1. Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir meets government top brass
  2. Dzulkifli resigns as MACC Chief Commissioner
  3. Media statement on abolition of GST in fake
  4. FMM, ACCCIM pledge to work with new government to boost economy
  5. Fitch affirms Malaysia rating at ‘A-‘
  6. Explosion hits police HQ in Indonesia’s Surabaya

Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir meets government top brass
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad kicked off his first official government meeting in Putrajaya today as he presided over a high-level meeting with the government top brass. The meeting on the implementation of 10 promises in 100 days was attended by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, ministry secretaries-general and directors-general. Prior to the meeting, Tun Dr Mahathir had a brief one-to-one meeting with Tan Sri Dr Ali.

Dzulkifli resigns as MACC Chief Commissioner
Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad today resigned as the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). His resignation letter was submitted to Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa this morning. Tan Sri Dzulkifli was appointed as the chief commissioner of MACC effective 1 August 2016 and his term of office was until July 31, 2021.

Media statement on abolition of GST in fake
A letter purportedly by the Finance Ministry declaring that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be abolished in June is fake. The Finance Ministry has officially debunked the letter, which bears the Minister’s official and which has been going viral on social media and via WhatsApp. The ministry posted a photograph of the alleged statement with a strikethrough and the word “palsu” (fake). The fake letter also claimed that there would be no new taxes introduced for two years and that the Sales and Services Tax will only be introduced in 2020. The newly elected Pakatan Harapan government had pledged to abolish GST, but has noted that this would take some time. Senior tax consultants said the law governing GST has to be repealed and a new law on SST has to be passed in Parliament first. “For this to happen, a Parliament sitting must take place. Legally the GST cannot be replaced with the SST overnight,” said one tax consultant.

FMM, ACCCIM pledge to work with new government to boost economy
Two major industry bodies, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), have expressed their desire to work hand in hand with the new Pakatan Harapan government to come up with policies that both strengthen the economy and promote ease of doing business. ACCCIM said it looks forward to providing views and recommendations on economic policies to the new government through consultations and interaction sessions. “In particular, the ACCCIM is keen to work alongside the new government in creating a business friendly environment, reducing the cost of doing business as well as encouraging more foreign direct investment in order to further enhance national economic development,” it said in a statement. ACCCIM is confident that the new government will formulate more policies that are open, equal and fair to all rakyat and that it is committed to working closely with the government to strive for national unity and harmony, and mutual cooperation for the development and advancement of the country. FMM, in pledging its continued cooperation with the government, expressed its hope that there will be a closer relationship between the public and private sectors to reduce regulatory burdens so that Malaysian industries can be more competitive in the global market. “FMM welcomes new initiatives to strengthen the governance and economy of our country. We pledge our support to work closely with the new government for a better and more prosperous Malaysia,” it said in its statement.

Fitch affirms Malaysia rating at ‘A-‘
The surprise victory of the Pakatan Harapan coalition in Malaysia’s 14th general election means a much higher likelihood of fiscal and economic policy change, says Fitch Ratings. The global rating agency affirmed its A- rating on Malaysia with a stable outlook, noting the election result was unlikely to lead to significant economic policy shift. However, Fitch highlighted policy slippage leading to deterioration in fiscal discipline and higher government debt or deficits as a negative rating sensitivity. “The extent to which the new government’s agenda will shift major policy is uncertain, but the PH victory and its policy platform indicate a much greater potential for change. Among the most notable proposals is the replacement of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was launched in 2015, with the narrower sales and services tax (SST) that had preceded it. “The GST has become a key source of government revenue, accounting for 18% of total revenue, equivalent to just over 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. “By comparison, the SST accounted for only 8% of total revenue and 1.6% of GDP in 2014. As such, absent offsetting measures, the replacement of the GST would result in a correspondingly higher deficit,” Fitch added.

Explosion hits police HQ in Indonesia’s Surabaya
A vehicle explosion occurred at the police headquarters in Surabaya on today, a day after Islamist militants launched suicide attacks on churches in the country’s second largest city. Police said the blast occurred at 8.50 am local time, at the checkpoint outside the building. Police confirmed that four perpetrators who used two motorcycles during the explosion are dead; an 8-year-old child who was on one of the motorcycles survived and was taken to hospital. An earlier police update said that four police officers and six civilians were taken to hospital.

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