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Malaysia can enhance collaborations towards increased adoption of high technology — Annuar

Malaysia can enhance collaborations towards increased adoption of high technology and innovation, smart manufacturing, and all matters integral to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.

The signing of 13 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between Malaysian companies and their international tech counterparts on Wednesday would allow Malaysian companies to expand their global footprints, and bring about a collaborative transfer of technology and knowledge that will strengthen Malaysia’s digital technology ecosystem, he added.

“With the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the Government of Malaysia will continue to drive the digital economy forward towards making Malaysia a globally competitive digital nation, anchored on innovation, sustainability and shared prosperity, and firmly establishing the country as the digital hub of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations).

“Key to the achievement of this vision would be collaborations. Effective collaborations will lead to successful innovations,” he said at the Malaysia Ecosystem and Industry Celebration here on Wednesday night.

The Malaysian companies that signed the MoUs include Aerodyne Group, CALMS Technologies and Soft Space, with international partners, National Bonds Corporation of UAE and Qatar Financial Centre Authority.

He said these companies are poised to be global leaders in their respective sectors, Aerodyne Group, for instance, was ranked third globally in a report by Drone Industry Insights in 2019, and has been at the forefront of the drone industry.

“This only goes to show that the pandemic did not stop these Malaysian companies from seeking opportunities, domestically and globally, signalling the resilience of our businesses and the ongoing global interest in Malaysia’s digital technology innovations,” he said.

Annuar said the government and MDEC were working hard to ensure tremendous opportunities and also made sure that the government would constantly be engaged in delivering the digital mandate.

“I am confident that with the announcement of the new Malaysia Digital initiative this morning at the Malaysia Pavilion and all the unique value propositions that we can offer, the world will find Malaysia fertile ground for growth and serve as the perfect platform from which businesses can grow into the wider ASEAN region and beyond,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also congratulated Malaysian tech companies Durioo and The R&D Studio on their unique propositions while adding value to the offerings on global platform.

Apart of 13 MOUs exchange between the businesses, “Crafting Batik Girl”, an artbook about the making of the award-winning animated short film, “Batik Girl” by The R&D Studio and the Durioo stable of products and services was also launched at the event here on Wednesday night.

“Batik Girl is the embodiment of Malaysian animation history, carrying the legacy of entertainment that Malaysian parents or their children are so well-versed in and fond of.

“The success of Batik Girl and the development of its artbook is also a testament to Malaysia’s growing digital creative content industry, which is currently worth almost US$2 billion or RM8 billion…I am confident Durioo’s approach will bear fruit and its products will become great hits,” Annuar said.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia can enhance collaborations towards increased adoption of high technology — Annuar


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Malaysia is introducing two flagship initiatives which will drive and catalyse the digital economy as well as investment opportunities in Malaysia and the region.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said one is the DE Rantau programme, which is aimed at establishing Malaysia as the preferred Digital Nomad Hub in a bid to boost digital adoption and to promote digital professional mobility and tourism across the country.

He said the other is the Malaysia Digital Trade programme, which is set to drive interoperability and greater harmonisation of standards and regulatory approaches, to facilitate trade within and across borders.

“Digital Nomad Hub is a departure from the location-based approach under MSC Malaysia. Now it is not just the Kuala Lumpur or Cyberjaya Super Corridor.

“It should not be exclusive, (or) location based. (Having it) throughout the country, that is the part of major departure. Of course, if we want to encourage digital nomad, we must have the facilities in those areas, especially if you want to promote tourism in places such as Sipadan, Langkawi or Tioman,” he said.

Annuar was speaking at a press conference after the announcement of Malaysia Digital Economy Week in conjunction with the Expo 2020 Dubai at the Malaysia Pavilion here today.

On the Digital Trade programme, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief executive officer Mahadhir Aziz said the main objective of the programme is to support cross-border trading.

He said this initiative will involve many forms, including having a digital system that can transact data between countries as well as a digital trade agreement that Malaysia has to subscribe to in order to function with other countries which have ratified the same agreement.

“We have to look at cross-border trust in data that we are sharing as well. In Malaysia, and as part of Malaysia Digital, we will begin with a national e-invoicing project.

“This has been stated in the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL), whereby we will look at reducing and minimising leakage of income and revenue for the government while we do trades,” he said.

Elaborating further, he said that according to data from MDEC and Inland Revenue Board (IRB), the government will have at least an estimated RM2.1 billion possible additional revenue once e-invoicing is in place, which will take three to six years depending on other countries.

The Malaysia Digital Economy Week is part of the 26 weekly thematic trade and businesses programmes organised by the Malaysia Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.

MDEC is targeting to attract investments worth more than RM300 million as well as 50 eligible prospective businesses during the Malaysia Digital Economy Week from January 9 to 15.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia announces two flagship initiatives to catalyse digital economy, investment opportunities, says minister


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Dubai-based e-sports organisation, Galaxy Racer expects to invest RM42 million (US$10 million) within a five-year period in Malaysia’s e-sports ecosystem.

Chief marketing officer Allan Phang said the company aims to position Malaysia as a regional digital hub with the opening of its Asia Pacific headquarters in the country, adding that it also plans to organise more e-sports events and tournaments to facilitate and boost the e-sports ecosystem in Malaysia.

“In the next five years, we will be creating high-income jobs which will definitely spur the (growth of the) digital economy as we head towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0).

“We also plan to create new intellectual properties (in the digital content industry) that will benefit the Malaysian industry,” he said to Bernama here, today.

Phang said to spur the development of e-sports in Malaysia, Galaxy Racer also aims to boost the involvement of females in e-sports, adding that it had organised the Girl Gamer Festival World Finals in Dubai which was the first and only e-sports festival to celebrate women’s competitiveness in video games.

Additionally, he said the company  plans to set up  a world-class visual effects (VFX) animations studio in the country in order for the country to become more competitive in the global market and become a market leader in the industry.

“We understand and recognise that Malaysia is a hub for VFX animations studio and we are looking at that space as well.

“We believe in the country’s diverse talent pool, especially with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) bringing up new talents, (so) we want to tap into that as well,” he said.

Founded by Paul Roy in 2019, Galaxy Racer is the largest e-sports, gaming and lifestyle organisation in the world with over 100 content creators across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Europe, and over 500 million followers as well as over 2.5 billion monthly views.

Galaxy Racer is one of the participating companies in the Malaysia Digital Economy Week, which will be launched today at Expo 2020 Dubai by Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

Source: Bernama

Galaxy Racer projected to invest RM42 mln into Malaysia’s e-sports ecosystem


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Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, via its wholly owned subsidiary Hap Seng Land Sdn Bhd, has been actively seeking land acquisition opportunities, according to Hap Seng Consolidated Group Managing Director, Datuk Edward Lee Ming Foo.

“We have been quite aggressive in terms of acquiring land during the economic downturn; it is a good opportunity to acquire good assets. For example, during the economic downturn in 2007, we acquired 50% of the Citibank building and the land which Hap Seng 2 is sitting on, that was formerly owned by E&O,” he said in a media conference on Wednesday (Jan 12). 

On Jan 3, Hap Seng Consolidated announced the group will purchase a parcel of vacant commercial land on Jalan Duta here for RM868.8 million to build a mixed development, with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM8.7 billion.

The group has also entered into an agreement with Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd’s unit TTDI KL Metropolis Sdn Bhd to purchase 6.2ha of vacant commercial land called Met 3, Plot 7A for RM868.8 million through its wholly-owned subsidiary Sierra Positive Sdn Bhd. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the next seven months. 

“As for the Met 3 acquisition, it is the last piece of land in Mont’Kiara. There are a lot of locals, expatriates that like to live in Mont’Kiara. It is a short distance from the city and surrounded by affluent neighbourhoods like Damansara Heights, Bukit Tunku, and Bangsar; this is an opportunity for us to acquire this piece of land [in the vicinity],” Lee said.

