1. Mahathir rules out need to increase retirement age to 65
  2. Malaysia drawing up domestic maid protection law
  3. Malaysia approves RM2.3 billion investments to make sanitary-related products
  4. 2020 budget may see government pursue more gradual fiscal consolidation
  5. Australia’s FM offers support to HK supporters

Prime Minister says there is no need to increase retirement age to 65
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there is no need to increase the mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65. He said he agreed with the view to retain the current retirement age so as not to block employment opportunities for the younger generation. “If we are to set the retirement age at 65, the deadwood will be sitting on their chairs and others will not be able to sit there. He added that there were nations that did not impose a mandatory retirement age, and employees there could work as long as they liked, but that only meant that they were denying opportunities for the younger generation. Dr Mahathir was commenting on a suggestion by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) that the government should increase the mandatory retirement age to 65 years, as practised in several developed countries, including Singapore.

Malaysia drawing up domestic maid protection law
Minister of Human Resources, M. Kulasegaran announced Sunday that a new law to protect the rights of domestic workers is expected to be tabled in Parliament as early as next year.The new law is expected to ensure that domestic workers have proper working hours, holidays, salaries and insurance. The Minister said his Ministry is still engaging with stakeholders. Previously, the minister announced plans to reform several labour laws including the Employment Act, to include more safeguards for workers, including maids. Other laws to be amended are the Trade Unions Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Industrial Relations Act, according to reports.

Malaysia approves RM2.3 billion investments to make sanitary-related products
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) has approved 21 projects to manufacture sanitary-related products, involving investments of RM2.3 billion, from 1980 to June 2019. Of the total, RM2.2 billion comprised foreign investments while the balance of RM125 million was from domestic sources. MIDA said this in a statement issued in conjunction with Hong Kong-listed Vinda Group’s ground-breaking ceremony for its Southeast Asia regional headquarters (HQ) in Klang, today. “We foresee that Vinda Group’s new regional HQ will be a catalyst in boosting the development of its related products’ industry ecosystem in Malaysia. It will also be able to provide its customers with better access to global markets and greater flexibility in service offerings,” said MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.

2020 budget may see government pursue more gradual fiscal consolidation
Standard Chartered Global Research expects the 2020 budget to see the government pursue a more gradual fiscal consolidation path given the more challenging growth outlook. “There is room for Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to calibrate its monetary policy response to support growth given its tactical rate cut in May and resilient growth outturn. “Investor appetite for the duration is supported by ample local liquidity, a loose monetary policy outlook and benign supply pressure,” it said in a note. The research house said new revenue measures have been implemented and will help to address tax change-induced revenue shortfall. Meanwhile, it said the re-starting of mega infrastructure projects is expected to help catalyse private investment. “Investment approvals were up more than 60 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2019, with strong local and foreign participation,” it said, adding that Malaysia has seen an increase in diverted orders and investment interest due to the US-China trade war. However, the research firm said Vietnam is seen as a keen competitor on this front.

Australia’s FM offers support to HK supporters
More than 40,000 people gathered again at Hong Kong’s political centre for a second day of strikes, with tensions rising on Tuesday evening between protesters and police near the government headquarters. At Tamar Park in Admiralty, crowds started packing the lawn in the afternoon for the movement, organised by representatives from various sectors and supported by the Confederation of Trade Unions. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam clarified that she has “never tendered her resignation to the central people’s government”. “I have not even contemplated to discuss a resignation with the central people’s government,” she said, adding that the choice of not resigning was “my own choice”. China for its part expressed confidence in Lam and her government but said it would not sit idly by if the unrest threatened Chinese security and sovereignty. “The central government will not allow chaos in Hong Kong to continue indefinitely,” spokeswoman Xu Luying said.
In Australia, Foreign Minister Marise Payne has urged the Hong Kong government to listen to its people while calling for restraint and an end to the violence roiling the city. In her most direct show of support for the pro-democracy protests Australia’s top diplomat on Tuesday said Hongkongers had “legitimate concerns” and the “vast majority” of protesters had exercised their rights peacefully. Responding to concerns the unrest could provoke intervention by Beijing, Payne said Hong Kong authorities should handle the crisis “responsibly and proportionately”. Payne’s comments risk further straining relations with Beijing, following the arrest of Chinese-Australian author  Yang Hengjun on suspicion of espionage.

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