• Budget 2018 expected to bring in RM350 Billion worth of construction project
  • Maximum interest rate on credit sales to be enforced on 1 January 2018
  • DFTZ Goes Live Tomorrow
  • Online Hiring Up 7 Per Cent Higher in September
  • NTUC launches Start.Sure for startups

Budget 2018 Expected to Bring in RM350 Billion Worth of Construction Projects – MBAM
Construction projects worth RM350 billion are expected to come on stream over the next two to three years with the announcement of Budget 2018. Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) President, Foo Chek Lee (pic) said outstanding projects in the construction industry are estimated to be worth at least RM138 billion currently. He said while Budget 2018 did not specifically mention allocations for the construction industry, the government had allocated RM2.2 billion for public housing projects such as 1Malaysia People’s Housing Programme (PR1MA). “Affordable housing projects under Budget 2018 like PR1MA, apart from rail transportation projects such as Mass Rapid Transit Line 3 or Circle Line, among others, will definitely spur the construction industry in Malaysia and stimulate economic growth,” he said.

Parliament: Maximum Interest Rate on Credit Sales to Be Enforced on 1 January 2018
The maximum fixed interest rate of 15 per cent per annum that can be imposed by companies providing credit facilities will be enforced on 1 January 2018, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said this followed the adoption of the Consumer Protection (Credit Sale) Regulations 2017 passed before the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April to address the problem of high interest rates charged on credit sale transactions. “Companies providing credit facilities can no longer charge interest rates of more than 15 per cent per annum. He said following several consultations with the industry held early this year, it was found that the interest rate charged could reach as high as 35 per cent per annum. He said those who violated the new legislation, if convicted, would be fined not exceeding RM100,000 for a body corporate, while a non-corporate body would face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years.

Huge Stride into the World of Digital Economy as DFTZ Goes Live Tomorrow
Malaysia’s stride into the world of digital economy will become a reality when the visionary digital free trade zone (DFTZ) goes live tomorrow. The initiative, said to be the world’s first DFTZ outside China, was launched in March. DFTZ is now ready to go live with the launch of its logistics operations and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will flag-off more than 1,500 Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for them to begin their export journey. Among others, DFTZ will provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the Internet economy and cross-border e-commerce activities. The set-up will include an e-fulfillment hub, satellite services hub and an e-services platform to stimulate growth in electronic trade which will also function to support Internet companies to trade goods, provide services, innovate and co-create solutions.

Online Hiring Up 7 Per Cent Higher in September
Online hiring activity in Malaysia recorded a seven per cent growth in September 2017 over the same month last year, with the oil and gas (O&G) sector emerging as the best-performing sector, according to the latest Monster Employment Index. The index, a gauge of online job posting activities, is compiled monthly by Monster.com. In a statement today, Monster.com said, the O&G sector recorded 37 per cent year-on-year growth in online hiring, followed by the information technology, telecommunications/Internet services provider and business process outsourcing/Internet-enabled services, which recorded 34 per cent growth. Monster.com APAC and Middle East Managing Director, Sanjay Modi, said the steady shift from an established manufacturing base to digital technology and advanced skills boosted Malaysia’s job market with new opportunities. “This is good news. However, to remain relevant and employable, talent at all levels must continue to upskill to meet the dynamic needs of the workforce,” he said.

NTUC Income launches Start.Sure for startups
NTUC Income has launched Start.Sure, the industry’s first self-service digital platform, designed for new startups that have been incorporated between one and five years and are employing between two and 15 full-time staff, to not just purchase but also manage employee benefit insurance with ease. Additionally, Start.Sure offers three employee benefit plans – Energiser, Turbo Booster and Super Charger – that cater specifically to meet the employee protection needs of startups at different life stages and scale as they offer employees peace of mind. Start.Sure complements the development of a dynamic start-up ecosystem in Singapore by supporting startups’ quest to attract and retain talents, as they look to protect their companies’ most valuable asset – employees.