New projects in the pipeline

The group plans to roll out a total of 18 projects in the next five years, with the intention of expanding its hospitality portfolio. Hap Seng Consolidated Chairman, Thomas Rapp said these projects will be located in both west and east Malaysia, and that further details will be revealed when they are firmed up.

Three residential projects are among those in the pipeline this year, of which two will be high-rise in Kuala Lumpur. There will also be landed properties in Sabah. Hap Seng Land Chief Operating Officer, David Khor said the developer is still working out the total GDV. “The overall figure would be more or less the same as last year (or perhaps slightly better). In 3Q2021, we recorded a revenue of about RM1 billion… We are doing our best to ensure the products that will be rolled out will be applicable to the consumer [demand], with new [must-haves] such as balconies, and so on.”

Bernama also reported Khor saying that Hap Seng Land is planning to develop five hotels in the next few years. He said three will be developed in Kuala Lumpur at Jalan Kia Peng, KL Metropolis near Segambut where the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre is located, and the newly purchased Wisma KFC building in Jalan Sultan Ismail. Two will be developed in Sabah.

“The hotels will be managed by two international hotel companies, namely, Hyatt, which will operate four of our hotels, and one by Marriott. This is our first venture in hospitality development,” said Khor.

Meanwhile, the indoor green wall in the group’s Menara Hap Seng 3 has been awarded “Highest Indoor Green Wall” by the Malaysia Book of Records. Designed by Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the structure is a 91.55m indoor green wall, spanning vertically across all 20 levels of office space, with over 27,000 individual pots comprising 10 different plant species.

Rapp said: “We are extremely excited to be recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records today, a testament to the group’s core strength in innovation and foresight in quality and sustainable designs.” 

Located at a prominent Kuala Lumpur intersection, Menara Hap Seng 3 is the latest addition to Plaza Hap Seng, which also comprises Menara Hap Seng and Menara Hap Seng 2. 

Completed in 2019, Menara Hap Seng 3 comprises 43,937 sq ft of retail net floor area and 200,204 sq ft of office net floor area, with a total of 20 office levels. All the three office towers are connected via pedestrian link bridges and basement car parks, with a wide range of F&B outlets, banking halls, medical and dental clinics and business meeting facilities. 

Menara Hap Seng 3 is one of the Grade-A office buildings in the Kuala Lumpur city centre with LEED Gold Certification, GBI certification and within the MSC zone.

Source: The Edge Markets

Hap Seng Land seeking land opportunities amid downturn, receives Malaysia Book of Records award for highest indoor green wall


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Pecca Group Bhd’s subsidiary Pecca Leather Sdn Bhd is buying a 1.74ha leasehold industrial land from UMW Development Sdn Bhd for RM8.45 million.

In an exchange filing today, the vehicle leather upholstery producer said it had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with UMW Development.

The land is in Serendah, Selangor, and is part of the mixed industrial, commercial and residential development known as UMW HVM Park.

It is a high-value industrial development park developed specifically for high-value manufacturing activities in industries such as healthcare and automotive.

Pecca said it would build a factory building in accordance with high-value designs and specifications required under the UMW HVM Park master plan. 

Pecca said both parties would enter into a mutual covenants agreement to maintain the common facilities and services at the industrial park for theor mutual benefits.

Pecca managing director Datuk Teoh Hwa Cheng said the land was for a second manufacturing facility.

“This will enable Pecca to significantly increase its manufacturing and production capacity to cater for future orders. 

“Ever since the industry-wide lockdowns have been lifted, the utilisation rate for our current manufacturing facility has seen an increase to nearly 100 per cent due to automobile manufacturers catching up with their backlog orders,” he said in a separate statement.

With a market capitalisation of about RM637 million, Pecca is involved in the styling, manufacturing and installation of leather upholstery for seat covers for the automotive and aviation industries. 

It is the largest automotive leather upholstery player in Malaysia’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and pre-delivery inspection (PDI) passenger vehicle segments.

It serves export markets such as Singapore, the US, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland and China. 

Pecca is also involved in the manufacturing of healthcare products.

Source: NST

Pecca buys industrial land for new plant


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The electronics manufacturing sector (EMS) is expected to improve this year due to the outsourcing trend and the loosening of travel restrictions.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Research (HLIB Research) analyst Syifaa’ Mahsuri Ismail noted the continued outsourcing trend sparked by work-from-home options and the trade war between China and the US has brought a positive impact to the sector.

“Despite some headwinds from prolonged supply chain disruptions, the lifting of restrictions domestically and abroad is expected to further improve demand conditions and support manufacturing activity in Malaysia,” she said.

HLIB Research reiterated the ‘Overweight’ call on the sector.

A report from the Department of Statistics Malaysia indicated the manufacturing industry grew 8% year-on-year (YoY) supported by growth in domestic-oriented and export-oriented sectors where broad-based improvement across industries has been observed.

The electronic and electrical production increased 13.6% YoY due to higher computers and peripheral equipment and consumer electronics productions, while trade data in November 2021 remained in expansionary mode at 32.4% YoY.

“Exports to the US and the European Union in November 2021 recorded double-digit YoY increase of 33.5% and 30.9%, respectively,” Syifaa’ Mahsuri explained.

Both these regions mainly contribute to VS Industry Bhd and Uchi Technologies Bhd.

“We gather the Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd’s SA2 plant is currently fully operational with the target to increase the in-house production of injection parts.

“We note the possible delay in reaching its target due to the recent flood that affected its SA2 plant but we hope production will start ramp up once condition normalises,” she added.

The bank also expects VS Industry’s new facility in i-Park Senai Airport City, Johor, which has commenced operation to pick up steadily.

“We gather that full utilisation for the dedicated facility could garner RM1.5 billion revenue from Customer Y. Furthermore, VS Industry secured two additional factories early this year in anticipation of robust demand from pool cleaner customers.

“We gather that the additional space could garner between RM600 million and RM800 million sales. Note that pool cleaner contributes the highest margin,” said Syifaa’ Mahsuri.

Statistics from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) revealed the global semiconductor sales gained 24% YoY to US$48.8 billion (RM204.96 billion) in October 2021.

“Semiconductors or integrated circuits are usually not useful on the standalone basis; instead almost all are eventually assembled into end-user products.

“On the back of this strong correlation, the EMS market is expected to remain robust, taking a cue from the strong year-to-date semiconductor market growth registered and we expect an even more upbeat prospect moving forward,” Syifaa’ Mahsuri noted in a report yesterday.

The trade war between China and the US has caused companies to diversify their supply chains to escape risks.

Malaysian EMS companies have also been getting requests for quotations buoyed by increasing order diversions and HLIB Research believes there would be more discussions on borders reopening and how it would serve as a growth catalyst.

Unfortunately, the manufacturing sector is facing foreign labour shortages, especially those in the EMS.

To overcome this issue, VS Industry is hiring local workers instead, which Syifaa’ Mahsuri applauded.

“On the greener side, VS Industry expects strong outlook from its customers with order diversion from another contract manufacturer following the recent labour issue.

“Management expects to start production for the diverted four models in the third quarter of 2022,” she said.

HLIB Research has maintained its ‘Buy’ calls for both VS Industry and Uchi with a target price (TP) of RM1.78 and RM3.83 respectively and a ‘Hold’ on Panasonic with a TP of RM25.70.

VS Industry is HLIB Research’s top choice in the EMS universe due to its healthy orderbook and margin expansion.

