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  • Grab has announced a partnership with Maybank to share their network of key partner merchants, providing their users more commerce options on their upcoming GrabPay e-wallet service.
  • With this partnership, GrabPay users will be able to pay using the service at Maybank partner merchants, and reload their balances through the Maybank2U platform, in addition to earning exclusive rewards points.
  • With Maybank the largest bank locally and Grab the largest ride-hailing platform in Malaysia, this partnership will drive GrabPay’s claim to become the most widely adopted e-wallet in Malaysia.

With the GrabPay e-wallet service set to launch its beta phase locally in the coming weeks, Grab Malaysia today announced a partnership with Maybank—Southeast Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets, and Malaysia’s largest—to integrate the GrabPay service with Maybank’s own network of key merchants, essentially broadening their reach to a larger base of businesses.

Through this partnership, Grab users will not only be able to use the mobile wallet at GrabPay merchants, but also at all of Maybank’s partner merchants.

Similarly, Maybank customers will also have the option of paying using Maybank’s QRPay to shop at GrabPay partner merchants.

Byproducts of this partnership also include GrabPay customers now having the convenience of topping up their wallet balances through Maybank2U, and the collection of exclusive Grab rewards through using GrabPay during payment.

This collaboration will also see Grab and Maybank work together to bring in more shopping options for their users while introducing tools to aid merchant partners reach a wider market base and allow them access to tools to help track their transactions on the GrabPay platform.

Image Credit: Grab Malaysia

“This partnership underlines the strength of Grab’s collaborative approach. The whole industry needs to come together to make the cashless economy a reality in Malaysia,” said Ooi Huey Tyng, Managing Director of GrabPay in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

“We are honoured to partner with Maybank which not only shares our vision of a cashless payments future, but also recognises Grab as ideally poised to help make this a reality.”

All this comes in the wake of Bank Negara’s active push for Malaysia to go cashless. According to a statistic they provided, cash handling and related-services currently cost in the region of RM1.8 billion annually, and a shift towards electronic payments may result in savings amounting up to 1% of Malaysia’s economy.

And as it stands, Grab is now Malaysia’s largest ride-hailing service by volume after it absorbed regional competitors Uber in a takeover deal earlier this year.

As it partners with Maybank (with more than 43% of the local market share), Grab is effectively ensuring GrabPay’s charge to become the most widely adopted e-wallet service locally.

They now also move significantly closer towards their target of becoming the one-stop app for Malaysians to perform their daily activities. Through the same app, Malaysians will soon be able to access multiple services such as ride-hailing, food deliver, online shopping, and financial services.

As we inch closer towards becoming a cashless society, it remains to see what other partnerships Grab will announce in the near future, or if competitors such as AliPay, vcash, or even Astro’s new Payfy will attempt to challenge this early dominance by introducing initiatives of their own.

  • To read more about Grab’s ambition to become Malaysia’s one-stop app for daily life, read this article.

Feature Image Credit: Grab Malaysia

The post GrabPay Looks To Dominate The E-Wallet Industry By Partnering With Banking Goliath Maybank appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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Failed deliveries is a huge pain point for logistic companies and online shoppers alike.

In April 2016, Deputy Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced plans to roll out a federated locker system in residential areas to improve the last-mile delivery of parcels islandwide.

“Based on IDA’s findings, the biggest problem faced by our local delivery companies is in making door-to-door deliveries and finding that no one is at home to receive the goods,” said Mr Tharman at an industry launch event.

In line with this plan, the Government is rolling out a year-long pilot of a parcel locker network in Punggol and Bukit Panjang estates this October.

Image Credit: MCI

This means that residents in these two estates will have an option to collect their parcels via this common locker, which makes it a very convenient option if they’re not at home to receive their parcels.

Lockers Will Be A Convenient Pick-Up Point

There will be 23 of such locker sites in Bukit Panjang, and another 39 in Punggol – and they’ll be run by logistics providers BluPort and SingPost respectively.

According to the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), these “federated lockers” will serve as a convenient pick-up point as they will be located in accessible areas such as MRT stations and common collection points within 250 metres from HDB residences.

The lockers are free for use for consumers, and is accessible round-the-clock so users can collect it virtually anytime.

For the merchants and logistic firms, this system will help to resolve last-mile fulfilment challenges by providing cost savings and efficiencies.

The locker system can be used by all couriers, potentially benefiting more than 7,600 logistics service providers in Singapore.

IMDA will be partnering 15 logistics firms and industry partners to participate in the locker network, including firms such as Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Parcel Santa, and Lazada.

Parcel Santa will partner SPH and tap on its newspaper delivery network to make deliveries to parcel lockers currently located in 100 condominium precincts.

There will also be the option of using any of the 59 SPH Buzz Convenience Stores islandwide as a drop-off or collection point.

Featured Image Credit: Yellow Pages

The post Bukit Panjang And Punggol Residents Can Soon Collect Their Parcels From Common Lockers This October appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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  • BizSmart Challenge 2018, presented by Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad and Eco World Development Group Bhd, is a business reality TV programme.
  • This SME business programme aims to help and nurture young Malaysian companies to grow as sustainable businesses.
  • Applications will close this Thursday, 31 May 2018.

