Highlights:
  1. Malaysia will participate in RCEP only if its beneficial
  2. Government may zero-rate some items under SST in future
  3. #MYCYBERSALE 2018 draws over 1,200 merchants
  4. Maybank confident of positive loan growth for Malaysia
Malaysia will participate in RCEP only if its beneficial Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will participate in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) only if the mega trade pact proves beneficial to the nation. He also rebuffed Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong’s comments that the RCEP could be signed this year. Mr Lee made the comments at the opening of the ASEAN Economic Minister’s Meeting in Singapore yesterday. “No. We have to look into it,” he told reporters after attending a roundtable discussion with ASEAN business leaders in Kuala Lumpur. Tun Dr Mahathir asserted that Malaysia has also not made any commitment towards RCEP. Government may zero-rate some items under SST in future The government will impose a tax of between 5 per cent and 10 percent on the sale of goods and a 6 per cent levy on services when the new tax regime comes into effect on Saturday. Meanwhile Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng said the rate for goods and services may be lowered in future. He said the quantum under both taxes ― collectively known as the sales and service tax (SST) ― will remain for now on the list of 5,443 consumer goods and 25 categories of services it had earmarked in a list. “But along the way there will be some shifts from items under the 10 per cent tax bracket to 5 per cent and from 5 per cent to zero per cent,” he told a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur. Lim said most of the consumer goods and services subject to the new SST were derived from the old SST list, but will be revised accordingly. National online sale #MYCYBERSALE 2018 draws over 1,200 merchants The National ICT Association of Malaysia (Pikom) expects the upcoming #MYCYBERSALE 2018 online sales event on 3-7 September to be a major success this year as it has attracted a record number of online merchants. Almost two-thirds of Malaysian internet users are online shoppers and #MYCYBERSALE has the potential to reach over 13.9 million online shoppers in the country. This is very much in line with government statistics indicating how the e-commerce growth rate in Malaysia is expected to rise from 10.6% in 2016 to 20.8% in 2020. Pikom chairman Ganesh Kumar Bangah expects the coming implementation of the Sales and Service Tax (SST) on September 1 to have minimal impact on the sentiments of Malaysians given their voracious appetite for good deals. He added that Pikom is confident that #MYCYBERSALE will surpass its targeted RM370 million in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), the total revenue generated, during the five-day sales period. #MYCYBERSALE pulled in RM311 million in GMV in 2017. Maybank confident of positive loan growth for Malaysia Malayan Banking Berhad is confident of a positive loan growth in Malaysia for the second half of the year, in view of the significant growth momentum in the consumer segment. Group Chief Financial Officer Datuk Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir said loan growth would also be driven by economic growth. In the first half of this year, Maybank achieved a loan growth of 6.1 per cent, which is above the industry growth of five per cent for Malaysia.  “The rolling out of the Sales and Services Tax may be expansionary on consumer consumption with lower government revenue expected compared to the Goods and Services Tax,” he told a media briefing today. Datuk Amirul said while corporate activities seem to be slowing down, there was a window of opportunity in investment banking activities such as the debt market. “Because of the volatility in capital markets, a lot of funds are switching from equity to cash,” he said.