“As the biggest EMS player in Malaysia with a solid track record, we opine VS Industry is a prime beneficiary from the intensifying trade diversion theme.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve

EMS to benefit from fresh orders on supply chain diversion


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Luster Industries Bhd has said it will subscribe for 81.58 million shares or a 5.55% stake in Aimflex Bhd (formerly known as I-Stone Group Bhd), at 12.67 sen per share or a total sum of RM10.34 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Luster said the move is expected to allow potential synergies between the plastic parts and metal parts manufacturer and Aimflex, such as sharing customer bases.

“The subscription may enable Luster’s manufacturing business segment to leverage Aimflex’s expertise and experience in the manufacturing and modification of automation machines and fabrication of precision parts and metal panels, to create business opportunities to promote and embrace the digital revolution in accordance to the introduction of Industry 4.0,” the group said.  

Luster said the subscription will be funded by internally generated funds and/or bank borrowings.

Shares in Aimflex ended unchanged at 16 sen, giving the group a market capitalisation of RM195.86 million.

Luster, meanwhile, finished 0.5 sen or 3.45% lower at 14 sen, valuing the company at RM405 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

Luster Industries to buy 5.6% stake in Aimflex for RM10.3m


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The Johor government said today it remains committed to strengthening the health tourism sector in the state, despite facing a testing period due to the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the main tourism sector was a major contributor to Johor’s economy, and health tourism had great potential.

“Health tourism is one of the important sectors that contribute to the state’s economy and Johor has the advantage of being strategically located for this.

“The state’s strategic location makes Johor an ideal investment destination for many private hospital operators, apart from other tourism-related establishments such as various hotel brands and theme parks,” said Hasni in a speech.

He was on a working visit to the nuclear medicine unit in Gleneagles Hospital Medini Johor here.

Hasni also called on private hospital operators in the state to improve the quality of their services in an effort to promote health tourism

The Benut assemblyman said the respective hospitals can focus on their marketing aspects in getting international customers, especially from the region.

Separately, Hasni also hopes that the federal government can further increase the country’s investments in the health sector to further improve the quality of public health services in the country.

“At present, Malaysia invests around 4.3 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the public health sector and this is a small amount compared to other South-east Asian countries.

“For example, Cambodia allocates 6.6 per cent of their GDP for that purpose, while Vietnam (5.9 per cent) and Myanmar (4.8 per cent),” he said.

Meanwhile, Gleneagles Hospital chief executive officer Dr Kamal Amzan said the decision to introduce the nuclear medical unit was to meet the current needs in Johor as there was a high percentage of cancer patients.

“Cancer patients do not have to wait long or visit hospitals in the Klang Valley to get their treatment.

“I am also confident that the introduction of this unit will also improve health services in Johor in support of the existing government hospitals,” he explained.

Source: Malay Mail

Johor MB: State government committed to promoting health tourism sector


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Express logistics company Ninja Van Malaysia has unveiled its biggest warehouse located in Shah Alam (pix).

Spanning across 260,000 square feet, this new warehouse is in line with the company’s expansion plan to future-proof its volume growth trajectory and better support the growth of local SMEs and businesses.

“At Ninja Van Malaysia, we are constantly innovating and developing better infrastructure for increased speed and efficiency. Equipped with the latest sorting technology and equipment, our new warehouse is in line with our plans to deliver delight and speed to customers. This is why we’ve also recently started our seven-day operations schedule across the country,” said Ninja Van Malaysia CEO Adzim Halim in a statement today.

Ninja Van Malaysia continues to see a healthy growth in the number of parcel volumes since its inception in 2015. In 2021, the company observed a 98% increase in parcel volume as compared to 2020 due to the accelerated rise in e-commerce by both shippers and customers.

The new warehouse has a range of innovative technological equipment that is capable of processing over 400,000 parcels daily from all over the country. This figure more than doubles during peak periods.

To keep up with the demands of e-commerce, Ninja Van Malaysia has invested in technological equipment such as the DWS (Dimension Weighing and Scanning) machines used for inbound scanning and taking accurate measurements of the weight and dimensions of parcels, as well as automated rollers and conveyors. For the sorting process, warehouse employees utilise a multipurpose mobile scanner.

“Our warehouse currently operates in a hybrid manual-automated mode, which is reflective of the National 4IR Policy and the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, as the technologies in place serve to create a more seamless and efficient process. With machines working alongside our warehouse employees, we are able to then create a more seamless and efficient process, ensuring that our parcels are delivered to customers in a timely manner,” said Adzim.

Source: The Sun Daily

Ninja Van Malaysia launches its largest warehouse


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HLT Global Bhd has proposed a private placement of between RM66.50 million and RM76.84 million to fund its rubber glove business expansion and for working capital requirement.

The group had in August 2020 proposed a private placement of up to RM325 million for the same purpose, but the proposal lapsed after the group failed to implement the fund raising within one year.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, HLT said the new proposal entails the issuance of between 141.48 million and 63.49 million new shares to third party investors.

HLT had 707.39 million issued shares as at Dec 31, 2021. In addition, it had 98.09 million outstanding warrants expiring in 2022, as well as 11.96 million immediately exercisable options under the employees share option scheme.

The company said that for illustration purpose, the issue price of the placement units is assumed at 47 sen each, which represents a discount of 9.41% to the five-day volume weighted average market price of 51.88 sen.

HLT said it intends to use between RM49 million and RM57.5 million of the placement proceeds to part-finance its factory construction in relation to the rubber glove manufacturing business expansion.

The new glove-dipping plant located at Semenyih has a total construction cost of RM50 million. Meanwhile, the fabrication, installation and commissioning of four or five new double-former glove-dipping lines is estimated to cost RM8.5 million per line.

As a result, upon full commissioning of the new lines, the group’s production lines will increase to 20 or 21, with production capacity more than doubling to between 2.24 billion and 2.55 billion pieces per year, from the current 1 billion pieces.

Meanwhile, it has earmarked between RM16.10 million and RM17.74 million to fund its working capital requirements which include operating expenses, payment for staff salaries and trade creditors.  

The board expects the private placement to be completed within six month from the date of Bursa Securities’ approval.

HLT’s shares price fell three sen or 5.77% to close at 49 sen on Tuesday (Jan 11), valuing the company at RM347 million. Since touching a high of RM2.52 in August 2020, the counter retreated 81% due to industry-wide issue of downtrending average selling price for gloves, oversupply and stagnant demand growth.

Source: The Edge Markets

HLT Global plans to raise up to RM77m via private placement


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The strong foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, remains a key growth driver for the country’s economy.

Standard Chartered (StanChart) Asean and South Asia chief economist Edward Lee (file pic) said Malaysia is one of the countries that will strongly benefit from the global supply chain disruption, hence leading to higher FDI inflows into the country as companies look for alternative suppliers and production sites.

In the first nine months of 2021, the domestic electrical and electronic sector was the biggest beneficiary, accounting for almost 70% of the inflows.

Speaking at the StanChart Global Research briefing yesterday, Lee said Malaysia’s investment activities would pick up further in 2022, with improved clarity on domestic economic reopening and higher construction activity.

“Disbursed loans (excluding household and financial institution loans) rose 32% year-on-year in the third quarter (Q3), with the bulk of loans disbursed to the manufacturing sector. Public investment should be supported by high budget allocation and ongoing projects such as Mass Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit lines and digital infrastructure,” he said.

StanChart’s analysis showed that the country’s overall investments in Q3’21 was 22% below the Q4’19 level.

Apart from investments, other growth drivers for Malaysia in 2022 are sustained economic recovery, high vaccination rate, the recovery in the tourism sector and the implementation of Budget 2022 initiatives.

Lee forecast Malaysia’s gross domestic product growth to recover to 6.2% in 2022 from 3.5% in 2021.

Despite the potential impact of the recent floods in Malaysia, Lee said the country’s gross domestic product growth will be above the 3% level for 2021.

For comparison, the government expects a growth of 3% to 4% last year.