The SME business programme that has helped local brand names such as Christy Ng Shoes, Twenty3, Biji-Biji Initiative, and NutriBrownRice grow their businesses, returns for the fifth time.

Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad, in partnership with Eco World Development Group Berhad, recently launched the BizSmart Challenge 2018, a business programme that provides realistic business challenges designed to equip young Malaysian entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills so they can stay in business for the long-term.

Over the past years, the programme has seen tremendous success, lending support and guidance to the local startup and SME scene. More than 110 high potential alumni have achieved varying degrees of success through the media exposure, training, mentorship, and networking the challenge provided them.

Here are four reasons why you should join this programme as a young SME:

1) Cash and media prizes worth RM 1 million up for grabs. Finalists are also eligible to apply for uncollaterised financing from Alliance Bank.

The winner of BizSmart Challenge 2016 with the judges. (Image Credit: Alliance Bank)

As with previous years, the BizSmart Challenge winners get to compete for a chance to win a pool of cash and media prizes worth RM1 million.

In addition to that, all 20 finalists of the Challenge will be offered the chance to apply for financial assistance in the form of non-collaterised loans of up to a total of RM5 million from Alliance Bank. This marks the first time that the Challenge is offering this form of financing to finalists to accelerate their business growth.

The grand prize winner will walk away with RM250,000, while the first and second runner-ups will receive RM200,000 and RM150,000 respectively.

Selected winners also get a chance at two more RM100,000 cash prizes from Manulife Insurance and Visa Malaysia respectively, as well as a media coverage package worth RM200,000 from Astro Malaysia.

2) Gain TV, radio and printed exposure for your brand

Media coverage and publicity is not cheap. We understand the struggles entrepreneurs face when trying to market their brands. This is why the BizSmart Challenge offers companies more ways to reach a larger audience and increase the reach for their business.

In an exciting new twist to the programme this year, the BizSmart Challenge will be aired in the form of a reality TV business programme on Astro Awani and AXN.

From the submission received, 20 finalists will be shortlisted to undergo business training before the selection of the top 12 to participate in the BizSmart Challenge reality TV programme.

During the taping of the reality show, participants will go through a series of business challenges, guided by mentors such as Christy Ng, Bryan Loo, and Azran Osman-Rani. The esteemed panel of judges will provide sound and frank advice to the participants.

3) Personally learn from industry leaders.

Building your network with various industry leaders can take a bit of time, but being in this programme could speed up the process.

With a prominent panel of judges and mentors on board ready to share their expertise, finalists can make use of this prime opportunity to learn from the best.

Two of the programme judges Mr Joel Kornreich and Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin (Image Credit: Alliance Bank)

The judges for this year’s BizSmart Challenge are Mr Joel Kornreich, Group CEO of Alliance Bank, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chairman of EcoWorld, and En Malek Ali, Managing Director and Founder of BFM 89.9.

Some alumni will also be sharing how they got started, how they have successfully expanded, and their business performance post-programme with the participants.

4) Undergo structured business coaching to grow your business.

Part of the programme involves getting through business challenges. To prepare for this, finalists will undergo structured business coaching which covers topics on marketing, presentation skills, and talent management. There will also be mentoring sessions.

Mentors will be on hand to advise the finalists, drawing from their own entrepreneurial experience of successfully growing and establishing their brands and businesses.

###

“Most companies tend to shy away from young businesses in their early years as they are perceived as ‘high risk’. We, however, wanted to play a more meaningful role. Our bank has always been committed to helping Malaysian SMEs grow and develop to their full potential,” said Alliance Bank Group CEO, Mr Joel Kornreich.

Applications are open until 31 May 2018. If you are an ambitious, young SME that have been in operation between 18 months and 5 years, send in your entry today for a chance to elevate your business to the next level.

  • Click here to send in your application form or here to check out BizSmart Challenge website for more information.

This article was written in collaboration with Alliance Bank.

Feature Image Credit: Alliance Bank


The post 4 Benefits M’sian SMEs Can Get From Being On BizSmart’s New Reality TV Show appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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  • Two Malaysians came from a law and finance background respectively, but chose to start a business in e-fulfillment.
  • After struggling initially, the pair developed and copyrighted an intuitive automatic system that helps both them and their customers track orders.
  • Since launching their new system, TresGo has seen a 22% month-on-month growth.

27-year-old Nadhra Fauzi and 30-year-old Safiyya Azman both came from finance backgrounds, along with Accounting and Law respectively.

So it might come as a surprise to some that these ladies are in the labour-heavy e-fulfillment industry, working to ensure that orders made on web-stores and marketplaces like Lazada and Zalora reach your homes safely and as quickly as they can manage.

They even do a lot of the heavy lifting of packages themselves if the need arises.

“Our research indicated that there was, and there will be continuous growth in e-commerce. And because we don’t specialise in marketing or production, we wanted to be of service to these companies and help them grow,” said co-founder Safiyya.

“You can learn how to run operations, but to run a company, you need finance, you need legal. We have that,” said Safiyya.

“Even though our professional backgrounds is very different compared to logistics, it did not deter us in any way.”

They’ve might not have felt the difficulties that their typical clients undergo, but they learnt from friends that the major industry pain points were: time management, packing up orders, and inventory management.

This was the basis behind their e-fulfillment company TresGo.

