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By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By TMR File

MALAYSIA is looking to increase overseas investments in aerospace industry, with the government pushing for more partnerships between local companies and international aerospace suppliers at the 53rd International Air Paris Show (IPAS) 2019.

This comes as top aircraft makers Boeing Co and Airbus SE consider plans to build manufacturing bases in Southeast Asia to meet higher demand for new aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaysia, which aims to become the region’s leading aerospace nation by 2030, has seen a solid growth momentum in the industry over the last five years with the country’s exports of aerospace parts and components recording an increase of 20.7% to RM8.48 billion in 2018.

Malaysia’s current main export destinations include the US, the UK, France, China and Singapore. The country has also witnessed an increase in imports over the period which hit RM15.91 billion last year.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking (picture) said the country is well-positioned to capitalise on the region’s dynamic aerospace industry.

“Malaysia is now home to more than 230 aerospace companies and the numbers keep growing. This is a catalyst to a vibrant local ecosystem, and a strong world demand for Malaysian products or services means the growth of the Malaysian companies can be accelerated. 

“This ultimately will benefit the Malaysian community through various economic values such as job creations and local supply chain development,” he said in a statement today.

The country’s participation in IPAS comprise a total of 40 Malaysian delegations from 15 organisations and companies. They include Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd, UMW Aerospace Sdn Bhd, Jecmetal Industries Sdn Bhd, Sapura Aerospace Technologies Sdn Bhd and Curge Advance Sdn Bhd. 

The companies will be matched with various aerospace industry players during the one-week event. The effort aims to explore partnership opportunities with international tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers, as well as the original equipment manufacturers in the aerospace manufacturing and services sector. 

Among the focus areas within the sectors are manufacturing of precision parts and components, engineering services as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul services. 

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) CEO Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said Malaysia is at the forefront of several markets, particularly in aero composites manufacturing, as well as aircraft components design and manufacturing.

“There is a need to promote these capabilities to the world and through the leadership of the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Matrade, National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office and Malaysia Investment Development Authority are joining forces to develop the industry and integrate the local players in the global supply chain,” he said.

IPAS, the world’s largest aerospace trade event, takes place in Le Bourget, France, from June 17-23 2019.

The post Malaysia seeks to expand footprint in aerospace appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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By BLOOMBERG

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam (picture) sought to defuse protests that have rocked the city without stepping down or officially withdrawing a bill that would allow extraditions to China for the first time.

“I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibilities,” Lam told reporters Tuesday, in her first public address since suspending the proposal on Saturday. “I offer my most sincere apologies to all people in Hong Kong.”

Protesters have vowed to keep hitting the streets until she resigns or withdraws the bill completely. Lam said she wouldn’t proceed with the bill unless all concerns could be addressed, and noted it’s “unlikely” that would happen during the current legislative session ending next year.

“I want another chance to work out the many initiatives that will help Hong Kong’s economy and to improve the lives of people,” she said, signaling she plans to finish out the final three years in her term. “I, myself, and my political team will work very hard to achieve these objectives and to meet the expectation of Hong Kong people.”

Under Pressure
Lam has been under pressure after a historic protest on Sunday that protesters said drew around 2 million people. Still, China — her most important backer — said on Monday it continues to “firmly support” Lam and her government.

The government announced earlier in the day that roads near the Central Government Offices, which is next to Lam’s office, had “generally become accessible” and urged staff to return to work. The Executive Council that Lam oversees didn’t meet on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters wearing black flooded downtown Hong Kong on Sunday, prompting her to issue a statement apologizing for causing “substantial controversies and disputes in society.” Besides stepping down and withdrawing the bill, organizers want her to release all arrested demonstrators, stop calling the protests a “riot” and investigate police for excessive violence.

The post Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Makes Personal Apology, But Won’t Resign appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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By BERNAMA

The agri-commodity sector has recorded RM52.7 billion in trade value for the period of January to April this year, said Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok.

She said in terms of the trade balance, the sector had registered RM27.7 billion for the period under review.

In her address at the ministry’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration today, Kok said export earnings of the commodity products, however, dropped 7.5 per cent to RM40.2 billion, as compared with RM43.5 billion for the same period last year.

“The drop was mainly due to the decrease in main products export such as palm oil, palm oil-based oleochemical and natural rubber. Despite the drop in export values, the volume of exported palm oil products had increased by 4.6 per cent to 8.9 million tonnes,” said Kok.