On price pressure, Lee expected the headline inflation to moderate in 2022 due to the technical high base effect, although there are upside risks emanating from supply-chain disruptions and high energy prices.

StanChart raised its headline inflation forecast for 2022 to 2% from the earlier projection of 1.6%, while the core inflation estimate is increased to 1.4% in 2022 from 0.7% in 2021.

On the supply side, Lee said cost pressures are evident, but the pass-through to consumers may be curtailed initially as the economy recovers. If the economic recovery is uninterrupted, Bank Negara could start hiking the overnight policy rate (OPR) in the second half of 2022.There is a possibility for the central bank to raise the OPR by 75 basis points (bps) in the second half of the year, up from the current record-low level of 1.75%, according to Lee.

Two rate hikes of 25 bps are expected in Q3’22 and another 25 bps in the fourth quarter.“The higher OPR forecast is because we expect Malaysia’s economy to recover quite fast this year,” he said. The central bank is expected to keep the policy rate unchanged in 2023, as growth plateaus.

Head of Asean and South Asia foreign exchange research Divya Devesh said the US dollar-ringgit outlook is “relatively neutral”.“By the end of June 2022, we forecast the exchange rate to go RM4.20 per US dollar, which is relatively close to where it is trading today. By December this year, we expect the exchange rate to go to RM4.15 per US dollar. This will be a modest ringgit appreciation in the second half of the year,” he said.

Divya said that in the past 18 months, commodity prices have had a very strong run and that has translated into an improved trade performance and current account balance for Malaysia. This, in turn, has lent a huge support for the ringgit.

“That is a driver that has not changed over the last one year and we think that carries on for 2022 as well,” he said.

Source: The Star

Benefitting from the global supply chain disruption


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Q1. Can you share your thoughts on the 5G launch in Malaysia and about Digital Nasional Berhad’s network?

The launch of 5G represents a significant moment in Malaysia’s telecommunications journey and together with Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB) we are delighted to be bringing the benefits of a world class 5G experience to the country.

DNB has the spectrum, end to end design and technology needed to deliver a 5G network to provide consumers and businesses with blazing speeds and an enhanced customer experience.

Malaysia has the potential to become a global frontrunner in 5G, which will allow the country’s entrepreneurs to develop new solutions on top of the network. Successful use cases can then be launched locally and globally and support the economy by creating new jobs and skills.

Q2. Can you talk about your global experience and success with 5G?

Ericsson is currently powering 108 live 5G networks, which is more than half of the world’s such networks. Globally, 73 countries have introduced 5G and Ericsson powers networks in 48 of them, which translates to more than 60% of the countries that have already launched.

Our focus on innovation and reliability has made us a trusted partner to deliver 5G networks in the most advanced and demanding 5G markets such as the United States where we provide infrastructure products and services for all the national telecom operators and cemented our 5G RAN market leadership last year.

5G technology is a core part of our business and we invest USD 4.4b in research and development annually, corresponding to almost 20% of our sales. Around a quarter of our workforce is also deployed in R&D activity.

Q4. How do you see 5G benefiting Malaysia?

5G is a huge platform for innovation, just like 4G has been. The key difference is an exciting one, because 5G will cater to both consumers and enterprises. The potential for new business applications is limitless and many are yet to be conceived, so 5G will accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation and enable the country to embrace Industry 4.0. It will also help reduce the digital divide, through use of technology such as Fixed Wireless Access to provide ultra-fast connectivity to remote areas.

Q5. What in your opinion are the key enablers for 5G to be successful in Malaysia?

We are working with DNB on the accelerated rollout and providing an affordable and world class customer experience, all based on a trustworthy, resilient and secure 5G network that will form the foundation for a thriving digital ecosystem.

I think it is testimony to a strong partnership and our combined capabilities that we have been able to launch 5G in Malaysia in less than six months after the contract was awarded. Now 5G is already available in parts of Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and Kuala Lumpur and we will be providing approximately 80% coverage in populated areas by the end of 2024.

We are leveraging on our technology leadership and the extra capacity and coverage of C band (mid band) to provide a fantastic customer experience. We are building a world class network end to end by using advanced solutions such as Multi Operator Core Network that allows the radio network to be shared by all 6 operators. We will also operate the network largely using local resources and the latest tools and Artificial Intelligence. This will guarantee the lowest cost per GB and enable affordable prices of data in Malaysia, with a world class customer experience.

Q6. How are you building the local ICT ecosystem in Malaysia?

The ongoing 5G rollout will see us partnering with local contractors and hiring more Malaysians. We have been working with our existing vendors and contractors while developing a pipeline for the future, so that we can continue to bring on more Malaysians as we progress. Our local partners are working with us in areas such as network installation and rollout, network optimization and site solutions amongst others.

Naturally, every potential vendor and contractor must have the requisite technical capabilities, a proven track record and a company background which meet the stringent requirements set by Ericsson. This ensures we can maintain our global technology leadership and provide the world class network that we have committed to deliver in Malaysia. We will always welcome hearing from any potential local partners interested in working with us on this important project.

Q7. Can you talk about your commitment to Malaysia?

Ericsson has been part of the development of Malaysia’s telecom industry since 1965, helping to introduce every generation of mobile technology, from 2G to 5G. We are fully committed to supporting DNB in making our 5G project a big success for the country, its people and economy. Indeed, we will ensure the network becomes a showcase for 5G in the world and a shining example of what innovative technology can offer consumers and businesses.

To support the management of the DNB network, we have recently set up a Network Operations Center in Petaling Jaya, using the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Another example of our commitment to Malaysia is extending our Ericsson Educate program to University Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), to help educate thousands of Malaysian students about 5G and related technologies.

To find out more about Ericsson’s activities in Malaysia. Click Here

Source: The Edge Markets

Ericsson will deliver a world class 5G experience to Malaysia


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The success of Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) has been instrumental in Malaysia being ranked 13th in the Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index after nearly two years of battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said Malaysia’s success in the fight against Covid-19 was due to the involvement and quick collaboration between public, private and armed forces military healthcare.

“The well-organised vaccination process helped our country. The number of anti-vaccination groups in the country is not as high as other countries and we also managed to convert some of them and got them vaccinated,” he said when contacted by Bernama, today.

Besides that, Dr Kuljit noted that the robust MySejahtera app also contributed significantly in the country’s success against the pandemic.

According to the Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index as of December 31, 2021, Malaysia is ranked 13th with a total score of 66.5, with the top three countries being Bahrain with a total score of 82.0, Chile with 76.5 and Taiwan with at 75.5.

The Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index ranks about 120 countries or regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility.

A higher ranking indicates a country or region is closer to recovery with low numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases, better vaccination rates and less stringent social distancing measures; and the index’s data sources include Our World in Data, Google Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports, Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker Cirium, and Nikkei Asia.

Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia epidemiologist Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman, said the efforts of the Health Ministry (MOH), led by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, using effective political strategy and epidemic management as well as the support of all agencies involved including community individuals are the main reasons behind the success.

She stressed that in public health, collective effort is most important and success cannot be achieved through individual achievement alone.

“I think that it is a great achievement, where the commitment of all parties ensured an optimum management of the Covid-19 pandemic, which enabled to the country to successfully implement its recovery plan.

“This is comparable with most other Asian countries. This commitment must be continued to curb cases and clusters and not hinder the recovery strategy,” she said.

Public health medicine specialist Dr Sanjay Rampal concurred, saying Malaysia was currently doing well with the daily reported cases being relatively lower and having a lower incidence rate than many other countries.

“We have been having lower baseline incidence rates over the past few weeks. This may be due to seasonal variation and the community immunity is still high from the past vaccination programme,” he added.