“Tres stands for ‘three’ in Spanish which symbolises our three core businesses—storing, packing and delivering. “GO” symbolises us (Nadhra and Safiyya) who are always on the GO!”

TresGo was built specifically to help smaller-scale sellers with inventory and deliveries, so businesses can actually focus on the important bits like product development, marketing and sales

Their specific target market is millennials, a generation that is steadily shifting towards selling online.

One barrier to getting more customers on board is that microsellers or SMEs might find it more cost-effective to handle packing, deliveries and warehouse storage themselves instead of spending money to get someone else to do it.

Nadhra sees things differently.

“Instead of charging shipping for the usual RM8, why don’t they charge RM10 for shipping instead? That actually covers storage, packing and delivery [on TresGo].”

They charge storage on the actual dimensions of each item, and for packing, they charge per transaction, and not per item, which helps their clients save costs for bulk orders.

They also prorate their warehouse space by two weeks, an incentive created to encourage merchants to have high inventory turnover

The pair thinks that TresGo could offer benefits for those who would otherwise charter their own space for storage, labour and packaging. Instead of it being a fixed cost, TresGo allows these costs to become variable.

“We knew it was important not to enter into a price war with our competitors as everyone in the industry knows how little our margins are,” said Safiyya.

Instead, they’re aiming for bulk.

“Our strategy is to get more clients and also to have bulk services available to increase our revenue.”

All of this is handled on a proprietary system copyrighted by TresGo.

Complete with monthly order analytics and detailed accounts of each transaction.

After TresGo spent its first three months doing everything manually, Safiyya and Nadhra realised things had to change.

“When you’re offline, you have to do inventory management, order management, and etc. yourself on Excel. The human error was very huge—you have to type everything out, you have to remember to do it.

So they got an IT team to help them build an intuitive system that helps both them and their clients trace and monitor their inventory, as well as status of orders.

The system was designed to help both them and their clients consolidate orders from web-stores and marketplaces like Lazada and Shopify all into one place.

It’ll even give some analytics for those who want to see how well their fares are doing, and will help calculate costs, total revenue, and streamline orders automatically.

TresGo lets clients use this system for free, and will even make their way out to help clients with the onboarding process.

“In fact, our system is why people like us—investors or clients,” said Safiyya.

Since building the system, they’ve seen a 22% month-on-month increase in revenue.

After that, it’s all about grit and determination.

Nadhra at work.

E-commerce in Malaysia grows more saturated as the days go by, and the same goes for e-fulfillment business.

So Safiyya and Nadhra have got to hustle a little bit more to stand out.

One way they do this is by trying to add a personable, human touch to their interactions with clients.

In customer service, they fight to ensure that all inquiries are answered within 24 hours, and these responses will come from either of the founders.

This is also a tactic to help them fight through the crowded ecosystem.

“So what we do is that even if we don’t reply the email right away, we always give them a call. We want to ensure that we don’t want their interest to die down,” said Nadhra.

The pair is also hoping that with their top notch customer service, clients would stick with them as they grow larger. As their clients grow, TresGo’s revenue will hopefully grow as well.

“It’s a combination of us betting on them and working on them,” said Nadhra with a laugh.

  • You can find out more about TresGo here.

The post These M’sians Built An Automated System To Solve The 3 Biggest Pain Points Of Online Selling appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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If you’ve experienced a server downtime, you know it’s not fun.

Whether it be a scheduled downtime where your mobile connection is interrupted for maintenance or your bank system going down for upgrading, it can really get in the way of your daily tasks.

Imagine what an unplanned downtime can do, especially for companies that are responsible for multiple large operations.

In the report below, it’s shown that in the U.S alone, a total of US$106 billion is lost annually because of downtime, so you can see why companies are always on the lookout for solutions to prevent this money-eating problem.

Image Credit: Eaton

Downtime Leads To Ballooning Of Expenses

There are many things that can cause a downtime, like bad weather conditions, power outage, a software bug, and more.

Eaton is a power management company specialising in solutions that help with issues such as these. Found in the U.S., the company has been operating for 100 years, now serving over 175 countries and have earned a total of US$20.4 billion last year alone.

“We provide energy-efficient solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more efficiently, safely and sustainably. Eaton is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services.”

Image Credit: Eaton

They have a string of products and services under their belt but one of their main focuses includes providing companies with uninterrupted power supply (UPS) solutions.

Finding The Right One

It can be tricky knowing the right criteria you should be looking out for when picking the correct UPS that can handle your operations.

Here are a few things to take note of:

1) Not all UPS devices are created equally.

For example, a UPS that can protect your desktop might not be able to handle larger equipment loads. And if this isn’t taken into consideration, you run into a high risk of overloading your UPS which can cause it to malfunction.

With a server class UPS, you can accurately see how many equipment can be added on to your main device because it will show you the load percentage information through the LCD display menu.

2) As your equipment load goes up, so does your battery usage.

Look out for a UPS that accepts external battery modules as these provide extra backup time so you can extend the runtime for devices..

3) Check out the technologies of a UPS.
  • Intelligent Load Shedding

If you’re using a UPS with load segments control , you can turn off the non-critical load (non-critical devices) and extend battery runtime for your critical load.

