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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Budget 2016: Highlights

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled Budget 2016 in the Dewan Rakyat on Friday.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the theme of the 2016 Budget is “Prospering the Rakyat”.

The following are the highlights of his speech:

* RM267.2bil has been allocated under Budget 2016, compared with the revised RM260.7bil in 2015.

* There will be nine high-impact domestic projects worth RM6.7bil in total.

* The first priority of Budget 2016 is to spur domestic investment to contribute 26.7% to the GDP in 2016.

* The Budget aims to increase private investment to RM218.6bil and public investment to RM112.2mil.

* The GST sum is to be credited into value of prepaid reloads from Jan 1 next year.

* Personal income tax pushed to 26% from 25% for those earning between RM600,000 to RM1mil. Income tax is also pushed up to 28pc from 25% for those earning RM1mil and above.

* RM900mil is proposed for the Jalan Tun Razak Traffic Dispersal Project to reduce congestion in the city.

* RM200mil will be allocated to improve roads in Felda settlements.

* RM1.2bil is allocated to improve Internet speeds, from 5mbps to 20mbps.

* RM1.4bil will be spent to improve 700km of road all around the country.

* RM67mil is allocated for bus operation routes outside the city.

* Tourism is expected to contribute RM103bil to the economy. E-Visa for seven countries (China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United States and Canada) to be launched in mid-2016.

* RM5.3bil is allocated to modernise farming.

* RM28 billion is allocated for new MRT projects.

* From Jan 2016, RM100 will be given in schooling aid to students from households with a monthly income of RM3,000 and below.

* RM250 1Malaysia book vouchers will be available for 1.2mil students.

* RM930mil is allocated to the Youth and Sports Ministry, with RM145mil set aside for training athletes.

* BR1M to continue for 4.7 million households

* The Pan-Borneo Sarawak Highway, which is set to be completed in 2021, will be toll-free.

* RM100 million is to be provided by Communications & Multimedia Ministry for eRezeki, eUsahawan programmes which is expected to benefit some 100,000 people.

* The Budget aims for 30% women involvement at decision-making levels in both public and private sectors.

* RM360mil is proposed to improve National Service, with RM160mil allocated for non-governmental organisations.

* All domestic economy class flights will be exempted from GST for rural folk.

* RM1.6bil is allocated for the construction of 175,000 units of PR1MA homes. 10,000 units are expected to be completed next year.

* TEKUN to provide RM600mil + RM500mil for Bumiputras and RM100mil for Indian entrepreneurs.

* RM90mil in micro-credit loans allocated for Chinese SME traders and businessmen, including RM50mil for KOJADI (MCA’s investment & education arm).

* RM300mil is proposed to improve the welfare and development of the Orang Asli community. RM45mil is also set aside to assist with extra food, pocket money and school transport fees for the Orang Asli community.

* The minimum starting salary in the civil service is set at RM1,200 a month from July 2016. The move is expected to benefit some 60,000 civil servants.

* From July 2016, the minimum pension rate is set at RM950 a month for pensioners with at least 25 years of service.

* A payment of RM500 for all civil servants and RM250 is allocated for Government retirees to help with cost of living.

* The Government will allocate a BR1M payout of RM400 to unmarried persons above 21 with incomes below RM2,000. A BR1M payout of RM1,050 is also set aside for those with incomes below RM1,000 and RM1,000 (for those with incomes below RM3,000), RM800 (for those with incomes below RM4,000).

* In terms of income tax, relief for each child below 18 years of age is increased to RM2,000 from RM1,000 from year of assessment 2016.

* Tax relief for individual taxpayers whose spouse has no income is increased to RM4,000 from RM3,000.

* Children supporting their parents, even if not living together with their parents, to get tax relief of RM1500 (for the mother) and RM1,500 (for the father), if the parents are above 60 years of age.

* Parents of disabled children get RM6,000 tax relief and up to RM14,000 if their child furthers his or her studies.

* Tax exemption of RM8,000 instead of RM6,000 is also set aside for every child above 18 years of age in an education institution, both local and overseas.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Malaysia Weekly Highlights


Budget 2016 was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Friday, with the theme "Prospering the Rakyat", allocating RM267.2 billion compared with the revised RM260.7 billion in 2015. 

Among his measures to boost revenue was to raise taxes on the country’s richest individuals. Those earning RM600,000 to RM1 million annually will be taxed at 26% from 25% now, while those earning more than RM1 million a year will pay a rate of 28%. In its 2015/2015 economic report, the government forecast that GDP would grow 4% to 5% in 2016, from 4.5% to 5.5% this year. It sees the fiscal deficit narrowing to 3.1% of GDP in 2016 from a revised 3.2% this year.


