Najib: Both Malaysian and Chinese businesses benefit from bilateral ties

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MO,27/2/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak  says Malaysia welcomes ties with China and cherishes the strong bonds of friendship between the two nations. The Prime Minister said that such ties are good for both Chinese firms and investors and also for Malaysians. “This is in keeping with Malaysia’s history as a seafaring, trading nation, open to the world and steadfast in our belief that it is building relationships, rather than closing the door in the face of our friends, that will bring prosperity to all,” he said.

Najib was speaking at the Malaysia-China Bilateral Cooperation Lunar New Year luncheon organised by the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBC) here at noon Tuesday. He told the 400-strong crowd that bilateral trade between Malaysia and China last year remained strong at US$96.3bil (RM375.6bil). He added that from January to October last year, the nation saw 1.89 million Chinese tourist arrivals.

Najib added that Malaysia welcomes all forms of investment, be it from China, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia or any other countries. The tangible benefits from these, Najib said, were 2.26 million new jobs, low inflation and low unemployment since 2009 and years of healthy economic growth. He also refuted a “former Malaysian leader’s” comments that Malaysia was selling its sovereignty to China, saying that this was “scaremongering” for political gain.

“We have had more investment from Japan than from China and Hong Kong in the long run. But as far as I can tell, we are still a sovereign nation!” he said. Meanwhile, MCBC chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting said under the leadership of Najib, Malaysia had been enjoying its best-ever period of bilateral ties with China, and had even successfully engaged with Chinese president Xi Jinping.

“This has paved the way for the exponential growth of China’s foreign direct investment into Malaysia, as compared to other Asean neighbours,” he said. Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister I Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister II Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan and China’s ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian.


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Singapore wants closer ties with Sabah, Sarawak


MO,1/2/2018, SINGAPORE: Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed interest in developing closer relation between the island republic and East Malaysia. “A lot of business can be done between Sabah and Singapore,” he said during a courtesy call by a Sabah delegation led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman at the Istana here. Lee said the last time he was in Sabah was in 1984 and he would like to return for another visit soon.

Meanwhile, Musa said Sabah could learn a lot from Singapore in terms of economic diversification, human resource development and city planning. “Singapore has achieved successes in numerous fields and we can benefit from their story,” he said. He said Sabah was diversifying its own economy from being primarily timber based to service based like tourism because the state has high tourism value.

“We hope this visit will further strengthen ties and potential areas of business cooperation between Singapore and Sabah,” said Musa, who is on a two-day working visit to Singapore. Earlier the delegation had a luncheon meeting with Singapore Senior Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman at the latter’s office. The senior minister extended his appreciation to the Sabah government for the assistance extended during the tragic 2015 earthquake in Sabah that took the lives of several climbers on Mount Kinabalu, including schoolchildren from Singapore.

Musa expressed his sympathy towards the families of those who perished and said the authorities, including the mountain guides, did their level best to rescue the victims. Among those in the delegation were Deputy Chief Minister and state Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Industrial Development Minister Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, Special Tasks Minister Datuk Seri Teo Chee Kang and State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.


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Najib’s fourth official visit to India is to strengthen our ties


MO,22/1/2018, IT will be an old familiar feeling for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he arrives in the Indian capital on Wednesday. This marks his fourth official visit to India since taking office in 2009, coming on the heels of his high-profile appearances in Chennai and New Delhi less than a year ago. Last April, Indian and Malaysian business leaders signed one of the biggest trade deals in Malaysian history – US$36bil (RM158.68bil).

The amount was even higher than the RM144bil worth of deals signed by Malaysia in China just four months earlier. This time, Najib is scheduled to attend the Asean-India Comme­morative Summit which will coincide with India’s Republic Day celebration. India’s relationship with the 10-nation regional grouping is a key pillar of its foreign policy and foundation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East Policy.

The world’s largest democracy became a Sectoral Partner of Asean in 1992, Dialogue Partner in 1996 and Summit Level Partner in 2002, leading to its upgrading as a Strategic Partner in 2012. Political observers said Najib’s presence at the two-day Comme­morative Summit, themed “Shared Values, Common Destiny”, on Thursday, recognises the geo-political importance of India to Asean.

“His visits to India also prove his interest to widen engagement with a country that is predicted to be the world’s third most powerful economy by 2030,” said Datuk Dr A.T. Kumararajah, former executive director of SEED (Secretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entre­preneurs). “Malaysia’s relations with India have always been strong based on social ties alone, with the natural tendencies of the 2.7 million-strong Malaysian-Indian diaspora which is now in its third and fourth generations,” added Kumararajah, who was in Chennai last year for Najib’s meeting with South Indian corporate leaders.

