Highlights:

  1. No Malaysians on Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia
  2. Xiamen Airlines Selects Ingenico to Optimize Global Online Payments
  3. Investment in services, manufacturing, primary sectors up 17.7 per cent in 1H 2018
  4. PEPS: Inheritance tax may further dampen property market
  5. Government urged to tackle mismatch between graduate skills, market needs
  6. Tabung Harapan ceases after 31 December 2018

Indonesian rescuers retrieve body parts from Lion Air crash site
Indonesian rescuers have begun retrieving body parts after a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta today. Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said all 189 people on board were “likely” killed. Flight JT610 plunged into the sea 13 minutes after leaving Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Its destination was Pangkal Pinang, east of Sumatra, on Bangka island. Indonesia’s search and rescue agency confirmed the crash of flight JT610, adding that it lost contact with ground officials 13 minutes after takeoff. A tugboat leaving the capital’s port had seen the craft falling, the agency said. A total of 181 passengers – including two infants and one child – were on board the flight, the agency said. Two pilots and six crew members were also on board. The finance ministry said about 20 of its employees were on the plane.

In Putrajaya, Wisma Putra said no Malaysians were reported so far to be on board the flight. It said in a statement that the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta had been in touch with the local authorities on the details of the 181 passengers on board the ill-fated aircraft. “The embassy will continue to be in close contact with the local authorities to monitor the latest developments,” Wisma Putra said.

Xiamen Airlines Selects Ingenico to Optimize Global Online Payments
Ingenico Group, the global leader in seamless payment, has signed a partnership agreement with Chinese carrier Xiamen Airlines, to provide the online payments infrastructure for the company. As one of Asia’s fastest-growing airlines, Xiamen Airlines’ customers come from many different markets, which has led to a complex payments infrastructure. To sustain growth and simplify their payment operations, the company wanted to improve online payments acceptance with complied global Payment Service Providers like Ingenico. This will enable the carrier to increase the number of local payment methods and currencies it accepts, and help optimize the customer experience when purchasing airline tickets online. Xiamen Airlines covers a network of around 400 domestic and international destinations, with one of the most modern fleets in the world. The company was recognized as ‘The Airline Offering the Best Services’ by Chinese passengers for years. Ingenico works with many of the world’s best-known brands from the Travel & Tourism industry.

Investment in services, manufacturing, primary sectors up 17.7 per cent in 1H 2018
Malaysia continues to attract new approved direct investments in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors in the first half of 2018 (1H 2018) with a total of RM80.2 billion, an increase of 17.7 per cent over the same period last year (RM68.2 billion). Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in its statement today said the country’s services sector continued to account for the largest share of approved investments, contributing 63.5 per cent or RM50.9 billion. The manufacturing sector remains resilient and recorded approved investments of RM20.2 billion from 287 manufacturing projects for 1H 2018 compared to RM16.7 billion from 299 manufacturing projects in the same period last year. Meanwhile, the primary sector contributed RM9.1 billion or 11.3 per cent to the total approved projects in 1H 2018. “The investments approved in January to June were from 2,346 projects. These are expected to generate 60,181 job opportunities for Malaysia,” said MIDA.

PEPS: Inheritance tax may further dampen property market
The Association of Valuers, Property Managers, Estate Agents and Property Consultants in the Private Sector Malaysia (PEPS) said it is inappropriate to introduce the inheritance tax now despite the need for the government to widen its tax base to raise revenue. It said the implementation would further dampen the property market and if the inheritance tax were recommended in the 2019 Budget, the minimum threshold should be RM10 million and the inheritance rate at five per cent of RM10 million and above. It said it understood that the government was toiling with the idea of imposing taxes like the inheritance tax and real property gains tax to tide over the shortfall of revenue from the withdrawal of the goods and services tax and the introduction of the sales and services tax, as well as to lessen its debts and liabilities of RM1.087 trillion.

Government urged to tackle mismatch between graduate skills, market needs
The government needs to address the mismatch between the skills of university graduates and the needs of today’s employers, said Kelly Services Malaysia Deputy General Manager Brian Sim. While technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) graduates were in huge demand, the lack of soft skills, communication and critical thinking were among the main reasons for unemployment among graduates, he said. “The youth unemployment rate in 2017 was at 10.8 per cent and the figure has been static since 2015. “Hence, the 2019 Budget needs to address this with initiatives that will empower our talent pool and help employers build a strong pipeline of Malaysian graduates that can rightfully address the talent shortage in key sectors,” he said in a statement today. Aside from tackling the talent mismatch, Sim also hoped that the budget would include measures to encourage women participation in the workforce and create a more balanced workforce.

No more Tabung Harapan after 31 December; almost RM200m collected so far
The Cabinet has agreed to cease collections for the Tabung Harapan Malaysia on December 31, nearly seven months after it was first set up. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that as of 3pm today, some RM196.3 million have been collected from various individuals, organisations and bodies. These include the interest from fixed deposit investments administered by the National Audit Department. “An external auditing firm has also been appointed to audit the Tabung Harapan account, in line with Section 7 of the Audit Act 1957, to ensure it has been managed with integrity and in order,” he said in a statement. Lim said the government remains sincere in ensuring contributions to the fund are ‘clean’. “This is exemplified by the refusal of RM100 million donation from a foreign company, who is suspected of harbouring ulterior motives for the donation.