1. Government assures no increase in GST
  2. MIHAS 2018 rakes in Sales of RM1.52 billion
  3. Amazon Launches International Shopping App
  4. Starbucks to close all 8,000 company-owned US stores for racial tolerance training

DPM: Government will not raise GST rate, even after GE14
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government will not raise the Goods and Service Tax (GST) of six per cent even after the 14th General Election. He said this was because the government had made a calculation and found that the existing rate was sufficient and could contribute to the country’s revenue of more than RM40 billion. He added that in the 2018 Budget the government also projected an increase in revenue from oil and gas to about US$70 per barrel from US$52 per barrel previously.

Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2018 rakes in Sales of RM1.52 billion
The Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2018 recorded higher sales of RM1.52 billion compared with RM1.01 billion last year. The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) as the organiser of the event said sales were mainly contributed by two main components, namely the exhibition itself and a business matching programme called the International Sourcing Programme (INSP). “Sales from the exhibition rose 29 per cent to RM914.57 million from RM708.82 million in 2017, while the INSP generated sales of RM602.45 million, an increase of 99.5 per cent from RM301.99 million last year,” it added. MATRADE said the top performing sectors at the halal trade event were prepared food, which recorded RM407.20 million in sales, and making up a 44.5 per cent share of total sales. On the INSP held on April 3, MATRADE said it had attracted more than 182 prospective foreign buyers from 39 countries, with 2,094 business meetings arranged between the international buyers and 428 Malaysian exporters. “Among the top countries with the highest export sales for Malaysian companies at the INSP were China (RM310.46 million or contributing 51.5 per cent share of total sales), India (RM75.61 million or 12.6 per cent share), Poland (RM71.34 million or 11.8 per cent share), Thailand (RM21.70 million or 3.6 per cent share) and the United States (RM20.13 million or 3.3 per cent share),” it said. MATRADE said the four-day event from April 4, attracted 778 exhibitors from 32 countries and witnessed the first-time participation of Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. MIHAS 2018 received more than 21,000 visitors, comprising local and international companies, associations and foreign delegations with 33 Memorandums of Understanding also inked during the event.

Amazon Launches the International Shopping Experience in the Amazon Shopping App
Amazon launched the ‘International Shopping’ experience within the Amazon Shopping App, making it possible for international customers to browse and shop over 45million eligible items that can be shipped to their country from the United States. This experience is available on mobile browser and mobile app within the Amazon Shopping App for both iOS and Android mobile devices. The International Shopping experience offers shopping in 5 languages, including English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, German, and Brazilian Portuguese, with the ability to shop in 25 currencies. This makes it easier than ever for customers to get the best of Amazon and shop with ease in their local currency. Customers can choose from different shipping options and delivery speeds, depending on how quickly they want their package to arrive.

Starbucks to close all 8,000 company-owned US stores for racial tolerance training
Starbucks Corp will close all 8,000 of its company-owned US cafes for the afternoon on May 29 so 175,000 employees can undergo racial tolerance training in response to protests and calls for boycotts after the arrest of two black men waiting in a Philadelphia store. The company said that it will also provide training materials for non-company workers at the roughly 6,000 licensed Starbucks cafes that will remain open in locations such as grocery stores and airports. The announcement from world’s biggest coffee company comes as it tries to cool tensions after the Philadelphia incident last week sparked accusations of racial profiling at the chain, which is the subject of a boycott campaign on social media. Even if the threatened boycott does not materialise, the 8,000 temporary store closures will almost certainly have an impact on sales. Starbucks did not say how many hours the stores would be shuttered on May 29, but the afternoon is the slowest time for Starbucks’ business.