Highlights:

  1. PM says Malaysia will remain business-friendly
  2. KL city plan 2020-2040 to be drafted end of 2019
  3. Positive response for ASEAN M&E show
  4. Confidence in M&A market remains strong in Southeast Asia
  5. Singapore ratifies CPTPP
  6. Singapore’s Kampong Glam launches 5 new digital initiatives

Malaysia to be business-friendly
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today assured that Malaysia will continue to be a business-friendly nation and will not be corrupt to attract more inflows of foreign and domestic direct investments. He said the new government would enhance anti-corruption practices to ensure a clean business environment and fair play. At the same time, it is also reviving the Malaysia Incorporated (Malaysia Inc.) policy to foster close cooperation between the government and the private sector. “This government is a new government and it will be business-friendly. It will not be corrupt. I know some business people are worried if they deal with a person who is corrupt, some retaliation might occur by the person concerned or his colleagues. “We will protect you from any retaliation. We want a clean government and I believe so do you,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s (ACCCIM) 72nd annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysia Inc. was introduced in 1981 and the concept is premised on the belief and conviction that the economic growth and overall development of the country can be facilitated by strong collaboration between the private and public sectors. Dr Mahathir reiterated that the country must never reject foreign direct investments as there would always be new inventions and products that Malaysia had no knowledge of. “Today, we see many factories in Malaysia (which are) started, owned and operated by Malaysians without any foreign investments but we still need foreign investments because we know that there are new technologies being developed and must be mastered if we are going to compete with the rest of the world,” he added.

Tun Dr Mahathir pointed out that Malaysia was in the process of recovery and it would take time for a complete reversal of the wrongs that were committed in the past. “Rest assured that we are determined to do so and we need the feedback from the business community so that what we do, will be good for the country and certainly for the business community. “We accept the fact that the business community will be the greatest contributor towards enriching this country,” he explained. Dr Mahathir said the new government had made considerable progress in the administration and was introducing new laws to replace draconian ones which were not in line with most of the country’s development.

KL city plan 2020-2040 to be drafted end of 2019
The Kuala Lumpur City Plan (KLCP) 2020-2040 will be drafted by end of next year in a bid to turn the capital into a world-class city. Federal Territories (FT) Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said the plan was necessary to continue the city development planning, overcome traffic congestion and eventually improve the quality of life of city dwellers. “The plan was initially scheduled to be gazetted in 2015, but it was postponed. Only the structural plan (Kuala Lumpur Structural Plan 2020) was gazetted.” “Before 2020, we will prepare and put the plan on display for approval from all quarters before gazetting it so that there will be no issue of non-transparency,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur after attending a council meeting between his Ministry and DBKL.

ASEAN M&E show gets positive response from exhibitors
The three-day ASEAN M&E Show 2018, the region’s premier mechanical and electrical engineering (M&E) exhibition, has drawn positive response from exhibitors. Some of the exhibitors found resounding support from potential customers and are planning to expand their businesses to new markets, as well as promote their businesses across the ASEAN region. Organised by UBM Malaysia, the ASEAN M&E Show 2018 started on July 17 and ended on Thursday. Chint Electrics Co. Executive Director Tey Siang Leng said he was looking for new traders to expand his market reach and had found a few at the show. Speaking to Bernama News Channel, he said given the importance in safety and security, he believed that the demand was always there for the company’s products.

Confidence in M&A market remains strong in Southeast Asia
A survey from EY found that confidence in the local merger and acquisition (M&A) market remains strong with about three-quarters of Southeast Asia (SEA) respondents (73 per cent) saying it is improving, up from 53 per cent six months ago. This was based on findings from the 18th EY Global capital Confidence Barometer, a biannual survey of 2,500 executives across 43 countries, including 180 from SEA (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). However, the survey said despite the upbeat sentiments, SEA companies appeared to experience challenges in completing deals as 83 per cent of respondents shared that they failed to complete, or cancelled, a planned acquisition in the past 12 months. “The reasons include competition from other buyers or disagreement in price of valuation (54 per cent), concerns about competition or antitrust views (22 per cent) and intervention by activist investors (15 per cent),” it said. EY Asean Transaction Advisory Services Leader Vikram Chakravarty said more effective and structured portfolio transformation may be necessary to ensure that deals are successfully closed.

Singapore ratifies the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
Singapore has ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), becoming the third nation to do so after Mexico and Japan. The CPTPP will enter into force 60 days after six of the 11 signatories ratify the Agreement. The CPTPP is a high-quality agreement which will reduce market barriers and foster trade in a combined market of 500 million people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$10 trillion. The Agreement establishes rules in new areas such as E-Commerce. Negotiations on the CPTPP were concluded on 23 January 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, and the Agreement was subsequently signed on 8 March 2018 in Santiago, Chile. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said, “The CPTPP is an important agreement that will complement Singapore’s existing network of bilateral free trade agreements. It will strengthen trade among countries in the Asia-Pacific, resulting in a more seamless flow of goods, services and investment. Against the current backdrop of trade tensions and anti-globalisation sentiments, the CPTPP sends a strong signal of our commitment to trade liberalisation and a rules-based trading system. The CPTPP is an open and inclusive Agreement and we welcome like-minded parties to join the CPTPP after it has entered into force.”

Kampong Glam launches 5 new digital initiatives with 150 merchants on board Kampong Glam, Singapore’s first digitally-enabled neighbourhood, has launched five initiatives in its first phase to help traditional businesses there succeed in a Digital Economy, with about 150 merchants already benefitting from the transformation. The neighbourhood transformation project is led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), in collaboration with Enterprise Singapore, One Kampong Gelam (OKG) association and the Singapore Malay Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI). It is aimed at strengthening the neighbourhood’s appeal to digitally savvy consumers and visitors interested in an experiential retail experience, and helping businesses become more productive through technology. To further enhance the digital capabilities of the Kampong Glam neighbourhood, OKG is working with key stakeholders to explore new ideas for a second phase of transformation, which may include pervasive outdoor Wi-Fi coverage, intelligent digital signages, Internet of Things-based visual identifiers, social media-based brand identity and e-commerce capabilities.