 1MDB is on the spotlight again, as 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd has awarded WCT Holdings Bhd a RM754.8 million contract to build infrastructure and roadway works for the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). WCT’s indirect unit, WCT Precious Development Sdn Bhd, also entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with 1MDBRE’s wholly-owned unit KLIFD Sdn Bhd to buy a 0.7ha freehold development land, forming part of the TRX, for RM223 million or about RM3,100 per sq ft.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has been suspended from Parliament for six months for insulting speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. The motion to suspend the Gelang Patah member of Parliament was passed in a bloc vote, with a final result of 107 “yeas” versus 77 “nays”. The motion noted that Lim had accused Pandikar of abusing his power and “sabotaging” the investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) last Monday during a debate on the appointment of the new Public Accounts Committee chairman.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Malaysia Weekly Highlights

WAHID: 1MDB issues to be resolved in 2 months

1MDB issues will be resolved in 2 months

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said in an interview with TV3 last Wednesday, "Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) issued a statement before this, saying that the issues related to 1MDB will be resolved in six months, meaning by end of this year." This means that in another 2 months, 1MDB issues will be resolved. 


Ampang Park in the 70s and now
The oldest shopping centres in Kuala Lumpur, Ampang Park Shopping Centre will soon be demolished to make way for the MRT station. The land on which the shopping centre stands is in the process of being acquired by the government under the Land Acquisition Act 1960 for the purpose of constructing the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya Line. The mall was the brainchild of the Low brothers, following their successful development of People's Park Complex, the first shopping centre in Singapore.

FBI examines Goldman's role in 1MDB

Goldman Sachs being examined by FBI for role in 1MDB
Goldman Sachs Group Inc's role as an adviser to state development fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) are being examined by US authorities as part of a broad probe into allegations of corruption and money laundering, The Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday. Inquiries by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Justice are at the information gathering stage and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Goldman Sachs, the paper reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Investigators "have yet to determine if the matter will become focus of any investigation into the 1MDB scandal", the newspaper quoted a spokesman for the FBI as saying. 


It is not a good news for Malaysia but a survey done by the Asian Institute of Finance revealed that Malaysian young adults are accruing debt at an early age while some 40% are spending more than what they can afford. The survey of respondents, aged between 20 and 33 found that they are living on the "financial edge" and are facing money stress, with the majority living in high costs, loans and credit cards.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

WSJ: U.S. Examines Goldman Sachs [NEWS]

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported yesterday that the FBI and Justice Department gather information about bank’s role in transactions at Malaysia fund. 

The inquiries are at the information-gathering stage, and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the bank, the people said. Investigators “have yet to determine if the matter will become a focus of any investigations into the 1MDB scandal,” a spokeswoman for the FBI said.

The widening scandal—investigators in five countries are now looking into 1MDB—highlights the sometimes risky path that Goldman has cut in emerging markets in search of faster growth.

1MDB is now entangled in accusations of billions of dollars of missing money, putting it at the center of a political crisis for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who oversees the fund. Malaysian government investigators earlier this year traced $700 million into Mr. Najib’s alleged bank accounts through agencies, banks and companies linked to 1MDB, The Wall Street Journal reported in July. Malaysia’s anticorruption agency later said the funds came from an unspecified Middle East donor.

The government investigation hasn’t detailed what happened to the funds that went into the prime minister’s alleged personal accounts. Transactions around the fund are under investigation by the FBI and Justice Department, as well as authorities in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

1MDB and Mr. Najib didn’t reply to requests for comment. Mr. Najib has denied any wrongdoing or taking money for personal gain. 1MDB has said money was paid out properly to fulfill the fund’s financial obligations and that it would cooperate with any investigations.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Edge publication continues

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court today dismissed the Home Ministry's application to stop The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily from resuming publication, pending the outcome of its appeal. 

The Edge publication can resume pending outcome from appeal

Among other things, Asmabi had said that Zahid was himself "in doubt" on whether The Edge had published its articles by relying on allegedly unverified information on online news portals, especially Sarawak Report.

In the legal challenge filed by The Edge, the home minister and the Home Ministry’s secretary-general are named as respondents.

A hearing date has yet to be fixed at the Court of Appeal for the government's appeal against the September 21 ruling, Loke said.

She also disagreed that the High Court's decision today would render the government's appeal academic.