Dr Sanjay, who is also Professor of Epidemiology at Universiti Malaya, said the numbers in the coming months may continue to be low or it may increase due to a few factors such as the establishment of the Omicron strain as the predominant strain that is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

However, he was confident that it was unlikely for hospital services to be overwhelmed if the country proactively planned its Covid-19 services and worked together to include the whole society in combating Covid-19.

Dr Noor Hisham posted on Facebook last night that the Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index highlights a divide between Asia and the West, with many countries having a surge of cases involving the Omicron variant in a short period of time.

He also said Malaysia is now ranked sixth in the Global Covid Index (GCI), which was developed with input from various international bodies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Source: Bernama

Malaysia’s 13th ranking in Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index due to strong public-private teamwork, says private hospital group


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The fifth-generation (5G) network is critical for the success of Malaysian ports operations as it enables port operators to track ships and to make accurate predictions about arrival times, reducing the disruptions from potential delays.

“5G can enable many improvements within Malaysia’s ports. On a 4G network, a terminal can monitor about 100,000 sensors and Internet of Things (IoTs), devices within a square kilometer. A 5G network raises the potential number of connections to one million,” Juwai IQI Group co-founder and chief executive officer Kashif Ansari said in a statement.

He also said that loading and transshipping can be streamlined to a just-in-time operations, with optical character recognition cameras facilitating this change.

“They can identify and process individual containers from among the thousands the ports handle every day.

“The brains of the port will be automated and so will the brawn. The vessels and vehicles that move cargo to, within and from ports are all on their way to being automated,” he added.

He also emphasised that the 2021 global supply chain disruptions were a wake-up call to policymakers and port operators in trade-dependent nations like Malaysia.

Kashif said that if Malaysian ports were able to stay ahead of the automation trend, this would help to attract foreign direct investment into the manufacturing sector.

These investments, in turn, will help drive demand for industrial and logistics space.

“Smart ports will enable greater integration with nearby logistics and manufacturing facilities. Integration promises to reduce the  delays that currently exist when moving goods from their point of manufacture to the ships that carry them overseas,” he explained.

Source: Bernama

Juwai: 5G vital for local ports’ growth, modernisation


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Investments in Selangor this year will be better than 2021 as the flood recedes and the Covid-19 pandemic situation improves, said Selangor state executive councillor for industry and trade Datuk Teng Chang Khim.

Teng said the Omicron variant is still unpredictable and urged everyone to be cautious, particularly during festivities as cross border travel is allowed and Malaysians are anticipated to travel. However, it would provide an upside to the domestic economy and therefore better investments are expected this year.

“It (the investments) would depend on the pandemic development and hopefully no natural disaster will happen again in the next few months,” he told reporters at the Selangor State Level Online Chinese New Year Programme 2022 press conference here today.

This year, he said, the Selangor government has decided to continue the online Chinese New Year celebration through the Selangor State Level Chinese New Year Celebration Special Culture Programme 2022.

Following the pandemic last year, he said the Selangor government had decided to hold the 2021 Chinese New Year celebration online and 218,000 views had been reached from all over the country and several countries including Singapore, Taiwan, Macau and the United Kingdom.

In a statement today, Invest Selangor said the programme would be screened through online media channels and social media, and hosted on the Mandarin Facebook page of Selangor Menteri Besar @ami.mbselangor and Selangor executive councillor Teng’s Facebook at 9pm on February 1.

According to the statement, this year’s Chinese New Year Celebration Special Cultural Programme will see the appearance of artists from three generations with three events set in their respective eras, namely in the 70s to 80s, in the 90s and early 2000s and during the 2000s.

“These three events will last for an hour and will be coordinated by television host Yoke Chen and popular YouTuber Jym Chong. This festival programme aims to attract viewers of all ages and further unite all levels of society to celebrate the Chinese New Year together,” he said.

Source: Bernama

Investments in Selangor expected to be better than last year, says state exco


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Penang’s approved manufacturing investment for 2021 is expected to exceed the state’s all-time high of RM17bil recorded in 2019, despite being clouded by the repercussions of the pandemic as investors remain confident of the state’s ability to navigate the crisis.

InvestPenang chief executive officer Datuk Loo Lee Lian said approved manufacturing investments for 2021 initially underperformed that of 2020, recording RM2.9bil inflows from January to September 2021.

However, Intel’s RM30bil expansion has added more excitement to the state last year.

She said Penang garnered a significant project from Intel, which was announced on Dec 17 last year, involving a new production facility at the Free Trade Zone phase three, Bayan Lepas Industrial Park, which would definitely drive the state to new heights.

“According to the Northern Corridor Economic Region Investment Commitment Ceremony 2021, Intel contributes about 10% of Malaysia’s total electrical and electronics (E&E) exports annually. In 2020, E&E represented 39% of the country’s RM984bil total exports,” she told Bernama.

Being one of the eight pioneer investors that sparked the development of a robust ecosystem of ancillary industries in Penang, Intel’s 50-year presence in Penang has brought far-reaching effects on the local economy in terms of supply chain localisation opportunities, uplifting the skillset of the local technical workforce as well as having significant economic spill-over and multiplier effect.

She said it was also encouraging to see a growing number of multinational corporations establishing strong linkages with the domestic economy and further deepen their roots here, further anchoring Penang’s position as the Silicon Valley of the East and a testament to the state’s robust industrial ecosystem, well-developed infrastructure, skilled workforce as well as liveability stature.

“These companies have also diversified their operating activities here, moving towards research and development, design and development and other high value-added functions,” she said.

With almost half a century of industrial experience, Penang has successfully cultivated a strong industrial experience and manufacturing excellence for homegrown companies to gain traction in the global supply chain, she said.

Loo said that aside from the manufacturing-related functions, the state is seeing an emerging layer of young, fast-growing local E&E companies that are making names for themselves as upstream solution providers in the E&E value chain.

“These companies provide services that are crucial in the conceptualisation and product design stages. Examples are Oppstar, Experior, Skyechip, Infinecs Systems,” she said.

Moving forward, InvestPenang expects Penang to undergo a consolidation phase in manufacturing investments in line with the state’s historical investment trend where a brief consolidation would take place after a couple of years of investment upticks before the growth trend resumes.

“We were expecting 2021 to be a consolidation year after the stellar performance in 2019-2020. The recent investment announcements have pushed our expectation to 2022.”

Source: The Star

Investors Confident Of Penang’s Ability To Navigate Through The Pandemic


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Shareholders of semiconductor and semiconductor-related companies listed on Bursa Malaysia have reason to rejoice this year following the recent rallies in their share price.

After the June-to-August rally last year, many technology stocks continued their ascent in 2021 to hit fresh all-time highs. The tech stocks’ spectacular performance was largely overshadowed by the rubber glove mania amid the Covid-19 pandemic, even though the tech rally was relatively steady over the past two years compared with the glove stocks’ roller-coaster ride.

The fifth generation of cellular network (5G), green technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to drive the demand for tech and hence, semiconductors. But it was the excitement over electric vehicles (EVs), coupled with the global semiconductor shortage that worsened in early 2021, that fuelled the tech rally.

Malaysia plays an important role in the global semiconductor supply chain, with about 7% of total global semiconductor trade flowing through the country.

Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions saw consumers stuck at home, spending more on smartphones, smart devices, smart TVs, computers and laptops. The overwhelming demand created a global chip shortage that benefitted semiconductor players.

Meanwhile, the high demand from the automotive and EV segments is mainly driven by future expectation of environmentally friendly vehicles and the new programmes pushed to encourage consumers to buy battery-powered vehicles.

The Bursa Malaysia Technology Index had risen 36% year to date (YTD) to close at 94.01 points on Dec 22 — near its all-time high of 100.86 that it recorded on Nov 2. The majority of semiconductor-related counters on Bursa climbed between 20% and 125% during that period (see table).

