Increased BR1M payout reflects government’s sound economic policy


MO,12/4/2018, LANGKAWI: Sound economic management and prudent policy has enabled the government to distribute more wealth to the people by increasing the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) and other cash payout. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said by managing the economic well, the country has recorded a steady growth and at the same time manage the national debt at a healthy level. Najib said the success in achieving 5.9 per cent Gross Domestic Growth (GDP) last year was made possible due to Barisan Nasional (BN) sound economic policy which helped the government record a higher revenue.

“By collecting more revenues and taxes from the well-to-do people, the government is able to distribute even more of the country wealth to the needy groups. “Because of this we are able to increase the BR1M cash handout to the target group, in line with the BN and Umno policy of distributing the wealth to the people. “This June, BR1M recipients will get RM800 instead of RM400, an increase of 100 per cent.. Just imagine how this will benefit the people in their making preparation for the fasting month and Aidil Fitri festive.

“So, what is wrong with this? It is part of the government pledge to distribute the nation wealth back to the people, not a tool to fish for support,” Najib said in his speech during a gathering with the people at Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre here . Present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Langkawi member of Parliament Datuk Ir Nawawi Ahmad, Ayer Hangat assemblyman Datuk Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid and Kuah assemblyman Nor Saidi Nayan.

Najib said the government has always put priority to two dimensions, of putting the people first and strengthening the economy. He added that as a responsible government, BN would not resort into taking measures that could jeapordise the country’s economy, both in the short term and the long term as in the end, it is the people who would have to shoulder the burden. “Unlike the opposition which want to abolish all toll concessions nationwide just to fish for support (a move) which will cost the government a whopping RM380 billion.

“That does not make sense or not doable at all and ironically, the person who is proposing this is know as the father of toll concessions during his time in power. “It is under my time (administration) the government has taken steps to stop toll fare collection at several expresways to reduce the people’s burden,” he said. Najib pointed out that is why the international rating agencies did not pour support to the opposition’s manifesto for the 14th General Election (GE14) because they found it not realistic and would have a negative impact to the economy.

“Instead, the international rating agencies are favourable of BN manifesto because it is practical and deliveriable,” he said. Najib also pointed out that the his administration has successfully managed the nation debt to a healthy level through a prudent expenditure policy. “Previously, when someone was in power, the nation debt was at staggering 103 per cent but now we have able to reduce it to 58 per cent of the GDP,” he said.

Although Najib did not name anyone, it was understood that he was referring to Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.


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Telipok-Kiulu-Ranau road to bring development, economic spill over


MO,20/3/2018, KIULU: The construction of Jalan Telipok-Kiulu-Ranau, which will be the second route connecting the state capital and tourism spot Ranau, is expected to benefit the people, especially rural folks. The 80-kilometre road, starting from Telipok to Kampung Rondogung, Ranau will be officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at a ceremony in Kampung Pukak here this Thursday.

Besides providing an alternative route for motorists to the existing Tamparuli-Ranau road, it will also solve the connectivity issue of the villagers there. Kiulu’s Kampung Poturidong Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairman, Ariqieclye Juara, 43, said it will also enhance Kiulu’s attraction as a rural tourism spot. “The new road will ease accessibility to many villages which faced road connectivity issue previously, so we are happy.

“Going through Kiulu town, the construction of the new route will turn the town as a pit stop for tourists, generating income for the locals,” he said. It is also in line with the recent announcement by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman of Kiulu being upgraded into a sub-district in Tuaran. Costing RM300 million through an allocation from the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, the project commenced on October 2016 and scheduled for completion on March 31, next year.

The new road is seen as a more practical option than expanding the current link road since it passes through a hilly location considered sensitive, in particular the Kundasang area where natural disasters like earthquakes have occurred. It will ensure a secondary option to connect the west coast and east coast of the state, if there are damages along the existing route. It will also serve about 3,000 Telipok folks facing issues with accessibility for 50 years.

Telipok’s Kampung Tampulan JKKK chairman Sipun Munsin, 61, said the road upgrade was something they have been applying for from the government to ease villagers’ movement when ferrying out agriculture produce. A villager, Salina Moroli, 61, said the execution of the project showed the government is concerned with the people’s difficulties following lack of proper road link. “We finally have what we wished for,” she said, adding that the lack of infrastructure had made life very difficult especially when the villagers were in dire need of medical attention.