She also said Malaysia Palm Oil Council (MPOC) and China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce (CFNA) had signed a memorandum of understanding last April, to enable CFNA to buy additional 1.9 million tonnes palm oil worth RM4.56 billion from Malaysia in the next five years, starting from this year.

Meanwhile, Kok said to date, the ministry had achieved 45.83 per cent of its key performance index set for this year.

The post Agri-commodity sector registers RM52.7 bln in trade value for Jan-April 2019 appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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By BERNAMA / Pic By TMR File

Malaysia is looking forward to the thorough report from Egypt on the cause of its former President Mohamed Morsi’s death, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (picture) said.

She stressed that Malaysia acknowledged the statement by Egypt’s public prosecutor, but was still concerned with the numerous reports by human rights bodies about the treatment of Morsi prior to his passing.“Mr Morsi was the first democratically-elected President of Egypt following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, whose term was abruptly ended after 12 months.

“During his tenure as President, Mr Morsi showed courage and moral fortitude in his attempt to lead Egypt away from decades of authoritarian rule and establish true democracy there,” she tweeted.

She also said the death of Morsi was a great loss for democracy.

“We sincerely hope the late former President Morsi will be given the appropriate burial,” she added.

In an earlier tweet, Dr Wan Azizah also said that she was deeply saddened by the passing of Morsi and extended her deepest condolences to his family and people of Egypt.

“May Allah bless his soul and grant him Jannah,” she said.

Morsi, 67, died Monday during his trial on “espionage” charges. He had requested to speak during the session before he fainted and died.

Foreign media reported that the Muslim Brotherhood claimed the death was a “full-fledged murder”.

Egypt’s public prosecutor Nabil Sadek said in a statement that Morsi arrived dead to the hospital and there were no marks of injuries on his body.

Morsi faced a host of charges since he was ousted and imprisoned in the 2013 military coup, which was led by the current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

The post Malaysia looks forward to thorough report from Egypt appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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by SULHI KHALID/ TMR PIC

Top Glove Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter (3Q19) ended May 31, 2019 fell 36.5% year-on-year (YoY) to RM74.67 million from RM117.57 million reported on the corresponding quarter (3Q18), due to a surge in the price of natural rubber latex and stiff competition.

In an exchange filing today, the group stated that its revenue rose 8.1% to RM1.19 billion for the period, supported by growth in sales volume.

According to the rubber glove manufacturer, the average natural rubber latex price rose by 22% to RM4.42/KG and reached a peak of RM5.105 on April 9, 2019.

Top Glove Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai (pic) said the group will continue to focus on improving its product quality, cost structures and process efficiency, through the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), digitisation, advanced technologies and Research & Development (R&D).

“As our product is closely linked with a commodity, short-term volatility is to be expected, which may affect our margins during certain financial quarters.

“However, this is only in the interim. In our business, we expect to perform better in the following quarters and over the longer term,” he said.

On the group’s future prospects, Top Glove is projected to have 872 production lines and a production capacity of 83 billion per annum by December 2020.

The group also announced its inclusion in the Hijrah Syariah Index recently, following a semi-annual review of FTSE Bursa Malaysia Index Series.

Separately Top Glove has recently launched its flagship green product, BioGreen Biodegradable Nitrile Gloves (Powder-Free), in conjunction with World Environment Day.

These gloves, it said, are proven to biodegrade at least 10 times faster compared to conventional nitrile examination gloves, thereby providing an “end-of-life solution” to help reduce the accumulation of waste in landfills.

Top Glove declared its first interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share, to be paid on July 16, 2019.

The post Top Glove’s Q3 net profit falls 36.5% to RM74.67 million appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

The Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project is set to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of this year (Q4 2019), said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) today. 

He said the project would turn Malaysia into a net exporter of refined fuels for the first time since 2008. 

“This (Petronas and Saudi Aramco) joint venture marks a historic partnership between two of the world’s most successful national oil companies.

“The collaboration brings together vast resources, technologies, experience, expertise and commercial presence, much to the benefit of both companies and both countries,” Lim said in his opening speech at the Asian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Engineering Exhibition (OGA) here today.

He said Malaysia’s oil and gas sector is moving up the value chain to protect the country from excessive volatility seen in the upstream business segment.

“As Malaysia moves up the value chain in the oil and gas sector, it is also important to remember that the country is a diversified economy.

“In 2018, mining accounted for about 8.0 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, while manufacturing contributed 22 per cent and services 57 per cent,” said Lim.