  • Advanced Battery Management (ABM)

A technology that enables a more intelligent charging routine by preventing unnecessary charging. The battery will charge only when required —thus extending the battery life.

  • Intelligent Power Manager

Eaton’s Intelligent Power Manager (IPM) software provides the tools needed to monitor and manage power equipment in your physical and virtual environments.

This innovative software solution ensures system uptime and data integrity by allowing you to remotely monitor, manage and control devices on your network.

CoSentry, a management company that had tripled its client base in the previous years, needed a UPS that could keep up with their growth while being cost-effective at the same time. Eaton came up with a solution where CoSentry got the benefits of two UPS for the price of one.

That has helped them easily expand its power protection solution without having to purchase another UPS, thanks to the unit’s scalability and pay-as-you-grow approach.

Experiencing It Firsthand

If you’re curious to see how these products work or find out more information on what Eaton has to offer, the team will be organising an Eaton Mobile Showroom in the form of a 40 ft truck that will head to two stops in Malaysia.

Dubbed the Eaton Malaysia Tech Day, you can get up close and personal with them to learn about Eaton products and perhaps discuss market trends.

“This is part of Eaton’s global strategic growth initiative to reach out to customers, influencers and end-users, and enable effective market interactions across major regions and key industry segments,” shared the team from Eaton.

The mobile truck will feature a flexible 20 square meter showroom. There, you’ll get on Eaton’s tailor-made power management products and solutions, such as their circuit protection products, and their UPS.

It will be arriving into Malaysia from 21st May and will be here until 5th June 2018. The first stop will be at Vistana Hotel in Penang on 23rd May,, EX 8 in Subang on 31st May and roadshows at major Universities.

  • For more information on Eaton and the power management solutions they provide, you can click here.

This article was written in collaboration with Eaton.

Feature Image Credit: Inspired Techs

The post Blackouts Cost Businesses US$106 Billion Annually, This Company Protects You From That appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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  • Following their successful assimilation of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, Grab Malaysia have announced their plan to become a one-stop app and platform for Malaysians to conduct their daily activities, from transport and dining, all the way to making payments and getting financed.
  • Immediate plans include the introduction of GrabPay to retail and the widening of GrabFood’s operations.

Coming after their takeover from Uber in Southeast Asia nearly two months ago, Grab announced its goal to become a one-stop platform for Malaysians to go about their everyday lives. From on-demand food delivery, cashless payments, logistics, and financial services among others, Grab stated its aim to have Malaysians use their app for almost all points of their daily activity.

Among the services included in its plan were its GrabCar ride-hailing service, its GrabFood meal delivery platform, and its GrabPay e-wallet among others.

“We are in a position to power this future of smart cities for consumers, because of the interconnectedness of each of our services and how they help each other grow,” said Grab Malaysia Country Head Sean Goh. “We started with making transport more efficient, and now, we are introducing GrabFood and GrabPay as a mobile wallet to Malaysia soon.”

“By building a technology platform that serves the most important everyday lifestyle needs of our consumers, we are benefitting an entire ecosystem of connected users who are not only passengers and driver partners, but also increasingly merchants and delivery partners.”

“We can help everyone—particularly micro-entrepreneurs—grow their businesses and serve consumers better with how each of our service is interlinked.”

According to Grab, their plan for an interconnected lifestyle platform arose in October 2017, just as they crossed the 1 billion rides mark. Surveying consumers from around the Southeast Asia region, they were impressed upon by its users to fulfil the demand for a one-stop app that could help facilitate all aspects of daily living.

Currently, Grab is hoping to fulfil this demand by improving upon their current offerings as well as introduce more pertinent verticals in the future.

1. Transport

On the transport front, Grab will aim to go just ride-hailing and include multiple modes of transport within its platform, including busses and rail transport systems.

“With better integration of public and private transportation options in one platform, consumers can choose to ride across and pay for multiple modes of transport seamlessly in one single journey,” they said in a statement.

2. Payments

For payments, Grab will within the next few weeks introduce GrabPay as a payment method that can be used at traditional retail outlets as well as for online shopping. Grab hopes that with their wide user base, Grab Pay will be able to help smaller businesses in Malaysia gain access to more customers.

3. Financial Services

Additionally, Grab will also aid underfinanced individuals and businesses through its range of schemes and fintech offerings. Grab claim that as of today, their platform has enabled more than six million micro-entrepreneurs, and that they hope to raise that number to 100 million by the year 2020.

4. Food Delivery

Finally, Grab also spoke about their food delivery service GrabFood, and explained that the platform is currently being implemented in select areas such as Sri Hartamas, Bangsar, Mont Kiara, and Bukit Damansara, with more localities to see the service as soon as late May.

“GrabFood and GrabPay mobile wallet are the next major steps in our move to serve the daily essential needs of consumers.” Sean said.

“With our acquisition of Uber’s operations in Malaysia and the expansion of GrabFood across the region, we are working with local merchant and delivery-partners to deliver the best of Malaysia’s kitchens to the doorsteps of millions in the very near future.”

For a visual representation of what they’re trying to achieve, check out this video.

The Future of Grab - Your Everyday App - YouTube

  • Read more about something else Grab is doing with tertiary students via GrabVarsity here.