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Nation’s economic strength not in size of its debt, but ability to repay it


MO,12/3/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The strength of Malaysia’s economy is not defined by the size of its debt, but instead, the country’s ability to pay it, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The prime minister said, the country’s debt is managed well, as the country’s debt stands at 50.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) against its maximum level of 55 per cent. However, he said Malaysia’s economic strength cannot be gauged by the size of its debt.

“The strength lies in our ability to repay the debt. Take for instance, Singapore. The size of their debt is bigger than ours but their ability to repay that debt remains. “Our ability to repay our debt cannot be questioned because international ratings agencies have placed Malaysia in the ‘A’ category. “This means that Malaysia’s finances, including its debt, is managed well. It is hoped that the water problems in Selangor will be managed as soon as possible,” he said.

Najib was responding to a supplementary question by Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) in the Dewan Rakyat, at the second week of the sixth Parliament session. The dewan erupted when Mohamed Azmin posed a question on whether the 12.5 per cent increase in the interest payment of the national debt was related to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

The controversial topic saw several Members of Parliament rise to voice their protest over the rationality of the question, with some arguing that the Selangor water issue is at a more critical stage. Azmin, who is Selangor Menteri Besar, appeared unperturbed by the commotion and continued: “I am confident that the PM (prime minister) can explain, give him a chance.” His words failed to soothe the frayed tempers when BN MPs rose and urged Azmin to instead give priority to the water crisis in Selangor.

Among those who criticised Azmin’s question were Datuk Seri Azeez Abdul Rahim (BN-Baling); Datuk Othman Abdul (BN-Pendang); Datuk Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong); Datuk Normala Abdul Samad (BN-Pasir Gudang) and Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris (BN-Jerantut). Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, who initially only smiled at witnessing the ‘drama’, then intervened by asking the MPs to sit, while warning that failure to heed his instruction would see them face action.

His stern tone however was ignored by Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, when he stood up to defend himself by saying that the water crisis in Selangor has nothing to do with 1MDB. Najib, who is also Finance Minister, then replied that he touched on the Selangor water crisis while providing an explanation on 1MDB, to offer a comparison in determining the government’s priorities in managing issues. “I gave Gombak (Azmin) an opportunity to ask a question, so give me a chance to answer. I made a comparison and it (the Selangor water crisis) was just an example.

“Kenapa punggung panas (why so defensive) when we talk about water,” he said, drawing laughter from the MPs. In answering the initial question from Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah (BN-Mukah), Najib said the government has implemented measures through economic stimulus packages worth RM67 billion, which subsequently led to a positive growth of 7.4 per cent in 2010.

“When I became the prime minister in 2009, the world faced a subprime financial crisis, causing our economy to be affected. “Nevertheless, we were able to overcome the crisis and the country continued to enjoy growth at 5.5 per cent from 2010 to 2016. “Our fiscal deficit was reduced from 5.3 in 2010 to 3.1 per cent in 2016.” Toyad had asked on the government’s long term measures in managing the country’s economy, especially with regard to credit ratings, to ensure the sustainability of the country’s deficit at a low rate and stable economic growth.


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Federal govt continues to ensure Labuan’s economic development – Ahmad Shabery


MO,23/2/2018, LABUAN: The federal government will not turn a blind eye on the future of Labuan’s economic development after more than three decades of the duty-free island’s establishment as part of the Federal Territories. Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Labuan which served as the international financial services and oil and gas centre, had always been cared for, in the best possible way by the federal government.

“We do not want to see Labuan lagging. It (Labuan) is like a child having been handed over by the biological mother to the father (federal government). “Thus, it is now the responsibility of the father to safeguard the child’s well-being and carry out the trust in the best possible way.

“For us, safeguarding Labuan is like pampering a child, many may see it as spoiling (the child), but we need to spoil and shower love upon Labuan…so when the child is in pain, we have to make sure the child is well cared for,” he told reporters after launching the handing-over of crop incentive and ‘Sentuhan Kasih Tani’ programmes at the Kilan Agricultural Park here today. He said Labuan should shift to another sector that could generate its economy for the long term and not solely rely on the oil and gas sector.

“The announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to build a bridge from Labuan to Sabah is a game changer for the transformation of the Labuan economic landscape,” he said, adding that his ministry would also play a role in helping Labuan in its economic transformation through fisheries and agricultural development projects.

“We want to ensure that plans to turn Labuan into a tourism destination will be achieved with sufficient supply of diversified food and fruits.” He said his ministry would also help reduce the dependence on food supply such as vegetables and fruits from Sabah, which led to a rise in food prices on the tax-free island due to transportation costs.