He said the country is also benefiting from the ongoing trade war between China and the United States through business relocations as well as trade and investment diversions. 

The reorientation of the global supply chain and Malaysia’s competitiveness saw the country’s approved foreign direct investment (FDI) in the manufacturing sector surging 127 per cent to RM20.2 billion in Q1 2019 from RM8.9 billion a year ago, said Lim. 

He added that the total approved FDI across all sectors in Q1 2019 also rose 73.4 per cent year-on-year to RM29.3 billion from RM16.9 billion previously. 

“This shows that Malaysia is the preferred safe haven in the region, due to its open door policy, excellent infrastructure, highly-skilled workers and business-friendly government policies, among others,” said Lim. 

The three-day OGA which kicked off today showcases the latest cutting edge technology in the oil and gas industry, involving 2,000 companies from 60 countries.

The post Rapid to start operations in Q4 2019 : Lim appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has appointed Aznan Abdul Aziz as its new Assistant Governor effective, July 1, 2019.

In a statement here, the central bank said Aznan would be responsible for the Payments Oversight, Financial Conglomerates Supervision, Banking Supervision, Insurance and Takaful Supervision as well as Risk Specialist and Technology Supervision Departments.

Prior to his appointment, he served in several departments in the BNM.

These included Financial Conglomerates Supervision, Governor’s Office, Islamic Banking and Takaful, Financial Surveillance, Financial Sector Development, Financial Intelligence and Bank Regulation Departments, it said.

Aznan holds a degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.– BERNAMA

The post BNM appoints Aznan Abdul Aziz as Assistant Governor effective July appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor left the courtroom today after the prosecution questioned whether it was proper for her to attend her husband Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s SRC International Sdn Bhd’s trial as she was a potential witness in the case.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk V. Sithambaram informed High Court judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali that Rosmah’s statement had been recorded and that she should not be in the court to avoid future problems.

“Rosmah is in the court. She is a potential witness in this case and her witness statement has been recorded.

“We do not wish for any problems later. We do not wish to be seen as being difficult, it is just a matter of procedure,” Sithambaram said.

Najib’s lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was of the same view with Sithambaram that the matter was a procedure as Rosmah’s statement had been recorded.

Without waiting for the judge to make a ruling about her presence, Rosmah exited the courtroom with her lawyer Datuk K. Kumaraendran who held a watching brief for her in Najib’s trial, after the lawyer apologised for the inconvenience.

It was the first time for Rosmah to attend her husband’s trial which entered the 27th day today.

Rosmah, clad in a red baju kurung entered the courtroom at 9.13 am when Muhammad Shafee was cross-examining the 39th prosecution witness, former chairman of SRC’s Board of Directors, Tan Sri Ismee Ismail, 54.

She took a seat at the front row of the public gallery, right behind the dock where her husband was seated.

Najib, 66, faces three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering involving SRC International Sdn Bhd funds amounting to RM42 million.

The post Rosmah leaves courtroom after prosecutor queried her presence appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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by MARK RAO/ pic by BLOOMBERG

Crude oil prices continue to plummet as protracted trade tensions begin chipping away at the US and Chinese economies – the world’s two largest oil consumers today.

After closing at a year-high of US$74.57 per barrel on April 24, Brent oil declined 18.5% to trade as low as US$60.75 per barrel today as the oil narrative shifted from supply disruptions to growing demand fears.

Worrying economic data from the US and China, which collectively made up over 40% of total crude oil consumption in 2016, rattled the oil market and saw traders heading for the exit.

OANDA Corp senior market analyst Edward Moya said the ongoing trade war is starting to ebb away at the US market while uncertainty will remain until the G20 summit is convened at the end of the month.

“Oil prices fell further into bear market territory after US factory and housing data showed the world’s largest economy is slowing down faster than expected,” he said in a research note today.

“Uncertainty on the trade front remains high and markets will remain undecided until we see the events at the G20 summit in Japan unfold.”

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their allies, who have been propping up oil prices since 2017 via production cuts, could extend their agreement and continue to control output to mitigate falling demand.

However, Moya said OPEC and their allies are at a critical juncture as plans to extend production cuts may prove difficult as they are unable to reach a consensus on when to meet.

Vanguard Markets Pte Ltd managing partner Stephen Innes said oil continues to extend losses on the deteriorating outlook for energy demand.

“Oil prices continued to sag plumbing the depths of the recent ranges as the demand outlook remains very soggy, compounded by the worrying read on US manufacturing activity,” he said in a research note today.