The stocks of Malaysian outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) companies saw an average return of 20% for the year to Dec 22, while those of automated test equipment (ATE) manufacturers gained 44% during the period. OSAT players like Unisem (M) Bhd, Inari Amertron Bhd and Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (MPI) had gained between 26% and 91% YTD.

As for ATE stocks, smaller firms such as QES Group Bhd, Aemulus Holdings Bhd and VisDynamics Holdings Bhd have outperformed their bigger peers such as Greatech Technology Bhd, ViTrox Corp Bhd and Pentamaster Corp Bhd.

So, how would the captains of the local tech industry summarise the year for the semiconductor sector? What would be the new main themes in 2022? What is their advice to investors who are looking at tech stocks?

Higher ASPs

Dagang NeXchange Bhd (DNeX) group managing director Tan Sri Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir says the financial performance of many local tech equipment makers and OSAT vendors has been remarkable this year, mainly due to elevated orders from semiconductor leaders across the globe.

Syed Zainal, who is also executive chairman of SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd, notes that DNeX’s acquisition of SilTerra in 2021 was timely as it enabled the group to capitalise on the robust demand for semiconductor chips.

“We managed to turn SilTerra into a profitable entity, due to the increase in average selling prices (ASPs) of semiconductor wafers and shipment volumes as well as cost and product mix optimisation. The production capacity of SilTerra is now fully utilised, which provides greater economies of scale and cost efficiency,” he tells The Edge.

Syed Zainal believes local tech firms, including SilTerra, are well poised to ride the growth trajectory. In fact, he reveals, SilTerra has already received many enquiries for its products, which are related to these advanced technologies.

Globetronics Technology Bhd chief operating officer Heng Charng Yee points out that 2021 presented both opportunities and challenges for the local tech industry. Volatile forecasts with tight material deliveries and pandemic-related containment measures exacerbated tech manufacturing costs.

“Amid the high level of activities stabilising lines and supply chains, our Industry 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution) initiatives remain a strong focus. We believe automation and intelligent quality monitoring are the sustainable direction to address the labour shortage issues that are currently plaguing Malaysia,” she tells The Edge.

She adds that the pandemic has triggered an acceleration of digitisation adoption, translating to increased demand for communications, networking, memory and smart devices.

“Globetronics has a balanced portfolio of consumer products and we have benefitted from this demand as well. The US-China trade war triggered supply chain assessments, with increased interest in Asean. We are experiencing increased interest, which we think will translate into expanded customer bases and portfolios in the next three years,” says Heng.

She concedes that labour shortages and human rights issues have been at the forefront of manufacturing companies’ minds of late and believes this issue will further drive automation to reduce the dependence on foreign workers. “On our part, one of the focus areas in the implementation of IR4.0 is not only reducing dependence on foreign workers, but also improving manufacturing performance through the elimination of manual tasks and better output through big data analytics,” she says.

ViTrox Corp Bhd co-founder, executive director and executive vice-president Steven Siaw Kok Tong concurs, noting that 2021 has been a turbulent and challenging journey, yet an exciting and breathtaking one.

“The semiconductor and electronics industries experienced unprecedented demand brought about by the rapid digital transformation and adoption, as well as pent-up demand from the reopening of economies in the post-Covid-19 era. Organisations that were well prepared and well positioned with the right products, solutions and services were able to capitalise on this strong demand in 2021,” he tells The Edge.

QES Group Bhd co-founder, managing director and president Chew Ne Weng says the group has been expanding rapidly in 2021 in both its manufacturing and distribution businesses to capture the rising demand.

“We are renovating our newly acquired Hicom-Glenmarie, Shah Alam factory in Selangor, and aim to move in by March next year. We also entered into a joint venture (JV) with US-based Applied Engineering Inc to move up the value chain within semiconductor, medical technology and robotic automation,” he adds.

The JV company, Applied Engineering Technology (M) Sdn Bhd, plans to move into a rented detached factory located in Batu Kawan Industrial Park in Penang by next month.

“QES is well positioned, with infrastructure in place across Asean, to ride the IR4.0 and factory automation-related demand. Besides Asean, we will have China as a huge market for QES semiconductor equipment to work on,” says Chew.

Are tech stocks expensive?

A quick compilation shows that the OSAT stocks are currently trading at historical price-earnings ratios (PERs) of between 21 and 37 times, while the PERs of most ATE counters are trading even higher at 20 to 70 times.

Opinions are divided over whether the rally in tech stocks still has legs and, more importantly, whether the shares are expensive in terms of their valuations.

Syed Zainal is of the view that investors should be looking at companies that possess superior technological advantage and distinct intellectual properties. This translates into high barriers of entry and the power to command high pricing.

“When identifying technology companies with good growth potential, look for those with solutions that can be easily scaled up, which address a large target market. As the technology industry is extremely competitive and dynamic, there is always a potential risk of losing major customers due to obsolete offerings and the inability to catch up with the fast-growing technological trends,” he says.

Globetronics corporate director Ng Kok Yu says valuations have always been a subjective matter. There were times over the many tech cycles when the company was doing well, but the PERs attached to the tech sector were low as it was not deemed an exciting industry.

“Looking at the last three to five years, tech has been in favour again in terms of being essential, in bringing about all the new technologies. As we get the world, as well as machines, to be more interconnected, the demand for electronic components will continue to remain strong and necessary, as evidenced by the global chip shortage,” he remarks.

In essence, says Ng, the tech sector has somewhat transformed from a cyclical industry decades ago to what will be necessary components today, to power new technological trends such as the internet, AI and electronic payments.

“I think the important thing for investors is to determine whether the company they are investing in is in the right sector and has the right technology currently, as well as the ability to invest and evolve into new trends to stay relevant. They should invest in the company’s fundamentals and future direction, not so much by looking at the valuation,” he adds.

Siaw agrees that valuations are relative and subject to situational expectations and anticipation of future growth, whereas risk is inherent and inevitable in all forms of investments. Therefore, productive and resilient investments should be approached with a “long game” mindset and not on an ad-hoc or speculative basis.

“Investors need to be wary of potential downside risks caused by heavy business dependence on specific customers, geographical segments, products and end-use applications. Therefore, for prudent investment decisions in this segment, it is vital to separate the wheat from the chaff by applying proper due diligence on the companies to invest,” he says.

Chew concedes that most locally listed tech and semiconductor companies are trading at high valuations. But he insists that the sector still has huge potential based on the continuation of both the global chip shortage and the US-China trade war, on top of the rise in demand due to the push for digitalisation.

“Naturally, there will be dips here and there but generally, the market for tech and semiconductor stocks will be on an upward trend over three to five years. I think there will be risk if the current issues of rising costs and supply chain issues trigger a major spike in inflation rates,” Chew cautions.

Tech trends in 2022

DNeX’s Syed Zainal believes demand for semiconductor chips will remain elevated going into 2022 on the back of major technological shifts occurring around the globe such as the 5G network transition, IR4.0, rapid adoption of EVs, renewable energy and healthcare.

“These macro trends will persist in the coming years, not only in 2022. And these will provide vast business opportunities to the local tech and semiconductor companies, which will help fortify Malaysia’s standing in the global electrical and electronics (E&E) industry,” he says.

Globetronics’ Ng predicts that some of the themes from 2021, such as EV, will continue in 2022. “This will be in tandem with the global ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) drive and the reduction of emissions to prevent the potentially catastrophic climate change effect we have got ourselves into, with renewable energy and carbon reduction technologies to be in play,” he says.

ViTrox’s Siaw foresees the challenges faced in 2021, such as capacity constraints, supply chain disruptions, logistics bottlenecks, workforce shortages and hyper-inflation, are likely to continue in 2022, although they are expected to improve from the second half of next year.

QES’ Chew believes 5G, IoT and IR4.0 have yet to proliferate in many countries. Therefore, he expects rising demand for tech and semiconductors by the end of 2022, when these factors start to come through, especially in the industrial sector.