Prior to that, he presented incentives totaling RM423,100 to six agricultural development programmes involving 896 participants.


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Ringgit rises strongly against greenback on solid economic data


MO,12/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit was significantly higher against the US dollar this morning, touching a level it had not seen since July 2016, as sentiment towards the local unit improved on the back of the country’s solid economic growth. At 9.16 am, the local unit stood at 3.9750/9780 against the greenback from 3.9850/9900 at the close yesterday.   A dealer said the ringgit has been undervalued for quite some time and given the release of promising economic data recently, it had started to trade towards its fair value.

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research said Malaysia’s industrial production index (IPI) registered a convincing growth of five per cent year-on-year in November, which surpassed its expectation of 4.3 per cent and Bloomberg’s median consensus of 4.6 per cent. “With the upbeat IPI data in November, we might see a relatively strong fourth quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) growth. We therefore maintain our GDP forecast of 5.5 per cent for Q4 and 5.8 per cent for the full year of 2017.

“The higher-than-expected IPI growth may suggest that the economic growth trajectory could remain well above its potential or more than five per cent in Q4, bolstering the case for Bank Negara Malaysia to raise the overnight policy rate by 25 basis points as early as the first quarter 2018,” it said in a note here today. Meanwhile, the ringgit traded lower against a basket of major currencies.

It was lower against the Singapore dollar at 2.9928/9953 from 2.9886/9926 at the close yesterday and declined against the yen to 3.5734/5770 from 3.5695/5749.
The ringgit fell against the British pound to 5.3873/3918 from 5.3738/3821 and depreciated against the euro to 4.7915/7955 from 4.7605/7681. – Bernama

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Positive ringgit backed by robust economic growth

MO,11/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit’s current upward momentum against major currencies is backed by the country’s robust domestic economy and healthy trade performance, underpinned by the recovery in global oil prices. Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the ringgit was also supported by Malaysia’s strong export performance, which increased 20.2% from Jan-Nov 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016.

“The global economy is also showing positive growth momentum this year, and is forecast to ramp up between 3.7-3.8% this year (World Bank). This will positively impact Malaysia’s economic growth,” he told reporters after the launch of the new Register of Property Managers here, today. He said the ringgit’s performance so far is reflected by the positive sentiment in the local and global economies, with Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) expected to grow between 5.0-5.5% this year.

Meanwhile, on the plan to impose a digital tax on the digital platform, Johari said the government is still awaiting feedback from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries on the right mechanism on the imposition.

“We are looking at a suitable mechanism for the tax as almost 20% of business transactions in Malaysian are now being done through the digital platform. The problem is, some of the companies, are not Malaysia-based.

“That’s why we are engaging the OECD countries to get their feedback and learn more about how they have been managing these digital companies, in terms of imposing tax on them,” he added. – Bernama

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Malaysia’s economic momentum to remain upbeat


MO,8/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy will continue to perform strongly following solid trade numbers in November, AmBank Research said. The firm said domestic economy is expected to grow around 5.5 per cent this year, supported by domestic activities and export. “Both our exports and imports continued to perform favourably with November’s exports up for the 12th consecutive month at double digits by 20.4 per cent year-on-year while imports gained 21.2 per cent yoy, bringing the November’s trade balance at RM9.9 billion.

“We remain upbeat on the economic performance in part due to strong imports and capital (up 12.2 per cent yoy) and intermediate goods (+13.8 per cent yoy) which act as an injection to the overall economic activity. Besides, we foresee exports will continue to aid the overall economic activity,” AmBank Research said in a report today. The firm said its preliminary estimates showed the fourth quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) of around 6.0 per cent with its full-year forecast at 5.9 per cent.

It expects exports to grow by 21 per cent yoy. AmBank Research said exports of electrical and electronics had continued to expand strongly by 21.0 per cent yoy in November from 16.9 per cent yoy in October. “E&E segment is envisaged to perform robustly, benefitting from the cyclical growth underpinned by a healthy external demand.” Exports were also being supported by chemical & chemical products (+20.2 per cent yoy), and manufacture of metals (20.8 per cent yoy) while petroleum products grew 1.2 per cent yoy.

Total export volume grew strongly by 9.7 per cent yoy in November. On the ringgit performance this year, AmBank Research said the local note is projected at 4.00 to 4.02 against US dollar for the full-year average. “We expect the US dollar/ringgit to remain on a strong note with our end-period projection at 3.95 which is our base case and best case is at 3.76,” it added.


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