Feature Image Credit: Grab

The post Here Are The 4 Things Grab Is Promising M’sians For The Near Future appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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  • After announcing the reduction of GST from 6% to zero beginning June 1, the government then announced the reintroduction of SST at date to be announced.
  • Predictably, confusion among the Malaysian public regarding the upcoming changes caused a number of inaccurate statements to appear. We address 3 major misconceptions and attempt to set things straight.

On May 16, Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance announced the zero-rating of our Goods and Services Tax (GST) across all products and services both local and imported. Yesterday, they followed up on that announcement by declaring the return of the Sales and Services Tax (SST)—the one that the GST replaced back in 2015 under Najib’s administration.

In a post on their Facebook page, the Ministry of Finance highlighted concerns regarding the removal of the GST, and by relation, the government’s ability to reduce the national debt.

“Fiscal reformation programmes are being executed,” the statement read. “The reduction of income as a result of the GST being reduced to zero starting June 1 2018 will be offset by specific income and expenditure-focused procedures that will be announced soon.”

“The Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be reintroduced.”

These announcements arrived as expected following Pakatan Harapan’s win in the 2018 General Elections last week. Leading up to their win, Pakatan Harapan promised in their manifesto to scrap the GST within 100 days and bring back the SST should they successfully win the majority vote.

Now that they’re delivering on their promises, Malaysian businesses and consumers are gearing up to accept the changes, but not without some early confusion.

Following the announced return of the SST, many online netizens have been actively disseminating speculative information regarding the impending switch up that might not be completely accurate. Here are some of the more widespread ones (along with our best efforts to set the record straight):

1. The GST goes away on June 1, and the SST will also return on June 1.

Now while many are celebrating the reduction of the GST rate from 6% to 0%, there are also a huge number that are mistaking it for the absolute dismissal of the GST altogether. This is not accurate.

As stated in the official announcement, the GST will continue to remain, but at a rate of zero. This is because as with all tax policies, the removal of the GST is dependent on our parliament repealing the GST Act of 2014 before it can be fully abolished.

Also we shouldn’t forget that completely scraping GST also involves the changing of various tax reporting and filing protocols that have become commonplace since its introduction in 2015.

And finally, while the Ministry of Finance did announce the reintroduction of the SST, there was no actual date mentioned regarding its actual reimplementation. Still, we can expect that the SST to return sooner rather than later, if the speed at which things are being done is any indicator.

2. “SST will mean lower product prices” vs “SST will mean higher product prices”.

The debate surrounding how prices will fluctuate after SST replaces GST seems split two ways, with a portion of Malaysians expecting prices of goods to drop and some others believing otherwise.

The answer to this debate isn’t so straightforward, as it all depends on a number of factors such as:

  • How many levels there are in the product supply chain (the number of entities there are between manufacturer and consumer).
  • The type of product considered (things such as automobiles may be affected differently from other things such as mobile phones or event food items).
  • Tax exemptions for businesses (for example, properly registered businesses are entitled to reclaim GST incurred on items purchased through tax input rebates).
  • How businesses themselves deal with pricing (for example, F&B outlets that chose to retain a “service charge” on their menu items despite the service tax portion of SST being removed and replaced with GST).

In the “SST will make things cheaper” corner, the argument is:

  1. SST previously imposed upon certain goods at the first level was sometimes higher than GST’s current 6% (pre-2015 SST rates ranged from 5% all the way to 25% depending on the category of product) but,
  2. The imposing of GST at all levels of the supply chain (as opposed to SST at only the initial output level and retail level) had caused businesses to spike up their prices (even despite being able to reclaim the cost of GST through tax input rebates).

Also supporting the argument is the possibility that the number of goods affected by SST will be significantly less compared to what is taxed under GST. For example, Touch n’ Go reloads, and interbank ATM withdrawals were some of the things that weren’t subject to any taxes during SST, but were included under GST when it rolled out.

Conversely, the argument that “SST will make things more expensive” also has some credence. If following the old rates, some items under the SST can be expected to increase in price (liquour was taxed at 20% under SST, and cigarettes were taxed at 25%), although the rates for the new SST is still subject to an official announcement.

Long story short, Malaysians can expect prices to adjust differently based on the type of good or service being paid for, and that there is no actual black and white outcome that can be expected from this change—the only thing to do is to wait and see just what kind of rates our government will set for the upcoming SST, and what items will/will not be affected.

3. “But the government will have a shortage of income to pay off our national debt.”

A concern made relevant after Pakatan’s win, many Malaysians are now questioning if our new government will have income enough to bail Malaysia out of its approximately RM600 billion national debt.

While we’d love to provide a definite answer explain just how the government will be able to cover our the massive financial shortfall, we can only honestly say that it’s all up to speculation and that we can expect our new government to announce many other measures to deal with the debt in the near future.

For example, the announcement for SST also came with a positive update regarding global prices for crude oil (one of the key contributors to Malaysia’s GDP), and indicated that the windfall from this occurrence would only assist our government in dealing with the debt.

“The global price of crude oil has visibly risen against the estimates of the 2018 national budget, which stood at US$52 a barrel. This will provide some fiscal leeway for the foreseeable future.”
– Ministry of Finance

This announcement combined with other current initiatives such as the ongoing investigations into 1MDB, the appointment of the Team of Eminent Persons, and other cost-cutting measures will hopefully go a long way to solving the problem of leveling our financial dues, so best to wait and see how things pan out.