“The market is in a rut and desperately in need of some robust economic data to get it out of this funk.”

The US’ Empire State business conditions index fell into negative territory in June for the first time in more than two years, while China’s industrial output growth fell to an over 17-year low in May.

Meanwhile, US shale output – a persistent bane to OPEC and their allies – is expected to rise approximately 70,000 barrels to 8.52 million barrels per day next month.

Current oil prices are markedly below the Malaysian government’s average oil price budget of US$70 per barrel and Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) budget of US$66 per barrel but not material enough to cause the former to recalibrate its budget or the latter to incur costly provisions.

The post Oil continues to extend losses on weak US, China data appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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The current system has delivered rapid growth and relative stability for decades.

by BLOOMBERG/ pic by AFP

In what appears to be a major triumph for participatory democracy in Hong Kong, a proposed extradition law been put on hold. Yet this vigorous display of citizen activism in the territory does not mean that the Chinese government is ready to deliver on democratic aspirations on the mainland, as some Western commentators have suggested. Democracy’s potential in China, at least for the foreseeable future, is limited.

First and foremost, whether you want to admit it or not, the Chinese Communist Party has a remarkably strong brand in China. The Communists drove the imperialists out of China, built the modern Chinese nation and have delivered (roughly) 8% to 10% growth for almost 40 years. That is a tough record to beat, and it is no surprise that the Communist Party is pretty popular. In fact, if you had to name the one large institution in the entire world that has had the most success since 1980, it would be hard to come up with a better answer than the Chinese Communist Party.

One reason for the party’s popularity is the expectation that change can come from within and rebalance policy in new and better directions. Indeed, that has been true since the reforms of the 1970s. In the last several decades, China has repeatedly shifted course as necessary — changing the power of various internal coalitions, expanding private enterprise, and boosting fiscal stimulus. True, President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power may bring stultification, but that is a relatively recent development. It is not enough to cause most Chinese to turn suddenly to democracy. Most Chinese have grown up with a self-correcting system.

Along with this micro-flexibility has come a high degree of macro-stability. Under Communist rule, China has not had a violent overthrow or revolution, and remarkably little chaos, since the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Most people around the world, whichever nation they happen to be citizens of, would be reluctant to mess with a formula that has brought both rapid growth and relative stability, and China’s history means that fears of political instability are especially strong. There simply isn’t a great appetite for such a radical experiment as democratic elections.

It’s also worth thinking through exactly what changes Chinese democracy is supposed to bring. China’s urbanization has been so rapid — it has had more urban than rural residents for less than a decade — that a national election might well reflect the preferences of rural voters, which after all most Chinese were until very recently. If you belong to the Chinese upper class or even middle class along the eastern coast, you may end up asking yourself the following question: Who is more likely to protect my basic economic interests, the current Chinese Communist Party, or a democratic representative of Chinese rural interests? China is also growing rich during a time of extreme economic inequality, which may make many Chinese elites think twice about democratization.

Compare China’s situation to that of Taiwan, which is much smaller, does not have a comparable preponderance of rural population, and started becoming democratic in an era when inequality was not so extreme. There was enough of a sense of a common Taiwanese national interest for democracy to be trusted, and furthermore Taiwan has always been keen to distinguish itself from a non-democratic mainland.

What about social issues? One recent study has shown that Communist Party members are more likely to have progressive views on issues of gender equality, political pluralism and openness to international exchange than do the Chinese public at large. Again, if you are an elite among the Chinese citizenry, it is not a sure thing that you will do better with democracy than under the Communist Party.

The Chinese are also well aware of the history of democracy in India, another large Asian country with hundreds of millions of people living in the countryside. Indian democracy has produced a large number of parties that represent very particular interests rather than fighting for the nation as a whole. In economic terms China has outperformed India, and under most estimates per capita income in China is more than twice of that of India, mostly because of higher growth rates over the last four decades under the Communist Party.

To be clear: I am not suggesting that everything is great or even good in China. The detentions in Xinjiang are terrible, economic growth rates are slowing, and political stability may be fraying due to the Communist Party’s inability to ensure a well-functioning succession plan. It is my genuine belief that gradual moves toward democratization, starting with meaningful local elections, are likely to improve these problems.

But democratizing China as a whole? It is important for Westerners to step out of their bubbles and consider exactly why so many Chinese are simply not looking in that direction.

The post Democracy is not coming to China anytime soon appeared first on The Malaysian Reserve.

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