Headlines:

  1. Finance Ministry delegation in Japan to woo international investors
  2. IRB urges individuals with overseas bank accounts to declare income
  3. Sister of Thai king Princess Ubolratana to run for PM in March election
  4. Hotel cooking school awarded Michelin star in Switzerland

Finance Ministry delegation in Japan to woo international investors
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is leading a high-powered delegation on a three-day investor roadshow in Japan ahead of the issuance of the RM7.4 billion Samurai bond to Malaysia by the Japanese government. In a statement today, the Finance Ministry said the roadshow which started on February 6, was to promote Malaysia as a stable and high-potential investment destination. It was also aimed at giving the international investing community confidence to take part in the forthcoming Samurai Bond issuance valued at 200 billion Yen (RM7.42 billion) and guaranteed by the Japan Bank Investment Corporation (JPIC). Lim said in the statement that international investors were confident in Malaysia’s economic potential as well as the current Government’s ability to drive the nation’s economy forward. The roadshow involved 20 participants, including the Treasury Secretary-General, Datuk Ahmad Badri bin Mohd Zahir, Treasury Deputy Secretary-General, Datuk Siti Zauyah Md Desa, and Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Marzunisham Omar. The Finance Ministry said that the the roadshow was organised by Daiwa Markets Limited (in collaboration with Affin Hwang Investment Berhad), HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad, and Mizuho Bank (Malaysia) Berhad, as co-lead arrangers appointed by the Finance Ministry, for the purpose of the bond’s issuance. Bernama reported that the Samurai bond has a 10-year tenure, and is expected to be issued before March this year, via Japan Bank of International Cooperation at an indicative coupon of 0.65 per cent.

IRB urges individuals with overseas bank accounts to declare income
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has urged individuals with overseas bank accounts and those having previously undeclared income to report it immediately to the Board. The IRB said it had begun receiving information, particularly with regards to ownership of overseas bank accounts from September 2018, under the Automatic Exchange of information (AEOI) with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). “We have issued letters and sent e-mails targeting those taxpayers with overseas bank accounts and who have failed to file their tax returns as required. “Taxpayers in this category are requested to contact the IRB and report their income,” it added in a statement here today. The IRB has introduced the Special Programme for Voluntary Disclosure to enable taxpayers to make voluntary disclosures of income generated from sources within Malaysia and kept in overseas bank accounts, but not as yet reported to it. The government has also agreed to reduce the penalty for this from 300 per cent to 10 per cent if the income is reported by or before March 31, 2019 and 15 per cent, if done before or by June 30, 2019.

Sister of Thai king Princess Ubolratana to run for PM in March election
The elder sister of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya (pic), is running for prime minister in the country’s upcoming election on 24 March. The announcement was made by the Thai Raksa Chart Party today following widely circulated rumours that the 67-year-old would join politics under its banner. Thai Raksa Chart is an off-shoot of the Pheu Thai Party, formed by loyalists of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the core leadership of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), or “red shirts” group, as a strategy to help Pheu Thai win votes. “The party has nominated the princess as its sole candidate,” Thai Raksa Chart Party leader Preechapol Pongpanich told reporters after registering his party’s candidate at the Election Commission. “She is knowledgeable and is highly suitable. I believe there will be no legal problems in terms of her qualification, but we have to wait for the Election Commission to endorse her candidacy.” The Election Commission is required to endorse all candidates by 15 February.

Hotel cooking school awarded Michelin star in Switzerland
Michelin inspectors have bestowed a professional educational restaurant at prestigious hospitality management school L’Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne with a star, a first for Switzerland. Culinary students who worked at Le Berceau des Sens in 2018 are well on their way to greatness, it seems, as they helped their culinary training restaurant unlock the ultimate in gastronomic validation for many in the fine dining world. L’Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne is renowned as one of the leading hospitality management schools in the world. Other big winners in the Michelin Guide Switzerland 2019 include restaurants Pavillon at the Zurich-based hotel Baur au Lac and focus in Vitznau, both of which received two stars. The new additions round up the number of two-starred restaurants in Switzerland to 20. The same trio of restaurants which earned three stars last year retain their status this year: Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville, Schauenstein and Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl. Of the 105 one-starred restaurants, 21 are new additions. The results also highlight Vitznau as an emerging gourmet dining destination, with a sprinkling of Michelin-starred restaurants elevating the local culinary scene.