Tuesday, 16 July 2013

CIMB Malaysian Economic News - 16 July 2013

The Dewan Rakyat Monday approved a motion on operating and development expenditure estimates involving three restructured ministries totalling RM8.183bn. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan tabled the motion in accordance with the Supply Act 2013.
  • The functions and agencies under the Ministry of Higher Education have been absorbed into the Ministry of Education, which is now known as the Ministry of Education. 
  • The functions and agencies of culture under the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture, which is now known as the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, have been transferred to the Ministry of Tourism which is now known as the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. 
  • The functions and agencies of urban well-being under the Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Well-being, which is now known as the Ministry of Federal Territories, have been transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government which is now known as the Ministry of Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government. 
  • The ministries were restructured as of 16 May. (Bernama)

The government has yet to discuss bonus for civil servants in view of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year, said Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa. However, the government had announced a double salary increment for this year to civil servants, he said.
  • "The double salary increment itself can be considered a bonus. However, since the government normally pays bonus at the end of the year depending on the output. It is too early to discuss," he said.
  • This year alone the government had allocated RM2bn for the salary increment and salary restructure. 
  • This month, six salary schemes will see adjustments made and 81 more schemes in Nov, he added. (Bernama)
The National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) is to be set up by the end of the year to advise the government on efforts at uniting the various ethnic groups in the country. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said the National Unity and Integration Department with the cooperation of the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia had held several series of dialogues and round table discussions with several parties to obtain inputs on the formation of the council. (Bernama) 

The government has no plan to allow contributors to withdraw their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings to settle credit card debts in bankruptcy cases, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday. Withdrawing from the EPF savings to settle credit card debts would drain the funds meant for use during retirement, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.
  • He also said that the number of Malaysians declared bankrupt due to their inability to settle credit card debts was small, only 1,284 or 6.6% of the 19,575 declared bankrupt in 2012. 
  • Between Jan and Mar this year, 257 people were declared bankrupt because of credit card problems. The number was 5.5% of the 4,925 people declared bankrupt, he said. 
  • The government had no plan for automatic elimination of credit card debt during a certain period, as was done in some countries. (Bernama)

Implementation of the Open Source Software (OSS) in the public sector since 2004 has generated RM595m revenue, the Malaysia Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit Director-General (MAMPU) Datuk Wira Omar Kaseh said.
  • He said the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) also said the OSS implementation had created an export value of more than RM234m. 
  • The OSS implementation has also developed 36 Malaysian companies with MSC status offering jobs to 6,206 knowledge workers. 
  • The OSS implementation in the public sector also showed remarkable achievement with 99.6% or 921 government agencies being able to save more than RM370m. (Bernama)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which involves 12 countries, will not be signed in Oct as what was initially expected as there are many areas which have not been agreed on. Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) secretary-general, Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, said the TPP negotiations were talks among equals and even if one party did not agree, there was no conclusion to the agreement.
  • "The most important thing is that we will not compromise Malaysia's sovereignty and that we will stick to our policy." 
  • The negotiations, from yesterday until 25 July, are being held behind closed doors and there is no public session, except for the stakeholder session, on 20 July. 
  • A media conference is scheduled on 25 July, hosted by the TPPA chief negotiators to provide an opportunity to update the media on TPPA developments. (Bernama)

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Chinese government had also decided that the Qinzhou Industrial Park in China would become the hub for the processing and determination in terms of laboratory tests for the entry of swiftlet's nest into that country. "This is a special approval given by the Chinese government to Malaysia," he said. (Bernama) 

PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday announced that the Chinese government has given approval to 11 Malaysian companies to resume the export of swiftlet nests to that country, subject to several conditions. He said the decision would enable the country's swiftlet nest industry to be revived after exports of the product to China had been delayed for more than two years. He would ask the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry and the Health Ministry to take follow-up action on the matter immediately. (Bernama) 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry (MOA) has issued licence with immediate effect to 34 companies to import chicken from producing countries, such as China, Thailand, Australia and the EU. Its minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said the move was taken to stabilise the price of chicken in the local markets, which had reached RM10/kg. "It is hoped that the companies can bring in between 2.2m to 2.4m of chickens daily, not only to stabilise the price of chicken, but also to meet the demands of Muslims during the Ramadan and Hari Raya celebration," he said.
  • He refuted Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) deputy president Muhammad Shaani Abdullah's allegation that the demand for chicken has declined during Ramadan. Actually, the demand for chicken had increased from 1.4m to 2.2m. (Malaysia Insider)

The government allocates about RM20bn annually on public health, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said even though it was a big sum, it was still not enough to fulfil or finance everything related to public healthcare. The government absorbs almost 98% of the costs for public healthcare, he said. (NST) 

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry has initiated efforts to develop a local poultry feed industry to reduce dependency on feed import. In light of the recent increase in poultry prices, Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the rising price of chicken feed was a major contributing factor.
  • The price of poultry feed imported from Thailand and Australia had increased from RM1.70/kg to RM3.00/kg because of the heatwave in the region and the shortage of corn and soy that affected the production of chicken feed. 
  • He said the ministry had signed an agreement with a company from India to produce poultry feed locally. 
  • At present, Malaysia relies solely on imported feed and 70% of broiler price was related to the price of the feed, he added. (NST)

Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dassault Systemes to collaborate in harnessing the industry's collective intelligence. Through the MoU, Dassault Systemes -- a 3D design software, 3D digital mock up and product lifecycle management solutions company, launched an automotive apps via MAI Social Networking Platform to enhance productivity and user-experience for industry professionals based on the 3DExperience platform.
  • MAI CEO Madani Sahari said the collaborative social innovation platform would serve as a medium for professionals to discuss and gain information on the latest updates in the automotive industry. (Bernama)

Source: CIMB Daybreak - 16 July 2013

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