities, total exports and many other factors to determine the level of incentives to be given to automakers.

The economic incentives for the production of EEVs include a 100% tax break for 10 years for corporate tax, maximum 10% tax break for import duties, and maximum 10% tax break for excise duties.

The local production of EEV-related parts enjoys a 50% tax break on excise duties, and a 100% tax break for 10 years for corporate tax for the production of electric motors, hybrid and EV batteries, battery management system, inverters, air-conditioning units and air compressors, among others.

Malaysia has been doing rather well in the EEV segment, with the production of these vehicles making up about 70% of the country’s total automotive production. In 2020, Malaysia produced 485,186 vehicles.

The country has also been receiving investments in the manufacturing of parts that are used in the production of EVs. In January this year, South Korea’s SK Nexilis announced a RM2.3 billion investment to produce copper coils in Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park.

Samsung SDI Energy Malaysia Sdn Bhd has long been producing lithium-ion batteries at its plant in Senawang, Negeri Sembilan. While this plant initially produced batteries for gadgets, the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) is working together with Samsung SDI to produce batteries for EVs.

It is hoped that the specific EV policy that the government is formulating will help Malaysia play catch up in EV investments and development in Southeast Asia.

Source: The Edge Markets

Competition for EVs in Southeast Asia heats up


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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 23): While there is a growing concern that the demand for rubber gloves will normalise sooner than later as vaccination continues globally, AT Systematization Bhd today inked an agreement with Kenteam Sdn Bhd (KSB) to manufacture and supply nitrile examination gloves.

In a filing exchange, the group said its wholly owned subsidiary, AT Glove Engineering Sdn Bhd, has reached an agreement to supply 30 million boxes of nitrile examination gloves for a period of 12 months and allocate 10 production lines to KSB.

It said KSB has been principally involved in the business of marketing and export of nitrile examination gloves to the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and other countries over the past few years.

Meanwhile, AT Systematization also has agreed to deliver original equipment manufacturing services to KSB at KSB brand name, KENTeam.

Commenting on the agreement, the group said this will not only be able to broaden its product offerings to its customers via the promotion and marketing of the products, it will also be able to expand its customer base to the United State, Canada, Europe, Japan and other countries under KSB.

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the execution of MOU (memorandum of understanding) is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings of ATS Group once the products have been marketed, sold and distributed by KSB,” it said.

At noon break today, shares of AT Systematization closed unchanged at 15.5 sen, giving it a market capitalisation of RM655.51 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

AT Systematization inks agreement to supply 30 million boxes of nitrile gloves


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KUALA LUMPUR: Denso Corp of Japan, through Denso Malaysia Sdn Bhd, will be expanding its production capacity in Selangor.

Denso, a leading global mobility systems and components supplier, said the RM160 million expansion had been approved by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and was scheduled to commence in April.

Denso Malaysia’s products range from air-conditioning systems, radiators, engine control units, airbag electronic control units, electric power steering and other products.

In a joint statement today, Mida and Denso said electronic controls had been increasingly adopted in various vehicle systems in recent years.

Mida chief exexutive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said Denso’s decision to further expand their presence in Malaysia had proven that the country continues to be a competitive investment location for high-value operations amidst global headwinds.

“This is another testament to Mida’s efforts in attracting quality investment into Malaysia. We are honoured to be selected as the country outside Japan to produce the advanced products as a result of continuous research and development (R&D).

“Moreover, we acknowledge the operational expenditure of over RM20 million in the next five years would benefit the local business ecosystem, from insurance, legal, banking, information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as transportation industries,” he said.

Denso said Denso Malaysia would be venturing into the production of automotive semiconductors, ASIC named Exposed Package (Ex-PKG), which is superior and competitive in terms of high functionality, efficient high heat dissipation, miniaturisation and cost reduction.

The project is also in line with the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2020 to develop critical components within next-generation vehicles, mobility technology and autonomous driving.

They said the investment would establish fully automated machine production lines with Denso-designed manufacturing equipment and unique processing techniques that emphasize on high efficiency and high quality.

In addition, the introduction of fully automated production lines will accelerate the moving toward Industry 4.0 technologies, such as IoT deployment, big data management and factory automation in Malaysia.

Source: NST

Japan’s Denso embarks on RM160mil advanced semiconductor production in Malaysia


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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 24): Malaysia’s economic recovery plan is on the right track with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme that begins today, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

He said many economic sectors were awaiting border reopening not only in the country but also abroad, including the tourism and retail sectors.

In presenting the 42nd Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) report here today, Tengku Zafrul urged the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro SMEs in the tourism sector which were still affected by the pandemic to take advantage of the RM1 billion PENJANA Tourism Financing.

As of Feb 12, only 282 applications involving RM57.1 million in financing had been approved under the Penjana Tourism Financing scheme.

Tengku Zafrul said economic recovery would follow with the recovery in public health.

He said the World Bank had forecast that Malaysia’s economy would grow between 5.6 and 6.7 per cent for 2021 following the global rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, which was in line with the forecast of a four per cent world economic growth.

The government is targeting to vaccinate almost 27 million people, representing over 80 per cent of the country’s population, by the first quarter of next year to achieve herd immunity.  Bernama

Malaysia on track for economic recovery with rollout of vaccination programme – Tengku Zafrul


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