"It is not academic because we are still going to argue that the decision of minister is right. If we are successful in that, of course the Court of Appeal would dismiss the damages assessment as well," she said.

She said no date has been fixed for the assessment of damages to be awarded to The Edge for its September court victory, adding that the publisher's lawyers did not object to the government's application for stay of that matter.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

Recently while I surf the net, I come across an article which I think will motivate most of us from the middle class to do differently like the rich people, hopefully we can be like most of the rich people as mentioned in the article "In fact, your daily habits may be a major determinant of your wealth" - and I really agree with this quote. Keeping it as part of my blog post so that whenever I feel that I need motivation, I can just read the article from this blog post. The article is as follows:-

9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

What you do today matters. In fact, your daily habits may be a major determinant of your wealth.

"The metaphor I like is the avalanche," says Thomas Corley, the author of "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals." "These habits are like snowflakes — they build up, and then you have an avalanche of success."

Corley spent five years studying the lives of both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less).

He managed to segment out what he calls "rich habits" and "poverty habits," meaning the tendencies of those who fit in each group. But, Corley explains, everyone has some rich habits and some poverty habits. "The key is to get more than 50% to be rich habits," he says.

And what are those rich habits that are so influential? Here are a few:

1. Rich people always keep their goals in sight.
"I focus on my goals every day."
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 6%
Not only do wealthy people set annual and monthly goals, but 67% of them put those goals in writing. "It blew me away," says Corley. "I thought a goal was a broad objective, but the wealthy said a wish is not a goal." A goal is only a goal, he says, if it has two things: It's achievable, and there's a physical action you can take to pursue it.

2. And they know what needs to be done today.
"I maintain a daily to-do list."
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 19%
Not only do the wealthy keep to-do lists, but 67% of them complete 70% or more of those listed tasks each day.

3. They don't watch TV.
"I watch TV one hour or less per day."
Rich people who agree: 67%
Poor people who agree: 23%
Similarly, only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, compared to 78% of the poor. "The common variable among the wealthy is how they make productive use of their time," explains Corley. "They wealthy are not avoiding watching TV because they have some superior human discipline or willpower. They just don't think about watching much TV because they are engaged in some other habitual daily behavior — reading."

4. They read … but not for fun.
"I love reading."
Rich people who agree: 86%
Poor people who agree: 26%
Sure, rich people love reading, but they favor nonfiction — in particular, self-improvement books. "The rich are voracious readers on how to improve themselves," says Corley. In fact, 88% of them read for self-improvement for 30 minutes each day, compared to 2% of poor people.

5. Plus, they're big into audio books.
"I listen to audio books during the commute to work."
Rich people who agree: 63%
Poor people who agree: 5%
Even if you aren't into audiobooks, you can make the most of your commute with any of these commute-friendly self-improvement activities.

6. They make a point of going above and beyond at the office.
"I do more than my job requires."
Rich people who agree: 81%
Poor people who agree: 17%
It's worth noting that while 86% of rich people (compared to 43% of poor) work an average of 50 or more hours a week, only 6% of the wealthy people surveyed found themselves unhappy because of work.

7. They aren't hoping to win the jackpot.
"I play the lottery regularly."
Rich people who agree: 6%
Poor people who agree: 77%
That's not to say that the wealthy are always playing it safe with their money. "Most of these people were business owners who put their own money on the table and took financial risks," explains Corley. "People like this aren't afraid to take risks."

8. They watch their waistline.
"I count calories every day."
Rich people who agree: 57%
Poor people who agree: 5%
Wealthy people value their health, says Corley. "One of the individuals in my study was about 68 and worth about $78 million. I asked why he didn't retire, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. He said, 'I've spent the last 45 years exercising every single day and watching what I eat because I knew the end of my career would be my biggest earning years.' If he can extend his career four to five years beyond everyone else, that's about $7 million for him."

9. And they take care of their smiles.
"I floss every day."
Rich people who agree: 62%
Poor people who agree: 16%
Enough said.

Source: 9 Things Rich People Do Differently Every Day

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Malaysia Weekly Highlights


Malaysia will only sign TPPA if beneficial

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said Malaysia will only agree to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) if the terms are beneficial to the country.

"Malaysia will only enter into the TPPA if it is mutually beneficial, on terms that we can agree to," said Wahid.

He said that the agreement touches various issues, such as the Bumiputera policy, government procurement and state-owned enterprises.

"The text will be finalised over the next 30 days or so. After that, it will be made public and it will go for tabling in parliament," he said.

AGC: No offence by 1MDB

The Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) has decided that no offence was committed by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) based on an investigation paper (IP) by Bank Negara and no further action should be taken.