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It’s only been just over a week since the change in Malaysia’s government, and yet so much is already happening. And as expected with the flurry of things going on at various levels in the administration, confusion and misinformation is always a real risk.

Hopefully with the passing of time, we can expect things regarding our nation’s financial status to become clearer, and that our current administration can continue to allay any concerns we have through regular announcements.

  • In the meantime, you can read our predictions of how Pakatan Harapan’s win will affect our economy here
  • Or read about how business owners will have to adapt to zero percent GST here

Feature Image Credit: CEphoto & Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia

The post 3 Common Misconceptions About GST & SST, And Why They’re Wrong appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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As of May 16th, the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia has announced that from June 1st, the GST in Malaysia will be zero rated.

Consumers were delighted, but GST-registered business owners probably had a more complicated reaction.

What does this mean for my business?

What can I do?

How do I take action?

We’ve put together some of the big questions and tried to get some answers.

1. Abolishing vs Zero-Rating GST: What’s The Difference?

There is actually a difference between the two. Abolishing the GST would require the Malaysian parliament to repeal the GST Act 2014 before the tax can be completely removed.

According to Alan Chung, the executive director of Grant Thornton Malaysia (interviewed by The Edge Financial Daily), this is why:

“This is because it is the easiest to do, and represents the least cost to the business community. Zero-rating GST will allow transitional issues to be smoothened out. [For example] taxpayers have six years to claim their input tax credit and a lot of them may not have the proper invoice at the present time to claim them. If you have an abrupt cut-off of GST or repeal of GST, they may not be able to claim the input tax in the future.

By zero-rating, the rights of the taxpayers to claim input tax within six years are sustained. Zero-rating essentially means changing your tax code percentage from 6% to 0%.”

2. SR = 0% vs. ZR vs. New Tax Codes?

Which tax code should you implement?  The verdict is out on this one. And there are a tonne of conflicting reports.

Typically, the Zero-Rated (ZR) code is reserved for zero-rated supplies such as beef, rice, sugar, water and electricity.

The Standard-Rated (SR) code is for… well, everything else. After spending the last several hours (and night) reading through the GST Act, talking to tax accountants, GST experts, and scouring the Custom’s website, we’ve come to the conclusion that the best way forward will be to adjust the SR code to 0% (SR = 0%). 

Why? Legally, without abolishing the GST Act 2014, goods and services that are not ZR or Exempt are still categorised as Standard Rated (SR). Therefore, by changing SR = 0% your business will still be compliant.

For POS vendors like StoreHub that have the ability to simply edit the SR rate, a new tax code is unnecessary and they can simply change the SR from 6% to 0%.

Other more traditional, non-cloud based POS vendors might  come up with a new tax code for the zero rating as it would be difficult to edit their SR functions. It remains to be seen if these made up tax codes are compliant with the law (unlikely though).

If you enjoy reading through legalese in Bahasa Malaysia, you can go check out the official Malaysian Customs site about GST.

3. How Does This Affect My Pricing?

Regardless of whether you run a retail, F&B or service-oriented business, there are some pricing adjustments you need to take into account. There are 2 very simple scenarios in this case:

A. The Simplest Scenario

If you’re selling a cup of coffee for RM10.60 because it’s priced with 6% GST. Now, with Zero Rated GST, the price will be reduced to RM10.

It’s more or less like what Daiso does.

B. A Little More Complicated

Let’s say your cup of coffee is RM10 and already inclusive of GST. How do you adjust the pricing? You will have to deduct the 6% which then gives you the total of RM9.43396, but of course that number is a little too messy for receipts. We highly suggest rounding it up or down to the nearest 5 cents.

Check with your POS vendor if there’s a simple way to bulk edit your pricing. StoreHub, for instance, will be rolling out a quick bulk pricing edit function to assist our >2,500 Malaysian customers who are impacted by this.

4. Can You Zero Rate Your Entire Business In 2 Weeks?

It depends on your POS system. For some it might be simpler, for others it might be a huge hassle.

As you might recall, the GST implementation process took an entire year and was a tedious and difficult process for most businesses. After all, it wasn’t a simple addition to the end of your receipt—GST had to be included in the price of the item (e.g. a cup of RM10 coffee had to be inclusive of 6% GST).

If you own a shop, the speed and ease of zero-rating your GST depends entirely on what kind of POS system you might be using.

Some questions you can ask your POS vendors:

1. What’s the process like?

Can the zero-rating of your products be done by yourself or will you need to enlist your POS technician do this for you?

For most Cloud POS providers, we’re working on a one-click solution to help our customers adapt to the change with the least amount of pain. For more traditional POS providers however, the 2 week timeline to execute this will be incredibly tight as technical manpower is needed to make the changes in-store.

2. How much will the zero-rating cost your business?

Some POS providers might charge a fee for the update (from our investigations and early calls we made this morning, it can run to over RM10,000!), AND an additional fee later when a new tax code is passed. Yup. You read right.

Now, assuming SST will be implemented some time in the near future (since the government is moving at an unprecedented speed of light), this can be really costly.

