Highlights:

  1. PM says government will not compromise on corruption
  2. Fitch Affirms Malaysia at ‘A-‘; Outlook Stable
  3. MITI to review anti-dumping duties on HRC from China and Indonesia
  4. PAC prepared to investigate 1MDB
  5. India to send manned flight into space by 2022

No compromise over corruption, PM tells ministers, PTD Officers
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there would be no compromise in the case of government leaders and officers found to be involved in corruption. “No pity, no consideration and no cover-up,” he said when addressing Cabinet ministers and about 3,500 administrative and diplomatic officers (PTD) at a town hall session in Putrajaya. He said government leaders, including the Prime Minister, must set a good example in combating corruption and in declaring their assets.

Fitch Affirms Malaysia at ‘A-‘; Outlook Stable
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Malaysia’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘A-‘ with a Stable Outlook. It said Malaysia’s Long-Term IDRs are supported by solid economic growth and a net external creditor position built up from a record of current-account surpluses. These strengths are offset by elevated government and private sector debt, and low per capita income and World Bank governance scores relative to rating peers. The affirmation not only takes into consideration measures such as the rollback of the goods and services tax (GST), but also the stated intention to reduce fiscal deficits and improve governance. The agency has raised its estimate of central government debt at end-2017 to around 65% of GDP, from 50.8%, following the government’s recognition that it will need to service a large share of explicitly guaranteed debt. This estimate may be further revised as more details become available. The authorities expect to meet the original budget deficit target of 2.8% of GDP for 2018 through offsetting measures, including a review of large infrastructure projects and the reintroduction of the sales and services tax with full-year revenue of 1.6% of GDP that had been replaced by the GST (full-year revenue of 3% of GDP) under the previous government. The authorities also expect additional oil revenue of 0.4% of GDP due to higher global oil prices and dividends from government-linked enterprises providing an additional 0.3% of GDP in revenue. On the expenditure side, the authorities plan to cut operational and development spending by MYR10 billion (0.7% of GDP) in 2018.

MITI undertakes review of anti-dumping duties on HRC from China and Indonesia
The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) has initiated administrative review of anti-dumping duties on the import of hot rolled coils from China and Indonesia.  MITI said it had received a petition from interested parties last month, requesting for an administrative review of anti-dumping duties on the imports of hot rolled coils, chequered coils, as well as, pickled and oiled coils. The request was made based on the ground that there was no more local production of hot rolled coils in Malaysia.

PAC prepared to investigate 1MDB
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is prepared to investigate the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal if there is any request for it. PAC Chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said, “The PAC was set up by Parliament and we too are responsible to the Parliament and the PAC report will be returned to Parliament. If there is such a motion, the PAC will certainly investigate,” he said after a PAC meeting in Kuala Lumpur. “Definitely we will ask the Auditor-General first to brief us on what was the extent of investigation done before this. Because we are the new committee,” he said. He explained that his focus now was to study the Auditor-General’s Report and two major issues that he declined to disclose, and all these matters would take a long time to resolve.

India will send manned flight into space by 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will launch its first manned space mission into space by 2022, making it the fourth country to do so after Russia, the US and China. Modi announced this today in his last Independence Day speech ahead of next year’s general election. “India is proud of our scientists, who are excelling in their research and are at the forefront of innovation,” Modi said. As part of its own space programme, active since the 1960s, India has launched scores of satellites for itself and other countries and successfully put one in orbit around Mars in 2014. It hopes to showcase its technological ability to explore the solar system while also using research from space and elsewhere to solve problems at home. The US$1 billion-a-year space programme has already helped develop satellite, communication and remote-sensing technologies and has been used to gauge underground water levels and predict weather in the country prone to cycles of drought and flood. It is aiming to send an unmanned mission to the moon in January 2019, the Indian Space Research Organisation announced last week.