"The investigation paper was submitted to the AGC on Aug 21 2015. Having studied the investigation paper, Deputy Solicitor 1 Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah decided that there was no offence committed by 1MDB officials and directed that no further action should be taken," said the AGC in a statement on Thursday.

The AGC added that the IP was returned to Bank Negara on Sept 11.

"However, on Oct 1, Bank Negara sent a letter of request to the AGC to have the decision reviewed. Having considered the request and the fact that there was no new evidence made available, the Attorney General decided to maintain the decision made earlier.

"What has been in the news concerning the Investigation Paper being with the AGC and that discussions were ongoing is inaccurate and not true," said the AGC.


Bank Negara Malaysia's International reserves fell to US$93.3 billion as at September 30. This is a drop from US$95.3 billion in September 15, which is a drop of about 2% in just 2 weeks. In a statement today, BNM said the decline in reserves level in US dollar terms as at September 30, 2015 was mainly due to the quarterly adjustment for foreign exchange revaluation changes. The reserves position as at September 15, 2015 is sufficient to finance 8.6 months of retained imports and is 1.2 times the short-term external debt, said the central bank.


The Ringgit is geared for its biggest rally since 1998 while stocks rallied due to surging crude oil prices, Bloomberg reported. 

Reacting to the release of the US Federal Reserve’s minutes for its September meeting 
which indicated that the U.S. central bank won't rush to raise interest rates, Asian shares rose and a gauge of the dollar fell, Bloomberg said. 

The report further quoted Masashi Murata, vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in Tokyo as saying, "The higher oil price is also supporting the ringgit.” T

he ringgit appreciated 2.4 per cent to 4.1350 a dollar as of 10.07am in Kuala Lumpur, taking its gains for the week to 6.7 per cent. Bloomberg also highlighted that the currency earlier climbed to 4.1213, the strongest level since Aug 21. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index advanced 1.1 per cent on Friday and 5 per cent from Oct 2, paving way for its biggest weekly gain since 2008.



Air Asia Bhd founders Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun are sounding out investors about taking the airline private in a management - led buyout, Reuters reported last Tuesday, citing unnamed sources. Air Asia said it has no knowledge of any such plan but confirmed it was in discussion with certain bankers to partially finance share buybacks. 


Banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak has called for the formation of a national consultative council (NCC) to draw up a much needed social and economic re-engineering plan to chart a new future for the country. He gave his speech at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum last Monday and the need for the council so that Malaysia will not "lose the international economics game."


UMW Toyota will increase the prices of all its Toyota and Lexus vehicles by 4% to 16% effective January next year due to the weaker ringgit.

It said on Monday the ringgit had depreciated by 20% year-to-date against the US dollar and as a result, its operating costs had increased.

“The car manufacturer has implemented strategic moves to protect the interest of its customers in the midst of the fluctuation of ringgit, and absorbed additional cost to a certain extent over the past months,” it said. 

It added that it had weighed all possible options, but had no choice but to pass on some cost to the consumers to offset rising input costs due to the strengthening of the US dollar against the Malaysian currency.

UMW Toyota Motor president Datuk Ismet Suki said: “Since the beginning of this year, the fluctuation of the ringgit has impacted our business as some of our parts and components are imported, resulting in an increase in overall cost of production. 

“We have implemented cost-efficiency measures and reviewed our operations across the supply chain to mitigate the weaker ringgit.”

He added the company would have implemented necessary measures to minimise forex losses impact and address the fluctuation of ringgit had it dropped gradually but the huge fluctuation of the currency within a short period had hit its operations. 

“Hence, the company will have to increase the prices of Toyota and Lexus vehicles effective January 2016. The increase is inevitable as there is no clear indication on when the Ringgit will rebound,” he explained.

Ismet also said the company had tried its best to keep the price increase as minimal as possible.

“Even with the increase of our vehicle price, we could only recover partially, not 100% from the impact we have been absorbing. If the ringgit continues to slide in the near future, we may need to review our pricing structure again,” he added. 

That said, he was optimistic that the price increase would not have a big impact on sales. 

The auto player is on track to meet its business targets.

“We are facing challenging times but UMW Toyota is confident we can ride out the storm. We have strong fundamentals and a proven track record. I believe customers will continue to choose us and our vehicles as we deliver quality products and services that complement their lifestyles,” Ismet said.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Malaysia Weekly Highlights


The sentence has been delivered. Former Selangor Menteri Besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo was sentenced to a 12 months' jail for abusing his power while in office to purchase two plots of land ad a bungalow in 2007. Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin who delivered the verdict, also upheld the decision of the lower court to forfeit the properties. 