The cost to update cloud-based POS systems will be low to zero. We can’t speak for other providers, but for StoreHub, our GST-compliance implementation might cost our customers mostly time (which we are trying to mitigate), and no additional ringgits.

5. What About My Tax Invoices & GST Reports?

Althought it is zero-rated, it’s still GST. Every mechanism/implementation/rule/law according to the GST Act 2014 still applies (this means tax invoices, annual GST reports, etc). The only difference is that now, your tax is 0.

6. What About Future Tax Codes? SST?

There’s some uncertainty for the future at the moment. The Ministry of Finance has already released a statement to confirm that Sales and Services Tax (SST) will be reintroduced somewhere down the line.

In Summary:
  • Talk to your POS vendor
  • Change your SR tax codes to 0%
  • You still have to issue GST invoices and file GST reports
  • You still have to be GST-registered if your taxable turnover is >RM500,000 (within 12 months).
  • You might need to adjust your pricing

All in all, the general sentiment around the GST announcement is positive. While it might be a hassle at first for businesses, business owners and experts feel that the zero-rating of GST will spur consumer spending, and ultimately drive the domestic economy.

We’ll be updating the article here as we go along and if new information comes in.

This article was written and contributed by the team at StoreHub. It was first published here under the title of “Zero-Rated GST For Malaysian Business Owners: What Does This Mean?”. StoreHub is an iPad POS and retail management platform, serving 3,800+ businesses in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

Feature Image Credit: Khalzuri Yazid on flikr

The post 0% GST In June: 6 Must-Know Things For M’sian Business Owners Before The Switch appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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It was a typical weekday for Rainier Paolo Punzalan – he was driving his old Toyota Land Cruiser BJ70 to work in Clark, Pampanga, when the car suddenly stopped along M.A. Roxas Avenue.

“I am personally very fond of this old 4×4 vehicle and every time I try to start my car, I’ll pray “please start, please start, please start”, said Punzalan.

“My personal mechanic could not come all the way from San Fernando to service my car so I felt helpless. Many of my colleagues were passing by and they asked me what had happened, but I was too embarrassed to take their time and ask for help.”

“I ended up spending half the day solving my problem.”

This particular incident inspired Punzalan to establish a car service startup called Larin, which means ‘fix’ in Kapampangan.

Auto Repair Is Just A Few Clicks Away

Launched last October, Larin is a mobile app that connects car owners to auto shops for emergency repairs and maintenance services.

Best of all? Its service is available 24/7.

Image Credit: Larin

For auto repair, customers can make a service request in-app and simply input problem details.

This will allow the auto-shops to pre-diagnose the car problem before a mechanic heads to the client’s location to fix his/her car.

On average, Larin’s mechanics can arrive within 10 to 20 minutes upon request.

Customers can also book and schedule a car maintenance service via the mobile app.

Larin will then send a price quotation, which the client has to confirm before the request pushes through.

According to Punzalan, Larin now has seven partnering auto shops – all accredited by the Department of Trade and Industry – and 40 mechanics catering to the needs of their clients.

Overcoming Speed Bumps

Image Credit: Larin

Just like any other startups, Larin has encountered speed bumps along the way – particularly in the area of mobile app development – before it was officially introduced to the public.

“The app we first built was very complicated and consumed too much of our time. We wasted two months on it before we finally decided to go for a simpler app, which we made in just a month,” said Punzalan.

But Punzalan remains optimistic, and sees this setback as a learning point instead.

Do not overthink, and do not burn time and money thinking if the market will accept it or not. Go talk to your market instead and you’ll eventually figure out what to do next along the way.

Five months into the startup journey, Punzalan is now focused on creating a solid base of customers and service providers for Larin.

He said that the app is still in its beta stage and its service is only available in Pampanga.

Despite this, Larin has managed to secure 300 registered users onboard its platform.

As such, Punzalan is confident that Larin will be able to launch the final version of the app by October or November.

“This year will be great because we are cooking something new for our customers. We are working on launching a more convenient way of maintaining your cars and hopefully, we can also expand to Metro Manila this year.”

Download the Larin app for free on Google Play and Apple App Store here.

Featured Image Credit: Larin 

The post How A Car Breakdown Inspired This Philippines Startup To Be An ‘Uber’ For Auto-Repair Services appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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“Derek, how do I know if someone is a good boss during an interview?”

A young, eager graduate asked me this question during one of my talks.

“What do you mean by a good boss?” I replied.

“Well, I want to avoid those horrible bosses I read about where they are always unreasonable and don’t care about their employees. I want a kind boss that can be my mentor.”

I paused for a moment.

This made me think about all the thousands of articles I have read about “leadership”, which paints the ideal boss as a kind, inspiring mentor, that will empower and trust their people. And I imagine this young graduate asking me this question is conflicted between how these articles describe a good boss, with the actual bosses that are out there.

It’s a valid concern because choosing the wrong boss can be damaging to your career, sometimes permanently.

So I started thinking about all my previous bosses that actually made a positive impact on who I am today. To my surprise, none of my previous bosses were one of these “good bosses” that those articles described.

My first boss was horrible but I owe him my career.

“Derek, I want a cup of coffee on my desk every morning, black with no sugar.”

Michael drinks too much coffee. I probably make him at least five cups a day. He runs an accounting firm in London, and he decided to hire me to be a junior accountant which was great because I needed some income while I did my professional accounting papers.

