Highlights:

  • Ministry and SME Bank to jointly develop women entrepreneurship
  • Malaysia on smart spending, not austerity drive
  • Section 41 of the Road Transport Act to be reviewed
  • UN Report: Temperatures to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius without rapid steps

Ministry and SME Bank join hands to develop women entrepreneurship
The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and its agencies will be working together with the Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank (SME Bank) to help boost women’s participation in business. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister said according to the Economic Census 2016, the number of women businesswomen was still small, accounting for only 20.6 per cent of the total number SME entrepreneurs in the country. “I believe that the effective empowerment of the SME sector can alleviate the poverty rate. She said a clear guideline was needed to identify and coordinate the roles and initiatives undertaken by each agency to avoid overlapping functions.

Malaysia not on austerity drive, just spending smart
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Malaysia was simply adopting smart spending measures and was not on austerity mode. He explained that the government would spend in key priority areas, especially those that lead to long-term sustainable growth that would improve the well-being of the people. Malaysia is not going to just pursue fiscal consolidation, as a too-fast consolidation might affect growth, the minister said. “We need to pursue economic diversification. Fiscal consolidation is a means towards fiscal sustainability. But sustainability requires a reasonable level of economic growth,” he said. In the short term, Lim said, Malaysia needs to consolidate its fiscal position in order to address the excesses of the previous government which led to RM1.09 trillion worth of government debts and liabilities, or 80.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). He believes the corporate sector has a prominent role in helping to keep the economy going and has the capacity on its balance sheets to invest and pursue growth because Malaysia’s corporate debt, at least among the listed companies, is merely 20 per cent of GDP.

Section 41, Road Transport Act 1987 faces review
Section 41 of the Road Transport Act 1987 will be reviewed to allow for greater punishments imposed on guilty drivers causing deaths. Transport Minister Anthony Loke said, this would include introducing a life-long driving ban. He said the maximum imprisonment of 10 years imposed currently was too lax and had no major impact in preventing the offence. “The government view seriously accidents involving deaths and want all parties to give it serious attention. “The maximum sentence is 10 years imprisonment, and in most of the previous cases, the penalties imposed on offenders were less than 10 years jail and without caning.” He also felt that the section which provided for a three-year suspension of the licence for the first offence was also inadequate with the offence committed.

Temperatures to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius without rapid steps: UN report
A United Nations Report said temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at its current pace and if the world fails to take rapid and unprecedented measures to stem the increase. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met last week in Incheon, South Korea to finalise the report, prepared at the request of governments in 2015 when a global pact to tackle climate change was agreed. The report is seen as the main scientific guide for government policymakers on how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Paris pact aims to limit global average temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while seeking to tighten the goal to 1.5 degrees Celsius. A rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius would still carry climate-related risks for nature and mankind but the risks would be lower than a rise of 2 degrees Celsius, the report summary said. Meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit required “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented” change in land and energy use, industry, buildings, transport and cities, it said, adding temperatures would be 1.5 degrees Celsius higher between 2030 and 2052 at the current pace. To contain warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, manmade global net carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by about 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels and reach “net zero” by mid-century. Any additional emissions would require removing CO2 from the air. The summary said renewable energy would need to supply 70 to 85 per cent of electricity by 2050 to stay within a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, compared with about 25 per cent now.