“We think we should be able to travel to China by the middle of 2022 and start aggressively building our brand name there. Next year could also see some M&A (merger and acquisition) activities within the tech and semiconductor industry, especially among ATE players, listed or non-listed,” he says.

Source: The Edge Markets

Sector Of The Year: EV wave, global chip crunch fuel tech rally


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Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) will invest RM750 million to expand its capacity this year, its chief executive officer, Marco Neelsen said.

Spurred by double-digit growth last year, he said the port, which currently has a capacity of 11.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), would grow to 12.5 million TEU within the next six months.

“We will receive 18 new Quayside and Yard Cranes, as well as an ongoing yard expansion.

“Furthermore, we plan to add one more berth close to Berth 1 which we want to use, among others, to expand our footprint for cargo to and from Sumatra,” he told reporters at the PTP 11 million TEUs milestone celebration, here today.

Present were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

Apart from terminal footprint, Neelsen said the investment would focus on improving efficiency and customer experience.

“We are currently expanding our Free Zone with the development of an 81-acre site in Tanjung Adang which is planned to be concluded by early 2023,” he said.

PTP has registered a total volume of 11.2 million TEUs at the end of 2021, a 14 per cent increase in its yearly volume, compared to 9.8 million TEUs in 2020.

It is also among 20 top ports in the world that recorded a double-digit growth last year.

A joint venture between Malaysia’s MMC Group and The Hague’s APM Terminals, PTP created a new milestone by becoming the first container terminal in Malaysia to surpass 11 million TEUs throughput volume in a year.

Source: Bernama

PTP to invest RM750 mln for expansion in 2022


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India is committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation by enhancing trade and commercial collaboration in more important areas in 2022.

Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia B.N. Reddy said his office will continue to engage with Indian companies based in Malaysia to establish further cooperation with the local industry.

“Be it in terms of their own current programmes, as well as how we can expand (the collaboration), I must say that we have a fairly substantial bilateral trade between India and Malaysia.

“Just before COVID-19, we had touched about US$17 billion (US$1=RM4.21) and it is in a very diverse area. We have about 150 Indian companies, including those in the IT sector, which are already based here,” said Reddy after visiting Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) at Wisma Bernama here today.

Reddy said 2022 marks a very important year for India-Malaysia bilateral relations as it signifies 65 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

“It also happens to be the 30th year of ASEAN-India engagement. This year will (also) be the 75th anniversary of India’s independence,” he added.

Earlier, Reddy was briefed on Bernama’s operations in an hour-long meeting led by its chief executive officer, Datuk Mokhtar Hussain and editor-in-chief Khairdzir Md Yunus.

During the meeting, Reddy asserted his continued desire to work closely with Bernama by establishing new areas of cooperation between similar institutions within both countries.

Source: Bernama

India to enhance bilateral ties with Malaysia – Indian High Commissioner


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Micron Technology Inc has announced a RM1 million investment to strengthen collaboration and research and development (R&D) projects with local universities over the next five years as well as to enhance the capabilities of the local talent pool.

Micron Malaysia corporate vice-president and country manager Amarjit Singh Sandhu said Malaysia is critical to its global manufacturing footprint and therefore, it hoped the funding and knowledge transfer to local universities would further strengthen the local semiconductor ecosystem.

“It is hoped that the funding will advance R&D and deepen science, technology and engineering skills in the local talent pool.

“We aim to use our presence and influence to contribute to Malaysia’s economy, including generating quality jobs and increasing the country’s productivity, efficiency and global competitiveness,” he told a press conference after making the announcement here today.

Amarjit said Micron has committed a total investment of RM1.5 billion in Malaysia since 2018, which have also resulted in the expansion of its local operations with facilities in Tanjung Agas Industrial Area, Muar in Johor as well as two facilities in Penang, namely Prai Industrial Estate and Batu Kawan Industrial Park.

Following the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing between Amarjit and USM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Faisal Rafiq Mahamd Adikan today, witnessed by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, the university would be the first university partner to receive funding from Micron.

He said the funding would go towards grants supporting research in the areas of semiconductor materials, smart manufacturing and artificial intelligence which are key to the advancement of technology manufacturing in the country.

Also present was  Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) deputy chief executive officer,  Investment Promotion and Facilitation, Sivasuriyamoorthy Sundara Raja, who said that such partnerships and funding were crucial for Malaysia’s goal in becoming a resilient and competitive manufacturing hub considering

the significant investments in the manufacturing sector, subsequently leading to greater demand for talent.

“The approved investment figure achieved last year was RM177.8 billion, which is 51 per cent higher than that in 2020 despite challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that total, RM103 billion worth of investments were from the manufacturing sector.

“Within that figure, over RM64 billion were from the electrical and electronics sector which is expected to create 22,000 employment opportunities. This type of collaboration is critical as it will help ensure there is constant talent supply for the sector,” he added.

Source: Bernama

Micron invests in local universities to enhance semiconductor talent pool


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V.S. Industry Bhd (VS) is putting aside approximately RM150 million in capital expenditure (capex) to expand and enhance its capacity and capabilities.

Managing director Datuk SY Gan said the group had spent RM30.0 million to acquire three parcels of adjacent land measuring 3.6 hectares in Senai, Johor for future expansion in November 2021.

“Our focal point remains on providing top quality delivery on a timely basis to our customers while maintaining an excellent standard in our execution,” he said in a statement today.

 Simultaneously, the group will also be investing efforts and resources to strengthen environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

“All in all, we are cautiously optimistic on our prospects premised on the abovementioned factors, while mindful of the challenges,” he said.

In financial year 2021 (FY2021), the group has resumed its quarterly dividend payout practice, with a dividend payout totalling RM113.8 million, based on its net profit of RM245.4 million.

As of 1.35 pm, VS’ share price stood at RM1.34 with 2.25 million units transacted.

Source: Bernama

V.S. Industry allocates RM150 mln capex for expansion


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Vision-inspection equipment maker Vitrox Corp Bhd plans to invest between RM80mil and RM100mil in a new expansion project in Batu Kawan this year.

Group chief executive officer Chu Jenn Weng said the expansion would add 447,000 sq ft of floor space for production, business development, design and development, and shared services activities at the plant.

“The expansion is necessary given the sustainable growth prospects of 2022 and beyond.

“Our advanced robotic vision solution system has received good responses from tier- one customers.

“We expect this product to grow significantly in the next three to five years due to the rapid adoption of smart automation system in factories globally to increase productivity and reduce the dependency on labor,” he told StarBiz.

Chu said the group expected a strong double-digit percentage growth in 2021.

“Digital technologies popularly used in offices, factories, home, electric vehicles, data center, artificial intelligence, and the Internet- of-things will fuel our orders.

“Our backlog is still healthy and encouraging.

“We are optimistic about the outlook for the first quarter 2022.

“The orders from the outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (manufacturing) and electronic manufacturing services (EMS) sectors are very encouraging,” Chu added.

On the global chip shortage situation, he said the group still faced long lead times required for some materials used for building vision inspection systems and equipment.

“These materials include chips used in our embedded electronic system. We monitor closely our inventory level while doing our very best to fulfill customer’s demands. We increase buffer stocks on materials that have long lead times when necessary.

“Meantime, we work closely with strategic suppliers to better manage our inventory while regularly reviewing with them the demand and delivery schedules.

“We also implemented a just-in-time delivery schedule for locally manufactured parts to shorten the lead time.

“The shortage situation is under control now,” he said.

Chu said the chip shortage situation would ease by the second half of 2022.

On passing the higher cost of raw materials to customers, Chu said the group didn’t pass on the cost to customers.

“Instead, we offer better products and services to our customers during this challenging time,” he added.