Khir Toyo sentenced to a year's jail

A five-member panel led by Chief Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin made the ruling together with Justices Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha, Datuk Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Hasan Lah and Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop.

The court has also rejected his mitigation to offer free dental services to the poor for three days weekly between one and two years as part of community service in default of jail, as it would not be appropriate. Khir Toyo began his jail term in Kajang Prison on September 29.

Zeti: Malaysia bond market will not collapse

The country's bond market will not crash even if foreign investors, who collectively hold 45% of government debt paper, decide to make an exit, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said. The justification made was that even if the redemption of government bonds by foreign investors were made, it would not impact the foreign reserves because domestic institutional investors like the Employee Provident Fund (EPF), Permodalan Nasional Bhd and Lembaga Tabung Haji could step in to purchase these bonds.

ZETI: No interest rate hike pressure

Bank Negara Malaysia governor, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz reiterated last Wednesday that there was no need to peg the ringgit to the US dollar despite its continued downward trend. She said, "If you peg the currency, something else will adjust, either prices or demand conditions, and those might have greater costs on our economy." She said at this point in time, the central bank was not looking at other capital-control measures. 


Shell Malaysia to cut 1,300 upstream jobs
Shell Malaysia has joined the list of oil companies that resort to job cuts for survival amid the current low crude price environment. SHELL MALAYSIA is cutting 1,300 jobs from its upstream division – 20% of its 6,500-strong workforce and the jobs will go over the next two years. Shell Malaysia chairman Iain Lo said, "Shell Malaysia is preparing itself to be more competitive in a low oil price environment. Continuing business as usual is not sustainable. We are taking difficult, but necessary action. We have a strategy going forward." He also added, "We remain aligned strategically with the group and we are confident that we will be able to deliver competitive returns for our shareholders, thus earning the mandate to compete for our future in Malaysia.” The news comes two months after its Netherlands-based parent Royal Dutch Shell plc announced plans to slash 6,500 jobs this year and cut capital investment by 20% compared with 2014.


Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MSBS) said last Thursday that it would commenced merger talks with Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd's shareholders - Khazanah Nasional Bhd and DRB-Hicom Bhd. It said Bank Negara Malaysia had no objections in principle to their talks but requires that negotiations be completed within three months. 


Media Prima Bhd agreed to buy Copyright Laureate Sdn Bhd, which currently operates two radio stations, Ultra FM and Fi Mai FM, for RM20 million. Its subsidiary, Synchrosound Studio Sdn Bhd, entered into an agreement with the vendors, Mohamad Fazhly Johari, Hamyzar Toha and Lau Chuan Chiat. Media Prima already operates three radio stations,, and


The Companies Commission of Malaysia has granted 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) a six-month extension to file its financials. 

The delay was caused by key documents in its financial accounted being seized by police and an investigative special task force in raids in July. 1MDB's two subsidiaries, Edra Global Energy Bhd and 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd are seeking extension of up to a month to file their respective audited accounts.


On the sidelines of the United Nations general debate, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had breakfast meeting on Wednesday with several American fund managers, urging them to ignore the “noise” back home in Malaysia related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) but look instead at the "real" fundamentals of a resilient economy despite the current economic volatility. 

He later sat through a lunch with US business leaders, highlighting Malaysia’s positive competitive index as affirmed by leading ratings agencies such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch as well as Bloomberg declaring Malaysia as the world’s fifth most promising emerging market.

"The government is here to stay," the prime minister said.

"I am not in a hurry to go back home for fear of losing my job or something like that," he said, adding that the government would serve its five-year mandate before the next election.

“On 1MDB, Najib said the company was expected to announce "in the coming days" a further reduction of its total debt by about RM16 billion.

The prime minister said that he had given his undertaking that the government would need six months until the end of the year to reduce the debt and turn around the company.

"Bank Negara has come up to say there is no systemic risk related to 1MDB. We have more assets than liabilities," he said.

On the proposed sale of Edra Global Enegry Bhd, Najib said there were already attractive offers for the power generation arm of 1MDB.

"So I am quite confident by the end of the year, we will be able to show that 1MDB is basically a corporation that is able to go through the process of rationalisation with a massive reduction in debts," he said.

He explained that the business model of 1MDB is based on the concept of "fast IPO" and not using a lot of government funds. He said currently the indicators were good for the Malaysian economy but “the noise level may not be all that positive about Malaysia."