Wisma Putra has been working on the finer details of a bilateral meeting of two Prime Ministers who have forged a close bond between them. Although it is common that such bilateral meetings are held on the sidelines with the visiting heads of state or government, officials said Najib’s meeting with Modi will be substantive due to the enormous strides in the relationship. “This meeting will give both PMs an early opportunity to revisit some of the significant MoUs signed during Najib’s visit last year.

“There is a further opportunity to break new ground with the robust growth of the Indian economy,” said Consortium of Indian Industries in Malaysia (CIIM) founder chairman Datuk Umang Sharma. He said with an ambitious government undertaking comprehensive reforms, India has enormous growth potential compared to other emerging economies, with a projected growth rate of 7.3% in 2018 and 7.5% for the next two years.

He suggests India consider awarding “Most Favoured Nation” status to Malaysia within Asean and for Malaysia to reciprocate, which will go a long way in enhancing two-way trade and investments. India’s ruling party BJP, Malaysia chapter, president and convenor Pardeep Batra said the Indian government holds Malaysia in high esteem and the Najib-Modi partnership is the closest forged between both countries in recent times.


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China seeks stronger ties with Kota Kinabalu


MO,17/1/2018, KOTA KINABALU: China and Sabah will forge closer ties in areas concerning the economy, trade, local government and personnel exchange, said Liang Caide, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu. “The Consulate General will continue to make efforts in realising a win-win cooperation between China and Kota Kinabalu.

“We will support the synergy of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Sabah’s development plan by strengthening and deepening our bilateral cooperation,” he said during a briefing on China’s diplomatic policies and BRI here today. BRI is a development strategy launched by the Chinese government with the intention of promoting economic co-operation among countries along the proposed Belt and Road routes.

Liang said following the development of BRI, more Chinese enterprises would come to the state capital seeking cooperation opportunities with local companies. Those enterprises, he said, specialised in the fields of infrastructure, energy, information and communications, agriculture and fishery, among others.

He also said several Chinese enterprises have in agriculture, tourism, biotechnology and aquaculture in Sabah. He said some large enterprises, such as China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corporation and Huawei, had signed cooperation memoranda with local partners to spur economic growth in the state.

He said the memoranda were related to the Sipitang Industrial Fertiliser project, a regional information, communications and technology hub, a 50 MW Utility-Scale PV plant, the Guangdong Agribusiness Rubber Plantation, and the International Convention Center, among others. “These Chinese enterprises will bring in funds, technology and other resources to the projects, creating jobs and boosting the economy.

“We hope that the Sabah enterprises will establish close relations with more Chinese enterprises to jointly promote the growth of bilateral trade and investment.” He said local tourism sector was a major industry that would be explored by China to create a win-win situation. He said last year, 430,000 Chinese tourists visited Sabah, an increase of 15 per cent from 2016.

There are currently 95 direct flights between Kota Kinabalu and Chinese cities weekly, with the most recent addition being Xiamen Airlines’ direct route between Beijing and the city. “I believe there will be more direct flights, which will attract more Chinese tourists to this beautiful ‘Land Below the Wind’.”


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Malaysia-Turkmenistan boost ties further with Anifah’s visit


MO,12/1/2018, KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Turkmenistan strengthened their bilateral ties further, following a two day official visit to the central Asian country by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman. In his November 10 to 11 visit, Anifah called on Turkemenistan president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as well as holding bilateral talks with his Turkemenistan counterpart Rashid Meredov.

The courtesy call on Berdimuhamedov took place in a warm and cordial atmosphere with discussion covering a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern. “Both sides stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive cooperation in the trade and investment, oil and gas industry, transportation, culture, education, tourism and people-to-people contact, which will contribute positively towards strengthening relations between Malaysia and Turkmenistan,” Wisma Putra said in statement today.

The President of Turkmenistan also expressed his appreciation for Malaysia’s continuous involvement in the oil and gas sector in Turkmenistan, it said. Anifah thanked the President and the Government of Turkmenistan for the opportunity given to Petronas and reiterated that both countries will continue to develop new areas of cooperation in various other fields for the benefit each other.

In his meeting with Meredov earlier, both ministers pledged to utilise bilateral mechanisms such as Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) or Political-Economic Consultations to further enhance bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and Turkmenistan. “They also exchanged views on regional and international issues including the situation of Rohingya minorities in Myanmar, situation in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Palestine.