According to the India-based research firm, The Insight Partners, the inspection machine market size would reach US$1.17bil (RM4.9bil) by 2028 from US$821.66mil (RM3.5bil) in 2021, growjng at a 5.3% compounded annual growth rate from 2021 to 2028.

“The the vision inspection systems would register highest compounded annual growth rate of 5.9% during the 2021-2028 period,” the report said.

Source: The Star

Vitrox to invest up to RM100mil in expansion


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Bus and bus body manufacturer Gemilang International Limited (GML) is expected to deliver 140 units of fully-electric school buses to California, USA in 2022 as it continues to drive its mission to promote the adoption of environmentally-friendly solutions for buses and bus bodies.

Based in Johor, GML has designed and manufactured bus bodies and assembled buses for over 30 years. Its recent notable projects include the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit, Sarawak’s first electric city bus for Kuching Metro, and an electric bus pilot project by the Sabah government for public transport.

GML has also been supplying aluminium buses for Go KL, Rapid KL, Rapid Penang and MRT feeder buses for the last 13 years.

The Hong Kong listed company has been supplying EV buses to the USA since 2016, while the market was still predominantly using fossil fuel powered vehicles.

“In fact, GML has been supplying bus bodies for various EV makers such as BYD and CRRC to several markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Australia since 2015, and we expect more countries to catch up with the transition to EV as an increasing number of climate change mitigation commitments have been announced by governments around the globe,” said GML chairman and CEO Pang Chong Yong.

He further added that the order of 120 units of 12m-length school buses and 20 units of 7.5m-length school buses was remarkable not just because it was a breakthrough for the US market, but it is also the largest quantity from a single order of EV buses that the company has ever received.

Pang highlighted that the EV school bus market in the US is enormous with exponential growth aspect. This is a result of the recently-announced Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) which was signed into law by US President Joe Biden, committing US$2.5 billion (RM10.5 billion) to buy electric school buses for districts around the US.

“With the new plan to convert all 500,000 US school buses to zero emission vehicles, we are confident to capture more market share with our three decades of industry experience as well as our main competitive advantage – aluminium lightweight superstructure,” he added.

GML focuses on building environmentally-friendly bus and bus bodies, and have been using aluminium body solutions for more than 20 years.

“The lightweight, corrosion-free technology originates from Switzerland and has been proven by our customers from more than 15 markets around the world. Usually, our buses last longer and are deemed to be safer than steel-bodied counterparts, and this has helped us to expand our footprint in the US market,” said Pang.

Source: The Sun Daily

Gemilang International to deliver 140 EV school buses to US


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Renewable energy and environment solutions provider Samaiden Group Bhd wholly owned subsidiary Samaiden Sdn Bhd has entered into a partnership agreement with SWG Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinowaja (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to collaborate in providing solutions for the renewable energy (RE) market in Sabah and Sarawak.

Under the agreement, Samaiden and Sinowaja will first focus on collaborative projects in relation to solar photovoltaic (PV) as well as smart or microgrid systems in East Malaysia. Samaiden’s scope of work will include supplying the necessary products and technical support to Sinowaja, while Sinowaja will support in design, research and development, and related works particularly in solar PV projects.

Founded in Sarawak in 2014, Sinowaja is an integrated power solution provider of innovative and efficient solutions to the electric power industry. Sinowaja undertakes project management of turnkey projects related to electrical transmission and distribution system. It offers a wide array of services which include procurement and production management, electrical power engineering design and the supply of relevant products used in electrical transmission and distribution system.

Samaiden group managing director Chow Pui Hee said this collaboration is synergistic, enabling both parties to leverage on each other’s technical capabilities and industry expertise working on RE projects. Furthermore, this partnership is aligned to the group’s intention as a RE specialist to expand geographically and at the same time, provide its RE knowhow to Sinowaja, which is a seasoned power solution provider in East Malaysia eyeing to tap into the RE industry.

“We are confident this collaboration will hasten the development of RE and contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions in East Malaysia amidst the accelerating RE transformation. With sustainability being the forefront of Sarawak’s development agenda alongside its possession of abundant natural resources, we anticipate substantial investments in the RE industry from both the private and public sectors in the coming years to electrify the region with clean energy.

“Consequently, this will provide ample business opportunities for us as one of the leading RE engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning providers in Malaysia as we bring our expertise into this market.”

The agreement is effective and remains in force for three years from the date of signing of the agreement.

Source: The Sun Daily

Samaiden, Sinowaja in JV for RE projects in East Malaysia


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DBS Group Research expected Malaysia’s economic recovery momentum in 2022 to be among the strongest within the Asian region. 

The country’s growth prospects are stronger while its fiscal consolidation process is expected to be slower and more protracted than that of its regional peers, according to DBS Group’s rates strategists Duncan Tan and Eugene Leow. 

According to them, a slower fiscal consolidation process means that government financing needs are likely to stay elevated for longer. 

“2022 net government issuances are projected to be RM97 billion, very close to 2021’s size of RM98.8 billion. Compared to 2021, duration supply pressures would in fact be higher in 2022 due to likely lower reliance on financing via Treasury Bills.

“This, in our view, is a recipe for relative underperformance of MYR [ringgit] rates, especially in the shorter tenors where hike pricing could have more room to rise. 

“We thus initiate a relative-value idea against KRW [South Korean won] rates where we think BOK [Bank of Korea] hike pricing for 2022 is overly aggressive and should be faded — Pay 2Y [two-year] MYR [ringgit] IRS [interest rate swap] vs receive 2Y [two-year] KRW NDIRS [non-deliverable interest rate swaps],” they said in a note entitled ‘Asia Rates 2022: Growth Priorities vs Fed Concerns’ dated Jan 6 (Thursday). 

Tan and Leow noted that monetary policy is expected to stay accommodative in the near term, and a pivot to a less dovish stance may only occur closer to the second half of the year. 

Therefore, DBS Group factored in Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) first interest rate hike in the third quarter of 2022 (3Q22), followed by two more hikes in 1Q23 and a pause thereafter for the rest of 2023.

“High vaccination rates and transition to endemic living should mean relatively lower risks of retightening of restrictions and by extension, limited downside risks to growth outlook, should more variants surface,” both added. 

Ringgit rates curves to exhibit clear flattening trend in 2022

On bond demand dynamics, there is much uncertainty at this juncture, said the strategists. 

As the economy continues to reopen, lending growth to the private sector would be expected to recover and consequently weigh on banks’ demand for bonds.  That said, it is difficult to forecast the timing and strength of such a recovery, they opined. 

“Foreign buying would also be highly dependent on the global macro and liquidity backdrop in 2022, though MGS’s [Malaysian Government Securities’] much improved FX [foreign exchange]-hedged yields should provide some marginal support for foreign interest. The one positive development we see on bond demand relates to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF),” they said. 

EPF’s bond buying capacity was constrained in 2020 and 2021 by more than RM100 billion of aggregate member withdrawals, associated with withdrawal schemes to support household consumption. 

“In 2022, we expect that there will be no new withdrawal schemes introduced. Normalisation of the pension contribution rate to 11% around midyear and stronger economic growth this year should result in a fast rebuild of EPF assets and consequently, a pronounced rebound in the fund’s buying of long-duration MGS. 

“As a result, we think that a turnaround in EPF’s demand will be the dominant factor anchoring long-duration MGS (eg 15Y and 20Y) and those bonds should outperform on the curve. 

“Together with shorter-term MYR rates that are likely to rise with BNM hike pricing and weaker bond demand by banks, we think MYR rates curves will exhibit a clear flattening trend in 2022. To express this view, we initiate a long 20Y MGS vs pay 5Y MYR IRS,” the strategists added. 

Source: The Edge Markets

DBS Group Research: Malaysia’s 2022 economic recovery momentum to be among the strongest in Asia


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