Highlights:

  1. MACC confirms Rosmah’s arrest
  2. Foreign workers with PLKS for 10 years may extend work permit for another 3 years
  3. Government likely to meet budget deficit target this year
  4. Malaysia’s export growth to slow down to 3.3 per cent in August
  5. Singapore begins trial of new electronic arrival card tomorrow
  6. Mitsui Outlet Park opens 20 new stores
  7. Womenwill Digital Workshop 2018 empowers women entrepreneurs to grow digitally

MACC confirms Rosmah’s arrest
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed the arrest of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in connection with a money laundering probe after receiving consent to prosecute from the Attorney-General’s Chambers. The MACC in a statement today said the arrest was made at 3.20 pm at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya today. “Following the arrest, Rosmah will face several charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Prevention of Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001. “Rosmah will be brought to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on 4 October to be charged.”

Foreign workers with PLKS for 10 years may extend work permit for another 3 years
The ministry of human resources has extended employment permit for foreign workers holding the Visit Pass — Temporary Employment (PLKS) for the past 10 years, to a maximum of another three years. In a statement today, Human Resources Mnister M. Kulasegaran said the extension of work permits to foreign workers holding PLKS will be implemented starting 1 October 2018. “The extension is only for a maximum of three years and the passes have to be renewed every year,” he said, noting the extension will enable employers to retain skilled foreign workers. However, it noted foreign workers may not be eligible to apply for entrance permit, permanent residence or Malaysian citizenship. On 29 August 2018, the government agreed to extend the validity period of employment to foreign workers holding PLKS, and has reached the 10th year of employment. “This only applies to foreign workers in formal sectors such as manufacturing, construction, plantation, services, agriculture, mining and quarries,” Kulasegaran said. “The levy is not imposed in frozen sectors and companies that require outsourcing,” he added.

Government likely to meet budget deficit target this year
The government’s fiscal deficit is likely to meet the budgeted RM40.3 billion or 2.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), given the cumulative fiscal shortfall of RM32.9 billion or 2.3 per cent of GDP for January to August period this year. UOB Global Economics and Markets Research in its macro note on the 2019 Budget preview said that the government was expected to stay the course of fiscal and debt consolidation. “The size of the budget deficit will depend to a large extent on the Sales and Service Tax (SST) revenues collected, size of Goods and Services Tax input tax credits, income tax and real property gains tax refunds are repaid, asset monetisation, higher oil revenues, and degree of cuts in operating expenditure,” it said in a statement today. UOB also expected the government to trim allocation for both operating and development expenditures amid lower revenue collection, adding its base case fiscal deficit projection was 3.0 per cent of GDP in 2019. “This is premised on the real GDP growth of 4.8 per cent in 2018-2019. Measures to restructure the government’s overall debt and pare down the size of contingent liabilities will be positive for the ringgit,” it said.

Malaysia´s export growth to slow down to 3.3 per cent in August
RAM Rating Services expects Malaysia’s export growth to decelerate to 3.3 per cent in August from 9.4 per cent in July, on the back of more cautious sentiment amid escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. In a statement today, it said the imposition of the second round of import tariffs by the US and China was pertinent to Malaysia due to its impact on the semiconductor sector. “The risk to trade momentum was heightened even further when the US imposed a third round of tariffs on Chinese imports valued at US$200 billion on 24 September. “The rate is set to increase to 25 per cent in January 2019 from the initial 10 per cent,” RAM Ratings said, adding that electrical and electronic (E&E) products constituted 36.7 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports last year. “Electronic components under both the US and China’s set of tariffs, respectively, constitutes 6.8 per cent and 16.4 per cent of Malaysia’s overall exports, respectively,” it said.

Singapore begins trial of new electronic arrival card tomorrow
Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will launch an electronic arrival card for foreign visitors to the city-state with a trial to be conducted for three months from 4 October. It will eventually replace the paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card that foreign visitors are currently required to submit on arrival. Currently, foreign travellers to Singapore fill up a paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card upon arrival which contains information pertinent to the travellers, such as their flight to Singapore, and where they are staying in Singapore. “We have reviewed and these details remain useful for border control and as part of our suite of safety and security measures,” ICA said in a statement. With the electronic arrival card, travellers can submit their personal information and trip details through the ICA website or via a mobile application before arriving in Singapore.

Mitsui Outlet Park opens 20 new stores
The Mitsui Outlet Park (MOP) Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), in Sepang, has broadened its outlet offerings with over 20 new stores, bringing the total to 170 stores. MFMA Development Sdn Bhd Deputy Managing Director TJ Cheah said among the stores that are unique to Malaysia and which shoppers should look out for were Le Ten Modern Asian Dining, Yome and Kappa. He said with the opening of phase two earlier this year, MOP KLIA now spans a total gross floor area of 56,530 square metres, with several firsts in Malaysia in terms of stores including The Beauty Laboratory by Shiseido and Sacoor One.

Womenwill Digital Workshop 2018 empowers women entrepreneurs to grow digitally
As more Malaysian women become entrepreneurs, they are also taking an interest in how digital can help enhance and grow their businesses. To bridge the gap between business and tech know-how, the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Google’s Womenwill initiative recently conducted a digital workshop to assist more than 40 women entrepreneurs to utilise digital tools that can open up greater economic opportunities. The workshop equipped them with the knowledge to create and manage their business online using the free Google My Business platform including digital marketing means of reaching their potential customers via Google Ads. “Online shopping is fast becoming the preferred way of purchasing goods for many Malaysians, and as our smartphone adoption skyrockets to close to 100%, we’re now taking our online shopping journeys on the road with us,” said Josephine Tan, Industry Analyst Google Malaysia, who led the workshop. “This means local entrepreneurs and business owners need to ensure that their businesses can easily be found wherever Malaysians may be online.” “Google’s Womenwill digital workshop aims to help women led businesses gain deeper insights into various Google tools and platforms that can help them grow both physically and digitally,” she continued.