“The meeting has reflected the close understanding and the common views that both ministers shared in fostering a strong relation between Malaysia and Turkmenistan, Wisma Putra said. During his visit, Anifah also delivered a lecture on Malaysia’s Foreign Policy and Malaysia-Turkmenistan bilateral relations at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan to the faculty members, students and young diplomats at the institute.

“The Official Visit by The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia has successfully laid the strong foundation for further cooperation and collaboration between the two countries since his last visit to Turkmenistan on 12 December 2015,” Wisma Putra said.


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Comedian Louis C.K. admits sexual misconduct as Hollywood cuts ties

LOS ANGELES: Comedian Louis C.K. admitted on Friday to engaging in sexual misconduct as recounted by several women, three of whom said he had masturbated in front of them, and television and film companies moved quickly to sever ties.

“These stories are true,” C.K. said in a statement.

Five women detailed incidents of sexually inappropriate behavior by the Emmy-winning comedian dating back 15 years in a New York Times report published on Thursday.

C.K. released a statement acknowledging the encounters in question after his upcoming film “I Love You Daddy” was scrapped for release on Friday, and Netflix Inc canceled a planned comedy special with the comedian because of the allegations.

Cable television network FX, a unit of 21st Century Fox, also severed its ties with C.K., and Time Warner’s TBS network said it was suspending production on an upcoming animated comedy “The Cops,” which C.K. co-created and was due to star in.

“He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – ‘Better Things,’ ‘Baskets,’ ‘One Mississippi’ and ‘The Cops’,” FX Networks and FX productions said on Friday in a statement.

Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast, and the production company Illumination issued a joint statement saying they have “terminated their relationship” with C.K. on an upcoming sequel to last year’s animated film “The Secret Life of Pets.”

C.K. was the voice of the lead character, a Jack Russell terrier named Max, in the original film, which according to Hollywood trade paper Variety grossed $875 million. Variety said the sequel was due to open in June 2019.

The comedian’s publicist, Lewis Kay, announced on Twitter that “as of today, I no longer represent Louis C.K.”

C.K., 50, said in his statement that he has “been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them. Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions. I learned yesterday the extent to which I left these women who admired me feeling badly about themselves ” his statement added.

He is the latest celebrity in the entertainment business to be accused of sexual misconduct by people coming forward in the wake of allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Kevin Spacey.


The comedian born Louis Szekely, who is best known for his TV comedy series “Louie,” added that “I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” He did not make clear how long he would be stepping back for.

Two of the women in the New York Times article, comedians Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, said C.K. had invited them to his hotel room after a comedy festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002 and then masturbated in front of them.

“The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly,” C.K. said, adding that he thought it was ok to show his genitals to women if he asked them first.

“You asked but we never said yes,” Goodman and Wolov tweeted on Friday after his apology.

Netflix said earlier that it would not produce a planned second stand-up special with him.

Film distributor The Orchard said it would not be moving forward with the release next week of “I Love You, Daddy.”

The movie was written and directed by C.K. and he also appears in the film as the father of a 17-year-old girl who has a romance with a 68-year-old filmmaker.

HBO said on Thursday that C.K.’s past projects with the network, including 2006’s “Lucky Louie” series, would be removed from its on-demand services and that the comedian would no longer participate in its Nov. 18 televised “Night of Too Many Stars” show.

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Netflix cuts ties with Kevin Spacey after sexual misconduct allegations

LOS ANGELES: Netflix severed ties with Kevin Spacey on Friday, saying it will not be involved in any production of “House of Cards” if the actor, who faces allegations of sexual misconduct, continues to appear in the show.

Netflix suspended production of the upcoming sixth and final season of “House of Cards,” in which the Oscar-winning Spacey plays U.S. president Frank Underwood, earlier this week.

“Netflix will not be involved with any further production of ‘House of Cards’ that includes Kevin Spacey,” the company said in a statement.

The suspension was reported earlier by Hollywood trade publication Variety.

Spacey apologized last weekend to actor Anthony Rapp, who had accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14. CNN reported on Thursday that eight current and former employees of “House of Cards,” who were not identified, alleged sexual misconduct against Spacey.

“House of Cards” has streamed on Netflix and has been produced by the company Media Rights Capital (MRC).

“We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show,” the Netflix statement said.

Netflix also said on Friday it would not release the film “Gore,” which was in post-production and was produced by Spacey. The film was about the late writer Gore Vidal, with Spacey playing him.

Spacey’s publicist cut ties with the actor on Thursday and it was not known who currently represents him.

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