Highlights:

  1. PM to table Mid Term Review of 11MP tomorrow
  2. ACCA Malaysia’s month-long campaign marks global ethics day
  3. China’s SMEs improve availability, quality of financial services
  4. EU palm oil expert panel to visit Malaysia end-October
  5. Singapore government to reinvent Orchard Road

11MP mid-term review to recalibrate, realign initial goals
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be launching the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) 2016-2020 in Parliament tomorrow. Economists said the report would likely entail the mid-term achievements of the 11MP, as well as priorities going forward by the new government. Chief Economist of the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance, Dr Kamarudin Nor expects recalibration and realignment of the initial goals and objectives in the mid-term review against what had been achieved in the last two-and-a-half years. “Against the backdrop of volatility on the external front, as well as moderation in global growth, we anticipate lower medium-term growth trajectory for the remaining of 11MP. “The review also presents an opportunity for the government to pursue and prioritise areas of concern such as diversifying revenue sources, optimising expenditures, as well as managing the debt effectively,” he told Bernama. Balancing between pursuing growth objectives and fiscal discipline will be rather tricky and vital, he said, adding that the review would enable the government to focus on institutional and structural reform.

On the stock market perspective, Hermana Capital Bhd Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer Datuk Dr Nazri Khan Adam Khan said the 11MP mid-term review would provide the added boost to regain investors’ confidence, especially foreign investors. “We expect there will be new policies and incentives, especially to boost foreign direct investments (FDIs) so that Malaysia would remain attractive to foreign investors. “We also would expect a reversal of the previous Barisan Nasional government’s policies which had focused more on labour intensive industries, as well as the construction of mega projects,” he said. Hence, Datuk Dr Nazri Khan expects the new government to incorporate part of Pakatan Harapan’s promises in its manifesto in the 14th general election, among others, to attract more high-technology and less labour intensive industries. “I think there will be more high-tech and capital-intensive industries. We will expect more high-tech, more innovative and knowledge-based sectors to be given more priority,” he said, adding that the new government would announce more policies to tackle the rising cost of living, as well as unemployment. Going forward, he expects more special tax exemptions to be given to investment-related industries, especially for foreign investors. “Hopefully, this can cushion the rising outflow of funds that we saw over the last six months,” he said.

Launched in May 2015, the 11MP is Malaysia’s five-year development plan aimed at achieving Vision 2020 based on the National Development Strategy of Malaysia which focused on the development of people-based and capital-based economy with the implementation of high-impact projects. The 11-MP reaffirms the government’s commitment to a vision of growth, anchored on the prosperity and wellbeing of the people towards realising Vision 2020 and a comprehensive development. Productivity and innovation are the basic pillars for the plan based on six strategic thrusts, namely enhancing inclusiveness towards an equitable society; improving wellbeing for all; accelerating human capital development for an advanced nation; pursuing green growth for sustainability and resilience; strengthening infrastructure to support economic expansion; and re-engineering economic growth for greater prosperity.

ACCA Malaysia’s month-long campaign marks global ethics day
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Malaysia is leading a month-long nationwide ‘Doing the Right Thing’ i-Pledge Campaign in conjunction with 2018 Global Ethics Day (GED) to create an awareness and to encourage the practice of good ethics among Malaysians. The campaign for ACCA Malaysia will include a series of interactive activities and events that will be focused on creating and building awareness on ethics, and to reinforce that understanding by asking fellow Malaysians to make their own personal pledge on doing the right thing. ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee chair Datuk Merina Abu Tahir said: “Being ethical is about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Upholding good ethics is the responsibility of all, and together we can make a difference in the world, starting with ourselves and our country. “As the leading global body for professional accountants, it is even more crucial because ethics and professionalism are the foundations of the profession. Having strong ethical principles is at the heart of the ACCA Qualification, and we hope that it will provide our students, affiliates and members a clear moral compass to guide the business decisions they make on a daily basis.” ACCA is working with Carnegie Council and CFA Institute in the UK in supporting the GED 2018.

China’s SMEs improve availability, quality of financial services
China’s small-and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) showed improved availability and quality of financial services in the second quarter of 2018, according to the CCB-Xinhua Inclusive Finance-SME Index. The index was inaugurated in Beijing recently and is jointly compiled by the China Construction Bank (CCB) and China Economic Information Service (CEIS) under Xinhua News Agency. It includes four sub-indices; financing index, service index, development index and business index. According to CEIS in a statement, the index reflects the capability of Chinese financial system to provide convenient service at reasonable prices for SMEs and depicts the running situation and development status of inclusive finance for SMEs. In the second quarter of 2018, the development index and the business index for SMEs stayed at 55.41 and 54.80, respectively – both higher than the critical threshold of 50 and indicating the booming situation in the two fields.

EU palm oil expert panel to visit Malaysia end-October
The European Commission’s (EC) palm oil expert panel will make its first visit to Malaysia at the end of this month to address concerns over the sustainability of the palm oil industry. Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said she hoped the panel members would recognise Malaysia’s efforts towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals during their visit. “Such a move is extremely important for the European Union (EU) expert panel to get a first-hand account of Malaysia’s palm oil cultivation and processing practices. “This will enable them to appreciate the complexity of the operations needed to produce sustainable palm oil in Malaysia,” she told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia Maria Castillo Fernandez said the panel would comprise four experts and they would be visiting the plantations and engaging with the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, stakeholders and non-governmental organisations.

Plans to reinvent Singapore’s Orchard Road in the works
Plans are being drawn up to transform Singapore’s main shopping belt, Orchard Road (pic), into something more than rows of boutiques and malls. Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said the plans could include turning Orchard Road into an innovation district, where start-ups and social entrepreneurs use the precinct as a “living lab” to test out ideas for new retail concepts, urban logistics and environmental sustainability. It could also be “a green oasis in the city centre” or an urban garden for visitors, said Mr Chee. “Orchard Road can go beyond a road, to be an orchard in the city,” said Mr Chee. “It can be more than a shopping district to include a range of exciting activities and unique attractions that appeal to visitors, both tourists and locals,” he added. The plans for the precinct are currently being formulated in conjunction with various government agencies, business owners and industry players.