He was one of these “horrible bosses” described by these leadership articles today.

“Why is this taking so long, Derek? It’s already the second day I don’t see much work done. Were you doing any work yesterday?” Michael said sarcastically.

“I have been working hard on this. It took five days last year and now you only gave me three days, there’s not enough time,” I complained meekly.

Michael had a bad temper, and even though I felt it was unfair, I tried my best to control my emotions because I really needed this job.

“The client is pressuring us on fees, so you will do the same work in less time. If I don’t see it completed by tomorrow morning, I am going to be very disappointed,” Michael replied.

Michael never bothered to sit down with me to explain how I can work faster and better. No “mentoring” the way these leadership articles say a mentor was supposed to be. He just let me figure it out myself, and at the end of every assignment, he would be sure I would receive the criticism I deserved.

I don’t think I’ve worked so efficiently before this. I was always kind of relaxed during university but the real world felt harsh. Nevertheless, despite what I felt was unfair, I worked really hard and completed the work the next morning.

Michael looked my work, and as he was going through each page, his ears started to turn red and I knew this was not a good sign. He looked up, and instead of praising me for being so efficient, he started berating me for all the mistakes I made in my work.

“I expected more from you, Derek! These mistakes shouldn’t be made by you!”

Doesn’t matter if I had to work tirelessly to complete the work in record time. Michael will never allow me to have a single excuse for producing mediocre work.

This was just one of many similar experiences I had working with Michael.

I believe many people today visualise a mentor as someone that patiently guides them through your work, almost spoon-fed like they’re in a class. But I learned a lot from Michael not because of any “mentoring”, but through all this direct, transparent criticism I got from him every time I made a mistake.

And I got better and better at my work, and always held myself to high standards, because I knew if I didn’t, Michael would not hesitate to remind me of my shortcomings.

The Right Intentions

After many months working for Michael, one day, something unexpected happened.

“Derek, I know you think I’m being horrible to you, but this is the only way you’re going to learn fast. I want you to know that I will always hold you accountable to a high standard even though you are only a junior accountant. This is how my first boss coached me, and this is how I am coaching you.”

He said this in such a calm manner, and it took me by surprise. I felt his sincerity in his words and intention to teach and help me grow. Don’t think it ever crossed my mind that he was trying to coach me.

While I don’t agree with him on his style completely, I feel fortunate that he set such a high bar for me as my first boss.

He was never an “understanding boss” and his uncompromising attitude made me into a professional with high standards and strong work ethics—an attitude that I carry with me today as a business owner.

The “nice boss” will hurt your career.

“Does Alex know that he shouldn’t be doing that again?” I asked one of our senior team.

“Yes, I mentioned it to him a few months ago,” said John.

“But why is he still doing it?”

“I wasn’t too direct, I kind of said it my way, in a better way so as to not sound too harsh.”

“It’s clear the message didn’t get through to him because he has not changed. It’s been a few months, and now when this person is not performing, you’re telling me that you sugarcoated the message and haven’t made it clear to him that this a serious problem?”

This is a typical conversation I have with a “nice boss”, who struggle to clearly criticise the work of their team because either:

  1. They misunderstand being a good boss as being an understanding boss.
  2. They don’t like conflict.
  3. They are vain and care too much about what other people think about them and want to be seen as a “good boss”.
  4. They are afraid that their staff will leave them so they are nice, but realise that they are only thinking about themselves and not you.

Apple's Jony Ive on the Lessons He Learned From Steve Jobs - YouTube

A clip about Jony Ive describing why Steve Jobs is so direct with his criticism.

If you report to a nice boss like this, unfortunately you’re never going to grow.

Because you will always think you’re better than you actually are. And when you’re frustrated as to why you’re not growing in your career (the market is never “nice” and will always adjust you to your true value), you’ll be trapped feeling like a victim.

You won’t realise that it was your boss’ unwillingness to clearly and transparently criticise you that made you stuck.

Think about your current boss. Is he or she like this? If they are, I encourage you to have an honest conversation with them and demand for real feedback. Make them feel safe that you can take this feedback.

“Tough” Is Better Than “Nice”

Sometimes I hear people complaining about their bosses not being understanding and having unreasonable expectations of them.

But ultimately, it’s a question of comfort versus growth. If you’re thinking “why can’t growth also be comfortable?” then I would say growth = change and all change is naturally uncomfortable. So if you want a boss that is easy on you, then you’re probably going to to be in your comfort zone and grow slower than those with a tougher boss and higher expectations.

Assuming you’re serious about building a strong foundation for your career, and you had to choose between a nice boss that won’t criticise you and push you out of your comfort zone, and a tough one that can be stressful to work for in the short term, I would ask you to choose this tough boss over the nice boss.

People often don’t reach their full potential without high standards and expectations imposed on them.

Don’t let a nice boss keep you in your comfort zone and hurt your career, with their misguided concept of what a good boss is.

A tough boss is contributing more to your career growth than you realise.

This article was written and contributed by Derek Toh. It was first published here. Derek is the founder of WOBB, a job application platform for millennials who value the importance of good working culture.

Feature Image credit: Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

The post What’s A Good Boss? No, It’s Not The Nice Ones. appeared first on Vulcan Post.

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