1. MACC and Bursa Malaysia collaborate for a corruption free corporate Malaysia
  2. Bank Negara mulls introduction of cash transaction limit
  3. Bank Negara maintains OPR
  4. China dismisses reports of Carrie Lam replacement plans
  5. DHL launches fastest rail freight service between China and Germany

MACC and Bursa Malaysia Collaborate for a Corruption Free Corporate Malaysia
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Bursa Malaysia Bursa Malaysia have expressed their mutual interest to collaborate in learning with a view to promoting a corruption-free Malaysia. At the Conference on “Building Trust and Transparency: Collaborate, Accelerate, Strengthen” jointly organised by the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers and Compliance Officers’ Networking Group in Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen, the Chairman of Bursa Malaysia said, “Through this learning collaboration, both sides will benefit from the sharing of knowledge and experiences. This, in turn, will enhance the skills and learning capabilities of the MACC and Bursa Malaysia officers in carrying out their respective roles.” The learning collaboration between MACC and Bursa Malaysia will involve the placement of MACC officers in Bursa Malaysia for a certain period of time to learn and better understand Malaysia’s capital market regulations in the current environment, including market supervision and investigation. The collaborative effort will also look into initiatives to create awareness and preparedness amongst public listed-companies of the new Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009. Section 17A imposes liability for corruption on commercial organisations, including companies, as well as their directors, officers and persons managing the company’s affairs. It will come into effect on 1 June 2020.

Bank Negara mulls introduction of cash transaction limit
Bank Negara Malaysia is exploring the introduction of a cash transaction limit to complement the existing financial integrity measures. Its governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said that while the move is new to Malaysia, countries such as France, Italy and India have already implemented it. She explained that the move would further mitigate the abuse of cash by addressing the ease of conducting high-value cash transactions. Datuk Nor Shamsiah said the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money Laundering will be consulting the public on this proposal later this month. In January, BNM lowered the daily cash threshold report (CTR) from RM50,000 to RM25,000. Up to September, over five million CTR reports were received, representing about RM483 billion in cash transactions.

Bank Negara maintains OPR
At its meeting today, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Bank Negara Malaysia decided to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.00 percent. The global economy is expanding at a more moderate pace, with the slowdown becoming more synchronised across both the advanced and emerging economies. There is also evidence of the weak global trade affecting domestic demand, particularly investment activity. Going forward, geopolitical tensions, policy uncertainty and the unresolved trade disputes could exacerbate financial market volatility and further weigh on the global growth outlook. Monetary easing and other policy measures are expected to provide some support to growth. For the Malaysian economy, latest indicators are in line with expectations, suggesting moderate expansion of economic activity for the third quarter. Going forward, growth is expected to remain anchored by firm private sector expenditure. While private investment is projected to remain modest, household spending will be supported by continued employment and wage growth. The recent Government measures will provide additional impetus to economic activity. On the external front, while exports will continue to be affected by slower global demand, this will be partly mitigated by its diversified structure. Overall, growth of the Malaysian economy is expected to be within projections in 2019 and the pace sustained going into 2020. This projection remains subject to downside risks, mainly stemming from uncertainties in global economic and financial conditions as well as weakness in commodity-related sectors. At the current level of the OPR, the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative and supportive of economic activity. The MPC will continue to assess the balance of risks to domestic growth and inflation, to ensure that the monetary policy stance remains conducive to sustainable growth amid price stability.

China dismisses reports of Carrie Lam replacement plans
China’s foreign ministry has strongly denied a report from the London-based Financial Times which claimed Beijing was considering replacing Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it was a “political rumour with ulterior motives behind it” on Wednesday. Hua stressed that the central government would continue to firmly support Lam and the Hong Kong government’s efforts to stops the violence and restore order as soon as possible. The Financial Times quoted unnamed sources familiar with the Chinese government’s deliberations who said Beijing was planning to replace Lam with an “interim” leader by March 2020. According to a poll conducted by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute in October, Lam’s approval rating slid to 22.3 points – the lowest ever during her tenure. Hong Kong’s legislature on Wednesday formally withdrew the planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China and was the initial focus of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

DHL launches fastest rail freight service between China and Germany
DHL Global Forwarding and Xi’an International Inland Port Investment & Development Group Co. Ltd have launched the fastest rail service from Xi’an in China to Hamburg and Neuss in Germany, cutting transit time from 17 to between 10 and 12 days.  The new express rail service is the first-of-its-kind in the market to break new ground in the speed and efficiency of China-Europe rail freight, shortening total transit time by travelling through the Mamonovo-Braniewo railway border between Russia and Poland. With trade between the two regions averaging €1 billion a day and slated to grow, China remains the European Union’s second biggest trading partner, accounting for the region’s biggest source of imports and its second-biggest source of exports. Equally, special economic zones in Greater Xi’an are attracting growing foreign investments as the city positions itself as a hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G infrastructure and cloud computing to enhance its manufacturing capabilities. Xi’an is home to over 100 enterprises specializing in AI, bringing in a total revenue of CN¥10 billion (€1.3 billion), while global and local companies have agreed to invest CN¥214 billion yuan (€27.5 billion) in the city’s digital development.

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